What a wonderful world!
Hello One, All! How’s it hanging? I, for one, am practically giddy with the joy of the season. Besides my birthday,Thanksgiving, is, by far, my favorite national holiday. Of course, when you consider the other national holidays – Memorial Day, Labor Day, Presidents Day, Arbor Day, Sunday – it doesn’t look like Thanksgiving has any real competition, except of course from me and MLK, but that’s beside the point. Thanksgiving is a day when no matter who you are or what your background, you’re encouraged to kick back, eat something delicious, and contemplate the good. Sometimes we don’t have time to do that, but the good is out there, and just thinking about it makes you feel better. If nothing looks so great right now, you can think back to a time when you were happy, or you can look ahead to what might be. Try to wrap your head around this technical explanation, my laypeeps: Good is good! Take as much as you can, and stuff yourself with it!
I was feeling particularly gleeful at last night’s pre-Thanksgiving celebration. Pre-Thanksgiving starts out with a long walk at the lake, so I can look at the leaves and wave at ducks and people on bikes. My trusted sidekick, Atticus, trotted along next to me, looking for new kinds of poo to sniff, and hoping that just for one moment I would relax my grip on the leash so that he can hurl himself into the brown-green water and try to swim from one shore to the other. I’m grateful for Atticus, even though he can be an asshole. The other day I went out to dinner and he got out of the backyard. When I came back about four hours later, he was waiting up for me on the front porch. That boy knows where his kibble comes from; he ain’t goin’ nowhere! I’m thankful he loves me and I have him to love back.
So I go to the lake, and it’s beautiful, even though in my neck of the woods it’s not all that much of an autumnal orange-red-and-gold tapestry, because it’s 80 degrees here. The leaves are like, “Oh, shit! I didn’t even have time to change, and now it’s too late!”, before they leap from jazz-handing in the breeze to an eternity as mulch. (Note to self: don’t let this happen to me!) (I did NOT take this picture, though I wish I could say that I did! My friend Jill saw it on Pintrest and sent it to me. Kudos to the photographer, whoever you are! I’m grateful for art and beauty that just finds you by surprise.)
After the lake I made a big, fat meal, a pre-bounty cornucopia, a real gorge fest to stretch my stomach muscles for the Thanksgivingathon. Atticus got a little leftover salmon, some trout, and two hunks of sweet potato. That’s some real fine eating. ( I appreciate all kinds of food, and I love to eat, and I’m really glad I don’t have a 2 foot long parasite coiled in my bowels that forces me to eat things like muskrats or ants.)
As can be expected, I took to the couch immediately after eating. Oh, who am I kidding? I ate laying down! Believe it or not, I have not been able to watch near enough tv lately. ( I’m thankful for tv and especially my dvr. I love my friends and family, but they are nowhere near as reliable and loyal as my tv pals, whom I will never forget nor forsake. I’m talkin’ to you, Joey! I don’t care what they say about you! My love for you will never be moo!)
So, I watched an ep of Parks and Rec, just to prime the pump, if you will, and then finished a documentary about Ethel Kennedy (what a life!), and then tucked in for Parenthood. Ah, Parenthood! You make feeling sad feel so good! I cried and cried, even though it wasn’t all that sorrowful; sometimes you just gotta let it out, even if you don’t really know what it is. (I’m thankful for generic and slightly nonsensical advice that could make relative sense in numerous, disparate contexts.) You can’t end pre-Thanksgiving night with your tear on, so I decided to cheer up with an ep of Teen Mom. Those wacky young mothers! They still act like kids! They’re so crazy – sleeping around and blowing off rehab and going to jail and stuff! Lifted my spirits right up! But the coup de grace (I’m grateful for my ginormous, super-classy vocabulary!) transpired (did you catch that? I could have just said ‘happened’!) when I switched to unrecorded “live” programming and caught my very favorite episode of one of my very favorite, “dead” shows, Bob Newhart. (Were you expecting some Jerry Garcia reference when I said Dead show? You don’t even know who I am, do you?!)
NOTE: I searched high and low to get you a video clip here, either from the episode I’m about to talk about, or of the theme song and opening of the show, “Home to Emily”. Everything I came up with was lame. Either the intro was incomplete, or had only audio (which rocks – dig that driving trumpet, man!), or was from the second Bob Newhart Show, which just wasn’t the same. Anyway, I couldn’t do it. You’ll have to find it on tv and watch it yourself. Do it! It’s totally worth it! In the meantime, pretend I did find a really perfect clip of the opening where Bob, wearing that checked sports jacket, answers the big, fat push-button phone, and a beat after he says “Hello?”, like “I wonder who’s calling? This could be something good!”, the drums kick in and then the horns start and it’s all exciting, but nothing’s really happening; it’s just Bob going to work, a little man in a beige overcoat and hat on a gray street, or riding the train, or taking the elevator, and then it slows down, kind of contemplative, and the day starts, the doctor is in, and those minor relationships that make up the bulk of a life, with the guy at the end of the hall, or the receptionist or the kid at the checkout, those relationships become layered, so that they become solid and real, grain of sand to pearl, and you know that at the end of the day, but this time when it’s darker and colder, Bob will be reversing the trip, a little more slowly, weary and tired this time, but the drums will kick in again when he gets to the door of his apartment and it swings open and there, like a sunflower in a long yellow skirt, and you can almost smell the home scent of pot roast curling around the door jamb, there beams Suzanne Pleshette to welcome him home to Emily – pretend like you’ve just seen that!
