Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Highlights

Fri Joe & I both worked ½ days. He went to his sister’s after lunch to help her make home made ravioli and gnocchi for Christmas dinner. I did some last minute gift shopping, and then did my holiday baking for the neighbors. I made rum-flavored pound cakes drizzled with sweet rum glaze. I wrapped them in rose-colored plastic wrap and placed them in holiday tins and baskets, then delivered them along with holiday greeting cards to my neighbors. They all loved them, and several returned the favor by delivering baked goodies to us!

Sat after lunch at the Stray Cat Café we went to the grocery store to get the ingredients to make corn casserole (the Paula Dean recipe that’s made Joe a big hit), artichoke dip and sun-dried tomato dip. I put on some Christmas music and he made the food while I wrapped gifts. It was a nice day. That evening we went to his sister’s to meet up with the family to celebrate his mom’s birthday. Unfortunately, when we arrived we learned that his brother Paul and his family would not be able to join us because they had been in a serious car accident. A drunk driver crossed the center line. Paul swerved onto the shoulder to avoid a head-on collision, and the other driver slammed into the side of their ’06 Sienna minivan, ripping the sliding door and rear bumper completely off the vehicle. We considered it “The Christmas Miracle” that no one was seriously injured; just the typical small cuts from flying glass and bruises from the front and rear side curtain airbag deployment. Both vehicles were totaled. It was odd to not have them with us as we ate honey baked ham, turkey breast, biscuits, Joe’s two dips, green bean casserole, the corn casserole, and an assortment of pies, cookies, fudge, and brownies. To work off some of those holiday calories, we played a Play Station II game called Dance Revolution, where you listen to a song, watch the indicator on the TV screen, and step on the corresponding places on a wireless dance mat. It was really fun!

Sun morning Joe & I had a lovely Christmas breakfast of Belgian waffles with real Vermont maple syrup (from our Jan trip to Vermont) and sausage egg and cheese casserole. We ate in the dining room because the kitchen table was still being used as my gift wrapping station. After breakfast Joe watched some TV while I continued wrapping gifts. We both showered, loaded gifts into the Suburban, and at 3pm headed over my aunt’s to exchange gifts and take her with us to Joe’s sister’s for a family Christmas. My niece Lauren also joined us, for her very first Christmas. We had a delicious dinner of home made ravioli and gnocchi, meatballs, sweet and hot sausages, cheesy garlic bread, and a bounty of sweets. Dee-lish! Then we exchanged gifts, played Dance Revolution again, watched a Christmas movie, and visited with each other. It was a perfect, relaxing Christmas day.

Mon morning we made our traditional day-after-Christmas pilgrimage to Target to scarf up holiday wrapping paper, bows, and ornaments all marked 50% off. We had lunch at Chili’s, and then Joe watched TV while I wrapped the last of the gifts. Then we headed out to Centreville to our friends Greg & Gerry’s place. We exchanged gifts with them and went to dinner at Bonefish. I had delicious pork chops with sautéed mushrooms and fontina cheese. Joe had a tasty salmon dish. Then we had pie and coffee back and Greg & Gerry’s. We had a great time visiting with these dear friends.

Yesterday evening I drove to Woodbridge to meet up with my old friend Lisa, who was back in VA to visit her family for Christmas. I've known Lisa since elementary school. We remained friends all the way through high school. Eleven years later I organized a little reunion of friends at my place, and that was the last time I'd seen Lisa, in 1993. We recently reconnected via email, thanks to a mutual friend Brian. We had a fantastic visit last night! I brought some photos of some shows we both performed in when in high school, and the photos taken at the 1993 friends reunion. She told me about when her "life blew up" and she moved to New York City to start over 2 1/2 years ago. We talked non-stop for 6 1/2 hours - what fun!

It was a very nice holiday – not too hectic, not too tiring – just right. We seem to have found a comfortable way to really enjoy the holidays. I’m looking forward to another enjoyable evening tomorrow, when Kerry, Hugh, Kelly, and George come for dinner and gift exchanging.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I personally like the Lost Dog, but must try the Stray Cat.

Michael said...

Oh Mark. You are so Bree Van De Kamp from Desperate Housewives. I love it.