Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

Words by Scottish poet, Robert Burns. Arranged by Kevin Walsh.

Monday, December 26, 2011

The New Stove

The old stove was slated to be replaced next August during the Tax Free (hopefully) weekend. Poor old stove had plans of its own and had to be replaced sooner.

The new stove arrived last Tuesday. It has a sleek, black, wipe down exterior. The ceramic cooktop has no raised burners or nasty burner rings which are impossible to clean under.  Inside the oven, the heating element is hidden. Inside, outside wipe down easy. The only thing that could make this stove more awesome is detailing of flames like you see on racing cars or Harleys.

However, the stove is most emphatically not a Christmas present. There's a rule to be followed.

Love me sweet,
Love me tender,
Don't you dare
Give me a blender
Unless I ask for one.

Do you consider household appliances an appropriate gift to your significant other?

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Wizards - Make It Snow on Your Blog

Want to make it snow all over your Blogger blog? Add a Widget at the bottom of your blog layout. Select the HTML widget. Don't bother to give it a name to keep it hidden. Copy and paste this line of code into the box:

<script type="text/javascript" src="" /></script>

Save. Voilà! Your own blizzard. When you get tired of it, go back to the layout screen and delete it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Friday Five

Five Christmas traditions we did, usually on the same day, when I was a kid.

1. My mother would make us dress in our Sunday best for a trip to Boston. If Dad was taking us, he'd drive to Woodland Station, park the Dodge or the green Studebaker wagon, and we'd take the streetcar to Park St. If Ma was taking us by herself, we'd take the bus from the end of our street to Park Sq. Ma would hurry us through the Combat Zone (red light district)  on lower Washington St. to the store 

2. From Park St. we'd walk a block over to Washington St. where Ma would do Christmas shopping at Jordan Marsh and Company. (In 1996 Jordan's was bought out by Macy's)

3. When her shopping was done, she'd take us upstairs in the store to The Enchanted Village. While waiting in line to see the Big Man, we'd be entertained by a huge Christmas display of mechanical dolls, lights, and electric trains.

4. After, we'd get to have lunch at Kresge's lunch counter, a baloney and onion sandwich though I had mine with yellow mustard and no onions.

5. Before going home, we'd get to walk around Boston Common looking at the Christmas lights and the skaters on the Frog Pond.

Did you do anything like this when you were a kid?

Thursday, December 22, 2011


It wasn't an Uruk-hai invasion, but a snow family made from a hand print. Crafterella made some, and I thought I'd make some, too. 

The original directions used a satin finish ornaments. I couldn't find satin finish so ended up with shiny finish. (Nothing like trying to find ornaments five days before Christmas, and the mall was insane!) The original instructions used small ornaments because the craft was being done with children. I think they measure 2 1/2 inches in diameter. The ornaments, that is. I have no idea how big the children were. I opted to use a large ornament, 4 inches in diameter. The original instructions also had hats and scarves colored with Sharpie markers. That don't fly on a shiny finish ornament. I used my pots of acrylic paint by Plaid.

It's a fun project. Would be fun to do with kids, if you didn't mind the mess.

What's keeping you busy today?


Mark of the Uruk-hai? Come back later to find out.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Goodbye, Dear Friend

You are a good friend. I so appreciate your 25 years of faithful service. You were a marvel with your self-cleaning feature. You saw me through sterilizing baby bottles, baking tons of cookies and brownies for bake sales, and goodies for the girlies and Himself. We cooked gallons of soup and gravy (i.e. pasta sauce). You were with me as I took on the mantel to host the holy days of obligation.  You were there for the successes and the sacrifices. The smoke went to heaven, the smoke detector sang arias, and I'm sure we elected a new pope or two. I will miss you.

I will not miss having to clean under the burner rings or the grease under the cook top. I will not miss the struggle to rid the ridge around the oven door free from gunk.

Monday, December 19, 2011

I Won An Award

Robin from Pink House Studio has presented me with the Versatile Blogger Award. Not only that, but she gave me a topic for today's post. Thanks, Robin!

The rules are:

1. Nominate 15 bloggers for the award.
2. Inform the bloggers they have won.
3. Share 7 random things.
4. Thank the person who bestowed the blog award.
5. Add the award to the blog.

I'm not sure I could come up with 15 bloggers that would play along. So, I invite anyone who would like the award to take it and play along.

