The Day of the Turkey

This is from a trip to Germany and not relevant to Thanksgiving or this post except the part about my awesome extended family.

I was trying to think if I had any great Thanksgiving stories and I don’t. My extended family is awesome so I don’t have any terrible family stories.

When I was a kid, we used to go to Alhambra, CA and have dinner with my Great Aunt Ivy. My recollection is that she didn’t have a house set up for little kids but she would have some coloring books for me and my sister. Her house had a tiny kitchen and it was chaos at the last minute getting everything on the table.

This house was way before the day of the open floor plan. We all crammed in the dining room for dinner. There was a separate room — probably called the family room with the TV and a bar (?) and there was a seat that opened up and that’s where she stashed toys for us. I should ask my sister if she remembers any of this.

Not relevant to Thanksgiving but this house had a GIANT avocado tree. Aunt Ivy always brought us avocados.

I wonder what that house is like now. I would zillow it if I knew the address.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

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Preparations

Today I am writing on the same day that I’m posting. I had a half day at work and relaxed for an hour and then made my pumpkin pie. I didn’t hear the timer so it was in the oven a teenie bit too long. I don’t think it’s tragic. We’ll find out tomorrow. I also made my gravy and called it good.

Tomorrow I’m going to write out my timeline for the rest of my cooking. I’ll start with the rolls in the morning. These are my favorite rolls. They are total squishy white bread rolls. Normal mashed potatoes. Stuffing in the slow cooker. Spatchcocked turkey. Last year went smoothly, I think I can do it again.

I finished season 2 of Stranger Things last night. I can’t express hard enough how much that show works for me. I LOVE everything about it. The music, the setting, the actors. I am so in love with every character. The writing is great. I would love to spend a weekend re-watching and outlining from a writing point of view. No time. Gotta keep chugging on my own project.

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Nine Apple Pie

I wish I took better food photos. This is the giant apple pie I was talking about. The dish is extra big. I was going to put 10 apples in it but 9 already looks like a lot so I stopped. Ten would have fit. It’s a mixture of Granny Smith and farmer’s market varieties that I found in a drawer in the outside fridge. I nuke them for a couple of minutes but they still have a little bit to them which is perfect.

Originally I wanted to make two pies for Thanksgiving dinner but since we have this pie I’m only making a pumpkin.

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Make Your Own Challenge

At one point I had this idea that I was going to make my own reading challenges.

Like for one month I would only read books written the year I was born. Then the next month I would only read books I’ve already read. Then for one month I would only read volumes of America’s Best Short Stories.

It’s still a good idea but since I am barely reading one book a month right now, not a good time to put into action.

Right now the reading challenge is to read the books in my pile.

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Write Your Own Adventure

When we were in Montreal, I found this little comic book in a old book sale in a church. The date on the back is 1972.

According to Internet, Blek is the leader of a group of trappers during the American Revolutionary War. Most of the panels have NDNs in them and I had this brilliant idea that I was going to white out the words and replace with my own and it would be hilarious. Still might someday.

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tl;dr Found Ted Chaing, Still Haven’t Finished

Remember when I couldn’t find Ted Chaing? I’ve been reading Stories of Your Life and Others, which is a collection of stories, forever. The movie Arrival is based on Stories of Your Life — both are really really good. My highest recommendation.

His stories are amazing but also take a little extra brain juice so for me, not good reading when I’m on the bus or right before bed after a long day and a glass of wine. Every time I see it I get a pang because I still haven’t made a point of finishing it.

I’m doing a terrible job telling this story.

I thought I lost the book, either I left it at the office and someone took it (incredibly unlikely) or I left it in Orleans.

What really happened is that I had a box of books, including a stack of books I wrote, to bring to my mom and I forgot it when I left. When I got home I shoved the box in the living room closet to wait until my next trip. Then the next trip came and I pulled out the box and there was Ted Chaing. So he went back in the to read pile.

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Carrot Salad Lovers of the World Unite

I think this is the history museum in St. Louis, Missouri. I wish I could tell you I was getting better at organizing my photos but I’m not.

