I’m at work today, the only day I’m working this week. I believe there are only five or six people in the office today… down from the normal thirteen. The bosses (who are a married couple) usually spend this week on their annual vacation in some tropical island. Last year it was somewhere around Fiji. I think they’re in the Cook Islands this year.
Our Christmas weekend began on Saturday. I flew in on the 6:50am flight from LGB to OAK where Dad picked me up. As much as I wanted to go back to sleep, we agreed that we should get some shopping done before the morning got too far along. We picked up Michael and traipsed around Newark and Fremont getting some last minute gifts. We had a lot of fun “helping” Dad pickout some earrings for Mom. We went to a jewelry store near NewPark Mall that is owned and run by a family who’s a frequent client of Michael’s at the AT&T cellular store. The dad of the family is the one who makes all of the jewelry. We weren’t finding something that caught our eye until the dad came out with some empty posts and a stack of little baggies with varying colored stones. He laid out a variety of colored tourmaline that were all really beautiful. We finally settled on a pair of light bluish-green stones that were perfect and sparkled just as much as diamonds. It was really nice to spend the day with Dad and Michael as we don’t get to do it often. Later that evening Bill flew in from LGB.
Sunday Bill and I had dim sum with his parents at a restaurant in Union City. The food was delicious even after a long wait for a table. We had a lot of my favorites including a lightly deep fried item filled with pork, mushrooms and a taro paste. Mmmm. Bill was able to order one of his favorites that roughly translates to “cow parts stew.” It normally is a stew with random sliced organs along with chunks of daikon radish that soak up the broth. I have to pass on that one. Later that evening Bill’s mom prepared a hot pot dinner. I’d never experienced Chinese hot pot before and it was a lot of fun. It’s the Chinese equivalent to fondue… except there’s no cheese and chocolate course. Bummer. Laikwan made a broth from the shells of a Maine lobster and some beef meatballs. We then cooked very thinly sliced lamb and beef, shrimp, scallops, lobster meat, and oysters with our individual slotted mini-ladles. Later we added rice noodles. Bill prepared a dipping sauce for me that was a mixture of X.O. sauce and sesame oil. It was all delicious and we had a wonderful broth to have for lunch the next day
Monday morning Bill and I met up with Krista and we shot some wedding photos. We had a lot of fun and I’m really happy with the photos. A few of her favorites are posted on her blog. I’ll post a few when I get a chance to play with them in Photoshop.
Later that evening we went to Mom and Dad’s house to help Patrick finish the last of his Christmas gifts. This year Patrick was making chocolates for everyone and trying out new flavors and styles.
He was finishing up the last of the molded dark chocolate and we helped box everything and tie all the ribbons. Let’s see if I can remember the different chocolates…
Pretzels dipped in milk or dark chocolate, Ritz-Bitz sandwiches coated in milk chocolate, dark chocolate truffles, hazelnut truffles, lavender truffles, almond truffles, caramel pieces, and almond cookies dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with vanilla sugar. I might have missed a couple, but they all looked lovely and tasted fantastic.
Patrick said he’s thinking of making biscotti next year. Chocolate is something he’d prefer making every couple of years.
Christmas morning we all met at my parent’s house for breakfast and gifts. Patrick made a breakfast lasanga where he used crepes instead of noodles. He made one with salsa and one without. I really loved the one with salsa. It was delicious and paired with a fruit salad and mimosas and orange juice. I was starving at breakfast and forgot to take pictures. Sorry. I’ll see if I can get Patrick to make it again sometime.
We all ended up giving or receiving silly graphic tees this year with Jackie getting Bill and Patrick Maverick and Goose tees. Some were so silly that they ended being designated as a “lawn mowing shirt” or a “car washing shirt.” Dad’s Zoolander shirt is a fine example:
After breakfast and gift giving, we all relaxed for the rest of the morning, many sucumbing to food induced naps. Jackie, Arthur, Jan and Mark went to the movies. Patrick and I went to Krista’s house to visit with her family for a bit. We brought baked goods and wine. Patrick and Krista’s husband, Tim, talked about running marathons as Tim ran the Richmond Marathon a couple of months ago and Patrick will be running the Big Sur Marathon in April. Krista and I went through some of the photos she took the day before and we all enjoyed catching up with Krista’s parents who are in a bit of a competition with their grandson on which name he’ll be able to say first: Grandma or Grandpa. I had to remain neutral. Krista and I talked about getting together again in early January to try and take some artsy bridal photos in both of my gowns. Maybe we can really get the white gown dirty this time.
This was the sunset on Christmas Day as Patrick and I headed out to Blockbuster. The photo really doesn’t do it justice. If I had a better vantage point it could have been spectacular.
We all got back together for dinner on Tuesday to finish out the day. Before dinner we had champagne with blintzs (a savory pancake) topped with crème fraîche and caviar. I really didn’t like the caviar so I just enjoyed the blini. There was also a lemon pound cake and zuchinni bread.
Bill was happy to carve the prime rib.
Then Dad started cracking jokes about how he might trip over Patrick’s long apron.
And Josh was eagerly waiting for a piece to fall on the floor.
Jan made a mixed green salad with orange slices, crumbled walnuts and a tasty basalmic vinegarette. It was beautifully plated.
Dad’s helping… sort of.
Mark brought a couple of bottles of his Ratatouille Chardonnay.
I’m not sure why they look so surprised…
Dinner was lovely and we enjoyed homemade pies for dessert. It was a wonderful Christmas and I’m thankful that those who could join us did and that everyone is healthy and happy.