Monday, December 31, 2007

All a Jumble.....

It's the last day of 2007, and I can't seem to think of a really coherant thought yet this morning. (Except the one that involves me climbing back into bed & saying "screw work".)

  • Let's see.... 11 years ago tonight, I concieved DD. *wink & grin* There won't be a repeat, of course!
  • I cannot believe that 2007 is over. It doesn't seem like it should be any later in the year than August.
  • I've got a back ache that's lasted 3 days now. At first I thought it was just menstrually-induced, but this is the worst back-ache I've had in a few years, and it's lasting longer than a periodic-ache would. Maybe I'm sleeping in a bad position???? I don't know, but I know that when I walk it looks like I'm walking with the proverbial pole-up-my-butt. I can't bend easily, or turn, or twist, or take long strides. It hurts to sit, to slouch, to stand up straight, to sit up straight..... It just hurts like hell.
  • We're going over to the inlaws tonight & I'm not really sure I want to. Primarily because this means it's going to be a very late night, of course. None of us have to work tomorrow, and the FIL is getting fireworks. Also, I have to take Puck with me because he can't be left home alone after about 5:30 or 6 pm, when everybody starts setting off all the fireworks. That's the reason he's tried ripping the carpet out in the house in the past, and how he's shredded his paws doing so, and how he's scratched up the bottoms of a few of the doors in the house. So I'll take him with me & sit on the floor, cuddling his shivering self while the others set off the fireworks. (Of course, on the YEAH side of things, FIL is making crab legs for dinner tonight!!!)
  • I got a new CD the other day that I just have to mention. It's by a group called "The Puppini Sisters". They've got an older sound. They really sound like "The Andrews Sisters" from WW2 days (their rendition of "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy from Company B" is a lot of fun). But, they also set new music (Kate Bush's "Wuthering Heights" and the much-over-used-but-never-sounded-like-this "I Will Survive") to this old sound and it completely rocks. I strongly recommend checking their album "Betcha Bottom Dollar" out, if you love great vocals & harmonies, fun tunes, and an ironic spin on some over-played music.
  • It still hasn't gotten cold again. It's only -5 deg. F. below zero right now. Not bad for New Year's Eve!!!
  • I work tonight till 5:15. Tomorrow I have off (of course!). Wednesday I work from 12:30 to 6 pm. Thursday I have off. (First day of DD's hockey tournament, and first game is up at the U. at 7 am!) Friday and Saturday are, of course, my weekend. (Though Saturday is another 7 am game, that time at the Dipper.) Sunday will be back to work for a normal 4-1/2 hour day. Monday, Jan 7th, is DH's root-canal and I won't be going into work till 4:15 pm. Then Tuesday the 8th of Jan. sees the kids starting back to school for the rest of the school year, me back to work on a normal schedual, and everything settling back down again.

I think that about covers it for today. I wish you all a VERY HAPPY NEW YEARS!!!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Follow up on those recipes.....

Connie & Barb, here are the actual recipes for those two meals.

No Fuss Chicken

1 bottle (16 oz) Russian or Catalina salad dressing (sorry, I thought it was less.)
2/3 cups apricot preserves
2 envelopes dry onion soup mix (forgot about this ingredient completely!)
15 bonless skinless chicken breast halves (like I said, I've used thighs most of the time, or a mix of pieces)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional, and my own addition)

In a bowl, combine dressing, preserves, soup mix & cayenne. Place chicken in 2 ungreased 11x7x2 inch baking pans; top with dressing mixture. Cover and bake at 350 deg. F. for 20 minutes; baste. Bake uncovers, 20 minutes longer or until chicken juices run clear.

(As I said, I always just pop mine in the crockpot & cover & bake for 6 hours or so on low -or maybe it's 8 hours, but I never leave it in that long. Either way, I use my crock-pot & the chicken always comes out beautifully tender, sometimes falling off the bone if I leave it too long. And it's fantastic over plain rice. The mix of the dressing & the juices makes a fantastic sauce for the rice.)


6 (6 oz) cod fillets (do not need to be thawed, if using frozen fillets, and I've used flounder, halibut & tilapia with this recipe, so I assume any light-flavored, white fish will work. Though, you may need to adjust number of filets & broiling time if you choose a thin filleted fish.)

6 cups water
1 cup granulated sugar
2 Tbsp salt
1-1/2 c butter, melted (I use less.)

Preheat broiler. Lightly grease a cookie sheet. Place the fish in a large saucepan. Mix together the water, sugar and salt. Pour the water-mixture over the fish. The water mixture should fully cover the fish, if it doesn't, add more water. Bring the water to a boil over a medium-high heat. Boil for 3 to 5 minutes. Remove fillets from water, and blot on paper towels to remove excess water. Brush with 6 Tbsp melted butter (this is all the butter I really use), and sprinkle with paprika. Broil for 8 to 10 minutes per inch of thickness, or until the fillets are golden brown. (The butter should almost start to caramelize with the sugar still in the fish & the paprika. Serve with the remaining melted butter.


We ended up having the Torsk last night, with Herb & Butter Rice-a-Roni & salad. VERY yummy!!!!

Tonight we're going to have sloppy joes, and we'll have the No Fuss Chicken tomorrow (Friday). I realized that I have planned on Salmon for Saturday, and didn't want fish two days in a row. Rearranging things means we'll not have the same kind of meat 2 days in a row this week.


So, this summer I joined the Mary Jane's Farmgirl Forum. It seems like a great group of ladies from around the world who have enjoyed the _MaryJane's Ideabook, Cookbook, Lifebook_ and who've found their way to the forum to exchange ideas & recipes, book reviews & suggestions & parenting advice, household hints & gardening wisdom. Anyway, there's also a Farmgirl Barter list on there, and I decided to offer up one of my grocery sacks for another farmgirl to make me an apron with fabric that I'd already bought. Problem is, I'm not much of a sewer, certainly not if there are more than straight lines included. So, having somebody make me an apron with my fabric in exchange for one of my grocery bags was a perfect idea, I thought.

One of the other farmgirls took me up on the offer, but asked if I'd be willing to exchange 2 bags for 2 aprons, instead. She picked out the bags, and I gave her free-rein to make a second apron in a pattern & fabric that she chose.

I just got my 2 aprons yesterday, and they are BEAUTIFUL!!!! The apron I sent the fabric for came back looking as fantastic as I'd assumed it would. (One little problem, I'm a little too chubby to actually button it, so I'm going to need to lose at least 10 pounds before I can wear it. I'm calling it INCENTIVE to lose weight!!!!) The other apron she sent is in a beautiful yellow & orange butterfly patterned fabric. It's lined in a solid orange, and has a yellow butterfly applique on the pocket. They're both full-coverage aprons, which is ideal considering how often I spill or splatter things on the front of me. *grin*

But, tucked into the box along with the aprons was..... A "Kirsten" Doll. The American Girl Kirsten doll!!!!! Evidently my Farmgirl Friend found me a Kirsten doll as an extra suprise. OMG!!!!! She'd made her oldest daughter a Kirsten costume for Halloween, and I was commenting on how fabulous the daughter looked, and how jealous I was as Kirsten was always my favorite of the American Girl dolls. I didn't realize she'd go out & find me a doll & sent it to me. Anyway, what a beautiful suprise that was yesterday.


Let's see, temp wise we've been doing good. We started to drop down in temp yesterday, but I don't think it ever even got to the -20 that the forcasters were predicting. There was also a light breeze blowing that blew in some cloud cover, and best I can tell, it's about 0 deg. F. right now. Not bad, for late December in Alaska!!!!! We did have some good gusty winds on Christmas night, and snow as well. Not too much snow. Maybe a 1/4 of an inch. But just enough to make for a snowy Christmas. *grin* We're hoping to get through the rest of the winter without too much more cold, or better yet, without ANY MAJOR cold!!!! If it stays -30 or warmer through the end of February, we'll be pretty well through the worst of the winter with only that one serious cold snap.


I think that about covers it for today.

Have a Blessed Day!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Day after Christmas, and all through the house...

new electronics are plugged in, and sucking down energy. *wry laugh*

So, DD and DH (and even I) have been greatly enjoying the Wii that we got for Christmas. It only comes with one game, and DH hasn't bought another one quite yet, so yesterday we took it over to the inlaw's place with us, and for 5 hours (from the time we got there at 1 pm till the time we left at about 6:30) that game was being played by SOMEBODY in the house. The game it comes with is Wii Sports, which has a boxing game, baseball, bowling, golf, and tennis. The only game we did NOT try yesterday was tennis. The boxing was the only game I actually tried, and it's a REAL workout!!!! The only two people in the house who DIDN'T try it were my SIL and her younger boy (who's only 3). The kids had quite a blast with the boxing & the bowling, and DD quite enjoyed the baseball.

Anyway, all present were MIL and FIL, SIL and her boyfriend, SIL's two boys (3-1/2 and 5-1/2), the boyfriend's younger brother (a 12 year old who's been pretty much raised for the last few years by the boyfriend, as their parents aren't in the picture any more, and a VERY well behaved nice kid!), DH, DD and myself and MY dad. I think DD started to develope a little bit of a crush on the 12 year old who was there. But, as I said he seems to be a very good kid, and was great with the nephews & hung out quite willingly with DD and played games with all of them.

Really, yesterday went very well. Maybe the FIL said something to MIL because MIL didn't act extra-ordinarily gushy over SIL and the boys without paying any attention to DD.

I even had to chuckle as SIL bit into a piece of the Rocky Road candy I'd taken over (along with all the other cookies & candies) and said something like "Dang, Kati, did you make this???? Bro, NOW I know why you're so dang fat!!!!!" *grin*

Anyway, so Christmas day went well.


Today, not starting out quite so good. DH got in to work this morning and was immediately set to doing grunt work that the warehouseman should be doing. And the guy who's lead-chemical-blend guy didn't bother to put the chemicals on the warmer on Monday, so that they'd be ready to blend & ship today. So, it looks like DH is going to be doing grunt work all morning, and they won't get to do the blends until this afternoon, and they'll probably wind up working a couple extra hours tonight. Which is fine, in and of itself, but now the boss is telling DH that there's a lot of overtime coming up that DH won't be able to leave for DD's hockey. And DD has that tournament coming up that I won't be able to handle all by myself. The boss has told DH that if he has to get off at 5 for DD's hockey, when there's overtime to be worked, DH could lose his job over it. *shaking head* It's not VOLUNTARY overtime around there, it's forced. And it's not like it's only a half-hour a couple of times a week, it could end up being anywhere from 1 to 4 more hours a night, EVERY night, for as long as the boss tells them. *sigh* I KNEW DH should have stayed with his old company as salesman. There, he could make up time & work around DD's hockey schedual. They weren't an ideal workplace, but they were much more family oriented than is the company DH is with now. But oh well, DH wanted more money. Now he's got it.

