* * * Pet store kitties pictures from Monday are here, by the way. While I’m in Maine, Fred will be pinch-hitting for me, so there’ll be no updates at that page.

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We spent the morning at Fred’s sister’s house – we got there around 10:20 or so and sat around waiting to eat brunch. Fred had told me we were having jambalaya, made by his stepfather (who’s a cajun from Louisiana and was responsible for making the oyster dressing at Thanksgiving that I plowed through as everyone sat around trying not to stare in horror at my piggish ways). I have to admit that once I heard it was spicier than he’d intended – and he likes his food mighty spicy (see: he’s a cajun) – I was not looking forward to it at all. Holy crap, people. IT WAS SO FUCKING GOOD. I had a side of turnip greens (I can only eat greens when they’re cooked from fresh – the frozen stuff makes me gag), and then we started on the dessert. We’d brought a poppy seed cake that the spud and I made yesterday and although the cake didn’t look like much, there was only one small piece left over for us to bring home (which I just ate), and there was some fudge Fred’s sister had made, and there was something called Fluff that Fred’s mother made, and also there was an apple tart that Fred’s sister’s boyfriend was making to bring to Fred’s dad and stepmother’s house, only it burned (some trouble with the celsius-to-farenheit conversion, I believe – he’s French), but since it was only burned around the edges, we sliced it up and everyone had a piece and it was diiiiiiiiiiivine. We gave Fred’s mother and stepfather gift certificates to Kohl’s and Home Depot, and they gave us some little statues to put in our garden, some kitchen towels (yellow! And she didn’t even know it was my favorite color!), and Fred and I each got a book from our wish list. And then Fred played an eternal game of Poker with his nephew, and the spud and I sat around the living room and chatted with the rest of the family, and then we left. When we left, we ran to Target, where Fred dropped me off. THE DAY BEFORE CHRISTMAS AND I WAS IN TARGET! HAAAAAAAAAAAAA! I bought a VCR for Fred’s sister and a gift bag to put it in (long story short: usually we buy gifts for her two kids and she gets something for the spud, but last night Fred talked to her and got the impression that she’d gotten something for us, so we frantically ran around the house until we found something to give her, and then when we were opening presents we discussed quietly that we’d feel bad just giving something to her and not her boyfriend as well so we thought, since Fred had to run some errands, that he could drop me off at Target and I could buy a little gift basket sorta thing for him, then the movie that was playing – some Muppets movie – ended and Fred’s sister mentioned that she’d had that VCR since 1990, and voila! We decided to get them a vcr, and that’s what we did, and I hope they like it.) and then gave the few dollars I had in cash to the guy ringing the bell outside, and Fred drove back by to pick me up, and we came home. Where I opened the Amazon box that was sitting outside the garage door when we opened it this morning to leave (Chicago from reader Christine Q, who ROCKS! And while I’m thanking people, I’d also like to thank Heather, who sent me Joy School from my wish list, as well as reader Nancy P., who sent me a smiley-face santa ornament (and you’re right, Nancy, there’s NO such thing as too many smilies!), and the members of the Academy, who know real talent when they see it. Whoo!). In half an hour we’re going to leave to go to Fred’s father and stepmother’s house, where we will eat lasagna (nothing traditional for us this year, I guess) and open presents and watch Fred’s stepsister’s adorable children run around. So, y’all take it easy, and I’ll see you tomorrow!
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“Why is it that every time I see the basket it’s turned over, and then I set it back upright, and yet ten minutes later it’s turned over again?” “I don’t know, Bessie.”