A Little Ray of Sunshine

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Why the boys don't go to 'Children's Church'

If you go to any sort of mainstream church, you will find some sort of 'Children's Church'. Something that takes the little brats out of the church service, usually after the Bible Reading and before the Sermon.
We go to church with my mother, at the local Methodist church. We're none of us members, though Mom has gone there since I was about twelve or so, and that's where I've gone whenever I've been in this town. (My husband was raised Southern Baptist.)
So, about a quarter to a third of the way through the service, the preacher calls the children up front and talks to them a bit about some Bible story or another, or maybe asks them why they think God does this or that and then explains what the Bible says about it, and our pastor is very good with children (his first is a few months younger than our second). Which is fine with us. Then someone, usually one lady, takes all the little munchkins out of the service. Let's think about this: one adult, 4-20 children, depending on the Sunday. Yes, that's right, we might have as many as 20 smaller children, fourth grade and under, and one overworked adult. Now sometimes one or two of the sixth grade girls will go along to help, but they don't make much difference.
I went along with the boys one day, with the excuse of seeing if Hemi were ready for this experience. The children were running wild in the church gym, while the lady supposedly in charge was begging them to sit down and pay attention. A couple athletic little tykes climbed up on the bars that protect the windows from stray balls. Of course I told my husband what I observed and added that I didn't want the boys to be there. Naturally, he agreed. (He always does when I make a sensible decision, and generally I do.)
The only person who has said anything at all about this is my mother. I quietly (and away from church) explained what I'd seen going on, and she's kept her mouth shut since. Which for her is a rare display of tact. She does benefit from getting to hold one grandson or the other on her lap during service, and I'm sure she enjoys having them compete for who gets to sit on Nana's lap.
By the way, the pastor's son stays with the pastor's wife during the service. She, like us, sits near the back of the church so she can slip out when he gets unruly or cranky. I wish there were something better for the other children, but the parents don't want to deal with their behavior, so what can be done? They are always misbehaving anyway, and the parents don't require them to stop. I can see why people think children disrupt church, but the reason is not that they're children, it's that their parents permit them to.

Monday, January 30, 2006

What to play?

There is a little string concert that comes at the end of every year. The lady who organizes it is one of the few people who makes me look organized, and she usually calls her potential performers about a week to ten days before the concert. I know my name is on the list.
Last year, I simply did the first movement of the Boccherini B flat Major, because, as I said, she only calls a week to ten days before the concert, and it is one of those peices that does not take too much working up, once you have first learned it. I'd like to do something a little different this year.
I'm considering several different pieces, the Piazolla Tango, or perhaps the Crumb Unaccompanied Sonata, but that is very heavy music, and I'm not sure the audience would enjoy it. It is usually string students and their parents who attend. There are always the PDQ Bach suites, but one almost has to know the orriginals to get the joke. Then there's Schloemo by Bloch, or is it Bruch, I can never remember. I could do a movement of the Dvorak concerto.
Finding an accompanist is always difficult, the lady I had last year could barely manage the music technically, and was woefully unused to playing with solo-type string instruments, as the youngsters she'd accompanied before don't have them. Oh, I know who to call, I'm just not sure how to come up with his fee.
Does anyone have any feedback as to what would be most likely to be appreciated? I'm leaning towards one of the unnacompanied, as that eliminates the accompanist issue entirely, and oh, I forgot, I do have the JS Bach suites.

I am a blond

And I keep forgetting to tell you that my husband FINALLY got his permanent permanent resident visa. Now we only have to jump through the regular DHS hoops for the next ten years, which are, in comparason, mere nuisances.
Ten years ago, DHS didn't exist. Who knows, maybe ten years from now, it won't exist, either. Of course, things like that rarely improve, and DHS is certainly not an improvment over INS.

