Well, I know how you guys love a good poll. At least 62 of you voted in the last one (and can you believe it? It was an even 50/50 split! That never happens in People Magazine!). This time around, it’s less about who looks better, and more about who doesn’t look worse. You might recall Matthew’s post about Alden’s remarkable pants on theBarnstorming. Well, I have also acquired a pair of remarkable pants which have the added delight of being pink plaid. Maybe I’m biased, but I think my pants might be more remarkable than Alden’s. And, in my defense (and before you vote) I’d like to note that at least her pants are black, which I’m told is “slimming”. I also tried to pull off the “I’m totally comfortable in these pants, I don’t even notice that they’re ridiculous” but I have to say, Alden is really embracing it. Again, in my defense, the girl has no sense, and 34 years of experience tells me that no matter how you wear something ridiculous, it’s still ridiculous. She just doesn’t even know what ridiculous means.
So – please consider all of this, and PLACE YOUR VOTES!
You can check on poll results HERE if you’ve already voted.
And, now that you’ve voted, I think I have to give you the real comparison shots, the ones that make us look really bad. It’s the wide-angle close-up that ruins many a budding modeling career:
A little more than a week ago, Chestertown was hammered with snow. Approximately 20 inches accumulated, and so that people could continue to park and shop at Acme, snowplows cleared certain parts of the parking lot while creating huge, impromptu ice mountains in others.
The other night we were out visiting our friendly neighborhood Taco Bell for a late-evening repast. It was an unseasonable, eerie 50 degrees outside. As we were leaving the establishment laden with inadvisable delights, we noticed that the snow mounds were behaving strangely. They were, in fact, steaming enthusiastically.
If only we had been filming an independent horror flick about the elusive Chestertown Yeti, he who remains doggedly loyal to the Acme of his youth, in spite of the unquestionably superior bakery and deli options at nearby Superfresh.
This year the loot under the tree was heavily weighted towards Alden. This comes as no surprise, since Matthew and I only got into the holiday spirit in time enough to purchase each other dental floss and foam earplugs and the like (thanks, Rite-Aid!). There was, however, one present under the tree that I’m not sure belongs to any of us. It was a small, hastily-wrapped packet with this tag on it:
along with this photograph:
Now – many of you may not recognize me from my glory days of fourth grade, but try as I might to forget those days, I was able to pick myself out of the line-up. This photo was evidently from a [heavy-hitting] Kent County News article about the winners of the D.A.R. essay contest titled “We, The Youth of America”. It seems mom recently found it in what must have been the Bin Full of Things to Embarrass Your Children With (I’ve already gotten a good start on Alden’s). I think I won $20, which was an inconceivable amount of money for me at the time. My father insisted that I decline the award and the $20 because he had helped me write it. He made me go to the principal and everything. Luckily, the principal really was a princiPAL because he was like “everybody’s dad helps them write essays, just let the frickin’ kid win something for once”. And so I got to go to the award ceremony held at the American Legion and collect my awesome check.
However, the question still remains whether this gift was actually for me or whether it was for Amy or Alison (fellow prize-winners) or Mrs. and Mrs. D.A.R. (presenters) who are also in this photo. I would not want to be depriving the rightful recipient of the gift, but I have to say, I’m afraid Alden has already laid some claim to it:
So – if any of you (Amy, Alison, or Mrs. and Mrs. D.A.R.) had “red spatula” on your wish list for this year, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line. I will try to wrest your gift from the pincer grip of my greedy little daughter’s hands.
We learned by reading Cory Doctorow’s blog that an embeddable version of the Makers Tile Game has now been released. You fellow bloggers should feel free to cut and paste the code provided in Cory’s post if you want to offer this surprisingly addictive Flash game to your site.
You non-blogger types should feel free to just play with the version posted here.
And all you people who love skiing zombie bunnies should click here to bid on Robbi’s latest masterpiece.
A new auction has posted, one that might appeal to the zombie lovers among you. Robbi appeared surprised when I opined that her latest subject seemed best classified among the undead. Apparently, this is her take on what a nice, cute bunny ought to look like. How is Alden supposed to grow up right among such skewed perspectives?
Please, someone, buy this piece that we might evict it from our home. The bidding starts at only one penny. Surely you have at least two?
Because of Tarzan’s apparent refusal to gestate for longer than the usual nine months, we cannot travel this holiday season. So for the first time in the ten years that we have known each other, Robbi and I will be at home for Christmas, and for the first time in ten years, we have decided to get a Christmas tree. We contemplated going the fake tree route, weighing the virtues of avoiding herbicide against the ills of diminished aesthetics. In the end, the lure of that fresh piney scent won out, and we headed out to find ourselves a real live tree.
We found several that we liked but could not agree on which was the best. Ultimately, we decided to let Alden choose. I lobbied eloquently for my favorite.
And Robbi did her best to defend the merits of the one preferred.
Alden sided with Robbi, of course. But rather than fall into a dejected funk, I decided to throw my full holiday enthusiasm behind this other, lesser tree with a positive attitude and good cheer. We bundled the bastard steptree up and brought it home.
The tree I would have chosen had a perfectly flat bottom. Robbi’s tree, of course, was uneven and needed to be sawed. Did I complain? I did not. I sawed with a good-natured determination that would have made Bob Cratchit proud.
We hauled the newly-flat-bottomed tree up the stairs. At first, Alden was deeply skeptical of the tree stand.
But once we got the tree in place, she seemed to intuit how the thing worked.
Eventually the tree was in place and ready for Alden’s inspection.
We hung the lights and turned them on.
We went outside to see how the tree looked from the street.
We looked up at our tree and decided that we were looking forward to spending Christmas at home.
While Robbi and I were setting up the tree, Alden and my mom made Christmas cookies.
