Sunday, December 31, 2006
Last night, when we were doing the gift exchange....I completely missed seeing Sarah open her gifts from me, well, I actually missed everybody opening their gifts. Why? Because L-A was constantly trying to get into the gifts that were in two gift bags beside me - both addressed to me. She kept digging into them. No matter how many times I told her to wait, to be patient, to let everyone else open a gift before giving out more gifts, etc... she just wouldn't stop.
And what were her parents doing? Sitting there. Doing nothing. Taking turns ignoring it and looking like they had the brain cells sucked out of their heads. That's harsh, but the truth. They let L-A run wild. They didn't once try to speak to her about manners or patience. They just let her do whatever she wanted. I don't know if they just don't see the behaviour or if they don't want to accept that she's that rude or maybe they just think that kind of behaviour is acceptable.
Now, some people may think that, oh she's just being a kid. But I feel I should mention that K and E were there too and certainly weren't exhibiting such boorish manners. Unfortunately, this kind of behaviour has become typical of L-A and it makes visiting with her unenjoyable.
Saturday, December 30, 2006
SO, I got to use the beautiful cake plate and cute muffin pots that Santa Nick gifted to me at the Secret Santa Exchange. I didn't have enough dip dishes, so I cracked open the muffin pots and used them for the dips. They worked out really well. I plated my Cafe Au Lait Cheesecake on teh Snowmen plate. It was a perfect fit for the 8" cheesecake! By the way, I am not a coffee fan, but this cheesecake was scrumptious! We had fondue - hot oil. Great for cooking, yucky for smell and residue. My house smells and I had to wipe everything down from the S&P shakers to the table. Anyway, we had steak, zucchini sticks, onion rings, potato salad, fried rice, garlic bread and the dips! It was so good. And we had just the right amount of everything.
By my kids, I mean Anita's. My Boog and My Bug are coming over early.
Sarah K, Anita and the kids, and Teena, John & the kids are coming over tonight for fondue and a gift exchange.
Anita, Kayin and Emma came in early to go visit Nicole and her brood, but they weren't home, so I get them instead! Woohoo! This will be the first time I have seen the kids since May .... I can't wait!
Thursday, December 28, 2006
First scenario - a well-dressed guy trying to get into his car and obviously very intoxicated. What would you do? Let him get in the car, call 911?
What if there was a scenario change? What if the guy was dressed down? Kinda sloppy clothes? Would you be more willing to help or ignore?
Another change. A woman trying to get into her car while obviously drunk. Would you help her?
And the last one. What if that woman had children with her? What if she was trying to get her children in the car while stinking drunk? Would you help her and her children or ignore them?
Well, most people did something with regards to the guy, be it calling the cops, talking to him, or even trying to get him to sober up. But they were far slower to help him when he was dressed down. What about the woman? Well, the same amout of people stopped to help as the well-dressed guy. But when there were children involved, almost all bystanders stopped to try and do something.
What should you do? This is the recommendation: if you can't convince the person not to drive, then step back and try to distract them until the police arrive. But if that doesn't work, be an attentive witness: take down the plate number, call the police, and give a detailed description of the driver.
Second scenario- a man physically intimidating his girlfriend in the park. It's obvious she wants to leave, but he won't let her. He repeatedly pushes her around, yelling and screaming at her. What would you do? Ignore it? Sneak a peek? Stop and talk to other bystanders? Call the cops? Or would you get in the guys face?
Well, more than half ignored it or snuck peeks. Including an off duty police officer, who later stated it wasn't physical enough to warrant intervention, he was off duty, and he didn't have his weapon. Others, mainly women, stopped further away from the confrontation and called the cops. Only two people, women, actually confronted the guy and helped the girl to her car.
But what if there was a change? What if the couple was black? Over 100 people walked by. One man stopped. Only to tell the guy that "there was a time and place for this kind of thing, and this isn't the time, and it most definitely isn't the place". Only one person stopped to help the abused woman. Who was that kind Samaritan? Another woman. She walked the woman away from the man and asked a bystander for a cell phone to call the police.
Third scenario - a girlfriend yelling at and beating on her boyfriend in the park. Surprisingly, or really not surprisingly, not one man stopped. A group of women stopped a distance away and discussed what to do. Finally one woman went over and warned the girlfriend that if she didn't stop, she was calling the police. They did actually call the cops. They were the only ones.
When these bystanders were questioned later, they overwhelming gave the same kinds of responses. He must have deserved it.
Little Fact: Did you know that while men do more damage when hitting a woman, it's actually women who do most of the hitting?
Last scenario - in three different cities across the US, a cab driver tries to engage passengers in racist conversation. Almost every passenger made some kind of remark or agreed with the cab drivers, but would later claim to the investigator that they weren't racist. One guy never said anything as the cab driver made racial slurs, but it was obvious he didn't agree and he was very uncomfortable. What was really sad about it was that the cabby was making racial remarks about Jews and the passenger was Jewish. The passenger never spoke up. Only one woman was quite vocal in her disagreement.
So what would you do? Would you just ignore any of those scenarios if you actually came across them or would try to something, anything?
I'll be honest. I've called the cops on someone for driving drunk. A complete stranger who didn't have the sense not to drink from his beer bottle in the KFC parking lot. I called the cops with the plate #, car and driver description. Do I regret it? The only thing I regret was not trying to talk to the guy or try stalling him. Cuz really. I have no idea if the cops actually did anything. From what I understand, they "get too many of those calls, and just can't respond to them all".
