Saturday, December 14, 2013

Christmas Tree Part 2 / Cooking with Joe

When last I left you, we had just managed to get our Christmas tree upright in the living room.  It stood there, naked and confused, for over a week.  The plan was to leave it that way until the next weekend, to give McKenna a chance to get bored with it, before going ahead and making things oh so much more interesting.

It wasn’t until Tuesday night, however, that we were able to coordinate ourselves and get some lights and decorations on the dang thing.  We started with McKenna locked in the bedroom.  My theory was that she was less likely to go after the ornaments if she didn’t see us fussing with them.  However, at some point I needed to get into the bedroom to fetch the stepladder, so out she came early to meet the (partially) decorated tree.


As she came around the corner and spotted the sparkling tree, she came to a complete halt.  Even her tail was still for several seconds.  Then she proceeded to calmly inspect every box of decorations scattered around the living room.

Eventually, she found her way to the tabletop, jumping up next to our feet as we were reaching up to the highest branches.  Yes, the two of us and the six-foot tree were all supported by that sturdy table.  Oh, and the cat, too, but only for a few seconds, as she had to make way for our feet, and there wasn’t a whole lot of room to maneuver.

McKenna was content to explore the boxes and baubles as we added ornaments to the lower branches.  Her experience with our feet probably kept her a little wary of returning to the tabletop.  By the next morning, though, she was eagerly leaping up there and experimenting with the lowest ornaments.




I, however, had to head to work, so I left Miss Chef sitting on the couch with the spray bottle, just waiting for McKenna to make a wrong move.

I never did find out exactly what went down at the OK Corral Tree Table that morning, but everything was still in place when I came home that night.  In fact, it took at least half an hour before McKenna found her way back up there.  There was a lot of rustling and shaking of branches, but in the end, she was just making herself comfortable.  Sure, she checked out the ornaments a little bit…




…but in the end, she just settled down and eventually drifted off into a catnap.




And that, my friends, is the delightfully anticlimactic conclusion to this chapter of Cat vs. Tree 2013.  In spite of predictions of needle-shaking feline adventures, she’s just not that interested in something that stands still, no matter how glittery and dangly it may be.

Moving things, on the other hand, immediately get her attention.  A few days later, we both practiced Wrapping With a Cat.



“I tinks you needs moar tapes heer, Hooman.”



To be honest, neither Miss Chef or I are really feeling the whole jolly ho-ho-ho thing this year, so I’m glad that we do have the tree up and that I did get some wrapped gifts under it.  This will be Miss Chef’s first Christmas without her mom; it was only a few weeks afterwards that a heart attack claimed her.  For my part, the whole Thanksgiving plumbing debacle put a bit of a wrench* in the opening of my holiday season, and then I’ll be working all Christmas week, aside from the day itself.  So it’s going to be a low-key event here, cat antics notwithstanding.  (*pun intended!)

Not that there aren’t bright spots in our December days!  Just last night, one of Miss Chef’s most admired mentors invited us for a “small” dinner party at his place.  It’s always chaos when he cooks; he makes way too much and generally the food comes out a couple of hours later than he plans.  But Miss Chef got to have a load of fun cooking with him!




I’m not the only one documenting everything around here…

That’s cajun bbq shrimp Miss Chef is tossing around in that big old wok.  There was also gumbo, pork and beans,  guacamole, ceviche and halibut, a slow-smoked pork shoulder, mac ‘n’ cheese, slow-cooked collards, cornbread…and a rather impressive cheese board.


Oh, those are brussels sprouts in the background.  I didn’t taste those, there’s only so much a girl can fit in her stomach.  But that’s ok, we came home loaded down with leftovers.  As well as plans to meet some other friends for dinner the next night, before going to a Carolina Chocolate Drops show we discovered we were both planning on attending.

So maybe our Christmas season won’t be so glum after all.  We certainly won’t starve, and it also looks like we won’t have to worry about tree-based chaos at home.  That’s not such a bad start, after all. 


  1. Mon Dieu! I have a indigestion just reading about all the food there was there. Were you just the three of you? And the cat makes a nice "bibelot" under the tree...

    1. Oh no, there was a houseful--but still a ton of leftovers!

  2. I'm with Katou - that is a lot of food, albeit delicious looking. Love to watch someone who knows what they're doing in the kitchen. Although it kind of makes me feel like a clumsy oaf with my "measuring spoons" and "recipes" :)

    Your Christmas tree all "naked and confused" made me chortle. Now that is a good line.

    1. I just recently realized that, other than baking, I seldom use measuring spoons and recipes. It kind of snuck up on me after about a decade of living with a chef.

  3. Hey there, Sweet Thing! McKenna is a sweetie and such a good cat! You can blame any bad wrapping job on the cat.

    1. Miss Chef says her nieces will be delighted with the wrinkled wrapping paper if they know that McKenna was involved.

  4. The brussels look awesome though1


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