The Geek & The Chic

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving

This was the first year in a long time that I actually cooked Thanksgiving dinner. Being single, you usually get invited over somewhere, or you go home. Of course,this year I've married and moved away from the people who would have invited me over for dinner, so it was a brand new world.

Husband and I decided to stay home this year rather than travel with everybody else on the roads and in the air. In fact, he invited soldiers over from his unit who would otherwise have spent Thanksgiving in the barracks with nowhere to go but the chow hall. In the end, we had seven people over for dinner, including one soldier who just arrived Wednesday night.

Preparations started Wednedsay night. We decided to have ham and turkey to be sure we would not run out of food. The ham went in the oven and I started cleaning. Husband helped. There were floors to be mopped, rugs to be vaccumed and I had to iron the tablecloth since it was all wrinkled. Our vaccuum had not been feeling well and we sent it out for repair. Thankfully, it was ready Wednedsay morning so I picked it up on my way to work. Husband vaccuumed, I mopped. Between food preparation and cleaning, we didn't get to bed until after 2am.

Besides the ham and turkey, we had yams (I love yams!), green bean casserole (I don't like it) and I made a corn pudding. I made cranberry sauce and we also had stuffing. Earlier in the week, I had baked a pumpkin pie as well as an apple one and we had butter cookies for dessert too. For the ham, I made a glaze with mustard, brown sugar and bourbon. The turkey sat in a brine for six hours so it would be very moist. For the record, Husband stated it was the best turkey he ever had.

But this is my trouble. I am a perfectionist. I wish I cooked for large numbers of people more frequently so that it would feel more second nature than once in a lifetime opportunity to perhaps poison people. And since it's poultry, I really didn't want to invite Sam and Ella to come over either so while I stress, I scrub away. Hey, at least it's therapeutic.

But back to the day. The turkey was ready at 3pm. Our guests were told to come between 330pm and 4pm. They were late. The side dishes were done before they arrived and at some point while I made the corn pudding, Husband gave me a beer. He said I was stressing. Of course I was! I couldn't find the whisk attachment for the mixer to beat the stupid egg whites; I hadn't eaten anything all day except for a cranberry muffin I'd made for breakfast, and I was making turkey (see Sam and Ella reference above) so by the time the guests arrived, I was loopy (but not obviously). The only indication I had that I was loopy was that the bag of stuffing I opened almost went all over the kitchen floor. No one noticed. I tell you it was as if the knock at the door was my cue for loopy.

Dinner went well. No one coughed and sputtered and dropped to the floor yelling, "J'accuse!". Food received rave reviews. Converstation stayed away (mostly) from work while the soldiers tried remembering to use first names. Football was watched after dinner and then all went home. After everybody left, I noticed we had two bottles of wine, a case of beer and a 12 pack of soda that we hadn't had before.

As for me, I was asleep by 9pm snoring loudly enough to wake the neighbors.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

A New Addition

We adopted a cat yesterday. He’s actually a 4 month old kitten. Husband was insistent we get Pounce a friend. I had been putting it off and putting it off because 1) I still miss Sorriso and didn’t want to “replace” her, and 2) I didn’t know how Pounce would take it. Husband insisted Pounce needed a friend so we met at the vet clinic on post around lunchtime. I had no sooner arrived at the clinic when I saw Husband with said cat who was trying to climb all over him. Husband said, “This is Blackie.” I said, “No, that’s Shadow” and hence that is how the cat got its name. I found out later that he was brought to the vet by the MP’s who found him wandering around.

Shadow is entirely all black. There is no other color on him except his green eyes. He was given his physical by the vet and he passed with flying colors. The techs said he even enjoyed his bath. Crazy cat. Husband brought him home after work on Friday and the meeting between Pounce and Shadow was uneventful. Pounce hissed once or twice but it was more for show than anything else. I am not sure Shadow knows what to make of Pounce yet. I had forgotten how much activity kittens have. For Shadow, exploring his new home meant trying to get into closets and cabinets. He also loves to follow me if I walk into or out of a room. He slept under the bed last night but he might have been keeping his distance from Pounce who was next to me.

In other news…. Snow has come to the North Country. An inch or so fell on Thursday. There were flurries on Friday with the morning low of 16 degrees. It’s sunny today which is good because the snow actually melts here, unlike Alaska where the snow you get in October stays with you until May.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Saying Thanks

I almost walked right by him. I was stopping at the grocery store to pick up a few items and was trying to get in and out quickly. The woman in front of me stopped suddenly, so I did too – mostly so I wouldn’t walk into her. And then I saw him.

He was off to the side, sitting on a bench. He was an elderly man, wearing a baseball cap and holding a can. His old, gnarled hands were clutching a little bouquet of the red poppies you see Veterans selling to raise money for disabled veterans.

His name was Ben and he was 80 years old. He was among the troops that stormed the beaches at Normandy sixty one years ago to save the world and Europe from a madman.

When my husband and I were still dating, I thought a lot about World War 2. About how it would take days, weeks and maybe even months before you heard from a loved one. I thought how easy Husband and I had it, to be able to communicate by email and phone. How reassuring I would feel, if even just for a moment, to hear his voice and know that he was okay. And how worried I would be if too many days went by without an email.

Ben didn’t want to speak about what he did that day. I gave him a dollar or two and in return he gave me a poppy. I said, "thank you for what you did that day, for your service" and he told me to thank my husband for his service.

I guess it takes a hero to know a hero.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Pretend You Don't Know Me

You would think in this age of instant, electronic communication, we'd all be staying in touch more often with alot more to say to each other.

I bring this up because I consider myself a good pen-pal. What an old fashioned word! Pen-pal. Does anyone even use it anymore? What do they call it if you meet someone online and correspond only through email and IM? But I digress... If you write me, you will (eventually) get a personal reply. You may even get two replies, the first one letting you know I'm busy but I'll write soon. And I do. Relationships are important to me. If I call you friend then you have a special place in my life.

If I write you, and you don't write back, well, then we plan a different strategy. I have a friend in Alaska I have written five times and I have yet to hear from her. Has the internet changed the way we look at relationships? Does failure to write consitute punishment by permanent removal from the address book? One click of the mouse and you're gone - poof! You never existed. Yet that certainly does not remove them from your life. Time does that and very well I might add.

There are some fun forwards out there. A friend sent me a pumpkin for Halloween that you could carve out -- that was fun! Of course, I sent it to friends. Then there was another email I saw ages ago that allowed you to use a hammer, chainsaw, blowtorch, paint, etc.. to "destroy" whatever it was you were working on. It was a great stress reliever. I don't even mind the emails that ask for information about my favorite food, color or whether I want to live in the moutains or by the ocean (Italian, plaid, and mountains).

However, I have a dear friend in California who loves to send me forwards. That's all I get from her: forwards. No personal note, nothing. I am sure it means she's thinking of me but if I get one more email from her that says to "send this to seven people you know and your wish will come true!" I'll scream. Then there are the religious ones... if I believe in God, I'll send this to everyone I know and convince people by using an impersonal communication method to form a personal relationship with Him, and come to believe in Him through an email. Even better, he'll bless me, my kids, grandkids and everyone or thing I come in contact with for the next 50 years. Um, thanks, but I'll pass. My relationship with God does not depend on email. Like any good relationship, it depends on how much time I'll give him. But even better than those emails are those that admonish us to be a "good friend and send this to seven people including the person who sent this to you" Why? So I can spam her email inbox like mine is?

So let me say this... the next time you get that kind of email and you're searching your email address book for the names and email addresses of your fifty friends, pretend you don't know me.