#WeekendCoffeeShare: Sunday November 15, 2015.

#WeekendCoffeeShare was created by Part Time Monster. I’ve always wanted to participate, so this morning, I made an extra pot and I hope you’ll join me.

If we were having coffee…

I would tell you that we are spending the weekend in Augusta, visiting David’s Mom. We haven’t been here in a couple of months, due to my insane debilitating ruthless super-busy work schedule, so the first thing my husband did was tackle the yard, which is huge and needed a lot of attention. I threw on some old shoes and helped him as much as I could, dragging away ivy clippings and the crepe “murder” limbs from his pruning and loading them up in a cart to dump in the woods.  He was happy for the help – I’m not normally much of a “yard-work” kinda girl.

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I would tell you how nice it was to see David’s family. His sister Debbie and her husband are visiting from California and we had an “early Thanksgiving-inspired” dinner together last night.  Southern-style holiday food (roasted turkey, cornbread dressing and gravy, potatoes and cranberry sauce) is my favorite food in the world and I could eat it for days.

After dinner, we watched National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation for the umpteenth million time, as it’s a Thanksgiving tradition in both our families.  My sister will cry “traitor!,” but I’m really okay about not seeing it again until next year.

Very little chance of that happening, though.  ::sigh::

If we were having coffee….

I would tell you that Friday night we watched CNN’s coverage of the horror as it transpired in Paris, just as I’m sure you did.  My heart breaks for all of those who lost loved ones, and I’m more frightened than ever of what our world is becoming.  The only solace is the outpouring of love and support being shown world-wide.  Maybe we’re not as jaded and cynical and self-centered as I sometimes despair – perhaps there’s enough light in us as a people to drown out this darkness and evil.  I would tell you that I’m sending prayers, good energy, positive thoughts (the intentions are the same whatever you prefer to call it) towards the healing of those affected by this tragedy.

Wait, I’m so sorry…may I pour you another cup? 

If we were having coffee…

I would tell you I’m starting to get excited about the upcoming holidays.  I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving and I’ll get to take off for a few days then and probably a whole week at Christmas.

I love this time of year, with so many opportunities to celebrate with the people you love.  (And parties, dressing up, ice-skating, delicious food, twinkly lights and decorations make it even better!)

If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you that I’m feeling very lucky to have made it half-way through NaBloPoMo/Nanopoblano.  I’m a little disappointed with myself – I haven’t written as much or as well as I feel I did last year.  I just don’t have many words right now…maybe it’s just the mental beating I’m taking at work or maybe I just haven’t found my sea legs yet.  I have really enjoyed the writing challenges over at Yeah Write – I haven’t done much “creative writing,” and the microstory challenge is proving to be so much fun: crafting a story in only 42 words.  It delights the wordsmith in me, changing and exchanging adverbs and adjectives, polishing, refining – there are so many words in the English language, but there is truly a “right” word for exactly what you are trying to say. It’s tremendously exciting to hone a tiny amount of language into a larger “story.”

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If we were having coffee…

I’d tell you how lovely it’s been hanging out with you and how much I would look forward to you joining me next week.  Are you sure you won’t take some pumpkin bread “to go?”

I’d also like to thank Nerd in the Brain – I’ve enjoyed her “if we were having coffee” posts so much, it inspired me to brew up a pot and join you all!  I hope you have a wonderful week!

 

December: A Recap

Ta dah!  Now that I have successfully disappeared for a month, I’ll move on to my next trick, which may or may not involve more consistent blogging.

The doctor’s note I’m submitting for my absence will remind the reader that December is the third circle of (work) Hell for me. No surprises there, it has been for the last twenty years or so, since I stumbled into the hospitality industry back in college.  My job has always been to create and insure other people’s holiday memories, not so much my own.

For years I didn’t really care,  but getting married (and older) has made it increasingly important to carve out time for special celebrations with family and friends.

Detective Inspector Ferguson approves the Christmas tree

Detective Inspector Ferguson approves the Christmas tree

So nowadays, about the time the T-day leftovers are packed up, I’m scrambling to plan as many snippets of holiday fun as possible around my chaotic schedule.  While highly valued, they do end up absorbing the wee segments of time I can normally devote to leisure activities like blogging, working out and laundry.

I think I was pretty successful this year in creating some Christmas “me” time; so here, in vague order, is a recap of my holiday season.

