Radiogurl a la Carte

Saturday, Dec. 16, 2006
My Toot Toot

Yikes... Christmas is only a little over a week away.

Actually this year I'm doing reasonably well. I can't tell you how many years I waited until Christmas Eve to shop, or at least until the last week before Christmas. I've got all of my shopping done this year already (though still waiting on delivery of some of it, grrr...) I am working today on some of the gifts. Made one bracelet for somebody who's basically just getting something because she's there. My daughter-in-law's is done, and the grandchildren's gifts are all bought. I'm starting on 00's gift today, should have part of it done in fairly short order. Youngest daughter's has to wait because frankly hers depends on some of the materials that haven't yet been delivered.

Baby sister is another critter altogether. Not sure yet what specifically I'll make for her. I know in general, just need to decide on basic style, color and pattern and go from there. But considering I've already started 00's about four times now and still don't have even one item done for her because I keep changing my mind...

Oh well, no biggie. At least I've got the materials and once I decide on the particulars it goes pretty fast. But I don't want to leave much until the last minute because for the boys I will be making a loaf of homemade bread to tuck into their respective baskets. (That will be accompanied by crackers and cheese and other munchies. I never saw a young man - or an old one, either - who didn't love homemade bread.) Fortunately I can make several loaves simultaneously at Baby Sis's house, but that's still a pretty lengthy process and it will have to be left until the last possible moment or the bread won't be good.

We've gotten a few Christmas cards from Diaryland buddies - today the ones arrived from Cosmic and Chaos. (If that's not the perfect name for a novel, I don't know what is.) Cosmic and hubby look absolutely faaaah-bulous, and Chaos's card is hilarious. A couple of days ago we got a card from LuciaB, too. And we got a card from Boxx yesterday. It's always such a wonderful treat to hear from all of my "imaginary friends" online. If I remember right, that's what Boxx's family used to say about online friends.

But considering I met MC online, my son met his wife online (and they've been married seven years and expecting their first baby in a matter of less than a month,) and so on, I figure I've got a pretty darned active imagination!

I don't think I got cards from any other Diaryland buddies yet, though if I did and I find it I'll post it later down the line.

Last night MC and I put up the Christmas tree here at casa WildRosie. Now this was not a trouble-free experience. In fact, it began the night before, when Rosie and her beloved Zeb brought home a gorgeous, luxuriously full real tree. We put water in the tree stand and... uh-oh... Bad news. Tree stand was designed to work with a reservoir, which was missing. Filling it meant water seeping into the vacancy where the reservoir wasn't.

But being the inventive sort, Rosie and I decided that a wax plug in the reservoir opening should do the trick. So we melted a candle or three, and I set the stand on the century-old wooden floor, put in a bit of water - voila! It worked like a charm.

So I put in a bit more water and apparently that busted the charm. Being that we were sorely lacking in arks, the second alternative was to mop like crazy and haul the miniature Niagara Falls out through the front door.

Which meant at dark o'thirty at night (as opposed to o'dark thirty in the morning) we were left with a bit of a conundrum. We had a live tree which required water, but nobody wanted to drive to Scary Vista City to buy a new tree stand until sometime after daylight.

I think it was Zeb who suggested that a mop bucket would serve as a temporary home to the evergreen, and the next day MC and I hauled butt into town with plans to stop at Big Retailer to buy a Christmas tree stand.

However, Fate once more intervened with plans, albeit this time in a much more kindly way. In the course of our travels, we discovered a sort of buried treasure - a Victorian-style fire-engine-red cast-iron tree stand that was pretty much made for Casa Rosie. And we got it for about a quarter (or less) of what we'd have had to pay for a plastic POS stand at Big Retailer.

So who knows? Maybe that's why the old stand bit the dust. This one was meant to be.

We carted home our booty (whoops, wrong diary) treasure and double-checked to be sure IT didn't leak. It didn't. Then we inserted tree trunk into Slot A, added water, MC performed the engineering feats to get the tree straight and stable, and we set about decorating.

Through all of this, Rosie and Zeb were working elsewhere so MC and I were left to our own devices. I didn't work things exactly like Rosie did them, and we only used about half of the ornaments before running out of hooks. (And I refused MC's idea of using big paper clips, though I know for a fact he used at least a few of them.) However, by the time Rosie and crew returned from their late-night entertaining of the troops, the tree was up, in water, stable, straight, semi-decorated, and lights were twinkling from its branches.

Mission more or less accomplished. I even vacuumed up most of the stray pine needles along the way. (Got the rest of them this morning.)

Side note from this morning. When purchasing an 11-pound ham with plans to cook it in the crock pot, note in advance that an 11-pound ham won't fit in said crock pot.

Just thought I'd let you know.

I improvised, chopping off as much of the ham as possible and nestling it into the crock pot, while putting the remainder in a dutch oven with a small amount of water and turning the burner on low. After an 11-pound ham is more or less cooked, then it will fit into a largish crock pot in its entirety.

Next cooking project: how to burn make pinto bean soup in one easy lesson.

I'm also hoping to make some fudge sometime during the week this week - the kind using marshmallow creme and chocolate chips. That's a Christmas staple. It's not Christmas without fudge, at least not at our house.

I also used to make a German Chocolate cake, baked in a loaf pan, sliced horizontally in lots of thin layers, with a thin layer of bitter chocolate between and sealing the whole thing, then coconut-pecan icing over the whole thing. But I haven't made that in eons. Maybe this year....

But for now, I suppose I should just get the laundry done and handle the gifts I'm supposed to make today.

Oh, and the bean soup.

Natural gas is a valuable commodity, y'know.

Before - After

In the grander scheme of things, no soul can truly be replaced. Each one of us has a place in the universal tapestry. We each contribute our own color and texture. When one thread is snipped too soon, it distorts all the threads around it. Other lives can unravel and tear. If the wrong thread is ripped away, the whole fabric of life becomes dangerously fragile.
- LeiLani, aka Radiogurl aka Bright Opal (1957 - )