The Pyrenees---Southern France

The Pyrenees---Southern France

Friday, November 23, 2012

It Don't Take Much

        For me, Thanksgiving is all about family...and gravy. I don't need lots of fancy culinary creations. I don't need family heirloom silverware and fine china plates. All I need is my family around me, and some good gravy.

        I am, after all, a saucy type of gal...

        Yesterday I had both kinds of gravy. This year, we invested in a fat separator to make the gravy not as slippery and slick as it usually is, but I had my doubts. I saw that the fat had indeed risen to the top of the container, as promised, but when it came time to pour the juices out, I figured the fat would pour out right with the juices. The instructions claimed the fat would remain in the container, but I scoffed.

       However, it worked exactly as advertised. And I was happy, because a delicious gravy is one of my favorite parts of a Thanksgiving meal.

     The other gravy came with my kids. I was lucky enough that my son took the time from his studying to come to St. Louis. Even more fortunate, my daughter and her family made the long journey from Florida to spend the holiday with us. And with Jason came his mother, Sharon, who lives three hours away in Illinois.

     Having a kind and capable daughter is wonderful, and Jason is the perfect partner for Virginia. He is the gentlest man, he's the best dad I've ever encountered, and is the epitome of thoughtfulness.

     And although he is fond of making snarky jokes that I appreciate, and he makes them in a soft-spoken voice so they don't offend anyone but only serve to entertain me, he's still a guy, and he's still from another generation. His mother Sharon is a different story.

     It's comforting to have a friend join me at Thanksgiving who is also "family." She and I are both having a love affair with our granddaughter--she's our first and only one--and we enjoy each other's company.

     So I enjoyed the gravy that has already added an inch or two to my waist, along with the emotional gravy--the "extra" bits of pleasure that come along if we're fortunate beings.

      What kind of gravy did you enjoy on Thanksgiving?

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Jean Whatley--Unleashed and Unfettered

Jean Whatley, author of Off the Leash, proudly holding up her book. The publisher is Blank Slate Press,
and Subterranean Books kindly donated 10% of the sales to the Humane Society.

         I had the privilege and the pleasure of hearing Jean Whatley talk about her new memoir. The book signing was at the Humane Society. It made me regret putting on mascara, because there were many moments when my eyes filled with tears.

        It's not that Jean spoke of only dark things, nor was it that she lacked a sense of humor. It was an uplifting talk, full of sardonic wit. The overall messages she wanted to impart were:

  • Follow your dreams...Don't put them off or it might be too late when you finally have the courage to try to achieve them.
  • Visit the people who matter. Now. And tell them you love them. Now. If you wait, the window of opportunity might slam shut.
      So why the tears? I think I was so moved because Jean came very close to not going after something that she desperately wanted and needed. She was so honest with the audience, I ached with her over her marriage crumbling and I was quivered right next to her as she stood at the edge of an emotional and a financial cliff...and she had the courage to step off, not having any idea how it would end.

      After reading her blog postings as she traveled across the country and after hearing some excerpts she read aloud and reading some snippets of the book myself, I know this is going to be a funny, poignant, and moving memoir.

      Have you read Jean's book and if not, when are you planning on buying it? Or

      What kind of huge "cliff" did you step off during your life, and how did it end up?

Jean Whatley at the Humane Society, signing her book. Her memoir tells how she and her dog Libby
went on a journey across the country that was more life-changing than Thelma and Louise's car trip.