Thursday, December 31, 2009

End of the Year Accounting and stuff

Can you believe it! Today is the last day of 2009. Where did the year go? I mean it seems like just yesterday that we were looking at 2009 and wondering what the year would bring....I had better not go down that road I am thinking. I see pot holes and bad places and so....

Let's talk about what you do when the end of the year rolls around. Do you make New Year's Resolutions? Do you take an accounting of the year past? Do you roll out of bed on January 1 and do nothing except watch football on TV? Do you do all of those things?

Heck, it is my blog so I am going to tell you what happens around here at Chez Knit when the end of the year comes a knockin' on my door. I may even open the door a crack and let you see some of the things that are in store for me/us next year. So strap on your reading glasses and get a glass of Chardonnay cuz this may be a long one or not. You just never know.

So, on the last day of the old year I do several things. I did have to do a bit of actual, paying, work today but other than that I spent most of the day getting my office into tip top shape which is what I do every year at the end of the year. Things sort of get.....


This is my sewing area and you might be saying that it isn't all that messy but believe me it is. And it makes me crazy when I can't sew without having to move knitting projects and other stuff out of the way.

There, that is better.

And then there were my book shelves which were in really sad shape. I have to admit to a rather serious case of "Bibliographic obesity" which just gets worse every year. These are the shelves AFTER I cleaned them out.

Here is some of what was cleaned out. There are several more bags that you can't see. Where do these all come from?

And then there is this area. This is my desk (obviously) and there are things piled on it and when that happens it is really hard for me to get things done. I don't have a picture of the "finished" product but rest assured that it is all clean now and ready to go into the new year.

I also take time to finish up my journal for the year and get the new journal out. I will be honest and say that this year I wasn't as thorough in my journaling as I have been in years past. Maybe it was because I spent more time talking to you than the journal...

Tink, tink, anyone out there?

Then there is the book list. Every year, on the last day of the year I finish up with my book list for the year and do some addition and things.

Yes, I keep a list of books that I read over the course of the is part of my Book database. And yes I know that makes me a really nerdy person. What can I say, I was born to spreadsheet. I can tell you that right now there are around 2500 books in the data base. I keep a record of author, title, contents, when finished, where it came from, number of pages, when it was published.


So this is the "accounting" for books this year

Total books read in 2009 - 97 (just shy of the usual 100)
Fiction - 60
Non-fiction - 25
Bio/Memoir - 12

Total number of pages read - 30,880

So now, tomorrow, when 2010 rolls around I will be all ready with a clean office, a spankin' new journal and all sorts of possibilities for reading material. I can hardly wait.

And next year???? Well next year holds things like a wedding and I think somewhere around March I might hit the half century mark. But that might only be a rumor started by nefarious people. And who knows, there might be a trip or two that are in the works. Maybe more than that.

Oh and there might be a blog anniversary coming up. Should I do a giveaway? Is there anyone here who actually reads and would respond. Oh heck I think I will do one any ways. If no one responds then I will just keep the thing for myself.

So, Happy New Year all. See you next year.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

I Could Get Used to This

You know what one of the better things about having daughters that like to be in the kitchen? It is that they come home and say, "Hey, can I cook dinner tonight?"

Hmmmmmm, let me think about that.........

Are you kidding! I am going to have a glass of wine and put my feet up. The kitchen is ALL yours.

Now aren't they just the cutest thing!! TEO got a cookbook for Christmas that has around a 1000 Indian recipes and she really wanted to try some out. TASiL was in charge of making the roti which are like chapati only without the oil in them. He just spent 6 months in India so I guess he knows what he is doing...oh besides growing up in Pakistan I guess.

Don't you just love a guy who will get his hands dirty mixing stuff up in the kitchen!

Oil, garlic, mushrooms!!, chicken, onions, chili powder, curry......oh those are some of my favorite ingredients.

We had no mustard oil and it was necessary for the dish and we didn't want to get in the car and go get some (Lauren did you have some and I should have called you?) so TEO improvised and heated mustard seeds in oil and then let it cool down. That kid is smart that way you know.

Oh things are looking good! And the die for.

Roti in it's natural and rather flat state. Oh the potential!

Cook it in a pan for a while. That doesn't look difficult.

Then the fun part, toast it over the open flame. Who doesn't like to play with fire.

And then, I have to admit, I didn't take any more pictures because, because.......

