Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Christmas 2008

Of course the holidays started off in NYC. It is an amazing place during the month of December - every window has lights and decorations, there are craft fairs in all of the parks, and I can't get enough of classics like the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center.

This year Tony Bennett performed at the unveiling of the windows at Bloomindale's. I tried to make it down to see the performance but I was too late - wuh wuhh. I did pick up the CD of his Christmas classics and it is wonderful. The Bloomies windows were my favorite this season. Each window was based on a classic Christmas song and was done in a 50's nostalgic style with Tony singing in the background.

The Macy's windows were fun, but just too over the top for my taste. They featured crazy alien type characters making Christmas decorations. The best part of the Macy's window was the interactive toy crane - from the outside of the window you could work the controls to pick up a ball that became a star for the top of a Christmas tree. I always try to view the windows during the week after 8pm, the crowds are so much better compared to the weekends. When I was there no one was around and I could work the crane without cutting in front of some kid. My first try failed, but on the second try I picked up the ball and it became a star - I was so excited (of course there was no one around to share my enthusiasm). The night I went to see the Macy's windows there was a performer on the subway singing 'Happy Christmas' by John Lennon accompanied with just his acoustic guitar. His voice was amazing, it was such a magical moment. When he came looking for tips I threw a $5 Dunkin' Doughnuts card in his hat - then he stopped to talk to me. Apparently no one had given him a coffee card before - I really wasn't expecting to chat, no chatting just sing! Moments like that make me appreciate the experiences of living in NYC.

The rest of the holidays were spent in CA. About a week in San Diego - working and baking. We had a solid cookie exchange this year; Linda's perfectly decorated Santa face cookies were back along with Roni's nutty thumbprints, Mel's citrusy and delicate spritz cookies, and Bex wonderfully dipped peppermint Joe-Joes. I enslaved T&M for a night and they helped me bake all 13 dozen of my chewy ginger cookies. I love the way my cookies taste but hate the presentation. I got the best cookie cutter for Christmas this year - it is a gingerbread man wearing Mickey Mouse ears. My plan is to experiment during the year and figure out how to make them for the cookie tray. I also received Martha Stewart's Cookies cookbook for my birthday - there are some amazing looking cookies that might need some testing before I settle on my cookie tray selection. Bex and I made fudge to round out the tray - unfortunately at least in my cookie package the peppermint fudge contaminated the rest of the cookies with peppermint taste. No more peppermint fudge, it's banned along with the peanut butter blossoms. Bake and learn....

After SD it was off to spend some time with the fam. It was a relatively quiet Christmas for the O family, but that also meant it was quite relaxing.

We had a delightful intimate dinner party celebrating MomO's b-day. I introduced them to my new favorite way of cooking veges - oven roasting (and it was a big hit).

Jason started up the fireplace, and with a snap and crackle we were opening presents and having fun withe Rudolph antlers (even Alfonse the boxer got in to the holiday spirit).

(Yes Bex, you do seem a glimpse of those infernal stockings in the corner of the fireplace and on Jason's lap below - just when you thought they were gone!)

Little CJO was looking pretty darn cute in his Christmas plaid Mickey Mouse pj's. He's all boy and pretty much only wanted to play with his remote control car and big dump truck. 2 years old and he had no problem figuring out the remote control car - he'll be the kid you hear about on the news, backing the car out of the driveway when he's 7.

Yes, the antlers and blinking red nose!

And BDO too....

As promised Alfonse the boxer. Deemed the best dog in the world by BDO - no barking, no mess making!

Merry Christmas indeed.