Sunday, November 29, 2009

Anything But Turkey

I should say that Thanksgiving was outstanding and the turkey was beautiful and I even ate a piece (twice). I stopped having traditional Thanksgiving fare several years ago. My daughter will tell you this led her straight in to counseling.

I've never been fond of turkey and pumpkin pie is nothing short of disgusting if you ask me. I spent years trying to make both in a more interesting way. But you can dress a turkey up in a cheesecloth gown if you like. It's still going to emerge a turkey.

Enough said. I had a great Thanksgiving with turkey, pumpkin pie and sweet yams mashed. So when friends decided to get together for dinner following the holiday there wasn't a moments hesitation. We will have anything BUT turkey.

When the weather changes noticeably from fall to winter; When the skies turn dark at 4:30 pm and when wind and rain greet you every time you venture outside; And when the first thing to greet you when you start your car is Christmas music (especially if this sort of thing bothers you). Then I say get your comfort food on! The only way I know how to fight back is through comfort food.

We had Shepherd's Pie.

A rich, red-wine & veal demi sauce filled with heirloom carrots, onions, mushrooms, parsnips and tender braised lamb. Topped with creamy, comforting mashed potatoes. It was so emotional there wasn't a dry eye in the house. Okay. that's a lie, but there wasn't an empty belly and the weather outside went unnoticed.

I still can't look at this picture without my tummy hurting. It's never good to head right into a Shepherd's Pie with Turkey rebellion in your heart.

While we labored (not) in the kitchen. Chris was in the garage producing Nancy's dream design of the perfect Christmas tree.

Perhaps you are not a visionary. Perhaps you've forgotten the transformation of Charlie Brown's mournful Christmas tree. I'll bring back a photo when this tree is all adorned.

In the meantime I think the big ride has left the station. The holidays are officially here. Remain seated with your restraint device securely fastened and keep your arms inside the ride at all times. Try to enjoy the scenery.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

August 19, 1980 - November 14, 2009

It’s been difficult, even for me, to find the balance in life lately.

My friend recently had to say goodbye to her 29 year-old son.

For four weeks he lay in a coma after his vehicle was struck by another in an intersection.

We all waited and prayed and wished we could take away the agony my friend was experiencing. We longed to will Jared to wake up and be okay again.

The doctors gave hope and then something would go wrong and the hope would be deferred. Finally, they had to make the choice to unplug the machines that kept their son, brother, grandson, friend, and nephew alive.

My heart would ache for this family no matter what. But I knew this young man, Jared. He was friends with my daughter of the same age when they were both teenagers.

My head understands (though it protests this injustice). But my heart cannot rest with its laundry list of questions, what if’s and why’s.

As we approach these holidays where we gather around the table and break bread together with those we love I plan to embrace longer, listen more closely, truly study the faces of my loved ones, and say a few words about this incredible young man that touched so many lives. He will not be forgotten.