Sunday, December 28, 2008
For the first time, EVER, my little sis took me for the Day After Christmas sales. We shopped. And then we shopped some more. Every time she asked if I was done and ready to go home, I'd say, "Oh, well, we're here, we might as well check out this store too." ...Now all of this would have been no problem, other than I'm still gimping around on this new knee. I can walk the normal walk around the house, but you put me "out there" in the real world: on concrete and sidewalks and the shopping floors of the "big-box" stores...it's a whole 'nother world. By my 2PM hubby-imposed curfew, I was pretty tired. (But I wasn't going to crumble to him! )
"I feel FINE!! Just make sure to stop at the coffee shop so I can grab a latte for the long trip home"(....the latte was a chaser for my pain pills and muscle relaxants.)
Regrets? you ask. NONE ! Bring it ON ! I'm ready to go again this weekend!
We sure had a fun Christmas this year. Yeah, I know. I was the whiner about the lost family traditions and how I missed them and it didn't feel like Christmas, and we didn't have any snow, blah, blah, blah. Well, shoot, be careful what 'ya pray for! Cause this girl got it ALL !!
My baby sis really stepped up to the plate and provided an awesome old-fashioned Christmas, with spiral cut ham, cheesy potatoes, shrimp aspic salad, scalloped oysters, yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and pumpkin/Philly cheese roll. Her house was so totally decked out for Christmas, unlike mine, with NO decorations this year. The house was cozy and full of family, Christmas carols playing, good food, good spirits to drink...it was wonderful! And there was LOTS of snow, just like in the old days!!
Then we stayed over night, instead of the mad rush to drive back home to tend to the chores always waiting for those who own/tend animals. The whole family gathered at IHOP for "breakfast out" together, before we girls all went shopping. It was grand fun!
Over the holidays, I received so many wonderful cards and calls from all my extended family and friends, with so many of you revealing that you are following my BLOG! You can't imagine how grateful I am for your kind comments!
Feel free to sign in on the Blog register, and to leave your comments on the posts! And thanks for stopping by to visit ! Miss Vic
Meanwhile.....back at the ranch...
Santa Baby....Well, he used to be a baby. Not so much, any more! My sweet nephew donned the Santa hat prior to handing out gifts on Christmas morning. He is growing up so quickly! Where do our babies go?? Wasn't it just yesterday....?
No. I guess not.
I am just getting old. And the older I get, the more my comments sound like MY grandmother's! Our children grow up. And I guess we should be glad that they do! That is our ultimate job as MOTHERS : to ready our children for independence in the real world.
But goodness gracious godness - it's hard to see them grow up so fast!
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Cook Time 25 min Level: Int. Yield 3 1/2 doz
Times: Prep 30 min Inactive Prep 1 hr 30 min
Cook 25 min Total: 2 hr 25 min
2 (7 to 8-ounce) packages sweetened shredded coconut
2 ounces sweetened condensed milk
Pinch kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg whites at room temperature
5 ounces granulated sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
1 ounce vegetable shortening
2 ounces finely chopped dry-roasted macadamia nuts
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.
Combine the coconut with the sweetened condensed milk, salt and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl.
In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until foamy. Gradually add the sugar and continue to whip the whites until medium peaks form, 6 to 7 minutes.
Gently fold the egg whites into the coconut mixture. Scoop tablespoon-sized mounds onto a parchment-lined half sheet pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Immediately transfer the parchment with the macaroons to a cooling rack. Cool completely before topping.
Fill a 4-quart pot with enough water to come 2 inches up the side, set over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Combine the chocolate chips and shortening in a small metal or glass mixing bowl and set over the simmering pot. Stir occasionally until melted, then remove from the heat.
Dip the cooled cookies in the chocolate mixture, sprinkle with the chopped macadamia nuts and place on parchment paper to set, about 30 minutes.
Alton prefers to use weight measurements for baking, to ensure the best accuracy. Please be careful if you try converting this recipe to standard measurements, especially for liquid ingredients. Two ounces of sweetened condensed milk is about 3/16th of a cup, which is less than 1/4 cup but more than 1/8 cup.
PARADISE MACAROONS , courtesy Alton Brown 12 Days of Cookies Food Network
A bawdy tune known to be sung in the 1870's Fireside Establishment of St. Giles
Me Ship Ain't Quite Come In
'One day I'll dine on pheasants and grouse
And cocktails in fine crystal glasses
And roast pigs with apples stuck in their mouths
And silver spits shoved up their arses...'
'Me spotted dick puddin' will be such a size
Four footmen will carry it in!
But for now I'll survive on porter and pies
For 'me ship ain't quite come in.'
Oh! 'me ship ain't quite come in,
It's subject to delay;
Me ship ain't quite come in,
It's expected any day.
