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Let’s see, where did I leave off…  Oh yeah, Josh was being a little douche and I had chores to do.

I managed to get everything but a little laundry done by the time he got home at 11.  I had all of the ideas for everyone for gifts and was ready to get dressed and head out.  I did spend a few minutes yelling at him – telling him how unappreciated I’ve been feeling lately and oh, by the way, put up or shut up.

We went and had lunch at what is, in my humble opinion, the very best pizza joint in this town.  Then the games began.  Fortunately I have a fairly decent sense of where things might be found and what order is best to go hunting so as to minimize driving all over the place.  Josh decided to let me pick out my own gifts this year, which was kind of nice.  I got a few little kid toy things for my office, a retro purple lamp with a black shade for my nightstand, and a really cool Moroccan star.

Mine doesn't look quite like this, but it's dark in here right now and this gives you the general idea

Mine doesn’t look quite like this, but it’s dark in here right now and this gives you the general idea

We managed to get all but one of the gifts.  Josh’s nieces both wanted shirts for college sports teams.  I don’t remember wanting anything sports related at all at that age, but whatever.  But of course I could only find the shirt for one of them because in our city the Target stores don’t carry the “rival” team’s apparel.  And by that time I was done.  His sister had told me that the Target across the river carried stuff for both teams, so I figured I’d just go on Monday when Mom and I were running errands.

Sunday we spent wrapping packages and doing a few more chores.  It was a relatively relaxed day, except for the fact that Josh didn’t slither out of bed until 11am.  By that point I was so frustrated that I managed to cut my thumb pretty good with the scissors.  While wrapping a dog toy.

Yesterday I got to hang out with Mom.  That was actually really good, even though pretty well the whole day was spent running errands.  I took her to the doctor for a routine checkup on her lapband thing, we went to Fareway (small chain grocery store that has an old fashioned meat counter and, in my opinion, the best meat around), dropped stuff at my sister’s house, went to Panera for lunch, cashed in old coins at a dealer (long story that I don’t feel the need to go into – but damn what a trippy time that was), then over to the Target where the brat lives to get the other shirt, back to our side of the river and this part of town to go to another grocery store, and then finally home.  Quite the day.

Tonight is nibbles at my sister’s house and it sounds like a quick jaunt to church.  I don’t mind going to church – it’s usually full of hypocrites but that’s really not my problem – and really, I’ll do damn near anything to make my niece happy.  Mom says she’s quiet a lot lately because my sister yells and picks on everyone.  I want her to see that not all grown women behave that way and that some of us really do love her.

At any rate, I’m hoping the next few days go alright.  Tomorrow is what I’m really not looking forward to.  We’ll have to head over the river to pick the brat up at 10, back to our house so she can open gifts, back over around 1 to have lunch with Josh’s family and open gifts.  The ex has said she can pick the brat up from Josh’s dad’s house, which will help, but we’re still looking at two complete round trips in one day – 30 minutes (on the freeway) EACH WAY depending on traffic.  (GoldFish, I’m shutting up now – I know you deal with worse all the time.)

And the food…  Oh dear lord, the food at that house.  *urp*  My step mother in law is the only person I’ve ever met who can fuck up gravy that you make with a powdered mix – not by making it lumpy, by making it GRAY.  There are foods that have been a part of my life for as long as I can remember that I’ve had to introduce Josh to because this woman cooked them so terribly that he refused to eat them – and we aren’t talking anything exotic here.  Her mashed potatoes – made with real potatoes that used to have skins on them and had to be boiled – have the consistency of instant potatoes that have had too much milk added.  I always make sure to take a few food things with that Josh and I really like so that we have something edible to supplement the slop she puts on the table.

I really don’t expect anything exotic or fancy-pants or even expensive to be served at a holiday meal.  All I ever want is real food cooked reasonably well.  No, never happens.  And every time I bring something over – and I damn near always take easy stuff – they’re all amazed at how good it is.  Good food doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive.  Some of my very favorite food is “family” food, or what some around here refer to as “Midwestern farm wife” food.  Inexpensive ingredients that were probably local and prepared simply.

This “recipe” (it’s not a recipe – it only has 2 ingredients – but wtf else do you call instructions for doing something with food?) goes out to Pen.

Grandma O’s Pickles
Large Kosher Dill Pickles – the bigger the better
8 oz brick of Philadelphia cream cheese – cold

Cut the ends off the pickles.  Using a vegetable peeler (see pic), ream out the inside of the pickle all the way through.  (You want to leave a decent wall so that the pickle retains its integrity, but have a nice channel to fill with the cream cheese.)  Set the pickles on end on a paper towel to drain.  I usually let them set for about 20 minutes. (The more they drain the less slimy the cream cheese gets during the stuffing process.)  Once the pickles have drained, use a knife to cut the cream cheese into long skinny blocks that can be slid into the pickles  Let the stuffed pickles chill and firm in the fridge for at least an hour.  Right before serving, cut into slices – thickness isn’t important.

your peeler needs to look like this - if you don't have one of these you can use a small paring knife instead, but I'm not allowed to play with knives

your peeler needs to look like this – if you don’t have one of these you can use a small paring knife instead, but I’m not allowed to play with knives

I honestly can’t tell you where this recipe came from other than my dad’s mom always made them at the holidays.  That part of my family has some Scandinavian heritage, but I can’t say conclusively that’s where it’s from.  All I know is that this was one of Dad’s favorites, it’s one of my favorites, and the first year Josh and I were together I made the tragic mistake of taking them to his dad’s house and now they’re the favorite of every fucker there.  And while I love eating these, there is nothing worse than smelling like pickles.

Damn, that was fun.  Ok, one more…

Easiest Turtle Candies EVAH
Square grid pretzels (you can actually use any shape you like, I just find the grid ones “lock on” to the Rollos best)
Bag of Rollo candies (unwrapped please)
Bag of Pecan halves

Preheat oven to 350. (temp doesn’t have to be precise – you just need it hot enough to make the Rollo’s gooey) Line a cookie sheet with foil and then evenly distribute the pretzel squares. Top each pretzel with a Rollo. Carefully put in the oven for about 5 minutes – seriously, all we’re doing here is making them melty and gooey so if 5 minutes isn’t long enough, no harm in leaving them in a little longer. Remove tray from oven and quickly press a pecan half into the top of each Rollo.

Well kids, that should probably be it for me.  I need to go run yet another load of laundry, give the rotten ass cat her medicine, and figure out what should be done next.  I still need to make both the pickles and the candies and then Josh needs to chop several blocks of cheese, we have to assemble to “appetizer tree” (I am totally taking pictures of this), and figure out what in the hell I’m wearing the next two days.  Oh, and a shower – I stink.