A Letter

letter-20141224Li (age 7-soon-to-be-8) left a letter for Santa Claus, transcribed verbatim here:

Dear Santa,

I would like 4 things for Christmas.

1. a real kitten that has a nice percenalety.
2. Pokemon cards
3. evrey thing that has to do with How to train your dragon
4. some surprises.

I have tried to be my very best self this year.

Sincerly
Li

P.S. Check off the kitten if you gave me one so I can know and unwrap or fish it out of my stocking so it does not sufficate. Ian would like a kitten also.

Li

Time for a talk

Li turned 7 years old this past Monday, and based on something I saw Friday afternoon, it would seem that the time has come for one of those important father/daughter “talks”. I was doing some volunteer computer tech support at Li’s school on Friday afternoon. She had left her research paper on Argentinean pampas deer open in MS Word on one of the computers in her classroom. (She had saved it — of which I was proud — something not all of the students in her class have apparently learned, based on my observations.) One of her teachers found me sobbing uncontrollably under the computer table… Li’s entire paper is set in … [gasp] Comic Sans. The horror, the shame… I was so unprepared.

While MS Word probably does not deserve anything better, Comic Sans is a horrible thing to do to Argentina, pampas deer, and research papers. Yes, even 1st grade research papers.

(This entry is based on a Facebook post I started on January 10, 2014. Most of it is true, aside from the “sobbing uncontrollably under the computer table” bit.)

Here we go…

All of these are combining — as they typically do each year — to pile on a good case of the January blues:

  • Li’s birthday is tomorrow. She turns 7. How is this even remotely possible? I can’t believe how fast this past year and, really, all of her life have raced past.
  • Ian heads back to Norman tomorrow morning for the upcoming start of the spring semester of his fourth year of college. Has he really been home for three weeks already? It’s never been easy on any of us when he leaves but the past couple departures have really been hard; this one will be, too.
  • Li goes back to school tomorrow. She’s really excited about this and about her birthday, but also really struggling with Ian’s impending departure. Yesterday was not a good day for her, and the internal tension between her excitement and her sadness was a big part of it.
  • I go back to work on Tuesday (the day after tomorrow), after having been off work for a full three weeks.

Up early…

Up early this morning to get Ian up early (never an easy feat, and sometimes not all that pleasant) to get him to the airport. He’s headed back to Norman and school today, leaving a noticeable hole here at home. It has been wonderful having him home for the break between semesters and for the Christmas holidays.

We’re definitely seeing that as Li gets older, she misses him more each time he leaves, which makes these transition days as and after he departs even harder for all of us.

Vacation – II

Today is our last day on the Oregon coast, and I can already tell that leaving will be hard on all of us, but probably especially for Li. Deb commented that she thinks Li has laughed more this week than she has ever before… every single wave that catches us results in a delighted laugh. It has been a very relaxing week of doing very little: lots of time just walking and playing on the beach, chasing (and being chased by) waves, watching the surf continuously sculpt and change the beachscape. Where yesterday was our last full day here (we head south to Newport today and then to Albany to see friends this evening before starting for home on Saturday), we pretty much did nothing but hanging out yesterday and played on the beach as much as Li wanted to.

Deb and Li on the sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda
Deb and Li on the sandstone bluff at Cape Kiwanda

We took part of Wednesday and ventured south to Cape Kiwanda, for a change of scenery and it was definitely that: impressive surf, sandstone, and dunes. It was also surprisingly busy for mid-week in late September, and left us wanting to get back to the quiet of Rockaway Beach where we are staying. As soon as we were back, Li and I headed down to the beach to play in the waves and were treated to the highest water we’ve seen all week: lots of wave-racing, laughing, giggling, and more than just a little getting wet. Li and I got caught by a couple surprising waves that left us wet more than waist high…

This is about as hard as we've worked all week...
This is about as hard as we've worked all week...

We’ve intentionally not filled our days with much: a late afternoon stop at the Tillamook Cheese factory early in the week (and a subsequent return for ice cream), an afternoon trip to the Cape Meares lighthouse (and the Octopus tree there), and our jaunt to Cape Kiwanda mid-day yesterday. Other than that, we’ve just hung out on the beach or spent some time reading.

Renting a place here on the coast was a great choice. Having something resembling a “home” has worked really well for Li in terms of stability and has contributed greatly to a relaxing week. A washer and dryer have been a godsend to deal with changing clothes multiple times a day. We’re right on the beach — as in 10 seconds from our door — in a sort of condo building that appears to be new construction on the northern end of Rockaway Beach (the town) where they are renting four of about a dozen units, but we’ve had the place completely to ourselves almost all week (another family showed up late yesterday afternoon).

Playing in the waves on a grey afternoon
Playing in the waves on a grey afternoon

We’ve had really weather since we arrived, with lots of sun and really comfortable temperatures. Yesterday was grey and overcast, and was misting (not quite drizzling) when we hit the beach. A bit of a breeze yesterday also marked the first we’ve really seen of anything other than calm. Today looks to be dawning grey and overcast, but without the fog and mist of yesterday morning; we’ll pack and then venture down to the ocean one last time for this trip to say our goodbyes to the sand and waves…