Friday, December 01, 2006

Odds and Ends

It’s a two birthday party weekend coming up. Such is life for our little socialite. Two weeks ago, it was ice skating. Tomorrow, the theme is The Little Mermaid and Sunday is a ballerina dance party. I don’t remember birthday parties having themes when I was a kid, aside from eating cake and ice cream. Which was fine by me. In addition to these latest soirées, Ally has attended a Dora the Explorer party, a Pawsenclaws build-a-bear party, a gymnastics-themed party and a princess tea party (her own). All in the last year. And now they give out swag, little gift bags of candy, toys, stickers and other trinkets the hostess confers on her guests. Times have changed.

Last week, we had formal pictures taken for the first time as a family. And by “formal”, I mean taken by somebody who knows what they’re doing with a camera. Normally, I don’t like to sit for pictures, especially in a studio setting. Everyone looks nice and all, but it looks so phony. We never look like we do in those pictures, save for the amount of time it takes for the shutter to open and close. But you know what? After seeing the finished product, I have to admit they look pretty good. In fact, we picked one shot that we’re using for our Christmas card.

We do the picture cards for Christmas now. I’ve written the “Christmas letter” a couple of times. It’s hard to do that and not come off sounding like an insufferable boor or an egotist. But at the same time, I like reading other people’s letters. For some reason, they never sound that way to me. A simple recitation of the facts, positive or not, of the past year makes for an adequate epistle. I can’t do that. I agonize and twist myself around the words so much that whatever I write doesn’t sound like me at all. Perhaps that’s because I’m an engineer and not a writer. In fact, it’s taken me seven hours to write this. If people want to read about our life, I’ll direct them here. From now on, our family and friends will have to be content with a picture at Christmas time.

Cold weather’s a comin’. High today: 73. High tomorrow: 52, and descending thereafter. The last vestige of warm weather is being blown out by a massive cold front that’s already wreaked havoc on the Midwest. Already the wind has picked up. We don’t expect any snow, but the cold weather will herald in the holiday season and remind me that there are a dwindling number of shopping days left. I always say I’ll stay away from the brick and mortar stores, but I know there will be at least one thing I can’t, or won’t, get online, at which point strategy is the order of the day to avoid the crowds.

We try not to go overboard with gifts, not wanting to instill in Ally the idea that that’s what Christmas is all about. I’m waiting for the switch to flip in her head that tells her SHE MUST HAVE EVERY BRATZ DOLL AND MY LITTLE PONY NOW!!! Fortunately, that hasn’t happened yet. I’m heartened by the fact that she likes us to read her the nativity story, even when it’s not Christmas time, and we do our best to keep her grounded in that. She knows about Santa but we try not to associate him with gift giving. To her, he’s just a guy in a red suit you have your picture taken with. Any attributes of omniscience are de-emphasized. Besides, Santa’s a works-based legalist.

So, that’s the state of things now. Have a good weekend and stay warm.


Anonymous Robert Bolling said...

"She knows about Santa but we try not to associate him with gift giving. To her, he’s just a guy in a red suit you have your picture taken with."

I couldn't agree more, Ray. Now, if only I could convince Heather to join that way of thinking.

12:31 PM  

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