Tuesday, December 31, 2013

It's New Year's Eve...

...and so we look at a new year. Do you make resolutions? Is this the best time, because I've heard more and more folks say that September (when schools start) feels more like "New Years" to them? 

Are resolutions passe? Is it a good idea to just chuck it and not worry about them? Are you setting yourself up for failure?

I don't know. Any of that. Though I do tend to agree that September feels more "beginning" than January. In academia, January is technically "spring." Which would be nice except we're set for somewhere between 3 - 8" of snow, and it's currently 9* out there... It "feels like" (new-speak for "windchill factor") -2*... and it's deceptive. That darned sun - what there is of it, since it's now clouding up - makes you think "it can't be all that bad." So far, the wind is just about 5 mph - it'll get colder as the day wanes. 

We have a "Winter Weather Advisory" according to my Weather Channel app on the phone. From 4 p.m. this afternoon till 10 a.m. Wednesday - snow. "Use caution while driving." Yep. Welcome to winter, folks!

I think my resolution this year is going to be simple. Just breathe. Just keep breathing. I've been told (by more than one person) that despite being a yogini for 8 or 9 years, I'm still "a little tightly wound." Well, frankly, 2013 turned into a bit of a bummer later in the year. 

Loved France. Loved losing the weight I needed to lose. Didn't love the youngest sibling dying and having to deal with the resultant crap. Didn't love stress eating, which caused some of that hard-fought weight to come gleefully back. 

Breathe. In. Out. Repeat.

Anyway... Let's discuss a few things.

But before that -- I just glanced out the window because Elkhound Security, Inc. just let loose. Why on EARTH does my neighbor across the street have a child's car seat on the porch? Don't they get the weather forecast?? Makes you wonder. 

Reading...

FINALLY finished Persuasion - we all know that Anne gets Frederick in the end. Jane Austen is the queen of happy endings, usually. Also finished one of her partial novels, and I'm working my way through the Kindle version of Sanditon. The set-up is a bit wonky and there are Random capital Letters indicating Important things that are Driving me crazy, since it's very odd that an Author would do such a thing; at least now-a-days. 

Jane died, if my math is right, at age 42. She left practically nothing, having instructed her sister Cassandra to burn everything. Sadly, Cassandra did just that. 

Anyway, I'm also interspersing that with a variety of other things, like the local newspaper and some magazines. I haven't decided which book is up next. 

I have 2 Barnes & Noble gift cards. I am not sure what to get, because the one book I'd really like, they don't carry. But I have some options. I'm going to be shopping with them at some point. 


Nephew Afghan
Knitting...

Yay - found the Nephew Afghan! Well, I knew it could only be one or two places, and my office is kind of a rat-hole right now. But I did find it, and I'm working on it today. Got to the second set of balls - it's an 8-ball afghan, but it's doubled, so that's 16 balls. Taken from an "8-hour afghan" book, this is likely to be more than 8 hours, since those are baby-sized. This is one of the patterns that they've actually sized for a larger (40" x 46") afghan. 

Remember, this is in Encore, in two colors for this purpose. I know that one of the rooms in his house is navy blue. I also know that another one is taupe-ish. This should fit in either room. I don't care where he puts it, as long as his wife-to-be doesn't give it to the dogs to be their blankie. I admit, I might not know this, but it would certainly annoy me. 

The local PBS station is doing a Mystery Marathon, and that's great knitting TV. Just have to watch with those doubled strands that when you look up, you are still knitting with 2 strands. I've frogged a few stitches till I get back to being used to working with 2 strands at once. 

I'll alternate some other work. I guess if I had to have a resolution, it would be the same one: finish some WIPs. My mother's cross-stitch angel would be at the top of that list, but I am not sure where to put her since she's huge. 

So today is relaxing and knitting. Tomorrow is laundry. I'm sitting with my favorite tea mug, in my knitting chair (or at least I will be once I'm done here), and just having an actual "vacation" day during this, my vacation! I doubt that I'll see much of the PBS mysteries - I like to try to get up and fiddle around every 20 minutes or so, and so a lot of these mysteries are just background noise. 

Politics...

Well, lookee there:  The LA Times says that the Affordable Care Act enrollment numbers are "sharply up" in December. And even Fox (NOT)News is now calling it by its proper name since it looks to be working.

And God knows, we can't have anything work that has President Obama's name attached to it. 


And according to the Chicago Tribune, all those rich folks looking for tax shelters? Well - they don't even have to leave the USA. Just look toward South Dakota. Bloomberg has the story, too. Perhaps it's naive of me, but for God's sake: Can't we actually make rich people pay taxes?? That would help our deficit immensely. As well, let's put corporations back in their rightful place as TAX-PAYING entities. Not people. Because they're not. Corporations can shape-shift and change the essence of their being. Humans can't. 

If they did, I'd shape-shift to be about 4" taller and 20-30 lbs. thinner. 

