Wednesday, December 26

Ho I Ho

Cleveland for Christmas and it never disappoints.

Saturday night we went to dinner with Anne's brother Russ and his wife Chris. Drank sidecars which is always notable. Their daughter Mandy was just back from Peru, and she freaked us all out with her stories of E. coli and crappy charity work in Lima. She hiked to Machu Picchu, and that got me thinking ... We've all seen amazing photos of Machu Picchu, and Anne and I hope to go next year (we'll take the luxury train, none of this hiking business), but I think I want to be the guy who doesn't like Machu Picchu.

Fake Blog Person: How'd you like Machu Picchu?
Futuristic me: Ugghh. I thought they would have a better gift shop
FBP: But didn't the Incas have an amazing sense of structure and civilization?
FM: Yes, but it didn't stretch to good restroom facilities did it?

Sunday was a great day of doing nothing, we ate, drank and listened to Anne's p'rents tell stories from their younger days. All good fun and I even started on a genealogy project for Anne's side of the family.

Monday began in downtown Cleveland buying pierogies and trying to find a comedic Menora (more later). God bless the missus. She had the balls to ask the guy in Family Dollar if they had one. He gave a her a look that said, "I work in Family Dollar for 6 bucks an hour".

For dinner we ate pierogies and I gained 6lbs in 20 minutes. Damn those things are heavy.

Later that night we went to Bud and Joann's house. Bud is Anne's youngest brother and he throws THE best Xmas Eve party. The house is a great mix of adults building toys for excited kids, using instructions translated from a Chinese manual. Multi-generational drunkenness and more food than you'll ever want to see. I think it was also my first glimpse of the Christmas Story. TBS run it for 24 hours. It was filmed in Cleveland and everyone loves this movie except me.

Christmas Day begins with me chatting with my folks in the land of the Eng. They had a good dinner and were kicking back to relax that evening. Back in Ohio, we do the whole Yankee Swap thing. Anne's brother Ron won the prize for the largest gift offered (a stepladder), he is also Commander of the Swap but I took offense to his Euro-effete-socialist-liberal way of doing things (oh wait that's me).

His wife Maggie was suitably punished by choosing my Hannukah and Kwanzaa diversity celebration basket. Canned yams and Shabbat candles. She took it well and I expect her to become a fan of blaxploitation movies in the coming year.

Me? I got a remote controlled snake to amuse myself as I watch Snakes on a Plane. Anne got a robotic cocktail shaker. My poor father-in-law ended up with a man purse.

Photos from the day.

Rusty temporarily bags the stepladder

Ron and Natalie look on as Maggie sings "Say it Loud, I'm Black and I'm Proud"

"First a European son-in-law, now a man bag", says Anne's Dad

Dylan gets gifts #4, 9 and 15!

Holy snakes for Christmas. Anne loves it as much as me.

Bud gets the booze ... for now

Tyler unwraps, Jenny wins patient Mom of the Year

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