Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Good Christmas

I had a good Christmas this year, and I sincerely hope each of you did, too.  As is usual, ours was quiet, but really nice.  The only family I have nearby are Mom and Dad, and I'm grateful to have them close.  Our usual holiday routine is for me to have them over to my apartment on Christmas Eve, then I go to their house on Christmas Day.

On Christmas Eve, I had a little spread prepared: cheese ball, ham ball, barbequed meatballs, ham rolls, cranberry salad, snack mix, lemon pound cake, and pumpkin spice cupcakes.  We indulged in holiday goodies, then called Kris in Australia.  After we'd had a good telephone visit with her and Louise, we exchanged gifts.  It was a lovely evening and we enjoyed spending time together.

On Christmas Day, Mom had prepared a delicious dinner: baby back ribs, coleslaw, potato salad, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, and baked beans.  I'd brought rolls and cranberry salad.  After dinner we settled down in the living room for a restful afternoon.  All in all, a wonderful holiday!

That night, just before midnight, my smoke detector went off.  When I hurried to it to find out what was going on, I realized it wasn't the smoke detector,  but the carbon monoxide detector (it was a combo unit).  I pulled the battery out of it, but it was hard-wired as well.  I couldn't figure out how to make it quit screeching except to push the test button each time it went off, so I Googled it.  The instruction manual online was no help at all.  I called the number of the apartment office, but received a recording.  I figured the office would be closed on the 26th for the holiday; with no other ideas, I called the fire department (not 911, but their main number).  I explained that I didn't have an emergency, but that I needed some guidance on how to shut off what was an apparently defective carbon monoxide monitor.  I further explained that I have no gas appliances, and my apartment is all-electric.  The nice gentleman who took my call said that he would talk with his chief, and that someone would call me back very shortly.

Not long after that, I heard a fire truck come into the parking lot.  OH, MAN!!  Thankfully, they didn't have the siren on, but it still embarrassed me that I'd caused so much commotion over a carbon monoxide monitor!!  They were very nice, though, and insisted on using an air quality monitor to be sure there wasn't a problem in the apartment.  As I'd suspected, the monitor was malfunctioning.  They reset it and put it back in the ceiling.  I asked them to show me how to disconnect it in case it went off again.  After they left, it took awhile for me to get back to sleep.  I must have dozed off around 2:00 am; the monitor went off again at 2:45!!  A few brief seconds later, I'd disconnected it, pulled out its backup battery, and dumped it unceremoniously onto the kitchen table.

I'd brought work home from the office to work with on Monday and Tuesday.  I was tired Monday from the unexpected excitement the night before, but managed to make good progress on my office work.  I rested well Monday night, and got even more work done on Tuesday (yesterday).

When I talked with Kris on Christmas Eve she told me that my gift from them was on its way, but might not arrive until the 27th.  Sure enough, UPS delivered it yesterday afternoon: a Keurig coffeemaker!!  I'd been promising myself one for some time and was truly thrilled to receive it!  Setup was quick and easy, and it works like a dream.

Today I went to lunch with Mom and Dad at their favorite local Italian restaurant.  The food was very delicious, and we had a good time.  When I left there, I went to Sam's Club and Wal-Mart to pick up a few items I needed and get the oil changed in the car.

And so, I'm now back at home, still full of calzone but happy to have my shopping out of the way.  Tomorrow Mom has her second cataract surgery, so we'll all be glad when that's over and done.  Her first one went beautifully, so I hope this one goes as well.

So now I think I'll go make myself a hot cocoa in the Keurig and chill out with knitting while watching "Julie and Julia" on TV.  It's probably going to be an early night, which suits me fine.  :-)

Have a great week, friends!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

The Fruitcake Fallacy

Every year around this time you begin to hear people making remarks about fruitcake.  You've heard 'em.  Everyone hates fruitcake.  Fruitcake is the worst gift you can ever receive.  My favorite story is that there's really only one fruitcake in the world and that it keeps getting regifted from one person to another year after year.

I'll state it loud and clear:  It's not true.  Not everyone hates fruitcake.  I LOVE it.  Well, let me qualify that a bit; I love GOOD fruitcake.  And yes, there are some really great fruitcakes out there.  Admittedly, there are some bad ones, but some are truly delicious.

My favorite fruitcakes have just enough cake to hold the candied fruit together.  And they must have LOTS of candied fruit.  Even though I hold fruitcake to a pretty high standard, I never bake one.  Too much work for someone who bakes as little as I do.  I've found that Claxton fruitcake meets my requirements very well, thank you very much, and all I have to do is buy it, chill it, and eat it.  I wish the "dark" variety of their delicious fruitcake was available locally, but I never see it.  But that's okay, the "regular" variety is pretty wonderful, too.

Maybe I'll treat myself by ordering a dark fruitcake.  If no one gives me one for Christmas, I think I'll plan to do that for myself.  I've never had a day so bad that it couldn't be improved with a good cup of coffee, a slice of a good fruitcake, or a bubblebath.

Yes, I'm a woman of simple pleasures.  *LOL*

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Return of the Amaryllis Project

Mom and Dad went to visit friends of ours on Sunday (I was laid low by a migraine that day...*ICK*), and when they returned Mom called to check to see if I was doing okay.  While we were talking, she told me that our friends, Jewel and R.C., had given them a Christmas gift to give to me: an amaryllis bulb!

They've given me a bulb each year for the past several years, and I always enjoy watching their progress.  In fact, I've saved the bulbs and have them stored safely in my refrigerator to be replanted.  I just keep forgetting to replant them!!

In order for them to bloom at the proper time, I believe they must be replanted sometime in October.  I'm going to do some research on it and mark my 2012 calendar with the appropriate replant date so that I can have blooms (hopefully) next Christmas!

In the meantime, I've reactivated my "Amaryllis Project" page and will keep you updated on the planting, growth, and bloom of this year's bulb.  Mom and Dad will be coming to my home on Christmas Eve, so I'll probably be receiving (and planting) the bulb then.  Stay tuned!

Friday, December 16, 2011

A Long Short Week

I took the last of my "take or lose" days on Monday and Tuesday this week.  Even though I had those two days off, it was a busy, busy time!  I sang the last three concerts of this season with the Madrigals on Saturday afternoon, Sunday afternoon, and Tuesday evening.  So much fun!  These are talented ladies, and it has truly been a joy to perform with them this season.

On Monday I went to lunch with a good friend.  We met at Fatz; it was my first visit there, and I had a delicious reuben.  Sometimes it's hard to get a good reuben, but this one was really well done. We enjoyed a good meal and a really good visit.

After lunch I had a dental appointment to have a tooth filled.  It had been a very long time since I'd had to have a tooth filled, so I'd forgotten how very numb I get when I have a filling.  My WHOLE HEAD got numb!  And I developed a lisp that rivaled Sylvester the Cat!  I commented that I was really glad I didn't have to sing that evening because "Good King Wenceslas" would have been really messy with that lisp!  *LOL*

So, after a busy few days off I returned to the office and had an unbelievably busy three days.  Tonight it's raining; I'm all cozy in my apartment, watching the lights on my Christmas tree, watching "Criminal Minds" on A&E, sipping a Diet Coke and feeling drowsy.  I'm tired, but very glad to be home and relaxing.

Not a bad start to the weekend.  I hope you all have a good weekend, too.