Saturday, December 31, 2011

Out with the Old ...

I'd say we're pretty close to the edge of the year here. I still need to write down the resolutions I've been mulling and then, either today or tomorrow, wax philosophically about them on my less regular blog. I also need to confess the abysmal job I did with the resolutions I made for 2011. I think I set the bar way too high, but hey, at least I made them. That should count for something.

Friday, December 30, 2011

The Dying of the Light

The Christmas lights look so naked in the daylight. They, along with the tree, stockings, and other seasonal paraphernalia, will come down on Sunday. A taking down of the old as we welcome the new, or something like that. I reflect too much or too deeply at times, but if you can't do that at the changing of the year I'm not sure when you can.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

One Confused Little Flower

I don't think this little guy knows it's winter and wonder if it will make it through the night. Seeing it did give the day a bit more warmth, though; I must admit that.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

And What Have You Done Today?

Today I have entered a photo in a National Geographic contest looking for photos that convey the essence of Montana and finished putting together these quilt blocks made of seven years of Odyssey of the Mind/Destination Imagination t-shirts. I am also making progress in Jo Nesbo's The Devil's Star and managed 45 minutes skiing to nowhere before dashing into town for a hair appointment that wasn't. I'd rest on my laurels and finish the book, but if it's Tuesday, it must be karate this evening.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Additions to the Family (Tree)

The husband took younger son to his girlfriend's house today and returned with Christmas goodies including these three ornaments. I think they fit right into our assortment of oddities. Next year, though, I doubt they'll be hung together on the tree since there's never rhyme nor reason to what goes where ... with the exception of the Christmas Ape, that is.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Chinese food on Thanksgiving and Christmas Eves is another family tradition; this was my fortune from last night's dinner. Perhaps this is not the time to say that my Christmas presents included an unsuccessful attempt by the sons to purchase one of the guns sold after my dad's death. Let's just say that if I encounter the problem of having too much free time, I have several new books, fiction and crafty, and several new yarns with which to fill it. And a new gun, a near duplicate of the one that was Dad's favorite.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Berry Good Tidings

Two loaves of bread finished. One is half eaten, and one has been gifted. Three pounds of cranberries turned into sauce. Dough for two pie crusts awaiting rolling. After that, there's filling for two pumpkin pies to make as well as dough for tomorrow morning's cinnamon rolls. Merry Christmas Eve!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Waffle House? Biscuit House!

We're giving sanctuary this holiday (the why of which is beyond the scope of this sound-byte blog) to Biscuit, a 14-year-old mix of beagle, Jack Russell terrier, and possibly another breed or three. Her normal home is with someone who works all day and is gone most evenings as well. She's not used to a house in which there are people home and moving around all day, which is what ours is like during the holidays. Our cats are basically ignoring her, and any negative interactions have been quickly terminated. I think it will be a good week all around.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Some Preciouses

I cleaned my studio today, having decided that getting back to being creative would improve my mood. My studio is in the walkout basement and has a rather long in length, narrow in height window in which I keep things that are dear to me and that might count as clutter in the living area. Yes, that is a Shaun of the Dead action figure, along with a magnetic metallic creature, a raccoon, and a rock sculpture. The markers are for the whiteboard that hangs beneath the window and on which I scribble ideas and projects that may or may not see the light of day.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time

A friend gave me ninjabread men cookie cutters, and I thought how wonderful it would be to decorate little ninjas for my kendo and karate colleagues. Yeah right. I was so no good at frosting gis and belts onto the little suckers that I gave up, dumped lots of frosting on each one, and told the sons to have at them. Maybe next year.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Stockings Were Hung ...

... not quite by the chimney with care but at least amidst all the Christmas cards we've received so far this year. I particularly like the ones from the Obamas and the Warners (Mark is one of our two Virginia senators).

Monday, December 19, 2011

Gruffles, Meet Biscuit

When I got Gruffles, one of the resident cats, Catbert, was convinced that it was a real dog. It will be interesting, then, to see what Catbert thinks of our guest for Christmas, a Jack Russell-beagle mix named Biscuit. The story is too long for a mini-blog; suffice to say Biscuit needs a safe house for the holidays, and we plan to provide it. Sort of like witness protection for dogs.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

O, Christmas Ape

It wouldn't be Christmas without the Christmas ape atop the Christmas tree. What? You mean not everyone has a Christmas ape atop their tree? And this year, he's joined by the Rantosaurus, a so-far-undocumented Beanie Baby mutation.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Temperature's Rising

Our first fire of the year. It was cold enough for long enough today that it seemed like a good idea at the time. It still is ... a good idea, that is.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Think We Could Market This?

The sons heard me mention that I needed to work on my arm strength, having gotten out of the habit of lifting weights regularly. The next thing I know, there's a log outside the door and an axe. I did this chopping while today's bread (seven days down, one to go) rose a bit and baked a bit. Despite having no use for the log that resulted (I don't think it's aged enough to burn), I feel an incredible sense of accomplishment.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Time for a Tree?