If I were more on the ball I would include a photo of the giant bundle of carrots I picked when I cleaned out the garden. I kept finding one more and one more. Some of them were blown out and I threw into compost but we have a large collection scrubbed and ready for snacking.

When I lived in the dorm at UCSB there was always a GIANT bowl of this shredded carrot salad with raisins in it at every lunch and dinner. It was always there. I’m not a fan of shredded carrot salad. I’m sure I tried it once.

Who was eating it? Was it the same carrot salad the entire time with just a few new carrots shredded on the top? Is this a popular way to eat carrots and I was too snooty to enjoy it? Maybe it was super cheap and they kept putting it out to fulfill a certain vegetable requirement?

I’m still thinking of it 30 years later.

This isn’t a completely accurate representation because I’m writing some bits out of order, which I don’t like but that’s the way it’s coming out so I’m going with it. I don’t count the words until I have a more or less complete section or chapter and I know where it fits in.

Crooked Rock #3:

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Not My Sweets

Sometimes I’m mystified by how sweet certain dishes are. Especially when it comes to vegetables.

Like you go to a restaurant and they have a citrus vinaigrette and it tastes like orange syrup.

But then the salad also has sugar coated dried cherries and sugar roasted walnuts.

I like sweets but my vegetables can taste like vegetables.

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The Underground Route

I’ve finally finished The Handmaid’s Tale which is amazing. The acting/writing/directing is phenomenal. And the show is harrowing to watch. I’ve had to force myself to get through it.

An old episode of Will and Grace or Parks and Recreation is always more inviting.

I recently closed our main bank account. I am trying to become a person who does not rely so much on cash. I can’t live without cash. It causes me anxiety not to carry cash.

My online bank gives me access to those ATMs you see in liquor stores and big box stores. There’s a mall in downtown Portland and my app told me I could get cash there.

I went and got my cash and my usual exit is via the food court. But the food court is being remodeled and is closed. There was a sign for a detour and I followed along.

I went down one long, empty tiled corridor after the other. There were lots of signs with giant black arrows to reassure me I was headed in the right direction. But I had a pocket filled with cash and there were no people anywhere. And it went on and on and on. There were doors. There were rodent traps. But if I was a someone looking to beat up a middle aged lady who still likes to carry cash, this is where I’d lay in wait. My heart was pounding and I walked faster and faster, chuckling to myself because if I’m going to die on surveillance I want people to remember my good humor.

After all that there was an elevator and it spit me out exactly where the escalator from the food court would have.

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I’ll Take that Bag for You

I spotted this when we were having all the fires and ash everywhere. I think this is a raccoon print. I think our yard is on the raccoon circuit. We spot them sometimes if we’re up really early.

Confession: I’m writing most of these posts in bursts and then scheduling for the different days. Sorry — I just can’t reliably post every day.

I am writing this almost the same day as I’m posting.

I finally got outside and did a bunch of raking. I put the leaves in the garden areas where I want to keep the cats out. I piled leaves around Percy (fig tree that is now three sticks and no leaves) and the blueberries. The lady at the nursery said we didn’t need to worry but landscaper Vu thought we should pile him with leaves.

The garden is about 90% put to bed. I yanked the last tomato plant and harvested any tomatoes I thought might have a chance. I found a couple pounds of carrots and a million pounds of beets out there. Oh, and potatoes.
There are always potatoes.

Everything has been cleaned and prepped. Next weekend I hope to make borscht and do a quick refrigerator pickled beets.

And I’m doing my Thanksgiving menu — this always sneaks up on me. It’s summer. Summer winds down. Then it’s the holidays.

I have been searching for a new backpack. It’s like buying a car. So many kinds and options. I found one I liked but the first three reviews all said it was no good in the rain. So then I tried filtering by rain-proof backpacks and found all these ugly bags for bike messengers. Then I found the perfect backpack and bookmarked to buy later and when I checked the store was closed. Finally, I checked Waterfield where I have purchased a fantastic laptop bag plus three laptop sleeves. It was a spendy backpack but I treated myself. I admired it when it arrived then I handed it to Bob to give to me for Xmas.

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