Monday, December 13, 2021

News and Updates

1. My last class is over now, and all that is left is the final exam and the last discussion assignment to grade. It’s been a long semester after a long spring at the tail end of two years of the world on fire (sometimes literally) and I’m really ready for an extended period of doing nothing. This will not happen, of course, but I’m ready for it anyway.

2. I am not in any way ready for Christmas, though. I have no holiday spirit whatever this year – even less than usual – and I’m not sure where I will get the energy to find some. I haven’t had the energy to read books, let alone hang lights or decorate the house. But it seems a shame to let the holiday pass by unmarked, so perhaps I will take a page from all those twelve-step programs and just try to “fake it ‘til you make it.” Ho, ho, ho.

3. We tried to get a tree yesterday, which was apparently about three weeks too late for that. Did you know there’s a Christmas tree shortage now? Yes! Most of the commercial trees are grown in Oregon, I am told, and last summer Oregon burned down. The “cut your own” place here in town was closed, and the “pre-cut” lot that pops up in the remains of the abandoned factory every year had a choice of two varieties of tree: round and three feet tall, or six feet tall and fifteen inches around. We have too many ornaments for that. Fortunately we do have the fake tree that we got a few years back, so perhaps I’ll set that up soon.

4. Needless to say, Christmas cards will be going out late. Hey – one year we didn’t get that sorted until St. Patrick’s Day, so I’m not too worried.

5. I actually went to the holiday concert down at Home Campus last week, since some of my students were in it. It felt very strange to be at a concert again. The last time I did that was about two weeks before the world caught fire in 2020. Everyone was masked and the concert was rather short in order to keep people moving along, but it was nice to do something relatively normal after two years of anything but.

6. I have decided that I need to explore Italian wines, because why not. They’re tasty and fairly inexpensive (at least the ones I am likely to try), and so far I haven’t found one that I didn’t like. Some are better than others and I admit I am partial to strong red wines rather than anything white or delicate. But I’m good with them all.

7. Have you been following the news? I have. Perhaps this is why I have decided to increase my wine consumption.

8. The more we find out about Trump’s attempted coup back in January (a charge I do not make lightly) the more I wonder why he and half of his administration are still breathing free air. All I want for the holidays is to see those treasonous insurrectionists punished appropriately for their crimes against the United States of America. All of them. Right up to the top.

9. They switched over the email system at the Mother Ship Campus a couple of weeks ago and it turned out that only random parts of it have been working since then. Part of me finds this aggravating and part of me finds it bitterly funny and on the whole I have to say that the combination isn’t as contradictory as you might think.

10. My brother and I are working on getting my mom’s estate settled and he’s handling most of the financial stuff, which is good because every time I look at my part of that task my eyes glaze over and I feel a deep need to do anything else, up to and including dentistry. When I die I am just going to leave my heirs coffee cans full of loose change so they can spend it on Italian wines without having to do any paperwork.


Julie Morris said...

I was going to go to that concert, since I use to play with them…but I finished off the wine and decided I better not drive�� And no it wasn’t a good Italian wine.

LucyInDisguise said...

2, Anyone who claims to be “ready for christmass” is lying. I can actually prove the truth of that statement.

3. We gave up on the whole dead tree thing back in 2002 - the year that the tree was such a fire hazard that we took it down 4 days before christmass and bought a small artificial tree to finish the holiday that year. We have since upgraded to an artificial tree that takes up about half the living room just like the dead trees we used to buy. It was a tad pricey until I realized that I spent more than that on dead trees in any given four-year period - and this thing is six years old. Win!

5. We're not real keen on concerts. (Last live concert we attended was Tears for Fears back in the late '80s.) My wife has never seen The Nutcracker so I keep trying to get tickets every year. They announce that the tickets are going on sale 3 days after they're sold out. I'm pretty sure you've got to be related to someone in the production company to have any real shot at getting a ticket ...

6. & 7. I only do two glasses of wine a year - one with Thanksgiving Dinner and one with christmass dinner. Don’t do Italian. Except for an occasional pizza. (but that’s not really Italian), is it?) As for the news, wine would never cut it. Shit is more likely to drive me back to Vodka …

10. Settling estates sucks big donkey dicks. My wife was executor of her parents' estate and we discovered that it really should be illegal for family members to go through that … really wish we'd just paid an attorney to handle it. (That is merely an observation in passing, as it were.)


David said...

