When one thinks of Christmas one usually envisions minty candy canes, twinkling lights, lively carols, jolly men…and monstrously huge granny panties? No? Well, you must not have had your share of Sabin Christmas fun then.
All of our friends with their white elephant loot at this year's party
Every year we host a small Christmas get-together. The particulars of this festivity have changed through the years; what used to be a fancy candlelight dinner has turned into a relaxed informal gathering of friends. But through all the shifting party schemes one party favorite has remained: the white elephant gift exchange.
Brett in his prize panties
What a white elephant has to do with gifts that typically range from tacky to bizarre is beyond me but this classic Christmas game certainly unearths some timeless treasures. Power Klingon on cassette tape, golden pheasant sculptures, lice spray, headless nutcrackers, archaic computer manuals, brass knuckles…the list goes on and on. This year Brett was even fortunate enough to procure a very large pair of granny panties. Lucky!
This awesome gingerbread house was made by some of my coworkers and displayed at our Christmas party.
In our version of the white elephant exchange all the gifts remain wrapped until the end. We find this method more amusing since oftentimes the gifts that are fought over most turn out to be quite absurd, like a pair of used socks from a guy with stinky feet or a half eaten box of cereal. Just what you’ve always wanted!
Jacob decided he needed to try on Brett's panties and various other unmentionables that were exchanged via the white elephant game. Is that a look of horror or ecstasy on Sara's face?
A pretty bow may disguise a loathsome gift: that’s the lesson one quickly learns from attending a Sabin Christmas party and I think it’s also the title of a James Bond theme song.
Merry Christmas everyone! May your brass knuckles be shiny and bright and your headless nutcracker a delight!
I had to travel to New York City last week to attend the Society of Cosmetic Chemists’ annual scientific meeting. Since this was the third time I have been sent to NYC on business, and Jason has never traveled with me, we decided to remedy that this trip. Jason was very excited to tag along to the big apple, especially since he’s never been to NY. We wanted to make sure we had adequate time to explore Manhattan so we stayed a few extra days after my seminar to sightsee and visit with our friends the Rowleys, who currently live in New Jersey.
This is me hanging out at the Rockefeller Center.
Though we were only out in NY for a week, we packed our days and managed to experience a lot. We went shopping on Fifth Avenue and at 34 Street’s famous Macy’s. We wandered through Time Square and Central Park. We also visited the Rockefeller Center. At the Rock we saw its legendary Christmas tree all lit up, ate dinner at a restaurant directly adjacent to the skating rink (It was super yummy!), and toured NBC’s studios. Because we did the NBC tour on Saturday we were able to see more studios than average, four in total, including the one where SNL is filmed. The SNL studio was in the process of being set up for the show that night; one of the actors was present and we all stared at him through the glass but honestly I can’t say I have any idea who he was. I was really hoping we would run into Taylor Lautner, Mr. Jacob Black himself. He was hosting SNL that evening and was somewhere in the building getting ready for dress rehearsal. But alas, fate was not on our side and we saw no trace of him. Sigh. Despite the absence of a Taylor sighting we thoroughly enjoyed hanging at the Rock, especially since it made us feel a little like being on 30 Rock, one of our favorite TV shows.
Here I am in Central Park.
The Rockefeller Center wasn’t the only site we visited in NY that rocked however. We visited the Museum of Modern Art and viewed an unbelievable number of famous paintings from Picasso, Matisse, Dali, Andy Warhol, Pollock, and van Gogh…just to name a few. My absolute favorite painting at the MoMA, and one of the highlights of my trip, was van Gogh’s Starry Night. I had no idea that painting was even here in America so when I randomly came across it in a gallery at the MoMA I was surprised and thrilled. Seeing van Gogh’s brushstrokes up close added a whole new dimension to one of my most loved paintings. It was incredible! The MoMA also had a limited-time Tim Burton exhibit on display. It was full of his artwork and sculptures and props from his movies. Jason thought it was fantastic!
We randomly found this bizarre and fun Kidrobot store while meandering through Soho.
As cool as the MoMA was, it’s just one of many awesome museums in NYC. We went to the Museum of Natural History with the Rowleys and even though we spent a whole day there we could have spent many more. The exhibits seemed to go on and on. Although we only saw a fraction of the museum, we enjoyed what we did see.
Jeremy, Silas, Jason, Milo, and Amber behaving like monkeys at the Museum of Natural History.
New York City doesn’t just have tremendous museums though; the cuisine options there are nearly limitless. We took on the task of sampling as much as we could. (It’s a hard job but someone’s got to do it.) We ate at the Carnegie Deli a couple times (best pickles ever), Ray’s Pizza, an Ethiopian restaurant, and Ninja New York. Ninja New York was Jeremy Rowley’s restaurant pick. At the Ninja much of the menu is served set ablaze and Ninja’s jump out and scare you periodically. It was a fun experience and the food was pretty tasty.
This is Jason at the Ninja with his Bon Sai dessert.
Of course, a trip to NY is not complete without attending a Broadway show. Jason and I went to Wicked and absolutely loved it; it was definitely worth the ticket price.
Wow! Now that's a slice! That's me and my Ray's Pizza.
