Monday, December 27, 2010

Bad Santa or Weird Christmas Tales

Ok, got a few here. Not to be a bitch, but hey, I'm a feel like bitching. I spent the entire season (yes the season isn't over) trying to be kind, but if I can't kvetch to you guys, then who can I do it to?

Nog for your Noggin

We've been expecting bad weather on and off for Christmas. Of course, since we only get the "B" team news-wise locally (our little town is an afterthought), all the dire predictions came to naught. But trying to stock up on holiday provisions, I asked Hubby to go to the store on his way home from work.

Me: Can you pick up one of those half-gallon jugs of egg nog? The Aspiring Adult really loves it, and I'd like to have some on hand (the onliest people who like egg nog in our family is me and the AA).

Hubby: Sure!

A couple of hours later, after he comes home and puts all the groceries in the fridge...

Hubby: They didn't have any half-gallon jugs, and I think I got everything they had left in the store plus a little extra, just in case.

Me: You're the best!

The next morning, I look in the fridge, and there are 8---yes 8! quarts of eggnog in the fridge. Low-fat, old-fashioned, regular and Southern Comfort-style.

Me: Honey, why in the world did you buy 2 gallons of eggnog?

Hubby: I didn't. I bought a bunch of pints to make up 1/2 gallon, just like you asked.

Gah! My ass is going to be really huge by the time the holiday is over.

Weirdo Regifters

I'm all for regifting. Totally.

One relative sent us a bunch of puzzles, which really isn't our thing. I don't feel guilty regifting them on to another family member who is a puzzle-freak. Of course, they are completely unopened and unused when we send them on. Some years ago, my birth mom was gifted with an I-pod, and passed it on to my oldest son, because she wasn't interested in it, and he was.

Perfect regift!

Hubby's half-siblings are quite a bit older than he is. Some of their children are closer to his age then his siblings are. He insists on sending each of them a personal present every year, because he is THE cool uncle.

Anyhoo, his older half-brother is quite well-off. Not Bill Gates wealthy, but better off than your average bear. He started a company in college, turned it into a company that was prevalent on the east coast, sold it to a larger company for a mazillion dollars, and now dabbles in teaching at a few Ivy League colleges between spending time in Paris, on the Eastern Seaboard, and in Pennsylvania.

So this is the weirdo part.

Over the years, between Hubby's 1/2 brother and two 1/2 sisters (and what we've sent their adult children) we've all exchanged some really thoughtful gifts. Not really pricey, but with recipient in mind.

His half-brother and wife have regifted us with some really weird shit.

Frequently at holidays we've sent friends Harry and David's stuff. So I'm a little familiar with it.

Apparently Hubby's brother and wife get quite a bit of it, because they pick out what they want and send the rest on to other members of the family, like us. We'll get 2 half towers of treats. ;-)

Not complaining---all my guys will eat it---but it's weird.

A few years ago, Hubby's brother sent him a Playboy Bunny keychain, all wrapped up in a fancy box. What----did he have it in his sock drawer for years and think Hubby was 20? What decade is he living in?

So this year, they sent me a lovely square vase made of heavy glass. It was dirty and had dead flies in the bottom. I think sis-in-law cleaned out her knick-knack closet.

Yeah, I'm all for regifting, but WTF?

No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

I called my irascible ex-FIL, who I've bitched about here on this forum to make sure he got his gift in the mail. We sent him an assortment of Irish Cheeses, and it's perishable, so I wanted to make sure he put it in his fridge. God forbid we give him food poisoning.

Long story short, this man is a good part of why I divorced his son. His own children want nothing to do with him (he was a controlling and abusive father) and have moved far far away. The only family he has in these parts are my kids. Because he's their grandfather, I've worked hard over the years to have a civil if not friendly relationship with him. He's worked hard too---to try to be a good grandfather, but sometimes he slips into some bizarre and inappropriate behavior.

Anyhoo, when I called him, he asked if he could drive up to take the boys out for a snack on Christmas Day. Nevermind that nothing is open up here. He wanted to make a four-hour round trip to see his guys.

I guess that meant he was alone for Xmas.

So I did the only thing I could do. I invited him for dinner.

