Friday, December 14, 2007

Festive Friday Fripperies

My office-mate, Liza, rolled this out last week after a year-long hiatus:

Click here! You know you want to!

We had much fun with this last year, and it did not disappoint for 2007.

Consider it an early Christmas present, from Around the Subject to you.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

That's Not a Zit, It's a Jam Injury!

Just popping in to avoid the I-Didn't-Blog-For-Two-Weeks-And-Then-Didn't-Have-Anything-Momentous-Enough-To-Say-After-All-That-Time problem.

People, Christmas is hard work. Fun, but hard work. Yesterday afternoon, Todd went to do some shopping while I stayed home to make some jam (remember? making jam was somewhere on the list . . . where did that list go, anyway?). The cranberry jam was quite a success, but it's always a bit disconcerting to dump nine cups of cranberries into the pot and end up with four jars of jam. There will have to be at least one more big "jam session." (Get it? Jam session? Whoo, I crack me up.)

Oh, and by the way . . . Christmas is also dangerous. I don't know if you are aware of this or not, but when one is boiling sugar and cranberries, said cranberries tend to SPLURT out at odd times and attach themselves to any exposed skin they can find. This hurts. This leaves marks. I can honestly say, I don't recommend Co-Ed Naked Jam Making. (And NO, I have NOT tried it myself.)

I was so hopped up on sugar fumes that I decided to continue on with the jam-making and ended up with experimental pumpkin-banana butter. I had some of the leftover for breakfast this morning, and I can firmly pronounce it Not Bad.

So after all that jam, I made dinner (Pasta with Ricotta, Pesto and Sun-Dried Tomatoes, which wasn't terribly exciting, taste-wise, but kept up the Christmas-theme, color-wise), then moved on to chocolate-cake-baking for a party tonight. While that was baking, I did some feverish knitting on the second of the three small items of contract knitting for Santa Claus.

Do you see how I am just flying through the Christmas To-Do list? No doubt about it, I am on a roll.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Guest Post

Hello? Hello?

Sam the Best Dog Ever here. Mom agreed that I deserve equal airtime to the little interloper, Penny the (so-called) Wonder Puppy.

Just wanted to set the record straight that I have been sleeping outside for years now, and never once have I SHIVERED or required a "fido fleece" or whatever that monstrosity is that Penny has now taken to wearing.

Why? 'Cause I'm a dog. A dog's dog. I hike my leg to pee, I dig in the garbage, and yes -- I eat the occasional cat turd. That's what dogs do. We do NOT allow ourselves to be referred to as "delicate flowers" or any such nonsense. And I can assure you that MY trachea has remained properly inflated for my entire life.

Got it? Good. Carry on with your recipes and Christmas talk, etc., etc. If anyone asks, I could use some new rawhides . . . oh, and a new bed, since you-know-who keeps ripping them to shreds.


Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Tell Me the Truth: Does My Butt Look Big?

For many, many months, I've been telling Todd that Penny the Wonder Puppy is a Delicate Flower. He hasn't quite agreed.

Me: But remember that time her trachea collapsed and she almost died?

Todd: Remember that time she destroyed three dog beds, a remote control, and ate half a human bed?

Me: Oh, yeah.

But NOW. Now that it's just a wee bit cold outside, Todd has turned super-softy and started worrying about her little short-haired, no-body-fat-having self being cold.

Because, YES, we are some of those people with lumps of coal instead of hearts who make our dogs sleep outside and YES, we know we are going to hell for it and YES, we know when we get there we will be endlessly tormented by being forced to sleep outside while the dogs sleep in the cushiest part of hell, and we JUST DON'T CARE.

I did feel a bit bad the other morning when I went out to feed her and she crawled out of her house, where she'd been snuggled down with her dog bed, copious amounts of straw, and three large towels, and actually SHIVERED. I stopped feeling bad when, an hour later, she ripped that dog bed to shreds. Shreds, I tell you. There's green foam snow all over her pen, now.

Anyway. Todd's brain is working a mile a minute on solutions that involve sacrificing the futon mattress and stapling it inside the dog house, kind of like a rubber room for a crazy dog, which is pretty fitting, actually, for Penny the Wonder Puppy. I, on the other hand, came up with this:

I think it really highlights her youthful complexion, don't you?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Because One Just Isn't Enough . . .

Yeah. Call me stupid; call me a glutton for punishment, I started a new blog.

Okay, it's not really a WHOLE new blog. It's more an I-wanted-to-add-a-new-page-to-this-blog-and-couldn't-figure-it-out-so-I-started-a-supplemental-blog blog.