Seven random things about moi:

1. For a few years, I studied martial arts. I achieved the rank of green belt with stripe (the lowest of the advanced ranks)

2. I didn't get my driver's license until I was 21. The Little Princess had lots of chauffeurs to ferry her around.

3. I scribble notes with a mechanical pencil.

4. Though left-handed, I crochet right-handed.

5. A few years ago, I began having double vision. To correct the problem, prisms are in my eyeglass prescription. If my lens get any thicker, I'll be borrowing the lens off the Hubble telescope. Getting old sux.

6. I sucked my thumb until I was 5 years old. No amount of quinine or nylon mitts stopped me. What did was when I burned my thumb while playing with matches.

7. My favorite animal is the black bear.

Your turn.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Tools, Gadgets, and Widgets - Digital Scrapbooking Software

This should have been yesterday's post, but the computer was acting slow and stupid again.

The nursing home wanted a small picture (no larger than 5 x 7) to be put outside the room. Knowing how some items at the nursing home grow legs and walk away, I had no intention of giving an original photograph.

The MyMemories Digital Scrapbook Suite software came in handy. I scanned in a couple of photographs from the family album and used one of the quick page templates. These pages are like mats. The background is already decorated. You just insert the photograph(s) into the hole. Very quick. I also used the text tool to add Ma's name to the page. It's just not shown here. Album pages can be exported as images (.jpg, .png). Printed out, trimmed to size,I thought it  looked quite nice. I used a different quick page template and made one for Dad's room, too.

Looking for a last minute gift? Click on the MyMemories Suite promotion code button on the upper right on this blog. Use the promotion code STMMMS65809 to get $10 off the  $39.97 full price. With lots of freebies (background papers, quick page templates, embellishments) to download, it's a lot of bang for your buck.

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Friday Five

Certain foods are always associated with a certain holiday. Stuff that you can't get any other time of the year. Five of my Christmastime favorite treats.

1. A chocolate orange. It's a chocolate candy ball flavored with orange. When you rap the ball hard on a table top, the candy breaks into orange wedge segments. This is an annual stocking stuffer.

2. Ribbon candy. The shiny, bright, glass shard candy always seemed too pretty to eat.

3. Gingerbread men. Biting the head off a gingerbread man is good for stress relief besides being good eats.

4. Commercially produced, creamy, thick eggnog with a sprinkle of nutmeg on top.

5. I'm probably in the minority, but I like fruit cake. My dad used to make a most excellent fruitcake. It was moist, crammed with jeweled fruit, and soaked in brandy. He used to make a non-traditional yellow fruitcake, too. (I also like plum pudding. Himself's aunt made that one Christmas. Though I'll admit I liked the hard sauce it was served with better.)

What's your favorite holiday treat?

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Ribbon Wreath

This is the wreath I've made for my folks in the nursing home. So as not to take up too much space, the wreath starts with an 8 inch straw form. Ribbon is woven in loops and held in place with colored pearl-headed pins. I especially love the fact I'll be able to remove the Christmas ribbon and replace it with seasonal ribbons throughout the year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Strathmore is starting up their online workshop series. Registration is now open and the first workshop, Doodles Unleashed: Mixed Media Techniques with Traci Bautista begins on 1. January.

Watercolor Sketching with Cathy Johnson begins 1. March 20 12 and FORCE Drawing Technique with Mike Mattesi begins on 1. May 2012.

The classes are self-paced and free! You do as much or as little as you want. Take one workshop or all three. Online classrooms are open until August 1. You are given space to create your own page to upload work and join in discussions.

This is a great opportunity if you don't have access to art instruction. Or you don't like traveling through snow, the sun is out, it's Thursday or any other excuses you can come up with. Best of all, it's free!  Go check it out. Strathmore 2012 Online Workshop Series. I'll see you in class.

Monday, December 12, 2011

On My Own Front Door

While browsing through the Plow and Hearth (I almost typed Heath!) catalog, I saw an unusual door decoration, an ice skate. I liked the idea of something other than the same old, same old wreaths I usually make. So a trip to the box store for some holly and a noble fir swag, ribbon I had on hand, a skate from the boot box, and a pair of beaded skaters in blue (of course) which my Ma made as shower favors when I got married. and ta da, my version.

What's hanging on your front door?

