Not a Creature Was Stirring

Hibernating Mouse

Yesterday I walked around the backyard, taking in the remainder of the damage from Hurricane Sandy. Our biggest loss was a 70-foot pine tree that crashed down within feet of the house, taking with it two other majestically mature trees. Although we cleaned up that mess a week after the storm, The One is still dragging downed branches and smashed bushes to our Christmas-tree graveyard beyond the back stone wall.

As I sat on the wall, thinking about how exposed we suddenly were to the neighbors—whom we’re thrilled rarely to see, either accidentally or socially–I spied our old grill. I was surprised that it was still standing. After all, it’s a cheap roller version, no bigger than those rickety carts that flight attendants wheel past row after row of passive-aggressive passengers.

Then I remembered a certain family that lived nearby and wondered how they’d weathered the storm. The Peromyscus leucopus family. Field mice, to be exact. Unlike the neighbors who live on either side of us and creep through the thicket of trees (which are now gone, thanks to Sandy) and scare the hell out of us while we have dinner on the patio, this family had never, ever accosted us. Read more »

A Tale of Two Dressings

Portuguese Turkey with Two Stuffings Recipe

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was part holiday, part carnival. We’d gather around the table and all the women (that’s not as sexist a remark as it may seem; it was the ’60s, after all) would become carnie barkers. Right after my grandfather finished grace, the air would explode with their babble—Hey, you, young man! How about you, little lady!—trying to coax you to step up and try their kale soup, sausage stuffing, or meringue cookies. Sides were heavily drawn along immediate family lines, until that first brave (read: foolish) cousin dared dip his fork into an aunt’s paprika-and-chouriço-roasted potatoes, and all hell broke lose. Matrilineal allegiances would drop like canaries in a mine shaft and the annual holiday season had begun. Read more »

Channeling Our Energy

Mouth of the English Channel

Alas, as I’ve said to many of you in response to your generous comments on previous posts, I’ve been the worst possible blogger/writer/storyteller this past week. My goal—our goal, actually, because The One wants to try his hand at writing—was to keep you in the loop literally each day. We wanted to regale you in the evening with tales—comic as well as tragic—from our day spent tromping through London. And, more importantly, we wanted to fold your copious ideas and suggestions into our travels and posts. (By the way, thanks for the restaurant reccos and the directives to visit St. John’s and have tea at Fortnum & Mason. And Kate Jackson, I will forever be your love slave for recommending Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.) Read more »

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