Monthly Archives: December 2010

Far East Meets Southwest

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For the best in fine Asian Foods and Mexican Polka

Notice the cardboard sign reading Asian Foods in the windshield of the Lunch Wagon, and just in case you are not familiar with Spanish speech, Bum Bum is pronounced Boom Boom in English.

Other than that, I’m speechless.

New Year’s Resolution

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Postcard - Copyright 1907

I have made the exact same New Year’s resolution for the last 55 years straight, and I have kept that resolution each and every year. How did I do it? It’s easy. My resolution has always been, “Never make a New Year’s resolution.” I figure, why resolve to do something, to better myself, or try to accomplish anything that I know I may not be able to accomplish or may never come to pass. According to Wikipedia, only about a 12% actually keep their resolution anyway. I have a 100% success rate with my non-resolution resolution, so why risk breaking the winning streak now.

On my first day back at work each New Year, everyone who has actually made a New Year’s resolution always asks about my New Year’s resolution too. I doubt they could care less about what I have resolved to do or not do, but they cannot wait to talk about their own resolution. “Same one I made last year,” is my standard answer. “My New Year’s resolution is… to not make a New Year’s resolution.” 88% of those who hear my flippant response will eventually break their own resolution.

This year has been a year of firsts for me, and as such, I am about to publicly announce my noble intentions of making a genuine New Year’s resolution for the first time ever in my entire life. “But why now?” you ask. Simply put, I am getting older, fatter, and dumber every year that I do not resolve myself to be something better. I am a trifecta just waiting to happen. OK, the older part I cannot do anything about, but the fatter and dumber I can work on.

So, here goes…

My New Year’s resolution for 2011 is … <drum roll> … to not get any fatter or dumber.

I cannot wait to go back to work on Monday and for someone to ask me what my New Year’s resolution is.

Jingoat Bells

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A few years ago, my oldest son bought me a goat for Christmas, but there were a few stipulations that came with it. I did not have to feed it, milk it, or clean up after it. Wow, this was my kind of goat! Plus, for a guy who already has everything I want, what better gift than a goat? My son, knowing his dad would not really want to take care of the goat, had it sent to some poor needy family in a third world country. They would take good care of it and could probably really use a goat more than I could.

But I’ll be honest with you, I was a little disappointed. Sure, it made me feel good that some impoverished family from the third world would receive a life-changing gift, but I felt a little slighted not actually receiving a little something just for me, something that I could enjoy.

Now my mother has jumped on the bandwagon too and gives the gift of livestock for Christmas. However, my mother, as mother’s often do, also sent a special gift just for me to enjoy. She sent me a goat video.

Having watched the video until I was tired of the Jingle Goats, I too decided to give the gift of livestock to someone who has everything. If you want to pass it on too, go to Heifer International at www.heifer.org and pass on a gift that keeps on giving.

 

Disclaimer: Giggle with the Goats and Heifer International are not affiliated with each other in any way that I know of, other than both having something to do with goats. I am not affiliated with either.

Christmas Letter Tips

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I have wanted to write a Christmas Letter for years, no, decades. In some years past, I have actually started writing the letter, in other years, “It’s the thought that counts.” A few times, I came so close to getting the letter completed that I converted it over to a New Year’s Letter right at the last-minute. Unfortunately, I never did finish any of the New Year’s Letters either.

However, this year we had our Christmas tree set up early (last week) and I was in pretty decent shape on my Christmas shopping list (we decided to go slack this year). So on Sunday, I sat down to hammer out my first ever Tom Dye Family Annual Christmas Letter.

To any doubters in the crowd, note that I named my letter the Annual Christmas Letter. Not bi-annual, not tri-annual, not lustrum, and certainly not decadal. Just to be clear, it’s an Annual Christmas letter, and I finished it up last night! Whoodeedoodee!

My wife still has to write the address on all the envelopes and put them in the mail, but I have done my part. She told me this evening that she thinks most people are probably too busy to read Christmas Letter’s right before Christmas anyway, so she is thinking of waiting until the week between Christmas and New Year’s to actually mail them.

Before starting to write said letter, I did a little research, so I could pen the best letter ever. I really wanted it to be the best Christmas Letter I had ever written, even though I’d never actually written one before. I know you are all beginning to wonder if “eggnog” is one word or two, but just stick with me on this for another moment, I’m almost there. So anyway, I read a quick 5-step guide on how to write a proper Christmas Letter. I didn’t necessarily agree with all the points, nor follow them to the tee, but I thought the tips were worthy of sharing.

