Posted on

Traffic Disaster

Portland Traffic, Thanksgiving 2011 at 5:31pm

I would normally be driving in this. Well, not on the freeway. I’d take the green/gold line north of the Freeway — my consistent 45 minute drive to the bridge and 1 hour 10 minutes to pick up Levi. But, today, I took a vacation day. Thank you vacation day.

Posted on

Thanksgiving 2011: The Prep

Turkey Brine
The bucket and brine for last year's 22lb turkey. This bucket (with lid) was purchased as the end-all brining tool. This year, I'm using a cooler. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I love Thanksgiving. It warms the heart with memories, and it stirs the soul with the coordination it takes. It’s a perfect blend of my culinary dreams and project coordination skills: married on one delicious day.

That is, if all goes according to plan.

This year, I decided to get my turkey from our local farmer. We’ve been working with him for almost two years, and I’ve got 80% of our meat products out of the grocery store and in his control. So, I thought, why not the Thanksgiving bird. Heck, I’ll even buy two. If I had two 16lb turkeys, what joy would that yield at Christmas time.

All my tools have been purchased for larger turkeys. Last  year I maxed out my pan’s capability with a 22lb turkey. So, two 16lb or 18lb turkeys would be ideal.

The turkeys didn’t grow that way. They got bigger. In fact, many were in the upper 20lb range, some yielding over 30lbs!!

These are big birds. And, my bird is 28lbs. TWENTY EIGHT POUNDS!

What is a gal to do?

Tell her story. So, that’s what I did. Suddenly, my joyously planned occasion was turning into a dreaded chore filled with anxiety over how I’m going to brine and cook this bird. I am even exploring a new menu — so the turkey must be predictable!

One friend suggested a cooler for the brining. I just need to thoroughly clean it out. Then, another group I was with, for work, suggested I ask Levi’s school if they had a large pan in their kitchen. It turns out, they do! And, they are willing to lend me this one pan that I will return Monday.

The best news: The bird fits!

The Roasted Bird
Last year's 22lb turkey from New Seasons fit snuggly in my roasting pan. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

Right now, Mr. Turkey is bathing in my bath, to help thaw (I forgot to take him out of the freezer yesterday (D’oh!)), then he will sit in our cooler for 12+ hours in a salt and citrus bath.

Tomorrow, I must have him in the oven by 6am.

As I review the list of items I plan to cook, and as I think about what else I need from the store, a thought has occurred. I think I can use all things purchased through my food club, that is, in my pantry for Thanksgiving. Cranberries in the freezer, pork sausage in the freezer, white potatoes instead of red…

Things are looking up. Problems have been solved with the help of my friends. Project coordination can commence.

Yea Thanksgiving!

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Speak Power to Story

"Santa's" gift  to Levi.
Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I have always loved stories. Give me a good fiction any day of the week. For example, I just read the Millennium Trilogy (over 2,100 pages) in less than two weeks. It was that good. But, I didn’t get the point of some stories until I took a little independent study at Portland State called Speak Power to Story.

We learned words like: meta-narrative. We discussed ideas of groups telling their own stories with dramatic play methods. We linked it together with how when we share our stories we share truth. We compared that to the stories we collectively tell ourselves and the actual stories that we are living. We juxtaposed the famed Booker T. Washington‘s stories with how many people can successfully pick themselves up by their bootstraps and make a successful living by today’s standards.

Mental power, notwithstanding, this was a hugely enormous class for how I frame the world. It was one of those “I get it” moments. It is the Occupy movement.

Every time you see someone share their story of how [we] are a part of the 99%, that is speaking power to story. That is showing how the meta-narrative under which we live is wrong. It showcases that we owe it to ourselves to tell a truer story. We owe it to ourselves to listen to others’ stories. We owe it to our world to stop, to listen, to learn, and to change and grow together.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Growing Up

Camera Exlporations
Peter and (sister-in-law) Jodi, September 2009. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

I’ve heard it said that a true test of character would be if a camera (unbeknownst to you) were to follow you around, capturing moment by moment, everything you did. All your faults and virtues would be on display. Then, if you could see that video, you would have an assessment of your true character.

