Wednesday, November 30, 2016

hosting friendsgiving for a change

so after we got home and cleaned up after our successful turkey trot run, the bean joined me and the old lady for a quick group photo...wearing the matching tunics i'd churned out just the night before.


and then it was time to get to work.  i hadn't done any prepping for our big thanksgiving meal, but i knew i'd be able to pull it off.  our friends were coming over with a big italian feast to share for lunch - baked ziti with homemade sauce and sausage.  so delicious.


this was the beginnings of my stuffing (which doesn't actually get stuffed into the turkey, but it's still called stuffing.  go figure):  sautéed celery, shallots and garlic and italian bread chopped into bite-size pieces and toasted in the oven.


i also learned something new that day - the old lady actually enjoys peeling potatoes.  huh.  i never would've guessed, but i sure didn't complain.  that's not a favorite chore for me.


and while she did that, i worked on mixing up the herb butter that i was going to slather the turkey with.


you guys...working with a whole turkey is really kinda gross.  i mean, look at this.  WTF is this (i do know what it is, it just looks like...something else):


separating the skin from the meat is also not a favorite task of mine.  alas, it had to be done.


the turkey went into the oven for several hours while i got the rest of the sides ready to go.  all the usual suspects - the stuffing, sweet potato casserole, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes.  and the old lady decided to uber to her dad's house so she didn't have to tackle that drive.  i was sad to see her go, but i knew it was only fair.

i called the hub to get started on carving the turkey, but not before we took a selfie.


the buffet was laid out with all the good stuff - including the ham that i'd totally forgotten about and had just enough time to warm up in the oven.


obligatory plate photo.  i know it doesn't present very well, but i gotta say...i feel sorry for anyone who hasn't had a chance to enjoy a thanksgiving meal cooked by yours truly.  well, minus the gravy.  i didn't want to make that shit from scratch, so i stocked up on ready-made from trader joe's.  it was delish.


and this was my view for most of dinner.  heh.


also?  i'd managed to talk the hub into letting me use those "nice" plastic disposable plates and flatware for this meal.  i really didn't want to have to worry about washing and not breaking the china, even though this is exactly the sort of occasion we have it for.  i know.  maybe christmas.  but even he had to agree it was pretty fantastic to just toss everything in the trash can rather than have to wash it when dinner was over.  although i still had to wash all of the pots and pans and crap.  i swear, having to clean a roasting rack is probably the very worst part of the whole process.  ugh.

post-cleaning drink.  and yeah...that's sparkling grape juice.


after everyone was gone, i managed to get at least one decent shot of the hub and the bean together.


and of course...


oh yes.  pixie has officially returned to the house of wan for the holiday season.  this is year five, you guys.  i don't know how much more of this i have in me.  it's going to be a long 25-ish days.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

run now, gobble later

thanksgiving morning came fairly early for me and the old lady.  we'd signed up to do a turkey trot 5K run in nearby claremont, and from previous experience i knew this one would have a pretty good turnout.  i made sure to get my whole outfit all laid out the night before:


and then we headed out around 7:15 for an 8:00 start time.  i decided to go the back way into the parking structure, which paid off as we managed to avoid traffic and street closures and found a spot really easily.  it was a chilly morning - well, chilly for soCA, anyway - and after we pinned our bibs on and got ourselves together we headed on out.



we stopped at a table sponsored by a local hospital and picked up a silly turkey hat to wear:


and then we took advantage of the photo op.


as we made our way towards the start line we came across this super cute dog, all decked out and ready to run:


and at 8:00 on the dot, the first wave of runners was released.  just a couple of minutes after that, we were on our way.


it was a very pretty course that took us around and through campuses of the claremont colleges and the surrounding residential areas.


first mile, check:


college scenery:




mile 2, plus a bonus water station.


the last mile took us through the gates of pomona college, and then the turkey was there to usher us around the corner and towards the finish line.


high five from the turkey!


 and...done.



my socks are the best, yes?


so for a number of reasons, i've given up starbucks...at least for now.  i'm going on two weeks now and aside from some bangin' headaches the first few days and hitting a serious wall of tiredness around 3pm on the daily, i'm finally in a place where i don't miss it.  BUT...with a coffee bean just across the street from where we'd parked, i decided maybe we all deserved a treat.  especially since they have all of their holiday drinks in stock again.  and so the old lady and i ordered winter dream tea lattes, added a dirty chai latte for the hub and a hazelnut hot chocolate for the bean and took them home:


two 5Ks in the span of a week.  it's been a long time since i did that.  i keep thinking...star wars half in january.  i gotta get a move on.  yikes.

Monday, November 28, 2016

sewing machine number...four

my quest to be a one-stop shop is never-ending, it seems.  heh.  but i'm getting closer...because with a one-day sale on amazon, i was the happy recipient of this on my doorstep last week.


oh yes.  i can now do my own embroidering, people!  this is fantastic!  i was equal parts elated and terrified, and considering how busy we were i didn't even get to unbox the thing until a couple of days later.  check it out:


this baby will embroider a design up to 5"x7", has an automatic needle threader, a button to cut both top and bottom threads, another button to raise and lower the needle, has a ton of built-in designs and a handful of fonts, and a usb slot on the side to import your own files.  i used my trusty olaf flash drive for my first test run, and i thought he looked pretty funny.


i turned the machine on and pushed a few buttons to see all the different screens.  this one shows the machine's total stitch count, and this is the only time it will ever look like this:


the first step was to wind a bobbin with the 90-wt thread that the machine requires.


because all of my other sewing machines are made by brother, the process was fairly simple to figure out.  and the numbered diagrams printed right on the machine help too.


i'd ordered this box full of embroidery thread in all sorts of colors:


youtube videos are the best for pretty much everything.  in the time between ordering and receiving the machine, i'd spent some time watching a handful of them to learn more about how to work this thing.  i joined several facebook groups dedicated to newbies to embroidery and this machine in particular, and read up on as many topics as i could handle without my head exploding.  i'd learned about using different types of stabilizer on different kinds of fabrics, and after watching one video about embroidering on towels, i decided that would be my first project.  i put some tearaway stabilizer in my hoop, sprayed it with some temporary adhesive, placed the towel on it and topped it with a layer of water soluble stabilizer.  haha, that sounds like a whole different language, doesn't it?  i was so intimidated by it all when i was doing my research.  but all it means is that you're putting a piece of fabric underneath the towel that will keep the stitches in place, and you can rip off the excess around the finished stitches.  and then on top of that you're putting another piece of stabilizing material that will either tear away or wash out when you launder the item.


i followed the instructions to import my file from olaf's body into the machine, hit the green button and watched in amazement as the needle started moving and forming the design all by itself.


a few minutes later:


i removed the hoop from the machine, peeled the towel off and ripped the top stabilizer off.


and...ta-da!  a super cute hand towel for the hub to put in the lounge restroom.


emboldened by my success, i hooped another towel and imported a file i wanted to use on a towel that i could put in the bathroom for our thanksgiving gathering.  but for some reason, the upper thread kept breaking and then something else went wrong and the thread was all snarled underneath.


GAH.  i couldn't figure out what i'd done differently, and when i tried on another towel i got a little further, but it all got tangled up again.  and with a thousand other things to do to get ready for the holiday i set the machine aside and vowed to take another stab at it all again next week.

now it's next week.  eep.  i guess i'd better do some more testing on scrap fabric before i attempt another actual project.  wish me luck.
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