Patterico's Pontifications


What Was Your Favorite Christmas Present?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:09 pm

It can be one you gave or one you received. These days, the adults don’t really exchange gifts much, but I still had a great Christmas. Here are some highlights.

For me, one of the biggest gifts was being at my sisters’ fabulous new property in Bryan. One of my sisters bought a house that was previously occupied by folks who rehabilitated birds. My sister met the lady because my sister rescued a bird on the side of the road and took the bird to the refuge. Turns out they were selling the place. It has 22 acres and a lake. One of my other sisters and my mom plan to build another house on the property. Here are some pictures:

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Screen Shot 2014-01-03 at 9.07.05 PM

And, when it comes to actual presents, I took some cash I was given, and got a pair of boots at Cavender’s Boot City in College Station. You are jealous:

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Tell us about your Christmas.

78 Responses to “What Was Your Favorite Christmas Present?”

  1. Those boots look like they have some nice character to them.

    I get this really creepy feeling learning we have the same shoe size.

    SPQR (768505)

  2. i count at least 7 chupacabra

    maybe 8

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  3. I am jealous. Great pictures.

    Bob Ellison (c67160)

  4. Masters tickets

    JD (5c1832)

  5. Oh, you said we should talk about our Christmases. Well, it was quiet here. Everyone was healthy. The eldest boy got a resonator guitar that sounds like a blues concert every time he strums it.

    Bob Ellison (c67160)

  6. I have my kids home from college, a great cookbook as a gift from them and a lovely wife. I never visited Boulder. That is the story I am sticking to and other comments should be ignored.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  7. wow

    love that piece of land. the photos really give a sense of the setting.

    steveg (794291)

  8. SPQR,

    I wear 11 EEE for tennis shoes, but EE was the widest they had.

    Patterico (39da75)

  9. Patterico, flat feet. That’s us.

    SPQR (768505)

  10. If I ever have a chance to retire, I’m going home to the Brazos Valley. I envy your sister.

    Happy, Aggies have a special charm to ward off Chupacabras, unlike South Texans.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  11. That property reminded me of a 6 acre place I owned with a pond back in NJ back in the day. Back when I knew the price of everything and the value of nothing. Now, I live in a modest home (paid for) in rural AZ with a wonderful woman, two cats and a dog. And I have never been happier.

    Gazzer (74e832)

  12. Not to disparage your sister’s property in any way. It is gorgeous.

    Gazzer (74e832)

  13. My parents live in Bryan, too.
    but I think it is a different one in a different state.

    MD in Philly (f9371b)

  14. Patterico, flat feet. That’s us.

    Comment by SPQR (768505) — 1/3/2014 @ 10:18 pm

    I leave the whole footprint when I get out of the pool. Zero arch. Zero.

    These boots are super comfortable though. Ariats. I highly recommend them. I’ll probably never wear anything else with jeans again.

    Patterico (d81d3c)

  15. That…could be taken wrong. But you knew what I meant.

    Patterico (d81d3c)

  16. My best gift this year was a friend repotting what I refer to as my mutant cactus. I’ve been complaining all year that it droops two feet below the base and has become nearly impossible to move. She came over the day after Christmas and performed a truly heroic intervention.

    Having dragged the thing across the country twice, I didn’t want to get rid of it. (How many cacti have lived in San Francisco, Brooklyn, Cleveland, and again in San Francisco?)

    I no longer dread vacuuming around the beast.

    Snip (031824)

  17. Looks like the birds have a nice place with your sister. Birds need water, so all of you in the frozen tundra get off your arse and water those thirsty birds.
    Best present was a massage from my youngest daughter. She has started her own business working mainly on athletes.

    mg (31009b)

  18. Those are some pretty pictures.

    We had a good Christmas, albeit oddly timed because everyone had to accommodate me, which they all did without a hint of complaint. Getting to see everyone was great.

    I got an obscure but cool automatic watch from my dad and an Eco Drive (solar powered) watch from my mom. They are both nice, and the Eco Drive is a particularly sharp mix of brown and black that looks amazing and has a lot of great functionality (sets its own time, for one). That would be my favorite gift received.

