Easter Week

I picked, I shared, I covered, I played, I cooked, and I laughed! Poor Garfield should have kept on his snow gear and I shouldn’t have changed out the silver snowflakes for raindrops. April Showers have been a bit elusive so far this month, although it didn’t matter to the daffodils! Many of those early bloomers went and bloomed in spite of what was going on around them. Because I was looking at the forecast that was NOT only a couple of flakes, I went and cut many blossoms out of the gardens. Then, I gave away several dozen and had quite a few left to keep inside to brighten the kitchen with spring colors. Little Bear was startled those ‘bells on a stick‘ had such a strong scent. (hyacinth)

(Odd, that squirrel has lost its face and some of the flowers are missing!!! And those picture ratios are off. Piffle!!) Hoping those are fixed when this is done being edited…Blogging does have some odd quirks. Kind of like our weather this last week!! As noted above, I did cover the remaining flowers and some of those didn’t make it. The tarps were too heavy with the snow and then the water from melting snow, some tarps were black and made tiny greenhouses that cooked the tulips touching the tarps, while others did just fine under their covers! The hyacinth and daffodils are gone, but the tulips are starting to really show off. The parrot tulips, which are surprisingly fragile, are coming along nicely. I’ll share tulips next time! Below are a snow covered ‘Basket of Gold’, a hyacinth I didn’t pick, pear blossoms, my earliest tulips (I picked many, but not all of them), and an almost invasive plant called Snow on the Mountain.

The squirrel had discovered where the window feeder was moved to and annoyed Mittens as she stalked back in forth in front of the window. On Sunday evening, it was moved up a bit, Monday, the tree rat managed to leap for it! The critter is one determined squirrel!!! I also made a snowperson that lasted all of Saturday before melting away on Easter Sunday. Actually, there was a tiny white blob left in the yard when I was outside this Tuesday morning! I used spent daffodils for the eyes and nose and purple strawflower for the mouth. The ‘hair’ is lemon sedum (also rather invasive!).

Ripped, but mendable

I finished the book by Barbra Walter and there is just so much in it, I’m not sure where to continue my thoughts. There is a lot of math within this book (I was never a person who thrilled at graphs and stats and percentages), I managed to understand a portion of it. One of the key points she wanted to make clear was how close the USA is to a civil war.

There was a system created to show a country’s stability. “There are four factors the polity project uses to assess democracy: how free elections are from government control, how constrained the executive branch is, how open and institutionalized political cooperation is, and how competitive the recruitment for president is.” (138) This score consists of numbers that go from positive 10 to negative 10 and used those graphs. She writes that in Jan 2021, America’s score dropped from a +7 to a +5. That doesn’t seem like much (It fell in the 70’s, Nixon’s resignation brought it back to +10 and in ‘16, it dropped to +8), but now, for the first time since 1880, the United States is now an autocracy instead of a democracy. 

Ms. Walter writes about how this happened. Parties diverging on identity used media and social media to pump up their followers. Ethnic factionalism. (This was another graph or chart thing,) Factionalism is based on a 5 point scale. 5 is the least and 1 at the most. Today, we are at a 3. Where we were before the civil war and in the mid 60’s. Today, one party is behaving like a predatory faction in pursuit of winner take all. (p. 141) James Madison and Alexander Hamilton said that “if democracy were to die, it would happen at the hands of a faction.” There is a great deal more she wrote in this part of her book, but the part that struck me hard was about social media. 

I used to hang out on FB all the time, I’d craft witty or thoughtful comments, post quotes from my favorite books (yes, all of them!), and was almost one of those FoMO folks (Fear of Missing Out). While I was up north, I would contact people, sell things, and ask for help all through the social media. I had a few other accounts, besides FB, but those were pretty much fluff. (Except for WP. This is a social media network I constantly use, for help, as a book box, and to cry.) Social media is a great way to organize people. You can gather folks to help restore someplace, plan marches, and drop powder kegs into society. Media platforms help give people fuel to fix problems in both a positive way and in a violent way. With world politics, it is often the  latter. It offers an unregulated environment and multiple platforms. Previously, a candidate had to go through party leaders, major networks, and newspapers. (p. 116) Today a candidate can hit those ‘like’ triggers of fear and engagement to boost their agenda. A complete underdog can become an elected official using social media. (This happened in a country and I cannot remember where I wrote the name down!!!) 