On top of Dh's extreme grumpyness this morning, DD went & dropped the syrup bottle when she was getting her french toast heated up and the bottom broke out, spilling syrup all over the kitchen floor. (I'm glad I make her use the cheap syrup she & DH prefer, instead of letting her use my good, REAL maple syrup. That stuff is too damn expensive to be wasted.) Anyway, of course she wanted ME to come in and figure out how to salvage the rest of the syrup in the bottle, but she also started getting pissy when I told her she was going to clean up the mess on the floor, herself. Suddenly it's too hard to bend over, or the water to wring out the sponge is too hot (gee, turn on the cold water as well, to blend the temps!!!!!), or she's "done" when there's still a big puddle of watered down syrup on the floor. *shaking head* She even asked if she could just let Jenny come in and lick it up & clean it up for her. I reminded her that NO, that much sugar would make Jenny sick, then who would be responsible for taking care of Jenny & cleaning up HER messes?????

*sigh* So, things could be going better today. I'm taking DD over to Dad's house on the way to work. He's going to watch her during Christmas break. Of course, that really only amounts to about 5 days that DH or I aren't going to be home with her ourselves. DH has tomorrow off (a use-it-or-lose-it personal day that has to be used BEFORE Dec. 31st), so he'll be home with DD all day.


The menu for the rest of the week is

Wednesday: Sloppy Joes
Thursday: No Fuss Chicken (easiest recipe in the world: cut-up chicken pieces, we usually use chicken thighs; 1/2 jar of apricot jam, an equal amount of russian dressing. Place the chicken pieces in your crock-pot, then cover with the jam/dressing mix, and let cook all day at low. Serve over rice when you get home.)
Friday: Torsk (Another easy recipe, the basics of which are to poach fish filets in lightly sugared & salted water till cooked through, then place in a baking dish & brush with melted butter & broil until the butter caramelizes a bit. Good served with rice-a-roni or some sort of pilaf or something.)

I think Saturday we'll try a salmon recipe that DH has been wanting to try out. I'll have to post that later. (Along with the actual recipes mentioned above.)

Well, must get in some quick visiting to my blogger-buddies, then get offline & get heading out to work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, December 24, 2007


Edited to say: well, evidently my SIL lied to MIL this morning when she falsely gave MIL the news that the ultrasound showed a little boy. That little lie was so that MIL would be suprised by the clear ultra-sound pics tonight showing that the new baby is most definitely a girl. And of course MIL got all gushy & teary & kept exclaiming how she couldn't wait to go shopping for a little girl, for a granddaughter. *shaking head* As I KNEW would happen.

And to top it off, on the drive home when I expressed my discust, DH told me to drop it, to let it go, to not worry about it. That DD doesn't really need her Grandma in her life anyway, because she's got him & FIL. Nevermind that maybe _I_ need some support for raising a teenage daughter, from a fellow woman who's "been there, done that" and actually lives in our town. Nope, I'm just supposed to sit back & grin like a freaking fool while MIL & SIL gush on & on about this baby girl, and ignore the fact that 10 years ago _I_ gave MIL her first granddaughter, one she rarely deems worth bothering with. That DD is being shunted off to the side by her grandmother.

And last but not least, when I dared attempt to tell MIL and SIL that guess what their granddaughter/niece is doing now (shaving!), I was told by DH to knock it off & not embarass DD by sharing that kind of info. *shaking head* As if it's now embarassing that I talk to other women about the aspects of teenager-hood & raising one with other adult women.

***** FIRST POST, Faulty news:
So, just a tidbit of "good news" today. SIL found out that she's having another boy!!!!! *wicked little grin* Oh, that IS good news for a very Merry Christmas!!!! So, MIL will have to be contented with the granddaughter she's already got, instead of ignoring DD in hopes that SIL has a little girl. Just had to share!

Have a Very Merry Christmas and a Blessed Day!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Lots of baking pics, and recipes.....

So, I thought I'd post some pics of the cooking & baking that I've been doing over the last 48 hours. This first is my first lot of cookies: Almond Shortbread.

I used 1 c butter (REAL butter), soft. Cream in 1/2 c sugar and 1 tsp almond extract. Add up to 3 cups of all-purpose flour. Mix well with hands to blend. Up to a Tbsp of milk may be added if dough is too dry to stick together, but you don't want it really sticky. It SHOULD be somewhat crumbly as you press it into the pan. Press dough into 8x8 inch baking pan. Bake at 325 deg. F. for 18-25 minutes or till it turns golden around the edges. Cool about 10 minutes in the pan before cutting, then allow to cool completely before attempting to remove from pan. The best way to remove shortbread is to place a cutting board, face down, over the top of the pan, then invert the pan so that the cutting board is now face-up, and the pan of shortbread is face-down over top of it. Then tap the bottom of the baking pan to cause the shortbread to pop out & fall to cutting board.

Now, a pic of the melting chocolate for the Rocky Road candy. This is a recipe I remember my mom making occasionally as a kid, mainly at Christmas time.

Rocky Road

16 oz milk chocolate

3 c mini marshmallows (I think I would have been better off with only 2 cups. With 3 cups of marshmallows I had to use a full 2 bags of chocolate chips, at approx. 23 oz total.)

3/4 c broken walnut pieces

Partially melt chocolate in double-boiler over hot water; remove from heat & stir until melted. Stir in marshmallows & nuts. Spread in buttered 8 inch. square pan. Chill. Makes about 4 dozen pieces. (I cut mine a bit big & didn't get NEARLY 4 dozen pieces!)

Next, my attempt at Opera Fudge. I found this recipe on I'm not ENTIRELY sure what I did wrong, but I think I overstirred it. It resulted in a yummy blend the consistency of frosting. I'm going to hold onto it, refridgerated, for a week or so & see if I can't come up with a cake to use it on. *grin*

When we were at Great-Grandma's house last weekend, DH's Aunt M. expressed the wish that she could remember her grandma's "Opera Fudge" recipe, as she's been wanting some. So I thought I'd come home & find a recipe online then suprise them with a pan of it.

Opera Fudge (White Fudge)

2 cups sugar
1 c heavy cream
1/8 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla

Oil a jelly roll or 8x8 inch pan. Combine the sugar, cream, and salt in a 3 qt heavy pot, stirring to blend well. Place over medium heat and, stirring constantly, bring to a boil.

Cover at let boil undisturbed for 2 to 3 minutes.

Uncover & wash down sides of the pot with a pastry brush dipped in cold water. (Have seen directions elsewhere to use hot water for this task.) Continue to boil over medium heat, without stirring, until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage (234 deg. F). Remove the pot to a cooling rack and let cool to lukewarm (110 deg. F.) without stirring.

Add the vanilla, whip until creamy, then spread in the oiled pan. To keep it creamy, cover the top of the candy with a damp cloth or paper towel for at least 30 minutes. Uncover, let set until firm, then cut into squares. Store in airtight container.

(Some of the notes direct that this fudge develops the best flavor if you let it sit overnight before sampling. That with this recipe one should stir constantly UNTIL it comes to a boil, then don't stir again at all until the candy has cooled to 110 deg. F.

Anyway, I didn't pay close enough attention to when it started boiling, I think, and stirred after it had hit boil stage. I also attempted to cool it down by beating some air into it, before it had completely cooled. (Ooops! That's what I get for not reading all the notes with the recipe.) Anyway, it's LOVELY frosting, just not very good fudge.

Now a picture of almost all of my baking, thus far. At the top, in the green square tin is my Almond Shortbread. Next to it in the large yellow-rimmed round tin is the Rocky Road. Below the Rocky Road is a round tin full of green peppermint patties (recipe to follow). Next to that is a rectangular box with Fudgy Buttons (recipe to follow). And next to that is an 8x8 pan with the attempted Opera Fudge. At the bottom is a square red tin with Brown Sugar & Spice Shorbread (recipe to follow), and the last round tin is my pathetic attempt at Minty Meringues (base-recipe to follow).

And, last but not least, these are the second 1/4 of a batch of Scandinavian Almond Bars I made last night. Ooooooooh so yummy!!!!

Scandinavian Almond Bars (A Taste of Home recipe)

1 cup sugar
1/2 c butter or margarine, softened (I doubled the recipe & used 1/2 cup of each butter & margarine, though I generally cook ONLY with butter unless directed otherwise.)
1 egg
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp milk
1/2 c sliced almonds, chopped

1 c confectioners sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract
1 to 2 Tbsp milk

In a mixing bowl, cream sugar & butter; beat in egg and extract. Combine dry ingredients; add to creamed mixture and mix well. Divide dough into fourths; form into 12" x 3" rectangles. Place 5 inches apart on greased baking sheets. Brush with milk; sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 325 for 18 to 20 minutes or until firm to the touch and edges are lightly golden-brown. Cool on pans for 5 minutes then cut diagonally into 1 inch slices. Remove to wire racks to cool completely. Combine icing ingredients; drizzle over bars. Yield: about 4 dozen.

One note, be sure to leave plenty of spreading room on the pan as these cookies SPREAD!!! A LOT!


Brown Sugar & Spice Shortbread (a Taste of Home Recipe)

1 cup butter (no subsitutes!) softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp each ground cinnamon, ground nutmeg, and ground cloves (the spices are MY addition!)

In a mixing bowl, first combine the spices, cream butter & sugar with the spices. Gradually stir in the flour. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth, about 3 minutes. Pat into an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan. Bake at 300 deg. F. for 25 minutes or until edges begin to turn a golden brown. Cool for 5 minutes before cutting, then allow to finish cooling in the pan before inverting it over a cutting board to remove pieces from pan. Yield: about 3-1/2 dozen.

(I must cut my cookies considerably bigger, because there is NO WAY I'm getting 3 and 4 dozen pieces from a little 8x8 inch pan.)