The present chair is filling up fast. I'm thinking it's time to get the Christmas tree.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Party Time!

It's time for the office Christmas party, and those are my legs looking out from beneath hosiery. I don't wear skirts often, but tonight seemed appropriate. I never wear shoes with anything remotely like a high heel. I can only dress up to an intermediate height.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

On Sale this Week

I made two loaves of bread today for the fourth day in a row. I'll make two tomorrow, two Thursday, and two Friday. Most of these are for the "breakfast in a bag" gifts I give to various people. One loaf of homemade bread, two jars of locally made jam, and two one-pot bags of good coffee. I'm thinking I may do gingerbread next week.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Mother's Day 2010

As many days as possible for the last two weeks, I've been spending 30 minutes or more working on my karate kicks and some kendo strikes. The floating bamboo floor is heaven on my feet. Even at 6:00 a.m., when it's dark outside the windows, the room feels so open. I may have gotten the hanging bag for Mother's Day 2010, but it was well worth the wait to have it done right.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

It's a Bear!

Younger son was making a bear hat for his brother, and the first one was a bit too small, meaning I got one, too. The hat had no eyes or nose, so I'm working on adding those. I like the size of these eyes but think I'll see if I can get sew-on ones instead of these glue-on ones. I think my ears will be toasty warm this winter.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Who Took the Sake from the Sake Bottles?

All these bottles were full of sake at the start of last night's dinner gathering. For reference, the large bottle is 1.8 liters. There were 12 people here, nine of whom had some sake at some point in the evening. One person likely was not looking and feeling his very best this morning. Note the gender of the pronoun, i.e., it wasn't me.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Hostess With (or Without) the Mostest

The lighting on this poinsettia leaf could be better, but I'm in the home stretch to a dinner party and about to get to the do-a-bit-of-paid-work-I-can't-out-off-until-Monday point. Then it's coasting into hosting, though hopefully not downhill from here. Fried brain? Why, yes, I believe I do have one, thank you very much.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Taking What Help I Can Get

Catbert is trying to help me clean; really, she is. And at this point, I'll take what help I can get even if it's just making me smile and grab the camera.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Works in Progress

I'm hosting a dinner party of sorts the day after tomorrow. This offers a reason or excuse to clean up what passes for living quarters. What can I say? I'm working on it.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Pedaling Uphill

It's a busy week in a busy time of year, but I'm trying to do the best I can, as noted on this, my new favorite tote bag. It's from the Zazzle shop of the Bloggess. I may want to be her if I grow up. In the meantime, I don't really have a knife (a sharp one, that is) yet, but there's always Christmas or monetary Christmas gifts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Paw

Each morning when I sit down to coffee and the newspaper and any evening I sit down to read or knit, the paw appears. I want you to want me, it seems to say, reaching out over and over until I allow its owner access to my lap. Yes, this cat owns me.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Celebratory Pie

This is younger son's celebratory pie, a German Chocolate Pie, pre-cooking. My hands were sticky from the coconut topping, so younger son took the shot. The pie is now out of the oven and sitting for four hours (not arguing with the directions here). I expect it will be tasty. What's not to like about chocolate, pecans, and coconut?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

It Takes so Little ...

to excite some people, like me evidently. I was making birthday cupcakes just now. I opened the egg carton and thought one of the eggs looked a bit off-center. Drat, methinks, it's cracked or broken. It turned out just to be a longer, narrower egg than any I've ever purchased from a grocery store. I'm used to getting eggs that defy the norm from farmers' markets or friends who raise chickens. I've never seen one like this get by the egg censors and make it into a commercial carton. Yeah, I'm just that weird that a slightly strange egg has totally made my day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Forgotten Title Redux

Younger son's Wednesday interview with Amazon resulted in a very attractive job offer. When asked about a celebratory pie, younger son requested a pie he had not had before. The list in the photo is 20 pies I found that fit the bill and also did not contain the gelatin or marshmallow vegetarian younger son prefers to do without. Whether he chooses one or picks at random, it's new pie time this weekend!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Forgotten Title

A new month means a new calendar picture. I buy one wall calendar each year; this is the last page of the one for 2011. Behind it sits a 2012 calendar of Charles M. Russell artwork that I purchased in Montana. I don't expect that it will contain the profound statements this year's calendar has, but that's okay. Sometimes a pretty picture is all I need.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This corner of the dining room will be cleaned up in preparing to host company next week. Younger son works his freelance job from one corner of the dining room table when he's at home, and things he's not using get passed to this corner. Today, younger son in Seattle interviewing with Amazon. Should he get offered a job, I expect he will take it. Then, this corner will remain clean, and I expect that I shall miss the disorder I now lament.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Why this photo did not get published yesterday, when I clicked the "publish" button, I do not know. Nor do I know where the text went. Internet gremlins perhaps, or just one of life's mysteries.

