happy thanksgiving

it’s been a while since i had a substantive post …sorry! things have been ultra-busy and there just hasn’t been time. first off, my work is busier than ever, with no let-up in sight. over the course of november, we have increased our weekly sales by 25%!!! this has been accomplished without any new staff being hired on—in fact we let two people go. (this is not as bad as it sounds, as they were the two least productive people there.) the customers have really been working with us, too. they seem to understand the unique concept of our store at this point. even as we continue to get new customers, they are happy to be there despite the crowds. it’s an awesome experience!

my parents have arrived and are finally living in their new home. yesterday, the work crew put all the furniture into the correct rooms and assembled the beds. now the unpacking can begin. there are 160+ boxes, so this is gonna take awhile. fortunately, my mother is very organized and has had a ton of time to create a plan as to where all of their stuff will go. so as each box is opened, she knows exactly where the contents will end up. they’ve moved so many times over the years that she has it down to a science. it’s quite a relief to have them here before the winter sets in. it will be good to have them so close again!

things with tony have been wonderful, too. he and i went to a thanksgiving potluck for his spirit clan at church. the announcements at the end of the event included our commitment ceremony date, along with the promise that the ladies of the group would make food for it. this sounds great to me! one less thing i have to worry about. i could easily get myself wrapped up in all the details of planning the food and drink for afterwards. given that i have already committed to making the cake, i think I have enough on my plate. we’ll see how it all plays out, but this could be such a blessing. how wonderful it would be to just show up at the church and know that the rest is being taken care of!

last night we went with some friends to see the movie SIDEWAYS. i found it to be excellent. i thought the acting was spot-on, the scenery was beautiful, the food all sounded and looked delicious, and the camera work was different and interesting. i would highly recommend it for your holiday viewing. it’s long…about 2.5 hours, but it went by quickly. go see it if you have the time.

i am home today, roasting the turkey for the thanksgiving dinner. that part is my responsibility, along with the stuffing and the desserts. my sister brined the turkey for me and delivered it cold and flabby this morning. it’s been in the oven for two hours now and it looks much better already. the stuffing will include cornbread and white bread, celery, onion, mushrooms, herbs and, for the separate grown-up portion, oysters. for afters, i put together a pecan tart, a pumpkin pie and an apple galette, as well as a pan of seven-layer bars. i always want something chocolate, so i thought those would be a good addition. my sister and mother are making sweet potato casserole, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, haricots verts, cranberry sauce, rolls and gravy.

this last is my mother’s domain. she makes the most phenomenal gravy. i have gotten into the habit of providing her with extra ingredients for it each year, so that we are sure to have lots extra. to that end, i made a gallon of turkey stock earlier this week (using some necks and the usual aromatics cooked with chicken stock). some will be for the stuffing, but most of it is for her. i also long-roasted a turkey thigh the other day, producing many brown bits in the pan. deglazing this with some of the stock, i created a cup of fond for her to start with. this will be in addition to what ever we can work up from the roasting pan today. and then there are the giblets. we have a pound of extra livers, hearts and gizzards. all these will be poached in the stock and then diced into the gravy. the goal here is to end up with a gallon of stock. that way there is a copious amount left for turkey hash tomorrow and for my freezer. then i don’t feel bad cooking off plain turkey parts later in the month, knowing that i have her gravy to serve with them.

i have many things to be thankful for today. having my family altogether is a big one. having a successful job that i love is another. knowing that i am surrounded by friends is a special joy to me, even if we are separated by many miles and don’t necessarily speak that often. being healthy is certainly an important thing to be thankful for. obviously, a huge part of my gratitude to the universe goes to having found tony. however i got to here, i am everso grateful that the forces conspired to send me to this place and time and mindset, which has allowed me to bring this man into my world. i am truly blessed.

as you celebrate this holiday season, please keep in mind an important statistic that was shared with me last week: THREE BILLION PEOPLE ON THIS EARTH LIVE ON LESS THAN TWO DOLLARS A DAY. so whatever it is you have, consider yourself extremely lucky. here’s to hoping that puts everything into perspective.


we're so sorry

about the election, that is. sorryeverybody is a site with thousands of fotos of folks who are sorry that W got re-appointed. this is our contribution. as for america, sometimes i don't feel like we're sorry, i feel like we're pathetic.


please come to boston

my trip to boston was loads of fun! the work-training part of it was just about what i expected, with goofy skits and poster-making activities. normally i would think this was lame, but with the company i work for it all sort of makes sense. we have that slightly wacky, fun-loving vibe going on and so the training fits into our (non)corporate mold. in any event, it was worth the time to sit in the classroom for those two days and soak up some of the information. the best single part was the realization that as i go through my day at work, i am not alone in my experiences. there are literally hundreds of others having similar experiences at the same time all across the country. i feel less isolated now.

