Monthly Archives: December 2011

What Better Way to Celebrate the New Year

Here’s what I’ve been working with, in pictures.

I wanted to post a lot of pictures, but I guess everything is slowing down because of the new year.

I’ll post them tomorrow.

There have been some fireworks, but I’m not afraid.  Everything is still wet.  It’s a funny thing to say, given the drought this summer.

I figure it will all be over in about 4 hours.  4 more hours of this.

Time to switch around the pups.



Tracking Santa

Well, at this point the old guy is still across the pond in Ireland.   I enjoy watching this and looking at the pictures of the places he’s gone.  From the local news report, NORAD got more calls than ever from children asking about Santa, and Santa is the most popular person on Facebook or something.

In just a bit, I’m going to go wash the turkey.  I thought that would shave a little time off of the morning schedule.

I bought a roasting pan and rack from Nordic Ware this year.  Made in America, of course! I plan to rub the bird with herb-butter between the skin and breast and all over the outside.  I’m following the suggestions here at epicurious.  I’ll stuff it with an orange and fresh rosemary.

Once the turkey is going, I’m going to boil some new potatoes to make smaded potatoes.  I thought my nieces might like to help smash them and then add the butter, bacon and cheese.  I’ve never made these before, so we’ll see how they work out.

Then I’ll put together the trail mix.  I have dried cranberries, apples, and bananas.  I’ll mix that with pulverized granola bars and mini chocolate chips.

I’m taking some homemade pickles and hot pickled okra, too.

Tomorrow should be fun!

They Want Another Fight

This is just masterful:  The White House.

What does $40 mean to you is the question.  The answers and how many of them there are is overwhelming.

Also today, Joe Biden took it to Mittens.

Lastly, I am enjoying Ray’s reports on Morocco.  One of my students this past term is from there.  I admire him — he’s a fire fighter — specializing in high-risers and cave rescues.  Cool dude all the way around.



O.K. I’m Soled

Shoes.  I’m not a shoe person.  Usually when I buy a pair of shoes, I wish I had bought 3 or 4 pair for when I wear them out and can’t find them anymore.

I think I found my shoe company.  It is soleRebels.  I really like this purple pair and will probably choose a pair before the year is out.

The shoes are made in Ethiopia by NON sweatshop workers.  It’s a good deal and kind of — or explicitly another anti-crazy fashion footwear, which after seeing my 70+ year old mom’s feet recently, makes me feel like I an on the right path.

Why women torture the things that help them move around to the point that they are almost crippled in old age for the sole reason of keeping up with fashion puzzles me.

Point being, I’ve worn some Sketchers that look not so unlike these shoes for the past year and these look better made.  I don’t really care if I look like I’m wearing my house shoes to work.  I’m not and I know it.  And these shoes look really comfortable.


Somewhat Successful Shopping

I did the local shopping for Christmas today.  I had to call my mom to confirm the color of foundation to get from Merle Norman, which led me on a hunt for a silly toy for my nieces, but also led to something good.

I started at Target to look for the Fijit.  It was sold out.  I bought some travel size baby care stuff for my littlest niece, who has a “Baby Alive.”  Don’t ask if you don’t know . . . all of it made in the U.S.A.  I also bought sheets made in Pakistan, and wrapping paper and ribbon made in the U.S.A.

I hit the Target on San Felipe next.  No Fijits there.

I went to the Williams-Sonoma store to look for some canisters made in the Netherlands.  They weren’t quite what I needed, but I did see some nice utensils made in Italy that I might ask for my birthday or go buy for myself.

I then went to Buffalo Hardware and found the Lodge (made in the U.S.A.) griddle I wanted.  They also had a six pack of two gallon Ball canning jars (made in the U.S.A.) which will work perfectly as canisters for me.  I just wanted something to hold the ingredients I use to make puppy cookies.

I made my way up Kirby to the Merle Norman on Rice Blvd.  There was parking and why was evident as there was a little post it on the door that the clerk wasn’t there.  Luckily, I had looked up other locations before I had left.

Next was Fly High Little Bunny.  I bought my sister-in-law some pretty silver and pearl earrings there.  I like that place.

