Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

I’m off work this week (AcronymCo, that is), which of course means I have a honey-do list (self-imposed, that is) a mile long. The very first order of business, though, is to venture forth and purchase a new coffee pot. I broke the carafe last night while getting the coffee ready for the morning, and as anyone who has ever done the same thing knows, it’s just easier to buy a whole new coffee pot than try to track down a replacement carafe.

I recall promising Bill that I’d get up with him and run out to the nearby Dunkin Donuts to procure some coffee for him to have with his morning paper (he’s as routine-oriented about his morning cup as I am), but what I DON’T recall is the alarm going off this morning. I woke up when he kissed me goodbye. Ah, well. Hell. Road. Good intentions. Whatnot.

I got up at 6:45, brewed a cup of tea and toasted some rye, and spent the next hour-ish balancing the checkbook and doing a spot of financial planning for the new year. I always approach such tasks with dread, and then feel a sense of relief and accomplishment when it’s over. Stupendously enough, we’re still in the black and didn’t put ANY of our Christmas on credit cards. Go us! That’s a first, I’m pretty sure.

On deck: doodie duty. And major, epic grocery shopping. And wrapping Bill’s presents – I got the kids’ out of the way yesterday. And folding laundry before it gets too far ahead of me. Clearly, I know how to LIVE IT UP when I’m on vacation.

As an aside, how many of you have seen the original True Grit, the one with John Wayne? When I expressed interest in seeing the remake in theaters, Bill waxed enthusiastic and said we’d have to watch the original first. Make a day of it – watch the original at home (I bought it from Amazon, should be here any day now), go have lunch, watch the new one at the nearby AMC. Sounds like fun to me.

As an additional aside, we watched “The A Team” this weekend – twice. I was a HU-YOOGE fan of the TV show when I was little. I don’t know why, but I was completely and thoroughly entertained by this movie. I mean, utterly. Especially by the cameo appearances by the original “Face” and the original “Murdock” at the very end. The VERY end, after the credits – the brief clips that only the die-hard theater-goers (or at-home fast-forwarders) get to see. I’ve taken to fast forwarding past all the credits in every movie we watch, now, just in case there’s an extra tidbit at the end.

Do you guys do that, too?

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I revealed my uber-embarrassing choice in movies for nothing! Turns out Bill didn’t have the part he needed up in the City of Tubas, so he did a one-day turn around and waltzed in the door at about 6:30. I’d called him twice, in the hour leading up to his waltzing, and he didn’t pick up his phone. Whether he was hoping to surprise me, or catch me in the act of something nefarious, is debatable.

Anyway, the upshot was that I didn’t watch the movie. We *did* watch the Charlie Brown Christmas Special, though. Linus’ monologue makes me tear up every time.

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Occasionally, I like to peruse the stats over at World Famous Nosh, to see what people are cooking these days. Seems lately folks have a hankerin’ for Steak Dinner with All the Fixin’s, Hershey Kiss Cookies (which would be AWESOME with the caramel kisses, wouldn’t they???), Incredible Crock Pot Meatloaf (and it is), Five Flavor Pork Roast, and Irish Cream Brownies.

The meatloaf recipe has had the most hits of all time (1,212!), followed closely by the World War II Chocolate Mayonnaise Cake (972), with the crock pot recipe for Chicago Italian Beef coming in third (736).

I’m probably the only one who finds stuff like this to be kind of interesting.

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Here’s some wicked awesome stuff that has come to my attention in the past week or so:

– A recipe for Apple Cider Sugar Donut Muffins, courtesy of Dlyn, that you can BET YOUR BIPPY I will be making in the near future.

– Sweet Salty gives us permission to suck. Thank God, since I’ve been sucking in an unauthorized manner for all this time!

– Did I share this with you guys? I forget. How to deal with your camera getting lost or stolen. Link shared by Karl over on the Twitter.

– This OH MY FUCKING GOD AWESOMENESS that Heather shared with me:

– This other OH MY FUCKING GOD AWESOMENESS that Blogography Tweeted:

– This video that a co-worker shared with me that made me laugh until I pee’d:

There. You’ve been entertained.

