Monday, 24 December 2001
When I was in third grade my dad took a sabbatical and we went to Florida for a few months. We were there at Christmas time. Knowing the prices of Christmas trees in Michigan, my folks couldn't bring themselves to pay the Florida prices for them. I was pretty sad at the idea of doing without a Christmas tree, but I went to bed Christmas eve resigned to its absence.
One of my fondest memories is waking up that morning and going out into the living room. The street lights shining through the window lit a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and cast its shadow across the floor.
It wasn't a tree, though. It was something even better: My dad had painted a Christmas tree on the sliding glass door leading out to the balcony. For an instant, standing there in the dark, the illusion was perfect.
My dad had painted scenes on our windows several Christmases. One year I think I remember a Santa boxer dog. Another year a Winnie-the-Pooh Christmas scene. I even painted a Christmas scene myself a couple of years after I had windows of my own. But none was as wonderful as that Christmas tree the year I was in third grade.
Jackie and I lifted weights this morning, after having lifted weights on Saturday. We hadn't been for over a month before that. It's not the weight lifting itself that I've been finding daunting, it's the getting up at 5:30 in the morning. With the holidays we've been able to get in two workouts in a row without having to get up early.
I've been sleeping late (until 7:00 usually) for weeks now. It doesn't seem to make any difference if I get to bed promptly or not, my body just doesn't want to wake up until dawn. Personally, I think that's normal.
My brother told me once that, before clocks were invented, hours were not of uniform length. Day and night were each divided into twelve equal parts called hours, so that the daytime hours would be short during winter. I think that makes sense. I can see the practice having falling away after the invention of the mechanical clock, which would have to be much more complicated to track the constantly varying hour length. But it would be pretty easy to do it with a computer. We should seriously consider reinstituting the scheme.