Thanksgiving

This is what I love about this life.

You can drag yourself through your days by your fingernails, count down minutes until your husband comes home, feel as though in every instant, you are barely making it.

And on those same days – those very same days – you can look around in wonder at all that you have to be grateful for, you can feel as though you have so much, surrounding you at every minute, that it’s hard to believe it can all be packed into one tiny house, one small life.

This year has been a challenge, although I like to think of it, in my better moments, as a growing year.  But I have a turkey brining in my refrigerator and best friends coming to Thanksgiving dinner.  My mother and my brother and sister are having Thanksgiving together in Chicago, a half a nation away, and they are making mincemeat from scratch and my sister has named their turkey Brangelina and I am both grateful that I do not have to eat the mincemeat experiment and at the same time so grateful that these crazy hopeful fun people are my family, that my mother answers the phone when I call her fourteen times with turkey questions and that my sister names the turkeys every year.   I am profoundly grateful for my first little house that we bought this year, for my country, my new about to be president, for the Real Housewives of Atlanta with their fake hair and their botox, and for all of you, for all of your help and suggestions and reading and commenting and saying “Me too” whenever I need to hear it, hanging in there with me.

I am grateful beyond measure for my husband, a man of such patience and fortitude he should be studied for medical science.  I sometimes forget that not everyone is married to someone who would let them brine a turkey in the vegetable bin of the refrigerator with nary an eye roll.  I sometimes forget that it’s a gift, to have someone in my life who, confronted with the crazy making whirlwind that is me, says nothing more than “What this Thanksgiving needs is more jello.”

But most of all, I am grateful for my boy. My tiny, frustrating, stubborn, willful, charming, adorable, tantrumy, lovely and amazing boy.  He’s the tops.  My turkey dinner, all year round.

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White Flag

Oh. My. God.

As I write this, my child is sitting next to me on the floor, screaming hysterically, just as he is screaming hysterically every minute of the day when he is not being held by me or his father.

I mean, I’ve had to resort to a spoken word mantra of “This is not my child. This is not my child” alternated with “Yelling won’t make it better, Yelling won’t make it better,” because HOLY GOD.  I just can’t hold him 24 hours a day.  I just can’t.  Even if I didn’t have a dishwasher to empty and Thanksgiving on Thursday and laundry to do and a credit card bill to track down and also did I mention sometimes I like to eat?  I mean, even if I didn’t have to do any of that, I don’t want to hold a (heavy!) kid 24 hours a day.

Is this normal? Is he just entering the terrible twos?  Maybe if I had a reason and someone could just tell me that this was going to pass it might help, because this is just one of those days when I think to myself, well, clearly, I’m going to have to go back to work, because I just can’t do this.  No one could do this.

I can’t even just say, ok, we won’t do anything, we’ll sit on the couch and I’ll hold him, because he doesn’t want to do that. He wants me to walk around the house holding him – not sit still and do something else like watch tv. Of course not.

And now he’s started going to bed later again, and he is back to eating practically nothing, and seriously? I’m starting to get really pissed off.  My anger level probably isn’t healthy.  I’m not mad at my child, exactly, but damn, I need him to just really leave me alone for some amount of time every day. Up at 7 am, not in bed until 10 PM, and then attached to my body or screaming or whining for the entire rest of the day.  And I feel like I’m about to lose my ever loving mind.

What if he had a brother or a sister?  What if I couldn’t hold him 24 hours a day? Would he just suck it up?  Is he too spoiled? Does he need more attachment?  Good god.  It’s a wonder anyone ever has more than one of these rotten creatures.

I just have to keep reminding myself that 18 months was mind rottingly terrible, and we got out of that, and for two whole months things were better! And maybe he’s pissed off because he can’t really talk yet and we don’t know what he’s trying to tell us or he’s getting some huge teeth or something or this is just the start of the terrible twos (hold me!) because seriously?  I am about to throw him into the backyard and let the dog raise him.

I just don’t know if I can do this.  I seriously don’t.

