My vacation was packed with family, calories and (spectator) sports.


By Hannah Wallace


A week and a half without work and I’m only just now catching my breath. Here’s the itinerary:


Dec. 23, 6 p.m. Kick off the vacay at the SR 70 Gecko’s with CCB, Big J, Little J and high school pal Bek, in town from San Diego. (Gecko’s hamburgers are my new love, by the way.) Best of all? We’ve stumbled into Gecko’s Wednesday trivia night. I always forget what a great night-out activity that is. No, we didn’t win, but I nailed Mark Twain and the MASH theme song, which is ego boost enough for me.


Dec. 24, 7 p.m. The Fourth-Annual Wallace Spaghetti Carbonara, West Wing and Wii Christmas Eve Spectacular.


Dec. 25, noon: The Christmas loot: Arguably the star of an especially bounteous Christmas bounty this year was the Kindle CCB bought me (I’m breaking it in with Duma Key). But for a fun rundown of my personality, check out the other awesome gifts I got from my sibs, boyfriend and parents: a new hockey equipment bag, the 8 Mile soundtrack, a pedometer, Death Cab for Cutie’s Transatlanticism, hockey garter belt, The Godfather, padded bike shorts, foot duvet, candlesticks, panini press, gym towel and a custom combination gift bag of artisan soap and cocktail Christmas ornaments. Score!


Dec. 26, 3 a.m. CCB hops in the car and drives northward to Huntsville.


Dec. 26, 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Bro-in-law Captain Slack gets a tour of Bradenton for his birthday: Red Barn, then a trip to Mixon Fruit Farms for the requisite fruit-buying for folks up north. (Did you know there’s such a thing as Bradenton wine? I’m no sommelier, but I thought the Reisling was quite nice.) A pitcher at the Hi-Way, a stroll along Bradenton Beach, a stop at Joe’s Eats and Sweets for ice cream, then dinner at Lee Roy Selmon’s.


Dec. 27, 5:30 a.m. I crawl out of bed to make my 8:45 flight out of Tampa.


Dec. 27, noon (CST) – 8 p.m. A Very Cheetah Christmas, overflowing with warm and welcoming family, unbelievable generosity, fabulous food, small children and sugar.


Dec. 28, 4:30 a.m. CCB and I drag ourselves into the 25-degree Huntsville pre-dawn for pick-up a hockey session.


Just a wee bit early in the morning.



Dec. 28, noon – Dec. 29, 7 p.m. Touring Huntsville, including Christmases with both sets of Cheetah grandparents, plus a crawfish po’ boy at the one and only Po’ Boy Factory.


Dec. 30, 9 a.m. (CST) – 9 p.m. (EST) CCB and I drive from Huntsville to Bradenton.


Dec. 31, 8 p.m. CCB and I break in his new fondue pot with lobster, filet mignon and duck. Low-key New Year’s festivities center around flipping between New Year’s TV coverage.


Jan. 1, 10:30 a.m. CCB and I arrive at Raymond James Stadium for the Outback Bowl, featuring CCB’s Auburn “War Eagle” Tigers taking on the Northwestern…somethingerothers.


A rainy New Years at the Outback Bowl.


Jan. 1, 2:30 p.m. I harangue CCB for making me watch Auburn try to lose the game seven different times. (They eventually won, but…eesh.)



Jan. 1, 6:45 p.m. I discover Olive Garden’s breaded, fried, alfredo-sauced lasagna fritta appetizer. All is right with the world.


 Capt. Beerslinger, left, treats us to suite seats for the Lightning game.


Jan. 2, 2 p.m. The Harribles, Top Dog Tom, CCB and I meet up at the St. Pete Times Forum with Lefty and Captain Beerslinger, who’ve kindly included us in their luxury suite for the Lightning versus Penguins hockey game. Added bonus: Lightning win. We celebrate with a Rock Band slumber party.


Mr. Harrible, CCB and Top Dog Tom at the Forum.


Jan. 3, 9 p.m. The Revolution lose their first hockey game of 2010; Krazy Kevin is mercilessly harassed. Some things never change.


And that pretty much brings us up to date. Hope everyone’s having a great 2010 thus far! Any resolutions you’d like to share with the class? Thus far, I resolve to cut back from the 4,000 daily calories I’ve been ingesting for the last month and a half.

Yeah, after all that, I need a nap.