- December 16 was our annual holiday party, which deserves an LJ entry of its own. Despite having let the house accumulate clutter for quite some time and my being sick, we managed to get the house cleaned and decorated more smoothly than usual.
- After our holiday party, I managed to turn my vague cold-ish sickness into another flavor with a serious sore throat.
- For Lori's birthday, we saw Plaid Tidings on December 22, and went to Max's Allegheny Tavern on December 23.
- Christmas Eve, Lori led her children's choir at St. Joseph's church service, then we exchanged presents with Lori's family at her mother's house.
- We hosted a family gathering of about ten people for Christmas day. Highlights of the menu were a beef roast that came out very nicely, and buche de Noel made by Lori.
- As usual, our plans for a relaxing break between Christmas and New Year's turned into busy time.
- December 26 was mostly quiet, except for going to Alioto's with friends as usual and playing the Warcraft board game with Kevin and David.
- December 27 was quiet, too--Lori started a trial of World of Warcraft, and we ate dinner at Casbah because Lori had a birthday coupon there.
- December 28, Lori wanted to do some seasonal fun. So we went out to tour Hartwood Acres, which I'd never seen before.
After that, we had a late lunch at the Middle Road Inn, where I tried the Old-Fashioned Cheeseburger in the "fried cheese shell". It was not very nice.
From there, a leisurely trip (with leisurely stops at Record Exchange and Half-Price Books) to a Japanese restaurant in Cranberry to celebrate Alaina's birthday.
- December 29, we went to a wine, cheese, and chocolate party hosted by Gwen and Derrick. Our yen to contribute to this party led to our discovery of the Secret Chocolate Marquise recipe from Cookwise, which became our signature dessert for the rest of the holiday. This marquise (I'm not sure about all marquises) was essentially a large, flat truffle, cut into thin slices and served with slightly-whipped cream. It was incredibly rich and tasty.
- December 30, I GMed Dogs in the Vineyard for Lori, Monica, Kevin, and David. It wasn't as flat-out awesome as the first time I ran it, but I think it went very well.
- New Year's Eve was spent in a quiet celebration at Kevin's house, with Kevin and Alaina, Pat and Lisa, and Teri and Steve. Lori brought another chocolate marquise. We played Cineplexity and had enough movie buffs to play successfully, then played a very close game of Fact or Crap?.
- New Year's Day, we went to a brunch at Arianna's house. "Brunch" may be stretching a point; we were there from about 2:30 to 4:30.
After that, we had a relatively low-key holiday dinner. We'd planned to have Heather and Paul with us, but we got lucky and got Mike too--he sent us e-mail saying he was in town at 5:30, and we called him and said "dinner's at 6:30, and we'd love to have you."
The roast pork tenderloin came out excellently, as well as black-eyed peas from a can and the leftover chocolate marquise. And we didn't feel overwhelmed by the cleaning up the way we did from Christmas.