A Julia Roberts Kind of Thanksgiving

I haven’t been blogging much lately, as is obvious to the one person who follows me here. (I joke, I joke. There might be two.) Part of it has been based on how busy I’ve been, but a more realistic part of it is the fact someone has let the stress monster out of his closet and he is lumbering around like one of Jim Henson’s very large Muppets. I find it hard to naturally get things out of my head correctly, or write with any sort of rhythm when I feel like this. Most of my sentences feel like they come out as a English as a second language.

Keeping that in mind, bear with me here.

One of the upsides to feeling this way, specifically at this juncture of my life, is that it puts a lot of unimportant things that I might normally be focusing on, on the backburner. That includes dating (i.e., men) which for me is a welcome respite. In general, I like when dating – or men in general — naturally come very low on my list of priorities, because God only knows how much wasted time is put into them otherwise. I state naturally low, because I know how to force them to go low on the totem pole, stuffing them down under the countertop of my life, only to have them wiggle and pop back up and ask if NOW is the time they can come out to play. How about now?! That’s usually when I play the in and out game with putting up a dating profile, and then taking it down, and then putting it back up again.  It’s when I am trying to convince myself that now is not the time for a relationship, and if I say it loud and long enough maybe I’ll start believing it as well.

No, really and truly, no BS, I am okay today with being alone today. That’s not a convincing statement.

Interestingly enough while embracing this new alone vibe, I have been batting the idea around of taking a solo vacation. Not quite Eat, Love Pray – more like Sip, Snack, Nap. But alone. I’ve fantasized it a thousand times before. Me driving with the top down, stopping where I want to grab that perfect picture. Sipping wine alone on a deck overlooking the fill-in-the-blank scenario. The truth is, I meet people easily enough that if I wanted socializing that wouldn’t be difficult. And if I wanted headphones on and my nose buried in a book for two days, that was possible too. I don’t mind eating in restaurants alone, so I figure I have all avenues covered.

Since life doesn’t always work in the way I envision it, for sanity sake I think it’s best that I start off with a mini one first. Close and only for a few days. A fear of mine would be that in theory I would want a solo vacation because I picture myself ala a mini-Julia Roberts character but the reality is I end up finding myself thrust into an avalanche of despair when it actually happens, because I never weighed how truly goddamned lonely I really would be. Then I’d stress myself out at how much money I was wasting, being miserable on a stupid solo vacation. So yeah — baby steps.

Julia

I really enjoyed my girls weekend to Palm Springs a couple of months back and the idea of going back has weighed happily on my mind. Vacations with friends are great, but someone is almost always compromising on time frames. Alone it would be very off the cuff so to speak. The problem there was finding a time frame that worked for me. The most logical was the Thanksgiving holidays.

I’ll be frank here when I say, I’ve never been a fan of that holiday, so sacrificing it is NO BIG DEAL. As a kid, it always felt like a place-marker between the holiday of candy and the holiday of candy & toys. Add to that the fact that I have never been a fan of the roasted turkey. Growing up I only recall the day as one where we needed to avoid my mom who was a high functioning ball of electrified stress. Dodge the bullet was the internal memo. As an adult, I initially emulated what I grew up with and probably made everyone around me as miserable as I was made as a child. I made the fucking turkey and attempted perfection until one year I screamed, “ENOUGH!!!!”, and threw my hands up in the air. I told the girls that this just wasn’t working and we needed to change things up. They were old enough to embrace a bit of change, and readily admitted they weren’t huge roasted turkey fans either, so we came up a game plan of everyone getting that one thing they really wanted, and we switched the turkey out to tasty stuffed chicken breasts. This eased the holiday up considerably, but the problem with perfection still hung around my neck like an five-day old albatross and try as I may, it didn’t take too much to tip the scales and have me scurrying around, pulling out my hair once again. Last year was the first year that I really enjoyed cooking, and guess why? Yup, I was alone. My brother was there for the first time in decades, but he was happy to be left alone to football. The girls, all grown now, didn’t show up until the food was nearly served and it worked perfect for me.

So it makes sense that the lone wolf in me is crying for solitude again this year. I’ll admit, I was fighting it a tiny bit. I mean, Thanksgiving is supposed to be about everyone coming together. I am talking about taking off. Alone. Opposite of coming together. I am also a sucker for tradition, which explains why I had 35+ miserable Thanksgivings until bucking the system, and sort of saying Fuck Tradition (Is it weird I sort of want a t-shirt with that emblazoned on it?). The girls now both work the holiday so taking off for a couple of days seemingly made the most sense. They didn’t think so. Of course not, they’ve had tradition crammed down their little throats since they were born, and here I am trying to rip it off of them like a band-aid sewed onto their skin, while selling them on the fact that this is a good thing. I reminded them they had boyfriends families they could spend it with.  In the same breath I convinced myself that Laughlin, Nevada was a better bet than Palm Springs because I had friends who were already going, which would place my vacation with training wheels. Friends there if I needed them, but also so busy that it wouldn’t be like I was actually on a vacation with friends. I would drive alone, blast the music I wanted. Stop and take pics when I wanted. Arrive when I was damn good and ready.

Of course all good ideas don’t actually come to fruition. After a couple of days, it started to weigh on me that the girls felt a little abandoned. I started to imagine them seeing the holiday in a light that was anything other than the nutso way they grew up with, and actually enjoying it. Jealousy set in that someone else’s mother was “There, there, there”’ing them about their selfish mother taking off on such an important day. Perhaps they would get over it, but would I? Would I be building some new tradition, where they didn’t spend this holiday with me until I was old and wheeled in and fed some sort of mushy version of dinner? Would that guilt noose that was made up of a Protestant-who-thought-herself-an-old-Jewish-Mother really get over it? I quickly gathered the two of them in a proverbial fold of my non-existent apron, reined them in and tied those damn strings a little tighter. I decided to cancel the trip. I pollyanna’d myself with the knowledge that the package deal for Laughlin fell thru, leaving me with a budget that now tripled what I intended to spend. I flipped the fantasy from Julia Roberts driving alone with the top down and  the music blaring, over to Julia dancing in an apron, holding a glass of wine and well, the music blaring.

The music is always blaring in my fantasies, but I do think I need to get myself an apron.

Julia apron

*truth be told while I don’t mind Julia as an actress, I haven’t a clue why she kept popping up playing me in every one of my fantasies. 😉

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