I guess it’s a good sign. Thanksgiving is a week gone by and I’m still thinking about it. Things kicked off with a blessed 5 day break from school and homework. Five WHOLE days. That right there could have made my week. But it only got better.
I got two feasts instead of one (turkey and roasted salmon). I read half of a novel on the couch. I watched Charlie Brown’s Thanksgiving with my friend Dave and his five year-old daughter Ede Mo. I drank some seriously good wine. I blew the dust off of my camera. I took great joy in watching our dog Earl toil endlessly with his new and energetic dog cousin, Lamar – a 7 month old basset hound/Australian cattle dog mix (truly a genetic miracle). And our house builders took the week off for deer hunting. Which means I didn’t have to think about what color the soffit should be, or where the chimney for the wood stove will vent. Three cheers for mini-breaks.
But my hands down 2011 Thanksgiving highlight was an impromptu, made up game of “Angry Chef” with my nieces, Sylvie and Eve. Sylvie concocted the game out of her wonderful ten-year-old imagination. The rules evolved effortlessly as we played. Two contestants donned aprons and toques while the “Angry Chef” doled out whacky menus for each to prepare. A banana smoothie with a lobster sandwich and a side of fries. French toast served up with a cheeseburger and fruit salad. And boy did the Chef put the pressure on. Whew!
I was genuinely dismayed when I was called away into the “real” kitchen to help get dinner on the table. The Angry Chef’s kitchen was so much more spirited! The real kitchen, however, turned out much better fare. Crispy, salt-brined kosher turkey, wild rice and mushrooms, roasted garlic with blue cheese, tart cranberries, baked winter squash with a splash of maple, and browned-butter mashed potatoes
. Even the crankiest of chef’s would have been pleased.
Midway through the meal, Sylvie proclaimed her excitement for pumpkin pie à la mode. Grandma reasoned that ice cream doesn’t really go on pumpkin pie. To which Sylvie countered “but it goes BY pumpkin pie.” And true to her word, she had her pie with a dollop of whipped cream and a side of vanilla. That’s my girl!
There’s only one thing wrong with mini-breaks. They end. Work deadlines are knocking again. Finals are looming. I fear the rest of the novel will have to wait until Christmas break. And I still haven’t picked the damn soffit color. But you know what? I don’t really care. And it is so refreshing say that! I tend to be an over achiever. But not necessarily in the healthiest of ways. Sure, I don’t want to let my clients down. Yes, I still feel the irrational need to get straight A’s. And of course, I want our new little house to be “practically perfect in every way.”
Still, I’ve been oddly relaxed this week. I’m back in the thick of things, but I’m also anticipating watching Charlie Brown’s Christmas with Dave and Ede. I’m helping Earl practice some moves for the next time he and Lamar meet up in the ring. And I’ve been strategizing how to take on the Angry Chef. Which is evidentially time well spent. Sylvie sent me the following note yesterday: “Maybe next time we’ll try to get to the big kitchen! But I’m not so sure you can beat the chef!” Ouch.
I have a tremendous amount to be thankful for. This year though, I am especially grateful for all the little things last week that woke me up and rekindled my spirit. I’m back on track. The things that matter the most are shinning the brightest.