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Thanksgiving Week

Oh what a rain we had!! My, oh my, it rained, and rained, and rained. Monday and Tuesday were not the kind of weather days you like having when you have family visiting. We did get out, but not much. Tuesday we'd planned on going to Lakeland to visit the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings at Florida Southern, but wisely we shifted that activity to Friday due to the inclement weather. After spending more time on I-4 than I would have liked Sunday night following the show, I did not relish the possibility of doing so two days later. After it was all said and done, just about 5 inches of rain fell, filling both the pool to the brim, and any other open container outside. Bruce loaned our wheelbarrow to Nadav, later getting a text that it was in front of the garage. The next morning it looked like this:
While Bruce was doing the outside clean up, he emptied the brimming pool onto the already sodden lawn.
Meanwhile, after multiple shopping trips, the inside preparations began in earnest. Finally the sun came out casting some lovely light on the dining table. Not to mention, highlighting the dust!
Those are the leaves B brought home from Virginia!

Did I mention it was such a pleasure working in our newly painted kitchen? I should have! I love Tom for lots of reasons including that he loves to cook for Matt, something I've struggled with for years. You can't imagine how helpful this is for the main cook not to have to dream up vegan dishes, even though they are becoming more popular all the time. Although Pat said this year that he's fallen off the total vegan bandwagon, he still makes it his primary diet, as does Ruth. So, we all shared the kitchen, divvying up duties--Tom for vegan, Matt for bread, and me for most of the remaining dishes. Let the hummus making begin!
And the rolls....
It is always interesting for me to watch Matt making bread; particularly the shaping, and baking. Because I now have a pizza stone, he used that to bake the rolls on.
They came out cute as little buttons.
When the oven became free, I cooked the pies. Saying that neither pie looked magazine worthy is an understatement, however, reports on the apple pie were positive. Same goes for the pumpkin.
A big gathering like this includes all of us pitching in one way or another. Lisa and Danny sent the flowers. And although I ask folks not to bring anything, they ignored me, bringing additional pies, and a beautiful orchid from Pat and Ruth. Cheryle and David joined us this year, with David using his wonderful voice to sing the Doxology before we ate.

But most of that occurred later. Tom cooked up a storm Wednesday, making lentils and rice along with a complicated kale salad.
It's almost ridiculous making that one sentence long because just the fried onions on the left took about an hour and a half to cook! The rice dish was to be prettied up with pomegranate seeds; after watching a video on how best to remove them, Matt proceeded to do so with great success.
If only I'd given him a deeper bowl he would have completely avoided the juice getting on anything!
Baxter kept us company in the kitchen hoping we would drop something!
Happily, by Thanksgiving, there was nary a cloud in the gorgeous blue sky with sun shining all day long. The temperature was on the chilly side for Floridians, but infinitely preferable to the temperatures earlier in the week which hovered in the low 80's.
Early Thanksgiving morning Matt and Tom drove to Lake Eola to participate in the 25th running of the Turkey Trot, a non-competitive 5K. You've heard me say it before, but it bears repeating, that Orlando is at heart, a small town. In a crowd of nearly 5,000 they ran into Matt's cousin Katie!

Once home, and cleaned up, Tom went to work once again, topping and tipping, in his words, the green beans.
At the same time, I peeled eight pounds of potatoes, and the stove was ready to go, with an empty pan for the gravy and corn.
We used every available hard surface for the food and dining! Maxing out the kitchen table...
the dining table...
and the patio table...
which is where I eventually settled down. The expanded dessert selection...
and there you go. After days of preparation the feasting was done. The fire pit kept folks warm under a beautiful winter sky.
Bruce, along with Matt, got the kitchen in as good shape as possible, and after all left, we collapsed on the couch, watching an episode of "Game of Thrones" before bed. Needless to say, we all slept well that night.

We indeed have much to be thankful for this year. That said, it is always a pleasure to join with our family and collectively be grateful for our many, many blessings.
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