Monday, October 20, 2014

Giving Thanks

First, let's get the money shot out of the way:


Isn't she a beauty?  I got a 20lb bird and it still isn't big enough!  NO BIRD WILL EVER BE BIG ENOUGH!  I obviously need a larger roasting pan.  I want one of those large, short, squarish ones.  The one I have is fine for most roasts and things, but when it comes to feeding my family, where only an 8 rib prime rib will do, and a 20lb bird is the bare minimum you would consider, I need something much, much larger.  

Thanksgiving has taken on a whole new dimension in the last five years.  As you've been hearing me trumpet for the past 8 years (!) of this little space, it was already my favorite holiday.  Then, my beautiful, dearest, sweetest BFF married the dearest, sweetest, kindest guy on Thanksgiving weekend and I will remember always being there, so incredibly happy for those two, sing-shouting Africa by Toto at the top of my lungs and the Dotytron giving his best go at dancing with all the Iranian biddies.  Then, a year later, the Big Yam was born, and every year since then his birthday has fallen around Thanksgiving and I am so thankful to have his little butt in my life.  Parenting is a weird thing.  If the mirror that being in a long-term relationship reflects back at you is one of those department store dressing room types (detailed and unflattering enough to show all the bumps and ridges in your bod, but not poorly lit enough so that you can still emerge with a small shred of self-possession and ego intact), then the self you find in the mirror of parenting is one of those illuminated, magnifying mirrors on cosmetic counters.  Every flaw, every pore, every spot, every wrinkle, every errant hair blown up and exposed with the harshest, most flattening light.  I am tested and made better by him every day, even as I enact the patented, Karl Lagerfeld School of Dog-Training/Spirit Breaking style of discipline and coercement that makes up the foundation of my parenting praxis.  

I took last Thursday off from work to take him out on a special day.  Our only goal was to take every kind of TTC imaginable and take a Go Train and end up at Dr. Rei's house to visit her and baby A.  We took the Go Train to Long Branch (which is somehow still considered part of Toronto?!  How does that work) and then promptly turned around and headed right back.  He was THRILLED:  


Just so, so, so happy, the entire time.  He was pretty sweet at Dr. Rei's house and most of the weekend.  He remembered his manners, wanted to kiss baby A a bunch of times, and was just so kind, and loving, and curious, and the perfect amount of impish, that it was truly a pleasure hanging with him.  

Last year I started the tradition of asking him 20 questions on his birthday.  Here are last year's answers:

  1. What is your favorite color?  Blue like my Thomas pajamas
  2. What is your favorite toy?  My double decker bus (He made me rephrase the question as: “What’s your favorite vehicle?”
  3. What is your favorite thing to eat? Sausage (as he was eating sausage for breakfast)
  4. What is your favorite movie? Thomas movie
  5. What is your favorite outfit to wear?  Blue shoes
  6. What are your favorite animals? Who’s a farmer?The animals in Farmer’s Rick barn and a rooster came and I start to cry.
  7. What does Mama do for work? Hmmm...
  8. What does Baba do for work? I don’t know
  9. What is your favorite book?  I don’t know either.  My favorite book is...play some trains and helicopters and trains and truck
  10. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Play Choo Choo
  11. Who is your best friend? Mama / Tristan
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Here - I want to get beer
  13. What's your favorite game to play?  Thomas
  14. What's your favorite thing to do with Mama? Nothing.
  15. What's your favorite thing to do with Baba?  Play
  16. What's your favorite special treat?  chocolate
  17. If you could go anywhere, where would you want to go?  Poh Poh (Poh Poh’s house)
  18. What makes you happy?  ...
  19. What makes you sad?  ...
  20. What makes you scared? ...  

And this year's:

  1. What is your favorite color?  Blue
  2. What is your favorite toy?  The Dragons - the dragon book with the dragon pieces
  3. What is your favorite thing to eat? hot dogs and macaroni and pizza
  4. What is your favorite movie? The Incredibles
  5. What is your favorite outfit to wear?  The cape shirt
  6. What are your favorite animals? Elephants
  7. What does Mama do for work? You...brush your teeth
  8. What does Baba do for work? He...he...he plays music
  9. What is your favorite book?  The Incredibles Book
  10. What is your favorite thing to do outside? Ride my bike
  11. Who is your best friend? Chloe & Indi & Meredith
  12. What do you want to be when you grow up?  Ummm...a superhero
  13. What's your favorite game to play?  Tag
  14. What's your favorite thing to do with Mama? Go to Auntie Rei’s house on a...on a...go on a Go train
  15. What's your favorite thing to do with Baba?  Have a walk
  16. What's your favorite special treat?  chocolate
  17. If you could go anywhere, where would you want to go?  To the CNE
  18. What makes you happy?  When you don’t listen
  19. What makes you sad?  When you say I can’t
  20. What makes you scared?  Um...when it’s dark in caves.

