Planning for Utah

Well, folks, I believe that if we are truly going to have a skiing Christmas this year, it will take some planning. I might suggest that y’all check out for some ideas. I did, and I’m having a brochure sent to me free of charge. I’d like to find out what are good resorts for beginners like us.

Also, I’d like to find out what everyone’s interest level is. I may be making up that everyone even wants to ski. I mean, I know mom does, but after that I’m not sure…

The point of this entry is to get conversations started, ideas generated, and a murmur of holiday vibrations going. I’m looking forward to a joyous Christmastime with our family. :)

KathleenIdeas/Plans11/13/04 41 comments


Patrick • 11/14/04 5:27 PM:

Thank you, Kathleen, for getting this going. I want to shift the focus slightly to What you can get me and Karina for Christmas.

Although there are a lot of CDs I’d like to get (live albums from King’s X and Toad the Wet Sprocket, new studio album from U2, etc.), what we really want is home improvement materials and labor. Mom and Dad have already gone this route, helping us buy a media cabinet thing to hold CDs, DVDs, and VHS tapes. Thanks! For the rest of you, we were thinking maybe you could help us expand the storage space in our attic. There is only a small area of floorspace up there. The rest is blown-in insulation. Because the insulation is quite a bit above the joists, and because there are ducts and pipes and such hidden in the insulation, it’s going to be a challenge. We’ll probably have to create some support structure to hold a floor (you can’t just nail down plywood). Anyway, it’s job that can be big or small. If you can help us buy chipping in for lumber, planning, and installing, that’d be aweesome.

As for skiiing, we have some coupons and can check for some more. It’d probably be best to go right when you get here, because after Christmas, prices go up (and some buy-one-get-one-free deals end). Also, after Christmas, we’ll be busy playing with our toys, and who wants to go out when you’ve got a new Hot Wheels race track?

Dad • 11/15/04 11:55 AM:

I thought Kathleen was trying to promote a “giftless” Christmas this year (other than the gift of ourselves and our talents). Of course, this would apply only to those whose age requires the use of 2 digits.

As for skiing, count me out. My feet are too big, my bones too brittle, and my weight too ponderous to attempt such a thing. Unless you’re talking about cross-country skiing. In that case, I probably won’t want to go.

Kathleen • 11/17/04 3:19 AM:

Yes, Dad, I was promoting a giftless Christmas for this year. And I am relieved that you know this, because mom didn’t and I was beginning to think I had dementia. I wonder if the boys knew of this idea…?

I would be happy to have a giftless yet helpful Christmas, though. I’d consider it a family project to help Pat and Karina build up their attic. Of course, I expect a certain number of fights to be involved, but they do say to plan for the worst, right? (I say we predict the # and then make a game of it. It will likely take the edge off if we can stop and say, “A-ha! This makes # 3!”)

This raises another question, though. With so many of our birthdays close to Christmas should we bring birthday presents? This can be open for discussion. Here, I’ll have it for us:

Dad: no, I don’t need anything.

David: hey, if you want to bring me a present, that’d be cool, I don’t mind.

Danny: I am now a minimalist and don’t need any worldy possessions.

Patrick: my birthday isn’t too far away from Christmas — I believe I would benefit from a present or two.

Mom: oh, my children, I don’t need a present from you, just your love. Pat, on the other hand, you owe me something good.

Kathleen: actually, if you guys want, you can give me presents on my half birthday because I usually end up buying myself anything I need because getting Christmas and birthday presents just two weeks apart is inconvenient for me.

Karina: (she’s slowly turning into mom) If you guys could help to build a shed (read: put up the mug racks), that would make me happy.

Of course, this is all in jest, but I hope it made you laugh. (I would love birthday presents this Dec. and we’ll start the half year idea this June… haha.)

Seriously, we can decided what to do: bring bday presents for those who want to, or send them to the recipients in his/her respective state of residence.

I will be forwarding a list of possible presents or perhaps devoting an entire entry on maddenation to my personal wish list.