Luckily, Hubby was on board. Nobody should be alone for Xmas.

The next day he called and asked if he could bring along a couple of friends. I called Hubby and told him we needed to pick up a few more pounds of prime rib (Hubby's Xmas specialty). We would have been able to stretch it for one more person, but 3?

On Christmas Day, our guests parked in strategic places in our driveway, mindful of the other cars and drivers' needs to get out. Instead of parking on the street, ex-FIL plonked his minivan right in the entrance to the driveway, blocking the egress entirely, making it a necessity to move his vehicle if anyone was ready to leave.

And our luck being our luck, he couldn't get the freaking thing started when the first of our guests had to go. So a bunch of people dressed in their Christmas best had to push the behemoth up the hill to the street.

Where it promptly started.

Oh, and he didn't bring his friends either. But that's ok. More leftovers for us!
So any weirdo Christmas tales of your own?

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy Holidays!

Hope you all have a very blessed season.



Friday, December 17, 2010

Santa Loves Me

A few months back I wrote about my '92 Caddy Seville and how much I loved it (mice and all). Hubby has been trying to get me to upgrade for a few years now, but I've been having none of it. A couple of times a year he tries to show me newer Caddies on the websites of local dealers to see if I like something he's found. The conversation always goes like this:

Me: What color is it?

Him: Gold/Silver/White/other non-color

Me: No.

This has gone on for quite awhile. He feels guilty about my old car, and I have to reassure him that I'm perfectly satisfied with it. Even though the next time it will need a major repair, it will probably cost more than the car is worth at bluebook value.

Finally, exasperated, he asked, "What exact specifications would you have for a car you're going to drive for another 12-13 years?"

Me: A V-8 engine, like the one I have. A color like blue, or green, or black or red. Oh, and cup holders (amazingly enough, my Seville was top of the line for that year, but didn't have cup holders. Go figure).

Well...Santa loves me. He really loves me. I feel like Sally Field, who as we all know, holds a very weird and special place in Santa's heart.

This beauty has more buttons than I can figure out what to do with. It's fully loaded and does everything but wipe my heinie. I'm going to need diagrams. But boy-oh-boy, it is smooth. You can barely feel it shift gears and it drives like a rocket.
It has heated and cooled seats---something I'd never even heard of until recently. It's a 2006, the last year they made this model in front-wheel drive, and the previous owner took meticulous care of it. Except for one tiny crack on a tail-light, it looks like it just rolled off the showroom floor.

Hubby has become so enamored with this car that he offered to arm-wrestle me for it. I threatened to slap an Obama bumper sticker on the back so he'd be too embarrassed to drive it (he's a staunch Repub). LOL

Thank you, Santa Baby. I love you too!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bling for Everybody!

Last week while I was disappeared, our Collaborative Craft Studio participated in our first Holiday Home Show Tour Boutique.

For those of you who are new to my blog, a couple of years ago I started an informal art therapy group for myself and for adults who have developmental disabilities or mental illness as well as for family caregivers. We primarily worked on Christmas ornaments for fun. A few of our members took some of our creations to a craft fair, and made a good amount of money.

And a collaborative craft studio was born!

Today we employ 10 people. We have a private studio space, and for those who prefer to work out of their homes, we pick up and deliver supplies so they can work at their own pace. Every ornament we have is created by several sets of hands---from the quilting, the beading, the ribbon toppers, the photography and more.

My dear friend KL flew in from out of town a few weeks ago to get a break from her life, work on ornaments, update our website and help me with the Boutique show.

It rocked. Although the turnout wasn't what was advertised, we kicked ass in sales.

One very kind lady who was impressed with our wares asked us if we would come and give a talk at her group about our non-profit. I told her that we don't accept grants or government funding and that we are very FOR profit! Not to be unkind to her, but many think that any employment specifically designed for people who have disabilities must be involved with a non-profit organization.

People who have disabilities working a real job that provides cash and capitalism. What a concept! ;-)

In addition to what we sold at the show, we signed up a few gift shops who loved our stuff for Easter and next Christmas. Everyone was very nice...well almost everyone.