Which led to a rather satisfactory discovery.
Alden got to know the spatula pretty well that evening.
Fortunately, her enthusiasm for cookie dough is equaled only by her enthusiasm for brushing her teeth.
And, frankly, isn’t good dental hygiene what Christmas is all about?
Merry Christmas, everyone.
Here’s hoping you’re having a wonderful time with family and friends, and that the tree you’re sitting in front of isn’t merely the second best one you could have gotten.
While we were driving south to Atlanta last Friday, Chestertown was getting battered with the biggest snowfall the Eastern Shore has seen in a long time. We returned home in the wee hours of Monday morning and found our little town transformed. There were misshapen lumps where bushes used to be. There was absolutely no chance of parking in front of the barn.
Yesterday we dragged ourselves about the house, sleep-deprived and yet compelled to complete a series of chores. There were orders to process and Christmas presents to get in the mail. There was a child to watch and various sidewalks to shovel.
We decided to reward ourselves at the end of the day by going to a movie, something we do surprisingly infrequently, considering how much we both enjoy it. We decided to go see Avatar, mostly because we were excited to see the new 3-D technology. We arranged a sitter for Alden, drove to the Chester 5, and bought our tickets. We were in the theater, deciding where to sit, when we realized that something was wrong. No one had handed us our 3-D glasses. We went back to the lobby and looked around, but they were nowhere to be found. Disoriented, disappointed, and nearly despairing, we went to the ticket booth and asked what was going on.
We were informed that the Chestertown version of Avatar isn’t in 3-D. Apparently we’re not ready for that kind of excitement over here. We politely asked for our money back, hiding the rage growing deep within our hearts. We felt duped and morally offended. Avatar without 3-D? It’s like Die Hard without Bruce Willis, 24 without Jack Bauer, the Smurfs without Smurfette. We walked back to our car, broken people without a shred of joy to cling to.
But then we saw this, and our perspective readjusted.
There was a time when snow was enough to thrill us to the core. And here were great heaping piles of it.
Who needs to sit for 2 hours and 40 minutes watching blue people prance about on the big screen when ridiculously tall piles of snow sit waiting to delight us in the parking lot? We could have scaled these impromptu mountains and seen for miles. Did we? We did not. Robbi is quite pregnant, after all. It was enough to look at the snow and remember a time when Star Wars was the most incredible thing we had ever seen in our lives.
We’re back, and home for the duration. It’s all about the waiting now.
We are unexpectedly in Atlanta to celebrate the life and mourn the death of my Pop, my mom’s father, who died after 88 wonderful years. We drove down from Chestertown Friday, missing the full brunt of the East Coast storm, but suffering plenty of messy driving through the great state of Virginia in the wee hours of Saturday morning.
I haven’t been to many funerals, but this one has been more happy than sad. Lots of memories of a wonderful man, lots of catching up with family who wouldn’t otherwise have seen one another this holiday.
Alden got a new dress for the occasion. She wears black well, I think.
We got a chance to meet my new sister-in-law Megan (left) and my sister Andy.
We had the opportunity to meet my cousin Arthur’s daugther Audrey, the newest member of the family.
Robbi and I were both horrified to be reminded just how small, useless, and strange-looking very new babies are. Audrey is a fine example of a two-month old, don’t get me wrong, but I had completely forgotten just how different a two-month-old is from a 21-month-year-old. The experience startled us. We wondered aloud whether or not we should try to send the new baby back. I called our OB to see if there was anything to be done, but he assures me that Tarzan will be arriving soon, and that there’s nothing we can do about it.
Last night was the visitation at the funeral home. We had a chance to pay our respects to Pop.
Alden got to meet Pop last winter. I took her over to his ashes to say hello.
Later, back at my grandparents’ house, we celebrated my birthday, which was last Friday.
My brother Alex got me a grocery store cake. At first, I was led to believe that I had turned 31.
A closer inspection, however, made it clear that I have just entered my teenage years.
In biological terms, I am 35 years old. But on a funeral weekend, such trivial things seem unimportant.
Here I am with my brother, sister, Mom, and Dean. Lindsay couldn’t make it from Oregon, but she’s with us in spirit. It’s good to be together right now.
One of my favorite things to do while standing in line at the supermarket or sitting in the waiting room at the doctor’s office or hanging out with hipper trendier folks who keep up-to-date on the latest People Magazine is to flip through to the section about what star wears what outfit better. Invariably, I pick the person who gets a lower percentage. I like to attribute it to my eternal championing of the underdog, but actually I think I am unable to differentiate between “wearing an outfit well” and “putting on less makeup”.
So, in the spirit of competition, I am asking you to help me choose which of my wards wears it better. One of them will be the proud new owner of this awesome hat, but I can’t decide who. After all, I’ve made the competition exceedingly difficult by having neither of them wear makeup for the photo. And the competitors are:
Sorry, the link to the results here isn’t working. Try this, if you are dying to know what the standings are.
Vote away! Please note that Iggy, though she looks content enough to wear this outfit, was not terribly cooperative. If she wins, she will likely not be very gracious about receiving her prize.
For any of you out there chomping at the bit for the new auction, it is up. And, since I’m a kind, generous person, and ’tis the season to be [kind? generous? the-opposite-of-scroogely?], I have made the minimum bid on it $.01. For those of you who have trouble converting dollars to cents, that = 1¢!! (ONE CENT!!). You could own an original illustration and get it in time for Boxing Day (or that other holiday that immediately precedes it) for just over the cost of shipping (that’s shipping + ONE CENT!). Seems like a good deal to me – you could even just buy it to resell the piece of 140# 100% cotton Arches Cold Press Watercolor Paper that it is on to some gullible art student who can use the back side of it for his next great masterpiece.