Saturday, November 27, 2010

Thankfulness, Gratitude, & Pie

We're on the other side of Thanksgiving now. A large portion of my family gathered up in the mountains of North Carolina for a feast and mini-shopping frenzy. Before FryDaddy and I headed up the mountain, we had our own pre-Thanksgiving ritual - no, not watching the Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, although I greatly enjoy that. No, we watch "Pangs," the Thanksgiving episode of Buffy. While the episode is not without controversy for its somewhat stereotypical portrayal of Native Americans, I can easily overlook that to enjoy lines such as, "I know it's a sham. But it's a sham with yams. It's a yam sham" and the inimitable Anya's, "To commemorate a past event, you kill and eat an animal. A ritual sacrifice. With pie."

The Thanksgiving feast for my family is pretty typical - roast turkey, cranberry sauce from the can, dressing, a variety of vegetable casseroles featuring lots of cheese and condensed soups, crescent rolls (again from the can - my contribution this year) and a table groaning with desserts. Truly a carb-fest - Dr. Atkins can stay far, far away from our table and we'll thank him for the favor.

I like Thanksgiving, primarily for the whole idea of taking a day out and thinking about the good stuff that's going on. Given the still cloudy economic situation, the fact that my beloved Carolina Panthers are playing with the passion of a two-day-old dead fish, and the overall cussedness bordering on paranoia in much of the current political discourse in my country, it's good to declare a one day time out. Because there has been (and is) an awful lot of good going on this year; to wit (as my lawyer friends would say):
  • Late winter into spring - write, write, write. Because people wanted to hear me talk, talk, talk.
  • May 1 - FryDaddy and I got married with much love and joy and very little fuss.
  • Mid May - FryDaddy completed his first two years of college, even donning a flimsy polyester gown and very flat hat for the occasion.
  • Early June - Slayage 4 was held down in the lovely town of St. Augustine, FL where we hope to return.
  • Fall - FryDaddy began his final years of undergraduate schoolin'.
  • August to November - I discovered Supernatural and found a whole new way of looking at angels, some of which are quite scary, yet deeply, deeply satisfying.
Yes, I know the list is heavy on the pop culture references, but . . . and there is the prospect of decorating for Christmas and maybe even spending an afternoon not grading. With hot chocolate.

Indeed, life is good!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

"Right about now I wish I was back in a TV show."

The title is from "Changing Channels," a Season 5 episode of Supernatural. Let me explain.

When FryDaddy left to continue his education full-time at a university that was close enough to allow him to come home often, but far enough away to not allow him to live at home, it was suggested that we find a way to meet in the middle for dinner once a week and further, that we find a TV show to watch so we'd have something to talk about that wasn't school or work related. We listened to this sage advice and decided (after three years of people patiently trying to get through to me) to give Eric Kripke's Supernatural a try. I'll admit that I wasn't too sure - it seemed like the anti-Buffy and maybe a little too guy-centric for me.

One of the marks of an adult is that she can admit when she's wrong.

We started out with the idea that we'd watch one episode a week. That barely lasted a month and that was back in Season 1 when the show was still finding its feet and the scripts had a certain "Monster of the Week" feel. Then we began bending the rules and ripping through the seasons - we're about a third of the way through Season 5 today and will probably finish that season by Thanksgiving. (We did keep the rule that we have to either watch together or watch the same episode apart - no getting ahead!)

If you haven't watched the show and have any interest in it, you might want to stop reading now. I have tried to stay basically "spoiler-free," but you just can't help but learn a few things along the way and I'm sure it's colored how I look at a few things. (And I know there's a Season 6, so I'm going to happily assume that both my boys make it through Season 5 and somehow triumph over the looming Apocalypse, emerging with bodies and souls relatively intact. If I'm wrong, please don't bother to tell me.)

So - why care? I mean, it's a fantasy-driven TV show about two brothers who are always on the move, fighting Darkness in any number of small, mostly mid-Western towns. Their classic car has an arsenal in the trunk and a cassette player ready for the best of 1970s arena rock. They live in a series of seedy motels (with truly hideous "theme" decor) that even the Gideons steer clear of and fund their activities through questionable poker games and (probably) credit card fraud.

I grant you, it sounds either (a) ridiculous or (b) like a really bad movie made for the SyFy Channel (see again (a)).

But Supernatural isn't about that. Like high school in Buffy, that's the cover and the wise are not taken in by covers. Supernatural, at its best, is about the Big Questions. Life. Love. God. Angels. Demons. Evil. Destiny. Free will. Compassion. Sacrifice. Choice. And boy howdy, is it about consequences - intended and otherwise.

It's about taking home with you and holding tight to those you love, even when you really can't stand to be in the same room with them. It's about Duty and Pain and fumbling to do the right thing when no one bothered to tell you what that was.

And it'll make you laugh. Horse-laugh, out loud. And, if you have a heart that beats and has ever known loss, it'll make you cry.

I marvel that it took me this long to find it. But I'm in the Impala 'til we run out of road.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Fall's Here!

I can tell not only by the annual turning-back-of-the-clocks (and the other part of that yearly ritual, the finding-of-the-clock-you-forgot-to-turn-back), but by the heaps of leaves stacked by the curbsides of my neighbors. My yard is still covered in colorful leaves that the trees have shaken off. Oh, there will be more - it's sort of like Spooky shaking off after an (all too infrequent) bath. You'd think with so many water droplets that she'd have to be dry, but there's always one more good shake in there. Same with leaves.

I really enjoy fall. The crisper air is a pleasant change from the sticky heat of the Southern summer (we're not lazy, we're languid) and I have a thing for fresh apple cider, so it's my time of year! And big bubbling pots of beef stew. Or chili. Or vegetable soup. And pumpkin pie.

Might even toss a log in the firepit out back.

This change of seasons is also marking the end of the "wedding season." This was a "hitching year," make no mistake about it. This past weekend, my brother took the walk down the aisle (actually, he stayed in one place and his lovely bride did the walk thing, but you get the concept) and I was thrilled for him. They're an excellent couple who truly seem to complement each other and it was great to be able to be there (complete with my still-stylish walking boot!) to witness the event.

And no, it was wedding cake, not pumpkin pie.