Friday, November 25, 2011

Thanksgiving 2011

It is hard to believe that Thanksgiving and Black Friday are over and we have started the official countdown to Christmas.

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving despite a few obstacles. It was perfect in that both girls were here with us. The obstacles were, in hindsight, minor - the kitchen is still not finished and Wednesday morning the dishwasher decided that it would cease to function properly and thus would be unavailable until addressed by a repairman on Monday. Neither of these things was enough to keep us from enjoying our time together.

Another thing that made it a great Thanksgiving, at least for me, is that I was responsible for very little of the actual meal preparation., I made one pie, the dressing, and green bean casserole for Erin; with these tasks completed, my cooking responsibilities were fulfilled. Weber smoked the turkey. Brooke did everything else! It sure is nice to have a kid in culinary school! She made roasted brussel sprouts, leek bread pudding, a cauliflower tart, bread, and two pies - and no mess! She has always been a pretty exceptional cook. It seems that greatest skill that culinary school has taught her how to clean up as she goes - quite a valuable skill considering our non-functional dishwasher and the somewhat compromised kitchen accommodations.

Weber and Brooke spent Wednesday morning grocery shopping. (I spent the day at the yarn shop knitting. Have I mentioned how great it is to have a kid who cooks?) Brooke had been planning her menu for some time. She then made her shopping list and checked it twice and off they went to conquer Central Market on one of the busiest grocery shopping days of the year.
Once home, she began cooking . . .and didn't stop for about twenty four hours.

Her sister thought that maybe she should have checked her list another time or two. Leeks and cauliflower? For real? There are mashed potatoes and green beans, right?
Even thought Erin did not want leeks or cauliflower, she, and the rest of us, managed to have more than enough to eat.

We let our meal settle for a few hours before having pie and then heading out at midnight to mark the beginning to our Christmas shopping season. Yes, we were some of the crazies who went to Target for their midnight opening. We weren't looking for anything in particular so the outing was one of low stress. (It was one of no stress for Weber; he was in bed by 11:30.) The rest of us had a fun time wandering around Target and people watching. There is probably a great sociology or economics dissertation in studying this kind of shopping environment.

We got home about two and all settled in for good night's sleep.

Still stuffed from the night before, the kids began the day with a game of Clue rather than breakfast. Having been left out of the previous day's feast, Frankie was not going to be left out of the game playing also.

About the time they had figured out that it was "Mr. Plum in the kitchen with poison," Paul arrived with the missing kitchen cabinets. Installing them took most of the afternoon. Frankie was not going to be left out of that process either.
Though it was a little weird, we had a fun holiday with much for which to be thankful.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Do you read the instruction manuals for all of your household items? If not, you should. Not necessarily because they may enlighten you on how to properly use whatever it is that they came with . . .though they might; but rather because they are often a great source of entertainment and hysterical laughter.

The following is from such a manual.

"11. Do not touch the parts that are not intended for manipulation."

I kid you not. Any guesses as to the product whose instructions offer such guidance?

HINT: It did not come in a discreetly marked box intended to protect us from embarrassing assumptions by the mailman.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Visiting Hours

How is it that two dogs, one neutered and one spayed, and two cats, also one neutered and one spayed, can spawn litters of offspring all over the house? And how can they do so at the same rate as rabbits? Oh, wait. those aren’t whole puppies and kittens; it is just huge balls of fur shed by the aforementioned spayed and neutered dogs and cats that have collected in every corner. What a relief. No more mouths to feed. Only vacuum cleaner bags to fill.

Looking around at the fur balls that occupied every corner when I got home from school Thursday night made me glad that I was not expecting any company that evening. It was not a pretty sight around here. This scenario made me start thinking about what night is a good not for unexpected guests.

Thursday is definitely not a good night. By Thursday night, a week’s worth of fur has collected all around the house as has a week’s layer of dust. The laundry basket is overflowing with a week’s worth of dirty work clothes (not that you would see this if you stopped by). My desk is covered with a week’s worth of papers to be graded. And, I am pretty tired and grouchy by this time of the week; that in and of itself makes Thursday night an undesirable time to visit.