Since coming home from Thanksgiving dinner at Bill’s sister’s house, the truck sat unused in the garage until today. Until I went out there this morning, on a theory, and tried to start it. And was summarily denied. So I hooked up the battery charger. There’s something about popping the hood, clamping red to red, and black to black, that makes me feel very manly and accomplished.

There goes my yoga and grocery shopping and post office plans. Frozen burger meat will magically reappear on tonight’s dinner plates as meatloaf. My go-to, “Shit, there ain’t nuthin’ in the house to cook!” meal. And my yoga class will be replaced with a DVD. My back, neck, and shoulders are SCREAMING for some good, therapeutic stretching. I haven’t been able to sleep well, for several nights running, for the pain. The post office will still be there at lunch tomorrow, though I hate going at lunch time for the lines. Ah, well, has to be done.

The cats are putting up quite the protest this morning. Since cleaning the HELL out of the bedroom last weekend, they have not been allowed back in. If you’d seen the sheer amount of dust and cat hair that I removed from the room, you’d understand. It was even stuck to the walls, people. So, since I’ve been having a hard time with my asthma lately (always happens when the weather turns cold), I figured I’d give my lungs a break and try to keep the room allergen-free for a while. But, see, it is actually FRICKIN’ cold outside, and the cats can’t understand why they are no longer allowed to sleep with us, in comforter-and-body-heated warmth, at night. Right this second, Oz is yelling at the bedroom door, and Zoe is querying at the bathroom door, and every now and then a handle rattles. Because they’re used to hanging out on the bed during the days that I work from home.

Apparently, they’re more routine oriented than I am. And that’s saying a lot.

Gadget and Gypsy aren’t minding the cold, though. They get to come in at night and sleep in their cozy, pillow-lined crate. During the day, the move from sunlit spot to sunlit spot out in the back yard. They’re hanging out in their crate right now, because it turned windy on us today. Right at this moment it’s 36(f), and nobody in Arizona has even heard of wind chill. According to this calculator, it’s actually either 21 or 28 degrees, depending on if you go by the “old” calculation or the “new” calculation.

Either way, my traditional Monday morning pre-landscaper doodie duty is going to SUCK worse than usual.

I just kicked my own ass, cleaning our bedroom. Our filthy, filthy bedroom. In which the cats will never be allowed, again. EVER. Also, the ceiling fan. Good lord, the ceiling fan.

Since I’m in the last few days of NaBloPoMo, and I’ll be damned if I’ll fail now when I’ve gone through the whole month without missing a day, I’m going to phone this entry in.

I posted a few new recipes over at World Famous Nosh – Irish Cream Brownies, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie (formerly known as THE Pie(TM)), and Whiskey Brown Sugar Whipped Cream.

Also, here’s a rose:

I’m baking today, and I’m actually kind of looking forward to it. I like puttering around the kitchen, listening to music and making the house smell good while the cats keep me company underfoot. I’m getting two of the more complicated pies out of the way today, saving the third (a cream pie) for tomorrow morning. Tomorrow I’m throwing together the veggie casserole, cutting up veggies and cheese and summer sausage for a pair of platters, mixing up a couple of tubs of dip, and that’s the total extent of my Thanksgiving preparation. Which is fine by me, though I actually enjoy the hustle that accompanies sole responsibility of the Thanksgiving meal.

I haven’t given much thought to what I’ll prepare for Christmas. It’ll either be lobster, which we haven’t done for a couple of years, or last year’s standing rib roast, which I need to do again and take pictures of this time.

I’ve given NO thought to Christmas presents, none at all. Since the kids became adults, we went from the usual PILE of presents under the tree, to a single gift for each and cards with money. And no tree. Somehow, it seems harder to pick out just ONE present for each, than a whole ton of loot for both of them.

I told Bill I want a watch from Fossil that doesn’t have a leather strap, and perfume that isn’t Clinique Happy. As for Bill, I know he just wants to continue to arm himself in preparation for the zombie apocalypse. I should totally get him an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle.

