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Sunday, December 31, 2017

Once in a Lifetime Pie

 
This is a chocolate peppermint pie. Take a good look because you'll never see one like this on my blog again.

chocolate peppermint pie

It's good, there's no doubt about that.

chocolate peppermint pie

It has chocolate graham cracker crust, chocolate pudding filling, cream cheese and whip topping with red and green chips (which don't show) above that, and real whip cream above that, and peppermint sprinkles on top.

chocolate peppermint pie

However, for the amount of work and fussing it was, it would need to be drop-dead-absolutely-astoundingly-spectacular, not-to-be-approached-by-any-shortcutting-of-the-steps good. Says the person who made it, who isn't really a kitchen fan any longer, "it's not THAT good." Omer says, "Oh, wow!"

If you are a kitchen masochist and want to try it, the recipe is at No Bake Candy Cane Pie

I went out on snowshoes again today. I LIKE snowshoes. The sky was interesting.

winter sky

There was blue above the sumac.

sky through snowy sumac branches

A nice ending to 2018. See you next year!

In other news: I wrote chapter 15- DISCOURAGED AND PURPLE, in The Secret Cellar, cleared the driveway again, and worked on the sock. I may go to bed early with a book. Who knows.

See Time for Friends for the last cream pie I had, which I did not make
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Saturday, December 30, 2017

First Snowshoe- Winter 2017-18

 
First time on snowshoes this year. Not sure why I hadn't gotten them out. I guess I've just been in a ski mood. The snowshoes do need the bindings replaced, but I even have the new ones. I just haven't put them on. I taped up the old ones one more time and headed out.

Great winter sky!

winter sky

We now have over a foot of snow. The going was difficult. I did a short loop in about 30 minutes. Temperature 9 degrees F, but no wind. It didn't feel bad.

It's not a wet snow, but the absence of wind has allowed branches to hang on to their piles. Here's a smallish mulberry.

snow on mulberry

And my trail through the white pines. Everything was quiet, and with no shadows the world is very two-toned.

trail through pines

In other news: I wrote another chapter in The Secret Cellar, and am back to knitting on THE socks. That's not bad for a Saturday.

See Snowshoe Hike
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Friday, December 29, 2017

The Tolerable Snowman

 
Today was characterized by... snow. I may track considerable snow inside, but I also remove much more from the driveway. To be honest, I'm hardly snow covered compared to the days it's windy. We have about a foot on the ground.

snow covered Carhartts
I love how each type of tree is enhanced by the dry white flakes. They've stayed on the trees all day. White Pine.

snow covered white pine

Blue Spruce.

snow covered blue spruce
Red Pine.

snow covered red pine

And a pear tree with no partridge.

snow covered pear tree

And, it's back to work for the night in a couple of hours.

In other news: Worked till about 1:30. Cleared the driveway. Finished the beta-read of Murder on the Brewster Flats (a really fun book). Did a few errands. Wrote a little bit on Secret Cellar (may be past the part that is giving me trouble). Started reading a new book- not very interesting yet, and I'm losing my tolerance to stick with books that don't grab me. I have piles of books that probably will be interesting.

See Fruity? for the pear tree in a different white phase
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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Luscious

 
I always think you will get tired of sunrises and sunsets, but I had to capture today's sunrise.

pink sunrise

When I look at the exact color it's not purple, but the first thing that crossed my mind when I looked out was "raspberries."

pink sunrise

Despite all the sunrise pictures I've taken, this one also demanded to be preserved.

In other news: work, and beta reading a new Gus LeGarde mystery by my friend Aaron Paul Lazar. It's called Murder on the Brewster Flats, and I'm loving the setting and Aaron's talent for non-stop action. Pre-order at Amazon.

See Fire in the Sky
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Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Were You There on that Christmas Night

 

Here's the video of the one completely new song we played on Christmas Eve.


Work, snow, did a little writing, reading a book. So much for today!

