Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Day Fourteen

I liked McDonald's hot chocolate more when they weren't trying to all McCafe-y. When they were the sort of hot chocolates you get at gas stations. Now? Non mi piace, I do not like.

Their holiday pies are interesting. I don't want to say I liked it. But I definitely didn't hate it. The inside tastes sort of like cake batter. It's different.

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Special Promotion

A few years ago when I bought a new camera (before the dslr) I ended up swayed by one that offered a free Shutterfly.com deal with the package. It was a wonderful offer: 50 free prints, a full size calendar, a small photo book, and note cards. I took the camera with me on my first vacation to the northwest Florida panhandle, the kind of stunning place you just itch to photograph, and then redeemed my Shutterfly gifts upon return. Their calendars are gorgeous. And mine was the sort of calendar that even though two years have passed I still want it hanging on my wall. Which is why when I heard of a promotion Shutterfly was doing this year for Christmas cards I had to jump on it. After all, my plan this season is to photograph the dogs for the Christmas card and I have a feeling one of these cards would do just the trick. While I was over there checking out the Christmas selection their graduation announcements caught my eye. After all, just a couple of weeks until I get my hands on that diploma and, um, most of my family has no clue.

*in exchange for this blog post, Shutterfly is giving me 50 free holiday cards. You can get in on the deal as well if you have a blog by clicking HERE.

Day Thirteen

Monday's suck. Monday's after holidays suck even worse.

It's hard not to be in full on holiday mode with Christmas coming. Despite the little stresses of the next two months of my life I'm ready to soak up every last bit of yule tidings and joy.

I want to curl up in my bed, wearing my new Old Navy thermal leggings, and watch Love Actually multiple times. And drool over Prime Minister Hugh Grant. (I am, admittedly, still obsessed with the Brits.)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Day Twelve

And so my much needed vacation ends... with Taco Soup!


1 package of taco seasoning
1/2 package of ranch dressing mix
1 can of corn
1 can of black beans
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can of rotel tomatoes with green chilies
1/2 cup of water
1 pound (or more if you like) of ground beef

Brown your beef. Dump the tomatoes, sauce, corn and beans into a pot along with half a cup of water (do not drain the corn or the beans), add the packet of taco seasoning and half of the ranch mix along the browned beef. Stir together, mixing well. Cover and cook to a simmer for around an hour.

Garnish and serve!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Day Eleven

I replaced the Christmas tree lights with LED lights this year.

This can be a pricey thing to do, but Home Depot has 50 count LED light sets for $1.98 per box. These are equivalent in length and brightness to 100 count sets of regular lights, so the price was phenomenal.

The money savings:

Regular lights cost 9 cents to run an hour and the LED Christmas lights only cost 1.5 cents to run an hour. Assume we have 6 strands of lights and we run those lights 5 hours a day for about 30 days in December. The result:

LED Christmas Lights: $.00152 x 6 strands x 5 hours x 30 days = $1.37

Regular Christmas Lights: $.00912 x 6 strands x 5 hours x 30 days = $8.21

We have more than 6 strands going so I think we'll notice a difference this month on energy costs. Other benefits include them staying cool to the touch (no worries about hot bulbs and animals or babies), the ability to run them longer each day, and that you can connect up to 87 sets without blowing a fuse. Outside we can get about 5 of the regular sets connected before we have a Clark Griswold style catastrophe.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Umm, Day Nine & Ten

I had a post ready last night and in some sort of triptophan induced haze I forgot to post it.

My Florida cousin was complaining about the heat yesterday on Facebook. Something about it not feeling like the holiday season. I don't get it.

I could rock that whole Christmas Island vibe.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Day Eight

Sort of cheating since it isn't a photo and it's not from me, but it's appropriate.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Day Seven

Last night I made Chex Mix with corn chex, cheerios, pecans and pretzel sticks. And then I ate like half of it. I wasn't going to make it until Thanksgiving but none of us could wait. This stuff is crack.

Tonight I'm fulfilling an order for peanut butter balls (buckeyes if you call them that, but I coat mine completely in chocolate). I started making them for my mom to take to work and people started asking what I'd charge to make them to order. I came up with a price and now every few weeks I've had an order. Tonight's is for 4 dozen of them. I've been considering branching out into a tiny little operation and making various other candies as well. But we'll see.

Tomorrow I finally get to bust out the WHOLE milk and cream that's been taunting me in the fridge. I'll start prep for Thursday by making homemade puddings for chocolate pie and banana pudding.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Day Six

And there it hangs.

There was a time in the midst of my deepest struggles with school, when I hated where I lived and felt oh so lonely all the time that I fantasized about giving it all up. Just quitting. My mom assured me that quit was not in my vocabulary. I knew it wasn't, but I wanted to try it on for a spin.

So what I'm saying is there was a time when I never thought I'd realize my dream of graduating from the University of Kentucky.

In the end I couldn't quit. And I refused to transfer because Kentucky WAS my dream. But it's been hard, I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. At a certain point I doubted whether I'd ever wear this.

In 24 days I will.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Day Five

One thing that impresses me about my brother is his work ethic. Despite having a fever last night he was determined to help our mom get a majority of her Christmas lights put up today. If that were me, at 15, I'd have whined and probably stayed in bed all day instead.

This sign lights up. My mom and brother are serious about this decorating stuff.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Day Four

And then there were lights.

My brother is working on Christmas lights while I sit indoors doing various important things like: blogging, searching for something to watch on television tonight, and yelling at the dogs.

