The Gudgel Family Advent Calendar, Day 8 — “Belly Laughing”


I woke up this morning and my abdominal muscles winced in pain. I did do some crunches and some planks during yesterday’s workout but… not that much. Last night, our friend Dave was coming back through town, and so we had him over for dinner, then drinks and games.


I’d thrown together some gluten free mac n’ cheese and some broccoli and balsamic, and the kids impressed Dave with their ability to argue over who was going to eat the leftover grilled cheese sandwich from the night before. Zooey kept yelling more pasta while simultaneously refusing to relinquish her grip on the sandwich.  At the end of the meal everyone was full, so I suppose it worked out ok.


I paired the meal with the most recent iteration of Dave Phinney’s Locations CA, called CA4, a white blend from, you guessed it, California. The thing that jumped out at me about the wine was the underlying sweetness. It’s a dry white table wine that smacks of Chardonnay for its roundness and mouthfeel, as well as the subtle oak-imparted buttery notes. But there was definitely a sweetness toward the back palate, and I’m guessing Rousanne may be the culprit, though I’m not sure why I think that. Anyway, it’s a really pleasant wine, and I still marvel at the fact that we can buy anything from Dave Phinney for $20. It’s a great value, and should be widely available all over the place.


Our impromptu game night started with What Do You Meme, a new game I had purchased after a high school student recommended it to me, before we dug into the old classic Cards Against Humanity. Our Air BnB guest joined us soon after, and the four of us played for several hours. I got my butt kicked in both games, but I didn’t care — laughing until your stomach aches definitely makes you a winner in my book. There are a rare few things that can make me laugh like that, namely games like these, a few standup comedians, and a handful of memories when the story is told well.

And so, as I am counting my blessings this holiday season, I felt I should say that one of the things in life I value most is a good, long laugh. There’s a huge difference between a real belly laugh and a chuckle — it seems as if the former releases endorphins and makes me extremely happy, and I am grateful for that sort of laughter in my life, and for those who help bring it about. I hope your weekend is full of laughter as well, my friends!

Cheers to laughter, and to the friends we laugh with!




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