2019-12-24 Party Time 🎄❤️🎄

It’s Christmas Eve ya’ll and we’ve got lots of people to see, stuff to do, and food to eat. All the wrapping and baking and running here and there for last minute errands has finally come to a conclusion and now it’s time to just try to relax and enjoy it all. But we all know that’s a big fat lie! Who can relax at a time like this??!!

Two big family events today at opposite ends and the metro area AND trying to hang out long enough to get into good conversations and games without feeling pressed to rush home to make the casserole to bring to the next thing. Plus.. my sister is in town from Denver and she’s spending the night at my new house and let me just tell you Santa does not feel prepared for that. I mean, everyone gets a stocking in this house (yes, even the cats) so she should too right?!

You know me. I’ve been awake since like 5 and fiddling with this and that and I’m going to probably be dead weight by 5pm but hopefully the adrenaline of the day will keep me going. It probably will.

My mind is all over the freaking map and I think this is going to be it for today. There’s lots more to write about but I’m outta time. Gotta Jam!

Peace and Love,

~Miss ChristmasPinwheelCookie

2019-12-21 Winter Solstice Baby

We had a great Friday night last night hanging out and talking and randomly flipping through shows to watch, though we never found one. It feels a rare treat to get that QT with my fiancé with no kids and no obligations to go anywhere or do anything.

For a long while we just hung out in the kitchen drinking and he was able to chill while I stayed busy wrapping a few more gifts. The floor around our tree is a cup that runeth over and it’s a beautiful thing to see. It’s mostly things if course, but that’s just the nature of the season. It’s lovely to be able to give the kids what they want. Even the cats have stockings hung on the mantle and gifts under the tree. Yeah, we’re all pretty spoiled and I know that but also extremely grateful.

Today the kid-less train keeps rolling and our big plan for the day is to get down and dirty with the wedding planning (43 days to go 😱) and those conversations are desperately needed by yours truly as the whole thing is something I’ve discovered (like a lot of things in life) that I just wont do without accountability to another person or people. I just need that little extra push push of support to get it, whatever IT is, done.

From Jazzercise classes to writing groups, a little accountability goes a long way. This wedding planning business is no exception. Jim declaring this Saturday as THE day we’re going to get a lot done I’m that department is glorious. Not only will it push me to work on those little things I’ve been procrastinating (like the whole cake thing), but also helps with the feeling that I’m alone on an island and everything is just up to me.

So that’s happening. Not to be minimized though is the fact that it’s opening weekend for Star Wars Episode 9 and that’s a big deal. Huge! We have tix to see a 6:20 show at the Majestic. I’m super excited.

What else? As far as Christmas is concerned, I only have a few things to do Monday that can only be done last minute because they are time sensitive.

I think that’s it. Time is short today since it’s Winter Solstice and the shortest “daylight” day of the year. Let’s go!!

XOXOXO,

~Miss PeppermintDelight

2019-12-13 Island of Misfit Divinity

When I was a wee lass my grandmother (my mother’s mother) always spent quite a bit of effort at Christmas time making cookies. It was part of her tradition and there was always a healthy spread of festive plates piled high with treats on card tables in the back room of the basement on Christmas Eve. The basement was the only room big enough to fit our family for dinner and year after year, the sequence of events didn’t really change much.

We would arrive close to dinner time. All the men would take seats in the living room where some sports ball event would be on the big cabinet that was a tube TV. All the women would congregate in the kitchen and dining room finishing preparations for dinner, my aunt Barb faithfully at the stove as it was her job to make the gravy which was the very last thing to get done. All the cousins would gather in the back bedroom. It was a 2 bedroom house with 1 bathroom on the main and that tiny back bedroom had two twin beds. That’s the room my mom and aunt shared growing up. It was a small space but somehow it was big enough for them and subsequently big enough for the 8 cousins. I don’t remember specifics of activities except one year someone brought a ouija board. Even way back then I was highly skeptical and didn’t believe in the validity of the messages that came through. I always wondered which one of my cousins was the faker. I’ll probably never know.

Once the turkey was done my grandpa would get in the kitchen to carve the bird. Apparently that’s was a man’s job. And after.. we would form a line around the dining room table where all the dishes people brought were set out and then the group would head down to the main room of the basement. The adults would eat at the tables set up in the main room in front of a fake fireplace (it was electric) and the kids would eat at other card tables set up in the unfinished utility room next to the ones with the desserts. There was limited space so even the washer and dryer were used for the overflow of cookie trays.

