This footage covers the holiday season from Thanksgiving through New Year's Eve in 2018 and all our travels to get where we needed to be for these holiday celebrations. Also included is the parts of November and December spent in Chicago between the holidays and those experiences.
A Shared Life: The Holidays - Thanksgiving 2018
We drove overnight as we usually do after work on Wednesday November 21st to Warren, PA arriving an hour or so before daybreak so we went to sleep for a few hours. Our usual Sorensen family gathering would not be happening due to a New York Championship High School football game the next day involving on of my cousins sons (which they won so congratulations Gerrit!) so we would be having Thanksgiving dinner with our immediate family. My aunt Rebecca with her kids, Erik and Jacob stopped by before dinner for a bit. After dinner, we went to see Doug, Justin, and Laura and played some card games to bring some level of normalcy to the holiday, Sorensen style.
After spending Friday getting some work done on the car in preparation for winter, we went to Pittsburgh on Saturday November 24th to see the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets as well as get ice cream at Klavon's and great food and hangs with Joe at Roland's. I documented the Apollo space capsule in front of the Dairy Queen in Franklin again as well from Atlas Obscura.
On Sunday, November 25th we returned to Chicago. We have come to realize due to this trip that Stein seems to get car sickness on the windy hilly Pennsylvania roads around Warren. As we drove back, Elphie saw that there was inclement weather forecasted. In Indiana we began to drive in rain that got worse and worse the closer we got to Chicago. Elphie had concerns about the reports in Chicago so I began to look up the possibility of a hotel through I really did not want to do this if I didn't have to. Eventually I paid $5 for an add-on to my GPS app that was to give warning, road conditions, and radar information. I did so to see how bad things were ahead of us and it appeared that the snow was not yet hitting where we needed to go in Chicago so we decided to finish our drive, slowly and cautiously into Chicago. As we arrived, so did the snow to the Southside.
A Shared Life" The Holidays - November/December in Chicago 2018
My morning commute on Monday, November 26th was snowy as it continued from the storm during our return home from Thanksgiving. On Wednesday, November 28th we went to the Chicago Theatre to see Conan O'Brien getting nearly front row seating on a side section for a bargain using Stubhub. It was a stand up show with some up and coming acts along with Conan. I snuck a little bit of video. As we left, it was snowing again...making it seem like this might be a very cold and snowy winter.
On Friday, November 30th Elphie came to Uptown during my lunch break. The Shaw's gave us some samples of Welsh chocolate and bread to taste. There appeared to be a lot of air holes in the chocolate but it was good. After work, I went to Lincoln Hall to see mewithoutYOU. It was the first time to see them since the new music has been released and I captured the first single "Julia (or Holy to the LORD on the Bells of Horses) on video. I also got a clip from The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die who played in my basement at 4114 Witler in Cincinnati in July of 2011 but it appears I do not have video evidence of that show for some reason...perhaps I had run out of storage with all the other shows I had put on that year...I don't know. I missed the first band and the place was packed and it seemed there were rules against filming so I was trying to do so covertly. Before mewithoutYOU started I moved to a spot where I felt I could see fairly well, get decent footage, and not be noticed if security were to enforce the no video rule. After the show I hung out with some Ollie Mob folks at a Mexican restaurant across the street where there was mariachi karaoke going on. It was cool to hang with some friends for a bit before heading home.
The World Is A Beautiful Place And I Am No Longer Afraid To Die LIVE @ Lincoln Hall (11.30.2018)
On Saturday, December 1st Elphie and I were headed out to The Metro anyway for VNV Nation with Holygram and The Rain Within so we left a bit early so we could see the CTA Holiday Train as it passed through the 35th/Archer station. We got footage of the first one going through and as the second train pulled in but we boarded that train so we got some footage inside the train as well as experienced the riding of a Holiday Train. It worked out since the train was running a combination of the Orange Line and Brown Line so we were able to take it to Cheesies' for dinner before we went to the show.
Elphie was real excited to see VNV Nation so she had me purchase tickets well in advance...I believe it was the beginning of May before we left for Europe if not even in April. She was not disappointed by their set and I enjoyed it as well. I filmed "All Of Our Sins" which closed the night. I also got clips from Holygram and The Rain Within. The guy in The Rain Within had light up gloves that shot lasers out of the tips of the fingers.
