November wrap-up

Much of November was uneventful—it mostly consisted of the usual routine for the first few weeks minus a kid’s birthday—but for the week of Thanksgiving we visited Burbank to spend the holiday with my brother and his family.

That trip started out slightly awry, as we tried to leave town on Friday the 18th, right after work, and only managed to travel all of 50 miles or so to Crescent before being stopped for several hours only to learn that the road (Highway 97) was closed entirely. See, that was the night of the big statewide winter storm that dumped snow and ice everywhere. So instead of getting to Redding that Friday night we ended up turning around and coming back home (after about 5 hours on the road) and left again the next morning. That was more successful; there was still snow on the roads but it was daylight and the road was open, and once we crossed over into California the roads were pretty much cleared up.

So we drove all the way through to Burbank (north of Los Angeles) in the one day. Which isn’t as bad as all the way to San Diego in one day (we’ve done that one too) but still makes for a long drive all in one sitting.

The rest of the holiday week was good; we drank a lot of good beer, toured the Warner Brothers Studios lot, checked out Burbank and the area a bit, and had a nice Thanksgiving.

Coming back was easy in some respects—as far as the drive went as we split it out over two days—and hard in others (whaddya mean I gotta go back to work?). We got back Sunday relatively early which left time for unpacking and cleaning and such but not a lot of decompression time before going right back into the routine.

Let’s see, what else went on in November… read a good book that I’d recommend, Ready Player One, which has its flaws but is a fun, clever, engaging read. It’s essentially a caper novel masquerading as a near-future/video game/pop-culture/MMO sci-fi adventure, set some 30 years in the future and mostly taking place in an online game/virtual world. And it heavily mines the pop culture of the 80s (and 70s to a lesser extent), particularly that of music, movies, and videogames, which makes it catnip to the contemporary Gen X geek who spent a lot of time playing with computers and videogames during the 80s.

Hmm… is it bad when that’s all I have for the highlights for the month? The rest has been filled with work, and the family stuff—a school concert and other school functions, birthday parties, the usual kind of things.

But! We’re going into the Christmas season, which is one of my favorite times of the year. That always livens things up!

20 pounds

I hope everyone had a pleasant Thanksgiving this year. Ours was, except for the fact that I was sick. Nothing serious, I just came home from work early Wednesday totally drained, achy, throaty—all the usual signs of the flu. Went to bed for awhile, got up for dinner (soup), went to bed early. Took much medicine. Slept poorly, but fortunately it “merely” turned into a troublesome cold. (This is the latest I’ve been up since Tuesday, and I won’t be up for much longer.)

We had a small group for Thanksgiving this year—just us and my mom. Despite that, we still had a 20 pound turkey to roast for some insane reason. That thing was a monster. It’s still a monster, sitting in the fridge waiting to be carved… but it was delicious.

Okay, enough for tonight. Gotta go cough some more before bed.

The Holiday Season, Round One

Thus the season of celebrating and eating lots of fattening food commences. The “big three” holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas/New Years (I always lump Christmas and New Years together, because it’s like a week-long holiday to me) are always more action-packed for my family, because of the way birthdays in my family fall around this time of year.

Start with Halloween. We always end up with lots of candy left over. Two days later, my daughter’s birthday. Big one-two punch there. She just had her third birthday two days ago, and it was lots of fun. I swear, my kids get more presents than anybody.

Short breather through the first half of November, then my Dad’s birthday falls on the third week, soon to be followed by Thanksgiving. Eat far too much, and enjoy pie afterwards.

Another short breather, though it’s not enough to fully recover from Thanksgiving. Then my Mom’s birthday the first week in December. You’d think that would be it. Wrong.

My birthday. Two days before Christmas.

Then Christmas Eve. Big family dinner.

Christmas Day. Eating rivalling (some years, surpassing) that of Thanksgiving. Again, my kids get more presents than I’ve ever seen. We then coast along on Christmas food and goodies until New Years Eve, which basically consists of a buffet-style meal of Christmas leftovers, alcohol, and noisemakers. We don’t usually stay up very late anymore, with young kids and all.

Finally, it’s all over. Everyone breathes a big sigh of relief, then hunkers down for the winter.

Don’t get me wrong. I love this time of year, I love the holidays and all the birthdays and the good food and family and giving gifts and warm fires and decorations and snow. It’s my favorite time of year.

And we’re already done with a third of it.