I’m done here at endswith8741.
If you’d like to follow me, head on over to the new digs: My Super Anonymous Blog.
I’m done here at endswith8741.
If you’d like to follow me, head on over to the new digs: My Super Anonymous Blog.
I’m feeling totally uninspired by the graphic design of this blog. I have gone through every single WordPress blog that’s out there, and everything just feels so flat and corporate. Thinking about seeing if my friend Kevin would do some graphic design for me and my new bacon concept. Except that if I actually enlisted his help, it seems like I would need to change the website address to one that fits the idea of continually desiring bacon. This also would mean that I would have to feel really, really tied to that name. I dunno. I changed the name on a whim that day, and I liked it. But long term? Eh. When I stopped writing a blog under my full first and last name and started this one, I also named it on a whim. I’ve fallen out of love with the name Ends With 8741, which means nothing to anybody else but me. Also, it’s hard to remember for anyone else but me. 8741, by the way, are the last four digits of my social security number. So the cat’s out of the bag. I don’t know. Feeling like I need a re-invention of the blog. A new name, some cool graphics. Wish I were a graphic designer myself. Though I’m totally not a visual person at all. I’m a very conceptual thinker. Not visual. I know that the execution of a particular idea will work (or not work), but I can’t actually picture how. So I guess I would be a horrible graphic designer. But good at layout. Anyway. Neither here nor there. Just something I’ve been thinking about over the lazy weekend. Loving the lazy weekend, by the way…
Of all the holidays, Thanksgiving is the one I romanticize most. We’ve done the “normal” Thanksgivings — being with family, eating a lot. But it’s the ones that were different that stand out in my memory.
When I was in college, my dad’s first cousin was elevated from a Catholic Bishop to a Cardinal. On Thanksgiving morning, we traveled to Rome where I met a whole slew of priests and cardinals and even got to have a private audience with Pope John Paul II (well, “private” meaning me and 500 of my closest friends). That was the Thanksgiving where I toured the Vatican, walking where much of the general public isn’t allowed to tread and standing in the Sistine Chapel with only my sister. (She had accidentally left her sketch book on one of the benches, and we were allowed to go inside by ourselves to retrieve it.) We ate delicious Italian meals well into the night, and all the restaurants doted on “Father B” and his family like we were rock stars. It was the closest I’ve come to celebrity, and I have to say that access to all the best that Rome had to offer for those three days was pretty damn amazing.
Fast forward a few years to my hands-down favorite Thanksgiving of all. I’m not sure why it played out this way, but I was alone for Thanksgiving that year. I was single, but had been dating Joe over a year. He knew I would be alone, and decided to forego traveling to his parents’ home in Minneapolis instead to stay with me. I cooked a well-planned, but probably only okay Thanksgiving dinner. We drank wine, talked, listened to Christmas music, and then I let him in on a little secret: I was a total Black Friday shopper. But it’s no fun to hit the stores alone. I wanted him to go with me.
There is no way in hell Joe would ever go shopping with me in a million years now — especially not on Black Friday (which, incidentally, is now so low on my things to do list, I’d rather clean out the toilet bowl than shop) — but on that particular Thanksgiving, he made it seem like there was nowhere else he’d rather be.
We donned our coats and mittens and walked down The Magnificent Mile — Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. We warmed up with some hot chocolate and hopped from store to store. And then there was Tiffany’s. I pulled him in, and asked to see the engagement rings. I may have even tried one. “This looks nice,” I commented to a man clenching his fists so tight that his knuckles were translucent and I could see his bones.
And these words I will never forget: “I’m not making any promises,” he said, “I’m not making any promises.” Over and over again. He must have said it five times in a row.
We left the store, and relief washed over him like the sun at high noon. We continued down the street to Crate and Barrel, where I mentioned that registering for gifts there might be something for us to consider. We stopped in Rand McNally, where he thought he was safe, and I suggested we look at some maps for a honeymoon destination. There was no getting away for him that day, and by the spring, he proposed.
