Tuesday open thread

We can discuss whatever is on your mind.

Upcoming topics:

Wednesday  —  It’s still hard to break gender rules (Louse)
Thursday  —  Thanksgiving open thread
Friday  —  No post
Sunday —  Politics open thread


92 thoughts on “Tuesday open thread

  1. It is snowing here but thankfully our kids have school, since our nanny is out sick! I have to present at a webinar this afternoon so I won’t be able to take them to any of their activities. :-P

    Out of curiosity, does anyone have a good lemon meringue pie recipe without dairy? I was thinking of just subbing the 3T of butter in for vegan butter, but then I thought it might not come out. (One of the nieces/nephews we are visiting on T-giving has a dairy allergy)

  2. DD#1’s birthday was yesterday. While she has sometimes been gone from home on that day, its the first time I haven’t seen her within 2 days of her birthday and the first Thanksgiving without her. I sent a care package and ordered the giant cookie from food service for her to share with friends.
    Her roommate invited her (1) to go Wednesday night – Friday morning with relatives near the campus and (2) Friday afternoon – Sunday to her home in NH. DD#1 is planning to go to both.

    We were hoping to have more time over Christmas break as most colleges/universities in the area have 4 to 5 weeks between semesters, she has 2.5. She does have a longer summer, but not sure what she will be doing. This starting of empty-nesting is hard.

  3. For the Thanksgiving party, I am thinking of slicing up sweet potatoes sprinkling them with sugar and butter, and baking them till they become crisp and sugar caramelizes. I might even make them hassle back style.

  4. I just made an amazing curd with my vitamix and turned it into a cream pie. The butter just adds fat and mouthfeel, so I think it would be just fine with a veg oil product.

    1 cube butter like product
    5 whole eggs
    1/2 cup lemon juice
    1.5 cups sugar
    Pinch salt
    Lemon zest (I used from 2 large lemons)

    Put it all in vitamix and blend until hot.

    (I just assume everyone on this blog has a vitamix).

  5. I want to get this out to you now while I am thinking about it, since our guys will be home (2 beginning tonight, one tomorrow night) and I’ll likely be away from here till Monday after I leave today.

    We are having a fairly traditional T-day dinner: 20# bird, stuffing, mashed potatoes, two kinds of green beans, the canned mushroom soup/crispy onions one and a sautee with almonds and a little spice, a spinach gratin, maybe roasted brussels sprouts, gravy, canned jellied cranberry sauce (sans rings), apple pie, peach pie, maybe one other if a DS wants to make it, ice cream from the local dairy. A couple of bottles of nice French Chardonnay that I bought over the weekend for the meal (plus the two cases of beer for the rest of the time). We’ll eat in the fancy-eatin’ room, with the good china, the sterling, and the crystal.

    I wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving, whether you are celebrating at home or on the road. May your, or your loved ones’, travels be safe and on time, everyone be healthy, your grand, and not so grand, meals be enjoyable in all aspects, may your team(s) win, may your home’s plumbing, oven(s) and other mechanicals work as designed, and you get some time for yourself. If you are a black Friday shopper, may you get all the bargains you’re seeking. I am thankful for the humor, advice, different perspectives, and other stories I pick up from you.

  6. My DD will be home in a matter of hours, and I can hardly wait.

    If the weather holds, my crew will head through the mountains to a siblings house. There will be a turkey and who knows what else. There will be stories that will likely have a grounding in reality, but it is not the family tradition to let facts get in the way of a good story.

    If snows close the mountain passes, I suspect that there will be another family in the valley who will welcome us. We are blessed beyond measure.

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

  7. We don’t have a Vitamix. I use a cheap blender I bought years ago (I forget the brand — Sunbeam, maybe?). It suits our needs.

    DH and his high school marching band are playing outdoors on Thursday morning at the football game between our HS and our rival town’s HS. It’s going to be about 15 degrees out, and windy to boot. I feel bad for the kids. I, however, get a pass on going to the game since I need to be home attending to the turkey.

  8. Dell, those potatoes sounds delicious. My D makes a particular recipe, similar but with pecans, but I like your simpler version.

