Hand to hand combat.

I decided to try something new for me — learning from past mistakes, in this case — and do my Thanksgiving shopping early. I swam Friday morning, came home, dried my hair, tanked up on coffee and hit Kroger at about 9:30 a.m.

What a fabulous idea. The store was fairly quiet, but fully stocked on everything I needed, and while there were only two checkout lanes open, I was in and out in 40 minutes. The turkey I bought at Eastern Market the previous day. Such a strange feeling, knocking that out ahead of time; it seems the madhouse crowds the weekend before any big holiday always comes as a fresh surprise. But when I did my usual Saturday shopping last weekend, and the rush had already begun — bloated endcaps on every aisle, mid-aisle stacks of flour and sugar and canned pumpkin — I knew I had to have a plan.

My shopping experience would be improved immensely if my fellow grocery-getters would do two things: 1) Be aware of the space they’re occupying, which is my way of saying that if you want to have a long reading experience with peanut-butter labels, park your cart to one side of the aisle and don’t leave it sitting in the middle where no one can get around; and 2) I can’t remember the second thing, because the first thing is so much more important.

And if you’re still reading, be advised that groceries are very important at this time of year, and yes, that’s why I felt like bragging a little.

Unfortunately, Michigan is now number one in the country in per-capita Covid cases. With a bullet! Or maybe just a hissing ventilator, whatever. The caseload is exploding, and with the holidays bearing down. However, I read some interesting things over the weekend, which explained that vaccinated and unvaccinated Americans are birds of a feather. Which is to say that if you’re vaxed, chances are you hang with others who are, too, and probably have more protection than the unvaxed, who have similar patterns in their associations. That said, Kate’s second band, GiGi, has a Thanksgiving-eve show and I will probably go, but wear a mask the whole damn time.

How was the weekend? I made a fancy dinner Friday and ordered a pizza Saturday, but most of all, I cleaned for the coming holiday. We also watched “King Richard,” the movie about Venus and Serena Williams’ dad, and it was a bit overlong, but not terrible at all. By the end, I wanted to slug King Richard, but he had the courage of his convictions — you gotta give him that.

In other words, a pretty bleh weekend, but a holiday awaits. So there’s that.

Random France photo today is from Pere Lachaise cemetery, where you think everyone there died in the 19th century, but it turns out not: This young woman perished in the 2015 terror attack in Paris.

Posted at 9:04 pm in Same ol' same ol' |

49 responses to “Hand to hand combat.”

  1. Dexter Friend said on November 21, 2021 at 9:50 pm

    My heart jumped for a second until I realized it is Waukesha and not Wauwatosa where the horrible carnage unfolded today in Wisconsin. My niece and Dr. Brian, her husband and their 4 kids live in Wauwatosa. Multiple deaths and 11 pediatric cases + 10 adults are in hospital now. Nobody knows if it was a panicked driver hitting the wrong pedal or a goddam terrorist right now. A cop did take a potshot at the murder/accident/you tell me/ vehicle anyway. Jesus Christ, what next?
    I missed Thanksgiving due to Covid19 in 2020, and this year I am going to Vanessa’s in Commercial Point. Big gathering, most are vaxxed, but a few refuse, even now. I am vaccinated and boosted so I am taking my chances. Lori flew back to Ohio from Las Vegas where she has been commuting from for work. Too much flying for me, but it ain’t my job, either. We are having a turkey and all I am supposed to bring is my famous cranberries. Nobody even eats them but me. Ha! I want Brussel Sprouts but I was told “don’t you DARE!”

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  2. David C said on November 22, 2021 at 6:10 am

    Then there are the ones who turn their cart perpendicular across the aisle.

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  3. Jeff Gill said on November 22, 2021 at 7:10 am

    Roasted Brussels sprouts are one of this site’s gifts to me; can’t imagine the holiday without them now. Blackened mostly on the outside and so creamy good inside.

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  4. alex said on November 22, 2021 at 7:27 am

    I was originally just preparing Thanksgiving dinner for my parents, myself and my partner. Then my brother announced he’s bringing his family up from Atlanta, so big shopping expedition Sunday to two picked-over big boxes. Otherwise got to celebrate my partner’s birthday with two outstanding feasts at our fave haunts, then dinner last night, a stir-fry made from a ginormous leftover portion of porterhouse steak.

