Monday, November 16, 2020

I Feel Grumpy, oh so Grumpy

 LUCY BURDETTE:  Mulling over what we should chat about last Thursday, I found myself stumped. Rhys touched on what we’d miss over the holidays last week, did we want to do that again? I wondered whether anyone would want to discuss the pandemic and the possible vaccine coming? What about the election? Gah, no way I want to spend anymore bandwidth on that sh**t show. So I thought maybe we’d make it reader’s choice, how are each of you doing? I’ll start…



We made it to Key West last week, just in time for the hurricane. We were very lucky that it passed by north of us so we didn’t lose power or phone or internet. We were sort of prepared: We’d filled the bathtub with water, and made a pot of coffee because caffeine is mandatory no matter the temperature, and borrowed a flashlight (I know, we need to work on that.) We were spared having to use any of it. However, both phone and internet went out simultaneously Thursday morning. Imagine the panic! I had two online meetings scheduled and a ton of work to do, and no way to do any of it. We learned later that a garbage truck had crashed into a pole at Mile Marker 83, taking everyone’s service out from Islamorada to Key West. And such is the risk of living on this fragile string of islands.


And one more thing—I do have a gigantic turkey in the freezer. And there will be three of us at the table. I’m trying to generate ideas and enthusiasm for a lot of turkey leftover recipes. We are going to miss our friends and family terribly. 


So short answer, yes I’m grumpy. But I keep reminding myself—this too will pass. We just have to hang in there and be smart and wait for the scientists to finish their work. I ran across this quote from Walt Whitman in Specimen Days, which he wrote after suffering a devastating stroke: The trick is, I find, to tone your wants and tastes low down enough, and make much of negatives, and of mere daylight and the skies.


How are you doing Reds?


HALLIE EPHRON: We all need Hank’s turkey tetrazzini recipe and a roomy freezer! What I want is a half turkey, sliced the long way so we have a leg and a wing AND half of the breast. I may have to recruit a neighbor to share a bird with us. I’m not going to the market these days so I can’t ask the butcher to halve one for us, and though I can splay a chicken, I think a turkey would be a bridge too far for my knife skills. A hatchet I cannot wield. 


My wondrous news is that both of my daughters are quarantining and then coming here to spend some days just before Thanksgiving. We’ll be having our turkey a few days early, and we will be truly truly thankful. 


JENN McKINLAY: I have no idea what we’re doing for Thanksgiving. This is what happens when you toss the reins of domesticity to your spouse after twenty one years of keeping them firmly in your grasp. Hub will probably deep fry a turkey, maybe some Cornish game hens, I have no idea nor do I care. I am just happy to make the salad and definitely the apple pie. The rest is on him and he’s happy to do it. 


The hooligans will both be here with us, which is nice. One is already out the door while the other has one foot out the door, so we are definitely in a period of big change of the empty nest kind. I am being very mindful to savor the days we’re together and while I miss the extended family we usually spend the holidays with, I won’t complain this year, knowing that there are better days ahead. 


RHYS BOWEN: Not so much grumpy as stressed here. I was elated last Saturday when Joe Biden was declared the winner. But then all these ridiculous accusations of fraud which we know are false but could stir up the most rabid Trump supporters to take to the streets with violence have really upset me. I haven’t been able to sleep well. I just WANT IT TO BE OVER.


Why don’t they just take away his Twitter account?


I’m trying to stay positive about Thanksgiving. Daughter Jane has offered to rig up a shelter in their backyard to have Thanksgiving outside. This will be fine unless it’s pouring with rain and a howling gale. My son suggested we all get tested a couple of days before, which would be great except the girls come back from college and will undoubtedly visit local friends.


DEBORAH CROMBIE: I have to admit I am pretty grumpy, too, Roberta, and very stressed. Our Covid numbers are going up like crazy here in Texas, so in our house we are back to the very strict protocols of the spring. I thought we might at least do outside wine and cheese with the kids on Thanksgiving, but even that is out now.  I have no idea what I'm going to cook for the two of us. The upside, I suppose, is lots of quiet time for writing…


Jenn, we deep fried a turkey one year. Your Hubs is a brave dude! I was terrified by hot splashing peanut oil--and then you have to have some way to dispose of it afterwards!


HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN: Grumpy, hmm, more like incensed. What are those maskless people THINKING? Honestly, I want to know. And Debs, you know we rely on you and Rick for guidance. And now I forgot what the question was. Oh, Thanksgiving. Our kids are in Brooklyn and Marina Del Rey, and if they said--we’re coming! I’d say: see you next year. kiddos. You know, Thanksgiving is whenever we say it is. We can have it any time. It’s just so dangerous now, and I’m wondering why we can’t be more brave, and proud of ourselves that we can sacrifice ONE DAY and some turkey for the greater good. End of rant. But happy to send the turkey tetrazzini recipe to anyone who wants it. It is INCREDIBLE, and I cannot wait to make it. Sadly, the first ingredient is leftover turkey, which is...a situation. Hey. It works just fine with chicken, or turkey breast that you can buy separately. It’s really all about the bechamel and cheese and the mushrooms and wine and ziti. And the extra cheese, bubbly and crispy on top. SO yum!


