Hello gym

November is coming to a close and I've got three Thanksgivings under my belt. Needless to say, my pants are not happy. The gym will be receiving a visit from me today.

Aren't the holidays always like this? You stuff yourself to the brim and then try to waddle to the treadmill and keep a steady pace. I wanted to preempt the steady stream of holiday goodies but I guess I'll have to settle for backpedaling.

Taking on the turkey

Thanksgiving turkeys are the territory of women who have long traversed the culinary world and can offer proof that they indeed know what they are doing. They baste with a steady hand, insert the thermometer in the meatiest section, and season with confidence. I am a newcomer to the actual preparation of this Thanksgiving tradition, nothing but a Padawan learner who must rely on her Jedi masters for guidance.

Because this Padawan didn’t even know what “place the turkey skin side up” meant.

I took my first steps toward this culinary tradition last night. The gobbler was a seven-pound bone-in turkey breast, big enough to qualify as a hefty undertaking by a newbie but not massive. I picked a recipe that took the least amount of time to make – two hours of roasting would give me just enough time if I got off work early and started immediately. My recipe didn’t tell me to cover the turkey from the beginning so the turkey started browning absurdly early. I called a couple of turkey experts and ended up covering the turkey with foil and moving it down a rack in the oven.

Me: “What does “skin side up” mean? I mean, apart from the obvious.”
Wendy: “Umm… it means the obvious.”
Me: “But… what does that mean?”
Wendy: “Think of how you see it in pictures and magazines – that’s what it should look like.”
Me: “Ohh… good.”

Two hours went by but the turkey was definitely NOT done. An extra hour and an additional 25 degrees did the trick though, and we did finally serve our turkey.

So what did I learn?

1. Make sure the turkey is thoroughly defrosted. I think this is where I messed up – I bought the turkey exactly 24 hours before I put it in the oven, and I don’t think that was enough time.

2. Ensure you have an instant-read thermometer to test the turkey. I thought we had one but I was wrong, and we had to make do with a candy thermometer.

3. Keep the turkey experts on speed dial.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Headed to Whidbey

We’re leaving this afternoon for Whidbey Island to go on our church’s annual retreat. You don’t realize how loud the city is until you leave it. And it’s always a welcome change to be able to see the stars in the sky. We always go to Camp Casey, which is an old fort converted into a conference center and now owned by Seattle Pacific University. SPU uses the camp for most of their retreats too, so I feel like I’ve been to Camp Casey more than the average bear.

The island is gorgeous though, and it’s easy to feel at peace when you’re surrounded by such beauty and stillness.


I shot the sheriff… but I did not shoot the deputy.

You might be saying these very words when you come over to our place and play our new game “Bang!” with us. Every player is assigned a role at the beginning of the game (sheriff, outlaw, renegade, deputy) and you must play your cards right to fire shots at your opponent. The roles are secret except for the sheriff, so it’s your goal to figure out who the other players are so you can shoot them before they shoot you! But if you’re the sheriff, you better not kill off your deputy or you’ll lose all your cards!

It’s a pretty fun game and has just the right mix of chance and strategy. We had a few friends over the other night to play.


In the end, even my Winchester couldn’t save me.

January Jones on SNL

January Jones hosted last week’s Saturday Night Live, but her comedic craft doesn’t seem to be as honed as her dramatic. Too much “Mad Men”. Below is my favorite skit, although she did make a lovely (albeit flatulent) Grace Kelly in the “Rear Window” skit.

Also, I knew the SNL performance stage was small but it looked especially tiny when they crammed a band AND the four members of the Black Eyed Peas onto it. And props to the BEP: if your main singers aren’t going to play instruments then they better be high-energy and dynamic, and they were quite entertaining to watch even if Will.i.am was using Autotune (someone must’ve learned from Kanye’s SNL performance).

Taylor Swift on SNL

Taylor Swift hosted Saturday Night Live last weekend and this was my favorite skit.

Encounters of the creepy kind

For the record, I Googled orb spiders to find a picture for this post but got too creeped out and had to close the page.

We all know that moms will do anything for their babies, right? Last weekend, I helped a friend clean up her deck where a bunch of her cardboard boxes had fallen victim to the recent rains. We pulled one of the boxes out from the wall and discovered a fat beige orb spider sitting on the other side of the box and crouching over what appeared to be an egg sac. My friend didn’t want to kill the spider so I coerced it onto a piece of cardboard and flung it a few feet over a four-foot cement wall that separates her deck from the grass. The grass on the other side was at the same height as the top of the cement wall (her apartment and deck are below ground level) so I watched the spider crawl away from us. The egg sac suffered a less fortunate fate and we continued breaking down boxes. About 10 minutes later, I turned around and that SAME spider was crawling back over the wall toward us. I’m no spider whisperer but she looked pretty angry. I might have screamed. Even though the spider obviously held a grudge, we nudged it back onto a piece of cardboard and flung her further this time. She didn’t return (at least in the next half hour while we were still there), so here’s hoping that neither of us will be haunted by mama spiders looking for their babies.

Let's go on a tour

We have friends in this weekend from out of town, so we get to play Seattle tourist! Everyone does the same thing when they visit Seattle so I'm guessing our pictures will include the following:
  • Posing with a fish-thrower
  • Everyone piled on the bronze pig at the market
  • A bottom-up shot at the base of the Space Needle
  • Posing at the original Starbucks, A Moment in Time in the background
  • A shot at Gas Works Park, the city in the background
  • A shot at Kerry Park, the city in the background
Any other suggestions? Now if only the weather would cooperate...

And time goes on

When I was in eighth grade, all the eighth-graders were paired with first-graders as reading buddies. My first-grader and I hit it off, and I babysat for her family through my high school years. Now that first-grader is a high school senior and will be traveling to Seattle tomorrow to check out my alma mater, Seattle Pacific University.

It’s not that I feel old, because I don’t. It’s just strange to think that my little first-grader is not so little anymore, is in fact a good eight inches taller than I am, and ready for college life.

And time goes on.