nlbarber: (Default)
Merry Christmas! Mine has been nice, but tiring. I got up at 5 to take the rib roast out of the fridge to take the chill off, but went back to bed. Back up at about 7, and since the nephew and nieces weren't stirring, I showered and got the roast browned and in the oven before they did the rush for their stocking gifts. I think the pig football older niece got (she's 15) was the biggest hit. Then it was breakfast, then presents--I had given lots of Disney stuff (natch) which seemed well received, and got several DVDs I wanted (GalaxyQuest, Finding Nemo) and books. Books generally get distributed all 'round in my family, and after the wrapping paper rustling dies down a look around the room will show everyone investigating their new books.

The rest of the morning was spent assembling Christmas dinner: orange-almond salad, prime rib, popovers, and broccoli with almond topping. Dessert was had the night before, the Duo-tone Chocolate Pots de Creme recipe I found in the paper. After the meal and clean-up, I packed up some stuff including items for the folks next door, and hit the road about 20 minutes behind s-i-l and the kids. My brother will spend the night and then drive up in time to join his family for the flight to visit s-i-l's parents in Phoenix, while I drive back down to stay at least a day or so past whenever my father has his catheter removed again (now scheduled for Monday).

Tonight: the laundry is going, one prescription refill (less urgent) has been ordered from the Internet pharmacy, the other (more urgent) has been discovered to have no refills left. I will have to call the drugstore tomorrow and beg for enough pills to last me through next week. I need to assess what additional clothes and other items to take with me, sweep up all the paper on the desk that contains bills and requests for donations not yet made, get to the drugstore, and get back on the road. My s-i-l seems to feel that my father needs someone there constantly--my assessment was that he will be fine if there's a 6 or 7 hour gap between my brother leaving and my return, even though he will have to get his own lunch. There's lots of easily accessible food in the fridge, and he's moving around the house OK--slowly, but OK. Nonetheless, I'll try to get off as quickly as I can. It's a 3-1/2 hour drive....

The cats are glad I'm home, but unaware that the (larger) suitcase that's now out is getting filled, not emptied. This one night stand is really cruel and unusual punishment for them, and the extended absence so soon after the Disney trip is..., well, let's just say I hate doing it to them, but that's the way it's got to be.
nlbarber: (Default)
I note the temperature in Moultrie is supposed to increase 10+ degrees per day: Monday the high will be shy of 50, Tuesday 63, Wednesday 74. Then it stalls out with only 76 (and rain) for Christmas Day, and 78 on Friday. The average high for December is about 60, and the record is 80. Could maybe break that record...
nlbarber: (Default)
To the aid of getting in the spirit of Christmas, we went to see Dickens' A Christmas Carol at the Shakespeare Tavern last night. We saw it last year as well, but had seats in the balcony (and weren't there early enough to get good ones either)--this time we were on the main floor. It's a tiny theater, so it's not the distance to the stage so much as the dining experience. The Shakespeare Tavern is a tavern, you see, with a pub menu and beverages. Food is available for 75 minutes before the show, and dessert is available in the intermission. Those balcony seats require balancing a tray in your lap if you're lucky enough to have the space, otherwise you use your lap. We had only lap-space last year. The main floor has tables (you still fetch your own food from the kitchen area), which is much nicer.

The production was just as wonderful as last year. It's a near-complete reading of the story, as best I can tell, with various actors doing the narration parts and then switching into playing roles as needed. Several sets of Christmas carols are worked in and nicely done, too. I could quibble about some actors' lack of careful enunciation at times, but you know, the story is familiar and can be followed. You miss some of the enjoyment of Dickens' words when that happens, but then the narration will switch off (or the actor will slow down and improve) and you're right back in the story.

I'm making a note to get tickets again next year--this production is one I can see again and again.
nlbarber: (Default)
I think I'm done with my shopping, mostly. Whoops, forgot the gift certificates for the god-child and his sibs....those can be sent email from Amazon. (adds note to to-do list...) One gift was shipped to Moultrie and will need to be wrapped when I get there--we had a change of plans and will go to my father instead of bringing him up here, as he had out-patient surgery on Friday and can't travel.

So, I'm packing clothes, cooking stuff (sent the rib roast ahead with my brother who left this morning--it will dry-age in the fridge a few days), presents, the bicycle and equipment, board games, etc. I'll work a few hours tomorrow morning, then will hit the road, I hope. Sister-in-law and the kids will go right after younger niece's orthodontist appt. at 9. We shall all converge, put up a tree, do some baking, and celebrate. Brother and sister-in-law will have to leave Christmas night, as they fly out the next day to go visit her parents. I'll stay until Boxing Day, and do the cleanup. And assess how my father is doing with his recovery....

The weather tonight is at least a little like December. With apologies to those of you not enjoying your recent snow, freezing rain, or other winter weather, we'd been having light rain and 70 degrees for the last few days. Today it cleared off and the wind blew, and we'll be down in the 20's overnight. Even Moultrie will be around freezing, but then it looks to warm back up into the high 70's down there for Christmas Day--must pack both a good jacket and some short-sleeved shirts.

Tonight was the first night of Hanukkah, so I went next door to eat latkes and watch the candle-lighting. Sister-in-law will have to haul her Hanukkah box along with the Christmas presents...part of the the mixed marriage challenges on years when Hanukkah overlaps Christmas.
nlbarber: (Default)
I really thought I'd put this caramel story and recipe (or at least the recipe) on my LJ before but I can't find it, so a possible repeat follows. Just finished making a batch of the chocolate ones, which need another hour or so to be cool enough to cut and wrap. I'll leave this dated from when I first wrote out the story.