JULIA SPENCER FLEMING: I'm definitely trending toward grumpy, mostly because I have spent the better part of the past week in upstate New York clearing out my dad's house to make way for the new owner. My sister, her husband, and our brother have all been champions, but any time you are moving everything out of a house that has been lived in for a quarter century...


It has not been helped by the fact my dad, who is a bit of a control freak, is stuck inside his senior living apartment, unable to leave the grounds due to a Covid quarantine. As a result, he calls one or the other of us approximately every hour beginning at 7:30 a.m. we've also had the experience of carefully FaceTiming clothing, tools, art, etc., having him declare he doesn't want it, only to receive a call 12 to 18 hours later, letting us know he's changed his mind.


Fortunately, after the first couple of times we had already given something away to goodwill, we got more of a sixth sense about this, and has been careful to hold back certain items until the last minute. But when someone else is buying the house, at the last minute, everything has to go!


As you're all reading this, I am finishing the last cleaning and driving back to Maine in a box truck stuffed with furniture destined for Youngest's first apartment. I probably won't be on the back blog, but keep me all in your thoughts and prayers!


Red readers, how are you holding up?


112 comments:

  1. I’m frustrated, but trying not to be grumpy. A couple of the older grandbabies [tween and teen] are having some difficulties dealing with all the fallout from the virus . . . it gives me pause to remember what’s really important.

    We’ll be just the two of us for Thanksgiving [and I’d love the turkey tetrazzini recipe], but we can have a fancy meal any time we finally get to get together with the girls and their families. What I really want is for everyone to wear their masks, for the vaccine to work, and for this to be OVER . . . .

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  2. I'm stressed. We close our fiscal year at work at the end of November (I know, it's a weird one), and we have so much to try to figure out between now and then. I honestly don't know how we are going to do it. I worked a few hours on Saturday, something I never do, after working late Friday night. I suspect that is just a preview of what is to come.

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    1. Hang in there, Mark. Those ten and twelve day weeks can be a real bear. If you can, insist on comp time when the work load slacks off, to reclaim those weekends you work.

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    2. I'm still trying to get comp time from the two Saturdays I worked in September.

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  3. It changes daily how I am. If I keep the news off, the chances are I'll have a better day, as I get furious at how Biden's transition team is not getting the cooperation and funds they are due and Trump is still craving his rallies, playing golf, and denying the obvious. Yesterday, I caught my husband outside with the guys who had come to cut down two of our trees in the backyard, and none of them, including my husband, were wearing masks while they stood right next to each other. You can bet my husband got an earful and a mask from me right away. I have banned him from hiring those guys to do any work for us in the future. I don't like people who don't care whether I live or die. So, yesterday was a bad, bad day, and I ended up taking a pill in the middle of the night that had me sleeping until after lunch. I needed it, and I've been much better today. And, I've gotten back here to my Jungle Reds, which helps balance me and keep me sane. OK, sorry I went on so. I'll move forward to Thanksgiving now.

    I'm actually fine with Thanksgiving being just the two of us this year. Yes, I will miss my children and grandchildren, but I'm happy to play it safe and get together when it's less risky. It's a lovely holiday, but not getting together that day is not the end of the world, and it might be if you do. I'm giving myself and husband (who is slowly making his way out of the doghouse) a treat. I just ordered a cake and some bourbon balls from Ruth Hunt Candies in Lexington, KY to arrive this coming Friday. Ruth Hunt has made bourbon balls (yummy chocolate with a touch of bourbon inside, and yes, you can taste the bourbon) for 100 years. Bourbon Balls are a special candy in Kentucky. I will probably order some creamed candy, another specialty, for Christmas, along with more bourbon balls. I think we have decided to also treat ourselves to a turkey dinner from the Moonlite BBQ Restaurant, close to our house. They don't just have barbecue. They have delicious turkey and dressing and mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. So, I'll order up all of those items in a quantity to have leftovers for one or two meals, and I'll get some of their delicious ham, too, and maybe some of their amazing cornbread. So, because it's just the two of us, we will splurge on take-out for our Thanksgiving meal. Oh, I will have to fix the scalloped oysters and have some cranberry sauce (luckily I love the canned), and I may throw in a corn pudding. Low stress day, with treats. I'll take it. I would love the tetrazzini recipe, Hank, because I may get enough turkey for it.

    And, here's hoping, like Joan, that people will wear their masks and help us get back to family gatherings again. Julia, you are in my thoughts, dear lady, as you finish your journey of clearing out and moving on.

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    1. Kathy, your BBQ Thanksgiving dinner sounds marvelous! It makes my plan a little plain...though I am going to make a corn pudding:). And we've decide to make a pecan galette that I spotted in the NY Times instead of pumpkin pie.

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    2. That sounds so yummy! And yes, leftovers always freeze.

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    3. Scalloped oysters, Kathy! Share your recipe! I love them but hubs won't eat them. Boo.

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    4. CORN PUDDING! I just clipped a recipe for it. Such an indulgence...

