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I'm willing to bet that I had a very different Thanksgiving from what most folks did.

It was a bike-picnic day. Joel and I went out for a nice spin on our respective singlespeed Schwinns. I took a picture of our two bikes parked together in front of the Sibley, MO post office, however I had my camera settings goofed up for most of the time, so the photos are all washed out and greenish colored. This is a pity because we have a couple of awfully pretty bikes. His is fully chromed, and mine is metallic kelly green with sliver-glittered lugs. Ah well, here's the photo, anyhow:

I wish I'd double checked the settings on my camera first, because I've so not done the scene justice.

Joel is unpacking the feast here. There is no city park in Sibley, MO, so we ended up just sitting down in front of the post office to nosh. We'd been going to go out to Fort Osage and see what was up there, but there was a lot of road construction and we didn't feel like dealing with it.

Pasta salad (pasta, chopped bell pepper, chopped Kalamata olives, diced Romano, chopped artichoke heart, chopped spinach) and Cameo apples.

So we rode out to Sibley (about 25 miles) ate lunch, and came back. On the trip back, I got a little crazy coming down a hill and into a corner and wiped out in pretty big style. I ended up with a little raspberry on my left shoulder, a big bruise and some pretty good road rash on my right elbow, and a goodly bruise on my right buttcheek. Seriously arse-over-teakettle in that crash. First wreck on my new bike. I knew it had to come sooner or later. Didn't mess up the paintjob too badly…just one little nick on the underside of the toptube.

Thursday was pretty much the perfect day to be out biking. The temperatures were probably in the mid 60s, not too much wind, plenty of sunshine. I'd have been a fool not to be biking on a day like that, and to have a willing adventuring partner made it all the better. It was the sort of day you want to share with somebody.

On Friday, we collaborated on a Curry Thanksgiving over at Joel's house. I started my contributions here at home, pureeing and freezing a couple of mangoes on Wednesday night. On Friday morning, I started a batch of naan here, since Joel's oven is on the fritz. When I got all of my stuff together, I loaded it into the panniers of my grocery bike and rode up to his house. We went out together and ran a couple of quick errands, then picked up his mom, came back, and began assembling the feast. We ended up with Cauliflower Thoran, a shrimp curry with a coconut-milk base (kind of more like a Thai curry) the naan, and mango lassi. It was a great dinner, lots of hanging around and chatting afterwards, and just a darn nice evening on the whole. I vastly prefer non-traditional Thanksgivings. I'm grateful everyday anyway…just to be alive, to have good friends, to be healthy and able to bike and make stuff and enjoy life as I encounter it. To share that on an intimate and informal scale is much more logical, comefortable, and appealing to me, than to make a huge production out of it, to create this huge feast of foods that one feels traditionally obligated to produce, but (in my case) not especially inclined to eat.

I've made enchiladas and curries for other Thanksgivings in the past, and feel inclined to keep on with the oddball Thanskgiving dinners. I feel much more thankful about food I actually want to eat.

On Saturday afternoon, we rode over to City Market to see if anything interesting was going on, then rode back to my house to bottle beer. I named this most recent batch “Double D Espresso Stout,” since we worked on this one together and our surnames both start with “D.” I'll be labelling the bottles on Monday–I bought labels last week and left them at work, so I will have to remember to bring them home Monday night. It smelled just right while we were bottling it, and I think it's going to be a successful batch. I tasted a sample of the as-yet unfinished brew (it needs to bottle condition in a serious way) and think it's going to be a pretty potent, yet mellow-tasting brew. The coffee flavor is a bit assertive at the moment, but we'll see what happens after the secondary fermentation/carbonation takes place.

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