Print Story It’s a tricky thing, celebrating.
By ana (Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 10:40:19 AM EST) (all tags)

Holidays have a way of bringing back memories, of awakening unmet expectations which, at other times of the year, rumble quietly as they snore.

This one in particular, it’s all about getting together with family, either the blood relation kind or the one you build yourself, eating things we don’t normally eat at all. To excess. Nothing exceeds like excess. Too much is never enough. Anyway. This year, I have no family within reach, either relatives (they’re all far away) or the family I chose to build. And so I celebrate alone, with a cat who’s sleeping contented in his corner in the kitchen where it’s nice and warm. He was fed at dawn, so he’s happy for the time being.

Some weeks ago I settled on the plan of roasting for myself a Cornish game hen, which is about the right size for one person, with minimal to no leftovers. There’s an apple-sage-sausage stuffing toxicfur liked to make, and so (with the aid of her recipe and Cooks Illustrated) I’ll attempt to do that. And I have some parsnips and carrots and potatoes and sweet potatoes which might find their way into the roasting pan.

I also made a roasted pumpkin with cranberries and a sage brown sugar butter glaze. I got the recipe from the Boston Globe Magazine a few weeks ago. Since the landlady in Vermont gave me a pumpkin when I left, I put that together weekend before last, froze some, and put the rest in the fridge. I’ll warm that up. The first serving was tasty. I also made the cranberry sauce I do every year, the recipe (again from the Boston Globe Magazine) that calls for a pomegranate (half juiced, half included as whole berries for their crunch), a tangerine, and minced fresh ginger root.

The joke when we moved in together was that if I was unsure about whatever she’d cooked, I’d bring cranberry sauce to the table to go with it. That’s not entirely fair, but I do like cranberry sauce.

Right now (nearly ten in the morning) the bird is brining in the fridge, the bread cubes have been toasted in the oven, and in an hour or so I’ll put together the stuffing and put the bird in the oven.

And in the midst of all the cooking and the eating, I’ll be carefully trying not to think about the people who aren’t here. I’m sure I could have pried an invitation out of someone, and by the time friends began to realize I’m alone this year, I had already bought things for my dinner. But it’s a time for families to be together. Which leaves me, here, alone, carefully not thinking about all this.

Not thinking about Simon, the cat who lost his battle with congestive heart failure the day after Thanksgiving in 2007, three years ago now. Or the others, feline, canine, human, who are no longer living here. The human, mercifully, very much alive but elsewhere, with many of the critters.

In some ways, it’s like hunkering down for a storm, though the weather is fine for this time of year. The day is much like any other, except for the unrealistic expectations we bring to it. I will be here, hiding from the blizzard that is entirely within my own head.
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It’s a tricky thing, celebrating. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
Empathy from me. by Phage (4.00 / 1) #1 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 11:32:02 AM EST
Been there.
I found it better to get out and do something, anything. Having a festival on your own is no flaming joke.

A couple of Thanksgiving thoughts by yankeehack (4.00 / 1) #2 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 11:43:18 AM EST
-The one T-day I've ever spent alone was the one during the year I was separated.  We had just had the hearing which allowed me to leave the state with LO, and I was busy making plans during those days to leave late in December. I think I had a Turkey TV dinner as Ex had taken LO out of the house for the day. But it was a really good TV dinner for other reasons.

-T-day doesn't really do it for me by most measures, and although I love my parents... I'd rather not be going to my parents later today. I'd rather be on a warm beach with a beer in hand with a few friends. And honestly, once LO gets old enough, that'll be my T-day goal. Did I mention I will drink a little more wine so I don't have to answer questions about my little sister too truthfully?

-I lie. I did have an enjoyable T-day celebration at work yesterday. We had one in the office since a good number of my officemates are East Indian and don't have family around. So we had sandwiches of reconstituted stuffing (into bread) and turkey (vegetarian for most of the East Indians) drank some wine and beer and chatted. I enjoyed it (and had even left LO at home for a few hours so I could attend).

