It started out with what I thought was a really great idea (the fact that I bother to have ideas I feel is “great” at this point, so no judging, please). In fact, this sums up where my brain has been most of this last part of the year (and may explain why “great” really isn’t part of my world, and only tip-toes around my moods) : (Strong language warning. The video may be offensive to many.)

(Start about 23 minutes in, or heck, watch the whole thing; it’s worth it.)

The downside to my really great idea, or what is probably in actuality just a meh idea, is that I decided to get it together a little late. My idea was to send Thanksgiving day cards to express how truly grateful I am to various folks in my life. You know, like you send Christmas cards, (because nothing says “I appreciate you” like a stamped out Hallmark greeting – this is fact)  I really wanted to just buy a box of identical cards, maybe support a charity if I was lucky, and then write a little message and call it good.  An aside – I’m not sending Christmas cards this year. It’s not that I don’t wish you all a very Merry Christmas and all of that, but I don’t have it in me.  I used to make Jay sign each card, because I actually find it cheesy and a bit dishonest to sign for your significant other, and this year writing “Beth &” hurts a little too much.  Anyway… It’s also my birthday, and maybe I’m tired of having to send people a card on my birthday.  No one else sends me cards on their birthday.  Also, I may be cranky at the world. (See offensive video above)

Y’know, you’d think finding Thanksgiving cards in bulk would be a bit easy, but when you actually start trying to hunt them down you run into a huge wall of “Thank You” cards. Ok sure, “thank you” is giving thanks, but it lacks the oranges, browns and harvest golds of my 70’s childhood. Were we living in a Thanksgiving card back then? Yuck. I was only asking for some cartoonish turkey looking hopeful for a presidential pardon, and maybe a pilgrim pun.  I wasn’t asking for much.  Well, apparently I was. (Hallmark, you need to step it up.)

That left me with creating cards, and there I thought “I know, I’ll upload a picture to some site that allows for custom cards, and then I’ll get them out the Monday prior to Thanksgiving.”  In truth, I ordered these in plenty of time, and was quite pleased with myself.  I won at the internet! Except I forgot that PayPal and my security software are at odds, and I got a note from the company from which I ordered my cards saying, “hey, did you want to complete your order?” days later. Crap. I shook my tiny fist at PayPal, the security software that protected me from the evils of getting my cards ordered in time, and  then I shook them at life in general. (Play the video above again, assuming you weren’t completely offended the first time.)

So, Thanksgiving day I sent out my weird little emails thanking the people I’m closest to, and probably left a lot of people feeling weird.  To that I offer a tiny snippet of a story – my trainer and I were talking about how people give and receive love, and I realized that for me it’s through words (and quality time).  It’s how I show you I love you (or like you, or check off the YES box in the note I passed back to you.) The other part of the “why” is that if something happens to me tomorrow (I run off to join a circus, I slip into the Upside Down looking for Jay, or I suddenly become mute and can also no longer type), I don’t want anyone to ever wonder how I feel about them.  A gift Jay left me before leaving was letting me know he loved me, and it’s the one thing I never doubt.

All of those above words to say to my Phalanx – when you get a card and feel like I already thanked you, I really wanted you to have something personal… handwritten.  If you need to, just chalk it up to goofy June failing at the internet and also wanting to rid herself of all these corny cards.  Also, a heads-up guys, since I did order so many you “may” get them again as birthday cards, Texas Independence Day cards, Memorial Day cards – you get the idea.  Blame the company that said “minimum order of…” for forcing my hand into purchasing too many.

For the rest of you whom I didn’t get a chance to thank, let me do so now.  Thank you for being a part of my life.  Thank you for your love and your words of encouragement.  Thank you for continuing to bring beauty and warmth into my world. Thank you for putting up with a ton of crazy from one deeply flawed human being.

I love each of you.

The (Almost) Thanksgiving Meltdown of 2012

I knew this was going to be a great Thanksgiving when I woke up, headed to the grocery store for no particular reason and then as I left was greeted at my car by the most cheerful Thanksgiving herald.  A woman smiling ear-to-ear who waved cheerfully and shouted “Happy Thanksgiving!!”  This delightful Thanksgiving muse had blessed my day and it was going to be fantastic.

