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Archive for the tag “Christmas”

Fear and Loathing in the suburbs Or how pumpkin bread learned to hate me.

Last month, in my enthusiasm for all things Christmas (Bah-humbug.  I put the damn tree up, and within a week it was decorated.  Can I read my book now?) I purchased some canned pumpkin.  For some reason I purchased three cans of pumpkin.  Not only did I purchase three cans of pumpkin, I purchased three of the largest cans of pumpkin you are able to purchase without going to extremes like industrial commercial restaurant supply places, which are usually located in fairly shady areas (it seems to me), probably because overhead is cheaper and if you are storing gallon-sized cans of pumpkin you probably need a lot of space.  Pumpkin is not a high-end market item, so the income from gallon-sized cans of canned pumpkin would probably not cover overhead in a warehouse located near the mall and bookstore.  Also, and more importantly, I prefer to spend less time than more in the car while driving around town, as I think it safe to say I am an excellent driver and, unfortunately, most of those around me on the streets around are not.  Not that I judge.  Anyway, I don’t want to drive 13 miles to a shady warehouse to purchase pumpkin for which I have no use, and in gallon sized cans.  If I’m going to purchase pumpkin for which use I am unsure, I may as well save some gas money, my time, and possible road-rage incidents in which I find myself beating the steering wheel – inevitably hurting my hand in the process – and screaming blasphemies about someone’s parentage, sexual preferences and IQ.

Somehow, between 9 days in Arizona visiting my mom and PR’ing my marathon, about which I shall ruminate in another exciting WordPress missive at some other date, and another 8 days out-of-town with my family, leaving me with 14 days to do all the normal stuff, plus all the Christmas stuff (the slowly decorated tree and half of the Christmas cards mailed), I thought I was going to make something edible which included canned pumpkin.  My thought, being that I am so into the Christmas spirit and all (oh – I did purchase a pine scented candle, too.  If I entered the room with nothing but the tree lights on, and squinted a lot, I could almost believe the tree was a live tree, pine scent wafting about the den) (and by the way, when you say you purchased a live tree and brought it home – and I’m perfectly fine with either of you doing so, I’m not meaning to judge – I just want to be sure you realize that what you purchased was, in fact, a dead tree) (truth-in-advertising not being what’s it’s cracked up to be, and all.  Not that I’m saying either of you are so dumb that you thought your tree was really still alive and not in actuality dead. I’m sure you realize it’s a misnomer.).

Ahhh…where was I?  Yes, pumpkin.  Flush with success over getting the tree decorated in under a week I decided to make pumpkin bread and give it to people.  Digging out the recipe I realized that each loaf of bread took 2/3 C. of pumpkin and each large can of pumpkin proudly contains 5.3 each of two-third cup servings.  This left me with enough pumpkin to bake 15.9 loaves of pumpkin bread.  I don’t care how much you like pumpkin, no one wants 15.9 loaves of bread, and if you do want that many loaves I don’t really care because I do not care to waste my precious remaining 14 days of the month making 15.9 loaves of bread.

It all became moot in the end, anyway, as you will soon see.  Pumpkin bread hates me, hates my household and does not want me to make it any more.  Personally I’m going with it’s a sign from God that I have other, better things to do, like write WordPress posts and play Spider Solitaire which, by the way, if Spider Solitaire suddenly became alive, I’m certain it would be one of those drivers I mentioned earlier.  This has nothing to do with the fact that I lost 7 games in a row.

Stupid damn game.

HOWEVER – back to pumpkin bread.

Feeling quite Martha Stewart-ish, what with the half decorated tree, the pine scented candle, and old Christmas songs pinging out of my iPhone, humming along happily I dumped pumpkin into the bread machine (right — you thought I made it by hand, didn’t you?  HAHAHAHAHAHA) along with sugar and spice and everything nice ♬ OH THE WEATHER OUTSiiiiiiDE IS FRIGHTFUL BUT THE FiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiRE IS SO DELiiiiiiiiiiiiiiTEFUL ♬ ♪ I sang, flour floating about the kitchen, Murphy so excited that he sang along with me although some curmudgeonly people might say he was howling and not with me, but at me, but those people are Scrooge McScrooges.

Some time later the bread machine dinged.  I removed the dough, rolled it out and set it in pans to rise under a towel.  A while later I returned to find the bread quite despondent and flat.  “Bread,” I asked, “what are you so despondent about?  Rise and shine!  This is your time!”  Bread just sat in the pans, flat and small and dead.

Shit.  I bet…yep, dammit. Yeast.  Oopsie…

Into the trash, good-bye sad bread.

Yesterday dawned, dreary, grey, windy and cold.  What can I do to perk this place up, I wondered?  I know!  I still have enough pumpkin for 13.9 more loaves!  Let’s make bread!  LA-LA-LA-LA I sang, awakening again my inner Martha (oddly considering crocheting scarves after making the bread), carefully measuring and adding the required amount of yeast.  The machine whirled and twirled, later producing a light, soft, puffy mound of pumpkin bread which again I carefully rolled out and set in pans to rise.  Checking later revealed fluffy mounds of dough ready to be popped into the oven.  DING the timer rang, and I removed the perfectly shaped, lightly browned loaves of bread perfection, setting them carefully on a towel to rest.

