O.K. Thanksgiving's officially over for us (elderly relatives like to eat early and leave).
I hovered around the oven and cook top the whole time I was in the kitchen. When Auntie arrived I was busy bustling, told her I had every thing handled and would help her get her dishes in the oven as soon as the turkey came out. I had the thermometer at the ready and told her the *exact* minute it would be done. She made a few moves for the oven but I shooed her away saying "I'm going to take temp at 12:30, we're right on time." I then handed her a drink and said MIL needed someone to talk to. (Gave her an "important" job.)
The only irritation happened when she asked what my seating arrangement and food flow organization was (it's only 8 people, I'm not that formal, please!) I said "Thanks for reminding me" and made a general announcement "Everyone sit where you like, food will be served from the peninsula buffet style. We eat in 10 min." She deflated a little but went to find a seat. I then listened to her tales of intrigue, woe, gossip and whatnot because she really IS interesting when not overbearing.
So I think a good strategy was monopolizing the kitchen (as I needed), distracting her, giving her something to do and taking charge of the schedule. I also made sure she felt important in areas that did not affect the dinner. I think I'm getting the hang of this. Thank you E-Hellions!!!
(I didn't go for the direct approach because she seemed a little more fragile this year than the last, sad really...or maybe, masterfully deceptive of her