Wednesday, December 27, 2006
Tuesday, December 26, 2006
Well, Christmas morning wasn't quite as stressful as I thought it would be, thank goodness. I have no idea what time Mum got up, but when I did emerge from the bedroom, she was glued to the computer, playing that G-D Text Twist game.
We had breakfast, Make-Ahead Eggs Benny, then waited for Amanda to arrive. She and David opened gifts before she came over. We opened for
I think Mum really liked her gift that I gave her ... the first season of "Due South" on DVD. She was extremely surprised. I think hers was the most enthusiastic response to a gift the whole morning ... she actually shouted "ooooooohhhhh". She got a lot of things she could use - a new pair of moccasins (have to keep those away from Doodle, she likes to chew on the fur), a kettle, an alarm clock (hers only works when it wants to), and a blender. And I gave her a print of a picture I took that everyone is now jealous that they didn't get.
Amanda got a lot of things for entertaining/cooking/decorating in her new house. Candles, a cookbook, a table runner, chafing dishes, a roaster to name a few things.
Ok, so what did I get? Wellllllll..... the big square thingy was a hypo-allergenic mattress topper for my harder-than-a-rock bed. I've been eyeing them for the past couple of years since my mattress has started to go downhill. I also got TWO, count it, ONE, TWO Il Divo CD's from Mum - the Christmas CD and the newest, El Siempre. What else? From Mum - a Toblerone, a pair of pj's with kitties on them, two Sudoku books, and lots of toiletry items from the stocking. From Amanda - a Christmas nightdress, a $25 Pennington's gift certificate, a fuzzy scarf, a $25 Pennington's gift cert., a three pack of undies, a $25 Pennington's gift cert., a funky pair of slipper socks, and another $25 Pennington's gift certificate. Spoiled!
Buddy looking all angelic while chomping down on an icicle that could lacerate his intestines and kill him.
As we were getting dressed, we got a call from Mary ... where were we? why weren't we over there? they were waiting for us! So, we went over to watch present unwrapping. Mary had her Christmas tree in the kitchen, as Grammy's bed and dresser are in the general area that Mary usually has her tree. Grammy was all set up in a comfy chair to watch the goings on.
Sharon and Norah in the foreground. At the table - my cousin Kelly, Aunt Donna and Uncle Ted (Tedward), who was full of the "Christmas cheer" at this point. All framed by Patty's leg and hip on the left and Andy's legs and beer bottle on the right. I take great pictures, huh? I never think of those kinds of things in my hurry to photograph everything. Patty and Paul were home this year for Christmas because Grammy was supposed to have a hip replacement earlier this month, that obviously didn't go through.
Mary cooking the gorgeous Christmas turkey, courtesy of UPS (Amanda's gift to Grammy every year). We had Mary's yummy bread dressing, carrots, potatoes, turnip, squash, turkey, gravy, pickles, raisin pie and chocolate cheesecake for the Who feast. I ended up carving the WHO beast (turkey). And let me tell you, that's a lot of pressure in my family!
Everyone LOVED the calendar that I made my Aunt Joan ... I will post pics later tonight. It turned out really well. I have to thank my Aunt Norah for printing the pictures for me or it never would have happened.
Amanda and I with Grammy.
Now on to something quite disheartening. Amanda and I are really starting to get worried about Grammy. The Wilson family is NOT a pda family. That is the way Grammy raised her family because that is the way she was raised. When Irvin and Donna and the girls were leaving, Irvin went to pat Gram on the shoulder as he usually does. But Grammy pulled him down for a big hug and kiss and held his hands and told him that he had a lovely family - a family anyone would be proud to have. I thought Irvin was going to cry. You could tell he was holding back tears and he was very choked up.
When Mum, Amanda, and I left, Grammy hugged us and gave us kisses. The hugging has been something that has developped since last Christmas - but usually only with Amanda and I(that I have noticed, at least). This year, she's started giving kisses. My Grammy has become so frail in the past 6 months. And we're so scared that this was her last Christmas and that she's doing all this to say goodbye. She was my second mother. I spent half my childhood in North Tay. And I honestly don't know what I will do without her when that time comes. I am not prepared for that time to be now.
Anyway, when all was said and done, the day was wonderful. I hope everyone else had a great Christmas as well. Merry Christmas everyone!
Friday, December 22, 2006
Thai Chicken with Peanuts
4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp canola oil
1 cup fat-free, low sodium chicken broth
3 tbsp sweetened chili sauce (like PC Memories of Thailand)
2 tsp fish sauce
1/4 cup lime juice
2 tsp peanut butter
2 tbsp chopped peanuts
1.Place each chicken breast between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to a 1/2" thickness with a meat mallet. Sprinkle chicken with the 1/4 tsp salt.
2. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook for 6 minutes on each side, or until done. Remove chicken from pan and keep warm. (I cooked the rice before the chicken, so I put the chicken on top of the rice in the saucepan to keep it warm. Less dishes and mess.)
3. Add broth, chili sauce, and fish sauce to the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping any browned bits from the bottom. Cook until broth has reduced to 2/3 cup. Remove from heat and add the lime juice and peanut butter, stirring until mixed. Serve sauce over chicken, and sprinkle with chopped nuts.
Wednesday, December 20, 2006
Now that I am looking at this pic, I realize that I forgot a couple of things to put in it. Oops! Sorry!
Now, my Secret Santa Nicole spoiled me rotten! She gave me a set of muffin pots with leeettle apples painted along the top ... they are so adorable! And a cake plate and serving tool that had snowmen painted on it ... snowmen are my fave Christmas images. Oh! and a dip chiller. I've only seen these at craft shows before ... it's almost like a tart burner ... the dip goes into the top dish that sits in another dish that gets filled with ice. Very cool idea and it will be well used! Hmmm, am I seeing a trend here? LOL!
