Have a Merry Christmas

Wishing you the best this Christmas.

Have a holly jolly Christmas,
It's the best time of the year,
I don't know, if there'll be snow,
But have a cup of cheer.

Oh, ho, the mistletoe,
hung where all can see
somebody waits for you,
kiss him once for me.


The Suprise(less) gift

Try as I may, I can't surprise Jess with a gift. Don't believe me? Well, you should, because I've tried. And it's been, well, rough. Every attempt is futile.
  1. If I buy something using the credit card, he knows, because he checks our finances, and the store is right there, next to how much the darn thing cost. But, then again, Jess doesn't check it line by line, day by day, so in theory, I could get something past him. But no. It doesn't work.
  2. This time my secret is out because the computer signs into amazon.com (or any other site) using his info. After the purchase, amazon kindly sends him an email telling him what's on his way. Thanks guys. But I'm one step ahead, I open Jess' email account and forward the message to me. Then I delete the message from his account. Voila! Right? no. A day later amazon foils my plans and sends Jess another message, this time to let him know his special gift has been shipped. How can I compete? I can't stay on top of messages like that. Amazon's got me beat. But there are others ways, you say. And I agree.
  3. One time, I tried to buy Jess a gift, but I left it in the car because there were too many things to carry into the house. Later that night, I asked Jess if he could get the non-perishable groceries out of the car. Just as he makes his way up to the apartment, I remember the gift. Maybe he won't see it amongst all of the bags. Nope, he does.
  4. And finally, forget the use of the credit card, no use of the internet, I don't even buy it at the store. One year, I created a homemade gift, a pastel of him and I. Then I hid it in a place I swore he never looked. Days before the gift was to be given, he comes up to me and asks, holding the picture in one hand, "Who drew this for us? Did we get this for our wedding?"
What's the trick to being sneaky? As I have yet to succeed.


Good stuff

Yesterday, I cleaned the shower/bathtub (thanks Lysol spray foam), did all the laundry (that was one huge pile), finished cleaning the dishes from Sunday night's festivities (great to have visitors), and played with a little scientist who loves to crawl and discover everything (from the photo hooks to the pine needles). And while I was doing all of this, I was diggin' it. Yep, that's right, diggin' it.

And what's more, today I went to the grocery store and was helped by the loveliest of people. Thanks guys. I'm sure it helped that I was carrying a little boy who loves to smile (which makes everyone smile back - except for this one guy in the elevator who had no facial expression whatsoever, which, to tell you the truth, confused Oliver a bit). And now I'm listening to the Osmond Family Christmas Album. I may just do a few jazz squares after I finish this post.
Look at that smile


The Natural by Bernard Malamud

This book is interesting. It kind of reminds me of Tess of the Durbervilles, in that fate plays a huge part. However, I found myself thinking of the natural as a sad character who didn’t have the guts to change his circumstances. However, I told that to Jess and he said that he felt bad for the character. Maybe that’s because he’s seen the movie and I haven’t. On that note, I have found, more than once, that two people can read the same book and interpret it in a two very different ways. Have you found that to be the case? Anyhow, this book is good and sad and, at times, pathetic. Pathetic because the main character doesn’t learn from his mistakes. There’s something to learn from every book, and my favorite line that I would have highlighted had it not been a library copy:

“We have two lives…the life we learn with and the life we live with after that.”

Post edit: I watched the movie this past weekend. I must admit that while Malamud’s book was indeed a well-written piece of literature, I am a fan of the movie’s happy ending (come on, who wouldn't love lights exploding with some great music?).


Sleep Success

In a post a while ago I wrote about some sleep training I was doing with Oliver. I started calling it "sleep training" because it took some patience (on both parents' and child's part) and persistence, to complete. Things have paid off. Oliver is a champ. I understand there will always be variations in sleep with children, and I'm flexible, but I do think Oliver has benefited from the training. Thanks Dr. Marc Weissbluth.


