momzonroof

… she's not coming down 'til it all makes sense again…


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Stuff

fisher price

yesterday was for pecking about, cleaning here, organizing there, peck peck peck… and slowly… we get somewhere, right? Sometimes I feel like all I do is move my STUFF around… Stuff comes in, stuff goes out, stuff goes on shelf, stuff goes in basket, stuff gets carried upstairs, downstairs, stuff into pantry, stuff into refrigerator, stuff cleaned up off floor, stuff folded, stuff stepped on, stuff broken, stuff repaired, stuff cherished, stuff abandoned, stuff suffocating, stuff stacked neatly, stuff tumbling out in disarray, stuff littering coffee table, stuff to pour in your coffee, stuff metal stuff, plastic stuff, organic stuff, stinky stuff, eye-pleasing stuff, stuff stuck to your other stuff, stuff you’re sick of looking at, stuff you can’t get enough of, stuff that you once thought would bring you joy and change your life but just sorta didn’t do that just sorta melted into the vast pile of other unremarkable stuff, stuff bought by the dozen, stuff in plastic bubble casings impossible to open, stuff that delights, stuff that infuriates, stuff your grandma would not approve of, stuff you hide, stuff you flaunt, stuff you buy other stuff in which to store the original stuff, stuff that makes no sense to any one else outside of your epidermis, stuff you can’t live without, stuff you collect, stuff you didn’t ask for but can’t get rid of yet until you’ve kept it for the proper amount of time and when that time is up you will know it, stuff that is soft and brings you peace when you just touch it, stuff that gets burned, stuff that gets thrown out, stuff that gets eaten, stuff that gets recycled, stuff that gets repurposed, stuff that gets stored, stuff that gets donated, stuff that comes back, stuff you forgot about and then your mom shows up one day with boxes and boxes of stuff from your childhood and it’s so much stuff and you love it but do you need it-is it your childhood, this stuff- do you have to keep all the stuff from your childhood-will your childhood disappear if you get rid of the stuff- will you regret it-can you put that stuff in several boxes and let it go-can you- for this is what I’m actually writing about, I realize, in all of my cleaning and sorting as of late, I’ve come down to the pile of stuff my mom gave me recently, my old dolls and my fisher price toys…

She’s given me some of my other toys in years past, my fisher price castle, my airport… I kept them for a while when the kids were little, they played with them a tiny bit, but never like my brother and I had played with them… They had Polly Pockets and other toys… eventually I let my castle and my airport go, I think donated them. Do I miss them today? I have to ask myself because I’m the only one out here on the porch of an early morning… listening to the trees rustle… and the rain starts!! Oh! Magic! Already knew my old vinyl roof leaked a little bit, but now I know it leaks a LOTTA bit.. No, I don’t miss ’em.  I have the memories of the hours and hours and hours on that floor with my brother, constructing our own little towns and our big convoluted story lines… 

Mom gave me a big pile of my books too, sometime last year.. books from when I was a baby even… Little Golden Books…  lots of baby animals, Amos the duck, Sammy the seal… It was so great to see them again, and see the familiar pictures… I went through them all, enjoyed them again, and then sorted them out, kept a small pile, and donated the rest. Do I miss them? I have to ask myself, because Poppy’s the only one here, and she only speaks with her eyeballs..Not really even one tiny bit. I still have some of them, and I can still summon up my little army of baby animals any time I need to…

So the latest stuff, about 3 boxes of dolls and baby fisher price toys, my ticking musical clock and the little chattering wocka wocka wocka telephone pull toy with googly eyes and bell ringing dial thingie…  Mrs Beasley, which mom lovingly washed, dried, and ironed, scrubbed her little yellow feet… her voice box doesn’t work any more, her little plastic eyeglasses are missing… sigh… this is the stuff I keep…

but you know, George Carlin always said it best… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MvgN5gCuLac

george carlin

 


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A Poem…

(this sad little unfinished draft shows a  bit of my “process” lol, this is from last year, when I had time to pack lunches… the phrases at the bottom were supposed to be fleshed out into supporting or juxtaposing paragraphs.. but alas, I have no idea what they mean anymore!) :

 

AHEM. AHE HE HE HEm… A Poem:

Oh, the leftover slices of orange,

that have sat on a plate on the kitchen counter for two days,

alone, forlorn and forgotten,

exposed to the ravages of the cold, dry January air…

who eats those slices of orange so they don’t go to waste?

