Friday, December 09, 2016

So I'm Sitting Here...

...with 2 dogs (Quinn on the couch, Raisa alongside/behind my knitting chair), the Christmas tree lit up, Star Trek (the original) on the TV and about 3 days' worth of papers to read. 

I normally wouldn't tell you this, but what the heck...Hubby is on a plane to MT. MIL's house sold in what I think is record time for a tiny town just south of Canada! So he's doing a few things, and packing up what's left of his stuff for temporary storage. He'll be back Sunday night. I hope. 

I say that because there's a winter storm watch set for our area from Saturday to Sunday. It's freezing cold and you can feel a storm in the air, if you know what I mean. 

So it's "just us girls" for the weekend. And I'm a bit miffed because it's not a "relaxing" weekend. And also, by this time, I'm usually in my jammies! Hubby takes the girls out for "Last Call" in about an hour and tonight, it's me. I'll survive! 

The Great Cookie Bake...

Snow on the Mountain
It is done... I'm finished for 2016. We do have some filled cookies and date balls that Hubby whipped together. I found a couple of old lists in my little notebook, and the list is much the same, with a few newbies thrown in each year. A favorite cookie was christened "Snow on the Mountain" by the kids. It's a fudgy cookie you can roll in either cinnamon + sugar or in powdered sugar. 

M & M Cookies
Since Kid #2 is doing a "hot" version (with a tiny pinch of chili pepper, since chili pepper and chocolate are a reasonably delicious pairing), he's doing his rolled in plain sugar - so we can differentiate them when we do the cookie platters for Christmas. 

I've already given out a platter to my guitar teacher. He's crazy about the Honey Cookies, or as Hubby refers to them, "the Jewish Cookie." He's correct: it's a Jewish cookie. It's definitely a keeper now... 

Granny's Crescents
The M & M cookies are my sister's. She calls 'em and she -- well, she demands them every year. In a nice, sisterly way, of course! So I bake them. We found a good recipe which makes a thicker, more chewy cookie. I had been using the old "Toll House" kind of recipe, and they always flattened out and got too crispy, no matter what I did. But this one is good. Only thing is, the recipe calls for making them in QUARTER-CUP scoops! Too big. Really. There is such a thing as "too big" for a cookie. 

I save the hardest for last. Well, not hard, but fiddliest. These are Granny's Crescents. You have to chill the dough at LEAST 6 hours, and I like to do mine overnight. So this takes some planning. You divide the dough into smaller balls - a little smaller than a tennis ball, but not as small as a golf ball. Each ball is about 8 cookies. 

I make a double batch, because THESE are my brother's. He gets a bag. A double batch, just in case you're wondering, is about 160 cookies. ONE. HUNDRED. SIXTY. 

So This is Christmas...

Rowan Oak
These are a smattering of the ornaments on my tiny (4') tree. We've had it on the dining room table forever, and that seems to be where it'll stay - at least till we're dogless. And at that point, we may be too old to WANT a larger tree, though it's in the basement. 

Frosty Friends
This one is the first one I bought on my first Faulkner Pilgrimage. It's the front of Rowan Oak (which at first, I thought was "Roanoke" like the town in Virginia). It's his ... well, I guess "plantation" is as good a word as any. It's his home, at any rate. Maybe he'd be peeved by my referring to it as a plantation, and prefer to call it a farm? Don't know. But I like "destination ornaments"  so I got this one for myself. I also have a few from friends: one from Colonial Williamsburg, and an old-fashioned ice cream parlor in Indiana, and a few from my bus trip with my mom: Hilton Head and another one. I got Hubby a "France 2013" suitcase keepsake ornament. Where we were, they didn't have ornaments; we took pictures instead. 

Elkies and Snowman
Next up is the Frosty Friends. I've been collecting these for 30 years. We have several of the larger ones which sit next to the tree, and they're animated. Cute, but I think they're a bit noisy!