Social media heightens the divisions in peoples, creating those factions mentioned earlier. Ethic entrepreneurs take these divisions and use different media forms to craft stories people can get behind, shaping their views, and crowding the wide tunnel of the rabbit hole. (p. 121) In her book, there was another quote I should have written down. It was by a creator of YouTube, I think. He said something like, ‘If you want it shared,  you have to go crazy town.’ If a post is shocking or a trigger for anger, it will get reshared faster and further than any fuzzy kitten sleeping with a bulldog puppy. “Indignant agreement is very popular.” (p 111) Because people want things changed and getting it spread means more people know about it and maybe something will be done. Unfortunately, often people also don’t check and misinformation spreads like dandelion seed on an organic golf course. There are hundreds of groups in the US alone that believe the country needs a major conflict to right itself. To inflict some kind of pain against others until relief is demanded and the government gives in (As with Russia in Ukraine, 9/11, and Hamas in Tel Aviv and Haifa.). People don’t actually WANT war, yet people will fight if attacked. Justified violence. (p188) A terrifying see saw, where one side is too heavy and the other side rallies more to their cause to join against the common enemy in self defense, law and order, and authoritarian government. 

There is an entire section I’ve not touched upon about the 10 steps of genocide by Gregory Stanton. A step of which the US is between 5 and 6, at the writing of this book. There is also a lot more about those factions.

She does say there is hope for the US. In 1989, South Africa was on the verge of civil war and a new president was elected. A leader who changed things around so dramatically, their country survived. A third world country we should pay attention to. 

I honestly think this is a book everyone should read. Granted, it is political non fiction, but it is fascinating and a good portion of it is citations for the information within. The author goes all over the world to support her findings. One FB friend felt the author was biased. I didn’t see that. Ms. Walter seemed just as likely to bite one side as the other! Besides, if you read it, you can credibly argue with me!!!

Quick Update

These last weeks the internet has been down. Spotty, but otherwise unreliable. I did finish the most excellent book and will add a concluding post soon. Spring has finally arrived in a gentle showing of a few early flowers and small leaves appearing on the trees. I picked some hyacinth for the kitchen window and would really like a stalk of pussy willow. Although, with the odd warm days and chilly nights, those may have already been bloomed out! I adore willow catkins. Our days have hovered in the mid 60’s to drop into the low 30’s. The daffodils have not recovered from the crazy frost snow we had when they were just starting to show themselves. Some of those stems are now two inch tall blackened stalks poking from the ground. Horribly sad! The bees are having fun in the hyacinth and the narcissus that are shyly entering the garden bower. I really like those flowers, but they really would look much nicer if they held their heads up high!

The local drive in opens tonight and it is a Tom Holland showing. Both Uncharted and Spider Man’s No Way Home will be playing. Fun fun fun!!! Hoping I’ll get to go. Little Bear is absolutely NOT on board with the idea. The Craftsman says we should, but hasn’t decided what day would be best. I may not be a gaming person (the first movie), or fond of spiders, but I adore Tom Holland. Neat kid.

So, until my next political post, that is all from this sector of blooms and buds!

Blindly American

I’m not sure if it is cool to write about a book you aren’t done reading. A book you have only read the introduction to and the first three chapters. Yet, I am going to. It is a fascinating book and others, people who are interested, might like to read. My title talks about myself, but this blindness isn’t necessarily mine alone. Other countries also tend to ‘not see’ what is happening around them. So, the title of the book is ‘How Civil Wars Start and How to Stop Them‘ by Barbara Walter. She’s a part of a group of world wide persons who study civil wars and how they start. She shares that ‘anyone can access dozens of high -quality datasets…related to how civil wars start, how long they last, how many people die, and why they fight.” This collection is now housed at Uppsala University, in Sweden. (p. xv)

In her first chapters, she cites many countries who were new democracies or older democracies that have descended into civil war. Oddly, not because of ideologies, but because of identities. Factions created around identities rather than beliefs. (p.35) “Identity based parties make it impossible for voters to switch sides; there is nowhere for them to go if their political identity is tied to their ethnic or religious identity.” (p. 38) Factions are created and can become superfactions- fracturing a democracy and country decisively. The leaders want to push their agenda and congregation of believers. As in Sarajevo, Bosnia. As in India, Northern Ireland, Iraq, and elsewhere in the world. The road to democracy is dangerous, rewarding, yet fraught with pitfalls.

