Wednesday, January 8, 2020

If necessity is the mother of invention...

... does that make vanity the princess of invention?  And what about laziness?  That surely figures in.  Probably the not-talked-about member of the invention family.

I am a firm believer that the eldest child is the inheritor of all the genetic material that needs to be flushed out of the parental units.  Things like the pouchy eyes of your German relatives, the tendency to male pattern baldness that knows no gender.  Ahem.

During the winter, one of my favorite things are the fleecy sheets on my bed.  As the daylight hours dwindle into single numbers, I find myself almost vaulting into those velour-like linens with the same feeling (I imagine) a little mole flees sunlight for the security of his dark little home.  Very mole-like, I burrow in.  Of course, I don't spend a lot of time sleeping - I am, as a rule, up between 3-3:30 every morning - and I am 'entertained' by a variety of dreams during the shortened night, which have me tossing and turning.  All this tossing and turning on my much-loved fleecy pillow case has the effect of putting an immersion blender to my hair.  Upon waking, not one strand is lying placidly on my head.

Add to this the combination of hard water, few daylight hours in which to do morning chores and a long daily commute, to make it inconvenient to take the time to shower every morning.  I compromise with an every-other-day schedule, which gives me a few mornings during the week where I can actually get to work on time AND do an extra little something - like unload 100# of feed.  What an exciting life I lead!  (Insert sound of dripping sarcasm)

Needless to say, my challenged morning 'beauty' regime is usually out of my control.  Or anyone else's.  Vidal Sasson would throw his hands up in surrender.  I am thankful to get out the door in matching shoes (or IN shoes), with a top and a bottom that don't clash.  I pray that I can get from my car in the building garage and into my office without anyone more stylish catching sight of me.  This also has me darting furtively into the ladies room throughout the day.  It's a lot of work.

Since January has me all fired-up to purge the excess of my life, I have been rummaging through long-neglected drawers, casting out things that have been moved with me, but never worn, for over 30 years.  Egads.  Yesterday morning, I did a short foray into the 'lingerie' drawer (using the term very, very loosely, given the state of my BGPs).  I plucked out two half slips.  Does anyone even wear slips now, half or whole?  I feel we've left slips behind and jettisoned into spanx.

(Hang in there - it's all connected)

As I went to dispose of the undergarments, a tiny light bulb went off in my brain.  It could have coincided with catching sight of myself in the mirror.  A vague recollection emerged of my mother covering her pillow with a satin pillow case (she being the generator of the aforementioned bad hair gene).  I quickly slid one slip over each side of my pillow (slip covers - snort!) and this morning I emerged from bed with non-electrified hair.  It was almost tame.

I am now on a mission to obtain satiny-type material and make an actual pillow case.  It may not help my lack of style, but it sure will keep me from scaring the dogs in the morning.

Thursday, January 2, 2020

No quietly into the night here.

Not that I would expect anything different, but my New Year's Eve involved dog barfing, cat barfing, and an active smoke alarm.  It is no wonder that the dogs, cat and I were under the covers by 8:30.  I figure the new year will arrive whether I am there to greet it or not.

Peanut apparently discovered something 'tasty' in the chicken yard that did not agree with him.  After stewing around in his stomach all day, he decided to jettison it while still under his freshly washed blanket, on the freshly washed sofa cover.  I'm glad I had spares of both, as I do not use a dryer and everything has to be washed and festooned on my drying rack.

Not to be outdone, Slimmie decided to join in, while making sure he hit the rug.  Lovey, as always, looked on anxiously.

I finally had taken my car into the body shop and was given a rental (using the term 'given' lightly here).  Sitting in the rental is like being thrust into a commercial jet with no instructions.  So many dials, gauges, lights, symbols!  Meghan, the rental agent - a very nice young woman of about 12 - rattled through all the attributes of the car, the rental agreement, deposits, sign-heres, initial-theres in about 3 minutes.  I think I absorbed about a quarter of the information.  Then I was thrust into the world, madly pushing buttons and dials to get the heat/defrost working.  About halfway back to the office, I finally figured out the heating system and got the windows cleared.  Geezelouise.  This car has everything but a snow scraper.  How is that possible in the northeast?

The Chevy and I have negotiated a truce, which is a good thing, as I won't be getting my car back until a week from tomorrow at the earliest.  Apparently, the front bumper now has to be pulled off (headlights and all) so that they can blend the red paint artistically with the new front hood, etc.  Little did I know that I had dropped my car off with Michelangelo.

Now to the smoke alarm.

