Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Holiday Letdown?

Hmmm.  Did anybody else pick up on a vibe of extreme grumpiness today?   Apparently, the holiday buzz has worn off and all everyone is left with is a hangover and case of dyspepsia.  Every other individual seemed to be brooding and grim, or perhaps it was just me.  Max the Wonderdoodle has taken to barking out the windows at night, trying to commune with the active rabbits in the Bunny Barn.  Unfortunately, it means I am up communing with him.  At 3 AM, after being woken up a half dozen times already, I am in no mood for a yipping dog baying for blood.  There isn't enough coffee out there to make me perky after a night of by-proxy rabbit hunting.

Anyway, it was gray and cold and I spent the day making phone calls and answering emails.  Gaaah.  That's enough to give anyone a case of the Bah Humbugs.  Fortunately, I know an excellent cure:  homemade peanut butter cups and some National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

Man, that movie is a classic.  I love it so.

But here's how to make your own peanut butter cups.  I think they are better than Reese's, but then again, I used Jif in my mix.  I can't vouch for how they'll turn out with Skippy.

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups as Big as Your Face

You'll need:  1/4 cup butter; 3/4 cup peanut butter; 1/4 cup sugar; 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips; 1/3 cup milk.

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners.  I used Texas muffin sized, which give you that whole "as big as your face" aesthetic.  In the microwave, melt the butter and peanut butter together (takes about one minute) and stir to combine.  Add sugar, stir well, and pour into muffin cups.  Pop into the fridge for about 15 minutes to firm up slightly.  Once that ordeal is over with, melt the chocolate chips with the milk, again nuking it for about one minute, and stir until very smooth.  Pour over the peanut butter layer and use your clean finger to swirl it a little into a nice smooth chocolately delicious layer of joy.  Place back into the fridge for about 30 minutes or so.  By then, they should be firm enough to eat.  Store them (yeah, right--store them, hah) in an airtight container in the fridge.

Pardon me while I pry one out of the depths of my ice box...oh my.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Whoo, What a Ride.

In case you were wondering, I spent much of my Thanksgiving weekend in LuLa, driving.

Well, perhaps it only felt that way.  I did spend ALL day Wednesday and ALL day Sunday in the truck, cruising the interstate for 601.7 miles (roughly) to and from my mom's house near St. Louis.  It was really nice to see everyone, including a couple of nephews and a niece that I haven't seen in a couple years (I think...).  They seemed happy to see me as well, and enjoyed Auntie (say that as "ANT-E") Cris-mas as celebrated on Saturday.  Ha ha...get it?  Anti-Crismas!  Hee hee.  Ahem.  I digress.... They got presents, we all ate too much good food, and hauled everyone to the movies for a late afternoon matinee.  All the kids wanted to ride in the truck, so one went in a car seat, another was sitting on a booster, and two more were sharing a seatbelt.

Safety first, everyone.  Thank god the cops were all busy picking up shoplifters at Walmart and Tar-jay, and didn't notice our seating arrangements.

It is nice to visit, and nice to come back home.  All the animals were happy and well cared for while I was gone, and seemed happy enough to have me back.  At one point last night, I had two dogs and two cats crammed into bed with me, which was sweet but awfully crowded (and didn't last very long).  I had today off as well, which was nice planning on my part, as I was able to sleep in slightly and then do some holiday decorating before trotting off to the hospital for an MRI of my bum ankle.  I even had time to deal with an escaped-and-uncatchable rabbit who was running for his life away from the dogs this morning. 

He made for a delicious dinner, with a side of gingered carrots.  Yum.

I suppose I should go check my calendar and see where I am supposed to be in the morning.  Hopefully, wherever it is will have coffee and cheerful people.  If not, it had better have coffee at least.

Four weeks until Holiday Break.  Yippee!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope your day is merry and full of friends and family.  Try not to eat too much, and remember:  Shop Locally for your holiday gift giving.  Even better, make something from the heart...but first, let's all have another piece of pie!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Oh, Deer.

