Archive for April, 2010

25 Days of Thanks- Day 19

April 11, 2010

Lots of good things happening on both sides of the family!  One side has some stuff that I’m not allow to talk about yet, the other has something that I should have talked about a while ago!

This past December, a lot of my mom’s side of the family met up in Grosse Pointe not only for Christmas but also for my grandfather’s 90 birthday party.  The only couple not able to make it, my cousin Brian and Jamie.  Why they couldn’t make it really deserves its own blog post for the upstanding thing he did for a person he worked with in the Coast Guard.  He covered person’s shift for someone who wanted to spend their holiday with their family.  There’s more to the story I believe, but know that we all raised a glass in your honor Brian!

I’ve been struggling to write this blog post because I didn’t quite know how to capture the awesomeness that was this weekend.  But, on a not really special March night a few nights ago, it hit me…

Ladies and Gentlemen, the 12 Days of the 2009 Manion Family Christmas

12,000 smiles on peoples faces

This was the theme of the weekend.  Everyone was a comedian and everyone had a story to share (we’ll get to that in a second…).  But the majority of the smiles had to come from my cousin and her husband’s children and the way they enjoyed the weekend.  These pictures tell a little of the story

11 Speeches Given

I don’t really have a problem speaking in public.  From written speeches to sports stadiums, from church lecterns to school podiums, I’ll get a message out there.  Some may say that the message doesn’t always come out as planned but I hope the theme gets out and the effort is shown.

This past holiday, I saw where I get this from.  My dad’s side of the family has no problem singing in public.  But my mom’s side is where I get the whole “giving speeches” background.

What must not be counted out was that there was a lot of good things to say, some announcements that needed to be shared, people to be recognized, and accomplishments that deserved a raising of the glass.  Some pics:

10 hours of driving (just on the way home)

I’ve written before about some of the roadtrips with my family.  I’m a fan of the roadtrip.  This one didn’t seem too bad.  That was, until the way home in Buffalo.

(Cue the howling wind sounds from Rudolph right before he meets the Abominable Snow Man)

We tried our best to get Amy to a friend’s house.  However, Grand Island became a parking lot rather than its usual speed trap.  Luckily for my mom, we didn’t stop too long on either bridge but wow, did I get to know the sides of the road that I could see out my window.

Buffalo was a mess. The snow hit at the wrong time.  We got into Buffalo at the wrong time.  It was the perfect storm.  Then, my Buffalo navigation skills were put to the test.  I won’t admit that they probably tacked on an extra hour or two.  Nope, won’t admit that at all.

9 decades of living

The main reason for getting out there?  This guy-

90 years old and still has enough energy and spirit to put on a crazy hat and enjoy a few laughs with the family.  Happy Birthday Pa!

8 wine bottles in two hours

There’s really not much to say here.  I’m going to let the pictures do the talking…


7 hours that I hope can be reproduced one day

This would have a been a great night to show the right girl just how awesome my family is.  I have no doubt that the Manion side can recapture the magic but I just wish she could have been there to see it.

6 embarrassed parents

It’s probably the right of passage for a lot of parents and will be mine one day.  That moment where you realize all the stuff that really happened as the kids were growing up.  It was a great free for all that brought out some hilarious moments and some bashing that was much-needed.

5 shades of red

It’s been talked about before but it’s rarely captured on film. I give you, what I think is the most extreme shade of red.  May need approval from the experts since I can never see it myself but, I submit for approval the following picture

I think you can click on it.  My face looks like a damn red delicious apple.

4 customs officers

“No Dad, we’ll be ok.  I’ve got my birth certificate and licence.  That’s all I need to cross the border”.  3 customs officers were fine with that idea.  I told my Dad I wanted to drive through customs for the fourth and final officer.  I was hoping that my Dad’s worries about me not having the right documentation were preposterous (Preposterous I say!).  The only times he ever breaks out the words “I told you so” are on the golf course when he’s usually right about how to hit a shot.  I was pretty proud of how it was going so far with these folks who wield a ton of power.  Then came the fourth guy….This was the exchange:

Customs: Documents please.  Citizenship?
Me:  (Handing over the docs) All U.S.
Customs: Where you headed?
Me: Back home.  Me to Rochester.  They’re headed through to Albany.
Customs: Which one of you is Junior?
Me: (I’ve been called Junior maybe three times in my life) That’d be me sir.
Customs: The Canadians let you in?
Me: (How the heck am I supposed to respond to that?) Ah, yes sir.
Customs: This isn’t good.
Me: (I can hear my Dad clearing his throat…) Well sir I also have an expired passport
Customs: Do you have that with you?
Me: Um, no sir.
Customs: Well what the heck good does that do you?  It honestly would have been better than this crap
Me: (Now I can hear my Dad rustling behind me) You’re right sir.  Sorry sir.
Customs: (Types into his computer and flails the papers back at me) Well they probably didn’t tell you about the $400 invalid documentation fee
Me: ( It’s completely possible my Dad let out a small grunt right then) Um, no sir.
Customs:  You’re lucky today.  You’re all set.  Have a good day.

We drive away.  Complete silence in the car.  I give everyone back their stuff and continue on like nothing has happened, not even looking at anyone while I pass it out.  Silence continues.  And then I hear my Dad draw in a breath, I turn towards him, and then I hear not from my Dad but from Amy, “Well that would have sucked.”  He didn’t get it out but I was made fun of for while after.

3 Coney Island Hot Dogs

Possible the best cure ever.  Hot dog, cheese, and chili.  Some do onions or other toppings.  Me, I keep it classy and unhealthy.  The onions just get in the way.

A little over 2 decades since the original was taken

Every couple of years when all the cousins were in Detroit for an event, the adults would line up the kids on the couch for a picture.  Most of the classic ones have someone in diapers so I wasn’t able to find one appropriate for the blog just yet.  But we did line us up again with a few additions.  Unfortunately it’s not everyone but at one of these weddings, we will get a picture with everyone including Brian and Jamie.  Here’s this holiday’s version:

And a ham cooked all by me

To break up the long drive and to save me some gas, my sister and parents spent Christmas at RIT with me.  It’s not the first Christmas that we’ve spent away from home but it might be the first that my mom hasn’t made a celebratory meal.  It took her a while to come around but I told her that I’m making Christmas dinner. There’s no way around it.  Even with the different dietary restrictions of some family, I told her I’d handle it.  And everything turned out fine!  Ham, potatoes, broccoli, and green beans, filled the table.  My cooking before (and since) has been mostly small meals that go in one of two directions, 1- safe.  Meaning that I’ve cooked it before.  It was good. 2- one bite and in the trash.  I’ll admit that I’ve made a few bad meals whether it’s the wrong spice or over cooking.  Damn cooking shows make it look so easy.  But this meal worked out pretty well evident from the fact that leftovers were quickly gone.

All in all it was a great holiday and a great celebration of my Pa’s 90th birthday.  Thanks to everyone for a great time!

And thank you for reading:-)

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