David • 11/17/04 10:56 AM:

I did laugh at your commentary, Kath. I also did know of our plan to have a giftless Christmas - opting for each other’s presence rather than presents.

As long as they are small, (and very expensive) you can bring my birthday presents with you and I’ll happily accept them. Looking forward to it.

Patrick • 11/17/04 9:36 PM:

I partly think it’s a good idea not to give gifts, but it also seems like giving up, since we’re all so terrible at it. I mean, Mom and Dad didn’t even send Jared a wedding present! (Neither did I, but I was in Uruguay.)

One thing I’d like to mention is that while it’s good that everyone is chipping in for presents for the kids, it is also very special to them when they receive something personal from their aunt and uncles (Grandma and Grandpa always do a good job). I have a bad memory, but I remember their joy with the Batcave from Uncle Dan, books and a Madeleine doll from Uncle Dave, and T-shirts and little cups from Aunt Deedee. Please make an effort to reward these precious little kids with something from your heart. It usually won’t cost much. (And it’s no good asking me “what they want.” I am as clueless as ever.)

I do thank you all for being good to my children.

Dad • 11/17/04 11:37 PM:

Patrick. Now you’re behaving like so many other bloggers who don’t check their facts. We did in fact send Jared a wedding present. Where did you get your information? Is this another one of those false memories you are wont to have?

Kathleen • 11/18/04 1:47 AM:

I believe we’re all getting the kids games for gameboy. Doesn’t this count?

Also, do you think they’d get it if we did something… how you say, like good? I mean, help out in a homeless shelter or somthing? Have we pondered this idea?

Patrick • 11/18/04 2:31 AM:

Dad, I notice that you conveniently omit the date you sent the present in relation to the actual wedding. I may have been wrong, but that doesn’t make you right.

Kathleen, of course gameboy games “count.” The kids will love them. My only thing is that nobody put in much thought. Mom bought them and is asking for money, which Dan will never get around to paying, and cetera. Maybe some of you could make something for them. Or maybe give them a coupon promising a postcard a month (they get super excited when they get mail). Something meaningful.

David • 11/18/04 3:50 PM:

Jared our cousin?!?! He’s married? How come nobody ever told me? When?

I agree - why don’t we give the gameboy stuff AND cool/thoughtful things. As for postcards - let’s all do that too. Thanks for the idea Pat.

Kathleen • 11/19/04 12:51 AM:

Well, I just remembered that I DID get Adi something meaningful — a heart necklace like the one I wear and she borrows occasionally. I think she’ll be able to wear it for her entire life. I bought it in Hollywood, of all places, so it has a good story behind it also. As for Pato, I like the postcard idea. I’ll keep thinking.

So does this creative present idea ensure that I’ll be receiving awesome birthday presents this year? Because there are a few things I would feel dainty about receiving (new makeup, a new cell phone ((mine’s the $10 version that is cracked and has horrible ring tones)), some more vballs ((don’t all jump on that one, the cheap ones are only in the CA Costcos))).

Oh, and I really would like to go skiing. Has anything happened with that since writing this entry? Who’s in? Davey? Dan? Pat and Karina? How about the kiddies? I’ve seen little ones their age skiing before.

And, by the way, I’d like to get Sara a cake or something and then it would be meaningful to take pictures of her eating it. Unless you can think of something better. ?

Davey, did you really not know that Jared got married?

How about this bomb that mom dropped today: Oh, guess what we did! (What?) The tree in the front yard is gone! (smiles and enthusiasm on her end, dropped mouth and nearly a tear on my end). (WHAT? WHY?) Oh, you know, 2/3 of it was dead/dying/whatever. (Mom, you know, you really need to fill us in on these things ahead of time.)

Perhaps y’all don’t care as much as I do, but I just thought it necessary to point out yet another example of when mom has kept us out of the loop. :0)- That’s a guy with a big nose sticking out his tongue.

Dad • 11/19/04 10:56 AM:

Kate: didn’t you just buy a bunch of volleyballs? Could you possibly still need more?

