Monday, December 31, 2012

Saying Goodbye

to 2012...

An evening cup by the
last night "glow" of the
Christmas Tree.

Reflecting on the past

Fully settled in The Den
and comfortable, now. Spent
the year learning to use the
transit system and discovering the best ways to
the airport/bus stations/train stations. Traveled to Chicago and Iowa with my DS family and it was wonderful. Diane, Sal, Karl and Lillian...thanks for kidnapping me. was so good to finally meet in REAL TIME.

Shared the year with old friends and new. Enjoyed having all the boys together for the Holidays again...and all the grands, too! Lennon...miss our coffee cup chats...I will see you at Graduation!

Watched Tucker settle in to his role as a "house-cat" iffy prospect at first...but much happier about it, now...especially in this snowy weather.

Shared the ups and downs with my very best friend, Angie...with whom I will be ringing in the New Year, tonight. 2013 is going to be...well...a LOT better. Glad that she is settled finally and has her studio at last!

Tried so many new things. Recipes from many different countries...tried Absinthe...learned a little Italian...learned the botanical name for everything I grew this year...learned a lot about container gardening and plant propagation...dabbled in acrylics...both representational and abstract...played with clay...discovered PINTREST...and the millions of ideas/recipes and tips it has to offer...made my own scarves out of old tee-shirts and created Spatter-Wear with Ola...and so much much more.

Took my annual sneak peek at FRED and am happy to report an overall decease in size...doubled up on my Physical Therapy and am still decidedly ambulatory. Increasing in strength. Reiterated to my MD that my new goal is to outlive him :)

After five years...the Zen Buddhist path...well...I am making progress.  Happier and more centered than my life has been for years.  Gratitude and Compassion make all the difference. Knowing that I am the love and light...and so are you :)

 Wishing everyone a Happy and Safe New Year's Eve!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Buttoning Up 2012

Woke this morning to a fresh layer of snow.
                                                It is absolutely beautiful.

And true to form...along with the cold and snow came the 2013 Burpee's Plant and Seed catalog. They know what they are doing. It's no coincidence, you know. If it arrived during the burgeoning warmth of a Spring Day you would lay it aside in an "oh-that's-nice" fashion and bustle on about your day.

However, when it arrives on a slate gray snowy day...when the gardens are buried under several inches of snow and the gazing ball is sporting a wintery crust of its own and it is 22 out but the wind-chill makes it feel like 14 degrees...well...that's an entirely different matter.

And, as gardeners we fall on it like a Dunkin' Donuts box at a Weight-Watcher's meeting.  

Necessitating an hour or more spent day-dreaming about next season's colors, herbs, vegetables and vines. A nice cup of English tea with cream and a pen circling the possibilities. All the while visions of Hollyhocks, and Roses and Begonias dance in our heads.

 Oh yes...those Burpee people are a scheming lot.

Buttoning up the year's end at The Den. Embarked on a room to room de-clutter and reorganize over the next three days. A place for everything and everything in its place by the New Year. Papers sorted and shredded and tossed. Year end projects completed. Even the computer gets cluttered over the course of a year, too.

Finished a read I had purposely avoided-- for what will soon become obvious reasons-- last year.  Just completed:  A Widow's Story by Joyce Carol Oates. Yes...Diane (and everyone else at DS who recommended it) this non-fiction account of her husband's death and her journey to the place where life goes nothing short of amazing! If you have ever lost a spouse through death you will find yourself nodding and understanding every word. If you haven' simply won't  "get it"...and that's okay...hoping you never have to.

So with the snows and chill comes winter-fare. The hearty soups, stews and chili. Heavy round loaves of homemade breads. Gingerbread and bread pudding with hard sauce...and one of my NYE favorites...rum balls. Wanted to share this recipe :)

Holiday Rum Balls




(...although a perfectly serviceable rum ball can be made with crushed vanilla wafers or chocolate cake crumbs I tend to enjoy the rich chocolate of these which start with a fudge brownie base...)

Prepare one 8x8 pan of boxed store bought chocolate brownies. The .99 cent variety works fine. Under-bake for about 5 minutes. Remove and let cool completely.

While they are baking soak 1/2 cup raisins in 1/4 cup 151 rum.

Measure out 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.

With a spoon scrape mostly baked and cooled brownies into a deep mixing bowl. Add the raisin and rum mixture and the chopped nuts. Mix thoroughly.

Using hands roll mixture into 1 inch balls. Roll balls in powdered cocoa...granulated or powdered sugar...and place on serving plate or tray.


Watching Congress do the year end scramble, too. Seems they've slowly realized that if the Stock Market nosedives...or the US Credit rating is downgraded again...well it is going to affect their investments and life savings, too. Not to mention their re-election chances in 2014.  Enlightened Self-Interest?

Just finished an assignment on CNN (...hopefully to be vetted...) on The Fiscal Cliff.

 Feeling much more optimistic about a positive outcome tonight.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Let it snow...let it snow...let it snow...

We've been "blizzed"...and it is beautiful!

