Turn the page.

My 2021 notebook arrived today. Planner, some might call it, although mine is neither one nor the other.

It’s formatted for bullet journaling, something I tried but couldn’t stick to. But most of it is just blank pages, and every week, on Sunday or Monday, I turn the page and start a new entry: Week of December 21. The top half of the page gets a Work subhead, the bottom half Personal. I write down all the tasks and projects I know I have coming due that week. Newsletter, edit XXXX, various stories with deadlines approaching. Personal is for errands, bills to pay, etc., and always gets a line for Workouts, which I tally with hash marks. (Several years into my more dedicated fitness regimen, it’s now essential for my mental health, so I make note of every one. Don’t hate me because I have muscle tone.)

As I get these things done, I scratch them off. The scratch-off is the most important part of this habit. Have I ever written down something I’ve already completed but didn’t put on the to-do list, then immediately scratched it off? Do you even have to ask?

The facing page is for auxiliary notes on the main page — stuff that goes along with the tasks, but isn’t a task itself — phone numbers, email addresses, down-the-road stuff. I put the newsletter budget there.

All of this is the front half. The back half of the book is for random notes — a meeting, a training, something someone said that I wanted to remember: The Dodge Charger is the official I-don’t-give-a-fuckmobile of Detroit, for instance.

Over the years, I’ve tried a million different ways to organize my life. The aforementioned bullet journaling, writing everything down in iCal. (On March 31, 2014 I rode my bike nine miles and did a yoga class.) Not much of it stuck. But this is the third year I’ve bought the Standard Issue Notebook No. 3, and it seems to work. It’s the uncapping of the pen, writing everything down, that makes it different.

I hate the word “journaling.” It’s writing. A novelist doesn’t do noveling. Why complicate matters unnecessarily?

Finally, this: There is only one thing more satisfying than a blank notebook for the year ahead, and that’s the scribbled-in, marked-up one for the year just past.

What’s your organization strategy? Any tips for the group?

Here we are, already at midweek. I’m trying to assuage my guilt over this upcoming trip by registering with TSA PreCheck, which I’m hoping will keep us out of the ridiculous jam-ups at airport security. Also, it’s a hopeful gesture that I’ll be a more frequent traveler in the news five years, and I’ll use it often enough to justify the $85 charge. Tomorrow I go in to be fingerprinted. A small price to leave my shoes on in the security line.

A little bit of bloggage, then? Sure. Here is 2020 in Associated Press pictures, most of which are great. No paywall, just enjoyment.

Happy Wednesday, all.

Posted at 9:35 pm in Same ol' same ol' |
 

66 responses to “Turn the page.”

  1. Charlotte said on December 22, 2020 at 10:18 pm

    I pretty much do the same Nancy. I buy stacks of staple bound notebooks from Fabiano (via Blick in MKE) and make my own pages. Work/Writing/Personal — keep track of reading lists, gardening, anything else.

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  2. alex said on December 22, 2020 at 11:45 pm

    I’m always mesmerized by great photography and that series knocked the shit out of me. I feel spent worse than if I’d watched “Sophie’s Choice” all over again.

    What’s my organization strategy? Wish I had one. I’ve never been successful at planning. I’ve always had great luck at improvising.

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  3. Dexter Friend said on December 23, 2020 at 4:54 am

    A few monthly bills are auto-pay, others I still pay by voice instead of online, because once in a while a computer or the IP is offline or the computer broken. It’s just easier for me to pay via the automated phone system. I don’t write down dog walks or where I drive. I used to balance my checkbook monthly with the mailed statement, but now I just check my phone when I pay for something and enter it in my paper register. I cannot stand a mistake with my bank balance .

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  4. David C said on December 23, 2020 at 5:55 am

    My life is either unorganized or disorganized. I’m not sure which. It’s also simple enough it doesn’t matter too much. One doctor appointment and two dentist appointments per year does it for me. The only organized part of my life is balancing my checking account once a week. I’m not sure what the point is because I can see my balance any time I want but I do it anyway.

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  5. alex said on December 23, 2020 at 6:39 am

    I was good at balancing check registers when I was young and lived paycheck to paycheck. I even resisted getting a debit card when they first came out because it seemed like a ploy to make people overspend so they’d get swamped with ridiculous overdraft fees. But I came to love the debit card and made it a habit to use nothing else, never carry cash, never spend on credit, and I became a much more disciplined money manager. And online banking is better than having a check register because it handles my bills, keeps me informed and it’s effortless. I so seldom write checks anymore that I don’t even bother with the register when I do.

