Professional? Yeah. It’s not hard to tell the difference. But when kids make ‘em it’s a unique experience with loud squeals and a whole lot of sugar icing all over the place. You can do a “kit.” It goes together fast and looks great. But it’s not the same as individual personal construction. Icing dries slowly and I don’t have patience.
So I used a foam board construction underneath and built the thing one two three. (That would be – construct a foam board house underneath all the ginger bread walls.) Licorice sticks hide a multitude of sin. Of course, I am not responsible for the decoration. There is a time when too many cooks… There is only one rule: no blanks space should be devoid of confection.
Great ideas! At Christmas each family comes and distributes their gifts into the waiting basket with your name on it. There are a bunch of variations on the scheme but it makes chaos so much more organized.
And for an even better scheme – use ribbon. String the ribbon from a central point and let the recipient follow his/her color to their gifts. You can put a few in the interim and make it even more fun. Either way, it’s a good idea. Too late for this year and there are a lot fewer kids around these days. But keep this in mind if you still entertain hoards for the holiday.
I did this! It’s dead simple. I failed in my first attempt. (Note to self: “Read the freakin’ instructions.) … as in I did not turn up the oven to the right temp. It was good to eat but it looks much more impressive if you follow the instructions. It’s called a Dutch baby. I don’t know why. It was a hit both time I made it. That’s all you need to know.
My camera (the “big one”) took a hit in October and has been in repair for a couple months. Yeah, it was a major injury to body and lens. Major surgery was done and the cosmetic damage repaired as well. And it works like a top again. Yay!
Monks came and did their magic one day – maybe it was longer. The mandala is ephemeral.
“The Sand Mandala
Mandalas constructed from sand are unique to Tibetan Buddhism and are believed to effect purification and healing. Typically, a great teacher chooses the specific mandala to be created. Monks then begin construction of the sand mandala by consecrating the site with sacred chants and music. Next, they make a detailed drawing from memory. Over a number of days, they fill in the design with millions of grains of colored sand. At its completion, the mandala is consecrated. The monks then enact the impermanent nature of existence by sweeping up the colored grains and dispersing them in flowing water.”
Lucky for me they kept this one intact for me to inspect and marvel over. Look at the textures. Elaborate! Oil on canvas is forever. This is like food art. Eat and enjoy. Heal!
Denver Art Museum. I expected Western art and Remington sculptures. Yup! Saw them. But what’s with the Oriental art? People collected and later donated quite a body of Oriental artwork. Neat!
I was wandering another antique store. I’m trying to stay away. (No more sewing machines, please!) And it’s Xmas. And there are a lot of old Xmas decorations. And among them are a lot of Santas. Ya gotta love it!
After the first snow of the year, we were headed over to Boulder. It was a nice idyllic scene. I suppose a panorama would be more dramatic. I apologize. I’m a casual photographer. So, I do not travel with a tripod and wait all day for the ideal conditions. Shoot and scoot. It keeps peace with my travel companions too. I’m quite good at shooting while driving. Kids, don’t try this at home…
Seen in a pizza bar – antler light chandelier. I like the light bulbs. The dead antlers are a bit disconcerting when you consider all the dead deer who gave up to make this chandelier possible.
We stay in Airbnb now. Rooms for less with a whole lot more charm. They are all different. Neighborhoods and accommodations vary a lot. Some are more interesting. Some are a bit scary. In this particular place the owner left her cats behind and we were tasked with feeding them. No problem. I can do this. I have cat experience. They were friendly and curious and tried to get outside. The sign at the door warned – no matter how much they beg, do not let them out!
We were there in St Louis for the afternoon. Actually, it was a stopover for a lunch break and a quick look at the “Arch.” We ate in a nice pub with soaring ceilings and grand wall of liquor. (I don’t drink.) On our way back to I70 East, we got lost and turned across the National Blues Museum. It was a contretemps to the closed Jazz Museum in Kansas City. Yeah! No pictures allowed… except in designated areas. Yes, this was one. I followed the rules for a change.
John’s birthday. Things change. Life goes on. We remember. I remember. I wish I had done and said many things. I try to live life forward with fewer regrets. There are always regrets. Just do the best you can. And try to do better than before.
He was very patient and persistent. Mom would tie him into his crib. He’d loosen the rope and climb out. He never cried nor made a sound while escaping.
Extra Parking Space
Seen in a mall parking lot… It’s an old single engine two bladed propeller plane of unknown purpose. It’s not military? Not a WMD… not a commercial plane… not a hobby plane… Ah well, the owner had parked it neatly across a series of parking spots. I guess he’ll return for it. He can just pull out onto the highway and off he goes. Why not?
He lives! We saw him in concert. He’s a bit heavier. But all in leather, it was a blast. I kept thinking “Hokey.”
I’ve struggled to open and peel chestnuts for decades. Yup, decades! It’s not a hard task. It takes time and patience. My current technique – about five at a time one minute in the microwave. Don’t forget to make a slit. Otherwise your chestnut could explode. This year it all worked like a charm. No complaints! For a few stubborn chestnuts an extra 40 seconds did the trick.
