Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Memorable Thanksgivings

The first one away from family. In Chicago. I made my mom's cornbread dressing and took it to a big potluck hosted by some dudes living in a crazy house in Pilsen. The dressing was unevenly cooked--done around the edges, mushy in the middle. My boyfriend tooke a mincemeat pie from the grocery store. We all drank a lot, got loud, and had a blast.

The right after my stepdad had been moved from the hospital to the nursing home. I convinced my mom to come down to Austin for Thanksgiving. We, and two of my friends who weren't traveling home, went to a fancy Thanksgiving feast at The Driskill. It was really nice, but there was an undertone of sadness to the whole event. My stepdad died the following week.

The one right after I'd moved back to Austin with my fiance. We had another couple over, and between the four of us, we cooked up an amazing feast. While we were in the kitchen cleaning up after dinner, our Siberian Husky made off with the turkey carcass that was still on the dinner table and had a feast of his own. We'd smoked enough pot to think it was hilarious.

One at my grandmother's house when she'd purchased all the meals from the junior college's band booster club. They came in styrofoam containers--turkey, a scoop of dressing, green beans, sweet potatoes. My mother and aunts supplemented with pies and Parker House rolls. All the grown ups were pretty lit, so it wasn't a surprise when the rolls spilled out over the too-small pan in the oven and looked like slightly burnt scrotum sacks. Someone took pictures. Everyone thought it was hysterical.

The last one I had with my dad.

The one the first Thanksgiving the BH was living in Austin. Hosted my mom and four friends who were not traveling. The food was magnificent. I specifically remember having rhubarb pie for the first time, and loving it.

The one in Galveston. I was in college, and my mom, stepdad, and aunt, uncle, spouses and cousins all rented a place near the beach. We had shrimp instead of turkey.

The one with my dad where I found a wandering dog with a collar on on my way to his house. When I arrived, stray dog in tow, my very intoxicated father yelled at me for bringing the dog to his house. He was furious with me. I left with the dog, crying. Went back to my mom's house and eventually found the dog's owner and took the dog home to them. I left town that weekend without speaking to my dad again.

The one at my stepfather's mother's house in Athens, Texas. I ate a lot of coconut cream pie that had been sitting out a bit too long. The next day, I had my first case of food poisoning, and as I was in the feverish throes of vomiting and shitting myself silly, I tearfully begged my mom to let me die.She started to cry. I was eleven.

The one that we had at Mom's house when I was home from college. Mom, my stepdad, my grandmother, my Aunt and her husband. It was the first time I'd taken on some real cooking duties. I wanted everything to be so nice. I read up on how to properly set the table. I really focused on the presentation of my dishes. I think it was one of only about 10 times that dining room was used during the 20 years we lived in that house.

The one where I silently got up and left my dad's house after he'd said the word "nigger" more than I could handle while watching the Texas vs. A&M game.

Last year. Hosting BH's crotchety old dad and BH's two sons.Purchased a new gravy boat. I ordered the turkey, but cooked everything else. I finally got Mom's dressing right. A strong, windy cold front blew in while we were eating, dropping the temperature by at least 20 degrees.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A scratchy throat, a report on parasites, and a holiday bitch fest. You're welcome.

Yes, it's been actual weeks since my last post. Believe me, I wish I'd had the time and inspiration to create some posts, but both of those things have been sadly absent from my life. And now I'm sick. Sort of. I mean, I'm not sure what's up. I'm blaming allergies, but basically it's a feeling of general-worn-outedness (more so than normal), banging hangover-like headaches, and the rawest, sorest throat ever. Of course all of this is coming on when I'm wildly busy at work and I've got actual social events on my calendar. Of course.

On the domestic front, after never having them before, The Geej has contracted lice twice since September. The most recent lice-fest began this past Tuesday when she nonchalantly mentioned at the breakfast table, "My head is itchy." And sure enough, looked at her sclap and there those nasty bastards were. I beelined it to Walgreen's and bought a remedy that lands on the effectiveness spectrum somewhere between scalp napalm and tap water. So far, so good, but WHAT a pain in the ass. I kept her home from school that day while I cleaned everything that had come into contact with her noggin for the past week and treated her scalp, twice. We're still treating her each night and looking for those goddamned nits, but the fucking school and aftercare that she attends better be doing THEIR part to check for infestation, or it's all for naught. I alerted both of them about our situation on Tuesday and got a couple of vaguely reassuring emails about their policies, etc., but I think they should put that shit on lock-down until they are sure that shit's under control. Blech. I guess the ONLY good thing about getting lice in this day and age is that there it is far less stigma around it than it was when I was a kid. I got lice in 5th grade, presumably from the new, non-English speaking student I was tutoring in, no kidding, a broom closet. Her name was Ofelia, and she was 14 years old. I was 11. Our school was utterly unprepared to handle the needs of a student who didn't speak a word of English, so they enrolled her in 5th grade (instead of 7th or 8th, where she should've been age-wise) and then assigned a "gifted" student (moi) to sit in a broom closet with her and go over books that were intended for pre-schoolers. During that period, I got lice. And not only was my mother HORRIFIED (I might as well have come home with a lamprey stuck to my face), the school kept it all on the down-low and treated me and Ofelia like we were radioactive. I was so ashamed to have gotten such a "dirty" ailment, and my mother put a stop to my daily broom closet rendezvous with Ofelia and we were, instead, allowed to sit at a small tabel in the corner of the classroom for our tutoring sessions, which meant we weren't quite so close together. I eventually got over my lice, and Ofelia eventually left our school.

Next week is Thanksgiving. I fucking love Thanksgiving. It's during my favorite season, it focuses on my favorite kinds of food, and there are usually copious napping opportunities. Something I do NOT love? Traveling during the holidays and/or traveling on IH-35, both of which I get to do for this coming Thanksgiving holiday. We're actually going to be at my mom's on Thanksgiving Day, which is a short, non-busy drive and will involve her cornbread dressing, which is truly one of my favorite foodstuffs in the world. So that's good. But the next day, you know Friday...Black Friday...the busiest travel day of the year? We're loading up the car with all three kids and heading to "The Christmas Capital of Texas," Grapevine. Sigh. This whole thing is the brainchild of BH's mother, Dixie. And I love Dixie. Really, I do. And I love my brother and sister-in-law and their kids, who are also going to this family gathering. But OMFG, I am not looking forward to the travel. And also? We're going to be staying here, which means that we'll be dealing with the other thing I despise: holiday crowds. I know that The Geej is going to love the shit out of it. And like I said, I really do love BH's family, so I'm just going to have to focus on that. Because if not? I may lose my shit. BH feels the same way about this whole endeavor, btw. Hopefully we'll be able to keep each other from committing sepuku.

Some happier news: It rained earlier this week. Not a whole lot--about 1/2 an inch at our house--but it was still nice to see. And despite the fact that small rains like this (we had another one about a month ago) certainly perk up the grass and plants around town, the drought is showing no signs of letting up. Fucking drought. I blame Rick Perry. Not because I really think he's at fault, but because I hate him.

Alright, I'm signing off for now. Hopefully it won't be another 3 weeks before you hear from me again.

By the way, that there is a disgustingly real looking turkey cake I spotted recently at HEB. Ewww...