I’ve had this image in my head since I was in middle school. I’m finally at a place in my life where I am feeling secure in my relationships. And, tonight, I got that validation. It actually brought tears to my eyes. Everyone says that going through school is hard and that elements of being an adult are easier. Even if they don’t say being an adult is easier, most adults don’t want to repeat those awkward growing up years.

Growing up, in a small town, where the cliques were ingrained since pre-kindegarten with very little room for nuance, is hard. You’re trying to inch your way into these formed friendships, and in my case not feeling secure in my home life either. (My mother, siblings, and maternal extended family are great; but when dad leaves when you’re 5, your world gets shaken up.) So, the kids didn’t feel receptive to my presence. And, it was hard. And, I never understood why. And, sometime in middle school, I wanted a video camera to go through and document my entire existence so I could know what I was doing wrong.

It never happened. I never got the video camera.

But, I grew up. I made some mistakes. I made some huge faux-pas with my sister. (Sorry Stacer, I’m glad we’re maturing together, by the way.) But, I think I learned.

Pukefest 2010 Redux - 1
Peter and Levi (under the weather), Thanksgiving 2010. Image by alexis22578 via Flickr

The thing is, I remember that hurt. I remember how it felt to be left out, and I would never wish that on anyone. So, I try, really hard, to ensure most of my decisions reflect that value of being included. It’s a value that is so inherent to my core, that it just is. Meaning: I don’t always realize I am doing a thing that reflects that value.

Tonight, though, I was validated. Tonight, the camera was briefly shown back to me. Tonight, a friend kindly validated the choices I’ve made in dealing with a tenacious situation. Tonight, I was reminded of my core friends whose friendships I can be secure with because they see me how I want to be seen, and I see them as they want to be seen. As I am. As they are. Faults and virtues, all in one.

If someone had told me when I was in middle school that I would find lasting friendships with sincere people, I would never have believed them. I am thankful, in this week of Thanksgiving, for these friendship. Friends, I hope you know that. Thank you for letting me into your lives and into your inner circles. Now, as an adult, I can say that I am glad I’ve grown up.

Enhanced by Zemanta
Posted on

Browsing Aimlessly

I find myself mindlessly refreshing my facebook page, waiting for a new post. I’m not sure why. I printed what I need printed. I done with the computer. There is nothing left. No more emails are coming in. No more cancellations or additions for tomorrow’s event. Everything is set. I’m on track. Yet, I can’t get up!

So, here’s a post to say, good night Internet. Good night moon. Good night computer. Here comes bed.

Posted on

One Thing at a Time

On the micro level, I can only do one thing at a time. Take a sip of water. Read a book. Wash a dish. Rinse a dish. Put clothes in the laundry. Type a note. Watch a movie. Watch Levi play a game. Play with Levi while playing a game. Talk to my husband.

On the macro level, I never do only one thing a time. This, I suppose, is a lesson I have yet to learn. If it’s one worth learning. My mother certainly always told me to only do one thing a time. One foot forward. One step at a time. One thing at a time. But, they are words I hardly heed on a daily, weekly, yearly basis.

I’ve always been involved in multiple activities. School teaches one to do so. You have 7 classes and 3 extra curricular activities at any given time. So, you’re constantly juggling: balancing.

When I started college (my MSU days), I was frustrated, at first, with the amount of reading material assigned. We’d read a book a week — for each class, and I was taking three or four.

I’ve gotten so used to these habits, that my norm is that feeling of trying to balance. Unless a book is deeply engaging (like the just finished Millennium trilogy), I will always have 3 or 4 on my “reading” shelf. I pick through a few paragraphs a day, maybe finishing the book inside of a month. Right now, there are three on the top of the list, and a total of 10 holding the rest.

The thing is, I like that juggling. I like feeling successful at the juggling. I like the sense of accomplishment when I finish out a week with home cooked meals, baked bread, to go meals ready for the first few days, successful meetings had, future meetings planned, and ready and rarin’ to go on Monday. On the micro level, I check off one thing at a time. But, the big picture shows I really have at least 4 major things going, on top of the books to read and meals to plan.

How do you go through life? Multiple projects? Or as close to one thing at a time that a person can get? How do you want to go through life? Are these two things different?

Enhanced by Zemanta