Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Holidays

Happy Holidays to All and Best Wishes for the New Year!

I am not a Christian so Christmas as a religious event means nothing to me, and I admittedly have issues with the commercialization of the holiday. But, at least for Americans, it is the single most important time for family and friends and I certainly can celebrate it for that.

This year I decided that, even though I was now living closer to my family than I have for years, I would forego the Xmas eve and day family gatherings and instead spend time with three special friends here in Milwaukee.

But I did spend some time a few days before Xmas with family. My youngest sister Erika was in Chicagoland from Seattle and I visited her at my sister Lisa's house and spent some time sipping tea in a coffee shop and chatting with her before she and I were joined by Lisa, my brother-in-law Randy and my mom for a movie - Slumdog Millionaire. The movie was followed by dinner brought by my stepfather Joel and some games.

Christmas Eve was a relaxing day that culminated in a surreal evening at a secret location in Milwaukee. Bill and I have a friend here who is an exotic animal breeding colleague, and he invited us to a gathering that included a professional Santa Claus and photo opportunities including an assortment of exotic mammals, reptiles and arachnids, not to mention four Tibetan Mastiff dogs (also known as Do-Khyi). So Courtney, Bill and I spent the evening with Santa after all.

On Christmas Day, Bill and I - along with Hound Dog Taylor - loaded my Jeep with wine, beer and a huge array of grilled vegetables, hummus, pesto and other delicious fare and drove to Waukesha to meet Courtney's family. We had a very warm and relaxing afternoon playing Wii video games and watching canine interaction between Tay and the Bell family's gorgeous Weimeraner, Sophie. Anne briefly dropped by with her dog Oliver and we had three dogs for amusement.

Last night Courtney and Bill and Anne and I went out for an evening of bar-hopping, bowling and a little pool. It was an awesome, amazing, awesome night that lasted until the wee hours of this morning. I smile recalling each and every moment. And now I must sleep.

My best to all, M

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Cold

First post December. Alright, so this is a very irregular endeavor. Sorry.

I don't want to resort to weather reporting, but my frigid location had me scraping the
inside of my windshield to go get groceries this evening and, as you can see from the accompanying photo, my poor little short dog's strolls through the park now resemble moon walks. She is no fan of the icy sting of winter air or the salt in the footpads. Neither am I, especially the paw thing.

In an attempt to actually go on-topic with "kiss my big hairy spider" talk, has again bred the most coveted tarantula in the hobby,
Poecilotheria metallica - the Gooty Sapphire Ornamental. Fortunately for me, the sales of these pricey creepies is brisk and I am enjoying increased sales work at the same time that things have slowed at the museum. Ah, that's enough spider talk. Too many years, too little interest now.

Friday night was our work holiday party at the museum and I had a blast. I actually worked a bit - or should I say volunteered as there will be no forthcoming compensation for my efforts. My bartending that night started my favorite way, just serving glasses of wine to my three favorite friends, and then - due to a prank from our
chef de cuisine, Nick - evolved into my actually getting behind my usual bar to assist the two "rent-a-bartenders" who were serving that night. Regardless, I enjoy doing it and the evening was awesome, especially taking photos with everyone [will maybe post in next blog?]. Afterward, Bill, Courtney and I went to the Olive Pit for a vegan pizza [de-lish!] and I retired earlier than usual.

Other than that, not much to report: there have been many, many, many wonderful evenings with friends, none more special than our inaugural "Movie Night", not to mention my third tour of Lakefront Brewery, but I think I'll keep those memories to myself without further detail. This really wasn't supposed to be a diary.

In closing, the "holidays" are upon us but I don't celebrate, observe or partake in xmas and am at odds with New Year's. So, it is a weird and very disconcerting time for me, especially after returning to the Midwest and being nearby family again. I did make it down to my sister's rather large dead turkey day party where I ate nothing but carrots, beans, and Brussels sprouts and drank many glasses of Malbec. But, methinks that's my family commitment for the season. Well, that's not completely true. My other sister, Erika, will be visiting from Seattle and I look forward to spending time with her; hopefully the logistics will be painless. As of this writing, I hope to spend both the 24th and 25th with three special friends... we'll see.

If a man walks in the woods for love of them half of each day, he is in danger of being regarded as a loafer. But if he spends his days as a speculator, shearing off those woods and making the earth bald before her time, he is deemed an industrious and enterprising citizen. - Henry David Thoreau