Friday, December 31, 2010

The Chickory NYE Challenge

It started with an issue of my Mothers favorite publication and a poor graphic print out

grid boards make the measuring and cutting part really efficient

A little marker work to fill in the blanks from the poor print job

Well, the magazine covers idea does work but a better quality paper would be an improvement.

Wow! I need to level my file cabinets.

Happy New Year to Each and Every One

                                                   May there never be a chocolate shortage!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Good Morning Brain :-)

Mermaid gave me this book for Christmas.

In my industry there is a boomlet leading up to the holidays but not during the holidays. Christmas is not a good week to send all your furniture out to get reupholstered or paint your Kitchen or move  into your new home. So typically, my Decembers are slower. I take vacation time and I get restless. Some might say when I am restless I am also irritable. Even cranky. Maybe impossible.  My business life mostly returns to normal  just after Epiphany. But during the 12 days of Christmas I have few commitments. In times past I used this window of opportunity to do all the end of year chores but since all of that is on a spread sheet now I just push a button and it's done. To tell the truth, I am not even the person pushing the button.

 Mermaid and Blowfish routinely encourage me to do  creative things for my own enjoyment. To explore my love for all things creative in ways which differ from the volumetric art which is interior design. This book is  a collection of creative problem solving exercises. They  could also be described as fairly typical art school assignments. Here is today's challenge from page 158:

" Do you remember the lunchbox thermos? OK, how about lunchboxes? Lunch?
Lunchbox thermoses were the defacto standard for transporting liquid refreshment to school, work, anywhere that such refreshments would be needed, The lunchbox thermos would fit perfectly in the lunchbox, and wold be blazoned with whatever character/design adorned the lunchbox itself. Usually made of plastic, the lunchbox thermos had a screwtop lid, then a second topper which doubled as a cup, complete with handle. The beauty of the lunchbox thermos was it kept things hot or cold, depending on what you needed. Alas, modern packaging has rendered our old friend obsolete. Water in plastic bottles, fruit punch in aluminum pouches,milk in cardboard cartons with straws. The lunchbox thermos just can't compete anymore. Your TASK today is to come up with 10 alternative uses for the lunchbox thermos."

I've come up with several new uses.

 So far my favorite is to use it for the sanitary transporting of my  toothbrush
just to annoy the TSA.

How about a really cool sewing kit? Pin cushion built  into the cap so it will stay put and soforth.

You could make a pretty interesting bird feeder or bird house.

I can't but wonder what would happen if I showed up at Starbucks asking for a

I could list all ten but really what I want to do is share this task with each of you :-)
Please leave in the comment section your ten, or two or just one great one would be welcome.
I anticipate great responses.  Afterall I've read your haikus!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Mermaid's Three "S" Christmas

So the news people said this was the first " White Christmas" in our area since 1963. It looks dark in the photograph but it actually was taken around 4pm.

Children in our area were thrilled, dressed in their warmest and took to the  hills with  an assortment of boxes, trash can lids ,boogie boards and intertubes for sliding down with gleeful abandon.

For our family it meant Mermaid left early.  Before she could get caught in states which are not equipped to deal with ice and snow on the roads or interstates. I can't complain about her willing assumption of adult responsibilities. I shouldn't complain about the weather, but really, I would have been happier had it showed up a day later.

I am already thinking of this as Mermaid's "Three S Christmas"

Some years Blowfish and I make a joint decision on what we will give Mermaid for Christmas.
Some years we each do our own thing. This year  we did the individual thing. In many ways the contrast of the presents selected for her by doting parents is so very ...   Mermaid.

Silk is the first  "S".
MamaFishy gave her beautiful new  "Modern-Traditional" lamps with chrome shafts and charcoal silk shades.
They are beautiful, hard to find and just perfect for Mermaid's blend of what she calls her own styling of the
" new modern traditional".  We spent most of a day this fall searching  for the right lamps and never found any which met all her criteria. And, did I mention she lives in a barn? Literally a barn, with an attached apartment.
She has  zero difficulty in maintaining her style preferences in any environment. I love that self certainty.

