Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thoughts on Thanksgiving Eve Eve, 21 November 2006

A friend of mine reminded me that this Thursday is Thanksgiving in America. I keep forgetting.

I never did quite make up my mind this year about what to do about the observance of this holiday that I've celebrated every year of my life with family and friends, now that I'm living with family and friends who have never celebrated it.

I thought about making Thanksgiving dinner but it seems kind of pointless since Thanksgiving Day for me would be sending the kids off to school and Tim off to work like normal, spending the morning trying to squeeze a very big turkey into a very small cooker, slaving away all day making a huge dinner, only to have the family come home to grumble that they don't like sweet potatoes and why would anyone put marshmallows on top of them and pumpkin pie is so gross that no one should even try it and what is Thanksgiving anyway and why do they have to sit around talking about why they're thankful since Lois and Clark reruns are on now and they want to get on with their homework anyway.

Tim was very supportive of keeping Thanksgiving for my sake, but it really doesn't make any sense. It's a whole lot of work for not a lot of payoff. My American friends all have other plans and our house is so deconstructed that inviting the American missionaries over for dinner isn't feasible. I'm trying to feel something about this but it doesn't "feel" like anything. Sort of like phantom limb pains. Trying to feel for something that isn't there.

Thanksgiving Day used to be waking up a little later than normal with a big yawn and stretch, smiling, feeling well rested, the sun streaming in the windows, padding into the living room in my pajamas to catch the end of the time-delayed broadcast of the Macy's Day Parade, making the cranberry sauce, listening for the pop of the berries as the heat swells them to bursting, showering and getting ready at a leisurely pace, driving five minutes to my parents' house where everyone is already gathered, Dad carving a turkey--possibly a smoked one, table set with cool Pilgrim or turkey-shaped candles, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes topped with toasted marshmallows, corn, peas, mandarin orange jello, green salad, cranberry sauce, oyster stuffing and regular stuffing, rolls from Shirley's Bakery, real butter, raspberry jelly, olives and other tidbits, then prayer by Dad in his deep, resonating voice, shuffling of plates as parents dish up food for youngsters, appreciative mmms and ooohs and this-is-so-goods, then talk of what we're thankful for, table clearing, cream whipping, pie cutting, casual conversation and clean-up, talk of what to do the next day, everyone backing out of going to the Spanish Fork Christmas Craft Fair except Mom and me, talk of Christmas decorations and parties and gifts and Santa, more pie, some leftovers, and then the drive home...

...to my empty house. To contemplate Christmas and how to get through it gracefully yet again, deciding whether it would be worth it to decorate my condo since I was essentially the only one to see it, wondering what to get for my parents and my siblings and their families, feeling foolish and selfish and guilty because I again felt incredibly sad that there wasn't anyone to buy something special for me, wondering again if this year I should spend the night at my sister's house watching her kids open their presents enjoying the excitement and Christmas morning giddiness but secretly feeling a little like a holiday voyeur, contemplating again whether I should just avoid it all and travel out of town for Christmas, feeling vaguely numb, wishing with all my heart and soul that I had my own husband and my own family to have Christmas with but knowing that the odds weren't good.

And so, as has happened so many times during the past year, I am again face to face with the quiet yet disquieting question of whether I would go back to the way things were. Would I give up being here with my husband and his children, in this house that I didn't choose, in a country I wasn't born in, with people who are strangers to me, in a culture that is foreign to be able to celebrate this Thanksgiving with my family in the US?

Yeah, right.

We'll do Thanksgiving next year. We'll have a better kitchen...and a place to plug in my nifty new food processor. Maybe we can keep the kids out of school and Tim can take a holiday from work. That would be cool.

And they'll love pumpkin pie. You wait and see.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Saturday, 11 November 2006

Hannah brought home a permission slip a few weeks ago to join the school choir. I thought it was a great idea and signed it posthaste.

After her first practice I read the lyrics she brought home of the songs she's singing. They include, "...then men came with all their greed, destroyed the forests, thought of their need..." Most of the songs are of a similar bend.

Now I grit my teeth on Tuesdays and bite my tongue to stop myself from saying to Kathryn, "Hannah isn't coming home with us right now. She's at Environmentalist Propaganda Choir. I'll pick her up later after the brainwashing and indoctrination is over for this week."

