Monday, December 27, 2010


  The Christmas holiday has passed, the messes are pretty much cleaned up. Sort of, lol. We have had a lot of ice and snow from the big storm that swept through the country...probably 4-5 inches and it made a mess of the roads.  Very beautiful though...and we made it to my sons on Christmas morning without a hitch...the Irishman utilizing his best northern Wisconsin born and bred  driving skills. Had a wonderful and loving morning there , complete with a killer breakfast cooked by my son.

  I did have to park up top of the hill on Christmas night coming home from work because the roads were too bad to be able to make it down and then up into the driveway. There was a truck AND a tractor in the ditch in front of my house.  lol  They did eventually get out, God bless them. I didn't risk it. There's residual stuff out there now...and it melted some yesterday,but then glazed back over into a sheet of glass as the night temps plummeted to 10 degrees.  

  I have to take a cat to the vet for spaying today, and then try to get something wonderful made for my husband's supper. I guess something easy like a chicken and rice casserole, which can be cooking while I'm heading for the vet. I have to go in to work early today, so that will cut down on my home time once again. I long for the old days sometimes, lol, when I didn't have to make any plans to leave the house all day long if I didn't want to.

  Between the busy-ness of the holidays and the weather and work, I haven't been able to get back here to blog for a few days. Today promises to be another busy one, but I wanted to make sure to stop in and say that once again, we have survived the storm of holiday activity and paced ourselves even better than years past. The Irishman loved the dvd sets...The Vicar of Dibley and Waiting for God.  We are now watching the 20 year old version of CS Lewis' Chronicles of's a hoot, especially compared with the new whiz-bang productions that are coming out in the theater.  Husband is back at work today....

  Okay. Time to throw together the casserole, get out of the pj's and get dressed and move on into this day.  Here's hoping you all find some peace and tranquility in the post Christmas days, and prepare for a new year that's abundant and all the ways that matter. 


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Counting down to Christmas...

Finished the third fleece blanket, this one for my son and his recliner. lol Looks like this:
 It has a forest green back on it, and is all fringed like the other one. Got both of them washed and dried and ready for the big gift bags I have to go buy in a minute. Making a trip into town, picking up 2 hams and some odds and ends of groceries,  and going to Dollar General for some gift bags . Still have to stop and pick up the gas cards, decided to go ahead and get a 50 dollar card for each of the 3 drivers, and have to find one more thing for the 14 year old (who is the hardest to buy for).   Then I think I am all done. Am still waiting for the second set of DVD's I ordered for the Irishman...they shipped them the end of last week, but they haven't made it here yet.  Keeping my fingers crossed. I also ordered some stuff for his parents (and him)  and they haven't arrived either. OH, well.  I thought they might be late, as I checked on the order and they had messed it up. It will be okay...too late for there to be any big deals, lol.

  Cold cold cold here today. No snow or ice, just that bone chilling freeze in the air. We have snow forecasted for Christmas. Big storm coming in. I have to work a few hours on Christmas Eve and then on Christmas day. Unless I am snowed in and can't get out. lol

  Got a call from someone I don't know, who knows someone I DO know..who gave her my phone number. She has a 40 year old daughter who is killing herself with pills and booze and wants to know what she can do. I hate these kind of phone calls...everything you tell them is heartbreaking and depressing. I am so grateful to have survived all that with my son and see how his life has turned around.  That's the best hopeful thing I can tell her. Not much, during this time of sadness and fear.  I did tell her she could call me and talk again if she needed to, and wished her the best. Offered to pray for them both. Powerless. Mentioned Alanon.

  Ooooo...the sun has just come out!!!! Lit up this office like a floodlight!!! It's been all grey and frosty all morning....hope it holds for awhile...these bleak days in this weather are worse than the cold itself.

   Gonna make some stuffed pork chops for the Irishman's dinner. Maybe get a pumpkin pie in the oven too.  I have a list a mile long of all the things I need to get accomplished in the next day or two, and sitting here at the computer isn't really working for that.  lol

  BTW--tried making a smaller fleece out of the commercial fleece throws...NOT!  The minute I started cutting it, it unraveled and came apart and made a giant mess. I may try to finish it anyway, but a part of me wants to just toss the whole thing in the garage for the dogs to sleep on.  So much for that brilliant money saving endeavor.  lol

  Everyone: Be kind to yourself and take good care of yourselves and your loved ones this crazy time of year. My Christmases have lost that frantic feel, and I take it one day at a time now, doing what I can, and letting it all be okay, no matter what.  Everything is just enough. 


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Here comes the snow [again]

 At least it's big fluffy white flakes... (Click to enlarge)

  The dogs and a couple of the young kitties are out in it having a ball.  The Irishman just left for a meeting and then the district mtg in the afternoon. (He's the new alt-DCM, taking my spot at the last elections). I'm home for a few more hours...thinking maybe I'll make a chicken pot pie. It'll do for his supper and a couple of lunches through the week.

  Made another fleece quilt  yesterday...finished this one in a record 2.5 hours.  Am learning new tricks all the time to make it go faster. lol  This one is for the has a black back and a print that is all multi-colored peace signs on a black background. Since it went so fast, I'm thinking about making another one for my son...they have matching recliners down in their family room where they sit in front of the big screen tv all waking hours that they're not Here's 2 views of it...
 These cost right around 25 dollars for materials...I'm looking at maybe ordering fleece online if I can find a better price, but I almost think I need to be able to run my fingers over it, as there are so many grades and thicknesses of the stuff. The size almost covers the entire top of my queen sized bed.

  We had a nice breakfast this morning and I have some dishes in there waiting for me to clean up. Some cathead puked all over the slipcover on one of the loveseats, so those blankets and the cover are in the washer. The littlest dog (we call her Snowdog this time of year) is outside frolicking and will probably stay out there unless she gets lonely.  The 2 older dogs are already back in...they don't care for it nearly as much as Caylee does.

  Saw a thing on Yahoo! this morning about the 10 worst states to retire in...naturally, IL was at the top. Fiscal problems, climate, and high taxes were the main  parameters for the listing. Sigh...the few other states I'd consider living in were on the list too.  