Out with James and Carl for part of it...finally reaching our destination only to find they were CLOSED due to the

Undaunted, we broke out "Plan B"  (...that went over much better than Boehner's....) and stopped for Fajitas and Margaritas at a local Mexican restaurant for lunch!

About "Plan B"  Boehner's..not mine.

An EPIC FAIL- abandoned by his own party.
Norquist and the tea-party have managed to all but destroy the Republican Party (...which has been around for nearly 162 it is actually quite a feat...) And the ironic part is the GOP built them...

In a life imitates art-- horrible parody-- of Mary Shelly's: Frankenstein. Fox News...Sean Hannity...Glenn Beck...and Rush Limbaugh nearby shouting

 "...give my creation life!"

Forgetting, that it did not end so well for Dr. Frankenstein, either.

Oh alright...the Republicans get a little of the credit...raving about Women and Rape and Abortion and Gays and Blacks and Hispanics and Atheists and Muslims...Seniors and The Poor and Entitlements (oh my)

And to complicate things further we will hit the debt ceiling again on December 31st.

So here we are-- ready to go right over the waterfall...and the very guys that threw the paddles out of the canoe are yelling

"See...they (The Democrats) aren't doing anything...and here we are...going straight over this waterfall!"

And it is bad news.

It is every bit the crisis that the economists are warning us it will be.
And it is intentional and manufactured. Created by the same Congress we elect to represent work for us. 

Hoping the 113th Congress can get something accomplished...because seriously I have wondered repeatedly how the 112th managed to not go by the way of Marie Antoinette. 


Timothy Geithner (Treasury Secretary) minced no words with members of Congress yesterday letting them know if they actually stand idly by and let this happen they will be the very first to "feel the pain" of the rocks below as
Federal workers reinvestments would be the initial casualty.

Perhaps hoping to spark a little enlightened self-interest, who knows?

And sadly, American Politics has become some perverse spectator sport for not only us, but the World.

"Pass the Popcorn...and sit're blocking my view."

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A Christmas Cup II

                              Kaylee...Hannah...Brenden and Jasmine                       
                                             Christmas Eve 2012

Christmas Eve spent with all the "Grands"!  And although there were many toys...even Brenden enjoyed the Barbie Doll-House.  Not nearly as I enjoyed watching their Dad build it though. At one point hearing him mutter

"I could build them a real house...from the ground up...easier than assembling this..."


Remembering his first tiny bike with training of those miniature bikes. And the clerk asking me before Christmas

"Are you sure you don't want that assembled?"

For those new parents out there...the correct answer to this question is

                                      "YES, PLEASE!"

But no...I thought it would be an adventure. It was an adventure...actually...kind of like a trip down the Nile...on a wooden raft....with no paddles or mosquito  netting...

But James did a great job and with the addition of three pizzas and a crockpot of hot chocolate with whipped cream and sprinkles on the side...and homemade Snickerdoodles and Sugar cookies and Chris playing guitar we had a wonderful holiday!

 And by the end of the evening Tucker and I were both frazzled :)

                                           "Christmas Eve Cat-Napping"

Did discover the most amazing thing this morning though...having poured the leftovers of the crockpot hot chocolate into a glass container to refrigerate. Swiss Miss Hot Cocoa Mix...refrigerated overnight...tastes just like Yoo-Hoo Soda when it is chilled!

Who knew?

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Memories: Remembering a Final Cup

                               My Favorite Shot of Us: Photocredit Lennon

It is odd.

      After two years as a widow...Bill's death the morning of December 24th...but the day I replay...the day that sticks in my mind is today. The 23rd. Our last day together.

Just one of those really unremarkable, ordinary days in life.

Coffee together and the morning news. More coffee and dissecting the morning news. Another cup and lamenting the fact they
 "Never listen to they?"

The day to day chat...we had celebrated an early Christmas with the kids and grands only two days before. He was proud of our youngest's skills on the guitar...and our eldest...who was then teaching his oldest (his stepson) to play...continung the musical circle. Our middle had spent the better part of the year with us and was returning to Tampa to resume college. Our youngest grandson had been a delight :)  We mused at how amazing grand-parenting was...and how lucky we both were to have experienced it together.

                                                  Bill with Brenden
                                                     Bill with Kaylee

He was working on his (then) unreleased CD...tweaking the mix. I was working on the Cover-Art. We knew that the end was close. We had seen the "blast" filled slides in the lab just weeks before. Watched as the leukemia made him weaker and weaker. Knew that the last transfusion would be his last. was just an utterly ordinary day.

I fixed homemade biscuits and gravy that night. It was one of his favorites. We watched a Nicholas Cage film together. Wrapped in a blanket.

We turned in fairly early. Snuggled. He remarked how hard he was trying to hold on until January. And how very tired he was. He was becoming more and more symptomatic and remarked

"It's BAD isn't it?"

And I couldn't respond. Didn't need to. Just held him close in my arms and cried. Said how sorry I was that somehow I couldn't (as a nurse) "fix it". It is a terrible and real moment when you finally realize not everything can be "fixed".

