Thursday, January 10, 2008

roman goats

Christmas and New Year's

Christmas and New Year's both were quiet, uneventful affairs for us. We spent most of Christmas Day at the house. Bran Was on duty Christmas eve, which could have been much worse that it was. On the ship, he would have been stuck there for the full 24 hours that he was on duty. With the Unit, he only had to go in for little while that morning, and pick some guy up at the air port. (Actually, it was Bryan, a guy that was later at the Christmas party we went to. He's in a few of the pics I took.) Then, he had to go back Christmas morning to do the security rounds. But after that, it was just hanging out here until about 3, when we went to Christmas dinner. It was being hosted by Jason and his girlfriend Heather. It was nothing fancy. Jason and Heather did the ham, the stuffing, and the pumpkin pies. We brought deviled eggs. Everybody else took care of everything else. It was an interesting time, though... Staying with Jason and Heather was Jason's ex-wife, Crystal, who had come to visit their son, Jason Jr. Odd though it was, everybody involved seemed totally cool with the arrangement. The dog, Rebel, was cool too. He's old and mellow, and not at all freaked out by all the people who had invaded his territory. He just wandered from cluster to cluster begging scraps of food, and attention. After a few hours (I think we left around 7) we went back to the house to resume our quiet day.

It was definitely different from any other Christmas that I've ever experienced. I'm used to going from house to house visiting various branches of the family, all that over the course of 2 or three days. There was none of that sort of thing this year. But like I said, it was nice.

New Year's was much the same. We spent New Year's Eve together at home. Once I coaxed Brandon away from the computer (he had just set it up downstairs, where we have the Internet connection), we lit all the candles in the living room and snuggled on the couch. We talked for a long time, but when I started to doze off around 10:30 or so, I told him to get back on the computer to play with the guys, if he wanted. (I knew he wasn't sleepy.) I woke up just after midnight to what it must sound like in a war zone. You know all of those cool fireworks that are illegal in the US, except for specially licensed people? Well, over here, there are available to the general public, and the Germans go all our for New Year's. And the Americans in the area do too, since they can't do it back home. Anyway, I caught Brandon saying something about "souds like Call of Duty 4 out there" so I grabbed my phone to check the time. Sure enough, we were about 10 minutes into the new year. I called out a Happy New Year to Bran and went back to sleep.

The next thing I knew, He was scooping me up from the couch. It was about 2:30, and time for bed. Ha, like I hadn't been in bed, or close enough to it, for four hours already.

Ok...I know what you're thinking. Because, I had been thinking much the same thing all day. "How lame is this?!? Here we are, in Europe, and we're not doing anything for New Year's? Nothing???" Well, I say to you, and to that niggling voice in my head, that at least I was with Brandon. The year before last (count down to 2006) Brandon was on duty on the boat, so I spent New Year's Eve with my cat. (That was the day I'd brought him home from the SPCA.) Now, that is lame. So I'm counting my blessings. And even if it wasn't some crazy awesome Euro party, it was greatly enjoyable. I'm not all about that staying up all night thing, anyway.

My New Job

I also started work at the end of December. My first official day was the day after Christmas, but I'd started before that because they were so short handed. There hasn't been too much from me to learn. Most of it has been the specific ins and outs of how this particular store operates, but I've done the retail thing before and it really doesn't change all that much from one place to the next. They've had me doing a lot of organizational stuff there, which it great for me. No one else on staff really likes that job, so they happily relinquished it to me. I started by reorganizing the beading materials section, because that was the worst. I also wanted to take stock of what we had, and what we needed to get. With that task done, I moved on to other areas of the store. I don't need to be trained on loading the kiln and such, since I already know how to do that, and I'm good to go on all the basics for a lot of what we carry. I'm lost when it comes to some of it knowledge of painting, with oils, acrylics or watercolors, knitting, wood work, sculpting and framing leaves a lot to be desired. For those things, I have to plead ignorance when someone asks me for help or advice. Or, at best, I can direct them to one of my co-workers.

I'm currently being trained in the framing shop, so that if they need me to I can cross over to help them out. It's an interesting process... And it's a skill that I'm glad I'll have. That way, I can take my projects in and frame them myself. I'll still have to pay for materials, but at least I won't have to pay for the labor and I'll get to use their equipment. In a few months, one of the permanent employees will be PCSing with her husband, and my boss has indicated that she wants to train me to take her position. I'll be learning to do inventory, so I'll have another bullet for my future resume. I've also been absorbing as much as I can about crafting from the other girls at the store. Several of them are bing into sewing and quilting, and there is a lot that I don't know about those as well. It's great! This is such a great job for me. It is perfectly fitted to my skill set, and I have the opportunity to learn so much more. Yay!

Roman Goats

Sarah and Peguy have been out of town for the holidays, so Bran and I have been spending most evenings just hanging out. We've found a rhythm of sorts... Sometimes I cook a big meal, sometimes I just throw something together, and sometimes we fend for ourselves. (I try to keep us stocked with bowl noodles, ramen, hot pockets, and mac & cheese for those nights.) Then, I'll sit on the couch and read, or work on one of my blankets with a glass of wine. Bran will chill on the computer, sipping on beer or rum and coke (I'm using the work 'sip' liberally here), and checking up on sites like fark, penny arcade, icanhascheezburger or playing games with the guys. When that gets boring, or when he's waiting on the comp to finish doing something, he'll grab his guitar and serenade me.

That, I think, is the best part. He's playing his guitar again! There for a long time, he wasn't interested in it, but for the last few weeks, he's been printing up songs and learning (or relearning) how to play them. My favorites are House of the Rising Sun and Wish You Were Here (Pink Floyd, not Incubus). I wish you could all hear how good he's getting to be. I just hope he stays with it.

Anyway, one of the times that I was on the couch with a blanket and he was at the computer, he stood up and said, I think I need another Roman goat." I dropped the blanket into my lap and looked at him blankly for a moment before it clicked. Rum and coke, he said. Not Roman goat. But that's what he should have said, because that would have been funnier. It will never be rum and coke to me again. :)

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