When me ship comes in, the grin on me chin
Will never go away
But me ship ain't quite - Me ship ain't quite
Me ship ain't quite come in!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Santa Lives HERE !
This is the beautiful
Prenite and Peridot
and Sterling Silver
necklace I had created
for daughter Di for
know...she could read
this blog and ruin the
But, I already did that.
I can't help it.
I've never been good
at keeping surprises!
It was all I could do to wait until the package arrived in Seattle....
Then when she had the package in front of her, we're on the
phone, and I'm saying: "OPEN IT! OPEN IT !"
Well, part of my excuse is that she has at least three Christmas
parties coming up...
Thursday, December 11, 2008
I'm Depressed. I can't help it.
There's still no snow.
There's still no Christmas tree
or decorations..I've still not started
the Christmas cards; I've not hung a
I'm not able to sing with the choir
for the Christmas Cantata.
I'm trying. REALLY! I'm playing Christmas carols- over and over. I MADE myself write our annual Christmas letter today, but I haven't printed them off. I can procrastinate doing THAT for at least another week, can't I? I bought every one's gifts WAY early this year, knowing I'd have my knee surgery and not be able to do it afterwards. So there's no shopping and wrapping to do. It almost seems like Christmas happened months ago. And for me, it did! I purchased, wrapped and delivered all the gifts to my kids in Seattle, the first of October.And Huggs and I each purchased what we wanted for Christmas, while we were shopping together, so there's no need to wrap those gifts!
There's just something so, I don't know, sad, I guess, about growing old and losing hold of the traditions we've always shared as a family. Each year, something changes. Someone in the family can't be with us for one reason or another. Or we can't go "home" for Christmas and have to find a new place to share our Christmas. Huggs and I have the biggest house, and it always makes me so happy when the family wants to come here for the holidays. But nobody wants to come HERE for Christmas any more...We have the worst weather....the wildest winds...the deepest snow, the worst roads. And as our parents become aged, their days of driving on bad roads have come to an end. So it is our responsibility to travel to them. But then, we have to decide where to hold the gathering. Because all of the reasons that keep them from traveling to us are the same reasons that prevent them from being able to prepare a holiday meal and suffer through the un-nerving noise of so many kids and grand-kids stuffed into a too-small space for hours.
So again, another tradition is gone, as each year, we try to decide where we're going to meet, what we're going to eat, who's going to be able to be there, ...I just want it to be the way it ALWAYS was. At Gramma's house, with EVERYONE there. Where Santa always knew what you wanted for Christmas and he always brought it in the right color.
As a family, when I was growing up, we ALWAYS had Christmas Eve at our house and opened gifts after a simple meal of fragrant casserole and an endless array of salads and desserts made by Mom, Gramma and my Great Aunts. It was all about good spirits, drinking egg nog and Tom & Jerry's by a roaring fire that Dad always had burning in the fireplace, Christmas carols sung around the piano as Dad played, and we'd open gifts and spend the whole afternoon and evening together. Then, Christmas Day was ALWAYS spent at Grandma and Grandpa's house, where we all dressed in our Sunday best, or at least in the newest clothes we'd received as gifts the night before. And we'd eat a full sit-down turkey dinner, with the ENTIRE family together. I grew up surrounded by a loving, supporting cast of Grandparents, and Great Aunts and Uncles. There was never any excuse about having to be somewhere else. The only reason someone wouldn't be there, is if they'd passed away that year!! Back then, we didn't have divorces and have to share our kids with the non-custodial parent. And back then, people didn't travel long distances from home - either to live or to travel, especially during the winter in the northwest United States, where winter blizzards have historically kept us thankfully huddled around the fire. Back when I was a girl, everyone lived close by, and we were always together. When I was a girl, our Christmas was "Martha Stewart perfect" .
Now, the members of our family live hours apart, and subsequently, we have to make more of an effort to get together. And I realize how much effort our family made, to make our holidays perfect.
Just because I'm middle aged now, it doesn't mean I want to grow up. I don't like change. Not when it's about family traditions. I'm not ready for people to grow old, especially me. I still want everyone to be together at Gramma's house for Christmas; I still want Huggs and Santa to know exactly what I want for Christmas, and exactly what color.
...in the meantime....back at the ranch...........
Thursday, December 4, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
And each day, I fail to get it together.
It's all about the KNEE. And about
NOT getting out of the house to take
pictures. Let me go on record saying
THIS IS THE LONGEST TIME I
HAVE SAT INSIDE THIS HOUSE,
FOREVER! The only time I leave is
when I go to town for PT, (Pain n
Therapy....it depends on who you
I still can't drive ! OH! I think I could
drive alright! if Huggs would just
leave his pickup home. He has a fold-
up console and I could just slide my
leg across the bench seat and do the
brake and accelerator with my left
But he's too smart for that !!