    Where I’m disorganized is dealing with mail and e-mail. There’s so much of it that’s unsolicited that it’s easy to miss stuff that’s important, especially since I’ve fallen into the habit of shoving it aside to deal with later because it’s always so overwhelming to look at a full mailbox every time I come home or turn on my computer. And that’s after a day of having to deal with much the same at work.

    Once you mark something as “junk,” computers are supposed to filter it out, but it seems like shit always finds a way around that while legitimate stuff gets arbitrarily routed to the junk folder. First World problems suck.

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  6. Suzanne said on December 23, 2020 at 7:13 am

    I was semi-organized through college and young adulthood, but then we had children and I found that a couple of babies/toddlers in the house blew up my organizational skills. Have your plans set for the day? Never mind, someone just barfed all over everything. Plan a vacation? The amount of diapers, clothing changes, special blankets, etc it took to go made it not fun.
    At one point I tried the day planner universe but still missed things because I forgot to look at the day planner. The iPhone/iPad calendar has helped because of the alerts I get.
    But mostly, I have just made peace with my disorganizational tendencies.

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  7. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Ditto here, Alex. Never got into using a planner and online banking wiped out the need for checking account balancing. I never write checks. And ditto on snail mail incoming. I’m much more likely to take care of something emailed to me than to keep track of the paper stuff. I’ve got my monthly bill spreadsheet and I work with that. I do a to do list every night before I shut down my office so I know what my next day looks like. It’s on a legal pad and I x tasks off as they’re completed. There’s not a lot of variation. Screen applicants, submit list of five best, collect names of references, collect references. Mess around online for hard to find people like nurses (fat chance of finding any of those). It’s the exciting life of healthcare recruiter.

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  8. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 23, 2020 at 8:28 am

    When you’re cleaning out the microwaves, you’re leaving.

    https://twitter.com/weijia/status/1341734570547421184

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  9. basset said on December 23, 2020 at 8:32 am

    Apple calendar and a whiteboard on the bedroom wall for us, and I keep a deer season diary on a write in the rain notebook in my gear bag. Not that I ever actually do write while getting rained on, it just feels more outdoorsy.

    About to head for the “processor,” aka deer butcher, and donate one I shot late yesterday to the state’s “Hunters for the Hungry” program – it’ll get ground into deer burger and sent to a food bank. Two weeks and two days left in the season, gonna try & get some more.

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  10. Icarus said on December 23, 2020 at 9:14 am

    My organization tip is to round robin your task list and spend one hour (give or take 15 minutes) on each task, if it contains too many items that require hours of work.

    The 15 minute caveat is because sometimes you get close to finishing and you just need a few more minutes or you need a few more minutes to get to a stopping point.

    Haven’t balance my checkbook since banking went online and all bills are paid online. Get a few legit documents via snail mail but otherwise everything is handled online.

    Use to journal since high school but stopped around 2007 when weblogging replaced it (for me, I know blogging started much earlier). Then I realized no one, including me cared about the minutiae of my day.

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  11. JMG said on December 23, 2020 at 9:59 am

    Dear Ms. Nall: As long as you are applying for TSA PreCheck, go the whole way and apply for the Global Entry program, too. It’s for foreign travel and allows you to skip the lines at customs in an automated process. Highly recommended for ease of travel.

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  12. Jakash said on December 23, 2020 at 10:25 am

    “Have I ever written down something I’ve already completed but didn’t put on the to-do list, then immediately scratched it off?”

    But that would be pathetic… Of course, I’ve done it, too. Sad! 😉

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  13. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 10:44 am

    Let me give an example of my to do for today, and for the last ten days. I have to ask fifty people we want to hire for three names of people who will give them a reference. After a day or so I go back and remind about a third of them I need three names for reference. Then I email them all again asking for the email addresses and in some cases the last names of their refererences (this is not a very high level position). I get maybe twenty references that look like this: George at Safeway in L.A. This is useless, clearly. Emailing references is the best because there’s no phone tag involved, so I ask for George’s email. Then I send a nice email to George asking for a reference and giving him a very easy set of questions that can be answered with a 1-10 grade. Right now I am missing any references from 15 applicants. I am missing any names to contact for references from three.

