Friday, December 28, 2007


This is the weather forecast for today:


So of course, this is the afternoon that I am supposed to meet T1G and Tammi at Fritz's.

Dammit! Just hold off until tonight, PLEASE!




This is not boding well.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Up Above The Northern Lights

From the Archives

While I was hunting around for something else, I found this in my archives from two years ago. Some things never change.

A Christmas Poem by Raging Mom

Once upon a Christmas dreary, while I pondered, bleak not cheery,
Over many a box of forgotten angels and reindeer-
Sorting through the tangled lights, blues and reds and greens and whites,
Giving up without a fight, and cursing for all to hear.

Snowmen that have lost heir heads, moldy, crusty gingerbread,
How all this came to pass I have no clue.
A burnt out socket on the wall, broken glass from clear red balls,
A Christmas tree that's far too tall, and really ugly too.

A half-price pre-lit tree from Ace, sturdy with a metal base,
Those lights they mock me as they all stay dark.
Elusive slippery shiny garland, Fishing Santa's hook in my hand,
I cracked my head on the tree stand, damn, that'll leave a mark.

Mr. & Mrs. Santa dolls, a singing Rudolph on the wall,
The mantel guarded by the fierce nutcrackers.
We've got the star, we've got the sled, I've decorated til I'm dead
And now this poem has to end..

Because the only thing I can think of to rhyme with Nutcracker is butt smacker, and that just ain't right.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Candle in the Window

I found this over at @WR's site posted by BGE, and it is entirely appropriate.

A Candle in the Window

There’s a candle in the window
For our soldier off at war,
Standing constant vigil ’til
His foreign tour is o’er.

The sentinel stands faithfully
Through day and dark of night,
Reminding all who look its way,
To pray for Freedom’s fight.

For safety and for courage,
And for wisdom do we pray;
That God may grant him all these things
As his Comrade day by day.

Now stand, O Candle, bright and tall,
Alert us all, each one,
That the price of freedom is not cheap,
And its battle not yet done.

So light his way and burn for him,
And for his safe returning;
Our love will be the fuel that keeps
Our soldier’s candle burning.

@WR has gone on walkabout, apparently, and I hope he knows he's in our prayers.

A Moment of Grace

It happens every Christmas.

House bursting with Santas, snowmen and sleds. Cookies and fudge ready for any random visitors, the smell of cinnamon and sugar-cookie candles filling the house. The tree is beautiful, if lacking much in the way of presents just yet.

I can sit on the couch at night with the lights off, just taking in the beauty of it all.

And wait.

See, every year I feel like I have a candle inside, waiting for a spark, for that one thing to happen that will make it really seem like Christmas. A moment of grace, as it were.

I think I got it yesterday.

I was on my way from work to pick up the granddaughter, sitting at a traffic light waiting to turn left. There was a convenience store parking lot to my left, cleared of snow, but on the corner was a mailbox with almost a foot of packed snow and ice all around. An elderly woman had pulled up there, and was standing, mail in hand, at the edge of the snow, trying to figure out how best to step up on that icy shelf without falling. I kept glancing over; at one point she bent down to the snowbank to steady herself, but still, could not find the confidence to lift her foot up.

I can understand that. My knees, NC and TC, (no cartilege and torn cartilege) strongly advise me not to tempt the ice. But...

Yep, she's still standing there. I pulled into the parking lot.

RM: Ma'am, can I help you?
Elderly Lady: I'm just scared to death I'm going to slip and fall!
RM: I don't blame you. Let me put those in for you.

I took her letters, and gingerly walked across the ice, begging NC and TC all the while not to literally let me down.

EL: If it's past the pickup time, don't mail them.
RM: Pickup's at 4:15, they haven't been here yet.
EL: Oh good. Look at you, just walzing right up to that box!

Flailing of arms and walking like you have a cob up your butt is now considered walzing in the Frozen Tundra.

RM: There you go!
EL: (laying a hand on my arm) oh you dear! You are just my Christmas angel!
RM: Have a merry Christmas!

I got back in my car and headed on my way. Bawling like a baby. That happens alot lately.

