Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving Day Delish, or, Jellin' in the Jeep

So I got of work last night about 1:30am and crawled into bed about 2am.  Slept till about 9:45 when Alene woke me up with a wonderful cup of coffee.  I still say there is no better morning drink in the world.  Tea drinkers, don't even try.  3 billion Starbucks stores worldwide and about 16 tea-huts, and all of them on mainland China.

Nuff said.

Its Thanksgiving Day, ya'll!

Alene, her daughter Liz, and I drove down to Lodi to see Alene's grandmother, Marie.  Now, Marie lives in an assisted living place, also known as a 4-star hotel.  I mean, I'd like to live there.  The place is absolutely gorgeous, with big staircases, separate apartments, and a staff to assist with any need.  It's not a bad life to roll out of your front door to sit down at a 4-star restaurant.  But I envy digress.

We drove down for Thanksgiving dinner, and a short visit.  Marie is somewhere around 96-98 years old, depending on which documents or who's memory you want to believe.  Suffice to say, she's earned her stay at the hotel.  She's still sharp as a tack, though, so don't try to pull any fast one's on her.  She'll put you on your heels in no time.

Anyway, we arrived a little bit before dinner was served.  Alene's father, Roy, was in talking to Marie, so we all sat down and exchanged pleasantries for a while until it was time for dinner, which prompted me to look for the public restroom, a search during which I got lost and wound up exploring the entire 1st floor before I discovered the restrooms that I'd walked  past when my search began.

We all sat down to a nice turkey or ham dinner, complete with salad, stuffing, carrots, bread, coffee, cranberry sauce, and apple or pumpkin pie for dessert.  The food was very good, my compliments to the chef and the bottle washer, because eating a good Thanksgiving dinner and not doing dishes is, like, I dunno, awesome!

After dinner we went back to Marie's place and visited for a few more minutes. I had to leave by about 2:30pm to get to work on time, and the plan was for Alene to drop me off.  But long about 2pm, Roy (The Dad) announces that he has to get going, and that he will give me a ride to work.

Now, I'm cool with this.  Roy is an OK guy, even if he is a little gruff sometimes. I get him, and we seem to get along alright.  But a side-long glance at Alene showed her to be a little less certain that Roy taking me to work was a good idea. I think she actually gulped.

So Roy and I take off for the hour drive from Lodi to downtown Sacramento, and you know what? We had a fine time.  He's actually very interesting, and has lived a somewhat colorful life, from time in the military, working several business, and owning his own business for the past 25+years.  He seemed to enjoy me asking about his family, telling me about his daughter (yes, my Alene), and trips he took the kids on.

I think Alene feared the "father-son-in-law-to-be" talk, but naw..... it was just a couple of guys talking.  Nice time.

So here I am at work, eating the food delivered by a caterer, and getting way too full.  My co-workers seem to be in a great mood, people laughing and sharing about their day with families.  My own kids are at their mom's eating way too much food as well, I'm sure.  All is as it should be, and I'm a happy guy.

God Bless you all, and remember to give thanks to God, the creator, and giver of all good things.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Transitions

This Thanksgiving promises to be something new for me.  It's going to be a transition from a single dad, to forming a new family, and working to fold the old in with the new.  Its a challenge I delight it, and look forward to, but at the same time, I know it's going to be a difficult. 

How do you reconcile two different sets of very strong traditions?  Who bends, and who compromises? What things get left behind, and what new traditions begin?

This year, my x-wife is having her traditional Thanksgiving dinner at her home, with her boyfriend and their 2 young boys, up in Pollock Pines.  She sets a very good table, and "tradition" has been for me and our girls to join up with my x- and have a great family meal together.  The "functional dysfunctional family" I've called it, and as a tradition, it's worked for several years. 

This year, I've added some new people to my life, Alene and her daughter, and we have been looking at what we are going to do for Thanksgiving, and how we can fold my traditions in with her and her daughter's traditions, to make something acceptable and new for all of us.

These are things that I've thought about for some time.  I mean, its inevitable that, as new family relationships and family units form, old ways are naturally compromised somewhat, and new ways have to be forged together.  It's not easy, but it's normal.  At least, as normal as can be under the circumstances.

This year, things have worked out well.  Alene has been wonderful and made some significant changes to accommodate both me, and her aging grandmother.

Normally, Alene's grandmother would come to her home before Thanksgiving and stay for a couple of days. But with health issues this year, and of course, advancing age, this is just not an option.  Grandmother is not able to spend too much time away from home. 

So, for this Thanksgiving, we will be traveling to Lodi, and enjoying dinner with her grandmother at her assisted-living center.  The meal promises to be just fine, I'm certain, and this way Alene and her daughter can keep their tradition of getting together with their grandmother and Alene's father, who will be joining us as well.  Afterward, I have to work, so Alene and her daughter will enjoy Thanksgiving evening at home. 

Naturally, this also leaves me without seeing my own girls, who will be at their mom's.  So... what do to?

Why, have 2 Thanksgivings, that's what!

Friday, Alene and her daughter will get up early, hit the Black Friday store sales (yes, them, not me!), then we'll get to cooking for a wonderful Friday Thanksgiving meal.  My daughters will come (hopefully, work not withstanding), along with a few family and church friends who don't work on Friday.  Thanksgiving part 2 will be a splendid meal and another fine day spent with loved ones. 

A new tradition will start   I'm sure it will change in the coming years as life settles into it's groove, and new things become the norm.  But most of all, we'll be including those we love into everything we can as a new family unit forms, hopefully to the blessing of the old family unit. 

Spending time with loved ones and giving thanks to God is what Thanksgiving is about, isn't it?