Wednesday, November 25, 2009

T-Day Survival Plan: Year 4

Our families are crazy, so we consider ourselves very lucky when it comes to Thanksgiving.   My parents meet at our house & then they follow us to Doug's parents' house. This way, we aren't hurting anyone's feelings by leaving early or arriving late (& we are so happy to dodge that bullet), & we avoid all of the running around that happens all weekend long. That's Step 1 of the Survival Plan.  What this means, however, is that the end result of both sides of the family being together is one big dysfunctional soup. This year, we'll have my dad, Doug's dad, my sister-in-law, her husband, & their kids, my thrice-divorced, diabetic brother-in-law, & 2 of his 3 sons, & quite possibly the 2 oldest boys' babies & babies' mamas.  Oh yeah, & us.  My mom's skipping out this year because she wants to do yard work.


Let me paint you a tiny picture:  My dad will just talk on & on - mostly to my brother-in-law about the bakers' union (they're both retired members). He has this amazing ability to start a subject, change it, & then seamlessly pick up the first subject 20 minutes later - it's quite funny to watch everyone struggle to figure out what he's talking about (Doug & I are pros, we've been doing it for years). Since our nephews have gotten older, my sister-in-law has become the dirty uncle - she's constantly rubbing their arms & backs, & hugging them. Yes, folks, I've witnessed a body hug or 2, & the looks on our nephews' faces... well, "priceless" is close, but it doesn't quite cut it. Doug & I just sit back & snicker. Anyway, because of this affection from their other aunt, sitting by me at the dinner table is the hottest ticket in town.   Unfortunately for them, Doug sits by me, so that leaves 1 seat.  The smarter of the 2 nephews has  tricked the other one into arriving late for the last 2 or 3 years, thereby dooming the late one into sitting in The Scary Spot. Now mind you, nothing truly inappropriate (just marginally!) is happening, but it sure makes for great entertainment for me & Doug.

Step 2...the wine.  We bring 3 bottles every year - a sweet one for the rest of the family, & 2 just for us.  Usually a red & a white, but sometimes we'll throw in a rose' or a sparkling.  Now, we never bring the really great stuff because someone always wants to try what we have, only to say that they don't like it.  Life's too short to waste great wine on people who don't know better!  We could've gone safe with our choices this year & gone with a Pinot Noir (always a winner) & perhaps a Gruner Veltliner or dry Riesling, but we wanted to go a different route this year.   For the red, we had several options, but we went with the Lucca from Mosby Winery in Buellton, CA.   It's a blend of estate-grown Sangiovese & Dolcetto, & I knew it was the one for this year when I tasted it!  It was also under $16, so that didn't hurt.  We're still deciding on the white - we have a couple in mind, but we're headed to a wine store later so who knows what the winner will be.  Oh, & just as an FYI to some of you newer wine drinkers...there WILL be a tasting or 2 at any wine store worth their salt tonight.

Step 3 is easy.  We never stay long.  I mean, really - we can only take so much.  Anyway, dinner's at 2, & when our bottles are gone, so are we.

The final part of the plan - Step 4 - is to get the hell out of town, so were headed to Nashville again on Friday.   We can't wait!

Ok, I have wine to buy & clothes to pack, so I'm out of here.  I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving!  

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Peanut Butter....How I Love Thee

While that's very true, I really just needed a title, & my peanut butter & jelly sandwich inspired me.   I'd forgotten how much I love those!   You see, for the first time in a long while, we actually have a jar of peanut butter in the house that's only for us..... The dogs get peanut butter every night, & they have their own jar.  Last week, I decided that Doug & I were worthy of our own, especially since we both love it so much.  Ah, it's the simple things.

Man, it's been a while....& I have to admit, writing up our first Cali wine trip was more than I wanted to deal with.  This in no way means that I will diminish the fantastic experiences we had...I'll cover them as time allows, or as we open the bottles that we purchased.  Our California Central Coast wine trip was a complete success, & my lack of writing should not reflect anything negative...

Speaking of food & wine...

A few nights ago, Doug & I had a special meal.   A while back, we went to Time For Dinner, & it was the second time we'd been.  Those of you that know me, I am not a cook.    I want to be, but I'm not at this point.   Luckily, there's Time For Dinner - or TFD - for people like us (for those of you that are not in St. Louis, look up pre-prepared frozen dinners, or whatever - I'm sure that there's something just as lovely in your corner of the world).  We had just purchased a bottle of Cosentino's Franc, & we wanted something that would work well with it.  I reached into my freezer & found the perfect solution: Rosemary Flank Steak.

My goodness.  It was terrific & a great matchup for the wine.  Of course, I knew it would be because rosemary is actually considered to be a "red wine booster".  I'm sure both the steak & the wine would've been good on their own, but they brought great things out in each other.  Yum... We felt so fancy that we even ate at the table, something we rarely do.  Fancy is good.

Tonight, we're going to Pi Pizzeria with friends.  They just opened up a new location just a stone's throw away from where I grew up, in Kirkwood.  Some of you that don't live here might recognize the restaurant from the news:  President Obama chose them to fly to D.C. to make their pizza for the first family.  Hey, good enough for them, it must be good enough for me.

In other news, Truvy is growing like a weed, & her top speed on the treadmill is 7.4 mph!  She was 53 lbs. at her last weigh-in at the vet's last week.  She had to get a flu shot - yes, there is a canine flu; it's fatal, & there have been cases in Jefferson County.  That's not home, but it's close enough!  Anyway, she finds new ways to challenge me every day, but I think we're finally getting somewhere.

Or maybe I'm just fooling myself.

The little jerk actually gave me poison ivy a few weeks ago.  Unbelievable, right?  I'd never had it before, & after my poison ivy cherry was popped, I never want it again.   I was reminded of this after watching a Grey's Anatomy know, the one where Addison had poison oak on her.... yeah, you do know.  Seeing that reminded me to count my blessings - my poison ivy was nowhere near that place!  I shudder at the thought.

One month from tomorrow, I'll be in Jamaica.

Back off, kittens.