Regarding the birch tree in the front yard, it was infested with the “bronze birth borer” and could not have lasted much longer. These trees are not long lived anyway, and this one (or these ones if you count all three trunks in the clump) was past the typical 25-year life. I feel bad about it too, but waddyagonnado?

Patrick • 11/19/04 11:15 AM:

As for getting each other thoughtful gifts, I don’t have as much hope. We’re all a little hard to buy for, and we don’t get emotional easily, which is why I asked for help fitting the attic for storage! (I’ll shed a little tear of joy when we’re done though.)

I just would like our family to avoid what befell the generation before us (without naming any names). They rarely see each other, rarely talk, and never ever buy each other’s kids presents. Maybe that will happen eventually (like when someone else has kids besides me; that’s when I’d vote to stop), but for now, I’d like my kids to know their aunt and uncles love them. We certainly don’t need more toys in the house. But we need some way of connecting the generations. That’s why I suggest that maybe sending postcards would be good. And keep on asking to talk to the kids when you call. They love it.

I am sad about the birch tree. I can imagine how “boring” that “bronze birth” thing must have been, though, so I am at least glad that it’s out of its misery.

Kathleen • 11/20/04 4:43 AM:

Okay, this makes more sense now. I see your motivation, Patrick. But to be frank, I really don’t want to buy any more toys, and I think the rest of the family agrees that we went overboard in years past. I don’t think that giving presents is the only way to show you love someone. Take Danny for example. When has he ever bought you a bday present? He’s actually come up with great presents for me, I must admit, but you said he hasn’t ever in his lifetime bought you a present for your bday with his own money. But you know he still loves you. How?

I think it’s great that we’re communicating about this, trying to decide on new ways to express gratitude and love. I think we could all tell each other what would make our day, and that would help. I liked your idea last year, Patrick, with the nobel prize winning authors’ books.

By the way, I didn’t think we were getting rid of present giving for the rest of our lives, but instead spending money on a tripp together this year. Next year is up in the air. Which brings me back to the skiing idea. I certainly don’t want mom sitting home alone or even watching the kids. THAT IS NOT THE IDEA, PEOPLE! The idea is to get out and try something new, to have a new experience with the family; to be open to something else that is different. I think we’ll need mental prep time to become open to this idea. And I”m not saying that it has to be this way. I came up with this idea and am going with it but I haven’t heard any objections, so I’m hopeful it’ll workout. (should that be two words: work out ?)

I saw on Oprah the other day that some families nowadays are taking Christmas time to do humanitarian trips to help others in need. I think this is a great idea. (I sort of mentioned this last time when I said we could help at a shelter or something — by the way, could you check out if there is anything like that that we could do?)

I think the kids know we love them. We oogle over them all the time. You’ll probably think this is just a typical comment from me, but it wasn’t really funny when you said that we could stop giving kids presents when someone else starts having kids. I hope you were kidding… ??

Perhaps others can weigh in on the whole giving presents idea. I think dad’s influenced us a lot over the years — maybe.

Patrick • 11/20/04 12:41 PM:

Kath, the rule is: if you dish it out, you have to take it. Granted, blogging does not transmit tone very well, but you can generally tell by the absurdity of the claim whether it’s meant seriously or jokingly. At least that’s how I operate.

1) I, too, think that the kids have too many toys, and I said as much above.

2) I’m not sure if Dan loves me. (I’ll put a smiley face here, so my unseriousness is clear :>P) But I’m a jaded adult. I have a little bit of money. Getting presents is not too important to me anymore.

3) Only Dan has read his Nobel book, so I am willing to admit that it was not such a good idea. Maybe it was too selfish (like buying someone who lives with you something you want to borrow). But it was also, in part, trying to connect with my family by taking something I love (in general, at least—literature) and sharing it in the hope that we could use this site to write reviews and maybe trade books and discuss them. By the way, Karina is planning on finishing her book, and I think I’ll try to finish mine. Dad, yours is poetry, so maybe you could write a review of it anyway, even if it’s not finished. Dave, I got you the trilogy because it was as cheap as any one of the books. Maybe try reading the first one? Kath and Mom, have you tried starting those books? They might be terrible, but you could also tell us that.