“One of the greatest worries of the 21st century is not only is democracy declining, it s declining in some of the largest democracies around the world. Whereas politics…once revolved primarily around differing visions of government…politicians and their parties are increasingly coalescing around identity: religious views, racial backgrounds, urban and rural values.” (p.53)

“Average citizens may not foresee civil war. But experts who study civil wars know where to look and it is often not the group most people would suspect.” (p.57)

As I was reading, I realised how often I never paid attention to the mass murders of peoples across the world. Ukraine has captured our attention because of the speed and devastation involved. But, why didn’t I notice the Muslim men, women, and children killed and thrown off the Drina river bridge? Why didn’t I pay attention to the 87 day siege in Vukovar, Croatia in ’91? Yes, I was a young mom, but what happens in our world elsewhere, makes for changes in my own town.

Ukraine is a country at war with another country, so far. A bigger country with a leader wanting to push an agenda. A leader who said (and am not exactly sure where I read this. Maybe BBC news?) that democracy was failing. I read those words and scoffed and was angry, yet, after reading just a few chapters by an author who works with others to study civil wars, I am now concerned. America is one of those large democracies and it cannot be taken for granted anymore. We, here in the US, are just as easily taken in by misinformation and the change in economic and cultural power grows. The United States is not immune or better than anyone else, we are a diverse people who needs to remember what is in our melting pot. We can’t be concerned with trying to keep those bits separate. Like a good stew, all those different ingredients mix and meld and make it better. Trying to isolate and remove those ingredients will only ruin the entire pot.

Yes, I wear red on Fridays. I have red, white, and blue earrings. I enjoy fireworks on July 4. I adore The Avengers and Captain America. But, being aware of history and unaware of what is making history today, is not a good idea.

Usually my Favorite Month

Seriously, I love February. But, this year, sheesh. I have yet to get my new glasses ordered because I’ve not left the house more than twice since that first week. Thankfully, things are starting to look up on the heath front, so that is a blessing. Winter has returned, I was thrilled about that! February without snow is sort of dull. The Lenten Rose I planted last year was covered with buds, so I put a bit of protection around it. Hoping it survives. Can’t do much about the lilac, it will have to recover by itself! The birds have been crazy fun to watch.

There are a lot of finches and red polls and juncos. The house finches are most common. Not sure where they get the color in their feathers (they eat something that causes the color to show), but they have orange, yellow, pinks, and reds. The reds are most attractive to the females and so the brighter bird gets the girl. Mittens doesn’t really care what color they are, she just wants to play with one! She’s fallen off of the windowsill now and again when she forgets there is a pane between them! Right now, the birds balance on that rosebush stem and hop up to the feeder..or fly. They’ve been carrying on something fierce today!!

I learned how to make some of the most interesting things this last month. I shared the puffs, but I also made Italian meringue. In retrospect, I would like a candy thermometer to help gauge the temp. The dropping a bit of the sugar water mix into freezing cold water is fun, but dubious at times!!! I made Baked Alaskas. They were compromised the first time because the ice cream was melting and the meringue didn’t cover the cake properly. Still fun. The second time, the meringue wasn’t as fluffy and didn’t provide insulation. Also made marshmallow cream for a cake. It was like the Italian meringue, with marshmallows that didn’t incorporate. Not sure if it was the modern marshmallow (cookbook is from 67) or if it was store brand marshmallows instead of name brand or what..but, the blobs of marshmallow were disconcerting to find in the smooth frosting! That last cake was also not as easy as Betty made it out to be. Am so glad I did not cut the pieces of the jelly roll cake long. It was hard enough to stack them when shorter! Then, The Craftsman gave me tool cookie cutters for Christmas, so used a soft cookie recipe. As you can see, the tools melted!!!!!! I ended up making round cookies and dipping them in melted chocolate. The heart biscuits were for Valentine’s Day.