Monday, November 28, 2011


I do so hate it when my headaches layer one on top of another. The prescription pill I took first thing this morning got rid of the migraine component of pain but left behind a decidedly sinus headache. Thanks to a stop at CVS, that pain is now abating. It might be a decent evening after all.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Ninjabread Men

I find gingerbread oddly addicting. If I eat one of these, I could easily eat them all. I wish these were destined for elsewhere; alas, these were the practice run for some batches I hope to make come Christmas-time.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Who Took the Cookies from the Cookie Jar?

This is the aforementioned cookie jar. My self-esteem did not appear to be inside it. Neither did any cookies. I now have gingerbread dough chilling in the refrigerator in anticipation of tomorrow's test of some cookie cutters, the shapes of which shall, for now, remain nameless.

Friday, November 25, 2011

A Line in the Lawn

The weather was wonderful today, so raking occurred. Garage cleaning also occurred along with motorcycle fixing. I did none of that, though I did do some inside things. I have been told that my self-esteem may be hiding in the cookie jar, but so far I have resisted looking for it there. With my luck, there will be cookies, though since I did not make any, there shouldn't be. I am hoping to be back to some semblance of normal tomorrow.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Giving Thanks: The Aftermath

In Girl Scouts, we used to sing grace before each meal. My favorite was to the tune of "Windy." "Thanks be to God, the Father Almighty. Thanks be to God, who gives us this bread. Thanks be to God, the Spirit Eternal. Thanks be to God forever." I leave the definition of "God" up to each reader, but think the sentiment appropriate every day but especially this one.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Thanksgiving Eve

I'm particularly proud of the three presents in this pile that are not wrapped but instead enclosed in boxes too pretty to wrap. All they needed was a bit of ribbon to hold them shut. I'm hoping the recipients will think to use the boxes in the same way. Mother Earth will thanks us for it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I was searching somewhat unsuccessfully for my self-esteem this afternoon when younger son suggested the search might be helped by making the orangutan Beanie Baby who will not be mutated a new suit to wear. He's now disguised as a winged hippo, and firmly under the control of the MFing Bearodactyl. As for my self-esteem, if it's hiding in the flour bin, I'll have it back momentarily since as soon as I publish this post I'll bemaking pie crust for tomorrow's pumpkin pie making.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Getting Carded II

Sometime over the long Thanksgiving weekend, I really should pick up the box of Christmas cards from the floor and start the addressing. "Should" may not equal "will," though. We shall see.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

I Do Love a Challenge

I honestly cannot imagine pointing a gun at another person or an animal and pulling the trigger. I can, however, see the challenge in pointing a gun at a target and trying to hit even close to it. Don't ask how many shots I took that did not even hit this piece of paper. I will only smile and point to the hole in the red circle. My squeal of glee paralleled the one I let out when I finally got a boomerang to circle and return so that I could catch it without moving after it.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Not What I Intended

I was going to take a photo of my shot in the red zone (i.e., the bullseye) from pistol shooting this morning, but the bag in which the target sits is still in the car that is currently is use elsewhere. So here's the other cat in the hat, er, house, Catbert. As for that bullseye, there was only one, and I'm not gonna tell how many tries it took me to get it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

New Day, New Rule

I'm cheating a bit today--but it's my blog so I can cheat if I want --by posting a photo that I did not take. Younger son took this one while showing me how to do something on the new camera. His photo and his guitar, but since he's my son it does circle back to me.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

They're Both Keepers

This is the first photo I took with the new camera. Younger son took the first three, but this is my first. Yeah, I think I'll keep both the new camera and the old cat.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011


I have at least opened the camera manual and charged the batteries. Ya gotta start somewhere.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

There's a Table Somewhere Under There

I usually try to do too much while the husband is away, and this trip is no exception. I'm working more hours for pay than I usually do and trying to work my way down a long, long list of littles. I hate little things so much more than big ones. The littles are the killer, not the bigs. In the meantime, the new camera body arrived, though all I've had time to do so far is unpack the box and charge one of the batteries.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Sure Looks Like Fall to Me

I had to carefully compose this shot so as not to have the front of the pickup truck or the back of the VW Bus in the frame. There was also mad backlighting from the sun off to the left. The lawn may still be green, but the leaves sure aren't.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

This One Will Be Mine

The current sweater-in-progress albeit in a bit of disarray. It's an Icelandic cardigan, knit in the round, without seams. The front opening will be cut open for the zipper using the steek technique after I've finished all the knitting. I've never done that before, but I have a friend who has tapped to help me. A friend in England will recognize the orange bag since she wove and assembled it. The white ball with black spots is the head of a stuffed giant panda. What? Doesn't everyone's living room come with a stuffed giant panda?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Learn Something New Every Day

I need to get to know my new netbook better and decided to play with the webcam. I think I look tired, but then I got up at o'dark thirty to send the younger son off to run the Richmond Half Marathon and then got the husband packed and on a plane to Europe after which I ran several errands and did the grocery shopping. I think I need a beer. Anyone want to join me in a Raging Bitch? It's a Belgian-style India pale ale according to the bottle.