Santa’s sleigh

2011 Honda Fit Sport
My new vehicle

On Saturday, 10 December 2011, Janice’s parents, her youngest sister Melinda, and Melinda’s children Amanda and Joshua came over to celebrate Janice’s birthday and to bake holiday cookies.

I took my nephew Josh to New England Comics and Newbury Comics in Norwood, Massachusetts. I later took Josh and Amanda to a talk about birds of prey at the local library, and the family had dinner together at Mick Morgan’s pub. We’ll be seeing them around Christmas.

In addition to housecleaning and shopping for gifts for family, friends, gamers, and co-workers, I’ve been dealing with automotive issues. A few weeks ago, I had some expensive repairs and maintenance done on my 1998 Honda Civic coupe. On my way from the local dump to work yesterday morning, my car started overheating.

I called into work and brought my beat-up green car (which I had bought used in 2000) to Boch Honda in Norwood. I’ve had to postpone several meetings to later this week. Another coolant hose had come loose, and more problems were likely coming soon. While waiting for the assessment, I went into the dealer area and eventually bought a 2011 Honda Fit Sport.

My family and friends are much more excited than I am about the new vehicle, which I consider merely a means to get from Point A to Point B in relative safety and comfort. I’m not a fan of gas-guzzling sport-utility vehicles and the distracted soccer moms or cellphone-using drivers behind the wheel. Still, the Fit is pretty stylish.

I had hoped to nurse the Civic through another harsh New England winter. Ice, salt, potholes, and tree sap take their toll. In 12 years here, I’ve been hit several times — never my fault — and the engine may have had another 100,000 miles in it. I was also in no hurry to begin making car payments anew, but repair bills were starting to become bigger and more frequent.

My red Fit has more passenger and cargo space than the Civic, despite being about the same compact-car length. Although most of my driving is stop-and-go, short-distance commuting with the occasional out-of-state trip to visit family, I hope to get good mileage. As of this writing, the four-door hatchback has only 17 miles on it so far.

What do you think I should name my new car? I’m asking only readers of this blog! I nicknamed my first car, a used red Chevy Cavalier, the Millennium Falcon for its utility and temperament. I sometimes called my Civic a “Runabout,” after Star Trek: Deep Space Nine‘s long-range shuttlecraft.

Anniversary and meal thoughts

Greek food
A kabab platter

Thanks, friends, for the anniversary wishes. Janice and I have been together for 21 years and married for 16, so we’ve joked that our marriage is old enough to legally drive, and our relationship is old enough to drink alcohol! Time flies when you’re having fun!

To celebrate, we went out to dinner at Fuji. The Japanese steakhouse has become a favorite of families in Needham, Massachusetts. I’m glad that children are getting a chance to try sushi or tender beef from the hibachi, but I’m surprised that the moderately pricey meals are so popular.

Earlier in the week, I had lunch with co-workers at Papa Razzi in Newton Lower Falls. The food was good, but service could have been better. Janice and I also took advantage of a warm spell to walk to Acropolis, a Greek restaurant that opened in town last week.

Although we already have Farm Grill in nearby Newton, I was pleased with Acropolis‘ friendly service; falafel, pita, and rice and spinach appetizers; and kebab entrees. Our desserts were also noteworthy — excellent flaky moussaka and creamy Greek-style yogurt with honey.

Our favorite food shows on television include Phantom Gourmet (on in the background as I type this), TV Diner, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives. We’ve drifted away from Good Eats, Iron Chef, and Ultimate Recipe Showdown, and I haven’t had time for the amusing Bitchin’ Kitchen.

The Food Network has been focusing on competitions rather than cuisine in prime time, so I prefer some shows on the Cooking Channel or Travel Channel, such as Man vs. Food and Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations. None of these can keep up with the BBC/PBS satire of Posh Nosh.

Since Janice’s new commute by train gets her home later than me, I’ve been making dinners for the first time in years, and those who know me may be surprised that we haven’t had pasta every night. While I’m not yet at the point of experimenting with “molecular gastronomy,” I do hope to prepare quick, healthy, and tasty meals. Janice’s French toast this morning showed who’s still the better cook!