Toblerone! Not just one! Santa Nick gave me a chocolate Toblerone and also the one with "snow cap", the white chocolate top. Two beautiful Polonaise(blown glass) ornaments - a Santa and the cutest angel in a pink dress.
THEN I was even more spoiled! She gave me the MM Silent Setter and the Paper and Ribbon Punch Tools. AND THEN Santa Nick gave the Design with 2007 Calendar!!!!
Thank you sooooooooooooo much Nicole! Ok, I'm a little verklempt right now. I really appreciate everything and I love it all. Ok, I am going to stop now before I really start crying.
Thank you everybody for making this year's Secret Santa exchange so wonderful!
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Monday, December 18, 2006
I can't wait! I'm soooo excited! I can't wait to see the looks on peoples faces when they discover who their secret santa are. Particularly, those that "think" they have it figured out.
Better make sure I have my camera batteries recharged for the reveals!
Saturday, December 16, 2006
So this is why I was so antsy to get my SU order. I realized when I was putting the finishing touches on the December calendar LO that I needed the Sticky Strip I had ordered.
Anyway, I am halfway to being stress free. My CTMH and SU orders came in, so now I am waiting on the freakin' mail. Crossing my fingers for Monday!
Thursday, December 14, 2006
My cleaning has come to a standstill ... what's the point trying to keep things straightened up with my mother around? Every time I turn around, she is covering every available surface with clutter. And the floors? Absolutely no point trying to keep those clean with all this crappy mild weather! Muddy dog paws everywhere!
And last but not least, the waiting is killing me. I am so tired of waiting for everything. I am waiting on the mail for those last minute items for my SS. I'm waiting on CTMH for the order to arrive with items for Christmas. I am waiting on SU for my order to arrive so I can finish my sister's gift. I just want it all to be here NOW so I can stop worrying about it.
Tuesday, December 12, 2006
1-1/2 c. dry roasted peanuts ( I just used the cheap blanched, salted NoName peanuts)
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. light corn syrup (I used what I had on hand - golden corn syrup)
1 tbsp butter OR margarine
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 tsp. baking soda
1. Grease a large cookie sheet with cooking spray and, here's the big tip, put it in a 250 degree oven. This will allow you to spread the brittle a little easier later.
2. In a glass bowl (I used a Pyrex 8L glass measuring cup/bowl), mix sugar and corn syrup. It will look like sand, because there is so little moisture. Pour the peanuts on top. No need to mix them in. Microwave for 6 - 7 minutes (I went with 7).
3. While the mixture is in the microwave, measure out the rest of your ingredients. This is important because you won't have time to do it later as you go through the steps.
4. When the 7 minutes are up, remove from the microwave and stir in the butter/margarine and the vanilla. Microwave for 2-3 minutes (I went with 3).
5. Remove your cookie sheet from the oven just before the timer goes off on the microwave.
6. When the 3 mintues are up, remove from the microwave and quickly stir in the baking soda. Pour the mixture onto the cookie sheet and quickly spread it around.
That's it! No candy thermometers, no soft and hard boil stages. Just set it and forget it!
Friday, December 08, 2006
This my friends is MY CHRISTMAS GIFT from my mother. It's not wrapped. It's just sitting under that blue blanket. IN MY CRAFT ROOM!
I haven't touched it. I haven't tried to peek. I haven't even tried to guess what it is.
If I found out what it was, it would completely ruin the surprise for Christmas morning! And why would I want to do that?
Freaky, huh? I can name four people right off the bat who would be looking ... and you know who your are - surprise spoilers.
Wednesday, December 06, 2006
I think I will spend the rest of the day shopping before I have to head to the open house. Still have to pick up a few more presents ... but other than that, I am pretty much ready for the holidays. Well, maybe not that ready ... I still have to wrap the rest of the gifts and I have to address all my Christmas cards and get some of those in the mail ... and finish the kids ornaments ... and get a tree, then decorate it ... and ...
Hmmm...maybe I am not as close to being done as I thought.
And I am still on the fence about doing one last quilt before Christmas ... It's a hard decision. I've finished all my other quilting projects ... now I'm sort of at loose ends ... nothing to quilt to keep me busy. If I can find some half decent fabric, maybe I'll start a new project.
Tuesday, December 05, 2006
This year, I decided to do things differently. I have already spent two days wrapping a handful of gifts each time. I whip out the chicken bones and wrap gifts while watching TV. And I have had a great time doing! It isn't this laborious process that needs to be done. I would highly recommend it.
In addition to that, I haven't put ANY bows or ribbons on ANY gifts as of yet. I discovered last year, that it is actually much easier to do this at the very end of wrapping. The process goes that much quicker at the end.
Can you tell that I am really stretching for something to write about? I've been reduced to writing about gift wrapping. Big sigh! My life just isn't that interesting right now. Not that I'm saying I was the life of the party before ... but I've become even MORE dull, if it's at all possible.
Monday, December 04, 2006
North Pole, Earth
I have been a good girl.
It really wasn't my fault what happened at Sarah's Office party. It was Anita who spiked the punch with too much Crantini. I can't help it if I drank 7 glasses. It was so good---smelled and tasted just like apples.
I thought it was funny when I put Susan's black panties on my head and danced the funky chicken on the couch while singing `Walk This Way'. I didn't mean to break Sarah's Blackberry and don't know why Sarah would accuse me of Lewd Behaviour.
I don't remember calling John's wife a funny horse---even though she looked like one with blue eye shadow and red lipstick!