Although, the way he likes to tell that Thanksgiving story, I proposed. Though the words, will you marry me have never spilled from my lips. So you be the judge.
Along with sharing my most favorite Thanksgiving, Joe also happens to have shared the worst Thanksgiving ever with me. It was last year, and apparently he wasn’t speaking to me. I guess I wasn’t too happy with him at the time, because I honestly wasn’t aware of it.
On Sunday morning, his parents urged us to spend the morning with each other — to go to brunch. So we did. And after an entire weekend of simmering anger, we both exploded. Expletives careened out of my mouth like a mad machine gun, to which he requested in a very low, metered way, “Please stop swearing.” He noted that the other patrons in the restaurant were all staring at us. To which I replied, “I will swear if I fucking want to, and you can fucking stop telling me how to live my god-damned life!”
We never went back there again.
Oh, and incidentally, I think I mentioned Joe likes to call the Magnificent Mile Thanksgiving the one where I proposed. He likes to call last Thanksgiving the one where I wanted to take it back! Hey, what’s a holiday here and there without a major dramatic smack-down?
So there you have it — Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. Not always honey and roses. Mostly just family and eating. But some of my most memorable life experiences have happened on Thanksgiving weekend.
Wishing you and yours a very Happy Thanksgiving!
When I started this blog a couple of years back, it began with the recipes I was going to use for Christmas dinner. It continues today with recipes for Thanksgiving 2010. On the menu: real turkey, tofurkey, brussels sprouts, cheesy potatoes, vegetarian gravy, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, plum tart.
Preheat a large skillet over medium high heat and add the olive oil. Season turkey cutlets with salt, pepper and poultry seasoning. Saute 5 minutes on each side, then transfer cutlets to a warm plate and cover plate with aluminum foil. Thank you, Rachel Ray.
We have a couple of non-meat eaters and yours truly who loathes fowl.
Gardein Savory Stuffed Turk’y, found at Whole Foods
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut off the brown ends of the Brussels sprouts and pull off any yellow outer leaves. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. Shake the pan from time to time to brown the sprouts evenly. Sprinkle with more kosher salt ( I like these salty like French fries), and serve immediately. Thank you, Ina Garten.
This is a special request from my niece. I like that you can microwave it!
Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Saute onion and garlic until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Stir in flour, nutritional yeast, and soy sauce to form a smooth paste. Gradually whisk in the broth. Season with sage, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring constantly, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until thickened. Thank you, Becky.
Whatever comes out of a box at the grocery store. I love me some Stove Top. Seriously. I do.
If you keep up with Elizabeth’s blog, you’ll note that her daughter Sophie has been having a rough go of it for quite some time now. In honor of her 1,000th post, Elizabeth asked her readers to make a paper crane. She explained if you fold 1,000 origami paper cranes, your wish comes true. Here’s to wishing for relief, relief, relief.
E-Niner’s psychotic “episodes” are much more reality-based than in years past. (I’m using quotes around the word episodes because these breaks seem less episodic and more fluid.) Instead of insisting there are suckerfish catfish lining the inside of his coat (which I know is impossible), he has started describing events that are within the realm of possibility (for instance, being R2D2 for Halloween). I’m not sure what to make of it: progress, maturation, or simply morphing.
In the past, I’ve felt like I’m raising Dennis Rodman — a person with incredible physical gifts, yet a very unstable psychological condition. More recently, I’ve been feeling like I’m raising John Nash, the main character who has schizophrenia in the based-on-a-true-story movie A Beautiful Mind.
For clarification, E-Niner doesn’t have schizophrenia. While people with schizophrenia have hallucinations and delusions (as is the case with E-Niner), people with schizophrenia also tend to be socially withdrawn and isolate themselves (which is not the case with E-Niner).
Anyway, according to the movie, for years, John Nash was able to convince his wife that he worked for the CIA decoding spy messages, had a roommate in college who had since had a daughter. John Nash ultimately went on to receive the Nobel Prize in mathematics, so it was entirely possible that he was working for the CIA decoding encrypted messages. It is also entirely possible that he had a roommate in college who had a daughter.
