Christmas 2007 Report

Here’s a quick highlight reel from the past few weeks. I’m sure I left out some important details, so please forgive me for the quick buzz:

Dad drove up from NJ on the 20th, and after a quick meal at the Halfway, I took the wheel and drove us back to Hopatcong. It was snowing in Boston-land, but once we got a bit west it mostly ceased. We made good time and didn’t really encounter any big problems. Getting home we were greeted by Mom, Aimee, Aiden and the dogs. It was the first time meeting Aiden and he was just as cute as the avalanche of pictures have portrayed him. Aimee and Aiden had to fly back to Tennessee before Christmas, so we celebrated early. Saturday morning we drove down to Grammy and Grampy’s neighborhood for lunch with them, and then returned to Hopatcong to sit down around the tree and open gifts. Everyone seemed to enjoy the gifts which were exchanged, and I got all kinds of stuff. I got a bunch of cooking-related books and items, which was cool. I also got a few more seasons of South Park to further round out my collection. went above and beyond and got me a Donkey Cigarette Dispenser. While I don’t smoke, I love donkeys, so this alone would have been an awesome gift, but she then instructed me to operate the dispenser. A pencil shot out of the ass’ ass (haha) and it was wrapped in a piece of paper reading “Good for One Xbox 360”. I had been talking about getting one for awhile now, so this was a real nice surprise. While it was weird to me to celebrate Christmas a few days early (and at night, to boot!), I soon got over it and enjoyed spending time with kith and kin. We popped in Christmas Vacation and dug in for the night.

The rest of our time in NJ was great, I even had the opportunity to make attempts 3 and 4 at “Mission: Kolach”. 3 continued the improvements I had managed with attempt 2, and everyone seemed to enjoy it. I think everyone else was more forgiving of it than me, but I intend to keep working on it until it’s perfect. But I was able to get the crust much less thick by kneading less. I’m going to knead even less next time and see what happens. Attempt 4 was somewhat of a disaster in my mind. I mis-measured the butter and added 8 tbsp. instead of the 6 I had been working with. I’m also going to get a second loaf pan so I can make a double-recipe. I took the original recipe, which made 4 loaves, and quartered it, but that left some of the measurements odd (1.5 egg yolks, for instance), so by making two loaves I can eliminate those weird measurements (which I ended up rounding up to avoid having to deal with it).

On Christmas Day, Dad took Corinna and I to the Newark Airport for our flight to Michigan. When we got to the airport we found out our flight was delayed by two hours. We went to the bar for a few drinks to kill some time, and while we were sitting there I saw David Zayas (a.k.a. Lt. Angel Batista from Dexter) approach the bar, I did a double take, but without mentioning anything to Corinna, when he stepped away from the bar and sat in the booth behind me, she saw and heard him and came to the same conclusion. We didn’t bother him, but we just silently geeked out in our booth.

We arrived at Coco’s parents’ house around 9:30pm, and much of the family was already there. We mostly just decompressed and hung out with everyone. The next day we observed Wigilia, and everyone was there. It was really cool, and it was fun watching all the kids open their gifts. The Wigilia meal was huge but delicious as always… I actually felt like I was going to explode. This probably wouldn’t have been considered very festive, so I managed to hold myself together.

We spent the rest of our time in Michigan visiting friends and family. We drove up closer to Detroit to visit Corinna’s Great Aunt and Uncle. Her great aunt has been ill lately, so it was important that we got up to see them. Afterwards we headed over to the Raz’s abode to visit , Andy, and Colin. We headed for dinner over to Game Works, which is kinda like Jillians’ used to be, an adult arcade with several bars. The food was only so-so, but it was great catching up with the Razzies, as the past few visits to Michigan we’ve had limited exposure. Their kid could easily be the “token cute kid” in a sitcom if he developed a catchphrase (although “I SIT DOWN I SIT DOWN” might be a good start). Also, I can’t remember the last time I was set loose in an Arcade, so I had a great time. Corinna and Amy kicked it DDR style a few times. Andy and I stuck mostly to vehicle games, although we did go for a few rounds in that Jurassic Park shooter. When we got back to Chelsea, we dug into the Pats game with Kim. The rest of our time in Michigan was pretty laid back and quiet (at least in comparison to having 19 people sleep in one house!) We had a wine and cheese movie night with Corinna’s parents and watched #99 and #100 on my video list for 2006.

The trip back to Boston was pretty uneventful, occuring mostly on time and after a short taxi ride to Watertown we were home. I turned right back around to go to the markets to get supplies for our New Years party, and afterwards crashed into the bed for a nap to recharge. Everyone came over around 9pm and seemed to have a great time. The party broke up around 2am, and while we had a ton of leftovers I was actually expecting worse. The next morning I went out first thing to redeem my Xbox voucher, and after some AV-setup wrangling (and a trip back out to Best Buy for a forgotten accessory) I was up and running. I basically played with it for the rest of the day… You can find me on Live as “dos burros”.

