Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble, gobble!

(Above is this year's Kiddo and the Turkey photo.  You can check out previous years' editions here.)

We were supposed to have my sister, brother-in-law and nephews with us for Thanksgiving this year.  They were supposed to come up last year, too, but illness prevented them from making the trip (it was the dreaded swine flu, which had felled our house over Halloween).  This year, my sister and I kept careful watch on the kids, and no one was appearing germy, so we thought we were good to go.  A decently sized turkey and inordinate amounts of potatoes and broccoli were purchased and stored.  Fixings for pies were gathered.  The guest bed was unearthed from beneath the piles of clothes I'd been sorting upon it, beds were made up, the house was cleaned.  On the other end, my sister was packing up clothes and dog gear, making sandwiches and loading the cooler.  

You know where this is going, right?  Yep.  Late Tuesday afternoon, less than 18 hours before they were planning to leave, one of my nephews got sick.  Not just a little sick, either, but majorly sick.  Once again, the Thanksgiving trip had to be canceled.  Many tears were shed by the cousins here and in Jersey, and much disappointment and sadness felt by the grown-ups, too, but what can you do?  A sick kid is a sick kid and we all know you can't travel 6-8 hours with a really sick kid.  At least we will see them in a month at Christmas...

In a "making lemons out of lemonade" - or, more accurately, a "uh-oh, how are we going to eat a 16 pound bird plus four pounds of potatoes, stuffing and broccoli apiece" moment - I called up some friends who were neither traveling or cooking Thanksgiving this year and invited them to join us.  Happily, they agreed to spend their holiday with us here at Chez Smith, so I will not need to see if it is, in fact, physically possible to burst the drawstring on my yoga pants by sheer carbohydrate ingestion.  (Oh, and did I mention the pies?  I made two - apple and pecan.  Even did the apple pie's crust from scratch.  Go me!)

So, we will have a table full of friends and food in just a few short hours.  Wherever and however you plan to spend the day, I hope it is likewise full of family, friends, food and fun.  Also, if you have a pair of Thanksgiving pants, I am majorly jealous.

Gobble, gobble!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A truly remarkable woman

Earlier this evening, a dear friend of mine, with whom I worked years ago, sent me a link to a newspaper article about a woman who had just passed away.  She sent me this link because we knew this woman back when we worked together at Syracuse University.  This woman, Kathy Urschel, was a graduate student at SU then, and worked in our office for a while as a graduate assistant.  At the time (this was the early 90s), Kathy and I became friends.  We'd have lunch together when schedules permitted and we'd certainly chat (I've always been a talker - and so was Kathy!) a lot whenever she was in the office as well.  She was a hoot, funny and quick-witted and had a keen sense of observation that could leave me rolling in laughter in an instant.

Eventually, I left Syracuse, got married, moved around and lost touch with Kathy somewhere along the way.  I still thought of her from time to time over the past 16 years, and at one point (still in the early days of the internet and email) exchanged letters with her to reconnect and catch up.  Even with the passing of time since we last were in touch, I was greatly, greatly saddened to read this beautifully written article about my former friend when it arrived in my inbox tonight.  You see, Kathy Urschel was, simply put, one of the most amazing people I've ever known.  I found the following video clip that sums up her story, in her own words, better than I ever could:

The last time I saw Kathy was the summer before my wedding.  We had lunch together, picking up sandwiches from the place next door to my office and eating them on a bench on SU's main quad.  We basked in the sunshine of that midsummer day.  We talked about wedding plans and she asked me all about my newly chosen wedding dress.  It was the week before I was leaving Syracuse, and we promised each other we'd keep in touch.  Tonight, I'm left wishing I had taken the time to track her down and catch up again, now that it is too late.  Just a few months ago, I was telling my daughter about her and the thought crossed my mind to Google her and try to track her down.  I added it to my mental list of things to do and never got around to it.  Please, if you have a few minutes, read about Kathy's life and accomplishments.  She was such a remarkable human being, and I'm proud to say that she once was my friend.

Rest in peace, Kath. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

A little spy FYI

Earlier today, I came across the following piece of paper, tucked amongst a pile of books and magazines on the family room coffee table:

Now you know that if you happen upon a person wearing funny glasses, fake paper mustaches and old costumes, they just might be a spy in disguise.

You're welcome.