Thursday, December 31, 2020

It's Always Something


What a way to end the year. No sooner had AAA towed our Ford Escape off to the dealers than The Mister noticed that our only remaining vehicle, his little truck, not only had a flat tire-it also had sprung a major leak. I spent the day talking The Mister off the ledge while trying to figure out if replacing power steering lines was something we could tackle ourselves. The jury is still out until we get the lowdown on the Escape. We were out looking at Christmas lights on Monday night when all the gauges stopped working and all the warnings came on. We've got no big plans for tonight but I'm pretty sure there will be booze. For The Mister at least.  2020 is sure going out with a bang.

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Knit Not


I swear Altheda is growing. It just doesn't look like it. I have a marker in it so I can measure my progress.

Festive Doodle is only this big. Re-knitting the yoke hasn't been nearly as much fun as knitting it the first time. 

I don't think I am ever going to finish these socks. I have never been less interested in a pair of socks. 

This is why I can't get any knitting done. My brain wants to put puzzles together. I finished my new Christmas one in record time. It was a lot of fun.

Now I am moving on to finish the puzzle The Mister pulled out down in the man cave for Christmas. It's a hard one and he's given up. Not me. The hard stuff is right up my alley. 

Tuesday, December 29, 2020

TNT: Good News for a Change


I thought I was going to have to pack up this project after Christmas but I don't have to. It's not a Christmas sampler like I had thought. It's a WINTER one. 

In fact, it's a part of a four project series. Here is the spring one to prove it. Now I want them all. The red and green I've done so far look very Christmas-y but when you work the outside edges there's a lot more reds and browns to balance it out. That makes me happy. 

It still has to be a secondary project because this one has got to be done in 2021. It's only been 11 years that I've been working on it and it's so close. 

I've also planned on using this crewel kit as a monthly project. One square a month starting in January. I work best with deadlines so I should be able to get one of those little squares done every 30 days. I hope. My attention span hasn't been what it used to be thanks to the pandemic. 

And the BEST news? THE MASKS FINALLY ARRIVED!!! Not without drama. The post office said they left them outside Daughter's door on the 26th but they weren't there. After chasing down her mail carrier yesterday, Daughter found them in a parcel box at the end of her street. Thank goodness Daughter has an outside camera that showed they were never delivered-or worse, stolen. The mail carrier was supposed to leave her the key letting her know they were in the parcel box but she forgot. After a heart stopping morning of tracking them down they are now safely in Daughter's possession-and it only took two and a half weeks. Whew................and it will be a cold day in hell before I put anything of value in the mail in the near future. 

Monday, December 28, 2020

Making Merry Part 2's been cold. That's ice I'm standing on. 

It's been one year and 2 days since I've seen Daughter and Son in Law. Yesterday we got to visit in the frosty driveway. We still had some Christmas snow left on the ground. 

We had a very socially distanced gift exchange. 

I can't wait for the day we can all laugh about how terrible this has all been. It sure wasn't today. As much as I love seeing my family I really hate it being the way it is.  

Sunday, December 27, 2020

Happy Gotcha Day!


Eight years ago today I walked in the house with this little thing under my coat. The Mister had been out having lunch with his friends and I decided to take an unplanned ride up past Baltimore to take a look at a puppy I had seen online.

I had tried for months to rescue a dog after Dear Old Doggie departed this life in September. It's harder than you think. I don't have a fenced yard and I have other pets. It makes it complicated. When I did locate a pup someone was willing to let me rescue it sadly passed away from a heart ailment right after I had been approved. 

I had everything ready here for that ill fated pup and I was heart broken so late one night I went online puppy shopping and found one. I've rescued many, many cats so the fates should be able to forgive this one indulgent purchase from a backyard breeder.

It was money well spent. We couldn't have asked for a better dog. 

Seven. We can't believe she turned seven in October. She's officially a senior now and that fills us with dread. Embark says her age now in human years is 51. Yikes. We know all too well how hard those goodbyes are but we can't let it spoil the fun of knowing something so adorably perfect in every way. It's been a wonderful seven years. Hopefully we will get at least seven more. 


Saturday, December 26, 2020

Making Merry: 2020 Edition


Our rainy Christmas Eve started with a cleaning frenzy. Everything got made spic and span including one unhappy Pup.

I had The Mister dig Dad's snowman out from the shed. It was a mess. It got a bath too. 

I think he brought me some luck because we had snow showers on Christmas Day. I wouldn't call it a white Christmas but it was close enough.

We got a call late on the night of the 23rd that a good friend of The Mister and his wife were struggling with Covid. They both suffer from other serious chronic illnesses so this was worrying. It kicked both of us into holiday gear so the tree came out the next morning. Life can change in an instant these days. There isn't a Christmas to waste. 