   Had a nice short chat with my Canadian friend yesterday...xoxoxox to you...I'm blessed by your friendship...(congrats on your new baby, Fiesta? Festiva?) lol

   Okay. I have to get some things accomplished before the day gets away from me and it's time to head south. The final countdown days til Christmas are upon us and the traffic is hellacious, the stores are jammed and people are starting to act up a little.  Please God....keep me from becoming one of them.  Amen.

   Have a beautiful Sunday, wherever you are.


Friday, December 17, 2010

A winter wonderland

Hoo boy.  Such a day it has been around these parts!  Awoke to a bodacious ice storm, the Irishman couldn't make it up the hill, so he came back home and called in to work. He had to leave his truck up the hill on the side of the road for a while, but eventually got it back to the driveway.  I baked cookies today...the Walnut Snowball cookies and biscotti and fudge brownies.
 Then I tried to go to Miss B's, but about a mile up our road, I lost control of the car and it went into a slo-mo ballet, spinning around and finally parked itself in the ditch, facing the direction I was coming FROM. An hour and a half and 2 guys on ATV's later, I was back home, but parked in the lot next to ours so I wouldn't have to risk that treacherous hill  back up into our driveway.  Sadly (???) I dropped my cell phone into a snow drift and it got soaked, so it wouldn't work until just a little bit ago. lol

  The Irishman's potluck was cancelled, so we had a wonderful dinner of NY strip steaks, rice pilaf and corn on the cob from the freezer.  Had a netflix movie called Valentine's Day and watched it, then watched an Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle movie called Reign on Me. Both were great flicks. It was a nice evening with just us and the critters.

   I'm whipped and ready to head for bed, but wanted to  make sure I posted a little something about my day.  It was noteworthy.  lol

  Hope everyone is staying safe and warm. I'm off to dreamland...


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

...and ICE shall rain down from the heavens....

  This is what I have been doing the past 2 days. This is the front side and below is the back.

  It's a Christmas gift for an elderly woman who is always cold. It's heavy weight fleece and was so easy to make it should be a crime. lol It really turned out nice...I might just make one for my daughter-in-law..another woman who is always cold. A person could easily make one of these in a day or less, it just took me longer because  I had to stop and leave it so many times.Takes 2 yards of each piece of fleece. one print and one solid. I got the material at Walmart and it cost me about 25 dollars.  It made a really decent sized blanket...perfect for the couch and watching tv.

   Supposed to have a mix of rain and sleet and a possible ice storm tonight.  So far, it's not looking like much, but I know better than to get too excited. It'll probably show itself around midnight, or sometime in the wee small hours of the morning...I just hope the roads are safe enough by the time I have to leave tomorrow. I have to make some kind of vegetarian potluck dish for the Irishman to take to his potluck tomorrow night. Have a lot of eggs, and am thinking about a quiche. Maybe I'll thumb through a couple of cookbooks...he talked about doing it himself, which I am all for...but that was days ago and it doesn't appear to have happened. I know the drill...about 10 o'clock tomorrow morning, when he is on break at work, he'll call and say that he forgot about the potluck and needs something to take if I can manage it...or should he just go buy a vegetable plate with dip at Walmart????  lol  I might make him squirm a bit before I say yes, I knew he needed something and I have taken care of it.  Just because I can.

   My knee (yes, the one that I had surgery on almost a year ago) is killing me again. It has never really been okay and it seems to be getting worse. I am thinking about seeing a new doctor. But I hate starting anything right now, so may try to suffer through til after the first of the year. After my birthday. Anyway, I'm back eating naproxen like candy, and I hate it.  This godawful cold certainly hasn't helped any, I'm sure.

   Did a little shopping at my local family owned grocer today, and picked up a box of Clementines...they are magnificent this year, very sweet and wonderful.  Had to get more cat food, and a few other things. Bought some Swiss cheese, in case I decide to make the quiche. They have the greatest meat counter...real foods, cheeses and meats--hams, roast beefs, salamis, turkeys...I love shopping there.

   Thinking about making it an early night. I was up around 8 AM...colored my hair this morning, shopped, cooked and cleaned a little. Tomorrow I have to bake a dessert for a little get together on Friday..can't decide between cookies, bars, or Creme Brulee. LOL  I haven't made the Walnut Snowball Cookies yet...maybe that's what I'll do. And have been wanting to make biscotti too...I think I have all the stuff for that as well.  Not everyone appreciates biscotti though...Hmmm...want to make a couple of women some goodies too...sigh...isn't this just how it starts?????

  Got a lovely Christmas card form an old friend...emailed her at the addy she wrote on the card...hopefully we'll connect. I love and miss her...she lives on the north coast of California.  I haven't sent out a single card this year, though I did pass on some Xmas cartoons by email. lol

   Putting the doggies out one last time and then heading for the big quilt and down pillows. Mmmmmmm...maybe the dogs can just stay in....


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quiet moments...

 Sitting here looking at a recipe for Walnut Snowball cookies. Have run out of time to make them today, as I got sidetracked with things like laundry, vacuuming and making a big pot of stew. BUT--the house is cleaner and the smells are heavenly. I'll make a batch of garlic-cheese biscuits to go with the stew and then I'm off to visit MissB.  Had to re-order a Christmas present today,so it won't be here on time. Ordered it late one night and the charge has never shown up on my card, so I called them. Oops. Confusion and oh, well. That's just how it goes sometimes.  I didn't have to go nuts...they will do their best to have it here (no promises)  by Christmas and if it doesn't make it, then it will just not make it.  On a brighter note, the dvd set of the complete series of Waiting For God DID finally ship yesterday. It should be here on time,. I already got the Vicar of Dibley set. In fact,. I need to get it wrapped before he stumbles across it. lol

  It's cold.  Finally warmed up to 13 today, up from 3 this morning. Brrrr....It doesn't feel so bad though, as the wind has stopped howling. The chooks are all happy since I took out carrot peels and a head of lettuce to them when I fed and watered them./ We got a second heated dog bowl for their water so it won't freeze. They are steadily laying 3-4 eggs a day. More than enough for us and a dozen for the neighbors every couple of weeks. The dogs are in and out...except little Caylee, who thinks she's a snow dog. lol She loves it outside, even in this ridiculous weather. The garage is always open for her, and I try to get her in when I can,. but mostly she's having no part of it. Hard to keep water out there for freezes within minutes it seems like.

