I'm going to skip over something chronologically because I suspect it's going to be a multiple-day essay and it'll flow a little better this way. Christmas we spent, as usual, at bunny_hugger's parents' home, along with her brother and his girlfriend. And our grief at having lost Columbo.
A couple years ago bunny_hugger's parents put a fireplace into their living room. It's a neat little wood-burning stove and it really adds a lot of comfort and heat to the house. What I had somehow missed before was how her father lights the thing. He doesn't feel the thing starts reliably enough with a Duraflame log or other bits of kindling. So he's gone to a propane torch. So Christmas Eve Day and Day directly were interrupted by his bringing a flamethrower out and shooting it into the fireplace. For a surprisingly long time, too. I would have thought jets of blue flame would make blocks of wood catch fire a lot more easily than they do, and, not so much so. I have to suspect that maybe what her father really wanted was to be posted to all the kids' social media feeds. He got his wish.
This past Christmas was one in which I got a tiny bit outside my habit of giving out calendars and books to everybody. I gave a fair number of both, mind you, but not exclusively them. Like, I gave this nice little dip-mixing bowl to bunny_hugger's brother's girlfriend. I didn't completely escape my tradition of giving out flat stuff, though. I found a couple of albums to give bunny_hugger and her brother and her father. Her brother I gave a copy of Sparks's Kimono My House. This neatly, coincidentally, matched something she gave him, a promotional Kimono My House fan that she'd gotten from the Sparks Fan Club. We didn't coordinate. I had picked up the album several months ago, holding it in reserve to give bunny_hugger, but she got a newly-printed rerelease of the album herself and so I redirected my used-record-store purchase. I also gave bunny_hugger's father two Pat Benatar albums, the response to his saying how he was a fan of Benatar and that he only had her greatest-hits album. He hasn't got a record player, and I was aware there was an excellent chance bunny_hugger would be roped into ripping the albums to CD. She hasn't had to do that yet, though. I am fully prepared to learn how to do it myself, too, which seems like the minimally fair thing to do.
The last couple years we'd gone to see a movie on Christmas Eve or Day. bunny_hugger's brother suggested that we skip going to see The Last Jedi, as he'd rather have the time with family, and that was good enough. We did still want to go, and figured we'd go see it sometime later. (That ended up being mid-January, without her mother, and after her brother and his girlfriend had gone home.)
On the night of Christmas bunny_hugger and I accepted the bitter cold and walked around her parents' neighborhood. It had a great number of houses well-decorated, and under a fresh light layer of snow, making the lighting all the more wonderful.
Boxing Day her parents got up early to drive her brother and his girlfriend to the airport. I got up next, showering and alarming their dog. I took their dog for a walk around the neighborhood, less bitterly cold, and enjoyed the scene of a dog running through snow about as tall as she was.
We briefly thought that we'd be driving from her parents' home to Fremont, on the west side of the state, to get the last Blind Squirrel League tournament of the year in. But it had been snowing some, and the weather on the west side looked really bad, and we gave our condolences to AJH who runs the league. Within minutes he took a survey on when was the best time to do the finals, and they got bumped to the weekend when the weather teased being less bad. It's nice to feel so wanted. It turned out that the weather wasn't actually better come Saturday, but it did give us more time to spend with bunny_hugger's parents before leaving Christmas behind.
Trivia: Both the United States and the Soviet Union delegations to the 1980 Winter Olympics arrived to the opening ceremonies late owing to the traffic congestion around Lake Placid. Source: Encyclopedia of the Modern Olympic Movement, Editors John E Findling, Kimberly D Pelle.
Currently Reading: The Urban Bestiary: Encountering the Everyday Wild, Lyanda Lynn Haupt.
PS: Oh, I'm close to done with Motor City Fur[ry] Con pictures, but I'm not there yet, I admit.
I see what Sylvester's trying to do there.
Oh yeah, one of the directional signs that I think I photograph every year. Don't remember if 'Canada' is a new entry.
bunny_hugger enjoying her time on the dance floor in costume.