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Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Anniversary

Today is my anniversary. It was three years ago that I started blogging. Together, Crash, Burn and I have written 807 entries. They have covered many topics from cooking, weather, politics, memories, etc.

I hope you've enjoyed reading them as much as I've enjoyed writing them. I also hope you will look forward to reading them for as long as I keep sharing my interests, observations and complaints about life and the world around us.

Since tomorrow is the start of a new year of blogging for me, Crash, Burn and I want to wish all of you a very Happy New Year.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Crash's Temptations

Every morning Crash and Burn get some Temptations. Crash usually nags me until I give her some, but I always make her wait until I start my coffee. I drop two handfuls on the floor, one for each of them. Sometimes, Burnie can't be bothered so Crash gets his share.

This morning I gave them some Temptations designed to help their teeth and gums. Obviously, Crash didn't like them and she gave me this look.

She then went over to Burnie's share and gave me a pathetic look.

She just sat there staring at them, probably hoping they would turn into something she liked.


I left them there even though she didn't like either one of them. I guess hunger got the best of her and she decided she had no choice and wouldn't get anything else.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Cooking

I've always enjoyed cooking and spent a lot of time looking for interesting recipes and menus and amassed an extensive cookbook collection. Somehow in spite of my collection, until about the last 10 years I've been a very unimaginative cook. I've always done things the way my mother did, bought the same cut of meat, etc.

Then, I started attending events at Cooking by the Book and met several chef/cookbook authors. I was struck by their innovation and have slowly started to get away from recipes and just use my imagination.

About 20 years ago I had tried to make a goose but I received so many objections that I also made the usual roast beef, cut from the top sirloin. A few years ago when I wanted something different for Christmas dinner, I bought a rib roast and followed the recipe exactly (I couldn't make too radical a change). It was delicious. That became our traditional Christmas dinner.

This year it was time for a change. I bought a piece of beef tenderloin or filet mignon. Then I got home and realized that the only way I knew to cook filet mignon was to make steaks and cook them in oil and butter but that didn't seem so festive. I checked out the Food Network and found a recipe by Alton Brown. It was delicious, so tender. I'll never go back to top sirloin.

I'm slowly getting away from my old boring ways. At a time when most of my friends have given up cooking and fussing over their own meals, I'm getting more and more interested in cooking. After all, I'm worth the effort it takes to make a good meal for myself.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Weather

I find it hard to believe that only last week I was wondering when my driveway would be plowed. Tonight, most of the snow is gone. It has been raining for about 24 hours washing all the snow away.

At least the snow lasted til Christmas. Everything looked so nice, and the snow was piled so high. Now, it's all gone.

My only consolation is that it is early in the season, there's still a chance for more snow, particularly in February. My husband always took vacation for one week in February since that month seemed to have more large storms that any other month. One can only hope.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Modern Communications

I think I'm entering the 21st Century. This week my son showed me how to set up a Twitter account. After I chose my name (@calicocrash), it was time to choose who I would like to follow.

He expected that I would choose Fox News, Martha Stewart and Bob Vila. He did not expect me to choose Nathan Fillion. He was shocked and asked why I picked him. Little did I know that he has a cult following from TV (Firefly) and movies (Serenity). I didn't know he had done SciFi, I know him from his early career on my favorite (and only) soap One Life to Live and most recently as Castle. This one of my favorite series.

In addition to all the blogs that I follow, I can now get up to the minute news and other information. And I can tweet my friends.

Now I can be found on Facebook, Twitter and my blog. I just love my computer. Now what new venture can I try next.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

There's no prediction of snow here. We won't have a white Christmas with freshly fallen snow, but there's enough left over from last Saturday to qualify as a white Christmas.


The roads are all clear so driving is not a problem.

It still looks nice, except for a few spots where the plows have also plowed up some dirt, or the passing cars have splashed the slush from the road.

With these pictures of the snow and my tree, I'd like to wish all of you a very Merry Christmas.

And a blessed one too.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

When Life Gives You Lemons...

Yesterday was supposed to be the day of my big family party. The snow cancelled that. There I was sitting around wondering what to do with my evening.