So, in spite of being sick, I was able to get a lot of cooking in. Was also trying to get my iPad up and running. So annoying. Apple’s waiting period finally ended and gracious does that thing have issues! Attempted to blog, and it was not as efficient as I’d hoped. Constant boggles and wonkiness. Will need to keep working with it, but meanwhile, will use an actual laptop or desktop.

Will leave you with Mittens. Because it is cold outside and Mittens is always warming!! Need to figure out how to shrink pictures, although, shrinking Mittens isn’t always a good idea!!

changed?

It is the eve of my ..(ok, I need to do math. 1965 minus now..57. YIKES!!!!) close to 60th birthday, and was curious. Have I changed? Change must happen or we stagnate. As a kid there were a few pools I’d found that were nasty, smelly, not moving water. I don’t want to be that. Not nice to be around. The aroma a person leaves should be pleasant. Like baking bread or chocolate chip cookies or petrichor (not bacon, that scent often reminds me of two things. Delicious and ‘now I need to clean up the greasy mess left behind’!).

My eyes have changed and looking ahead, I cannot WAIT to get new glasses. I can see great driving and the cheaters are good for books, but to look at a computer screen, I need my old spectacles and they hurt!! Most of last year seemed to surround vision. (Pun????) Being sick last March made me more aware of how easy it is to get sick, even when you think you are being careful. Knowing The Craftsman is only now getting back his sense of taste and smell makes me aware of how fragile so many of our 5 senses are and how they are taken for granted. Starting the class about Boundaries made me notice I have lived in a yard made of opinion (mostly mom’s) and that I need to move on and into my own fenced area. One I can open or close gates to and hope drones don’t fly overhead.

This year was the first one in many I’ve stayed in the states and that was hard. But, a blessing cuz of the eye things. I’ve spent a LOT of money on things someone else could have helped with and that statement made me realise something else.

Ages ago I learned a phrase that I figured was just one of those parental things and a nice sentiment. If you can’t say something nice about someone to their face, don’t say it to anyone else.” (ok, that doesn’t sound right…but, am sure you get the idea!) This place has been a screaming whining angry sharing spot. I have bitched over and over about mom and relationships and I am so thankful I could talk to someone, but it wasn’t nice of me to do that. I knew mom wouldn’t let me say 99% of those things to her, so I should have just kept it to myself. I apologise for sharing rude and icky Kris bits. Like toffee in a chocolate bar, but not as yummy.

Today, February 1, (May not get this published til after, I need to add photos) I wrote a card to some friends going through cancer and covid at the same time (it didn’t get sent, it is in my bag and ready to, but drove right on past the post and forgot it!), made puff pastry for cream puffs for the very first time and gave some away, bought Papa’s Pizza for dinner tonight (guys love that stuff) and one had Canadian Bacon on it (because I like it!), read part of an AMAZING wonderful grand book that was recommended to me by a librarian friend up north (Annie Spence’s Dear Fahrenheit 451: ) that was checked out of our library, got the kitchen tidied, a meal set up for The Craftsman to take to his mom, and wondered if the heated seat cover he bought me can be used in the living room on a chair too close to the wall? (I asked for Paperlike for the iPad I can’t use fully yet since apple still hasn’t decided I’m me, so they can send me the link to make a new password as the old one was silly long because I was clueless to how to use one of those contraptions. He forgot that was what I wanted!) Little Bear unloaded most of the dishes for me (forgot he had said he didn’t do the silverware and added more after dinner, so those will need rewashed. Or maybe he only left in the spatula stirring things and did unload the silver. No matter, it will wash again!) AND gave me a hug. He also put gas in the rig, but since he had driven it a lot, that was only fair!

Little Bear wanted ground hog for Ground Hog Day, so that is tomorrow (oddly, it looks like it might snow. At the moment, there are only a couple of flakes.…) and I am NOT going to get the angel cake this year. His birthday is on Friday, so that is going to be great fun. I’ll wrap up his gifts this week. Most of the rest of the month are little treats for The Craftsman (because it is February and I adore giving gifts), sending out Valentine’s to anyone in my world that I can, and packing away some winter décor and adding more for Valentine’s Day. The wreath is an amusing almost not exactly right project. It is way too busy, but most of the fabric is from mum (some she made into clothes for me) or things I’ve made. So, nostalgia.