It's nearly upon us: the High Holy Holiday of Deer Hunting Opening Day.  All over Wisconsin, people of all ages are airing out hunter's orange on clotheslines and backyard swing sets, checking guns and stockpiling ammunition, and generally packing for a weekend of fun in the great outdoors.  Hopefully, this doesn't mean they'll be packing more beer than changes of socks, but to each their own, I guess.

As for the non-hunters, it will be a weekend where we stay well away from the woods and try to find something nonlethal to enjoy.  I am not planning to go exploring in the  hills and valleys, but as I am planning to harvest my turkey at my friends' farm I won't be as successful with the latter.  It's my annual event, picking out my reserved turkey and bringing it home in time for the holiday dinner.  I feel good about it, knowing that my future dinner has enjoyed long days of sunshine and rain, eating bugs and fresh grass and cavorting about, gobbling with the rest of the gang.  It helps to make dinner a happy thing, knowing that your meal led a good life, know what I mean?

Tomorrow I have to head to one of my northern districts, which I try not to do this particular time of year.  I've already gassed up Ms. LuLa, so I shouldn't have to deal with lines at the pump or irritated, over-excited hunters all demanding deer tags from the harassed station attendants.  If all goes well, I'll cruise on by sipping a latte and getting the heck outta Webster well before the mass exodus to the euphemistic cabin begins after noon.  It has been a really long week here, and I am ready for the weekend.  Bang, bang, TGIF.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Tick Tock

Since the time change happened last weekend, I have been fairly obsessed with clocks.  I've always liked them, and I've thought from time to time about gathering a little collection of them.  Every time I fool around with my handful of cheap-o clocks and move the time forward or back like a deficient time lord without a TARDIS, I get consumed with clock lust again.  So in my spare time, I've been lurking on Pinterest, the world's favorite time suck of the moment, and pinning all sorts of sweet little clocks that someday (oh yes, someday!) will be mine.

Oh, I love these pink beauties!

A host of hoots! A flock of owls? A gathering?  What DO you call a group of owls, anyway?

Kinda shabby, very lovely, what wonderful colors!

It amazes me that anyone would ever want to have some screeching red-eye glowing creature of the night by their bedside to wake them in the morning, when they could have a delicate thing of beauty like one of these?  I'm pretty sure if I keep looking, I'll find a pinkly sparkling rhinestoned one that just calls to me...gotta go.  Pinterest is waiting!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Another Lovely Weekend

It has been a wet, damp, chilly weekend here in the middle of Nowhere.

It has been absolutely lovely.

I pretty much just sat and read and knitted, moving only to make dinner (homemade macaroni and cheese) and rotate some laundry between the washer and the dryer.  I did make a run into town for more dog food yesterday, which was horrible, and I was happy to come back home to my little house.  With the grey weather, none of the animals were very interested in doing much, either, so we very companionably passed the last two days in happy nap mode.  Today, I found the ambition to go out and join friends at our monthly knitting gathering.  It was rather wonderful:  cozy, good conversation & plenty of laughter.  It gave me some dedicated time to work on a Christmas present, which is a gift to me when I have a list a mile long of things I want to make before the season fully arrives.   An afternoon spent with friends, while thinking happy thoughts of gift-giving, is very nice indeed.  Knitting with the Knotty Knitters is one of the best parts of every month!

But now I am back home, doing a bit of reading and vaguely preparing for the week ahead.  Mostly, though, I am savoring a quiet Sunday evening in my comfortably shabby living room on the butt-eating couch, with a cheerful fire blazing away in the fireplace and reruns of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on the old television.  I can hear the wind picking up again outside, and every once in a while a chilly draft curls through the room, making the animals shift into tighter furry nests.  My thoughts are turning again toward the fast approaching holiday season, so there's a bit of Yule Log in the air.  Too soon? 


Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Too Much of a Good Thing

I love Christmas, particularly all the shiny shiny pretty lovely baubles that I can decorate with.  The sparklier the better, I say!  Unfortunately, over the years, this adds up to a rather lot of decorative items that only come out once a year.  In terms of what lives out on the porch, this is what it looks like after several years of binge holidaying:

Scary, isn't it?  A lot of this stuff hasn't seen the glittering lights of the winter holiday season in more than a few years.  Why?  Why keep all this stuff?  I'm not entirely sure, aside from I always vaguely think I will use it, or give it away, or perhaps one year or another I will want to be thematic and go all red and green (done that), or I will repurpose things (I had a Christmas chandelier idea once...).  Needless to say, it never happens.  The boxes take over, things get piled up and buried, and I finally hit a point of being ready to rip my own eyeballs out just so I don't have to look at the mess any longer.  After digging through all the boxes I've been keeping around for years, I have exactly one wine box and one small round container of special ornaments and holiday baubles that (a) I want to keep because they are reminders of good times and wonderful people, or (b) I just really like them right now.  There is, surprisingly enough, a high percentage of pink, sparkles, and glitter.  Shocking, right?

Keep in mind, these boxes represent only what was on the porch.  There's a whole lot more in the car hut.

Thank goodness for friends with children who are wanting to decorate with sparkly things this holiday season.

My lovely friend and her two lovely daughters came by this evening for first dibs on the Epic Holiday Purge which is commencing on the farmlette.  They dug, and shifted, and shuffled.  There was quite a bit of squealing glee, and only one minor smashing mishap involving a rather ugly orange (orange?? what was I thinking?) glass ball.  After about 30 minutes of exploring the accumulated holiday debris, the girls hauled away a couple of boxes of ornaments and jingling things, and crammed a tall faux Christmas tree into the passenger seat of the family car.  Don't they look happy?  Everybody loves Free Shopping!!

Happy kids, happy friend, happy happy me.  I can hardly wait to purge the rest of it.

Monday, November 5, 2012


They're back!  After dusting off the cobwebs and digging around in the debris filling the car hut, I successfully relocated the Pilgrim People.  I love them so.  They are my favorite decoration for Thanksgiving.  I was worried, at first, that perhaps they had swanned off to Plymouth or some such exotic locale, but then I found they were just hiding beneath some Halloween zombies.

Dang zombies, always trying to hide their food source from others.

Somehow, the boys have lost their sharing items, so perhaps the zombies had something to snack on after all.  I'll have to see if I can round them up something for them, so the girls don't get all the glory.

I like to think the bright orange snow fencing coordinates nicely with the pumpkins and faux mums.  I have so many many faux holiday decorating items.  It's started me thinking, I don't use half the crap I have carted around with me for years, so why not get rid of it all?  I'll keep the bits I want, that are sentimental, that I actually use year after year.  The rest of it?  Well, it can go to folks who can use it, right?  If nothing else, Goodwill will likely love getting it in time for the holiday season.

I mean, how many plastic wreaths does one girl need, anyway?  Definitely not eight.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

The Season Moves On

Sigh.  Halloween is over for another year.  It was fairly awesome.

Shiny shiny Mothership...

Every Halloween installation should have a self-serve bar, right?

Today saw lots of tinfoil being peeled off, aliens deflated, and pumpkins rounded up for consumption by various animals on the farmlette.  It also saw the resurrection of the Pilgrim People!  I love the Pilgrim People.  Oh, I know, I know:  The whole "the white people did NOT invite the indians to dinner" argument is very valid, but in my little fantasy world, history was different and so I have Pilgrim People standing proudly side-by-side in all their wooden post glory.  (I forgot to take a picture...whoops.)

This evening, after feeding and watering every animal in sight, I decided it was time to bring something else back from the cold.

 Holiday Village is BACK, bay-bee!  Too early?  Hah.  Never, I say, never!!

I want a whale, dammit.

I love the kid going for a doggie drag.

Ice skating in the park, anyone?

Hey wait...who's that?  It's the Big Man Himself!  I like his pony...

I know, some of you are probably feeling a little sick at the thought of holiday cheer already.  I love the season, though, and coming home from a long day of work and seeing my little village light up makes me smile every time.  I don't like all the BUYBUYBUYNOWNOWNOW hype that starts in August, or the incessant, insipid holiday music that is piped everywhere starting November 15th.  Life in Holiday Village is peaceful and quiet, with only occasional visits by Mothra and Godzilla (in disguise as sneaky kitties).

Pardon me while I go help myself to some ice cream.