For Thanksgiving I had a simple to-do list:

  1. Smoke turkey breast
  2. Take photos to show Dad using funky photo app on iPhone
  3. Take normal photo in case Dad didn’t quite see how glorious aforementioned smoked turkey breast looked
  4. Post photo to FB to incite envy – both at the gorgeous golden turkey and the artistically taken photo
  5. Call Dad to wish him and CJ a very Happy Thanksgiving
  6. Politely inquire about how his cooking is going

I went over the checklist several times with a proud smirk on my face as I prepared the grill and lit up the briquettes that would ultimately lead me to a personal grilling victory.   The fire shot up.  It was gorgeous.  I took my celebratory red carpet walk into the kitchen and grabbed the thawed breast.  As I freed it from the Butterball wrapping, several questions winged through my head.  “Why is there so much liquid?” “Why is it wrapped in a stringed net?” “What the…?”  I grabbed the Butterball casing that declared this to be a “Turkey Roast”.  “Ok, ok, play it cool.  No need for the Thanksgiving Meltdown 2012: The Return of the Meltdown – a sequel to Thanksgiving Meltdown 2011 where we discovered the turkey was actually pressed meat and not a couple of delicate turkey breast slices in a lovely gravy.”  It seems that when I grabbed the small turkey thing at the store I only read as far as “Turkey -st” and my brain filled in “Brea-” refusing to see the actual “Roa-”.  Unfortunately, this happens more than I care to admit, which results in a lot of surprises of the “almost, but not quite” variety.  I see what I want and then my hand grabs the thing right next to it.

I honored this mix-up by declaring half-heartedly that I’d ruined Thanksgiving, then I troopered on to find the roasting pan.  I could do this.  About 10 minutes into cooking the roast, I noticed a smell in the air and then smoke began to drift out of the oven.  Something at some time had spilled and it was a very  stinky something.  Roast out, oven cooled, and then oven scrubbed.  Back in with the roast.  We never could identify what had spilled, but we both were sure it wasn’t ours.  Still, looks were passed since there was a lot of “something we didn’t spill” for someone not to know who it belonged to.  “Breathe, it will be ok.  No Meltdown 2012.”

An hour passed and it came time to fix the sweet potato casserole.  It’s just not Thanksgiving in the South without this delightful sweet marshmallow concoction.  I peeled the yams and as I looked at the peels, I lamented not having a composter (you see, if I just created a compost pile outside, Sam would move in, so I need something a little more contained or just beagle-proof).  After staring and refusing to throw the peels into the trash it was decided, I needed to slowly send those down the disposal.  A few seconds in, water and chopped-up peel were excitedly spraying up from the other side.  I skulked into the computer room where my answer to “How is it going?” was something like, “Great.  I mean if you count breaking the sink.”  I decided at that point that any vegetable that needed to be washed would just be done in the bath tub. “No meltdown” was my less-than-enthusiastic sounding battle cry.

After some Googling it became apparent that Roto-Rooter could be avoided.  Jay removed the trap or the “p” pipe or whatever it’s called.  We agreed I’d be the best to clear out the muck, since I don’t have the sense to be grossed out by it.  Incidentally, I’m the one you go to for dead critter removal.  Don’t tell Sam that it was me who took the last 1/3 of her baby bunny.  I cleared the pipes of sweet potato, who knows what, and an odd 3” slim metal thing that had to have been there for years giving unwilling food bits who hadn’t accepted their sewage destiny safe harbor.  Covered in a brackish stink, I scrubbed down and continued on.   No meltdown.

Sam threw-up.  Jay took care of it.  No meltdown.

But really the breaking point came when I went to free the yeast rolls from the oven and I threw the entire tray up in the air and all the rolls skittered on the floor.  You see, I really like yeast rolls and I treat myself to them once a year.  Seeing their little yeast corpses on the floor nearly caused me to snap and collapse to my knees.  “Oh delicious yeast roll, what have I done to you?” Jay gave me a big hug.  “I’m eating one. I don’t care. It’s the thing I love best.”  Jay knew better than to look surprised. Yes, that’s gross, but too bad! I was having a bad day and I didn’t do it at your house.  Plus, people need germs and this over-Purelled sissy world is only producing sickly people with pitiful immune systems.  Eat dirt. (Or so I told myself to justify standing there brushing my roll and blowing on it. 5 second rule!  Screw you MythBusters! You don’t know! )

The rest of the dinner went without a hitch or a full blown meltdown.

And that’s when I came down with this cold.  Please, pass the tissue. More NyQuil STAT!


Sometime after the first week of November our Thanksgiving plans blew up in a strange way.  I’d attempt to share the details, but judging by how the story has been received here, you’d only feel compelled to respond with information about the weather or maybe some interesting bits from the news (I had a focus group look into it).  So, we’ll leave it at me feeling weird about the whole thing and the rest of the world finding the story of my plight about as interesting as the predictions about Black Friday sales, and only slightly more interesting in the states than say Egypt getting a new Prime Minister.  If you were to map it out as an equation, it would look like this:  Consumerism > Global Politics > What was that you were saying?

