december! time to blog.

december! time to blog.

see, after i finish up kablpomo, i tend to not blog for a while. 12 blogless days. it’s like the 12 days of no blogging. 

on the first day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix.

on the second day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the third day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the fourth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the fifth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the sixth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the seventh day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the eighth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the ninth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the tenth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the eleventh day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: eleven hours to decorate and bake and listen to christmas music, ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

on the twelfth day of no blogging, my true love gave to me: 12 days of no blogging so i guess it’s time to blog!, eleven hours to decorate and bake and listen to christmas music, ten trips to the bathroom after drinking nine glasses of water after that 5 miles on the treadmill, eight trips to fill the humidifier, seven months of photos to backup, six(ty) pages of reading!, five miles on the treadmiiiillll, four hours of darkness before bedtime that never end, three stupid cats wanting pets, time to eat dessert AND second dessert, and an extra 30 minutes to watch netflix. 

the end.

finished friday

finished friday

well, kablpomo comes to an end on foodie friday, and i have no food pics for you. i did finally clean out all the thanksgiving food from the fridge and went grocery shopping tonight for real food. i found out that greek gods yogurt made a maple flavor, and it was on clearance at fresh thyme, so i bought two giant containers of it. it’s delicious!

i also got some pretzels and i’m going to attempt to make almond bark pretzels, which i will most likely inhale in two days.

other than that, all quiet on the food front. december starts tomorrow, which means my lindt advent calendar starts tomorrow!! that’s a little exciting. a piece of chocolate for every day in december leading up to christmas! i saw a cheese advent calendar at some grocery store i was at and i should’ve bought it.

oh, one other piece of food news i guess. tomorrow nate and i are going to anton’s to celebrate our 13th anniversary. popovers here we come!

calling squire

calling squire

my uncle squire, my dad’s brother, was a mainstay in the wallace household while i was growing up. he was also one of three people whose phone numbers i had memorized (besides my own).

somewhere nestled in my childhood, there was a day (or more likely a few) when squire made it known that the winter months were pretty awful with no sun and how summertime daylight is just great. of course, being a nerdy family, we wallaces were well-versed on axial tilt and the solstices. so i took it upon myself to make sure squire was well aware of the daylight or lack thereof.

common scenario:

*ring* *ring*

“hello”

“hi squire, it’s kate! guess what! in 6 months, the days start getting shorter again!”

“grumble grumble grumble”

“hahahahahaha!”

or

*ring* *ring*

“hello”

“hi squire, it’s kate! guess what!  the days are getting shorter!”

“grumble grumble grumble”

“hahahahahaha!”

looking back, i am aghast at this horrible behavior. these days, i know how precious that daylight is and how it can affect a person’s mood. i was evil, evil, evil and can’t believe my parents let me get away with that! although, i did talk to my dad yesterday, lamenting that that was a nasty thing to do, and he did say that squire enjoyed it. i’m sure he enjoyed talking to his nieces and nephews on the phone, but the subject matter sure could have been a little better.

on a related note, while the darkness keeps me in a mood where i want to sleep all the time, my seasonal affective disorder has been pretty manageable the past few years. i rack it up to keeping on keeping on on the treadmill regularly over the winter. the treadmill sure is boring, but the chemicals the run releases sure do help.

on a related note to the related note, half marathon training starts in 2 months. this news is twofold: 1) waaah half marathon training on the treadmill is the boringest of boring but 2) THAT means that april is a mere 5 months away. once the training starts, i at least know the end of winter is in sight.

word wednesday: jolly log

word wednesday: jolly log

well, since december is nearly upon us, i thought it might be an ok time to do a word wednesday on a holiday word: yule.

the olde norske word jol was just a word to describe a heathen feast, aka a party. then in swept the anglo-saxons who took the word jul and made giuli, a two-month mid-winter season for december and january.

there was a lot of feasting during these two months (what else ya gonna do in the dead of winter when it’s dark out) but not necessarily a festival. after the christians rolled in, they narrowed down yule to the 12-day nativity season (which happens AFTER dec. 25), but by the 11th century, it was replaced by christmas except in northeast england, where danes had settled.

in the 19th century, there was a revival of merrie olde england, and yule was resurrected.

now here’s where it gets kind fun. jul, the norse word, was actually borrowed from old french – jolif. jolif in modern french is joli – originally festive, or…

jolly!

that yule log is a pretty jolly log!

whoa there

whoa there

i was going to write a post about how christmas is so rushed after thanksgiving and how it doesn’t feel like christmas and we should relish the holiday vs. explode it all over everything.

but.

i didn’t want argue with 75% of the population *EYEROLL*

*eyeroll again for good measure*

not to mention, it sure doesn’t feel like christmas to me yet. this year has just been zipping right along – like i want to know where JUNE went, not to mention that thanksgiving is now just over. so there’s that.

there’s your meme for meme monday.