Peppermint Patties (A Taste of Home recipe that started life as "Minty Snowmen")

4 Tbsp butter (no substitutes), softened
4 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/2 to 1 Tsp mint extract (depends on how strong you like them, I only used 1/2 tsp)
1/2 tsp salt
4 c confectioners (also known as powdered) sugar
several drops of green food coloring, as desired. Or mints may be left white.

In a mixing bowl, combine the butter, corn syrup, extract, food coloring, and salt. Gradually beat in powdered sugar. Knead until mixture forms a ball. Pinch off almond sized portions & roll into balls. Place on waxed paper then flatten with heel of hand & allow to harden slightly for a couple of hours before removing to tin. Seperate layers with wax paper.


Fudgy Buttons (A Taste of Home recipe)

2 Tbsp butter or margarine (again, I used only butter)
1-1/2 tsp baking cocoa
1/2 c powdered sugar
1/2 tsp milk
2 Tbsp creamy peanut butter

In a small saucepan, melt the butter; remove from the heat. Add cocoa and mix well. Stir in sugar. Add milk and stir until smooth. Add peanut butter and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfulls onto waxed paper; flatten tops & shap into 1 inch patties. Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen.


Triple Chocolate Kisses (a Taste of Home Recipe, the base of which I used for my pathetic Minty Meringues)

2 egg whites
1/4 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 c sugar
1/4 tsp almond extract (for which I subsituted an equal amount of mint extract)
1 square (1 oz) semisweet chocolate, grated (did NOT use)
42 milk-chocolate kisses
baking cocoa

In a mixing bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Add cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form, about 6 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 6 minutes. Beat in extract. Fold in grated chocolate. Insert a medium open-star tip in a pastry or plastic bag. Fill with the meringue. On lightly greased baking sheets, pipe forty-two 1-inch circles. Press a chocolate kiss into the center of each. Pipe meringue around each kiss in continuous circles from the base to the top until kiss is completely covered. Dust with cocoa. Bake at 325 for 15 to 18 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.

Instead of doing all the instructions with the chocolate, I used the mint & was going to dollop them onto a greased baking sheet. Unfortunately, I think I overbeat the eggs & they collapsed as I wound up with not stiff-peaks at all, but a kind of runny, glossy egg-mix that fell in plops off my spatula. *sigh* Also, in other meringue recipes, the instructions direct the baker to lower the oven temp in the last few minutes, before turning off, but leaving the meringues on the pan in the oven. Supposedly this protects from the meringues collapsing in on themselves. I followed the directions as in THIS recipe & took the meringues out too cool, and they DID collapse in on themselves. Also, the green food coloring I added gives them an unappealing color. They have the appearance of brittle mint-green cow-patties. *sigh* This is another one to try again at a later date.


I am still going to make Peanut Butter Fudge, hopefully this afternoon.

Peanut Butter Fudge (from Quick Cooking magazine)

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup milk
1-1/3 cups peanut butter
1 jar (7 oz) marshmallow creme

In a saucepan, bring sugar & milk to a boil; boil for 3 minutes. Add peanut butter and marshmallow cream; mix well. Quickly pour into a buttered 8-inch square pan; chill until set. Cut into squares. Yield: 3 to 4 dozen.


A couple more recipes that I'd like to make, if I can scrounge up the time, are

Creme Cheese Drop Cookies (from my CPD Sister Cypress)

3 oz cream cheese, soft
1/2 cup butter, soft
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup almonds (or other nut) - finely chopped
1 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Cream together cheese & butter. Add sugar gradually, creaming after each addition. Add nuts. Fold in flour and blend until smooth. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet. Flatten dough with wet fingers until wafer thin. Bake 10 minutes.


Apricot Crescents (a Taste of Home recipe)

1 cup butter (no substitutes)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg yolk
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup apricot preserves
1/2 cup flaked coconut
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans

In a bowl, cut butter into flour until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Beat egg yolk & sour cream; add to crumb mixture and mix well. Chill several hours or overnight. Divide dough into 1/4ths (fourths). On a sugared surface, roll each portion into a 10 inch circle. Turn dough over to sugar top side. Combine preserves, coconut & pecans; spread over circles. Cut each circle into 12 wedges and roll each wedge into a crescent shape, starting at the wide end. Sprinkle with sugar. Place, points down, 1 inch apart on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 deg. F. for 15 to 17 minutes or until set & very lightly browned. Immediately remove to wire racks to cool. Yield: 4 dozen.


I WAS going to make Spritz cookies last night. Little rosettes with maraschino cherrie halves in the center. However, I couldn't find my baggy of cookie-press-pattern disks. I looked everywhere I could think they might possible be. But they weren't to be found. *sigh* So much for making Spritz cookies this year. This was another of my mom's normal line-up of cookies to make every Christmas, when I was growing up. She made Spritz, and Pecan Tassies, and Mexican Wedding Cakes (or Russian Tea Cakes, as they were also known, also called "snowballs"), Rocky Road, Turtles, Chocolate Fudge WITH nuts, and Chocolate Fudge without nuts, Sugar cookies, and Magick Bars. And I'm sure there were others, but I don't recall them right off.


In other news, it warmed up on Friday. I went to let the dogs out & found I wasn't shivering like crazy and the dogs weren't in a massive rush to come back inside. Turns out it'd "warmed up" to only -13 deg. below 0 (zero). Then Saturday it warmed up even further to actually about 10 degrees ABOVE Zero. Today it's cooled back off only slightly. Down to about Zero. DH and the FIL and DH's uncle are out re-assembling the canvas car-port for DH's truck. They're also, hopefully, going to get the last of the christmas lights up on the house so we can actually have Christmas lights this year. *smile*

I went out to plug in my car this morning when I got up, and found 1/2 of our out-door extension cord set-up missing. It's such a great distance between our out-side plug-ins & our vehicals that we've got 2 long extension cords running across the back yard to plug in the vehicals where they sit inside their carports. Well, the cord closer to the cars was missing. Right off MY thought was that DH forgot to unplug yesterday when he left for FIL's house. He said that he didn't, though, so somebody evidently stole one of our extension cords last night. *sigh* That was a good, sturdy cord too!!! But we had a spare, so my car is plugged in so I can leave for work in an hour. It sucks, though, that somebody decided to come into our yard (into our BACK yard, no less!) and steal one of our cords!! And it reminds me that we really need to be more vigilant about locking our doors.


I may well not be getting on again before Christmas. We've got a busy next few days ahead of us. Today I'm working my usual Sunday hours. Tomorrow (Monday) I'm only going in for about 4 hours as well, as we'll close at 5:15 pm instead of 9:15. Tuesday is, of course, Christmas. Wednesday & Thursday I will be back to work as normal. I will probably be on shortly on Wednesday, but as my Dad is going to be watching DD for me over the Christmas break (the 5 days when _I_ or DH are not going to be home), I'm going to have to leave early to drop DD off at Dad's on my way in to work. I will also be taking advantage of the chance to sleep in till 9 all mornings. So, I will have considerably less time to be online till Friday, at the soonest.

So, if I don't see you again before Christmas, I wish all of my friends a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!! And, for those who celebrate Yule, I hope you had a VERY BLESSED YULE yesterday!!!!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Pictures, cookies, and cold!

First, some tree posts. The first is a head-on of my tree this year. We've elected to leave the star off the top. The star has a very short cord, so another extension cord would have to be run up the middle of the tree to meet the star-cord in the center. Just not a hassle I want to deal with, esp as our tree is already decorated & I don't feel like undoing it. *grin*

This second picture is the left side. Just for a view of some more of my ornaments.

Now the right view. Again, just trying to give as complete a view as possible of the thing.

Now, some of my favorite ornaments. This is the little santa's cottage ornament. It's one of the light-up ornaments. But, I can't get the lights to stay tucked inside the spot in the back of the roof in order to do that. I just love looking at the little scenes tucked inside these ornaments, though.

Next come two lighthouse ornaments Dad gave me a couple of years ago. *grin* I LOVE Lighthouses.

These are also supposed to light up, but the light goes through the bottom of the lighthouse. Again, can't seem to get the lights to stay tucked in so that the lighthouses are actually lit. But it's very pretty when they are!!!!

Next, another picture of a little light-up. This is a little general store, and though it's hard to tell in the pic, it's actually got two tiny people sitting in front of a wood-stove inside, playing checkers I think. With pictures of the general-store type goods on the walls. Very cute.

And lastly, the one batch of cookies I got made yesterday. It's Almond Shortbread. I actually didn't get any cookie making done yesterday morning, as I went to get started & found that I didn't have any butter in the fridge. It was all frozen solid in the freezer. So, I took a pack of butter out to thaw. And wound up making these cookies when I got home from work, before starting on dinner. As DD was at hockey practice up at the U. till 8 pm, that gave me plenty of time to make these & still start on dinner before DD and DH got home.


BG, I have no idea who the idiot who designed our library was. It's actually a VERY nice library. I get a lot of tourists commenting to me (and this is just to me, I don't hear all the comments to other pages or the reference desk) what a fabulous library we've got. I've had folks from cities (much bigger than Fairbanks or even Anchorage) all over the country telling me that the libraries in their home towns aren't as fabulous as our library is here in Fairbanks. So, it's not that we've got an incredibly poorly designed library, but in this particular aspect, you're right. *grin* And, as the library was designed & built over 20 years ago, it's rather a moot point now, when it comes down to it. *wry smile*

Anyway, we DO have an inside drop, but you've got to come into the foyer for that. The outside drop bins are at the corner of the parking lot, so you can pull around, put the books in, and then pull back out without having to get out of your vehical. It was obviously designed with the motorist in mind, and not the people who'd be emptying it. Yet another way we go out of our way to make cars, and their drivers, happy, in our country. Also, as our library is set back from the curb & parking lot & even side-walk surrounding it by a lawn & ornamental trees, there's quite a distance to walk between the parking lot & the building. It's very pretty in the summer, but in the winter bitterly cold & somewhat inconvenient. As for the face of the building that is most apparent to folks coming in, our library director, the front office-people, and administrators all have office-windows facing the parking lot (through the trees), so there's not actually a spot there for a door that empties into a bin to be emptied from inside the building. Our circulation workroom is further inside the building, and THIS is where the interior book-drop empties into, once a person is in the lobby.