  The local grocer has whole New York  strip steaks for 2.99/lb  Think I'll stop on my way home tonight and refill my freezer with them. I try to buy them when I can at that price...otherwise they typically run anywhere from 6.99 to 9.99...and I cannot pay that.  lol

  Off to finish folding a load of dark clothes. Hope everyone is staying warm and safe !!


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow...

Not like there's much else you can do about

  It's not that there's so much [yet]. It's that the wind is  blowing about 30 mph. The Irishman tried to leave to go to a meeting this morning and came back, saying the wind is blowing it so much you can't see. So he came back home and is out shoveling the sidewalk and fed the chooks for me. I, meanwhile, am defrosting chicken to go in the oven for his supper. I have to go in to my little MissB early today...assuming I can make the trip. This is supposed to be a 1-3 inch storm, which isn't bad, but the wind is the messy part. Last night coming home I was being pushed off the road nearly by 40 mph gusts. No idea what the temps are, but it doesn't really feel THAT cold.

   Thirteen days til Christmas.  Holy Moley. Time is flying by...already seems like months ago we were in Wisconsin, instead of just weeks. Something very strange happens to time this time of year. It bends and contracts and snaps and whooooosh! It's a new year.  It only reinforces the theory of mine that time is a man made commodity, and doesn't really work according to the rules we have set around it.  :)

   Feeling a little tired  and rushed these days. I have things to do and not enough energy and time to do them. Or something. lol   Have chicken in the oven baking for supper and will mash red potatoes and cook something green to go with it.  I won't be here to eat it, but my husband will be one happy man.

  Okay. I'm off to spend a couple of more hours with this man I share my life with. We don't have a lot of time together these days, and have to cherish every minute together.  We are both a couple of lucky ducks...


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Look At The Birdie...

 I am just getting started reading a book of Kurt Vonnegut's [heretofore] unpublished short stories.  I fell in love with the man the very first time I read one of his books, Breakfast of Champions, probably.  I went through one of my infamous "spells" of reading everything of his I could get my hands on. For weeks and weeks and weeks, I read nothing but Kurt Vonnegut, immersing myself in his madness and comedy and pure, beautiful compositions.  He died in April of 2007, and I had just seen him on Jon Stewart's Daily Show, in rare form. He could barely physically walk up to the stage, but once there, he was on fire...chewing up the Bush administration and spitting him out all over the place. It was glorious.  I am relishing reading this book and it may motivate me to dig out all the old copies of his stuff I have.

  It's been a long day. I woke up when the Irishman was leaving for work at 6 AM...which wouldn't be so bad if it hadn't been almost 2 by the time I went to bed. *Thwack!*  I really need to establish a better routine for going to bed at a reasonable hour, but I never do. I  am feeling the effects of having been awake for more than 18 hours now.  But tomorrow I get to just be at home all day. I am sooooo looking forward to that. I did a little shopping today and bought a gift for my husband, a pair of socks for me and 5 new heavy thick towels. Throw in a big package of paper towels and it was a quick 60 bucks. Easy come, easy go. I tell my myself it's only isn't real. It's just some shit that we trade for other shit, in the great cosmic scheme of things. But it's presence sure makes day to day life a little easier...  :) 

  Have I mentioned how much I dislike AT&T ???  Just looked at my cell phone bill to pay it, and it's 50 dollars more than usual.  It all appears to be in a category called "USAGE CHARGES", and of course when I called to talk to someone in billing about it, I was informed by Rosie Robot that the office was currently closed and I would have to call back tomorrow between the hours of 7 AM and 10PM. Sigh... 

  Spoke with my son this morning...he's still very upset, but perhaps he is working through this problem and I can not worry too much about it personally.  Imagine...minding my own business. He said to me, Look, I know you just don't want your boy to hurt, but he does, and there's nothing you can do about it.  sheesh.  I love him so much...

   Crikey...we're closing in on only 15 days til Christmas. I guess I had better check my finances and get busy... I have my husband taken care of pretty much. (Especially since he said he wanted nothing for Christmas).  lmao...  I'm making a tied fleece blanket/quilt for my little 81 she is cold all the time. I found a rich yellowish brown plain and a print with cats on it to use for the front and back. My niece made this blanket for her baby with an Eeyore print on one side and a beautiful lavender on the other, that's where I got the idea. I may get it finished tomorrow. I will probably do some baskets for my family, with jams and pickles and breads and salsas  and such in them. They have come to expect that from me. Not sure still about the grandsons...may both get gift cards...they are so hard to buy for.The youngest is a real geek, but has about everything I could ever think of. The oldest wants a gas card, so that's easy.  Thinking about getting the son and DIL a gift certificate to a local hotel that has hot springs, it's about an hour south of us and would make a nice little getaway...a night away would cost about 100-150 dollars,  and the place is supposed to be great. In fact, we have talked of going, but never quite made it yet.  Maybe for my birthday this year...

  Alrighty...time for bed. It's suddenly after 1 AM again.  How does this happen????    lol  

  Had a talk with an old friend tonight ...called out of the blue. What a blessing it is to have people in my life that I have known for over 25 years now, and still be in contact. Life is good. Mostly.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Agony and Ecstacy...

A jumble of emotions...a friend cut down in the golden years of her precious life, sexually assaulted and murdered in her home. I knew her from the Sierra Club and the Nature Institute and the Audubon Society. Famous for her fresh squeezed lemonade and hot chocolate at gatherings, she was tireless, passionate and a true community activist. Never too busy to make a difference. And now that shining light is gone from us forever. RIP, Sandy.  You will be mourned and deeply missed.

 It took place only about 22 miles from here.  That makes me more afraid than I have ever been, which is irrational, as they have caught the guy. But I guess it always seems like when it happens to someone you know, the odds increase and the walls close in a little. It breaks my heart thinking that her last minutes on the planet she so dearly loved were filled with violence and fear and pain. I am almost numb with grief....

