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Showing posts from December, 2011

Don't let the door hit you in the ass …

So long, 2011, it's been – all in all – a pretty crappy year, one which actually began in September of 2010 when I lost my dad.

You've continued down that path of loss and worry and crisis, 2011, and I'm glad to see you go. I love fresh starts, and flipping the calendar over to a new year is Fresh Start X-treme.

To put this year in perspective, the best thing that happened is my husband's neck tumor was benign. We spent three weeks last spring in malignant limbo, getting things in order, fattening him up for chemo, preparing for the worst, which was what the initial diagnosis indicated we should be doing. One more test showed us – and his incredulous doctor – the precious diagnosis: benign. Snip-snip and the tumor was gone.

Actually the very best thing, as a result of the scare, is that my husband once-and-for-all, a-day-at-a-time, quit smoking. And with all the electronic calendars at my fingertips, I failed to record The Date, but we know it was sometime in March. So…

Just clogging along

The first pair (child-sized) is done!

There are four games today. Theoretically that's enough time to make the two adult pairs on my list. HOWEVER, I don't think I'll be knitting non-stop from noon 'til midnight. (And I won't be felting them until all three pairs are done.) A girl's gotta eat. And walk. Because it's going to be nice again today – light winds, mid-50s, sunny. I'm not turning my back on an opportunity like that. And, frankly, a girl's gotta sleep. I haven't seen one complete night game yet, although I hear the Baylor-Washington game last night was an Instant Classic!

I hit the elliptical day before yesterday but got back outside yesterday. FIVE DAYS IN A ROW, people. Woo hoo!

I thought of a new reason to get back in shape in 2012:

I want to feel as comfortable in my street clothes I do in my pajamas. ~ Debbi McNeer
Whatever it takes, right?
To wrap up this randomness, I'll leave you with sunset at dinnertime, December 29, 2011.

Got motivation?

I'll use all available resources at this point, and I hope I don't forget them as time goes by. This one looks like a good one, should I decide to begin using music when I'm walking outside again.

In other news, I made a frittata last night for the first time in my life. I got some iron skillets for Christmas, so it was the first time in my life (seriously!) I've had an oven-proof vessel for making frittatas.


While we have no snow here (yet), I thought this was just too cute to keep to myself. More than likely someone in your circle of friends has already displayed it. Apologies if that's the case …


Yes, some real knitting happened here yesterday, and more is lined up for today. And tomorrow. And the rest of the college football bowl season.

My son's wife loves, loves, loves the felted clogs (note: this is an updated version of the pattern) I've been making her since the original design was published way back in the 20th century. Her daughter wants a pair "just like Mommy's." I seriously thought she'd want pink ones with purple soles. Yes, she's four, how'd you guess. Heh. But shades of blue were what she requested. I cast on last night around 7 p.m. By 9 p.m. I'd finished the sole and upper portion of the first little clog.

I'm going to make her mother a new pair and am also going to make myself a new pair, after inspecting mine and finding a hole in the sole of one of them.

Back when I was cranking out clogs for everyone I knew, I could knit one adult pair in six hours. (The only reason I know that is I had to have some kind of lab test…

The rebel in me respects the rebel in you

That would be the punk version of namaste, I guess.

I'm completely obsessed with Pinterest these days. I scroll through first thing every morning, clicking and repinning and dreaming and being inspired. There's so much talent and creativity and humor displayed! It's a great way to begin the day. (Feel free to follow me on Pinterest, there's an easy-peasy link in one of the sidebars.)

Naturally, now that Christmas is over, fitness quotes abound. I found a tumblr blog through Pinterest called Reasons to be Fit, and this is a big one of mine.

There are only two people who tell me I can't do something. My husband is one (he's so afraid I'll die running, after he saw a fit young athletic man do just that at the finish line of the Army 10-Miler in 2008).

I'll give you one guess as to who's the other.

Ding, ding, ding! You're right if you said it was me.

I've been working on (or not working on) losing weight for most of my life. I must either accep…

Done, done and DONE!