I always kind of get a chuckle over the comments of "wow, I can't believe you put up with that kind of weather". The truth is, I don't have a lot of choice in the matter. This is where my family moved when I wasn't even 6 years old yet, for military purposes. Dad retired here, this is where I've grown up. In once sense that means that this kind of weather is all I've REALLY ever known. I'm rather acclimated to it, as much as one CAN be acclimated to -30 and -40 and colder. On the other hand, I'm a wuss in the summer when it comes to heat. About the hottest temps I like are 80 deg. F. Anything hotter than about 80 deg. makes me melt.

But, not only did my dad move us here (though he asked us which of 2 bases we'd rather go to, Eielson, or Elmendorf outside of Anchorage), but my husband has also been raised here. His dad (my Father-in-law) was stationed at Eielson AFB when he met my Mother-in-law who'd also been raised right here in good ol' NP by HER parents who moved here from North Dakota when the MIL was just a child. Anyway, after getting married & getting out of the military, MIL and FIL moved back to Wisconsin where the FIL is from origionally. They had my hubby & my SIL, then moved back to Alaska to be near Great-Grandma and the rest of MIL's family again. So, my hubby is also accustomed only to the weather of North Pole. (In fact, DH is even LESS used to other climates than I am, as he's only even been out of state ONCE in his life since they moved up here, and that was when he & FIL drove to canada a couple of years ago, in May.)

So, you ask me how I can stand it???? My answer is, What choice do I have???? I can't stay shut up in the house from Nov. through March to avoid the cold. Life must go on. I bundle up as much as possible and I accept that this is the way it is. Even if we had the money to move out of state (which we don't), my hubby doesn't want to leave the only home he's ever known. And while I certainly wouldn't be AGAINST living somewhere else for comparison reasons, I get the feeling that I'd wind up back in NP in the long run. Maybe someday when we're retirees, if Peak Oil doesn't put our current way of life permanently out of commission, we'll become snowbirds. (Snowbirds are Alaskans who literally "fly south" for the winter. Arizona, Florida and Hawaii being 3 of the favorite "second home states" for Alaskan Snowbirds.) In the mean time, like I said, this is my life. It's no more a matter of "how do you handle it" than are extreme temps for somebody who's grown up in Arizona and doesn't have the means to move. (Though, almost anywhere else in the US, excluding Hawaii, it is MUCH easier to pick up & move than in Alaska. For most of y'all, it's a simple matter of driving across state lines. For us, it's a major move, almost as though moving to a different country.)


Ok. I have plans to make meringues this morning. I've always wanted to give it a try, and it's one thing I've actually got ingredients for. So, meringues it is!!!! I'm going to make peppermint meringues. I'd also like to make some Rocky Road candy. Maybe tonight. And Spritz cookies this weekend.

Have a Blessed Day!


Edited to Add: Well, THAT was a short workday!!!! Got maybe a 1/4 mile down the road & my "low coolant" light came on, and I noticed that the temp of my engine was sitting on the bottom line. So, I got up to the exit from the old-highway onto the new highway (the absolute last point, for me, where I decide "do I continue on, or do I go home?") and pulled into the Greenhouse parking lot that's right on that corner. Called the hubby, and he said to turn around & go home & not try to make it to town today. (Mind you, town is only a 14 mile drive, it's not like it's terribly far.) So, that's what I did. Called in to work to let them know my car wasn't going to make it, and I'm here. I guess that means I'm definitely going to have time for some goodie-baking. *grin* I can't say as I'm terribly bumming about getting an unplanned day off work!!!

BG: No, I'm not upset that you were curious about the idiotic design of the bookdrops at our library. It's so hard to get sentiment & emotion across on these dang blogs, but I personally think that this is one aspect of our library that was very poorly designed, myself. I just didn't want you thinking, either, that my library is some dinky little podunk hole-in-the-wall building. It was architect designed and is a very nice building with one glaring flaw for those of us who have to empty the bookdrop. *grin* Obviously whomever designed it didn't take the convenience & comfort of the lowest-employees into consideration, or possibly even consider us worth consideration.

One of these days I need to take my camera to work with me so I can give you all some idea of what my workplace looks like. Of course, how to do that without spilling to my boss that I've got a blog, and prompting her to look for it. I don't think I want my boss having that kind of insight into my thinking process. *grin*

Ok. I'm off to bake some goodies!!!

Have a Blessed Day!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Lead-up to Christmas in North Pole.....

So, right off I've got to say something for Whim: My favorite "scrooge"! I heard a new music-montage on the radio a minute ago that I thought you could appreciate, Whim. First they played the Alvin & The Chipmunks christmas song, followed by one by this guy, Bob Rivers, titled "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire". And it sounded VERY much like "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire", with some distinct differences. Talk about doubled over, busting a gut. That was about the funniest thing I've heard yet this Christmas. It's not that I hate Christmas, but it just gets so sickly-sweet sometimes that we need a good touch of humor like that to break things up a bit. Anyway, I thought maybe you could look up Bob Rivers & "Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire" and get a good "Christmas" chuckle. *grin*


Let's see, other than that it's -35 deg. F here at my house this morning and the house just isn't really warming up beyond about 65 deg. F., even though the thermostat is set (while we're home) at 70 degrees, currently. I'm going to turn it down to 65 deg. when I leave for work, and I'm just glad the dogs have fur coats.

To make matters even worse, the latches on our front & back doors the last couple of days are sticking. As in, when I open the door to let the dogs out, or to see the kid off to the bus, the latch doesn't pop back out, ready to hold the door shut. Ooooooh no!!!! No, that would be TOO EASY!!! Instead, it sticks & refuses to emerge from it's little hiding place inside the door, and so the door won't stay shut when it's supposed to latch. I've currently got the washer in laundry room un-plugged and have my "never used" hair drier plugged in at that outlet, a pair of pliers and a bottle of "household oil" sitting on the drier, all at the ready to be used to coax the door-latch-bolt from it's hiding spot. *shaking head* Of course, that means standing there for 5 to 10 minutes with the door not completely shut, blowing hot air on the latch, trying to warm it up, while the house cools down rapidly. *sigh*

The back door performed this trick last night after I climbed out of the shower and was letting the dogs out one more time before tucking Jenny in her kennel, and climbing into bed myself. It was 1 am this morning before I finally got to bed. Then of course I was woken at 7:45 am to be up & ready to move when DD finally gets up at 8. That, of course, allows me to let the dogs out before getting DD's breakfast ready. Guess what decided to stick again when I opened the door???? Yep, that darned back-door latch!!!! *shaking head* And of course, the furnace is running as I'm standing there with the door open just a bit so I can face the blow-drier at the latch. *sigh* And in fact, the furnace is just kicking on again. Lovely.

As far as the general weather, the cold temp has been causing ice-fog the past couple of days. This morning it's evidently thick enough to result in traffic accidents. I hate to see what it's going to be like if it gets even colder. If these drivers having the accidents think that the ice-fog is bad at -35, wait till the temp drops another 1o to 15 degrees. The ice-fog we've got today is NOTHING compared to ice-fog at -50. THAT is like the proverbial pea-soup. You're lucky if you can see the road lines immediately in front of your vehical. (That is, where road lines aren't covered by snow.) You slow down to about 45 mph and purposefully get almost right on the tail of the vehical in front of you so that you can use their tail-lights as indicators of what's going on ahead and just PRAY you've got the time & reflexes to avoid any accidents they (the vehicals in front of you) find themselves in.

This kind of weather, we make sure kids are fully geared (and they don't argue much, a token protest if anything, about getting geared up completely) before sending them out to the bus-stop. At -50, we parents wait until we see the flashing light at the top of the bus before we allow them out the door. -35 is nasty enough for breathing. At -50, the air will literally freeze as you inhale it, causing breathing problems, esp. in those who've already got breathing problems. It's NEVER smart to go out without a scarf at anything colder than -20, at -50 it can be deadly, or at least cause serious impairment.

Of course, temps from -30 to -50 (and even -60, and at the absolute coldest the interior has seen in recorded past, -82) are one good reason MORE people around here don't walk to their destinations or even take the scanty public-transportation that we have. NOBODY wants to be waiting in a 2-sided open shed for the public buses at -40 or -50. Not that some people don't do it, but you understand why it's not a desirable position to be in, why so many Alaskans drive personal vehicals.


After work last night, we went to Great Grandma's house to make Popcorn balls. The first batch just didn't quite turn out, and instead of the usual 12 balls that we can make out of one batch, we only got 8. Weird. I could have SWORN that my recipe (which, I inconveniently forgot at home) indicated a half-stick of margarine with each bag's worth of marshmallows, and stir in the color AFTER it's heated. So, the second batch we used a full stick of butter with the bag of marshmallows & poured the coloring (red) in with the marshmallows & such BEFORE heating them. That turned out MUCH better, and we got enough popcorn balls out of the second batch to be sufficent for all family members in the area.

At one point, though, DH got rather peeved. Evidently his Aunt C. and Uncle F. both complained about the number of "old maids" in the popcorn balls last year (we were using Grandma's 5 or 6 year old popcorn, what do you expect?!?!?) and made a demand that we make sure there are less hulls in this years. Bear in mind that Aunt C. and Uncle F. NEVER come over to make popcorn balls. And even when their kids lived in the area, C & M (Dh's cousins) couldn't be bothered to come over & help out with the popcorn ball making (one year, right after M. got married, he & his new wife E. did come, but that was the ONLY time). BUT, they all expect to RECEIVE popcorn balls every year. So, DH told Grandma & Aunt M. to tell Aunt C. and Uncle F. that if they don't like the hulls in their popcorn balls, maybe THEY should come over next year and help out! If they don't like the way we do it (and given the fact that we're the only ones bothering and for THEIR benefit!) then maybe they should contribute! As it is, there's the proverb "don't look a gift horse in the mouth" to abide by. Without DH and I coming over every year to make popcorn balls, this tradition would have ended a few years ago when Grandma's hands started getting too bad to allow her to press the popcorn into balls.

I DID tell DH, though, that maybe he could pack the balls less tightly, as even I found them rather hard last year. *grin* And I reminded him that once the marshmallow cooled, it'd hold the popcorn in shape without being overly tough, if not packed so tight. So, he was much better this year and didn't pack them so tightly together. I swear, in past years a person could get hurt by having one of his popcorn balls thrown at them. He makes his as big as soft-balls, and they were even harder after a day's hardening. *grin*


Work has been going well. The new pages seem to be fitting in rather well. And it's allowed us to catch up on the workload, once again.