And our last "I love yous" and our last kisses.

Especially our last kiss. 

(...though at the time neither of us knew...)

and snugged together sleeping "spoons" like we had for over 18 years...he slipped away at a little past 5 AM.
His final day he was happy. Had a good day. Enjoyed an afternoon doing what he loved Enjoyed one of his favorite homemade meals. Enjoyed one of his favorite actors/films. Reflected happily on the early Christmas celebration and our 18th Anniversary "getaway" to Turkey Run only a week before. 

Above all...he knew that last night how very very much he was loved. 
He felt loved. 
Isn't that all any of us could ever ask?

Today I am cleaning and baking. Tomorrow I will be surrounded once again by the kids and "grands". Our eldest grandson (technically our step-grandson) torn away this year by the divorce. Inside I am almost glad that Bill missed that painful slice of life. But the girls are so big now...and the baby certainly isn't a baby anymore...and the girls' little sister (Jasmine) is joining us...and has taken to calling me Grandma Rose like everyone else...

And like Frost said about life:
                                          It Goes On. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

A Fiscal Cup

So...that's it then?

As the President heads for Christmas in Hawaii and John Boehner tries to make sense of it all...licking wounds inflicted by his own party and learning the toughest lesson of all. Be careful John...they eat their own when there is blood in the water.

And the Nihilists amidst us are saying "Strap in and let's drive this sucker off the cliff. See what happens."

Admittedly, no economist...this is what I see if we boldly go over the edge.

1. An across the board increase in everyone's taxes. Yeah, rich guys...that means you, too.  15% for lower incomes 39% for the highest. Pre-Bush Era taxes.

2. A reduction (and in some instances an elimination) of tax credits.  Earned income, child exemption, et al.  (No more $1000 deduction for little Caitlin or Cory)

and a bunch of other fiscal stuff. 

But the real danger in plummeting over the edge isn't the fall.  
It is the landing.

Prepare to see the "now nervous" stock markets go full-tilt Gonzo...creating a domino effect nationally and then globally. IRA's and (especially) 401K's and with the gridlock in Congress when the debt ceiling issue re-emerges next year...I probably don't need to tell you how badly THAT is going to go. The Stock Market comes crashing down. Those who didn't want  to pay 1%-2% more in taxes (top earners) will watch the loss of much much more.  And they will have plunged us right back into a deep recession (possibly depression). The USD (already weakening abroad) will crumble. Companies will fold...their CEO's bailing early and floating gently to the Earth on Golden Parachutes paid for by their employees who will be unemployed and standing below them to cushion their landing...Unemployment will rival The Great Depression.  And so much more...and we will have (collectively) done it to ourselves.

 Oh sure...there will be those who blame Obama...and there will be those who blame Pelosi and Reid...and there will be those who blame the GOP or the Tea Party..but in the isn't going to matter much. The finger-pointing and gridlock and constant bickering amongst ourselves will have brought about the downfall of America.

Congratulations. Pogo was a visonary.

Peace on Earth would be nice this holiday season...but I would settle for Cooperation in Congress.

A Christmas Cup

Hot cocoa with sprinkles, and a slice of vanilla bean cheesecake topped with dark chocolate covered cherries.

Kara's "Winter Cabin" wood-wick candle crackling and filling the air with cinnamony sweetness.

Tiny white lights on the tree and a fresh blanket of snow outside.

The Den cozy and warm.

It's beginning to look (taste and smell) a lot like Christmas!

Life is good.

After all this time, I have come to realize that Christmas isn't so much about the gifts we get...but about the gifts we already have. The gift of family and friends. Of laughter and love. Peace and Understanding.

Christmas is about Gratitude.

Not for " all the stuff",
                          but for everything we already have.

Wishing Everyone a Merry Christmas :)

Thursday, December 20, 2012


                                      illudium Q-36 explosive space modulator is

All that is left is the Earth-Shattering Kaboom.

So tomorrow is it. The Apocalypse. End Times. As REM sings...It's the end of the World as we know it... Invited to a huge online EOTW's kind of come as you No parking problems and festival seating. Tickets? No problem.

Had a buddy from Tasmania write this morning that everything was "STILL HERE" as it was already well into 12/21/2012 there...and he was "going to bed"- but then another Australian friend pointed out that the Mayans did live in South there is STILL time.

Thanks Gail, for that bit of reassurance. 

Enjoying the downtime before the holiday. Took a cat-nap with an actual CAT this afternoon. Tucker and I. Him purring like mad. Listening to the rain hit the window. Nothing is more relaxing. 

Baking tonight. 

Delivering the rest of my brownies and cookies and Christmas wishes to my friends/neighbors here, tomorrow.

Missing the Baked Dish Gathering/Sharing we always enjoyed at the Rose Cottage... ~sigh~ and especially Ken's Deer Chili. Talked to Sandy quite a while this afternoon and she is planning a trek this way after the holidays. We shall plunder the Amish, again. Love Peachy's with all the homemade butters and cheeses and breads :) 

And they are promising snow for tonight!  I'm ready :)

Let it snow...let it snow...let it snow...