4) Kids do know that you love them. But they place a higher value on presents. You may think it’s the way they’re raised. That certainly is part of it. But I think that there’s something innate, too, that loves to get presents. You should see their joy when they get a postcard from Grandma or Grandpa. And what does that cost to send? Ten minutes of planning and writing, and 23 cents for the stamp.

5) Did you seriously think Mom would go skiing? If the idea is an activity that we’ll all participate in, skiing is not the way to go.

6) On a good note, I am very excited to see everyone together again. I do love you all.

Kathleen • 11/20/04 7:59 PM:

No, I didn’t think mom would go skiing, but I also can’t think of anything else she’d do. Which is why it’s nice the the whole family reads this and comments. Oh wait, that doesn’t happen. Perhaps dad can fill her in.

I’m open to doing anything fun. I personally would like to ski in Utah, but I am also the type of person who needs someone to bring me there. That’s why dating Dave Graessle was so cool. He took me lots of places I’d never go on my own. This also made me think that we as a family would need a plan together to ensure that we actually get off our butts and do something, ya know?

Actually, I didn’t know you were kidding; that may be the core of any arguments we’ve had growing up. Sometimes I take things the wrong way and it’s not on purpose. For instance, I don’t even know what I was dishing out that you responded to. Thanks for the smiley face addition. It does help.

I want to send your and our future kids the right message about Christmas and gifts, etc. I think it’d be great to get them something, which we have done and are doing, and whoever comes up with the best present ideas, wins! Or gets a prize or something.

Okay, so, back to the activities ideas. Can anybody else think of anything? Keep me posted. :0)

Karina • 11/20/04 11:24 PM:

I’m a little sad to read through the comments about whether to give gifts or not, because we seem to be forgetting why we celebrate Christmas. It’s not about presents, it’s about Jesus. I don’t know what I think about this, but it’s like for once we can have a time as a family to focus on what’s really important, which is being together and teaching the kids the real meaning of Christmas. Maybe we can read to the kids about Jesus. Tell them about what happened. I think I’m getting really old, because it’s not like me to think this way. I’m sorry.

Patrick • 11/20/04 11:32 PM:

Karina just asked me, “Do you smell the smell that I smell?” Isn’t that the lost verse from the Christmas carol “Do You See What I See?”?

OK. So we had an idea, Karina and I. We could do a nativity. It could be fun. Pato and Adi would be the audience. Sara could be baby Jesus (gender notwithstanding). Karina could be Mary, I could be Joseph. Kathleen could be the angel announcing to Mom or Dad the shepherd. Dave and Dan could be the two wise men (they lost the other guy back in Jerusalem). Someone could narrate the story in an adapted way so the kids can understand. It would be a bit corny, but it just might be fun too. We could dress up in sheets and such.

One possible alternative to skiing would be sledding. I doubt Mom and Dad would do much of that either, but we might be able to persuade them to take one trip down the hill. And the kids would definitely do it (I don’t really want to take them skiing). Also, I think we can find a place where it’s free. We have some friends who know the good sledding places.

By the way, the smell was Sara’s dirty diaper.

David • 11/21/04 6:57 PM:

Great idea. Dan and I will most definitely be wise. Mom, just bring some of your funky outfits from back in the day - they’ll do just fine. I’m also going to use the ever-popular, throwback-style, towel-on-head-with-belt outfit. I guess that means I’ll have to double as a shepherd or be the ‘wise shepherd’.

I’m only sledding if it’s EXTREME SLEDDING!

How about snow-shoeing? Or maybe cross country skiing - although it’s possibly harder than regular skiing.

I would like to go regular skiing, or snowboarding.

Let’s see Polar Express together.

What about Bryce, Zion, or Arches possibilities?

Dad • 11/21/04 7:46 PM:

I don’t think my arches can take skiing.

Patrick • 11/21/04 7:57 PM:

One of the benefits of sledding is that it’s free. Dad, was that a joke? I guess it was. Any other ideas on the Nativity play? Bryce and Zions are just about too far away for a day trip. What days are people going to be here? It seems like it’ll be a pretty quick visit, and if we complicate it with long trips to national parks, that’d make it frantic instead of relaxing.

