Seize the Season

personal, family comments edit

Yesterday was pretty busy so I wasn’t able to get around to posting anything about the holidays here. I’ve had several folks very anxious to hear the goings-on, so figured I’d best bust ass and get something up here before a lynch mob shows up at my door. Thankfully, I don’t think this will be quite as eventful as you might hope.

But maybe it will.

I left work at 4:00p Friday, December 20 for vacation. It was time off, but since I’m the only one around work who knows how to deal with web related issues, I was still on call the whole time for emergency situations. I run a pretty tight ship on that stuff, though, which means that I very rarely get calls. (That’s a good thing.)

By 5:00p that night I got a call. Wouldn’t you know it? It’s an “emergency” where someone needed access to a particular web site. It doesn’t matter that any one of the techs at work (still there, mind you) could have done it; I got the call. I had another one of these “emergency access request” calls earlier in the week, and when I finally got dialed in from home and did the operation, I called the guy back and he was like, “Oh, well, I’m out with my wife now, so I guess it wasn’t that important. Never mind.” So I don’t really think this was that much of an emergency, but since I’m getting paid to deal with it, I did.

I did not get any further calls during my vacation, and that rocked.

My sister, Tai, and her husband, Dan, packed up their things in Provo, Utah, and moved themselves back in with my parents here in Oregon the weekend of Dec. 21/22. They swore up and down when they left that they would never live in Oregon because he doesn’t want to be near his family and… well, actually, I don’t know that Tai was against living in Oregon. Either way, they were definitely not living in Oregon.

Guess who’s got egg on their face now, eh?

My other sister, Tori, flew in that weekend as well (I think?) and also stayed with my parents. They went from no kids to three kids in their house in a matter of days. I felt sort of sorry for them and their “houseguests,” but they asked for it.

I think that weekend, the 21/22, my dad, Tori, Jenn, and I all went to see Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. I may write up a review on it, I may not. My opinion of it was, well, not so high. I thought there were lots of problems with the first movie, most notable of which is that it was three hours long and not actually worth three hours of my time. It took too long getting anywhere, and the fights seemed more pomp and circumstance than anything I should actually be concerned over the characters for. I also can’t stand Tolkien’s writing - too much detail, too long, too epic, not enough story to keep me interested. The Two Towers followed suit. It’s sort of like Peter Jackson filmed one nine-hour movie, then arbitrarily cut it up into three pieces and moved on. There was no intro to The Two Towers - you start out and just flail around and hope you can remember what happened in the last movie. Then you finally figure it out and see that it really doesn’t matter anyway, because this movie is going to take off on some sidetrack for most of the time and not even really deal too much with how the ring progresses towards Mordor. Anyway, I felt a little cheated, as did Jenn.

Christmas Eve and Christmas were shaping up to be sort of controversy-laden, but I skated through them without too much issue. Last year it was very confusing - Christmas Eve night we went to Jenn’s grandma’s house, then we went to my parents’ house; Christmas morning we were at Jenn’s parents’ house, then we went back to my parents’ house. I think at some point Jenn ended up going to her other set of grandparents’ house, too, but I don’t really remember. This year it was beginning to look like that, then some family issues on Jenn’s side caused some serious confusion as to whether anyone was doing anything at all, and, if so, what time things were happening. It ended up where their entire family was planning everything around the fact that Jenn’s sister didn’t have custody of her daughter for Christmas day until like 8:00p or something, and Jenn’s mom asked for Christmas day off and not Christmas Eve, so no one could get anything together because no one’s schedules meshed. I’ll admit I don’t understand why you would plan an entire extended family’s holiday schedule around one four-year-old, but that’s just me. I did my best to avoid getting involved with the planning of that side of things, instead choosing to just do what I needed to do and hope for the best.

It ended up going like this: Christmas Eve Jenn and I went to my parents’ house. There we opened stockings and a couple of gifts. Christmas morning Jenn and I opened our gifts to each other, then went on an unplanned foray to Jenn’s parents’ house because Jenn and her sister “weren’t feeling like it was Christmas” without getting together over there. After that, we went to my parents’ house where we finished opening gifts. Later on, Jenn’s parents and sister came over, my dad’s parents came over, and we all ate. It got a little chaotic there at the end and Mom started tearing out her hair (she needs to not stress over that stuff, but then, I’m not one to say anything; I stress over stuff that might happen), but once people started leaving, things calmed down and everything was cool again. That night, Jenn and I went back to Jenn’s parents’ house so we could watch Aurora (Jenn’s sister’s four-year-old) open her presents. Let me tell you how stimulating that was. After that, we finally went home, exhausted from the holiday.

So what did I get? Well, I’ll list a few of the things, but honestly, I don’t remember every single thing off the top of my head, or exactly who gave me what. I gave my thank-yous in person and have since wiped it from my brain. Just let it be known that I appreciate each and every item donated to the cause (me).

Stuff I Got:

I’m pretty sure I got some other stuff, too, but I don’t recall off hand. If/when I do, I’ll tack it on to the list above.

One thing I didn’t put on the list: My new prize possessions. I got two shirts from Jenn’s grandma (step-grandma?) that require some mention here. Imagine a polo shirt made out of very, very thin cotton. Sort of like a cheap t-shirt. Three buttons at the collar, which is also made of this thin cotton (not the stuff a real polo shirt collar is made from). Elastic surrounds the waist and both arms. Each shirt is divided into thirds from left to right, like three giant vertical stripes. The third on the right contains smaller vertical stripes of teal, dark blue, and white. The middle third is entirely white. The left third on one shirt is teal, the other shirt is dark blue. The collar of each shirt matches the left third of its respective shirt.

