Merry Christmas

Another Christmas has come and gone. On Christmas Eve Susan cooked a pot roast in the traditional style I grew up with. The meat came from a small order we placed with Dominion Farms, a local organic farming operation. All their animals are fed natural diets, no hormones or antibiotics. The meat was really tasty, so we’ll probably get more from them in the future. My brother Randy joined us for dinner and we played several games of Scrabble afterwards while eating Apple Pie.

Susan and I spent Christmas morning at home opening a few presents for each other and then we drove up to McKinney to spend the rest of the day with family and friends. There was more opening of presents, large quantities of food, and lots of catching up on family news. We played a couple of games include Mexican Train dominoes and something new called Catch Phrase that our niece and nephew talked us into.

I spent some time helping my nephew rip audio tracks from a CD to use as ringtones on a his new phone. I’d forgotten how difficult it can be on Windows boxes to do simple things like converting from one audio file format to another. His phone needed MMA or MP3 audio but Windows would only rip CDs in WMA format. I Googled for downloadable sound utilities but could only find crappy shareware and freeware stuff that mostly didn’t work. Then it occurred to me to see if any free software audio tools had been ported to Windows. I was pleasantly surprised to find Audacity for Windows. It’s really amazing how much better most free software apps are compared to your average Windows programs these days! Audacity really saved the day for us. We were able to edit the track down to size, convert it to MP3 and get it onto his phone’s SD card. And all in time to grab a piece of home made fudge before it vanished.

Mowing the Yard on Christmas Eve

What better way to spend Christmas eve in Texas than mowing the yard? It needed mowing badly and the day was too nice to stay indoors. Besides yard work, Susan and I took a long walk and visited the ducks in the nearby park. After feeding hungry ducks, we walked through a nearby housing development that’s going up to see what the under-construction houses looked like. Slightly higher quality construction than usual but the same old yuppy-palace floor plans. Lots of wasted space and inexplicable design features. My favorite of late is the placement of the closet in the master bedroom – a lot of the newer floorplans are placing it in the bathroom. So you have to use the bathroom as a sort of hallway to get in and out of the closet. Besides seeming highly inconvenient, it must cause quite a problem with humidity. Still, they always manage to sell them so I guess somebody out there thinks it makes sense.

Neighborhood Christmas Lights

Susan and I just returned from a long walk around the neighborhood to inspect all the Christmas lights that are going up. It looks like quite a few of our more industrious neighbors have already installed lights on their houses, trees, and bushes. There also seems to be quite an assortment of large, internally lighted, plastic creatures such as reindeer, angels, elves, and santas. I don’t usually do any special Christmas lighting on our house but it’s always fun to see what weird stuff everyone else is doing. Hmmm… We did decorate our corporate web site with a nice wreath – does that count?