Then I remembered something. Years ago when my son was about 4 or 5 we had a little snow. I bundled the boys up and went out to shovel the sidewalk while they played in the 2 or 3" of snow. When it was time to go in, I said we would have a blizzard party. I made warm hot chocolate and we had some cookies. It was a fun afternoon.

The next week we had snow again. Of course, my son asked for another blizzard party. Everyone knows that when you do something once with a young child, it becomes a tradition and we had another blizzard party.

Late in the afternoon yesterday, I called a few friends and invited them to my house for a blizzard party. Why not, the house was company ready and I had the food. Instead of warm hot chocolate and cookies, we had an adult beverage and lasagna. We have a very good time and commented from time to time that the plows were very busy clearing the street. We even commented on how nice the snow looked.

Finally someone decided it was time to go home. We were all surprised (although I don't know why) to see how high the snow was. The cars were in my driveway and at first there was no problem getting out. Then it happened, one of the couples got stuck in the snow. They tried everything; rocking the car, putting rugs on the snow to provide traction and finally putting some kitty litter around the wheels. That finally did the trick. Then it was time to work on the other car. They got stuck too and tried the same routine. The kitty litter worked again.

I felt very guilty about their getting stuck, it was the only downside of the evening. I think I'll have a blizzard party whenever we have snow, although I don't know if any of my friends will come back.

This is how it looked early in the day yesterday.


This is what it looked like today.






My driveway still hasn't been plowed, but I can take a walk if I so desire since my walkway has been shoveled. I've heard that the major roads in the area are clear so I'll be able to meet my son who has been staying with friends.

Hopefully, it won't warm up too much this week and the snow will still be around for Christmas.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow

I've often heard the expression, "Be careful what you wish for" and haven't paid much attention to it. From now on, I think I will.

Let me start by saying, I love snow. There's something so peaceful about it. Almost as much as I love snow, I love Christmas. And, there's nothing better than a White Christmas. I love all the preparations leading up to this holyday -the baking, shopping, cards, decorating, etc. Christmas is a time to reconnect with family and friends.

Today is supposed to be my annual family Christmas party. Because of a mix-up with crossed e-mails, my son made his reservations to come home today, so, because of the party I couldn't meet his plane and he will be missing the party.

If you've heard any of the news today, you know that there is a lot of snow coming down, a lot of snow. I doubt if anyone will make it for the party; I've already had one cancellation. I also wonder if my son's flight will be able to land at JFK, or if he will be diverted to Chicago, Pittsburgh or any other inland city.

So, here I sit, all dressed up with a house full of food and no one (probably) coming. I may just call my friends and neighbors to come over for a "blizzard party".

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Travel Plans

Tonight I took time away from my Christmas projects to go to a meeting of our Travel Club. There were presentations on three trips planned for this year - Branson, MO, Italian Lakes and Eastern Mediterrean Cruise and a cruise on the Yangtze River.

I plan on taking the Italian Lakes and Eastern Mediterrean Cruise. We leave on my birthday, so I think that will be a wonderful birthday present. It sounds great. I've never been to Italy or Greece, in fact this will be only my second trip across the "pond". We will fly to Milan, visit Lake Como then travel to Venice where we will meet our ship.

I'm looking forward to taking this trip, with my usual trepidation about flying and the visit to the island of Santorini. The town center is accessible by donkey or cable car. Whichever will I take? I guess I'd better start my diet now so I don't hurt the donkey in case I chicken out on the cable car.

Well, now it's back to reality. Have to do supper dishes and pack the cookies I baked today.

Monday, December 14, 2009

City Fix II

Today I met a friend and we had another City Fix. We met at 10:30 AM and except for lunch we walked and stood until 4:30 PM when we each got our bus. I can't remember when my feet, legs and back hurt so much.

We wandered through some stores and I treated myself to another bottle of Chanel #5, along with the gel and body lotion. Then we made our annual visit to St. Patrick's Cathedral. It is such a beautiful church and it was quite crowded. They weren't all tourists either which is a good sign. When I was in my early 20's my best friend said she always wanted to be married in Our Lady's Chapel at St. Pat's. Last year we saw it and I can understand why Mary Ellen wanted to be married there. She wasn't though.

