mstrust's #6- "...and good riddance!"

Això és la continuació del tema mstrust #5- Mad Monster Party- Autumn & Halloween.

Converses75 Books Challenge for 2020

Afegeix-te a LibraryThing per participar.

mstrust's #6- "...and good riddance!"

Editat: nov. 2, 2020, 8:20 am

Welcome to my end of the year thread. 2020 is almost over!

Hi, I'm Jennifer and I live in Phoenix with my husband Mike and a clingy Boxer named Coral.
This year, I'm drawing inspiration from a particular book with each new thread. If I've already read that book, great. If I haven't read it yet, this is the time. This thread is going to feature cool weather and holiday themes, probably a lot of baking talk, and I'm really, really focusing on finishing Moby Dick, which is the doorstop I started at the beginning of the year and haven't picked up in months. I'm also keeping up with the Travel and ScaredyKit groups.

As always, my threads are politics-free, and now scented with orange and cloves.

Editat: des. 15, 2020, 11:36 am

2020 Reads

1. Round Ireland with a Fridge- 3 stars
2. Supernatural: The Official Cookbook- 4 stars
3. A Morbid Taste for Bones- 2.5 stars
4. Murder by Milkshake- 4.5 stars
5. The Apple Lover's Cookbook- 5 stars
6. Something From the Oven- 4 stars
7. Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula- 4 stars
8. Scream With Me: The Enduring Legacy of The Misfits- 4.2 stars
9. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid- 4.5 stars
10. Commando: The Autobiography of Johnny Ramone- 5 stars
11. England Made Me- 3.5 stars
12. Supernatural: Heart of the Dragon- 4.5 stars
13. Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library- 4 stars
14. Eisenhower: A Life- 3 stars
15. Shipwrecks- 4 stars
16. More from Magnolia- 3.5 stars
17. Before the Fact- 4 stars
18. St. Patrick's Day Murder- 3.5 stars
19. Let's Bring Back: The Cocktail Edition- 4.5 stars
20. The Sunday Philosophy Club- 3.8 stars
21. Twelve Nights at Rotter House- 4.5 stars
22. Paris to the Moon- 3.5 stars
23. The Bus on Thursday- 4.5 stars
24. Unfamiliar Fishes- 2.5 stars
25. Boy: Tales of Childhood- 4.5 stars
26. Killer Librarian- 4 stars
27. Young Blood- 5 stars
28. Bone Key: Supernatural- 4.2 stars
29. The 13th Warning- 3 stars
30. Steel Drivin' Man- 3.5 stars
31. Tales from the Fringes of Fear- 4 stars
32. The Official Vermont Maple Cookbook- 4 stars
33. Unusual Uses for Olive Oil- 4.5 stars
34. In Search of What's Japanese About Japan
35. The Devil's Cup- 4.5 stars
36. Lavender: The Missing Guide- 2 stars
37. The Buddha of Suburbia- 4.5 stars
38. The Saturday Night Ghost Club- 4.5 stars
39. Stories from the Vinyl Cafe- 4 stars
40. Library of Souls- 3 stars
41. Out of the Silence: After the Crash- 4 stars
42. George's Marvelous Medicine- 4 stars
43. War of the Sons- 3.5 stars
44. The Declaration of Independence & The Constitution of the United States- 5 stars
45. American Pie- 4.5 stars
46. Measure for Measure- 3.5 stars
47. A Sticky Inheritance- 3.5 stars
48. The Light Fantastic- 4 stars
49. Panic: Bloodlands Collection- 3.5 stars
50. Little Slaughterhouse on the Prairie- 4 stars
51. Rampage: (Bloodlands Collection- 4 stars
52. Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns- 4 stars
53. The Pirate: Bloodlands Collection- 4 stars
55. The Pied Piper: Bloodlands Collection- 4.5 stars
56. Mrs. Dalloway- 3.5 stars
57. Just Add Magic- 4 stars
58. The Brick Slayer- 3.5 stars
59. Bushwhacked- 4 stars
60. Henry VIII: Wolfman- 4 stars
61. Superfood Nuts- 4 stars
62. Bibliophile- 5 stars
63. My Two Souths- 3.5 stars
64. The Museum of Hoaxes- 3 stars
65. The Invisible Man- 4 stars
66. It Devours
67. Bury Me Deep- 3.5 stars
68. Sonoran Desert Food Plants- 3.5 stars
69. The Ghost and the Dead Man's Library- 4 stars
70. My Sister, the Serial Killer- 4.5 stars
71. Death Overdue- 3.5 stars
72. Land's End- 3.5 stars
73. Keto Friendly Recipes: Bake It Keto- 2.5 stars
74. The Little Men- 3.5 stars
75. The Old Sow in the Back Room- 3.5 stars
76. The Sequel- 3.5 stars
77. Pigeons- 4 stars
78. The Life of Lou Reed- 4 stars
79. Al Capone Does My Homework- 4 stars
80. Jelly- 3.5 stars
81. Recipes from a Maple Queen- 5 stars
82. Pumpkin Spice Peril 3 stars
83. Reconciliation Day- 4 stars
84. Deadly Beautiful- 4 stars
85. The Southern Book Club's Guide to Slaying Vampires- 5 stars
86. Killer Maple Cookies- 3 stars
87. Dr. Maniac vs Robby Schwartz- 3 stars
88. Station Eleven- 5 stars
89. Lonely Planet: New England Fall Foliage Road Trips- 4 stars
90. Goosebumps: The Beast from the East- 3 stars
91. Spontaneous Human Combustion- 3 stars
92. The Boy Who Ate Fear Street- 3.5 stars
93. Help for the Haunted- 4.5 stars
94. Fun Home- 4.5 stars
95. The Nightmare Room: Locker 13- 3 stars
96. The New England Grimpendium- 4.5 stars
97. Skeleton Man- 4 stars
98. Colors of Fall -4 stars
99. I'll Be Gone in the Dark- 5 stars
100. Vampire Breath- 3.5 stars
101. The Dead Celebrity Cookbook- 5 stars
102. Cursed Objects- 4.5 stars
103. Universal Harvester- 2.5 stars
104. Cappuccinos, Cupcakes and a Corpse- 3 stars
105. Winter in the Blood- 4 stars
106. Ten Days in a Mad-House- 4 stars
107. Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England- 3.5 stars
108. Recipes from the Dump- 4 stars

nov. 2, 2020, 8:29 am

Who brought coffee and doughnuts for everybody? This girl! Welcome!

