We are almost at the Ides of March and I haven’t posted in 2023. Getting a new kitten and a job will do that. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
On the very first day of the kids’ winter break we drove off towards Colorado. Next morning we woke up in a hotel room in Santa Fe and watched the finals of the World Cup. Ouiser and I cheered for France. They lost. It was a close game with six goals scored on the pitch but the winner was finally decided in penalty kicks. I wasn’t a fan of the corruption surrounding the World Cup and Qatar. I was horrified reading about the mistreatment of migrant labor. But large portions of the remittances paid to the laborers who built $300 billion of infrastructure and served during the World Cup reached their families in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, and other not-rich countries. Ironically, this would not have happened had the World Cup not been played in a country where locals don’t work (in Qatar there are more than 10 foreigner workers for every Qatari national).
I re-read that previous line a couple of time. Did I work three negatives in there, really? : – )
As the tournament progressed, I did come around to the idea of a non-top-32 country hosting the World Cup. The Arab and African teams and supporters were so much fun to watch. The cup itself unfolded pretty flawlessly. Qatar gave the world a tournament to remember. Just wish it didn’t require bribing FIFA officials and killing laborers from 3rd world countries.
Here is a photo of us watching the final closing minutes of the tournament in Santa Fe.
We literally drove out minutes after the final whistle to Pagosa Springs in southern Colorado. Nicolle and her family showed up later that night. For the next several days we hung out, cooked, ate, walked the kids and Ouiser, skied, and bathed in hot springs. About the last matter – Jo and the kids plunged into the freezing (literally) San Juan river multiple times. Once Evan’s face was frozen open. He said “I wanted to scream but my jaws were frozen”. I watched them from my tub, comfortably soaking in mineral water bubbling away at a 108 degrees F while sipping my kale cucumber cleanse. I don’t jump into freezing water. I often didn’t shower in Pilani for a couple of weeks at a time in winter because one semi-warm bucket of water that you carry from your dorm room to the bathroom doesn’t make for a hot shower.
Pagosa Springs was fun and very lazy. We did get a bit of skiing in and no one broke anything, thereby extending our streak to almost a full year. And the drive there and back went fast – probably because of all the people in the car – the four of us and Carol and two dogs. At any given time there was a good chance that someone was farting.
We got back to Austin and spent Christmas eve night and Christmas morning at the white wooden house.
Evan finally got a phone (my old one, and I upgraded). Vivian got a sewing machine. Carol got a huge big heavy blanket from Vivian that she crocheted over several months, instantly becoming her favorite grand child (it’s not the one in the picture up there). Evan got a chemistry set and he was really excited. Vivian gave Jo and me a lovely painting of us. Then we drove to Canyon Lake for Christmas dinner and I discovered cracks in the water softener area and the attic and spent the rest of the day sniffing plumbers glue. We returned to Austin and enjoyed the last few days of 2023 – walking the lovely foggy trails, and hanging out with friends.
Evan cracked open his chem kit and started on the first few experiments. We went to the Reilly’s for New Years and were home soon after midnight! 2023, let’s see what you got.