Today is Wednesday and we are diving into all my Thanksgiving prep…And due to the grocery shopping being so crazy, we are leaving blogger limbo bit and entering into a more live blogging style of blogging where I blog as I go along, prepping.
I have done very little, and am about to kick it into gear, doing some of my thirty minute sprints of cleaning where deep clean hard for 30 minutes and reward myself with a break. It tends to get things cleaned, fast.
Also helpful is having a good to do list, which I suggest everyone make now. like our grocery list, we need this list to have every element it will require. I break mine down into everything, including lighting the candles and incense before guests arrive and doing my hair and makeup. I break down every single thing I need to do before guests arrive for Thanksgiving, and I tackle it. I sometimes have a whole section just for “pre guests” and the rest is broken down by room. Cooking prep is its own separate section as well.
This encourages you, making you feel like you are checking off items left and right, and completing entire sections. It makes you feel good, and keeps you going in the marathon that is this day and tomorrow.
Make sure you are drinking lots of fluids today, as well, to combat any bloat from the meal, and also to replenish you, as you will be working hard and possibly sweating while you clean and prep an then, finally, cook, the big dinner.
I try to tackle as much of the deep cleaning as possible, and give myself a clean kitchen to work in for the prep. Once all the cleaning is done, I will cut up onions and garlic, then take a shower, hair mask my hair to keep it healthy with all the temperatures I will be dealing with while I cook, and when finish my shower, I will finish my cooking prep. I will be blogging and instagramming all of this on my stories, so hopefully we are connected on social media and I can watch your prep too.
Anyways, my to do list currently two pages long, and I want to knock some stuff off of it, so I am going to wrap this up for now, and update when I have some stuff knocked off the list.
Well, it is now nearly midnight on Wednesday, so I am glad I posted the other blog earlier. This blog will have to go up tomorrow, and my regular blogging schedule can resume. So, tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and today is the prep day.
I had to go to another grocery store, because the first one didn’t have everything on the list. Thankfully, we were able to get the rest of everything today. I tackled some of the cleaning, and most of the food prep. I still have the pre company cleaning to do tomorrow, but I will be able to knock that out in under thirty minutes. I have a couple more prep things to do, like the turkey and the potatoes, but that shouldn’t take too long, and I can also tackle first thing in the morning, which I have done many Thanksgivings in the past.
I need to do a bunch of writing still, and I am running out of time, but I wanted to at least touch back with this blog and detail what I do on my prep, usually.
So, I try to do all my produce prep on Wednesday. All the mincing, dicing, chopping, peeling, the night before, so I can grab and go. This means today I minced a ton of garlic, diced a bunch of onion, chopped celery, chives, broccoli, and grated cheese. I also made up the cheese ball and wrapped it in almonds for tomorrow. Potatoes are not done, but, not bad. I can finish everything I have left in produce prep, pretty quickly.
The veggie trays were trash at the store, for way too much, so we grabbed a few things and some stuff for dip, and now we will have our own veggie tray, with cheese, cheeseball, and crackers, along with some dips and chips.
Today I also broke apart the bread, seasoned, and toasted it, and tomorrow I will assemble the entire dressing and bake it, according to my timeline, which I have been adjusting all day.
I have told guests to arrive by 4:20, and I will have appetizers by 4:30. dinner around 6:00. Some people will be “swing by” and others will be here for the evening, but we plan on accommodating with a nice menu, delicious snacks, and great bud.
We picked up some prerolls, which are two grams a pop and are covered in wax and hash, and I also rolled some joints for tomorrow. I will likely roll some more tomorrow morning. I still need to wash my hair, but I am already running behind, and if I want to be able to style my hair at all, I probably shouldn’t have it super freshly washed. Long hair people will know what I mean by that.
Thankfully, I still have a tiny bit of dry shampoo, and a hairstyle I keep in my back pocket that tends to look cute, so I will pair that will a simple, comfy, casual outfit and a positive attitude, and some makeup, for my look for tomorrow.
I still have a good amount to do, but, the lesson here is no matter how much you try, like can get in your way. It isn’t the cards you are dealt, but how you play your hand, in this case, and thankfully, Thanksgiving is something I can always do, and I am looking forward to tomorrow.
We have a delicious line up of food planned, and most of my food prep is done so all I have to do Is finish the cleaning and keep on top of it, while I host my friends. Thankfully, we have such a small space, I can talk and cook, because it is all right there. Huzzuh. Haha.
Anyways, I wanted to write more, but the holiday is getting in the way. Hopefully tomorrows I can detail more about Thanksgiving. The blog after that should be fun too so, as I will be spending a few days with my parents, one of with will be at the renaissance fair.
So, make sure you check back for the future blogs, they should be full of fun.
And as that this blog is going up in the morning, and as I type this it is already after midnight…
I don’t know if I will squeeze in my big prep day blog for Thanksgiving prep in this blog, we shall see, but I wanted to blog this very big moment.
As some of you may remember, I recently designed some frequently requested merchandise for my often quoted “Don’t let the zombies get you down.” When I originally designed them, I wasn’t able to afford the samples, but now I can, sort of.
Bret went ahead and made some of his own merchandise as well, and we both ordered some samples to see how the quality tuns out and make sure that we are putting our names on something we both like, before making our next few lines of merchandise. I, personally, have a few things planned for this little growing family on line, mostly for myself, but I think some of you guys will be excited for the items I have planned, as well.
In the meantime, I test the company and the quality of the merchandise with a sample order, and focus my energy while I wait for the order to arrive, on being grateful that I was able to order some merchandise samples before the year was out, and get that much closer to the life I am hoping to lead.
A year ago, I honestly didn’t think I would get to here, not this fast. Even being able to order my own samples with some extra money…Did not see that coming.
I mean, we all hear the usual “get up and grind for gains” but its hard to believe you really can just get out there and live the life you want. Sure, sometimes life gets in the way, but, largely, if we do get up, and go put ourselves out there, and keep working at it, we do see results.
They may not be fast, but they are great.
Sure, you may not have a thousand blog followers, but having 100 is amazing. Having 80 is great. Hell, having ten is awesome.
And if you keep working at it, you get to keep growing, and getting better and better, until you achieve the life you wanted.
I am by no means done with my blog’s growth, no, it is merely just beginning, but, I am so much further than I thought I would be a year ago, in every part of my life, and ordering samples for my merchandise is a big moment, I think, so I opted to go ahead and blog it.
Pretty fucking cool.
Anyways, it is now after one in the morning and I still have a ton left to do, before getting a few hours of sleep and going to work tomorrow so, I bid you all adieu.
Greetings and salutations again, dearest blog readers!
I woke up VERY late today, and also missed much of my morning tea, so not morning caffeine, and forgot to pack a breakfast. Additionally, I am having a not great hair day, I feel bloated, oh, and did I mention I haven’t had any fucking caffeine?
So I got to work, and opted to make a cup of coffee. The creamer, usually available, gone, likely due to the many non office staff that come up and “sneak a little”. Whatever. So, I have some coconut milk that isn’t expired and smelled fine, but when poured into my coffee was rancid, and that ruined my first cup of coffee. I then fought with the coffee maker, spilling water everywhere, and now, finally, have a cup of coffee brewing. I think I just heard it finish, and will go doctor it up with powdered non expired creamer and sweetener.
And I’m back. With coffee. It doesn’t taste great, (making me wonder if the coconut milk was really to blame) but it should give me the jolt I need to get through the morning and early afternoon before I leave to go start working on all I have for Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo, because I am still 10-15k words shy of finishing NaNoWriMo, and I will be damned if I don’t finish that.
I don’t care that in this month I have written FAR more than the total. I don’t care that I deleted about as many words as I needed, when I decided I didn’t like the way the story was heading. (Okay so I do care about that, a little, but, the quality matters. I don’t believe in the “any word that sticks” mentality that many NaNoWriMo’s believe in.)
I don’t care that I have long accomplished and proven to myself that I can write everyday, I want to also prove that I can do NaNoWriMo. I have committed myself to few writing challenges this year, I’ll be damned if I make some punk ass mistake like not not finishing one.
Anyways. We have a potluck here at work that has really angered me to the point of no return, namely because it wasn’t planned, it was dumped on us, and I suddenly am responsible for shit I never asked to be responsible for. The company wanted to save its money and instead made its employees spend theirs.
So, instead of ranting on that, I am going to finish up some tasks I have here at work, and go home to work on my writing!
Anyways, More later. For now, I write and work.
The day is winding down. Finally getting close to done for the day, but I still have quite a bit of writing to do when I leave. This blog entry, I think, I will publish tonight or, I will publish it tomorrow morning, but I am hoping to publish the big “prep” blog for the big day of Thanksgiving prep…Which I haven’t had time to start yet.
Thankfully, I have a handy dandy list I have been working on, which I will be able to use and distill into a blog post.
Anyways. All this to say, I am going to dive into work and finish up as soon as possible so I can get home, attack that list, attack my blog, and get 5-10k words written.
Late Tuesday Night
Holy Crap. LONG DAY and the grocery shopping was CRAZY. BUT, I have to also get the prep blog written for tomorrow, and NaNoWriMo, and prep for Thanksgiving….
So I will be posting this blog as is for my morning blog tomorrow, and try and knock my prepping blog out in the morning/afternoon. A bit of in the moment blogging among the blogging limbo chaos.
This will go up first thing when I wake up because Bret needs to get to bed and I want to join him, see you all then!
