DC Roundup and the Best *SwearJar* Cranberry Sauce Ever

December 2, 2013

Happy December, Readers!

Gaaa, I’m so not ready for December.

Just as you’re getting in the groove with November, December sneaks up on you like an arsewad.

*shakes fist in the air*


Can we put the car in reverse for a minute and re-visit November? Because I have some November-type thingys that I’d like to share with you.

End of November-Type Thingys and a Trip to DC and a Cranberry Sauce that Didn’t Suck Frog Flippers :

week of November 18-26: KitchyWitchy stumbles and falls more than usual, which means a lot + a lot. People also start saying, “Why are you walking so weirdo?” and “Why is the right side of your face twitching like that? When did you get Parkinsons?”  This prompts a trip to a neurologist and a series of balance tests that earn a grade of D-.  Cue the diagnostics: MRI contrast, MRI non-contrast two trips into the Sardine Can from Hades. Spinal tap pending. Because it might be MS or something like that, which we tested for three years ago, but let’s do it again because MS is a mean little f…*swearJar* and you don’t mess around with that. MS is Boss.

Also, shove in a mammogram, because DumbWitch hasn’t had a mammogram in 4 years, which is kind of a no-no. Let’s squish that in there, too.

November 26, afternoon: Shelve all of the medical crap to think about later. Much later. Wash, dry and pack bags for Witch, Minx One and Minx Two. Write down/collate all recipes for Thanksgiving feast. Remind self to pack recipes. Chat with partner in crime  and learn that it’s gonna be frigid as Frosty’s fat booty for the duration of stay. Remind self to pack winter jacket for Minxes and self.

November 26,  later afternoon: Pack warm jackets for Minxes. Close suitcase.

November 26, later later afternoon: Up, up and away to DC, baby! Smooth start, no hassles. Feel a little smug. About 2 hours in, Littlest Minx makes the universal gesture for “take me to the potty ASAP or suffer the consequences.” Enter postage stamp-sized airline potty. Begin disrobing process and WHAMMO! Get smacked into the wall and down to the floor of the ridiculously-sized bathroom,  Minx butt hanging out and limbs gangling everywhere. Well hey there, turbulence. Thanks for spicing up our travel day.

Dry Minx tears. Distribute Minx hugs. Whisper Minx lies like, “Nothing is wrong. It’s just a little bumpy. You’re here with mommy so everything is okay.” Really, really hope you aren’t going to die in an airplane bathroom.

Hold onto anything remotely accessible to anchor self and Minx while potty happens. This ends up being a dirty, wet sink and the container of those toilet-bowl shaped sanitary cover thingys.


Side slam again. Execute a strange and unelegant act of contortion to keep Minx firmly on the potty. Dry Minx tears. Take off own pants because all this turbulence makes a girl feel leaky. Place Minx precipitously on the edge of naked knees, enclose one arm around Minx waist, tether other arm to sanitary cover thingy dispenser, begin to pee.


Do the pee-pee slide down to the floor, Minx in tow. Curse just a leetle. Wipe urine off floor. Wash hands and apply hand sanitizer to damn near everything. Pull up pants. BING! Listen to Captain’s voice over loudspeaker ordering all passengers to return to seats and fasten seat belts firmly because the plane is stuck in a “pattern of turbulence.”

Begin to unlock lavatory door. WHAMMO! Backslide.

November 26, still contained in airplane bathroom: Explain to little Minx that it’s not safe to hang out in a ridiculously tiny and befouled airline shitter. Feel blood pressure rise when she declares,”I’m not going anywhere and you can’t make me.”

Sigh. Gingerly place toilet seat down, plop Minx in lap, pray that nobody notices that you’re building a bunker in the airplane toilet.


Cringe as a hefty and feral United Airlines stewardess hollers at you to evacuate “immediately.” Which means now.

Haul protesting bundle of baggage back to assigned seat, whacking into strangers as you go. Apologize profusely. Buckle in. Wonder if you smell like urine. Inhale. Affirmative.

November 26, still ridin’ the storm out: Look across aisle at older Minx. Glassy eyed, sweaty, barf-bag holding Minx. We know what’s coming, folks. Riffle around in pocket of seat for backup barf bag. Mentally go through list of things big Minx has recently eaten: Ritz crackers, slice of pepperoni pizza, Gala apple, Sprite zero, Nerds.

Cue the hurling. It’s a two bagger. Quickly ask seatmate if he can spare his airsick bag, in case of need. Smile weakly.

