Saturday, December 31, 2016

Look! I Knitted.

Late yesterday afternoon I settled onto the couch, took up Anklet #5 and got to within one row of finishing it, took it to Friday Night Knitting, finished it, and weaved in a couple tails.  Finis!  Then I cast on the Hermaness Worsted hat that was Fringe Hatalong No. 3 in 2015.  I printed off the patterns and gathered up stash yarn to make a kit for hats Nos. 3 & 4 in early 2016 and put them aside for when I needed a project.  This one made it into my knitting basket on Wednesday morning but I didn't get around to casting on until last night.

Casting on was more of a challenge than I anticipated since every third stitch was to be made with the Twisted German Cast-on which was described in the pattern but luckily YouTube came to my rescue.  Of course, I have a perfectly good book with it outlined in great detail but that book was unhandily in the yarn storage bin in the living room.  Thank god for YouTube.  I've got about two-thirds of the ribbing and I'll get to the fun part, the simple lace pattern, later today.

Between knitting on the couch and knitting in the back room of Goodwill, our friend, TD, the electrician and his wife, BD, showed up to fix the light switch in the ceiling fan (she visited while he fixed) for a whopping $3.50.  I pressed a few more bucks into his hand before they left because he keeps trying not to charge for labor.  Friends, whatcha gonna do?

We woke up to a tiny bit of new snow today, barely enough to cover the bare spots.  Every once in a while a few flakes drift past the window but I'll lay money that it'll start snowing with vigor 'round about time for people to go out to ring in the New Year.  

Another benefit of adding more grown-up grandchildren is the quality of the fridge art increases dramatically.  Not that I don't love the colorful scribbles of the littles, I do with all my heart, but look at what GC drew for me last weekend.  I love it.  He put his favorite quote along the bottom, "I will not let you go into the Dark alone."  Then he signed and dated it to me on the back.  I smile every time I walk by it, and I walk past the fridge a lot.  Stop too often too but I love seeing his drawing there.

December 31--Don B. Stevenson, Mrs. Blakely's Class.  My third grade class was like a pint-size United Nations.  There were kids of every color and from every continent.  English was the first language of only six of the twenty-one students and it was the best class I ever had.  We celebrated the customs of each country represented.  Our parties were legendary.  Word of the foods the mothers brought lured the principal and office staff to make excuses to visit the classroom.  I asked for the recipes, typed them into a booklet, and each student got one.  I heard that Eddie Langer did a roaring business when he photocopied his and sold the copies to parents from other classes for fifty cents.  "Just to cover printing costs," I heard him say when someone objected.  That kid will go far.

Not bad.  Tonight I have art to write from.  Yippee!  Everyone be safe if you're going out to celebrate tonight.  We're staying home but we'll cook up something special to ring in the New Year.  Happy 2017!

Friday, December 30, 2016

Can You Imagine?

I worked at work all day yesterday.  Yes, I did.  Remember I told you that both FedEx and UPS brought multiple cartons of things to be unpacked, priced, and put away?  Well, what with customers and phone calls interrupting, it took me the entire day to get the stuff dealt with.  And to top it all off, I took the trash out back after 5 o'clock (when I lock the front door to count out the money to put in the safe), the wind caught the door, and blew it shut, locking me out of the store.  Now I know better than to neglect to shoot the latch bolt out so it catches on the door frame when I go out the back because there's no doorknob on the outside of the back door.  See, it's dark back there so Mr. Boss put on a one-sided doorknob to prevent break-ins.  Fortunately there's a bar right across the street so I went over there and dialed JJ at home (20 miles away) and he graciously hopped in his truck and drove into town to let me in, then he wouldn't let me give him money for gas.  Friends, you just can't thank them enough.  I spent the wait trying to figure out a way and place to stash a key so I don't do it again.  Guess I'll have to either take my keys with me or remember to shoot the darned bolt.  So frustrating.

That's why I didn't knit at work yesterday and I didn't knit at home last night because... well, I don't know why I didn't but I didn't.  If I took a picture of my knitting bag it'd look the same as it did Wednesday when I left for work.  It's a good thing that tonight's Friday Night Knitting so I'll be forced to drag out my needles and get something done.  This morning I went to three grocery stores, one mailing store, and for a haircut, then came home to cut up strawberries and a pineapple, so no knitting happened then.