Friday, December 9, 2011

The Friday Five

Five Christmas traditions at my house.

1. The Advent tree with its tiny ornaments is brought out. Sometimes the tree makes its appearance on 1. December, too! When the girlies were little, they took turns hanging the little ornaments on the tree counting down to Christmas. I'd be perfectly happy to have the little tree as the Christmas tree, but that thought goes with number 5.

2. Wreath making. This year, I'll make a traditional wreath for my neighbor. With the folks in the nursing home, a wreath for them will take a new twist. I'm not putting a wreath on my door this year as I break with tradition. More next week.

3. I have enough Christmas ornaments to decorate two trees. Ornaments that always make the tree are picture ornaments of the girlies. Each year, I find a picture frame ornament and commemorate either a special occasion like the Eldest's graduation from college or just an extraordinary smile. I also love the hand-made ornaments they made when they were little, as well as ornaments I made or were given to us as gifts.

4. The crèche goes up with its eclectic group of visitors. This year, two dragons will join the group.

5. And I get grinchy. I splurged on a Grinch tee shirt this year.

What traditions do you have?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Make An Elf of Yourself

This craft falls under the "if you don't have anything better to do during your holiday planning" category. I found a simple elf pattern that originally appeared in a McCall's magazine during the 80s.

I made a .pdf file of the pattern which you can download here. If I made the template correctly, the figure will measure 5.5" x 5" (13.97 cm. x 12.70 cm.)

You can use paper, felt or other fibers and embellish as desired. Instead of drawing an elf face, I printed an extreme close-up for moi using the thumbnail print option in Windows. The photograph was cut into a 1" (2.54 cm.) circle.

Makes a cute gift tag or ornament. Linked by their mittens, a few elves would make a nice banner to hang from the mantel or on the wall. I have the elf makings for my other family members. Haven't decided whether the finished elves will go on the tree or be made into a banner.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hanging Tinsel

This is a re-enactment of the first argument Himself and I had at our first Christmas 26 years ago.

Hanging Tinsel
by: ponyexpress1860

The argument was resolved the following year by purchasing a silver bead garland. Several years later while visiting Old Sturbridge Village, I watched the tinsmith make twisted tin tinsel. I bought 3 dozen at the gift shop as a joke.

Every year when we watch old movies like The Bishop's Wife, Miracle on 34th Street, or It's a Wonderful Life, Himself will lean over and whisper in my ear, as the camera pans the beautifully decorated, tinsel dripping Christmas tree, "That's the proper way to hang tinsel."

So, festively tossed or anally hung strand by stand?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Tree Trimming

The living room has been deep cleaned, or as cleaned as it will get. The furniture moved. The boxes of Christmas decorations have been brought up from their home under the stairs. The tree has been put together. Only one snag as to whether the first section brought upstairs was the bottom or the middle. When I asked Himself why he didn't label the sections of the tree, he said he did but the labels looked ugly so he ditched them.

 We used to get a real tree. Each year the trees were different shapes. Sometimes wider, sometimes taller. Somehow always bigger. Himself is an illumiphile. He loves Christmas lights. Lots of lights. Each branch must have lights on it.  Enough lights to make the train on the electric meter spin like the high speed Super Chief.  Each year, with the real tree there would be one or two trips to Ray's to buy another strand of lights. Each year we would hear  the whisper of horse's patoot as Himself wound in, under, and around the tree trying to get his light strands to cooperate. And each year, the girls and I would have to wait three days to decorate the tree before all the lights were properly placed on their branches. The light placement production was almost as tedious as the correct placement of tinsel.

This tree came pre-lit. It was an early bird Black Friday purchase Himself made a couple of years ago. A steal with thousands of tiny lights properly spaced on each branch. Today, the tree trimming will begin.

Is your Christmas tree up and decorated?

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Tools, Gadget, and Widgets - Remove Ads

AdBlock is an extension you add to your browser (Firefox, Chrome, Safari). It blocks ads on web pages and prevents tracking cookies from downloading to your computer. Flash and banner ads are blocked so you can read without annoying distractions. Your pages load faster because there are no pesky ads. If there is an ad you need to see, you can easily change the options by clicking the red stop sign icon that appears in your browser tool bar. The program is donationware. It's free, but the programmer asks you to make a donation if you can afford to.

