Thursday, December 31, 2009

Weapons of Mass Destruction

What could this be?


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Anyone? Beuller??


It is this. Or these.

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Santa brought me not one, but two of these big beauties.
We have one cast iron skillet. It's 10 inches. It doesn't hold a whole pound of bacon.
It doesn't fit 4 haddock fillets at one time. Liver and onions (droooool) requires two batches of onions and countless batches of liver pieces.
It's like cooking with dollhouse furniture.

As you can imagine, it doesn't see much use in this house. It is, however, the first pan I reach for when presented with meat, fish, potatoes...most everything.

This year, Santa decided it was time to upgrade to the 12 inch. And for good measure (and because he knows it will get used here) he threw in the 16inch.


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butter and an egg, for scale. And my crooked fingers.

Holy Moly. Now THAT's what I'm talking about! I can't lift it. Even with two hands.
But that's okay; I don't plan to take it for walks.

Clearly, there is more to the story of the cast iron skillet, as the title of this post implies.

Let's just say that without The Old Ten-incher, there would likely have been a Thing One-And-A-Half, and one completely insane postpartum Mother breastfeeding Two Things.

(Note to OB/GYN's everywhere: Six weeks my left foot!)

I slept with that skillet for a year.
Only had to use it once. Cast Iron Rocks.

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Apparently, I eventually fell asleep.

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He's not at all sure this was a good idea.

p.s. We'd already used the big one, and I took pictures before we'd oiled it. Distract yourself from the soiled-looking interior by looking at my filthy stove.
Wait....
What?

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Day After

I have a foodover.


That's a food hangover. Ouch. Ugh. Ack.

Christmas was fabulous. The food was done in time, the presents were wrapped in time; we ate, we opened, we gave thanks and were grateful.
And then we ate again.

We're still eating.

I am far, far too lazy to post any pictures today. I may actually put clothes on today, but as it's just past noon, my enthusiasm for doing so is beginning to wane.

(Meanwhile, Chris just left here. Thing One got to the shower before me, and I am in my favorite (read:ratty) pj's. Chris doesn't count.)

I leave you with this: The Things got a new wii game. It contains many active games, one of which is Swordplay. Thing One is a champion boxer (on the wii), and has made it her goal to dominate in this game as well.
The Big Guy decided to give her a run for her money. He was giving it all he had, swinging like a madman. he got in ONE hit, and she yelled, "Hey, you just hit a girl!"
He paused for a split second...and she nailed him. Knocked him right off the platform.

I hear the rustle of tin foil calling to me...somebody just took the baked stuffed shrimp out again, and I must have one. Or two....

Friday, December 25, 2009

To My Everyday Heroes:


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Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to the men and women in our Armed Forces, who are standing guard for us tonight and every night.

Merry Christmas to those who will work tonight, and miss seeing their small children's faces filled with awe and delight when they run to the tree in the morning.

Merry Christmas to those who will have to leave in the wee hours to get to work, and miss it.

A very special Merry Christmas to you, the health care workers who staff the hospitals and clinics 24 hours, and to whom the word 'holiday' has a whole 'nother meaning; namely, which ones will I be missing with my family?

Hats off to you; you Emergency Services personnel and the support staff who stand beside them on holidays and weekends all year.
Policemen and women, our Military, firefighters, doctors, nurses, clerical staff, janitorial service workers, security staff, all of you who toil through the holidays and nights and weekends, the 'off' hours, while the rest of the world sleeps.

For I remember it well.
Thank You. Bless you. And Merry Christmas.

It is not without sacrifice that I am able to 'stay home' with my kids.
And tonight, it's worth every hardship, every sideways look I get when I mention 'I live on an island', all the extra work it takes to make a life here.

I know I am blessed beyond words to have the ability to be here when my little Griswolds-in-training hit that tree in the morning.
I wonder who is more excited??

p.s. Every year at Christmas I am reminded of an old friend, Nelson O., for whom I once worked 36 hours straight so he could have the time off with his small children over Christmas. (ouch, though. Never. Again.) I pulled his name out of a hat; there were many on that shift in the same predicament. I was young and single and had a huge family cooking for me; they were parents with little kids who wouldn't be home Christmas morning. He was overjoyed! It remains, to this day, one of the Best Things I have ever done for anybody.
Merry Christmas, Nelson, wherever you are!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice

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Today is the shortest day of the year.


Goodie. I only have 482 things to do today, so that works out well.

As soon as I finish my column for the newspaper, I'll be in the kitchen, should you need me. Or at the Post Office (11-2). Or at a school board meeting (3-~4).

The good news, (for me, anyway) is that The Bakery is on hiatus until January 4th, when the kiddos return to school!
The last (express) orders will go off with the mail boat today. Whew!

