well, i ended up going to my uncle kenny and aunt leyla's for christmas eve. it was great. my cousins and their spouses and their kids all showed up so that we could do the annual phone exchange with the bjork family christmas party in minnesota...and it was fun being on this side of the line.
then my cousins and their families went home to prepare for the party.
my aunt leyla is turkish. like, from-turkey turkish. (she's trying to get me to come with her when she goes back to visit family in the summer. i'm actually thinking about it.) and when she meets other turkish women, she befriends them, no matter if they've got anything in common or not.
enter yasimin, a 40-something free spirit who lives with kenny and leyla from time to time. i've heard a lot about her, but never met her until christmas eve...and that was the highlight of my christmas. she made me go for a walk with her to the park and we went swinging. it's so refreshing to meet someone out here who has a realistic outlook on life and doesn't give a shit about makeup or clothes or mountians of money...just being happy and young at heart. (oh, i should mention--she knits! she was working on a lavendar sweater all day. that's also something you don't see anyone out here doing...hand crafts.) yasimin was my greatest christmas present.
then the family all came back, all dressed up and sparkly. my cousins' kids, deanna and susie, are 12, and since there are no other younger people, i made good friends with them. my cousin mark is going to give me guitar lessons (he's a musician and sound tech at universal), and lisa suckered me into babysitting her 2-year-old, sarah, who is a moppett.
there was ham (i ate a little, doused in baked beans, to be polite), potatoes, bread, and a store-bought pie...nothing like the yummy spread at home, which was the only thing i really had want of.
and then i stayed the night in the guest room on a waterbed which was...HEATED. how nice to go to bed and be warm right away.
in the morning, leyla made breakfast and i helped yasimin fix her cellphone. then kenny and i picked grapefruit. he has an enormous grapefruit tree in his back yard that gives fruit half the year...WAY more than him or his family or his friends, neighbors, co-workers, traveling salesmen can eat. so i always take a few bags when i visit. mmmm. fresh citrus!!!
okay. here's the gift list thus far (i have it on good authority that more is coming):
--from dad: he paid for my car insurance and tabs
--from mom: most of the embroidery floss i will need for my next project, two handmade bracelets, two handmade bookmarks with kanji symbols, four sets of rhinestone hairpins, and a packet of instant "snow!"
--from jo: the clock. (long story. it's a running pass-back-and-forth joke)
--from noah and jack: handmade cards
--from gabe: tickets to the bjork concert (already went)
--from kris: a large totebag screenprinted with a hoot owl and a zipper pouch from etsy with an owl pattern and green polka-dot lining
from kenny and leyla: a blue knit blouse
from cousin lisa and her husband: a knot's berry farm package of preserves (6 big jars!)
from annie (the paralegal i work for): a $20 gift card to coffee bean & tea leaf (which will be re-gifted to gabe since i get free coffee at work and he likes to go to coffee shops to write)
oh, one other thing: i had to turn on the air conditioner on my drive to kenny's. it was that hot. sorry, midwesterners. but it was nice to be something other than cold for christmas!
now i only need gabe to come home safe on friday, and christmas will be complete!!!