Of blogs and Christmas cards

Last week, Lightspeed Chick mentioned that 2005 was a largely uneventful year for her. I feel the same way. Things happened, for sure, but most of it was not exactly earth shaking. I’m not complaining. It was, for the most part, a rather pleasant and easy year, although there were a few rough spots. But no calamities, nor exceptional lottery winnings.

I’m always running late when it comes to preparations for Christmas, and this year is no exception. In fact, after being laid-up with a bad back last week, I’m more behind than ever.

like, merry christmasOne thing that Martine and I did manage to do on time was to send out the Christmas cards. Unfortunately, I had two things working against me. First;  because we were doing them early (which is to say, not particularly late), it didn’t seem like a Christmas activity, so I felt unmotivated. Second; because it was a largely uneventful year, I couldn’t think of anything to write in them. Put those two factors together and all I could come up with was:

Weather is good.
Still working.
Roof no longer leaks.

That’s just too lame, so instead I tried to be witty. If any of you reading this are on my Christmas card list, I hereby apologize for the result.

Another problem with writing Christmas cards is that even if this year had been full of monumental ups and downs, it would feel redundant to take a pen and to write it down, over and over, on a bunch of separate cards. After all, the primary events of my life — at least the ones I’ll talk about — are right here on my blog. However, most of the people I send Christmas cards to don’t read my blog.

Maybe next year I’ll just send them my URL.

How’s that for timing?

My back started hurting last weekend. It hurt enough that I took Monday off work. Tuesday and Wednesday were OK, but it came back with a vengeance Thursday morning, such that I couldn’t even dry myself off after taking a shower. I just hobbled back to bed, dripping, and hollered to Martine to cover me with a blanket.

I called in sick that day. By late afternoon it didn’t seem to be getting any better, so I swallowed my pride, my distrust, and my frustration, and we entered into the official health care system — which is to say, we went to a clinic.

After about a 90-minute wait (not bad, actually), I saw a doctor and we did X-rays and pee tests right away. It was nice that I didn’t have to go elsewhere and wait in another line for those. Results came back almost immediately, and as usual (for me), nothing showed. The tests did, however, essentially rule out kidney problems and rib or spinal damage.

The doctor concluded it was a muscular problem. He prescribed anti-inflammatories (basically just pumped-up Advils) and told me not to do any sports for a while. I said "that shouldn’t be a problem, I never do sports." He replied "OK, so don’t shovel any snow for a while."

That was Thursday night.

Friday morning we awoke to the result of a record-breaking snowstorm. My first thought was "poor Martine."

My back was still killing me, so I took that day off work too. Martine was out of the house most of the day, and when she came home the driveway was, naturally, fully unshoveled. Hey, I’m just following doctor’s orders.

But what a trouper. She got out the big shovel and went at it.

dig baby dig

I helped a little bit (which I’m paying for today). I certainly owe her one after this. Fortunately, my back pain only really hurts when I sit down, so I’m still able to work in the kitchen. There will be a nice Sunday dinner tomorrow…

Christmas rituals

Last night Martine and I decorated our Christmas tree. We started a ritual last year in which, during the trimming of the new tree we burn a piece of the stump cut from the previous year’s tree. Let me tell you, not much burns faster or brighter than a piece of spruce that’s been drying in the basement all year.


This year’s tree has been in place since we bought it on Sunday, and The Mini, who loves to climb trees outside, had largely ignored it while it sat there undecorated. That was a good sign.

Despite a sore back that I’ve been nursing since the weekend, we managed to put together a pretty nice tree I think. But if you look in the lower right corner, you might see that a certain someone has found something he’d like to play with.


Here’s a close-up of the attempted attack. As of this morning he hasn’t wrecked it yet. Fingers are crossed.