    For my mother I gave a bird feeder and knitting stuff, which might be what I have given her last year too (oops). For my dad I gave a nice tea kettle designed for loose leaf, as he really enjoys making Persian tea all the time.

    My favorite gift given was a bunch of science kits for a niece who is quite smart, but keeps being told she has a learning disability so I sometimes worry she isn’t being given enough of a chance to be smart. The kits remind me of all the fun I had when I was a kid. I probably had more fun picking those out than I did with the rest of the holiday.

    Christmas itself I spent working a double (I was given a bah humbug mug to commemorate), but Christmas isn’t really a date on the calendar, and I had a great one to cap off a great year.

    Dustin (303dca)

  19. Beautiful photos. Beautiful property, am jealous of your sister. The photo of sunrise looks like it dawn on Christmas day in New Jersey. Received a serger, it’s a type of sewing machine. Spent most of the day assembling the special needs bike for my wheelchair bound son. I am the handy one in the family. It’s been cold in NJ (-2 this morning) so he has been riding it around the house. Looking forward to taking him on the bike path when it warms up.

    Pine Baroness (a1d9be)

  20. I bought the daughter an XBox 360 that she asked for, and a couple of games for it and her 3DS, and a bunch of Copic pens. Her mother chided me for spending so much on the pens — it felt like old times. I’ve always been buying Chanel No. 19 for her but it’s been discontinued so this time I picked a Coco Mademoiselle (“C’est vous, madame”, I told her) and wonder of wonders she liked it. They both appreciated the gift tags I made and printed out.

    I always get clothes, but the gift I truly appreciated this year was not to be in a hospital like the last two Christmases, and not to have any chemicals in me (including booze).

    nk (dbc370)

  21. Good going nk, and keep it up!

    mg (31009b)

  22. Only bad thing about Bryan is that it’s close to Hearne, one of the only places Walmart left.

    BradnSA (69f417)

  23. You’ve got smart sisters there.

    It’s the endgame children. No fouls in the open court.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  24. I hope that lake has some trophy-sized fish in it…

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (9a01e5)

  25. Ariats are great. I’ve got a pair of Ariat ropers that I wear all the time – like you said, if I’m wearing jeans, I’m wearing my boots. I’m wearing them right now!

    The coolest gift I received was a wallet folded out of one piece of high-grade Tyvek (from my aunt). I also received a nice hardback copy of the Autobiographies of Frederick Douglass (from my uncle). I also bought myself a book of e.e. cummings poems.

    The coolest gift I gave was a pair of nice dress socks with old-school robots on them (for my dad). I also got my cousin Settlers of Cataan (which he has never played before, and which he will enjoy immensely).

    Leviticus (6a67b8)

  26. I’m glad you had a nice Christmas, Patterico. Not so great for me. Spent three days with my father, clearly in the throes of dementia. Here is the person who taught me to play cutthroat cribbage, having forgotten how to play. Not being sure who my wife is. Getting mooney about the former housekeeper. Convinced that he had been committed to a mental institution by my brother (when the nurses got him to the hospital for internal bleeding and an intestinal blockage). I smiled and got my wife and kids into the act, and tried to focus on happy memories of the past. But it was heartbreaking.

    Then I spent a week and a half with my in-laws. Sigh.

    The upside? My wife made me a trophy (she is a crafty one). My 10YO made me a stop-motion video on a subject that interested me. My 13YO took a break from texting his friends and wrote me a short story.

    So I am rich in all the things that matter.

    Happy New Year to all.

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  27. That is heartbreaking, Simon. I’m so sorry.

    Leviticus (6a67b8)

  28. Simon, we’ve been through it with my mother. I’m sorry for you. Guard yourselves. You, his family, are in danger of becoming sick from it yourselves in any number of ways.

    nk (dbc370)

  29. Best present I got was an interview for a second job that doesn’t conflict with the first, in town, at twice the pay.

    Thank you, Jesus!

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  30. Hang in there, Simon! My brother’s mother-in-law has the Alzheimer’s and they’ve had to put her in a facility near their home and near to her husband of 50 years. Their stories of her momentary flashes of recognition being the exception and total confusion and relating to things in her childhood the rule are heartbreaking.

    Best wishes and regards to you.

