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Author: kate

stuffed

stuffed

every once in a while, stu got the feeling that he wasn’t long for the world. his feathers ruffled in an odd way after a chill went down his spine, but it only lasted for a moment, then it was gone.

the thought didn’t last long, though, as his job was more important than thoughts on his own mortality. he may not have been the most good looking or the best at evoking jubilant reactions, but he tried his best to spread gratitude as best he could.

stu was relatively new to the scene. when he met with the others at the solstices, he could tell that they’d been around a while. they had enduring a lot of humanity, and stu’s job was to bring out humanity’s thankful side. not all of the others sought that, or even had much contact with humanity, for that matter.

now that the end of the year was looming, it was extra work for stu. he knew that thanksgiving was his time to shine, his peak performance of the year. he wasn’t sure how exactly he spread thankfulness, since he hadn’t been in this position very long, but he knew he was key. so stu kept on doing what stu did best: being stu.

he headed outside the day before thanksgiving, strutting down his front porch and ruffling a bit to let the chilly air perk him up. he stared at the dead grey sky before thinking it was a great day to alive. almost immediately, he noticed two squirrels and a chipmunk fighting over some remaining corn cobs that were in a nearby garden. stu strolled over and immediately the animals stopped fighting and divided up the food for their winter stores. this was pretty common for stu; all he needed to do was be in the presence of disagreement and it dissipated.

stu walked a lot every day, finding strife and spreading gratitude. he considered himself to be a great peacemaker.

but this day before the big day, he was feeling especially good about his work. he covered a lot of ground and spread a lot of cheer, fairness, and justice among a lot of creatures.

it was dark when he finally made his way home that evening. he frowned when he saw the lights in his small home were on, but pushed open the front without a second thought.

there was a woman standing in the corner fussing over a box with a light over it. she turned her head as stu cleared his throat, and he saw it was the hedgewitch…what was her name?

“stu, you’ve made it home. you were out longer than the others,” she said, walking toward him slowly. he peered around her and saw a large egg sitting in the box, cracks along the surface. mariah. that was her name. she was nice to him at the solstices and other get togethers. nicer than the others, except maybe the yeti. but stu thought that had to do with the yeti being a yeti.

“you’ve done great,” she said, smiling, coming closer. well, she was right about that. stu felt really good about the day he’d had. it was especially nice coming from her. she had a sad look on her face as she reached out to give him a hug. stu opened up for the hug.

“i’m really sorry about this stu,” and he heard the sound of a blade coming out of the side of her boot, but he was already in her vice grip, and struggling was useless.

“shhh, it’ll be over soon. thanksgiving needs a sacrifice.”

the egg cracked open.

caturday is here again!

caturday is here again!

stan NEVER wants to snuggle. he runs around the house like a crazy cat, and if you pet him, chances are he’ll try to attack you. but once in a while, he takes a time out and actually cozies up for a snuggle!

foodie friday hmmm

foodie friday hmmm

so you got a bonus last saturday when i made my millionaire shortbreads and yummy chicken wild rice hotdish. i’m not sure you deserve a foodie friday…

but! here’s what i will do! thanksgiving is coming up, and for the first time in a while, i am not making a turkey! i want this year to be easy. here’s my plan:

  • smoked turkey from famous daves (this will be interesting!)
  • mashed potatoes from the dairy case
  • perhaps gravy from a jar? lol
  • homemade cranberries
  • homemade pies (pumpkin and sweet potato!)
  • homemade dressing
  • sort of homemade rolls
  • squash (easy)
  • i don’t know if i’m going to do another veg or not. i was thinking broccolini and mushrooms. not sure
  • i’m also making another squash galette with bacon mmm mmmm

i signed up for the wishbone run (it was only $5) and told myself if it was 30º or more i would run it. i really wasn’t expecting the temp to be that warm, but turns out i might end up having to run it that morning! :/ who knew…

TBT: c2 5k edition

TBT: c2 5k edition

this month marks SEVEN YEARS (!!!) since i started running. barring some injuries and vacations to high altitudes, i’ve consistently run the past seven years.

let’s do a throwback to 2011’s trip to the black hills with the fam.

five months after this pic was taken, i started running regularly at the fieldhouse at st. ben’s.

and, as my dad said, i’ll never be a sprinter! but, starting running was hard. it was probably one of the harder things i’ve done in my life, especially since it was from scratch. i’d run off and on during the summer of 1998, but it never really got into a groove with the breathing.

breathing was the worst part, followed by the ambition to keep at it, then trailed by the fact that muscles started to hurt. oh god, the breathing. it took probably 2 months for my breathing to get into a groove. and once that breathing was under control, i knew it was time for easy street.

