Thursday, January 3, 2013

Christmas & Good Times with Family

The last few weeks home have been packed with things to do with family. One of them being a visit to the cemetery in New York on the way to see my Grandparents in Queens. We've (my mom and I) have been coming to see my grandma's (her mother whom I never had the opportunity to meet) grave. Over the years a few more people have died and were buried in this lot including my great grandmother Dee-Dee who died at 98 on Christmas day in 2001. Although I never really thought about it before I realized this year that after my mom is gone this will probably become my tradition. I don't know about other people but I find cemeteries very peaceful and even fun. I used to run around as a kid and play hide and seek. Bringing life to the dead...

 Below is a picture of our Christmas tree this year. We went to a tree farm in central Jersey near Princeton to cut our own tree. Its been a tradition to return to the same tree farm every year (with the exception of maybe one or two years) and more recently we've gotten into a habit of cutting our own. This year we brought Tom and Adam (Tom's son) along. Mom and I dressed the tree in ornaments Christmas Eve day while we watched Rudolph The Red Nose Reindeer. That weekend we also put up the lights and garland on the front porch. Our home was finally looking appropriate. Everywhere you looked I could see the spirit of Christmas. 

Christmas Day was a nice quite time with Uncle Jack. We opened presents and cooked appetizers and dinner dishes all day. Dennis, my Mom's boyfriend, came to join us for dinner. The pot roast was perfect especially with Mom's special horseradish sauce! Afterwards we called my cousins in Georgia to check in (an annual tradition --call all the relatives on Christmas). It was great to play a joke on them using Dennis as an announcer for the Mets ticket office. Uncle Jack (major baseball fan) has a long track record joking with my cousins who are Braves fans.  

Me and my cat Jessica (18 yrs old)

Our dinner...yum

The next few days Uncle Jack stayed with us. I decided to check out and see what was going on in town. We ended up going to City Hall to finally see what Mom had been raving about. She had mentioned that there was a room in City Hall that was used in the movie Quiz Show. We also went to see the Colgate clock near the Hudson. Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to see that since it started snowing and it was way to windy for me to volunteer walking around the boardwalk even with a crazy Uncle that would do anything (and loves the cold like me).

The last day Jack was here Mom took a half-day and we all went into the city for our traditional Christmas visit. We've gone into the city almost every Christmas most of the time with someone new to the area or here for a limited amount of time or someone who has never been to NYC. Note to anyone: Manhattan is magical during this time of year so don't wait, GO! We weren't as impressed by the tree this year (even though it's from NJ) but Saks' windows were a nice balance (compared to years past). We also went into the public library. My mom knows how much I LOVE libraries so she wanted to take me. I'm glad she did because I couldn't help but feel awe-struck as I walked into the building especially the study room. Of course all the scenes from movies and tv shows flooded my mind as I walked through (i.e. The Day After Tomorrow, Sex and the City, etc). I asked one of the librarians how many books the library carried and they said over 3,000,000 or probably more!! Knowing how amazed I was at all the visits to college campuses during my junior and senior years at high school I thought it was so sweet of my mom to think to do this.

Macy's windows - a history of Macy's
The public library

After Uncle Jack left early Friday morning Mom and I spent the rest of the time I was home together with the exception of a little holiday get-together on Saturday. We invited some family and friend over to have lunch and drinks and celebrate the New Year. It was so nice to finally meet some of our neighbors and to see Uncle Gerry, Aunt Mary and my cousin Kerry. Also thanks to my mom we played some Christmas games which was an interesting experience as you can imagine.

Sunday was a leisure day. Mom and I went to see Les Miserables. We both thought it was great, however, I was the most blown away by Russel Crowe's voice no matter WHAT the stupid critics say. I never thought he'd sound that great! Hugh Jackman on the other hand (especially an actor with theater experience) I wasn't as impressed, however, reminded of the actor who played Jean Valjean WOW it brings tears to my eyes just thinking about it. 

New Years Eve was just us. I originally had adventurous plans to go out in NYC with my friend Kristi who lives in DC, however, do to her cancelled flight back from Iowa over Christmas she couldn't miss more work. Mom and I did attempt to spend the night on the town but between the band, that was scheduled to play at the bar we went to, standing around instead of playing and mom being somewhat tired we decided to watch the ball drop at home. It was nice to just be together.

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