On Saturday, December 8th Elphie and I decided to go to a toy drive show put on by Sector Latino. Dissonance And Dissent was among the bands playing. Little Jessi Dills is in the band...a friend from the Ollie Mob as well as Cornerstone/Audiofeed world. It was a fun night of ska music...mostly in Spanish but still, a fun time!
On Sunday, December 9th, we headed out to Brauerhouse for a Krampus Creepy Curiosities and Oddities Market. We didn't stay too long but some some interesting strange things while we were there. We then headed to Uptown to get dinner with friends at J.P.U.S.A. before visiting Simon's Tavern in Andersonville to taste Glögg for the first time. I enjoyed it but it was a bit strong for Elphie. It also came with a cookie. It was a nice little adventure and I began to make it at home now that I had gotten a taste of it.
On Monday, December 10th all of the gifts Elphie and I got for each other arrived so we decided to open them. She got me a new printer to hopefully end my frustrations that came with the other printer. I got her the woodchipper snow globe from the movie Fargo and "Eat the Elephant" by A Perfect Circle on vinyl. On Tuesday, December 11th there was a Christmas party for those of us who work at Cornerstone Community Outreach and no party is complete without some Stewart Brown antics and dancing. On Wednesday, December 12th I went to the United Center where I witness the Penguins lose to the Blackhawks. I got fairly reasonably priced tickets through Stubhub and happened to be in a section where Tommy Hawk and the in house entertainment do some of their antics. On Friday, December 14th we got dinner and walked through the ChristkindlMarket. I got some poutine and Christmas soda...I may have upset one of the vendors by getting some ketchup for my poutine since there was no ketchup near the spot where I purchased it. Oh well. Saturday, December 15th we drove around getting almost all the rest of our Christmas shopping done and saw a puppet show going on outside then on Sunday December 16th Elphie created her prank gifts she would be giving her nieces and nephews. On Tuesday, December 18th Elphie built and installed a home for our local stray cat in hopes to give it somewhere to be safe and warm during the winter. It has certainly been used but we're not sure if the intended cat has been the one using it. On Wednesday, December 19th I checked out the Lincoln Park Zoo Lights. I went alone as Elphie was overwhelmed with all we had to do before leaving for the Christmas trips. I ended up with a lot of footage from this...seems more than usual. On Friday, December 21st we put on a Christmas party for the guys who are staying in the shelter at Cornerstone Community Outreach. It had to be delayed due to an unexpected to us but planned by Comed power outage. We were able to give the guys quite a bit of necessary clothing and toiletries for the shelter life and homelessness in Chicago as well as serve a decent meal. It was a good time.
A Shared Life: The Holidays - A Southern Family Christmas 2018
On Friday December 21st, after I got home from work, we departed for Cincinnati to stay with the Sheehy's for the night. We stopped near Indianapolis so I could get Primanti Brothers and as we approached the restaurant, Elphie saw a Krispy Kreme doughnuts truck and expressed her joy! We stopped at Meijer on our way into Cincinnati as well so I could replenish my Ale 8-1 stash and Elphie could get her last Christmas gifts. We got gas for under $2 at a Speedway then went to the Sheehy's house. I finally ate my Primanti Brothers sandwich as we hung out for a while. On Saturday, December 22nd we had breakfast at the Sheehy's and Lisa came by to visit. We exchanged some gifts before departing for North Carolina. We stopped at the Tennessee border but no Santa this year and stopped again near Asheville at Juicy Lucy's where we were able to visit with Brandon and Sarah Floyd and eat delicious burgers and get a good shake too. On Sunday, December 23rd we went to Tony's Ice Cream with Elphie's niece and nephew then went to pick up the hats she bought for them for Christmas. On the way back to her sister's we stopped at Krispy Kreme where a new batch was being made. Monday December 24th, we began having Christmas celebrations with the southern family which went through Christmas Day (where several folks did not get any sleep due to a certain young lady waking at 2:30am) as well as Wednesday December 26th. After all the celebrating was sufficiently had, we planned to go to South Carolina to get gas and stop at R.O.'s BBQ but warning lights came on the car and it shut down as we were driving down the road. It turned out that our alternator decided it was done working so we ended up with a project on our hands and an unexpected expense which put in doubt the chances of going to the Penguins game in Pittsburgh on our way though. Elphie's brother-in-law kindly helped pull the old one out and install the new one. This car isn't the easiest to get to things when you need to replace them but we finally got it done. On our way to get the part from O'Reilly's, he also kindly took me to R.O.'s so I could pick up some food. After we finished and got the car put back together, I gave it a quick test drive to charge up the battery hen drove to South Carolina to get gas for our journey north that would begin bright and early the next day.
