Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year

I know it could not have been a year ago when I first started this blog, but it seems like I filled up a lot of pages. One year out of my life.

The sad times of the past year were losing 4 aunts and uncles, the last one only today, Aunt Nell. She's the one we went by to see at the nursing home at Thanksgiving, and she seemed healthy and in good spirits. It was pretty unexpected, probably a heart attack. That leaves me the oldest person in the family now on Daddy's side, not counting his cousins and second cousins, etc. Pretty scary.

High points were Emily's graduation, Emily & Ryan's wedding, and the chance for the family to get together a few more times than usual. And there is a new baby in Debby's family, Gracey. We'll have a lot of sweet pictures soon.

I just realized months of pictures are missing from the blog, and I have no idea why. I guess I'll have to go back and try to reload them. There are still Christmas pictures and memories that I've yet to record, but I think I'll try to sneak them in during the more boring days of January.

For my last words of 2009, I pray for God's blessings on our family and friends in the new year and that we will make the right decisions when we need to, that we will treasure each other and be patient with each other. And have a lot of fun. Life is short.

Philippians 4:6-7
Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything; tell God your needs, and don't forget to thank Him for His answers. If you do this, you will experience God's peace, which is far more wonderful than the human mind can understand. His peace will keep your thoughts and your hearts quiet and at rest as you trust in Christ.


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Coming to an End

The year, that is. Quickly and with rain.

I've put off typing anything the past couple of days because there is just so much that it's jumbled up in my head. The reason for this blog was to keep a journal to remember things, but I think I've already forgotten things that happened last week.

I'll try to sort it out tomorrow and get some pictures posted. We had SUCH a good time during the past week-and-a-half. Everyone is safely home now except Mike who is very close.

This is the first journal I've ever kept for a whole year. I'm so proud of myself. It wasn't exactly what I thought it would be last January 1st. I'm not exactly what I thought it would be, but it's been a whole lot of fun for me. A few people don't "approve" of it but the few who do read it have had fun along with me.

At least three people say they have trouble making comments, and I'm sorry for that. I love to hear what people think! When I post a comment, I type in my sentence(s), do "review". When I get the message that it didn't work, I hit "review" again, and the second time I see what the comment is supposed to look like. Then I hit "publish" and it always works. A lot of trouble, and I'm not sure why it's so ornery.

I'm also trying to post a book list and project list on the blog so I can feel a little sense of accomplishment this coming year. I kind of dropped the ball on sewing - completing projects and posting pictures of my past finished items - and reading. It might have had something to do with a wedding and the listing of the house, but I imagine a lot of it was procrastination.

I might even make a few New Year's resolutions. Nothing vague (like living a healthier life - which is kind of a no-brainer) and nothing specific (like finish 18 projects this year - which makes me nervous) but doable ones. The first one that comes to mind is take my pills every day whether I have a banana to get them down or not.

I do appreciate the ones who have stuck with me and encouraged me. I'm open to any suggestions to make the blog less boring - but again - it's just a journal of my life, and I can't make up things. . . very often!

Tomorrow is my wrap-up day. Last chance to talk about 2009. Hopefully I'll do it and get ready for 2010.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas

I can't believe I haven't written anything in more than a week. It's just passed by so quickly.

Elise got here on Tuesday night, and we've had a good time. That's a long-suffering humor-Mama look.

She's kind of had to pitch in and do everything around the house because of my little accident. Call it a Black and Blue Christmas.

It happened here on Wednesday morning.





I was up bright and early, had my coffee and cranberry bread, and on my way to settle on the couch to actually watch TV, Good morning, America, I think. I clipped the edge of the ottoman on the way, and my poor foot has gone downhill ever since. The coffee amazingly didn't spill, but I'm glad I was alone in the room at the moment.

A couple of family members want me to post a picture, and the rest are terrified that I will. Debby said it looked like a candy cane, and that was being generous. This is the only way to view it.