The heart-shaped one is a hand-painted one with our Elkhounds as the theme. This is done by Amy Bolin, and you should check out her stuff. She does beautiful work and a lot of her items are used as fundraisers for rescues. This one works for me not only because of the Elkhounds, but because there's a snowman on it. I have a collection of snowmen that my kids are going to regret when I'm dead... 

And finally, Hubby helped me "wrap presents" for under the tree. No, not really! I buy toilet paper for the studio and this time of year, I like to wrap it in seasonal tissue paper. I buy a large economy-size package, and I don't like to have unwrapped rolls sitting around in the studio. There's also no storage, so I bring them in by the half-dozen. The students laugh, but it's a nice personal touch. 

I do have a few more spots on the tree - Hubby says I load it down, but I say "that's the point."

One year, for some reason, we didn't put any ornaments on the tree at all. That was odd. Oh, I also have to paint "The Kids' Ornaments." Every year, I do a set of them, and I'm pretty sure that I have pictures in a couple of these posts going back a few years. That's one of my tasks this weekend, if I can get to it. 


Tomorrow is going to be such fun. The dogs will get me up at dawn, because that's when they're used to getting up. Then, at 8 a.m. I have to get a temporary crown. Then, my church friends and I serve lunch at Morningstar Mission. THEN - I go home and hunker down, waiting for the snow. 

Maybe I'll order Chinese for lunch. I rarely eat it, so I should treat myself. 

I have to remind myself to get the TP to the studio! This is a shot just before one of my classes. Not sure, with the weather, if (a) Hubby will get home on Sunday afternoon; and (b) I'll teach Sunday night! Snow forecasts are mixed, but there's also a strong indication that we're far enough south to get "freezing rain." 

Thanks, but I'd rather have snow!


So this happened - I "accidentally" got a signed copy of a book! I was at Centuries and Sleuths, and this author was recommended to me. The book, by the way, is really good! I plucked this off the shelf - it's the author's "stand-alone" book, and the suggestion was that I read this, and if I like it, work on his series. 

Look what I found! A signature! C & S, a small bookstore, has an amazing niche in mysteries and Chicago-area writers. They have a constant stream of authors coming in to do book signings, and occasionally, they "blind sign" books. I happened to get one signed by the author and it was just sitting there on the shelf. 

I'm told by my friend Sue (who's related to the owners) that a signed book that's personalized isn't as valuable as one that's "blind signed." Well, unless it's someone like William Faulkner signing one to John F. Kennedy - but you know what I mean. For those of us who are mere mortals, it's not as precious in the long run. 

However, this is only a paperback, so I'm not sure that it's valuable in any case, unless I keep it in pristine condition - which I usually do. I will be happy to loan you a book. But it had better be returned in the same condition as it was when I gave it to you. Or else. Just sayin'...


Pumpkin sweater
And here it is! Finished! I've already started on the hat - a simple rolled brim beanie. I'm told it's a boy, so that's nice. The color would've worked either way, which is why I stick to these non-traditional rich tones. I like a sophisticated baby. 

Hat started
There's really no easy way to take a picture of a square with for now, this is the best I can do. When I finish the ensemble, I'll stage it better. 

The hat is a simple one - knit in the round for about 6" and then start the decreases. I'm going to add an I-cord, and then tie it in a small knot so that the hat looks like it has a "topper" on it. I think it's going to be cute. 

If I have time, booties are also on the list. I'm going to see if I have some brown worsted weight; I think I'd like to do the bootie cuffs in brown, to match the giraffe buttons. 

Random Picture...

Tippi for President
Which also may be a political statement. The wonderful folks at Lewis University gave me a stunning portrait of Tippi - which I'm going to have framed! And Tippi got a stocking full of toys. And the assistant librarian made me these buttons. As I said to them, "Tippi would be the only SANE candidate." 

She still loves her therapy work, and I'm hoping that we will continue for several more years. 

We had a great visit for Super Study, and now we have a little break. She's snoozing behind me. Which reminds me -- my 8 a.m. dental appointment will come pretty quickly, so I'd better hit the hay. See you soon!

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