I didn't write last night either.  I was tired.  So all there is to see here are east-facing and west-facing pictures of this morning's sunrise, and not very impressive ones either, but it's the best I can do.  I have to overcome the slacker ways creeping up on me.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

I Feel Like a Slacker

I don't have any knitting or yarn stuff to show you.  I had customers at work yesterday and FedEx and UPS both delivered multiple cartons of things to unpack, enter into the computer, price, and put on the shelves.  (I'm not done yet)  I did do yoga last night, as promised in yesterday's blog post.  It might have taken me until 9:30 to get off my butt and do it, but I did it and that's what counts.  I yog-ed quite a bit earlier today.

Before we all hit the hay last Sunday night SIL1 asked if he couldn't put out some shredded carrots for the bunnies that come to nibble fallen birdseed at night.  I said sure and we even had some leftover shredded carrots from the Chicken Tacos, so he got a paper plate, dumped on a bunch of carrot shreds, and set it out there under the bird feeder.  He really wanted to go out to pet the bunnies but I convinced him that they're nowhere near tame and would only run away and that would be stressful for the bunnies.  (And no, he's not five years old, he has a very soft heart which is one of the things I love about him.)  The bunnies avoided the carrots on the plate so I went out later on Monday and tipped them onto the snow.  That made all the difference.  What was once a round disk of orange is now a spread out streak of barely there.  See all the rabbit raisins around?  Proof of success.

I am so glad that it snowed last Friday and stuck around so GC could go out and play in it because on Monday it topped 40 degrees and it got nearly up to 40 degrees yesterday so--bye-bye, snow, at least in the thinnest places.

December 29--Anne Geddes, EKC758T.  She had her baby dressed like a daffodil, not just in a yellow outfit but she had a construction on its head with petals and a trumpet like the real flower...

I distinctly remember writing more but maybe it was a dream.  I'll be so glad when it's January 1 and I can go back to the art prompts of the Art Gallery Page-a-day calendar.  Art is easier to make a story about.  Can you believe that Debbie Reynolds died yesterday, only a day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher?  So sad to lose both of them at once. Time to trot off to the dive shop.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Easy To Get Out Of Your Routine

Sorry I missed blogging yesterday.  I guess not blogging over the weekend got me out of the habit.  I have a list of bad habits I'd like to jettison that easily but evidently it's only good habits that go away so fast.  (I haven't yoga-ed since Sunday either.  I will tonight, cross my heart.)

On Saturday when I was standing out waiting for the flyover that never came, a House Finch perched in the bare apple tree and serenaded me.  So I took his picture.  Look how pale his usually dark pink breast is.  The Goldfinches are a muddy avocado color in winter.  I know spring is on the way when their feathers start turning back to their bright, looking-for-love colors.

I'm up to the toe decreased on Anklet #5.  I really like how the back half of the sock is pale gray and the foot part is dark gray into black.

I saw this idea on Facebook a couple weeks back so was on the lookout for a good jar in Goodwill last Friday night.  I found this one for 2 bucks.  It's called a Good Things jar.  Starting January 1 you write good things that happen on slips of paper, put them in the jar all year, and then dump them out to read on December 31.  I think this is a great idea because we all can easily remember the bad things that happen but often forget the good.  Doing this should help.

Last night I packaged the leftover green beans almondine and carrots with bacon and onions in Tupperware and shoved it all into the freezer so we can have it over the winter.  I kept one container of the carrots out to add to the remaining beef stew which seems under-carrot-ed to me now that we're at the tail end of it.  Besides putting the carrots in will stretch what's left into two more generous suppers instead of two low meat, nearly no veggies plates of delicious gravy.  Durwood's a big fan of lakes of gravy on his plate, I'm not, so extra veggies wins.

December 28--Julie Gang.  He looked like a cherub with his chubby cheeks, blue eyes, and curly hair but Lucy discovered very quickly that her lab partner, Abe, was no angel.  He might have been easier to deal with if he was a slacker but he was smart.  He worked out alternate formulae and processes using the same chemicals that everyone else had but their corner of the lab was usually screened from the rest of the classroom by clouds of smoke in various colors and gradation of lethality.  Nothing she did or said convinced him to just follow directions.

Well, time for lunch.  I made myself some GC-style ham sandwiches for lunch this week--ham on a burger bun with mayo and mustard.  Yum.  Grandsons can be good examples, especially when it comes to food.