nov. 2, 2020, 8:37 am

Happy new thread, Jennifer!

nov. 2, 2020, 8:56 am

Thank you for the doughnut, and happy end of 2020!

nov. 2, 2020, 9:03 am

Happy new thread, Jennifer. I don't conceive any circumstances whereby we would ever consider good riddance to you. xx

nov. 2, 2020, 9:22 am

Happy new thread, Jennifer.
Thanks for the donuts, they look delicious.
We have ice cream weather at the moment. If it wasn't for the colorful leaves, it could be a day in late spring.
But don't worry, fog and coldness are already on their way.

nov. 2, 2020, 9:27 am

Happy new one!

nov. 2, 2020, 9:35 am

Haha I'm glad I'd finished my tea before opening this thread, otherwise I would have snorted it out my nose at the thread topper :D

nov. 2, 2020, 9:46 am

sniff, sniff, sniff.....I knew I'd find coffee and donuts here! Thanks and happy new thread, Jennifer!

nov. 2, 2020, 10:43 am

Happy new thread, Jennifer!

>1 mstrust: I love cool weather, although we have the same as >7 SirThomas: Thomas today. Good luck with finishing Moby Dick!

nov. 2, 2020, 11:44 am

>4 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry!

>5 PaperbackPirate: Good to see you, Nicole! Notice that I sprung for LaMars? You guys are totally worth 79 cents!

>6 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! I think we're all ready to kick 2020 out the door.

>7 SirThomas: Thanks, Thomas! We've warmed up too, with this week being in the 90s. We walked the mountain at 7am this morning and it was already mid-70s, but pretty breezy.

>8 figsfromthistle: Good to see you!

>9 rabbitprincess: :-D It made me laugh too, so I had to do it!

>10 Carmenere: Thank you, and you're welcome, Lynda! Have another, you have to try the maple raised.

>11 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! It's just weird to have warm weather in November, huh?
I'm not that far into Moby Dick, but I'm liking it. I'm actually reading it on my Kindle because my physical book is so thick it's a struggle to hold it.

nov. 2, 2020, 3:13 pm

Happy new thread, Jennifer! Your posts are always good for a laugh!

nov. 2, 2020, 4:55 pm

Thanks, Viv, and glad you're here!

nov. 2, 2020, 5:50 pm

Happy new thread and thanks for the refreshments!

nov. 2, 2020, 6:04 pm

Happy new thread!

nov. 2, 2020, 6:52 pm

Happy new thread!

nov. 3, 2020, 8:53 am

>15 quondame: Thanks, Susan! Of course I like to get my visitors bouncing off the walls with sugar and caffeine!

>16 RidgewayGirl: Thank you!

>17 drneutron: Thanks, Jim!

Editat: nov. 3, 2020, 9:11 am

How is it that I'd never heard of maple potato chips until I saw them on a cooking show a few days ago? Looks like maple bacon chips are far more prevalent but there are some brands making just maple. Anybody tried them? Any brand.

Mike has asked me to bake banana bread today without all the low-carb witchcraft, just regular banana bread.
We made a big order last night from Zabar's for Aunt Kath and Uncle Lew in Vermont for her birthday. Three loaves of chocolate babka, two bags of coffee and a loaf of chocolate mandel bread, which we'd never heard of but they like chocolate and coffee so it should be good.
There's a lot of food talk around here.

nov. 3, 2020, 10:45 am

I had maple tea this morning :)

Not sure I would have maple chips. I do like the sweet and salty popcorn that just has sugar and salt, but maple seems like a step too far for me.

nov. 3, 2020, 1:40 pm

Mmm, maple tea. I'm not that big on regular chips but I do like bbq chips so I think I'd like maple ones. Sweet & salty.
Not long ago I would have said I don't like chocolate and maple together but then I tried Pearson's Maple Bun candy bar and it's really good.

nov. 3, 2020, 1:44 pm

Had to have a big cup of caramel cocoa this morning with my pumpkin oatmeal to warm up after standing outside for almost an hour waiting to vote. So many early and mail-in voters and the polling station I chose to use wasn't in town, so I was hoping to avoid those lines. Bummer for me, lol!

nov. 3, 2020, 4:51 pm

I have to admire how you treat yourself. Caramel cocoa and pumpkin oatmeal sounds pretty great!

Editat: nov. 4, 2020, 12:38 pm

Happy new thread, Jennifer. Hard to believe that we have almost made it to the end of 2020.
Sure hope 2021 has some good things in store for us - we deserve some good stuff! Just a plain cup of coffee and toast with peanut butter for me this morning. I am not really a breakfast person although my hubby sure is. His favorite meal to eat out is breakfast.