      And seconding: "I don't like people who don't care whether I live or die." It's not about politics.

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    5. You were right to give the husband what for, Kathy!

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    6. Kathy: your menu sounds fabulous and lots on yummy leftovers. Corn Pudding - easy or difficult? I'm not into anything difficult this year. Good for you for taking on the lack of masks, but to be very honest, I live alone and often forget to put it on when I first leave my home.... it's just me so I always have a couple in the car... though you would think a service orientated company would get it right. Okay, NOW I'll stop.

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    7. Corn pudding is EZ. I just booked March 1 from the Washington post. You could Google that. It’s basically corn, butter, cornmeal and eggs

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  4. Jude Many thanks for all your comments, they help so much. Our first Thanksgiving and Christmas with our family gathering. (54 yrs.) Many others are in the same boat and that helps. Peace to you and yours

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    1. You take care Jude, we are all in this together!

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    2. My first Thanksgiving alone. There's a family dinner, but three of the four young women are flying in with no time to be tested when they arrive. A dear friend is one of the 15 surgery patients at UCSF who was exposed to COVID...she got it, as did her husband, who's just been released after double pneumonia. It's all too risky, and we're all too fragile...so we'll Zoom for a few minutes and I'll cobble together a turkey dinner. My favorite day of the year...alas. Now...if we can get that turkey out of the White House...oh, don't get me started.

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  5. I'm trying to find joy in zooming with my sons, in the beautiful sunrise going on right now, in the book I'm polishing (it's a new project and I'm loving it...).

    If I think about Thanksgiving and Christmas without family, I just get weepy. But I discovered during the last four years I'm a very good ostrich, so I'll just stick my head in the sand (I mean, my book) again and not think about the long lonely winter ahead.

    Safe travels home, Julia!

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    1. Edith, I just finished "When the Grits Hit the Fan," and enjoyed it a lot. If you're loving your new project, I'll look forward to its release.

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    2. You are lucky to be a successful ostrich Edith!

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  6. While feeling grumpy may be a new thing to most people here, grumpy is kind of my natural default setting. Cranky, crotchety and "Get Off My Lawn You Darn Kids!" would be apt descriptions as well.

    Thanksgiving won't be much around here for me. Because Massachusetts has limited indoor gatherings to 10 people, the family that has been inviting me over for dinner the last three years can't host me without running afoul of that rule. And I wasn't really planning on going anyway because even when the limit was still at 25, at least four of the people that would be there fall into the "very old and vulnerable" category.

    I sent a message to the younger daughter of the family (who is still a year older than me!) and jokingly that I knew I wouldn't be over this year, but did they do takeout?". She got back to me and said that they'd been talking about that very thing beforehand. So I might be getting a turkey dinner anyway.

    A friend of mine has invited me over to her place as well but I don't think I'm going to go there either. It's only four people but given the fact that there are a number of legitimate news stories out there saying that the virus is running amok and there's nothing anyone can do really, I don't think even a four person gathering is safe to attend.

    Worse comes to worse, I'll just pick up some stuff that I can make a small scale kind of dinner here at home for myself. I'm not overly worried about eating. I've got plenty of food minus that big damn bird.

    Xmas will likely be more of the same, though I haven't really been celebrating that much since Mom died.

    I'm just hoping that another lockdown doesn't happen because I'd much rather be going to work and getting my full pay than have to scrimp, save and wonder how I can stretch unemployment pay to cover the monthly bills.

    So here's the embracing of being grumpy! LOL

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    1. You can be our grumpy role model Jay! I'm so glad you'll be getting takeout from your friends. I bet they feel terrible about not inviting you. Fingers crossed, no lockdowns, just caution.

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    2. Plus I'll be busy with a lot of review writing so who has time to worry about other things? I'm doing 6 reviews for KNAC.com, I've got three more articles to write this year (plus a Top 10 list) for my Cassette Chronicles series, and a bunch of other CD reviews for a message board that I'm a part of.

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    3. Sounds like you have wonderful friends, Jay.

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  7. I just woke up from a dream where I was parked at the side of a residential street in a 1960 Cadillac de Ville--laurel purple, smaller-than-1958 tail fins--and got sideswiped by some drunk in a rental truck. So that's kind of how I'm doing. Another dream from last night had me sending up a thin wisp of smoke from my chimney, thinking of it as the small smoke signal I'm sending out into the world. Only to see it lost among the many, many other smoke signals everyone else is sending out.

    So I'm awake. And probably mildly depressed. I'll go take a shower here in a minute, and try to focus on work, since it's Monday. The weekend was lost to reading and naps and allergy medicine, but today I plan to get up and get after it again. Good to touch base here with all the rest of the Reds Readers. I hope you all have wonderfully productive days.

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    1. oh your smoke signal description is beautiful Gigi, even though painful. I believe a lot of us are depressed...it's a very hard time. Hang in there!

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    2. What an amazingly detailed dream of the sideswipe, Gigi, right down to the color of your cool car. I'm envious, because I almost never dream in color.

      Smoke signals, indeed. Sending cyberhugs.

