Tuesday, January 8, 2008

But the Definitive Clue Is...

Every year immediately after the Hillsborough Township Reorganization Meeting, there is a rash of online postings about how the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor have obviously been chosen ahead of time so why bother with the little play where they accept nominations and the committee members "vote" at the meeting?

Additionally, this year there were more than a few discussions about whether the Deputy Mayor would become Mayor.

Most use the completed plaques as proof of these decisions being made ahead of time. Jokes are common about the presence of a little engraver waiting in the back room to prepare the plaques as soon as the "vote" is completed:

Then there is this year's pre-printed List of Township Committee Assignments & Liaison Assignments that clearly showed "Deputy Mayor DelCore's" assignments.

But the most telling evidence of the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor being chosen ahead of time is the cakes served at the reception following the meeting:

Anyone who has ever planned a party knows you have to order those ahead of time. Unless Mike was waiting in the back room with a tube of icing ready to personalize each cake...

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Merry Little Christmas

As you can see from the accompanying pictures, our house is still decorated for Christmas. Today Ukranians, Russians, members of the Eastern Orthodox Church, and other Slavic people are celebrating the holiday.

The date has to do with the switch in 1582 from the Julian calendar to the Gregorian Calendar. Although some bloggers and posters would post a long learned research paper about this, I leave it to any reader who cares to look up more information.

For me this is just another reason to keep the holiday lights burning.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

On the Twelfth Day...

I hope you still have those Christmas decorations up, because today is the Twelfth Day of Christmas, also known as The Three Kings Day and the Feast of the Epiphany.

I have never been a fan of the "Twelve days of Christmas" song (it reminds me too much of that staple of school bus trips "99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall"), but it does serve to remind us that Christmas isn't over on December 25th.

The Christmas tree pictured above is the 2005 Hillsborough Municipal Building tree. It has recently been suggested that one of Hillsborough's holiday traditions is having a large section of this tree ending up blacked-out during the season, but it looks pretty good here except for a bare spot or two.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

The Santa Question

This Christmas I had to contend with the Santa question. You know the one.

It was brought up not by the fifth grade believer in question, but by her slightly older friend (sixth grade) who advised me that eleven was way too old to be a believer and other kids were going to make fun of any kid that old who still believed.

The first thing to determine was the reason the sixth grader felt the need to disabuse the fifth grader of her belief in Santa Claus. She insisted that she was just doing it to help her friend. I am too cynical to believe that her entire reason was altruistic, but I was unable to establish any truly malicious reason for her attempts to knock Santa off the fifth grader’s pedestal.

Next was checking with the believer to figure out if this was just a plot to rake in extra Santa gifts [my cynicism again] or true belief. She was not to be moved from her conviction that Santa was a real person who mysteriously did everything that Santa is supposed to do at Christmas.

The fifth grader’s older sibling (ninth grade) was no help, advising me that she herself had actually stopped believing in third grade but kept saying she believed just to make her parents feel better. She was also inclined to feel it did no harm to let her younger sister continue believing.

After some thought I realized that there is something to be said for Santa Claus being magically real, a mysterious being who causes thousands of people – even some adults - to behave better than they might even if only for a few weeks.

So, what is the harm in keeping Santa real for another year? Having some fifth graders make fun of me?

Tough. I’m hanging with Santa another year.

Think about it. Can you prove he doesn't exist? Yeah, neither could I.

Friday, January 4, 2008

'Tis [still] the season

It has become de rigueur to complain about how the Christmas holidays are starting earlier and earlier. Well, I have decided to reverse that custom and whine about how the holidays are ending earlier and earlier.

It wasn’t that many years ago that every neighborhood had a house whose lights were still on for Valentine’s Day and there was always the family who didn’t bother to take down their lights at all; they just turned them on around Thanksgiving and stopped lighting them mid-January.

This year, the day after Christmas, I woke up bright and early still basking in the glow of a satisfying Christmas day, and couldn’t find any carols playing on the radio. Bummer.

Then, while having my first cup of coffee and admiring our Christmas trees, fireplace decorations, and gifts, I looked out the window and noticed the neighbors across the street taking down their lights.

Finally, the last few nights I noticed how dark and depressing the neighborhoods are without all the decorations and I decided to fight this early ending of the holiday season.

Let’s remember that there are Americans who won’t be celebrating Christmas until January 6th, which is the Feast of the Epiphany. And what about the twelve days of Christmas? Can’t we wait for the Wise Men to arrive?

There is something magical about watching a snowfall through Christmas lights, but in this area that doesn’t usually happen any more until January or February so there is even more to be said for leaving the lights turned on.

Life can be boring enough in mid-winter without us humans making it worse.

Anyway, if in mid-January you are finally taking the decorations off the Christmas tree and you fall off the ladder and need to call the rescue squad, well, you can just turn on the outside Christmas lights to make it easier for them to find the house.

See, I told you it was a good idea to leave them up!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

New Year's Irresolution

Blog posting on New Year’s Day can be daunting with readers expecting deep thoughts, resolutions, inspiration, and wisdom. Sorry, I can’t come up with anything close to inspiring or wise and no profound insights have occurred.

I would like to resolve to have life slow down a little, but so much of life depends on other people that you really don’t have the option to slam on the brakes without expecting that there may be someone behind you who will rear-end your little caboose.

Even in your own castle your resolutions can depend on the other occupants. I thought about resolving to eat all the food that has accumulated in the pantry and in the cupboards before buying more. First thing, my significant other has to agree to help cook and eat the strange meals that will result. Secondly, it will hurt to pass up all those stock-up food sales; we just got the flyer for January’s Can-Can Sale.

We both thought about cutting back on our work hours – maybe giving up one of our part-time jobs or not accepting new clients. Well, at least we are thinking about it. We are supposed to be easing into retirement, but we don’t seem to have a handle on that. The last time I told an acquaintance that I was taking on a new client, her comment was “Oh, and what are you giving up? Sleeping?”

We considered the usual promises to lose weight or eat more healthy food or exercise more…but we have tried those unsuccessfully before.

Maybe the problem is that I have never really celebrated New Year’s Day. After decades starting school every September it seems as though that should be the time for new beginnings - not the middle of winter.

Okay, try me in September; maybe I’ll have a resolution by then.