It's an odd-numbered year which traditionally means that Kristin and I go away someplace and do what the main characters in John Grisham's book couldn't do. We "Skip Christmas". Well, that's what we have done in the past on these odd-numbered years, but not anymore. This time we opted for pure merriment. Even if the gifts we got for one another never saw any wrapping papers or the under-side of any evergreen trees.
We had a few friends over Monday night for some drinks and games and for the always entertaining sharing of embarrasing stories. My friend Eric and his girlfriend were able to make it on short-notice, which was really great cause I don't see them that often since they moved to Bothell (not to mention his riding style shifted fully to the dark side. He has a disdain for lycra and uphills that matches my own feelings about body armor and "gaps". We are at a friendly impasse). Also in attendace was Kristin's workout buddy and a couple that lives down the road from us, who Kristin knows from work. It was a fun group and we all had a good time skipping ahead to the funny songs on the Flight of the Conchords DVD and playing the game Apples to Apples. And, basically, just standing around talking and getting fit-shaced. The sugar-plum martinis were more of a hit than I expected and I actually ran out of mix. Oh, the humanity!
Flash forward to Christmas morning and Kristin and I did what all couples without children do: we slept in. We had already set up the HD-DVD player we got from Santa on Sunday during one of my daily bouts of procrastination and although we did opt to get one another new snowshoes on Sunday when we returned the rentals, neither of us felt the need to wrap them. So gift-giving was already done. That said, we did get quite a few very nice gifts from visiting family members the previous week. Mostly travel books and various movies in the HD-DVD format. All of which was perfect since they packed well and are what we really wanted.
Anyway, so we had a late breakfast then settled into the couch yesterday morning to watch Shawn of the Dead. We had seen the movie a couple years earlier when it was in theatres and were both super excited when my sister gave it to us as a gift. It's a hysterical take on the zombie movies of yore, set in present-day London. It also gave us a chance to use some of the HD-DVD players' new features, like the ability to "bookmark" favorite scenes on the fly by pressing the "B" button on the remote control while you watch the movie.
Once the movie was done, we harnessed up the dogs, donned our snow-gear, and drove up towards Snoqualmie Pass for some snowshoeing. We had to be careful and go someplace where the snow wouldn't be too deep, otherwise the dogs wouldn't be able to handle it so we parked near the Annette Lake trailhead off Exit 47 on I-90 and hiked up to the Ironhorse Trail and continued east as far as we could go before the snow got too deep for the dogs. The Annette Lake trail was very well-travelled and all of the snow on it was packed firm, but the Ironhorse Trail was another story. There was one set of snowshoe tracks from someone who had been out earlier in the day, but that was it. The dogs would do fine for a while then their strides would require them to step on unbroken snow and cause them to quickly face plant into belly-high snow. They seemed to be having a lot of fun, but we had to eventually turn around and cut the hike to just under 4 miles. This was a good thing since the snow was really coming down and the drive home was starting to get a bit dicey. Lots of spun-out cars and one small collision involving a Camry and Hummer H3. Guess who hit who.
Back home and showered we returned to the proper viewing position in our living room and turned on the movie 300 that came along with the Bourne Supremacy with the HD-DVD player (5 more free coming in the mail). I know I may lose my gamer badge for admitting this, but I never had any interest in seeing the movie 300 and must say that the more I saw gamers posting on message boards about how great the movie was, the more I was certain that it must be awful. Well, I can admit at least in this instance, that sometimes the masses may be worth listening to. The movie wasn't bad. Actually, it was pretty good. Extremely violent with very little plot or dialogue, but well-done. And even Kristin liked it (although I think that had more to do with the dozens of chiseled chests & abs on display).
And if you're wondering, the decision to watch two of the most violent films made in recent years on Christmas wasn't intentional. Kind of ironic and funny, but not intentional. Or was it the suppressed Catholicism in me bubbling to the surface? Moving on...
Unfortunately, we ended up watching so many of the behind-the-scenes bits and bonuses after the movie that we didn't leave the house for dinner until a little after 7pm. The steakhouse we were intent on going to and feasting on appetizers at was already closed. As was every other restaurant we drove past in Bellevue. It seemed the only businesses open were movie theatres and the 7-ll. We were having such a great day, but we suddenly felt like total losers with no place to go.
Sorry, but the world is closed. Please come agan.
And then it hit me. A Christmas Story. Chinese. The Chinese restaurants will be open and I don't care if I have to cut the head off a goose, I'm eating some dinner! It's a Christmas miracle!
Not that we have anything against Chinese, but we opted to call Thai Ginger and sure enough, they were open. Actually, they were packed (and with a very non-Jewish looking crowd, I must add). So we dined on Tom Yum soup and Phad Thai and sticky rice and settled for a Thai iced tea instead of the bourbon I was looking forward to having, but at least we weren't the only people in the place.
And even if we were, we can't be alone as long as we have each other...
And a Thai waitress.