30 November 2007

The Reward I Bought Myself For Almost Burning My Face Off...


This time of year is fruitful...

Full...

A time for giving...

To oneself apparently.

Every year, as I stroll through both the "real world" and the secondary market (that's fancy talk for Thriftin' It...a.k.a. Resale) at this time of year, I find things. Things upon things...heaps of things...piles, puddles, and bucket fulls...Tis' the Season, to clean out the house...get rid of the things that you aren't using or wearing...before you open the pile of gifts that collect under your tree (or wherever you may put them) in hope that you will use or wear those things instead. A time to give-up worn out things...or indulge in the latest technology (at screaming great deals from retail stores) often upgrading the things you've just put up with for the year, in hopes that you'll get whatever magical thing you want for Christmas that will make your life that much better, thus more bearable...

And wouldn't you know it? I forget from year to year what that translates into. This cleaning out brings people into Snap Snap by the droves...hauling and dragging in armloads, boxes and garbage bags full of clothes they need to get rid of...and often they leave behind the things I don't buy for the shop, which I then put on the $1 rack, or donate them to any other various charities around town (I've got 6 garbage bags full so far) This drive to clean out, also translates into people taking their own things by the thrifts...Which in turn translates into me buying myself things (that's a lot of translating isn't it? No wonder I'm worn out by the time the holidays are over) Things I don't normally find during the year...and at a time when I feel like I should be spending any extra money I may have on gifts for other people...

Tis the Season...

To be very good to me too...damn. I found myself struggling with this very concept yesterday early in the Thrift...and to be fair, my morning started out a little haphazardly...I was washing my face with a sample of an organic "wrinkle reducer" soap, toner, and moisturizer trio...and it started giving me a chemical burn...So, I suppose I won't have any wrinkles indeed...because there is no longer any skin on my face at all...No skin = No wrinkles...interesting yet painful concept...beauty hurts. I was hopping around the bathroom in pain, screaming "it burns! it burns!" (the cat did not even get up off the chair where she was resting...after just moving her warm fuzzy butt from my bed, she is getting use to my antics) trying to rinse and then cover up all the redness that was now my raw face...when I decided to do something to reward myself...you know? To forget the pain...I just got a new SoniCare toothbrush in the mail to test out for a company, so I have been brushing my teeth every spare chance I get, because it feels so good...and I love it so much!! There's a timer to alert you to when you need to switch quadrants of your mouth it massages your gums...and then it automatically shuts off when you're done...plus, it sterilizes your tooth brush head...oh joy! (Brushing my teeth almost wiped out the horrible memory of burning all of my skin off...how many times can you say that?) Then, later that morning, I found myself standing at the thrift store gazing at a duvet set:

  • 1 Heavy Duty Duvet Cover (probably a queen, who can tell when it's all folded?)
  • 2 Matching Shams
  • 2 Quilted Shams
  • 1 Shower Curtain (which always brings out my fantasy that I am a cool jet setter living in an apartment in Manhattan, then again, my house isn't that big)

The reproduction vintage floral print and the sheer weight combined with the quality of the linen cotton fabric blend made me realize that I was not looking at some cheapo knock off...and I was right. On closer inspection, I turned up several Pottery Barn tags. So, what's the problem right? Well...

  • It had a $30 price tag on it (for all 7 pieces)
  • I don't in any way shape or form have any need for a new duvet cover or shower curtain
  • I just cleaned out half the living room and took a ton of stuff out of the house for resale and donating
  • It is Christmas time and I don't need to be spending my money on myself
  • BUT, it was from Pottery Barn and it was only $30
  • I didn't have the luxury of standing and trying to decided if I wanted to buy it, because someone else would immediately come by and snatch it right up...and I was going to be late to work if I kept standing there

Do you see my dilemma here? This is often the dilemma that presents itself while thrifting...should I? shouldn't I? Usually it's a should sort of thing, as whatever it is that you pass up eventually becomes some epic thing that will grow into some legend in your head of the thing that got away...

"Do you remember that one time _____?!?!?! When I saw that/those ______?!?! Do you remember how ______ that/they were?!?!? Why didn't I buy it/them?!?!?!"

Luckily, owning my own resale clothing store, that also has room for vintage and wonderful linens affords me a place to put the "left over" things that I don't use anymore in my home...so, I don't usually go too wrong in not buying various things...someone somewhere will eventually find their way to my corner of the world and snatch the things up...After all, I watch it happen every day.

So, I bought the set...I pieced it out on the Internet and realized that new from the Pottery Barn, it probably would have cost me around $315.00...which is often how I justify hauling this stuff home...the money I save by not buying it new (not that I would have bought it new, but it looks like something I would if I was to spend my money on things like that) We will now be referring to this as: The Reward I Bought Myself For Almost Burning My Face Off (giving something a title is another way of justifying the purchase of things...cause' you know it took the sting right away...and erases the worry that I won't be able to afford to eat, but hey...the bed looks great!!)

The Question is now...
Do I wait until the spring to put it on the bed, Or shall I do it after I take the Christmas Quilt off?

Things I am Thankful For:

I woke up to actual water falling from the sky...YAY for rain!!

A beautifully wrapped gift from this most talented of photographers...filled with a pile of original postcard photo images and a lovely handmade holiday card...I had a hard time opening the gift because of the beauty of the wrapping...but, my excitement for the postcards won out...

This is the last day of NaBloPoMo...I posted every day in November. It wasn't as hard as I thought, and then again...it was a little bit (although, I did not stop and have a baby during the middle and keep on going...good job Suz!) I learned:

  • I like taking the weekends off from blogging
  • Sometimes my life just isn't that interesting
  • I am not thankful on the weekends (I kept forgetting to post any thankful things then for some reason...perhaps I am out enjoying myself too much?)

SO...enjoy your weekend...I will be praying for snow/rain, and washing my new duvet set.

I will return on Monday...

29 November 2007

I Am Soooo Thin...

These were the words I was singing gleefully at the top of my lungs to myself and the cat...yesterday morning on my way to the therapist...

