Christmas Eve

I have a pet peeve. I know. I’m full of them, and everyone has them.

But this is my page, so just deal.

It’s very bothersome when I overhear people talking about their plans or recounting events that take place on the 24th of December. The phrases that come immediately to mind include:

“We’re getting together on Christmas Eve night.”
“Cristmas Eve morning, we’ll go for breakfast and shopping.”
“His flight arrives Christmas Eve day.”

I just have to say that “Christmas Eve” is tantamount to “the evening of December 24th”! It is not a modifier for the entire day, nor is it a required dangling attachment weighing down your sentences like a boat anchor tied to a cloud.

saying that you will “get together on Christmas Eve” will suffice. Or the “morning of Christmas Eve”, or even “the 24th” or “Saturday”. The jumbled knot of extra verbiage doesn’t make sense, conveys no meaning, and sounds horrible.


According to HowStuffWorks:

Why is the day before Christmas, Christmas Eve, celebrated?
Christmas Eve is a big deal for religious reasons, such as the midnight mass, and also for retail reasons. 1867 was the first year that Macy’s department store in New York City remained open until midnight on Christmas Eve.

A HowStuffWorks reader was also kind enough to point out the following: “All Jewish holidays start at sundown the evening before (not at calendar midnight). Our holidays start with ceremony the evening before: rituals, candle-lighting, whatever… at sundown and they last until the following sundown, and then they’re over.”

Thanks Giving

After completing my obligation to my former employer, I was facing a 4-day weekend before tackling the first day at my new job. I was on the phone with M and we started talking about how I was facing Thanksgiving alone, and how they would likely leave for the return trip on Saturday, driving all day, an arriving that night, which would leave only Sunday for us to catch up and to get things back into order before my new schedule started.

Granted, it’s a normal working schedule like the Average Joe has, but I haven’t had a schedule like that in a L-O-N-G time.

M’s sister was having a similar discussion with her husband, and we all started checking online for cheap flights to New Jersey. We found the cheapest available, and got two one-ways flying out on Thanksgiving Day. I packed up and cleared the driveway again, and my dad came by the next morning. Dad is interminably early for things, and doesn’t like waiting, either. Those two personality traits have made for some interesting, yet stressful, situations over the years.

When he arrived, I was clearing the driveway again with the blower, and was otherwise ready. we sat and talked for a while, waiting for R to arrive. I packed the dogs, their gear, and my bags in the truck. When R arrived, we hopped in the truck and headed downtown. we decided that it would be better for Dad to drop us at the train station, and we could ride the train to the airport. This would allow him to avoid a lot of traffic on the holiday. We got off the freeway following the signs for the train station, but the signs stopped pointing out the way. We ended up going to one of the stations downtown that we knew. Dad headed home with the dogs, and R and I got on the train after fiddling with the bill acceptor for MARTA tokens for about 20 minutes. (It simply would not take the fiver I had).

After getting to the airport, we checked in and had plenty of time to spare. The security checkpoint has changed considerably since the last time I flew. they require you to take off your shoes now. If I’d known this, I would have worn something that easily slips on and off. It seems that no one else was prepared for this either, because right on the other side of the checkpoint, large globs of people were trying to get all of their things together, and find a place to put their shoes back on, stooping to tie them, etc, all while security people are trying to keep everyone moving along at a steady and orderly pace.

I love to fly. I’ve been in some planes of different sizes, but this flight was on an MD-88. It was the smallest jet I’ve ever been on. I just have to say that when you have turbulence in a larger plane, you hardly notice it. Turbulence in the small ones will get somebody hurt! 🙂 Right after takeoff, I caught a sleeve of Styrofoam coffee cups that bounced out of the flight attendants’ area. We had a really strong tailwind the whole way, and the skies were incredibly clear until we got all the way over Maryland. We landed about 30 minutes early.

The arrival was dampened to me. M stayed at the cabin with A, who was barfing all day with a 24-hour virus that had been going around. K was at the in-laws’ waiting, and being a “huge big helper” in the kitchen. So R and K and their 2 kids got a little reunion, and we drove back to the in-laws. When we got there, K latched on pretty well to me.

We had some Thanksgiving dinner, and packed a bunch of leftovers to take back to the cabin with us. We got back to the cabin, and A was sacked out on the couch. M was having some time with her best friend, who she hadn’t seen in a couple of years.

I was so glad to be with my little family, no matter where we happened to be. we stayed through the next day, taking walks around the lake, and building gigantic fires in the fireplace, and left in the wee hours of Saturday morning so that the girls would be sleeping while we got many miles closer to home.

We got home on Saturday at about dinner time. We were all very glad to be in our own element.


So, I’m down to the last couple of days of my notice, and will be starting my new job next week. at the end of last week, M got a call that her grandmother had died, so she and the girls drove to Pennsylvania to be there for the funeral. It was a long and arduous journey for them, with the winter weather moving in, and following M’s sister.