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    3. The smoke signals! Oh… I am seeing it now!

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    4. I thought I smelled smoke last night:-)

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  8. We're healthy and our kids are healthy. We're alone for T-giving. Ohio is COVID scary. We'll get there. Take care, everybody.

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    1. so glad you're being smart. Yes please everyone be careful and patient.

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  9. I's love to have that Turkey Tetrazzini recipe, too, Hank! Our Thanksgiving meal will be whenever it is and that's fine with me. Some things are worth the wait, even if the wait has been unbearably long.

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    1. Judi, we are going to put it up next week!

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    2. Hurray! Something wonderful (the recipe) to look forward to.
      Hang the dangling preposition!

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  10. I was getting grumpy, then I realized I was paying too much attention to the news. I felt much better when I stopped (I had accidentally added a news widget to my phone, so the headlines stared me in the face every time I looked at it).

    We've had small holidays for a few years now, so this won't be much different. Just one less person for Thanksgiving, as The Boy is spending it with my family in Buffalo. His semester breaks for Thanksgiving, and they aren't returning to campus, so it was decided he would spend that last week with my sister. Too many distractions if he comes home. He claims he is back on track academically, so all I can do is cross my fingers and hope.

    So it'll just me me, The Hubby, The Girl, and my brother-in-law for Thanksgiving. All of us have basically been living in our respective homes by ourselves for weeks, so I'm not worried about us having dinner together. We're only doing a turkey breast, but I'm going to make my sausage and mushroom stuffing, potatoes and a couple other fancy sides (including Dutch apple pie) to make up for the lack of a whole bird.

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    1. You are so right about turning off the news Liz! and sounds like your dinner will be lovely...

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  11. Well, Roberta, let me throw my walking boot into this b-tch session. We talked it over with Rachel and decided that this is no time to be using the facilities on the NJ Turnpike. So, we are staying home, too. Our Thanksgiving plans have fallen apart before, so we have dined at local restaurants that are open on Thanksgiving several times. The food is usually great, the service, not always. But this year, because of my foot, and because we will not eat inside a restaurant until whenever, Irwin wants me to order a dinner from one of the restaurants and let them do the whole thing. If we can find one that doesn't cook too many things with honey, we will do that. I consider us lucky, I do.

    I recognize that my situation is no where near as sad as those of people who have been directly affected by this virus. Although we looked forward to seeing Rachel and her family, well, I thinking of Humphrey Bogart's line at the airport in Casablanca, that our troubles don't amount to a hill of beans, or something like that.

    So now, Roberta, just get a smaller turkey and put the big one back in the freezer. You have successfully returned to your winter grounds, made it through the hurricane and you are loved by everyone here.

    Hallie, call Whole Food or your local Big Y or even Stop and Shop and ask for the butcher. Tell him what you've told us and let him help you get exactly what you need. My dad was a butcher and he would have done anything as minor as that to help a good customer. Really. In one minute they can split a bid just like you want.

    Jenn, I can't help but wonder what it would be like to have a husband who wanted to be in the kitchen, and made yummy meals. It's great that your boys will be with you and I'd also make some cookies for later, after the pie.

    Rhys, your fears are my fears. Why did he fired the Secretary of Defense first? Is he only keeping the military he thinks are loyal to him? Why is he still lying about the election being stolen? What is his agenda? Are we prepared for this? Yeah, so, I have been escaping into all of the JRW books and just will keep on doing it while I pray for my country.

    Deb, did you take pictures of the turkey frying project. It may be time to post them. LOL

    Hank, your rant is my rant. I'll be ranting with my foot up on pillows in a little while.

    Julia, safe travels. I have been on that road, cleaning out houses and apartments and all. It always made me so melancholy. Safe travels!

    To everyone, have the happiest Thanksgiving you can and we'll all meet here to tell our tales.

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    1. "Just get a smaller turkey" - easier said than done. My grocery delivery order of 1 10-13 pound turkey arrived weighing in at 19 pounds.

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    2. Judy, I did not, but I should have. Trying to remember now...I think we borrowed the fryer from someone. My hubby does not cook, indoors or out, so it was just me and my son-in-law trying to deal with this thing. Very scary! And it had never occurred to me when I got the great idea to deep fry a turkey, how much oil it took--five gallons, maybe?--and that you had to dispose of it somehow afterwards!

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    3. Gee, Deb, it's really funny to read about it. I can't imagine what one does with 5 gallons of used vegetable oil!

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  12. First and foremost, Hank, please count me among those wanting the turkey tetrazzini recipe. I really think you're going to need to just post it here!

    I guess I am less grumpy than sad. Honestly, we had made our Thanksgiving decision a few weeks ago, so I have kind of moved through my grief on that one and am now resigned. Besides, our only son is currently living here, so while I will achingly miss the extended family, the people I care most about in the world will be with me. It is Christmas I am beginning to deal with now, and I'm definitely in the grief stage at this point.