You see, I haven't been walking as much as I was (try once a week if you make me) and I have been a little worried in the back of my mind about my weight. I think when one looses as much weight as I have, you probably always worry a little bit...so, I have been watching what I've been eating and trying to be more healthy (which is represented by this pot of Canalinni Beans and Tomato dish I made yesterday pilfered from my new favorite cookbook Apples For Jam I'm telling you...the recipes in this book are easy and good...and this one called for celery leaves, which was fun because when do you get to use your celery leaves? I usually just throw mine away) and here I was...putting on a little denim skirt to wear for the day and zipped it up, and it was not as snug as it was the last time I wore it...

Cause' this is a GOOD week...it's finally my time to shine here!

I did have a sneaking suspicion that I may not have washed it in between the last time I wore it and yesterday...but, I decided to dismiss that thought entirely and be happy and hum a lot under my breath because the fact of the matter was...this skirt fit better...and as I sat down in the car driving to my therapy appointment, my skirt felt so loose...

Seriously.

There was some room in this thing now that had not been there before...

I was so happy...

And...Proud of myself...

Until I took two steps out of the car and the entire skirt fell down around my ankles and almost killed me, because the zipper had come entirely undone.

damn.

Things I am Thankful For:

The ability to laugh at myself as I stand in a public parking lot, desperately trying to do my zipper up with one hand and walk, turn off the cell phone, lock the car door...all while trying not to flash anyone.

Being able to make tasty healthy easy and good food (and lots of it so that I have enough to take to work with me for the rest of the week for lunch)

28 November 2007

An Important Holiday Question...

Posed to me by, Ms. Hello Insomnia, Mona...whom not only makes me chuckle quite a bit (and snort various liquids through my nose depending on what I'm drinking at the time...and sometimes it stings) AND, since I don't have her direct email...I thought I'd answer the question directly here...cause' I know you're all dying to know...

What is your oldest ornament?

Well Mona, et. all...my mother and I had a small discussion where she giggled at my age (gotta' do that right? Even if you aren't drinking caffeinated coffee? I mean, as a child I asked her what it was like when she was little and there were dinosaurs? So, on some level, I was totally asking for it...OK, to be fair...I watched a lot of Flinstones, I had no idea...I mean, the cartoon was created when she was young...it's just a natural assumption a 5 year old would make...I do remember her getting miffed) Ahhh...well, I have my very first stocking, which is tiny tiny...and a star my father made for the top of our trees when I was little...out of little pine cones all wired together (no gold paint or glitter however) it gets unwrapped every year and I "ahhhhh" over it, but I stick with the sock monkey tree topper I have...

Oh, um...oldest ornament? Right. (because we're loosing daylight hours here aren't we? Master ADD storyteller at work here...)

Well...I have some awesome glitter ones...a little church and a little snowman, and a tiny pink tinsel star that I pilfered from my mother's collection from when she was a child...you, know...when no one was looking? My mother is really the one that has the great ornaments...she started collecting blown glass ornaments from the Victorian era when we were kids...so, when I think of really neat vintage ornaments, I think of the ones that graced our tree. Then again, my father also has some really amazing vintage ornaments that grace his totally cool vintage white feather tree (with a wind up musical stand...) Actually...my oldest ornament would have to be the glass bead garlands, which are actually not on my tree at the moment, I believe they are Victorian, and were culled from my mother's collection...they are really great...but, I opted to not put them on the tree this year. Kind of boring, huh? I like the ornaments from the 40's and 50's on up...

My oldest ornamentation would probably be battled out by either the Christmas Candles or the cardboard creche scene (that I don't have room to put out...and wouldn't that be a fight to see?) My grandmother had this little Creche put up always when I was little, and my mother kindly found this one for me...and said, "Here...this is the one GG always had up!" Which made me about 9 shades of happy, even though, it usually sits packed away in a box.




My weirdest ornament was an Incredible Hulk Hallmark thing that my EX picked out one year...it was just awful. We use to go to Hallmark every year to get one collectible ornament a piece to commemorate the season (now I take Rozzie for a special ornament instead) and I think that one some level he was just trying to pick out the tackiest one he could find, and piss me off...Then again, maybe not...I mean, I know we grew up with the Incredible Hulk TV show, but really? I'm just thankful that they didn't have The Creature From the Black Lagoon...But, I got rid of the hulk a few years back (after the divorce) So, my weirdest ornament, also picked out by my EX (one that made me roll my eyes at first, cross my arms and tap my toe right there in the store...but one that I'm super happy that I have now) is Samantha from Bewitched! Rozzie also eyes it every year...because she loves Bewitched as well, so it may just be passed down to her someday (oh the holiday legacies live on)

What is your oldest Holiday decoration/ornament?

*OR*

What is your most unusual Holiday decoration/ornament?


Things I am Thankful For:

The weird and creative Hallmark ornament designers who are busily working away to find unusual and totally non-holiday things in which to make an ornament...so that you will then, spend your hard earned money to adorn your home with weird plastic characters from TV shows of the past (because you're so nostalgic for a simpler time...like when someone pisses you off, you split your clothes turn green and whomp on their ass...Merry Christmas!!)

The person who decided it would be a good idea to make red and green storage bins, so that I know where all my weird plastic holiday goods are at, at all times...

PS...Blogger is not forwarding my comments to my email, so I am trying to play catch up with my responses...I am sorry if I haven't said HI to anyone in a while...is anyone else out there that's using Blogger having a problem with this??

*UPDATE*

Holy Monkey Trumpets! I just opened my email...I got ALL the comments...good grief...

27 November 2007

I Bought an Airstream This Weekend...

Because, I thought I deserved it...

I've always wanted one, you know.

Sometimes you just have to start small though...

It was super affordable and I didn't even have to wait in long lines to buy it (Go Team Hallmark!)

Plus, I think Honey could probably tow this one...

(I'm so happy)

Now...


Where should I go on my first trip?


Today I am Thankful for:

That it is finally getting cold...I know, a weird thing to be happy for, but I love the pine trees here, and I realize that if it does not get cold...they will continue to be unhealthy...I would also be thankful for some rain and snow!

I am totally done with my holiday shopping! Ok, got you...I'm not, but I am enjoying it.

25 November 2007

Oh, Sunday...




Oh...There's a knock at the door...




It's you! Come on in...see what I've been up to...






I've carefully unwrapped all the vintage candles and set them out...


