Hooray for Baguettes and Stinky Cheese!

Posted by: elraymundo at 10:46 pm on Monday, January 5, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Euphoria, Family

So today wrapped itself up nicely.

I opened my email in a bit of a grumpy snit because The Debra and I are trying to choose the photo we will use for our (late again) Hannamas card. After looking at the same three photos 600 times and with no end in sight and with The Blessed One still unable to make a selection, I autocratically, dictatorially, and - with great sweeping gestures - grumpily  (I’m not patient with these sorts of agonizings, even though they almost always lead to excellent decisions) told my Lotus Blossom that I would email her the pics and she could look at them over and over and over and over (and over) again without me and that I would be more than happy with her choice.

Not only was she able to make the choice without me (and, as I expected, I love her choice), but when I opened my email to send the pics to La Raymunda, I found two Amazon gift certificates in my inbox from my parents, sister, and cousin Damon. Total score!!!

I told my family that normally I would have to say that their gifts were too generous, but since we are currently unable to afford air I told them that this year I heartily and unhesitatingly accept! So I bought the French language software I’ve been jonesing for for the past year and a half and I hereby promise to buy a baguette and some stinky cheese - in French, of course - on each of their behalfs the next time we are in France. Thanks mom and dad and Lisa and Damon!!!

French Software
This is that which will produce stinky cheese.


Posted by: elraymundo at 9:04 pm on Friday, January 2, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Self-Spotting

I’ve heard - or read or somehow absorbed - the idea that one’s age shows in the hands, so I had an idea to start a tradition of photographing my hands each year on my birthday. Over the course of 40 years I imagine I’ll see some differences, assuming we still have a world wide web or digital cameras or a Michael in 2049.

Michael's Hands at 42

Hands at 42 - At Home, Yorba Linda, California
Exif: ISO 400; f/16; 2 sec; 135mm
01.02.2009 ©Michael Raymond 2006 - 2009

So Long, 2008

Posted by: elraymundo at 8:12 pm on Thursday, January 1, 2009
From: Great Falls, Virginia
Filed under: Lotus Blossom, Friends, Self-Spotting

Whenever The Debra says something like, “Oh God, I look so old today,” I always remind her to consider the alternative. That’s the perspective I choose to take with 2008, as I send it into its long, wintry goodnight. (Not that there is much “wintry” going on in Southern California, but I try to work with what I’ve got.) 2008 was a massive pain in the butt, but it was better to have lived through it than to have not been around for the experience at all.

To be honest, I can’t wrap up The Year That Was any better than our guests, Wendy Hunter and Rolf Wyss and their two sons did when they came to celebrate my birthday on January 2nd (which I suppose lets the cat out of the bag on the fact that I am writing this post after January 1 and cheating by pre-dating it - but again, I work with what I’ve got). Wendy and Rolf, and their 4-year-old son Jaeger and 8-year-old son Bodø, gave a short performance in our family room which summed up 2008 better than I ever can. They were kind enough to leave a transcript of the performance as well as give me rights to its first publication in North America with an option to add worldwide and electronic permissions with advance written notice - plagiarized and notarized - as long as a live salamander is stapled to the request.


Poem for Michael, Upon Turning 42


At 41, Michael found life a bit dull,
“How to stir things up, and get out of this lull?
I know!” he said, to his lovely mate.
“Let’s get out of Virginia, move to the Golden State.”


So Michael and Debra packed up and came
Moved near family and friends, but what a shame!
Had an earthquake that summer, they were near the epicenter -
Hadn’t closed on their house, they were living in a “renter.”


Went ahead and bought the house near the middle of the market;
Real estate crashed, “Yikes, can we hock it?”
Fellow Yorba Lindans saying, “Yes on Prop 8!”
“Aargh…how can we live in this conservative state?!”


Next thing they knew, fires raged all round about ‘em,
Bonded with those neighbors, “Garden hoses on!” they shouted at ‘em.
With ash in the swimming pool and dust throughout the rooms,
Preparing for the holidays filled Debra with great gloom.


Just when everything was neat and tidy, spick and span,
Torrential rain poured from the skies, enough to break any dam
And send mudslides creeping downward toward all the homes.
“Evacuate!” said authorities. “Now it’s time to roam!”


It’s January 2nd, and orders been restored - all clear!
For Michael looking back, 41 has been quite a year.
What can the next, 42, have in store?


We don’t know, but…we hope you won’t be bored!

To that I would only add this email exchange I had with my boss back in Herndon, Virginia, after we had wished each other a happy, peaceful and prosperous 2009:

2008 wore me out. Between changing jobs, living in four residences, moving twice, crossing the country twice (at high speed while doing conference calls and learning a new job), buying a house, fires almost burning my new house down, mudslides, family holiday drama, losing a top engineer on my team, dealing with the economy and its psychological fallout, and then all the chaos at work to close out December…I’m ready for a quiet year.

So please everyone, while Baby New Year looks cute and cuddly in its New Year Diaper, please tiptoe and whisper and try not to wake it; I need a break.

Happy New Year and may the coming year be blessed, peaceful, prosperous, and full of joy for you all.