Late Wednesday Morning
Oh its nearly noon! I am knee deep in prep and I am kind of behind so, here is this blog, minus much editing and without too many pictures, so I can get this up and get the next one started and edited and up, while also doing some prep…hopefully it all lines up and I catch everything up soon.
That’s right, where I have to blog about things I haven’t done yet, to get the information to you, so we can follow the holiday schedule, together.
This is the second day of this weeks blog series, prepping for Thanksgiving. Although we did discuss the whole thing on Sunday, so this is the third blog, after the dry brine blog yesterday. Whatever, please feel free to read them if you haven’t yet.
Anyways, as you will recall from those blogs, namely the overview, today is the shopping day, and I have been prepping for this for a while.
But, I do still have some things I need to buy, namely the produce and some side dish items.
The way I approach my list begins with the menu. I first make the menu, and itemize every item needed for each item, including the pan and utensil.
Then, I take that itemized list, and cross check it with anything I already have. This allows me to finish my pan and dish check as well, to make sure I have items needed. There is nothing worse than needing a pan to make something and all the stores are closed.
So, I check off anything I already have, any seasonings I have, any pans I have, and make I have anything. I then check these items off to avoid buying duplicates and make sure any missed items make it onto the list.
I also make sure to check how many other key items I need. Some people use plastic or paper bowls, cups and cutlery. Some people need to grab dried sage. Some people may be running low on some usual staples, like flour, for gravy, or plastic wrap for covering dishes.
Some people also may find themselves without Tupperware, like we are. This something else that needs to be accounted for.
Lucky for you, companies pay people to know stuff like this, and you are able to normally pick up nice sets for cheap.
Don’t be fooled by some of the sales happening on Black Friday weekend- often times those same Tupperware containers on GREAT deals if you are willing to face a stampede at Walmart, are available the week before, at Kroger, without any drama.
Either way, make sure storing your leftovers is taken into consideration.
Please remember that you will need more than one onion, or more than a couple of potatoes, etc, when you make your list. I have seen more than one friend say “I have a clove of garlic” and omit it from their list, just to need way more later. Basically, keep in mind the quantities you will need. Often, the items are cheaper per when purchased in bulk anyways.
I also urge you to remember things that are crucial to everyday life, but may be overlooked.
You will be having more company, likely, or more people in and out of your home, so you would be wise to make sure you have plenty of toilet paper, hand soap, and hand towels.
I also suggest making sure you include some drink options, alcoholic or otherwise, for the meal, as well as for the day before and after, when you either won’t want to go to the store, as they are mobbed, or have other plans.
I know it is hard, but the key here is to not waste a single moment on Wednesday having to make a last minute trip to the store…or if you DO forget something, make it something you can have delivered to you. Seriously. The stores are bad enough on Tuesday, you don’t need to go on Wednesday when it is even worse…and all those people are behind and grumpy.
They are Thanksgiving zombies who want to steal your joy.
Don’t let these Thanksgiving zombies steal your joy.
So, make sure your list is complete. Make check mark boxes by each item, so you can clearly mark off each item when it goes into your cart. This is not your final list, but you will want to check off the items as you place them onto your master.
I take this list very seriously, to keep my cost down, my time in the store down, and my spirits up.
Take this list, and sort it by section. I tend to do it by produce, which is broken down into the herbs, fruits, and veggies. I then have a section for baked goods, frozen, canned goods, dried goods, and a catagory for “other”. On years where I have too many others, I will sort it into “Paper Goods” and others. On days when I have had to tackle decor purchases or outfit purchases in the same trip, I will make these sections separate as well.
Once you have this sorted list, make a final copy with check boxes beside each items, double checking to make sure you have every single item you may need.
Finally, armed with this list (for me, it’s typed, printed, preferably on card stock), make your way to the store. If you are able, and it is safe for you to do so, have cash and plastic.
The machines go down and lines get longer and I have gotten to go next because I had one or the other or both…If you can, do this, and you can possibly save yourself tons of time waiting in line.
It also may not be feasible for you to do so, and the way you tackle this shopping trip will save you plenty of time, so don’t worry.
This list and process will also keep your cost down.
Now, when you get to the store, you can expect to find it crowded. Keep your spirits high. I won’t tell you how to handle other people. I personally use a neutral to friendly smile, because I know plenty of people are not being their best self, and I don’t want to add to it.
So, armed with a smile, cart, and my carefully crafted list, (and a pen!) I dive in. Ideally, I would suggest the heavy stackable stuff first, so grab those drinks, grab any cases of water or canned goods, grab the heavy stuff. If you have pans to buy, buy them, you can stack stuff inside of them and save space in the cart. Grab these things first, and all dried goods, then grab produce, dairy, and chilled/frozens. Depending on your list, you may need to modify this order, but just keep in mind how long you will be shopping, IE save the cold stuff for later in the shopping trip. Also keep in mind the weight of the items, and store the sturdier stuff down below. Also avoid crushing delicate breads or produce.
The list will help you make your way through, because you broke it all down, and spent so much time on the list you are familiar with it. Make sure you check off items on your list with that pen you brought with you, and be sure to keep some extra’s on you. Things get crazy out there in the wild of the grocery store the week of a big dinner holiday.
Stick to your budget, and budget to get yourself a little treat for surviving the store. Don’t get rushed, and be calm. Avoid making any last minute “stress cuts” from the list, which can mess up more than one item. For example, if I were to get stressed about cost and decide to cut the cheese ball part of the appetizer, I would be making a mistake, because I need the bacon for the green bean casserole, I need the cheese, I have the cream cheese and almonds for it already, and the chives are growing in the kitchen.
I wouldn’t save any money, and I would lose not only one appetizer, but one main side dish that many people look forward to. Sure, I have made it without bacon, but Bret and I rarely treat ourselves to bacon and this is one of the times we do.
If you do make cuts, make sure you know what your cuts with affect.
The whole point of the list and menu planning is to keep the cost down by sticking to similar spice pallets and ingredients so things can be reused and costly one time things are avoided.
But, do whatever you have to, get the list filled and load up your car. Bring any grocery bags you have yourself, but understand that you may not have enough. Those plastic bags can be reused with cat litter, as trash bags in bathroom trash cans, or to pick up dog poop. Tons of other uses exist, stroll through Pinterest sometime. I think I have some saved on my page too.
Once you get your groceries home, treat yourself to whatever your treat you planned on was, and congratulate yourself on a trip managed. Double check your list as you put things away and stay sorted, make sure you haven’t forgotten any items. It is better to go back now then deal with it again tomorrow.
Congrats! You did it! You got through the shopping trip! Tomorrow, we tackle the biggest part of our holiday prep.
The weird limbo between posting the content people need the day it should drop for it to be topical, and sticking to your usual “in the moment: style.
Meet: Abbi’s planned chaos.
This is the blog that needs to go up on Monday morning, to outline the Monday Prep I do for Thanksgiving, and also follow my usual work day posting schedule. So, to keep my in the moment blogging feeling, I am going to discuss what is happening, while I prep this section, to help people also know what to do before it needs to be done. No point in putting up a how to do a three day dry brine blog the day after it needs to be started.
It is currently Saturday night and I am hard at work blogging my ass off to be ready for the week, and also trying to do some NaNoWriMo writing. The concern with my blog made me turn to writing and updating it, however, forcing me to not only finish and post a blog, but write the holiday prep overview blog for tomorrow, and then start this one, for Monday. My goal is to have one blog to get people a chance to go grab a turkey and their brine supplies, and be ready to go on my time line on Monday.
I also have two skin care blogs I can edit and post, and a third I have pictures for and can write quickly enough.
I have no small amount of writing on the NaNoWriMo to do, but as I mentioned, I have blogging looming over me, and as I did not mention, but will do so now, I am having trouble with which way to go next on the story line, and a bit of what I call writer’s laziness, because I keep not writing scenes I know I need to write because they are heavy with dialogue and major story plot development, and require me to be more attentive with my writing.
Literally, too lazy to write the stuff I need to write so I write other parts of the story instead. But, alas, I know I need to write it. I also know how I think. So, to remove any of my excuses, I am physically removing them, by catching up the blog to the point of “okay now I have to write.”
I already removed many of my prep and chore excuses so…All in all it is working well… considering I used prepping for the holidays and chores around the house to keep me from blogging, and I am knee deep in blog catch up and writing for the upcoming week…so…he heh he I am great at playing against myself.
The key is having a worthy adversary.
Onto the Monday of Thanksgiving week prep:
But, not the Monday of my week. I will be doing this in a few hours, after this blog is posted, and in that one, I will discuss the prep for tomorrow, which you will read again, before I do it…hence, the weird blogger limbo I am in if I want to be topical.
Monday is for the brine.
I like to do a three day brine on my turkey. I know there can be many schools of thought about brining, but I have read most of them, and from my reading and my turkey experience, which is now more than decade, I can safely say, I trust me with turkey cooking. Brine your damn turkey.
You don’t even have to do it my way, but, reading this will help you find a way that works for you.
First, I do not do a wet brine, because I seriously do not have space for that, and I honestly think I a dry brine is nicer.
I use salt, brown sugar, dry and fresh herbs for my dry brine. Because I use a lot of brown sugar, I do tend to do a light and safe rinse.
How light and safe you ask? Very. And it is a constantly evolving to make it safer process.
But, I have done it in the past, a full rinse off and out, and it has led to great turkey. Just be clean and safe.
Anyways, back to putting the brine on.