Do you even need to ask,

why, it’s MAMA.

Mama gotta eat the old raggedy food nobody else wants.

The ripped-off and tossed-aside bread crusts,

Oh, like a happy little scavenging mouse she trips about,

gathering them from plates,

but that is her BONUS, for the bread crust is always the best part of the loaf.

They just don’t know it yet.

They are FOOLS! AH HA HA HAAAAAA!

Hooooboy… guess who’s been listening to Lewis Carol Alice in Wonderland audioCD in the car… I keep hearing that lyrical kinda language in my head… how doth the little crocodile…

Zack’s been having mid-terms this week, which means he doesn’t need a lunch for school, they get out early. Which means I haven’t been getting up and packing his lunch. I usually try to pack it, unless I’m working at the high school that day, and have to leave super early, in which case he kinda has to help… I don’t mind packing most of the lunches in the house, I really don’t, even though they’re all grown at this point. Usually I’m not working, and I’m up feeding all the other critters every morning, two little bowls of dog food (one with a dob of peanut butter spread into it, so that persnickety Boo will take an interest in her breakkies…), two little bowls of mini horse grains, one diet-lite for chubby horse, one super-high-protein-power for growing baby horse, one little bowl of cat food, elevated on the stack of rubbermaid containers, so that Chicken can perch up there and eat without the dogs bothering his food, one pinch of goldfish flakes for Zack’s fish, three tiny pellets of Beta food for CAssie’s fish… bucket of fresh water for the horses, and out I go for the hay… open the little barn door up, and there they are, two little furry faces, blinking up at me, blink- blink.

I’ve come to love this little routine. And I’m not just saying that to be quaint. I never thought I’d get to this point in my life, where such simple things would be so… important to me. I remember when we were first looking at the mini horses, must be 8 or 9 years ago, and the lady we bought them from, she was talking about “turning the horses out” each day, which meant she trundled out the the barn and let the horses out to pasture, and then later THE SAME DAY trundled out again and gathered them back in the barn! And this wasn’t just a few times, this was EV.ER.Y DAY. I was AMAZED! I thought, my GOSH, what discipline! How on earth do you faithfully do the same thing over and over and over EVERY SINGLE DAY??? Me, at the time, due to circumstances of my disordered thinking and general over-all unrest, agitation, discontent, and mixed up priorities, I was all over the place, and couldn’t imagine myself being that reliable for anyone or any thing.

Why did I get horses in that state of mind? I don’t know. I did it. I wanted what I wanted. Right THEN. I had some notion they would help me, and my family. I had a pony when I was growing up, and I remembered his furry little face, and that sometimes it was just him and me and I could tell him anything.. that’s what horses are… I always believe horses can heal…

So we got them, and I cared for them. But not with a sense of joy. I did the minimum I had to do.

Franki gets up and before she even goes into the bathroom, comes into my room, snuggles a dog, and says, “Ooooo.. I gotta show you something I learned last night on guitar!” Runs for guitar, and at 8:05am the most beautiful song appears, and she finishes with a flourish and I say that’s beautiful and she says I made that up! She says everything great that I make up happens as an accident! I said, yep, it’s gotta be kinda organic? her hair springs in wild giant looping curls off her bed-head, the kinda curls I would BURN INTO MY HEAD WITH HOT IRONS IF I COULD, but hers appear naturally in her sleep, and I want to tell her to just go to school like that, let the hair do what it wants, it’s so pretty and wild… but I know…

perforations

bathrooms for coffee exchange

wei wu wei action without action


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anger management..

 

The following post was drafted a year ago, June 3, 2015… I just discovered it today and decided to publish ‘er as is, unfinished and raw and intentional: 

Inspired by my daughter’s summer internship with a local land trust, and recently doing a little volunteering with them, digging and grading new trails..  It’s really caused me to take a fresh new look at our own little Single Acre Wood… Up until now, our woods have pretty much just been… sorta… just a bit of property we didn’t have to mow or landscape or weed wack… just sorta… meh… a place-holder, I guess… Too small to really be of any use, I thought…

