Friday, December 31, 2004

My greatest gift Posted by Hello

I'm published! Posted by Hello

Just keep going--to a great 2005! Posted by Hello

Flannel PJs, woohoo! Posted by Hello

Game Boy game and car wash tickets Posted by Hello

EQ book and bookmarks and the peppermint patty that Santa put in my stocking. Posted by Hello


I often wake up earlier on days when I do not have to go to work than I do on workdays. George thinks it is funny that I never "sleep in", but frankly, I don't even know the meaning of the word, and think that sleeping late is a horrible waste of precious time. I get my eight hours, usually, and that keeps me going like the Eveready Bunny.

Today I woke up grateful and counting my blessings, thinking about all the nice gifts I got at Christmas time. The Saturday morning that George and I went Christmas shopping at Macy's and were on the escalator at the store (about 15 miles away) at 7:45 was the BEST! I don't know exactly why, but I had a great time. That day, we looked at and bought a lot of presents for people, and I chose two sweaters for myself which he later boxed, wrapped and presented me at Christmas. Works for me.

He also got me a book of car wash coupons, which I love having. I can zip right in there on my way home from work and not have to worry about having the eight bucks. He also bought me two pair of flannel pjs. Victoria Secret? Hardly. I think that Victoria Secret is a men's store, and there is nothing there for me. I would rather go to Home Depot, or any hardware store if I want to shop with men. Flannel jammies on these cold New England nights are just the ticket.

Michelle bought the new Everquest II complete game guide, and boy, if there is ever an EQ player who needs a guide, it is me. Thanks Michelle, if you are out there reading this. I am so happy you joined us for Christmas vacation and hope you come back soon! Michael bought me the Senseo coffee pot, the Calphalon pot which I don't know how I lived without, and a new game for my gameboy, Final Fantasy Dawn of Souls. There is a story to me and my gameboy. It is absolutely priceless when I need to go to Oklahoma and wait while my mom has her hair done, or take her to doctor visits, and once when she had to stay overnight in the hospital. Nothing like a gameboy to whittle the hours away when you are someplace you would rather not be. Gameboys and airports go well together too. He also bought me Stephen King's book: On Writing, which I can't wait to read. I want to read more Stephen King to share that with Michael who reads everything he writes. I need to get started on this New Year's Resolution right away!

I got three bookmarks, just waiting for me to act on my resolution to read more books. One says MORDOR, and has a silver medalion representing some part of middle earth. Lord of the Rings is one of my favorite movies! Thank you, Michelle. George gave me two: one bookmark is gold and says, "There is only one happiness in life, to love and be loved", George Sand. And the other is silver and says "There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it", Edith Wharton. Who could go wrong with those gems of wisdom keeping your place in a good book? The "mirror that reflects it" is a good thought for anyone like me who wants to keep their mouth shut more and listen to what others have to say. Thank you Santa George!

I am just so grateful for all the lovely gifts, the thoughtfulness that went into them, the generosity of my family and friends, the health and happiness that we all share at this time in our lives, and for the every day gift of being able to talk to Michael every day, and play EQI and EQII with him, and for sharing a home with a great man - George, who is wicked smart, wicked talented and, well, just the opposite of wicked in every other way.

New Year's Eve is coming soon. We will not go out late, but are planning to take my friend who has cancer out for an early dinner at a restaurant that has lobster specials. Seems like a good way to celebrate to me!

Have a very happy day and a very safe New Year's Eve.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

These are flowers that my friend gave me today for helping him get to the hospital and do errands. A very nice surprise! Posted by Hello

Happy New Year Posted by Hello

New Years Resolutions

This is the time of year when my mother and I start working on our New Year Resolutions and tell them to each other on New Year's Day. Mine are usually pretty simple: things like eat more fruits and vegetables. One year in 1997, after a particularly hard year for her with asthma, a heart attack, and other ailments, she said, "my goal is to live to see the year 2000." I kept that in mind a lot that year, and prayed and prayed that it would happen. Now it is 2005, my mom is 95 years old and is still living in her home, playing bridge twice a week (and winning), enjoying her friends at the senior center, getting picked up every friday for her weekly trip to Wal-Mart and having her hair and nails done every week. She is enjoying good health right now, and a good life.

