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I still can't believe I didn't know about the combination of pear and dark chocolate until just a year or so ago. I do plan on making these pear and chocolate scones again sometime soon. But next time, I'm going to grate frozen butter through box grater and then freeze the scones before baking. Maybe that will prevent them from collapsing, running all over the place. The flavor is great and the texture is light, I can only imagine how wonderful they’d be if more of the butter remained in the scones. And they will have more chocolate next time.
What happened to the coffee this morning? It is cold and bitter. I know there's coffee with me this morning, but despite the heavenly sounds swirling around me in the car –luscious choral music aptly named for the queen of heaven- a single question keeps surfacing in my mind as I drive to work: what happened to the coffee this morning??? And it is a particularly bitter (ha ha no pun intended) pill this morning because I have chosen to breakfast on one of the delicious although massively misshapen scones that I made yesterday with pear and dark chocolate.
Show! Snow! There is snow on the ground this morning. A little bit more than a dusting, and it will probably disappear by end of the day, but it is December and snow does help provide that holiday atmosphere. I have been trying not to be a Grinch, working diligently on the holiday cards, although I still can't find the ones I bought in January? I have also been working hard on the cowl for mom, it is coming along. I am not quite at the halfway point, but have reason to hope that it might be done this weekend.
The bedroom seems warm. No, it seems too warm. And the bed, it is suffocating me. I think the new bathroom fan vent cover has severely slowed the polar express of cold air whooshing into the bedroom and the down featherbed and memory foam mattress are trapping all body heat. As an experiment, I removed the featherbed. And we both slept cooler –although still too warm, particularly whatever part of us was touching the bed- and better. I had significantly fewer neck-shoulder aches this morning. The experiment will continue, but I suspect another new mattress is in our near future.
The Annual Sushi Day Lunch sounds so tame, so.. politically correct. At work, a group of us used to gather near 12/7 or 4/18 to eat kamikaze rolls at the local Japanese restaurant – the Pearl Harbor or Doolittle Raid memorial lunch. A way to remember and honor the sacrifice of our fathers and grandfathers –there is always a new young thing who didn’t know about the Doolittle Raid, or who barely understood the significance of 12/7; the only date they know anymore is 9/11. But somehow, our annual memorial lunch is no longer acceptable? Eating kamikaze rolls is… what, exactly?...disrespectful?
There was no Knit night tonight, everyone else bailed on me. I know that Life Happens, but… is this the second time in two months that there was no meeting? Two people faded from the group a few years ago, retired in more than one way. One more has come only a handful of times this year. Another one is intermittent at best. They all go to multiple other groups. Two of the founding core are dealing with significant health issues right now. That leaves…four. And it is the four of us that have been most consistent recently. Not tonight.
Racing against the clock to get things done before heading to the left coast, I managed to journal the week ahead! It was a purely practical matter – I needed to figure out what had to be done when, and what I was doing in California and what knitting to take with me! Regardless of the reason, it was a very centering experience, telling me that I do need to journal. As much as I can manage, and not beat myself up when I miss, for whatever reason. Kind of like these words. Except a missed day is not allowed here.
What was I saying about knitting being two steps forward and one step back? On the long flight out to California today I hoped to play catch up and knit most of a second sleeve. As I looked at the new one that was only 2 or 3 inches tall, it looked… odd. I had the first sleeve with me (thank Bob!) so I hauled it out and laid them side by side. Then one on top of the other. Sure enough, the new sleeve was 10 stitches wider. Blerg. So I frogged it (on a plane) and started over.
A day of finishes: the presentation is done –it went reasonably well- and Mom’s cowl is off the needles; I hope it doesn’t curl too much after blocking. So, does this mean I can now enjoy the rest of the trip? Probably not. Although. . . I may be watching Christmas movies in my room at night. And staying up too late doing just that. I am physically exhausted, but mentally, I am not. So mindless entertainment for the (holiday trip) win. And I am contemplating dinner from Del Taco again tomorrow night, that may be the best part of this trip.
As I sit in my hotel room tonight –something I ate sincerely disagreed with me (dinner was NOT from DelTaco) - I get a photo of mom’s cowl and update the crafting thread. I don’t post daily, but am trying to read daily. Does participating in the monthly crafting thread make a difference? This is my fourth month, and I would say Yes. Just like journaling does, just like writing these words makes a difference: being more involved in something you love shouldn’t be seen as taking away from your time doing it – its doing it in a different way.