To find the AdBlock extension download for your browser, use your favorite search engine to find it.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Friday Five

I got this blog award from author, Erica Vetsch at On the Write PathThe rules for the award are to

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave the award to you. Thanks, Sunflower!
2. Share 7 things about yourself.
3. Give the blog award to 15 bloggers.

Five things about myself, plus two more.

1. In college, I majored in English, specifically Medieval English Literature. I can read three dialects of  Middle English.

2. I know a few words and phrases (and some can even be said in polite company!) in: Irish, French, German, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and Japanese.

3. I don't like to go barefoot.

4. I don't chew gum.

5. I was one of Mr. Popper's penguins in the third grade book fair.

6. I lost a pair of Bolle sunglasses while taking a picture of Patton's statue at West Point. When I got the pictures back, I saw exactly where I lost my glasses.

7. In all the times I played in the woods (and I wasn't supposed to), I never saw any hobos (the reason we were forbidden to play in the woods).

It's your turn. I know you want to. Go ahead, snag the graphic, and tell us about yourself.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

1. December 2011

Rabbit, rabbit. White Rabbit. That's what you're supposed to say on the first of the month. Any idea where this rule originated?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 30

30 days hath September, April, June, and November. The End. The last journal entry for the NaNoJouMo. The month sure went by fast. There were days that I didn't think I'd haven anything to journal about. Days where I didn't think I would have time to journal, and so played catch up. But it's done. Now to work on the cover, the title page, and the colophon.

Rather sad to see the end of this month. It's been unusually and blissfully warm. I've been able to spend days and nights in the sun room. Soon it will be time to close the room up, but that's another today. Today, it's still warm enough to work in the room.

Did you finish your November goals?

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 29

Procaftinate. Verb transitive. To put off making gifts until the last minute.  Do you procraftinate?

NaNoJouMo - 28

I love point and click shopping and not just on CyberMonday. No crowds, no hassles, no trolling for parking spaces. I can leisurely browse with a cup of tea in hand. And I don't have to wait days in the check out line.

I pointed and clicked through my holiday shopping and am almost done. Do you enjoy the excitement of the crowds while you do your shopping? Are you finished?

Monday, November 28, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 27

Himself is not a fussy eater (with the exception he won't eat cauliflower), and he only requests special dishes twice a year. Corned beef for St. Patrick's Day and turkey soup aka bone yard soup as it's made with the carcass after Thanksgiving.

Upside of making bone yard soup is I won't have to cook this week. Downside is eating gallons and gallons of turkey soup which is the leftovers of the leftovers.

What do you do with your turkey leftovers?

Sunday, November 27, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 26

We've spent the past two days at my folks' house doing yard work. Himself cut up two huge branches that fell during the Halloween snow storm. We raked and bagged the leaves. The lot is only a quarter acre lot but it rakes like the back forty! And I am one hurting puppy!. At least there's better living through chemistry.

What did you do this long weekend?

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 25

We had yard work to do at my folks' house. A bit of a late start and a bunch of errands, we ended up working until mid-afternoon. Hungry, tired and a lot left to do, we decided to grab lunch. "Where do you want to go to lunch?" he said. I'm not too fussy about dining out. I figure I'm out. No matter where we go I won't have to do the cooking. I don't like to do a drive thru. But today, the day after Thanksgiving, my answer was, "Any place where I don't have to have turkey."

I'm not a huge fan of turkey. Once a year is more than enough for me, and I don't particularly care for leftovers. We decided we'd go to Friendly's, a local sandwich shop. On the way, we were passing by a Five Guys Burgers and Fries. It was after 3pm, and we were both starving. Also wondering what the traffic would be like as we would have to go past the mall to get to Friendly's, and we altered our plan.

Have you ever eaten a Five Guys burger? It's a real hamburger. It's not pressed meat, and it's round to fit the bun. (The square meat makes me nervous.) One of my guilty pleasures is a heart attack on a bun (aka a bacon cheeseburger) Yeah, stop nagging me about the cheese thing. American cheese isn't real cheese, and it's cooked. Besides, there's enough stuff to mask the texture and taste of the cheese. At Five Guys, you can also have your choice of a zillion toppings, the usual players like lettuce and tomato, but also jalapeno pepper for the adventurous. And as many as you want, no extra charge. Refills on soft drinks are free, too.