That left me with a couple of weeks to decide what Jay and I were going to do for this special day.  The plans ran from “go to a local restaurant and pick-up a Thanksgiving to-go pack” to “I dunno, maybe blow it off”.  Three days before Thanksgiving, I decided we were a-go for the holiday and I wrote out our menu: Turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes (with marshmallows of course, we’re not uncivilized), fresh green beans, salad and a potato concoction.  Oh, and pumpkin pie.  Nothing too fancy or exciting – just your basic Thanksgiving staples. Then I headed out to the store with my list in hand. If you haven’t visited your local grocery three days before a Thanksgiving, let me say that it’s usually the best time to make both menu decisions and to head off to the store.  And by “best”, I mean “worst” unless you enjoy cuddling up to hundreds of grumpy strangers and being stuck in the baking aisle for hours on end.  And by “hours” I mean “moments”, but still it’s longer than it usually takes me to make a hit-and-run on that aisle and emerge victorious on the other end.  On that day it took me FOUR passes with the cart and I finally had to ditch it and dive in for a fifth run to finally find the pumpkin filling on the bottom shelf.  I know on Thanksgiving, that’s where I’d put it if I ran a grocery store.  I’d imagine my conversation with my hopeful underlings would go something like, “Pumpkin pie filling, Jimmy?  Son, it’s Thanksgiving, we put that on the bottom shelf where it’s easy to see! Stick by me kid learning the tricks of the trade and one day you may make assistant manager.”  And when I refer to “easy to see” I mean “are you kidding me”.  Once I ditched the cart, I found the pumpkin filling by carefully observing everyone’s movements on the aisle.  I became quite the baking aisle sleuth taking careful notes on the various suspicious activities.  Finally someone went low, really low on the shelf, and I had my big “ah HAH!” moment.  I pounced on the can and ran madly back to cart and had an overwhelming urge to spike the can on the floor and do a victory “funky chicken” around it.  If only there had been room in the store to breathe, I  could have had my dance.

Cart Barricade Dead Ahead - Pay No Attention to Actual Cart

Somewhere in the middle of one of my passes on that aisle, I had this great idea.  I’d discreetly take a photo of the shopping cart mayhem around me on my iPhone and then I’d post about the rudeness of  people who park their carts in the dead center of the aisle thus blocking the flow of traffic.  I lined up the shot perfectly and in the split second it took me to hit the capture button, I thought “oh jeez, is the flash on? There’s someone’s kid in a cart.  What if her father comes over and pops me in the face because he thinks I’m some crazy perv with a kid fetish and I’ve singled-out his daughter?” and then I hit the button and promptly freaked out.  The flash popped, but in that split second where I imagined being arrested for being a pedophile and carrying the “sex offender” label for life, I unconsciously managed to get the iPhone down for this great shot of my sad groceries.  If you look at the top of the photo, you can kind of make out the beginnings of the shopping cart barricade I was facing.  I would have tried again, but because of the flash I didn’t want anyone to see me lift the iPhone up.  Instead, I’m sure everyone on the aisle was thinking, “wow, the contents of that cart really aren’t anything to brag about, but if she wants a picture of it well good for her – Thanksgiving freak.”

One of the final items I managed to throw into the basket was the turkey.  We didn’t want to do a whole bird and were thinking of getting just a breast.  Well, I wasn’t at my usual store where I knew where they kept everything (like pumpkin filling) and so I paced the turkey section over and over again until I saw a small box that said “Turkey – white meat with gravy”.  Perfect!!  I imagined it contained the breast I was looking for and that it would have a lovely gravy to cook it in.  What I got instead was some sort of bizarre pressed turkey meat that had the oddest texture.  It was definitely turkey flavored, and it was digestible but ummm… it wasn’t exactly what we were hoping for in terms of turkey.  I was thinking something with more of a turkey consistency.  You know, like the bird instead of turkey tofu.  I can report back that Sam enjoyed it; of course Sam eats her own poop so there you go.  The beagle rating would be: Pressed Turkey thing as good as poop!  I’ll have to take her word on that.

Overall though, Thanksgiving was a success.  Food was made, dinner was had, pressed turkey thing was mocked and we gave our thanks that we were together to enjoy it.

I hope you each enjoyed your own special Thanksgivings.  I am thankful for each of you.