See Christmas Eve
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Tuesday, December 26, 2017

One Unique Shark

 
On first reading, that title might appear to be redundant, since "one" and "unique" should be the same thing. However...

shark Christmas ornament

Omer had this one designed and made for me by a friend of his. It is truly unique... the only one like it in the world. Laser-cut wood, in case you can't tell.

However, I do have two shark Christmas ornaments. You've seen the other one. It's very cool, but not unique- mass produced. The jaws open and close when you twist his tail. So, I have one unique shark.

shark Christmas ornament

These are the two holiday examples in what has become a reasonably decent collection of sharks.

Of course, I like to think that I'm a pretty unique shark, so maybe I have two unique sharks, but I don't wear a Santa hat.

I also went skiing today, but did not see a shark or a hawk. Lots of snow, though. It was hovering just above zero, but didn't feel as cold as yesterday when the wind was blowing. I do like the variety of textures and tones in this picture of sumac trees against the pines.

snow on sumacs

In other news: I blew out the driveway, did a bunch of stupid little jobs and I guess, not much else (that I can seem to remember). Tomorrow, it's back to work.

See Christmas 2009
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Monday, December 25, 2017

Christmas Day 2017

 
I stepped out to take a picture of the white Christmas for you.

bare footprint in snow

The wind was cold, but we got just enough new snow to make it pretty. And the skiing was good. I went out for about 20 minutes. (Oh, yeah... I wore shoes for that.)

snowy scene

We ate a yummy meal, followed by snacking on many caloric treats. This year is characterized by way too much food. Last year, we didn't have hardly any candy or cookies. We even joked about it. (Not that we needed more than we had, you understand.) This year, we are drowning in chocolate and goodies. It's difficult to be disciplined.

meal of ham and pineapple

Joshua gave us a huge fruit basket. He's gotten the idea of getting something we can really use nailed down. Now I just need to convince him that we are only two people and a smaller basket would work great!

fruit basket

The rest of my loot is shown here. Steve called and we talked for a while. He sent us DNA ancestry tests. He suddenly got interested in this topic and had his own tested. It came back confirming exactly what we had been told, that he is half Vietnamese and half Chinese. I'm actually really pleased that he has finally developed a bit of interest in his roots.

From Loretta, I got a tent ornament for my collection, a towel for my trailer, and a tiny Leatherman. She is amazing. I don't know if she made a note about some comment of mine long ago, but this is the only model I was really interested in, and she got it! From Omer, I got the things I asked for: the immersion blender and the drill bits.

Christmas gifts

He also got me one of those lenses so your phone can take super close ups- you can put this under the category of things I try so you don't have to. For starters, it is tiny and doesn't fit well. I said, "I'm going to lose this before I've had it ten minutes." Yup, it fell off before I'd taken even one picture. I managed to find it, but I don't think this is something I dare use outside. I haven't got the hang of getting anything in focus yet. Here' my best effort: a piece of fabric. It may be fun to play with. We'll see.

texture of woven fabric

While I was out skiing, I caught the red-tail hawk surveying his kingdom. Very long shot.

red-tail hawk

I was able to clean it up a little bit.

red-tail hawk

Now I'm reading a book and enjoying the rest of the day. (And eating too many cookies!)

A nice laid-back day, and no apologies for it.

See Christmas Eve
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Sunday, December 24, 2017

Christmas Eve

 
Tonight we saw an opportunity to get a family picture with a nice backdrop.

community dinner

We went out to the Community Christmas Eve dinner at Radiant Church. A nice event open to anyone who wants to join in.

community dinner

Then we headed over to the Methodist Church for their service because the handbell choir was playing. We did four songs. I don't have any of those videos processed yet. Maybe in a few days. But the rest of the service was meaningful-- on the subject of light. The pastor doesn't always wear robes, but usually he does on Christmas Eve.

church service

That service always ends with the singing of Silent Night, and candlelight.

candlelight service

Wishing you all light and love and a Merry Christmas.

