Before I knew him, my husband had reconnected with various friends from different stages of his life. They all came together frequently for parties and gatherings to hang out and have fun. He kept up the tradition for years, and we started executing them together once we became a couple. Even through marriages and children, his friend group has remained cohesive and consistent in their dedication to spending time with each other.

One of the events traditionally held each year is Thanksmas. Some people do Friendsgiving, usually held on or around Thanksgiving. We do Thanksmas, which is between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It effectively serves as the “friend’s holiday” for the group, including a formal dinner. The host generally provides the turkey, and the meal is potluck style.

With practice and many stumbles along the way, the food has vastly improved over the years. Before my time, there was apparently serious drama with the mashed potatoes one year. Some people are very protective of potatoes now because of that incident.

Probably splitting off a kid’s table next year to stretch the seating a little further.

We hosted and did the turkey this year. I think our Thanksgiving turkey was slightly better, but we have gotten pretty good at it. Our trick is the dry-brine process beginning about a day and a half to two days before the event. I get the seasoned salt under the skin to help the flavors seep all the way through the meat. If you generally dislike turkey because it comes out dry, I recommend trying out dry-brining.

The second trick to our turkey is the Big Easy Cooker. It is a relatively inexpensive appliance we use for a number of things, but it is the best for getting a nice crispy crust or skin on whatever you are cooking. The Big Easy is billed as an oilless deep fryer and infrared cooker using propane and done outside. They have not sponsored me to say this (though I would be willing to entertain offers!), and it is a pain to clean, but I love everything we make in it.

Despite how crazy I look here—or maybe that is a contributing factor—I have also gotten pretty good at carving the turkey.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday season!

Moving Day

I am glad I finished my November writing goals early because a fair portion of this week was occupied by work and helping my grandmother move. She was living down in the Puyallup area, which is about a forty-minute drive in each direction from where we live. Other family members used to also live in Puyallup, but they moved away this year, so she wanted to be closer to us.

We took her to look at a few options and then compared locations and prices. She decided on one and wanted to move before the holidays, but the final repairs and paint would not finish until after Thanksgiving, so we planned the move for the last day of the month. The early snow falling here complicated matters. We did not want to pay for December at her old place, so she had to move that day. While the movers we booked could still make it, the price would now include a hazard fee. 

My dad and I arrived at her place early. She had done a fair amount of packing in the preceding weeks, but there was still much of the food and cleaning supplies left on shelves and in cupboards. We busted out the boxes and bags and got to work, expecting the movers to arrive at ten am. The appliance also needed to be disconnected, since she had purchased those relatively recently. They were too big for her new place, so we planned to have those dropped off at my sister’s house and we will sell them. 

Because of the weather-related traffic, the movers did not arrive until eleven. By then, we had most of the final items packed, the appliances were disconnected, and we were ready to take out the stuff we would transport in our truck. The two men took a look around and got to work. 

It took them over two and a half hours to get everything packed from her two-bedroom retirement apartment. The process makes me want to clear out some of the clutter in my house; but who has time for that? We drove the forty minutes to the new place and started unpacking. She is losing about two hundred square feet of space. Most of it is bathroom space, but with all the boxes, her living room looked like a storage unit at the end of the day. 

We focused on getting the bedroom clear enough to sleep in, then we went out to a much-deserved dinner with the rest of the family. It was still snowing, but the stuff on the ground was mostly slush, so we were able to drive safely. My sister and I are headed back over today to help with more unpacking and moving furniture. Hopefully, she will feel settled soon enough. 

Have a great weekend!

Brain Mush

My brain is a bit mushy today. I think it is from running in a hundred directions the last few weeks. Maybe it is getting to do more people stuff again. Either way, this post will ramble a bit so I can give you some updates across many of those hundred directions. 


The vet recommended I look into a shot to manage Big Cat’s arthritis. Based on how he acts, I am holding off for now and keeping that on the back burner for later pain management. However, the research I did made me think of getting him a bed for the winter months. With it getting colder, I wanted him to have something warm to sleep on at night. They warn against using heated blankets and such for people, so I went for a heated cat bed.

I got the large one in case Little Cat tried to join him so she would not push him out. 

He loves it. Not more than my lap (thankfully), but he often ignores the metaphorical dinner bell now to stay curled up in it until he is hungry and gets up to pester me for food. He is super adorable in it, and I’m glad he took to it right away. 


A couple of weeks ago, I got my updated COVID booster, and yesterday I got my flu shot. I have mentioned before that I continue to work through a needle phobia. Both vaccinations went off without a fainting problem, so I count those as two wins. The one from yesterday might be contributing to my brain fog today, but the side effects are relatively mild this time (another win). 

I’m doing what I can and crossing my fingers that I can avoid any additional illnesses as we head into the colder seasons. 