Catch ya tomorrow...

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

A Relaxing Afternoon Cup

Settling in for a relaxing afternoon cup!

Big Deep Breath.

The outburst of yesterday, past. Thankfully. Proving once again I'm Zen, but also very human. It's a process.

A close friend reminding me this morning that the only way to overcome the hate and struggle is with Love and Light.

This is absolutely true.

And finally, perhaps, the Nation's conversation has turned to the death and destruction that civilians with assault weapons can wreak, in addition to a failing/underfunded mental health system.

If the deaths of these children can spark the beginning of the end of the insanity...they will not have died in vain.

The cards are all mailed. The Presents posted or wrapped. The cookie dough made and wrapped, to be cut and baked on Christmas Eve.  This is the week to relax. Enjoy the season. Read (and work on my new manuscript a bit.)  To Breathe.

The last minute chaos and crush of the crowds a thing of the past. It took over 50 years to devise a

Christmas in 10 days. The Return to Organization. 

               (...actually working this concept up into an article...)

                                                will share

Admittedly, this has only existed in my life in the past few years. I could tell you horror stories about hours spent in malls and mall parking lots. Of watching people fist-fight over parking spaces. Of last minute shopping on Christmas Eve. And the holiday drone in the background of a thousand voices muttering

"I just want the holidays to be over.

And it has gotten so much of a greed-fest and so stressful...they really really mean it. 

So amidst the wrappers and ribbons...the boxes and bags...remember the important things. The things money can't buy.  Family. Health. Love. Gratitude. Joy. Wonder. Beauty. Peace.

Everything that 
                           makes life worth living!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Cafe au lait...Gingerbread Cookies and A Plan

                                                    Bill and I (1992)

Yesterday would have been our 20th Anniversary.  We had such plans for this one. The boys grown and gone. We were going to renew our vows in Bora Bora...make love in a thatched hut over the turquoise the sun rise and set together...explore the French Polynesia...sip umbrella drinks.

Well, in August 2010...we renewed our vows. Together with our sons at home. It was both wonderful and bittersweet. Four months later Bill died of leukemia. Bora Bora seemed a lot less important. 


Yesterday I decided to modify our plan. To explore Bora Bora (virtually) myself. See all those things we had talked about seeing. Fix a Polynesian meal. Peruse The Black Pearl Farm. Sink into a bubble bath with an umbrella drink and a bit of chocolate. Lightly spray the sheets with Polo (his scent) perhaps to meet in my dreams.

                 (...want to make the gods laugh...tell them your plans...)

The morning silence disrupted yesterday by a tearful phone call from my oldest granddaughter's Mother. The same granddaughter that was always "...Grandpa's Girl..." Both she and her mother locked in a terrible row. Hearing the 7 year old proclaim loudly in the background

               "If you won't TAKE me to Grandma Rose's...then I'll WALK..." 

Did I mention that I live all the way across town?
They both needed the break.

And so...that is how I ended up spending this "heartdate". Playing with Playdoh...leaving the Polynesian ingredients for this afternoon in favor of "P'sketti, Grandma"...messily mixing up a batch of gingerbeard cookies

 (...cutting them with the same silver stars and Christmas trees and Gingerbread men cutters that I grew up with as a child and cut gingerbread cookies with her Daddy when he was little...)

Playing board games...chattering...and her standing on tippy-toes "helping" with dishes.  In the early evening by the glow of the Christmas tree we sat on the sofa...her curled with her "woobie"...a raggedy-soft blanket she has had since forever and read books. Books that I used to read to her Daddy when he was this age. And finally...her drifting off. to sleep...wrapped in the blanket stretched across my lap.

And somewhere inside I could feel Bill's smile at this turn of events. 

                       Where despite everything...the day turned out absolutely perfect.

Late that night I did "explore" Bora Bora...let me tell is significantly less expensive on-line. Bora Bora having two modes. Expensive and extravagantly expensive. It is also breathtakingly beautiful. No multi-hour flights...takeoffs and landings or crowds, though. Discovered Hiano Pia ( the local beer) which Bill would have immediately tried. Bought a sample of Volcanic Chocolate Banana ( be delivered this week...) which is a chocolate, banana and walnut energy bar specific to Bora Bora...And picked up a small souvenir from The Tahitian Black Pearl Farm...a single black pearl and silver pendant...also to be delivered.

The Pearl will outlast me.
 I will pass it on to "Grandpa's Girl".

Proving, once again, how circular life really is.

                                          The Beginning of A New Day

Polynesian Roast Pork with Pineapple and Peppers

1 1/2 pound pork roast (oven roasted and cut into bite sized chunks)

2 cups steamed (prepared) rice.

1 regular can pineapple chunks.

1/4 cup brown sugar.

