Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Tales

Well with Christmas over and the holidays winding down I thought it would be a good time to reflect on the wonderful events that Erin and I have gotten to be a part of over the past few weeks.

The festivities began about two weeks ago when we went to our supper club, where each month one couple from the group picks a new place for us to get together for dinner.  This last time we all met at Tambien (near Cherry Creek Mall) for Mexican food as well as a White Elephant gift exchange.  If you can't tell from the picture I got an exciting leopard-print snuggie while Erin ended up with one of the gifts we had given.  It was all a lot of fun as we enjoyed some good food.

Later that week, Erin's sister Amy was in town to receive her PhD in Atmospheric Science from CSU.  The whole family was very proud of her and there were some good speeches at the graduation ceremony.  It was also nice to see Fort Collins and have dinner up there.

On Tuesday, last week, Erin and I made our way to Littleton for dinner with my aunt and uncle.  They served us a delicious chili meal before we did our gift exchange.  They gave us several wine-related gifts as they knew we both appreciated wine, including at very nice picnic wine case.  I can see us getting a lot of use out of it.  Erin and I also had a lot of fun designing some ceramic salt and pepper shakers for them with activities that my aunt and uncle enjoy.

On Christmas eve Erin and I went to spend time with Erin's family.  We started by all meeting up at the movie theater to watch "Up in the Air" with George Clooney.  It was an interesting movie about a life of permanent travel and the lack of personal relationships that usually entails.  After the movie we went out for a delicious lunch.  The rest of the evening was spent preparing and eating dinner, playing a rivoting game of darts, and just enjoying each-others company.

Christmas day found us opening presents and stockings.  Erin now has several books to read for the rest of her Winter break this upcoming week and I have a gift certificate to get some new clothes.  Erin and I spent much of the rest of the day putting together a puzzle, but we took breaks to play games such as one Amy's husband Kevin came up with which involves writing a phrase at the top of a piece of paper and passing it to the person on your left.  The fun in the game comes from having to draw a picture of the phrase, folding the paper so the next person can't see the original phrase, passing it to the next person, and writing a description of the picture you've been handed.  As this continues the phrases and the pictures start to look nothing like the original phrase and once the paper is full, it's fun to look back at how things changed.

On the day after Christmas some of Erin's parents' friends came by for breakfast and there was a lot of catching up.  Then Amy and Kevin came back by before Amy had to head back to the airport.  We enjoyed lunch and a walk at the Streets of Southglen before packing up and heading back home.  All in all it's been a very nice Christmas and Erin and I are very grateful for the wonderful friends and family that we've had a chance to spend it with.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Thanksgiving, Weird Musical, and Lots of Work

I've been very busy with work these past few weeks and have let blogging fall behind, but I'm having a hard time focusing on work this morning so I thought it was time to catch up here. 

First off, Erin and I had an enjoyable trip out to California for Thanksgiving.  While there were short lines at the airport and a comfortable flight over, our smooth traveling came to an end when we got out onto the 405 freeway in Los Angeles.  I knew it was going to be bad from previous experience, but I guess I hadn't considered how bad when we were making our plans and buying tickets.  Six hours of driving later we finally made it to my parents place in Tulare.  The next day, Thanksgiving, was clear and warm out so we enjoyed going on a walk and sitting out in the sun before having a delicious meal.  Friday night gave us a chance to see our friends Joe and Angie before heading back home on Saturday.  As the trip back took far less time we still had the energy when we got back to Denver to go out and celebrate two years of being together at Nono's Cafe where we had our first date.

The main excitement last week came when someone at Erin's school was giving away tickets to the musical "Spring Awakening".  Erin had been interested in seeing the musical mainly because the theater group had sent out a rare warning on the potential shocking nature of the play.  That and the fact that Erin was able to get the well-placed seat tickets for free enticed me to join her.  The play did deliver on the shocking promise of brief nudity, simulated teenage sex, and other adult themes including rape and masochism.  However, that didn't bother me as much as the singing which didn't seem to always fit with the original play and the expressionist nature of bright lights shining on the audience.  The on-stage band's musical performance though was often very good and the whole thing was a unique experience.  Still, I don't think I'll be attending many more musicals in the near future.

The highlight of this week has been picking Erin's parents up at the airport after their exciting trip to Argentina.  Unfortunately, far too much of that excitement came from being mugged in Buenos Aires at the end of their trip.  Fortunately both of them came through the experience with only large scrapes and some money gone.  Erin's mom even got her snatched purse back after visiting the police station in the rough neighborhood where the attack happened.  Erin and I are glad that they made it back home safe and sound.

Well, I guess I had better get back to work now.  But I'll leave with a picture of the little Christmas tree that we decorated Wednesday night.