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  5. ROGirl said on November 22, 2021 at 8:24 am

    The ones who pull their carts with one hand while looking down at their phones gripped in the other hand are a menace. The cart careens around and they aren’t paying any attention to what’s in front of or behind them.

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  6. LAMary said on November 22, 2021 at 9:42 am

    I was in World Market on Saturday looking for what we call weird ass English shit. The in house brit was running low on HP Sauce, Marmite, mushy peas, assorted can:dy. There’s a sign on the door of World Market: NO PETS. There in the narrow aisle where the biccies are on one side and the candy on the other is a woman, studying a label, shopping cart diagonally across the aisle but with just enough room to get around if her dog was not standing next to it, blocking the aisle completely. I nicely said, “excuse me puppy.” Dog does not move. Then I asked the woman to move her dog. No response. So I got a little less nice and told her I need to get through, move the dog. She pulled him just close enough to allow me to get by, barely, without running over one of the dog’s feet and gave me a dirty look.The store was pretty crowded. The employees were busy. Why bring the dog inside?

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  7. Julie Robinson said on November 22, 2021 at 9:53 am

    Or the ones who run into someone they know and think it’s a fine time to stand there blocking the aisle while they have a good looooong chat.

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  8. Dorothy said on November 22, 2021 at 10:02 am

    I have perfected the art of the glare and throat clearing when it comes to clueless/rude grocery store shoppers. I’m especially good at it when it comes to seeing someone abandon their cart outside, to the point of blocking a parking space. “Why are you leaving this here for someone else to move?!” It worked really well.

    My son was diagnosed with celiac disease in December 2019, so last year was the first time he realized that most turkeys are not prepared gluten free. Who knew? I can’t recall where he got one last year, but he got another one for this year. Finding GF stuffing is impossible, so he’s bought a loaf or two of bread and he’s going to cut it up into small pieces, dry them in the oven and make stuffing crumbs like my mom did for years and years – pile the bread cubes from the bakery on the dining room table and roll the rolling pin over them.

    Re the previous thread and seeing motorcades etc. A week ago today we were leaving Arlington Nat’l Cemetery in D.C. and all of a sudden encountered shut down streets. Our driver (daughter’s partner) turned on another street and tried a go-around only to run into more blockage a few blocks away. It was over pretty quickly considering we were only a short distance from the White House. My daughter said “The President is supposed to be returning from Camp David around 1:15, but he usually does that via helicopter.” (She checked his schedule which I presume is public, but if it’s not public she has access via her employer). So we don’t know who that was. But I could not count how many vehicles there were. I took a little video (time stamp said 1:36PM) but half of it was past by the time I turned my phone on. The vehicles I did capture were a lot of black SUVs, an ambulance, two police cars and three cops on motorcycles.

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  9. Suzanne said on November 22, 2021 at 11:39 am

    So this is some house! It seems that the long covered area in the entryway is a swimming pool. The listing describes it: “You will stop and stare at the grandeur of the 2 story hall through the center of the home which includes an in ground pool!” Right in the middle of your house.


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  10. alex said on November 22, 2021 at 12:09 pm

    Suzanne, that house belonged to some crazy fundies who used to post rather menacing signs in the yard — “Repent! Jesus is gonna boil you in oil, you sinner!” — or suchlike. It looks like those nutters defaulted and left the place looking filthy and shabby. Good riddance but I don’t know how you can clean the taint short of demolishing that monstrosity and starting anew. The whole place has a squicky aura.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on November 22, 2021 at 12:18 pm

    We’re going to have our turkey dinner catered for the third straight year and I couldn’t be happier. We are spared the hours of prep and cooking time, the worries over whether the bird is thoroughly cooked, timing all side dishes to be ready at the same time and the other hassles intrinsic in a home-cooked meal. We’re getting our turkey, cornbread stuffing, cranberry chutney, baked green beans and mashed potatoes and gravy from the Fireside Inn, a roadhouse alongside the Metra tracks a mile or so north of our house. I’m not overly fond of the dressing, but otherwise, this stuff is as good as we’ve had over the decades. And we ordered more than enough for lots of leftovers. Bless you real cooks and chefs out there, but those days are over for us.