    Do you all like full or sparse Christmas trees? I’m thinking of splurging and getting a new Christmas tree that is a sparse style I’ve wanted for years but never found. I have a perfectly fine tree already, but I really like this one that is a narrow version well suited to our tight space.


  9. a new Christmas tree that is a sparse style

    Like one of those terrible sickly European style trees?

  10. Yes, exactly! I love that look. I’d also like to hang tinsel on it but with an artificial tree I imagine it would be very difficult to remove all those little strands when I took the tree down.

  11. Ok, short rant/annoyance: DD and her cousin went to Bookcon in NY last summer and loved it so much they decided to go back and get VIP tickets this time. Much scheming and planning has gone into this since the summer, since last year the VIP tix sold out within the hour. Tix went on sale at noon yesterday, and DD had me lined up (and fully nagged) to get hers. I noticed a link go live at about 11:59:30, popped in, and picked up her ticket. Then I hear that her cousin was also refreshing the screen and clicked the link right as it went live — and it was already listed as sold out! WTF? I mean, I know they’re popular, but literally selling out within seconds of going live? I both called and emailed them to ask what was going on, because that fast of a sellout suggests that something else is going on (e.g., that they pre-sold a bunch before allowing the general public to buy a few, or that some bot attacked their website and bought them all for resellers). But all they had to say was, well, yes, they do sell out quickly, sorry, nothing we can do. Grr. So they’ll have to figure out how to share the “extra” perks — but some of the things they were planning are VIP-only, so the whole do-the-event-together plan is shot.

  12. “but with an artificial tree I imagine it would be very difficult to remove all those little strands when I took the tree down.”

    I thought the benefit of an artificial tree would be that you wouldn’t have to.

  13. Laura I hate when that happens with concert tickets! Maybe Stubhub or some other service will sell VIP tickets, at a jacked up price of course!

  14. RMS put me onto to Balsam Hill and all I do is admire their artificial trees ! The prices are on the high side though. After Thanksgiving, I will go to the local stores to see if I can get a cheaper tree.

  15. Oops, I meant DS is playing in the band on Thursday, not DH. DH is planning to do one of those “turkey trot” runs first thing in the morning, when it will probably be less than 10 degrees. Then he’s planning to go to the football game where DS will be playing. Good thing he was born and raised in northern New England — that level of cold doesn’t bother him.

  16. July – you have to get heavy duty tinsel strings that don’t tangle. I have those and there never has been a problem.

  17. We’re invited to Thanksgiving dinner with friends at their historic farmhouse. I’m excited about it- food followed by puzzles and board games. The discussion should be good because a lumber train derailed on their farm a couple weeks ago and the track replacement/cleanup has been complex. DD saw the rail car spilling lumber and observed that it’s like when Percy (from Thomas the Tank Engine) went in the MUD- obviously a problem!

  18. “(I just assume everyone on this blog has a vitamix).”

    We don’t.

    But for anyone who wants to buy one, Costco’s coupon book that starts next week has a Vitamix for $70 off.

  19. Cass, is the DD coming home the one going to school OOS? That’d be a ways to travel.

    I think DS is headed to NYC in a few hours.

  20. What are your Black Friday plans? Know of any really good deals? Are you looking for anything in particular?

  21. I need a new computer. I’m looking for a Windows desktop machine.

    DW needs to upgrade her phone. She has an iPhone 5s, which is still OK for most things, but it doesn’t have enough memory (I think she has 32G),

  22. DD#2 is doing a turkey trot, weirdly for NHS hours (yes “running” it not volunteering at it) on Thursday morning.

    Trees – A few years back we bought a new artificial tree, full/not sparse, that takes up less floor space. This one is pre-lit and the branches “fold down” . Our old tree had the kind of branches where you stick each one in the trunk. The major advantage was that when the tree was against the wall or in the corner, we didn’t put all the branches on. But with the bottom row on, that tree had a 6′ diameter. The new one is closer to 3.5′ in diameter at its widest point. This is the first year we will fully decorate in a while. Last year we left on a cruise December 23 and since we were having floors redone, we only put up our table top tree. The year before we had a 5 month old kitten and only decorated part of the tree for the kitten and the ornament’s safety.