Unfortunately (and, we go back to the weather), the library has been incredibly cold this week. I've had to wear a sweatshirt or pull-over over my t-shirt each day this week. It's just too cold to NOT dress warmly, even in the building. I know some of my coworkers even come in with long-johns under their clothes, in these temps, and leave them on all day even in the building. I don't find it QUITE that bad, but it's certainly not WARM, even inside the building.

I was the unlucky one to get book-drop duty yesterday, and found when I went to get geared up, that I'd left my long-john pants at home. *sigh* So, I went out and haphazardly threw the books into the emptying-cart, instead of placing them in neat stacks inside my cart. Oh freaking well. At least I had only 1 full cart-full of books. It would have sucked to have to make 2 trips.


I still haven't found the time to make cookies. But, I think I'll go ahead & get a batch of short-bread thrown in the oven now. I can crank out a couple of batches of short-bread with little effort. And maybe some sugar cookies or spritz cookies this weekend. It looks like we've got Saturday free, after all. I thought we had practice that day, but I'm not seeing a time on the schedual here by the computer.

Friday night we're going to go to the Christmas party at my work. After the library closes for the evening at 6 pm, all us employees and our families can come in & we'll have pizza & whatever other goodies we each bring. Either G -the Library Director, or S -one of the computer guys, will be dressing up as Santa again, and will be handing out pre-purchased (by mom or dad) gifts to the kiddos & candy-canes. I need to figure out what one small gifty of DD's to take in for the little visit with Santa. It's probably going to depend on what pressie DOESN'T fit in her stocking. But, anyway, this will fill our Friday, of course. Along with my time at the elem. school, and grocery shopping. *wry smile* And I'm going to make "Ambrosia Salad" to take in on Friday night to share with the folks at work. And maybe a tin of Shortbread, if I get enough of it made.

I think that's it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Well.... I'm here.....

The problem, for now, is that I don't have any of my bookmarks. Well, I shouldn't say "ANY" of my bookmarks. I've got about 10 of my blogger-buddies bookmarked, but I'm missing all my others. I'm currrently using Netscape browser, as our Norton's Antivirus blocked our Internet Explorer browser from opening on our computer. The Norton's has something against Internet explorer, as periodically it will ask if it can blog this page from our computer because IE is suspect. DH and I know to deny the block (it has happpened once before) but evidently DD allowed the block mid-week last week when she was playing online & the question popped up on-screen again. So, until DH figures out how to clear the Norton's block of IE, I'm going to be using Netscape & doing without most of my links & favorite pages to visit.

That doesn't mean I can't hang out with my blogger-buddies, though. Thank Goodness!!!!


It's been a busy-as-hell weekend again.

Thursday DD had a game at the Carlson Center at 6:30 to 7:30 pm. So immediately after work I went over there to watch & cheer. We lost that game 4 to 0. DD was goalie.

Friday, I did my volunteer time at the school again. Came home & watched a couple of tv shows I had recorded, then when DH got home from work we headed BACK to town to get our family photo's taken. That is what MIL said she wanted for Christmas this year, and after 10 years as a family and no professional photographs, we decided to go ahead & get them done. Some of them turned out very well, and we of course got some copies not just for the MIL, but for ourselves and other family members as well. We didn't get home till 9:30 Friday night.

Of course, wouldn't you know it. Friday was also Dad's birthday and guess what I forgot for a second year in a row?!?!?! I couldn't believe it. And Mom had called & left a message reminding me, as I guess my sister Shelli was the only one of us who'd even wished Dad a Happy Birthday ON his birthday and he was feeling pretty bummed about it. Man..... Talk about feeling like shit. I've got the date written on both of my calendars (the one in my bedroom & the one in my kitchen) and I still manage to forget. Dad kept saying that it was ok, it's not like it's important anyway. But it IS!! It's his birthday, and if he truly felt like it wasn't important, he wouldn't feel so bummed. And I can't blame him.

Well, we had Dad over for dinner last night as usual anyway, so I went ahead & made his favorite: fried chicken. And I made chicken gravy, and mashed potatoes (ok, those were just boxed potatoes, but...) and collard greens. And I made him a carrot cake. The carrot cake was boxed mix, but I doctored it up with raisins and coconut & extra shredded carrot. It tasted good, but it was rather dry. Next time I decide to doctor a mix like that, I need to be sure to add extra liquid to cover for the dryness of the raisins & coconut. But it tasted good and that's what matters most.

Before & after dinner, we went ahead & did up our tree. As I've said before, it's a little table-topper pre-lit tree, so it's not hard to set up. It's actually 4 feet tall, not 3 feet like I'd thought. But it's only 3 parts. The base is a square "planter" that the bottom half sets into, then the top connects to the bottom half, it's all wired & and prelit so that work is already done for us. All we've got to do is get it assembled & fold down the branches (which don't come out, thank goodness!) and arrange the individual little "twigs" as desired. Then decorate. And considering how small the tree is, it took 2 strands of garland (one blue, one white, this year) and all of our ornaments almost overload the tiny tree. We're not putting the star on this year, as we can't figure out how we managed to plug it in LAST year. There's no plug-in for a star or anything at the top of the tree, so no real way to have the star lit up, unless you run an extra cord down the outside of the tree itself, and that just looks tacky. But, the tree is set up, and it looks pretty, though I still miss my multi-colored lights. Maybe I'll see about picking up a pack of multi-colored replacement bulbs and as the old lights go bad, I can replace them with multi-colored lightbulbs. *grin* That'd work for me! I LOVE all my mismatched ornaments on the tree. I'll have to take a pic later this week so I can share with y'all how it looks.

Today, DD has her goalie clinic up at the U. She and DH are headed up there right now. And I've got to work, as usual.


Oh, DH DID go see the dentist on Wednesday. Turns out the tooth he thought he'd lost a filling in wasn't in fact the tooth that had the problem. (It's got a cavity forming, but not in major need of fixing at the moment, which means DH is probably going to put it off for as long as possible.) Instead, it's one of his canines. The dentist said that this particular tooth needs a root-canal and that the sensativity DH was feeling in that back tooth was actually cold or heat or ANYTHING hitting that canine & radiating down the nerve to the back. DH's root-canal is schedualed for Jan. 7th. The dentist gave DH some wax to "coat" his canine with in the mean-time to protect it from extreme temperatures and keep it from hurting. DH said he liked this dentist, though, which is not something I've ever heard him say about a dentist before. And on top of that, the wife of wone of Dh's best friends is the dental tech who helped the dentist at Dh's appointment. So, I'm hoping that he'll be more comfortable going in and seeing somebody he knows personally and will be more willing to have the work done that needs to be done, even if she is a dental tech & not the dentist herself.


We also got two new pages in at work this past week. One lady who also goes by the name "Katie" (strong emphasis on the fact that she uses an "E" at the end of her name, and I don't). That's made for some definite confusion, but we just laugh it off. She seems nice, though. The other's a guy. It'll be interesting to see how things go with a guy being part of our previously all-girl work-space. Not that there aren't male employees at the library, but there haven't been any male pages for a while now. There was one guy when I first started there, but he took a job as a sports-writer for the newspaper and it didn't seem like he'd worked as a page for very long before I started there. It seems as though the employment turnover for guys is somewhat higher than it is for women. As sexist as it sounds, maybe we're more suited to the atmosphere & work environment??? I don't know. But I know KO has been a page for some 30 years. LG has been there for at least 10. CF for about 8. EC for several years herself (though I don't know how long precisely). CM has been a page at our workplace for only a little longer than myself. I've been there for 2-1/2 years now, which makes over 5 years total as a page (including my 2-3/4 years at my neighbourhood branch of the library). And we're the permanant pages. Of course none of the casuals (those who work 14 hours or less per week) have been there very long. AW has only been there since the beginning of June. KN just started. RK (the new guy page) just started. It's interesting. Of course, one wonders if it is because they're casuals that they don't stay long, or if it's a temperment thing. CM used to be a casual, but only started as full-time (a permanent, like myself, CF, EC, LG, and KO are) in August when PW moved over to the mail-room. All the other casuals, though, have eventually quit to work elsewhere.

Anyway.... Just meandering thoughts.


I also finally got my Christmas cards all written out yesterday. They'll be taken to the PO tomorrow. So hopefully they'll arrive in time for Christmas. I'm sorry I'm so belated in getting them out, to my friends & family who are on my list. I was origionally going to go to DD's practice yesterday, but when DH said they'd be in town for most of the afternoon, running errands, I decided to skip practice so that I could get the cards written, the house tidied, the grocery shopping done, and dinner made. *wry smile*

And I told DH that if "they" (the hockey coordinators) suprise us with any more "new" ice-times this month, he's going to have to cancel because we're already over-booked as it is. I've got to work tomorrow night, of course, and DD has hockey tomorrow evening. Tuesday night we're going to go over to Great Grandma's & do our yearly popcorn ball making. That's the only night early on this week that we've got free. Wednesday & Thursday are also schedualed with Hockey. Then Friday is free (as well as being the last day of school), and she's got practice. Sunday is goalie clinic again. We've got all the week of Christmas free from hockey, till Saturday when it appears they've got another game.

I think that about covers it for now. I must get off the pc and get heading to work.

Have a Blessed Day!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Computer Problems, Again!!!!

So, I Just wanted to let y'all know that I may not be on (much less be visiting) as much as normal the next few days. We're having computer problems again (the anti-virus system seems to have a serious dislike for our prefered browser and won't allow us to open it up right now). So, for the time being I also don't have any links to anybody's pages, except what I see in the comments or the links on various blog-entries I've made. Again, visiting will certainly be sporatic until we can get our antivirus system & our browser to cooperate once more.

Just wanted to make sure nobody thought I was disappearing off the face of the earth.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I've been TAGGED!

So, Rachel at Me7of11 tagged me with the "7-weird-things-about-me" meme. I HAVE done this one before, so I'll try to come up with 7 more weird things about me. (Even _I_ am going to run out of wierd things to share about me, sooner or later, people!!!! *wink*)

1) I've recently realized how my tactile sensabilities & my love for crochet tie together. My mom would tell you that I "pick". Fuzzies on the arm of the couch, or my shirt sleeve, or my pant-leg.... I'll pick at them mindlessly while doing something else, like reading or watching TV. The crocheting while I watch TV keeps my hands busy, which means I'm not picking the fuzzies off the arm of the couch till it's thread-bare.

