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!!! 

Tis the Season for….Aliens?

The Craftsman really enjoys Christmas lights. He’s not into inflated holiday characters (the area is way too windy to support those things for long!), so much of his decor is lights. He made a plywood tree which is on the fence, it was just lights before I asked him to paint it. He did and added some cheap plastic ornaments he cut in half and glued to the tree. It is rather festive, night or day. The whole house is fairly bright and seasonal, not like the overkill of Clark Griswold and others in this small town. Just fun lights. There are 3 laser projectors in the yard. After discovering, one surprising night, that pointing the revolving lights at trees make fairy lights (especially if it is windy!), he put one shining in the lilacs and one on a locust I can see from the kitchen window. The third one is stationary-oddly, some laser lights don’t do much more than change colors. That one is pointed at the wall near the bedroom window. It is rather fun to see green and red spots  on the ceiling as you fall to sleep. (he said they turn off on their own and I did stay awake one night til they did…at almost 2 am!!) 

Well, one rainy weekend night I’d gone to bed early. A couple of hours later, the house was silent, except for the off sync ticking of two loud wall clocks. The spot where I sleep is directly in front of a window with miniblinds, which is nice when it is sunny and the light shines gently on the blankets.(Moses used to love that!)  At night, the blinds are closed. I usually can sleep anywhere and anytime, for any length, except during wind. (I think it is from being a small child  in Alaska and sleeping when it was bright daylight at night or with parents around who were partying) Yet, this night, I suddenly awakened.

Something was wrong. Listening, I couldn’t hear a thing. The rabbits weren’t even noisy and they are often rambunctious at night. The entire room was lit up from something outside. Lit up with a glowing fluorescent green light!!!! I blinked and stared, The light was so bright the blinds stood out. Each slat was marked with a black line around it. I admit to feeling a bit startled and kept perfectly still in the bed. After a few heartbeats, it vanished. Poof, black as a pocket in a mine. Relaxing a bit into the pillow, I was startled once more. Now, the bright light was a bright darkness with a couple of red flecks in it. It, too, vanished. By now, I was just staring at the window with wide eyes and a quickly beating heart. Then, the glowing green light was back! I could have read by it, it was so bright. I looked over at The Craftsman. Sound asleep, just like every not awake person in an alien abduction story. It vanished and the cycle of black, to a black ‘light’, to glowing green repeated. I was sitting straight up in bed, feeling more than a bit nervous. I thought it might be the laser light outside, but it had never done anything so crazy! Very, very carefully. As careful as Elmer Fudd sneaking up on Bugs Bunny, I inched my way out of bed and to my slippers (by golly, I may get abducted in a sleep top and panties, but I had to have on slippers!) I knew where the remote was for the light and crept across the bright room with my arm outstretched. The remote was only steps away. Quickly,  I snatched it up. Obviously, I couldn’t remember which button (always the top one!) turned off the laser and fumbled til my finger hit it.I waited for the sequence to recycle and while the room was glowing green again, I triumphantly pushed the button, plunging the room into a sane darkness. 

Sighing, I put the remote down,  stumbled back to the bed, crept under my warm safe covers, and fell back to sleep. The next day, I explained what had happened. There was no explanation! The guys eventually chalked it up to just some strange glitch. It hasn’t happened since. 

Thus, Kris 1, Aliens 0…I hope!