And the goose isn't the only thing getting fat. As Younger Daughter said a few minutes ago (with a beatific look on her face), "Chocolate truffles for breakfast, turkey with gravy for lunch, and did you say there's pie left? Do we have any whipped cream, or shall I go get some?"
We haven't even hit the marshmallow-walnut fudge season, yet, let alone tamales, enchiladas, machaca and green chile. (We're traditional; we eat Mexican for Christmas, in honor of our roots. Bar the fudge, which has no ethnic allegiance.) ("Gabaldon" is my own name, btw; my husband's' name is much easier to pronounce, but after spelling "Gabaldon" for twenty-five years, I was attached to it and didn't intend to give it up. Being a Hispanic name, that means that were we speaking Spanish, it would be pronounced
(probably originally had an accent mark over the "don," but that's been lost sometime over the last 500 years in the New World).
Since we are for the most part speaking English here, it's normally pronounced
(still with the long "o" sound at the end, right? Rhymes with stone? Amazing how hard it is for people to wrap their heads around that, no matter how often I tell them. No one in New York City, for instance, can make themselves not say "don" (as in mastodon) at the end. Just can't do it.)
But I digress...
Rather than join in the gluttony (well, rather than join in it right _then_), I drove up to the Rim country yesterday--about 90 miles north of Phoenix, 50 south of Flagstaff. That's where the Pinon (there's a tilde over the first "n" in Pinon, btw, but I haven't figured out how to insert one and am too lazy to go find out)/Juniper woodland begins, and thus the closest place in which to cut greenery for the family Advent wreath.
Beautiful day. Still, warm air--perfect for hot-air balloons, and I saw six of them floating over the Valley, just hanging in the air like slow-moving cherries. I could walk the woods in my shirt-sleeves, even that far north.
Now, one of the things I enjoy about wandering around in the wild is that you never know what you might see. I've come round a small tree and face-to-face with a surprised pronghorn antelope (I was pretty surprised, too), met mule deer and elk--once came upon a fresh elk carcass, sans head, neatly butchered, guts buried, backbone standing white like the keel of an overturned ship--with the hair on the lower legs all fresh and shining and the hooves black and still caked with dirt, as though those legs might spring up and the hooves carry off the ghostly skeleton. Eerie.
Met a porcupine once--but not as closely as the dog who came down the trail and thought that was One Strange Thing that ought to be barked at and closely inspected. Helped the owner pull quills out of the poor dog's nose; I have five of them in a dish on my mantelpiece in Flagstaff.
You also find a lot of broken glass in the woods, because people go a little way off the road to make a fire and drink beer (and stronger stuff). Most of the people I meet in the woods are hikers, occasionally hunters--I try _not_ to go into the woods in hunting season, but what qualifies as "woods" varies, and so does various people's notion of what constitutes hunting season--but by and large, nice folk. I do carry a gun, though, because I'm alone and nobody knows exactly where I am (that being part of the charm of woods-walking). Never needed it, never expect to need, HOPE never to need it--but I do have it (and the concealed-carry permit and sixteen hours of training that goes with it).
Anyway, yesterday I passed a small group of men and boys gathering firewood for sale, waved to them, drove on up a "primitive" road (one that's not maintained, so could be anything from drivable to morass--but the weather was dry), and found a promising looking stretch of land, so pulled off, parked, and went agathering, pruning shears in hand.
And I found toilets.
Three brand-new, pristine, white toilets, crouched under an alligator cypress. One standing (ready for some passing bear, I suppose), two fallen on their sides. And a big mess of heavy-equipment tire marks in the clearing where these were dumped.
Your guess is as good as mine. [g] My own guess would be--given the tire marks--that the toilets were dumped by someone working on a subdivision or building a house in the neighborhood (there were houses within a half-mile). Whether these were stolen toilets, and the dumper planned to come back and retrieve them under cover of darkness, or whether the general contractor suddenly shut down construction and they were dumped in disgust...who knows? Maybe the lady of the house saw them, insisted she'd chosen _green_ toilets, not white ones, and the plumber figured it was easier to dump them than return them to Home Depot.
Anyway, I got my Advent wreath cuttings: Pinon Pine, juniper (with big, blue, aromatic berries), Arizona holly, buckbrush, and saltbush (I'm sure that will prove to be a huge mistake--it has fluffy, airborne seeds, and they'll be _all_ over the house within hours--but it was beautiful, with the seeds shining in the sun), with a handful of tiny Pinon cones for decoration.
And what I started out to tell you--before I got sidetracked by toilets in the woods--was that Christmas is coming--and so is a brand-new, spectacular, completely redesigned website!
The designer finished work on it this week, and as soon as I can put in all the new content (kind of a massive job, but I'm on it), we'll unveil it--with luck, December 1st!