The creche and most of the angels hang out together, behind the comfy overstuffed chairs...

Being watched over by the Holiday fur ball...because there was a giant cat at the birth of Jesus, right?




And, I decorated the Mantle...because, really...it's time.

The mantle has a lot of the choir boys, some whom have melted a bit and look as though they're hemorrhaging...poor little things. Their age and the heat gets to them sometimes (and one little guy's head isn't attached, which about gives me a heart attack every time I go to grab him and move him)

The Magic sign is in place flanked by glitter birds and Santa and a snowman. As you can see, there are 2 little cardboard acorn candy holders from Michaels that are desperately awaiting their coat of red glitter as well...


And see that cat and mouse right next to each other? It's like a Christmas miracle...






You can follow me into the kitchen to see the goodies that Rozz and I baked...but first, turn around and take a gander at the tree...

We decorated it all up.

This is the first time I've decorated the tree with all of my ornaments since the divorce. It was like opening a million special little friends...

shiny friends.






And...into the kitchen we go...

I love to decorate the door jambs in the living room with evergreen boughs and ornaments...it lends a festive air to the room (not like that silly 7 ft. tree in the corner) I have 2 doorways leading out of the living room on that dark brown wall...one leading to the kitchen, the other to my bedroom...Oopsie...

It looks like there is some mistletoe missing...you know? In case someone wants to come over for a quick kiss...

Oh...after all that walking around, you probably would like a little treat wouldn't you?

Well, you're in luck, because Rozzie and I made 2 loaves of pumpkin bread...

Please help yourself...

There's vanilla icing on the counter behind you if you're so inclined...

I'll put on the tea...it's been so chilly hasn't it?

You can go back and find a chair and put your feet up!




Today I am Thankful For:


All my ornaments and decorations...they're like special little gifts that I've gotten myself for years, and they all make me so very happy.

Spending the day with Rozzie, running errands and making food...learning how to knit a new way (even though I accidentally broke her little knitting tool...sorry)

Fluff and Dust...

That was the scene around here on Saturday.

All. Day. Long.

I was wandering
through the rooms of my house while on the phone the other night, as I am wont to do...and I noticed the piles. Well, one could not help but notice as I was forced to pick my feet up every few feet and step over them...things that have been carefully stacked collecting in the corners were now spilling into the middle of the room, and were found falling off of every available surface...Not good.

My dust was getting dusty.

So, I started...by organizing and culling my clothes in the armoire, thus freeing up one of the big laundry baskets of clean laundry that's been sitting around since last week. I turned around and filled that basket up with clothes that are now moving on to Snap Snap. I was on such a roll (and also wanting to rip some TV episodes into iTunes...which, come to find out, one can do while cleaning! Who Knew?) I continued on to the large white cupboard by the door that houses, stationary, candles, incense, tarot cards, gift certificates, and most everything that I use in my revolving mantle/house decorating (otherwise known as a giant catch-all) I also opened up the coffee table and cleaned out the underneath of clutter and books I'll never get around to reading, and replaced them with some down floor cushions and a down lap blanket...I also did 2 loads of dishes and dyed my hair (And muttered a lot under my breath about the amount of things I have and don't need anymore...the cat gets agitated when I shout)

And all while on a few cups of decaf
(and a break for a left-over turkey wrap sandwich, au gratin, and cranberry sauce)

I eventually loaded up
the car with things to sell at the shop, which I ran down right before my mother closed up for the day...3 trips it took from the car to the shop for me to get everything in (you know what I'll be doing on Monday) I still have more to go down to the shop as well...a pile of books to be traded in for credit at Hastings, and a pile of things for my mother to go through, plus a garbage can full to throw away...and a ton of paper to recycle. Running to the shop (and a 15 minute quickie to the grocery) was the only time I left the property...

all. day. long.

It was a windy and freezy cold day, so it was perfect for staying inside...and cleaning up (and it helped to keep me warm to be moving around and sorting. I decided to skip the holiday light parade as it's not that great...and it only reached a high of 50 today...wind and cold at night? No thanks) I think the house looks and feels so much better...surfaces are cleaned and dusted, several candles are lit in most rooms upstairs, the mantle and the behind the chairs table are both decorated for Christmas, I've got hot mug of Sleepytime tea mixed with agave syrup in hand, a purring furball on my lap...and the fireplace is going. I am cozy and much happier...a little clutter is one thing, but I've noticed more than a little? It stresses me out. I still need to tackle the entertainment armoire, vacuum and mop the floors, and decorate the tree...but, Rozzie is going to come over this Sunday morning and help me bake some pumpkin bread...and she usually likes to help decorate the tree, so I think I'll let her help me.

Pumpkin bread with icing sounds like a darned good reward for all that's been done around here...

And a good kick-start for the stuff that is still needing to be tackled...

24 November 2007

Black Friday...


I thought I'd wait to post the shopping drama until I decided that I was either actually going to attempt it, or snuggle down into the flannel sheets and sleep instead...

While driving around on Thanksgiving, I enticed Rich to stop at a local grocery to let me run in and get a paper:

"Wait...why do you need a paper? Are you actually going shopping in the morning? Are you seriously after anything in particular?"

"No...I just, um...well, I don't want to miss anything...you know, just in case..."

He opted to wait in the car, while I ran in...which was a smart move on his part seeing as I became stranded in line behind a man who felt the need to raise his voice about the high price of vodka, and rant about the other high prices in the store...and all for naught. Can you believe they were completely sold out of papers?
Seriously...

So was everyone else. Rich suggested I check online, as most stores publish their sales on the net...I couldn't explain to him that it's not the same as having the advertisements right in my hands...for one thing, reading ads on a computer make them a lot smaller...and then I forget what I'm looking at and I have to write it down...oh, it's like taking a class. Plus...I wanted the Michaels coupons and I couldn't get them...and there wasn't a darned thing I needed anyway (everything seems so expensive, even when it's on sale)

Which doesn't explain why I woke up and went out...but, that I did. Actually, I'm happy that I went out...not only did I get some unexpected gift shopping done (mostly for me) but I got to reconnect with a friend I hadn't seen in a while as we waited in the line in Target to check out...both of us there for the silliest of things. When I walked out to the parking lot, I thought someone had stolen my car because it was parked so far away from the entrance...which if I remember correctly, was one of the only empty spots left anywhere near the store (someone said that the line to get into Target was down to the Home Depot (and it was in the 30's this morning) which is a darned good jaunt to the left of Target. Everyone seemed to be really civil...which was kind of disappointing because I heard that someone got punched at Kohl's for cutting in line...