Friday is cleaning day. So, on the surface, it is a much better day to visit than Thursday because the dirt is gone. However, don’t come by expecting dinner or even an after-school snack. By Friday, the only things in the refrigerator are leftovers. And, because I have spent the day cleaning, I am often grouchier and more tired than I was Thursday evening. Enough said.

Saturday is grocery shopping day. The leftovers from the previous week are replaced by many choices of fresh food. Sometimes we get distracted while we are ostensibly out grocery shopping and find ourselves embarking on other Saturday projects. Some of these projects cause there to be big boxes, or multiple pieces of unassembled objects such as bar stools and shelving, or rain barrels and decking to be strewn about from one end of the den to the other and sometimes beyond. This is just temporary clutter, but it makes for a less than welcoming environment for unsuspecting guests.

By Sunday, Saturday’s projects have been completed and any evidence of the previous day’s clutter and chaos has been erased. The gestation period of the next litter of puppies and kittens has just started and usually is not visible to the naked eye. We often eat out on Saturday evenings so the refrigerator is still well stocked. And sometime between Thursday evening and Sunday the laundry gets done. This is sounding like a good time to stop by. Oh wait, the school week starts the next day. we are busy grading those papers that have been sitting on the desk since Thursday or Friday and making sure the week’s lesson plans are in order. You can stop by anyway if you’d like. Make yourself at home and help yourself to whatever is in the fridge but try not to make too much noise. We are kind of busy.

Dinner on Monday evenings is usually pretty good. You are welcome to join us. Don’t trip over the backpacks right inside the door. And I promise that I will wash the dishes from the lunch boxes that are sitting on the counter when I do the dinner dishes. I’ll have all that done by 7:30 or so. That would be a good time to come by. There is usually hot coffee brewing by then too. If you are one of those people who doesn’t drink coffee at night, maybe you should stop by at another time. We don’t believe in decaf ...ever!

Tuesday and Wednesday nights are rehearsal and book study nights. If you time it right, you can join us for a quick dinner or a late night dessert and cup of coffee. Remember, no decaf! I suspect the litters of puppies and kittens are noticeable at this point, but we aren’t home long enough to be aware of them. This is probably a good thing because if I noticed them, I would feel obligated to do something about them right then which would require staying up even later than usual which would in turn necessitate more coffee. Now you know why we don’t believe in decaf.

Wow! . . .we are already back to Thursday and it all starts over.

The moral of the story . . .we are always willing to extend hospitality to anyone who wants to come visit. And, we will always offer the very best that we can to our guests Just keep in mind that the specific details of this agreement are subject to change without notice.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Birthday Boy

Today is my four-legged boy’s seventh birthday.

"The Birthday Boy"

"The Birthday Boy almost 7 years ago"

If you subscribe to the belief that a dog year is roughly seven human years, then Adidas is forty-nine. That means that for the next fifty six days he and I are the same age. I thought it might be interesting to see how much age 49 in a dog and age 49 in a human actually have in common.

  • We are both a little stiff in the morning but it is nothing that can’t be remedied by a good stretch.
  • We both appreciate a hearty meal. I am a little more discriminating than Adidas. He enjoys any meal he can find - one from his bowl, Harley’s bowl, the cats’ bowl or any available trash can.
  • We both drink a lot of water and thus never pass up a potty stop.

  • We enjoy the same spot on the couch. Not simultaneously. We both don’t fit in said spot so there is often a power struggle for which one of us gets it. Adidas is more assertive than I am. He usually wins
  • We are both carrying around a few extra pounds. I worry about that. He doesn’t.
  • We both enjoy a late afternoon round of frisbee - me on the throwing end, Adidas on the receiving. I don’t mind being on the receiving end but he has a little trouble throwing.

  • We both know the importance of a good night’s sleep and an afternoon nap.
  • We both know the value of a pat on the head, a rub on the belly, and a scratch behind the ears.
  • Neither of us has a Facebook page.
  • Neither of us needs a Facebook page.
  • Neither of us wants a Facebook page.
  • We both believe that every day should start with a cookie.
  • And, we both know that you can never show too much love.

To 49 . . .or 7! Happy Birthday Adidas.