Sing a Little Bit of These Working Man’s Blues

I try not to blog about my work life anymore, because frankly, life here at hospice is infinitely better than life at the hospital. Whereas at the hospital, the only time anyone gave a thought, much less a rat’s patootie, about the mission/vision was when the regulators were coming and any employee could be asked to recite them, here at the hospice I have found that people tend to live the values. Especially in the field, hospice work is more a calling than a job, and things like “We Take Care of Each Other” are profoundly held beliefs.

But there is always a fly in the honey, is there not? One of my co-workers has drunk our boss’ Kool-Aid and is all offended by the health and wellness program offered by the HR department. Why is a health and wellness program offensive? I don’t know. But it seems to be hinging on the addition/promotion of yoga. This is seen as intrusive and a religious pontification and a promotion of the HR director’s personal beliefs in contradiction to separation of church and state and who the fuck knows… I most emphatically did NOT drink the Kool-Aid on this one. All I know is that yesterday, at the corporate holiday lunch, said HR director gave a short presentation on life/work balance, and said co-worker just writhed in her seat (which was, unfortunately next to mine) and sighed and heaved, and rolled her eyes and carried on until I told her to put a poker face on it already and just shut the fuck up. This did not go over too well with my co-worker who felt she had to explain why she was so mortally offended by the presentation and the yoga and you know what? I have no idea what she was yapping on about because despite the pleasant smile on my face, in my mind, I was going “lalalalalala I CAN’T HEAR YOU!” Which is what you have to do in a corporate setting, and what I was trying to tell her about sitting there seeming to listen to the life balance blahblahblah.

Anyway, tonight I start cooking for Thanksgiving. The Girlcousin hosts it, but since all the women in my family find cooking to be a competitive sport, there is plenty of room on the buffet table for everyone to show off. I make two cranberry sauces (cranberries in port wine—fabulous, and Susan Stamberg’s mother in law’s cranberries with sour cream and horseradish, which is just divine), a pumpkin pie from scratch (because I can) and this year I’m roasting brussels sprouts.  The Girlcousin’s brother and sister-in-law bake, so there will be something chocolate, and lemon squares (for me) and probably a little more chocolate. There will be deep fried turkey and a regular turkey breast roasted in the oven. Potatoes and sweet potatoes. Salads. Kasha. Cocktails. Hilarity. Football. All the junior cousins will be in town, and I’ll finally get to meet my nephew’s wife.

On Friday, the other side of the family will gather for an after-Thanksgiving lunch and there will be more hilarity, more cousins, more food, and more love.

On Saturday and Sunday, I’ll be packing up stuff to bring back to Miami for a garage sale. Is there no end to the fun? And because I have them on hand, here are my two cranberry relish recipes.


12 oz. bag fresh cranberries

1/2 c. sugar

1 c. port wine

Wash cranberries and place in pot with sugar and port. Bring to boil - reduce heat and boil gently, uncovered until berries begin to pop. Remove from heat and chill. May be kept in refrigerator up to one week. If you prefer a smooth gel, press though a cheese cloth.


2 cups whole raw cranberries, washed

1 small onion

3/4 cup sour cream

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons horseradish from a jar (“red is a bit milder than white”)

Grind the raw berries and onion together. (“I use an old-fashioned meat grinder,” says Stamberg. “I’m sure there’s a setting on the food processor that will give you a chunky grind—not a puree.”)

Add everything else and mix.

Put in a plastic container and freeze.

Early Thanksgiving morning, move it from freezer to refrigerator compartment to thaw. (“It should still have some little icy slivers left.”)

The relish will be thick, creamy, and shocking pink. (“OK, Pepto Bismol pink. It has a tangy taste that cuts through and perks up the turkey and gravy. It’s also good on next-day turkey sandwiches, and with roast beef.”)

Makes 1-1/2 pints.

For more on Ms. Stamberg’s cranberry relish, NPR has the back story and other recipes.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 11/20 at 10:18 AM in Life? Don’t Talk to Me About Life.

(1) Comments
#1. Posted by RJ on November 20, 2007

We had our office Thanksgiving bash last Friday.  Thankfully (no pun intended… or maybe intended), no pontifications, just lots of food.  MJ made some new cranberry sauces this year, that were outstanding: one made with Cabernet Sauvignon; one made with Amaretto; and one that was made with whole-grain mustard. MMMMMmmmm.  I think we’re taking the amaretto one up to my mom’s for Thanksgiving dinner. Yum!

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