Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas in Pleasanton

It was a white Christmas at my parent's house (pictured below). Not only was there snow already on the ground, but another inch or so fell Christmas Day.

Our gathering for the day was small...just the immediate family. The little ones cleaned up on the gifts, of course. Both Lilly and Shayla received a little red wagon. The two of them took several spins around the house.

Lilly wasn't here chipper self. The combination of new teeth and some sort of virus had her a little down. She's looking a little drugged here with Dad.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The First December Vacation

The plan had been to watch the Nebraska women's volleyball team win their second national championship in a row at the tournament in Sacramento. Alas, they didn't make it that far, so neither did I. Instead, I took a scenic drive up the Pacific Coast Highway as far as the canyon drive seen below.

After zig-zagging through the mountains I ended up in Simi Valley and paid a visit to the Ronald Reagen Presidential Library.

From Simi Valley I headed through the mountains along Interstate 5. I saw snow...real the shady nooks of the mountains. (On the trip home I also saw weather below freezing...what a novelty!) My final destination the first day of my vacation was Bakersfield where Nebraska's women's basketball team was playing CSUB. It was close, but they won.

On Saturday, the women were in Long Beach. The game wasn't as interesting, but the venue was. The basketball court is in an 18 story tall blue pyramid (Walter Pyramid). They also had a band and a small video screen. Bakersfield was more like attending a high school game in central Nebraska. Long Beach was more like, well, more like a bigger high school in central Nebraska, but in a pyramid.

The rest of my vacation was filled with a little light Christmas shopping, some heavy eating and three movies from across the board - I Am Legend, The Savages and Enchanted.

Next week it's a new vacation. This time in "sunny" Nebraska.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

My, They Grow Up Fast

It's been awhile since we last checked in on the family. By special request I give you Miss Lilly...

Dressed for tricks and treats.
With a bow in her hair and things to say.
Showing concern for an ill friend.
And doing the best impression of her mom I've ever seen (that look is directed at her dad, by the way).

Rule Number Nine

Rule Number Nine, The Hot Air Rule: Analyzing a principle is easier and often preferable to acting upon that principle.

Gossiping about others lives is better than living my own life. Talking about what I would do if I were such and such is more fun than actually doing it. The idea is superior to the implementation. This could also be ‘the couch potato rule’, ‘the living life vicariously rule’ or ‘the armchair quarterback rule’.

The second element of rule nine is the story. I have at my disposal an array of comic tales. Accompanying that is a vast collection of thoughts and observations buoyed by an archive of content taken from magazines and books I’ve read down the years. Meanwhile, for my own amusements I maintain a library of idle fantasy – general, wizard, Senator, President, lonely writer, corporate titan, speech writer, Oscar winner for best screenplay and the list goes on and on. I take pride in my capacity for this entire academic adventure. Unfortunately, man is judged by actions more than words and on that score I am deficient.

I am drawn to the idea of doing great things. I feel the tug of principled stands on the ideals I hold dear. In the face to true opposition; however, I tend to run and hide. My first instinct is to talk a big game and then leave the field of play. A great deal of that has to do with my other tendencies (see the Paxil rule, for instance). The remainder may be lack of desire or simple fear. Which, I cannot tell.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Rule Number Eight

Rule Number Eight, The One Isn’t the Loneliest Number Rule: Solitude is an essential circumstance for rejuvenation and well-being.

Solitude by Stefano Tessarin

Do not despair…no I haven’t answered the phone, I haven’t returned your pleading voicemail message, I haven’t replied to your emails and it’s been weeks since last you heard from me. I say again: do not despair. First, you don’t need my response to validate your own existence (but you already knew that). Second, chances are good I’m doing just fine. Maybe it was a rough week at work and I had to deal with the assorted drama of 40 people that should be old enough to know better. Maybe I’ve barricaded myself into my apartment for a movie marathon of romantic comedies and buddy road flicks and I’m afraid talking to real friends will destroy the fantasy of my fake friends. Maybe I’m just not in the mood for chatting.

We all need are alone time. I just wonder if I don’t need more than most.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Rule Number Seven

Rule Number Seven, The Doesn’t Work Well Without Supervision Rule: Productivity is best achieved within a structured, orderly, controlled system that allows the freedom to manipulate experience within defined parameters.

Left to my own devices I won’t get much done. I’ll fritter away hours doing nothing much and find I’m okay with that. Even with a list of things to do if there isn’t a timeline attached I’ll do an amazing job misplacing the list. What's most odd about this rule is that I actually supervise people...lots of people. Of course, I still have a boss of my own and that helps.

The real heart of rule number seven is that I appreciate a good system. I like little benchmarks and deadlines. This is probably also the reason I think it's a shame that once you get into adulthood you stopped getting awards for your achievements. There aren't any of those little pins for getting an A in math class, no certificates for perfect attendance and certainly not a single trophy for successfully winning an appeal against the USDA. It's hard to judge whether your life is on track without someone tracking it for you, that's all I'm saying.