We Like Our Lies The Best

Seeing as it is the Monday following Thanksgiving, I figure most of my fellow Americans here in the US are either congratulating themselves for having finally polished off the Thanksgiving left-overs or are giving Aunt Martha’s casserole in a Tupperware dish a cautious sniff. (When in doubt, throw it out!) Another Thanksgiving come and gone, another opportunity to lie to ourselves.

I’m not trying to speak for all Thanksgiving celebrators, but I probably speak for many of us when I say that our favorite parts of the holiday are based on at least one lie. Most likely, there are many lies we tell ourselves when it comes to the holiday, the least of them being that pumpkin pie is basically a vegetable hidden under all that whipped cream serving of dairy. Continue reading

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The Importance of Dressing: Both Window Dressing or Stuffing

It’s the Monday before Thanksgiving here in the northwest which means the rain is lashing against the windows, and the house is in partial shambles awaiting the magical transformation into a more tidy version of itself. I am contemplating which wines to serve with dinner on Thursday as well as a whole host of things. Namely ties and dressing.

This morning Mister Soandso asked my opinion on his choice of neck-wear. To be honest, I like almost all of his ties. (And no honey, I’m not ‘fessing up to which one(s) I don’t like. So there.) But I understand his desire to look his best, so I pushed up my glasses and focused on his chest. Hmm, too busy? Too red? Too blue? Too not quite right? I suspect most mornings when I am called in to give my opinion, I am mostly supposed to agree with his choices. After all, he is the man who gives me fashion tips, not the other way around.

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The Power of Persuasion or What We Get with Black Friday

As a winning “persuasive speech” competitive speaker, I know very well the power of good persuasion. The very best persuasion is that where the intended audience has no idea they have been persuaded and changes its behavior accordingly. Such persuasion is the basis of a state speaking competition winner. Or perhaps a shopping trip.

Today is the Friday after Thanksgiving here in the United States  and my Facebook and Twitter feeds are filled with stories focused on one word: shopping. The role of consumerism, the psychological element of “buying affirmations thru holiday gifts,” and the quest for the almighty bargain all play roles in the shopping frenzy of this time of the year. However, I doubt most folks now patting themselves on the back for having completed their holiday shopping realize just how they have been persuaded. Over the past forty-some years we have been persuaded that participating in Black Friday is precisely what the holidays should include.  (Especially since the holidays are a time supposedly about being with family; being more just, compassionate and kind; and reflecting on the blessings of our lives.)

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Being Thankful for the Great State of Randomousity

Between hearing a young friend has a healthy baby boy after an emergency C-Section and the upcoming day of Thanksgiving, I’m feeling both thankful and thoughtful. And whenever I get thoughtful before noon, things are likely to get random. Because as we all know, I earned the nickname “The Random Ah” for good reason. Some thankful-for-worthy things that are flitting through my head and in no particular order because that is the way they flit, are as follows:

  1. Holey moley, thank goodness that all three of my kiddos were born healthy and aside from some at-the-time scary or interesting bits, their arrivals into this world were absolutely mundane in their normalness.
  2. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday because it is about being together in community rather than giving and receiving stuff. Love that. So. Much. Continue reading

Feeding Others

It seems my whole life has been spent feeding others. Obviously, not my earliest years, but since I was about five I have been cooking, baking and feeding others. In those many years, my role as a “feeder” has shifted and evolved, but it has stayed with me. The crux is that I love to cook and I love to feed people. And yet, feeding others has a way of starving critical bits of your own self.

To be in the role of feeding others is often to be also in the role of looking for affirmation. As a cook, there is nothing better than the seat dance of a happy eater. A case in point? Several days ago my son’s friend was over for a play date and after eating lunch, I gave her a brownie. The batch was a gluten free disaster so I simply put the overly-gooey brownie in a bowl, warmed it in the microwave, squirted some whipped cream on top, and presented it, voila! Remember that special scene in When Harry Met Sally? That was our little lunch guest. “Ohhhhh. Ahhhhhh, this is soooooo gooooood! Ohhhhh!” Seeing her in obvious ecstasy was both funny and affirming. Here was someone who definitely liked what I was feeding her.

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Thankful For My Muse

Now is a good time to start thinking about all the good stuff in your life – a nearly full jar of Nutella, fur ball medication, happy cashiers at the grocery store.  OR, perhaps all the people who make your life better.  I was reading  Noah Lukeman’s writing blog this morning and I started doing the “who makes me who I am” thing.  Anybody else prone to such pondering?

Obviously, my kids generate the vast majority of my thoughts and musings – either here or when I’m doing comedy on stage.  So perhaps my loudest thank you needs to go to them.  But they aren’t why I write.  They are usually why mama needs a adult beverage additive to her morning coffee.  [giggle]  I actually write because of three folks.

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Thankful for Thanksgiving

What should I make out of these sugar pumpkins?

What should I make out of these sugar pumpkins?

I am getting ready to host 2 family Thanksgiving soirees and my mind is buzzing with all the possibilities.  Thanksgiving is my FAVORITE holiday and not just because I love to wear yoga pants and feel miserable.  I love having a day to pour over the recipes in my gazillion recipe books, magazines, and cooking websites searching for just the right one.

My family usually gets together the Saturday after Thanksgiving for enchiladas and all kinds of cheesy insanity.  But this year we are doing it the weekend before Thanksgiving in order to work around some schedules.  And then my husband’s family will be over for the actual Turkey Day.

I just pulled myself away from Recipezaar’s 411 pie recipes in order to ask you all this important question:  standard or “exotic” pumpkin dessert for my first celebration?  I could go with the old faithful, do a pecan pumpkin pie, pumpkin brandy pie, or either a chiffon or bar version.

What’s your verdict?  Really, I’m taking suggestions here.