Saturday, December 31, 2022

Happy New Year To You!

 We had some great pizza for dinner, rang in the new year with sparkling apple juice and a replay of the fireworks and ball drop in Dubai, then started getting ready for bed. By the time 2023 officially kicks in I will be long abed.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

What's Going On?

Thanks to the Local Norway Facebook page I learned a new word today. Romjul is the period between  Christmas and the end of the year where you lose all track of time and motivation.
The word is especially appropriate for people like me who have nothing scheduled. Romjul life is nothing but a series of deep questions, like:

  • Is it time for a real meal, or another between meal snack
  • Should I try to pretend that the between meal snack will offer some health benefits, or just have another handful of junk?
  • Should I take a mid-afternoon nap, and where should it be?

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Just Like Magic

A couple of months ago my first generation iPad (which had served me marvelously for years) lost some key abilities. Apps loaded sluggishly or not at all, and the battery needed to be charged almost every night.

I added new iPad to my Christmas list, with the clarification it didn't need to be the latest model, just newer than what I had. On Christmas morning I was thrilled to open up a box containing exactly what I wanted. My new toy does everything I need it to do in a timely manner, and all my missing functionality is back.

Setting up the new device was amazingly easy, thanks to the wonders of Apple Air Drop. My original tablet didn't have that ability, but my iPhone does. All I had to do was bring the phone close enough to the new iPad and wait a few minutes... just like magic all of the correct apps showed up. Five years ago today: A List To Live By

Friday, December 23, 2022

Tannenbaum Times Two

Hubby Tony and I had talked about getting a new artificial tree this year, but when I had to quarantine right after Thanksgiving I figured the task wouldn't get done this year. However, Tony took on the job of finding just the right model. The one he came home with is the perfect height and width. It has three options for lights-white, colored, and fading back and forth between the other two. I'm not a big fan of the last alternative, so each night we decide what we want the corner of the living room to look like.

I thought I had heard every Christmas song out there, but the one piped in at Macy's this afternoon was new to me. I liked it.

Five years ago today: I Love You. Do You Love Me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

To all of my neighbors.....

I don’t mean to be a Grinch. However....

To those of you who are placing Christmas lights/decorations in your yards, would you please avoid anything that has red or blue flashing lights together? Every time I come around the corner, I think it's the police. 

I have to brake hard,

Toss my margarita out the window,

Fasten my seat belt,
Throw my phone on the floor, 

Turn my radio down,

And push the gun under the seat.

All while trying to drive.

It's just too much drama, even for Christmas. Thank you for your co-operation and understanding.

Five years ago today: It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tis The Season To Be Busy

On Thursday the temperature is supposed to drop (with a prediction of close to zero degrees Fahrenheit) and snow will fall (depending on which source you check with, somewhere between one and five inches.) That's gotten everyone in a frenzy. Add that to the almost-Christmas furor and things were crazy out there today.

My first commitment was a chiropractor appointment. I left wearing my heavy winter coat, and was glad I did. The person ahead of me was having some issues. I heard the doctor diagnosing and giving advice, and his appointment ended up taking twice as long as a normal adjustment would. I always appreciate when the doctor does the same thing for me, but today the added waiting was an annoyance.

When I got home Hubby Tony and I went out to run some errands, one of which was to pick up some extra Christmas presents. This morning there was a gift bag hung on our condo door, which held a miniature loaf of banana bread and a small container of cookies from a downstairs neighbor. It seems like when one neighbor starts gifting others reciprocate, so we wanted to make sure we were ready.

We walked through several stores, debating between cookies decorated by special needs workers, chocolates, and specialty popcorn. In the end the four-pack of chocolate truffles won, and that task crossed off the list. We also popped into the office supply store and post office before starting a circuitous route back home.

Our next to last stop was at Sam's Club, where I realized I was feeling hungry and grumpy. We grabbed our items and headed toward the checkout, where the lines were long. I left Tony to pay and headed to the cafe area, where I ordered a piece of pizza for us to share. While waiting, I  chatted with the lady standing in line behind me. She was upbeat and energetic, and I felt her energy rubbing off on me.

On the way home traffic was so bad that Tony passed on his last stop, the bank. When we arrived back at the condo Jackson the Cat was waiting for his lunch, which he pointed out was being served late. I finished my own lunch and had a cup of coffee, then decided to walk up to the bank.