I was able to wear my shoes to Andalusia but lost the ability to wear the right one pretty soon as the swelling commenced. Except for the excruciating pain, I've kind of enjoyed people saying, "No, you just sit down. I'll do this, and I'll bring you that." I can think of worse things. I've called in my personal PT, and she's on the plane right now bringing tape and advice. Just as long as she doesn't touch it.....

My pictures from Andalusia were fuzzy, as usual, but we'll be going back this weekend, so I'll have more after that.

This reindeer and sleigh have been on various Windham mantles since 1951 with only one antler missing in all that time. I think my father-in-law has glued on a few hooves through the years.




We've just now had a visit from Ella Santa. She ran in scattering cats and causing Darby to have a fit of excitement on the other side of the glass door.

Nephew Mitch, Elise, and sister-in-law Cheryl. Brother Mike, Mitch, and Mama coming in from her Birmingham stay.

Elise and I are going to make some cookies now and do nothing else until the rest of the family arrives.

Hope everyone has a great holiday.

Oh, and for those not fortunate enough to receive this card today, the Windham-Binderts.

Both mothers discussed this morning how we went wrong. It must be the fathers' influences.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Back to the Mall

For someone who isn't buying gifts this year, I sure am doing a lot of shopping. Or wandering in malls. I was so busy taking pictures this morning that I got lost in Eastdale (I think that's the name) Mall and ended up going in circles. I kept seeing the same things and ended up in a food court that I didn't even know existed.

I was mainly picking up a few things for Mama and some forgotten stocking things, but just one little item can send you on a major trip.

This is how you navigate a mall.


As soon as I walked into Belk, this woman on the PA was yelling "Bama fans. Just in. Some red shirt (not really but I didn't understand what she was saying) has just arrived. Hurry and get yours." This is what I saw then.
As I left, it was totally dismantled. I didn't take pictures because I was scared someone would see me and go ballistic. Tempers were certainly flaring, and people were grabbing handfuls.

The mall was - umm - active. Noisy, yelling, music. But fun too if you're not having to stand in line for Santa or seriously SHOP.



I found out that Santa is an Auburn fan. At least his helper is.

Every year, I give the "children" an ornament for their trees, but I've had an awful time this year. The last two years, I gave Emily and Ryan these quirky Krinkles reindeer, figuring I would do it for 4 years until they had the whole collection. They just make us laugh. I certainly didn't pay the price listed on this web site - not even half that. When I went to order this year, the artist had made them larger and way upped the price. What a bummer. Oh well. I guess they can enjoy those 4 until I can find them on E-Bay maybe.

Elise likes cat ornaments, and you'd think that would be easy, but so far I haven't seen anything I liked.

The Snowbabies ornament that I wanted to get Stephanie was sold out on line, and no place in Montgomery carries them. So I've just been apathetic on that, hoping maybe one might just appear in front of me somewhere.

I always get Gray an Auburn ornament whether he wants it or not. He has the first one his grandparents gave him when he was a baby - a little handpainted wooden football player. I don't think they're allowed on the Snowbaby tree. Sometimes he gets a beagle.

I don't think anyone is going to be mad if they don't get their just-right ornament this year - or if they'll even notice.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Rainy Day Baking

Emily was raving about some "cottage cheese" cookies the other night that Karen had made for a cookie swap, so I asked Karen for the recipe. She obliged, and although it's ricotta, they're just as good as advertised.

Cookies take a lot more time than I end up enjoying in the kitchen, but I still do it sometimes. I did these with parchment paper, and remind me never bake cookies without it. When they're finished, they just slide right onto the rack (sometimes before I'm ready for them to), and the cookie sheet is ready for the next batch (once it cools). I made them pretty small but did make some larger ones for the trash guys' bags. Somehow I don't think they will be impressed by these tiny little one-bite things. They're more interested in the McDonald's coupons than the cookies anyway.

