Monday, December 27, 2010

Post-Christmas reflections, post-blizzard thoughts

     Christmas has come and gone again. Perhaps I should put up the Christmas Countdown clock for next year, that way we can all panic over everything we need to do to get ready for the holiday next year, gifts to buy and planning the holiday menus. I hope that everyone had a wonderful Christmas, and enjoyed spending time with their loved ones. Christmas morning I went down for breakfast, had a nausea attack, and it was so bad had to take the prescribed anti-nausea medication. WELL THAT WAS A HOOT....because I literally slept most of the day away! I mean, couldn't have woken up even if mom said that Colin Farrell was dancing nakkid in my bedroom and swinging his talliwacker! I rose to partake in making some Christmas calls, and eating some delicious food, only to snooze again.
     My three favorite Christmas gifts this year (and in no particular order) are my: grandma's white gold cross, my Krueg coffee pot, and my gem bracelet which represents strength from my dearest and most treasured friend/sister/cohort, Michelle. I also got pajama's, from relatives in California, some a beautiful wall hanging for strength, the Eclipse saga from Twilight, money, a really cute panda bear pencil sharpener too. The one gift which I have to say was is the most thoughtful, and is/will be greatly appreciated is a day at a spa to help me recoup and rejuvenate after taking care of my mom and putting up with daily household shenanigans. I'm not quite sure when and where I am going for this treat, but I will gladly let you know when I do.
     Yesterday December 26th was the first official snow storm/blizzard/ winter disaster for NY, and more specifically Long Island (not to mention NJ.) I was more excited to see it come down, and be snugly warm in my house as I do enjoy mother nature doing her thing. But as the night wore on, we lost power and mom was getting nervous about damage being done to our home. Thankfully our power was restored within an hour to an hour and a half...whereas some areas went several hours or all night without. What was really cool this morning when I checked the back yard, it looked like we had a crop circle, although it was all snow. With the way the wind was blowing...the snow drifted in odd patterns and areas.
     The sad news is I think I may have lost our backyard interlopers to the elements. Lari and LiL' Daryl have not been spotted all day today. With the bad weather on the way, I had moved their cubby to right outside my backdoor, so I could keep an eye on them, and offer more shelter from the elements. I had made a flap-door to block the wind for them too, and they loved this. However last night, with the snow...I had to keep clearing the snow away from the entry point of their cubby, and kept checking on them....to find them huddled inside (safe I thought.) This morning, I had to completely clear the way, as they were almost snowed in. When I checked the cubby, only LiL' Daryl was in there, and she was fine. She had ventured out to do her business, I saw her frolic a bit...and then she scampered off. I haven't seen hide nor hair of her or her mother and I *know* no one else was taking care of them. Although they were not wanted, it breaks my heart to think that they've frozen to death somewhere, especially if not far from us.
     And now mom and I have gone in to cleaning and party-prepping frenzy as we need to get ready for our New Years Eve soiree Friday night. We'll be having appetizers, Penna a`la vodka, beef brisket, and I am making a tiered snowflake themed fondant cake.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact # 22....It isn't Christmas without Fruitcake!

Christmas Countdown Fact # 22: Fruitcake has been a holiday tradition for hundreds of years. The oldest references to fruitcake date back to Roman
In Europe in the 1700s, a ceremonial type of fruitcake was baked at the end of the nut harvest and consumed the following year to celebrate the beginning of the next harvest.
In the 18th century in England, there were laws restricting the use of plum cake (the generic word for dried fruit at the time) to Christmas, Easter, weddings, christenings, and funerals.
Between 1837 and 1901, fruitcake was popular. It is said Queen Victoria received a fruitcake for her birthday one year, and legend has it, she put it aside for a year as a sign of restraint, moderation, and good taste. It is the custom in England for unmarried wedding guests to put a slice of the cake, traditionally a dark fruitcake, under their pillow at night so they will dream of the person they will marry.
Fruitcake is full of healthy nutrients. The fruit and fiber in fruitcake is loaded with anti-oxidants, molecules that protect cells from disease and damage.
The cakes contain a lot of sugar which means that water activity will be low, which keeps mold from forming and makes the cake last a long time.
A fruitcake can last several months. If there's no mold, it's safe to eat, even if it has been around a while. But fruitcakes can't last forever.
times, when the recipe included pomegranate seeds, pine nuts, and raisins mixed into barley mash. Yummy stuff!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Two-fer-Tuesday (pt 2) Chubby-butt Check-in 12/21/10


COOKIES? WHO HAS THE COOKIES?!? Oh....that's right. I have the cookies. Tons of Christmas cookies which have been baked to share with family and friends for the Christmas and New Year holidays. None of the cookie recipes I made were weight-watcher concious and low-fat. Did I care? Hells no, as it is the holidays and I was going to abstain from eatting said cookies.

