Friday, December 20, 2002

It must be Christmas, because I just ate a tamale and because I opened another little package. Both gifts were full of delicious treats. My mother's tamale was full of pearls and gems. She made earrings and necklaces for me and Grandmother. Oops...was I really expected to wait 'til Christmas Day? My bad. Grandma made me do it! The other tamale came with Aunt Becky and Uncle Dan, and on a plate with frijoles it was a jewel to behold, but even better to eat.

Tonight we'll have a little more of our early Christmas; enjoying Becky and Dan's company and celebrating with Grandma and Grandpa before we travel again. We'll be with Holly, Rich and Nicholas Christmas Eve, and then with Tutu and Grandpa Corm for Christmas dinner. With a family as big as ours "Home for the Holidays" can be a very broad and wide spread proposition! Halloween in Wisconsin. Thanksgiving in Oregon. And Mele Kalikimaka in Kona. And looking ahead... on Mother's Day we will see our family really grow, when Bill and Alison are married.

Another greeting card came today, and a big package too. I'm done shopping, honest. Max is desperate for "just one present I can open right now, please?" I even got around to hanging some lights on the front porch. It's not perfect; the boys are still sick, and the house is messy. No matter. We still have tamales.

Thursday, December 19, 2002


Two more Christmas cards came in yesterday's mail. I love real mail. And the greetings delivered at this time of year make me happy. Alex and Max frequently run down the driveway to check for mail. They enjoy sorting the letters and junk and then making personal drop-offs to Grandma, Grandpa, Mom and Dad. We have been taping cards, letters and pictures in the hall. We are starting to see a very nice accumulation.

The cards that include a photograph I rate the highest, and personal letters or messages are also most welcome. Grandma Nancy sent us the kind of charming card I mentioned before; it has rabbits, mice and chipmunks and they are gathering festively in their lovely home. Last year we saw lots of children posed with their pets. This year a definite Island theme has emerged. We have Tutu and Corm's greeting with an Island home at Christmas, and next to that are photographs of two different families in leis. Even Nicholas looks ready for a Mele Kalikimaka in his Aloha shirt and shorts. Two of the cards are from artists; a print from a water color painting by Julie, and Holly made angels beneath a shining star. All the cards are beautiful, thoughtful gifts.

I cannot reproach anyone for not sending us cards, because I am way behind schedule myself. The boys are like my own local elves, and I've put them to work drawing pictures for our family greeting. But now it's my turn to get busy and finish sealing and delivering. Grandmother is behind too, so I am in good company. I found a box for her; cards with angels gathering in a celestial circle. It's never too late to send wishes for Peace on Earth, and A Happy New Year.

After Christmas I'll gather them and delight in the friendships and family we enjoy. I will be glad that they thought of us and found time to share their holidays with us. And on another day, sometime in January, I will arrange greetings and pictures, cut out phrases and paste mementoes and set them all in our Christmas album. Essentially, Christmas memories are at the core of enjoying this season. I wish all of you Very Merry Memories!

Tuesday, December 17, 2002

Family Ties: The New Millennium

Last Friday there were enough seasonal stresses around here to inspire a poem. Now things are the stuff of a first season sit-com; not funny and too full of gags.

Opening scene:
Max on sofa with high fever, vomits carrot juice all over living room. Gus, the pretty little canary, dies. Max throws up again, in last clean corner of living room. Later that night, all the smoke alarms in the house go off for a full 15 minutes, as smoke from the fireplace seeps into the bedroom. Geoff shovels burning log in to laundry room trash can. Long awaited storm brings rain and mud. William rides his bicycle down wet, muddy, slippery pasture hill. Brakes fail, but fence stops him from landing in neighbor's storm ditch. Damages: 1 scraped knuckle, 1 chipped tooth and 1 dental bill. Max's fever has abated, but his mood is dark and foul. Alex is still coughing. Diego has been scratching the packages under the tree. And despite my dearest intentions, I have managed to gain 4 pounds, rather than lose. I must be retaining phlegm.

We only need a theme song.

Sunday, December 15, 2002

"Why I Married Sponge Blog"

Have I formally introduced my husband? He is the genius inside the sponge, my life and delight. He couldn't bear the technological void in my Chicken Blog, and so he pushed some buttons (technical stuff) and: Ta Da! Chicken Blog is a bigger, better and illustrated site. And, I might add, what a superb "sparingly sprinkled" choice he made for the first published image.

Well, a picture may be worth many words, but I will add just a few more: This is Geoff, with Max, in Wisconsin, on Halloween. Needless to say, we did eventually make it out of Custer State Park.
Geoff testing image post:

Blog Envy

Oh woe. Woke up this morning and did a little surfing of the www. There are a lot of Blogs out there. Many of them are too obscure or coded to be of interest to a passer-by and of course there are those that address subjects that don't hold my interest, but there are a good many that very much grab my attention. My attraction to these other sites is a reflection of common interests. Is that shallow?: Liking something because it reminds me of Me and My Universe? The second reason I like them is due to their really, really cool graphics, illustrations and photographs. A picture is worth a thousand words, and mugs and t-shirts add a certain 21st century legitimacy to the content.

And speaking of pictures, is anyone discussing the brave new world and cultural phenomenon of observing, almost anonymously, other people's lives, pets and Christmas trees, by way of the internet? It is a subject that tickles my brain. Am I eavesdropping, when I read anecdotes about other people's vacations, classes, jobs, divorces and bunny cakes? Are there really so many of us anxious to be recognized and observed, willing to risk our "deep thoughts" and baby pictures, to an unknown world? I wonder how many Blogs are sincerely meant to be an interaction between a circle of friends, and how many of them are a means to be heard on this crowded planet and perhaps esteemed by many. Fascinating.

All that aside, I would love to post chicken pictures, and even one of me standing knee deep (okay, ankle deep) in Custer snow. And also make lists of all my favorite things and preferences, links to people whose coolness will reflect favorably on me. Even the big news magazines show off their skill at publishing the trivial, or reducing information to a caption, cute graph or thumbs up. After all, who really has time to read an entire article, when one can glean fathoms from the ascending or descending arrow of Time's Conventional Wisdom chart?

Maybe words are enough. Maybe I should simply continue looking for the words that illustrate my world, phrases that capture emotions and sentiments. It isn't always easy knowing how to share a scene or depict an event. I have no editors and my grammar could really use some polish. If I threw in some pictures of our sunrise view, the cats sleeping on the presents under the tree or of me doing something skillful, it might just distract visitors from my spelling errors and switching tenses. There may be a balance to achieve; thoughtful descriptions and remarks, sparingly sprinkled with choice photographs or visual aids. Show of hands: who wants to see Luna eat a snail?