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  14. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 11:30 am

    LAMary, I call that babysitting the world. I was always astounded by how many times I had to call back or re-email a vendor when I was trying to use their services, you’d think they’d respond if it means they make money.

    I don’t have much going on these Covid days to organize so it’s easy, just Dr appts or maintenance issues with the condo and grounds. I use those pocket sized moleskin notebooks, no lines or grids because sometimes I do a quick sketch of a design idea. I have no rhyme or reason about how I jot things down, just one page after another

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  15. Julie Robinson said on December 23, 2020 at 11:55 am

    Ever since college I’ve used calendars and lists to organize myself. Not much on those calendars these days, of course. I also use a calendar to track when bills are due, and I sit down every Friday to pay those and balance the checkbooks, since we have accounts here and in Orlando. I’m super anal about money stuff and go through the credit card receipts every month when that bill comes in. This aspect of my personality served me well working in finance; you really don’t want people being sloppy in that field.

    I do have a calendar and lists on my phone but find them cumbersome to use. It takes too long to open the phone, go to the app, and enter the info. I can whip out my calendar, see the whole month, and write it down in a fraction of the time. And I hate hate hate grocery shopping from a phone list.

    Besides, there’s so much satisfaction in manually drawing a line through an item on a to-do list. Analog definitely wins there.

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  16. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 12:19 pm

    Completely off topic: I’m known as someone likes perfumes. Just a touch. I’m not one of those people who gets in the elevator and causes everyone else to leave. There’s a brand, Le Labo. It’s pretentious in a milennial Brooklyn sort of way, but I love their Santal 33 perfume. It’s stupidly expensive and I blew all my gift cards on a bottle about two years ago at Christmas. This years I discovered Rose 31. Again, ridiculously expensive. I don’t know anyone who is going to drop 280 bucks on a bottle of perfume for me. However. I have a brother who gave me a nice gift card and I bought the lotion. Still expensive but it was a Nordstrom gift card. I’m not going buy anything practical with that. And I’m sitting here in my little home office thinking, “damn, I smell good.”

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  17. Brian stouder said on December 23, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Thread Win for LA Mary!! I think I’ll be smiling the rest of the day….!

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  18. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 1:44 pm

    Brian, buy some for Mrs. Brian. 70 bucks for an 8 ounce bottle of lotion. Le Labo Rose 31. Smells great. Like rose and maybe some cedarwood? Not a sickly sweet tuberose smell.

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  19. Dave said on December 23, 2020 at 2:03 pm

    All of this organization, I guess I’m a completely disorganized sort. We write about four checks a month, there’s our water utility here that doesn’t have simple online payments, they want a credit card and then charge a fee for using it, which I refuse to do. There’s the man who cuts our grass, hardly anyone at all in this entire neighborhood cuts their own grass and we got rid of our lawnmower when we moved down here. There’s the monthly homeowners dues, they will deduct it automatically but we’ve decided against it so we send a check. There’s usually something else.

    We do debit cards and we do balance our checkbook. One would think with only the two of us, our checkbook would be perfect every month but no, one of us (usually me) makes a mathematical error and then we search it out.

    As for to do lists and the like, we hardly ever make any sort of lists, we go to the grocery with some idea of what we want and buy accordingly.

    OTOH, we both keep track of some things in our phones. For example, and very boring, every since I finally figured out, thanks to someone here a few years back, I could get a lot more shaves out of a razor if I shake the water out of them after every use, I’ve kept track of each one, just to see. The most I’ve managed to get is 70. Now, there’s some trivial minutiae. I do have some more important things in there, too, because I always have it and find it convenient.

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  20. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 2:10 pm

    LB makes soap and is always experimenting with scents. My favorite so far is black pepper oil mixed with vanilla oil. Normally vanilla would smell way too sweet to me but with the black pepper it’s fantastic. LB grinds black peppercorns into the soap too, to give it a defoliant quality.

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  21. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 3:03 pm

    Exfoliant not defoliant.

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  22. Bitter Scribe said on December 23, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    My organizational strategy is folders. Lots and lots of folders, both real and digital. Whenever you’re not sure where to put something, start a new folder and put it in there. Your odds of finding it again when you need to will shoot upwards.

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  23. Mark P said on December 23, 2020 at 4:23 pm

    Member of the disorganized here. I used to work with a woman who was the most organized person in the world. I couldn’t do it, but it was nice to work with someone who could.

