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|Friday, December 20th, 2013|
|I have some odd pack rat habits
One of them is to think ahead and then while shopping spot things I will need far in the future, pick them up, stash them away and then forget about them. I find them eventually, sometimes making me look prescient, sometimes long after I need them...
(What you need a back-flow preventer at Pennsic? Sure I bought two of them each of the last three times I needed one. Oh and here is one of the rolls of Teflon tape you will need too. Of course I bought the economy pack...)
So today I was cleaning for the cookie party and found myself staring at an odd bag tucked on the top shelf on the tools side of the pantry. (What? Half your pantry is not stocked with tools and hardware? Odd...) Anyways I stretched and pulled down three matching boxes of Christmas cookie cutters I had picked up on sale last January. The receipt was still in the bag... I had bought these intending on giving them to the three nieces as a side gift this year. Except I already sent cookie cutters to one of them back before Halloween. Do you have any idea how hard it can be to find good Christmas cookie cutters before Halloween? Most stores do not stock them until afterward... Doh!
As well I will still give each of them a box. This way the one in Korea does not have to bring them home with her, she will have a better set waiting for her.
Now I am just trying to remember what is in the sealed and wrapped Christmas box up there next to them...
|Wednesday, December 18th, 2013|
|It has been a low energy season
Whether it is isolation, blood sugar issues(hopefully now fixed), a dark season, or other issues, I have been on a low productivity curve of late and have really not gotten into the holiday season. It was there, I have been having my usual fun shopping for presents, but the season just was not there.
Then tonight I went tree shopping. I picked up a smaller than normal tree that fit into the minivan. But oh did it smell of fresh cedar. I may not be back to full energy, but oh is the tree invigorating.
|Tuesday, December 17th, 2013|
|My early Christmas present to myself
A matched set of Xenon headlamps in crystal clear housings to replace my heavily fogged over old ones.
Oh was my timing good, I had barely installed them when the flurries started dumping, just the sort of weather that the old ones were horrid in. So to celebrate I went out for sushi. I was the only customer in the place so I sat at the bar swapping stories with the Sushi chef. She was amazed at the pictures of the Mooseltoe, the Moosletov and Jenn's latest gingerbread aircraft fleet.
Afterwards I drove home over using the least sloped and most heavily plowed local street, to get back up the hill. People were still spinning out and sliding. Low gear exists for a reason, you live in New England learn how to use it...
I stopped in one small store and people were amazed and complaining that the snow was sticking and freezing on anything moist. People it is 15 degrees out, that is what snow does at that temperature...
|Sunday, December 8th, 2013|
|Lego Kidfest 2013
Jacqui, Jeff, Rocky and Dot, came out to the Lego festival at the Hartford Convention Center, along with a bevy of others including arathreel
with her husband and son. A grand time was had by all, but that is a lot of wandering on a concrete floor for four hours trying to keep up with energizer bunny kids. There were the usual massive piles of Legos and Duplos with kids climbing, building, burying each other or making Lego angels.
There were many new Lego sculptures, including a hedgehog that I had to get a photo of... yes you know who you are...
Afterwards I delivered a dress for Dot that I had intended to have done for Pennsic, but well life intruded...
|Friday, December 6th, 2013|
|I finally gave up on Sprint.
Their phone service has been acceptable and I get a good discount through work, but for about the last year their data service has steadily gotten worse and worse. I called in multiple times to always to get the same run around and useless statements that they would review the local tower status, put in a ticket and how they were supposedly going to be upgrading to 4G in the near future.
Well this week there have been multi-hour blocks with no data coverage. I called, got the same run around and finally gave up. I told them this over the phone and they offered to take $25 off my bill. It was so ludicrous I actually laughed at them over the phone.
After looking at the local coverage maps, I finally went with AT&T. They have problems of their own, but I will say their data service seem four to five times faster than Sprint's best and has been rock solid. I should have done this long ago...
|Friday, November 29th, 2013|
|Cookie Decorating Party Sun Dec 22nd at 2:00 pm
It is a short and busy holiday season that rushes at us this year. But you can have cookies for your tree.
I will be holding my usual cookie decorating party on Sunday Dec 22nd. There will be dozens of cookies, tubes of icing, containers of shots and decorations. All that will be missing is you to help decorate. Want a cookie with minimalist lines, or perhaps covered in icing? Your imagination is the only boundary. The only rule is you need to take some of them home at the end. Do not leave the sugar coated sugar cookies with the diabetic... Although my father valiantly throws himself on whatever are left over...
I will also be providing assorted nibbles and liquids to keep up your strength.
