Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Well, I made my first ever turkey and everyone still lived to tell the tale. :-) Actually, thanks to the Internet and a few last-minute, desperately needed, insanely appreciated e-mails from Toddler Tamer, I have to say without bragging that I made a fairly delicious, juicy Thanksgiving turkey. Want to know the secret? Well, there are two, along with Lessons Learned:

1) I brined the turkey for about six hours beforehand. I really didn't need to do it overnight; just in the morning when I got up. Mind you, we didn't eat until 6:30, so it worked out.
Lesson Learned: When you brine a turkey in a garbage bag, a) double-bag it, b) do all of this out in the garage so when the bags do inevitably leak, your briny water doesn't go anywhere that needs cleaning up.

2) I accidentally (or was it on purpose? Hmmmm????) cooked the turkey upside down for the first hour. Whoops. However, I am convinced that this gave the turkey its extra juiciness. Plus my mom told me Cooks magazine suggests doing this, so perhaps I'm just a genius cook and I don't even know it. Probably not, but who the hell cares?
Lesson Learned: Some mistakes become serendipitous.

I just got a Basic Roast Turkey recipe from my bible, Real Simple (see link on my page) and added a few of Toddler Tamer's touches, including squeezing a fresh orange all over the turkey and then slathering the whole thing with melted butter. I also cut up a few oranges and lemons and stuffed the turkey with those. Although it took longer to cook than I'd thought, it turned out great. Oh, and everyone seemed to like Giata's corn muffin recipe I used, so let me know if you want it. Frankly, I think they needed some Splenda, but that's easy to fix.

We really did have a lovely afternoon with good food, good folks, and good fun. Mom gave me the Shaker dining room table that my grandfather actually built himself, and I got to finally use a ton of the gifts from my wedding registry--even took some out of the boxes for the first time in seven months.... Add to that my grandmother's china and you've got a recipe for nostalgia and new tradition all in one. Plus we had homegrown Brussels sprouts (and bacon, thus ensuring DH ate them) courtesy of my Maine farmer sister, and my other sister M. made these delicious sweet potatoes--that come with a Frosted Flake crust. And two pies! OHHH...SO YUMMY! Oh, and mom's stuffing...small wonder I got on the scale this past weekend and practically screamed.

Which leads me to my other comment: In my quest to once again fit comfortably into my jeans, I perused the Exercise on Demand feature on our Direct TV. I chose a good looking cardio one that had you dance the pounds right off, tra la! Now, sisters, feel free to start laughing, you little twerps: I forgot that the dance moves in these damned videos are done at a decent speed, and I do not have the coordination to quickly pick up a step-kick-turn-knee up-back-dance like I'm on MTV routine. It had me flailing around like a wounded animal...or a really white girl. Oh, and forget adding arm movements in time to all of this. Thank God I was alone in my living room with the shades down, because I looked and felt like a right jackass. I figured the amount of energy I expended just trying to do what the overly energetic host did effortlessly--not to mention his toned, tight ab-ed, smiling little minion women-- had to have burned some calories. I'll probably even go back for more...but maybe Tai-bo. Or I'll commit the ultimate irony: Sit on the couch and watch it in slo-mo, get the steps, and THEN try them myself. I'll keep you all posted (pun intended).

So, all in all, I had a fantastic Thanksgiving with people I loved, and I didn't have to go anywhere. A nice perk. Hope all of you had a good holiday as well! We didn't take many pictures (I was running around, so I kept forgetting), but here's one:

Nice table with nice family...aww!

Why I did not get a shot of the delicious turkey, I don't know.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Country Mouse, City Mouse

Last night I had a well-needed dinner with two of my girlfriends who live in the city of Buffalo. We hung out when I lived there--I lived down the street from the one--although with life and family and whatnot, we didn't visit as much as we might have. You know how it goes. Well, we met at a great little place that used to be within walking distance for me but now takes about 25 minutes. I wanted to see my friends, I didn't mind the drive at all, but it really made me realize where I live now. If I want to see these lovely ladies, and I do, I have to truly make an effort. And you know, maybe that's better? When we did live close, we just sort of thought we'd see each other and didn't always take the time. Yes, we'd see each other and stop and chat if we drove or walked by each other on the street, but this past summer I really didn't see either person.

