Tuesday, December 28, 2021

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year....... ding dong.......


Not my favorite brand but will do in a pinch! It is the holiday season and if you have read this blog for any length of time you know how feel about the holidays....... wake me when they are over or self medicate.  

This year is a bit different as the weather is warm, scary warm, but we are taking full advantage. 

Christmas Eve was outstanding!

We did miss the annual snowbanks to chill our drinks AND what has happened to the tradition of using the porch as a second "fridge" when storing leftovers from Christmas dinner?  This year it's no longer possible or safe with temps reaching 50' and 60's routinely.  Why is the sweet potato casserole fizzy and bubbling?  

Had the last call for mugs on Christmas Eve morning, referred her to a gallery, the studio is on break, I'm baking cookies!  I made the mistake of asking the head elf what kind of cookies he wanted this year.  He said; CUT OUT COOKIES, DECORATED!  Before I could say, NO; he walked out the door to work and waved as he backed out the driveway.  

Are you kidding, nobody has time for cut out cookies this time of the year and decorated? BaHahahahaha!  I grabbed my car keys at 7:30 am and ran to 4, yes 4 local bakeries!  Not a cut out cookie was to be found.  I returned home around noon empty handed.  Sitting down to dig thorough a dusty recipe box.  A hand printed card in blue ink was tucked in the cookie file (dated 11/79 over 40 years ago!)  a note at the end of the recipe had three red letters PIA!  (code for Pain in the Ass)  Had the royal icing recipe too.  I hate royal icing, but then these cookies could sit on the counter for months.  These cookies took me two days!  Told the head elf to keep one for posterity because I am never making these cookies again and next year, call a girl scout!  Wait, they don't even have cut out cookies!  And they taste like sawdust, IMHO but every night he cheerfully opens the the cookie jar and rations out one cookie for after dinner coffee.  Bless him but never ever again!  I used to make 12 - 20 different types of cookies in my hey day of baking frenzy, I have all my lists and can't believe I used to do this.  Those days are gone and over, pass the carrots and broccoli!   

Making cookies reminded me of the other "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" 

I love the logo!
  "Outsmarting rodents since 1898"

That's a lot of finger snapped since 1898 and how many swear words uttered on a not so silent night! 
But alas the basement has been swept clean and the feral cats must be getting old as it was a massacre the first round.  Happy to report, this mornings check yielded no lives lost and my fingers are safe today! 

Christmas is just a hurdle endured until we can resume indoor sports.  
Here we go again, insert maniacal laughing.

When I put the kitchen together I failed to put an outlet between the stove and the fridge.  Thought it would be a grand time to move the stove, check for random living things and crusts of bread.  Happy to report only cobwebs this year!  Winning!  I have an unused outlet back in the dark nether regions.  Dug out a few tools; drill, bits, hole saw to drill through the cabinet, screws, screw driver, should be pretty easy, 45 minutes tops.  
Three hours later......... the leg fell off the stove due to pushing it in and out one too many times.  Forgot a flashlight, got the wrong screws to fit the power strip and then hunting for the vise grips and several blocks of wood to prop up the stove while I adjusted the broken leg.  Never did find the proper blocks of wood and decided not to haul out the chop saw because that would lead to other projects, many projects.  And that my friends is the true Christmas miracle! That sanity took hold before I dug out all the big guns and a cloud of sawdust settled over the decorations and those damn cookies.  

Thankfully, years ago my Dad welded a stainless steel roasting pan for the Christmas beast, it weighs 10 pounds and an elephant could sit on.  

Flipping it upside down, I picked up the edge of the stove and slide the pan under with one foot.  I will be joining the circus if I can stand erect after this home project. 

 And let's discuss my assistant who is very good and standing on the toe of my shoe while I am on my knees searching for the screw that fell to the floor and rolled under the refrigerator, taking us both down.  Yup, there we were gatoring on the kitchen floor. 

The power strip also had 3 USB ports so now I have a hidden charging station.  I will build a drawer for that stuff later but this cleared a very cluttered counter! 

I don't know if he's looking for screws or cookies for doing such a great job as my assistant. 

Three hours later the stove was level, the power strip and charging station were installed and I was calling the chiropractor. 

But all in all it is the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!  
There is time for hiking, reading, garden plans and just plain old sitting....... 


Sunday, December 19, 2021

Mauled by Humanity..........