Grandma made batches of ginger snaps, fudge, sugar cookies, those disgusting coconut birds nests, peanut brittle, rice crispy marshmallow balls, chocolate dipped pretzels, peanut butter melt-aways, and my very favorite.. divinity!! It was my favorite because of course it’s basically pure sugar. She would always press a giant ugly walnut into the top while they were still soft and I had to pluck that out and sneak it into the trash but other than that, they were perfection.

I was in high school when the traditions started to fade and my aging grandparents could no longer host the event. It was really the last time that side of my family would ever be together as no-one took on the task of playing host. The cousins grew up and some moved away and of course some started families and created new traditions.

I have a few faded memories that linger.. my uncle Chuck putting on country music after dinner when we all moved the tables and chairs and he tried to teach us how to two-step. We also sometimes played games after dinner like twister and of course the part where we exchanged gifts.

Someone once told me my grandpa wore a cologne called Jade East and the fancy stuff could only be found at Walgreens. I got him some every year. I’m sure it was terrible and thinking on it now it’s possible he had a cabinet full of unopened bottles, though when he opened it he would always smile and thank me.

As it is with the past, there are always some not so great memories too. I remember being in high school and still sitting at that kids card table in the back room when my cousin, who was the same age as me, got to sit with the adults. It was always clear who my grandmother’s favorites were and I was not among them. They spent way more time with grandma than we did. And they had money and nice clothes and I was the shy, smaller girl who lived on her cousins hand-me-downs. I never voiced my feelings.

Anyway, at some point it was decided that all those cookie recipes would be collected and put into books and distributed to the family. Women only of course as that’s still just how things were. Finally I had the secret of divinity in my grasp and could carry on the tradition. Or so I thought.

What I found on my first attempt was that there were secret ingredients which I did not have the key to… temperature and timing. I knew the sugar had to boil for a certain amount of time but I didn’t have the first clue what that was. At that time, I could still ask.

I made a special visit to my grandmother’s house where she showed me the secret. She was able to tell the sugar was ready by running a spoon of it into a stream of cold water from the faucet. If the ribbon dripping off the spoon turned to “glass” and was easily cracked into hard pieces, it was ready to mix into to fluffed egg whites.

“It’s as easy as that” she said and told how when she was 10, her and her siblings would wait until their parents would be distracted with business on the farm or other errands and they would sneak into the kitchen at the farmhouse and whip up a batch. I remember thinking that if a 10 year old girl could make this treat that I certainly could too.

I was proved wrong time and time again. Most of my attempts turned into gooey messes and flat sticky pancakes of taffy that never “set up” or hardened into the fluffy yet dense texture they were supposed to be. I pretty much gave up trying. My grandmother is long gone now and I’ll never to be able to ask her about that I any other stories from growing up on a farm. It’s sad to think about what has been lost from that generation. Unless we tell stories, the history of it just fades away.

With my current plan to try and be a different cookie every day from now until Christmas, it was only natural that Divinity would find its way into the mix. So today it is!!! And to put an exclamation point on it, I decided last night to try once again to make them.

This time, instead of using the recipe from my grandmothers cookie book, I consulted the internet. I found a recipe that had 5 stars and got out the ingredients and supplies and got to work.

Now I mentioned before that some of the magic had to do with timing and temperature but what I was still missing was a better measure of patience. Instead of constantly testing the boiling sugar for the right done-ness, I used a candy thermometer and waited and waited with my high-speed mixer and bowl of whipped egg-whites ready for the exact moment the temp was 260 degrees Fahrenheit or “hard-ball stage”. Miraculously, that the trick!!

I slowly poured the hot liquid into the egg whites while mixing at a high speed. Then, working quickly because the mixture starts to harden as soon as the mixer is off, I dropped heaping teaspoonfuls onto wax paper. I was truly amazed that they actually looked close to what I remembered having as a child. Of course, I left off that last step with the walnut (and did not put any nuts in actually as most store bought divinity has).

I even had enough “batter” left to try and mix in some cherry pieces which was something the internet recipe suggested. However I made the mistake of adding too much cherry juice and that made the mixture turn back into that gooey substance that never hardens. Even now, the morning after, they are still sticky to the touch.

Anyway.. so that’s the very long, winding tale that led to me finally meeting with divine success. Now I have about 2 dozen cookies to share. They aren’t pretty.. as my dropping technique still needs some work, but they have the right taste and consistency. I’m going to surprise my mom with some when I meet her for lunch today. Hopefully it will lead to some good conversation about her childhood. I want to hear more about that while there’s still time.

In the Mood to Reminisce,

~Miss Divinity

2017-12-26 And the Winner Is…

My Christmas Day turned out to be far superior to Christmas Eve. I think that the “it” factor was all about obligation.

