Leaning against our bathroom vanity New Year’s Eve I proclaimed to my husband “we should go somewhere,” as I darkened my lashes with a second layer of black. With the boys already at my parent’s for the night, it felt more manageable to even suggest a getaway, in the midst of the beautiful mess we attempt to orchestrate each day. Possibilities flourish when you can finish a thought. “Somewhere warm,” I added.
A couple of weeks passed. A survey of the entire US weather map revealed that even at the southern most tips of the country it wasn’t really warm anywhere. One of the last salvages of my maiden name still inked my passport, rendering it sentimental paper only. It wasn’t looking good for a quick, warm getaway. But really, vacation is what you define it as. Doing things without rushing, being the recipient of service vs. the giver of care, going to Target by myself. Yes, these things feel like mini vacations.
My frugality surfaced and I got re-submerged into breakfast and teeth brushing, daycare drop-offs and work, bills, tax season, daycare pick-ups, coats, boots, hats, mittens, dinner, bath, books and bedtime. Thankfully, my husband and a little serendipity stepped in to tilt my head back above the water. “How about Galena?” Jason asked. “This weekend,” he continued. He called the place we always drool over, but never call. Nope, they didn’t have an entire weekend available until February. He hung up dejected. Back to the drawing board. And then, serendipity intervened. Jason’s phone rang fifteen minutes later, “Did you just call about a reservation this weekend? Another guest called after you to cancel their reservation. If you still want it, you are in.”
And just like that, off to Galena we ventured. In the middle of 500 acres of divine farm houses and historic barns weighing down the valleys like tacks in a windblown blanket of snow, we landed here.
Three weeks after Christmas, this place still dripped luxuriously from every nook and cranny. Entire potted ruby-red amaryllis stretched out of the Christmas tree in our room among dried hops, velvety ribbon, tassels and gold butterflies. And the main store, which had been converted into the main lounge, check-in and dining room displayed more of the same elegant Christmas taste and imagination. Flocked greens and icicles, snow-covered villages lit up, giant snowflakes suspended in the old store front window. So lovely, so homey, I had long forgotten about my “somewhere warm” request. It was warm and cozy right here, down in the valley, 30 minutes from anywhere, zero minutes from the closest fireplace.
Determined to squeeze every last sacred moment out of this beautiful place, Sunday morning I was up before the sun. I bundled up as best I could and went for a walk to chase down the pink sky and the rising sun.
I met these two handsome creatures. I wished I had some hay or an apple for their troubles.
Sometimes a weekend isn’t enough, but this weekend it was. It so was.
The books I gathered to pass the time stayed unpacked. Instead I started Jamison’s stocking during the drive. I smiled to myself as I pulled out the 3 page instruction sheet. “Mistakes will be made from time to time. When this occurs, use your needle to unthread your work and start over to attain beautiful stitchery.” So true I thought to myself. It’s the unthreading that undoes us sometimes, but the finished piece is hard-won and gratifying.
The stocking has 89 steps before you get to the personalization part of embroidering the name up top. Jason asked me if some of the steps were easier than the others and yes some are, but sometimes they sneakily hide four tasks in one step. Embroider, sequin, stuff and applique the tree to the stocking. You tell me, is that one step or four? Answer: just one, this is step 9. But, I find the clearly defined order and methodology relaxing. I don’t always find the unthreading, the undoing very enjoyable, but I know it will be worthwhile in the end.
I figure if I do eight steps a month through November it will be done for Jamison in time for Christmas. Maybe not a resolution, but at least a start and a game plan.
I hope you all had lovely weekends and found a few mini-vacation moments in and around the beautiful daily mess of it all.