Now THAT would have been worth the trip out to Prescott Valley...

People are whipped up into a frenzy at this time of year...store employees are warned and trained...Someone might get hurt...Which is understandable on some level, as I waited in line at WalMart at 3 am when I bought my first lap top...You would not believe the behavior of people who just shove their way in front of you when the doors are about to open, people who just walk right up and think it's OK for them to get in front of you...I think though, that most of the large stores get super excited about Black Friday and encourage people to freak out by not having any order to the lines that go into the stores, and just a few of the most popular things in stock.

I like to watch people this time of year, see how they navigate...what they buy...it was always my favorite time to work in huge retail stores because you can actually be very helpful to people (it's fun to find and sell things that you know people are going to wrap up and give to someone else to help them have a happy holiday) and it's fun to be around all the chaos...I also think being lucky enough to get a laptop that year at WalMart (as there were only 10 in the entire store...actually, I got one for both my mother and I...we happened to be standing in line next to the manager of the electronic department that day...so, I think we all bonded. That's kind of a weird mentality isn't it? Line Bonding? You stand next to a small group of people for a few hours...and you kind of bond to them in your own way, and then you usually never see them again) I figure I was super lucky to get what I wanted on The Day After...nevermind that it was a few years ago (and I replaced the HP with a Mac) I still feel lucky to this day.

And when I got to work? There was a line in front of Snap Snap...OK, it was more of a milling about of 3 people excited for me to open so they could come in and shop, but I felt super important anyway...sometimes people forget about us smaller stores in downtown...

Cause' they're at the mall...

getting all beat up.

23 November 2007

Au' Gratin...

The potatoes yesterday were very good...although a little runny. Ahhh...you see, the fact that I did not try out this recipe before I made it the first time gives me the creative license to start apologizing for whatever could be wrong with the dish...cause' that's how I roll...

Actually, the flavor was lovely...Rich and I both liked them, and I'll be taking a taste over to my mother's to see what she thinks...I think there is room for improvement, and I will be looking forward to trying that...

I also made
the Broccoli Soup from Apples For Jam...it was heavenly and super easy to make! And from those two contributions, I managed to cut my finger open...how I did that, I'll never know...I just don't remember getting this injured when I made the whole big dinner with all the trimmings (minus finger bits of course...)

Oh...I spent Thanksgiving day with Rich...we had a table full of good food, and stuffed our little faces while watching Meet The Robinsons. After letting our food settle, we decided to go out for a drive down to Perkensville. What an amazing and beautiful place! I've seen it through the canyon's eyes while taking the Verde Canyon Railway, but this is just as beautiful. We wanted to look at the Indian Ruins out there, but got started a little late...plus, after the big meal it was hard to stay awake. We decided on a trip out there soon, only we would get started much earlier...maybe take a picnic? It was wonderful to get out and drive around and see all the water and the fall colors that are still in the canyons...




I left Rich
dozing on the couch that evening, and came home to do my Thanksgiving evening traditions...Which would be...

Putting up the tree (the skinny pre-lit beauty I got last year...which is so danged easy to put up, it is like cheating)

Watching Christmas Vacation...it helps get me in the crazy fun holiday mood.

Going to bed in a timely manner...so, as I could get up and get the good deals (I had to actually find them online as the entire town sold out of the local paper...ugh...I really wanted that Michaels coupon)

22 November 2007

Happy Thanksgiving...

I hope your day is full of fun and food!

My mother was regaling the horrors of Thanksgiving past, not too long ago (of which there were not many...but, anyone who entertains on the holidays or cooks usually has a few fun stories to share...) My mother was never too afraid to try a new recipe or something that might make us all a little fuller and happier...but, true to her advice, it was always better to try these recipes before you had a fancy dinner or guests...advice that I wish I would follow closer...but, I'm usually trying it on the day with my fingers crossed (which sometimes results in crunchy cookies and cooking things twice as long because I can't figure out if it is quite done yet...?? But, it's also kind of fun too, because it usually results in any one of the women in my family all bent over the oven with me poking and prodding and asking about what I used for ingredients and a lot of, "I don't understand" or "it will be fine" and then they start to laugh and share their cooking stories...)

Her favorite story of Thanksgiving Past, and the one that made us laugh the most was one about her hosting Thanksgiving at the very first house her and my father had bought...She, when retelling it, was not sure if my father had bought an unusually large bird that year, or that we had an unusually small stove (since we were looking at her vintage stove last night and realized she could not only cook 2 normal sized birds and all the sides at the same time) Anyway...that year, after she realized she could not cook the bird with the oven door closed...she drug her tired self out of bed at 1 AM, where she started cooking...until we ate...all day. She wired the door sort of open/closed...and my mother NEVER cooked a bird in a bag all the years she cooked it...she always basted (I've done this and I basted every 15-30 minutes, it's really time consuming...but worth it) So...even though I can't remember it, she was up at least every half hour, basting and turning the bird in the oven so it could get done on all sides...Poor mom, I can't imagine how stressed out she must have been after agreeing to host the big dinner...

And it was fine...
we had a great Thanksgiving with a perfectly moist and perfectly cooked turkey...with all our traditional family sides...I would imagine that she bought the birds after this year...although, we moved before the next Thanksgiving...hopefully to a house with a larger stove...

Today I am Thankful For:

The women in my family cooking and encouraging cooking and experimentation in the kitchen...resulting in wonderful and memorable family recipes and crazy funny stories, and the confidence that I can (mostly) cook anything...

How much easier it is to cook around food allergies so that it is possible to still enjoy the same foods that actually taste just as good or better...(yeah, that was my little prayer thrown out to the Thanksgiving food gods as I am attempting vegan potato au gratin...and NO, I did not try it out before today...I meant to, but...um, I just ran out of time)

21 November 2007

Happy Halloween...

I mean...

Merry Christmas...

No?