    I used to be able to remember everything without notes or lists, but I no longer trust my memory, so I make a list, even for a few things. I put all my appointments on my phone with two alerts. I say I’m absent minded, not forgetful.

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  24. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 4:46 pm

    My husband does all of the finances in our household(s). I’m horrible at it and he’s super organized. It’s easier in Chicago because many of the monthly bills like electricity, water etc etc are all included in the monthly assessments, one lump sum for it all includes cable and taxes. In Santa Fe we have all of the bills sent to Chicago for all the monthly stuff and my husband likes to pay the monthly condo fee for the whole year so he doesn’t have to think about it. That monthly condo fee is ridiculously low, it’s no wonder they don’t have money to do much. Since we became dues paying members we asked them to up the fee by $50 per month and one of the owners went apeshit. But the other owners agreed with us so we outvoted her. The frustrating thing is her condo has been vacant for 8 years except for a few months when she let her mentally ill brother live there a few years back and he trashed the place. She keeps saying she’s going to renovate and either get a renter or move in herself but nothing happens.

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  25. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 4:51 pm

    We just got back from Whole Foods where I bought a ridiculously huge and expensive rib roast for our Christmas Eve dinner (we traditionally do eve instead of day for our special meal). Only thing though, is that neither LB or I have ever cooked a rib roast before. If anyone has any tips, we’d appreciate it, I’ll google recipes but sometimes it helps to get info directly from experienced folks in these matters.

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  26. David C said on December 23, 2020 at 5:00 pm

    I use this site for most of the meat I cook, Deborah. They’re mostly about smoking but everything still works for in the oven.

    https://amazingribs.com/tested-recipes/beef-and-bison-recipes/prime-rib-and-other-beef-roasts

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  27. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 5:37 pm

    A restaurant I used to do sales calls to crusted rib roast with kosher salt. I have only bought small ones so I haven’t done that. I start mine hot, like 450 and turn it down after about a half hour. I do a rub of thyme, salt and pepper. My best source for recipes for meat I haven’t cooked before is the NYT cooking section. Very reliable, very doable.

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  28. Icarus said on December 23, 2020 at 6:57 pm

    Deborah, here’s a recipe I used last week on my trial run of making Prime Rib. (This link should work if you want to see pictures: https://www.facebook.com/1275960106/posts/10223484352078383/ )

    FYI, I used steak seasoning which has the 3 ingredients listed below.

    Perfect Prime Rib

    1 prime rib roast with or without bone (any size)
    Garlic powder
    Salt
    Pepper

    Directions

    Preheat oven to 550F degrees.
    Make a rub of salt, pepper and garlic powder and apply to meat. Place meat in a shallow roasting pan fat side up.
    Roast at 550 at 5 minutes per pound for RARE, or 6 minutes per pound for MEDIUM and 7 minutes per pound for WELL DONE.
    Turn off oven at the end of cooking time and DO NOT OPEN OVEN DOOR FOR TWO HOURS.
    At the end of the 2 hours, remove meat from oven to slice; it comes out perfect everytime.
    Works the same with Roast beef. Try it you won’t be disappointed.”

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  29. susan said on December 23, 2020 at 7:25 pm

    550°! And fat side up. Cripes. The smoke in the house would be horrible. Actually, that could start a fire in the oven if you’re not careful. I tried roasting a whole chicken kind of like that, at 500°, per a NYTimes’ recipe thingy. Never again. As I said, the smoke was horrible, and the grease-spatter all over the inside of the oven…nope nope nope. Never again.

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  30. basset said on December 23, 2020 at 8:09 pm

    Definitely agree with the high temp approach, works really well for us.

    Nancy, say more about the Dodge Charger and how it rates that description.

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  31. Icarus said on December 23, 2020 at 8:22 pm

    Susan, it worked for me. No smoke but wonderful aroma throughout the house. The fat side up gets the awesome crust.

    We had a 6 lb bone in rib-eye roast from Aldi’s. So 30 minutes at 550 then you turn off the oven and let the dissipating heat cook the rest.

    There was once slice that was a bit too rare for me. I like rare but still mooing is too rare. So I put that one in the microwave (much to the chagrin of my FB family) for 30 seconds and it was perfect.

