Normally, I try to make the weeks after the holidays as low key as possible: I catch up on paperwork at the shop (usually lots of it, since I'm too busy to do it while we're in the middle of the busy season), start planning the next book I'm going to work on, but otherwise just rest up and try to catch my breath.
This year, I got something even better...a visit from the fabulous Jennifer Holling-Blake.
That's the two of us, a few minutes before she left on Sunday morning, on her way home to San Jose, where she now lives (via a lovely visit with my sister, BIL and their girls in Schenectady). She got in the previous Sunday with her pal Jonah, who lives about an hour and a half from here and was kind enough to get her at the airport, drive her to Oneonta, and then spend the week ferrying her around to see all her various friends and relatives.
Yes, very clever--you noticed that we share the same last name. You probably also noticed that she doesn't look a bit like me. That's because she's my step-daughter, one of the few good things that came out of my brief marriage to her father back in the mid-80's. I met her dad when she was 1, so she doesn't remember a time when I wasn't in her life, and our relationship was so important (to both of us) that I fought to keep it even after the divorce when she was 5. Needless to say, that worked out pretty well. Here's a not very good scan of two pictures from the distant past... No laughing at my bangs, people. It was the 80's.
These days, Jenn and I are closer than ever; she was a member of my coven, Blue Moon Circle, back when she still lived here, and actually ended up moving to San Jose after attending Pantheacon there with me a few years ago.
Jenn goofing around with my editor Elysia. I don't know which one is cuter.
We still talk on the phone at least a couple times a week, but I miss having her here, so it was wonderful to have her visit and stay for a bit. We celebrated her birthday, which was on New Year's Day, along with her mom Jo, our friend Ellen, and Jonah. And spend lots of time just hanging out and playing games (she and Jonah are both serious gamers). And eating, of course. [That's Jenn, Ellen, Jo, and Jonah. You can't see her in this picture, but Magic the Cat is sitting in the chair towards the front, which she stole as soon as I got up to take the photo.]
Now she's gone back to CA, and while I'm not sorry to have my house back (and be able to get back to work), it does seem just a little bit empty around here...
Jenn may not be the child of my body, but she is the child of my heart, and I am lucky to have her.