A good way to start the day

I opened my eyes this morning to a little boy who wanted a snuggle. No whinging, no tears, just snuggle up with Mommy in bed. My boys are so busy now that they don't have as much time for me: there are just too many cars to crash, books to read, and finger guns to shoot. He'll be two in April, though everyone always thinks he's older. It's lovely to have time to cuddle him and kiss him, he's a sweet, soft baby, and very loving. His big brother was already up and hanging out with Daddy.
He woke me up from a very entertaining dream, which I have diagnosed as being caused by too much John Ringo before bedtime. At least, that is the only reason I can think of for my sleeping mind generating a dirty bomb triggered by a cell phone, a plot device directly stolen from the book I was rereading.
Yesterday I got most of my garden seed order put together, I am waiting to hear back from my mother as to whether or not she wants to order anything from this company. I want to order my seeds all from one company so as to save on shipping and handling. We are splitting the garden this year, as they have a great deal of trouble with deer. The deer are not interested in sweet corn, so they will plant much of their space to that, and the rest to peas and beans because Dad has devised wire frames that go over them to discourage the plants. I will do the tomatos, cucumbers, squash, melons, peppers, eggplants, and other things disinclined to stay within proper boundries, which causes them to become deer dinner rather than ours.
I don't have as much space, only about 1200 sq. ft., a 4' by 30' strip along the south wall of our house. I intend to trellis as much as possible against the wall of the trailor, and do two rows, maybe three with the root vegetables and the greens. My parents could grow the root vegetables, but judging from past results, wouldn't get them dug before the ground froze solid.
Some things I am only buying the seed now, and won't plant until next fall, inside. The napa cabbage, and regular cabbage, and broccoli. There is too much of an aphid problem here, and I don't like chemicals around the children. Lettuce and spinach, and the multipurpose beets, should do fine outside. A friend gave me a pressure canner, so I am all set for next summer. I can't wait for the seeds to get here so I can get them started.
My husband finds our weeds strange, apparently jungle weeds do not have the root systems that desert weeds have, and he was shocked at how easily dandelions, for instance, come back. I expect I'll have the same problem in reverse, if/when we move to his homeland.

I think I found the problem . . .

Several folks have commented that they can't follow my name to my blog in blogger commenting. I think I checked the wrong box when I set it up. If that was the only problem, then it ought to be fixed.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Socialization doesn't mean social skills . . .

It means assimilation. That is, when someone finds out we're homeschooling, and they ask "But aren't you worried about socialization?" they really mean "Aren't you worried your children won't conform to society?"
This realization was prompted by a couple afternoons spent, in part, in company of a friend of my husband's, a seventeen-year-old who will get his bachelor's degree this summer, a homeschooler who started college at fifteen. M. is a very social young man, very well educated. He chooses to be more amused than frusterated by the fact that society won't let him do anything yet, and showed up yesterday in a t-shirt with a picture of handcuffs on it reading "Trust me, I'm legal."
But . . . in the course of talking, he related an incident where he had worn a sarong out of his apartment. Oops! Yep, non-conforming to society, there. Straight males, in this town, do not wear sarongs.
And I realized, as he was laughing at himself, and at the town, that this is why people ask that socialization question. They aren't concerned about a homeschooler being able to string a sentance together or carry on a conversation, they're concerned about having their preconceived notions of how things ought to be challenged.

