I got to Iowa around 2:00 on Christmas Eve day. We made our traditional Norwegian dinner (meatballs, lefse, fruit salad, boiled potatoes and rice pudding) and invited some work friends of my mom's to eat with us. (One more reason my parents are so cool: We've invited people who are separated from their families to eat Christmas Eve dinner with us for as long as I can remember.) Then we stopped by our cousins' for a brief visit (Hi, Eric!) and a little gift exchange. Then we headed to my folks' church, where I sang my favorite Christmas carol of all time: O Holy Night. The arrangement I had was a little on the high side (the money notes climbed all the way up to A flat) but the pianist transposed it down a third for me. Because she totally rocks. And even though I was fighting a bit of a gooey-throated cold, I made it through -- and I even made one of my old teachers cry because
The new kitten
In her first week as a member of the family, Little Lena has proven herself to be the Kutest Kitty™ in the whole world. At least when she wasn't inadvertantly leaving gaping wounds in our flesh. She spent every night I was there sleeping in the crook of my arm or across my neck, and she often woke up just long enough to give me a few licks on my chin. You know: just to say hi. And her cutest trick so far is when she scales your body from floor to shoulder and sits there like a parrot. A cute widdle parrot with a fuzzy-wuzzy nose. Who sometimes sneezes in your ear.
The new living room
We got the bad boy spackled, caulked, primed and painted in three days -- which is pretty amazing, considering the fact that Dad isn't what the kids these days would call a "careful painter." And we replaced the Hoover-era electrical sockets with grounded plugs and matching plates. And it looks pretty freakin' cool, if you ask me. (And why didn't you ask me? Are you all rude or something? Did you grow up in a Courtney Love video?) All that's left is for Mom and Dad to fill a couple Dumpsters with the loads of sentimental knickknacks that ironically have prevented the "living" room from being warm and livable for the last 30 years.
Now I'm back at work -- even though we're technically closed for the week. It's one of the many benefits of having a new, responsibility-laden job. (It's amazing what a promotion and a raise can do for your attitude. Really.)
Stay tuned for tomorrow's post: Full disclosure about my mysterious new expensive purchase. With pictures!