******

i’m trying to convince nate to do something for his birthday/our anniversary. one option is to check out the twin cities model train museum. i guess they have a night train thing going on for a couple months, which might be cool to check out. nate is obsessed with model trains, though he doesn’t want to get any. (this opens up an argument on his part about how we have no room to put trains anywhere because he only has a corner of the house. i just smh because he knows i’d move stuff around to make room for trains. or lego. or his bottles of whiskey. or whatever it is he wants to do. hmph.)

the other option is to head up to duluth to check out the bentleyville light show, which i’ve been wanting to do for a few years now. we’d probably have to head up during the week to avoid the crowds, but i think it’d be fun.

watching

watching

this was the busiest time of year for the lady. now that the last month was upon them and the day almost here, the littles tended to be nicer and calmer. but her seers knew.

people thought that the man in red just knew who was naughty and who was nice, but that wasn’t the case. the man in red oversaw the elves and kept on top of the latest trends, but it was the seers that sorted out the wheat from the chaff. the network of seers was really the most important part of the operations in the north, and everyone knew it. the lady was in charge of the seers.

the seers were posted year-round all throughout the world, just watching and reporting back to the pole. they saw fights that erupted in the middle of a schoolyard; a helping hand with chores; a smile or a frown toward a stranger. what they saw went directly into the giant database at the pole, which crunched the numbers and spit out  the lists first at the 6th of the last month, when the naughty were given a warning and good rewarded, and then at the 25th, when the final results were compiled. it was very rare that a naughty would turn to nice.

even though the seers had been watching all year, it seemed that double the information came in around this time. add onto that that the seers started gathering lists, and it was a lot for the lady to make sure went smoothly.

the lists were actually a fun part of the year. the seers gathered the letters and lists the little wrote. depending on where they were, the seers gathered the letters from windowsills, above chimneys after littles sent their letters up in the waft of fire breeze, or from local letter carriers. she hired temps to help read, decipher, and transcribe the lists into the database, where it would be cross referenced with what the elves had already made this year, then it would adjust what items needed to be put into more production. then it was up to the man in red.

of course there were asks for things she couldn’t put under a tree or fireplace or in shoes or at the foot of a bed: a good harvest, a happier home life, a pet, a baby sister. but they always tried with the things they could put in the littles’ homes.

it was the first night of the temps’ month-long job, and the pile of letters that had already arrived over the past couple weeks would keep them busy for a couple days before they really started coming in. at that point, mariah should have made it to the pole, and she was more than happy to help keep the temps in line. while the temps started in with the lists, the lady walked over to the pile of letters, running her hands along them. a few were decorated grandly in reds and greens, others had sprigs of holly attached to them. she opened one and read the explanation that this little had been very good, her dad could attest to that, and then a very short list of what she would like. the lady smiled and closed it up. soon the seers would be making their nightly drop.

this time of year, the pole was almost always dark, but the seers were called seers for a reason. not only could they see in heart of hearts, but their eyesight wasn’t bad either. even when the moon failed to make an appearance, the seers easily found their way by starlight or even in cloud cover.

the lady strode out to the far end of the complex, to the large doors where the reindeer entered on the big night. she really did enjoy this part of the year, as busy as it was. she glanced up at the timekeeper on the wall, then swung open the large doors to the chilly night, yellow light spreading into darkness.

the moon was out, almost full and shining brightly on snow that had fallen just a couple nights before. it was the sort of silence that soft, new snow only brings. the lady watched skies in the silence, waiting.

she always heard them before she saw them – twinkly, sharp notes floating across the air, like icicles clinking together or frozen branches waving in the wind. then a rush as the small, air-borne seers flew into the large room, wings brushing against her cheeks leaving warmth and happiness.

they chattered amongst themselves, their voices the source of the twinkling noise she always heard before she saw. most times the lady didn’t even try to understand them, even though she could if she tried. one by one, they dropped their bundles of letters on a large table at one end of the room. they didn’t spend much time at the pole, as their work was never done. in a rush, they left the room and darted into the night. the lady stood by the door, watching them spread across the sky.

she felt a brush of wings at her elbow, and glanced down. one seer – the one from the northeast – looked up at her, holding a single letter in her hands and a concerned look on her face. the letter was on brown paper, one that looked as if it’d been used more than once, and singed on one end. this household must be chimney sender. she took the letter and looked at the seer.

“i’m sorry, lady. i’ve never seen anything like it. i thought you’d want it.” and the seer fluttered off into the night. the lady watched. she knew the location and name of the little would already be in the database or in her files, tagged important. she knew how organized her seers were.

she glanced at the letter, devoid of any decoration, then turned it over and opened it.

it was addressed: “to the other.”

the air went out of her. instinctively, she searched her pockets for a peppermint, then the lady shut the doors and ran to find the man in red.

