Archive for the 'Holidays' Category

Saving Thanksgiving

Friday, October 5th, 2012

It is common knowledge in my family that I ruined Thanksgiving when I became a vegetarian. It was pointless to make a turkey if I wasn’t partaking. I do admit that I have the heartiest appetite in my clan, eliminating any fear of having leftovers for weeks on end, yet canceling the feast on my account is a tad extreme. I suspect it is meant to make me acutely aware that I am responsible for sullying the holiday for everyone.

“Why don’t I make a squash galette?” I’ll suggest in the hopes that I can somehow salvage the day. “It’s festive and autumnal.”

“Spare us,” My dad will mutter, his eyes raised to the heavens.

“How about a hearty bean stew? That’s filling. It’ll be like we stuffed ourselves on turkey we’ll be so full.”

“I hate beans.” My mom will sniff.

I wouldn’t dare risk dinner-table suicide by suggesting a Tofurkey.

It looked like another Thanksgiving would be destroyed until I discovered that Baskin Robbins has an ice cream turkey cake, complete with a sweet glaze, just like a beloved holiday ham.

Is there anything more festive than an ice cream cake? Cart out an ice cream cake and everyone knows the party has started. About to have a dispute with your extended family? Save it! It’s time to carve the ice cream cake! Someone is in a snit? Put it aside, dinner is melting! Raised eyebrows because someone has enjoyed a little too much wine? Turn those frowns upside down and fight over who gets the sugar cone leg instead. The holiday is saved.

Thank God I am not a vegan.

Holiday Recap

Saturday, December 31st, 2011

It feels like just last week I was complaining about seeing Christmas displays before Halloween and the next thing I know it is New Years eve. My plans for homemade gifts, sumptuous feasts and whimsical decorating have been foiled again. One day I hope to spend the month of December smugly admiring my artfully arranged decorations while softly humming to myself as I cut out paper snowflakes. There is always next year.

Despite trying to simplify things as much as possible, the Christmas frenzy is palpable and contagious. One night on the streetcar a seemingly normal looking woman got on, let out a giant sigh and then yelled a string of obscenities. When she didn’t get any attention she calmly put on her headphones and sat quietly for the rest of the ride. I chalked it up to a mini Christmas meltdown. The holidays can do that to a person. One morning I found myself inexplicably running around the house with a slab of butter in one hand, a box of Christmas cards in the other, feeling completely scattered and flustered until I burst into tears.

Interspersed with these bouts of madness, however, there were little pockets of cheer. One girlfriend decided to have a Christmas party at the last minute, calling people the night before and leaving incoherent mumbled invitations as she was falling asleep. It felt more festive and celebratory than any well planned fete would have been. The Sweetie and I enjoyed a night watching an old Babara Stanwyck movie in our pajamas that left me feeling comforted and cozy. I made a pompom garland and hung it on our mantel where it looked utterly ridiculous. I recharged in baths scented with gingerbread bubbles.

The morning of Christmas Eve The Sweetie had to go to the hospital for an MRI which was scheduled at 4:30 am.  Walking in the frigid cold to catch the all night bus, affectionately known as the Vomit Comet, we had a chance to see Christmas lights and suddenly felt like we were having a lovely date. That night we gave the cat a special plate of tuna for his Christmas dinner and collectively marveled over the girth of the bloody Christmas tree that practically filled the entire room and had almost killed me carrying it home.

The Grinch is right. Christmas came without packages and baubles and roast beast. It came despite MRIs in the middle of the night and my disorganized ways and sugar fueled meltdowns. It felt like Christmas because there was a chance to savour the little things that matter. The stolen moments among the chaos and sweet times with loved ones made it feel merry. And the shortbread. The pounds and pounds of shortbread. That helped too.

How I Have Been Spending My Days

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

In case you have been wondering what I have been up to, enjoy this video and instead of a dog, picture a woman in a bathrobe and instead of kibble imagine a pile of shortbread.

Found here

The Christmas Tree Battle

Friday, December 16th, 2011

Christmas is almost here which meant that it was time to get a tree.