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  32. Colleen said on December 23, 2020 at 8:28 pm

    I’ve never been organized in the traditional sense. I have tried, but I always revert to my old ways. On the bright side, I don’t lose things, which I think has kept more than one boss off my case….the desk was messy, but I could put my hands on the paperwork they needed so that’s what mattered.

    I get my first covid shot on Saturday. The hospital is making the vaccine available to employees on a priority basis…they got to my group,the lowest priority, so I signed up. Now to figure out how to get my parents vaccinated..

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  33. David C said on December 23, 2020 at 8:29 pm

    I’ve never had the guts to try the high heat first method. Best thing about beef though is if you don’t to too much and get it to 135° and no higher, it’ll be fine.

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  34. Suzanne said on December 23, 2020 at 9:44 pm

    My oven only goes up to 500° at which temp I ruined the handle on my Dutch oven while trying to bake bread in it.
    I bought some sirloin steaks for Christmas but I don’t really know how to fix them. We thought grilling maybe, but it’s supposed to be really cold, so, no.So, gotta figure out how to fix them in the oven.

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  35. Deborah said on December 23, 2020 at 11:28 pm

    I’m taking heed of all of your advice about the rib roast. I’ll let you know how it turns out. We also have to think about altitude so this could be complicated.

    We watched Midnight Sky on Netflix tonight. I liked it but my husband did not. He couldn’t wait for it to be over. I liked the premise, that we completely fucked up the planet.

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  36. LAMary said on December 23, 2020 at 11:57 pm

    I roast chickens at 450. Great crispy skin. You have to make sure the skin is dry first by drying it with a paper towel. Then lots of salt and pepper and herbs, salt and pepper inside the cavity. Reliably great roast chicken every time. Considering you can get a two pack of chickens from Costco for 10 bucks, or if you want you can get a two pack of organic chickens for about 22 bucks, it’s a great cheap meal. Every is happy with crispy skin roast chicken dinner here at ranchito LAMary. Have enough side dishes and it feeds four or five people.

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  37. Dexter Friend said on December 24, 2020 at 2:39 am

    The highest priority is my mail-order medicines from the VA. It’s easy to get too low on one then run out before the refill comes. Just today I realized one med has just 6 days left. I’ll probably have to drive to Toledo for a partial ‘scrip because of my negligence. They must be re-ordered; they are not auto-refills.
    Perfume…I never preyed on women at work or asked personal details. I thought hard before I did ask a woman what was that perfume she wore. It was Wind Song, a very cheap, actually, scent. I wanted to get a bottle for my wife. Her response, of course, “meh…” I had already worked daily with the woman at work for 22 years, but even still, I did not like talking about personal subjects with women. There was a lot of extra-curricular, extramarital things happening in that workplace, like, probably , where you worked. I just stayed the hell out of all that horseshit.

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  38. LAMary said on December 24, 2020 at 10:05 am

    No one in my office has commented on my scent but that’s probably because they’re two dogs and three cats. I know they can all smell it, especially the dogs, but they know better than to comment. The old lab has some aromas going on sometimes that can clear the room.

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  39. alex said on December 24, 2020 at 10:07 am

    Suzanne, I just came across this recipe this morning and bookmarked it. Perhaps it can be adapted to your sirloins. It’s the sauce that makes the dish sound so appealing:

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/food/2020/12/22/one-pan-steak-recipe/

    The recipe calls for cutting the steaks up into smaller pieces but I think you could just as well leave them whole. It’s pretty simple in that you sear the meat for a few minutes, then place it aside and then place it back in the sauce which is made from the meat juices.

    I’m getting ready to prepare a big meal and then transport it piecemeal (pun intended) to family members. Today we’re having a ginormous Ossian spiral ham (a gift that didn’t come with its weight on the packaging and is too heavy to be read by a kitchen scale); rosemary parmesan scalloped potatoes; Harvard beets like my grandma used to make; a lettuce salad with apples, honey-glazed cranberries and pecans, gorgonzola and red onion served with country-French vinaigrette dressing; and fudge.

    Tomorrow I’m making split pea soup with the leftover ham and possibly some Hungarian ham crepes. The latter is an amazingly simple recipe. My family used to use a meat grinder on the ham. A food processor makes it so much simpler. Grind it and bind it with egg and sour cream. Make crepes (savory not sweet) and roll them like mini burritos with the ham mixture and bake in the oven until toasted and crispy.

