Tuesday, December 27, 2011


I'm not used to having company.  I am in particular not used to having more than one or two people at my house at one time.  So Christmas this year was an adventure.  It was also, despite the stress of getting the house ready, planning meals, wondering how to keep people who are used to way too much TV entertained without cable, etc., one of the most enjoyable Christmases I've had.

Granted, it is also only the third time in 21 years that I haven't had to drive to/from NC for Christmas - our folks had followed my sister down there when they retired in 1990.  I sure didn't miss sitting in traffic on US 95.  And being in NC never guaranteed good weather - in fact we got iced in once and last year got up the day after to find snow pounding down and 8 inches already on the ground.  I found it ironic that my new tire chains got their first use in NC rather than on my mountain in WV.  I know that my staying put meant others had to go through all the travel stresses, but I'm not feeling horribly guilty about it.

Dinner was yummy.  I had help - Angie at So Angelina's prepared the cheese manicotti, caponata, and Italian pound cake, and my daughter prepared the citrus green beans and the pumpkin-chai quickbread that we had for breakfast.  I highly recommend the quickbread paired with an apple compote parfait as a special breakfast - layers of homemade apple sauce, vanilla yogurt, and crunchy cinnamon-butter bread crumbs:

Mine wasn't so pretty, but it did the job.

Of course, the subject of Christmases past came up, favorite stories and reminisces, of fun events and of strange or hideous gifts that had to be greeted with faked enthusiasm.  Uncle Harold always gave us the most awful colored fuzzy slippers - I remember a bright lime green pair in particular.  And there was a seriously ugly pink and purple jacket that fortunately didn't fit me and had to be returned.  Not to mention Mom's ugly flower sweater phase.  But our favorite was the year Mom gave my sister and I matching necklaces.  It would have been around 1970, and we were teens and children of the 60s. Our parents were, um, sort of unaware.  My sister and I opened our boxes at the same time.  And immediately looked at each other.  Which was almost a mistake, because it made keeping a straight face really hard.  The necklaces were very pretty - Mom so admired the turquoise inlay over silver.  Buuuut... well, I can't find mine, but this is something like:

Yes, well.  I think we finally told her what it was many years later, to her horrified "I didn't know!".  My sister still has hers and I thought I had kept mine  - they were a source of much laughter for my sister and I.

Everybody had to leave by Monday morning.  And now I have a problem.  I have two new cookbooks...

...and I have to eat up leftovers before I can play with them.


To all, Merry Christmas!

When I get my head together, back to blogging.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jesu, Joy of Man's Desiring

Gaudete!  May you have a blessed, holy, and joyful Christmas Day!

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men".
Luke 2: 11-14

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christus Es Natus!

In the midst of our hurry and distraction today and tonight, a few minutes music break to remember what Christmas Eve really means.

Gaudete, Gaudete!
Christus et natus
Ex maria virgine,
Rejoice, Rejoice!
Christ is born
Of the virgin Mary,
Tempus ad est gratiae,
Hoc quod optabamus;
Carmina laetitiae,
Devote redamus.
It is now the time of grace
That we have desired;
Let us sing songs of joy,
Let us give devotion.
Deus homo factus est,
Natura mirante;
Mundus renovatus est
A Christo regnante.
God was made man,
And nature marvels;
The world was renewed
By Christ who is King.
Ezechiellis porta
Clausa pertransitur;
Unde lux est orta
Salus invenitur.
The closed gate of Ezechiel
Has been passed through;
From where the light rises
Salvation is found.
Ergo nostra cantio,
Psallat iam in lustro;
Benedicat Domino:
Salus Regi nostro.
Therefore let our assembly now sing,
Sing the Psalms to purify us;
Let it praise the Lord:
Greetings to our King.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


'Tis the season for over-eating, so after yesterday's menu, maybe Ormie the Pig is appropriate:

I'm hoping I don't make eating this challenging for my guests this weekend.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Obama's 12 Days of Christmas

Because I can't resist tossing out at least one political comment this week:


Finally getting the menu together.  Our big meal this year will be Christmas Eve due to some of the family needing to leave Christmas Day.  Tradition has dictated that we do the ham and mashed potatoes thing, but with everybody leaving by Monday, that would leave me with a lot of leftovers of things that, while I like them well enough, I get bored with quickly.  So I was mulling over a change.  And happened to run into the owner/chef of the new Italian catering establishment that just opened up when I stopped for a beer at a favorite spot.  She had suggestions.  I liked the suggestions.  So the menu now is combo Greek/Italian and looks like this:

Shrimp with tomatoes and feta cheese

Cheese manicotti


Citrus green beans with pine nuts

Of course there will be a lot of crusty bread

And Italian pound cake, probably with raspberries and ice cream to finish

Yeah, I think that'll do.  That'll do nicely.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The tree is.  Up.  Finally.  Oh, and decorated, too.  I had lots of help, of course.

