So Kate and I returned home to New Hampshire on Saturday afternoon, just in time to have some socializing with Ted and spend some portion of the weekend Out And About. (Saturday night, dinner with John and Mike and Ted, Sunday night dinner at Molly’s, same crew, after seeing Aeon Flux °.)

Last night Kate made one of our favorite standards for dinner, “noodly soup,” which consists of dashi and noodles and bok choi and wakame and whatever the hell else we feel like putting in it. Oh, and rooster sauce . Tonight I made ecologically sound shrimp scampi and salad, with some of our wedding wine, Hirsch Veltliner #1, still trying to keep the kitchen as clean as it was on our return. I give it a week, tops.

Jetlag on the way west really didn’t impair us much. We were a little tired in the evenings, but hey, we’re usually a little tired in the evenings, given our poor sleep habits. We woke up a little early, but that was something of a treat, and let us get the day started early. New Zealand’s only six hours off of US/Eastern, so once we’d made the big flight south, we adjusted pretty quick.

Returning, though, is turning out to be a bit of a struggle. In NZ the sun was going down around 9:10 p.m. – here it’s currently going down at 4:13 in the afternoon, which barely deserves to be called p.m., really. Last night I either woke up at 3-something drenched in sweat or had a very vivid dream about waking up at 3-something drenched in sweat. I’m not sure which would be better, really. Both of our jobs are requiring us to hit the ground running with our laces doubleknotted, and I’ve got some added worries as one of my good friend/coworkers has just given notice, which will leave the team shorthanded, come January.

Additionally, the rental house that my brother and step-brother and I manage back in Madison is requiring a fair amount of blood, sweat, and tears as we finish our relationship with the outgoing, supremely difficult tenant, and begin a relationship with the incoming family. I’d blithely assumed that I’d left things in a good state before leaving for NZ, and that most of the work would be complete by the time I got back, but no such luck. Bummer, but this is what comes with being a landlord and having someone else pay the mortgage, I guess.

Tomorrow I’ll head down to Boston, by way of an impromptu lunchtime mini-wake for my grandfather’s wife, Enid, who died over the weekend. She’d had difficulties moving around for as long as I’d known her, but she beamed at visitors while offering tea, always asked about how they were and what they were doing, laughed and tut-tutted and still had a very faint hint of the Scots accent she was born with. She played a wonderful counterpoint to my grandfather’s gruff reserve, and she’ll be missed.

This weekend I’ll get out our advent calendar and get us caught up on it, run down to the Nodas’ for a tree, start making cookies, and try to fan the faint ember of Christmas inside me which the shopping mall carols and window appliques have left cool, still.

° Aeon Flux

 A pleasant surprise.  Big Dumb Fun, to be sure, but the visuals were great, Charlize Theron looks better than ever, and the movie made the faintest modicum of sense, which was a heck of a lot more than I was expecting.  The $4 ticket was worth it, even in the crappy Lebanon movie theater.

Update: Kate paid for my ticket and has just informed me that it was actually $8 per ticket, not $4. Oops.