Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas Card Holder

We are using the "Teddy Gate" to hold our Christmas cards this year.  It's an old fashioned baby gate that I put across the top of the stairs to either keep her contained up there, or to keep her from coming up when we want some "privacy."  
Single page cards are held on with clothes pins and regular fold cards are slipped over a slat.  Our favorite card is the one on the top row furthest to the right.  It's a picture of a kid seeing Santa and he says "I'm sorry you saw me Timmy.  Now I'll have to kill you."

We didn't send cards this year as I don't have a printer and have wanted to be frugal on holiday spending.  Being religiously ambiguous, it's also not a big holiday for me and I do most of the stuff in the house for The Big Guy.

The one inconvenience of this method of displaying the cards is that I have to take them off and put them back to use the gate for its intended purpose.  With the dryer delivery, it had to come down last week.  We're having a service tech come in to look at it on Tuesday but I don't think I'll move it then.  If we replace the dryer, that probably won't happen until after Christmas any way.  I'm not planning to keep decorations up very long.  I am done with holiday shopping and my next task is to determine what to make on Christmas Eve.  We are playing it by ear on Christmas Day as the friends we usually hang out with have an aged parent to worry about.

Hope everyone out there who celebrates is gearing up for a good couple of days... it's almost here!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Dinner for Jim

Our friend Jim over at Art of Gardening had a birthday yesterday so we are feeding him tonight.  I got most of the meal ready and the table set much earlier today.  The grill is heated up and TBG will be manning that.  He's armed with a growler and the boys will probably hit that while the turkey breast "tenderloin" and potatoes are grilling.  I'll have cauliflower broiling in the oven that will get a bit crispy/toasty and then topped with some brie and almonds.  I've got a side salad with romaine, red cabbage, red onions, orange, pineapple, mushrooms and avocado dressed with a bitter lemon dressing.  For dessert, we'll have blond brownies with white chocolate and butterscotch chips plus walnuts.  Jim hates chocolate (go figure) so the dessert had to be free of it.  Not sure if my guests will want to drink Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc (we call that "Seven Up" in our house).  While the boys swill beer, I believe the girls will be sipping champers.  It is nice to have a China and Silver dinner -- we eat at the living room table most nights.  

Well, our guests should be here any minute.  Happy Saturday Night to All!

Friday, December 19, 2014

Unhappy Feet

Of course, these are not my feet.  My feet are rarely happy!  It's just an age thing.  But I don't let that deter me from using them.  On Wednesday, my right knee was so sore, I couldn't put weight on it walking down stairs.  That was inconvenient as the new dryer was delivered (and put in the basement).  The Aquatic Center had pool issues so there was no heat so I wasn't swimming.  That meant I'd have to walk.

I "medicated" with an Aleve and took the pup for a ten block walk in the neighborhood.  On Thursday, I dosed up again and things seemed to be fine.  We talked about three miles.  Later in the day, I kept on having my ankle buckle when walking up the stairs -- my achilles on the left foot was acting up.  That happens a lot. 

I took another Aleve this morning and we set out for another typical river walk.  We met our doggie friend Apollo.  His mom was just starting out so we walked along her entire "usual" route which was five miles.  It was slippery so we both had to be very careful.  My knee and ankle did not bother me at all.  Once I got home my right groin was real sore!  I ran errands and did some light grocery shopping and it was still bugging me. What's a girl to do? I took a nap and now I'm fine.

The thing is, this stuff just comes up.  It's something different each day.  This won't be an excuse I'll use to take it easy because that doesn't really seem to help.  Besides, since it's something different each day, I figure that means it's not a specific injury.  Just a sign of my advancing years.

Now I'm not saying that to mean I feel old and am ready to shrivel up -- it just means that like most things, you have to figure that whatever is unpleasant is just temporary and get on with living your life.  Since I have a happy life, I guess maybe my feet are happy after all.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Wet Dog December

I gave Teddy a couple of dunks in the river after she got all muddy playing fetch in the field adjacent to the golf course.  TBG insists that area is always well drained and doesn't get as soggy because the grass is a better quality than your average "park" grass.  Well, you could have fooled me today!

