I went back to work today, and "it felt like I had never been gone." But then I decided that was a good thing, because I had been gone, so I enjoyed my long weekend, and I wasn't miserable all day to be back at work, I was just "eh" like I normally am. At my last job, every time I came back from a vacation or long weekend or heck even a regular weekend, I wanted to jump off a bridge, I was so miserable. I'm glad that that hasn't happened at this job (yet?)
Thanksgiving was a success! Get this guys, the bird was done early. Early! Me! My main course was done early! Amazing! Dinner was scheduled for two, but at goddamned noon that meat thermometer read over 180 already, and poultry's only supposed to go to 170! I was all frantic and worried that it'd dry out and be terrible, so I turned the oven down for a while, and then I turned it off, and then later when everyone was over I turned it back on again. And then when I took it out it looked like it might be undercooked! WTF, turkey?? Make up your mind! It was okay, though, we decided that there was just one um elbow or something on one side that was too pink and freaked us out, but the rest was fine.
Here is the bird:
I did the same thing as last year, because it turned out so well: I brined it overnight in a brine of kosher salt, a head of garlic (the cloves individually unwrapped and squooshed), a couple tablespoons of crushed peppercorns (I need a mortar and pestle for Christmas plz thx, the back of my ice cream scoop wasn't cuttin' it), and ten or so bay leaves. I was supposed to put brown sugar in the brine, too, but I forgot. Man, when I was waiting for the brine stuff to cool on the stove, a crust of salt kept forming on top, it was wild. So anyway, yeah, I soaked it overnight: and I actually got up at 4:30am, stumbled to the cooler, turned the bird, washed my hands, and stumbled back to bed. I was very proud of myself. Then I woke up at seven and stuffed the bird with oranges, red onions, and bay leaves, rubbed it down with some vegetable oil, sprinkled it with salt and pepper, and t'rew it in the oven.
I made regular ol' smashed potatoes, nothing fancy, but that's the way I like 'em. I also served the carrots I had made for Ben's dinner on Monday, there were so many left, and they were extra winey from soaking for three days. (I checked with my mom first to see if it was okay that I was sort of serving "leftovers", and she said of course, of course.) Mom brought stuffing with chestnuts in it, and mashed turnips, which I don't think I even tried. Isn't that awful? I just assume I won't like them. I'm so embarrassed for myself. I have to make sure to try them next time. Grandma brought steamed green beans.
Oh, and the gravy! The gravy was delicious. The pan juices from the turkey were extensive, AND I had prepared turkey stock that morning: I sauteed the neck, gizzard and heart (SO WEIRD TO SAUTEE A HEART) in a pot, and then carrots and onions too, and simmered all that (plus spices, thyme maybe? and something else, I forget) in water and chicken broth for an hour and a half or so. So the gravy was made from the delicious pan juices, the homemade turkey stock, and just a roux made from flour and water. With a touch of Worstershire sauce. I produced the ingredients, my mom put them together, we made the gravy, and lemme tell you, you would eat your shoe if it were covered with this gravy. You'd be asking for seconds.
So the dinner was good! It's just the six of us: my parents, my brother, my grandparents, and me. Grandma is having a really really hard time getting around, she can barely walk, and it's painful to watch. Not because she looks like she's in pain (though I guess she is), but mainly because it must be so frustrating. To be slowing everyone down, to have to hold on, to have to ask for help . . . man, I'm not going to be very good at getting old, I don't think. Poor Grandma. I hope she decides to have surgery, she's a little scared I think.
So we ate really early, and then had dessert really early, and then watched crappy tv. My family never knows what to do when we hang out, it's okay, though. It was a good Thanksgiving. Man, but today I realized that I forgot to discuss the wonderful, recently-occurring miracle with my brother: the death of Jonathon Brandis! Man, we totally hated that kid when we were little, we actively hated him and wanted him to die, and finally, after all these years, he has. Man, if Sean doesn't remember hating Jonathon Brandis, I'll feel a little bit foolish, but I'm pretty sure he will. Like when that movie with Chuck Norris came out! Man, that kid.
Then after my family left I attempted to go out and socialize, but I was asleep at like eleven. I can't even remember what happened on Futurama.
First of all, whenever I think "Black Friday" I think it's called that because it's such a horrible day at the malls and such that everyone hates it, but then I remember that it's because it's the one day a year that retailers are sure they'll be in the black, and that's a happy thing, so . . . yay.
