We Say Hello, and Also Goodbye


We have done little today, save spend time together in cheery, occasionally grumpy holiday spirit.

Spoke on the cellular telephone this morning with the parents, who extended an invite to join them for a complimentary breakfast at Embassy Suites. We did so, leaving behind a trail of anarchic laundry and piled dishes at home.

We left and rocked so hard in the automobile to Hot Chip's Over and Over. Without apology I will state that it is the In My Life of 2006. Twice as long and no harpischord, but it has that repetitious, yet fresh and transcendent feel that the very best pop songs have (all going back to Rubber Soul, of course). That indescribable and ephemeral quality that makes a song get better with every listen. Insistent, driving beat that just thunks you until you gotta dance. Even when you're in a moving vehicle.

...like a monkey with a miniature cymbal / the joy of repetition really is in you...

Walking into the hotel's breakfast greatroom, I was reminded of one of the things our family does best: Hellos and Goodbyes.

Our family does Lord of the Rings-length farewells. It is not an efficient process. It is the antithesis of the so-called "French Goodbye," which is ironic, considering the fact that we are French. 

(and Russian, Welsh, Scottish, and German)

There is love, and long hugs. And no sitting to greet someone's arrival. Public hugfests are not a second thought; they are embedded. It feels good to know that your arrival is important. 

That is what we were greeted with upon entering the hotel's breakfast greatroom. Sorry, fellow breakfasters.  Then we got serious: Piled-up dripping cube potatoes, fat yellow omelettes, giant cuts of melon and grapefruit, deep dishes of oatmeal, eased down with blonde coffee. Now I'm hungry again.

Magdelana hopped in for a quick swim with Gramma Susie. JXI hung out with Chief while Becca returned shoes to an unnamed retailer I will not advertise for. I chauffeured.

If you go shopping this time of year, you are going to run into angry people, honking horns, middle iFingers, and general irritation that there are so many other people out and about.

I tend to like humans.

I like to see people interacting and personalities bumping and buzzing and feeding off each other.

I want to gain momentum from others; to pick up energy from social collisions; to bring an enthusiasm to my interactions with strangers that is


I want my presence to help bring out the best emotions in people.

I am not talking about an artificial pleasantry; an obnoxious veneer of fake happiness with a "just smile and pretend everything is alright" flavour. I go up and down too, as a functioning elevator or human should. 

Looking at other's misfortunes is not automatically a schadenfreudisch gesture of 'your misfortune makes me smile.' No. It is an acknowledgment that it is all too simple to get pulled into our own isolated caves of self-pity and problems. Most of the problems I have start to feel lame when contrasted with those that many others face.

It is cliché, but true: in looking away from ourselves, we are able to understand ourselves more...and to remember all that is good in our lives.

We considered pulling out Jay-Z's Blueprint (2001), to soundtrack the homebound commute, but stuck on Fistful of Mercy and a collection of holiday classics. Good choice.

Five of Our Favourite Holiday Tunes:

Blue Christmas / Low
Silent Night / Stevie Nicks
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer / Jack Johnson
Silver Bells / Frank Sinatra & Louis Armstrong
Here Is Christmas / Nancy Wilson

Also, we finished the day off with another 30 minutes of Elf. What joy. And Zooey Deschanel is adorable.



  1. Even non-Longs have the privilege to be greeted by Longs in Long Hello fashion, and if you are the just-arrived, you feel grande.

    Great post.

  2. I'm reminded of your brilliance. You are terrific. Love the colorful and descriptive stylized journaling.

    Tremendous pictures as well. Mags is just... beyond sensational.

  3. I'm "there" all over again! What a privilege to belong. Love you!


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