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I flew out of Chattanooga on Monday morning. Flights and layovers went just fine. At the airport I rented a car and drove a few hours to reach my hometown.

It was great to see my parents! I got to see them at Kayle's wedding, but weddings are such a whirlwind of activity and we didn't get much time together. Now I've got three weeks!

I also got to meet two new additions to our family! This is Immi (short for "immigrant"). One day my Dad was out mowing the lawn, and he noticed this small striped cat watching him. He turned off the mower, and she immediately ran over to him and gave him permission to own her :D She's a sweetheart.

This is Roux (meaning "red"). He was from a litter of feral cats born in my parents' neighborhood. He was caught and brought home just about a week before I got home.

His little tummy was pretty bloated so we figured he had worms. My parents took him to the vet and I tagged along. Turns out he had ringworm and also a respiratory infection, so he got some dewormer and an antibiotic. I was amazed at how well he behaved at the vet's! No crying or clawing or biting, and he took his medicine without complaint. Good little boy!

I've spend most of my time this week gearing up for Christmas. My Mom was baking lots of cookies to give as gifts to friends, so I helped with that. She can't see too well, so detailed decorating can be difficult. Still, I think the results are quite cute in a derpy way!

On Thursday I spent most of the day at my sister Kate's house, where my youngest brother and sister Jonah and Raven will be staying for the holidays. While Jonah and Kate decorated the tree, Raven and I chatted as she made chocolate shortbread. When the cookies were done she spread them with raspberry jam and we dipped them in melted chocolate. Yum!

It was a bit of a rough day because a friend of Kate's had passed away and his service was that evening. Kate has already been to several friends' funerals this year. These are people in their mid-to-late 20's we're talking about...way too young. And at this time of year, when loved ones are gathering together, losses are that much more painful. May 2017 offer more hope and peace.

On Friday I wrapped everyone's presents, helped Mom finish up the rest of her cookies, and went with her to spend time at her friend Jean's house. Jean is 89 years old and enjoys visits :) Around dinnertime Dad came and picked us up, and we had a nice dinner at a local sushi/hibachi place.

Christmas Eve Day was of course busy. Mom and Dad went out last-minute Christmas shopping while I worked on my transcript and wrapped some more packages that had shown up. When my parents got back we drove over to Jean's because some kittens had slipped into her house! She puts out food for them near her door, and some of them must have been trying to come in out of the cold. Jean had managed to shoo one of the kittens back out, but there were two more hiding under a large display case filled with Hummel figurines. It was a good hiding spot because the front and edges touched the floor, but the back was about an inch high, so the kittens could get in and out but we couldn't reach them in there without moving the case. So that's what we did. As Jean fretted and protested, we carefully moved a hundred or so delicate figurines to her dining room table. When that was done, Dad moved the case. He was able to grab the larger of the two, who was grey and pretty upset about being handled. After that it was easier for me to grab the orange and white kitten, who was smaller and less aggressive. We got them into carriers and took them home, putting them in the smallest room in the house, the bathroom.

Then it was time to go to church! We cleaned up and went over to my parents' church, where I got to catch up with some of my parents' friends. I always look forward to hanging out with Melody, she's the daughter of some regulars at this church and she always latches onto me the minute I walk in the door! Sitting next to her in church definitely makes it more enjoyable.

(photo courtesy Karen M.)

After church there was still some Christmas prep to be done, so we were up late.

Then, finally! Christmas Day! First thing's first, we went back to church! It was a lovely service. Then we went to my sister Kate's house to celebrate and open gifts. We brought the kittens we'd captured, because Kate wants to keep them!

We had a great Christmas dinner, then exchanged gifts. My parents got each other some pretty practical stuff, like home fixtures and tools. I was also boring, dishing out gift cards and crock pots :P I did get my brother Jonah some shoes that he seemed to really like! Kate and her husband Pat got a turntable from our parents; it can also play cassettes and transfer things to mp3! I was given some wonderful gifts from my thoughtful family. Raven got me a matcha tea whisk (something I've always wanted but never bought for myself!) and a projector for my phone, so that I can watch movies in my room! Jonah got me an insulated bottle that can keep things hot or cold for up to 24 hours! Among other things my parents gave me lots of treats, a type of candle that I really love, and a collapsible wooden bowl that's really intricately carved (and because it has a base it should hold up well on the train.) Kayle got me some books that I'd been wanting. And my sweetheart got me LOADS of books, including a Neil Gaiman collection from HumbleBundle. I can't wait to read them!

After gifts it was time for games. We played Sequence, and Raven and I won both rounds! Team Smartypants for the win!! Then we enjoyed some cheesecake for dessert. It was great to spend time with my family. So often on the road it isn't possible to go home when you'd like, and starting next year our schedule will be drastically different such that I might not be able to get home for the holidays. So although I don't necessarily like having so much unpaid time, I also appreciate having so much time to enjoy my loved ones. If there's one thing 2016 has taught me, it's to not take anything whatsoever for granted.

Tomorrow I think we'll have some cleaning up to do, but otherwise it'll hopefully be a relaxing day.
I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas...though I know some of my friends didn't thanks to health issues or unplanned emergencies. I'm thinking of you today.


Other stuff:

Merry Christmas from the Red Unit!

(photo courtesy Rob L.)

Jameson singing karaoke in Orlando!

Roux climbing the Christmas tree :)


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 16th, 2017 04:54 pm (UTC)
Those sneaky, clever kittens! And they found themselves a spot in people's hearts as well!
Jan. 16th, 2017 09:13 pm (UTC)
I love them!!
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )