Hello Christmas 2006 recap! Man, I was gone for a good, what, two weeks? And just look at all the action packed excitement you missed! Let's start this off with Christmas Eve (we'll just fast-forward through those three days worth of last minute trips to the mall).
Now, if you remember from last year, Christmas Eve's main event is the Yankee Swap. 20 people + 20 gifts + everyone draws a number. Lowest number picks first, and after you pick (and open) your gift, you have the option of swapping for someone else's (already opened) gift. That person's gift (the one that just got taken) is then allowed to make *another* swap from all the opened gifts (though they can't take back what was just taken from them). Got it? Oh, and since whoever draws the #1 spot doesn't have anyone to swap with, that person gets their choice of *all* the opened gifts at the very end. So, #1 = the best number to draw. #2 = the worst number to get.
Now, let's hand out some numbers!
Poor Gam got stuck with #2(, sucker!)...
... though she chose wisely and got blessed with this this year's Must Have Yankee Swap gift, the garden gnome.
Meanwhile, Rob with #11 traded away whatever crap gift he got (scented candle?), quickly trading up for the gnome. I think the gnome traded hands two or three more times before Rob skillfully ended up with it after the final trade.
Anne drew the Golden Ticket which awarded her my gift - a mini reindeer made from recycled Christmas tree pieces (and yes!, purchased from the same dude that sold Mike + I the reindeer we dragged to Clay's holiday party).
Meanwhile.... Michelle, a dartboard? Other amazing gifts included scratch tickets, bottles of whiskey, some African vase, scented candles, Dunkin Donuts cards and a toy Coast Guard helicopter. What else? (Sorry, no half-eaten hamburgers this year)
Late night (and post Yankee Swap) one of our departing guests found this Yukon Cornelious doll on their car. A crpytic note from the anonymous gift giver was attached. Me + Dig tried comparing the handwriting to the 100 or so Christmas cards my parents had hanging on the walls, but we couldn't find a match. (It's like CSI: Suburbia up in here!)
And then a few hours later, I got an email from Yukon! I tried dorking out with the email headers, but no luck. The gift-giver remained a mystery for another 24 hours until she revealed herself to me over some good'ol townie-bar karaoke.
Okay, Christmas morning. For the non-VIPs who haven't done Christmas with the Crowley's, it goes down like this:
Round 1: Stockings (from Santa)
Round 2: Presents from Santa
Round 3: Family presents
Round 4: Go to Auntie Jeans and eat melted fruit cocktail.
Annnnndddd Round 1 - check out all this loot I got! Some toothpaste, a bar of soap, some razors, a monkey with rubberband arms that you can shoot like 50 feet in the air, cough drops, quarters, a thing to pound chicken breast with... see kids, this is what happens when you turn mf'ing 30 years old. (Where are the Cobra Hydrafoils? The GI Joe Aircraft Carriers?)
Er, I kind of skipped pics of Round 2, but check out the pile I started Round 3 with! Thanks family!
ps: HELP thing in the corner = jumper cables!
I gave Jonathan this nifty Black Enterprise Guide to Starting Your Own Business - which is perfect for JJ since his new startup, black20.com, is targeted at the urban youth demographic.
Dad scored a brand new Syracuse hat. (keep the tags on!)
And I got my Guitar Hero 2 on (thanks, Santa). [Flickr]
My mom wants to clean a lot of old shit from the house, so I made her this Dumpster of the Month calendar to keep her motivated.
And Dig will be counting the steps + calories all day long with this brand new walking pedometer! (try to say it in your best Rod Roddy voice)
Christmas 2006 = Jackie's first Christmas with us! Me + Shoops pitched in and got her this knitted apron thing.
I also picked up a big'ol wheelbarrow for Dig. No idea what he'll do with it (or where he'll put it - esp since the garage is so packed with shit that he can't even pull his car in anymore)
Oh, and Katie got a new MacBook (what!)
And Dad gave Mom a trip to Tuscany (sightseeing + cooking classes) which came in the form of this make-yer-own puzzle kit. The thing that looks like a cookie is supposed to be spaghetti + meatballs... which in turn is supposed to mean "Italy". Huh.
Btw, my top 3 gifts:
+ pasta bowls
+ new snowboard gloves
+ guitar hero
Okay, so after three rounds of gifts we packed up and headed over to Auntie Jean's in Stoughton, MA. We went from six to four as Jackie + Jonathan
escaped headed to upstate NY to visit Jackie's parents.
Anyway, what's interesting here is that no matter how much, er, turnover there is in our family, I will never never ever ever ever escape the kids table. At least Mom joined us this time.
Christmas tradition #1 = melty sherbet + fruitcup appetizer. You know, for some 30 years on this planet I've been enjoying this sherbet / fruit cup concoction under the guise that the sherbert, you know, just naturally melted. Only *this year* did I learn that sometimes the melting process is faciliated by the use of a microwave. YOU LIED TO ME!!!
Holiday tradition #2 = Uncle Junior rolling in with some clams casino. The one on the left is mixed with vegetables (yawn), the one on the right is filled with bleu cheese (amazing!).
The Big News for Holiday 06 was that Paul and Erin are going to have a wee baby sometime
next this year (!!!). They surprised parents on both sides by wrapping this note up and saving it up for the Big Present at the end.
We toasted champagne from the finest regions of
Champagne Stoughton Liquors.