I think some of the questions will have to change with time (like, eventually he'll figure out what I do for a living, besides brushing my teeth in preparation for work).  But he's becoming such a capable, responsible, sentient little person.  We bought a small jar of that soy-butter fake peanut butter stuff which is what he gets for school.  This morning he asked the Dotytron if he could have "some of the large parcel of peanut butter" (our regular peanut butter is in a Costco-sized jar).  I love that I co-created a 4 year old who uses the word "parcel"!  He also generally has his shiz together.  When the Dotytron was stressing about his readiness to start JK, he polled the other teachers in his school and they were like, "Does he eat his lunch? Does he bring back his lunch containers?  Yes?  He's golden!"  He puts away his dishes in the dishwasher, wipes up his place mat, is fairly responsible for feeding the cats and will get himself dressed and brush his teeth.  We are now working on bed-making and laundry sorting.

We continued the celebration on the actual day of his birthday by having dinner with Momma D, where he was thoroughly spoiled with very thoughtful, considerate, enriching gifts.  He continued to impress me by giving unprompted thank yous for every compliment, every birthday wish.  We decamped to Momma D's house all day because our basement, which was sold as "finished" but was actually a "little shop of horrors," was being demo'd and stripped down to the concrete.  

Pro tip: when you are hosting the next day and your basement doesn't have a door and is essentially open to the rest of the space, it might not be a good idea to do your demo the day before.  The "finish" was actually keeping a lock down on this unholy, dank, disgusting smell that I've only encountered in long-occupied, seldom-aired Hong Kong apartments occupied by people with questionable hygiene.  A tumid funk, if you will, that then INFECTED OUR WHOLE HOUSE.  It was kind of stressful.

We gave the place a proper cleaning and aired out the main floor and ran the exhaust and thankfully, by the time the bird was in the oven, the smell of Thanksgiving had triumphed over unwashed neglect.  IT WAS A THANKSGIVING MIRACLE!  

The visit with my sister and her family and my littlest bro was awesome.  I LOVED cooking Thanksgiving dinner in my new kitchen.  It was so effortless!  It was so painless!  It was so easy to clean up!  It made me excited for the arrival of the basement, when we'll have a whole other space where we could throw the kids down there and spread out some more.  

A shot from the Brickworks last Saturday.  We are planning on being giant nerds this weekend and going for a walk in the Don Valley and taking in the fall colours.



On our visit with Dr. Rei, we stopped by a new patisserie, The Tempered Room, in Parkdale.  I got a selection of pastries, and had a snacky, brioche type thing there.  The brioche was good, the pastries were kind of the grossest.  Clockwise from the top left we have: pumpkin tart, pomme caramel, and an eclair with nutella.  First of all: they were hella expensive, which I can accept, if the flavours are out of this world.  They were very, very small.  The nutella banana eclair was the best of the lot, but the other two were too fussy.  Each one had a flavour element that was put there I think to be progressive, but just ended up not marrying well with the overall flavour profile.  Like, the pumpkin tart had a truffled cream that was so overwhelmingly truffle (and keep in mind, I'm not a person who goes banana for truffle flavour), that it veered into a savoury dish, and one with a paste-y, almost mealy texture.  The apple thing was very pretty, but the classic combination of apple and caramel was totally thrown off by the black and white sesame seeds, which added an almost acrid, coffee-like bitterness to the dish.  I LOVE toasted sesame seed flavours, but I think that warm, roasted taste is best offset with classic, mild flavours (cream, vanilla).  The acidity of the apple didn't match well.  I wouldn't necessarily go back to that place.  

My pumpkin pie, which I've realized needs some tweaking.  It was considerably elevated by a drizzle of salted caramel sauce.

We've been eating well this week - Tuesday had my ex-bf over for dinner and had matzoh ball soup and these spinach-artichoke melts.  Wednesday we had this kale, squash, and bacon risotto.  Last night was my irie pumpkin stew with Jamaican-style rice'n'peas.


Tonight, I had the infinite wisdom to prep a pan of homemade nanaimo bars and am stupid excited for Swiss Chalet delivery.  It's the little things, folks.


Fin.

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