I don't know why I need this. And it is such a small thing. Maybe it's just to reassure myself that I still have some humanity and compassion left, especially when there are too many days I feel myself to be mean and rude and self-absorbed.

But the lights on the tree looked especially lovely last night.

News from Iraq

Got this in my email this morning. For those wondering how Young SGT is doing, well, he can tell you.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Snowman Stories

Richmond has a cartoon up, which reminded me of a story.

When the Eldest Son was a senior in high school, he had an old truck that he was so proud of, having bought it himself. He and his friends cruised around constantly in it, being the football jocks that they were.

Imagine my horror one morning just before Christmas when I looked out the window to see an anatomically improbable snowman standing in the bed of the truck.

I have no idea how long it had been there.

Gives this a whole new meaning.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

And So It Begins

HOULTON, Maine — A 38-year-old Houlton native and decorated career soldier who was killed in Iraq on Friday will be laid to rest in a Houlton cemetery Saturday.
Army Sgt. 1st Class Jonathan Allen Lowery, who originally was from Houlton, died in Mosul, Iraq, on Dec. 14 when enemy forces attacked his unit.
He died of wounds he suffered during the gunbattle.
He was assigned to the 3rd Squadron, 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, III Corps, Fort Hood, Texas.

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Godspeed, SFC Lowery.

H/T Bangor News

Monday, December 17, 2007

I Loved You Longer

Dan Fogelberg 1951-2007


I couldn't let this one go unheard.

You know the One Big Love of your life? Maybe the First Big Love? I had one, I think I still do in some ways, although many, many years have passed. I saw him, a little over a year after Eldest Son was born and I was visiting back here in Illinois. We went to a high school basketball game, then drove around, just talking, wondering why "WE" just never got together, why I was married to someone else, and him engaged. And still, you could feel it, that feeling that something important had been missed, something deep and enduring.

For The Joy Of It

Yesterday was the Christmas Party at our VF*n*W, which includes free Tom & Jerry's, a potluck and Christmas raffles. Old Sarge, Eldest Son and I went over for it, crappy roads not withstanding, and met friends and family there. Hilarity ensued.

Not many people may understand this commitment to VFW and our Post. Maybe there's been a bad experience with a Post being just a smoke-filled canteen- hey, fourteen more days and we go smoke-free! Thank you Big Government for dictating to a PRIVATE VETERANS CLUB on what's good for us!
(Focus) Or maybe folks weren't nice, whatever. Maybe they are all old.

We aren't like that.

So, our table is getting verbally abused because we are winning so many raffles. well, between my friend Di, my sister and I, there's $300 tied up in raffle tickets, so...too bad. But it's good natured. Towards the end of raffles, two brothers at an adjacent table start making paper airplanes out of the placemats. I might mention that they are late 70's-early 80's. And DAMN fine makers of airplanes! Our table started getting bombarded because we are winning so much, then everyone starts flying airplanes. Probably close to 200 people, from age 12 (my nephew) to ancient, laughing, carrying on, trying to bean each other with planes. This lasted nearly half an hour..
And you know what? it was just plain fun.

Friday, December 14, 2007

More Holiday Cheer

As promised, more holiday recipes!

Irish Cream

1 can sweetened condensed milk
4 eggs
1/2 tsp. each of:
vanilla extract
almond extract
coconut flavoring
1 TB chocolate syrup
1/4 c. Rich's non-dairy creamer
1 c. whiskey

Mix all in blender; refrigerate.

Grandma's Egg Nog

Beat 6 egg yolks
Add 1 c. sugar; blend.
Add 2 pints vanilla ice cream
Add milk to desired consistency

Beat 6 egg whites seperately and fold in.
When serving, add one shot of whiskey and top with nutmeg

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Ice Blogging

I must admit, since I had my accident in February, I am a complete wuss about driving. I hate it. So when yesterday's forecast of ice came out, I opted to be *cough*cough* sick and stay at home.

