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We arrived today and couldn't be happier! We had four checked bags, two carry-ons, my computer tower, two turtle doves and a partridge in a pear tree. Damn, that is a LOT of luggage. Several people felt it necessary to let me know that they make portable computers nowadays. Several other people asked if it was my laptop. I, of course, told them that this was the most powerful laptop ever made and that everybody will soon be pulling their laptops around on a luggage cart.

We have a lot planned for the week: Embassy on Tuesday, Gay Bingo on Wednesday, gaming on Thursday and Friday, I'm dancing on Saturday (Bart will still be gaming from Thursday), brunch on Sunday and then off to Italy with all of our luggage on Monday. I also hope to get to Hopkins to visit a couple of folks before we head off. Ryan, are you out there? I absolutely need to buy you a sushi dinner while I'm here!

On a completely different note, leaving Iowa was kinda hard. Over the last couple of months I have really come to like Bart's family, especially his sisters who are both just wonderful. I never had any siblings, just cousins who while also wonderful, had a habit of putting me in trashcans. I really like the idea of being a sister.
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Bart's sister lives in Algona, Iowa, home of the World's Largest Cheeto. When we first arrived in Iowa, we asked her where it was currently located, but alas, she did not know. However, being the cool chick that she is, she found out for us and surprised us with a short trip to see the WLC!! Needless to say, we were very excited.

Currently, the WLC resides in a glass box on a mantle over a fireplace in Sister Sara's restaurant. It was a bit of a disappointment for two reasons. First, it was only about the size of a chicken nugget, not terribly big at all, though certainly much larger than the average Cheeto. Second, it being Christmas time, the WLC was wearing an Santa hat. The hat somehow lessened the importance of the WLC.

We tried to take pictures of it, three actually, but they all came out blurry leading us to conclude that the WLC has some sort of magickal powers. Further investigation is required.
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Bart and I went to a club in Des Moines last night. Maybe it wasn't such a good idea to go to a bar on a Sunday night. We thought there would be dancing, but the dance floor is only open on Friday and Saturday night. We did get to see the dance floor though. We will certainly go back on a weekend.

While we were driving there it began snowing. Not very hard, but enough to look like warp speed in high beams :) It snowed all night long and now there is a small amount of accumulation on the ground. Hmmm, snow. I don't really like snow when it is in my drive way. Oh well.
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We didn't have Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday because it wasn't the Wirth family's turn. This year it was our turn to have it on an off day, so we had it on Saturday and I did most of the cooking. I love cooking and cooking for large groups, 10 adults, two teenagers and three kids, is even better. I made two 11 pound free range, organic turkeys; one flavor injected with citrus and the other with a molasses and brown sugar brine. The brining produced the superior turkey. It was the most beautiful deep brown color when it was done. The citrus turkey looked cool too though because I put whole sage leaves under the skin, which became transparent during cooking so you could see the leaves through it. It was neat:)

I also made sweet potatoes and acorn squash with a maple and crystallized ginger glaze, broccoli with lemon butter, cranberry with dried cherry sauce and two types of mashed potatoes; yukon golds with sour cream, butter and milk and russets with milk and butter. I made the two types of mashers because I had people say that they didn't like sour cream, but can you guess which type there was more left of at the end of the night?;) People need to trust me. The cranberries with dried cherries were fantastic! Even people who said that they didn't like cranberries had some and said they were good. Same with the sweet potatoes :) I like it when people try my cooking and say things like, "That wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be." It makes me smile :)

My mother-in-law made her stuffing mostly because I was afraid to make everything new. I thought that if there was at least one thing that was familiar, they might be less freaked out by everything else.

All in all, everybody liked the dinner and I was asked for a couple of different recipes :) Not a problem, I say. Who am I to hoard tasty recipes? ;)

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