    Colonel Haiku (6726b1)

  31. After celebrating with my loved ones, my second Christmas will be next week’s trip to New Mexico with a truck convoyed treasure trove of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, deodorant, Louis L’Amour books and toilet paper that I’ll be distributing to the citizenry.

    Colonel Haiku (6726b1)

  32. Re: Boots. Like the cowboy boots but not totally practical up here.

    I’m just a decade into my second pair of 8249 Red Wing’s in 35-40 years. Spend some time in Asics and Floorsheims.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  33. The property is beautiful. What a joy to own such a place.

    Just the pleasure of spending the day with my daughter and 3 grands was my present. Yes, there were a few other things, but nothing as important as family.

    How special, Colonel. You are truly Santa Claus.

    PatAZ (11ec76)

  34. My youngest daughter drove over from Tucson to have dinner with her sister and me and her sister’s husband. We had a great time. The other kids were all here to have dinner with there own families etc. We all got together several times. The big get-together is Christmas Eve.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  35. It’s either my brain or a grammar function that keeps making there/their corrections that shouldn’t be.

    Mike K (cd7278)

  36. That…could be taken wrong. But you knew what I meant.

    Comment by Patterico (d81d3c) — 1/3/2014 @ 11:14 pm

    Fortunately, the idea of you going commando does not make me swoon like it would Leviticus…..

    SPQR (768505)

  37. My favorite Christmas present was, that Christ died for me while I was yet a sinner!

    peedoffamerican (c1890a)

  38. my new nespresso machine has slowly and cunningly turned me into its prison bitch

    how did this happen?

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  39. I envy you, Col.
    Be sure to avoid the rocky mnt. high state.

    mg (31009b)

  40. Thank you all for your kind comments. My own burdens are light compared to many. We all—all of us—need to look around us to see the grace and beauty that abounds. It’s easy to miss when we focus on the bad.

    God whispers, after all.

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  41. Lenin warned about “momentary interests” in the proletariat’s struggle against fascism, happyfeet. Break loose from the chains of sybaritism, comrade.

    nk (dbc370)

  42. “After celebrating with my loved ones, my second Christmas will be next week’s trip to New Mexico with a truck convoyed treasure trove of soap, toothbrushes, toothpaste, disposable razors, deodorant, Louis L’Amour books and toilet paper that I’ll be distributing to the citizenry.”

    – Colonel Haiku

    What we could really use is some bottled water and metal tools. Bringing toilet paper and Louis L’Amour is redundant.

    Leviticus (6a67b8)

  43. it’s

    it’s too strong

    happyfeet (8ce051)

  44. Bringing toilet paper and Louis L’Amour is redundant.

    Heh! Did that guy even ever open up a history book about the Old (or Middle or New) West? But he has his fans.

    nk (dbc370)

  45. “What we could really use is some bottled water and metal tools.”

    Duly noted, young scheister.

    Colonel Haiku (6726b1)

  46. That’s a rough situation with your dad, Simon. Sorry to hear it. Hang in there.

    daley, definitely not “going commando.” Not sure why Leviticus (or anyone, for that matter) would supposedly swoon at the notion…

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque, the fish issue with the lake is complicated. The lady who had the birds got rid of bass and replaced them with bottom-feeders, which helped protect the birds somehow. But the bottom-feeders are now creating an algae problem, so my sisters will have to get rid of them and bring back the bass. They will be able to moderate the population by fishing occasionally.

    BradnSA, my sisters and brothers in law have absolutely nothing good to say about Hearne. It is apparently overrun with gang members. But WalMart is building a nice big store about 5 minutes from their home.

    The property really is a wonderful place to visit family and relax. They got it absurdly cheap, too.

    Patterico (39da75)

  47. Simon’s experience needs to be a reminder to us all to get the family stories and memories asked and told and documented before it is too late. And with an aging relative sometimes “too late” can come about very suddenly. Every family has untold stories and secrets that are worth knowing and understanding for the lessons taught, whether good or bad. Even mundane (at the time) events can be fascinating to hear about for a person two or three generations removed.