Oh sure, every once in a while over the years, I’d leave the house in need of a little quiet time, and would venture into the little piece of woods.. I say that like it’s la de la de daaaaa pleasant venturing, but the truth is, it usually involved me being FURIOUS about something in my house, slamming the door behind me, and running red-faced and raving, tears streaming down my face, into the woods, where I would thrash about and sorta howl into the abyss, boo hooo my life is so harrrrrd…  Years ago, I’m told, my grandmother who raised 6 children and never drove a car, she took her own periodic red-faced trips into the very same woods… Sigh… it’s a thing… it’s a mom thing… and I’m sure it’s a hormone thing too…

(I wanted to use the word for the female hormone, but I just keep thinking “exedrin”… that’s not it… exedrin… testosterone is the male, and… exedrin… oh shivers… ESTROGEN, SHEESH…

But I would find myself sobbing in this woods…  swiping a wild paw across my face, streaking it with dirt and tears… and most of the time, I would eventually find some sort of peace there, gather myself, just kinda look around, and feel ridiculous. Woods will do that to you. Trees. Vines. Ferns… silent, swaying witnesses… make you see yourself..put things in perspective…

At one point, I had this idea that I should hit something inanimate. That it would be good to get that anger out. I don’t know, I grew up in the 70’s… My mom used to have me hit a pillow… So I had this old dull machete that I picked up at a yard sale, and I thought, next time I will take this machete and I will whack some stuff in the woods and I will discharge some of my anger in a healthy manner. I really thought that out. And so the next time a rage hit me, didn’t I grab that machete and tromp down into the woods, and commence to whacking and gnashing and smashing about, like some kinda… well… maniac. And didn’t I play myself out in about 2 minutes, and didn’t I look up and see, staring at me, mute witness to just how ridiculous and stupid and violent I looked, there were the trees and the vines and the ferns. Just watching, and blowing in the breeze… waiting… That was a turning point for me. I haven’t thrown or mashed much of anything in a very very long time. I don’t even yell any more. Really. I don’t yell. I’m realizing this.. Stuff gets broken, people make some whopper mistakes, stupendous mistakes, things get ruined…and I just breathe.. and wait for the next thing… like the trees…

The kids found some small uses for the woods too, periodically, they built a couple Little Rascalian forts, had some campfires, hung a rope swing… But other than that, not much has gone on there.  the trees just  whistle in the wind… sometimes fall… and wait..

There were times I would think, I should be down here, I should come here and sit and meditate, it’s so peaceful and pretty and green… I should come here and cultivate a practice, maybe I can head off some of those red-faced rages before they land… and then a bug would buzz near my head and I would think, ewwww, annoying…, there are no bugs in the house…

I never did it. I didn’t think an acre of woods as large enough to be really A Place.

When I was a kid, we roamed the 25 acres of woods down the hollow, that belonged to Mr. Pease. THOSE were woods, man! Trails everywhere, so many sights to see, power lines and streams and clearings and crossings.. you could get lost on 25 acres!! Oh my gosh, cantering on our very own ponies along those trails… why didn’t we realize we were the queens of the wooooorld, we had it all! PONIES?!! Who has their own pony???  Luckiest kids in the universe. so much freedom, so much… what…  we didn’t worry about being in the woods alone, we were safe, unencumbered, invulnerable, nobody questioned it, nobody said be careful little girls, nobody said carry your cell phone, lock your doors, don’t talk to strangers, carry mace, spike your car keys up through your fingers like brass knuckles so you can gouge out the assailant’s eyes, check under your car before you approach in the event an attacker is hiding beneath, ready to surely slash your achille’s heel and drag you under the vehicle… we just got on our ponies and rode, and all the old cliches, the wind through our hair and the sun flashing through the trees, white sky, white, white, flashing, I can see it like it’s happening right now, the trees are rushing past us, and my fat little pony lunging lunging, struggling to keep up with the bigger ponies, oh he was a master trotter, Sherman, trit trit trit trit… trotting was his specialty, trotting on a midget horse makes your teeth go chatter chatter chatter, pounds the top of your head with the trit trit trit… and then so glorious when he would finally break into a canter… an all too brief gentle gliding cantor, which makes your long hair do that amazing flop flip flow thing, the thing they always show in slow motion in the movies…

But where was I… a single acre of woods. A football field, really, an acre is about the size of a football field. You can’t get lost on a football field! Not sure why I think you have to get lost in order for it to be “woods”…

