Saturday, November 27, 2010

Home again--and some lessons from Thanksgiving

No matter how much I enjoy being someplace else--and I did love our Austin Thanksgiving--I am always glad to be home again. We drove on Saturday to beat the Sunday traffic, but we didn't get away from Austin until 3 p.m, which I thought was a bad plan--and it turned out to be. Traffic slowed just past Temple and bunched up off and on until Hillsboro, slowing us sometimse to 10 mph, averaging maybe 40-50. Nerve-wracking. We were tired and hungry, and Jacob got weepy--though a few Cheerios, Goldfish and raisins restored his blood sugar. Actually got to my house a bit after 6:30, which isn't bad--it just seemed that way. My cat could have cared less about seeing me but wanted food; my dog didn't care about food, but he was delighted to see me.
Leftovers are always the best part of a holiday meal, but here are a couple of things I learned:
--Mashed potatoes and gravy make a wonderful breakfast. We never get enough gravy from the turkey, so I made traditional gravy out of the drippings, scraping up all those good brown pieces, and then we added two quarts of prepared gravy Megan had bought from a home delivery service in Austin called The Soup Kitchen. Their gravy was quite pale, so I added a good couple of dashes of Kitchen Bouquet which turned it a lovely rich brown and spiced it up just a bit. It was the best we've made in a long time. Weight Watchers doesn't count too heavily for mashed potatoes, but they just don't know how much sour cream and butter Jordan puts in hers!
--I learned to love chess pie. I'd heard about it, probably never eaten it. Mel made it according to her great-grandmother's recipe which calls for corn meal and vinegar in the filling. Jordan called it baked sugar. I ate finger-sized slivers of it and was heartbroken this morning to discover it was all gone. Weight Watchers has never heard of chess pie (or vinegar pie) so I figured it was fair just not to mention it. The foods that I eat that Weight Watchers knows nothing about are numerous--I think they need a more sophisticated dietitian. Meantime I plan to ask Mel to share the recipe.
Elizabeth was right--going on Weight Watchers before the holidays made me a more conscious eater--I managed to come in almost on target with my points by taking a tablespoon of this and that. With so many offerings, that's a great way to taste everything and yet not feel stuffed. There again, Weight Watchers doesn't realize Lisa makes green bean casserole with sour cream, jack cheese (or monterrey, I'm not sure) and corn flakes soaked in a whole stick of butter. I cannot begin to tell you how much butter we used on Thursday!
--A non-cooking lesson for everyone who might find themselves in cold country. A norther hit Austin Thursday afternoon, like a snap of the fingers, dropping the temperature dramatically within minutes. That night it was really cold. I sleep in the office, the only upstairs room, that is always much colder than the rest of the house (and I don't think the heat was on at all that night). I could not sleep and realized it was because I was cold--my feet were like blocks of ice, and I was curling around myself to keep warm. Finally got up and got my sweats--put on the shirt and made a pocket out of the pants for my feet. It took a while for them to thaw, but then they were warm and toasty. Another problem is when the air gets cold, so does the air in a blow-up mattress. The next night the girls put a duvet on it for me, and I again slept with my special foot warmer and my sweatshirt and was as toasty and warm as I could be. Slept very well. I may sleep with my feet in sweat pants all winter--their soft lining makes them just wonderful, better than a cat on my feet.
We were supposed to come home on Sunday but came today for a variety of reasons. Still, I cannot get over the idea that it is Sunday. Jordan said something about Christian having a day off tomorrow and I asked why he wasn't working. I looked at businesses we drove by and wondered why they were open on Sunday. And tonight, of the newspapers left by Moksha, the pet-sitter, I threw the thickest on my desk to read. I swear I searched that thing three times looking for Parade, until it dawned on me it was Thursday's paper and was thick because it had all the ads for the Friday super sales.Okay, I'm beginning to get it: tomorrow is Sunday.
Back to routine, but overwhelmed by things to do. Some of my porch plants froze and I have to uproot them, especially the sweet potatoes. And my driveway is solid leaves, though I don't plan to tackle that.
How about you? Did you learn any life lessons over Thanksgiving? Are you charging into December feeling that you have a ton of things to do? A freind sent me a Biblical verse about living in the day and knowing God will help you face whatever tomorrow brings. I do wish I could learn to live in the moment and not worry a week or so ahead. I'm working on it.

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