The last 36 hours have been just lovely. Wednesday evening included a group effort to beat the house into decent enough shape that we could have guests for Thanksgiving dinner. Fortunately, the guests were Becky, Michael, and Claire, so decent enough translated to not having to have the books back in the bookcases or the pictures hung on the walls. It did mean bringing more furniture up from downstairs, rolling out the new rugs, and getting most of the layer of remodeling dust off of everything. We did it, and it feels so good to have the house sorted out.
Here are a couple of shots to give you an idea of how the remodel changed the character of the place. The dining room shot shows the impact on how much light is coming into the house now. It is such a warm, bright feeling now, instead of the cold, white tile and no windows of before
I did spend a good part of the evening starting the food prep for Thursday. I brined my 18 pound free range turkey (it was the only size available!), I roasted chestnuts (brought back memories of buying chestnuts on the street in Korea), sauteed onions and celery for the stuffing, made cranberry sauce. And then, I actually had the energy to finish the ribbing on the prodigal socks – surprise! a finished object, twice in less than a week.
These were done with home dyed Knit Picks bare washable fingering weight merino, a gussetted toe-up pattern with a cuff pattern of eye of partridge, highly effective in this multi-color yarn.
I cooked up a storm Thursday morning, of course. (Guess what, birch flooring is so much easier on your legs than ceramic tile. More to be thankful for.) The menu:
- Relish tray (Becky and Mike provided this – dilled Brussels sprouts, garlic and bleu cheese stuffed olives, pepperoncini)
- Black olives big enough to wear on your fingers (which we did)
- Nuts (cashews, peanuts)
- Free range turkey
- Corn bread stuffing (vegetarian)
- Chestnut stuffing (in the bird)
- Mashed potatoes (from CSA share)
- Roasted Brussels sprouts (CSA)
- Creamed squash (CSA)
- Green bean casserole
- Baby peas (no pollutants like butter or mushrooms added, per Claire’s request)
- Fordhook lima beans ( plenty of butter, per Wilson’s request)
- Creamed pearl onions (brings back memories of W’s grandma)
- Canned jellied cranberry sauce (tradition – but no one ate any, maybe this is a tradition that can end)
- Pomegranate orange whole berry cranberry sauce (yum – the new tradition?)
- Pecan pie (Becky bakes a tremendous pecan pie. You should try to score a piece sometime.)
- Pumpkin pie (also Becky)
- Whipped cream (I’m crediting Claire for this, based on her enthusiastic application of it)
- Vanilla bean ice cream
- French vanilla ice cream (hey, we had to experiment. I think we get credit for holding ourselves to two variables – the store also had double vanilla and light vanilla.
- A really nice riesling – nutty, not too sweet – from Fetzer vineyards
- Plum wine, the kind with the plums in the bottom of the bottle (man, those things taste higher in alcohol than the wine)
Dinner was so nice. Good, old friends around a table, enjoying food and each other. Of course, we missed everyone who wasn’t with us, especially Karen and Max, who are off on the west coast with their respective fiances.
We took our traditional post-meal hike. Wilson, Becky, and Judit were natty in their black and white accessories. We saw a very brave muskrat and a whitetail that was pretty skittish. I guess it has been deer season recently, not muskrat season, so I can’t really blame the deer for being suspicious.
We wrapped the evening with a game of Apples to Apples, a partial viewing of The Incredibles (partial because there was napping and we had to finally admit we just couldn’t stay up any longer), and hugs and well wishes at the door to see B, M, and C off.
I can’t help but feel a shadow of guilt at our fortune, especially in light of the news from Mumbai. Yet life is to be consecrated in laughter and in tears, and the juxtaposition of the two adds to the mystery. And deepens my gratitude to that mystery that I have been able to experience so much in my life.
Peace and love to you,