WH Chronicle GHD 2018

February 1, 2018

Dear Friends, Family, and Family Friendly Others,

Happy Groundhog Day Eve from our crew to yours.  It is, once again, 'tis the season where
we contemplate the profoundly important things in life (insert awkward dramatic pause), like the true
meaning of Groundhog Day. Despite the commercialism, the hustle-bustle, and the hognoggery
surrounding this exalted holiday season, we must try to embrace the deeper revelations that this
astral event provides to our humanity.   In a spirit of love and joy, please join us in the poignant
reflection of our culture (insert dramatic pause followed by a knowing smirk) as it irrationally honors a
rodent for the inaccurate prognostication of the weather.   Amen.

Well, so much for being reverent.  Ok, NOW it is time for those tacky GHogDay Sweaters,
GHogDay hats, and kegs of GHogNog!  Get them out and get them ready for the festivities! May this
celebration (and all others glorifying vermin) be worthy of this nation and its politics!

Here it is, our 12th annual Groundhog Day Letter, originally initiated by the guilt and shame of sending
those adorable, personalized Christmas cards just two months late.   But, perhaps instead of
counting upwards in our GHD annals, we should be making a GHD countdown?  I mean, after the
kids leave the nest, who really wants to read about how many scoops of Metamucil I used in my coffee?  

So in true NASA style (and with my passion for exit strategies, and my dislike of cyclical behavior and
contrived annual events) consider this the “GHD Letter T Minus 4 Years and Counting”. Maybe.

As one might guess, the GHD reporting is becoming increasing more difficult. The kids are definitely
not around as much, but when they are present--they are now decidedly strangers borrowing our
kids’ identities. In an effort (albeit annoying) to reveal their real personalities, I interviewed these
individuals along with the other humanoid occupants of our household.  Communicating with them is
not for the faint of heart.   It takes a linguistic expert to decipher Sam’s adolescent grunts,
and a super-charged phone battery to intercept the majority of Daryl’s transmissions.  Nathan is a man
of few words, and Tom doesn’t like to ‘play along’. So here are the interview results (my
answers also thrown in for good measure). Names withheld, because, well, it's obvious.

Question: If you could be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you be in and what character
would you be?  
  • Rambo in “Rambo”
  • Big Lebowski in “The Big Lebowski”
  • Kit Fisto in “Star Wars” Saga
  • Mia in “Princess Diaries”
  • Rambo in “Barney’s Great Adventure”

Question: If you were in a time machine what place/time would you program it for your travel?
  • Convenience Store, last Tuesday before the Powerball announcement.
  • Los Angeles in the 1930’s

  • America, 500 years in the future

  • Hollywood in the 1940’s
  • Time Traveler Tourist Diner (next to the Time Travel Vehicle Repair Shop), Far away in the Future

Question:  Ya know...the ol’ deserted island question--what 3 things?
  • Flare gun, wifi, gaming laptop
  • Stew pot, machete, fully loaded Kindle

  • Sat phone, solar powered water desalinator, fishing rod
  • Bed, TV, Flamin’ Hot Cheetos
  • Genie Lamp with the prerequisite 3 wishes.

Question:If you could chat with a person over dinner, who and why?
  • Hitler, just cuz.

  • Robin Williams, of course.
  • Gordon Ramsey--cuz he’d make the dinner

  • Jessie Mueller, Broadway, duh!

  • Gandhi--cuz he’s a very cheap date

Question: What’s the weirdest thing you’ve ever eaten (Hint: don’t play this game with people that lived
in Africa)?
  • Termites
  • Kaghondi’s cooking

  • Termite Poop

  • Raw Octopus

  • Hot Pockets

New Year’s Resolutions:
  • What’s that?

  • Yoga 4 times a week
  • Eat Healthy and exercise
  • To never again answer Mom’s dumb questions

  • Wear underwear without any holes; when that pair gets a hole then buy a new pair

Personnel Report:

Daryl is licensed to operate a Class C vehicle.  She thinks “C” stands for “Ciao, Bello”.  
Her 16th birthday was a big success and housebreaking the puppy was not.    

Sam has grown 5 inches in the last year.  His legs are hairy and, due to puberty,
he now grunts in incomplete sentences.  

Nathan, thankfully, shared a wonderful visit with happy and healthy family this Christmas!
His mom is healthy and his sister is getting married.  Nathan is in his 2nd year in Computer Science
at the University of Texas.  He is working at People Pattern and is currently planning a camping trip with
his buddies for Spring Break (See “Nerdz Gone Wild”).

