Friday, December 30, 2016

Festivus Friday

My last Friday before the new year?! Apparently SOMEBODY thinks it would be poor form for me to start out 2017 with complaints next week. She thinks I should try harder to find the good or some such nonsense. Hopefully I did not miss the Festivus window and have time for one last grievance? (Make no mistake, I have several grievances, but dictation is exhausting.)

Some of you may already been privy to this incident, as there was a facebook post the night it happened (clearly not a Friday, so I was not allowed to post here). It was a chilly evening for most folks, so the girl child put a fleece on me. I grumbled at her when she tried to fasten the velcro waistband, and she took the hint for a change and backed away.

The two elder humans came home, and were immediately puzzled by my lack of enthusiasm to see them. I just kept pleading with my eyes waiting for someone to get a clue. See that flap...
...the one laying on the carpet? That, my friends, is a super industrial strength velcro flap and it was stuck to the carpet! Those hundreds of mighty loops had my fourteen pounds of brawn seriously outnumbered. I keep telling you that no good can come from making me wear clothes!

May your New Year's Eve be filled with love, laughter and delicious snacks! (Oh my gosh, I hope there are good snacks)

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Random spin cycle

As we began to read the sleigh for our third and final installment of Christmas 2016, I realized that despite my thoughts on seasonal miracles, laundry still accumulates during festive times. Perhaps I thought all of the cooking and baking was somehow a trade off? I don't mean to alarm any of you, but you might want to check your hampers to see if a similar overflowing fate awaits you. Do not panic, certainly there are some cookies or candies to get you through whatever you find.

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Happy Holidays

'Twas the night before Christmas
And all through this place
A sugar induced smile
On each glowing face.

Here in my jammies
Minus the kerchief and cap
Watching a movie
Trying not to nap

Hoping from the kitchen
We hear no clatters
From the sink full of
Poorly stacked serving platters

The wrapping is done
The stockings are hung
The cookies were baked
The carols were sung

The shows were watched
The books were read
The candles were lit
So much joy to be spread

So here I exclaim
Before I turn out the light

Peace, love and joy to you and yours! 
Thank you for being part of my life.

Friday, December 23, 2016

ASPCA on speed dial

Bah humbug!!!
(I believe that is French for "I am pooping in their stockings!")

Thursday, December 22, 2016


Yes, I admit, I had some less than festive feelings today. I am pretty sure it all started when I let my chocolate intake dip below typical daily standards. I tried to recover with a freshly baked gingerbread man. He did his best, but surprisingly did not offer to help with any of my list items, so I just scribbled "gingerbread" off the list and moved on. 

As I was cleaning the bathroom, I heard the unmistakable sound of the Whos. My heart did not necessarily grow three sizes, I mean I was cleaning bathrooms after all (while someone else was watching tv), but there was some comfort in the Grinch's plight.

Recharge those batteries, and don't forget to find time to relax!

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Let it shine!

I know there were a lot of dark spots for people this year. My wish for each of you is that you find your light...

...whether it hangs on a tree or burns the wick of a candle. Maybe the flicker comes from those around you...
...filling your heart with joy. 
I bet you are someone else's light. Shine bright my friend!

Oh Raffi, I will always be a fan...

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Repeat the meowing joy!

Cat on outerwear?
Questionably stylish.

Cat in outerwear?
Fantastic! "Time for Joy", indeed...can't you just see it in those murderous eyes?!?!
Just a few random tid-bits to help fulfill your internet cat quota today in this, the season of giving!

Monday, December 19, 2016

The way it crumbles

What? Another cookie post? But you just fed us cookies the other day. 

This is true; however, do you really only have/bake/dream about cookies for one day during the holiday season? I think not. 

On a recent visit to my grandmother's house, I got out her recipe box to use as a sort of conversation piece. I also wondered if there was some long forgotten recipe we should start making again, maybe something with mincemeat - no thank you. Some people have treats that only show up in December, but my grandmother was an every celebration needs cookies kind of a lady. Sure, there were raisin drop, chocolate chip or sugar cookies for everyday baking, but a whole other cast of characters showed up for cookie platters. Nuts and chocolate ruled the trays. The frosting color and sprinkle selection on the Italian cookies were the dynamic features.

