A Christmas Week

This week has been a surprisingly busy week at work.  Sure, the RFP for Fargo came out last week, but I kinda assumed that would be offset by the whole it is Christmas thing.  Evidently I was wrong.  I guess some of the issue has been that my motivation levels are a tad low…I’d estimate I’m working to about my 80%.  There haven’t been too many meetings to contend with and the last minute meeting that appeared for 1100 Thursday was cancelled at 1000, so Thursday was productive.  Okay, by productive, I mean that I did a whole lot of stuff to help out someone else which was not at all productive for my list of things to do.  Sure, it was more urgent, but hell, my list! 😉

Evenings I guess were a little busyish.  Monday Earl cooked yummy steak and veg for dinner.  Tuesday I baked a final batch of gingerbread men.  Wednesday was gym and an oddly late one, groceries etc.   At least one of those evenings I tried out this new hot chocolate recipe, its positively awesome!  Okay, the day I tried it was Tuesday because the gingerbread men doesn’t use the egg white.  I tried it once using the full recipe and wow was it rich!  Since then I’ve been playing with a reduction in chocolate, including chilli, and not doing the marshmallow stuff…it is still amazing.  Officially my go-to for cold days at home now.  Thursday I actually attended the fortnightly-ish social hour.  Not only did I attend but we had a table of eight at one stage, winning! Very surprised but I guess it was all the locals happening to be in town.  It was a good evening with good fun chatter, it’s great to enjoy the people you work with.

A little diversion from our regular programming.  A client talked about a project in North Dakota which I’d not heard of yet, turns out it was just a different name for one I was tracking.  Regardless, in finding this out I found an awesome new paper about the pipeline (the headline story continued on page 10) and more interestingly the attitudes of the locals.  If I go there, this may be very useful, sure the article is almost as old as me, but from my experiences it doesn’t look too far off.

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And a little more me being silly – when you closed your mouth there was no flying snow.


Friday I took the day off.  We have this wonderful thing called a floating holiday.  In Aussie terms it is a public holiday day which you can take whenever you like within the calendar year.  Interestingly ‘whenever you like’ isn’t really whenever, they have three pages of holidays that you can choose from plus your birthday or anniversary… incidentally none of the days in that huge page are Australia Day or ANZAC Day or the Queens Birthday.  Last year I didn’t know it existed, so I used it to move from the hotel to the apartment.  This year I plum forgot to take it so I decided the best bet would be Friday.  I picked up Jac from the train station at 0730 and we headed south west for another one of those hikes that look like they’d be perfect, and they are, because I’ve done it before.  Goose.  Plymouth mountain was the goal, took for me to get into mile three before I felt sure I’d done it before. Oh well, it was a perfect 6.5 mile hike, amazing weather, and fun company.  There was an amusing story to add to this one:  We were walking up a section when a bloke was heading down with his dog.  He was holding the dog closely but not looking too worried, so when we got to him I asked if he’s friendly…the conversation went:

Bloke: Yes, he’s just super excited to meet new people.
Me: [start scratching dog] Thats convenient, so am I.
[when saying farewell]
Bloke: Thanks for making his day.

I’m not sure whether we made the day of the bloke or the dog.  He and Jac had a nice chat while I played with the dog.

The last stroll to the top and viewing point; decent views that the photo doesn’t do justice to.

Great hiking company!

After the hike I headed home and did a few hours of work then walked over to Marks to say merry Christmas to those guys.  do you love my classy wrapping paper? 😉  Earl came over after work too and Mark decided he was cooking dinner for us, great steaks and veg off the bbq!  Then we headed to the cinema. There was a decent snafu when we got there Chad asked if I was picking them up, shit, then their response came true saying yes to my offer. Ugh.  Kat, Nick, Earl and I hung out and we didn’t miss any of the movie, so no big issues but I felt super bad!

The great gift wrapping inspired by Freddy.

When we got home we decorated the Christmas tree because we had gifts that just couldn’t not be under a tree!

When is it appropriate to take down the Christmas tree? I’m not sure keeping it alive is quite my forte.

Saturday was a slightly lazy morning followed by an on-site moment when I realised I should have done more preparation for the Christmas dinner.  We divided and conquered, Earl has to go to the shop and get some corn flour (it’s not the same as corn starch, der) and I cooked up the bacon, mushroom, and prepared mix for the custard.  Productive!  Then over to Kats for a great orphans Christmas, turns out there were thirteen of us!  It was a great afternoon of eating, drinking (thank you for driving Jac), chatting, playing, and general Christmas-ness.  Huge shout out to Kat and Nick for being great hosts!

The beautiful Christmas table; Nick cut himself out of the photo, it wasn’te, promise! In true Christmas style multiple tables were brought together to seat the masses.

I may be biased but I think I win…beef wellington served on a bed of crispy bacon.

Bonus photo of the girls in the kitchen: Jac, me, Kat, Stella, and Gwen.

Sunday was a quite necessary lazy morning. Earl and I opened Christmas presents in bed, ate beef wellington for breakfast, then started “Jewish Christmas”.  We headed over to Becky and Lanes place (Becky is Earls sister) and had a pre-dinner-drink then off to a Chinese restaurant for Christmas lunch.  We clearly weren’t the only ones doing that, the place was a bit busy!  The sushi was yummy for sure.  Then back your Becky’s for a Christmas movie and more drinks.  I’d forgotten how good the gremlins movie is!  Thank you Becky, Lane, and Caleb for welcoming me.

The flyers jumper I got from Earl and socks from gran. Love it.

***52 New Things***

This will be an odd one, but bear with me, it makes sense.

We headed back to Earls and realised that his house has no food, so had to go on a food hunt for a late dinner.  Turns out Dennys was the closest open place.  We popped into Dennys to find that the place wasn’t particularly full but had a wait for tables of about four groups of people.  While waiting we realised why, they had significantly less people than they’d normally have, it seemed like one server was a promoted bus-boy, and the bus-boy seemed to be a promoted dish-washer.  And all of those people were well over the age of 60!  So I guess the place was on a go-slow with all the people arriving and the inexperienced / slow staff, so the whole dinner affair – at a place which would normally take about thirty minutes – took almost two hours.  Oh well, we were only going to chill on the couch anyways, so having a giggle at the other clientelle and the staff was a fun way to while away the time.

I know you all remember that my first foray to a Dennys was with Ally and co, so I hear you all asking where is the new part?

Well, for the first time in as long as I can remember, I was hungry at dinner time on Christmas day!  Hehehe.  Our understanding about the Jewish Christmas was that it would be a ‘dunch’ affair, something mid-afternoon, but with Caleb having to return to Fort Collins it was actually a normal lunch time.  We reflected on this as we were sitting at Dennys and lamenting our lack of planning regarding food.  My burger was perfectly good (bread aside, but that isn’t the fault of Dennys), so I was a happy chap.

*****

Monday was another lazy day.  I introduced Earl to Coupling, which I think he liked quite a bit.  I’m not sure whether he liked it because it is amusing or because it is written by the guy who writes Dr Who, and – being a nerd – he loves Dr Who!  Next post will be the fun of the New Years’ holiday weekend.  Hopefully with more photos for you Benno!

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