A Shared Life: The Holidays - A Northern Family Christmas 2018
On Thursday, December 27th we began our journey from Gastonia, NC to Warren, PA with a planned stop in Pittsburgh. The chances of going to the Penguins game were very slim after the unexpected expense of the alternator replacement and the apparent high demand thus high cost of the tickets but we would still be stopping at Gavino's to get the Seafood Calzone. As we made our way through West Virginia and took a restroom pit stop, Elphie looked up where one of her friends lived and it seemed it might be close. As it turned out, we would be passing within a few minutes of his town so we stopped by for a quick visit along the way. I'm sure it was good for Elphie to see her old friend and he seemed happy that we stopped. We still made it to Pittsburgh around the approximate time we planned to in case any of our Pittsburgh area friends could come out to hang for a bit. We did not end up going to the game, unfortunately. We were intending to see Joe but he was still in Warren so I figured we might stop by his family's home as we entered Warren. After we ate, we continued north...we made it into Titusville, PA in time to drive through a holiday display in a park before continuing to Warren. Joe was free for us to stop by so we hung out with him for a while as he and some of his brothers played video games. It was a good visit. We got to my family's house, I finished what was left of my portion of the calzone and played with Mu a bit before going to bed. On Friday, December 28th we celebrated Christmas with my family opening gifts and eating pizza. There was a Garth Brooks concert on television throughout the opening of gifts. My brother bought my parents a Roomba and was chasing Mu with it. He also had quite the Christmas sweater. On Saturday, December 29th we went to the Rouse Home to visit with Grandpa for a little while. It was good to see him though it would be nice if he were able to still be at home. On Sunday December 30th we returned to Chicago. We installed a DashCam so I took the video clips I saved using the lock option as we crossed state lines. I liked how it turned out and will be easier in that aspect of documentation than doing it while driving with my cell phone or getting Elphie to do so. The trip though was a bit hectic. After the alternator problems in North Carolina, it seems that the battery was now going bad. We stopped at a rest area and I left everything plugged in and on but when I turned the ignition everything went off instead of the car starting. A nice, neighborly person gave us a jump start and we made it all the way to the Meijer in Highland, IN before we turned the car off again but this power situation seemed to be causing other issues like running our music through the radio adapter being staticy and the volume going in and out as I turned the steering wheel. In turn it was a stressful final couple of hours on the road. When we got to Meijer, Elphie went in and I got gas but I left the car running...which you aren't supposed to do. When I shut it off at Meijer, the battery was dead again so I bought a new battery and installed it. We got home quite late after all this. Elphie cuddled Stein while I unloaded the car. Stein also got to play with his new laser pointer for a bit. We stayed up a while...I was going to try to watch a movie on Netflix but it wasn't working either. When we went to bed we slept in quite late...it was great!
A Shared Life: The Holidays - New Year's Eve 2018
On Monday, December 31st we celebrated New Year's Eve at home in the quiet until the fireworks began. Well, not really quiet because Elphie bought a noisemaker and hat. Stein was not amused by this at all. We grilled venison steaks thanks to my uncle Steve and I made some Glögg to drink...and learned in the process that our microwave was no longer working right (remedied this about a week later. I rried to watch all the Sharknados but only got through three. Elphie watched the various network television broadcasts of the New Year and excitedly danced to New Kids On The Block while I was working on the dinner...she also excitedly celebrated the New York New Year. When the Chicago New Year kicked off, so did the fireworks in our neighborhood. We went outside to watch some of them but I think we missed most of it. It was a nice way to end the holiday season...the drive back was hectic with the car problems and exhaustion so sleeping in both on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day was niee before returning to the day to day life.
Additional soundtrack includes "Gloria" by the Psalters, "Stilla Natt" by Dark Valentine, "Still Still Still" Pers-Anders Kurenbach, "Weihnachtsfrieden" by Schattenspiel, "Oh Komm Oh Komm, Emanuel" by Verney 1826, "Chorus Noel" by Said Fantasy, "Christmas Unicorn" by Sufjan Stevens, "The Drummer Boy" by X1Stance, "Blood On The Banjo" by Destroy Nate Allen.