2) I won't use body-washes or commercially-made bars of soap unless there's nothing else to use. I LOVE hand-made hot-process type soaps. I splurge quite a bit on these soaps. I've got 30+ bars of this kind of soap currently tucked into nooks & crannies around my books on a couple of the bookshelves in my room. I bring them home, unwrap them, and let them cure till I'm ready to use them. I'm currently using a couple of bars that were purchased in 2004. (I try to jot the date purchased on them when I bring them home when I take them out of their plastic-wrap, though I leave the paper labels on them. This way I can use the older bars first, always saving the soaps purchased more recently to cure till their time has come.)

3) I'm not a terribly picky eatter, anymore, but I get burnt out on food easily. That meal-list & menu idea I've been using for the last few months??? Not working so well at this point as I'm kinda burnt out on everything on the list. You would think that with almost 90 different meals on there, I'd be able to go a couple of months without repeats then I'd be ready to eat those foods again, not so. I'm still getting burnt out.

So, if ANYBODY wants to post some of their family favorites for me????? It'd be greatly appreciated and if we like it after trying it two times, it'll get added to MY family's meal-idea list. *grin*

4) I tend to make up nicknames for my pets. Puck is "Puckaroo", "Puckers", "Puckarooster".... Jenny is "jenny-jens", "jenners", "Miss Jenny Jen Girl", "The White Idiot" (this one is courtesy of DH). Our former dog Sebastian (he died a couple of years back) was "Bashy", "Bashers", "Bash", "Bashian". (Most of these because DD couldn't seem to pronounce "Sebastian". And yes, he was named after the crab in "Little Mermaid". And it was DH who named him!!!)

5) Occasionally when I get to go to Taco Bell, I order their cinnamon strips & an extra cup of nacho cheese, and I dip the cinnamon strips in the nacho cheese. It's REALLY very yummy!!!!

6) Have I said how I love Children's books???? To the point lately where I'm collecting some of the books that I love so much for MY bookshelf??? The "Brambly Hedge" books are about this "neighbourhood" full of mice & voles that live in a field-rimming hedge somewhere in the british countryside. The pictures are so detailed and yet so sweet I just can't get over them. I've got the Spring, Summer, and Autumn books already and am going to buy the Winter book once we get into the new year, then on to the suplimental stories. But, I LOVE these children's stories that involve quaint country cottages & gentle tales about humans & creatures. Another favorite is Cynthia Rylant's "CobbleStreet Cousins" series. And Ann M. Martin's new "Main Street" book series is looking to be pretty good to. But especially the picture books with paintings & drawings of little animal creatures in cottagy-style holes & homes & nests. I start to wish I was a mouse in a dress and could live in a darling little crab-apple cottage on the edge of a field. And pretty sweet too, my Dad recently found among some of his sister's "effects" a little music box in the shape of a teapot. It's got several little mice inside & around, and there is a door on the front with a little mouse standing in the door-way sweeping, and in the back there's a "cut-out" with a view of a mouse "spinning" on a spinning wheel, and another mouse in the background baking bread. And the little hearth behind the bread-baking mouse is lit up, and the front door has a little light in a carriage-style light fixture. And at the top of the teapot the lid is lifted in time to the music by another little mouse peaking out from inside his loft bedroom. It's just so darling it's almost painful, and I LOVE IT. And I wish I was small enough to crawl inside & check out all the details. *grin*

7) (whew, six was a long one!) I tend to be a bit of a hoarder. Probably related to back when my dad would send me to bed without dinner as punishment for various "crimes". Though it wasn't always just dinner. There were times I was grounded to my room without any meals after whatever I'd just done to earn such a terrible punishment. Usually my mom could talk him around, if it was more than dinner that I was being denied. But it got to the point where I'd hoard food in a little dolly-hamper under my bed. (The old wicker kind that came with the baby-doll & her clothes & accessories all tucked inside.) Of course the "tucking the food in the hamper" came from reading "A Little Princess" by F.H.Burnett a few too many times, but the hoarding food comes from being denied dinner & thinking I'd be bound to starve before breakfast. *wry smile* Though, the only thing I REALLY remember putting in the hamper was a couple of packs of dried instant oatmeal. I even tried this oatmeal once and found it incredibly nasty without cooking. I'm sure there were other things I found to secret away to my little hamper, but I don't remember them now. But, I STILL have a tendency to do this. Not because I'm being denied dinner, but in my lunch box I've got a bag full of mini reese's peanut butter cups, a few extra tea-bags, a snack-bar or two, and a pack of microwavable popcorn. In the past I've bought canned food & stored a few cans at a time in my locker at work, but I find I don't like canned food much anymore, so I don't do that as a rule. Even so, I've got a tendency still to hide chocolate & candy from DH and DD. DH of course, has the bad habit of taking DD's halloween (and christmas, and easter, and any other) candy and eatting it all and not leaving any for anybody else. So, hiding MY chocolate may just be self preservation from DH's occasional piggy-ness. *grin*

Ok. That's probably more wierdness than anybody ever wanted to know about me.

Um, I'm supposed to tag 7 more people. Who to tag.... who to tag???? How about Barefoot Gardner, Tori, CelticSpirit, Heather over at SpiritBlog, Gina at CauldronRidgeFarm, Toasty at MarmiteToasty, and lastly Greg at Greg's General Store.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Another Book Review....

I read a sweet Christmas book yesterday that y'all may like to look up. It was called "The Christmas Thingamajig". I don't know the author, but it's about a little girl experiencing her first chrismas without her Grandma. She's resistant to taking part in any of the celebratory activities because they just won't be the same without Grandma. Her Grandpa, though, persuades her that we need the continuity to remind us of the good time, and although the memories can hurt, the're sweet too. And one of the memories that the little girl has a hard time with was her grandmother's box of "Christmas Thingamajigs". Ornaments that she made each year that all came out different. They'd just "happen" as the Grandmother was crafting, and she never knew exactly what she was going to make when she started. The girl's Grandpa gives her a boxed present that her Grandma had set aside when she realized she wasn't going to see another Christmas with her family. In the box is a little craft-wire & fabric ornament of two female figures dancing. Evidently it's a reminder of the times the little girl & her Grandma danced around the Christmas tree together when it was finally decorated. The little girl decides that maybe she & her Grandpa can dance together to remember the good times with Grandma.

A definite tear-jerker of a book, but a very sweetly done one. And the pictures are just lovely.

Anyway, must get heading to work.

Have a Blessed Day!

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Both Games, a win!!!

So, the first game, at 8:15 yesterday morning, was a win for our team by 5 points. Final score: 6-1. DD DID play goalie in that game.

The second game, also a win for our team, had the final score of 5-2. DD did NOT play goalie, she played Right Wing. (Offensive, right side.)

So, we had some very happy little girls. *grin*


Dinner the other night was pretty darned good, but not quite as great as the previous Friday's supper. DH had prime rib, again, but a much thinner cut than the one at our anniversary. I had some very yummy halibut topped with caramelized shallots & swiss cheese. For desert DH had some sort of fudgy-brownie type thing with a raspberry coulee & chocolate ice-cream. It was too rich for him to eat more than 2 or 3 bites. I chose the Baked Alaska but should have had the thing DH did. The baked Alaska wasn't all that great.

A coworker/friend of Dh's and HIS wife sat next to DH and I. I got to listen to the wife wax poetic all through the supper about her copious amounts of diamonds, and the midget-doxy that she spent 600 bucks on just recently. I tried turning the conversation to her kids a couple of times, and she would respond to the answer, then go back to her diamonds or the dog. I finally got her to shut up about the damned diamonds when she stated that she'd gone to a "Million Dollar Diamond Sale" and bought herself yet ANOTHER diamond ring without her hubby's knowledge, and was oggling this diamond necklace that used several carats worth of diamonds and cost $14,000. My response was "DANG!!!! Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not a "diamond" person myself, but if I had THAT kinda money, there are a hell of a lot of other things I'd be spending it on besides a diamond necklace!!!!"

Kinda funny how she shut her mouth with a snap and didn't say much more to me after that. Not that she was a mean person, just incredibly shallow. And I did try to be nice, but DANG!!!! Enough already!!!! There IS more to life than diamonds, and dogs & work. And she spent a good 10 minutes sitting there at the table talking on her cell-phone to somebody at work, though she was supposed to be on vacation, and while the rest of us were trying to carry on conversations with our dinner partners, around her. *shaking head*

THAT is why I don't have many friends in real life. The wives of most of my hubby's friends are all about work & "diamonds" (or the new car they just got, or the vacation they are going on or just got back from, or the latest party, etc). MOST of them are a good deal more willing to talk about their kids than this particular woman was, which at least gives us SOMETHING to relate about, but NONE of them are actually willing or able to carry on a conversation that involves "deep" subjects such as books, current affairs, or even hobbies. MUCH less about politics or religion. (I know, politics & religion can be sensative subjects, but when handled respectfully people with the potential to be REAL friends should be able to discuss these subjects.) And, outside of the wives of my hubby's friends, I'm such a hermit that I don't really interact with other people unless I work with them. There are a couple of women I'd like to be friends with at work, but it's kind of hard there as well. You've got to be able to respect the boundaries placed on a friendship by work and not spend the whole time at work relating as "friends". One of my coworkers, who I'd love to be able to count as a friend, doesn't seem to wish to have me as a friend, thinking that if we didn't work together she'd probably not bother to call me up just to say hi and catch up. A couple of my coworkers who are of the friendly & want to be friends type, are also of the very shallow & only want to talk about celebrities, type. *shaking head*

There's one woman who used to be my manager at the craft store, when I worked there, who I count as a friend, though I don't really get to talk to her when I'm not in at the craft store. But when I'm in there, we catch up & exchange news about kids & hubbies, jobs & current events, crafting & whatever-have-you. The one person I still actually really talk to from HS, who I'm not afraid to share my political & religious views, who probably knows me best, is also somebody who is at least as busy as I am and our lives don't tend to intersect as much as I'd like.