Before we went to lunch, we stopped at the tree in Rockefeller Center. It's a really beautiful tree, but the daylight doesn't do it justice. Then we went to lunch where we decided to treat ourselves to a glass of Prosecco, a sparkling wine. It was quite good, I'll have to buy a bottle for a special treat.

Then we walked from 50th St. to 34th St., stopping in Barnes & Noble (of course). Neither of us can resist a book store. I controlled myself because I was already carrying Patricia Cornwell's book, Scarpetta which is about 500 pages. But I did see some interesting books to put on my "To Be Read" list.

We wandered around Macy*s for a bit. That is one beautiful store and so large. I think it would take at least a full day to see everything there. Again I resisted buying anything, particularly the pots they had on sale.

Then it was off to the bus terminal, she to her bus and I to mine. I may be sore and tired, but it was worth every minute and sore muscles.

Maybe we'll go back during Restaurant Week which I think will be in February. I should be recovered by then.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Theater

Today five of my friends and I went to the Bucks County Playhouse to see It's a Wonderful Life. Fortunately, we were on a tour so driving wasn't necessary. That was such a relief since it rained all day and sometimes quite hard.

At one point, as we were about to cross over a bridge, we saw several flares in the road and a police car parked on the road. He made no move to stop this big bus from going on. A short distance ahead, other police officers were making drivers turn around on a simple two lane road. When it was our turn, everyone realized that our bus couldn't make that turn so we had to back up to where the police car was parked. We all wondered why he didn't stop us before we got that far, it would have saved a lot of trouble. We then made our u-turn on a slightly wider stretch of road. I held my breath as we made the turn, as all I could see was our bus going off the road and down to the water. Fortunately, we had a good driver.

When we finally got to the restaurant, we had a good lunch in an historic restaurant. After lunch we took a short drive to the theater. The show was quite good, they really stayed with the original story and added some songs.

We all had a good time in spite of the rain, which I was glad was not snow, even though I love it.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Time for a Party

The other day as I finished the tree and put all the empty boxes away I suddenly relaxed. Even though all my preparations for Christmas are not done, I know they will be done and everything will work out the way it usually does.

With this new feeling, I decided to plan a party for my friends here in the community. I decided on next week. Before I invited anyone, I went shopping for supplies. I picked up more than I wanted to, but I have room in the freezer so everything is OK.

When I got home, I checked my e-mail before I called anyone. There it was. A new e-mail giving a date and time of a meeting that I must attend. Of course, it's the same day and time I wanted to have my friends here.

My party will have to wait until after New Years. Maybe an open house on New Years Day. I'm still thinking about it. I seem to be the only one in our circle that has not had either a dinner or cocktail party and it's about time I did.

Maybe if I didn't join so many activities I'd have time for my friends, but if I weren't in so many activities I wouldn't have so many friends. 'Tis a puzzlement.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Hypocracy

Warning, I'm back on my soapbox.

There is a meeting in Copenhagen this week and next to explore ways of reducing carbon emissions caused by the burning of fossil fuels used in transportation and other activities. This meeting is being attended by all those who believe in man-made global warming. They want us to reduce our use of fossil fuels to save the planet.

There's one problem with this meeting. The majority of attendees arrived in their private jets and gas guzzling automobiles. There was no carpooling or even planepooling. I guess the need to reduce CO2 emissions only applies to the "little" people. These scientists and other believers in man-made global warming don't have to reduce their CO2 emissions or carbon footprints. They are being hypocritical. Their philosophy seems to be, "Don't do as I do, do as I say".

If they were truly concerned with the temperature of the earth and not their own interests, they would have made arrangements to use commercial airlines and drive cars that don't use a lot of fuel. If private jets and gas guzzling automobiles are good enough for the global warming crowd, they are good enough for me.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Adventures of Crash and Burn

I've written before that Crash and Burn don't get along too well. Actually, Burn would really like to get along with Crash, he likes to play. But, as soon as Burnie gets within two feet of Crash, she starts hissing and growling. Then, she usually backs herself into a corner which really isn't very bright.

Anyway, you can imagine my surprise when I came home this afternoon and found them both sleeping or resting on the same chair. I couldn't believe my eyes and had to take a picture or two.