In preparation I moved items from my large purse to a wallet-sized one. By this time it had warmed up enough that the lightweight winter coat was all I needed. The walk was lovely. When I passed the mall exit, there were long lines of cars waiting to enter and leave. The closer I got to the major arterial road the worse the traffic got. And that road itself was gridlocked from the time I turned onto it until I reached the bank.

Inside the bank I opened up my purse and saw my drivers license and charge card. No ATM card. Fortunately, the teller was a joy to work with. She looked up my account information with a smile and at the end of the transaction sincerely told me to have a great day.

Five years ago today: Grateful

Sunday, December 18, 2022

An Interesting Mix Of Decorating

The other day Hubby Tony and I had an errand to run in the St. Louis Hills section of the city. The temperature was hovering around the freezing mark, so after the errand was done we bundled up and walked around the area.

The neighborhood has block after block of unique apartments, flats, and single-family residences, many built in the 1930s. They are predominantly red brick, but there are enough of blonde brick and stucco to keep things interesting, and a few tear-downs and rebuilds that used more modern materials. 

Tony and I walked in one direction until we got tired of going that way, then turned and started heading back towards the car. The first time I saw a tree with eyes stapled to the trunk I was a little confused. Then I realized that each of the trees along the sidewalk in front of a house had a pair.

I stopped to take a better look at the house. To the left of the front door there was a Grinch blow up hanging off the edge of the roof, and the yard had several other inflatables...A cute dog. A Dora the Explorer. A large Santa (who had come untethered and fallen over). And next to Santa a large Krampus

On t he right side of the yard the taller-than-the-house skeleton sported a Christmas hat and lights, and had two beribboned black trash bags at its feet. I wondered if it was purposely put there for the holiday, or a leftover from Halloween that was easier to repurpose than take down.

Five years ago today: One For You, None For Me

Friday, December 16, 2022

Decorating Made (Too) Easy

I was walking through the aisles of a Walmart Supercenter and came across a display of large bows. I thought that was a nice touch for customers, until I realized they happened to be displayed at the end of the vacuum cleaner aisle.

First of all, I don't think that you should buy someone close to you an appliance for Christmas. But if that's what your heart is set on, you should at least have to walk to another part of the store to get the supplies to wrap it with.

Five years ago today: The Doctor Will See You Now

Monday, December 12, 2022

Snail On Celery

Yesterday Hubby Tony bought a stalk of celery at the grocery store and used some in his dinner recipe.

This morning I was cutting up vegetables for lunch. I took the stalk out of the mesh produce bag and noticed a brown bump (about a quarter of an inch long) on one of the ribs. I flicked the lump into the countertop food scrap container. After I finished chopping the vegetables I took the container to the laundry room to dump the scraps into the used cat litter bag. The lump didn't come out and looked like it had attached itself to the bottom of the container. When I looked closely I saw it was a tiny snail!

I wondered how long the snail had been on the celery. Did it hitch its ride in the field, during processing, or at the grocery store?  Wherever it happened, I admired the critter's perseverance. However, it couldn't live at my house, so I stopped and considered my next step.

I'm a no-kill type of girl, and would normally release a living thing into the wild outdoors. However, the temperature outside was hovering around freezing, and is forecast to take another dive down later in the week. The snail would probably die a slow, chilly death. Would that be better or worse than being tossed into a stinky bag of cat litter and food scraps which would ultimately end up in the trash?

In the end I chose the latter option. I flicked the snail off the container into the bag, but made sure there was room for it to move away from the other items before I closed the partially-filled bag with a binder clip. Later in the day I tossed more items in the bag and saw the snail had attached itself to the bag up near the top. 

Five years ago today: What's On Your TV?

Saturday, December 10, 2022

The Season Of Good Enough

About this time every year I start reading articles and blog posts about getting things perfectly ready for the end of the year holidays. That includes finding ideal presents, going to too many activities and parties, making sure everyone in the family has the right clothes for those events, and throwing healthy diet expectations out the window.

Reading the tales always reminds me of my friend Sandy's motto for this time of year... Tis the season of "good enough".

As she explains it, the slogan means to do away with the expectation that everything you do will be Hallmark and Martha Stewart perfect. Keep your expectations realistic. Figure out the things you can and cannot control, and let go of any assumptions about those things you can’t control.

