A southwestern Christmas – Vacation in Arizona
Sunday, 22-Dec-13 through Saturday, 28-Dec-13
- Moving and relaxing… nice and slow morning, with Bacon and Eggs and English Muffins for breakfast. Damn. I need to buy English Muffins for home… that and lots of butter.
- Relax for a bit, and help prep everything for the Christmas Eve party happening later on
- Help Dad with some random little bits of yard work – not much, but just enough to get the blood moving and such. It’s good, and I’m actually quite impressed at just how many leaves can fall in Arizona. I mean… cactus, right? Wrong. Fig Trees. And they drop a TON of leaves. But still nothing compared to Medway back in High school.
- Catch some sun while reading and relaxing… I think I’m going to get a sunburn at this rate. That, and dehydration. But you know what? I so don’t care.
- Rehydrate with water and coffee, and have some lunch. Light, but delicious. More fancy sandwiches. Seriously, we put so many different things on those that I think we needed a special license or something.
- Relax in the sun a bit more, then we all get changed (glad I brought that nice button up shirt) and head over to church for Christmas eve services. They’re not bad, and we have a good bit of music, even one guy who’s (from what I hear) a rather famous country singer. I’m not 100% convinced on the sermon, to be honest though. I think I’ve been spoiled by Rabbi Jaffe – he has amazing and provoking sermons, whereas this was basically just what I’d expect from a Christmas service. Not a bad thing, but… still. (Note to Ed: I need to do a post on Rabbi Jaffe’s sermons)
- Meet everyone, and meet two of the newer folks in this group: a man named Greg, and his wife Cindy. They’re retired, from Oregon, so we chat a ton about travel and adventure and such. I hear a lot about Oregon and specifically the Columbia River Gorge… I think we need to go out. That, and Smith Rock and Mt. Hood.
- As we leave, a quick snippet of my conversation with one of the guys, “Hello! Good to meet you! You’re Fred’s son, huh? So tell me, how long have you known Jesus?” … “Well… never, honestly. I’m a Jew.” <talking> “Well thank you, I appreciate your honesty” etc… Not bad, to be truthful. I’ve never been straight-up called upon to validate or affirm my faith as a Jew. And now I have been. And… and so I always will, I think. Yes. If only everything was that simple, right?
- Home again home again, jiggity jig… To the ham that Denise has been cooking all day. And damn that is amazing ham! We slice it up and set about putting huge trays of basically everything out for the folks coming over. Snacks, cheese, crackers, drinks, etc…
- More relaxing, then people show up for the evening of hanging out!
- More talking about Oregon, etc… and a bit of Engineering and talking shop; don’t really get to talk with any of the others. Were a few kids nearish my age (one 16ish guy, one ??? nearmyageish girl) but didn’t really get into any conversations with them, for one reason or another.
- More chatting with everyone and eating of delicious food. People brought lots of stuff of their own to add to the pile, and we have LOTS of excellent things. And I like this style of eating… instead of having a huge sit-down meal, we have a long and slow progression of different snacks. It’s good, and I am not arguing at all.
- People mosey along, and all head out over a bit of time. After they’re all gone there’s honestly not much to clean up, so we do a quick clean up, sit back, and watch a few old B&W Christmas movies
- Bed around 11:30
Wednesday, 25-Dec-13 – Christmas
- Up slow and easy, as per the usual
- Following tradition, I spend the morning reading a bit in the sun, as is traditional.
- As is tradition, relaxed breakfast. I can get used to this habit of waking up with enough time to eat, especially if it involves english muffins and such. But this time, no lunch afterward… because Christmas!
- Denise’s brother Ronny and his wife Robin come over, and we hang out and chat. Good times are had by all, telling lots of stories and hearing about their elk hunt earlier in the year. Ronnie’s an amazing hunter, and we get to pull up a whole slew of cool pictures from the weekend.
- On top of being an excellent hunter, Ronnie’s working for a Concrete company, a lot like what my buddy Chirag used to do. We chat a while, and I learn a bit of pretty neat info about how the systems work and how they control component concentrations, along with the systems and how components are added. It’s cool, and I love the chance to learn a bit more about systems.
- I do duck out for a bit of time so that I can call everyone back East. The family is all getting together for a not-christmas dinner, since my cousin is in town, so I take the chance to have them play “pass the phone” so that I can catch up and say hi.
- Christmas Dinner Time! Turkey, gravy, basically all the trimmings from Thanksgiving, except with Christmas decorations hung around. It’s solid, and we stuff ourselves rather impressively.
- During / after the meal there’s lots of chatting and having fun, but then we pull out… DOMINOS! I finally learn the official way to play dominos, and we go through a good number of hands and full games. Poor Ronnie is always getting cut off, and I’m constantly being evil and cutting other people off myself… but it’s all part of the game, and everyone has fun. I even win a round, and come in fifth out of six overall on the first game, and third in the second game.
- After Dominos we just relax and talk about nothing… though the topic weaves around to travels, and after a bit we get into talking about my trip to New Zealand – so I pull out the netbook and show off my Slideshow from my travels. Woo appreciative audience!
- Ronnie and Robin head out, and we set down to chill
- Movies and napping and chill… as is traditional.