Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Yes, Laura, There Is A Santa Claus

The other day I got up totally exhausted from all the Christmas festivities and business and looked on my kitchen counter and saw this:

Okay, like I said in the last post, I cry at EVERYTHING, but this really got to me. A couple of weeks ago Jack was asked to write a letter to Santa as part of his homework, and I figured, hey, why not mail it. Really, I had no idea they have some nice person in the post office mailing stuff back. It was just a form letter, but had Jack's name hand written and a hand written Santa signature, and I thought, like I do every year, why we try to keep the tradition alive. And I guess it got to me specifically because this year Max asked me one day "Mommy, is Santa real"? And guess what I did. I FLAT OUT LIED and said yes. Without hesitation. And I still don't even feel bad about it. And then I wonder why such a blatant lie would cause no guilt at all, and I realized that I want them, so desperately, to believe in Santa. I want them to believe that there really is good in the world, and sometimes we do get stuff just for being good. Even if we're only good once in a while.

And, that, I think is true.

But when I think of this Santa deceit every year, I can't help but think of one of my favorite Christmas stories ever, "The H Street Sledding Record" by Ron Carlson. It reminds me how important it is to keep the dream alive.

Just for some background, I grew up on the very H Street Ron Carlson is talking about in the story, so it has always had special significance to me. But I also adore Ron Carlson, who also grew up in Salt Lake City, and was the Artist For The Schools (or something like that) when I was taking creative writing in high school. I remember just being so in awe that this guy got to WRITE STORIES FOR A LIVING, and remember writing a somewhat mediocre story in an attempt to impress him. But the best part was when I ran into him a couple of years later while I was working at Mrs. Backer's Pastry Shop and he said he remembered a line he liked from my story. I could have died and gone to heaven right then and there. Years later, at a signing, I bought the short story collection, The News of The World, which includes "The H Street Sledding Record," and he signed it for me, saying he remembered me, but I had my suspicions he was only trying to make a sale by that point. Here's the title page:

I love this story because it brought back a lot of childhood nostalgia when I first read it, but now that I have my own kids, it has moved to a whole new level. And so, even though I am probably breaking a million copyright laws by doing so, I scanned it in to share on my blog. Just promise me you won't print it out, photocopy it, and sell it on a street corner somewhere, okay? My kids don't need to grow up visiting me in the state pen. Anyway, if you haven't read it before, here it is (click each page to make them large enough to read).

What can I say, this story just fills me with all kinds of hope.

I hope you enjoy it.

I hope that the legal team at Norton won't shut me down.

And, most of all, I hope you will be doing your own form of shoveling manure on your roof for years to come.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Nutcracker is Sweet

This morning I woke up still on a Christmas high, and totally exhausted, from our visit to Salt Lake for the Nutcracker, including a backstage visit to see the dancers and sets, a carriage ride around Temple Square to see the lights and sing carols, and a dinner at The Roof restaurant overlooking downtown Salt Lake and the beautiful Christmas lights.It was a beautiful night, and so nostalgic for me. I spent many Christmases going to the Ballet West production of The Nutcracker, and was really excited to take the boys for the first time, but I was totally unprepared for my reaction. I have admitted that I cry at just about anything, but I started to tear up as soon as I walked into the doors of the Capitol Theater, and then had to hold back the tears through about the whole first half of the ballet, watching the boys rapt faces as they watched the magical moments of The Mouse King, The Snow Queen, the Sugar Plum Fairy, and, the favorites, Mother Buffoon and The Russian Dancers. Thanks to Alison for having the idea to go and make a day of it. Here's a few (bad) photos taken with iPhones since we forgot our camera.

I love the Capitol Theater. So beautiful.

Steve and Max gearing up for the show.

Jack was getting excited for the show to start...

...Ivy was too.

Cha Cha, Me and Max waiting to hear those opening notes of the overture.

Scenes from the production. Stolen from the Internet.

At the Sugar Plum Fairy Party after the show the kids got to see the dancers, eat some treats, have their picture taken with some of the cast, watch a magician, see some of the sets on the stage, and get their very own nutcracker ornament. The best $5 I've spent in a LONG time.

Zoe and Ivy on the train after the show.

Me, Jack, Alison and Ivy on a very bumpy carriage ride around Temple Square.

The view from our table at the restaurant. Also stolen from the Interweb.

Alison in the glow of the Salt Lake Temple from The Roof restaurant. I cropped myself out of this one because I looked as tired as I felt.

Such a wonderful night, and such a great addition to our Christmas season. Even thought I never in a million years wanted to end up in Utah, I am so glad I get to share these childhood traditions to my kids and friends. To me, that's what Christmas is all about.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another One Of Those Sappy Song Dedications

One day I was just folding the laundry listening to my iPod when this song came on. Not a strange occurrence if, a) I had of downloaded it myself, and b) if it wasn't one of my long, lost favorite songs. And Steve downloaded it on there without telling me, and without knowing it was one of my favorite, long lost songs. Such a pleasant surprise. Seriously, is there a better, more joyful love song out there? And it reminds me of Steve, and not only because of his covert downloading of it on my iPod. I'll leave it at that so you don't have to deal with too much sap.

Really, try to forgive Phil Collins for all that stuff he did in the eighties, and give it a listen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Michelle & Cindy

When Alison and I went to Seattle in October an amazing thing happened.

We were shopping in the Free People store, and I was trying on a great skirt and sweater, and when I walked out of the dressing room to show Alison, I looked over and there was another woman trying on the exact same thing. We both laughed and got to talking and it turned out that this other woman was on a girls trip with her friend as well, and they both had two kids each, and were out to have some kid-free fun. Well, after a few minutes talking like we had all been friends forever, we decided that we had to take advantage of the coincidence and decided to hang out. Thus our weekend in Seattle with Michelle and Cindy began.

We got lost in the International District looking for an awesome restaurant recommended to my by my friend Lara who used to live in Seattle, and then spent time kicking around the Fremont Market with them. It was so much fun, and such a great chance to meet two cool new friends.

A belated thanks for the great weekend Michelle and Cindy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Jingle Bells or My House on A Tuesday Afternoon

The holidays are coming, you can feel it in the cold, winter air, the Christmas lights, the busy stores, and all the baked goods and chocolate that seem to be mysteriously making their way into my kitchen (okay, I may have something to do with that). But the true sign of Christmas, above any other, is hyper kids (okay, the chocolate and baked goods may have something to do with that). Here's what a bunch of them look like at my house on a Tuesday afternoon:

Happy Holidays!