Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Christmas fun

OMG you guys it's Christmas!!!

Well, it was Christmas. Several weeks ago. Ahem.

Before Christmas, it was a complete lunar eclipse!

I am rather proud of this picture I took with my little digital camera of an object 200,000 miles away. Although naturally the camera ran out of battery just before the total eclipse actually happened. But I couldn't get too worked up over that since at least I could see the eclipse, unlike a lot of you. We had a beautiful clear night and hot chocolate with marshmallows in it. Leland did whine quite a bit about getting up in the middle of the night, but I bullied him until he was semi-awake.

A full lunar eclipse of the full moon on the winter solstice? Now that is something worth getting up to see.

Later in the week, Leland's parents Mark and Phyllis showed up and they brought Christmas with them. Literally, they pulled bags of presents and food and booze from their car. It was like the Cratchits being visited by Scrooge. You know, at the end of the story when he brings them the goose.

Merry Christmas to us!

This is what they brought for a 6 day visit, mind you. And I think we had already opened one of the bottles by the time the picture was taken.

Phyllis sprang into action to fix us the traditional Italian Christmas Eve Feast of the Seven Fishes. In our case, squid, shrimp, smelts, clams, squid again, and shrimp again. Oh my goodness was it good. I forgot to take pictures of it all, it was so good.

Leland, weeping because he is physically incapable of eating more fish.

But Phyllis was not done yet, because she pulled out all the stops for Christmas Day.

Oh. Yes. Prime rib. Now, Leland and I don't eat a lot of meat normally. We try to get the meat we do eat from a local farm where the animals get to do things like, you know, walk around outside and eat grass. So when we do eat meat, it is a special thing. The holidays were several glorious days of meat consumption.

Phyllis finally gets to sit down and eat some of her wonderful food.

I wasn't a complete lazybones failure as a hostess. I set the table. Isn't it pretty?

Five minutes after I took this picture I spilled my red wine on my. Grandmother's. White. Linen. Tablecloth. The very first time ever that I had used it. But thanks to some more of Phyllis' instruction, the stain came out!

So I was a total failure as a hostess but at least the house was spotlessly clean when they arrived, for about five seconds before all of the animals caused little fur explosions and then we returned to our normal state of fur dust bunnies in every corner.

On December 26th we had big plans. We were going to check out the fancy Whole Foods knock-off in town, go to the coffee shop that Leland works at, take in a movie, and finish out the day with dinner at a nice restaurant that we haven't tried yet. But we woke up to this.

Snowpocalypse! 6 whole inches!

Some of you reading this live in areas where it snowed more like 20 inches. Well, six inches for Greenville is sort of like 20 inches for Minneapolis. Everyone commenced to freak out. Without any problems we drove through the unplowed roads to the grocery store, only to be informed that they were closing in 15 minutes "for the safety of the employees". At this point there was only about 3 inches and it was still snowing. We went to the coffee shop. Closed. We went to the movie theater. Closed. Flabbergasted, we headed home.

We did end up going out later to see "True Grit" when the theater finally opened at 2 in the afternoon (very good, by the way, and it was nice to see a little girl get to have the adventure for once). On the way home, our thoughts turned to dinner. Leland called every half-decent restaurant we could think of, and then moved desperately down the list to less and less decent restaurants. Everything was either closed or closing within the next hour. The pizza place was closed. The grocery stores were closed.

Luckily we had enough leftovers to choke a pig. And we spent the rest of the day doing things like this.

See Fletcher the cat cleverly camouflaged there? Fletcher lived with Mark and Phyllis for a year so he was excited to see them again and their relationship, as you can see, picked up right where it left off.

The snow-related comedy continued the next day. Things were open, including Super Mercado El Rancho (the best Mexican place I've ever eaten in, aka the most wonderful place in the world, more on that in a future post) where we ate lunch. The temperature warmed up and the roads were cleared with no snow on them at all. Yet the University was closed to all but "essential" staff. This is a University that will close pre-emptively the day before snow is forecast, after all.

My favorite thing that happened was a road closure just beyond our house. As far as we can make out, the road for about a block was closed because of a slight hill. We're talking about a 20 foot rise over 200 feet. Maybe a 5% grade? Too dangerous to drive on in the snow! The road was closed for three days.

Somehow we all survived. We bid a sad goodbye to Mark and Phyllis a few days later. But we did enjoy their Christmas gift on New Year's Day.

We have a shiny new grill! Isn't it cute? Note how all the snow is gone, just over a week after Snowpocalypse.

And after these delicious ribs it's back to meat once a week for us. We have to enjoy it while we can.

We're in the post-Christmas blahs now, and it's made even more blah by the fact that we have to give Mama and the kittens back to the Humane Society tomorrow. :( We had lots of fun with them, and it was neat to watch them grow. And now some lucky people get to adopt them and love them for life!

I asked Leland if we could get some more kittens. He said, "we'll see". I kind of want to do a post on the devastation the kittens caused our spare bedroom. How such little kittens can make so much noise I will never understand.

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