Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do You Love Me Now That It's 2012?

Michael's holiday Butter Ball Turkey at the beach
    What is your theme song for the new year? Have you chosen one yet? You need a theme song. You need to choose a song you know all the words to, so that when you are happy, like the way you feel at the beach on a stunning clear day, you can sing your song loud and well into the wild surf. When you’re in a rough spot, say sitting in the dentist office waiting room, for your turn in the chair of certain torture, you can hum it to yourself, or whistle it into the dark when you walk past the cemetery.
    What will you do with next year's turkey leftovers? That’s a question I need to answer before Thanksgiving, 2012, which is just around the corner. What will we do with those damned turkey leftovers? I need a recipe to completely disguise that funky turkey flavor. My husband, who always seeks out the biggest turkey in the store, and fancies himself to be an expert at holiday turkey preparation, says “Yuck” when I begin turning the holiday turkey carcass into turkey soup.
    “Can you at least find another name for it?” he asks. “Country turkey chowder? Bistro turkey bisque?”
    Is this the year you join the gym and get into shape? My friends just bought a gym and say this past week has been the most lucrative one yet. People with flaccid muscles and sagging self images are lining up to sign on for a year of self-improvement. The year ahead will be different from the one behind, they hope.
Why can't every night be New Year's Eve?
    What about money? The Internet news is warning of a very rough economy in the year ahead. I can’t imagine things getting any worse, but, according to those in the know, they may. I am thinking of cutting out the land line phone, and canceling the Comcast cable TV. But Michael needs the news. “It’s an election year!” he says. Cut out the land line? Crazy talk! Sometimes, he argues, you need a land line, to send a FAX. And so, we stand at the ready for any and all avenues of communication, from the Macintosh or the Kindle or the iPhone. We also pay accordingly and absurdly.
    Like most people we have considered eliminating meat from our diet as a money saving measure. But replacing meat and chicken with fish and vegetables yields no real reduction in the grocery bill. Vegetarian cooking relies on esoteric stuff, like miso, grapeseed oil, and pricey spices, like saffron and imported curry powders. Organic ain’t economic. 
    Aside from the myth of the economy of the vegetarian diet, my spouse and I have other food issues. Michael, who is inclined to remain trim no matter how horrifically fatty his diet, grew up in South Carolina eating streak ‘o lean basted vegetables, buttery grits, and chicken-fried everything smothered in gravy. He tries to be a good sport, but finds little satisfaction in a hearty bowl of beans and brown rice. He accuses me often of using too much apple cider vinegar in my cooking, which in Nova Scotia, my home base, is about as exotic as it gets in most thrifty households. Will the battle of tastes reach a truce in 2012? So far, I’m losing badly. I was a vegetarian when I met this man, 25 years ago. Nowadays, to my utter disgust, my mouth waters at the thought of a fatty ribeye steak sizzling on the grill.
    We have agreed to stop buying bacon. A small, but important, victory. Our friends, the same ones who now own a gym, are eating turkey bacon these days. I cannot go there. Not now. Maybe never. I prefer to keep turkey in its place. And I’m certain turkey bacon costs more than pig bacon.
    I recently told my son that I’d decided to make a conscious effort not to talk so much in the new year. Instead, I explained, I want to try very hard to listen to what other people have to say, which is truly difficult for me to do. Frankly, I’d rather do the talking, or at least lead the conversation, manage the direction and the flow.
    “Mom,” Miguel said, “Do you really think you can change your personality at this point in your life? Why not work on a goal you might reasonably expect to accomplish?”
    He’s right. It’s too late for me to stop talking. I can quit eating sweets. I can give up bacon. I can give up the “Housewives of -- name the city --” on Bravo TV. I can quit trying to reinvent uses for leftover turkey. But I certainly can’t shut up, any more than I can stop singing or dancing, or needing to be loved.
    So here, with heartfelt thanks to the fabulous Contours, is my own personal anthem for 2012. Call me if you would like to discuss my choice. We'll talk . . . uh, I'll talk.


  1. oh i can mash potatoes - not so good as a cook - watch me now - hunh!!!

  2. I didn't talk for over two years because I spoke neither Kazakh nor Russian so now my lips refuse to stop flapping. Will Rick Worth design a conch cruiser style piece of duct tape for my mouth? I'd gladly shut up but then you and I will find a way via sign language. Communication is 70% nonverbal anyway, so we'll talk, talk, talk through 2012! Love ya...

  3. Gail and Craig HollenbackJanuary 2, 2012 at 5:32 PM

    A Toast to the New Year! May it be filled with Good Times, Good Friends and Good Health! Love, Gail and Craig

  4. JUNIE MUNIE MOONIE GOONY.............DAHLLLLLLING !!!!!!!!! I can't remember if I commented on you and that dress and ensemble !!! Good god, I got a hard, and I'm about as queer as .........well, you know. Faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabulous. I shall take it and print it and frame it. You look sensational. And so so so sexy. LOVE, Gil xoxox