So now we make sure to call, to check in, to e-mail. It takes more effort, but it's worth it. These are two terrific women and I want to make sure we keep the friendship going. This is also why I continue this blog; it's a great way to stay in touch with my friends all over the U.S. even when we don't get a chance to talk on the phone or send our millions of e-mails that, frankly, we don't always get the chance to write. I had no idea people read this until I got calls and e-mails chastising me for not keeping up!

This rings true lately because I'm in a new job, trying to meet new people and make friends, and I have to remember that these things take time and care, like a garden needs tending. I also need to remember that everyone's different, and not everyone will respond to me the way I might like, and that geography does sometimes play a part in who feels connected to whom. Mainly I probably just need to relax and, while making the effort, realize I can't force anything, see what happens. I think when we've gotten to know our old friends we forget how hard it is to make new ones, and I need to remember that I'm not always going to have instant connections with people.

Thus, this is not really a lament, though it probably sounds like one a bit; it's just my convoluted way of reaching out to all of you and saying I'm glad you're all there.

P.S. I have to give proper credit to my sister M., who passed the NY State Bar Exam! It's one of the hardest and she busted her ass. For crying out loud, I had to schedule my wedding around it. Both she and her fiance passed (thank God)--an engagement and becoming a lawyer all in less than a month! Yay for the good guys.

Have a great weekend if I don't get to you, chickadees! Oh, and if anyone has a good turkey recipe, I'd love to have it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Forgot to Mention

This past Saturday I made a surprise guest appearance in DH's eight (eight-man rowing shell, for those who don't know the lingo): They needed a coxswain and I had the time. People, I haven't coxed a race in almost ten years, much less a head race, which is 5000 meters and requires good steering. I had a problem with the latter for a while in college; partly why I stopped.

Well, we got there at 9:30, thank goodness, because our race went off at 2:00 and God forbid we not get there four hours before we had to even think about it. Typical race procedure. The weather held and my not-as-girlish hips fit into the narrow little coxswain seat, my stroke (the guy closest to me who sets the pace) gave me some advice on when to do ten-stroke power pieces, and we were off. I felt a lot better about my competition when I saw their cox hang their boat up on a bridge abutment on the way to the starting line. All in all, considering it was a boat with average age of about 53 (if that low) versus slightly novice college kids, experience trumped over youth and we kicked their asses! Hooray! Plus I remembered how to steer. However, I think the best part for my rowers came when another crew immediately took their boat to race in, meaning they didn't have to carry the thing anywhere.

Our prizes? Mugs with "Head of the Niagara" on them. I actually find that much more useful than a medal which sits in a drawer.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

A Defense of Man

I'm taking a quick time-out from grading after talking with Scarlet Lily as we sighed with happiness over the healthy birth of Feathernester's first child, a beautiful baby girl. Click on her name to see pictures of the new little one soon! I admit we laughed because ten years ago, Feathernester could barely make spaghetti, and now she's this domestic dynamo and will make a fabulous mommy. Congratulations!

Anyway, SL and I were talking about something that nags me which DH pointed out: Has anyone else noticed that a major premise for sitcoms involves a husband-wife combo where the man plays a barely functional Neanderthal-moron type and the woman ends up as the smarter, often shrewish wife? Wherein lies the humor? DH takes offense as an intelligent, sensitive man who, while he does occasionally sling clothes on his side of the bedroom and still needs reminding of family birthdays, does not show any of the exaggerated behavior these sitcom men do. It's the reason he won't watch Everybody Loves Raymond. They also have this formula on Home Improvement, According to Jim, Rules of Engagement (although that's also more the "marriage is actually hellish" route) and probably others I haven't thought of. Not only does this formula insult men and women, it's also tired and overdone. For some reason it works a little better in cartoon form (Homer Simpson, Peter Griffin), but I even want to clock those men sometimes for their behavior. I realize the exaggeration is part of the comedy script and makes it hiLARious, etc., etc., but let's broaden our horizons, shall we? I realize I could 1) not watch these shows or 2) turn the idiot box off, but the fact that they're out there and constantly being reproduced bugs me a bit. This may be why I prefer the How I Met Your Mother and The Office type of comedy--at least Michael Scott wreaks his complete lack of tact and political correctness on everyone...and you kind of love him for it.

That's it. I'm going to go read a book.

p.s. Totally random, but did you know you can translate your blogger posts into Hindustani? Fascinating. And why Hindustani only? It's under "shortcuts" when you click "more". What an age we live in....