We start at 2:00 in the afternoon and will continue until people are tired. I have yet to run out of nibbles...
Where: 34 Russell Street, Manchester, CT
781-608-1597 if you get lost.
|Wednesday, November 27th, 2013|
|I rarely screw up in the kitchen...
But when I do, I do it royally.
So I was making a pecan pie. I blind baked the crust, removed it from the oven to cool and prepared the filling. I poured it into the Pyrex pie plate, opened the oven, slid out the rack and with my bare hands picked up the Pyrex pie plate, off the unlit back burner.
Yes there should have been enough time for it to cool off.
Of course that is presuming you do not leave the cooling pie plate in front of the exhaust vent from the oven... The 350-400 degree Fahrenheit (177-200 C for my Canadian readers) exhaust vent.
I made it halfway to the oven before I noticed the heat, the joy of peripheral neuropathy and instinctively tossed the pie plate at the oven, where it hit the door, bounced up in the airs did a full 360, bounced off the back of the door and slid into the oven. Needless to say this left an impressive spray of sugar, melted butter and pecans spread evenly across the door, and the floor. As I was at the sink immersing my hands in cold water it took me a moment or two to appreciate the sugary artistry.
I went through two rolls of paper towels, and bucket of soapy water. I am thinking there will be no pecan pie this year unless I get ambitious tomorrow... I have one pie left tonight, but it is a cream pie, so that should not be a problem.
I may escape with only one blister on the center whirl of my left index finger. Ever tried to type without that finger... But for now I have a bag of snap peas wrapped in a hand towel that is my best new friend. Yes, I was also out of ice...
|Saturday, November 16th, 2013|
|I baked Pyes of Paris earlier for an event today.
They are a lovely recipe from Cindy Renfrow's "Take a Thousand Eggs or More". They went over well and people polished off 46 of them. Another 12" pie went home with Lucretzia.
The recipe I used is here: http://jtdiii.livejournal.com/159451.html
But oh when I came home the house smelled amazing... I am just about ready to eat the paint off the walls it smells so good. The pies are good cold, but warm out of the oven they taste how the house smells.
I will go back to salivating now.
|Sunday, November 3rd, 2013|
So tonight I went out to dinner and afterwards wandered over to catch Ender's Game.
I must say that it is a well done movie, with excellent effects and is a fairly faithful attempt at the written story.
But it was walking out of the theater that something odd struck me. Orson Scott Card never intended it as such, and certainly would not think of it, but Ender's game in many ways parallels the LGBT rights fight in this country. OSC and those who feel like him are the Formics, the massive threat that almost wins the early stages, but for a few brave and dedicated souls. The fight continues, and we are currently at the step between Battle School and Command School. Things may occasionally seem in doubt, but in the end the Formics are doomed.
The enemies gate is down and Ender is coming.
|Saturday, November 2nd, 2013|
|The Christmas, it burns....
My digestion was acting up this morning, thus my plan of wandering off to Crown did not happen. Instead this evening I decided to maybe go see Ender's game. (Yes I find OSC's politics despicable, but I needed to get out and it looked well done.) I may have felt lonely and in need of something social, but the theater was way too social for me...
Instead talking to my sister she mentioned that she was looking for replacement plastic pumpkin covers for the mini Christmas lights to hang along her fence. With a quest undertaken, I could deal with sociability, thus I wandered into Christmas Tree Shop to see if they had any left.
That would be a definite "No". Instead, they are covered in Christmas goodies and carols are blasting from the speakers. Too soon, way too soon....
The costume shop had skulls, and Amazon had pumpkins and ghosts.
|Thursday, October 31st, 2013|
|Slow but steady turnout of trick or treaters
They wiped me out in about two hours.
Many of the folks on the street dressed up, it was humorous waving to all the witches and other costumed creatures on the street as we each opened our doors at the same time to different groups next door and across the street from each other. Some of the adults wandered from house to house and a lot of tiny kids came by with grandparents.
Nice low key fun.
|Wednesday, October 30th, 2013|
|So my niece wants to be a barbarian princcess
You know the type that eats other princesses for breakfast...
So my sister calls me up and asks me what I can do....
What is not immediately apparent is that there is a silver spandex shirt with a polar fleece lining as well as silver and black trim along with a set of fake leather and fur trimmed bracers. The Furry boots are based on a pair of knock off Uggs and are very, very furry...
|Sunday, October 27th, 2013|
|2013 Gourd Mutilation Report
They came, they sawed, and they were covered in pumpkin guts and gore. Another pumpkin had already gone home by the time of the photo being taken.