 Steel is the second "S"
Blowfish gave her a loaded tool box and a drill.
In one of her recent moves her drill motor suffered a burn out and some of her tools were lost.
 Now she has an electric drill, a wide assortment of wrenches, ratchets, drivers, measurers, levels, hammers and a multitude of things which cut.  He even bought tools in Kentucky Blue colors. Except for the drill which
a bright kelly green. There is no question Mermaid was thrilled  with this gift.

At one point I took a picture of her sitting by the fireplace with elegant lamps on the right , a drill in her hand, a tool bag on her left, a smile on her face and that long, long Mermaid hair cascading down her body. A study of contrasts which are part of one amazing whole.

After I took that photo I smiled back at the memory of Mermaid getting off a plane carrying a backpack, wearing jeans, a tee , Ariats , a messy pony tail and no makeup. A few hours later she reached into the backpack pulled out a tiny handful of black fabric and a pair of  stilettos with silver heels. Seconds later she was standing before me in a fabulous little black dress, 5 inches taller and full of wow! The contrast from generic youth/adult to OMG was stunning. The effortlessness of the transformation was  amazing. Her absolute comfort with the metamorphosis ..... a delight.

Snow is the third "S"
Snow came and Mermaid left.
Too early, but then, she did arrive safely so I am grateful.

If there is a fourth "S" it would be Smiles.
We smiled a lot, laughed a lot, enjoyed the blessing of family, a lot.
It was a lovely Christmas .
I hope yours was too.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Yes Aunty, I Believe in Saint Nicholas

                             Blessings on you all
                  May your joy be shared thru Nick's
                                 Tradition of love

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Bright Spot In The Road

Even in our smallish town there is Christmas grid lock on the main retailing road. Now that the schools are on " winter break" it seems the roads are maxxed out by twittering teens  as well as the purposeful.

If you plan to get out there on Retail Road you best have a good audio book loaded , plenty of patience and a bit of Christmas spirit for your fellow man.

On what I hoped was my last excursion in search of white poinsettias, I was inching along when up ahead I spotted a school bus yellow, 2 seater, sporty coupe attempting to exit the dealership and merge into the chaos.  For whatever quirky reason I decided to count the number of cars which aggressively guarded every inch of pavement preventing the  370Z from the merge. There wasn't much Fa la la la la la  spirit on display as the lockout passed from defender to defender .

At some point in the observations I began to think about how unusual it was the driver wasn't being at all intrusive about  asking for passage. No inch by inch encroachments, no horn blowing, no mid finger salutes. Often drivers of hot little responsive fizzy cars have personalities to match.There was no evidence of this.  I eventually crept close enough to wave the roadster out of the lot and into the lane. The driver nodded acknowledgement but still did not  move beyond the threshold 'tween lot and lane.

I began to study the driver. She was a surprise. An older woman, I'd say mid 60's, short efficient haircut, no visible jewelry, wearing a black turtleneck and a jacket of houndstooth. No sunglasses and well, sort of severely plain in her appearance. Like the stereotypes of old maid librarians. Not what you would expect to find behind the wheel of this bright, showy little car. I found myself wondering about this pairing;

Was she picking up  for another?

Was she giving it as a Christmas present?

Was she the service manager test driving before releasing?

Was it her child's welcome home from Iraq surprise?

Was it a dream realized for which she had been saving?

Was she an automotive designer evaluating this car for her blog?

While those behind me honked their displeasure with my courtesy the Z slowly made the turn into
traffic. There was no frown of concentration, no hiccup in the release of clutch, just smooth egressing and a little  ta-ta thank you wave  from her fingertips. I found myself thinking, " Fizz ON!"  In my heart  I was hoping this sporty coupe was hers, a perfect representation of her tigress within. A nod to self from self with love! Maybe a present from one who knows she IS the kick ass, smart, savvy babe who should indeed be piloting a sleek, stylish, sporty, rocking little  roadster.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Haiku Monday: GAMES

Quiddler online game
Mornings with tea and croissant
Time lost to this spell

Relative liars
Balderdash winners, become
Slick dealers of fun

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Haiku Monday: Flight

Fight or flight syndrome
Terror of the wild unknown
Who is kissing you?