Well how about Thanksgiving? See...what happens when all the decorations are out and melding together? I have no idea what I'm celebrating...It seems, as a child...that there was more of an order...a one at a time thing with holidays...Oh well...right before I get ready to decorate for Christmas and even before the Thanksgiving thing apparently comes the 90% off sale of Martha Stewart Halloween crafts at Michaels...

Which is a Good Thing...right?

I thought so. I snatched up this little pile of goodies and did not spend more than $1.50 on anything here...I can make my own fun weird laboratory invitations with glass slides, decorative banner, and glitter bug stickers. And see? I'm already ready for next year...

Because I'm going to start decorating for Halloween right after The 4th of July...

That sounds just about right.

Today I am Thankful For:

Having all my holiday shopping for the Thanksgiving meal done...I think.

Getting the HUGE load of new goodies priced for Snap Snap...I can finally see the floor behind the counter...and it only took me 3 days! So, I'll be ready for BLACK FRIDAY...which in my opinion, was always the most fun day to work in retail...

20 November 2007

Oh Nuts...

I was at my mother's this weekend picking up some egg replacer for the crunchy cookies I made...ahem, and she mentioned that she had discovered a box of Christmas things that she doesn't remember even putting up since we moved to Arizona (we figure they got lost in the storage of the old house)

Well...
there was a mismatch of odd assortments of things from her childhood and mine...and a bunch of really old ornaments...I'm assuming from someone elses childhood as well...some packed in the most amazing vintage shoe boxes!

There were a lot
of really wonderful and fun things...and among them was this gold glitter macaroni and nut beauty...Oh yes...it is quite amazing. I gabbed it and said, "can I have it?!" My mother made sure that I was the one who had made it (which leaves my sister breathing a sigh of relief somewhere, as this can not be the kind of thing she would expect in a package)

I love it! It is the epitome of school or Church crafting in the 1970's (since it did not have a date or place on it, only my name who knows when or where I made it?) my mother was, of course, proud of my composition...and we laughed hysterically when we imagined the teacher standing above a group of kids saying things like,

"Don't just load up on pasta people...there are some mighty fine nuts here too!"

Oh...doesn't everything just look better with a layer of gold spray paint and glitter?

Today I am Thankful For:


macaroni, glue, gold spray paint and glitter...and a mom who saves the good crafts...so we can laugh at them later.

Tom-Ka Thai soup for dinner tonight to accompany knitting with the fam.

19 November 2007

To Nurture...

Sunday became the day of baking...fixing...mixing and self nurturing...I am trying to keep true to the promise I made to myself of good healthy food full of flavor...anything spicy, fresh and new will do...

I all of a sudden feel like experimenting...I feel daring...bold...I feel like I'm doing everything to help myself work through the current personal life trauma...

Well, at least I will be eating well.

Sunday's specialty of the house were:

Quinoa Tabouli salad...because I love tabouli salad, I crave it...I can not eat the traditional tabouli salad because it is made with bulgar wheat and it makes the tum-tum very upset...I also put olive oil in mine, not safflower...

Split Pea Soup...with soy baco-bits and just towards the end I throw in a ton of fresh dill...but not while it's cooking. Because that would make the dill flavor go away...and the dill is just so very necessary in this dish.

I also made Carob Chip cookies for Rich for his birthday...I can not for the life of me, get them right...cause' they keep turning out really crunchy. I was thinking that it was the egg substitute, but this time the dough had the perfect consistency (damn false hope) So, I think it's the non dairy butter substitute instead. The health food stopped carrying the sticks I used and all that's left is whipped stuff in a tub...but, it's making the cookies too greasy...and damned crunchy (seriously, they could be used as cereal)

Things I am Thankful For:

That I remembered to post my thankfulness...I missed the last 2 days...maybe I'm just not thankful on the weekends?

That no matter what I'm going through in my life...I have the most amazing people who care, want to help and have such wisdom and guidance and patience...the time to take out of your own life to listen and connect. I feel so blessed to have you all...thank you.

That a large and wonderful load of clothes is coming into the shop Monday morning, so there will be wonderful new things this week at Snap Snap (in time for BLACK FRIDAY...eeeee!)

That when a door seems to close, and things seem to stop moving forward...that something always opens when and where you least expect it...which is a constant reminder that we don't quite know what the outcome will be, or what is best for us in the end...and we're being taken care of...we haven't been forgotten.

18 November 2007

Happy Birthday...


Dad and Rich!


Ahhhh...
two of the most important men in my life happen to share the same birthday...coincidence, no? They are both wonderful, caring, sweet, funny, generous quick to laugh...those are the comparisons I like to do...other than that...I don't compare too much, because while they both share so much of the same wonderful qualities, they are also both very different...

Which is good, seeing as variety is the spice of life. Plus, let's be honest...no one really wants to be dating their father, I don't care what psychologists say (I mean, I love you dad...I just don't lurve you) we may start life out by wanting to marry our fathers because we know them and are comfortable with them, we have and inkling that they just might love us...but why not take their best features and look for that with the men we want in our lives?

I know that I am very lucky to know both of these men...

very lucky indeed...

Happy Birthday JohnDad...

Happy Birthday Rich...

All my love.

17 November 2007

Happy Birthday Megan...

A small dent in the fabric stash/pile...



A little early Saturday Morning creativity...

A New Favorite Scarf (a direct quote from Megan)


Happy Birthday Megan...

All my love.

16 November 2007

What's Cookin'...

Toots?

Yesterday I went to the library book sale...our local library accepts used books, magazines, music and movies to resell...all to benefit library programs. It's awesome...and I often pick up current magazine issues (as well as back issues) and yesterday?

Well...yesterday I found some new Vintage Cookbooks...

I'm not a huge cookbook fan...I like them, I mean, I just don't sit around reading them in my spare time for new foods to eat, I have a few that I adore of course...The Joy of Cooking, Moosewood, Apples For Jam...and several others...but, I am oddly drawn to these beauties. I love the old (and sometimes horrifying recipes) the pictures...cartoon drawings and real photos of families...and the little animated fruit, veggies, and kitchen items (who doesn't love a handsome cooking pan holding hands with a happy flame of gas having a ho-down with some grapes and bananas?)