 

the other

stan stress

stan stress

i’m about ready to take stan to the vet! poor little guy is licking himself bald. i have a cat pheremone air thingy going, but it seems to be getting worse and worse. the internet tells me it could be allergies or he could be stressed out, but the only thing that could really stress him out is me wanting to pet him all the time XD

i need to knit him some legwarmers 🙁

foodie friday thanksgiving edition

foodie friday thanksgiving edition

i am failing on the blogging this year, but i am winning at backdating.

i also failed to take many pics this year of thanksgiving food, but so it goes when the only real things we made were pies and stuffing.

thanksgiving was pretty laid back! jane and i walked a 5k in the morning, saw a movie, then came home and made the squash galette, which turned out better than last year!

this year, i used the paul hollywood rough puff folding technique when i folded the butter into the dough, and goodness gracious if that didn’t make a difference. the dough was super flaky and crisp, and it definitely didn’t have a soggy bottom. it also got done a lot quicker. (i’m not sure if this makes a difference at all, but i did let it sit in the fridge for three days before rolling it out.) so, hollywood handshake on that galette for sure. it also had some bacon in it, which of course makes a delightful taste addition to an advertised vegetarian option.

the actual dinner was pretty simple. we reheated five things and called it a day. the galette was the most labor intensive thing of the day, and after that it was rolling out bread dough for rolls (i didn’t even make the dough. just thawed it out in the freezer). turkey was purchased premade, potatoes premade, gravy premade. perfect. the dishes sat overnight and we did them 24 hours later.

well, the one fail this year was my first pumpkin pie. i had no white sugar, so i decided to use coconut sugar which said could be used 1:1 for replacement. MISTAKE. that pie tasted awful. so i made another pumpkin pie last night because i wasn’t going to go through thanksgiving with no pumpkin pie (even though we have a maple and sweet potatoes pies).

this one is much better. already had a giant piece for breakfast!

in other news, i’ve got to run like 6 miles tonight. blarf. 

throwback thanksgiving thursday

throwback thanksgiving thursday

i tend to post this every thanksgiving. oh well!

When daylight saving gives us an extra hour of sleep on a Saturday night, and the days suddenly grow so short that I wonder why it’s 9:30 p.m., look at the clock, and realize it’s still 5 p.m., I know it’s time for the holidays. I’m not one to want Christmas to come right after Halloween, and I enjoy the time it takes to move from Halloween to Thanksgiving to Christmas to New Year’s. But Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be, for some reason.

When I was young, my family went to my aunt Kathleen & uncle George’s house for the day, along with their kids, my aunt Colette, and uncle Squire. My mom was “famous,” I guess you could say, for her pumpkin pie, and this is the dish we would bring to the Thanksgiving spread. Although I loved the food and the people at the time, looking back, it was really the night before Thanksgiving that was especially endearing.

For the four pies that would ultimately come from the oven, my mom would start prepping right after supper, pulling out cans of pumpkin puree and evaporated milk. She mixed the ingredients in the large stainless steel pot we owned, the only thing big enough to hold all the ingredients. There was a real science to the spices, taste-testing for the right combination after each dash here, teaspoon there. Some years we had pies that tasted heavily of cloves; other years, nutmeg sparkled on our tongues.

After the filling was perfected, it was time for the crust, which was the best part for us kids, and the worst part for my mom. My siblings and I would gather around as we watched her crumble flour, salt, and Crisco between her fingers, then add water until the dough stuck together. We helped get the pie plates ready, which I never remember her buying and that she still uses, by swirling Crisco on the bottom and sides with a napkin, making circular patterns until we were told to stop.

Meanwhile, my uncle Squire always came to our house the night before Thanksgiving to make his contribution to the dinner: cranberry-orange sauce. Because he was a bachelor and didn’t have much of a need for kitchen gadgets, he didn’t own a blender, a necessary accouterment for making cranberry-orange sauce. My dad, of course, was in the kitchen as well, inputting commentary when necessary and generally making fun of my mom and uncle. So there we were in the kitchen, my mom, dad, Squire, and one, two, three, or four kids.

Our countertops were old and not the best for large-area food preparation, so my mom used a piece of laminate, which was a remnant of countertop cut for a sink (something I realized much later in life). After my dad pulled it from its cubbyhole and placed it on the kitchen, my mom prepared for the most difficult part of piemaking: rolling the dough. After cursing her dough and yelling at us to watch out while she flipped the crust from the surface to the plate, my mom let us have the leftover pieces to mash together and play with. After begging to cook our mini-pie creations, mom made us toss our dough in the trash.

But the best was yet to come: It was time to slip the pies into the oven. Baking four pies took time – two batches of prep and hour-long baking for four pies – and of course, small children had to go to sleep to prepare for the next day’s festivities. We were tucked into bed while the pies baked, the smell wafting up the stairs and into the bedroom where we would be lulled to sleep by the scent of pumpkin and spices. It was the best night’s sleep of the year.