Sunday, November 30, 2008


So I was originally planning to detail the makings of our First Family Thanksgiving (not that we haven't celebrated Thanksgiving before, but usually we're with a bigger group of family, with little or no cooking involved)--in my frenzied over-ambition, I even had a notion of live-blogging our preparations--but then I noticed that the food wasn't looking very beautiful and that we had somehow forgotten to include in our preparation any green vegetables, giving our entire meal a sort of beige palette reminiscent of institutional cooking, minus the styrofoam partitioned serving trays. So that's why, with the exception of that one picture of Cal mixing the cornbread stuff, and some pictures of Joe basting the half-done turkey, there are no pictures of our meal. Pity. I took most of the leftovers (turkey, mashed potatoes) with some of the ingredients that we forgot to use on Thursday (leeks, mushrooms, some frozen corn) and ended up making a shepard's pie the day afterwards, which actually was a modest success, though it, like much else, looked not unlike a pile of slop with mashed potatoes on top. But I think that "pile of slop with mashed potatoes on top" pretty much sums up what people want to get out of their Thanksgiving leftovers anyway, so score one for the slop master.

Anyway, thanks for nothing, Thanksgiving. On to the next thing.

I don't think I've ever put up our Christmas tree this early, and I don't think I necessarily would have this year except that Cal was SO EXCITED about it. He has been talking about putting up the Christmas tree ever since we moved, and he saw our (fake) tree amidst the boxes up in our closet. Also there is some weird three year-old thing going on in his mind about Christmas and The Baby, such that he equates the two (probably my fault for repeatedly telling him that the new baby would be coming after Christmas), such that the second after we had the tree up, Cal looked at me and asked hopefully, " the baby coming now?" Yes son. And I will put him under the tree for you wrapped in a GIANT RED BOW.

(And yes, Cal is winking in that photo. No, I don't know why. Either he is imitating me looking through the viewfinder of the camera, or this is something he learned at school. I asked him why he was making that face, and he told me it was because, "I need to look with one eye." Ah so.)

Cal has been off of school since Tuesday afternoon, and it's been just enough days for me to realize that damn, those two and a half weeks he's going to be off for Christmas Break is going to be a long-ass time without any structured activities. I mean sure, there are playdates and the inflatable playground and the aquarium and all that stuff, but any way you spin it, sixteen days is sixteen days and I sure as hell hope he doesn't run out of things to do.

Anyway, partially to that end, and partially because we needed something to do now, today, we took our first trip to the Atlanta Zoo. (Actually, they call it "Zoo Atlanta" for some reason--perhaps Yoda was involved in the naming, but never mind about that.) I had toyed with the idea of going to the zoo earlier this year in the summer, when it was just me and Cal amusing ourselves before I started work, but it was just so hot and it seemed kind of far away, so I said screw it, let's just go to the pool again. We almost didn't go today because it was kind of raining on and off, but finally we just decided that since we weren't made of sugar, we could probably stand to get a little wet.

I am really glad we went. Not only is it an excellent zoo (for some reason, I didn't expect it to be that big, nor to have that many big-ticket animals so close up--I'm sure I don't need to tell you that not every zoo in the country has a pair of pandas, not to mention a BABY PANDA), but the fact that the weather was kind of crappy meant that hardly anyone else was there. We practically had the full run of the place ourselves. Minimal interaction with other humans! Woo!

(Full Thanksgiving picture set here, zoo picture set here.)