My Thanksgiving Plan*

Today: Look for gluten free bread cubes and pears at Whole Foods. Find pudding mold for table centerpiece

Sunday Night:  Take turkey out of freezer, thaw in fridge.

Tuesday: Toast and stale gf bread if they don’t have gf bread cubes at Whole Foods.

Wednesday: Make brine, make placecards, iron tablecloth and napkins, polish napkin rings, take sausage out of freezer

Wednesday night:  buy flowers at Trader Joes, arrange flowers, brine turkey, make ambrosia salad, bake lemon bread. Refrigerate 7 UP and Cranberry Juice, make turkey broth, make mise en place for stuffing, refrigerate

Thursday:

9:30 start making stuffing

10:30 AM – Turkey goes in oven (cook at 425 for 25 minutes until it starts to brown, then cook for 12 minutes per poundat 350, which for our turkey is 3 hours).

11 – Make punch (cranberry juice and 7 up)

11:15 Prepare brussels sprouts, refrigerate

12:15 Set Table

1:00 Put stuffing into oven (cook for 45 minutes)

1:05 Make mashed potatoes

1:30 Turkey comes out of oven, rests for 20 minutes

1:30 Brussels sprouts and mashed go in oven for 25 minutes at 450

1:35 Make gravey

2:00 Eat!

2:15 Pass out

*To those who shall remain nameless but who may have been yelling “Just thaw the damn turkey” as I was typing my Thanksgiving plan into the computer I will say only this: Those without a Thanksgiving plan are destined to stand in their kitchen with a blowdryer set on high and a Butterball representative on the line on Thanksgiving morning.  Let it never be said that I did not go into Gluten Free Thanksgiving Number One without a plan.

Exhale

Eli had a weight check this morning – he gained almost a pound, and he grew an inch, and is (slowly) rising back up the weight charts.  We don’t have to bring him back to get weighed again until February, and he will stay on the gluten free diet.

The relief I feel at this is overwhelming.  It cannot be described in words.  But between hearing that my child actually grew for the first time in six months and the fact that I woke up and did one of my most anxious making things (going to the doctor) and it felt like kind of not that big of a deal – it feels like the dawning of a new day. Add to that the fact that I admitted I hate my dog and no one told me I was a bad person and some of you even though I was funny! Well, I kind of want to do a little Singing In the Rain style dancing in the streets.  Or I would if I weren’t so damn exhausted – at 5 am this morning another crystal ball broke off the chandelier and landed on the dining room table, so that was fun. I’m pretty sure Mr. E had a minor heart attack.  I, however, shrugged it off and went back to sleep.  This Levitra is some good shit.

Must Love Dogs

Remember when I had my blog contest and I forced all of you to ask me questions and then I never answered any of them?

One of the questions was whether or not I was a dog person.

I so so so so so wish I was a dog person.  Mr. E is a total dog person, and I dream of a world where I am carefree and fancy free and I love those rascally dogs and I do all kinds of shit that a dog loving type of person would do, but in fact, I am the worst kind of not a dog person – not only am I completely unsuited to dog ownership, but for various reasons I decided to just get a dog anyway and see if I could become this dog loving person I so am not. In other words I am not only a dog person but I am also delusional.

I’m not sure why I don’t like dogs.  It probably doesn’t help that on my fifth birthday, riding my brand new shiny red bicycle with the banana seat and the red and white handlebar streamers around the block, a dog bit me on the knee.  It doesn’t help that I have always been small, and dogs have always seemed large. It doesn’t help that we never had animals of any kind when I was growing up, that I hate mess, that I don’t like noise, that I am Type A with a Capital A and it also doesn’t help that we somehow ended up with the very worst type of dog for someone like me.  Our dog is four years old and has never left puppyhood behind, and her endless bounding and leaping and chewing up of my stuff and her barking and her constant constant all the time flat out mania just raises my blood pressure faster than anything else on earth.  We’re on our third fence and she just ruined a Banana Republic cashmere hat by chewing holes in it and the destructiveness alone makes me so angry I just want to punch something.

