Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Christmas 2006

This was mine and Amy's first Christmas as a married couple. Overall, it was a good holiday. I successfully negotiated a stomach bug, Amy and I both went a little overboard with gifts, my best friend and I were able to bring closure to an issue out there, and I got a late Christmas gift when the Cowboys lost yesterday.

I was able to spend some quality time with my best friend Mike over the weekend. For those of you keeping score at home, this is the same Mike who backed out (albeit with plenty of notice) of being the best man at my wedding due to some irrational boss issues. We were finally able to bring any issues remaining from that to closure. It was great seeing Mike. There was a group dinner on Saturday and we got to see Mike, Kyria and some friends we only see at these group dinners.

Love was just fantastic. I can't wait to see more Cirque shows. Plus, it was extra special since I got to see it with my wife!

Our Christmas plans got moved around a lot between my stomach issues and then trying to coordinate with my sister so that we could open gifts as a family. We were able to come to a compromise, but I wasn't able to keep a promise I made to Amy, namely taking her to see Dreamgirls. I promise that I will do it before the end of the year. Vegas Princess and Prince Charming were able to join us for dinner, which was lovely.

All in all, not a shabby holiday. I got to spend it with my wife and my family. What more could I ask for?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Hanukkah 2006

Well, it's here. The Festival of Lights. I'll admit that I slightly overlooked Hanukkah last year since it started at the same time as Christmas. Then there was a slight miscommunication between Amy and I over gifts for Hanukkah. So I was left to pull something substantial together at the last minute that we would exchange with her Dad on Saturday.

Since there was a break between Hanukkah and Christmas this year, we decided to go to LA for her family's Hanukkah party. This was my first real family function. Her cousin's wedding in July really doesn't count, because everyone was sort of split up. We flew in on Friday and finished up some last minute shopping.

Saturday was crazy. We were staying in the Valley. We needed to wrap gifts. So Amy got up early and wrapped gifts. We headed to a friend's house in the city for brunch and gifts. We can never spend too much time with these folks. They are among our favorite people. Then, we dashed back to the hotel to meet up with her Dad to have our own private Hanukkah with him. That was nice. Amy loved her gifts from her Dad and I, and mine were awesome. We got Hal a digital camera and photo printer. Then off to Ventura (about an hour away) for the Kaltman Family Hanukkah party. That ended up being a lot of fun. We spend some time with her aunts, uncles, cousins and their kids. I practiced the Hebrew prayers so as to not embarrass myself. However, they had the kids do it and I was off the hook.

Sunday was nuts. Went to a friend's house in the Valley for her son's second birthday party. I think my ears are still ringing. I talked to her friend's Dad most of time. They said they were trying to save me, but I was enjoying myself. Then off to her Mom's house to meet with a doll merchant. That was rough. Finally, we headed out to lunch and then off to the airport.

We are having friends over tomorrow for dinner, latkes and candles. It should be a good time.

I should excuse myself so that I can get back to work on my Hebrew. Baruch atah Adonai, Eloheinu melech ha-olam...

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Wackjobs all

Well, another post about the wackjobs that are in this world. One set is close to home, while the other not so much.

First, the wackjobs in Pahrump. This is the small town in Nye County, Nevada - where prostitution is legal, I might add - that recently passed an ordinance making English the official language of the town; depriving illegal immigrants of all public services administered by the the town which at last count, was simply police protection and the sheriff has said he wouldn't enforce it; and finally illegal to fly a foreign flag without also flying the US flag. That was evidently just the first act.

Last night, in the current board's final meeting in its current makeup they same Councilman that proposed the previous resolution introduced one that went even further - all "undocumented foreign nationals" to register themselves at the Town Office within 24 hours of arrival and pay a $200 fee. They would need to fill out a form listing relatives in Nevada and provide a list of all forged or counterfeit documents they might hold. Failure to do so would result in a fine and jail time. Finally, if any non-governmental agency challenges the ordinance in court, they first would need to shell out $20K to cover any costs incurred by the town. Call it the "ACLU clause."

I am not unsympathetic to their frustration. I do happen to believe that something needs to be done to address illegal immigration. Whether it is more funding so that existing laws can be enforced or coming up with a new comprehensive plan, we need leadership from the federal government because this is more a national, not a state or local issue. Plus, this resolution is essentially unenforcable. Do you expect undocumented nationals to 1. register in the first place, 2. have $200 and 3. essentially confess to breaking the law by listing all the illegally obtained documents they hold? And how do you know exactly who is here legally vs. illegally? Road-side checkpoints? Stopping people on the street randomly?

