April's Real Blog

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Dee an' Merrie Exposit

Mike sez this:

Formerly little sis. The smell of turkey wafted through the air as the life of Leonard Driscoll in my second novel Breaking the Windjammer, came to me. Leonard is on leave from the sea life to visit his family at Christmas. As he approaches his childhood home, he opens the door and is not prepared for the onrush of well-wishes. “Leonard!” they cry, happy to see him safe and sound and returned from his adventures. They ask him about the scar on his forehead he got from the pirate queen who nearly ran him through before she fell for his manly charms and he for hers. They ask him about the rough life of the sea. They come to him crying about how all these people are coming to his house and no one is bringing presents and just food and how mommy thinks that is a present, when it really isn’t a present and how it just isn’t fair.

It’s Leonard’s little sister. No. OK. It’s my daughter. Let’s see what is upsetting her.

All right. She says she was in the kitchen with mommy and she said, “Is everyone coming to our house, mom?” Mommy was busy making her very first turkey in a giant pan. She said, “Yes. We have the most space!” Then my daughter said, “That’s not true. Grandma Mira’s place is bigger than ours.” Then I said, “Did you say that to your mother?” Then my daughter said, “No. But I thought it.” I told her she had done the right thing.

My daughter continued and said she said, “Are they gonna bring anything?” I said, “That’s ‘going to’ not ‘gonna’. You don’t want that half-Quebecoise kid coming to Christmas dinner to think you’re stupid. Continue, please.”

My daughter said, “Then mommy said, ‘Uh-huh! Grandma Elly is bringing dessert.’” I laughed a little at that. My daughter said, “Why are you laughing?” I said, “That dessert will never make it out of mom’s house. They will eat it all.” My daughter said, “Oh. Then mommy said, ‘Grandma Mira is bringing bread and potatoes.’” I said, “Typical. Grandma Mira is trying to show she is better than we are by bringing the most practical foods.” My daughter said, “This is bad?” I said, “Of course. Bread and potatoes are very filling.” My daughter looked confused.

Then she said, “Mommy said, ‘Elizabeth and Anthony are bringing salads and Iris is bringing the wine!’” I said, “What a disaster. Elizabeth and Anthony with food that has to be fresh. At least it’s a salad, and no one in the family will eat it, unless they fry it. Have you ever had mom’s fried salad?” My daughter said, “No.” I said, “It’s delicious. If you put enough batter on something, you don’t have to worry about if it’s fresh or not.”

My daughter said, “Oh. I was talking about presents. That’s what I said to mom. And then she said, ‘Speaking as the hostess, Meredith…Those are presents!'” I said, “What? No presents? Just food!?” Then I ran into the kitchen where Deanna was and said, “No presents!!! This is horrible! How can I write when there are not going to be any presents!”

Then Deanna explained that there were going to be presents, but as the hostess she considered the food to be the present. I said, “You don’t want any presents aside from the food? But I already got you something.” Deanna said, “Michael, I was trying to teach our daughter a lesson about the importance of things at Christmas. Everyone pitching in to help with the Christmas Dinner is more important than presents.” I said, “Oh right. Time instead of gifts. Very good, Deanna. That’s an excellent lesson.” My daughter was there and said, “Nuts!”

See you for Christmas Dinner, formerly little sis, assuming you haven’t eaten the dessert already,

Michael Patterson
Mike, U R worrying abt the wrong person when it comes 2 the desserts. I had a few walnuts and 1 cookie. Mom devoured all the rest of the baked goods she'd made, made another batch of everything, ate those, and then went out 2 the store 2 buy more ingredients. Dad suggested mayB she shdn't bake so far in advance, an' she threw a canister of walnuts @ his head.

Oh, and Dee 4got 2 mention that I M bringing cous-cous patties w/spicy tomato topping and daal makhani (an Indian lentil dish that's soooo delish!).


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  • At 8:14 AM, Blogger DreadedCandiru2 said…

    You might want to get Mike and Dee to ask themselves a simple question before they say something cute like that: 'Will my child understand what I just said?' She may not have set out to baffle Meredith but she was too busy acting like an actor in a bad sitcom to realize that her response fell on uncomprehending ears.

  • At 9:02 AM, Anonymous lnlyanthnydad2fran said…

    Mike and April,

    Sorry I haven't been posting, but the whole mall fiasco had me depressed and Gordon's been riding me about all the premium Crevasse inventory we've got that we can't move because of the mileage issues. After selling two in such quick succession I told Gord we'd finally found the car with perfect Milborough style - wide and noisy when it honks - but out of the seventy we've ordered...only two sales. Maybe it's the tight space in back. There's barely room for a teenage boy.

    Having a little trouble with the salad here. Liz is in complete domestic goddess mode and has put together quite an impressively-sized salad for the Grand Christmas Feast Dee is hostessing. Right now it's dripping over the rim of that extra-large punchbowl we had at the wedding.

    Here's her recipe, best as I can determine, but every time I go into the kitchen she tut-tutts me out like Aunt Bee before I have a chance to tell her that her apron's on upside down.