Kathleen • 11/22/04 12:12 AM:

Well, crackheads, y’all are funny. I must say that I am proud. THis is my first entry with so many comments!

I like the sledding idea a lot. The extreme sledding we did back in Provo was radical. We shouldn’t do that with the elderly and young, though.

I’d like to ski still, and I hope we can pull it off. I’m sure mom and dad will watch the kiddies so Pat and Karina can go off one day by themselves. Perhaps Dave, Dan, and I will act like monkeys that day. My good pal Nikki is in town now, living in SLC, and of course, there’s Mike Hennessy and the Workmans. (Workmen)

I was talking with dad tonight and we ageed that we need to plan out every minute. Just kidding. He said the opposite. I think we should have plans for at least a few days. We’ll all be there over a week, so that’s plenty of time for which to make plans. Otherwise we’ll end up sitting around doing nothing, which is an idea that scares me. Maybe I just need to take a chill pill, but I’m sure you can understand my concerns.

Anyway, I like the nativity idea. But honestly, do you think Pato and Adi will sit still and watch us making baffoons out of ourselves? I mean, do you think the boys will be able to act with straight faces? Me neither. But let’s do it anywa.


Dan • 11/25/04 11:37 PM:

While it is true that I have inherited Dad’s “don’t bother buying me stuff” mindset, I can’t say that I am able to go without any worldly possessions, as Kathleen joked. I fall victim to the occasional CD or salsa dip.

I do think that this Christmas can finally be about “presence” and not “presents”. Let’s do it.

I think it’s all a waste once a conversation goes into whether a present “counts”. I mean, if that’s what you’re worried about then you might as well either return the borderline gift or keep it for yourself because I wouldn’t want it.

Maybe this can’t really fly in the world today, but if I had it my way I wouldn’t ever give a gift unless it was thoughtful in that it did more than just help me say, “Phew! Glad I’m finished shopping for that person this year!” What’s the point if it becomes a yearly obligation?

Regarding Gameboys, well, I didn’t put any thought into it at all, but, given the situation, I’d say it’s pretty good. But seriously, Pat, “something meaningful” is quite a burden to bear yearly. Of course kids place a higher value on presents, and that’s why the Christmas tree was lit up with them last year. But as far as they’re concerned, they have no idea what’s meaningful and what’s not. That’s why they get more presents than us, am I right?

Kath’s necklace for Adi is a good example of a gift with meaning, a story. It’s just a shame we feel that Adi can only get it on two possible days.

If nobody buys anybody presents then we will be able to afford stuff for ourselves. And if you’ve got a cool and thoughtful present in mind for someone then maybe consider giving it to them some other time. Eh?

I don’t need to go skiing. I never have, and I don’t need to. I like sledding just fine, and I’m sure Utah sports some pretty serious hills. That’ll be enough for me. And everybody can go sledding. Yes, even you, mom!

And a Hot Wheels race track! This does sound awesome. One of my favorite presents of all time is that yellow speed-train track where the train itself jumped across a great divide and went vertically up the wall and back down, all at warp speed! See? I do believe in gift-giving on some levels! Especially cool ones like that for kids!

I think the attic help sounds cool, just watch for Kathleen’s heel sinking through the ceiling above the kid’s bathroom (joke).

I’ve bought Pat stuff with my own money. Don’t let that PhD fool you. He’s using what we call “hyperbole”.

I think Pat’s Book idea was pretty good. I read all 200 pages of my book, and maybe I’ll even get to writing a review about it soon!

I think Karina hit on something that everyone seemed to pass over (it is because Pat posted a long comment 8 minutes after Karina’s and hers got lost above Pat’s). We’re all getting together to celebrate Christianity’s most important day and to be together and enjoy the best company we’ve got. Karina said that it’s not about presents but about Jesus. While I don’t disagree, I will say that I think it’s more than that. It’s analogous to “Think globally, act locally.” Jesus is the reason for the season, and we are appreciative and will celebrate that, but we’d never progress if we spent all our time on celebrating that and not enjoying our lives with the most important people in them. I’d love to read to the kids about Jesus and share scripture, but I’d also love to share some old and new stories from the Gospel of the Madden Family.