i got to do some great dining while we were there, too. the first night at a family pub, where I had a wonderful platter of fried scallops, schrod and clams. the next night at a place near faneuil hall called the rustic kitchen. after a big fat martini, we settled into plates of butternut squash stuffed mezzaluna and some meltingly tender braised lamb shoulder. there followed a luscious warm chocolate cake garnished with frozen raspberries. the next night we ate at legal seafoods. as hungry as i was, i knew that i would be best off eschewing all the extras and diving straight into the lobster. i chose the baked stuffed version, filled with scallops, shrimps and ritz crackers, which seemed to be the local stuffing-bread of choice. it was absolutely delicious!

with the lobster out of the way, i felt a bit more freedom to order as i pleased the next day. my friend came up from manhattan on the highspeed acela train and we spent the morning walking and shopping along newberry street. i did a bit of christmas shopping at lush, which i had first visited in amsterdam back in the last century. we walked for miles and miles, seeing boston common, the statehouse, the king’s chapel and a bunch of other “old” buildings. (every other landmark seemed to be “old”…the old prison, the old city hall, etc.) eventually we ended up at our lunch spot, the federalist in the XV Beacon hotel. the room was nice and we were seated at a lovely table set with christofle hotel plate, a simple bernardaud pattern and a crystal vase of yellow roses. after another big fat martini, we lunched on a salad of baby greens with balsamic glaze and individual beef wellingtons. tucked inside, along with our perfectly cooked filet, was a portobello mushroom steak (in place of the customary duxelles) and a generous slice of hudson valley foie gras. plated with a thyme madeira sauce and a fava bean puree, it was absolute luxury! unable to choose just two desserts, we narrowed it down to three. crème brulee, served with tiny chocolate beignets (we could have eaten a whole plate of these); roasted autumn fruits with an individual calvados-soaked savarin; and a chocolate cake with a raspberry mousse filling.

we staggered out of the dining room after two hours and wandered around in a daze for another hour before we headed our separate ways. after dropping my pal at the train, i got into the rental car and started off towards the airport. here is where the real adventure began! knowing that i needed to fill up with gas before returning the car, i asked some of the locals for a gas station. after getting what i trusted to be very explicit directions, i headed out. the next thing i knew, i was flying down the expressway headed in the opposite direction of logan international! luckily, the very first exit had a gas station nearby and they gave me great directions to put me back at the airport in plenty of time to catch my flight.

i had a 30 minute connection time in pittsburgh, but it was all in the same airline, so i assumed i would be fine. unfortunately, we were late arriving AND my gates were at opposite ends of a very long terminal. i sprinted the entire length of the USAirways building. i arrived at the gate with 4 minutes to spare. when i handed the gate agent my ticket, she said “charlotte or akron?” when i told her akron, she told me to go to the left at the end of the ramp. ihis I did, climbing the stairs to the plane and settling into my seat with seconds to spare. the flight attendant was very sympathetic and offered me a glass of water after hearing my tale. then, as i was buckling myself in, she made the pre-flight announcement welcoming us all onboard USAirways service…to CHARLOTTE! i don’t think i screamed, but i did jump out of my seat, grab my stuff and RUN down the stairs of the plane. i was sure that i would hit the tarmac, only to see my flight closed up and taxiing away. thankfully, it was still there with the stairs extended. WHEW! all i can say is that i will never go through the door of an airplane again without asking one of the onboard staff where that aircraft is headed!

yesterday i spent the day with my sister. we checked out my parents’ house, which seems further from completion than we would like. there’s no turning back now, though. they arrive on tuesday next week, followed by their stuff the day after. i guess they will stay with my sister until the house is livable. she and i went shopping at costco (one of my twice-yearly visits) where we stocked up on holiday baking supplies: 6# of chocolate chips, 6# of pecans, 10# of flour, 20 # of white sugar, 8# of brown sugar, etc. after dropping my car off (oil change and new front brakes), i went back to her house and produced a couple of three pound batches of puff pastry—one plain and one chocolate. these will go into the freezer, along with the checkerboard cooky dough and the 4 discs of pate brisee i produced before my trip. i feel good about getting all these doughs made so early on. we will be able to produce a huge range of cookies this year because we have gotten such an early start. i feel especially good about having this pate feuilletee tucked away. it’s like gold in my larder. combined with, say a jar of homemade apple-pearsauce, or some chocolate and nuts, i can put an outrageously elegant dessert in the oven in about 15 minutes.

as you have probably noticed, i haven’t talked about what happened a week ago today. the enormity of it is still sinking in. yesterday’s resignation of the attorney general seems a step in the proper direction, but i am sure this not really where we are headed. let’s just say that i am sad and frightened.
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