Monday, December 28, 2015

Our Christmas holiday, over several days

Christmas Eve:

First day off from work.  Get up in a lazy manner (still early, since I am naturally an early riser).  Brew the coffee.  Sip the java.  

Later, Geogal gets up.  (She’s working today.)  First thing she asks is if we got any snow.  

Snow?  I wasn’t expecting any.  

No matter.  Take a look out the front door and sure enough, there’s about 3 inches of powder covering everything.  Since it was overcast and still predawn there was no light to give a luster of midday to objects below.  

A short while later Geogal heads out to warm up her vehicle.  She takes the push broom and comes back inside just a few minutes later.  It’s a dry snow, very much like powder.  Easy to get off the vehicle and the walkway.  

Too bad this isn’t a ski slope.  

Later on I have Geoana get on her parka and hand her the broom.  And a snow shovel.  While she does that I head out to get the last of my stocking stuffers.  

That mission accomplished it’s time to return to the house and enjoy a leisurely Xmas eve.  Weather could not have been much better, the clouds moved out quickly and Mister Sun did his job.  Bright light gives joy to the wintery soul and also helps to melt off the white stuff.  By the end of the day the roads were dry.  

Just in time to head out for Christmas Eve service.  The church was already filling fast and I was glad to snag some seats toward the back.  

The actual service?  Sorry to say, just so-so.  And why didn’t we sing “Silent Night?”  

Since my gifts were all wrapped well before today I didn’t need to do the nighttime marathon session with scissors and tape.  Can’t say the same for my other family members.  

Christmas Day

Not a grand Christmas here, in fact very low-key.  As is normal here I was the first one up.  (Geoana is not, and never was one of those children who woke way early on Christmas morn.)  I’m sipping my coffee and soon Geogal is up.  

I flick on the idiot box and discover at 8:30 EWTN will be showing “Life Is Worth Living.”  I top off my java and Geogal and I relax and hear the wisdom/insight from a TV message Bishop Sheen gave sometime in the 1960’s.  Still very relevant today.  

She and I agree it topped the “sermon” from the night before.  

I started our own Christmas tradition a few years ago.  The meat for the holiday meal is prime rib.  I let it defrost overnight, then popped it into the fridge after I rose for the day.  

Hmmm.  Shoulda prepared better.  I check some recipes on a trusted website, they all indicate the meat should be left out to get to room temperature before cooking.  

Dang.  I take it back out and realize I will just have to hope for the best.  I get the salt/herb/other spices concoction ready and rub it on the outside of the roast, using melted butter to get it to stick.  Then in it goes.  

Doesn’t take long before the house smells like a fancy steakhouse.  Gets us all hungry well before the meal is served.  Fortunately we have plenty of summer sausage and other munchies to pass the time.  

The menu is prime rib, garlic mashed potatoes, stuffing, green beans, rosemary bread, and au jous.  Getting everything ready at once in an already-diminutive kitchen is a holiday challenge with which we are familiar.  

But it all comes together (as it always does).  Rib roast turned out just fine, a nice shade of red/pink in the middle.  

And old Sol?  Hidden behind gray clouds.  Winter is here with a vengeance.  

My only real glitch came after the meal.  I wanted to relax with a viewing of “This Is Spinal Tap,” a DVD that was under the tree for me this morning.  Remove the shrink wrap, pop the disk in the player.  Then nothing.  

Take it downstairs and try a different player.  Still nothing.  

Spray it down and wipe it clean.  No change.  

Must be defective.  Too bad, I already told Geoana she would learn the meanings behind “it goes up to 11,” “Stonehenge,” and the joke about why the band went through a number of drummers.  

Day After Christmas

Geogal and I chose to go to Kearney, partly to take care of shopping that can’t be had in our small town.  Partly to get out of town (gotta do it every now and then).  And partly to have a nice anniversary meal.  The 28th marks 24 years of marriage.  

