Monday, November 30, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving Cyber Monday!

Well, so I've been busy.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, we spent the afternoon with out-of-town guests.

"Out-of-town guests" is easier than randomly launching into the story of how my cousin is married to my other cousin who isn't really my cousin but may as well be. It deserves exposition.

Then Wednesday night, we started in with the casserole cooking and turkey brining and setting up rented equipment for the holiday weekend.

I finally figured out a table solution. I did end up using the runner (even though it didn't extend to the add-on leaves). I also found some mini-apples at Whole Foods and cut some hydrangeas from our yard, and everything looked simple and lovely.




I rented a buffet table for the food itself, adorned with some Bartlett pears, extra mini-apples, and vases full of vines I clipped from outside.

You can't really get the feel for it, but it was nice.
I should have taken better photos. OH WELL.

Once everything was set to go, the rest of the weekend was a blur.

We hosted three couples (one with a three-year-old boy) and between food and wine and a baby, I'm not sure how anything got done at all on Thanksgiving. Eve melted down right as we were trying to get dinner on the table, and it took everyone's help to get the food out and kept relatively warm. Eventually, Eve just fell asleep in a sling while I was sitting at the table.

The food was good. I did some hybrid turkey prep that turned out just fine. I brined the turkey using Whole Foods brine mix and the directions on the brining bag box (from Williams-Sonoma). I then cooked the turkey to Alton Brown (Food Network)'s specifications, using Giada's recommendations for aromatics inside the bird and her butter blend for outside (instead of Alton's plain ole canola oil). It was the easiest combination of instructions I could find and felt comfortable trying.

The stuffing was great. I highly recommend adding bourbon-soaked dried cherries. (Thanks, Ms. Txsjewels.)

Some short time after dinner, we danced to Into the Mystic, as it was playing on our record player.

Some longer time after dinner, there was some bourbon and a holiday viewing of Die Hard.

The next morning was a crazy assortment of kids and breakfast and dish-washing, while guests went from pajamas to clothes in time for Ish's family's arrival. And then we spent the rest of the weekend with his parents, his sister, her husband, and their two kids (aged 8 and 5).

We mostly hung around and ate and worked on jigsaw puzzles. There was a lot of football watching, but I was fairly oblivious.

Saturday was incredibly windy, and our backyard fence blew down. Our neighbor came over almost immediately to say that she'd be having it repaired (apparently, it's their fence and their responsibility, so okay!). The guys were out there working on it yesterday and today.

Another stunning photo you can't make out. Mostly, it's the neighbor's yard,
which you usually can't see because there's a fence in the way. Not so at the moment.


And that's the weekend round-up.

I finished all my Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, but I am only about 3/4 way through wrapping, and have barely begun to figure out shipping it all. On the one hand, I'm psyched to have it all done. On the other hand, I hate missing out on all the Cyber Monday fun.

OH! And? For those of you not on Twitter, WHAT THE HELL?

I mean, well, let me start this way: My sister and her husband are currently separated. (That's very weird to write.) She is living in a short-term rental house in MA, and the house does not have any sort of Internet connectivity. My sister doesn't feel she needs it, because she and I live on entirely different planets.

But we are visiting her for Christmas, and the idea of being without Internet access on my laptop for a full week makes me break out in hives.

So I thought, "Oh, hey, I'll just get a mobile broadband card thing."

AM I MISSING SOMETHING? Why is this so hard and/or expensive? Every option I've found from phone carriers require ridiculous contracts. No, AT&T, I'm NOT going to sign up for ANOTHER contract from you, I'm fine with the one I already have for my phone, thanks.

The ones that don't require contracts are pricey, because you have to buy the USB modem thing, and those seem to cost between $200-$300.

I've seen rental options -- where you can rent the USB modem thingy for however long you need it, and those options still end up costing around $200. FOR A WEEK.

My friend who works in the mobile industry recommended I try Cricket, but that service isn't available in either my zip code OR my sister's.

So it seems there isn't an option for me. Short of borrowing someone else's, there's no cheap way to get wifi for a couple weeks. Seems very weird to me.

Lastly, I thought -- oh, you know? I could just use my iPhone the whole time...I wonder if there's a keyboard available for it. See, I don't mind using my phone to get email or read websites, but I hate writing emails back from such a limited keyboard, and I certainly can't blog from that tiny thing. But no, such a thing doesn't exist yet.

Oh well. I guess I can always take my computer to Starbucks...

22 comments:

  1. If she has Comcast or similar phone/cable TV, maybe she can just "try out" internet for the month at a lowered cost. That way after you leave she can return the modem and say "thanks but no thanks" while having internet for the month and probably being charged $40 or less?

    Good luck though, because no internet? it would probably make me very antsy, even with family. Nay, especially when with family.

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  2. Would this work for you? Google it
    iGo Stowaway Ultra-Slim Bluetooth Keyboard. Love your blog!
    Maryann

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  3. Sorry I picked on your Amish sister. ;) That portable keyboard looks pretty awesome -- much like your fancy table setting. It looked beautiful!

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  4. You can use your iPhone as a modem for your laptop computer via Bluetooth connection. I don't know exactly how it's done, having neither an iPhone nor the need to do this, but there is, as always, plenty of advice on the Intertubes.

