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November 25, 2005: Better late

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Somehow or other, through actual planning or just good luck, we managed to get everything we needed for Thanksgiving *before* Thanksgiving. So no one had to do a frantic run to the store for something last minute. Naturally this means, I am sure, that the grocery stores were all open far later than they normally are, just to spite me, but it's too late to care.

I'd invited my parents to come over for gingerbread pancakes, but they had both come down with the latest version of winter ick, so they stayed home to sniffle in private. I made the pancakes anyway, because we both love them, and also because the beauty of the combination of spices that make up gingerbread is that they get stronger when you let them sit, so they are even better the next day. Then we lolled lazily in front of the television and watched the Macy's Christmas Parade, which was almost completely free of idiotic chatter until Al Roker showed up. Luckily he did not stick around for long, or else maybe enough people have called the network to ask them to please put a big cork in his mouth because he is not funny, no matter how much he thinks he is, and Thanksgiving is supposed to be about sharing and togetherness and being happy, and not about trying to mentally reach through a television screen and slap duct tape across someone's mouth because every stupid thing that he says makes your head come that much closer to wanting to explode.

But anyway. Pancakes. Parade. Lazy slumping about the house in our pajamas and bathrobes until we couldn't put it off any longer and had to go get showered and dressed if we were going to make it down to Richard's parents' house in time. And because I am always paranoid about there being horrid amounts of traffic (despite the fact that there never is) I wanted us to leave with an extra hour to spare, just to make sure we would get there in time.

I stirred up the green bean casserole, which is my contribution to Richard's family dinner - and shockingly, something they had never had before I came along (I know, I'm not sure how they survived either) and we managed to time it so that it came out just as we were ready to head out. I carefully wrapped the casserole dish in towels and slid it into a canvas sack, all in an effort to keep it warm - effort which turned out to be rather pointless, as it went directly into the refrigerator the second we walked in the door anyway. Ah well. We swung by the little independent coffee shop on the way out of town to get blended mocha chillers, which fulfill both the chocolate and caffeine food groups amazingly well, and off we went. And what do you know, there *was* traffic on the way, at least through Fairfield where 680 and 80 and 12 all merge, so while we didn't need that full extra hour, it did eat up nearly 30 minutes, which was just enough to make me glad that I allow myself to be paranoid about hitting traffic on Thanksgiving day.

I brought my knitting with me because despite thinking I was actually done making snowman, it turns out I am not, and I need to make five more before Christmas. By this time, however, I pretty much have the pattern memorized, and they go pretty quickly. Plus Richard was willing to drive, so I managed to get most of one snowman body done on the drive down, started the second one last night, and have only a few more rows on body number three to finish tonight.

Richard's parents had invited several family friends over, some of whom have kids, so it was a lively crowd. We sat around and chatted and drank sodas and sparkling cider, and eventually realized that it was starting to get a little late and we were all starting to get a little hungry, and that's when we all finally realized that the turkey - despite having been put in the oven set to the right temperature and with plenty of time to cook - was refusing to cooperate and was nowhere near done. They took it out briefly so we could warm up all the side dishes, but the turkey kept on stubbornly remaining uncooked. So when we finally sat down to dinner, it was without turkey, which, as one of the friends pointed out, meant that this Thanksgiving would get to be not just a nice gathering, but a memorable event. Plus, really, turkey is only a carrier for gravy, and for a lot of us (okay, me), we'd rather have the side dishes anyway. And there were certainly plenty of those to go around - stuffing and mashed potatoes, two kinds of cranberry sauce, a marvelous jello salad that reminded me very much of a green jello, pineapple, and nut concoction my mom sometimes makes, the green bean casserole, sweet potatoes, rolls, and on and on. And for dessert there was a box of chocolates because Richard's niece recently started working at See's, and two kinds of pie. I'm not sure we would have even had room to fit in a bite of turkey in there anyway!

Everyone stayed and talked and laughed until it was late and we were all starting to fall asleep on each other, but everyone was having too much fun to leave. But then suddenly they all did, and the house rang with silence and we all crawled off to bed, over stuffed from a wonderful day.

Today we did the traditional after-Thanksgiving things that Richard's family does. We all met at a restaurant that is always over-full and crowded, but makes marvelous breakfasts, and we all stuffed ourselves silly with waffles and pancakes and eggs and bagels and coffee. And then we went to this florist that is a few miles down the road from the traditional breakfast spot, where each year every member of the family picks out one ornament from their rather expansive selection. I picked out a cute little glass snowman head wearing a swirly hat with tiny bells, because for some reason I have had snowmen on the brain lately (gee, I wonder why) and Richard picked out a penguin. Later in the afternoon, we all piled into the car and headed off to the movie theater to see the Wallace and Grommet movie, mainly because neither Richard nor I have ever seen Wallace and Grommet before, and Richard's family decided that it was about time we did. The movie was delightful, and not just because there was a ravenous wererabbit, or because Grommet knits when he is nervous.

The turkey, by the way, was finally done at about 10:30 last night, so when we had the traditional leftovers-for-dinner this evening, we actually got to have turkey along side the leftovers, and despite taking nearly an entire day to finally decide it was willing to be cooked, it turned out delicious. There was more puttering and more talking and laughing, and more knitting, and then we realized that it was getting awfully late and we needed to head home. I drove, since it was too dark outside for me to knit, and we listened to the Barenaked Ladies Christmas album the entire trip and now here we are, and I am thinking that if I can manage to stay awake for even a little bit longer I can finish off those few remaining rows and have three completed snowman bodies, and be that much closer to being done with making cute knitted snowmen for another year.

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