Katie and I had a really, really nice Christmas week. It began with seeing Avatar in IMAX 3D here in Houston. I didn’t know much about the film going into it, except that it had been very hyped. All I hoped for was more Terminator and less Titanic. Although the plot wasn’t terribly novel, I certainly identified with the eco-friendly themes and, hey, I can always get behind an underdog in a good fight. Besides, the film was visually pretty spectacular and I strongly encourage people to see it in IMAX 3D if available. Overall I’d give it a 4.5 out of 6.
We then attended the annual holiday dinner of the Houston chapter of the Accademia Italiana della Cucina, a lovely affair in the private room at Tony’s. We were thrilled to see that, during my two-year hiatus, the organization took on many new Rice alumni members so we had many friends at the dinner.
Wednesday we hopped on a flight to DC, where Mom picked us up from the airport. It was a real Winter Wonderland there after 20+ inches of snow! Boy it was great to be back, though. This was a very lazy trip in stark contrast to my usual pack-as-much-in-as-possible-and-try-to-see-everyone-in-just-a-few-days-which-basically-means-spending-all-my-time-stuck-in-DC-traffic. Maybe this was Katie’s influence on me? Or maybe I’m just getting old? Either way, I could get used to the R&R!
Christmas Eve our dear, dear friends who have been like parents to me came over for dinner. Mom and Katie put together a veritable feast for us–with healthy, natural ingredients, of course. I tried to help out where I could but I spent most of the day reconnecting with my 8-year-old self and reading through all my old Calvin & Hobbes books. What a blast! Two decades later they are still a delight.
After dinner we exchanged gifts and then dove into the piece de resistance, a homemade Italian cream cake our guests had brought. When we finished it and loosened our belts a little, we were all surprised to realize that it was well past 1 AM–time flies when you are reconnecting with friends who are so close they really are family! We therefore had to call it a night to ensure that Santa would come.
Christmas Day was just as leisurely as we opened more presents and sipped on mimosas. A Christmas Story was watched, delicious leftovers were consumed, and naps were taken. Awesome.
The day after Christmas we hosted a small open house, which was a wonderful opportunity to catch up with friends and neighbors. Of course it featured even more great food. I did manage to squeeze some cardio in on this trip but that could hardly compete with the onslaught of delectables with which I was confronted every day. I’m not losing any sleep over it, though; the whole trip felt really, really good.
Now we’re back in Houston and gathering ourselves for the New Year. We both received some truly outstanding gifts for Christmas but the greatest were the opportunities to spend time with the ones we love. What more can one really ask? I mean, other than wishing for Bill Watterson to come out of retirement to write more Calvin & Hobbes strips! And for Art Monk to come out of retirement to fix the Redskins. It was a very merry Christmas for me, for us, and I hope for everyone else out there as well. Here’s to you all!