Lehman Family Christmas Letter 2004

Season’s greetings and salutations from the Land of the Lehmans! Yes it’s that time again. No no, not that time. We’re not even going to talk about that time of year, and quite frankly I’m disgusted that you even thought of that. No, I’m talking about Christmas time of course! And this Christmas, back by popular demand, I, Mark Lehman have been contracted to write the newsletter once again. When I say contracted, don’t get confused—what I really mean is mom and dad have stopped feeding me until this is finished. Boy, am I hungry.

The theme for this year is travel. Though we’ve always enjoyed our family vacations, this year saw the Lehmans become practically nomadic. Yet somehow, amidst the travels, we all had to keep up with work, friends, and a host of other activities to occupy our time. In my case, this includes school, and with only two days having elapsed since my brain completely shut down after final exams, I will be going the route of least creativity by structuring this history in alphabetical order, beginning with Daniel.

This year, Daniel finally wrapped his arms around the city of his residence in a warm, accepting embrace. Translation: he spent an average of 25 hours a day improving his surfing using two new surfboards, he bought a hot red Camaro with which he cruises for beach babes, and he resumed work as a film and theater critic. Unfortunately for him, the critic job is non-paying, but it allows him to be published in a magazine with nearly 100,000 circulation, sufficiently padding his ego. He has, however, found a few small gigs writing biographies for aspiring musicians, and though they don’t pay much, they also don’t take long, and they let him pride himself in knowing that he is actually writing and getting paid for it.

Unnaturally, with all these activities, he still finds time for his job at Washington Mutual, funding loans for the rich and the famous. While it continues to not be his dream job, it also continues to pay much more than he needs, thus practically obliging him to shout “Vegas, baby, Vegas!” and visit the city of sin almost once each season. Also on the flight schedule, a short jaunt to St. Louis where he visited his best friend who attends the aptly-named Saint Louis University came to pass in October, and various road trips up and down the Cali coast occurred continuously throughout the year. As if that wasn’t enough, in the intervening time he began training for the LA Marathon as well as an ascent up Mt. Whitney. Mom and dad are holding out hope he’ll find enlightenment on the mountain and turn away from his maniacally villainous temperament, but if I were a betting man, I’d wager against that with at least 10 to 1 odds.

I’m going to go ahead and do something unprecedented here and combine Michelle’s and Dave’s blurbs into one, because I’m just ‘That Guy.’ That, and if I combine them, I’ll finish this faster and will be able to break my forcefully-imposed fast.

With both their sons out of the house, and one out of the country for half the year (we’ll get to that later…patience, grasshoppers), mom and dad found consolation in each other. Of course, it helped that they were all over the globe for half a year, partying with friends in Cabo San Lucas, celebrating weddings in Minnesota, and doing God knows what for their anniversary in San Luis Obispo. They also took a page out of Daniel’s book, meeting up with him and going crazy—er, excuse me, attending a “real estate convention”—in Las Vegas. Yeah, a convention…like I believe that for a second.

At work, Dave performed marriages for family friends, as well as helped raise $60,000 for the Easter Seals charity through his organizing a car raffle. Michelle, the other half of the team, swooped in and sold houses to Dave’s newlyweds and reaped the benefits big time when she headed down to San Diego in the fall for a CENTURY 21 top agent retreat at the Hotel Coronado. All this business helped fund the major purchase of the year which, combined with last year’s addition, makes movie viewing at the Lehman house an ostentatiously mind-boggling experience. Indeed, the plush new leather couches and recliner are so incredible, there exists no vocabulary to accurately describe them, forcing me to make up a word. Slentrublastic. Truly slentrublastic.

Getting back to the alphabetical order with which we began our harrowing tale, I shall now recount the Many Misadventures of Harley P. Lehman. The dog had a surprisingly eventful year, as we recently discovered that she has been digging a gapingly large hole in the back yard. For what purpose, one can only speculate. Possibilities range from those of deep sadness and depression such as digging her own tomb, to the much more practical idea of creating a hiding place from me, who so loves to torment her by pushing her around so she slips and slides on the hardwood floor. Perhaps, after all is said and done, we might simply have our own backyard tunnel to China. Only time will tell.

The nagging modesty of my inner subconscious has left myself for last again this year. As a reward, I shall give myself three paragraphs rather than the standard two, because sometimes one simply must pamper oneself. To begin the year with a unique approach, I left on a jet plane to Spain to study abroad for a semester at Saint Louis University – Madrid Campus, where I managed to 1) burn through thousands of dollars in a 5 month span, B) hit the bar and club scene, something which the 18-year-old drinking age allowed and encouraged, and III) dance! That’s right, I hopped on the good foot and did the bad thing and learned the basics of salsa, bachata, merengue, tango, rumba, and flamenco. The new Lord of the Dance has come.

Apart from the dancing, I spent the rest of my time traveling throughout Europe. With either newfound amigos, an old friend, or family, I managed to stamp the passport in (reverse-alphabetical order) Sweden, Scotland, The Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Germany, France, England, Denmark, and Belgium, not to mention see just about every major and minor metropolis in Spain.

Having arrived back in Sacramento in June and done absolutely nothing productive all summer, I moved into my first apartment in LA in August, where my roommate and I promptly made a fort out of cardboard moving boxes and I vainly tried to protect myself from the rapidly approaching onslaught of school and extracurriculars. Serving as the Assistant Arts & Entertainment Editor of the school newspaper, the Los Angeles Loyolan, as well as becoming involved in Sursum Corda, a service organization on campus, have taken up most of the time that classes do not, but still I managed to fly away to St. Louis and Nashville this semester to visit friends and attend a newspaper conference, respectively. While in Nashville, I participated in my first hoedown and learned five different country line dances. Quite slentrublastic.

The Lehmans synergized their family vacations this year into one great big Super Ultra Mega Vacation when they came to visit Mark (me) in Spain in May. The thought process is as follows: “Mark gets to go to Europe? I’ve never been to Europe. That’s not fair. I know! Let’s go visit him!” We began in Madrid, where we ate the best churros of our lives, then journeyed down to Málaga by way of Toledo, where we saw Don Quixote, and Sevilla, where we saw flamenco dancers, then drove to Spain’s East side and Alicante in Valencia, where we saw old British tourist women sunbathe topless. All in all, enough sightseeing for all. That is, until Barcelona, where we couldn’t have seen everything if we tried, which we did. And to give mom and dad a break, in the middle of those three weeks, Daniel and I took a short jaunt to Amsterdam. If either of us ever remembers anything from that trip, we’ll let you know.

Thus, another year meets its doom at my doorstep. With the Christmas letter written, we can finally start to focus on the most important aspects of the holiday season. And one thing is for sure—now that it’s finished, mom and dad will finally stop withholding the food supply. Happy holidays everyone, enjoy the time together, don’t pig out too much, and if you’re feeling blue, just remember the wise words of a notable Latin scholar: “Cum catapultae proscriptae erunt tum soli proscripti catapultas habebunt.” (When catapults are outlawed only outlaws will have catapults.)

Dave, Michelle, Daniel, Mark, and Harley P. Lehman

P.S. Despite censoring the letter quite heavily, mom and dad still wash their hands of it. If it offends anyone, it is mom and dad’s humble request that you take it up with the author—me, Mark Lehman. I, in turn, will completely ignore any and all complaints.
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