Thursday, December 30, 2010



This is the "Mommy, is Grandma making this quilt for me because she knows how much I love flowers?" quilt. I really intended it to be just a 'utility' quilt for around here in the summer but how can a grandma resist a request like that? It occurred to me the other day as I was trying to fold the many quilts she already owns and she insisted she likes them "jumbled" that she doesn't even like being covered up when she sleeps! For a couple of years I scrounged pink flower fat quarters intending to make a pink and white dresden plate quilt. One day last summer I just got tired of moving the stash from one place to the next so I cut triangles, sewed them back together in no order and bordered it in a soft pink. Utility quilt. It is girly pretty, though. And I still have scraps.

Today, Patient Husband and I saw a phenominally good movie. Run, don't walk to the theater to see The King's Speech ! Oh, my goodness.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

All is calm

All is calm, all is bright
This is the picture of the beach and lighthouse this morning. The church has the best real estate in town and after Mass this morning we stopped so I could take a picture of the ice encased light house, snowy quiet beach and the blue sky just starting to peek through the clouds. It really was beautiful, and a sight the summer people just don't appreciate. But we do.

We had a quiet day today, just Patient Husband and I. You'd never have known it was the holiday. We had our time with our kids the weekend before so this weekend was very quiet. After a nap we went to some friends' house to help eat the leftovers from their Christmas after their kids left. We love their company so the evening was good.

Last night, Christmas eve, we, my siblings, their children and ours spent the evening with my mom. That's us. You know Elizabeth and wiggly Adelaide. My daughter, Lisa, my mom and me.

Yummy in your tummy!!!

Now Christmas is over, it's time to start thinking of gooey goodies for the New Year's celebration. That, too, is very quiet for Patient Husband and I. We decided long ago not to pay the prices of going out on New Year's Eve, the weather is usually snowy horrid, and believe it or not, the New Year arrives even without our supervision. BUT I must tell you about this wonderful recipe I ripped from a magazine just before Christmas. I made it and it's a wonderful (shhh....healthy!), delicious snack that could easily be a meal.

Take three different kinds of olives, I used a pimento stuffed green, a black and a burgundy. Next time I'll be more adventurous. Drain them. The recipe calls for one cup of each but I just used the whole jar. It was close enough.
Toss the olives with:
1/4 cup olive oil,
1 Tablespoon Herbes de Provence (a mixture of rosemary, cracked fennel, thyme, savory, basil, tarragon, dill weed, oregano, lavender, chervil and marjoram),
8 cloves garlic (I used two tablespoons jarred minced garlic)
One pint grape or cherry tomatoes (I used two pints)
Bake at (our) 350 degrees till the tomatoes pop

Serve at room temperature spooning some of the mixture and olive oil onto slices of toasted baguette or crackers.
This was amazingly good. I told Patient Husband I could make a meal of it. And what part of it isn't good for you?

I just looked at the clock and it's ten minutes past Christmas. Hope yours was a nice one.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Deja Vu

Fifty nine years ago this is what I looked like.

She's pretty darned cute in that apron she got from Aunt Erin for Christmas! Isn't that the cutest apron you've ever seen? Isn't she the cutest little girl? She took to it like I take to aprons, too. She wore it all day Saturday and Sunday.

Everyone kept saying this is what I look like in an apron NOW! Top to bottom. All she needs is the ladle in her hand. I guess it could be worse than to look like this sweetie.

We had our family Christmas last weekend so we corralled the kids for a picture but poor Charlie was feeling very poorly - isn't someone always sick (or pregnant) over Christmas? Around here it seems so. Usually it's me after being exposed to 450 children at school, more than half of them coughing and sneezing. Charlie was battling a bad fever and just couldn't get his little self off the couch or someone's lap. It was sad to have him miss the fun of playing with Elizabeth and Adelaide but he just couldn't move. His little sister Cecilia was in top form for the both of them, though. Sweethearts all. We had a good weekend. I hope all of you have a good one this Christmas weekend coming up.

This is my recipe file. It's one of those challenges in life. When I need something I sit on the couch or at the dining table and start going through it. Problem is, I know if it's in here somewhere. I know if it's a torn out magazine page or a newspaper clipping or a notecard or something scribbled on a napkin. I know what I'm looking for, and if I tried to organize this, or as Patient Husband suggested, putting them on the computer, then I wouldn't know what I'm looking for. I did once, when the kids each got married I typed out a cookbook for them to take with them to their new life. I included all of the things they liked and the things they'll wish they asked for when I'm dead. It would have been so easy to print one out for myself, but I didn't. I wouldn't know what I'm looking for.

