Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Goodbye 2008

I have a friend who is always optimistic despite a lot of fairly serious events in his life. He said he kept saying Everything's Great in 2008 a lot to help get him thru a couple of these daunting times. It worked for him and so next year his phrase is It's all fine in 2009.

Looking at the positive is always a good option even if it seems hard to do. I always feel if you're above ground, it's a good day!

To a Fine 2009 for you and me and a farewell to December NABLOPOMO.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Winding Down The Year

DH usually does a year wrap up for us so we can look at our own year month by month. Some of this he gets done by looking at our monthly credit card bills as almost all our purchases are done that way. Don't worry...we pay our bill in full each month so no monthly surcharges are incurred. The bonus points do add up btw. However he hasn't done this yet while we're down at Hilton Head so I'll try to think of some of the big points.
happy couple
We saw a lot of marvelous cities this past year from Granada and Sevilla in Spain to Gibraltar and Lisbon.
Only 4?
Chicago is always a favorite that is wonderful in the fall. We finally got to Italy and took the trip I had hoped to make for our honeymoon 7 years ago. We never did agree on which of the three main cities we visited was our mutual favorite - Venice, Florence or Rome.
Osteria Ae Sconte
I still might go with Orvieto as my choice for a return trip. DH is still 'processing' as the good introvert he is.

I started doing some literacy tutoring in one of our local detention centers and I really like that. The prisoners come and go and I was surprised to find that very few women need basic tutoring. They may make some very poor decisions that land them in jail but at some point in life most of them paid enough attention in school to be fairly capable of reading and doing math on a 4th-5th grade level. The men need those skills.

The other thing that stands out in my own mind for the year is getting an Iphone which led me into the other realms of social media...Facebook and Twitter. Each serve a particular purpose and along with blogging, email, and texting I AM having fun.


Monday, December 29, 2008

Bar B Que...Southern Style

I have to say that North Carolina bar-b-que is my all time favorite. Roasted pig, slow cooked, then shredded and topped with a strong vinegary red pepper sauce, then some sweet thick smoked sauce too sometimes.

After that typical holiday drive on I-95, we needed this to keep going. Well pork and a good bed.
08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26

Bring it on! This buffet at Bills Barbeque in Wilson NC set us back $19. for two...all you can eat and as much sweet tea as your bladder can hold.

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26
I had barbeque, rice, hush puppies (those snail like things), fried fish, and some sweet potatoes over in the corner dish. This was my first plate...I only had one more, honest!

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26
He had a lot more meat than I did and the yellow on his plate is a fine chopped coleslaw that is common in the south. So are the ubiquitous red plastic glasses.He got his dessert right away - smart man.

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26
Yep, there was still some turkey to be had on the 26th, but who wants turkey when you can have Mr. Pig?

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26
If it's the south, you know there will be peach cobbler (and banana pudding). Not much cobbler left but we managed.

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26
A good night's sleep was had by two, and the next day we were ready to hit the road and look for more barbeque for lunch. We know what we like!

Save Those Teabags

and make yourself a greeting card! Unfortunately, I seem to have thrown the link out with the Christmas wrapping or something like that.

If this is your design, Claim It Please!

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Warm Balmy Breezes

Greetings from Hilton Head South Carolina.

original by The Lorax Lady

I knew dh was about due for some bicycling and so we made plans for a post Christmas trip to the beach and a beach far enough south to have some warm weather. At least we had hopes!

It was a long tiresome drive on the stretches of I-95 we drove on the 26th

08 Hilton Head Trip Dec 26

but after a night in Wilson NC and some darn good barbeque, we took the side roads and the temperatures rose. By the time we had lunch in SC it was in the 70s. I joked that we needed the a/c on but I just took my sweater vest off and put the faux Uggs in the back seat.

I have a bunch of barbeque pictures to upload but will post this now - gotta get those daily posts in for NABLOPOMO!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Oh so Grateful

that my friend Carol in cold cold Maine taught me how to make Cream of Wheat in the microwave. This batch has ground almonds and cherries on top in addition to the butter and maple syrup. REAL maple syrup!

Friday, December 26, 2008

All over but...

Nana and her 3 grandaughters at the Girls Table or so it turned out to be.

Now it' s on the road to have barbeque in Wilson NC and then beachtime on Hilton Head SC. Sounds really good to me! Cya soon, y'all. (gotta get into speaking Southern)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Not For Republicans

Worded Wednesday

I liked this page so much I decided to share it; dh said Why didn't you make the packages different colors? And I says...Because I only know so much Photoshop and have only so much time. Geesh...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Op Shopping At Its Best

I don't often pray for specifics but today was an exception. I had dropped some food off at a local shelter, and suddenly said...Oh God the only thing I'd really like is to find a pot and pan at the nearby thriftstore. My 2 yr old granddaughter is getting cooking things, and I wanted a lightweight aluminum pot. I knew they are often a dime a dozen at thrift stores but not lately.