This is a rare picture of her standing still.  Once she's had a brisk cold swim, she tears around the house.  That lasts for about ten minutes.  Now she's  doing a typical Golden Retriever thing -- on the ground, bunnie in her mouth, her face pressed right against the rug.  I think she'll fall asleep that way for a while. 

My work is done!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Pasta Salad for 60

This is a boatload of pasta salad, based on four bags of rotini and two bags of frozen tortellini.  It's been augmented with two bags of frozen fajita veggies, two small containers of sliced mushrooms and a bag of shredded carrots.  The binder is one bottle of Wishbone Buffalo ranch dressing and a bottle of plain ranch along with some melted butter, vinegar and hot sauce.  It is now cooling on the back porch.  That's the beauty of living in a frigid climate.  This kettle is too big for the fridge but it's so cold outside that the back porch will do.  We'll stir it a few times tonight and then fold in a couple of containers of crumbled bleu and Gorgonzola cheese in the morning.

The Big Guy is hosting a lunch for contractors tomorrow and they've ordered fried chicken.  He needed a side and asked if I'd make a pasta salad.  I thought a little Buffalo heat would be a good side for fried chicken.  One of his guys is making a big batch of meat balls.  I'm heading over a little past noon so I can have some fried chicken myself!

I make the guys a big batch of pasta salad a couple of times each year and every time I try to do something new.  Since TBG loathes mayonnaise,  I am always looking for an idea that doesn't use it at all.  He is happy with this formulation but wasn't sure what to think once I had gotten home with the ingredients and told him what I planned.  The thing is, if I am going to offer my services, I get to decide how I'm going to make it.

I've got time to do this because the heater at the town pool is broken. My swim on Sunday was very cold so I can just imagine what it is like now.  It wasn't fixed today and that would have to mean it's substantially colder. I've decided that when my membership is up, I'll join another facility. This one has too many maintenance and scheduling conflicts with school practices and swim meets.  I don't expect the problem to be fixed until at least the end of the week so I'm looking forward to having fried chicken in lieu of exercising. I will never be thin!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Not Having a Picture Tonight is Probably a Good Thing...

This is because we had an odd dinner.  Probably not something to document in pictures!

I forgot to make the frozen stuffed clams last night.  I almost forgot about them tonight.  We had left-over chicken and andoullie so that went into burritos. Then I remembered about the clams.  Since they were already thawed, that's what we had.  Burritos and "Clams in an Ashtray."  I did make a side salad.

After a meal like this, TBG always wants something sweet, often with chocolate.  I am going to surprise him with fudgecicles.   They are a good compromise.  Not very high in calories, a little sweet... and a lot cheap!

I also finished getting his stocking stuffers today.  After having broken a few wine glasses in the past month, I also managed to snag a few at the thrift store for fifty cents a piece.

The path to the laundry area is cleared in the basement and we have the cash on hand to pay for the dryer.   I hope we get it early in the day. They call at 7:30AM that day to tell you what time to expect.  Since the pool filter was broken over the weekend, I didn't bother swimming yesterday or today.  If the delivery and aquatic gods are with me tomorrow, I'll get the dryer in the morning, do a load of laundry, then swim in the afternoon. Fingers and fins crossed!

Monday, December 15, 2014

Tires, Exhaust, Toaster, Camera Battery, Clothes Dryer...

The list of things we need to replace grows every day!

I put a load of clothes in the dryer and started another one in the wash, then went out to run errands this morning. One thing I planned to do, was buy a  new camera battery.  The battery store wanted $34 for it -- when I can get it on line anywhere from four bucks and up.  So, I took a pass and will be pictureless for a bit until I order one and it is delivered.

When I got home, the clothes were still wet.  The drum was turning, which was due to my having replaced the belt for that last month.  Unfortunately, there was no heat.  I'd need a repair person to diagnose and fix that -- not worth it!  The laundromat around the corner is a dump but it was fortunate to have one so close to dry the two loads at. Before dinner we went out and found a scratch and dent Maytag for $336.  In perfect condition, that would be $397.  Since there is nothing perfect about the basement, the blemished version will fit in just fine.  There's free delivery but it will cost $50 for installation and removal of the old dryer.

It's tough having this happen after two major car expenses and it also being Christmas.  We were going to get "us" a gift -- and the new dryer is it.  Not sure when I'll be getting a new battery for the camera... posts without pictures are so dull. I'll figure something out... I always do!