1 cup Duck Sauce (sweet and sour)

1 Green Bell Pepper cut into cubes.

5 Marichino cherries halved

(can add thin sliced onions if desired)

Arrange rice in baking dish. Top with Roast chunks...pineapple...peppers and brown sugar...arrange cherries on top and cover with Duck Sauce. Cover dish with aluminum for and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

Serve with sweet rolls (like King's Hawaiian rolls) and fresh fruit.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

A Cup of Cocoa and a Candy Cane

Christmas Sax (CD) -(X)

Scented candles of Scotch Pine and Winter Cabin burning- (X)

Tiny White Lights twinkling on the Tree- (X)

Cards Mailed- (X)

Rolls of brightly colored gift-wrap...tape...ribbon...scissors...tags...-(X)

A Mug of Hot Cocoa stirred with a Candy Cane- (X)

Let the wrapping begin!!!

Tucker curled beneath the piano in "his corner" sleeping off the after-effects of shared KFC. 

"Spoiled, moi?"

With the shopping nearly done for The Grands and profusely thanking Fed Ex for the delivery of the girls Barbie Townhouse (with ELEVATOR??? RU kidding me?)  Not your grandmother's doll-house, that's for sure. And dolls and all that is gloriously pink! The lift lifts...the doorbell rings...the toilet makes a flushing sound and there are lights. Even unassembled it it ginormous.

Thankfully, James can assemble anything!

And The Fisher-Price World rises again, with Brenden. When the boys were young they had an entire civilization built up of the Fisher-Price cars/trains/airplanes/little people/houses and buildings. It would fill my entire living room.

 A steady stream of family and company and sometimes family as company during the past few weeks. And Christmas love and hugs to Jim...well...because you-know-why :) And Pam, who already surprised me with the new Batman DVD...and a terribly tasteless're right...I am less apt to be shot in the comfort of my own home...and a huge box of one of my favorite chocolates...and some great classic tunes :) and the promise of a trip up in January!

 And Idgy and I, who have decided to give ourselves an end of the year gift-of-self by celebrating NYE and Day together!!!! 

I'm seeing Southern and (homemade) Coke Blak and much Confetti at Midnight! Real hugs and up-all-night chat and laughter and yes, crepes for breakfast...with raspberries!

Great way to start the New Year!

Finished Suzanne Collins: The Mockingjay...the third in the Hunger Games series. Nicely done. The Capital having burned District 12 to the ground and the remaining survivors fleeing to District 13 and The Uprising continues with Katniss as The Mockingjay. Darker...grittier than the first two books and a wonderful twist ending. Looking forward to seeing "Catching Fire" when it is released next year! Marketed for YA audience but entertaining and well-written for an older audience. Recommended.

Another random shooting...this time in an Oregon Mall...and a Dad in Texas carving a pentacle on his young son's back with a box knife on 12/12/12. Does it ever make you want to scream

"What the HELL is wrong with you people???"

If the answer is: EVERYDAY.  
Know that you are not alone.
Seriously WTF?

 I know that Peace on Earth and Goodwill Towards Men might be a tad overboard on the whole Santa List...but certainly don't shoot people around you or carve up your kid should be a no-brainer.

Anyway...back to wrapping. Sending love and light to everyone...with a reminder this week:

                 BE The Light and Love for Others!


Friday, December 7, 2012

A Pre-Holiday Cup

A week filled with children, grandchildren, Christmas crafts/candles and baking...and Holiday Cheer!

Exhausted...but smiling :)

The Holiday Sale went over well. Thanks Tess for inviting Kara and I to join you this year!  Thanking Lennon for helping me with the baking and carrying and Chris for providing live music on Saturday! Kara...the new Winter Cabin woodwick is crackling behind me as I type...and it may be my new favorite!

                                        My boys!  23, 24 and 25 now.

                                            Lennon up from College

                                                       Santa Dad!

                                              Kaylee and Hannah

And it is shaping up to be a "Pink Christmas" with the girls (and my honorary "granddaughter" Jasmine) this year requesting EVERYTHING BARBIE... ~laughing~

Brenden is definitely a car-guy like Dad (...and Grandma) so he is just happy if it has wheels.

"No girls...I am not getting him the Pink Barbie Convertible"

                                  Lennon and Chris... both doing what they do best!

Lennon with mad computer skills and soon to start "Penetration" courses as part of his Sys/OP Sys/Analyst.

Chris with his latest love...a "butterscotch blond" electric perfect for wailing the blues.

So nice to have them all together again for a while :)

And always over too soon.

Company flying in on Sunday...taking a breather till then.  Taking the afternoon to restock the pantry and clean house...then soak in a deep bubble bath...maybe with a glass of wine...and chocolate, of course. 

The book of the week: The Best American Short Stories 2012.   Collection by Tom Perotta. Contains twenty of the best of the genre. My personal favorite The Miracle Polish by Steve Millhauser. Also including the works of Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro, Julie Otsuka and many others. A great book for the hectic paced holidays that can be enjoyed bit by bit! 

Mailing the last of the cards tomorrow and finishing the Christmas shopping early next week...and relaxing for the rest of December!

A nice way to ring in the New Year!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

An Evening Cup

Settling in for the evening with a nice cup of Spiced Tea.