Monday, December 26, 2016

A Weekend To Remember

What a great weekend we had!  You can probably tell because I haven't blogged since Friday.  I'll fill you in while I do all the dirty laundry from North America and maybe a few developing countries too.

The Kentucky "kids" arrived on Thursday evening and we finally got to meet GC, our new big grandson and, I have to say, I liked him the minute I laid eyes on him and loved him wholeheartedly by the end of the weekend.  He's a typical 18-year-old with an endless appetite and ocean-blue dyed hair; he's sweet, funny, polite, and a joy to have around.  (He likes to read books too.  Score!)  On Friday we visited and ate and visited and ate while it snowed to beat the band.  DD took them to Kroll's for lunch (because there was a home game right across the street from the restaurant on Saturday) and then for a bit of a city tour.  GC asked if we could Christmas that night since the suspense was killing him.  Hey, I have a devil of a time waiting too so I said "yes!" immediately.  We had supper, I went to Friday Night Knitting for a couple hours, then we opened gifts when I got back.  DD loved the replacement flip-top mittens, SIL1 was thrilled with 2 pints of homemade sauerkraut, and I got the Flying Spaghetti Monster Hat for the year.  The FSMH was something I crocheted about 10 years ago with the idea that it'd be a traveling talisman passed to the family member who needs to have a good year.  It's intended to be a smile-generating reminder of the support and love of the whole family for the year and then be passed on to the person you judge to need a "good hat" the next year.  There's a card with the mission statement on the back, hat graphics on the front, and the names and dates of the recipients inside.  This
year the hat came to me in a box that's stained with soot from DD's house fire in June.  They offered to find a new box for the hat but I clutched the sooty box to my bosom and told them not to be ridiculous; that it's the perfect box for the FSMH.

On Saturday there was that Packer game in town (no flyover in the clear blue sky either; what a gyp) so while Durwood, DD, and SIL1 hunkered down to cheer on the team, GC and I fled.  We went to a newsstand looking for alternative magazines (and found none), then to Barnes & Noble where we found treasures, and to Michaels to spend our 50% off anything not on sale coupon.  The best part was riding around with my new grandson getting to know him better.  After the game all but Durwood bundled up and went outside to play in the snow.  I took my snowshoes out to clomp around in and let other people try.  GC, being a southern boy, was less than thrilled about being dragged into the land of cold and snow until they made snow angels on Friday night and then played in the snow on Saturday.  He coerced his parents to go out and play again on Sunday morning.  The southern boy did know how to do something that I'd forgotten about and no one else had heard of.  He asked for a big bowl that he filled with pristine snow, then stirred in milk (part chocolate milk), vanilla, and sugar to make snow cream.  Yum.
Yesterday the whole family got together for a lovely Christmas supper at DS's house.  When we were leaving we realized that it was raining and it was cold enough that it was barely freezing on the pavement.  Yikes.  Fortunately this morning dawned sunny, bright, and over 40 degrees so Durwood and I didn't try to keep the KY kids here until the roads got better.

The hawk has stopped by at least once a day for the last week.  His/her continued presence is keeping the birdies away and making the seed last longer--but I miss the birds.  Pretty soon I'll find a used Christmas tree on the curb nearby, stuff it into the back of the van, and bring it home for the birds to hide and shelter in.  Hopefully that'll bring them back.

I haven't written one prompt since Thursday night and have barely knitted.  There were too many people to talk to and get to know for me to be distracted by knitting.  Now that they've driven away *sniff* prompt writing and knitting will commence.

Back to the laundry.