    Combine in bowl:
    -deep fried croutons
    -Velveeta cheese
    -potatoes au gratin

    Then she's slathers everything in mayonnaise and throws on a few chives. Except I don't have chives. However the spider plant is looking kind of thin on one side.

    I heard her asking Frannie about celery and then extra-loud chopping noises, but honestly I haven't bought any in like a month and a half and those brown things left on the cutting board look more like mushrooms than celery. I asked her about it and she said the ingredients are an old Richards family secret.

    And I think Therese bought the mayo when she lived here. I hate the stuff.

    Anyway, you might want to avoid the "salad" side of the table, and maybe give Dee a heads-up to seat the oldsters down there. It smells like she put anchovies in it, but she didn't.


  • At 10:40 AM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    yeah, i keep telling ppl in my fam that it's a gd idea 2 actually give str8 answers, esp. when a lil kid is the one asking, but they look @ me all gobsmacky an' say that's no fun @ all.

    anthony, ew. thanx 4 the warning. i'll make and bring a tossed salad w/romaine lettuce, red peppers, vidalia onions, tomatoes, shredded carrots, black olives, and balsamic vinaigrette.


  • At 1:47 PM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. Are those cous-cous patties fried or just cooked on a grilled? I’m just kidding. I’ll eat them either way. I don’t think any of us in my family will touch that salad you described, because it has carrots in it. I think we have developed a little carrot-phobia from too many years of eating Deanna’s cooking. Dad said he knows a doctor who performs Laser Radial Carrototomy, which will restore a family’s love of carrots, but I don’t think I want to undergo an operation for that. I’ll just switch to a different vegetable, like pototoes.

    I know I made a disparaging comment about Elizabeth’s salads, but there is something about the description Anthony gave of the ingredients in the one she is bringing to the Christmas Dinner that just makes me say, “Yum!” If this is the kind of food Elizabeth is going to be serving to Anthony when they finally get married, I may have found a new place to go eat out of a refrigerator, when Deanna makes her traditional carrot stew and carrot dumplings.

    Michael Patterson

  • At 3:26 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    mike, i can't blame u 4 having a carrot-phobia based on all those boiled carrot coins dee makes nite after nite. but did u know that RAW carrots r crunchy an' sweet? i m not making this up! u shd have sum of my salad and find out what u have been missing.


  • At 3:37 PM, Anonymous liz patterson said…

    Don't worry about me making something "fresh," I know that Pattersons do not enjoy fresh vegetables, instead I am making the kind of salad that all Pattersons love, loaded with carbohydrates and fat, that will keep our tummies full until the new year, also, April, I think it is really rude you are trying to show off by bringing all kinds of strange ethnic foods that have no place at a Patterson holiday table, besides, you are going to upset people, here's why:

    1) your salad has vegetables and they have not been boiled for at least half an hour, Pattersons don't eat fresh vegetables

    2) your other stuff is spicy, Grandpa Jack and Irene and Mom and Dad and Wilf and Mira and Anthony can't eat that stuff, old people have bad digestion, and the little kids won't eat it, kids hate spicy food, I mean it would be hilarious to see Evil Mira get a stomach ache, but no one will touch it and it will just clutter up the table

    I need to call Dee now, I have to ask her what kind of weight limit her dining room table has, this salad is kind of heavy, Anthony is going to borrow a forklift from Gordo's lot to transport it into the house but I'm worried what kind of load the floor can handle without the dining room collapsing into the basement, by the way, the secret ingredient in my salad is ranch dressing and instant mashed potatoes.


  • At 4:16 PM, Anonymous Bugs Bunny said…

    Hey, Mike!

    What's up, Doc? Youse carrot-phobia sounds terrible. You must be sick, doc, sick to not like carrots. Youse brain should'a taken that left toin at Albukoikee. Your sis has the smarts. Raw carrots, doc. I eat them every day.

    That’s all folks,
    Bug Bunny

  • At 5:43 PM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, i know it’s kinda ez 2 complain how ur sil wud rather make a joke than tell her kid the truth; but it cud b worse, eh? wenevah i wuz w/my dad, he usedta answer all my questionz w/the same answer, “ru still here? then where’s my beer?” he liked it cuz it rhymed & eventually he turned the phrase n2 a song which wuz on hiz album buy my album, i need to pay child support. the album did pretty well; but he nevah did pay child support, xxcept those tymez wen mom had him put in jail 2 get it.

    neway, leafs @hurricanes 2nite @7 pm. mom gave me an early xmas prezzie called mboro vegetarian cooking: food 4 peeps who oughta live sumplace else. i think i got enuff recipes i can make us dinner 2nite & not all of them r fried & covered in mayo. neway, my step-sis iz outa uni now, so it’s gonna b 5 of us 4 dinner. & u know how my mom & step-dad kinda give us a little space wen ur ovah, so we can do, u know, the friendly kindsa thingz we can’t do ovah @ur place cuz ur mom iz alwayz comin’ in ur room 2 soak in ur cast-iron clawfoot bathtub, cuz it’s the only tub in the house she can fit in comfy. (i still have nightmares ‘bout the tyme we hadda pull her outa the tub upstairs. no lie!)

