Well folks, my family and I will be taking some days for the holiday season. As a very small parting gift, I would like to leave readers with a few things:
The legalistic holiday greeting. This is what your lawyer friends might send. It comes from the Super's Blog:
From Your Lawyer Friends:
"Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, our best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2006, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. And without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishee. By accepting these greetings you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for herself or himself or others, and is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher."
Otherwise, however you choose to celebrate the season, be it religious or secular, may you have a wonderful time with loved ones, some great moments to relax, gather your thoughts and reload the batteries, and may you celebrate in peace and safety.
Tomorrow evening, my wife and daughter will be baking cookies, and we will finish decorating the tree. Yes, you read that right, we are not quite done decorating the tree. Actually, we did not quite realize what happens when you have two kittens that have never been around a Christmas tree before. Last year, sans cats, we put the tree up pretty early in the month. This time, we took a cautious route, and we put the tree up first without any decorations, just to let the cats, Autumn and Isis, get used to it. Oh, they are used to it alright. They run around it, chase each other, hide under it, knock it over, and now and then take nips at the branches. We just pick up the tree and try again. Tomorrow evening we are decorating it. We always bake a batch of cookies because you have to leave cookies out for Santa. We already bought the Coke because Santa prefers a cold non-alcoholic beverage (he is driving after all) other than milk. We just figure we give the nice man a break at our apartment. The tradition is we leave one of those small holiday bottles Coke puts out around this time with some homemade cookies. The reindeer also get some carrots.
On Christmas Eve, we will be tracking Santa thanks to NORAD. Yes, the North American Aerospace Defense Command, that NORAD. Every year they set up a Santa Tracker to track the fastest object in the sky. The site is accessible in 6 languages, including English, and the Santa Tracker has been on the Internet since 1998. If readers go to the English section under downloads, they can download their really cool promotional video. There is a 30 second, and a 60 second version. I like the 60 second one best. The site also explains how they exactly track Santa throughout the evening from using satellites to scrambling an escort of jet fighters once Santa hits North American airspace. You can also read about the Santa Cam. The site also features other games and features that children of all ages will enjoy. Our daughter is always thrilled and checking every hour to see where Santa has moved.
On Christmas Day, after presents, we'll head up to Fort Worth to see family. That is when we will be offline for a few days. This will be my brother's first Christmas at his family's new house, so I am sure we will have a very nice celebration. We are also hoping to go see an exhibit at the Latino Cultural Center in Dallas: "Santos de Palo from Puerto Rico." It is an exhibit of the wood carved saints from Puerto Rico now visiting the city. Find some small details here. Another page, this one from Valparaiso University's Brauer Museum of Art has a quick description of the art form here. Growing up in Puerto Rico, we actually knew some of the artisans known as santeros and attended their encuentros ("encounters," arts festivals). Maybe someday I will write a short essay on those experiences. In the meantime, the opportunity to see a collection of these works is one we can hardly pass up. If we make it, I will let readers know.
Finally, for readers who enjoy facts, the Census Bureau does have a press release with various facts about the holiday season here. For example, did you know that 20 billion is the number of letters, packages and cards delivered by the United States Postal Service between Thanksgiving and Christmas. We did manage to send out our Christmas cards nice and early this year.
So, for our Spanish speaking friends, "Feliz Navidad."
For others, "Merry Christmas, Happy Hannukah, Happy Kwanzaa, and Happy Holidays (in case I missed anyone)."
Hope to see everyone again next year.
On a final note, we are about to close the library. My campus will be closed starting tomorrow and all of next week. As we are about to close, a mom with her children who was using one of our computers comes to the desk and asks me if we are about to close. When I say yes, in about ten minutes, the toddler starts crying. I guess that's not the answer he wanted to hear.