I stayed here to finish my last 2 days with this company, because I would not have made it back in time to be at work today. I cooked up a storm on saturday, making a few dishes, and packing each up as seperate meals… A big pot of soup became 3 meals. I baked some chicken in some french dressing with tabasco and honey, and with a couple of cups of rice, became 3 more meals.

I did a bunch of yard work as well. I wanted to have the house looking good upon the return of “my women” — my wife and 2 daughters.

The past 2 nights, the storms have been pretty heavy, and this morning I looked outside to find that while the electricity was flickering off and on all night, the storm had also been hsaking all the leaves, debris, and pine needles from all the trees in the area, and depositing them on my lawn. So now it looks as if I’d done nothing in the yard all weekend.

I’ve had no good sleep since they left. I got home Friday evening, helped to pack all of their bags in the car, and off they went.

The dogs have been antsy without the ladies home. I’ve been spending extra time playing ball and letting them in and out of the house. It might be more ad a distraction for myslef than an actual need for Tink and Peyton. I’m sure Tink appreciates the extra rounds of Fetch and Ball, though. She adores playing ball. About 80% of the time, when you throw the ball for her, she is able to be ther and catch the ball before it bounces the first time. She’s a very smart dog. Peyton is doing much better with her house training, but still has issues with chewing. She got in huge trouble last night for it.

I was making some hot chocolate in the kitchen, and she had gone through our bathroom and into our bedroom, then pushed the door closed. forgetting that she could have ject walked back through the bathroom and been out, she thought she had trapped herself in the bedroom. I heard her in there and opened the door to let her out, without going in the bedroom.

When I went to get in the bed, however, I found the mess. While she thought she was trapped, Peyton got on the bed, tore a hole in the top of the comforter, and proceeded to pull all the stuffing out.

Nothing like having something happen to your bed when you haven’t been sleeping well.

The girls are not sure when they are coming back. I might be home alone for the rest of the week. School is out for the week, and M dropped her classes for this half of the semester, so really, that is fine. I wish I could have gone with them. On the phone last night, they were telling me that K was sick all night, convulsing and barfing in the car, not even waking up. They got on the freeway going in the wrong direction, and had to backtrack, so instead of reaching their new temporary digs at about 5 or 6 pm, go there at about 2:30 am. They all just want to be home. I’d love to have them home.

New Server, New Job, Fight the Power!

I’m getting more and more gruntled. 🙂

The past couple of weeks have been sort of a whirlwind. Let me try to sum things up:

back on Labor day(or was it memorial day? Is there anyone who doesn’t get the two mixed up?) I was working, and it was a holiday. I got a very silly speeding ticket. The officer was very mechanical in the whole discussion, asked me the model year of my ol’ beater 3 times and *still* wrote it out on the ticket wrong. There were tons more details, and the whole situation was silly.

So I called on the ticket, daily, to find out what the fee might be. The automated system was never updated. Up to and including the day of the hearing. I tool a day off work and went to the hearing, sat for a couple of hours, filled out a sheet of paper saying that I contest the charge, and was sent home with a summons for a day the following month. This past week, that day came, so I took another day off work and went to court and I waited through all of the posturing, to the call of the calendar. I counted 15 cases where parties were present ahead of me alphabetically. When the judge came in and started court, she went by the officers. She called the officers up one at a time,a nd tried the cases for each officer (so that the ones who had a regular beat during those hours sould be able to get back to it). There were tons of cases being tried where the charge was speeding in a school zone…. those fees are through the roof! When they finally called my case, I had some really good questions for the officer, and was almost at the end of my questions, was going to make my argument for the judge to hear, then wait for the news one way of the other. “Two more questions…” The officer spoke directly to the judge, and dropped the charge. It’s all over.

I moved the site to another host because I will be changing jobs. This post is the first since the move, and should be a good test for the DB transfer, and to test all the scripts.

I just have to say that I adore WordPress. I’d suggest it to anyone doing a news post, blog, personal site, etc. The plugins, skins, and full implementation for stylesheets make it both simple to use, and fully customizable.

I was reading some articles and came across this one I was reading along and laughing so hard, M thought I was going to hemorrage. This writing style is one of my favorites, and Pasha Malla captured it masterfully as well as coupling it with potty humor (one of my favorites). Give it a glance. Then give it a full read

Lost in transliteration

It’s the holiday weekend, where everyone gets the 3-day weekend that I usually enjoy. I get Mondays off because I work long hours the rest of the week. I usually use the Monday to do errands, doctor visits, etc. It works out rather well because most people are at work, and there isn’t much of a line anyplace. You can just go places and do your business and be both done and gone without waiting.

