Monday, December 09, 2013

HAPPY Monday

It has occurred to me that there's been some sturm und drang on this blog lately. Probably because I'm up in arms with regard to the asinine behavior of our elected officials. And conservatives.


This being the Christmas season, or whatever holiday you choose to celebrate, I'm going POSITIVE today. Here are not only good news stories, but some things I'm particularly grateful for. 

First off, is of course Hubby and Kids. Who shall remain picture-less here, on their own request. Be assured - each one of them is the love of my life. I don't tell them often enough, and I really should.

Kathleen Magowan... 

Click here to see what she did. And I'll summarize for you: this Simsbury, CT teacher left a surprising legacy: all $6 million of it. When she went to an attorney several years ago to get help managing her affairs, she wasn't sure what her estate was worth. Well, now we know. She died in 2011; it's taken attorneys this long to figure out her affairs. Her estate is worth more than 6 million dollars, and much of that went to the local public schools where she taught. According to the link above, about $480,000 went to Simsbury schools, about $400,000 to the nursing home where she died, and about $375,000 to her local parish. And $500,000 or so to the University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, CT. Along with 15 other charities and several relatives and neighbors who benefitted from this quiet, unassuming woman.

Thank you, Miss Magowan, for renewing my faith in the goodness of people who aren't in the headlines. May your memory be eternal, and not only for the money you left. But as a teacher, for the lives you have touched. 

Cookies and Hot Cocoa...

Yep. It's Baking Season. Here's a shot of some MONSTER M & M cookies - "monster" wasn't in the title, but that's what they turned out to be. Hubby made the batter, and I started the baking. We had to tweak the recipe's baking time a bit, but we also didn't exactly follow the instructions (who does that???) for assembling the cookies. They're ooey-gooey in the right places, and crunchy with the M & Ms in them. 

When you make this recipe, you ladle out the cookies in 1/4-cup blobs. The recipe suggests using chocolate chips and/or chunks PLUS the M & Ms, but my sister prefers her cookies "unpolluted" by anything but M & Ms. 

M & M Cookies
These are my sister's favorite cookies, though I haven't done this version before. We'll make the "old standard" recipe too and let her pick. I will get hurt if I don't show up with these. And those couple of years when I had surgery over Christmas? Yes, I enlisted Hubby and/or Kid #2 to do them. You don't mess with your cardiac nurse, right! 

And I love hot cocoa. My office, while we have the HVAC stuff figured out, is usually chilly because my east "wall" is solid window. Energy efficient, my foot! It's cold. Love hot cocoa or hot tea when I need to warm up my fingers.

Grace Hopper...

This would have been her 107th birthday. So who is she? 

Only the woman who is responsible for the computer language COBOL. And a Rear Admiral in the US Navy. And responsible for the creation of the Harvard Mark I computer. Here's a clip of her on Letterman. She's an inspiration. 

Often referred to as "Amazing Grace" - she was a Renaissance Woman in that she had tremendous breadth of knowledge. And let's face it: How many WOMEN were made Rear Admirals? She entered the Navy during World War II. She has a Navy destroyer named after her, the USS Hopper (DDG-70) and also has a supercomputer named after her. 

Rear Adm. Grace Hopper
Do you know the term "debugging"? Well, Rear Admiral Hopper was responsible for coining that word. She "debugged" a computer by actually removing a moth from one of them! Of course her genius rested in the fact that she could also fix the computers when they had glitches not of the insect variety!

She graduated from Vassar and had her master's degree from Yale. Oh, and she earned her PhD in mathematics from Yale, too. 

At the time of her military retirement, she was the oldest active-duty commissioned officer in the US Navy. 

She was interested in STEM classes long before the current educational regime made the push for more girls to get into traditionally male fields. There's a link in THAT link that plays her whole visit with Letterman, and I'd advise you to check it out. 

She and Miss Magowan are examples of women who accomplished something significant. 

I admire both of them. And I hope that our young women will choose to emulate either of them -- rather than the celebre-tarts common in today's society. 

Christmas Decorations...

So here's the Christmas Village at my hairdresser's. It's not hers. She decorates the place and I swear she should have gone into decorating Marshall Field's windows. It takes forever to get this thing up; it twinkles, there are action figures, there's snow... The whole package.

She also does these fantastic wreaths. I'd love to hire her. Just not sure I could afford it! She said she'd do it for me, but then I have to wonder - my house is small. I love her taste, though, and it would take the load off us. I don't know whether she'd do outside, though - and we like decorating the outside. But then again, if SHE does the inside... Hmmmmm. Must think about this. 

For a bunch of years, the salon was decorated in burgundy-and-gold. Then, about 5 years ago, she did the blue-and-silver. And about 4 years ago, the village appeared - though not as elaborate as it is now. 

If you click on the Village picture, you can see the hand-carved "mountains" in the back - which are polystyrene sheets cut to resemble mountains, with little trees on them. There's so much going on in this village that it's almost too much.

Till you remember that it is, after all, Christmas. 


The sock is almost done. This is a picture from just before I started the toe decrease. And I am definitely starting a sweater. I have two to pick from; a lavender one or a pale sage-green one. I might do the green one. And my friend D found the MIA ball of Madelaine Tosh so I can put the sleeve in the sweater she decided that she didn't like and that I inherited. 

As soon as I decide what sweater, I'll wind yarn and post the info. I need to alternate between the "toothpicks" upon which I knit socks, and the larger sweater-sized needles. I don't do the BIG NEEDLE stuff much, but I will occasionally - like a size P or Q crochet hook or size 13 knitting needles for bulky chenille yarn. The two sweaters I have picked out are somewhere around needle sizes 7 - 8 or so. 

One of the sweaters is kind of summery. It uses a lace-ish weight yarn with size 7 needles to make a wisp of a sweater. The other is a little more substantial, using a silk + merino blend. It's kind of boxy, with a nice lace pattern from below the bust; and 3/4 length sleeves. 

Random Tippi Cuteness...

Tippi Angel
So Tippi and Quinn had a fight yesterday... Just when it was all going so well. I got caught in my knitting chair because Tippi whammed into it while charging at Quinn. Luckily, I let out a couple of bellows and they stopped fighting and just sat down and gave each other stink-eyes. 

It does make me wonder about adding another dog to our family...It would be a huge commitment on Hubby's part since he's the one working from home. 

We had been talking about a Husky, since I miss them. But it would have to be a long-though-out decision - as it should be. I don't want to have to monitor them for the next 6 or 7 years, and I don't want to cause any dog any kind if distress. 

River was a once-in-a-lifetime dog; she got along with everyone. And of course she had the advantage of being the "lead dog" in the house when we brought Tippi and then Quinn into the house. 

Anyway, I can tell you the girls haven't had a fight like this for a while. Normally, Tippi is like this. 

Except when she's not. 

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