In the days of auld lang syne

December 30, 2001

Christmas is no longer coming and any geese that were getting fat have probably been slaughtered by now, so we'll dispense with the ho, ho, hoing and mistletoeing and get on with the business of the approaching new year, or maybe more appropriately the waning old year.

Yeeeees! Ben celebrates after unwrapping the Pokémon Crystal game Santa left for him Christmas morning. Photo by Roni.
It has been foggy and rainy these last few days of 2001, which is not un-winterlike for this time of year for us Delta dwellers. We are doing our best to stay warm and dry, using the hours when we don't have to be out or about to play with our Christmas goodies and help Ben with his toys. Santa was good to Ben, who received his coveted Pokemon Crystal Gameboy game that he had been asking for since his birthday. He also scored an electric slot car racing set that has yet to be set up, and a tetherball that must wait for a less-soggy morning before it can be introduced to the back yard, amongst other gifts that included books, CDs, toy cars, books, board games, art supplies and books. The best gift of all, however, has to be the two weeks off of school in which to enjoy the presents.

Roni, meanwhile, has been investigating the DVD player Glenn had waiting for her under the tree Christmas morning. We have now become intimately familiar with all the cutting room floor footage from "Star Wars Episode I," the 3D renderings of dinosaurs appearing in "Jurassic Park III," and the Spanish and French versions of "Shrek." Useful things, to be sure.

Roni's gift to Glenn was a copy of the "2002 Writer's Market," which he will now have to put to use by sticking to his new year's resolution of doing more writing. The story ideas are percolating, thanks in no small measure to November's National Novel Writing Month endeavor. Glenn has said that his muse will strike on or after Jan. 1, so in the meantime he continues to raid the coffers of Usenet, downloading hundreds of MP3s that are, unfortunately, hogging most of the hard drive space on Roni's computer. He has also been reading quite a bit, polishing off four novels and a collection of short stories since early November.

It's all over but the cleanup. Ben is lost amid a sea of gifts and wrapping paper. Photo by Roni.
Our kitties Ariel and Everett have not made any resolutions, apparently, or top on their list would surely be to end the constant battles they have been having since Eevee's arrival at our home in July. Ariel makes no bones about her feelings toward Eevee, greeting his every movement with growls, yowls, hisses, and the occasional whack of her paws. Eevee thinks this is great fun and takes her reaction as a cue to stalk her and pounce on her when she least expects it. When he is not terrorizing Ariel, Eevee finds other ways to get into mischief. He showed no mercy to our plastic Christmas tree, climbing it each morning like a mountaineer scaling Everest. We would awake to discover him parked in the lower branches, knocking glass ornaments to the floor and batting at the other decorations. When he tired of that, he learned how to climb up the kitchen counters and refrigerator to the top of the little wall dividing our kitchen from the living room. One day we will leave him up there and see how much fun he has! At least Ben loves him and has a hard time falling asleep without him at the foot of the bed.

Christmas season is sort of a mixed bag around our home, with Roni very much involved in decorating, baking and taking part in community activities such as the Oakley Chamber of Commerce's annual tree lighting ceremony. Glenn plays along to the extent his night work schedule allows. Although he didn't have Christmas Day off this year, he still managed to get in his ritual baking of the Gehlke Family Christmas bread on the night of the 24th, and was especially pleased that the recipe turned out right for the first time in three years. We also spent a couple of nights driving around Oakley looking at Christmas light displays so Roni could write her annual holiday column for the Brentwood News.

Now this surreal, subdued holiday season is nearly over and we look forward to a more pleasant 2002. Let's face it, 2001 was a bummer for a lot of reasons, not the least of which was the disaster that befell our nation on Sept. 11. We're weary of wars on something as nebulous as terrorism and of a languishing economy that can't seem to find its spark no matter how far the interest rates are slashed. These are tough times, but we have been through tough times before. And the one thing to keep in mind is that things can only get better from here.

Happy New Year, all.

Glenn, Roni and Ben

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