Christmas Eve dinner is always lasagna. I really struggled with my limited space. I slopped stuff everywhere. Christmas dinner was the leftovers. 

Mom's strawberry trifle was for dessert and breakfast Christmas morning. 

Speaking of breakfast.....I had the big idea to make crumpets. The Mister loves them.

Well, that didn't go so well. I won't be doing that again. I have made them before but the crumpet karma has clearly worn off. 

While I was waiting for the ill fated crumpet batter to rise for two hours I did get some knitting done on those crazy Christmas socks but I sure didn't finish them. Maybe by New Year's.

We didn't really do gifts but The Mister got me some Jacks and I got him one of those grabby stick things that Dad used to have that picks things up for you.

The highlight of my ho hum day, if there was one, was working on my puzzle. It wasn't much of a Christmas but it was a Christmas and in times like these I am most grateful for any day that doesn't bring more bad news. 

Friday, December 25, 2020

The Ghosts of Christmas Past


Since there is nothing going on here this year I thought I'd take a stroll down memory lane. I had a good time reading all my Christmas posts from years past. In 2010 Daddio was still helping me make cookies. Coconut thumbprints were his specialty.  

In 2011 I finished my first Advent Scarf on Christmas Eve-very late on Christmas Eve.

In 2012 I got to hold the first of the Grands.

2013 was the year Middle Son took me to see the Nutcracker downtown. I had never seen the National Christmas tree or the Mall lit up. It was beautiful. 

In 2014 I slammed my thumb in the car door and had to pay a visit to the ER to get it taken care of. It involved a painful procedure I'd rather not think about. I still managed to get my second Advent scarf done but not on time. 

2015 was the last time any of my kids were at my house on Christmas. Middle Son flew in and then I dropped him off for his flight home. Saying goodbye is always brutal. I bawled all the way home and home was a long way away.

In 2016 I had two Grands and they had a big, beautiful new house. It has officially become Christmas Central and it's where we all gather every year.....but not this one. We did a gift exchange in their driveway on the 23rd and I got to run around the yard with them for a bit. It was good to see them but so sad to drive away without a hug. 

2017 was the last time I put up a tree.

2018 was such a brutal year filled with so much loss and grief that I couldn't face the holidays in 2019. I decided to rip out the kitchen instead. It was a diversion to keep from feeling bad about not wanting to make merry. It worked pretty well until February when we realized we were in for something unexpected and scary. 

2020 will be the year I made a giant pile of masks for Daughter to hand out as Christmas gifts to her students. We tried to drive them up to her on the 14th to hand them over but in the pouring rain we got a flat tire warning and had to turn back. I boxed them up and put them in the mail where they are still sitting in a USPS distribution center that got shut down due to a Covid outbreak. Sigh. 2020 just had to 2020 all my hard work. To say I'm sick about it is an understatement. 

So.....among all the other little heartbreaks tonight I am going to be missing my family and Son's non-negotiable strawberry shortcake. I'll be making Mom's strawberry trifle instead. 

We may all be celebrating in our separate homes but we are all safe and healthy and sadly there's an awful lot of people who can't say that this year. We've lost so many along the way. 
Merry Christmas everyone.
Stay safe. 

Thursday, December 24, 2020

Safety First


I am going to let my masked snowman friend remind you all to have a happy but SAFE holiday! When I saw this at the park last week it cracked me up. I swear it looks like he has a pair of panties on his head. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2020

Cookie Day

 I had put off cookie making long enough so for the second year in a row I used my stove top and the 12 inches I have left of counter space to roll out some dough.


I can't find any of the tried and true recipes I have stored away so I decided to go with the big names this year. This is Martha Stewart's gingerbread cookies. 

They would have been fine-if I had left out the black pepper. I've never used it in cookies before and thought I might try it. I won't again. is nasty.  Not having any meringue powder on hand, I also tried out a recipe for eggless royal icing. You use honey instead and it worked just fine. In spite of my sloppy and impatient piping it dried nice and hard. 

I used Alton Brown's sugar cookie recipe. It was crumbly to roll.......

.....but it made a decent sugar cookie. You can't go wrong with sprinkles. That's my kind of decorating. 

I got tired of rolling out that crumbly mess so the rest of the dough turned into to Russian tea cakes.

Then I tried something I've wanted to try for ages-the chocolate crinkle cookie. I had a co-worker that made them and I loved them. Mine spread out. Hers were rounded.

I added another 1/4 cup of flour to the remaining batter and they puffed up a little better but still not like hers. I'll have to try another recipe for them next year. There were several online. 

I killed an entire day fooling with cookies and have a nice big tin to show for it. 

The big hero of the day however was my castile soap. It's officially one year old now and that's the proper cure time. It's not a big bubble maker but when you are washing sticky dough off your hands fifty times an hour the gentleness is much appreciated.