New Shoes in the Rain

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

And so this is Christmas

Merry Christmas, albeit belatedly, to all.  I hope that you were able to enjoy some special time with family and friends during this most festive of seasons.

I love Christmas, always have, but I believe I love it more now that I'm older.  It's especially rewarding with grandchildren in the family, as the wonder and amazement that the Christmas season holds for little ones is unmatched.

I think I gained a greater appreciation for Christmas once I became a parent, or, more correctly, stepparent, which happened virtually simultaneously with my marriage almost 27 years ago.  Once you have others for whom you'll be the primary giver of gifts, it all changes.  And so much for the better!

So we had a wonderful Christmas in our family.  We traveled to Colorado to see our daughter and her family (our granddaughter there is approaching celebrity status, having performed for the second consecutive year in the local production of "The Nutcracker" AND played in a mini piano recital at a local hospital), so we got to see the four of them, and then were able to spend time over the last few days with our son and his gang.  We see them often, since they're in our local area, but it's just more special now.

We also were able to make time to see "The Hobbit:  An Unexpected Journey," the first of three films based on the Tolkien book.  Very entertaining if you like that sort of thing (and I know that everyone does not).  I can honestly say, though, that I won't be going to see "Les Miserables" (don't like musical theater) or "Django Unchained" (director Quentin Tarantino is WAY overrated and it's far too violent), but still want to see "Lincoln" and Tom Cruise's latest action pic, "Jack Reacher."  Incidentally, in Hollywood tradition, 5'7" Cruise is playing a title character who as written was 6'5".

I can honestly say that I haven't been in a mall in some time.  Not since the day of the eight or nine school buses at our local mall, wherein a school system from a neighboring county apparently rewarded a large group of students by bussing them all to Lexington for lunch in the mall food court.  My wife ultimately went in to pick up three things, while I stayed with the car.  Teachers had to actually assist her in walking through the food court throng to the exit.

I'm also looking forward to going back to Target, since that's another store I've avoided since, oh, about the middle of November.  Busy, busy, busy!  I haven't seen any figures for how the country's retailers did this holiday season, but if our home area is any indication, they did pretty well.

Despite all of this frivolity, I'm reaching the point where it depresses me to read the news, as it seems since Sandy Hook there have been so many more instances where people with weapons have been using them on unsuspecting shoppers, law enforcement and firefighting personnel and others.  Let's think about all of those who've been affected by such tragedy, as most of us have already.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

In the (St.) Nick of time

Greetings, friends.....just back from a brief trip to Colorado to visit our daughter and her family.  And apparently we got out just in time, as there was a blizzard warning for the Denver area Tuesday night.  Sometimes, advance planning works out just fine!

Our granddaughter (our daughter's oldest) appeared in a local production of "The Nutcracker" again this year, which was the centerpiece of our visit.  And she also played a song from the same ballet as part of a piano recital, so you'll forgive me if THAT SONG is coming through this post and you're hearing it, as I am.

Colorado weather is pretty amazing.  It's very cold there this morning, I'm sure because of the snow that came overnight.  But tomorrow it should be back in the upper 40s.  And with their characteristic low humidity, snow doesn't last very long, at least not like it does when it becomes cold enough to snow here in Kentucky.

But we had a good visit, albeit dampened a bit by Friday's events in Newtown, Connecticut.  I was very glad to be with two of my grandchildren that day, and was thinking of the other two pretty continually throughout the weekend.  Such a shame for this to happen.......again.  We can only hope that those in charge can do something to prevent similar occurrences in the future.

Ready to slide off of the "fiscal cliff?"  Looks like that's where we're headed.  Hope it's not a long way down.  And honestly, who looks like the problem here?

We've finished our shopping (I think), so now what's left for us to do is wrap all of the goodies for our family and friends.  I'm taking more time off from work (good time to do it, as there's not much happening right now) starting Saturday all the way through January 1.  Looking forward to a slower pace for a while!

So, if you haven't already, deck those halls and get into the Christmas spirit!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Back among the normal

Good morning, one and all....pleased to be here with the strength to write a little something, as I am just about out from under a very nasty infection that has laid me low in recent days....

I returned from what was for me a quick one night business trip the week after Thanksgiving.  Not far, no time changes, only two flights in each direction.  Simple trip.  Returned to Lexington on that Wednesday night.  By Thursday night I was coughing pretty steadily, and by Friday I felt that I had a full-blown case of the flu.  Know that feeling you get when you feel kind of dizzy, kind of woozy, can't sit upright without feeling sick?  I had that.  Lack of energy?  Check.  Loss of appetite?  Uh-huh.

Suffered through three days of this, and finally began to feel a little better last Sunday night, only to relapse further on Monday night and Tuesday.  During this time my wife also began to feel bad, and I became concerned that I had used her toothbrush in my fog of disease and had made her sick (I still don't know if that happened, but she became sick as well).  Finally, on Wednesday we made our way to the doctor and were examined and treated together (but, of course, were charged individual co-payments).  Both of us were diagnosed with sinus infections and prescribed antibiotics of varying types.

So as I write this I feel MUCH better, but, my God, I ought to, given what I've been through.  I'm feeling just a little dizzy writing this.

Enough of that.  Onward and upward, I say.

Kentucky's got a new football coach, from the coaching Stoops family (Mark is our new coach).  He's already hard at work assembling a staff of assistants and recruiting players.  I cannot remember interest in UK football ever being this high in December on the heels of a 2-10 season.

Many of those who care about Kentucky sports are concerned about Kentucky's basketball team.  Don't be.  They're young, they're underachieving, compared to recent years' teams, but they'll develop if they're meant to.  And, if they don't, well, there are more great players on their way into the program next year.   Coach John Calipari is fond of saying that often he has to convince his young charges that they don't "poop ice cream," to paraphrase his pet phrase.  Suppose the current team now knows this.

Don't look now, but the Denver Broncos are 10-3 and have clinched their division.  That Manning fellow may work out all right after all of those injuries.

Saw that the Cincinnati Reds came to the winter meetings in Nashville and left without completing a single deal.  They did the same last year and then proceeded to make four deals after leaving those meetings, propelling them to the division championship.  I wouldn't assume that nothing's going on.

Are you worried about the fiscal cliff?  In my estimation it's yet another political card game in which others are playing with our money, whether it's current or future money.  Hope they work this out before they break our economy.

I'm taking a considerable (for me) amount of time off around the holidays, and already the list of movies that I want to see is beginning to mount up.  We saw "Skyfall," the latest James Bond picture, when it came out in November, but have yet to see "Lincoln" and "The Hobbit" comes out this week.  I expect there'll be more, which is fine by me.

Better get to work.  I only have a few more days to do this this year!