This year's soup was cream of pumpkin, it went over well, but I kept feeling it needed something more... As always the cupcake sized pumpkin pies were a hit as were the scallops wrapped in bacon with a maple and lime glaze. The pigs in a blanket, although those were slightly over cooked, went over well. Somehow the cider in the crockpot was unplugged and thus mulled cider was not accomplished until late in the evening.
Veggie dip made with cottage cheese replacing the mayo might have been healthier, and tasted OK, but was barely touched. The baked brie was tasty, but either by timing or close proximity to the scallops was only half devoured.
I am thinking something like Swedish meatballs might be be a good addition for a later party...
The crowd this year was smaller than most, but all seemed to have a good time and pumpkins went home to entice trick or treaters.
|Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013|
|The poor innocent gourds
An innocent family of gourds rang the bell and asked to shelter from the cold tonight... It is so cute, like teenagers sheltering from the storm with a mass murderer.
|Monday, October 21st, 2013|
|Reminder: 2013 Gourd Mutilation Massacre is next weekend.
I am sharpening the knives and selecting the pumpkins. We will put permanent smiles on them next weekend...
Where: 34 Russell Street, Manchester, CT 06040, 781-608-1597
When: October 26th at 5:00 PM
Who: Any interested children of the night
|Sunday, October 20th, 2013|
|This weekend I took up fencing...
Not the kind with short metal weapons, the kind with ten foot long pressure treated five by fives..
The old fence at my Dad's home office was starting to fall down, so two of my sisters, one of their boyfriends set to those. I picked up new posts to replace the non pressure treated posts that were rotting out. We took down the fence, and pulled the old posts. The plan was to re-use the near pristine current panels. Of course this involved trimming the posts to varying hole depths, using a power auger to dig through the roots, gravel and occasional concrete and wood lumps from a much older fence... Then lift and as much as possible try to insure the panels were re-installed straight and level, despite those roots.
We started around 9:30 and worked steadily until the four of us finished at 4:30.
A few minor injuries occurred, I stepped into a hole while backing with a panel. I may have re-injured a torn ligament. Ibuprofen is helping for now, I see how bad it really is in the morning.
|Thursday, October 17th, 2013|
|Wednesday, October 16th, 2013|
|The best laid plans of mice and McGuires
So, this friend of mine has been dino sitting a small purple stegosaurus named "Peep", she even has a blog about their adventures that is adorable. http://theverykinddinosaur.blogspot.com/
I of course decided that Peep needed company and maybe, even a replacement so that he can go home at some point. Alas I have been unable to find another Peep, although I have found his bigger siblings and a few others of the clan. They were all part of the 1984 Manhattan Toy Co. dinosaur line. Their designer has a certain whimsy that is adorable.
A while back I managed to find several of the dinosaurs, including a yellow triceratops and a red dimetrodon. I could not just hand over such a lovely triceratops without fanfare, so I also found some hollow plastic eggs on the internet...
So having cut the egg open in a jagged pattern, I had to sacrifice the other egg to create a support as the eggs were rather thin. I packaged up the triceratops and sealed the egg back shut with hot glue and proceeded to paint it a pale eggshell white with green speckles and hung it to dry. Another stuffed dinosaur from the same line, Fang Jr. liked to hang out on it as it seemed like a tasty perch...
Afterwards I picked up a small basket and filled it with jute cloth and straw and placed the egg in it with a small note "Dear Kate, I know from your blog that you are a friend to dinosaurs. Would you help a poor dino who is down on her luck and please sit my egg for me? Tri" Fang Jr. helped observe the process.
Afterwards I drove over to Kate's. She had called me from Northampton, so I figured I still had a few minutes to place the basket on her stoop just before she got home. Alas I took the back roads instead of the highway and as I pulled onto her side street, there just two cars in front of me was her car. I parked just out of sight and cursing my luck watched her take in the groceries. Ah well I could always place the basket in front of her car, so shortly after she went in, I snuck over and was placing the basket by her bumper when she came back out for her laundry.
There was this awkward moment of "So, why are you standing there with a giant egg in a basket in front of my car?" Ah well the surprise did not happen quite how I planned but Kate was delighted with the new dinosaur.
|Monday, October 7th, 2013|
|Sunday, October 6th, 2013|
A wonderful, rousing ride. An excellent movie! If you like science and space, it is a must see. There are moments that are truly breathtaking and they are simply the backdrop scenes behind the action.
Now, there are about six scenes that the engineer in me objected to. They work as plot elements, but yeah the physics was wrong. I will not discuss those till more people have gone to see the movie. Despite those it was a wild ride and a good application for 3D.