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  40. Jeff (the mild-mannered one) said on December 24, 2020 at 10:24 am

    Darn you, Dexter. Now I’m stuck humming “I can’t seem to forget you . . .” the rest of Christmas Eve!

    Holiday blessings to one and all.

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  41. BTW said on December 24, 2020 at 11:11 am

    Deborah–I was a prep cook at a Steak and Ale for years. I loaded the boneless prime rib into the ovens and monitored it hundreds of times. About a quarter of the dinner entrees were rib, so having a consistently good result was important. The ovens were made for cooking prime rib, and the system, when used properly, gave prime rib at T(temperature)1 and T2 from opening to closing. A meat thermometer was visible through the window in front, and when it reached 120°F for that rib, the cook cycle at 225° stopped and the hold cycle, dropping to 140° began. There was a logic used to place the smallest ribs on the top rack to have them start the hold cycle at T2 (Medium/Medium Well–138°>142° in the center) at the same time the larger ribs on the middle and bottom racks started holding at T1 (Rare/Medium Rare–130°>134° in the center). The end cuts from T2 or other pieces were put in “au jus” and simmered in the oven for a minute. There were ribs which ended up at Medium all the way through, but that could be expected and was not a problem. On a weekday in the off-season, we’d cook two ribs. At the peak of the season, 18 ribs were cooked and sold. Cooking 90+ pounds of prime rib to MW and up would have been a problem, but I never did that. One of the requirements for the rib station was a 14″, razor-sharp, wavered edge slicing knife. It was not used for anything but boneless meat. You don’t need one, but it makes the slicing job very easy. They were given great care.

    At a country club where I worked, other cooks used a 350° convection oven, and their results were acceptable. I’ve never cooked a prime rib at home, so I’ll defer to others.

    The “Meathead” link that David C provided good information, whether you use that system or not. Remember to use a pan to catch the drippings and opening the door cools the oven, so that adds more cooking time. Just consider that if the meat is underdone when you take the temp, you can add more heat–maybe not ideal, but it might get you the doneness you want. The cuts at/near the ends will be more cooked than the center; that is why T1 and T2 have two donenesses. No amount of ice is going to bring a Well Done piece of meat back to Medium. Any leftovers should be covered and refrigerated in an airtight container, because bacteria don’t need a date or reason to breed. Under one manager, we were allowed to make sandwiches with leftovers. That was generous.

    Do your best and have thanks for such a nice piece of meat.

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  42. David C said on December 24, 2020 at 11:53 am

    We ordered a country ham and it arrived this morning in the nick of time. It’s strange having meat delivered from North Carolina without dry ice. I’ve never had anything but city ham so it’ll be interesting to compare.

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  43. basset said on December 24, 2020 at 12:26 pm

    Ran across a turkey breast recipe which involves soaking it in buttermilk overnight, so that’s in progress. About to go buy more wine.

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  44. basset said on December 24, 2020 at 1:11 pm

    DavidC, be sure to soak that ham so it won’t be quite as salty. The traditional way is to do it in a big lard can, those are kinda hard to find so we use a pickle bucket from the Firehouse sandwich shop. Cover the ham in boiling water, wrap a blanket or something around the bucket for insulation, leave overnight, drain, rinse, bake.

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  45. David C said on December 24, 2020 at 1:48 pm

    Basset, that sounds a lot easier than the instructions that came with the ham. They said to change the water every two hours. You saved me a sleepless night.

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  46. Deborah said on December 24, 2020 at 2:01 pm

    We have a French blood orange olive oil cake in the oven right now, it’s from a NYT recipe. We’ve made it before, different recipe though. We’re going to serve it with a butter/bourbon sauce and maybe whipped cream too.

    Our menu for this meal is the rib roast (which I decided to try the hot hot oven start), mashed potatoes made with heavy cream, sour cream, cream cheese and LB wants to add a little Brie to that too, gravy made from the roast drippings and Mushrooms, and walnut haricot vert for the greens, no salad this time, with the cake described above for dessert. There will be leftovers.

    Thanks all for the advice for the rib roast, I have to admit I’m very nervous since it cost so much I will be sad if I cook it too long.

    And happy holidays to all!