Basically, over there to the right, (if you haven't looked over there, go look -- there's STUFF over there, dude!) I wanted to add a "What I'm Cooking . . ." column. 'Cause I cook a lot. Then a figured I should link to recipes of what I'm cooking, because that's only polite. Then I realized that a lot of what I cook is so modified from it's original source as to be unrecognizable, or just comes out of my own head to begin with.

So there's a whole-nother-blog over there. The recipe titles themselves (at least the ones that I consider MY recipes) will take you directly to it. There's only a couple of recipes there now, but it's a total up-and-comer.

Monday, December 3, 2007

How NPR Ruined My Day

I have to admit, when it comes to the Republican Presidential candidates, I've been practicing a careful, bury-my-head-in-the-sand approach. I figure, they're all going to be awful, so why pay attention until I have to focus on the awfulest one?

Well, today on my ride home, NPR ripped my head right out of the sand with its interview with Mitt Romney.

First let me say this: I adore my liberal, leftist NPR. And I love how they conduct interviews with the not-so-left. They're so NICE, in that Southern-my-daddy-taught-me-to-say-"that's nice"-instead-of-"fuck you" way.

This particular interview was no exception. Robert Siegel noted a recent debate in which Romney, when asked if he believes everything in the Bible, replied, "I believe it is the word of God." Siegel followed this up by asking Romney if he believes the Creation story as posed in Genesis.

Romney's answer (and I paraphrase): I can't believe NPR would ask something so irrelevant to the people of the United States.

Well, sorry, Mitt, but as one of those people of the United States, it's pretty relevant to me.

It's relevant to me because it shows me you are an amateur debater who just turns mean when he can't think of a good answer.

It's relevant to me because it tells me that you DO believe in Creationism, and therefore you are one of those people who think religion should make you STUPID.

It's relevant to me because it points out what I see as one of the inherent problems of the Republican party: you think I'm even more stupid than you are.

Sheesh. I liked it better when my head was in the sand.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Christmas Tree? Check!

Well, I can mark task #1 off the list:

I think it looks rather festive, don't you?

There was one near-catastrophe with a string of lights, but I MADE DO. And I learned something. If you expect the tree-putting-up to suck; if you PLAN for it to suck . . .

It doesn't quite suck.

Merry December 2nd!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Twenty-four Shopping Days Left!


Can somebody tell me just HOW it came to be December 1st today?

Christmas has been moved back a bit, surely? Because there can be no way that it's going to still happen on December 25th and I DON'T HAVE MY CHRISTMAS TREE UP YET!

Okay. Taking a deep breath, maybe several deep breaths . . .

Every year, around October, I start thinking of all the wonderful things I can do to celebrate the holiday season. There's the Christmas cocktail party, there's the visiting of several relatives and family friends, there's the baking, and candy-making, and the stringing popcorn for the tree, and the wassail-drinking, and the studding oranges with cloves, and the knitting authentic aran sweaters for everyone in my family INCLUDING THE DOGS . . .

One more deep breath . . .

Several years ago, when I was newly living on my own, I told my mom that I felt like a complete failure as a woman. Not, mind you, because I was recently divorced, but because I had neglected to make homemade chutney to give to all my friends and acquaintences. At the time I didn't even know what chutney was, but Martha said I should make it, so it must be so.

Last year, I dutifully planned hand-knit gifts for everyone in the family, which led to many frantic evenings of knitting, one bitching-out by my boss, lots of tears, and ultimately -- my brother-in-law got bourbon instead of hand-knit golf club covers. I think his was the most successfull gift of the season.

So this year, I think I should lower Ye Olde Christmas Expectations. Here's the to-do list:

1. Put up tree. Forego hand-strung popcorn. Do NOT expect the tree-putting-up to be full of wassail and merriment. Accept that it will suck.

2. "Make" two blankets for as-yet-to-be-named recipients. Believe it or not, one is already done, and the other will take a mere afternoon.

3. Complete the small amount of contract knitting I have accepted from Santa Claus. Totally do-able, honest. It's just three little things, one of which is 75% complete already. Okay, maybe four little things. Okay, if I finish those four, maybe five. But definitely not more than five. Really.

4. Can cranberry jam, to round out the already done banana jam and pumpkin butter for those little teeny gifts we always need.

5. Make toffee. Partly because it's needed for a few gifts, but mostly because it's the Christmas version of crack, only with the opposite effect on your weight.

I don't think that list is bad at all, not bad at all. I think there will even be time to squeeze in a reasonable amount of Christmas cheer . . . maybe even merriment.

Yeah, I think merriment is totally doable.