Friday, January 27, 2006

It snowed

today, like a layer of heavy butter frosting over the world. Not the powdered sugar sort of snow, but thick, and it looks like it should be gooey, but of course, when I touched it, it was only wet and cold. So I shoveled it off the walk into the garden, and burried the little spruce tree again. It is only eight inches tall, or maybe six, to begin with, but we set it down in a little basin, so it disapears quickly. One shovelfull is all it takes. Spruces don't mind this, they like the snow.
There are spruces across the fence from my parents' yard, along the road, next to their pine tree. When the snow is heavy, the boughs bow down to the ground. One year the snow was so heavy on them, and froze, that when the wind blew, the top of one broke. It didn't die, though, it just kept growing, coming back up towards the sky at the end. It looks like an old lady's shoulders now.
I used to keep rabbits under the pine tree, sometimes. My first bunny lived there, in a wire cage with a wooden hutch around it. The back and roof were solid, the sides could be taken on and off with three screws, they were phillips screws, I did it so many times I still remember, even though he has been dead for nine years now. The front hung from the top, hooking onto the cage wire with blunted nails. It had a wedge of wood that went through the cage door handle to keep it on.
When I had more rabbits, my father built a shed for them off the side of the garage. Not really a shed, but more like a shed than anything else, or maybe a lean-to. The garage has the roof and walls stick out on one end, perhaps ten or twelve feet, and in part of this, he built my rabbitry. It was nothing fancy, plain dirt floors, wire walls on the two sides, with windows and ceiling vents. Every fall I had to put plexiglas over the wire on the inside, and every spring when it warmed up enough I had to take it off. At first I had wire tables to set the cages on, later, he hung them. That was easier, I could get the rake underneath the cages, and they were at the right height for getting into. My parents' garden is still one of the best around, though hunting is so restricted now that the deer get most everything.
But we kept the wire tables, as my parents have kept everything, and they are still kicking around the old place, even though there is just the one rabbit cage left, in the hutch in the yard, and no rabbits.
The winter my first bunny died (and the difference between a bunny and a rabbit is the difference between a pet and livestock, to me), the snow was so high that when we shoveled it out of the driveway against the fence of the yard, it got up to six inches from the top. A coyote wandered over one night. The dogs were in the house: Dickens wasn't more than three months old, Brutus was dying of cancer (as was Flower, the bunny), and Arco was a guide dog puppy in training, never more than the length of his leash away from whoever was watching him, mostly me.
Flower died in the winter, and with all the snow, we put him in the freezer until spring. (My dad normally stashes gophers, road kill, whatever in the freezer for making specimins of, when the freezer gets too full, my mom bags them up and sends them to work with him, he'll leave them forever elsewise, but dead critters in the freezer is normal.)
Brutus died in the spring. We burried them together in the front garden, where the lilies of the valley and the hollyhocks grow. For years they touched noses every morning through the cage wire, as if to check that all was well in the other's world.
Arco is dead now, burried down behind my parents house, and Dickens so arthritic that he can barely walk. We are born, we age, we die, and for animals it is so short a time.
Humans, we fight death anyway we can, as if we know we are meant for eternity, but we don't quite grasp the changes that have to happen first.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Nothing of interest today

Today is my teaching day. I have already taught my oldest student (retired) and my youngest student (my 3yo, Beau). I still have my 3 teens to go. They have more drama in their lives, I tell you, than the entire circle of bloggers I visit! Every little thing is a big issue to these young people, right down to the classic 'my big sibling hit me'. I get exhausted just thinking about it.
Don't get me wrong, I love teaching them. Sometimes I just don't know how to get all the other stuff they bring with them out of the way so we can get down to the music. I don't know why their parents let them say "I couldn't practice because I had to study for a math test," but in the next sentance the teens tell me they got to the next level on their gameboys! I wonder if I should charge more for lessons, but I suspect my students' parents wouldn't keep them taking lessons if I did. I do think I took music a little more seriously at that age, but I wasn't permitted not to, either! If I had a waiting list of students, like some of the piano teachers here do, I would start kicking students out for non-practice. It's in the lesson contract, right by the part about how much they pay each month, after all. Lessons are a waste of everyone's time when they don't practice.
We have all been sick except for my husband. Beau is about over it, Hemi is still leaking at the nose and cranky, and I am worn out, thus grumpy, though I did get a good sleep last night, thanks to the store-brand version of Nyquil. I probably won't get to more tinkering with the blog today, so if you come by you will have to cope with the strange color combinations.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Eyeball Alert!

I am in the process of tinkering with the colors on my blog. Things will probably get worse before they get better.
Disclaimer: I have no clue what I am doing with html, but I'm sure having fun!


I've asked about Deborah before, elsewhere, and no one really seems to know much about her. Her name means bee. She's not mentioned anywhere except in her story in Judges 4 and 5. Deborah's story includes another woman, Jael, and two men, Barak and Sisera. Barak was . . . a wuss, it seems, and Sisera overly trusting.

