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2004-06-23 - 9:14 a.m.

My new favorite thing is decoy presents.

Friday night I took my parents and brother out to dinner to celebrate our parents' 25th wedding anniversary at Kincaid's. It's a wonderful place. Dad and I split a filet and lobster meal, and the steak was so tender that I didn't need a knife to cut it apart to eat.

While we were out eating the decoy present, Jacob came over with Tim to set up the real present, a stereo system I had bought a day earlier with Jacob and Jeffy. I chose two floor speakers, a 100 disc CD changer, and a receiver. I also threw in a DVD player. When we came home, I could hear the music on and I knew it was a sucess! For some reason I got emotional about giving it to them. I've been getting emotional about weird things lately. Maybe it's the reintroduction of feelings into my personality. In any case, they were floored. We walked in and I told them that I had something to tell them. Later my mom said that she thought I was going to tell them I was engaged, and that Jimmie was hiding somewhere in the house; dad thought I was going to say that I was pregnant. So the stereo was not only a great surprise in the sense that they loved it, they also enjoyed the relief of me not being pregnant or married.

The other recent decoy present was a bottle of wine and two riedel wine glasses for Katie and Tony's wedding present. What I really got them was a scrapbook of their wedding complete with quotes from various people who were there about the wedding and about Katie and Tony. I've been working hard on it for the last week and a half, and I gave it to them last night. They seemed to enjoy it. Somehow I still consider it "my scrapbook" even though it is in their possession now.

Last night Katie and Tony were over because I hosted a murder mystery party. We had wine and sweedish pear sparkler, salad and secret peanuts, cheese and crackers, pizza and pasta, scotcheroos and root beer floats. Everyone really outdid themselves with their costumes. Ann researched things on the internet, down to what kind of makeup they wore in the 20s, and she the epitome of a flapper. Nathan made a great baseball player, and taped "chicago" and his name in black electrical tape to the back of his outfit. TJ made a great gambler, and used Amber's mascara to make a pencil thin mustache. Amber had a glittery red dress, perfect for her lounge singer persona. Katie and Tony biked in their fancy outfits, a reporter and lawyer respectively. Jacob had a golf club with him and he looked the part of a golfer 100%. I myself threw something together at the last moment.

The only real problem with the whole evening was that we got started so late; unfortunately if I wanted everyone to come, it had to be a late start because of when people work. It's hard trying to get 8 people together! I was surprised at how difficult it was to find a date that worked for everyone.

Even though I had done this exact same murder mystery about 6 years ago, I had no recollection of who the murderer was (it ended up being me) or any events of the case. So it was a lot of fun, although convoluted and slightly confusing at times. I was also drunk, so that could have had something to do with my confusion.

This past weekend was Father's Day. We went to the race track, and my mom bet on a horse to place that had odds 35 to 1. And it came in first! She got back $79 on her $4 bet. If she had bet him to win it would have been around $160. It was the biggest payoff at the track in 3 years!

Also recently, Brad was here for a weekend and I spent a lot of time with him doing things like going out to dinner with his parents and attending a housewarming party at TJ's new apartment, where Ryan, or "the spiller" as he will henceforth be called, managed to spill beer in the bedroom, punch down Ann's back, and wine all over the kitchen, including on the ceiling.

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