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!
My mother passed away last night. She was 89 years old and in poor health for many years. She was in a skilled nursing facility and had recently contracted pneumonia. I am told that she died peacefully, in her sleep.
I’m saddened but also relieved. In some ways I lost my mother some time ago, as her mental and physical health declined. She was no longer the same person. My own expression of grief occurred a few months ago, following a message from my sister. At that point my mother had again fallen and was in the Emergency Room. My sister was of the opinion that she would not be coming home. I remember sitting at my desk in front of my computer and writing this in my personal journal. I cried for her then and said goodbye. I let her go in my heart, wrenching as that was. I remembered that time when speaking with my brother this morning about what had happened. I relived it in my mind’s eye.
Will I cry again? Probably. But the wrenching, goodbye grief may have already passed. I’m waiting to hear back from my sister with updated funeral arrangements. After that my husband and I will prepare for our trip back to pay our final respects and lay my mother to rest.
I was very close to my mother and knew that she had limited time. I made a decision over a year ago to spend as much time and share as much joy as she needed. I cared for her in Buffalo for seven weeks, then regularly went back and forth to visit her for shorter periods of time. I spent one Thanksgiving in Buffalo General Hospital when she was there. I also saw her at home and had the time to take her out and about. She and I savored walks and gardens together (she was in a wheelchair). We laughed. We had meals together. We opened presents on Christmas, Father’s Day and her birthday. I feel content with that. I did what I felt I needed to do.
So, farewell Helen Rydzynski. If you have an afterlife, may it be filled with the joy you gave us. I’m sad to see you go, but relieved that your suffering and illnesses are finally at an end.
Hello and happy post-Thanksgiving! I’ve somehow managed to find the time to write over the holidays, even though I’m out of town. Today I just finished two more chapters, for a total word count of: 48,705 words out of a total of 50,000. Looks like this baby’s going to be over that limit, but I’ll take myself out for a beer when I reach the minimum word count.
Just coming up for a breather. Long weekend, beginning with Thursday for Thanksgiving. It was a wonderful night with more food than I've ever seen in one place at one time. My brother and sister-in-law drove over from the Albany, NY area for the event, along with their two young sons, both of whom behaved themselves admirably during the event. We also had a guest from Kenya, a graduate student at Brandeis who accompanied one of the other guests.
Not only was the table laden with food, the sideboard behind us was stacked full of tasty dishes as well. Turkey, potatoes, two squash dishes, several platters of roasted vegetables, a purple cabbage-chestnut dish, pickled beets, gravy and cranberry relish. Beforehand we had appetizers and I admit to being the guilty party who put them together in such abundance: basil pesto, a black olive dip, four different types of cheese (herbed goat, Manchego, brie and smoked Gouda), two different types of baguettes and crackers.
And dessert? Oh my God: pumpkin and mincemeat pies made by yours truly – and LOVED by all, by the way. I really shouldn't have worried. In addition to that, we had a berry pie, a cranberry-walnut coffee cake, a bowl of fruit and an apple crisp. *burp*
I had to work Friday, so left early at around 8:00 pm. We were all in a turkey-induced haze that day with very little done, to be honest. I remember spending a lot of the day staring at the computer screen and trying to stay awake. I wasn't much better Saturday. I wanted to get some work done on the Maggie-Della stories, and ended up piddling around with a new website for it instead. It was a wasted day, as far as I was concerned.
I've been a bit more energetic today. Put in a few solid hours re-writing the plot outline and have gotten myself through some sticky parts. For the life of me I couldn't figure out where some things were going with the story so I tore it up and wrote it another way instead. That's the glory of an outline for you. By the time I'm done I'll know exactly where I've gone and how I've gotten there. Wish I could say that for real life!
I've started my Thanksgiving baking this weekend with a home-made green tomato mincemeat pie. I usually buy pre-made crusts, but this being Thanksgiving and all I decided to splurge on home-made all the way. Thank God for food processors, is all I can say!
Can't wait until it gets out of the oven! I'll have to freeze it until Thursday, when we go to our in-laws for the great feast. I'll be providing most of the baked goods (not all of them). In addition to this green tomato mincemeat pie, I'll be making a pumpkin chiffon pie and an apple spice cake.
The green tomatoes came from the garden, the apples from an apple-picking expedition in October and the sugar pumpkin from a local farmstand. Local – all the way!