We have a neighbor across the street, a local judge, who has a huge pine in his yard. Two weeks ago, the previous ice storm had caused one of the branches on this mammoth tree to fall and it made a big mess in his yard. Luckily, the power lines to the house were okay. Old Sarge saw the Judge trying to cut this branch up with a little hand saw, and went over with his chain saw to help him out. I was quite proud of him for taking the initiative.

Well, yesterday I am catching up on housework when I hear what sounds like a gunshot *CRACK*, then THUMP! It scared the bejesus out of me, thinking maybe the front porch had fallen in from the ice dam that's built up. I looked out the window, and no, it's another branch off the Judge's tree, only this one is over two feet in diameter at one end, and has taken out part of the split-rail fence AND the power lines this time. I called my sister-in-law at the courthouse to see if the Judge is working, and to give him the message.

The Judge comes home to survey the damage, and all afternoon there is tree-trimming and electrical repair being done. Finally at sundown everyone leaves, and lights are on in the house. About an hour later, I stepped outside for a smoke; all is quiet and the Judge's wife is playing the piano across the street. All of a sudden-


(lights out across the street)

As much as I hate to see trees get cut down, I think it's time for this one to go. Too bad the Judge is a teetotaler, or I would have brought over a bottle of Kahlua.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Someone Stop me

I can't help it- she is so darn cute! From this weekend's VF*n*W Kids Christmas Party:

Charming Mrs. Santa
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With Santa
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Winning Prizes in Ice Fishing
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You're Welcome!!

I have noticed that so many other bloggers are putting up recipes and tales of weekend baking. I'm with you, sisters, I've been doing much of the same! So I am going to post an old family recipe for your after-baking experience. or...during-baking experience, who cares!

Have you priced a bottle of Kahlua lately? I did- $20. I love Kahlua, with cream, or in my coffee, on the rocks- that is some tasty stuff. But I don't want to spend alot, AND I needed some stocking stuffers. So, courtesy of JackAss Acres Distillery, here is my recipe for coffee-flavored liquer for your holiday enjoyment:

5 cups strong coffee
3 cups sugar

Boil until sugar is dissolved, Remove from heat; add 1/3 cup of instant coffee.
When completely cooled, add a fifth of vodka and one vanilla bean broken in pieces. Store for three weeks.

NOW...if you live in a small berg like me, vanilla beans may be hard to come by. Plus, waiting three weeks to decant? I don't have that kind of storage pot to spare. For more instant gratification, you may substitute 1/3 cup vanilla extract with no ill effects and your liquer is ready immediately.

It really tastes like Kahlua, and I made a triple batch- yielding 7 fifths and a pint mason jar- for under $40.

Just my little Christmas gift to you! Next up- Irish Cream!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Wreaths Across America

Remember this from last year?

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For anyone in the Northern Illinois area interested in participating, Old Sarge and I will be going the the Rock Island Arsenal on Saturday, December 15th for the ceremony at the National Cemetery there at 11:00.

Hiatus is Over

Well, where to start?

I have missed more work due to illness in December than in the past 10 years. Not an auspicious way to end the year, is it? Whatever it is, I can't get rid of it, and I'm positive my smoking is not helping. Illinois goes smoke-free January 1st. Despite the fact I hate the nanny-state aspect of that, it may be a blessing in disguise.

My Exploder mysteriously decided to puke three wheel bearings to the tune of $1000. Right before Christmas, of course. Needless to say, the tree is up but there are no presents under it at the moment.

My friend Nancy passed away last Saturday. She wanted a party, and we did our best, although I will admit to crying like a little girl at her funeral. The girlfriends all did minitinis (a shot of vodka with an olive) in her honor. To which I promptly puked up- what is it about olives??? They look so yummy to me and I really really want to eat them. Right up to the point that I try to swallow and my gag reflex kicks right in. Blech- snot and olives, what a mess.

So, now that I have all that gloom and despair off my chest, I'll try to get back in the swing of things. Maybe some Trans Siberian Orchestra is in order tonight, with some hot chocolate and Bailey's.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Miss Me?

Good heavens, what a week! Let me get caught up with paperwork and whatnot and I'll tell you all about it. In the meantime, the world's cutest granddaughter:

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