  And then on the flip side, a baby was born yesterday to too-young teenaged parents...a beautiful healthy little girl.  Her name is Bella and she came into the world in the usual way.  I am close to her grandmother, who is too young to be a grandmother. But I guess the timetable is always up to God, isn't it?  The family is ecstatic and cannot control their joy. As it should be.

  I have been busy and cooking and doing all the things I do best when I am preoccupied. Things that ground me and connect me to myself. Trying to survive life, like everyone else. My only son is in emotional pain right now and I cannot fix it for him, all I can do is let him know that I love him and I am here for him, and pray that things will work out the way they are supposed to. He was crying today when I called to check on him and it broke my heart yet again.

  Perhaps things crack wide open in times like this. And in the cracking, become larger and better than before. Like steel, tempered by going into the fire over and over again, maybe our hearts are made stronger and stronger by the breaking. I do not know for sure, but I have to hope...hope that there is always some good reason for the unthinkable things that happen, that there is not just a randomness in the Universe that can bring so much pestilence to the soul.  

  I am really tired and sad and feeling rather empty.  I made comfort food for supper...pinto beans and cornbread...and it helped.  I guess it's time for me to have another word with God...if only to ask for some comfort and direction.   

  That's all I have for tonight...time for me to sleep....


Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Here comes Peter Cottontail...

Hmmm...opened the front door this morning to find about 15 rabbits of assorted sizes eating around the bottom of the bird feeder. Pretty little things, until the dogs scared the bejeezus out of them and they fled.
(She looks sweet, but Lucy the lab is a renowned rabbiter)

  It's a whopping 18 degrees right now, up from 12 at 6 AM. I need to get out to the chickens, but am waiting for a warming trend. lol  In a few I'll get my warmie warms on and trek out there. I'm busy taking down curtains and washing them, washing windows, and getting everything ready for the Irishman to put up the traverse rod when he gets home tonight. i got it at JC Penneys yesterday, a combo rod with a regular curtain rod for the sheers, for about 65.00 OUCH!  Nobody likes to spend that kind of money on curtain rods at Christmas time...

  I'm going to deck the halls a little more today, and try really hard to get the outside evergreen up. Christmas decorating (like so many things) falls to me. He doesn't care a whit about having these things up, though he never complains about it, unless I ask him to help. Probably a good part of why  I have simplified so much of my decorating  the last few years. That's not a bad used to look like Father Christmas threw up all over my house. It gets more tasteful the older I get (*grin).

  I have so much to do here I really shouldn't even have turned on the computer this morning. BUT--here I am, and I'm trying to get back in the habit of blogging daily, as it's a good writing exercise I think.  I've been letting myself get a little too frantic lately, and I hate it when my life is like this. I need to slow it down, spend more time at home when I'm not little old lady-sitting, and take it easier. After all, it's winter. lol  I can only pray that next spring and summer the gardening and canning will be as good(?) as it was this year, even though it almost killed me. But I have lots of marvelous food to show for it. I just finished drying the last of the cranberries and packaged them last night.

  Still have Christmas shopping to do, and am contemplating gift cards for everyone except the youngest grandson. Gas cards are always good, as well as pizza. Am not doing all THAT much...but what I have to do, I will try to be thoughtful and generous. 

  The cats are all restless and running around like maniacs. It's been too cold for them to go out...instead they are running amok and knocking lamps over, tearing things up and generally making me want to kill them. They just knocked books off the shelf...sigh....

  Okay. I am marching off to do my chores like a good house frau... If I don't commit any murders today, it will be a good day. Thinking about having a family dinner one Friday night before the holiday weekend..I will be working on Christmas, late in the day. Guess I'd better make a decision, eh?


Monday, December 6, 2010

Pass the restraints, please...

Arrgghhh...up too late last night toying around on the internet. What a black hole we can fall into sometimes here!  I am looking for a 104 inch traverse rod to fit my living room window. Since we have lived here, I have had a long utility rod over that window and forced the drapery hooks over it every winter.(In the summer, it's just lace curtains on it). Now. This does not work well. The hooks slide off it every time the dog looks out the window or you try to open it.  But I am a cheapskate and will try to jury rig any and everything before I finally break down and spend actual money to do it right.  At any rate, I have finally been looking for a traverse rod for that window, but like everything else in this Winchester Mystery House, the 3 windows along the front are a goofy size and I have not been able to find a traverse rod long enough. Voila! Online shopping.  SO, naturally, I found about a gazillion places to order the dang things and the one I have chosen will not let me place an order. I gajiggled around with it for about an hour last night before finally going to bed frustrated.

  This morning I am tired and cranky and have to go see someone in town before work to discuss Steps 8&9.  I awoke at 8:30 (6 hours after I finally went to bed, with my little dog scratching at my bedroom door. I got up to find [thank goodness] all three dogs huddled on the couch together, the furnace running full tilt, and the front door wide open. It's about 18 degrees out there. I am constantly asking the Irishman when we are leaving if he made sure the front door latched, and he gets  all defensive and sighs loud and snarls "Yes".  Ha. Not this time, buddyboy.  Molly has figured out how to bodyslam that door and get it to pop open if it isn't securely latched. So now I am doubly cranky, and cannot wait to leave him a note regarding this transgression. Luckily, I woke up at 8:30 and so the furnace was only running for about 2 hours like that. It was 62 in here when I got up.

  That said, I am going to JC Penneys as soon as I get everyone fed and myself showered and dressed before I go visit my friend. They are supposed to have the rod and it will cost me a small fortune, but I am getting those freaking drapes up properly if it's the last thing I do this year.  I have a gorgeous set of thermal drapes that make a big difference in the winters wind keeping the chill out. Got them at the Goodwill for about 20 dollars all told. (Remember: I am one thrifty bitch, and will go this route as long as I possibly can get away with it.) But they were a blessing, the color was perfect and the size and price were just right. AND they look brand new.  I really hate having to go anywhere near a shopping mall this time of year, but I am getting that rod. One way or another.  I have ordered the Irishman's Christmas presents from Amazon (we buy each other minimal gifts...) He is getting 2 boxed sets of BBC shows that we love and since we don't have tv anymore, never get to watch. Several years ago, I got Ballykissangel, which we watch a lot. This year, he's getting The Vicar of Dibley and Waiting For God.  Both of which are great favorites of ours. 

