Tag Archives: holiday

Good Christmas season and a nice family visit

Mrs. Poolman and I spent most of the past two weeks lounging around and doing not much of anything. Mrs. P worked for two days the first of Christmas week and then again on Jan 1-2. In between, we had a great holiday, and then a three-day visit to see my middle-sister, Maggie, and her family at Lake Hartwell, near Anderson, S.C. We didn’t do any floating in the lake on this visit, but one afternoon, the clouds parted and it was nice enough to take a boat ride. So the nine of us piled into the neighbor’s pontoon boat for a winter afternoon’s boat cruise. Very nice.

The view from the back deck.

The view from the back deck.

My niece with her "child," Norman the Basset.

My niece with her “child,” Norman the Basset.

All aboard!

All aboard!

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister and Mrs. Poolman enjoying the day.

Sister with the center of attention.

Sister with the center of attention.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

Mrs. P enjoying the ride.

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A quiet, but enjoyable Christmas

Happy Boxing Day, as they might say in the UK!

We had a simple and quiet Christmas here at Casa Poolman. I am about half way through a week-and-a-half long holiday break. Within the University System, we bunch several holidays in the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day and close down the institute for a week. I added a couple of  vacation days to that run, so I will have off from the Saturday before Christmas through New Year’s Day. I love it.

Unfortunately, Mrs. Poolman is not so lucky. This was the year she was scheduled to work 12-hour shifts both Christmas Eve and Christmas. It stinks, but what can you do?

I spent the first half of Tuesday putzin’ around and taking care of last-minute Christmas preps. My CCD class provided the readers for a short Christmas Pageant during the 4 o’clock Mass. Everyone we were expecting showed up, and more-or-less on time. Yea! Last year, we had one child who missed all but one practice, but we agreed to let him participate after his mother called up and practically begged us to do so. Then “mom” failed to deliver him on time. We rearranged the readers to cover his slot, but he came running up just as we were walking into church for the start of Mass. I don’t blame the child, but the mom taught us a lesson we won’t forget.

No such drama this year. Our students all did great. After constant encouragement, they all read loud enough that the congregation could actually here them. Yea again!

Our reader team.

Our reader team.

Mrs. P got home around 8 o’clock and we split a pizza for dinner. Very fancy.

On Christmas morning, I got up and drove about 45 minutes out in the country to my daughter’s in-laws. Brad and Annie are great. It was very nice of them to invite me out for Christmas brunch. Writer Princess is very lucky (and so are we) that she has such a great set of in-laws. They a house on several acres out in the boonies. Annie has taken to raising livestock. She has turkeys, chickens, “runner ducks,” guinea fowl and goats. The highlight of yesterday’s visit were two week-old baby goats.  Very cute!

"Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!

“Well, Tom. We made it through another holiday. Whew!”

Inquisitive goat.

“So what did you get for me?”

Back home in the early afternoon and started preps for dinner. I planned on a boneless rib-eye roast, twice-baked potatoes, green bean bundles and creamed pearl onions (Mrs. P’s creation ahead of time.) Everything went well, even the green-bean bundles, which were a little more effort than I originally planned.

Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm and I handed her a vodka and tonic. The rest of our dinner guests included son, girlfriend, daughter, son-in-law, and son-in-law’s brother. I planned to take a picture of the meal, but, frankly, I was so wrapped up in getting it all together when it was time to serve, I just forgot.

Some friends/neighbors walked down as we were finishing dinner. We all gathered in the family room to open presents and visit.

Gathered around

Gathered around

...visiting.

…visiting.

I wish Mrs. P had been around for more of the activities, but given the circumstances, it was a pretty nice holiday.

Another nice Christmas music video

I guess we’re on a music-video-roll this week. After I posted the Spanish Beethoven video yesterday, one of my former bosses sent me a Youtube link to this piece. This is clearly not a flash mob. It is a very well produced Christmas video created, apparently, for T-Mobile for their employees. I showed it to Mrs. Poolman last night and she loved it. So here you go:

 

 

An absent-minded priest and a moist turkey

We’re in the middle of a very nice four-day Thanksgiving weekend, at least for me, that is. This is Mrs. Poolman’s year to work the Thanksgiving holiday and to be off for Christmas. She was at the hospital  on Thursday and today (Saturday.)

With Mrs. P taking care of babies and both our children doing the day-side of the holiday with their husband’s and girlfriend’s families, I had a quiet day to myself.  I went to 9 o’clock Mass where I was scheduled to lector. That is usually an adventure, especially when Monsignor C is celebrating. I really like the Monsignor. He is a 70+ year old Irishman with a dry sense of humor. We get along very well. However, he tends to change things and not tell the other members of his team. On Thursday, we couldn’t find any copy of a “Prayers of the Faithful” for that date. When I asked Monsignor about it, he said, “Oh, they are in a special booklet. I’ll have to give them to you at the altar.”

Oh, great, that meant a “cold read.” That’s not usually a problem unless there are some difficult names in the petitions for the deceased, sick, etc. Then Monsignor decided to skip the Creed, which is normally my cue to go to the podium to read the Prayers. As it turned out, as I walked up to the altar, our other priest, Father John, met me half way and handed me the booklet. No problem, after all.

Actually, I have been doing the lectoring long enough that I can roll with the action pretty well. Just about everything that can go wrong has done so for me at one time or another. I do become a little concerned about some of our younger lectors, many of whom are some of my former CCD students who I have recruited and coached. They are significantly less confident about handling some of Monsignor’s curve-balls.

