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Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Post Mortem

Black Friday doesn't feel so black to me. It feels, well, kind of bright blue and lovely. (Just look outside.) And for anyone who cares how my first stab at hosting Thanksgiving went...

*Roasted brined turkey on Wednesday night. The bird came out beautifully in my new electric roaster. (You were right Ma!)
*The elegant carving I had intended turned into a mutilation, really. I lost my knife and fork somewhere underneath globs of poultry fat and skin. Just glad this step took place on Wednesday night.
*Alex's pumpkin pie was perfect.
*Mother-in-law fretted that I hadn't made enough mashed potatoes. She was right. LUCKILY, my Schwann's man had convinced me to purchased some frozen garlic mashed potato thingys some time back...they were actually better than the real soupy thing I concocted.
*Sister-in-laws and mother-in-law each brought at least two dishes. How'd they know we'd need it all? Very thankful for their wisdom. By the second meal of the day, my mother-in-law sweetly mentioned that she had another pan of brownies in the car...just in case. Bless her heart. We needed 'em.
*Dressing wasn't a crowd pleaser. I'm thinking I'm the only one liked the dish that took way too much time. Scared to ask my hubby for his opinion on that one.
*I didn't have near enough buns. Hard to believe I stumbled on this one. I can eat a whole package of buns myself.
*Went through four bottles of wine. I believe a good time was had by all.

And today? Today I have an attitude of an only child who married into a big family with tolerant and helpful hearts.


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Operation Turkey

I just finished making my brine and turkey is resting comfortably in the "stew." There's really something to say about unwrapping your first turkey. I couldn't help but stare and think to myself, "Here it is - in its virgin form. Now, don't screw it up."

A few weeks ago Amy and I walked through Williams Sonoma - where I purchased my turkey baster and picked up a "free" Thanksgiving holiday guide. I had never even heard of the word "brine" before that day. Now, I'm feeling quite knowledgeable about the process. (I also googled the process to death during those many-a-times when I found myself waiting next to a corn bin to move my hubby to another field.) I'm hoping to get into a good conversation on Thursday about brining. It makes me sound so, so...domestic! I must admit, it's kind of exciting.

Anyway, note positive, eager attitude as the countdown to serving the Kramer family begins...Tomorrow night the roasting commences, along with the pumpkin pie bake. I'l keep you posted.

Oh -- for those of you who'd like to know my "Brine" recipe:

Simmer the following for 15 minutes until all dissolved:

2 quarts of vegetable stock
1/2 C white sugar
1/2 C salt
1 TBS sage
1 TBS rosemary
1 TBS thyme

Add two quarts of cold water. Pour into turkey bag (with the turkey in it). Let sit in fridge over night.

Before roasting, you're supposed to rinse all brine...that's all I know for now!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


If you've ever had a conversation with my 8-year old son, chances are you didn't follow the entire discussion. I've listened as a third party to many of his visits, and usually I find myself interrupting to interpret his discourse. Honestly, I don't always follow him as such occasion occurred today as he and Doug were trying to communicate. But I couldn't even help today. Finally, I'm thinking that perhaps it's a generational thing so I asked Cole, "Do your friends always understand what you're talking about?"

Without hesitation he replied, "No.Usually they don't."

Okay then. So either I have a little genius on my hand (i.e., he's so intelligent, no one can understand him), or I....don't. Nonetheless, he's an interesting little creature. I was going through his papers later today and discovered this and was quite impressed.

I asked him if it was Chicago. He said, "No, it's New York City. See the Empire State Building?"

I nodded and agreed it was very good. Then I asked what was the assignment about.

"We had to draw a theme so people don't smoke. See my no smoking sign there?"

Of course. Say no to smoking. Otherwise, you might miss sight-seeing in New York. How could I not follow that line of reasoning?

Saturday, November 21, 2009

This Weekend

It's 7:21 and my hubby is thinking of shutting off the combine and taking the family out to eat. I'm just happy that I'll see him for more than five minutes. And the kids are ecstatic NOT to have a home-cooked meal, compliments of Mom...

Alex got a real job today! She babysat completely adorable 18-month-old, Lily. And it sounds like she has a few more babysitting jobs lined nice to have her earning money that doesn't come out of my own account. We're both pretty happy...

So, my post is brief and somewhat lacking of material this Saturday night...because I've had a pretty busy social life lately. Last night I had a date with a vampire...tonight it's my hubby.

BTW...does everyone know that Johnny Depp is OFFICIALLY the sexiest man of the year? Boy, do I need some time with Doug...thoughts of cute vampires, buff werewolfs and hunky actors seem to preoccupy me.

