The McRib

I read in one of my financial newsletters this morning that McDonald’s is bringing the McRib sandwich back for the first time in 8 years.

I had to go back and look at Facebook because I very specifically remember a time when I was very excited that McDonald’s was bringing back the McRib sandwich. So much so that I made the family pile into the car and we went to McDonalds. We don’t eat at McDonald’s. We’ll often get afternoon coffee at a McDonald’s when we’re on a long road trip though.

Anyway, on December 2, 2011 we went to McDonald’s and got McRibs. Upon arriving at our local McDonald’s in Oak Hill, I learned that for $1 more, you could get an extra McRib sandwich added to your value meal. Now that’s a great value that you just can’t pass up.

And that was the last time I ate a McRib. And I have absolutely zero desire to go to McDonald’s when it’s back. Actually now I kind of do have a desire. No, no I don’t. I think two McRibs in one sitting created a permanent aversion.

Thanksgiving 2020

Thanksgiving was obviously different this year. With spikes in cases of COVID-19, most states issued recommendations to limit travel, stay home if possible and remain socially distant. That was pretty much the case for us, too. This was the first year in many that we didn’t travel to Oklahoma to spend the weekend with the Boeckman family. I only recall one other time when we didn’t travel. I’m pretty sure it was before we had Maly and we didn’t go because Elise and I both came down with a horrible case of the flu on the Friday after Thanksgiving.

The girls and I stayed home. I had to work most of Wednesday, but peeled off a little early and Mara and I took a bike ride so I could show her the huge swing out in Legend Oaks.

I woke up insanely early on Thanksgiving morning. I think it’s because Elise has a tendency to stay up late and fall asleep on the couch in the living room. And then in the wee hours of the morning, she wakes up and comes to bed. Since I’d already been asleep for a long time, my mind and body think it’s time to wake up. Combine that with the excitement of smoke the Thanksgiving turkey. So, needless to say, I tossed and turned from 2 a.m. to 4:45, when I finally got up and started working on the bird.

I got out of bed, made my coffe, and went out onto the deck to get the Kamado Joe going as it usually take a good half hour for the fire to start getting hot. I rinsed the bird, seasoned it, stuffed it with lemons from Laura and Grant’s tree, a Granny Smith apple that Maly had bought for her awesome apple pies, an onion and too much rosemary.

This year I learned that I like the smell of rosemary, but not the taste. I pulled the rosemary out of the turkey after I’d cooked it, but you’d still get a taste every once in a while and it just tasted like burnt weed. Of the cannabis variety.

I also learned that you oughtn’t brine a turkey that’s already been brined, or pre-injected with a x% saline solution. The turkey came out really good and moist, but some of the meat, especially the dark meat was too salty.

The turkey went on the smoker at 6:05 a.m. My reciped called for 30 minutes per pound at 225-degees.

The girls woke up and got ready and we headed to the Circle C Swim Center to meet a small group of friends for our Unofficial Circle C Run Club Turkey Trot. Our “official” turkey trot was canceled last year because some curmudgeon of a neighbor complained that we were taking too much of the street, so the HOA and city shut us down. We were planning on attaining required permits and logistics this year, but COVID happened. Last month neighborhood bonehead hijacked Ana’s Turkey Trot collateral and organized his own unofficial neighborhood turkey trot. Ana and her family were out of town for Thanksgiving this year, so I organized a separate unofficial neighborhood turkey trot. Just typing that makes me think first word problems.

Anyway, eleven of us ran our little Turkey Trot. It was fun, low key, a great excuse to get out and go for a run, and it kept the tradition alive. Elise and the girls were there, and Tara dropped of Ava, so they were all there and did a nice walk. Scott, Erik, Shannon, Jessica and I ran.

Turkey Trot done, we came home, turned on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which was really sad given that it was a made for TV event this year, which meant no crowds. Elise started on all the side for Thanksgiving. I pulled the Turkey off the smoker right at noon, maybe a half our too late. I think it might’ve been a wee bit overdone. But not dried out, so that was a good thing.

Bill from accross the street came over and took me up on smoking two Cornish game hens for him and Sandy. I’d offered the free smoking service the evening before. Bill hung out on the deck with us for an hour our so, until we reminded him that he was supposed to be on an errand to go to Randall’s and buy whatever else it was that he and Sandy needed for Thanksgiving.

And then the girls and I ate on the deck because the weather was amazing. I think it was right at 72-degrees when we ate at 2 p.m.

My whole goal for the day was to gorge myself on food, hit the couch, turn on a football game and take a nap. I don’t think I’ve ever indulged in that typical Thanksgiving indulgance. And it never happened, despite pretty much having been awake since 2 a.m.

After our Thanksgiving meal, and since we wouldn’t be traveling to Oklahoma the following Friday, the girls decided to start putting up Christmas decorations. Inside and out. That means yours truly has to string the icicle lights up onto the roof. This is an endeavor that’s invariably frustrating because as progress is made, I realize that there are sigfinicant sections of my icicle lights that are burnt out.

The girls and I worked on lights in the front yard until it got too dark and we went in to snack on Thanksgiving food. We also spent each evening watching Harry Potter movies. Each night I’d be lucky if I made it to 9 p.m. before conking out. Thankfully I’ve seen all the HP movies, but it’d be nice to watch them with the girls. But, you can always re-watch HP movies!