Cheri’s Christmas Meme

  1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Almost all wrapping paper.. I think the only bag I used was for the Yankee Swap at work.
  2. Real tree or artificial? Artificial; We want a real tree, but since we evacuate Boston for the last 10 days of the year it’s not really practical.
  3. When do you put up the tree? We had it up soon after Thanksgiving.. Since we aren’t actually home on Christmas we figure we might as well make the most of it.
  4. When do you take the tree down? I believe the plan is some time in January.
  5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, both the supermarket and boozy kinds
  6. Favorite gift received as a child? Commodore 64
  7. Do you have a nativity scene? No.
  8. Hardest person to buy for? Mom
  9. Easiest person to buy for? Corinna, usually
  10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? I honestly can’t think of one, but even if I could, I probably wouldn’t call it out..
  11. Mail or email Christmas cards? None, we’re lame.
  12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Three-way tie: Christmas Story, Christmas Vacation, Die Hard
  13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Late November, usually. I’m often done weeks before Christmas.
  14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? I have both re-gifted a gift as well as recycled it in the environmental sense.
  15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Grandma’s Kolacs and Christmas Breakfast
  16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored
  17. Favorite Christmas song? Dominick the Christmas Donkey
  18. Travel for Christmas or stay at home? Travel a lot
  19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yes
  20. Angel on the tree top or a star? We don’t have either yet
  21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or Morning? My family traditionally opens on Christmas Morning, Corinna’s on Christmas Eve. But this year my family observed Christmas on Saturday Evening and we aren’t getting to Michigan until Christmas Night.
  22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? If I could teleport instead of travelling, that’d be awesome.
  23. What I love most about Christmas? Spending time with the whole family together
  24. Favorite animated holiday TV show? The Spirit of Christmas

Festivus and Kong

‘s graduation party on Friday was great, I finally got to meet several of her coworkers and friends from college, and the lot of us managed to plow through 8 bottles of Champagne as well as some beer… It would have been nice if we could have invited more people, but our apartment was pretty much packed to capacity as it was.. When we move, though, hopefully we will be able to have some bigger bashes… =) Saturday was the Goodrich holiday party, which was pretty lame… I wasn’t expecting it to be a blast or anything, but even the food was bad this year.. And once again there was a designated driver tax — they charged $2 for a tiny little coke. Lame.

Sunday I caught King Kong (2005) with the film club. It was better than I had expected, and while there was one glaring plot point (the “kid” on the ship) that was left hanging by the end of the film, it was pretty tight overall (which is surprising given the 3 hour runtime).. There were obviously points of the film that were slower than others, but they all seemed in place (except for the aforementioned subplot, which should have either been trimmed altogether or at least followed through).

I am getting antsy for the holidays, counting the days until I get to drive home and enjoy 11 days off!

Jesus *IS* Magic

I finally was able to catch Jesus is Magic last night with the Sunday Night Film Club. As expected, I really enjoyed it.. People have been slagging the musical bits, but I thought they were rather funny. Was a slow night for the club last night, but with the holiday that was expected.

Went home late on Wednesday for Turkey Day and we didn’t really hit any traffic. We were staying in a hotel Wednesday and Thursday night because so many people were home for the holiday that the house was full. My kid sister, , and her boyfriend were leaving town on Friday, so we moved back into the house then. Actually, though, when they left on Friday they were no longer boyfriend/girlfriend, which is crazy. They are now fiancΓ©e/fiancΓ©e, as Ben proposed to Aimee Thursday morning. I wish I had gotten to see it, but apparently he put on his dress uniform and put on the full-on dog and pony show. Now that I think of it, I didn’t actually see any pictures of the event, I guess I will have to pester my family for them.

I also got to hang out with my other sister, , who is getting all fancy going out to night clubs and stuff. Now I feel even more like the “lame big brother”. =) Mom and Dad are well, and we all gorged on turkey and pie all weekend. and my father had a deathmatch showdown in Battle Pumpkin Pie. Chuck has made some stellar pies for years now, but this was my dad’s first entry into the pie-o-sphere. I could not pick a winner, both pies were fantastic, my dad’s trending a bit more pumpkin-y and Chuck’s a bit more spice-y. Mom waThe turkey was as awesome as always, and this year my parents prepped an extra turkey breast so we had even more leftovers than ever, which ruled.

Friday night I dragged with me and Chuck to a townie bar in Hopatcong where a bunch of people from High School were meeting in lieu of a 10-Year Reunion. They had tried to organize one but interest was low.. But it was good to see a bunch of people who I hadn’t see in a decade, and it was good to see that, at least out of the people that showed, pretty much everyone seemed to be doing well. NJ hasn’t banned smoking in bars yet, so as soon as Corinna and I got back to the house we took showers and changed our clothes. I did a load of laundry that night as I only had the one pair of jeans and they reeked.

Holiday Weekend

Travelled back to NJ this weekend to spend the holiday with family and friends, and it was a surprisingly nice trip, including very little in the department of travel headaches. and I left her office in Cambridge around 2pm on Friday and landed in Hopatcong around 7pm.. We hit a bit of traffic, including the tail end of the friday rush hour on Route 80 in NJ, but other than that it wasn’t too bad. I did get busted for speeding in lousy CT (i hate that state), but one $244 fine later (and no points on my license) means it could be worse… It’s part of the gamble of speeding…. Anyway, we spent alot of time on the boat, swimming, and playing with the dogs… came up from the dirty south, which is good because I don’t get to see my littlest sister much anymore, and now that she’s moving into the dirtier south, that situation will probably only get worse. We also caught War of the Worlds sunday afternoon which was OK, even if it did remind me how dire the theatre situation is around my hometown.

We made it back into Boston in the early evening last night, and the trip was pretty painless… We made it in four hours, and didn’t really hit any traffic… We got back in town and didn’t do much of anything, as I was whiny and tired… Corinna worked on homework and went to the store to get dinner, and at 10:30p we went up on the roof to watch the Boston fireworks, which were great.