Thank you, Blogging Friends, for your valuable camaraderie in this WordPress world! Thank you for sharing your delicious photos, your chewy ideas, and your knowledge of the lore of this land. The bounty of this landscape seems infinite; I look forward to exploring more in the year to come. May we all live together online in peace and harmony, enriching each other with our talents and observations!
With great respect and humility,
Moving a 20.5 lb turkey, already cooked, from my house to my son’s house 116 miles away. Hoping the bird doesn’t suffer too much in transition. I’m too involved in this project to post new photos, so here’s one of the bird we dined on last night ‘a deux’ – a pheasant courtesy my boss and his bird dog, Bhodi.
Yesterday was a wonderful day, a triumph of change, of many changes coming together. Thanksgiving is Steve’s favorite holiday, and what’s not to love? Fall colors, harvest time, lots of great food, a crisp chill in the air, wood smoke, and an all-pervading sense of gratitude for the process of life.
We’ve hosted Steve’s family for dinner at our place for the past 4 years. “Our Place”, however, is not just a home. It’s an online book business, which means that our inventory is stored under the same roof. That roof was replaced this year, bringing inches of old cedar pieces and dust down on top of our piles of books. It was a mess. The clean up and resorting was enormous. But Thanksgiving was the deadline: we wanted to host as usual. Piles of books, CDs, video tapes and packing materials carpeted all the rooms and stairwells in the house. We literally had to pick our way through for months. Steve took infinite trips up the narrow, steep stairs to the attic, laden with heavy boxes and stacks. But yesterday was a triumph! The place was clean, the table glistened, the food was colorfully delicious, and everyone had a great time. And Steve got to put his feet up and read aloud in Italian.
We are really getting good at team work. The next triumphant convergence will occur tomorrow, when we get together with all my children and their ‘significant otters’ for a holiday which we call ‘Galassoween’. Five couples, two generations and as many various lifestyles merge to create a feast of conversation and edible togetherness. And it will take place in the house that my daughter and her fiance have rebuilt. (see this post, “Harvesting Hope”) I’m looking forward to it! (but first, I have a lot of dishes to wash…)
Happy Thanksgiving! I am doubly thankful for you, the blogging community. Thank you for your visits and thank you for hosting me when I visit. It’s been great fun and great learning doing this project. There are (at least) twice as many wonders in this world to see than I imagine. I am grateful to be opened and broadened and expanded by your lives and your art. Thank You, Thank You!!
This week’s photo challenge is about a grouping of perspectives: the big picture, a relationship, and a detail. I like the idea of shifting points of focus because awareness and depth probably can’t be captured at first glance in any circumstance. Perhaps the way you approach a scene can tell you a lot about yourself. When you go to a party and walk in the door, what grabs your attention first? Do you look at the big picture – how the place is laid out, how crowded it is, what music is playing, what food fragrances are in the air – and get a feeling about it all at once? Do you look for people you know and zero in on them? Are you drawn to particular objects and familiar or quirky things about the decor? If you find yourself spending time exclusively on one aspect, do you want to challenge yourself to turn to the others to see what you might be missing? It might be an exercise in awareness worth looking into. Here is a grouping of shots from my second year hosting the Wiencek family Thanksgiving:
“…Propelled into the furthest arc, forsaken by the sun…” (from a poem I wrote, published in Living Church magazine) What do we do in the Northern Hemisphere when we feel bereft of light and warmth? We make HOLIDAY! An excuse to gather together and eat and light candles, replenishing the light and warmth we feel we are lacking. Yesterday was American Thanksgiving, so I hosted a dinner for Steve and his mother and aunt and sister and brother-in-law. We love our home and spend far too little time in it lately. We have been neglecting our home business (Scholar & Poet Books) for some reliable capital gains in the form of outside employment and losing touch with our domesticity. Thanksgiving was a good time to settle in to cleaning and cooking and re-stacking books and music. Puttering around the house while listening to good music is a nesting paradise.
And It Was Good. Good Will yielded some great finds in table decorations. The turkey turned out moist and delicious. Everyone brought side dishes to contribute. We even had a family political argument! (What holiday is complete without one?) I really enjoyed serving Steve & his family out of the love and joy I feel in my heart…not out of obligation or duty. The best part was just remembering why we are working so hard…so that we can get back to living out the life that we want to embody: slower-paced, inner-directed, aware & appreciative.