When I started baking for the holidays, I never really made any of my grandmother's cookies because she was still making them. Instead, I would make something completely different to add to the overabundance of bite sized offerings. Spritz, cut-outs, gingerbread. Eventually I had small hands helping in my kitchen, belonging to people with their own likes and dislikes. 

As I perused the recipe cards, I realized that while I longed for the days when those cookies seemingly appeared out of a spotless kitchen, I was not necessarily a big fan of many of them.
But there was such comfort in the familiarity. 

Sunday, December 18, 2016


We went to celebrate an early Christmas with my in-laws this weekend. In addition to the new Lego sets, there was something else awesome in the car on the way home. Our college kid! The couch became assembly central today for both builders. There were empty plastic bags, extra pieces, boxes and instructions strewn all about - taking up my spot, Foz's spot, and spilling over onto neighboring tables. Yes, this is home!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Good enough for me

This is the cookie press that introduced me to the wonderful world of the spritz cookie.
I still remember how the top would mysteriously come unscrewed just as optimum flow of dough was achieved, thereby ruining the process. I liked how you could see the extruder's progress, before I was seasoned enough to go by feel. This was the very press I used as a teen, on a blustery snow day after I awakened to a note from my mother to make some Christmas cookies. Surely I had something planned for my day off, like spending hours on the telephone or in front of MTV. To express my displeasure for being asked to make cookies, I colored half the dough pink and the other half purple - very festive wreath shapes. If memory serves me correct, I might have added insult to injury by filling the container too high, thereby breaking several cookies when I pressed that Tupperware lid down to "burp" it. (Mom, I would like to think I have baked enough cookies by now to make up for this lapse in judgement.)

I also own this Mirro cookie press that was a garage sale find. I was simply overcome by nostalgia and had to own the item. I have yet to use it for camel or any other shaped cookies, but it still makes me happy to see both presses together as my smallest collections of anything.

This is the press I use now.  Neither end falls off, which takes away a bit of the challenge, but you can't see the amount of dough that has come out keeping things interesting.
Simply yummy! My favorite are the ones with a cinnamon red hot on them. 
No, there are not any of those in this batch because the only dots I have explode in the oven, which does not make me happy. As with any other cookie, most families have their favorite spritz recipe, and mine is still the one from that little yellow Mirro booklet - Quick Spritz.

Friday, December 16, 2016

Don we now...

I was not cold. Not at all. 
Would you like to know what the back of this shirt says? "RUFF"-yes, indeed. That is my life!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Hard candy isn't hard

You know what we don't talk about enough on this blog? Candy! Would you like to make some festive hard candy to share with everyone you bump into? (Why do you keep bumping into people?) Have you ever seen these little bottles at your local craft store?
These are the oils you are looking for!

Right now our house has the incredible smell of cinnamon. I wasn't even trying to hide any other odor! What do you say? Are you in for a candy making adventure? Sure you are! Gather up your supplies:
1 cup water
3 3/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp food coloring (if desired)
one dram (aka, those little bottles) of flavor oil confectioner's sugar for dusting

Here is what you do:
Line a 15x10 pan with lightly buttered foil.

Bring water, sugar, corn syrup and food coloring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. 
(no comment)
Once it boils, cover and cook for three minutes to dissolve sugar. Uncover and cook, without stirring, until candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees (fahrenheit).
The last fifty degrees or so seem to take a long time.
You'd probably like to know about how long you can expect this to take. I would as well, but unfortunately have yet to actually pay attention/remember and/or write such a thing down.

When the magical 300 degrees have been reached, remove pan from heat and carefully stir in the oil. Avoid the steam, and do not to inhale the vapors or get them in your eyes. Really, use a long spoon and keep your distance. Pour the hot mixture into the prepared pan-with the pan facing away from you. Hot, hot, hot!
So smooth and shiny!

Let the pan of candy sit for at least an hour. The pan you cooked in will look like a frightful mess, but with really cool sugar threads from the spoon.
No magic color change, this is not a cinnamon photo.