Blot daughter’s shirt with a miniscule, semi-damp cocktail napkin. Admit futility. Apologize to seatmate, unzip jacket, remove favorite 80-dollar shirt (hey, it was a gift!), try not to flash seatmate, hand overpriced shirt across the aisle. Zip up hoodie.

Watch daughter as she makes vomity walk of shame to the airplane loo.

Deposit barf-soaked t-shirt in remaining barf bag. Stuff in purse. Pray you won’t need another bag, because you’re fresh out, lady. Pretend not to hear when Littlest Minx bellows, “Whoa! What’s that horrible smell?”

November 26, late in the evening: Arrive at hotel. Throw fatal laundry in bathtub to soak.  Pass out.

November 27, morning: Unpack suitcase. Realize that you’ve forgotten to pack carefully selected recipes for Thanksgiving feast. And heavy coat.

November 27-28: Freeze ass off in wind/rain/sleet. Slog up and down to Smithsonian and National Archives. Hug friend. Regale her with gory details of flight. Laugh for the first time in days, hug friend again, begin cooking holiday feast sans-recipes. Wonder which item you’re going to royally F$#@ *swearjar* up.

November 28: Baste turkey, which has been named “Big Boy.” Admire Big Boy’s brown and crispy skin. Feel dang proud of yourself. Realize that you have no freaking clue how to make cranberry sauce. Google: cranberry sauce recipes. Entries for cranberry sauce recipes: 23, 899. Turn off computer. Wing it.

November 28: Love, laughter, friends, family, food. Surprisingly delicious cranberry sauce. Toast. Gratitude.

November 28, late: Hug friend in death grip. Depart.

November 29: Wake up. Check weather forecast: Cold and crappy. Don inadequate jacket. Bundle up Minxes, decline husband’s offer to purchase a warmer jacket, stomp outside feeling like a martyr.

November 29: Meet old and dear friend. Reminisce and gossip. Get eaten by doors of DC metro.* Chatter and hop around Arlington cemetery. Ignore remarks from peanut gallery that “this place totally sucks and you lied when you said it was fun, Mom.” Accidentally de-magnetize metro card. Purchase another. Hug friend adieu. Board escalator leading to metro. Realize that the darn thing is broken. Gingerly walk up escalator steps. Trip anyways. Face plant. Discover, to your horror, that DC metro escalator steps are unclean and decidedly untasty. Gargle in metro bathroom, assess facial damage.

November 29: Purchase 2 fancy-schmancy Minx cupcakes. Smile as they declare them the most delicious of all things. Taxi to airport.

November 29: Fly peacefully home. Soup, Bedtime Story. Lights out.


Still here with me? Hi, Readers! Now before I explain how a person gets eaten by a DC metro, let’s go back to that cranberry sauce, shall we?

I have no idea why it turned out and I have to tell you that I have always loathed cranberry sauce–anything cranberry for that matter–but it was absolutely delicious. Wonders never cease.

Here’s the recipe for you to write down and tuck away somewhere until you crave something cranberry-ish. Which I’m assuming you will. It’s easy and puts the jarred stuff to shame.

DC Cranberry Sauce

recipe loosely based on any cranberry sauce recipe ever posted on the Food Network

2 bags of fresh cranberries, washed and picked over to discard any deadbeats

2 small Pink Lady apples, diced

1/2 to 2/3 cup sugar, or to taste

juice of two fat oranges

3 big fat strips of orange peel

1 big fat piece of lemon peel

1 cinnamon stick (or 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon)

dash of ground allspice

dash of ground ginger

2 ripe (but still firm) pears, chopped

optional: dash of Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur, a cup of chopped walnuts (we used neither)


Plop cranberries into a nice heavy saucepan. Add chopped apples, sugar, orange juice, orange peel, lemon peel, cinnamon stick, allspice and ginger. Stir well and bring to a boil over medium heat. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, reduce heat to simmer and let bubble on the stovetop, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes or until cranberries begin to pop open and apples begin to soften. Fish out orange peel, lemon peel and cinnamon stick. Stir in diced pears and cook until just softened up, about 5 minutes. Cool. Devour.


* You must believe me that yes indeed, you can get eaten my the jaws of a DC metro. I swear I’m not making this up. DC metros have jaws of death. Colorado doesn’t have a metro to offer up as a yardstick–we only have a dinky light rail and an airport shuttle–both of which give you perky, robotic warnings to “clear steer of the doors” and a gentle nudge inward.

Not so with DC metros. DC metros give you a hard, barky order that “doors are now closing” and quickly trap you between unyielding, heavy, gargantuan, evil slabs of steel.

