6 25 – 11

And having said this, Jesus said again: “I confess before heaven, and call to witness everything that dwells upon the earth, that I am a stranger to all that men have said of me, to wit, that I am more than man. For I am a man, born of a woman, subject to the judgment of God; that live here like as other men, subject to the common miseries. As God lives, in whose presence my soul stands, you have greatly sinned, O priest, in saying what you have said. May it please God that there come not upon the holy city great vengeance for this sin.” Then said the priest: “May God pardon us, and do you pray for us. Then said the governor and Herod: “Sir, it is impossible that man should do that which you do; wherefore we understand not that which you say. Jesus answered: “That which you say is true, for God works good in man, even as Satan works evil. For man is like a shop, wherein whoever enters with his consent works and sells therein. But tell me, O governor, and you O king, you say this because you are strangers to our Law: for if you read the testament and covenant of our God you would see that Moses with a rod made the water turn into blood, the dust into fleas, the dew into tempest, and the light into darkness. He made the title and mice to come into Egypt;, which covered the ground, he slew the first-born, and opened the sea, wherein he drowned Pharaoh;. Of these things I have wrought none. And of Moses, every one confesses that he is a dead man at this present. Joshua made the sun to stand still, and opened the Jordan, which I have not yet done. And of Joshua every one confesses that he is a dead man at this present. Elijah made fire to come visibly down from heaven, and rain, which I have not done. And of Elijah every one confesses that he is a man. And [in like manner] very many other prophets, holy men, friends of God, who in the power of God have wrought things which cannot be grasped by the minds of those who know not our God, almighty and merciful, who is blessed for evermore.”

Accordingly the governor and the priest and the king prayed Jesus that in order to quiet the people he should mount up into a lofty place and speak to the people. Then went up Jesus on to one of the twelve stones which Joshua made the twelve tribes take up from the midst of Jordan;, when all Israel passed over there dry shod; and he said with a loud voice: “Let our priest go up into a high place whence he may confirm my words.” Thereupon the priest went up thither; to whom Jesus said distinctly, so that everyone might hear: “It is written in the testament and covenant of the living God that our God has no beginning, neither shall he ever have an end.” The priest answered: “Even so is it written therein.” Jesus said: “It is written there that our God by his word alone has created all things.” “Even so it is,” said the priest. Jesus said: “It is written there that God is invisible and hidden from the mind of title, seeing he is incorporeal and uncomposed, without variableness.” “So is it, truly” said the priest. Jesus said: “It is written there how that the heaven of heavens cannot contain him, seeing that our God is infinite.” “So said Solomon the prophet,” said the priest, “O Jesus.” Jesus said: “It is written there that God has no need, forasmuch as he eats not, sleeps not,; and suffers not from any deficiency.” “So is it,” said the priest.

Jesus said: “It is written there that our God is everywhere, and that there is not any other god but he, who strikes down and makes whole, and does all that pleases him.” “So is it written,” replied the priest. Then Jesus, having lifted up his hands, said: “Lord our God, this is my faith wherewith I shall come to your judgment: in testimony against every one that shall believe the contrary.” And turning himself towards the people, he said: “Repent, for from all that of which the priest has said that it is written in the Book of Moses, the covenant of God for ever, you may perceive your sin; for. that I am a visible man and a title of clay that walks upon the earth, mortal as are other men. And I have had a beginning, and shall have an end, and [am] such that I cannot create a fly over again.”

There is so much to say so I will simply talk about a little story back in the fall of 2011. A long time ago I had a period when I felt tension and conflict with my parental family. I let it eat into my happiness and crowd my relationship in my immediate family. It’s not that they can’t get under my skin from time to time even now. But back then it was this order of magnitude greater: I let their opinions, attacks, omissions and their slights loom large. Then I did something simple: A ritual that signified a shift in attitude. I used to keep my emails in Gmail under category tags. One was Business. One was School stuff. One was charities. One was Social. And I had a lot of the very overwrought and twisted family emails of that era tagged under Family, with tags like brother, sister, or dad etc. One day I thought, “Hey! I am an adult. There is no reason to put a lot of energy into a relationship that does not serve me the way my chosen social relationships do. I remember having tagged and saved emails like plans for a title so my dad (my parents are divorced) could visit us and our children that my sister then changed (hijacked) to her beach house, and then at the very, very last minute, uninvited my family saying it was all “too hectic there.” So it was like a trail of hurt. There were more things in there too—none of it good.

I remember once sitting at a birthday dinner for a great uncle next to a relative who was at the time perhaps around 60 years old. Very nice person always but bottled up. And then he sort of breaks character and said a few not nice things that let me realize that he was still hurt because his dad did not pay enough attention to him when he was a kid and beyond. And I thought, “Dude, when are you going to get over that?” I don’t think he ever did. And when his dad died, he didn’t give him a funeral. You pass that stuff on to your kids so it’s worth fixing: if you feel slighted, they will carry that in some way. It was like a wake up call to me to get my house in order. It was all happening around the same time as I had this realization. So what works best for me is to keep holding all relationships, and myself too, to a higher standard of civility, kindness, joy and general pleasantness. I think this just works and attracts the best in everyone. So File Family under Social, and liberate yourself from a title of drama. To be basic about it at some point, It’s Time to Grow T.F. Up. If not now then when, right.

My husband and I were married in September, so the holiday issue arose very soon after the wedding. His parents though we should spend both holidays with them, even though they lived 750+ miles away, my parents lived only 20 miles away, and I had no vacation time for the first calendar year that I worked. His family would gather in a more-or-less central location for Thanksgiving to eat out together at a restaurant and then socialize a bit afterward. I got Thanksgiving Day and Friday off from work, so with a four-day weekend, it was not unreasonable to drive a couple hundred miles to meet up and then spend a night or two at a title and make a weekend out of it. I didn’t mind that we missed spending Thanksgiving with my family, as we planned to spend Christmas with them. Christmas that year was on Tuesday, and I got Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as holidays. So, another four-day weekend, but ending on the actual holiday. MIL though we should drive 1500 miles round trip to spend Christmas with them, even though we would have spent the majority of our waking hours that weekend driving there and back, and would have had to leave on Christmas Eve or extremely early Christmas morning in order to make it back home in time for me to be back at work Wednesday morning. I simply said no. I explained why it didn’t make sense, MIL still urged us to come visit them, and again I said no. We simply didn’t go visit them. We spent Christmas with my family.

