Wow.  OK, it’s not technically winter yet – we’re about a week away from the Solstice but work with me here.
Remember how a couple weeks back we had record cold and my furnace crapped out?  Fast forward to yesterday and we’re now 30 degrees warmer and getting slammed with heavy rain.  And all that wonderful new snow in the moutains – heaven for our skiers?  Melllltingggg…which makes the flooding potential that much worse.  This phenomenon is called the Pineapple Express – warm air from the tropics swoops in.  Most of us here call it a major pain in the ass.  I need to run a couple errands and joke I’ll probably need a rubber raft.

But hey, the holiday season’s in full swing!!  My tree’s up (oh the joy of a faux tree, takes 3 seconds to set up), all decorated and I’m going to spend this afternoon wrapping a few gifts.  I’ve got quite a bit more shopping to do but everyone on my list is local or will be here in town for Christmas, so no mad rush to get things shipped.

Had a lot of fun shaking up the routine last week with 3 nights out in a row!  A co-worker suggested we get our nails done the night before our company Christmas party and she had a coupon for her favorite nail salon.  I’d never been but noticed my chipped nails (hey, it was from hockey – ya gotta take a few for the team sometime) and thought sure, why not? 

Full mani and pedi with an arm and leg massage for $28!  WOW.  I think the prices at the spa I go to for nails or waxing or brow tinting start at that and go even higher.  I was impressed with this nail salon.  No waiting when we walked right in!

Our company holiday party was at Wild Ginger at the Bravern.  I’ve blogged about the Bravern before – a wonderful jewel of shops, offices and condos in downtown Bellevue.  Long gone is the Dairy Queen and the dance studio where I took ballet as a kid on that prime piece of real estate.  Major upgrade!  Wild Ginger is wonderful Thai food, injected with pacific northwest influences.  Thai fusion I suppose.  Whatever it is, it’s great.  Our consulting firm had a fabulous private area with a buffet, full bar and lots of room for mingling and conversation.  Floor to ceiling windows with amazing views of downtown Bellevue.  It was very intimate and lively at the same time.  Just a great way to reconnect with the people at this consulting firm and celebrate all the help they’ve put into getting my current work assignment all set up.  Can you believe it’s been 7 months now? I’ve been in touch with them for over 3 years; tenacity pays off! 

As I’ve probably mentioned before, great people, food, drink and conversation is pure bliss for me.  Doesn’t matter if I know everyone in the room or none.  I just enjoy the small talk, laughs and networking. 

Some how I made it through the next day (Friday) on pure adrenaline. And 3 cups of coffee.  I didn’t get to sleep until probably 2am – I was so invigorated after the party I didn’t realize it was around 11pm when I’d left! 

After work it was girls night out with 3 of my co-workers.  We met at Parlor Billiards at Lincoln Square for drinks and munchies and then headed to the skybridge overlooking Bellevue Way for the snowflake lane celebration!  During the holidays they do a nightly show with a drum corps all dressed up like toy soldiers parading through the streets and drumming along to Christmas music.  And the light show on the buildings around Bellevue Square and Lincoln Square are amazing!  And of course…(fake) snow!  Funny how we had our own REAL snow back in mid November.  It was a beautiful night – not raining at all.  Yummy dinner at Palomino with a nice glass of Pinot Gris and believe me this girl was beyond satisfied.  And stuffed.

Yeah, it’s the parties that get me in the holiday spirit.  Oh and the music, big time.  I just put a bunch of Christmas music in the CD player.  When I sing along I almost feel like I’m transported back in time.  I feel 25…or, maybe 9.  I remember singing and later learning to play a lot of Christmas songs on the piano.  I close my eyes and can picture all those piano music books piled up at home.  The Nutcracker music.  Piano duets I played with my Mom. And the choral arrangements in high school and college.  The 15 years playing in our handbell choir at church.  Yep, music resonates at the core of my being.  And I feel very fortunate and blessed to have had incredible teaching and inspiration through my family, my teachers and conductors.

So, the year is winding down and it’s time to focus on the plans and joys for next year while drinking in and enjoying every second of the holidays. I’ll have a lot more to write about this later for sure.

Whatever it is you celebrate, enjoy the magic and wonder of the Season!