When Steve and I first separated we split the cow herd 50/50. There was a half-grown steer left over, so we agreed to eventually butcher him and split the meat between us. Which we did, and Sunday Steve brought over my half of the lovely little white packages. I thawed out some steaks right away to test them, because one thing about raising your own beef and having it hung and butchered locally is that each one has its own flavor and every once in a long while you’ll get one that tastes just plain bad. But my concerns were immediately laid to rest, because this guy is tender and yummy. Hooray!
Tuesday I took the kids back to Casa Gamino for lunch and their first official pool lesson. Elizabeth picked it up pretty quickly, but Luke has a tendency to get in a hurry and hit the cueball with the SIDE of the cuestick, which makes me cringe every time, and isn’t healthy for the cuestick either. We’re going to work on that.
After the pool lesson we drove to a local nursery to pick out our Christmas tree. We always buy live trees in pots and I’d planned to get a smallish one this time, so that we could reuse it for at least a couple more Christmases. But pickings are very slim this year. Since the stock market crashed the two local nurseries have done very little business, so one only ordered a few trees (mostly pines that had been topiaried into a cone-shape), and the other didn’t order any at all and only had a handful of blue spruces left over from last Christmas. I don’t care much for the cone-shaped pines, so I ended up getting a slightly-leaning blue spruce that was much bigger than I’d wanted and already outgrowing its pot. It’s pretty though:
I was going to have a friend with a pickup deliver it for me at some point, but the nursery owner very kindly offered to bring it over the next morning. I gratefully agreed, and gave him a couple packages of beef for his trouble. I may be money-poor, but I gots the beef!
Steve has finally moved out of his parents’ place and is renting an old mobile across the street that belongs to the son of an old family friend. This is a good thing, because the property lies up against a mountainside full of rocks and old Cahuilla Indian caves. It’s like Disneyland for Luke and Elizabeth. So now when they visit him they spend an hour or two scrambling up and down the mountainside instead of parked in front of his parents’ tv. They come home exercised and happy, which makes me very happy too.
Tuesday after we’d picked out our tree I dropped the kids off at Steve’s new place and they headed straight up the rocks.
You can’t buy that kind of workout. I love that they get to do this.
Wednesday — rain! And there was much rejoicing!
Thursday — even more rain! And the angels sang!
The kids had Thanksgiving dinner with Steve and his parents like always. My friend Jenny had invited me to spend the day with her and her family, and I was happy to accept.
I need to confess here that I have mixed feelings associated with this holiday. I love the IDEA of Thanksgiving — I love having a day set aside to remember and appreciate our blessings and the good things in our lives. But Thanksgiving wasn’t like that when I was growing up. Every year without exception my mother would inevitably have a screaming meltdown at some point on Thanksgiving Day (and also on Christmas Day, yay!), and when that wasn’t actually in progress there was still the grim micromanagement of every detail of preparing and eating the meal. It was pretty joyless, to put it mildly.
When I married Steve and started spending Thanksgiving Day with his parents, things were…better, but that’s not saying a lot. Steve’s father openly disliked me, his mother and I had nothing in common to talk about, and Steve himself came down on our kids like a crushing ton of bricks if they so much as wriggled in their chairs or accidentally dropped a fork or heaven forbid, made any noise. The prevailing topic of conversation was usually whether or not Steve’s sister was going to show up, and whether she would stay longer than the ten minutes it took her to bolt down a plateful of food. Whee!
My Thanksgiving Day with Jenny and her husband and her brother at her in-laws house was quite simply wonderful. There was laughter, there was happy conversation, there was marvelous food and fun games and surrounding everything there was love. You could feel it in the air of the house.
I think if I ever get involved with another man I’m going to spend at least one Thanksgiving Day with him and/or his family before I make any decisions about whether the relationship is going anywhere. Seriously.
Friday night a medium-sized group of us went up to Idyllwild for some karaoke.
That’s Jenny on the far left, then me, then Luke and Elizabeth. On the far right is Dee, and next to her is her very sweet mother.
There was much singing.
Toward the end of the night some guy came over and sat down at our table and started hitting on me in a fairly unsubtle manner. Wanted to dance with me, wanted me to step out back and “chat” with him. I was not at all interested, but when someone told me that he was married I was pissed off just on principle. Adulterers suck.
And now it’s Saturday morning and I need to wrap this up because I’m supposed to be driving the kids to the home of one of Elizabeth’s classmates for a playdate. This is a first. Elizabeth has never liked any of her classmates enough to pester me to take her to their house before. So, I’m thinking this is a good thing and I need to hit “Publish” and go get in the car. If I missed any typos I’ll fix them later.
Hope everyone had a Happy Thanksgiving!