There are eight days until my mother and my son arrive. This makes me gleeful. Quite ridiculously so. Like a child anticipating Christmas.
I have cleaned the hut which doubles as an office and a spare bedroom, stripped it of all books and papers, and poems pinned hastily to the walls. I have sorted out the cupboard, in order to make room for my mother's clothes. The sofa has been moved to the wall where it can expand into a bed, the slipcover is being washed, and the desk has been taken out to be turned into a serving table for Thanksgiving. The table in my bedroom is creaking under the weight of books which need to be sorted out and found a space on the bookshelves, which are themselves groaning.
The dining room and the sitting room have been swapped, and rather cozily so. I don't know why we haven't done this before, not just because 25 people for Thanksgiving won't fit into the dining room. Hence the room we sit in, with its domed skylight, the Maharishi's cluttered desk, and the fireplace, studded with pomegranates and apples and small birds and Buddhas and saints candles and bits of green jade that I'm trying to persuade to grow in little Moroccan glasses, is now filled with a long dining room table, like a Medieval banquet hall.
I am filled with renewed purpose. There are beds to be made, corners to be swept, paintings to be hung. There are menus to be planned. Thanksgiving is only ten days away, I think as I wake up in the morning, barely out of my dream state. And in eight days my favorite people in the world will be here.
The food pages of the Los Angeles Times are filled with recipes for fennel-apple slaw and spiced ricotta and apricot pissaladière and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall gets excited about Brussels Sprouts and includes a recipe for Brussel Sprout salad with hazelnuts, lemon and goat cheese that is not unlike my own. (The clever Annabelle over at Hecho/Visto points out, however ""Sprout" is a bit of a misnomer... Brussels Ball sounds more like it.") On the radio, chefs debate the "sides" versus "bird" issue. People travel to see their families, bring orange and brown flora into their houses, buy up bags of cranberries they'll never use, share recipes for pumpkin pie, try to figure out how to avoid the inevitable family argument, count knives and forks, worry about having enough plates, wait for the NPR turducken episode (now officially a word), try not to be irritated by Lynne Rossetto Kasper, even though she dispenses excellent advice for the cooking-challenged.
Things that are worth your while: Today we should listen to Gorecki, no matter what we're doing, and marvel at how richer the world is because of him. Here is the 2nd movement from his 3rd Symphony. Or, if you missed it, read Tania Kindersley's wonderful post about Remembrance Sunday. And then of course, the brilliant Christopher Hitchens is interviewed in The Guardian.
May your week be peaceful and bountiful.