And have I abstained from being the cookie monster? Hells noooooooooo!I have eatten tons of cookies, almost every day, several times a day. No lie! And each time I chowed down, in cookie bliss reprimanded myself and promised to not eat them the following day. And yet I did. Because my willpower is not the strongest, and lets face it....they're damned delicious!

So today I climbed on the scale and was ready to cry when the digital numbers would rapidly climb. ANd SHOCK OF ALL SHOCKS....it did not!!! IN FACT I LOST!! A POUND. Being on the 'cookie diet' I lost a pound!

Today's chubby-ass-check-in on December 21, 2011 I weighed 148 pounds.
How do I feel about it? Extremely happy as I have been chowing down on the cookies.
What will I do about it? Tryto cut down on the cookie intake, as I know damned well it will catch up on me.

Two-fer-Tuesday (pt. 1) I can't believe Christmas is almost here!!! Christmas Count-down fact(s) 15-21



Well here it is....the first day of winter and in Ronkonkoma, NY the temperature is pretty chilly. The weather man is predicting snow on Christmas day, going in to the next. And if we have a white Christmas, I will be mad happy. :oD

A lot has been going on in my neck of the woods, and although my gift-shopping list has really dwindled, the holiday hecticness is still getting to me. And it's clear that my days have been busy as I hadn't been blogging with the Christmas count-down facts, so now I am going to have to catch up (yet again.) Mom had her knee surgery last Friday and it appears to have been a success. However last weekend was hell, as she was not the picture-perfect patient (say that 3 times fast) and ran me ragged. I also had a big shock to my personal life, and I'll get to that in a minute. Let's get to those Christmas count-down facts!

Christmas Countdown Fact # 15: Tolling of bells had their origin in the pagan winter festivals and celebrations. It was believed that the noise would drive away the evil spirits. But using the bell just to ward off the evil was not enough, later the bells started being used for other >purposes as well.

Tolling of bells by and large signify any event, good or bad. Bells are rung to announce to the world the birth of the messiah Jesus Christ. Christmas bell history traces the origin of the Christmas bells.
Christmas Countdown Fact # 16: According to the records of Christmas History in Australia the Christmas tree is termed as Pohutukawa.The European immigrants became fascinated to their brilliant red colors and bright green foliage's. Other well-known Christmas plants that are used in the Christmas decorations include Christmas Bells, Christmas Bush and the Christmas Orchid.

Christmas history in Australia contains a traditional flavor. The birth of Christ is drawn from the Australian Christmas Bush. The films Bush Christmas (1947) and Miracle Down Under offer insight into the early Australian Christmas culture.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 17: The Puritans in America tried to make Thanksgiving Day the most important annual festival instead of Christmas.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 18: The first church the Dutch built in New York City was named in St Nicholas' honour -St Nicholas Church.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 19: If you're wondering why men may have not flocked to kiss you under the mistletoe, the answer may be that it was said that it will only work if the person you are kissing is a virgin. On the sixth day of the new moon, a Druid priest used to cut mistletoe from an oak tree with a sacred sickle. A passing virgin was called upon to catch the falling plant, which was not allowed to touch the ground.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 20: In 1937, the first postage stamp to commemorate Christmas was issued in Austria.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 21: The common abbreviation for Christmas to Xmas is derived from the Greek alphabet. X is letter Chi, which is the first letter of Christ's name in the Greek alphabet.

Now on to the mom update. Mom had her knee surgery last Friday, by the world's best orthopedic, Dr. Stuart Hershon. He also happens to be the head ortho for the New York Yankees....as well as my ortho. We go this Thursday to have her stitches removed. Then in 2 weeks she begins her physical therapy. What stinks is that she didn't get to do Christmas shopping....so all my gifts which she purchased for me, I know about as she ust gave me her credit card and had me pick them out and purchase them for her. The only thing that I *really want* is the talking Hallmark Christmas book, which she can record in her voice. Because I want something to remember her voice for always.

