...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

What We're NOT Doing Today
Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Um, thankful?

Read/Post Comments (1)
Share on Facebook
Don’t get me wrong, this is not a screed about pilgrims and Thanksgiving and poor defenseless turkeys. I like thanksgiving. I like the low levels of flag-waving and religion – it’s there but it’s tamped down. I haven’t cared about parades in a long long time (although the last time I actually watched the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade, lo these hundreds of years ago, I turned around to watch it JUST as the Flying Karamazov Brothers came into view. No kidding. It was something like 20 years ago; I was down in LA, right before leaving California. I’d been to LosCon (or was going) and then meeting a friend and we were doing something strange like going to Disneyland (her idea, not mine – another one of those “I’ve never wanted to do what seems to be a national obsession” things) and was hanging in a hotel bar waiting for her, as I recall, to meet me after HER convention (some religious thing, as I recall0 and there we were. By the way, Thanksgiving was a good time to do Disneyland – shorter lines. I still don’t get it but it was a weird time in my life; leaving Berkeley, leaving my job, leaving Bob, leaving politics.

No one I’ve ever been close to watches/watched football on Thanksgiving so I have no memories of beer and yelling on Thanksgiving. I don’t ever recall sitting around after eating while men yelled at the tv and women washed dishes or whatever. I guess we probably watched because it was what you did, especially at my grandparents’ place, but we were never a big family and though I have some relatives, we didn’t hang with my dad’s brother and sister at ALL (and I recall them as highly unpleasant people – oh do I have stories) and my mother and her brother are now very reconciled but for a while there….anyway, it wasn’t one of those huge things. After moving to California, it became a huge thing and there was a time when every year I was with different people on Thanksgiving, doing differnet things in a different place. From my friend Lucia’s (that’s the time I volunteered to MAKE cranberry sauce, which, not knowing, I thought would be a huge big task and would take days of pots and stirring and sweating over a hot stove. Heh. Heh.) After which we went on a memorial parade for Harvey Milk. Remember Harvey Milk?

There was the gathering at Marta’s mom’s house, and the time I had someone over but we never said what time and Thanksgiving came and we couldn’t reach him and I had no idea what to do and he finally showed up and I was too embarrassed to say “um, why didn’t we ever talk about what time you’d be here?” and it was weird. There was the potluck at La Pena where I brought something, put it down on a table, then got in line and it was gone by the time I got to it so the next day I went and bought all the ingredients because by then, I really WANTED noodle kugel. And no, I’m not from a family that did Jewish food thanksgiving; Stu says that yes, it’s turkey and stuffing and cranberry sauce. And matzoh ball soup and kugel. And thus ends today’s lesson on the differences between reform and conservative Judaism.

I like cooking. Stu likes cooking. We’re good cooks. And we like the foods of thanksgiving (except for certain round green vegetables that dare not speak their name (ok, Brussels sprouts) (eep) (which I can tolerate but don’t see why I should and Stu just purely hates like all red-blooded Americans.) And I make cranberry stuff, which Stu calls my world-famous cranberry sauce which is really just off the package and he knows that but still thinks I’m a genius at it and ok, sure, I can be conned. And it’s plain old bread stuffing but I add fresh this and fresh that and I like p.o.b.s, and though I’ve had other stuffings, I still like p.o.b.s. the best. And occasionally I’ve done dessert but rarely – that usually is the thing that gets bought, farmed out, whatever. But I can and do make gingerbread or something. If I have time.

Preparing this damn meal is NOT a huge effort, really not. Not for just two people who like a relatively straightforward stuffed turkey with THINGS. Many things, for example, come frozen (biscuits, hurray) and if I ever did make biscuits from scratch, I don’t remember but these are FINE, thank you. And I do like some things he doesn’t but I like everything he DOES so we’re fine. I can live without sweet potatoes, and squash pie; white potatoes, done well are great, and so is apple pie.