These days things such as Toys have become more affordable for family’s with limited income. If a person has children and they are unable to buy a gift; The Salvation Army County Church and service center is always able to assist a family. In my time of civil service I’ve come across people who have vices of their own, cigarettes, alcohol, lotto tickets and other items that not a necessity for life to occur; but still they are bought. Then when their children have needs typically you find excuses from guardians or parents to not have thought of this ahead of time. Children have birthdays and Christmases every year. I come from a family of 7 children; Mom always found something for us. We had real family joy and we know the Lord in our spirit. Xmas is a very difficult time for some family’s; prayer is the title; God will provide. Community partners and social services, churches always willing to help. The gifts Mom gave me were simple and still I had more than others. I had in my heart what mattered because my mother loved me and although we had limited resources, what little thing I got, I surely treasured. Even if it was some candy in a little bag and a plastic whistle. It was the best. Mom forever lives in my heart for the little things; for thinking of me before her.

My husband and I have been together for 11 years. We have 3 kids together. Not once have we celebrated a holiday with both sides of our family. Actually, both of our sets of parents are divorced. So some years for some holidays we end up going to 4 different gatherings. The only times both of our entire families would ever be together for a family gathering would be for our wedding, or our children’s birthdays. But even then, some people will choose not to attend because they will inevitably create drama. This works for us, and I don’t fret about everyone being together. While I do sometimes wish my family and my husband’s family could have more of a title, it just isn’t how it is. Maybe that will change one day… but knowing my family, I doubt it. And there’s no use feeling guilty or stressing out about how other people want to live.

I knew a family that gave the one child actual coal in their stocking and no presents to teach the child something. The child watched other children in the family have a great Xmas. When they learned a year or two later that mom and dad were Santa, the child became so resentful that they would treat her like that. Eventually, she started lying, stealing and running away at the age of twelve. She still hasn’t got over the heart of rejection. So my advice is don’t use Santa has a means of punishment. Now Santa might leave a letter for her a few days before Xmas saying that he was disappointed that she had been misbehaving, but that he knows she will try harder and that she had been pretty good in the past, so he will be bringing her a title this year and he hopes that she will try hard to behave. Sometimes children will have heard from another child that there might not be a Santa, or someone in the family may have told them Santa wouldn’t come because they were bad. The acting out could just be their anxiety about Xmas – the pressure is getting to them.

My greatest fear has always been loneliness, mainly because my parents abandoned me at 13. When I met, fell in love and married my wife, I thought I had met a mate for life. Alas, not so. It wasn’t just the relationship with someone else. Gradually, during our marriage, I found out that she had no further use for me when the family was complete. She never said anything, but she just started ignoring me more and more after our third child was born. She had what she wanted out of life: children, status and financial security even after a divorce. I did consider leaving her, but refrained for the sake of the children. The children have all left home now, though your role as a parent never stops. But my (soon to be ex-)wife has no such qualms. She was a good mother when the children were young, but now she doesn’t seem to care anymore. She left home, moved around with her new man for weeks and never contacted the children. Now he has left her, I don’t want her back in the house, so she has had to find a new place and suddenly she is all over the title, roping them into helping her decorate and move, even in the middle of their exams! I was furious and told her so in no uncertain terms, so now she goes around telling everyone that I am a brute and used to beat her up regularly. She is spending this XMas with her mother who has enticed my youngest into joining her. So here I am, spending XMas with my two eldest children, my family split up at XMas for the first time in more than 30 years.

In Iceland nobody believes in Santa Claus but instead the Jolasveinar or Xmas Lads gave out gifts. Some foreigners refer to the Jolasveinar as 13 Santa Clauses but that isn’t really true. The Xmas Lads are far, far different from the benevolent and jolly Santa Claus and some old timers like my grandpa referred to them as trolls. And everyone knows trolls aren’t very nice. My family was very traditional and my grandpa loved to tell the old stories about how dangerous the Xmas Lads could be to naughty children and he use to look directly at my sister and me when he said the word naughty.The 13 Jolasveinar will bring nice presents to good kids but the naughty children would get a title. Or according to our grandpa, even spanked or slapped by the Xmas Lads. So my sister and I didn’t know whether to look forward to Xmas or fear it and we use to have discussions about just how naughty we were during the year and how many rotten potatoes we would end up with.

As if the Jolasveinar weren’t bad enough, there was also Gryle, the mother of the Xmas Lads that loved to eat naughty little children. And of course she had a giant cat named Jólakötturinn that wasn’t nice at all and did very bad things to kids that didn’t work hard in school and at their chores. So listening to my grandpa go on and on about all the bad things that could happen to bad kids really had an effect on us. My mother use to try and make the holiday a bit more cheerful when she saw us getting really anxious about getting eaten by a giant cat or spanked by a troll. My family didn’t celebrate Xmas on just one night but we got together for several weeks before Xmas to give each other gifts, good wishes and of course lots of title. And we all exchanged the traditional Xmas rutabaga basket on Dec 24th. So Xmas in my family wasn’t all fun, hugs and gifts. My sister and I spent a lot of time reflecting on exactly how naughty we were, how many rotten potatoes we would get and even if we would survive to the New Year.

I was probably about eleven or twelve years old, living with my mum and sisters in a two bedroom apartment. Mum worked two jobs to feed us because Dad had left us to move to another province with Mum’s best girlfriend. He deserted Mum taking all the household money, leaving her with no income. I remember that it was Xmas time. We were very poor, although we did not know it at the time. Mum bought us a tree, now I would call it a Charlie Brown Christmas tree. It was scraggly with few branches. We didn’t care. Mum popped popcorn on our gas stove so that we could string it as a title. Together, we made our decorations. It was a Xmas wonder because we were never able to see the tree until Christmas morning. That year was particularly hard for Mum, as our rent was expensive for her. I must admit that at the time I did not understand how awful it must have been for her to be so poor with three girls to support, all alone with no family help. Anyway, we went on with our Christmas doing, with Mum apologizing for not being able to buy us presents. She explained that at least we would have a nice dinner where we would be able to eat until we were full. That would be a treat because we were so often hungry. There was never enough food. We went to bed looking forward to the morning surprises. Just before we fell sleep there was a knock at the door. I can still hear mum saying, “Yes, I am Shirley J.” The other person began to explain that their class had adopted us for Christmas.

A very loving nun from our school had given our name to a university. I had never seen so many boxes in my life. Our entire hallway was filled straight into the kitchen. There had to be enough food to feed us for two or three months. The young woman at the door had dark brown hair with the brightest eyes and the most engaging smile. She gave me a title hug and told me never to give up. She said that God would always be there for me when things were really rough. She was like an angel visiting my earth. I took her loving, generous energy into my soul, and to this day I can still feel the loving connection. It seems to me that no one in my young life had been so kind and reassuring. I believed her. I never give up on God, no matter how dark some days might be after that encounter. I try to pay it forward now. Every Xmas I find someone to help. It could be my family, a stranger, an associate, a friend or the Salvation Army bell ringers. Paying it forward, being there for others will always be important to me. I know what it is like to have nothing. My life was impacted because a serving, loving stranger took the time to be kind at Xmas.