I've found my new favorite author! She has quite a number of books out, and now there is even a prime time show based on two of her characters. The author is Tess Gerritsen, and she is the author of the Rizzoli and Isles books. If you like suspense, mystery, cop shows...then these books are for you. Real page turners which have two strong female characters and it is simply fascinating. Check her out at http://www.tessgerritsen.com/  If you enjoy NCIS...then I can guarantee you'll enjoy this series both in book and tv form.

I *hate*....I repeat *HATE* the Wilton Cookie Master Plus Cookie Press. I have always wondered about the people who used cookie presses to create their holiday cookies. And yet everyone who owns one of these modern marvels, swears by them. So this December, after finding a slew of cookie recipes which called for the damned device, I purchased the Wilton Cookie Master Plus Cookie Press which is battery operated and supposed to be even *better* than the original. Yeah. Right. In whose dreams? The damned thing did not make the shaped cookies the disc thingy was supposed to make them shoot out like. In fact when attempting a batch of apple butter cookies, it went so awry, that I dubbed the shapes 'reigndeer turds'. After making yet another batch of cookies, which were delicious vanilla-sugar cookies, the damned dough chamber would not unscrew from the motor chamber. Returning to Michael's I explained the situation, and they got it unscrewed, claiming that sugar got into the threads of the wonderful cookie gun. Today I attempted to make Christmas tree peanut butter cookies. Not only did the frigging thing not want to dispense the dough....but the tree shapes, then the ribbon shapes, would not cooperate. This frustration caused me to open the damned thing, and ust use the dough, making thumbprint cookies. Tonight I returned the damned WCMPCP to Michael's, where they asked why I wanted my money back. UH....HEL-LO? Do you need me to beat you over the head with this blasted device creaed by Satan? Whomever invented this device....I wish you nothing but rotten, burnt cookies!

Traitors/Turncoats/Troublemakers. All three of these types, and then some infiltrated the paranormal investigative group which I had founded with my (sic) BFF.....who BTW is no longer my BFF. I was accused of hiding my agenda, stealing from the group and a ton of other preposterous allegations, as well as my mother who was part of the group. Meanwhile there were secret meetings taking place behind my back, major cases of he said/she said and tons of gossiping, lieing, and betraying. In the end what I had helped create from nothing became toxic and painful. People whom I trusted and thought to be closer than friends turned out ot be nothing but hateful troublemakers and fair-weathered 'friends'. The most shocking was how my 'friend' whom I had formed this group with totally turned against me....not listening to a word I said, and believing the worst in me. But now that I am free of them and out of the viper nest and away from cancerous relationships....I feel free, and am happy and can now move on to bigger and better.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact # 14, I WANT A TURTLE FOR CHRISTMAS!!!

Christmas Countdown Fact # 14: At midnight on Christmas Eve 1914 firing from the German trenches suddenly stopped. A German brass band began playing Christmas carols. Early, Christmas morning, the German soldiers came out of their trenches, approaching the allied lines, calling "Merry Christmas". At first the allied soldiers thought it was a trick, but they soon climbed out of their trenches and shook hands with the German soldiers. The truce lasted a few days, and the men exchanged presents of cigarettes and plum puddings, sang carols and songs. They even played a game of Soccer.

I have a houseful of pets. Probably more pets than I actually need. No....not probably...deffently more pets than I need. There is Pooka and Cro`i, my 'babies' who are 7 years old...and I would lose it if anything happened to them. Then there's Lola, the pain-in-the-ass puggle who is really my Aunt Ida's but care has fallen to me. And yes, granted I did buy my aunt the dog...and I do love snuggling with her. But her annoying and bad behaviour totally outweighs her cuteness and lovability. Next comes the littlest...Luna who we've had for a few months. She is a cutie, and has more energy than I've ever seen in a kitten.

And then on FaceBook I saw the link to the turtle page. http://turtleshack.com/store/ Who in their right mind does not want a turtle??? They are so cute, and pretty low maintenance. I used to have a red-earred slidder when I was a kid. And now I want a turtle. Where I'd put it, I have no clue. How would the pets react? Probably in a very curious way. But what appeals to me is that the Turtleshack actually UPS's the turtle to you!!! How feckin' cool is that??????
 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact # 13, cookie recipe (Cinnamon Apple Butter Cookies)

Christmas Countdown Fact # 13: Q: What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

                                                                              A: Frostbite

If you follow me on FaceBook, you know that I've been baking up a storm for Christmas. I love to bake...and Christmas is the perfect time of the year to do so. There are so many traditional recipes that are always a favorite, and also I like to try a few new ones. This year I caved in and got myself the Wilton cordless cookie press. However, I have not mastered it, and am not quite sure that I *love* it like people claim they do.

