Wednesday, January 16, 2019

2018 Christmas Aftermath



It's probably a bit late to be posting about Christmas, but these are busy times, and we can't always post when we'd like. This year was pretty laid back for the wife and I. We can't really travel much during the holidays, so it tends to just be us for Christmas Day. Of course, the past couple years I've had to work, so there's a bit of a delay before we get a chance to dive under the tree. Just like there's going to be a little delay before you get to see the good stuff.






This year when I got home from work, Chelsea had breakfast ready and waiting on the table. There's nothing better than coming home from working on a holiday and catching the aroma of cinnamon roll and hash brown casseroles fresh out of the oven. After digging in, and enjoying a couple hearty helpings, it was time. Time to do the dishes, that is. House rules, whoever cooks doesn't have to wash.  And that means I'm usually the one smelling like Dawn after dinner.


Before we begin, I have to share this lovely photo of a bubble light. It was part of a string that Chelsea gave me as an early Christmas present. I grew up with these things on our tree, and next to the musical blinking light strands, they were my favorites. I could sit there and watch them for hours. If I sat there and concentrated hard enough, I could almost swear I could actually hear them bubbling. Of course, it was all my imagination, but it's nice to pretend.

Okay, so we've got breakfast and the dishes out of the way, NOW it's time to start tearing open some wrapping paper.


But first, I have to share this picture of Chelsea and Dug in their matching pajamas. They look so adorable, don't they?

Okay, for real now, let's see what Santa left for me under the tree this year.


Books!

Every year I always ask for a bunch of books, and thankfully I almost always get a bunch of books. This year was particularly book heavy, and I love it. The Star Wars Phasma novel has been on my list since I saw The Force Awakens, so I'm particularly excited to start digging into that one. Steve Alten's Meg series has become one of my favorites. It's a ongoing series about giant prehistoric sharks that came out before that sort of thing had been run into the ground by the SyFy channel. Reading through one of the newer books, I discovered he also wrote a similar story about a familiar cryptid living in a large body of water in the lovely country of Scotland.

I've actually read Neil Gaiman's American Gods years ago, and I've wanted to give it a reread for a while now. I haven't read Anansi Boys yet, but if it's as fun as his other works, I think I have a lot to look forward to. House of Leaves is a horror novel I've seen recommended to folks who enjoy Lovecraftian type stories. So, here's hoping it's scary without all the racism.  I'm a bit of a knife nut, so the last two books, Knife and Sharp are right in my wheelhouse. Knife is an examination of different styles of cooking knives, and their place in the culture that spawned them. Sharp covers some of the history of chef's knives and the people that make them, while going into the more practical aspects of using and maintaining them. It's perfect for someone like me, who sees sharpening as a bit of a hobby.

Speaking of sharp and pointy things..


Knives!

It's not Christmas if there aren't sharp and pointy objects under the tree. Well, in our house at least. The Spyderco in the middle there is one I've wanted for a while. The straight blade and serrations are perfect for the kinds of cutting I do at work. Plus, it just looks kind of bad ass.

All these years of living on the Eastern Shore, and I somehow never owned an oyster knife. It seems like I never have one when I need it, so Chelsea made sure we're never without a way to get inside those juicy, delicious bivalves.

I've yet to meet a Victorinox Swiss Army Knife that I don't like, and the L.L. Bean Classic is no exception. They're light, tiny and handy for all those really, really tiny cutting chores you might have. Plus, it matches one of my other gifts.

That grey rectangular thing to the right is a diamond whetstone. This one is particularly coarse, which comes in handy when you've been out chopping wood, and accidentally chop a metal pole or a concrete block, and you need to repair your edge.


Food!

Along with all the random mini bottles and pieces of candy that filled my stocking, I found a few more treats waiting under the ol' holiday pine. First up was a big box of Donut Shop K-cups in varying flavors. I've had the Dark and Regular on numerous occasions, but this is the first time I've even seen the coconut. It's pretty tasty, kinda like the kind of coffee you'd make on a deserted tropical island.

The two tins next to that are Trader Joe's Stroopwafel, and Danish Butter Cookies, two of my favorite sweet snacks. As you all know, butter cookies are something of a holiday tradition for me, so I've got to have them at some point during the holidays. I'm always a little hesitant to recommend any but the ones made by Royal Dansk, but I think I may have found my new favorite with the Trader Joes' version. The shapes and taste are exactly the same, but they seem just a little bit crumblier, and more buttery. I only recently learned of the existence of Stroopwafel's, but I already love the caramel filled waffle cookies. They say if you place one on top of a cup of coffee and let it warm up, you'll hear a choir of angels with your first bite.

