Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Parachutes Are Only For Astronauts And Sissies

I've had a lot of good family time over the last few weeks.  Right before Thanksgiving I was given the gift of a weekend at Fountain Place, the home of my beloved Auntie, Uncle Mark and cousin Ashton (Elsbeth's namesake).  Missed seeing you, Brent!  I wish I had thought to take a picture of their house while I was there, but alas, I have the brain power of a elderly gerbil these days.  It's an amazing historic house in Burlington, NC.  Grand, beautiful and yet cozy at the same time. Staying there is like being at a spa with your best friends.

The day before I took off for the north found me crouched in the shower scrubbing and shaving (yes, shaving) the hindquarters of my 15-year-old cat.  Here's a picture of Sofie in a good mood.

"Drop dead you filthy dirt bag.  After you fill my food dish."

Sofie is the furriest cat in all the southern states plus Michigan. When a cat with this level of fluff gets an upset tummy, extreme measures come into play.  Like me huddling in the shower, holding her by the scruff with one hand, scrubbing her gnarly buns with the other while her angry, angry wet tail continues to slap me across the face.  It's a festivus miracle she didn't put me in the ER considering how exposed my jugular was throughout the process.

I tell you all this so you can appreciate, as I did, my getting to escape with the Wee Bairn to the haven that is Fountain Place.  For 2.5 days, I got to sit on my bicks and eat amazing food and drink amazing tea and watch ridiculous movies ("Madea Goes To Jail," anyone?) and have yarn braided into my hair and stare at my baby and pass him around so other people could stare at him.  Pretty fabulous.

Christian hanging with Ash

I came back in time to see my Nibblet enjoy her Thanksgiving Feast at school.  The Kindergartners were the Native Americans (Els was aptly named "Dancing Wild Cat"), the First Graders were the Pilgrims.

Dancing Wild Cat playing a Pilgrim game with her 1st Grade buddy.

My mom and dad were able to come and visit us for a few days which was delightful.  The weather was amazing and allowed for tea on the back porch - my favorite.  We forced Nina and Pa to watch our favorite Food Network shows and we ate chocolate pie and cinnamon rolls, and that on top of my weekend at Fountain Place pretty much means I'm still a ways from fitting into normal pants again.  Who needs zippers and snaps?  Not I.  All I want for Christmas are some more yoga pants.

But wait ... there's more!  Next we took off for Thanksgiving at Aunt Gayle and Uncle Ron's place in South Carolina.  We even brought our own false turkey, and it was deemed "not bad" by a panel of meat eaters.  Score!  

This is my favorite brand of the false meats, just in case you're in the market for some.

Christian got to visit with all kinds of fabulous family, some of whom had not met him before.  And for the first time I can remember, there were a few moments when football was not on the television.  It was the national dog show instead, and now I feel I absolutely must have a basset hound.

Do not be deceived by his terrified expression.  Christian really liked Aunt Gayle!

My favorite picture of Uncle David to date.

Gazing with love at Crazy Aunt Sallie

I saw very little of Andrew or Elsbeth during this visit.  They spent hours outside playing with cousin Anna-Kate.  Bliss.

Cousin love!

We got to spend some extra time with Phil's parents in Aiken, during which I discovered I really, really like playing Mexican Train, even though I lost every time in a bad way.  Nannie let me drown my sorrows in her homemade chocolate candy balls, though (don't kill me Sallie!)

Finally at home again, I discovered a small package in the mail box addressed to me, but with no indication of who is was from.  I probably laughed for 2 hours after opening this:

There's nothing like a giant Nicolas Cage pillowcase to brighten your life.  

Oh Bradley, I miss you so! So glad you're coming for Christmas, as is Mr. Cage.