I mix a ton of salt, brown sugar, pepper, onion, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and sage. Sometimes I will use some fresh herbs, but I always add fresh onion and garlic to the dried versions with the dried herbs, brown sugar, salt and pepper.
I coat the entire bird in the dry brine, and make sure to work some of the fresh herbs, garlic and onion, under the skin. I make sure to form a thick paste of the dry brine on the top of the turkey, and this is, I suspect, a key part of the breast meat on my turkey staying juicy.
I cover the entire bird with the dry brine, I put the fresh ingredients under the skin, and fill the cavity with fresh onion and garlic. I also press some dry brine on the inside of the turkey cavity and it yields great results.
Once the brine is on, I put the turkey in a baking bag. I don’t use the bags for baking, but they keep the turkey safe from contaminating other items or getting anything on it. Some people say you need to dry the skin out to get it brown and crackled but with my brine I never have a problem with it, and the bag keeps it safe.
Then I put the turkey that is in the bag, in the pan I will be roasting it in. If I worry it may leak out of the bag, I will line the pan, but either way, the turkey and the pan it will be baked it are brining in the fridge by Monday evening, to make for a juicy bird on Thursday. Storing it in the pan lets me account for the pan and keep it with the bird to prevent anything from happening to the pan.
You never know. I have read horror stories.
As I have mentioned, I like this holiday, and I have worked hard and read a lot to master the art of hosting a Thanksgiving dinner. One day, someone will hand me a credit card and say “Host a Thanksgiving dinner in my large home” and I will be over the moon.
I am trying to master my winter holiday dinner in the same way, but I haven’t locked down that menu. It is a bigger holiday, and Bret and I are trying to create our own traditions, and the holidays have so many as it is, so we haven’t isolated that just yet.
But, I bet we will get there, eventually.
So, that is how I start my dry brine turkey. I try to do this no later than Monday night, but I prefer to do so on a Sunday night. An ideal dry brine is between 1-3 days, and I like to be as close to 3 as possible.
But, if you read my prep overview, you may recall that I plan on prepping on turkey on Wednesday. I am doing this because the turkey still gets a three day dry brine, even with the brine being gently rinsed/removed from the bird, and the bird redressed with the rest of the fresh mix of herbs and seasonings, with no brown sugar and less salt, than the dry brine has. This way, any rinsing isn’t done when the rest of the prep and tools are out, at the night, before I disinfect the surfaces, and the bird is fully prepped for baking the next day, getting the best of both styles of dry brining, a preseasoning that sits for three days, or a dry rub coating brine, like I do.
Now, back to present tense, to avoid more Blogger limbo…
Currently, I am catching up on blogs, finalizing my thanksgiving prep, which means a few lists and timelines, and trying to catch up my writing, and also get ahead on my writing, for NaNoWriMo. I was proud to be ahead, but I am now behind once more, and am rapidly running out of time to finish NaNoWriMo, before the holidays arrive, ruining my chances.
We are DAYS from the end of the month, and I need to finish NaNoWriMo before the weekend is up, because by the end of next weekend, I will be out of time, and have no time to finish it.
So, it is with that urgency, that I will be forcing myself to write the hard stuff in the NaNoWriMo story, or write something at least, to catch up and get myself in gear. 2020 is going to be my year, and that starts now.
I am 32 now, I can do this!
Also, if I can prep this kind of Thanksgiving masterpiece, I can definitely finish NaNoWriMo too.
Because Blogmas is RIGHT AFTER THAT, and I am pretty well ready for Blogmas, so why not finish NaNoWriMo up well, so I can say that I completed all my writing challenges I gave myself.
All while kicking the holidays square in the nads.
So, until later, when I finish this blog and edit it, I bid you all adieu.
Greetings and Salutations again, sweet blog readers! I am just checking in with you all to finish up this blog. I just posted my Sunday prep blog to encourage you to all follow along with me at home to prep for the holiday and now I am finishing this blog off and trying to get some photo’s taken to allow me to have some original artwork with this blog…tricky considering I will not be brining my turkey until later in the day on Monday, and this blog is going up Monday Morning.
My goal is to take as many pictures as possible during the process, and I will post them to my socials and on the blog, so I will also have them next year. If you follow me on Instagram, you will see my videos on it.
Now I am watching some YouTube content from a zombie heavy creator I like, and wrapping up some blog needs, before diving back into the Kaya story to finish up my NaNoWriMo.
I also want to mix up the dry brine ingredients so I can take a picture of that, and post that for this blog as well, to show what my dry brine ends up looking like…and also because I suspect that letting the flavors all meld together for a day may help the brine along, and I will also take any and all extra helps to really knock this meal out of the park.
I love cooking for my friends, and this meal is such a great chance to bring people together and share in good foods and nice times.
I hope you are planning a celebration of fun. I know for some people this holiday is just another chance for family drama, and for others this is just another reminder of a messy history we refuse to reconcile…And it is those things. But it can also be a day for you to start your own traditions.
Hell, you don’t even have to make turkey. I make turkey because I love turkey dinners. I love this meal. It is delicious.
Anyways Tomorrow is Monday, and I only have a two day week this week, at work, but I have blogging every day, and of course every day of Blogmas, and I have NaNoWriMo to finish, so all in all this week looks to be crazy busy.
So, I think I will wrap this blog up here, so I can go take a picture of my dry brine mix for this blog to help anyone following along at home. I hope you do decide to follow my timeline for the prep of the holidays, I really do believe this method leaves tons of time for you, and leaves you time to enjoy the meal you made.
Because you should enjoy this meal, not be bitter about it.
Be sure to check back each day this week to prep along with me, and see how I approach grocery shopping, my big prep day on Wednesday, and the big day itself.
Today we have a blog ALL ABOUT my Thanksgiving prep! As you may or may not know, I love this damn holiday.
Not it’s evil roots, I hate that. Obviously. Join me for dinner and you will hear all about it.
I love the eating. I love cooking, I love eating, and I love hyper planning and organizing something to the enjoyment of my friends.
And that is where my love of Thanksgiving comes from. Mostly. Anyways, the point isn’t to unpack why I like the holiday, the point is to puke piping hot organizational crazy all over you to help you prepare for the upcoming Holiday.
Every year, I will go through Pinterest, double checking my time tables to ensure I am ready for the holidays, and every year I roll my eyes at how several admirable, but kind of…lacking…. Holiday Dinner Prep Blogs can be.
So, here is my Holiday Prep Blog…And yes, even though this is the start of the blog, I know this will be a multi parter…so I think in prep for Blogmas, I will just blog it as a multi part blog as part of the Holiday Week- because for me, much of the week goes to Thanksgiving and NaNoWriMo prep.
Thus, this is Part one.
It may only be a few parts, but it will likely be segment in the upcoming daily blogs, if nothing else.
A quick disclaimer before we get started re: Blog Limbo – You will not seen my fully brined turkey until tomorrow’s blog, because this is MY timeline, meaning, in order for you to do it WITH ME, I need to post it the morning I will be doing it. To follow along live, please follow me on instagram (@abbigrasso) where I will be posting videos and stories about my prep throughout the week. If you have twitter, some of those will be posted there as well, because I have my posts save automatically to my phone, so I can share them elsewhere. My name on twitter, and all social media, is the same: @abbigrasso.
Basically, pictures this year will be delayed a day, but next year, when we do this again, I will have pictures to use, so hit that follow button and make sure you are here to watch this blog grow up in the next year.
Continuing on with the blog:
So, it is the Saturday before Thanksgiving and SOME people are being reminded to move frozen turkeys to the fridge, as to allow it time to thaw.
(Note, at the time of the writing of this blog it is Saturday. I will be posting on a Sunday, because my plan involves you having already started thawing, or, having a thawed turkey by Monday, to follow along with my prep for the week.)
For me, starting your thawing process now makes you late.
Because I like to brine my turkey for longer than a day, and I have never had bad results from brining so maybe my advice is good.
I mean, this is my blog after all, if you are here, you are likely here for my perspective and advice so…here is my advice for the turkey.
Brine that sucker.
I do a dry brine, and it works beautifully. I am told and have read that a wet brine works well too, but frankly, I love a dry brine and it is the space I have, a dry brine is perfect.
So, for my dry brine, I gather up the stuff needed, starting with brown sugar, herbs, and salt.
You brine, namely, to make it more juicy and flavorful, and the following is roughly what I do.
I mix brown sugar and salt together, adding in onion and garlic powder, pepper, thyme, rosemary, sage, and any other herbs you personally enjoy on your turkey. I try to do some fresh garlic and onion, as well as some of the herbs, like rosemary, sage, and thyme, but I also use them for the day of baking and many recipes for dinner, and try to stretch the good fresh stuff for the dinner.
Even when I have a fully stocked herb garden, it goes fast, so I try to keep some dried on hand…but my goal is to one day use all herbs from my garden, and if I do, of course you, my dear blog readers, will see it.The dried herbs help me make sure I have them on hand for the brine, however, and I feel that even when I have a well stocked herb garden, I will need some dried stuff for the brine…hopefully I will have dried my own herbs to do so.
So, the Saturday before Thanksgiving I am also generally thawing my turkey…But I am on day two if it. You see: I have a 14.64 lb turkey. You need, on average, one day per 4 lbs of turkey, to thaw.
It will take my bird approximately 3 1/2 days to thaw.
I like to do a three day brine.