The house still smells like simmering turkey soup and fresh baked bread...and the cat is curled beneath the piano snoring. The after effect of way too many turkey scraps and more than his fair share of whipped cream. And yes, he really is that spoiled :)

The outside Fall decor down...and planning to have the halls "Decked" before Lennon's arrival!

Oh...and here is that Homemade Turkey Vegetable Soup Recipe

In a large stockpot placed leftover turkey carcass...including wings.
Break carcass into smaller pieces if necessary.
Add enough water to cover bones completely and simmer for several hours.

Retain liquid (stock) and small bits of meat.
Discard the rest.

Add to the stock green beans, cut celery, cut carrots, cubed green bell peppers, and onion      (cabbage or corn if desired)

Season with coarse ground black pepper, sea salt, dried leaf sage,three bay leaves.

Simmer for an additional 30 minutes or until all vegetables are tender.

Remove Bay Leaves before serving.

Best hot with thick chunk of fresh bread and real butter.
Add a side salad and you've got a meal.

For a heartier version add noodles.

The book of the week: Black Dahlia/White Rose.  A very dark collection of short stories by Joyce Carol Oates. Stephen King has absolutely nothing on the first story in THIS collection. A fictional account of the very real Black Dahlia murder. And (since the late 40's were decidedly before my time) after finishing the short story I googled the actual murder...@@...Remember the people who always told you that you can NEVER unsee something on the Internet. Well. It's true. Believe them. Don't EVER search me on this one!

 Eighteen dark tales expertly written in Oates definitive style. If you are a JCO fan you will love this! Excellent read.

Picked up the last book in the Hunger Games series Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins for next week...and no...not bothering to see the latest Twilight Adventure...face it girls, Edward is no LeStat.
 Sparkling or not.

Best left for teenagers.

A Post-Holiday Cup

Thanksgiving spanning two days this week...enjoying time with the kids and "grands" and friends :)  It was wonderful!

Sipping hot coffee and a piece of leftover pumpkin pie, both dolloped with whipped cream. Soon to strip the Turkey carcass and simmer it with veggies for homemade Turkey Vegetable Soup and bake a round of homemade bread for later.

Opted out of Black Friday, yesterday.

Only in America could people celebrate the birth of their "Prince of Peace" by Rabid Consumerism and Unbridled Rage. A day after professing their Gratitude for everything they already have (and stuffing themselves to the point of uncomfortable) spent buying more useless crap that nobody needs.       

                                          There...I've said it.

If it all sounds a bit haven't read this morning's head-lines yet...peppered with stories of several fist fights over the newest Black-Ops Game...A woman trampled as she attempted to shove her way into a morning sale...a stabbing over a doll and some guy pulling a gun over a disputed parking space.

It's ridiculous.

And sad.

One of the most prosperous Nations on the planet...many of whose people have lost the ability to distinguish between a want and a need.

And no matter how much you may WANT a ginormous flat-screened TV. It will never be a NEED.  M'kay?

Moving on.

 Fall slipping away quickly, now. Replaced by stiff winds...cold air...and possibly snow by sunset. Clearing away the trappings and pulling out the old glass...the tangled lights...the tinsel. Making The List and writing the Holiday cards. And no...referring to them in that manner is not a nod to political correctness or some "War on Christmas" is because some of my friends celebrate Christmas...some celebrate Hanukkah...some celebrate Kwanzaa...some The Solstice and some don't celebrate at all...but I still send a year end "Thinking of You" note.

It isn't PC~ it is realizing that (as a group) we really aren't homogenized. We are decidedly different. And that is okay. I wouldn't any more send a Jewish friend a Christmas Card than I would send a Christian friend a Hanukkah card or gift. And yes...if I really am not sure...Happy Holidays covers everything until January 2nd.

Already have the "granddaughters" Christmas Wishes...and it is shaping up to be a Barbie-Doll Pink Christmas, it appears.


                                              Grandma-Art for the fridge!

A shaky cease-fire between the Israelis and Palestinians today...after rockets have exchanged for the past week. 

And here in The States...our own war within as a small segment of GOP...Red States and Tea-Partiers threatening to secede from the Union post-election. Among these...Texas. I am sure it could has certainly happened in the past...but before you pack up your toys and might consider this:

Once you are also walking away from Social Security, Medicare, and any saftey net the US has to offer. (And no...the $$$ you paid into these programs isn't refundable...)

Once you leave don't look for Federal funds for your police/firemen/highways/parks/libraries/or any of the other things the lot of you take for granted on a daily basis. This isn't "I hate you...will you drive me to the Mall?"
This is "You want to be on your own...fine." 
 Good luck with that.

Once you leave remember you are no longer under the protection of the US the case of Texas this means that your newly secede "Country" would soon be just a part of Mexico again. Yes...this is one time you might really want to remember the will save a ridiculous amount on that border fencing project, though. And all those illegals will soon be your legal neighbors. Here is hoping that they choose to forgive and forget the vitriol you've spewed for years.