So this year I was sort of in a panic because it’s been a downhill slide physically. I’m having things hurt here AND there AND there, and over there. And strength is an issue and so is standing up. I got a shot in my left shoulder for bursitis a few weeks back. The last time I did that it worked for months. This seems to have worked for like two weeks. It’s just worse in cold/wet weather and I’m having flare-ups of just about everything; from foot cramps to shoulder pain. So this is not good. And Monday I saw the doctor about a fairly swollen knee; it doesn’t hurt, it’s not tender, but it’s very much bigger than the OTHER knee. And it’s a slight hassle – a little achy, affects putting weight down a tad, but nothing to really worry about. Except it’s one more thing on the “Shechter body part fuck-up check list”. Which can make every stupid ass thing from putting on one’s shoes to brushing one’s hair a challenge. Welcome to my whiny world. I’m sorry, you don’t need to hear this AGAIN.

But I WANNA. Sez I. We talked about going out and that mighta been okay (did THAT one year in the bay area too) but I like doing this stuff, dammit. Cooking is fun. But it simply was not going to happen on Thursday, not with Stu working M – W, and getting home at 6:30 with a meal to prepare, a table to find (you poor people who’ve been Chez Roscoe, you know what messy types we are and the dining table is piled with books and papers.) and dishes to wash and surfaces to clean and and and. And it all has to go slowly because while it really is NOT a big deal, there’s a few hours of intense activity involved. And I’m not good for a few hours in a row.

So duh, last week I realize that duh, it’s a FOUR day weekend. We’re not going over the river to grandmother’s house (she moved to a condo anyway right?) and it IS just us and we have no plans (or didn’t til we made Sunday dinner reservations for our early anniversary) and oh. Oh. OH WOW. Um, we could like do it on Friday. Or um wow Saturday.

So we went shopping and got everything (“No Brussels sprouts” – said in your BEST Edna Mode voice please) except that we also cheated and got some things already made. Back up in case I suddenly burst into tears at some point and say “I can’t do this”. Don’t lay down bets but yeah, it’s…possible. And yes, of course Stu could. He’s a better cook than I am – truly. There are things I do better but he’s more creative and more intuitive about how things go together. But I WANNA. It’s horrible when there is something you enjoy that you have to stop doing because you can’t any longer. It sucks big time and you spend time trying to prove otherwise a lot. HelLO. But there’s a frozen turkey thing in the freezer just in case. And we “cheat” more than we used to. Frozen dessert, frozen biscuits. But made from the start cranberries and stuffing dammit. And in fact the cranberries are done – made yesterday. And dammit all it hurt. Stupid though it sounds, it involved my shoulder which didn’t like it. So it might be Saturday before it all gets done. But it will happen. And now Stu’s home and can do some stuff if I can manage not to be Controlling Kitchen Woman. To be honest, his best role is food advisor here: “Honey, how much of this do you think we should use? Does that look like enough? No? More? Okay”? It’s a really good way to cook and it’s how we’ve worked for years. There are certain duties – I’m pasta woman, he’s flavor man – I often start the basic chili, he then adds the things to it. I’m the stir fry queen, he’s the broiler maven. And getter-outer of stuff.

Thanksgiving dinner this year will be post thanksgiving in our house. Probably tomorrow – another thing I’ve learned is you now how they say it’ll take X hours for the turkey to thaw in the refrigerator? They lie. It takes X plus more hours than you anticipated. Always.

Hope yours is/was truly fine. So far, I spent the morning getting weepy over stories in the paper about Katrina survivors, Rainbow Family folks who’ve been in Mississippi for three months feeding and taking care of strangers along with a bunch of conservative Christian churches, and therapy dogs that help kids to read. I’m a sodden emotional little puddle and It’s a damn good thing you’re not here to see it (if you were, you’d be put to work finding the dining room table, you should know).

I’m thankful for you all.

Read/Post Comments (1)

Previous Entry :: Next Entry

Back to Top

Powered by JournalScape © 2001-2010 All rights reserved.
All content rights reserved by the author.