Saturday, December 27, 2008

Unintentional L.A. Christmas

The plan was to fly to SeaTac on the 22nd and spend Christmas with our families in the northwest. That didn't quite happen. If you've been paying attention to the national weather, you'll know why. Seattle -- and pretty much all of the northwest -- disappeared behind a curtain of freezing weather and record snowfall. For a city that essentially shuts down when a half-inch of powder hits the pavement (built on hills as it is), over a foot of snow makes any form of travel impossible. Our flight was cancelled, as was every other flight from Burbank to Seattle before Christmas.

We looked for other ways to make it home, and found none. No busses were running. No trains, even. The only reliable route to Seattle was by car, and that would mean crossing the Siskiyous in teh dead of winter. Considering the heater in our Taurus hasn't been working, that route was out. A few intrepid and/or insane souls made it -- my sister drove up the 101 from San Francisco, proving in the process that we could have simply gon around the Siskiyous (Maginot Line, anyone?), but her heater was working. We resigned ourselves to being marooned in L.A.

BELOW: Bean scopes out another ornament to kill
Now, part of my holiday routine is doing the majority of my Christmas shopping online. I have the gifts shipped to my parents' house in Puyallup. That way, I don't have to worry about overloading my luggage or anything breaking -- I just do the wrapping once I'm up north. I did that again this year. And realized, at about the same time that I realized we'd be in Los Angeles on Christmas, that all my wife's gifts were in boxes at my folks'. Not good. Gotta have something for the wife to open the morning of. So I bought her an Italian leather jacket that she absolutely loves. I done good.

And the holiday itself, cut off from family as we were, was lovely. Much easier and more relaxing than we thought, without the constant stresses of bouncing between families and trying to cram every friend from college or high school into too few days. Several of our friends were similarly stranded here, either unable to book or afford travel back home. So we sought out our displaced friends, northwesterners or not, and made for a memorable holiday with our surrogate L.A. family. Much good food was consumed, mostly soup . Many terrible movies were viewed, mostly widescreen. We spent Christmas morning with our kitties and a soup-filled afternoon with Matt and Jessica from down the hall and Nathan Rice, the most recent northwest transplant. We spent a non soup-centered evening with Gayvin and Erik and their four-year-old living tornado, Jack, in Pasadena. Yesterday we went nowhere, which was wonderful, as was the soup. There are leftovers.

My Mommy made these =)

In the northwest, the snow has been melting, so tomorrow we theoretically board a plane for Seattle. That's assuming there's not another cold snap or freak winter storm. So we'll get our family Christmas a few days late. And we'll be able to make Stevie's wedding and Emily and Michael's New Year's party. So, in the end, it seems likely the holiday will work out. And, oddly enough, our unexpected L.A. Christmas was so unexpectedly pleasant, it has us thinking that maybe we'll take an expected L.A. Christmas next year.

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