I was distracted… I looked up to see the microwave smoking! The lone chestnut inside was aflame. I mean it was on fire! The smoke was thick and rose to the kitchen ceiling along with the awful smell of burnt chestnut. It was charcoal! I mean it was black charcoal. I realize the pics are not great. Just concentrate on the story and have a fine laugh on me. Oh! The smoke? Vacuum cleaner! Yeah! That worked. Thanks Ginny.
How many do I need? None. I started with the quest for a key. I had not opened the ancient machine in decades. What was the rush? None. Then in one day I acquired two more sewing machines. These were well built…and heavy! Another? Nope! But low and behold…in an antique shop… a machine was waiting. It’s different yet again…and much the same. And the price …$22. Whoa! A real bargain! Darn! That machine pretty much climbed into the back of the car all by itself.
I love junk food. It’s a secret sin of mine. Sorry, it’s not a confessional. I’m just someone who loves crunchy snacks. Lately, I discovered deep fried chips can be had for pennies. The chips are largely intact. No crumbs! Really! The idea was in a cookbook for simple party appetizers. The issue is how to get the slices thin enough for the purpose. I used a potato peeler effectively. But a mandolin is far more efficient. So far I have managed to slice fingers with both tools. Ouch! And yes, blood! Sweet potatoes and white potatoes work well. Beets do not. I’ve done kale too. But with kale there was a bit too much splatter. I also like neat food. Simple snacks, bad for you, made easy, and low budget too. Mmmm…
I was in a parking lot and struck by the technology that surrounds me. How many cellular antennae are needed to give me seamless service? How many? I guess the more you look at the infrastructure the more bewildering it appears. Line of sight? Maybe they need to touch each other? Whatever! In order for me to talk and text and surf there is a lot of support. The eye pollution is disguised and hidden in plain sight. There is no going back. What is a landline anymore? I’m a long way from fish in the Red Sea.
Odds and Ends
So, my journey through stores makes me pause to wonder. People own stuff that they don’t throw away. Instead they sell it and there’s someone out there who considers trash treasure.
Yup, I got up this morning and thought about getting an old Elvis record. So many years later there are still Elvis impersonators who make a living at it.
Dogs can’t read. I can promise I won’t poop in your yard.
And what may I ask is a turkey grabber and how do you do it? Grab it where? Dead or alive? Don’t bother to answer. I did not buy it. And I don’t get it either. Or would that be that I didn’t get it?
They made it. Someone bought it. And now they want to sell it to you. You gotta love free trade…
Years ago in Seattle we bought a Singer sewing machine – an antique? It cost an arm to ship it to the east coast. It had a wooden cover that locked down. My mother used this machine when I was a kid (not the exact same machine, silly). So, it was okay with me to spend the considerable sum at that time. I’ve been looking at machines off and on since that time. They are all expensive (relatively).
Of course, we lost the key. The machine sat locked and unavailable for decades. Yes, decades! Then, I chanced upon a beat up machine in the basement of an old dingy store. The price was right! Gotcha! Into the car and onward. The very next stop (on the same day!) – oh my! There was a nearly mint sewing machine. …with a key! Aha! Does it fit mine? Who can know. It’s not a complicated key. I took pictures of the key. Oh well! The price was not out of reach. I tested this machine. It ran off a knee switch. Yup, never heard of such a thing. The second ran on electricity and used a foot switch (like mama’s) The first one was a hand crank! Wow, all different and of different ages but of similar design and appearance. What to say? …got three of them. The best news of the day… the key fit. So I got two for the price of that darn key. Yay! Now go make a copy of the key, dummy.
…Lounge. It’s a dive bar. Dark. It’s listed as a top destination for jazz in Kansas City. We were there twice for three groups. You’d be afraid to open the door. The neighborhood was deserted – both nights – at 7PM! The music was great. We guessed about the bio of the musicians. Two of three groups were music educators playing a gig on the side. The third was the house band. The singer’s name was on the drink menu. That was pretty cool. The band wore tie and jacket. We wore jeans. It was all cool. Jazz!
I don’t own these… We do antique stores. Marching around and peeking in the booths… well you see my point?
I have a couple of old typewriters. It’s sentimental. I got the first when I dropped Dave off in Wisconsin for his freshman year of college. The Goodwill has really great stuff. Ha! Old typewriters! It sat in his dorm room all year and he paid a fortune to have it shipped home to me. The second was an impulse purchase. It is the exact model Underwood I slaved over to complete my term papers. Correct type and erasers, oh my! Old typewriters are not so old. They have been around for a while and of course of no more since the computer age. Tra la! La!
It’s the name of a steamboat that sank in the Missouri River in the 1856. It held 200 tons of artifacts preserved in the river silt. It’s fascinating. The river channel would flood and then shift as much as a mile at that time. The boat was found in a corn field 40 feet down below the surface of the ground and below the water table. Everything preserved was a muddy mess. But they recovered an amazing trove of artifacts. The goods were destined to fill general stores up river. Multiple redundant products were recovered.
They found cigars preserved in their boxes. And shoes…and clothes pins. The good news is that everyone on board survived. Only the goods sank and were preserved. Everything was covered in mud. Things cleaned up rather well. And they even tasted the pickles in the jars. They were still edible. I would not have tried one. Impressive…daring.