    neway, i don’t think step-sis iz gonna give us that kinda space my step-dad & mom did. so mebbe it’s just gonna b sittin’ 2getha & studyin’ & watchin’ hockey, eh? thass not 2 bad, i guess. yeah, it’s not az much fun az practicin’ stuff outa that book howard gave u called, “201 different kisses, so people think you’re in love and not some stiff and boring couple a 60-year-old woman is trying to force together against your will.” i wuz gettin’ good @#92, eh? the last tyme wuz the 1st tyme i didn’t get my hands stuck in ur hair clip.

    cu 2nite.

  • At 6:51 PM, Blogger April Patterson said…

    i m @ jeremy's an' we just had dinner. he's already used his new cookbook, and he made sum awesum food 4 our dinner.

    liz, if u r rite an' no1 else @ the xmas dinner wants 2 eat my food, then no big, i'll have leftovers. and my dishes won't take up much space, and they certainly won't weight down the table the way u r worried yr 10-ton salad will.


  • At 1:17 AM, Anonymous jeremy jones said…

    april, arghh! the leafs blew a 2-0 lead 2 lose it 3-2. on the upside, my step-sis gave me sum pretty good tips on #92, altho it wuz a little creepy 2 get constructive criticism on sumthin’ like that. but i guess she’s learned a lot @uni ‘bout thoze kindsa thingz. neway, u were rilly cube ‘bout it & it wuz kinda nice 2 hear sum1 moanin’ a little which wuzn’t me moanin’ cuz ur hair clip wuz pinchin’ my fingerz. thass u, of course, & not my step-sis. if she wuz moanin’,it wud be rilly creepy.

  • At 1:21 AM, Anonymous michael patterson said…


    Formerly little sis. After my little conversation with Deanna over the presents, we sent our daughter off to go play somewhere in the house, wherever her brother was hiding. One of the nice things about having a bigger house, aside from being able to entertain the family, is that the kids often disappear to places unknown. It gives my wife, the lovely Deanna, and I the opportunity to have a conversation, something which is difficult when the kids are nearby.

    Deanna rarely talks about anything other than our children, so when the occasion does happen, not only is it a moment of conversational rejoicing, but it frequently ends up presaging the things which are going to happen next, almost as if my wife were some kind of soothsayer, saying unto me a sooth. As she was putting out the wine glasses for where Iris would be sitting, she said, “So…Liz is bringing Anthony!...That’s a majo(u)r step.” My initial thought was, “I don’t think my wife got the memo about calling the Lizardbreath, Elizabeth instead of Liz.” My second thought was, “Was my wife at our summer picnic back in August, when Liz invited Anthony and his half-Quebecoise child? If she were there, then she might have remembered Liz has already taken that majo(u)r step. Naturally, I didn’t want to bring that issue up; because if I did, then it might put Deanna off this conversation and back onto a conversation about the kids. So, I simply said, “Well, they have been seeing a lot of each other.” I am sure you get my little joke about “seeing a lot of each other.” My wife didn’t.

    Deanna continued on with, “But this is Christmas dinner, Mike! You don’t bring someone to a family gathering like this unless that person is a ‘significant other’.(’)” I had a napkin in my hand and I closed my eyes as I started throttling it. As you know, when a Patterson starts using quotation marks in the style of someone from the States, there is a pun coming. Unfortunately, with my lovely wife, she feels the need to spell her pun out deliberately so that everyone in the province can understand it. I awaited the worst. What kind of joke was coming from “significant other”?

    My wife circled the table in one direction putting down napkins as I went in the other. After a moment she started on the explanation of her pun. “The first part of the word ‘significant’ is ‘sign’,(‘) right? This is a sign!” I suddenly felt the need to stop her before she started any further on “sign” jokes. I suddenly saw flash in front of my eyes a stop sign, a yield sign, a heavenly sign, a no smoking sign. The possibilities were endless. I had to provide an answer to her sign question before she did, for the sake of my sanity. I hurriedly said, “Of what…that he’s willing to put up with her relatives?”

    Lucky for me, Deanna took the bait. She said, “Are you saying that you ‘put up with’ my relatives?” I felt a certain degree of relief until I realized she had shifted subjects to her relatives, which was another topic having nothing to do with our children. Once again I had a sense of foreboding. I knew that the majour topics of our Christmas Dinner were going to be Anthony and Liz, and my wife’s relatives. As my lovely wife poked her finger deep into my stomach and the resulting pain caused me to raise my eyebrows and move my lips into a smirk of agony. I thought, “to ‘put up with' Deanna’s relatives…it’s a lot safer than putting them down!” I wasn’t sure how much of that merciless poking I could take; but at least my inner pun gave me the respite of great humour.

    Michael Patterson


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