Monday, December 24, 2007

2007 Bonnes XMas Letter - Little Risks

“Risk! Risk anything! Care no more for the opinions of others, for those voices. Do the hardest thing on earth for you.”
- Katherine Mansfield
“We took risks. We knew we took them. Things have come out against us. We have no cause for complaint.”
- Robert Falcon Scott, as found in his diary after his party froze in Antarctica

Minnesota has felt a bit like Antarctica this December, with snow and bitter temperatures, but things have gone quite a bit better for us than for Scott and his crew, who were trying to be the first to make it to the South Pole. They did make it, but when they arrived they found out that someone had beat them by a month. And then they all froze to death on the way back. So this year’s letter is about little risks. Big enough so life is worth living, but small enough so you don’t freeze to death.

We’ll start with the kids, because - let’s face it - childhood is all about little risks. It’s why, despite all the pains, we all yearn to be young again. (Oh, plus we would be attractive, full of potential and feel good all the time. So that would be kind of nice. Apropos of nothing, The Voice of Reason™ and I turned forty this year. Can you tell?)

The Chatty Chatty Princess™, who is in fifth grade, seemingly likes taking risks on writing assignments. Sometime that means tackling papers using a creative style, but usually it just means procrastinating. She’s also discovering sports, even playing soccer with the boys at recess. And she’s learning a little bit about toughness as a school patrol person this winter. (She has yet to freeze to death.) She’s also tall, prone to drama and thinks she’s a little overscheduled.

The Boy™, who is in second grade, has areas in which he likes to take risks, too. For instance, he regularly risks giving wrong answers on math assignments so he can play “Stump the Volunteer Grader.” (Q: What’s 10-5? A: 1/12 divided by 1/60). He’s also becoming comfortable with the naked aggression of chess tournaments, even bringing home a couple of trophies. He also thinks he’s overscheduled, and mostly wants to play Pokemon 24/7 on his Nintendo DS.

The apartment building we bought last year got into the risk thing too, when the furnace conked out. In the middle of February. On a weekend. During a blizzard. (And again, the freezing to death theme returns.) Other than that, owning it has gone pretty well, save for the time TVOR had to dispose of a flattened bunny carcass in August with a snow shovel. Neither the bunny nor the shovel was ever heard from again.

Besides running point on the apartment, TVORe was busy running the Girl Scout troop’s cookie campaign. She also finished her term as PTA secretary and has tried to cut down on her volunteering for the school. It isn’t clear she’s had a lot of success in that last effort.

I'm back to independent consulting, and that’s a little risk that I won’t be abandoning soon. If anything, I'm looking for some other crazy risks, almost wishing I was unemployed. TVOR should occasionally remind me of Robert Falcon Scott.

Our vacations involved some little risks. We loosed 20 friends (including my brother Jeff, who flew in from Australia) on Vegas in March. As if that wasn’t risky enough, they braved going to a Barry Manilow concert. Take that, Scott. And this summer we took the kids for our first summer car trip, though we only went as far as Chicago. TCCP and I braved the enormous Ferris Wheel on Navy Pier. TVOR stayed on the ground as The Boy™ explained “If they die, when I get to heaven, I’m gonna say ‘I told you so.’”

But we think even he would hope this holiday season finds you well. I'll be taking a short hiatus this week, unless of course a huge move is made, in which case I 'll do my best to post. will also not be updated for awhile, but you can still use the RSS feed on he bottom to monitor all the other posts in the blogosphere.

In the meantime, enjoy the week with your friends and families. And, of course, do your best to stay safe and warm. We don't want anyone to freeze to death.