 It is 4 pm on Sunday afternoon.  A pilgrimage to the grocery store was in order ...... why? Because pineapple was on sale for .99 each, I have a food dehydrator also out of earl grey tea and sardines in olive oil and lemon juice.  I have not been out to a grocery store in awhile, things were looking bleak in the pantry.  My knight in shining armor was on the ladder hanging Christmas lights, another reason to leave the compound.  

I went to three stores looking for TAZO Earl Grey tea, it's the only one that takes to me a happy place around 8 pm at night.  I was zipping along pretty well....... until the third big box store, Giant Eagle.  I almost never go to this store except to fill my van with gas.  They play the points game and right now I have .40 cents off a gallon of gas because Butch fills his car for work and he gets points, lots of points.  I get to use the points when I fill up my van which holds 16 gallons of gas.  The van averages 28-33 mpg.  Even if the van happened to be on fumes I would only save $6.40.  I use a tank of gas every 4-5 weeks (I don't drive much because I live in the studio, kitchen and garden)  Six dollars and 40 cents for the month! Even if I saved $12.80,  I'm done! After shopping at the huge Giant Eagle for over 30 years I am done. Giant Eagle is based out of Pittsburgh and I hate them, I hated them 30 years ago and hate them even more today, indeed after today my hatred is beyond words.  I picked up a box of tea (not Earl Grey, they were out) one pound of cod, and two .99 pineapples.  They did not have the express lane open for people with 12 items or less so I perused the lines with carts piled high with the Christmas beast, yams, flowers and cans of cranberry sauce.  I spied a line that was moving along and jumped behind a woman wearing this: 

and a red Christmas sweatshirt with ornaments attached.  Should have been a red flag but it was festive and I was salmon swimming upstream.   On the belt she had two gift cards for Target, and more sugar than I could ever heave on the belt, tubs of ice cream, marshmallows, many bags of chocolate chips, crisco, and cat food.  ALL OF THESE ARE RED FLAGS, DO NOT GET BEHIND THIS WOMAN.  She totaled out at $117.00  OK I have never spent $117 at the grocery store, ever.  There was not a speck of green veg or protein or any living thing or had been living at one time, on that belt.  And then it happens....... Giant Eagle no longer allows their check out personnel to handle cash.  Your cash must be fed into a slot at knee level, not eye level.  It's black metal and pretty invisible.  What idiot thinks this is a grand idea and everybody else on the board says WHOA we should do it.  They want you to use bitcoin or plastic, anything but cash. What happened to cash it king?  My Dad always said; Cash is King and take care of your tools. 
That black box sometimes spits at you if it doesn't like the bill you fed into the little slot, you can shove that bill in the slot a hundred times and the machine spits it right back at your knees.  You are bent over like you are harvesting rice or working the fields. 

This woman proceeds to pay her $117.00 bill with ONE DOLLAR BILLS, one hundred and seventeen, one dollar bills!  She was bent over so long she started sweating.  She had sweat rolling down her temples and I expected the green blinking lights to short out and she would just pass out but noooooo!  The green blinking tinsel hat began falling over eyes and she kept missing the slot.  Then she was festively swearing and muttering; who's stupid idea was this?  Well I was ready to light the hat on fire with the BIC Christmas Stick lighter right there in front of me at checkout!  Might want to rethink that product  placement Giant Eagle.  The checkout kid packing bags looked around the corner and did a pretty big eye roll above his mask.  I slowly loaded invisible bullets into the thumb of my hand gun and placed it to my temple, he laughed out loud.  The people behind me just kept sighing, loudly; loudly enough for Santa to hear at the North Pole.  And then the check out girl said; OMG while she cracked her gum.  I was ready to high five her.  I thought; should I jump in and help but the dollars kept spitting back out.  Then when the swearing started I backed away.  I am a coward.  Lady do ya have a $20? I think the machine is having a heart attack.  After an eternity she whipped out a credit card and paid off the remaining $52 on her credit card.  Yelling at the poor check out kid; I HAVE NEVER PUT GROCERIES ON A CREDIT CARD IN ALL MY LIFE!  

I made it, I survived. I felt mauled.  I wished the kids behind the check out, Merry Christmas and followed Mrs Potty Mouth Christmas to the parking lot.  She got in a huge shiny new pick up truck and peeled out of the parking lot.  

While I was in line waiting I had time to look around at "stuff". We have lost our minds.  There was wardrobe for your dogs clothes.  I am not kidding!  Look at this! 

and don't forget the little doggie hangers.

