Monday, December 30, 2013

Work before Pleasure

Friday night Richard Bonomo, Kathbert, Cecil Markovitch, and I went to the Third Day of Christmas Carol Sing at the Lutheran church, then we went to my OTHER choir director’s house for leftover fruit soup. Saturday when Travalon came, I gave him his present from Ma and Pa Hat, and it was a chip bag clip that looked like a yellow bird, and when you open it, it tweets. That is the level of random I expect from the elder Hats. Travalon and I were heartily amused. Then we met with Palm Tree Fan, who is going to be doing the photographs for our wedding, and then we wandered down State Street because it was such a beautiful day. We had a long talk at the usual coffee place and then had some dinner at Nick’s. Then we discovered that the big wine store just down the road has an incredible selection, including that Midas Touch beer from Dogfish Head Brewery that is based on a 2000-year-old recipe. We bought a couple of bottles and went to Rich’s house, where we talked politics. The Midas Touch was really good, and really strong for beer – 9% alcohol. Guess those ancients knew how to party!

Sunday was an even better day. Why? If you watched the Packer game, you already know why. But work comes before pleasure, and so Rich made me work out at the health club again. Every time we are done, I am so sore that I can barely lift my arms the next day. Luxuli and her husband joined us too, then I went to their house to watch the game. It’s always a beautiful thing to watch the Packers beat the Bears, but it is even more special when Rodgers has been out for a good chunk of the season and then is finally back. Hard to believe we made it into the playoffs with our lousy record this year, but we did, so we are playing the Fortyniners at Lambeau. Light Bright (who is a Niners fan) and her husband (who is a Packer Backer) can talk trash to each other from now until Sunday. Then they can make up. I think it would be hard to be in a mixed marriage, but Travalon is a Packer fan too, so I won’t have to worry about it.

Famous Hat

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Gifts from Ma and Pa Hat

Last night I opened the presents from my parents in front of Rich and Kathbert, since they are usually amused by what Ma and Pa Hat get me for Christmas. This year was a little less wild than in years past, like when they gave me Aloysius the Singing Praying Mantis, which sings six different but equally bad vaguely Christian songs aimed at children. Aloysius was such a hit that people asked where my parents had gotten him, but alas, he was on clearance and there were no more left. This year there were two presents which were too small to be Aloysius or the Chihuahua that sings “Feliz Navidad.” The first one contained pumpkin spice cappuccino pods for a Keurig coffee machine, which I do not own, though I certainly do love pumpkin spice cappuccinos. We’ll have to see if we can just add hot water to make them. The second one was a glow-in-the-dark paperweight. We turned the lights off and indeed it does glow in the dark. Both of these are very work safe gifts, and in fact we have a cappuccino maker at work, but unfortunately it takes a much smaller sized pod so mine will not fit into it. Travalon still has not opened his gift from Ma and Pa Hat, so I’ll let you know what that is once he does.

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Famous Hat Christmas

I hope my readers had a good Christmas. I had to come into work today. It is a little eerie here at the office, because I am the only one here at the moment. It’s very tempting to sneak out early… There is another office with the light on and music playing, so presumably that person is still around somewhere.

Christmas Eve Luxuli and I were planning to help Richard Bonomo decorate the church, but after we met for coffee and then prayed the rosary, I had to hurry and make two cassatas this year. (Luxuli did stay to help Rich out.) One was for my future in-laws, and the other was for the crowd at Rich’s house. Rich had been up all night making a stable for the church's crèche scene, so he was like a zombie. He fell asleep, and I was frantically preparing cassatas, so we were late to warm-up at our church. The choir sang carols for half an hour before “Midnight” Mass at 5 pm, and then afterwards Luxuli and her husband had Rich, Kathbert, and me over for appetizers and coq au vin, followed by Kathbert’s chocolate pie. Then Kathbert and I went to the Lutheran church and then Fruit Soup at my OTHER choir director’s house. I didn’t get to bed until 3 am, but this year my choir director gave me permission to sleep through Christmas morning Mass, so Rich did not put in a wake-up call with my guardian angel. I had a refreshing six hours of sleep and then headed to Travalon’s house. We drove to his mother’s house and did the family dinner: turkey with stuffing. Travalon gave me a bouzouki, which is like a little Greek mandolin, and I gave him a fake newspaper saying he was joining the Beatles. Only half my cassata got eaten, so I brought it back to Rich’s house, where it was demolished along with the other one I had made for that gathering. People sure do love cassata! At Rich’s house the menu was lasagna and leftover coq au vin, as well as various other things people brought, like Cecil Markovitch’s famous spinach salad. He also provided a card table and some chairs for extra seating. Rich had an 18-inch Christmas tree this year, and after most of the other guests had left, his neighbor and Kathbert decorated it. My parents sent Travalon and me some presents in the mail, but we haven’t opened them yet. Maybe tonight… 

