Thursday, December 31, 2009

Goodbye, 2009...

...And Good Riddance!

We ring out the old year tonight with a heaving sigh of relief that this year is over. 2009 was not a good year, for the Gnu Herd or many of our friends and loved ones. The year took a terrible toll, economically, emotionally, physically and personally. Most everyone we know agree, 2009 will go down as "The Year That Sucked."

It truly did. Starting off with a trip to the Emergency Room, continuing with the death of a beloved uncle, and climaxing in the sort of professional betrayal that no one should have to endure from a colleague I trusted implicitly but who proved himself unworthy of any esteem. You may have noticed I don't write about work too often here, and for good reason. I discovered too late that the career advancement I thought was a good idea turned out to be hell in disguise, a dysfunctional, maladjusted daycare for overgrown babies who need a hard spanking and time out in the corner until they learn to act like professional adults.

Two notable exceptions, however, to The Year That Sucked, but I had to wade through a year's worth of crap raining down on my head to get to them:

I finally graduated from The Graduate School with a Master of Science in Information Technology. Hallelujah! Two long, hard years of learning and slogging through long hours of studying, writing, reading, and at times, weeping. But I finally did it, realizing a decade-old goal - and I did it with a perfect 4.0 GPA! On top of that, I was honored to be inducted into the Honor Society and was also awarded the Outstanding Graduate Student of the Year. The Skating Gnu took notice and has been keeping pace with me in her own studies. It's good to know that being a positive role model can have a payoff every now and then.

The second good point from this past year took all damn year to get here, all the way till the last day. Today marks 15 years of our marriage. Ask Mrs. Gnu and she'll agree, what a long, strange trip it's been. I remind her that behind every successful man stands an amazed mother in-law. She reminds me that no one else would put up with my crap for so long, so I'd better not take her for granted. As always, she's right. A saint walks among us, folks!

I'm glad to see 2010 come and take its place, but I hope the next year is better than this last one. I don't think the country - or our circle of family and friends - can take another bad year.

So to all our friends we wish the very best for 2010. We pray for health, happiness and prosperity for everyone! We pray for our country and for those who defend her. We pray for those who are less fortunate that us, for in spite of the trials and tribulations we suffered through this year, there are those with even less to be thankful for. We pray for those people and give thanks for our blessings.

Happy New Year!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Recipe for a Happy Christmas

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:18-21

Over the years, I've learned that all this overhyped commercial nonsense is so distracting that it is real easy to forget the real reason why the holidays exist. We spend too much time in overcrowded malls, wasting too much money on useless junk for people we can't stand to be with the rest of the year, and we wonder why the jingle bells always seem to ring so hollow. Maybe it's time we shunned the malls, banished Santa Clause, stomped out that annoying Jingle Bells song they play on a loop track everywhere, and get back to basics: the Real Reason for the Season, unadulterated, unfiltered, unchanged.

So, I've come up with a holiday recipe that I'm sure will help rekindle the True Spirit, in every sense of the phrase. I meant to post this yesterday, but better late than never. At least this way, you'll have all year to gather up the ingredients...

A Happy Christmas Recipe

Serving size: one heart
Calories: Who the hell cares
Allergy notices: Grinches, drunkards, jerks, drama queens, busybodies and crybabies should not partake unless they are ready to grow up and become real adults for a change.

1 Warm home, ready to receive friends, family and God's blessings
3-4 Roomfuls of people you love, mixed well to induce good conversation
Several handfuls of hugs, liberally sprinkled all over
1 Table full of good eats, all homemade with love
1 Rooftop, overflowing with thanks to God, cheer for fellow men and women
1-2 Warm fireplaces for gatherings
Drinks on the house

Place all ingredients in house, pause to give thanks to God to the wonderful food, great company and all the blessings of life. Plan without fear, welcome without hesitation, mix well and share with each other. Serve and enjoy.

Serve and enjoy. It's the last step in most recipes that were written down by hand and passed from one generation to the next. But isn't that really the sum total of God's wishes for us? Serve... and enjoy. Think about it...

Hope you had a Merry Christmas yesterday, a Rollicking Boxing Day today and a Happy New Year coming up!