(Yes, I got the title from A Christmas Story, though it has no relation whatsoever to the content of the entry. It’s my blog and I can be nonsensical if I want to. Still, wouldn’t that make a GREAT name for a blog or alternative music band? The whole quote goes, “In the heat of battle my father wove a tapestry of obscenities that as far as we know is still hanging in space over Lake Michigan.” It’s my favorite line from the movie.)

Bill got home yesterday, late afternoon. After I signed off of work, I got myself together and we went to Best Buy, where Bill purchased Call of Duty: Black Ops. We went to Charleston’s for dinner (have you HAD their croissants?), then stopped at the grocery store for some necessities and beverages.

The rest of the evening was spent watching TV and Tweeting in a manner whose level of sanity and amusement was directly proportional to the level of beer in my bottle.

The out of doors is calling my name – high of 75, sunny, perfect motorcycle riding weather. We take a sharp turn into colder weather tomorrow and most of next week. I’m totally making beef stew.

Happy Saturday!

These cloth dollies used to reside on my grandmother’s bed. When she went to sleep at night they’d be moved to her headboard. She made two, and my mother made two (I don’t know who made which). Some cold mornings, when I was very small, I’d pad into Grandma’s room and get into bed with her (I just heard her voice in my head, “You awake, Tiffy? Come get in here with me.”). We’d lay there and talk for a while, and I’d play with the dolls. She never let me take them out of her room, and ALWAYS when she made the bed, she’d put them back in their place among the pillows.

After Grandma’s funeral, I visited with my Uncle Fred and his girlfriend Simone, who were by that time living in Grandma’s house. I took home two very important mementos that belonged to my grandmother – her recipe book (which is DEFINITELY a “thing I love”), and this particular dolly, which had always been my favorite:

She rode home on the airplane on my lap. I held her and paged through the recipe book and cried. My poor seat neighbor didn’t know what to think.

Not too terribly long afterward (I know I wrote an entry about it but I can’t find it), Uncle Fred sent me a box of stuff. Among the ribbons I won in horseback riding competitions (a satisfactory complement of blues, among the reds, whites, greens, and yellows), a few knick-knacks from my childhood bedroom, and some grade-school papers, were the other three dollies. Simone convinced Fred to part with them, which is tough to do because he’s fiercely protective of anything belonging to Grandma or my mother.

They don’t live on my bed – too much ribbon and lace to tempt the cats into mayhem. They reside in an upstairs closet until the day that I have a guest room, and then they will live on that bed.

They make me happy.

I have very, very few mementos of my early childhood. VERY few. When my mother passed away and I went to live with my grandmother, my sister (then 18) moved into my mother’s home. She lived a lifestyle that was, shall we say, less than gentle on my mother’s possessions. And, too, she was a teenager, with a teen’s lack of respect or care for preserving family mementos. Then, there was a fire that destroyed much of what should have been cherished. My sister salvaged some, and my grandmother had some. Now some is just kind of scattered around Grandma’s house, now inhabited by my Uncle Fred and his girlfriend Simone.

My mother enjoyed “doing” ceramics. She was all about those ceramic rooster statues and wall hangings that were all the rage back in the 70’s (like these – not mine, photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons). She also loved to make ceramic frogs, like the one I wrote about previously, and this little guy pictured above.

The sponge frog lived under my mother’s sink, and held brillo pads and scrubby things. I remember it starkly, clearly, vividly – a background detail of my childhood that never really jumped to the forefront of my mind until I saw this little guy under the sink at Grandma’s house, back when Bill and I stayed there in July (hmm, I have yet to write that installment of the Maine Saga).

I kind of squee’d, “Hey, I remember that frog!” Simone leaned over my shoulder to see where I was pointing, and said, “Oh, yes, that was your mother’s, would you like to take it home with you?”

UM. YES PLEASE.

So, now he lives on TOP of my sink, holding my kitchen sponge. I look at that little froggy and I think, what a strange thing life is. My mom made him in Maine in the 70’s, he lived under her sink for years, he survived a fire AND my sister, wound up at my Grandmother’s somehow, lived under HER sink for years, and now he’s in Arizona. Fulfilling his froggy duty as a fixture on MY sink.