-I only wish I had my shit together enough to invite those officemates over to my place. Maybe next year.
"...she dares to indulge in the secret sport. You can't be a MILF with the F, at least in part because the M is predicated upon it."-CBB

I had a sole T-day once by georgeha (4.00 / 1) #3 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 12:46:30 PM EST
I was a junior in uni, with a malfunctioning car I didn't trust to drive very far (not too many weeks before the unburnt gas coming out of the engine overheated the muffler and lit my undercoating on fire, good thing I had a few cans of soda to make a quick fire extinguisher with). I was living in a fraternity house that rented rooms to non-members needing a place to stay for one semester. Just me in the house, with the beer taps off, I think I had ham salad, then went to the computer building.

Dinner was a success. by ana (2.00 / 0) #4 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 02:06:10 PM EST
The brined and then roasted Cornish game hen was juicy and tasty. The stuffing was also very nice. And it turns out I do have a meat thermometer. The roasted pumpkin with cranberries reheated very nicely, and it was all ready more or less at once. There's a picture  on facebook.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

/me looks at the timestamp ... by BlueOregon (2.00 / 0) #5 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 02:36:35 PM EST

Other than that, I support your cooking endeavor.

[ Parent ]
Eat when it's done. by ana (2.00 / 0) #9 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:40:53 PM EST
And I waited til 10:30 or so to start actually cooking stuff.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
the roasted pumpkin by aphrael (2.00 / 0) #11 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:43:36 PM EST
It really is. by ana (2.00 / 0) #12 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:44:59 PM EST
Definitely a keeper.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
One year by technician (4.00 / 3) #6 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 02:37:07 PM EST
many years ago, myself and a roommate did Thanksgiving. We had family close, but that family didn't like us much at the time. We had almost no cash. But we found that if we walked to the store at the last second, we could find cheap turkey, cheap bread, and cheap produce was had at the very last hour at a farmer's market (back before they were, ya know, expensive and foodie-laden).

It was always, always easy for my roommate and I to find pity. Everyone we worked with felt sorry for us for having to spend Thanksgiving disconnected. But what we were trying to do wasn't find pity. We were trying to find our own way.

The turkey was big and cheap. The veggies were wilting a bit but very edible. The whole dinner came together over four hours, and we invited a neighbor (who had no family in the area at all) and my roommate's sister dropped a pie off.

I remember the turkey being a little dry but very, very good. The veggies weren't perfect, but they were close.

We ate, and drank heavily, and by the end of the day we'd made something new. We'd created our own story, removed the need for other people and found something in ourselves and damned if we didn't have a good time.

It wasn't perfect. But it was damn good.

The world turns. We find our way.

Zackly. by ana (4.00 / 2) #8 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:40:00 PM EST
But what we were trying to do wasn't find pity. We were trying to find our own way.

Yeah. That.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Christmas in the pub 2003 by Phage (4.00 / 2) #21 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 03:50:01 AM EST
One Kiwi, One Scot, One Canadian, an Aussie couple, me and some lost foreign students who turned up late.
Odd, but fun.

[ Parent ]
I'll be cooking with friends shortly. by ammoniacal (4.00 / 1) #7 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:37:46 PM EST
More like "heating" actually, but close enough. Remember, ana, you're never truly alone if you have an open Port 80.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

I'm not sure whether by ni (4.00 / 3) #13 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 05:39:19 PM EST
it says more about me or you, but after reading that I googled Port 80, curious to know whether it was one of the better malt liquors.

"These days it seems like sometimes dreams of Italian hyper-gonadism are all a man's got to keep him going." -- CRwM
[ Parent ]
Ghetto Seven! by ana (4.00 / 1) #14 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 05:43:18 PM EST
that's all.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Definitely you. by ammoniacal (2.00 / 0) #19 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 11:16:17 PM EST
It's a Four Loko night.

"To this day that was the most bullshit caesar salad I have every experienced..." - triggerfinger

[ Parent ]
port 80? by dev trash (2.00 / 0) #29 Mon Nov 29, 2010 at 07:29:19 PM EST
Port 23 is where it's all at!

[ Parent ]
there were many years by aphrael (4.00 / 1) #10 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 03:42:59 PM EST
when i was single and estranged from my family. once i moved off of the college campus and was living a real life, it was always critically important to me to find someone to spend this holiday with.


this too shall pass.
If television is a babysitter, the internet is a drunk librarian who won't shut up.