And working on a Thanksgiving menu. So far I've got:

Turkey & Dressing
a small ham
Rolls & Cranberry Sauce
Broccoli Casserole
Corn Pudding
Mashed Potatoes & Gravy
*Sweet Potato Casserole (with sage butter & pecans)
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with bacon

a relish tray
hot sausage velveeta dip
homemade chex mix

hashbrown casserole
slices from the ham

*Cranberry Spritzers (with champagne or sprite depending on the person)

*Chocolate Pudding Pie
Peanut Butter Balls
*Magnolia Bakery Banana Pudding
Pumpkin Pie

*denotes actual links to recipes but I don't think they show up well with this theme.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Day Three

We're watching Prince Charles' Harmony on NBC, a film about climate change and global environmental crisis. I'm ashamed I didn't know he was Al Gore before Al Gore. But I'm thoroughly impressed.

1) It's appropriate that I'm watching this during a week that has been highlighted by royal fever on my part. I am obsessed with the Prince William/Kate Middleton wedding. Obsessed.

2) My desire to have chickens is only being increased by this special.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

A Picture a Day: Day One

I saw this on another blog and I thought I'd do it here: post one picture every day until the end of the year. Call it conditioning for that item on my life list that says I want to complete a 365 project one year.

The lights were being strung on the Christmas tree in downtown Lexington this morning. I immediately wanted my bed, a pair of Christmas jammies, hot chocolate, and a Hallmark movie.

Friday, November 12, 2010


To me the end of life is just as important as the beginning. When a baby is born we flock to hospitals eager to hold little ones and welcome them into the world. And when we die people panic. But I can't think of a better time to offer a shoulder. Or to hold a hand.

Family. Everybody's got one...

*just venting to myself*

I have to write about this stuff here because I worry I'm annoying everyone else on the internet if I talk too much about it elsewhere. On a good day three people read this, so deal with it.

My dad was supposed to go see his mother today. He's totally BAILED on me. Claims he's having chest discomfort. Which I don't doubt, but I'm thinking put on your big girl panties, face it, and that panicked feeling might go away.

His father didn't go see his own mother when she was dying. Granted, she was in New York. But he could have made the trip. He couldn't face it though. It was easier to pretend his extended family didn't exist. I worry my dad's doing the same thing. And it bothers me. A lot.

He hasn't seen her since August.

Meanwhile my Aunt who is her healthcare surrogate is living in a land called Denial in regards to stopping the fluids. My 83 year old dying grandmother had a picc line put in yesterday for the fluids she'll be receiving to try and prolong her life. Pardon my language, but what the actual fuck?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

And now we say goodbye

Tomorrow I take my dad and my aunt to see their mom for what might be the last time.

While I have been preparing myself for this for a long time I'm not sure the same can be said for my dad and aunt. This is going to be hard. This event is going to rock this family.


I feel like I understand that dying is a part of life and I'm well prepared for the realities of losing my last grandmother. But it doesn't stop it from being sad and somewhat devastating.

To say I'll miss her doesn't really even scratch the surface of how much this will hurt.

P.S. to top it off my cat is having seizures so I have to carve out time to drop her off at the vet tomorrow as well. c'est la vie.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

True Life

Two things arrived in the mail this morning:
  • my first student loan notice
  • my car insurance bill
Dude. Not. Cool.

The mail gods clearly find this hilarious.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Odio Italiana

ludens 001

I spent last night with bags of funsize candy and Italian worksheets prepping for a midterm this morning. Can I say right now, with authority, that it was THE WORST MIDTERM OF MY LIFE? It was. No convincing me otherwise.

Sometimes I feel like I really should pursue grad school. And then I laugh.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


my mamaw, right, in 1944

I had a moment last week (at least I think it was last week) when I wanted to be one of those super positive bloggers. And it wouldn't just be all wah, wah, wah. I'd share recipes and pictures. And be all charming and perfect.

But no matter how hard I try I can't shake certain things. And I can't even form the right sentences to talk about them. Just know they mostly concern my mamaw. And that I need to say something.

I get even more down in the dumps because all this stuff seems inconsequential. It's my grandma and guess what loser, GRANDMAS DIE. That's what they do. But it's so much more than that. It's feeling like I'm a horrible human being because we can't have her live here like we did with my other grandma. (For a million really solid reasons that, no, I can't go into.) The decline since September has been horrendous. First she was in a psych unit, then a nursing home, then the hospital, now another home. There are pressures on me right now that don't apply to her other grandchildren or even my dad. My emotions have been all over the place. I've cried buckets, and buckets of tears.

All while being exhausted. This semester is the worst of my life. I'm zapped. I drive 3 days a week for school and spend hours just waiting on classes to start or end. I never have enough time for homework. I'm tempted each weekend to spend 2 days doing nothing but sleeping. But I spend one more day driving nearly 100 miles round trip to visit my grandmother. Visits which leave me sad until at least Wednesday.

To top it all off my bank account is... it's just depressing this month. I need a job. But I can't imagine adding a job into this mix. I'm afraid I'd just keel over from the pressure.

I've been looking forward to Thanksgiving since before Halloween. To me it represents the first real break I've had since August. I need those 6 days of baking and wrangling dead turkeys to rejuvenate. I hope my family can figure out some way of being civil and making this work. Even if Mamaw is just a shell of her old self for it. I need this holiday.

18 more days.

I just want to remember that he said this,

grandma and all of the grandkids
"I could never find a single fault in your grandma. If she had any I didn't know about them." -my dad