Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas preview

All my posts to date have discussed with the past, so here's a curveball: a preview of the upcoming Christmas holiday.

Let's begin with the setting. For the first time in my adulthood, we are the hosts. So we need a tree, right? Since Clara has no self control, we planned to wait until Christmas eve to set up a tree. But today we find that no store in our neighborhood has any more real trees. Rather than decorating the evergreen in our front yard, we plan to buy a fake tree. I worry about the commitment to storing and caring for it.

10 people will be in our house for a week (though one is still in the womb). Now that we have multiple bedrooms and baths, our house won't feel overstuffed. Anyone else want to join us? We're out of rooms and beds, but couches are available.

I bought Jill's Christmas present over a month ago. I think it's a nice gift, so I hope she really likes it. Confession: I find the giving of gifts stressful, even to my wife of 10 years. After Thanksgiving, my former professor said that he enjoys Thanksgiving more than Christmas for just this reason. So I'm not alone.

I'm really enjoying singing Christmas carols during this advent season (exception: Angels we have heard on high). I'm quite excited about our church's Christmas eve service for one more chance to sing. I feel a mix of nostalgia (hay ride caroling in CA) and excitement for the upcoming Christmases when Clara and Janny understand what's going on.

On Christmas day, we'll eat Pop Tarts for breakfast (broiled in the over since we haven't replaced our toaster that died in Abq) and a ham for lunch. Stockings are opened during breakfast, and big presents after that. Nothing too big for us this year since we already got the house.

... and the guests are here. I leave the rest to your imagination. Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

2 winter treks

Miserable weather came our way this weekend. Despite 5" of snow remaining on the ground and rather cold temps recently, we watched rainfall all day long as the temp hovered around 35 degrees. I kept hoping that it would slow if not stop, but at 3:30pm no end was in sight.

Needing to get some 'fresh air' to avoid stir craziness, I dressed in rain gear and hopped on my just-finished-up blue Trek. Observe the new fenders and front rack from Velo Orange. Very shiny! I worked extra hard to install them with uniform space from the tire.
I was comfortable for the entire 1 1/2 hour ride, except that my feet got soaked and chilly. Somehow, my garage door opener fell from my pocket on Main Street between High Cross Rd and Cottage Grove. I looked for about 5 minutes, but couldn't find it due to nightfall and a very wet road with snowy banks. Let me know if you find it.

Overnight, the temp dropped to low 20s, and we got a few inches of snow. The wind has been howling all day. Why not try another bike ride? This time, I rode the gray Trek with Innova studded tires. The roads were quite sketchy but I stayed upright.
Conclusion: I love Trek's sport touring bikes from the 80's. There is lots of room for fenders or studded tires, and they ride beautifully. However, if it keeps snowing like crazy this winter, I'll put a Surly Puglsey on my Christmas list.
Clara's spirits aren't dampened a bit by the dodgy weather.

A big change this week is that she now drinks milk on her own. We delayed empowering her for this because milk drinking was a rare opportunity to hold her. Nothing else makes her sit still for long.

Monday, December 6, 2010

snow storm

Winter has struck with a vengeance, so we're working to keep our spirits warm. One good way is to bring lots of people over to literally warm the house.

For the first time this semester, we had all of our adopt-a-students over for dinner. Less than 2 weeks before finals start, and then they head home. So sad and happy -- like the end of a Harry Potter book.
Much snow fell on Friday night and Saturday morning. We all bundled up to either play (the gals) or shovel the driveway (me).

Jill's 13 very brave students came to our house despite temps in the teens for a pot-luck dinner on Saturday night. After the 1" storm earlier in the week, one of her middle eastern students concluded that he hated snow upon his first encounter. Maybe now that he's seen so much more he changed his mind?
Finally, some bike content. I shod my gray Trek with studded tires and went in search of ice and snow on Sunday afternoon. The best snow to be found was the arboretum park area of campus. Because of the very cold temps, riding through the powder with 35 mm tires was no problem. So fun!