Thursday, November 22, 2007

Thankful For: All of It

While all my American friends and family are preparing for a great holiday meal today (even traditional Thanksgiving Pizza, in at least one household), I sit in the land of "What? Thanksgiving was last month!" After ten years of living here, I'm still not used to the idea that turkeys are not on sale in November, and you're hard pressed to find egg nog in stores until after December 1. Although, the egg nog scandal has been improving in recent years, and I do notice it a little earlier each year. It's good to know the Canadian Grocery Folk are getting the big picture. (Big picture = egg nog should be on sale YEAR ROUND!)

In any case, since the Canadian government refuses to recognize today as Thanksgiving and give everyone the day off with pay, we have our big dinner on Saturday. This year, our Saturday Thanksgiving also falls on Kevin's birthday. Not many people get the whole turkey dinner/yummy pie combo on their birthday, but he does. I never bake him a cake, we just sing happy birthday before he eats his pie.

So last night I was in the kitchen doing what I always do at this time of year - baking. If you were a wildlife explorer you might have heard Marlin Perkins narrating his observations of the wild Mom standing at the stove precariously perched on one leg while the other foot rested on top of the other, oven mit covering the hand holding the spoon that was stirring the candy coating mixture that would soon cover the walnuts for her world famous and top secret Maple Candied Walnuts recipe. I didn't see Marlin Perkins hiding behind any bushes observing, but he might have been... those wildlife folks are pretty sneaky.

It's funny how we're such creatures of habit (speaking of wildlife). I do the same thing every year, just like millions of other moms preparing for a holiday meal. I start baking days in advance, I generally wear the same comfy clothes every year while alternating my baking with cleaning & household chores, and can often be heard asking "where did all the tupperware go!?" to no one in particular, and always hearing the same answer from various, disembodied voices in other rooms: "I dunno". It's the same semi-conversation every year. No one ever knows what happened to all the food storage containers, yet they always disappear. We should really have an international task force for this, it's practically become an epidemic.

sorta like this spoonbill...Every year I stand at the stove perched on one leg stirring the candy mixture with the same thought: "I will not get burned this time". Every year, the mixture starts to boil and before long, one drop of it flies out of the pan and lands on my fingernail (it hurts there) or worse, flies up and hits me in the neck (it really hurts there). So then I reach for the oven mit and keep stirring and stand back a little bit, until it reaches soft ball stage. Not softball stage, if that were the case, we'd be having jawbreakers for Thanksgiving. Personal injury notwithstanding, we have Maple Candied Walnuts every year at Thanksgiving and at Christmas. The things I go through, to feed this small army!

All kidding aside, I love our family traditions. Everyone has them, and they become tradition for a reason: those who participate in them love them. It's simply what we do, what's expected, and what we all look forward to at certain times of year. Some people spend today eating at other folk's places - others have pizza - some have ham, others have turkey and some don't celebrate today at all. Those might be people that had a traumatic stuffing incident at a young age and have blocked it from their memories. They should come here for my stuffing, it's really good.

In any event, today I do more baking & pre-preparing for Saturday's big dinner. I'll pause from time to time and watch the snow fall outside like snowglobe snow and enjoy the way that looks, then I'll go back to daily household chores, baking & asking someone who clearly doesn't know, what happened to all the tupperware. They won't know, and I'll know they won't know, but I'll ask anyway because it's what I do. I'll drag out the boxes of Christmas decorations today, and between putting more wood on the fire and hearing the oven timer go off multiple times, I'll finish setting up my miniature Christmas village and finally get it ready to be plugged in. One new thing that we're going to add to our tradition this year, is this idea here of a Thankful Box, that Kim at Hireath linked to recently. I read that and thought "what a GREAT idea!" It will surely put the focus on the reason we celebrate in the first place, and I really like that.

All this rambling to say, I personally have a lot to be thankful for this year, and have been encouraged this month to really consider that. I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving today, and have plenty of egg nog for all. Now I have stuff to do, so I'd better get to it.