Archive for the ‘Family’ Category
The first thing I did was kick the bucket. I have a dark sense of humor and I enjoy physical comedy. Also, I didn’t know what the hell was in it, and I wanted to give it a nudge to see what happened.
I DID NOT DIE.
Turns out that the bucket (and some other goodies) had been sent by the lovely folks at Kikkoman for Thanksgiving brining purposes. You put your turkey in there.
So I did. Both of them.
And then I read the instructions and apparently it involves cooking said turkey for a big holiday feast, and federal laws clearly state that I am not allowed to do this. Your country may vary.
Oh, this kind of turkey (left).
Hold for laughs.
That’s right, Thanksgiving is next week (whaaaaaat?) and brining a turkey is supposed to be the best way to guarantee a juicy bird for your dining pleasure. The thing is, we are vegetarians, and while that wasn’t always the case (my wife swears by a history of brining), that is the way it is now. This is where you might think we are out of luck.
YOU ARE WRONG.
Did you know that you can brine vegetables? True story.
And that is what we are going to do.
The extended family, however, will brine a turkey just like Benjamin Franklin wanted. After all, this is America.
And there will be plenty of thanks for everyone.
Turkey Vegetable Brine
Ingredients (Recipe for a 16–24 pound turkey or a small farmers’ market):
2 gallons cold water
10 ounces Kikkoman Naturally Brewed Soy Sauce
½ cup kosher salt
½ cup sugar
2 tablespoons dried sage
2 tablespoons dried celery seed
1 tablespoon dried thyme
See Kikkoman’s brine site for instructions.
This post is sponsored by Kikkoman, but the sincerity (or lack of it) is all mine! I will be sharing some original(ish) family-friendly recipes in the coming months, stay tuned and stay hungry, my friends!
It’s Movember, and you know what that means, it’s that time of year when a man’s heart turns to his prostate, testicles, and mental health. And so should you!
This year the boys and I are all growing moustaches to raise awareness and donations for Movember—a campaign that has shown incredible progress toward finding cures and saving the men in our lives. A single dollar donation might be the one that saves your father, husband, brother, son, boyfriend, cousin, neighbor, uncle, grandfather, football hero, boy band member, grocer, soldier, teacher, firefighter, hairstylist, actor, blogger, so forth and so on. Or it might save you.
The bottom line is our top lip, and you can help save every single man you have ever met. There are worse ways to spend a buck.
The table is round and small. The chairs are plentiful, and the tea is as marvelous as the emperor’s new clothes. The other guests include a superhero, a bounty hunter, a silly old bear with a bit of stuffing loose around the ear, and a sheriff. His plus one is a space ranger. I am a spoke in the wheel and the table is spinning accordingly. Some montages move slower than others. The passing of time is implied.
There are no biscuits or cheeses or cucumber sandwiches with the crusts cut off. I’m allergic to cucumbers and the hosts know it. Also, they aren’t allowed to use a knife. Besides, this isn’t a tea party. Children have more sense than that.
This is a meeting and there are big boy topics on the table. This is a conversation with children about things that children shouldn’t talk about. In a room full of make-believe, the words from my lips seem the most unbelievable of all. They float off in cartoon balloons and pop on things like BAM! and POW! and the daggers from my eyes.
The boys have parts snips and snails. They are puppy dog tails, which, I’m fairly certain, is cruder than the moment calls for. Their attention is apt and always fleeting. They are golden brown with beach tans melting into the stubborn linger of dirt and midday fudgesicles.
Their guests are polite and stoic. I talk too much and wear my heart on my sleeve. This is probably the best way to describe me in any given situation.
They do not comprehend the gravity of it all, but they understand that things go up and that things often fall. They are also aware that bumbles bounce.
The tea is delicious and goes to my head. The room spins like a top.
They take my words as so much love, and what they make mends me where I am loose with stuffing. It is a thing far greater than equal.
This post first appeared on DadCentric in 2011.
I saw my life flash beyond the window. It was brightly lit in shades of a day that once again I was not seizing. There were knees licked green by blades of freshly cut grass and hair grown golden in rays of sun. There were bright blue skies and brighter white clouds and a playful spectrum reflecting from the distant prism of children laughing.
I sat in an office worn gray with worry, lost between what I have done and what I am doing. I sat in an office and watched nothing as it bounced from tree to tree and fell small across the horizon.
The week is long hours and short nights. The boys are things that children should not be—bored, unchallenged, restless, and a nuisance. I am failing here and I know it. My day is filled with attempts at appeasement and endless piles of paperwork. I parent with shortcuts and scenic routes. All roads are long and winding. All detours are distractions.
The weekend is short and wicked. It teases and dances and whispers things I long to hear, and then it sneaks out the backdoor when I close my eyes for just a minute. The weekend is a mistress flirting across the calendar.
Sunday morning finds sighs where smiles should be and excuses where once were excursions. I am tired and there is work left undone. It is too easy to give the boys a task that taxes their time, like the cleaning of their room—a 15 minute project straight as the crow flies, and an all day affair for two little boys with more imagination than work ethic.
So it was that I sat in an office of gray, full of sighs and longing, while my sons stood in a sea of toys and discarded socks. We were all bored. We were all restless. The window was alive and it mocked me.
I leaned against the doorway watching them do the opposite of what I had told them. They froze when they noticed me. This is where the sighs come in. This is where I raise my voice and make mountains out of no hills.
This is where I am tired of failing.
“Let’s do something,” I said.
And we did.
This post first appeared on DadCentric in 2010, and it’s amazing how little life has changed.
There are flowers on the table and bourbon on my breath. The dogs are draped to either side of my sore, swollen feet, and the air is filled with the sounds of strings gently weeping. The boys fell asleep in a matter of seconds.
The room is mine to use as I please, and I please to use it for drinking brown liquor and forcing my words onto screens once paper and straight on till morning. Something will snag. Something will tear. Participles will dangle everywhere. And then the words will rush through to other ears and those places where my thoughts have wandered. They will be as out of context as everything, and it is the thought that counts.
Follow them if you must, but they will be back eventually, most likely to haunt me. They’ll show up bearing flowers, their roots but a memory, and I will put them on the table like I promised that I would. Nobody looks past the petals when they have a drink in their hand.
All I can carry is this emptiness, as burdensome as a millstone, and as helpless as a shadow. It is the wait of a phone due to ring and the call you never want to get.
There is nothing left but to answer it.