December 24, 2008: Christmas Eve in Frankfort

Today is my very first time spending Christmas Eve at the Tocco’s in Frankfort and, as well, dad’s first time spending Christmas Eve with me (since Christmas 1975, obviously.)

My secret project for the day was working to get the new website and blog,, created and up and running so that we could use it to feed into AppleTV by tomorrow.  For Christmas, Liesl got all of her grandparents AppleTV units so that they can use the AppleTV to keep up with her.  The AppleTV will subscribe to Liesl’s Flickr stream so that all of her pictures show up on it automatically.  The AppleTV will also subscribe, via iTunes, to LieslTV to automatically download Liesl’s videos.  This is the coolest way to keep up with grandkids ever.  Just plug in your AppleTV, set your subscriptions and grandchildren magically appear just like they are television stars.  I imagine that this will be the new means for everyone to see far away family as AppleTV-like devices and high quality camcorders become more and more prevalent.

It was extra hard doing all of the setup in secret because Dominica’s parents won’t know about the AppleTV (which arrived from Amazon today – buy them from Amazon and you save $10 over the Apple Store price and you get free shipping) until tomorrow morning when they unwrap it.  My dad got his today and opened it because our tradition is to open presents on Christmas Eve as it was ever since I was little.

Getting everything set up was no small trick.  There is a lot to do when setting up a new website and getting the blog working and getting the video feed working in its enclosures and making sure that it works through iTunes.  By early evening I had LieslTV working in iTunes and the website was working well.  There was no way for me to test with an AppleTV, though, to make sure that the video that we have ready for tomorrow is going to work (the AppleTV that Dominica and I own at home has not been hooked up yet so we could not test there either.)  The plan is, after everyone goes to bed tonight, that Dominica and I are going to work to hook up the AppleTV in the living room and get it all set up with iTunes on the Toccos’ computer and get the subscriptions set up so that all they have to unwrap is an AppleTV remote, turn it on and see the first video right away along with all of the photos that we took throughout the day today that should already be available on Flickr.  It is a major project.

Most of the day was spent in the living room for me.  I did not have today off from work so I was logged onto my laptop all day although the work load was pretty light.  I did some installations and talked to several people at the office but it wasn’t bad.  The market closed early today so my work stopped completely around two in the afternoon when the last stragglers headed off for home.  By the end of the day I was pretty soar from having sat on the couch all day with a laptop on my lap.  I can’t wait to get back to a desktop again.  At least I should not have to use a laptop all that much tomorrow since the office is closed and the website is all set up.  Only additional picture processing and posting to Flickr should demand my time tomorrow.

At a quarter until five we all loaded up and drove over to church to attend Christmas Eve Mass.  This is Dominica’s first time in Frankfort on Christmas Eve in seven years and my first time ever.  So Christmas Mass is new to me although, in reality, it is practically indistiguishable from the Presbyterian Christmas Eve Candlelight Services that I have been going to for almost all of my life.

After church we came home and did family pictures.  I got a ton of pictures and was able to, around midnight, get them edited, thinned out and uploaded to Flickr.  I am excited that I was able to get them done so that when the AppleTV gets hooked up it will show the Christmas Eve pictures from tonight which will be a really nice touch.  I know that the Flickr portion will work.  It is the video portion that I have not been able to fully test yet.

After pictures we had dinner all together.  Then the girls pretty much went straight off to “bed” where they watched first Beetlejuice from 1988 and then A Christmas Story all thanks to Netflix while the adults hung out in the living room.  Francesca and I spent the entire evening, almost two hours, working on finding an appropriate theme for  We finally got it down to two choices and let Dominica make the final decision which we all really like.

Tonight is the very first time that I have ever been able to witness the Christmas Eve craziness in action firsthand.  I have seen the present layout after arriving from dad’s house as Dominica and I have always done but this is the first time tha tI have been able to watch it actually occur.  What a project.  Plus this is the first year when their are four grandchildren instead of just two (Emily’s first Christmas was my first Christmas at the Toccos’ so it has always been two grandchildren as long as I have been around.)

It is a quarter after midnight and I just got the Flickr updates posted so that dad can see Liesl for Christmas online at the very least and so that everyone here can see them via the AppleTV.  I am posting and heading upstairs to do the last minute wrapping of Dominica’s Christmas presents.  Our big present to each other was the XBOX 360 and Fable 2 which we got a month ago.  We weren’t going to get each other anything else but there was something that Dominica really wanted and so I got it for her.  But that is for tomorrow’s update (on the off chance that she is checking the site somehow.)

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