If you do what you have always done, you will get what you have always had.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

"White" Christmas

Lest anyone should think that everyone in North America had a white Christmas, allow me to present Exhibit 1:

That's the snowiest part of my front yard. I had to be sure to get a picture before the sun shifts. One sunbeam and it'll all be over. I'm fighting bitterness. How am I supposed to teach my kid to drive in snow when this is all we get? The weather system that dropped snow on so many of you dumped an additional 2" of rain on us Christmas Eve.

Other than being left out in the snow department, we did have a good Christmas here. We decided to try a minimalist approach this year. Everyone got the same Christmas budget from which we bought a few gifts. I had seven under the tree, most of them from my Mom, who is not a minimalist. The remainder of the budget was given in cash to be used on the after-Christmas discounts. I wasn't sure it would go over, but everyone agreed it was worth a try, and it worked wonderfully. No one was overwhelmed with stuff, it was all easy to put away, and now we can go buy what we wanted but didn't get for less than it would have cost a couple of days ago. It was almost as nice as the first Christmas we paid cash for everything. It was such a pleasure to sit back and watch the kids play with their new toys, knowing that there would be no credit card bills coming in the mail. (BTW, that's easier than you think. We did it when our income was at an all-time low. Pre-planning and lay-away--those were my secrets to success.)

As the years pass and time goes faster, I find I don't enjoy Christmas quite as much as I used to. It sneaks up on me and I don't anticipate it like when I was a kid. My kids are older, too, so Christmas morning is a lot more laid-back. I don't set my alarm to get up fifteen minutes before the kids are allowed out of their rooms so I can get my first hit of caffeine in peace. It's a different dynamic altogether but I can't complain. It's part of life. As long as I'm breathing, it's a good Christmas. Not white, but good.


Thursday, December 24, 2009


We don't go to movies very often, but work schedules and other obligations aligned yesterday, opening up a block of time that allowed us to go see "Avatar."

I've seen some hype in the press; the most notable thing was that while visually stunning, it was thin on plot and the characters were less than believable. I read another review that all but accused James Cameron of being a tree-hugging population control proponent. I can see how, through the lens of the current political climate, someone could have made that inference, but that's not what stood out for me. Yes, it was visually stunning, but either the characters and plot were solid and entertaining, or I'm far more simple-minded than I've given myself credit for. While the plot itself isn't particularly new or fresh, the details come directly from U.S. History. I won't tell you which part; that would spoil the fun.

One spoiler-free aside: We were surprised and delighted to see a principal role filled by Joel Moore, who plays Mr. (Colin*) Fisher, (aka the depressed intern) in "Bones." We giggled when Eric pointed out that in a recent episode of "Bones," Fisher won tickets to the premier of "Avatar".

I can't speak to the effects in 3-D, although a friend who saw it said she tried to brush ash from a fire off her nose. It is long--nearly three hours--so hit the restroom before the movie, and go easy on the soda. You won't want to have to get up.

*No, I didn't know the character's first name. I don't know if I've ever heard it, since everyone calls him Fisher or Mr. Fisher. I'm sure it must have been mentioned when the character was first introduced, but I've slept since that episode. I found it when I looked up his IMDb page.


Monday, December 21, 2009

Mental dump

I haven't posted for a while because, frankly, there hasn't been anything constructive, entertaining, or enlightening to say. It's been a busy couple of weeks. Between extra work hours, fetching Alex home from school, and a quick family visit I haven't had time to write or research. To be blunt, I've barely been keeping my head above water. The cold I'm fighting isn't helping my attitude. I have things to do but no energy to do them, and I'm too stubborn to give up and go to bed. I was going to enjoy this Christmas season, but so far it's just been Christmas as usual--work, shop, fight crowds and traffic, and try not to get sick. Yesterday my family did the Advent Candle at church, and all the way through I wondered how we'd gotten to the last Sunday in Advent already. I know--I'm starting to sound like a broken record.

Maybe I'd better just log off the 'net for the day and try to keep human contact to a minimum. Maybe if I sit in the hot tub later I can trick my body into thinking I have a fever and get it to kill this virus faster, which, I think will do more for my attitude than anything. It sure won't hurt my voice, now that we're three days from Christmas Eve.

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