The only thing worth commenting on today was that I was able to watch the full moon rise on the flight home. I don’t think I’ve ever seen the moon from the air before, certainly not a full moon, which did seem very bright indeed from the higher altitudes. There were bits of wispy clouds chasing around, trying to capture the moon and keep it for themselves, but it followed me. Even as we landed at JFK, I kept the glorious moon in sight. I was even was able to track it in the car as we left JFK behind.
That little bit of snow on the ground here makes it seem like Christmas. I just couldn’t get into the decorated palm trees that were everywhere in Disneyfied Orange Grove – that’s just not Christmas. I didn’t actually like the landscape in Los Angeles – not enough green, too much dry dirt. I did enjoy seeing the coastline and islands as the plane took off from LAX, for some reason I didn’t know there were larger islands there? But I am glad to be back in NY, LA joins Las Vegas in the list of “don’t need to go there ever again.”
Once the aleve kicked in, I didn’t feel so bad, particularly with an ice pack on my jaw. It was never going to be a productive day, but I had hopes that it was going to be more of a play day, since I used the comp day from Sunday’s travel to the Left Coast. I was able to distract myself with some of the lovely yarn that had arrived, although I didn’t wind or swatch it. Imagination is a powerful tool and all the talk of Walt Disney earlier this week inspired me be more creative with my knitting.
BooBoo came for a visit on my lap this morning while I was still sitting on the couch with morning coffee. And he stayed. And stayed. I don’t know if he missed me, wasn’t feeling good or was just being cozy on a rainy day, but he zonked out, almost unconscious, for about 90 minutes. I finally needed to move, so I finally picked him up and transferred him to my chair. I did want him to be more of a lap cat, I can’t then be unhappy if he chooses times to snuggle that don’t align with my schedule.
We usually look at every single tree in the place before deliberating a while between a few candidate Christmas trees. Usually, I’m the one looking for the biggest one that will fit – at least, in my head, it fits our living room. Today, we actually measured the ceiling height to know our maximum height. Right there, five trees in, was a lovely Balsam fir, slim, the right height with several inches of space between most branches. It was our fastest ever Christmas tree purchase and we knew exactly how much needed to be trimmed off to fit car and house.
After a mammoth push over the weekend, I finally managed to complete and post the November effort. I am now committed to finishing this month on time, and writing daily. I don’t quite know how to manage this, but if I am going to close out the year and possibly not continue writing in this space next year, I want to be done and completely finished on New Year’s Eve, not straggling two weeks into January. It doesn’t take that long, but it does take a certain amount of inspiration, and that is what I’ve been lacking for a while.
This is not how I wanted to decorate the Christmas tree. After a day that was strenuous for reasons I still don’t understand, it became a race to get the tree done before dinner. Lights were easy because the tree was smaller, so three strands was enough. Breakable, family heirloom ornaments went up at the top, transitioning to less precious or breakable ornaments on lower tiers, with softee / unbreakable ornaments at the bottom. But there was no music this time, and not a lot of thought, time or care, or enjoyment. It was just a chore to be finished.
Never before have antibiotics been so hard on me. But after five days of misery, I’ve had enough. I’m tired and feel like I haven’t eaten in days, hungry all the time. And today I don’t dare try to drive to the office – an hour is too long to be locked in a car right now – which is the final straw. A call to the dentist yielded agreement about stopping the antibiotics now, two days early. I will likely need to modify my Solstice plans, I don’t expect to be able to hold an all-night vigil in a few days.
Tonight dad was honored for 60 years of membership in his local amateur radio group. He, of course, didn’t want to go at first, not even knowing really what was in store. It was the stereotypical gathering to honor an elder, with kind words, a letter from a distant former member read aloud, cake and a plaque, followed by congratulations and handshakes. Mom figured out how to record and share video (since they were in town, signal was available) so that I experienced the evening highlights on a brief delay. Mom said he was still beaming when they got home.
Yesterday I was able to score two great tickets to Bauhaus at Radio City Music Hall. In June 2020. I don’t yet know who will be sitting next to me in the Orchestra section, but Miss H has first dibs, if her schedule permits a visit to NYC at that time. I spent the day contemplating the wisdom of my actions, although it is almost certainly the last opportunity to see them perform – it will be the second time. But when “Bela Lugosi’s Dead” came up on my ipad rotation tonight, I knew I was right to buy the tickets.
After last week’s snow squall, it seemed imperative that I finish my new daily-wear cowl. Last year I got rid of my daily cowl (Schaefer Yarns, Maarjana, knit in pre-Ravelry times) because it was literally disintegrating, though I’m not sure how much was actual wear-and-tear damage, and what was from moths. I prefer a longer cowl to a scarf because it won’t fall off, can double as a snood, and doesn’t have ends that get caught in car doors. The new cowl is a similar variegated colorway although made from a finer yarn, it will regrettably be a shorter cowl.