We need common sense solutions - not these xenophobic and short-minded band-aids. Enough on local wackjobs.

Leading the list of international wackjobs this week is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Holocaust conference. One of the tenets was that either the Holocaust was 1. A fabrication or 2. an exaggeration. There is physical evidence that the Holocaust took place and if anything, is typically under-reported. If you ask your typical person how many people died in the Nazi death camps, you'll hear the number of 6 million. However, a total of 9 million people died in Concentration Camps. Six million Jews perished, but nearly 3 million Gypsies, Communists and other "non-Aryans" were shipped off to death camps as well.

This guy gets a lot of press for saying wacky things. You almost have to wonder if it is just a publicity stunt or what...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Good TV and no fights about holiday cards

OK. First, Monday TV was great last night. Not so good to write out your holiday cards to.

Another classic How I Met Your Mother. Between sick Barney and trying to figure out which really bad word Ted said (oh come on - you know you were trying to figure it out too!), just hilarious.

The Class was good. I agree with the TV Guide people, the more we get to know Duncan, Amy and I can't understand why he still lives with his mother. (Note to self - do NOT get Amy a stripper pole for our first anniversary.)

Two and a Half Men, while crude, had some good moments. The constant Rose and Bertha narration was great, a Susan Sullivan had a great guest spot.

The New Adventures of Old Christine is starting to grow on us again. Tonight's episode - Prius vs. Hummer - was somewhat indicative of the change that Amy's dealing with going from her Civic to a Honda Pilot.

In spite of all of the good TV, we managed to get through most of the Holiday cards - without a fight. Sunday's Holiday Card session wasn't quite as smooth as we got ourselves into a fight over passive aggression other people being rude.

Unfortunately, this evening of good TV and holiday cards was the by product of Amy cracking a crown. We had originally planned to go out with some friends last night. They were meeting up with some of their other friends from church. We like hanging out with them, and some of their friends are fun. All things considered, we just needed to stay in last night, I think. Besides, there was ice cream to eat!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Somethings never get old

A few comments on this fine Monday morning.

1. It was a really good football weekend. I missed watching the Bills school the Jets in New Jersey 31-13. However, I did manage to watch the Cowboys get their buts kicked by Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints 42-17 in Texas Stadium. That was great. I feel bad for Lora and my brother in law this morning. That smack-down must still hurt.

2. Amy's Nana is reading the Book of Mormon. She's 92 and Jewish. I don't really think she has any intention of converting. Frankly, I can't really see her sitting through a three hour church service. I think she's reading it like a trashy novel - kept referring to it as "her book." Who would have thunk it - Mormon Nana.

3. Wrapping up holiday shopping. I think we just need to finish up Amy's little cousins, and I need to get one more thing for Amy.

4. Mom is working 40 hours this week. What's upsetting to us is that she is working three nights. Tonight, she's scheduled until 10:30 p.m. I know it's her life and as long as she's happy, but driving 35-45 minutes one direction, and she's a tentative driver makes me nervous on her way home.

5. Had some fun putting together our Bissell carpet cleaner last night - a chore made manditory with Rosebud once again using the carpet as her litter box. It was just a disaster from the start. First, when I put the hose in its holster, I inadevertly depressed the trigger and got water EVERYWHERE. Then the brushes stopped spinning, so I needed to take the thing apart, clean out the pet hair, and then it worked again. That's why they tell you to vacuum first. After that, it was fine. The carpet got cleaned and I think I got most of the urine up.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

The Holidays

I love the Holidays, but I hate them.

Things I love:
  • Holiday cheer - people are generally nicer and most, well, humane
  • Gingerbread Lattes at Starbucks (although they don't seem as yummy as in the past)
  • Spending time with friends and family. This is mine and Amy's first Christmas together married, and our first in the new house. That's exciting to me.
  • Giving a gift so perfect that it makes the recipient cry (in the good way.)

Things I hate:

  • Holiday shopping. I usually do OK deciding what to get people, but when I can't figure it out, I can't stand walking around stores looking for things.
  • The Mall. While people are happier this time of year, they are absolutely miserable while hunting people down for parking spaces, fighting over this year's "must have" toy and the like.
  • Holiday cards. I like receiving them, and sending them, but I always put it off until too late.
  • Holiday decorating. Too much effort for two weeks worth of enjoyment.

Anyway, I'm mostly glad the holidays are here. If for no other reason that I get to spend more time with Amy!