I also don’t like to be stressed or rushed on the day of, which is where MY timeline comes in. Read this entire post to see my reasoning, and make sure it works for you, before following it, but I will say most people comment on how well ran my dinners go, and how shocking it is that I am able to entertain and mingle with guests while also cooking…This is in the planning.
I personally want to have my turkey prepped for baking before I go to bed Wednesday night. This means I need to have my brine done by Wednesday evening, and the bird prepped and in the pan ready to go. Some people, as I will discuss on tomorrow’s blog, consider their bird dressed with a dry brine. My dry brine is thicker and wouldn’t be well suited for this style. Read the blog tomorrow to see how I brine.
So, I start brining Monday. In this year’s case, I will not get the fresh herbs until Tuesday, and will maybe add a few, but the dried herbs, and more importantly, salt and brown sugar, I have on hand…because I have been prepping for the the holiday in small ways for a little while.
Anyways: This is MY breakdown for the holidays, and if you want to join me for this plan and schedule, DM me, let’s start a little DM group, and get through it together. Even if you aren’t doing a full turkey, let’s talk about managing and getting through the holidays. Monday marks the START of the the Holiday Week, but some prep, begins over the weekend, namely the following:
Thawing your turkey– One day= 4 lbs thawed.
Finalizing menu– Yes or no, is it making an appearance on the table. include any salads or appetizers, and of course pies.
Break down menu into itemized menu– doing this helps to create the grocery list and helps with the ease of planning. This seriously helps you plan and makes sure nothing is forgotten. It also helps to manage the cost. Thanksgiving dinners tend to share many of the same ingredients, so you can buy larger, often times cheaper amounts. Others are items you may already have on hand, so you can avoid buying duplicates by…
Cross checking list with personal home inventory- This prevents buying more dried sage than you need, or buying more potatoes when maybe you actually already grabbed a large bag that needs to be used this week.
Finalizing shopping list– I make mine to include the pans I will need, and simply check mark off any pans, herbs, or groceries I already own.
Pan check – Make sure you have pans for all the food you have on your menu
Last minute cleaning projects- (Please note, your big projects you should have done by now on my schedule, but if you didn’t, never fear, clean up now. I am likely going to also start some cleaning blogs to help people like you so comment or DM if this is something you like) You will have to do the following no matter the cleaning you have not forgotten.
Clean the fridge out– You will have major amounts of food storage requirements, and you have no time for old, rotting foods. Toss everything old. Take EVERYTHING out of the fridge, clean the walls, clean the wracks, reline the shelves or drawers, replace only what is not expired. You need room for all the food, you need to be able to easily locate the food you will be prepping, and you will have company snooping in your fridge, don’t make them uncomfortable with the cleanliness of the place that food is stored in.
Optional juice/water cleanse: I do cucumber water and lots of fruit, but I also eat, so not a full cleanse, just a chill one. I try to eat light and healthy if possible. If not, I drink even more fluids to help account for that. Lots of cucumber water for me.
Double checking invite list– I know some people want to have a head count, for the holidays I keep it loose, I simply make sure I have extended an invite to everyone. For some people, this may be a final headcount.
Final Guest Checks– This check I do for guests who have confirmed, I make sure any preferred dishes they enjoy, are being included. For me, this meant that we had a cauliflower and cheese for Lenyn, wine for Amanda, and an assortment of pies based on guest polling that leads to Apple, Pecan, and Pumpkin. This time can and should also be used to verify any food allergies are major issues. For examples some people can’t or won’t do nuts in a stuffing, others need a gluten free alternative. Be aware.
If you care about someone enough to invite them to your home for your meal, you should care enough to make sure they have something they will enjoy, and also have nothing that may accidentally kill them.
I am not saying don’t invite someone with a turkey allergy to dinner, but maybe have a couple vegan options if you have a confirmed guest that eats vegan.
Most of my final preps involve making sure I am ready for the following week. I try to buy certain things before THE BIG DAY.
The big shopping day is TUESDAY, which is when you go and buy everything you will need…and if you do your list and planning properly, you will only make one stop to the store this week, and trust me, that is normally more than enough.
Monday: We brine. As we discussed earlier, brining is done to increase moisture and taste. The salt helps with the moisture, the brown sugar helps with the browning. Herbs help, in my opinion, with opening up and flavoring the meat. Mix the salt, brown sugar and herbs together, to your satisfaction, and rub that shit all over your turkey. I mean it. All over. Get all up in there and add some onion and garlic inside the bird itself.
Put the turkey inside a baking bag, and put that bag in a lined pan. We do this to avoid cleaning anything later, because we are TRYING to not stress ourselves out this holiday season, eh?
Tuesday: We shop. Armed will a well articulated, typed, and organized list, we venture into the stores. We steer clear of the turkey’s, that section is a madhouse and is full of people who foolishly think they can thaw a turkey in time, or are having to buy a thawed out turkey, at a higher price, and still don’t have time for a long brine. We will be armed with a list and a smile, remembering that people may not be in their best selves or forms on this day, but that doesn’t mean WE have to be brought down to their level.
Wednesday: This day, this day I will be blogging about at length when it happens, but please know, this is our major day, and this is the day that will make or break a great Thanksgiving. Wednesday is the day to make the holiday your friend. You work on Wednesday to enjoy Thursday.
Yes. Thanksgiving is the one time where you can prep on a Wednesday to avoid the Thursday curse.
Wednesday is when we prep most of our food. We cut and cube our potatoes, soaking them in water. We cut any and all produce that can be cut and stored, for me, this is most of the stuff. We chop all the onions that will be needed, and garlic too. This way, our hands aren’t smelling all weird all day, and we don’t ruin our makeup crying over onions. We don’t waste valuable time chopping. We chop on Wednesday and store our chopped ingredients in containers. I chop and mince everything I will need that won’t go bad from doing so.
Please note: this is why the fridge MUST be cleaned out before the holiday, it isn’t just storing the food, it is storing the prepped food.
Chop, mince, rinse, sort, everything you must and seal it in containers. This is also a great chance to double check the ole itemized menu, to ensure you still have the supplies needed for Thanksgiving.
Because sometimes, people will get into the sour cream you set aside for dip, or eat all the celery for a snack.
If I am making Wednesday sound small, please note this section of the overview, just for Wednesday, was over one thousand words. I deleted it, and saved it for that blog, knowing that it will be a long one. I do a lot on Wednesday.
Thursday: Bake the bird, make the dinner, collect accolades, beg someone else to do dishes, and be proud that you nailed it. Also…it is never too soon to start planning for the next big meal, likely a month a way, given the number of holidays we have in the following month.
So: This is the overview of what I do for Thanksgiving prep, which I wanted to lay out for you guys as help for your own plans, more so if you use a brine. Many of the plans on Pinterest don’t brine, or only do a one day brine, and I believe in a three day brine.
Over the next few daily blogs, I will be chronicling the prep each day, so please feel free to join me as I do so.
Greetings and Salutations, my dear sweet blog readers!
When last we spoke, it was the day of my birthday, and as you may recall, I had some major goals for my new year.
I also had an eppihany that I am trying to take into account for my 32nd year on the planet. I have not updated the blog in a a day or so, (Depending on when this goes up) because I have been focusing on some of my goals.
For example, yesterday, in the time I was going to spend blogging and updating, I spent with friends instead. Lenyn came over and we had some much needed hang out time.
While I update this, I am waiting for Amber to come over, and I am cooking dinner for my friends Tina and Kaynell, who are coming over this evening. I am very excited about seeing these friends of mine, as all of them hold dear places in my heart.
As you may recall, one of my goals was to make sure I am not short changing my friends and am prioritizing them, and not getting too self involved in my pursuit of my writing career, that I neglect the people who are supportive of my goals.
I am also doing a cucumber water cleanse, drinking at least a gallon of cucumber water and also some regular water and later I plan on busting open a pomegranate. I have been feeling sluggish so I thought a cleanse or two, mild ones, would be a nice way to restore some energy, and also be better prepared for all the food I will be eating next year with Thanksgiving approaching.
Speaking of, I spent some time yesterday also puttering and prepping for said holidays, and we also got some shopping done, IE: Our Turkey! I also cleaned out the fridge a little, and swept up.
Then I got to sweep up even more and stiffer wet…because my fucking cat schrodinger broke my FUCKING BUBBLER.
I love the bubbler, I use it all the time while I write because its smooth and the bowl size is perfect. My cat jumped up on my desk and managed to slip, and while scrambling, she knocked my bubbler off. Glass was EVERYWHERE, and I am still finding tiny shards. I just finished cleaning all those missing shards up while I got my laptop opened for this blog update.
The adventure never ends, or, as Bret (@pfsrbret) said last night whilst we cleaned up the shards of glass and bong water: “The blog just writes itself sometimes doesn’t it?” Because as I cleaned I was already looking for the life lesson or funny life anecdote about the incident.
And because I am a blogger, here it is:
The cat was scared too, and is even more freaked out then I am. Thankfully, in all the shattering glass and scrambling cat, Shrodinger wasn’t hurt. Nor was Marcie or Chance, our other cat and our dog. Neither Bret nor myself were injured either. I did get pricked by a small piece of glass when I was grabbing my laptop earlier, as mentioned we missed some glass, but, it wasn’t anything more than a prick I would get from a thumb tack. I’ve pricked myself with a thumbtack twice today already while adjusting some of the Christmas lights I have hanging in the kitchen.
That was an expensive bubbler that I used all the time, but now I can go get a new one. My cat is okay. I also just got a new bong from Bret for my birthday so, something something something, circle of life of bongs.