All in all, we had a lovely holiday this year. I'm usually depressed because Christmas just isn't as it used to be (and why should it be? I'm 60, not six). The usual (husband's) family drama was kept to a minimum. His mother loved her gift (a digital photo frame filled with old and new family pix), and promised to return yet another jacket (this makes five consecutive years she's given me a jacket that doesn't fit) and choose something from a gourmet cookware shop instead.

My ideal Christmas this year would have been awayI'd have loved to have taken a little trip, but it wouldn't be nice to leave my mother-in-law alone on the holiday. (My husband is an only child.) He and I are going away the end of January as our gift to each other.

My menu worked out great and all the food was delicious and devoured. I was the only one who ate any Waldorf salad, but since that's my family's holiday tradition, I was fine with that. My husband and his mother a…

Merry Christmas. Yes, it's time yet.

This is my FAVORITE Christmas song. Which probably tells you everything you need to know about me. HEH!

Here's another use for that parsley salt

The day before

Before I wish you a merry Christmas Eve, I want to give you a Knit Thing and an Eat Thing. (Click on the captions for pattern or recipe.)

The open house we go to every Christmas Eve has had a time change. We used to go after church, which used to start at 7; this year the Episcopal service begins at 8, and the Presbyterian service is at 6 and since guests of all religious persuasions will be at the party, the party begins at 4:30.

Which is fine by me.

A 4:30 party seems more casual to me, and I've been fretting silently about What To Wear To An Evening Party for several days. Now I can just throw on whatever is clean and still fits and be both comfortable and presentable. And no one is going to be judging my wardrobe anyway.

Christmas dinner prep begins today. Here's the menu (items in red get done today):
Baked hamBaked acorn squashWaldorf saladSauerkrautGreen beans or peas (haven't decided)Dinner rollsDeviled eggsPecan piePumpkin pie My mother-in-law will be our only dinn…

Straying from the whole "gift" theme

I haven't used a single NaBloPoMo writing prompt this month, mostly because I've been waking up every morning thinking about something to write about on the blog.


I had a great gift-themed post in my head this morning, but it needs lots of pictures and I'm just not in the mood to find and edit all of them. I would even have to find, SCAN and edit one. So that one will wait until next week, more than likely.

It only takes one easy-to-download (Bluetooth from cellphone to laptop), easy-to-edit (crop/resize) photo for today's rant thought.

When I saw this guy's license plate, my first thought was, "Who BRAGS about being a JAILER?" (My husband's first thought was that he misspelled the word, but it can be spelled with either an E-R or an O-R. We checked. Heh.)

Of course, I'm coming at this from the perspective of one who has volunteered in a federal prison camp for women for a dozen years. Who goes to a federal prison camp for women? First-ti…


I feel as though I'm wasting a post, I could so easily save this for tomorrow. NaBloPoMo is winding down, and while I'm definitely not feeling like I'm running out of words, there are still times when … well, a picture is worth a thousand words:

Sweet. Salty. Smooth. Crunchy. Easy. YUM!

Okay, so the original recipe is really called Terribly Terrific Toffee and you can find it here. This treat goes together in about half an hour, and who doesn't have an extra 30 minutes the week before Christmas to whip up something scrumptious?


After I made this recipe and a batch of fudge but before I made the pizza, I carved out some time to use the elliptical. Wouldn't you know that would be the same time my wi-fi went down? Grrr. I took the Nook with me anyway and just read while I worked out. Ended up doing 40 minutes, after I told myself 30 would be enough. Yay me!

Same mountain, different day

Who had Santa call me?

Late yesterday morning Santa left a voice mail on my cell phone. (I was driving in one of the many cell phone dead zones here in the Middle of Nowhere, or I would have answered his call!) The beginning of it was cut off, which probably had a clue or two in it to let me know who put the big guy up to it.