The cleanup is not scary at all and just water does the trick to dissolve all of the candy bits. Now before you get out the day's frustrations, sprinkle the surface of the candy with confectioner's sugar. Then get crackin'! I use a butter knife because I am not fancy.
Sprinkle some more confectioner's sugar around to keep the candy from sticking to itself. You don't want pieces that are too big, as they are unruly to try to eat.

I like to make green wintergreen and clear peppermint to go with the red cinnamon. I think they look really pretty packaged together in either plastic treat bags or small mason jars. Just red looks nice too, (especially when it is the only kind made).I mean they are tasty as well, but sometimes there are a lot of points for presentation. 

Here are the other colors from some other year...

This went a LONG way! I tied up over forty little bags that year.

Any questions? They will be attributed to poor explaining on my part, as opposed to any deficit on your part!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

The girls go shopping

My mind has been filled lately with ideas for blog posts that I don't write. I made a list of these fascinating topics because they all feel important to me. Now you may be thinking "If they are so important, why do you need to write them down?" Good question. Maybe if the memory gods hadn't programmed my brain to remember such things as my best friend in fifth grade's phone number, or that fun tooth brushing jingle I made up in fourth grade for an assignment, I would have more room available with easy accessible storage for other things. 

Now this one particular seemingly blog worthy topic (at least I hope it is, as it has appeared here before) not only appears on a subject list, but also has its own separate sticky note to remind me what areas to cover in the actual post. I can't imagine how I have been occupying my time such that sitting down and just writing the post would not have been easier. Maybe it has something to do with those molasses cookies on the counter-maybe.

So I was picking some candy-studded caramel apple debris out of my bra, while flipping through my phone photos and saw this well-endowed snowgirl...
I'm sorry, but those are not mittens. That is when I realized the time had come to talk about...bra shopping. I know, I know, it's been awhile. That is because I can only take that sort of stress every couple of years, which is also apparently how long I can go wearing ill-fitting undergarments.

My friend, Mary, and I decided our annual mammogram outing is so much fun that we should go on other adventures with the girls. There we were at Lord & Taylor, my pulse rate increasing. I had no less than ten bras in my hand, and was loudly commenting on how bra shopping was even worse than bathing suit shopping. The lingerie department worker remained focused on the nothing she was doing to avoid eye contact. She clearly did not want to help me. The only obvious explanation would be that there is some surely unflattering photo of me near the register in fine stores everywhere. Mary was far more optimistic about our quest, and therefore even more determined than I was as she steered me to the fitting rooms.

I wasn't even considering actual comfort at first, but rather just some fabric willing to do its intended job. There were a few false starts, like the bra that left nothing spilling over the top, which seemed positive until I raised my arms and saw what had oozed out the bottom. I finally found not just one, but two contenders. The worker lady made me feel new to the outside world because I asked if one of the bras came in white, "Um, most companies are moving away from white to the beige that actually doesn't show". Well thank you very much, lady whose name tag I did not notice. She was attentive enough to point out that one of the bras was memory foam, so I needed to be careful (please don't tell me not to put these in the dryer because I am absolutely not listening). She advised me that proper care of the memory foam included not turning the cups inside out for packing in a suitcase. Would my bra be confused by the notion of a sudden concave breast, and try to fold itself in on me? Suffice to say, I have not dared to fold, crimp or even look at those cups wrong, and yet that bra never acts like it remembers me day to day.

How used to the world of ill-fitting brassieres am I? This is what I heard myself say out loud as I welcomed my two new bras home upon noticing the collection of bras from days gone by in my closet: "I should try on these bras. I mean I don't need SO many that don't fit. Just a couple is fine." 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Flaky random

I know you are busy, so I will keep this brief. Wait, are you here so you can pretend to be busy and avoid other things? Well now I feel like I should offer something more substantial. I will see what I can do, but if you are in a hurry, don't worry it will not necessarily be anything of actual substance. 

[Oh, was there a blog post started here? Hm, yes, I recall doing that yesterday, so I would be ready to go today. The photos are even here already. Yet here I am at 8:15 P.M.]