  Okay. Off into this gloriously cold day, all gloved and jacketed and with a fierce determination to buy and install a double traverse rod before the snow comes at the end of the week.



Sunday, December 5, 2010

Hey...isn't this Pearl Harbor Day or something??

  NO, I guess it's actually the 7th... oops.  .

  It's another one of those bleak midwestern days here.  Everything is grey and depressing. It very cold...27 degrees with a lively wind.   The Irishman is at an Area Assembly for the day, lit out of here around 6 AM to make the 2+ hour drive. I'm doing laundry and bringing out a few more Christmas decos.... did some other housekeeping things and cared for a passel of critters. Another day in the

  Going to make some chicken fajitas for his supper in a few. I changed the bedlinens and now the old ones are in the washer, his work clothes are in the dryew and I folded and put away 2 small loads of other stuff.  The dogs and cats are all in various stages of repose, sprawled across sofa backs and laid out on tables like a Christmas feast. Nearly all of them are sleep. The only sounds here are the humming of the furnace and the tumble of the dryer.  It's a quiet restfull day, and I have to go visit my little lady at 3. I'll be there until 8. Probably stop and pick her up some fried chicken for supper--she has a love affair going with the Colonel. lol  She won't cook hardly at all, though last night we heated up canned chili. She says she cooked 3 meals a day, PLUS snacks, for over sixty years, and she is done. Don't blame her. Her niece tries to bring her things from her kitchen, but everything either has no salt, or too much sugar. Yesterday she told me that the potato chips tasted sweet, and why did I think they changed the recipe? Nothing tastes right to's too burned when they roasted it, Pepsi has changed their recipe,  etc, etc.  So, at 81 she can do whatever she wants, in my book.  We eat Burger King hamburgers (her favorite) and KFC a couple of times a week. IN between, we have sandwiches or chili or bacon and eggs. She loves bologna sandwiches on white bread [shudder].  I try not to eat too much of the fast food myself, so I eat a very late lunch before I leave home, then I'm not hungry til late. Once (early on) I told her that all that greasy fried fast food wasn't really very good for her. She looked me in the eye and said "I've always eaten it. I'm 81 years old and not hardly been sick in my life. I don't take any medications and I don't go to the doctor."  Guess she told me.  lol

   I'm trying to get into the holiday spirit, really I am.  I haven't put up my greenery on the porch rails yet, but my little tree is up and one of my big Santas is out as well my giant Christmas wreath. my holiday tablecloths are out, both old vintage items. I will get the holiday pilows out today too and put the red and green plaid quilt on the sofa.  Not sure if I'll put any lights up this year or not...I was online late last night trying to order a double traverse rod from JC Penneys, so I can get my thermal drapes up.  The website wasn't cooperating. lol I'll try it again in a few.  I need one that is 103 inches long, and have looked everywhere, It's going to cost me between 50-80 dollars it looks like, depending on if I do go with the double or just a single. High class

  Well, time to get those fajitas started I guess. I'll eat some too, maybe. Unless I decide to make the fried chicken a Sunday meal for us. She likes it when I eat with's always better to break bread and share meals with someone else...

  BTW--Finished the NaNo...woohoo! 2 years running...I'm proud of myself. Still more to write on that story though, so I'm going to take a small break and get back on it.

  Stay warm all. I see that a bad freeze is sweeping across Europe and the upper US too. We had some mild snow flurries yesterday and the day before, but none of it has amounted to much.  We'll get our share...we always do.



Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Hi Ho, Hi's off to snow we go....

Whew.  I have less than 7000 words to write for NaNoWriMo.  Yea, me!  I am trying to get everything done so that we can take a trip to Wisconsin for the holidays, and that means have the writing caught up as well, as I may or may not have computer access there.  My house is semi cleaned. I have a caretaker for the animals and a back-up if I need it. The fridge is pretty cleaned out of leftovers and goo and the bird cage is cleaned as is the chicken coop.  Most of my packing is done, just a few things I've thought of late and written down left to go in the suitcase, like my knee brace. lol  I'll be taking a box of jellies and pickles and such as well, but will grab those up in the morning. Am also taking a local ham that I brag about all the time...the best I have ever eaten in my life. H&B. It was on sale this week for a measley $2.99/ pound. I bought one for us and one to take. We've been eating on ours some, and the rest I cut in half and froze. The one to take is intact. lol  The Irishman talked to his dad tonight who said, leave early, weather is supposed to get bad. I looked at them today and it was 19 degrees. Yikes. It was 75 here yesterday, but much colder today. Tonight is down in the high 20's I think. All the critters are in and snuggled up.

   I am so grateful to have 5  days off in a row. I am so in need of this time away.

  Just wanted to stop in and wish all a very happy and Grateful Thanksgiving.

  Love and blessings....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

In the early morning rain...

 It's a bleak and grey morning out there. Thank goodness, we need the rain. Chilly, I'm guessing it's about 42. The chickens are squabbling and the cats are none too happy about going out and coming right back in because they don't like the chill.  The dogs are in and out and in again. Right now, everyone's inside all cozied up.  And I am wasting time reading that I should be spending writing. lol I do need to look for a recipe for making Craisins...sweetened dried cranberries, as one of the markets has the m for 89 cents a pound right now and I thought I'd get several pounds and dry them. I love them as a snack and in salads and breads. But they're too expensive to buy very often. Wish me luck!

  Am going in early to have lunch with my sister-in-law today.  Haven't seen her in months it feels like, and she only lives 45 minutes away. She and my brother own a pest control business and are ridiculously busy in the summer. Things are slowing down for them now.

 The jalapenos that I strung to dry are hanging on either side of the kitchen window over my sink. They are turning a beautiful red . Look:
 Aren't they beauties? These were the last ones I picked before the big freeze. I made salsa, pickled a few jars and put some odds and ends into other pickled sweet peppers and vegetables.  They produced really well this year. I also froze some whole. Not sure how they'll do, but thought maybe I could stuff them with cream cheese or something.

  Had a good day yesterday, all in all. I am sitting a little more than 31,000 words in my writing project. Need to get busier with that, but it is what it is. I have faith I'll finish in time. 

