Good humor makes all things possible.
-Charles Schultz-

With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.
-Shakespeare-The Merchant of Venice-

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Slouching toward Bethlehem

Last year, after having one of those great ideas that later backfire somewhat, fifty twelve-foot-long, two-by-fours, which were free and thus seemed like a potential income source, came to rest in my garage.  We stacked them along the rear wall so our cars could park in front of them.  There are three sets of Rubbermaid shelves [filled with heavy crap] between the wall and the lumber. Fast forward to December:  of course,  trapped on the bottom shelf was a bin filled with Christmas decorations.  It was like one of those logic problems we used to get in school.  Ultimately, Lillie and I unloaded the top three shelves, lifted it straight up, and slid the bin out like a drawer.  I'll make one more announcement to any locals who need two-by-fours, and then they're up for bid.  

Maybe they'll help me afford a new fence, because one really ridiculous  and virtually useless gate blew down in a big windstorm.  I may have mentioned that my fence was built by some perpetually stoned pals of my contractor, who neglected to assemble functional gates and whom I had to call and beg for weeks to return and fix them.  The Dorito-eating pals eventually wandered back and attached hinges, but never installed posts or anything to latch the gates TO; they just lean sleepily against the stucco walls of the house.  Almost immediately the gates  sagged, so that we've had to open them by lifting and dragging them through the dirt. 

Reefer madness!  Anyway, I need a new fence.

To be fair, better fences than mine blew down.  This one didn't stand a chance.

Sunday, Lillian and I bought a Christmas tree from our favorite local merchant, Simonis Family Christmas Trees.  They always have lots of smaller silver tips, which is our favorite, and their prices for these bright fresh trees are excellent: we paid just twenty dollars for this four-foot-tall baby.  Lillie prefers a real tree, so our unreal tree spent another holiday in the box.  By Christmas day I definitely appreciate how Faux Bois doesn't sag or shed and is always symmetrical, but I like the real ones, too.

The Santa on top is a little too menacing; he might have to get back in the box.

Yes, two of the cookies have "No" painted on them.  Christmastime can be stressful for some people.

Today we made sugar cookies and painted them with colored icing.  The idea was straight out of Martha Stewart, but in practice, painting cookies is guaranteed to make you feel like a stroke patient in rehab, and I genuinely mean no disrespect toward stroke patients, but I assume that one of their struggles is being unable to do simple tasks that used to seem easy. Folk art, we'll call this. We also made Red Cross Fudge (a variation of Fantasy Fudge) and my specialty, almond toffee.  Lillie made Oreo cake balls, almond and peanut clusters, and dipped apricots, and they'll be in the mail shortly. Except for the little kids, nobody gets gifts anymore.  We've chosen to donate [what we can afford, which is precious little this year] to the Shasta County Women's Refuge.

Cooks Illustrated Soft & Chewy Sugar Cookies: (They won't share their recipes online!)

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking POWDER
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter (not margarine, of course)
1 cup granulated sugar (plus more for rolling)
1 tablespoon brown sugar  (secret magic ingredient!)
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

You know the rest: Cream wet ingredients and sugar, stir in dry ingredients, roll 1" balls of dough in granulated sugar and flatten with a glass.  Bake at 350 for about 8 minutes.  Decorate however you want.

Carson loves Holmes On Homes because Mike always busts up lots of stuff

My birthday present arrived and is as big as Sam wanted.  The  new   "old" television is now installed in my room so I can watch the news in the morning and at night while snug in my wonderful bed.  I've decided this is a message from the cosmos that I should stay home and watch cable seven days a week.

I think that's entirely reasonable.

And I won't have to steal  so many  any lemons  this year.
There are about two dozen beautiful fruit on my Meyer Lemon tree.


  1. While I am perfectly willing to create, address, and mail 150 Christmas cards every year, I cannot abide baking and decorating cookies. I seriously loathe rolling out cookies, using cookie cutters, and/or decorating with frosting. So the fact that you did so AND you wrote on the cookies is amazing and awe-inspiring to me. Good on you.

  2. I was right! It was a humongous TV! Yay!

  3. I'm thinking your cookies look pretty awesome!