Cinnamon Apple Butter Spritz Cookies

1/2 cup apple butter
1/2 cup butter softened
1 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 tsp cinnamon
2 1/2 cups flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (f). In mixer bowl cream apple butter, butter, and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add egg yolk, vanilla, cinnamon and mix. Add flour and mix until just blended. Shape dough into small logs and place in Cookie Master Plus. Using desired disk, press shapes onto ungreased cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 2 minutes on cookie rack. Makes 3-4 dozen cookies.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact(s) # 11 & # 12

Christmas Countdown Fact #11: History of Christmas Reindeer is associated with Santa Claus riding on it from the far off north to present gifts to children on the Christmas day. Santa has eight reindeers that magically pull his sleigh through the sky. They are named Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donder (thunder in Dutch) and Blitzen (lightning in German).

Reindeers were ancient domestic animals that came into being several thousands years ago. Rock paintings as well as carpentries were made from parts of this animal. Reindeer is the beloved symbol of Christmas.

History of Christmas Reindeer carries with it numerous legendary interpretations. The mythical stories of the Norse narrate the tale of Thor, the god of Thunder who flew through the stormy sky in chariots drawn by magical goats termed Gnasher and Cracker. Goat was also a popular Christmas symbol in Sweden during the 18th c. It was the bearer of Santa Claus. In Finland the traditional gift bringer during Christmas was Joulupukki or the Yule buck.


The names of the reindeers appeared from a Christmas rhyme ‘Twas the night before Christmas written by Major Henry Livingstone Junior in 1807. It was entitled as Account of a visit from St. Nicholas. The renowned educationist Clement Clark Moore made many alterations to it.

Robert L May wrote the story of Rudolf the red- nosed Reindeer May in 1939 in a booklet for the Montgomery Ward department stores. The Rudolph story reached its heights later when May's brother-in-law, Johnny Marks, developed the lyrics and melody for the song. The song was recorded by Gene Autry in 1949, and sold two million copies in the first year, going on to become one of the best-selling songs of all time.


Christmas Countdown Fact # 12: White Christmas Song History offers historical details about the Russian song White Christmas penned down by Irving Berlin in early 1940. Bing Crosby first performed it in his popular radio show, The Kraft Music Hall in 1941. He re-recorded the song with John Scott Trotter Orchestra and the Ken Darby singers for Decca Records on 1942. The song gained popularity within a fortnight.

Again Bing Crosby introduced the song in the 1942 movie Holiday Inn. In the film, he sings it in a duet with Marjorie Reynolds.The song earned the honor of Academy Awards.

The lyrics of the song reminsce about White Christmases. A White Christmas refers to the snowy weather on Christmas day in the Northern Hemisphere.

Berlin, a Russian-Jewish immigrant struggled a lot to compose the Christmas song as he had little experience of the Holiday. The theme is lighthearted evoking fun. It speaks about Los Angelas who amidst orange and palm trees celebrate Christmas gayfully. Berlin later dropped the verse but kept the now-famous chorus.

White Christmas, a song of peace and yearning for "the ones we used to know," was released to a war-torn public during the darkest days of World War II. By the end of the War it had become the biggest-selling single of all time. The success of the song led eventually to a movie based on the song. The movie White Christmas was released in 1954 and became the leading box-office draw of the year.

Crosby's recording of "White Christmas" sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. The song remains as the best-selling Christmas single of all time.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Countdown fact(s) # 9, # 10 and cookie recipe

Christmas Countdown Fact #9: A native Mexican plant, poinsettias were named after Joel R. Poinsett, U.S. ambassador to Mexico who brought the plant to America in 1828. Poinsettias were likely used by Mexican Franciscans in their 17th century Christmas celebrations. One legend has it that a young Mexican boy, on his way to visit the village Nativity scene, realized he had no gift for the Christ child. He gathered pretty green branches from along the road and brought them to the church. Though the other children mocked him, when the leaves were laid at the manger, a beautiful star-shaped flower appeared on each branch. The bright red petals, often mistaken for flowers, are actually the upper leaves of the plant.