You know how elevator doors ding you politely and then retreat, as if saying, “Oh, hello there. I didn’t know you were in the way. Please accept my apologies and I’ll wait patiently for you to hustle on in?”

Heh. DC metro doors fart in the general direction of those genial-type doors.  DC metro doors snarl, “Get the fuck in here, you lollygagging troll,” and punish you dearly for your sloth.** I have a nasty bruise on my left arm confirm it. Luckily, my friend got stuck in the door with me, so he bears the other half of the damage. Thanks Doug, for the use of that arm! You’re a true friend.


**Yeah, I know I just said “fuck” and owe the SwearJar several clams, but there’s no other way to convey the menace of the Doors-o-Death.


Good News: We are all settling in here and the neurologist confirmed that I do not have MS, although my wonk walk and my nervous tic are a cause of puzzlement.

Good News Squared: You won’t have to hear another travel tale until late March, when we descend upon…wait for it…DisneyLand.

Bad News: You know someone’s going to barf. Or get eaten.


I’m off to make Christmas happen in my house, but I just wanted to let you know how happy I am to be back in this space. I’m much less drug-muddled than I was in November and even though I’m still a foul-mouthed klutz, any serious-ish health issues seem to be on the back burner. My boobs are slick-daddy-okay, thank you very much and MS remains just an idea that swirls around and causes mischief sometimes. For that I am grateful.

And of course, for you.

Now go cram some awesome cranberry sauce in your mouth or spin a Dreidel for me now, would you?

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby December 2, 2013 at 12:21 pm

Holy hell in a urine-soaked handbasket. I don’t mean this in a mean way, but why do you still travel? I swear to god that you have the worst luck anytime you venture more than a 100-mile radius from home. Then again, I suppose everything is copy? ;)

At any rate, I’m glad your tests came back okay as I have family/friends with MS. As you said, it’s completely a bitch. That doesn’t mean I’m not still worried about you, but at least your boobs have been squished and the puke has been cleaned. Wow. That sounds like a frat party. Anyway, glad you’re back safe.


Dana Talusani December 2, 2013 at 6:45 pm

Laughing at Frat Party. My boobs are flattered by the idea.


Wendi @ Bon Appetit Hon December 2, 2013 at 1:38 pm

So the Metro doors took a bite out of you and the turnstiles bit Miss Libby. Clearly, the Metro gods have not been fed recently.

I’m not sure what it’s going to take to get you and I in the same place at the same time. The Universe seems to be conspiring against us on that front.

Glad all arrived home safely.


Dana Talusani December 2, 2013 at 6:46 pm

The turnstiles bit our Libby? Say it isn’t so?!

Big kisses to you both. Someday…


Shannon December 2, 2013 at 3:33 pm

So you’ve conquered turbulence and the metro and mammograms and threats of MS. I think this might make you unstoppable.
So glad you made it safely home.


Dana Talusani December 2, 2013 at 6:47 pm


I’m pretty sure the cockroach and I will survive a nuclear disaster.


Alison December 2, 2013 at 6:31 pm

1. Glad you’re feeling better, and no MS.
2. Thank goodness for healthy boobs.
3. Whoa Cranberry Sauce!
4. Ugh barf and urine.
5. Christmas!


Dana Talusani December 2, 2013 at 6:48 pm


You sound all too excited about Christmas. Send this Scrooge some of the holiday love, would you?


Jamie December 2, 2013 at 7:47 pm

1. “Get the fuck in here, you lollygagging troll” is what my heart wants to say to every tardy student.

2. YOU’RE COMING TO CA!!!!!!! Ditch D-land and drive up the coast for some Santa Barbara wine tasting ;)

3. The fact that you survived an airport bathroom pee WITH SOMEONE ON YOUR LAP is nothing short of a miracle. You deserve a noble prize.

4. The MS scare…not even going there. Can’t.


Katybeth December 2, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Yay YOU!!!!


Lisa @ The Meaning of Me December 2, 2013 at 9:28 pm

Holy hell, Kitch! And I thought my oh-my-god-please-let-me-die-now stomach virus (now on day three) has been a horrendous way to spend Thanksgiving break. Now I just feel like a big old baby. OK, I am just a big old baby, but moving on.

First, yay for healthy boobs – you really gotta get those mammos every year, though. Breast cancer on one side of the family here so no joke. Also, glad to know the MS verdict is a negative. Scary stuff, that MS. We have relatives with that and a whole arsenal of related auto-immune disorders and it’s not even a little bit funny. But MS is a biggie. Makes my junk look oh so easy to deal with. Question re the stumbling thing – did they check you for vertigo? Happened to my mom and an uncle very similarly and turned out they both had vertigo.