The Christmas Tree

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Nothing says, “Whoo-hoo, it’s Christmas!” like a Christmas tree.  A tree is mandatory for me since a long ago Christmas when I was so broke (mentally and financially) that I couldn’t manage one.  My friends chipped in and got me a tiny Charlie Brown tree, which was very sweet, but kinda sad.  Afterwards, much like Scarlett O’Hara, I swore dramatically to “never be Christmas tree-less again!”

Getting that Tannenbaum up and bedazzled is the first thing on the holiday agenda.

Now that I split my time between my loft and the home I share with my husband, I have reluctantly sacrificed real Christmas trees for a faux fir.  Real trees are truly the best, but with a work schedule skewing towards 12-15 hour days and 6-day workweeks, I would only get to enjoy about five minutes of twinkly wonderment each night after work before passing out from exhaustion.  I would then spend the entire next day, trapped at the restaurant, fretting that the loft was erupting in flames since I’d forgotten to unplug the tree lights.

Fake trees don’t smell as nice, but they are slightly less incendiary and don’t turn into a projectile weapon when you finally take them down mid-January.

Christmas Parties

Party group shot!

Party group shot!

Years of serving hors d’oeuvres at other people’s events has left me with a perpetual jones for Christmas soirees where I get to be a guest and dress up in holiday finery to revel with friends.

This year David and I not only hosted our own Christmas party, but we finally made it to our friends Anne and Randall’s Annual Grown Up Cookie Swap with Booze, (which to our shame and regret, we have missed the last three years.) An added bonus: our white chocolate, ancho-chili gingersnaps won “Best Cookie,” garnering us the first prize of a spendy bottle of champagne and the warm fuzzies of success.

Ice Skating

Toepick!

Toe pick!

What’s merrier than a little Holiday on Ice?

Unfortunately, ice skating in Atlanta is pretty much limited to pop-up rinks during the holidays, but I try to squeeze in at least one seasonal ‘Scapade, since I own my own skates and by December, have typically paid down my insurance deductible.

My BFF and I have a running “Toe Pick!” joke that never fails to convulse me in laughter, especially as I’m inevitably the one to take the first colossal wipe-out of the season.  David and I also went ice skating on our first date; which, especially now knowing my husband’s distaste for ice skating, never fails to remind me of the power of love.

Annual 3-D Flicks and Friends Outing

Or not.

Or not.

Every December, I meet up with a couple of fellow geek buddies the Wednesday the week before Christmas to catch whatever gi-normous sci-fi/fantasy 3-D blockbuster the studios are tossing out for the hols.  We started in 2010 with Avatar, moved on to Tron, and have been surfing the Hobbit death-spiral since 2012.

It’s been ages since we all worked together, but we have somehow survived changes in jobs, marital statuses and progressively offensive movie interpretations of beloved books to keep our yearly appointment of film and friendship for these past five years. Wow.

Which only goes to show you that “nerd” is thicker than water.

David’s and my Wedding Anniversary

Celebrating two whole years!

Our Alligator Butler, Jeeves, offers celebratory bubbles.

David and I have two anniversaries, as we had two weddings (the secret helicopter one and the include-the-whole-family one.)  December 22nd marked two years for the family festivity, and January 26 will be 3 years since we said “I do” while choppering about the Atlanta sky.

This year, David surprised me with a starry stroll on the Beltline to Inman Park for a lovely dinner at one of my favorite restaurants.  It was magical to have some “us” time and definitely one of my favorite moments of the season.

Christmas with my family in Alabama

I feel truly lucky that my parents and David’s mom, Linda have become wonderful friends and we are able to spend Christmas together.  It’s just plain awesome to have a jolly hol-i with all the family I love so much – including my sister, her husband, my niece Olivia, and “adopted” sibs Wendy and Alexis.

Playing Santa at the family tree

Playing Santa at the family tree

This year I was able to finagle almost a whole week off work to spend in Birmingham.  Score! Lots of fabulous food and drinks, talking and reminiscing and watching Christmas Vacation for the gazillionth time.  Oh, and lots of love.  That’s the best.

Overall, I think this is one of my favorite Decembers ever.  Hopefully, next year will be just as memorable and if I’m lucky, might actually include in a post or two, the odd sit-up and a little Woolite hand-washing.

Wishing you all a very wonderful 2015!

Oh, Fudge!

I decided to jump feet first into some holiday spirit last night and make chocolate pecan fudge.

My grandmother made it every year for Christmas and the thought of it always brings back wonderful memories of childhood holidays with my family. I don’t think fudge is a uniquely Southern thing, but anything that bad for you has to have some kind of Southern connection. Don’t get me wrong – I love it, but it’s sugar and more sugar fluffed with high fructose corn syrup, plus some sugary chocolate.

