Friday, November 27, 2009

Happy post Turkey/Stuffing/Potato/Pie Day!

Since I missed it yesterday, mainly because I was choosing to stay off the computer as much as possible, I want to wish everyone a wonderful, albeit belated, Thanksgiving and continuation of the holiday season. I also want to thank each and everyone of you who's eyes fall on these words - regardless if you've commented on my blog or not - thank you for being a part of this journey and part of my silly little world.

Many of us have experienced a lot of challenges, but I still feel that I have been blessed beyond measure this past year+. I feel that I've grown more into myself and that's because of the amazing people that I've gotten to know, and the phenomenal friendships that have grown and bloomed over the past many months.

In no particular order: Ramona, Mel, Merit, Mary, Monica (had continue the M's ;), Bekah, Cujo, Anne, Angie, Heather, Victor, Kenya, Michele, Julee, Barbara, Salina, Jess, Deb, Margaret, CJ, Theresa, and the list continues to grow and grow.

If our paths hadn't crossed, I wouldn't be the person I am today. Thank you for sharing your gifts with this world and it's my hope and wish for you to continue to do so so that the world can share in your beautiful, amazing light and carry it with them always.

'scuse me... have something in my eye.

Ok, better... on with the slightly less sappy stuff. ;)

The hubby and I enjoyed (for the most part) a quiet day at home, just the two of us... started off with walkies with the hubs, and then a fabu sweat inducing strength training routine for me.

Afterward there was the futzing, the pie making (more on that later), reading the paper, the playing of a few games (got my butt kicked at Uno), the cooking, the watching of much Harry Potter, a bit more cooking, and wondering if the cats had a hidden stash of 'nip because they were acting exceptionally freaky.

Yesterday also had me thinking a lot about traditions - helps that that was the theme of the podcast I was listening to as well. LOL!

Traditions are interesting things - they're ways to acknowledge and show respect to those that came before, those that taught you, your culture, your past.

They also can be a total pain in the a$$ and feel like a straight jacket at times.

Some traditions are worth holding on too, others are meant to be kept in spirit, but for you to put your own indelible mark on.

No matter what, traditions leave us with clear and precise mental images of The Way Things Need To Be.

The Thanksgiving meal is steeped heavily in tradition. I remember the look on a friend's face when I commented that we were considering going to have Dim Sum instead of cooking. You would have thought that I told her I strung my cats up by their tails and made 'em sing Jingle Bells.

"But you /have/ to have Turkey."

Um... no, I don't... but what I do /have/ to have is an appreciation for the world around me.

As it was, we had a semi-traditional dinner... but that brought up it's own issues.

First there was the pie. mmmm... pie. My hubby requested a peach pie, like his mom made.


Noooo pressure. How does one even /try/ to create something I've never even tasted? (his mother, sadly, departed this world several years before I met the hubby.) OK fine, I said I would go get crust, a can of peaches, and the look on his face was like the aforementioned friend and cat image.

Okie dokie... I'll get crust and.. WHAT?!

FINE. I'll /make/ the crust and please stop doing the happy dance all around the living room, dear.

So Wednesday evening was crust and filling night. I'd presented him with 2 recipes for crust, asking which would be the 'right' one... he wasn't sure so I did what any new bride, trying to impress her hubby would do... you guessed it! I made both.

That was where it got interesting.

The moment I started the process, I felt like I stepped into a waking dream. I grabbed the food processor and suddenly I was surrounded by the entire female lineage: his mother, grandmother, my grandmothers, women I hadn't ever met but all of them 'tsking and clucking about the 'right' way to do the crust. "You're not going to use THAT are you?! You have to use your hand...why are you putting that into it, crust doesn't haven anything fancy. Roll up your sleeves girl and dig in."

It was rather amusing, actually. In a way to force myself out of said "dream", and also as a nod and way of respecting my fore-mothers, I conceded to make the more traditional recipe the traditional way, and the other using the food processor.

And darnitall if the traditional crust didn't turn out better. LOL!

So Thursday morning held the Baking of the Pies - Peach & Pumpkin. (I forgot to take photos before we cut into them... drat.) They turned out very pretty and the crust on both were very tasty, but sadly, the peach wasn't quite up to par... and even more sad, the rest of the dinner was about the same.

The clear and precise mental images of The Way Things Need To Be? Not a long shot. Everything was OK, just not as good as I wanted it to be. I felt like I let the Tradition down.

But I learned a few lessons, and a few others were reinforced:

First and most importantly, as always: It's NOT about the food. It never is. There is no difference between a big, lavish meal, and a meager, simple one. They are labors of love by the person(s) who prepared them. It's there to nourish you and, if you're very lucky, partake it with those that you love. If the taste is roll-your-eyes-back-in-your-head-need-a-cigarette-afterward good, that's just a fantastic bonus.

I also realized that, even if it's not perfect, it's still pretty good... the act of going through the motions and creating the experience of said tradition, be it making latkes, tamales, or mashed potatoes, is really all you need. Our day yesterday was dabbled with stories from our childhood of holiday gatherings. We laughed, we shed a few tears, but mostly we enjoyed the warmth of the old memories and smiled at the new ones we were creating.

And really, that's what thanksgiving is all about.

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