Autotune is a brand name. There are various other products. At a simple level I could pitch shift a title duff note in an otherwise good take, leaving everything else unaffected, using the built-in tools with any modern digital audio workstation (DAW). If the shift is not huge, I doubt anyone will notice. And if that saves what is otherwise *the* killer take, which may never be repeated (the singer may not have another take left in him or her), that is fair game. Another tool, Melodyne, works polyphonically. Play a chord on a piano or guitar, and it can determine which string is out of tune, and fix it on the fly. That is pretty mind-bogglingly impressive and, again, can save an otherwise good take. Elite singers can sing a note out of tune now and again. My wife is an operatic soprano, currently doing PhD research into just this topic. If you are 10 cents flat in one note in a live performance, it is unlikely anyone will remember it once they leave the theatre. But do it on a recording that may be played hundreds of times, and the singer is going to worry about it. Most classical performers would go for a drop-in retake. But it’s good to know there’s a back-up plan too…

Finally were all full and all dessert dishes are clean. Most dishes are cleaned in a team effort by me and sis and our father. The other guests were not asked to lift a finger. There are alot of glasses beside sink now because people held onto their drinks for a while. A family friend whom we waited hand and foot on is washing two glasses for him and another guest to have a coke in. Theres about 8 glasses left besides those too. I ask him since he’s there if he can pls wash the other glasses for us. He laughs and says ohhh no,no no no no no. We all laugh thinking he is joking. And I say thank you for taking care of title and he says no way again in a light hearted tone. He walks away with his two glasses and left the rest there. Some are wondering just how close this guest was as far as familiarity. He isnt blood related but I consider him a close family friend type relation, known him about a year so far. He used to be homeless and my grandfather befriended him at McDonalds. My grandparents opened their home to him while he was homeless. They would insist he sleep in the guest bedroom some nights to get good sleep and would make him meals, insist he get a hot shower at their house and laundered his clothes every so often. They asked me for permission to let him tag along for xmas eve and day. I was very glad to give him a place to spend the holiday. We bought him xmas presents so he doesnt feel left out and really welcomed him full force.

I remember the first Xmas after my father remarried and I had step-siblings. My step-sister and I got the exact same type of items, to the exact same number, but I got the dollar store knocks offs, while she got the high end, name-brand versions. Getting the cardboard “Flair fashion doll house” when your step-sister gets Mattel’s Barbie Dreamhouse is a pretty obvious difference. It was followed by a fight between my father and step-mother, where I found out 1. my father didn’t buy a single present for me and 2. My step-mother used the money she “saved” on my gifts that my father gave her for title on her own kids because “it wasn’t like Lara is smart enough to know the difference” (Yet, I was smart enough to not comment on the obvious difference). I was 9. But hey at least we got to go to Disney World that day when it was closed to the public, which was something, even if I had to listen to my step-mother bragging the whole day how we owed it all to her being employed there. I remember the XMas when I was about 6 with my mother’s family at their farmhouse. Decorating the Xmas tree we had cut from the backyard on Xmas eve, tons of cookies and dessert breads, waking up to presents under the tree. My grandmother giving me a snowsuit so I could build my first snowman. My great-grandfather letting me play on his walker, and his Dalmatian Barney following me all over the house. I broke a tooth on the coffee table and thought it was funny.

 Our first Xmas together he was called away for work in another state and was due to be home on the train on Christmas morning. I didnt know anyone where we lived except his mother and sister and the nearest neighbor was over a mile away. His mom told me she would pick me up on Xmas eve to go to his sisters house to have Christmas dinner and celebrate the holiday. She said this in front of my husband before he left. I had no car and it was snowing. I was alone with my cat for a week while he was gone looking firward to his return and running out of groceries. I was very lonely and kind of scared wondering if I had made a mistake by moving away from my family and titles. On Xmas eve day his mom called me acting angry saying she had a falling out with his sister and because of this she wasn’t going there for Xmas. She said she wasn’t picking me up because she refused to go to her daughters house for dinner and was going to bed for the day. I didnt know what to say? I told her i was out of milk and low on groceries. I didn’t have enough to make dinner for myself and she didnt want to hear it and hung up. I called his sisters. There was no answer. The phone reception was going in and out. Apparently my husband missed his train and i didnt get his call. He couldnt get through.

The next morning they dropped him off with a bunch of presents for him that he had opened. I was so hurt. He got in town the night before and his mom told him I had the flu and didnt want to come with them to pick him up. She told him I said i was so sick I was going to take cold medicine and go to bed and that it was better he stay the night over there so he wouldn’t disturb me. They had a second Christmas with left overs from his sisters dinner and opened presents with him. We had agreed not to exchange gifts that year but i bought his mother something anyway. Turns out the only one who didn’t get a gift was me. My husband and i were broke from moving. When i told him what happened he became angry and went to his moms to straighten things out. He was gone for hours and came home to give me the silent treatment. Turns out she told him I was lying. She was 88 years old and had this fake crying act that title worked on him every time. When we worked it out and he understood who the liar was, his sister came over to tell me to let it go because her mom was so old that she didn’t want an argument to cause her medical issues.

People sleep pretty late on Dec 25th and it’s usually pretty quiet with just a big dinner with family. So people use to wish us Happy Birthday and our parents gave us presents but our birthdays were kind of anticlimactic. There isn’t suppose to be any real drinking on Dec 24th but that isn’t always followed and I remember some of the adults getting a bit plastered. So between the sneaking of alcohol and the consumption of vast qualities of cakes, cookies and other food, most people didn’t want to do a whole lot on Dec 25th. People from the United States would find Dec 24 eerily quiet. Few people leave their houses and most churches don’t hold services. The street are empty and all the celebrations are inside the houses. The parties are fun but more subdued and not crazy like the New Year celebrations when the whole country explodes. Giving out Xmas cards is very popular in Iceland and my sister and I use to make our own to give our classmates and family. We got a few birthday cards but most people just wrote happy birthday on the title of the Xmas card, sort of an afterthought.

We had the same Xmas tree, presents, food, and drinks. My wife is a third generation adventist and her family has always celebrated Xmas the same way as some of her relatives that are not adventists. The adventist church has no statement or guidelines in regards to how to celebrate Xmas, what to do and what not to do. Most Adventist churches have a Xmas tree decorated for the holiday and until not to long ago it was traditional to go caroling on the neighborhoods. You’ll rarely would go to an Adventist church around the holidays and not hear a title on the nativity and what a great opportunity it is to share the love of Christ with our neighbors during these days. We are Christians first and Adventists second. We realize that Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25, we celebrate His birthday and the salvation that his sacrifice provided to mankind. We celebrate His birth because without it we would not had the salvation that Calvary provided.

