Saturday, December 24, 2011

How I Spend My Christmas Eve

Hola darlings!

It's not over yet.  Right now I'm at 5:41 p.m. Daylight Savings Time for the Midwest, whatever that means.

I've got a Shepherd's pie in the oven and it's got about 12 more minutes to go.  I decided to make a suitably humble meal for myself this evening (and left-overs tomorrow), in keeping with one of the traditional Christmas stories from the Bible, about how the shepherds were in the field when the glorious angel(s) appeared to make the announcement about the birth of the Messiah.  I'll save the filet mignon for New Year's Eve when Mr. Don is here and he, Mr. Firemaker, can grill them outside on the deck (unless there's a blizzard raging, in which case we'll put the grill in the garage with the garage door open for ventilation). 

I got up early - before 5:30 a.m., and spent luxury time sipping coffee at the dinette table while looking at old "Traditional Home" decorating magazines.  I didn't see anything that rang my chimes so no pages were torn out; those magazines will now be trashed.  I have some more to go through --

After breakfast, I took a nice nap, aaaahhhhhh!  I got up shortly after 9 a.m. and puttered around until about 10 a.m. when I made the weekend trek to the Pick 'n Save supermarket.  If I was expecting it to be quiet and empty, I was quite mistaken.  I thought that most of the mobs would have descended last night after working; I was very very wrong!


Fortunately, everyone (including yours truly), was in a suitably pleasant frame of mind.  The Salvation Army Bell Ringer in the lobby was making money hand-over-fist, and I am glad for it becaue as of a few days ago per WTMJ radio the S.A. was behind on its fundraising goal for the year.  I made sure to tuck in another dollar on my way out, and several people around me (some coming in, some going out) did the same.  Goody!

It was so crazy at that supermarket that while I got my essentials, I forgot one particular item - a can of tomato soup.  I use it to make my Shepherd's Pie.  More about that later --

So, I get back home. Oy, those bags were HEAVY.  I am generally pretty good at judging how much I can carry dangling in a cloth bag from each hand, but today both were equally heavy, and I couldn't gain any relief by switching off.  Such is life, sometimes.

 It was a beautiful day today.  The sky was blue - it never did cloud over like forecast - very few clouds at all and the sun was warm despite it being December 24th.  When I left the house around 10 a.m., it was still outside, but when I made the trek home, about 45 minutes later, a wind (as forecast), had sprung up and it was chilly when it hit me; but it was intermittent and not a screaming wind, more of a breeze.  For this time of year, it's positively balmy (consistently getting up to 40 degrees F or above!!!) and I'm growing increasingly suspicious as to just what Mother Nature has in store for us later on.  I sure hope she doesn't decide to dump on the 29th of December when Mr. Don is due in, nor on January 3rd when we're due to fly to Chicago and from there directly to Madrid.  I will be mightly pissed off at Her if she decides to do a number on us!  A pissed off Jan is something no one (not even Mother Nature) wants to deal with, let me tell you...

So, I got back home with stretched out arms and unpacked all of my goodies, including some Pepperidge Farm cookies for tomorrow morning to munch on with my coffee, yum, as I enjoy reading nearly each and every page of the Sunday paper :)  One of the joys of my life!  There's nothing quite like sitting with a good cup of coffee, equally good cookies (lots of melting chocolate in them), and enjoying both while reading the sales flyers and shaking my fist and yelling in due course at the Editorial Pages!

I picked up more hazelnuts for my uber-fat squirrels and I worry about what they will do while I'm gone.  Then again, after watching them and laughing at their antics for about 15 minutes earlier today, I see they're burying TONS of hazelnuts and so they will be just fine, provided the ground isn't covered with a foot of snow. 

And then, I decided to finish up the project I started yesterday -- putting up the large towel holder in the upstairs bath.  I took it down in November 2009 when Kevin the Handyman painted the room for me and put new flooring down; it had not been put up since.  I have been flipping the bath towel over the shower rod ever since, but decided to finally get things in order in that bathroom, including installing my Paris-centric prints in spiffy black frames! 

Oh Goddess, it was a disaster.  I spent at least 3 hours yesterday measuring this and measuring that, and and making pencil marks!  That was the easy part, despite half the wall being filled with pencil marks.  Then I started the job.  Turns out I didn't have the right kind of drywall anchors and the ones I had and tried to use didn't work.  ONE BIG HOLE IN WALL.  I called it quits for the night, last night.

So today I made a point while at the Pick and Save of buying and paying $1.99 EACH FOR FOUR DAMN DRYWALL SCREWS AND ANCHORS - times TWO!  I bought two because each package contained two "medium" size anchors and two absolutely GIGANTIC drywall anchors, and I figured I only needed the "medium size" drywall anchors to install my towel rod.  I mean, it's not that heavy.  Each side only takes two screws.  It didn't occur to me until today that the damn screws I'm using are just too fricking long!  DUH!  Anyway, my formerly pristine bathroom is now a mess, and I've got TWO holes in my wall too!

Look at those monsters!  I've started to fill them in with spackle - and what a tale that is! 

After I realized that this job is obviously beyond my skill-set, I dug out the plastic container of spackle from Junk/Miscellaneous Cabinet No. 3, where day before yesterday I found a dead mouse (another story entirely, darlings), pried the lid off with a screwdriver and found it to be - DRY. 

Oh crap.  I poked and prodded first with a fork, then with another screwdriver to search for any pockets of still-usable spackle.  NONE TO BE HAD.

Rather than giving up at this point, however, I took the dried-out spackle upstairs and added some water.  Mixed and mixed.  Not wet enough.  Added more water.  Mixed and mixed.  Too much water.


Soupy as it was, I used it anyway because I was that frustrated and just wanted to be done with it!  The holes are drying out right now, as is the uber-wet spackle. 

Meanwhile, it's now 6:42 p.m., the Shepherd's Pie is finished and I'm chowing down.  I must say, it turned out deliciously, except it's just a wee bit wetter than I like, probably due to using the Prego spaghetti sauce mix and ketchup rather than the can of tomato soup (undiluted) I ususally throw into the meat and veggies mix.  However, the Italian flavors in the spaghetti sauce are delicious and since I had some left-over shredded cheddar cheese I added the remainder to the mashed-potato topping on the pie prior to popping it into the oven.  Delish!  At least something has gone right today!  Next time I make this particular variation of my basic recipe, I'll make up a roux and add the sauce to it over heat before adding it to the veggies, that will thicken it up. 

And, I have to say, I do like the two Paris prints that I have already added above the smaller towel rack (above the toilet):

The photo turned out a little "bent" looking, wow!  Probably because I was too close.  Honestly, my wall is not curved.

So -- "The Nun's Story" starring Audrey Hepburn is coming on now on PBS and it's such a good movie, I'm passing up "It's a Wonderful Life" and "The Sound of Music" both to watch it.  Time to bid you adieu.

Happy Holidays --


Laura Sherman said...

Hi there! I was just thinking of you on this wonderful Christmas Eve and see that you're blogging away!

I have a book coming out in April called Chess Is Child's Play. It will teach any parent to teach any child of any age (4 and up) to play chess.

It is up on amazon for pre-orders now at 41% off.

The link is:

I hope you're doing very well! I would love to catch up sometime!

Jan said...

Laura Sherman, a pleasant blast from the past! I will be sure to blog about your book soon. Maybe it can help me. I'm taking lessons - sort of. I had my first lesson with a wonderful local coach, but the holidays have got in the way and on January 3rd I leave for Spain for a nice long vacation. Sorely needed! Happy Holidays to you and your family!


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