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.
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.
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...