Saturday, December 23, 2006


Our children by candle light. The eve before Christmas Eve.
We still haven't found our stockings, but we are singing carols,
making plans and loving the season, especially with Geoff home today.

Grandma and all in Pasadena are well and we had a very good time visiting them.

Thank you to everyone that has sent us Christmas greetings. Your cards and pictures are hanging on our wall and it's cheering to see them and to know you were thinking of us. We are thinking of you too.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

¡Mas fotos por favor!

We were at The Wild Animal Park yesterday for our traditional sledding adventure. I think this is our fifth year of bundling up for cold fun and hot chocolate. This year we brought a school friend, Mitchell. Before sledding we saw elephants, dik dik, pudu, meerkats and lions. The lions are amazing; don't hesitate to visit TWAP and Lion Camp if you are in SoCal. After sledding we made the long hike back to the entrance, where we did Christmas crafts and tried a visit with Santa. Maria loves Santa... well, she loves images of Santa, and Santa dolls and the little plastic Santa by our front gate, but she does not love a breathing, speaking, real live Santa. She cried mightily, until we left the Park, when she resumed her happy "Ho Ho Ho Santa!" song.

Don't look for us in the neighborhood today. We are off to see aunt Becky, Grandma, Julie, Dan and Molly. It's rather spontaneous, but long over due.

Happy Winter to all!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Well, if we were sending a greeting card this year, this might be the one! Alex was passing time waiting for his lunch yesterday. I guess he was feeling monstrously hungry.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Monday. I slept past 7 this morning and only panicked for a second, then I remembered that the boys did not have to be up and out the door in 20 minutes. So that makes today the first day of holiday break. I've puttered a bit, showered and dressed. William is showered. Max and Alex unloaded the dishwasher. Maria is eating leftover Chinese food. Geoff is at work. Geoff works every day and late.

I want to make a plan for the week, so that we don't squander our precious time. I want to visit beautiful places and see family. I want to get out of the house and also enjoy time in the house. I want to find a way to soar over the hurdles that seem to appear on a daily basis. Maybe I am the biggest hurdle, because I can't seem to find the faith or assurance I need to overcome the setbacks. I've been sick. The kitchen sink has backed up for the fourth time. My burnt thumb hurts in a nerve damage kind of way. We aren't unpacked. Where are the stockings and those Christmas gifts I bought last September? The new landlord was here when we were out. I can tell because he cut back the blooming roses, again. They are hacked to their bases... it helped to look beyond the murky, thick sink water and see roses in the garden. Yesterday when I was under the sink and learning how to run a snake through the pipes, I wondered what Gary thought of the mess he must have seen looking in the house.

I know that this is the time of year when the worst stress is the stress we bring upon ourselves, so I am cutting back. No Christmas cards from this house. I thought this would give me some relief, but I feel kind of sad about breaking a 26 year tradition. The tree looks shabby, thinly decorated. Where is the other box of ornaments, and the nativity figures? What other stress am I creating? I guess I am one of those closet Martha dreamers, hoping to hang home sewn stockings and serve eggnog to drop by guests, after volunteering at the shelter. Give me any circle of women friends and they will all admit they are climbing up Christmas Mountain pulling a full sleigh, but how many of them are willing to jump on the sleigh and just let it take them on a wild ride?

My expectations are unrealistic, for me. But I still do want to make a plan. I still hope I can get the house clean and send that last package of gifts. I know that if I can keep absolutely everything out of the garbage disposal the sink may not clog again, and if it does clog, I know how to remove three traps and clear crap from all three arteries. I know that no matter how much or how little I do, the days will pass and this school break will come to an end, and I don't want that day to come without some special memories to hold. I remember I said I was going to enjoy the privilege of being very busy... maybe I just need to adjust the weight of the sleigh I am hauling.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Aloha! Big mahalos fo' dis holiday classic from Tutu and Poppa Corn Man!

Da Night Bafo Christmas Lyrics by Kathy Collins

Was da night bafo' Christmas, and all ova' da place,
Not even da geckos was showin' their face.
Da stockings was hangin' on top da TV
('Cause no mo' fireplace in Hawai'i)
Da kids stay all crashed, my old man too.
They leave all da work for you-know-who.
So me, I stay pickin' up alla their toys,
When- boom!-outside get only big noise!
I run to da window, I open 'em up,
I stick out my head and I yell, "Eh! Whassup?!"
And then, I no can ba-lieve what I seen!
Was so unreal, you know what I mean?
This fat haole guy get his reindeers in my yard!
And reindeers not housebroken, you know, as' why hard!
But nemmind, this Christmas, so I cut 'em some slack.
Plus, had uku pile presents pokin' outta his sack!
So I wait 'till he pau tie up his reindeer,
Then I yell out da window, "Huui! Brah, ova hea!"
An' I tell 'em first thing, when I open da door,
"Eh, Hemo your shoes! You going dirty my floor!"
He take off his boots, he tell, "You know who I am?"
I go, "Ho! From the smell, must be Mr. Toe Jam!"
He make mempachi eyes and he go, "Ho, ho, ho!"
By now, I stay thinking this guy kinda slow!
He look like my Tutu, but little less weight,
And his beard stay so white, mo' white than shark bait!
He stay all in red, specially his nose,
And get reindeer spit on top his nice clothes!
But him, he no care; he just smile at me,
And he start fo' put presents unda-neath da tree.
I tell 'em, "Eh, brah, no need make li'dat,
And watch where you step! You going ma-ke da cat!"
Then, out from his bag, he pull one brand new computah,
Choke video games, and one motorized scootah!
He try for fill up da Christmas socks too,
But had so much pukas, all da stuff went fall troo.
When he pau, I tell 'em, "Eh Santa, try wait!
I get plenty leftovahs, I go make you one plate!"
But he nevah like hang, he had so much fo' do;
Gotta make all them small kids' wishes come true.
So I wave 'em goodbye, and I flash 'em da shaka,
And I tell 'em, "Mele Kalikimaka!"
When he hear that, he stop...and I telling you true,
He go, "Garans ball-barans! Merry Christmas to you!"