And when I threw up on Sarah's husband's arm, it was only because I ate too much of that cheese ball.
After all that fun, I admit I was a little tired. So I fell asleep on my way home and drove my Toyota Prius through my neighbor's TV room. I don't think that was any reason for my neighbor to call me a hot cat and have me arrested for obscenities!
So, Santa...here I sit in my jail cell on Christmas Eve, all loud and obnoxious. And I'm really not to blame for any of this colourful stuff. Please bring me what I want the most---bail money!
Sincerely and quickly yours,
Jeanette (Really a nice girl!)
P.S. It's only 11 bucks!
But every year has been easier ... I even coped well with Amanda wanting to do Christmas at her house last year, from present opening to dinner. But this year, I am not handling it so well. Once again, she wants to have Christmas at her house. Her reasoning? It's her first Christmas in her new house. My gut reaction was NO WAY IN HELL! Why's that? Because there is always going to be a reason for it to be at her house every year. And let's face it, Christmas at her house will have to include David ... this holiday is hard enough without having to spend it with him! I know this sounds selfish and immature...but I have enough problems without having to throw on a whole other set of 'em! On top of that, there most likely won't be Christmas at my Grammy's this year, because she goes for a hip replacement this Wednesday ... so she'll be at Mary's for her recovery and then most likely stay there for the winter, like last year. Not having Christmas at my Grammy's is a huge blow... it has been the constant since my father died...I could always rely on that. There's one of two possibilities: we all chip in work-wise to have Christmas in North Tay, if Grammy is moving around well enough by then ... or it ends up being at Mary's house ... now there's a festive place for Christmas! Every God-blessed ornament and decoration is brown, gold or cream! Freakin' gag me now!
So. These two events conspired to send me into a tail spin last night. Mum and I dragged all the house decorations upstairs last night. I started decorating. And my mother periodically looks at stuff like she has no clue what is going on. My blood pressure goes up a notch. I keep decorating. She sits and watches TV. My blood pressure goes up another notch. I end up with three shoe boxes of decorations/knick-knacks that have to go on the bookcase ... and I'm thinking - how am I supposed to cram all this stuff on here and make it look pretty? I have no clue where it all sits. I say as much to my mother and she looks at me like she doesn't understand freaking english, let alone what these decorations are for! Another notch! Is there steam coming out of my ears yet?
I shift the chairs around a bit so that it will be ready for the Christmas tree next weekend. And everything falls apart from this moment on. Blood pressure is almost at stroke level! The oversized chair is just too big to be sitting in the corner, it's sticking out too far, how am I supposed to put the coffee table out here if the chair is sticking out too far? No, I am not putting it against the bookcase, that would just look too stupid, no I am not putting it in the dining room. What if I take the feet off and we take it downstairs and bring the recliner upstairs? WHAT? WHAT? NOW you like that chair when every other time you talk about it you're bitching about how big it is! BP is off the charts NOW! It deteriorated from that point on - ending with the chairs going back to their original positions and the phone books, sitting on one chair, going flying. And yes, I said books, pural, because my mother has to keep every damn phone book we have had in the past five years!
I apologized to my mother later and she said, oh that's ok, I'm used to it now. Hmmmm.... well didn't that make me feel like a total worm?
Today is a much better day. I am optimistic about Christmas at Grammy's. I have decided that I am not having Christmas at Amanda's - I'll spend it alone at home, if need be. And the decorating is almost done - I just have the Christmas village to do - which is a huge job by itself, but I really enjoy doing it.
Friday, December 01, 2006
I'm getting excited just thinking about the party! I have already started cooking. I just made the Sausage Pinwheels and they will be going into the freezer. Later today, I will be making Mushroom Tarts (with Cream Cheese Pastry), which will also go into the freezer.
And I get to start decorating this weekend! Woohoo! And, most exciting of all, I get to turn on the outdoor Christmas lights tonight! It's been killing me, having to wait until December 1st. I think I just may have to crack out the wrapping paper, bows, ribbon, and tags and do some Christmas wrapping.
I've had lots of questions about the party and even more about SS identities. So many people are going to be SO surprised! The countdown begins....
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate - Hot chocolate! Most definitely hot chocolate....how anyone can drink egg nog is beyond me.
Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? - Not anymore ... but when I was a child, all gifts were wrapped and placed around the tree.
Do You Hang Mistletoe? No! Who would I catch under it? That would just be sad...
When do You Put Decorations Up? - Outdoor decorations go out in November, but don't get turned on until December 1st. Indoor decorations go up December 1st or the first weekend in December, depending on how busy we are. The tree is put up 1-2 weeks before Christmas.
What is Your Fave Holiday Dish ? (can't be dessert!) - I don't know ... it would be a tie between my grandmother's stuffing and my Easy Eggs Benedict.
Fave Christmas Gift - When I was a kid - the year that I received my bike - pink with a banana seat! As an adult - the year I got a Kitchen Aid Mixer, a Braun Food Processor, and a Bread Maker all from my sister and mother!
When and How did you learn the truth about Santa? - I was in 6th grade, on the tires on the old jungle gym at Park Street with most of the class when someone, possibly Mike Walsh(that putz), spilled the beans. I was CRUSHED!
Do You Open a Gift on Christmas Eve? - Not anymore, but yes, when we were kids. Always something we could use, like jammies or, the most memorable time, a mirror and hairbrush set ... I still don't know how my father did it. My mother was working nights, Dad took my sister and I to church and when we got home, there were two presents that "Santa dropped off" on the kitchen table. When we left for church, there was NOTHING on the kitchen table. My mother says she didn't come home and get them out...