Maybe we do our own Madden Family nativity, starting from Mom and Dad and Patrick all the way to Pat meeting Karina to the birth of Sara.

Patrick • 11/27/04 2:56 AM:

Dan, you’ve misattributed to me this “hyperbole” thing. That was Kathleen. And I don’t think it’s too much of a burden to be thoughtful once a year. For instance, I saw a great gift for you today, and I thought about getting it for you, until I saw the price tag! See? Thoughtful. (Joke alert.)

I would like, also, to point out that since I gave the best gift ever to anyone (the Panis Angelicus CD to Dad), I feel I should be exempt from future gift giving (not receiving). I mean, the thoughtfulness of that gift should leave me free and clear for the rest of my life! (Joke alert.)

I’m only in the mood for joking right now. No disrespect to you all and your serious comments. But, wait, here’s a serious thing: quit being bums. We could all make wish lists (even post them here on Maddenation) so even the thoughtless could get us something cool. Because I don’t quite believe that not buying presents stems from much more than laziness and procrastination.

Dan • 12/04/04 3:17 PM:

Thanks for the jokes. They’re super.

I Don’t want a grab bag or Secret Santa. Let’s just buy each other lots of stuff so Christmas isn’t ruined.

Patrick • 12/05/04 7:41 PM:

You’re good at exaggerating, but why don’t you tell us how you really feel? I think, honestly, that it’s nice to get each other presents. I recognize that we often have difficulty because we’re not good gift-givers, but I think we can make a better effort. I have given my share of terrible presents (the thumb-dome basketball game I gave to Dave comes to mind). And I know we’re not rich and can’t afford to get very expensive things. And, honestly, if I didn’t get any presents from anybody, I wouldn’t care much (though I’d wonder why, I guess).

The logistical problem with a Secret Santa kind of thing where each person buys for one other person is that we’d have to take the kids out of the loop, of course, and then, wouldn’t everyone want Mom to be their Secret Santa? So do we take Mom and Dad out of the loop? If so, then would we just do it between the five of us children of the 70s? That could work, I guess. I think it’s the only variation that would work.

As for a grab bag, if it’s hard to pick a gift that a specific person would like, wouldn’t it be harder to pick a gift that lots of people would like? I could think of something that Dave and Dan would both like, and something that Karina and Kathleen would both like (but it would have to be in different sized), but everyone?

Just some thoughts. I don’t know if we’re any closer to a solution to our dilemma (except chronologically).

David • 12/05/04 10:26 PM:

Here’s my new idea: Let’s have an Ornament making party while in Utah (before Christmas)!! I’m super-pumped. This could be the new equivalent to doing Easter eggs. We can get a bunch of construction paper, paper plates, cotton balls, popsicle sticks, paste, some ribbon, you name it. And then we can make some old-school ornaments. Oh yeah, I we should bring all of our old Sports Illustrated for Kids cards.

Dad • 12/06/04 11:01 AM:

David wins! His suggestion is creative, fun, inexpensive, appropriate, and wasn’t preceded by criticism of anyone or anything.

David • 12/06/04 11:35 AM:

Thanks Dad. I’m very happy that you like my idea. I was trying to pitch it to friends here in Chicago - most weren’t buying it. I knew my family would though. That’s why I love all y’all so much. The next step is to brainstorm all the cool kinds of ornaments we can make.

The perfect start is to list off the classics from our boxes - like Dan’s ultraclassic. Then we will need Mom and Dad to go to OLM mass and check out the hallway. I’m serious peoples. We can make all sorts of Christmas crafts to go along with the ornaments.

I got this idea last week or so because my science kids are making Periodic Table Ornaments for class. They pick an element out of a hat (it was an empty tissue box) and then they have mostly free range to do as they like in making the most radical ornament possible. I can’t wait to see them. They’re due tomorrow.

