Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Tuesday before Thanksgiving

For the first twenty-two years of my life, I did nothing for Thanksgiving. Indeed, I didn't do Thanksgiving. Polish people don't quite get the holiday. They've taken on bits and pieces of an American Halloween and Valentine's Day, but they leave this one alone.

And then boom! I entered my new American family and Thanksgiving was born. Perhaps to make up for lost time, I gave this holiday every bit of my effort. I know there are complicated discussions now about the origins of Thanksgiving, but it remains the case, I think, that the celebration that occurs in nearly every American household is a good one: Thanksgiving allows us to take time off to be with people we love (or at least like -- I've heard of tricky familial situations!). Over a meal. Nothing more than that.

I've done close to forty Thanksgivings in my life. The whole deal. Our Thanksgiving Day has had three fresh and honest meals -- a caky breakfast, a soupy lunch and then boom! Dinner!

All of my Thanksgivings have always had both daughters present (except for the couple of times when they have had no daughters present). But this year, my younger girl and her husband are visiting his parents and so Ed and I have just the young family with us. Well now, that still calls for a full Thanksgiving cooking extravaganza!

How does a Thanksgiving week look for you? For me, it follows a pattern:

Saturday begins the menu preparation and the listing of ingredients. This is the tough part. Decisions! Uff! At the end of the day I throw up my hands and am ready to declare that we shall be eating Subway sandwiches on Thursday.

Sunday is farmhouse cleaning time and a return to menu planning. At the end of the day, all is in place.

Monday is my rest day. The menu planning wiped me out.

Tuesday -- today -- is the shopping day. I'll come back to this in a bit.

Wednesday used to be my shopping day, but that was at a time when I was much younger and much more insane. I believed I could get it all prepped and cooked in a day and a half.  Now, I prefer not to succumb to the mad adrenaline rush, the long night, the frantic juggling of many preparations at once. Too much like my years working in a restaurant.  Forget it. I prefer a Zen-like calm. Wednesday, therefore, has to be a full blown cooking day. (The young family helps by taking on Snowdrop care. For me, the day has to be all about food.)

Thursday, well, it's THE day. Success is measured by when dinner is finally served. The goal is early. History has variously treated that goal.

Friday is blessed leftovers day.

Post Thanksgiving Saturday is for reflection.

Post Thanksgiving Sunday -- I'm onto other things by then.

And so now you know: if it's Tuesday, it must be shopping day. Immediately after breakfast.

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I proceed carefully, slowly and with a bit of a choke in my throat. After all, I've done this so many times before! The bird, the cranberries, the bundles of herbs -- these are Thanksgiving items!

Today is only the second craziest grocery shopping day of the year and so the shelves are stocked and everyone is trying very hard to be super friendly and forgiving. Oh, no, that was my fault! Yes yes, she was before me! Please, you take that! Lovely.  May we carry this attitude with us all year long.

I return to the farmhouse, Ed carries in the loaded bags and I apply all my ingenuity to fitting everything into our fridge.

Then I head out to pick up Snowdrop.

She hasn't napped, but she is one delightful child!

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Since it is her teacher's last day today, I ask for a photo. The little guy to the left is Snowdrop's pal -- he wants to be included. Why not!

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When we are ready to leave, she asks for time at the playground. This is a tough call. The temps have been dropping all day long and it is now right around freezing. With a hefty wind. I try to satisfy her with a few minutes in her school yard.

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Not enough. Since I have to pick up our CSA spinach share, I suggest that she and I pop over to see if the polar bears at the zoo are happy, what with the cold weather we've had this month. (The zoo is a block away from my CSA pick up place.)

Snowdrop is apprehensive. Zoo? All those fierce animals? Grandma, I only like the animals that are behind glass. I'm a little scared of the others. Can we go to the playground?

I smile at that. The girl loves her playground. Who am I to stand in her way...

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I thought that the park by the zoo would be less windy than our usual playground by the lesser lake. Not so. It is cold! After a short while, she is ready to head for the farmhouse.

Puzzles with words! (She'll take any kind of puzzles. Seriously, the girl loves puzzles!)

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Oh oh. She has discovered my Moroccan cookies! She does not hesitate to steal one. And then another...

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We're playing school. Recess time. Grandma, someone has put mud there. You can't go there.

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These make believe games are never serious and sure enough, she collapses into bouts of hilarity.

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She cannot contain herself.

That is the best way a grandma can hand over her charge to the parents when they come to pick up their girl -- a girl dissolved in giggles.

And now I must focus on food. Tomorrow, it's all about food. Every waking minute. Yeah!