It was funny – Santa somehow knew that what I wanted most for Christmas was a better economy (tru dat!) and he actually mentioned that I lived in the middle of nowhere (I guess it's true that he sees you when you're sleeping and knows when you're holed up in the middle of nowhere!) He asked me to leave him vegan cupcakes and he mentioned he was going to do some yoga. I've erased the message so I don't remember all the variables.

At the end was a hint that it's a GMail product, so it wasn't difficult to find the website where I could arrange to have Santa call someone I know and love. (How did you – the one out there who arranged it for me – find it in the fi…


My NookColor software has been updated, and the best new feature is that I can now watch Netflix on the Nook. This may not be a big deal to you, but around here, I'm not in charge of the television. If I were, it would be all Glee and Mad Men and Nip/Tuck (until it got really gross in the final season) all the time.

But the husband likes the news.

Our workout room on the second floor of the garage is a great space with a huge television, but it's an old television that is not Apple TV-ready. So … no Netflix upstairs.

Until today. It is so freaking cool to set the Nook up on the elliptical and work out rather effortlessly for the length of one episode of Season 1 of Glee, which is about 15 minutes longer than I did with great effort two days ago watching Sportscenter.

The gift of Netflix on the Nook. It's a Christmas miracle!

Let it snow!

Thanks for your comments on my mountain photo. I entered it in a little photo contest, hope it gets some recognition!

I'd love to be a fly on the wall in the Google Geek Department. Here's their latest amusement:

I tested it on my computer using the Google Chrome browser and it works. So clever. Not that I want it to snow for Christmas or anything. Heh.
Grocery-shopping today, for Christmas dinner and a bag of Oreos to make these three-ingredient treats. (I already have the cream cheese and dipping chocolate. And sprinkles!) I don't need to add them to the stuff I'm taking to the Christmas Eve open house, but they look easy and fun and new. If I put a lolly stick in them they could even pass for some trendy cake pops.
Wow, I'm all about the trendy this week, eh?

Tangerine is the new Honeysuckle

Remember when grey was the new black? My friends and I thought we were sooooo clever when we said that.

We were graphic designers working in the ad industry, and it was important to be aware of color trends. Pantone, according to their website, is the world-renowned color authority, and each year determines the color of the year. Designers of all stripes – graphic, industrial, clothing, floral – incorporate that color in their products and ideas, until the next new color is announced.

This year Tangerine Tango is the belle of the ball. I missed the memo earlier this month, but did my research after my trendy daughter mentioned she was looking for some artwork with orange in it for her newly painted bedroom. The walls are grey – pewter or gunmetal or something like that – and she wants to kick it up with orange accents.

Of course she does. Do a search on etsy or Pinterest for orange and grey and you, too, will be inspired.

I actually liked last year's Honeysuckle better. I've al…

I have it on good authority …

that the marmalade turned out great. The friend I was helping with the holiday card went home with two jars and he called it "mmmmmmarmalade." Sounds to me like he liked it!

I'm still working on the 2010 jar I opened the other day. When I tilt one of the new jars, the contents move a little and the color is lovely. Last year's overcooked batch was darker, and the content wasn't really mobile in the jar unless it had been warmed. Delicious, but not something I would serve or give away.

That's the thing about home-canned jams and jellies – you don't know how they'll behave until you open the jar. Surprise! It's like Christmas every time you want a piece of toast. And you can process two batches identically with different results. That happened to me with apple jelly last year. One batch was truly perfect, while the second was a little runny. Which, of course, adds to the charm of home-canned fruit. Heh.

I have enough citrus "in stock" to ma…

Hustle-bustle, hurry-scurry, so-much-to-do …

(My thanks to Jen for her inspiration for this graphic.) Pin It

Making her list, checking it twice

Remember that to-do list I posted a couple days ago? Well, it's ta-done!

[Disclaimer: These cards are not my original ideas. I wish they were. Many thanks to the generous and talented card designers who freely share their inspiration all over the internets.]

Since I was already in card-producing mode, I agreed to help some friends with theirs yesterday, which is why the walk didn't happen. It's all good, though. I had a fine time, felt productive and useful and wasn't tempted to snack.

