Yesterday we went down to Deville, Louisiana (outside of Pineville/Alexandria) to visit Alana's family for Thanksgiving. Her step-sister's husband, Tim, fried the turkey and cooked some duck. I made my Mum's popular dish, Black Forest pudding cake (known colloquially as sex in a pan). Alana made a caserole, leaving her step-mom with not a lot to do, for which she was pretty grateful.
The dinner was wonderful. I had never had duck, so I gave it a try. I think I surprised a few people by enjoying it. Alana poiinted out that I was an "adventerous" eater. I found that hard to take. For years I would get bad cramps from eating... well, something. I've never been able to pin it down. Raw onions pretty much do it all the time, but chopped up in meatloaf I can handle them. Eggs sometimes do it. Frozen custard almost always does it in a shake, but not always in a concrete. I suspect it's a mixture of sugar and something else that causes fermentation. Since giving up sugared drinks eight years ago, I haven't had the same bouts as I used to. I can actually eat food with taste: spices, and garlic (which I tried to avoid as much as onions, but which don't seem to bother me now). I have eaten calamari, and octopus, both of which I really like. I enjoy sushi, haggis, and black pudding (also known as blood pudding). Yes, I've injested things that make many an American squemish. Duck was no big deal. It is tougher than turkey, and a bit "gamey", but I liked the taste. I'd have it again.
I just checked last year's Thanksgiving post. Alana had the flu or something on Thanksgiving weekend. This year we all had some sort of bug, to various degrees. Last night was the first night in two weeks I hadn't awakened with my nose draining. I've been sniffling since then. It hasn't developed into much; I attribute this to massive amounts of vitamin C I've been taking. My voice goes in and out a bit, but that's it. Alana lost her voice almost entirely on Wednesday from whatever it was we have. Logan has an ear infection from the same thing (he was sniffling last weekend). Looks like I got off the easiest, probably due to the vitamin C regimen.
Driving down, Alana bought a paper and went over the fliers to find out what was on sale today. Today is Black Friday, so-called because it's the day that retail stores can sell enough such that they can make a profit that year. Canada doesn't have anything like Black Friday to signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season. The whole thing still floors me a little. Two years ago, when my mother was visiting, Alana got me up at 5 a.m. and we drove to Target, gettiing in right at 6 a.m. We got some great deals (like a Simpsons and a Buffy The Vampire Slayer DVD set for $15 each). We were home again by 8. It was wild, chaotic, and pretty cool. Last year we went wild, arriving at the mall before 6, then to Target, then to a bunch of other stores, followed by a late breakfast and a nap. We were looking forward to doing the same thing this year.
We just didn't find anything that really grabbed us. There were a couple of items we wanted for ourselves: a $10 bluetooth headset, a 1 GB jump drive for $10, a 1 GB Compact Flash card for about the same price, and a headset for the PC so that Alana could play World of Warcraft more easily. That was it. We're cutting back on presents this year; Alana and I are getting Christmas stockings, and we are going to get each other a present from Logan, but that's it. Her family has decided just to buy stuff for her parents and the various kids, but not for the adults. Daniel, Alana's adopted son, is... well, let's not go into that, but he may or may not be around for Christmas and isn't getting as much as last year. So, we had less to get. That might have tainted our look at the sales. I saw plenty that I would have liked to have had, but nothing we had to get. Certainly nothing worth getting up at 5 a.m. for.
We didn't leave the house until 2 p.m. The bluetooth headsets at Radio Shack were gone in less than a minute, so we didn't feel bad about missing those. The jump drives and the memory were gone. Alana did get the headset. Office Depot was out of the Compact Flash memory, and their jump drives. We went to Books-A-Million and bought some more presents, and I bought a magazine. We went to the nearby Wal-Mart for some groceries and some clothes for Logan; it must have been a zoo this morning but by 5 p.m. it was less busy than most Friday nights. I didn't even go to Target this year (they had 512 MB jump drives for $7, but I'm sure they were gone already). There wasn't any point.
It was fun shopping with Alana and Logan, but we missed the nutsy early-morning rush. There's something energetic about shopping in crowds while you're still half a sleep. I'm sure there's some sort of primative gatherer instinct at work, probably mixed with an adrenalin/endorphin rush due to the lack of sleep. It's all very surreal.
At the same time, it feels good to sleep in! Hopefully there will be more of a reason to get up early next year. As it is, I'm awake, and my wallet is much less abused this year. I've yet to see the post-mortem of today's shopping sprees on the news, so we've yet to find out whether we were bucking a trend or riding a trend by not spending as much this year.
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