Also, I’ll go buy a new one, and I’m glad my cat isn’t hurt and the new bong wasn’t broken.
It’s later now, Amber stopped by for a visit, which was fantastic, and we had some delightful conversation before she had to return to work. After that, I did some more dishes, worked on the chili, puttered, and worked on my NaNoWriMo a bit, but not to the avail of many words.
Presently, I have Zomboat on, and I am sipping some tea. The chili is all assembled and now I am just waiting for the magic of time to make it into the unstoppable pot of awesome that it is. Once we are twenty or so minutes from wanting food, I’ll need to make up the cornbread.
I made some corn on the cob a few days back and I chopped that off the cob and put most of it into the chili, and the rest I am saving for the cornbread batter, because I always like when real corn is in cornbread.
Tina and Kaynell are coming over later, a belated birthday celebration and to try the new bong and Bret will be home shortly, I hope, so it looks to be a nice evening. I have been doing cucumber water cleanse all day, and I am looking forward to the sinus clean out that my spicey chili can create.
But, I also need to stay up late writing, after Tina and Kaynell leave, because I have to write a bunch more on my NaNoWriMo, and I have a few notes for other blogs I would like to finish this weekend, before the thanksgiving week begins.
As per usual, I will be taking the day before Thanksgiving off, to prep for the holiday, and that will also likely be my last day to really finish off NaNoWriMo, with much of the rest of the weekend, until he first, taken up by the holiday and my mom and dad coming to visit. I want to make sure I am not distracted and not enjoying myself when the come to visit, so I want to only have blogging to concern myself with, in preparation for….BLOGMAS!
Blogmas day one, or 12/1/19 is the Sunday mom and I are going shopping, so my blog will probably center around that, the day after. The day of it will be something about the start of Blogmas…I don’t know yet.
I am looking forward to the start of Blogmas but I know I have no small amount of crap to take care of between now and the first, and then come the first I have a long list of things to take care of as well.
But, I am looking forward to December, despite all of that, and I think this may be a great holiday season, so look forward to 25 days of blogs.
Anyways, I have a few things to tend to this evening, namely writing, and cleaning up after company leaves. I don’t want to be up late, and keep Bret up when he has to work again tomorrow, but I do want to get caught up on my writing, so we shall see what happens. Either way, much of what I wanted to get done this weekend is done, and I have time this week to finish off the prep for the Holiday.
All I have left now is to type up the menu and finalize the time line and shopping list. Tuesday, we do the dreaded trip to the store for our final shopping. Thankfully, we already purchased some of the bigger items, like the turkey and the pan for the turkey. We also already have most of the seasonings we need and the salt and brown sugar needed for my usual three day brine.
So, while I have some prep left to do, I am well on my way to ready to go, and I am super excited for this upcoming week. Then, I get to start planning the holiday festivities. We tend to host friends over for smoke, food, and a general good time, and I want to make sure it is a lovely time for everyone who comes over.
And as you all know, I will be blogging my prep of the holidays and this week, I will likely be posting about my Thanksgiving prep.
But now, I need to get some things ready for the company coming over, so I will update this later, I hope, and It will likely get posted tomorrow, which is Saturday, or late tonight.
Welp, it’s the next day and I still haven’t posted this, and I have already started the next blog, a holiday prep blog, fueled by my own life, so, I figured I should wrap this blog up. My holiday prep, Blogmas prep, and NaNoWriMo work in progress is keeping me super busy, which means nothing is new. I am enjoying my time off, and if time allows, I will blog about that Sunday or Monday.
Wish me luck!
(PS Very little editing or formatting, I wanted to get this up and get back to the writing I am in the middle of, I was literally writing the next blog when I realized I didn’t have this one posted.)
It has been a very fun day, and by fun, I of course mean “What the actual fuck, oh my god, when will this week end.”
But, the problems are mostly sorted, and I am able to (hopefully) settle into an afternoon of peaceful work and catching up on my writing.
Today marks my last day of 31. My last breakfast as 31, was a missed breakfast and my last morning in bed as a 31 year old, I slept in and was late to work.
Hilarious because a few years ago, when I was in a less healthy place, physically and mentally, I was always on time, if not incredibly early, barring things outside of my control.
Now, I am MUCH healthier mentally, I mean, looking back it is WILD how much better I am, mentally, and physically. I weigh more than I did a year ago, but I also know where that weight came from, and that some of it is new muscle. I understand my body is a work in progress with the end result not being a thin frame but a healthy one.
My life is less toxic, with damn near all toxic influences completely cut and removed from my life, in an apartment that I can afford and sustain. Sure, I don’t love my apartment, and my job CAN be toxic, but I am also aware of how very blessed and fortunate I am to have gotten to this point.
I am also in a healthy enough state of mind to make changes as they need to be made, in sustainable enough ways to maintain them as life changes, not temporary fixes. I know what I actually need versus what I want, and i know how to balance all of that with what is happening in my life.
For example, I would like a larger, better lit apartment with a better bathroom, larger kitchen, and a small yard, or at least a patio.
But our apartment is a three minute walk to work, and is INCREDIBLY affordable. Those little gems you can’t find online, that you only find as someone living in the city. It is very pet friendly, they don’t mind that it always smells like weed when I am home, and all in all, it isn’t the worst place in the world. (Although, full disclosure, they could be more attentive with the maintenance. I am sick and tired of my broken sink)
BUT, much as I want to move, I know if I did so we could never put away the money we need to not only grow our business and creative endeavors, but we could never travel, much less move to, a weed legal place, or anywhere at all.
We need to continue to live in a well located place with a small overhead to save our money and live better.
But living in a place you are miserable is bad for your mental health, so I have been working within those parameters.
We will live here for a while, hell, likely until we leave Houston, so, to me, spending some money to update and make it nicer is a better investment.
Consider this: the apartment I would like us to be in would cost us at least 400-500 more per month, and would not be all bills paid, like our place is. EVERY MONTH.
I can spend 400 dollars and make my apartment as nice as those fancier ones, in some key ways. Once.
This has been an ongoing project, 50 here, 25 there, slowly making the apartment better. If you follow the blog you know that I also re-purpose things, like the paint, and since we have a small apartment, one gallon of paint goes a very long way.
Next, I want to add more lighting and some contact paper for the counters, and some of the peel and stick tile to make a back splash for stove.
I wanted to do this by Thanksgiving, but I think it may have to wait until Christmas or the New Year…and I am mature enough to realize that this apartment is also a work in progress, and i have to make sustainable changes to actually better the situation.
This is what I mean by making sustainable changes and begin realistic about what I can change.
If you “can’t” change something, you should still try to improve it.
Sure, I am lucky enough to live in an apartment that is friendly with changes and updates, but plenty other places are too. Additionally, tons of YouTubers have great advice on rental friendly remodels and upgrades, many also give advice for how to keep your security deposit, so give it a look and see what you can change. I am hoping to actually document some of my final changes, for a “how to improve your rental place” blog.
My point being, sometimes you can’t change things, or to do so would only hurt you further. I do not want to return to stressing about bills the way Bret and I have had to in the past.
We could be in that same situation, or worse, if we opted to move to a nicer apartment, because we would need to pay more per month, live further from work, possibly needing a car, and, we would stress more about how to save money, and go on trips…We would never be able to save for our future, and likely our creative goals would take a massive hit…because stress does that.
Instead, we work hard to make our current situation more enjoyable, more tolerable, and in some ways, actually delightful.
A coat of paint really can do a lot, and I am slowly ordering more supplies. I am looking to have at least some new drip pans for the stove, one new burner for our broken burner, and some under cabinet lighting, by Thanksgiving, which is next week.
Overall, I like that I have arrived at this place in my life where I can maturely try and fix problems versus lamenting and hating the problem.
So, my life is totally different a year ago. I was on the path to where I am now, but I wasn’t anywhere near here.
I didn’t have this blog, I didn’t have my writing confidence, I didn’t have a handle on what I even wanted my life to look like…I just knew I wanted it to be different, in a better way.
Now, it is.
Tomorrow, I turn 32.
Which, by the time this is posted, I AM 32. When this blog drops I will have been 32 for seven hours. I am very excited for my 32nd year on this planet.
I am looking to have a really great year, because for the past year I have been working towards having a better life.
A sustainable, better, life.
So: I talked about my past year in yesterday’s blog, and some of my goals, so I won’t go into too many details on that.
But, I do have goals, mostly to just build upon the work I have done thus far.
My birthday is today.
Some people are all about bringing you down on your day. “Oh it’s only a day.” “Oh, it’s not a big milestone birthday” or “Grown up’s don’t need to celebrate birthday’s, it’s just another day.”
Get the fuck out of here with that crap. If YOU don’t want to do much for YOUR day, that is YOUR choice. My choice is that my day, and everyone’s day, matters.
For my birthday, I have taken the two days after my birthday off, so I can enjoy a long four day weekend. I will be doing something tomorrow evening, likely eating and smoking weed, with maybe a bit of social activity or shopping.
I plan on puttering around the apartment and getting it nice and clean to really enjoy my first couple of days of being 32, and be really well suited for next week.
And write like 20,00 words.
NaNoWriMo is moving along well, and I would like to finish before Thanksgiving and my mom’s visit next week. I have not quite 20,000 words to complete, and load once verification opens up.
I also want to finish, because as I have mentioned, I plan on doing Blogmas, which is basically a reading advent calendar for any daily blog readers.