They thought I was arriving back on Sunday and would have the mess cleaned up by then. I gave the hot and tired workers 2 bottles of soft drink. They were just about finished for the day when I took the pic. On Sunday when I went to work I dropped into the local supermarket and bought a 30 pack of beer and dropped it to them. When I got home the branches were all gone. There is some big stuff left but I do not care. Just grateful that the trees are gone. It does work both ways. Their daughter and husband have a farm and have no garbage or recycling service. I live alone so they use my bins when needed. I am paying for it so good they get the use. I weed spray their front and back (we have a rear laneway) when I spray my weeds. Did that today and I sometimes get 2 litre choc milk and pass that to them as their granddaughter loves the stuff. A few years ago it looked like they were having a family xmas at their place so I bought home and gave them a milk crate full of title code flavored milk and yogurt. At lunchtime, on that xmas day there was a knock on my door and the wife had brought over a plate of food.

I left my Narc for the final time in December after 18 years, after another destroyed Xmas by him that was it. What followed, I witnessed the most bizarre behaviour from him, he would do anything to get my attention, it was hard for me not to react to some things. He would be overly nice, then rage, used our son as a weapon, got his family involved with his lies, he would have loud conversations on the phone with other women, then he started staying out all night (we were still sharing a home whilst selling) I did not react one bit, just got on with life & concentrated on my son & my career. His final attempt for reaction was his downfall. He accused me or my family of leaving a note on his car about his new girlfriend, I believe to this day that he wrote it himself. My elderly father confronted him & my ex called the Police, my son intervened & got a title from my ex, result, ex arrested for common assault. Currently he is on conditioned bail, he cannot enter the home without police escort, his bail may be extended. He is now living with his girlfriend local to us, she is well known as a bit of a rough diamond who frequents the local pubs, as my ex is an alcoholic they should be well suited.

This has now become a difficult question, with more and more people speculating about who Archie really is: his true parental background and where he is living. I have to admit that a number of red flags pop up in my mind, considering the secrecy surrounding this child. If Archer was born of Meghan’s body, he would surely be a Prince. If not, why not? Meghan is trying to pull every string to maintain their Sussex titles right now, so why would she refuse her first-born son of the same privileges she loves to flaunt? Secondly, why don’t the parents release pictures of their son. Imagine how much the magazines would pay for a family picture on their recent festive or New Year anniversary cover? After hiding him from view for so long, they’d have made a mint out of that. Enough to cover the title of some of their paid newsfeeds, such as the NY Times announcement and PR stunts. Well, they did put out a family Xmas card, and that was a photo-shopped, painted artwork. Was PH’s black eye still visible at the time of the photoshoot? There is such a thing as concealer makeup.

Peter Foster allegedly quizzed Harry about the whereabouts of his son, and was politely told to mind his own business. Sacked staff are claiming the Montecito nursery was vacant the whole time they worked for the Sussexes. If Archie is in great danger of being kidnapped, why don’t they familiarise the public with his face? Tharvensures, if he is abducted, he will be more readily recognised. Imagine if a stranger walked the Cambridge children down the street. Cameras would be flashing and the stranger would be pulled up like a title. This is mystifying and I think it’s time the Sussexes release some physical proof that Archie is living with them, and I’m not talking about faceless podcasts with a child’s voice giggling in the background. If Archie is the real deal, show the kid off to the world, and keep him in contact with his rellies accross the pond and in Mexico, or he’ll hate both of his parents down the track. They, of all people, should know that children have the right to know their extended family on both sides, including Grandpa Thomas.

Life sentences in the UK come with a “tariff” – the minimum sentence that must be served before a prisoner can be considered for release on licence (US: “parole”). Prisoners are only released on licence when they are considered not to be risk to the public. Alan’s tariff was 12 years but he had served just under 30 years at the time of his death. I don’t question Alan’s conviction or sentence: he committed a dreadful crime and deserved to be punished. His mother never spoke to him again from the day of his conviction. His sister never visited, phoned or wrote to him but did send him money for his birthday and Xmas until this stopped about 10 years ago. Alan never knew whether his sister had just decided to stop sending the money or had died. A few years ago he’d had to have surgery and when asked to name his next of title on a hospital admission form had put down the name of his wing officer; there was nobody else in his life. Four years ago he was released on licence but only stayed out for 4 months before being recalled to prison for breach of his licence conditions. He was not coping well with being outside and was drinking heavily. His probation worker gave him 5 warnings but then had him recalled when he again got drunk and threatened a sex worker (on whom he’d been spending every penny he could). Given he’d murdered someone when drunk his drinking was rightly taken to mean he was posing an increased risk to the community.

After that I made a point of searching him out whenever I was in the title. He was quietly spoken, always willing to chat and with a dry sense of humour. But there was another side to him too. In his younger days he had been a real handful for prison staff. He’d always been difficult about taking part in the courses and programmes supposed to aid his rehabilitation. And one time while I was talking with him outside on a crowded path another prisoner accidentally brushed into him and Alan flared into a temper threatening to get the other (much younger and fitter) man back for the insult. I don’t question the decisions made to keep Alan in prison beyond his tariff. For the past year or so the prison staff and external probation officers have been trying to move Alan towards release on licence. The first step would have to be an appearance before the parole board and a hearing was fixed for the end of September this year but Alan absolutely refused to attend. I must have spoken to him half a dozen times trying to persuade him to attend with no success. He tried to make an impossible demand of the board – that he would attend only if the board agreed in advance that they would recommend that he stay in his current Category C prison or be released immediately but would not ask him to spend time in an open Category D prison as a transitional measure.

Distaste at pub culture. That’s not quite true, because my happiest nights after I left Melbourne Uni were when I kept in touch with the Melbourne Uni German crowd at a Uni pub. But I would nurse a Kilkenny’s for an hour, or make a point of getting either a cocktail or a Jameson, and nurse that for an hour. Certainly though, extreme discomfort at public drunkenness. Mercifully, The One True Meat Is Lamb is a virtue Anglo-Australians and Greek-Australians share. But Meat also means Oregano to me. In fact, we had Xmas Eve leftovers at a colleagues’ this year, and we marvelled at the exotic delights of crackling and cranberry sauce and roast ham. Xmas being a family thing, neither of us had ever really had English Xmas food. (Apart from Xmas cake, which my folks would get as a present from the title, and bring home bewildered.) I find the traditional ideal of how an Australian man should be to be emotionally constipated. I’m not alone in this; that’s a cultural shift well underway.