i will say this: the muscle part was never really a barrier; in fact, i think i got off pretty easy with how little my leg muscles hurt. i could have had shin splints, and i never did. i wrapped my knees for a while, and my hips hurt for a couple weeks, but overall, muscles were good. now i’ve got calves of steel. (that’s about the only steely muscles i have, unfortunately. wish i had buns of steel but the junky trunk is real).

i don’t know how i kept going. i could have easily quit and resumed my lifestyle of slothdom. but maybe it was a challenge – sort of like how i run long distances, not because i want to win a race, but because i want to prove i can do it. the first time i ran a mile non-stop was glorious. i stretched out on the wrestling mat in the corner and was just giddy with myself.

i’ve battled plantar fasciitis in my right heel, a bad cortisone shot in that heel, three rounds of PT on it. i severely sprained it at ragnar 2017 and screwed up the tendons, and now the top of that foot’s not doing great because i’ve been trying to correct my gait. i just have to be ok with the fact that that foot will never be like the left, unfortunately.

i’ve lost 75 pounds! and my triglycerides are fantastic, despite still eating a bunch of bad food. my cholesterol levels decreased into levels that my doc said they didn’t even register on the bottom of the scale. i can attest to running as a healthy alternative to sitting on the couch.

winter means treadmill running, which sucks, but it makes summertime outdoor running that much more enjoyable. there are days when i wonder why i even put on my shoes, then there are days when i would be fine with two miles, aim for three, and actually run four (those are few and far between). i just recently ran my fastest 5k, another exhilarating moment.

i’ve run three half marathons and two ragnars. a marathon will probably never be on my plate, as my joints and muscles just don’t like running more than 8 miles. and that’s quite all right! if you’d asked me 10 years ago if i’d ever run 13 miles, i’d’ve laughed in your face.

and i’m still slow. i mean, you’d think after 7 years, i’d be a little speedier, but it’s OKAY to run slow. i want to enjoy the run and not kill myself. i think that’s 90% of why people quit running after trying it out. you don’t have to run a 10-minute mile right out of the gate. you don’t even have to run it after 7 years. my fastest 5k time? it was an 11:34-minute mile. that was FANTASTIC. i normally run a 12-12:30-minute mile.

so here’s to another 7 years of running. i didn’t think i’d still be running after 7 years, but now i’m invested. i hope my knees hold up, my foot works itself out, and my bunion chills out (good grief my feet). in the grand scheme of things, i’d rather have some bad joints than a heart attack.

here’s 2015 with my green lady!

word wednesday: palimpsest

word wednesday: palimpsest

i was rereading a book (codex) a couple weeks ago and ran across this word with very little context, and i knew i’d run across it before (not in the initial read), so i looked it up.

“a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain.”

i’d read it in ” a discovery of witches!” (which, i might add, i own a signed first copy of ….thanks liz! lol)

it’s greek in origin from the word palin for again and psestos for rubbed smooth.

i’m sure you could call other things palimpsets, but it made sense in pre-gutenburg times when paper was scarce and books were rare.

what are some modern day palimpsets? could old VHS tapes that you recorded TV shows on over and over work? there wasn’t much trace of the old shows, but it was again rubbed smooth.

maybe double-exposure photography would count. chalk or whiteboards definitely – when you can still make out words that have been erased. old hard drives that you think you’ve reformatted but someone steals and is able to pull all your old data from?

s. king’s latest

s. king’s latest

when i saw there was an additional book from stephen king out, i thought oh boy! he’s really on a roll now. i mean, we all know he writes monster books (heh could be a double meaning) and quite often. earlier this year i’d purchased “the outsider” and was amazed that a second one was already published.

i stopped at BN in the moa to pick it up and…

it’s so little!! of course i still picked it up. it’s fewer than 200 pages with large type, more of a novella than a novel. i finished it over the course of two days; it would have been one, but i started reading at 10:30 p.m. and had to go to sleep.

like all king books, it’s got a little weird element to it, but it’s an uplifting story (heh – again) with a lesson for readers.

i know i’ve said this before, but i’ll say it again. if you’re afraid to pick up one of his books because it’s attached to horror, just push that aside and dive in. most likely you’ve already watched a movie adaptation of one if his: shawshank, stand by me, green mile, etc. what i like about his writing is that he ties a lot of the stories together, a lot of times to the man in black.

if you are looking for a decent one to start with, pick up 11/22/63, my favorite. it’s got the right mix of weird (there’s always something weird in his books), sentimental, and thriller-esque.

do NOT pick up the tommyknockers. only book of his i was literally scared.