For whatever reason, as I went to sleep, I was thinking of the downtown mall in the city where I grew up. It was a pedestrian shopping zone, many blocks long, at the heart of downtown. It was unusual in the USA, but I felt right at home in the European cities with large pedestrian areas. I’d like to go back and visit, particularly Bonn. All of these thoughts apparently queued up some unusual dreams of a two story apartment with Fin de Siecle flourishes, including brass fretwork doors marked “Tanzsaal A” tucked away inside closets with iridescent blue dragonflies.
Again, I’ve bobbled the timing of holiday stuff this year. I wanted to bake different kinds of holiday cookies and give plates of them away, as I did last year. I made a carefully considered list and even bought the necessary ingredients. But it takes a clear and open weekend to bake five or six different types of cookies and quick breads, and I didn’t have that until this past weekend. And now, I’m not inspired to bake a wide variety of sweets if I couldn’t give it away. I did try one new kind of cookie, a glorified shortbread.
The overnight brotchen recipe worked! Having seen a few videos of how to work with very, very wet no-knead dough, I now get the concept. So these lovely, crusty rolls with a definite flavor were perfect with our Christmas Eve seafood stew. There were a total of six fish, not seven, involved in the making of this riff on cioppino, and it would seem to be our new holiday tradition. It is relatively easy and quick to make and a little special without being too heavy. Because you will (of course!) have eaten cookies and other treats during the day.
I haven’t really listened to a lot of holiday music this year, I don’t know why – and now I’m disappointed. I should have put some CDs in the car and just cycled through them every time I drove anywhere. Even today, it seems someone in the house prefers TV as background noise, rather than music, but that would probably be disputed. I find it odd to watch regular TV all day on Christmas. I get (and want) watching classic holiday movies like Christmas Story, or even Scrooged, but broadcast & cable TV programming during the day just seems… wrong somehow.
When I opened the wee, tiny box, I couldn’t believe my eyes. For Boxing Day, my true love gave to me – an opal ring! One I had fallen in love with on Etsy. I thought the stones were larger, but they are a neat row of delicate ovals. I never checked the ring size, I favorited it because I loved the look of it, but himself assumed it was the right size for me. It is actually small for my ring finger, large for my pinky. I will get it sized in the new year, and begin wearing it regularly.
I cannot believe my week of vacation is already over. I really don’t feel that I accomplished anything that I planned to do during the week off. Yes there were several unexpected complications between cars not starting and Dwayne the dryer dying (but he has been born again, hallelujah!) but still… I hoped to have taken a few things off the long term list by now and have made some noticeable progress on other items. There wasn’t as much sleeping in as I’d hoped either. But still – it was a week of not having to think about work at all.
Although sometimes I think I am not really knitting much, I am. So far this month, I have completed mom's cowl in time send it to her for Christmas. I completed my own daily wear cowl. I made real progress on the sleeves of my spring sweater. And I've already completed one of the Christmas Eve Cast On mitts. I’m still contemplating the New Year's Eve Cast On project – likely the retreat sweater, I already have the pattern generated and needles available. I haven’t frogged either of the two sweaters that need it; perhaps that’s the New Year's Day fun.
I seem to be getting the hang of baking at least one thing: the overnight brotchen rolls that had me swearing the first time I made them in the old kitchen. I had thought to cross snip the tops of the rolls much like certain German Brotz chin but I figured one variation at a time was enough - I added a cup of whole wheat flour into the mix, we'll see if himself realizes it. It certainly smells delicious just coming out of the oven. Next step is figuring out how to put seeds either on or in them.
It is quite clear to me that sitting down with a cup of coffee in the morning (with or without atmospheric music) seems to prime the process for thinking about the words and this space. Maybe the memory of past events in relation to current reality, a wisp of a dream, or thought fragments that occurred to me the day prior. I used to write on the early morning train; in those days the words simply flowed. Now unless I am dictating in my car, or up early enough to escape other signs of life in the house I struggle.
The end of the month, year, and decade. I’m two years shy of two decades of writing words. Yes, I skipped a few years, so I’ve only written about ten years worth of entries. And given my struggle to write here in the last few years, I’ve considered stopping – not going on hiatus, but a complete and permanent stop. But looking back at what I wrote when I came back… I am not going anywhere. I may continue to struggle with the daily routine while juggling a job that requires regular travel with stupid schedules, but I will keep writing.
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