    I am also scared. I always expected cases would go up as soon as we all moved indoors, but I wasn't emotionally prepared for how steep the spike would be. We have been trying to do the right things all along, and for a while it was easy to let myself feel that because of that, we were safe. But now I have friends who have COVID, and I know that some of them have been taking precautions, too. So it makes me feel more vulnerable and less in control of my own risk.

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    1. Yes, it is scary, but we can only do the best we can. And we know what to do!
      I have friends who are taking precautions, too, they insist. And then one of them actually said yesterday: I only go to the grocery store, and the drugstore, and the hardware store and the hairdresser and the dentist. And that’s all. Oh and the gym.

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    2. Oh that is scary Susan...and Christmas will be hard.

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  13. I'm fine with it now that I got over the fact that I would not be able to travel to visit my mom and sister. I'll just make a simple Thanksgiving plate with my favorite foods.

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  14. Dearest Reds, it helps to know we're not alone, so thank you for just being here, and offering a safe space for us all. I cannot express how important that has been lately, so much more than usual.

    Six family members--all mask deniers but one--have COVID right now. My brother is pretty sick, and his wife got it from him. I am holding my breath that their housemate, my 90-year old mother, also does not fall ill. They've been "quarantining" from one another, and it's a pretty big house (my mom's lower-level apartment is something like 1600-sq ft), but they're still all in the same space. The other four people are my sister and her husband who both work at Walmart in Northern Kentucky, and their daughter and son-in-law who both work at the casino across the river. They also live in a multigenerational house, and were waiting on test results for the daughter's nine-year old son, last I heard. Their son also lives with them, and last I heard he was okay, but it's NOT a big house.

    Our Thanksgiving plans have completely fallen apart. My youngest daughter and her husband were here for three days, carefully masked and distanced, and when we were eating/drinking, there were HEPA air purifiers in the room with us. We did not embrace until they were leaving, and we all put on our masks to do so. I will see her briefly once more before they go to Africa. They had planned to go see my mother, but that plan got clobbered, and who knows when they'll be able to see her again, or if.

    The daughter in Michigan turns 50 on Tuesday, and we were planning to spend her birthday with her, along with her two sisters. But the Oregon daughter's governor just stopped all travel to and from that state, so we decided it was more prudent to have our joint holiday/birthday celebration online. The Michigan son-in-law decided we are having Covidfest 2020, which will include all the holidays and birthdays together. Yesterday I researched games we can do (there are a surprising number), so thank goodness for Zoom.

    We have a wild turkey in the freezer, and Hallie, I was just thinking last night that it would be great if we could cut it in half. Steve was planning to smoke it for our family celebration, but 20 pounds of smoked turkey is too much. So is 20# of roast turkey, for that matter, even with leftovers.

    I also have a turkey tetrazzini recipe, but mine is the traditional one with sherry, and uses the microwave, and everything is done in the lasagna pan, one step at a time, starting with the sauce.

    We will all be glad to see the hind end of 2020 leaving the premises!

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    1. Karen, I have to tell you that I was shocked when you mentioned your daughter turning 50, because I had never envisioned you as someone who could possibly have a daughter that age! You come across as very youthful.

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    2. Covid fest 2020! Brilliant brilliant brilliant.

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    3. Karen, so sorry to hear that your plans fell through, and that so many in your family are ill.

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    4. Karen, that all sounds so hard. Will say a prayer for your mother.

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    5. Karen, that's so hard. I keep expecting to hear that my older sister in Indiana has it - so far, she doesn't.

      Prayers for your mom.

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    6. Thank you all for your prayers.

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  15. By the way, if you have a HEPA air purifier, they are supposed to be very effective at cleaning bacteria and viruses out of the air. We had some left from when we had a flooded and subsequently moldy basement, and they have come in handy. I set them up whenever we have any outside person inside our home, no matter how briefly.

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  16. Yes to the turkey tetrazzini recipe. Now to find a bird!

    It will be just the two of us this year. Covid numbers are mounting even in the County although to a much lesser extent than other places. Hubs is salt sensitive so we have ordered a fresh turkey and if it comes in, will pick it up next week. I'll make corn pudding, hasselback potatoes, homemade cranberry sauce, and a broccoli cheese casserole. Marinated cheese will serve as an appetizer. Haven't decided on dessert. Maybe blueberry pie. I have wild blueberries in the freezer...

    Have a wonderful turkey day, all. I saw a hopeful article in the NYT that suggested we would be back to normal by next winter. It will be great to Partay :)

    Julia, drive safe - we've had 8 inches of snow up here - not sure how far south the snow extended.

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  17. I'm in a decently positive mood, even if the Bills managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory in the final 8 seconds of the game last night.

    Hank, please post the turkey tetrazzini recipe. I'm cooking a smallish bird and we will eat on it until its gone.

    Last year my family had an early Thanksgiving, first time I've had all my children and spouses, and grandchildren together in one place in forever. It was such fun, a beautiful 70 degrees on Lake Dallas/Lake Lewiston, and we ate outside on an enormous picnic table, turkey and dressing and all the trimmings.