I read your new thread before finishing off your old thread so I am back to answer your question - Yes, I am looking forward to 2021 ScaredyKit. I will be hosting March which will be for short stories and novellas. I've already set aside a Joyce Carol Oates for that month.

nov. 4, 2020, 1:04 pm

Hi, Judy!
We used to eat breakfast out about once a week and I liked it, probably because I love waffles and French toast, and lots of coffee. But our mom and pop breakfast restaurant was sold and then Mike had to cut way down on carbs, so we only have breakfast out on trips.
I'll be hosting two months for ScaredyKit- "Possessed" in April and cemeteries & graveyards in Sept., or as we've termed it, "The Dead, Their Habits & Abodes". There are some good themes for next year.
Does your planned JCO happen to be Where Are You Going, Where Have You Been?

nov. 4, 2020, 1:13 pm

103. Universal Harvester by John Darnielle. Jeremy lives in a small Iowa town with his widowed father. He's in his early 20's and has been working at a video store for several years, a dead-end job that he knows he's settled into for its familiarity, but also because he has a good boss.
When customers begin pointing out weird home movie type scenes spliced into their VHS rentals, Jeremy and his boss begin watching and researching who could have done this by trying to find the people who appear in the strange scenes.
Sounds like an interesting premise but I'm so bored with the meandering through the family trees that I'm calling it just 80 pages from the end. What can I say but when I'm promised "scary", deliver scary. 2.5 stars

nov. 5, 2020, 9:17 am

>23 mstrust: Election day required a little pampering this year, I think, no matter what your political leanings. I'm not usually that good to myself; usually it's oatmeal without cocoa (and not always pumpkin). :D

>24 DeltaQueen50: Timing my meals is tricky for me physically. I usually have breakfast around 8:30-9:30 since I have to time it around my thyroid med, which wants you to not have anything high in the two breakfast-heavy minerals of calcium or iron (they mess with the absorption rate) 4 hours before or after eating. Then, because of work flow--students have free periods and time to ask me for library assistance between noon and 12:45--I tend to eat lunch early, between 11:15-noon, and I'm often not that hungry at that time because some days I've just eaten breakfast 2 hours prior. But then we can't eat dinner too early because mom's cancer drug needs to be taken with food, preferably a full meal, and she has to take those 12 hours apart, which is usually 8:30. So I often have a snack because I'll be painfully ravenous by 8:30 if I don't. One more reason I'm looking forward to our switch to online after Thanksgiving; I will have more flexibility with lunchtime scheduling.

>26 mstrust: I know that feeling of disappointment in a horror book. I tried reading a couple in the past that I remember putting down without finishing because they weren't delivering--both monster books. The first was one of these "ancient beings/gods" thing but the monster didn't show until practically the end of the book, and even then the people stopped it from fully breaking loose. Most of the book was political intrigue, which wasn't what I was looking for. The other was an environmental monster and the people in the book were so whiny, obnoxious, and unlikable that I was hoping the monster was going to just eat everyone before I was a third of the way through the book.

nov. 5, 2020, 10:48 am

>26 mstrust: It was less scary than atmospheric. And stopping 80 pages from the end means you stopped halfway through - that book is short! I was happy to be introduced to the author and I've since picked up Wolf in a White Van, but the world would be boring if we all liked the same books!

nov. 5, 2020, 11:47 am

>25 mstrust: The JCO that I have set aside is The Doll-Master and Other Tales of Terror which sounds promising.

>27 CassieBash: My husband is on thyroid medication as well and I have to watch him as he often doesn't want to eat at all. We have found that when his appetite slips for a number of days it is often a sign that his medication needs to be adjusted. I have just the opposite problem - I could eat anytime, anywhere!

Editat: nov. 5, 2020, 12:29 pm

>27 CassieBash: I hiked a mountain this morning, so forced Mike to treat me to a pumpkin blondie iced coffee afterwards. I need my rewards.
I do expect a monster or ghost story to deliver up a monster or ghost. I want what I want, and while I will go along with most anything if the writing is that engaging, I don't like it when the description is way off.

>28 RidgewayGirl: It is a short book, something like 215 pages. It's very, very rare for me to give up when I'm that close to an ending, but I've got hundreds of unread books in my house, so when I'm looking at a current read and thinking, "Do I have to?", I tell myself, "No, you don't". It seemed like a lot of the story was filler.
This was the last of my Autumn reads. I don't mean to run down the author because it wasn't the writing style so much as the story that bothered me. But I had a really superb Autumn of reading with lots of 4.5 and 5 stars, more than I've ever had before.

>29 DeltaQueen50: That does sound scary! I was halfway through "Where Are You Going..." online and had to go, so I need to finish that.

Finally, the repairman will be here this afternoon to fix the washer. I've been having to wring the water out of everything because it doesn't spin properly. Still better than beating the clothes against a rock though.
And just apropos to nothing at all, I find lavender room fragrance or candles to be quite soothing. A cocktail, or a whole bottle of wine can settle jangly nerves. So does turning off the news and selecting music or a comedy instead. Prime has just added the Dickensian comedy series Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, starring Robert Webb, Linda Parkinson, and Stephen Fry as the villain.

nov. 5, 2020, 1:18 pm

>30 mstrust: The perfect dog head massage, this shiba is obviously enjoying it!

nov. 5, 2020, 3:53 pm

>29 DeltaQueen50: That book DOES sound promising; I may (eventually) have to try tracking that one down myself.

Underactive thyroid runs in my family. Sept 2018 I wanted my GP to do a blood draw because I was trying to get all my medical issues, if any, taken care of before winter since I knew I might be upping my caregiver duties for my mom (who has lung cancer). I figured my fatigue was due to work hours and stress (working consistently over 40 hours/week on top of caring for mom) and they might have been overall, but she knew the history and when my levels came back on the low side of normal she decided to put me on a low dose. Must be working because my levels have been normal since. I don't have appetite issues from my thyroid that I can tell; the only thing that seems to kill my appetite is sadness, and unfortunately it only kills the desire to eat, not hunger, so I'll feel hungry but not want food.

>30 mstrust: You should get treats every so often; go on, you deserve it!

Yes, it's definitely not good when a book either doesn't deliver on its promises or seems to be a different one entirely from the one in the description.

I will have to check out that Prime show. I could use a break from news, and Stephen Fry--excellent!

