Tuesday, December 26, 2006

How was your Christmas?

I (Karen) was lucky enough to have today off work. I was SO glad, because having company for two days, while wonderful, was exhausting -- and to top it all off, I didn't feel well. I felt like I was coming down with a cold -- you know, the dry cough, the tickly feeling in the back of your throat and sinuses, and the worst of all, the achies and just plain ol' fatigue! But today was a wonderful relaxing day after the fun but hectic Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Christmas Eve, my parents and aunt, uncle and cousin showed up about 4:00 that afternoon. We had Papa Murphy's pizza and had fun chatting. Later, my mom and aunt helped me prepare a dish for Christmas morning brunch called Tahoe Brunch. It has to be prepared the night before and sits in the refrigerator overnight.

Then on Christmas morning, I just popped it in the oven for 45 minutes and -- voila! Breakfast! I also had fruit and sweet bread from Costco planned. My mom brought the fruit salad. I bought the sweet breads (no, not the icky kind; I had a package with 3 loaves of bread -- cinnamon apple, poppy seed, and banana nut) from Costco and they were wonderful!! YUMMY. Everyone came over at 9:00, and we ate about 9:45 or so. Everyone said that breakfast was so good and everyone had a great time.

Then we opened gifts, and that was great fun. In our family, since we no longer have impatient little kids, we open gifts by taking turns one at a time, so everyone can see what everyone else got, and also the giver can watch the givee open their gifts, which for me, is more fun than opening my own gifts! It was great fun to watch everyone open their gifts, and gratifying that I seemed to hit the nail on the head with all the gifts I bought. It so gratifying to see that they enjoy their gifts so much! I was blessed with many wonderful gifts. Bill bought me an iPod shuffle, which is a tiny little iPod that has 1 gig of storage, which is about 240 songs!! I LOVE it. It has no screen, but it is smaller than a matchbox and can clip onto your clothes, so you don't have to have a special holder or pocket to put it in or anything! That way I can listen to it while I clean house, and not have to worry about it falling when I bend over. Its great!!

However, I spent several frustrating hours today trying to make it work, and finally I figured there must be something wrong with it. I tried charging it on our laptop and our desktop computer, and it just wouldn't charge. I returned it to Best Buy today (an exercise in patience, for sure!) and unfortunately, they didn't have any more. They gave me credit for it on a Best Buy gift card, and I just ordered it online. It should be here in a few days. I'm looking forward to getting it. It should get here right after the first of the new year.

Since I'm not the most patient person in the world, I hit on a brilliant way to stay patient while waiting in a long line -- read a book! I knew that going out to the stores the day after Christmas was an insane thing to do, but I wanted to do it before they ran out of the Shuffles (as it turned out, it was too late; I saw the last one walk out the door as I was waiting in line -- sob!!). But since I knew that it was going to be crowded, I just tucked a book into my purse that I'd been reading. When I got to Best Buy, the parking lot was CRAZY full and busy with cars coming and going. Yikes!! I had to park down nearly in front of Linens and Things, and walk in the pouring rain and blowing wind down to Best Buy. I got inside, and had to wait in a (relatively) small line to get the little pink sticker they have to put on all returns. Then the line for the returns was nearly over to the CD area, but I didn't panic! I had already mentally prepared myself for a long line, so I was ready, plus I had my book! I just got in line and pulled out my book (its a paperback, thankfully!) and started reading. The lady in front of me in line jokingly said "Hey that's no fair!" and then she laughed. She said she wished she'd thought of it.

Fortunately the line moved quickly, as they had three clerks handling returns, and the book passed the time comfortably. I think I stood in line for 30 minutes all told, and it was painless! Fortunately, I am blessed with powers of concentration so good that I can tune out all the chaos that was going on at Best Buy (the noise just echoes off those high ceilings), including a screaming child (okay, maybe I didn't tune out EVERYTHING!!). Despite the wait, it was a stress-less experience, albeit disappointing that they had run out of the Shuffles.

Anyway, besides the iPod Shuffle,I received some of my favorite perfume (Red Door), a CD of Josh Groban (don't you just LOVE his voice?!?), some toasty warm slippers, some Dutch Bros. Coffee gift certificates (YAY!!) and some chocolate! All from my ever-loving, wonderful husband. Aren't I just the luckiest?!? I tell you, I really hit the jackpot with this guy!! My folks gave me some slippers also (the exact same ones -- too funny!!) and a purse, and some earrings. My son Mark gave me a DVD of Liar, Liar (one of my favs!!) and my cousin Dan gave me a gift certificate to Wal Mart. My aunt and uncle gave me a nice wall hanging with a place for pictures.

After we opened gifts, I put the prime rib in the oven and prayed a lot! I've never cooked a prime rib before, and since we were feeding 11 people, this one weighed 13-3/4 lbs and cost nearly $100!!! Too expensive to screw up! I was really apprehensive! Then we just visited, and I even snuck in a little nap because I was overcome with whatever virus I'm fighting. The prime rib took nearly 5 hours to cook. Then I had simple side dishes -- baked potatoes which Bill did on the outside gas BBQ (they were wonderful!!) and a big green salad and some yummy rolls. We ate around 6:00 that evening. I was SO relieved that it turned out beautifully!! I was aiming for medium, and it ended up probably between med. and med well, but I like it that way so it was good for me. Everyone else said it was wonderful, but I know that Bill likes his a LOT rarer than it was. I'm sure it was too overdone for his taste, but he was nice about it! I was so happy that everyone was raving about it!! I used a prime rib rub that I picked up in the spice dept. of the grocery store. It seemed to work really well! WHEW! What a relief.

Then after we cleaned up, most of us played games (Bill, Uncle Al, my dad and Dan watched football). Then we had pie and ice cream (I bought a caramel apple pie from Costco, and Dan brought pumpkin). Bill had to work today, so he headed for bed about 9:30. Everyone else left about 10:00 or so. I was EXHAUSTED but it was so much fun. Today I didn't do a whole lot. I slept in, read my book, did a little laundry, some straightening of the house, and cussed out my iPod until I decided to take it back! Now I've got pork chops in the oven and they smell heavenly! I have a wonderful recipe that a friend gave me in college (eons ago!!). It uses cream of mushroom soup and sour cream, so its not at all calorie-conscious. But it is delicious!!

Back to work for a nice short work week (3 days), and then next weekend is a 3-day weekend because of New Year's.

Unfortunately, I have no pictures to post -- I am the photographer in the family, and since I was busy with all the preparations and entertaining, etc., I didn't get a single picture taken!! However, my uncle and cousin both took tons of pics, so when they email me their pics, I will post them here! Hope everyone's Christmas was blessed and full of friends and family. We are truly lucky to live in the USA! Merry Christmas!

p.s. Our subwoofer is STILL working!! Yahoo!! Our sound system is awesome, and we got some good movies for Christmas, so we will have a blast watching movies!! Yay!!