The main reason I haven’t been writing much, this holiday season, is that nothing much happened, at least not all at once. But I think I have enough scraps collected now that I can share a little bit of my Christmas season.
For the first time in ages, I spent Christmas morning alone. But that was fine… I was able to compensate nicely, with a stellar Christmas breakfast.
I didn't put up a tree this year, but then, I have a couple strings of lights up year round. I put those on, turned on the Yule Log Channel on TV, and put on my home made Christmas music CD. (It’s chocked full of Bluz’ favorite non-traditional yuletide tunes… YuleTunz, I guess.) After my nutritious breakfast, I wrapped up the last of the presents for distribution.
That afternoon, I went to my brother Ed’s house for dinner and gift exchange. Mostly, there was a lot of this…
Nephew Sam, in action.
After dinner, though, I got Sammy out for a little garage hockey, with his new stick and goal net. I probably should have just let him play with his video game, because he shot about 8 or 9 pucks off the same spot on my lower right shin. Maybe I should start letting him win. I knew I shouldn't have tossed my hockey pads!
The day after Christmas, I set sail for The Burgh. Everyone was comin’ ta tahn… Ed and the family went, my sister and her husband came in from Cincinnati, and my parents had come up from Florida earlier in the week. We haven’t all been together for Christmas since I can’t remember when. This isn't a picture we get to take very often:
The Bluz Siblings
And of course, we got to visit with my about-to-be-98-year-old Grandpa.
Grandpa’s first granddaughter still gets a special seat with him.
We stayed in Pittsburgh until Saturday, and mostly hung out with my Aunt Grace Ann and Uncle Ange, which meant we had two major dinners. I was in heaven! On Thursday, we had wedding soup, sausage and peppers, ravioli, a chicken thing, and other assorted goodies.
Please tell me: is there anyone else that’s ever heard of doughballs in wedding soup? We've always done that in my family, but I've never met anyone else that’s heard of it.
Friday night, we combined Aunt Mary’s manicotti with Segnari’s fish sandwiches for an incredible culinary combination.
Do not let the trick of “perspective” fool you. Those sandwiches were massive. That’s a full-sized dinner plate there.
I couldn't believe we actually had a couple of leftover fish sandwiches. In the days of my youth, I would never have allowed that to happen. But I was done… I had already eaten until I couldn't move any more. Luckily, there’s always room for wine, and Uncle Ange never gets tired of pouring.
I almost wasn't allowed to take part in Thursday’s dinner, due to a team mojo controversy. Normally, I am loath to root against the University of Pittsburgh. But as it happened, they were playing my alma mater, Bowling Green, in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. The Fighting Falcons don’t get to many bowl games, under the circumstances, I had to “represent,” for my guys, so I sported my “traffic-cone orange” Bowling Green attire. But my Aunt and Uncle are kind-hearted people, so they let me eat anyway, if I promised not to cheer too loudly or do any obnoxious dances.
We were all on the same side Friday night, when the Penguins played. I brought one of my game jerseys for the occasion. Mojo counts, no matter where you are. I have to do my part. (We won, too, so it obviously worked. That’s science.)
I headed back to Baltimore on Saturday morning, and along the way, I had a startling realization. It dawned on me as I drove through the Breezewood toll plaza, wearing a Pens hat and hoodie and a Steelers shirt, with two leftover fish sandwiches, two pounds of Isaly’s chipped ham and two loaves of fresh Mancini’s Italian bread, and Donny Iris playing on the stereo, I had just become a “Yinzer.” At least an honorary Yinzer, for sure. I wonder if there’s a secret handshake…
On Sunday, it was off to my local sports bar for the last regular season games of the year. The Steelers needed to win, and then see losses by the Ratbirds, Dolphins and Chargers. My brother and his son Daniel joined me for the game. I was glad I could share my Sunday “second home,” and prove to some of the local barflies that I do, in fact, have a family of my own.
Sitcom Kelly and her former foster-care girl came out for a short time too. The little one (who’s 5 now) hopped up on my lap and nested there until it was time to leave. I tell you, the little girls just love me.
Well, the Steelers won and two of the other teams lost, so all looked good, right up until the Kansas City kicker missed a field goal as time ran out and then the Chargers won in overtime. Eh… I wasn't really expecting the playoffs this year, not after they played like crap all season. The important part is that the Ratbirds didn't make it either. That means I can breathe until next season.
I had Monday and Tuesday off too, so I got to ease back into reality. Well, I should use that term loosely… mostly what I did was tear through season 3 of True Blood and eat chipped ham sandwiches.
New Years was non-eventful… spend the Eve and the Day at home. Maybe something fun will pop up next year. But after watching some of the NYC coverage on New Years Eve, I think they should show a lot less Miley Cyrus and a lot more Debby Harry. Blondie’s in her 60s now, and still looks smokin’ hot.
So, I’m back to work now, and I’m glad I start with a 2-day week. That’s a nice way to dip your toe back into your job. But next week… that’ll be my first 5-day week in quite a while.
If only I could find a way to get paid for laying on the couch, watching sports and DVDs, eating giant sandwiches and drinking wine. I’d never have to retire.