November 28, 2013

Thanksgiving weekend

Steam.....from the COOKIN'!!!!
1.     Which do you like better: hosting Thanksgiving at your home, or going elsewhere?
  We have never hosted Thanksgiving dinner thanks to FOOTBALL and the fact that we don’t have TV at our house.    End of story.  I would LOVE to host but people don’t want to come to our house because either they want to host at their house and/or they can’t watch football at ours.  Feh
2.     Describe your perfect bite?
A fork full of turkey, mashed potatoes, and a bit of stuffing all dipped in cranberry sauce
3.     White meat or dark?
 OPT?  Other People's Turkeys?  Dark.  I barely like turkey as it is and I find that white meat equates to eating a wool sock.
4.     Do you buy a fresh or frozen turkey? Organic? Free-range?
 Mile’s usually wins a frozen turkey each year at work.  Just the usual run of the mill turkey that we smoke and use for soup.  I would really like to brine, smoke and cook up an organic free range hen sometime.....I may have my chance on Christmas Day this year.  We are putting our feet down and refusing to go to anyone else's house.  They can come to OURS for once.  There's no friggin football on. 
5.     Stuffing with giblets or without?  
 I like pulling out the giblet bag and obnoxiously shoving them in the kids faces.  I used to give them to the dog…..
6.     Sweet potato pie or Pumpkin pie?
 Miles makes a killer pumpkin pie that even I like!  And then we pair it with my famous cranberry/apple pie.  Tradition!

7.     Anything you won’t eat at the Thanksgiving meal?
Turnips.  GGUUHHH, my family always used to make mashed turnips.  One of the few foods that will make me puke.
8.     Carve Mr. Gobble at the table or serve on a platter? 
At the table for chrissakes…a la Clark Griswold.
9.     What side dishes are a must-have in your family?
MASHED-FUCKIN-POTATOES or Momma aint happy.
10.  Do you stick with a particular menu from year to year, or do you mix it up? 
Up until about 4 years ago, when we started going to the T’s house for Turkey/Football day, we mixed it up every year.  Since we had not yet experienced a brined/smoked turkey, the family was HATIN’ on turkey so we made some  alternative dinners!  We did fondue with homemade won tons, shrimp, and veggies….with the traditional Thanksgiving  sides a couple years in a row.  One year we roasted some cute Cornish game hens and made stuffing with oysters.  Maybe a ham once……..
11.  Are leftovers a blessing or a curse? 
Turkey Soup on a cold Alaska night is always a blessing!  Just throw the mashed potatoes in and make it thicker!  Cranberry/turkey sammiches…What’s so cursey about that?
12.  Formal table or Chinet?
 Paper plates?  Really?  Not unless we had, like, 50 guests.  My momma taught me better than that.  Lazy, wasteful, tacky and did I say LAZY?
13.  Your menu:  If I got to host?!?!
Organic free range hen.  Miles would brine and smoke it.
My amazaballs oyster stuffing
MASHED-FUCKIN-PO-TA-TOES that Miles makes to perfection
My phenomenal cranberry chutney
My Brussel sprouts with craisins and Gorgonzola, a new family fav
         Miles's homemade bread with Willa’s homemade butter
White wine, a Gewurztraminer or pinot grigio….and, of course, red wine.  Marziano Abbona San Luigi Dolcetto di Dogliani, Piedmont, 2010
14.  Extended family, friends, both or just the immediate family for dinner? 
I would really enjoy having both!  My mom and Pops and some good friends! And folks who don't have families to celebrate with....
15.  Is Thanksgiving a religious or secular holiday in your home? 
Neither, but it’s a spiritual day.  Even if I just have to grab at the few quiet moments to inwardly give thanks and breathe in the wonder of it all….everything we are blessed with….  It’s also  a chance for me to help my children(well, it's just Willa now) find the grace in giving pause to be thankful.  A time of openly sharing what means the most to each of us, to acknowledged the TRUE origin of this holiday, to hold in reverence the native peoples of this land that have suffered at the hands of those who would conquer and destroy.  It IS a spiritual day….despite the eats, drinks, and screaming at the tube.
16.  After dinner, do you go to the latest movie or watch football on TV or just a turkey induced snooze?
Football before, during and after…..feh.  As much as I HATE when the chicks hang with the chicks and the guys hang with the guys at social events, this year while our men occupied the man cave, the women folk and children gathered about to play Scattegories.  We had a GREAT time, lots of laughing and silliness and some seriously creative answers!  So glad I stayed upstairs to play.  And I DID get in the obligatory after-turkey nap.
17.  Do you watch the Macy’s Parade?   
Haven’t watched it since I was a kid!  But EVERYTHING is so commercialized and corporatized anymore.....
18.  Christmas decorations up before or after?
The weekend after Thanksgiving is traditionally when we fuck up our backs hauling up the decs from the crawlspace.  By Sunday evening the tree is up, lit, and ornamentized and the rest of the house sporting our wacky mish-mash of holiday fare.
19.  Black Friday shopping or sleep in. 
 Fuck.Black.Friday.  You have to be a real douche to buy into that shit.  And even douchyer to go out on Thanksgiving!  What’s the popular meme this year?  “Black Friday: Because only in America, people trample others for sales exactly one day after being thankful for what they already have.”   Disgraceful.  Curmudgeonly rant over.
20.  Favorite Thanksgiving memory?
So many!  The year Miles dropped a pan of green bean almondine on the floor and implemented the 5 second rule-dude’s FAST!-and then later almost caught the dinner table on fine.  …not so much Miles’s fondest memory.  I thought it was a knee slapper, though!  And when we had T-Day dinner at home, we always had a blast at the post-gorge neighborhood sledding party!  Sad now that so many of the kids are over 18….and that the hosts of the sledding party have moved.  L sigh……
21.  Picture taker or memory maker?  BOTH!  My drunken antics sparklin’ personality and camera skills make for lovely memories both tangible and ethereal.   ~hic....