Let's shake out some random, including some essentials I found while looking for something in my purse. I am clearly prepared for a variety of situations...
...Feeling like you need a little Jolly, chocolate or simply a lifesaver? A little bit of love, and a penny for your thoughts or good luck. Most important of all? That googly eye obviously! All three of those candies, by the way, are totally appropriate to have individually wrapped. But these...
...Jelly Belly, are you kidding me? Unwrapping individual jellybeans goes against how I eat them. I need a handful that I can assess and choose from, which does not leave me an extra hand to deal with plastic! I mean, I would find a way.

Well it just started snowing out here again. There is something about sparkling snowflakes and the beauty of a fresh blanket of white. Ah. Simply...
...oh hell no, Kotex (period)

Friday, December 9, 2016

Keep it cool

Not this again!!!
I must not let on that I am chilly, for fear that someone will put a sweater, or some such garb, on me. Nope, not cold at all. Cool, for sure...but definitely not cold.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Return of the Random

Hey, how are you? Give me a second just to wipe away some of these cobwebs. I know Foz was here recently, but his housekeeping skills are terrible (as are his current housebreaking skills, but we won't go there). I took a little look-see through my phone to find what had built up for me to share, and joy of joys, there were a few items!

We took our annual Black Friday trip, for no particular reason, into Manhattan. My father chose this awesome Matchbox car carrying case of a parking lot, and I was fascinated. 

I didn't get to see any fabulous stacking action actually take place because the rest of the squad had other goals. We found grace where we least expected it...
...and the Grinch as well.
 We also found rice balls...
 ...seriously, visions of rice balls still dancing in my head! Two of those had mac and cheese in them, and were not shared. My brothers and I had more straight up versions. My son only provided a peek of this nutella filled cinnamon coated delight...
I would seriously rather have those rice balls right now than peanut m&m's...(sigh). Those were apparently my city highlights, despite having plenty of time to photograph the line I waited in at the Nintendo store.

Look! Squirrel!
So distracting, and moderately hypnotizing. After tearing myself away, I am not sure what caught my eye first on this one...
...the price or the product! 

Ah, a little shopping done, a few more decorations flung with little care, maybe a glass of wine? Oh look, this glass I ran across today (in someone else's house) has little snowflakes in it. How seasonal! (ew.)

Friday, December 2, 2016

Where's my shelf?!

What happened? She may think it's only been two weeks since a new blog post rolled through this place, but that's fourteen weeks in dog time! Figures it would have to be me to get things back on track. Are you ready to deck those halls, fry those latkes, get out that festivus pole, or whatever suits your fancy this season? Well, I am just filled with wonder... in I wonder what other joy lies in my future. I have something other than coal in mind for their stockings this year.

** Please note: No Fozzies were harmed in the taking of that picture.**

Friday, November 18, 2016

Photo browsing

What do you think of my new graphic? Pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself. It almost feels like I am starting to get the respect I deserve around here. People are finally realizing that I am a force to be reckoned with, and my literary skills are second to none! Why, in a short time I will most likely secure a seat at the kitchen table. Gosh, I look great in all of these pictures she has on her pho- WHAT THE FRESH HELL!?!?!?
This photo concerns me. You don't think they bought anything, do you? Those are more like cat outfits, right? Oh tinsel-sticks, I have a less than merry feeling about this.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Random sweater weather

Sometimes you just need a little distraction, but do we really need the pressure of exercise right now? Yes, I know, endorphins, stress relief...yadda, yadda, yadda. But...

...yes, please! And just this once can you put the extra salt back on them, Ronald?

I had that little pre-holiday inner monologue today. The one where I tell myself that planning ahead will allow me to relax and not have a holly jolly freak out. Ho ho - whoah...let's ponder this for a second...
Is the idea to wear this fine garment every day leading up to, and including, the big day? Is inviting strangers to pick trinkets out of my fine cotton blend the best way to feel the joy of the season?

That's all I have this week, mainly because I can't find the words for much else...except for this one - hope.

Friday, November 11, 2016


Oh, hey...hi there.
Why the long face? Hmm...I have my suspicions. This wouldn't happen to have anything to do with what happened Tuesday? Maybe it isn't really as bad as you think. You did only hear her side of the story, but I know how you humans tend to stick together, with your opposable thumbs and voice capabilities. Did you even know that she moved that chair I like to sit on? That's right. It is at least six feet across the room from where it used to be. I know that doesn't sound far, but my legs are short.