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Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Day 247-250 of Sheltering In

Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. Monday my wife and I picked up the last few items needed for Thanksgiving. I had my son stay home because he needed some alone time, and my wife and I needed time together. Usually we would go out to lunch, but with the pandemic, we only do takeout. We picked something up for the 3 of us after grocery shopping. This sheltering in place makes it difficult at times to keep the peace. 

Tuesday was the big day! My son and I picked up my daughter from her group home and she insisted I take her Christmas shopping. (Twist my arm!) She bought gifts and I helped her pick out a a good pair of winter boots.

My goodness did we need hugs! 248 days without hugs! Funny thing was, we waited until after we got home from Christmas shopping. 

After the hug I took some vitamins and my temperature and had a nap before dinner. I was up late and got up early, so I needed it. I’ve got a stuffy nose, LOTS of sneezing, and no other symptoms. 

Wednesday it was time to prep for thanksgiving. This is not new for me. I’ve been cooking for Thanksgiving most years, other than a couple at my in-laws. We stopped that after my father-in-law’s wife’s family were incredibly rude to us one year. That was the end of that. First, they started eating before all of us got there, then they wouldn’t pass the food to our end of the table. They would not talk to us, even though we tried to engage them in conversation. It was uncomfortable, and not something I will put myself or my family through again. I don’t know if it was homophobia, or maybe they are just asshats all the time. My point being, this isn’t our first rodeo. I’ve cooked the entire Thanksgiving meal, probably all but a handful of years. I use a Nesco Roaster Oven for the turkey and the sides are cooked in the oven. I have made it on the gas grill with smoker boxes a couple of years, but it’s a lot more work, and a lot of in and out of the house, which is hard on my back.

As I peck this out on my phone, I’ve checked my temperature and it’s normal. I think this is a cold. My daughter had a cold just before her visit. I think the vitamins are really kickin this cold’s butt cuz by late afternoon Wednesday I had stopped sneezing and my nose wasn’t stuffy.

So Wednesday I chopped celery and onions and cut celery for the veggie tray. And yes, I gloved up and wore a mask as I prepped the food. Cuz I’m a weirdo like that and didn’t want to be sneezing uncovered while I was cooking. I also baked an Apple Pie and I ended up baking 2 Pumpkin Pies because I didn’t have a 2nd deep dish pie dish. I had a 2nd one, but I think it may have gotten broken last year. No big deal, I have (2) 9” Pyrex Pie dishes, so it worked out. Dinner was leftovers. Turkey is taking a cold water bath. Put it in the fridge Sunday, but it wasn’t thawed by Wednesday night.  Backup plan is turkey bath. Lol! We want to eat by 3pm at the latest. Hopefully 2pm. We’ll see, but definitely not last year’s after 7pm because of the turkey baster explosion. Glass baster exploded and got scalding hot drippings all over my front, chest to thighs. Cleaning up and tending to my burns really delayed the meal. Fortunately everything healed with no issues.

My wife told the kids they had to be up at 10am and they weren’t to “bother” me. We’ll see how that goes. I still have to make my Mom’s stuffing. My wife is making her Mom’s stuffing. (I don’t care for her stuffing. It has breakfast sausage in it.)  My son wanted Cauliflower Mock Mac n Cheese, but I didn’t buy cauliflower, so that can’t happen. I’ll be making a Broccoli Rice Casserole, Thanksgiving day, or Black Friday. My son loves that, so we’re good. I told my wife that my son is to make the Corn Pudding. He made it last year with a little help from his sister, so why not take advantage of the help cooking, right? No mashed potatoes, I haven’t been able to crack the code on my Mom’s. It’s not difficult, but when I make it, it’s just not quite right. Baked sweet potatoes will go in with the turkey, but will go with leftovers for Black Friday, or Saturday. I may, or may not make my popovers. They are always a big hit since I only make them for holidays. My wife will make roasted Brussels sprouts either Thanksgiving day, or Black Friday.

Who’s going Black Friday shopping? Not us. I’ve been taking advantage of the all week Black Friday sales, and the start of Walmart’s online deals at the beginning of the month. I scored a super deal on a television. My wife wants us to take the new one and give my daughter the one from the master bedroom. We can always replace it next Christmas with a larger one. We have no idea where her tv will go in her apartment, so to start out, smaller is probably better. It’s 36”, so it’s not like it’s tiny, but the new one is larger.

