{ Friday, November 29, 2002 }

Tofurkey Day

This morning Shelly woke me up around nine thirty. I was told to get dressed because we were going hiking.

At eleven, we had managed to eat, field some phone calls about dinner, get dressed, pack the hiking stuff, and were on our way.

Except that we had to stop and buy plates and silverware. I waited in the car, as I was preserving my legs so I could hike. I only get so much upright time per day really.

By noon, we were on our way.

We went to Malibu and hiked around in some state park. Up a big mountain-y thing. And saw some birds. And quail. (I feel like my mother here. She redid her kitchen in "birds and roosters". As though the roosters aren't birds. She meant "birds, emphasizing roosters". Just as I mean "various birds, the only one I remember was quail")

Mostly I was just trying to tell myself "mary ann, you're never going to be more able-bodied than you are right now. So, this is the new definition of 'okay'. Yes, that pain in the hip, that's 'normal' at least for now. So, you feel fine. Keep walking.". Also, there was some internal monologue about not pushing my perky sister down the mountain while she watched the birds as I tried to remain upright and not look down.

I'm afraid of heights. Not horribly afraid. I just don't like it when I'm up high and there's no railing. Okay, I don't really like heights with a rail or a window either. But I'm not paralysed with fear, like airplanes. This is more just like 'uncomfortable' then 'afraid'.

I'm all about the qualifiers tonight. Not sure what that's about.

Okay, so we hiked up this big hill/mountain thing. Then we came back down which was hard and terrifying as climbing down always is. Along the way, Shelly actually asked me some things about myself. It was odd. Apparently it is just not occuring to her that I don't like everything she likes. Mostly she asked about stuff I hate. She was shocked to learn that I don't like hip-hop and I mostly don't like punk music. She had no idea that I like winter. She didn't know that I prefer the plains to the ocean. She didn't know that any change in air pressure really does make my legs ache. So, now you all know what even my sister didn't about me until today.

Today was the first time I had ever heard Shelly acknowledge that I am not able-bodied. Normally she's just like "Stop whining. Let's run. Can you run? No, not, does it hurt. Not, do you want to. Can you? Okay, then run.", but today she didn't argue when I told her I couldn't do certain things because of the pain in my hip. I've got the knee thing under control but walking so my knee doesn't hurt involves pain in my hip.

Then we went over to the beach and my poor throbbing feet got iced in the Pacific Ocean. The cold felt so good. We watched some surfers and stood around and took some pictures and all that. Our jeans got all wet. But it was fun.

We hopped back in the car and headed for town around two. Shelly saw a flower stand and decided we *had* to have flowers on the tables. Twenty-three minutes later, we were back on our way with four dollars worth of flowers. Twenty-three minutes. Four dollars worth of flowers. The poor man running the stand was not pleased.

I felt bad because we were buying things on Thanksgiving, which is one of my mother's cardinal rules. No making other people work on holidays. Shelly claimed that since he was Korean, Thanksgiving didn't mean much to him. It still doesn't seem fair to me.

We got back here and commenced cooking. We were making Tofurkey, mashed potatoes, and vegetable gravy. But y'all haven't heard about the shopping trip yet. Oh my. Last night we went to the grocery store. And there were valets in the parking lot trying to keep order. The place was so fucking packed. But we did manage to get the whole Tofurkey with tempeh drummers and wish-sticks and gravy and stuffing and the whole bit.

Driving with my sister was always an experience. Driving with my sister the LA Driver is beyond an experience. It's sooooo scary. I know that I drive like someone's grandmother. I'm slow, I'm careful, I'm timid. I follow all the rules. I still hit stuff, but that's a depth perception issue and not a 'quality of motor vehicle operation' issue. But Shelly has always been fast and indecisive and weavy. Now she's all of those things with attitude. In a packed parking lot in LA..... fear for my life.

Okay, so we had no directions. I mean, the tofurkey came with directions, but the rest of it, we were going on my knowledge. Reread that sentence. MY knowledge. For cooking. This was not promising. Realizing that I used the word directions and not 'recipe' should give you a beginning of an idea of where my cooking skills lie.

I knew that step one to potatoes was boiling them. I cut up a bunch of potatoes and boiled them. Meanwhile Shelly arranged the flowers and her boy started on the tofurkey. Except it needed orange juice for the basting sauce stuff. So, he walked to the store to get that and some broccoli because Shelly had decided that we didn't have enough vegetables coming.

While the potatoes were cooking I was granted ten minutes to read my e mail. Also I was given lectures on the following topics: Waste, my "dependence" on the computer, and NaNoWriMo

"But would it be as good if you write it in a month?"
"That's not the point."
"What is the point?"
"To actually write a novel."
".... because it's something I've been wanting to do."
"But don't you want to write a good novel?"
"It can be edited, rewritten, whatever, later. I just want to finish it."
"That's stupid."
"Well, I mean, you ought to write a good novel and take your time. Are you going to publish it?"
"Doubtful. Not for at least three rewrites."
"Oh. Why are you doing this?"
"It's fun"
"It sounds stupid."