Barnes & Nobel was next on the list.  I used to go to the one on Alabama, but now I have to go to River Oaks.  I found the CDs I was looking for.  I also found a beautiful day planner for next year made by GLC/Kudu — made in Maine.  All the rest (except for one other brand) were made in China.  While I was choosing a color, another customer picked up three of the ones I was looking at!  It’s a great planner and I will use it for everything from what I plant when and when to get pups their medicina.

I decided to get a bite to eat and call mom.  They still hadn’t found the Fijit, so I told mom I was going to a Merle Norman somewhere on Ella and that I would go out to the Target if needed.  At that point, they had had no success.

I stopped by Sonic (I love Sonic) and then moved on down to Ella, driving slowly and looking for a sign.  Things are kind of crappy out that way, compared to where I had been shopping, and I was worried I wouldn’t find it.

It was drizzling and I used that to excuse my cautionary driving.  Sooner than I thought, I saw the sign and pulled in right in front, just as another woman did.  We walked in one right after the other.

The clerk was a young cute girl with braids pulled back in a clip and a sweet face. She asked us both if we needed help.  I told her what I needed — jumping in first! — just as another woman came in and demanded samples because she had lost her job.  And I am sympathetic, but the woman wanted the samples NOW and certain ones.  (Thinking about it now, perhaps that is not such an unusual thing.)

The young woman had to go to the back to get the third thing I asked for and while back there, the demanding woman was muttering to herself and looking around the cramped store.  As she rang me up, I asked if she was ok.  She said yes, but I said I will look around for a bit, ok?  She said yes.

After she checked me out, I looked around and she got the woman some samples.  The woman wanted certain things, and as an after thought, said she would come pay when she got he paycheck etc.  I stayed until she left.

Once I was sure she was gone, I left too.  The clerk said thank you twice.  I’m not a fearful person.  I’ve always been aware of myself and my surroundings.  This young woman needed reassurance that someone was there for her.  It made my day.  I just left a really positive comment on their website about her.  Perhaps it will make a difference.

At the end of the day, I couldn’t find a store that had been in a place before and I couldn’t find the Fijit, but my mom did.

Now I just have to figure out when to thaw the turkey, how to get the smashed potatoes together, and then remember that we have a meet up with our buddies from Moscow day after tomorrow.


I realized who I had asked

During the long and tortuous grading process, I asked, near the end of it, for one of my colleagues to just shoot me.

The one I asked turned and asked me why.  I said it was from a movie, and briefly told him about They Shoot Horses Don’t They.  Here’s a link to the movie:

It’s how I’ve felt for the most part about the situation at work.  On every level, I have been worn down to the point that I cannot understand how wrong people can be to each other.   Sometimes absolutely nothing gets through.

I get a small thanks every one in a while, and that helps.

Anyway, I was surprised to find how many of my male coworkers I had asked to just shoot me and how often.  Perhaps given the movie reference was a help.  The three of them were very kind to me after discovering they were not alone in the request.  They have a new guy club I guess.

It’s Never Ending, But Things Move On

Another session is in the books or almost.  I didn’t finish all of my paperwork today.  There are books to sort and lots of other paperwork to clean off my two desks.  (At times I wonder what I would do if I only had one desk.  Probably put stuff on the floor, like I do now when I run out of desk space.)

I expect there will be no shortage of tears tomorrow as some students get the news that they didn’t make promotion.  It’s difficult to stay on an even keel when you’ve been on a roller-coaster or  in a spinning teacup for the last week.  I think I did ok today.  I only got a little testy when someone used the “I’ve been teaching for 25 years” defense for failing to address cheating during a test.  If you’ve been teaching for so long, then you know how to handle cheating and additionally should have reported it instead of waiting for your supervisor to bring it up.  meh.

Sometimes I feel invisible at work.   I work very hard to make things run smoothly through the term and finals and then scoring.  My co-workers’ smooth experience through all of it is my goal.  I rarely get any appreciation for it.

Today, I did hear from a couple of people.  It was good.

Otherwise, I am mostly invisible.  At times I wonder if anyone thinks about how finals or scoring would be if X (name your co-worker) were doing it.

Never mind.  I don’t even want to think about that.