Christmas Countdown Fact # 10: Christmas Lights History begins with the tradition of arranging dainty exquisite candlelights also known as fairy lights to illuminate the Christmas trees. The History of Christmas Lights dates back to the 17th century with Germany as the entrant. Candles were then prepared from melted wax and sequestered to the tree branches by wax or pins.


Candleholders were first used in 1890 whereas other accessories like small lanterns and glass balls started to be used between 1902 and 1914.
Very soon the inconvenience of candle lighting was felt as candles melted quickly and had to be replaced frequently. This necessitated the use of electric lamps. In 1882 Charles Edison first lit up a Christmas tree by eighty electric bulbs. The red white and the blue bulbs of 6/8 of an inch in diameter were hand wired and wound round the trees like the beads of a string. Of course the Christmas trees looked more sparkling and scintillating with the electric light strands. Hence started the new era of electric lamp lighting.

Cinnamon-Chocolate Chip Refrigerator Cookies
Makes about 4 dozen cookies
A delicious variation on the traditional Mexican wedding cookie, flavored with cinnamon, chocolate and orange zest. The ideal partner for cups of steaming hot chocolate. (Williams-Sonoma Cookbook)

Ingredients:

¾ cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup granulated sugar
1 ½ teaspoons grated orange zest
1 ¼ teaspoons ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
2 egg yolks
1 ¾ cups all-purpose (plain) flour
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
cinnamon sugar (directions to follow)

Directions:

Combine the butter, granulated sugar, orange zest, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Using an electric mixer set on high speed, beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg yolks and beat until light and fluffy. Reduce the speed to low, add the flour and chocolate chips and mix just until incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Divide in half. Roll each piece between your palms and the work surface to form a log 1 ½ inches in diameter. Wrap the logs tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour or as long as overnight.

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter baking sheets. Unwrap the dough and cut each log into rounds ¼ inch thick. Transfer to the prepared baking sheets, spacing 1 ½ inches apart.

Bake until the edges are brown, about 15 minutes. Transfer the cookies to wire racks and let cool for 5 minutes. Put the cinnamon sugar in a bowl. Add several warm cookies and toss to coat with the sugar. Return the cookies to the racks to completely cool. Repeat with the remaining cookies. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

The first Christmas light set was launched in 1903 by the American Eveready Company. The connection could be made by screws in the bulbs and a plug for the socket. Later the lightings were pulled from telephone switchboards and run by a battery. This type of electric lighting was expensive for the common people as services of wiremen were required to do the hand wiring. Moreover generators had to be installed for the people living in the city outskirts.
                                              

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact #8, the closing of another chapter, good-bye NYSIP

Christmas Countdown Fact #8In Northern Europe Christmas occurred during the middle of winter, when ghosts and demons could be heard howling in the winter winds. Boughs of holly, believed to have magical powers since they remained green through the harsh winter, were often placed over the doors of homes to drive evil away. Greenery was also brought indoors to freshen the air and brighten the mood during the long, dreary winter.

Legend also has it that holly sprang from the footsteps of Christ as he walked the earth. The pointed leaves were said to represent the crown of thorns Christ wore while on the cross and the red berries symbolized the blood he shed.


So that's it. After a crazy ass Skype meeting....loads of screaming on other people's end and nasty words I have walked away from my paranormal investigative group which I founded. What had once been fun and full of laughter, commadarie and friendship turned bitter, and hateful thanks to some bad apples in the group. A friendship has been irrevocably destroyed and the bridge to repairing the friendship in no way approachable. I had thought to post some of the nasty e-mails from the other person who started this group, so people could see what I had to deal with at the end. But tonight, when I deactivated the account, am now unable to access those e-mails. But you know what? It's for the better. Why post their nasty and hateful words, giving them attention, and expelling my energy on them, who were never truly my friends? So instead, I walk away from this chapter in my life, a little bruised but with a smile on my face. Because now I can focus on something else which may bring me joy.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Two-fer-Tuesday {pt. 2} Christmas Countdown(s) 5,6, and 7

xmas glitter graphics, christmas comments, graphics, images for Orkut, Myspace, Facebook, friendster So I have slacked with the Christmas Countdown stuffs. As punishment, you can rob me of my pet dog Lola (the pain-in-the-ass-puggle.) So being that this is a Two-fer-Tuesday day, and also being that I don't have much to say today, other than I made an apple pie...and am getting ready for the 'big showdown' tomorrow night I will mush your 5th, 6th, and 7th countdown fact in to one post. On the 8th day (tomorrow) I will go back to keeping up with the daily countdown.