On some level...I am fascinated with the typical American family, split with...how do I become a feminine woman? I know...I figure...you're shaking your heads because I should know this stuff by now right? But even before the divorce I started questioning my role as a woman...and a feminine one at that...balancing that quality with working outside of the home in my own business, in my marriage and society as a whole(notice I'm looking in the past for this one instead of the here and now? Plus...they have damn nice furniture) The perfect examples?
  • Right Eating Keeps you Swingin' (1964-Carnation Co.)
  • Festive Foods For Family Fun (1966-Wisconsin Gas Co.)
  • Bride's Guide To Cooking For 2 (1960's-The Test Kitchen of the American Dairy Association)

The last one is cooking with Evap. Milk...mmmm



There's no particular rhyme or reason for the books I buy...I love the old premiums given away for free, ones that tell me how to use some of the more odd products out there successfully (and the recipes? OH boy!) I've wanted to start a blog just of dinners I could make from these books...
  • Betty Crocker's Cooky Carnival (1957-Betty Crocker)
  • Miracles With Minute Tapioca (1948-General Foods)
The cookie ones have the best recipes that people don't publish anymore...I could do a whole post on the constant changing appearance of Betty Croker...and the Minute Tapioca? The tag line reads: Creamy desserts-fruit pies and puddings-souffles-soups-meat and fish dishes (really?)


Tested Recipes Sego Brand Unsweetened Evap Milk (1920's-30's-Sego)
  • He Brings You the Priceless Gift (20's-30's- Vegex Vitamin powder from Westfield Mass. "the Pure Food Town")
  • 30Tempting Spaghetti Meals (20's-30's-Franco American)
  • Make Ice Cream in a Jiffy! (1932-Ice Cream Powder...Jell-o Co.)
  • Calorie Saving Recipes With Improved Sucaryl (1955-Sucaryl)
  • From the Tropics to your Table-83 tested Banana Recipes (1926-Fruit Dispach Co.)
My father gave me this batch...I love the really old ones...I love the amazing varieties of foods there were, and how many different companies were giving these out...to help the Housewife! The banana one is pretty incredible, with highlights like: "IMPORTANT: In preparing bananas for cooking they should always be peeled before using and all coarse threads removed." with 3 pictures of bananas in various stages of ripe. Well...OK then. When were bananas first imported here? OH...and fried bananas with bacon or sausage, Rice bananas and poached eggs...


I also enjoy the bar-b-q books...especially the silver one here...it's a premium from an aluminum foil company...obviously...

  • Big Boy Barbecue Book (1956-Big Boy MFG. Co. and Kingsford Chemical Co.)
  • How to become a Cookout Champion (1959-Kaiser Foil)
  • Steps in Modern Gas Cooking, featuring..."Lady of Flame" (1950's-Southern Counties Gas Company)

I would probably die if I found a Reddy Kilowatt cookbook...











I don't usually buy any from the 70's, but the title on this one?

Ball Blue Book...

snort.

Priceless...

(cause' I'm 12...)

Plus...I have no idea how to can, so I figured it would be a good skill to know as a Housewife...in between waxing my wood floors and shopping with coupons...






And, the two I have displayed above my stove in the kitchen:

  • Your Frigidaire Recipes (because it's what probably came with my stove when it was new...in the 40's-1938'45- General Motors)
  • My best Meat Recipes (1945-46-National Live Stock and Meat Board)

The last one was given away compliments of:

Independent Cash Market
111W. Goodwin ST.
Prescott, AZ
Northern Arizona's Finest Food Market

I didn't even know we had a market in that location, of course, my family moved here in the 80's...so, it was probably long gone...but, that one is really special to me...

I hope you enjoyed this little peek in the past...I have a ton more of these...

So, what do you think? Once a month we meet for a dinner party here at the blog? I'll make and publish the recipes and do a review?

Things I am Thankful For:

That people cared to make and publish these little books...and that people collected them...and that people are now getting rid of them...And that they hardly ever cost over 50 cents...which makes collecting a dangerous obsession indeed...

That today is Friday, and I have 2 days off to recoup and craft...

15 November 2007

I Present To You...

The Thanksgiving Mantle...


Which has actually been up and decorated for quite a while now...and I know your holiday's aren't complete without a view of the mantle...

Oh wait...

That's my holidays.










The mantle is showcases my Snoopy mantle scarf (I made it myself last year) felt flying bird garland (also made by yours truly last year) and several different sizes of pilgrim and turkey candles...those are vintage though, and I can't lay claim to anything other than collecting them...they're from the same people who make the Christmas ones I collect...My mother has the Indians from the series (covet covet...but, she's been collecting longer, so it's only fair)






And the extreme close-up of the centerpiece of the mantle:

I'm kind of wondering why the Pilgrims are praying? Usually the women are praying and the men are standing there with a gun (are the women worried if the meal doesn't turn out, they'll get shot?) I mean, I wasn't under the impression that Thanksgiving was a religious holiday...The only thing that usually died was a Turkey...

Women: Praying that someone else will invite them over so they don't have to cook the whole meal by themselves...

Men: Praying that TV is invented soon so they can watch football...

Turkey: Please let these fools become vegetarians!

I am Thankful For:

That the new season of Project Runway started last night (I'm watching right now, because it totally came on at 11...PM...seriously)

For my VCR and the fact that I saved the directions so that I could finally figure out how to record with the timer (usually this isn't a problem for me, but this machine happens to be quite backwards)

Girlie dates...I had dinner and a drink last night with a wonderful friend I met through the shop. We've been wanting to get together forever...and made it happen last night...Mole at Maya's and then to The Raven Cafe for lounging chatting and watching Powder Whore (a ski movie...which made me want to ski...really bad...which is weird, because I don't like to ski)

14 November 2007

Summer Spaghetti...

Well, I broke down and made a glorious meal for my own darn self last night...I abhor cooking only for me (I know I shouldn't, but I do...I mean, yay for self nurturing and all that business, but I take bubble baths whenever I want...isn't that enough?) I think it's a psychological,

"I'm single...how fancy...cooking for myself? So I can eat alone? Ugh."