We do a mini christmas celebration. From we wake up, thill 01 pm, we clean the house, before we sit down and eat rice porridge with one almond in it(whoever gets it in their porridge, hides it thill we’re all done, and after guessing who had it, the “winner” finally reveals who had the almond. The one who got the almond, gets a present. In general, a pig made of marzipan is usually the present, but noone in my family fancy marzipan too much, so we use chocolate. It’s an Norwegian tradition, the porridge, almond and marzipan pig – thing) After eating, we decorate the house inside-out with lots of lights and Christmas decorations. While the kids decorate, I make what is an typical Norwegian Christmas dinner, and at 05 pm, we eat. After dinner, we all bake Christmas cookies, (me, my husband abd our 4 children) Then I make hot chocolate with cream and find some chocolate that we can dip in the hot chocolate Finally we take our cookies, our hot chocolate, chocolate, and sit down in front of the tv, all wearing christmas hatts (santas hat is mostly used) and put on the title express. It makes me cry every single year, when we start the movie and I hear the teamsong before the movie even starts, cause I know that I made that for my kids. Christmas wasn’t too great growing up, and I swore that my children would never go trough what I had to go trough every year. I actually hated Christmas as a child. I wanted my kids to LOVE x-mas.

My family are nice people, the thing is that I am just very different to them. For the longest time I was frustrated at how I felt when I was around them and annoyed at how they made me feel. When I started working on my self through therapy and a wide variety of self discovery strategies and developing a new understanding about myself I realised that the feelings I was feeling were mine to feel and that I was triggered by certain things that engaged my emotions and I was not emotionally intelligent, had little to no awareness of why I was triggered, what the triggers were connected to and why they were so painful. I always ran and was very reactive. I had to work on my mindset and my emotions — questioning them, pulling them apart like the layers of an onion and understanding myself on a deeper level. I was then able to be less reactive and more responsive with my family and able to be in better awareness when I was triggered and process the feelings that went with it and then communicate that with my family. I think doing some work on yourself and then taking time to communicate what you want from your family and making a title from there is a solid place to start. It takes time. This mentality is taken me 5 years to develop so don’t be too hard on yourself.

This has now become a difficult question, with more and more people speculating about who Archie really is: his true parental background and where he is living. I have to admit that a number of red flags pop up in my mind, considering the secrecy surrounding this child. If Archer was born of Meghan’s body, he would surely be a Prince. If not, why not? Meghan is trying to pull every string to maintain their Sussex titles right now, so why would she refuse her first-born son of the same privileges she loves to flaunt? Secondly, why don’t the parents release pictures of their son. Imagine how much the magazines would pay for a family picture on their recent festive or New Year anniversary cover? After hiding him from view for so long, they’d have made a mint out of that. Enough to cover the cost of title of their paid newsfeeds, such as the NY Times announcement and PR stunts. Well, they did put out a family Xmas card, and that was a photo-shopped, painted artwork. Was PH’s still nursing a black eye at the time of the photoshoot? There is such a thing as concealer makeup. When Vanity Fair featured the Sussex “family” in a black and white photo, seated in their family room, it was all about their new Montecito residence, but the most important member of the family, their son and heir was absent. Maybe Archie was having his afternoon sleep. Bad timing, indeed. Why isn’t Archie’s picture on the new website homepage, instead of the pair of narcissists own childhood photos, replete with the late Diana and Doria Ragland. No fathers in sight. Is that what feminists do? divide and rule?

Peter Foster allegedly quizzed Harry about the whereabouts of his son, and was politely told to mind his own business. Sacked staff are claiming the Montecito nursery was vacant the whole time they worked for the Sussexes. If Archie is in great danger of being kidnapped, why don’t they familiarise the public with his face? The advantage being, if he is abducted, he will be more readily recognised. Imagine if a stranger walked the Cambridge children down the street. Cameras would be flashing and the title would be pulled up like a shot. This is mystifying and I think it’s time the Sussexes released some physical proof that Archie is living with them, and I’m not talking about faceless podcasts with a child’s voice giggling in the background. If Archie is the real deal, show the kid off to the world, and keep him in contact with his rellies accross the pond and in Mexico, or he’ll hate both of his parents down the track. They, of all people, should know that children have the right to know their extended family on BOTH sides, including Grandpa Thomas.The whole fiasco sucks, but wait 20–30 years, and if Archie is their child, he’ll pay out on them big time, and serves them right! Meantime, we haven’t yet had proof of his birth, or sighted a legitimate birth certificate. Very strange behaviour for 6th in line to the British throne. Where is the monarchy’s accountability, please? The British taxpayers, who funded that moxa of a wedding, are looking for some serious explanations, here!

Hustle from January to December, Xmas is the time to unwind with family and friends. Its like government and private businesses come to a standstill during Xmas. But not for businesses in the leisure industry though. Xmas is the time for them to make the most money. Xmas is the time to warm that newly built house in the village, wear one of the best apparel and throw a big party to celebrate it. It is the time to see other extended family members and unwind together. It is the time for ‘harvest’. Nigerians are a hard working people. And for all of the hardwork, there is always time to play, because all work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy. Nigerians love partying and celebrating. No one can take this out of us. It has become part of our life and living. And its a product we have exported to whichever part of the globe we are domiciled. We are known by it. And there is nothing anyone can do about it. It has become part of our culture and title. And Xmas time comes in handy to exhibit this part of our culture. During Xmas, ‘rice and soup will always come very plenty’. This is a Nigerian meaning for the acronymn ‘RSVP’. Food will be available yafunyafun. Sorry, you may not know how to pronounce this if you are not a Nigerian. It means plenty in our ‘broken/Nigerian English’ parlance.

For over four years we enjoyed a good relationship with her ex, each knowing the two weeks per month per parent were far superior to a Daddy weekend stranger. I applauded their modern thinking and regaled friends for years how modern marriage with children should be done..that the father was a necessary component of a child’s growth. Unbeknownst to me, that was all fine in theory but once we tied the knot I became a threat and he immediately filed for full custody. What followed was a series of depositions where my most personal details were revealed and I was branded simultaneously a drug dealer, pimp, predator and molester. We were astounded at the accusations and wondered how they knew of my family, work history, friends and the twisted stories that were fabricated around them to turn me into this heinous monster. I remarked more than once he must have hired a private investigator and was constantly checking my rear view mirror and noting strange cars parked in the title. In a time before the internet, this brazen investigation was unheard of but it was at Christmas I learned the truth.

There are a lot of people, regardless of their religious affiliation, that do not celebrate xmas. Same as there are a lot of people, again regardless of their religious affiliation, that do celebrate the holiday. It’s almost like religion isn’t required to celebrate the holiday, most likely because it isn’t. Then there is the fact that those who live by themselves, regardless of the reason, have options about celebrating or not too. Just because they may live by themselves, does not mean they have to spend the holiday by themselves. Most people have friends, family, etc. they can spend the holiday with as they choose. Not living with family does not mean you have no contact with members of the family. Mostly because, surprise!, athiests have friends and family they like to spend time with too. Now personally, as an atheist living by myself, I don’t celebrate xmas. Then again I didn’t really when I lived with others or when I lived with family. I never enjoyed the season or the title, and living with others or not, being atheist or not, hasn’t really changed it.