  23. Finn – We are slowly switching over to laptops with docking stations supporting external larger monitors and keyboards. That way we don’t have so many machines and versions of things like “Office” floating around. SO is looking for an external cd/dvd drive on Black Friday, as fewer laptops come with them (or if they do it makes them much heavier).

  24. We have a Ninja, not a Vitamix.

    Some of my Black Friday shopping must remain a deep secret because my offspring are aware of this blog. However I can safely reveal that I will be looking for the annual languagepod101.com sale.

  25. Oh, I had to re-sign in and I was lazy and used my HM google account, if you’re wondering about the change in picture.

  26. In 1.5 hours I am on a 5 day vacation. I can’t wait. We are doing ravioli this year. I’ve already made the meatballs. Tomorrow we’ll tackle everything else.

    I have zero idea where we will put a tree this year. The corner which is usually lives is now taken over by a toy kitchen and a “garage” for the ride-ons the boys have. We’ll have to discuss that.

    We always get a live tree. We usually purchase it near Dec. 10th because we leave our tree out to Jan. 6th (Little Christmas). I will be at a conference from Dec. 8-14, so I may leave it to mom and DH to pick up the tree. Or we get it one night after work. It’s rarely a “thing”. We go, pick out a pre-cut tree from the farm and bring it home. No muss no fuss.

    On that note – anyone near Long Beach, CA Dec 8-14th? Or know of cool things to do (Queen Mary is already on my list).

  27. Or maybe I’m an imposter! Because that’s totally a thing that could happen — I’m surely fascinating enough to have imposter versions of myself.

  28. “may your home’s plumbing, oven(s) and other mechanicals work as designed” Fred, that made me snort! We actually got a new oven as a Christmas gift the first year in our house as a gift from my mom because the oven conked out while cooking the turkey on Thanksgiving.

    This will be the first in many years that we do not run the Manchester Road Race, a local race that gets a huge turnout. The weather forecast is calling for ridiculous wind chills that would take all the fun out of it, so we’re opting to stay home and make an extra dessert, a fantastic chocolate ricotta pie. The recipe came from a wonderful restaurant that was in business for years – it’s almost like a cannoli in a pie form.

    Like some of you, my DS comes home this evening. I last saw him about a month ago so I’m very much looking forward to it. Happy kid reunion to you all!

    Dell & Ada – any tips for hassleback potatoes for someone who has never made them?

  29. DS3 was asking for a PS4 for his birthday in October, which I was not too inclined to buy after his less than thrilling academic performance in spring semester. He got plenty of $$ for his b’day from grandmas + aunt but he’s never mentioned whether he got it. At $199 thru this weekend (Target, Best Buy) for it bundled with the Spider-Man game, I just bought it and will pick it up by Sunday night; if we change our minds, or if he actually did buy it, I’ll just return it.

  30. Swim –
    I included those only because I’ve been there. Not, thankfully, at my house, but at my mom’s (plumbing) and MIL’s (oven…but another daughter lives nearby so all was really fine).

  31. I have not heard/seen a lot of Black Friday commercials. Nor have I heard/seen commercials detailing which stores will be open on Thanksgiving.

    I heard the same sentiment on the radio this morning. Is this just a Providence thing, or have others noticed a decline in Black Friday advertisements?

  32. Laura I hate when that happens with concert tickets! Maybe Stubhub or some other service will sell VIP tickets, at a jacked up price of course!

    I was going to say the same thing – if they are willing to pay, there will be some available on the secondary market.

    I need a new computer. I’m looking for a Windows desktop machine.

    Unless you are a serious gamer and need a ton of horsepower, there is no reason to get a desktop anymore. The price difference between a desktop and comparable laptop is negligible.

    And we don’t have a vitamix either.

  33. I am looking for a fake tree to put outside on Black Friday. Surprisingly few of them are rated for indoor-outdoor!

  34. “I have not heard/seen a lot of Black Friday commercials.”

    Then you have not been watching football. Last night’s game was one after another.

