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It is our family tradition, when we all gather together for the holidays, to find cheesy movies (the cheesier the better) and pile in the car to have a night out. The kind of ‘cheese’ often determines which one of us will claim a debilitating ailment at the last minute and announce he or she is completely unable to join in the fun.

This year, I was the one who bailed on Star Wars. Oh, I realize I’m probably the only person on the planet who will not see the movie, but really, it makes no sense for me to see it now. The only one in the series I saw was the first and that was so many years ago all I can remember is that Harrison Ford was in it…oh, and there was a rather cute little robot-y thing. And now that I’m old, there may not be enough time left for me to view all the intervening ones so I can understand the plot. (Okay, let’s be honest here — I can’t recall the plot for the silliest romcoms an hour after I’ve seen them. I live in hope that this is the fault of the schlocky plot, but I’m terribly afraid it’s more a function of my addled memory.) So Star Wars is a non-starter for me. Gill and Crazy D raved about the movie and, of course, Gill fell in love with the new little robot character and wants one for her birthday. Planning has already begun (in my twisted attempt to think of the one gift that will surpass all others) for the robot procurement for Gill’s July birthday. I suspect it may come to naught but I’ll give it the old college try. I realize that the goat we’re trying to get Crazy D for his next birthday (don’t ask!!) will be easier.

L’il Sis was busy the night of Star Wars so all three of us girls opted for another movie — an afternoon one that we’d all enjoy. We picked “Joy” with Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper…oh, and I think De Niro was in it too. I love anything with Bradley Cooper. But I was careful, when I suggested this movie, to refrain from calling him a ‘hunk’ — a term that both my daughters despise and is enough to turn them off a movie if it contains one!

The afternoon time worked well since neither Gill nor I should be driving after dark.(In fact, L’il Sis and Crazy D will go to great lengths for us NOT to drive after dark. They’re quite subtle usually, treating their generous offers to take the wheel as ‘no big deal, they LOVE driving’ when they actually hate it…but they know Gill and I are both blind as bats at night and our depth perception is virtually non-existent — especially in rain or snow.) So, like three old ladies, we had seen a movie, had dinner, and were curled up in our respective nests (beds) with our pets, by 8 o’clock. Wow…this belongs in the ‘you know you’re old when’ category. But it was, as we all agreed, a delightful day.

The other triumph along the entertainment lines was a trip to our local nursery. Although it was after Christmas and the only poinsettias left bore a striking resemblance to the iconic Charlie Brown Christmas tree, we didn’t go there to see plants. We went to visit the huge Umbrella Cockatoo that resides in the gift wrap department. His name is Marley and does he put on a show! L’il Sis and I had seen him and knew Gill had to meet him. The minute he sees an audience come his way, the great white and yellow crest goes up, fans out, he shakes his head, and swoops with his wings out in a full-on flirt. He is magnificent. And, as if that weren’t enough, he chatters. He’ll wish you a jaunty ‘hello’, then branch out into ‘peek-a-boo’ and, if you play along with him and he likes your performance, he’ll state with no equivocation (better than a lot of men) “I love you!”

Sad to say, his performance was a bit lackadaisical. I suspect he was tired after the ‘on all day’ performances during the Christmas rush. But still, a fabulous bird. I could hear the whirring in Gill’s head (as opposed to her Crohn’sy stomach whirring) as she plotted how she was going to ‘liberate’ Marley and get him on a plane with her to England. Always the dreamer, our Gill. Not that she doesn’t come by it honestly…L’il Sis and I were already way ahead of her in the plotting department. Alas, reality kicked in and we resigned ourselves to periodic visits to see him in his nursery setting surrounded by orchids and other suitably beautiful foliage.