The thing was, neither of those activities occurred. When he was hospitalized, his wife found out that he never worked for the CIA, that the boss he constantly talked about didn’t exist, and he never had a college roommate. None of it was true, and she was absolutely floored. He had her convinced…for years!
It’s been feeling that way with E-Niner lately. He tells people things that are absolutely within the realm of possibility — that he was a goblin for Halloween (he really liked changing up Halloween characters!), that he has bunk beds in his room, that we have a small gym space in our new house with big exercise balls. He’s told my sister that he likes it when her chihuahua Matilda comes to our house to sleep over. And he told Joe and I the other day that he lost free time at school for not completing his homework.
This is where things are going to get hard. How will people know when he is talking about reality or has cobbled together several possibilities to create a new “reality” for himself?
I wrote a note to his teacher explaining that he was upset for having lost free time during the day, and was unable to complete his homework at night because he was so emotionally distraught. She wrote back, “Never happened!” She said he was great during the school day. But she was concerned about him not telling the truth and sent him to the school psychologist.
For the past few months, as I’ve witnessed his reality breaks move from true impossibilities (like number ones talking with him) to more plausible occurrences, I’ve been wondering about the whole childhood lesson about telling the truth versus lying.
The problem is, what E-Niner is saying he believes to be true. When he told the story about the bunk beds or the Halloween costume or the homework, he wasn’t trying to be deceitful. He wasn’t trying to pull the wool over someone’s eyes. When he tells the story, to him, it’s true.
I don’t know. I’m kind of lost right now on what to do here. Of course, there’s no parenting book out there that gives me any sort of pointers on this. More therapy for me. Never ending. I’m thankful for having an insightful parent coach to help me through these things.
What’s weird is that I’m realizing so much of my parenting comes from how my own parents parented me. For instance, if E-Niner really were lying, I have a whole lot of experience around what my parents did with me when I was caught in a lie — whether I agreed with what they did or not, I still have that experience from which to base my own reaction. But there is no experience around psychosis that I have in my hip pocket, at my disposal. I can only gather a lay of the land, survey the situation, and admit that I have no freaking clue what to do.
Obviously, I want to protect E-Niner from harm. And I want to get him help for his thoughts and underlying anxiety. In order to do both, it means the people who are working with him at school and the people who he encounters every day need to be educated and informed on the particulars of his psychosis. Those particulars baffle me to this day. How am I supposed to communicate with them on something that overwhelms me and befuddles me at every turn?
This is tough stuff.
There really is so very, very much to relay about E-Niner and school. So, so much. A self-proclaimed blabbermouth, I’ve been finding it quite difficult not to spew all of it all over this blog. The self-restraint I’ve shown here really is a feat to behold, though because of the silence, there is nothing to behold.
In other news that I can share, T-Bone said some pretty funny things today. It started with counting down the floors while we were in an elevator: “Eighteen, seventeen, sixteen, five-teen, fourteen, three-teen, two-teen, one…” And after he couldn’t figure out how to say eleven counting backwards, he donned such a look of utter confusion. Really, it was something I wish I could bottle-cap!
Moments later, he ran to the car so quickly around the corner, I could barely keep up. Once inside, we had this little conversation:
“Wow, T-Bone, you sure are getting faster as you get older!”
“Did you see me whip around the corner?”
“I sure did. You’re faster than me!”
“That’s because I’m five now.” Incidentally, the reason he does everything well now is because he is five. “I’m bigger.”
“And I’m faster than you.”
“You’re certainly faster than me.”
“And I’m smarter than you, too!” EEEK. The car nearly came to a screeching halt, considering we had just rode down the elevator counting backwards.
I started to say, “I don’t know if…”
Which is when he interrupted with, “I know about cars and roads and colors and bridges and gates and the sky and clouds and coats and hands and finger nails and car seats and steering wheels and yellow lines and brick and bottle caps!”
And after hearing the litany of items he professed to know as he looked around, I didn’t have the heart to tell him the truth…