Not only do you get a real hamburger, but you get french fries made with real potatoes. If you doubt the authenticity of the potatoes, you only have to look at the 50 pound bags of potatoes stacked as you enter the restaurant. And are they generous? Ja, sure, you betcha, as my Minnesota friends say. For the small size, the server over fills a medium soft drink cup and then dumps the fries in a brown paper bag to absorb the grease. There were enough fries for both of us to share with plenty to bring home as leftovers.

Do you like Thanksgiving leftovers?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 24

This is an odd Thanksgiving for me. With my folks in the nursing home, it's the first holiday I haven't had to host the Holy Day of Obligation. The Brother goes to his in-laws. The Eldest is working. I almost don't know what to do with myself. I'll be able to watch the Macy's 85th Thanksgiving Parade for the first time in over 10 years. I like the balloons and the marching bands.

I went to the Macy's parade site to choose a balloon for today's journal entry. Saw they now have a Blue Sky Gallery where each year an artist is asked to design a balloon for the parade.  This year the featured artist is Tim Burton with his B balloon. I like Tim Burton's quirky style and skewed view of the world. B is  "a boy obsessed with flying and has the scars to prove it."  That made me laugh.

I'm sitting with my cup of tea waiting for the parade, waiting for the B Boy balloon.  I'm wondering where are the balloons? the bands? the floats? In between a gazillion commercials are inane commentary from parade hosts and snippets from Broadway musicals (I'm not a fan of muscials). Guess I haven't missed much of the parade these past 10 years as there's little parade. I'm thankful for the mute button.

Do you watch the Macy's Thanksgiving parade?

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 23

Titivillus is the patron demon of scribes. He sits on the scribe's desk and collects all the mistakes made into his sack. I think Titivillus also nudges the scribe's hand or arm, shakes the desk, or whispers nonsense into the scribe's ear as a distraction. Titivillus did that to me yesterday. I had finished the journal entry for the day and instead of writing 2011, I wrote 2008.

What does Titivillus do with the sack of mistakes? When the scribe presents himself at the Pearly Gates, Titivillus offers up the sack of mistakes to see if they outweigh the good.

Has Titivillus visited you lately?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 22

Each morning, I take a walk around my block. All the trees have lost their leaves except one maple. It's still dressed in brilliant orangey red leaves while its neighbor trees are bare. It made me think of the epic poem Horatius at the Bridge, by Lord Thomas Babington Macaulay. ( The poem is based on a historical battle. Etruscans vs. Romans in the 6th c. BC. Do we have to say BCE now? A young officer, Horatius, held the bridge (Pons Sublicius) to give time for the Roman army to retreat across the Tiber River into the city of Rome.)

"Alone stood brave Horatius" refusing to yield to Autumn. If you're in the Northern Hemisphere, have all the trees in your area lost their leaves? If you're in the Southern Hemisphere have the trees started to bud?

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 21

The fur alarm didn't go off this morning and neither did the back up alarm clock.  Himself gets up at a quarter to dawn. Usually, I wake up to have a few words with Himself, some of them even pleasant. Not this morning we blissfully slept in. That is, I did. Himself has a late class on Mondays this semester so he was on time. Fortunately, I didn't have any appointments for today. Even so, my rhythm is thrown off.  Looks like it might be a 4 cup of tea morning.

Are you on schedule today?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 20

Let the holiday cleaning frenzy begin! Let's see the dust fly with that broom.

Do you go through a cleaning frenzy for the holidays?

NaNoJouMo - 19

I had an appointment. There was a failure to communicate clearly about meeting time and place. I waited and I doodled.

What do you do when you have a long wait?

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 18

Nothing wakes you up faster at 2:30AM, than a wet kitty nose in your ear. I do believe I'll be going for a horizontal life pause - with the door closed.

What time does your fur alarm clock go off?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 17

I have a pet peeve. Why do radio stations begin playing Christmas music a few days after Halloween? And the same goes for the stores putting up Christmas decorations before the Halloween stuff is marked down half price. At least when I was a kid, the stores would wait until Thanksgiving was over to deck their halls. There was an anticipation and excitement to the holiday. But now, by the time Christmas rolls around, I'm ready to strangle someone with a strand of tinsel. I'm with Ink. I'm not ready to give up my beach blanket just yet.