  I need to get my insulated drapes up in the living room. They really help keep the heat in in the winter time. All summer I have nothing but sheers or lace panels up. We live far enough off the road that we really don't need much, especially with all the trees and hedges around us. The honeysuckle hedge blocks out a lot in the winter as well, as it's pretty much evergreen. I need to get a new traverse rod and put it up in there. Oh right--that's why I was waiting. We measured it at 99 inches. I don't know if the picture window rods are a standard size or not.  Anyway, it's that time of year. I hate blocking out the light, but love it being warmer and the old furnace not having to work so hard. I always open them in the day...and it's getting dark now by 5 anyway. 

  Alright, I've stalled long enough. Gotta look for that recipe for the Craisins--anybody out there done these?  Hope you all have a grand day...I know I will.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Wednesday Wayfarer

This is the horse carriage we rode in on our little tour of the French Quarter, back in 2005, before the Great Disaster. It was lovely. I'm surprised I didn't get more and better pictures of it...The horse was a beautiful creature, all gussied up for the tourists. We got one of those great little historic tours, and lots of colorful information about the city itself. It was my first time in New Orleans, actually. Surprising, since I have been all over this country...a time or two.  lol

We had a hard frost last night. This morning the furnace was running full blast when I got up. The dogs wanted out, but they didn't stay out for long. Too chilly for their little furry butts. I need to get out and check the chickens, but they'll wait a bit. I tried to get on here to post yesterday, but never could quite make it. had one of those mornings...

 My friend came by to help get the router straightened out (God only knows what I did wrong setting it up).  We had problems getting the netbook to power  up first, and then the disc drive burned up. After it wiped the hard drive clean. lol  Sigh...later a series of little things went wrong and lastly, coming home I stopped for gas and the pump's automatic shutoff didn't work and spewed gas all over the car, the bay and my shoes and pants. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper. I don't usually stop at this particular gas station, and the last time I was there the same thing happened. I was livid, to say the least. And when I went inside to tell them about it, the girl working said we have notes on the pumps telling people not to leave them unattended because sometimes they do that.  I looked at her and said--Unatttended? The f**ng gas is all over ME. How could I have not been there?  AND there is no note on the pump. Oh yes, she says, there is. I go back out and look and there is no note, of course. Although I did see one on the pump across the bay. A little orange sticky note. I am calling the station today and speaking with the manager. Of course, I will never do business there again. 

  So, today will be better. lol  I have no netbook, but will call my darling nephew and see if he can fix me up. But I still have my computer and I got up early this morning to work on NaNoWriMo...and so far, an hour and a half later, I have done nothing but fool around.

Am finishing my second cup of coffee. Pretty soon there will be no excuse for lollygagging and I'll get in there and write like a demon.  I am running out of excuses...I got up at 6:30 yesterday and got my house all cleaned and got laundry done and a chicken and rice casserole into the oven for the Irishman's supper last night.  I also made a big pot of split pea and ham soup the night before last in the crockpot, so there's plenty of food for leftovers. SO really, there's no reason I shouldn't get about 4 hours of writing done today. I'm still ahead of the word count, at a little under 30K, but we are going to be gone for Thanksgiving and I don't know if I will have access to a computer. High class problems, eh?

  It will be a good day. I got my hair colored after having gotten it cut the day before. I still have to get the oil changed in the car and maybe one new front tire before we make the trek to Wisconsin. It's about an 8 hour drive, maybe a tad more. We have the $$ to make the trip and I have the motel rooms reserved and paid for. That will help avoid any potential problems with the inlaws.

  Okay.  I have writing to do people.  See you later....


Monday, November 15, 2010

Monday is the ONE day...

...where I start out slow and stay that way. For some reason. Didn't get up til after 8:30. Just finished the coffee and am sitting down now with my first cup. Moving slow,but feeling okay about it.  lol

  Having lunch with a friend , early, because I really need to get my hair colored today. It'll be early and short, probably, but we haven't caught up in a bit and she's leaving this week for the rest of the month. Found out last night that another friend has just had surgery for colon cancer. He didn't really tell anyone was a shock, but I guess that particular cancer is epidemic lately. Wondering (to myself) if it could be the national past time of Big Macs and Whoppers instead of real slow food?  

  Having some cool and crisp fall days and cold nights.  Got the heat lamp and heated water dish installed in the chicken coop for the winter. Got the compost all cleaned up and turned into the winter cooking bed. Two completely empty bins now, all ready for me to fill up again with an assortment of food scraps and chicken coop cleanings. Got the tomato cages all pulled out of the ground and ready to sort through. This was the absolute LAST year for many of them. They are deteriorating, and will go to the scrap yard. Believe it or not (despite all my bluff) I am sad to see the gardens so bleak and down for the winter. Sort of.  lol

 On the other hand, if I could stop going to lunch, I could get my kitchen all straightened away and back to normal. I'm afraid that will have to wait until the end of the month, though. Between going to Wisconsin for Thanksgiving and writing NaNoWriMo, and working, I am knackered. In a good way.  I'm just not as resilient as I used to be. In my youth. lol  I'm still trying to get over the last bits of this cold/flu thing that knocked me for a loop weeks ago. There's the tiniest annoying bit of a cough hanging on and I am just plain tuckered out a lot of the time. I want to yell at my body..SNAP OUT OF IT !!!!  But I am trying to be kinder to my body these days, even if it is a little late in the game. I wonder if everyone goes through this?  Hell on wheels all their lives until suddenly things come to a screeching halt...and then it's "Oh, dear, sorry? Have I abused you, dear body? Oh here, let me make it up to you?..."   Apologies for all the years of working, drinking, playing like a demonic dervish...oh well. I have a plaque on my bathroom wall, a quote from Erma Bombeck, and she says at the end of her life she wants to say God, I used up everything you gave me. I've certainly used everything up. lol

  Okay. Off to the showers, since I've finished up my first cuppa and can now focus my eyes. I stayed up a little late writing, am at 27K+ words on my novella, and going strong. Yay, me!

  Have a marvelous Monday. I plan to.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

A slice of Saturday , please!