How do you Decorate your Tree? - All our ornaments have meaning ... I love blown glass or Polonaise Ornaments ... we have lots of those. Handmade ornaments given to me from when I was a child. Ornaments given to me as a gift. Two boxes of blown glass ornaments my parents got their first year married. And it all has to be covered with a sprinkling of tinsel.
Fave Christmas Memory - See fave gifts.
The most Important thing about the Holidays - After my dad died, it used to be just getting through Christmas Day without a breakdown, cuz Christmas was HIS holiday. Now it's about spending as much time with my family and friends as I can.
Favourte Christmas Dessert - We don't really have a dessert we make every year. Mum's shortbread cookies, with a few sprinkles of coloured sugar on top.
What tops your Tree? - A star ... a new one, as the one my parents had their first year died...
Do you prefer giving or recieving? - Both! I love to give gifts... as most of you know. And I love to receive, particularly when it's a gift that is a total surprise, that is absolutely perfect!
Fave Christmas Song? - This is a three way tie - and they're all so very different: Elvis' 'If Every Day Could Be Christmas', John Lennon's 'So This Is Christmas', and Bing Crosby's 'White Christmas'.
Fave Holiday Movie? - It's a tie between "White Christmas" with Bing Crosby and Rosemary Clooney and "Miracle on 34th Street" with Maureen O'Hara- not the crappy remake.
Fave Christmas Candy? - Ganong Chicken Bones!
Fave Christmas Claymation/Cartoon? - Frosty the Snowman!
Monday, November 27, 2006
We got back last night at 9PM and I was sooooooo tired that I had enough energy to unpack the truck, get in my pj's and veg in front of the TV.
We left here Friday night at 5:20PM and made it to the border in an hour, courtesy of the new highway from Longs Creek to Nackawic. Unfortunately, I have a bit of a UTI, so we made frequent stops...and we arrived in Dover at midnight our time. When we arrived, my Aunt Diane was already in bed. She lives in the upstairs apartment of my Aunt Mary's house. We didn't want to wake her up, since she was supposed to work the next day. So, we went in to Mary's since the woman almost never sleeps(I don't know how she does it). My cousin Johnny(Diane's son) came home less than a half hour later and woke Diane up to ask her if we were staying with them or not. Her response? They haven't arrived! He says, yeah, the truck is in the driveway...she comes racing down the stairs into Mary's - saying, why didn't you ring the doorbell!? and the explanations start again.
The next morning we were up early and out the door after a great breakfast Diane prepared (she loves company to cook for) and headed for Portland. We arrived at the Christmas Tree Shop and split up with our own carts ... I managed to get a little something for almost everybody on my list. Hit Michaels and got a few things. I have to be honest and say that our Michaels are stocked much better. Then we headed to the Dollar Tree ... a little higher end than Dollarama ... I got some great gift bags ... I don't know if I want to part with them, they're so cute!
Afterwards, we zipped down to Kittery ... we had lunch at the Weathervane ... only THE BEST seafood place, that I absolutely have to visit every time I go down to NH. Just a little aside ... Diane was telling me that whenever Johnny comes home from NYC, the day he goes back, he always has to have lunch with her at the Weathervane ... a big thing in our family. Anyway, after lunch, I dropped Mum off at the Hanes outlet and waited in the car. I'm sure Nick is aghast that I didn't shop, but really, - been there, done that. Kittery is old news for me. It also didn't help that the traffic was bumper to bumper all the way down Route 1.
Once Mum made her purchase at the Hanes Outlet, we motored over to Portsmouth - it's a five minute drive - and we did some shopping at the Fox Run Mall and Annex. Highlights: Barnes & Noble - pretentious - even more so than Chapters! Old Navy - didn't go in, didn't want to be tempted - but it was HUGE. Lindt - LOVED IT! Yankee Candle - actually disappointed! The selection at Shoppers is just fine for me.
By that time, it was pitch dark! And guess what time it was? 5PM! I had forgotten how early and quickly it gets dark down there. Anyway, we went back to Diane's for supper. Then the three of us went to the Wal-Mart Supercenter in Somersworth to do some last minute shopping...got all the photo frames I needed, a start on Mum's Christmas shopping, and some groceries to bring back. Then we went back to Diane's and vegged ... we were tired! I literally shopped my mother out. Mum and Diane talked while watching TV and I quilted.
Diane loved the quilt! She proceeded to "encourage" me to stop giving my quilts away and start selling them. She feels that I shouldn't waste my talent. I should insert here that Johnny is an artist (he works for an ad agency to pay the bills) and she's always been very nurturing when it comes to his talent. Anyway, she thinks I should start in the new year, making quilts, so I can sell them at craft fairs and sales around Christmas time. I don't know. I would like to think that I could sell them, but I have a hard time believing anyone would want to spend good money on what I produce. Enough of that.
We left after breakfast Sunday morning, but not to get on the road... we had to go visit more family. We stopped at my Aunt Carmel's for an hour, then had go to my Aunt Monica's for an hour to pick up all my stuff I had shipped there. And to meet her new horse, of course! Finally, we were able to get on the road and start to make some headway. We left around 1PM and pulled into the driveway shortly before 9pm, after traffic on the highway around Portland and Bangor, stopping for supper, and lots of pee breaks. I should note that we didn't have to stop at the border... we declared exactly what we had, which was a little over the limit, and she waved us through. I guess it helps not to bring back a grand worth of merchandise. Hehe.
Ok, I'm done boring the crap out of you with my trip. Have a good night everyone!
