Christmas and New Year's

We spent Christmas in Boston and New Year’s in New York this year. Even before Christmas, it was Christmas, though--packages arrived from Sal and Sue in California, and from Jennifer, Joe, Emmy, and John in Illinois, and we opened them when they came our way. Here's Marcus with the presents from Jen and family, thrilled with his construction-worker-themed gift.

On the 23rd we had a festive Christmas dim sum with Annie, and then Robert took the afternoon off and the whole day on Christmas Eve (we ate pancakes and read and played with Christmas presents most of the day). We went to the 4:00 Christmas Eve church service with Debbie, Dorothy, and Chris, and Marcus passed the time nursing in my lap, coloring, asking “Where Debbie go?” (she had to sit across the aisle because it was so crowded), and saying he wanted to go downstairs and play. After church we had dinner in Chinatown—Marcus devoured a lot of Taiwanese-style flounder and rice—and then went home and saw Bob. We exchanged Christmas presents and had cake and hot cider and talked until midnight.


On Christmas Day we went to Robert’s grandmother’s house in Lynn and got take-out from Legal Seafood. Helena was happy—she got to see Marcus play for the day and she got a baked stuffed lobster. After homemade dessert, we went back home and spent a quiet Christmas evening together.

On Sunday morning the 26th we were supposed to take a 9:30 Delta Shuttle to NY, but they were predicting terrible snow for New York and Boston. I was panicky that we wouldn’t be able to get down, but in light fluffy snow we managed to get on the last shuttle that left Boston for NY that morning, only delayed by twenty minutes. They filled the rest of the plane up with Delta NY-based flight crews, getting all of their employees back to NY since they were anticipating lots of flight cancellations the rest of the day. My parents met us at LaGuardia—Marcus alternately pushing and riding on his suitcase down that long ramp—and we went straight to the Chinese supermarket on Northern to stock up with meat and vegetables and frozen dumplings. We got home, parked the car, and didn’t leave the house until Wednesday midday.


Official tallies of snow were 20” in Queens, and less in Boston. Sunday night and Monday were particularly bad in New York, with something crazy like 600-odd city buses and 170 ambulances abandoned around the city because of the snow, which then caused lots of other problems for the plows. My parents’ block is not a small street, and is actually a bus run, but it wasn’t plowed at all until once on Tuesday. Tuesday night the first bus since midday Sunday attempted to go down the street, and it got stuck. From the living room window we could see the bus go forward, then backward, then forward, then make all the passengers get off and stand by the side of the road, and then go forward and backward again. After four hours, they finally blocked off the rest of the street and had people guide the driver while he backed the bus all the way down to one end of the block. Tuesday was supposed to be our family Christmas celebration, but we told Rie and Steve not to come into Queens. Where they are on the island, they got much less snow, so at first they didn’t believe we were serious, but the roads around us were really pretty bad.


Marcus, meanwhile, had a ball with all the snow: he didn’t particularly need anything that wasn’t in the house, and he had lots of fun playing with a castle and a lot of small people that my parents had bought him. He had lots of fun with “Gree-ma,” “Pop-pop,” and “Ann Manny”; one of his new things is asking people what they’re doing: “Whatterroo doin’, Pop-pop?” he’d say. Basically, between the new Christmas toys, adoring relatives, and various expeditions to the laundry room, the mailboxes, the trash room, and the lobby, he was thrilled.

He absolutely refused to put on his boots, and showed zero interest in going out to play in the snow, so we all just stayed cozily inside. Robert also got a fun Christmas toy—a remote-controlled helicopter—and he became better at flying it inside during those snow-bound days as well. Once the helicopter bumped Marcus a little during a rocky landing, and after that Marcus—who loved the helicopter and would ask Robert to fly it again and again until it needed to recharge—would hold his hands up to his face and yell, “Be careful, Daddy! Don’t let the blue ’hopter bump you!” The days were also filled with a lot of the “Babies” documentary on Netflix streaming video. Marcus loves it, particularly the opening scenes of the Namibian baby with a rock, and can watch rapt, narrating what the babies are doing (“Baby bite book! Other one baby wa-wa-wa! Two baby wa-wa-wa!”). Aunt Mary is not as big a fan of the movie, so after figuring this out, Marcus would tease her, walking up to her, smiling sweetly, and saying, “Wanna watch ‘Baby Rock’?”


On Wednesday we went out to bring back lunch and more groceries, and on Thursday Robert, Marcus, and I took the subway into the city to meet up with some friends. We saw Ben, Lise, and their girls at the Museum of Natural History and then a quick lunch at a nearby Cuban-Chinese restaurant. Lise and the girls had to go home after that, but Ben accompanied us downtown and we met up with Cori at a Koreanized Chinese restaurant on 35th off of 6th.

I popped Marcus (still refusing to wear his boots) into the wrap as we were walking down 34th Street and literally one block later he was sound asleep and slept entirely through our second lunch. After lunch—with a baby who woke up well-rested just as we were leaving the restaurant—we said goodbye to Ben and walked a block with Cori to her office, where we sat in a grad student lounge and talked while Marcus wandered around and tried to work the vending machines using an expired room key card from one of our hotels in India.

Around 5:00 we took the subway back to Flushing and then went into Corner 28 and other little places near the LIRR station to buy dinner to bring home, finding a feast of dumplings, bao, noodles, and rice plates (with spinach, meatballs and eggplant, spicy chicken, and Peking-style pork chops) for a total of $13.25. I had really only wanted to spend $10—Robert splurged a little at the end there. We’d had a great day in the city, though—it was very warm, in the high forties, and great for walking around despite the crowds and piles of snow by the sides of the roads.

Friday was New Year’s Eve, and finally the cousins came over for our now very belated Christmas celebration. Marcus got to play with eleven-month-old baby Davey, who looked up at him adoringly while Marcus patted his head, folded back his ear, and hugged and kissed him.

When the cousins left, we prepared for the rest of our New Year’s Eve—homemade pizzas and pear crisp with creme anglaise, then some games (Snatch and Rummikub) and more nibbles, chips, and dips. Marcus, tired, went to bed at his normal time, but the rest of us saw the New Year in with some green peanut butter M&Ms (observing the family tradition—in my childhood observed with the terrors of Creme de Menthe—that “Something green in the mouth at New Year’s is green in the pocket all year long”).

On Saturday Robert and I went out on a date-night to see “Tron” in 3-D and to eat all-you-can-eat sushi at Sushi Village on Francis Lewis. That was amazingly good sushi—a wide selection, with lots of special rolls, very nicely prepared, not heavy at all on the rice, and with pretty good service (very fast, order from a menu and they bring you—most of—what you ordered). The place was jammed with families, college kids, and twenty-somethings, and we only got a table as quickly as we did because we were the only party of two they’d had for an hour.

Finally, on Sunday, we all went to East Buffet on Main Street for a fabulous dim sum before heading back to the airport to fly back home, on a grey, foggy, forty-degree day. It was a lovely, lovely visit, though, and barring another snowstorm, we will be back in New York in just two weeks for baby Davey’s first birthday party. See you soon!

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Created: 1/3/11. Last Modified: 1/3/11.