I gave up on having real trees a few years ago - it's just too much of a nuisance for one person to get a real tree set up by themselves.  Plus, I've only spent one Christmas in my own home - I'd no sooner get it up than I'd have to pedal down to NC.  At which point the tree would dry out and start losing needles.  This year, though, Christmas is at my house (panic carefully swallowed down...), so I even paid a lot of attention to getting the limbs well straightened out.

The one problem - my artificial tree is in three pieces:

The pieces themselves aren't the problem - it's finding and connecting up all the cords for the built in lights.  Which is the reason I keep a short green extension cord with it.  It comes in handy when my patience with groping around and following lines along the trunk runs out.

I had even more help with putting on the ornaments.

Fortunately, none of the Mischiefs have shown any interest in un-decorating the lower limbs this year.  Although Perry did try to eat some of the plastic needles.

So it's up.  But I dare not put presents under it yet because Blu will open them.

And while I'm on the subject of Up - the antique pharmacy case is finally done, as well.  I wish I had taken more before and after pics, but the best I can do is that this:

...is finally this...

Not bad for a freebie.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Feeling better...

...about my mere 61 inches in height.

18 yrs old and 24.7 inches tall.  And I thought I had problems finding jeans that are short enough!

Friday, December 16, 2011


So, as I mentioned in an earlier post, I felt the need to abuse myself by painting the downstairs bathroom.  Did I mention that it wasn't just painting, but a general facelift?  Did I mention that despite a great deal of experience in the reality that such projects ALWAYS take longer than I plan for, I was thinking "I can knock that out in a weekend"?

Well, it's finally done, as far as it's going to be done before Christmas.  The blah white...

...now has some color...

And contractor fixtures...

... have been replaced with something I like a little better...

And of course when I took down the old light I discovered that the electrical box wasn't centered over the vanity.  I will connect white wire to white wire, black wire to black wire, ground to ground, but I'm not going to tackle moving an electrical box - I'll get an electrician in to do that.  So the light isn't up there as well as I'd like right now but I probably am the only one that notices.  And one of the stop cocks under the sink isn't working so I had to cut the water off at the pressure pump, which left enough water in the pipe that until I got the hose connected to the new faucet set I had a steady trickle of cold water running down my arm into my armpit.  And even though the house is new enough that the connections are straightforward, they haven't been loosened for 7 years and so there were a few minutes of concern that I wasn't going to be able to get the old out so that the new could go in.  But it finally let loose.  So far no signs of leaks.  I'll replace the stopcock another day.  As well as the silver shower fixture - I wasn't going to get into that right now, either.

And as I was laying under the sink a couple questions occured to me:  1)  Why do bathroom cabinets have to be raised high enough off the floor that you have to assume a completely unatural position in order to work under the sink?  and 2)  Why is it that every time you reach for a tool after you have crawled in and assumed that unatural position the one that comes to hand is the wrong one?

So now to get the Christmas tree and decorations up.  Finally.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Two Places at Once

Guffaw's reflection on blogger drop off brought me back to an issue I've been aggravated with all week.  It occurs to me that maybe some more 'puter minded bloggers who pass by have an answer.

On Monday my agency switched to Google Mail from Thunderbird.  Previously, I just stayed signed in on Blogger and gmail and would periodically take a break and post or work on my own blog.  Now, I can't be in two places at once - I can't be signed into my work account and my personal account at the same time.  In order to post anywhere I have to sign out of my work account, sign in my personal account, do what I want to do, sign out, sign back in my work account, etc.

Anybody know a way around this so I can keep two accounts open on the same machine at the same time?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Well, now.  There are some fashion styles that one just wishes would go away, and that whole "my pants are down around my knees" thing is one of them.  The only good thing I can think about it is that if someone who is making that particular fashion statement runs from the poh-lice they are likely to be seriously  hampered by a waistband riding at mid-thigh.

Apparently, one school in South Carolina is tired of droopy-drawered students and now keeps spare belts around, offering an option of belting up or being referred for discipline for dress code violation.  One hopes that catching the sagging early will prevent more serious infractions later in life.

Article can be read here.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hate it.

I hate painting.  I hate every moment of it.  I hate prepping.  I hate edging. I hate rolling.  I particularly hate having to put on two coats.

And because the family is spending Christmas here this year I decided to finally, finally, paint the one room left in the house that was still the original off white bland that the rest of the house was when I bought it.  So my weekend was spent remembering why that bathroom wasn't done yet.

Yep.  I hate painting.

Friday, December 9, 2011

And what about that whole freedom of speech thing?

The blood-boiler of a headline is "Criticism of Islam Could Soon be a Crime in America".  Ms Clinton is to get a visit from the head of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) this month.  On the agenda - how the US can implement the OIC agenda to criminalize criticism of Islam.  This would be the same OIC that adopted the Cairo Declaration +20 years ago, said Cairo Declaration exempting Muslim countries from compliance with the UN Universal Declaration on Human Rights.  Not surprising - rights aren't a big concern in the dream of an Islamic Caliphate ruled under shariah law.