So…..light. Candles on the table, ready to dispel the darkness when the sun sets. Sunlight streaming through the south window, illuminating the sideboard, laden with olives and nuts and good, stinky cheese. And sherry & gin. The darkness will not overwhelm us!
Happy Thanksgiving, everybody! It’s Steve’s favorite holiday, and we’ve eaten turkey for the last 3 dinners. First, it was the 20-pounder I cooked for us and his mom, aunt, sister and brother-in-law. That occasion included a lot of cleaning up and rearranging books so that the book business didn’t take over the dining & living room. The result of that work is being able to provide a comfortable place for people to gather, relax, feast, listen to music, and converse. Holding a safe space open for life to unfold is a responsibility that I willingly accept, and I am thankful that I have figured out how to do that with the resources available to me. I am very thankful for my partner and for the home that we have made together. The day after Thanksgiving, we went down to visit my children in Illinois. With all 4 of them, plus my daughter’s boyfriend and her godfather, we made 8. She cooked another turkey and we brought our leftovers to share for this second feast. I am thankful for my children, for the unique and wonderful people they are and for the fact that I have a healthy, happy relationship with each of them. Yesterday, we drove home, past Glacial Park where we had our first date, back to our clean and tidy little duplex apartment. Steve went back to work, I took a nap, and later fixed some more leftover turkey for supper. Oh, but just before that, something else happened. I had a good cry. You see, my oldest daughter went shopping on Black Friday and bought…a wedding dress. All by myself, back at home, I put on a Louis Armstrong CD, “What A Wonderful World”. I felt happy and lonely, missing her father who died in 2008. I wrote a sentimental bit of poetry, drank some vodka & cranberry juice, and let it flow. Life moves and changes and goes on. We are the bearers of our own memories, the crucible of our own journeys, and no one else shares that responsibility with us. That can feel very lonely sometimes, but it also feels satisfying. I am filled with the weight of my life and still have room for more. For that, I am especially thankful.
Today I go down to Illinois to visit with my 4 children. I am looking forward to seeing them and having some serious conversations about how we want to live on this planet. They’re all in their 20s now, ripe for pointing their canoes toward the dreams and goals on their horizon and spending the rest of their lives paddling away in the directions of their choice. I am also at a juncture of my life where I get to decide how to live out the rest of it. So, what will we make of it? Will we have some goals in common toward which we can paddle together? I hope so. We’ll see. Family Summit Meeting 2011, here we come.
Oh, yeah. More food and fun and cuddles all around as well!
One year ago, my house had been up for sale with no offers for 8 months, despite making huge drops in the listing price. We celebrated our last Thanksgiving in the home we had occupied for 20 years with two of my daughters, my eldest’s First Mate, and two college friends of my youngest. We filled the place with warmth, laughter, good smells and love. Two days later, I got the offer. Closing date was January11. Without hiring professional movers, except for the baby grand piano, Steve and I moved out everything in the house, basement, patio and 3-car garage. Numerous trips in the van distributed the contents to Madison, Chicago, Harvard, charities, storage and Milwaukee. We had help from the First Mate’s dad and fireman friend for the couch and a super-heavy TV, but the rest we managed ourselves. I remember trying to corral the cat after everything else was gone. She had nowhere to hide, poor thing, and she refused to get into a cat carrier. Steve agreed to drive the van with her in the passenger seat in the bottom portion of the carrier, top removed. He petted her and talked to her soothingly as he drove the two hours here. I drove Jim’s car, grateful not to be distracted by her.
Steve’s place was stuffed to the gills with boxes, furniture, books, and cat. I marvel at how he made room for us. He’d been living alone for about a dozen years, five years in this place. We lived, worked, played, loved and engaged in our relationship intensely, doing the dance of supporting, caring, giving and taking. There were many tearful times, there was a 4-week adventure on the road, there were late-night Summit Meetings and many long walks through the countryside. I woke this morning and began to think of giving thanks. I looked at him sleeping next to me, and my nose prickled. A quiet stream leaked down my cheeks. I am so lucky to have a best friend, someone who truly loves me. I am so grateful to be here, to have a life I love, to be at home again.
For all of you, whatever your situation, I wish you Godspeed to your home. Welcome.