The rest of the weekend has been pretty casual and relaxing. Cold front finally came in. Elise and the girls snuck out for Christmas decorations and lights shopping on Friday. Saturday was cold and wet so we stayed home and watched football.

All-in-all kind of a nice, relaxing, small Thanksgiving.

Dad’s buck

My dad harvested this buck on his property on November 28, 2005. Ten months before he died. I’m pretty sure this was the last deer he shot. He was proud of this deer. His goal was to mount it, but the universe had other plans. When he died, this skull was one of those things that I immediately took with me. I hung it in the garage and it kind of became a bike helmet hanger. It fell recently. Thankfully it didn’t break, and I took that as an omen that I was long overdue in finishing dad’s work. Now it hangs in the office where I can see it and think about him.

Wholesome Halloween and other some such

This past Friday was weird. Under Armour had its earnings report early in the morning. During that call it was announced that UA is going to sell of MyFitnessPal to a private equity firm. The connected fitness division had a mandatory all hands meeting later that morning. Then two other meetings were called so folks would know if they were staying with Under Armour and MapMyRun, or if they were leaving with MyFitnessPal to go with the private equity firm. I’m part of the latter.

So I went for a run on the trails and came home and shot a bunch of arrows. I wasn’t really in the work mood, so pretty much took the day off short of any obligations.

After the girls were done with school, we headed out to Burger Stadium to watch the Bowie vs. Akins varsity football game.

Almost 27 years of living in Austin and had never been to a high school football game. Elise and I had always talked about because Burger Stadium is in our neck of the woods. We just never made the time to go, until this past Friday. I guess it takes having a child in high school to become part of the crowd. We had a good time. Hung out and sat with Ray and Alma and Alma’s parents. Julia performed with the color guard during half time. Got pretty chilly the second half. And it wasn’t much of a game as Bowie kind of clobbered Akins 42 – 0.

We didn’t get home until 10:30 on Friday after the game. I immediately hit the hay and got up early to go run with the Circle C Run Club. Lou wanted to run 10 miles, so I created a route for the 10 of us to run. Ana, Josh Bibb, Trent, Steph, Melissa, Rich, Thien, Frank and Lou all showed up. It was one of those runs that reminds me of why I love running. The weather, the scenery, the crisp air, being with friends, the changing of the season. It was just amazing, and it all took away from the fact that this was my first long run since August 1st. The last time I ran distance was a 12-miler on August 1. Since then I think the longest I’ve run is 7-8 miles. Anyway, had an absolute blast with the crew. I think what made it most enjoyable (along with the past weeks worth of runs leading up to this one) is just not giving a damn about pace. It’s been really fun and relaxing to just slow the hell way down and take in the scenery, take deep breaths and, on occasion, have a conversation with myself, or just make some verbal observations.

As we were running back to Torchy’s (or point of origination), Elise and Maly were driving down Escarpment to pick up Ava for lacrosse practice. The honked. We waved. Maly and the other freshman lax girls dressed up for Halloween practice.

The rest of the Halloween afternoon was spent in the front yard since the weather was so nice. I shot a bunch of arrows. Elise chatted with the neighbors. At some point Elise took Mara to shop for pants, and took Maly over to Ava’s so they could hang out and trick or treat on Ava’s street.

Halloween day drew to and end. Mara and Emma helped me gut and carve the pumpkin. Mara designed our Jack o’ Lantern this year. I seasoned and roasted the pumpkin seeds while Elise went to pick up pizza and Mara and Emma played.

After dinner and after watching the Longhorns take OSU 41 – 34 in overtime it was time to head out for trick or treating.

We went trick or treating through our immediate neighborhood streets with the Mimms, Christina and Kyla, and Hannah and her mom. Halloween was very different this year as everyone put candy either on their driveways, or on tables or some such setups on the end of their driveways or in their yards.

Mara was the old grandpa. She wore the mask that I got when I was about her age. I never thought that mask would get so much use. Maly wore that mask for Halloween one year as well. Probably when she was Mara’s age.

The kids came home with pounds of candy. I texted Maly at some point during the night just to check in. Apparently she and Elise had had a conversation earlier in the day and Maly voiced how she’s becoming aware of her childhood fading away. She was sad and missed going trick or treating. I wasn’t privy to the conversation, but my thought was that she’s as old as she wants to be. There’s nothing wrong with a 14-year-old trick or treating. She and Ava did go trick or treating though, but Maly texted me back and told me that she missed us. She was only going to be gone for the night, but it was cute that she missed us.

Overall I’d say Halloween was a success. It was a late night, but everyone had fun.

The time changed early Sunday morning. Fall back. I woke up early and couldn’t help but wanting to for a run. It was so quiet outside and I knew the temperature was perfect. So I snuck out and ran Escarpment south to 45 and back. The weather was perfect. It was 50-degrees, the time had changed and it was the day after Halloween so I felt like I had the streets to myself.

I came home, took a shower, shaved and then went back outside because the weather was just too amazing to not be outside. My suspension seat post had come in the mail, so I rode up to the mailbox to pick it up and sat on the driveway and worked on the bike for a while. After Elise and Mara got up and got going, I convinced them to go on a bike ride to Summer Moon. I’d never been there and wanted to try it. That was a nice little morning treat.

After coffee we took the long way home and made the loop through Dick Nichols park and then through the Latta Branch greenbelt.

And then we just sort of took it easy and took in the weather for the rest of the day. We watched Coco to celebrate Dia de los Muertos.

And I conked out at 9:30, not even caring about the week ahead at work! ;-)