Archive for December, 2005


Thursday, December 22nd, 2005

We’re now in Aberdeen and I’m using a slooooooow dial-up connection. I’d forgotten how slow it is, although I was really impressed with how well gmail handles it. Also typing on a UK keyboard is interesting. I’d forgotten that the left shift key is half the size of on a US keyboard, because there’s a \ key there too, and the enter key is smaller on the middle row, because there’s a # key there. And ” and @ are the wrong way round. So lots of backspacing.

Anyway, we had a pretty successful trip over – the only difficulty being that Toby was fast asleep when we had to land at Iceland, and got really mad when we tried to sit him up to fasten his seatbelt, so the last ten minutes of that flight consisted of me pinning him down while he yelled. But he did really well apart from that. He got a little homesick in London at my brother’s house but he’s been excellent. When we flew up to Aberdeen he hardly even looked up from his coloring at takeoff time.

The visit to London was brief but somewhat challenging. Emma developed a rather miserable cold, and I got a really nasty dose of what I’m sure was food poisoning from the fish and chip shop, which I’m still getting over four days later. Toby’s been a wee star and has gotten on great with his family members. He stayed home with his granny today while Emma and I ventured out in the rain to the middle of Aberdeen for a bit of shopping. So many people around and very crowded – we agreed that it almost makes you appreciate the Mall of America which for all its nonsense very seldom feels overcrowded and has such high ceilings that it’s actually quite pleasant sometimes. It’s also frustrating from a shopping point of view here, because with the current exchange rate the clothes are so much more expensive than back home, but I think we have more than enough stuff, so we’ll survive.

My brother David is arriving this evening, and Richard, Robin and Annia get here tomorrow so it’ll be a full house for Christmas. I’m really excited.


Wednesday, December 14th, 2005

We’re off to Britain tomorrow for a couple of weeks – really looking forward to it. I’m going to miss a lot of stuff here, at work and at St Mark’s, including all the carolling. However I’ve been somewhat overdosed due to Emma’s Advent habit of listening to a radio station which plays nothing but “festive” songs for all of December. A lot of them are, to be nice, pretty drecky, although it’s always good to hear the Nat King Cole stuff. One of the strangest was last week – an instrumental version of the Twelve Days of Christmas. It’s repetitive enough with words, but pretty nonsensical without.

growing up

Saturday, December 10th, 2005

I just realized that I’m 33 1/2 today. Whoo.

A few things happened today, mostly centered around our upcoming trip to the UK. I think we have a lot of our London time sorted, and I just booked tickets for us to go from Aberdeen to Edinburgh on the train, which was surprisingly reasonable and certainly way cheaper than hiring a car, paying for gas and the hassle of parking. I hope Toby’s going to enjoy it.

Speaking of Tobes, he’s been having fun this evening with Lauren and Sam, who are here for a sleepover. Emma’s with them right now, trying to get them to sleep, and it sounds very quiet so far. I hope they sleep OK.

unlikely minor calamities

Friday, December 9th, 2005

Before you read the rest of this post, read this article from the Onion: “Everything that can go wrong listed“. It includes such scenarios as

“Knocking a cup of coffee off a counter with a light jerk of the wrist; breaking a tooth while comically pretending to bite down on the Great Pyramid of Giza; lowering lifeboats into the water when they are only filled to half capacity; tripping on cable and falling to floor with broken ankle while angrily storming off set of 24; building shanty on hillside instead of floodplain in anticipation of monsoon season, then getting buried in erosion-triggered mudslide anyway.”

Well something like this happened to me not once but twice last night:

1) I got Toby in the bath and sat down next to the bath. I took off my glasses and folded them while they were slightly too near to my chin, resulting in the hinge catching a hair in my beard, which I didn’t initially realize and when I moved my glasses away to put them on the shelf it pulled the hair which was surprisingly painful.
2) I was watching TV when Scout came and sat on me. It was all fine until he clawed my sweater and seemed to get his claw stuck. I got hold of his paw to help him remove himself without snagging the sweater, but he got alarmed and ended up clawing me on the pad of my thumb.

disturbance in the force

Friday, December 9th, 2005

I woke up this morning feeling really groggy and just not quite right. Sort of the way you feel when you’re about to get sick, but haven’t developed any actual symptoms yet. And when I called up the local paper‘s homepage I immediately realized why: a cabal of the dark side is in town today for evil fundraising. I think the clouds of darkness have preceded their actual arrival, hence my feeling that all is not right with the Force today.

more toby talk

Thursday, December 8th, 2005

On the way home from dropping Emma off for her classes last Friday we drove past a McDonald’s. Toby said “look Dad, there’s a big yellow M!” Yes, indeed it was. Then after a pause, “Daddy, I think I want to buy a hamburger”.

Last night someone asked him if he wanted to sing in the choir like his daddy. He said “no, because I don’t have a big mouth like my dad.” This comes, apart from the obvious, from the fact that he had his school holiday show on Tuesday night. Unfortunately he’d just changed classes at school the week before so didn’t manage to learn the songs in time. Plus they were bizarre for 3-year-olds: the Little Drummer Boy, Deck the Halls and Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas. So he stood on the stage looking rather unsure of himself (as, in fact did most of the other kids) while one or two kind of shouted out the words. He clearly knew he didn’t know it, and I think one of the bossy older girls told him so too, which is the first time I think someone has been just negative to him. Afterwards he gave me a very tight hug and said “Daddy, I just didn’t want to go up there.” I told him he’d done a great job just to stay, and after a cookie he seemd to perk up considerably and zoom off for some running and jumping with his friends.

in our dreams

Monday, December 5th, 2005

I wrote this on Sunday night but have been too busy to post till today, Thursday:

Over the weekend we decided that we would rise above Toby’s going-to-sleep issues and get out for a bit. On Thursday I had a work party, so one of the Sunday school teachers babysat, and that seemed to go very well. Friday night was Emma’s last class at college for this term, so I was home alone with Toby – plenty fun for us. On Saturday evening there was a big fundraiser party at the cathedral – a rather swanky do where pretty much everyone was well dressed up (I and at least four other guys were wearing kilts) and the pews had been removed from the nave and replaced with dinner tables – it was all very Hogwarts. I think they’ll have made a lot of money for the ministries. Toby had a sleepover at Lauren and Sam’s which he very much enjoyed; unfortunately he woke in the night because monkeys were getting his feet. He told Paul (Lauren and Sam’s dad) that they should go and get me, and that he (Toby) would drive so it would be OK. Then last night we were out again – we’re doing Compline services at the cathedral each Sunday night at 9 during Advent, so if you’re in Minneapolis and would like a soothing Compline service this is the thing for you.