Christmas and the Blizzard of 2010

Everyone who knows me understands my love for traveling. By traveling I mean visiting a new or different locale without experiencing the actual transportation to and fro. In other words, I enjoy being elsewhere without the going and coming. I traveled to visit my brother and his family with my mother this year about 675 miles from my home. The forward trip went without a hitch despite an airline delay of an hour. Christmas was warm and cheery and unusually green in the Canadian Maritimes. We all commented about it – the kiss of death according to my friend Jeff. Jeff is very strict about not commenting on any good luck – be it pleasant weather, no traffic, first one in line etc. otherwise cause and effect changes said outcome. Everyone on the entire east coast of North America and probably the rest of the traveling world knows  or experienced the Blizzard ’10. Enough said – don’t tell Jeff I comitted this faux pas of commenting on the mild weather. He will say that I deserve any problems incurred.

Anyway, after two flight cancellations, three days later, an extra three hour car ride riding east when I should have been traveling west, one connecting flight through customs (my original flight was nonstop) and a mad running dash to catch my flight before they closed the door forever – I’m home, all-in-all taking about 14 hours in transit. All of this because I commented on the nice weather and romantically wished for a white Christmas…sigh. You heard the old saying “be careful what you wish for”.

At first I was bummed out (dating myself here). I had planned on a couple of extra days of “quality alone time” at home painting and writing and whatever. Instead, I experienced the full flow of family life a la my brother’s family: Family card games that were almost cutthroat at times, family movies that we all voted on that eventually my sister-in-law and I overrode (a true democracy at work), two basketball games that my eleven year old nephew played in a cold gym built for cheering teenage bodies, a trip to a bookstore where the family happily dropped me off and left me alone for a few hours and much play time with their shih tzu puppy “Zu Zu”!

Much to my own surprise, I enjoyed every minute of it! I realized once again that the magic I often search for in my life is right before my eyes. I was delighted to be in the middle of family spills and squabbles, hugs, meals, video games, life lessons and the puppy waking me up with wet kisses. I was really fortunate to be stranded at my brother’s home and not in an airport or on the road. It also allowed me time to do nothing but be present. A good lesson for me. Flexibility is the main requirement for a true traveler – mixed liberally with a sense of humor and wonder. I truly enjoyed my nephew’s on-court moves, my niece’s new great blog, my brother’s patience, my sister-in-law’s enthusiasm and my mother just being herself.

Lest any one worry that I lost my edge (especially Mark Biz) – I still believe Scrooge got a bum rap (that for another blog). And my plans for Christmas 2011? The wonder and pleasure of traveling sans family to a Caribbean beach most assuredly without comment on the lovely weather.

the puppy tears apart
all the toilet tissue