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November 19-24, 2016
Written November 19+
Dear Diary, Friends, and Families,

Of all the occasions we like to record, visits by family are up near the the top.  For Thanksgiving this year, Gabby, Ava, and Sam came up the weekend before, since they have a different family descending on them on the real, Thursday, Thanksgiving.  Somehow, I am afraid this will make us have even more days of overeating!  I know, it's all a matter of control, but really ...

On Saturday (19th), Gabby and the kids arrived as soon as they could, considering the three-hour drive and the difficulty of getting kids organized enough for a few days away.  On arrival, Ava and Sam could not wait to show off their holiday artwork and craft projects to Gigi and Opa.  Quickly, the posters went up on the refrigerator, where all good art work should go.

After that, it was time for some quiet Lego practice, while Mommy recovered from the longish drive by checking her active social media world.  Everyone seemed perfectly happy doing normal activities after the boring drive over.  We understand.

d161119_20_mamopreps.jpgMeanwhile, Mamo had been preparing for our dinner over at her house. No food to  cook, since Cheesecake Factory take-out would provide that, but she did work to set a nice, festive table.  She enjoys being the gracious hostess, even if it does take a bit more time at 96 than it did a decade ago.

After dinner, it was time for a  family card game of Old Maid.  I'll admit, I had my doubts about how this would work, since Sam was just learning and Mamo is almost blind, after all.  No matter.  Sam settled down enough to learn (enough) and Mamo could work her way patiently through the cards, limited sight and all.  Lots of fun for all.

d161119_30_fortforava.jpgd161119_32_goofybrother.jpgBy now, everyone was pretty tired. (I have to admit I even fell asleep on the floor, while Sam used me as some sort of climbing toy.)  The kids built a "fort" on the floor of their room where, eventually, they settled down and slept.  Marianne and I had gone home by then, but we did hear reports that "eventually" took longer than Mommy preferred.  Oh well, that's the point of staying with great-gramma Mamo.

d161120_04_table.jpgd161120_06_setting.jpgSunday would be "Thanksgiving", at least for the Fresno family.  The menu had been determined days before and, mostly, prepared in advance.  The table had also been set days before.  I suppose Marianne likes to do hostess things as much as her mom ever had.  I have to admit, it does make the occasions special, even for an open-a-potato-chip-bag-and-serve host like me.

d161120_08_cooks.jpgGabby and Marianne did have a bit of finalizing to do, along with plenty of chit chat.

It seemed like no time before Babi, Ruben, and Mamo had arrived and we started on the first course appetizers.  Better than potato chips, I have to admit.

d161120_14_serving.jpgDinner itself was a full-fledged, traditional, Thanksgiving feast: Turkey, dressing, (hand made) cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes (with marshmallow topping), pumpkin pie, and chocolate-layered brownies, everything washed down with water, good wine, and coffee.

As usual, there was enough for twice as many people as present, so we will have leftovers until the real Thanksgiving!  That is the way these feasts are supposed to end.

d161121_02_quiettime.jpgd161121_04_miracle.jpgMonday was a quiet, rainy day.  Locally, "rainy day" is cause for celebration!  The kids were happy playing inside, including watching "Miracle on 42nd Street", the 1947 Christmas standard.  The grownups needed gym sessions to have a start at recovering from all the food.  (Personally, I put on 3 pounds, but I swear they will come off in about a week.)  Dinner was a replay of Sunday, the first of a few replay's the turkey meal will provide.

Tuesday started foggy, so there was no interest in crossing a fog-enshrouded valley too early, but the little family did hit the road in time to start preparations for their own Thanksgiving feast.  For starters, they had to go pick up their 30-pound turkey, more than twice the size of bird we needed.  Send-off was filled with laughing and promises to get together in just a few weeks for the Christmas-and-Mamo-Birthday celebration.  Can't wait.

On Wednesday, Marianne and I got in our exercise sessions and avoided the last of the leftover sweets.  We knew we had to be disciplined, at least until the real Thanksgiving when there would be another family dinner, this time at Babi's.

On Thursday morning I started by weighing myself only to discover that I had gained five pounds in the last week.  Ouch! From there it was another session with Uriah, my trainer at the gym.  I think he did not like working on Thanksgiving, because he worked me extra hard.  Good for me.

d161124_02_babstable.jpg That afternoon, we got Mamo and came over to Babi's for another Thanksgiving dinner, ham this time instead of turkey.  There was plenty of food, as always, and I didn't quite stay on a limited-eating program, so real discipline would need to wait for Friday.

All in all, a good Thanksgiving week, and now we need to get into the Christmas spirit.  Next week.

Stay Tuned

John and Marianne


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