Just a quick Christmas Eve entry ...
... with some accompanying Thomas Nast Harper's Weekly pictures from the 1870s and 1880s.
I'm at UMCP today on campus -- and the place is utterly deserted. The period Dec. 24 to about Jan. 5th is the time of year when the campus is at its emptiest (most empty?). I'm in the public policy school computer lab, alone.
I have off from my rapidly ending job both today and tomorrow but not Friday (Dec. 26th), but nearly my boss is off. As it is, I was sick on Monday and I did not go into work. I am out of leave time so I'm not sure if that will be deducted from my final two week pay.
My job ends Jan. 2nd -- and it's not clear if that "consultant" thing whereby I work on an hourly project basis from home or school or wherever is going to pan out.
Going to the other extreme, if my Monday absence is used against me to hasten my departure, I will "lawyer up" as that is (1) a violation of the Family and Medical Leave Act which guarantees at least two weeks of unpaid medical leave, and (2) it breaks a written and verbal contract whereby I was to stay until Jan. 2nd.
Basically, I will find out Friday, Dec. 26th when I go in if I still have a job there. And thus ends ANOTHER job.
The semester doesn't start until late January and in the meantime, I am going to Florida from Jan. 7 - 14 to visit my dad. I am enrolled in two classes for next semester -- and my student loan refund that is scheduled to arrive around Jan. 20th (right in time for the Inauguration) appears properly upward adjusted on my student account page.
It should be approx. $6100, which combined with the $3800 I will have after my January rent and bills, will put me *almost* to $10,000 -- which was my goal.
But that money will vanish rapidly if I am not working. I'm not going to worry about it this week or next week, though.
As for tonight, I am meeting up with LP and Gary for dinner at the Parkway Deli in Silver Spring and then I'm not sure what's up ... There are a variety of options, and we may also be meeting up with Gerry and / or Phil. As for Kristof, he is still away in Poland until Jan. 4th. I'd like to stop by the National Shrine and, later on, St. Matthews Cathedral, as well as Cobalt (yes, a gay bar).
LP is Jewish and Gary is non-practicing Jewish, but they still don't seem to have a problem accompanying me on what is my ONE TIME per year trip to Catholic mass. I don't actually stay for the whole thing.
Two years ago, Kristof went to midnight mass and he looked so cute standing there all mortified, the Catholic Church cathedral setting bringing back a flood of memories from Poland and his relationship with the Church. I was really trying not to laugh. Totally inappropriate, I know.
Tomorrow, I am supposed to go with Gary to -- drum roll, please -- the Honey Bee diner in Glen Burnie to meet my mom for a lunch, then we are going to Quill's parents' house in Silver Spring.
Speaking of things inappropriate, oooh, the profane language, hateful name calling, and that world-spanning sense of total entitlement that erupted in an entry this week on Mr. Sirius's blog owing to a rather minor inconvenience he had to endure. That was some Xmas cheer he gave off -- and at such a troubled time in the world.
I mean, I understand being angry and frustrated at the time, but really, that much later and expressing it like that in writing??
A very Merry Christmas.
By the way, here Mr. Sirius performs the Christmas carol "We Need a Little Christmas," which is one of my favorite yuletide songs.
Just kidding. Actually, that's Mitzi Gaynor singing this song on some Christmas TV special in late 1967. Maybe it was the Lawrence Welk show ... I'm not sure. I just love the Santa's Little Helper red mini-skirt and black ice skating boots that she's wearing.
Odd to think that the next year was such a terrible one in American history.
As for the D.C. area weather, I had planned a big, huge jeremiad screed about how we don't get squat EVER, but I'm running out of time and instead will just say that it's the usual non-snowy, non-everything Christmas week, just partly cloudy and 45F, which is about usual. Even the rain didn't fall, most of it bypassing us to the north in Pennsylvania and New Jersey, never mind mythical "white Christmases" in Washington, D.C., and environs.
Lastly, I am posting a series of pictures that appeared in The Washington Post online edition that were taken by Bill O'Leary of the dramatic rescue effort of those motorists on the ironically named River Road in Bethesda, Md., yesterday morning when an old 66-inch water main exploded.
One word: INFRASTRUCTURE
Another word: REPAIR
That aging pipe was probably stressed to the breaking point by the rapid temperature swings in the past week. It is part of America's aging and severely in need of repair infrastructure that President Elect Obama's $850 billion planned stimulus bill should significantly address.
That fast moving water was frickin' frigid. Those Montgomery County and Maryland State Police rescuers did a marvelous job -- and no one was seriously hurt, much less killed in that situation.
MERRY CHRISTMAS to those rescuers on a job very well done indeed.