  35. DW needs to upgrade her phone. She has an iPhone 5s, which is still OK for most things, but it doesn’t have enough memory (I think she has 32G),

    Try swappa.com. You can get used phones at very reasonable prices, and the site will back you up if someone sells you a clunker. I’ve bought 8 or 9 phones off there.

  36. Fred – good point. But I didn’t watch football last year or the year before that either. I still notice the downplay.

    Maybe I’m just not watching TV as much as I think?

  37. For fans of Big Little Lies and The Husbands Secret — the author has a new title out. So far it’s a great audiobook with a perfect Australian narrator. Early on (which is as far as I’ve gotten), there is a hilarious sequence in which a 52 year old writer has to cope with the retirement of her longtime editor, who was replaced by “a child.” She complains that many serious professional roles, such as doctor and accountant and news anchor, are filled by children.
    You probably have to be at least 50 to appreciate that

  38. “many serious professional roles, such as …. are filled by children.
    You probably have to be at least 50 to appreciate that.”

    I got my flu shot at Walgreens on Sunday. The pharmacist who administered the shot looked to be ~25…just a kid!

  39. Long Beach Aquarium is supposed to be nice, but I’ve never been. There’s a boat parade a bit north in Marina del Rey on the 8th: https://mdrboatparade.org/. You can either sit in the parks and watch, or pay to get a marina view from a restaurant. Perhaps Long Beach has something similar? There’s ice skating at the Pike Mall near the aquarium, and a Santa if you want warm-weather Santa pics! John’s Pizza in Long Beach is pretty tasty. I hope you have a wonderful trip!!

  40. I am looking forward to T-Day myself. My sister and her kids arrived Sunday night, and we are doing Thanksgiving tomorrow night, so the pies are currently in the oven and smelling delicious, despite a last-minute pumpkin emergency. Since she has to fly home Thursday morning, I took advantage of the opportunity to fly to my Granny’s for the long weekend, which included free tickets on points and a very surprisingly cheap rental car — and I’ll get a second Thanksgiving dinner that involves no cooking or effort on my part whatsoever. But the real cherry on top is that DH is staying home with the kids, so he gets to spend the long weekend helping DD finish the rest of her college applications. :-)

  41. She complains that many serious professional roles, such as doctor and accountant and news anchor, are filled by children.

    For me it’s med students/residents and regional airline pilots.

  42. “We are slowly switching over to laptops with docking stations supporting external larger monitors and keyboards.”

    That’s sort of what I have now. I’m using my laptop as a desktop, with an external keyboard, mouse, and monitor, although I also use the laptop monitor. I used the laptop away from my desk a few times when it was new, but since then it’s stayed on my desk.

  43. I am really enjoying the new Vitamix and all of the reviews were correct about buying a reconditioned machine directly from Vitamix. It really is like having a brand new machine for 100s less and it is still cheaper than the Costco price.

    I used it a lot to make food and shakes for DD when she had her teeth extracted. Today is the first day that she feels some what normal, and it has been a painful experience for all of us. I had four impacted wisdom teeth out at one time, and my recovery was much easier. The oral surgeon insists that the pain for each person is different and can never be predicted. I am just glad that she is on the down some of the peak of the pain highway.

    Our schools have a conference day tomorrow, so it is officially the holiday break. This is the first year that it doesn’t feel like a “real” because DD had two tests today, and she has the other three academic subjects on the Tuesday after the break.

    I thought I was getting off very easy this Thanksgiving because I was tasked with bringing franks in a blanket plus a bunch of desserts. I went to pick up a few boxes of Hebrew National today because I didn’t want to take up the space in my freezer. They were sold out in the first two supermarkets, but luckily I found them in stock in the third market. Even though it was 8 am, the parking lots and aisles were full at all of these places.

  44. “Unless you are a serious gamer and need a ton of horsepower, there is no reason to get a desktop anymore. The price difference between a desktop and comparable laptop is negligible.”

    The main reason I want a desktop is so that I can add a redundant second hard drive, which Windows 10 supports.

    I’ll try see if I can use an external HDD for that, in which case a laptop is a possibility.

