And a Merry Christmas to all…Thursday, December 26, 2013

Happy Holidays everyone! I've been traveling and shopping and seeing friends and generally having a good week or so of December cheer, so I apologize for being absent without leave here in Blogville, but I wanted to fire off this brief message to wish everyone a very safe and happy holiday season. Even getting this tiny little bit of info placed here wasn't easy, and it required the help of a certain editor (rhymes with Burgess) who is on an official Christmas Break until January 2, although his "break" is also of a different kind (can you say "ankle" and "hockey" in the same sentence?) Ouch! Anyway, as you probably know, I only write these blogs and take the pictures. I don't post them myself, and getting them out in the open requires the assistance of my highly-placed sources at, so I thank one particular highly-placed source (still rhymes with Burgess) for helping out during the holidays, while he's on the shelf with a cast on his leg.

I meant to get this posted BEFORE Christmas, but vacation days and other "breaks" meant it had to wait. That's my fault, for waiting so long to write this. You know, I was wondering if I was a procrastinator but I haven't gotten around to looking up the definition. Regardless, here it finally is. Better late than never! (I just made that up. Pretty catchy…)

Barbara and I were in Woodbury last week, and it was spectacularly festive there, with a deep covering of snow making everything look like a Christmas card. It's hard not to be in the holiday spirit when you can look out every window and see a scene like this.

Then, we flew back here to Spokane on Saturday just in time to enjoy the same sort of scenery in these parts, as a fairly decent little storm dropped about three inches of white stuff the day before we got back. I had the shovel and the scraper out first thing Sunday, doing what Neighbor Dave and I used to do, in almost synchronized fashion, throughout the Minnesota winters. It's not as much fun to scrape the driveway here without seeing Dave next door doing the same thing (sad face).

One key little factoid I'm proud of (I think) and would now like to divulge here, is this: "Diamond" is a guy's best friend. Get it?

Well, for the first time ever in my long "road warrior" history, I've made it all the way to the top rung on the frequent flyer ladder. I am now Diamond Elite on Delta, after years of topping out at Platinum. It takes 125,000 qualifying miles in a calendar year to make it, and I would never have the chance if it wasn't for American Express. I pay all of my business and travel expenses on my Amex card, so the numbers add up in a hurry and by the end of the year the fine folks at American Express had deposited 20,000 elite qualifying miles into my Delta account, for having hit two lofty spending targets. If there's one thing I'm good at, it's spending money.

I'm not sure I'll ever have the chance to be Diamond again, so once I got close this year I decided to make a couple of trips back to Woodbury just to hit the 125,000-mile mark. I'll be a big shot next season, baby! Excuse me, pardon me, Diamond comin' through...

And I even have one more trip left in 2013 to add a little cushion to it, which is okay because any miles you accrue over the target get rolled over to the next year, so I'll start with a few miles in the bank. Barbara and I are headed back to MSP one more time, leaving on the 30th to spend New Year's Eve with all of our Woodbury friends. It's a tradition I hope we can keep adhering to for many more years to come.

With all that trivial stuff out of the way, let me again wish Happy Holidays to all of you, no matter what specific holiday you embrace at this time of the year. Enjoy the season, hug your loved ones, and have a wonderful and safe New Year. 2014? Wow...

And, due to my tardiness with this blog installment, and the fact it is now December 26 as I finish this up, I can add a sentence or two about Christmas day itself.  Barbara and I made the conscious decision to enjoy the day with each other, and celebrate it with quality time and great food (also good wine, but that's probably unnecessary to state). We put a prohibition on big pricey mega-gifts, and instead restricted our buying to stocking stuffers only, while then spending a slightly huge amount on one particular item for the house. Yes, we bought a new vacuum cleaner! Actually, I was the one who pushed for that, despite the fact it's not much of a glamor gift, because I went cheap when we moved here and bought a vacuum that now drives me nuts, so we went with a Dyson in order to make up for that previous mistake. It's being shipped and isn't here yet, so I'm anxiously waiting like a little kid at… Christmas!

We made our annual Christmas lasagna, opened our presents, and played with the boyz all day. Seriously, I'd say the presents in the stockings marked "Bob" and "Barb" didn't add up to all the new toys and gifts for Boofus and Buster. It's crazy how they seem to know it's Christmas, and when the stockings come down off the mantle (where they were hung with care) both boyz come running into the room in a very excited state. They stick their noses right down into the stocking they share, and immediately play with every toy we open for them. Smart little critters...

So, in summary: Enjoy the rest of the holidays!!!  I'll leave my highly-placed sources alone until the new year. And it still rhymes with Burgess. See you in 2014!

Get well, Phil! Your hockey team needs you...

Wilber, out!=