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Gift from Hil Part 2 - 2014-12-30
A Gift from Hil - 2014-12-28
There was A LOT of turkey. - 2014-12-04
Can we just jump to January please? - 2014-11-14
A (don't kick the) Bucket List - 2014-10-28

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1:27 a.m. - 2014-12-04
There was A LOT of turkey.

The chick who didn't want Thanksgiving ended up with THREE.

The first was at my goofy SIL's place. She chose the Saturday before Thanksgiving and held a 'Friendsgiving'. This, oddly enough, helped Mick relax. He gets uptight about holiday dinners at his sister's. (Ghosts of in-laws past, I think.) We took off with our kid, a tray of deviled eggs, and a basket of zucchini muffins, then went to MIL's and brought her with us. She won't drive after dark and would have missed the whole thing, so we fetched her along.

Honestly we had the best time ever at SIL's. Wolf is old enough now to hang with the millennial crew, the young 20-something friends of our complicated set of nephews and nieces (step-siblings, half-siblings, courtesy cousins, and entirely blood kin). While the adults divided up between talkers and football watchers the youngins played video games, farted around on skateboards, shot pool, and introduced my kid to 'Dizzy Bat'. It's a pretty basic drinking game. Cut the top off a whiffle bat. Fill with beer. Chug beer while others time you. However many seconds it takes for you to drink the bat-full of beer is how many spins you have to do. Place bat vertically on ground, press forehead against handle, walk in circles bent over with your head on the bat. Stand. Someone pitches the empty beer can and the extremely dizzy batter tries to hit it and/or not vomit on his shoes. Now the nephews and pals all swore my kid took his turn with soda in the bat, but I know Wolf had his first beer. Probably half a beer. Just enough to include him into the gang but not enough to do any damage. I do not mind this. However a couple of foamy chugs of PBR from a plastic baseball bat is a far cry from me being okay with Wolf doing any real drinking. Yes, I am a honking hypocrite. By 17 I'd done all kinds of stuff I forbid my son. Not that it's really an issue. Wolf isn't a party guy and this isn't the 1970s. Score one for Asperger's too. Drinking and doping are against the rules ergo my kid does neither. For all the weary effort of raising Aspie children, it usually pays off in their teen years. Set the right rules and you can avoid all kinds of hassles.

As for me and Mick and MIL, we had a nice day too. Great food. Interesting conversations. A raucous game of 'Cards Against Humanity' after dinner. My zucchini muffins got raves which was gratifying.

Wednesday I made a turkey. Yeah, I know. But somehow I ended up with three free turkeys. I donated two and kept the third. I roasted it on Wednesday thinking we could use it for leftovers without having first-overs. I'd already invited MIL to come the next day. How? I ask you, how was I supposed to let my MIL sit in that silent house alone on Thanksgiving? I couldn't be that hardhearted no matter HOW much I wanted the year off from doing up the house, the damn dinner prep that starts before dawn, and thinking about how my formerly favorite holiday has gone so sour. My sulking vs MIL's stupendous grief. No contest.

I did, however, allow myself to goof around with the turkey. I saved the pan juice. I stripped the meat and made stock from the carcass. I'd never had the patience to make good stock and I'd never, ever made gravy from scratch. This year I did both. On Thursday after Wolf left and Mick had gone to MIL's to dig her out of Wednesday's foot of snow I got out my carefully saved separated pan drippings and the hearty stock from the day before and I made gravy. Real gravy with a roux of flour and sizzling turkey fat. I futzed with it all morning. By the time Mick and MIL got back that gravy was perfect. Rich and thick and glossy and it tasted like turkeys must in Heaven. I made real mashed potatoes for the gravy too. Usually I'm an instant potato kind of girl. I still refuse to make stuffing except for Stove-Top though. I loathe stuffing, it's a texture thing.

Anyway, the three of us sat together in the very quiet dining room and ate fabulous gravy on warmed up turkey. And while none of us said it out loud, we all thought, "So this is what a holiday is now." Gram's gone. FIL's gone. Wolf might not always go with his father, but the time where he's grown and gone on his own to a girlfriend's or hosting his own meal with friends, that time is nigh. Then it's just us. Me and Mick and MIL. Christmas will be even quieter this year. For the first time ever MIL is getting on a plane. She's going to California to visit her brother and SIL and Jon are going with her. Wolf, as always, will be off with his father. In 2005 I spent Christmas Day entirely alone and it didn't kill me. Being with my beloved for a quiet intimate holiday will be interesting.

The third Thanksgiving was amazing. Our dear friend Hil invited us to join her family for a Saturday Thanksgiving at her parents' house. Hil's sister and son were down from Canada and Hil, Bob and their lovely daughters came up from PA. Our trip was a breezy straight shot up the Thruway, then with the help of excellent signage and Google maps we found the house without a problem. Can I say some things here about the house? It's a dream house. At least for me. It looks like a storybook house. Brick and half-timber with a gabled roof and wrought iron light fixtures. If anthropomorphic bears had come for dinner I wouldn't have been surprised in the least. The inside was just as wonderful. Artwork! Everywhere! Art made by the people who live there! Now most of the art in my house is personal, I know every single artist and usually the story behind the painting, but to fill my walls with my own work? No. Not yet. Maybe not ever. So this fairytale house with its glassed-in sun porch and built-in corner cabinets and its laundry chute and twisty staircases and slope-ceiling bedrooms and bathrooms with the original tile and those lumpy swirly thick plaster walls all hung with paintings and lithos and a couple generations of photographs...oy. Who gets to live like this? Hil's parents do and they made us welcome in their fantastic home.

We'd been introduced to her folks before at Hil and Bob's wedding, but it was a busy day. Plus Mick was too busy yakking things up with Darling Deb (one of his favorite people and one of a select few of my friends he isn't shy around) to get to know anybody else so Saturday's meeting was really a first. And it went fine. Better than fine. It could have been awkward being strangers and actually guests of their daughter who doesn't even live there anymore, but it wasn't. Everyone just meshed together with uncanny ease. Stories told. Jokes swapped. Politics lightly touched on, but we are all of a like mind on that subject, though Hil's father did ask me how the heck I found a politically and socially liberal cop. I laughed and explained that while my Match profile had been quite open about age, race, education, and hobbies, my one stringent requirement was that his politics and social views MUST be compatible with my bolshy humanist lefty stance. Mick the feminist and ardent union man fit the bill just fine.

We had a lovely, lovely time. As always it was a delight to be with Hil in the flesh, right now we're averaging face time every three years or so, but this really needs to change. We don't live that far apart, though the trip up to her folks is hella easier than trekking off to the wilds of PA. Food for thought there. Hil, go see your parents more often and we'll come up. Yes?

The next couple weeks are apt to be grubbly. I have an infected kidney stone. It needs removing surgically. All the pre-op testing is this week and next. Then off to the hospital for a 3-5 day stay. It's all a bit overwhelming right now and I need to get some clarification from my doctor about what exactly he's doing and why it's a two-step dealie spread over 3 days. Anyway I am really, really, really looking forward to finally feeling well.

No, I didn't finish NaNoWriMo this year, but made a decent run at it.

Yes, I'm still not smoking. It's getting easier and I don't feel anywhere near as bitey and fog-brained.

Doing okay. Sorry I've been so quiet. Missed you lots! ~LA

5 Wanna talk about it!

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