In Judges 4:4, I learn that Deborah was a prophetess, the wife of Lapidoth, and a judge of Israel. Looking up prophetess in my Strongs Concordence, I find, besides Deborah; Miriam, Aaron and Moses' sister in Exedus 15:20; Huldah, in the time of King Josiah, the wife of Shallum, her prophecy is found in 2 kings 22:15-20 and 2 Cronicles 35:23-28; an unnamed woman in Isaiah 8:3, Isaiah's wife? or something from a vision? The wording is confusing, but it seems to be Isaiah's wife; and Anna, from Luke 2:36-38. We aren't told what Anna prophysied, nor the woman from Isaiah. Huldah's prophecy is a condemnation on Israel coupled with a promise of mercy for King Josiah. Deborah's is calling Barak to war.
In Judges, before Deborah, and after the death of Joshua, I find listed Othniel, Ehud, and Shamgar as those who judged Israel. After Deborah comes Gideon (aka Jerubbaal), Gideon's trecherous son Abimelech. then Tola, Jair, Jepthah, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon, and then Samson.
All of these men are from different tribes. At this point in history, there was no heireditary rularship. That's probably where Abimelech got into trouble in the first place, but he's not my main interest.
In Judges 5:7 Deborah refers to herself as a mother in Israel.
So Deborah was probably an older woman, married, having at least one child. I have a feeling her children were grown, but I don't see any proof of that anywhere. Her husband seems to have been unimportant, he is not mentioned anywhere else, and in no other context than that Deborah is his wife. Certainly they were not in Christ's lineage.
I know that Anna was also an older woman. Miriam's first mention is as a child, but by the time she is refered to as a prophetess, she's grown up. I'm going to have to do more reserch on Huldah another day.
My boys just woke up, I let them sleep so late because they've got a cold.
Anyone have any comments or ideas?

Monday, January 23, 2006

My husband . . .

informed me he has to do a blog for his American Government class. I said I'd help him set it up, I know how to do that.
Him: "You do?"
Me: "Yes. Remember, I showed you my blog?"
Him: "You have a blog?"
Me: "Yes, I showed it to you, all pink and stuff."
Him: "I don't remember."
Me: "You read it."
Him: "Oh."

Dream involving Bane

Okay, Bane, you asked for it. By the way, if by some chance someone reads this who didn't come from Bane's, go visit him www.banedad.blogspot.com

I was not an actor in this dream, just a watcher, and looking from over Bane's left shoulder.

The dream began on horseback, at night, in a blizzard, at the edge of a forest, Bane plus two women, a blond and a brunette. Both were beautiful. The three started riding into the woods. As the storm got worse, one of them was a witch and flew away with her horse. (I can't now recall if it was blond or brunette.)
Bane and the other woman kept riding and came to a log cabin that had light in the windows. So they stopped and went to the door to see if they could stay there because the blizzard was so bad. I knew this was a really bad idea but I was just an observer and couldn't say anything. What opened the door had black hair and I could kind of see his bones through his skin but he looked human. He said they could stay. There were a whole lot of other men inside the cabin. The woman went in and Bane went to put the horses up in the stable behind, which all went normally.
Bane went back to go into the cabin, and the men inside, not the one who'd opened the door, but his worshipers were gang-raping and torturing the woman. The one who'd opened the door was visibly a devil, not the Devil, but one of his minions.

And I woke up. It was just a little after 2:30 am, Mountain Time.
Once I got myself woken up enough, I said a prayer for Bane and his family, because I figure if I'm dreaming that about someone, praying certainly won't hurt. Then I did what I usually do after a bad dream, snuggle up to my husband and go back to sleep.
I wish I'd blogged about it that morning because I've forgotten the date, but it was sometime during my Christmas hiatus.

Just writing about it gives me the heebie-jeebies.
For the record, last night's involved Vox running around in an airport, but the recolection of it is very blury, not like this one.

Perchance to dream

I dream a lot. Always full color. Sometimes I am part of the dream, sometimes an observer. Sometimes my dreams later happen in life. I don't like dreaming the future, the might-be's. Sometimes they are fantastic. Sometimes I can pull a character or situation that's functional in my writing, but more often not, dream logic doesn't always work well enough, and sometimes it simply requires too much suspension of disbelief for me to write it. Sometimes I see the end of the world. Sometimes the people are real people that I know, more often, not.

And twice, now, bloggers have figured in my dreams. Would you guys cut it out, please?

