As of 5 pm on December 16, the university officially closed down for our winter break.  Every year our Facilities and HR people keep telling us that we’re not supposed to be in any of the buildings if at all possible.  Stay home, take a break, rest, relax, etc., etc., etc.  Bah, humbug, I say.  Whoever made the decision to shut this place down clearly does not understand the intricacies of the admissions cycle.  Could there be a worse time for us to stay home, take a break, rest, relax, etc, etc. etc?  Well, just between us, we actually arranged to work one day last week and we’ll be doing a little bit more this coming week.  Sure, we’re ignoring the phones and emails for now, but applications are being processed.  And right now, that’s what matters most.  I’m still keeping busy with my file reading and trying really hard to get caught up.  In fact, I made some calls this first week of the shut-down and will make some again this coming Tuesday and Wednesday.  After that, though, we’ll really turn everything off and stay away from the office until January 3 so there will be silence on my end when it comes to making new offers.

When I woke up this morning to feed Malcolm (my golden retriever and not my husband or son who are capable of feeding themselves although you’d not always know that if you met them), it was freezing outside.  I know my idea of freezing is probably quite different than yours, but it was still really, really cold – all the way down to the low 30’s.  My iPhone said 28 degrees but my rule of thumb is to add on about five degrees to whatever I see.  But, why am I bringing up the weather?  Yes, it’s cold for me – maybe not for you – but you should revel in the fact that I’m shivering because this means I have no plans to do anything but sit here with my computer reading files.  The house is cozy.  I’ve got a cup of hot tea nearby.  I’m reading files and perfectly happy doing so.   And that’s a good thing – you want me happy as I read!

I can now only wistfully recall the warmth last Christmas when I was in that small town on the Big Island – my ancestral home as one of my colleagues here told me I should say in order to distinguish Waimea from Palo Alto.  He claims he gets confused by my usage of the word “home”.  Do I mean here or there?  So, ancestral home it is.  As you might imagine, it was a bit harder to read files in Hawaii last year.  Family and friends beckoned, Hapuna Beach called out to me, old haunts yearned to be visited, but I still managed to read.  That is, until my sister told me to take a couple of days off.  Her reasoning?  I was home for a visit so what I really needed to do was take a break, rest, relax, etc., etc., etc.

Funny how that message keeps popping up.  Maybe there’s a lesson here for all of us.  Take the time to enjoy the season.  What’s left undone with your application will wait for a couple of days.  What could you do instead?  Go see a movie.  Browse the shelves in your local bookstore and find some books to read.  [My stack includes The Boy in the Moon, The Buddha in the Attic, The Last Werewolf, Cocktail Hour Under the Tree of Forgetfulness and In the Garden of Beasts.] Cook a meal that takes more than 30 minutes to put together.  Bake some cookies and pay a visit to your neighbors with some in hand.  Flip through your old photo albums and reminisce about people far away and moments long gone.  Take a breath and just be.