Sunday, December 24, 2006


well, christmas is here, or nigh here anyways. i guess i don't have an incredible amount of words to tell you (although i might surprise both of us) but i feel like i should because a) i'm in another state; b) it's been forever since i posted anything; and c) i mean, hello, it's christmas, which at least deserves some kind of commemoration in my mind at least. so here are some christmas-related ramblings that probably don't cohese very well (yes, cohese).

was christmas ever "magical" for you all when you were kids? i don't think it ever really was for me. christmas was about packing, traveling, sleeping bags, the farm, sledding, and the lucky rides back up the sledding hill on the snowmobile. i don't really remember much "wonder" or all that stuff that kids are supposed to experience, i guess. i think the coolest memory i have is when we used to make a big deal about decorating the tree, including who'd put the star on. most of the ornaments on our tree in years past were made of construction paper, glue sticks and hand-colored nativity scenes with glitter and pipe cleaners holding them together. we didn't really have any classy, nice ornaments, except a set of spun glass ones that i always wanted to put on as soon as i was old enough to realize they were special (they only went on the high branches). we'd make hot cocoa, and mom used to make homemade caramel popcorn balls, and we'd turn on either the Mannheim Steamroller Christmas album, or the Amy Grant Tennessee Christmas one. and we just took like all day long to decorate the tree. anymore, we -- they -- put it up in shifts, with whoever can be bothered long enough to untangle the lights (their perpetual tangly-ness running contrary physical properties of the universe) or assemble the fake tree branches and bend them into a shape that looks more like a tree and less like a green egyptian pyramid. and, no one cares who puts the star on except Mary, so she always does it, which of course makes her care less about caring about it. :)

i think most christian families try their best to de-commercialize the whole gifting part of christmas...which is kind of antithetical if you still give the gifts, but whatever, i'm never telling my family that. in my family, we always read the biblical account of the "first christmas" and prayed and probably a few other things like that. when we were really young, a couple years we had this thing (it came from a book, i think) where we built a mini manger out of sticks, and whenever you did something nice for someone throughout the month of December, you got to put a yellow (straw-colored) piece of yarn in the manger. on christmas we put "baby Jesus" in the manger which, if we had been decent little citizens, was nice and cushy soft with yarn.

i don't remember believing in santa, either, even though i know my parents told me he was real. do you people tell your children (or will you tell them) lies about nonexistent people? i can hardly comprehend wanting to build up piles of nonsense that will supposedly make life more magical for my children. actually, i think my parents just kind of told us about santa in an offhand way, but i never believed them very much because we were the ones who bought the presents and wrapped them and put them under the tree anyways. so, maybe that's why my christmas wasn't magical, you say. well, i had something better than santa. i believed in The Elf. that's what my family heritage fantasy creature is. not Papa Noel, or father christmas or whatever they call him other places. no, The Elf was a little person (so we were told) who snuck inside our house each night in December to put a small gift in The Calendar for each of us kids. yep, we got a little present EVERY FREAKING MORNING. sure, sometimes it was orange TicTacs or a quarter or a candy cane. but i mean, that sure got these lazy homeschooler butts out of bed during a month where the "public school kids" were all sleeping in and sledding all day (so it seemed) while we were inside doing A Beka math and science in the wee cold hours of the morning. at least, that's how i like to remember it.

back to what i was talking about, though, i don't know if i'll tell my kids about santa or the tooth fairy or other fake things. i probably sound like the lady on Miracle on 34th Street who had a creepy, perfectly sensible robotic daughter. but say what you want about happy childhoods, i just can't find a way to justify lying to my kids about stuff that won't really ever matter.

anyways, i am just a few miles from canada and even further from common existence, it seems. there have been many deer on the river but no northern lights. tomorrow i will snowmobile on the back trails, and i don't care how sick i still am or will get. and i will sleep! oh, sleep.

i just realized how much i really did ramble. sorry. well, merry christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

import: "The Snake"

background for this story: for [home]school one day, Mary's assignment for English one day was "write a story about a snake." all the children still living at home proceeded to compete with the eight year old child for the best snake story. here is Johanna's story.

The Snake

Once upon a time there was a snake. He was a sad little snake, because he had no spots. None of the other snakes had spots either, but still, he wanted them because once he had seen a polar bear with spots.

The snake, whose name was Phil, had been pondering the subject of spots for quite some time and finally realized that he was a little hungry. He spotted a tree with fruit hanging from it.

Phil was not particularly fond of fruit, so he decided to go gallivanting after mice instead. And since mice have never been seriously accused of being incredibly smart, Phil ate his fill.

After Phil had eaten as many mice as he could find, he was still hungry, so he ate his family and Bigfoot, leaving the bones. After he had eaten every living creature he could find, Phil went to the far ends of the earth, eating the creatures of the earth and causing extinction of everything except, well, Phil.

But when he was finally through with his rampage, Phil realized he had acquired spots somewhere along the way. Why?

We'll never know. Snakes have always been a mystery.

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