Today, in between my obligations, I begin Our Holiday Preparations.
I'm tingling with excitement.
The biscotti!
The pies!
Clams Casino!
Scallops Wrapped In Bacon!
Baked Stuffed Lobsters!
Cioppino!

...and that's just the tip of the iceberg...

It's the moooost wonderful tiiiiime of the year....

p.s. Haven't finished the Christmas shopping, or the knitting, or the cleaning, or the laundry.
I work really, really well under pressure. Just don't try to talk to me.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

SeeingThe light

She's teetering over to The Dark Side.


Somebody make a convert of her, quick!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Holiday Chuckles

I resurrect this from an old email every year. I didn't write it, but I did my part in spreading it around. LOVE IT.

This one's for you, Michele!


CHRISTMAS CAROLS FOR THE PSYCHOLOGICALLY CHALLENGED



1) Schizophrenia---- Do You Hear What I Hear, the Voices, the Voices?

2) Amnesia-- I Don't Remember If I'll be Home for Christmas

3) Narcissistic-- Hark the Herald Angels Sing About Me

4) Manic-- Deck The Halls And Walls And House And Lawn And Streets And
Stores And Office And Town And Cars And Buses And Trucks And Trees And
Fire Hydrants And...........

5) Multiple Personality Disorder----We Three Queens Disoriented Are

6) Paranoid---Santa Claus Is Coming To Get Us

7) Borderline Personality Disorder--- You Better Watch Out, You Better
not Shout, I'm Gonna Cry, and I'll not Tell You Why

8) Full Personality Disorder--- Thoughts of Roasting You On an Open Fire

9) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder---Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells Jingle
Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle
Bells, Jingle Blls, Jingle Bells

10) Agoraphobia---I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day But Wouldn't Leave
My House

11) Senile Dementia---Walking In a Winter Wonderland Miles from My House
in My Slippers and Robe

12) Oppositional Defiant Disorder---I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus So I
Burned Down the House

13) Social Anxiety Disorder---Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas
While I Sit Here and Hyperventilate

14) Attention Deficit Disorder--We Wish You......Hey Look!! It's
Snowing!!!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

OK, Knittaz!

It's the moment you've been waiting for.....


Remember this?

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(I cleaned that table, and it was covered in homework and kid paraphernalia before I could dry my hands. These kids! They're everywhere I tell you, everywhere!)

Here's a better shot of it.

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It's a swift! (Points to Jean- I think she guessed it.)
hmmm. Apparently The Boy is stripping the finish off the table. How's he doing that, I wonder?

And one of it in action:


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A handmade wooden swift from The Knit Store, on etsy. I got to choose size, wood, and finish. It took me hours of pondering and debate to decide, but my inner control freak was thrilled to have her say.


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Ain't she purdy?


The yarn I'm winding is from an old bloggy friend, Dawn. Dawn recycles wool. It's a fascinating process. The color in this pic is accurate, a deep dark garnet-y cranberry red. Gorgeous!
I bought it after finding a lovely pattern I just had to knit. The yarn is here. I can no longer remember what the pattern was.
Welcome to my world.

You can find Dawn at The Twice Sheared Sheep, on etsy.
(What did I do before etsy?)
Dawn also makes some really cool stitch markers. But I can't show you those. Santa will be bringing them. They mustn't be released into the wild before that day, because I will totally be using them, and that will create a problem...if you know what I mean.
(I'm pretty sure I'm the only one in this house who still buys into,well, you know... but I'm not ready to let go. They're only 6 and 8 fergodssake.)

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Yes, Stash, I finally did it. I've been winding yarn off the kids hands, the Big Guy's knees, and the backs of chairs (once off a steering wheel!) for far too many years.
I don't recommend the steering wheel. The kids learned some new words THAT day.

I wanted one that sat flat on a table or floor. I had visions of me sitting with the swift clamped to the arch of one foot and the winder clamped to the other as there is no good clamping spot in my house...

This swift is the cat's meow! perfectly smooth, pretty as a peach, highly adjustable...
I Am In Love.

And it was in my hands three days after I 'clicked' on the innernet. Gotta love that!

Thank you, The Knit Store! The kids thank you, the husband thanks you, even the half-dead cat, who is mesmerized by the movement, thanks you.

Now if only I could find time to knit.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Heaven...

Hea-ven... I'm in Hea-ven,
And my heart beats so that I can hardly speeeeeeeeeak.


Sing it with me! You know the words!

And I seem to find the happiness I seeeeeeeek,

in this:

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Clearly, Irving Berlin didn't knit. If he had, his song would have rhymed quite differently.

Still in my Blue Phase! And loving it!
These beauties are from Sherri at The Loopy Ewe, where yarn is shipped seconds after you hit the 'submit order' button on your computer, judging by how fast it got to me.
No complaints about that!
This is some good stuff. But there's more...

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Wait 'til you see what THIS is!

