The Start of Christmas Break 2012!

First off: congrats everyone. We made it.

Honestly, I don’t know how it’s already Christmas Break. What the hell happened to 2012? Maybe it’s the lack of arbitrary life milestones, but it seems like life is flying by. It’s true, I live my life a quarter-school year at a time, but I don’t remember those quarters moving so quickly. Anyway, my TA and I spent three hours of yesterday afternoon grading so that the only things I have left to grade are those 70 or so poetry term papers. This is far beyond anything I could have dreamed. I will spread out my work over the next two weeks instead of saving it for the last few days. I promise… to try.

The only thing traffic is good for.

The only thing traffic is good for.

Two weeks ago, we purchased tickets for the trolley ride around the Christmas displays downtown. The only tickets left at the time of purchase were for 8:50 last night, the final run of the night. I didn’t mind at all. If nothing else, it meant we could get dinner and not have to rush to make the trolley. Also, it meant that if dinner wanted to start shit with my stomach, I would have time to figure that out before getting trapped on a trolley. Lynnette drove us into town and by some miracle, traffic was actually tolerable. The flow didn’t slow until near Vineyard, which is about two miles later than I expected. Maybe it’s because everyone was already somewhere in town or at Ala Moana.

Again, that naked fingernail is Mad's thumb of choice for sucking.

Again, that naked fingernail is Mad’s thumb of choice for sucking.

Lynnette wanted to pick up a few things at the Face Shop so Madison and I renewed a new tradition that we just started last week. Or was it two weeks ago? I don’t know. Anyway, while Lynnette browses the store, Madison and I scurry to the nail polish display. She picks 9 different colors and I paint each of her fingernails. I’m not good at it, but Madison doesn’t seem to care. I need to work on making that first stroke money so that I don’t have to layer it and cause streaks. I am pretty proud of the fact that I don’t get much polish on her skin. I guess Madison is too young and cute for the workers to stop us, and Lynnette buys something every single time we go. Really, the stickers say “tester” and that’s what they’re for. Last night while applying the glitter coat to Mad’s left middle finger, a woman – probably about my age –  was watching the two of us. “That’s pretty talented, dad,” she said. “Uh….” I said. “I’m… not… very good…just lucky that she doesn’t care,” I continued. The pauses indicated by the ellipses were moments of intense concentration. To be honest, I felt kind of rude because I never looked the woman in the eye. I can’t believe I’m going to say this: painting nails is kind of fun. I need a son. Quickly.

This is the married version of the "look of love."

This is the married version of the “look of love.”

I wanted to eat at The Old Spaghetti Factory but there was a 45-minute wait so we moved next door to Kincaid’s where there was no wait. I spent most of the drive to Ward and the wait for our food trying to figure out how to use a camera I borrowed from one of my co-workers. It’s one of those advanced deals  that are roughly 45 times more sophisticated than the Nikon point-and-shoot I currently own and hate. I tried to call a few of my friends who I know to be something of camera aficionados. Neither of them answered. I text messaged one of them and he sent me links to sites that would help.

I bet you can tell which pictures in this entry I took with my phone and which I took with the Canon.

She loves the potato chips at Kincaid's.

She loves the potato chips at Kincaid’s.

So the problem was that the camera wouldn’t let me take pictures while using the screen in lieu of the view finder. I have no idea if those are the correct terms for what I am trying to describe. I’m one of the six or seven people in my age demographic who didn’t get into photography. Dave sent me a link and from that point I was able to find the manual for the camera. I read the section on “Live View” about four times before finally understanding that I had to press the button ever so lightly to allow the camera to focus, then complete my press. It took me a few tries before I could do it without swearing. But those pictures were of things like Madison’s bowl of oranges. When I started trying to take pictures of Madison – who moves, unlike the bowl of oranges – I was frustrated all over again. I have a new-found respect for photographers. When I got home, I got to look through the pictures I took after I downloaded them onto my computer. It was pretty much going through a slideshow of failure. I hate my Nikon, but it’s so much easier than this so-called Rebel T3. Also, my right index finger feels sprained.

Not even the best photographer in the house could master the vaunted Rebel T3.

Not even the best photographer in the house could master the vaunted Rebel T3.

True story: Lynnette has been waiting all her life to share things like Christmas with her children.

The first year after Madison was born was kind of a wash – Mad didn’t understand anything. But since then, Lynnette’s been trying to test Madison’s aptitude for Christmas. Lynnette used to do that thing where she’d speak to Lynnette excitedly, hoping that – like our dog – even if Madison couldn’t quite understand the meaning of the words, she’d catch the tone.

On Christmas of 2010, Madison figured out that Christmas was something like her birthday in that she got gifts to open. She requested to pose with her gifts.

On Christmas of 2011, Madison tore through her gifts at warp speed and showed visible disdain at boxes which held clothing.

This year, when the Christmas decorations started popping up, Madison felt obligated to point them out. Every. Time. When the calendar turned to December, she informed us that it was “almost Christmas.”

Checking out the Christmas lights is something that I would prefer not to do. If I must do it, then I prefer to do so from the comfort of my own car. But riding the trolley is one of those things I knew Madison would immediately love. I also knew that Lynnette would love it. I suppose I enjoy Christmas, but nowhere near as ardently as Lynnette does. She makes me feel like a scrooge at times, because she’s so into it.

In the movie Ocean’s 11, Julia Roberts asks Andy Garcia if he likes a painting or something. He replies “I like that you like it.” It was one of those lines which was delivered in an odd way that always stuck with me. I quote it from time to time. In the context of the film, I thought it was a stupid statement which was meant to reflect Garcia’s Terry Benedict’s lack of originality and brains. Maybe that’s it. I just thought it was lame. But in real life? I guess I owe Terry Benedict an apology because sometimes I’ll do things exclusively because Lynnette and/or Madison will love them and that alone will be enough.

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