In addition to all the amazing sites Jason and I saw together, Jason had a few of his own New York moments. While I was at my seminar he hung out with Jeremy quite a bit. They visited Chinatown and Little Italy, ate at the oldest pizza place in the U.S., perused the world famous Midtown Comics bookstore, pushed pigeons off the Empire State Building, and visited the New York Public Library. At the library they felt compelled to reenact scenes from Ghostbusters and The Day After Tomorrow, which apparently required sneaking into sections that were not open to the public. Those bad boys!
Jason entered a roped off section of the library so Jeremy could take a picture of him reenacting the first scene in Ghostbusters.
Even though there is more than plenty to see in NYC we made sure we left some time for playing games with the Rowleys. After all, no one wants to see a grown man cry especially if that grown man is crying because he didn’t get enough board game action. Actually, Jeremy pretty much insured that ample board games would be played by trapping us in his house for a couple nights…I mean letting us stay with them a couple nights. Just kidding; we really appreciated the Rowley’s hospitality and had a blast spending time with them. Thanks guys!
Jeremy decided to cover his face with his Ethiopian bread and silence the lambs.
We had a great time! We enjoyed visiting with friends and chillin’ in New York City! But…this trip made me realize with 100% certainty what I have always suspected: I am not cut out for the big city life. Crowds of people everywhere, congested traffic that never eases, skyscrapers that block out the sun…I was extremely happy to see my snow covered Rockies through the plane window as we descended into Salt Lake City. Their graceful open slopes meant I was home. Loved to see you New York but wouldn’t want to be you!
Thanksgiving: the great day of stuffing. Thanksgiving for most people means eating until you’re relatively certain that consumption of even one more bite will result in a massive vomitous explosion. When I was a kid I definitely gorged myself on Turkey Day but I have since outgrown my desire to ingest painfully large quantities of food. Thanksgiving has therefore become a holiday of food quality not quantity for me. Everything I make for our crazy array of family dinners has to be homemade and delicious; I usually bring out my most decadent and elaborate recipes for this holiday.
This is the cluster of family members that was still at my parent's house when I realized I hadn't taken any pictures yet.
With two families to visit, Thanksgiving, like Christmas, is typically very hectic for me and Jason and generally leaves us completely exhausted. So this year, in addition to the pumpkin cheesecake and assorted tidbits I made for our family dinners, I decided to cook me and Jason pre and post Thanksgiving meals on Wednesday and Friday. I thought it would be nice to make some tasty food on days we could actually relax a bit and enjoy it.
Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
I made Butternut Squash Soup, Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus, and Bruschetta with Sautéed Sweet Peppers and Creamy Gorgonzola for our pre-feasting feast and an absolutely scrumptious, and time consuming, Beef Bourguignon recipe for our post-holiday stuffing. Yum!
This delicious Beef Bourguignon took 3 hours and an entire bottle of red wine to make. It was worth it!
Spreading out our holiday food intake turned out to be pretty perfect for me since I don’t really care for the normal Thanksgiving porking. Jason made no complaints about this 3 day food fiesta but maybe that’s because his mouth was too crammed to utter a syllable. Either way, I think I have stumbled upon a lovely new Thanksgiving tradition that I am going to continue in the years to come.
As many of you know, I am an unabashed geek. And as such I am always happy to be involved in any nerdfest. So when I heard that the next Twilight film, New Moon, was going to be showing in Salt Lake City at midnight on opening day, and that there was going to be Jacob and Edward themed theaters for this premier event, I was eager to sign up.
My friend Wendy also wanted to be part of this little geeky adventure. So we bought tickets for us, and our third wheel Jason, a few months ago. (The theaters were all already almost sold out.) Since Wendy is a big Jacob fan, and I like Jacob and Edward nearly equally, we decided to join the groupies in the pro-Jacob or “Fur” theater.
I made these vampire bite cookies the day of the premier to celebrate.
Wendy and I were pretty excited about enjoying this movie with all the screaming 13 year old girls and housewives. I even bought a Jacob shirt to wear to the event because my geekyness knows no bounds but I was out-nerded by Wendy; she made a New Moon countdown chain for us so we would know exactly how many days we had to suffer through our giddy anticipation.
The night of the premier the theater complex was completely packed with people, mostly of the female persuasion; it was the most crowded I have ever seen that building. But can you blame the girls for flooding in? This wasn’t just a movie; it was an event.
Lots of Twilight goodies came with our special (and especially high priced) tickets: candy, drinks, popcorn, shirts, posters, stickers, dog tags… just to name a few. The Fur theater also came equipped with its own flesh and blood Jacob. No, not Taylor himself, but an actor that was a darn close double. He was even shirtless and tattooed. I missed my chance to get a picture taken with him though because I was too busy running around picking up all of my free Twilight swag from booths scattered around the building. Dang it! Next time!
I posed for this picture after the movie. Wendy wouldn't join me. I guess she didn't think she was very photogenic at 3 in the morning.
The movie itself did not disappoint. I thought its special effects were vastly superior to those in the first film. And as for audience response…there was a lot of support in our theater for Bella’s werewolf friend. During the scene where Jacob removes his shirt the shrieking was almost deafening. I think Jason’s screaming was the loudest though; I still can’t hear out of that ear. Just kidding, though I’m pretty sure he did giggle a bit.
It was a fun night and a unique experience; I enjoyed it despite the chaos and swarms of people. And if some of you wish to ridicule this nerdy activity – don’t bother – mockery doesn’t even slightly faze a shameless geek such as myself.