Gotta go. Checking out my mascara and my outfit - which doesn't happen to be sweatpants tonight! Yahoo!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


For those of you who know me well, you know that I'm not quite anorexic...but I'm fairly neurotic about my weight. So I've purposely have kept off the scale, waiting til I feel a bit better about how my clothes fit. So today, I did it. I stepped on the scale.
And apparently all my efforts to get in "supermodel" shape have been completely in vain. I weigh as much as I did at my 6-month pregnancy checkup.


Is it this new CFO job that keeps me peeled to the computer? Is it mindless food being recklessly tossed in my mouth? Is it, dare I say, the new decade I entered this year?

Listen, Hawaii is approximately three months and I have the holidays to throw in for a handicap. What in the world am I going to do? Go back to Slim-Fast, apples and granola bars? Not sure I can do that...I'd rather step up the workout...perhaps I need to put my reading and writing away down for just a bit...ttfn.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


So, I like to write. I don't proclaim to be a great writer, but I aspire to be one! And great writers should write every I'm told. Well, despite the amazing life I lead, I don't always have post-worthy subject matter. However, I often come up with bit-sized AHA! seen in Oprah, but written by more intriguing people. (I believe that Deepak Chopra would define these as "sutras" for the deeply insightful. (See blog post a few weeks ago...) Anyway, a few fleeting thoughts to close out the week:

*Sesame Street turned 40 this week. It really made me feel young, since we are the same age. (Alex clarified that technically I'm older.) Man, 1969 was a great year!
*My son has suddenly outgrown Batman and become obsessed with the NFL. Why does this make me happy when I was deeply saddened when my daughter declared princesses passe'?
*Seriously, I just yelled at my son to turn off his DS and to "come in here and watch TV." That is a very sad statement.
*My daughter keeps secrets so well, it's disturbing. I informed her of a WSJ article that claimed kids who shared "romance" information with their parents ended up with the most stable and compatible mates. She's still not talking.
*My mother helped me buy a turkey roaster today. It's like a whole new dynamic between me and my mom. She told me that she's been making gravy since she was a kid! I'm still thinking I better purchase "gravy in a jar" since I'll have enough on my plate on turkey day.Did I mention that we are hosting Thanksgiving? I'm kind of excited. Now I have a baster and a roaster and a very cool table cloth.
*I bought one of my Dad's Christmas gifts today. It's like so completely cool, but I can't divulge for the slight chance he's reading this post. It was really, really, really expensive though. Hope I can afford stuff for the kids.

That's it. All my inspiration. Actually, I just need to get back to Dan Brown. Have a great week.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Hello Pig!

Wow, this week has flown...I've been missing my hubby who's now working way past dusk to bring in his crop. I've also been missing the healing qualities of posting a few blogs! Quite honestly, there have been two small distractions that have kept me from journaling about my charismatic (ahem) life:

1) A little novel by Dan Brown called The Lost Symbol
2) Another novel I've been tinkering, only after kids are asleep and only if I can resist temptation to open Mr. Brown's new adventure of Professor Langdon.

HOWEVER, I simply must share my newest household item. As we shopped last week, we ducked into Z-Gallerie. It's been awhile since I've been in the store and suddenly I have a great desire to remove every piece decor in my home and start over. The most interesting items in my home (besides photos of my kids) seem to revolve around stains left behind on the couch. I think it's time to start over.

I've been thinking about my cool African's friend house, who creates a Pier One-type atmosphere using eclectic pieces - some indicative of her culture. Since she's from Africa, she can use cool animals, like elephants and giraffes, to create a posh and designer dig.

I was completely memorized by a stunning zebra print at the store, but what good would the print do on my simple ranch farmstead? So, I continued to browse and eventually found, practically hidden in the deepest corner of the store, an artifact that is completely indicative of the place we live. Allow me to introduce to you...pig!

Now, we don't raise pigs anymore, thank God. But they were definitely a part our young adult lives. I'm completely thankful we no longer have to smell the swine. But I always like the way they looked. This little piggy gives me the best of both worlds....and it's a great hallmark of the beginning of our lives together.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom!

Yesterday Alex and I took my mother shopping. The sun was shining and we had no one asking us, "Are we done yet?" It was quite fun, and of course we laughed a lot.

I really believe that many of us eventually reach a point when we realize, "Yes, I really am my mother." Sure, there have been signs for years. By the age of two, Alex was often correcting people by saying, "Well, actually..." Where'd she come up with that? It was amusing. Then there was the occasional, "What do you think? I'm stupid?" remark from my hubby when I pedantically educated him on something he already knew.

Well, let me relate a little story that took place yesterday that puts it in perspective. But first a little background.

My mother is very intelligent and extremely well-read. Despite my degree in literature and MBA, she often outwits me with her vast knowledge. And I'm very, very careful not to bring up anything in history which will put that certain expression on her face that says, "My God. How can you not know that?"

So, back to my story...

As we traversed to Omaha, I was providing mother details of Alex's field trip to the Religious Museum of Art in Logan, Iowa. (BTW, it is quite a treat if you have never visited.) She asked if the museum only contained Christian artifacts. I responded,

"Mostly. But a few other religions were represented - there were some interesting Jewish artifacts."