So I went out! It wasn't really "Black Friday shopping" per se, as I didn't get up early and didn't take advantage of any sales. I just needed a dress. So I headed to the Cherry Hill Mall, because I wanted to go to the H&M, as I had not been in one in this country yet (and yes, I use every opportunity to say that, I think it makes me sound worldly and sophisticated, and not at all obnoxious. Just like when I say "oh, did that happen in late '98? I must have been out at the country at the time." See? Totally endearing, and not at all annoying) and heard they were stylish yet cheap. On my journey through the mall (of course it was in the part I decided to explore last) I saw a few things I would have liked to get, but the lines were hella long in all of the stores. I was prepared to wait on one for something I really wanted, but not for, like, a scarf, so I kept moving, which, in retrospect, was for the best.
And I found what I needed! I made a few trips to the dressing room, but I finally decided on a skirt and white button-down top. It was a little casual, but I would look cute. And then, on my way out the door, I passed a small section I had somehow missed on my way in, and damned if there wasn't a perfect red dress right on the end of the row, totally appropriate, in a cut that might even make my boobs look good. So I tried it on! And it fit! And didn't make me look fat! And was cheap! So I bought it! And there were literally no lines at H&M, so no extra waiting! I won Black Friday! Here I am wearing it:
As you can see, Manning (and Mitch!) are also very excited at how great my tits look (better than in that picture, a little).
Friday night I stopped by 508, then hung out at the Manse to see Chris and Megan and co. I watched Hal and Jeff practially rip apart Chris and Flapjack in Spades, and it reminded me of the time I played Spades (I can count how many times I've played on one hand, which means I'm not very good) with Suave and we were terrible. Hey, and remember that party that me and Michelle had at Birchwood up at Rutgers, where Chad Regn was so horrible that it was funny? Man, spades. We should play that more often, maybe I'll get good at it! Or decent! I'm an engineer, I should be able to figure it out, right, right?
Saturday was Rachel and Jerron's wedding. It was beautiful. The ceremony was so so nice, it was perfect, it was so real and nice and personal. Jeff read a poem that made me cry a lot, and I KNEW that would happen, and yet I forgot to bring tissues. I wiped my nose on my sleeve a lot. And Hakim read a poem too and his was wonderful as well, it even rhymed inside. And Rachel's brother sang a song during the lighting of the candle, and Rachel looked perfect, her dress was beautiful, and so were all the bridesmaids', and Hannah was gorgeous, she looked like a little miniature bride (which I guess she was!) I didn't get any pictures of her, unfortunately, but the rest are here (click the picture, please):
Jerron and Rachel and Hannah are such a perfect little family. And the beginning of a perfect BIG family, I'll bet. I haven't known them as long as most of everyone else, but they're two of the most honest, beautiful, kind, Good people I know, and I wish them all the best in the rest of their lives together. I feel very lucky to know them.
Sunday is football! And the Eagles won again, for the millionth game in a row! Oh, what a nice feeling. My fantasy team (the one that I care about) sucked a nut and lost, but I think I'll be all right, and the Birds are the important thing, anyway. And the team that I don't care about did well this week, but my opponent has his quarterback and two receivers playing tonight, so we'll see how that pans out. Man, I can't believe the season is almost over. Life is so much better in the fall since I've embraced football, instead of fighting it and hating it like I used to. Though I guess it wouldn't be good to only have one useful weekend day all year long . . .
But I also got a lot done yesterday! I put up the pictures from the wedding (le doi) (that's French for "duh") and also this page, and I finished my Very Long Scarf and started a new one for myself (this time with a triple crochet stitch! How exciting!), watched a buch of Star Trek, and got some time in on Mario, too, which is a miracle, because I never have time for video games anymore. Which sort of sucks, because there are more that I want, but I shouldn't get them, because I wouldn't play them, either. I guess it doesn't really suck, though, because it means (usually) that I'm doing something more (more?) productive with my time. But still.
Tonight, more of the same! Except for Mario, just more football and crochet and sitework. And a plate of Thanksgiving leftovers, mmmmm. P.S. I wish they had a network that was just Star Trek, so that I would always have something interesting to watch whilst I eat, I like to watch tv when I eat, that's okay, right? What am I, supposed to talk about my day with the cat? I mean really.
P.S. I'm sorry this post turned out to be so long. You can read it in installments if you like.