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Some friends have told me they think the time period between Thanksgiving and Christmas is a kind of no-man’s land. And that’s the PG version.

Too much pressure to buy gifts, too little time to get work done because everyone else around them is worried about getting gifts bought. Did we forget someone? Are we doing cards this year?  Speaking of cards, the most interesting Christmas card I believe we ever got was from a childhood friend, Fred, and his wife, taken on the Great Wall of China. That was very cool.

The struggle is always trying to keep the balance, and, no matter how hard we try, at times, we fail. Of course, there are times we succeed, but it appears we dwell more on those times we fail rather than the ones where we succeed. And that’s a shame. I have had my failures and successes, just like everyone.

For example, one year I bought Patti a coffee-table photo book on the golf courses of the PGA Tour. Even though Patti likes to play golf, you can just imagine how thrilled she was to open this gem on Christmas Day.

We have been very lucky and blessed this year. We made the move from Dallas to Austin comfortably well. Nothing broken, nothing lost. We’ve adjusted to the new house AND to having Casey and JD with us, too.

This is way too much of an introduction to what I believe is the true no-man’s land — that period between Christmas and New Year‘s. I don’t like to shop. Not even online. Just don’t like to do it. I know it is a necessary evil, but I try to avoid it at all costs, if possible. So, you can imagine with all the retail stores dropping prices even lower than the last price they posted just before Christmas, the crowds are herding out to the malls and outlet stores.

Against my better judgment, JD and I went to the outlet mall in San Marcos this afternoon. This is a huge outlet mall with all the name brands you recognize. We were fairly fortunate in parking, with little or no problem. The interesting part of the day was realizing that for every Texas license plate I saw in the parking lots, there were easily two or three Nuevo Leon, or Chihuahua Mexico plates. And, there were charter buses from Mexico, too. That’s what I like to see, those foreign dollars being spent in the good ole USofA.

2011 Belk Bowl

I didn’t get paid to put this logo here.

Also, I’ve never really been much of a football fan except when I was a student at Michigan State. Then, I was like everyone else, 100,000 people packed in parkas crowded into Spartan Stadium at 15 degrees to watch guys bang themselves around on grass down below. And, this is fun? Instead, these days we have bowl games named after key contributors. Like yesterday, for example, there was the Belk Bowl. I watched the whole game and for the life of me I cannot remember the two teams who played in the game.

In the ever-increasing grab for the dollar, I expect that soon I will see the Trojan Bowl or the Ex-Lax Bowl or, who knows, maybe the P-Diddy Bowl. Frankly, I’d just love it if someone created a LiquidPlumber Bowl.


A quick health update: This has been a fall to remember. Back in November, I needed to have a stent put into my bile duct for the easy transfer of waste. That’s about delicate as I can put it.

For two-three weeks, I had pain in my chest and abdomen getting used to the stent. As I discovered, it’s common for pancreatic cancer patients having to have this kind of surgery because tumors tend to block important channels. Again, that delicacy thingee.

Also, during this time, Patti had her gall bladder removed, and JD had knee surgery. Thanks Aldridges for keeping the U.S. health care industry thriving.

The stent is working; I’ve made the adjustments and the pain is gone. I still have lost weight and am weak, and get a bit dizzy sometime when I take a step or two. Appetite is improving, but occasional nausea runs its course.

But, as the new year is creeping up on us like the “fiscal cliff,” I am thankful for my family members and their commitment and love, my friends whom I love dearly and I look forward to dancing the two-step with Patti on my birthday, August 18th. Happy New Year’s to you and yours. God bless you all.