After enduring the ad, you will meet the artist, who creates her own world of hybrid animal creations.
It’s been a challenging holiday season, so I’m just now getting around to making Christmas dessert. No family members suffered, because there were sugar cookies. These were so laden with additional decorative icings provided by the usual suspects that if I ate a Christmas tree (bigger than the star and bear ones), I would tremble for several minutes after.
The chocolate cake was made this morning. Tonight after dinner, the above-mentioned went off to Yoshi’s in SF for a concert. I whipped the cream, made the chocolate buttercream. Next, I thickened the cherry juice and added the Trader Joe Morello cherries.
Then, because I can’t wait till 11:30 p.m. or whenever they roll in, I made up one for me. First the cake cubes. Cherries were spooned over. A layer of pudding next. Repeat. Dollops of whipped cream on top. No liqueurs used, my preference.
They’ll be surprised, I think. I always wind up making these things at night when I can’t get a picture. Tomorrow, perhaps.
We’re not talking beef bouillon as comfort for the ill here. What we’re really going to discuss is meat, mostly of the pig variety, placed directly into an alcoholic drink.
Some time ago, I mentioned the bacontini, a favorite of those who prefer a slight fatty sheen to their refreshing beverages. But at this site, items bringing an extra punch include ground pork, sweet Italian sausage and Spam. Yes, that Spam.
There are photos. One looks like squirrel brains at the bottom of the glass.
Just as good the second time around.
The roast duck was purchased, but the apple slices cooked with a bit of cinnamon and sugar, and peas in cream were home-cooked.
No Dark and Stormy drinks were ingested for the first time in two nights, because the family bartender was having dinner out.
I didn’t know what else to call it. Here’s the article from The Times, which links to the actual painting, or repainting by Lluis Barba of Bosch’s The Garden of Earthly Delights.
For the third time, because two family members had not seen it, and it seemed a good choice for Christmas night.
Prime rib, potatoes roasted in the fat from the meat, pea sprouts. Dessert was sugar cookies still being decorated and not quite dry yet.
Last year, I got in line with many, many people at the Hallmark store. It was so cold we lined up close to one another to keep warm. (We in Northern California are a bunch of wimps when it comes to winter, mostly because we tend to underdress. Few of us own heavy coats, and if we did , we sure wouldn’t wear them to do this kind of shopping.)
This morning, the line at Target at 7 a.m. was not so bad, a stark moon shone over us and the crowd was cheerful. I was early enough that entire aisles of Christmas things were mine alone. This didn’t last long.
Post-Christmas is very different from other kinds of shopping. People go in groups, coverage is coordinated, and they tend to yell happily to one another across the store. It’s not confined to women. Christmas quilts go fast. Men tend to hunker down in front of the remote lighting control section. It’s the best time to get an artificial tree.
I was there for one item, a box of non-reflective ornaments for photographing. What did I come out with?
1. two boxes of ornaments
2. three new stockings because the old ones were impossible to fill comfortably
3. two Santa hats
4. two packages of gift boxes
5. one package of gift bags
6. one nutcracker
7. two packages of tags
8. three rolls of wrap
9. one bag of red bows
10. one star ornament
11. one package of cookie cutters
12. one pair of Christmas argyle knee socks
What I looked at seriously, thought about but didn’t buy:
1. the Christmas gnome
2. a Christmas quilt
3. a Christmasy duck
4. a Pooh sitting in a rocking chair reading to Piglet
5. jingle bell wreaths
One recipe I did not try this holiday season. From Never Bashful with Butter via Slashfood.
When I have some free time (ha ha), I’m going to try every one of these. Via Slate.
Maybe around June.
Obviously not the usual bright stars and Christmas tree variety of cookie, but fascinating.
Today is to be spent making various cookie doughs of the normal holiday kind, so they can chill overnight. Tomorrow will be spent making a huge mess with glittery colored sugars, red, green and white icings, sprinkles and all the other fun things that can go on dough and still be edible.
This year’s gingerbread houses will be more ambitious, although the idea goes against the wishes of family members who love to pour on the candies. Later, there might be pictures, depending on the outcome, and how much more shopping and cooking has to be done.
With a camera, a chainsaw and a high-powered rifle. Via Metafilter.
There were 6,000 stuffed animals by a self-taught taxidermist, placed in domestic situations such as card playing and taking meals. The auction house sold it off in lots for 336,000 pounds, although an artist, Damien Hirst, offered a million pounds for it all. The owner of the collection is now suing the auction house.
You can see samples of the collection here.
Should any aspiring taxidermist, self-taught or professional, wish to recreate some of these scenes, he is welcome to begin trapping from nature’s bounty of small animals on my property. They are currently in their prime, fat and sleek of coat after a mast year in the oaks. Haste is urged, because they are reproducing at record rates.
They’re bringing out out the big ones, and I just got packages handed to me, so maybe the jinx of always missing the delivery guy is over.
