Sunday, November 25, 2012

Soup and Burger Saturday

French onion soup--well done!

I'm not a Black Friday shopper. A good bargain gives me a thrill, as you know, but I have no interest in getting up in the middle of the night to fight people for a Magic Bullet. Scoring a pair of lined, wool dress pants marked down from $200 to $38 dollars (which, for those of you not good with math, is less than twenty percent of their original price) at L&T on a random afternoon, when I'm the only one there, is much more likely to bring on a ladywood moment (thanks, Jen Lancaster, for that word) than waiting in line for a Snuggie. I'd rather still be snuggled up my pajamas at noon on Black Friday, which I usually am at Dawn and Henry's, and was, in fact, two days ago.

The day after Thanksgiving, I like to relax. It's a day off from school that is not a holiday, and I like to do nothing that requires showering or strangers. First I help clean up the aftermath of our big family gathering--read: the things that didn't get put away after the cranberry vodka came out--(Lindsay and I were cleaning machines this year!) and then I make brunch for those of us who camped out overnight. After a quick, second clean up it's time to hang out. And Dawn and I did. Like we meant it. Long enough to get out leftover appetizers from the day before. 

When I finally felt motivated to bust a move, it was NOT to go to the mall. It was to get dressed and drive home, so I could continue to hang out once I got back in my pajamas. Which I did. 

Even on Saturday the sales didn't speak to me, but by one o'clock I admit I was feeling a tiny need to reintegrate myself into society and a greater urge to consume some beef. Since I could hear the wind howling as I prepared to get my burger on, I also decided that French onion soup would be my first course. So I headed out for soup and a burger and a visit with Shannon and Erika and there was nothing left I needed from Thanksgiving weekend. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Big Nights

Decades ago my brother-in-law Jim (who was not yet my brother-in-law at the time) dubbed this night, the night before Thanksgiving, "the biggest night of the year." During college and through our twenties, we would show up at our parents' houses for the weekend and, after quick hellos and laundry drops at home, converge to catch up and begin a long weekend "back home." We--our constantly changing circle of friends--might start out the evening at someone's house and then move on to Stella's (our favorite local place), or start at Stella's and then move on to someone's house, or another bar and then someone's house. The Stella's part was never in question.

I'm sure if I drove by Stella's tonight (if I weren't already in my new favorite pajamas) I would find cars, in typical "biggest night of the year" fashion, lining all the streets surrounding it. Inside I'd find the newest group of prodigal college students and twenty-somethings sharing the space with some local regulars in all seasons of life--drinking draft beer and waiting hours for Polish American pizza that was always worth the wait. I imagine some of my own classmates are there tonight as I write. I hope they are having fun.

Back then we'd all invariably stay out too late, and drink too much, and by the grace of God get home in one piece. The next day we'd spend Thanksgiving with our families, and still have three days of the weekend left to enjoy, and recover, and be back home, where we would always be welcome and have history. And there's nothing quite like that.

So tonight I am thankful for all my "biggest nights of the year," and grateful for all the people who were a part of them.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Note to Myself: a Holiday Pep Talk

Hey, Joanne.

Yes, it’s that time of year again: the holidays. And this year they will be even more difficult than last. Who thought that could be possible, right? You will notice again that Donna isn’t here, but you will also notice that Cioc, the queen of Christmas, is gone and Stryjek is missing too.

Try this year not to cry as much as you did last year. Seriously. Because really, you give new meaning to ugly cry, and don’t photograph well to begin with. Try better to hide all the hurt. You won’t be the only one faking it.

Maybe more importantly, enjoy the company of those who are still here, and the traditions that live on. How fun that you sleep over Henry and Dawn’s on Thanksgiving and make breakfast for them the next day! And you have your Boston overnight with Amy to look forward to as well, and all that shopping for the perfect gifts you love to buy. There will be no time to wallow this holiday season, because the day after Christmas you leave for San Diego! You need to be packing bags and wrapping gifts this year, and you’ll be busy. But think of how nice it will be to spend a holiday with Jill. You haven’t in a long time. That Brandy Alexander will be exceptional.

So grab your gratitude journal, pull up your big girl panties, and enjoy the season. Feel the love. Spread joy. Make the most of the blessings.

You can do it.

Friday, November 9, 2012

[Heart] Note to the Best C&B Ornament...Ever!

Best Ornament Ever
I'm all for Nordstrom holding off on decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving, because they "like the idea of celebrating one holiday at a time." But I also think Crate & Barrel can do no wrong, and I could hardly contain my excitement when I saw this ornament hanging among the ornament displays the other day. (But I was alone, so I had to reign it in a bit... didn't want other shoppers to think I'm cuckoo.)

OMG: a miniature version of the iconic C&B shopping bag in Christmas red (made in Poland even) . I had to buy it. Even though it was only Election Day. It is all the reason I will need to put up a tree this year. (Don't worry, I'll wait until next month.)

I just adore it.

[Heart.] [Heart.] [Heart.]

My new favorite thing. 

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Photo Journal: Victory Breakfast

Pumpkin bread and a venti Pike Place Roast

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Photo Journal: Election Returns

Taking the edge off election returns


This is it: Election Day. I have professional development today, which starts a little later than my regular school day, so I am happily drinking a second cup of coffee and tuned in to msnbc. Already. And I'm beginning to feel the first twangs of I wish I didn't't have to go to school today. I'd go vote right now and watch all day. But that's the plan for this afternoon and evening. Vote and watch. (The plan for my professional development day is to check my iPhone often.)

I get that not everyone is as into it as I am; "it" being watching the pundits and campaign speech clips and looking at projections and poll results. But I hope that you are as into voting as I am. It is so very American. It is your right. Exercise it.

Please. Get out and vote today.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Democracy Plaza

The stars aligned for me today. With only 2 days left until the election, Democracy Plaza is up and running in NYC and msnbc is running their weekday line-up of shows today. On a Sunday! And because this was a bye week for the Patriots there was no game to watch, which meant no channel flipping was necessary. It was meant to be, right?

Just me, a new recipe for some white bean soup (which came out great and will be a delicious lunch for Amy and me tomorrow), my sweats and fuzzy socks, some cheese doodles (food of the gods), a slice of pizza from BigY, Black Box Cabernet, and msnbc. Sorry, Cris Collinsworth, today I'm hanging with David Gregory, Chuck Todd, Andrea Mitchell, Chris Matthews, Al Sharpton, Ed Schultz, Rachel Maddow...ever so comfortable, yet on the edge of my seat.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Three Weeks

So one day I'm getting ready for a Peter Gabriel concert and then it's three weeks later without a single word from me. Not because I ran off with the band (how fun would that be?!), not because I've found the balance that has been eluding me, and not because I've spent a week of that time in the dark. (Thank God. My heart goes out to all who were affected by the hurricane.) I have no excuses really.

School has been stressful. Nights I spent unwinding--and sometimes getting worked up--with politics.  (Thank goodness for free texting. I'm not sure Candyce and I could afford our almost nightly, rapid fire Arizona to Connecticut text conversations otherwise.) There are, of course, my Zynga games as well, an occasional happy hour with Amy, and Sunday football games, but nothing that should have kept me away for so long.

So thank you, Deanna, for your friendly nudge yesterday: No new posts lately. Otherwise occupied?...I'll try to make this No Excuses November.

Photo Journal: Fries, Perfected

Max Tavern truffle fries with Parmesan and basil
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