Tag Archives: thanksgiving

Introvert Hell

Take a perfectly adult household. Invite everyone for Thanksgiving. Let the fun begin.

My brother-in-law and sister-in-law are here. They brought their two small dogs with them. Otto and Frankie want to play. The little dogs don’t. Honestly, Otto takes a crap that’s bigger than these dogs are every morning. I don’t want him to break them.

My son came over, and brought our grandson at about 9:00. He’s making the turkey on his fancy-schmancy smoker. It takes some watching, so he has to stay. Old What’s Her Face gave our grandson a gaming console that apparently has to be turned up to full volume.

Add in the fact that my brother-in-law insists on watching 12 hours of football. What I mean by that is the TV must be on, but nobody is even watching it. In fact, he isn’t even in the room right now. Add football to the gaming console as far as noise goes. Note: My team doesn’t play today.

But wait, there’s more. My daughter is here and brought Jackson, the cat. I’d kind of like to see Jackson, he grew up here before he moved to Sun Valley. However, he’s been running for his life because the tiny dogs want to get him. This means Otto and Frankie have to chase the little dogs. Put all of that on my hard-surface floors, and it creates quite a din.

There is also the nearly constant calling out of dog names. Mostly the little dogs, but imagine a harsh voice saying the same word over and over and over and over and over and…

My daughter-in-law just arrived with the rest of the grandkids. Oh, by the way, they brought their dog with them. He is an Airedale mix of some kind. I’ll be shocked if we don’t wind up with at least one dead pet by the end of the night. Also the tiny dogs like to bark at the new arrival.

My daughter’s friend is also showing up, but I don’t think she’s bringing pets. Same thing for my son’s mother-in-law. They really don’t play into this story.

Imagine a group of people surrounding me, and they’re all honking airhorns at me. Add in some arguing and barking, along with a video game soundtrack at full volume, and you get a fair idea of how I feel.

I’m actually writing this before dinner, and while they are all here. It gives me some focus and a bit of a breather.

It may not sound like it, but I love these people. Hell, I even like their pets. I had some great one-on-one conversations with a few of them before the mob showed up. As an introvert, it is about all I can handle, but I’m being a trooper.

I think I’d like to have Thanksgiving somewhere else next year. I can handle this stuff for hours, but eventually I can go home.

Let the celebration begin, and by that I mean drinking.

Oh, and not for nothing, I went to bed about 11:30 last night. I had to raise dough and make my rolls. The dogs started barking at house guests at 6:00 AM. Kind of a sleep deprived state to add to the mix.

Bonus, I gave my entire department tomorrow off. That means I have to work tomorrow. It’s not my first Thanksgiving/Black Friday.

Update. Two beers later and things are looking better. This stuff is 9% alcohol by volume, so that’s a bonus. New Belgium Oakspire, Bourbon Barrel Aged ale using Knob Creek barrels.

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Happy Thanksgiving

Today is a national holiday here in the USA. We set this day aside to give thanks for the benefits we’ve enjoyed in the previous year. Unfortunately, it’s changed from a day of feasting and family to a minor event.

Christmas shopping is the big deal, and we want to forget all about the Pilgrims, Indians, and turkeys. I have to work tomorrow, so my family will have to do their Black Friday shopping without me – darn it.

I’m thankful for the many friends I’ve made through this medium. I’ve met mentors, mentees, fans, friends, and colleagues here. I hope next year brings even more.

I find inspiration in many places, music, people watching, film, and art. Today, I want to talk about art. There is an outstanding artist named, Jaroslav Weiczorkiewicz. He is a photographer with mad Photoshop skills. He is replicating the old-school pinup art, but putting his unique spin on things. He basically throws milk at his models, and takes thousands of photographs of the resulting splash. Then he goes into the studio and uses Photoshop to create one image of the model wearing a milk dress.

These have been around for a few years now, and I was always impressed by them. It takes a unique mind to come up with something like this, and a patient and talented person to pull off the final product.

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, Lisa Burton would like to remind you all to save room for dessert today. Happy Thanksgiving from Entertaining Stories.

Lisa Burton

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Holiday Week

This is a holiday week here in the USA. For my international friends, Thursday is our Thanksgiving.

This kept me up late Monday, because my work scheduled a potluck. Makes sense, we have to stay up all night Wednesday to cook, why not do it Monday too? I had enough chile verde to take home for supper last night.

Tonight I have to bake dinner rolls. I made the mistake of baking these for Thanksgiving many years ago, and everyone demands them now. It’s a raised dough product, so hours of rising and punching down, and re-rising are part of my evening plan. My wife said we need a TRIPLE batch this year. I actually have one giant-sized bowl I might be able to make it all at once in. I’m sure I have to wash it first, and will have to wash it during the process because it’s also my storage bin for the finished product.

