Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I had a great Christmas Eve....relaxed and happy. The only thing that would have made it better would have been for Kris and Louise to be here.

Poor little Meggie was just exhausted when it was all over, though. She'd had a very eventful day:
  1. I was home all day instead of going to work and leaving her to have a nice long morning nap.
  2. A car caught fire in the parking lot (we could see it from my deck), so she had to patrol the deck for awhile to be sure no monsters came in on that big noisy fire truck.
  3. Three words: CHRISTMAS BOODA BONE.
  4. Mom and Dad arrived to share Christmas Eve with us and brought DOGGIE TOYS!
  5. We talked to Kris and Louise on Skype; she always gets excited when she hears familiar voices over the computer speakers.
  6. Time had to be spent under the table during Christmas Eve dinner in case anyone dropped crumbs. (No one did.)
  7. UPS Guy knocked on the door to deliver a package....the NERVE of him, knocking on Meggie's front door!! *LOL*

She was so tired that she went to bed ... without me! ... about 6:30. In fact, she's still in bed. She usually gets up once during the night to have a drink of water and visit the piddle pad, but she never got off the bed last night. I'm going to Mom and Dad's to visit today, so I'm sure she'll sleep like a rock while I'm gone.

Well, I think I'll have a cranberry-orange muffin and a cuppa tea for Christmas breakfast.

I hope everyone who reads my little blog has a very Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Crocheted Tote Bag

Daddy's aunt (98 years young) has been crocheting items using plastic grocery bags for some time now. I've seen hats she's crocheted, and just a short while ago she sent me some neat little coasters she's made. Our local newspaper even wrote an article about her craftiness a year or so ago. She's really something.

When she sent me the coasters it prodded me to wonder how she prepared the bags in order to get a ball of plastic to crochet. So, a-Googling I went and found that there are actually two schools of thought on how to do it: 1) by cutting the bags spirally in a long continuous strip, and 2) by cutting the bags straight across, forming loops that you then connect together in a chain. Because it seemed quicker (and required less ability to cut in a continuous line while keeping the width of the strip pretty even....*LOL*) I chose the loop method.

After I had a ball of "plarn" (plastic yarn) larger than a softball, but smaller than a volleyball (probably 40 bags or so), I started crocheting with a plastic "Q" hook, using a patttern I'd Googled for the tote bag pictured here. It's about 2 feet long and 1 foot wide. The handle is crocheted using a slightly smaller hook to make it nice and sturdy. The day after I finished it, I was talking with Mom on the phone and told her it was all done. She said, "What's it look like?" I answered, "It looks like a tote bag crocheted from grocery bags." *LOL*

Gorgeous? No, not particularly. Functional? Absolutely. It's sturdy, and I'm sure it's going to be a very handy item. I think I'll wind up crocheting several to use while camping. They're roomy, lightweight, and would be very easy to crush down into your purse to take along on shopping trips.

My next grocery bag project is a granny-square rug for the floor of my tent. I'll post a photo of it when I finish. Maybe I'll work on that while having my "recliner day" during the holidays. *G*

Holiday Insomnia

I was just exhausted when I came home from work this afternoon. Trying to get everything tied up nice and neat before closing for the holidays is nerve-wracking! I have to work tomorrow....well, really later TODAY, then I'm off until January 5. And BOY am I ready for a break!!

I got the holiday shopping and gift wrapping all done nice and early this year. So, when I get this last day of work over with I have a restful break planned. Well....sort of. *L* I want to do some serious reorganizing in my home office. That will actually take a couple of days, I'm sure. Mom and Dad are coming to my place for Christmas Eve; I'm making a lasagna according to a decades-old family tradition, started by Mom. Then I'll go to their house for Christmas Day. On Friday I have an appointment to have a few inches lopped off my unbelievably-long hair, then I'm having lunch with friends. On Monday I have to run to the office briefly for a mailing that MUST go out. Other than that, my schedule is my own until the 5th! *YAY* I have a lot I want to do, but have faithfully promised myself at least one day in the recliner with MeggieDog, a lap quilt, and the remote control. On that day, the most strenuous thing I plan to do is feed myself and knit. Maybe crochet. But nothing that makes me wear shoes or break a sweat!