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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Reading, Writing, Watching, Chilling

 
I seem to increasingly need time that is just quiet and doesn't involve other people. Even other people I like.

Today I finished the book I was reading, The Woman Who Smashed Codes. Excellent read- one of the clandestine parts of World War II that has recently been declassified.

I watched a movie, Seven Alone, made in 1974. It's based on the true story of a family who were traveling the Oregon Trail in 1848. The parents died, leaving the seven children, one an infant. The oldest boy refuses to give up and leads them on westward. It's a little cheesy... being both an older film and probably made for kids. But the story is fascinating since it's true. The boy who leads them was a rebel and troublemaker, but when he was forced to become head of the family as a young teenager, he persevered. The worst part was the film itself was in bad shape before being digitized, and it was hard on the eyes.

In an interesting side note, I kept thinking I recognized the name of the author of the book that tells the story (On to Oregon), which was written by Honore Morrow (1880-1940). Then I though maybe I even remembered why I knew that name. Sure enough, when I looked her up, she wrote many, many books for young readers, mostly based on true stories. I used her book, Splendor of God, in my research about Ann Judson for the chapter 'Nancy,' in my book Would You Dare?

The story of the seven children is based on the personal recollections of Catherine Sager, the third oldest child, and the oldest girl in the family. She related the events directly to Honore Morrow sometime around 1900.

I'm nearly finished with Chapter 11, 'Margit's Nameday,' in The Secret Cellar. Probably will finish it before I go to sleep.

It looks like we have an awful lot of stuff under this tree, especially for a couple of people who have gone very low key on gifts. But there's a box from Steve, more packages from Loretta, gifts from co-workers and friends, and some birthday gifts for Joshua who turned 48 this week.

At any rate, it looks very festive.

Wishing you whatever you need for the holiday- whether it's people time, or chilling time, like me.

Christmas presents

See Restful
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Friday, December 22, 2017

Mailroom Christmas Party 2017

 
Today was the Christmas party at work, and we nailed it! But you already know we are good at that. We lined up three piles of pallets to make a "table," and had pretty plastic tablecloths. Add pizza and lots of finger foods. We all ate till we could truly eat no more!

banquet table set up with pallets

My contribution to the finger foods was a really easy relish tray. It looked great, but was immensely simpler to create than the penguins made in a previous December.

Christmas tree vegetable tray

The gift exchange was fun. We each drew names, and the strangest thing is that it turned out to be four sets. For example, I drew Heather and she drew me, and ditto three other times. Of course we didn't know this had happened until today. The rule this year was the the gifts had to be homemade.

Heather takes some of the strapping bands that come on pallets of inserts and other shipments and weaves baskets. Here's the one she made for me as a gift. And, yes, it's filled with cookies... dark chocolate and craisin. Mmmmmm...

basket woven from plastic strapping

Here's where it gets funny. The day we drew names, I was planning in my head what crafty thing I would make. Then Heather grabbed me and said, "You need to know that books count as homemade, and whoever you get (except Michelle, who already bought the books), wants a set for their gift."

So when I actually got Heather, that was the end of craft planning! All I had to do was wrap up a set of books.

And we finally remembered to take a nice group picture with all the current employees in the Mailroom. We work well together, and "the people" is one of the best things about this job.

group office party photo

In other news: I am getting back to the first of the children's mystery books. I'm really stuck on Chapter 10. I think it should contain certain information, but every time I try to write that, it just feels intrusive. I think I have to let the story happen in the way that feels right, and get this info in later. I'm sure I'll sort it out, but it's being surprisingly stubborn.

We managed to do three runs of actual publications, in addition to the party, so we only have two to do tonight. I don't go in till 11 pm, an hour later than usual. And I get Tuesday after Christmas off, so there will be a nice break after work and sleep.

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