"Everything that is really great and inspiring is created by the individual who can labor in freedom" Albert Einstein

"A dame who knows the ropes isn't likely to get tied up." Mae West

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The New Christmas Sweater

My husband has always liked to wear cardigan sweaters.  For a long time that was not something I wanted many people to know.  They were generally put into the same category as ugly Christmas sweaters.  Now that wearing cardigans is cool I'll let the secret out.

I had been wanting to give him a new cardigan for Christmas for several years, but only this season was I able to find an abundance of choices and finally made a purchase.  He was thrilled with the new one and even threw out two old holely ones from his closet.

I thank the hipsters for the cardigan popularity.  Adding an old cardigan from the Goodwill store as an accessory to jeans and a t-shirt can make any 20-30 year old someone look edgy.  Top it off with a soho hat and thick black rimmed glasses and you've really made a statement. Add a loosely tied tie at the neck for even more awesomeness. Who knew that dressing like old men could become popular?

Now that they've started the trend, you can get new cardigans at the mall instead of worn out ones from the thrift shops.

Someone even has a tumbler photo blog of "Men in Cardigans."

OK, so hubby doesn't look quite as cool as the guys in the photo blog, and he doesn't wear his cardigan over a t-shirt, and if he wears a tie it will be worn properly tight around the neck.  So he's not a hipster; he looks more like this:

But, hey, who doesn't love Mr. Rogers?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A New Christmas

My older daughter remarked Christmas Eve that the dining room table at her grandmother's house had different people in different places this year.

My father-in-law wasn't there (died in April).  My niece's fiancee was sitting in the chair that used to hold my brother (died in 2007).  My sister-in-law's boyfriend sat at the end of the table where one of the nephews used to sit. He moved to the other side of the table.  My mother wasn't sitting near the dining room door at the kitchen table with me (died in April). My spouse had taken her place and younger daughter joined us there.  Only a couple people were sitting where they had for 20+ Christmases before.

The traditional menu was the same, the food good and bountiful as usual.  Conversations were lively and merry.

It was just different this year. Good, but different.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music Monday

A little country to start the week.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tuesday Titillation

Dickman's Meat & Deli was in danger of closing due to the cost of complying with government regulations.  The owner, however, negotiated with city officials and was able to get the remodeling costs lowered. Tucson residents seem happy that Dickman's Meat will still be selling homemade sausages.  The meat shop is known for their good selection of variety meats and their own jerky.

The deli is owned by a woman, but not Lorena Bobbitt.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Music Monday - Ray Charles

Was it a sin that this down and dirty performance took place in a monastery?

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Christmas Quiz Meme

The Christmas Quiz (shamelessly stolen from Chambanachik who stole it from Jane.)

Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?
Both. My homemade egg nog is a decadent treat - cooked custard and whipped egg whites and just the right amount of alcohol - it's almost a milk shake. And it tastes nothing like anything you buy pre-made in a carton. If it's really cold out, a Tom & Jerry is a good substitute.  It's essentially a hot egg nog.
Colored lights on tree/house or white?

White. I live in a fun house with a bunch of freaks but I don't want to advertise the fact with carnival-colored lights.

Do you hang mistletoe?

No, but I did when I lived in the South.  We'd shoot it out of the trees and bring it into the house for decoration.  It was prettier than a dead deer or pheasant hanging from the ceiling.

When do you put your decorations up?
Usually Thanksgiving Day, but some years, like this year,  not at all.
What is your favorite holiday dish?
It used to be Swedish ostkaka, a type of cheesecake made from raw milk.  A soft, but firm texture,  it was served in warm milk with sugar and cinnamon.  We can't get raw milk any more, so there is a recipe now using homogenized milk, but it doesn't taste the same as the original.
Favorite Holiday memory as a child?
Going to my great-grandmother's big old house in the country on Christmas Eve.  She had seven children and they would all be there along with all their children and their children's children. Norwegian egg coffee would be warming on the stove in a granite ware pot as was a large pot of oyster stew. The dining table was over-flowing with other Norwegian specialties including lefse (with butter and sugar) and kringla.  All the little cousins had to perform, either speaking their lines from the church Christmas program or performing on the piano, or singing.  After that, Santa Claus arrived with a bag full of gifts, one for each of the children in attendance.  He always came through the front door; never down the chimney.
When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?
Don't remember, but probably the same kid who told me that you get a baby by letting someone stick his tongue in your mouth.

Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
That's when we open ALL our gifts. Christmas morning is for sleeping.
How do you decorate your Christmas tree?
I start at the top and work my way down.
Snow! Love it or dread it?

Love it as long as it isn't a blizzard and I'm not out in it

Do you remember your favorite gift?
My high top white leather roller skates with wood wheels, with toe stoppers, pompoms and a metal carrying case.  Similar to this pair from Etsy:

What is your favorite holiday dessert?
Cranberry trifle when I have time to make it

What is your favorite holiday tradition?
Norwegian and Swedish foods - pickled herring, fruit soup, cheese with caraway, potato sausage, plus the Norwegian ones mentioned above, and more.

Candy Canes: Yuck or Yum?

When poked into an orange and used like a straw, yum.
Favorite Christmas movie?
The 1951 version of "Scrooge" with Alastair Sim

Saddest Christmas song?
Not a Christmas song, but close -

What is your favorite Christmas song?
Leroy Anderson's Sleigh Ride

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday Musings

1.  My older daughter and her husband just returned from a vacation in Argentina where she also celebrated her 29th birthday. She was in Australia on her 27th birthday.  In keeping with the tradition of spending her birthdays in areas of the southern hemisphere that begin and end with the letter A, perhaps she'll spend her 31st in Angola or Antarctica. Hopefully not. She already got to see penguins in Argentina.

2.  Why is it easier to get the two pieces of  a 9 1/2 foot pre-lit artificial Christmas tree down into the basement after the holiday season than it is getting it back up the following year?  One of these days I might actually have some help carrying the darn thing.  In the meantime, I just grab the knot of the sheet wrapped around each 75 pound piece of tree and PULL!!!  The hardest thing is getting it upright to decorate it.  I might be short, but with some huffing, puffing, and cursing under my breath, I do have the balls to get it done.

3.  Speaking of the holidays gone wild, my 21 year old nephew has out-done himself this year and is decorating the exterior of my sister-in-law's home with 100,000 lights.  Yep, that's right - 4 times more than Clark Griswold's house  in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation movie!

Unlike the Griswold house, my nephew has added wiring and circuit boxes to handle the electric load. Here's a picture of his partially decorated house. There are many, many more lights beyond the range of this picture in the side and back yards that can be seen from the street.

Sometime this week he will have all the lights installed and then set to music so visitors can drive by, tune their radio to a specific station, and listen as they watch a flashing light show of red, green, and white.  The small town folk here are anxiously awaiting.

4.  I recently became addicted to these:

Small bits of pretzels coated with spicy pepper and large salt grains exploding in my mouth with every crunch...Fortunately they've been on sale and notice the "20% more" sign on the package.  How can I resist when the dealers are practically giving it away? (BTW: This is a non-solicited, non-compensated endorsement.) I know the drill; I'll get hooked. Then they'll start making the packaging smaller and increasing the price until I'm broke and on the street begging for money to support my habit.