After a wild ride home in the new-to-me car, over the mountains through a snow storm complicated by fog, I arrived home to the aforementioned barfings, raced out in the dark (on ice) to do chores, raced back in, fed the dogs, started my dinner, then realized I had not checked the Club House to see if low-hen-on-the-totem-pole was cowering in a corner.  This would leave her vulnerable and cold.  So out I went, completely forgetting the extra virgin olive oil heating in my cast iron pan.  At least I know my detector works.

After a glass of liberally spiked eggnog, I toddled off to bed at 8:30.

I believe 2019 ended in character.  Hi ho!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

Hellooooooo 2020!

I'm not sure where I found this photograph - but it fills me with happiness every time I look at it.  So, don't let the door hit you in the butt, 2019, but I am very glad to see the tail end of you.  I am having very optimistic feelings about 2020 (a one-term imposter and a return to sanity and compassion, being high on my list) and I am going to will it to happen.

My best wishes to all of you, that your brand-spanky New Year is everything you hope for and more!

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Lots of Christmas Spirit(s)

After a much frenzied catch-up with the holiday, I managed to get everything done and get out of the door less than a half hour late!  That's a record.  The 'kids' got invited to Christmas, so there was much packing of treats, leashes, holiday clothing (forgive me - I can't help it.  I am one of THOSE dog moms) and Peanut's booster seat.  All the gifties were wrapped, two kinds of cookies baked (nut balls, my mom's favorite, and a new one - pecan pie bars, which may become a standard), the nut loaf prepared and packed into the loaf pan, a new cheese ball sat, plump, on its Christmas plate, pint jars of "Sweezie's" Irish Cream and Coquito (Puerto Rican Egg Nog) in their own box.  I was a paragon of orderliness.  Until I reached Vermont and realized I had forgotten the Christmas stockings.

In all modesty and abject humbleness, I will say that the nut loaf was superb!  However, I now remember why I don't make it often - it takes quite a while to assemble and uses almost every pan in  your kitchen, not to mention small appliances.  It's worth it, if just once a year.  I also made a new kind of cheese ball that was quite a hit.  Unfortunately, there are no pictures of either, since I started at 4A on the nut loaf and didn't stop until I stumbled out the door at 10A to load the car.

The dogs were perfect - from suffering through their Christmas sweater/JimJams, to not begging too much.  They had way too many treats and Peanut was in heaven, jumping from lap to lap.  Then their auntie gave them their squeaky toys and it was happy pandemonium.
My little reindeer

He actually liked them!
Our atypical menu (for us) was nut loaf, roasted asparagus, an amazing squash/chickpea curry dish that my sister made, rice pilaf, and a salted maple pie for dessert.  The highlight of our day was a very posh Christmas drink that my sister made:
There was actual edible gold glitter on the rim and floating on the surface - cool!  After one of these, we all reverted to 10 years old and put gold glitter on our lips and eyelids.  My mother was quite amused.

When we finally straggled home, the dogs went right to their sofa, under their blankets and didn't move until I made them go out this morning.  A good time was had by all!

I hope y'all had the kind of holiday you hoped for!
Isn't she darling?

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Late but not Lost

I am finally in the holiday spirit.  Now that it's Christmas Eve, I'd say that I slid in without a moment to spare!  I was looking through my photographs and found an odd assortment that somehow never made it onto the blog.  So, in no particular order...
The Headless Cat

Roasted cauliflower with tahini, pomegranate and

Mashed roasted purple yams

No caption needed

Tiny Tim, the Farm Bunny

Lovey loves her new blanket

Unknown hybrid from Marianne's farm - still intact
since it was picked in early October.

Tiny Tim has a friend!

Christmas Gift Plan B
The holidays are very pared down this year.  It's just the 'girls', since losing dad in October.  My sister, bless her heart, announced that Christmas dinner will be all vegetarian this year.  This has given me the opportunity to make my nut/mushroom loaf with mushroom gravy!  We are doing stockings, although I will be thrilled to have a no-gift holiday next year - it's my mission!  I've been knitting like crazy - there are five stockings, so I managed to squeak out 3 pairs of socks and two pairs of fingerless mitts.  Plus a pair of mittens for my neighbor and a pair of fingerless mitts for a coworker in the City.  Yeesh.  My mother's socks are drying on the sock blockers as I type.