Then I went to the store while he was gone because I wanted something with sugar and caffeiene in it to drink. I needed the energy boost before I tried to be all social and greety and I had realized I wasn't going to get a shower before the meal and I was getting cranky with not getting my way and doing too much on a bowl of cereal. After much debate with my sister about whether or not "It's my body and how much sugar I put into it is completely my choice" was a valid arguement, I ran to the other store to get some carbonated beverage.

I came back and mashed up the first round of potatoes. Which I was then told was not enough. So, I made another round.

Meanwhile, the tofurkey was basted, but we didn't have aluminum foil to cover it. Shelly had just managed to finish arranging the flowers and choosing the cooking music at this point, so it was deemed her turn to go.

Somehow in all of that, I made a second round of mashed potatoes, completely pulling the ingredients out of nowhere.... like, I think it ought to be more.... um... creamy? Maybe milk? Taste this. Would it be better if I put butter in it? Salt? Garlic? Sage? Shelly's Boy made broccoli and tofurkey. And Shelly made cornbread in her Ninja Turtles Baking Pan (that is so cool).

I was trying to make gravy when we called Mom. We had waited all day for Mom to call. Finally we called her. Except I was trying to make gravy. Shelly had finished cleaning and gotten dressed and I was still standing in the kitchen trying to make gravy.

No one said anything unkind about my gravy. I asked some of my aunts for pointers as they passed the phone around. Basically it turned into this mushroom-y, vegetable broth-y, pepper-y, paste-y hybrid of dumplins and gravy. I can't explain it except to say that it wasn't really bad at all.

People were arriving and I was still washing the newly aquired plates. Shelly was dishing out wine and I was changing clothes in the bathroom. Finally around seven thirty, we had eight or so people in here and we started to eat. Somehow I got stuck going through the line first.

Tofurkey is GOOD!! Seriously. This was the best Thanksgiving meal I have ever eaten. Of course, this one featured the most things I wanted to eat. I had: tofurkey breast, tofurkey drumstick, mashed potatoes, pseudo-gravy, broccoli, corn bread, stuffing (I normally hate stuffing, but this was more like wild rice with vegetables and some minor bread crumbs), and pumpkin pie. A very successful meal.

The eating was fine. Everyone spoke enough English that I could converse freely. It was Shelly, ShellysFriend, ShellysBoy, and three of ShellysCoworkers for dinner. One of the Coworkers brought her baby. Its name was Chris and I never learned if it was a boy or a girl. It was a nice quiet baby who stayed nicely in its weird plastic carrier thing and didn't cry. It stared at me a lot though...

Then two more people came over and we all went bowling.

I am a terrible bowler.

That's not false modesty. I tried my darndest and bowled a 54 and a 49. I am a terrible bowler. Shelly did slightly better than I did. And basically everyone else kicked our asses. Our lane was very slow because I have no power in my throw (people were bowling their whole frame in the time it took my ball to get to the end and returned), and also because Shelly was pokey in getting up there for her turns.

But the bowling was fun. We smuggled a bottle of wine into the alley. I didn't drink much of mine because I don't like wine, but in the spirit of the thing, I did take a cup. Shelly finished it for me. The bowling was very fun. Then we discovered Guns-N-Roses Pinball. That was also quite an undertaking.

In the end, I'd have to say this has been one of my better Thankgivings. Definitely the best dinner I've had. The company was good, there was much laughter and merriment. We somehow managed to do all of our cooking in spite of the fact that we only had one pot, and somehow managed to keep everything warm. I heard the charming story of Shelly's first date with her boy (he was afraid to ask her out because he wasn't sure she was straight...). I only had to deal with my aunts for about ten minutes. I only had to deal with three or four snide remarks from Shelly (as opposed to the normal 10-15)....

The only one that really angered me (there's at least one every time we're out with other people. I used to steal her friends. Not on purpose. They'd be her friends and then she was so mean and I wasn't and then they'd be my friends. I think she's still a little insecure about it) was when someone said something about my bowling skills and I said "The guy I dated in high school used to spot me 125 pins so it would seem more fair when he kicked my ass" and she responded "And that is how you know your boyfriend is a yokel." Which is absolutely not cool. And also, not true. I'm choosing to think she just didn't like me making friends with her friends. That this is a throwback to the the ninth grade for her (when I left for college)... I was glad I didn't mention that I've now had two boyfriends who have unveiled being a pro-bowler as one of their life goals while we were dating.

But whatever, aside from that snide remark still biting at me now (I need to say something. If I don't say something, it'll come out in the next combustion and that's stupid), it's been a great Thanksgving. I am missing the Late Night Holiday Antics of mary ann and keledy, but, otherwise, it's been good.

posted by mary ann 2:41 AM