I spent the rest of the day hanging out, working on some photos from a friend’s daughter’s wedding I shot a couple of weeks ago and finishing preps for the Thanksgiving meal. My main responsibility was the turkey. At Mrs. P’s suggestion, I tried a radically different roasting technique. I have cooked holiday turkeys more times than I can count. Usually, I roast it covered with foil at 325 for about 4-5 hours,, uncovering for the last hour and periodically basting. I may never do that again. Here is a great method that produced a fantastic, very moist bird.

1. Prepare the bird as usual, seasoning it and placing an apple, celery and a bay leaf in the cavity.

2. Place in a covered roasting pan and put it into a cold oven.

3. Turn the oven to 450 degrees and when it pre-heats to that temperature (about 15 minutes) set your timer for one hour.

4. When the timer goes off, turn the oven off and just let it sit for five hours. DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN!

I was a skeptic. I didn’t think it would work, but it sure did. Our turkey was a little over 15 pounds. You might need to adjust a little for a larger bird. I really don’t know. The key was the white meat was very moist, which I can’t say is always the case with my more traditional roasting technique.

Another advantage of this technique is that it would work very well to cook overnight.

The rest of the family came over in the evening and Mrs. P got home around 7:30 pm. So our holiday dinner was at 8:30 pm, but it was a great one anyway.

Monday blues on Thursday

We’re back to work today after the Fourth of July holiday. I’ve heard a number of conversations about the mid-week holiday.  Most would prefer the three-day weekend, but it’s one of those half-empty, half full comparisons.

I mentioned to a friend that now we have just a “two-day work week.”

“Yeah, but it also means this week has two Mondays!”

But it also has two “Fridays.” That’s good, isn’t it?

“One Day”

We had a slow weekend, followed by an even slower Martin Luther King holiday. Mrs. Poolman had to work Monday, but I had the day off.  I have to say that as much as I love my wife, and enjoy doing things with her, it is occasionally nice to have a day just to myself.  I wouldn’t want a steady diet of it. I get lonely and bored too easily, but a single-day now and then is nice.

I spent it mostly being a house-husband. I did several loads of wash; cleaned up around the house; went grocery shopping and so on. I have such an exciting life.

I finished up by watching a movie we had rented over the weekend, “One Day,” with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess.  I had read the book last summer and thought it was OK. The book “checks in” on a couple on the same day every year from the day they graduated from college and for another two decades. The movie sticks with the book very closely. The biggest problem with the story is that the guy, Dexter, is an arrogant, self-involved ass. As the couple gets together, breaks up, becomes friends, breaks up again, and so on, it is very difficult to understand what the Anne Hathaway character, Emma, sees in him.

That having been said, the movie is a refreshing break from the teen-oriented movies and the standard boy-meets-girl formula flicks that are so common. I’m glad I didn’t spend $20 to take Mrs. P to the theater to see it, but it is definitely worth a couple of bucks from Blockbuster Express or Redbox.

If you see it, tell me what you think.

The book and the movie have something of surprise ending. Since I had read the book I knew it was coming, but it still sat me back. No other information. Don’t want to spoil it.

Children, movies and a holiday week coming to an end

The rest of our holiday-vacation week has gone fairly well. Mrs. Poolman and I have been kept busy entertaining an easily bored, and somewhat difficult-to-please 11-year old.

On Thursday, we visited the Georgia Railroad Museum (aka: The Roundhouse Museum.)

The turntable at the Georgia Railroad Museum

A friend of ours is the curator there and we thought it would be a good outing. I enjoyed it. Mrs. P was neutral. Christine the Younger liked the short train ride, although the complained about being uncomfortable in the tight seat most of the time. Sigh.

After the train museum, we took her to a movie, “We Bought a Zoo!” The movie wasn’t at all what I expected. Instead of a silly, children’s comedy (Think Kevin James.), it was a pretty decent flick, based on a true story. At times, the movie had a few too many story lines running simultaneously, but I would still give it a strong recommendation, especially for someone looking for a PG rating for kids and “tweens.”

Actually, the evening before, we rented another movie that turned out better than expected – “Letters to Juliet.” It was a cute, feel-good movie that was entertaining. It won’t be up for any Academy Awards, but it was certainly worth the $2 rental fee. I was the only one in our group who picked up on the reunion of Vanessa Redgrave and Franco Nero as the older-generation, reunited lovers. The pair played Guinevere and Lancelot in the 1967 film production of “Camelot.” The movie was just the beginning; their relationship continued beyond the ending credits.

Note: After having a son, the pair went their separate ways. Years later, Redgrave and Nero reunited personally and were married in 2006.

Redgrave and Nero in "Camelot."

Writer Princess joined us for a dinner of homemade lasagna (my sauce, Mrs. P’s “construction.”) Son-in-Law was fighting a bad cold, so he stayed home. (Thank you!)

Friday was scheduled to be our last day with young Christine. It was a gorgeous day, so we headed out to the beach. Obviously, it was too cold to go in the water, but it was a nice day for a walk on the sand.

Tybee Island beach, December 30, 2011

Both our children, SIL and Poolboy’s girlfriend were heading to Jacksonville Friday evening, to spend the New Year’s weekend with their cousins. That worked out well. They were able to give Christine a ride back home.

All told, it was an interesting week, but we’re glad to have our house back.

We’re planning a quiet New Year’s Eve. Our neighbors have invited us and a few other folks for game-night evening. We may make it until midnight, but I’m not taking any bets. In any case, it’s just a two-house walk home. I don’t think we’ll get into any serious trouble.

Happy New Year!