This years Thanksgiving was almost complete...with a cold bright morning to trek over to our friend's house in, a hearty workout on the ski trails, hot showers, Baileys and coffee, happy chatter, snuggling with my hunny, kids playing, cooking, eating, football, games and the yearly performance put on by the kids.  The only thing missing was Dylan.  Our first Thanksgiving without her.  Willa burst into tears at the dinner table when our friend mentioned Dylan during grace. She really struggled not to.  I saw the corners of her mouth quiver downward like they do when emotion is making it's way up...she turned her eyes to the ceiling in an attempt to stave off the tears while Todd spoke.  She glanced over at me and I offered a knowing smile....and that was it.  I walked Willa to the bathroom where she buried her head in my chest and let out what she had held in since her sister left.   I hope it was cathartic and clearing for her.  I hope Dylan knows how fortunate she is to have so much love around her.  And that she is missed.

Halibut and shrimp turkeys for the vegetarian in the group!

The formerly obligatory, eye-rollable, VERY chaotic and off-the-cuff yearly T-Day performance by the kids was actually enjoyable this year!  I can't believe they put together a really cute musical about 3 little turkeys AND included the token boy under 10 in the creativity!  The girls also choreographed a lovely dance to Katy Perry's Legendary Lovers.  Willa isn't your typical play dress up and shake her booty kind of kid....but the dance was so sweet...the kids so was a struggle to hold in tears.

Three little turkeys terrified of the hungry farmer!


The rest of our Thanksgiving weekend was spent skiing in wonderland, seeing the Nutcracker ballet in Anchorage, playing games in front of the warm fire, making cookies, putting winterlights up outside, finishing up  the inside decorations, and watching Christmas movies.  And snuggling.  Lots of that.

The Game of Life.....New York Life style!

My favorite Holiday movie....absolutely timeless and lovely and relevant today. 

November 20, 2013

Dylan's homecoming

One very happy father
I guess my tears at Lackland Air Base where unfounded because Dylan was home in Alaska 3 days later!  While I was exploring missions, she was running around base busting her but to make her leave happen ASAP, as only Dylan can do.  Her work paid off and Miles and I where thrilled to get her call with arrival date and time!  We had all been planning for a while to surprise Willa by not telling her that Dylan was coming home.  Dylan really wanted to show up at Willa's school and knock her socks off!  On the night of her arrival-after midnight-Miles and I picked Dylan up at the airport and brought her home.  She stayed quietly in her room the next morning until Willa left for school.   Willa had NO idea her sister was home...and in the house!  About an hour before school let out that day, Dylan, Miles and I met up at Willa's's the video!

Willa was REALLY thunderstruck I think!  Wanting not to disturb her class's read aloud time she kept it mellow in the classroom, but that hug in the hall....and you could just see the dazed shock!  She was SO happy to have her big sister home!