And can we talk about the chicken people?  In my email this morning. 
"How does your flock inspire you to decorate?" 

How about a frying pan? 

and there is a cream cheese shortage....... that is it, we are doomed!@ 

I just ordered tea, a case of canned tuna and sardines on Amazon, it will be on my porch Monday as I am self grounding.

Merry Christmas..... 


Monday, December 13, 2021

Can we "Holiday" yet....... NO!

This time of the year I think crafts people are in perpetual motion.  Get out of bed, make coffee, take care of needy things and trip to the studio at dark thirty.  It's been like this for over 35 years and you would think we would have figured stuff out by now.  Never gonna happen, at least not here in the land of illusion. 

Holiday Tip #1

Worried about cleaning? No need to clean those pesky cobwebs out of the corners, turn on that summer fan you never put away and toss some glitter in the air!  You my friend are decorated!  You're welcome! 

In my effort to go gluten free and failing I am now just eating the whipped cream I made to go on the gluten free cobbler.  Throw the cobbler soup out and just eat the whipped cream.  Well there is time saver.  

Rachael arrived from the frozen tundra of Alaska just in time for Thanksgiving!  WOO HOO!  We phoned and texted voraciously before she arrived!  She was bringing her running shoes and I was making salad.  I texted back, I am massaging the kale right now!  Oh such happy thoughts.... 

 I picked her up at the airport and the Midwest phenomenon happened.  Do you have cheese?  Where's the lard?  Oh I need to pick up maple syrup and can we make nisua?  (Finnish sweet bread filled with butter, sugar, milk and white flour, ya it's the Finnish Paleo life for us)  We toured museums, botanical gardens, ran to the land of bonnets and buggies (Amish holy land, Middlefield, OH).  We bought cheese, smoked meats, jerky, maple syrup, honey.... and those running shoes were but a distant memory.  And then she said; make the coconut cake..... NO, not the coconut cake.  We were all in and it was GOOD! and then I burned the recipe because no one should ever eat this cake, ever! 

She packed her bag and took an additional suitcase filled with Midwest goodness (fat), including the cake and loaves of  nisua.  I had visions of the poor drug sniffing dogs going over her suitcase at checkin.  At the airport while waiting on security, a woman in front her was carrying a cake carrier and just like that she had a new BFF.  She and her cake were going to Maryland and did you know it was National Cake Day?  Who knew?

And in return Rachael gifted us Alaskan salmon and halibut, 50 glorious pounds.  
We're gonna live!!

While Rachael was here, Santa Abby had my early Christmas present arrive.  An 8 quart Instant Pot. 
Do I need another addition onto the kitchen?  Holy Huge!  After much texting and discussion, returned for a 6 quart model.  It fits, no addition required.  

Ok I was really on the fence about this thing.  I am down sizing and do not need one more plug in appliance.  While Rachael was here she extolled the virtue of this "magical new thing you really need". 
It arrived the day before she flew out.  As it had an air fryer lid, we made bacon.  (shocking, I know)  
and I decided I kind of liked it because it kept all the mess in one place and one pot!  I started watching youtube's and there are people with an army of Instant Pots because apparently it is a cult.  I have used it everyday, really everyday.  If I don't embrace it for 30 days it will be shoved to a dark recess and forgotten.  I've made the best soft boiled eggs, sweet potatoes, slow cooked stuff, fast cooked stuff, air fried everything I could think of and it dehydrates small stuff.  The day I dusted the stove it earned a place in my kitchen!  
The old crock pot is now in the studio, warming throwing water and the giant air fryer that sat on the counter is gone!  Two gone, replaced one; I guess that is downsizing.  
And it's always happy to see me!  
Hi! Back at'cha Instant Pot! (I know its the temperature but again leave me my illusions!)

And it's a time saver, because life is just chaos at the moment. 

two more shows checked off the list...

Delivering orders and now calling myself Uber Ceramics.

But stuff is getting done and there is a light at the end of the tunnel and there is one more week of this chaos and then we can HOLIDAY!  (because it is a verb in this house!) 

and Kirby is living his best life 💞

and above all else when your adrift in a sea of orders and people who order and insist they must have it before Christmas for their dear Mom or BFF and then....... don't get back to you, they ghost you, won't even let you know they moved or died or choked on a candy cane, impaled while loading the Christmas tree in their Volvo..... well