Family members got a tree yesterday, but it leans crazily to one side. I expect there will be sawing involved this evening.
The first time I passed SantaLand, a father was the physical buffer between his wary child and the red lap. I caught the silhouette - the suffering Santa, the beaming Dad, and the frightened child. As I hurried by again, well-dressed, experienced children were smiling into the camera. The last time, there were three sibs on the lap. Two older sisters flanked a toddler in the middle. His eyes were full of tears, and he was trembly, but the parents were begging him to be good and smile, so he tried very hard, but the tears just hung there, shining and threatening to spill over.
Warm and homey, tender, hokey, familiar as an old friend.
The stew as pretty good too.
The film is about dreams and the stubbornness of dreamers. So much of the real world wants to destroy dreams and those who have them. Or else ridicule or otherwise discourage. Why is that?
If it’s pointed up, and you’re fumbling around for a paring knife, forgetting that you put the razor in there, you might get a finger that keeps bleeding. Two days later. Maybe I need a stitch or two. Now the finger next to it is complaining that it too needs a bandage. Chapping, I think, and trying to open stubborn screw-tops that the other finger normally handles. Why does this happen when I’m supposed to be Christmas shopping.
Somewhere, there’s a script. It goes like this: the heroine (me) loves getting packages, especially big ones. Doesn’t matter if they are for other people. The rest of the cast (the delivery guys) conspire to get the packages delivered only when I’m not there. Since I work from home, this gets tricky.
Yesterday, as I rounded the corner after leaving my friend’s house, here comes the UPS guy. Hmmm, I wonder, did I get something? Three packages neatly stacked by the garage door.
Just now, I went to the bathroom to tape up the bloody fingers (more on that later). Thud! Thud! Three more packages neatly stacked by the back door.
A family member works one day a week from home. He manages to receive packages directly from the same guys.
I’ll admit that during the afternoon delivery times, I might be taking the shower that I miss by having to be at the computer before dawn. Infrequently, I’m out back tending to the landscaping. From time to time I am in the bathroom.
Maybe the guys have a Santa complex. Anyway, the two biggest packages (too big for me to lift) have finally gotten here. Family members tend to follow the blog more closely at holiday time, so I’m just saying, fellas, no rummaging around the closets, the garage or under beds. No poking into shopping bags, looking on the roof, in the trunk of my car, or peeling back a corner of the gift wrap.
I mean it.
Yesterday, a friend recounted the tale of her accident last week on a slick freeway ramp. During the morning commute, an airborne vehicle sailed over the car in the next lane, and collided with hers on the passenger side, sending her down a muddy embankment.
She landed four feet from a tree. The airbags did not inflate. Glass covered the baby seat in back, thankfully, her grandchild was not along. All four tires were flat. The back end was completely caved in. The driver of the other car came running over. The woman in the next lane offered her services as a witness. Another driver stopped and called 911.
The other driver said he swerved to miss the car that cut in front of him. The Highway Patrol thought otherwise, but let it go.
My friend escaped without so much as a scratch. I went over with a plate of homemade chocolates, which she began eating before I was completely inside the door. I told her not to stop till she had eaten it all.
I made a call this morning to a company back east.
Me: Your item X (family members read the blog, cannot reveal product) in medium is out of stock. Will you get more in in time for Christmas?
Salesman 1: It’s showing up here as being discontinued.
Me: Can’t be. It’s a very popular product.
Salesman 1: Right, okay now it says later in January.
Me: So there’s no chance for Christmas at all.
Salesman 1: You can call back in a couple hours and talk to the guy who can ask the buyer.
Two hours later.
Me: Do you plan to get in X before Christmas? I was told you would talk to the buyer and find out.
Salesman 2: (brusquely)Who told you that?
Me: I don’t know his name.
Salesman 2: (loudly) Why would he tell you something like that? It says here clearly not available till January.
Me: He said you would talk to the buyer.
Salesman 2: I don’t need to talk to the buyer. I know it won’t be here till January.
I call a rival company, same product.
Me: Will you have, etc. etc.
Salesman 3: Sometime in January.
Me: Early January?
Salesman 3: Yes. Does this person you’re giving it to plan to gain a lot of weight over the holidays?
Me: (giggle) Well, there’s Christmas dinner.
Salesman 3: We do have the large and extra large in stock.
Me: Afraid not. Medium.
Salesman 3: Or maybe he’s tending some toward anorexic? We have the small. In both colors.
Me: (chuckle): Sorry.
Salesman 3: Are you a returning customer? Phone number? Ah, (my name), yeah, early January.
Me: I’ll order it online then.
Salesman 3: Nah, (my name) I can do that right here, take two minutes.
Salesman 3: Oh. Can’t do Paypal over the phone.
Me: It’s okay. I got it.
Me: How far away do I have to be while you’re doing the microwaving?
Guy: Oh, maybe in the next room.
