Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Christmas 2014

Good Afternoon Ladies & Gentlemen,
Normally my recaps of Christmas are pretty long-winded… but this year, I’ll let the pictures do most of the talking… as there’ll be another entry shortly that will handle a lot of talking as well concerning a few events. Anyway, you know Christmas is my favorite… so here it goes… hope you enjoy…
Dec 17 – Fly Out to Utah after work… Izzy dropped me off at the airport because she’s the best!!! My dad picked me up and we watched…
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” – Yes, the new one produced by Michael Bay. I went in with extremely low expectations “but at least I’d get to see me some Megan Fox”. The thing is… it wasn’t as horrible as I thought it was going to be. Don’t get me wrong, it was still pretty bad but… the turtles themselves, besides looking pretty ridiculous… are actually kinda funny… and the action, though also ridiculous & disregards physics in lieu of CGI masturbation, at least keeps you kind of interested. The acting is pretty f**king horrible… and I hate to say it… but Megan Fox was not good at all. Oh, she looked hot!!! But yeah… not much in the way of performance… really even from Will Arnett & William Fichtner either… but hey, it’s a movie about ninja turtles… so you kind of expect the plot to be a little on the sh*tty side too. Anyway, it wasn’t completely horrible… but definitely not planning on watching it again by myself.
Dec 18 – Watched a few movies with my dad between running around & fixing the cars. We watched “The Guns of Navaronne” which was my first time watching after the intermission… and it’s a pretty damn good movie. Dare I say a classic… but yeah, I totally picked out the traitor subplot about five seconds after the first clue. Gregory Peck is the man. Check it out!
Young Frankenstein” – First time watching it all the way through as well… funny as hell… I can see why it’s a classic.
Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit” – Another one that was better than I thought… not great by any means but definitely worth a look if you’re into the genre. You know the one, spy thriller with dreamy eyed lead (Chris Pine)… shadowy mentor (Kevin Costner) that you’re not sure you can trust… evil Russian baddie (actually played by director Kenneth Branagh)… double crosses… chases… forced conflict with the hot girlfriend/wife (Keira Knightley)… espionage… improbable escapes from ridiculous situations… worldwide danger… blah blah blah… so yeah, if you like that, definitely check it out. I do… so I did.
Dec 19 – My Mom’s Family Party was this night… and there were once again about 200 people there… and everybody was asking where our beer was this time… but it didn’t make this trip. Blame the airlines! Here are some pictures… (if they're not here, then I couldn't get them off my old phone's memory card just yet)
Dec 20 – Utah & Utah State win their respective bowl games in college football. That’s really about it. Hung out with my brother mostly…
Dec 21 – Went up to my mom’s house to spend some time with her & my niece and nephew… tons of fun… and we drew pictures… see if you can tell which ones are mine & which ones are the work of 6-7 year olds… it’s more difficult than you think… (again, hoping to get these off the old phone)
Dec 22 – Finally got a new phone… my first new one in over three years (since the swimming incident in Lake Tahoe a while back) but really just hanging with my mom this day… I miss her sometimes.
Dec 23 – Around noon, my mom & I went down to my Aunt Pat’s to make Kiefels (baby Jesus Cookies) with her & my cousin Alicia. Here are some pictures…

Dec 24 & 25 – Sadly in the last year, both of my stepmom’s parents passed away… and you may know that typically we would spend Christmas Eve at their place with her family. Last year, I had officially became the reader from the Bible for the passages about Mary, Joseph & their quest to find a motel that allows for birthing… which I thought was kind of a bad sign… but because they both passed, the family had decided not to have a party this year & just be with their respective families. So no pictures of that Christmas party… but don’t worry, there are still plenty from the other Three Christmases.
First up, my brother’s Christmas Morning… and yes, it finally snowed...


