Holiday Salutations

12 Dec. 2010, 5:44pm CMTBGKY

Dear Fam­i­ly:

Mer­ry Christ­mas and Hap­py Hol­i­days ! (i hope)

Because we must all pull togeth­er in our Nation’s time of ‘Aus­ter­i­ty’ and yet not appear par­si­mo­nious, I was going to scribe each one of you a hand-writ­ten note, address­ing your indi­vid­ual con­cerns and wish­es. But this requires time for reflec­tion which has not been avail­able to me for some time now, so once again I’ll let loose a blog update in hopes it will make up for the old ink&vellum let­ters I used to send to you deserv­ing few.

Here are the updates: 1.Maconnell is still refus­ing to loosen his reign of intran­si­gence. 2.Scarlett is tran­si­tion­ing from Princess to Bal­le­ri­na Primero. 3.Jackson is suc­cess­ful­ly nego­ti­at­ing la détente with his sib­lings. 4.You shall be receiv­ing a con­ven­tion­al daguer­réo­type of our kids to be con­veyed by your inde­fati­ga­ble US Pot­sage person.

So once again, I apol­o­gize but recent attempts to write/​send Hol­i­day cards have all failed, e.g, the kids get very inter­est­ed in doing exact­ly what Dad­dy is doing, and soon may­hem and anar­chy ensue and the kids have not only writ­ten in per­ma­nent mark­er all over the desk, but the sta­tion­ary is shred­ded and scat­tered every­where like so many snowflakes drift­ing down­ward.1

  1. 6:43PM As I fin­ish edit­ing this, there are a whole lot of snowflakes com­ing down out­side our and prob­a­bly your win­dow too. []

The Christmas Letter

The First Annu­al1 Christ­mas let­ter. I assume we are all Chris­tians here, if not Catholics, but I just don’t want to miss say­ing to “hap­py Kwan­zaa, Hanukkah, Hap­py ‘Īd ul-’Aḍḥā’.”


The dogs Nigel, Kar­ma and Bel­la2 and the cat Mag­gie have final­ly got­ten used to Macon­nell but are still wary of Scar­lett, espe­cial­ly when she grabs their noses, which tends to hap­pen a lot when she is in her high­chair eat­ing and the dogs will come by, sniff­ing to see what she has dropped, or as more often is the case, what she is hold­ing out to the dogs so that they come close enough for her to grab onto their noses. Because we know this and we know the dogs know this, we have to shoo the dogs out of the liv­ing room so that Scar­lett can focus and eat her food.


Scarlett—as you are all have noticed by now—eats. She is in con­stant food retrieval and dis­pos­al mode, and if you refuse her food, she will let you have with some seri­ous pierc­ing screams of annoy­ance: Do. Not. Mess. With. Her. Food. I think she needs all this food to just keep up with her con­stant squirm­ing. I have spent sev­er­al days just doc­u­ment­ing the fact that she does not stop moving—ever.
As for her abil­i­ty to walk, we were off on that one. We thought sure­ly by Thanks­giv­ing she would be tak­ing a few inde­pen­dent steps3 but for now4 she just hangs on the fur­ni­ture and kind of falls for­ward, not resem­bling walk­ing so much but evok­ing ten­ta­tive zom­bie stag­ger steps. Crawl­ing as you know, she has down; she’s fast and con­stant­ly under­foot. I final­ly under­stand why Jenn wants Scar­lett to start wak­ing: It will slow her down. As for cog­ni­tive devel­op­ment, Scar­lett under­stands that mean­ing of “No.” Of course, she also under­stands that she is too young to under­stand this con­cept, and so will hes­i­tate for about a sec­ond after she is told “No,” before she quick­ly plops anoth­er found object into her mouth.


Macon­nell has also improved his loco­mo­tive abil­i­ties. He is start­ing to build up speed to where he is almost run­ning, he isn’t quite lift­ing his knees high enough, but his legs are start­ing to glide a bit bet­ter and his feet are start­ing to bounce more and his tran­si­tion from step to step is quick­er and on occa­sion he seems to be almost running—i need to find the right words—but as he picks up speed he seems to teeter more and more but no longer falls head long for­ward and bites it, like he use to. He also almost knows the fun­da­men­tal issues involved in oper­at­ing a truck: He knows where the keys go and to turn them, he under­stands he needs to down­shift into dri­ve, he under­stands the wheel turns the truck left and right. I have per­son­al­ly seen him demand the keys and head off to the truck ready to go bog­gin.5 Note I have notes about him that I am still work­ing on and intend to put up soon.

Other News

What else, while we did not remod­el the house on the lev­el of my dad, we paint­ed the house a wasabi green. We also paint­ed the chim­ney red, but from across the street it looked like a blood­ied shiv stick­ing out of the roof, so we had to go back and paint it black. We also ripped out sev­er­al trees and weeds in the front yard, and now have a per­fect view of our neigh­bor’s dilap­i­dat­ed hov­el which was quite excit­ing to real­ize after all that hard work and mon­ey was spent.

Death of a Truck.

I got a new truck, no name for it yet though. Sev­er­al months ago, my beloved Ford F‑100 Ranger “Boce­phus” was rear-end­ed and so after much thought, we trad­ed in my WRX Sub­aru and got a bright blue Toy­ota Taco­ma. I sup­pose it’s exact­ly what I’ve want­ed and, if need be, can cross the coastal range in four-wheel dri­ve via the log­ging roads, the kids in the back of the super-crew cab and the dogs safe in the truck bed, cov­ered and pro­tect­ed by a canopy.6 How­ev­er use­ful the truck will turn out to be, it can­not com­pare to Mr.Whitman’s Mini-Coop­er which just brings out all sorts of envy in me.

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  1. this is not actu­al­ly true since this is the first let­ter, but I hope to make it an annu­al event []
  2. named after Flav­ius Belis­ar­ius [505? – 565] is often described as one of the great­est gen­er­als of the Byzan­tine Empire; he helped Emper­or Jus­tin­ian recon­quer much of the West­ern Roman Empire []
  3. This morn­ing dec 11, 2008 she man­aged I think to take one step but quick­ly sat down. Dec 14th at 4pm, she took 3 suc­ces­sive steps before tak­ing anoth­er nose­dive. Dec 15th, at 6:30pm she took two steps before face­plant­i­ng. Each crash quick­ly fol­lowed by peels of frus­tra­tions that just have to be heard to be believed: This is a lit­tle seri­ous girl who is going to get her way. []
  4. Now being when I start­ed writ­ing this on Dec 7th. []
  5. This four-wheel­ing in mud pits for you Mid-West­ern­ers. Think of an out­door Mon­ster Truck Ral­ly track about 15 min­utes from our house out in War­ren­ton. []
  6. Again high­ly use­ful if dri­ving through zom­bie infest­ed woods. []