Finally! Success with my smoked sausage gumbo recipe today. This is probably my fourth or fifth time making it since last summer, but I think I'm getting improvement in each iteration. This time 'twas not too bland, not nuclear hot. I gave Timothy instructions to stir in the rice only in the last hour so that it wouldn't turn into mush. I cooked just enough such that there were no leftovers. And thanks to Claire Bear's Christmas gift of crockpot liners, cleanup was super quick.

As I was eating dinner and catching up with the boys, I quickly checked my messages. Tonight's Lector Meeting was postponed to next week. Tomorrow's CCD class is cancelled as is Abby's Youth Band practice. Qualcomm New England said that their offices are closed tomorrow, but I still have to work from home or take a vacation day. And of course Milford Schools are closed tomorrow. Hopefully the Superintendent doesn't robo-dial me at 5am to remind me.

So for a change tonight I get to sit by our roaring fire, sipping some hot drinks, watching an episode of "Top Gear" with my boys. <<insert manly grunt here>>

Now if everyone can just stay healthy and we can maintain our utilities (electricity, internet, etc), that would be awesome.

Click for the original source on Buzzfeed

Click for the original source on Buzzfeed

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I felt so bad for the kids this afternoon. I let them sleep in. In the interest of getting the grocery shopping done before the afternoon and avoiding the pre-Patriots game rush, we skipped having our traditional Sunday breakfast at Donut Fresh Express with a promise of lunch once groceries were unpacked.

CBear and I brought everything back and together with Abita and Timbo we got everything unloaded. We decided that at 1 o'clock we would go to Chili's in Nashua and from there over to the Nashua Conway Arena for ice skating. Everyone got their stuff together. We were about to load into the van and I opened the garage door.

  Perfect black ice conditions

What a difference that hour made! When CBear and I came home from Mahket Basket, the roads were dry. Now suddenly they were... shiny. And not just wet shiny. I stepped out to judge the driveway. It was slick ice underneath rain.

Earlier in the day I had already broken the news to them that the dinner at a friend's house was cancelled because of an illness there. Now I had to tell them that we can't safely leave the house.

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck

Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck

We improvised some last minute lunches. CBear and I tried to make something of the afternoon by watching Roman Holiday. It was amusing watching the opening credits: "and introducing Audrey Hepburn". The twins played some video games. But Timbo found the movie "boring". Yes, sorry buddy. It's not as exciting as Top Gear or Doctor Who.

After the movie CBear helped Timbo get out of his funk by bringing out pastels for them to work with. Perhaps we'll have a Just Dance marathon later. I just pray that this ice doesn't build up and cause power outages. After the movie this afternoon I did a quick scan of Teh Bookface and saw numerous incidents reported locally. I believe skipping the trip to Nashua was probably a good idea.

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Click to watch on Netflix

Click to watch on Netflix

Since Abita went out with her best friend tonight, CBear stayed home and watched this with Timbo & I. We had been discussing Audrey Hepburn earlier today and I'd mentioned that my faves were "Sabrina" and "Roman Holiday". Netflix doesn't have the latter, but I enjoyed seeing this again. Bogart and Hepburn. Classic!

Bit o' Trivia: Audrey died back in 1993. In my earlier discussion with CBear I couldn't remember whether she was still around. (I mean, Mickey Rooney only died this year)

When Michelle lost her shoulder length brunette hair to chemotherapy [thank you Adriamycin, Cytoxan, & Taxol], her shorter hairstyles when it started to grow back afterward often reminded me of Audrey.

The younger four children all head back to school tomorrow. You can only *imagine* their excitement! :-P CBear is doing full dental assistant shifts at Greene & Torio in Nashua on Mon/Wed/Fri this week. After this nice Christmas break it's going to be a bit sad for me to start thinking about 3D rendering and image texture mapping again. ["Must render with less milliWatts..."] Did I mention I spent the whole midwest visit NOT bringing a laptop or tablet with me. Just my phone and my eBook reader. It was kind of nice not having carry on luggage for the flights.

One last shout out before bed: A Happy 15th Birthday to my nephew and godson William! Seems like only yesterday I was holding you in my arms after your baptism. How can you be taller than I am already you son-of-a Tarpey?!

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Remember the night we broke the windows in this old house? 

Busy day yesterday. In the early morning I watched the second half of "It's a Wonderful Life" that I'd started earlier Friday before bed. I know it's almost cliché, but I love that movie.

I took the kids to Hampshire Hills in the morning and to Cafe on the Oval for a big brunch afterwards. Lots of laundry to do when we got home and I paid for CBear's spring semester at NHTI and bought the textbooks she'll need. ($$$)

We wrapped it up at St. Patricks. 4pm was the Youth Mass and Abby played her clarinet with the youth band. After Mass they had a teen night in the church hall. We had pasta & meatballs. The kids made Christmas cards, decorated cookies, did a Yankee Swap, and had some time for prayer and reflection.

In a strange twist I ended up with the gift I had bought for the Yankee Swap. When we got home I did more laundry while watching a sentimental Christmas romance movie on the ION channel: "Golden Christmas 3". If I didn't already have five children from a very happy marriage, I'd say watching a movie like that is almost a Man Card revoking event.

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