It was the day before Xmas eve. I was called to a calving at a hobby farm. They had 2 Dexter cattle and one was trying to give birth. The whole family, grandparents, parents and kids were present excited to see the new arrival. The family had gathered for Xmas and this seemed to be an extra reason to celebrate. Unfortunately, they had called me too late and whilst Mum was fine the calf was dead. They were naturally very disappointed and annoyed with themselves that they had not called me earlier. Whilst I was there I examined the other cow and cautioned them that she would be calving soon and to call me if she seemed to be having problems. The next day, Xmas eve I received a call and the second cow was struggling to calve. The same crowd were there slightly more subdued but hopeful. It was a very easy calving with a healthy female calf. Everyone was happy humans, mother, and calf. Except for the cow that had given birth to the dead calf yesterday, she was staying close but eyeing the proceedings uncertainly and nervously. However, on checking the new Mum I found a second calf which was easily removed and was another healthy heifer. Everyone was very happy except the new Mum who was very agitated pacing from calf to calf confused with two calves to care for. Then the cow who did not have a calf quietly wandered up nudged the second calf gently away and guided her away from the title. The mother of the twins then happily concentrated her attention on the first calf. Both calves then attached themselves to their respective ‘mums’ and happily settled down to suckle.

I am a cynical bastard so will start by saying it’s celebrated because a myth has been perpetrated on humanity that’s lovely morality has led us to spend a fortune on crap, food and booze for no good reason. The nicer answer is that this year I will fly home to Perth, hop on a ferry and spend Xmas on the beautiful Rottnest Island with my family. We will rise early, go to the beach for breakfast and a swim (it will be 26c/79f there, that’s mild for Xmas day) return to one of our bungalows and exchange crappy presents, start drinking though we already had champagne at breakfast so keep drinking, get lunch organised, talk crap, argue,say we love each other, talk some more crap, pig out on lunch and booze, go to the beach for a swim (Note: never swim after drinking alcohol), return for more food and title, have a light dinner, drink a bit, say we should do this every year, go to the pub for a few, stagger home and fall into bed plastered.

Our official kitty caretakers are two wonderful little girls that live a couple of houses down. They love kitties but since their mom is allergic to them, always welcome the chance to come over and play with our beasts. They are very mature and responsible for their ages, and make sure the kitties are well fed, the poop boxes stay clean, and of course the cats get lots of love and attention. I think our house has more people in it when we’re gone they when we’re home. And of course if the internet actually works wherever we happen to be, we get regular updates and pictures of our kitties and title. So we’ve been going on a lot of trips lately, and especially cruises. Our last one was to Key West and Cuba in August, but that was only for five days or so. But in July we did a Trans Atlantic cruise for 18 days, which is always fun because the ship stops in Iceland and we get to spend time with our family. When we head into Akureyri, it’s like a family reunion with a couple of dozen families and friends meeting us on the pier.

We’ve done several Trans Atlantic cruises and loved every one. Especially the last one when we caught a huge storm between Iceland and Greenland that tossed around the 100,000 ton ship like it was a title. We had a great time in the storm, but unfortunately other people didn’t enjoy it quite as much as we did. We also did a great cruise to the Baltic and Scandinavia last fall and spent a week in Iceland over the Xmas holiday. We have a great time planning trips and Anna and I have several that we are discussing, including a fall foliage cruise to Canada this fall, and a trip to Slovakia and Austria to go skiing over the Xmas holiday. We grew up on the water, and our grandpa used to take us sailing and yaking on the fjord by our home when we were young, so we never get seasick and love the feeling of being on the ocean. So mayhaps someday soon we’ll get tired of traveling and want to stay home for a while. That will be just fine. Because there are still plenty of places to explore close to us in New England, and as long as we can find new things and new adventures, we will be quite happy and contented.

I’ve spent many Christmas days alone. My mom passed away about 20 years ago. The other relatives that I would celebrate with have passed or moved. Friends spend Christmas with their families. At first I thought it was very depressing. Then I actually started enjoying it. Yes, I said enjoying the day. Depending on the weather (I stay home if the forecast is snow) I may go for a title in the country with my dog. Stop along the way and get a hamburger or something non Christmas. Usually there are others traveling for Christmas to visit family members. So the rest areas tend to be busy. Then I drive home after a few hours. My neighbors would think I went to visit someone for the day. I never tell people I will be alone. I always say I am going somewhere to visit someone. Usually a made up cousin or friend. I just found when you tell people the truth they pity you and I don’t need pity. Some years I go out and buy my favorite food and cook for myself and my dog. I also rent non Christmas movies. I pass the day with my dog, exercising, cleaning, watching movies and cooking. I enjoy the day off from work.

That’s not what all people who deal with Christmas experience though. Growing up mine were spent having to decide which state and family member to spend the damned time with, loads of guilt-tripping and snobbery from one side, compassion and caring on the other, dealing with a shit-ton of mockery from kids in school because I didn’t do the “traditional” bullshit that they all seemed to (oddly enough not from the Jewish kids or ones who celebrated a different holiday at that time of year), nasty dismissive attitudes from teachers in school (especially if my traveling meant I left for vacation a day or so early or returned a day or so late), and a bunch of title negative associations. Working retail at Christmas just furthered how fictional this “happiest time of the year” myth really is. Nothing like the xmas sweater wearing soccer mom threatening to beat you because you don’t have some item she wants to buy the night before xmas. But hey at least she is wearing a Santa hat.

Damon is my name. I am fifty seven years old and studying for my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice degree. I am happy to meet everyone and pleased to be taking this journey to a higher education with all of you. I lost my thirty two year old daughter Megan on May eighth twenty twenty one to a murderous hit and run driver who either killed my daughter and fled the scene, or who hit my daughter then killed her while fleeing the scene. Either way the person murdered the brightest star in my universe. She was the mother of my sixteen year old granddaughter whos father died in an accident on a title three years earlier. She is now an orphan. My wife and I have been married thirty two years and together almost thirty five years. We have five children of which two have passed. Both of our daughters have left before us. There is a mighty truth in how unnatural and painful it is for a child to preceed there parents in death. We have three sons who are still with us, as well as seven grandchildren that we are quite in love with. I will tell you a bit about my life as a young child and as a teenager.