*sigh* So, it kinda bums me out when I find somebody who's got the potential to be a friend that I'd get to see fairly often (as our hubbies are friends as well), and yet is so shallow that I don't really feel like I can carry on a real conversation with her.


Anyway, it's snowing again. It snowed quite a bit Thursday night through Friday, stopped for the day yesterday, but now it's started up again. It's NOT going to be a fun drive to town today. Which means I really should go ahead & end this post so I can visit all my friend's blogs before heading to work. So......

Have a Blessed Day.

Friday, December 07, 2007

Busy Weekend Ahead....

So, once DH gets home from work, we're going to be heading out to the Pump House for his company Christmas dinner. *grin* This'll be two fridays in a row that I get fantastic, expensive food and don't have to cook or clean-up!!!! I'm LOVING IT!


DD is staying home alone. She & her best friend are going to watch "Evan Almighty", feast on pizza, and chill for the few hours that DH and I are at the party. And supposedly M. (the best friend) is going to spend the night. We'll see if that happens, though. M. frequently backs out of sleep-overs. She tends to be a very nervous child, and sleeping away from her parents (unless she's at her grandparent's house) is something she's still not comfortable with.


DD has 2 hockey games tomorrow, the first being at 8:15 am at the Dipper. The second is 3:30 at Polar. I THINK she's playing goalie in both games. I'm hoping! She does so much better as goalie than the other little girl does.

When we get back from those hockey games, I'll be making bacon-wrapped duck-breasts for supper. I'm thinking some Colcannon will go along with that nicely. I'll marinate the duck in the same cranberry-orange salad-dressing as last time, and wrap it in maple-flavored bacon again. It was so yummy the last time that I'm really looking forward to it this time. Dad'll be coming over for dinner, this being Saturday. Then, after supper, DH and DD will head BACK into town for an Ice Dogs game (as spectators, not participants). (The Ice Dogs are our local Junior A. hockey team.)


Then it's back to work on Sunday. *sigh* Another weekend without getting to do any baking, though. I've really been wanting to make a couple of loaves of bread, but we've been so busy with hockey that I'm not having the chance. And with volunteering a the school on Friday mornings, that shoots that option down as well. I DO enjoy my volunteer time, but it doesn't leave much time at all for doing the "slow" things here at home that I like to do, like baking and sewing. Or even just sitting for a couple of hours & watching movies & crocheting.

I was starting to have crafting withdrawls, so today I stopped in at the craft-store & spent 45 bucks on fabric & yarn. *grin* Got some pretty, deep reds & some dusty blues that I'm going to use to make a couple of pillow shams for some couch cushions. Hopefully. *grin* And the yarn is camoflaged "colors" that I'm going to use to make the younger nephew an afghan with. After SIL's snotty attitude over the afghan I made the older son before he was born, I've been determined to not make another afghan for any of her kids until they were old enough to appreciate one themselves, but I have a feeling that I'll probably get suckered into making another afghan for this newest baby, so I should go ahead & get one made for the younger nephew as well. I've got a pattern for a "bed-roll" style afghan in camo yarn that I think I'm going to use for the kiddo's blanket. Perfect for a little boy who loves animals. *grin* I hope I bought enough, though with 4, 6-oz skeins of worsted-weight yarn, it SHOULD be enough. I hope.

Speaking of crocheting, I left the grocery store starting to wonder if EVERYBODY thinks I'm a lazy, abusive Mom. *wry smile* I use hand-made cotton-net grocery sacks for my groceries, and until I get to the check-out line I place them in the seat of my basket along with my purse & my jacket. Today, I had TWO people come up to me asking if I had a baby in there. *shaking head* A BABY??? I just laughed & showed them my grocery sacks & they went away chuckling, but they were quite incensed that I'd be so cavalier about carrying a baby around with me, until they learned the truth.

Then the bagger who was loading my groceries into my sacks asked me if I made the bags myself, to which I replied "Of course!" He then commented "you must have SOOO much time on your hands!"

*shaking head* Oh yeah. Sure, SOOOO much time. What with working 30 hours per week, multiple hockey practices & games a week, making dinner 6 nights a week, doing dishes & laundry & trying to keep the house semi-tidy with 2 dogs & a hand-full of kids constantly running in & out & around. Yep, I'm absolutely lazy that way! *shaking head* What I should have said is that I'm just very industrious with the time that I DO have. Not that I'm nearly so industrious as other moms I know of, but I'm not precisely a lazy bum, either. *sigh & grin* Oh well. Let the little punk believe what he wants. It's no skin off my nose. But I'll certainly be passing that little "joke" along to MY friends.

I think that about covers it for today.

Have a Blessed Day!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I am Crabbybeast Wickednoggin!

Or, that's my "Grinch Name" anyway. Here's the link to find YOUR Grinch Name.

So, we just had a furnace-care company come out & take a look over our furnace. It didn't seem to be running correctly lately. Turns out that the ignition coils were just about shot. So, along with the tuning & cleaning they did on it, the whole bit cost $218. *sigh* Another credit-card charge. But he said that it was close to going out completely, so it's a good thing we did this now, instead of waking up one -40 morning to find out that the furnace wasn't coming on at all. *nodding* True enough. He also, of course, recommended that we get some filters on the darned furnace. Yeah, I keep telling DH that too but he never remembers to measure the damned thing & go pick up some filters. It may be something I go do myself one of these days. Sometimes it's just easier to do it oneself rather than nagging constantly but never seeing it get done.


Speaking of "nagging" at the DH, he still hasn't made an appointment for his tooth. He's so nervous about getting any novicain shots that he's not really bothering with making an appointment. And for now, his tooth seems to have stopped bothering him, resulting in further reluctance to get it taken care of. *sigh* He's too big for me to physically haul in for an appointment.


We're done with hockey for this week, thank goodness. DD had hockey on Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and Wednesday. And that's just the past 7 days. Now she gets Thursday & Friday off, before having 2 games Saturday. *shaking head* She's got over 14 ice-times this month alone. And that's not including any tournaments she may or may not be entered in. She's starting to feel a bit burnt out already this season.

Friday night DH and I are going to his company Christmas Party at the Pump House. *grin* More yummy food, two weekends in a row!!!! That rocks!


So, my boss has been ok for the past week. Yesterday she even cracked a smile in my direction! It's kinda funny, though..... Our Senior Page (the one who "directs work flows" for the rest of us pages) has had to take some medical leave and is now on leave till the beginning of January. This means that LG (the kiss-ass) has been made "acting" Senior Page. And, I don't think she's entirely finding it to her liking. It's like, once she's given the authority, she finds she doesn't really want it after all. She's actually being more of a busy-body than normal, but now she's very tentative about it, very nervous about stepping on any toes because she knows that if she offends somebody, SHE'LL need to patch it up instead of letting KO (Senior Page when she's not on medical leave) deal with the hurt feelings. I think that when KO comes back, LG MAY likely stop being such a busy body. It'll be nice if that's the case. But, for now, with how tentative & almost scared she's being of stepping on toes, it kinda makes her busy-body-ness funny. It's much easier to laugh about when you see her pussy-footin' around the workroom, trying to get things done with extreme efficiency, and NOT step on toes at the same time.


I'm trying to get up the energy to do any cookie baking. I WANT to do some baking, I'm just not feeling like expending the energy to do so. And, considering I've only gotten my exercising done once day each these past two weeks, it's probably for the better that I don't go making (and eatting) a lot of Christmas cookies. I had fully intended to do my exercising this morning until DH called as I was sending DD out to the bus, and told me that the furnace-maintenance guys would be here at 9 to work on the furnace. Well, so much for exercising. I went ahead & made myself a pot of coffee instead and am figuring that maybe the coffee will give me the energy that the exercise would have. I'm not going to get to work out tomorrow because of volunteering at the school, and Saturday morning DD's first hockey game of the day starts at 8:15, so I won't be getting up early enough to exercise that morning either. Sunday will be the next chance I have. I'm DETERMINED to do a hell of a lot better than 1 day next week. NEXT week I want to get in at least 3 exercise sessions. Hopefully 4, ideally 5! I can tell how run-down I am feeling again, now that I've been slacking for a couple of weeks. The 3 or 4 weeks of good energy levels was so nice that I'm hating being worn out again. And it was only taking 20 minutes 3 to 5 times a week to GET that energy level. That's something I SHOULD be making a priority.


I think that's about it for this morning.

Have a Blessed Day!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


So, I DID have a pic that I took of the crescent moon this morning, with Venus (I THINK it was venus) to the left of the moon. But, I couldn't seem to find it when I went to load upload it here. *sigh* Go figure.

The wind has died down, but it was -13 deg. F. this morning. No, Whim, I don't figure visiting here in the winter would be a good idea for ANYBODY, but certainly not for you, given your extreme sensativity to cold. Honestly, if people ask when would be the best time to visit, I think late May through June is the best time. That's when the greatest variety of wild-flowers is in bloom and when the temperature is at it's least extreme. Later in the summer and you're as likely to spend the entire time getting rained on, and the flowers aren't as spectacular. Earlier than late May, and it's still possible to snow while you're here. (Well, honestly, we've had snow in June, but it's rare. It's still pretty well expected that it can and probably WILL snow after May 1st during any given year.)

And, guess who DID "draw the short straw" for outside book drop yesterday??? That's right, your's truly!!!!! Only, we don't really draw straws. The boss assigns us each our duties for the week. Sometimes we're heavy on the "book-drop" duty, sometimes it's "Pick-up" duty, or "desk" duty, or "back-up". She tries not to overload any one person with book-drop in a given week. And honestly, the extremely cold days really make one appreciate "getting to" do the same duty during the extremely warm (for us) days of summer. It kinda evens out. I can honestly say that I look at a day like yesterday and smile because I know that there's going to be a day the exact opposite next July or early August when it's 88 deg. F. and I'm outside in the blazing sun, sweating my tail off as I empty the book-bins. And then there are the days in between when it's a balmy springy 45 deg., or a crisp autumnal 55 deg. that are actually enjoyable and a nice break from being indoors, to go out & enjoy the sunshine & the flowers & the fresh air. So, it all evens out and I have a hard time feeling truly negative about doing the same job at either -40 deg. F. in January, or 88 deg. F. in July.


