Santa loves us


Santa was good to us today. He brought me a fabulous new printer, which works straight out of the box with my Apple laptop, via Kris. Also via Kris came a set of whisky cordials and some much needed wooden spoons for cooking, my previous ones having fallen victim to Annies over-aggressive "licking" that turned to "consuming" of the actual spoons.

Santa especially loved Kris, with a slew of gifties ranging from the Baseball Forecaster (guaranteed to help with the software he's developed for team drafting in the fantasy leagues he plays in) to a coffee grinder (from his Seekrit Santa, my sister-in-law) that is sure to enable that coffee addiction.

The biggest surprise of the morning, however, was the amazing gifts from the Gulls. It was pretty much the only gift I hadn't figured out before opening besides Heather's, and the only one I didn't know about.

Mike called in the morning to ask if Santa was good to us (he was). We chatted for a bit, and I asked how Santa was to the girls. He said they were good this year, so Santa was good back, but, unfortunately, he gave a gift that needed assembling. Tragically, their tools were buried somewhere in the boxes in the garage, could we help them out?

My initial thought was, um, uh, well, you've seen my tools, so, uh, I hope all you need is a screwdriver, and a flathead at that. Anything else, and you'll have one sad kid shortly.

Out loud, however, I was, sure, let me see what I have, and wandered over to the toolchest. Here I have this amazingly nice toolchest, and all my crappy tools that I've piecemealed together over the years, buying what I need at the time, but never big sets all at once.

In front of the toolchest on Christmas morning was a new full set of metric and standard sockets. Wow, this was so cool! My enthusiastic screaming was something along my most joyous cursing. When I returned to the phone to thank Mike, he asked if I had actually opened the toolchest. I hadn't, so I put the phone down to see what else there was.



Inside was the most awesomest, complete set of tools! The toolchest looked like my dad's set, I had all these really cool, totally awesome, amazing tools. WHoo!

My happy curing continued. I'm sure Mike turned off the speaker phone after the first five seconds of the minute long, "Oh My GOD! LOOK AT THIS! AND THIS! AND HOLY SH*T THIS! WOW!"

Mike later told me he and Liza snuck into the house yesterday when we were out buying souffle ramekins for John and Heidi. In and out in ten minutes, and Santa Gull was very good to us. Liza was thrilled to be his little accomplice.

Christmas eve dinner at Heidi and John's


Heidi and John invited us over for Christmas Eve dinner. We went over, fortunately arriving only a little late, after having dashed out to purchase a set of four ramekins for them. Heidi asked if I would make souffles for dessert, not realizing she was asking me to make them for New Year's Eve, and not tonight.

She let me make souffle anyway. Who can resist chocolate souffle?

Answer: not me!

John's family has a tradition of playing pinochle on Christmas Eve. To follow in this tradition, John taught us how to play, and we played one game. The partners ended up being John and I versus Kris and Heidi.

In my true beginner card playing tradition, from which we have derived the term, to have a Kitt hand, I drew six of the eight aces in the deck. My first hand, and I managed a meld score of fifteen. Clearly I underbid when I said, "21." John had one of the other aces, so we ended up dominating the hand, setting the tone for the game. Heidi and Kris couldn't catch a break, and the game finished quickly.

Heidi jumped in next with euchre, except she didn't quite remember all of the rules. Our euchre game lasted twice as long as the pinochle game, but had far many more laughs. Heidi won the first game on her first hand by some obscure rule we think is a Grantz-Smith house rule, and we played a second game. After John and I were down by at least half in the second game, with Kris and Heidi near assured victory, we all realized the order of the cards was not J-J-A-K-Q-10 for all suits, only trump. We had played several hands wrong, and the game was started over. The evening continued this way, with various rules coming to light only after a card transgression had happened, much to the delight of John, Kris and me. At one point, we were laughing to hard that, had we had any liquids in our mouths, they were have sprayed the far kitchen walls.

We left late at night, with visions of Christmas goodies dancing in our heads, and warm fuzzies from the house and good cheer of good friends.

Christmas wish-list 2006


A follow-up to last year's wish list and my Seekrit Santa list, random items I'm thinking of purchasing for myself, but know that, per household policy, I'm not allowed to purchase until after the holidays.

  1. Tea ball / tea infuser (check! Kris loves me!)
  2. Wusthof kitchen shears
  3. Exercise warmup pants
  4. Cold weather running tights, for under those warmup pants if I go play winter league.
  5. an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle (also known as an HP Color LaserJet 2605n printer) (check!)

Dear Seekrit Santa


Every year, each the adults on my mom's side of the family puts his name in the proverbial hat, and draws out a name. Instead of giving 11 gifts, one to everyone in this family, and spending several hundreds of dollars on gifts, each of us buys one gift for the name we pulled out of the hat, spending around $20 on said gift.

The kids, of course, get any number of gifts, because, well, how do you tell a grandparent or auntie she can't buy lots of gifts for the (not-so) little ones? (Hint: you can't.)

The problem with gifts, however, finding a good one for your recipient. Getting someone a gift he wants is always good, but one that fits in with my ideals is good, too: something that is used or used up, instead of something that sits on a shelf, never looked at or used.

So, Seekrit Santa, to make your life easier, here's what I want for Christmas this year, mostly under $20:

So, there you go, Seekrit Santa. I'll use any of these gives. Thanks, Santa!