Sunday, December 26, 2010

Odd Meal of Oddness

I don't know why, maybe it's just being moody, family discord, or because of the overcast week we'd had, but I really rebelled against the idea of making an ordinary, just the same as I do every year, Christmas dinner.  Every year since childhood I've had pretty much the same menu: baked ham, homemade scalloped potatoes, corn, and some type of bread.  I do absolutely love homemade scalloped potatoes, especially the edges where it gets brown and crispy.... but I just didn't want to do it this year.

So, I talked to my daughter, then got on Facebook and asked advice.  One person said to just make everyone's favorites.  Others said it was okay to do something really different.  I talked to the three that would be around my table.  Cat wanted cranberry sauce served directly from the can with a spoon.  Bob simply wanted meat (as I'm a veg, it's a valid request).  Lauryn wanted candied sweet potatoes.  I wanted pan fried mac&cheese. So...taking all this into mind, I planned out the menu.

I made homemade mac&cheese, and put it into a parchment paper lined loaf pan.  Just before dinner, I sliced it and pan fried it in a wee bit of margarine. 

Christmas 2010 menu:  pan fried mac&cheese, frozen pizza (baked), candied sweet potatoes, hard salami, muenster&colby cheese, rolls, cranberry sauce-served directly from the can, taquitos, and condiments.  It was eclectic and fun and quite delicious. Everyone was happy, and well fed.  And best of all, I enjoyed the time spent with my family, laughing over the weird meal.  Cat dubbed it the Odd Meal of Oddness.

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Rediscovering Joy

I've been working my way out of the valley of sadness, thrown into further shadow by the inherent lack of light recently.  Slowly, I've been edging my way out inch by inch.  I still have a foot in the shadow, but am out of the valley, looking all around for the sun.  All I see is the icy clouds hiding it...for now.

I decided to be proactive, and help seek happiness myself, instead of blatantly sitting around waiting for it to show up.  So, I made a list of things that make me happy, that I could do soon.  Included in that list are:  picking up new books at the library, crocheting while talking to a friend, braiding a denim rug for my bedroom, working on the last chapters of my story, mint chocolate chip ice cream, jelly beans, getting to spend some time with my best friend Connie-in person, going to see a movie, sewing for fun, and listening to my father tell stories.

By focusing on these things, and by trying to do as many as I can, it's helped me start climbing out of the darkness and towards the light.  Now if only I could find jelly beans.... ah, well.  Instead, I'll venture out to the library soon, and call up Connie and crochet whilst kibitzing with her.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Imaginary Friends

Tonight I've been watching this movie about a woman who meets her childhood imaginary friend.  He's a guy, also an adult now, named Michael.  Not a bad movie, not great, but best thing on TV right now.  It got me thinking about imaginary friends.  Now I was an unusual child.  I was never like anyone else. 

Other people had imaginary playmates that were little girls, like them.  Me, I had an imaginary horse.  I hid him in my bedroom, and he only came out when we were alone.  I fed him, and brushed him, and put big bright red bows on his tail.  He was about the size of a small Shetland pony, though I'd never seen a horse in
'person' before.  He had a dark brown coat, and a pure white mane.  We had many adventures together, but he mostly just slept in a stable next to my bed.  He kept me company on long dark nights.   I loved that horse, and told him everything, my thoughts, my fears, and my dreams. 

I remember the day I decided that we needed to part ways.  It was by mutual agreement.  I was getting older, and taking care of him was getting difficult.  He wanted to go run in green pastures filled with white daisies in the sunshine.  So one night, after we'd had a long chat, and said our goodbyes.  I gave him a good brush down, tied on a big red bow, and sent him to live with the fairies in the wall.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Grampa

This time of year always reminds me of my Grampa, my father's dad.  I think of him in part because the 19th was his birthday.  He was born December 19th, 1904.  Wow.  He served as a Marine sometime before World War 2, then raised rabbits as part of the war effort.  My dad was a little boy back then.  My father has told me countless stories about his childhood, and his father.  As many times as he's told the stories, I still enjoy hearing them.

For me, my Grampa was a cool guy who my father would take my sister, brother and I to see every weekend.  I always took Sooner, a tiny dog who I never knew what breed she was, for a quick walk up and down the block.  When I'd come in, my dad would be talking to Grampa, and my siblings would be watching wrestling, something we weren't allowed to watch at home (yay Bulldog Kent and the Sheik).  Every year at Christmas time, he would hang a candy cane on the lamp beside his sofa.  That candy cane would become part of the collection  of canes that hung there year round. 

I remember the plain white paper bags he would give my siblings and I for Christmas, filled with candy, nuts and shiny change.  Loved it!  And I remember one year he made cheesecakes, festooned with sprinkles used to make a design.  He was so creative! 

When I was in 9th grade, I was feeling really sick at school, but they wouldn't let me walk home without them speaking to a relative first. Well, both my parents were at work, so I called my Grampa.  He okayed my going home.  When I got there, he called to check on me. He also gave me his recipe for a tea to make me feel better: hot tea with a generous dollop of honey and a half a shot of whiskey.  Well, I did the tea with honey only, obviously.  Still he was really there for me.

My Grampa and my Aunt Alise (my maternal grandmother's twin) are the two relatives that meant the most to me growing up.  They were my extended family.  I still have my Aunt Alise (who always speaks her mind, which I love about her, and who claims to be 39 still. So cool.)  But I lost my Grampa in May of 86.  Every year on December 19th, I think of him even more.  I miss you Grampa. 

I'm going to go hang a candy cane on my lamp, in honor of my Grampa.