Monday, November 28, 2011

Weighing In

I spent Thanksgiving in Tulsa this year.  I usually spend the week before Thanksgiving counting all of the things I am grateful for.  It really does take a week since I am very, very lucky and blessed.  Grey's family invited me over for dinner at their house and the day after Thanksgiving was spent at Patricia and Carter's. I was most excited because it's our first major holiday and I just knew it was going to be eventful.  I was right.

Grey's family was just lovely.  There were grown ups and kids running around and his brother surprised everyone by coming in from Atlanta unexpectedly for the holiday.  I made chocolate chip cookies, which turned out very well and earned the seal of approval from the nieces.  The youngest niece ate the most.  His Grandma was there too, which made me miss my grandma a bit.  I know it's been since March, but I did not take time to mourn and the pain is still fresh. Grey's Grandma said I was pretty and asked if I liked to cook.  Someone remarked that they thought it brave of me to just come to a family gathering and say hello.  It was not much of a risk, really.  Grey is a wonderful and kind person and he told me that his family is also wonderful and kind.  Doesn't sound much like razor wire and backstabbing to me.  The most traumatic event was getting slobbered on a bit by the resident shih tzu, who wanted me to play, play, play.  Yeah, pretty nice time.  We ate too much food and went home.

We Ate How Much?! 
And then the next day...

We showed up at Patricia's at noon.  I tried a new pumpkin fondue recipe which called for kirsch.  That's some sort of cherry brandy and the cherry brandy I bought turned out to be far too strong.  So the fondue was a bust.  But that's ok.  I hopped in the kitchen with Patricia and Grey did table preparations.  For about an hour and a half we did our thing and I helped her whip up a hell of a meal.  One of the 12 people is allergic to everything under the sun except for water and some sort of South California raisin.  Another is gluten intolerant and a third is just very picky.  Patricia did research and planned out a meal that everyone would be able to eat and also enjoy.  I do love cooking with her.  This is an art sadly being lost in the United States, where people cook together and prepare communal meals.  For women especially in the culture where I grew up, this is how we bond.  We kick the men out and talk and work and laugh and gossip.  It's good for my soul.  Perhaps this shows my age, but I pity a generation of women who do not know how to talk to each other face to face.  But with help from Grey and Carter, we fed everyone who showed up.  I think it was closer to 14 guests.

So we all sat down to eat.  Grey does not feel brave.  He has met the Hargraves before and he is not a shy person.  This would be the opposite of such an introvert as me.  It took me several years just to coax me to have dinner with them after karate practice.  And at the head of the table, Carter is making jokes about me because I'm full and it's about three bites into the dinner.  That's the other thing: cooks never starve.  So I threw my knife at him.  Everyone knows that Carter and I fight. It's what we do. I wasn't going to hit him with it. It was plastic. It landed near the three year old so Grey took my knife away.  I sort of smirked at that; there are at least 5 other knives much sharper than that one in the room where we were eating.  But alright.  And he thought I was being brave by going to his family's dinner...

Later I was washing up dishes and heard a call from outside.  The corg's were going at it with each other.  Welsh Corgi's are territorial.  If a new person comes along, each would claim that person as their own and these two always believe that the best way to settle disagreements is by biting the ever-loving shit out out of each other.  It was a duel to the death because of the guests did not know this. She took the three year old to the back yard to entertain him. I all but tossed the kid over the fence and set about separating the fang-locked lovers.  Carter ended up having to grab one and I grabbed the other and we pulled in opposite directions.

There was a clear winner and loser in all of this.  Bella, the little one, was also the loser.  She was bleeding from several spots on her ears and a few on her neck.  She was visibly shaken and breathing hard.  We put the bigger one, Camilla, in her kennel while I cleaned up Bella. Ears bleed a lot.  I had Carter holding her so I could clean the wounds and she shook her head, spraying me and Carter in the face with bright red drops.  At some point, and for no apparent reason as this is how my friend shows his affection, Carter kicked Grey in the butt.  Not hard and with a silly smile on his face, but still I was mortified.  Now that I think about it, that is probably why he did it. To mortify me. Awesome.  But nothing seems to ruffle Grey much. So we ate too much food and went home. I think he was pretty brave and also pretty affable to suffer the slings and arrows (knives?) of my kinda people.

Sure there was exercise during the course of the five day weekend, but seriously, I consumed too many calories.  So this week is a weaning back to regular eating and lots of good exercise and fresh air before gearing up for the Christmas season, which will bring graduation, my sisters in town for their first visit in ten years and hopefully, a joyeux noel.

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