angela_n_hunt: (Me 2014)
*Because as the desceandet of a band of Southern California Indians, the Luiseno Indians, I am not deaf to the cries of my ancestors slaughtered by conquistadors. Currently only the Rincon Band of that tribe survives, and owns a lovely casino.

So, in the BiGJAM House, we do not celebrate on Thursday. It's a tradition that started in my twenties, when I discovered that two of my friends had sat home alone on the day, and had not sat down to a handmade warm meal in gods knew how long. That first Friday, I went to Andronico's, bought half a cooked and stuffed turkey, (thank you, Andronico's!), the makings for a traditional meal, came back to the duplex and tried to teach myself how the hell to make a Thanksgiving dinner. I had only ever been on kitchen duty growing up. My mother never taught me how to do any of it.

I won't lie. That first dinner was barely adequate. The potatos were lumpy, I think the stuffing was Stovetop, and everything else was just passable. An excellent first attempt.

And it is, to this day, one of the best memories of Thanksgivings dinners that were full of warmth and love and too much food followed by pie. For a day, I helped my friends, and especially myself, feel a little bit more at home in the world.

That's a big deal in your twenties.

Needless to say, ah, you could say I've improved from that day. (And that would be a screaming understatement LOL)

What started out as a dinner between friends, became an open dinner for anyone who was alone and needed company that day. A day where even if I hadn't met you before, from that day on, you were a member of my chosen family. Because the people that would turn up with established friends, always turned out to be as dear as the ones they came with.

What started out as cooking on the day of, over the years gained a day or two here. Because as the number grew from four to at its highest 35, I started to teach myself more dishes and refined my techniques. Now I start prep a full week before the day of dinner.

Yes, you read that right. A full week.

There's good reason for that. The annual menu now includes the biggest fucking turkey I can find that year (24 is ideal, but I'd really love to get 30 pounder some day, CACKLE), the usual sides, AND chicken and beef liver pate, cakes, banana bread, pies, cookies, and if I end up having five minutes, a cheese and veggie plate and deviled eggs. And people still bring food if they want to.

So let that sink in for a minute.

Because this year is different. This year, I knew and know that I could not do all the work that I did before. There was no way. I just can't work like that anymore. So for the first time since that first dinner, I've cut back and streamlined. Dropped the pate, because I don't currently have a working food processor (that alone was a huge gain of time, it's a complicated dish), dropped the cakes, and only made two batches of chocolate chip cookies, versus my usual raft of dozens of those, sugar, peanut butter, and whatever new cookie recipe had caught my eye.

Yes, I was fucking nuts.

And it made and makes me stupid happy to do this every year. I can't even tell you. This is one of the great touchstones of my life.

Cutting back was really fucking hard for me, because I felt like I would be letting everyone down. Don't worry, Sane Anji pointed out that I always make too much fucking food, and there was a good chance no one would even notice, let alone care. The priority was to do the dinner without murdering my sanity and mood.

So here we are.

Final prep day.
I’ve got volunteers for help and I’m going to make sure that I take every offer of help that shows up tomorrow, even if it is for something as simple as, "would you please refill my glass?" (never cook sober) Or "watch this while I go to the bathroom? Thank you!!!" Simple stuff and it will make everyone feel good to help, instead of me chasing them out of the kitchen all the damn time.

I get the lesson now, Lady. Trust people to help when they actually show up to help, and know that I can’t do everything on my own. Except if no one shows up, figure out a way to do it by myself. Don’t let their lack of support or apathy drag me down. In short…

Fuck the crab pot.

Yeah.

Fuck the crab pot.

Roger that. I copy loud and clear.

Now understand that yesterday, I did not take timed breaks and ended really hurting my right shoulder due to recalcitrant ancient flour and an equally ancient flour sifter. Don't ask. It was an ugly three hours. So by bedtime, I was in fucking pain. Well, cannabis to the rescue.

Between taking a serious hit before bed and having the Husband put the Whoopi & Maya cannabis salve on my back, I am tender today, but not racked in pain. I've been diligent about setting my timers and sitting often and taking Advil and my dose frequently, Oh, and mostly use my left hand for heavy duty. (Thank Crom for ambidexterity)

So far. So good. I am not in great shape, but I'm nowhere near yesterday's stupidity. (Dude, it was boneheaded.)

So far, I've got one pie in the oven, and just walked away to take my break from slicing apples for crumble and pie. I'd call the experiment a success.

But all of this spawned some heavy thinking this morning. Specifically...

Man, the fucking arrogance of “Let nothing stop you.” Yeah, if you are completely healthy and able-bodied, and/or are born with enough support and care, you totes can go balls to the walls. There are people behind you who will catch you if you fall.

