A Break From Politics

Alright, I need a break from the hatred on social media. Let’s talk about life.

In a few minutes, I’m going to the local turkey farm to go pick up a bird. I need to get it into a brine pronto. Then I’ll roast the pumpkin for Steve; he’ll make the pies on Wednesday.

We’re binge watching Outlanders in the evenings.

Despite a large purchase of running clothes for cold weather, I’m slacking on the running and might skip Thursday’s Turkey Trot. I’m not doing well with this cold snap.

We started a new savings account to squirrel away money for a new kitchen. Maybe in a year, we’ll tackle that project, along with a major upgrade of the home – new windows, new insulation, new siding. A lot depends on Jonah’s college costs, which remain a big unknown.

Jonah is having a fine fall. His physics teacher wants him to become a bio engineer, and his English teacher wants him to become a writer. Yeah, you know which option we’re rooting for.

His cross country team came in 6th in the state last Saturday. He is among the 60 fastest kids in New Jersey. They will compete in the Northeast race this Saturday.

And we’re making progress on the college applications. He is applying regular admission to about twelve state colleges. His SAT scores were very good, making up for a typical teenage boy’s “meh” performance in Freshman and Sophomore year. He’ll take them one more time in December, just to see if we can milk a little more merit aid from the schools.

Ian moved to a neighboring public school this fall and is doing so, so well. After last spring’s horrific, 100-hour search for a new school for him, we’re taking a vacation from worrying about him. He’s happy and that’s that.



23 thoughts on “A Break From Politics

  1. I’ve twice made pumpkin pie starting from a real pumpkin. I never noticed the difference at all, possibly because I don’t actually like pumpkin pie very much.


    1. I love pumpkin pie, actually pumpkin chiffon is my preference, and I agree about canned pumpkin. It tastes just as good.


      1. Pie is pretty much evil, except for Boston Cream Pie, which is cake, not really pie. Fruit should not be served warm.


      2. I’m posting a link to what is basically my pumpkin chiffon pie recipe. I don’t use the liquor, and throw in about 1/4 t of ground cloves with the spices. Also use a graham cracker crust, which is awesome, and cool whip on top (this is the only time of year I use Cool Whip, and it’s obligatory to me, but real whipped cream is fine as well).

        I understand that those who have only had pumpkin pie with poorly-made ordinary white flour and butter crust and flat boring plain pumpkin have these prejudices against pumpkin pie, but I feel the need to defend all of these unjust attacks against the whole pumpkin pie genre.



  2. Yay to breaks. I took pictures of the sunrise this morning. I often do, and seeing the sun rise in all its glory gives me great comfort and hope.

    We are hosting family for thanksgiving (but have outsourced most of the meal — we are not cooks) and at least half the family is planning Gilmore Girl marathons (I will find something else to amuse myself).

    Little kiddo has been craving a bracelet (the leather wrap kind) and yesterday I looked up instructions on making a 5-strand braid and tried to make him one. It was just challenging enough to distract me without frustrating me. He is wearing it today (at least for a while).

    Re career advice — I know a bunch of engineers. They are all doing well. But, they also love what they do. I think smart, critical thinking people will find a niche as long as they’ve learned to be analytic, critical thinkers, but, I think following the hot job market of today, without sincere interest, is setting up for disappointment. On the other hand, I also think many teenage boys probably don’t know yet what their “sincere interest” is. Teenage girls are tougher nuts to crack.


  3. Also, I’ve added the Journal of Experimental Biology to my FB feed. The journal adds titles like “SENp1 drives hypoxia-induced polycythemia via GATA1 and BelxL in subjects with Monge’s disease.”, providing the same kind of distraction as making 5 braid bracelets, but with less physical effort. I highly recommend the feed (and, they do add little more laymen friendly summaries of the research).

    Also added Scientific American Mind, but it’s more relevant, and thus less distracting.


  4. “typical teenage boy’s “meh” performance in Freshman and Sophomore year.”

    Tell me about it. I’ve never seen numbers like this in my entire life. We started Concerta, but certain skills must be learned/relearned. I may never forgive his 8th grade teachers for the mess they made of him. Part III of the Teacher Visit Tour begins after the holiday. (I’ve done English and History, next up is Biology; Algebra, Health, and strangely Spanish are going great.)