    More generally, desktops lend themselves much better to upgrades, which I’m hoping would mean a longer interval before I need to replace it. Also, I’ve read that mobile versions of CPUs aren’t as powerful as the desktop versions, another reason they might require replacement sooner.

    OTOH, laptops typically use less power, don’t require me to buy an UPS, and could be taken with me if warranted.

  45. Finn,
    Walmart has 300 of on the latest big size iPhones and about 400 off on the 8s. Super deal. I got the xsMax. Haven’t opened the box yet.

    I will get air fryer and some organization for the garage. Plus some clothes and gift shopping.

  46. Rhode, Disneyland isn’t very far from Long Beach, and I think you’ll be there before it gets really really crowded.

  47. I’ll try see if I can use an external HDD for that, in which case a laptop is a possibility.

    Why that vs. cloud storage?

  48. sorry cut and pasted the wrong thing: The main reason I want a desktop is so that I can add a redundant second hard drive, Is what I wanted to ask about.

  49. “Is this just a Providence thing, or have others noticed a decline in Black Friday advertisements?”

    I have. It seems like it’s much less of a single day of shopping and sales. Sales don’t seem to be as eye-popping, and are spread out over a longer time interval.

    At least for the stuff I’ve looked at, Amazon doesn’t seem to have as good deals for Black Friday as they did for Prime day.

  50. I’ve been getting lots of Black Friday preview and pre-sale offers. The Balsam Hill tree I’m looking at is featured as a Black Friday preview that ends at midnight. It’s not much more expensive than many others I’ve seen on other websites, and they’re all on “sale” right now.

    I saw that the Fitbit Versa smartwatch will be marked down on Friday. I bought it a couple of weeks ago and I really like it. I probably would have gotten the Apple smartwatch but the need to charge it every day turned me off. Versa goes at least 4 days on one charge.

  51. Rhett, a few reasons:

    -Cloud storage and redundant HD aren’t necessarily mutually exclusive.

    -There’s a lot of personal stuff I want to keep local, e.g., tax returns, financial records.

    -What happens if your cloud storage provider goes under?

    -It’s pretty cheap. A quick search shows internal 1GB HDDs for less than $50.

  52. For those lusting after the Balsam Hill trees, I have had one. They are beautiful but weigh several tons. I replaced mine with one from Costco after several years and am so much happier. Ymmv, recall my DH has lupus so holiday decorating is primarily a one-person show. And we are seasonal people, we go over the top with decorating. Happy to report my house is done before Thanksgiving this year. Apologies to Thanksgiving purists out there. I do still have a pretty wheat bunch to signify that we are celebrating turkey day.

  53. -What happens if your cloud storage provider goes under?

    APPL has a quarter of a trillion dollars in cash. If they are going to go bust I’ll have enough time to migrate to a new platform.

  54. “I’ll try see if I can use an external HDD for that”

    I think it’ll be too slow, so I guess I’m looking for a desktop PC.

  55. Long Beach aquarium is amazing and worth a long visit. Plenty of things for grown-ups and play areas for children.

    Kidseum in OC is not too far away and is a cute little kid museum – and low-key.

    My absolute favorite day in the greater LA area with kids is to go to the Getty, eat at the cafeteria, and also hit the Skirball. The Skirball’s Noah’s Ark is ingenous and awesome and fun. If you are there on the right days, they have fake archeologic digs outside for kids to find treasure in. It’s sandboxing with a lesson. There is generally compelling art in the rest of the museum as well. You need to make reservations for the ark.

    Early December is low-season for Disney – we are going to Florida in a few weeks for just this reason.


  56. Rhode – you could take the ~1h15min ferry from Long Beach Harbor to Avalon (Catalina Island). Part of LA County, but 26miles away in the ocean.

  57. We decided to skip the txgiving luau on shore with 800 others and also the steam table turkey dinner in the main dining rooms on the ship. We will go to the steak restaurant, and I’ll make turkey dinner at home in Dec. I am thankful for every aspect and every day of my life. How could I feel any other way?

  58. “The Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows”

    How very disappointing to find that someone else has gotten there first.
    Somehow, it has a very Festivus ring.

