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)

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Five down, too little too late for six, and Groundhog Day comes early.

I managed to get the front walk shoveled but, when I reached the carport, I was too late. Damn.   I had to send for the Calvary in order to get my car out. Unfortunately, there was body damage so I’ve had to deal with my insurance company. This is the first time I have ever dealt with them for a claim, and it will be the last. Anyhoo, I’ve got a date with the collision guy on Wednesday and hopefully will get my car back quickly.

 I closed everybody up last night Dash four of the hands have decided to camp out in an out building. Not that I blame them, as one of them is at the bottom of the pecking order and is probably tired of all the abuse. But it just adds another step to my already busy chore list. Chickens. I came inside, drew the curtains, had an adult beverage (or three) and called it a day. This morning, when I ventured out, I found we got another 8+ inches of snow! Jiminy cricket. Joyce, feel free to come up and share the snow love. Bring a shovel.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Four down, two to go.

A foot of snow so far, with round two coming up this afternoon. The deck shoveled ✔️, path to the barn ✔️, path to the chickens ✔️, front door cleared ✔️.  Still to go: path to the driveway, roof raking carport and fuel tank cover. There is not enough coffee in the world today.