Friday, November 24, 2006
I have all my lists ready. Yes, I said lists. I, too, make lists. I was just hesistant to mention it. I didn't want to end up being the brunt of the jokes. I know Melanie really enjoys that particular honour, and I didn't want to steal it from her.
For all those blog readers who are in the Secret Santa Exchange and you haven't e-mailed your preferred dates for the party...get crackin'! Monday morning, I will be sending out the date and time ...
Anyway, have a great weekend! Everybody enjoy the Christmas Parade, take lots of pictures and most important of all, eat lots of candy canes. Preferrably not those hideous eggnog flavoured ones.
Thursday, November 23, 2006
Have you heard? They're coming to the Maritimes... they'll be in Halifax April 7th.
I have to go...the opportunity to enjoy a live performance by these guys is just too good to pass up. So does anyone else want to go?
Wednesday, November 22, 2006
I had to change banks because mine was stealing from me. At least, that's the way I see it. I bounced a cheque (oops!) and got dinged with the $35 NSF charge. That's fine - I was in the wrong. But dammit!, don't turn around and charge me another $15 overdraft when I don't have overdraft on my account and you don't cover the damn cheque, like overdraft is supposed to. Charges like that have appeared on my account a few times and I've had it with CIBC.
So, I moved my business to Scotiabank. I did some checking and they have the highest rating for customer service out of all the banks. I also got a loan to pay off my CIBC car loan, my "hands-in-my-pocket" blood-sucking Capital One CC, with enough left over for Elvis to get a new exhaust system, which he desparately needed (ask anyone who has recently driven in my truck). Unfortunately, the mechanic quoted me a total that was significantly lower than what they charged me after the installation. I wanted to ask him what the damn exhaust was made of, gold? But then I should have expected it. What mechanic doesn't try to bleed more money out of a victim ... I mean customer?
Because of this golden exhaust, I am now low on funds which jeopardizes "the trip". Well, it would if I had any sense. But I'm going anyway, dammit!
Christmas is particularly bad for money. I want so badly to buy amazing gifts for everyone to show how much I care. But I can't because I'm po'. That's ok this year though. I have actually made some kind of peace with myself regarding Christmas gifts and no money. Usually every year, I give my sister a business suit and lots of little things. I felt horrible that I couldn't do that this year. Now, not so much. I hope the people that I give gifts to will appreciate the sentiment rather than judge the gift, because I have decided to downgrade this year. I'm not saying that what I give will be crap - like a three arm hand knit sweater or a barbie-in-a-knit-dress toilet paper roll cover - it's just that they won't be as expensive and there won't be quite as many per person as in past years.
Anyway, just keep that in mind if you get a gift from me and you feel that you have to put a fake smile on your face when you thank me.
And I know the people of Danvers, MA do.
At 2:50 AM, there was an explosion at a solvents and ink manufacturing company in Danvers. It obliterated the factory. There's nothing but debris there now.
The factory was surrounded by houses. While many houses we severely damaged - to the point that I can't believe they are still standing - there was NOT ONE FATALITY!
Can you believe it? Not one person died! And there has been very little chemical contamination in the surrounding area, including the river that runs only meters away!
Now that's a miracle!
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
I've given all the comments left a lot of thought. First of all, I want to say thank you to my friends. Now, I know this sounds terrible, but I really hope it's jealousy that's motivating Amanda to act and say the things she does. Otherwise, the alternative is much worse. The alternative being that she is becoming more like the Greenfields - condescending, selfish, arrogant and treacherous.
My relationship with my sister was actually better when we lived under the same roof. We spent more time together back then. Since she has moved out, our interactions have become fewer and shorter. She spends the majority of her time with David, his family, and their friends. When we do spend time together, we end up at odds. I can make the best effort to avoid any topic that will cause tension and yet, I still somehow end up being belittled. It could be the most innocent thing, but she can turn it into a well placed dagger - the shelves a little too cluttered, dishes in the sink, no snacks on hand. What, you say? Yes, she has actually shit on me for not having anything for her to snack on when she's dropped over to use my computer to pay her bills or play a game or kill time.
She and David were actually commenting on the fact that my family (aunts, uncles, etc..) hadn't expressed any interest in their new house. Well, that could be because Amanda has very little to do with the family anymore, because she communicates very little with the family - i.e. she's never even said 'oh yeah, stop by anytime' to any member of our family. David's family has been involved from the very beginning. But that's because David and Amanda make a big deal about including David's family in every aspect of their lives. Not so much with our family. And yet Amanda and David feel justified in expressing their disappointment in being underwhelmed with our family's response.
So, what I am saying in a long, round-about way is that while I wish it was something as simple as jealousy, I fear that it has more to do with Amanda thinking we're not good enough, particularly me. Unless she needs something done and then we're just peachy.
I am not the kind of person that Amanda believes is her equal. I believe in right and wrong. I don't lie. I am extremely loyal and protective of my family and friends - God help anyone who tries to hurt them. I don't appreciate artifice. But I also don't have an expensive house, or car, or clothes or tastes. And that's what Amanda really appreciates in other people. Amanda surrounds herself with people who are fake and dole out false praise.
Basically: I know I am not perfect. In fact, I know I am not a terribly good person. I know I have a lot of flaws. And that I am a bitch. I know all these things. And, I think, knowing all these things today makes me a better person than I was yesterday. And most importantly, I have to stop allowing Amanda to make me feel worthless.