The Sweetie and I decided to stroll a few blocks to the church where the boy scouts sell Christmas trees. Since The Sweetie is still suffering with his bulging disc there was some discussion of how we would get the tree home. “Christmas trees are light,” I assured him. “I can carry it. It’s not far. It’ll be a piece of cake.” My memories of Christmas trees past involve the two of us merrily carrying the tree together, practically skipping. Last year I posed for a photo with the tree hoisted over my head like a mighty lumberjack.

Little did I know that we would choose a tree with a weight problem. It didn’t seem that big when we selected it, but I began to totter under its weight when I attempted to lift it.

“What the hell is going on?” I panted. “This thing weighs a tonne!”

“Put it on your shoulder. Crouch down like a football player and lift with your legs,” The Sweetie suggested.  Once I got it up I immediately started tilting. A pine needle poked me in the eye.

“There must be something living in it,” I gasped. I put the tree back on the sidewalk and hugged it in front of me, trying to hoist it a few inches from the ground while shuffling.

“That doesn’t seem to be working,” The Sweetie murmured.

“I’m fine!” I snapped.

“Let me take an end. I can’t watch this,” The Sweetie said.

“Back off the Christmas tree!” I yelled. You can’t injure your back any further. I can do it”

A flood of expletives followed when I tripped and fell forward. How do people steal television sets and run down the street with them I wondered. I’d be caught immediately.

“Maybe you should walk ahead or behind me so that your manhood isn’t compromised,” I suggested after we passed a couple giving us a strange look.

“I’m staying,” The Sweetie said grimly.

I was in a full sweat at this point. The house felt so far away. I had to stop every few steps to readjust. “Careful with it, your losing a lot of needles,” The Sweetie offered. I had needles in my hair and sap on my hands and jacket. I spat a needle out of my mouth.

“Umm, maybe you should have worn practical shoes?” The Sweetie remarked. I was wearing shoes with a heel, thinking I would look cute and festive. Now the clickety clack of my shoes sounded like an affront, mocking me as I took wobbly, mincing steps.

“Almost there,” I hissed.

A car pulled up next to us and a man stuck his head out the window, “Shouldn’t he be doing that?” he called to me. Funny that it was okay for him to heckle but he didn’t bother to offer a helping hand. I gave him my best Scrooge stink eye, muttering to myself and stared straight ahead.

Somehow we made it home and I leaned the tree against our back door. “That’s it, I can’t go any further,” I huffed.“It can stay outside for the night. I can’t even look at the damn thing right now.” I was soaked with sweat and sap. Pine needles were in my hair. My hands were shaking. I hated my clickety-clack shoes.

That evening I was in the kitchen when I heard voices in the driveway. I knew the neighbours were away. Maybe some thieves are finally stealing that lumber the neighbours have had out back, I mused and continued washing the dishes. Then it occurred to me, “What if they are stealing the Christmas tree! I’ll be damned if someone takes our tree after all I’ve been through with lugging it home.” I don’t know how I planned to wrestle a tree from thieves. My arms were already achy from the exertion of carrying the tree but I was determined to fight to the bitter end if necessary. It turned out it was our neighbour’s son who seemed a little startled by my snarling face on the porch. The Christmas tree was safe.

The tree is now sitting in its stand in the living room. It is quite wide and bushy. It makes sense that it was so heavy. I figure another couple of days and I will be able to lift my arms again so that I can decorate it. Then it will look glorious and proud and the struggle will have been worthwhile.

Happy Halloween

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Sometimes my penchant for cute animals in ridiculous costumes can get tiresome. Not tiresome for me, however. With that in mind, enjoy this Halloween treat. How can anyone not love a cat that looks like an old man wearing a pumpkin costume really, really enjoying some chicken?

Thanksgiving Payback

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

This video couldn’t be more appropriate for Thanksgiving. A local Sacramento newscaster went to investigate reports of a turkey, nicknamed Terrible Tom, terrorizing the neighbourhood. I am on Terrible Tom’s side. It’s hard enough dealing with a waddle under the chin but knowing that you have a bounty on your head for holiday feasts would give anyone a chip on their shoulder. I’d be inclined to wreak some havoc myself.