I don't think Kathryn will be attending "choir" when she reaches Year 4. Not unless I become a white-male-hating-tree-hugging-vegetarian granola girl before then.

Does "A snowball's chance in Hades" mean anything to you??

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thursday, 9 November 2006

Hi. My name is Kari and I'm a Dr Pepper-aholic. (Now you're supposed to say, "Hi, Kari!")

I am hereby forced to confess that if they had a 12-Step program for Dr Pepper drinkers, I would be morally obligated to join. Why? Because I've read a little of A.A.'s Big Book and scary enough, I have behaviors that parallel those of alcholics. Seriously. I'm not kidding.

1. I keep a "medicinal" bottle of Dr Pepper in my bathroom at all times in case of migraine.

2. I have drunk and replaced said "medicinal" bottle too many times to count.

3. At times I have hidden bottles of Dr Pepper for later consumption. And then I've consumed it.

4. After I drink the Dr Pepper, I smuggle the empty bottles outside (hidden in plastic grocery store bags) and then I bury those empty bottles of Dr Pepper underneath other rubbish in our outside garbage can so no one will see them.

5. I breathe a sigh of relief after my first sip of Dr Pepper and I feel better.

6. I drink Dr Pepper socially.

7. I drink Dr Pepper alone.

8. I drink Dr Pepper when I'm stressed.

9. I really do believe Dr Pepper isn't good for me and that I shouldn't drink it but I still do it.

If this isn't a cry for help, nothing is. Maybe I should to start my own program: Dr Pepper Anonymous. I have a feeling it would be very popular in areas settled by Mormons. Then again, because many would consider it a "legal" addiction, it probably wouldn't. So what's a DP addict to do?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Tuesday, 7 November 2006

Notable Things About Today:

1. I ate my first mint KitKat bar here. The Christmas Season is upon us.

2. I wore my first Remembrance Day poppy on my sweater after my husband bought it for me at B&Q (like Homebase) and stuck it on me.

3. I got the Polly Pocket Cruise Ship at Costco that Kathryn thought might be a cool thing for Santa to bring to her--not for 37 pounds (which is why I hadn't purchased it before today)--but for the low-low price of 20 pounds! (including VAT) Am I good or what??

4. I ate my first Chicken Bake at Costco. Well, half. The other half went to my American friend who, like me, believes Costco to be sort of like an American Embassy...a sacred piece of American soil.

5. The builders showed up again today, stayed all day, and worked all day on our house. That's four working days in a row, folks. (Thurs, Fri, Mon, Tues) Gotta be a record. My, my, my. Ain't we the luckiest people?

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

Today's contestants in the daily "Why in Heaven's Name Did You Bring Your Mangy and Possibly Dangerous Mutt to My Children's School?" Unofficial Dog Show:

One muscular Boxer, uncropped ears, not very tall, choke collar yanked tight

One very nervous, very gray, very thin, very tall Greyhound

One wild-eyed, rusty-coated, ADHD Springer Spaniel (like that's so unusual for a Springer)

One illegally-unmuzzled Pitbull probably being passed off as a Staffordshire Terrier so people won't report the owners to the authorities

One scraggly, nippy Jack Russell Terrier urinating on anything standing still for longer than a minute

One not-so-scraggly, yet still nippy Jack Russell Terrier

One black Labrador Retriever, complete with a bad licking habit

and...

One black Cocker Spaniel. My veterinarian daddy has a theory about the mental state of black Cockers. The news isn't good. Unless you like being bitten.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Saturday, 4 November 2006

Guy Fawkes Day is tomorrow, so of course we've had a constant barrage of fireworks since sunset this evening. November 5 is Guy Fawkes Day, the day they celebrate the thwarting of a plot to blow up Parlament by said hothead, Guy Fawkes. He was drawn and quartered for it, but apparently that isn't enough of a punishment as they also burn him in effigy every year as well. I pity any decendents. Big bonfires are lit, people get drunk, parties are thrown, fireworks are lit. It's a wonderful day...er...evening. I hear. I haven't experienced it as yet.

The thing that makes this kind of interesting is the fact that it took place over 400 years ago. 1605 to be exact. And we Americans are so in awe of celebrating Independence Day, with it being over 200 years ago and all.

We ain't got nothin' on the Brits.