Oh and pecans. There you go – protein.

Hahahahahahahahaha.

Anyhow, I more or less follow her recipe, which as mentioned, includes something called Marshmallow Fluff. Marshmallow Fluff is widely used to insulate houses in third world countries and contains absolutely nothing of any nutritive value to the human body.

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You melt the Fluff (oh, why is the word, “nuclear” coming to mind?) in a big pot on the stovetop with a ton of sugar and a dash of salt. Then you “Paula Deen” it by drowning it in a bunch of butter. You boil the concoction for about 5 minutes, stirring until you think your arm will fall off.

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Then you add in vanilla, a gross ton of semi-sweet chocolate chips and pecans.

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I actually found (and used) the nut chopper my Granny gave me about 20 years ago. I didn’t even realize what it was at first, but I finally figured out it must be a manual food processor.

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Pour it into some buttered baking dishes (just in case your cholesterol level thought it still had a fighting chance) and let it set – Voila! Dixie Heart Attack!

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The only way it could be any less healthy is if you could figure out a way to fry it. And I’m sure some Southerner, somewhere, is doing just that.

Most likely with a hearty “Hey y’all, watch this!*”

*Typical “last words” of a Southerner.

NaBloPoMo Day 24: Just Another Manic Sunday…

Wow. Twenty-four days already. I can’t believe there’s less than a week left in NaBloPoMo.

I can’t say that it hasn’t been a hectic 3 weeks to try to cram writing into. I may have started this month’s blogging with a Lazy Sunday, but it’s certainly not ending on one, which kinda sucks. Lazy Sundays are brilliant and amazing and very far between.

This is a Manic Sunday, painfully truer to norm. And this one’s actually extra crazed due to the holiday next week. We’re spending Thanksgiving at the mountain house with my parents and David’s mom so there’s tons of stuff to do: groceries to buy, house and yard work to catch up on before we leave, a week’s full of errands and chores crammed into a day and a half.

First stops: Costco, Kroger and Publix to stock up on trip food and turkey-day goodies. We are not the only ones, apparently, with the same goal. Weaving in and out of the parking lot mayhem, battened by honking horns and snarling drivers we coin a new phrase: “Dial back the douchbaggery!” (or “Buddy, dial down the douche!” for short.)

Looks like everyonetting their Pilgrim on.

Everyone’s is getting their Pilgrim on.

The grocery stores, of course, are covered floor-to-ceiling with holiday food displays and mobbed wall-to-wall with people dragging small children, heaping carts full of cans, boxes, bags and bottles and dashing in and about the fray.

This is kinda scary.  It looks like a very angry butternut squash.

This is kinda scary. It looks like a very angry butternut squash that somehow barfed on itself. Which might be why it’s angry.

But also scary: the mile of frozen Butterballs.

Somehow equally scary: the mile of frozen Butterballs.

After a near miss with a careening buggy and some busted toes from an amok child, I withdrew from the chaos and busied myself window shopping in the wine aisle while David dervished his way through the deli and check out.

Meat Counter Madness

Meat Counter Madness

Finally! Groceries home and unloaded and David on to his next list, I was off to the loft and my own agenda. Fur kid comestibles from Petsmart, petrol for the car, some black tights for the work week. ::sigh:: Lots of stuff, little time.

However…my nail salon was just around the bend, so after filling up the car, I struck off on an impulsive mani-mission.

Got the claws trimmed! Wonderful iron grey polish with iridescent sparkles.  Probably not "brand" at work, but I'll keep a low profile and wear gloves coming in and out of the lobby.

Got the claws trimmed! Wonderful iron grey polish with iridescent sparkles.

Paws prettily polished, my heart was somewhat lightened. I jaunted back across town, singing along with the radio, hoping to find a little relaxation with the hubs while there was daylight left.

Finally a moment to enjoy the beautiful fall day.

Finally a moment to enjoy the beautiful fall day.

We’d been running since morning, with no time for breakfast and lunch, so trying to at least capture a fleeting feel of lazy Sunday, I surprised David with an early “Breakfast for Dinner,” with bacon, stone ground grits, scrambled eggs and mimosas to reward him for his afternoon victory in the on-going war against the leaves.

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Yum. Manic to start, but at least it’s meandering down to something more relaxing. Now for a little blogging to wrap up my week, maybe a movie and a cozy fire in the fireplace.

Here’s to a lovely Sunday to all of you.

Cheers!

Cheers!