And he knows I can't drive my
Monte Carlo. Danged-darned-
sports car with its low slung seats
and solid console, that wont
accommodate my full leg brace!
Whats the deal with THAT?
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Behold!! The Power of the Sea !!!
LORDY, LORDY! Did we have fun !! We hung out in the motel pool and spa, ate popcorn in bed while watching a movie, shopped, ate, played in the sand and got soaked in the sea....then it was time to hit the spa to warm up again! ah.h.h.h.h.h. vacation!
I'm going to log out and see if I can get back in again before I forget....And if I get back, I'll write it down ! (what a concept !) and then I'll come back and post the BLOG entry that I intended when I started out with lots of energy two and 1/2 freeking hours ago......
And if I don't come back....well you'll know that:
1: I forgot the damned user name and password again OR
2. I ran completely out of energy, took meds and went back to bed.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch......................
Thursday, November 6, 2008
The sweet people of Africa would remind me that I would always have a home in Zimbabwe. Their church women would cook for me in the "church kitchen", the open fire out-side the back door of the church, and we would have sadsa, squash, rice, goat, termites, and very very tiny chicken. We participated in a beautiful ceremony of hand-washing before meals and tea, where a beautiful woman would pour warm water over your hands from a pitcher into a bowl..I knew they had pulled out all the stops and prepared a meal befitting a queen, and I was treated as honored, everywhere I went.
I stayed in the homes while there...a culture shock from the five star Hotel at Victoria Falls where the President stays, as well as myself. The home stays, where the bed was a mat on the floor, and long columns of ants marched into the sink and toilets, and huge bugs the size of my hand on the wall at night as I went to sleep (OH!), the simple open hole dug in the back, for a toilet, and the single bowl of water for the whole family to bathe.
While in Zimbabwe, I visited a "baby-fold" (orphanage) and an adjacent area for ladies-in-waiting, (who were there until the birth of their babies). I fell head over heels in love with these sweet babies, and would have brought home my sweet baby Tendai, if it had been humanly possible. Tendai, (A Shona name, a shortened version of Natienda, meaning "we are grateful") had been left in a ditch of the road, near the baby-fold, by her un-wed mother, who knew she couldn't return home with another baby for her family to care for.
As a mother and as a singer, I immediately bonded to this baby girl in the only way that came natural to me....I snuggled her close to my ample body, walked back n forth and sang quietly to her. When I had to leave, I cried uncontrollably for miles and miles...and today, many years later, I still cry at the thought of my baby on the other side of the world. I tried to sponsor Tendai and was told that she was claimed eventually, by her maternal grandmother, and left the orphanage.
I am so thankful for the trip I was able to take, back then. My only real, long-term goal in life, is to re-gain my health to the degree that would allow me to again travel there, and in some small way, help, and encourage those, less fortunate to greater heights and to a greater belief in the Lord, Jesus Christ
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Since I cannot think of anything positive to say about conquering my first P.T. appt. for my new Journey Knee, let me just say that leaving the house for the first time in many days, and doing so on a fabulously beautiful Fall day ROCKED!!
My new PT guy, Ben, is well versed in the rehab for the Journey Knee, and he'd had a nice, long conversation with my surgeon about all the "extra fancy-work" he'd done to release the overly tight muscles on my knee to achieve a somewhat straighter leg. Now you KNOW my goal in all this, is to have a prettier, "straighter" leg at 55 years of age! HA.
Well, I guess that's got to be better than my surgeon's first words when looking at my X-rays, when he said my legs looked like those belonging to an old rodeo cowboy. humph.
Well, now home, pain pills ingested and snuggled into my chair, it's all better now. But let me just tell you, we put this new knee through some moves that are not to be expected, one week post-surgery. But Ben's goal for Friday is a 90 degree bend in that knee. OMG.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d.d
Maybe when the Pope flies!
Oh, I'm sorry if I sounded sacrilegious. That was not my intent. Some of my most fervent prayers have been said in ah.....a....very...loud....tone of voice. How's that?
I'm just saying that prayers don't have to be whispered to be meaningful...
Meanwhile....back on the ranch............................Miss Vic
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
I know I'm compulsive, but I feel like I'm going away on a very long trip...it's weird. I just know that even though it's a short two or three day stay in the hospital, I'm not going to be "UP" for much of anything for weeks after I get home. My thoughts will be all about pain and survival and just getting from point A to point B. And I am in total angst about the fact that the rest of my favorite Indian Summer days will be spent indoors, where I can't feel the sun's warmth on my face. I refused to put the wicker chairs away in the garage. I am hoping for just a few more warm, golden afternoons, where, if I talk sweetly enough, Hugs will pull my chair out into the sunshine...and I can feel blessed to live out my days ..... back on the ranch.
Until then, g'bye for now.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Mom,unaware of the camera,(the best time to catch her)
My Baby sister, looking cute, as only baby sisters CAN !
