4 entries from the month of: November 2017

My Favorite Week of the Year

November 20th

Thanksgiving with the W Family

Not only is my family set to arrive within 48 hours, but several of my closest friends are here for the week to be with their families. Everywhere I look, there is a warm meal, a glass of wine, and laughter filling the air!

{Reality: I’m in my second week of a new job, have no paid time off, and am trying to figure out how in the giblets I’m going to get everything done, see everyone, and fit in my clothing with all the stress eating.}

Maybe we could all set up the Christmas tree on Saturday?

{Reality: I’m going to crawl into yoga pants on Saturday after the family is gone and the leftovers are put away, and sit on the couch with my friends at the Hallmark Channel for a marathon of bad movies and good knitting. Do we really need a tree?}

I’m so glad our home is in order and I took the time to get the prep work done so this holiday was as stress-free as possible. It is important to be stress-free, otherwise you get those lines on your face and no one appreciates a frowny hostess!

{Reality: Botox is cheap. Chardonnay for breakfast is a thing on holidays. The cookies ended up flat, and I’m not baking them again. Flat cookies are where it is at this year. Martha said so.*}

Happy week, y’all!

(No, really. I mean that part.)

~K

*Martha very much did not say so.

Posted in
Celebrate!
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The Word is Bird

November 15th

Thanksgiving 2014

Thanksgiving prep is underway at our house. The tables soon will be full with family, extended family, and neighbors. For the first time, I’m cooking the bird.

I’m a wee bit anxious. (Okay, it is 5 am and I’m blogging after spending an hour reading recipe reviews and turkey-cooking hacks. Apparently mayonnaise seems to be the way to go.)

Also this week, I started a new job. After nearly five years in state government, I decided to take a position with a health plan. I’m thankfully still working in public health, but with a new ID badge and set of coworkers. This week’s big project includes promoting HIV and TB testing among a specific population. In other words: MY JAM. Walking in the door of the new building yesterday felt much like the first day of school—nervous excitement, and also after two weeks off,  a bit of, “Oh, man. This means no afternoon naps, right?”

There will be no afternoon naps until, perhaps, Thanksgiving. In putting together the menu, and asking everyone to pitch in this and that, I’m most excited to make Orangette’s cranberry compote. I’ve made this before and like she describes, it really is a show stopper. This recipe reminded me how much I enjoy her blog, too.

The other tradition we’ll honor is a large bowl of black olives in a nod to my Grandmother Maxine. She hated olives, but knew her grandchildren loved them, and therefore always had a ready supply. We stuck them on our fingers and waggled them like fools until we were all well into adulthood. Like so many things, Thanksgiving always makes me think of Grandma Max. I miss everything about that woman, down to the way her house smelled when we’d arrive for the holiday. As I remember it, it was a mixture of coffee, all spice, turkey, and Ivory soap.

If the timing goes right, and I drink enough coffee this weekend while prepping pies and setting up guest rooms, I hope to run in our community turkey trot Thursday morning. Put one turkey in the oven, take the other out for a spandex-clad shuffle around the neighborhood. What could be better?

Wishing you and yours an excellent holiday.

xo,

K

Posted in
Celebrate!, Family, Hostess
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The Canyon

November 2nd

On this trip into the Grand Canyon, we took the South Kaibab trail from the South Rim. It is the shorter route to Phantom Ranch at 7.4 miles, but it is considerably steeper. We hadn’t ever taken this path before, and it happened to be an extraordinarily windy day. There were parts of the trail that were terrifying.

Of course, it is still the Grand Canyon. Every turn, each 15 minutes with different light on the rock, makes the view new and breathtaking. (Or, we were just breathing really hard from all the hiking. Either way, you end up light-headed and in awe.)

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Look at that crazed, happy man. Have I mentioned how much he loves hiking? (I love it too, but I give him a hard time that when we visited Mexico City, it didn’t hurt to look at art. Or eat good food.)

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

Top of the trail. Look how innocent and clean we are. Four hours later, we pulled into Phantom Ranch.

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

I’ve said this before, but it is worth repeating: this lodge is a magical, wonderful oasis at the bottom of the canyon. If you get the chance to stay there—and the process is a complicated lottery because of the limited space—do it! The meals are simple, served family style in the lodge at picnic tables. The cabins have bunk beds that are comfortable and clean. The showers are hot. The rest is fantastic. Plus, you can imagine how interesting the people are who come to sit for a minute, either to stay or just to get a snack from the canteen.

We met people from all walks of life. The runners—just stopping to refill their water bladders before heading to another rim. Those on horseback, many of whom looked like extras from City Slickers, especially when they dismounted and tried to walk post-ride. And then there were those like us, who hiked down to hang out for a couple days. We sat at the picnic tables outside, eating apples and sipping lemonade and making up the back stories of the hikers who just arrived.

My niece loves to play games as much as I do. We played more hands of Rummy and Trash than I can count. We sent postcards (via mule!), ate Oreos by the sleeve, and told silly stories. We also woke up early Saturday morning to watch a meteor shower, stars shooting across inky black heavens—quite the way to bring in my 38th year.

We took the longer Bright Angel trail on the way out, about 10 miles of winding switch backs. The last mile, after you can see the edge of the Canyon but you are still not quite there, is the longest 15 minutes of your life. It could be the tourists toddling by, downward, with their ice cream cones and cups of coffee. It could be how good those tourists smell, and the realization you likely smell like a raccoon. It could also be how heavy your feet feel after 10 miles of up, up, up.

The bar in the Bright Angel Lodge has soft chairs, cold wine, average guacamole, and air conditioning. It is glorious.

It was another wonderful adventure with this crazy family of mine.

~K

Posted in
Uncategorized
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Horseshoe Bend

November 1st

Horseshoe Bend is near Page, Arizona — the tippy north center top of the state. It is free to see. You park in a gravel lot and hike about a quarter mile to an overlook.

When we were there last week, construction crews were working on the trail. It seems like the park service is going to make it handicap accessible, which it is not currently.

Grand Canyon, Antelope Canyon, Horseshoe Bend trip October 2017

It is very pretty. I’d love to have the chance to go back when the water is high and take photos at sunrise and sunset.

It is hard to stand before land that has been carved by slow drips of water and not feel like the universe is huge, we are small, and it is all going to be okay.

~K

Posted in
Arizona, Travel
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