I’m really looking forward to Thanksgiving this year. It’s been a rough few weeks for everyone (at least everyone I know) and I’m looking forward to an afternoon and evening of seeing family and sharing food. Being the good foodie that I am, I’m putting together a lot of dishes (hint: understatement of the year). My mother-in-law asked if I could cook up some delicata squash, which is a new variety. You don’t have to peel it and it can be cut into rings. Since I have squash and more squash from my farmshare, I’ve decided to make another squash dish, one that combines a number of different varieties. Since winter squash bakes down to a mash, they’re easy to combine and then season. Butter, salt, pepper, brown sugar, cinnamon and – my favorite touch – a healthy sprinkling of fresh sage. Perfect!
I’ll also be bringing some appetizers, including one that takes a day to prepare. It’s a layered creation and needs time to take to the mold and present. Other than that, it’ll be cheese and crackers. But the culmination of my literary endeavors will be the Indian pudding. Anyway you make it, it’s a pain in the ass but really, really delicious. It’s made primarily with corn meal and molasses. I’ve usually prepared it with a double-boiler, but recently found a New York Times recipe that skips that step. I can’t wait.
I got a free pumpkin pie as a benefit of my membership in my local CSA (i.e., farmshare). My sister-in-law is bringing one, though, along with an apple pie so I’ll save mine for Christmas.
Eating, watching snow, visiting friends, drinking hot beverages and Christmas present-making or shopping, depending on the contents of my wallet. I can’t wait!
It’s finally cold outside. I need my winter coat. No snow yet, but the local shops are putting up their displays and the Town is getting ready for a holiday blow out this weekend: tree lightings, caroling, special promotions at shops and restaurants. White lights are draped over trees in Arlington Center and trees are on sale, ready for ornaments all all that.
We’ll probably pick out a tree this weekend, just in time to kick off Hanukkah! I’ll have to dig out my husband’s menorah and remind him to get candles so we can light the thing. My travel arrangements for Buffalo are set and I’m starting to look around for presents to purchase or make.
Okay, so this is feeling cool. I’m getting into it. It’s been a little hard to get into the spirit since my mom passed, but enough time has transpired so that I can feel that holiday joy in my heart.
Well, it’s that time of year again. Perhaps it’s the fact of my mother’s death last year, but I’ve been having difficulty getting into “the spirit” of things. A few months ago I was really looking forward to Christmas, with much more enthusiasm than I normally muster. As the time came closer, though, I felt more and more down about it. I had decided to mix things up a bit, with new Christmas tree ornaments and garland. I was also going to chuck a lot of my other decorations that I didn’t really like, but kept anyway.
I found myself extremely reluctant to do anything related to Christmas, though. I really had to force myself to go out and look for new Christmas tree bulbs and other holiday stuff. There was a weight on my chest the whole time. I talked to the hubby about it and he offered to do what he could to make this holiday cheerful for me. We got a different type of tree – big and bushy. Normally, I get two small trees and put them on top of the tall speaker cabinets in my living room. But, if I wanted to do something different, that was fine with him. He even agreed to go out in stinking, rainy weather to get the tree and drive it home on the top of the car. It was an awful day to do it, but I wanted the weekend to get it all together. He even helped me string the lights, since I’m short enough so that reaching the top of the tree is impossible without a ladder.
My husband is Jewish. It’s not his holiday but he did it for me. I feel both guilty as well as grateful. We strung up the lights the next day, after the tree had dried off and relaxed its branches a little bit. I had already purchased some new ornaments and put older, worn out ones in the trash. I have some “heirloom” ornaments, stuff that I grew up with and took along with me to Boston. Those stayed but the rest were pretty much gone. I wonder how I’ll feel about that next year. My sister bought a holiday village luminary for me last Christmas. It’s a ceramic scene of two houses, a snowman and evergreen trees. There are places inside for candles, so you can see flickering light through the little windows. It’s very sweet and has absolutely no association with any Christmas tradition I have. Perfect! I perched it onto one of the speaker cabinets to the right of the tree and added three battery-operated flickering candles. Then I laid back on the couch with a comfy blanket and looked at the tree and the luminary. It feels really peaceful and I think I did the right thing by forcing myself through the motions to get it started. Nothing fancy, just a nice view and a quiet heart.
I’m in Western New York with my family. The place is very calm and happy, even with the recent loss of my mother. My dad is moving on with his life and is at this moment attending an exercise and social program at the Veterans Administration. My sister no longer sleeps with her cell phone, expecting calls from hospitals, health care aids or my father. She’s back at work and enjoying it.
Overall, it feels good and I am grateful beyond measure. I feel love, not loss. Good.
I got myself a tree over the weekend and finished trimming it earlier this evening. Even did a little bit of Christmas shopping, too. Something odd – I couldn’t bring myself to hang the ornaments I had bought here in Boston. I felt like taking the whole lot, chucking them into the trash and then going out and buying a whole new set of them. I didn’t, of course. But here’s the odd thing: I felt comforted when I hung the ornaments I’d grown up with. I took a few with me when I left for Boston and was expecting those to be the painful ones. They weren’t and now my tree is trimmed with (mostly) 50-year old Christmas ornaments. Go figure.