Single Digits for the holidays...

Saturday:  We celebrated my father's birthday on Saturday (his 87th).  We gave him the option of a birthday lunch or a birthday dinner and he chose lunch.  And he wanted an Iowa Pork Chop.  So off we went for a quiet Saturday lunch to celebrate and find a pork chop.   He was a bit tired from the trip out, but we had a nice visit and lunch.

Zack and I attended Deb and Joel Hade's annual Christmas party on Saturday evening.  It's also a fund raiser for the Indianola High School A Capella Choir who show up and sing a half dozen songs for the 50-70 folks in attendance.  They were great as usual and I made a contribution to their fund raiser digging deep into my wallet.  A bit later, everyone gathered to sing christmas songs which is always a special time for those of us that like music and singing.  This year was fun (and special) for me as Zack and I both sang a couple of duets/solos and it was fun to sing with him.  We went to the party with the ground dry and the sky clear.  We left the party a few hours later with 2" of snow already on the ground and a nice snow storm well underway.  It must have been that "Let it Snow" song we all sang!!!

Sunday:  When we woke up on Sunday, there was a 3 foot drift across the driveway and the snow was about 6-8" deep in the driveway and on the walks.  My snowblower's auger wouldn't rotate, so I had to do it the old manual way with a shovel.  Ughhh!!!  That was not good for the back.  2 1/2 hours laters, sweating and exhausted I got back into the house and ate a bowl of soup to recover.  The rest of the day was spent watching football and resting.  I did get an hour on the bike trainer to finish the week at 9+ hours of training.  I made it an evening of grilling steaks out in the cold and the side dish was my succotash and small red potatoes.  Yum!

Monday:  Brrrrrrr......it was -4 this morning during my dog walk.  The dogs seemed to enjoy it, although I think Zoey's paw got a little chilly running around in the snow out there.   Max was happy as a clam and in the mood to play when we got back...

Max playing.

After we played a bit, I got my Dad's sleep apnea machine reset and working (it had not functioned for 2 nights due to a computer chip error code).  After 2 nights of poor sleeping he went in for his morning nap to hook up to his machine and was out for 4 hours!!!  Nothing like sleep debt, whether one is 87, 52, 20, or 6.  While he slept, I loaded up the snow blower in the back of the Element and hauled it off for repair.  Then I got everything needed for the next two or three days from Hy-Vee (dog food, people food, and holiday cheer).

I made a big vat of slow cooker chili for the bachelors so we'd have some Monday Night Football game food.  This is the last official regular season game in Candlestick as it ends the 43 years of service it provided. 

Looking good as I fired it up for the cook...


It's from a really good and interesting recipe here.  Not too spicy, but has just enough kick to satisfy everyone as it leaves those who don't like hot chili happy as well.  It's the only chili recipe I've ever used that includes diced celery in the dish which is a nice addition.

While the chili was cooking, I jumped the holiday tradition game by one day in terms of setting up the Tannenbaum on Christmas Eve.  Tara (and I think Alexa) arrive back in Des Moines tomorrow from San Francisco, so I wanted to get as much done as possible and couldn't wait until tomorrow.  Sorry and apologies to the German tradition, but it's done one day ahead of schedule this year.  Zack helped me decorate the tree and we had fun talking about all of the ornaments that he and Alexa had made over the years in school that were still in the ornament bag as we pulled them out.

After the basement flood following the tornado in 2010, we lost all of our lights and a lot of our ornaments.  Since we didn't set it up last year as we were in South Dakota for Christmas, I guess I forgot that I had replaced the damaged lights with all red lights.  It looks really vivid in person compared to this picture, but the lights are all red (not white like some of them look in this picture)...


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