Well, in I go, drop off a red rug that needed to be donated because it's wool and we have a barfy cat...and YES, Yes, Yes. There's one aluminum pot and one small lightweight pan. $2. each. Plus one small cake mold which is either a bear or a monkey for $1. Thank you God!

Oh yes, and there were some goodies for me too...a ravioli mold and a popcorn popper. I hope the popper works because I haven't used one like this in a zillion years but I want to get away from microwaved popcorn. I LOVE popcorn!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Happy Winter Solstice

Ah the shortest day of the year or the longest if you are Down Under celebrating the Summer Solstice. To all of you whether having short or long days, I share my dream with you.

Drop Anchor and let the joy of the season flow over you. Ahhhhhhh. Doesn't that feel good?

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Santa Came Early

Well, he actually arrived at the end of November and I considered this my first Christmas present. Thank you thank you thank you dear Cathy!! I bet you thought I'd never blog about this, did ya?

The collage of Patsy was a gift I won from dear Cathy of Big Cat's Emporium and more recently TinnieGirl. Patsy needed an adjective to describe her, and my choice of Pensive won out. Yeah me! Patsy flew all the way from Victoria Australia to land on my dining room table.

In January my wall of art will finally be installed (dh doesn't know about this yet...and Patsy will have a place of honor) Again, thank you so much Cathy and I hope 2009 will bring you much success with your adventures in tin land. Check out TinnieGirl at Etsy to actually purchase some lovely things. You go girlfriend!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Snow? What Snow

Seems like all the places that never, hardly ever, get snow Got Snow. We had a winter storm advisory for today earlier in the week and, not snow, but fog and heavy, chilly rain. That's ok, I didn't have much to do outside the house but I do still have a video (Get Smart) to return so there is one more trip out today/tonight.

Yesterday, I hit some of our newer stores in the newest shopping center, Annapolis Town Center. No, it's not in Annapolis per se, but actually at least 3 miles outside the City of Annapolis. Marketing. It was going great guns as the economy was booming but unfortunately hit its opening just as the Oh No News was hitting the front pages. I had salivated waiting for a Target just a few minutes away and watched that October date like a hawk. Since then, I've only gone to Target twice. But I COULD if I wanted to, right?

Yesterday, I nearly peed my pants because somehow I had missed the opening of This Store.

Sur La Table..oh be still my heart! The clerk asked if I wanted to be on the list of 'preferred' email customers. OH YES!!! I said in an orgasmic voice! When she got my email address (cf the name of this blog) she had a good laugh. But oh dear Sur La Table, you will have to give me some good sale prices you know to keep me a faithful purchaser, not just a Stalker. Coldwater Creek, Paper Source, and Anthropoligie all got some of my money. I never made it into J. Jill, but I will!

fwiw, Anthropoligie was full of 30 something SAHMs, garbed in solid black The North Face outfits (and yes streaked blond hair too - expensive streaks). I checked the carats one of them was wearing and it had to be over 10 carats worth of some damn sparkley rocks. As she had done the amoeba flow with me from SLT thru Paper Source to Anthroplogie I had had time to check her diamonds several times. There may be a recession going on but it wasn't evidenced by the shopping going on in Annapolis yesterday. This has always been an interesting town.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Drop Dead Thursday

Well it was supposed to be Drop Dead Wednesday but somehow that didn't happen. I did get a lot of digital work (play!) done and got half of it printed. Then the flash drive wouldn't accept jpegs even tho it appears empty to both of us. channeling Roasanna Dandanna...It's always something! Ok so back to looking thru the collection of flash drives for ones smaller than 2G. Old MacMini won't accept flashdrives >1G and it's old MacMini that is printing them, not the new Mac. DH may have the minicable to the thingamajig that allows large flashes to be used. That's a later in the day Maybe.

So today - let's see I need a pressie for a 2 year old like those keys and cell phone. I need to make up a menu for Christmas day (one vegetarian) and write out a shopping list to buy Friday? I want to bake rosemary shortbread (?) cookies. At least I think that's what they were. Martha? If they aren't in my computer file of recipes, I do hope they are in my mail folder. I truly love the search component on this Mac which seem to find my stuff quickly and accurately. No shopping till I find the recipe so that's #1 and then get to a toy store. If all else fails, there are the book stores. In fact the book stores sound like a great trip for me and the man! That is a treat we haven't had for a while and it sounds like it's time to me.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Have You Ever

This looked like a fun survey. I saw it on Stacy's The Adams Family blog.And she saw it on....who saw it on... Well I guess it's been going around but today was MY first time seeing it and I thought Oh this one is easier. I don't have to write out answers. My dh and friends know, I like answers to be short and sweet. Seriously, I do think most things can be answered with a yes or no. A very strong TJ on the Myers Brigggs.