I don’t know when I’m going to wear these. I don’t own any white loafers or polyester pants, and I’m not going on a senior citizens cruise any time soon, so I’m at a loss. I think I’ll bring them into work and put them on the “shirt wall” we have in the back for odd and annoying shirts we receive.

The rest of Christmas week played out very light. I played a bit of PS2, renting a game called Burnout 2. That game was a lot of fun, but it wasn’t worth $50. I like winning and all, but there was so little challenge that I was near to unstoppable at the game. I won way too easily. Then again, if I wasn’t winning and the challenge was there, I would have thought the game pretty repetetive. Either way, if it was a $20 game I’d have snapped it up, but at $50, it’s only worth the rent.

At some point between Christmas and New Year’s, Jenn and I went to see Two Weeks Notice. It was a pleasant romantic comedy and I must say I was much more pleased with it than I was with Maid In Manhattan. It was fun, and I felt good coming out of it.

New Year’s was sort of lame. On New Year’s Eve, Jenn and I went to the Winter Hawks game against Seattle and watched the Hawks lose 5-3. We were supposed to go with Jenn’s friend Apryl and her husband Tony, but we found out that after about a year of marriage, Apryl and Tony are splitting up. It’s unfortunate, especially because I really liked Tony and hanging out with him, but it sounds like it’s for the best. I forgot to ask Apryl if she wanted to move in with Jenn and I and be part of my harem, but I think maybe it’s too soon. :) Anyway, Apryl ended up coming to the game with her brother, and rather than coming back to our place with him to play games, they went to one of Apryl’s friend’s houses.

That night, Jenn and I went home after the game and played Trivial Pursuit 20th Anniversary Edition. I have never felt dumber. All the questions in the game were stuff that happened in the last 20 years and on a good majority of them, I had no clue. I cleaned up at all of the music and movie questions, but outside of that category it was hit or miss… mostly miss. That was the longest game of Trivial Pursuit ever. (Jenn ended up winning, but I wasn’t far behind.)

I don’t really remember what we did New Year’s Day. I think we went to the mall or something, but who’s to say?

Friday night, Jan. 3, Jenn and I went to see Catch Me If You Can. It was pretty good. I had a good time seeing how this kid kept duping everyone and making fake checks, knowing it was all based on actual happenings. Plus, Christopher Walken was in that as the kid’s dad, and I love Christopher Walken.

At the same time we saw that movie, we found that the theaters in our area jacked up the ticket prices. It used to be $5.50 to see a matinee and $7.50 to see a prime time show; now it’s $6 to see a matinee and $8 to see a prime time show. Sure, that’s not a lot in the scheme of things (especially considering that’s low compared to the national average, from what I can tell), but it’s a lot from my frame of reference. Not to sound like an old miser, but I can remember when you could get into the prime time picture for $6. I’m not so sure that upping the price of movies in a down economy is the smartest way to go, especially when, in times of depression, the first portion of a person’s budget to get cut is the entertainment part. I guess I will invest more heavily in Blockbuster or something. Maybe Netflix is the way to go. We’ll see.

Also Friday night, Jenn and I totally spaced that we had a Winter Hawks game to go to. For some reason, we thought the next game was on Sunday but there was also one that Friday. To avoid getting hassled, we told the folks there that we had to have dinner with my family because of Tori’s imminent return to school, but that was just to avoid the grief. So there you go - if you were one of the victims of the lie, I trust you to keep the truth under wraps. You know who you are.

I finished off my vacation Sunday night (Jan. 5th) by going to a Winter Hawks game (where we lost 3-2 to Kelowna) and then coming home for a well-needed new episode of Alias. I was not so pleased with the hockey game, but the Alias episode rocked. I love the Marshal character and I hope he continues to be a prominent figure.

Thus I returned to work on Monday, January 6. Upon returning, I began to wonder if things actually run when I’m not in the office, as I parsed through quite a bit of email, most of it requiring action on my part. I’m almost caught up now, though I’m still trying to remember what I was up to with certain projects two weeks ago and doing my best to come back up to speed.

Last night Jenn brought home one of those Pilates inflatable ball workout DVDs and the ball and started in with that. I tried it out, too (hey, I gotta get off my fat ass and do something before I atrophy away into nothing), but I think the ball is about six inches in diameter too small. I’ll try it again, and if it’s something I could do on a regular basis, maybe I’ll get a larger ball.

Other happenings…

My cat, Xev (who is eight months old and still only about six pounds, and who I have taken to calling “Tiny Tiny” because of that), has started standing up and looking around like a prairie dog. If anything gets her attention, she’ll sit up very tall, sometimes even on just the toes of her back feet, and look around for it. I’m going to see if I can train her to walk around upright like a little person. I think that’d be funny.

I’ve started working out of the tassel-making books I got for Christmas and have discovered that making a tassel is harder than you might think. I’ve only made a couple, but I’m already coming to understand that the thicker the string you work with for the skirt of the tassel, the easier it is. I’ve tried a few with a thin rayon thread, but they usually are pretty hard to get to work and I think they turn out sort of poorly. I’ve done one with some hand-weaving wool (sort of like thin yarn) and it turned out really nice, so maybe I’ll go that route for a while.

I’m also starting to really get into watching the director’s commentaries on the various DVDs I’ve got. I just watched the one for The Goonies the other night and it was really interesting to hear some of the stories the actors and the director have from the making of that movie. They also did something different with that commentary than they normally do - they actually showed the actors and the director while the commentary was going on. I kind of liked that; the movie played in the bottom corner of the screen, and you could watch the reactions of the commentators as the show was going on. (Also, I still think Kerri Green is totally hot, and you got some good footage of her in there.)