One of older Grand daughters, Alex, at her first HS Homecoming Dance. (Wasn't it just yesterday that she was a baby in our arms?!?)
My two youngest Grands: Sisters & Best Friends
Just Grammie and her girls on a recent trip to the ocean.
And here's Hugs n I at our 25th Anniversary celebration. And they said it wouldn't last!! I said, "Love will keep us together"...I had it engraved on the underside of his watch; I believed it then and it still holds true. We took those vows seriously, and love has gotten us through the hard times as well as the wonderful times.
Let it be said, that family is important to me. And you can say that again, for good measure! We are a small family. My parents are still alive, and Hugs mother, too. It just feels like our family is SO small, sometimes. And it's scary. I have realized the frailty of life this year, as our parents health has begun to really show signs of failing. And I DON'T WANT TO BE A MATRIARCH!! When our parents are gone, who will we have holiday meals with?? Our kids have all moved away! Well, it's something I don't like to think about!
Meanwhile, back at the ranch............
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Any of you that have known me awhile, knows of my love of anything "natural"...and anything to decorate in the yard and flower gardens....well, guess what I found on the way home from Seattle? (nah nah nah na nah nah....)
Yup. A silicone mold of a gigantic leaf, so that lil old ME can produce my own stepping stones, and bird feeders and bird baths and water features, and....oh MY !!
I am sooooo excited about this mold!...and making them whatever color I want to make them....this little shop had lots of different hand made molds of different leaves and if I'd been rich, I would have bought several different ones...different sizes.
She had the most eclectic blend of old,and rusty vs. shiny and beautiful, all in one funky little shop on WA Highway 2. I actually feel very at home and comfortable when surrounded by old rusty hardware...it takes me winging back to the wonderful days as a little girl shadowing my belov-ed Grampa in his workshop. I could have spent days in that little road-side shop.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch..........
Today, I'm just spreading the Love. It's the least that I can do, in light of the fact that yesterday was THE-DAY-FROM-HELL. YIKES ! In preperation for the upcoming knee replacement, I had to attend several appointments. before the "Big Day"...and in light of the fact that surgery will be at a hospital 80 miles from home, (and the price of gas).....I scheduled three appt. in one day.
So Hugs and I got up at 0-dark:thirty to get to the first doctor on time.
So, we made it out the door, coffee in hand (duh!)and hair on fire, at a horribly early hour for re-tirees. Three doctors/hospital/lab visits later, we made it home by 7:30 PM. Hugs got first hand knowledge of my painfull knees when the specialist displayed my X-rays in agonizing life-size. Let it be said that NOW he totally understands my pain issues and wonders out loud, "How can you even walk??!??!?!?"
Half-Starved and ready for instant intervention, (Poppa Murphy's to the rescue) and I fell into bed by 9:00.
Yeah. Just keepin' it real. Miss Vicki
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
From the backwoods of our own little "Paradise Found", I will drag you, (kicking and screaming, all the way, I'm sure) through our life here. The every-days-worth of living the quiet life, snug on a few small acres in the rural northwest.
Twenty five years ago, Hugs and I dreamed of building our own log house, and we succeeded in creating a home that gives us comfort and JOY, every day. We built our home with no blue-prints - only a shared vision of a big, warm and comfortable place where friends and family could gather. You know the kind of place - where you can sink into a chair and put your feet up, instead of perching on the edge of your seat and watching for the first moment you can conveniently escape.
Now, we're retired, with the kids grown and gone, and nothing to do with our time except just what we really WANT to do. No more daily grind, (except MY daily grind of PURE, Arabica Beans), we find that staying up late to "finish the last chapter of the book" and sleeping late the next day is more than just okay. There seems to finally be enough time for Hugs to go on 4 wheeler trips with his guy friends, and for me to take week long journeys to spend with the grand daughters. Life just doesn't get much better than this.
Today begins the count down of the last week before my first total knee replacement. I am not looking forward to the pain and the recuperation. But I already have the crippling pain, so let the recuperation journey begin!. I am giving my old knees to a surgeon I trust with my life. Dr. Kym saved my crushed arm with severed nerves, from a 4 wheeler wreck a few years ago, and I wouldn't be willing to let much of anyone else touch my knees.
But this month, I am running around with my hair on fire, trying to get everything done before surgery...every errand done, every project finished, every fruit and vegetable preserved and stored for winter. Good Grief! You'd think I was going to the m@@n !! For a LONG visit !! Approx. 250 # tomatoes were made into spaghetti sauce, preserves and whole canned tomatoes, 3 boxes of peaches, about 60 # beets were pickled, and cukes were pickled into Dago Dills. Pumpkin Butter was stirred over a slow burner all day, (oh MY!), squash was cut, cooked and frozen...why! if Armageddon occurs this winter - head on over. We've got yur' back.