Monday, November 20, 2006
We get over there and my mother mentions Amanda taking care of the animals this weekend while we are away. Of course, my sister's response is the same old bullshit, but this time, with a twist! Well, I can come over a couple times during the day(wow! that's a change), but I can't stay over night because it's going to be my first night in the new house (and there's the zinger!). This immediately put my back up for several reasons. I was quick to point out that of every time in the past year that she has been asked to pet- sit, she has had some kind of excuse not to do it. In the past year, every time she has asked me or my mother to pet-sit for her, she's gotten a yes.
She expects favours done for her, but screw you if you expect her to reciprocate! I left the house immediately. I couldn't even stand to look at her face. If I'd stayed any longer, I probably would have punched her in the face. Some of you may think I'm exaggerating, but I'm not. When we were teens, my sister and I always physically fought. There are times when I still want to haul off and deck her. Tonight was a prime example. But what makes the whole exchange even more sickening is the tone of voice she used. Surprisingly, she managed to combine a tone of condescension with one of shock - it was almost a work of art.
To reinforce the one way street of our relationship, she ordered wine from a vinyard in California for her work Christmas party and had it delivered in NH. And guess who she expects to bring all this wine back to NB for her? Me, of course. But, oh, I shouldn't expect anything from her, specially not taking care of HER OWN FREAKING DOG while I am doing it! Did I mention that Lukey (the Newf) is her dog? The one that she spends NO TIME with, pays for NONE OF HIS FOOD, and generally ignores when she is here for something?
Added to all that, I have had to listen to my mother justify every remark and action of my sister's tonight. There's always a reason why I should be more sympathetic to the person who treats me like dirt. At least, that's the gospel according to my mother.
And the cherry on top of the whole shitty night?! On my way home from Amanda's house, I ran over a raccoon and had to watch it twitch in the street until it died.
I sooooo love my life right now.
Very festive, huh!?
My only complaint is that my Blogger Dashboard bar that sits at the top of the page is gone. I don't know how to make it come back with this template. Maybe someone knows what to do here?
Otherwise, I love it! She has some other great Christmas templates if anyone is interested. Tis the season!
Sunday, November 19, 2006
IT's all set. We leave Friday, as soon as the Doodle is picked up and we come back Sunday afternoon. I have a list of store for Portland and Portsmouth! Why Portsmouth? WELL, the Fox Run Mall has a lot of the same stores I want to shop in Portland AND they have NO SALES TAX! So, we'll hit the Christmas Tree Shop and a couple of others in Maine, but head back to NH and shop in the tax-free state!
Can't wait! Oh! Oh! And I checked out the flyer for the Christmas Tree Shop for this week and it's even better than the one at the beginning of the month!
As a bonus, most of my cousins will be home that weekend too, for Thanksgiving and I will get to visit. As this may be one of my last trips down for a long time to come, I want to see as many people as possible. I've decided that since none of them can find their way here to visit or even to the freakin phone to call us, this is going to be the last visit from me for a while. It's been more than two years since my grandmother died and it's fallen to Mum, Amanda and I to continue contact with my dad's family. Enough's enough. It's gotta go both ways or no way at all.
Saturday, November 18, 2006
It was one of the easiest quilt tops I have ever made.
It's a small one - a table topper, actually.
If I were to make this again, I wouldn't hand quilt it. I'd take the easy route and machine quilt. Only because I am usually in a rush to get it done.
Thursday, November 16, 2006
Rice is one of the largest global crops, third only to corn and wheat. It's grown in paddies - semi-flooded fields, because rice requires an enormous amount of irrigation. The paddie also cuts down on weed growth, maximizing rice production.
Rice is actually the seeds of the rice plant. The seeds are hulled, removing the chaff, to produce brown rice. Processing the rice further will remove the germ, producing white rice. There are two main types of rice, being Oryza sativa (Asian) and Oryza glaberrima (African), with over 10,000 cultivars or varieties. e.g. O. sativa var indica - Indian rice.
Rice is classified by a few terms:
Long Grain - long, slender kernel that, when cooked is light and fluffy and rarely sticks.
e.g. Basmati rice
Medium Grain - shorter and wider than long grain. When cooked, the grains are moist and tend to cling together more than long grain.
e.g. Jasmine rice
Short Grain - short,plump grains that have more amylopectin in it, so it is stickier, or rather, glutinous.
e.g. Sweet Rice
It's then divided into brown and white rice categories.
Let's move onto the miraculous abomination of Instant Rice. Instant rice is merely white rice that has been cooked and then dehydrated. It's quick and easy. It's also not very flavorful. Because of it's ease, it became popular with most home cooks in the 70's. Because of that, people have shied away from using other, regular rices. Many people don't like them because:
1. they take longer to cook - oooohhh that extra 10- 20 minutes is a killer!
2. they clump together more than instant rice - that MUST be unnatural!
3. they have flavor - surely that's not right!
There is nothing easier to cook than rice. Really! You follow the 3 step instructions on the box or bag - one of which is fill the pot with X cups of water - and enjoy.
I would suggest, for the rice-timid, that Thai Jasmine rice would be the best to try. Don't be worried or intimidated by the name. It's just called that because is it the most popular rice in Thailand. Jasmine rice has a nice nutty flavour and aroma. It's extremely easy to cook and it will compliment just about anything you pair it with. When you're shopping, bypass the Minute Rice and stop at the bagged rice. Search for the following: Jasmine rice or Thai Jasmine rice - it can be labeled either way. When you go to use it, allow yourself an extra 15 minutes - to read the directions and cook the rice - over what you would usually take to make your rice. Then, get back to me on your rice experiment.