Wishing all my blog pals a happy thanksgiving. 🦃 

Lola’s Diner cc.  2008-2020

Sunday, November 22, 2020

Sunday Stealing-Thanksgiving Questions

Hi! Your host is Bev 2 Sykes of the blog "Funny the World". . Welcome to Sunday Stealing. This 3 feature originated and published on WTIT: The Blog. Here we will steal 4 all types of questions from every corner of the blogosphere. Our promise 5 to you is that we will work hard to find the most interesting and 6 intelligent questions. Cheers to all of us thieves!

1. What did you do for Thanksgiving when you were a kid? Every year we went to Grandma’s house. She was Italian, so no matter the holiday, we always started out with green salad, olive salad from Groppi’s, spaghetti, meatballs, Italian sausage. Then came the usual Thanksgiving eats. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes. My Mom was the only one out of her 3 sisters, and stepmom, who prepared them, and they were the best. The year she passed away was very hard because at every holiday thereafter several people would bring up my Mom’s mashed potatoes. Seemed like every time I went near Grandma’s basement kitchen, someone would bring it up and I would either slink away back to the kiddie table (cuz I was stuck there into my 20’s), or I’d race up the stairs hoping to run fast enough to not be pulled into the conversation. There was also pumpkin pie with Cool Whip, and store bought apple pie that one of my aunt’s who couldn’t cook brought. On Black Friday my Mom prepared our Thanksgiving meal. The turkey was cooked in the Nesco Roaster Oven (just as I cook mine every year), stuffing, green bean casserole, baked sweet potatoes with butter (no marshmallows for my family), homemade crustless pumpkin pie with Cool Whip and homemade apple pie.

2 .What’s your favorite family tradition? We used to decorate for Christmas the Saturday after Thanksgiving. On Black Friday we would shop for Christmas. The past few years, really since my car accident, we have been lucky to get the tree up and decorated before Christmas Eve. You never realize how much of an important part of the equation you are, until you can’t do those things any longer. The first Thanksgiving after my accident, then the next year I had back surgery, so all the holiday stuff was done by my wife with some help from my kids. The year after my surgery I resumed my holiday duties, but I plan everything so I can prep ahead of time, or cook the sides the day before. I try to get my kids to help, but it’s hard when I want things done a certain way, I’m stuck in my ways, and sometimes no matter how hard I try to encourage, instruct, etc., I  just get frustrated and take things back to do myself. I need to work on that. I don’t Black Friday shop anymore. It’s gotten too scary. I’m talking about before this year’s pandemic. I try to shop throughout the year, usually starting October at the latest. I usually do some shopping on Cyber Monday. This year I did online shop/curbside pickup some of Walmart’s early Black Friday sale that started November 4th.

3. What’s your favorite way to give back and help others?  I try to find ways throughout the year. Ever since my daughter moved into a group home my ways to give back have to do with doing things for her and her housemates. When the pandemic stretched into May and June I shopped DollarTree and filled a laundry basket full of crafting supplies, snacks, and drinks and dropped it off at the group home my daughter lives in. Since then I have done that a few more times. I threw a pizza party for them for Halloween because the group home planned nothing. I bought frozen deep dish pizza, snacks, and drinks. I’ve also replaced housemates cookbooks, and purchased special shampoo for a housemate with a scalp condition because staff wasn’t moving to get it for her. I always say when I win the lottery one of the first things I want to do is set up a foundation that would help people living in group homes get new clothes, shoes, etc. It is disheartening to hear that many in group homes that are a part of the agency that runs the one my daughter lives in, have no family involvement, no one to make sure they have even the basics. 

4. Name one person who can make you laugh, even months later. Why? My wife. We crack each other up all the time.

5. What is the funniest thing you remember about a Thanksgiving past? That would be the year the oven died in my current house. I still cook the turkey in a Nesco Roaster, so it didn’t affect the cooking of the bird. However, the stuffing, green bean casserole and pies went in the oven. I had to improvise and ended up moving those items outside to my gas grill. The pumpkin pie was in a glass Pyrex pie dish, everything else was in foil pans. When I went to take the pumpkin pie out of the grill, with my oven mitts on (thank goodness), the Pyrex pie dish exploded. It was about 40-45° degrees outside, so when it came out of the grill the drastic temperature change cause the dish to explode. I made a 2nd pie on Black Friday so we could get our pumpkin pie fix. The rest of the family thought it was hilarious that I had to use the grill and it got even more hilarious when the dish exploded. Not me. I was on the verge of tears because my Thanksgiving Plan was then missing the pumpkin pie. 🤦🏻I forgot about last year! The brand new glass turkey baster I bought exploded scalding hot turkey broth all down my front. Chest, abdomen, and below. I tore off my track pants (it was just my immediate family, thank goodness)  and my wife threw my ice water at me, while my kids were told to get me ice packs. I sat in my undies for a bit as we picked up glass bits and I iced and poured more ice water on my burns. (It hurt like a #$&@!). Everyone was laughing nervously, not knowing what to do. My kids were asking why I tore my track pants off. I was afraid the scalding hot broth would cause the track pants to stick to my burns because they were a polyester blend. Fortunately I got them off fast enough. I was wearing a cotton T-shirt, so I wasn’t concerned about my upper body. After a bit my wife got me a clean change of clothes. Last week while I was grocery shopping I saw a stainless steel turkey baster and snagged one before they were sold out. Is anyone seeing a theme here about me, Thanksgiving, and glass?

