Nobody in my family likes it when I travel. They wonder why I’m not in the hotel room at 7 and why the hotel guy won’t give them a phone number. I wonder, What phone number? It’s probably an extension. My plane was late and I couldn’t call them from the airport: the cell phone I’d borrowed didn’t work. Plus every time I punched a number it felt as though I was being electrocuted.
Before I took the trip in November, I hadn’t been out of the Midwest since 2001. On vacations I’ve bicycled, stayed in cabins, and even slept in tents twice.
So you can imagine how thrilled I was. City streets! Culture! My friend Ellen and I went to an opera workshop at the Kennedy Center. I was in the same room as Rene Fleming. At first that didn’t seem right, because I hadn’t seen any famous people in years (except writers, and they hardly count, because they’re almost like us), but by the second day I had adjusted and expected talented people to perform for me.
Then I came home to chaos before Thanksgiving.
Somehow the cats just didn’t think it was right that I’d been away. Where were the cats? They didn’t greet me. Usually they rush to the door when I come home. I am their cat mom.
“Don’t you remember me?” I called.
Soon we were doing the same stuff, all hanging out together, playing with Christmas ornament balls, their permanent all-year toy, and then at dinner time they gathered around me and stared until I fed them.
Then I made an error with feeding the human beings.
I didn’t buy a turkey for Thanksgiving. I’d been assured that nobody minded eating mushroom macaroni from Mollie Katzen’s cookbook, The Heart of the Plate. (I’ve been a vegetarian since September.) It turns out that turkey is the only thing anybody liked about Thanksgiving. Roast turkey had held the family together.
Here’s what’s supposed to happen. They go to the turkey trot. I stay home and baste the turkey. They come home and do what they do. I baste the turkey. They go on a walk. I baste the turkey.
Good God, who am I? Martha Stewart?
Imagine my surprise when I was the only one who wanted to eat a sweet potato in front of the TV for dinner. They ate pizza.
On Christmas I don’t want to go through that again, so I’m roasting a turkey.
Then today I heard more about Christmas.
What about cookies?
Bloody, bloody hell and then some.
I do have a cookie press. I used it once. I don’t remember how it works.
I’m not very good at the roll-out sugar cookies. I wait for the neighbors to come by with the sugar cookies.
I can make chocolate chip cookies and banana oatmeal cookies, but they’re not very Christmasy.
So I found a recipe online. All it takes is a cake mix, oil, and eggs. I’m in love with the idea.
Well, it’s supposed to be a Pillsbury Funfetti cake mix. I hope I can find it.
Wish me luck. I’m going to pretend I made them myself (not from a mix!). It’s kind of a cool thing to pretend I’m in a sitcom.
1 pkg. Pillsbury® Moist Supreme® Funfetti® Cake Mix
1/3 cup oil
1/2 (15.6-oz.) can Pillsbury® Creamy Supreme® Funfetti® Vanilla Frosting
1 Heat oven to 375°F. In large bowl, combine cake mix, oil and eggs; stir with spoon until thoroughly moistened. Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheets. With bottom of glass dipped in flour, flatten to 1/4-inch thickness.
2 Bake at 375°F. for 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheets.
3 Spread frosting over warm cookies. Immediately sprinkle each with candy bits from frosting. Let frosting set before storing. Store in tightly covered container.