A collection of essays, outdoor adventure stories, ruminations, wordplay, parental angst, and blatant omphaloskepsis, generated in all seasons and for many reasons at 64.8 degrees north latitude

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

I Verb You a Happy Noun

Every year, I attempt to write a holiday letter to my nearest, dearest, and slightly-less-near-but-nonetheless-delightful friends.  In Fairbanks in December, poetic sunrises morph directly into elegiac sunsets.  Perhaps as a result, I use this annual letter as an opportunity to plumb the depths of a different literary styles, exploring promising genres such as Choose Your Own Adventure, Epic Poem, and Third Grade Homework Packet.

In contemplating how best to frame this year’s masterwork, it struck me that 2016 might read a lot better if edited, augmented, or outright bowdlerized.  Thus, this particular holiday letter is written in the form of a Mad Lib.

As such, you will need to fill in the following blanks before you can proceed.  No peeking ahead; remember, this is the season when Santa is stalking your moral minutiae.  Feel free to ask for contributions from family members, friends, passing strangers, or sworn enemies with lurid vocabularies.  

Go ahead and share your completed entries, although there are no prizes whatsoever -- unless you don’t yet have a potholder woven from strips of old t-shirts by industrious children.  I can totally set you up with one of those.

1) Adjective ______________
2) Adjective ______________
3) Animal ______________
4) Place ______________
5) Noun ______________
6) Plural noun
7) Gerund*
8) Plural noun
9) Noun ______________
10) Adjective _________________
11) Plural noun ______________
12) Verb _______________
13) Plural noun _______________
14) Noun _________________
15) Verb (present participle) _______________
16) Verb (present participle) _______________
17) Noun _______________
18) Liquid _______________
19) Ordinal number _____________
20) Noun _________________
21) Adverb ________________
22) Body part _______________
23) Body part (plural) ________________
24) Adjective ___________________
25) Adjective _________________

*  You are in no way surprised, because you already know me. 

A Retrospective on the Fresco/Cable 2016

At the start of the year, we didn’t leave home.  Given how (1) __________ and (2) ____________it is in Fairbanks in January, this was a questionable choice.  But Jay was happy as a (3) _____________, training for his epic 1000-mile snow-bike ride to (4) _____________ along the entire Iditarod (5)____________ – an event which he finished with flying (6) ______________.
Despite a wanton lack of (7) _____________, on Easter Sunday I, too, hit the (8) _____________ -- in the annual White Mountains 100.  I managed to snow-bike 100 miles without damaging myself, my chocolate eggs, my psyche, or my (9) _______________.
Meanwhile, my performance in Fairbanks Drama Association’s quirky romantic comedy “Almost Maine” was reportedly (10) ________________, which is perhaps not surprising, given that it involved enthusiastically removing most of my (11) _______________ on stage.
When spring arrived, my mother came up to (12) ________________ us for three weeks.  She enjoyed the (13) ______________, went camping with us, and helped us celebrate Molly’s and Lizzy’s tenth (14)________________.
Our summer hiking and biking adventures didn’t involve (15) _____________ bicycles on airplanes or (16) _____________ with European sheep, but we did have to beat a hasty retreat off a (17)____________ after being repeatedly blown off our feet by a July hailstorm, and encountered particularly deep and viscous (18) _____________ on our annual hike to Tolovana Hot Springs .
When fall rolled around, the twins headed off to (19) _____________ grade, and I adding teaching a (20)_______________ to my workload.  Jay, of course, while continuing to work as a programmer at UAF, also began training for his next adventure.  Oh, and we voted.  (21) _____________.
These past couple of months, the kids and I have once again taken to the stage, spouting such memorable holiday-themed lines as, “You’ll shoot your (22) ____________ out” and “I can’t put my (23)______________ down!”
All in all, 2016 has been (24) ______________, and I’m sure that working as a climate change researcher will be even more (25) _______________ in the coming years.

Thanks for playing.  And, even more importantly, thanks for continuing to tolerate me -- not only for another 365 days, but on February 29th, too.  You are a remarkable bunch of people.  May you all have a light-filled, warmth-wrapped, and delicious Solstice, Hanukkah, Christmas, and New Year.

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