Then my dad & stepmom’s Christmas Brunch

 My haul... an Eagles plaque, a Spurs plaque, sheets,
rechargeable cell phone battery & half yard drinking vessel

…and then my mom’s Christmas Dinner

 Haul #2 - PlayStation 4, Eagles pillowcase (Lions for Izzy),
Madden 15 & two half-pound York Peppermint Patties

Dec 26 – The next morning, we went to the Shooting Star Saloon for breakfast, but unfortunately my cousin Alicia isn’t 21 yet… so we had to eat back at my mom’s house. No big deal though. Still delicious. Later, mom, the kids & I went down to see the Christmas Village on Historic 25th Street in Ogden… and along the way, we stopped by my Dad’s old house where he grew up in North Ogden, still not entirely sure why to be honest… but kinda makes sense a little later in this post. Anyway, then off to the village…

 The dad that my house grew up in like age... 8 to 18 or so...
 Ogden's Christmas Village

Afterwards we warmed up with some Chinese food at Maple Garden & then I spent the night at my brother’s house, where I had found something in the back of his fridge… this bottle of Sweet Mead from Christmas a few years ago… and it was delicious.
Dec 27 – Morning at my brother’s, went to my dad’s that afternoon, then to my Aunt Missy’s birthday party at Bout Time Bar & Grill… hung out there for a few hours shooting the sh*t & catching up with some of my favorite relatives.
After the party, I went back to my dad’s house and watched a little TV while everybody else slept. Around 11 PM, my dad came out and watched whatever was on… which was actually an episode of “The Boondocks” & “Black Dynamite” on Cartoon Network oddly enough… but we had a few laughs. He apparently had been having a real hard time sleeping the past few weeks due to a bad herniated disk and it was sending pain shooting down his leg that he described as “if you had an open root canal all the way up & down your leg.” Well, I hadn’t slept well the past few nights because of crashing at my brother’s house & sharing a “full size” bunk bed, which was apparently right next to a furnace… so I went to bed around midnight. We hugged, said we loved each other as we always do, and then I went to bed.
Dec 28 – What follows for the next little bit is a pretty f**ked up morning… so you may want to skip ahead to the next few pictures below if you don’t wanna get “real”. Anyway, I slept in a bit & woke up around 10-ish… grabbed some leftover pizza for breakfast and started watching the NFL pregame shows. My stepmom was at church… and my dad had been up later than me, so I assumed he was just sleeping in. Around 11:30 or so, my stepmom came back from church, said hi, asked where my dad was, I said he was probably still sleeping in as he was up late the night before. She went to check in on him… and he had passed away. My dad died… while I was in the house… and I didn’t even know. What followed after that was a lot of frantic calling to emergency personnel & loved ones, answering questions about recent events, a whole lot of crying & hugging & anger & all that other stuff that comes when a loved one passes away but… I’ll elaborate more on that on another entry. This is the Christmas post. The Daddy post will be coming shortly.
After a couple hours with my stepmom, trying to help her in any way that I could & then later her family who were all pretty nearby at church… my brother came to pick me up & take me to my family in Ogden. Obviously everybody had questions, and I was happy to tell them what I knew at the time, but it obviously wasn’t much. So yeah, the rest of the day was pretty much a drag… but hey, we each cope in our own ways… and basically by that evening we had decided to get a few libations & remember the good times.
Dec 29 – Basically just hung at my mom’s… at least until we decided to go get a few drinks at a new establishment in downtown Ogden called The Barrelhouse. This new location near Historic 25th Street is essentially connected to Craftburger, which is a pretty nice burger joint… but then you go downstairs to where they have a dozen or so mostly local beers on tap (Uinta, Wasatch, Squatters, Epic, etc) and then about a hundred selections from other macro & microbreweries in bottles. We watched a little college football… and sampled a few beers… including one of my new favorite beers, courtesy of my old stompin’ grounds Red Rock Brewing in Salt Lake City. They had a selection called Secale, which is Bavarian style Doppelbock Lager that was aged in Rye Whiskey Barrels… which is basically all of the best things that I like about beer in one selection… so yeah, if you happen to stumble upon it, check it out. As for the Barrelhouse itself, it doesn’t have a whole lot of competition, but is a pretty sweet place & the staff seems pretty knowledgeable, which is always a plus.