So, my mother, the educator, explained, "Well, you know that Christianity and Judaism are based from the same source."

Okay. Maybe I'm not familiar with all the details of Watergate or the Russian invasion of Afghanistan in the 1970's. But common mother...I didn't fail Sunday School 101. However, instead of defending my knowledge, I decided to play along....

"Really? I didn't realize that."

From my peripheral vision, I see my mother's head turn toward me. She grows quiet. I know she is starting to wonder "how clueless can my daughter really be?"

Then she laughs. She knew that I had gotten her this time. That's one of the things I love most about her. Her ability to laugh at herself...I'm pretty good at that too. Hopefully, that trait gets passed on to my kids.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cat Whisperer Update

I’m a little worried about Shrek. It’s been two days and no sign. Have I told you that he lets me pet him now? He rubs his neck against me and I scratch his ears. Sure, I get hissed at every now and then, but we’re making progress...well, we were until he ran away. I’ll keep you posted.

Skye was trying to play it cool with me for awhile...I think a little jealousy was setting in, but how can you tell for sure with a cat? Anyhoo, he buckled under my charm and soon he was purring in my arms with a good cheek-scratching. Do you suppose Skye had anything to do with Shrek's sudden absence? Somehow I doubt it. Before Sky was neutered, we raised him as a now he shows qualities of a metro-sexual.

Enough kitty talk...

For you hamster fans, Flash is good. Getting fatter.

And Molly is still alive. God bless the loyal mutt. She's gonna live forever.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The Elements of Telling a Tale

My daughter often accuses me of exaggerating the truth to create a more interesting story. I disagree - she and I just perceive things a bit differently. However, I must relate recent events so perhaps we can put an end to accusations.

So yesterday Alex and I decide to take a walk on the first fine fall day in six hundred years. (Okay, that was an exaggeration.) We are trudging up suicide hill when all of the sudden a blood-curling scream echos throughout Shelby County. The scream is coming from none other than Alex. And yes, it's another snake sighting. We run, opposite direction from our house. When we get a safe enough distance away from the creature (that I never did see), we stop to strategize. How are we going to get back?

There is no other choice. We make a run for it, back the way we came, and take our chances that the snake won't get us. My advice to Alex..."keep looking up and run fast."

Luckily we make it home, safely. Then she describes the snake that I never saw.

"It was HUGE. It had a great big diamond shape head and it was about this long with two yellow stripes!" She holds her arms out wide, indicating a two foot snake. Apparently, I almost stepped on the slimy bugger and didn't even know it.

As luck has it, my hubby's combine breaks down and we are forced to fetch him. This will give us a chance to take a look at the reptile if it's still there. Alex comes with to provide the exact coordinates.

We edge closer to the alleged location, safely in the Equinox. Then she points it out, "There it is. That's it!"

Apparently, I squashed the monster with my gigantic foot. But I still can't see it well. I back up and sidewind near that black spot on the road. Yep. It's a snake. I probably did it unknowlingly because it's about as wide as a pencil. It's hard to judge the length because it's all coiled up.

Talk about exaggeration...I was expecting some sort of serpent-monster that could've eaten both Alex and me in one bite. Well, I can hardly blame Alex. Perhaps she gets her story-telling abilities honestly.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Post Mortem

Apparently I've been on a blog holiday! Or, just maybe I've been too busy??? Never! Just been trying to live in the moment and enjoy my family a bit...since Doug's been prohibited from dancing in the fields, he usually keeps my head in the game, or in other words, off the computer. So, real quickly before I make my kids take a walk with me...

Halloween officially makes me sad as my kids want no part of me...until they come crashing down at 11:00 P.M. from a sugar high and decide it's okay to crawl into my lap. (I'LL TAKE IT!!!) Seeing little Catherine and Mikey in their puffy kitty and dragon costumes made me ache for the days when your babies had absolutely no say in what they wore...then I noticed how their mothers get so little rest and maybe I'm okay with my aging children .How tired Amy and Susie must be all the time! I should've counted how many times I heard "Mommy!"

On a completely different note...

Parent-teacher conferences always make me reflect on my silly perfectionistic worldview.

"Yes, her kindness to others makes me almost as proud of her good grades." Almost? Almost as proud? What kind of monster am I? Her kindness makes me MORE proud than any of her good grades. Really.


"So, what does he need to do to get into accelerated math?" I didn't actually say this about my 2nd grader, but I thought it. He's borderline. And yes, I'm proud he's doing so well that he was considered for accelerated math. Even though he didn't make it...

Okay, the fresh air is a calling... moral of this week's events? Don't forget to enjoy your kids. Don't forget to be proud of them. Don't forget to show them your love. And don't be afraid to let them grow up.