Friday, December 23, 2016


I don't have a picture to show you but last night when I was taking the 3 quart Pyrex casserole filled with a 3# batch of Sloppy Joe meat out of the microwave the lid slid to the right breaking off about a quarter of the dish and spattering most of the contents of hot meat goop all over the floor, the wall, the top of the portable dishwasher, and oozed grease down the side of the dishwasher.  We will not discuss the sadness and frustration I felt as I used a dustpan and brush to scoop up last night's supper and this weekend's lunches.  Part of the meat remained in the unbroken part of the dish but there was no way I would risk anyone by serving sandwiches garnished with glass shards.  Of course, the grease was a bitch to clean up.  I finally got out the Murphy's Oil Soap to make a bucket of wash water so that no one slid on the floor which had become very very slick.  As I was finishing the last of the cleanup and rejoicing that I'd bought a pre-sliced ham for lunch backup, there was a knock on the door and the Kentucky kids arrived in a flurry of luggage and big big big hugs.  They went to Kroll's, the local burger restaurant known far and wide, for lunch and then DD is taking GC on a tour because he's never had a white Christmas.  He said last night that he kept expecting the snow to disappear as they drove north.  I didn't have the heart to tell him that we'll have snow until, oh, April, and this afternoon it's snowing in his honor.  I told him I'd ordered a snowy Christmas just for him.  He said, "Thanks, you shouldn't have," and I think he meant it.  

I got the last mitten top finished yesterday afternoon and got the mittens boxed and wrapped as soon as I got home just in case they drove faster than I thought they would.  I'll take a picture of the finished product once the recipient has opened them.

I'm making progress on Anklet #5, only 10 more foot rounds before I start the toe decreases, then there'll be enough of this sock blank for one more anklet and then I have to think of what to knit next.  Any suggestions?  I could just check my queue on Ravelry.  Or go downstairs to fondle yarn until inspiration strikes.

What with the Sloppy Joe debacle and arrival of our company I didn't write last night.  In fact I'm kind of surprised I'm blogging today.  It's time to start chopping toppings for tonight's chicken tacos.  I will not be racing around like a crazed weasel tonight so no part of tonight's dinner will get dropped.  No, no chance of having to throw away another supper.  Nope.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.  Happy Hanukkah if you swing that way.  When does Kwanzaa start?  I don't want to leave anyone out.  I figure the more celebrating we do together, the less we'll hurt each other in word or deed.  Be nice.  Santa's watching.  Or somebody is so don't risk it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

The Rebirth Of The Light

Yesterday was the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, which means this morning the sun rose a teensy bit earlier and will set a teensy bit later.  It'll do that every day until the summer solstice when the days will begin to shorten up again.  It's a vicious cycle, especially the dark and cold part, but reliable nevertheless.

Yesterday morning it was snowing and this squirrel decided that suet was what it wanted for breakfast.  The drive to work was challenging, snowy and slick, because it was warming up.  It warmed up so much that all of the snow and ice melted off the birdbath.  I've been checking and rechecking my walk-in-fridge thermometer (in the back of Durwood's van) and this morning it was about 26 degrees.  Which means it's still 10 degrees colder than the kitchen fridge so we're good.

Last night the stockings were hung with Command Hooks with care, all around the picture of Saint Nicholas there.  (I had to make it rhyme, didn't I?)  I love the randomness of them, no two are alike and they mostly look like a conglomeration of ages and styles, some homemade, some store-bought, all loved.  Well, I hope the owners of the two newest stockings come to love them as much as the maker loves the grandsons.

Since DD, SIL1, and GC are reliably on the way and I'm fairly certain that she won't be checking the blog before Christmas day, I'm going to show you what I've been frantically knitting.  See, the fabric reclamation people felted the flip-top mittens I made for her years ago and she said that she was sad because she loved them.  Well, it just so happened that I had enough of the very same yarn to knit her another pair exactly like the first pair.  So I am.  I should be done by the time I get off work today since I only have about 10 rounds to go on the flip-top of the last one, then I'll just have to box them up and wrap them.  *dusts hands off*  Which reminds me, I need to throw the Anklet project bag into my basket in case I finish too early.  Can't be without knitting, now can I?

December 22--Julie Gang, Not in the Pool.  "Stay clean and stay away from the pool," Mom said as she shoved Jeremiah and me out of the condo.  Aunt Natalie was getting married to Uncle Sammy today and Mom was the Matron of Honor.  "Witch of Honor" is what Dad said after she flipped out when she caught him having a beer and a smoke with Uncle Ted and Grandpa Charlie behind the band bus.  Jeremiah went straight over to dip his hand in the pool.  I told him, "Mom said to stay away from there," but he just laughed.  "Look, Em, there's a snake on the bottom," he said pointing into the water.  I went over to look and he tripped me.  I fell in but not before I grabbed hold of his arm and dragged him in with me.  If I was going to be in trouble, he was too.

