Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving Report: Controversial, Salacious, and Inviting!!!

The simplicity of Thanksgiving makes it a pleasant holiday. People gather and share food. Certainly the meal can get complicated, it does with us, with many items to prepare, but that’s controllable. In our home, Beth likes to create a big spread of food.

Wednesday, I made bread, as noted here: Without trying to mirror an insipid Judy Collins song (“I always cook with honey / It sweetens up the night / I always cook with honey / Tell me how’s your appetite”), there’s something keenly appealing about such an old-fashioned act as baking bread.

I rose early on Thanksgiving to bake pies before the turkey went in. We weren’t eating till after 4:00, so I had time. A few years ago, I stumbled on a Martha Stewart recipe for Apple-Blackberry pie. She supplies a recipe for pate brise, which somehow is no different from the recipe for the pecan pie crust that I used. I’ve made Martha’s pie at least three times, probably more, and each time there seems to be a new step that I never saw before. How does that happen?

I punted a bit with the pecan pie; most of the pecans were walnuts. It turned out that we had more pecans but so it goes. Agave syrup replaced corn syrup. I think I forgot to include the dollop of molasses that the recipe asks for.

With the pies done and the turkey in the oven, Beth and I risked going for our almost daily walk in the woods. We go to the same place because we have found the daily changes fascinating. We take at least 100 pictures every visit.

We got back in time to rush thru cleaning the place, and readying the rest of the meal. Our guests were our neighbor and her daughter home from school. They arrived bearing pie and ice cream. In the introductory phase, the daughter mentioned that she works at a brew pub, which stoked my interest. She said to her mother the like of “Oh my god, if you had told me they like beer I would’ve brought a growler!” We had more than enough wine as it was; both the mother and Erin are teetotalers,but still.

And so it went, with an enormous amount of food leftover. What we did not do was rush off to Black Friday celebrations. Thanks but no thanks.

I realize that there’s an adventure element to these midnight store openings, like midnight showings of the newest Harry Potter movie, but the fire of desperation burns hard for the Thanksgiving sales. An awkward feeling of necessity arises.

According to a study by the Wall Street Journal, the discounts of Black Friday aren’t all that great, and often not applied to the cherry items people hope for. Apple’s is in the 10-20% range, which is paltry for the richest company in the universe using sweatshop labour. Well, isn’t it, or must the Apple mystique win out?

Saturday we decided to skip our walk and go to the mall. Not with intention of buying anything, just for our yearly look around. The place was busy but not maxed out. I would imagine all those Black Friday troopers might have taken the day to rest.

I should mench that a decorated Christmas tree, along with window decorations, were seen near us, BEFORE Halloween. That’s part of the desperation that I have noted. And on it goes at the mall.

A Christmas decoration place called A Christmas to Remember—which, for my next movie, I have changed to A Christmas to Dismember (© Bramhall Creative Trust)—looked initially cleaner than previous years. The store exists for two months then disappears till next Christmas. I then noticed stains on the carpet and breakage in an ignored condition. No time to clean up the image, it’s about sales.

The store offers enough tasteful stuff to keep the place honest, but Santa with a gun ornament, Santa in fatigues, these push the limits. If you like to fish, then a fisherman Santa makes sense. Solider Santa doesn’t make sense. Neither does the song “Santa Baby”, a pernicious piece of melodic desuetude if ever.

The place had a cashier, another person who remained behind the counter doing something, and another who wandered around. I could tell what the cashier was doing, she dealt with a line of customers. The others were mysteries to me. Not saying they weren’t doing their job, it just wasn’t evident to me what their job was. Usually you can tell.

Saw Santa trudge down the main corridor to his post in front of the camera. He used a wizard-like staff to walk, bent forward. He wore red rather than the green of previous years. His vest was a light green silk. An entourage went with him, kids and associates, I guess. A woman who may not have been part of the entourage followed, talking on her phone. She looked like Secret Service.

The Apple Store was busy but not crammed. I am developing an aversion to Apple. As much as the iPod seemed nifty, it was surprisingly clunky to use. Maybe that has changed. Likewise iTunes, which I no longer have on my computer. I cannot comment on other hardware because my experience is limited. I just don’t think Apple deserves the sheen it has. With the money it saves with its sweatshops, it can litigate against all comers. Sure would like an iPad, tho.

Saw a woman dressed in black shorts, black top, with heavy black eye makeup. For a suburban mall, that’s pretty extreme. The display of muffin top seemed to be a feature. In the city, the look would not bear noting. Here she seemed like a victim. She scurried back to Bebe, where apparently staff all dress like that, for safety. She looked awkwardly out of her element out in “the real world”. And sorry to even mention this, I don’t like to judge others. I’ve looked in the mirror once or twice.

Nordstrom’s was its busy old self. Beth thunk as how she could use boots, and entered that process. A lot of women’s shoes, in my estimation, belong on the Are You Kidding? shelf. Plastic uppers, for heaven’s sake! Some plastic, some chintz, and you’ve spent $150. Beth hooked up with an associate, or whatever a staff minion is called, who didn’t have a clue how to deal with anyone older than 22. She brought out a completely random selection of items, including slippers which, the canny will note, are not boots.

I tried on a wool coat at Beth’s insistence. Wasting the sales associate’s time, we weren’t going to buy. Some of the softest flannel shirts were displayed, but $125 therefore doesn’t work.

We glanced thru a few more stores. When we left, the temperature had dropped closer to 40 and the wind was plenty lively. The Christmas engine lurched right into 4th gear. I no longer want much to do with it. I mean, I like stuff too, I just don’t want to feel desperate. Is that so wrong?

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