Obviously I've been quiet on the ole bloggaroo, with an incredible lot going on here. I have a veritable smorgasbord of things to write about, but not sure where to start (or worse, where to stop).
So, speaking of smorgasbords, let me just start in with the feast...
We just celebrated our Thanksgiving here with our family tonight because this is the year the boys are at their in-laws' on the day. I've grown accustomed to sharing them, to compromising, to appreciating whatever time we get to spend regardless what the calendar says. Our daughter joined us from Florida by Skype. It was my first time ever Skyping. Wow, this is a huge perk with technology!
I'm exhausted and happy, full in every way. It took a lot of doing to even get 9 of us together at one place and time, so I think I deserve at least an AA degree in Emailing. And don't even get me started on the dietary three-ring circus. I sound like I'm complaining, right? I'm not (or maybe I am) but it's a clear challenge to have meat eaters (some of whom don't like turkey), gluten free diabetic vegetarians, and dairy-free health nuts. Saturdays are full with my parents in Messianic ministry. (translated: too much to do plus a big family meal). Sundays are full for the rest of us with church and naps (translated: I like eating out and then sleeping).
But we did it. We compromised. The sons and DILs could come, but had to leave (I thought) at 4:30 for a Thanksgiving dinner at their church! I was wrong. They had to be AT their church at 4:30, and had to stop back at their homes to pick up more food. So they had to leave at 3:30. by the time we sat down to eat, it was 2:40, so you do the math.
We ordered a fried turkey from Dickey's BBQ this year. First time ever--and last. It's so not worth it for $59.95. When I ordered it Friday, they say it would need to be reheated. I was thinking about 20 minutes because we'd pick it up at noon (hot, I presumed, by the term "fried turkey",) Well, I called at 11:00 to make sure they were "on it" (my guests were coming at 1:00). She said, "It's thawed and ready."
I exclaimed, "Thawed and ready? What do you mean? It's almost noon and it's not even cooked? I thought fried turkey at noon meant hot and done!" Poor girl, she heard my exasperated hostess self on the phone.
"Ma'am, they come to the store pre-cooked but frozen. We thaw them out and send them home with reheating instructions." She had to repeat it for me to understand because I'm thick-headed when stunned. (And sometimes when I'm not.)
"I wish someone had told me that. All she said was it would need to be reheated."
"It takes about 2 hours and 15 minutes. I'm sorry she didn't tell you that."
Two hours and 15 minutes?!!!??? (Whenever I panic, I see question marks and exclamation points bursting out of my brain. You know, like seeing stars when you konk your head on the open cabinet door that was supposed to be shut? Except these aren't stars. Maybe some ampersands and hashtags and dollar signs strung together in a set of four also appear.)
I look at the clock: 11:04. Guests come at 1:30. I still need a shower. I can't go out in public like this!
(My hubby offered but they said the person who ordered by credit card had to personally come pick it up and sign for it. Oh, bother!)
So, I kicked into high gear. got my shower, zoomed out to Dickey's, and picked up my overpriced, "ready" fried turkey. Thankfully the guests needed the extra time anyway. But even after they arrived, finding oven space, traying up fresh rolls, rearranging racks so this would fit but that wouldn't burn, keeping track of what the timers were for, and all that, it still took time to get food on the table.
I served three soups, but gotta say the butternut squash was the best. I mean delicious and definitely on must-make again list. The recipe is here . (I bought pre-cubed, raw butternut squash in the produce aisle. Totally worth it.)
Ai, yai, yai. I started this post Sunday night. Here it is Tuesday morning and we haven't even gotten to the sit-down-and-give-thanks part of the story.
So, here it is: we sat down and gave thanks. First a prayer by Paul. Then we passed the food around and ate. As one person finished, he or she would (at my prompting, of course, because I'm the Director of Thanksgiving Traditions) say several things he or she is thankful for this year.
From our oldest son and daughter-in-law: their church family and their new puppy topped the list. I like what he said."Having Manny has taught me spiritual lessons, believe it or not. Before he came along, I was all about projects and getting stuff done and always looking for the next thing to do. But he makes me stop and enjoy the moment--the simplest things And he's just happy being with me or Dee. I need to be like that with God--just enjoy his presence and being with him and not looking for the next project. There will always be projects."
(He comes by it honest as they say. My students used to call me Mrs. Project. My husband has the reputation for doing projects. We often tease that we live in the projects.)
Steve and Ambrey were thankful for their church family as well, being settled into the same one as Ben and Dee. They are also thankful for the rental house we bought where they live. A yard , a place to play drums again, and a washer and dryer and a fridge with an ice maker. Good neighbors. A safe feeling.
Then came my husband's turn. The man who will be having a very serious heart operation (aortic root replacement) by one of the best surgeons in the world.
"I'm grateful for living close to Johns Hopkins Hospital."
My throat started to close, and I fought back tears. I leaned closer to him, put my head on his shoulder, and stroked his leg under the table. I found my voice eventually, and expressed how thankful I am for him, my main squeeze for almost 29 years. I said more, of course, but it was largely about him and his love for our family and his work ethic. He built me a new kitchen this year. That was a joy to work in, a testament to his craftsmanship.
My mom was thankful for the grace she has seen in each of her kids' lives this year. Especially my younger sister whose husband divorced her for another woman. The divorce was final two weeks before Thanksgiving. She is heartbroken, but has never felt closer to God. He has been her rock. She is thriving now in her log cabin in Kentucky with her horses, dogs, cats. She has a great church. She has risen above her circumstances.
Anyway, the rest of the meal was rush, rush, rush. The older kids had to be at their church for a Thanksgiving feast at 4:30. The time had flown by and I was nowhere ready for them to leave. We sang happy birthday to my dad and that was basically a musical benediction rather than a call to dessert.
you gotta flex and accept that some time is better than no time with your adult kids. My parents were able to stay and linger and talk, which was relaxing.
What was not relaxing was seeing the Mt. Vesuvius of dirty pots and pans awaiting. But that's another post . And don't worry. I won't write it.
My only regret from the day (beside the brevity of the gathering) was that I didn't get one single picture. I thought about it. I got up once to find my phone but it was buried under kitchen chaos.
Feast AND famine--feast of food, famine of photos.