Dylan's leave was about a month long!  It was so nice to have her see her light on under her door in the morning and know she was behind it, to have her walk into the house at night  after working at her recruiter's office and tell us about her day, to chat while I cooked dinner....
 We threw her a Welcome Home/Arrivederci party so that everyone would have a chance to see her before she left for Italy.  We enjoyed eating out, having friends over, decorating the house for Christmas early so that Dylan would be included, Dylan took Willa to the movies and picked her up from school a few times, spent time with her friends...

someone's catching up!

Grocery shopping on base with Dylan.  I have never seen such a  long check out line in a grocery store!!!  But the Ben and Jerry's prices were worth it!

Just another Sunday

Cleaned up purty for Dylan's party

She asked for lemon cake

Another fun party at Casa de Pruner.  Dylan trying to fit in my lap.....

A month seemed like it would be such a long time....but, of course, it was NOT.  All too soon we were back at the airport saying goodbye.  This time knowing that visits with Dylan in the future will be few and far between......and that is unbelievably hard....and that's all I'm gonna say.

Bye,bye, Girlie........

It helps to know that, so far, Dylan seems to be having an amazing time in Italy exploring, making friends......and that we will see her in May.  I've been spending a lot of time researching and planning our family trip to Italy, and I CAN NOT WAIT!!!!!!!

November 5, 2013

Southtown...and heading home

On my last day in San Antonio, I threw my luggage in the car, checked out of that sublime hotel and spent the next few hours before my flight home wandering.  I wanted to return to that cool "King William" area of town that I had accidentally landed in a few days before.  Noting the old and dignified homes from afar, I had made a mental note to return for a photo op.  Also, from my run along the river, I had noticed the Blue Star Arts Complex and figured it would fit it in to my King William tour.

 I found out that if San Antonio has an arts district, Southtown was it.   The Blue Star Arts complex boasts a brewery and eclectic food to match the many art galleries and shops.  It's also home to local artists and their studios.  A tiny but full oasis of creativity.  I took my time thoroughly exploring what the complex had to offer...striking up conversation with some very interesting people.  I wish I had had the time to explore more of Southtown's arts....

 Watching the time, I decided I had better head out to King William .  I parked the car and spent an hour in this culturally diverse neighborhood walking it's quiet streets and capturing some images. In the late 1800's there was an influx of prosperous multi-national yet predominantly German immigrant  merchants into the Southtown area of San Antonio.  Their traditions of brewing, sausage-making, and music fueled a fusion of American, Mexican, and German cultures unique to Central Texas.  Homes of varying cultural influences where erected within the heart of the King William community in the 1800's -it's owners desiring a quiet compound along the river with easy access to downtown.  Who wouldn't?!   One only needs to take a stroll around the neighborhood to take in all the varying architecture in a short amount of time. 

 It's been a LONG time since I've seen Morning Glories!  One of my favs.

I opted to skip eating out for lunch to nom jerky and dehydrated veggies in the car on my way over to zip up San Antonio's Tower of the America's.  I was curious  to see what the place looks like from on high.  While there was some interesting art and history to be found in Hemisfair Park, the view from the top of the tower was Blaaaaaaaahhhhh.  Adios, San Antonio!!!!!!!!!!

 The view?................................

WANDERLUST can be a curse as well as a gift.  It is SO hard to have it and not be able to travel extensively.....but I'm so grateful for the opportunities that have taken me to something new and different....and I look forward to wandering more.....
                                                                                      ...............Already missing Dylan but ready to be home.


November 4, 2013

Dylan's graduation from Air Force tech School

Ugh.....It's gonna be painful bringing up the words that paint the picture of the rest of this day.  Don't get me wrong, seeing Dylan walk up that stage and get her credentials pinned on was wonderful and a very proud moment.  It's how I got to that moment that makes me want to puke.  Here's the graduation in photos:

Look how wee!!!!

BLURRY!!!!  STUPID fancy camera........

Her favorite Sarg. doing the honor of pinning on her gear.
 Mommy needs a drink.  Proud, frizzy and VERY frazzled in my Diane Von Furstenberg which looks like it's  about to UNwrap.