    So, in addition to fearing armed high schoolers patrolling their streets with AR-15s, Wisconsinites now add loonies in SUVs to their worries. Five dead and more than 40 injured including many children and the famous Wisconsin Dancing Grannies, who were participating in the Christmas parade in Waukesha, a suburb of Milwaukee. No word on motive, though the most recent reports note the driver of the killer car may have been fleeing another crime.


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  12. Julie Robinson said on November 22, 2021 at 12:27 pm

    It does have a Jim and Tammy Faye vibe about it. The plastic wrapped pool and taped down toilets tell me the water got disconnected somewhere along the way. Wouldn’t you love to see the McMansion Hell take on this one? BTW, I’d forgotten about that website and you should really, really go read the current entry. Also, in our neighborhood of crazy real estate values, 360K buys you a teardown. I’m really happy we bought our house five years ago, because today we’d be priced out of the market. Fort Wayne is still a cheap place to live.

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  13. JodiP said on November 22, 2021 at 12:31 pm

    Our Thanksgiving will be pretty mellow. We usually just celebrate with my wife’s family. He brother and his wife just had a baby on Thursday, so we don’t know what their energy is. Her mom is in memory care (but has responded really well to meds–long story–so we are getting her re-assessed for a lower level of care) so we are having mom come to our place. Since it’s just the three of us we ordered from a restuarant as well. We hope to stop by the new parents with pie so grandma can meet the first grandbaby!

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  14. susan said on November 22, 2021 at 12:35 pm

    Suzanne @9— I really like the toilet with the lid taped shut with blue painter’s tape. Hmmm. What horrors lie below…. And the debris on the kitchen floor. Why didn’t the photographer bother to pick up that stuff? And the partially painted long room/hallway. Bet it has black mold. The place gives me the creeps.

    Weird to think my little 1946 stucco “cottage” with 900 sq ft main floor and ≈900 sq ft mostly finished basement is valued the same as that house. In a very working-class, “racially” mixed neighborhood. Demerits for fundy vibes, I guess.

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  15. David C said on November 22, 2021 at 12:37 pm

    A lawyer foyer with a pool. That’s creative?

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  16. Suzanne said on November 22, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    Maybe the pool in that house was for baptisms? Come for dinner, stay for the revival!
    I am also intrigued by the room with the carpeting around a wood (or faux wood) floor. Confusing. And the color scheme in several rooms is…interesting. It does have a nice kitchen, however, so that’s a plus!

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  17. LAMary said on November 22, 2021 at 2:47 pm

    Know what 360k gets you in CA? Nothing. Maybe way out in some desert town, but LA, SF, SD nada. Nice if you’re looking to sell and move out of state. Get a million plus for your 600 sq foot house.

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  18. Julie Robinson said on November 22, 2021 at 4:46 pm

    We had friends in Silicon Valley who kept losing members of their church. This was 25 years back, before remote working was done. When leases would come up landlords would triple the rent, and without the ability to find anything else, they’d leave town. It’s getting like that in Orlando, not unusual for rents to be raised $1000 or more per month.

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  19. Deborah said on November 22, 2021 at 5:02 pm

    Do waxed amaryllis really not need watering? I bought one at Trader Joe’s, it’s got red wax around the bulb, very holidaze. I googled it and what I found said it needs no water but how can that be in dry NM? I’ve never had one before not even unwaxed so I know nothing.

    We bought the condo here in Santa Fe just before housing sky rocketed, we got quite a deal.

    I walked to do a chore today, no jacket and I was too warm, crazy weather, but a beautiful day here.

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  20. Bitter Scribe said on November 22, 2021 at 6:05 pm

    I’m trying to figure out what that tombstone says. “Nowhere Is”? “Is Nowhere”? “Now Here Is”? “Is Here Now”?

    If it’s in French, it’s nothing I can figure out (besides, no French words AFAIK use the “wh” combination – barely any use “w” except for borrowed words like wagon or weekend).

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  21. ROGirl said on November 22, 2021 at 6:48 pm

    I wondered about the inscription, too. It’s not French, could be a version of English processed through Google translate.

