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30 December 2010 @ 09:58 am
Christmas Holiday: a bit of a story with pics  
Once upon a time a girl went up to N. Cal to visit her family - there were lots of hugs and a bunch of time spent hanging out with her nephews and parents and even an eclipse! And then she and her mom took a driving adventure back to her house, filled it with lots of wonderful things to make it a warm home, made bunches of good food, and went on adventures. And then, sadly, she had to put her mom back on a train to go home. But in the end, it was kind of a magical Christmas.




This is my nephew. Can you believe that? I think this man was actually the first child I held in my arms *ever*. And now he's all grown up, with a wife, and a teaching job, and still a goofball. I went with him and his wife and his mom to see the Sacramento City Ballet performance of the Nutcracker. It's been years since I saw it, and I grinned through every single moment just because of nostalgia's sake. I think it was probably one of the first times that my mind didn't wander during a performance. I had so much fun watching their feet! And wow male ballerina's butts are in shape!

The pic above was taken at the family Christmas 'do', which happens the weekend before the actual date so our entire family can get together - 20 or so people in the house goofing around, doing a quasi-white elephant present exchange (quasi because most people got sort of generic gifts instead of getting stuff out of their garages as they're supposed. I had an excuse - I have no garage right now). It was loud and silly and I had a great time with everyone.


My one good eclipse picture! And it was the very first one that I took and the smoke was entirely accidental.Thanks to [personal profile] elizabuffy I found out about the eclipse, and my dad & stepmom wandered out to watch for the first 5 minutes or so, and then me and my nephew stayed until the moon was entirely covered.


This is us right before we went to bed. He's trying to figure out his life right now, so I went with him to see a college he's thinking about going to. It was good to have new stuff we could talk about, and hopefully he goes there.


Me, my dad & stepmom. We can't get my dad to open his eyes for pictures, so this is the cutest one of me and mom. It's kind of crazy but my relationship with my parents, as I get older, just seems to be better and better. I don't know if at this point it's age, or the fact that all three of them are just cool people, but I truly feel like I enjoy them now in ways I never could have as a kid, and enjoy my time with them. It's deeply comforting. And so while most of my NCal trip centered around the Xmas celebration that Saturday, the real moments were just the little ones - like having my sister call and invite me over to hang out my last day there, and me inviting her over to hang out with me and mom instead, because I actually *like* hanging out with her. And my dad coming home from work three hours early so we can all stand around and say little things, but each word kind of cool because I knew it was specifically about making time so we could be together just a little longer.


And then there was tree!! Now, if you look closely, you can see the little blue lights that were just one of my mom's contributions to the tree - I am totally and utterly in love with the lights though, because we only had to use one string and yet the tree lit up (nos so strangely like a christmas tree!)

This is taken on Thursday, the day after mom and I (and Domino) drove the seven hour stretch down to LA since mom consented to celebrate the holidays in my place this year. Of course, mom being mom, that thursday we went out and got a couple of rugs and lamps to actually make my place more *my* place, along with all the other myriad dohickies that you need to differentiate a fancy dorm room from an apartment. Besides, we had to pick up cookie making supplies.


And there she is, the quasi bell of the ball, Domino.  Who was actually pretty ok even if she did get whiny up at my Dad's (at some point I'm going to take her up there when it's not raining the entire time and she'll be out in the back yard and it'll be fine - it's just that she stays in the garage when it is raining, and she can actually hear the people, and she would much rather be in the house shedding all over everything then out in the garage).


Me and mom christmas eve!  Since we were invited to Hawk & Miranda's parents house on Christmas day, we decided to do a blue cheese, prosciutto, and basil stuffed fillet mignon, and it turned out fabulous.  With asparagus risotto, a cherry tomato and cucumber salad, and fresh french bread,  no one could have asked for anything more.  And since we'd spent the day baking and goofing around with my all time favorite Chinese five-spice ginger cookies, and oatmeal cookies, and fudge, we had that for dessert.  It was an absolutely splendid repast!  And this is us lookign, well, quite silly.


Christmas morning!  And slippers!!  Mom got three pairs this year so she won't run out quite as quickly (hopefully).  And she got me two of the most beautiful scarves - I've already worn them because I just can't resist. 

Though the real present was having her down here with her awesomeness to celebrate with me, because we really enjoyed doing things with each other this visit, from putting walnuts in the oatmeal cookies and watching dumb movies on my computer, to visiting LACMA and the dog park.  But I'll get to that.


Doggie presents!  Hey, it wouldn't be Christmas if the dog didn't get something from Santa right?  Which she promptly started chewing on, and kept at, until the entire thing was devoured.  Luckily I took it away from her before I fed her, otherwise I think she would have gnawed on it to the exclusion of all else.


Ah, our poinsettia! Mom got it for me, and it stood outside the front door (since she suggested they're winter plants and do better out side than in, which so far seems to be totally true).  Besides, it was kind of wonderful to walk up to the door and see this pop of color greeting us.

