It's that time of year! As with everyone else, there have been celebrations all around. For me: holiday pot lucks with various friends, a fun late-night Chinese dinner with the man, and a family visit in Florence. It was our first Christmas without my grandfather. He passed away earlier this month. Although it was clearly his time, he went in his sleep just two weeks shy of his 91st birthday, there was a hole where his commanding presence was once expected. I'm happy because there was nothing over the top. We came together as family, grounded and laid-back with smiles on our faces despite the loss. After all, the simple things - friends, family, and love (with a little food and booze thrown in) - is what the holidays should be about. Now to head home and celebrate with my parents in a couple weeks. Fingers crossed for a smooth trip.