Monday, November 21, 2011

Ghosts of Thanksgivings Past...

When I think of Thanksgiving, I think of all the days I spent with my family and with friends who felt like and were, for all intents and purposes, my family. And I think of the lovely days spent with the family Jason and I have made. So I wanted to remember all the different Thanksgivings I can (which might not be many, given my brain)

  • I remember many Thanksgivings with my Mom. That's when I started making apple pie and it became a tradition, for me to make apple pie for Thanksgiving, so I've made...well, a lot of apple pies over the years. Sometime during the Bellingham years I started making the pie with maple syrup, which is So! Good! This year I'm not making an apple pie. At least not for Thanksgiving. But I will probably make one.
  • Since we moved to Utah, we've spent a few Thanksgivings with my Dad and his wife, usually up in Idaho. I have some cute pictures of Ross making cranberry sauce with Grandpa. I do remember being a difficult eater (vegetarian!) at a few Thanksgivings there, so I'm grateful that no one complained about me (openly to me).
  • My first Thanksgiving at college (U of Oregon), I went with my friend Amy to spend Thanksgiving with her family in Fresno. I remember that they were very nice. We took the train down, which I remember being very fun. I freaked out about finals on the way back, so I'm sure I was a royal pain (sorry, Amy!). 
  • I spent many Thanksgivings in college with various friends. I remember several Thanksgivings with my friend Stephanie and her husband. I think we were all vegetarians, so I can't remember what we ate...I also remember that one year we got a potted Christmas tree and made homemade decorations, which was so fun.
  • One year my boyfriend and I drove up to Washington to spend it with my sister Lisa and her husband, who was in the Navy. I had almost forgotten about that. It was a long drive, but it was fun and I remember that Lisa made those potato rolls!
  • What about all those years in Seattle? I really don't remember. I do recall spending one Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's sister and her husband and some other people. I remember the food was good. 
  • One of the most memorable Thanksgivings in Bellingham was the one I spent with Alison and Jen and Mark. Jen made the most delicious salmon, and I made pie, of course, and we drank lots of wine. We had bread from the bakery! Then I remember running down the street with someone's dog. And we had delicious coffee after. I truly felt like I was at home that year, exactly where I wanted to be.
  • Another memorable Thanksgiving in Bellingham was spent with Christina and Devon, and Christina's sister and my friend Steve. We made salmon wrapped in romaine leaves (so good!), and I think I made pie. I was supposed to go do a shift at KUGS, but I was too drunk (I think. Or that was just the excuse I used). So bad! I think that was 1997.  I'm not sure, but this may have been the same Thanksgiving that Tommy tackled me during a friendly game of touch football. I'm pretty sure the team made up of Devon, Christina, and her sister won. 
  • Why can I not remember every Thanksgiving specifically? 
  • We spent many warm Thanksgivings in the little breakfast nook in the house we just moved out of. It was cozy. Jane came over once or twice. It was here that I started the soup and salad on Thanksgiving Eve tradition. It was there I first tried the constant basting Martha Stewart thing which, I will note, I am not doing this year.
  • I'm trying to remember Thanksgivings at the first house in Salt Lake City, but I can't remember any specifically. I do remember cooking a turkey breast, but I think that was for Easter. 
  • Last year we went to Suzanne & Michael's, which we are doing again this year. That is a good tradition, one I hope we will continue. It is always nice to have dinner with people who are also super into food and, more importantly, wine.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

That Time of Year

Yes, very high brow. I take my title today from Shakespeare. But not for any real reason. Not because my message today has to do with death and dying or even the dying of the light. But, of course, it does. This poem is in my mind or, at least, the first two lines. I love the hesitation of "When yellow leaves, or few, or none, do hang." I love the commas, maybe there are some leaves, maybe none. You know, fall. Perhaps it is my impending birthday (43!!) perhaps the fact that I have been reading Gilead and also "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock."
Perhaps it is just that literature, in general, is obsessed with death and dying. Perhaps because I have been working on a story that is about death and grief. Why? Why would I choose such a dark subject? Well, I have to say it chose me, the voice, the subject. It's the only time I've ever cried while writing fiction. Am I crazy?
But really when I say "That Time of Year" what I mean is that we all, all of us, students, teachers, parents, children, drivers, passengers, walkers, runners, all of us are TIRED. We just want it to end. "IT" is various things: school, this day, this week, this hour, this semester, this round of grading, this session, this conversation, this writing assignment, this, this, IT.
I should also note, with sadness, that fall is about the earth, plants, many things, dying. The light also. And a colleague passed away last week. So perhaps this post is about death after all.
And I'll end with this: "Rage, rage against the dying of the light."