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Sunday, December 2, 2012


The possibility of a Thanksgiving 'get away', became a 'will we; won't we', daily question.  Finally, 'we wont' won, and we stayed in town over the weekend.  Fortunately, the turkey had been sitting in my fridge, in anticipation.  Samantha was on standby to transport the bird at short notice, to her apartment, had we decided to take advantage of the four day break. 

Wednesday was very busy, and we were on dog duty for the evening, as Samantha had promised her friend's eight year old daughter that she would show her how to make the now famous, squawking cup cakes.  We arrived home and I started with the preparation for the Thanksgiving feast.  My turkey was most compliant, and did not object to being stuffed with an array of fruit, whilst swimming in a pool of cola and apple juice.  Lunch was planned for 1pm, as Edward was going to work in the afternoon.  Our dinner was a frozen Chicken Pot Pie, cooked in the microwave, which was very satisfying for us, but most disappointing to the dog, as the scraps were non-existent. 

Thursday morning had to start reasonably early, as I had worked my timetable back from 1 o'clock.  The turkey was nicely caramelised, and sat draining while I made our morning coffee.  I cleared the kitchen table, ready for a nice clean cloth, and realised that my pot was not making the usual comforting percolating sound.  Although the plate was hot, the water was not, and it was not being pumped into the receptacle that held the coffee.  This was not the start I had hoped for.  Amazed at my level-headedness, I started to question who, or what, had invaded my body.  I boiled the kettle, slowly poured it over the coffee grounds, which were in the filter, and kept the hotplate on.  Gradually, it dripped through to the pot, and I transferred it to the thermos, without a tantrum being thrown, or a tear being shed.  The logical solution would have been to transfer the grounds to the cafetiere, and let it stand for a few minutes, which would have been a most satisfying solution, as I get to 'push the plunger', all the time!  However, I have never been known for displaying logic with my own problems.  (I am an expert when it comes to others!) With time on his hands, after agreeing that my unorthodox method for beverage making was not 'half bad', (my words, which are now not so foreign to my American husband,) Dana realised that he had about three hours to spare, and as the football games did not start until the afternoon, he could concentrate on perfecting his guitar playing.  Dana, in my opinion, could outplay most, but he has recently acquired a classical electric instrument, and is teaching himself new techniques.  I had learned how to play Mallaguena, three years ago, and was rather pleased with my success, until I heard Dana effortlessly strum me back in the 'beginners' class.  He returned from the office, with guitar and amplifier, and continued to wound my pride, by improving his interpretation (for the best part of two hours) of the melody, of the tune I now refer to as the 'Scottish tune'; one never to be mentioned as it could be bad luck.  I leave the misfortune it may bring, and to whom, to your imagination!
With the turkey safely wrapped in the oven, having had its obligatory half an hour without adequate burn protection, and the potatoes laying beside it, snoozing in the relative low heat, things were back to plan.  The vegetables were all prepared, and ready to be cooked, and a recipe for corn muffins sat on my computer screen.  The decision not to leave town was the right one, as the 'Americanisation of Tracie' always amuses me on this day.  By twelve thirty, the turkey was beautifully tanned, and removed from the oven, the heat was increased, and the butter-tossed Brussel sprouts, breaded okra and corn muffins were cooking off nicely.  Samantha arrived just as I was making the 'dressing' and informed me that Edward would be arriving shortly.  By one o'clock, dinner was ready.  Probably, for the first time in my culinary life, I had a meal on the table at the exact time specified.  Edward, for whom the early dinner was a requirement, was no where to be seen.  His car was not behaving and he was at Walmart. I knew my sympathetic shriek of, 'he had to wait until NOW to get it sorted', would not have been helpful, and I paced the floor, enduring another forty five minutes of the Scottish tune!

Fortunately, the fruit stuffing helped prevent the turkey from drying out, and all was perfectly cooked.  We ate far more than we should, and with most items being in oven to tableware, there was not a great deal of washing up.  Edward left for work and the three remaining members of the family watched the Houston Texans beat the Detroit Lions, to further enhance their chances of going to the playoffs for the Superbowl. (Not that you could tell which team I follow!) Unfortunately for their supporters, the 'other' Texas team did not fare so well.  Quite satisfied with the results of the 'pro' games, we then were disappointed with the University of Texas as they were slaughtered by their in-State opponent.  Thanksgiving, it would appear, is not all about the turkey! 

