Lehman Family Christmas Letter 2005

Christmas Music (Beastie Boys, Billy Joel, and the Gap Band): Check

Christmas Beer (Guinness): Check

Christmas Gifts, Decorations, Spirit, etc: Uhhhmmm….

With the semester from Hell finally finished, I have one week to take a break with the family and forget about life for awhile. That is, I had one week until Mom dropped a bomb on me: “So, when are you going to write the Christmas letter?” Not satisfied with the answer “As soon as you provide me with all the women and riches I please,” she and Dad threatened to burn all of my underwear if it wasn’t done by tomorrow. Strange threat though it be, I decided that I’d like to celebrate the season with some scrotal support. So instead of fighting for my right to party, here I am pulling my last all-nighter of the year and school’s already out. Hooray for Christmas!

Seriously, folks, it’s been a decently alright year for the Lehmans, and if you’re not already sick of Christmas letters and don’t hate me too much for bringing such cynicism to your home during the holidays, you’ll find this out as you continue reading.

’05 started somewhat rough, with Dave’s father, Grandpa Lehman, heading to the hospital with fluid in his lungs and Grandma Lehman not really knowing what was happening due to worsening Alzheimer’s. Luckily, Grandpa pulled through, but shortly thereafter, Dave and siblings had to put Grandma into a special care facility for seniors with memory problems. Despite a few foiled attempts at escape, including one which involved Grandma taking cover behind some parked cars and pelting “the enemy” (read: facility staff) with rocks, she has since adapted and enjoys it there, from what she can remember.

Aside from the ’rents, Dave kept himself busy with work, deaconry, and the numerous vacations Michelle and he took. Oh, excuse me, I mean “Century 21 Conventions”—as if anyone were buying that old line, anyway. The first was held in Orlando in spring, where they managed to cruise through Epcot, the Wild Animal Kingdom, and the MGM lot, despite “attending many classes and seminars.” The second, near the end of summer, took place in the Atlantis Hotel in the Bahamas. Claiming they networked with many of the higher-ups, mom and dad more likely drank a lot, played with marine animals, and laughed about how Daniel and I were busy working while they were getting paid to drink and play with marine animals. If they weren’t paying thousands of dollars to get me edumacated, I might have some words for them.

Mom and Dad also had the unique pleasure of attending the rededication mass at the newly-remodeled cathedral in downtown Sacramento. Dave was even asked to serve at the mass with the Bishop—you know, the guy with the big hat and wizard’s staff. Mom took her mother, Grandma David, as a date, and everyone had quite the fun time being Catholic and whatnot.

Speaking of Michelle, she had an above average year as well. She had the chance to oversee several new projects around the house, including re-landscaping the front, back, and side yards. The most magnificent new addition, however, has to be Mom and Dad’s birthday/anniversary present to themselves: the HotSpring® Tiger River® Spa Series, Bengal model, with Wavemaster® jet and SilentFlow 5000® circulation pump technologies. With a calmness and tranquility that will wash over you in an awesome wave, yet enough horsepower to cause semi-permanent nerve damage, it’s the definition of both perfection and awesomeness. Think of all the most amazing and wonderful things you could ever know, assign them each a score of awesomeness, add up those scores, multiply them by 17,306, and you would still not be anywhere near the awesomeness score of the hot tub. And that’s all I have to say about that.

When she wasn’t straight trippin’ across North America, Michelle was makin’ dolla$ in real estate, yo. She helped manage the family business, CENTURY 21 Noel David Realty, to Centurion Office status, which meant all of the agents put together sold $1.59 mil in gross closed commissions. If you don’t know what all that means, just know that’s really freaking good, especially for a fairly small operation.

Michelle also took some time out of her Realtor schmoozing to help me prepare and pass my real estate license exam to become a card carrying member of the hottest profession of the decade. If you don’t believe me, look inside this letter/card for a special prize! (Hint: It might be one of my business cards.) The rest of the summer was spent revamping Mom’s website, www.FairOaksHomes.net, and creating various marketing materials for her. She also completed two more designations, CRS & SRES.

At school before summer, I spent most of my time working on the Los Angeles Loyolan (www.theloyolan.com) as Asst. Arts & Entertainment Editor. Still, I managed to enjoy life outside the office by helping make up skits and dancing in the annual luau put on by LMU’s Hawaii club, and by serving as an officer of Sursum Corda, one of the service orgs on campus. How I earned a leadership role in anything is beyond me, but apparently I fooled enough people into thinking I am “responsible.” Silly mortals.

Fast forward to August, when I went back down to LA and took over as head A&E Editor, as well as dove back into the world of yearbookery as Production Editor. This meant I was in charge of designing the pages and managing the editors of the Greeks, Seniors, and Student Life sections, which make up about 1/3 of the book. Combined with the 30 hours or so devoted to the Loyolan, this took the place in life typically reserved for sleep. Somewhere in the haze of life, I managed to find time for a girlfriend as well, and if it weren’t for her and the rest of my friends, I likely would have forced myself into a coma months ago.