Patrick • 12/06/04 11:54 AM:

Neither was Karina’s idea about the Nativity play preceded by criticism, and it is also fun and inexpensive.

I would also like to do some “caroling” but maybe just in the house. I know the kids would like to learn some of the songs, and Karina probably would too.

We could also pitch in to bake cookies. That could be fun.

Dad • 12/07/04 11:52 AM:

Indeed, all of these ideas (pageant, cooking, baking, making) are good ones. And I would add roasting chestnuts on an open fire (you know you’ve always wanted to do that). Of course, since the Days of Longfellow’s spreading chestnut tree the trees have fallen victim to the Chestnut Blight, which was imported from Asia around 1900. Fortunately, chestnuts are still available from places that were not decimated by the blight. So let’s get some. Then we can sit around exchanging chestnuts while we eat chestnuts and let Jack Frost nip at our noses.

Patrick • 12/07/04 4:25 PM:

David, those people who don’t want to make ornaments with you aren’t really your friends. And how did your students’ periodic-table elements turn out? Dad, it’ll be difficult to get an open fire going, but maybe we can buy some pre-roasted chestnuts.

Dad • 12/07/04 11:38 PM:

No! No pre-roasted chestnuts. I’ll settle for an enclosed fire in your grill. In your garage. With Jack Frost rapping on the window, not able to get in.

Patrick • 12/08/04 2:30 PM:

I’d like to hear Jack Frost rapping. I bet he’s got some dope rhymes.

By the way, I had never heard the word chestnut used in the sense of an anecdote until your comment above. Then, as always happens, I was looking up the origin of the phrase “waiting for the other shoe to drop” (or fall, or it’s a boot, or whatever, and I found this, originally from the New York Times of March 1921:

If nine out of ten of us hadn’t heard that ‘drop that other shoe’ chestnut and molded our lives accordingly for the sake of the neighbor below us, what would be the end of us?

Apparently, there is no consensus on the origin of the phrase, but it seems kind of obvious enough that it makes sense. From just hearing the phrase, you come up with more or less the same background story everyone else would come up with. How do they do that!? Seriously, though, it’s kind of fascinating. Like how my friend Tom Noyes gets called “Tom Maybe” all the time. I thought I had come up with it on my own, but really I just caught it from the air as countless others had before. I have a whole collection of these things. I kind of call them “independent redundancies,” but am open to better name suggestions. Anbody have any others to share?

Dad • 12/08/04 6:33 PM:

I think you “independent redundancies” are really like independent inventions or discoveries, as in, “The calculus was independently discovered by both Newton and Leibnitz.” There are lots of examples of this in science, but I can’t think of another one offhand. Maybe you should call your incidences of multiple people coming up with the same phrase, “indepentent coinage” after “coin a phrase.

Kathleen • 12/09/04 12:28 AM:

Well, I think we can put some raps into our Nativity production, but I’d like to point out that I don’t see Pato and Adi sitting through a performance.

By the way, I found a book that I want to buy for each and every one of you. It cracked me up so bad that I could hardly breathe. I’ll keep it a surprise for now.

Another idea: let’s watch The Passion of the Christ together. I haven’t seen it yet. And I feel like crying. A lot. (I hear that’s what happens… I dunno, what do you guys think?)

Patrick • 12/09/04 2:23 AM:

The Passion of the Christ is not a Christmas kind of movie. I didn’t really like it, and not because of the normal objections people have either. I don’t care if it’s violent or if Jews think it portrays their ancestors in a bad light (hey, weren’t the apostles also Jews?). I think I just didn’t get emotionally attached to the characters. And this was Jesus for crying out loud. I think maybe the movie relies on preexisting emotions and connections. I have those, I think, but I don’t want a movie to take a shortcut with me. And I think it relies on people knowing the story, therefore it doesn’t have to develop any story on its own (or so Mel Gibson thinks). And I like Mel Gibson in general and Jim Caviezel too (especially in The Count of Monte Cristo). Anyway, I sincerely do not want to watch that movie for Christmas (or thereabouts). Maybe we can watch Frosty the Snowman instead.

