Thanksgiving for Forty Six

My cousin and I offered to organize, host and cook the turkeys for our families Thanksgiving dinner. You know, just a nice cozy dinner for 46.

There was a bit of an incident with a dead mouse in the guts of the oven cause an epic stink but it was basically fine.

Once the house had throughly aired no one even gagged when they walked in and that forty pounds of turkey tasted great despite the fact that the oven was unplugged, moved, disassembled attempted to be de-moused, reassembled and plugged back in all while the turkey was cooking.

But really what’s a Thanksgiving dinner without a good story.

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Family Games

The players have changed through the years. The games have changed through the years. But the ever present theme at family gatherings is that there is a game played by the wildest, most raucous players possible…

…and their laughter washes over the house in a crazy tidal wave to another game.

The game played by the quiet serious crowd.

From Pictionary to Secret Hitler and Scrabble to Sheepshead the games change, the players change but the family gatherings stay the same.

One Red Notebook

Where do you keep your life?

Not the living, breathing, soul part (I’m not feeling that philosophical today) but the organizational part.

I know more and more people who keep it all on their phone. Personally I find this horrifying for a many reasons like…

  1. What if it spontaneously malfunctions?
  2. What if I break it?
  3. What if I lose it?
  4. What if I drop it on a gravel path and the screen shatters? (True story)
  5. What if I run it over with an F250? (True story)
  6. What if I jump in a lake to save my kid with it in my pocket? (True story)
  7. What if I forget it?

 

Instead I currently keep my life in a red notebook.

It has…

  1. Notes about what to talk about at an author program.
  2. To-do lists for marketing a picture book.
  3. To-do lists for writing a picture book.
  4. To-do lists for managing a capoeira group.
  5. Things to prepare for Thanksgiving.
  6. Three months of who’s spending which weekend with Granny.
  7. Notes from a meeting with publisher and illustrator.
  8. Notes from talking with stores about carrying my book.
  9. Notes from talking with schools about doing capoeira demos.
  10. E-mail addresses.
  11. Blog post ideas.
  12. To-do lists for the poultry
  13. To-do lists for the week.
  14. Things to remember. (That’s a good catch-all page)
  15. Lists of butterfly houses and exhibits in the Midwest.
  16. Lists of favorite winter/snow books.
  17. And notes on how to plan and serve Thanksgiving dinner to 45.

And no, while bullet journaling sounds great in theory, that’s not a thing I do.

I am not unaware that while this is a system, it is possible it’s not the best system. It also occurs to me that a red notebook is just as prone to flood, fire and forgetting as a phone. But, for all I write on the computer and share documents over google drive and set things up in shared calendars, there is a perceived permanence to writing things down in my own messy, illegible, misspelled handwriting that I’m reluctant to give up. It’s as though in my mind a to-do list isn’t a to-do list if it’s not written at two different angles with big bold scribbles when something is crossed off.

I keep my life in a red notebook. Where do you keep yours?

What’s That Noise?

John: What’s that noise?

Me: You mean the thing that sounds like a snare drum being followed by a civil war regiment? I think it’s the dryer.

John (walking toward sound): Ahhhh! What adventures does entropy have in store for us today?

(Answer: It was the dryer following hot on the heels of the dishwasher, two flat tires and right before the vacuum cleaner blew a belt. Ain’t entropy great?)

 

My Love Affair With Night

Night is ever the seducer. He whispers in my ear and tells me I can do that one more thing before bed. He fills the night with a soft, quite peace and whispers promises of fun to be had. But Morning is waiting for me when he leaves and she is an uncompromising bitch.

Night makes all sorts of compromises. I can have fun with friends, or I can enjoy the solitude. I can read one more chapter, write one more story. I can do one more chore or have one more conversation.

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This is the beautiful Ra, with illustrations by the amazing Tooks, we made a book together. A lot of it happened at night. 

Morning refuses to cooperate. Her schedule is inflexible. She demands productivity. Immediately. Compromise is not in Morning’s vocabulary.

I know this.

And yet… Night is always tempting and I am bad at saying no.

Some nights I try.

I try to resist his siren song and when I succeed I meet Morning on a level playing field, but other nights he fights back.

On those nights he hangs the stars so low in a moonless, clear sky you feel as though you could pluck them down. But, of course, you can’t. Still they hover above, another temptation in the dark, and the wanting gets to you and it makes you restless. If you can’t play with the stars you at least have to move. You have to sing, dance, love, cry, you have to feel those nights. Those are the nights filled with tossing and turning. Those are the nights that normally sleeping dogs pace the house and kids wake up with nightmares.

Night compromises but at his heart he will always be a seducer. He doesn’t play fair and he takes what he wants in the end.

And Morning, she is always waiting, hard faced and uncaring on the other side.

I’m constantly lured into poor decisions in my love affair with Night.

Morning and I exist on a battlefield littered with broken alarm clocks and spent tea bags.

But between them lives Nap and we have the sweetest of relationships.

Not Home Yet

It was passed the time the kids should have been off the bus and in the door.

I quick stepped out to the top of the driveway – still no sign of them.

Crouching to peer under the hanging apple tree branches I double checked- nope, no kids.

Jumping up I ran back into the house pulled out my hidden cookie and sat down.

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And as I enjoyed my last five minutes of quiet I thought to myself, “Yup.  This is it. I’ve pretty much hit the pinnacle of motherhood and the stereotype of a stay at home mom all in one fell swoop. Good job mama, good job.”