That aside, we ate a lot (the roasted pork shoulder came out a treat ... I resorted to my old Doubleday cookbook and roasted it at 325 for 40 minutes a pound), played games, laughed, listened to music, had many a Christmas cookie, and much merriment ensued from all the above. We also received a good many wonderful gifts, among them a streaming box so that Tom doesn't have to hook his computer up to the TV in order for us to watch Hulu (or other similar things). He has been playing with that and having a very good time learning the ropes and seeing what is out there for free.
A couple of standouts for me ...
A standout at this point is the family game for the year, Pandemic. The goal of Pandemic is for the players, in their randomly-selected roles, to work cooperatively to stop the spread of four diseases and cure them before a pandemic occurs. I was fascinated to think of a game requiring cooperation from all players, rather than rivalry. All the reviews I read on Amazon spoke glowingly of how much fun it was and many appreciatively mentioned the "cooperation" element. I had to try it.
It turns out that this game is addictive. It is the nearest thing I can imagine to a role playing, computer game, but in board game form. You just have to keep trying to cure those darned diseases before the game beats you and that keeps you coming back time after time as you think of new strategies.
In the "introductory" game playing mode, we had to play four or five times before we finally beat it by curing all four diseases. We are now curious to try it in "regular" mode.
Tom really surprised me by giving me a Tilting Teapot. I saw this so long ago that I'd forgotten all about it. And, the poor guy had to buy it from Canada because they only have one distributer on this continent. Nonetheless, it was a sheer delight because of those things and more.
The idea is that you lie it down to put in the tea (in a little compartment) and water in the larger chamber. After brewing, it tilts up to keep the leaves out of the water. And when it is standing, that is when the hotel staff brings you more. Not having a hotel staff, I am having to learn a new skill set in order to keep the tea leaves from floating out of their compartment into the pot, but it is great fun. And makes a good cuppa, too!