Sunday, November 29, 2009


So. We had Thanksgiving. Days ago. I can hardly remember it now...what was it? Oh, yes.

It was Delicious. Also: Fabulous and Lovely and Warming and All Of The Things You Would Want From A Thanksgiving.

When I was a child Thanksgiving was hands-down my favourite holiday. There was none of the stress of Christmas, because even as a child Christmas is stressful: am I showing enough gratitude for this gift I'm not sure I want? Does anyone like the silly things I could afford to buy for them at the dollar store? Thanksgiving was only and completely about coming together, crowding around a table or stretching out throughout the living room, and eating the beautiful food everyone had made. I remember sitting in my Granny's kitchen smelling the wonderful smells of Thanksgiving and then later, in the evening, loading up my plate and staking a claim in a spot I'd never otherwise be allowed to eat in: maybe the stairs or the couch or balancing the plate on my knees and eating until I could only roll upstairs to bed and fall into a deep, deep, food coma. My Granny died when I was nine and Thanksgiving wasn't quite the same after, but it was always good. We always did it at our house instead of hers from then on and it always had the same smells: orange and sweet and rich. My dad cooked the turkey on his Weber barbeque and my mom did most of the rest in the oven. Sometimes aunts or uncles brought rolls or pies or green bean casseroles or appetizers and the meal was never, ever fancy but it was always too much and always the best thing I'd eaten since last Thanksgiving.

Now, we sometimes do it at our house, my grown-up mother-house, the house I live in and cook in daily. I love to bicker with my husband about the right way to do the turkey, which sides to do and how to do them. He always wins with the turkey; I always win with everything else. The kids love knowing what to expect from Thanksgiving dinner and I love to make the dishes we make only once a year: cranberry sauce (up to three kinds), sweet potato gratin or casserole or whatever, turkey (because, really, I don't care for turkey: it's only an excuse to make gravy), gravy, usually with giblets when we're at home, pumpkin pie. These aren't things we eat normally and it feels so festive to have them all cooking at once, the house filling with smells we haven't smelled since last year, all coming together.

Last year it was only the five of us here because we were sick and couldn't travel for the holiday. We still made everything we had come to expect, and at a hefty price; it's expensive to do the whole shebang, especially with a heritage bird. This year we were able to join the rest of my family in what has become the new tradition: Thanksgiving dinner at my Grandpa's house in Pebble Beach. After my Granny died, my Grandpa married a lovely woman who graciously opened her beautiful home to his motley crew of children and grandchildren and now great grandchildren for holidays and vacations and various other get-togethers. They have a wonderful home overlooking the Pacific Ocean and it is the greatest treat to visit and have a meal. This year the duties of the meal were divided so judiciously throughout the family, everyone thought they were getting off easy. We were to make mashed potatoes, a salad, cranberry relish. My mom made stuffing, cranberry sauce and pie. My brother's girlfriend made rolls and pie. My aunt made green bean casserole. Her husband, my uncle, barbequed the turkey. My grandmother supplied drinks and appetizers. Nothing was fancy. Everything was delicious.

Now it's been over for several days. We had a lovely weekend in Monterey visiting with family, lamenting the ones who couldn't join us. I don't know who will host next year; probably it will be us with Kelsey's family joining us. It doesn't matter. Nothing will take the place of the first Thanksgivings of my memory at the house my Granny made. Nothing will be like the Thanksgivings at Pebble Beach with ocean views and 50's swank. Nothing will be like the year we made it for ourselves, sick as we might have been. Nothing will be like it is in the future. And yet it will all be defined by the sameness and our love of tradition, whatever shape it takes.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Which, a search is organdised for to find mummy's mind

I know you'd be hard pressed to find evidence of it here, but we've been busy around these parts. Busy trying not to die of Swine Flu, that is. Oh my holy hell, the last two weeks were but hard. Bean was thrown under the wheels of the fever bus first and then Peanut, Sprout and the Baby Daddy were quickly next. Miraculously I was spared the same fate because lo, the heavens parted and the gods themselves were witness to all the fucking fevered brow wiping and snot wrangling and temperature taking that I was doing up in here and decided, hey, you know what? We won't give her the dread Hamthrax. Instead, in all of our beneficent glory, we will bestow upon the stalwart female one a cold that will last nigh until the end of days and for that she will thank us because she will not be sick enough to lay down and let the others stew in their own filth but neither will she be well enough to be able to find her own ass with two hands and she will know humility and fatigue and will stand in awe of our generosity.

And then finally everyone got better. Even me. I know, right?

Now, one unfortunate side effect of having three kids and the third being the sickest is that I kind of let behaviour that I would not tolerate under any other circumstances fly. It started with little things like staying up late because he'd napped all day and fixing a gajillion different things for him to eat because he'd gone for days without really eating anything and he's on the skinny side anyway. Basically, what I'm saying, is that we started with a pretty well adjusted three year old and at the end of two weeks we now have a monster. There's no pretty way to say that. He's been hanging out in his pajamas for two weeks becoming more and more demanding but it's not only this, oh no. His penis fixation is reaching epic proportions. Anyway, this all culminated yesterday in Whole Foods where half of well heeled humanity was doing their Thanksgiving shopping when I denied Sprout some basic pleasure like, I don't remember, chocolate maybe or, really, anything, and he pulled his penis out of his pants and yelled "FUCK! FUCK! FUCK! PENIS! FUCK!"

And then my head exploded, the end.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

the future, it is bright

Mommy, is this how you spell "Forchunstand"?

Yes. That is how you spell Fortune Stand. It's not the correct spelling, but I know that it says Fortune Stand.

Now the spelling mishap has been cleared up and Peanut is giving Funny Forchunds to Sprout: "You will go to two kids and the kids will say 'You'll be so strong you'll pitch horseshoes without taking them off the horse.'"

Now she's concocting a Funny Forchund for me.

I can't wait.