26 November, 2006

Happy Birthday, Dad

I hope my dad can feel all the birthday wishes from across the Pond! And do you know the only other person whose birthday has been used as a post title? The Queen. So there you go.

This is, of course, Indiana's own Senator Lugar, and he's patron of my father's favorite, I think it's safe to say, charity, Gleaners Food Bank. There are several locations, but we just donated to the Indianapolis branch, in honor of my dad for his birthday. Isn't it impossible to think of something to give a father, especially a non-materialistic one like my dad? He doesn't care what he wears (unless it's a red sweatshirt with a v-neck from one of his children's colleges, or hometowns), and he'd just as soon go to the library as get a book as a gift. He's got every tool in the world already, and about three thousand framed photographs of both his granddaughters (not that that stops Jill or me giving him more). No, what my dad likes best is to have given to somebody else, so we did. You might think of a similar thing for your dad, this Christmas. Unless he really and truly likes getting neckties.

Let's see, what else is going on, other than recovering from Thanksgiving? Well, I had a truly crummy fiction class yesterday, I have to say! I just don't think my writing is going well. There weren't many comments, and I must say I am not thinking that writing a novel is going to happen for me. John warns me that my classmates might not fit the profile of the readers my style would appeal to (more serious than I am, for sure, and grittier), so perhaps that is true. I was forced to call my mommy and daddy on my way home from class, for some parental support (this takes the form of unqualified praise and approval, just in case your kid calls you for "parental support"). I might email my mother my first chapter and see what she thinks, because it's really the sort of book that she and I would read: light fiction, with a mystery thrown in. But I didn't enjoy my class, and I really wonder sometimes, why do I put myself through these things? Pay good money to be under pressure to produce something that doesn't feel very successful, and have to read it out loud in front of however many semi-professionals. It certainly isn't the professor's fault; he's as helpful as he can be. Well, only two more weeks to go.

In the meantime, Christmas is beginning to rear its exciting head. My friend Susan says we can get a tree at "Homebase," a sort of Home Depot from what I can glean. And then I must bring all the boxes up from the little storage room downstairs, all the boxes labeled "Christmas ornaments," with stickers from the movers saying "FRAGILE," and "BY SEA." What relatively awful memories, from a year ago! Pretending to have Christmas in Connecticut while in reality getting ready to move, move, move. This year we can relax.

Well, I am off to try to replicate the fantastic "dry-fried" Mandarin chicken we had out on Friday night. Anything that doesn't contain traditional North American flavors! Those can wait till Christmas dinner. I'll put my George Winston seasonal piano music on in the background, while John obsesses over a house (yep, it's the one in the picture) in Fitzroy Square that he is desperate to buy, and Avery memorizes "Jingle Bells" in French. A peaceful evening ahead, all in all.

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