Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Entry #67 - Christmas at the Homestead

Dear Diary,
  First of all, congratulations to everyone on the world not ending, that was a total bonus, no? Worst apocalypse ever, thank goodness. I'm grateful to still be floating somewhat aimlessly through space (in a slightly elliptical orbit) with all of you.      

Okay, most of you.

Christmas at the Homestead

I have returned to the homestead for the holiday season to spend some quality time with the family. Anyone who has met my family knows that this is slightly more like a Griswold family Christmas and significantly less like a Martha Stewart Christmas. My family is very close, which is one of the things I am truly thankful for in this life (along with being born in a developed nation, indoor plumbing, and cheese). Along with this closeness, though, comes a certain...familiarity. A familial familiarity that breeds, shall we say, eccentricities. If there is a limit to what we can say, admit, or do in front of one another, I have yet to find it.

Yesterday, for example, my mom and I Skyped my sister in Texas. We were chatting away and I happened to compliment my sister on how great her boobs looked. "You did what?" you just said to yourself (and the best part is, that isn't even the weird part!). Nope. It gets better. My sister, not one to be ashamed of how awesome her everything is, takes this opportunity to show us one boob. That's right(and the right breast coincidentally), my own sister flashed me and my mom on Skype. I, of course, had no choice but to retaliate by pulling up my own shirt so she could see my Calvin Klein Seductive Comfort brassiere. Feel free to Google that, by the by, it is in no way seductive and in all ways supportive and comfortable. Just. Like. Me.

Flashing one another in front of our mother is only the proverbial tip of the iceberg...

Welcome Home, Check Out This Roast

As soon as my brother and I got home, my dad pulled the various meats he had purchased for the holiday season out of the fridge. My parents live right beside the Canada/US border, and as everyone knows, everything is less expensive south of the border. The buying power of the extra 300 million people living there really drives down the cost of everything. My dad takes special pride in the deals he gets down there, especially on meats and cheeses. He proudly pulls out various lamb shanks and rib-eye roasts and gives us a price breakdown. As you can see below, it is not enough just to describe it, he must pull the meat out of the fridge and slam it down in front of you. I find this to be a particularly awesome and unique ritual. I should note that this need to bond over raw meat is not limited to face-to-face meetings, no no. Whenever I call home my dad feels the need to tell me what meat he has roasted/will roast/is roasting currently, the particular cut/identifying details, and, most importantly, the temperature of the meat. This is a common conversation to have with my dad on the phone:

"Hey Dad"
"Hi Han, how is it going?" 
"Pretty good, how are you?"
"Oh I'm well, just putting a particularly fine lamb roast on the spit, I've prepared it with some Mediterranean spices. They say to cook it to 160, but I think I'll pull it off at 150 and let it sit"

Needless to say, I never cook meat for myself. When you grow up with a dad like mine, you become accustom to a certain level of excellence in regard to meats. Is that seared to perfection? No? Not interested. 
My brother Adam listens intently to the details of this particular joint o' meat .
"Ranchers' choice" "Special sale once a year" "extra coupon"

Ridiculous Re-Creations

 I feel that our family portraits really embody what it means to be a member of this family. If you aren't willing to wield an ax or a chainsaw for a picture, you probably won't fit in. Sometimes I feel for my brother-in-law, Jeffrey; I think he finds us a bit...much, at times, even from over 4,000 km away in Texas. He bears our antics with a silent stoicism, but I would bet money that he has thought to himself at least a half dozen times "Where did I find these crazy ass white people?".
It has certainly crossed my mind that any man who could handle both me (wacky spinster) and my family (special brand of unique) would need to be pretty relaxed, imperturbable, and accepting. Aplomb will be required, along with a willingness to execute a perfect two-fisted Captain Kirk style punch for a picture. Oh, and an ability to correctly use homophones...their,they're, there...your, you're.. addition, edition..roll, role... to, too, two...discrete, discreet...yeah, I'm pretty sure this man is very much imaginary.
Family portraits are a multi-hour activity. We really get into it. 

When not taking family portraits, we have taken to re-creating pictures from our youth. This entertains us to no end. My mom has even framed and hung a few of our more impressive recreations (along side the originals) in our house. In honour of the Christmas season, my brother Adam and I have chosen a few Christmas themed pictures to recreate.
It's hard to tell, due to my technical skills, but I photo-shopped my sister Amy into one of those photos...

Our Family Christmas Traditions

  • Getting incrementally more enraged as my dad takes forever to get the video camera out, find batteries, set up a tripod, and ensure a variety of other things I do not understand. When I tell you that this happened every single year from age 5 to age 18, I am in NO WAY JOKING. He always realizes he doesn't have a video camera right as we are about to start opening our stockings. My hand will be on that gloriously exciting first gift of the day, and then I will hear a voice behind me say "let me quickly grab the camera".  I am still averse to videoing anything based on this experience.
  • Trying to figure out who was "Santa" last year, which no one EVER remembers, spending time debating who it might have been, then just arbitrarily picking someone to hand out presents. This sometimes involves a Santa hat with Mickey ears.
  • Saying loudly and sarcastically "THANKS SANTA" after opening stockings or any presents marked "from Santa", even in your late twenties or early thirties.
  • Being really annoyed when someone has the nerve, nay the audacity, to look even remotely presentable during stocking opening time. Everyone must roll straight out of bed and to the fireplace! No face-washing, no hair-brushing, no makeup, and certainly no bras! I'm talking to you, Adam!
  • Watching my dad take his sweet, sweet time opening every present; this involves shaking, inspecting, peeling back one side of the paper followed by more inspecting, making a series of noises I can best describe as "knowing exclamations", actually opening the gift, and then further knowing exclamations as if it was you (the person who wrapped the gift) who was in suspense the whole time.

Best Christmas Card of the Season  

The award for Best Christmas Card of the Season (and mayhap best Christmas card of my life) goes to my friend Meg of Meg Boorman Photography. Meg is mom to one of my tiny boyfriends, the ridiculously adorable two-month old Alexander. She combined her and her husband's love of Star Trek with an appreciation for awkward family photos to create the mind boggling spectacle seen below. Since receiving this picture, I have showed it to every human I have come into contact with, which is perhaps in conflict with the prime directive.
This makes me really, really happy. 


  1. I love your photo recreations! Please tell me the "T." in Alexander T. Boorman stands for Tiberius.

    1. I wish so much that it did! It actually stands for Tony :-)

  2. This whole post makes me insanely happy - your family is fabulous. (And so is Meg, I am so glad I got to see that marvelous creation.)