PUPPY!!!!! :D

nov. 5, 2020, 4:38 pm

>31 FAMeulstee: Happiness! We should all wish to be this spoiled. Oh wait, my Coral gets a head and back massage each night until she flops down and goes to sleep. She will also get in Mike's face in the middle of the night and wake him by blowing a puff of air, then he pets her until she falls back to sleep. I'm not kidding. Spoiled!
>32 CassieBash: I believe I have a real talent for treating myself, which may be where Coral learned it. A coffee, a book, a little box of delicious molasses cookies...apparently I do right by myself. Which may be why I can easily rid myself of a book when it displeases me.
When Fry's villain is about to do something villainous, he reaches to the side of his black stovepipe hat and turns a crank that makes it considerably taller and more menacing for looming over his victims.

nov. 7, 2020, 10:23 am

>30 mstrust: I miss the Halloween thread, but this cute dog has helped the new thread move into my heart.

Editat: nov. 7, 2020, 12:47 pm

I miss the Halloween thread too. It's a lot of fun, though I'm glad I took my bucket of leftover candy and gave it to the little girls down the street.
Maybe I should decorate around here.

Let's have a pity party! The washing machine stopped working even though it's maybe five years old. The repair guy came yesterday and said fixing it would cost three times what a new one would cost. He said to just buy the cheapest machine and expect to replace it in five years because they aren't built to last now.
As Mike was on his shop computer buying a new washing machine, the computer fried, so he had to take that in yesterday. This morning he went into the garage and saw that someone had backed into my back bumper and left long white scratches. It probably happened in the Trader Joe's parking lot on Wednesday because that's the tightest, busiest parking lot I go to and I wouldn't have seen it because I load my bags in the back seat.
But there are worse things, huh?

And I'm on Chapter 18 of Moby Dick, which is not very far along.

nov. 7, 2020, 2:14 pm

>35 mstrust: That puppy will require a head massage like the one above! Maybe a tummy rub too!

Editat: nov. 8, 2020, 11:35 am

Right? How did that poor thing get in there?

Christmas commercials have started waaay early. We're actually nearly done with Christmas shopping, having started about a month ago. Go ahead and hate me.
I've also decided that a White Elephant type game might be fun on Christmas, after the real presents have been opened. I expect there will be seven of us, so minus Mike and I, I'll get five fun gifts, wrapped so they can't be determined, for the others to choose from, like books, candy, specialty bbq sauce, and let them pick and steal from each other.

nov. 8, 2020, 11:48 am

Am I the only one who did not get in enough horror reading over October? I'm pulling all these horror books off my shelves with every intention of reading them. Sometime. In this lifetime.

Have you ever checked out Valancourt books for their horror line? They reprint a lot of good stuff that's been out of print for a long time. Some of the things they publish I am deeply opposed to and I wish they'd just drop it. Still, they have worked with Grady Hendrix to republish a lot of the things that he wrote about in his book Paperbacks from Hell. They have reprinted Benighted by J. B. Priestly, and if you've never read it I highly recommend it. It's a gorgeous book. It's the foundation work of the 'lost in the wilds at the mercy of psychobillies' trope.

I may actually have found a house! A brick ranch in Lynchburg built in 1956, with a den and a spare room that I'm going to turn into a library in the basement. Jennifer, I am really giddily thrilled!

Who put that damn pug in the toilet? When I was looking at properties there were two things I was always on the lookout for in people's houses; 1) books, and 2) that they didn't keep their pets in a cage in the living room. But maybe that's just me, I was never into s&m. Da Peeb eats on the kitchen counter and I can't imagine putting his food anywhere else.

nov. 8, 2020, 12:30 pm

>37 mstrust: My other half's family does a white-elephant sort of game on Christmas as well, instead of regular Christmas presents. It's usually food and gift cards, which tend to be very well received. I'm always with my parents for Christmas, so sometimes other half will angle to get something that I can use instead. One year I got beer, which was excellent. Another year I got a pair of "reading socks", which I laughed at for ten minutes straight because who needs special socks for reading?! They're like calf-length slippers and actually quite comfortable, but they're probably not something I would have bought for myself :D

nov. 8, 2020, 7:32 pm

>38 SomeGuyInVirginia: You should completely re-organize your life to get the maximum amount of horror reads in during the peak season. Fill the house with sputtering candles to read by while hitting replay on a CD of "Tubular Bells" for hours. But don't worry, ScaredyKit is happening all through the year. I'll be hosting two months in 2021, which is going to be super horrifying.
I own one or two Valancourts of scary short stories that I received from the Nocturnal Reader's Box. They are superbly curated. I've still only read Lost Empires from Priestley and liked it so much that I promised myself I'd read more from him, but haven't gotten to it. Benighted has been on my WL for so long and I'm glad to hear you recommend it.
At last! My fingers and toes are crossed for you in hopes that this is the one! Good luck!!!
And I'm sure you know what John Waters said about people without books in their house.
I was listening to a minisode of My Favorite Murder a few days ago and they were reading the stories sent in by listeners. A realtor here in Phoenix told them about a home she was selling, when she thought the back of a closet looked odd and pushed, finding a homemade dungeon behind the wall. Ewwww!
I like to think that little pug said, "A swimming pool!" and dove in.

>39 rabbitprincess: It sounds like fun, as everyone likes the opportunity to steal. It makes them laugh as they take a good present away from someone.
Ha, did someone wrap a case of beer knowing that it would be the most popular gift? When my sister and I were teenagers we would wrap cartons of cigarettes for Dad on Father's Day. He was a practical man and he loved it.
Reading socks sound very cozy and practical for Winter.

nov. 9, 2020, 10:03 am

>38 SomeGuyInVirginia: I usually read horror and some paranormal nonfiction 2-3 times/year, always trying to time it so that I'm not burnt out on the genre or topic by October. Who says you can't read horror anytime you like? Dark, mid-winter nights are just as creepy as October ones; we're having thunderstorms tomorrow night so that would be perfect, right? I say if you want to read a horror, go for it! And congrats on the house, if you decide to go for it. It sounds lovely! And you should always have a basement library, because that way you can read by battery light if necessary during a violent thunderstorm with tornado potential without worrying if your favorite books are safe, lol! (Just joking--sort of....)

