Christmas in the East Bay
Christmas has come and gone with somewhat less attention paid than usual, although we did have one guest and he arrived laden with baked goods.
There were some special moments, of course. For example, we usually do a dramatic reading of the Christmas letter from one of my father's old schoolmates, since it always features a cavalcade of memorable items. This year's edition included news of the correspondent's colonoscopy, being "put to sleep" over a dental matter, and apparently having had an eye removed instead of the scheduled cataract surgery. We were ...ahem... impressed that anyone would be in shape to write a Christmas letter after all that. There was also a long string of deaths (referred to by My Sibling as The Death List).
Then there was My Sibling's discovery that someone had chewed a hole in the new air mattress upon which he was to sleep (Orion is the prime suspect in this crime).
Before and after our guest's visit, My Sibling kindly helped me go over some portions of the dissertation, especially the Czech translations. We were entranced by a section of a František Götz essay in which Götz characterized the Devětsil generation (this was one of many 1920s articles discussing the three culturally active generations of the day). Götz began by calling the generation embryonic, which was fair enough. Initially we thought he was describing it as sucking the life-blood from worldwide culture, so we were disappointed to find that he really only said it sucked nutrients from the rest of the world. After all, Götz can be a pretty lively writer in his way. No vampirism this time, though.
And, while I was attempting to put the finishing touches on the Christmas Day cooking, my parents distracted me by reading specially heartwarming segments of Newsweek, particularly a story about the search for senator Larry Craig's special bathroom in the Twin Cities airport. When my father announced that the reporter had "scooped out the stalls," I really had to inquire whether this was an airport bathroom or a barn. I guess the stalls had actually merely been scoped out.
There was some discussion over whether it was okay to cobble together wrapping from a couple of pieces of our stash of ancient recycled holiday paper. The verdict was that "if it's eccentric it's okay, but if it's crappy, it's not."
I dug up our Christmas records and tried to play them, but something seemed to have happened to the wiring for the old mono speaker my parents have been using in preference to the stereo speakers I left them. We ended up trying Pandora's Classical Christmas offering, which despite the limitations of my laptop speakers was a pretty satisfactory alternative.
This year's presents included items from the Blogosphere. One of my friends gave me a copy of Disapproving Rabbits, from the blog of the same name, which caused merriment around the house and seemed to prompt the lapines to practice some disapproval (not their usual habit, unlike some people's lapines). The copy of the BibliOdyssey book I gave My Sibling was much admired.
Finally, the new computer for the Parental Units arrived on Christmas Eve, but their slide scanner hasn't yet shown up. Of course, we're still configuring the computer and learning how Vista works...