So, Christmas has come and gone. We had a wonderful Christmas eve, calm and loving, with my mom & brother Robert & brother Dave & sister Jes, eating too much (my mom is a rockin' cook but she goes kind of mental at the holidays and cooks for, like, 16-to-20... when there are 6 of us) and playing Scrabble Upwords. Then we went to Mom's on Christmas morning to open gifts and have breakfast, and went back over in the evening for another ENORMOUS delicious dinner with brother Robert & some friends. And we ate SO MUCH. But we couldn't play with our toys because we had the dinner party and then we had a mini-road-trip because Mom/Robert/Pat's boss Suellen gave us a generous gift of 49ers/Lions tickets (we are a mixed bag of Bears & Packers fans, but y'know it was fun) and we were on the road and also eating SO MUCH as we road tripped. We went to Dave & Buster's on the way and played some wonderful stuff (guys, play Hyperbowl if you get the chance... it's hilarious) and stopped at Maru Ichi on the way back home.
OMG, Maru Ichi. If you are ever near Mountain View, you have to go. Expect to wait in line (we miraculously didn't, past 5 minutes... usually it's very long) and expect to eat a lot. The food is miraculous. I had kuro ramen, and could wholeheartedly recommend miso noodles and spicy miso ramen for the others (the only two main dishes I've tried other than the kuro ramen.) Kuro ramen? A heavenly elixir of deeply infused pork flavor surrounding and bathing homemade ramen noodles, with browned garlic and sesame oil lending it a deep black patina of oil, garnished with tender vegetables, slices of tender pork, hard-cooked egg, and nori.
Then we went to the BookBuyers store, which is -- well, look, for people like me, it's a cathedral. It's a vast used book store, clean, friendly, organized, and eclectic. It has a huge science fiction section, amidst its other virtues. And it had a copy of a cookbook co-authored by Mandy Aftel, utilizing essential oils in the kitchen... too cool! So, that's my gift to myself.
On the topic of gifts, I am proud of myself because I made gifts for many of my friends/family. Note: although this may SEEM cheap, it's not actually less expensive than purchasing gifts, especially if you were to factor in labor costs. But I did lots of home canning (strawberry vanilla bean jam, vanilla pear butter, spiced apple butter, pomegranate jelly, cranberry-grapefruit marmalade, blueberries in gin syrup, and I think I'm forgetting something now but you get the idea), jewelry manufacture (homemade earrings!), a bespoke perfume for my brother capturing (as requested) the aromas of single-malt Islay Scotch whiskey (crafted to resemble a 40-year Scotch), fine suede leather, pipe tobacco, and sandalwood (I called it Impeccable), and a T-shirt transfer for Robert featuring my own "artist's rendering" of our favorite Rock Band band logo:
The band is called "Moustache Ride?" and we laugh every time we see the squid logo, so, you know, a band T-shirt was called for.
I also made a small easy-chair out of duck tape, cotton balls, florist's foam, and felt, because we needed a present for mom to unwrap even though her gift is us replacing her recliners in her "green room." So we made her a little chair and taped a gift certificate for chairs to it. She liked the chair even before she knew what the REAL gift is. Heh.
Yeah, yeah, I know, I should take more pictures.
But it was a busy Christmas and weekend. After we had all this busy-ness keeping us from playing with our new toys and Christmas gifts, it was a rare pleasure today to open several packages of Brand! New! Underpants! For both of us. And put these in the wash. And now I am waxing philosophical about underpants.
Is there any greater pleasure than nicely fitted, un-torn, brightly colored new underwear? I think not.
Men's and ladies' underpants are different entities, though. While ladies' (mine anyway) are silky microfiber with cloth-covered elastic, men's (Pat's anyway) are the equivalent of a hair-shirt for one's junk. I asked him what kind he wanted and he said, "[brand] lasts the longest..." I was appalled.
"That doesn't matter! Let's assume that you will always be able to afford $10 for a couple new pair of underwear, so it doesn't matter how long they last. Which are the nicest?"
"Well, that's what I'm saying, I hate when they get holes in them."
"That shouldn't worry you, because then you THROW THEM AWAY."
"[Brand] has the sturdiest fabric."
"... what about the softest?"
"I don't like that, because then they slide around and give me a wedgie."
"Covered waistband or not?"
"Definitely not, because the soft ones give me plumber-butt and crack kills."
"So basically they need to be as uncomfortable as possible."
So a hair-shirt for the junk it is, I guess. Men's underwear also come in such lovely colors as gray and gray. And more different, darker gray. I bought "assorted" colors in preferred brands for both of us, assuming we didn't care, and this is what we got:
For him: the stretch equivalent of burlap, with naked sports elastic with little grippy teeth, in primer gray and gunmetal black. (He will be ecstatic with these; they are exactly what he wanted.)
For me: silky microfiber, with covered no-roll elastic bands and the inevitable cotton crotch, in pastel solid colors and dainty stripes. (They fit and they AREN'T rough and scratchy and elasticky-grabby, so they are exactly what I wanted too.)
Ah well. Anyway, folks, hope you had a wonderful holiday, surrounded by love, and that you are pleased with any gifts you got, or got yourself. Hugs to all of you!