Back atya by ana (2.00 / 0) #15 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 08:12:41 PM EST

Doin okay, so far.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
you're right by StackyMcRacky (4.00 / 2) #16 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 10:12:47 PM EST
Thanksgiving is about being with family.  Just before I read this diary I told clock that I would really love to host a HuSi Thanksgiving, because I consider everybody here family.

Although we're far away (just as easy to visit your blood family as it is to visit us), we consider you family and are always welcome in our home for any occasion.

The first post-breakup holiday is always the hardest, even when the breakup is the best thing in the world for you.  As with everything, it gets easier with time.  *hugs* from our family to you!

what she said by clock (4.00 / 1) #17 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 10:15:02 PM EST
we always have extra room and if you can stand the licky puppy our house is your house.

I agree with clock entirely --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Yeah by FlightTest (4.00 / 2) #18 Thu Nov 25, 2010 at 11:05:45 PM EST
With Mrs. FT laid up and my parents in separate facilities (mom in a skill nursing facility, dad in a hospital), it just isn't Thanksgiving here.  We just finished some really crummy Hormel chicken dinners.  My point isn't to say my T-day was worse than yours, but to commiserate a bit, and let you know we're thinking of you.

And, if you ever find yourself in SoCal, our spare bedroom is open to you at any time.  You might even find a friendly cat or two sleeping with you.

T-day is a hard holiday to go alone. by muchagecko (4.00 / 1) #20 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 01:07:48 AM EST
Harder for me than Xmas. I usually spend Xmas alone.

Baking helps me, but then I love to bake. I hope that your meal was swell and that next year's T-day is fuller.

A purpose gives you a reason to wake up every morning.
So a purpose is like a box of powdered donut holes?
My Name is Earl

-1 no pics. by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #22 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 05:57:47 PM EST
C'mon, give us some food pr0n here!

Transatlantic hugs from UKia.

Next year, come over to Londinium.  You're always welcome at my place, we can mock your accent and you can laugh at our concept of "customer service".

The blizzard will blow out over time, mate; it will pass.

If i can figure out the syntax... by ana (2.00 / 0) #23 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 06:50:54 PM EST

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
/drool by Breaker (2.00 / 0) #24 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 06:59:47 PM EST
I'll be over in twenty minutes.

Looks like you've got the white wine sorted, I'll bring the port and the cheeseboard.

Then we'll hit the whisky and cigars, then the guitars, the singing and then the telling of tall tales.

[ Parent ]
Sounds wonderful. by ana (2.00 / 0) #25 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 07:05:34 PM EST
I quite like Albariño, which I've only recently discovered.

Hmm. Cheese board. I knew I forgot something. And I had a nice shot of Glenlivet later in the evening.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
Ack! Pfftht! by ana (2.00 / 0) #26 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 07:14:07 PM EST
Glenfiddich. Gah.

Also a couple French Butter cookies I'd made the previous week to take to a reception, but which didn't sell out.

"And this ... is a piece of Synergy." --Kellnerin

[ Parent ]
No matter by Breaker (4.00 / 1) #28 Sat Nov 27, 2010 at 03:44:28 PM EST
MBW hates the smell of whisky.

MBW really hates the smell of whisky if I've been drinking it.

Oooh, butter cookies?  Would they go with a cheekily sweet Sancerre, and coffee, perhaps?

I really should have left to come over...

[ Parent ]
My Thanksgiving dinner was alone. by wiredog (4.00 / 1) #27 Fri Nov 26, 2010 at 11:03:18 PM EST
Same basic menu as you. Cornish hen, a rice/wild rice/chestnut stuffing, and cranberry sauce.

Usually someone in my group does the orphan's Thanksgiving dinner, but somehow that fell through the cracks and about 10 of us ended up eating dinner alone. Next year we'll have to be a bit more organized.

But that morning was the Thanksgiving morning AA meeting with food and fellowship. Got there at 0800, left at 1200. So I wasn't lonely.

Earth First!
(We can strip mine the rest later.)

It’s a tricky thing, celebrating. | 29 comments (29 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback