Saturday, November 26, 2005

Trays - Saturday 11/26/2005


Fooling around with my new camera. These are the trays leaning against the wall on one of my kitchen counters.

The shadow in the envelope


It’s never a good sign. You pick up your mail, and there’s a return envelope that you addressed to yourself several months ago and you see a long narrow shadow inside. This is a literary magazine’s consolation prize: a nice bookmark with subscription information printed on it.

In this case, there were two. One bears an advertisment for a literary conference. The rejection note is better than most. It includes the line, “Your work made it deep into the decision-making process. After several readings of your submission, the prose editors met and decided that this particular piece isn’t quite right for this particular issue.”

They wish me luck and invite me to submit more work to Hayden’s Ferry Review. I will.

But at this point, chances of publishing within the calendar year are pretty much nil. My other submission hasn’t come back yet, but it’s late dear readers, very late.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Fall trail - Friday 11/25/2005


Took my new 5mp camera this afternoon for my usual hike around the neighborhood. It was hard to choose which one to post here, but this one wins for being representative of the day and the time of day. The tree in the foreground is not lit, but the yellow one is because sunlight’s still coming through a notch in the hills. It was 60 degrees on the front porch, 70 on the back porch when we left the house around 3:30 this afternoon. Beautiful day!

Ask Me How I Burned My Foot


Thanksgiving went very well. Family arrived right on time at 11:00 a.m. and we had appetizers and mimosas right away. It was a beautiful day, sunny and in the mid-seventies. They had a good drive here, which is always good to hear.

I bought a somewhat dinged up drop leaf coffee table at a yard sale earlier this year. We don’t typically use a coffee table because the couch reclines and I can just imagine the tea flying through the air… Anyway, I put a tablecloth over it and expanded it to its full length and it worked just great. I love that I didn’t spend a bundle on it, and it folds away nicely under one of the front windows with a plant on it when it’s not in use. A well spent seven dollars, indeed!

We had dinner around 1:30, pretty much as planned. The turkey came out very well. I’d snipped fresh rosemary and thyme from my backdoor garden earlier in the day and gently sautéed it along with 5-6 gloves of garlic in a quarter pound of butter. Let that cool a bit and then smeared it over the turkey. Placed some tiny fresh sage leaves on top at the last minute. The dressing was enhanced with sage and pine nuts.

Cousin P and I had fun making the gravy. I get gravy terrors, honestly. It turned out well, even though it probably had a bit too much cornstarch in it. It was a bit gelatinous when it cooled. Of course, couldn’t find the thermal gravy boat anywhere. Lucky to have found the roaster, actually.

V brought a pear/walnut/bleu cheese spinach salad, which we all love. P & M brought the mimosa fixings, sour cream mashed potatoes, and a couple dozen homemade tamales for my freezer—the best sort of hostess gift for me! I also provided steamed broccoli—out of some misguided sense of needing something not starchy on the table—and homemade cranberry sauce. The infamous pies came out after a break and a walk. I made fresh whipped cream for them. Mmmm.

Everyone paid a nice amount of attention to our birds, Dodger (Timneh African Grey) and Rocky (Budgie), who did perfect Phinneas T. Frog impressions all day. What? Me talk? Me play with toys? In my experience birds are a combination of dogs and cats. They are always happy to see you, but they cannot be imposed upon to perform tricks unless they really want to.

I love that we have a holiday like this. It’s all about family and friends, and remembering to be grateful. I am grateful for so many things, most of them involving my connections to other people through family ties, friendships, work and the Internet. And my connection to nature through my pets and the place I am lucky enough to live. I guess the umbrella thankfulness has to be that I was raised in a way that I can appreciate what’s been given to me and what I have earned.

Enough of the seriousness. Still wondering about my foot? I always use those Reynolds baking bags to roast meats. I’d left the racks in the oven in the bottom two slots. When I started to slide the pan into the oven I could see that the bag would be too close to the fire, so I took out the top rack and rested it in front of the sink. Yeah, you guessed it. I am typically barefoot around the house unless it’s really cold, which it wasn’t. I went to the sink to rinse my hands and stepped on the rack. Much hopping and cursing and scattering of ice cubes upon the floor ensued. It stung for quite a while and I have an interesting shiny stripe diagonally across the bottom of my foot and one toe, but no blistering.

Now it’s time for morning-after breakfast leftovers. Yum!

Photo: Dodger shares in the feast!

Cranberry Sauce Thursday 11/24/2005


Yum! So simple and so tasty.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Pie Lie Wednesday 11/23/2005


Ha. You know, I meant to write The Pie Line for a title, but clearly Freudian slips can happen on keyboards, too.

I went to pick up Thanksgiving pies yesterday at Marie Callender’s. Walked there from my office around 9am and was informed that they wouldn’t be opening until 9:30. I was debating whether to go back to my office and return later when a guy walked up and asked when they open.

“Oh,” he said, “I didn’t think they opened till ten.”

Oh, really? He was picking up 60 pies to give to his print advertising clients. He said the line would be crazy pretty soon and just keep getting worse. Told me war stories about previous Thanksgivings. Lines all the way around the block and so on. So I stayed put.

Before long a couple came over. He got into line (4th) and she sat on the bench by the “Pie and Feast Pickup” door and proceeded to regail (read: torture) us with stories of times she’d been in line and someone had cut in, or she let someone in and others complained, or she wrestled a big guy for a Christmas tree, or someone complained that she was blocking an aisle at Costco. OH MY GOD. She was an expert at making us all feel the annoyance she’d felt on each of these occaisions.

I am one of those people who will smile fixedly, politely at people like this, but after the second story, I started looking at the ground, anywhere but at her because I didn’t want to encourage her. The print ad guy with whom I’d been having a nice civilized conversation, stepped to the far side of the sidewalk to smoke a cigarette. Wimp! Abandoner!

Other people in line were also glassy-eyed, but the woman’s husband and this perfectly sweet older east Indian man were both still paying attention to her. NOOOOOOO! This went on nonstop for half an hour.

MC’s didn’t actually open until 9:45. I was first in line. I’d considered at first letting the talking woman and her husband go first because they said they’d been there since seven, sitting in their car. But when the door finally opened, I thought, you know, she’s said all this nasty stuff about people who take “cut-sies,” who am I to wrankle other people in line? Also, I thought she owed me a little something at that point.

So, after 45 minutes in line, I was the first through the door. I let them keep the 2 cents change because when the register popped open the poor teenaged cashier found she had no money. Wow. It’s going to be a long day for them.

I went back to work feeling good about not having to stand in some 2 hour line later in the day. When I drove back past the restaurant on my way home I anticipated a nice little self-satisfied gloat that I’d gotten there early.

Ahem. There was ONE PERSON in line outside the door. ONE.

I had just called my mom for my drive-time cellphone chat (hands free, FYI) and had to say, “I was lied to!”

Hence, the Freudian slip when I typed the title.

Ah, well, they’re on the counter now. I’m going to go make cranberry sauce and stuffing.

Hey Mambo! Tuesday 11/22/2005


Mambo Braziliano! MS, T and I went to Mambo’s for lunch. Yummy Carribean salad. I usually get the chicken, but was talked into the pulled pork. It’s served hot on a bed of lettuce with cheese and then a layer of hot black beans on top. I love the wilted lettuce and everything is spiced nicely. They serve bread and salsa before and maduros (fried bananas) after. YUM.

The restaurant is in Burbank, CA. This building was a service station before it was a restaurant. They’ve slowly camouflaged it over the years we’ve been going there, but the bathrooms were still so reminiscent of a gas station the last time I was in them, that I make efforts not to have to use them. Service is surly sometimes, but efficient. It’s a bit off the beaten path, but always full at lunch time.

Signs of Life - Monday 11/21/2005


Two women own the small company I work for. When one of them went on vacation last summer, the other came from the Massachusetts office to babysit the business. J found this African violet and another languishing on C’s desk, and brought them to me to see if they could be brought back to life.

They’ve been slowly gathering strength since I put the pots in little bowls of water on my window ledge at work. Look here! One of them is trying to bloom!

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Fresh coat of paint


Family’s coming to our house for Thanksgiving. D is painting the doors. I touched up the paint on the gate. It was worn away by last year’s Christmas decorations rubbing against it in the wind. How pathetic is that?

We did a lot of things today, including shopping for the mainstays of the Thanksgiving feast, but so far this made me feel the most accomplished.

Now to write…