Lehman Family Christmas Letter 2003

What does one call people who are afraid of Santa Claus? Claustrophobic, of course! Yes, it’s that time of the year again, and in my expert opinion, there is no better way to kick off the Christmas celebration than a good Christmas joke. After all, around the Lehman household during Christmas time, one just must give in—either to laughter or to tears. This year, however, the Lehman’s are on the ball. The tree is decorated, more than half the presents are bought and wrapped, and the usual stress packaged with Christmas has mysteriously disappeared. That lack of stress can only mean one thing: more partying! As far as I’m concerned, you can call any of us Johnny On-The-Spot-With-The-Good-Times (except perhaps Michelle—I don’t know how much she’d like being called Johnny). And with such a great year behind us, there’s plenty of reason to celebrate.

If any of you will remember, last year I valiantly volunteered to undertake the enormous responsibility of chronicling the lives of the Lehmans, and yet, after such a feat was accomplished, I was dragged out and beaten down by ‘The Man.’ The best parts of the letter had to be cut out “for the sake of the children,” and I limped back to school a broken and bitter man. Not to worry, younguns… like any young, on-the-verge artist, I will continue to push the envelope, and my simple hope is that I can write this letter racier, edgier, and that much more fantastic than last year’s. Boo censorship. Hooray for the good guys!

Because she endures such insane levels of testosterone the whole year-round, I will reward Michelle by recounting her tale first. Michelle was somewhat lazy this year, sitting around the house, doing a whole lot of nothing. Of course, you sly devils know that I’m lying. Though she had a less productive year on the home-selling side this year, anyone who has set foot in our house in the last month would know she has been very productive in other endeavors. What began with a simple roof replacement turned into an almost completely new home, with our ceilings and paint replaced, our carpeting turned into hardwood floors, and our bathrooms turned into… well, niftier bathrooms. The changes have provided for some great entertainment in the form of sock-sliding down the new hardwood hallway.

Even with all the remodeling supervision she did, Michelle still found time to sell quite a few houses, as well as pass her broker’s test, meaning she’ll more than likely be running around the office shouting “Respect my authoritah!” Not only that, but she fled to Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and several other places for vacations, conventions, etc throughout the year. She is indeed one busy lady. How does she do it, you ask? I’m betting amphetamines.

Next, the other female of the house: Harley, that pitiful creature we call our dog. She had an exciting year, with many people to meet (read: crotches to sniff) during the remodeling period, and she hasn’t been the same since. With her long claws, she has made sworn enemies with the hardwood floors, because she can barely walk on them without slipping and sliding and having the rest of the family laugh at her. The hour of her discontent has come.

To segregate the Southern California Lehmans from those of the NorCal region, we will continue our story with Dave. Dad had a fairly uneventful year as far as work and church. He continues to live by his deaconing motto of “baptize ‘em and bury ‘em,” and in his office, he persists in ruling with his iron fist of fury. In side projects, Dave was promoted to treasurer of the board of directors for the Sunrise Marketplace. With time and patience, he will become the Regulator of said committee. The time for his rise to glory is come.

The highlight of Dave’s life this year, however, definitely has to be his father’s day present: a new 55” HDTV widescreen TV, the perfect complement to his DTS sound system and progressive scan DVD player. On the day of its arrival, the skies opened up, and God saw how good it was. And on that day, God rested, smiling upon us as we enjoyed The Matrix in its full splendor. Of course, we had to rearrange 4 different rooms in our house just to fit the TV, but it’s totally worth it.

Now, we shall traverse the state to tap on the glass of the cage that is Daniel’s life. In between trips to Las Vegas, where he drank, gambled, and drank, Daniel managed to graduate from Loyola Marymount magna cum laude with degrees in psychology and screenwriting. Thank god for those degrees, because without those, he probably would have never landed his job at Washington Mutual, doing things absolutely unrelated to his fields of study! Yet, this is where he works to this day, and though it is not what he had in mind, it pays handsomely and he seems to enjoy it. Before starting work, however, he flew up to San Francisco to make a psychology presentation and be an academic bigwig for a few days. If nothing else, this trip gave him the opportunity to change the location and scenery of his drinking for the weekend.

Also during this year, Daniel drank in New York on two separate occasions—once in the spring with the staff of the LMU newspaper, the Loyolan, and once in the fall with a friend of his who worked on the Loyolan and who now lives in the Big Apple. In between drinks, he managed to take in some spectacular theater events, such as The Lion King, Rent, Urinetown, and more. Now that he is a full-fledged member of the work force, Daniel is stuck in LA until December 24, and I must say, its nice being an only child, if only for such a short time.

Being the pillar of modesty that I am, I have saved myself for last. Starting the year, I continued to drudge through working on the yearbook at LMU. Though I excelled at the work in high school, there is something to be said of the boredom induced from college yearbook. I therefore quickly switched media to writing for the newspaper, under the TLC of my brother, the Arts & Entertainment Editor. I saw several free movies and wrote about them, and I even met and interviewed Robert Duvall and his very attractive wife. As far as academics, I managed to squeeze out mostly A’s, including one in my favorite class, Dance of Hawaii. I am now the top hula dancer among my family members.

This year saw several trips for me as well, though not nearly as far as those of my family. For spring break, my roommates and I visited some friends in Cal Poly SLO for the Mardi Gras celebration they hold there. Fast forward to fall, when I took a weekend community service trip to help with fire relief at a crazy farmer’s ranch on the outskirts of San Diego. Ask me about that sometime and you’ll get quite an earful. In the wintertime, I went snowboarding for the first time. As I type this, I still have to sit on the right cheek of my buttocks, due to extensive bruising of the left. In school, I shone brightly in my favorite class, Tap Dance 1. Private shows are held anytime at our house—$10 per person. This year, I even found time to rocket to international stardom, first appearing on The Price Is Right in primetime, and then on a special program for the British Broadcasting Channel on revivalism in the church. Overall, it was indeed a good year, and the next looks to be even more exciting, as I will be studying in Spain next semester. Anyone who would like to be on my email update list, please send me an email at the address below.

Phew! Finished with the Christmas letter—and still a few days before Christmas! What did I tell you about being ahead of schedule this year?! There is always more to be done, of course, and in this case I mean more shopping to do bright and early tomorrow. Can you believe I have to be awake before 9 am on my holiday break? Yeah, me neither. At any rate, we Lehmanses would like to sincerely wish all of you lovely people a very wonderful and joyous holiday season, and in the immortal words of The Boss, Bruce Springsteen: “Merry Christmas, Baby!”

Love,
Dave, Michelle, Daniel, Mark, and Harley

The Policy (a markandjames production)

In 2003, James Malins and I were part of a group project that asked the question "How do we fix LMU's parking problem?" Unbeknownst to the rest of our group, we created a short video presentation to address this question. It has since become legend.

Enjoy.

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