Stuffing, Shaken, not Stirred #30DaysofThanks

It’s Thanksgiving morning, and I’m still curled up under a blanket.  This afternoon, we’ll go to my cousin’s house, to have Thanksgiving dinner with part of our extended family.  I don’t normally cook the big meal on the actual holiday, as we typically go to my mom’s house.  I usually get a turkey breast, and we do our own Thanksgiving dinner later in the weekend.

I’ve probably shared this before; but, as my grandmother is always on my mind around the holidays, I thought I would share a laugh.

When I was a little girl, our family all lived very close together.  My grandparents and one of my mom’s sisters lived within walking distance of our house.  I was in the same classes as my cousin, Tom.  The other aunts, uncles, and cousins were all within a short distance.  Thanksgiving was a very large get-together, with lots of food, more alcohol, and kids in and out of my grandparents’ eclectic home.

My grandmother would make the turkey and the stuffing, and others would be assigned various side dishes.  With eleven grandchildren, and 110 fingers between them, there were never too many cans of black olives.

With time, we moved to Colorado, and other parts of the family spread out, as well.  Thanksgivings got smaller, but the recipes were shared.

Cut to my first attempt at cooking a turkey and making my own Thanksgiving dinner in our new house.

I had planned out the meal, but needed to get my grandmother’s directions for stuffing.  I didn’t care for stuffing; but, it was tradition…we had to have a small batch to go with the bird.

I called my grandmother, and after chatting for a bit, I asked for her recipe.  Bread, bacon, onion, celery, chicken stock, spices…check, check, check.  

“How much vermouth?” 

Silence…then, my grandmother asked, “What?”

“Vermouth.  How much vermouth do you put into the stuffing?”

“Why in the world would you put vermouth into the stuffing?”

“My mom puts vermouth in…doesn’t she make it the same way you do?”

“There’s no vermouth in stuffing!”

Suddenly, my grandmother burst out laughing.

“I don’t even like stuffing…I don’t like vermouth,” I said, sending my grandmother into another fit of hysterics.

Apparently, during one of those hip, happening celebrations back in the sixties, the martinis had started flowing early in the cooking process.  A little vermouth in the martini, a little in the stuffing…my mom had seen this, and thought that it was part of the recipe.

I hung up the phone, my grandmother’s giggles ringing in my ear, and called my mother.

“Do you know there is NO vermouth in stuffing?” I demanded.

My mother was as confused as I had been.  I relayed my conversation to her, and we both laughed.

From that point on, vermouth-less stuffing has become one of my favorite Thanksgiving dishes!

I can’t ever think about Thanksgiving without remembering those days back in the seventies, playing with my cousins, getting underfoot in the kitchen, and celebrating with my family.

To my family, and all of my friends near and far, I love you, and I am so grateful for each and every one of you!


Broken Glass, Bowling Ball, and Burgers #30DaysofThanks

This morning was all about errands.  Last week, someone broke into Isabel’s car and broke out the two windows on the driver’s side.  They also stole the registration, title (we know…it shouldn’t have been in the car,) and the insurance cards.  They took her “book”…the little receipt book she used for work, and all of her bowling stuff.  

The title and registration stuff was taken care of that same day.  Dave went with Izzy to deal with that.  The old title has been flagged, so it can’t be used to sell the car out from under her; and, more importantly, no one can get a title loan using it.

Over the weekend, Kelly got her a new receipt book, and Isabel’s coworkers pitched in and got her a new bowling ball and a new bag.  They gave it to her on Saturday…Izzy texted me to tell me, and said that it had made her cry.  

All of this to talk about the thing that I am grateful for today.

When Isabel was sixteen, she came out to me.  She had wanted to tell me earlier; but, it was hard enough negotiating high school and figuring things out for herself that she waited awhile. I won’t say that I was the model of acceptance.  To my shame, I went through a period of denial, and of fear.  It’s not that I have issues with someone being gay.  It’s the readjustment that had to take place in my own head.  Every parent has some picture in their head, of how they see their kid and how that kid should be.

It took some time.  Eventually, I came to the realization that, if I was truly honest with myself, I had always known.  What were, and continue to be, my biggest concerns, are Isabel’s happiness and safety.

There is only so much that I can do about Isabel’s safety.  Cautioning her is as much about being a young, attractive woman as it is about anything else.

Isabel’s first crushes, unfortunately, were on girls who weren’t gay.  That made those last years of high school tough on all of us.  The first girl really led Isabel on an emotional chase.  She said that she was gay; but, it was blatantly obvious that she wasn’t. Today, she is married to a man and has two kids.  The second was even tougher, because they were friends first, and the girl was likely bi.  

Through all of this, my objections to these “relationships” had nothing to do with Isabel falling for girls and everything to do with how they treated her.  Isabel was never happy.  She rarely smiled, and she seemed uncomfortable in her own skin.  It was terrible to watch.  As a parent, you want your kid to find someone who is as crazy about your kid as your kid is about them.

After a long summer in 2014, when Isabel essentially ran away from home, she came home sadder and wiser, having realized that her romance wasn’t real.  She got a job at the entertainment complex near here, and gradually made new friends.  And, she met Kelly.  

This is Izzy’s first real, reciprocated love.  She and Kelly make a striking pair…they are both gorgeous, and they have eyes for only each other.  Kelly came with us to Vail this summer, and Isabel spends time with Kelly’s family.  They are good to each other and thoughtful.

For the first time in a long time, Isabel is happy.  She smiles, she’s funny, and she carriers herself with the confidence that had been buried for years.

It makes my heart happy.

So, this morning, Isabel, Kelly and I went to get the new insurance cards for Izzy’s car.  Then, Izzy treated us to lunch at In and Out.  After that, we stopped to get her bowling ball redrilled to fit her hand and order new shoes.

It was a gorgeous, sunny November day.  We laughed and sang along with the radio, and had an easy, comfortable trip.

I am grateful for my smart, wickedly funny, beautiful daughter.  I am grateful that she is confident and happy and in love for the first time in her life.

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Six O’Clock on Sunday #30DaysofThanks

Earlier this year, I joined a Facebook group called Sunday at Six.  It’s comprised of a group of people from all over the country.

Every Sunday, we take a picture of whatever we are doing at 6:00 and post it on the Sunday at Six wall.

I have come to love the Sunday posts.  It’s a lovely snapshot of people’s lives.  People share some amazing things.  We’ve seen newborns, graduations, marriages, reunions, pets, kids, gorgeous scenery, good food and bad, projects, art, everything.  I look forward to seeing vacation pictures, or the different things people cook for dinner.  We’ve followed one friend as she figures out her job situation.

The group is supportive, and friendly, and warm.

I don’t ever have very exciting posts…often, we’re watching football while I work on one project or another; but, I try to share some snippet of my world.

Tonight, I am grateful for my Sunday friends.  I appreciate that they share a little piece of their weeks with me.