Jennie and I journeyed to Cedar Rapids over the weekend, to visit my parents and brother and to have Christmas. (My brother was out of town for Christmas, so we all got together over New Years instead. It worked out well — we got to do our Christmas shopping at the after-Christmas sales.)
I took Thursday afternoon off work, and we made the drive, about four and a half hours. It was a good trip. The drive is a bit long, but it's good to see these people I'm related to, eat a lot of good food, do a bit of reading in my dad's copy of Gödel, Escher, Bach, exchange loot, eat a lot of good food, and meet my brother's new cats. And did I mention the food?
It's funny; I never had cats when I was growing up. All I saw of cats was when we visited my uncle's farm and I went out to the barn. Now that we have our own cats (or rather, now that they have us), I practically go into withdrawal when I'm away from them over a three-day weekend. It was good to give some attention to Jon's cats. Nemo actually sat in Jennie's lap and purred; not his usual (aloof) style. Nada, on the other hand, as usual took all the attention he could get. Nil and Null were just orange blurs in the distance.
Jennie also got the chance to get together with her goddaughter Lisa. Jennie had told Lisa's mom, and Lisa's mom had sworn to tell Lisa, that we were going to be in town; so of course Lisa heard nothing about it. I happened to run into her at Wendy's the night we arrived (so now we know where she works). It all worked out; we invited her along to a family lunch, and then she and Jennie spent the afternoon shopping (not Jennie's favorite thing to do, but when you hang out with a teenager, I guess you have to make some sacrifices).
Our holiday gift-giving occasion (can you really call it Christmas when you celebrate it on New Year's?) was good too; we actually scraped together enough cash to be able to give some gifts this year, and we got some good ones in return. Once I get around to doing some laundry, I'll have to wear my new shirt to the office. Mom and Dad gave us a couple of Complete Home Fix-It manuals from Reader's Digest — huge hardbound things, sturdy glossy paper and everything; Jennie and I are slowly reading our way through them, and then we'll swap. Bunch of other good stuff. I haven't even opened my new For Better Or For Worse book yet.
Good weekend. Cooler yet, everyone will be coming here next weekend, and we'll be getting together with my cousin (who I haven't seen in over a year) and aunt and uncle (who I haven't seen in about seven years). Funny how you learn to look forward to family gatherings when you grow up.