February 27, 2009

I bought something new today...

... but I wouldn't quite classify it as a fall off the wagon. It was a card for a coworker who just took his oath of citizenship yesterday. So we all wanted to do something and one of us ordered a cake and I went out and got the card. He seemed really happy that we'd acknowledged the event, especially when we tried to sing "My country tis of thee" alarmingly off-key. Then we tried "America the Beautiful" and couldn't remember the words. Only one person would even attempt "The Star-Spangled Banner." I think he really appreciated the card and the cake, which was actually a fruit tart that was better than cake. He told us about how he'd taken the oath with 6000 other people in the downtown convention center. He said the application process was simple and he'd only had to answer a few questions like who was the first President of the United States and who's the President now, and since his interview was on Inauguration Day he was a little worried that might have been a trick question. I had heard from other people who become citizens that the test was really hard and they had to study a long time. Are there different tests depending on where you're from and how long you've been here? I always had the impression that people who moved here and became citizens knew United States history better than those of us who grew up here and went to public schools.

Anyway, I don't feel bad at all about buying that card. Maybe if we hadn't been quite so busy at work, we could have made one. But I'm afraid it would have just ended up looking cheap and hasty, rather than creative and well-thought-out like a handmade card should. So instead of a fall, it's like a little slide or slip off the wagon. And I definitely don't regret it.

Have a great weekend. And if you live in Los Angeles, here's a free stuff alert: The Getty Center museum is free every day ($10 per car for parking) and it's fabulous this time of year. The blue skies on a clear day make the building and gardens alone worth the trip. And this weekend is the last chance to view a fantastic photography exhibit Dialogue among Giants: Carleton Watkins and the Rise of Photography in California. I highly recommend it- there are gorgeous photos of the Yosemite valley from the 1800s and a display of the huge camera used to take them, long before Ansel Adams took his iconic photos. And there's a 360 degree photo of San Francisco taken before the 1906 earthquake, plus much more.

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