Marianne is always tough to gift.  This year I decided to bake them my favorite Christmas cake - a cranberry cake that is mostly butter, sugar, eggs and cranberries.  Held together with flour.  Since our local grocery stores have, apparently, decided that no one needs fresh cranberries after Thanksgiving, I was forced to use a bag of frozen berries.  That cake took FOREVER to bake!  Instead of an hour, it was almost two and a half hours.  I finally pulled it out of the oven at 9:45P and let it cool slightly before taking it out of the cake form.  Except....I fell asleep and it sat in it's cake form, welding itself to the metal, for almost an hour.  I draped foil over it and went to bed.  In the morning, armed with my third cup of coffee, I contemplated the mess and decided to cut it into slices, which I then formed into a spiral on the cake stand and festooned with holiday cellophane.  I minced into Marianne's and told her that I not only had brought dessert, but I even cut it into individual slices to make it easier.  Aren't I the virtuous one!?  Thank goD, it tasted fine and everyone loved it.

The 'kids' get to spend Christmas with us, so I am very happy.  With any luck (plus treats and having extra hands to help) I will get photos of them in their Christmas sweaters.

I hope you all have a wonderful holiday - whichever and whatever you celebrate!

Monday, December 16, 2019

I’m tired of being special.


Ripped off


I am officially tired of being 'special'.  In a 'special' area where we get double to triple the forecast snowfall levels.  Of having a roofer say, "Wow.  I've never seen that before in all my 30 years of roofing in this area."  Of having the pleasure of being the recipient of 'extreme conditions'.  Yessiree.
I'm over it.

The car goes into the body shop (fingers crossed that the snowfall doesn't exceed even our 'special' area) tomorrow morning.  I had a roofer out to assess the damage to my roof from the last snowfall - the same one that collapsed the carport (which purported to stand up to most weather, except for extreme conditions) and after viewing the carnage of my sheered off vents, said that he had never seen anything like it. 

I would relish an extended period of boring.  I'd like to visit the Land of the Snooze.  Let me stay for a while in Hotel Ennui.


Monday, December 9, 2019

Just call me Princess Squeaky Wheel

I am not an unreasonable person. - most of the time, although I have had my moments.  I realize that in this time of Black Fridays, Cyber Mondays and all around Maniac Monthies, things that are shipped can be delayed.  Throw in the giant snow storms and you have a hot mess.  I understand.


Recently, I had placed the autoship order for dog food through, who uses FedEx for deliveries.  I order this automatically every six weeks.  (Let me say here that I love - they are totally awesome for a mega company.  Let's hope they stay that way.)  I also placed my Christmas dog/cat order a few days later.  In between, all of the above happened (the black cyber mania AND the snow storm).  I expected delayed shipments and I had a little stash of dog food that would hold me almost a week.

Being obsessive organized, I viewed the 'track your shipment' information every once in a while, just for fun.  Then I started to see a weird trend.  My package would be out for delivery at 7:47AM, then back in the facility at 12:54PM.  Next day, same scenario, slightly different times.  Third day, ditto.  Meanwhile, I received two UPS shipments, one in the midst of the storm.  FedEx? (insert the sound of crickets.)  I called Chewy to see if they knew what was going on.  They did not, but were friendly and made concerned sounds.  After four starts and stops, my first package was finally delivered.  I had run out of the dogs' food, but had been feeding them kibble with chopped Thanksgiving turkey leftovers, mixed with warm broth.  Poor dears...

When the same ricochet pattern started happening on the second package, I had had enough.  There was the back and forth three times, with the final delivery scheduled for three days in the future!  There was no snow storm at this point.  I called Chewy's again and, after suggesting that they not renew their FedEx contract and letting them know that, while I thought they were the cat's jimjams, I was not happy with their shipments.  I mean, if it's delayed, then - by gum (not my exact words...) - say it's delayed.  I can deal with delay.  My life is a series of Plan Bs!  Ahem.

They credited $15 on my order.  That took the puff out of my huff.

Then it was time to contact FedEx customer service.  Which was almost impossible.  I could not get a human.  In desperation, I pounded "0" when trapped in the automated loop and was finally directed to customer service.  After a very long wait, I was finally connected to a person.  I then let them know what I thought about their on again/off again notifications and wanted an explanation for the three-day gap in final delivery (if it WOULD be the final delivery).  They started a file to investigate and told me that, if I hadn't heard back from anyone by Monday evening, I should call back on Tuesday.  This was Saturday and the final delivery was scheduled for Tuesday.  I pointed out to her that none of this was helpful and that I would be urging Chewy's to switch to UPS. 

My package arrived the next day.  On a Sunday.  It must have involved divine intervention.

(squeak, squeak, squeak)