One blog, every day from December 1-25!
And now is is a few minutes after quitting time and I want to get the fuck out of here so….More later in my COUNTDOWN TO 32!
After Midnight, Tuesday Night/Wednesday Morning
Well, I am now 32! I didn’t blog before now because I ended up not feeling well towards the end of work and was honestly worried about how I may feel later, and for my birthday. I came home, lounged around, smoked, and ate some matzo ball soup Bret ordered me. Once I ate, I shaved, shower, did my hair, and all that, and then Bret kindly agreed to watch Dollface with me, so I am on my third rewatch, this time with Bret.
But it is nearly one in the morning and don’t want to be exhausted in the morning when I wake up, so I think I may wrap this little blog up…Because being 32 is all about being mature enough to make the right choices, because earlier I had this whole realization about self care that I plan to blog about tomorrow, on my first day of 32.
Thank you all for being here, on my birthday, and I am so glad to be here. I am glad I spent 31 starting and growing a blog, and I am so happy to conintue that into 32.
Happy Wednesday and Happy Birthday to my fellow 11/20 birthdays.
Greetings and Salutations, my wonderful blog readers. It is late in the morning on Monday morning and I am grinding out my time for the week.
Last week, I had Friday off, but thankfully I had the foresight and ability to get caught up last week and this week I am able to catch up that much sooner on my Friday off. Now it is a little but before noon and I am trying to catch up the blog writing before diving into any creative writing this evening.
This is my birthday week, which normally means I would beg my friends to all care about me for a few days and do shit I want, but i have been coming to terms with my own thoughts on my birthday.
You see, I love birthdays. I believe everyone should be allowed to have at least a day, if not a whole week or month, dedicated to them loving themselves and reflecting on their last trip around the sun.
Because aging, growing older, shedding our old selves and growing into who we are becoming is such a unique thing, and we as humans are such unique and special creatures, I personally think we should all “go big” for not only our birthdays but for any old Holiday.
Why the fuck not?
You don’t t have to do what other people do to do this, either. Like, you don’t have to go “all out” for your birthday by going out for some expensive dinner and a bunch of drinks, until your friends had to pour you into bed.
If going all out means a fat bag of weed, take out, and video games, then GO ALL OUT. If going all out means cleaning your home and room, to be better suited for the new year, do it!
If starting a healthy routine is more your thing, then DO IT.
Whatever YOU want for YOUR birthday is what YOU should do.
By all means go all out, and keep in mind how special it is that you have a birthday.
Even if you can’t go all out, because of lifes nasty circumstances, don’t apologize for wanting people to appreciate your birthday. Not everyone could be you. I fact, only YOU are you.
I hate the mentality that “it is only a day”.
Yes, it is ONLY a day. Only a day that you were born, and only a day that marks your rotation around the sun. Even if you don’t celebrate, I think it is highly important to reflect on your year, where your life is, and where your life is going.
Which is what I am going to be doing in this blog.
So, let’s talk about my last year! I was hesitant to even start it. I have had rough odd numbered years, so I was apprehensive.
Look, I wasn’t wrong. This past year was ROUGH.
Three deaths that destroyed me, to start, that hung over much of my year.
My grandma passed away a few days after my birthday, her death ways days after my birthday. My birthday was the last time I spoke to her. It was the day after my birthday, actually, and she was sad she hadn’t been able to call me, because the hospital phones, and even though I had tried to call her, she had been medicated. So, she wanted to call and chat with me and assure me she didn’t forget. She called on my sisters phone.
That was the last time I spoke to my grandma, directly.
Then, my friend Brian, (who used to have a different name, some of my friends may remember him as Matt.)
Brian (then Matt) was my very first friend when I moved to Texas, at 13. Losing someone my own age was devastating, more so when he had been a friend for so long. He had been a family friend, my parents adored him, he and my sister even became friends. He knew most of my damn family, just by being around all the time. Like real best friends turned family.
Then, to cap it off, we lost my Grandfather. I have always been my grandfathers precious princess, and he was always my dad when I didn’t have one. My Grandfather and I were similar in some key ways, and different in others. My grandpa always encouraged me to write…in fact the last words he spoke to me were encouraging me to write.
Actually, all three of these people encouraged me to be myself, always defended me and who I was, and, believed in me as a writer. Brian had my back when few did, believing me and having my back when others chose not to. Brian encouraged me to write, to use my brain and my imagination. My grandparents, as grandparents do, always supported my writing, my imagination, my creative side. My grandpa used to insist that I should be writing everyday and posting my stuff online, but he never used the phrase blog.
But here I am, a blogger. A blogger who writes everyday, doing the same shit my grandpa, crazy as his old age may had made him, suggested I try doing to find an audience for my writing.
I hope he is proud. I hope Brian is happy I am doing the damn thing I hope my grandmother is happy I am keeping my mom company while we wait for my sister to wise up and become the favorite again. I hope all three of them are chilling with my Grandpa Tom and Grandma Grasso, and Grandma Ma. Eating good food, drinking strong coffee and stronger booze, playing darts, bocce, and any other damn thing they wish.
Because damn, I miss them. This year was hard, if nothing else, for the three memorial services I had to attend.
One of those helped me reconnect with some old friends from high school, Brian, obviously. The other two, took me to see my family. I hadn’t gotten to see my parents home, so it was nice to see their new place.
For my grandmothers service, I got to help my cousin Chuckie and my grandpa reconnect, healing old wounds, mostly inflicted by my grandfathers failing mental stability.
I know Grandma would have been happy for that. Also great was being able to hang out with my grandfather again.
I knew, then, that it was likely the last time I would get to see him, and it was nice. I smoked a lot of weed with him, he and Bret bonded, and I got pictures of him with everyone in the family, I thought, this would help when he passes away.
Most of my family, other than my immediate family, did not bother to show up for Grandpa’s funeral, despite it being a VERY calm affair. We made a delicious dinner and smoked a bunch of good weed, some in a pipe grandpa had owned for the better part of 45 to 50 years, my only inheritance from my grandfather. My cousin Rhonda brought canolies.
No one showed up. Not the cousin, not any of his siblings, not his TWO sons, not some of his grand kids…Mind you, many I am sure, simply couldn’t afford it, but my uncles, my grandfathers two sons, made it a point to not come…
… I won’t put people on blast. But they didn’t have to dump all of that shit on my mom. It’s not like there was insurance, that shit had to be paid for. Grandma’s and Grandpa’s services. Grandma, as it turned out, may be fibbed about if she had life insurance policy to not only me but my mom, so we had to pay ALL of that out of pocket. My mother fronted ALL of that. My mother then paid the monthly fees for my grandfather to have a SMALL policy for a few months, which paid for some of the expenses.
Anyways, not to tangent too hard, but, the losses of my grandparents and my friend Brian were hard on me, and kind of hung over the entire year of 31.
Now, I am two days away from 32, an age I have looked forward to since I hit 30.
Overall, I have been enjoying my thirties, and life has been getting better and better with every passing day in my thirties, however, 31 was rough, and 32 looks to be much better.
I am hardly the first person to think 2020 looks to be a great year, we have a whole month of 4/20’s, like three of four Friday the 13ths, a bunch of holidays take place on the weekend or other key times…The year is already set up to be great.
We also have a major election, which tends to lead to more interesting times than usual.
And of course, my own paranoia and superstition with numerology, making me think that the even 2020 year will bode well for everyone.
If I am wrong, so be it. I would rather be wrong and optimistic than correct and miserable.
Later, Monday Afternoon
Anyways, that, as well as some other irritating situations, have clouded my 2019, and my age of 31.
But come Wednesday, November the twentieth, I turn 32. A short month and some change later, we all enter 2020.
My goal is for this year to be the best one yet, because of the good things that started during my 31st year.
I started this blog, for one, and further developed my “write every day” mentality. I now blog nearly every day, and I post blogs consistently, every day, or at least 5 or so a week. I write, on my creative stuff, every day, or nearly every day, between the blog and the creative writing, I write at least three thousand words a day, a la the Stephen King method.
My writing has gotten better, too. I am also writing things I love, and have a full grasp on what it is i am writing, because it has been hard to even see the full story.
Now, I know how Flake City ties in with Molly on the island, and how it ties to Roxy waking up on the shore of Lake Ponchartrain, after sacrificing herself for her friends, inexplicably still alive, how it ties to Miranda and the magical war she has begun, and how that ties to Amy and Kiblah, and the entire group that started my journey into this fantasy world.
I know more about what I am doing and how I will do it, and more to the point, I have been working towards and building a way to release that stuff, at my own pace, to retain my work, not lose the rights to it…
I have grown so much as a writer and a content creator, hell, I have even learned some VERY loose basics on how to vlog and how to edit that vlog footage.
I know more about podcasting, having once again picked up my love of podcasts, I have also been a guest on a podcast, twice, talking about things near and dear to my heart.
I have built a strong relationship with my partner too, with us working hard to have less fights and more communication, Bret and I have been forming what I would say is an incredibly strong foundation for two people to be on.
We have made our financial situation better too, earning more money and managing our funds better. Sure, we don’t have the savings we want, but we are getting closer and closer to it, every single day, and I honestly believe by this time next year, I will have a ton more of positive changes that have occurred thanks to the changes we have been making all year.
Also this year, despite having to see and deal with the sadness of death, Bret and I traveled more, going not only to my parents home in Tennessee, but to New Orleans. We decided to go to New Orleans after my grandfather’s service, and stayed a for a short spontaneous vacation.
