I mentioned that I was going to get around to talking about this stuffing I’ve made for years, so it’s about time I finally did so. It was passed down from a professor back at my doctoral institution. As part of it, you need to prep a pretty solid bird stock first, so let me detail that briefly.

You’ll need some dark-meat bird parts first, be it the neck (ideally) or thighs. Take three of them (mix & match as desired), put them in a pot or saucepan large enough to lay them flat, and fill the spaces & cover the turkey parts with onion, carrot, and celery (don’t need to chop it finely at all). Add a generous helping of sage, thyme, a bay leaf or two (if you have them), some peppercorns, and salt to your liking (I usually don’t bother), and then cover the whole mess with water. Cover it, bring it to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer for at least two hours (I let it simmer for three). Pull all the meat out (mind you, the meat will literally fall off of the thighs), and strain out the remaining parts by pouring the mix through cheesecloth. Once the vegetables have cooled enough to handle, mash them up a little (still in the cheesecloth) and then wring the last of the juices from the vegetables. So much more flavor hiding in there, so don’t neglect to do this step! Afterwards, feast on the delights of the amazing meat you’ve just prepared, and you have a batch of delicious stock!

Now, with that out of the way…onto the best part…the stuffing!

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The holiday drive home to North Dakota will likely not be coming to fruition. Discovering a bulge on one of my car tires, I probably need that addressed before I take it on a 1300+ mile road trip. I don’t quite have the dispensable cash on hand for an entire new set of tires, since they’re all ~2/3–3/4 worn at this point (in the event the bulge’s origination isn’t reparable). So, driving isn’t an option right now.

Being that new tires aren’t exactly affordable right now, nor are plane tickets. Flying around Christmas is rather much a nightmare, anyways, so I guess my best option is to forego the trip (for now), and just hang low in Toronto. Conveniently, this at least ensures I can make a Christmas party in a couple weeks down in Buffalo, so at least I’ll have that!

I can’t wait to hear the bemoaning from (most of) my Fargo friends who were anxious to see me again for a change. Ironically, they’re the ones who precipitated my ire over neglectful friends, and needing to do something about them. Thankfully, my strongest network is clearly the Buffalo crowd (who I’ve known half as long), with a few choice individuals in the midwest still. I keep hoping to finally incorporate a person or two from Toronto, but it feels like a game of whack-a-mole: as soon as I’m about to get a hold of one, it disappears for a while. Along that same analogy, I’ve got more “moles” rearing their heads, but with equal uncertainty. Running around trying to catch them just isn’t working; maybe I need to take an old stratagem from my college dating days.

Quit trying, and just let life happen.

I found Holly during that period, and a few more good friends, and it was great. Between my frantic mental attempts to try & make time for things in the hopes I can interest another person or three to go, and the ever distracting workload of my postdoc, I’m probably better off just not trying. Pull my head & neck back in, stick to my own, and just trod on. Don’t neglect to be engaging when prompted, but definitely no need to try and “put myself out there.”

Would it really be the end of the world coming out of a three year postdoc here with just one friend, and a bunch of professional acquaintances? Probably not. Especially if I end up moving elsewhere afterwards for my next step professionally. If I don’t end up moving out of Toronto? Well. I’ll just be that much better at enjoying what the city has to offer as a lone individual; nothing to hold back my interests, and no one to judge my idiosyncrasies (amusingly or crassly).

Sounds slightly depressing, but the better I can make the end result look, the better I can be in accepting the plan.

So. I wonder what the hell there is to do in Toronto as a one-man show on Christmas day?