But here's the recap of the past week:
Christmas day: We entertained my parents, my sister and her funny dog Katie, my brother Gregg and his wife Kitt, Kitt's mom Gloria...that's our usual immediate family holiday crowd. But this holiday was made especially special by the arrival of our dear friends Eric, Diane and Abby all the way from Bermuda!
We met Eric and Diane in China, where we were on the same trip to meet our daughters. We clicked instantly and have wonderful memories of meeting our daughters together and spending our two weeks in China traveling and coping with sudden parentage with them. Abby is about 8 months older than Caroline. They have always gotten along famously. Up until 6 months ago, they all lived in Maine (and when we lived in New Hampshire, 2 hours away from them, we saw them quite often). But they moved to Bermuda so Eric could take a pilot job for a charter airline there, and they have been having amazing adventures there.
Anyway. Their arrival was the best present Roger and I and Caroline could ever have gotten.
The Turducken: Ah, here's what you've all been wanting to know, right? Well, it cooked beautifully, right on schedule (a 15 pounder, 5 hours in the oven at 325). It smelled heavenly. Sliced, it didn't look like the picture. We weren't able to discern the three separate layers of turkey, duck, and chicken. And it was sort of hard to tell what portion you were eating until you actually tasted it. The duck flavor stood out, the turkey and chicken seemed fairly similar. I had ordered the cajun sausage and cornbread stuffing (reading that the plain cornbread one was too bland and the seafood jambalaya one was too rich) and most folks liked it. It was a bit spicy for those folks who don't like spicy food...But for those of us who do, it was fine. So, it was a qualified success. It was fun and entertaining and there was much joking around the table about the name, and it was all eaten and declared delicious and we didn't have to break out the emergency ham...But Roger and I agreed we wouldn't bother to do it again. One turducken is, apparently, enough.
We joked that for dessert we were having a cake stuffed with a pie stuffed with a cupcake.... And we were greatly amused in the following days as we found ourselves saying things like "Want turducken sandwiches for lunch?" or "wonder what a turducken burrito would taste like?"
As a side note, Roger and I have this ongoing game where we invent new names for cars. Our favorites thus far are the Cadillac Sinatra, the Homeo Pathfinder and the Honda Jalapeno. But this event led to another: The Toyota Turducken. You can stuff a whole family inside! (Harharhar.)
Scooby Dooby Doo: This has become our family name for Soduku, to which both Eric and I became severely addicted, despite our inability to remember the actual name of these puzzles. On Christmas Eve, the grown-ups in Roger's family do a gift exchange, one of those games where you bring gifts, draw numbers to choose, and you can choose what someone has or something new. Our rule is that the gifts have to be "consumable," something that gets used up, and under $20. I had selected several Soduku books and bundled them up mysteriously and attractively, but I was worried that they'd bomb and no one would want them. To my delight, they were the gift that people fought over and repeatedly stole from each other!
Well, Santa had put a Soduku book in my stocking, and when Eric arrived he confessed that he had done them on the plane all the way west. So, much of our week involved all four of us adults sitting around the family room, with Eric and me engrossed in our "scooby doo's", Diane reading (a Carl Hiasson novel) and Roger doing line edits on his textbook manuscript. Very companionable.
Here is Eric in his "Scooby Doo" position, looking
And here is Roger, similarly sluggish but happy:
Oh, the rain, rain, rain came down, down down... Perhaps you've heard on the news that northern California is getting torrential rains. The past week or so has been really unusual for all of the rain, with something like 4 inches of rain in a 24 hour period. This Winnie the Pooh song keeps running through my head as a result! But it's made for great cozy inside enjoyment, with rain splattering against the windows and the wind howling. Good reading and scooby doo weather!
It did mean that some of the outings we might have taken with guests were abandoned in favor of indoor comfort. We always love going to SF's Chinatown for shopping and dim sum, but that's constant walking in and outside. We considered going to SF to see the new Harry Potter film at the Imax theatre, but the weather (for the 90 minute trip south) and Abby's vertigo nixed that option.
Kids? What kids? I mentioned that Abby and Caroline play amazingly well together. Basically, from the moment Abby arrived, the girls settled into Caroline's room playing and chattering together constantly, appearing from time to time for meals and snacks. Each time we went to check on them, they were totally engrossed and happy, playing with horses or legos or computer games. Abby brought along a computer game called the Age of Mythology, where (as far as I can tell) you create simulated worlds with mythological creatures. Eric and Roger figured out how to link the girls' computers together so they could be allies and help each other. These kids aren't "Barbie" girls (although they did watch with me and Diane as we viewed the Project Runway episode where they designed for Barbie and they enjoyed that)...they're more like Titan/Gaia/Hydra loving kids. I THINK that's a good thing...
Snoopy Lives! We did get out to visit the Charles Schultz museum in Santa Rosa, and that was a very fun visit. (If you're ever in this area, be sure to do that!) It's a very fun place, and we were instantly charmed by the tiny, real Charlie Brown Christmas tree at the entrance.... like the TV one, it had a few twig-like branches, a few sparse needles, and one red ornament. It was very fun to see Schultz's original drawings and storyboards for the animated shows. We also saw the exhibit of Japanese Peanuts-themed quilts that were very fun. (I was also excited to learn that they have a great Education Room where they teach cartooning! I have to investigate and consider that for Caroline...and me, too! )
Circus Magic: My brother's gift to all of us was tickets to see Cirque du Soleil's new show, Corteo, in San Francisco on Wednesday night. Unfortunately, my sister was not able to come so we bought her ticket for Abby, and Roger and I took Caroline and Abby while Eric and Diane enjoyed an evening to themselves in Healdsburg. We had dinner on the way down to the city (California Pizza Kitchen) and then had a fantastic time at the show. This show was funny and amazing and always surprising. With Cirque du Soleil, it is hard to know where to look -- there are interesting and amazing things happening in the air, on the stage, all over the place. But I was just as enthralled watching the girls' faces as they looked surprised and excited and amused and awed. It was a very, very fun evening. (Watch the clip at the link above!)
Unfortunately, the Harrisons had to leave this morning so we are in that post-holiday, post-company let-down/get-back-to-reality mood. But we have had an absolutely wonderful week with great friends.