Thursday, January 31, 2013

Christmas Family Letter 2012

If the world has not been consumed by whatever apocalyptic scenario a pre-industrial society that couldn't even be bothered to discover the wheel or pulley thought we'd encounter, then may this letter find you and yours well.
2012 has been an indecently busy year for the Family. Mrs. Owl has taken up full time work, as her part-time position disappeared when that facility switched contracting companies, in other words, the company that she worked for got fired from the company she actually worked for, it's like unemployment Inception. With full-time work she's exhausted and happy and busy and exhausted.
Relatedly, this year she's taken up running at ungodly hours of the morning with her neighbours and is enjoying that as well. I would say jogging but nobody says jogging anymore outside of retrospectives of the 80's, I think. It's more of a 'battling the decline of age' than a 'practicing for the Boston Marathon' type of running, which is good, because if it was the latter I'm sure we'd have to start eating muesli and sprouted grains.
She's also in a neighbourhood bookclub, basically a wine and cooler club that mentions a book in passing they might have all read at some point. It's more of a carousing club, to be honest, but that sounds like she goes to a Pirates of Penzance themed pub which she doesn't, that I'm aware of.
With Mrs. Owl going full-time the kids are going to full-time daycare. Well, Owl Jr. is in full-time daycare and Owlet is in pre and post school daycare. To them it's 'playtime with other kids when we don’t have to do schoolwork'. A net positive, I think.
Owlet turned six this year, and lost her first and second baby tooth. This is, I think you'll agree, absolutely impossible as last year she was two. But I'm assured by medical documents and Mrs. Owl that she is in fact six. Her adult teeth are coming in awkwardly and strange but that's what adult teeth are supposed to do and it's really just a precursor for the teen years so she might as well get used to it.
She's in a raft of activities. Moreso because she's the sort of kid who asks "What are we doing tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that". I foresee that when she's an adulthood she'll bring back the Rolodex. So, partly to assuage that never-ending guilt that we aren't enriching our children enough (like they are some sort of European breakfast cereal) and well, mainly because we felt we needed an answer to her planning queries, we signed her up for things.
Skating. She loves it and falls down an awful lot but keeps getting back up, usually with a smile on her face which is the most important thing in skating, and in life, I suppose.
Gymnastics. This is more of the same, running and tumbling and tumbling and falling and falling and whatever else. She usually asks when her 'performance' is which may mean she's far more Filipino than we suspected.
This brings us to her next activity, Music Theatre. It squishes dancing and acting and singing all into a Saturday of extracurricular goodness which seems alright. We do have to attend the season end performances which are great except you do have to watch the teen group do their thing and well teenagers trying to look cool and ironic while trying to do a scene from 'Annie' certainly redefines the definition of 'audience discomfort'.
She's started her first year of real school this year, with the Mandarin component. This aspect is primarily used to have her perform in front of relatives and friends which she, unaccountably, can become shy about. The school bit is good, she was frustrated it wasn't all play-time and fun and games but seems to have bounced back from the realization that she's in for a decade and a bit of raw drudgery, rather well.
Owlet is still the fireball she's always been. But now with more questions. Questions upon questions upon questions upon questions and I'm just glad I can access Wikipedia from my phone. We're trying to instill in her solid values, like getting up when you fall, never being afraid to ask questions, the indomitable power of perseverance, and all without referencing lines from "Batman Begins" or "Galaxy Quest". I'm finding the last bit pretty challenging.
Owl Jr. is four and is in full-time daycare, and has really opened up. He's gone from mostly sober to mostly... well, something like a pirate on Prozac who has just boarded your merchant vessel armed with a very large candy-cane and a train conductor's hat. Interacting with other kids on a daily basis seems to have been good for him. It has not decreased his near chemical dependence on trains and train-related things. It might be because his fellow daycare kids are also variously afflicted with this disease.
He started swimming this year that he's taken to fairly well. We'll be signing him up for more things as he gets older. I'm still getting over the shock that he's walking, so.. I might need some time to adjust.
Molly is now 8, middle-aged for her dog-size. She acts the matron of a newspaper established in 1855. Generally reserved, grudgingly affectionate, would rather spend the rest of the day in bed. We've gotten a dog walker to give her walks two days a week, which, given her rather pitiful stamina, seems more than enough. Mrs. Owl has just started taking her to work once a week, which lights up both the residents and Molly between their rather lengthy naps.
I am still, shockingly, I know, at the University. It's become a bit more staid and corporate and there is an endless stream of acronyms that sound impressive until you realize they've just renamed 'email'. It's all very formal and well-directed and there's lots of change going on as if people know what their doing and nevermind that the technology we're building and using didn't even exist when I graduated.
In my spare time I've taken to making video games, when I can kick myself into doing something constructive with my time. They are horrible, 1980's Atari-esque games with all the  artistic sensibilities or a clipart laden intra-office Best Holiday Wishes email. But they fool me into thinking I'm productive so there's that, I suppose.
All in all an eventful year for the Family. We hope yours was, if not as eventful, then at least as happy, because if the Mayans have anything to say about it it'll be our last.
Happy Holidays,
Mrs. Owl, Mr. Owl, Owlet, Owl Jr., & (begrudgingly) Molly