Present openin' time! Me + Katie (+ the absent Jonathan) presented Gam and Anne with, what else!, framed photos of their favorite grandkids!
We actually had these made up for Mom + Dad's anniversay (just after Thanksgiving)...
... by Mr. Bennett, our hometown photographer (and PW's dad!). Check out how me + JJ are *holding hands*! These came out so perfect.
Me + J hooked up Uncle Neil with a *luxury walking stick* (fresh from eBay!) to replace the standard issue cane he's been using. Now Uncle Neil can roll in style! Check out that decorative shamrock!
And my sweet sweet grandmother hooked me + Katie up with these customzed books - ha!
Annnndddd so that wraps up Christmas - off to Vermont! As you may have heard, there's not much snow really anywhere these days (it's mf'ing 62 degrees in NYC right now) so there was no real race to get to the mountains. I headed up on Tuesday night.
Not cold enough to snow, but cold + windy enough to be freezing while riding the lift. Mt. Snow was boasting about some 25 trails but when you count for all the Upper vs. Lower vs. traversee vs. bunny hill nonsense, it really comes down to about 6 runs were open.
Still, the mountain was *packed*. I mean, you still have the same holiday crowds but there's there's only six trails for all these people to ski on! So, the little snow that's on the mountain gets skiied off real quick leaving an icy death trail behind.
The lodge was equally packed (I wish I had a pic to demonstrate). Good thing we always have the Secret Lunch Room as a backup.
Matt + Will picked up new skis at the end of last season for around $200 (read: super cheap). Unfourtinately by his 4th day the topsheet was already beginning to peel away. That sucks.
I didn't even bother to mount my brand new snowboard (02 Burton Michi 161) - I'm saving it for a snowy day.
First injury of the season = Matt split his lip on a mogul gone bad. Spit up some blood for the kiddies to see!
Second injury of the season = Matt's busted toe. I heard something about jamming his toe into his boot (?), but whatever it was made his foot go all blue.
He swore that the best way to alleviate the throbbing pain was to "drain the blood" - to which we were all, "Um I don't think that's the best idea. Can't you wait a few days and if it still hurts see a doctor?"
Of course, Dr. Matt took matters into his own hands...
... turning up directions on how to self-operate.
Subungual Hematoma Overview
A subungual hematoma is a collection of blood in the space between the nailbed and fingernail. Subungual hematoma results from a direct injury to the fingernail. The pressure generated by this collection of blood under the nail causes intense pain
Step 1. Find something sharp and heat it up. (Round 1 = paperclip = didn't work. Round 2 = the little skewers we used to make toasted marshmallows = perfect!)
Step 2. Find something to dull the pain. Whiskey = good. Uncle Junior's delicious clam chowder = better.
Step 3. Take the red hot sharp thing and dig it into your toe. [video]
Huh! The operation was a success! (Matt said blood squirted out of the hole in his toenail, not unlike popping a zit)
We celebrated by slaying G'nR tracks in Guitar Hero 2. (a good 10 days later and my left middle finger is still throbbing).
We mixed a little Hold Em up in there. I
lost came in second twice. Millberger won the big pot.
Fed up with the shit conditions at Mt. Snow, we made the 1.5 hr trek to Killington on Saturday. Much more natural snow, much more aggressive snowmaking. Plus, it prob snowed about 3-4" while we were riding.
Katie looking all discheveled.
We called it quits right around 4pm. We found this abandoned (yet still cold!) *tallboy* in the lodge apres ski. Best day ever!
We hit the grocery store on the way home, stocking up on the ingredients necessary for Jackie to make her signature Shells Stuffed with Tacos.
Delicious. I ate about 6 too many. Burp.
New Years Eve was pretty low key. We hit Mount Snow during the day and hit up the Sketchy Sketch-Sketch Chinese food place down the street for dinner. We ordered a little bit of everything and a solid round of scorpion bowls. Poor Jonathan got stuck in the seat overlooking the TV tuned to The Opearting Room channel.
Scorpion Bowl #1: Matt #1, Christian, Matt #2.
Scorpion Bowl #2: Katie, JJ, Jackie.
Scorpion Bowl #3: Me, Milberger.
The flaming 151 from the scorpion bowls gave me the bestest idea for a makeshift New Years Resolution - bring back old school 600 Euclid (read: college) drinks - e.g. Flaming Dr. Pepper, Mind Eraser, Roy Rogers. Google it.
We hit the after party at the Snow Barn ($25 cover? For reals?). Entertainment was provided by some hippie band, some drunk girl spilling a full beer on the pool table and this loser with a grandma-style choker necklace making a scene about the spillage. I took this pic about 200 seconds before some frat monkey came running in from the left side and did a superman-slide across the freshly re-racked pool table. Ha!
January 1 = Happy New Year, there's no mf'ing snow! We looked outside and it was raining ice. Porch iced over, truck iced over, skis forever entombed by the frozen lock on my ski rack.
And, so that's it. It's Friday January 5th right now and I've got 7 days on snow (compared to the 14 days I had at this point last year). Worst winter ever. Normally I'd be heading to VT tonight, but the forecast is...
... maybe over MLK weekend?
ps: And in case you missed the references above (or you're really bored at work), feel free to check out the Christmas 2006 recap or New Years 05/06 recap! Wiii!