Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thankful

This week was Thanksgiving and it was lovely. We invited friends, then invited some more, and prepared for a feast for 15 people. In the end, one family couldn't come so it was a table of 8, which was just perfect. Some of our very favorite folks in the world came with their little ones and added a whole lot of life and sparkle to our day. There was much of laughter and trampoline jumping. There were hugs and doodles on paper placemats. There was a spectacular paper-and-pine-cone turkey and excellent companionship all around.


My gorgeous burn on my arm. If you've ever wondered
how hot a roux gets just before you add the broth, the
answer is: pretty hot!
The food was just as it should be: worthy of the biggest feast of the year! My pal brought all the yummy desserts, the bum-cheek rolls (out of the mouths of little kids-hahahahaha!!), the perfect stuffing and that raspberry salad that I could not stop eating. So, I took on the turkey, the potatoes, and the other vegetables. I made a traditional roasted bird, mashies (both plain and with the skins left in), sweet potato casserole with maple (and giant marshmallows on top), Ubiquitous Green Bean Casserole, squash risotto with rosemary, plus some roasted Brussels sprouts and asparagus (NOT in season here, but thanks to some farmer somewhere in the world, tiny and fresh and so delicious!).

Eric and Evan went to play football in the morning and I had a satisfying day of cooking on my own, but because my friend and I were sharing the preparation, I had just enough work to do to for it to be completely enjoyable. I was able to use my skills and keep the kitchen running smoothly, which I love. I get a creative thrill out of getting everything done and ready to serve all at the same time. I enjoy understanding how things work and why I'm doing certain operations so I can predict outcomes. That sounds like I'm super-organized but I'm not, really. It's all in my head. I don't write out timetables and schedules for cooking, and unless I'm baking, I hardly follow any recipes, but thanks to lots of experience, a love of cooking and, I suppose, a certain knack, it all fits together in my mind and I just know what to do. I'm really good at cleaning up while I go and putting things away, so my tiny kitchen never gets out of control. There are a few things in life that help remind me of my talents and capabilities and make me feel good about my contributions to this life, and a day of complex cooking is one of them. I'm not known as a great cook, nor am I sought after for my expertise, but in the end, that doesn't really matter. It probably wouldn't be as fun for me if it was a pressure thing with lots of expectations from others.

After our beloved guests took their leave, we skyped with all my relations gathered at my brother's house in Arizona. That included my parents, two of my aunts, my grandmother, 4 of my siblings and their spouses, 12 of my nieces and nephews, 2 of my sons, my daughter-in-law and my daughter. That was not everyone, but was a very fine representative group of the people with whom I share familial ties.

A photo of the skype screen in which, in front of my
brother's many hunting trophies, my nephew has
positioned himself just so to appear as if he's grown antlers. 
It was a glorious skype, with zany jokes, laughter and catching up on news, right up to the part when, while we were blithely chatting away through the interwebs, my mother took a fall out on my brother's patio and suffered a concussion and a fractured pelvis. For pete's sake. I had no idea until my nephew asked if I wanted to talk to his mom, then couldn't find her then reported that she was in the bedroom with Grandma, who had just fallen and hurt herself. More information was sought and I was carried all about the house inside a laptop and we found her. She was in pain, but lucid and quite witty in her extremity, as is her way. After a Thanksgiving-night ambulance ride to the ER for a diagnosis, she's now home and resting as comfortably as her pain meds will allow. Bless all those emergency response personel who celebrate their Thanksgivings some other day. I'm sure glad they were on duty that night.

But now I will pout for just a minute. My mom will be just fine but frankly, these are the times that try daughters' souls. She's 3000 miles away and I hate it. I know my two other sisters are very close by and will take good care of her, but I want to be there and help. Ughhh. So, I will call her and pray for her and be grateful that my parents are literally surrounded by family on all sides out there in that desert land we all love so much. I will stop pouting now and look for opportunities to help in similar ways out here in my world so the karmic wheel can turn toward my mom and she will always have what she needs. But sheesh (pouting again, briefly), I miss them all so much.

Which now makes me doubly grateful for the friends I have here: friends with kids I can hug and share my toys with and read books to and take to the tot lot; friends I can talk to and occasionally be useful to when they need it.

So, it's all good (smiling now). There are times and seasons to everything, and this was a beautiful season of Thanksgiving. I do love that in the U.S., this particular Thursday ushers in the Christmasy times of the year. It is a significant thing to begin to gather gifts and think of giving and sharing just after taking time to be grateful for all that we have. It makes sense to me.

So, Happy Thanksgiving to you. Let the Christmas music play and the lighting up of the world begin. Yes, it's crazy and busy and way too much sometimes, but what other time of year unifies so many people in the cause of generosity, even if some of us do get a little misguided about it? I think a lot of hearts are in the right place, and the world really is a little brighter, for all the different reasons people come up with. I'll take the extra light and love.





1 comment:

  1. What you do in your kitchen sounds like what my chemistry professor is trying to get us to do in the lab. :) Good time management, organization, etc. It IS fun... when you do it right!

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