Well because I was stuffing my face of course. You will just have to take my word for it that the meal was really good and I want them to cook all the time when they come to visit.

And they cleaned up the kitchen after they were done. What could be better than that!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Hey You Can't Take That Tile!

So, everyone has family traditions that they keep at Christmas time. We open our stockings on Christmas Eve, after church. We open our presents on Christmas Day, after eating breakfast and AFTER doing all the dishes. We open gifts one at a time, much to the consternation of the progeny who, even at the advanced ages of 23, 21 and almost 19 hope that we will one day do the everyoneopenspresentsatthesametimeripandtear method. Not on your life.

But one of the traditions that I bet you don't have at your house is Marathon Mah Jongg. Do you? Cuz if you do then you are the only other people besides us who do.

We blame/praise this woman for introducing us to the wonderfulness that is Mah Jongg.
This is my step Mother-in-Law Linda. Hi Linda! She is the one who said to us one day, "Hey, I have this game that I have learned called Mah Jongg. Anyone want to learn to play." And that was all it took. We were hooked like a trout on a fly fishing line.

It is our tradition to play Mah Jongg on Christmas Day....and Thanksgiving Day.....and in the summertime.....and anytime that the progeny and I are in the same house. We play, and play, and play.

I am all ready for the first game. My wall is set and waiting for tiles to be dealt out to me. I am going to win, I can feel it! We were actually using 2008 cards but don't judge us. I just forgot to order the new cards. I will do it soon, I promise......

For some reason when we play Mah Jongg we also have to eat food. I am not sure why that is but we nosh and nosh and nosh. And since our Mah Jongg marathons go for 3-4 hours at a time.....that is alot of noshing. Thank goodness for pico de gallo which is at least a tad healthy.

Oh look! TASiL is going to play for us while we concentrate on beating the pants of each other. We're not competitive in this household.

No we are not!!

These are good and you want lots of them.....and I never seem to have enough. And then to add insult to injury there were others in the group who were actually discarding them where the Joker tiles would then be unavailable to others. That isn't very nice I have to say.

There are lots of tiles out there on the table. But I still have a chance. I know I can win......even though I have picked a particular tile combination which has a large point value attached to it which means that it is fairly hard to achieve. I can do it, I can do it, I can do it.....

Why is Shoe Queen smiling like that?

Rats, she had a Mah Jongg. And I was so close. But as we say in this family, "Close only counts in Horseshoes, hand grenades and nuclear war." We are so sympathetic around here.

Cartoon Girl didn't take the win too well. Remember, we whack because we love!

We played Mah Jongg for 4 hours on Christmas Day and another 4 hours on Saturday and I only won one lousy, stinkin' game.

But I am ready to play again whenever everyone else is.


We have had a crazy busy holiday let me tell you folks! Crazy busy hence the lack of blogging. But I don't expect that you were checking many blog posts during the last few days so I am hoping you will let me slide....although one person "unfollowed" me, and I don't have that many followers so it was rather glaring. But I am over it now and on to posting again.

So, what have we been doing? Well TEO and TASiL arrived home safe and sound from far flung places, although TASiL was held in immigration for an hour because, you know....

He SOOOOO looks like a terrorist. Actually, it was because he had been in both India and Pakistan so they "red flagged" his passport and then it was shift change and the person that had to ask some questions wasn't available. They made their connection with a few minutes to spare but only a few.

Last week I told you about The Posse (<- link), Cartoon Girl's friends, and how they invaded the house. This week we got to spend time with LAMMA. Who or what is LAMMA you are asking yourself, you know you are. Well, LAMMA is TEO's group of friends. The acronym actually is the first letter of each of their names...
Lynn, Ashley, Meghan, Molly, Alison

Alison and TEO

So, these girls have been friends for a LONG time. Meg (TEO) and Alison have been friends since they laid eyes on each other in the first grade. They are getting married a month apart. Alison is TEO's Maid of Honor and TEO is Alison's Matron of Honor. They are linked. The story goes that Alison went home that first day and told her mom that because she and TEO were going to be best friends that their moms had to be friends too. Isn't it good that it worked out that way, because we are really good friends and prayer partners.

Christmas Eve day was filled, as was my kitchen, with LAMMA coming over to talk, talk, talk and possibly make a batch of cookies. I think the cookie baking was just a cover for the talking.

TASiL is trying to take in the swirling threads of conversation.