Bake time is another issue. I only have so many sheets, and the rolls have to raise one more time after they are shaped. This year, I’m going to be thankful for getting it over with.

Things have slowed down online. I’m noticing it on all fronts. Since I ended my big promotional push, I have a lot more time for other things. I’ve even expanded beyond my “must read” list on WordPress. Some of you may notice some likes on blogs I haven’t visited for a while.

I took a vacation day Friday. We have company, but I don’t know if they’re all going out for Black Friday. I don’t see it being a productive writing day, but it could happen. Pure luck of the draw, my flex day is Monday and that could be a writing day.

I hacked out another “anthem” piece for my Enhanced League baseball stories. I’m pretty happy with it. This one is about the extra guy on the team. The one who fills in for injured players and the lack of respect for his job.

In other news, I have a fun Lisa Burton Radio post scheduled for tomorrow. I couldn’t sell Thanksgiving to anyone as a good day, so I wrote this one on my own. It isn’t about one of my books though, so if you get a break in the action tomorrow you might want to check it out.

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it. I’ll be thinking about you slaving over your cornbread stuffing, and green bean casserole while I punch down dough.

PS: Don’t forget to thaw the turkey.

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My wife is disappointed

We were supposed to drive from Boise, Idaho to St. George, Utah today. We let the weatherman scare us off.

Weather watches and warnings started yesterday afternoon. They ran all night long, and are still running. It appears that one huge winter storm decided to strike the American West last night. It's about 600 miles to St. George, and the storm is that wide. The outline on the weather maps covers our entire driving route.

Neither one of us is a weather wimp, and we've both driven through many winter storms. This doesn't mean I trust the other guy on the road. There are a lot of people in Salt Lake City, and it gets pretty congested under the best of conditions. Add in a huge winter storm, and it could be a nightmare.

Consider slowing down to accommodate the weather, and we could have been facing a twelve hour drive, with white knuckles all the way.

We will have to visit some other time. We can even have a turkey dinner if we want.

My wife made a couple of pumpkin pies, and I have dinner rolls raising right now. We invited ourselves to our son's house for Thanksgiving.

In other news, I finished reading a book I've been picking my way through. I also wrote a bit of micro-fiction, and ordered some new blog art. I put out a clever Twitter post that indicated those stuck in an airport might enjoy my Experimental Notebook. Are today's sales because of that? I have no idea, but it didn't hurt. A bunch of people clicked on it.

I was productive, but my wife is disappointed. I hope all of you are safe and warm, whether you celebrate Thanksgiving or not.

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What I did last night

I had a request for a recipe to make my parmesan garlic rolls. I don’t actually have one, but some items are the foundation behind them. Stick with the foundation, and you can’t go wrong.

I used two envelopes of dry yeast. Put them in about a half cup of lukewarm water and set them aside. Make sure to stir it with a whisk or fork a few times so it doesn’t form a lump.

Take two and a half cups of milk, 1/2 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup of shortening, and two teaspoons of salt. Put it on rising heat and stir it until the shortening melts completely. Make sure it doesn’t boil; keep it moving.

Add two big scoops of flour to a large bowl. As an option, you can whisk the dry yeast in at this time if you don’t want to “wake it up” in the water.

Now you have to set the hot liquids aside. This is the maddening part, because if it’s too hot it kills the yeast.

While you’re waiting, scramble two eggs in a bowl. I add the hot liquids to the flour and stir. The flour brings the temperature down. Add the eggs and stir again, this also brings temperature down. (Remember, my yeast isn’t in there yet.)

While it’s still a loose batter, I add a double handful of grated parmesan cheese, and two huge spoonfuls of minced garlic. (I use the kind from a jar.) Make sure it’s well stirred. By now, the temperature will have dropped so you can safely put a finger in it. If not add another scoop of flour and stir.

Add the yeast and stir. At this point, it’s time to stir in enough flour until it becomes an exercise in futility. Turn it out on the counter with a fine layer of flour and knead it for ten minutes.

Put it in a greased bowl and flip it around so it’s covered with a fine layer of shortening. Cover it and let it rise for an hour. (Great time for a pumpkin beer.)

At the end of the hour, it should be twice as big. The timing here is a guess. You can be longer or shorter, but you want it doubled. Punch it down and let the air out. Let it rest for ten minutes. (I’m not completely sure why, but it matters. It was good enough for Grandma, and it’s good enough for me.)

This is where you decide what you’re making. You can fry some up for scones, make loaves, or bread sticks. I make rolls.