I don’t know. He just makes me happy.

Monday

Posted: October 18, 2010 in Food, Home, pets, work
Tags: , ,

I’m sitting on the bed with my laptop, working away. I have locked both bedroom doors to keep the cats out (they have been full of misbehavior lately and have been banned from the bedroom). Oz is currently hollering his fool head off at the hallway door, while Zoe is meowing politely at the bathroom door. And then they switch, with Oz banging at the bathroom door and Zoe sticking her nose under the hallway door. Their consolidated efforts to wear me down will FAIL. Dammit.

It’s 9:15 in the morning and I’m having a Trader Joe’s salad for breakfast. I could have had something more breakfasty, but I wanted this salad and there’s no law that states that you can’t have salad for breakfast. So tell me, what is the most non-traditional breakfast food you’ve ever indulged in? And don’t say cold pizza, because that is the MOST traditional of breakfast foods.

I have to compose a last-minute presentation to give to some muckety-mucks tomorrow. I can’t even remember the last time I had to use PowerPoint. It used to be a daily occurrence, but the program seems to have fallen out of vogue in our little corner of AcronymCo. We tend to be more fond of Excel, or JuMP. Numbers over words. Charts over verbiage.

I had to get a “rebuild” a couple of weeks ago, which entails turning in my work laptop so that they can transfer the data to a refurbished laptop of the same type. Something was wonky with my old laptop that they couldn’t easily figure out – I think they gave up to soon, but eh. I didn’t have a queue of fifteen annoyed AcronymCo employees glaring at me to hurry up. My new laptop is clearly NOT, in that the keys are quite worn, the screen is scratched, and the spacebar only works about half the time. I get to flying along, and notice that most of the words in the sentence havebeenruntogetherlikethis, so then I have to backspace like a mofo. Since I got one of the newer models of the last PC refresh, I’m at the bottom of the list for the next PC refresh. So I’m stuck with this thing until Q4 of 2011. Glory.

I keep looking out the french doors in my bedroom, out into the back yard. The weather here has been downright AWESOME, and the sun is shining, and I want to be Out In It. Alas, the aforementioned work requires that I stay (somewhat) dedicated to the task at hand. The lawn is quite dead – the landscaper killed in on purpose (i.e. turned off the sprinklers) in order to prepare for planting a winter lawn. Which seems kind of off-kilter to me, that you would kill off perfectly good grass in order to grow some other grass. Anyway. This will be the first year that we’ve planted a winter lawn, and I look forward to its startling emerald quality (winter grass is so much GREENER than summer grass) instead of dead-looking tan and brown. I cleaned off the patio like I said I would, and also drained and cleaned and re-filled the hot tub, which we took full advantage of both Saturday and Sunday night. Once the new grass starts growing, the back yard will be a lovely hang-out. If I could just convince Bill to let us get some new patio furniture. We have none at the moment, mostly because we can’t keep the dogs off of whatever we put out there. Ah, well, there’s always camp chairs. Throw a beer in there and we could be camping!

The nice weather is trying to trick me into thinking that I want to take up jogging. YEAH RIGHT. I’ll stick to the elliptical and open a window or something. Nobody wants to encounter my jiggly ass stumbling along the road.

Aaaand Oz is back at the hallway door. Freak. I’m going to go run him off, then take care of doodie duty before the landscaper gets here, and THEN (“No ‘and then’!”) get on that presentation. My Monday work-from-home days prevent me from loathing this first day of the work-week, as most traditional nine-to-fivers do. I may complain about my job – I’m only human – but I do love working for AcronymCo.

The Life I Wish

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Headspace, Home

The life I wish to lead is a simple one. A quiet one. A peaceful one.

A beautiful one.

I want to live in a place that inspires me. I want to know people who enrich me. Whom I enrich.

I want to become what I used to be.

To greet each day with surety – a priceless optimism founded by the long line of days that came before.

A deep inhalation of joy, of living.

Creation from my own hands, my own mind.

Meaningful gifts. Blessed silences. Shared glances. Gentled hands.

Full-hearted.

Rooted.