I am so grateful every day that her quality of life at this age is so high. I think about this all the time. When I call her on the phone, her voice is strong and sure when she says, "Hi!". I just want to fall to my knees and thank the Lord every time!

My new year's resolution this year is to be quieter, calmer and nicer to people around me and to never interrupt, but always to wait until the other person has had their say. A bad habit of mine is that my enthusiasm in a conversation bubbles up and I say stuff before the other person is finished. I'm sorry for this, and I try hard to keep my (big) mouth closed. Sometimes I hold my lips together hard to stop myself from talking; that's the truth. It is a problem I have had for a long time and this year, by God, I'm going to break myself of it!

Another resolution I have is to clean out my storage unit and find the plates that belong to my mother's china pattern, Noritake Camelot. I have all the pieces and have added more through Ebay this year, but somehow in the move, I misplaced the box with the 8 plates and it is buried and I need to spend hours over there going through stuff to find it. Tacked on to this resolution is the resolve to throw out and give away a lot of things that I do not want anymore and which I moved anyway out of hurry and indecision.

Losing weight is the most common New Year's Resolution for most of us, and one that has to make my list again this year. Especially after the cookie fest of this Christmas, it is time to stop again on the ol' flour and sugar, and get to the fruits and vegetables. Oh, I said that.

And I'm going to work hard on events around World Hunger at my church--to try to do what I can to help in this hurting global world of ours. I'm going to stop complaining about evening committments at work and at church, and be less of a "pitiful Pearl" when I have things to do that take me out at night and away from my knitting chair. Life is meant to be lived, and if that means that I am tired sometimes, what. I will use my mom as an example and be more flexible, more accepting, and clean the cabinets more often. (An old joke is that my mom is a much better housekeeper than me, and I am often outside cutting flowers when I should be inside cleaning the refrigerator or something.)

My main resolution is to be easier on myself and others, to enjoy life more, laugh as much as I can, and be grateful for every breath I breathe.

God is good. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Howdy Y'all. Posted by Hello

Texas Caviar for a Happy New Year!

I found this recipe on I am always searching for a good black eyed pea recipe because I'm from Oklahoma, and they are considered good luck on New Years Day. Black eyed peas are not something I cook often, and every year I seem to be trying something new. Last year was Hoppin' John, which was ok...but not anything to write home about. This is the one for this year and I thought I would share it. Here it is:

Texas Caviar from the Cowgirl Hall of Fame Restaurant

3 16-oz cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed of all juice
1 small jar chopped pimentos, juice included
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced, green part only
1 tablespoon fresh oregano
1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce
1 tablespoon Worchestershire sauce
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 bunch parsley, chopped
3 canned or fresh jalapeƱo chiles, chopped
1 firm, ripe, chopped tomato
2 cups vinaigrette
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
3 cloves fresh garlic, pressed or minced

In a large bowl, stir all ingredients very well. Refrigerate for at least 4-6 hours, preferably overnight, in a sealed or covered container. Remember the longer it sits, the better it gets! Serve with old-fashioned saltine crackers or with corn tortilla chips.

Yippee Kai Yea! Have a great New Year's Eve.

This is the ad. These cups look a lot larger than 4 oz.  Posted by Hello

Two cups of foamy coffee fill my china cup perfectly. Posted by Hello

My new Senseo Coffeemaker Posted by Hello

Senseo Coffee Pod Maker

Michael bought me a new Senseo Coffee Maker for coffee pods. It is so newfangled I don't even know what to call it. But, you can see from the picture that it makes one perfect cup of foamy coffee. I did a little research on these coffeemakers by reading the reviews on Amazon. They said that the Black and Decker coffee maker was so noisy that people in the next room called out to find out what the racket was. All I can say is that this one must be quieter, but George did call up from the basement to find out what that noise was. They are noisier than regular coffee makers, but they are mercifully quick.

The coffee pot is designed to make two cups, but they don't tell you until you buy it that each cup is only 4 ounces. To me, a cup is at least 8 ounces, so I put one cup under, one pod, and hit the two cup button. Oops, that is a little weak. According to the Senseo directions, you are supposed to use two pods to make two cups of coffee. One pod for one 4 oz. cup makes a nice strong little cup of coffee. It reminds me of espresso, which is small and elegant and delicious. I like it.