Let's also dream big and suggest that there be a "head tax" on corporations. You, Mr. or Ms. Corporation, must pay the US government a percentage of what it would cost you in federal taxes (ah, heck - let's let the states get in on this action, too) for every job you shift overseas. Since, overseas, you don't pay benefits, we think that you should contribute SOMETHING to our citizens. Since you laid them off in the first place.

Hey, it's the new year. A person can dream, right?

Dogs...

So - we have a list of potential names for Dolly. But she has to pass the sniff test. That will, hopefully, be on Sunday. Fingers (and paws) crossed that we're not totally nuts and that the girls will appreciate the addition. It's usually up to the dogs, funny enough. Don't want to stress anyone, and there'll be peace in the house if everyone gets along. We expect a few spats, but I don't want a full-out war. 

A friend of mine who's a long-time dog expert says that since Dolly's about 12 weeks old, the girls (one age 6 and one age 3) shouldn't feel threatened. 

And for your enjoyment, a little video. I did a "dog toy purge" and got rid of the toys which had had multiple rounds of surgery to repair them. Then, we did the After-Christmas Sale at Fun Time Dog Shop. Again - I highly recommend shopping there!! It's an online shop. Everything is tested by Gunny, the Tester-In-Chief! And everything is sourced appropriately; you won't find melamine-laced treats at FTDS. To top off all of this goodness, you have the choice of about a dozen rescue and research organizations at check-out. Fully 100% of their profits go to rescue. Good deal all around!

Please do check out the grunting hedgehog toys. They're adorable and our girls love them. 


video
So we got a replacement for a toy Quinn trashed and picked up 3 new ones. Tippi got hold of the snowman before I even got the tags off. Quinn tried to steal it. And then, this video from this morning - Tippi got hold of the pine tree. The long pauses aren't your video buffering. They're Tippi. She likes to contemplate in between bouts of "killing" the tree. Enjoy!

I'm sure we'll be getting some more toys if we do have success with the "doggie data exchange" this weekend. Have to keep you all posted. 

Food...

For some odd reason, the cookie situation worked out. We have neither too many nor too few cookies. We seem to have a boat-load of Aunt Mary B's Oatmeal Cookies and Carrot Cookies. Also, plenty of Carrot-Poppyseed cake (which is going to church this Sunday...). I don't think I'll be making that again. Kid #2 has requested the Double-Chocolate Banana Bread. He liked it. 
Fave Mug

And as far as Christmas Eve, all our food seems to have been 'just enough' this time around. I think we're getting the hang of it.

Today, I'm having soup. We pulled it out of the freezer, we'll have cornbread or something, and we're just not stressing. The kitchen is clean and I aim to keep it that way for New Year's Day! I'm finishing up the leftover ravioli in the fridge and I hope to keep the habit I've developed of just not "munching" all day. 

I should put out some critter food and some more birdseed. The birds are really enjoying what I've got out there. Well, if I don't get to it today, I can do it tomorrow. I'm more worried about Kid #2 going out in the potential weather.

Call me a worry-wart. He's only going to a party in the neighborhood, and yes, I trust him. But it still worries me. What can I say? Maternal over-drive?

Back to food... One of the coolest things I have ever purchased from Ikea (and I will say that I haven't purchased much from there) has been a pair of cheese-grater-container thingies. I just spent about 15 minutes grating a whacking-big hunk of Romano Cheese with this thing. It's oval; has a lid and TWO grater lids: one fine and one coarse. I bagged up most of the cheese, dated it and froze it. I've left a little knob of it in the Deli container in our fridge so that we can use it fresh. The container itself has a no-slip strip on the bottom and it works really nicely. Kid #2 said he was going to do that, but I figured that as long as I was finishing up the ravioli, I'd grate it. 

Random Picture...


Timer
I deliberately haven't said much about my Christmas gifts. Not because I got the crown jewels or anything. I just didn't want to be all "I got this; I got that" about it. But one thing Kid #1 is lusting over is this. I have a timer on my stove. I have a timer on the microwave, except I can't figure out how to make it work. I also have two double-sided timers -- one side of each works, so I suppose you could say that I have one "whole" one - in two colors. I've gone through timers like crazy lately. So I asked Hubby to get me "a decent timer" for Christmas. 

This is what he came up with, and he got me 3 of them. They have a magnet, so even though I have a stainless steel fridge (it won't stick), I did get it stuck on the range hood. And anyway, I can set the thing on the counter during my baking sprees. Kid #1 just wanted one of them. I guess I know what I can get him for his birthday! 

It has a rather odd ring to it - rather deep and "rattle-y" instead of sharp. That's ok. I can hear it. And if it croaks, I have 2 more to use. 

My New Year's wish for you is in several parts:

   May you have a year filled with peace and happiness;

            May you experience your journey with an open mind and an open heart;

May 2014 bring you, in the words of St. Francis, "peace and all good."


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