Christmas Eve was all about me running myself crazy about both real and imagined expectations. And as I predicted, everything went just fine and the only real complaint I had was that I was so sleep deprived and had a few guests who stayed until about 11:30pm despite me mentioning I had not slept more than 8 hours the past two days.

Listen.. if you can’t take that hint, that’s a red flag. I guess add that to the pile of things on one side of the scale. It’s getting heavy now. Too heavy. Time to dump the marbles and start again.

On Christmas Day all those obligations just melted away. I was able to let the kids sleep in and nobody was there to tell me that I shouldn’t. We had our traditional Christmas breakfast of pop-can cinnamon rolls and bacon. I even lifted my self-imposed gluten free rule and had a few. They were wal-mart brand, which is not as good as pillsbury, but it was still a pretty great meal together.

Then we opened gifts and everyone was happy with what they received although I gave C the serious stink-eye because he didn’t give me anything. His sister is so generous with her time and diy talents AND her money. I don’t know how he turned out so different.

After that Brian came to get them and I had the rest of the day to do whatever I wanted. If the gym had been open, I’d have been all over that but as it was not.. I had to figure something else out.

One of the upgrades I got when I bought my current house was a large, luxory whirlpool bath tub complete with massage jets. I also have the proper infrastructure of two 40 gallon water heaters to support the use of that upgrade. It was for sure a tick** in the win column when I was deciding whether or not to purchase the house, but it was not the reason I pulled the trigger on the deal. I rarely use it.

In fact, I’ve only used it about three times now, including yesterday. Like starting a fire in the fireplace, it’s a time commitment and since I have other priorities consuming my time I really do r even think about it. Yesterday was the exception.

I filled my coffee cup with Jam Jar and filled my bathtub with hot water and bubbles and just sat back listening to music and relaxing for about an hour. It was pretty great.

When I was done with that I had leftovers, enrolled in school, and then finally, at long last, treated myself to that nap I’ve been coveting. It was also pretty great.

My plan for dinner was to go to the Dragon Cafe, just like all those other people who were so over Christmas and didn’t want to cook. Now here’s where my worlds collide…

I blog almost every day and I know there are a few “real” human beings that actually read what I write, but I sort of try to forget about that and just continue writing as if nobody is really paying attention. Kind of like that “Dance like nobody is watching” thing, only with a blog.

However, after posting yesterday about going to Dragon, I had one of those people reach out to me to offer to go with me to dinner. I gave Brian the first right of refusal, and then I happily accepted the offer. (Hi Vis.. Thanks again).

I’m really grateful for everything in my life and dinner yesterday was just a nice reminder of just a few of the things I sometimes forget about. There are people out in the world who care and are listening. No matter what our situation is, we are NOT alone.

Quick tangent.. as I write this, Alan Walker’s song “Alone”, came up in the shuffle. The chorus is “I know I’m not alone”. Of the thousand+ songs on my phone, for that one to come up right now is too freaky appropriate. Wow.

Anyway, last year around this time I felt so alone. I was at rock-bottom and had exhausted all that I had to try and climb out of my hole (or so I thought). But there were people there for me. They took care of me in my darkest hour. They made sure I didn’t drown and saw me safely to my bed. It was truly one of the worst nights of my life and I was not alone.

(Here’s where I could comment that it wasn’t the angels watching over me.. it was real people. But I won’t cuz this blog is for me damnit). 😉

So Vis and I had a nice meal at the Dragon with good, honest conversation and like the other things from my day, it was also pretty great. And I was super greatful I was not alone.

After dinner I went to get my kids and Z and I ended up watching a movie together. Also great.

So if you are keeping score like I am.. that’s 5 to zero. Christmas Day is the clear victor over Christmas Eve this year in the battle for the holidays. And among the other things I’m grateful for, the fact that it’s all over is now is definitely one of them.

Time to switch gears now… make some money, learn some new things, and prep for my MFA residency starting this week.

Peace and Love,

~Miss SugarCookie

** I looked up the definition of the word ‘Tic” and the way I was using it, the appropriate spelling is “Tick”, according to Merriam-Webster. A “tic” is a nervous twitch or quirky response. Why then, I ask myself, is the game tic-tac-toe spelled that way? Things that make you go “hmmm”.

2017-12-25 It’s Christmas, Don’t Shoot Your Eye Out

The party is over and Christmas morning has come and gone. Every gift that was given has been received and unwrapped. The house is kind of a mess but for the first time in days I’m able to not care about it.