    S applied ED to my alma mater, different program (than either her father or I were in) that is *perfect* for her, and fit is a major criterion for the program. But I’m starting to get depressed over the possibility that she’ll be a 6 hour drive away. Still, the chickens must remain uncounted so long as they are still eggs, mainly because eggs are not chickens.

    Family (both husband-kids and mom-sisters) are making me drive 3+ hours for Thanksgiving dinner. We can’t leave until noon because of fucking football. I keep hoping they will be rained out (the band will get rained out before the players will). The last game the marching band played at was an exciting upset win and they can’t top that.


    1. “I may never forgive his 8th grade teachers for the mess they made of him.”


      “But I’m starting to get depressed over the possibility that she’ll be a 6 hour drive away.”

      She won’t bring home laundry!

      “Family (both husband-kids and mom-sisters) are making me drive 3+ hours for Thanksgiving dinner. We can’t leave until noon because of fucking football.”



    2. New kitchen! I’m looking forward to it.

      Very nice about the boys.

      9th grade is going very well. C had one meh grade, but I emailed the teacher, and it turned out he had forgotten to give the whole class their journal grades.


  5. so glad to hear about Ian! That is really great news. It is nice to hear that teenagers are having a good year even if adults other than like LeBron James are not.


  6. Thumbs down on pumpkin pie from me too!

    We had Canadian Thanksgiving last month when I travelled to the prairies to celebrate with my parents/sister/nieces/nephews.

    This week? I’m team manager of my daughter’s soccer team which has turned out to be lots of fun! I really like the girls and the parents on her team – lovely group of people. Had them all over last Sunday for a bbq after the game.

    Soccer is big here on the west coast and the season runs from September to end of February. They play in the pouring rain all winter long with nary a complaint.

    Love the girls being active in a team sport.

    Yay for Jonah and cross country! And also the good test scores! We’re not at the college stage yet but are doing the high school version. Although she’s in grade 6, it’ll be too crazy to do all of the tours next fall/take the SSAT/etc. Looking at some specialty high school programs (I think they’d be comparable to your magnet schools – arts or academic or STEM or sports focused) plus a few private schools.

    Binge watched the Crown. Now watching the Fall and Westworld. A funny Canadian sitcom on the CBC is called Kim’s Convenience and it’s about a Korean family who own a corner store in Toronto. On Netflix I loved River, Unforgotten, Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley. For dry humour, 2012 and two seasons of sequels called W1A. All BBC.


    1. Oh, we’re doing tv show recs?
      The Fall. Very well done. The third/final? season dropped on Netflix last month, and we binged the 6 eps in 2 nights.
      Pitbulls and Parolees S8 just started up again on Nov 12.
      Did you watch Atlanta? We watched the first ep, then in groups of 3 until it was over. Two words: Invisible Car. Two more words: Justin Bieber.


    2. My guy and I have been watching The Affair and it definitely sucked us in. Also really liking Westworld. Can’t wait for Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt to come back, and also very psyched for Gilmore Girls (which I plan to watch in tandem with my best female friend who lives a thousand miles away and then debrief over the phone.) Tracy Ullman’s new show is also funny.


      1. We’re binging Search Party, a TBS show with Alia Shawkat as a disaffected NYC millennial who finds out someone she knew from college is missing and gets invested in trying to find her. Then we’ll catch up on the usual sitcoms (The Middle, Brooklyn 99).


  7. I’ve been thinking about writing a blog post “ode to pumpkin pie” all day. But now I have two glasses of wine and I’m way too lazy.


    1. My sister is the alpha cook in our family. Really a spectacular cook, consistently gets things right. Standards! That girl has standards! So when I recently served her a pumpkin pie from Trader Joe’s and she said it was good enough that she was maybe going to stop making and start buying, I decided to follow her lead. So that’s what’s in the fridge for today.


  8. Ooh, I love pumpkin pie. I feel like I’m the only person I know who actually likes the taste of pumpkin, but occasionally I meet another. Alas, we were total empty nesters this year, as our daughter went to have Thanksgiving with her bf’s family, so we went to the University Club with some friends. The pie wasn’t that great, however.


    1. “Alas, we were total empty nesters this year, as our daughter went to have Thanksgiving with her bf’s family”


      Now that is a milestone.


      1. I’m not at all sure our nest will ever empty – we were older when we had our kids, and had three. So when there is the basement bounceback after college… there we will be. It will be a rotation. It will be okay, I think, EXCEPT WHEN THEY ENGAGE IN CHARGING CORD COMMUNISM and leave dishes in the sink.


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