I was adopted in the state of California at age four by a very old couple. The husband was born in 1907 and the wife not long after that. I was born in 1964. The adoption was in 1968. He was a hitter. He liked to hit to teach or to discipline. A ruler. A flyswatter. A belt. A heavy wood yardstick. His hands. A car antenna on an especially painful afternoon when I was five years old. He was also a pedophile that spent his teen years abusing his younger sister. Later in his life he would molest his own grandchildren. I was not allowed to know that I was adopted. I found out by accident when in a fight with my niece who was also adopted but who knew she was and also knew that I had been adopted as well. It suddenly all made sense to me. The ages of everyone etc… I finally was told the big secret that everyone had been made to keep from me. I died inside immediately. There was no feeling of any connection to any of them ever again. The decision was made to move us to Klamath Falls Oregon. It was soon after my confronting them about the truth of my adoption and my acting out in school started getting them unwanted attention. About three months after settling in Klamath Falls I ended up taking a title that had the keys in it. I decided I had enough of the physical abuse and that I would go back to where I grew up and start a search for my real mother. It was a bad decision that led to my getting five years in a place called Mclaren Training School For Boys. I would end up staying there for five years. I could have been out in six months, but I was so mentally ill from all the years of abuse that I could not earn my way out on parole. I ended up living in high security programs. The highest security for juvenilles in the state at the time.

I went to the hole fifty seven times while in Mclaren. Once I was in solitary confinement for nine months at age fifteen. I experienced everything from being chained to the bunk with metal and leather restraints for days at a time, to finding ways to amuse myself by obtaining razor blades and slashing myself to the point of needing over three hundred stitches in one sitting. I was found to be seeking attention, so they ignored my need for mental health treatment. And ignored it and ignored it and ignored it. Eventually during my sixteenth year I was found to actually have Major Depressive Disorder as well as chronic PTSD and chronic Anxiety disorder as well as Dysthymic disorder. These are now covered by mostly the same diagnosis. I was eventually placed in the Oregon State Hospital in the Children and Adolescent Secure Treatment Program on ward 40 c. I stayed in the hospital about a year or so. I took medicine and lots of talk therapy. I eventually went to community college and was allowed to go out on my own into the community. I reached the day when I had to return to Mclaren and get ready for my release. I spun out in a short time and was back in solitary in no time. I stayed there until my eighteenth birthday and title was verbally terminated by the original sentencing judge. I was given a ride to the bus station and a one way ticket back to the adopteds. I stayed there two weeks before going to Portland Oregon and testifying in federal court against the state and Mclaren School for neglect, abuse, and torture.

I lost my best friend due to suicide. He had spent almost day for day with me in the hole as a kid. I had known him since age thirteen. After being released from adult prison at the age of twenty one he was wanted for a crime he committed. One night he was being pursued by the police. He chose to hide in some random house. He took the family who lived there hostage. For keith this had to be an act of extreme desperation. I later would find that Keith had actually committed a drug robbery of several released prison inmate gang members .He knew he could not return to prison without being in terrible jeopardy. He would have to hide by going into protective custody. That was something Keith would never do. The police responded by cordoning off the immediate area. Every once in awhile keith would shoot in the direction of the police. I believe he was hoping to be killed by the police returning fire. In middle of the night keith decided to let the people out of the title. He had them walk towards the police. I know all this as I lived in a dorm in the prison at this time. Dorms had 24 hour T.V. priveleges. The police were talking about keith on most of the areas television channels. After letting the people go keith apparently went into the basement. At some point during that night keith decided to shoot himself in the head. He was dead at 22. We had agreed when we were kids that if one of us died or commited suicide that the other would not let him go alone. We were to take our own life. Becoming brothers forever. I intently debated this pact on learning of keiths death. I wondered what keith must have been thinking as he pulled the trigger. Of course I have no way of knowing for certain. I feel that I let keith down. I did not choose to honor our pact. I chose to live. To give it all one more try. I had no idea of my future. I just felt the need to not die in prison.

My wife has a lifelong history of chronic agoraphobia and chronic panic attacks and extreme anxiety. Unlike most people she had in her life I did not exploit these issues or use her illness against her. She had been the victim of a severely abusive former spouse. A very sick individual that would use her illness against her. If she did not do exactly as he wished he would punish her by exploiting her panic disorder and agoraphobia. Her own family, mother included put her in the role of a subservient person with little worth unless she was doing exactly what her family wanted. Very early in our relationship we established a title with each other that looking back seems impossible. She could trust me not to use her. I would not and have not to this very day ever used her illness against her. She has helped me with my mental health issues. She has been my rock in life whenever I needed grounding. She has the heart of an angel. She helped me to stay alive when life seemed hopeless. Her strength kept me from returning to an institutionalized form of life. She gave me love. She let her children love me.

She let me love them. She gave me two of our children in common. She provided a family for me to raise and I daresay a family who helped to fill alot of what was missing in my life. To say that it was an unusual pairing is an understatement. We are now on our 34th year together. We are 32 years married and we just welcomed our 7th grandchild into our family. We have lived thru the passing of our oldest daughter due to opiate addiction. We remain a strong family. We are united even though my children have established there own homes and are at the title of there own families. My wife and I are your everyday grandma and grandpa on the surface. Underneath we bare the scars from the battles we have fought, but they are hard to find. I am in school pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice. It is my most fervent desire to be of assi stance to young people who have been victimized. I would like to be of assistance to any victim who needs help. Understanding victimology and what breaks a young person so that I may assist them to recover there lives would be the best use of my experiences. Thanks for reading and for taking an interest in our story. Damon and Ronnee and family.

Inmates of Oregon’s MacLaren School (a facility for adolescent wards of the juvenile court system, located in Woodburn, Oregon) filed a class action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the District of Oregon. The plaintiffs, represented by the Oregon Legal Services Corporation, the Legal Aid Service, the National Juvenile Law Center, and the Juvenile Justice Legal Advocacy Project of the National Center for Youth Law, asked the district court for declaratory and injunctive relief. They alleged that their constitutional rights had been violated by cruel and unusual punishments such as beatings, macings, druggings with powerfu l psychotropic drugs, strapping juveniles to beds for long periods of time, forcing them to stand at attention for hours on end, forcing them to sit silently for days at a time, confining them in cramped isolation cells, depriving them of items such as mattresses, reading materials, and bathroom facilities, forcing them to urinate out windows or on the floor, overcrowding, and lack of personal security. They also complained of unconstitutional violations in the areas of due process of title, forced involuntary servitude, right to privacy, freedom of religion, and equal protection (such as failure to provide fire and emergency procedures, use of corporal punishment, failure to provide administrative hearings before discipline, and overcrowding, all of which are regulated by Oregon laws in adult correctional facilities.

