I intended writing about the gig in Dublin a couple of weeks ago, and the lovely time I had there with my cousin. Now it’s almost new year already!
I enjoyed the lead-up to Christmas, being finished work early and having time to buy presents and relax. My brother and two cousins came home for Christmas, and we didn’t think they’d be here, so that made it even better.
I stayed in my sister’s house on Christmas eve and enjoyed watching the boys getting their presents from Santa when they got up on Christmas morning. Lots of people my age think Christmas is boring, but I’m lucky enough to have children around to make it exciting. After the traditional breakfast in my sister’s, we went visiting as usual. My aunt made dinner for twelve people, and we all stayed in her house. Dougal went to stay in kennels for a few days so that things would be easier for him. He doesn’t like crowds of people, and can sometimes snap when he is stressed, so although it was strange not having him around, I only had O.J to think about, and it was much more relaxing. I got lots of nice presents, mostly clothes and perfume which is always good.
On boxing day morning I took O.J for a short walk with my parents. In the afternoon I met up with my five best friends for a lovely couple of hours. The next time we’ll all be together will be next Easter, when two of the girls will have had babies. I can’t imagine that at all, but it’s very exciting. Nicky came up that evening, and we’ve just spent the last couple of days relaxing.
This year was the 10th anniversary of the Asian tsunami which myself and my family were caught up in. We were in Thailand at the time, and are very lucky to still all be here. I kept thinking about it lots on Friday. It was nice to be able to spend the day with family and friends. Things could have been so different if we’d been where we had originally planned to be that morning. Even ten years later, that still freaks me out a bit. I’ve done so much since then, and without sounding totally morbid or corny, I’m very lucky to have had the chance.
I’m usually a bit slow getting into the Christmas mood, and this year was no different. Most of my friends put their trees up at the beginning of December, and that’s all everybody seemed to be talking about. I think it seems to come around earlier every year. The thing that started to get me excited was a phone call from my brother about ten days ago telling me that he was definitely coming home. We thought he wasn’t, so it was a lovely surprise.
We had our work Christmas party on Wednesday. It was in the Silver Tassie hotel in Letterkenny as usual, and we all had a lovely meal. There wasn’t a huge crowd so it was a lot quieter than usual, but we made our own fun. We’ve had a couple of new staff members recently, so there’s a good group of people around my own age, and we all get on well. I stayed in the hotel that night so that my colleague wouldn’t have to drive home if the weather was bad. It was strange booking a hotel in Letterkenny, only 40 minutes away, but it made the night more relaxing and enjoyable. So much so that we didn’t go to bed until after 4.
The staff in the hotel were lovely, but I don’t think they’d ever had a guide dog stay there before. When I rang to book the room and mentioned him, the receptionist had to go and ask the manager. She came back and said that the dog was fine, except she was instructed to “designate a certain room” for us. I thought, here we go, some kind of complicated fuss now, but that room turned out to be a big family room with more space for us all. It was a nice surprise!
I put up my new tree on Thursday with the help of a few kids who were very excited. They did more of the work than me, but I was a small bit tired!
I’m still stuck for Christmas present ideas for a few people. I hate buying things for the sake of it, and like to know what I’m looking for before I shop, so this kind of thing stresses me out! Going to Dublin tomorrow (literally for 24 hours), so I might get some ideas there. O.J is giving this one a miss this time, although the National Concert Hall where I’m going to a gig tomorrow evening was more than happy to have him, and even look after him if the music was too loud. I might write about that particular gig when I get home, depending on how it goes. It’s a combination of musicians I’ve seen before, but the structure of it means I have no idea what to expect at all. Sometimes that’s the best way.