But, the pure love of summer spaghetti totally won out over the "looser" quality I feel sometimes cooking for only me...The tastes of fresh basil, garlic, tomato...combined with Parmesan and olive oil just send me over the top...it truly does. After delving into Gluten-Free girl and remembering just why I shouldn't be eating gluten and wheat...is making me choose foods that have good strong tastes instead, you know, so I'm not all sad and clingy about the things that make me crash and burn and feel icky after I eat them?

Summer Spaghetti is usually served room temperature or cold (yes...a light pasta you can eat during the summer...hence the name...clever isn't it?)

*Boil your pasta (I use spelt spaghetti...I know, a little gluten...but I am trying to use all my spelt up before I switch to rice pasta...which is also good) Sometimes in the past I used angel hair pasta because I get all sorts of impatient waiting for this to cook. Run the pasta under cold water to cool it down, it's your call with how cold you want it...I like room temp myself.

*Transfer pasta to a bowl, and toss with olive oil...you don't need to drown it...just make sure it's all nice and shiny (it helps the garlic and Parmesan to stick to it...this is very importantt...you don't want a coagulated lump of cheese in the bottom of your bowl...ewwww)

*Slice up 3 large cloves of garlic and dice all tiny (now, you can adjust depending on how much you like garlic...I personally don't believe you can never have too much garlic) I run the garlic through with my hands (cause' I like the way it feels...I also stick my hands in the bean container at the grocery) saving about a quarter of the garlic.

*Then you add the cheese...I use that Veggie Shreds pictured up there (cause' of my lactose problems. They have a really good 3 Italian cheese blend that is out of this world, my local Safeway carries it) or you can use regular Parmesan...I always like to have a little bit "fresh" extra that is grated (not powdered or whatever you call the stuff that comes in the can) the for the top...Ok, now here's the trick...I have made this a million times, and the right amount of cheese is key, too much and it's dry and salty, too little and it doesn't taste like anything...I just add it until it looks like enough (lord, I know...I should measure...but I fly by the seat of my pants a lot when I cook, maybe a half cup if you use a small package of pasta? Just add it by the quarter cup and see where you're at taste wise) You can taste it along the way...

*Cube a tomato...throw it in there, reserve a quarter of it...mix it in...

*Cut up your fresh basil, you can either cut it tiny like you would for pesto...or cut it up right straight from the leaves...only FRESH will do...seriously, you have to trust me on this...I cut up a ton of leaves...cause' I love me some fresh basil...reserve a quarter of it, toss the rest in and mix...

*Take the quarter you reserved of the garlic, tomato, and basil...and throw it up there on the top...sprinkle with the fresh grated cheese (cause' it makes it all pretty...and we all love to eat pretty food...even if you're the only one seeing it)

I always have enough left over to take to work for 2 extra days...unless someone else is over eating with me...then I make more, so I have enough left over to take to work for 2 extra days (see how that works?) OR...you can just call me and come over for dinner, because you can watch me make it...and I love to cook for people...I ate mine last night with gluten-free sesame bread sticks (holy lord...I just found out they have pizza flavored...eeeeek! Wait...I just checked with Rich...he said, "not as good as the sesame" And did you know I just got lost in the labyrinth that is Amazon.com...and they have ton's of great gluten-free foods for a darned good deal!)

So, if you make it, let me know how it turned out...

I'm drooling now...so, I'll go eat the stuff I brought for my own lunch...

Things I am Thankful For:

That while it is challenging to make things that work around my food allergies...It is easier now days than it was before. I am so excited about all of the alternatives out there...and I love food, and I love to try new foods and cook with new foods...Plus...the availability is more widespread than it was before, or you can order it and have it delivered right to your home!

Beautiful money...old money...money as gifts...and the chance to touch it and see it...sounds weird I know, but old coins (American and otherwise) are so amazingly more beautiful than the ones we have now days...Plus...it was made out of real valuable metals...how cool is that? Oh...and shiny, shiny is good...

New and wonderful people coming out of the woodwork to participate in Pay it Forward...introducing themselves to me...some long time readers that I've never "known" before...Thank you so much for introducing yourself! In all honesty...not only did it make my day but, it made me feel a little like a celebrity...

Which means, of course...that I'm ready for my close-up...

13 November 2007

Photo Sunday...

I am working on my Holiday Cards...

Yes I am.

I am the kind of gal who tries to send out holiday cards the day after Thanksgiving...well, I was until my divorce. I think it may have been some psychological, "hey...every thing's fine over here with us...see? I can prove it...here's your holiday card! And obviously, my marriage and/or I am better than you..." Oh the things we do to fool ourselves (I'm sorry everyone...I repent...I also think I tried to send out early to make sure that everyone knows I'm on top of it...How many people do you think I'm really fooling? Well...no one now...you all know my dirty little secret don't you? It's the Aries Virgo combo I've got circling around my natal chart...pair that with the Sagittarius and watch out...Watch me start...watch me walk away from finishing...sigh.) Plus...after the divorce I basically went an entire year without having the energy to do more than send out just a smattering of cards and gifts to the bare minimum of people in my life...it made me break into a cold sweat and panic attack if I thought of any more than that...which is also silly...because I love to give gifts...it just seemed like SO. MUCH. PRESSURE.

Well...I don't have the "divorce" to fall back on, because I think people are ready for me to "get over it" and "move on" OK...I'll meet you there, I'll pick my battered and bruised body up and walk forward...I'm doing it at my own pace though...and during the few years since my singeldom (also known as thetimetheuniversekickedmeintheass)I rediscovered my creativity in a much bigger way...

Mostly cause' a girl's gonna' go totally crazy if she's not creating (you know...more than she is already?)

So, you're getting totally handmade holiday cards this year...

I promise...

And, I was lucky enough to rope Ms. Dina into the plans this Sunday...she was acting photographer and she's doing the printing for me as well...we discussed the finer points yesterday (size and quantity) as my printer is a wonky bitch...and we are not on speaking terms at all right now (I replaced an ink cartridge a while ago...it didn't work and I got all disgusted crossed my arms, tapped my foot and stomped away...this usually never works with inanimate objects...mostly)

What you're getting
up there is a very blurry picture of me...I don't want to ruin any surprises (plus, I loved this picture the most...even though it's blurry because it looks like it would have turned out great...then again, maybe that's why I like it...I can't see my features too well?) AND...as a special surprise/treat for all my loyal blog readers and fans...I want to send everyone out there, who wants one...a totally Sadira handmade Holiday card...But, there's a catch (but, it's a fun one...don't worry):

I thought this would be a good pay it forward...as I agreed to do this...and I will send everyone a special Holiday card whom wants one, ONLY you have to promise that if you participate...you will promise to pay it forward too...in your own way, to whomever you want, however you want...Please drop me a note in the comments or email me your address...and if no one wants to participate...