I went looking for another book by the same author I mentioned yesterday, and came across a sequel to "Bread Alone" titled "The Baker's Apprentice". As soon as I'm done with the book I'm reading now (a "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" book), I'm going to dive right into "The Baker's Apprentice". I look forward to seeing how it compares to the first.


I really must get off-line and go exercise. I've really been slacking lately and I need to get back into it if I'm going to truly build it into a habit. Right now it's just "a good idea". It hasn't become habit yet.

Have a Blessed Day!

Monday, December 03, 2007

A Couple of Reviews.....

First, though...... Man, I don't know WHAT y'all would think of our weather this mornin'!!!! We've got general air-temps of -1 deg. F. (Yes, that's -1 below ZERO, not "below freezing" which is 32 deg. F.) And on top of that, we've got gusting wind that's dropping the temp down to -40 with "wind-chill factor". Of course all of y'all in the mid-west will know exactly what that's like. But, NOT a nice day to be outside, today. DD's best friend came over to get on the bus at our place and I've told them both to wait till 8:40 to go out for the bus. This is NOT the kind of temperature anybody wants to be standing around in outside. I pity the person who must empty the out-door bookdrops at work today. (Of course, I say that, so I'll probably wind up being the one who gets stuck doing bookdrop. Thank goodness for long-johns.)

I went to take the dogs out this morning and found that the wind was gusting so much that it had picked up DH's previously collapsed carport canopy & was attempting to carry the canopy itself off to our neighbour's house. The cinder-block tethers were the only thing holding the canopy to our property still. When I went back out just a bit ago as it seemed the wind had died down for a minute, I found that the wind had set the canopy back down, but it was dropped a couple of feet further back on our property from where it'd been set up. It's come darned close to knocking over the canvas shed of the couple who live in the house behind ours. When I was out there this last time I used a half-pallet that DH had leaning against our small metal shed, and some of the poles from the carport itself, to weight down the outter edge of the thing. We're hoping it holds, otherwise DH will need to take off work & come disassemble the carport to avoid it blowing away or damaging property.

Of course, with the constant knocking & creaking & groaning & such that the wind is causing on all buildings & such, Puck is scared to death to be outside. I'm going to need to tidy up the house & get any & all plastic bags out of Puck's sight, so I can leave him in today. If he has access to plastic bags, he'll tear into them to get at whatever's inside, whether or not it's something edible.


Now, for my reviews.

We saw Ratatouille last night, finally. That was one CUTE movie!!!! If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend it. As the trailers showed, it's about a rat with a knack for knowing how to blend ingredients. This, of course, puts him on the wrong side of his rough & ready dad who believes rats shouldn't try to be other than they are by nature: thieves & rodents. Nobody in Remy's (the main-character-rat) clan understands him, though his "big" brother is friendly to him despite the lack of understanding between them. Anyway, Remy finds himself seperated from his clan, in Paris: the world capitol of fantastic food. He winds up with the ghostly "figment of your imagination" mentor of the once-world-famous & revered "Gusteau", a big, fat, fabulous Chef who, when living, believed that "Anybody Can Cook!" Remy, of course, takes this tidbit to heart & quotes Gusteau's cook-book of the same title frequently. Anyway, Remy winds up coming into contact with a bumbling clean-up boy, Alberto Linguini, in Gusteau's own resteraunt's kitchen. Remy & Linguini team up to become the best chef in Paris, to the anger of the resteraunt's head-chef (who stands to inherit the resteraunt itself following Gusteau's death, if an heir isn't found in 2 years; a time-limit that is quickly approaching and figures into the plot of the movie as well), and the anger of the world's biggest jerk of a restaurant critic, Anton Ego.

I LOVE the way the names are bandied around in this movie. The nasty critic is named Ego, he's a tall, skinny, gaunt looking guy who says he loves food but doesn't look like a bit has ever made it past his lips. The famous "Gusteau" is a play on the way he approaches food: with gusto! The poor Linguini is a tall, kinda gangly "loose-jointed" kid who's very flexible, much like the pasta he's named for..... I'm sure there were other plays on names, but the accents tended to be so strong (whether realistic or not) that I kinda felt like the movie needed subtitles to make it easier to follow what some of the characters were saying. But, it was a pretty funny movie, none-the-less. And it had a great ending. I strongly recommend it!


Next review: I just finished _Bread Alone_ by Judith Ryan Hendricks.

The main character is Justine Wynter Franklin (Morrison). She finds herself dumped by her husband, David, who expects her to promptly move out of "his" house with NO notice & NO resources, no job, and "friends" who are mere business contacts cultivated for the sake of David's business needs. After refusing for a few days to move out despite extreme animosity by her "husband" over her refusal to just leave his life, she decides to fly to Seattle to visit her childhood best friend for a few days to get a fresh perspective on the impending seperation from her husband. Her best friend lives in a quaint neighbourhood with a lively attitude & almost sesame-street attitude (the neighbourhood pub, the laundromat, the bakery, the "Thriftway" grocery & goods store, everything within walking distance). Wyn (as she is known, rather than Justine) starts spending a lot of time at the bakery while her best friend is at work, enjoying the ambiance & scents, remembering the semester she spent in France in a Boulangerie, learning how to be a boulangier. When she gets back to LA from Seattle she finds that her husband has changed the locks & placed all of her belongings on the front step for her to find when she steps out of the taxi. So, she winds up HAVING to move out & spends quite a while living with her mom, a widow with an active social life. Between learning that her mother has interest in dating and changing careers (which the mom does easily, going from school teacher to office manager, utilizing her strong orginizational skills), and increasing animosity from her ex (who's taken up with one of his coworkers, though he repetedly tells Wyn that he's not cheating on her, even when caught in the act early one morning when Wyn decides to go talk to him at home before work), Wyn decides that it's not in her best interest to stick around LA, growing increasingly bitter & depressed with her life situation.

So, Wyn moves to Seattle, finds a small "gardener's cottage" on the grounds of an old relic that's due for renovation but who's ownership is in question, and gets a job at the previously mentioned bakery, as an assistant to the competent but unimaginitive, angry Linda who rules the bread-kitchen as night-baker. A LOT of bread recipes are included in this book, illustrating how much Wyn loves experimenting with baking techniques & new tastes. Once in Seattle Wyn finds herself making friends, meeting potential love-interests, and moving on with her life, but there continues to be a looking backwards at both her marriage and her time spent in France.

One of the problems I had with this book is the way it jumps between present & past tense. It's narrarated in First person, which I don't usually prefer, but that wasn't too bad. It was at least consistent in this aspect. BUT, the present & past tense are jumped between rather frequently, making it somewhat hard to read. And not just jumping between her present life as it happens and her past time spent in France. But, as an example a sentence may read "I grab the towel" in one paragraph, and in the next the same sentence will read "I grabbed the towel". The author cannot seem to decide what she wants to do about this, so the entire book she jumped between present & past tense in talking about every activity. But, after a while it becomes a little easier to handle as the reader kind of forgets to think about tenses & focuses on the story, which is a decent one. But, on top of trying to decide whether she grabs or grabbed the towel, we also see Wyn discussing past activities with her ex., which are firmly in a past-tense, and even further back, her time in France, which are frequently written first-person, present tense, as a memory. It's rather confusing. But, this is undoubtedly the WORST part of this book. The story is a good one, the recipes look interesting, and the character is reasonably likeable, though moreso at the end of the book than at the beginning of the book, when she starts out as a rich-bitch trophy-wife who doesn't seem to understand what it means to work for a living.

The recipes mentioned include goodies such as:

** Plain Old Bread (to which Wyn adds the information that for best results, a tastier bread, a crispier crust, etc, reduce the yeast by half, and double the rising time to twice as long, placing the rising dough in a cool, but not cold, place, not a warm stove-top.)
** Patty's Cake with Espresso-Caramel Sauce
** Basic Whole Wheat Bread
** Oma's Sugar Cookies
** Misha's Pumpkin-Millet Muffins
** Jen's "Short" Scones
** Poolish for Pain de Campaigne (Sponge for Country French Bread) and the Pain de Campaigne recipe itself

Even though I've finished the book itself, I'm not going to return it to the library until I've at least copied (hopefully TRIED) at least one of these recipes. *grin* And not only does it give recipes, but as part of the story we are given a lot of tips on baking bread, on building a "levein" (a leven, a sourdough sponge, if you will). This is definitely a book I'm going to read again, even if just for the recipes & the baking talk. *grin*


Dinner the other night was yummy. I DID have my escargot & prawns. DH had a couple of my escargot & prime rib. We were both so full that we decided against dessert. It would have been good, I just didn't have room for any more food. *grin*

Unfortunately DH's tooth was bothering him so badly that he spent the entire drive up & back almost groaning in pain. He couldn't eat comfortably, but he DID eat enough to be full & appreciate the food. I'm pestering him to make a dentist appointment. I THINK he's lost a filling and will probably just need to have that tooth refilled. He's scared to death that whatever dentist he sees will want to give him novicain shots to numb things up. Well.... YEAH! It'll hurt worse WITHOUT the novicain to numb things. I told him to ask about them dosing him with laughing gas for at least as long as the novicain shots take, maybe even the entire refilling procedure, if he needs it. Better that then being in pain!!!! (Hell, better that than annoying the hell out of me with constantly griping about the pain and yet not being willing to do anything about it.)

Dad took DD to Chili's for dinner. That's her favorite restaurant, at this point. Evidently she had a small, spicy rack of ribs. She'd origionally asked for the Habanero ribs, but the waitress talked her into going down a notch in spiciness, which DD ended up being grateful for when she actually tried the ribs she DID get. LOL They were spicy enough to please her and make her eyes water, but not so spicy she couldn't handle them. *grin*


My menu for the week looks something like this:

Sunday: Kalops (we ended up going out to dinner friday instead of me making this, so we had it last night instead)
Monday: Pork Steak & baked potatoes
Tuesday: (leftover) Creamy Turkey & Wild Rice soup
Wednesday: fish (not sure what I'm doing with it yet, though. Using some frozen fish fillets we got from Sam's Club last time we were there)
Thursday: Brats & Sauerkraut
Friday: Dh's company Christmas party (at one of the nicest places in town)
Saturday: not really sure yet, but I'm STILL not going to get to make Grandma's Chicken Noodle Soup like I keep hoping. DH is getting kinda burnt out on soup. *grin*


Ok, I think that about covers it for now.

Have a Blessed Day!