Here they are with the icing on.
They're so soft, almost like little cakes.


And without. The recipe makes a whole lot. And I see that this one is imperfect, so it needs to be eaten.

I wonder if there are any more imperfect ones ....

Here's the recipe:

RICOTTA COOKES

half pound of butter = 2 sticks
2 cups of sugar
1 tsp vanilla

combine these 3 ingredients and mix well

add 3 eggs one at a time

4 cups of flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

combine and sift these 3 ingredients

add to mixture alternating with 3 cups of ricotta cheese (part skim or whole is fine)

After well mixed drop spoonfuls of dough on ungreased baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top.

Remove and put on rack to cool.

THE ICING

1 stick of butter
1 box confectioners (powdered) sugar
2 tsp vanilla or to taste
2-4 tsp milk (or to favored consistency)

whip all this together then spread on top of cookies


Thanks, Karen. And Ida Beth

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yip-yip Aliens and Eggnog Coffee

That 20% chance of rain was kind of misleading yesterday. I think there was not one time that there was not some kind of precipitation going on.

I did go out in spite of it and was enjoying myself so much I didn't even notice it. Of course, Debby was doing the driving and listening to me talk and trying to maneuver around shopping traffic. Although we noticed that it was not so bad for this time of year - crowds in stores, etc. We didn't really visit any big places though, like malls or department stores. Instead we went to FUN places.

I, as usual, forgot I had my camera in my pocket while we were in Panera eating nice comforting French onion and cheese broccoli soup or I could have had some pictures of cinnamon rolls as big as your head - well, maybe a baby's head. It's nice to sit there and listen to the rain and catch up. It seems to be raining every time we go out lately.

We next went to Pet Smart. That's always a fun place to be and see just how many ways people have of feeding and pampering their pets.



Here are some festive treats. This whole aisle is just chew bones - and that wasn't the only aisle.





Peanut butter lollipops.


This is not a good picture of this cute little guy, but he was fun to watch. He was so happy to be there with his owner, just prancing around and being glad to be alive. He still had the puppy awkwardness and excitement about everything.

I didn't get any pictures of the next place, but I should have - pretty! Debby has been meaning to take me there and show me the food. They have freshly-made casseroles just waiting to take home and cook. She bought lasagna. It's Peppertree Steaks N' Wines, and there are so many interesting things - besides steaks and wines. I got Emily and Ryan an ornament and almost got some Praline Mustard sauce (?) because it was recommended highly to me, but I couldn't quite get into that. Maybe later. Lots of good-looking things in jars though and lots of beautiful cakes and steaks and candy and gifts.

After that it was sadly time for me to get back and get to work, and Debby still had places to go. She brought Mama a beautiful poinsettia that we're enjoyingThis was Eastchase Parkway on the way home. Kind of pretty - if you're in a warm car.

My kitchen window when I drove into the driveway - inviting

With wassail on the stove.
And the promise of books and the eggnog coffee Debby brought me. I think I mentioned that she is my coffee taster. I believe she must work for Green Mountain. Eggnog doesn't sound like it would be that good, but it is some delicious coffee. It was nice to sit down with one of the books and have my cup of coffee after work last night - still hearing a little rain even then.

Oh, almost forgot the Yip-Yips I have a Google home page that you can personalize with whatever you want. I have a calendar, a couple of favorite comic strips, news headlines, etc. One thing I do have but hardly ever remember to look at is a How-To section. There are some interesting things.

Today the entries are: How to Remove a Mouse from a Sticky Trap; How to Crochet a Yip-Yip; and 6 Ways to Prevent Identify Theft.

In case anyone needs to crochet a Yip-Yip, you can go here: http://www.wikihow.com/Crochet-a-Yip-Yip-Alien

Monday, December 14, 2009

And it Still Rains

That's all. Just all day long and all night too, it seems.