  1. Keep it short and focused. – This one got me to thinking, so I decided not to include a crossword puzzle at the end of my three page, 9.5 font, single spaced, 1500 word Christmas letter. There’s always next year!
  2. Don’t exaggerate. – Is writing about your court ordered community service and restitution as, “serving the community by giving back,” really exaggerating?
  3. Avoid unnecessary adjectives. – If I honestly want to write an amazingly brilliant thoroughly fascinating incredibly fabulous sensational Tom Dye Family Annual Christmas Letter, then I’d better not follow this one.
  4. Don’t brag. – Oops.
  5. Be yourself. – If I were myself, I would not actually be writing a Christmas letter, now would I? Hello? Remember me? I’m the guy who has never written a Christmas Letter before in his life.

Have a safe and Merry Christmas! Happy writing!

Angel

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We finally put up our Christmas tree this week, much earlier than usual. Back in the day we may have put up our tree the weekend after Thanksgiving as many families do, but that has not happened at our house for about as long as my feeble memory can remember back. At least we do not have to stay up late on Christmas Eve this year to decorate our tree as we have a few times in the recent past.

After our tree is up, trimmed, decorated, and lighted, the final act of official tree putting up at our house is the placing of a Christmas Angel atop the tree. This family tradition of ours began over 30 years ago when my wife first took possession of her dearly departed grandmother’s Christmas Angel. Our oldest son was two or three at that time. At some point in the genealogy of our tradition, my wife and I gave up the honor of topping the tree ourselves and began to hold our son up so that he could place the Christmas Angel atop the tree.

A few years down the road, we had more babies and so we then had to begin a systematic rotation for the honor of placing the Angel, giving a turn to each child year-by-year, oldest through youngest and then over again. Each year in order to insure fairness I always have to review videos or photos of prior years to insure a strict adherence to the rotation.

At some point, we decided that the official Angel putter-upper also gets to be the official Angel taker-downer. As the children have grown up, other changes have taken place too. Child #1 went out of rotation when he was married and moved away from home, and he now presides over his own rotation. Another change that has been a little hard for me to get used to is that I do not need to hold the kids up anymore as they can all reach the top on their own now.

While looking through my photo archives to determine this year’s honoree, I put an Angel log together for the last 5 years:

  • Child #3 – December 24, 2006
  • Child #4 – December 19, 2007
  • Child #2 – December 23, 2008
  • Child #3 – December 24, 2009
  • Child #4 – December 12, 2010

I got a chuckle out of how early we had set up our tree this year, and how late the last few.

Wow! I may even be able to get a gift picked out for my wife before Christmas Eve at this rate.

It’s a Wonderful Life

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This weekend the Guymon Community Theatre is putting on the stage version of It’s a Wonderful Life by James Rodgers from the film by Frank Capra and story by Philip Van Doren Stern. I have always loved watching the movie version, and I watch it every year during the holidays. In fact, while the bell tolls during the intro to the movie I always begin to cry. That’s right. During the intro, even before the movie actually starts, I start to cry. I cannot help myself. There is just something about that movie from start to finish that tugs hard at my heartstrings.

I phoned in my reservations for tonight’s stage performance at Guymon Community Theatre in advance and was glad I had. I was surprised how many cars were in the downtown area, and had to park quite a ways away from the theatre. When we got inside, I could see why, as the show was nearly a sell out.

I first began to cry with George Bailey and Mary Hatch singing “Buffalo Gals” and dancing by the light of the moon. The best part of the show was the portrayal of George Bailey by veteran actor and friend, Tyler Puryear. Tyler brought his character to life in a way rarely accomplished on a live theatre stage. Sure, the show had its share of distractions with the usual array of live theatre gaffs. Like mics not working, phones not ringing on cue and lights going down before a scene is over. But I was still blubbering when I left the theatre two hours later.

Like most folks, I always think of Jimmy Stewart when I think of my favorite holiday story It’s a Wonderful Life, but from now on Tyler Puryear will come to the front of my mind. Tyler undoubtedly carried the day.

There are only two more showings, Saturday night and Sunday matinee. I highly recommend seeing this show.