Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Day lessons.....

Christmas day observations....

1. Preparing and precooking food as much as possible for 10 guests allows you to spend more time with these 10 wonderful people......NOT!   Someone still has to actually physically pick up the food and do something with it.

2. Planning the order of things that have to use the oven, from appetizers to main meal, takes on a different meaning when your first dish, a crusty brie en croute doused with maple syrup and brown sugar explodes in your least the glass dish exploded, coating the bottom of the oven with a gooey mess.

Note to self: A gooey mess in the bottom of the oven begins to smoke, big time, if you continue to use the oven.

(Thanks, B, for scrapping out the gunk while I hid in the other room.)

3. Salvaging a Brie en Croute onto another plate and praying that there are no glass shards embedded in the bottom, still serves as a decent appetizer that people will still actually eat!

4. People should probably be told that one of the sliced cheeses has jalenpeno peppers in it.

5. Keep the liquor flowing....less chance of noticing glass in your bite of Brie en croute.

6. Make sure that the 20 something year olds have i phones to keep themselves entertained. Contacting someone with your iphone that is sitting right next to you, apparently is quite entertaining. Comparing what apps you have and what apps you don’t have could also be the hit of the party. 

(I’m pretty cool, using the word apps, doncha think?) LOL  ROTFLMAS

7. Make sure you invite at least one guest that can keep the conversation going or stopping it dead in it’s tracks with recollections from the long ago past that involve past girlfriends, embarrassing incidents, and wild stories, like the night this guest actually sold a pair of jeans he was wearing to a member of the opposite sex.

8. Nix idea of using Mom’s china and initialed silverware that she purchased from Bambergers in the 1940’s if you don’t have a dishwasher. Invest in Chinet and plastic utensils stock tomorrow.

9. Don’t cut your finger on a knife in the morning when you have to have your hands in water all day. 

10. Second note to self: Build a large dining room on Christmas Eve. Eating on the floor is so not cool.

11. Finally, realize when you have a minute to sit back and observe, that you have the best family and friends in the world. 

As Tiny Tim so aptly put: "God bless us. Everyone one."

Thursday, December 24, 2009


I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.  ~Charles Dickens

May the New Year bring peace, happiness and health to you all.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More chipmunk action......

So I'm trying very hard to fall back asleep in the early morning, knowing that I have to get up for the day at 5:30 a.m. It's 2:00 am and once again I'm up, wide-eyed and bushy-tailed.
I've learned that when I'm in this condition there's no point in lying there, I need to get up.

So off to the kitchen I wander, bundled up in my son's XXL Mexican alpaca zip-up poncho and my L.L. Bean wool socks.

I fix myself a steaming cup of mint green tea and open up a sleeve of salt-free saltines. (An oxymoron?)

I watch 5 minutes of a movie called 'Booty Call'. It became obvious why this movie was on at 2 o'clock in the morning, so I flick channels. Discovering nothing worth watching, I check up on some blogs I enjoy and then go back to bed. Eventually I almost doze off....

Around 5 a.m. I hear muffled voices from the adjacent bathroom, but choose to ignore it. My son goes to bed at ungodly hours sometimes, so I've learned to tune-out noises coming from the house. I also have 2 cats that make weird noises and keep weird hours.

At 5:45 I shuffle into the kitchen. Mr. Downeastdoingstuff is already up and on his laptop. If you have been keeping track of his impending surgery adventure, you know he didn't go back to work after getting booted out of the hospital. But he gets up anyway, just about every morning, work or no work, when it's still dark.

"There's a critter in the house" he says.

"What? Again?"

"Yeah," he answered, "I was sitting on the toilet and a chipmunk came running in followed by both girls."

"You're kidding?"

"Nope. The darn thing ran around the toilet a couple of times chased by the cats."

(stiffle giggle) "While you were on the toilet?" I asked. (stiffle...stiffle...stiffle)


"Where," I inquire, "is it now?"

"I don't know."

This isn't the first time this has happened in our 190 year old house. The house is not as air-tight as I would like it to be. 

I knew something was up the night before. When the cats park themselves in front of a large piece of furniture or major appliance and stare at it as if Mickey Mouse himself was due to pop out at any moment, I know something is lurking in the dark.

But I had to go to work, so I let the thoughts of this incident drift out of my mind.

Until last night.

I get home after a draining couple of hours at the Mall. My fuzzy gloves currently reside at the Mall as they fell out of my pocket somewhere in my travels from store to store.

"What's the critter news," I ask.

"No news. It's still here somewhere."

"Have you seen it?"

"Yeah, it's running around."

To make a long story short, around 8:30 PM I hear sounds like something is being beaten to death with a broom.  That's because something was being beaten to death by a broom.
In my bathroom. On my heated floor. On my white alabaster grout.