Not that I'm complaining. I loved knitting this afternoon and hearing the rain and wind through the chimney, even a little thunder.

I think it will stop tonight. It makes me want to drink too much coffee. Good for sleeping though if that time ever gets here.

It's errands tomorrow (finally) and meeting Debby somewhere at some point, which should make them more interesting.

We have plane departures and arrivals pretty much straight now and are working hard to coordinate some time together both here and in Andalusia. Whatever works out, it'll be good to be together again.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

December 13

Just for the sake of posting something, I have to say that I can't remember when it's poured rain for so many hours before. I've loved it usually because I could stay inside. But when I took Mama to the beauty shop yesterday, it was really coming down plus being windy and cold. I had my list made and was going to pick up a few small things while she was there and finish everything I had to do. No shopping this year, but I did need some coffee and votives and tissue paper for Mama, little aggravating things I think about but always forget. Battery-powered lights. Some narcissus bulbs (I think I may have waited way too late!)

So I dropped her off and went to the East Chase area, picked up her Birmingham News and went and parked in front of Michael's. I was already regretting not picking up the umbrella and kind of talking myself out of going in when I looked over for my purse - and looked and looked. Nowhere to be seen. Easy decision - back home -- carefully. As we had gotten into the car, I had set my purse down to go make sure the sunroom door was closed before I raised the garage door so as not to set a little black dog free to run in the rain. And there it sat when I got home, on the shelf in the garage.

Instead of picking it up along with the umbrella and going back out, I just kind of wandered into the kitchen and warmed up a bowl of Gaby's punch and sat down to knit awhile. I thoroughly enjoyed that for about an hour and then regretted for 24 hours not getting those errands done.

Here's an endorsement and picture from Lydia of the taco soup:

I made the soup last night (sans goat head) and it was sooooo good. I had a couple of modifications because I'm a little scatterbrained! I subbed Publix brand whole kernel sweet corn for the shoepeg corn. I also totally forgot about the beans and had to get Tommy to bring some on the way home. We ended up with one can of kidney and one can of pinto! I also put shredded cheese and sour cream on top and served with Tostitos Scoops. It's been a long time since I fixed something new that Tommy enthusiastically said was "really good" so THANK YOU!


I believe sour cream on top is a perfect addition. I froze 8 little cartons of the soup for when company gets here, and I'll be sure to have some sour cream available as well as cheese.

I like those plates too - kind of Frank Lloyd Wright-ish. What pattern are they, Lydia?

I did make the decision not to put up the trees. I can't believe I typed that. But once I decided it, I realized no one cares. Elise and Mike don't. Emily and Ryan won't get here until Christmas night. (Elise said to tell them we already took it down.) I think we have enough festivity - good smells and sounds and plenty of holly and shiny balls. And candles. I might not even put wreaths out front. Just one on the door. So there.

And since I'm not going to have a pretty house, here's my little tree and front porch from Greensboro a few years ago. I had to enlarge it to see what the green lights are at the bottom of the doorway. Double-click and you'll see.
Emily helping herself to some wassail. This was the living room in Columbus. I have the exact same furniture, just a different house. Pretend this is what my house looks like today.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Mr. Windham Goes to Washington

Issaquah, that is, and has the pictures to prove it. Here's the link in case that one doesn't work: http://picasaweb.google.com/windham.mike

I think everyone had a great time, and I'm glad it worked out for them.

I can't wait to go myself. Except I might not hike, rain or no, and I know I won't eat raw oysters. I bet we can find things to do. I believe that area of Washington is full of quilt shops.

I shamelessly steal photographs from Karen's FB page. She says she doesn't mind, and I had to have this one.




The gingham angel was bought in 1974 I believe, when we were living in Geneva. One of the best Christmases ever. We bought our tree in Samson, and brought it home in the back of the Vega with all four of us crowded into the front seat. Gray was 3 and Elise 14 months, and the excitement was unbelievable. Visits to Santa. Gingerbread cookies hanging on the tree - with little teeth marks all over them. Learning Christmas songs. What good memories. I remember surreptitiously crocheting the 3 bears complete with clothes that no one ever really liked. I think the kids were scared of them. I still have one in the attic I think. So ugly. What made me think they were cute?

