Friday, December 24, 2004

Turning Depression into Turkey

This has been a tough week. I started out on top of the world because my children had both finally returned. But I never seem to stay happy for long. I fell into this period of self-doubt, where I was questioning how others perceived me. My therapist Anne is trying to help me figure out why this happens and what I am really feeling in these funky times. But meanwhile I am left with a feeling of depression.

I got up early to go to 6:30 AM meditation today. I decided instead of my usual counting breaths I would use a mantra today on my out-breaths, alternating between “Breathe out anger” and “Breathe out sadness”. Wow, did this have an effect! First of all, the time simply flew by without my even being conscious of what was happening outside or around me. Secondly, the feeling of depression seemed to fall away. In its place was left this idea of making a turkey. Weird? Well, maybe, but it felt a lot better than depression.

So I went to Whole Foods on the way home and bought a little turkey and all the stuff to make a real Christmas dinner. It was so much better than planning with recipe books and lists. I just bought what seemed to fit in. I decided to make sausage stuffing, never having made it before. While I was asking the butcher what kind of sausage to buy, a customer who overheard offered his advice and a recipe which included pork sausage (I didn’t tell David it was pork!), walnuts, chanterelle mushrooms, herbs, shallots, celery, and other good stuff. I bought cranberries and oranges, not remembering exactly what went into cranberry sauce, but close enough. The wine guy recommended a pinot noir (red wine with turkey?), so I bought the one he suggested.

I ran into the Rhodesides, another good Jewish couple. Instead of a Christmas turkey, they were making a Christmas ham! I think we all secretly want to celebrate Christmas!

I came home and began to throw things together. Much more fun than recipe books and a schedule of what goes into the oven when. I tented the turkey with aluminum foil, and for the last hour or so took it off so that it could brown nicely, basting it every so often with a mixture of margarine, chicken broth, and red wine (didn’t have any white). I have no idea whether my sausage stuffing was anything like the man described, but it made the whole house smell delicious. I boiled the cranberries with some orange zest, the pulp of an orange, orange juice, and some sugar, but not nearly as much as any recipe suggested. I made mashed potatoes with lots of sauteed garlic and other seasoning. When the turkey came out, I made the best gravy ever with giblets that had been stewing with celery and onion.

We sat down mid-afternoon and ate heaping plates of all this food. It was good going down, and the stuffing was sensational. But then the turkey chemical reaction kicked in and we all got really tired. I also popped a Pepto-Bismol because my stomach was not used to so much rich food.

All in all, I’d say the turkey was a success and we have enough leftovers for more meals than we will ever want to eat. I’ll take indigestion over depression any day.

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