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  22. Colleen said on November 22, 2021 at 7:09 pm

    Alex, I know what house you’re talking about now. What a weird house.

    360k will buy my house. Which makes me laugh and laugh…..because it’s a McHouse in a McNeighborood. Nothing unique. Prices here are nuts, but houses are selling super fast.
    Thanksgiving will be me cooking at my parents’ house. Mom wanted it there so she could help out a bit. Looking forward to it.

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  23. Deborah said on November 22, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    I may have already mentioned this here, I’ve been talking to various people here and I forget what I’ve said to whom. We’ve decided on having pasta bolognese for Thanksgiving with homemade pasta. It’s usually our traditional Christmas eve dinner but we’ve been thinking and thinking about what to have that doesn’t involve hours slaving away in the kitchen and what everyone likes and also we haven’t had for a while and are tired of. It’s just going to be the three of us again so no need to go all out. Now we’ll have to come up with something different for Christmas eve but that’s more than a month away so no worries. We’ll probably have pumpkin pie with whipped cream for dessert, so that’s our nod to typical Thanksgiving tradition. That is, if we can still find a pumpkin pie at Whole Foods, I’m not going to bake one. Also, the pasta noodles can be made ahead and same with the Bolognese sauce, the sauce is actually better when it has a day or two to steep.Finding ground veal is going to be a challenge though, it takes ground beef, ground pork and ground veal. We’re going to brave shopping tomorrow for those ingredients.

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  24. Andrea said on November 22, 2021 at 10:13 pm

    We are splitting Thanksgiving with another family — longtime friends. They are hosting so they have the turkey, gravy, stuffing, and sweet potatoes. We are bringing 2 kinds of pie, regular mashed potatoes, shredded Brussels sprouts, cranberry sauce (not canned!), and a corn pudding. I did all my shopping early Saturday morning and the cranberry sauce is already made. I will make the corn pudding tomorrow night I think or maybe Wednesday morning. My daughter is coming home from college on Wednesday to do the pies. Thursday morning will be the potatoes and Brussels sprouts. Should be manageable.

    Grades are due Dec. 2nd, so all the planning, shopping, etc. was productive procrastination for grading final papers, which is something I loathe. I think I am going to give up this adjunct gig after I make my final college tuition payment for kid #1. Won’t have 2 kids in college at the same time any more so fingers crossed we will make it work.

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  25. Sherri said on November 22, 2021 at 11:23 pm

    We paid $350K for our first house in California back in 1991.

    We’re getting together for Thanksgiving with our usual set of friends, though it took a complicated series of negotiations to pull off. Everyone is vaccinated, of course, and some are boosted, and we live in an area that is highly vaccinated. However, to make everyone comfortable, we’ll all do rapid tests before entering the house, and wear masks. We managed to negotiate one room indoors for eating without masks, and an area outdoors for eating. We’ll be doing sliders and salads and other pre-prepared food, rather than cooking things once we get there, to limit the time. All for a group of around 20.

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  26. Dexter Friend said on November 23, 2021 at 2:03 am

    Lori and Aaron, her husband, bought a house in Las Vegas ten years ago in ‘the astronaut pod’, a neighborhood with streets named for the space program celebrities. They just sold it for double their buying price. Aaron said if my house was in that area it would sell for $1.5M. I choked on my porkchop at the joke, then Lori said, yeah, about that. I am sure they were ‘having me on’; my house is 101 years old and sorta crooked these days. I’d like to have it demolished and donate the land parcel to Habitat for Humanity. Just not yet.

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  27. beb said on November 23, 2021 at 5:05 am

    Kroger’s, even the insanely large one Nancy probably does to, have insanely narrow aisles We much prefer Meijers whose aisles are wide enough for two carts to pass each other.

    I’m in agreement with Jeff@3 – roastee Brussel Sproats is heavenly.

    Julie @7 Here in the ‘hood its two acquaintances in their cars stopping in the street to talk.

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  28. Deborah said on November 23, 2021 at 8:45 am

    They do that in NM too, stopping to chat in the street, only it’s usually two passing pickups.