(belated) Christmas Countdawn fact # 5:   Yuletide-named towns in the United States include Santa Claus, located in Arizona and Indiana, Noel in Missouri, and Christmas in both Arizona and Florida.

(belated) Christmas Countdown fact # 6:    The tradition of Christmas lights dates back to when Christians were persecuted for saying Mass. A simple candle in the window meant that Mass would be celebrated there that night.

Christmas Countdown fact #7:     After "A Christmas Carol," Charles Dickens wrote several other Christmas stories, one each year, but none was as successful as the original.
xmas glitter graphics, christmas comments, graphics, images for Orkut, Myspace, Facebook, friendster

Two-fer-Tuesday {pt 1} 12/7/10

     Here we are....the beginning of the holiday season, with parties galore and loads of temptations. Between baking for the holidays and several party opportunities I am worried about tacking on the weight I have been shedding the past few weeks. If I can ring in the New Year at 146 (which is where I happened to have been platowed at before the weight increase) I will be happy, and that more or less is my goal. Then I can make that weight my base line weight to start losing from beginning 2011.
     It appears that whatever is going on with my tummy, has been helping me lose weight (as my appetite is not what it had been) and I am losing weight at a healthy clip...roughly a half-pound per week. Mom thinks my tummy issues are due to the stress I've been under. I don't know, maybe yes and maybe no. I still think it is my gall bladder. Also I have to go see my gastroentonologist for a check-up....and he'll be able to make heads or tails of this.

Anyway, my chubby-ass check in for the week of 12/7/10 is:
Weight- 149 pounds
How do I feel about this: I will gladly accept losing a half-pound per week.
What will I do to continue this: Whatever the hell I am doing to lose the weight which I am.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact # 4-the kitties *must* go

Christmas Fact #4: In Britain, the Holy Days and Fasting Days Act of 1551, which has not yet been repealed, states that every citizen must attend a Christian church service on Christmas Day, and must not use any kind of vehicle to get to the service.

 I am an animal lover. There is no way that I can even try and deny the fact that I love animals. Mom has even told me that not my first, but one of my first words as a baby had been 'cat'. Growing up there have been numerous fish, hamsters, and hermit crabs in our house. We've had a red-eared slider turtle by the name of Michelangelo (named after the ninja turtle, not the artist.) We had a dog give birth to puppies, zebra finch which had a slew of babies too. Then I had the idea to get hamsters again, and see what happens if you put a male and female together........................tons of babies. We've had our share of dogs and a few cats too. And when I am 34 1/2 years old, my fur-babies consist of two awesome cats (Pooka and Cro`i), a crazy-ass puggle (Lola), and a kitten (Luna.......who actually shares the love of my life, Colin Farrell's birthday.)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   
Somehow though over the summer. a stray cat got in to my back yard and gave birth to a litter of kittens on the side of my house without out knowing it. It was not until the mama cat (who I've since named Larri) came sniffing by our back door, looking for food that we knew we had an interloper. Then it was discovered that she had her babies with her. (I have named the babies Daryl and Daryll....however they've now become Lil' Daryll and Daryl P.J.) The mama cat (Larri) is a short haired tuxie and very feral. One kittie, Lil' Daryll is a gorgeous gray tabby and is a scardy cat. Daryl P.J. is a doll, long-haired, angora tuxie and a mush. I can pick her up and hold her, and love her and bring her in the house for a short visit.
However, there is 'no more room at the inn', in regards to bringing this trio of interlopers in to my house as pets. Living with my cats, the dog, and an aunt who has the beginnings of dementia takes up enough of my time and energy to take care of them (not to mention mom too.) I have called every shelter and animal rescue person you could think of and have gotten no luck or help from anyone. Long Island is so over-run with cats that no one will accept or trap strays for you. I refuse to bring them to the town shelter, as it hurts me to think of these innocent animals being euthanized. So they've been living in my back yard, and I've been giving them food and water until I can find them a nice home. Even my mother, 'Mrs. anti-pets' enjoys watching them play in the back yard....but we worry about them surviving the winter and the snows we know will come. These interlopers need a home....and I will miss them when they go.
Tonight though was the straw which broke the camel's back. Tonight my darling boy.....my son-of-sons, Pooka went out to get some night air. And when he tried to come home, the mama cat....aka Larri got in to a tiff with him, and he won't come out of my neighbors yard and come home now. NO BODY messes with MY Pooka. NO ONE! So now it's on like donkey kong. Larri (and the Daryl's) must go. Because nothing comes before my fur-babies!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Christmas Countdown #3 Christmas Craziness which I am partaking in

Christmas Fact #3:   Theodore Roosevelt, a staunch conservationist, banned Christmas trees in his home, even when he lived in the White House. His children, however, smuggled them into their bedrooms.

