Hard to believe that Christmas will be nothing but a memory in less than one week!

Friday night was our company Christmas party, and we had a grand ol’ time. At least I assume we did, though my recollection is a bit hazy. I am no stranger to the boozes, but I don’t usually mix ’em like I did that evening. In my defense, it’s not very often I am handed free drink tickets, so naturally I wanted to take advantage of my employer’s generosity. My final tally for the night: three tequila sodas, a Negroni (gin + vermouth), and a Sazerac (Cognac + absinthe). Is it any wonder my memory’s a blur!?

I ordered the Negroni based on Candace’s recommendation, a coworker with whom I share a similar fondness for good food and alcohol, but didn’t care for it that much. I suppose if you’re a fan of bitterness you’ll love it, but I am not, so I did not. The Sazerac, on the other hand? That’s a different story! I was sitting next to Deb’s roommate Jess, and we were sampling each other’s drinks. She ordered the Sazerac first and I liked it so much I ended up getting my own. So if anybody is the bad influence here, it is her.

The food was pretty good. It was your standard buffet fare – hand-carved prime rib, spiral-sliced ham, pasta, rolls, salad, veggies, etc. – but the plates were fancy little rectangles that were more artistic than practical, and did not hold a lot of food. Which is pretty much the sole purpose of a plate, when you get right down to it. The roll alone took up half that prime real estate, and the huckleberry butter was mostly frozen so you had to devote a square inch of space to that since it was too hard to spread. This meant you had to get creative and pile items on top of each other, resulting in layers of food that resembled a geological strata. My slice of roast beef rested atop a mound of green beans that, in turn, covered my salad, the vinaigrette co-mingling with the horseradish. It was a bit annoying, if I’m being honest. A decent plate (read: big and round) would have made a world of difference. Is it any wonder I got so drunk? I hardly ate any food! (Apparently I did eat a s’more, according to Tara, though I have no memory of this. I find it rather surprising given my general avoidance of sweets. I also do not recall an entire conversation about my meet-n-greet with Bruce Springsteen, but am told I was discussing at length how he smelled. WTF?)

After finishing my precariously-balanced dinner there were casino games, and I actually did pretty well at the Blackjack table. I must have been pretty sloshed, because 21 is not normally a game I excel at, but I kept raking in the chips. I cashed them in for raffle tickets when I was finished and ended up winning an Amazon Echo Dot. Score! (I do not even know what to do with this device, not really, but I did have it on my wish list so I will happily figure this out.)

All in all, it was a fun party. My rock ‘n roll boss played two sets with his band, and I even got out on the dance floor for a bit. This part I do remember. We ended up ducking out around 11:30, and only reluctantly, because we were driving north to Bothell the next morning to visit Tara’s family.

We ended up leaving around 10:00 Saturday, and Audrey even came with us. It had been a long time since she tagged along, so that was nice. It was snowing when we left – again! – (after another storm last Wednesday that wreaked havoc for Portland commuters), but just flurries. In any case, we enjoyed a scenic drive up to Puget Sound, and spent the afternoon hanging out at Tracy’s apartment. She bought an Atari Flashback gaming system that came pre-loaded with 101 games, so I whiled away the hours playing Frogger, Missile Command, Asteroids, Centipede, and Space Invaders with my nephew, Anthony. So much fun. I was a big Atari fan back in the day and loved my 2600 console. At one point we realized it had gotten dark and we were hungry, so we  drove out to the local McMenamin’s tiki bar for dinner and cocktails. Went back to Tracy’s place and watched Elf before turning in for the night. The next morning she made eggs Benedict, we whipped up Bloody Marys, and opened Christmas gifts early. We left around 1:00, but made a stop in Tacoma at Bass Pro Shops, where I bought a really good quality pair of hiking shoes. I figure this whole hiking thing is more than a passing fad now, so it seemed worthwhile to invest in something sturdy and waterproof. The Keen brand I ended up purchasing was very highly rated. Can’t wait to break them in.

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This morning I got up early to walk, but had to cut my pre-dawn stroll short because it was 31 degrees and sleeting. I still ended up doing 2.75 miles, but it was getting pretty icy and I was afraid I was going to slip and fall and break something fragile so I decided not to push my luck. We are having quite the winter, and it isn’t even winter yet! For a while there it looked like I would once again be going in late, but the temperature warmed to just above freezing and the sleet turned to rain, so I made the trek to work without issue. It then warmed all the way up to 47 degrees, which feels downright tropical after the cold snap we’ve had.

My team surprised me with a Christmas gift this morning that is right up my grammar-loving alley.

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Aww. It’s perfect!

I, in turn, gave them gift cards to the coffeeshop around the corner. We were just chock full of holiday spirit today.

I’ve got three more days of work this week, then I am off for ten. I plan to do a lot of writing over the holiday, as I am anxious to finish my novel and am nearing the home stretch.

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8 thoughts on “There’s an Echo in Here

  1. I could use a pair of hiking boots as well. However, the Echo Dot, not so much. I’m creeped out every time the Google Home commercial plays!

    Wishing you a very Merry Christmas, Mark.

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  2. Sounds like a wonderful time was had by all. :) Our Winter Holiday party here at the Library is this afternoon. University Libraries seem to like to plead poverty when it comes to employee parties, yet will spend thousands on new carpets in areas that don’t need them because a few people complained that the sound of high heels on a tile floor is distracting to their work. Ergo, it won’t be as fancy as yours, though they do provide some pretty horrible wine every year, and certainly no gambling. I suspect there will be some simple tunes an a guitar or two as well. Still. It’s a party and we take full advantage of a couple hours off in the middle of our work day to stuff our faces and get little to nothing done after it’s all over.

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  3. I hope you provided your team with similarly awesome gifts because that mug is OUTSTANDING!

    My work’s celebration has been somewhat subdued this year, but even so, there has still been far too many treats to sample. I am even currently winning my annual Christmas Card challenge this year against a co-worker, which if it happens would be the first time EVER I will have done so. The winner is the person who gets the most actual physical greeting cards in the mail as opposed to the e-card variety. Cards from home don’t count. Of course I am only winning as my department has been consolidated with another’s which apparently is much more likable than mine, but still…

    Merry early Christmas

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    1. They loved their free coffee. And since this shop only charges us $1, if they are judicial they can make that gift card last for a few months!

      Good luck with your Christmas Card challenge. Sounds like you’re on the right track to winning. Hope you and your family have a great Christmas!

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  4. Mark, sounds like you had a FAAAAAAAAABULOUS time at your works’ Christmas party! How festive! And I laughed out loud at the coffee mug your team gave you. HILARIOUS!

    The weather here has been somewhat the same as you. We had some REALLY cold days, but then last weekend it suddenly turned the other way, the low temps went up to 65 degrees! However, this week (so far) has been my kind of weather – we had some days and nights that were 40 during the day and in the TEENS at night! LOVE. IT.!

    Wishing you and Tara a VERY Merry Christmas!

    Cheers to you both!

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    1. Thank you, Ron. Merry Christmas to you, as well! Any chance of a white Christmas out that way? It’s looking pretty unlikely here, but then again, it’s super rare for us anyway. Enjoy the holiday weekend!

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