Entry for December 31, 2008: Turducken and travel

Friends, I hope that you had a Happy Hanukkah/Merry Christmas/cool Yule/happy Kwanzaa/festive Festivus! After working from home on a rainy Christmas Eve, Janice and I spent the holiday itself watching the Star Trek: the Next Generation marathon on the SciFi Channel and eating pancakes and turkey Parmesan (but not in one meal).

On Friday, 26 December 2008, we drove down to my brother's home in Northern Virginia. As always, it was nice to see Peter, his wife Kelly, and their daughters Ava and Lili. Peter and I picked up dinner from Glory Days, a nearby sports bar.

The next day, my parents and Kelly's mother Maureen joined us for a belated Christmas gift exchange. Peter & Kelly gave us the big present this year: a Nintendo Wii, my first-ever video-game console! (Stuart C.G.'s gift of The Complete Monty Python Collector's Edition on DVD is a close second.) All of the adults enjoyed trying the different parts of Wii Sports: baseball, boxing, golf, tennis, and especially bowling.

We also feasted on a turducken — a turkey stuffed with a deboned duck stuffed with a chicken! (We had eaten tofurkey for the first time at Ken G.'s around Thanksgiving.) It was surprisingly good, with the different meats complementing one another and none dried out. We also enjoyed some fine cheeses and champagne.

On Sunday, we played Uno, a favorite family card game that Ava will soon be able to join. Taking a break from leftovers, Peter and I picked up lunch at Chipotle. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get together with Steve M.R. and family, but we expected the holidays to be busy. I did touch base with other college friends, including Ben P.S. and Ron J.K.

That evening, Janice and I watched Stardust for the first time on DVD. I thought the adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess' work was well-done, if not quite as romantic as The Princess Bride, to which it has often been compared (a better soundtrack might have helped). A strong cast, sharp script, and folkore-inspired plot made Stardust one of the better fantasy movies to come out in the wake of the Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter franchises.

Janice and I made good time in the long drive back to Massachusetts on Monday, Dec. 29, and we spent much of the next day cleaning in preparation for planned visits by David I.S. and Janice's folks. We worked from home today, partly because of the latest snowstorm, but I hope to get out within the next few days. Have a Happy New Year!

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