Nostalgia. Looking back from the crossroads of today, but realising that one must not stay in yesterday. There are a million tomorrow’s just waiting to be experienced. And even if there aren’t quite a million, embrace what you are given. And to celebrate The Year of the Tiger falling on my birthday:

Talk.

Was in a class and during the discussion of the chapter we were on, (Boundaries) the leader carefully suggested I may benefit from counseling. Yeah, right. Much prefer the listening done via WP!!! Real time persons may not only be expensive, but the only one I ever visited was not a good experience. Granted, one shouldn’t judge all persons in a job by a single encounter, but sheesh!!! That guy met me by saying he didn’t know why I thought I might feel more comfortable talking to a male (didn’t have the guts to say women made me feel inadequate and childish) and the only time I saw any real interest was when I discussed a black and white movie I’d seen in a local theatre featuring old films.

As soon as I manage to get photos off the camera and onto the hard drive, I’ll share some of the cooking I’ve done. Today, wiener wraps in comforters were made. Usually I make them out of cheesy biscuit dough. The last dogs purchased were immense beef ones and Little Bear thought they’d be great in blankets. Got the dough started a bit later than usual and it was super sticky (dough hasn’t been as easy as usual, but it worked!). Eventually, the things were wrapped and popped into a warmed oven. OH MY!! Looked at them a bit ago and they look like they are hiding inside down comforters!! Wrapping up foods in bread is hard on the low carb diet, but so good on the taste buds!!! Gary, from Yummy Lummy, wrapped a bit of beef in puff pastry and did that look decidedly delickity. In a book, The Red Cross Orphans, the main character’s aunt made her a pastry out of suet. That seems like a bit too many carbs, but it looked fun when I googled it and the character was a red cross nurse in England. Purchased some refrigerated crescent rolls to make Wellingtons or maybe something else with burger. Bread is comforting and the scent of baking breads is even more so. I do need to preheat the oven for the rising wraps..but, reckon I need to first remove the wraps and the towel covering them!!!! That would NOT be a nice scent!!!

Have a great rest of the week wherever you are and blessings to you!

Wolf Moon post

It seems this particular time is for productivity in persons born between Jan 20 and Feb 18. So, I reckon it is good to get something written. A great deal has happened since Christmas. As there is ‘too much’, I’ll ‘sum up.’ (Princess Bride)

Last week of December the weather was rather messy and I had the second cataract removed. That was a great surgery!! The surgeon and anesthesia tech were different (the lady doctor also prayed for my eye, so comforting.) and the notes from that first included a suggestion for more doping. So, they did. I am not entirely fond of drugs, but oh my!! They can seriously change the outlook of an experience. Granted, I did get a bit of a bruise under the eye, but oh my was it worth it!! The tiny under the tongue pill was incredibly nasty-like biting into a grapefruit pip you couldn’t spit out! But, it did help me in not feeling the numbing shots I was given. The combination made me not feel a thing! I ended up with a wheelchair for the 20 feet from the curtained off anesthesiology area to the operating room because they needed to anchor me to something other than my floating feet. While being prepped, I saw the most beautiful images. The eye is propped open and when drops fell into the open area, I could SEE the color and shape of the circles as they grew from where they landed on my eye. They were clear and blue at the same time. Stunning. Even the breaking up of the cataract was fascinating. It was like ice. Not the cold part, but like when you see ice on a puddle shatter and move. All in all, the second surgery was much more memorable.

The weather dropped a LOT of lovely Hollywood snow on the area. Unfortunately, snow and the bits of sunshine made seeing incredibly difficult!! Thus, I didn’t go outside and play. Not that there is much one can do with deep fluffy snow. It was followed by wind. The squirrels were hilarious. At one point, a squirrel fell off the tube feeder into the deep snow. Little Bear’s comment: “It landed, POOF! and then bounded up and out covered in white to get to a nearby tree!” The suet feeder was also filled and created another point of entertainment. The poor birds didn’t get much, but those squirrel!! They got all greasy after they grasped pawsfulls of the sunflower seed mix from between the wires and had a heck of a time hanging on!!

