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Highlights from Christmas 2011

Started: 2011-12-31 22:18:00

Submitted: 2011-12-31 23:08:47

Visibility: World-readable

I'm too lazy to type up a proper narrative of everything I did around the winter holiday season, so here are the highlights, in a bullet list:

  • My sister Bethany talked my mother into coming out to Colorado for Christmas, so I didn't have to travel; all I had to do was clean the house and figure out where everyone was going to sleep.
  • This included cleaning the carpets on the main level of the house, which I've resolved to do at least quarterly.
  • My father and brother Willy drove out to Colorado, arriving on the afternoon of Tuesday, 20 December. My mother flew out on the same day.
  • We put Calvin in our room and let Willy sleep in Calvin's room. This mostly worked.
  • I went to work on Wednesday and managed to wrap up my end-of-the-year development project for a big customer you've heard of.
  • I took Thursday off as a vacation day, which proved convenient, since I woke up Thursday morning to eight inches of snow on the ground.
  • Willy built a reproduction of the Buddha of Bamiyan in the snow, and he and I dug a tunnel under a snowbank to connect two sections of roads sized for Calvin's dump truck, which he was pushing through the snow.
  • I drove Willy, my father, and Calvin to REI in Boulder, once the roads had cleared somewhat, in the afternoon on Thursday so Willy could look at backpacks. I showed off the current version of my favorite 3100-cubic-inch Kelty soft-frame daypack and managed to avoid buying anything. Calvin fell asleep on the drive into Boulder and didn't wake up until Willy and I finished at REI. (My father watched him in the car.) I carried him into the Bookworm, where he snacked and tried to wake up from his nap.
  • Willy noted I'm the only person he knows who reads academic monographs for fun. (He reads academic monographs for grad school.) I quizzed him on the appropriate level of academic snobbishness I ought to evoke with respect to works of popular history.
  • I drove to the airport on Thursday night to pick up Bethany and her husband Josh. I-25 and E-470 were fairly clear, but CO-119 was icy; I was a few miles from home on my return trip when I started drifting into the left lane but managed to regain control before I ran out of lane to drift into.
  • On Friday, I took Bethany and Josh to REI (my second trip in two days) for their annual pilgrimage. I managed to avoid actually buying anything, again.
  • Willy cooked an impressive Indian meal for supper on Friday.
  • I went running Saturday morning, while the rest of my family went to church, and ended up with ice coating my beard:

    Ice coating my beard

  • I drove into Boulder and took Bethany, Josh, Willy, Kiesa, and Calvin to my favorite tea shop in Boulder, Atlas Purveyors, and ordered three pots of tea to share: the newly-arrived coconut puchong (an oolong infused with coconut milk), a gen mai cha, and a Darjeeling. Calvin got a small glass of milk.
  • On Saturday afternoon, we drove up to Rocky Mountain National Park, looked out from Many Parks Curve (the winter closure gate on Trail Ridge Road, where I managed to bloody my knuckles scrambling up the rocks), and hiked a little ways up the Cub Lake Trail in the fading light before heading back home.
  • We ate cheese fondue for Christmas Eve. Willy ate humus.
  • On Christmas morning, we opened stockings before breakfast. Calvin got into Christmas this year; he had the motor skills to open presents and quickly figured out that the wrapped presents (which began appearing under the tree for weeks ahead of Christmas) contained exciting things for him.
  • For breakfast, I cooked potatoes o'brien with locally-grown garden rosemary. (The rosemary is not organic, and hadn't been loved, but rather treaded with a sort of benign neglect, and seems to do well indoors, even in the winter.)
  • My father dressed up as Santa (though without the beard and wig, which had fallen out of shape, and looked pretty funny) in the Santa suit my Logan grandparents sent me that had been used in family Christmas gatherings in my childhood. We're not especially enthusiastic about letting Calvin believe in Santa. Calvin wasn't quite sure what to make of Santa until we pointed out it was (his) Grandpa dressed up as Santa. (I believe there is only one Santa, but he has many avatars.)
  • Shortly before opening presents, Calvin was scrambling up the piano bench from under the piano and slipped and hit his head on the sharp edge of the box holding the base of the pedals under the piano. I was within arm's reach when he fell, and knew he'd need some level of comfort, and quickly realized he was bleeding. I applied pressure and called to Kiesa for assistance. We couldn't easily apply a proper adhesive bandage, since the wound was in his hair, so we held a paper towel to stop the bleeding. He ended up with a centimeter-long scab on the back of the top of his head.
  • Calvin got a lot of toys from everyone, including a car-carrying tractor trailer and four race cars from his Great Grandpa Logan, a hand-made wheeled elephant from Willy, and a balance bike from me. (One condition with my getting the balance bike was clearing out the other lesser wheeled vehicles from the inside of the garage that have been accumulating over the past two-and-a-half years.) I had him open the balance bike last, and we took him out for a lap around the block:

    Calvin rides his new Strider balance bike

    He seemed to get the hang of the bike quickly, though he wasn't especially interested in more than one lap.
  • Christmas dinner was large, and tasty.
  • We left on Boxing Day for Portland, for Christmas with the other half of the family.
  • Hosting Christmas for my family seemed to work at least as well as I could have expected.
if this were a type of made-in-a-can spaghetti sauce, it'd be called
"Classic Style Ken"
- Scott J. Galvin, 08 March 2000