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  29. Suzanne said on November 23, 2021 at 9:24 am

    Stopping mid-road for a vehicle to vehicle chat happens in my neck of the woods, too. People stop sometimes when I am out walking and block the road to visit which annoys me because I want to walk not talk. I admit to being a person who sometimes stops in the grocery store aisle and talks, for which I apologize, although since COVID, my goal at the grocery is to get in and out as quickly as I can.

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  30. LAMary said on November 23, 2021 at 11:09 am

    Most of the streets in this neighborhood are very narrow. Two cars can’t pass each other. One has to pull over if there’s room to do that, or back up. The streets are also steep hills so if you’re going downhill and someone is coming up you have reverse out of the way which could mean reversing around some sharp turns. The old timers know how to handle this. The newbies don’t and they get pissy. It is the law that the car going uphill has the right of way but I guess those BMW SUVs don’t have reverse gear.

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  31. brian stouder said on November 23, 2021 at 3:35 pm

    Psssst: according to ‘Today in nn.c history’ – it’s also time to sing “Happy Birthday” to our hostess with the mostest!

    And now she’s 29!

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  32. Deborah said on November 23, 2021 at 4:15 pm

    Lots of the residential streets in Santa Fe are narrow and there’s on street parking on many of them making them even narrower. It’s particularly aggravating when cars are parked on both sides of the street directly across from each other. Honestly the car that parks across from the other one should know better but they still do it even when there’s plenty of room in front or back to stagger so that passing cars can weave around and get through. I’ve had to knock on doors and ask people to move their car (pickup) so I can get through. Grrrrrr.

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  33. jcburns said on November 23, 2021 at 10:15 pm

    You’re close, Brian. I believe Nancy’s day is the 25th, which is sometimes Thanksgiving, sometimes Thanksgiving Boxing Day, and sometimes not much at all.

    Kind of like my birthday and Easter.

    I would appreciate all of y’all’s warm thoughts for my brother, who sometimes shows up here. He’s having some (urgent) work done on his gallbladder tonight or tomorrow.

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  34. Deborah said on November 23, 2021 at 10:30 pm

    Sending warm thoughts to JC’s brother, hoping your urgent gall bladder work is painless and heals quickly.

    It’s supposed to snow in Santa Fe tonight, a light dusting but more in the mountains. Looking forward to that.

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  35. Dexter Friend said on November 24, 2021 at 2:07 am

    I just today received an invitation from Allstate Insurance to switch to them for big savings. They say my house would be insured at $304K. Again, I chuckled. What jokesters these people are! My house is in nowhere nearly worth that kind of dough.

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  36. JodiP said on November 24, 2021 at 9:23 am

    Best wishes for your brother, JC!

    My niece is gettng induced today so I will have another great-nibling in the next 24 to 48 hours! I will also meet our new nephew on Thursday–my wife’s brother’s son.

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  37. brian stouder said on November 24, 2021 at 12:48 pm

    jc – Here’s hoping/praying for all the best for you and yours. Indeed, a timely reminder of all the really, truly good things we all have to be thankful for, as turkey-day prances toward us.

    And indeed – safe travels to all y’all who will go down the highway toward extended family gatherings, as our family shall

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  38. Deborah said on November 24, 2021 at 1:31 pm

    So now the rightwing is up in arms that VP Harris bought a $375 copper pot while in Paris. I think I’ve been to that same shop twice the last time we were there and I was like a kid in a candy shop. Someone posted a photo of the pot Harris bought and it’s a piece of art that I would love to have just to look at it. But anyway nevermind that tfg and Melania had completely, totally expensive everything, tacky or not.

    It rained in Santa Fe last night and this morning, much needed. The mountains are supposed to be getting 3-5″ of snow, which we can’t see yet because they’re still covered in clouds. I love it when the mountains are snow capped.

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  39. David C said on November 24, 2021 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks be. Guilty.


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  40. alex said on November 24, 2021 at 2:15 pm

    So it’s open season only on BLM demonstrators. Joggers not so much.

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  41. David C said on November 24, 2021 at 3:14 pm

    It was still a close shave. The DA’s son was pals with one of the murderers and if it wasn’t for pressure they would have never been charged.

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  42. Deborah said on November 24, 2021 at 5:08 pm

    They’ll appeal and get off later, when everyone has forgotten about it.