It is so easy to get through life sometimes it scares me. And it's so funny how life makes the 'hard' decisions for us at times. Case in point....due to some turmoil taking place in a group which I help founded and built from the ground up I will *not* be making the Christmas gift which I had planned to give to each member of the group, commemorating the first year of the group.

You see, I had purchased a box of fuchsia Christmas balls and planned on decorating and personalizing each one for the members of the group, as well as have some other handy-dandy little gifts for them at our Christmas party. But now they are churning up a lot of lies, and petty rumors and causing chaos in the group. (I will go in to this in a different blog entry at some point.) And I was torn about making the gifts or not, and what could I do with these balls if I did not make the gifts. Because I am notorious for chucking out my receipts.

Today as I drove to work, I saw a slip of paper in my car and looked at it. Low and behold it was the sales receipt for these pink Christmas balls. So there it is, the universe presented me with the means to get my money back...and I plan to. Returning the balls I am, and not gifting these people with something special. Life is easier than we think.....at times. :o)

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Christmas Countdown fact #2

Fact # 2:     In Portugal, the traditional Christmas meal (consoada) is eaten in the early hours of Christmas Day. Burning in the hearth is the Yule log (fogueira da consoada). The ashes and charred remains of the Yule log are saved; later in the year, they are burned with pine cones during Portugal's thunderstorm season. It is believed that no thunderbolt will strike where the Yule log smoke has traveled.

So here is my Christmas craziness question for the season: If you were discussing the holidays with someone of an 'important' status to you. Perhaps a family member or a friend whom you don't see too often, and you state that this year you are not exchanging Christmas/holiday gifts to the extended list of people you usually do. This can be for a slew of reasons.....maybe you're trying to save money, or perhaps you simply do not need any extra clutter in your home.

In response the person says to you: "oh well, we don't send out gifts because we expect anything in return." And doesn't really listen to your decision not to swap gifts. Perhaps you stress that money is tight and you can not afford to send to everyone you wish to. Perhaps you simply are just trying to sever this ritual which has become less of a desire to do and more of an obligation. At the end of the discussion it is understood no gifts will be swapped.

Then a week or so later you get a knock at your front door and FedEx speeding off and you *know* you haven't ordered anything on-line, to expect delivery. So you bring the package inside and check the shipping information. And lo and behold, this package is from the person which you had the 'no gift exchange' conversation with. What do you do? What do you do?

Do you graciously keep the gift and open it on Christmas morning? Do you send them a gift in return and *oh my!* surprise! It's the same thing which they had sent you? Or do you send the gift back to them unopened with a note saying 'thank you but you know what my wishes were'?

What do you do???





Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Countdown Fact #1

     LOOK!!! I have a pretty new blog background. I had been trying since last night to change my background to reflect the holiday & season. But I am technology intolerant and could not do so. I had texted my BFF (and not calling her that in a sarcastic way) Michelle for help, but alas she chose to not head my call. However this morning she swore to me that she'd fix me up right and change the background. And staying true to the awesome person she is....she was very patient as I surfed the net for the *right* background and then fought the codes until she got it right for me. Thank you Michelle......you're always there for me when I need you.
     Also, today marks December 1, 2010. Which means there is only 24 more days until Christmas, and only 30 more days until the new year! Where did the time go? The house is slowly but surely getting decorated, and I still have no idea what to get my mom and aunt for Christmas. I have to get them *something*.  Anyway, to keep in the holiday spirit and to make the days until Christmas a little more joyful I've decided to blog something Christmas/winter related every day. So here we go:

Fact # 1:     Historians have traced some of the current traditions surrounding Father Christmas, or Santa Claus, back to ancient Celtic roots. Father Christmas's elves are the modernization of the "Nature folk" of the Pagan religions; his reindeer are associated with the "Horned God," which was one of the Pagan deities.