26
Dec 19

The day-after-Christmas party

My in-laws have this perpetual calendar by their kitchen door. It’s the sort of thing where you swap out the month tiles and move the numbers to get right under the days of the week. It’s the sort of thing that a lot of people have, but let it quickly fall out of sequence within a month or three. But, in all the years I’ve known them this calendar has always been up-to-date. Even when you come downstairs into the kitchen on the first day of the month, it is ready to go. I imagine that appeals to my mother-in-law’s sense of order. It’s a thing she can keep nice and tidy, and keep her organized for the days ahead.

It was a gift, many years ago, from a beloved family friend, and that probably plays into it, too. And they have custom tiles for important events, which is another added feature she surely looks forward to every month. And, look! This year I got my own tile!

The Yankee’s god-brother-in-law’s mother made that one for me. And, the joke this year, is that it only took 14 years for me to earn it. I suppose they think I’m going to stick. Time, as the cliche says, will tell.

Anyway, today we had New Jersey Christmas. Every year we drive down to spend a day with the family folks. The Yankee’s god parents are lifelong friends of my in-laws. It’s a cute story, really. Bob and Nancy met a year after she finished nursing school. Her best friend in school was Marge. And when Bob and Nancy got married, Marge met Clem at their wedding. Bob and Clem have been friends since before they were in school. They’re all lovely and wonderful and it’s really neat to see people who’ve been in each other’s lives for so many decades. They all raised their daughters together, and they vacation together, just this summer taking an amazing trip through Canada. And they let us all invade their house at Christmas time.

We opened presents:

And dinner, which was homemade lasagna (so, if you’re keeping track, that’s ravioli on Christmas Eve, shrimp cocktail and prime rib for Christmas and shrimp cocktail and lasagna at New Jersey Christmas) and we had homemade poppers to go with it. My mother-in-law made these:

They had little prizes and puns inside. Here was mine:

And before the night was over the girls, the ladies, recreated their traditional pyramid picture:

Isn’t that awesome? Aren’t they beautiful? They’ve been doing this all their lives, literally. There are teeny tiny kid pyramid pictures at the beach, and one from every time they get together as adults, including each of the weddings, and one from from the shore this summer. So, of course, they also do them every Christmas. Someday we’ll have to guess how many there actually are.

We’re trying to get all the kids trained to do a super pyramid. It didn’t quite work out today. Maybe next year.


25
Dec 19

Merry Christmas

From us, to all of you — Enjoy all the blessings of the season, the peace of family, the joy of friends, the warmth of home and the love of loves — Merry Christmas, happy Hanukkah, a joyous Kwanzaa and the best Festivus ever. ‬


24
Dec 19

Christmas Eve

How many of you got to wear short sleeves on Christmas Eve? How many of you got to run on the beach on Christmas Eve?

Some day for it, really. Some day for all of it.

The Yankee’s uncle came up to join us, as he always does. He brought the ravioli, which he always does. It is the traditional Christmas Eve meal here. (They know about good food for Christmas, my in-laws.) This is a new ravioli, because the old place closed.

It’s third generation pasta from Italy, according to the website. It could be fourth-generation. Maybe the site is out-of-date. Maybe the grandson’s kids are working the holidays. Who can say? We can only know what we know. What we know: that was good ravioli.

This was my placemat this evening, and it is apropos:

Hope you have a good visit from Santa, and that he goes back up the chimney — or out the keyhole — a lot lighter than when he came in.


23
Dec 19

And another travel day

When last we spoke, gentle reader, we were in Alabama. Or we were leaving Alabama. Or had just left Alabama and were back in Indiana or were on the way. Or something. It’s difficult to keep it all straight this time of year, really. Now we are in Connecticut, for example.

It went like this. Shorts and t-shirts on cool Alabama winter days. Then two days of sun and snow in Indiana. Don’t believe me?

Saturday in Indiana:

Sloppy Saturday:

Still so very Saturday:

This was Sunday on the church’s property:

Then a before-the-sunrise flight to New York, where New York things happened. My in-laws picked us up and we had lunch at a Connecticut diner, before going for a run on the beach. This is today on the Long Island Sound, in Connecticut, looking back toward New York:

It seems improbable, really. And an awful lot of people were out to take advantage of the moment. And we had another December run in shorts and a t-shirt, this time in front of the Christmas cottage:

And now, most of the shopping has been done, most of the errands have been run and we look forward to beginning the Christmas festivities once again:

The many fine Connecticut traditions start tomorrow at dinner.


20
Dec 19

Travel day

I took this picture at the end of my run yesterday. The run was remarkable in its unremarkable-ness, and in its slowness. But for this, it wouldn’t be worth talking about at all:

If you think that sky is a winter rarity rather than the miracle of normalcy, I would encourage you to find a new, and better, frame of reference.

I also forgot to share a picture of BB. So here’s the lovely and wonderful BB, who’s still getting treats from the mail lady, and chasing red dots down the hall and chewing on a sock monkey and generally a lovely time with all of it.

We had to hit the road again, and we managed to almost time dinner in Nashville, so we stopped for some barbecue. It’s the right and delicious thing to do.

And we made it back to the house. Late … but not too late. Tired … but not too tired. Cold … but not too cold it was plenty cold.