Christmas Part 1 – 2 - 3

Wow, am I behind on this old section of the internets.  Well, time to play some quick catch-up I presume.

So, this year, we had 3 Christmases.

  1. Christmas Eve at my sister's house
  2. "Our Family Christmas" with just the 3 of us on the 28th
  3. New Year's Eve at my sister-in-law's new house in the Seattle area.

Christmas #1

My family does "Christmas" on Christmas Eve.  Always have.  That's when the big group party is.  Then Christmas Day is a much lower key thing.  We drove down there on the morning of Christmas Eve and had a good visit with my mom & dad.  We then went over to my sister's house (about 10 miles away) for the party.

We ate, talked, Cora met my brother's wife & son who she had never met before, and exchanged some gifts.  We did the "draw one person's name" thing this year, and it went well.  There was a $25 limit, and I think everybody was happy with it, for the most part.

Then it was game time!

My sister split us into teams of two, and we plaid a number of "Minute to Win It" type games.  They are harder than they look on TV, and we had to ditch some, and alter others, but you can't help but laugh at someone trying to use their facial muscles to move an Oreo from their forehead into their mouth.

Christmas day was low key, but that evening, we went to a local park that puts up a decent Christmas light display for a town on 20,000.

Windmont-05 The park features a cute little iron and wood bridge over the central pond.  I've fished for bluegills off that bridge in my youth.
Another view of the bridge, reflected in the pond.
And here is my lovely wife on said bridge.
OMG!  It's the Claus Ness Monster!
And then I started playing with the exposure setting on my camera, taking some long exposure photos of a string of lights…
And a tree full of red lights to make it look on fire…
Some reindeer moving at warp speed!
And speaking of warps, I love this little time warp effect running down the tunnel.

Christmas #2

Was a quiet little affair.  In the morning, we opened our stockings.  Then, after a break where I went to work all day (*sigh*), we opened our presents.  I was too busy living in the moment to take any pictures, and am too lazy to steal any of my wife's pictures.  So if you want to read her account, go HERE.

Christmas #3

We flew out to the Pacific Northwest on the 30th.  I took a day off so that we could catch an earlier flight, and that worked out extremely well, as we got out there in time to actually visit with the family when the plane landed, and not just going to sleep.

On New Year's Eve, we went to the house that my SIL's family & my MIL will all be buying together and moving into shortly for a super-combo celebration of Christmas/New Year's/Birthdays.

A good time was had by all.  Because there was cake.


We also visited Callista, her husband, and their dog, Moose, who as you can see, is the "Tennis Ball Terror Terrier of Tulalip".  But otherwise, a cool dog.


Later in the visit, we all went to downtown Seattle to Pike Place Market, where we saw some ├╝ber creepy ventriloquist dummies.  The guy in the store was twisting and moving their heads so they looked like they were tracking you!  (For those of you with clown phobias, try getting Bozo there out of your noggin tonight as you go to sleep.)
And then right up the street, there was another place that puts dolls on display.  They actually had some pretty good signs, I must admit.

But, before we knew it, it was time to head back home.  And I think we got out of there just in time!  The storms came in, the trees came down, and the power went out.  It looks like things are slowly returning to "normal", but the new house that they are buying has been without power for over a week.

I think someone better get a visit for the Auxiliary Generator Faerie before next winter!


Mine! Mine! Mine!

In the winter, there's a strange tradition in Chicago that takes over after a decent snowfall. It's called "Dibs".

It's basically the idea that if you shovel out your parking spot after a snowfall, you should get the spot when you come back home. Sounds fair, right?

And then it goes to the extreme.

I get it for a quick run to the store the day after a decent snow. 3 days after a 6" snow? Put your junky old kitchen chairs and milk crates back in your garage. You're embarrassing yourselves, here.


But, I guess if you leave your wife sitting out in the chair, and she's got THAT look on her face waiting for you to get back, well, go for it, big guy.

Do any any other cities have this type of thing? I'm lucky that I've got a garage spot in my condo (if "lucky" means having a separately deeded parking space with its own mortgage) so that I don't really have to deal with it.


Virtual Sunday Part 2 Cinema

Okay, I know today is really only "Virtual Sunday Part 2" for those of us with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday off, but since I don't get another holiday until Memorial Day*, I'm going to enjoy it.

Before we head out to see "Beauty and the Beast 3D" in a few minutes, I thought I would share this little number with you:

I was pretty surprised they didn't have a "MySpace" joke or "I didn't see you last night on AIM" or something like that, though.  And why isn't there a shot of him at a football game, wearing a Snuggie, exclaiming how great they are?

Do I have to start making my own videos now?

* For those of you in the South, that would be the day honoring the Union dead in the War of Northern Aggression.  My old roommate used to work for a national company based in Atlanta, and they did not get that day off as a paid holiday.


Would You Eat…

Sushi from Walgreens?

That's what I said, "Sushi from Walgreens". Seriously? Sushi. Walgreens.


Or drink a smoothie?

Get a makeovers or manicure?

Yesterday, Walgreens opened up a "Flagship Store" in Chicago.

I'll let that sink in for a second.

A fancy, up scale Walgreens flagship store.

Here's a LINK to the story in case you're interested.

The funny thing is, when I saw the signs announcing that a Walgreens was going into that location, I laughed. When I got my first job in Chicago, I worked about a block and a half down State St. from where this store is going in. (Today, I work a good 2.5 blocks away.) And the place was a Walgreens back then.

And it was a hellhole. An absolute hellhole .

It was there for about 80 years, then they knocked it down in 2005 and put up a fancy building with a Loehmann's store. But that closed, and now Walgreens is moving back in.

On the map above, I have marked the location with a "W", and you can see by the other pushpins and red dots on the map, they desperately needed a Walgreens in that location. Someone might have to walk 2 whole blocks to get to one.

That's not drugstores. That's Walgreens. There are also a handful of CVS's in the Loop, too.

And thankfully none of the others offer sushi (that I'm aware of).

And if they do, I'm still not eating it.