The kids have left and gone to their dad’s house and all is quiet here. I’m alone and I’m torn between being peaceful and melancholy. I’ve got a few things on the computer to take care of, like officially enrolling in school (yay for more hoops to jump), and perhaps start the next AWS course, but after that, the rest of the day is mine to do what I please.

Last year on Christmas I was not feeling like going to my Dad and his wife’s festivities, and this year that was pretty much cancelled because they moved this past year and their new place is not really much for hosting big groups of people. It’s fine by me, I’d rather eat dinner at the Dragon Cafe anyway. Which is what I did last year instead of being with that crew.

I think I’ll do Dragon again this year because 1.) It’s open and 2.) I don’t want to cook. and 3.) Tradition

It’s not really a tradition. Miss Z says you have to do something 3 times before it becomes a tradition. In that case, I guess if I go today I’m 2/3rds the way through starting a tradition. The question is, who do I go with?

Last year I went with Josh, but he’s in Austin right now.
I mentioned it to Brian and he sounded interested, but we’ll see how his interests hold once they do Christmas at his house with his girlfriend, Jessie, and her kids. I’m giving that a 33% chance of actually sticking once they have a chance to discuss it. I don’t want to go with Simon and his daughter. I invited them to the party last night and that’s where we exchanged gifts. I’m feeling less interested in keeping that going all the time, and don’t really want to spend any part of my Christmas day (past mentioning it here), thinking about it. I would rather go alone.

I also thought about Lance and seeing if he is in town and wants to do dinner.

Right now though I should get to jumping those hoops and then treat myself to a nice hot, candle-lit bath with a lovely cup of hot tea (or perhaps a glass of wine – because I can). I’m a little sad it’s too cold to walk outside and the gym is probably closed so I won’t even be getting my steps today. After all that, I’ll figure out how to re-enact my favorite scene from “A Christmas Story” (which is a movie I actually really can’t stand).

Fa-ra-ra-ra-ra, 🥗⭐🎄🐉
~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-24 Merry Christmas Eve – Unix Style

All I want for Christmas is a nap. If I can get through the day.. I’ll get my wish.

I didn’t end up sleeping at all yesterday despite waking up at 4am. As if that wasn’t bad enough.. I didn’t get to sleep until after 12:30 AM! As I drifted off to sleep I was just thankful I had no reason to be up or get up today. However, my favorite frenemy, my cerebral CPU, had other plans.

She woke me at 3:30 and then started several multi-threaded processes to work. It’s like I’ve got some fucked up cron job scheduled to kick off at 4am. Quick.. somebody get me root access or chmod 777 that file for me!

I’ll vi, dd, and :wq bang that shit like nobody’s business. Seriously.

Ok, enough geek speak. I’ve got ham and roast to prep for dinner and a house that still needs vacuumed. I’m actually literally avoiding my to-do list. I’ll just see stuff not done yet and at this point, if it’s not done it’s not important.

Wheels are in motion. Time to let the system take control and do it’s thing. Hopefully, A nap will be my reward.

Redirecting std out to Christmas Day,

~Miss SugarCookie

2017-12-23 Christmas Chaos Brain

I was awake at 4am and at Home Depot at 6:30am. Why oh why does my brain make me crazy? It’s just Christmas but in my head it’s chaos. I’m hosting Christmas Eve dinner and will roll right through to Christmas morning with the kids. It should be minimum cleaning, minimum gifts, and minimum cooking yet I’m riddled with anxiety over things I think I need to do or buy. And each time I successfully finish something on my list my brain comes up with something g else. Something is seriously wrong with me.

The trip to Home Depot at 6am was for a gift I’ve been contemplating for some time now and when I finally decided to get it, they were sold out all over town and the soonest delivery via Amazon (and everyplace else I checked) was the 30th.

I checked target and Best Buy and bed bath and beyond and Lowe’s and Walmart. All sold out. So when I woke up at 4AM I decided to look more and found Home Depot had one. Of course it was a location 30 minute drive from my house. I called when they opened at 6AM to verify they really had one and once confirmed, I jumped in my car and went.

It’s just ridiculous though. This was a 30 dollar item and it makes no difference at all if I actually acquired it. I could have done without it and nobody would care. It’s all in my head. Good grief!

It’s now almost 12 hours later and I’m done with shopping (I hope) and done wrapping (I think) and ready for a nap (really). Any cleaning that needs to happen will just have to wait until tomorrow.. if my brain can let it go that long.

As with everything, time marches on and whatever doesn’t get done will really not even matter, in the grand scheme of things. If I can keep repeating that thought instead of the chaos, then maybe I can find some peace and quiet.

And now… it’s nap time.

😴

~Miss SugarCookie