Every year-end, I am faced with the fact that I didn't take all my vacation time. We can roll-over a year's worth and I've pretty much been rolling over the three weeks from my first year at Microsoft where you couldn't tear me away from my desk (no all-nighters though..I have a life outside of work). It usually ends up being about a week's-worth of time that I need to take. I travel a bit during the year so I kind of get the need to see a different city out of my system (let's see, in 2005, it was the bay area again two times, Las Vegas). So I try to take long weekends during November and December to clear out that extra vacation time so I don't lose it. I don't believe in losing vacation time...it's giving away something that belongs to you. Next year I am going to have to figure out how to take an extra week every year too...hmm, might have to get more proactive about planning trips.

Given that I wasn't planning any holiday travel and that it's Tuesday now and I've been away from the office since last Wednesday, I've had a lot of time at  home. I don't have a big family, so aside from the three days of eating and drinking wine (which weren't full days, thankfully), I've had a lot of free time. This much time gives me the opportunity to get my house the way I'd want it if I didn't have to work. I took on some organizing projects like filing all my receipts since 2003 (I know I'm sick...I'm just VERY organized....can't help it). I got the house the kind of clean that only happens a couple times a year. You know, fireplace swept out, cabinets wiped down, backyard free of leaves, vacuumed under stuff, swiffered everything that;s swifferable. I've cooked and baked. I made some jewelry. I watched some bowl games. I've read. I even watched TLC (I know!). The only thing that's a little off this year is the lack of shopping...just not that into it this holiday season, I guess. I generally have a hard time sitting still and just "relaxing" but still couldn't muster the urge to shop.

Anyway, I do all this stuff (that some might consider freakish, I know) and I still have some extra time. I haven't been thinking about work much, but I have to admit that there are some things that are somewhat work related that will be on the agenda in the near future (I'm in the office Wednesday and then out again through the second). These are things that are kind of work-related (because I need the intellectual stimulation) and kind of not work-related. First, blogging kind of falls somewhere in between. It's definitely something I do for work but it's hard for me to think of it as 100% work when I am blogging about myself. Blogging definitely blurs the line of what is work and what is fun...or what is the work persona and what is the private person. I think that's goodness. And it's been a good distraction over the holidays so far.

Second, there's work-related reading. I brought home a bunch of books, most of which were sent to me over the last year, where I promised the author that I would take some time with them and most of the time, it's hard to find the time (get what I'm saying?). Well,  now I have the time. So if you sent me a book or galley this past year (thanks!), it's at my house on my end table. That is for next weekend.

Then, finally, there's the writing that I have promised to do, whether it's an article or a slide deck for a presentation (more on these later...I'll link to stuff I am doing as it's announced). I'm not sure if my method of writing is different than that of others, but mine starts with a brain dump and then moves to note cards (my high school English teacher would be proud). This all happens much better on my couch than it does at my desk where I am distracted by co-workers and e-mail.  

I suppose that I could "work from home" to get some of this done (especially the slides), but my brain feels mushy. Too much television can do that to you. I don't remember what I used to do before blogging and having books sent to me and writing articles. I guess I'd be outside organizing the garage right now if things were different. But I like the idea of conquering these things that have been staring at me (don't tell me that books and e-mails don't stare at you ; )) when I have some quiet time. It makes them feel less like work and makes my time off a little more tolerable.