Seriously, if you wake up in the middle of the night, probably between 2 and 3:30, judging from the two who have thus far gotten dreamed of, and have a feeling someone's praying for you, it's probably me. If you're in my dreams, when I wake up, I'll say a quick prayer for you. I can't figure out why else you'd be in my dreams. The dreams seem to respect your privacy, at least thus far, if you don't have a picture on your blog, I don't see your face. And I can't recall any other dream where the entire thing has been looking over someone's left shoulder. (Bane, during my Christmas-season hiatus, I wanted to post the date but didn't get to it before I forgot exactly when it was. Bane, if you want me to post the details of the dream, I can. It's still pretty vivid, and it might mean something more to you than it did to me. I'm pretty sure it was not a real-world dream.)
I don't want to dream of you. I don't want to dream of ANYBODY. I wouldn't wish the real things I dream so frequently of on anyone. I think the might-be's I dream are important. Doesn't mean I like them. Who would like to see someone they love murdered? The good part is the futures I dream are changable. The bad part is I don't know what will suffice to change them, or if the change could be worse than the orriginal. It's a mixed blessing, or maybe a mixed curse.
Now I'm going to go fold laundry and get my mind back to daytime. My dreams really disturb me.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Yesterday, I was reading Psalms to Beau on the couch, he has a cold. Right in the middle, he sat up and asked me, "Mommy, what color are God's eyes?" Now how do you answer that? I told him that we didn't know, that it's not possible for people to see God's face and live. I tried to find the passage about Moses in reference to that, but I was too slow and he had moved on to other activities. He always catches me by surprise.

Hemi, this morning, looking at their picture Bible, enjoying himself identifying the characters he recognized: "Baby Cheese."

After watching movies, X-Men 2 and The World Is Not Enough last night, Beau: "Daddy should play Mr. Bond."
I asked him which he liked better, X-Men or Bond, and he said "Mr. Bond. James Bond." (Okay, so we're all James Bond fans here, clearly.) By the way, to Beau, he's always "Mr. Bond." Asked which part he likes best: "The lilicopters blowed up." He loves both helocopters and explosions.

Daddy and I got a good laugh out of "Daddy should play Mr. Bond." Of course Beau does not distinguish well between movies and computer games, and that is what he means, but just the thought of my 6' plus Bantu husband playing a Brittish spy . . .
"Well, honey, you've got the dark hair and the good looks, but you'll have to work on your accent!"

Thursday, January 19, 2006


My mother just came back from a very rough trip. Her parents, my only living grandparents, are in very bad health, especially my grandmother, who seems to have Alzheimers. This has been very hard on everyone--except me. I just don't care. About Grandmother, that is. (I feel pity for some of the relatives who are dealing with her.) This does not say good things about me, I am afraid. I am not a nice person, I know. I don't think I ever have been.
I think Grandmother is reaping exactly what she has sown. Over the years, she has manipulated everyone as much as she could to get what she wants. Now she has lost much of her self-control, and Mother tells me that vitriol spews out. It seems to me that what is showing now is what has always been inside. Mother thinks it is almost like possession, and I suppose it helps her to think that this monster which has appeared is not her mother. Grandmother is a staunch athiest, religiously athiest, and she has no hope, as well as years of nasty behavior stored up in her head.
You see, I am the unfavored grandchild, the daughter of the family black sheep. Grandmother didn't try to manipulate me as much as she did everyone else. All I got were broken promises. It takes some concious effort not to be bitter about that. I do bitter very well, I'm quite good at bitter. I'm good at holding a grudge. I'll remember a slight forever. I'm not proud of this.
Yet, I still write her letters. Even though she doesn't remember getting them and rails that none of her grandchildren write, I do. I really don't know why. Perhaps because I feel I am better than she, and this provides proof?
I've decided that if one practices ugly behavior and thoughts, eventually it will show. Mother is afraid that she will go the same way, and I tell her that she has hope of life after death, while Grandmother has none, so that will make a difference. I don't know if this is true, but Mother says Great-Grandmother was gracious and kind all her life, and I do know that she was Christian.
I need to work on what I hold in my head and my heart, lest I end the same way as my grandmother.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