Do you like listening to Christmas music two months before the actual holiday?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 15

Very early this morning, seven turkeys were wandering around the back yard. Just a reminder that Thanksgiving is only 9 days away. I'm glad for the reminder because with the stores all decorated for Christmas and radio stations playing Christmas music, I thought Christmas was just around the corner!

The turkey girls also reminded me, food shopping needs to be done for the feast. I'm not a huge fan of turkey. it's okay once a year. Given my choice, I'druther have a roast leg of lamb. What about you?

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 14

I've been researching my family tree at and looking for some background on my great-uncle Manny. I've blogged about Uncle Manny before. I still can't find any evidence that he carved the lions at the Boston Public Library. I'm also trying to find a link to see if he worked with sculptor, Edward Ardolino. The Ardolino Brothers had a masonry stone works in East Boston where Uncle Manny lived.

I received a message from another family detective on Ancestry. She also has Uncle Manny as a link in her family tree! Uncle Manny is her great-grandfather. ( He had been married and had a son. His wife died a month or so after the baby was born. Uncle later remarried my great-aunt.) She has told me there appears to be an Ardolino link. We're comparing notes and family stories. It's pretty exciting to find someone else working on a piece of the same puzzle. Small world, ain't it?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 13

The Young One wanted to watch a DVD while we were eating dinner. She said she wanted to watch something everyone would enjoy. I was surprised when she picked out Looney Toons. Ah, Warner Brothers. Happy memories from my childhood. Saturday mornings in front of the electronic babysitter. It's where I learned classical music and where I developed my fondness for puns. Bugs and the gang just slay me.

It's hard for me to decide on my favorite character: Foghorn Leghorn, Emma, Yosemite Sam, Michigan J. Frog...I guess if pressed to pick one, my favorite WB character would have to be Marvin the Martian. Who can argue his logic for destroying the Earth? (It obstructs his view of Venus). I also do a passable voice imitation of Marvin.

What's your favorite WB cartoon character?

Saturday, November 12, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 12

Himself and I found ourselves in White City so we decided to stop for lunch. The place was packed, and we got the last parking spot. All the restaurants were packed, too. Panera, Friendly's and Jimmy's Tavern and Grill were packed to the gills. That left us Five Guys Burgers and Papa Gino's. Five Guys makes an awesome burger with real meat, and their small serving of real potato french fries can feed a family of four. I wasn't in the mood for a burger so opted for Papa Gino's Pizza.

I love pizza. It's perfect. On one slice of bread all the food groups are represented. I'm pretty much a plain Jane and prefer a plain cheese pizza. Yeah, I hear ya. Yes, I don't like cheese. I will eat mozzarella if it's cooked. I also like sausage, mushroom and green pepper on a pizza. I'm not a fan of pepperoni. Anywho, Papa doesn't make a bad pizza. (Chuckie Cheese takes the cake for most disgusting pizza)

It's not as good as what my Grandma made and my Ma. They didn't have a round pizza pan, but made the pizza in a quarter sheet cake pan. Thick slabs of pizza were cut into squares. We rarely went out for pizza, but when we did, and when we were visiting relatives in East Boston, we went to Santarpio's. Heaven on a slab of bread. And no silly combinations like Hawaiian with Canadian bacon and pineapple. At the time I was a kid, Santarpio's was only open on weekends. The restaurant was pretty much a hole in the wall. People would wait in line, and the line wound out the building and all the way down Chelsea St. The pizza was that good.

What's your favorite pizza place and fave pizza?

Friday, November 11, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 11

I'm in the market for a cardigan sweater, and Kohl's was having a sale. At 5' 2" in height, I headed to the petite department. Department. That's a joke. A couple of rounds and a rack with ugly blouses, jackets, and jeans.

I'm quite tall for a hobbit so I went to the regular department with high hopes. I found a sweater I liked and tried it on. The shoulder seams sagged to my biceps. The sleeves were six inches too long, and the hem hung below my knees. Why do they make clothes for Amazon women? Why don't the department stores carry a decent selection of petite sized clothing?

Do you have trouble finding clothes to fit?

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 10

While rummaging in a drawer, I came across my old flowchart template. B.C., before children, before calligraphy took over, I was a computer programmer. This in the early days of computing when computers where the size of full-size, 1950's Buick.

