I finally got my Christmas letter done for out of town family and friends. These used to be a lot easier to write when the kids were little and doing funny antics. You could ramble on and on about the baby’s first steps and it sounded so cute. Now it’s a struggle trying to spin your teenagers’ behavior into something that won’t embarrass you.

Take my son, for instance. He has spent two and a half years at the University of Oregon trying to attend every known party on campus. There’s not a lot of learning that goes on during these occasions, unless it’s studying ways to beat your opponent at beer pong. I believe in my heart that he would move heaven and earth to get to a party on time and be one of the last to leave.

Ah, but that he could muster that same tenacity and dedication when it comes to his classes. Those, apparently, are functions to avoid at all costs. Perhaps he thinks that would be bad for his reputation to be seen in a classroom, much less taking notes or answering a question.

I am poking jests because to do otherwise is to collapse into a heap of tears at what a failure I am as a parent. We just received the official letter from U of O saying that they are disinclined to have him come back to school at this time. He may take a year and attempt to improve his grades anywhere on the planet but there, at which time he can reapply.

I don’t know if I should be writing about this. He’ll kill me if he ever reads my blog, which could happen if Hell freezes over. I guess I was trying to make the point that it’s harder to write these Christmas letters as you get older.

I’ve received a couple of letters with reports about how many people have passed away since last Christmas. This is not happy holiday reading, but I guess people feel compelled to share things that are important to them.

Oh my gosh, speaking of sharing. I was at a neighbor’s Christmas party last night and had worked pretty much the whole room except for one girl in her mid-twenties wearing a black and white mini dress and socks with some kind of clunky sandals. Woo-whee! I started talking to her at the buffet table where we discovered we both ate soy burgers. “But they make me fart,” she confessed. “I ate a whole package of soy burgers and then went on a date to a movie with a guy, and I couldn’t stop farting. I farted all through the movie.” Her eyes were getting big and her voice more animated. She obviously enjoyed this topic. “It was weird, though, he never said anything.” I was thinking that he was probably being slowly asphyxiated. “He never asked me out again.”

Well, du-uh. I hate people who pass gas in close places where you can’t escape.

Anyway, she starts in on another really gassy experience she had with baked beans, and I was…aghast. I never fart in public, though I may not be quite so kind with my family. Still, I am discreet, and I sure don’t talk about it to strangers at parties. But that’s just me.

As I was saying, I agonized over my Christmas letter this year, trying to spin it a little so that one child didn’t come across as an under-achiever, and the other as an over achiever. At least neither of my children farts and talk about it at parties. Maybe that’s what I should have said. There is always a silver lining, as they say. They also say, Beans, beans good for your heart, the more you eat the more you…toot. The girl at the party also confessed that she was a dog walker, which is the perfect profession because she can fart out in the open air all day. Just imagine! She gave me her business card, but I’m probably not going to call – my dog is averse to gas. She’ll jump off your lap and literally leave the room if you let one slip, which is pretty amazing for a beast that spends half the day with her head between her own back legs. Quite frankly, I find it a little insulting.

Well, I think I’ve said about all I can say on the subject of Christmas letters.