Sunday, December 13, 2009

O Tannenbaum

My oldest son, Kristin, enjoyed himself so thoroughly at our family Christmas tree decorating party that he insisted he must be the one to write a blog post about it. Last year he spent a lonely Christmas away from his family- in the Galapagos Islands. Just he and the turtles on Christmas, so sad. To make up for it, he has been reveling in the traditional things he missed out on like cutting the tree, eating, shopping, and eating. Maybe he'll make gingerbread houses with us too. We'll see about that.

So for the first time at Pie in the Sky, I present to you a guest blog post, written by my son who has a way with hyperbole and his own special idea of how things went down.

[Kris' note: The photos in this post are really sub par for my photographic tastes, due to the fact that I currently have no laptop for photo editing, the result of an unfortunate laptop accident in Peru. The white balance has not been corrected, and my camera's tungsten white balance setting is not very accurate. The photos were all shot ISO 1600, due to low light in the family home, and I was not able to use software to reduce the digital noise. Being highly self critical, I'm not so satisfied with these photos, but I don't have many options other than uploading JPEGs straight from my camera.]

Once a year, an exclusive event of the highest of magnitude arrives with the most limited guest list. It is- of course- the Regentin Christmas tree decorating night.
This family tradition has been carried on for years, since the advent of the Regentin family back in the day in Michigan. It is one of the most looked forward to nights in the family, one that is always enjoyed to the fullest.

Years ago when the family patriarchs were poor and needy, there was only a record player in the house, and Nat King Cole's Christmas album became the album of choice to provide the soundtrack for the night. This tradition has been carried on for years, and many family members think that it is not really tree decorating night without it. [Author's note: if you do not have this album, buy it now- preferably on vinyl.] Christmas carols have traditionally been sung, instruments played, and hot apple cider and eggnog drunk.

Tonight, the tradition took place again. Unfortunately, some family members could not be present as in past years. But I was glad to be present with the family once again, after a few years abroad and last Christmas spent in the Galapagos [it wasn't all that bad].

Mom (aka Clayvessel- this blog's regular author) took a new approach to the family evening and made fondue, a result of developing a fondness for it on her recent trip to Switzerland. Many family members are strangers to this foreign and rarely experienced food; however, I love fondue and was glad that mom made the decision to make it happen.

As any reader of this blog is surely aware, my mother has an appreciation for all good foods, wines, and spirits. I inherited and developed this appreciation, along with my father and siblings, and we all love the chance to get together and enjoy my mom's love for food and all things tasty.

Seth's girlfriend Amber, a singer, came out for the evening to partake in the musical arrangements. She, of course, also enjoyed the cuisine with the rest of the family.

There was Coho and Chinook smoked salmon from the Gilmore salmon vendor in The Dalles; as well as crackers, artichoke dip, and brie and smoked Gouda cheeses.

After being sufficiently filled with good food and drink, Seth, mom, and Amber entertained us with their musical talents. Dad (known here before as Mr. Dirtywrench) pitched in his vocal talents as well.

Seth was endowed with the music talent gene...

...though he has other abilities as well.

The whole group came together for a jam session.

Sam played a few tunes...

...and Pete shot some video.

Swiss Kirsch was sampled.

Eventually, a Christmas tree was even decorated.

Good times were had by all.

Kris Regentin is an amateur photographer and professional slacker who is currently living all over the place and planning to eventually be a responsible
adult. He suffers from male pattern baldness and loves good beer and his mom's food. You can find his ranting, raving, and windbagging here, and his photos here.


  1. Great post, guest poster. Your descriptions made me want to be part of your family for that night!
    Now I've got to get the phrase 'fondue fondness' and Nat King Cole's Christmas song out of my head.

  2. I just had breakfast, and yet, strangely, I'm salivating all over my sweatshirt...

  3. I love salmon! Looks like a wonderful time you all had.

  4. Urban Cowboy- there's a little place off the river (Columbia)in WA where we get smoked salmon every year. They do the smoking themselves and their prices are ridiculously low. We bring home piles of it.


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