Anyway, since everybody but me were feeling poorly, we decided that going off to ZooLights (spending several hours outside) was not a good idea, and The Wife suggested that I might as well go to the party that some old friends of mine host every New Year's. This is part of my old circle of friends from my 20's, and we'd just lost one of us (one of my closest friends from back then, who left behind two young boys, just a year or so each older than my girls) earlier this year, and I really did want to make the connection (as I'd not seen any of them since the funeral).
We've not made it out there much recently, as it's to-hell-and-gone on the northwest side, requiring either renting a car, a taxi fare that would make you wish you'd rented a car, or a bus - subway - bus excursion. I figured the public transportation option would be just fine for me, and set out figuring what El stops connecting to what busses would get me there. Unfortunately, while I was doing this, The Wife somehow sold the concept to The Girls and they suddendly were psyched up to go with me. Putting my sorry butt on a combination of busses and subways is one thing, but having to drag along the kids is quite another!
Anyway, it worked out OK ... with just a long wait for the first bus (which had either left early or was way late) delaying us, and about a 3-block walk to their house. The party ran from 5-10pm, and we got there about 7:30 ... Daughter #2 had already fallen asleep on the train, so I knew the time span was going to be limited, and she started to "melt down" around 9:15. We lucked out on the way back, as it was only about a 5 minute wait for the bus, and the El was waiting in the station for a long time, and we were able to hop on as soon as we got to the platform. I was going to have us take the bus home, but the girls were so tired at that point that I opted for a cab from the loop, and we made it home by 10:30pm.
The Wife had already crashed, but got up to get The Girls settled down. They all went to sleep and I watched Fox News to see if anything horrible was happening. Since all seemed OK, I stayed up till midnight to watch the fireworks (which were, for some reason, easier to see last night than they typically are for 4th of July ... those are usually blocked by other buildings), and went to bed in the early minutes of the new year.
Hot fun, eh?
Anyhoo ... this year with our (late) Xmas cards I did a little newsletter ... and since only a small handful of my L.J. readers have found their way onto my Xmas card list (the downside of cyber anonymity), I figured I'd put the copy up here. I'll stick it behind a cut, though.
Well, it's been another "interesting" year around the 1030 N. State homestead. Our long-time kitty, Anique … aka Miss Nikki ... died in May at the age of 17 or so, a ripe old age for a cat. She was in fine health right up to the end, and has been greatly missed. Following our November trip to Florida to celebrate "Papa"'s 80th birthday ... and to visit Disney World - where the picture of the girls was taken ... we made a visit to the Anti-Cruelty Society where we met Dusty Rose, a pretty Calico like Nikki, who had only just been dropped off there and at 8 months old, she's still very much a kitten.
[DAUGHTER #2], who is now almost 4 years old, has made the transition into being a very verbal child, but still is struggling with frustrations of dealing with that outside world. She has bloomed as an artist this year, returning from day care each evening with new masterpieces. She shares some version of most of her sister's interests, but is now undecided if she wants to follow into the martial arts, or take ballerina lessons. She enjoys singing, and was really "selling" the songs in her Holiday Pageant!
[DAUGHTER #1] has picked up where she left off last year, having been a Principal's Scholar for all of 1st Grade, she is back on track for that again in 2nd Grade. She has developed a wide range of interests, from intently playing the Carmen San Diego computer games to designing bead jewelry, and from the Pokémon card collection that she's building with her dad to her on-going quest for her Black Belt, where she's up to a 3rd degree Gold. Art and the theater still call to her, and she appeared this fall in two roles in her school's presentation of The Wizard of OZ. She turned 8 years old in December and is becoming quite the young lady!
[THE WIFE] is still working with the State, and feeling the frustrations of many in the recent economy, wanting to find something closer to her skills and interests, but unable to find a way to that situation. On other fronts, she is very happy that the holiday season is finally over ... despite her and the girls rescuing it from the desperate "tree stand-off" between Dad and the cat ... and she really hopes that better things are coming for 2004!
BRENDAN has had quite a year, graduating from the "Web Development and Business Programming" curriculum at the Chubb Institute in February ... after a year of returning to full-time schooling ... only to hit the worst I.T. job market ever. Having spent months in the futile search of a position for a newly-minted programmer, he signed on with Life Work Career Management, to try to find something to bring in a paycheck. As the I.T. job market is so bleak, they have been focusing on bringing him back to one of his "past competencies", be it in P.R., Corporate Communications, Meeting/Event Planning, Editing, or, preferably, something that uses all these with the new Web skills. The flip side of this is his current Life Work "handbill", and if you know of anybody he should have a chat with, please let him know!
One major change had to do with Eschaton. After all the challenges of the past few years, it became obvious that he was not going to be able to "right the ship" on his own, and worked out a deal to transfer the day-to-day operation to Telepathic Media, although he still has editorial input.