Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Head Games

I love to play...and I'm not fond of cleaning, so I often come up with little games to play when I have to do household chores.  Come to think of it, I'm usually playing some sort of game in my head.  Hmmm...I think that's actually true.  Huh.

Anyway,  tonight's Clean the Damn Kitchen Already! game was "Top Housecleaner".  Inspired by "Top Chef", the object of the game was to set a task and a time for completion and then set the timer and GO.

My only audience (and sometimes competition) was the dog, but that's okay by me.  I had a good time racing the clock to get the dishes done, clean the stove, wipe the counters, sweep the know all the typical tasks most grown ups do automatically and don't need to play mind games to get done.  The prize, of course, is a clean kitchen...i'm not so childish as to need a reward on top of that.  Sheesh.

I've been home all day thanks to some amazing snow that's been falling since about 11:00 this morning.  So glad I braved the ice last night to go grocery shopping for cat food!  No freakin' beer, but plenty of Meow Mix for everybody.  Wonnnderful.

it's all good :)

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Wintry Mix...

Ohhh, the truck is inspected! And registered! And the 4WD is in tip top shape! Happy day!  Affordable, too.  I'm so relieved.  Apparently the loosey-goosey, slippy-slidey rides I've been taking of late can be attributed to wicked slick snow, not broken truck or waning snow tires. Knowing that the truck is fine makes me feel more confident and will assuredly improve my rides, I'm sure.  Funny how that works....

So now it raining that freezing rain stuff.  Loverly.  It's coming down at a good clip right now--the kind of "rain" that covers the road in that slushy but crunchy  pellety stuff.  Which is better than the kind that freezes instantly and looks like nothing special.   Cars are creeping by the house, when there are cars.  It seems like most folks have opted to stay home.  Good decision.

Supper's in the oven--no chicken-chicken pie-- and I have plans for a cake later.  I've got the winter weather crazies. Glad there's no worries about school for tomorrow, it may be an all nighter as I listen to the rain fall and hope for snow.

It's all good.  (except the weather, but that can't be helped!)

Christmas Day snow on Stevens Brook Road.  I'll take some more of that, thank you very much!

Monday, December 26, 2011

Echo Valley Book Review: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Started and finished Christmas Day.  "Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children" by Ransom Riggs.  I purchased this book as a gift for my 15 year old niece, thinking the photos and peculiarities would appeal to her.  Poor kid, she never got a chance at it!   The more I thought about wrapping it up and giving it away before reading it, the more I wanted to sit right down and begin. 

So, Christmas morning before the folks got up and after I got the cinnamon rolls in the oven, I settled in and started reading.

Cozy reading in front of the woodstove at Walden III. 

First off, I love the premise of the novel.  The photos are creepy-captivating and the promise of oddities and spine tingles is right up  my alley.  I didn't skip ahead at all and peek at the illustrations--a challenge for a skip-ahead like myself but I had a feeling that'd be cheating and I didn't want to rob myself of any shivers.

After the first couple of chapters I was really hooked. I was partial to the grandfather character, especially.  As the novel progressed it became less...enchanting...although the setting certainly provided lots of shimmery elements; I feel the author didn't really invest enough in this, instead journeying into the realm of teenage social drama.

 The main character, a teenage male, was a bit "modern" for my taste (this continued throughout and became central to the story later on) but mostly I can do without low brow sex jokes and mildly disguised f-bombs. It's just my personal preference and one of the reasons I found the Percy Jackson series to be a bit flat.

And, while on the subject of Percy J., there are other comparisons as well.  Mild teen romance, mild teen angst, father issues...and above else the story doesn't resolve itself in the first (and currently only) book.  I *hate* that.  In fact, I probably wouldn't have started in the first place until I knew a sequel had been written--as a reader I'm big on closure.

I enjoyed the book--read the whole thing.  I liked the characters--including the dowdy headmistress, Miss Peregrine--loved the photographs, but felt a little shorted insofar as the Peculiar Children could have been decidedly more peculiar.  As characters in a "young adult" novel they were adequate, but not spooky.  Maybe that's my own hang-up...I wanted to be scared.

  It wasn't the shivery story it touted itself as, but it was still fun.  Add a few more Things That Go Bump in The Night and it would have been better...add a real ending and it would have been great.