And wait you shall, because immediately after plopping this upon my table, I realized it hadn't been wiped own by my slaves helpers, and I had to resume cleaning.

All will be revealed after Mr. Lysol does his duty.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Field Trip Update

The Maintenance Dude didn't stop spreading his Holiday Cheer at the pool last night.


He actually came a-calling at midnight...banging on one of our families' hotel room doors!

He got a 5- months- pregnant Mom out of bed, into the hallway, to ask how many kids she had sleeping in her room. I was in the room next door, and had one foot out the door to 'take him down', if necessary, but she was all over it.
She did all the right things; didn't argue, never raised her voice, talked more and more quietly the more agitated he got, and finally just went back into her room and locked the door in his face.

We think he was On Dope.
And we left.
They lost bookings for 6 rooms, for 3 more nights. But the place across the street was more than happy to have us.

We are now at a lovely hotel, in upgraded suites. The staff here is wonderful (Hi Tyler!) and couldn't be nicer.

Tomorrow we are off to visit the Governer. We have some things to discuss.

I just hope we don't make the evening news.


Truckin'

We are on a Field Trip. A big one.

Our whole school (minus one) is here.
Hi Cadin! We miss you BIG TIME, Bud!

Cadin is home (sort of) having a BABY! Pretty soon. So soon, that Mom wasn't able to travel with us. We're taking lots of pictures for them.

And it was a good thing she didn't try to travel with us; it was pretty rough going.
We were hit with a blizzard, like most of you, that made driving hair-raising.
And The Big Guy is with us. In my truck. Driving. And singing.In my truck. With me.
Singing.
It was a very long ride.

Highlights from the day:
  • Mapquest gave us very clear, concise directions directly to the front door of the Holiday Inn. Too bad that wasn't the hotel at which we had reservations.
  • Checking in was traumatic. Apparently, it is inadvisable to produce more than three children. It's a fire law. (Well, you can, but you can't keep them in your hotel room.)
  • One of the families in our group is Direction and Elevator-challenged. Good thing our rooms are on the first floor.
  • Our hotel, which shall remain nameless until after checkout, is providing much in the way of entertainment. Significantly, the Maintenance Dude is not happy we're here.
I don't know why...we are only 12 adults and 14 kids from some rock near DownEast Maine.

We're going to have a good time with this Dude, I can promise you that.
We've got 5 lobstermen with us, and The Finn.
They don't know what they're in for.


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Here we are, being all responsible. The kids were swimming safely. We even put two (alleged) grownups in the pool, for safety's sake.


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We made sure there was no running on the sidelines, and no diving, and no peeing in the pool.

The hot tub, however...

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Check out that stream!

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Well. Now he's getting jiggy with it.

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Are you supposed to touch those buttons? Even if you're in the hot tub, and the timer for the bubble-jacuzzi thing stops?
Maintenance Dude didn't think so. And he was right handy to point that out.
(There was no sign to tell us otherwise, in our defense.)
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Heathen! Rule-breaker! Is that a (gasp) paper coffee cup, with a lid????
No food or drink is allowed near the pool!
No sign for that either, though there was one that proclaimed glass containers off limits in the pool area thankyouverymuch.
Thank You, Maintenance dude, for pointing out the error of our ways. Good thing you were just outside the door, there, to see that paper cup, before any harm came to us. Phew!

(OK, this was a set-up. The cup was mine. I just took a picture of it near Jay. I confess. I had a coffee at the pool. A plain coffee. It is a school trip, after all.)

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"And could you keep your children off the doors! Thank you!"

Yup.
We're a bunch of rebels, huh?
I may have heard the word 'redneck' muttered under Maintenance Dude's breath.


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We posted a guard by the door, to keep Maintenance Dude on his toes. Actually, Dude was behind that door, looking through the peep hole. The Big Guy was blocking his voyeuristic viewing. The kids, and all, you understand.

Ten bucks says this guy calls in sick tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Love, Oprah

Well, not really.


Remember how our Island was featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show??

Remember the Other segment on that show?
(Oh, the horror. I had to try three different pages to find a G-rated page to link to! And I'm a bit traumatized by one of the ones I found.)
Must. Go. Lie. Down. Now.

Yes, The Bunny Ranch. (eek.)

We laughed it off, our being associated with it/them, because...well, what're you gonna do?

And in true island fashion, the jokes just kept comin'.

I started saying I wanted a sign for my house, to commemorate the event.
One that would always remind us of the Time Oprah Came to Frenchboro (though she never set foot here).

And the jokers came up with this:

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I LOVE IT!

Thank You, Tammy and Jay!
**This does NOT mean that clothing is optional here! Sorry, Jay.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

He's baaaaack!

It's that time of year, again.


Henry's back.

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Can't wait to see what he gets up to this year!