The beer is from Hardywood, one of my favorite breweries. This one is called Christmas Morning, and from everything I've read, it sounds delicious. The wife and I are on a diet right now, but on the next "off" day, I'm popping the top on this one.


Beauty stuff!

What? I can't look beautiful too? This year my wife started selling Mary Kay stuff, and of course they have some men's products as well. She gave me some of the facial cleanser, and a tube of the aftershave gel, because my lady likes me clean and comfortable. She also gave me a tin of this stuff called Honest Amish Beard Balm, and let me tell you, my facial hair is soft as a mink coat right now.

I also got this Showertherapy tab that gets placed on the floor of your shower, and fills the whole bathroom with wonderful scents once things get hot and steamy. This one is supposed to be good for clearing out the sinuses, so I guess I'll be comfy, clean, soft and able to breathe.


Clothes!

When I was younger, I always thought clothes were the worst gifts. I already had plenty of clothes, I needed more toys! Now, I welcome them. The highlights are the L.L. Bean boots, and the hoodie. I've wanted a pair of Bean boots for a while now, because I thought they would be a perfect fit for the place I work. I don't always feel like putting on my rubber work boots, so it's nice to have something that will still keep my feet dry. I've actually needed a new hoodie for a while now, since all the ones I have now are trashed from me wearing them to work. I love that this one is big enough for me to just get lost in once I throw the hood up. Because, if there's one thing that will get me to love a piece of clothing, it's whether or not it makes me look like a Jedi.

Thanks to Chelsea, I've kinda gotten into novelty socks. This years variety includes socks covered in beer bottles, waffles with pats of butter, and sharks that look like they're working their way up to my kneecaps. I also got a new pair of L.L. Bean gloves, because my hands are always frozen this time of the year, and a new pair of pajama pants, cause I likes to keep my legs warm when I'm sleeping.


Toys!

I don't know that I've ever had a Christmas where I didn't get a toy of some sort. Sure, some of them may have been video games or board games, but I still consider those toys. This year I got some honest to goodness action figures.

Starscream in the back there will be the subject of a future post, but he's one I've wanted ever since I was a kid. Thank goodness for the power of nostalgia and re-releases! The Iron Man figure is another retro styled toy, taking after the old school Toy Biz cardbacks with new style articulation. Paladin over there was a bit of a wild card. I don't know who he is, and I've never read any stories he was involved in, but he was cheap, and a cool looking figure.

The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Collectibles book probably should have been included in the "Books!" section, but since it's primarily about a toy line, I'll still fit it in here. The TMNT were one of my favorite toys ever, so I'm looking forward to seeing just how much stuff carried their name.


Stovetop smoker!

One of my favorite foods in the world is smoked meats. I mean, I like most meat as it is, but add the flavor of burnt wood to it, and I'm in heaven. I've been discussing getting an electric smoker for a while now, but they can be pretty spendy. Chelsea figured this would be a cheap way to see if I actually enjoyed the whole smoking process. We've used it a couple times now, and other than the house ending up smelling like a barbecue joint, it actually worked rather well. We just have to make sure the oven vent is running. And that there's a window open. And a fan blowing toward that window.


Porg!

Every year Chelsea add another ornament to our ever growing collection. This year she got me what is probably one of my favorites, a porg from The Last Jedi. I know it's cool to hate on the film, but I love the fluffy little buggers. This guy is going to look great up on the tree next year right by the bubble lights.


Movies, wine, toys, etc..

We visited the in-laws for New Year's Eve, and they had even more gifts waiting for us. Along with a bunch of fleece pullovers and hoodies, I also got this random assortment. In the back there are a couple bottles of Chili Dawg Wine. If you've been following this blog, you'll probably remember the last time I talked about this liquid elixir of the gods. This time, I'm looking forward to being able to share the whole experience with my friends.

The little fellow in the middle there is Orrimaarko, or as he was known before the Special Edition Original Trilogy, Prune Face. He's one of those blink and you'll miss him characters in the background. I always dug his look, and he was cheap on Amazon, so on to the list he went.

I gave the Star Wars Prequel trilogy a lot of grief when it was first released, but I have to admit that the films have sort of grown on me over the years. Now I just need to find a way to work them into my Star Wars holiday marathon. Nightmare on Elm Street might not seem like a logical choice for the holiday season, but it's one of my favorite horror franchises. Things started getting a bit goofy with the sequels, but it still had a lot of fun kills. Also, this set includes the documentary "Never Sleep Again", which is 4 hours of backstory on the franchise and the phenomena surrounding it. Not too shabby.

So, that's it for this year's Christmas haul. Hopefully everyone else had a great Xmas, and a Happy New Year. I'll be seeing you again soon.
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