I’ve been doing some serious study of the administration tools for MySQL databases. I see a lot of mysql database issues at work, and I got a really good book that focuses on the admin area of mysql. I will likely be making some arguments regarding that in this space soon.

Syntax versus semantics:
Syntax —
the word is from late Latin, meaning “arrange together”
a) the way in which the words and phrases of a sentence are arranged to show how they relate to each other; sentence structure
b) the patterns of such arrangement in a given language

Semantics —
the word is also from late Latin, meaning “signify, show, significant”
a) the scientific study of the meanings, and the development of meanings, of words.
b) the scientific study of symbols as denotative units, of their relationship to each other, and of their impact on society.

Semantics are the meanings of the sentences you are using (e.g. what you are saying) and syntax is how you are saying it, the mechanics of the sentences you are using.

So there *is* a difference between walking around, saying “It’s all semantics” and walking around saying that “It’s all syntax”

We had a picnic today with some lifelong friends-of-family. It turned out to be very mild weather, and it went rather well. The kids played hard, and fell asleep before we left the parking lot at the park, and are still sleeping. We talked about how busy we all are in our lives, and how it sucks that we never seem to have time to visit with people we know. That was all of us, mind you: the parents, the kids, their kids. Three generations of people stuck in the cycle of working all the time, multitasking, getting too little sleep, no self-time, stress and traffic and bills, and trying to make things better for self and family.

It’s a sad state of things, really.


So for Memorial Day weekend, we thought we’d pack all of the kids in the car and go for camping at the beach. Most of the campsites were full, but we booked a tent area at the very last one on the list we called, and headed down.

We stopped about halfway, and I went into a service station to get drinks, and saw on the local weather that the whole region was to be soaked with rain for the whole weekend. 🙁

We got there and set up camp, then found that there is a burn ban in effect in the county where the campground is. No campfires. Which meant no cooking for us. We didn’t get to see the water, hardly slept, and only had cold hot dogs, etc to eat. Then something was up with the bank, so we had to get back on the little bit of cash we had left, watching the fuel gauge very closely.

So I’ve been moved to working overnights during the week at work. I am still getting used to the new wake/sleep schedule, and ‘my women’ are too. ‘My women’ are my wife, my 2 girls, and my dog. It’s funny, because after my sister left home, I lived in a house full of guys up through high school, then went to college and lived in mens’ dormitories, etc and now I live in a house full of women. 🙂

I’ve been watching the new Doctor Who series (thanks to whomever in Britain has been nice enough to share them online, as not even BBC America is carrying it so far. It’s really good, and the Doctor this time is much more edgy than the others before him. Each episode is well thought-out. Highly recommended.

Camping and road-tripping

so my older daughter went on vacation with my wife’s sister the week before last to Florida, and as soon as they got back last weekend, we went camping near Tellico Plains, TN. The place where we camped was in a flat area in a small valley, surrounded by mountains. There were a lot of new trees planted, but all of them were still saplings, so there was no wind cover. It was rather cold for us. We took our dog with us, and she was getting used to camping. She kept barking at the other campers, and didn’t like the noises of the tent material. She got nervous and wet our sleeping bags a couple of times.

Tellico Plains is also one of the endpoints of the mile-high skyway called Cherohala or “the dragon’s tail” in motorcyclist circles. There were a few other interesting venues in the area, but most of our time outside the camp was on Sunday, and most of them were closed. We’ll have to hit the area again when we have some Friday/Saturday time.

You have got to be kidding

WASHINGTON, April 19, 2005 – Agriculture Secretary Mike Johanns today unveiled MyPyramid, a new symbol and interactive food guidance system. “Steps to a Healthier You,” MyPyramid’s central message, supports President Bush’s HealthierUS initiative which is designed to help Americans live longer, better and healthier lives. MyPyramid, which replaces the Food Guide Pyramid introduced in 1992, is part of an overall food guidance system that emphasizes the need for a more individualized approach to improving diet and lifestyle.

The food pyramid, familiar on box backs for as long as I can remember (and remember, I’m old now) is being replaced with a series of 14 different “pyramids”. Conventional wisdom and long-standing knowledge gets another kick in the butt. We’ll see how this progresses. You can see what yours looks like at MyPyramid.

I got a sunburn on my balding areas over the weekend, and it hurts. Guess it’s time to invest in hats. It has taken several years longer than I thought, so I’m OK with that.

Over the weekend, we saw 2 movies: Saw and The Pacifier. The Pacifier was more or less a rehash of Kindergarten Cop with Vin Diesel. It had some good moments, and Brad Garrett was really funny. Saw was brilliant, though. I don’t have the spoiler tags set up yet, so, I’ll just say that it was riveting and brilliant for now.

Mark put up pictures of his dog, which reminds me that we don’t have any pooch pics here. I’ll need to remedy that.