Sunday, November 29, 2015

And so this is Christmas

We have strict rule about Christmas around our house: no decorations can go up before Thanksgiving is over. But with Alison off all week last week and me off Wednesday, we violated it a little bit.

Defying her father, Alison broke out Jeff's legendary X-marks the Spot collection of Christmas music in early November and has been blasting it every chance she gets. He grumbled about it but was not-so-secretly pleased.  And on the way home from Aunt Donna's house, he blasted it in the car.

If you happened to be traveling I-70 Thursday evening, you might have heard us singing along to Snoopy v. the Red Baron, by the Royal Guardsmen one of my favorites, or some of the classics.

The CD collection pre-dates Ali and my appearance in Jeff's life. He started it with cassette tapes for his family, which explain the alternative stuff and the 80's classics for Jen and James and the classics for Gary and Marian.

There's a bit of everything in there, a lot of classics with a bit of a twist or two, classics straight up, some reggae, calypso and hip-hop. Elvis and Bing Crosby are well represented, along with country (for me) rock, jazz and bits from comedy albums and Christmas-themed shows and movies.  There's even some Wiggles and Crazy Frog (for Ali from Christmases past.) Ali and Jeff like to torment me by twanging out to some of the country songs.  

I take heart that Alison can identify all of the country artists even as she claims disdain: "That's Alan Jackson," she'll say before starting in with a sound somewhere between a yodel and a howl when he hits the honky tonk part of "Honky Tonk Christmas."She skips Toby Keith's "Santa I'm right here" because it makes her cry.

Each of us has  trigger song. For Jeff on the way home it was "White Christmas." As it ended,  he said something like, "That'll do it for WMPG. Gram if you're out there, this is for you."  Then he told us the story of when he was DJing in college, his shift happened to be the last one before Christmas break. He ended the session with this song for his grandmother then went home to find her crying in the living room, so touched that he was thinking of her.

Alison is trying to get Jeff to work together on a new CD but he's been working too much lately to do it. I can't decide if it'll be a great collaboration or will be one long fight. She has no idea the hours he put into those things. He used to start in August. On the other hand, it would be fun to watch. For a while.

We had a great Thanksgiving. It rained for most of it so the inside of the house is fully decorated. Jenna's coming over soon -- if Team Tokash ever wakes up -- and we might get out in the yard to do the rest. We have a 6-foot-tall inflatable Godzilla (Thank you Eric & Tracy) that Alison is determine to turn into Santa.  I have a fine place for it on the back porch. Or back yard. Or back in the box where it's lived since our wedding.

We had planned to re-gift it back to the Yokam-Wisemans but clearly failed in that mission. There's still time... Part of our Thanksgiving tradition is Friday night dinner with the Jacksons. Ali was three or four when we started this, and I wouldn't have blamed either Patrick or Patricia with being a little leery of having dinner with us and a toddler. Ali is as much in love with them as they are with her, though, and there were times last night when I thought she might just sneak off with them instead of coming home with us.

Part of my mission this holiday break was to back up my tons of digital photos, to finish some homework I have to do and get the house decorated. I got lost for a bit in the shots of Ali and her friends as little tykes  but I'm about 80 percent there, so I'm feeling pretty good.

We have too many pumpkin chocolate chip cookies leftover from Thanksgiving. And Jimmy sent us home with a pumpkin roll so it's been an exercise in discipline, which I've largely failed.

For Thanksgiving I tried a new dish that paired roasted Brussel sprouts with butternut squash, pecans and cranberries. It didn't look much like the photo Lisa posted and I might have been the only one to eat it. I figure the fiber count alone negated some of the cookies.

So today, I'm thankful for sweater weather. And fabulous friends and family. Possibly not in that order.

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