December 25, 2007: Christmas Day at My House
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December 31, 2007
New Year's Eve at Ron Mathis' House


Ron Mathis' House in Plano  

If you've already been to an album page that describes Ron's house in Plano, you might as well skip this section, because it is essentially the same information. Ron and Jay live in Plano, Texas, which used to be one of the northernmost suburbs of Dallas, but which is now considered moderately close-in. Plano, Ron tells us, has as many people as Tulsa when, as recently as 1965, there were only 5,000 people living there. Anyway, we go to Ron's house frequently, sometimes coming from Fred's, sometimes coming from my house. Now that Fred has retired, we will usually be making the trip from my house.

From my place, one goes south a bit on Inwood to Mockingbird and then over to the Tollway headed north. At I-635, one goes east about four miles to US-75 north. About twelve miles north there is an exit for Parker Road, which goes east to the town of Parker, where Southfork Ranch is. Parker is one of the east-west mile streets in the North Dallas grid.

We head west, though, crossing Alma and Custer; these are two of the north-south mile streets in the grid of streets that is common in North Dallas. (Actually, the grid begins at Mockingbird and extends all the way to Texas 121 in far north Dallas. Every mile going north there is a major east-west street. Inwood is one of the major north-south streets, and every mile to the east and west of Inwood there is another major street. The grid isn't totally so neat, as there are some angular streets, but for all practical purposes if you can remember the major streets it is ridiculously easy to find your way around north of downtown. A half mile west of Custer we turn right on Roundrock and head into the neighborhood in which Ron lives.

Ron and Jay live on Glenhaven Drive, which is almost smack dab in the middle of the mile-square neighborhood bounded by Parker, Independence, Spring Creek Parkway and Custer. Actually, the little park near their house is the center of this particular one mile square. So, heading north on Roundrock, we just have to turn left on Glenhaven and go down to the end of the first block, and Ron and Jay's house is on the right.

Ron and Jay live on a corner lot which affords them more privacy. The house is a nice one, and they've done a lot with it. They have set the house up for entertaining and recreation. The formal living room contains a pool table, and the family room is basically a TV lounge. The master bedroom is their home theatre, they use the guest bedroom as their own, and they've turned the third bedroom into their computer room. The dining room is rarely used; they, like me, eat most often either in the kitchen or in the TV room. From the TV room, French doors lead out to a patio and the swimming pool.

Courtesy of Google Maps Street View, here is what their house looks like from the front. I like their house a lot. I think it is very nicely arranged, and about the only thing I might have done differently is to use the guest bedroom as the theatre and retain the master bedroom. I also liked the way they used to have the pool table in what is currently the TV room; I would have retained the living room and its fireplace as the place to lounge, read and watch casual TV. But these are fairly minor things. I also like that their house is one-storey; the next place I get won't have stairs.

Well, now that you know all there is to know about Ron's house and how to get there, we can take a look at the pictures from his New Year's Eve Party.

Ron and Jay's New Year's Eve Party  

I should start with the attendees; Ron and Jay invited our "core group" of friends- the ones who can always be counted on to show up and who always seem to contribute more than their fair share to the gatherings. Of course, Fred and I were there; Ron and Jay probably see us (and we them) more often than anyone else. Steve and Mario were also there. We have only known those two guys for about five months, but in that time have found that they are eager to go to movies, play cards and games and share meals- exactly the kind of friends we wanted. Finally, Lou also came. He, too, is one of the people we see most frequently. He is the other one of our friends that we met online and, along with Mario and Steve, turned out to be an excellent "find."

To introduce all these folks to you, you might want to watch the movie that I made just after midnight; it will introduce everyone to you so that in the candid pictures that follow I won't have to name each person in the picture. You can watch that movie with the player at left.

Jay outdid himself yet again in the hors d'oeuvres that he prepared and the meatballs and veggies that he cooked. The rest of us brought some desserts and drinks, but Jay did most of the work. There was plenty of really delicious finger food and nobody lacked for anything to eat. There was also champagne for those who like it, while I made frozen drinks for three or four of us and Ron and Jay drank their usual. During the evening, we played pool, Ron showed us a number of things on his computer, we watched TV, had a demonstration of the "Zero Hour"/"Airplane" ripoff, and we also played a game called "Scene-It," one that Mario and Steve were very good at being movie buffs. Of course, we also watched the ball drop at midnight (well, eleven, actually, since New York is an hour ahead). We had a great time; one of the best New Year's ever.

So, below are thumbnails for the candid shots that Fred and I took. Since you've watched the movie, you know who everyone is, and what we are doing is fairly obvious, so no more commentary. Take your pick of the thumbnails; just click on them to view the full-size pictures:

December 25, 2007: Christmas Day at My House
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