I'm ba-ack. I hope everybody had a nice enough Christmas that they aren't stressed-out worse than before.
The only thing that gets to me is the driving
. Due to the timing of Christmas this year, Northern California moved south and Southern California moved north all at the same time. Probably a good thing. If one end of the state had got all bunched up we'da probably had a big tilt and flung everybody into the ocean. Hmmm...on second thought....
Everybody makes mistakes, but 90% of the drivers do OK, and the remainder are about equally split between people who are so damned important that traffic laws and the laws of physics and common courtesy just don't apply to them and fuck you, and of graduates of Mrs. Fujimoto's Live Bait, Sushi, 'Ichi Ban' Driving School And Oban Society. Their motto is, "Just off boat? Got Rexus SUV? Never Drive Befo'? No Probrem! Teach Drive Onry Take Ten Minutes!". I'm absolutely amazed at the number of people who can't see over the steering wheel. Anyway, driving half the length of this state is tiring, but only if you pay attention to what you're doing, and to what a whole lotta folks around you oughta be doing but ain't, I guess. It's a lot easier in a modern pickup than on a motorcycle, though. I don't give it 100% in the truck - I back off and listen to the stereo with 1%.
The last fifty miles home were after dark, rain and snow, immense amount of traffic, nose-to-tail city drivers. I've posted about this
before, but there were no incidents, just scarier'n shit for me. We got to watch one guy learn a little about driving on a snow-covered Interstate on the uphill stretch just before Donner Summit (7239'). I have no idea what prompted it, but his headlights went from straight ahead to about 7 o'clock and then back around to about 5 o'clock. Twice. In traffic. His lights stayed in a tight arc and the rear of the car did all the swinging. He didn't quite spin it, and he didn't hit anything, but I bet the inside of that car didn't smell very good. If he even noticed.
I was pretty much off the internets. Our motel doesn't have its own WiFi, and though there's a wireless signal there that my computer picked up, it didn't work very well. Due to a strange combination of available phone cables, the only way I could have sat at the desk and done dial-up was to stretch all the cords so tight I could have plucked them and sent a musical greeting. Sitting on the bed and doing this shit doesn't work for me. So, to all you folks who have told me to "shut up" - Merry Christmas!
The family get-together was a different bunch to some extent. Since my sister-in-law doesn't feel like doing it anymore, she passed the duty to her eldest daughter and there's more than one family in attendance now. It was fun. Also fun is watching Eldest Daughter learn to cook at age 45...
Different folks brought covered dishes. Eldest Daughter's mother-in-law makes the best green bean casserole I've ever had, and Daughter No. 2's husband makes the deadliest mashed potatoes. I think the recipe goes something like "one smashed potato...two pounds of butter...second smashed potato...three kinds of cheese, one pound each. Serve. Dial 911." I eschewed the third helping of those because I felt the first two wrapping themselves around my heart!
Mrs. G volunteered
to bring dessert, so I'm Pie Czar. I get 'em from Coco's
in Pismo Beach. Easy. Got one too many and had to bring it home. Darn...
One of the best moves Mrs. G's family has made in recent years is for the adults not to exchange gifts. We all like this program. There's only two little kids and a teenager to get stuff for, and it saves a lot of hassle and expense.
All the holiday bullshit is over for another year, and I'm damn glad of it. I like to visit Mrs. G's family, but twice a year one month apart is crazy. Could somebody please look into if there's some Pagan celebration around the other
solstice we could move Christmas to?