Sonic speed machine
Brutal fall of balance sheet,
Concorde's flight from grace

Flying Mermaid soars
Past  bound'ries of sea at sky
Fancy fuels fiction

Friday, December 10, 2010

Hankering for More

 This morning I was disinclined to exit my bed. It was warm in there, not so away from the covers. I lingered to say my morning gratitudes and think about the days agenda. Eventually the desire for a cup of tea trumped the desire to stay in the bed. Had I remembered there was no half & half for the tea, only milk, I might have lingered longer.

 About mid morning I was feeling blah.
All of me hurt, not badly, but all of me.
I do not belong in a cold climate and unfortunately, this week, my Southern locale isn't holding the line. Temperatures squeaking along the teens with threats of ice over the weekend is not to my liking . Literally, when I am too cold I do not maintain body temperature.  All of me aches and I get a tad cranky. Some would say more than cranky.  I  left my desk and took a walk about where I slowly recognized I had a serious hankering for Pot Roast.

Like many, Pot Roast is a favorite comfort food. My mother taught us girls how to cook ours in a big , oval shaped, LeCreuset  pot. Mostly I like mine with onions, mushrooms  and carrots served with rice, not potatoes. But we learned to cook a version using red wine and yet another version cooked in tomatoes.
All of them comfort and none of them  showed up on my menu today. Pot roast takes time and attention so usually it is a weekend endeavor or a first of the week left over. We do have plenty of the  "Meat+3" places in these parts but I maintain a low sodium regimen and they do not. So, for me, a hankering for pot roast means I must cook.

These days I am trying to shed some pounds so am making the effort to eat my main meal of the day before 4pm. "Dinner" these days is often apple slices with almonds and a cup of tea.  I did not have time to make pot roast today, nevermind before 4pm.  In the freezer I did have a  container of lentils which had been made with pork , onions and carrots. So I thought, I'll just make rice and  heat the lentils; with minimal effort I will have a great cold day comfort meal.
The lentils and rice served a need.
Filled a hole.
it did not squelch the pot roast craving.
Nor did it comfort.
Not a bit.

That got me to thinking about why we crave different comforts.
If I have a craving for a fine cup of hot chocolate then a cup of tea will not suffice.
If I have a craving for a great cup of tea, there best be some half and half  available.
If I have a craving for  real  french toast, a waffle simply will not do.
If I am craving a thick juicy steak, a thick juicy pork chop doesn't satisfy the craving.

I know there are some who say cravings are our bodies method of  filling a need for a specific vitamin or mineral. That is probably true but for many the craving is as much emotional as it is physical. My mother always made a pot of  vegetable beef soup with a cabbage base for my homecomings. I make the classic
Southern eggy-cheesy baked mac and cheese for Mermaid's homecomings. There are other mother made comfort foods for us both but those are not our "homecoming" favorites.
The crave quenchers.

Why do we crave?
If I crave light, do I just need vitamin D?
If I crave a hot massaging shower is it just to release muscle tension?
Do I choose a movie to help me laugh or cry as needed?
Do I crave laughter? Can one crave a really good cry?
If I yearn to spend a day in the hammock reading a book from cover to cover is it medicine or indulgence?
It is odd the number of things we can crave. If I feel the threat of the unknown I crave the feel of my Dad's shirt on my face. If I have an aching spirit  I crave heart pounding physical activity.

Is a craving a necessity or a want?
I do not know .
Today I learned if there is
no half and half,
no pot roast,
no chocolate
it's really cold
I CRAVE comfort .

Thursday, December 9, 2010