So cutting new trails with the land conservation people, hacking and raking and pruning and loping… trying to understand grading and erosion… did you know that it is rainwater’s main goal in life to gather as much life-sustaining soil as it can and move it down down down and into the ocean!  That’s all rain wants to do, Rain is almost like the villain in trail-making… (I live in a cartoon, I always have to have a villain) But seeing those new trails come to life, right at the end of my own shovel…knowing that families, kids, dogs, will walk there, will see trillium in the spring, may apples, phlox.. frogs, spiders, pill bugs… it inspired me to take another look in my own back yard.. woods that weren’t being conserved or enjoyed or appreciated. Woods that were waiting…

Why can’t we have a trail? Why, indeed…

And so we armed ourselves, with rakes, hoes, shovels, pruners, lopers, and one ill-advised recently scary sharpened machete… How lucky am I to have daughters who want to be outside, and who enjoy yard work, I mean they actually want to move and do this stuff, digging and cutting and hauling and raking…

We started at the woods edge  (this is the unfinished part, some other stuff should go here…)

my daughters already know the empowerment born of hacking through brush and creating a new path!

franki's deer

(end result, we hacked a trail through our little bit o’ woods, and it’s really cute, and OHHHH I forgot the best part, we were working out there in the evening, and don’t you know, we discovered this little fawn not 3 ft from the trail, right where we were hacking and slashing away!!  It was like some sort of fairy presence, just huddled there, tiny, speckled, not moving a muscle… except to breathe… waiting for us to leave…  We left her alone for a few minutes, and didn’t mama come and whisk her away like forest magic! )


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These things are good

P1070537

Taking a page from Rocky Dennis, “Mask”, these things are good:

1) daylight savings spring forward, because then my internal inFERNAL alarm clock is more on track with the rest of the waking world…
2) window boxes to dress with tulips, lilacs and plastic Easter eggs
3) a little boy named “Hunter” who decided Francesca was just the cat’s meow at Starbucks this morning
4) two young men building mousetrap-powered vehicles in the basement for physics class 5) Hubs back to the gym after a series of unfortunate health events
6) friendships, strong ones that can withstand the little storms that happen inside
7) new jobs, I started back where I used to work, this time I’m doing habilitation (life skills) and community involvement with people with intellectual disability. Franki started work as a temp for the same agency, doing clerical work, and Cassie started at a home improvement store during their busiest season. 
8) new car, Chevy Equinox, with Dear Old Dad’s GM discount, still a 5 passenger, but much roomier, and with mack daddy storage/canine transport area in back. 
9) snow crocus growing up in the muddy spring yard, surprisingly almost comically large purple and white ones growing along the path to the horse gate, and tiny tiny yellow ones growing under the pear tree… oh and tulip leaves reaching up and iris…


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Beige

Update on Zack’s room: I googled “Beige on Beige” for a pic to describe what Zack’s room looks like now…

 

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kim beige

It does actually look like Kim and North layered in neutral Spanx…

Primered and painted first coat on Thursday, it was not as fun as I promised myself, because I second-guessed myself the whole dang day, kept stopping and staring at the walls, wasted half the day wondering if I was making a huge mistake… I usually enjoy Primering Day!!! But then yesterday morning, Friday fresh start,  I got up and knocked the second coat out in 80 minutes!! (I like to time things, so I can have a better perspective on how long it REALLY takes to do a job once you quit FARTING AROUND)

Here’s what I want to remember about painting walls:

  1. it always looks stark and boring and like a BIG MISTAKE, until you bring back all the cool stuff that belongs to the room’s INHABITANT. The inhabitant and their quirky little interests are what makes a room come to life. Why do you always forget this??? Just paint the dang walls, so you can get to the FUN part: decoratin’!!
  2. I thought about the time after Grandma and Pap passed… and Aunt Sis and her kids and Uncle George were living in the house… and Uncle George and I think Uncle Tom patched and painted the whole house BEIGE, every wall, covered it all, Grandma’s peacock teals, yellows, pinks… because that’s what they told you to do to prepare a house for sale, you make it beige, so prospective buyers can project their own lives, their own belongings, their own colors onto a blank canvas…  I was patching and repairing a room where my kids have spend nearly 20 years bouncing off the walls, like they do… I thought about my uncles, patching and repairing their years in those same walls… Remember when Grandma wanted to make the first little bedroom into an extra dining room, (because the family is ENORMOUS and KEEPS GROWING lol) so they cut a doorway through the hall closet? well, it was a good effort, but it probably never functioned as an extra dining room, because the family still gathers and sorta blobs about in this tiny living/dining area in one giant amorphous amoebic clump… Uncle George patched that doorway up seamlessly… just an excellent job… and turned it back into a hall closet and a bedroom… now inhabited by a certain little musician/adventurer/college student/chicken fryer…
  1. Painter’s tool. FINALLY got me one of these mo-fo’s.. ( maybe don’t use that term in front of kids though, they will pick it right up) How many years, how many ACRES have I painted, without owning one of these magical things:
    Coral Performance 9 in 1 Painters Multi Tool