    This year my youngest and his wife are both positive for covid, doing well, quarantining but not really sick except for loss of taste and smell. Their three little boys are fine. This all came from a trip to Iowa to the funeral of my daughter-in-law's father, who died of Covid three weeks ago. Sigh.

    And our sister-in-law here is recovering from Covid too. So Julie and I will celebrate the holidays here at home, a virtual Macy's Thanksgiving Parade, turkey and football and pandemic puppy antics. It will be fine.

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    1. Oh, all this news is so so so difficult… sending everyone good wishes and health…

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    2. Wishing all your family a safe recovery!

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  18. What is helping me get through this pandemic is knowing that everyone, everywhere, is going through the same thing. Right now I’m in a self-imposed quarantine, having been invited to my sister’s house upstate for Thanksgiving. She has an auto-immune disorder and has been working from home since spring. She only sees her immediate family. Our plans could change at the last minute and I’m okay with that.

    I’m retired, and Covid has shut down places like the senior center, where I went for classes, so I’m not getting out much. It was terrible in the beginning because I have never enjoyed being home. However, I’m finally settling in, probably because I feel safer at home these days. I’m willing to do whatever I need to do to help stop the spread of this disease. Many of my relatives have had it, and one died, so I have no trouble understanding the seriousness of Covid. I can sacrifice one holiday, or even the entire holiday season if necessary, so we can all be together a year from now.

    DebRo

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    1. Yes! So agree. We have to be a little brave, for the greater good, and for the end of this in a successful way.

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    2. I hope you get to see your family, DebRo--it's so nice to see you here!

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  19. Well, wow. The new vaccine results do seem very encouraging, don’t they?

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    1. they sure do. How in the world this will get distributed I have no idea!

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  20. If anyone has a turkey pot pie recipe, I'd love to have that, too. I'll try the Bisquick web site...

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    1. Hallie I have two chicken pot pie recipes on Mystery Lovers Kitchen, one with cornmeal crust and one with biscuits. Search for Lucy Burdette pot pie on that site and they will come up...

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    2. I'm pretty sure I've made your pot pie, too. It was so good.

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  21. Next week is my week, and I'll put up Hank's turkey tetrazzini recipe, and my friend Franny's Turkey and Wild Rice soup recipe--it's delish.

    Since it will just be the two of us, I dithered and dithered about what to do for the meal. I looked at the offering from a lot of local restaurants, but they were so expensive and most portions were from ten to twelve people! Who is having Thanksgiving gatherings that big??? So my plan now is to get the smallest brined turkey possible from Trader Joe's and just cook the things we like to go with it. I'm fine with Thanksgiving, really, but Christmas will be really hard without our daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter. I think it's ever more difficult since they are right next door...

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    1. Gosh Debs. That has to be so hard. Can't you sit across the fence from each other, or form a five-person pod?

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    2. Last year we had 24, plus sent plates for four more family members who couldn't make it.

      This year will sure be different.

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  22. I'm not grumpy, but certainly anxious. Covid numbers increasing in a straight line, never mind a curve we can flatten--youngest nephew caught Covid from a safe place (doing fine, but is any place truly safe now??), I tested negative, but older nephew furious (test results not back yet)--just adding to the stress in this bubble. Youngest caught it from someone who went to the doctor and asked to be tested, only to be told he only had a sinus infection and to go home.

    We have a big family, but since my parents passed away and all the nephews grew up and started their own families, the holidays have been centered around each household. Lots of visiting back and forth, though. That I will miss, but I'm so tired that it's actually a relief to think of quieter holidays.

    Virtual hugs to all--an end must come to this madness--hopefully before 20 January.

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    1. Hang in there Flora, I can understand being mad if I caught the disease. But it's running rampant. Let's all sit tight!

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  23. GRUMPY!
    SO GRUMPY!
    And ditto to everything everyone has said!
    sending hugs

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  24. we are having our usual Thanksgiving - My sister's family of 5, my niece, me, and 3 young men we know from the community. One of the men just got covid last week, so we are hoping he tests negative before Thanksgiving because he is suppose to bring the mashed potatoes!!

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  25. Bill and I were planning pie for breakfast and turkey sandwiches on our own (he was going to cook ahead) when my daughter texted she and her family are coming! This would normally be the year they would be with my son-in-law's family, but negotiations among the four siblings about how safe they were willing to be beforehand broke down. My son-in-law has access to testing via his work, so they'd do that before they come. After getting over our shock at suddenly entertaining I'm excited about it.

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    1. You should have the pie for breakfast, everything is so mixed up outside our doors why not mixed up the meals.