Chilly and overcast today, highs forecasted to be around 52. I've been out a couple of times, checking on things like dogs howling in the middle of the day and chickens laying beautiful brown eggs. Mostly I've been NaNo-ing and am more than halfway to my goal. Feels quite good.

Made a lovely salad for supper last night, along with a thin crusted Mediterranean pizza, replete with artichoke hearts, black olives, sun dried tomatoes and feta cheese. It was quite good. I threw together a pumpkin pie for was all quite yummy. We sure like to eat at this house.  lol

  I am running a little late today and plan to get in the shower any minute now. Have to be out the door by 2:30 and it's after 1 now.  The doggies are chillin' around the house, kittens are sleeping their little kitten hearts out, waiting for evening when they will dash about and run with joy, tearing up everything in their path. My Russian Blue, Po-Po was missing for almost a week and I was really worried about him. He showed up yesterday and we loved and fawned over him and gave him extra canned food and he has been asleep on the sofa ever since. Thank goodness he's alright. I always worry about the coyotes and my cats, though I don't think the coyotes get that close to our house because of the wonder dogs. can hear them yipping and singing all night long, so they can't be that far away. Po-Po  is a big boy, probably 20 pounds or more. He can probably take care of himself. But still....

  Okay. Found a wonderful new-to-me blog that I will be visiting often. Judi, at Mind over Matter and a kitchen blog of hers as well. I was hooked after reading one page...

  Enjoy your slice of Saturday...after all, it only comes once a week.


Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday Freedom

Yesterday was the holiday kids at school, no mail and I didn't see any veterans out handing out poppies. But I live in a pretty secluded place, and guess I didn't go through town yesterday either.  There wasn't much talk of parades and such, though there was a lot of stuff in the newspaper of local veterans.  My father served in WWII, in a battalion called the Blue Devils in Italy. I think I posted about it last year. I had one uncle that I never met who died in that war. One other uncle served alongside my dad and I had one brother who has served. My husband, of course, was in the Marines.  War touches us all in some way or another...

  I slept in til after 8 this morning. Got almost 4000 words written yesterday, though I haven't updated my word count for the last 950.  I hope to get at least that much written again today. I will take my little netbook with me on vacation and hopefully be able to continue to write in Wisconsin. I made reservations today. This year I am writing in Google documents, so I will be able to access it no matter where I am. Last year I  foolishly wrote in Microsoft Word processor on my home computer and that's where I was tied. Live and learn...I am such a technotard..

  I just snatched a recipe off Frugal Antic's blog for snickerdoodle cookie bars. I'm going to try them this morning and might take some with me to the great frozen north when we go. I hate to bake cookies and almost NEVER do it. Bars I can manage. And snickerdoodles are my all time favorite cookie (when they're good ones).

  Today is supposed to be our last warm nice day. Rain is coming in tonight and then cooler temperatures are rushing in behind it.  I guess by Thangsgiving, we will be back to more normal seasonal temperatures in this part of the country. These mid to high 70's have sure been nice though.

  Going for a haircut today and whatever else the day brings. The Irishman is working OT again today...that's 3 Fridays in a row. The extra money is nice, so I'm not complaining. It's just that it's the only day we really get much time together. Maybe we'll go out for some nice Chinese dinner tonight or something.

 I need a little breakfast and some more coffee. Then I'll get dressed and go get my hair cut. Might as well get out there and enjoy this beautiful is fleeting. The doggies and kitties are all in various places around the house and yard, dozing in the sun. Thanks for all the kind comments about my little Jack Russell...she gets very depressed being tied up and it kills me.  But she gets a lot of love too, so...we do what we have to do for now. I told the Irishman that we need 15 or 20 acres somewhere so that she can run and run and never see another poodle for as long as she lives.  That wouldn't bother me a bit.


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Wild Wednesday

Probably not, really. Off to a slow and peaceful start...a little over cast out there after 2 days in a row of mid 70's sunshine. The weather cannot decide what it's going to be...late summer or real autumn.  

My favorite giant coffee mug...

  I started to post the picture of Miss Molly McGee, the Jack Russell Terrorist, with a caption that read: "Does this LOOK like the face of an alleged attempted murderer?"  But changed my mind.

 The neighbors have accused her of attacking their poodle again. Again, they didn't see it. My dogs had no blood on them, Molly did have a couple of flecks on her side/rump. But it's deer season here, and she finds carcasses in the woods. Nothing on her chest, snout or legs. He demanded that I pay the vet bill of $162.00  I did. But I am not admitting anything here. He has no more proof that she did it than I do that she didn't. She is, however, on house arrest once more. And I am boiling...

  It's eating me up...that we have to maybe get rid of her? Or that she's being punished for something she didn't do.  There are at least 10 dogs roaming around here in the country every day, excluding mine.  

 On a brighter note, I have a little over 15,000 words written for NaNo. I try to work in the morning before and then again after I get home in the evening. This morning I have managed to waste about 2 hours+ just screwing around here.  lol  I am a master procrastinator.

  I need to  get out and feed the chickens and clean the catboxes and then settle down to some serious writing. Yesterday I had to go to work at I am free until almost 3. I was so tired last night when I got home I couldn't write, and was in bed by about 11:15.  I woke up this morning about 6:30 and still haven't written a thing. Well, a few emails. Some FB comments. Some blog comments. Here. Everything except what I SHOULD be writing. lol

 Okay. I'm gonna go light some incense and feed the chickens and clean the catboxes and make my bed. THEN I'll be ready to write. So, until tomorrow...I remain, your friendly neighborhood dogmurderer harboring writer.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Suddenly Sunday

   [This is what a lazy Sunday morning looks like]

Ah...a brilliant Sunday morning, the time has changed, and all is right in my world today. Home alone, and thinking about putting my decorative mums in the ground, but will probably put it off until tomorrow. I really meant to get in here and get busy writing...Nano is in full swing and I am at about 8500 words. know how it goes...I needed to find a motel in Wisconsin for the holidays. So I started searching ..a fact-finding mission, really. LOL  Then I started looking at real estate again...found some gorgeous acreages with little cabins on them priced insanely low...about 40-50 miles from my inlaws. Close enough to work, and far enough away to work.  Once I got on THAT route, I was on the real estate pages for 2 hours.

