Last Week: Christmas Time!

Monday, Dec. 24th: Spent Christmas Eve with Alida’s parents. Had a great dinner, shot some pool, and watched lots of Christmas movies. Saw the 1938 version of “A Christmas Carol” for the first time, and really enjoyed how little time it took for Scrooge to repent. He was barely with the Ghost of Christmas Past for two minutes and was ready to go sledding with the kids. Good stuff.

We also watched “A Christmas Story,” which is mandatory for us every year. I really want a transcript of the gibberish the dad uses for profanity. I’m pretty sure at some point he says, “mundane noodle.”

Tuesday, Dec. 25th: Christmas! It’s my favorite time of the year, and we have it down to a science. Alida’s parents stay the night before so we can exchange gifts and have breakfast in the morning. After that, we head up to Chicago for my parents’ party.

Years ago the Sullivan family Christmas party was a destination for most of the neighborhood. My mom makes a huge roast and a ham, and the place is packed with musicians and instruments. This year things were a little quiet, since most people had work the next day, but that didn’t stop beer pong from happening late into the night.

We also played a pretty hilarious game that I hope we make a tradition. It looks like there are lots of versions of it, normally called something like “Unwrap the Gift.” It’s simple: Get everybody around a table. Pass two dice around until somebody rolls a 7. They put on big gloves and a scarf and try to dig through a wrapped gift. While they work, the rest of the group tries to roll a 7 to steal the turn. As you go along, you discover that more wrapped boxes are nested inside each other until you finally get to a final, tiny box filled with money. First person to get to open the last box gets the prize. At first it seems like it’s not going to last very long, but this game can go on for a while.

I love partying with my family and friends, but my favorite part is the few hours I get with my parents and brother before the party starts. I like that we still have some time to exchange gifts and relax for a while before the big group shows up.

As always, Santa still makes a stop for Alida and I at my parents’ place. And as always, he always seems to know what I’m up to. Two of the coolest presents that barely fit under the tree this year were a director’s chair and a stunt dummy, shown here unpacked and settled in next to my Christmas tree. I can’t wait to make good use of them both!

Later on in the evening we had some excitement when there was a police chase and a shootout about a half block from my parents’ place. Dozens of squads were lined up down the block, and tons of police were making their way down to the scene. Nobody was hit, as far as I know.

As the cops made their way down the block, we all came outside to say “Merry Christmas.” One or more of us may have offered up a beer. We felt bad that they had to be working late on Christmas, especially because we were hoping to see an officer at the party later on. Luckily he worked in a different area, so one of my best friends, Jim, was able to come by after his shift.

 Wednesday, Dec. 26th: Had lunch at Cheesie’s and ate this:

The Frenchie: American cheese, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese sauce, classic thick cut french fries, bacon and chives on sour dough bread. Served with a side of sour cream. It tasted like a loaded baked potato, and it was amazing.

Thursday, Dec. 27th: Things were getting a little too easy, running amok with delicious sandwiches and fun presents. Nature has a way of making sure we don’t get too lazy, and I suspect this one came in the form of a dead animal somewhere in the ductwork. I’m still working on it, but last week (which was my vacation) I got to play “What’s that smell?” around the house. Lots of fun.

Friday, December 28th: Spent the day charging batteries and clearing cards for a wedding, hunting for animal corpses, and watching lots of Supernatural with Alida. We get obsessive with shows, normally watching them in marathons after they’ve been around for several seasons. Before Supernatural it was Lost, House, The Office, 30 Rock, How I Met Your Mother, Cheers and Frasier (for a while), Walking Dead, and Breaking Bad. We’re almost caught up on this one, so we’ll be looking for a new one soon.

Saturday, December 29th: The last wedding of 2012! I had a great time closing out wedding season with a fun couple in Springfield. Here are a few observations I made throughout the day:

  • LED Christmas lights suck. There were two trees up on the alter during the ceremony, but they give off an obnoxious flicker.
  • Babies are loud. They’re even louder when amplified by an old marble structure.
  • Ancient furnaces are even louder than babies. It sounded like a construction crew was trying to escape from inside the walls.
  • If I’m going to reach up to adjust the camera, it will be during a quiet part of the mass, and I will smack my hand on a metal music stand like an idiot.
  • Bruschetta, while delicious, will instantly give you bad breath. Always carry gum or mouth spray.

Sunday, December 30th: Transferred all of the wedding footage over to my computer and  watched lots of Batman. Because Alida, the coolest wife ever, got me this for Christmas:

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