Eventually, the deep snow blew into rock hard drifts. The Craftsman’s 88 year old mom was isolated and since she’s about a block outside of town, it isn’t the town’s responsibility to plow. The county had a lot of other places to do. A couple of days later, they finally reached her! The snow was blowing so much it closed every exit from this tiny town (there are at least five!). I had an appointment after the inundation of fluff and on my way back, noticed 3 bright orange traffic cones sitting on top of a drift by the side of the highway. It was curious, but as I passed the cones, I saw why they were there. The cones were placed ON TOP of a silver suv that was almost completely buried!!! One family had gone to a movie that blustery Sunday and the mom was on FB Monday asking if things were clear yet. Thankfully, the movie they went to was in a casino resort complex, so there was food and a place to stay. She did say it was the most expensive movie she’d ever gone to!

All the Christmas décor has been put away. The Christmas lights are still on the house, The Craftsman got as many as he could down as soon as the snow receded a bit! (In that last pic with the lights, you can see the white snow splotches in the photo!) Many of the winter decorations are up. Still need to do the ones too high for me to reach. I’d do it, except the vision is still a bit wonky and ladders are never very friendly normally!! Was told it will take a bit for the vision to settle. I did get some close up cheaters. The first day I attempted walking in them, I almost fell over!! It is easier to not wear them instead of trying to remember to take them on and off. Hopefully, new specs will be in my near future. At the moment, one eye is slightly infected. Was told to use dry eye drops and it would improve. (am waiting!) Driving is ok with dark glasses, and staring too long at a screen or book with bright pages is difficult. I did get the crocus bulbs tucked into sopping wet cold beds as soon as the snow melted enough. Hoping they have enough time to actually bloom this year!

Remembering my blogging community (and GH, who is going through some crazy issues of her own!) and leaving you with a quote from one of my very favorite books (yeah, I know, I say that all the time!). In this scene, a skull is talking to people in the castle about a messed up clock.  “The clock will never strike the right… the important thing is for you to understand that it doesn’t matter whether the clock strikes ten next, or seven, or fifteen o’clock. You can strike your own time, and start the count anywhere. Then you understand that — then any time at all will be the right time for you.” ~Peter S. Beagle, The Last Unicorn, 1968

Christmas Mostly Thankfuls, Part 2

The day of Christmas arrived. My traditional cinnamon rolls were, as mentioned, edible. I also started the dough for dinner rolls (I do love my helpful bread machine) and we opened up Christmas socks. When the boys were small, the socks existed so that they could get their Christmas morning jitters out of the way with a haul of small fun things and later we’d open the tree presents. Well, The Craftsman always felt uncomfortable doing this and Little Bear now has to be reminded it is ok. (Christmas inhibitions are lower when one is younger!) I was busy and when I arrived, I was surprised to find my sock had something in it. I had written on an index card some of the things I’d like. Dangly earrings and tulip, daffodil, crocus in yellow, and other spring bulbs were smaller things. In the sock I found a pair of earrings, purple crocus bulbs (24, I have dozens in the yard already. Good thing I love purple!), a good sized package of vanilla candied popcorn, and an entire bag of dark chocolate mint kit kats (a flavor I never eat myself as it is among the least favorites). So, sugar and something I didn’t ask for. The other gifts I got were on my list (One I bought myself, a lovely bathrobe with snaps), so that was fun. Little Bear even got me books..a LARGE amount for Amazon. Books books books!!!! The kid loved his updated metal detector and The Craftsman enjoyed all his gifts from the first of two rings I’d ordered to his Dewalt safety glasses.(He wanted a spinner fidget ring and one that had wood inlay. So, that is what I found. One ring, I might have gotten scammed on, but I think it is ok now)

  Meanwhile, I was wondering what on earth was taking my dough so long. After constant checking, I discovered I’d NOT made dough, but bread!!!!! (I managed to push the wrong buttons!) So, since I was using the leftover dough for wrapping little smokies for lunch, I made biscuit dough. After the bread machine cooled off, I also made dough again. That ended up incredibly sticky. Probably because my brain is a muzzy mess lately and I would lay odds I didn’t add enough flour when counting out the half cups. Those also didn’t turn out well, most were actually hard! (thankfully, a good portion were ok, bland, but ok.