I will feel very sad...

And lonely...

And ignored...

And nobody wants that, do they?

(god...what a whiner...)

Things I am Thankful For:

The time and energy to be creative...the ability to be inspired by things around me...the drive to do...and the sheer feeling of bubbled up joy that happens when I am in the moment creating...

For the combination of fresh garlic, basil, olive oil and tomatoes...of which will be gracing my dinner tonight (along with some gluten free pasta and dairy free Parmesan) It has been making me salivate all day long anytime I think of it. Oh yeah...I found some big ole' bags of Organic Basil at Albersons for a darned good price...

12 November 2007

Batches Of...

Cookies...

This is how I wrapped up the weekend...late on a Sunday night (but, to be truthful, I slept a little late Sunday morning, and had a relaxing day...Plus, the Wizard of OZ was on...and I forgot how much I really enjoy it...so, it seemed rude to turn it off) Besides, the cookies had to be made...

Oh yes they did...

Last week I was headed out to the Airstream and had a stop to make...no problem. Until I got in the car and tried to start it up again...

click click click...

damn.

Luckily some young man
helped me jump the battery and I headed on my way...not too worried (who am I kidding...I hate car problems...they stress me out) but I figured I would get a new battery the next morning...which would have been a lovely plan if the car had the decency to hold the charge overnight...

click click click...

damn.

A quick phone call to Rich early, had him running to my rescue...we tried to jump it again, and nothing...so, we decided to wrestle the battery out and replace it. The battery is located under some black plastic thing in a weird part of the car...held in by faux black screws. First you have to loosen them with a coin and then rip the crap...I mean gently pry them from the holder (carefully not losing any because you know what happens when you're missing important plastic parts of your car) So...here's Rich lugging around his big car tool kit...apologizing profusely, and hanging his head...

"I know nothing about cars...I'm sorry..."

"I'm hardly a man..."

Which left me in turn saying to him, "You're a man where it counts..." and silently thanking my father for teaching me at young age how to use all tools...he was good that way. Anytime he was in the garage, he let me come out and help and I don't ever remember feeling like I was in the way...he went so far as to buy me my very own little girl sized tool kit and carefully went over each tool teaching me how to use them...Thank you dad. Also, to be fair...Rich didn't need my help at all, and did fine (OH...and the tech geek wielding a wrench? A totally hot side of geek rarely explored...cause' if I didn't like him so much before...hubba-hubba) We ran down to the local auto supply...grabbed a battery and ran back to install it...

It was 2 inches too short. damn.

But, we put it in anyway and jimmied it so that the car would start when I turned the key...and we decided that it would be a good idea if I ran to my mechanic after work...my mechanic took one look at it, rolled his eyes...and agreed with us that they had indeed sold us the wrong battery...and that I could snap the cables and "...you certainly don't need stress like this in your life!" Oh...I agree completely...my mechanic knows exactly how much I adore this car...Back I ran to the auto supply to tell them before they closed...they handed me a little weird plastic piece that props it up...

The one we took off the battery and threw away?

Yeah...that would be the one...
(we didn't know...it hardly looks sturdy enough to hold a battery)

Then back to the mechanics in the morning...as he insisted he would go over it for me, and I'd better not take it anywhere else...he did. He threw the key at me across the counter when he was done (his receptionist and I were oogling some young guy who had just brought his car in...because she was trying to determine how cute his tushie was) He wouldn't let me pay him (the mechanic...not the young guy) this is the second time he's done this...the first was years ago for a clutch adjustment that another mechanic said wasn't possible...so he suggested a whole new clutch...I took the car to Bob and he did the 2 minute adjustment...fixing the clutch. (and I don't think I ever had to replace it either)

I love my mechanic...not only is he ALWAYS under his estimates...he is good at what he does, honest and completely thorough...I have been using him for more than 10 years...and 4 cars...He told me if I wanted to drop by donuts some time, he would love it...or home made cookies were good too...So, you can see why these had to be made. I can hardly ever thank him enough...since car problems really stress me out because I don't know how to fix them myself, and it's really important that not only do problems get fixed, but they get fixed well...and for a reasonable price. So, other than cookies, I also sing his praises (almost everyone I know goes to and trusts Bob)

Car Care By Bob
711 White Spar Rd
Prescott, AZ 86303
(928) 776-9528

If you're in town...give him a try...

Things I am Thankful For:


A wrench wielding tech geek who isn't comfortable using tools...but does a damn fine job rushing to my rescue, would hardly let me help him...and fixed my problem...

And, amazing honest mechanics who will fit you in during the busy AM hours for a small job and not over charge you...or charge you at all...and allow me to make cookies (a fine thing for both of us)

PS Dorothy...if you click your heels together and believe in yourself...you can avoid that whole crazy mess (ohhh...there's a metaphor in there isn't there?)


11 November 2007

The Stash...

Before:




After:



Today I am Thankful For:


The most amazing and wonderful ironing board that is built into the wall of my kitchen (wooden to be exact, like the one my mother taught me to iron on) it is by far my favoritest feature of the house...I love to iron, anytime...on the fly...in fact, I have often thought of taking in ironing for extra money since I've lived in this home (I iron linens and other things for my mother as a matter of fact) Since moving in and using this feature on a weekly basis, I have often wondered why people stopped putting ironing boards in the walls of their homes? And why (because of have seen this several times when people "restore" historic homes in the area) why do they take them out? Why put in a pantry instead? Or why take out the ironing board and replace it with nothing? I talked my mother into buying and entire cabinet at a rummage sale (wonderful vintage door...with the little holes poked in it for cooling of your hot iron after you use it, right down by the built-in shelf for the iron...which I don't have in mine...and vintage board intact) because I figured she could hang it on the wall...or I could beg it from her if I ever leave this house...

Oh yes, I am that excited...

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