Saturday, January 28, 2023

Being a parent; Dry January

Wife and I happened upon a TV show recently, the concept of which I still do not fully understand because we have only seen two partial episodes. 

From what I have seen, however, it appears to be a sort of debate among parents who use different styles of raising their children. Helicopter, traditional, negotiator, child-led, strict and new age are some of the labels I remember. There are different scenarios the parents, with their children, are placed in, and all the parent teams watch the footage, then critique each other. It appears there will eventually be some type of vote, and a winner named.

Obviously, as you can see, I have seen only enough to give this cursory description, and I am sure there is more to it than what I have just recounted. 

The last time we watched, the families went to a zoo where the children handled snakes. The point was to help children overcome their fears, and different parents had different ways of doing it. 

There is a zero percent chance I would have ever participated in such an activity. 

Watching has caused me to think back on how we raised our children. I guess we were what you might call traditional. I don't think we were overly strict. It would not have occurred to me to be "child led" and I don't believe adults negotiating with children is feasible. We probably crossed over into being helicopter parents every once in a while, but I tried not to. I wanted my sons and daughter to learn the hard lessons on their own. 

In short, we weren't perfect, by any stretch of the imagination. But by God's grace, we managed to rear humans who today are well adjusted, responsible adults. All three own homes, hold down good jobs (as do their spouses) and are married, and two have children of their own. To be sure, those are not necessarily measurements of success or character, but I hope they are indicators of responsibility. (And I am pleased to say, with all humility, they are in fact possessed of good character.) 

Maybe each generation of parents says this, but I believe it is more difficult to raise children today. With all the electronics, the internet and everything available at one's fingertips, I would think the job of achieving balance is harder than ever. 

I am happy to help with the grands as much as I can and spend time with them whenever possible, but I am grateful not to be solely responsible for them. 


For the past several years, I have engaged in "Dry January" in which I refrain from consuming alcoholic beverages for the first month of the year. This year I started January 2nd, as we had friends over the night of January 1st, and I wanted to toast the new year with them. Certainly, I could have toasted with anything wet, but since I get to make the rules, I chose the second as my start date. 

As it has been each January I have done it, I don't miss the drinks at all. I think it was late February last year before I broke the alcohol fast. 

My drink of choice is beer, with an occasional glass of wine or a rare cocktail. I have what is affectionately called a "beer fridge" in the garage with an assortment of offerings, and there is a craft brewery not far from my home that I enjoy visiting on occasion. 

But no, I don't really miss it. I won't wake up February 1st (or 2nd, since I started a day late) counting the minutes until Happy Hour. In fact, I'm sure I won't even imbibe that day. 

But neither do I have any convictions that I should permanently abstain. My alcohol consumption is in moderation, and a day will come after February 2nd when I decide a cold beer will hit the spot. 

Until that day, it's Cheers with a Diet Coke. 

Friday, January 6, 2023

Canadian Christmas (Eve) (sort of)

It was another international Christmas Eve for our family recognizing the 14th country or region since we started this wacky tradition. This year it was Canada. 

With our three adult children married and with our now having five grandchildren, we are flexible with our dates. As we have done for the past couple of years, we pretended Christmas Eve was Dec. 26th and Christmas Day the 27th. 

It was our 15th time to do it, but a few years ago, for our tenth year, we had a "festival of nations" in which we celebrated the nine previous countries. So, this was our 14th country. 

Here is the rundown, going back to our first year, 2008: 

2008 -- Mexico

2009 -- Italy

2010 -- Greece

2011 -- Asian

2012 -- France

2013 -- Caribbean

2014 -- Germany

2015 -- England

2016 -- Brazil

2017 -- Festival of Nations

2018 -- India

2019 -- Cuba

2020 -- Australia

2021 -- Ireland

2022 -- Canada

Canada was great. We started with poutine, which Wife said was the recipe that popped up most often when she searched for native Canada dishes. It's French fries topped with cheese curds and gravy and although I politely refused, I pulled out some of the fries, which we made ourselves, and they were delicious. 

As usual, we started with appetizers and drinks in the entry hall. This included the poutine, Labatt Blue beer and a signature drink Wife prepared. 

For the main meal in the dining room (see below), we had lobster rolls, a mixed vegetable dish called hodgepodge, Canadian baked beans and a pita sandwich for which Wife made an intricate meat mixture. There were a couple of delicious desserts. 

Dress was heavy toward the "Canadian tuxedo," which is denim on bottom and top. And of course, the dining room was decorated in a Canadian theme. 

It was another great time, and we'll soon start thinking about next year. 

Any suggestions?