Again the weather, while not totally in our favor, at least is cooperative.  No snow.  No precip of any type.  Just another very gray day punctuated with a wicked north wind.  

Shopping goes well and then we head over to the Thai restaurant.  And find out they’re closed.  

Pull up the Yelp app and head for a “plan B” eating establishment.  It all turned out fine and we had a nice, quiet anniversary meal.  

When we headed home we drove due south for a little over 50 miles.  Wind at our back.  Nice!!

Day After Day After Christmas

Not much too to share about this day.  We actually made Sunday a day of rest.  For once.  

And Today

Both of us took today off work as this is the actual anniversary.  What did we do?  I wrote this entry while Geogal painted a wall of the kitchen.  

No problem.  The real big anniversary will be next year.  

Happy holidays, everyone!!

Sunday, December 06, 2015

Bowling Snark

Throughout today I've been checking the bowl matchups.  

Made for a nice break at times.  As yesterday was a go-out-of-town-and-spend-money-like-it's-going-out-of-style day that left all of the chores and "honey do's" for the traditional day of rest.  I was thankful for the times to sit down and check the 'Net.  

As all the pundits said, the playoff slots were no surprise.  (No TCU-esque dashing of dreams this year.)  I did watch the other bowl invitations with interest.  As I guessed, Nebraska got an invite despite their 5-7 record.  Large fan base with deep pockets always makes a difference.  

So let me offer my analysis of a few games we will see in the coming weeks.  

December 19:  New Mexico Bowl.  Arizona versus New Mexico.  As ESPN's College Gameday came to Tucson this season, playing your bowl game in Albuquerque and being among one of the first out of the gate has to be a disappointment for Rich Rodriguez and company.  The Wildcats don't want to start a border war tradition when there's greener pastures later in the month.  

Same day:  Las Vegas Bowl.  BYU against Utah.  All those Mormons in Sin City.  God truly has a sense of humor.  

December 26:  Foster Farms Bowl.  UCLA versus Nebraska.  Will the Huskers make the best of their "at least we got a bowl invite" situation?

December 29:  Armed Forces Bowl (the Fort Worth one, not the one in Annapolis).  California goes up against Air Force.  Seems appropriate to have a service academy in a game with such as name as this.  

Same day:  Texas Bowl.  LSU and Texas Tech.  Should be well-attended if not a sellout.  Two regional teams with a proven ability to score.  

Same day:  Russell Athletic Bowl.  North Carolina versus Baylor.  Baylor?  Wow.  Losing that game to the Longhorns and in the process blowing a place in the Sugar Bowl hurts in more ways than one.  

January 2:  Alamo Bowl.  Oregon meets TCU.  The Ducks were in the playoffs last year and no doubt  in September had their sights set on a return to One Of The Big Ones.  No dice.  I'm guessing they will take out their frustrations on the Horned Frogs.  

Same day:  Motel 6 Cactus Bowl.  West Virginia versus Arizona State.  At least all of the hoteliers in the Valley of the Sun can reassure themselves with "We still have the Fiesta Bowl and the National Championship to get us into the black."  

Happy bowling!!

Friday, December 04, 2015

Are You Paying Attention, Big 12?

This was a good article to read over my lunch hour.  

It's nice to see UH getting some attention, and gaining prominence.  Too long has this institution been in the shadow of UT, A&M, Tech, and several others in the Lone Star State.  

What really got my attention was this sentence:  

Without membership in a Power 5 conference -- something Houston is aggressively seeking under president and chancellor Renu Khator--- that will be difficult.

Would a school be a better fit for the Big 12 than U of H?  It gives the Big 12 a university located smack in the center of the coveted Houston TV market,  it increases the conference by one (and some say Cincinnati might be a wise pick to get to the magic dozen), and it renews cherished memories of the gone-but-not-forgotten Southwest Conference.  Plus the football Cougars already show they can play with the big boys.  

Why not?  Here's hoping the decision-makers do the right thing.