Dec 30 – Around noon, I’m texting Izzy and asked her what her plans were for the day… and she replied with “Ask your mom.” Why would I ask my…? Oh Jesus! So I called my mom… apparently she had called my girlfriend up at 1 AM, while she was a thousand miles away in San Francisco & I had spent the entire two days before telling her that I was fine (because I surprisingly was)… and said something along the lines of “My baby needs you!!!” Sigh… after the crazy emotional ladies calmed down & started saying stuff like “oh he’s fine, nothing to worry about” they basically decided to fly Izzy into town to be with me. An absolutely unnecessary but sweet gesture, right? Well, in typical fashion, she wanted to both keep it a secret from me until Izzy was in town AND have me pick her up at the airport two counties away… which is a completely retarded situation… especially since I already had plans to be in SLC to help clean up my dad & stepmom’s house… but had no mode of transportation. Yeah, a lot of people weren’t thinking too hard the past few days. Anyway, eventually I got a car then my buddy Isaiah & I drove out to SLC, cleaned up the house, and then picked the lovely Izzy up at the airport so that I could listen to her whine about how cold it was (unseasonably below zero). Okay, so I was really happy to see her & spend some time with her… I’ll admit it. Anyway, we stopped by In-n-Out Burger on the way back to my brothers, saw Isaiah’s brother Andy while we were there briefly, and then headed up to my mom’s house. Here are some pictures…

Dec 31 – We spent New Year’s Eve at my mom’s during the day & then at Andy’s for the last few hours of 2014… and then shortly after headed back to my mom’s to get some rest as we had our next day already planned out…
Jan 1 – My Dad’s Viewing was held at the Inner Light Center in Salt Lake City… his wishes were to be cremated and put in a Pink Floyd CD case… stop laughing, it’s true. I didn’t take any pictures obviously but… there was actually an incredible turnout. Of course my family was there but… my mom’s family… my stepmom’s family… even my dad’s family, some of which I haven’t seen in well over a decade all turned out. There’s a little backstory to all that, but again, I’ll save it for the Daddy Post. Great little ceremony… and I’m really glad that Izzy was there too… as I’m sure you know that I don’t handle women crying well and… there was obviously plenty of that sh*t going on. After the viewing, we grabbed a quick bit at Chuck-O-Rama buffet… and then Izzy & I caught our flight back to the Bay Area.
So yeah… that was Christmas… I know it got a little sad there at the end but… really, it was still pretty amazing. I got to spend a lot of time with my family, including that niece & nephew who wanted to be around me as much as possible, family I hadn’t seen in a long, long, long, long time… heck, I got some sweet presents… even got to spend the New Year with my ladyfriend. Sure it wasn’t the rootinest tootinest time ever had… and I obviously lost my dad which is pretty f**king horrible… but just imagine if I had been outta town for that. I mean… sadly, that’s what happens. Loved ones die. That’s why you just have to appreciate the time that you have with them while they’re here. So do this for me real quick… go find a loved one, like RIGHT NOW! If they’re in the house, go hug the sh*t out of them… literally. I don’t care if they’re on the John. If they’re across town, go say hi or something… at least give them a call. If they’re in another state or country, give them a call, Skype them, heck… write them a f**king letter. Not a text, take a piece of paper, fold it in fours, draw a stupid picture on front, a little message inside, stamp it, mail it & wait for the response… AFTER you call them or Skype them. The way that communication is nowadays, nobody should feel alone. Period. Big Brother is watching you. Why aren’t you watching the ones that you care about? Restraining orders? Grudges about trifling crap that you’ve pretty much forgotten? Be the bigger person & squash that beef. Go enjoy your loved ones! Have a great day everybody!!!

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