    Product photo of the Coral Performance Multi-tool with 9 functions

    So far, I’ve only explored the straight scraper edge, that was nice for removing the wallpaper border… and that rounded half-moon edge, that was AWESOME, for the first time in my life I actually achieved CLEANING AND REUSING A PAINT ROLLER! and it didn’t take 12 hours and 2433333 gallons of water to clean it either, just scraaape the paint out of the roller!!! It was a beautiful thing, I tell ya…  Now, what is that weirdly shaped scraper edge for, along the other side? And what, pray tell, could you do with that little slotted HOLE in the center? Remove nails? And why is there a beer bottle opener on the …. that wouldn’t open paint cans would it? paint cans, beer bottles, potato, potAHto… best tool EVER. Ohmygosh, clean rollers in my future…sigh….

  1. Patching always looks good, until you paint it… I am no professional painter. They have some sort of voodoo magic patching hands. Or maybe they just do the job right. I slap on one layer of patch, sand er off with a little wadded up piece of sandpaper, primer it, and slap paint over it. I can see EVERY SINGLE REPAIR I’ve ever made. Maybe you have to do two coats of patch, sand in between, and use a sanding block instead of your hand? Probably. Maybe someday I will take pride in something and actually try to do it right.. Not today though. Today I just want that wall painted and that boy back in his room, doin his homework and dreamin his dreams…
  1. Semi gloss is not for walls. Only had to learn that lesson once. Semi gloss may be easier to scrub, but it looks like THE BOWELS OF HELL on walls. Oh, you think I hyperbolize? NO. Semi-gloss on walls looks like the gleaming glaring glowing intestines of SATAN, God’s Dark Morning Star.
  2. what the SAM HILL is going on with this numbering format..
  3. lol THREEE
  4. I don’t have a fourth thing. The walls are painted. The outlets and light switch will all be replaced, hopefully this weekend, if I can get Hubs to cooperate, holy crap, fresh clean brand new outlets, the kind where you plug something in and the plug doesn’t RANDOMLY FALL OUT of the socket, oh it’s gonna be INCREDIBLE… The base board will be replaced… you and I know this part will not happen for 17 years, for that is how long it takes to replace baseboard or window trim in our family.. sad, but true… The floor, well, the floor is rough… we’ve had a guy in to talk about refinishing… but he wants money, this guy… every guy that steps in the house with a little clipboard and a brochure wants the same thing…. I’ll think about that tomorrow…. TODAY I’m picking out a BEd-In-A-Bag that says “My Son is a Guy, a COOL Guy, A GUY’S Guy, a Man, really, Not A Boy Now, He’s Grown, He Thinks about Man Things Now”    You know what says all that? Blue Plaid. That is it and that is all. Beige Walls and Blue Plaid.

 


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Donut Lessons I have gathered along the way

Rogers Farm Auction with the Hubs, good times, took a load out of the garage, made a few bucks and created enough space for a tiny tiny most excellent home gym… at least enough space to do some burpees and planks, my fave!

