Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Apple Pie and the Forgotten Christmas

This Christmas, we had a wonderful time. Since I became ill, I have struggled tremendously with my inability to do what I want, when I want. This has been a major loss, and like any loss, one that I continue to mourn. However, I have gained quite a bit as well. For you anal-retentive readers, this post will be jam-packed and chock-full of helpful charts and graphs. Well, not that fancy, because frankly I suck at them. But I will use the "tables" feature. Which is pretty damn spiffy, and linear. You're welcome, OCD people.

As I reflect on the year I have just endured, I'm not as sad as I expected to be. I have not lost friends, as many with invisible illnesses do. I have not lost the respect of colleagues, nor have I lost income from the inability to work. I really do have much to be thankful for. I actually thought the losses would clearly outweigh the gains, but that hasn't happened. When I reflect (and am NOT having a pity party, which happens, get over it, who's the sick bitch around here, anyways?), this is what I see:

Choice to participate in physically taxing things
Ability to enjoy watching my children
Ability to work full time
Two very capable Directors at work, whom make sure things run perfectly when I’m away
Time with my children

Time with my husband

The ability to rely heavily on those around me

The ability to roll with the punches day to day, sometimes hour to hour

I could make this longer, but I am nice. And lazy. And I only have a 2 hour spot, because my bitch primary care doc thinks I don't need handicapped parking, so I have to move my car every two hours. When I can find it.

Anyhoo, not too shabby, right? I have really transformed, in terms of some major things in my life. I still try to do too much, but on a smaller scale. I still talk too much, am loud, say the wrong thing at the wrong time. You know, I've stayed awesome. But I have found my voice, fallen in love with writing again, and been able to work on taking a step back to enjoy the NOW, rather than spend so much time stressing about the LATER. I still stress, or else I would not be me, but just not as much.

OK. Apparently, I still veer horribly off-track. I wanted to talk about Christmas.

So, we had the usual suspects at our house-my family, Sky King's family, some family friends, the neighbor kids that come and go all year long. There was tons of food, and conversation clusters all over-out by the smoker while the turkey and ham did their thing, inside by the tree, in the living room, in the family room, in the kitchen. Even in the kiddos' bedrooms. People meandered and mingled like at any great party. The focus was on the gathering, not the gifts. Kids ran around, inside and out, and it was all in all a great time. My brother had even brought over some apple-pie-drink-concoction that he got from a friend. He passed it around, with a warning to take it easy.

He must not have been loud enough with the "take it easy" warning. That, or people in California don't know what Everclear is (it's the closest thing to grain alcohol you can get, and illegal in CA). Apparently, cinnamon makes grain alcohol taste like love, kindness, and rainbows. Because by the time dinner was supposed to be ready, everyone was feeling pretty good. We have the empty wine bottles to prove it (we use bottled wine for the holidays because we are classy, we save the boxed stuff for the drive-in movies, and for drinking during the week).
But that darn turkey. It just wouldn't get to the right temp! So, Sky King stoked the fire, added more charcoal, threw in some white gas, and used an arc welder. Nothing was making this bird get done.
And, just like any good venue, there are not a lot of clocks around. No one was paying attention to the time, and kids weren't complaining about being hungry because the tables were filled with candies and cookies.
2 hours later, the apple pie moonshine was dusted, and we all stumbled to the buffet line. Casseroles were glopped into plates, gravy was poured, and children were stunned, wide-eyed at the crazed antics of 20-something shit-faced adults. The ones that weren't drunk were hopped up on cold meds.

By the time dessert came, Sky King had endured a tall glass of water upside the head and my parents had told both me and my brother things along the lines of "I never heard THAT story" or, "I'm not sure I want to hear this", because apparently that damned moonshine was like truth serum. One of my sister-in-laws had lost most of the evening, and the next day had to piece it all together from the snips some of us could recall. Most people received or gave an apology or two. I lost my cell phone, but gained my composure. No, wait.  I didn't gain that.  I did get some cool gifts I needed, though.  Also, we have tons of food crammed into the fridge, so we are set for the week. And fun was had by all.

What was the final score?

3 pounds
1 Droid X Phone
37 pounds of leftovers
All Droid X Phone notes, apps, etc. (luckily, addresses and calendars were backed up)
1 collapsible cane
3 hours of time by most attendees
1 Xoom tablet

Looks like a Win-win, am I right?

*not really-I don't know how to get liver enzymes, and if I did, I'm sure it would be at least slightly illegal

Apple Pie Moonshine

Credit given to Dave at Good Ole Ways, http://goodoleways.com/apple-pie-moonshine-shots-recipe-with-everclear/dogs-secret-recipe-file/

1 gallon Apple Cider
½ gallon Apple Juice
7 Cinnamon Sticks
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 ¾ Cups Brown Sugar
4 Cups (32 oz.) Everclear (Grain Alcohol)
REMEMBER Add after it has cooled to room temperature.

Combine first five ingredients in large pot, stir in the sugar until it has dissolved and boil for 15 minutes, you are doing this to create a syrup to add the alcohol into. Remove from heat. Let it cool to room temperature, if you don’t let it cool you will lose alcohol due to evaporation. Remove cinnamon sticks and then add 4 cups of Everclear. Pour into some mason jars or glass bottles. This makes about 7 quarts. This recipe will be about 13-15% alcohol or 26-30 proof, it will depend on how much liquid evaporates when you are boiling the ingredients. Enjoy

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