    It’s a shame people don’t write letters much any more. I’ve learned so much about the personalities of my parents, grandparents and great grandparents through saved letters. A cousin recently presented me with a stack of very old letters he’d found when cleaning out his parents’ house. The letters were all written by my Dad to his one year older brother when they were in their early 20’s and single. My Dad was off on an adventure out west while his brother was still at home helping out on the farm. And my Dad was telling him about all the wimmins and giving my uncle dating advice. This aspect of my very staid and mature and proper father who was middle aged when I was born was almost beyond my comprehension–and I absolutely loved it.

    elissa (f61f72)

  48. Hang tough Simon, better times will follow.

    mg (31009b)

  49. Best Christmas gift this year was a handwritten letter from eldest son thanking us (hub and me) for loving him so much and for welcoming his bride into our family with open arms and hearts. He thanked me for the patience and constant love for him over the years. He thanked my hub for marrying he and his new wife – he said he could think of no one else he would ever want to do that. And it went on from there to be the loveliest teary-eyed momen of gift o The respect and closeness he has with us is the golden gift and payoff we all hope is the result of those hard and wonderful years of child rearing. On top of that, all the kids presented us with a 3 nite stay in our favorite coastal village right on the ocean. Some really great young adults my kids have become.

    Dana (e2f05f)

  50. Eh…”And it went on from there to be the loveliest teary-eyed momen of gift opening ever”…

    Simon, hold your little ones more closely these days. They’ll be the soothing balm your heart needs during this rough season. There’s no getting over or around it, but you can and will get through it and come out the other side with a softer empathetic heart and a more finely honed sense of time and the need to make every moment with your boys count… Even with the added challenge of a teenager. Grace and Mercy be yours.

    Dana (e2f05f)

  51. Again, touched by the kind comments. I blog from time to time, and have written a number of times about the death of my mother, and my father’s life. It’s not the same as letters, elissa (and I agree that that kind of glimpse into the past is so important), but I still maintain a couple of things:

    1. My burdens are light compared to those of so many people.
    2. There is beauty aplenty, all around us.

    This latter crisis has brought many members of my family together.

    Perspective is important, but it sure can be expensive.

    Again, thanks to all.

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  52. Plus, I celebrated my 15th wedding anniversary with the Mary Poppins (“practically perfect”) of spouses. A wonderful bride, healthy sons…what better gifts could there be, at Christmas or any other time?

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  53. Simon, congratulations on your anniversary. And as with the others I’m sorry about your dad.

    You have a great attitude about life and I’m sure you’re a blessing to your family in times like this.

    Dustin (303dca)

  54. Kind of you, Dustin. It’s a joke in our family, but we are also serious.

    From the time my sons were toddlers, I taught them to say the following:

    I am a problem solver, not a problem complainer.

    I teach undergraduates, and few of them seem to “get” that most problems can be solved through hard work, attitude, and ownership. At least my boys know the score.

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  55. But the bottom-feeders are now creating an algae problem, so my sisters will have to get rid of them and bring back the bass.

    How about dropping in some young alligator gars for good measure…? 😉

    Blacque Jacques Shellacque (9a01e5)

  56. Alligator gar is one approach. This is another.

    Simon Jester (14b943)

  57. I leave the whole footprint when I get out of the pool. Zero arch. Zero.

    if my feet got any flatter, they would be convex.

    15-EEEE new Balance tennies for me.

    redc1c4 (abd49e)

  58. BTW, There is also a liquid algae treatment that can be spray released into the pond by boat. It is not harmful to people– or fish, birds, frogs, turtles, etc. who live in, feed from or play around in the the water. But it is hostile to the algae and makes the water clearer. We use it in our pond when required which is usually every other year. I don’t pretend to be a scientist but I believe it’s probably the weather, air and water temperature, days of sunshine, and multiple other contributing aspects of the pond ecosystem more so than the “bottom feeding fish” that produce the algae.

    elissa (f61f72)

  59. Hearne has Johnny Reb’s Dixie Cafe right there on Highway 6 in front of God and everybody. With a Confederate flag on the sign as a bonus. I tend not to stop in Hearne.

    I’ve also heard that gluten corn meal will stop algae growth. Gluten apparently kills algae, Hollywood stars, soccer moms and hipsters.

