Take your guesses at what time this "chronically overtired" and "stressed out" Father-of-Five will finally collapse while waiting for the new year to arrive.
Hint... I can guarantee it will be before midnight.
I'll allow for fifteen minute windows.. and overlapping and duplicates are just fine...
My guess.... 10:45 - 11:00 pm (Central).
New Year's Day Morning Update...
Wii until 10:15
Settlers of Catan until 12:30
Clean up, etc...
Final bed time... 2:00 am!
Surprized the heck outta me!
I just may need an "old man's nap" today...
In preparation for tomorrow night's (New Years Eve) celebration, #2 and #3 of 5 and I started a game of "Settlers of Catan" (one of my Christmas Gifts this year).
Little known fact about the Father of Five.... He LOVES board games!!
(Foreshadowing for a future post..)
Today, a received an email from Best Buddy Ed....
Since he does not have a blog of his own (yet...), it is with his kind permission that his email has been converted into a "guest post" here on FOF. Folks, this is a PERFECT EXAMPLE of what makes Ed the kind, and generous person he (and his whole family for that matter) is.
Be sure to send him your thoughts through the Comments link.... I'll "make sure" he sees them. (I'm bigger and older than him....) He'll get them... You can bet on it!
I just thought I'd share a story with you.
This story began 8 months ago when I had a tree felled in my front yard. It was a very large White Poplar with a diameter of about 42" at the base. Unfortunately, when Poplar trees get so large they begin to rot from the inside out. Over the years the tree slowly got worse and worse, to the point that 65-70% of the upper branches had no leaves. I had to have it felled professionally due to power lines on two sides and rows of cedar trees on the other sides.
Once the tree was on the ground, it was my job to clean up. As I was cleaning up, I noticed my next door neighbor, B____, sitting on her front stoop. I decided this was a good time to take a break and walked across the street to say "Hi". During our conversation, I noticed she had a somber face. Then she mentioned the tree. I found out that tree was the last tree her dad had planted before he passed away.
I knew I had to do something special.
I went back to the task of cleaning up. Looking for an opportunity to come up with something creative for her, I noticed a large branch that was a near perfect circle (13" diameter). I knew right then what I had to do. I cut a couple disks off the branch with my chainsaw, and stored them in the corner of my storage shed to dry.....hoping they would not split.
Fast forward 8 months...the disks did not split and were nice and dry. Whew!! I planed down the disks to 1-1/4" thickness... Applied a satin oil finish to make the grain "come alive".....
I had made a beautiful clock for my neighbor!
Christmas Eve I called my neighbor up to see if she would be home for a few minutes. J____ and I walked over to B____'s house and she invited us in. I had the clock hidden inside a paper bag so she would not see what I had for her. We sat at her kitchen table and began to tell her about the day on her front stoop when she told me about the tree. I told her I noticed she was upset about the tree. I then let her know she would always have a part of that tree as I pulled the clock out of the bag.....
As you can imagine, her eyes did not stay dry very long. She didn't say much for a few minutes but she didn't have to.
The Spirit of Christmas is about giving...
And it was all over...
On any given day, you do not want to run out of toilet paper in a house with seven people.
It is bad... Trust me.
But you REALLY DO NOT want to run out of toilet paper with a house of seven people ON CHRISTMAS DAY.
It is REALLY BAD... Trust me.
Paper Towels just 'aint the same folks... (If ya know what I mean.)
(Maybe I can find some "Christmas theme" T.P. at a significantly discounted rate!)
It has been many years since you last received a letter from me. But after last night - I felt the need to share a frustration I have, so that nothing comes between a couple of life-long buddies such as ourselves...
First off, I must acknowledge a couple of things about you...
Your eyes -- how they twinkle, and your dimples how merry!...but
Your cheeks are like roses, and your nose like a cherry!
Your droll little mouth is drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of your chin is as white as the snow;
The stump of your pipe is held tight in your teeth,
And the smoke from it encircled your head like a wreath;
You have a broad face and a little round belly,
That shakes, when you laugh like a bowlful of jelly.
You are both chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I realize that many laugh when they see you,
in spite of themselves.
All that does not change the fact that I spent two hours (two hours of my life that I will NEVER get back) helping you out, by pre-assembling a "certain gift" for a "certain little four-year-old-girl", that will (when she sees that gift) undoubtedly provide many fond memories of you for her. Her eyes will light up, and oooo, that smile... She will be so excited, and she will talk about the gift you are bringing for many years to come...
