Well, Happy New Year everyone. I realize it’s February, but it’s been awhile since I’ve written. I hope everyone had a lovely time celebrating whatever you celebrate.
My favourite Christmas memory from this year was at our family dinner. My nieces were excited they were allowed to have some ginger ale with their meal, which I made for them with half-strength syrup using Granny’s soda machine. Only, Auntie likes really fizzy pop and may have over-carbonated. Despite warning the girls about properly rationing their drinks with their meals and also about the perils of guzzling soda, both girls immediately began annihilating their drinks.
The little two and a half year old (AKA Fists of Fury) is a puncher. She’ll come give you a hug, soothe any owies you may have, show you her stuffie, then punch you in the nose. She would sip wildly on her straw and then, because of the intensely carbonated water, would declare TOO SPICY! and would punch her straw before repeating the process again.
I got her this shirt for Christmas:
Anyway, I’m very lucky that my family dinners are usually a pleasant experience (well, except for this one). Aside from the occasional political argument, mostly we all get along and just like to talk about gross stuff at the dinner table.
But the best time about the holidays is reminiscing about past family hilarity. Like, remember that time when so and so yanked a tablecloth off the table and launched an orange Slurpee onto the ceiling? Or, remember that time I fell down the stairs with a bowl of fruit salad? Not gonna lie, most of our fave family stories involve accidents or injuries. Or weird games we invented in our youth such as Barenaked Bum Fighters (don’t ask) or Chargeball (prepare to sprain something).
This holiday season my sister and I reminisced about an event I had forgotten about, though it occurred when we were both adults of sound mind at the time. Back when I was still working for Satan Inc., I went Full Gord for a few months on the only healthy thing I have ever gone Full Gord on: salads. I was obsessed with salads and brought them to work every day, with Greek dressing. The salad veggies varied with what was available in my fridge, but invariably contained toasted almonds for protein.
Every few days I would roast a batch of raw almonds in the oven so I had a constant supply for my salads. However, one evening while my delicious almonds were in the oven, I got distracted. For a really long time and the almonds burned to shit. Like completely black.
My sister, who lived in the basement at the time, came to see what the putrid smell was. After the almonds had cooled down, we dared each other to try to eat one. Why, I do not know. Neither of us were quite brave enough, so we decided that we would each try to chuck a burned almond into the other’s opened mouth. If a toss was successful, the chump with the nasty almond in their mouth had to eat it.
And so, the game of Almond Chucking was born. Rules developed as the game progressed. We now stood across the kitchen from one another. You had to open your mouth, tip your head back, and close your eyes. No peeking to avoid the almond. Also, an almond hitting your eyelid is preferable to an almond hitting your eyeball. Trust me. Once we started landing the odd almond, we allowed for spitting out of the charcoal almond (you know, carcinogens and all that), but you had to chew it thoroughly first. And FYI, chewing burned almonds will suck all the moisture out of your mouth until it’s nearly impossible to spit out the black paste.
Blackened almonds flew back and forth across the kitchen, seemingly for hours. As the brittle nuts hit floors, walls, tables and chairs, they would shatter into pieces and fly under the refrigerator, behind the microwave, everywhere. In the aftermath of Almond Chucking, bits of nuts were found as far away as the living room and basement. Greasy black skid marks were on the walls and floor tiles. It took weeks (months? Years?) to locate all the chucked almonds.
Needless to say, Almond Chucking is one of those one-time only games, but we will remember laughing our asses off and the horror of burned almonds in our mouths forever.