Brothers.  'Nuff said.  Gotta run.  Somehow I lost a whole hour this morning.  Oh, see the nest I made for GC?  It looks cozy and warm and welcoming, I think (I hope), and I am over the moon thrilled that the air mattress fits in the space I made for it.  Whew.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

The Last Few Checkmarks

Last night after supper Durwood and I parked ourselves at separate tables and wrapped and wrapped and wrapped gifts.  I always think I don't have many presents and it doesn't even look like many when I make the piles, but then it takes hours to get everything wrapped.  This pile is about half, I had already carried the smaller packages downstairs when I took this.  No, they don't get put under the tree until Christmas Eve.  Santa comes on Christmas Eve, silly.  Tonight I'll hang the stockings.

This morning I unrolled the new sleeping bag and used a SCUBA tank to blow up the air mattress for GC to sleep on AND it fits exactly in the spot I cleared for him.  Hooray.  I'm so glad for SCUBA tanks and filler nozzles so I didn't have to hand or foot pump this thing up or, God forbid, blow it up by mouth.  The sleeping bag isn't flannel lined like our old ones were but I think I've got a flannel or cotton liner-thing at the shop that will make it warmer to crawl into bed.  I dug out a wool afghan in case GC gets chilly.  I'm a nice person.  (if I say it enough, maybe I'll convince myself--and others)

And it's snowing.  Not much but flakes are falling.  Bah.

Look at the pretty yarn our cleaning lady gave me.  She was clearing out, found this yarn, and didn't remember why or when she bought it so she gave it to me.  I'll make something out of it, maybe even something for her.  One of these days.

Hey, does anyone know what keystrokes make your displayed page bigger?  I somehow did the ones that make it smaller so it's a little squinty in here right now.  Anyone?  Help.

There was no writing last night.  It was straight up midnight when I finally turned out the tree and toddled off to bed.  Today's going to be a tired one.  *yawn*  Later, dudes and dudettes.  Lunch!  I have to make lunches!  Bye.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Good Morning, Starshine!

I've had that old song from the musical Hair in my head all day, ever since I went out back to top up the birdbath and realized that there was actual blue sky overhead and the sun gilding the clouds on the horizon.  We had blue sky all day and the temperature even crept up near 32 degrees.  DIL1 emailed me after reading yesterday's post to advise me on the temperature needed to keep food safe in the van/freezer when the temp outside gets out of the single digits.  Her excellent suggestion (which I never thought of) was to put a fridge thermometer out there which I did and we're staying in the safe zone because, as she so rightly said, 5 sick adults in a house with only one bathroom is no picnic.  I am so grateful for her advice on food things.  She's a graduate of the CIA (no, not that CIA, the Culinary Institute of America) and has taken at least one course on food safety so she knows her stuff.  You can't have her; I'm keeping her, well, DS is, which is sort of the same thing.

This morning I opened a new box of Cheerios and there was a prize in it.  A prize!  I haven't gotten a prize in a cereal box for mph-mumble years.  It's a troll with pink hair.  A kid would know her name but I had fun making her walk around while eating my breakfast.  Do-do-do.

Once the cleaning lady arrived, I got to work making Bacon & Onion-glazed Carrots for Christmas dinner.  I peeled and sliced the 2 lb. bag I bought for the purpose but it didn't look like enough so I added the 1+ lb. bag we had on hand.  This might be enough.  And if it isn't, to quote my Grandma Angermeier, "people can just fill up on jelly bread."  (man, that hasn't popped into my head in decades)

After lunch I baked a couple trays of cookies, then I went off to the Social Security office to ask a question about the letter I got telling me how much I'd be getting in 2017.  I didn't have a long wait and the people that work in the office here are so nice and so helpful I never mind going there.  I baked up the rest of the cookies when I got back.

While I was out Durwood cubed up a couple chuck roasts for me to sear when I got home so we can make crockpot beef stew for supper on Christmas Eve.  I had the iron skillet so hot that even with the range hood and ceiling fan on "jet engine" speed the smoke alarm went off--twice.  We opened the patio door and I propped open the front door to air the house out. The third time it went off I dragged a chair into the hall, took it off the mount and pulled out the battery.  Once the house was relatively smoke free and Durwood was shivering violently from all the cold air roaring through the place, I closed things up and reinstalled the smoke alarm.  But it smells nice in here, mm, beefy.  The beef was THE LAST precooking item on the list.  Tonight we wrap gifts.