One ignoramus said to KL, "I don't believe disabled people could turn out such a professional product, so I'm not buying because you're frauds".

She was like, "Hello? I'm a person who has a disability! Whatevah!"

I wish I had been able to introduce this person to Cindy. She was the prime creator of our minis, which were the hottest sellers of the weekend, and she has Down Syndrome. We sold over 100 of them.

Anyhoo, we're almost sold out for the year, but it's not too late to get an ornament or two. They're perfect for that little gift for a friend, a relative, a co-worker or even for your own tree. Come pay us a visit!

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

The REAL Pantry Challenge

Sorry I dropped off the planet, but things have been really hectic around here, and I've been just pooped.

Remember about a month ago when I did a challenge about creating stuff from all the lonely crap from gathering dust in the pantry? Well--ahem--FINALLY, here are the results.

Thank you so much for everybody who participated. Your ornaments from our
studio are on their way!

Bonnie sent this in (and boy does she crack my sh*t up!):

Ok, I am the suckage at pictures, so I have no picture at this point. (I am trying to get one for this, if you reallllly need it). And I have no blog. (Dude, you have no blog). However, here is my Tuna Noodle Glop Casserole:

Tuna Noodle Glop Casserole

2 cans cheap-beapo tuna in water, drained.
1/2 bag of noodles, boiled (it was a bit too many noodles but I couldn't bring myself to put the lonely last 2 ounces back in the cupboard, so I omitted vegetables in order to make everything fit in the pan)
1 can cream of chicken soup (could have been cream of asparagus, chicken won the toss)
2 to 4 tablespoons dried onion pieces, measured by the 'shake the container until it looks good' method
1/2 soup can water
1 cup plain yogurt
what was left in the bag of sharp cheddar cheese shreds - somewhere between 1/2 and 3/4 cup
2 good dashes Worchestershire sauce - about a teaspoon
1 pinch powdered thyme
8 chopped up green olives.

While boiling the noodles, mix everything else together in a large bowl. Add the noodles. Eyeball it to decide if it will fit in the chose pan. Spray Pam on 8x8 ceramic pan, pour in noodle glop, cover with foil, bake at 350 degress for half an hour. Remove foil and bake another 10 minutes because it just looks too wet. Enjoy.

It was actually quite good; the combo of a bit of olive and the cheddar cheese dressed it up nicely.


Kikilia from Mulberry Summer contributed a fantastic-sounding breakfast casserole. It's got smooth, creamy, chewy and crunchy all in one all in one dish---like a party in your mouth!

Okay- I didn’t take a picture of my creation though… but here’s what I made.
A “breakfast casserole” using garlic croutons, eggs, milk, cheese, butter, and roasted red peppers.

I took one package of garlic croutons- had originally bought to make a salad which never happened about 20 years ago… okay maybe a month ago…and added 3 eggs, some milk, about 10 oz of cheese that was leftover from making tacos- so it was the shredded taco flavor stuff, and a jar of roasted red peppers that I bought on a whim. Have had them ages and never could figure out what to do with them.

Put it all in a 9 x 9 pan, dotted with butter and baked at 325 until done.

Dark Angel sent this in from her blog Inner Dreams:

vegan bits-and-pieces pasta

tomato sauce - used once for lasagna and then ended up at the back of
the fridge
remains of a packet of macaroni - found lurking at the back of the cupboard
some cloves of garlic - again, scrounged from the back of the cupboard
unidentified ground herbs - bought in a bout of creativity and then
forgotten about
various remains of vegetables - left from the previous week's
cooking, as I always cook spacific portions every time
a couple of potatoes - again, left over from the previous week
tofu sausage, spelt and nut burger and a bit of seitan - the result
of my habit of opening a new packet every day.

* crush the garlic and mix in with the tomato sauce, together with the herbs
* steam or boil the vegetables and potatoes -
* boil the macaroni.
* chop up the sausage and burger, add the seitan and stir fry.
* add the sauce to the stir fry.
* add the macaroni and veggies and mix it all together.

Sounds very exotic (I had to go look up spelt and seitan)!