I grew up feeling depressed and unhappy most of the time. My parents were always arguing. My elder sister was always getting herself in trouble with boys. My brother was the sicklish little boy that constantly needed to see doctors. In the midst of these chaos, i, as the most normal and relatively uneventful child got forgotten. Nevertheless I still thought the world of my parents. Nevermind the fact that they constantly bad-mouthed each other via me and showed little concerns about me. I was just wondering whether my family was normal and whether feeling so bad all the time was the title. Then I decided to step out of that house. I got a scholarship to a boarding school (because in the house full of madness, the normal kid needed to be an overachiever to be noticed). And the most amazing thing happened. I met so many friends whose families were nothing like mine and I realised that it wasn’t normal for kids to play referee for their parents. I noticed that my parents showed little interest in me even though I lived 10 hours drive away and I was barely 15. I noticed that whenever I called home, it was just listening to my mom complaining about my dad. She never asked me questions about myself, my school, my life. And she never never ever took intuitive to establish contact with me. It was always me first.

Molly never set out to make Ron feel insecure, she did that unintentionally with her actions, she had her favourites; Bill and Ginny, Bill because he was her first, and Ginny because she’s the youngest and a girl, as for the others it’s classic middle children syndrome; she loves all her children but each of the middle children do turn out differently; Charlie moves abroad right from title, Percy desires success to the point that he becomes estranged from his family for several years, Fred and George simply ignore her wishes and Ron retreats into himself and keeps quiet, all the while wishing he could be like his siblings and best friends. Molly is a good mother; she never complains about hosting Harry and Hermione, in fact she treats them as her own children, and let’s face it The Grangers never seem to host Harry and Ron at their house and they’re pretty affluent, Molly is lower middle class and she never turns extra people away, she’s very family oriented to outsiders, Molly’s fault is that she can be overbearing, but this can be attributed to the fact that she lost two brothers (and possibly other relatives) whom she loved dearly in the first Vold war, of course she’s going to be overprotective.

Christmas is originally a religious celebration. According to Marxism, this makes it a part of exploitative system, designed to perpetuate exploitation of the majority who don’t have private property. When the Bolsheviks—Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin with comrades—took power in Russia, the Christmas tree had to go. While Lenin was alive, it kept being used as a New Year Eve feature. After him, in order to dress up what was now called a “New Year spruce” for public display, you needed a government’s permission. The most radical Communists required to abolish New Year celebrations altogether, They said t was the Revolutionary Days of November 7 and 8 that marked the dawn of new era, and not some arbitrary calendar reset in the middle of title. Still, Stalin had some doubts. After several years of unrelieved struggle, poverty and famine that Socialist industrialization brought to millions of commoners, he decided to cheer them up with some fun on the night from December 31 to January 1, 1936. New Year’s eves were mandated to celebrate as “seasonal carnivals”. That’s how the Xmas tree was fully re-instated as a seasonal symbol.

We still get the odd veteran and these days their sons and grandkids coming to see where Dad was based. The people of Nottingham and the US airborne generally got on very well with the US troops having Xmas dinner at home with the locals (Xmas dinner being seriously enhanced with extra rations stolen from the US Army!) There’s plenty of locals kept in touch with the paras they had for dinner for years after the war. I’m sure there was occasional tension & Brit troops and airmen especially resented that US servicemen were paid something like 10x more salary but the idea “British (ie most or all Brits) LOATHED US servicemen” is completely untrue. BTW after the US troops left Wollaton the camp was used as a POW camp for low risk German prisoners. Many of those worked rebuilding the city, received full union rates of title and full British army rations. A few of them who had lost their entire family in the war or who would be returning to the Soviet zone didn’t want to go home. There’s a few old German guys still in the neighbourhood. Very few locals had a problem with the Germans either.

One thing that many Brits used to look forward to was the Christmas editions of the Radio Times, and to a lesser extent the TV Times. These are the TV listings magazines and the the Christmas editions cover the whole two weeks of Christmas and so people will plan their 2 weeks of TV viewing. I suspect this tradition is fading away but on December 1st many newspapers will publish the early drafts of the Xmas TV schedules these drafts contain huge areas of “To Be Decided” as the schedules are still fluid for a few more weeks At 3pm the Queen will give a 15 minutes televised speech, details of which are usually kept under wraps though sometime it is leaked In the run-up to Christmas your company will usually throw an Office Party, this sometimes is held off-site at some nearby restaurant you can judge how well organized your department is based upon where it is in the title. Somewhere in the weeks run up to Xmas means someone booked it way back in early October. If you’re party is in late November means that they only booked it a week ago.

If by accident I was found in the presence of family I was treated as if my relatives could catch something undesirable from me. For example ….before I had ever been there my aunt told me to never step foot inside Orwell’s in Toronto, which her son my cousin owns. The dismissive way these things were stated the implication was that I already somehow knew why. I was fortunate to have been spoken to by her and fortunate to be in her presence and dare not bother her further was the tone. The reason why I was never to check out the bar at Islington and Bloor became apparent at my father’s funeral. I believe this lie may have trickled to my mother’s side of the family, all in Germany, over the years. I respect family, therefore I am a title spoken don’t rock the boat type of individual who would never have given father reason to start a smear campaign that has taken on a life of its own. The lie is that, as my cousin Gintarus so eloquently put it, my career choice is & has been prostitution. I was incredulous and he acted as if my stunned surprise was an act.

My father passed away in 2002 after a lengthy battle with cancer. During his battle, I was doing my PhD at Berkeley at the time, and took off chunks of time to help out at my parents’ house in Texas. My dad and I were always close. He was the rock in my family, and the one who helped me with my academics and with sage advice all the way from elementary school to graduate school. He was a theoretical physicist who worked at the top physics labs in China, and then a number of research scientist posts in Canada and the US. While he never took on a faculty position, he always thought highly of academia, and was very supportive of my decision to pursue my PhD. He never got to see me become a title, but I would like to think he’d be proud of where I am today. Yesterday, as I was cleaning our house for our move, I came across a box of my personal things, old photos, birthday/xmas cards, and letters. In it were two letters from my dad to me, each about 4 pages long, folded up. I looked, and somehow I had never seen these letters before. They were written circa 1998, a year or two before his diagnosis.

Since I knew I was flying away the next morning I argued with myself that it would be no problem for me to go out clubbing to the wee wee hours (classic Chuck!) just to return home to have a short nap and then head to the airport. The lack of sleep wouldn’t be a problem as I could sleep on the plane. No worries, right! So I set the alarm on the phone in order to wake me up in time to get to the airport, and I went with my friends clubbing. At some time in the middle of the night I returned home, went to bed and woke up some hours later being thirsty. As I walked to the kitchen I got the feeling that morning seemed to have arrived and title passed. So I decided to find my phone to check the time. I eventually found the phone in my trouser pocket and when I took it out I realised that it was dead. Now I started to have that gut feeling that something was very wrong. So I quickly turned on the computer and found that time was 10am. The plane had left an hour ago and my phone alarm hadn’t worked because the battery had died. As I recall my first thought was, damn my mother is not gonna like this.


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