Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas 2008 

Christmastime around here is always a little hectic. �Academia impinges for those of us on the semester system, with finals coming the week before; my grades are due Friday, but thankfully I got through grading Tuesday afternoon. �That meant Christmas Eve shopping, which found me out by the mall at 9am wondering if I had outsmarted the crowds or if the last day of holiday shopping would disappoint the shopkeepers.

Janet mentioned the snow and cold; it was -4 when we got back to the car after church last night. �Another bit of hecticness -- Mrs. S is not a regular pianist anywhere, so she was at a different church playing on Christmas Eve. �(She could have worked tomorrow morning too, but begged off.) �So Littlest and I sat among friends and some folks we don't often see, some with small kids. �You feel bad for them because they are sure their kids are ruining it for the rest of us. �Our pastor has small kids, so he seems not to mind the noise. �The one who had, um, 'diaper issues' might have put a small dent in the festivities, but it's a joyous time, and the candlelight during Silent Night is as much a highlight as dinner or gifts. �Indeed, the only thing I missed was finding time to sing The Messiah with a chorus this year. �(If you know of one next year with room for a baritone who can bat from either side of the four-part register, drop a line.) �

Our day today is simple -- we take a Jewish friend to breakfast (it's a tradition; we pray for a year a Chinese restaurant here has Christmas dim sum), then presents are opened, phone calls, and finally dinner with Mrs. S's family. �#1 is now engaged and already lost to his fiancee's family, alas, so that dinner happened earlier this week.

Posting from me will be kind of light next week. �I'll be in tomorrow as we release the new Quarterly Business Report. I fear we're going to harsh your post-Christmas buzz. �If you're up early doing the bargain-hunting here in St. Cloud, please tune in to KNSI 6-8am as I give Don Lyons a little time off. �Then I'm meeting up with my siblings and parents this weekend; the first week of January is, as always, the American Economic Association meetings. �(Yes, recruiting again, amazingly.) I'll be for the most part on the road the next ten days, with a luggage change in the middle on New Year's Eve (and another stint on Don's show.) �I'll check in as time and internet connections permit. �

Meanwhile, from Littlest (now a budding 5'6" hoopster in high school), Mrs. S from whatever church or chorale she's playing for -- I've no idea how she keeps it straight -- and our three pets -- Buttercup the dog, Pepper and our newest, Sparkler -- a Merry Christmas to you and your family. �We hope your candles are lit by the spirit of the season.

We'll let the pets do a star turn.

L to R: �Pepper, Sparkler, and Buttercup.
And here they are with us:

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