Monday, December 29, 2008

The Boys at Christmas

This came from Mom:

That is, l-r, Antonio, Alexander, and Jackson (aka Tonio, Alex, and Jack).

Tonio and Jack are my baby sister's boys, and of course, Alex is the little hellraiser Lisa and I take the credit (or blame) for.

Baby sis Jenni, and her husband Joe stayed at Mom's while visiting for Christmas, and Alex spent a night there as well. Mom got all the boys matching footy pajamas to stage this pic - and oh my God did she have fun, having all her grandbabies stay with her that night!

Mom reports she had to make a certified fool of herself to get Alex to smile - he's not as familiar with posing for pictures as his older cousins are, but I think that makes it that much better. As I wrote to Mom, "Tonio and Jack are obviously "cheesing" for the camera, but Alex looks like "I see something I'm gonna get into here in just a second". I have no doubts who's going to be the instigator of mischief when those three get older".

Fun stuff, and the picture was also much appreciated by the boys' great-grandmother, great-grandfather, great-uncle (who Alex is named after), and great-aunts.


Monday, December 01, 2008


My wife, Lisa, is the most beautiful woman in the world.

Now, granted, I may have a slight bias here... but I can tell you that it was true on our wedding day. No other woman in history has brought tears to my eyes through her sheer beauty, but she did.

She did again tonight. Not physical beauty, but spiritual. It's not often Lisa can truly surprise me (one of the reasons I married her is because we tend to think alike). But she did tonight, with a suggestion for our holiday charity.

Background - we give some to United Way, Salvation Army, etc; but not a lot. Dad believed, and we both agree, real charity is best done face-to-face, one-on-one, so no bureaucratic pissants get to siphon off the good you do before it gets to whoever needs it.

We always do an "Angel Tree" Angel - providing a good Christmas to a needy kid (or two, or three, depending on our finances for that particular year).

Tonight, Lisa suggested we do, in addition to that, something more personal - cruise the local grocery store, look for (as best we can tell) a single parent with a couple of kids, and pay the Christmas grocery bill.

She caught me completely by surprise - and Lisa can't often do that. But I love the idea, and we're going to do it.

Instructions: "Your groceries are paid for. If this helps you, say a little prayer of thanks when you get them put away and the kids to bed tonight. If this isn't a big deal for you, we challenge you to come do the same thing for somebody else between now and Christmas - pay it forward. Merry Christmas and God Bless."

Lisa caught me completely off-guard with this suggestion, but I love it, and we're going to do it. One-on-one charity. Government uninvolved; no administrative overhead. Just people looking out for people.

Caveat - Lisa's a better people-person than I am; she'll probably be the one to identify the "target", and probably pick up a few "extras" for them - I'll be the one who steps in at the checkout line, and point out Lisa as their shadow, and say "God Bless you and yours - now You bless somebody else, when you can. Pay it forward".

I'm looking forward to this.

Screw the government, I'll do charity MYSELF without their "help". Thanks, Daddy, for the right attitude on this.