Now that the holidays are past us, it's time to buckle down for the dark heart of winter.

We haven't really had any significant amounts of snow since we got fifteen inches in early December. Since then we've had freezing rain, some above freezing temps, some well below freezing temps, and most everything in between. All of that has turned the snow pack into a solid, cementitious base that is now slowly being turned yellow by dogs and grey by cars and airborne dirt.

We spent the holidays at home after deciding that none of us would be very happy cooped up in the car for ten hours (each way) visiting our families. Garrison, to say the least, would be extremely unhappy with that much time strapped into his car seat. That turned out to the be right decision as there was plenty of adverse weather all around Madison that made staying home much safer than braving hundreds of miles of frozen interstate highway.

My sister joined us on Christmas day for a casual dinner. Sarah made her (always excellent) eggplant parm, and my sister brought over her (always excellent) pecan pie. I served some homemade pinot noir, and everyone seemed happy with the meal. After dinner we opened gifts and had a couple of Skype video sessions with our respective families.

Our New Years Eve was predictably low key as Garrison was in bed by 20:00 and we were guaranteed an early wake-up call the next morning from our progeny.

The last week of December both Sarah and I had state-mandated furlough days, plus two more days off, so we had a nice break from our respective jobs.

Now that January has started, the Christmas decorations are down and our house is back to some semblance of normal.