Thursday, December 24, 2009

Our Christmas Eve Tradition

So, today we were both off work so we were able to indulge in what has, over the past few years, become our Christmas Eve tradition. Today's one of our feast days, when we depart from our usual low-carb (Atkins) diet and feel free to eat whatever we want. After a pleasant breakfast at Wild Wheat, our favorite local (Kent) restaurant, we drove over to the park-&-ride in Tukwila and took the new SoundTransit train all the way to the end of the line, Westlake Station. This being our third trip on the new train, we are now confirmed fans of Seattle's new, long-overdue, mass transit.

From the downtown station we walked the few blocks over to the Pike Place Market, where we proceeded to poke about for the next few hours, enjoying some street food in the process. Among the places we visited were Mersker's Maps, where I bought not one but two moon-calendars* and looked over some maps of England and Ireland, thinking ahead to our next trip over there in a few years (two & a half years & counting) and trying to find the Bilbo river (in Ireland) and village of Bilbo (in Scotland) I'd recently read about. We also visited Quality Cheese, where we picked up my favorite English cheeses: Cheshire and Double Gloucester and Wensleydale, plus a little St. Andre for variety,** then Frank's produce, where we got a selection of vegetables & fruit, our contribution to Christmas Day dinner. Other stops included Mee Sum for some crab rangoon and sesame balls, Becher's Cheese for some of their signature macaroni and cheese, and a brief stop for a cup of tea apiece (yunnan) at the Perennial Tea Room in Post Alley. Also adding to the experience were a lot of good-humored people, quite a few buskers, and an annoying mime dressed like a Michael Jackson robot. The strangest instrument I saw was a bassoon -- I've never seen a busker with a bassoon before, and had some interest in this as a fellow woodwindist, but he was just setting up when we walked by so I have no idea how good he was or what he played. About the only busker I didn't chip in a bit for was the one with the ukelele singing one of my least favorite songs.

That evening there was cooking (cut corn on my part), and the next day much enjoyment at a Christmas gathering at a friend's (friends') house, where we got to see both folks we hardly ever see except at gatherings like this and others we see almost every game night.

The day after that was uneventful, which was nice, and ended in a well-attended Call of Cthulhu session (seven investigators), the second scenario in a Miskatonic campaign I'm running. They played well and were all alive and sane when we broke for the night; we'll see if their luck holds in the second session, which will probably be this weekend.

And, after that, I was strickened with a cold that's laid me low for days -- hence the lag in postings. All better now, I hope.

--John R.

current anime: SCHOOL RUMBLE (season two), EL CAZADOR DE LA BRUJA

*the link to this product is here ( ), but the image shown doesn't do justice to how neat this poster-calendar is: each day is represented with an image of the moon in its appropriate phase, and all 365 days are shown at the same time. Ours hangs on the landing by the window through which we can watch the moonrise when it's full or gibbous.

**the St. Andre, mysteriously enough, was nowhere to be found when we got home. I hope whoever found it wherever it wound up enjoyed it; shame if it went to waste.

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