>40 mstrust: Maybe do that game where you have a present wrapped in lots of layers of paper and you have to try to open it with oven gloves. Everyone gets a minute before they have to pass to the next person, and it goes around and around and ends up the property of whoever manages to get into the gift.

Editat: nov. 9, 2020, 12:12 pm

I used to horde my horror books up for October back when I had just a few. Then I subscribed to a horror subscription box and got more than I could keep up with, and about the same time I started seeing new horror authors cropping up here on LT, like Grady Hendrix. This is a great place for finding creepy.
Oven mitts? Oh, that's just mean!

My reading organizational skills, which are at their highest in Autumn, have collapsed. I'm currently juggling, let's see, five books. So that's why reviews are at a stand-still for the moment. I feel like I've done a poor job at staying on track, ;-)
I've been cooking and baking though. In this past week I've made a loaf of banana walnut bread, pumpkin biscuits and a small chocolate cake. The cake was made with half cake flour, half peanut flour, making it low carb and adding a peanut flavor to the chocolate. We had it with whipped cream rather than frosting.
A few nights ago I sliced a small pie pumpkin in half horizontally and roasted the halves. I used a package of the Manischevitz (I know I've spelled that wrong but you know what I'm talking about) split pea soup mix, the kind that has the dried peas and lentils, made that in a pot along with some fresh onions and peppers and diced homemade curry chicken, in beef broth, then poured it into the pumpkin halves. It was delicious.
Mike just became aware of Charles Phoenix's invention, the Cherpumple. Cherry, pumpkin and apple pie stacked and held together with frosting. No, I ain't making it.

So, anyone heard gossip about when the 2021 75 Challenge will go up?

nov. 9, 2020, 3:28 pm

Well, it's only November... So about a month or a bit more.

Editat: nov. 9, 2020, 5:59 pm

But I want to put up my velvet Elvis posters and rake the shag carpeting.
Seriously, I recall now that you're our world builder for the 75 Group, and you certainly have more important things going on.

nov. 9, 2020, 8:36 pm

Heh, patience is a virtue!

We decided a few years back that starting it too early really took the wind out of the current year group's sails, so since then I've usually made it sometime in the second half of December.

nov. 10, 2020, 8:26 am

>42 mstrust: I'm looking at that slice, reading what it is, and thinking, "that's a mite big for the average person to eat for dessert and not gain at least 10 pounds". I'd try it if someone else made it, but not a slice that big!

nov. 10, 2020, 10:00 am

>42 mstrust: It never goes up as fast as the Category Challenge does.

nov. 10, 2020, 12:26 pm

>42 mstrust: But five books is the ideal number of books to be reading at any one time! It means that you never have to go back downstairs to find your book and you're always far enough into another book to forestall any book hangovers. Six is a little much and four leaves too much to chance.

nov. 10, 2020, 12:33 pm

>48 RidgewayGirl: Agree, five is a good number. I used to be able to have about six or seven in rotation with Serial Reader books filling two of the slots, but working from home full time has drastically reduced my tolerance for screen reading, so I've stopped using Serial Reader for a bit.

Also, with not having a commute, I really miss my bus books!

nov. 10, 2020, 1:45 pm

>45 drneutron: I run short on both patience and virtues in general. Someday neighborhood children will tell each other that I'm a witch.
>46 CassieBash: It is a very large slice and I have to think he grunted from holding the weight. I think pumpkin and apple might work together, and apple and cherry would be fine. But pumpkin and cherry don't sound right. I'd replace the cherry with a Chess pie.

>47 thornton37814: Yeah, Category challenge goes up in October and then I start looking around for the 75 group like they're skipping around arm in arm. Happens every year.
>48 RidgewayGirl: Variety! Plus you have made an excellent case for me, as I have a three story house AND I'm very lazy.
>49 rabbitprincess: Thanks for having my back, Princess. I'll bet you are tired of looking at screens. Sorry about the bus books, it's nice to know you'll have that time set aside. Have you thought about putting aside an hour each day, sitting in the most uncomfortable chair you own and reading while your boyfriend bumps the back of it and laughs hysterically into his phone?

Hiked that mountain this morning and demanded a pumpkin blondie latte as my reward.

Yes, you can have one.

nov. 10, 2020, 2:21 pm

>50 mstrust: Haha! I do get up earlier than necessary to carve out about 45 minutes for reading, but it hasn't felt quite the same. Maybe I do need that uncomfortable chair!

I saw a picture online of someone pretending to take the subway to their home office by standing in their bathroom and holding on to the shower curtain rod while looking at their phone. Now that's commitment to re-creating the commute experience!

nov. 10, 2020, 2:41 pm

>46 CassieBash: That's about the size of a slice of cake at a favorite deli, Brent's. The carrot cake is to die for, and a slice lasts the 3 of us a couple of days.

nov. 10, 2020, 2:43 pm

>51 rabbitprincess: But hard on roommates if there's only one bathroom!

nov. 10, 2020, 3:50 pm

>52 quondame: Well, naturally, if you're sharing a slice, then that size isn't necessarily unreasonable.... :D

nov. 10, 2020, 5:04 pm

>51 rabbitprincess: That's commitment on your part too. Many of us would sleep as long as possible.
>52 quondame: I would like to lie to myself and say a slice that big would last for days. But knowing it's in the kitchen, I'd keep thinking about it until finally saying, "Aww hell..."
>54 CassieBash: We keep talking about the slice he's holding, but he's holding the rest of that huge pie-cake in the other. Must weigh 16 lbs.!

Editat: nov. 11, 2020, 11:49 am

Oh look, I read a book.

104. Cappuccinos, Cupcakes and a Corpse by Harper Lin. When her mother dies suddenly, Francesca gives up her New York life and returns to where she grew up, Cape Bay, and takes over as the third generation owner of the family coffee shop. She's grieving for her mother but re-adjusting well to her childhood home, but just a few weeks into her return she comes across a neighbor who has died on his back porch, a cup of poisoned coffee at his side. She had known the man her whole life, and his death brings Matty, Fran's childhood friend who she hasn't seen in years. Together they investigate who killed Matty's father.