Sophia is teaching in Arusha.  She is sharing her talents with the expat community and lots of very
lucky children.  For a few days last summer I was able to stay with Sophia in Arusha.  
This allowed me the honor of finally meeting her extended family.   

Kaghondi currently has his immediate family with him in Minnesota.  He is in the 2nd year of
his PhD program.  I traveled to his home village last summer in Singida and had the fortune of
meeting the many members of his extended family.  

Hilde is in LOOOVE with Angus.  He is adorable and has just signed on with the British military.   
His dad is a Brigadier General  (Medic) in the British armed forces.  Hilde is finishing her law degree in
Essex and misses Angus terribly.  

Jamilly’s correspondence tends to be more sporadic and random.  She is currently applying for
graduate schools and our fingers are crossed that she might study in the USofA.  

Tom has been partially relieved of his chauffeuring responsibilities as Daryl drives herself and
Sam to school each day.  Tom still gets up to see them off and then promptly resumes his overnight
nap on the couch after their departure.  He cooks, cleans, and does maintenance on the house, all
to great acclaim.  He is also begrudgingly responsible for the Menagerie (a.k.a. The Zookeeper).

Daris is consistently more consumed with long range planning than what is for dinner.   It is good to
have a family visionary, but it’s also good to have some dinner on the table.  Perhaps we can plan the
dinners a month in advance?

The Menagerie:
Guido (a.k.a Guidster, Guidlet, Gweedie Weedie, Gweedaroni, Gweedarino, Spider-rat) is
Daryl’s 16th birthday present, an Italian Greyhound puppy.  We are in the process of litter box training
him and he appears to be more about the process than the goal.  He has finally learned to lift his
leg (read: necessary redesign of litter box) and is now capable of watering the top of a cantaloupe.  
He has not yet learned to hate squirrels (another goal).   And, being a part of the greyhound family
he is fast and springy, but luckily, he tends to prefer napping and can be thankfully categorized
as a 35 mph couch potato.  He is Tom’s top ranked nap assistant.

Mooch, the nippy cat,  is making friends with the puppy.  He tolerates the pouncing and
barking nonsense for a while and then climbs out of reach only to return to the mayhem when
boredom sets in.

Louise, the cockatiel, still flings bird seed from her cage as far as possible.  Her favorite place is Tom’s
right shoulder.

Thelma--Sam’s new bird, a beautiful baby sun conure, has earned the name, “The Sonic Imploder”.  
She is loud, very loud, and demanding.  We are not sure if Thelma is female; doubt arises on this issue
because she tends to be very aggressive towards certain people, including viciously dive-bombing Daryl.
Perhaps we'll need to investigate a gender re-assignment for this overly protective bird.  Thelma's
favorite place is Tom’s left shoulder.  

Moe IV, and Larry V swim in circles (sometimes upside down) just like their many predecessors.

Watching the kids grow up is bittersweet as we observe the peaks and valleys of their young lives.
They negotiate those familiar hurdles that are as old as humankind, albethey veiled in new
technologies and trendy vocabulary.  It is easy to forget the irony that learning to gracefully
negotiate failure and rejection makes one better suited for success.  Of course, there is little
immediate solace in that sentiment.  Regardless, we watch, we help, we cheer, we console, we correct,
we advise, we remind, we remind, we love.  Then they will be out the door to make and/or neglect their
own decisions of life.   Hopefully, we’ve shown them how to illuminate their personal path towards
happiness and fulfillment.  Hopefully.

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” ~Ben Williams

“If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance.” ~Al Bernstein

“If time travel is possible, where are the tourists from the future?”~Stephen Hawking

“The best substitute for experience is being sixteen.” ~Raymond Duncan

“May all your troubles last as long as your New Year's resolutions.” ~Arnold Glasow

“Adolescence is a period of rapid changes. Between the ages of 12 and 17, for example, a
parent ages as much as 20 years.” ~Author Unknown

T minus 4, and making every minute count,

Cultural Arts Center at Tumaini Makumira University, Arusha, Tanzania
The Trick Eye Museum, Seoul, Korea
The Joint Security Area at the border of South and North Korea. 
This dog ain't right. 

Typical day at the Austin Symphony Orchestra.
Don't drive angry!!