I can't remember how many years ago I was gifted with a cute snowflake note holder holding round tag with the motto, but it's been displayed so many years the tag is looking a little worse for wear. But it's good enough, and I still set it out every year as a visual reminder.

Five years ago today: To Toss Or Not To Toss

Thursday, December 8, 2022

The Internet, Where We All Learn From Each Other

Sometimes the information learned is substantial and thought-provoking. Sometimes it's less earth shattering, but still important.

This morning after breakfast I learned on a forum that December 8th is National Brownie Day. A couple of hours later Catalyst at Oddball Observations offered the same news. After two mentions how could I not act on the information?

Before dinner I had to run to the grocery store. In addition to the items on my list a large frosted brownie from the bakery department added itself to my bag. Although I could have made a whole pan for the price of the slice, there are only two of us in the house. I knew that if I made a pan way too many of those brownies would find their way into my mouth, so buying a pre-made one was my way of exhibiting some portion control.

Dinner was a clean-out-the refrigerator main dish salad with chopped napa cabbage, roasted sweet potatoes and freekeh, tossed with a honey lime vinaigrette with hints of garlic and jalapeno and topped with chopped cashews. Hubby Tony plated and served. He also carbonated some water and made a pot of decaf coffee to go with the star of the show dessert.

All was good.

Five years ago today: A Nice Way To Make A Living

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Vanity Egotism

It's been a long time since I've ran my name through Google to see what's out there, but thanks to tonight's search I can say that:

  • On Facebook there are five other people with my name.
  • LinkedIn had nine profiles for people who spelled their first name exactly the same as mine. If you add alternate spellings (Cathy, Cathie, Kathie) there were six more. Include variations on Katie and the number doubled.
  • A Kathy who isn't me has 'my' name on Twitter, Pinterest, and Flickr (and as far as I can tell they are not the same person.)
  • The same photographer with my name who I found back in 2008 still has an online presence, but she didn't show up until the third page of hits.

If I'm even around to check in another 14 years I wonder how many other changes there would be?

Five years ago today: Travel, Trips, And Tours

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Seat Of My Pants Food Preparation

 Today is the tenth day since I had a positive Covid test, which means that when I wake up tomorrow the CDC says I will no longer be contagious. It was also my first meal for the priests and clergy since starting my quarantine.

You may remember that I am cooking in the rectory kitchen Sunday morning, Monday night, and Wednesday mid-day. My system is to take items for any given meal out of the freezer the meal before, and stop at the grocery store for perishables on my way there. Thanks to my quarantine the system had broken down, but I knew that there was a bag of sheet pan pancakes in the freezer that would be enough to feed the six clergy. All I had to do was heat the pancakes, cook bacon in the oven, scramble a dozen eggs, and rinse some raspberries.

However, when I arrived I saw that someone had broken into the bag of pancakes and they were half gone. (I was happy they liked them, but still annoyed. I will need to come up with a system to indicate off limits food.) 

I didn't have time to go back to the store and still have breakfast ready on time so I put on my creative thinking cap.

The planned meal for last Sunday was an egg casserole with ham and two kinds of cheese. Everything was in a plastic grocery bag in the refrigerator. It had been there for a little over a week, which is almost over the edge of acceptable. However, I decided to take a close look at the ingredients. All seemed fine. Even the most problematic ingredient (the ham) still looked fresh and pink. It was well wrapped and not past the sell-by date. Just to be on the safe side I microwaved it and drained off the juices before incorporating it into the dish.

My recipe was more like a list of proportions: 2 parts bread, 1 part milk, 1 part eggs, 1 part add-ins (in this case, ham) and 1 part cheese.

The procedure couldn't have been simpler. I greased a baking pan and filled it with bread chunks, then tossed in the ham and most of the cheese. I mixed eggs with whole milk and seasonings, poured the mixture over the bread, and pressed down to make sure all the chunks were saturated. I let the eggs soak in for a half hour before adding the rest of the cheese on top, covering the dish with foil, and baked it for 20 minutes. I took off the foil and baked it for an additional half hour.

When it was time to serve I put the casserole on the counter, added bowls of salsa and raspberries for those who wanted fruit, and stepped aside. The clergy don't have much time before the next Mass starts, so they come through quickly, eat, and put their plate next to the dishwasher before leaving again. However, as the pastor left he told me with a grin to pack everything up so he could have more later.

 Five years ago today: From Gardening Shoes To Galoshes