Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas milk for all!

So here it is the day before Christmas Eve and no one is at their computers reading my blog. What happens next? I have the time to blog and so you see that we are not on the same wavelength that way.

We are having a surprise mystery guest at our house for Christmas this year and I am going to reveal everything to you after she arrives. We’ve made a little room just for her and have bought her special, favorite food.

Last weekend when the grandkids spent the night, I introduced them to Christmas Milk! [whispering] It's eggnog. Shhhhhh

I thought they might really like it, but I wouldn’t even try eggnog until I was in my 30s because obviously it is NOG made from EGGS that you want me to DRINK.

How utterly disgusting.

So I asked them if they knew about the special milk the dairy makes only at Christmas and Easter. I had the quart in my hand when I asked and you know how once in a great while you say just the right words and it’s really amazing that you didn’t screw it all up?

That’s what happened. They swarmed me. They got off their chairs and walked away from their supper and actually came over to me like I was the Pied Piper.

I said that it is very rich, which is the way grown-ups describe something that will give you a tummy-ache if you have too much. I asked if they’d like to try it and they nodded like little birds.

It was so much fun!

I poured them each a small amount, maybe an ounce. They took it and inhaled. Oren shouted that it tastes just like melted vanilla ice cream because Oren shouts when he is excited! Kena shouted because she always shouts and has no volume control that it tastes like pudding and can she please drink more!

I gave them each a little more and then more again the next day. I’ve bought another quart for Christmas Day and so help me the first person who calls it eggnog dies in a bloody battle.

Make some toast and raise your glass to Christmas Milk.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nature Notes - Afternoon nap

Visit Michelle at the interesting Nature Notes Thursday to see the world around you.

Outside my office window, I see hawks and vultures, squirrels and raccoons and of course, deer. One warm afternoon this week, when the weak sun was shining for all it's worth, I looked outside and saw four deer. Three were resting.
There are all four deer in the photo below. Can you find them?

Sometimes, no matter who is looking, if you itch, you need to scratch.
In the photo below, you can see detail in her face. My camera doesn't shoot well with the zoom this far out, but I think this time it did a good job.

Is it time yet?

Whereas the holidays sometimes aren't as chipper and perky as they're "supposed" to do, the closer Christmas gets this year, the better I feel. That's really saying something as I was feeling a little down just last week. I think too much and I let things get in the way. But I have so much to be happy about and thankful for!

This song sums it up and I can't hear it enough this year. Hope it makes you smile.

Go ahead, give it a spin. The words are really fun!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Actuarial nightmare, indeed

I was storing the gingerbread house in the oven, right? Didn't want the cats licking it to death before Christmas, right? Perfectly acceptable. I wrote a note that said "Gingerbread house in the oven."

The note was stuck in the little slot where the buttons are for turning the oven on. Handy system. No one turns the oven on to preheat without first removing the house.

Until someone puts the note in the oven with the gingerbread house.

The white plastic base melted flat. LOOK at the chimney now!! I am an arteest, no? I aim for realism in my work. I had made the flames shooting from the chimney, now you see the result.

The candy cane melted down to the fallen, drunken gingerbread man. He is now pinned down to the ground and won't be getting up anytime in the next century.

Trying to make the best of the roofline, I used a broken candy cane for decoration. Just more ice dams. I told you they would ruin the roof.

Somebody's gonna pay.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Nature Notes

Visit Michelle at the uplifting Nature Notes Thursday to learn something new!

There was frost on everything this morning and I thought this was pretty. I took it on my cell phone and that didn't do it justice, naturally.

Nature (an excerpt)
Henry David Thoreau

Nature is full of genius, full of the divinity, so that not a snowflake escapes its fashioning hand. Nothing is cheap and coarse, neither dewdrops nor snowflakes...What a world we live in, where myriads of these little disks, so beautiful to the most prying eyes, are whirled down on every traveler's coat, the observant and the unobservant, on the restless squirrel's fur, on the far-stretching fields and forests, the wooded dells and the mountain tops.

Gingerbread House at Salisbury House

I went to a wonderful mansion here in town called Salisbury House. It was featured once on the old A&E television show America's Castles. It's a really amazing building with 17 bedrooms, a gym, a bowling alley and all sorts of neat features from early 20th century. Tonight I went with Julie to the gingerbread house workshop.

See the glasses of red wine? It was creativity juice.

By the way, could I look more like my grandmother?

In this photo, we are clearly just getting underway. I'm really pleased with mine and was satisfied the entire time. I had made a gingerbread house my senior year in high school and I knew that it was going to be cute no matter what I did. Same with Julie's. It's candy! What's not to love?

Oh and they offered wine and extra royal frosting and yummy appetizers and treats. I may have overindulged. There was an artichoke dip and eclairs. How could I not indulge?

Here is my finished house. The chimney has fire sprouting from it. The whole house is a homeowner's insurance agent's nightmare. Do you see the pine tree lurking behind the snowman? The ice dams ruining the roof?

Do you see the slip and fall claim?

The gingerbread man got clumsy and tripped while cutting through the yard. That's a snowdrift at his feet.

I didn't outline my windows, but I did hang wreaths in them. Plus I did a little landscaping and double-plus just look at that snowman's red hat!! He looks like a sailor to me.
After the houses were built and we were fully snacked, we walked around the house. It's really beautiful, but it was built from materials that Carl Weeks had brought over from England. The house is mostly stone-even the floors. And the windows are single-pane glass in metal frames and I've just lived in the Midwest too long not to wonder how you heat a house like that!!
I had a fantastic time this evening. Thanks, Julie!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Room Freshener

I am a little shy of home fragrance products because I worry about indoor pollution and my cats' wee lungs. So in the office thusly or in a pan on a stove burner I simmer herbs, cinnamon sticks, vanilla extract or orange peels. It smells nice in here!

Pearl Harbor Day and Eeyore's saga

I woke up and walked into the kitchen this morning. I saw the victim of a crime:

Eeyore is one of the plush Christmas ornaments for the bottom of the tree. Since cats live here, there aren't any hazardous ornaments down there. Fourteen years ago, I started this tradition because that August I had found a darling little abandoned kitten in the shrubs outside my apartment. I consider her to be the likely culprit. Here's her mug shot from this morning. Pardon her fuzzy edges; she just woke up:

Lily's first Christmas was the year she adopted Eeyore. She pulled him off the tree one day when she was marginally larger than himself. I put him back on the tree. She pulled him off. I put him on. She pulled him off and I finally got the message when I found Eeyore's nose in her water bowl in the kitchen. She had adopted a baby! For years she loved this little fellow like her kitten. She would carry him around by his scruff and lick him at bathtime. If I put Eeyore on the edge of the couch, she would watch him like a hawk and make little concerned meows until he was back on the floor.

Here is Eeyore all these years later. He's been loved on by a couple cats now and his nose has been mended where the stuffing started coming out from many baths and all the water he's had.

Here is the original replacement Eeyore, still safely on the tree. I'm not sure why the embellished, gift-bearing Eeyore was chosen this year, but mostly the mystery is why Eeyore? There's Tigger and Kanga and Pooh on the tree, but they get left alone. This is the first year I can remember the other Eeyore being pulled to safety off the dangerous dangly branches of the tree.

Also, today is Pearl Harbor Day. Not a day that will live in infamy since some schools never mention it. Enter Facebook where a number of us have posted a little memorial for the event. I hope it does some good for the next generation. It's a reminder that no matter how large a country's landmass, the battle can come to us.

I think that's an important reminder for the world we live in today.