KJ (owlmoose) wrote,
KJ
owlmoose

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How I Spent my Christmas Vacation, by me

We spent a relatively laid-back Christmas with T's family.

We flew down to San Diego on Christmas morning, were picked up at the airport by T's sister and her husband (W and C), and went back to the farm for a quiet day. The big family get-together was the next day. My in-laws ordered sushi and dim sum and invited the family and an assortment of friends to lunch in honor of their children's weddings (W&C got married in June, exactly 3 months before we did). It was a nice visit, fun to talk to some other people who watched T grow up (although I got more stories about my parents-in-law than I did about T himself, which was still interesting). I spent a lot of time showing wedding photos. There wasn't enough food, though; somehow my FIL had the idea that people would, on average, eat four pieces of dim sum. So it all disappeared rather rapidly. Fortunately, they also ordered three roast chickens and three roast ducks, and my FIL made a big pot of jook out of the leftover duck. Mmmm, roast duck jook. Also, a lot of people brought holiday sweets, so unfortunately I filled up on those. Oh well, the holidays. I'll be good next year.

Monday we spent hanging around the house. A big storm was supposed to arrive that day, but after some grayness and sprinkles in the morning, the sun came out and we had a full-fledged gorgeous afternoon. I lazed in the sun and read, petting the cats (they have two: Goodness-Cat and a recent stray arrival named Hagar. The two of them do not get along at all. Goodness-Cat is the favorite, because the ILs see Hagar as an interloper, but Hagar is the stronger personality, so she'll probably become the alpha cat if they don't get rid of her), nibbling on those leftover sweets, watching a little poker with T, teaching C how to play mah johngg. The book of the day was Sunshine by Robin McKinley, her first adult novel and her first foray into horror (it's a vampire hunter story). I liked it, although it was exposition heavy. It felt like an origin story, mainly written to set up characters and a universe for more books.

Dinner each night was cooked by my FIL, who is the family chef and an excellent one. Apparently, my MIL did all the cooking when her children were growing up, and they didn't eat nearly as well. The first night was spareribs (I loooove his Chinese spareribs) and chicken fun see (stir fried chicken with rice noodles and Napa cabbage), both dishes I like that you can't find in grocery stories. This night, we had spaghetti with homemade meat and vegetable sauce, a dish that we also make at home, but somehow my FIL's version is much richer in flavor.

We had thought about getting out and about into San Diego on Tuesday, the last day of our visit, but the much-predicted storm finally hit late Monday night, so it wasn't really a day for running around. Instead we spent another quiet day at home, although this one was much different in temperament since it was gray and raining, quite hard at times. I started my next book (In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner; it was pretty good, slightly heavier chick-lit) and listened to the various conversations had by family members. We got to the airport a couple of hours before our flight was scheduled to leave, only to discover that it was already delayed by an hour and a half. The ILs had dropped us off and immediately left, so we got to spend some quality time with the San Diego airport. T always enjoys exploring new airports, and his spirit was infectious, so we had a pleasant time checking out SAN, which has a couple of new terminals. We had dinner, browsed a bookstore (busman's holiday?), walked around the terminals, and then settled in to read -- I had bought an Entertainment Weekly (I'll read anything with Jon Stewart on the cover), T had his book. Finally, our flight took off almost 2 hours late. There was some scary turbulence going up and down (I couldn't help but have Lost flashbacks) and a handful of noisy children, but I was so happy to be out of the airport that I didn't really mind.

We received a few wedding gifts at the ILs party, one of which was a cheese plate with a knife. Although we had flown with only carryons on the way down, we decided to check our bags on the return flight, just so we didn't risk losing the cheese knife (it's about as sharp as a table knife, but we didn't want to take any chances). Well, our bags beat us to San Francisco. We had just settled in to wait for the bags when T glanced at a pile by our assigned luggage carousel and said, "Hey, that looks like your bag." I walked over to look at the airline tag. "Yeah, that's it," I said. Then I walked around a little more and found his. Fastest luggage return ever.

The rest of the way home was an uneventful BART ride followed by an even more uneventful Muni ride. The rainstorm was covering the whole state, so we got sprinkled on as we walked from the train station to our building. Coming home to an empty house was strange and sad, and T and I started sniping at each other over little things almost immediately. Fortunately, we realized what we were doing and why, so we were both able to back off.

Overall it was a pretty good trip. Threeish days with the in-laws is about right for me, and for T as well. (One year we stayed a week, and that was way too long.) It was also nice to spend time with cats again. But being home is always nice, too.
Tags: books, family, food, travel
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