Thursday, December 25, 2008

The Needle and the Damage Done

Merry Christmas! Well, it's a new record: Deb had the tree stripped of lights and ornaments and ready to be taken out to the curb by 7:30 p.m. tonight. In her defense, while our tree looked good, it was drier than the Sahara. The thing would drop 100 needles if you so much as looked at it. We're heading down to Joisey tomorrow morning, so Deb wanted to have the tree out of our living room before we left and I can't say I blame her. There were piles of needles all along the path I took to take the tree out. We waited until the kids were in bed before we did it; they will undoubtedly be bummed in the a.m. when they find the tree gone.

So I got out of work at 2 yesterday and finished my shopping soon afterward, picking up a few books for Deb. I steered well clear of any of the local malls, which were mobbed all week after the snowstorms last weekend left a lot of people stuck in their homes. We hit our church's Christmas service and then had dinner before tucking our fired-up girls into bed. I have to say it's a lot of fun to see how worked up they get over Santa's impending arrival, tracking him online on the NORAD site. It'll be a sad day when they finally wise up, but I'll never blow it. That kind of innocence is just way too precious these days. I don't remember exactly when I realized the truth, but I'm thinking somebody at school told me. And then I found the presents my mom had hidden in a closet. But I wasn't crushed, because I was still getting some sweet presents.

The girls were up early and rousted me around 7. We had breakfast before getting into the presents. Hannah got a digital camera, both girls got scooters and new helmets, both got Leapster handheld games, and tons of other stuff. I got some new books (Sarah Vowell's The Wordy Shipmates and Chuck Klosterman's Downtown Owl); a new CD, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds' Dig Lazarus Dig!; some gift certificates for the local running store and a bookstore; clothes; and a grill light to aid me with winter grilling in our dark backyard.

I went for a 5-mile run, my first outdoor run in about 10 days. A lot of the snow has melted, but there's still plenty on the sidewalks so I ran mostly in the road. I've got another 10 days before my Boston Marathon training program begins.

We went up to visit my mom in NH for the afternoon. She's getting ready to leave next month on a three-month trip to India. I'll be checking in on her condo from time to time to make sure everything's hunky dory while she's gone.

Ho ho huh?
  • Christmas wasn't so merry at a party in Covina, California, where a psycho walked in dressed as Santa and started shooting the place up before setting the house on fire. Apparently it was the family of his ex-wife, and six people were left dead. He ended up killing himself later. Damn.
  • So the Yankees signed friggin' Mark Teixeira this week, bringing their offseason free agent total to $423 million in contracts so far. MLB is such a joke right now. There are a handful of teams in the mix for big-name free agents (Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Dodgers, etc.) while everyone else just hopes their prospects can pick up the slack before they get good and leave. The Jays are at least being honest with their fans; GM JP Ricciardi says they won't sign anyone.
  • After it seemed to be on the wane for a few years, fighting is on the rise again in the NHL, up 15% over last season and 75% over three years ago. I'm an old-school hockey fan; I think fighting has its place in the game. By the same token, I don't want to see endless brawling, either. There was plenty of that in the '70s and it was ridiculous. But a good scrap every now and then can fire up both a team and a crowd. There's no denying that.

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