Famous Hat

Monday, December 23, 2013

Holiday Potluck

Friday we had our holiday potluck at work. The theme was German and Jewish food, so I was searching for an easy yet somewhat authentic recipe. A coworker actually found a perfect one: take two pounds of kielbasa, slice it into inch-long pieces, throw it into a slow cooker with sauerkraut and beer, and let it cook on low for six hours. I thought, "Even I can handle that!" My coworker was going to bring her crock pot in for me to use, but she stayed home sick, so I borrowed Rich's. And wouldn't you know I was about the only one who brought in something homemade? Most people brought boughten stuff. (Spell Check doesn't like that word but Kathbert will tell you it's a real word.) Then the director brought around sprigs of holly, so I have one sitting in a vase on my desk, looking all festive. Because none of the desserts were homemade, it was very easy to say no to all of them. Travalon does not like anything but the beer in what I had made, so Rich, Kathbert, and I ate the leftovers.

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Have Some Class

Last night Travalon and I went to see the movie Nebraska, a movie that gently makes fun of small town life. Watching it, I realized how much I dislike low class people. Low class is not the same thing as poor; you can have no money and lots of class, and of course you can have lots of money and no class. What really gets me is when people call their lack of class their “culture.” Culture is music, traditions, language – things like that. Low class is when you use curse words for no good reason, or make fun of people who are different, or think it’s cool to break the law. The ultimate mark of low class is a distaste for education. Who would be opposed to learning new things? Low class people, that’s who. Now I’m not saying we all need to be a bunch of over-educated cultural elitists; after all, I like hip hop just as much as Baroque music. In fact, either extreme is a lack of open-mindedness. Maybe the best way to be classy is to be respectful of everyone, especially those with whom you don’t agree. Even those with no class.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Last Night's Torture Session

Last night Richard Bonomo and I went to the health club to work out. We did a whole bunch of machines that exercise different muscle groups, like the biceps and triceps, pecs and deltoids. We also did some exercises on the floor mat. By the time we got into the pool, I could barely lift my arms so I could only swim extremely slowly, like in one of those dreams where you are trying to run from something but can only move at an excruciatingly slow pace. Then Rich said let’s got to Jerkins and get something high protein. I wasn’t sure we could find anything high protein and low calorie at Jerkins, but would you believe they have a whole healthy section on their menu now? And what we had was delicious! Rich is going to make me work out one more time this year, because he can only use three guest passes in a year, which means in 2014 he can only torture me three times unless he becomes a member of my health club. He also told me no sugar except on Sundays and major feast days. At least that means I can still have pancakes with syrup for Sunday brunch…

Last night I had a dream that a bunch of us took a cruise to Antarctica, including Travalon, Tiffy, and Richard Bonomo. Maybe that was because I didn’t turn on the heat in my bedroom, since it was supposedly going to be warmer today. In my dream, Antarctica looked suspiciously like northern Wisconsin, and I wondered what sorts of plants people could grow in their gardens there, so they gave me some native plants in a pot. I was so happy!... and then my alarm went off.

Today I had to run an errand down on campus, and usually I just walk back. The weather people had promised us a warmer day today, so I had high hopes for a lovely walk back, but it was blustery so I did the Bus-Catching Boogie back to the office, looking over my shoulder every few beats to see if the bus was coming my way. It never did, so by the time I got back to the office, one of my coworkers commented that I looked a little frozen. He said my arms looked stiff, but that could just be from working out. I can barely lift them today.

Famous Hat