I absolulutely hate that feeling more than anything else – the broken fence swings open yet again, our stupid dog leaps wildly out of the yard and is gone.  And I am furious. I am ashamed of myself for disliking a living creature so very much, and yet there it is. I really hate my dog.

There are some days that I am glad we have a dog – I do feel safer with her around.  She is gentle with Eli and she would never hurt a fly.  She has a deep rooted sweet nature, but damn. If we ever get another dog, I’m going to make sure that the words “VERY FAT AND VERY LAZY NO THE LAZIEST DOG YOU HAVE NO I MEAN LAZZZZZZY” are the first things out of my mouth at the humane society.  And it would help if the fattest laziest dog in the world was also hairless, because between the constant shedding and the filth covering everything dog related and the stupid hairy dog bed addded to the escaping all over the neighborhood and the leaping through my house like a freaking hellhound on doggie crack and the scittering of dog fingernails on cheap laminate flooring, seriously, there aren’t enough happy pills in the world to make me a dog person, at least not today.

RIght now she’s running all over the neighborhood like a total asshole and seriously, seriously, seriously, it’s kind of scary how much I hate my dog.

And now, if you’ll excuse me, I am off to eat all of the bait doritos and inform my husband that for christmas, he’s not getting a record player after all, he’s getting a new gate.  Or some taxidermy.

What’s Up

Planning two weeks of meals at a time and shopping at the cheapest grocery store in town has been making a huge difference in the grocery budget.  And it is more cooking, bu we can’t eat that much processed food, since we’re gluten free these days, and so all of this cooking isn’t really optional anyway.

A few of you asked about the gluten free thing and the celiac tests.  We did get Senor Pants’ test results back and he tested negative for everything.  However, Mr. E and I did some research and we really don’t think that the celiac blood test is accurate.  We are keeping on with the gluten free diet because 1. I feel better 2. Eli looks much larger and 3. is actually going to bed at night instead of screaming and staying up until 11:30.  If he hasn’t gained enough weight at his next check in, we’ll reassess, but meanwhile I don’t see the point in pushing for more tests for either of us, just so we can continue what we’re already doing.  I don’t know, the internet can make you believe anything, but at this point, I feel 100 times better, Senor Pants is fatter, and he’s sleeping at night, so we’re rolling with it.

I am on day six of my crazy pills and I think they are helping.  I feel decidedly more mellow, although I do sometimes wake up feeling a little weird.  I increase the dose today, so we’ll see.  On the plus side, I keep telling people I’m on Levitra, which is uh, not really for my problem.

I personally feel that it’s way too early for the Starbucks Red Cup.  Red Cup only at Christmas time please. Also, has anyone tried the Gingersnap Latte? I ordered it as my special once a week indulgence coffee on Sunday morning and I assumed it was just the Gingerbread Latte with a dippy new name, but it had a distinctly unpleasant oily mint funk to it.  Did they make mine wrong, or is the “Snap” in the name a reference to some icky mint flavor they add?

I went to the mall this weekend to buy an overpriced white tablecloth from Williams Sonoma and I noticed a distinct lake of sale age.  I am not sure when these rumored fire sale prices are going to begin but I can’t help but notice I just paid $60 for a table cloth.  Also, in other superiority complex news, it always makes me laugh when I see fake cranberries and glass pears and pumpkin candles and paper mache pomegranates being sold for an arm and a leg.  You can buy the real thing for 50 cents at the grocery store! Or pick it up for free on the ground outside.

Our lemon tree is going great gangbusters.  I am totally going to make some limoncello, and then I am going to pour it over every damn thing I can find to pour it on.

We went to the Prop 8 Rally at the capitol.  It was rather boring, not much of a turn out.  We did see some police horses take a dump on the grass, and Eli got to pet one.  His father was happy to  note that Eli does not care much for horses.  (Mr. E is really not a fan of horses.  Birds, yes. Horses, no.)

My child has timed the end of his poop strike to coincide with the fact that we have run out of wipes.  The good news is that being forced to wipe his kiester with paper towels makes me finally feel like a real mom.

