Heaps of Thanks It’s Over

Thanksgiving is over. I’m relieved.

It was a meal that didn’t live up to expectations.

The turkey tasted gamey. It should have lived.

The dressing was flat. It never made the leap from blah to wow.

The apple pie was limp and fell into a heap when on the plate.

I cancelled the mashed potatoes this year. It was already a carb fest without them, why did we need more? was my line of thinking.

Big mistake.

Never mess with tradition.

The kids complained, my husband frowned, and the dog howled.

“There’s no place for the gravy,” my son, the traditionalist said.

“The turkey is naked without it,” Alf said.

“I came for the gravy, now where do I put it?” said my friend.

“The Pilgrims didn’t make gravy,” I said.

“They didn’t make cranberry and orange relish either, and I see that on the table,” said Alf.

I was skewered. In my own kitchen.

Calvin says, “You should have consulted me. I would have told you to skip the green food and make a mountain of smashed spuds.”

How To Make Spaghetti Sauce With Your Dog

Alf and I went to the organic food market to find sun dried tomatoes without preservatives. We found them high on the last shelf. You needed to be a giraffe to spot them. Imported from Italy, of course. Why can’t Americans do this? Meanwhile, there were plenty of other brands on lower shelves within easy reach. Those were floating in olive oil and chemicals.

“That reminds me of a story when I was a child,” the clerk at the check-out said as he bagged our purchase. “Our Pekinese had a fascination with the tomatoes my mother grew in the back yard. Every summer one by one he’d pluck off a ripe tomato and deposit it in the back yard. He did this until all the tomatoes were off the vines. My mother found them shriveled up in the sun, and that’s how we made our own sun dried tomatoes.”

“Hey, you know, that’s not a bad idea,” Alf said when we climbed into the car. “Can we train Calvin to do that?”

“It’s got to be his idea.”

“We could make it his idea,” Alf said as we pulled out of the parking space.

“How do we do that?”

“We spray the tomato plants with some irresistible odor that will drive him wild and he’ll attack the tomatoes.”

“Calvin doesn’t have a dainty mouth like a Peek. He’d snatch and smash,” I said.

“I could train him to have a gentle bite,” Alf said.

“His jaws would crush everything. You’d have spaghetti sauce instead.”

“Hmm. We do have basil and oregano growing…”

Calvin says, “I heard that. I’m not Italian. There’s no flipping way you’re going to teach me that trick.”

How To Enjoy Failing

There’s a saying on my wall that goes like this:

INEPTITUDE

If you can’t learn to do something well, learn to enjoy doing it poorly.

I love it.

If I’m honest with myself, I do everything poorly.

For most of my life, I wouldn’t go near things that interested me because I was sure I wouldn’t do them well.

I was a perfectionist.

But over the years I learned that perfectionism paralyzed me.

I had no fun.

I was a grouch.

So I took the plunge.

For example, cooking. I didn’t know how to boil water. That kept me away from a lot of recipes I wanted to make.

Now I boil water like a pro. Big bubbles, medium bubbles, and small bubbles.

The rest of the recipe, ask me another time.

Take painting. All my life I was told that to be a good painter, you had to learn to draw.

Drawing bores me. Too much attention spent on details. I don’t have the patience.

So I mess with watercolors on the best paper I can afford to buy. The paper produces some really good stuff, and I take the credit.

Writing. The ability to write a novel alludes me. I’ve tried so many times, only to get stuck in the middle with no way out of the maze I’ve created.

But I’m terrific at beginnings. Great characters. Lots of action. Compelling hook.

Anybody out there need an epic first chapter? Talk to me.

The truth is, I live with failure every day, but I don’t let it stop me anymore.

It scares me. I’ll admit that, but I’ve gotten used to being frightened.

I tell myself somewhere in all this mess, there’s a gem in there.

Most likely it will take somebody else to spot it.

Calvin says, “I see it. It’s the bone I buried under the chaos in your study.”