Monday, January 5, 2009

My Holiday Break from A to Z

Posted by Craig on 1/05/2009
I'm now back in Chicago, but you're probably wondering, where've you been the last month? I had such a great Holiday Break in Western New York that I have no clue where to start. Rather than assemble a chronological review or try to sort events from most memorable to least, I threw together this collection of memories from A-Z.

A is for Applebee's, where Mom, Dad, Melissa, and Nicole took me for dinner for my 23rd birthday. I ordered a cheeseburger with fries and it was good.

B is for Buffalo sports, as I was able to take in a Sabres-Penguins game (4-3 overtime loss on controversial Sidney Crosby tip-in) and the Bills' season finale against the Patriots (13-0 loss in 50+ MPH winds, fun game to go to despite the result).

C is for Church, attending Cantata at my parish to hear a great rendition of Christmas songs and see my mom sing and hearing some great homilies, reminding me of what the Christmas season is all about.

D is for Dentist, not my favorite thing in the world but I got it done and over with at the end of December. No cavities, so that's a plus!

E is for Engaged, Nicole and I's new Facebook status as of Dec. 23, 2008. The proposal happened after a treasure hunt ended where we first met - in front of the Cardinal Courier office on the St. John Fisher College campus.

F is for Freefall, as I saw the Bills complete their end-of-the-season collapse in December. It was grueling to watch, minus the upset win over the Broncos in Denver. The loss to the Jets ending with a pair of J.P. Losman turnovers were particularly tough to take.

G is for Gift Cards, particularly Subway Gift Cards, as I got $75 of them between Christmas and my birthday. Also some Panera Bread, Tim Horton's, and Olive Garden, gotta love it!

H is for Home-Cooking, mmm. Personal favorites were my mom's special meatloaf, homemade mashed potatoes, Peanut Butter Pie for Christmas and Thanksgiving Dinner! And can't forget the Christmas cookies that Mom made, especially those Peanutty Gems!

I is for Ice, which there was plenty of during my stay in Western New York. That included some brutal black ice, which I slipped on in the driveway my last night there (don't worry I was OK).

J is for Jokes, and there were plenty of these exchanged among my family and friends while I was home. Always good to have a good sense of humor!

K is for Kimmelweck, as in Roast Beef on Kimmelweck rolls! One of my favorite Buffalo treats and I had three or four such sandwiches while in town.

L is for Late-Night Chats, with my parents, Melissa, Nicole and Aunt Colleen, all at different times, but each interesting in their own way. Just good ole conversation about life and the like!

M is for Mac Games, as I got Civilization IV and Scrabble for Christmas. I previously had no games for my Mac.

N is for National Hockey League, and I didn't just watch the Sabres in my time home. I got to see Hockey Night in Canada doubleheaders again on Saturday nights (it's been a while) and thanks to the NHL Network I saw plenty of highlights.

O is for Olive Garden, where I went three times during break. Once with my mom, once with Melissa and Nicole, and once with just Nicole. That last venture involved parking in a snow bank; long story!

P is for Pizza, and there is no pizza like Buffalo pizza! From John's and Just Pizza to frozen pies, I had my fair share of this great Italian dish.

Q is for Quiet, nice peace and quiet back home compared to the never-ending buzz of downtown Chicago. The silence was so relaxing and quite welcomed!

R is for Rochester, which I was able to visit a few times, including on Christmas Eve. No one was happier to hear of Nicole and I's engagement than her grandparents when we visited them that morning to share the news.

S is for Slingbox, the highlight/surprise gift from my parents. I can now watch Buffalo-area TV from Chicago. Also allows me to DVR! Already tested it out; works great. Will come in handy for Sabres games so I can hear R.J. again.

T is for Turkey Day, as I gobbled down some great food on Thanksgiving, including my personal favorite (cranberries)! There was much to be thankful for and I was so glad to spend that day with my family - even happier that Nicole could be a part of it.

U is for Un-Bull-ievable, what the UB Bulls were as they captured their first MAC Championship in school history with an upset win over nationally-ranked and previously-unbeaten Ball State. They lost in the subsequent bowl game vs. UConn but they sure did take Buffalonians for a ride!

V is for Valkyrie, a really interesting historical movie about Nazi Germany that Melissa, Nicole and I saw at the Elmwood Regal Theatre. I just love history, so I found it really fascinating. Tons of stuff in there I just never knew before!

W is for Wii, which I played often during the break. Besides my addiction to Wii Bowling (my high was 256), I worked in a heavy dose of Wii Fit, Game Party, and NHL2k9.

X is for X-Rays, among the tests done on my grandma after she was taken to the hospital just after Christmas. She's still at the hospital now, and we're taking it one day at a time. I'm glad I was able to visit her a few times while home and I hope she gets better soon!

Y is for Year 2008, which my family, Nicole, Aunt Beth and cousin Kathy said goodbye to in style with Chinese food and pizza. Nicole and I actually saw the 1st Annual Tonawanda-North Tonawanda New Year's Celebration at the Canal - Ball Drop at Midnight with fireworks - was REALLY cool, both fun and freezing!

Z is for Zzz...let's just say I caught up on my sleep over break. It was really nice to relax and get some extra shut-eye.

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