Saturday, November 29, 2014

Gobble, Gobble Adventures

It's clichĂ©, but "never a dull moment" in my reality really is never a dull moment.  And, sometimes a dull moment would be most welcome!

On Thursday, my Thanksgiving started out fairly mundane.  With dinner scheduled for 3:00, I felt comfortable that I had plenty of time to get the food prepared. 

I put the bird in the oven around 10:00, knowing it would take four to five hours to roast, and would need a good half hour to forty five minutes to rest before carving.

The veggie tray was all ready, covered with foil in the fridge, as well as the pies that I had baked the day before. 

I caught bits and pieces of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade (Thanksgiving just wouldn't feel right without that little tradition), and I read the thick stack of Black Friday ads, knowing I had a zero chance of shopping on Black Friday.  Still, I liked to see what I was missing out on!

Around 1:00, I pulled out the bags of potatoes.  Maria had requested to make the mashed potatoes, but I decided to get a start on peeling them while she showered.  Every single potato I picked up and began to peel was rotten!  After I tried to find some that were salvageable, I finally hit a point where I knew it was not going to happen.

What would Thanksgiving be without mashed potatoes??? 

The potato situation made me into an instant hypocrite.  Where I was proclaiming only a day before, "Why on earth do stores need to be open on Thanksgiving?", I was now praying that Wal Mart was open! 

John volunteered to take a trip out to Hermitage to check on Wal Mart, and I gladly took him up on the offer.  God bless his heart!  Thankfully, they were open, and he came home loaded down with three bags of taters. 

It was good to spend time with both my girls--them madly peeling and dicing--me, making stuffing, gravy, and rolls.  Those moments together are most precious.

The kids circling the table to load up their plates.
We had a houseful of people that day.  All eight of us were here, as well as my parents, Tony's fiancĂ©e, and Ian's latest girl.  It was a bit crowded and chaotic, but everyone seemed happy with my culinary talents, and there was plenty of laughter shared.

One of the best moments was hearing my mom praise the pumpkin pie I had baked, especially with her in mind.  Mom developed an allergy to cinnamon a several years ago.  She loves pumpkin pie, but normally can't eat it, so I baked a couple and left out the cinnamon.  It made me feel good knowing that she got to enjoy one of her favorite holiday desserts.

That evening, John and I joined my parents in visiting my elderly aunt, who lives alone.  Her house was still and quiet, with the muted light of her tiny TV and one small dull light, it seemed so different than it was when I was a child.  Thanksgivings in the 70's were often spent at this house, where the whole Ryan clan would gather around a large dining room table, and share in a traditional turkey dinner.  My Grandpa, dad, and uncles would have the TV going in the living room with whatever football team was playing.  Every room would be brightly lit, there would be loud chatter, and lots of activity.  The contrast between decades was like night and day.

Back home, after our visit, I sat down with Therese to watch our DVD of Peanuts' Thanksgiving.  Two of my kids were scheduled to go to work soon--Tony at 8:00, and Maria at midnight. 

The snow had been falling for a few hours when it was time for Tony to leave for work.  I took Tony, and it was a white knuckle trip all the way to and from Sheetz.  I did some slipping and sliding, but thankfully got back home in one piece.  I was so glad to just get inside to put on some warm PJ's!

Yesterday I stayed in those pajamas all day, until about 5 or 6 o'clock pm, when I showered and put on fresh pajamas.  I spent most of the morning, cleaning up after the meal from Thursday.  I was too worn out to wash dishes, so I piled them up and let them go that night.  What a fright to wake up and see that job waiting for me first thing in the morning!  "Oh the weather outside is frightful, but my dear, the towering pile of dishes make the weather seem delightful..."

I had a nice visit with my best friend yesterday, she's the yin to my yang.  We've been through so much together, even though she moved to Richmond, VA the week after John and I got married.  That was twenty nine years ago! The true sign of a real friendship is when the relationship gets stronger through the years, even when there are miles of separation.  I can honestly say that is the case with me and Jo Anne!  She is Maria's godmother, and she really plays an essential role in our family.

Last evening, John brought in the boxes of lights and ornaments so we could put up the Christmas tree.  Therese, Johnpaul, and I spent the time together, laughing and playing, while working. 

Therese was in constant motion!

At one point, I began to snap some photos, and the kids abruptly began to avoid me.  I pleaded with them to get back to trimming the tree, and to "act natural" so I could get a picture or two.  At that point, Therese picked up a glass ornament that was suspended by a circle of velvety fabric.  She hung it off her index finger and threw herself into a fake pose, thrusting her arm straight up in the air.  The ornament spun on the tip of her finger, and tore away from the velvet, flying through the air.  SMASH!!!

The ornament met its doom by hurtling into the wall behind her and shattering into a zillion little deadly shards.

JohnPaul, Therese, and I stopped and stood like mannequins, staring at each other.  Our expressions, frozen for a brief instant, were a cross between humor and horror. A moment passed, and then...we broke out into uproarious laughter. 

It was all my fault--after all, I had told her to act natural!  She is a wild ball of twelve year old energy!  She was acting natural!

We got the tree all done, and the broken ornament cleaned up, and even had time to sit and watch a holiday movie together before bed.  I am thankful for my zany life, and for the people I love.