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  5. Thanks for your concern and understanding. Who goes a week with family WITHOUT internet? I don't know.

    It's okay to make fun of my sister, I do it all the time. :) (WHO LIVES WITHOUT INTERNET?)

    You CAN use the iPhone as a modem, but I think you need to have your phone "unlocked" or "jailbroken" and mine isn't. Because I don't know what that means.

    And the iGo seems really awesome, but doesn't work with the iPhone. There are many articles about how this is a travesty - no external keyboards for the iPhone - but no actual products.

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  6. The tables look SO NICE. You have a knack.

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  7. So...when we go visit my mom I have no internet. For a week. And...and...there's no Starbucks. Or anywhere to go to get wifi.

    I'm going to be so *thrilled* that I have my iPhone the next time I go visit her.

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  8. There are options out there for pay as you go mobile broadband - the one I've seen lately is Virgin Mobile. Prices seem pretty reasonable - they are based on bandwidth and time - you'd be good for 50 hours of use over 30 days for around $60 - after the initial purchase of the modem.

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/mobile-broadband

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  9. Starbucks sounds like the best option to me.

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  10. Table and buffet both look great!
    I was going to suggest Clearwire, but it alas doesn't exist in MA apparently... I would go with Starbucks, as it is prob cheaper. And I am sure you know that if you have a Starbucks card and register it online you get 2 free hours of acccess every day? Or if you are a T Mobile subscriber...

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  11. I love the way you decorated the tables! They're so simple, but creative. I used the little apples too, only in a shaky tower of stacked quinces and apples. (I was banned from clipping any sticks or vines from the yard, so my logic was, instead of buying flowers, I'll make a centerpiece of things I can eat later.) I like the lined-up pears and scattered apples better than my tower.
    Oh, about the Internet--I always look up Panera locations when I travel because they have free Internet. (No card or registration needed.)

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  12. K,

    love your photos! the hydrangeas and the apples are a freaking inspired, color match from heaven!! loooove! my hydrangeas are the exact same color right now, and i am going to see if i can get some of 'dem mini apples myself!

    i also giggled at how many food network sources you were able to list as inspirations in a single sentence :)

    as for the wireless-access-less-ness, i'd just go for a combo of iPhone and Starbucks. the time will most likely fly by...

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  13. 1. the table settings are perfection. love.

    2. yea! glad the stuffing was good. i find everything goes with whiskey. but not everyONE

    3. you never know about slipping under the broadband at your sister's place. i have a quasi-amish friend and i seem to always be able to connect at her house from one corner or another. thank you quasi-amish friend's neighbors! hey-i'm not amish.

    4. a new mom and all your christmas shopping is done. that is just wrong. on so many levels. i will end up grabbing gift cards at kroger on my way to christmas dinner. just like last year!

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  14. where in MA? Trust me, an ATT wireless card is likely not to work there that well...

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  15. Hey Kristy - when I was in VT with no internet access, I was able to use my Windows Mobile phone as a modem. For $30 (a one-time fee). It's sweet - and now it's good for the iPhone.

    http://www.junefabrics.com/

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  16. Just a note on your beautiful thanksgiving table setting - not only do i love natural decorations, like fruits, and flowers from your own yard - but my own prefrence in table runners is for them to be centered on the table, instead of hanging over. At a full table, there is nothing worse than being the person on the end with the table runner in your lap. and i think it just looks better centered, too. but that's just my prefrence.
    Beautiful table.

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  17. Be careful if you go to Starbucks....you need to sign in through AT&T beforehand and get a password...don't expect to show up and be system ready. I made rhat mistake. Now I am all set up and ready to drink the cool aid and be one of those people. It's fun.

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  18. Kristy,

    darianj5 hit the nail right on the head. If you need a 3G mobile broadband solution that's faster than dial up, does not require an anunual contract, and needs to be flexible, Virgin Mobile's Broadband2Go might be the perfect solution. The device is sold at places like Best Buy and is currently $99, but without the required $60 a month fee and termination fees you'd have to pay with Contract carriers, you end up saving in the long run. Here's the link to Broadband2Go's info page:

    http://www.virginmobileusa.com/mobile-broadband

    Since I am an employee and biased, here are some independent reviews of BB2G:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article/172293/cheap_and_easy_ways_to_use_your_gadgets_on_the_road.html
    http://blogs.bnet.com/businesstips/?p=4281#more-4281
    http://www.myfoxny.com/dpp/good_day_ny/091019_Internet_On_The_Go

    I hope this is helpful, good luck and Happy Holidays to all!

    SA @ Virgin Mobile

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  19. AT&T has free wifi hotspots when you have some of their services at home (ie I have their internet, my instructions tell me to read more about free hotspots at attwifi.com)- you might call them and talk about how long you've been a wireless customer and ask what they can do for you for that week. Never hurts to ask.

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  20. Have you heard of the Dragon Dictation iPhone app? It's free right now, and offers pretty great speech recognition to text so you don't have to type it all out. It can't hurt to try, right?

    http://www.dragonmobileapps.com/apple/dictation.html

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