Katie from HappyThought42day sent in this lovely story and recipe:

Ok... I WAS called in to sub most of the week. So I'm cheating a little. About a year ago, I had a sick kiddo. Too sick for me to get out for a desperately needed grocery shop. This meal cleaned out our frige and pantry. Left us with crumbs. And sick kiddo was so sick she slept through dinner. But she woke up in the middle of the night. Why is it always the middle of the night? She was thrilled to find out she had "Shannon Soup" waiting for her! She still loves this stuff. So I had to write out the recipe and actually have to make it once in a while. Next time, maybe I'll throw in that can of artichoke hearts that I have no clue what I bought them for....

"Shannon Soup"

1T olive oil
4-5 carrots, peeled & chunked
4-5 potatoes, peeled & chunked
2 onions, peeled & wedged
4-5 stalks of celery cut into @1" pieces
2 jalepino peppers, seeded & cut very small
6 cups water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 t. pepper
1 can tomato sauce
2 lb. ground turkey, cooked
2-4 cups cooked rice

Saute potatoes, carrots, onion, celery & jalepino in olive oil @ 15 min. Transfer to stock pot with water, tomato sauce, garlic & pepper. Bring mix to a boil, cover, reduce to simmer @ 2 hours. Add turkey and rice & heat through.

Ok... potatoes, carrots & onions are staples here. Celery we keep on hand to turn rubbery and inedible before feeding it to the guinea pigs. Seriously, we should be eating it. But we don't. I have NO IDEA why we had jalepino peppers in our refrigerator. But we did. And they hadn't gone by yet. Tried making this recipe without them and discovered they really are needed to make this edible. Garlic is also a staple here. No problem with vampires. Water... from the tap. Can of tomato sauce was about the only thing left in the pantry at that point. Can you say $300 grocery shop the next time I went??? Turkey was in the freezer 'cause hubby thinks I'm trying to poison him when I use anything short of ground cow. But I love turkey. Rice... leftover. And about the only thing in the fridge once I used up the last of all our veggies. Maybe that was a $400 shop the next day??? Sorry... no photo. It was desperate times feeding a sick kiddo. Who now loves this meal.

Julia from the blog Farfromthesticks sent this one in. Looks scrumptious!

I live in Turkey now but I grew up in New Hampshire. I always have a fully stocked pantry because everything here is handmade. There are not a lot of processed foods sold in the store. Example-- if you want tomato sauce, buy some tomatoes and start chopping. No Ragu. It is much healthier but a lot more time consuming.

In my pantry I have a lot of dried goods like bulgur, rice, bouillon, and spices. In my fridge I always have the staples of Turkish cooking, tomato paste and a spicy/sweet pepper paste. I also always have "hindi sucuk" (a Turkish sausage made of turkey--lower fat than the beef version.) I use it to make omelets on the weekend. I also always have veggies like onions and peppers in stock, for salads and the ubiquitous weekend brunch omelets.

I needed to make a hearty lunch for my husband the other weekend and I had nothing ready and no time to hit the store. Here was the result.

Bulgur Pilaf

In a saucepan I boiled three cups of water, and added a chicken bouillon cube and two tablespoons of tomato paste and two of pepper paste. I added 1 1/2 cups of coarse sized bulgur. While it was soaking up the liquid I stirred in 1/4 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper, 1/4 tsp of crushed red pepper, and a 2 tsp of cumin. Turn the heat down on the bulgur until it has soaked up all the liquid and is soft. If all the liquid is gone and it is still a little hard, added more water as needed.

In a separate pan I sautéed chopped onions and peppers and cooked the sausage.

After the bulgur was cooked all the way through I mixed in the sautéed veggies and sausage and served it with a little shredded cheese on it.


Susan, from Susan's Story Corner sent in this big pan of comfort food! Now, this is MY kind of comfort! You can see a photo of her creation here.

I had a can of black beans, corn, and a can of Progresso Santa Fe style soup. i heated some olive oil and garlic in a pan with some chili powder, dumped in the soup, corn, and beans and heated up. i served with some chedder cheese (technically from the fridge, not the pantry) :)

Susan, if you could email me your address, I'll get your ornament sent right out!

Thanks again everybody for participating. Lots of good stuff hiding in those pantries!