As Salmon Rushdie found out, "slander" is a big deal in shariah.  And since the OIC views anything a Muslim doesn't like to hear as slander and therefore as Islamophobia, it wants the U.N. to "...adopt an international resolution to counter Islamophobia" and to "call upon all States to enact laws to counter it, including deterrent punishments."

Let's see now:  on Nov. 5, 2009, one Major Hasan, who had been in regular contact with terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki, yelled "ALLAHU AKHBAR" as he slaughtered 13 and wounded 32 at Ft. Hood, TX.  The administration has classified that event as "workplace violence".  Think the head of the OIC will have a warm welcome when he knocks on Hillary's door?

Victim of "work place violence" at Ft. Hood

The article aptly closes:

A phobia is an irrational fear. It is not irrational to give warning of an ideology resolutely committed to eradication of free belief, expression, speech, and even thought. It is suicidal for a free society willingly to collaborate with those, like the Muslim Brotherhood and the OIC, which are determined to destroy Western civilization from within—and have told us so, repeatedly, consistently, and publicly. Further, collaboration in such an anti-freedom campaign represents abrogation of the professional oath of office of every federal official who has sworn to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” Silencing those who would warn of impending catastrophe only ensures victory to the enemy and loss of our most rare and precious inheritance: the American love of liberty.

I'm sorry, but if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then I'm going to call it a duck, no matter what some p.c. nimnul declares.

The full article can be read here.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Heeeere's your sign....

The headline - "Thieves Pawned Camera  with their Photos".  Story is here.

I remain firm in my belief that there should be added penalties for stupid.  In other words, when these pics are identified, the perps should get a penalty for robbery, and then a penalty for being stupid enough to take pictures of themselves with a stolen camera and then pawning it without erasing the memory.  That's worth at least an extra 30 days.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Brrrrrrr in the Middle East

As Vacationer in Chief gets ready to go off on another vacay - Rome burns while Nero fiddles comes to mind - the Arab Spring that we knew wouldn't be has gotten rather chilly.


Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Addict

In honor of kx59's discovery of Firefly, but from a female perspective of appreciation of the show's many merits:

Monday, December 5, 2011

We Occupied

I'm slow, I know...

Saturday's blog shoot was a hoot, enjoyed myself thoroughly.  Many thanks to Murphy's Law for arranging it, for manufacturing ammo for my Arisaka and getting the spring it needed to make it a five shot again.  Bet that old gun's going BANG for the first time in +60 years would have made Dad happy.  And thanks to everyone for letting me test out various guns and shoot up your ammo. 

It was great meeting folks that have only existed electronically up until now - hope we can do it again and get even more folks together.  Peacemaker is a great range, with the added plus of glorious views of the mountains.  And we could not have ordered better weather.

Despite the number of guns I handled (and how tired my hands and arms got doing it), Saturday actually allowed me to narrow things down a bit.  I always practice with the S&W Airlite because that's the one I've got right now and I need to be used to it.  I always take my Browning 1922 because it's fun to shoot, though I need more magazines because I spend more time reloading the one I have than I do shooting. But the baby Kahr and Glock that Old NFO brought, and the middle size Glock that ML brought suited me particularly well.  And an M-1 carbine is so at the top of my rifle want list. 

I think I finally understand what "in the pocket" feels like - no bruises this time.  But my little arms and hands were tired by the end of the shoot.  And somehow I started the day with the total delusion that I was going to spend a whole day outside in crisp, cool air shooting, eat, then come home and work on the house.  Yeah.  No.  I came home and crawled in the shower, put my p.j.s on, and fired up Netflix.  Started a documentary about the history of the Greeks and realized that I had no ability to absorb it so switched over to an old George Burns movie. 

So Occupy Peacemaker (or Occupy Right to Keep and Bear Arms, as the sign said) was a success in my book - a lot of fun, some learning, and money going off to a good cause.  See everybody at the next one!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

When in doubt, punt. Gun, that is.

So Kead's question as to what I was interested in trying got me to thinking about my leg-stretch stop at Gander Mountain just north of Richmond on my way home Sunday afternoon.  I wandered around a while and of course I had to go back and see what they have that goes "Bang!"  The first two guns I saw sure got my attention, but a gentleman was standing right there being an actual customer, so I didn't get to read their labels. They were the honkin'est biggest revolvers I've ever seen.  So big that I thought "I'd probably never be able to fire them but they'd make a heck of a club."  I swear the barrels looked 2 ft long.  Then yesterday I mused on the fact that there are calibers that would probably knock me on my butt, and wandering around Youtube turned up this:

Explaining that my shoulder is bruised because of a shotgun - not embarrassing.  That my nose is bruised because of a pistol - yeah that would be embarrassing.

Then my mind took a trip on the way-back machine.  Thirty-five or so years ago I read James Michner's Chesapeake.  Loved it, but I never knew what the heck a punt gun was until I went to the museum in St. Michael's, MD. Ah.  A punt gun is a cannon disguised as a shotgun:

I'm thinking that's probably too big for me even tied down on a boat.