Story )

Recipe )
nlbarber: (Default)
Yesterday evening we had leftovers, with added soup. My brother's family had been packing part of the afternoon, when the kids could be pried away from their new toys--they go visit sister-in-law's family in Arizona every year right after Christmas. Then we had the dessert (the strawberry squares tasted just as always with the Splenda Blend), and then s-i-l dug out the menorahs and lit the candles for the first night of Hanukkah. Busy holiday period...

This morning I rode with them to the airport and brought their van back--I'll pick them up Saturday. Then we loaded Daddy's luggage into my car, packed a small cooler with some of the leftovers, and hit the road to south Georgia. The ride down was smooth--almost no trucks on I-75 (a welcome change), though there were cars enough to make up for it. Got there in just about 3 hours, which is about as fast as I ever manage it. We unloaded, I went to the bathroom, and then headed back. Had to stop for gas and lunch at Perry (halfway), and then hit the traffic at McDonough about where it had backed up the day after Thanksgiving. After about 13 miles of slow-to-stopped, it opened back up at the I-675 shortcut to the east side of Atlanta. I got back about 3:45 or so.

Now I've raided the fridge next door for more of the leftovers than were already at my place, eaten a selection thereof, and I think I'm headed for bed. Maybe with the audio book of Paladin of Souls--I was listening to part of it as I drove north (having started the paper version for some comfort reading over the weekend), and now I'm up to Arhys's last battle. Should be good bedtime reading.
nlbarber: (Default)
After the various disruptions to family life in the last 2 weeks (death and funeral of a cousin, medical problems for niece), we've managed to pull Christmas together pretty much as we'd have liked to have it. We'd been talking about giving the adults' presents on Epiphany, if necessary. But the shopping got done (thank heavens for online stores, esp. Amazon), the menu has been planned and adjusted for diabetic concerns, and I'm just waiting on the prime rib to get to temperature before we start the last-minute dinner prep.

The nephew (age 6) is thrilled: he got lots of huge boxes, bigger than his sisters and more of 'em, mostly toys like Playmobile stuff. Much is dragon/castle/knight themed, as his room now has a dragon painted on the wall. Younger niece is buried in her Gamecube (I think it's a Gamecube--some variety of handheld game box). Older niece has the "iPod grin"--there was a iPod nano in her stocking. Big Christmas this year. Adults, having made extensive use of Amazon wish lists, have Good Stuff, too.

The dinner menu is prime rib, sauteed mushrooms, scalloped potatoes, squash-cheese casserole, green beans, broccoli with buttered almond topping, and whole-wheat angel biscuits. We'll save the dessert for tonight, which will be strawberry squares made with Splenda Blend instead of sugar. Oh, and the dog (next door) and my cats are happy--they get the dried beef that's trimmed off the rib roast after it dry-aged in the fridge all week.

Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it!
nlbarber: (Default)
The trip to the upcoming funeral and family gathering (this coming weekend), and the various items I need to help with, are destroying what little bit of energy I was putting toward Christmas shopping. Or that's my excuse, anyway.

I did start on a list at the end of last week, in consultation with my sister-in-law. It's not that many people, really, but we need gifts from ourselves, gifts from my father (to other family members and for ourselves as well). And in addition to the Christmas round, we exchange small Hanukkah presents (well, I give them to the nieces, nephew, and sister-in-law, and generally get one in return), and my younger nieces has a Dec. 30 birthday. That all adds up to an appreciable shopping list.

I did go to the Container Store today, always a good place to look for small gifts especially from their "stocking stuffer" items. I encountered a number of too-cute-to pas-up items, did get one gift (for elder niece, will be from her granddaddy), but the one item I had spotted in the the stocking stuffer catalog was sold out, no more until February. What about the Buckhead store? Same deal. I guess it looked cool to a number of other people, too...
nlbarber: (devil Fish)
I've been worried about how Fish the cat will deal with the Christmas tree. Fish is just barely a year old, very playful, and not real bright. I didn't get a tree until last weekend, and have been introducing it in stages. On Saturday, the tree came indoors. Fish investigated, removed a dead twig to play with and chew on, but then found the sheet on the floor around it of much more interest than the tree itself.

Sunday, I put the lights on the tree, and added 4 or 5 ornaments, all chosen to be non-breakable, and placed on the lower branches. Fish seemed mildly interested, but didn't seem to feel that all these items were new cat toys. Good progress, I thought. But I didn't do any more decorating, because I needed to wait for the assistance of my nieces and nephew and due to various problems, they didn't manage to come over.

So, here it is, Monday night, and I'm back in the study on the computer. And I hear the sound of something being dragged on the hardwood floor, coming closer to me. Now, this is usual--Fish has a couple of toys attached to a string and a pole, and he's prone to drag these through the house to wherever I am as a not-so-subtle hint that I should play with him. But this noise was louder. And there was lots of jingling from his collar tags. Something else was going on.

And then Fish shot into the room, trailing a tangled mess of Christmas tree lights, which had somehow gotten hooked around him and panicked him so that he ran:

(cue music)
He ran through the dining room,
he ran through the kitchen,
he ran down the hallway
up to the study door....

At about the study door, he got himself unhooked, and went to hide under the desk behind a footstool. My father and I picked up the light strings, now stretched along the full length of the aforementioned path, untangled them, and put them back on the tree (which was still standing, by the way). They aren't working so well, but given the risk that this might happen again, I think I'll just live with the stretches of unlighted bulbs for now.

In my Christmas joys list are the joy that only a few unbreakable ornaments were on the tree, that I string the lights in a zig-zag across the front of the tree and not in circles around it, and that I didn't plug the lights in when I came in from dinner....


nlbarber: (Default)

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