This is Mr. Downeastdoingstuff's story....

"This is a cautionary tale... you might NOT want to read on. All card carrying members of PETA should leave this post at this time... It might have been a Chip, might have been a Dale..., but for sure it certainly was a chipmunk. After watching its antics all day I can say this, it WAS a dancer, but  NOT a member of the Chippendales. The cats and I tracked this critter ALL day, from room to room. Cats wanted to play--- I had more sinister plans. Near the end - it jumped up about 5 feet, straight into the air and even landed for a moment, on my fleece. Scary????? It reminded me of the "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" scene when the squirrel jumped out of the tree and turned the household into turmoil. Ha! Now weaker individuals(read: 'pussies', wimps, and spleeny people w/o backbone... my mom's words) would have cowered at even the thought of taking on this 1 1/2 inch 'beast'. However, after the 'damage' was done all I could think of was-- this guy (me) stays home from work for this?"

OK, here is the evidence...if you are faint of heart, don't look. (There's no blood)


Rest in Peace, Chip.

The murder weapon.

Case closed.....til next time.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Surgery is ON!

Let the games begin!

OK, seriously, went back to the hematologist and all blood counts are back to normal ! It seems that the antibiotic that was given to him about 3 weeks ago for a finger infection caused his white blood cells to bite the dust !!!!!!!!!!! In case you want to know the name of the culprit, it was a drug called Bactrim. The doctor told him never to take it again!!! Doctor's orders.

So, what now? New surgery date: January 5th, 2010.

Here we go again.......

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

yummmm.....good blood....(or at least, better)

More delicious blood was taken from Mr. Downeastdoingstuff, a hematologist seen, white blood cell counts have doubled since Saturday.....a good thing.  Things are getting better, not there yet, but better. More doctors on Friday. May have been the antibiotics he was on for a boo boo on one of his fingers recently, but not sure.
We hope that was it. Yet to be seen, but it's better news right now.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another day.....another unexpected development...

(also see update below....)

Today was hospital check in day. ( See yesterday's post.) Our son and my sister-in-law took Mr. Downeastdoingstuff into the hospital to be prepped for the heart surgery scheduled for tomorrow. (I worked) They weren't there very long when the surgeon said that the results of Saturday's blood test showed some sort of abnormality and that they cannot proceed with the surgery right now until all that is figured out. More tests are on the horizon, but the mental and therefore, physical drain of this let down has been difficult. He worked so hard on being prepared for this day and to have a positive attitude that this burst bubble he experienced today has been tough.

So we don't know how this story is going to pan out. We're hanging in there and praying for everything to come back to normal so that this procedure can come to fruition.

Dangest thing.

Update: OK, I'm trying to be serious here as this a very serious subject. Mr. Downeastdoingstuff (also known as Birdman on his blog...) makes a very serious observation. If you scroll in the 'comments' section, you will find his astute observations well documented.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another adventure.....or something.

Today, the love of my life is going into the hospital. On Tuesday he is going to have open heart surgery to repair a valve. We knew about this since late summer and he picked this date himself so that this wouldn't interfere with work very much. That's my guy.

Here he is at a table at a restaurant in Portland. Probably pondering life, or if he'll have time for a second beer or not before it gets dark. (That light colored one is mine, he didn't start out with 2 beers...)

Lovely windows in this old port restaurant, right bratcat? (up on second floor this time...)

Sun setting on gorgeous buildings that line the streets of the Old Port.

The Old Port was wonderful on this cold, sunny day. Christmas decorations, carolers, and millions of tiny white lights. Spent the day with Mr. Downeastdoingstuff's sister having all the fun we could muster. Sunday was spent home with relatives and friends watching football and eating chili, trying to relax.
Downeastdoingstuff Junior and his sister will take him to the hospital in the morning. I will go to school and go up to see him right after school. He will be undergoing more tests all day getting ready for the surgery.
He says he is ready for this. I might be ready, as best as I can. I know that the surgeons do this work day in and day out, but never to my guy. In the end, he will be fine, probably better than he was. It's just going to be hard to watch the person that I love go through this pain.....
Wish him well.

I love you Birdman.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Snow day.....

It was bound to happen. The first snow day. 

Sequestered inside, forced to drink tea and listen to Christmas music and the crackle of the fire in the woodstove. Making a list and checking it twice.

Admiring my 10 year old french fry from DiMillos restaurant relegated to be an ornament.
Mr. Downeastdoingstuff thinks it's stupid.
It's my favorite decoration on the tree.

I had to glue Joseph's head back on today. Mary and the baby were glad to see this after living with headless Joe for 4 days.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson....

