- We celebrated Boxing Day again this year, but due to schedules, it was the 27th instead of the 26th. Our good friends the P. family came over and the adults talked, the children played, and we ate some food. We even got to Skype with our other good friends the H-S family. It just seemed right since we usually celebrated Boxing Day at their house. A child was sent to fetch a tissue only a couple of times.
- Talk around the meal table continues to debate what other animals should be acquired. There is still a strong lobby for a miniature goat to live in the house, though the miniature donkey contingent is fairly powerful. I question the motives of some of the lobbyists since I have discovered that one in particular just wanted to be able to tell friends about the antics of their family and adding a goat to the mix sounded like a nice addition to their story telling.
- Various children have been passing around a rotten head cold this week as well. It could explain the general malaise the household is suffering from. So far M., B., A., D., and K. have succumbed and recovered, and it has now moved on to Y.
- I went to the grocery store last week to stock up on food for Christmas Eve and Christmas. It was just two days and it was more than I usually spend on a week's worth of food, so I didn't buy anything else. It's a good thing I have a well-stocked pantry because we scrounged for food this entire week. I finally had to go to the store again today, because people were starting to complain. TM went with me. He is an enormous help, and when he comes I can do the grocery shopping in half the time it usually takes. I bribe him with coconut gels, which he loves. As we were looking on the shelf so he could decide which variety he wanted, I saw this:
I'm not sure there's really anything else to say about it. I didn't buy it, but now I'm kind of kicking myself that I didn't.
- In other grocery store news, a couple of times someone had to run to our nearby grocery store for an item or two that the pantry did not have (brown sugar, for instance). We made banh xeo last night because TM had been wanting Vietnamese food, and I had most of the ingredients. We just needed a couple of fresh things to go along with it. I realized exactly how spoiled I am by shopping in a small grocery store whose main clientele are immigrants. Not only can I find just about any ingredient or spice, often in bulk and for less, that I need, especially those outside of traditional American cooking, but the produce selection is large, varied, and decent. Take fresh herbs, for instance. In my usual grocery store, I can find huge bunches of fresh herbs at a decent price. When J. went to our nearby, large American chain grocery store, all he could find were these teeny-tiny plastic bags filled with pathetic looking herbs that used to be fresh and charged an arm and a leg for them. We seem to be a nation of non-cooks.
- The hit game of Christmas has been Robot Rally. I had spent quite a bit of time wandering around Chicagoland Games with a helpful clerk tagging along behind. After much discussion, this is one of the games he recommended. And once again, I'm happy to say, the staff at that little store knows their stuff. Everyone loves it. The box says it is for 12 and up, but even the seven year olds have figured it out. There is a little bit of reading, but not too much, with the bulk of the game relying on directional arrows. Essentially, you put down programming cards which will tell your little robot how to move each turn. Other things can happen which can upset your plan, including getting hit by lasers or falling off the board. Ultimately, you want to be the first cute little robot (and yes, there are actual little robot figures to move) to get to the winning space. The beauty of this game is that not only can six people play at a time, but it has many different boards, of increasing difficulty, which can also be combined to make a vast number of different games. The downside? Well, if you are playing with someone younger than 12 who may not quite get the logic of how to get their robot where they want to go, it can have a vague Candy Land feel to it. You know, just when you think you are going to get to the candy castle and finish the game, you draw the molasses swamp card and lose another 30 minutes of your life. This has only happened once with the robot game, and that was mainly because there a couple of rules we had missed that would have helped significantly. I recommend it.
- We also now have the game Pandemic. I have spent some time reading the rule book, but have yet to get enough older people in the same room in order to try to play it. I still have a couple of days of vacation and am hopeful we can try it. It looks like fun and I'll let you know what we think of it after we actually get to play it.
- Hypothetically, if I were to apply to give a TEDx talk, and that application was accepted, what topic would you be interested in hearing me speak on? Hypothetically, speak on, that is.
- Another navel gazing question is, would you be interested in reading a list of the books I've read this year? Or is that just too fantastically dull to contemplate? Annotated, or does it matter?
- The checkbook is not going to be happy starting next year. So far, two of my more than weekly expenses have given notice that they are going up, both horseback riding and our copay amount. The copay is going up another TEN dollars per visit. This does not fill me or my checkbook with any sort of joy. That sound you just heard was me pulling the belt that much tighter.
Food, games, and books. Yep, that about sums up the past week. Have a happy and safe New Year's Eve everyone!