6. Do you have any unusual traditions, rituals or habits around Thanksgiving? I ALWAYS make my Mom’s stuffing (ok, dressing, I have never stuffed a turkey), however I changed it up slightly by adding chopped roasted chestnuts. Some years chestnuts are hard to find, others they are too expensive. And some years I want it exactly how my Mom made it. My kids like both. This year my wife wants to make her Mom’s stuffing which uses breakfast sausage. I am not a fan of sausage stuffing, so we are making both.

7. What time do you eat your Thanksgiving meal? We try for around 2pm. Last year, because of the turkey baster explosion, we didn’t eat until almost 7pm. 

8. Name one ancestor that you think about on Thanksgiving and tell us why. My Mom. Every holiday I think of her. She cooked EVERYTHING from scratch herself for the holidays, the day after because we always spent the actual holidays at grandma’s. I was 23 years old when my Mom passed away. No matter the holiday I always include her recipes. Usually I add something new. Last year we added Cauliflower Mock Mac n cheese, Popovers, Corn Pudding (I gave my son the recipe and he prepared it), Cranberry Fluff Dessert.

9. Is there a family heirloom at the Thanksgiving table? What its story? Not unless you count the Nesco Roaster Oven.

10. What is your favorite part about Thanksgiving Day? That it’s just my immediate family. Just me, my wife, and my kids. Thanksgiving at grandma’s was ok, but in my late teens and before my Mom passed away I found out more details on how grandma was a step monster. I found out how when my Mom was born, her Mom passed away giving birth to her. When her dad married the woman I knew as grandma she didn’t want my Mom and her 3 sisters. My Mom was adopted. I never met her wonderful adoptive Mom and Dad. Her other 3 sisters were put in orphanages. Those things explained a lot about how my Mom, Dad, myself, and my sister were treated throughout the years.

11. What is something that was done for you this year that makes you grateful this Thanksgiving? I will have to think on this and will come back to reply.

12. What foods do you usually have for Thanksgiving? Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole, corn pudding, popovers, roasted Brussels sprouts, crustless pumpkin pie (gotta cut carbs somewhere, and no one misses the crust). with Cool Whip, apple pie, Cranberry Fluff. I do the sweet potatoes, Cauliflower Mock Mac n Cheese on Black Friday. Everything is homemade. I can’t recall how long it’s been since I made mashed potatoes. I think I made them my 2nd Thanksgiving at my current house. We moved in November, so that year was not the extravaganza Thanksgiving has become. I used my KitchenAid Mixer. I couldn’t quite replicate the way my Mom’s mashed potatoes tasted, but I had the texture right.

 13. How has the celebration of Thanksgiving today changed from when you were little? When I was little, Thanksgiving day was always at grandma’s. I made a turkey at my first apartment, but the oven was so small I had to cut the turkey up and cook 1/2 on Black Friday. That first Thanksgiving I spent alone. After that I went back home to cook Thanksgiving for my Dad. Every Thanksgiving after he passed away I cooked my Thanksgiving meal wherever I lived, and when I started my family I always made the meal at home for my immediate family.

14. If you could share Thanksgiving dinner today with one person in history who would it be? Why? (Note: it can be a relative) Since it CAN be a relative, I choose my parents. I don’t think there would be anyone outside of family that I would choose. I think it would be so wonderful to have my parents, my kids, and my wife to share Thanksgiving meal with.

15. What is one wish you have for the next generation as they begin to establish their own Thanksgiving traditions. “Not just one wish. A whole hatful.” (What movie is that a line from?) I would wish them a peaceful world, with all the issues we are currently dealing with resolved. The pandemic would be a thing of the very distant past; people would be healthy and back to work, able to provide for their families’, living in their homes without fear of losing them; much progress will have been made to stop and reverse global warming (as much as possible); the economy would be thriving; our leaders...local, state, the nation, the world, would concern themselves with the PEOPLE they serve, the environment, and NOT the many ways they can line their and their cronies pockets’. 

Lola’s Diner cc.  2008-2020

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