This trip was great for us, showing us that we love to travel, we love to travel together, we have a good time when we travel, and our content is well received, which was a fun side affect we did not anticipate.
Before the trip, we had never gotten drunk together, which we also got to experience, and that was fun too. Neither of us really drink much, so it was fun to get to experience that with my partner, too.
This gave us more motivation to save our funds, to allow for more travel time, but also showed us that the views we have and the way we see the world is entertaining to others, which inspired us both to start showing more of our art.
The trip inspired me to up the ante with the blog a bit, and use more of my own original photo’s, instead of legally borrowed and fairly used ones via Unsplash. No, now, I actively seek out photos for my blog, and also try to document my day more to provide for more authentic illustrations.
My grandpa used to encourage me to document everything, so, this is another fun aspect of gaining that inspiration. I also started blogging more, trying to do more blog series stuff, like the Sunday Prep blogs about how to clean various things, like makeup brushes or your bong, I also started posting more skin mask reviews when I learned that people enjoyed seeing that aspect of my content too.
Because while I am not a beauty blogger, I am someone who takes their skin care very seriously.
So, this past year I personally not only started a blog, but I learned that I can totally do the lifestyle blogger thing where I just blog about my life, my theories, preferred products, etc.
Basically, my view on the world and the way I approach life is worth hearing about, at least to some. I am also acting as a template for what a writer does in the modern times.
I mean, how does one blog abut writing without coming across as one of those gimmicky people who is all “Subscribe to my newsletter and buy my online course that teaches you how to make money from home, by writing!”
Easy. You blog authentically, about what is happening in your life, without being some preachy annoying monster. You read and support other bloggers, and actively work to not copy their work.
And, in my case, if you have someone who keeps copy catting your work, you ignore them and keep working, because you know they can’t possibly hold a candle to what you can do.
Yeah, you have to get a bit cocky, I think, or maybe it just happens by proving yourself to the most important person to prove yourself to…yourself.
This year I also started ACTUALLY working out once in a while, adding cardio, and more recently, high intensity, at home, work out routines. I dropped smoking, for the most part, indulging in one or two here and there, it is no longer a habit I have, but something I just indulge in once in a while.
I smoke more weed. I press flower into wax when I am able to, and dab it up when possible. I have learned more about cannabis, I have taught myself more about the community, and I have been actively working to reach out and make more friends, online and offline, in the cannabis and content creator community.
This past year I have removed tons of friends from my circle, and added some people who I can honestly say make my life better. I have online friends like Sam, Shawn, Tricia, Biggs, Hollie, who all make my days and life better, and I have dropped friends who aren’t kind, good people. People who are fake and only reach out when they need something…I dropped them all when I changed my number this year.
Past ex’s, the violent ones, the crazy ones, even just the plain ole asshole ones, no longer have my number.
I have worked hard to only have friends in my life who truly want to be in my life and who are also trying to live lives that make them happy.
Because this year I realized some people can have everything and still be miserable and I do not want to be around those people. I want to be around the people who are trying to be happy, to lead good, happy, fulfilled lives, not the ones who want to sit around bitching about their lives.
Some of my friends, in the past few years, have also left me behind, which hurt, and made me miserable.
I was in a bad place, surely friends know that is temporary. I told myself, when life was hard, that those friends would come around and want to be around and be friends with me when I was in a better, healthier place.
Then, when I was in both a happier and healthier place, they didn’t.
And I realized I didn’t really miss those friends either. I wanted to show them that I was not in the same space I was, that I was on the other side of a bad situation that kept getting worse…I wanted to show everyone that I was better than the ideas they held about me, because they hadn’t gotten to truly know me…
But then I realized if they had been my real friends (Brian) they would have known I was in a tough spot and maybe, just maybe, would have been there for me, the same way I am always there for others. (if not physically there, I will always let people vent to me for hours on the phone, text, or in person.)
Then I realized that maybe those weren’t my friends.
From that realization, a few years ago, I was able to cobble together this past year of choices, and develop friendships that actually…matter. I have become closer with some people, like Amber, Lenyn, Katie, Robin, and, my Mother. I have stayed friends with a few people from years ago, including my dear and cherished friends Tina and Kaynell.
I have been friends with Tina and Kaynell for many years, and of all of my friends, I am so glad they are the ones who have been there. Hell, the two of them have had beers with my Grandma. They both see me for me, and I see them for them, and we all just love each other through that. I have seen them through tough times, and they have seen me through them, and I am so glad i have them in my life. I wish only that I could see them more often, but we all work.
But, some of the things I want to do, moving into 32, is more social stuff.
See, Bret and I are giant homebodies and neither of us like to leave the apartment.
Our weed is there. Our stuff. Our Animals. I like being home.
But I also like to host my friends, cook for them, and be there for them. This year, I would like to have a few more social gatherings, not just the holidays, but maybe informal dinner parties or something, just more time with my friends.
Bret and I don’t know where we will end up living, but neither of us think it will be in Texas, but that is hardly a reason to not spend time with your friends and build those connections. For all I know, Tina and Kaynell may wanna move with us. 😉 Hell maybe all of our friends will. The world is big and random, so who really knows.
But, that is a goal I have, a social goal, which I don’t make too often.
Which provides for a nice segue.
Goals for 32.
Write, even more than I have in the past. Work out and eat healthy, really just continue the hard work I did this past year. I want to publish the first volume of Flake City. Possibly grow a vlog channel, once I have a few details (Storage, style) ironed out.
I want, more than anything, to become independent from my day job. Even if I keep working here, I do not want to NEED this job, anymore.
I would like to publish two things, Flake City and something else.
I would also like to get a bunch of money saved up, and take at least two trips, one to a weed legal place, preferably Denver so I can go hang out with one of my internet friends, Alex (@Awsumist on Instagram), and another to somewhere awesome, also preferably with legal weed.
Bret and I have both discussed going to Canada to see a few internet friends as well, like going to see the amazingly splendid Sam, of Whaley Sweet Scents (@WhaleySweetScents on Instagram), and also get some touristy content creator photos and videos. Canada is a beautiful country, one we would even consider moving to in the next few years, so we would love to go and see it. Plus, I have heard the weed is even better there, and I would love to blog all about the different cannabis styles and strengths from state to state and country to country. Really fill out my cannabis blogging goals.
More travel sounds divine, as does more writing. I also want to take even more photos and video, so for the holidays I am hoping to not only get a camera that is good for both still photos and video, but also to get some storage solutions for all the digital content we are now generating.
Anyways, I don’t want this to turn into a resolutions blog, so I will wrap this part up here and say that I have many goals for 32, all of which build on the work I did and lessons I learned, in 31.
I want to leave behind the pain of losing my grandparents and my friend, and while I know the pain will always be there, I want to become better at handling it, as I still struggle daily. I want to take the good from each of them and continue to grow and become the person all three of them believed I could and should be.
I don’t want to spend all my time mourning lives when I know all three would want me to celebrate theirs and have an awesome one myself.
I want to continue to grow and better myself not only as a writer, but as a friend, a good, true friend, (thanks to @Hulu’s new show Dollface I really am looking at how to be the best friend I can be, because at nearly 32, I am not ashamed to admit that I could do more to be a better friend and less of a homebody). I want to grow as a better accomplice and ally to minority groups, I want to continue to grow and develop as a fucking awesome human. My goals are all revolving around much of the same themes we all try to focus on, being a better person, having more money, being healthier, happier, etc.
But, I am going to keep doing the hard work needed for those things, as I have been doing. My thirties have been fucking awesome, and so far I cant say enough good things about them.
Sure, I have lost family and friends, but I have also grown. I have also become a better person. And thank every god and goddess listening, I have left my twenties behind. I didn’t like many of the people in my life in my twenties, hell, I didn’t like me very much, or many of the choices I made, or that others made for me, but I made a few key choices that got me to my thirties, alive, so that is something.
Now I am making choices to help me arrive to my forties in even better shape. Not skidding, crying, and praying for more, but arriving peacefully, happily, calmly, ready for the next decade of awesome.
Shout out to any and all birthday twins I have, in my real life, I know of Vincent, who is turning 27. Happy Birthday to everyone celebrating tomorrow (11/20 Birthdays!). Let’s have the very best year any of us have ever had!
I had quite a bit of work done for this blog, but then decided to start fresh.
Basically I ranted for a good long while about some things and then to the conclusion that I shouldn’t be letting these things bother me, and formed some plans to stop those things from bothering me.
So, while it would be nice to already have the blog done, I decided it was better to delete it and not have that negativity out there, and start from scratch.
But, alas, it is late, and I want to write for a little bit before bed, so I think I may update this blog some more and tomorrow’s blog I’ll post in the evening.
Because tomorrow I have home, and Bret has a busy day at work so I will spend much of my day getting the apartment sorted and writing my ass off. So, until then.
annnnnd it’s Sunday night!
I took much of the weekend to do stuff around the apartment, stuff for myself, and stuff for prepping for the holidays, and frankly, I regret nothing. I have a few blog ideas for Christmas decorating, more so if you like decorations for small spaces, and a low price. I basically realized I had a ton to do, and to do those things would set me up to have things to blog in the first place, so I opted to ignore the blog a bit and work on other stuff.
I got some cleaning done, and Bret and I got some time out and about together. We went to Salata for dinner, which has quickly become a real favorite of ours, on Friday, and Saturday we went to Target for some Christmas decorations, as well as our pan for Thanksgiving. We ended up grabbing a couple of snacks as well, and came home.
