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Christmas 2011 Print

Christmas is such huge fun for us that regardless of how crappy the year may have been, it's a wonderful time of year.  Sue and I had Thanksgiving dinner at our place and decided that it would be cool to have Christmas dinner at our place, too--fancy china, Christmas china, sterling, crystal, etc., etc.  All that hoopla, together with putting together great meals, and watching Christopher and Brooklyn have such fun, made the holidays this year special for us--again.

To begin, Sue and I brought up all the Christmas decorations the Saturday after Thanksgiving, and went to our storage unit to get the Christmas tree, and started decorating our home that weekend.  I finished the tree on Sunday night and took a quick photo of it with my iPhone.

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We're still using the hooked rug skirt that my Uncle Jack made eons ago, along with dozens and dozens of wonderful needlepoint ornaments crafted by Sue.  There are now three mystery needlepoint ornaments stitched by other people--it's fun to tell people the stories.  There are many heirloom ornaments, and others that tell stories, so decorating the tree is special for me.

Jennifer and I began December by--of course--going to Disneyland!  The Happiest Place On Earth is a great place to experience Christmas and we took Christopher and Brooklyn so they could visit Santa Claus.  We were in luck this year because we went straight to Santa's cabin and there were only two famlies in line ahead of us.  You'll see photos of that day in the album of photos taken with (as Dewitt Jones would say) my Big Boy Camera (as opposed to my iPhone camera).  On that day, we also met Cheryl Briggs for lunch at La Brea Bakery.  Cheryl and I were classmates at Valmonte School and hadn't seen each other since junior high, and being Facebook friends, it seemed like a great time to get reacquainted.  Made for a great day.

Then, having had not quite enough of Disneyland, Jennifer and I went back again the following week--just the two of us--so we could enjoy it on our own.  We had corn dogs from the truck on Main Street, rode the Matterhorn and Pirates of the Caribbean, and other stuff that CJ and Bee don't want to do yet.  Great fun.

Then, I managed to get everyone at the company together for our annual branch Christmas photo.  The number of grumblers has decreased in proportion to the number of people who are now enjoying the exercise.  We did something different (again) this year, and once again Duane helped me by taking my camera and climbing up on a ladder to take our photo while we all stood far below in one of the warehouse truck bays.  The thumbnail below isn't an iPhone capture;  if you click the thumbnail, it will open up full size.

 

Sue and I made Cranberry Orange Nut Bread again, as we always do, to continue the tradition begun by my mother about 60 years ago.  We still use her recipe and we still love it.  We eat a loaf on Christmas morning and then polish off another loaf or so after Christmas.  I managed to get a quick iPhone capture when we took the first batch out of the oven.

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We went to the Buffalo Fire Department for Christmas lunch and had another lovely time as a group.  I didn't take real camera gear, but did get an iPhone capture of everyone before the food came out.

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Christopher is in kindergarten at Riviera Hall Lutheran School and the school produces a really nice Christmas pageant, which we enjoyed seeing.  I didn't know anything about the logistics and, on reflection, should have taken my 300mm lens, but the photos in the Big Boy camera gallery below will demonstrate what I mean.

On Christmas Eve we went to the children's service at Neighborhood Church because we've been members since time immemorial and--drum roll, please--Brooklyn was singing in the choir.  As you'll see, I took two photos of the iron gates within the church (before I started taking photos of Brooklyn) that were installed by J. J. Haggerty when he built the home.  While I was waiting for services to begin, I looked out the window next to me and decided that the view was worth recording.

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Beautiful place to go to church.

Duane and I had oyster stew again, as tradition (and luck) would have it, and we all had tamales as well.  Sue and I spent the night at Jennifer and Duane's so we could be there in the morning to enjoy Christopher and Brooklyn reacting to Santa Claus's exploits on Christmas Eve.  This was great fun for us (and, needless to say, them) as you'll see in the photo album below.  It's important to understand, by the way, that it's our tradition to leave Scotch and cookies--not milk and cookies--for Santa.  We know that Santa really enjoys a nice single malt because he drinks it every year.

After all that fun, Sue and I came home to finish making Christmas dinner.  We had a lovely dinner, as demonstrated (I hope) by the menu:

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Duane's mother Toni joined us, as did our friend Margaret McWilliams and her daughter Kathy, and we enjoyed a lovely night of camaraderie and good food.

The next day, Sue and I enjoyed a great leftover lunch of ham "sliders" and pickled crudites.

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Following lunch, we went up to Christine's house to celebrate Christmas with her and Kelsey.  We went for a walk to see the turkeys living in the front yard of a house around the corner, and while on the walk Duane and I were captivated by the sunset--and in particular the moon and Venus (visible in the upper left corner).

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All in all, a nice Christmas that was enjoyable not only because it's our favorite time of year, but because it was a nice way of saying to 2011 that we were glad it was over.

You can see my photos below;  I hope your Christmas was merry and that the new year will be better for all of us.