I'm passing this one along to my niece (better late than never?) and hope she enjoys it, too.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Day

Merry Christmas! 
It's been a cozy Christmas up here at Walden III where I sit, feet stretched out toward the woodstove, playing scrabble with my Mom and generally basking in the glow of a day wonderfully spent. It's all good.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fruitcake Fruitcake Fruitcake

Last night as I was driving home via "the old road" I went by a house that is being totally renovated because of the flood.  The resident, an elderly woman, is living in the apartment above the garage while work is being done.  Her home features a big bay window showing off the front room...and there in the window was a stately, decorated Christmas tree shining with lights and baubles.  The work lights were on in the kitchen, showing the detris of renovation--ladders, new sheetrock partly installed and bare studs, still waiting.  Bittersweet.  My heart goes out to her and her family as they rebuild.

There was snow to romp in this morning, thank goodness!  It looks like we may squeak out a White Christmas, afterall.  Yay!  The dog and I stomped about just before sunrise.  The chickadees were just starting to chip and the snow was still coming down.  I love mornings like this.  And, of course, nowhere to hurry off to--which is nice in it's own way. 

Snowy Doggy. 

Snow laced branches.  These are a few of my favorite things!

At breakfast Auntie mentioned that today was Fruitcake Making Day--an event I am specifically *not* invited to.  She's been protecting the recipe for over 30 years and wasn't about to divulge any secrets today.  It happens that her stand mixer spends most all year, neglected, on top of the fridge and it's a bit too heavy for her to get down by I was allowed to enter the house for that task.  We chatted for a bit and I had time to draw her a cartoon.  I try and do at least one a week, often lampooning some wingnut moment between us.  This time it was all about the fruit cake. 

not my best work, but she laughed :)

And(!) I did manage to snap a quickie photo of the piece of paper that holds the recipe.  Why all this fuss over fruitcake?  Because it's wicked, wicked good, is why!

Top Secret!!

Trying to abscond with the recipe was probably the most ambitious thing I did today.  Redecorated the tree after another cat mishap (no photos--i was too vexed to find the camera), did a little shopping and more than a little vacuuming.  The goal tonight is to overdose of Christmas music and finish wrapping presents.  I still have fifty thousand sewing projects to finish...maybe one or two of those will get done, too! 
It's all good :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Time December 22, 2011

Despite the driving rain and wicked ice, Auntie's dinner party went on as planned.  I was scrambling a bit at the beginning  in the kitchen, pouring drinks, burning the garlic bread (call it "well toasted") and generally getting things pulled together.  Overall it was a lovely evening with good folks and good food and lots of wine.

Table is set... all that's needed now are dinner guests.

After dinner clean up it was time to head home for a long winter's nap.  Or atleast for a nightcap and bed.  Things were a slight mess when I arrived home.  It seems the catnip mice I have been working on had revved the Echo Valley Cats to some sort of holiday frenzy.  Ornaments were tumbled and the tree had a well it.  Upon closer inspection I discovered Bee lurking in the lower branches playing Stealth Cat.  Lovely. 

What big eyes you have, Honeybee!
I gave up shortly thereafter and went to bed.  Hoping the best for the tree. 

This morning everything was still tippy-tilted but still upright.  Consider it a Christmas Miracle.  Another oddity--it's warm here and there's no snow.  I mean like none. Zero. Nada. Zip.  Central Vermont has been stripped of all of the white stuff.  On top of that it's 40 (plus!) degrees today.  It feels like Easter instead of Christmas.  Like I should be hearing robins singing, hanging out the sap buckets kind of day. 

After having lunch with the Girls at Shenanigan Hill, we all went for a walk in the meadow.  Great day for a walk--would have been piss-poor sledding! 

juliebelle and the little girls at Shenanigan Hill. 

 "Arts and Crafts" work helped keep the Christmas spirit alive and Shenanigan Hill is an indoor winterwonderland with the beautiful tree and the outstandingly gorgeous New England Village set up, just so.  

Now, here I set.  Gazing at the tree (fixed and cat-free) and chronicling non-events with the dog by my side and Christmas carols playing. It's all good :)