Christmas on Ice. and Snow.

This Christmas I was invited to go to New Jersey to stay with my Aunt Marge, Uncle John, cousin Gillian and cousin Cat. My father is waiting to get a bone marrow transplant and can’t have any visitors due to his immune system, so I accepted.

They live on Lake Shawnee in a small town called Jefferson out in NW Jersey. I always have a blast whenever I hang out with them.

Friday night was spent at a neighbors holiday party socializing and making Christmas cheer.

On Christmas Day we followed normal protocol… presents, silliness and coffee, lots of coffee. Something you athletic types out there might get a kick out of is that my Aunt and Uncle’s household is a running household. That’s right, the whole family is obsessive about running! What better place for me to stay right? 50% of teh gifts exchanged were running gear or running related. Very cool.

After a fantastic breakfast dished up by Uncle John, Gillian, Cat and I headed out to do some trail running. We went to a place called Saffons Park. It was great! Gravel paths with occasional ice patches. We even had to double back one time as some hikers told us there was a growling bear ahead on the path!

Both my cousins run track so we were all cookin. We started the 6.5 mile run with 9:30’s and sped up consistently, finishing at a 7:30 pace. What a great way to spend Christmas Day!

Back at the house we made sandwiches with the fresh bread I baked the day before, hit the showers and got dressed for Christmas: Stage 2.

I mentioned that they live on a lake? Did I mention it was frozen solid? We laced up our skates and headed out the back door, jumping on the lake ready to rock. SIDENOTE: I LOVE ice skating, always have. During the winter I often go first thing in the morning at Wollman in Central Park to beat the tourists.

As we began to skate I have to admit I was nervous for our safety. Laughing at their oldest cousin and assuring me, “We grew up here and this is totally safe.” We also brought their favorite beverages, 4 Locos, out on the ice to sip on. I had never had one and they insisted I try it, especially after all the controversy surrounding it. It tasted like liquid Smartees to be honest, and it kinda grew on me.

The lake is pretty big so we cruised around exploring the different coves. By this point I was warmed up and flying all over! There are no walls to hold you in so you can really blast off! We headed in as the sun was going down and dinner was approaching. Back at the house my cousin Cat got in trouble as she left an empty can on a dock out on the lake. To solve the issue I volunteered to skate back out and find it! Adventure! It was actually pretty scary as it was nighttime now. I think I may have been going like 20 MPH too.

After retrieving the can we sat down to an amazing dinner. Some neighbors came over after for dessert and to join us as we wrapped up the night with a movie.

Our huge family party that was supposed to happen Sunday was postponed until Tuesday because of the impending blizzard. I, therefore, headed out on a train for the Mighty Manhattan. I leave you with some images of the snow! Enjoy! (some are before/after shots)

The infamous Cat Hill!

Only in New York? I think so.

3rd Avenue looking South from 83rd.

The block I live on.

My head shot from when I tried out for Empire Strikes Back.