A light, quick read with lots of coffee talk, a Cape Cod atmosphere and some potential for romance. The reader would never guess the killer because it introduces the character only as the mystery is solved. 3 stars

nov. 11, 2020, 8:43 am

Editat: nov. 13, 2020, 1:45 pm

It's been awhile, but I've got a Friday Whaaaat? for you.

Vermont is the largest maple producer in the U.S. but they've beaten their own record. In 2020 Vermont produced 2.2. million gallons of maple syrup, the most ever for the state.
Don't Get Too Comfortable arrived yesterday. So did my new washing machine, so I'm spending today chipping away at two weeks worth of laundry.
And we made a coffee order with Zabar's in NYC. A pound each of Zabar's Special Blend, Royale Blend, Kona Style and the Cappuccino & Fudge flavored.
I'm on Chapter 20 of Moby Dick.

nov. 16, 2020, 2:22 pm

Good for you with Moby Dick; personally, I have no interest in that one but to each their own. The excerpt I read in one of the volumes of that multi-volume set I've slowly been working on (readers of my 75 thread will know the one I mean) was more than enough for me. The rather graphic description of the capturing and killing of a whale and harvesting the blubber, plus the rather dull (in my opinion) technical parts of sailing rather killed my desire to attempt the read. I can see where it might thrill others but I have limited reading time and have been sticking to my 3 chapters (or 1/3rd of a short book or a book with short chapters) rule--if it can't grab and hold my attention by then, it's not likely to get better and I stop reading it and pass it along. It may seem harsh but my "to read" pile is too out-of-control for me to try to slog my way through a book I'm not enjoying.

nov. 16, 2020, 2:47 pm

I too have had to learn to just give myself permission to stop reading a boring book. I used to press on because I needed to finish every book I started, but every book doesn't work for every reader, and anyway, is anyone going to punish us for abandoning a book we don't like? ;-)
I'm finding Moby Dick interesting. There are relatable characters and while I'm only on Chapter 30 so far, the sailing talk isn't too much for me, though I've heard a lot of readers feel Melville got too bogged down by it.
There were many years that I pretty much only read classics, and almost always enjoyed them, which is why they're classics. I didn't get very far in Little Women because I thought the writing was atrocious, but that sticks out in my mind because it was so rare. I had to consciously make a transition into contemporary authors at some point when I thought I should read stuff that was under a hundred years old.

nov. 16, 2020, 3:58 pm

>59 CassieBash: >60 mstrust: I've gradually become more willing to stop reading a book as well; in fact, at least one (relatively short) novel fell into that category within the last month.

I did bog down when I tried Moby Dick, and I've never returned, but I might have more patience with it now.

nov. 16, 2020, 5:14 pm

Breaking up with the books we don't like just frees up time to read the great ones.

nov. 17, 2020, 12:54 pm

Don't hate me, but I believe I've finished our Christmas shopping. Along the way I picked up The Last American Vampire for myself. And a piece of chocolate cake, which is gone now so it doesn't count.
The bottom of my feet are so sore from hiking this morning that I'm asking for new hiking boots for Christmas.

Editat: nov. 17, 2020, 3:58 pm

105. Winter in the Blood by James Welch. The days of a Blackfoot man who lives and works at his mother's Montana ranch.
The story begins with the man's mother, Theresa, informing him that his live-in girlfriend has not only left him but she's taken the only items of value he had, his electric razor and his shotgun. The news matters little, he seems to be an even-tempered young man though he wishes she hadn't taken his things. At some point this level-headedness becomes more clearly an indifference that extends to nearly everything around him. He sees his elderly, silent grandmother who never leaves the living room, yet there's no connection, and he gives no opinion, good or bad, when his mother suddenly comes home with a new husband who is now the boss in the ranch work.
The man, who is still referred to by many as his mother's boy, has to remind people that he's thirty-two years old. He and everyone he knows drinks heavily, switching bed partners and fighting, though these things are clearly just ways for killing time. It's when he allows himself to think about the deaths in his family that we find old wounds that haven't healed and have surely led to the indifference he seems to feel for everyday life. 4 stars

Editat: nov. 20, 2020, 12:01 pm

Still plugging away at Moby Dick. I'm a third of the way through, so around Chapter 38. I've met with what I think are the problem areas, the chapter that delves into the variety of whales and porpoise that a whaler would come across, but to me, that was just not as interesting as the rest, not what I'd call boring. I have a high tolerance for Melville, I suppose, as I've read some other work.

My box of coffee from Zabar's arrived last night and I made a couple of cups of their Special Blend, which is so smooth and has a slight caramel note. It was noted that this is the variety the Zabar's staff drinks at work so I had to try it, and I'm glad I did. Not meaning to advertise for them, but NYC businesses are once again fighting for survival and I can attest to how good their coffee, tea, strudel, babka and chocolates are.

Editat: nov. 22, 2020, 12:16 pm

106. Ten Days in a Mad-House by Nellie Bly. In 1887, Bly's editor persuaded her to investigate New York's system for mental illness. She made a plan. Dressing as a poor unemployed girl, Bly took residence in a women's boarding house and simply acted depressed and anxious. She was committed a day later, having fooled multiple doctors and judges by behaving in a general confused but never violent manner. She went through a series of imprisonments and conversations with nurses and mental specialists. Once she'd been committed she dropped the confused act and behaved in a normal manner, as part of her plan was to see if sanity could be recognized by the experts. Some of her fellow patients recognized that she was sane.
Bly chronicled the treatment she received and what she saw. While every employee wasn't cruel, there were more nurses who used their position to hurt rather than help. Bly was forced into an ice bath and scrubbed painfully hard, then forced to go to bed wet to freeze through the night. The food was inedible and she found a spider in it. She witnessed nurses dragging patients by the hair and choking them until they passed out, taunting them to tears, and Bly caught a nurse stealing. When she complained to a doctor she was told to get a grip on her imagination.
Bly's series of reports, first published in the newspaper, was instrumental in mental health reform. 4 stars

nov. 23, 2020, 10:42 am

>63 mstrust: I love the ornament! Congratulations on finishing your shopping! I like to shop through the year, but I still have some to do.

