Surviving Thanksgiving

I don’t think you could cross my plans worse than happened this year. First, I was looking forward to 6 days in Hawai’i, with invitation to Thanksgiving dinner already extended and accepted. Then I had to move and it was clear I was not going to be able to make it. I thought: no big deal! I can still go snowboarding! Forget about that: this year the season starts late, to make up for the early start last year.

Sigh… I ended up staying at home with the cats, watching a horrible movie (Kinsey), eating junk and drinking port. Maybe I could have gotten myself invited to somebody’s Thanksgiving dinner, but it’s not really my kind of thing, anyway, and I would have probably spoiled the spirit.

It’s not my holiday, anyway. My first Thanksgiving ever was in 1992, when I came with my aunts to visit Hawai’i and we celebrated at a Swiss restaurant. I got filet mignon, they went for turkey and had to eat a platter the size of a large pizza. Did I mention that German aunts feel the need to clean their plate???

Then, there was nothing until I finally moved for good. That was 1998. That was a strange year for me, with everything unfamiliar. I thought to myself: "Great! Here you are, everybody tells you how stressful this is, and you don’t have to deal with it!" I went to QFC, the local luxury supermarket, and bought myself a TV dinner with turkey, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. The checkstand lady, in her mid-fourties, looked at the TV dinner, then at me, then started crying because I had nobody to go to.

That certainly was a low point of my time in Portland, OR. Didn’t help that they kicked me out of the only place I was interested in, Powell’s City of Books, by four in the afternoon. I wouldn’t make that mistake again.

1999 saw me in San Francisco. I had just moved, and again everything was new and strange. Thank goodness, my friends Brook and Cat invited me over, and we had a great time. We were all new, having worked at the strange startup for only a few months. I was asked to say thanks, but had not the slightest idea of what to do. Which was really embarrassing, since I was of course supposed to say thanks for the kindness strangers.

The whole affair left me with a searing question: does French onion soup belong at a Thanksgiving dinner table? Roasted chestnuts?

{moszoomimglink:Marco and Karla}2000 was another unusual year. My friend Lyle had invited me over to his family in Idaho. We had a great time, with the snow already amassing around us. I learned a lot about Lyle, shot a few pictures ({moszoomalbum:2000-11-24}), and enjoyed my first REAL Thanksgiving dinner, with all the standards and favorites.

2001 I was with Kirk, Mark, and Camy. We stayed in the house in Los Altos, trying to prepare a traditional dinner, and miserably failing. The turkey was raw inside, the cranberry relish burnt on the stove, and everything was made worse by a terrible storm that uprooted trees around the house. That’s when we decided that strawberry daiquiris were an essential ingredient of Thanksgiving!

2002 saw a repeat of the dinner at home theme – this time with my friends from work. Dinner went well, although the Chinese soup that Teresa had brought was really horrible. The turkey came out just perfect this time. A notable fact was that Teresa and Dudley, my colleagues that came over, soon afterwards decided they wouldn’t talk to me any more.

{moszoomimglink:Marco fascinated by the cold water}2003 was one of my favorite Thanksgivings. Kirk and I went to Yosemite, and had the grandest of times. The valley was frost-free, while the top of the granite rock faces was already deep in snow. We had dinner at the lodge, then hiked up 4 mile trail. All in all, my favorite Thanksgiving ever, and I wished I could make it a permanent tradition. ({moszoomalbum:2003-11-27})

{moszoomimglink:Jim and Marco closeup}2004 was again a strange one. I went with Jim to Tahoe, for the first time ever. I loved it there. I thought the snow would make my life miserable, but Jim convinced me, and I had a wonderful time looking at the lake, the scenery, and the snow. We had dinner at the lodge (forget the name) and then fought for the temperature in the room. I won, and we roasted all night. ({moszoomalbum:2004-11-25})

The next day (that is, today a year ago), we went up the mountain to look at the snow. We rented skis, and had a great time on the beginners’ hill. Heavenly was heavenly to me, and I began a new tradition of snow-addiction.

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