I earned my programmer's certificate from Control Data Institute and on the first day, along with the first module, I received the flowchart template, a plastic rule of cutout diamonds, rectangles, and
other shapes. For each program we wrote, we were required to first diagram all the steps it would take to complete the program. I'm a linear thinker so I loved flowcharting. I knew the direction my program would take and if it should crash and burn, I could go back to the flowchart to see where my thinking had gone wrong.

Send husband to work
Is husband home?
No - Watch TV and eat bon bons
Yes - Look busy
Send husband to work, etc.

When I got into the real world, I found I didn't have the luxury of creating a flowchart. Clients wanted changes made to the software, and they wanted the changes yesterday. In the real world, I wrote quick and dirty programs aka programming by the seat of my pants.

Now in a completely different field, I make thumbnail sketches (artistic flowcharts) of my projects. I like having an idea of what the work will look like before I put ink to paper. That's not to say, I can't change the plan if the need arises. The thumbnail gives me a good idea where I might encounter problems in spacing or layout, and I can make adjustments accordingly.

If you are involved in a creative endeavor (art, writing, textiles, etc) do you make a plan before you start the actual work or do you just jump in and drive by the seat of your pants?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 9

One of the places I pass by on my shuttle runs is a lake. The lake is surrounded by pines. The water is smooth as glass. Beautiful, graceful swans glide over the surface. The beauty and serenity of the pastoral scene is broken when the swans go bottoms up to feed. Always makes me laugh to see swans moon.

Any happy places you pass by on your shuttle runs?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 8

I don't like peppermint. I find the flavor too strong and overwhelming. I'm not a big fan of York Peppermint patties, but come February I do lust after the Girl Scout Thin Mint cookies. Go figure. So I should amend my statement to I don't care for peppermint. I especially don't like peppermint toothpaste. It's so hard to find a toothpaste that is not peppermint flavored unless you're buying kiddie toothpaste and that's bubble gum flavored. Double yuck!

For the past few weeks, Target stopped carrying the Alpine Mint flavored toothpaste I like. I did find a spearmint, but it left a nasty aftertaste. I almost cried with joy when I scanned the toothpaste aisle and found my toothpaste.

Do you like peppermint?

Monday, November 7, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 7

Preschoolers across the US were shown this drawing of a school bus. They were asked which way the bus was traveling, to the right or to the left. Are you smarter than a preschooler? Which way is the bus going? I'll post the answer later on tonight.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

NaNoJouMo - 6

Turn the clock back. Spring ahead. Fall back. Gain an extra hour of daylight. Gain an extra hour of sleep. Day light Savings Time. Standard Time. It will save electricity. Hmm, seems to gain an extra hour of sunlight in the Spring may prevent you from turning your lights on early, but I bet your air conditioner hums when the temps move to broiling. Where's the savings in that? And turning the clocks back? If you get up at 5:30 or 6am, you have to turn your lights on or risk stubbing a toe while trying to navigate the dark or wearing one brown shoe and one black shoe. It happened. Don't ask. As if setting the clock alters the time. There's still only 24 hours in a day.

Do you think we should bother with standard and daylight savings time?

NaNoJouMo - 5

Remember, remember the fifth of November. Not for Guy Fawkes' Day. It's my grandma's birthday. She was born in 1895 in Ariano di Puglio (now known as Ariano Irpino or plain ol' Ariano). November 5th is also Grandma's wedding anniversary. She was married in East Boston, Massachusetts at Our Lady of Mont Carmel Church in 1917.

Grandma never baked us chocolate chip cookies. Her specialty was a bow cookie, thin strips of dough, deep fried and oozing honey. She made the bows for all the special occasions, holidays, weddings, funerals. She would mound the bows on a turkey platter and bring it to the table where we would gorge on the sticky treat. I never remember her serving turkey on that platter. She did make an "American" Thanksgiving at the holiday which was served after L'escarole with pupetini (escarole soup with tiny meatballs), antipasto, the the highly anticipated cappelini (pasta shaped like the hats priests wore in Rome), eggplant Parmigiana. I don't recall anyone bothering to eat the turkey or trimmings.

I tried making the bows. They are a lot of work. Mine were ok, a little on the thick side. I couldn't seem to roll the dough as thin as Grandma did, and she did the rolling by hand not with a pasta machine!

What's your grandma's specialty?