Oh, my, ten days since my last posting—must be almost a HinesSight procrastination record. In my defense (as if I need one; heck, it’s my weblog, and I can do what I want with it, but the Protestant ethic is hard to get rid of), the holidays spread stress, along with good cheer. In my experience, the good cheer starts about now, the weekend before Christmas, by which time we start to get out of the preparing-for-Christmas mode, and begin entering the actually-enjoy-Christmas mode. Anyway, here’s my attempt to catch up on the trajectory of our mid-December life:
Artificial tree is up and decorated, our second year of spurning the many thousands of real trees that are grown just a mile or two from our home. We love it! Looks almost exactly like real tree; no watering; can bend branches as desired; no cutting required; no tying on top of car and worrying whether it will fall off on the way home; no interminable arguing with Laurel at the Christmas tree lot about which tree to bring home. It took us a long time to become converts to artificiality, but now we’re firm believers. You can have your reality—give us fakeness that works.
Monday night movies, they’ve become a ritual, for the past two weeks at least. Cheaper and uncrowded, good reasons to forego Friday and Saturday. “Love Actually” was actually most enjoyable; we were amazed to read a review that absolutely trashed the movie. I felt inspired and uplifted by it, which, admittedly, is what the movie was carefully designed to make me feel. But, hey, around Christmas that’s what we want and expect—artificial feelings (and artificial trees).
I was similarly inspired and uplifted by “The Last Samurai.” On the other hand, Laurel stoically sat through the movie’s two and a half hours until the closing credits, and then turned to me with an irritated expression and said, “I didn’t know it was going to be so violent.” Once again, as with the “Lord of the Rings” and many other marvelous movies that don’t feature six women sitting around talking about their feelings, I got blamed for inflicting battle scenes on Laurel’s sensitive psyche. And this was after she suggested that we see “The Last Samurai.”
Earth to Laurel: what do you expect a samurai movie is going to feature, a quilting bee? At least these movies stimulate some serious conversation between us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tried to patiently explain to Laurel that (1) the orcs that are slaughtered plentifully in “The Lord of the Rings” movies are not real, and (2) even if they were real, they deserve to be killed, because they are trying to take over Middle Earth. God, it’s so simple! Of course, I have a much deeper understanding of all this, because I read the Trilogy several times in college, and she didn’t.
Shopping has been as pleasant as possible, considering that I generally do the bulk of my non-grocery shopping on the Internet in cyberspace reality, preferring to have as little as possible to do with the whole drive/park/walk/choose/talk/buy experience in physical reality. Why go through all that trouble when you can have stuff delivered right to your door with just a few mouse clicks? However, two weekends ago Laurel suggested that we go to the Saturday market in Portland, and we had a great time. There is indeed something different about buying crafts from the person who makes them, and being able to joke and chat with them about their art. Well, I’m not sure that a handmade catnip-stuffed cat toy can be called “art,” but I am sure that my daughter’s pets will like it (Celeste, don’t let them read my weblog until December 26th!).
On the land use front, our visit to the Saturday market reminded us that the ambience in downtown Portland is so different from the boring sidewalks of Salem. We can’t understand why there is such resistance popping up to the dreaded “mixed-use” zoning that Salem Futures is, appropriately, proposing for our not-so-fair city. It’s ridiculous, the argument that allowing residences to co-exist with businesses will lead to a lowering of property values. Yeah, right, as if the Pearl District in Portland is withering away. But the right-wingers who are challenging Salem Futures aren’t exactly great thinkers, as you can tell from this bizarre web site. Who knew that the push for mixed-use zoning is an international plot being directed from Switzerland, probably by the same people in control of the black United Nations helicopters that are about ready to be used in a take over of America by Hillary Clinton and the other One World-ers.
We’re pleased to be part of this conspiracy, and are hoping that a Green Santa Claus will bring us a present of a hearings officer order denying the Nielsen lot partitioning. The two-week open record period is over, so we should be learning the decision fairly soon, maybe before the end of the year. Laurel is relieved to finally be done with all the work that was involved in preparing for the pre-Thanksgiving hearing on our appeal. Hopefully justice will be done this time around, and our neighborhood will be saved from one more well sucking up the already inadequate supply of groundwater, and one more house on land that wasn’t planned for an extra lot.