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    2. that sounds like such fun Barb! Take it easy on the entertaining, the babies won't care:)

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  26. Stressed & getting grumpy. I can do the home alone for Thanksgiving. No argument about what sides if I pick them. Just wish everyone would take this virus seriously & do what we’ve been told to do. Wear the masks! Skip this year’s large family & friends gatherings so we can all be here next year!
    Linda

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  27. I'm definitely grumpy about life in general these days. But Thanksgiving. . . I think I would happily skip it and pretend it's just another day in the week. My household is out and about though taking precautions. My son works part-time, has been online training with the Reserve, and has put college on hold until classes meet in person again. My granddaughter goes to culinary school four days a week and just got a weekend gig working at a baker. She also socializes with her school friends. I know they take precautions at school. I hope they do elsewhere too. Frank does almost all of our shopping. He also socially distances with a neighbor for porch drinks and breakfast at neighborhood cafes. So, we have all these comings and goings. My little brother is mildly autistic and also works part-time. I know he masks up for work and hopefully his shopping. He's been to our house once since last March. He used to come once a week and would take off with Frank to a group of friends for socializing. Mind you, he doesn't say a word but enjoys those evenings. Here's the question: do I invite him for Thanksgiving and somehow keep him at a distance? Or make him up a takeout meal to eat at home? Or blow the whole thing off entirely? Trouble is I will still have 4 people here, counting me on turkey day. Any good ideas from the peanut gallery?

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    1. Very tough. I think Dr. Fauci says: If you simply WOULD LIKE to do it, don't. If you Absolutely MUST do it, do it safely.

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  28. Well I guess I am the outlier here today. Things here in California are fairly normal. We have been wearing masks since April. We have almost zero covid cases in my county. Only problem areas are to the north, rural Oregon especially. They don’t wear masks as much in the rural areas. California is asking new visitors to quarantine for fourteen days. All of my family except me are working from home. I am seeing limited clients in my office. Life here is fairly normal. We are having Thanksgiving with our adult children. They all live very close and formed a pod of sorts. My daughter-in-law is in Italy with her family. She has decided she no longer wants to live in the live in the United States. Given how a lot of the country is acting, I totally understand her point of view. We order a cooked turkey from a local deli and prepare the sides we enjoy as a joint project. Weather here is very nice, sunny and seventies. Hopefully the rest of the country will be back to normal by next year, but my daughter who works for Rosche thinks most won’t have the vaccine until early 2022.

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    1. We live in rural Oregon and we do wear our masks along with everyone else in neighboring towns.

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    2. Susan,

      Hoping that the almost zero Covid cases in your county Stays that way! Wishing that happens everywhere.

      Diana

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    3. 2022 sounds like a long time away--hope that's wrong! Glad things are good in your neighborhood.

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    4. Sandy I am just reporting what our county public health stated in their weekly update. It warmed those of us in California to avoid rural Oregon because of the case levels in the region. I have a lot of friends in rural Oregon and they told me mask wearing is sporadic at best. I’m glad it isn’t true in your area. Have a great holiday!

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    5. Not just my neighborhood, but most of California, trouble spots along the state borders though. Wide spread distribution with a vaccine will lag because of the current political situation but mostly because they don’t have the capacity to produce the number of vaccines needed in the US. Foreign makers will produce for their countries first. US has lost a lot of relationships in the world the past few years. Also, the other issue, many will refuse the vaccine.

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  29. We start a new 'Pause' this week in Oregon for the next 2-4 weeks depending on the county's confirmed count, but I refuse to be grumpy because I have a roof over my head, food on the table, and a warm bed to sleep in. In the meantime, my husband is going through radiation treatment for prostate cancer 5 days a week.

    Thinking about all the families that lost their homes to wildfires and other natural disasters, we have more to be thankful for than to be grumpy about our situation.

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    1. Sandy hats off to you for making the best of a hard situation.

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  30. I'm frustrated and elated at the same time. I purchased a new laptop, Zoom meetings on my phone was getting to be too much and the Kindle's volume is too low. I got it turned on, hooked up to my WiFi, attended Zoom church and The Back Room yesterday. Now I just need to get my everyday apps to stay on screen so I don't to search and log in every time, I'll be golden. May need to reach out to my cousin-in-law, he is an IT guy with a major winery near here.

    Don't know why you couldn't order a half turkey from your local market, Halle, if you call the butcher in advance. I was wondering if you has missed the hurricane, Lucy, but I have to ask, why don't you have a flashlight in your car? I have my cranberries in the freezer for my relish, will need to make a trip to the store in the evening, not the weekend for my oyster dressing and Brussels sprouts. May do a turkey breast or not... Maybe a thick pork chop just to mix things up.

    Okay, going back to the final day of frustration.... my niece is here to help with things done that didn't get done last summer when I moved. She is as good at procrastinating as I am. She goes home tomorrow.
    Finally, I had a great time attending Back Room last night. Even just listening was so satisfying. But now I really need to see my eye doctor... you all got a little fuzzy around the edges after a while.

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    1. Deana! it was so nice to see you last night--I really enjoyed the event and do believe Hank is a genius! My hub bought a nice LED lantern today so we are all set. But you're right, we should have a flashlight in the car!

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    2. It was such a joy to see you! I was applauding--and now we know it's Deee-na, xooxo

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  31. Lucy, great post today! Thinking of all of you this morning.

    How are we doing? Happy that Biden won both the electoral college votes AND the popular vote. These fraud accusations are ludicious! We ALL are wearing masks and venturing out as little as possible. Only to go grocery shopping and essential errands. It is supposed to rain tomorrow on Tuesday, which California really needs in a time of drought.