The cost for a pod is about 28 cents each. 8 oz. of Dunkin doughnuts coffee is about $1.25. When I make coffee in the big pot, I would make eight cups, drink one and throw the rest away. That didn't seem like a very good idea either. Doubling the pods, means that 8 oz. of coffee costs 56 cents. According to the picture, they show making two cups at once...two spouts...but I don't need two cups. They also don't include the cups which are pictured on the box and on the advertisements, which sorta surprised me, but I don't know why.

This is boring. I hate numbers. I especially don't like math at breakfast time. I like good coffee. I am happy to have my pod maker, since I am the only one in this house who even drinks coffee, and one cup is all I have time for before I race out the door. The coffee is foamy and goodtasting and hot and fast. And one cup is just right for my collection of china coffee cups.

Who could ask for more? Thanks Mike! I love it.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The wave Posted by Hello

The Tsunami wave

I cannot help but say something about the death toll that is mounting across Sri Lanka, India, and Indonesia. In the late 50's, Arthur C. Clarke moved to Sri Lanka, and I remember it was said at the time that it was to get away from taxation on his books. In the late 60's, since my husband was a writer and a great admirer or Arthur C. Clarke, we also thought that it would be an elegant and exciting thing to do, move to Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), and we spent many days and nights talking about the prospect. Alas, it was too far away from our mothers, and our friends, and we did not do it. But I have never forgotten that "incompleted quest", and have been interested in that area of the world as long as I can remember and have always wondered how life would have been different had we moved there.

Now, the tsunami has come, a natural disaster, and wiped out 44,000 people at last count. As I got my Dunkin Donuts coffee this morning, I listened to the news on the car radio and could not fathom that number of dead. This will hopefully be the last time, since now something will be done to make sure there is a warning system for the whole planet. As countries and as individuals, we often only learn from experience, too late.

I hope we can use our individual talents and our combined technology to help others.

A day to relax and enjoy normal

The parties are over and it is time to relax and work on the afghan. I am working on a scarf, but I have finally reached the end of the "scarf addiction", and think this is the last one. My mother had relatives visiting at Christmas who helped her unpack her Christmas gifts and the white scarf I made has disappeared. We are not sure what happened. One thought is that George may have put it in a small garbage bag to protect it in the top of the box and someone who unpacked the box just threw it away with the wrappings. Like I said, "one crisis after another." I am not upset. It is only a scarf, and living alone at 95 like my mom does, and having to rely on other people to help her do things, I'm not surprised that things get misplaced. Christmas was a stressful time for her, with three small children visiting, and running around. It is good for her to have the company, but it takes a lot out of her physically and requires many days of rest afterwards.

I could use a few days of rest myself right now, but I am working and not taking any vacation days this week. I'm saving those days to go to someplace warm in the sun this winter, destination unknown.

Enjoy the day.

Monday, December 27, 2004

Dinner on the fly

Today I found out that George's son and his wife, and his daughter and her boyfriend who are visiting from California are coming for dinner at 6. I had little time today to prepare since I was working. George had the day off, lucky dog. I stopped at a local Italian Deli, named Bob's in Medford. They have everything, and I bought most of it. Three kinds of bread, provolone, roast beef, baked ham, salami, other salami (those Italians know the names but I do not), Italian garlic crackers, an Italian fruit bread, calamari salad, potato salad, olive salad and honey mustard. The table is set and we are ready to begin yet another Christmas celebration.

The cookies and nuts are brought out one more time. It is nice to have so much ready to serve. I worked today, so all this was done in a matter of 30 minutes or so prep time. I feel like Rachel Ray.

I hope everyone has a good time. I'm pooped.

More tomorrow.

hurry hurry Posted by Hello

Snow! Posted by Hello

Feet of Snow

We woke up this morning to ten inches of powdery snow and the announcement by George that he remembered during the night he has no gasoline for the snow blower. My phone charge is dead, and I need to call David to see what time his appointment is at the hospital. Of course, I don't have his phone number anywhere but on that phone, so I have to wait for it to charge up a bit. Electronics are so useless sometimes, and I still haven't found my red phone book since the party. Oy.