Monday, December 7, 2009

Crack for Kids

Ew. That's unsettling isn't it?


I've got to have something better than that- it sounds OK when I describe yummy yarn as Crack For Knitters, but it doesn't translate at all with kids in the title!

How about: Enticement For Kids. (Anything's better than the drug reference, right?)

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Stacie sent these little foam kits to The Things.
They LOVE these. You would'a thunk they got gold.

Best part? They were completely and totally occupied for about an hour (they even watched the glue dry- I kid you not) while I snuck pieces of turkey cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

Thanks Stacie! And thanks for the other things in that package...
the coffee (yum), the chocolate-covered espresso beans (immediately hidden from the public), the crackers and dip (gone, and veryvery good), the candle which makes the house smell as if I baked all day when I actually sat on my verylargebutt and knitted (and which took an hour of explaining to the Young One that it was NOT a real apple pie, it was a candle. Yes, I did make him lick it to shut him up.).

Ah, and this:

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We share a special bond, Stacie and I. It's not everyone who can give a gift like this, and have it be appreciated.

I only wish I were the sorta gal who could allow video of this in action.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Menu Plans

I've been thinking about menu planning, following this post by Tsh over at Simple Mom. (GREAT blog- lots of really good ideas!)


What I'm thinking is, this is a great idea. I would love to do this.
Somehow, though, it doesn't work for me.
And you would think it would work for me, given my love for routine, and the OCD and all!

But I love food. Nearly every day, I wake up with something on my mind, or I see something, or think I smell something, and it's all I can think about until I make it.
Sometimes it's not even about the eating- the cravings are sometimes just to make it.

Compound this with the fact that I live on an island with limited ferry service and you have a recipe for some very interesting tweaks to recipes!

While this idea doesn't quite work for my (insane) life, it remains a Great Idea.

One I thought I should share with you. Go check out Tsh's menu plan, and make it work for you.

I, meanwhile, am battling cravings for this:


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But, really, it may just be for this:

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Either way, it ain't happening today.

I may just have to settle for this:

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Auntie Em, Auntie Em!



diana halloween06 076
Surf's Up!

It's a twister!
Well, it feels like one, anyway.

The winds are strong this morning; stronger than my coffee; stronger than my will to get dressed and go to the Post Office.
(I will, I will get dressed.)

Things are blowing around outside. Large things. Things that look a lot like Adirondack chairs, and sound like vehicles when they slam into the side of the house.
note to self: pick up outdoor furniture before December. Or November.

Our marine forecast:

GALE WARNING IN EFFECT THROUGH THIS AFTERNOON

TODAY
SE WINDS 25 TO 35 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 KT...INCREASING
TO 30 TO 40 KT LATE THIS MORNING...THEN BECOMING SW 25 TO 30 KT
WITH GUSTS UP TO 45 KT EARLY THIS AFTERNOON...DIMINISHING TO
20 TO 25 KT WITH GUSTS UP TO 35 KT LATE. SEAS 5 TO 8 FT...
BUILDING TO 8 TO 11 FT THIS AFTERNOON. PATCHY FOG. RAIN THIS
MORNING. A CHANCE OF SHOWERS EARLY THIS AFTERNOON...THEN A SLIGHT
CHANCE OF SHOWERS LATE. VSBY 1 TO 3 NM.

TONIGHT
SW WINDS 20 TO 25 KT...BECOMING W 10 TO 15 KT AFTER
MIDNIGHT. SEAS 8 TO 11 FT. PATCHY FOG IN THE EVENING WITH VSBY
1 TO 3 NM.

Though this is far from the Worst We've Ever Seen, it will likely mean losing power, wet kids and pets (and post office personnel who will be walking), and broken lawn furniture.
No playing with sharp objects, today, kids (and men who play with sharp objects routinely).

Even Lifeflight won't come out here today. We are on our own.

Is it wrong that I enjoy this feeling?

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Let the insanity begin!

I just want it here, on the record, that I sent out my Christmas cards two days before Thanksgiving!

Me!

It will very likely never happen again, so I bask in the glory of this one-shot-deal.


And back to the kitchen I go!

In between twittering and cooking and tweeting about cooking and, you know, eating..

I have been struck with a bad case of needle-ing. (One of the kids here used to say that. Marissa, what are you needle-ing? So cute.)

I needle-d this.
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This is some handspun alpaca Thing One and I found at the Blue Hill Fair this year.

Soooo soft.

It was supposed to be enough for two (as in, one for her, one for me) roll brim hats...
and it well may have been....
but I saw this. (Rav link)

And I liked this. A lot. I wanted to make this. But Thing One was expecting an alpaca hat.
So I made an adult size hat, and it should fit us both.
Shhh! Don't tell her; it's for Christmas!

Both of my kids have asked for handknits this year.
I know, right???!!!!???