Does anyone else frequent their local asian grocery store? I love shopping at mine. Everything is so dirt cheap and they have a plethora of rice noodles and I can always find a bunch of crazy stuff I’ve never heard of to experiment with, although we do run into problems regarding Mr. E and his love of turtles occassionally.  But then on the news the other day they said there were all kinds of new rules and regulations and recalls having to do with melamine in imports from China but not to worry because almost all the tainted goods have come from asian grocery stores.  Um, yikes?

PS It is eighty degrees here today.  I am wearing shorts.  Also, it is crab season!  God, I love California.

Here’s meals for the next two weeks:

1.  meatloaf, crispy iceberg and spinach salad, glazed carrots, and sour cream mashed potatoes. I don’t even like meatloaf and I have the weirdest craving for it. I think I probably actually just want to eat iceberg lettuce and ranch dressing.

2. ginger shrimp and apple slaw with yogurt dressing with mint, cinnamon, orange and honey. (Top Chef Recipe of the Week)

3. chicken and tofu satay, broccoli, spring rolls with rice paper wrappers

4. Thanksgiving: (brined turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, ambrosia salad (yummers!), brussel sprouts, and sausage sage chestnut stuffing. (Our guests are making pie and yams and cranberry hoo ha).

5.  Steak Fajitas

6.  Peach jam glazed pork tenderloin, whipped sweet potatoes, green beans

7. Crab, brocolli, twice baked potatoes

8.  Green salad and minestrone soup (with gluten free noodles)

9.  Polenta, sausage, greens

10.  whitefish, mango salsa, quinoa

11.  chicken picatta, rice, spinach

12.  cherry chicken, chard, wild rice pilaf

13.  beef bok choy hot pot

14.  tropical shrimp and rice

Also: Caramel sauce which is to die for, seriously the best thing of all time, salt caramels, lemon poppy seed cake for thanksgiving breakfast, limoncello, pumpkin bread.

Today

Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrgh.

Today has been one of those days.

One of those days when your child is actually for the love of all that is holy honest to god sleeping in and your cell phone rings, shockingly loud, at 7:30 am with another endless wrong number announcing the recall for a car you don’t own.

One of those days when you eat four slices of turkey pepperoni and one of the weird flavored yogurts for lunch, because that’s all that’s left in the refrigerator, and your husband insists on buying “boston cream pie” yogurt and then eats all the strawberry himself.

One of those days when you think “Eh, I can get through this day ok, this isn’t too bad” and then you realize it’s NINE THIRTY A.M.

One of those days when some about to be married couple on House Hunters simpers around a house you would give your very eyeteeth to own, making up things that are wrong with it, and you want to reach through the screen and tell them they aren’t allowed to own property, they simply suck too much.

One of those days when the only chocolate in the house is some disgusting orange jelly filled thing from Trader Joes.

One of those days when everyone on Top Chef cooked lamb and you hate lamb.

One of those days when you are about to announce on your blog that the too tight jeans fit! And then you try them on direct from the dryer and can’t get them up past your knees.

One of those days when you realize that you’re missing one essential ingredient you need for the dinner you had planned.

One of those days when you get out of the shower and your towel is gone and your bathrobe is in the washer but you can’t put it in the dryer because there’s a load in the dryer that needs to be folded but that didn’t get all the way dry.

One of those days when there aren’t any matching pairs of socks in the baby’s sock drawer and you JUST bought baby socks.

One of those days when you realize you’ll never again get to eat a real sandwich.

One of those days when the trash needs to be taken out again, and you just took the trash out, and are you the only person in the house who EVER takes the trash out?

One of those days when you go to empty the dishwasher and all the dishes are still dirty.

One of those days when you’re out of bananas and you find out one of your favorite bloggers can’t go to Blogher next year and your computer doesn’t remember any of your sign ins and you get sharpie right on the boob of your brand new long sleeved J Crew t shirt and you wake up sore and feeling black and blue when you didn’t even do anything strenous the day before unless you count watching The Real Housewives of Atlanta and eating pudding and your son staggers around the house, so tired he’s drunk on it, slamming his head into tables and chairs and crying but never ever sleeping, of course not.

Today is just one of those days.