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December 30, 2007

Sometimes Caitlyn likes to read (she turns the pages and makes up a story which may or may not have anything to do with the pictures she's looking at) to me at bedtime, instead of the other way around. Last night, it was The Legend of Lao Tzu and the Tao Te Ching, complete with special appearances by Pooh, Cinderella, Christopher Robin, and several cats. Tonight, she opted just to sing along with her lullaby:
"Rock-a-bye-baby cradle of leaves
Sing me lullaby of dweams
Tuck clouds under my chin
Blow that moon out - pfoo - please."
She's not in tune or on rythmn, but she is singing.

After the craziness of Solstice and Christmas, things have settled down around here. Naps are back, bedtimes are (mostly) reasonable, meals consist of more than dessert. And many of Caitlyn's animals are sad.

"Ollie is wrapped in his blanket; he's sad."

"Why is Ollie sad?"

"From all the people at Christmas."

"Oh. Were there too many people here at Christmas time for Ollie?"

"Yes. He's sad."

"I'm sorry you're sad, Ollie. All the people are gone now."

"But he's sad. He misses the people."

I'm roughly translating this as "Ollie (and therefore Caitlyn) thought Christmas was crazy and overwhelming, but it was fun and he (she) misses it now that things are normal and routine again." In other words, I think our Christmas Season has been a success.

December 29, 2007

We hosted the Christmas festivities this year, something we've never done before. Here's what I learned:
  • three pies is excessive for eight people
  • calculate serving portions based on the weight of the chicken breasts, not on the number of chicken breasts
  • if serving a large breakfast to the assembled masses, reduce the scale of dinner - don't overstuff everyone twice
  • hot spiced cider may have been more popular than wine at 4pm
  • when menu planning, figure out not only how much of what ingredients to have, but also plan baking times so that you don't end up with a completed side dish that sits on the stove ignored for hours while the main dish cooks
  • remember that you only have one oven
  • it might be a bit much to expect complete attendance for a Christmas Eve event, a Christmas Morning event and a Christmas Dinner event
  • a primary reason everyone wants to attend all the events, regardless of the wisdom of that choice, is to watch the two-and-one-half-year-old experience the first Christmas she's old enough to get that something special is happening - everyone probably would have been happy with less food and more time with Caitlyn opening presents
  • minimize leftovers, especially if I'm the one who's supposed to finish off three whole chicken breasts
Happy New Year!

December 18, 2007

From Papua New Guinea to the United States at the climate talks in Bali:
"We ask for your leadership. We seek your leadership. But if for some reason you're not willing to lead. Leave it to the rest of us. Please get out of the way."
No kidding. Apparently the whole world wants to go one way and the US has to plunk itself down in the middle of the road and say no. Fortunately, there was a sufficient quantity of booing and hissing to get the US delegate to back down and for there to actually be an agreement on doing something about climate change, but, OMG, that it's come to this. Our government's policies make this country look more and more like a schoolyard bully.

And the sad thing is that it doesn't have to be this way. Despite all the posturing to the contrary, the only reason we look the way we do on to the rest of the world is because the executive branch is power-grabbing and the other branches are letting it get away with it. Hey, Congress, Do Your Job Already. Say no. Actually investigate. Deny funds. Enforce accountability. Impeach. This is America. We're supposed to be a democracy, not a monarchy or an oligarchy, no matter how much Bush and Cheney and Rove might wish otherwise.

I'm watching the primaries and counting down to the election, hoping, hoping, hoping, that this we'll get clear, incontestable results that puts a level-headed, open-minded, living-in-a-global-society-in-the-twenty-first-century person in the executive office. I'm hoping that whoever gets there can make swift, real progress at balancing this country. But we don't have to wait for that. There are two other branches of our government who can act now to put the brakes on our current slide away from democracy. If only they'd do their jobs.

December 05, 2007

While waiting for a light to change, I noticed an Allstate Insurance billboard. Over a (rather weathered) picture of highway traffic, in large, un-missable letters: "MISTEAKS HAPPEN." I spent the entire cycle of the light wondering if I was misremembering how to spell or if the designer of the billboard was being "subtly clever".

Not to go on some long rant about the collapse of decent society as we know it or anything, but does anyone else want to carry around a large red pen and fix all the various linguistic mistakes out there? Does no one know how to use a comma correctly anymore? Or know when a statement is really a question and thus merits a question mark? Somehow I can forgive all sorts of grammatical gaffes in correspondence or even in (most) books but signage is another matter altogether.

Compulsive proof-readers unite!