Then there’s the rest of us, who I’ve joined and didn’t understand and couldn’t believe when they said that they couldn't do things, because frankly, I saw how much it was a lie when it came out of my mother. I just missed that that piece of data was specific to her. You can’t help someone who won’t help themselves.

It wasn’t a universal.

So, yeah, some grace and compassion for myself. There’s no way I could have known any of that. A) I was a kid in a hideously abusive household and B) I was a fucking kid! Jesus Christ, give myself a fucking break, guys! We don’t expect that kind of cognitive burden from a child! It doesn’t matter if they’re a prodigy! (And I wasn't) That shit will burn them the fuck out.

I didn’t know and I couldn’t know.

I know now. And knowing what I know, I can take this knowledge back to the world of the abled and finally explain in terms that they can understand what it’s like to be caged by disabilities that you have no control over and that on some days, make you just want to scream with rage, pain, and frustration. How everything in your life requires a work around, life hacking every minute of every day for the rest of your life. Because for some of these things, there is no cure and in some other cases, they would refuse a "cure" because y'know what?

We're not broken.

We're just different.

I can tell people that. I can do that.
Yes, Lady. I can do that.

Yeah.

Lots to be grateful for. And grateful for you. Especially you. You keep me breathing.

* I had a footnote in mind earlier, but it has gone walkies. Oh well! It's gone now! :)
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
I have an inordinate amount of things to be grateful for this year.

Two years ago, I had to reach for those things.

I know that things can get awful again. But right now? I'm going to bask. Because right now, I have a novel I'm enjoying writing, my family is in the front room watching the parade, I have pie dough defrosting and in another hour, I'll be making my pate. The house is warm, there are clothes that I love on my body, enough food to eat and while the debt is still there, I can see the way out.

Oh, and I love my husband more than ever.

Friends are coming on Saturday for our annual Orphan's Thanksgiving dinner. Not as many this year. For once, most of them have families to go home too that they want to be with.

Yeah.

So thank you.

I hold this moment *here*.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
38,970

NaNoWriMo.org appears to be down right now and considering how many of us there are, I'm surprised it hasn't gone down more this year.

It's not the novel I thought I was going to write. And I like it better than the idea I had. It's darker and unhappier, but there are things in it that I love so hard even as it's kicking my ass, so I am content.

The next phase is to start writing the nonsense verse for the book, which is going to be a real stretch and challenge as I don't consider myself that great a poet. I write it. I like the bits I've written. I'm not accomplished the way [profile] ysabet_wordsmith is or some others I could name.

And really, how much espionage fantasy poetry have you ever read?

Exactly.

But there it is.

* * *

In other news, the Mouse and Bean are off to the pediatrician. The Bean for her next check up and vax shots, the Mouse for the second round of hearing tests.

Yeah.

*breathes*

Here's to hoping it's just wax buildup and not actual hearing loss in that left ear.

* * *

And in the category of things that I am thankful for:

You.

All of you.

I made pumpkin pie and whipped cream for you. You are all amazing. Thank you for being in my virtual and not so virtual life.

*kisses you on the cheek*

You're a diamond of the first water.

Happy Thanksgiving.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
So much can happen in a year. So much can change. And this time, finally, finally, finally for the better.

We're still not out of the woods yet. Things can still stand to improve. But I'm a year past the asshole and then some. I've got a dayjob that is not awful. I have a roof over my head that keeps my family warm and dry. I've got plenty of food in the fridge and able to feed my children. I have a working car that has actual car insurance and gas in the tank. My girls are healthy and happy. My husband is healthy and happy as can be managed with things being as they are. My sisters are healthy/healing/getting better and as happy as can be managed, things being as they are.

I have an art career. An actual art career.

I have an almost complete trilogy written.

I have a body of photographic work that I am very proud of.

I have baby cats to cuddle and love and keep from harm.

But most of all?

I have all of you. Yes. You. Over the last few years, you have been there, pushed me to travel the world, cheered me on, held my virtual hand, and just in general been so many shades of awesome that I've sat at my computer on more than one occasion and just cried. Happy, happy tears.

Thank you.

May the holidays hold you close, bless you, and fill your hearts with joy.

So mote it be!
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
Was running a bit late this morning.

We're escaping early today from the bankjob. It's finally quieted down. Even lawyers must rest.

I only have to make chocolate chip cookies and pie for Friday. Everything else is done, other than vegetable prep, which takes minimal time with a food processor. WOOT!

Reminder: we're having our annual Orphans Thanksgiving on Friday. If you're around and looking for a place of good company and too much food, ping me @ qkilroy at earthlink dot net. The more is always the merrier. Just bring drinks. And ice. We always run out of ice.

I may make punch.

In the meantime, to everyone, near and far, a happy, happy Thanksgiving, even if you're not in the US and it's not your holiday.

I am thankful for all of you. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.
angela_n_hunt: (Default)
I'm just thankful. For everything.

Thank you. You know who you are.

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