If you’ve ever seen the movie The Graduate starring Dustin Hoffman and Anne Bancroft, you would know that there was one word that was supposed to change the world.


And actually, since the movie came out in 1967, plastic HAS been the word. If we had all listened to that party guest, Mr. McGuire, giving recent college graduate Dustin Hoffman advice and invested in plastic, we’d all be able to replace all the plastic around us now that is slowly killing us with something else, like glass.

But plastic is quite amazing stuff.

Heck, you could make an elephant out of it.

Or a pair of designer sandals. Abercrombie probably sells these for $150 plus tax. One size fits all.

You could make a pair of polyethylene pants to show off your assets.

Or outfit your pooch if you have a 16 oz. dog.

You could name your band after it. 

Some people have plastic surgery. Over and over again.

No comment.

But best of all, you can recycle it. Start by collecting a few plastic bottles. Store in your back yard until you have enough to make something with it. 

Like what?

You can make a polar fleece jacket from plastic soda bottles!

Here are the directions:

1.Cut up clean plastic bottles into a gajillion tiny, tiny, tiny itsy bitsy pieces. (See below.)

2.Put all the pieces into water to clean and remove all dust. 

3. Dry all the microscopic pieces of plastic thoroughly, one at a time.

4. Put into an oven proof container and melt in a gigantic oven at 482 degrees until it's melted thoroughly.

5. Then mix the old plastic with new melted plastic that has not been used before. (Called Virgin Plastic) (EBay probably has it.)

6. Force the melted plastic through your regular 'spinneret'. (The metal disc with holes in it you have in your cupboard somewhere) (see below)


                        This makes the plastic into threads which harden when cooled.

 7. Run the plastic through your thread stretcher-outer machine that stretches the threads to twice as long.

 8. Dry thoroughly.

 9. When dry, the threads are more like yarn rather than plastic. Roll into balls or wind onto a spool. (Sometimes the electric or cable companies leave large wooden spools on the side of the road.) 

10. Knit into a polar fleece jacket. (See below)

As wonderful as plastic is, there is current research out there that says that certain plastics are hazardous to your health. Especially using the wrong kind of plastic for your food or drink.

You see, the harmful elements in some plastics leach into your food or drink. This will probably do something bad to your body someday. I have no idea what that would be, but it probably is not good. 

Plastic containers have secret codes imprinted on the bottom of them.....a triangle with a number in it. Some plastics are OK and others are horrible. Look HERE to see what the codes signify.

So in light of all this information, my intention had been to purchase glass containers for storing food. Only thing is......I never did it. I meant to. But never did.

Friday night was my lucky day.

We met a couple of awesome, new friends....blogging friends....that we've had a blogging relationship with.....almost since we started our blogs.  Meeting someone you've never seen, had no idea what they look like and had never spoken to was quite interesting.

So after making a total fool of myself, going up to the wrong couple and acting like they knew why I was accosting them, we finally met Mr. and Mrs. Bratcat!

We had a wonderful evening, caught up on everything there is to talk about....

AND ! I got a gift!!!

Wonderful GLASS containers to store food in. What a surprise. Very clever, Ms. Cat.

Thank you both, so much.

Thank you for a wonderful time.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

OH, N.Y.C., the whole world keeps coming....

Lyrics from the musical ANNIE....and so true.

In fact, the days we were there, so was the whole world! It was so crowded, the whole world HAD to be there!!

(Hey, I'm from Maine, where it's a 'traffic jam' if there are more than 3 cars at the stop light.)

Here are some images from our journey.

The view of the NYC skyline from the ferry terminal to go to Ellis Island. (Jersey side)
Blustery, raw day.

In a line boarding Miss New Jersey ferry. Notice the buildings to the left with the green roofs, one pointed and one round. The Twin Towers used to stand behind them.

Another view from the ferry terminal.

The terminal building from my seat on the ferry. It was great. I picked the seat right next to the heater. Nice.

Entrance to the Ellis Island Museum.

The immigrants traveling to the United States lugged their crap around in these types of luggage.

Next day, in the city. We started walking around at 42nd Street, wandering around aimlessly, crashing into 'stuff' as I was walking mostly looking UP.

Leaving Times Square.

After seeing Radio City Music Hall, Rockerfeller Plaza, and many store front displays, we ended up in Central Park.

Still pretty crowded for a park.

As picturesque as these things are, they have a certain aroma.

We ended up around 72nd Street and the Dakota, where John Lennon lived and died.
Yoko Ono donated a million dollars to Central Park to create a haven for John Lennon fans to wander, sit, remember and imagine.

After walking all day, we took the subway back to the bus which took us back to our car.

A lovely day was had by all.