Me: Really? Not necessarily the farthest room back?
Guy: No. About five feet is safe.
Me: What does it feel like if you’re too close.
Guy: Me, I get a funny feeling in my chest. My partner, he gets a headache. That’s when we know to back off.
Me: Like a numbness?
Guy: Nah, more like a tightness right here (puts hand over heart).
Me: Now is this going to affect my internet connection?
Guy: You on wireless? It does funny stuff to wireless.
Me: No. But I gotta work.
Guy: Should be okay. (It was, except when a family member accidentally unplugged the modem when moving desks out of the way.)
The special effects, especially the ones involving Iorek Byrnison are truly remarkable, and I was worried for the young children all around during the fight scenes. The little one next to us breathed a huge sigh of relief after Lyra escaped from certain calamity, to the amusement of those all around.
For those familiar with the book, necessary deletions and combinations of events might be confusing, but it’s a film to be caught up in immediately, and it never lets up.
If you ignore the religious quibbles, and just go because it’s the holidays, when we could all use a little fantasy, then it’s sheer fun. If you’re feeling that it should totally be faithful in every way to the book, you’ll emerge grumpy and humbuggy. But you’ll still like Iorek and Lyra.
Looking for some for either gifts or for you? I’ve got ‘em over at cafepress.
I’ll be uploading more images soon, maybe even before Christmas, but meanwhile, there are several designs to choose from.
Try to kill me, eh?
The plan was to hit the outlets at Gilroy after dinner at the Black Bear Diner. Knowing how dead the stores can be on a weeknight this early in the season, I joked to family members that there certainly wouldn’t be the usual long line at the diner.
There was. Worse, even. I looked around at the huge number of kids, most with balloons. It was around 7:00 p.m when we were seated at last. The stores closed at 9:00 p.m.
Either it was the biggest birthday party ever, or some sort of family reunion, since everyone seemed to know one another. It turned out to be a fundraiser for a local school.
After our pot roast, fish and chips and chicken pot pie, we headed out to see what shopping could be done. Very little, unfortunately, but I learned something useful. In the future, if I want the above-mentioned family to shop cheerfully, enthusiastically, and even browse in stores they’d normally refuse to be seen in, I should make sure they eat a hearty diner meal beforehand.
Your hands, your feet too. Oh, and your eyebrow ridge will get all bulgy. Your hair might fall out though.
But don’t try this at home. Or anywhere else for that matter.
I’ve been to Keeble and Shuchat’s three times. The first time, the staff completely ignored me due to the highly visible aura of ignorance around my entire body. The many stories about their snottiness seemed to be quite true. When I was looking to get a light tent, I wandered in again, just to check what they had against what was available online for lots less.
The third time was, of course, the charm. Having placed my order at Cho’s for potstickers and eggrolls, I had a little time to kill. K & S is just down the street. I decided to test the mettle of the help, who began melting away as I approached a counter. Any counter. One lone fellow stayed behind, certain to be the brunt of many a joke for even speaking to a woman. Surely, if a female photographer was full of herself, and wanted to be taken down a few notches, K & S is the perfect spot.
I asked to see one of the vintage cameras at the very top of the back shelf, a Rolleiflex in excellent condition. After all, this being Palo Alto, I could well have the price of the thing tucked into a compartment of my trendy running shoe. He was overweight, fretful. Nervous that I was actually handling such a camera. I held it for almost ten minutes, which is how long Cho said it would take.
Then I went to get my potstickers.
I’m still polishing off turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce. A friend told me once that she only truly enjoyed Thanksgiving dinner when all the hubbub was done, and the pressure was off. Nothing being timed in the oven, no sink full of dishes. No carcasses.
There’s even a container of candied yams left.
From time to time, I find one in an Asian store deli. Over the summer, as a matter of fact, I spotted a glorious one. (I am always looking for photo subjects.) Alas, there is a language barrier. The proprietor failed to fully understand my meaning, perhaps. I certainly failed to grasp why anyone would pay the price I thought he suggested. The transaction was not to be.
This morning, another head rested in a metal pan next to the ducks and assorted cooked meats. For $5, it was mine. I nodded. Before I stopped nodding, I heard a CHOP! Then another CHOP! I waved my arms wildly, No, No, I want it whole! Stop!
He stopped, the head was wrapped, I paid. I pictured a split down the snout, and thought, with a little luck, maybe I could Photoshop it all back together. The family member accompanying me said he thought the ears had been removed.
The chopper and his friends were smiling behind the counter. We asked for the ears. He looked blank, then waved over a counter person who spoke English. Ears, I said. I need it all for a picture. Ah, she said, and the chopper located the charred ears from some unseen location.
Tomorrow, with a few toothpicks, possibly duct tape, I will try to reattach the parts. There might or might not be a photo posted.
Yes, yes I know online shopping is best for people like me. But then I’d miss all the drama.