Friday, November 23, 2007


Well, folks....believe it or not, Mr.Simmons and I pulled off Thanksgiving dinner at our house for 12, count it, t-w-e-l-v-e of our nearest and dearest (including us, of course). Choosing to host Thanksgiving, I've learned, is a pretty big deal. I didn't realize the full weight of what I had done to myself until about 2:00 yesterday afternoon with a 3:00 meal time looming ahead of me.

I went through my usual pre-party panic cleaning frenzy only to discover with 1 hour before our first guests were expected to arrive (at 1:00) that our vacuum had decided to omit an intensely foul smell...close your eyes and imagine singed hair and burning tires. Yum, eh? Especially right before you are hosting your first ever Thanksgiving dinner for TWELVE people. So, I borrow a vacuum from a neighbor that works exceptionally well on the 1/3 of Tal that is laying on the living room and dining room rugs. Vacuum, check! Now I just have 2 pumpkin pies, roasted vegetables, stuffing, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, crescent rolls and cranberry sauce to get on the table by 3:00.

It was about 1:00 by this time and my brother arrived dutifully on time with mac 'n cheese and sweet tea in tow. Surprising quickly I was able to whip up the pumpkin pies and get them into the 425 degree oven. Now, food prep and timing are things I have absolutely no experience with at all. In fact, most meals that I am in charge of tend to be eaten in rounds as things always end up taking me off guard by cooking either much faster or much slower than I expect. I had given a little thought to the fact that I had four things that require the oven at three different temperatures and cooking times, but the reality of the organization and maneuvering didn't really hit me until that 2:00 mark. I have never moved so quickly and expertly in my kitchen. With a flushed face and dish towel thrown over my shoulder like a pro, I was shifting pies, setting timers, chopping veggies and rolling delicious crescent rolls out of a can like I had entertained for TWELVE people a thousand times before.

Miraculously, at precisely 3:00pm TWELVE Simmons' & Tarr's squeezed themselves into our cozy (read: freakin' tiny) dining room and feasted on:
  • fried turkey courtesy of Papa Tarr
  • ham courtesy of Mama Simmons
  • roasted garlic mashed potatoes - a Martha Stewart recipe via Charles
  • mac & cheese from my brother
  • apple salad thanks to my sis
  • roasted vegetables a la me...this was a truly gorgeous dish of acorn & yellow squash and radishes & carrots from Wendy's hippie farm coalition all simply seasoned with salt & pepper and lightly drizzled with olive oil
  • pan-fried brussel sprouts from charles and his mama
  • stuffing from a bag but gussied-up with fresh celery & onion
  • glory collard greens
  • cranberry sauce
  • turkey gravy
  • and crescent rolls.
Delicious! Somehow earlier in the day I had a panic that we weren't going to have enough food. Luckily, I was WAY wrong. Our fridge is now bursting with post-Thanksgiving grub and I have no idea how we are going to get rid of it. We already utilized some of it with a hearty ploughman's lunch this afternoon of leftover turkey & ham, crescent rolls, branston pickle and mac 'n cheese.

Oh right...forgot to mention the SEVEN dessert options available including: pumpkin pie, pumpkin spice cake, pumpkin ooey gooey cake, pumpkin bread, mince pie, pecan pie and vanilla ice cream!!! I like pumpkin a lot.

Aside from the success of the meal, it was so wonderful to have both of our families with us yesterday. I think both sets of parents were proud that their kids are finally grown up enough to host Thanksgiving and attempt to begin making up for the years and years and years they have taken on the responsibility with very little thanks from the kids. I also think they were a little excited not to have to cook themselves this year. Sitting at our make-shift twelve-seater dining room table and watching our families enjoying an enormous meal in our house and interacting like one big unified family was better than anything I could have asked for and for that, I am so thankful.

