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Family, Friends, New Traditions

Just a brief post today since it's still a holiday of sorts here in the U.S. 

Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, is a huge shopping day when some people start lining up at midnight (or for some chain stores, even earlier) shopping.

Thank God I hate going to malls because it always looks like total madness when you watch these people on TV rushing into stores, sometimes knocking each other aside, trying to get their shopping carts full with items that are sometimes 60 to 80% off the regular price. If you're one of these people, no offense, but I've never understood the appeal other than you can really get great discounts on lots of items. I think it was last year that one or two people were killed when a store opened it's doors at midnight and people rushed in and trampled on other shoppers. 

We had a really nice Thanksgiving yesterday. I had invited a friend from one of my classes, who's from Italy, to join me and Brad as we made the rounds at our parent's homes. Giovanni (not his real name, but I've always liked the sound of it) was just planning on eating lunch and dinner at the university cafeteria. He came over early yesterday and went with us to my parent's house around noon and then Brad's parent's house around 3:00 PM. He also joined us for desserts at our house, and we had invited him to spend the night with us if he liked.

Giovanni is a really nice person and he arrived bringing 3 bottles of Italian wine (the real stuff) he had gotten a friend of his to purchase. You have to be 21 to buy alcohol in Massachusetts. He brought one bottle for my parents, one bottle for Brad's parents and he gave one bottle to me and Brad.

I had also invited a friend of mine to come over around 6:00 PM for Brad's wonderful dessert buffet. This friend, Mark (not his real name), was kicked out of his parent's house when he was 16 when he told his parents he was gay. He lives now in an apartment with 4 other people and wanted to spend the day with them, but he came over at 6:00 to spend the rest of the evening with us. We had also invited him to spend the night.

Brad invited a friend of his (I'll call him John, which is not his real name) from high school, who also has a really strained relationship with his parents since coming out to them, to join us at 6:00. Brad told him he would be welcome to spend the night also, if he wanted to.

We ate a light dinner at my parents, since it was going to be just round one for the day. My family fell in love with Giovanni. He's 20, a little shy, about as cute as you can imagine, and completely straight. When he presented his gift bottle of Italian wine to my parents, I think they immediately fell in love with him. My dad used his wine, among some other bottles from his own collection, to make a toast to everyone, which is a family tradition we have before dinner.

My younger brother invited his new girlfriend, and I have to say I almost didn't recognize him! He's never put much effort into dressing up for anything. He's usually in jeans, a t-shirt and a baseball cap. Well, with his girlfriend there, the boy really outdid himself. I've never seen him in khaki pants before and he had this really nice emerald green sweater, and to top it off, he had gotten a hair cut and had obviously spent some time with jell to add some lift. I think for the first time I realized my little brother has grown up. In additon to obviously trying to impress his new girlfriend, he certainly impressed everybody in my family. My dad jokenly asked who he was and who had invited him to our home! LOL. He was a good sport and you could tell his girlfriend was loving it.

We went to Brad's parents later that afternoon and had an equally good time. If you remember from what Brad's written some time ago, he's always had a rocky relationship with his dad, until fairly recently. His dad had a problem with drinking and has been completely sober now for about a year-and-a half. Plus, thanks to some family counseling they've had, he and his dad seemed to have repaired their relationship quite a bit and his dad has even apologized for having called him some really hurtful names about Brad being gay when Brad was younger.

Around 6:00 PM, Brad, myself and Giovanni headed back to our house and were joined by my parents, Brad's parents and our two friends. It was really nice having nine guests to enjoy all the dessert baking Brad had done. Needless to say, the desserts were a huge hit!

After our parents left, it was just Brad, myself, Giovanni and our two friends. We were all so stuffed from two dinners and these unbelievably delicious desserts that we just sat around for a while talking and looking like five couch potatoes.

Giovanni volunteered to sleep on the sofa and John and Mark, who had never met each other before, took the guest bedroom. We both knew the two of them would hit it off and you could tell they were starting to crush on each other. We knew something was up when they were sitting beside each other all evening, and at one point were holding hands! These guys didn't waste any time! We had a sleeping bag ready and this inflatable mattress for one of them, and were going to offer the bed to the other. Well, they had other plans. They took the sleeping bag and inflatable mattress, but that bed looked too comfortable, I guess, because they ended up sleeping together.

So, today, we decided to start a new tradition for the day after Thanksgiving. We're going to be watching two movies, both classic in some way. We'll be watching the original Frankenstein in just a little while and then later on we'll be watching A Day at the Races with the Marx Brothers. Instead of popcorn, we've still got all these delicious desserts and Brad picked up some egg nog to top things off. I swear we're probably gonna gain 10 pounds from all this eating, but we know of some ways to lose it if that happens. They say vigorous exercise always helps, and you can probably guess what we have in mind! LOL.

Anyway, I started this off as a "brief post," but you know me! So, I'm gonna close now and get back to our guests. Thanksgiving has this new meaning for me now. Like the title I gave this post, it's all about Family, Friends and New Traditions. Hope everyone has a nice weekend. And, as Giovanni would say, buonasera!
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