Natural Disasters?  Also not our problem anymore. You will have to figure it out on your own. Face it...even Gov. "Good-Hair" Perry stood like Oliver Twist for Federal Funding after the Texas fires.

and the list goes on and on. is a Free Country...and if losing an election makes staying in America absolutely untenable in your eyes...there is always an open door.  And for everyone who threatened to move to wouldn't much like it there...they have had legal abortion/gay marriage and Universal Healthcare for years. to plunder the remains of the turkey...

Friday, November 16, 2012

Art...Affairs...and Twinkies (oh my)


Enjoying an evening cup and reflecting on the week.

Who would have thought the headlines of the Obama crowd (both pro and anti) and the recent year-long affair of one of the Top General's-CIA in the United States or the e-mail wistfulness of another four star general in the FBI...could be casually tossed aside this morning by the demise of a well known snack cake?

Hostess who has been flirting with bankruptcy for some time now is announcing the closure of its bakeries...and layoff of 18,000 workers...and the end of Twinkies as we know them. Already people have begun posting their favorite twink-oid recipes and admittedly it seems premature since recreational pot is now legal in two more States. But there you have it. Twinkies, Ho-Ho's, Hostess Cupcakes, Ding-Dongs...and several other American Icons consisting chiefly of sugar and grease wrapped in cellophane...extinct.

And like the GOP who are still standing in ragged clumps around the water-cooler trying to figure out what the hell happened on Election Day...many are voicing

"After 75 years...HOW could they STOP making Twinkies?"

Here is my theory...and that Little Debbie kid should take note as well...

Just like ~the times, they are a changin'~ attitude in politics. Our eating habits have morphed, as well. We are healthier, more informed consumers. No longer the 60's with a Twinkie in your lunch-box. A double pack containing all of the calories you would typically consume in a large meal. And no nutritional value.

Haven't had a Hostess or Little Debbie snack since my best (and sometimes synchronized calorie counting) friend dubbed them:


A re-name that will make you sit the package back on the shelf every time. 

So...a tough week for Generals, too, it seems. And the women who love them...or tolerate them. General Petraeus...a real life action hero...apparently the only man on the planet EVER to engage in a long term affair outside marriage. And not to be bested by the CIA...the FBI offered up another four-star General for his wistful and possibly inappropriate e-mails. (...their motto: hey we could have an affair too...if we wanted to...if she would let us...)

Get a grip, people.

It would be easy to take a broad swipe at Holly...who does in fact look a bit like Karl Rove cross-dressing ( complete with a bad wig).

Or conjure up images of that Linda Tripp woman from days of Clinton...I told ya to hang onto that blue dress, honey. When realizing that this mess was blown up after the affair was over by a woman who was not only NOT involved...but so distraught by e-mails she apparently forgot there was a delete/send to trash on her e-mail account.

And perhaps the largest problem is that we tend to forget that people are human. Like it or not...these things happen. and it isn't the end of the world, unless we make it the end of our world.  Kudos to Petraeus for not trying to lie his way out of the affair. For owning his part of the mess. In the long run it will probably save his marriage. Unlike John Edwards who denied it (and his child) until it became impossible to do so.

(...and back to omg...there aren't going to be anymore Twinkies...EVER...)

in a Nation with an ADHD attention span.

Which brings us to Art. Finished the Acrylic Abstract this weekend. Influenced by Kandinsky and Pollack  (Kanned Pollack?) Hungarian fishy treat?


                                                     "Leftover Tubes"

With the actual tubes/caps and brush incorporated into the piece. 

The use of only the primary colors to create the Cityscape feel of verticals and the layering. Representing conformity and oppression. Conversely, the freedom from the urban tedium that the Pollack like swirls and drips at the top one a sense of art making one free. As well, the tools of the trade rising above the structured existence.  Kunst Macht Sie Frei!

 The truth of the matter much more banal, I'm afraid. 

  The primary colors (along with white and black) were the only tubes left from this year's experiment in Canvas and Acrylic.  The verticals giving me much more appreciating for Kandinsky's technique and the blending entirely more difficult that one would imagine. The drips and swirls...pure joy. Jackson must have been the happiest artist in his day. Truly requiring absolutely no talent. And the placement of the tubes and paintbrush...not as random as it would appear- as my Tucker-Cat (perhaps channeling the spirit of Henri) attempted to critique the piece while it was still quite wet and each tube (and the brush) hides his kitty "review" of my damp piece.


 C'est la vie.

No stranger than what actually happened in the Art World this week as a signed

Salvador Dali print was discovered in a bin at Goodwill!!! @@ And all I ever find there are Velvet Elvi.  ~sigh~

Settling in for a relaxing weekend with the latest Joyce Carol Oates novel! 

                             ( I want a Twinkie...)


Tuesday, November 13, 2012

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like...


Everywhere you go. 

Sipping French Vanilla coffee and catching up with e-mail.

And this year promises to be "The Year of The Kindle" for my bunch as well. For Lennon and Angie's Birthdays and accessories/e-books for Christmas...and have it on good authority that Santa is slipping one in my stocking (via Chris) as well preloaded with one of my favorite classics:

 Steinbeck's: The Grapes of Wrath.

