Monday, December 31, 2007

How the Post-Christmas Sami Sabbatical Restored My Groove

Lots of professionals take sabbaticals from their professions so they can refresh and revive themselves and renew the passion they have for whatever it is that they're passionate about. With that in mind, last year I instituted the post-Christmas Sami Sabbatical from Seguin & Family. This year I declared I'd be leaving the day after Christmas, heading west. Alone.
My sort of sabbaticals are a little different. I don't write a book, or study a foreign language or conduct important research. The Post-Christmas Sami Sabbatical is meant to restore my soul, after it has been sucked out of me by the Christmas season and all that a successful season requires, as well as months of motherhood and all the j-o-b work I do. Christmas is wonderful, and joyous, and wipes me out for the year.
It all starts the minute Thanksgiving is over. The Christmas season ensues. All that good cheer, merriment and small talk is exhausting. And the gift buying. This year we made big changes. Wonderful Husband was given a list of three people to buy for, which he accomplished so well that his list may grow next year. And Daughter Number 1 (almost 13) was enlisted to be in charge of gift wrapping. It might have been a bit less skillful than I would have done, but if any giftee noticed they didn't dare comment. Delegation is a beautiful thing. I highly recommend it.
Back to my sabbatical. After three successive family Christmas gatherings, all of which were lovely and devoid of the power struggles, tacky comments and generally poor behavior we've seen in years past, I gassed up the car, loaded my painting supplies and hit the road. Deserting your family just after Christmas is actually a pretty good time to go because you can typically count on lingering family members to help with the kids (thanks Terri!) and the kids have a completely new supply of new toys to occupy them. This year I headed for West Texas, to Marathon. I painted the picture that I would be working diligently, painting the house that we are restoring there. I don't think anyone was fooled that I wouldn't be enjoying myself immensely.
I painted for three days straight. I went to bed late and woke up when my body was ready. I ate what I wanted at whatever time the hunger struck me. I did not make one peanut butter sandwich or wipe anyone's nose but my own. I read a new book. Without television, I listened to CDs of every kind. I watched four really good, thought-provoking movies. I looked at the mountains.

These mountains are what I see when I look out my kitchen and bathroom windows, or, if I'm sitting in the back yard with the chimenea to warm me. This photo was taken in the summer. It's not as green now, of course. Here's a quiz for you West Texas girls: Can you guess where I was when I took this photo out of the window of my car?

This is the view at sunset. That fabulous mountain is called Iron Mountain. Don't ask me why mountains put me back on track. I liken it to cordless phones you have laying around the house. Sometimes they stop working right until you go set them back in their base. In their base, they reset their connections and start working fine again. That's how it is with me. From time to time I have to reconnect myself to my base and get back on my painted groove so I can be a good wife, good mommy, creative person.

OK, one more picture. Here's the view out my east window in the morning. This is what I see when I'm sitting on the sofa drinking coffee:

Of course if I'm on sabbatical and my kids aren't with me, I don't see sunrises. That's how you can tell this photo was taken on a kids-included trip. The whole family scrunches up on the same sofa for warmth. Good thing it's a really big sofa. (Thanks, Cynthia!)

The house is mostly painted and my soul and my groove are restored. Now, I can't wait for 2008!!


Lavender Chick said...

Okay, the picture from your car is on your way from Marathon to Alpine, just not sure exactly where. My hunch is that you are nearing the Y... I have to hear from you so I can sleep tonight. This will drive me crazy.

So glad you had your sabbatical... Everyone needs one and I am sure it makes you a better mommy and wife. But - I expect to be included in your next sabbatical!

Painted Groove Girl said...

Nope. You're totally wrong. We'll need LP to take a look at this.

Lavender Chick said...

I feel like such a loser....

LP, if your there, please help!

Painted Groove Girl said...

Don't feel too bad, Lavenderchick. You're a busy girl and didn't take hours to study my vantage point. But I bet my husband who doesn't know the difference between a Hut Coke and a Sonic Coke would be able to pinpoint it. ssssss

Anonymous said...

hmmmm.....oh the pressure! Are you on the road from Marathon to Ft. Stockton?

Funny that I don't know the name of one single highway. In my mind, Alpine is the center of the world and then there is the road to Ft. Davis, the road to Marfa, the road to Marathon.......

abbey branch fashion + art + architecture said...

Hi Sam! I am glad you got your "groove" back. I really loved this post. I guess I don't have to go to Italy and India for the sabbatical that I am in desperate need of.

Are you on The Thinking Road... Old Marathon Highway?

Also, I used a custom blue on my ceilings. I can give you the formula if you need it.


Painted Groove Girl said...

The reason no one knows where I took this picture is because it's usually only traveled at night -- when you're on the way to the Post. Only I was driving toward Marathon from the Post when I took it.