>66 mstrust: Sounds good! Have you ever been to Nellie Bly Kaleidoscopes in Jerome?

nov. 23, 2020, 3:47 pm

I always tell myself that I should shop through the year, but then the thought leaves my head, or I worry about squirreling something away and forgetting all about it until Spring, which is what my mother has always been famous for.
I may very well have been in the kaleidoscope store even though I haven't been to Jerome in 20 years. We went often when we lived in Prescott Valley. Beautiful scopes. I enjoyed the gems and minerals at the Jerome Mining Museum best, then we'd have lunch at the pizza place, Wedge on the Edge.

nov. 24, 2020, 7:44 am

>68 mstrust: I usually do but this year has been all kinds of madness and it seems more rushed than most. I think a lot of it is the difficulty in separating home life from work life when, you know, you're working from home. I rely on that separation. Tracking my home work life by itself to prove I'm working my 40 hours/week was in itself stressful. I just didn't seem to have the time or motivation to shop, even online, except for necessaries.

My mom had a special storage tub in the barn for squirreling things so she never had to worry about forgetting where stuff was. We're all old enough, though, that the honor system works because we don't want to spoil the surprise by peeking. :)

Editat: nov. 24, 2020, 10:38 am

I wouldn't be able to stand being on the computer after spending the day working on it. I imagine you're ready for anything except sitting in front of a screen.
My mom is known for hiding presents from us in her closets, and hiding them so well that even she's amazed when she finds them months later. She's done it since I was a kid and continues decades later. No one is surprised when she walks out of her bedroom at any time of the year saying, "I bought this for you for Christmas."

I'm watching many of the Christmas challenge shows, like "The Holiday Baking Championship" and "The Christmas Cookie Challenge". I watched the first two episodes of "Holiday Wars" and cancelled it. The teams are so bitchy, and for some reason, there's a contestant who whines that he shouldn't be there because he isn't good enough. They also have a new judge who looks disgusted by what she's seeing.
We've been watching the "1984" season of AHS, as Mike hasn't seen it yet. Still lots of fun the second time round.

nov. 25, 2020, 10:51 am

Happy Thanksgiving!

Or, if not exactly happy, I hope it goes as well as it can.

nov. 26, 2020, 7:18 am

Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours, Jennifer!
In attempting to have a somewhat traditional T-day, I purchased a turkey but now I'm regretting it. I wish I'd bought steaks instead.

nov. 26, 2020, 8:17 am

Happy Thanksgiving, Jennifer!

nov. 26, 2020, 11:27 am

>72 Carmenere: And to you!
You do you, Lynda! Turkey burritos or turkey stroganoff are delicious, and you can get the steaks tomorrow. Thanksgiving is in my top three meals, I love roasted turkey and cranberry sauce, but I hear now that most people don't like cranberries. Probably never had the freshly made sauce.
>73 harrygbutler: Happy Thanksgiving, Harry!

nov. 26, 2020, 11:39 am

I posted this recipe for turkey leftovers a few years ago but I'm putting here again both for myself and anyone else who might like it. It's very good.

Arroz con Pavo (Arroz con Pollo, but with turkey)

1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. shredded turkey, cooked
1 c. diced onion
2 garlic cloves, diced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper ( I used dried Korean chili)
2 c. white rice
1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. tumeric
1 14.5 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 c. chicken broth
3/4 c. frozen green peas, thawed
1 4 oz can chopped green chiles
1/2 c. chopped pimento stuffed green olives
few dashes of hot sauce
1/2 c. water

Preheat oven to 325. In a wide, oven-proof pot or casserole dish, heat the oil over medium heat. I used a metal casserole dish and this meal was made entirely in this dish.
Add the onion, garlic and pepper flakes and stir to coat. Cook until onion has softened, about 5 minutes. Add the rice, salt, black pepper and tumeric and stir until rice is golden, about 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, chilis and broth. Arrange the turkey or chicken on top in a single layer and bring to a boil. You may need a little more broth.
Cover with a lid or foil and transfer the dish to the oven. Bake 40-45 minutes. Uncover and sprinkle with the peas, olives and water, but do not stir.
Re-cover and bake another 5-10 minutes. Rice should be tender. Stir slightly before serving.

nov. 27, 2020, 2:25 am

This Brit wishes to express his thanks for the warmth and friendship that has helped sustain him in this group, Jennifer.

nov. 27, 2020, 12:18 pm

Thanks, Paul!
We had a small, stressful holiday. Same as always ;-)

nov. 27, 2020, 2:09 pm

>75 mstrust: I've favorited that recipe, thanks. Although I bought the smallest turkey I could find, there's a lot left this year. We will be dining on turkey recipes for some time to come.

Editat: nov. 27, 2020, 4:20 pm

Welcome! I've made it a few times and it's really good, and different from the turkey sandwiches and turkey soup that usually happens after Thanksgiving.
We're having a great big salad for dinner with chopped turkey in it. Even the dog was too full yesterday.

We're in the official Christmas season now. I've just put away the Autumn decor and tablecloth and put up holly garlands.
I've got a list of cookies I'll be making for the 14 tins I'll be filling this year. Besides vanilla coconut balls, snickerdoodles, maple cinnamon, ginger, I'm going to try out a devil's food & marshmallow fluff swirl cookie.
What do you make for the holidays?

nov. 27, 2020, 6:13 pm

I make M&M cookies from my grandma's recipe. I impulse-bought a bag of Christmas M&Ms so am hoping to put them to good use this weekend!

Editat: nov. 28, 2020, 9:54 am

Grandma has the best recipes. I like m&m cookies too, though I've only used the mini baking m&ms myself. I've chopped up Snickers and Reese's into a batch of cookies and that went over well.