(or IT. read that one after you’ve read a few of his and start wondering what the heck is going on in derry, maine, and you’re fully acquainted with the king-style weird.)

non-meme monday

non-meme monday

since no one had any grand ideas for a monday replacement (none of you seem to have any ideas), here i am again with a meme monday.

sort of. it was going to be “winter is coming” but turns out winter is already here -_-

first our spring was non-existent. then our summer was instant. fall was mediocre. and now it’s january in november. i mean, come on.

in related news, i ordered some new mittens.

(lands end was having a 50% off sale. got these for $25!)

so comes the snow

so comes the snow

biggie rubbed his eyes to get the sleep out of them. no matter what, every year he woke up around the same time: after the harvest but before the solstice. a voice spoke to him in his dreams, telling him it was time to wake, but when he woke, he never remembered who it was or what exactly it said. all he knew was that he was ravenous.

he stretched his long arms overhead and stretched. 6 months of hibernating in this cave had done nothing for the joints; even though he was relatively young, he was still thousands of years old, and no activity doesn’t do anything for anyone. biggie rooted through his small pile of dried fruits and nuts that he’d set in the corner for this very moment, and scarfed down every last bit of food he found. time to find water.

he squinted as he made his way out of the cave. it was bright, even though the sun was low in the sky and shrouded by cloud cover and the thick pines of the land he lived in. he looked around at the familiar surroundings, taking in the bare branches, the browning grass, and rattling leaves on shrubs and small, scrubby trees that framed the entrance to his home. the grey clouds were heavy in the sky, as they always were when he made his first appearance after his long sleep.

biggie stared down at himself and shook out his arms, then ran his fingers through his shaggy white fur, cleaning himself of the detritus he’d picked up while rolling around in his sleep. after five minutes of grooming, he was ready to get to the water and set out on his journey.

stretching out his legs felt good, and his thick-soled feet were impervious to the little stones and sticks that were underfoot on his way. as he walked, small creatures sniffed the air, examining the frost he left behind in his footprints, then hopping away (most likely to store up some more food – and quickly).

it was a quick jaunt to the river, and biggie knelt down and dipped his head to the water, slurping what he knew was a reasonable amount before his stomach would revolt. then he leaned back and surveyed the area. the wind blew in from the north, just enough to bring a chill, and there was moisture in the air. several birds were lined up on skinny branches, ruffling their feathers and watching him with their bright eyes. rodents of all sizes started gathering around, peering from behind tree trunks and sitting up on rocks. despite the rumors, biggie was very gentle and attracted creatures of all sorts. that’s why he tended to stay away from humans; they wouldn’t want to let him go.

he grumbled, clearing his throat a bit before speaking after a six-month rest on his vocal cords.

“it’s about that time, isn’t it?” he addressed all the creatures, and then they burst out in chitters and squeaks and grumblings of their own. biggie nodded.

he placed his palm on the river, and it turned to ice, cracking as it adjusted to the flow of the water. then as his palms turned upward, the sky let loose a cloud of white flakes. he had 6 months, then the voice would call to him again: time to sleep.

but not yet. he stood and started walking through the new snow, tiny creatures following in his wake.

bonus: foodie saturday

bonus: foodie saturday

i had a very foodalicious saturday so i thought i’d share.

first i made a chicken wild rise hot dish that was at brewlash this year. it had 2 cups of gouda cheese in it – that was enough to make it worth making.

after eating that deliciousness, i attempted the … wait for it….

MILLIONAIRE SHORTBREAD.

yes, this was the one recipe i saw on the great british bake off that i was just flabbergasted that i’d never made and that looked absolutely delicious.

i went to america’s test kitchen and found a recipe.

of course i had to make some adjustments. since i was out of flour, and it sounded like it would be delicious, i swapped out AP flour with almond flour for the shortbread. i made the caramel almost to the recipe. since i don’t eat devil’s syrup, i used lyle’s golden syrup instead. and then instead of dark chocolate on top, i used milk chocolate and added dark chocolate shavings and salt on the top.

these aren’t that difficult to make – the most tedious part is making sure the caramel doesn’t burn, but that just takes paying attention for 15 minutes.

as you can see, i wasn’t winning any presentation awards from paul hollywood, but i kid you not – one of the more delicious things i’ve eaten in my life. definitely will make again.

caturday 2

caturday 2

poor stan has a complex. he’s been licking his arms and a spot on his shoulder so much that he’s starting to go bald. i just plugged in some cat calming pheromone stuff, so hopefully he stops with the obsessive licking and his hair grows back.