  I have to tell my friend that I will be gone that weekend...Wed-Sunday. She won't like it, but I need the time.Back to work on Monday. WooHoo.  I already eased into it, telling her we were going to go, probably. Now I have to find someone to come feed the animals while we go--that's always the hard part. 

  The Irishman is going to New Bloomfield, MO today for the renewable energy show again. My son was supposed to go along, but last I heard he hadn't returned the calls. They have a few things done now that weren't done when we last visited, like the berm house and some other stuff. I pray my darling has a safe trip and enjoys himself immensely.

 I have plenty to do, have been a bit out of sorts the past few days. At first I thought it was a relapse of the flu, but it was entirely different symptoms  this time and I was puking my guts out on Friday. Sigh...other people I know have had those symptoms, lots of intestinal distress, but not me. Til Friday

  I just wanted to drop in and say hello...we've had some bone chillin' cold mornings of late. Made it to 52 yesterday...supposed to warm back up again a little, I think, the first part of the week.  But I do believe fall is here for good...



Thursday, November 4, 2010

Falling leaves

 Geez...this seems to have happened fast.  

  It's very chilly today, not 50 and breezy, with intermittently cloudy skies. I am shuffling around in my flannel pajamas and fuzzy slippers like an old woman. The kittens have gone out and come in a couple of times, they want to be out there but it's just not warm enough for their delicate sensibilities.  The Jack Russell Terrorist is in and sleeping comfortably on the couch.  She's not enamored of the cold either. 

  The leaves are everywhere, rustling and crackling as you step through the yard. I went out (in my robe) and fed the hens and filled the water dishes, and looked at the remains of the gardens--giving up the fight. We have had a couple of soft freezes and they are done in. Fine by me. 

  I have a Caribbean pork stew going. The recipe changes every time I make it, as I use what I have. Today it is loaded with boneless pork chunks, okra, sweet potatoes, edamame, tomatoes and corn.  It smells of ginger and cumin and garlic and onion and the aroma is heavenly. I'm debating making some quick rolls to go with it, but I'd better decide as I have to leave for work in a little over 4 hours. Maybe corn muffins would be good. That would certainly be easier than making yeast rolls.Or really, even biscuits would be good with this...garlic cheddar biscuits, like the ones they serve at Red Lobster. Yum.

  Can you tell I like to eat when the weather turns?  The main thing I love about fall and winter is that I can make soups and stews to my hearts content. The Irishman loves these thick stews like todays, served over rice. They are nutritious with all the veggies from our gardens and they stick to your ribs, as my granny used to say. And don't forget the comfort food side of it...thick, steaming bowls tummy toasting goodness. Not to mention the fact that they reheat well and make a great lunchbox item for  you-know-who.

  I have started NaNoWriMo..written about 4K words so far. That feels pretty good. By the end of today I should have over 5000 written, if I am to stay on a schedule of output to manage the 50K by the end of the month. We'll see what happens. My pattern the last couple of years has been to procrastinate, stall, be obstinate and skip holidays. LOL  Perhaps this year I will do better.  I have, however, bought 2 new books to read, just in case I need to be distracted. I admire the stamina of real writers who enjoy the discipline necessary to stick to goals and work diligently until they finish a manuscript. Last year was the first time I have ever completed anything like this, and I was so full of myself for a while I could barely breathe. 

   Alright, I smell stew that needs a bit of stirring and I shall open my googledocs and get to work. I may have to stop and take a shower and get dressed first. Or not. I feel pretty comfy right now, but I also feel like I could easily go back to sleep. Tomorrow I need to make a coffee beans run to Edwardsville and pick up a couple of things at the local food coop as well. I thought about doing it today, but since husband has to work mandatory OT again tomorrow, I may as well use up the morning doing some shopping. Maybe I can hook up with my friend Cathy and have a little lunch. hmmm...good idea.

  Have a wonderful autumn, all.  Run and jump in the leaves and smell the woodsmoke from your neighbors stoves and remember all the good things in your life. 


Sunday, October 31, 2010

Is it really the end ????

End of October.  End of canning. (I know I've said that before, but this time I REALLY mean it!) 

 Just finished putting up 23 jars of a green tomato relish called chow-chow around these parts. It was one of my old Dad's favorite things. You go out right before the first frost and pick all the green tomatoes, the tiny  bell peppers, and whatever else you might have out there hanging around that didn't quite make the cut. Then you chop it all up together, add some sugar and spice and everything nice, cook it about 2 hours and then can that bad boy. It's quite good, especially on bratwurst sandwiches. There are as many different ways to make this stuff as there are cooks, and I sort of looked at a few recipes and said to myself :Self--take a little of this one and a little of that one and get on with it !  And so I did. It's got garlic and onion and Granny Smith apples in it, and good strong cider vinegar.  I'm thinking that I might want to try my hand at making my own hard can it be, right?  And the price of cider vinegar hit the roof here lately...almost 5 dollars a gallon.  CRIKEY!

  I'm very tired and need to go to bed. Just took the last batch out of the canner and if I don't head for bed, I'm gonna have to get something to eat. lol  I made sweet and sour chicken and rice for our late lunch today...we ate at about 1:30 and then I was off.  I wasn't hungry when I fed, I'm suddenly starving.  I looked around in the fridge, but nothing is grabbing me.  Maybe just a little rice or something? I need to start keeping hard boiled eggs in the fridge like I used to..they are great for a quick pick me blood sugar is feeling off...and carbs are the last thing I need.  Cheese then. A whole wheat tortilla quesadilla....

  I am almost finished with Eat, Pray, Love....finished off a Sue Grafton novel as well, and will soon have to find something to read. About a month ago, I bought a box full of books on the cheap, all hardbacks,.and am making a good dent in them.I have her next book, well as a Kurt Vonnegut book  called Look At The Birdie...Lots of stuff to distract myself with this month, when I should be writing my brains out for NaNoWriMo...

 Almost 1 AM...I need to be shuffling off. I'll post some pictures tomorrow of my pretty jars of relish...Maybe I'll even get some laundry done...

  Sleep beckons....