Despite all this, I get BUPKIS for the work I put in "helping you" !
While it is true that I enjoy assembling items, I have been on a bit of a time crunch the past few days. Assembling this particular gift for you was a bit of an inconvenience, and cut into my already inadequate sleep time.
So Santa, my dear old friend, I could not (in good faith) let this frustration just sit and fester between us without sharing it with you. I'd hate to see such a simple thing come between a lifelong friendship, like the one you and I share.
Maybe next year, you could have a couple of the elves help a Father of Five out...
What do you say?
Your dear old friend...
P.S. I hope this letter does not end up putting me on your "Naughty List".
When I am not at home, this is where I can usually be found.
(One of the 4 main consoles at work.)
I'll see if I can snap a photo in the next day or two... It's really a wonderful site!
This happens once every six weeks.
Trifecta Friday is followed with four (well needed) days off!
Since I am on the topic of "work"... Check out THIS LINK!
That made for an exciting morning!
As a Follow up to A Christmas Treasure, I could not (in good faith) let it be unsaid that besides the Lionel Barrymore recording of A Christmas Carol (in all it's audio glory) there exists a VIDEO version of A Christmas Carol that holds a place my heart almost as big as the audio version.
Growing up, another one of the Christmas Treasures I most looked forward to (in addition to listening to the LP of A Christmas Carol), was our family's tradition of taking in a theater screening of "Scrooge".
I have seen (and heard) many different versions of A Christmas Carol over the years, yet I can (without hesitation) state that I have seen, NONE (and by NONE - I mean Not. Even. One.) version that comes CLOSE to providing the joy in my heart that Alistair Sim's 1951 version does.
Much like the Lionel Barrymore LP version, the sentiment I feel for "Scrooge" (the film) runs much deeper than the dynamics of the movie itself. You see, as very young children, "Scrooge" also became a part of our family's Christmas traditions when my parents brought us to the annual screening of "Scrooge" held at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts theater each year. It was one of my favorite parts of Christmas, and something I looked forward to each and every year. Seeing Scrooge as a boy with my family still remains one of my fondest childhood memories.
With the advent of VCR's and now DVD's - came the ability to see the movie in the comfort of my own home (which I do). As convenient as this is, there is something lost in the meaningfulness of watching the movie as I did when I was a child. We make an evening of it. We curl up on the couch with blankets as a family, and turn the lights down. It is still a lot of fun, and one of my favorite traditions - only it has changed slightly over the years, and become something slightly different.
I have often asked myself how much would I be willing to pay to have the opportunity go back in time (just for one day) and be that little boy - in all his innocence - going to see "Scrooge" at the Art Institute, holding hands with his mom and dad and little sister just one more time.
Folks, please... Treasure the Christmas traditions you share with your kids. They mean more than you can possibly imagine.
A series of posts where I share some of the little things that make a HUGE (positive) difference in the Life of a Father of Five!
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I got ready for work early - anticipating a car that would not start.
I was pleased to discover that unlike yesterday (when my car almost did not start) - today - it started right up!
Man, as I get older - it get's easier and easier to make me happy.
Folks, it was not that long ago that I wrote about my favorite Christmas Tradition - Lionel Barrymore's "A Christmas Carol" on a 33 1/3 LP that I had converted over to CD a few years ago.
Well, thanks to my Best Bud Ed, he located a link to the audio on the net... and the best part?? It's FREE!!
The audio is considered "Open Source" and therefore available for EVERYONE to enjoy!
So, with many thanks to Ed, I would like to present each of you the link to download your own personal copy of my all time favorite version of A Christmas Carol!
The file is a 2.7mb mp3 file - and plays in 16kbps.
Here is a link to the Internet Archives web page. It has a built in player on the page, so if you choose not to download it, you can stream it - and listen to it right off the webpage. (There are a number of different versions listed - The version in question is #13 on that page).
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And, for those of you who want to get right to it, here is the direct download link.
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On a side note, another version (my second favorite) was also listed on that page. #1 - #6 is the Ronald Coleman version (another LP we used to own) of the same story. While I enjoyed that version as well, it does not hold the same place in my heart as the Lionel Barrymore version does.
Again, I can not thank Ed enough for finding (and sharing) these links... You are the greatest friend a guy could ask for!
We all have family traditions, or family memories that hold an undeniably special place in our hearts. It may be an ornament, a decoration, a special food item, or (in my case) a Christmas Recording.