Right, so now I'm an expert and all, feel free to hire me next year for all your Thanksgiving needs. Ha!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

'Tis the season.....

for pumpkin flavored EVERYTHING and I love it! Last night after a delicious Rusan's date night with Charles, we happened upon a Coldstone...curious. Actually, I planned the whole night around Coldstone, Charles just doesn't know it. Anyhow, I had all intention of getting my standard cheesecake ice cream with graham crackers and oreos but when I looked in the case, a bright light shone down from the heavens and a holy host of angels sang out "pumpkin ice cream is glorious!". Upon further review, I noticed the pumpkin pie combination recommendation of pumpkin ice cream, graham crackers, caramel and whipped cream....appropriately named "Pumpkin Pie in the Sky". Needless to say, it was freakin' delicious.

I have a cute little pumpkin on my front porch and I'm contemplating whether or not I should attempt to prepare the meat to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. My spidey senses tell me it will be a disaster given my previous records in the kitchen. We'll see.

'Tis also the season for morning tea in bed. When I am being a sweet wife, I sneak out of bed before Charles wakes up and make us both our morning tea. It is so much more delicious when it's cold outside.

I've definitely been enjoying the amazing weather and cooler temperatures but we need rain so desperately. We were watching the best show on tv last night and it was raining in a couple of scenes...I realized I can't remember the last time I have heard rain, one of my favorite sounds. But how can you complain about day after day of gorgeous blue, cloudless skies? I feel like I am living in Denver again. Drought in the fall is weird.

Oh, so the girl who loathes entertaining (that would be me) has decided that she should host Thanksgiving for BOTH families this year. The decision was mostly selfish as Charles and I don't necessarily enjoy driving all over Atlanta Thanksgiving day. I thought buying the November issue of Martha Stewart Living would be the perfect answer to all my decorating/cooking/preparation needs but by the third page I realized she is way out of my league. I think I'll stick with Real Simple...or is there "Thanksgiving Dinner for Dummies"? Luckily my dad's bringing the fried turkey, the mom-in-law's bringing ham so if I can just whip up some sides and desserts and manage to set the table, I'll be a-okay. I actually think it'll be fun. If any of you Atlanta transplants find yourself with nowhere to go that day, feel free to join the Simmons/Tarr clan, the more the merrier...I think.

I don't know if you are experiencing the same, but work continues to get more and more unbelievably busy. Just when I think I can't take another project or task, 5 more are piled on. The only thing getting me through at the moment is the thought that this is that last minute pre-Thanksgiving push when everyone is attempting to get as much done as they possibly can because they know they won't be able to in that odd time at the office between Thanksgiving and the new year. So, good luck to everyone this last week and a half of insanity before the festivities begin.

Bye bye. Go dawgs.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Dumbass Strikes Again

I love Charles' dog*. I really do. Most of the time his dog is so cute and so cuddly and all I want to do is give Charles' dog lots of hugs and kisses. Then there are other times....times I like to get sleep and times I realize maybe I'm not ready for children, when I would like to put a gun to Charles' dog's head and pull the trigger or drive to the middle of nowhere, drop-kick him out of the car and speed off without ever looking back. I kid, I kid, I joke....ahem.

I will be civilized and not post the disgusting pictures of what Charles' dog did to himself, but I will post these super-embarrassing, tal' pictures for you to enjoy. When your husband's dog likes the taste of his own flesh and blood, you might want to have an appropriate sized "i can no longer chew my ass" collar on hand. And about $300. Dang!

*of course, he's "Charles' dog" when he does stupid stuff, he's 100% my dog, or maybe "our dog", when he's doing all the cute stuff.

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - rear view

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - front view

taliesin patrick (aka "Dumbass") - side view

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Go: Into the Wild

I'm not a movie critic so, instead, I will share my reaction to the film....

As the movie ended:
"That was really good."

As we were riding down the escalator to the parking deck:
"That was really well done."

As we were getting in the car:
"That was really heavy."

Then I silently cried all the way home.

Sean Penn did a beautiful job adapting John Krakauer's book to the big screen. It was lovely. It was heartbreaking. It moved me. Go see it if you have time.

Friday, November 02, 2007


That sounds even better live. What a way to spend a Tuesday night with your husband.