Family, Friends and Festive Frivolities

I have a confession to make. I am obsessed with drag queens. So when we were invited to attend Drag Bingo at The Big Chill in downtown Chattanooga I was ever so excited.

I asked the hosts for a photo when they arrived.

My cousin Warren and his wife Anita collected us.

My Mom, Norman and I all attended.

We were joined by Warren’s friends Tammy and Vinny.

The hosts for the bingo are Veronica Day,

And Tori Mattison.

We were surprised when my cousin Stephanie arrived with her friend Brett to join us. She saw my Facebook check in and popped in.

Steph had just driven up from Texas with her Dad so that she could spend Christmas with her mom Mona.

They have all sorts of food. I chose the French Dip which is shaved roast beef with Swiss cheese on a baguette. It comes with au jus to dip the sandwich in and was really yummy.

We all had so much fun and such a lot of laughs.

This trip home was Norm’s gift to me but on Tuesday we realised neither Norm nor I had gotten each other a present to open on Christmas morning and Mom had given me all of my gifts when I arrived so we toddled off to Costco to get a few bits and pieces. It wasn’t too horrendously busy considering it was Christmas Eve.

Mom had to make the dressing to take for Christmas lunch the next day so we had a quiet night at home that evening.

Wednesday we got up and opened presents and I made cinnamon rolls. At 12ish we headed over to eat Christmas lunch with mom’s family at my Uncle Joe’s house.

Joe lives right on the lake.

Joe cooked a feast! We had the most divine, tender prime rib, a ham, creamy and buttery mashed potatoes, cheesy scalloped potatoes, sweet potato casserole, Mac and Cheese, southern style baked beans, green beans, zucchini casserole, fresh buttery rolls, 3 types of gravy, cranberry sauce and my mom’s dressing. The dressing is my grandma’s recipe so it felt like her spirit was with us.

Joe’s son Brent and his wife Kelly and their daughters Gabby and Maddy were there. They are really lovely people and have raised such wonderful daughters.

Brent is so good to my mom and helps her with anything she needs.

My Uncle Harley was there too.

My cousins Mona and Stephanie popped in with Darryl. My other cousin Susan and her hubby Bob also popped by.

We opened presents and chatted and laughed the rest of the afternoon.

We were bursting from over eating all of that delicious food and we came home to flop on the sofas. Norm had a nap and Mom and I watched the film ‘Hustlers’ with JLo, Cardi B and Lizzo.

I knew nothing about the film but it was really good and we enjoyed it. I give it 4 Kitten Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.

Thursday we had a slow start then went shopping to trawl the after Christmas deals for a Mother of The Bride dress. I tried on a few in various shops but none made me happy. However on our way to the car park I spotted the perfect boots for drumming and ceremonies and these make me sooo happy so it wasn’t a complete miss.

After shopping we went for dinner at Red Lobster. I have such nice memories of Red Lobster so I was looking forward to it, however as with many things our childhood memories do not always reflect our adult tastes.

We settled into a nice roomy booth.

Mom and I ordered the combo and I chose scallops, lobster pieces in butter sauce and shrimp Alfredo.

The baked potatoes were rock hard so we both sent them back. The lobster was not very tender, it wasn’t the tail it was all claw meat. The prawn Alfredo was pretty tasteless. Norm said that my taste buds are more sophisticated than when I was a wee hillbilly. A bit cheeky but I suspect he is right!

We were stuffed to the gills again. I have not been so over full so many consecutive days since our last visit!

The next morning we were up and on the road early as we drove up to see our friends Tim and Joy in Harriman Tennessee.

It was over 2 hours to get there but we finally arrived and were greeted by Pax their cute little doggy. He was ever so excited but he finally settled down and snuggled in.

They also have a beautiful giant white Pyrenees. He is such a gorgeous boy.

We had a tour of their brand new house. They are in a cabin directly on the water.

It is a lovely house and we chatted and caught up with everyone’s news. When it was the afternoon we decided we were hungry and headed off to Burger Station 120.

They serve burgers, sandwiches and various other items. I had the Roast Beef and Swiss sandwich with chips.

The roast beef was lean and juicy and the fries were hand cut and home made. The desserts were delicious looking so the women all ordered the Baby Crazy Cake. I had the Oreo one with crushed Oreos and chocolate sauce. A crazy cake is like a funnel cake and a donut had a baby.

Wow. That was so good!

After we finished our late lunch we headed home as Mom did not want to drive when it was too late. Once we got back to Chattanooga the motorway was rammed so we drove back through Rossville which is the village where I grew up. It is so dirty and run down looking. It is sad.

We chilled out that evening as we were all tired from 4 hours of travel.

Saturday we were meeting Vinny, Tammy, Warren and Anita at the lake for a boat ride on Vinny’s yacht.

We arrived at Chickamauga Marina and had no idea which boat was theirs so we waited on Warren to arrive.

We managed to get Mom onto the boat using some steps they had on the pier. It was a bit scary! With her osteoporosis if she falls she will definitely break something and she cannot swim so I held my breath until she was safely on board.

Anita’s friend Whitney also joined us.

Vinny can drive the boat from the cabin or from the top deck.

We were heading down river so we had to pass through the locks.

Warren, Norm and I sat on the top deck to get the best views.

It was a bit chilly on top and today I am feeling a bit fluey but I hope it doesn’t get worse, I have too many people to see! I also haven’t done any shopping for the kids Christmas presents as I was waiting for the sales.

Everyone else sat downstairs and moved between the back and the inside.

It started to drizzle with rain so we all snuggled up inside the boat.

There are so many bridges along the river. It is really a lovely journey.

We passed by the Southern Belle Riverboat. They do river cruises and dinner cruises.

We stopped off for a late lunch at Scottie’s on the River. There is a row of boat slips in front where you can dock if you come in via a boat.

The current was very strong and Vinny struggled to dock and dinged the side of the hull on the edge of the pier. I hope he can buff it out. Eventually he managed to dock and they tied the boat up safely.

The path to the restaurant was too far and too steep for Mom so Tammy and Mom stayed on the yacht and had food from the restaurant delivered down to the boat. The rest of us hiked up and grabbed a table.

The view from our seats was lovely.

We all ordered different things. Norm had the fish and and sweet potato fries.

Anita had the chop topped with chutney and served with veggies.

Warren had a burger with an egg on it.

I had the fried shrimp which were massive! I had the steakhouse fries with it. They were thinly sliced. It was so delicious.

Norm videoed our journey back through the locks.

We had such a fun day! Vinny and Tammy are such brilliant hosts and it is a stunning yacht.

Today we are having a pajama day. I made eggs, pancakes, Canadian bacon and spicy sausage for brunch and now Norm is playing with his Christmas toys and Mom and I are watching telly.

My cousin Mona is on her way over to hang out with us. We were so close as children so I’m looking forward to catching up.

Tomorrow we are shopping for my Mother of the Bride dress. I am going to a proper bridal shop where they can do alterations. Hopefully we can hit the mall to shop for the kids. I’ve got an empty suitcase to fill!

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and that you have a great New Year.

Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten xoxoxo

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