When do you realize you’re just a LITTLE bit too much into the lives of your pets? When you call your husband at work–accidentally interrupting him from a meeting—because he forgot to wish the dog a happy birthday. Whoops! But, yes, Monkey is five today. They grow up so fast! Used to be, I would take my dogs to the Burger King drive-thru for their birthday each year: it was the only time they ever got people food, just one patty, no bun. (Driving through with my great dane Elwood, his head poking out, slobbering all over the back window: those were good times.) Now, we live nowhere near a drive thru, so I’ll just go heavy on the biscuits all day long. Meanwhile of course he’s just looking at me like I’m crazy, because he doesn’t know it’s his birthday because, yes, he is a DOG. I get that. I swear.

In other news, just after recovering from the stomach virus, I had to jump into getting ready for our annual Christmas party, which was on a Saturday. Having lost two days to being under the weather, I was completely crazed and behind, which meant that I spent most of Saturday racing around getting ready, and then most of the party racing around trying to keep everything going. As a result, I feel like I hardly got to talk to ANYONE, which always kind of stinks. The party’s a potluck, so I never really know what to expect in terms of food: this year, we had TONS of appetizers, but were kind of sparse on main and side dishes. Still, I think everyone got enough to eat, and had a good time, at least I hope so. This party is always so funny to me, because it started way back in the day, when I was about nineteen, with just a handful of us at one house, making food and trading gifts. Now, about sixteen years later, we all still get together—as best we can, anyway—and now there are new friends, and children, and husbands and wives. The party used to be wild, and go late: this year, everyone was gone, dishes done, lights out by a little after midnight. We have more sippy cups, less shots, that kind of thing. But it is one of my favorite things about the holiday season, just seeing all these people that mean so much to me, even if it is the only time I see some of them all year. So I guess it’s not just about the food, after all. Although next year, I’ll have some green bean casserole and mac and cheese on deck, just to be safe.

Another party tradition? The random dishes that are accidentally left behind. There seem to be a lot of them this year: a pie plate, a very pretty pottery bowl, a platter, miscellaneous plastic containers. I have no idea who these things belong to, which means they’ll most likely just sit here, on my counter, until someone calls up to claim them. If not, I’ll stick them out next year and hope they get picked up, although of course then something else will be left behind. This year, we also have a holiday mystery: someone brought red pepper hummus and crackers in this VERY pretty silver pineapple serving set, a plate and bowl and a cute little matching spreader. I remember noticing it early on, and then it was left behind. When I went to wash it, though, there was a gift tag on the bottom, saying it was a gift to me and my husband from Santa. Now, this is a lovely thing. And smart, because you can just bring a container and leave it, no worries. But we CANNOT figure out who gave this to us. It’s driving me nuts! We’ve tried everything: going through everyone who was here, doing gift giving profiling, handwriting analysis of the tag. Speculation, conjecture. It’s like CSI, but with dishes.

So what do I do? Send out a mass email, asking whoever it was to fess up? Or just accept it as it was given, from Santa, and leave it at that? I don’t think that many of my friends actually read this journal, but if you DO, and you left a pretty pineapple set here for us, PLEASE tell me so I can thank you properly. And so I can stop obsessing about it, and move onto other big questions. Like how to convey to Monkey that this is his special day, and he should really make the most of it. You know. The important stuff.

have a good day, everyone!
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