Also, it kind of stands in for all the great pictures I didn't take because I was having too much fun in the middle.  Christmas dinner with Hawk & Miranda, and Hawk's parents and relatives (and Maija & Jeff) was so unspeakably happy.  Hawk's mom did a giant turkey, there was so much food your head was going to explode, and my mom marched right in and got to making friends with everybody there which was super cute.  And we had the best breaks in conversation to oooh and ahhhh over Aine, their daughter who is just around 20 months i think, who is discovering the joys of unwrapping and playing with gifts (including a mock power tool set that was so cool!)

The best moment though?  Was the one where I was sitting on the couch, Miranda and Hawk standing behind and Maija next to me, where we were all talking about how awesome it was to get to be together to celebrate the holiday with each other.  There was an awkward but totally perfect group hug thing.  And I realized how much these simply amazing people mean to me and how lucky I am to have them as part of my family, to get to be a part of their lives and have them in mine, and even though I didn't cry then, I am now because yeah.  I'm lucky.

And then mom and I started off on what I'm calling the 'adventure' part of the holiday!  We went with Maija and Jeff to see Tron 3D that night (and yes, I had seen it in Sacto with my sister and nephew already, but who cares? mom wanted to see it).  We had a good time (and if you want my real feelings about it, check out </user>[personal profile] scarimonious 's hilarious post <--Haters. where she said everything in an awesome way so that I could just head nod in agreement )

Sunday we totally DEVOURED LACMA - they had a special exhibit of art from India's Luckdow city, and the German Expressionists were wandered through, and then, finally, after being back in this city for a full year, I returned to the Japanese Pavilion and we walked down through it's scrolls.  And while I may not have been able to read everything, I was able to read some things, and it was awesome.

Monday we went to the beach and played around in the waves (you'll see below) and laughed as the ocean chased us.

Tuesday we did the food thing - had lunch at Susan Feniger's Street (mmmm kaya toast) and dinner at Umami Burger (mmm truffle burger!) and finally picked up mom's real present from the old address, and generally had a lovely day of sitting around reading books.














all in all it was one of the most perfect Christmases in my memory - with equal parts up and running around and quiet, with love beyond measure.



also posted to dreamwidth | you can reply here or there | um, but don't worry, i'm still an lj girl
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Muriellemurielle on December 30th, 2010 06:18 pm (UTC)
What a beautiful holiday you had with your family. I think I fell in love with them as I read your wonderful post.

And I'm more than a little misty-eyed right now, remembering my own mom.

::hugs::
my monkied brain: b/g - hug [ntm]katekat1010 on December 30th, 2010 06:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you lady! *hugs to you too* and a belated merry christmas!
Gabriel, last I checkedreplicant_rasa on December 31st, 2010 02:51 am (UTC)
Hi Kate~!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

It has been far too long since we've hung out and/or talked, miss you like burning~~ Glad to hear your holidays were good. :)
my monkied brain: buffywill - *glomp*katekat1010 on December 31st, 2010 03:19 am (UTC)
Gabriel!!! it has been WAY too frigging long! happy christmas and new year to you too!!!

are you still making your way in the wilds of tokyo? we need to set up a skype time or something equally technological to say hi. when are you going to send me some of your stories to read too?
Gabriel, last I checkedreplicant_rasa on December 31st, 2010 03:45 am (UTC)
Ya, but I'm moving back to the states on Feb. 23rd. Tired of English teaching, want to try something new for a bit, and also get name-change paperwork finally done. :)

Remember, ages ago, sitting in a bar in nichoume and talking about genderfail in the Dresden Files, and how I was "fixing" that? Well, the fic is done-but-for-the-epilogue, and as one of the few people I know who's read the series but wasn't thrilled with it, I hope you like my take on it. :D

http://rassaku.livejournal.com/tag/dresden%20files

Rassaku is also me, my fiction/writing-centric journal instead of replicant_rasa, which kind of became my trans-centric journal.
my monkied brain: tara - happy to see youkatekat1010 on January 15th, 2011 03:50 am (UTC)
ok, so just for you (well and because i had computer fail and had to go back to printed books) i went back and reread the dresden file books - gonna go read this now (and you don't mind if i friend your fic journal do you?)
Gabriel, last I checkedreplicant_rasa on January 15th, 2011 11:57 am (UTC)
Hahahaha, you are a champion, my friend. And while I wouldn't force anyone to read the Dresden books for the sake of my fic, it definitely makes use of plot developments from all books up to and including Small Favor. Go ahead and friend rassaku (I'll even friend you back :D). There's nothing friends-locked there, but I expect to get more use out of it, since that's where I put my reading/writing related posts. Anyway, I hope you like it! It won't be worse than the series, in any case. (In my biased opinion. :D)
Blue: H5O :: Konoblue_meridian on December 31st, 2010 06:27 am (UTC)
YAY FOR AWESOME HOLIDAYS! You really deserved it after the year you've had and it made me sooo happy reading this post. ♥ ♥
my monkied brainkatekat1010 on January 13th, 2011 09:26 pm (UTC)
thank you lady! they were truly awesome indeed, and kind of healed the spirit, which is never bad!