Few people will go to work today here in Boston, but I will be one of the few. I'm sure things will work out just fine. Somehow. The snowplows worked all night and I was thinking of all those private snowplowers with pick up trucks and attached plows who love snowstorms because they can make so much money in so little time. Just in time to fill the bank account again after Christmas. This year, after being at my organization for 12 years, I got an indoor parking place at my office. That makes things a whole lot easier in snowstorms.

So, we are off to shovel our way out. I'm sure I'll get to work sometime today.


Sunday, December 26, 2004

All tuckered out Posted by Hello

Snow snow snow

Tonight we are expecting six inches of snow in Boston. The kids don't have school tomorrow and are still sledding out on the street in the dark, with enough light from the house Christmas lights. They are having a grand time. It is going to snow all night it looks like, so who knows what the drive will be like tomorrow. I'm not going to rush it.

A nice night to be inside, looking out.

Day after Christmas Gingerbread Men. Woohoo. Posted by Hello

Kids sledding on our street Posted by Hello

I love my new Calphalon pot. Thanks Michael! Posted by Hello

Brownies with Peppermint Ice Cream Posted by Hello

Turkey soup

You can tell the holiday is over when we are eating turkey soup. Yesterday we had turkey for Christmas dinner, but I let the turkey cool for a full hour before we served it. We carved it and made a dinner for my friend, and George and I took it to his house and then came back for our own dinner preparations. Actually, since it was cooler, the turkey was easier to carve, and no less tasty. I carved off all the meat and as I did, I put the bones in my new Calphalon pot that Mike gave me for Christmas and which I have already used several times. It is now a permanent guest on the top of the stove. I added cold water, salt, peppercorns, bay leaf and celery and cooked it for one hour, and then refrigerated it over night. Today I strained it and added carrots, potatoes, fresh peas, broccoli, brussel sprouts, parsnips and tomatoes and reheated it and we are having it for lunch. Turkey soup is so flavorful, it is my favorite thing to eat after a holiday.

We took Mike and Michelle to the airport to catch their shuttle to Washington. We had such a great Christmas and I'm so glad they were here with us. It is snowing, but not enough to cause any delays hopefully. Traveling on Christmas can be so challenging, but so far it has been no problem here. We are lucky.

We still have gingerbread men to bake today. George's family is coming for a visit tomorrow so Christmas isn't over yet. I will go to work tomorrow, and take my friend to Brigham and Women's hospital for a chemo visit, which seems to me like the important thing to do. We still have a small wheel of Brie cheese, assorted Christmas cookies, brownies, and spiced pecans, as well as chex mix that my mom sent us and half of a cheesecake. Lots of food still to enjoy around here. I hope they come hungry.

Winding down here after the Christmas rush and enjoying it.

Take care and enjoy a peaceful day.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

My new calendar Posted by Hello

Dinner is almost ready Posted by Hello

Spritz and sugar cookies waiting for Santa Posted by Hello

Christmas Day

We all went to the Christmas Eve service at our church. The bell choir played three carols for the prelude and it went swimmingly. The church was decorated in pink and white bouquets of roses and poinsettias and sparkly stars of pink and silver glitter made by the Sunday school children. It could not have been prettier and the whole service was very festive. I was so happy to be able to share the evening with Michelle and Mike. We came home and had apple pie and peppermint ice cream as a nightcap at midnight. We didn't need visions of sugarplums, we had the real thing.

Christmas mornings are always a mass of presents and unwrapping and laughter and fun and today is no exception. The turkey is in the oven and almost ready, but no one is hungry yet. I will probably make a dinner to take to my friend and then come home to serve ours later when we are hungrier.

I got a new Senseo coffeemaker and a new Calphalon pot among other wonderful gifts. Michael gave me Stephen King's book "On Writing", and George gave me a whole coupon book for free carwashes. I also got sweaters, pretty flannel pajamas, and...oh, lots of stuff. I used the new pot right away to make the cranberry dressing--perfect. I am drinking a cup of my "new" coffee as I write this. A long, slow, easy day of togetherness is the goal today. No shopping, no wrapping, just us together playing games and watching James Bond (of course) and looking at our presents. Michelle is going to give me some tips about Everquest II later today. After all, I am surrounded by genious.

Merry Christmas everyone.

Friday, December 24, 2004

And a jolly Christmas to you too! Posted by Hello

Checkers Posted by Hello