  59. We made our flight. Traffic congestion near the airport which was just the traffic lights not being coordinated. Then traffic to pick up people at arrivals. Departures were fine. Terribly slow security check. Flight was delayed and just waiting to take off.

  60. Finn,

    Yes, it is out of state DD. There is now a direct flight so it’s only about a five hour journey.

  61. DD, I don’t need redundant storage, but I think it’s relatively cheap insurance.

    I’ve seen a lot of automated backups fail, with that failure often only revealed when a primary HDD fails.

  62. “There is now a direct flight so it’s only about a five hour journey.”

    We’re looking forward to the start of direct flights for DS, making it only an 11 hour journey, but I think he’ll still continue going to NYC for T-day.

  63. You all know about the romaine lettuce recall, right? Last night my H made a salad with romaine and he was the only one who ate it. He insisted it was all right because the lettuce was from the same batch as one we had eaten before the recall notice. If there’s any left I’m throwing it out this morning.

    I’m enjoying the Amazon Feeling Thankful playlist, which I’ll play tomorrow during dinner. It includes a diverse group of artists, ranging from Ed Sheeran (first time I’ve heard him and I like) to Michael Buble and Roy Orbison plus many more. I did not like Amazon’s other TG playlist when I sampled it. I always feel a bit of a cop out when I use Amazon’s playlists, but I guess they have me pegged as target customer because I’ve liked many of them.

    It’s so nice to have the kids back home sleeping in your house. Does that ever get old?

  64. Milo – hey guys. I’ve been absent for a bit, mainly because I accepted a new job and I’ve been busy trying to wrap up and turn over a bunch of things with my old one. But I figured I could check in while waiting in this long donut line. So I hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving.

  65. Rhode – we will be in Santa Monica Dec 5-9 or maybe a bit later. Not super close, but closer than we usually are! Let’s chat …

  66. Congrats Milo! So good to hear from you! Good luck with the new gig & hopefully we’ll still see you when you get up & running. And enjoy the donuts. :)

    @July –

    Are these playlists that you can access via Prime? Someone told me that there was quite a bit of Amazon music available with Prime, but I haven’t really checked into it since we already have a number of streaming sources, plus XM in the car, plus our music library, plus my favorite FM station.

  67. Milo, congrats! Happy Thanksgiving.

    We’re back at the oral surgeon. It’s hasn’t even been a week since DD had the teeth extracted, but it’s been painful- for all of us. We’re going to the mall later today because we don’t have to cook today. We went last year on Wed and we found the sales are already in progress in most stores.

  68. Lauren, is everything okay with your DD? My boys both had wisdom teeth out in the last year and after the first day or two it was very manageable. I’m guessing since you’re back at the dr, maybe there is a complication?

  69. Two wisdom teeth and another baby tooth that just wouldn’t come out. It’s the pain. The OS said that the pain can vary by person. Some people feel intense pain for several days.

  70. My oldest daughter had all four wisdom teeth out a few years ago and was fine within a day or two. Youngest daughter had all four out this summer and her pain got worse each day. Day 5 she woke in the middle of the night sobbing with pain. Turns out she had an infection and dry socket. It was a horrible 10 days or so before she started feeling better.

  71. Ivy — Yes, those playlists are regular Prime. I use their playlists, and then also compile my own playlists from their songs.

    Milo — Nice to hear about your new job!

  72. Ed Sheeran (first time I’ve heard him and I like)

    You know your kids are past the teen years when . . .

  73. Milo, congrats on the new job. I’m glad to hear your absence was due to something positive in your life.

  74. Congrats Milo! And happy thanksgiving all. We are staying home this year, and none of my clan likes turkey, so we went to Melting Pot for our main dinner tonight. Tomorrow I’m making filet mignon for DH/DS, but DD doesn’t eat much meat. She wants just sides, but low carb. Seriously? It’s Thanksgiving. Asparagus and salad is not going to get me into the kitchen. So I’m making dressing as well, because if I’m doing all the work, I’m having carbs.

    With each passing year, I’m more conscious of and grateful for than ever the blessings in my life. I have love and health, and everything else is gravy. Enjoy your long weekend!

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