Christmas Day I awoke to the happy cries of children tearing into their presents. I tried to stay in bed a bit longer, but finally stumbled downstairs, to the joy of uncle Paul who took a photo of me with my messy hair. (I tried to extract revenge but he was too quick.) Four-year-old Lee and three-year-old Kay had more presents than they could shake a forest of sticks at. I groggily dug into my stocking when Lee brought it to me, and happily made use of the many tins of tea within. Several caffeinated cups and many photos later, I dragged my bass downstairs to the basement hoping to jam with Paul, since the kids were too busy unwrapping gifts to want to sing Christmas carols. Paul broke a string on his guitar and then had trouble with the amp, so our jam session was stillborn, though I played a few tunes for him.
Later I showered and we headed to boyziggy's father for an extended family gathering. Ziggy remarked how good I was being around the noisy young kids, but about 90 minutes into the party I suddenly hit my threshold of tolerance. Fortunately we had already decided to leave by 4 to get on the road to Pittsburgh, so we made our exit. The drive was shorter than I thought - four hours if we'd not stopped - but when we stopped for dinner and gas in Breezewood, almost everything was closed - even the Taco Bell and Starbucks. Our Christmas dinner consisted of pretzels and Vitamin Water from Sheetz gas station.
We arrived at my Mom's around 8:30, and she was thrilled to see us. After greeting her and my grandmother, we investigated the Internet situation, which was not good. I'm currently connected from an open Wifi that I can only get with the laptop perched on top of the couch in the living room. Better than nothing, I suppose. Since we arrived earlier than planned, I got out my bass and we played some music. At one point Ziggy was on piano, Mom on violin, and I on bass, playing "Edge of the Ocean" by Ivy which we'd performed in our Funcrunch the Band concert this spring. It was a special moment.
The next day we went to lunch at an all-vegan restaurant in Oakland, Maggie's Mercantile, which made Ziggy very happy. We then stopped at the Squirrel Hill Library for awhile so I could upload photos, which was taking forever from the unreliable wifi at Mom's. It started pouring rain on the way home, but at least it wasn't too cold. We played some games and piano and watched some videos later in the day.
Today I forced myself to get out for a run, as the weather was unseasonably warm (50 degrees at 10 a.m., to rise to the 60s later in the day). I jogged the Homewood Trail in Frick Park, greeted by many friendly dog-walkers along the way, including a little girl who asked me to pet her dog and introduced herself by name. This was the first time I'd jogged in over three weeks due to the flu and vacation, and running on a trail in the woods instead of a cement sidewalk was a great change of pace. Even though it had rained it wasn't too muddy or slippery, although I was huffing and puffing on the uphill coming out of the park. Thirty-seven minutes from park entrance to trail end and back - I'll look up the distance later. I did some of my stretches in the afternoon but still have to do my abs crunches.
After the jog we went to see my high school friend Dana and her boyfriend at her business, the Purple Rose Tea Room. I had the house tea, which was black infused with, yes, purple roses, and very fragrant. We caught up on old times.
Then Ziggy and I went home, and Mom and I played piano for a couple of hours. I was surprised how well I did considering that I hardly play at home anymore. Mom wants me to play and sing more Broadway, though I also enjoyed revisiting classical pieces also. Whenever I play on a real piano I think "Why don't I do this more often?"
Ziggy and I then took a short walk to Frick Park, stopping to chat with neighbors around the corner on the way, whose four daughters I'd grown up with. Afterward we drove to Squirrel Hill and ate at Gullifty's, more for nostalgic purposes as the food was neither that great nor that veggie-friendly.
But afterward was a highlight of the trip: getting together with Dana and other Allderdice 1988 graduates, at a Starbucks near the school. Dana had suggested the time and place, and I phoned up my favorite teacher of all time, Ken Lutz, to see if he'd join us. He did, and all were happy to see him. hopita came as well, along with Mindy Y, Carrie K, Anne C, and assorted spouses and partners. Of course we took lots of photos. Thanks to the power of Facebook for enabling this impromptu get-together!
No plans yet for tomorrow, so I think I'll sleep in...