The Engaged One

The Best Friend Alison. Let me tell you, this is one sweet girl.

So, after a round of chatter they baked cookies. And messed up my kitchen. But they did clean it up....mostly.
Many hands make.....weirdly shaped cookies and loads of dishes


And then it was time for the annual taking of the LAMMA Christmas picture. This has been a tradition for a number of years. And in years past I have been privileged to take some of them. But this year there is a new photographer in town.

He seems to have a handle on things.

LAMMA 2006

LAMMA 2007

LAMMA 2008

LAMMA 2009

Tomorrow...Cut throat Mah Jongg

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I Just Want To Squeeze Them!

As I have written before (<- a link), one of the excellent side benefits of having children is the extra kids that they bring into the family. In this particular instance my "Posse Daughters" Ahren, Whitney, Michelle, Clarice and Emily. This pile of shoes and boots always makes me happy because that means that The Posse have come to visit! It means Pizza and Pancakes. It means laughter and craziness. It means that I am happy. And yesterday was the day - night for the annual Posse Christmas Extravaganza.

I could hear them yucking it up in the basement like they were 12 or something. When I ventured down there with the trusty camera they had to have me take pictures like Ahren was flashing them. Have no fear, she was fully least I think she was.....but I didn't actually check.......I am sure that she was.......These girls do have a rather....unique sense of humor I have to say.

They hadn't been in the house for an hour and they had already opened their Christmas gifts to each other. Nothing like stretching the suspense out for, oh say, five seconds or so. I was invited to partake of some of the goodies. I use that word very loosely I might add. I am not sure that what I consumed down there was actually good.

Let me explain

I believe that these were some sort of Japanese kiwi gummy blobs. In just the right light they might look like miniature breast implants that have gone bad......not that I would know what those look like close up but I have watched enough "Dr. 90210" to get a fair picture. Whitney insisted that I needed to try one.

It tasted nothing like kiwi I can tell you. And it had the consistency of Gummy worms. I don't like gummy worms. I only had one.

And then there were these. I bet you can't guess what these are. Go ahead, guess. Well, if you are at all familiar with The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe then you will know. These are Turkish Delight. This was a gift for Cartoon Girl from one of the other girls. CG insisted that I should have one. They looked promising you know, all covered with powdered sugar......

I picked one up.......bit into it.......of course had to take a picture of it after biting into it

This is my face after eating the piece of Turkish Delight. I do not look happy do I. I can tell you that it was a less than pleasant experience. The candy tasted like a combination of little old lady perfume and bad bathroom spray. Roses gone wild and not in a good way.

Oh my gosh! What is this?? It tastes awful!!

Oh, you must have gotten one of the rose ones. The lemon ones are really good.

Thanks for warning me. Edmund must have been nuts if he betrayed his family for these things!

Dinner was homemade pizza. I made 4 half-sheet pan sized pizzas....and we had three pieces left when all was said and done. They enjoy pizza. Then it was sit around and make Cartoon Girl laugh.....which Ahren does very well.

Daughter Whitney

Daughter Ahren explaining something

Caroon Girl laughing. I also think there was a snort involved.

And then they made me do "TimTam Slams". They made me I tell you. They said I had to do it. And lest you think there was alcohol involved...there was not. They may all be of legal drinking age but I am so not providing alcohol for them.

At any rate, and as I was saying....TimTam Slams. So Tim Tams are these chocolate covered cookies that I believe are made in Australian. They are yummy so I don't know what you have to go slamming them around. I mean what did they ever do to deserve such treatment?? They were just minding their own business on the shelf and....


Oh right. Sorry. SOOOOO to do a "Tim Tam Slam" you make some hot cocoa and put it in a mug, or in our case a pyrex dish. Then you take small bits out of opposite corners of the cookie, put one end of the cookie down into the cocoa and suck up the liquid through the cookie. The inside of the cookie is soft and the hot cocoa sort of melts it as it goes through. When you feel the cocoa on your lips you slam your head back, clutching the cookie between your burning lips and then swallow the soft and squishy cookie whole.

And why do they do this?

I have no earthly idea to be honest.

Well this is awkward
Keeping a soggy cookie between your lips as you throw your head back is harder than you think.
I was not successful at Tim Tam Slams
A messy business.

I am so glad that the Posse came to stay overnight and give me joy and laughs. But I think I can live without Tim Tam Slams.