    We ordered the smallest turkey, which will still be more than a few people can eat. However, we will have lots and lots of leftovers for days, maybe weeks. Looks like we will Not have a Thanksgiving gathering with the extended family this year. We do not want to take chances. I am hoping that we all can have a Zoom party. We will see.

    Yes, I have been feeling grumpy and stressed for quite a while. As long as this pandemic is ongoing. I am working very hard to manage these feelings by focusing on what I CAN DO. Since there are so many books to read, I am feeling very blessed. I just finished reading a heartfelt memoir by Jacqueline Winspear titled THIS TIME NEXT YEAR WE'LL BE LAUGHING. I am reading a cute romance novel titled the Little Cafe in Copenhagen and I am savoring the reading about hygge. I started reading the book the night before Election Day and on Election Day. Perhaps that was a good omen that I started the re-read of the hygge book?

    About topics for guest posts, I have lots of ideas. This morning's post was wonderful as usual.

    IDEAS:

    - A guest post with Jacqueline Winspear about her Maisie Dobbs novels and/or her memoir ?

    - A post about Thanksgiving reading ? or Holiday movies ?

    - A post about Jolabokaflod (Icelandic Christmas book flood ) ?

    - A post about Christmas traditions (and / or Hanukah for ppl who do not celebrate Xmas) ?

    - a guest post with Abby who blogs about Scandinavian noir (Crime by the Book) ?

    - A guest post with Jungle Reds interviewing owners of their local indie bookstores ?

    Happy Monday,
    Diana

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    1. Diana, what great ideas--thank you! The memoir from J Winspear caught my eye too.

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    2. Lucy, I just finished the memoir and it is on my list top favorites of this year.

      Thanks! I just thought of these ideas off the top of my head.

      Diana

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    3. FABULOUS! All great ideas. Thank you!

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  32. I think I'm more sad than angry. We have a family who spends the holidays together. I did then for years, then one son and his wife took over Christmas Eve and the other son took over Thanksgiving. For the past five years, I have opted out because they all live in split-level houses which I can't handle with rolling walker so I was sent food and gifts in smaller visits at our house. This is the first year they will not be together in 54 years. Christmas will be worst because we lost my twin sister in April due to Covid. (She did everything right. Followed all the government rules some of which now proved to be wrong. Masks, don't go to hospital so she waited, no testing. She stayed home and Covid was brought to her before the shutdown. Anyway that's another story.) Another sister moved out of state so we knew things would be different, but didn't expect Christmas to be cancel altogether for us. Too many of us are "at risk" people. All I can say is thank heaven for Facetime and telephones.

    So I will cook a turkey breast for Hubby and me which I will cut in half. As for recipes, I recently made a turkey wrap with leftover cut-up turkey. I used red peppers cut into matchsticks, lettuce, graded radish, and a dress made from mayo, ketchup, and relish with a touch of paprika and wrapped it all in a tortilla. I only made them because I knew Hubby wouldn't eat turkey salad. The wrap was delicious.

    Looking forward to a large family party one day...soon. Hope you all have the best holiday possible. Stay safe and please wear a mask.

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    1. thank you Pat. And I'm so sorry about the loss of your twin. That makes a hard year even harder. xoxo

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  33. I have been following the Jungle Reds for a long time now (thanks, Lucy!) and it was one of the first blogs I started to read. Columns like today remind me why. It's not just the great books and fun stuff you write about but that I feel I have been lucky enough to be part of a like-minded group that values differences and adventure but also thinks it's okay to be careful and cautious so we can stay safe and be around for future adventures. My husband and I have not been inside anywhere but our home except for medical facilities since we started self-distancing back in mid-March. And it's okay. Yes, I miss just running around and the Bouchercon that was to be almost in my back yard this year and all the visits I had planned to see family and welcome 2 new babies. But I just grind my teeth when I read as I did this morning someone say Christmas is "probably not gonna be possible" this year or that some governor banned Thanksgiving. And the election - just ugh. Our adult granddaughter makes the occasional Costco run and does pickups for other things, and if people are misbehaving we tell her just skip it. If we can't order it we can figure out how to do without it for now.

    It's usually just the 3 of us for Thanksgiving so it won't be a big change, but we won't be able to take my granddaughter to her favorite restaurant for her birthday - but her birthday won't be cancelled ;-). We had started a tradition of having the great-grandcooties here for the Christmas break but they are all healthy and there is Zoom for this year.

    Thanks for another great post, ladies, and keep inspiring us to hang in there. When we would ask an elderly church member how she was doing she would smile and say, "Hanging in, hanging on." That's what we just need to keep doing.

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    1. we are so glad to have you as part of this community! I love the grandcooties:). Yes, hang in and hang on and check in and keep reading. xox

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    2. The grandcooties! You are fabulous.

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  34. I meant to add how totally wonderful the Back Room was last night. I had to scoot out at eight (Eastern), so I missed chatting with Jennifer Chow and the ending, but it was so very well run. Agree, Hank is a genius, and hearing the voices of Roberta, Jenn, Alexia, and Jennifer was a real treat!

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