    Ag80 (eb6ffa)

  60. Ag80,

    I was just at TJ’s selecting bread and saw that all the brown rice bread was gluten free. I don’t know how it tastes, but I did note that if I carried a loaf in my purse and were accosted, I would likely be able to knock the perpetrator out with one serious swing. Like lead.

    Dana (9a8f57)

  61. One surprising gift: Ash-borers are killed around 28 below. Last spring ice out in MN was commonly an all-time record for northern lakes due to a lot of winter weather in April.

    The result, very clear water into Summer. Could be help is on the way.

    Otherwise, Garden’s Alive sells corn gluten.

    gary gulrud (e2cef3)

  62. Gary- water for the birds in that cold is a humane and heroic effort!!

    mg (31009b)

  63. What a pair of California cowboy wanna-be boots, Patterico. Get yourself a pair of Justin ostrich or some Red Wing’s, or both. Justin’s for dress, Red Wings for work.

    Bryan a nice area of Texas. But can’t top the Lost Pines area for beauty, that is until the Lost Pines area burned down.

    retire05 (841fcf)

  64. Anyone who wants to tout their Texas cred, get rid of the Ariats made in Mexico. Justin and Lucchese still made in Texas, hire Texans and have their corporate HQs in Texas.

    retire05 (841fcf)

  65. Love to know where in Bryan that is. My Great Aunt/Uncle had a large tract of cotton land outside of Bryan. I hope to retire there – back to watch my Aggies.

    Bob Neal (8eac1a)

  66. Joe Buck would have coveted those boots.

    PC14 (2f8051)

  67. Leviticus,

    Any particular socks you like to wear with the Ariats? I tried ordering some calf-length socks through Amazon but am interested in thoughts about what socks work best. Currently wearing a pair of Under Armour Heatgear boot socks which seem to work well.

    Patterico (39da75)

  68. I received some white privelege, but since I already had some I regifted it to the Australian Aborigine woman who lives down the hall and she was very pleased.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  69. “What a pair of California cowboy wanna-be boots, Patterico. Get yourself a pair of Justin ostrich or some Red Wing’s, or both. Justin’s for dress, Red Wings for work… Anyone who wants to tout their Texas cred, get rid of the Ariats made in Mexico. Justin and Lucchese still made in Texas, hire Texans and have their corporate HQs in Texas.”

    – retire05

    Cuz there are so many Real Cowboys(tm) in Texas…

    Leviticus (ddf02c)

  70. “Any particular socks you like to wear with the Ariats?”

    – Patterico

    I just wear whatever I have lying around – sometimes including high ankle-socks, which feels kinda weird. Ideally, I wear thick calf-length Hanes socks from Walmart.

    Leviticus (ddf02c)

  71. Ideally, I wear thick calf-length Hanes socks from Walmart.

    The first couple of days I was wearing high ankle length socks and they kept disappearing into the boots. Socks that cover my calves seem to work better. Your Walmart socks don’t slip down your leg?

    Patterico (39da75)

  72. I highly recommend Gold Toe acrylics, Patterico.—3-pack?gclid=CNDY2Ny96LsCFaxr7Aod12IAag
    Cushiony, wick away moisture, don’t really bunch down uncomfortably.

    I did wear boots back when. (Justins, not ostrich, cow soft as a glove, retireo5).

    nk (dbc370)

  73. If it isn’t cold, I use cheap costco high ankle cut running socks

    steveg (794291)

  74. Wish I had known you were here! I would have asked you to lunch! I once delivered a young jay that had fallen out of the nest to that place for rehab!
    My best gift was having all my immediate family here, all 18 of us! Have been fortunate in this since 1979 when my parents died. We are truly blessed!

    TxAg50 (a07d20)

  75. go ahead, say it …
    !!!! Texas A&M !!!

    Yeah, baby. Texas A&M. You’re in paradise now.

    Paul A'Barge (6851c2)

  76. “Your Walmart socks don’t slip down your leg?”

    – Patterico

    Nah, they’re solid.

    Leviticus (6a67b8)

  77. What Was Your Favorite Christmas Present?

    “Peace On Earth, Good Will Towards Man.”

    Not evenly distributed, unfortunately, but still good. 😀

    IGotBupkis, "Still Not Home From The Holidays" (155353)

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