I guess my enthusiasm at seeing them together woke them up, or maybe it was the camera, or even the surprise and praise for their being together. Suddenly Crash realized where she was and where Burnie was. She got prepared to fight.

I guess all good things must come to an end.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Socializing

Last week I was fretting about not having any time and being so socially involved. So, of course, the best thing I could have done for myself was to sit back and not get involved in anything new.

I tried, but there's a new group forming in my community called, "Gals on the Go". I went to my first meeting tonight. It looks like a good group, some want to have discussions, others want to attend cultural events. Next month, we are going to have a demonstration of Laughter Therapy. That should be very interesting.

Some of the members made other suggestions - movies in the clubhouse, the ballet at the Met, a play at a local theater, even some high school productions. I've been to one of the local high schools and the only thing I can say about that was, "Fabulous". But, I've been wondering why the people I knew when I was in my teens didn't have the poise and talent that the teenagers of today have. We might have been the last generation that went through an awkward stage.

Tomorrow, I'm going to a performance of the Jackson Chorus. They come to the community every year around this time. They usually perform a medley of Christmas Carols and celebration of winter songs. Before that, I'm going to a friend's house for pizza and wine. Sounds great.

This community is really beginning to be more social, or is it me. Have I become more friendly and open to new friendships.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Party Time

Tonight was the last of three parties this week. This was the Singles' Party. For the past three years we've gone out to a restaurant for our get together. This year, the committee decided to have it in our Clubhouse.

Initially, it didn't go over too well. The thought of possibly bringing a dish and then cleaning up after the party was just not appealing. So, the committee had the dinner catered and then, they hired a woman to help serve and clean up.

We had a lot of fun, there was a grab bag and a scavenger hunt suitable for the more mature woman. We had to find specific items in our own pocketbooks, and we could sit at the table and search in the bottomless pit that some of us call a pocketbook. I won a scratch-off lottery ticket because I always carry a red and white striped mint. Unfortunately, the ticket was a loser, no surprise there.

As the evening wore on, we all agreed that it was good we stayed in the community. It started to snow, fairly heavily. Fortunately, it wasn't too cold so it didn't freeze. Our first snow of the season.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Furniture is Back!

My furniture came back today. Naturally, Crash and Burn were locked up during delivery so that they wouldn't get in the way or escape. When it came time to set them free I was prepared with a water bottle in case they tried to scratch the couches.



Crash was very suspicious, wouldn't even look at the couch. Instead, she just kept sniffing the floor. She seemed to be afraid of the couch. Burnie, dear Burnie, on the other hand looked at the chair, sniffed a little and jumped into it and promptly took a nap.


He just made himself at home.

Later in the day he tried scratching the back of the chair, but I spritzed him.

Eventually, Crash decided the couch wouldn't hurt her so she climbed up next to me and took her nap.

I just hope they'll stay this good, but somehow I doubt it. After all, cats will be cats.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Be Careful What You Wish For

For as long as I can remember, I've always envied those whose social calendars were full during the Christmas Season. I've read magazine articles giving advice on planning your December in order to avoid stress and enjoy the busy times.

Until recently, I had a very small circle of friends and my family was small. There were never a lot of parties, usually a family visit and a party at church. Not much else. When I was working, there was the Christmas Party and maybe some cookies on Christmas and New Years Eve. We very rarely went out on New Years Eve.

This year is different. I've made a lot friends here in the community and I'm very busy. It seems that this week I've got something to do every day, including three parties. My tree sits in the corner of the room, still bare, my Christmas Cards are still in their boxes, but I do have my stamps. I want to have a party with my in-laws the weekend before Christmas and I just learned that my cousin will be in the area that Sunday and will try to come see me. I also want to have some sort of party with all my new friends.

I just started my Christmas shopping tonight, but haven't even started baking cookies yet. I also want to make some chocolates which I haven't done in many, many years.

Sometimes it feels overwhelming. If it seems like I'm complaining, I'm not really. I think that I'm so surprised that I have so much going on that I have to keep talking about it. Who would have thought that at my age (retired) I'd have such a social life. Although I always said I'm a late bloomer and will be the talk of the old age home.