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  47. David C said on December 24, 2020 at 2:19 pm

    Do you have a meat thermometer, Deborah? That’s the best way to tell when it’s done to perfection. If you do, depending on the size of the roast give it about an hour and a half of roasting time then check it every 10-15 minutes, more when it’s close to the proper temp and when it’s 135°, it’s a perfect medium rare.

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  48. Sherri said on December 24, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    My favorite kitchen toy is my Thermapen, an instant read thermometer.

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  49. LAMary said on December 24, 2020 at 2:38 pm

    Other than the meat I have all the ingredients on hand for that steak and rice recipe, so I just added steak to my Sprouts order. Tomorrow is the turkey breast roulade from NYT that we had on Thanksgiving and it was a great hit. Sides of acorn squash, sour cream mashed potatoes, greenbeans with shallots and a salad. Apple pie, blueberry pie and vanilla ice cream. Saturday is leftover fiesta.

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  50. Mark P said on December 24, 2020 at 2:59 pm

    Christmas Eve dinner for us will be store-bought rotisserie chicken and potato salad, and Christmas dinner will be lasagna, both provided by neighbors who heard about my wife’s surgery on Monday.

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  51. Deborah said on December 24, 2020 at 3:00 pm

    Yes, we have 2 meat thermometers, one quit working but we got it at a garage sale for $1 so no big loss.

    Our French blood orange cake (made in a loaf pan as is traditional for French cakes) turned out just fine, even in altitude. The only glitch was we put 3 blood orange slices on top for a garnish and when we took the cake out they aren’t visible at all, obviously must have sunk down in, that didn’t happen when we made it before with a different recipe.

    My husband is buying a good bottle of wine at the shop in the plaza, to round out our meal.

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  52. Julie Robinson said on December 24, 2020 at 3:12 pm

    Quiche tonight, roast beef tomorrow. Don’t ask me what cut, I’m not in charge of meat. Lots of streaming programs, including the Festival of Nine Lessons and Carols from Cambridge. Watched The Snowman, cried when “Walking in the Air” started. Good tears.

    Happy whatever you celebrate or don’t. Hang in there if you’re blue and know you are loved.

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  53. LAMary said on December 24, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    You have some high quality neighbors, Mark.

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  54. Dave said on December 24, 2020 at 4:00 pm

    We’re having a low key Christmas, we elected not to travel to any of our children’s homes, much as we wanted to. We will share Christmas Day with my brother-in-law and his wife, the same folks we were going to share Thanksgiving with, until we helped the elderly lady who locked her keys in her car and failed to tell us about her covid until we got back to her car. I believe ham is on the menu.

    All of my old sixties music favorites seem to be dying off, Leslie West, the large guitar player known for Mississippi Queen, has died, and I see that Chad Stuart of Chad and Jeremy has also passed away. I was always fond of them, even though they were only briefly big.

    I was listening to Terry Gross talk to the TV critic, David Bianculli this morning, and he said that he couldn’t wait for 2021, it had to be better, to which Terry replied something along the lines of, I hate to say this but it could be worse. For everyone here, I hope it’s better and may everyone have a nice day tomorrow. Oh, and the rib roast sounds so good, Deborah.

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  55. Heather said on December 24, 2020 at 4:04 pm

    LAMary @16, I love perfume too. I’ll have to get a sample of that Le Labo scent. I am wearing Goldsmith’s Golden Chypre today, my holiday scent, even though I’m celebrating alone. It puts me in the mood My sample is almost gone and I’ll have to buy another one–at $400+ for a bottle, it’s not in my budget. I like buying samples because I wear different scents based on my mood. Lately I’ve been feeling very Revolution by Cire Trudon.

    I just had the last of some meat and kraut/potato/bacon pierogi my neighbor picked up for me from the Polish neighborhood, with sour cream and applesauce. Might nibble on some cheapo caviar later. For tomorrow, I got a portion of beef tenderloin that I’ll eat with potatoes, mushrooms, and horseradish sauce. To drink with it, I’m busting out a Brunello di Montalcino that my sister bought me for my 50th.

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  56. Connie said on December 24, 2020 at 4:53 pm

    My daughter and her I dont know what to call him, I suppose partner, are coming For a masked up present opening and socially distant buffet for four. She is bringing a heavenly ham and mac and cheese. I have made yeast rolls, ice cream pie, and three kinds of cookies. We just realized today there is no vegetable but oh well. And for appetizers and pre meal munchies I have bbq meatballs and cheese crackers platter. And chex mix.