I also needed hot cocoa, so we grabbed some of that and some marshmallows, came home, and watched Die Hard while I decorated a little bit.
My goal is to make a whole hygge Christmas village feeling with some nods to a few different cultural backgrounds, as we do, because we tend to host many different backgrounds at our home over the holidays. This is a tricky endeavor in a tiny space, so I make use of wall space. Last year, I had started with tree’s in the wall, and this year, I am hoping to build on that and make the entire apartment feel warm and happy.
But, to have it all ironed out in time, I wanted to start early which is why I have some Christmas lights up before my birthday. I plan on trying to get some more, and maybe decorating even more, but I have at least two more strings I can string up to finish out the lights I usually have hung in our usual hygge decorative style. The lights on the ceiling went out recently, so I need to rehang some new ones so I can have the finished look once more, and then from there I am hoping to buy some more to add some more hygge vibes and winter holiday vibes.
Anyways, I have a short week this week, because…
It’s my birthday week! I had two vacation days left out of the five I am allotted, and I saved them for this week, so I would have me time. Me time to prep for the holidays, prep for Thanksgiving, clean, decorate, and, of course, write my ass off. I try to get a bulk of my writing for NaNoWriMo done by or around my birthday, because the end of the month comes fast.
In my case, very fast. I will have my mother in town the weekend after Thanksgiving, so I need to have my writing done by then.
Most importantly, I need to be done as soon as the verification is open, because several years I have missed getting credit for finishing, because I didn’t load in time. Not this year.
Which is also why I didn’t blog much this weekend, trying to get ahead on the writing so I can get closer to 50k, and verify my victory for NaNoWriMo, because come December First….
Fa la la la la, la la, la la!
I am wondering what to do differently for Blogmas, other then talk about the holidays a bit and maybe mention the different winter holidays. I’ll probably figure that out.
The rules of Blogmas, as far as I understand, are: Blog once a day, 1-25.
I may do till he 31st, but we shall see. After a month of neglecting the blog for creative writing, I don’t know if I want to full counter correct and blog for a month solid, but I do want to grow my writing skills by doing it, and also make myself more aware of my feelings and thoughts on the winter holidays as Bret and I discover the ways we wish to celebrate them.
If nothing else, each blog can report what was in that day’s advent calendar. I am hoping to buy one before the end of the month and stock with various treat for Bret and I. My goal is to have each one have something weed related, like a joint, or a nug, and maybe some candy or a gift card to a date place, so we can be have a little celebration every day of the holidays. I don’t know what else we will do every day, but I know I will be doing blogmas.
I think I’ll for sure try to make cover photo’s special for Blogmas. That seems to be a nice way to show it is Blogmas, other than some tag and grouping on the blog.
Anyways, I have a short week this week, and Wednesday is my birthday!
The rest of the week, I have off, and I will be prepping for the holidays and writing. All in all, I have a good amount to look forward to, and I am eagerly looking forward to 31.
Yes, I will be posting a goodbye to 31 blog, where I talk all about my thoughts on turning 32, and how happy I am to be entering 32.
But, that will be a blog I post likely on my birthday, or the day before my birthday, depending on how I decide to approach that, and I should wrap this blog up so I can write some more on Kaya in Flake City, before bed.
Mind you, I still have to do some semblance of a skin routine and get my clothes folded and put away after doing a little laundry. I should also do a few small dishes, to keep Monday from being too much of an aggressive asshole.
I may be pretty good at Mondays, but not everyone is, and sometimes people lash out, so I still have to fortify myself against any zombies I may encounter on a Monday.
I hope you have a wonderful Monday, and that you avoid any zombie bites, or zombies in general, and have a wonderful day.
And if you are one of my friends in real life, I need to know if you are coming to my evening Thanksgiving Friendsgiving style dinner.
Well, another day in paradise, as it were. Mostly I wanted to start this blog up to set up for the topic I will be discussing later, that has to do with my writing.
Because it isn’t just about writing about how much I love my writing, I should also tell you some of the fun things I am especially enjoying with Flake City.
You see, many characters in many zombie or horror stories will make a bunch of wrong choices…my characters largely make good choices for good reasons, but those choices and reasons can differ character to character.
Some people would think it is boring but frankly it just goes to show that sometimes even when you do everything incredibly right and incredibly well, shit still can go terribly wrong. Also that the characters reasoning, circumstances, and motivations can make the same choices be wrong for others. A slight commentary on the various ways us zombie aficionado’s discuss our zombie plans in the theoretical vacuum of the zombie apocalypse.
But it is because the characters are so entertaining that I am going to get back to them for the time being. I missed out on some writing earlier this week and this past weekend and now that I have a semi good grip on what is to happen next to Kaya, I am going to get back to that and update this later.
Well, it is later in the evening on Wednesday and I just finished a nice healthy writing spree. I need to update my saved word file and take the newly typed material off of the app and into the document, and then I can update my word count for NaNoWriMo, but this last writing spree should put be ahead on my word counts to be “on track” to finish, which it wasn’t, earlier.
I have been writing the number of words, but not always on the project. As you may know, I write 3,000 words a day, but sometimes it is in the blog, other times it Is in the universe, and other times it is total garbage that sits in a never seen word file.
Balancing all of that writing is hard. Namely because I now know I prefer to do long springs of writing on one project versus having to vigilantly guarding my moment so I can write some here, some there, and make sure I also edit and update the blog or even write a whole new piece etc etc etc.
So, the balance is a fun thing I am learning this NaNoWriMo, my first NaNoWriMo where I am taking my writing and blogging very seriously.
It is fun to see the lessons I learn every day about not only the process of birthing new creative ideas, but also the lessons in balance, in writing, in exploration of self and the world around you while trying to reflect it in your writing…It has been a fun experience of learning about myself and my writing style. I have been gaining a lot of confidence in myself, which is awesome.
Namely proud that I am just doing the damn thing. I am doing the impossible where I hit many of the hit points I want to do in my ideal life. I don’t have it all figured out, I have to go to an office I hate and a job I don’t like, but I am getting better at my time management, I am working out, I am dedicating hours to writing and creating, I am getting closer and closer too figuring out how to get the rest of the way to the life I want, because I keep working at it.
It feels really great to have a subtle indication that all the work you re doing is worth it. It is even better to know that I am enjoying I so much that I don’t need to chase success…
I am enjoying myself, and I don’t need to have anyone loving me to want to do this. It is fun and I enjoy it.
Flake City is fun and I love it.
Overall, I am having a blast writing, and blogging, and even though I am always running out of time and constantly needing more time for writing, I am constantly finding more time to carve out for it, and I am finding more ways to better use my time, all while being true to myself and what I want to do.
Sure, sometimes that means Bret and I don’t cook at home. Like this evening we went to Salata, a salad shop we both love.
But that was less dishes to worry about and less food prep to be concerned with, and I am able to get that much more writing done. In this case, I was able to not only catch up my word count for Flake, I was able to story board the next couple of thousand words and also update the blog.
Not just update the blog but actually discuss part of the writing process, which I feel is important.
Entirely too many writers in the “writers who blog and blog about writing” world are sticking to “how to sound professional” type blogs, and wonder why they are running out of steam and “just can’t write that much.”
It’s because they aren’t writing authentically. They see someone succeeding with some style and they try to mimic it. They see some successful writer posting writing tips, so they do it too. Even though they themselves have not succeeded they do the things one does when they have obtained success.
Now, this is not to say one shouldn’t try to manifest their reality and all that, but it’s one thing to speak it into existence, it is quite another to mimic the behaviors of successful people instead of working on your craft to get to that level.
We don’t need sixteen hundred J. K. Rowlings. We don’t need eleven billion watered down Stephen Kings.
We need unique original takes. Go out, experience the world, and tell your truth, your experience, your own, unique and special journey.
Because like my characters, you have a different minds, motivations, etc. We are all different and unique and that is actually a good thing. Don’t post repurposed tips from others, test those tips out. I heard the theory of writing three thousand words a day, and I finally started sticking to it, because it helps me and builds me as a writer. I discover myself, my voice, my world, I work on so many skills all at once, building myself, my writing stamina, and, my body of work.
Try the tips. Write that odd story idea that popped into your head, who knows what it may turn into. Don’t copy down old tips on writing or random writing prompts…DO the writing prompt, TRY the writing tip or technique. We don’t need copycat writers, we need every individual unique writer out there.
Besides, you can always blog about trying those tips, and credit the original writer who posted the tip you test out. Maybe they will appreciate you mentioning and crediting them, because no matter their success they like to hear they helped and be credited for their brains hard work. Either way it is a nice thing to do.
Because people can read faster than even the fastest of us can write. The people who read the most, need us the most, and we are lucky enough to serve them.
We are luckiest, however, to chase our own dreams of writing, by simply doing the damn thing, and that is pretty fucking special.
So, as a template for future writers, I want to make sure I show as much truth and authenticity in my writing process to encourage others to explore their own, because we all have different paths.
Explore what makes you unique, what makes you special, and what makes you like your writing. Because you should always be writing the kind of stuff you would want to see. No one can do you, no one can show what you can.
No one needs more overly corporate blog and vlog posts, we need more authenticity, more so as more and more of us go online and take in online content. The reason we all turned away from traditional media is it was all boring and kind of ran together. Let’s not ruin a possible future trend of reading by saturating the market with more generic drivel.