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How To Cook A Large Turkey

how to cook a large turkey

Blue Horizon

Blue Horizon

My good friend Dustin Rybka recently moved from his hometown of Toledo, OH to Los Angeles, CA. It was a lifelong dream of his and the stars finally aligned in his favor, allowing him to make the move. When he indicated that he was going to drive across the country to reach his final destination, I immediately knew that I was going to go along for the ride. I’ve never been farther west then Denver and it presented a great opportunity for me to see a lot of the country for the first time.

Dustin has made a successful living as a nightclub promoter for several years and he tends to plan his events very meticulously. In addition, I have a tenancy to over-plan a lot of things in my own life. Unfortunately, over-planning often leads to disappointment. As a former boyscout, I have never forgotten that all-important scout creed; “be prepared.” I always want to know the who, what, where, why, when and how of the situation. However, when we finally decided a departure date, I knew that this trip couldn’t be planned. This was not a road trip nor was it a vacation; it was an adventure and we set out to make it that way.

We decided early on that there were no plans, no deadlines, no quotas, no schedules, no rules and no worries. I had 7 days before my flight was scheduled to leave from LA back to Detroit. As long as Dustin could promise that I would make that flight, I didn’t have a care in the world. Even when the pilots of the airline I was set to fly back on went on strike, it didn’t phase me. We were jumping in a car and heading west, and that was all I needed to know.

The night before we left, I spent several hours picking through my photography equipment trying to figure out what I should bring. In the end, I think I managed to fit just about everything into my camera bag. It ended up weighing somewhere in the vicinity of 40 lbs. This wasn’t a problem until we decided to hike up a steep hill towards the famous Griffith Observatory, but that is another story for another time. When we set out on our adventure across the country, I intended on shooting as many photos as my memory cards would allow. The further we got from Toledo, the more I realized how restricting this might be. I did shoot a lot of video during the drive but I didn’t take nearly as many photos as I thought I was going to. I see a lot of life through a camera lens but this time I ended up wanting to see it with my own eyes. I’m ultimately glad that I made that executive decision but I’m also a little disappointed that I didn’t get more photos. I think that just means one thing, another road trip!

Now that I really think about it, I didn’t take any photos until we got outside of Denver and found the mountaintop cliff in this photo. During the adventure, we made sure to stop in Denver where my brother Jeff from lives. Unfortunately, we were already on day 3 and we didn’t get to stay long but we still managed to stop by his home for an awesome home cooked meal. It was the first real food that we’d had since leaving Toledo. Gas station turkey sandwiches and knock-off energy drinks can only take you so far. After a few hours in Denver, we decided it was time to hit the road yet once again. With the Rocky Mountains staring us in the face like a hungry lion licking its lips, we fired up the GPS and continued west.

About 20 minutes into the climb, we found this lookout mountain peek and decided to check it out. Camera bag in hand, I couldn’t miss the opportunity to take this shot. With no fear, Dustin climbed out onto a rock outcropping that extended out over a rather large cliff. I quickly composed the shot and took a series of bracketed exposures. The intensity of the setting sun was rather significant and it was hard to see anything other than a few jagged silhouettes. I didn’t notice it at first but in this photo, Dustin is actually looking west towards his new home in California; but before we made it there, we still had to tackle those hulking obstacles on the horizon. Faced with the reality of driving through the mountains at night, we couldn’t stay long. However, it wasn’t long before the creeping darkness of the night sky was upon us and we found ourselves navigating some very treacherous mountain passes in pitch black. While this certainly added to the adventure, I highly recommend avoiding this drive at night. By 5AM, we had reached safety in Salina, Utah.

The mountains on the horizon in this photo are especially meaningful to me because they were the farthest west that I had ever traveled up until this trip. After we crossed them, I was in uncharted territory. Every mile, every state, every gas station, each step was completely new. Beyond that personal meaning, there is other symbolism at play. Dustin is standing on the cliff face, shielding his eyes from the setting sun, looking towards California. Just about everything important to him is packed in his trunk and he has left everything behind in order to follow

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Happy Thanksgiving 2010

Husband and I got up this morning and ran our own 2 mile 'turkey trot" on this freezing cold, but sunny thanksgiving morning. I say 15 degrees, he says 18 degrees, but is there much difference?? It still means COLD! I am still battling this head and chest cold so it felt like I was breathing in ice, and my lungs felt like they were collapsing and exploding all at the same time, but we had fun anyway!

Afterward, we warmed up with hot coffee and breakfast, then watched the parade and talked to long distance family on the phone. We spent the afternoon prepping and cooking, chopping and sauteing, and making sure football and relaxation were squeezed in, in large doses.

Currently we are full and content. Happy and comfortable. Collin is playing a computer game, Ireland is at the movie, Tangled, with her dad and later on, we'll round out the evening with warm pie, a movie, and lots of togetherness.

I have so much to be thankful for that I wouldn't even have enough room to write it all down, even if given all the paper in the world. All I can really say is that I know that God can read my heart and knows just how gratful I am for all He has given me and my family.

I'm, of course, thankful for my husband and our loving, fun, and safe marriage. I'm thankful for my two children who bless me every single day with just being who they are. I'm thankful for our health and the ability to run when I want, I'm thankful for our jobs that provide us the ability to pay our bills and make our family comfortable. I'm thankful that I'm able to be a positive roll model and support system for so many of the students at school who do not have a decent or supportive home life of their own. I'm thankful for my extended family and my new bonus family (in-laws) who provide support and love on an unconditional basis. I'm thankful for my close friends who show me just how fun life can be with a great support system.

I'm thankful for this life and those that share it with me. Today my tummy AND my soul are full.

Happy Thanksgiving!

how to cook a large turkey

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