Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Life is Good

Grab the forks!” I stage-whispered to my sister as I smuggled the pumpkin cheesecake to the back room yesterday afternoon.

Generally speaking, we’re sharing, generous people. Really. Particularly when it comes to our brood of young. But for us, pumpkin cheesecake comes but once a year, a fall splurge of unadulterated goodness that we savor, bite by delicious bite. The thought of the children descending upon the savory circle of goodness, leaving mere crumbs in their wake, is not one we can entertain. Thus the cloak and dagger routine as we settled into the sunroom for pie and coffee. The sun filtered through the stained glass windows, creating pools of colored light on the tiled floor and a warm glow on my face as I scooped a forkful of cheesecake through a puddle of caramel and onto my tongue. Ginger and cinnamon, cream cheese and pumpkin mixed and mingled in harmony—-perfection by the forkful.

Life is good.

Thanksgiving weekend has traditionally been a high-water mark: encompassing all the best of fall, my birthday, and a heralding-in of Christmastime all in one jam-packed weekend of family, friends, food and fun.

My sister and her family have joined us for a week of high-spirited festivities. Over the next few days, we’ll go through bags of flour, pounds of butter, gallons of coffee and sinkfuls of dishes. We’ll toast glasses of Pinot Grigio from the oversized cobalt blue bottle I’ve been saving since September. We’ll write messages of thankfulness across turkey-feather cut-outs and read them aloud at the table over pie.

Life is good.

After the turkey has settled and the dishes are once again back on the shelves, we’ll commence with our fourth annual pumpkin carving contest.

Right now, applesauce is simmering in the crock pot. My husband’s potato rolls are popping out of the oven with a quality and consistency capable of consigning the Dough Boy into an embarrassing early retirement. Soon we’ll begin baking the pies: two apple, two pumpkin. If tradition is any indication, our crusts will look terrible, but taste delicious.

Life is good.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Don Quixote, RIP

OK, so I finally made it to the end of Don Quixote and--at the risk of spoiling the end for any of my stalwart readers who may have chosen to share in the experience and read along—he dies. I must admit to being inexplicably stymied and even saddened by this turn of events. After all, I have spent nearly three months traversing alongside our well-meaning knight as he battled flocks of sheep, bludgeoned wineskins and pontificated upon the merits of chivalry astride Rocinante, his trusty steed. At several points today, I cancelled mental reminders to check in with Mr. Quixote—Oh, no need, I’d remember, he died yesterday. And then I’d feel oddly bereft for a moment or two.

On top of all this, things aren’t looking very promising for my planned outing to see Man of La Mancha, either. Among other impediments, I discovered that it is, indeed, a musical, and, as I’ve already indicated, I find this problematic. The risk of getting Quixotesque tunes stuck in my head for days on end seems just too great, particularly in light of my ambivalence concerning his recent passing.

It appears that I must now simply get to work tidying up the affairs of his estate, in the form of the 10-page dossier I must prepare. Before I can really move on, it is my duty to ascribe meaning to these long chapters of his life, and, by extension, my own.

The key, of course, is to delve into this scholarly analysis of a character driven to madness through the reading of too many books without succumbing to the same fate. Stay tuned.


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