The Dungeons and Dragons group

A friend of ours wanted to be Dungeon Master, so he got a group of us together, all of us new to the game. Little did he know what he was in for. There are four of us, one elvan wizard (Zantharith), one half-orc barbarian (Munya, played by my husband), and two half-elvan bards (Kuiden, who missed last night, and Ainu, played by me). Now the first thing the DM had to do was add in an NPC Cleric, Rydar. Otherwise, we'd get killed too easily. Ainu has no hit points (7, after last night was over) and Zanth has only a couple more.
And then he discovered that I have a nastier, sneakier mind than anyone else in the group. Last night, for instance, Ainu spotted a large winged creature flying very high in the same direction we were headed. Now, we knew there was a wizard back in the town we had left, and the first thing I said was "Zanth, can wizards shape-shift?" (I have read a fair bit of fantasy, so I tend to pull all sorts of posibilities out of my brain.) Zanth's player replied that they could. "Can they shapeshift into dragons?" The DM rolls his eyes. "What's your Arcane knowledge?" "7" "Yes, you know they can shapeshift into dragons, no larger than huge."
So I hypothesise that the supposedly friendly wizard back in town may have shapeshifted into a dragon. Perhaps we will meet up with him. Or perhaps he is our enemy. The DM is rolling his eyes at us again. Either way, we're a day out of town and there's no sense in going back to find out if a dragon just raised the town.
Eventually we find a bunch of goblins and hobgoblins to kill (Yeah for barbarians with lots of hit points!), but the potential dragon never shows up again. Our DM rolls his eyes a lot, usually at me. He also likes to threaten me with lightning strikes. I tell him I have a nasty, sneaky, paranoid sort of mind, and maybe next time he should let me be the DM.
Both the DM and the guy who plays Zanth are married, but their wives don't want to play with us. Neither woman has ever tried the game. I don't understand why, if she's never tried it, a woman wouldn't be willing to try something her husband enjoys. We'd never played before, but when my husband said "Hey, (DM)'s putting together a D and D game, let's try it." I said "Sure, sounds like fun." Somehow we ended up as the hosts for the game sessions, probably because we have children and both of us are playing. Now if I can just convince these guys that when I say "Don't eat before you come." I mean it . . .
I suspect that this is somehow related to the fact that at least 80 % of my husband's single male friends have asked me if I have a sister.

Friday, January 06, 2006

End of year assessment

Four years of marriage:
The first Christmas, we were sleeping on a friend's living room floor for our honeymoon, and we were totally broke.
The second Christmas, we were visiting my brother-in-law and his wife, and we were totally broke and a month behind on rent, with Beau at three months old.
The third Christmas, I was pregnant with Hemi, and we were living in a too-small apartment, and were totally broke.
The fourth Christmas, we were living in a house that was a drafty barn, we were a month behind on the gas and electric bills (which were more than our rent), and we were totally broke.
This year, we're in a place that has enough room and enough insulation, all the bills are paid on time, and we had enough money put aside to actually buy Christmas presents for each other as well as the children. And we're not totally broke.
Life keeps getting better. Even if you are hard-headed and slow learners like we tend to be. Our budget still crashes and burns regularly, but we're getting better. There's less stress, for the most part. We've mostly figured out what the other one's trying to say. We make sure we have fun together. And we never fight, which is something so many of our friends don't understand. You can disagree, discuss, and work out differences without fighting. Often, when we do disagree, we find it's a word-definition problem. Life's getting easier, little by little. We're planning two major trips for next summer, to two different weddings. It's going to be fun, if tight, and interesting to travel all the way across the country with the boys. We're hoping the van holds up.

Crazy Time

My husband is on school break until Monday. He, his brothers, my father, his little-brother's-father-in-law are all December Birthdays. His sister's girls are in January. Our wedding aniversary (4 years) was the Thursday before Christmas. My husband's birthday was the Thursday after Christmas. My parents' wedding aniversary (34 years) is New Year's Eve. (My dad has NEVER forgotten their aniversary. This from a man who one year thought Mom's birthday was the day before it really was.) My maternal grandparents, while not marrying in December, hit their 64th wedding aniversary this year. Evidently there is something about 30s and marriages in my line.
So this chunk of mid-December to early-January is the Crazy Time around here. We forget whose house we're supposed to be at for which party which day and when. People call us at the last minute to make plans. (This always happens, our friends are not an organized bunch.)
We decided five days before New Years Eve that we should have a New Years Eve party. It went wonderfully, except all the guests were male. All but two were international students from Africa. African males only discourse on one subject: politics. I had fun.
To make life more entertaining, Hemi decided he needed to climb on Daddy's lap while
Daddy was playing a computer game. He couldn't quite get up over the arm of the chair, so he decided to extend the cd reader/writer tray and use it as a stepstool. Superglue can fix many things, though not quite as good as new. Hey, it still works, if a little crankily!
We had a good Holiday season, all together.