David • 12/13/04 11:19 PM:

What about seeing the Mormon Tabernacle Choir?

Patrick • 12/14/04 9:58 AM:

We can definitely see an organ recital up there in Salt Lake City. I think the Tabernacle is being refurbished. I can see if there are any MoTab Choir concerts too.

As for Pato and Adi sitting through a nativity play, I think they would. I will try to whip up something this week.

Update: No Choir concerts while you’re here, except on TV (they record on the 18th and 19th). Sorry. But let’s try to get to an organ recital. And just going up there in the evening is very nice with all the decorations and lights and such.

Kathleen • 12/17/04 1:15 PM:

‘Nuff said about the movie. “Meet the Fockers” is also coming out, but I don’t know if that’s good or not for the family — definitely not the kids.

I still want to ski, so let’s talk days. I think some pre-planning is still needed. Have we any plans yet? I know we’d like to see the Workmans. Is anything set yet? My college friend Nikki is now in SLC and I’m sure we’ll stop in on Mike Hennessey (or invite him to Lehi). Perhaps Thurs. or Mon. would be good skiing days.

I don’t have a winter coat, by the way. Is there someone in Utah who can loan me one? I can ask Nanette and Julie or even Nikki.

So, I’m excited to put together a Nativity play. I think that’s a fun, creative way to celebrate.

And it sounds like we’re doing Christmas presents afterall…?? Let’s get a consensus so that there are no hurt feelings.

Ta Ta.

Mom • 12/18/04 8:16 PM:

Wow! Okay you can get over your shock and realize that Mom is actually posting a comment on Maddenation. This is actually my second time.

I decided after I read Dan’s website (or whatever it is called) that I ought to check out Maddenation. I am so impressed that these are my children (yes, you will always be my children no matter how old you get) whose comments I was reading.

I was under the impression that this year we would not be buying presents except for the grandkids. Then I’m told that Patrick bought some - oh, what was I to do? Of course, I ran to Kohls and got stuff for Kathleen and Karina who are the easiest to buy for. I had already given PC some money toward the DVD holder so he was finished. PC suggested a present for David and Dan - okay, he’ll buy it for me and then I’m done. As usual Dad gets shortchanged for his birthday - but he honestly doesn’t need anything - Hey - I don’t need anything either and I hope you didn’t buy anything for me. What I would really like is for Pato and Adi to draw some pictures that I could bring home and hang on the refrigerator and in my cubby at work. That would be the best!

Oh, I do not want to go skiing - and not particulary sledding. I have absolutely no problem staying home and playing with the kids - in fact, that’s exactly what I want to do. Someday you will be grandparents and you will find how absolutely wonderful it is. I remember the first time Pato called me “Gamma” - it was at ND when we were all there for David’s Master’s Graduation. That was one of the highlights of my life. Then when Adi mastered it while we were at Disney - it was just the icing on the cake. Now I have to wait for Sara. But Sara is not going to be growing up with her grandparents around a lot. You are now far and we will probably only get to see you all once or twice a year - and that’s sad.

Gee, can you believe that I actually wrote al this.

Oh, just to warn you all, we now have a wood fence along the back border of the backyard - and my Disney plates have taken over the kitchen. We will be taking down the posters on the big wall and filling it with various wonderful Disney plates. Be warned. Oh yes, we have new and very improved garage doors that don’t sound as if they are going to come crashing down.



Kathleen • 12/31/04 11:03 AM:

Well, brothers and sisters, our well planned vacation is now over. It was a nice time. I want to thank everyone for being great relatives most of the time. This Christmas was a very fond one for me, and I am sure it will live in my memory for quite some time because of the wild and crazy things we did.

I am pleased with the time we took to pre-plan our events using our handy-dandy website. Looking forward to our next family get together. Perhaps we could do Easter in California. I know Pat and Karina are planning a trip to Disneyland, and since Dan and I will already be here, it would be a great possibility to think about.

Perhaps we can start another conversation about that in the near future. Until then, have a happy New Year!

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