For me, Christmas would not be Christmas without listening (at least once) to this recording.
Come on FOF, get to it already - what is this "recording" that holds so much meaning to you?
The recording that I am talking about is a vinyl LP (any one actually remember these things?) of "A Christmas Carol". It stars Lionel Barrymore as Ebenezer Scrooge, and is narrated by Richard Hale. This LP is one that my father purchased as a young adult when he bought his first "Hi-Fi" set.
"Frightening" in that I lost my first Grandfather at age 5. (Thus confirming I must have been listening to this recording before I was five years old) because I have memories of being scared that my grandfather would return and visit with me (Much like Jacob Marley did.)
I would (at a young age) get so frightened while listening to this record - that there were times I would close my eyes, and cover my ears, and talk to myself so I did not have to hear Jacob Marley's voice. Yet, as frightened as I was by those portions of the story, I could not resist listening to it, and even asked to "play it again".
That LP became as much a part of my Christmas as our tree, eggnog, and Santa Claus was. I would (often) listen to that LP several times a day. I am (still to this day) able to recite the script, with matching vocal expressions, word for word.
Sadly, the day came when there was no longer a record player in my or my parents house. Thankfully, my father had a friend make a copy of the LP on cassette - and that took the place of the record for many years.
Close to ten years ago, (when eBay was still "fun" to shop) out of curiosity, I ran a search - and found another copy of the record. Wanting a "back up" copy, I IMMEDIATELY put a high bid on it - and won the auction. When it arrived home - I was delighted to find that it was the EXACT same recording, in the EXACT same cover, but with a different Label and Record company.
I started getting curious, and so I started my own little "History's Mysteries" surrounding this wonderful recording. Here is what I found.
Original Record - Lion Records - L70124 - A Christmas Carol - Lionel Barrymore 
eBay purchase - MGM Records - E3222 - A Christmas Carol - Lionel Barrymore [1955-1956]
The MGM recording (eBay purchase) was the original recording of this version of "A Christmas Carol". It was sold as an MGM Labeled Record in their "E series" records.
The Lion Records version of the record was released in 1959. Lion Records was a subsidiary label of MGM Records that produced 12-inch vinyl LP's between 1958 and 1960 when it went defunct.
So, while my dad has (what is in my mind) the "original" LP, I discovered that the copy I own (the eBay purchase) is technically the "original" copy, and the LP I grew up listening to was, in reality, a re-issue.
Around that same time, I paid a co-worker (who was/is big into computers and electronic gadgets) to take my beloved LP, and make a CD version of it as a Christmas gift to my father (and as a back up copy for myself). He did an outstanding job of it - having to make several scans of the LP cover (due to it's size) and pieced them together to make a single color photo for the CD cover. It turned out BEAUTIFULLY!
My CD of "A Christmas Carol" continues to be one of my most prized possessions, and an important part of my Christmas each year!
Does my love affair with "A Christmas Carol" end there? No... No it does not. Stay tuned.
With the Mother of Five serving hot lunch - then going on a field trip with #4 of 5's class, I get some home-alone time with #5 of 5.
What was the first thing we did??
After we got home from preschool, she came running up to me with four little tiny bottles in her hand, and asked me to paint her fingernails...
PAINT HER FINGERNAILS?? I've mixed and sold paint. I have painted houses, walls, boats, and even cars (Tony, have you seen the "Pizza man"??)... But fingernails?? TINY HUMAN FINGERNAILS??She chose two colors (one for each hand), and reminded me that I am to navigate around the one finger with a band-aid on it.
In the end, I was successfully able to paint her nails - without any previous training or experiences!
"So, what can you expect to read about in my posts?
Stories of real Minnesotans who aren't afraid to use this new technology in an interesting and personal way.
You'll meet Minnesotans who are joining the global conversation, simply because they can. Should a Minnesota angle crop up on a national blog, we'll try point you there as well."
For those of you who live in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro area, you are very likely to know who Mary Jo Copeland is. For those of you who do not, (in a nut shell) she is considered a "Street Mother", a "Extraordinary Leader" and an "Urban Saint" for the poverty stricken and homeless of our community.
Nothing like waiting till the last minute, huh FOF? Well, that's what comes with trying to keep up with a herd like ours... Once and a while things get done at the last minute...I say "better late than never"
UPDATE: As of 12-09-08, #4 of 5's class raised a total of 1,222 pairs of socks!! WAY TO GO!!