The whole airplane/peeing/barfing nonsense is grounds for a medal or something. I very likely would have attempted to hurl myself out the toilet hole.

And yes, the DC Metro is an evil monster that eats people. I’ve been chomped by it myself…on a trip with a nine month old Kidzilla and a stroller in tow. WHY we thought THAT was a reasonable thing to do is beyond me. Still don’t know four years later. Lesson learned. We simply do not travel anymore. Like ever. So hats off to you!

As soon as I get done barfing myself, I’ll get a little Christmas spirit in place and send some your way.


Dana Talusani December 3, 2013 at 11:18 am

Sorry about the barfing! That is not good! Mama has the same thing as we speak and it sucks!

And no, it’s not vertigo. I have had that little doozy before though, and man does it mess with you!

Hope you feel better.


Naptimewriting December 3, 2013 at 1:33 am

I’m with Abby…why do you ever, ever, ever fly anymore?

I might well go to the ends of the earth for you, kitten, but I will never to the ends of the earth *with* you. Or with your children anyway.

I will now officially note that minx rhymes with travel-jinx.


Dana Talusani December 3, 2013 at 11:20 am

Minx/Jinx…you should write a limerick :)

And I travel so I can get to see you, darling. Don’t you know that?


Erica December 3, 2013 at 7:52 am

Kitch, I’m not sure how you do it. If your travel stories were my travel stories, I would never leave home again. That said, why not Disney WORLD??? Also, if my motherhood gig had included as much barf as yours, I would have quit. My hat’s off to you.

Medical puzzles are annoying and worrisome but I’m sooooooo glad everything is coming back clear! xoxo

PS – My cranberry sauce this year was the best ever and the best dish of the feast!


Dana Talusani December 3, 2013 at 11:20 am


Recipe? Pretty please?


Barbara December 3, 2013 at 8:44 am

Note to self:
Do NOT make travel plans with KW and her girls.


Dana Talusani December 3, 2013 at 11:21 am


People who travel with us are never unlucky. They fare just fine. We, however…


S in AK December 3, 2013 at 10:43 am

Your travel stories always warm my heart. You are the very picture of perseverance! My youngest (a ticking barf bomb) is finally able to make it to some kind of receptacle on his own now–without me having to chase after him with a bucket, sometimes sliding on be-slipperied floors (a euphemism) along the way. I don’t know why that kid thought he could outrun the pukes but he always tried. BTW, I keep a Rubbermaid shoebox, covered in a kitchen trash bag is in my car, and another next to his bed, at all times. It keeps it off the furniture and it’s pretty easy to lift out the bag and throw it away. Also, a friend of mine carries Zip-Loc bags in her purse when she gets on a plane, a habit I’ve adopted. I never seem to find myself seated in an area stocked with barf bags.

But jeez, lady. That MS scare is hair-raising. I’m glad the tests were negative. I’ll be keeping healthy thoughts for you. And sending Christmas-love thoughts your way (although I could probably use a few, myself).


Dana Talusani December 3, 2013 at 11:23 am

S in AK,

You are a vomit-control genius! I may have to take a lesson from you on that one.

And sending some Christmas cheer to us both. It is supposed to snow and be bitterly cold for the next week, so maybe this will do it?


Tiffany December 3, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I always love your stories. I am glad you are ok…especially after getting eaten by the metro!! Seriously I am so glad it’s not ms and I hope you find some answers and peace if mind soon.


Rob December 4, 2013 at 6:40 pm

Loved this story! Hate airplanes – mostly because of the bathrooms! I made a great non-cook cranberry relish this year instead of cooking one. It was awesome! And I love the DC Metro. It is clean (compared to other city trains)!

I’m glad that the health things you had checked out are okay. I hope you find out what is going on. In the meantime, be well!!!


elizabeth December 5, 2013 at 8:20 am

OK, I won’t complain about my husband being sick all during Thanksgiving week again (well, at least not here) because he was at least able to make the drive to PA and back in one piece, but that was largely all he had the muster to do. At least we didn’t have to fly, and at least we decided to wait until Thursday morning to drive down and avoided the weather that caused you all of that fun turbulence.

It’s been years since I’ve been in DC, but my friends who live down there say there are signs everywhere imploring you not to eat on the subway, lest you attract the giant rats that New York’s system enjoys now. But maybe the real danger *is* the rail car eating people!


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: