turkey free gluttony
Thursday, November 24 2005
I spent much of the morning adding antifreeze to the solar panel. Temperatures were in the forties, which eventually resulted in thawed-out hoses, which I was able to empty of their freezable burst-resistant contents and replace with undiluted antifreeze. I was able to use four gallons of the stuff before I ran out of empty pipe. Later I contemplated how best to dispose of the remaining antifreeze, which I'd like to inject into the hydronics permeating the basement slab. The best idea I could imagine involved a hose topped with a funnel running upstairs from the new tap in the solar hot water line. To this I would add the antifreeze while draining it from an existing tap on the line coming from the slab - assuming all the valves are first set correctly.
"Snirchwich" is a term I reserve for truly decadent sandwiches, and this afternoon I indulged in one while waiting for Thanksgiving to arrive. It was such a grand snirchwich that I couldn't muster much of an appetite hours later when the food was finally served. Most of that food was prepared, as usual, by Gretchen, who spent much of today (and yesterday) slaving away in the kitchen, her laboratory. This would be a first Thanksgiving for us in number of respects: first prepared at home, first not involving members of our families, first not requiring a turkey (or any other meat). My contribution to the Thanksgiving effort was modest: a little vacuuming and a humorous stab at decoration. I fetched a beanbag turkey from the extensive bird doll collection atop my dresser and juxtaposed it with the Lonely Planet guide to Turkey on the coffee table in the room that has a coffee table but no television.
It was a smallish Thanksgiving, with just CAS Kathy, her boyfriend David, and Lori (an OBGYN and major sanctuary benefactor). Dinner conversation lingered for a long time on the topic of eggs, which rapidly killed off my appetite. Even after I said that I preferred not talking about eggs, the conversation kept going. It's very rare for Gretchen or any of her friends to ever respect my desire to change the topic even when I protest that it is destroying my ability to eat. I've learned that it's best to not even draw attention to my disgust, since the inevitable result is a further extension of the conversation, usually leading to a quiz in which various scenarios are posited and I am asked to say whether or not I find them disgusting. Nobody seems to get that it is possible to lose one's appetite from conversation alone, and whenever I claim with any vehemence that I am losing my appetite because of the conversation, Gretchen accuses me of being "WASPy." If she is to be believed, Jews (and perhaps other non-WASP peoples) can talk at length about anomalies in their babies' diaper soilings while greedily devouring mackerel & Vieux Boulogne sandwiches.
Dinner was centered around brioche pockets filled with goat cheese, potatoes, and sauteed onions. There was also a nutloaf (popular with vegans, though no one tonight was of that persuasion), cranberry sauce, smashed yam paste, and other things too numerous to mention.
Later we were joined by Girard & Val, the furniture maker and the woman who suffers symptom-free Asperger's syndrome. They're one of the couples we'd met the other night at the dinner party in Boiceville. Somehow the conversation quickly turned to hunting, a topic Kathy had sworn she wouldn't be bringing up. Girard is, you see, a hunter, but he's the kind who respects nature and hunts as a means for avoiding factory farmed meat. You'd think the director of a farm animal sanctuary would give him props, qualified or otherwise. Unexpectedly, though, Kathy became all absolutist animal rightsy on his ass, saying she couldn't understand how anyone who is aware could look an animal in the eye and pull the trigger. Suddenly she sounded like some 18 year old college freshling, not the politically-savvy non-profit organizer who knows the path to agreement with anyone. Even Gretchen, who has no patience for anyone outside her worldview, thought Kathy was being unreasonable. As had the earlier conversation about eggs, this one dragged on for much longer than it should have. I kept thinking, "This sucks! Now Girard, whom I genuinely like, will never want to come back!"
But no, in the end neither Girard nor Val seemed particularly thin-skinned about such things. If anything, they liked the assertiveness of our crowd, the fact that we don't put on pleasant airs while allowing disagreement to fester beneath the surface. At some point I gave them a tour of the house, which is always fun given all the things I can brag about having made with my scarred-but-miraculously-intact hands.
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