  The guys went bird hunting (in reality, they were hiking near a creek) and I got the rest of my dinner timeline revised. (When I cook for a special day, I make a timeline so that the meal components are finished close together.) But, I also discovered I was out of the desired veggie. The bacon I had needed for a broccoli salad ended up being fried tiny minced ham bits (Did you know bits of ham in a frying pan will pop and jump out like popcorn???????) and worked quite well. (It is the craziest recipe. It calls for 3 cups of bite sized broccoli, 6 slices of cooked ham, crumbled, and 1 red onion. I usually use a portion of the onion as red onions come in a large variety of sizes!

  I had help, thankfully, with the potatoes. The Craftsman had been given a bag full. We surmised they had been rejects from a tater factory. Peeling tubers that resemble various flubber animations from Robin Williams’ version of The Absent Minded Professor was a bit daunting! 

  All in all, it was eventually served and I was one exhausted pigeon (not an early bird or night owl). On the first day of Christmas, the new computer desk I ordered has been mostly put together and my eye burns. The right one gets fixed on Wednesday!!! (earlier than first thought) For once in my life, I’m almost looking forward to putting up the Christmas decor on the 6th!

A Christmas to Remember-if I have to.

Amy Grant sings a song (she’s probably not the only one, but she’s the one I heard this Christmas Day) called ‘A Christmas to Remember’. Only, as she sang it, I wanted to just cry with frustration. In retrospect, it was only just after 2pm on Saturday, so now it is kind of funny. In a dark sort of silly way. 

I’d decided ages ago, to make rarebit for Christmas Eve. Every single set of directions said it was simple and didn’t take very long. I found some ale (Not being a person who cares much for beer, that took a bit. I could find beer in packs, but not singly.) and was a bit thrown to realise I had to buy a giant can of the stuff. A nice young man stocking the alcohol suggested the one I eventually chose. Something called Dead Guy Ale. Skeleton image on a black background. I also decided to make a pumpkin cake using yellow cake, instead of pie and our traditional cinnamon rolls. The cake was terrible looking, I only pray it tastes ok, it should with enough whipped topping!!! Part of the problem was having 3 recipes with not a lot of information. (I tend to do that when writing down recipes, only put in the important bits and forgetting that years later, I may need the not so important things like ‘how’ or which dry ingredients are spices) I did look online and did find all three recipes, but the one I chose was probably not the one I’d made ages past a couple of times! The rarebit was NOT easy and it was grainy. I used a ton of shredded cheese, about twice as much as called for. The stuff would NOT set up, even after cooling it was still less than gravy texture! It did taste ok, but sheesh. I got some nice thick bread, toasted it, buttered it, put the cheese and some pre cooked bacon on top, and popped it under the broiler. Not much happened, we ate it anyway. May use the rest of the cheese sauce on shredded pork later this week. The cinnamon roll dough did NOT rise. Because I ignored the directions and added too much cinnamon to the dough. I often add a half tsp instead of a whole. (Cinnamon can inhibit yeast from doing its thing, so if you add it to your yeast dough, you need more yeast). They were ok, a bit tough, but still edible. Barely.

We open up a single gift on Christmas Eve. Books. This year the books I chose for everyone were GREAT choices. A perfect Star Trek Cats book for The Craftsman, a trapping book for Little Bear (quite honestly, it is more just to read than actually use. Because I cannot imagine–nor can anyone else, thankfully– trapping skunk. Plus, not only are leopards endangered, they are a rather uncommon animal in EO.), and the one for me..OH MY!! It came and I put it under the tree in the packaging it arrived in. When I opened it, I had a surprise beyond surprises. The book is called ‘Just Farr Fun’ by Jamie Farr of the TV series M*A*S*H* and on the front page there was an inscription to someone named Suzanne from Jamie Farr. I HAVE JAMIE FARR’s SIGNATURE!!!