Friday, December 9, 2011

Happy/Sad November

So this was the first year that I did not get to celebrate Thanksgiving with my family. Mom & Dad were in Arizona with my grandparents and Kelly & David were also in Arizona but celebrating with David's family. Josh & I were unable to travel because Josh was scheduled to work the day before and the days after Thanksgiving. I thought I'd be fine...I'm 32 years old...we decided to have a pajama day and stay in and eat yummy roast chicken for dinner. But I am a sap...I love my family...and combined with dropping a can of cranberry sauce on the top of my left foot (huge bruise!) and jamming the toes of my right foot into the bathroom doorway (really hard!) I became a sobbing mess who missed my family and felt very alone.

We always celebrated big on Thanksgiving. It wasn't unusual to have over 20 to 30 guests at our holiday table. We used to have to use the large meeting room at our apartment complex to hold all the people who came to our Thankgiving dinner. But it's hard to get everyone together nowadays...we're all grown up and have multiple schedules and families to coordinate...and this year was just a lot more sad than I ever expected.

Through continued visits to the chiropractor, my back has been doing so much better this month and I celebrated with a desire to do more cooking. :) My niece Katelyn came over one evening and we had fun watching Dumbo, eating pizza and baking cookies. One night I tried to re-create a potato soup that my CBU roommate Angie once made...hers still has epic proportions in my mind, but the one I made turned out very yummy with shallots, onion, garlic and green onions mixed with the potato, beef broth and heavy cream. Katelyn & Jonathan came over another night for a sleepover and we made a delicious monkey bread the next morning which was sugary and delightful. And a few days later, I decided to try making a savory version of monkey bread with garlic, parmesan, basil and crushed red pepper flakes with a tasty dipping sauce of melted butter and chopped garlic.

Katelyn finished a many months long social studies session on world cultures and to celebrate Kelly planned a World Festival. We ate foods from the many countries including cheese from France, feta from Greece, sushi from Japan, orange chicken from China, Tabbouleh from the Middle East, etc. After our meal, we had a craft time and we made aboriginal drawings from Australia and Russian nesting doll paper dolls. It was a fun event and I'm glad we got to be a part of it.

This month I achieved my goal and read my 100th book this year - The Lady in the Palazzo: At Home in Umbria by Marlena de Blasi. I've read several other memoirs from her and really love her very descriptive writing style that perfectly captures the beauty of Italy and her love for its people, culture and food. If you love food or travel memoirs, I highly recommend reading her books. I also got a chance to watch the documentary called Babies which chronicles the lives of four babies over the course of their first year or so of life - from Namibia, Mongolia, Japan and San Francisco. It was fascinating and by far my favorites were the little boys from Namibia and Mongolia as the lifestyle of those countires varied the most from the United States. I highly recommend watching this if you get a chance.

My favorite part of November was the opportunity to go to Disneyland with Kelly & David and the kids. They are both now tall enough to ride all the rides at Disneyland and so for the first time they got to ride Star Tours (a little scary to them, but also fun) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (they liked it, except for the dark parts). Katelyn also decided to try going on Matterhorn with her daddy and she ended saying that was her favorite ride of the day. We were only able to spend about 5 hours there, but it was a perfect Disney day - cool weather, short lines, yummy food and happy children.

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