A while later my friend April was preparing to leave and as she passed the dining room on her way to the kitchen door Murphy quite unexpectedly growled and barked loudly.  I figured he was startled and moved to comfort him.

DAMMIT.  HE’S EATING MY BEAUTIFUL PUMPKIN BREAD!  Death by dog!  Half the loaf remained, chewed, gnawed and shredded.  I looked in the kitchen to see the other loaf, set further back on the counter and apparently not quite close enough for him to obtain, bearing teeth marks revealing Murphy’s initial attempt at bread murder.

Two more loaves head to garbage can oblivion.

Pumpkin bread hates me.

 

 

 

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Heartfelt

Good cheery sunny wintry day, my friends, Boy and Girl, I know you’ve been bereft and probably devastated at the dearth of chatter over here at rundogcatcatme.  I’ve missed you both terribly, I thought of you at least twice in the past three weeks or so and by this you can tell that I am very torn up.

Chunker is currently hauling her poor ratty baby (formerly some fuzzy squeaky toy) around, mewing at it as though it will somehow animate and become the baby her un-baby-making body is apparently yearning for.  Who knows why, maybe she has some hormones still hanging around?  Years ago I had a cat whose ovaries grew back.  What the hell?? I asked the vet, can she get pregnant?!?  He rolled his eyes slightly; pointing out that her uterus no longer existed even if the ovaries were trying to make a comeback.  Well, the damn ovaries are growing back, how do I know the missing uterus might not suddenly become sentient and return to sender?  For the rest of her life, several times a year, she hauled her little babies around for a week or so, mewing sadly.  Just as Chunker, she was a poor mother, leaving the helpless and hapless babies strewn about the house in high traffic areas, ready to be stomped deader.

Munkerandbaby

Chunk and (soon to be abandoned on the stairs so I can nearly break my neck trying to avoid slipping on it) Baby

Speaking of slipping on the stairs and not breaking my neck, that is exactly what I did a week and a half ago, and I’m still hurting and still have a good-sized bruise for the experience.  Suddenly I wish we had carpeted the stairs.  The one thing I’ve been most worried and cautious about – and of course it happened.  Why did I not spend all that effort worrying I would win the lottery, if that’s how the gods are going to handle my life?  Just as I got to a point that my foot was mostly pain-free I returned to constant pain – the first couple nights it hurt so much that I woke every time I turned (or tried to turn) over.  I managed to land on two treads at once so mid-back to upper hip were one large pain fest.  But, hey – sh*t happens, right?

The first of December, bored out of my un-exercising mind and needing something to focus on (not that I’m OCD, I just have a one-track mind at times which, oddly, Hubs pronounces “stubborn”) I had the brilliant idea of knitting scarves for some of my progeny.  Five, in fact.  Five 7-foot long scarves.  Hey, easy breezy, right?  Four-five hours per scarf, gives me something to do in the evenings while repeatedly scanning 573 channels for something – please Baby Jesus, anything – to watch on TV, an effort I quickly abandoned and set myself up, instead, in front of Netflix where I watched three seasons of Chuck, finally surrendering even that attempt because my match-maker heart could no longer stand the ever-dangling relationship with Sarah.  Unfortunately it turned out it was more like 10-12 hours per scarf but I’ll be damned, I started it, I’m finishing it, so my life faded into a tunnel-visioned knit 2 purl 2 with some life crammed in around the edges trying to get ready for Christmas.

While getting ready for the holiday was a bit of a rush, the week of Christmas was great as we did something we’ve never done:  the entire family met in Gatlinburg for the week, except for number 1 son and our great new daughter-in-law, whose work schedules prevented them from coming.  We had a 4-1/2 bedroom cabin in the mountains outside Gatlinburg, beautiful views of fog covered ridges; Christmas Eve it snowed a bit and we woke Christmas morning surrounded by snow frosted mountains.  We’d agreed no gifts except for the B’ster and did Dirty Santa instead, although as mom I felt compelled to give a few little gifts such as the aforementioned marathon scarf knitting.  Later that morning we hiked, even the B’ster and I were able to go along for a couple miles of easy trails to a waterfall and an abandoned cabin.

Thanks to T-1’s girlfriend I have become a jigsaw puzzle convert and while I am not OCD I did spend several hours peering through my trifocals at the brightly colored shapes, feeling a bit like a little kid getting a piece of candy every time I managed to complete a section.  Very self-rewarding, at least for a while.  I brought along knitting, Christmas cards, two books and several movies as though I were going to have time for all that; I managed to knit about six inches of an attempt at a boot cuff, read three paragraphs one night before collapsing into a dreamless sleep, and the only movies we watched were B’sters – which were more fun anyway.  We played games, hiked, shopped, went site-seeing and ate about every 3 hours.  It was perfect.

Yesterday morning we woke bright and early, the twins and girlfriend were heading back to Chicago; T-2 will spend the week there and fly back to NYC January 1st.  I watched them drive away, tears rolling down my cheeks, my heart and my heart driving down the road.  Everything changes, everything stays the same.

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