Something I have been spending more time on lately is helping my grandmother look for a new independent living facility. My mom’s side of the family used to split between us in the Auburn/Federal Way areas and the other half in the Puyallup area. Before my grandfather passed, they also lived in Puyallup, so it made sense that when she decided to go into independent living that they would look for something there as well. 

Time moved on, and the Puyallup half has now moved to Florida, and she wants to be closer to those of us still living in Washington. I have been researching places closer to us, and we toured some a couple of weeks ago. We did some thinking and negotiation, and she signed onto a new place this week. We will be helping her move into it at the end of November, and everyone is excited that she will be closer to us for visits and events. 


We started up our Halloween parties again. I called this one Zombie Halloween because we were essentially trying to resurrect the events of old. It turned out to be a great time. I brought back one of my old costumes. My sister and I made it together about twelve years ago, and it mostly still fits with some strategic cape placement. For the event, I also made some spooky deviled eggs. I am a Miracle Whip person, while my husband prefers mayo, so I did half of each kind. The MW ones looked like mummies, while the mayo looked like pumpkins. 

This is the She-Ra (OG 80’s cartoon) costume my sister and I made. I bought the skirt, boots, and sword.

Another fun thing I tried out this week was making butter (main photo)! I first saw an old butter churn on TikTok, then I saw that you can do it with a mixer in about fifteen minutes. The latter seemed easier, so I went in that direction. It was cool seeing it firm up and the buttermilk getting washed out. This morning, I chopped some garlic and homegrown basil and mixed that in for some homemade garlic-basil butter. I’m freezing it for later use, and I might make some more butter and other varieties to give out for Christmas. 


That is all of my brain mush for the moment except to say that two more ratings came in recently on Amazon, so that puts me at thirty-three total between the two books. Seven more, and I will add that deleted chapter to the website! Thanks for all of your support, and I hope you keep reading. 

Summer’s End

We are rapidly approaching what has been—for me—a whirlwind summer. Over the last month and a half, I have DMed at GenCon, gotten sick, sold at the Renaissance Fair, and hosted my brother’s family for their visit. While all this was happening, I have also been working on a significant career change.

After more than seventeen years in the corporate world, I want to explore being my own boss. While I would love for this to mean becoming a full-time author, I have nowhere near the backlist needed to make that a reality. Though, I’m working on it.

There are several options I’m exploring and putting effort into. I’m not sure where I will land, but I worked carefully for years to put myself in a secure enough position to make a change like this. It will work out. One way or another, I will do what it takes to move forward.

I also got a new “end of summer” haircut! Back to my bright red and trying out an undercut.


If you had asked me a year ago where I would be today, my answer would have been incorrect. I was heading toward the publication date for my first book, hoping it would eventually reach and entertain fifty strangers. All the research and effort were coming together for that final deadline.

Not even a year later, I have already far surpassed my conservative goal of fifty readers. I met some amazing people at live events who are eager to read my work and excited to meet me. My goals for 2022 felt daring at the start of the year, and now I believe I will surpass them despite all my lingering doubts and imposter syndrome.

If there is one thing I would add to the list, it would be doing more short-length videos (Tik Tok, Reels, etc.). A kind marketing expert who stopped to chat with me at the Ren Faire suggested I just get in front of a camera and talk through some questions. The exercise would give me some video material with which to work. I might give it a try before the month is out.

Here’s to another beautiful summer!

Family Visit

My brother is in town this weekend with his family. Since they live in Florida, we don’t see them often. The time and cost of travel between the opposite corners of the contiguous USA are a bit prohibitive. Last summer, we went down in August to the heat and humidity. We fed a giraffe at the zoo, among other fun activities. This year, they are up here with us.

We went blackberry picking yesterday and will see if we can bake a pie with our haul tomorrow before the heat hits. My nephew ate his obligatory serving of berries along the way. While the pickings were not the best this year, I have seen them much worse. I estimate we have about two pies worth of filling in the refrigerator.

Today, my sister-in-law is casually running a half marathon. She was up early Friday morning to get in an eight-mile jaunt as a final preparation. I’m pretty sure I could walk a half marathon distance in one day. My legs would hurt the next day, but I could do it. I can’t imagine running that distance, though. Running the mile was unpleasant for me back in school, so I’m in awe of the drive it takes to complete these races.

She might have gone for the full marathon, but we have plans to attend the Sounders game tonight. We need to pick up a new Sounders shirt for my nephew, as he has grown out of his first one. Maybe I will get them to try some local brews along with the food trucks at tonight’s match. Unfortunately, the best beer place is all the way across the stadium from the food trucks, but maybe the new bar will be open and have some good selections.

Tomorrow we are having a BBQ with friends and family. My brother still plays online games regularly with a handful of the guys from our group. Most of them will be coming to do some catching up over burgers and brats. My parents are also bringing my grandmother, so she will get to spend some time with her other great-grandson on our side of the family. I hope they take some great memories with them when they leave.