Crochet...that reminds me. I need to take a photo of the tote bag I just crocheted from plastic grocery bags! I'll do that and post it in the next post.

It's been a really stressful time at work, what with state budget concerns and the national financial situation. It'll be nice to be able to forget all that for a few days.

So, if there are any regular readers out there in cyberspace, I wish you all a Very Merry Christmas and a Safe and Happy New Year!

Sunday, December 14, 2008


Sheesh, where did this year GO? I was doing a snow dance when I last posted...I had limited success; we were on a snow schedule the next morning. *L*

The next week brought an unwelcome day off, though. On Monday we received word at the college that one of our students had been the victim of a terrible crime apparently committed by her ex-boyfriend. He'd broken into her home very early on Monday morning, stabbed the girl's father to death, then attacked her mother, her, and her new boyfriend. Because the criminal had made threats on our campus (not only to his ex-girlfriend, but to some other students as well), our campus closed Monday afternoon and was closed all day Tuesday. It was a spooky, troubling time. The fugitive is still on the run with his new girlfriend. I hope they're captured soon.

Because of the closing Tuesday, our annual Christmas concert (which was scheduled for that evening) was postponed until Friday evening. There was an unfortunate lapse in communications that resulted in some folks not getting word of the rescheduling. Some showed up on Tuesday to find the road into the campus closed by law enforcement. Others didn't get the word about the Friday concert and didn't come.

Bottom line was that we did the concert, it's over, and in 100 years no one will know or care that it was a little out of the ordinary. *LOL*

Yesterday I was a little draggy and my throat was scratchy. I was afraid I was taking a cold, but feel fine this morning. A little lazy, maybe, but otherwise well. Yesterday I had a terrible craving for chocolate. The only chocolate I had in the apartment was a box of Hershey's cocoa. Luckily I already had all the other ingredients to make a small batch of brownies. They turned out chocolaty, chewy and utterly delicious. My chocaholic craving has once again been satisfied!

If you need an easy, quick batch of brownies, here's the recipe:

Yield: One 8" x 8" pan

6 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup flour
2 eggs
1 cup toasted pecans (I don't like nuts in my brownies, so I leave this out and it works fine)

Preheat the oven to 325 deg. F and grease and flour an 8" x 8" baking pan.
In a microwavable mixing bowl, melt the butter completely. Stir in the cocoa powder; add the sugar, vanilla, salt, flour, and eggs. Mix well. If you want to add pecans, do that now.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake at 325 for 35 to 40 minutes. The brownies are done when and inserted toothpick come out clean. Cool in the pan until slightly warm, cut into squares and serve.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Doing the "Snow Dance"

So, how pathetic am I? I just had a 5-day break (Wednesday - Sunday) for Thanksgiving, worked today, and am hoping VERY hard for a snow day tomorrow! *LOL* Oh well, in my defense, it WAS a tough day at work.

I was a little under the weather the last couple of days I was headache, no tummy troubles, but chills and fever. VERY strange. Yesterday I was very weak. In fact, I had to stop halfway through unloading the dishwasher to rest. Any effort whatsoever caused me to break out in a sweat and feel just awful. I checked my glucose, and it was okay. My blood pressure was fine, too. It must have been viral. I swear, if a virus passes within 100 miles of me, I seem to pick it up! Sure gets tiresome.

At least I was able to go back to work today. I have to admit that I was really happy to see 4:30 roll around this afternoon, though.

I think Meggie must have really missed me today; I'd been at home with her for the past three days and she'd gotten used to having me around. She kept bringing me toys this evening so I'd play. She finally got tired and crawled up into my lap for a nap while I was knitting. Now (not quite 9:00 pm) she's all ready for bed. Actually, that doesn't sound like such a bad idea!