Ah, Black Friday. I don't participate—never have, and unlikely ever to, except possibly online. The day after Thanksgiving for me has always been reserved for sleeping in and generally spending the day reading, watching movies, or doing whatever would be considered a luxury of time. (Well ok, living is a luxury, but you know what I mean.) I suppose Christmas shopping is a luxury, as is having Black Friday off to do it…I just can't get into the fray.
As for Thanksgiving dinner—it was nice, but way too chaotic for me—not a fan of having more people than fits around one's dining table (if you can sit 12 or 16 at your table, more power to ya). In my mind's eye I recall waking to the smell of my mom's turkey, stuffed with fruit and the most awesome dressing ever, and for dessert, a menagerie of homemade cheesecakes and pies (as in, made by me)! Nostalgia aside, I've come to realize I'm something of a purist when it comes to Thanksgiving dinner. I only have enough room for the basics, so anything extra would have to be magically fantastic for me to make room on my plate or in my stomach.
One of the "basics" is a fresh cranberry salad (recipe courtesy of Palma, Julie's mom) which calls for berry-flavored Jello. I always thought the Jello just added a bit of body, since the salad looks more like a relish. I omitted the Jello and tried to substitute agar-agar, a vegetable-based gel, in deference to a vegetarian friend coming to dinner. Unfortunately, the agar was neither flavored nor colored (and I didn't give myself enough time to pick up food coloring or berry juice to mix it with), so it didn't have that deep red sheen and added no flavor. Evidently the Jello "enhances" the salad quite a bit, with lots of sugar, color, and artificial or natural flavors. The idea of Jello isn't particularly appetizing, but once a year it's worth my cranberry salad to add it (or at least a flavored agar).
Another "basic" is sweet potatoes, which I love in pretty much any form…except with marshmallows. This year I followed a Bon Appetit recipe (also featured by Tyler Florence in his "ultimate Thanksgiving dinner" show) which combined roasted, mashed sweet potatoes and bananas with a brown sugar-pecan topping. It was a hit, unbelievably, but I think I prefer them plain, in large pieces, with butter and maybe a bit of brown sugar. Kinda boring. Am I getting old? Maybe I just miss Mom's cooking. Ok, enough about food.
Every month of this year has snuck (is that a word?) up on me, and the holidays are no exception. I can't believe we're at December. In a few days it'll be the one year anniversary of Bruno's death (Dec. 9), and I still think of him almost every day, and mourn my carelessness and lack of attention. Some nights I imagine him jumping onto the tall bed and settling in. Sigh.
It's been a really interesting year, and I think I'll make it to 2009…if the move to a new place doesn't kill me first. Now that I've made it to this point, I feel like the crusty old geezer that gets off the rocker on the front porch and goes on a whitewater rafting trip. (I've had the privilege of taking that 90-year old man down the Snake River after his wife died.) It's been 2-1/2 years and perhaps a change is in order. Although I've been "living it up", I can't help but wonder if I've just been biding time, waiting to get worse then die, rather than get better and see more of my dreams to reality. I still have cancer, I still have to rest, but I've not really pushed myself to work off the weight I've gained, to "get a job" or seriously go back to school, to really go through my stuff and purge, to seriously write or blog or make art or… I feel a renewed sense of urgency to jump to another level, to travel again, to rejoin the world instead of cleaning incessantly.
Maybe someone's spiked my drink and I'll feel differently tomorrow. Today, Rick Steves is getting to me, I'm disgusted at the curtains, the dishes, the disfunctionality of this house, and nothing I do will keep my husband from traveling the globe and leaving me alone, so I've got to do more for myself and examine deeply what would give my life meaning in the time to come (otherwise known as the time "remaining").
Hmm. My drink does taste kinda funny.
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