Our family cooking tradition is this weekend.  We’ve decided on pizza.  I volunteered to make the pizza dough and sauce.  My Grandma — dad’s mom — loved pizza with pineapple.  This was back in the 1960’s.  It’s a cooking memory, which is what we are recreating for the girls.  It’s not one of the recipes in the BOOK, but I will help my middle niece make brownies — recipe from my same Grandma — which is in the BOOK.

This non-official holiday experience is quickly overtaking Thanksgiving as my favorite.  It’s a mixture of frenzy and patience.  Hurry up and get it done and waiting until something is just right.  Care and love mixed with what the hell are you doingness.  I love it.

And then Santa comes by on a firetruck, and we get to tease the little one about how she used to hate him but now she loves him and cries.

I’m really looking forward to next Saturday.

Hell, I’ve got to look up a good pizza dough recipe and try it out before then.  I’ve got the sauce covered.

My Camera Has Died, But I’m O.K.

Looks like I will be searching for a new non-Chinese made camera now.  Wish me luck!

I wanted to take pictures of the sweet potatoes I dug up this morning.  Ever reliable Roberto came along and took some on his phone, so I will post them when he gets them to me.

I apologized to the lovely sweet potato plant as I cut off its vines and dug up its roots.  It had been a real trooper — the only plant that had survived the heat of this past summer, the drought, and the fence falling on it.  It had even bloomed some perfectly beautiful purple flowers.  However, it was time.  The slightly cold weather the past week had turned its leaves brown, and though I hated to do it, I had to get the potatoes out of the ground.

There were more of them and of a larger size than I had expected.  It took me a while to carefully extract them, but it was a great experience.

They sit in a bucket in the kitchen now.  I’ll clean them up and put them in a box or two to cure tomorrow.  I’ll make some yam casserole for Christmas dinner!

Roberto and I planted some beets and carrots, and composted the sweet potato vines that I didn’t bury.  Then we had some borscht I made with the beets from last winter.  Tasty!

I’m going to focus on beets, lettuce and carrots this winter/fall since I had success with them last year.  If the squash I planted do well, then that’s all the better.  I’ve got four plants going now.  I also planted some fennel.  I’ll work with them better this year than I did last.

I’m going to start onions in the utility room — bulb, multiplying and leeks — perhaps I will have success.  I’d sure like some to make so I can use them for soup.

The next few days are suppose to be rainy and cold.  I’m good with that.  I’m dehydrating fruit to make little bags for my co-workers, like I did last year.  The cool thing is that the dehydrator is a pretty good heater as well.  And yes, I planned it that way, just like I planned to make puppy cookies while it is cold, so the oven can heat up the house.  I hope to bake those cookies all winter long and freeze them in batches.  I don’t know if I can keep up with the pups’ appetite for them, but I will try.

Today was a good day.  Tomorrow will be too.

Buying American

I did my part this past weekend in buying a couple of cabinets and I will buy a couple of more things from Catskill.

I got my pastry mat, roaster and rack this week.  All made in the good ol’ U.S.A.

I also ordered some gifts for my family, only one of which was made in China — just because that’s the only place this particular item is made.  I will write to that company and complain.

With my renewed purchasing, I want to revive my other blog.  I’ll get it going this weekend and link to it.

My Kitchen is Crappy

I’ve been kind of slow on remodeling my old house.  One bathroom is in good shape, the other, not so much.   I’ve still got sheet rock damage from Ike that I haven’t repaired — first because I can’t do it my self and second because it would involve dealing with the pups to get someone else to do it.

Today, I got inspired and now have a plan for the kitchen.

As of now, I have little counter space and what there is happens to be burnt orange (ugh).  The cabinets are old and gray.  The pantry is hard to get to because of the refrigerator, and the stove has no ventilation hood, so all of the cooking grease and fumes get sucked up into the return air, which for some unknown reason is in the kitchen.

Well, I took a little time and planned out a kitchen renovation.  I now know what I want and have ordered the first parts — mostly because they were close-outs and I really liked them.

And it looks now like I bought the last one!

Here’s the other close out cabinet I bought:

They were both made in America.  I plan to buy a microwave cart and a kitchen island from them as well.

The only stationary thing will be the cabinet for the sink.  I may buy it premade or see if I can have one built for me.

I want to cover the floor with a green tinted quartzite.

I’m just so worn out from work, this is the best I can do for a post right now.