December 20--Mother and Child.  Marilyn felt branded by the heat of Gabriel's small body on her chest.  His dark curls stuck to his forehead and her breath made them flutter on her chin.  Every day since he was born she had wondered how she had been so lucky to have such a child,  Gabriel's smile lit up whatever place he was in.  Even cranky old ladies in the grocery smiled at him.

And now it's time to go into the kitchen and scare up some supper.  We decided to forgo our weekly Papa Murphy's pizza splurge and eat better since we've been cooking up so much non-WW food for the weekend.  Last night I made chicken cutlets with balsamic-brown sugar sauce out of a Weight Watchers cookbook and it was wonderful.  Durwood's getting the rice cooking and we've got green beans and broccoli leftover so I plan to combine them and divvy it up.  They're both green so they should go together just fine, don't you think?

Monday, December 19, 2016

Crossing Things Off The List

I'm getting there, although I confess that I keep adding things to the list, but I'm making headway.  This morning I cooked up a pot of cranberry sauce.  Durwood and I are big fans, and this time I squeezed an orange's worth of juice into it.  It's not too much but I made the last batch plain the way he likes it so this batch got a little orange in it the way I like it.  No zest or cinnamon stick but I can't have everything.

While sitting at the table reading over the vintage 1962 green bean casserole recipe (no, there is no canned soup in it, nor do french fraud onions go on top) when I saw a big dark shadow pass the patio door.  I looked out to see the hawk land on the fence dividing the patios.  By the time I got my camera up and ready it had flown to the fence at the back of the lot.  The frequency of hawk visits probably explains the lack of bird and squirrel visits lately.

Next I assembled all the ingredients (mis en place) for making the green bean stuff and got going.  It's an involved recipe with browning onions and mushrooms in 1/2 stick of butter, flour stirred in, milk and half & half in to thicken, then a bit of soy sauce, S&P, and 3/4# of sharp cheddar slowly stirred so it all goes together to make a wonderful cheesy, creamy sauce that gets poured over cooked french cut green beans and a can of water chestnuts sliced.  Once it's all combined, you top it with toasted slivered almonds.  Mmm, I can't wait to dig in at Christmas dinner.

I had a brainstorm this morning while trying to figure out where I was going to store the bean casserole because the downstairs freezer is chock full and the upstairs one had imminent avalanche potential.  Eureka!  It's bitter cold in freezers.  It's bitter cold outside.  So I relocated a box to the rear of the van and carried all the frozen meal parts out there to await their turn to thaw and get cooked.  Brilliant.  I think I'll go downstairs for the 2 bags of bagels and 2 loaves of bread so everything frozen is in the same place.  

I didn't write last night and I have no knitting that I can show you.  I kind of pooped out yesterday afternoon in the cooking and knitting worlds.  Instead I made space for our impending company.  That makes a successful day, don't you think?  I do.  It's about time for us to leave for (yet another) doctor's appointment, this time for some test that I'm glad I'm not having, and because it's so cold I need to warm up the van so Durwood can breathe.  He likes to breathe, go figure.  Toodle--oo.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Zee. Row.

That's the current temperature.  Zero.  Zilch.  It was a beautiful sunny day and nearly all churches and activities were closed today because it was sooooo cold.  I went out and blew away the snow from late yesterday and the new plow drift across the driveway and then I went to the store for some vital Christmas-type items.  According to the thermometer in my car it was a brisk -2 when I got in and, hey, I wasn't the only idiot out in the bitter, bitter cold.  Not by a long shot.  It's pretty out there, really pretty, but dangerous.  At least it isn't too windy.

We got the tree up and decorated last night.  When I plugged it in none of the lights on the top half lit up.  I was just about ready to scream out some very non-Christmas language when I remembered that I bought one of those "as seen on TV" light fixer guns.  It really really works.  You just take out a bulb, plug the empty socket into the spot for it, pull the trigger three times and, presto, the lights light.  If they don't, then you hold down a different button and run it along the string and it'll beep until it comes to the problem, whereupon you change the bulb and all is right with the world.  Well worth the eight bucks I left at Home Depot last Christmas.

After the tree was done I got out the 3 Kings that Mom painted when she was into ceramics in the last half of the previous century.  Yes, they're garish and kitschy but I have to confess, I love them.  They sit up there on the old computer desk because that's the only place there's room for them and I never light the candles because where am I going to find three avocado green candles in 2016.  Mom said they were the perfect color and I believe her.

