I was really lazy about blog posts during Christmas break, so I never talked about going home to New England for Christmas (though I did mention it in my recent post about the Housemate). I'm a little uncertain whether or not to call it "home", actually. It is a house that I lived in for 5 years, plus college, and I still have my bedroom there largely intact as I left it. But my new home is in Hawaii, and it is more mine, more my own (I am paying the rent, after all). It was funny, though: when I scheduled my round-trip flight for the holidays, I went to write into my calendar under December 22 "Fly home", and then under January 7 "Fly...home." I guess I can have two homes. And certainly in terms of the phrase "home for the holidays," I think "home" means where your family (especially parents) is, especially if you lived there in the past.
In any case, I had a very nice and relaxing two weeks at my parents' house, with my two brothers and our old dog, along with my parents, of course. I was actually kind of shut in. There was one day that we went into Chinatown for dim sum, then went to an art museum. The story of what happened in between is worth complaining about: It was the day after Christmas, a Sunday, and starting to snow. A blizzard would be coming that evening. We'd already paid for our parking near Chinatown, and my dad was worried about finding parking near the museum, and how much it would cost. He said it was only a 15 minute walk, so we walked. It was more like 25 minutes, and it was cold (20-ish), especially since the museum was right on the water, with bitterly cold winds rushing in off of the harbor into our faces. I hadn't even brought my trusty hat, since I hadn't thought it would be necessary; brunch and then a museum--no outdoor activity! When we finally got to the museum, we found lots of available street parking--which was free, because it was Sunday. Dad was in the doghouse.
But the dim sum and the museum, at least, were both good (and warm). One of my favorite displays at the museum was this large display box attached to the wall. The walls and floor of the box inside were mirrors, and it contained silver(y) vessels of many different shapes (tall, thin, short, squat, different curvatures, etc.), so it was full of reflections, including those distorted by reflecting off the curved vessels. The window into the box, though, was a one-way mirror--like looking in on an interrogation room. So you could see infinite reflections of the vessels (and reflections in the vessels), but you couldn't see yourself in the reflections. Another funny display at the museum was a short (2-minute or so) movie of a guy going into a supermarket and shooting his food with a bow and arrow before putting it in his cart. The cashier lady even rang it all in with the arrows sticking out.
The only other real outing I had while at home was to another museum, this one in Salem--but not about witches. We went to the Peabody-Essex Museum (both Peabody and Essex are towns in Massachusetts, so I have no idea why this museum is in Salem) to see items from the Qianlong Garden in the Forbidden City. It's very rare that such items are taken out of the Forbidden City, so this was a very special exhibit. This emperor who had made (or at least ordered the making of) the garden (really a collection of buildings furnished and decorated with beautiful, expensive things, with lovely gardens in between them) ruled at a time when China was particularly wealthy, so he had some very fine things in his collection. My favorite piece may be a wall hanging of a nature scene, set on wood but with many materials, where the water was made of lapis, the grass of malachite, the tree leaves of jade, etc. Beautiful.
Anyway, aside from those two trips, most of the time I just spent at home. All of our dinner parties we hosted--not sure how that worked out, but that's how it was. I did enjoy staying cozy in my long sweater-coat and fuzzy slippers, never far from a hot cup of tea. We played Dominion (really fun card game), watched DVDs, played with the dog, ate good food, drank tea and hot chocolate, and talked. It was very relaxing. If only I never had to return to work. Ah well, it was good while it lasted.
I couldn't take any photos in the museums, unfortunately, but here are some photos from home.
My dad mixed some pomegranate cosmopolitans, garnished with lime for Christmas Eve. Chosen because of the festive colors, of course.
Not the best photo, but it was the best salad. My mom made warm goat cheese filo pastries to go with the mixed baby greens. I'm a big fan of goat cheese, and warm goat cheese is just heaven.
I think I randomly snapped this photo just to test how a photo would come out in that lighting without the camera's flash, as we were about to take a group photo (answer: way too dark). But something about it seems so cozy to me.
Christmas morning, one of my mom's stocking stuffers sniffs out our breakfast fruit plate. Yes, it's a wind-up nose. Not sure why.
My puppy Ele (we pronounce it "Ellie", though it's from Hawaiian so if we're being more correct it's "Eh-Leh"), wearing a big red Christmas bow, has just opened her present. It's a spam musubi (popular Hawaiian snack) squeaky toy (the white part is rice, the pink is the spam, and the black is the seaweed wrapped around it, kind of like sushi). Ele loves opening presents and getting new toys. She's actually 14 years old, but still a puppy to me.
Tail-wagging action. She's so happy. Squeaking the toy is fun!
Two days after Christmas, we had a thick fresh coating of snow.
This is after snow-blowing and shoveling, of course. The circular driveway is perfect for drop-off/pick-up for the preschool my mom has on our bottom floor, but it's a pain when it snows.