Sunday, November 23, 2008

First Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving used to be my favorite holiday. That was before I started working retail. Now, I enjoy a love/hate relationship with Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving at our little house in Nashville were legendary affairs, usually involving three turkeys, two kinds of stuffing, four vegetables, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry relish and cranberry chutney, 6 pies and a pumpkin cheesecake. Don't forget the two trays of assorted vegetables and the shrimp mold. I would cook for two weeks and relish feeding my extended family. Now, I just think about eating the turkey t.v. dinners.

Thanksgiving in California has been quite different. There was the year of the bbq bird, where I cried all the way home, and there was last year, where I was one month away from giving birth, and happy that someone else was cooking the turkey. It was also the first Thanksgiving where I ate ham.

This year it will be a small family affair, and Lucas will be introduced to turkey and all the trimmings. And it will be to bed early, not to get up to look for bargains, but to sell them to early morning shoppers. But on Thanksgiving day, I will be thankful for my immediate family, a loving husband who is more adept at housekeeping than I am, and our little boy, who we prayed for on so many Thanksgivings in years past. Six years ago, we were visiting a fertility specialist who was optimistic about my chances of conception, and then, on Thanksgiving day, with a house full of family, I learned I was not pregnant, even after all of the treatments we had endured for the previous few months. Now, looking at my precious, precious little boy, I know he was totally worth wait, and I am excited to see his little face light up when he takes his first bite of turkey and dressing. He has made every holiday this year my favorite holiday.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The House of 5th Avenue

I like to drive around and look at old houses. I suspended my expeditions this summer due to gas prices, and thankfully, now that gas is less than $4 a gallon here, I am back to driving through my favorite parts of historic Escondido. I think this is a trait that I inherited from my father, who spent much of my childhood pulling off highways and byways to read historical markers, and who took us to most of the antebellum plantations in the lower Mississippi Delta. Some of the grand dames were in fabulous shape; I always remember the ones that were crumbling.

Most of the historic homes in Escondido are turn of the century Victorians, built near Grand Avenue when Escondido was becoming a booming farming community. Sunkist had a huge packing plant here, and the citrus went out on trains to tables east of the Mississippi. Old Escondido has wide streets and bumpy sidewalks, mainly due to the roots of old trees, a happy sign of an established neighborhood. Whenever I see old trees I think about old homes and the shade those trees provided in the days before air conditioning.

One of the homes in Escondido pulls at my heart whenever I drive its street. From what I can gather, it used to belong to Escondido's blacksmith, and is a white clapboard Victorian with a double front porch. It is also in an utter state of disrepair, with clapboard and shingles missing. The gable on the third floor is missing a window, and there are two front doors. I don't think the door with the badly hung security door was in the original schematic. It makes me sad to see that house, especially when I think about what it must have looked like when it was first built, and the generations that grew up within its walls. I think homes develop a spirit or perhaps a personality, and I see a once proud lady now hidden behind a wall of grime, hair uncombed, teeth missing, and in need of a new dress. Maybe there will be a for sale sign and someone with deep pockets will restore it. Until then, I will just keep driving by it, curious about her current inhabitants and wondering what her former inhabitants would now think.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

10 months and the value of 24 karat gold

It was a big week this past week at our house. The Rev. was lectured for giving Lucas hotdogs (cut up of course), and then I promptly gave him another hot dog last night because it was late and I was tired. His appetite is expanding at the same rate we are introducing foods to him, and today he ate: cereal, an animal cookie, a cinnamon bun from a bakery, a few bites of chocolate yogurt, toast, and some potato. Tonight, I will be happy if we can throw a green vegetable into that mix. He has also added meatballs and minestrone to the list of food that he can eat by himself. He is way beyond being fed, and insists on feeding himself, which means feeding the dog.

Halloween was pretty uneventful. The Rev. snapped one picture and then the camera died, so we are awaiting pictures from a friend. Halloween ended and All Saint's Day began with a trip to the emergency animal clinic for our cat. Long story short, I found him outside and thought he had been hit by a car. Once we got him to the vet we learned that he had a urinary tract blockage and had not gone to the bathroom in about 4 days. He should have been dead, and at that point we should have said, "It's been nice having you cat, and now you get to walk with God." However, I decided to see if the cat could be fixed to pee 24 karat gold. The cat is fixed but no gold, not even 10 karat. He gets to come home tomorrow.