Sunday, December 21, 2008

Early Christmas

It's been a heck of a week. Shannon arrived last Sunday night at 1:00 in the morning thanks to some snow in the Midwest. It was really great to have her. But, she is suffering from a broken heart, so she wasn't exactly in the frame of mind to fully enjoy my obsession with Christmas-music-all-day. She would have been happier suffering to all the other "my-heart-is-broken-you-are-the-only-guy-for-me" pop songs on other radio stations. I made her suffer through.

Her on-again-off-again boyfriend, who swore that that they were going to be married someday come hell or high water in an email to me this past summer, decided that...well, hell or high water wasn't the benchmark any longer. He got a new girl. Shannon's heartbroken, but I gave her the "men are like buses...a new one goes by every 15 minutes" pep talk and while she wasn't exactly perky the whole time she was here, there were moments when she wasn't sobbing that her life was over and she was going to die alone with only cats to keep her company.

In addition to trying to keep the blues at bay for Shannon, it was the boys' last week of school before the break. As those of you with past or present elementary and middle school students you know that this means the requisite chaos and confusion that comes with extra holiday festivities. Secret Santa stuff, presents for teachers and in our case, an all-school ice skating bonanza and the elementary holiday play.

The holiday play was by far the best piece of children's school theater I have had the pleasure of seeing. The actually rent out a full-on theater about 10 minutes drive from the school. This does entail much car-pooling back and forth for rehearsals, but the end result on Thursday evening was an amazing montage of musical-type plays with a Brazilian theme and lots of great music. Henry played his violin, sang many songs and played the role of "Tree Spirit One." The plays had nothing to do with Christmas or any of the holidays, but in the true spirit of the San Francisco school, mainly focused on being kind to each other and saving the forests from destruction. I have ordered the DVD, so perhaps at some point in the future I will load up Henry's big scene.

Shannon left this morning, so we celebrated Christmas for her similar to the "real" Christmas morning before she left. In other words, we roused her happy butt out of bed at close to 8 a.m. and opened presents. We also opened our family Christmas jammies. This year we chose a SF theme - - retro printed T-shirts with a cool rendition of the Golden Gate - - and took the annual family photo. It'll end up looking just like we do every Christmas morning, 'cept it wasn't really Christmas. The boys all have disheveled hair, Shannon uses some piece of Christmas ribbon to tie in her hair and I will appear to have no lips unless I apply some lipstick.

And, why is it that every year it takes an extra 10 minutes to remember how to set the automatic timer on the damn camera? You "know" how to do it, it's on the tip of your memory tongue, there are little icons that should be leading you to the right operation - - and yet. This year however, we did have the cutest little tri-pod to set the camera on, so at least we did not have to attempt to building the "cat-in-the-hat" tower consisting of books, plates and teacups to achieve the proper elevation for the photo. There have been Christmases where we have either had to elevate ourselves or scrunch down to accommodate the camera. Not this year. It just took 10 minutes to figure out the timer and another 20 minutes of running back and forth until we were satisfied that we had a good shot. Dollars to donuts, when I download those suckers there won't be a single one where we are all smiling simultaneously with our eyes open. Yup, a pretty typical Christmas photo.

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