Of course, it will never replace books, for me. Or libraries with their heavy oak tables and leaded glass windows...and contemplative silence. It is no competition for my favorite used book store with rows and rows and the smell of leather and foxed paper and a ceramic mug of coffee...dreaming away an afternoon.  And it will certainly not replace my small personal library at home...the Vonneguts...The Hunter S. Thompsons...The Prisigs...The Moores...


It will allow me to slip a virtual library in my purse to read- anywhere. It will be wonderful for more heavy books in the ruck-sack! So here I go...slipping further and further into the 21st Century.

 And I am quite looking forward to it!

Completed the Acrylic Abstract last night. A subtle blend of Kandinsky and Jackson Pollack...vindicating Andy Warhol. A Kanned-Pollack. Which sounds a lot like a Hungarian Treat or something you might feed a penguin. Waiting for it to dry.  It has been a lot of fun.

This morning's breakfast brought to you by Pintrest...the recipe of the week! Saw it...had all the ingredients on hand...tried it...amazed!

Not your parent's Potato Pancakes!  

Amazing Potato Pancakes

These are a meal in themselves...

Mix 2 cups leftover mashed potatoes...and yes...instant is fine...with 2 eggs...1 tablespoon butter, 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese, 1/4 cup finely chopped green bell pepper, 1 tablespoon sour cream, 1 teaspoon dried minced onion, 3 slices crumbled bacon (pre-cooked) and a dash of salt and coarse ground pepper. and shape into patties.

Butter a non-stick skillet and fry until lightly brown turning once.

( make them even extra amazing drizzle with cheddar cheese sauce and sprinkle top with bacon crumbles to serve...can also dollop with sour cream and chives... )

Great with fresh fruit, scrambled eggs and juice.



Monday, November 12, 2012

The First Snowfall

Woke to the geese honking their way across a lead-coloured sky...followed shortly by a burst of fluffy snow. The roof-tops, yard and firs are now frosted in white and I'm enjoying a mug of hot cocoa with Tucker-cat curled asleep on the sofa.

I always look forward to the first real "snow" of the year. 

Indiana is so unpredictable. Yesterday I was in a tee-shirt and jeans tidying the flowerbeds. Buttoning down. And it was 70 degrees. Today it is in the 20's and snow is blanketing the spent mums...the fall decorations and pumpkins...the curled autumn leaves tucked over the sleeping bulbs.

The cold and snow changing the day plans as well. Bringing on that primal nesting feeling. Tidying the house...baking some homemade bread...making a stockpot of soup. Work on some writing/editing or photography. Maybe finish out that Acrylic Abstract: "Leftover Tubes" which has taken on a (hilarious) life of its own. Based on a quote from Andy Warhol:

and influenced heavily by Kandinsky's: Mme. Kupka Among Verticals

and Pollack's: Number 28

ok...just kidding...folks...actually that is Pollack's Number 34.

This is Number 28.

(...yes...of course you could tell immediately...what a faux pas...)

Perhaps Jackson also ran out of yellow and red enamel.

 "Leftover Tubes" will be a multi-medium acrylic abstract piece, composite of the above-mentioned three. Along with a tongue-in-cheek essay written to accompany it.

Can't wait to share it!

The end of my Experiments in Acrylics of 2012...because ma cherie...we have run out of paint, of course.

 Thank Heavens!

PostScript: The sun came out...quickly melting our flash flurry...only patchy remains in the shaded areas. Still, it was nice to see a glimpse of winter-to-come.

I'm ready :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Last Burst Of Warmth

                          Photocredit: "Idgy"  Our Sunflowers :)

Happy Friday!

Expecting the last burst of autumnal 'warm up" this weekend. A couple extra days to finish those last minute outdoor projects/buttoning down before the cold settles in to stay.  Going to heel in my spent Mums for rejuvenation next year. Clear out the remainer of spent foliage and snug in a few more Spring bulbs. Found some blue Muscari that are going to be perfect scattered around the rocks outside the "Frog Spa" when it reopens next year.

Finished Jo Nesbo's latest novel Phantom.  Nesbo being a huge find this year, for me. Excellent crime detective drama. Fully engaging. Writer of The Snowman and The Leopard...once again we follow his detective Harry throughout Oslo this time through the Norwegian drug trade and political scandals. A hard-to-put-down book.  An enthusiastically recommended read.

Getting my ducks in a row for Lennon's 24th birthday soon...the upcoming Thanksgiving and an early Christmas with all of the boys before he has to return to Tampa.  For everyone who is losing their minds because Christmas is 46 days away...I feel your is roughly 21 days away! Got it under control. No worries.

 For the first time EVER going to decorate for Christmas before Deceember 1st.

Reminiscent of Pollack's Number 28...creativity continues with a blank canvas and the leftover acrylics (from this year's acrylic experimentation) and my first ever abstract attempt.  Photos soon. I am calling it "Leftover Tubes"  


  Inspired by Idgy!

And have a huge slab of damp red clay...can't wait to see what is hiding inside!

Have a wonderful and creative weekend!

love (and lots of coffee)