    I ordered four matching Sleeping Bear Dunes 50th anniversary masks. I was informed by the vendor yesterday that many of the packages were small enough to send first class or parcel post and those seem to be temporarily lost in Detroit. Larger packages w tracking such as shirts have mostly been delivered.

    The other missing gift was completely lost in transit by Amazon, and not reordered soon enough. So Miss J’s “that woman in Michigan t-shirt” needs a couple more days.

    Her big gift is an assortment of place settings and serving pieces of my grandmother then my mother’s then my dishes. A stoneware pattern that was available only in Europe or the greater Grand Rapids area. I have a ton because my father cant stop buying it when he sees it at the antique mall. Heres a pic, complete with snowflakes.
    https://mrpottery.co.uk/collections/masons-regency-plantation-colonial

    Merry Christmas to all and to all a Good Night!

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  57. Connie said on December 24, 2020 at 5:16 pm

    She and I are also going to share my last bottle of Niagara ice wine.

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  58. Dave said on December 24, 2020 at 5:26 pm

    We mailed a package through the U. S. Mail on December 9, presents for our Virginia grandchildren, and after it arrived in Jacksonville, it seems to have disappeared. We don’t know where it is and neither do they. I’m blaming the Orange Grinch.

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  59. LAMary said on December 24, 2020 at 5:33 pm

    Connie, I have a few coffee mugs made by Mason Pottery. I’m very protective of them because I understand they’re not in business anymore. Is that true?

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  60. Sherri said on December 24, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    As former Trump administration members try to rehab their reputations by writing pieces that say, no, really, we were slowing things down on the inside, might I suggest that mainstream news outlets not give them space? Especially not people like Sarah Isgur who were prominent defenders of child separation policies?

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  61. mouse said on December 24, 2020 at 6:17 pm

    LAMary, Mason Pottery is out of business but you can find a bunch of it online.My mother collected Pink Vista and I have quite a lot of it.I probably need to find a collector and unload it all so someone can at least enjoy it.Not into collecting china!

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  62. Suzanne said on December 24, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    Thanks for the recipe Alex!
    Merry Christmas to all! Thanks for helping me keep my sanity.

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  63. Deborah said on December 24, 2020 at 6:50 pm

    So the rib roast went in to the oven that had been preheated to 550°. First we salted it with kosher salt and ground peppercorns then slathered it in butter that had garlic in it. Kept the temp at 550 for 27 minutes (for a 5.5 lb roast) then turned off the heat, they say not to open the oven for an hour and a half but we’re doing it sooner because we like seriously rare not medium rare. I can hear it sizzling which it hasn’t stopped. We’re getting the rest of the meal going. Keeping my fingers crossed for a nice rare roast.

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  64. basset said on December 24, 2020 at 8:51 pm

    Made our usual night before Christmas oyster stew and opened some grocery store wine, the good stuff is wasted on us.

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  65. LAMary said on December 24, 2020 at 9:11 pm

    Well Sprouts was supposed to deliver at 1pm. They’ve moved that time by 45 minute increments a few times so now my steaks will be here at 8. I see an instant pot bolognese in my immediate future and steaks on Saturday.
    mouse, I’m not a pottery collector either. The Mason mugs I have I bought new, most of them at Starbucks, I think, because I liked them. There’s one with cherries, one with a black dog(like my dog, the world’s oldest Lab) and one with a sun design. We use them but I get antsy when one is a little too close to the edge of the coffee table and there are dogs with wagging tails and curious cats around. My ex’s family was in the pottery business a couple of generations before his and my inlaws’ apartment was full of mostly ugly ceramic stuff. Some was beautiful, but a lot was in my opinion hideous. Late 19th, early 20th century stuff. It’s valuable I’m told. I made no effort to keep it when I got divorced. I could imaging getting blamed if it all got trashed here in LA in an earthquake. I assume he’s doing something to secure it at his current home. It’s called Lotus Ware, if you’re curious. It’s in museums, including the LA County Museum of Art. Just not my taste, mostly.

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  66. Deborah said on December 24, 2020 at 9:43 pm

    The meal turned out spectacularly, the roast was rare and juicy. I have to say though my favorite part was the gravy over the mashed potatoes. We haven’t yet had the dessert. Looking forward to that still.

    Thanks for your help in the cooking, it worked out perfectly and next time I won’t be nervous.

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