Friend Marilyn tried to make the peppermint patties from a previous post. I heard from my daughter that Friend Marilyn was not happy. She didn't have much fun and said she wouldn't make them again. Whoa! Friend Marilyn! Not so fast! Before going to that extreme, let's go over this a little. Turns out the problem for her was the chocolate. I melt mine in the microwave so the chocolate can be very runny. Hers was over a double boiler and was thicker than mine. My trick to melting chocolate in the microwave is a trick Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten also uses (and, by the way, a technique I am pleased to say I used before seeing her do this). When microwaving the chocolate, first temper it a little by putting the control on defrost for a slow, slow start. Then I put it on a higher temperature for one minute at a time till it's melted. I can then control how thick its consistency is and it won't seize. You want the chocolate runny, not thick. So, Friend Marilyn, don't give up. These are the easiest thing you will ever make. Give them another try. Valentine's day is coming and they can be tinted a sweet pink.

We hide a pickle in the Christmas tree and the first one to find it gets an extra gift. It was daughter Lisa's turn to hide the pickle and provide the gift (each year's finder is next year's hider/gifter). Patient Husband found it and this was the gift. Well, I was excited about this book because just a couple of weeks ago I tore out an article from the newspaper about this and tucked it away for future reference. Patient Husband heard a story on NPR yesterday with the author. I'm sorry I missed it. It's very interesting and I spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening with it. I'm always interested in the historical record and this is fascinating.

All in all it's been a festive Christmas weekend for us. Patient Husband is back at work till end of day tomorrow, I've been catching up on sleep with a long, long nap yesterday and one coming up yet today, and reading and when I can keep my eyes open for more than an hour I'll start stitching again. I never realize how tired I am from my job until I have a few days off and can let down for more than a weekend.
As you all prepare for this coming weekend of festivities with families, I hope it's all good.

Monday, December 13, 2010


Is there anything that says "Christmas Baking" like butter? At Christmas you have to be a purist on this. Nothing says lovin' like something baked with butter! It smells wonderful while it's baking and with the very first taste it says you cared enough to use the best.
I made a small batch of cookies Sunday. It was my one nod to an old tradition of baking lots and lots of kinds of Christmas cookies, but as the years have passed I whittled down the dozens to three kinds and now that everyone is gone but Patient Husband and me, we certainly don't need anything like dozens of cookies around the house. So this year I made one kind. A simple sugar cookie that everyone will eat so there won't be many left when they all go home Sunday afternoon. They are in the freezer, staying fresh, waiting for the frosting and sprinkles. I can hear them giggling when I open the freezer.
The telephone rang this morning at 5:45 a.m. and I jumped out of bed pumping the air in a "YES!!" cheer because the only phone call I get at that time of the morning is the robot call saying we have a snow day! We didn't get much snow here but we had rain that turned to snow and bitter cold with blizzard winds that froze every surface solid. We didn't have to dig out from several inches of snow but we surely had to watch our step on the ice. Driving would have been tragic for the kids on school busses and people like me who have to drive for an hour on a good day. I had SO much to do to get ready for next weekend when the kids come for our Christmas a whole week earlier than actual Christmas. While we will finish sooner than everyone else, we also have to be ready before everyone else! Over the weekend I wrapped, cleaned corners, dug out pots and pans, made lists and today did more of the same. In the afternoon we ventured to the grocery to buy supplies. Tomorrow we go back to work but with the feeling of much accomplished.
This day was a gift. I hope yours had gift moments, too.

Saturday our good friend Bob treated Patient Husband and I to the experience of WICKED! Oh, my goodness, it was the most amazing performance I've seen in years. If you ever, ever get the chance to see this play, run don't walk to the ticket office.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


I, Bookwoman, went from this:


Yes, I did it. I, Bookwoman, bought a gadget. A book gadget. I'm very excited about it. After months of research and years watching the price come finally down to my level, I bought a Kindle. And I'm really loving it! Everyone looks at me askance " You? YOU have a Kindle???!!!???"

Yes, me. Will I stop buying books? Not ever! But I've put two books on this dandy little thing and have one in the wings. There's a nice feature that lets you read a chapter or two before committing to a purchase, and of course, after reading a chapter or two you DO make the purchase. One of the biggest selling points for me was the text to audio feature. With the push of a button the book is being read TO me. This little feature will make the reading go much faster on the two hour commute everyday. I'll get so much more reading done! The commute will no longer be boring and long! Something productive can be happening!

I love my books. I love smelling my books. I love stroking my books. I love buying and reading my books. I love looking at my books all lined up crookedly on the bookshelves (this is just one room o' books in this house.) I love pulling one down and remembering how much I enjoyed it. I love looking at the photography books with a magnifying glass.

But, from the moment the Kindle was on the market I told Patient Husband there was a place for this gadget. Little did I know it would be such a BIG place. I carry the gadget with me and it's a lot lighter than the book. It's easier to read while eating because I'm not trying to hold the book open with my beverage container, and if I finish a book I can buy another one immediately. This will come in very handy when on vacation and the most trying thing I pack is the bag o'books. I can't take just one. What if I finish it and what if the one I take as a replacement I find I don't like? I have to have three or four with me at all times, just in case, and that takes up room in the suitcase or car. This handy little device will do nicely.

I have to go now. I have a real book waiting. I chose The Distant Hours by Kate Morton and recommend it. I also recommend her other books: The House at Riverton and The Forgotten Garden.