January 5th, 2006

Christmas vacation

So, what about my Christmas vacation, when I wasn't falling sick? It was pretty good, actually.

I've just realized that I didn't write about last Christmas (2004) at all. (I'm just going to call it "last year" even though it was 2004.) Because I had recently started paying for braces, I ended up deciding not to go home to my parents'. That was my first Christmas away from home, ever, and I ended up feeling depressed about it. I didn't actually spend it sitting at home alone (well, alone with my new cat), as I went with the Dowlers to one of their friends' for dinner; that was nice and I'm glad I was invited. Still, it just wasn't the same as the noisy LaRose family Christmas that I'm used to, and I really missed that.

So this year I decided I wasn't going to miss that again, even though I'm arguably worse off with about the same amount of credit card debt outstanding and a condo to pay for as well. Because I didn't buy my airplane tickets until Thanksgiving weekend, I spent a lot more than I wanted to. I'd already decided I couldn't afford a rental car, and I knew the transit strike in NYC was likely to happen, so I was also anticipating travel hassles; that plus the expensive flight made me grumbly before I left and second-guess whether I should be going. But I'm very glad I made the decision to go, because I really enjoyed myself.

The transit strike and jet lag meant that I didn't do much in NYC before Christmas, but it was good to visit with Andrea and Jen (my younger sister and her girlfriend) and see their new place. I wanted to check out the Brooklyn Superhero Supply Company, but we didn't have a chance to go by there until after Christmas, at which time we determined it seemed to be closed for school vacation. (It fronts for 826NYC, a nonprofit organization for teaching writing skills to students. Rather annoyingly they don't simply list any kind of store hours anywhere on the site as far as we could tell; we had to piece together that it was closed for vacation from how the latest news was written.)

Up in Boston, I got to have some of my favorite pizza in the world, sausage pizza at the original Pizzeria Regina in the North End. I was arguably more disappointed the last time I was home for Christmas two years ago by missing out on that than I was by being miserable and sick all that week, so I was particularly pleased that it worked out this time. I also had pizza at Bob's in Nashua, my favorite local place, and that was good too. Ah how I miss good sausage pizza! It's just not the same out here.

My plans to hang out with my friends mostly worked out. Unfortunately, I managed to pass on the cold I'd picked up from Andrea to my friend Doug, so that he was sick on Christmas and wasn't able to come hang out with Scott and his family that night. I did have a good short visit with Scott and Lissa and Scott's parents and aunt, though it would've been nice to have some more time. Fortunately Doug was recovered enough on Monday evening to come over for a family game and little birthday celebration for me; and we also hung out on Friday and Saturday evenings, so I got to spend some good time with him. There was good family time too, mainly Christmas day itself, a family game of dominoes on Monday afternoon, and family breakfast on Tuesday before Andrea and I returned to NYC (driven by my younger brother bandtechiegeek, who stayed overnight).

Back in NYC, Andrea, Jeremy and I had dinner at a hipster place in hipster central, Williamsburg, Brooklyn. We didn't see any famous Williamsburg residents like John and John of TMBG, but I swear the attractive hipster at the next table (with the birthday party group) kept checking our table out. The next day after Jeremy left, we walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to meet a few of Andrea's friends for a dim sum lunch - and now that I've been I can say I have tried it and it's just not something I care for. Then Andrea and I went to the Museum of Modern Art for their Pixar exhibit, which was cool.

I had hoped to meet some of my VHive (ex-Delphi) forum friends for drinks while in NYC, but there was minimal response the first week when I talked about meeting after Christmas, and no response that Wednesday. I felt snubbed, but it was a very busy time for everyone, and I know at least one other person's party plans were being turned down on account of general tiredness, so I figure I shouldn't take it personally. Anyhow it's probably for the best, as spending the last evening quietly at my sister's place, reading a book (All Tomorrow's Parties by William Gibson) and repacking my luggage, was a good thing to do. Still, I realized that since my sister moved to NYC, I haven't spent an evening out on the town in Manhattan, and I'd like to do that.

That's about it for the trip. As I mentioned in the previous entry, my flight home took much longer than it was supposed to - first there was a delay leaving because of the weather, then a passenger with diabetes fell ill and we landed in Minneapolis to let him off, and it took about two hours to get back in the air - so I got home very tired, which may have contributed to my illness over the weekend. I also didn't get to see all the friends I would've liked to; I really need a trip with more time, and a rental car so I have the freedom to travel around to my friends' scattered homes. Overall though it was a very good Christmas holiday.