Pinch off hunks one at a time and make your rolls. I roll out a snake. Then tie it in a loose knot. Tuck the bottom end over the top, and the upper end around and in the bottom. This makes a pretty roll. Space them out on your cookie sheet, because they will grow. Cover them and let them raise for another half hour plus. I’ll add some pictures.

image

A snake

 

A knot

A knot

A roll

A roll

No resting for you here. Melt two whole cubes of salted butter. Add another huge scoop of that minced garlic and let it cook together. Preheat your oven to 400°. I don’t know what the metric conversions are for any of this. The Internet is your friend here.

When the oven is ready, and the rolls have finished raising, paint them with the garlic butter. You can add a sprinkle of Parmesan here if you like. Bake them for 12 minutes.

Note: my crappy electric oven prefers 410° and about 13 minutes.

When they come out, paint them with the garlic butter one more time and add a sprinkle of Parmesan.

I make my rolls big. We use them to make turkey sandwiches the next day. Your times and temps will change depending on your preferences. I get about twenty rolls out of this.

Here’s what they’re supposed to look like.

Finished roll

You always get one that comes untied. I use these for quality control. (Meaning I ate them hot.)

One for the quality control expert

One for the quality control expert

you can change it up for baking stones, other spices or cheeses. Maybe you prefer a different shape or a breadstick. You can even try to make it healthy, but I won’t.

Enjoy, and I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving, or a wonderful day if it isn’t a holiday wherever you are.

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I’m calling it; Thanksgiving is dead

I grew up in a huge family. It was large because my grandparents came from large families. This means I had tons of great aunts and great uncles. When any of them showed up for Thanksgiving, and brought their kids, we regularly seated 30 or more people.

Times change. My second cousins grew up and have families of their own, as do I. The great aunts & uncles are mostly dead now, along with my grandparents. The all night pinochle events are a thing of the past.

We still manage the occasional big celebration, but I live in a different state than everyone else now.

This year, it’s just my wife and I. She works at a hospital and has to work Thanksgiving day. I will pre-bake my dinner rolls the night before and put the turkey on in the morning. She will show up mid day and we will have our dinner. I have to work Friday, but it’s a government job.

I respect the idea that some professions work. I want the hospitals open, the fire station on standby, and the military available. Our daughter works retail, and has to work Thanksgiving day. This I don’t understand.

People today aren’t as close as they used to be. We’re obsessed with our cell phones and social media. Couples even text each other over a common table; I’ve seen it. Thanksgiving is archaic by today’s standards.

Black Friday erased Thanksgiving from our culture. Heaven forbid we miss shopping in favor of sharing a meal with the family and friends we only see occasionally. I can see a day where people will forget how to cook a turkey. Mom took them shopping instead of showing the kids the ropes. Might as well, the stores are open. Maybe someday they’ll breed turkeys the size of cornish game hens. That way some of us can hold onto the tradition for another decade or so. Once I become part of the oldest generation, this holiday will be a quaint memory like so many others.

Twenty years from now, people will stop at Subway for a turkey sandwich on their way to Wal-Mart, and that will be the entirety of Thanksgiving. I’m not preaching here, I used to go shopping on Black Friday too, when I was younger. I even like the idea. I don’t like the idea that it has to become Black Thursday now.

It would take an effort of the common people to turn this around, and that isn’t possible. We can’t seem to get more than about 20% to vote on election day. If all of us refused to shop on Thanksgiving, the merchants would stop requiring family disbandment that day. Even if we only took advantage of online shopping it would help. The problem is families don’t really care anymore. This goes back to our social media and cell phones. I’ve seen my own kids texting people at Thanksgiving dinner in the past.

So I’m calling it. Get the toe tag out, Thanksgiving is dead. Park it over next to Pearl Harbor Day and VE Day, other days that were important to a fading generation. I’ll just mix up a Tom & Jerry and reminisce.

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A Long Weekend

Thanksgiving was wonderful. We had so many people, I never got to visit with them for long. I’d like to have heard more about the Indian pottery my cousin discovered, but everyone deserved a turn.

I got to go shooting with my brother one morning. We shot paper targets on two wire holders he made. It was fun shooting my old Remington again. I made the grips for it myself, but haven’t been shooting for a couple years. Check it out:

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We drove through town a couple times. They say you can’t go home again, and it’s true. There are subdivisions where I used to chase rabbits with my old basset hound. Things have changed so dramatically, it isn’t the same little town I grew up in. Time changes everything, and I’m not the same as I once was either.

I just happened to be off today, so I spent the day working on critiques. I’m fortunate to belong to a pretty good group, and look forward to learning something every month. I’ll probably spend the afternoon on edits. If I don’t get on with it, the poor editor will think I’ve forgotten about her.

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