Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

Chris and I made it home from our week-long foray on Sunday, just before dinner. We had driven up to see his family last Saturday, and stayed until Wednesday. We made the usual rounds of visiting one cousin's house Christmas Eve for the Masto family party, and took part in the annual grab bag gift exchange. Lots of extended family was visited with, lots of food eaten, but it was certainly quite busy. Chris' mother and I tried (and failed) to find a midnight Mass, so I had myself a little adventure and found a Mass on Christmas morning a few towns over. When I came back, we had breakfast and opened presents, after which we went to another cousin's house for dinner.

Because Mom was having "a procedure" (apparently not to be confused with "a surgery") a few days after Christmas, Chris and I drove down to Emmaus on Wednesday, making it in time to visit with Mom in the hospital for a few minutes before visiting hours ended. We were the last to arrive; Anne, Bill, and Ciara had driven down and were planning on staying for a few days, as were Patrick, Bronwyn, and Aidan, and even Justin had arrived last weekend. Since Mom was released a few hours after her surgery (procedure?) on Thursday, we were able to open more presents. (I didn't take any pictures of Christmas with Chris' family, but I did take pictures in Pennsylvania.) I had a really excellent time. Bill drove back upstate Friday morning; Justin flew back to San Francisco on Friday night; and everyone else left Saturday. Chris and I stayed until Sunday, in part to help clean up, take Mom out for a drive to see the Christmas lights in Bethlehem, etc.

And I did pretty well with presents, too: I got a copy of Bill Bryson's African Diary; The New Bloomsday Book; Joyce's Critics; some extremely nifty headphones; a glass teapot, hairbrushes (and nice ones - not the cheap ones that I wind up buying); some very nice minty bath soap that I had my eye on; a cookie baking mat; Aidan wrote a story that I got a copy of; Bronwyn had a recording of her fiddling; and a very soft plush sheep from Ciara. Not a bad haul - and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few items in there, too.

Today Chris and I decided to make pork and sauerkraut for dinner (this being an Italian tradition that brings good luck, and both of us being of Italian extraction). I'm not so much a fan of cabbage-related food products, but I have to admit that tonight's dinner was pretty good. (We made the sauerkraut according to Chris' mother's recipe.) Naturally, the experience was documented:

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