We learned a few lessons yesterday at the farm auction…

Lesson 1) it’s colder than it looks. It was sunny and gorgeous and windy and chilly at the same time, all day back and forth. We were in short sleeves and shorts. I ended up giving Hubs my old raggedy emergency hoodie I keep in the car, it’s enormous on me, and looked ridiculous small on him…  Hubs is deceptively huge, I think… he’s sneaky about it… I wrapped up in the dog/baby blanket for a while, and then went back and got the larger itchy red picnic blanket. I had many many random comments on my various wrappings too, all over the action grounds, “Oh, I see you gave up your towel and got a bigger blanket..”  “You have a different outfit on every time I see you” … farm auction dudes are very attentive… I told Hubs if anything god forbid happens to him, I know where to go get the next one…

Lesson 2) Amish donuts are only fantastically orgasmically good for approximately 20 minutes. They’re as big as your head, okay, the nice Amish girls make them right in front of you, and glaze ’em with magical fairy sugar gravy, or sprankle ’em with cinnamon or roll ’em in a vat of coconut… the coconut makes them look like giant silly funky dorm-room pillows… They cheerfully charge you about 12cents for ’em,  and If you don’t eat them right away, they start some sort of mystical break-down and vanishing process.. Hubs and I split one as we walked, and it was like I said, ORGASMIC. (please press that link, it’s worth it..)

But we also took one home in a paper bag for The Boy.. A couple hours later, his massive donut was unrecognizable.. It had caved in and shrank and crumbled and deflated!! It was a shell of its former magnificent self! I think they self-destruct in order to protect the recipe, is what I think, but you know, I’m a big conspiracy theorist… But here is the true test, The Boy, most impressive sugar-fiend in the universe, only ate half of it!! He never only eats half! I’ve seen him eat a whole Oram’s Cinnamon Roll at one sitting, and not throw up!! Here’s an actual Oram’s, photo borrowed from their website:

oram's donut

Incidentally, fun fact about Oram’s: they travel much better than the Amish donuts, you can actually eat them hours later and they’re still pretty darn hot diggity. Here’s another fun fact, the first time someone gave me an Oram’s, this was about 2 yrs ago, a client brought me one, I didn’t know what it was, and didn’t open the bag until I was in my car on my way home from work, and I thought, oh, nice, a lovely cinnamon roll, I’ll just pull a little piece off and try it out… In the 17 minutes it took me to drive home, do you know I ate that whole thing, just one big ridiculous mindless FRENZY of sugar, it’s all a blurrrrr now… By the time I pulled in my driveway I was literally nauseous, dangerously nauseous, wreck-the-car nauseous from the sugar spike. That was a little Bonus Lesson for me, and Oram’s Lesson Number 1) Don’t open the bag in the car, but savor the Colossal Thing over several sittings and a couple good strong black coffees…

It reminded me of the time I was coming out of Giant Igglz with a jelly donut and must’ve been a look of desperation in my eyes, because I got into my vehicle and started shoveling the donut into my face, red/purple jelly squirting out onto the steering wheel, inhaling and coughing and gagging over the powdered sugar coating… and a little old lady, she walks up to my car window and says, I’ll never forget her words and this is my Bonus Donut Lesson Number 2)  she leans in and says “Ohhhh, honey..” (there was a tinge of tragedy, pity, and regret in the way she said HONey…)  “Ohhhhh honey…now you take that donut home and you sit at table and you enjoy it with a cup of coffee!” And she’s right, and I almost always think of her when I’m having about to do something stupid with a donut or cake… and fairly often I’m able to get a plate and a coffee and sit at table and enjoy it properly… Thank you, Parking Lot Donut Sage…


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Turkey Yield

Turkey facts for future reference: 20 lb bird: It takes about 3 or 4 days to thaw in fridge, 20 minutes to rinse, clean, olive oil, salt, poultry season and drop in roaster, 4 hours to roast in the electric roaster on 325, (after browning for 1/2 hour at 500degrees). This is a good time to sleep, during the roasting. At 1a.m. you will wake to the curious sound of bubbling turkey, it sounds like rain, or more like someone left the sink faucet running in a drizzle… Thank goodness the noise woke you up, because you forgot to set a timer. AGAIN. Get up and shut off roaster. If you let it cool about 3 hours, it’s easier to handle. This is a good time to sleep. After cooling, it takes 1 hour to completely strip (and carve the breast) meat, sieve the drippings, and clean the roaster and all processing trays, the counter tops, the sinks… I still have to go down in the garage and get my scales, so I can calculate the yield, but don’t want to wake the house. Also, 5 a.m. is the best time to do all this, with WQED playing on the kitchen radio, it’s a challenge to keep all the pans and lids from banging, but it’s really a lovely time, just you and the dogs and the music and a giant bird…