Long weekend highlights

I’m gearing up for the launch of What the Most Successful People Do on the Weekend on December 31. In the meantime, I’m trying to upgrade my weekends, or at least become more mindful of what I do with them. Here are some highlights from the past few days:

I cooked a turkey. I massively overbought for the number of people we had (10 plus a baby) but despite the turkey’s size, it came out quite moist and (just as important) on time. I aimed to eat at 5, and we ate at 5. I’m ridiculously proud of this. The prep work and scheduling was possible because my husband drove all 3 kids into NYC to watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. While this choice to cook instead of take in the parade slightly contradicts one of my classic posts, Thanksgiving and the new home economics, I did also use the morning to score some me-time: a run, a looong shower, some reading, some Facebook, some brainstorming book ideas. 

I went for a brisk run with my little brother. As I noted in the post on the dilemma of plausible goals, I can (and perhaps should) run faster than I do. Running with a faster running partner is one way to make that happen. Running with a buddy is also a great way to practice alignment — building social time into something you’d do anyway.

I read Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens. Last summer I wrote a post about the Transit of Venus, and how I was a bit miffed not to see it due to cloud cover. But imagine how miffed one would be if the year was 1761, and you’d traveled all the way to Mauritius from Europe via boat to take measurements of the transit, and then were thwarted by cloud cover. I’ll be reviewing this book in my monthly newsletter (please see the subscription button at the top of the website).

I also read Vacation at the Volcano, one of the Magic Tree House books, to my sons.

We went to Longwood Gardens to see the Christmas lights and — key for us — the Christmas train display. I love the beautiful poinsettia displays and even an agave-themed tree in the desert section of the greenhouse. Of course, going with three small kids means that the walk in the cold around the grounds wasn’t particularly relaxing. In fact, there was a ton of whining, but I’m still glad we went. If you rely solely on the experiencing self to make decisions, you’ll miss out on things that your remembering self will have wished you’d done.

What were your highlights this weekend? Did you cook a turkey? Have you ever chucked a side dish for being too complicated?

Turkey photo courtesy flickr user ReneS



12 Responses to Long weekend highlights


  1. Karen says:

    Thanks for pointing out and linking to your old post, “Thanksgiving and the New Home Economics,” I hadn’t seen that one before, and I enjoyed it!

    I actually have a less mainstream view of Thanksgiving; it’s never been my favorite holiday and if it weren’t for the cultural and historical context, I’d be happy to do something else entirely with the days off. I don’t enjoy cooking meals, which some people understand, but I also don’t really enjoy eating that particular meal while sitting around a table, which very few people understand, except for maybe my husband (who was born and raised in Europe, so didn’t grow up with this holiday).

    The best part of our Thanksgiving weekend was the hike through the Boxford State Forest on Black Friday. We crossed rivers, saw deer scat, wore bright orange (still hunting season), and found some geocaches. I think we’re descended from hunter-gatherers, not farmers. ;-)

    • Laura says:

      @Karen- sounds lovely. I would have enjoyed a hike, too, I think. Someday – when more of the kids can walk unassisted.

  2. Sarah says:

    Experiencing self vs. remembering self — I love this!

  3. Jeno says:

    Hi Laura:

    I’ve been AWOL from your post and wanted to see what you have been up to lately. Glad to see you are still writing and are looking forward to your book on what successful people do during the weekend.

    We had a really good long holiday weekend. Today, I spent time with the kids while she was pursing one of her interests. On Friday, I went to Iowa City to see my beloved Iowa Hawkeyes host the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Although we came up short (again, the story of this dismal season, alas I digress) it was great to see some of my college friends and fraternity brothers. Despite the cold and wind, we had a ball. I was looking at the photos and could not help but smile. Oh, and the beer tasted pretty good too.

    To some, we were heritics (sorry mis-spelled) in that we did not stay home to eat. We went out and had a lovely meal with my Dad and with a friend who was solo for the holiday. We had a super meal and at the end, no dishes to wash, no leftovers to deal with and no folding chairs to get back in the garage.

    Today, my daughters decorated my Dad’s tree and got Christmas set up at his house. My Mom passed away two years ago and my Dad is still getting back into the season, so to speak. I am fortunate that although I am Catholic and my wife is Jewish (thus our kids are Jewish) we celebrate both. Just my opinion but I think the season is big enough to enjoy all of it.

    We’re back to work and school tomorrow. It was a nice time off and all in all, a great holiday weekend.

    Best rgs,
    Jeno

    • Laura says:

      @Jeno- thanks so much for reading and commenting! Sounds like a wonderful weekend. And I agree that beer on Thanksgiving weekends is good. Even if the weather is cold. And yes, the season is big enough for many traditions.

  4. Crete says:

    @Laura,
    Did you brine your turkey? If so, what’s your recipe? I have my favorite but always looking for ideas.

    • Laura says:

      @Crete- I put some veggies (carrots, celery, onion) under the turkey. I coated the turkey in olive oil and garlic. I cooked at 350 for about 4.5 hours (it was an 18-lb turkey). I wound up pouring on about a cup of water during the cooking, and covered in foil after 2.5 hours or so. Nothing too crazy, really.

      • Crete says:

        @Laura
        I coat mine in olive oil too. Brining for 24-36 hrs really helps with moisture. Here’s my brine recipe,
        In a pot add:
        8 cups water
        4 cups apple juice
        1-½ cups brown sugar
        1-¼ cups salt
        ¼ cup of black pepper
        1 medium onion chopped finely
        4 medium garlic cloves chopped finely
        1 Lemon juice, equivalent of 1 lemon
        WARM UNTIL INGREDIENTS ARE MIXED, then add
        1 cup of Bourbon

        Place Twelve or Fifteen pound Turkey “THAWED” and (Giblets Removed) in a Plastic Turkey Bag, pour Brine in and seal tightly. Then place Turkey in large Aluminum Pan with bag sealed and Refrigerate for 24-36 hours. Turn Turkey periodically during the 24-36 hours to evenly Brine.

  5. Emily says:

    My husband and I were talking about someday taking the kids to see the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade (when we hopefully move back to PA). We figured the traffic would be a nightmare and that we’d have to plan to stay in NY Wednesday night. Your husband was able to just drive in that morning and drive home afterward with not too many problems?

    • Laura says:

      @Emily- traffic in wasn’t bad. The problem is that they closed off the streets to pedestrians entering, so you would have to get there really early to fill in. A policeman told my husband he’d have to walk up to 60th street to get in to see the parade. But then he found another policeman who took pity on him with three small kids and he let him in. Traffic back was worse, but that was on the turnpike, not in NYC or near the tunnels.

  6. Kathy says:

    This phrase really struck me: “If you rely solely on the experiencing self to make decisions, you’ll miss out on things that your remembering self will have wished you’d done.” This is so true, I’m jotting it down someplace to remember. So many things are not necessarily “fun” while you do them, but are great to look back on (see: childbirth).

    • Laura says:

      @Kathy- oh goodie, I love being quoted :) But yes, I find this a surprisingly useful philosophy for my life. In essence, all we are is remembering selves, because the present is incredibly fleeting. And yet we give the experiencing self quite a bit more influence than she may actually be due.