Griff just goes along with whatever his humans decide to do to him. Such a good boy.



However... If the time comes when I have a grandson, no one, and that includes Ryan, should object to him wearing smocked outfits.

Time to take Mama out for her annual Christmas shopping. She picks Friday afternoon 2 weeks before Christmas. I think we may come to regret this. I'm taking my camera.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Eating Punch

Gaby may never give me another recipe if I've messed up this one. With my doing my own measurements, I may have made more of a fruit dessert than a punch (to drink). Whatever, I can't stop eating it. I'm sure this is not what hers looks like. Notice the pecans I sprinkled over the top.
I'm thinking it would be good served hot with ice cream on top, like apple pie a la mode.

And it's so easy too. I hope to see pictures of the "real" punch now. Sorry if this is not the way it is supposed to be.

While I was in the kitchen, I took a few more pictures of some my favorite things since my camera is not quite as ornery as it was the other day.

Sweet salt and pepper shakers that will always remind me of my mother-in-law.
I like nutcrackers and have some of the traditional ones, but I couldn't resist this one.
This plate is the first of a collection started by my friend Joanne in 1982. She said the children reminded me of mine. She gave me several more through the years, and I found one in Warm Springs at an antique store and one on E-Bay. I'm not sure if they're still around or not.
Joanne died last year, and the plates make me think of her and the good times we had.


The Christmas cactus that acts so sulky the rest of the year and threatens to die has surprised me once more with it's beautiful blooms. There may not be many, but I'll take what I can get from it.
Putting it to shame is Gaby's flor de pascua. I thought it looked familiar. It's the same as our poinsettia which we hardly ever see except in pots. Can you imagine having one growing in your yard like this? Beautiful. My work week is ended, and I have lots of work to do. If I can find someone to bring down my tree from the attic, I'll get that done this week. Time is running out, but it's fine. No one will be here until the 22nd anyway, and if it's not down by then, I'll send Elise to the attic to get it and help me decorate. That sounds like a better idea anyway. Drinking wassail, listening to Christmas carols, decorating the tree, Mike sleeping in his chair. Just like old times.


Good Smells Coming From the Kitchen

I gathered all the things for Gaby's punch. This is a smaller recipe because of it just being me and anyone I can lure in for a taste with these pictures.

So I have an apple - Gala I think; a Bosch pear; already cut-up pineapple from the Publix deli, not canned; raisins - golden would have been prettier: brown sugar; and the spices in a tea ball.

I didn't have ginger but used nutmeg. (?) I saw an intimidating hunk of ginger in the produce department, but since I just need a bit, I didn't really want to spend the money on it. Same with the papaya. No plantains but plenty of papaya - at $2.49 apiece. I decided I could live without that too. I saw kiwi but didn't know what that would add to it except maybe color.

Ready to go!



It smells out of this world. I think cherries would be pretty and good in my version, but I don't have any. I can see how everyone has a different combination. I'm thinking about sprinkling pecans on it right before I eat it. You can't have anything in the south without adding pecans.

I keep going back and sampling. It gets better every time.

Here's the wassail recipe we use. Especially nice with a shadow of the camera and my hands. Again after fighting with disgusting wads of cheesecloth for 35 years, I had the bright idea of putting the spices in a tea ball. Works wonderfully. The cinnamon sticks just float around with the orange. Sometimes I don't put the orange in; that's just to make it look festive. And because that's the way we've always done it.

More yummy clues from Mama's corner.

Emily's request for "let's don't have a lot of food this year" has fallen on deaf ears, it seems. I know she didn't really mean it.

I hear divinity is happening the next sunny day.