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  43. Deborah said on November 24, 2021 at 5:14 pm

    I had to do some errands at Target today and wasn’t looking forward to it because they also sell groceries but it was surprisingly calm.

    LB got her Moderna booster Sunday at Walgreens and she still has a red, swollen spot about 3 1/2″ in diameter at the shot location. It was about 1/2 – 3/4″ raised from the rest of her arm and it still feels very hot to touch, also was sore and now itchy. She didn’t have anything like that for the first two. The CDC site said that was one of the side effects that was harmless.

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  44. Julie Robinson said on November 24, 2021 at 6:51 pm

    In the middle of all our crazy preparations, I wanted to stop by to make sure everyone here knows I am grateful for you. By now I hope there’s good news about both jc’s brother and Jodi’s new great-nibling (may I steal that?).

    As I was about to start making sweet potato casserole and cranberry relish, a new friend stopped by with cranberry relish! One more thing for my grateful list.

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  45. alex said on November 24, 2021 at 7:13 pm

    Grateful for you too, Julie, and everyone else here.

    I spatchcocked a turkey, salted the hell out of it and shoved it back in the fridge until this time tomorrow and made a tarragon compound butter to smear on it before it goes into the oven. If this goes as well as was promised by the Washington Post food section, it’ll be my new go-to. Last year I tried turkey en cocotte a la America’s Test Kitchen and while it didn’t suck an egg, it also didn’t merit a repeat.


    I’ll let you know how well it lives up to the hype.

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  46. Indiana Jack said on November 24, 2021 at 7:31 pm

    There will be a quiet Thanksgiving at our house, with just my sister visiting the two of us.
    But on Friday, we’ll fly to Boston to spend a few nights with our twins and their families. Plans call for a visit to Old Ironsides so our 11-year-old grandson can play docent based upon his visit there as a Cub Scout. Also going to check out Snowport, where apparently we’ll have a chance to try curling, fulfilling a life-long dream for my wife.
    We also have tickets for the Titian exhibit at the Gardner, which has generated some debate.
    Taking all the Christmas presents with us in a checked suitcase rather than relying upon DeJoy’s USPS.
    Best wishes for a safe and meaningful holiday to all.

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  47. Dorothy said on November 24, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    I have been thankful for this place, and Nancy, and all of you for a long, long time. My life is richer because of knowing you all! Happy birthday to Nancy, and happy thanksgiving to everyone. We’re going to our son’s and it’ll be a fully gluten free meal. Son got 6 loaves of GF bread, cut it in cubes, seasoned it and toasted it in the oven. That’s going to be his stuffing and after seeing a picture of it, I’m actually looking forward to eating it. Usually the GF stuff kind of turns my stomach. Did you know you have to be careful about gluten being in some frozen turkeys? We found that out last year. Has something to do with the prep before it’s frozen.

    JC I will be thinking of your brother and hope the gallbladder situation is calm very soon.

    I’m really glad about the verdict today. Imagine how Ahmaud’s family feels about it – happy about it but forever and always sad and missing him.

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  48. Dexter Friend said on November 24, 2021 at 8:44 pm

    Did anyone watch the Mayor Pete and Chasten documentary on one of the streaming services?
    When Chasten is being interviewed in their home, on the wall are two golden identical pieces of art. They either are or look just like old tractor seats. If they are, well, Larry David has a huge punch press geared wheel on his wall in “Curb…”.
    Got the cranberries, so easy to cook I decided to just cook them when I get to the house.
    Big squabble at the grocery, over coupons, the price of a Snickers bar, and a bad credit card. For just 4 people ahead, I was in the line for 25 minutes. When I finally got to the cashier, I was damned if I was going to stick a card in that reader, and I paid with cash, something I quit doing a long time ago. The lady ahead of me had one stalk of celery, that’s all…she was upset and her curse words increrased as the clock ticked. Then, her turn. Her bill was $1.69. She paid with a card. Would not work. I was going to say to the cashier to let her go and I would pay for the damn celery. Then the woman began with the f and mf screams and I just backed off. Somehow, finally, her card worked.

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  49. Suzanne said on November 24, 2021 at 9:40 pm

    Happy Thanksgiving to one and all! I am thankful for the thoughtful virtual interaction here. Enjoy your holiday!

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