Just down the street from LMU, Daniel is getting ready to retire from the Washington Mutual business of lending and get back into the nitty gritty of real estate by being an assistant to Juliet Zacarias, an agent at the #1 Coldwell Banker office in the world. Though he will be working for the competition, he typically just runs away from the feelings of guilt and remorse. When I say runs away, I mean he literally runs, since this year he completed both the LA Marathon in March and “The Relay,” a 12 person 200 mi relay race from Napa to Santa Cruz. Each person on the team for “The Relay”—called Team Drug Runners because of their pharmaceutical company sponsors—ran the equivalent of three 10k stretches back-to-back-to-back. Interestingly, Daniel did not die like we thought he might, and found time in between work, races and training to keep up with his surfing—he has four different boards now—and journalism writing on LASplash.com and for Valley Scene Magazine, even attending and reviewing his third film fest - LA Film Festival. He, Pat & Brian (college buddies) are still renting the same house/apartment in Venice, a mile or so from Venice Beach. Tough life!

On the vacation front, the family actually found time to get together and be Canadian for a few weeks in May, touring through Victoria, Vancouver, and the hills of Whistler. During our visit to our backwards neighbors to the north, we snorted pollen at Buchart Gardens, called our captain Ishmael during our whale watching trip, zip-lined through the trees of Blackcomb Mountain with the Ewoks, and Dave, Daniel and I even jumped off of a bridge attached only by a big rubber band (otherwise known as bungee jumping). Like all Lehman vacations, it was a blast, and we actually got some time to lounge around a bit too, so we didn’t need a vacation from vacationing afterwards.

Daniel and I both went back down to SoCal, and Mom and Dad went on another vacation with their friends, the Reibolds, to the big island of Hawaii, where they snorkeled in the warm waters, jumped over lava pits at the top of a volcano, and even made friends with a donkey who was quite the social butterfly (try doing the math on that one). All in all, it was a well-traveled year for the both of them.

As for the dog, suffice to say that we’re all pretty surprised she’s still alive. From the look on her face every time she wakes up and comes to say hello, I’d say she is as surprised as we are.

Well, since it’s only 3 a.m., I guess I came in way under deadline, so maybe some of my undies haven’t been set fire to yet and I’ll still get to wear boxers for Christmas morning mass. If not, well… hopefully it won’t be too cold. For all of us here in the Lehman house, we wish you and yours a warm, wonderful holiday season and a 2006 that could kick the collective ass of all past years combined, even if they were to gang up on it with handheld and/or projectile weapons.

Dave, Michelle, Daniel, Mark, and Harley Lehman

Appliance of the Month: The Tangent Salutes Garbage Disposal

From spring of 2003 until my graduation in May 2006, I wrote many articles for several sections of my college newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan. Here's one of my articles from the now-defunct humor section, Tangent.
Appliance of the Month
The Tangent Salutes Garbage Disposal

Mark J. Lehman
A&E Editor

Originally Published: Thursday, December 8, 2005

We've had our problems in the past, to be sure -- remember that time you ate my mom's favorite silverware? -- but during this holiday season, I thank Father Christmas for you, Garbage Disposal.

Your name is deceptive, because though you do, indeed, DISpose of my garbage, you also EXpose me to new sensations, new feelings, new experiences. I remember the first time we played together, Mom warned me to be careful. She said you were "dangerous," but I knew then what I know now -- you might be dangerous, but I know you'll always use your powers for good.

You've taught me so much about life, Garbage Disposal. You taught me about death, when my goldfish Franco died of natural causes. Dad said you were a portal to Heaven as he dropped Franco's limp, lifeless fish body into your gaping maw, and suddenly, I wasn't quite so sad anymore. You taught me about pain, too. I still have the scar from when I accidentally dropped my class ring and you caught it for me. You taught me a lesson that day-that if I'm not careful with my valuables, you'll cut me-and I've never forgotten it.

And, Garbage Disposal, you are especially helpful these weeks of December with the overabundance of fruitcakes. You know we can't (and won't!) eat all of those crazy concoctions, so you eat them for us like a true champ. You know, I still feel bad about last year when you got that particularly sneaky piece of candy cane stuck in your teeth and we had to call Mr. Fix-It to get it out. I know that hurt you, but I was so proud of you for being so brave as the handyman unplugged you and performed his surgery. We were all glad you made it through, and even happier that you were back to good health in time for the holidays.

So, although from time to time you mangle our ever-decreasing supply of forks, I know that your heart is in the right place, and I love you for it, Garbage Disposal. I'll try to sneak you a slice of pumpkin pie this year, because I know how much you love it. Merry Christmas, buddy.
[via Los Angeles Loyolan: http://www.laloyolan.com/2.4416/1.399380]
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