Which brings us back to the "eating" part of this blog. (The knitting part is happening this weekend. So nice to have all the hustle-bustle over with and have time to sit-and-knit for fun, without guilt.)

Y'all know how I love a breakfast of plain yogurt mixed with some kind of fruit preserve and topped with granola, right? Well, yesterday I opened the last jar of orange marmalade in the pantry, from way back in January. I've been putting off opening it, first because it…

Healthy stuff: It's what's for dinner

Yeah I've totally highjacked the Beef Council slogan, and I actually could have said, "Beef: It's what's for dinner," 'cause that's what we had.

But it was so much more.

First let me tell you about a typical day here in the Middle of Nowhere as it relates to meals. I'm a three-squares kinda gal and am holding steady with the no-snacking rule. For the most part. (Thank goodness all the Snappy Turtles and Snickerdoodles are in the freezer. In the garage. Destined for a Christmas Eve open house.)

My husband is more of a one-square kinda guy with the addition of an afternoon snack, usually yogurt, and a late-night gorge, usually whatever is lying around that looks good to him at that moment. Could be half a loaf of banana bread, as it was last night. Or half a bag of cashews, as it was the previous night. Or several large spoonfuls of peanut butter straight from the jar, as he has done waaaaaaaaay too many nights.

Whatever he eats late at night he will sw…

Early to bed. Again.

I was so wiped out last night. It wasn't because I stayed all the way up to 10:30 the night before. It wasn't because I walked three miles yesterday afternoon. [Three days walking in a row, woot!] It wasn't because I worked my fingers to the bone crafting Christmas cards for the grandchildren. [So cute and so easy – a Dymo label maker to spell out "MERRY CHRISTMAS," a photo of each sweet little face printed on a magnetic business card and a snowflake brad. Done!]

It was because the AA meeting I went to at the prison was beyond sad.

One of the inmates shared that she'd talked with her mother, whom she's seen only once in nine years, earlier this week, and she told her mom that next year she'd be straight and sober for Christmas. And Mom said, "I love you, baby, and I can't wait for that day."

Two days later her mother died.

As always happens when an emotional issue arises, the women took over with more comfort and wisdom than I could ever…

Late night shenanigans

I'm an early-to-bed, early-to-rise kinda girl. I usually toddle off to the bedroom around 9 to read magazines or a Nook book, and am asleep by 10, meaning I'm up before the birds start chirping.

Unless it's July. Then the birds wake me up.

I was still awake, hunched over my laptop, last night at 10:30, working on resizing/reformatting digital photos to display on the electronic frame my husband and I are giving his mother for Christmas.

My husband's son and his family gave us ours, and we love it. We think she'll enjoy one but she doesn't have a computer so it's up to me (because my husband is computer-phobic) to get the images ready to load. He's going to pick up some prints that she's gathered, which I will scan. The SDHC card has been ordered, along with a card reader.

These digital frames look easy, but there's a lot of prep work before you give one to someone who isn't computer-savvy. And believe me, my mother-in-law isn't! She paid…

The gift of healing

As both of you know, I used to walk every damned day. (In fact, I used to run. Wow, was that ever a long time ago.) It resulted in absolutely ZERO pounds lost, but I felt like I was doing something good for myself, and walking is my intentional activity of choice.

I took my BlackBerry with me and posted a daily walk photo to Facebook, to 'prove' I'd taken a walk. Y'all wouldn't ever know or probably even care if I'd driven to that spot and snapped a photo, but I can be trusted to not cheat. If I walk, I post a picture. If I post a picture, I took it while walking.

There haven't been any pictures cluttering my Facebook feed for a while – since October 9, if I'm sorting my uploads correctly. That feels about right to me. It was sometime in October when I first noticed the sharp pain in my right heel. I tried to ignore it but, having experienced plantar fasciitis before, I knew what was happening and I knew what to do.