Why haven't I mentioned wild rice? Because rice and wild rice are not the same. They do belong the same plant family, but are different species. Wild rice is a Zizania sp. Wild rice takes longer to cook and has a slightly different flavour and texture. If you've never had wild rice, I would suggest something as easy and mundane as Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice Selects - flavour infused rice that is quick to cook (not as quick as instant) and very tasty. That way you'll know if you want to venture further into cooking with wild rice.
And that's it. I'm sucked dry on useless rice knowledge.
1-2 lbs chicken breasts, cubed 1"
1 cup coconut milk
1 cup plain yogurt
2 tbsp VE Curry Dip mix
2 tbsp minced garlic
Mix all ingredients in a stain proof dish. Allow to marinate for 2-8 hours.
1-2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 celery rib, chopped
2 medium onions, sliced
2 medium potatoes, cubed 1/2"
1/2 tsp dried ginger (or 1 tsp minced gingerroot)
3/4 tsp paprika
1 tsp sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1/2 cup water
In a large frying pan or wok, heat oil over medium high heat. Add onions and fry for 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Add remaining vegetables and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add remaining seasonings and the chicken curry mixture. Add 1/2 cup water to marinating bowl to clean out left over marinade and add to pan. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 45 minutes, or until potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally to prevent burning.
Serve Korma with Basmati Rice and Naan bread.
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Because they suspended my account.
They didn't like that I encouraged people to click on the ads.
But they left the ad content on the blog. I guess they thought they could get some freebee clicks. So I removed the content myself.
I love how they suspended it when I was 3/4 of the way to a payout. Interesting.
This is what happens when your drawers are too big.
Yesterday morning, I picked Lauren up to check her diaper and one of her legs was wet. So I checked it out and sure enough it was pee. I took her pants off to inspect the diaper and what should I find, but pooh on her onesie.
She's just recently moved up a size in diapers and this one was pretty loose on her butt. So much so, that everything had leaked.
So, I threw her clothes in the washer. But what to do for clothes now? I couldn't just let her wander around for 2 hours in a diaper and sneakers! Well, I managed to find this old knit sweater that I used to use on my dolls when I was younger, but it realler didn't cover much. So, I had to whip up a shift to put over her. Shades of Scarlett O'Hara - that fabric is actually from a set of curtains I used to have.
She looks like an orphan or something. The ensemble goes particularly well with the sneakers, huh?
Monday, November 13, 2006
This movie was amazing!
I am not a big fan of Will Ferrell's. That being said, he did an amazing job with this role.
And really, how can you go wrong with a supposting cast like Emma Thompson and Dustin Hoffman!?
Will Ferrell plays Harold Crick, a hum-drum IRS agent, who starts to hear a woman narrating his life and his iminent death.
Emma Thompson plays a bestselling author who has been working on a novel for ten years and has writer's block - she can't figure out how to kill off her hero. What she doesn't know is that her hero, Harold Crick, is real and he can hear her.
This movie is funny and it's a tear jerker and it makes you smile, because truth really is stranger than fiction...
Saturday, November 11, 2006
Wikipedia's definition of a quilting bee: A bee, as used in quilting bee, is an old word to describe a gathering of friends and neighbors to accomplish a task.
So last night, Sue and I go to Nick's to help her out with "the quilt" - the beginning of the weird ass quilting bee.
We were each working on our projects ... Sue was cranking the squares out, I was hand quilting my table topper, and Nick was alternately sewing and fighting with the machine. By fighting, I mean, swearing and looking like she was going to throw the machine against the wall. At one point, Nick had to refill her bobbin. And something went wrong. So wrong, that she ended up wasting a ton of thread. To me, this is sacrilege. So much so, that I screeched at them. Literally!Ohmigod! The wastage! I'm sure Susan and Nick can describe it better. Obviously, that moment got replayed all evening.
But I was honest and told them that I am "like Krista" when it comes to quilting (love you Kris!). When Nick and Tori cut squares...well it was needless to say they weren't the squarest squares. That would drive me around the bend! Then the whole thread thing. The horrors! Ohmigod! Just thinking about it is freaking me out.
And the sewing machines! Oh how could I forget about those! Quite a variety! Sue's - a nicotine-kissed 20+ year old machine that belongs to her mother - worked flawlessly. Nicole's, borrowed from Tina, - compact, purred like a kitten - probably works well with an experienced seamstress. Mine - 10 years old, missing a foot so it's slightly lopsided, loud, and jumping around like a Mexican jumping bean - but never missed a beat!
I would say to Nick - don't give up hope. Do a second quilt. But the next time around, cut the backing fabric properly (that's what those newfangled cutters and mats are for), and you will see a huge difference in the ease of making the rag quilt.
And you know what? I think we should do the W.A.Q.B. again!
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
Soooo......please keep on clicking on those ads! Anytime you pop onto the blog, just take a second to click on the ads.
Thanks a bunch!
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
I actually had today off, since the Doodle was sick. I spent it sewing - getting a new quilt top ready - and watching the tube.
My sister took my mother and I out to supper at Dimitri's. LOVE that place, but, oh holy crap do I ever reek of garlic now!
Sarah K, who has been my best friend since jr high, sent me a card and gift in the mail (since she's stranded out on that foresaken rock known as Grand Manan). This was the card:
And this was the #1 reason.
I LOVE the little remark she wrote in...she knows me sooooo well. That is exactly what I would say!
The gift she sent me had bath bombs in it - can't wait to try them out - specially the cranberry & pomegranate and the green apple & juicy pear.
Oh! And my tiger! Most of you know I love cats and the tiger is my fave wild cat.
Thank you Sarah!
And thank you to all of you who sent me birthday wishes...including the two who felt they needed to put it on their blogs.