Morning all:

Last night I was advised that this morning I should sleep in, this by our vacationing guests. Easily said while on vacation. For me, already in my “after the holidays and back to work” mode, the urge to put on the coffee started at 5:30. I think I made the best choice since Shang-the-dog was very happy to see me.

With Adrianne here Shang has definitely shoved me a few rungs down his ladder of importance. Seeing her when she first arrived a few weeks ago it took me about a day to realize that ours was little but a poor “foster parent” relationship, one which Shang bravely managed for the past year and a half while she was gone.

A couple of weeks ago I wrote that with all the “hubbub” around here that there was little semblance of this place being home to a pair of empty nesters. Last night I realized that the month-long visit by Adrianne and Tevita is fast coming to an end. The reason I can tell is by the many and various piles of stuff that have taken over everything. I am not just talking about the things they brought or gifts they received. What I really am talking about is the “stuff” hauled from as far away as basement and attic for the ongoing day in day out “show and tell” times. By the size of the piles I think “show and tell” to be about over. If nothing else Marcia and I have been able to take advantage of all of this by taking some inventory of what all is lying around, and as Martha would say, “that is a good thing.”

Marcia and I revived a very old tradition this New Year’s eve, one started by grandpa Kik. During his school days he was a volunteer fireman. This led to a lifelong interest in local fire and police happenings. Eventually he purchased one of the first police scanner radios that Radio Shack offered. Many a night we’d be visiting and long after he’d gone to bed we could hear the crackly communications coming through his bedside scanner. Marcia and I took a break from the night after night of people and opted to stay at home for New Year. This coincided with Jason mentioning that he’d found a web site where you could pick streaming local police communications. Ok, you can guess the rest—and let me ask you whether or not you had as much fun as we did.

Today we’re planning a shopping experience in the most eclectic and fun grocery place in the region—Jungle Jim’s. We’re doing this as a family event since our “happy Visitors” are determined to create for us an authentic Tongan “Umu”. Jungle Jim’s is probably the only place for at least a hundred miles around where all the requisite ingredients can be gotten. The plan is to do this as the noon-time meal so as not to miss a minute of the Bengal-Steeler playoff game. In fact I have been approached to select an appropriate Sports Bar so that those here from Tonga can truly experience this kind of event. Actually, since it’s been fifteen years I am not certain that anyone in town really “knows” how to manage a playoff game experience.

Marcia has reached a new stage on the road of life; earlier this week she no longer tried to hide the fact that she had a birthday. Seizing on the moment we all raced off to our favorite Thai restaurant and had a great birthday celebration meal. Afterwards at our place, out of nowhere, daughter-in-law Cathy waltzed into the room with a tray of wonderful vegan cupcakes. After singing a very robust (but way too slow) rendition of Happy Birthday and the blowing out of the candle every last one of the little cakes magically disappeared in just seconds.

For anyone wanting a quick conversation with Adrianne do so prior to Tuesday since I’ll be taking her to the airport that morning at six. Art and Jolene have plans to meet up with her and Tevita at LAX and spend the day with them in Los Angeles. Already Art’s mentioned Malibu Beach as being one of the places they’ll visit, thanks much for doing this you two. Then around eleven the Air Pacic flight leaves for Fiji. Back to business for Adrianne and Tevita, back to normalcy for our household, and a some emptiness for Marcia and I.

Who Dey¹ , make it a great week.

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¹ From “who dey think going to beat those…..” For those who understand this normally chanted phrase no explanation is necessary. For those who do not, it wouldn’t make any sense anyway—just cheer for our Bengals.

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