When I was running it was so, so hard…

Well received

Lucy and Little Pink lovedtheir new outfits, I'm happy to say, and my granddaughter was as sweet as she could be, trying all the clothes on each of her dolls, wanting to put her new pajamas on right now, and playing with the other little things we gave her. I felt so good about deciding to make her gifts.

While many children don't get a lot (or any) Christmas gifts, the ones on my list have multiple grandparents who have the desire and means to indulge their every whim. I expect many families in which spouses have divorced have the same issue. Giving experience gifts, such as the family museum membership we gave my husband's grandchildren, is a great solution and, if you ask me, giving handmade ones is another.

I will mail gifts to my two older grandchildren and that will be the end of the gift-giving season for my husband and me. It's not like my childhood Christmases at all, nor is it like his, but we've come to terms with it in our own ways and we're actuall…

There's still time

If you're a knitter and you've finished all your gifts and you're wondering what to make next, you still have time to whip out a Wee Santa Hat to put in a charity box or atop your Christmas tree or on a little one's noggin.

You can make one in just a few hours and if you're like me you probably already have the perfect yarn stashed away. And if it's not perfect, you know how to substitute, right?

This has been a very popular pattern on Ravelry and I've shared it on Facebook this year, too. But I would certainly be remiss if I didn't use up one of my December NaBloPoMo posts tooting my own horn about the Wee Santa Hat. Enjoy!
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Full moon

Giving a winter dinner party

We don't entertain much, and when we do our guests are usually family. But we're acquainted with a couple whom we'd like to know better, so we asked them to come for dinner last night. It worked out perfectly since my son and his family are coming tomorrow for the weekend: Clean once, entertain twice!

In years past, if we didn't have company over the holidays, I didn't bother to decorate or put up a tree. Yesterday, after the floors were tidied and the tables dusted, we hauled my ancient fake tree from the storage shed. Dotted with white lights and pink and silver ornaments, it screamed festive. Oh, and I had to pull a real bird's nest from the branches before I decorated it. Seriously!

I also put a glittery burgundy-and-gold candle arrangement on the coffee table.

Of course the best part of a dinner party is dinner. I made beef stew in the slow cooker, along with a spinach salad (with clementines, goat cheese and pine nuts, dressed with a lemon vinaigrette) an…

My go-to Christmas Cookie, Part Two

Snickerdoodles recipes are all over the internet, so I'm going to leave it up to you to Google if you want to make one of the softest, creamiest, meltiest-in-your-mouth cookies for this holiday season.

Okay, okay, here's the one I used.

They're basically a ball of sugar cookie dough (with a shot of cream of tartar) rolled in a cinnamon/sugar mixture and then baked just long enough for them to flatten out.

Much easier than rolled-and-cut sugar cookies. Wonder why Mom didn't make these more often? Again, these were Christmas-only treats. Also? The house smells DELICIOUS! I wish computers had a scratch-and-sniff feature. Go grab your cinnamon jar and then look at the pictures.

All the cookies are packaged and in the guest room a holding area. My husband never goes in the guest room, so I think they're safe. Heh.

And if you think it's all cookies, all the time around here, you would be wrong. I had a delicious evening meal of steamed spaghetti squash topped with a …

My go-to Christmas cookie, Part One

I don't ever remember a Christmas without Snappy Turtle cookies. My mother made them every year, only for Christmas, never any other time. When I got married, she copied her recipe for me, along with her Snickerdoodle recipe (that's my go-to Christmas cookie, Part Two). Sometimes I made them and sometimes I didn't. I was, um, somewhat flighty and irresponsible during my early adult years.

Nothing and no one lasts forever, though. She didn't make any cookies in 1989; she was dying of cancer, although I didn't know it at the time. Fortunately I was just barely sober by then and was able to help her and tell her it was okay, we could live without Snappy Turtles this year. Her other favorite Christmas thing to eat was chocolate-covered cherries, and I remember that both my sister and I brought boxes of them to her.

Sometime during my flighty and irresponsible years I lost her recipe. I counted it as a small but painful consequence of my alcoholism. No one else I knew e…