RULES: There are 100 statements and you bold the ones you have done. Grab it and play for yourself!!

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity.
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain.
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept in an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you're not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught yourself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo's David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Pari
s51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud

55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten cavier.
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had your picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chicken pox
89. Saved someone's life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a lawsuit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Read an entire book in one day

So, I've done 66 of those and my age nearly matches it. LOL. There are some I wish I had done, and others I have no intention of doing, but then in life you Never Do Know, do you?

Have fun and try this one out!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

ABC Gingerbread

You do recall ABC gum in school - already been chewed? Yes, we Ugghhed and Ewwwed about that one. But ABC Gingerbread? Well this is just pretend.

You can get the scoop and the cutters over at The Spoon Sisters . Perhaps it's too late for this Christmas, but a wise cook prepares in advance!

Speaking of Gingerbread

Martha Stewart thinks I'm a Gingerbread. What are you?

btw, I have her gingerbread stickers and stamp.

You're warm, spicy, and multifaceted.

But you knew that, didn't you...(smile) So what kind of cookie are you?? Answer the short quiz and find out. Some nice silly fun to help you relax and enjoy the holiday spirit.

Monday, December 15, 2008

When Gingerbread Goes "Bad"

See the cannibalistic truth at Urban Threads. Makes a cute idea into a black humor idea. Tickled MY funnybone!

When I Win the Lottery

I'll have a big clean house decorated for me by Darryl Carter.

If he can do it for his parents, he'd be able to do it for me, right? Oh but did I mention I never play the Lottery? I guess I'll just have to look at his designs and think Clean, Clean, Clean especially Post Christmas. Right now I'll be happy with my yellow, red and green.

A woman can ertainly dream tho. Wonder if he'll get a crack at the White House???

Sunday, December 14, 2008


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Too Good Not To Share - and Share

This comes from a 2005 Ali Edwards post. I love it and think it needs to go back into the world today.

Wall Budapest Castle

Christmas is a strange season. When you're a child, it is a season of presents. When you're young, it's a season of parties. When you get your own home, it's a season of preparations. But when you get older, Christmas changes color drastically. Suddenly, out from behind the advertisements and big dinners, through the haze of old carols and soft candles, past the dazzling altars and sumptuous crib scenes, we begin to see what Christmas is really all about. Christmas is about finding life where we did not expect it to be. Every year of life waxes and wanes. Every stage of life comes and goes. Every facet of life is born and then dies. Every good moment is doomed to become only a memory. Every perfect period of living slips through our fingers and disappears. Every hope dims and every possibility turns eventually to dry clay. Until Christmas comes again. Then we are called at the deepest, most subconscious, least cognizant level to begin to live again. Christmas brings us all back to the crib of life to start over: aware of what has gone before, conscious that nothing can last, but full of hope that this time, finally, we can learn what it takes to live well, grow to full stature of soul and spirit, get it right. There is a child in each of us waiting to be born again. It is to those looking for life that the figure of the Christ, a child, beckons. Christmas is not for children. It is for those who refuse to give up and grow old, for those to whom life comes newly and with purpose each and every day, for those who can let yesterday go so that life can be full of new possibility always, for those who are agitated with newness whatever their age. Life is for the living, for those in whom Christmas is a feast without finish, a celebration of the constancy of change, a call to being once more the journey to human joy and holy meaning.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Souper Saturday

I tend to think about this soup a lot, mainly because I like lasagne A Lot. However, I don't often feel like making lasagna a lot, especially in the summer months when the idea of the oven on for 45 minutes or so has very little appeal. So winter or summer, this is a good one because it's a stove top one and can even be done in a crockpot . I think I would brown the meat first though. My batch is for next week, so the pasta has NOT been added yet.

photograph by Marilyn at GardenWeb

1 pound ground beef (sirloin or chuck)
1 large onion; chopped
5 cloves garlic; minced
4 cups beef broth
15 oz. can crushed tomatoes
15 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 can Campbell’s tomato soup
1 teaspoon dried basil
4 oz. fresh baby spinach leaves
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 cup mafalda pasta (mini lasagna noodles)
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Brown ground beef in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add onions and continue to cook until onions are tender, stir in garlic and sauté for another minutes. Add broth, tomatoes, soup and basil; bring to a simmer and cook covered for 30 minutes to blend flavors. Meanwhile cook pasta until al dente, drain and toss with olive oil. Add spinach and pasta to the soup and simmer uncovered until spinach wilts, 1 or 2 minutes. Taste soup and season with salt and pepper.