Goulash Suprise

I did something interesting yesterday. I got it in my mind that I could whip up an out-of-the-ordinary dinner dish using my knowledge as a cook. My oh-so-little-knowledge as a cook. How did this all begin? Well, it was when I was sick with a high fever a few weeks ago.

That week I took in a lot of daytime television (by the way, how many iterations of Judge Judy can be produced, let alone, stomached by viewers?), one of the shows in the lineup was Rachael Ray. At 102 degrees, I watched as she made a pasta dish with cauliflower (which she pronounced call-lee-flower). She made it look just so simple. And every time she broke for commercial she’d say something like, “All I’ve got to do is cut up the parsley, steam the vegetables, strain the pasta, stir in the Ricotta, and add the spices. Be back in a couple.” To my fevered mind, the words, “Be back in a couple,” somehow meant that I, too, could work like Rachael, and create the dish in a couple of minutes just like her and her 14 person prep staff. So after the antibiotic cleared up my respiratory infection, I headed to the grocer and bought some call-lee-flower. Then it sat in the refrigerator for a few days because I didn’t buy the Ricotta cheese, a staple to Mrs. Ray’s dish.

About this time, I was talking to my sister, who, without knowing that the veggie was sitting in my fridge said, “I freeze cauliflower sometimes and later use it in soups.” “Ahha,” I thought to myself, “that’s what I’ll do to buy some time!” So in the freezer it went. Yesterday, I pulled it out to defrost and use for dinner. I had cottage cheese, that’s like Ricotta right? I was going to conquer the dish!

I pulled out the defrosted bunch. It smelled gross and the greenery around the bottom was slimy. I cut that off and found that the florets were still usable, but I understood why my sister said she used it for soup. I bagged my recipe plans; the frozen cauliflower plus the cottage cheese were throwing too many swerves into my procedure. So I did the next best thing. I decided to boil the cauliflower. As I was doing that, I sautéed an onion. All good recipes seem to include sautéed onion, which I was sure would work some magic into whatever I was making. I drained the water from the cauliflower. I had heard once that people add mashed cauliflower to potatoes, so I mashed mine, sans the potatoes. I then began to add. I added the onions. The mash tasted like onions. I added sour cream. The mash tasted like sour cream. I added shredded cheddar cheese. The mash tasted like sour cream and cheddar cheese. I add cilantro. The mash tasted like cilantro. I added pepper. Bad idea. Cilantro and pepper don’t seem to compliment each other.

I didn’t know what I had created. It looked like veggie slosh, so I called it goulash. Thank goodness my sister called me before I almost added soy sauce (soy sauce slosh goulash). When I told her of my concoction, she said it didn’t sound all that bad and suggested I add some carrots and serve it over rice. I did so and ate my dinner. Not too bad for goulash.

That evening, Jess called to tell me he was on his way home. “I made goulash for dinner,” I told him, which was unusual because I’m usually not one to declare what’s for dinner.
“Oh, really?” his reply sounded impartial.
“I made it up myself.”
“Oh, I see.” This time, not so sure about things.
When he got home, he tasted it. His conclusion, “Interesting, but not bad. I like the carrots.”


A competitor for Yankee Candle Co.

When my mom-in-law came out to help us with the babe in May, she freshened up the smell of our basement home with a little cinnamon in boiling water. It was quite pleasant. Today I was thinking back on it and it would appear to be a perfect air freshener for Christmas time. Try it out if you find yourself without a Yankee Candle this time of year.


It's Christmas time in the city

We picked up our Christmas tree this weekend. Choosing a tree was lots of fun. Every time I'd pull on a little trunk to check the height of the tree, I'd be taken back to my childhood. In early December, I'd go with my dad and siblings, usually around dusk, to pick out a tree from the local spot.

The smell of fresh pine is really the best.

Ready for the drive home

Once back at homebase, we took the Christmas tree for a ride in the elevator.

O Tannenbaum in the elevator

Let the festivities begin. Let us continue to be thankful and grateful. It's Christmas time.