Saturday, December 20, 2003

From NPR; MSNBC - 'Tis the Season to be ... Grating. What holiday ditty do you find most irritating?
Poor neglected Chicken Blog. Even the most recent entry was borrowed from Joe. Perhaps it's a sign that the boys and I have been ultra busy, preparing for Christmas, mastering reading, writing, and 'rithmetic , and successfully fending off the evil flu. We do have colds in varying stages of development, and I think this is due to the Cedar Fire's ash that gets kicked in to the air.

Let us begin with the Chicas: Yes, I do keep in touch with them, and they are well. Their new family informs me that the Hens finally went through their first major molt, and it's ironic that they waited until the first week that they were no longer my Chicas. It must have been a little shocking to be suddenly stuck with 3 balding birds that won't lay eggs. Fortunately, Donna fancies them very much, so the Chicas are well cared for and admired.

Last week I took William, Alex and Max back to the old neighborhood, and we stopped by The Wild Animal Park for some outdoor recreation. They have a fun nighttime program during Christmas break (remember when it was always called "Christmas break?") The highlights of this visit included seeing the many lights, the baby deer in the nursery, the wild deer that enter the park and free load, and the big hill of snow they make for brave children to sled down. The "big" of the hill reflects the fun the children have, more than the actual square footage of the area.

No one was particularly well prepared for what eventually becomes a very cold and wet experience. We did have hats, coats and gloves, which was better than some. We should have had snow pants and snow boots. As the snow is mostly like snow-cone ice, it's pretty rough on bare hands, but awesome for reckless down hilling speeds, and spinning action. William made two rides, and then took himself on a nature walk to see the mule deer and rhinoceros. Max and Alex made more trips down and up the hill than I can count. They loved it. Big love, with grins and sparkling eyes. Alex made a few backwards trips, which only added to his exhilaration. He was undetered by anything. Max had his own, well groomed lane, which was so fast he could barely be stopped at the bottom. They were wet in the seats, and Max stopped three times to dump chipped ice from his uninsulated rubber boots. These same boots sloshed with melted snow by the time they called it quits. At least the car was packed with warm, dry clothes and a few blankets.

We have done many of the activities you'd expect to do before Christmas, except for sending cards. The boys would remind me that we have not decorated cookies; there's time. The tree is decorated, thanks to Alex and Max. Shopping is complete, but I need to wrap. Our nativity is sitting in a place of honor where it inspires peaceful reflection and thankfulness.

The night before Holly, Rich and Nicholas flew to Hawaii, we went to their home and exchanged gifts, gave hugs, laughed aloud, and played together. Kristin was there too, which always ensures that there are plenty of opportunities for out-loud laughter. Not a thing went *awry!* (...shameless inside joke.) We had a very good time, and came home with fun, generous gifts. Now Nicholas is with his Tutu and Grampa Corm, and enjoying the warm Kona days.

Our stockings are tied
to our bedposts with care.
There's hope in our hearts
and a chill in the air.

We'll soon load our sleigh
and head Santa Cruz way.
We want to be with Family
on Christmas day.

May your days be bright.
May your nights be calm.
May Santa bring you airline tickets to
an Island with a tropical balm.