Samantha left around 9pm, and Dana, the dog and I settled in for a sleepless night.  Frank was well aware that he was not going to be collected until the next day, and was very happy to see his 'momma' at three the following afternoon, following her usual 'Black Friday' epic adventure, with Edward, to take advantage of the sales, which this year started several hours before midnight.  Dana had gone to work at around 7am, taking the quadruped with him, and I chose to do my housework a day early, and to have two full days off!  We did go to the mall later Friday evening, but left shortly after we arrived, with my annual purchase from the dress shop and a quick look in the kitchen store!
Saturday morning was very pleasant.  After enjoying a cup of coffee and pastry, at the 'Tea Leaf and Coffee Bean', Dana dropped me at the mall, and went to see if the post had arrived at the office.  The first half an hour was most enjoyable, as I wandered through the stores, window shopping.  I called Dana and told him not to hurry as I was having a great time. Within ten minutes of the call I realised my mistake, and having been to most stores, was now ready to go home!  I am not a very good window shopper, and sixty minutes of browsing is normally enough.  However, I persevered, as he had told me that he would start the project that he had been putting off for as long as he could remember, and I didn't want to give him an avoidance excuse!  After a complimentary espresso, I regained some of the vigor I had lost, and went in search of a pair of boots.  Instead of sticking to the plan, I entered a store that is usually out of my price range, but have wonderful sales.  '30% off everything' was the greeting that I received.  'Everything?', I replied.  'Everything!' came the confirmation.  I made my way to the sale stand, and picked up three jackets, with the two voices in my head arguing 'for and against'.  Finally, I intervened and compromised, with the pledge that I would throw out some of my older clothes to make room, knowing full well that I was probably not going to stick to my oath!  I promised I would not be too hard on myself!  I placed the garments on the desk and was asked for my telephone number. I refused.  (Same old, same old!)  I was asked if I wanted to receive a discount, and in order to do that I would have to sign up for their 'passport'.  I asked what I would have to do.  The answer was to give my phone number, along with my name, address and email address.  I declined.  Unfortunately for the saleslady, the coffee had started to wear off, and the restlessness was returning, but the effects of the caffeine withdrawal did nothing to calm my temperament.  'But you can't get the discount without the passport', she wailed.  I reminded her that I had been told that there was a 30% discount by her colleague, and was referred to the small print on the posters and cards around the store.  I reiterated, 'Your colleague said there was 30% off everything, and did not refer to the conditions.  She wasn't being entirely honest, was she.  In fact she was misrepresenting the truth, wasn't she?  Forget the sale!'  Stammering, she suggested that I may be able to get a discount, if she put in another code.  She whispered something to the original salesperson, and they showed me a new, improved figure.  It gave me a twenty five percent discount.  'I don't know'.  The saleslady was almost whimpering.  Seriously, I felt very bad.  I was about to lose the sale of the year!  I didn't have any sympathy for the sales team!  I agreed that the discount would be acceptable, paid and left the store.

The rest of the afternoon was less controversial.  Dana collected me from my self imposed prison, and we went to the hat store where they cleaned my Stetson.  We returned to the mall and went to the cinema, and then to dinner, arriving home at a very respectable 10pm! 
Samantha dropped the dog off on Sunday afternoon as she was playing host to her father, whom had arrived on Friday for a week long visit, and they were going to San Antonio to see where it all began, at least for Texas! 

All returned to work on Monday, with the exception of Samantha, who had taken a week's leave, to show her father how ex-pat's enjoy southern living, and I was indeed thankful for all I have.  It had been, for the most part, a very satisfying weekend, and I was grateful to have a job to which to return.  It was a reasonably busy week, but we managed without our extra pair of hands, although having had a three day week previously, Friday was a welcome visitor.  With less than a month to go until Christmas, the weather is still beautiful here in Austin, and we are still in our summer clothes.  Another weekend has come and gone, and another week is on the horizon, but that will bring.....another story.

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