The only food prep that got done today (so far) was Durwood using the KitchenAid attachment to grate three pounds of cheese for various recipes on next weekend's menu.  I cleared piles off my desk and bookcase, and emptied some shelves in the second bedroom so we can transfer Durwood's piles of food magazines and cookbooks from the kitchen table so there's room for everyone to sit down to eat.

December 18--Toddler with Big Yellow Ball. Mattie's pudgy feet pattered on the oak floors as he chased the big yellow ball across the room.  The ball was as big as he was and held endless fascination for him.  He sought it out wherever it had spent the night--in the kitchen corner by the cereal cupboard, wedged between the couch and the computer desk, or in his room where it belonged.  It was rarely there.
That's when inspiration fled so I turned out the light and went to sleep.  I'm beginning to feel like DD and family and Christmas will be here in about 14 hours.  I'm getting a little wigged out.  I should probably up my meds or mix myself a drink.  Hm, hot buttered rum sounds about right.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow

Remember I said yesterday, "this can't be all"?  Well, it wasn't.  We got about three or four inches of fluffy snow overnight, there was a lull, and then it started snowing big, Hollywood flakes around 10 o'clock as soon as I went out to snowblow last night's contribution to the storm total.  It's still snowing, a nice steady snowfall (but dry and fluffy, no good for snowman-making), so if we add up the 2" that fell Friday morning plus the 3.5" from overnight, we're halfway to the predicted 10-12" by midnight tonight.  And then tomorrow the bottom's supposed to drop out of the thermometer and the wind will pick up to blow all this pretty fluffy stuff around like crazy.  I'm so glad I live here in this frozen wonderland.  I was surprised to see icicles on the streetlight when I went out to see if the newspaper was here (it still isn't) and the neighborhood looked kind of like a Christmas card.  Pretty, but cold.  Good thing the Yule Log is "on demand" on cable so even if it doesn't make heat I can have a crackling fire while I decorate today.

Yesterday afternoon I stirred together a batch of Olive & Nut Spread.  Too bad it didn't all fit into the 2 pint jars I had ready so Durwood and I will have to make the supreme sacrifice and eat the little bit that went into the olive jar.  Oh dear.


This morning I made the English Toffee.  Here it is melting the extra-dark chocolate chips before I spread the ooey-gooey stuff out to harden.  Yum.

Then I got out the porcelain Nativity set that Mom and Dad made to put on top of the TV, away from curious little hands.  Then I took down the watercolor of the tree in front of Durwood's old house and hung St. Nick, took down the papyrus and hung up Scrooge, took down the St. Maarten scene and hung up the palm frond Rudolf, and hung the jingle bell wreath on the garage door handle so small people can jingle at will.  Later I'll bring up the tree and ornaments so Durwood and I can get it up and decorated.  Or I'll put it up while he naps.  Either way, the tree's going up today.

Speaking of the Nativity set, when Mom was making a raft of them for gifts for the family years and years ago, she would bring home the greenware so we could all help clean off the mold marks before the first firing.  Dad would always clean the donkey first and when he was finished, he'd set it down and say, "Thank god, I finally got my ass clean."  We'd all laugh and groan.  Now my donkey's name is Dad and I tear up a little every time I unwrap it.  I think I'll write out that little story on a tiny piece of paper and stuff it up in the hole on the bottom of the statue so in the future that story will live on.

December 17--Cary D. Bucklin, Girl in Warm Light.  Shea sat on the bench holding her right foot.  There wasn't anything wrong with her foot, she just held it in her hand.  Light wrapped around her like a blanket and shimmered on the pool at her feet, er, foot.  Orange and silver fish cruised the pond pausing to gape at her hoping for food, she supposed, but she didn't have even a crust of bread to offer them.  Did fish eat bread, she wondered.  Probably not.  Bread didn't grow underwater.  Maybe the orange and silver fish ate insects.  She had seen on a nature show that one kind of fish spit water at flies so they would fall into the water so the fish could eat the flies.  Shea wished she could spit.  She tried but just ended up with a wet shirt.

It's still snowing but I won't go out to clear the car and driveway again until it stops or starts to get dark, whichever comes first.  Stay warm.