Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night

I had the fortune (or misfortune) of being born 4 days before christmas so sometimes the whirlwind that is this time of year passes me by far to quickly.

This year is also tough, it is the first year without my dad.

Mom was always the one that loved Christmas. Mom and dad got married 4 days before Christmas and frankly mom always made Christmas a huge family event.

This year was no different.

We gathered together and celebrated the day as a family. It was a magical day that was filled with laughter and memories.

My grandfather loved Christmas (as did my Grandmother Johnston). They always had a beautiful (perfect) tree to celebrate. Wisconsin always had snow at Christmas, the ground white with the perfection.

Years ago we would follow the routine of one gift opened Christmas Eve and the rest opened on Christmas day. There are fewer pictures of the older years but since the digital world I’ve taken pictures of videos of the entire process.

As a parent I can say you derive great joy from watching your children open the gifts that have been picked for them.

scott andersen
iasa fellow

Christmas is coming the goose is getting fat…

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We started decorating for Christmas last night. Well Barb and the boys did. Luke announced that he wanted new picture in the stocking frames (where the stockings hang). I took pictures of the boys and they rejected all of my proposed picture edits out of hand. It hurt my feelings that they wouldn’t let me modify the pictures at all. Nick mumbled something about they were afraid I would go crazy.

Walking in the dark is no fun – I nearly got hit by a car last night. I was wearing reflective materials and had a light on, but apparently the person didn’t see me or, didn’t care to see me. They were talking on their cellular phone. Isn’t Maryland a don’t drive and hold your cell phone to your ear state?

Maybe I read the state law wrong. Of course the first time I am driving around with the phone held to my ear is the day it will be enforced so I guess it doesn’t matter. I am not doing it.


On the stroke of midnight a spirit will visit you…

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We went to the community theater last night to see “A Christmas Carol” done in the original version (Dickens) rather than the more modern adaptations. There were no flashy special effects or horrifying costumes. Simply good acting and telling of a wonderful story. The story of loss, and eventually redemption. Not a version of the Christ story, rather the Hero’s Journey carried out over a longer time period (these last 7 years).

Within that story lies a reminder for each of us. That the world we perceive may not be the only world that is there. Marley is a spirit who walks the wide world as he never did in life, but the worst of his penance is “oft I sit by you Scrooge unseen.” How many of those we hurt in our lives walk silently beside us? Even those still alive may have some of their lost spirit walking with those who injured them. If it is a cast of thousands should we step back from that and wonder? That we have succeeded as a “man of business” like Scrooge but not as Marley as someone whose business “is mankind.”

The poems of Dylan Thomas have always impacted me, as have the stories and poems of William Blake and Charles Dickens. Blake who questioned the order of the universe by asking the Tyger “did he who made the lamb, make thee?” Dylan Thomas raging against the passing of the light and finally Dickens and his carol for Christmas. Foretelling of three ghosts that visit each us during the holiday seasons.

People are often depressed during the holidays, because of this visit they receive from the first two ghosts. The past and the present contrive to drive us to sadness. The joy of the season masking the pain we’ve felt over the years. When alone we consider the pain and it becomes our ghost that visits us and will not leave at the stroke of midnight.

“Spirit tell me it is not to late. That in changing now the vision that you showed me was what could be, not what would be.” Do not go gentle into this good season. Rage against the passing of youth, of time and remember always those you left behind.


The 5 best Christmas celebrations (for me) ever

  • The first one has to be my daughter’s first Christmas in 1992. She was a little over a month old and slept for most of the event, in a rocking baby seat right next to me. I will never forget how I felt that day.
  • The first Christmas with my wife is a very close second. It was also our first Christmas as an engaged couple.
  • The last Christmas spent at my Grandparents Lake House and the first Christmas spent in their new house (they moved into town) were also very memorable.
  • My first (and only so far) Christmas overseas was fun. Going through Copenhagen around Christmas was amazing. The decorations were simply something that I had never seen (nor have I ever since). There was a store with a mechanical Santa’s workshop that was so beautiful it haunts me to this day.
  • The first Christmas I remember (I was probably 4 or 5) with my Grandmother’s white Christmas tree.


Random Thoughts:

  • I simply don’t understand
  • Kinect is amazing – took about 5 minutes to setup and then the boys were up and playing. Nick said he was tired twice!
  • Today is a sad day. Has been for many years. Not sure how to shake this feeling now.
  • What happens when you suddenly realize everything you are working for isn’t what you want?


With that I am peace out.