@Julie -

It was a good if short concert. I thought the choir would be joining them (a couple more of my students in there!) but apparently not. But if the wine was good (even if not Italian), that counts. :)

@Lucy -

2. Thing is, I do know people who have been ready for Christmas since July. I am not one of those people. Even at the height of my Christmas spirit, I was never one of those people. I wish them well.

3. I like real trees - it's a family thing. My dad used to take me and my brother with him to get one every year when we were kids, and they're just nicer, I think. But the fake ones will do. It's nice and green and big enough for a wide selection of ornaments. :)

5. I used to love concerts (I've been in enough of them, after all), and then I went through about two or three years of not really being up for them, and then I started to get my concert mojo back just before the pandemic hit and then it stopped. Sigh. I saw two concerts in early 2020, though - Ellis Paul and Voces8 - and they were lovely.

The last time I saw The Nutcracker was when the kids were little and a traveling company performed it down at Home Campus. Lauren was about 2, and sat there enraptured by the whole thing. Oliver was maybe 5 and enjoyed it but seemed less impressed. "I'm done clapping," he noted during one particularly extended dance solo, "why is she still dancing?" It's a fair question.

6/7. Pizza can indeed be Italian! It just has to be the right pizza. I'm spoiled now, honestly. The cooking side of my family growing up were all Italians, so that's my default comfort food.

And it's gravy, not "red sauce," thanks.

The news is enough to make a thinking adult skip alcohol entirely and head directly to Schedule 1 Controlled Substances, except that I don't like things messing with my head so I avoid them. I'm not enough of a drinker to be problematic, which is a good thing. I just like wine.

10. We may eventually do that - a family friend has offered, and if it gets to be too much for us we might take him up on that. It's a fairly simple estate (no real estate, a clear will, only the two heirs and we're both agreed that we do not fight about stuff) so I'm hopeful.

But I have watched other people work to settle estates that were not so straightforward, and it is indeed a process that sucks stagnant swamp water.

David said...

@Lucy - you did not use the term "red sauce." I am just know that someone else is going to chime in with that and I wanted to be preemptive. Just clarifying. :)

LucyInDisguise said...

I (correctly) presumed as much.


(If you believe that, I have some lakefront real estate I'd like to sell you. Great view of the water ... all you have to do is look up.)

David said...

Never was much for lakefront, especially the looking up kind. ;)

Now a nice little place in the middle of a bustling downtown full of restaurants and book stores? Sign me up.

Ewan said...

We've had the 'gravy' debate within the requisite timeframe, I believe.

Not that it's a debate, of course.

Have we introduced you to nakedwines yet? If not, we have an unlimited number of $100 gift vouchers to give, and (several years in) they do appear to be both free money and catch-free. The wines are right in our ballpark for everyday, which is good because the wines I *like* to drink I can't afford to have become everyday items, and the one time I took them up on their '100% refunds, no questions asked' it was exactly that. A rare example of of my being impressed by a retailer.

Our tree was bought by Jenny before she met me. We've been married 23+ years now and it continues to be in perfect shape. Now there's good value. I do like real trees, but - last year notwithstanding - we've rarely been home for the holiday season, so this has suited us well. Perhaps our grandkids may eventually wear it out. [Come to think of it, we got a real tree last year. I guess that got deleted in the general blanket we all threw over 2020.]

I have a DEA license, so my opportunity to proceed directly to schedule 1 is perhaps a little too high. I am doing my best to drink my way through your share of the world's beer that you promised me, though.

David said...

Hi Ewan -

I don't believe we've discussed nakedwines, now that you mention it. I confess that I'm probably not a good fit for any program that requires you to purchase a given quantity over a set time period (I've turned a fair amount of wine into vinegar in my day) but if they're good for small random purchases I will have to look into them. Thanks!

You are still welcome to all of my beer. I'm glad it's going somewhere where it will be appreciated. :)

We used to alternate between staying home and heading east for Christmas and we'd have real trees on the years we stayed home (as I said, it's kind of a family tradition with me) and fake ones when we traveled (not having the house burn down is also a family tradition). But then my parents' health began to decline and we traveled all the time and stuck with the fake trees, and then we said the hell with it (and, not coincidentally, got LED lights) and just got real trees. A quarter century for an artificial tree is good value indeed! I think the one we have now is about ten years old and it's fine.

I'd still rather have the real one, though. I still need to set up the fake one this year. Perhaps today.