To serve, place 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese in the bottom of bowl and ladle hot soup on top to melt cheese. Garnish top with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Serves 4 generously.

Recipe inspired by Lasagne Soup from Cuisine at Home magazine via Marilyn at GardenWeb.

My notes - the pasta will swell quite a bit if you save any leftover soup. You may like that, you may not. I would suggest doubling this if you like it and freezing half to add pasta later. I do find pasta will freeze quite nicely - for a soup like this - if coated with a bit of oil and microwaved for a bit from the frozen state.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Makin' A List, Checkin' It Twice

Naughty, nice, doesn't matter because this list is a list of things the writer of this blog needs (wants?) to do in short order.

  • Request referral for cataract appointment in January
  • Finish the tree (yes still doing the 15 minute segments) Just the angel left for dh to add.
  • Call backup cat sitter for mutual interview
  • Think WEIGHT when visions of sugarplums and cheesecake dance in my head
  • Check BestBuy for 1 special gift
  • Consider how to organize digital elements (Help!)*
  • Discuss external drive with dh
  • Buy external drive (still undecided)
  • Finish writing Vein of Gold timelines
  • Get car washed and waxed
  • Be grateful list does not include legal, medical or housing issue
  • Cook more, eat ... only enough
  • Finalize trip to Maine - yes or no word from Maine so it's a NO
* Managing Digital Supplies

Yeah! this list is moving right along!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Very Short Night

Boy do I now get how it's easy to stay up late when you are on a roll and things are flowing. Thank all that be that working with templates in Photoshop Elements finally CLICKED with me. Do you remember the woman who said she wasn't a scrapper? Oh I hafta eat mah words. Somehow I realized that working with words & images and doing it digitally has morphed into gasp...scrapbooking. Grateful? oh you better believe it. I was afraid I'd never figure it out or find someone who could show me how to do it on my Mac. Happy Dancin' round the house!!



This one of The Mammogram Day is going to be a hybrid - digital with the mammogram receipt and the good results papers added also.


It was just 4.5 hours of sleep till good old Sebastian woke up hungry. Who misses her hubby most at 6am??? See my hand waving in the air??? Well, just one more day of being on Feline Kitchen Duty. Phew!

Have you had any kind of great Aha! moments this week? I'd love to hear about something that just clicked for you.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tuesdays with Morrie, Dorie or Sam?

Today I'll go with Sam, Toronto's Greek Gourmand, since Galatopita is a recipe I've been thinking about since he posted it some time ago on his blog. But now Sam has shared a video. Ain't nuthin' like seeeing the real deal, is there folks?

Now I just have to get to the store for milk and more Cream of Wheat. I thought I was going to get them for breakfast, but hey...why not just have a slice of pie for breakfast? Works for me! (Oh and I AM going to the library to pick up a copy of Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home to Yours. Crazy aren't I?)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Souper Saturday cooked on Sunday

Well the thought was there Saturday and the recipe came out. Then I remembered I was going to be having a big meal midafternoon and really didn't need lunch or dinner at home. Ok. Let's move on to cooking on Sunday and the final result to start.
Tomato Soup with Crab and Feta

This recipe came from Jessy (aka the Wicked One) over at GardenWeb. I'm not sure if the Uncle Bill in question is her uncle or not. One of these visits to CA, I'll have to ask Jessy about it. First, my lovelies, you read the recipe. Oh I know, you always do that. Well, I always think I do but sometimes I realize as I'm in the Midst of It that I've kind of skimmed it, not read it. DH would say this is typical of my rush to Not Listen. btw, that binder you see is ALL soup recipes.
Read the recipe

I might have chopped the onion and garlic by hand but I wanted to make hummus next so I used the food processor which would then have a little flavor leftover for the hummus.
Mince onions and garlic in processor

Saute those babies up, onions first then the garlic for just a tad. No burning!
Saute onions, then garlic

Add the next batch of ingredients and blend nicely. You can see I used Knorr shrimp base instead of chicken or vegetable as I was adding some crabmeat.

Here is the soup with the dried oregano and pepper added. It was toooo cold to go out and get some fresh oregano when I was starting this but that oregano is a hardy soul and still flourishing outside.

Oregano and Pepper added

I finished it up by adding about 1/2 cup of crabmeat and a good handful of feta. You can find the whole recipe and my notes here and check out the blender pureeing tip from Chow. This was a perfect Sunday lunch. Now I just need to get some more crab for the leftovers.

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