Sunday, November 28, 2004

Sunday at the Library, Blogging

Thanksgiving was a mellow success, meal-wise and relaxed accomplishment-wise. M and I went up to Mom's on Wednesday morning, stopping to pick up the bird and a few other groceries on the way. We arrived around lunchtime, and began to assemble the meal. We decided on a three-prong strategy for cooking the turkey, which M executed: deconstructed (Julia Child, basically cutting it into pieces to make it cook more quickly and evenly), brined (Alton Brown), and high heat (Gene Burns' program). I made the cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, the broth for gravy, and started the stuffing.

The day was gloomy, but the fire was always glowing in the hearth, and mom seems so much better. She was getting around well on her crutches. I wanted to watch TV (research for my scheme to get on a game show to earn money for the wedding), but there just didn't seem to be any time.

On Thursday, we did more food prep, then M and I went with stepdad and Rex to the beach. We chose the one with a long trek to the shore among dunes--quite a sandy hike thick with grass. A family was leaving as we arrived--we had the place to ourselves. We timed it perfectly, walking between rainstorms. No wind, very unusual. Rex ran along contentedly, tags jingling merrily, peeing on the driftwood and herding a flock of sandpipers. The green glass waves rose then shattered into foam on the dark sand. We found a dying maroon starfish and a dead pelican--M took the head and beak home to add to his trophy pile. A harbor seal peered at us from the soup (surfer lingo for the water between the waves and beach). Jelly parts littered the shore. Gulls huddled on a sandbar in the river mouth, then rose in two large sections, winging out over the ocean. On the trail, in the space between the sea and parking lot, there was no sound. I'm not used to that anymore. Where did M want to be at our 20th anniversary? I asked. Right here, was his answer.

Back home, we moved into cooking mode. By 5:00 p.m. we had a meal fit for a photo, but did I take one? No. The turkey was a bit uncooperative--we later theorized that it hadn't been quite defrosted right at the center. But the house was filled with that roasty Thanksgiving smell, and lots of leftovers meant we'd enjoy everything again. Which we did, and are still...

On Friday, M seemed reluctant to leave, though he was the one who said he had to get home to study. I had time to take Rex for a walk down to "the picnic grounds"--mom's neighbors own the land behind theirs, which they groom constantly. On the far side of the picnic grounds is a road up a hill, leading through a gloomy redwood forest which I hadn't walked through in some time. There were more mushrooms than I remembered--spiky ones like blanched hyacinth, bulbs, tiny clusters of mustard yellow ones, nut brown pancake-like caps hiding rubbery gills. Every few feet another variety sprang up. The silence was here too--few birds and frogs, even, and I had left Rex's collar at the house. On the way back, a mouse distracted him in a woodpile, and he missed the doe crashing in the undergrowth on the slope above us.

Like Wednesday, it was a beautiful and uneventful drive home. Every trip, I think to myself, there's a place I've driven by for twenty years or more--a particular beach, historic spot, the River's End bar--I should stop there sometime. But it's never the time.

M studied for most of the day yesterday. Thinking I would put some stillness of the universe into practice, I decided to start shopping for bathroom remodel items, figuring that the Thanksgiving weekend would be a madhouse on the road and in stores, and what better time to just experience each moment? The check-out line at Kmart was indeed a test, but now I have that Martha Stewart wrapping paper safely stowed chez moi, and at what a great price! The guys at Home Depot were polite and helpful. I chose the wrong check-out line at Yardbirds, and waited for what seemed like an eternity to purchase my antique-colored pansies, but they look so charming now ringing my pink rosebush, so who cares? I didn't get everything on my shopping list, but I got a lot of it, and didn't get stressed in the process.

Our neighbors came home. The husband told M that they're going to buy a shock collar for their dog, the one who barks loudly for a little human attention. M told them that what the dog needs it exercise, but when they tried to take him for a walk, he was too rowdy. So now this animal that doesn't get any interaction, exercise, or shelter won't be able to express himself, either. I'm going to call my friend at the animal shelter tomorrow--maybe he'll have some advice. This is where I feel my self-loathing welling up. The right thing to do would be to confront my neighbor in a constructive way, to offer to help somehow, but I don't know if I'm able to.

This morning was chores, lots of laundry and housecleaning. Laundry was especially important since I was felting a "kitty pi" bed I knitted for The Pook to snuggle in. It looks like the headgear rastas use to tuck up their dreadlocks. I hope she likes it--she'd been testing it in progress. I also made a couple of thrift store sweater purchases last week, and now they're ready for the office. One is a lovely paprika-hued cashmere turtleneck with a Bloomingdale's label. I had been under the impression that orange is the new black, but I heard on the radio this morning that aqua is the new black, so I guess I missed out yet again on a fashion trend.

Looking out through the lattice arming the library's windows, I can see that the sky is still blue. It's been a good few days. But I'm looking forward to more time off in December, and hopefully a gorgeous, if teeny, new bathroom.


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