The kitchen is open

I decided to get a head start on cooking for Christmas. Partially because the last thing I want to be doing is having a freakout on the day when nothing is going to plan. And also because my particular brand of anxiety likes to manifest itself by constantly thinking about what needs to be done. Tonight I made five pounds of mashed potatoes with shallots and garlic. I forgot to add the chives but I will do that before they go into the oven to warm up. I also found this recipe on the PCC website for shaved brussel sprouts with hazelnuts and sage. I couldn’t find sage here so I improvised and added a few other things. I tend to think of recipes as guides rather than to be followed exactly. This is precisely why when I try to bake, it’s usually a disaster. Anyway, the brussel sprouts are doing their marinading thing and will be roasted eventually.

Tomorrow morning I pick up the ham. This should be interesting. I managed to find a real pineapple today and I have plenty of cloves and mandarines and mustard. Apparently, you are supposed to trace some sort of pattern on the ham and decorate accordingly. This kind of reminds of that toy “Lite Bright”that I always wanted as a kid and didn’t end up getting. In retrospect, I understand why. I think it had something like 100 pegs. That sort of toy is just asking to have pegs lost all over the place.

I have seven kinds of cheese for the cheese plate. I roasted the pecans for the kale caesar and I did some other prepwork for the big day. And then I had to clean up my mess. Bummer. It is these moments that make me wish George could reach the countertops and really be helpful.

We went to the vet today because George will need a new prescription for his anti-seizure medications and Henry’s eyes looked irritated. It turns out that Henry has an infection in his gum that is causing his sinus to swell up. So, on the 8th of January, both of them will go in for teeth cleaning and George will also get a fatty deposit removed since it is small now. We really liked the vet. He said other than that the boys were a shining example of good health. Nice. When we were leaving, I looked in the other exam room because the lady next to me came out and her cat had obviously just been put to sleep. It was so sad. I remember how hard that was with Mikha. So, I told her right away how sorry I was and I started crying. The saddest part was her cat looked just like Moortje, which really hit me hard for a second. It has been 3.5 years since I went through that with Mikha and all of sudden it was like yesterday. We have them in our lives for such a short time it seems. Mikha was almost 18.

I’ve been reading this book called “Living at the end of life” trying to get a better sense of the dying process and to understand what Mom went through and what I might have missed. But also to see if I can gain an acceptance for how I cared for her. Hospice wasn’t much help for us so I have these thoughts that make me wonder what I might have done wrong. I have been thinking alot about her death and the way that she went. I am glad I didn’t know it was so imminent because I would have treated her differently I think. How could you not? Instead, the last words I said to her were “You did a great job drinking. I am going to make a phone call and when I come back we’ll try some more. I love you, Momma.” And she looked at me and nodded. And while I was on the phone with hospice, she slipped away with the dogs in her lap, face to the sunshine.

It is just really inconceivable to me that she is not here anymore. That while I have things that belonged to her, notes in her writing, her favorite black pants, her furniture, her dogs she is not here. It still doesn’t make any sense to me at all.

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