 D and her grrrrrls.
Dylan and her BF and her buddy.
3:00-ish:  I'm approaching the Lackland visitor's gate and patting myself on the back for getting there with time to spare to get to the graduation hall and pick a seat up close to the stage.  Dylan had texted me a list of friends who weren't going to have family there and asked if I could get photos of them graduating.  Camera at the ready, ID in hand, and the Airman at the gate asks for my visitors pass.    ........DYYYYYLLLLLAAAAAAAAANNNN!!!!!  "You don't NEED a pass, mommy!"  She had said.  omG!  So I park and run-in heels-into the visitor center only to screech to a halt behind MANY other misinformed family members.  Graduation starts PROMPTLY, I'm SURE, at 3:30.
3:25:  Pale faced and hands wringing we parents are all just looking incredulously at each other, checking watches and iPhones, and craning necks to watch the folks behind the desk process our info and administer passes SLOWER THEN MOLASSES IN JANUARY.
3:35:  I get back to the car, pull out my phone to retrieve the directions I had put in my notes the day before.  Google Maps didn't want to work on base.  Anyhoo, look at this!  They are GONE.  The directions, of COURSE, have vanished into the cyber ether.
3:40: Fully disregarding Dylan's warning to drive SLOW on base, I am speeding towards her dorm...I remembered that much.  But once there, I realize I just can't figure out the rest of the way in this HORRID FUCKING LABARYNTH OF DUN COLORED HELL.
3:45:  Fuck it, I'm not a GUY, I'm pulling over for directions at the gas station.  Nice fella maps it all out for me and yay, I'm on my way!
3:50: the WRONG fucking graduation hall!!!!!  WTF?!?!??!  I am TEARING back towards the gas station imploring myself not to burst into hysterical tears because I am MISSING my daughter graduate.  I stop and run into some kind of military hotel and a kind Airmen draws the route on a map for me.  I'm actually close!!!
3:55  Still telling myself DO NOT CRY, DO NOT LOSE IT, I run into the building, head down a hallway when I hear voices and come blasting out into the back of a little auditorium.  I'm on the "graduate's" side and need to cross to the "family" side.  Instead of going all the way to the back for ease of crossing, in my frantic search for Dylan's head, I'm banging like an ox in a china shop across the row of seats.
4:00  I made it!!!!  Sweating, cute dress disheveled, now sporting an afro, and letting a couple of mascaraed tears slip out, I make eye contact with Dylan.  Half the Airmen have already done the graduation walk across the stage....but Dylan has yet to go.  FUCKIN' PHEW.   I am able to get photos of her and her list of friends onstage, see her hard work culminate in 4 seconds of pause, pin, shake hand, smile, DONE.  Aaaaaaand, I missed all the boring speeches of the first half hour!  Go ME!
She graciously did not kill me for being late.  I was doin' GOOD after all until the pass and the disappeared directions.....
Photos and friends outside the hall, and then it was back to the dorms for a meeting.  I sat in the parking lot waiting for Dylan to  have her meeting, change into civilian clothes and to head downtown for a fancy celebratory dinner.  After about 45 minutes she came out to the car still in uniform and not looking happy.  Confusing story short, due to some ridiculous shit she had to do, there would be no time for going to dinner...or ANYTHING.  I was so disappointed.  Families come from all over the country and they can't take their kids out to celebrate?!?!?  Oh, well, there was always tomorrow.  My flight didn't leave until 6pm.  Apparently that was a negative as well.  Red tape to wade through keeping her on base.  And nothing that I could do WITH her.  That's when I lost my shit and burst into tears.  "So right now is the last time I get to see you before you come home??!!"  Who knows when THAT was going to be?!?!  They had fucked up her orders, everyone else was leaving in a couple days, and Dylan's leave was still up in the air and not looking like she would be home anytime soon.  We were hoping she would be home at least for Christmas....  I stepped forward and gave her a big hug only to have her tense up and say,"3 second rule".
"3 second rule.  I can't engage in a public display of affection for more then 3 seconds.", she explained glancing around the area for superior's eyes.

WHAT THE FUCK!!!!!!!   "I'm your MOM for chrissakes!!!!!  We can't celebrate your graduation AND I can't give you a DECENT loving hug?!?!?"  More tears.
The military is so harsh for parents....Fuck YOU.

We said our goodbyes.  FEH.  I drove back to the hotel and descended-glass of wine and Whataburger in hand-into the world of reality TV.....promising myself to make the best of the next and last day in San Antonio.