Ah, yeah! That’s the goods! What a great show! Anyway, this particular episode is called “Over the River and Through the Woods”, but we afficianados just call it “Moo Goo Gai Pan”. You can call it “Over the River and Through the Woods”. So, Emily goes out of town, and Bob and Jerry are watching the football game with a big jug of something, and every time their team scores they drink – sort of like the classic game of “Hi, Bob!”, which is kind of ironic, considering. Mr. Carlin and Howard/Major Healey come over, and they’re all sad sack, but then they get all drunk and order Chinese food…it’s so funny! The jokes are right up my alley; lots of puns and wordplay, the kind of joke that’s kind of not funny and a little stupid; that shit just makes me want to pee myself! (I’m thankful I have bladder control, but also, I’m thankful that they make Depends that you can barely see, and also that my backyard has big privacy hedges!) I’ve tried all day to describe it to people, but they don’t get it. I watched part of it three times (thank you dvr!), and laughed each time! I’m grateful for things that make me laugh!
Speaking of Bobs I am thankful for, I’m glad my friend Robert is here from England. Like Newhart, Robert is hilarious, but with an accent. We went out the other night and within ten minutes, he said, ” I have two great ambitions. One is to find a dead body while walking a dog, and the other is to survive a plane crash.” While this is a great conversation starter under any circumstance, it is even more meaningful apropos of nothing and in Brit-speak. I really admire his depth of thought and attention to detail. I mean, while it would be cool to find a corpse, how much better would it be to have that happen with a dog by your side? That Robert is a sodding genius! (The English say “sodding” instead of “fucking”. Also, sometimes they just say “fucking”, but it sounds like “fecking”. I’m happy I know some other languages, so that I can tell people what I think in a global arena.) I am so very thankful for my fantastic friends, who inspire me and make me think and smile.
Speaking of making me smile, I am grateful for people who go out of their way just to do it, and by ‘do it’, I mean make me smile, and not necessarily because I’m having a good time while doing it. Duh, dirty bird! One of my cousins – I’ll call her AIA, sent me this Thanksgiving text:
Do you think that when Kai Ryssdal wants to ‘do 69’ with his significant other he says, “Hey babe, let’s do the numbers?”
I totally understand if you are not laughing right now; it’s not because you’re stupid – though indeed, you may be; I don’t know who reads this blog!- it’s because that little gem was specifically made for me, to appeal to my sense of humor. Not only does it revolve around my current boyfriend, Kai Ryssdal, but it also has numbers, but no math – man, I love that! I am incredibly thankful for people who ‘get’ me. All twelve of you.
So all that was just pre-Thanksgiving. Yesterday I got up early and sang along to the Violent Femmes and the new Diana Krall cd and made mashed potatoes for thirty people, which is more difficult than it sounds, even though I was given very explicit instructions. “Just make plain mashed potatoes. Just plain. Maybe with butter, but that’s all,” my cousin JC said. (I am so thankful for my cousins! I have a lot of them, and they are all wonderful people! I am lucky that they are not just family, but friends, also. I must have been pretty fantastic in my past lives to deserve to be born into this one! Homage, family! Even though only a couple of you will ever read this, I salute you all!)
So I woke up and walked Atticus and set out to make a huge batch of twice-baked, rosemary infused, mashed potatoes with roasted garlic. And a little bowl of plain mashed potatoes, butter optional.
I probably should have looked at a recipe for twice-baked, rosemary infused, roasted garlic potatoes before I started, but I figured I could suss it out, and after four pounds of potatoes and two hours, by golly, suss I did! Those spuds were delicious; garlicky, creamy, Clooney – Rosemay Clooney that is! I knew they would steal turkey thunder and Brussels sprout bravado, and next year, I would be trusted to make whatever I wanted, however I wanted to make it. Oh yeah, and then I made a little bowl of plain potatoes, just so people could compare and fully comprehend what plain taters aspire to be.
On the way to the car, the bag with the sturdy handles that I used to carry out the potatoes de resistance broke, and the glass bowl that held them shattered. I wondered how small a shard of glass had to be to pierce esophagi, even those pre-coated with creamy spud salve. Pretty small, I think. I had to dump the whole delectable dish in the end. I still had the other mashed potatoes, even though I hadn’t really given them the time or attention that Thanksgiving fare deserves. I also had a bottle of red wine and a bottle of white. They ought to help soften the low potato blow.
But even for this unfortunate turn of events, I am grateful, as I learned a valuable lesson: I like my mashed potatoes like I like my men: simple and lumpy. With skin. Yum.
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. I hope you have many things to appreciate. May you be living in a state of ataraxia, which is a real word. Look it up. As always, please know that I am eternally grateful for those of you who care enough to follow my adventures even though I’m not on Facebook. Thank you for keeping up with me. For those of you who stumble unawares into my web, I’m glad you are here, even if it is only for a moment. Who knows? Maybe you will end up sticking around. Maybe when serendipity and possibility call, you will answer the big, push-button phone and say, “Hello?”, thinking, “I wonder who is calling? This could be something good!”, and one day we can be thankful that we found each other.
Here are some things to be thankful for:
Hills to roll down……………………………….. and rock and roll that never dies, even if it ages
Sunny days ………………………………………………… and nights that light up
Things that are much bigger than you……………….. and things that are way smaller.
Atraxia- A state of freedom from emotional disturbance or anxiety. I knew you wouldn’t look it up.
Kai could absolutely be a closet freak. He does have four kids and I don’t think he acquired any of them in some “marketplace.”
I am sorry about your smashed potatoes but your mashed potatoes were delicious anyway.
I am thankful for smaller adventures. Yours, mine and everyones!
That do the numbers joke was the bomb!
Someone should do a pop culture thesis comparing the original Newhart show to Seinfield. Newhart seems to me to be the original show about nothing. Makes me want to drink a beer too.
I know I’m coming to this one very late, but in what sense is Kai Ryssdal your boyfriend? (I came here because of the Kai Ryssdal joke (joke?), but enjoyed the stuff I found when I got here (especially the Newhart)).