We're going to the farmer's market this morning. To buy vegetables, dang it.

nov. 30, 2020, 9:48 am

>79 mstrust: We have an old Good Housekeeping book with lots of holiday cookie recipes but 2 in there are so standard they’re always baked: Mexican wedding cakes (or the “mud ball” derivative that uses mini semi-sweet chocolate chips) and Neapolitans. We also do a cut-out cookie recipe, often the eggnog one, and usually a sandwich cookie that uses a cut-out recipe but one where you spread preserves on the top side of a cookie shape, then cut out the middle of a corresponding shaped cookie for the top, and finish by putting the two together. The hole in the top cookie lets you see the jam or preserves on the cookie beneath. Snowflake and round Christmas ornament shapes work well visually.

Editat: nov. 30, 2020, 1:09 pm

Homemade sandwich cookies are really pretty. I've made them with strawberry and raspberry preserves, and for the Christmas tins I made round sugar cookies about the size of a Ritz cracker sandwiched with vanilla buttercream a few years ago. We have the tradition of Mom making the cut out sugar cookies and when my sister and I get to Vegas we all ice and decorate them.
I've never made a Neapolitan so I'd have to look up that recipe. Eggnog cookies sound really good.
I have a couple of go-to books for cookie recipes- Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book, Betty Crocker's Baking Classics, Gourmet's Cookie Book, and then I make up my own according to what flavor I want, like pumpkin spice or coffee. Because most of the tins are going to the same businesses and employees every year, I keep a list of the cookies I made over the last few years. I make classics, like peanut butter, while adding a couple of new ones each year. I think the most difficult I've made were latte petit fours that were iced and decorated all the way around. I have no piping skills at all so I haven't done that again, but they tasted great.

We got some welcome news this morning, as the dermatologist says Mike doesn't have skin cancer. Maybe now that the doctor has said it, he'll take the advice I've given him for years and wear some damn sunblock.

des. 1, 2020, 3:29 pm

We often use peach, which makes for a nice orange-ish color, but have also used the reds of strawberry and raspberry, too. I can get you the recipes for those two if you like; I recently typed them out for my sister to print out and paste onto recipe cards to put in a cookie baking themed basket that she donated to our local humane society's recent fundraiser auction. Neapolitans are my younger sister's favorite but they take some time and a bit of effort; they aren't just throw things together as they are a layered cookie (dark and light batter) but they are good. You could treat the eggnog cutouts as sugar cookies too.

Glad Mike is cancer-free--but that just might make him think he doesn't need the "damn sunblock" even more. Keep at him!

Editat: des. 1, 2020, 4:10 pm

>83 mstrust: Excellent news about Mike! I have fair skin and never leave the house w/out sunblock, even when it’s cloudy.
Does he at wear a hat?

des. 1, 2020, 5:14 pm

>83 mstrust: Glad to hear Mike is cancer-free!

Editat: des. 1, 2020, 6:07 pm

>84 CassieBash: Oh, yes, I'd love the eggnog cookie recipe. You can add it here on the thread in case anyone else wants it too. Thanks!
Both my mom and sister love peach, and I have a jar of Goldwater's Papago Peach Salsa for each of their stockings. It's a local company.

Yesterday I made apple maple cinnamon muffins that turned out so fluffy and flavorful because I used half cake flour, half peanut flour. And I sauteed the apples, maple syrup, cinnamon and a tsp of whiskey until the apples were soft before adding them to the batter.
We're pretty happy about Mike's non-diagnosis. He hates the feel of lotions and creams on his skin so has always refused to wear sunblock.

>85 Carmenere: Me too, I'm fair skinned and have always worn sunblock on my face and hands starting at age twelve. Mike is fair skinned, blue eyed, and remarkably stubborn. He does wear a baseball cap and that's the only thing he's done to protect his face, which is were the dark spots have appeared.

>86 rabbitprincess: Thanks! It's good news!

des. 2, 2020, 8:37 am

I am glad for you and Mike.
Have a wonderful Wednesday.

des. 2, 2020, 8:49 am

>83 mstrust: Glad to hear the good news on the medical front.

My repertoire of cookies is small — usually just sugar cookies, oatmeal cookies, and thumbprint cookies. This year I'm planning to make orange drop cookies, too.

Editat: des. 2, 2020, 10:51 am

>88 SirThomas: Thanks, Thomas! So far, so good- Mike let me put sunblock on him before we walked the neighborhood this morning so he's showing improvment.
I'm checking in on your amazing culinary calendar. We're doing an advent this year too, but ours is from a store called Trader Joe's and all we get is a teeny tiny piece of chocolate each day in Christmas shapes, like a wreath or stocking.

>89 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry! I love orange baked goods but you don't see them too often, so your orange drop cookies, crunchy or soft? I'm deciding between making cranberry orange cookies or ginger cranberry cookies.

I'm heading to the vet's to pick up Coral's meds, then to Total Wine to pick out some Christmas champagne. My niece and her fiancee will be able to get away for Christmas day, so we'll all be there.

des. 2, 2020, 1:22 pm

>83 mstrust: Glad to hear Mike got good news. My husband got the same news but refuses to do anything differently.

Your cookies always look so good! It's a reminder to me that it's time to start holiday baking.

des. 2, 2020, 3:26 pm

Is it the feel of sunblock that he dislikes or just the general idea of making a change? It will take Mike some time before he gets used to it.
Thanks for trying to give me the credit, but I don't want to pass these beautiful cookies that I feature off as mine! I enjoy baking and do my best, but mine rarely come out looking like a pro's. Let's just say that I specialize in "rustic". Add to that the fact that I'm a terrible photography, so I just grab these perfect pics off the internet.

I made my first batch of Christmas cookies today though. Plain golden ginger, the recipe from Magnolia.

des. 2, 2020, 4:29 pm

>90 mstrust: The orange drop cookies will be cake-like, I expect. I dislike chewy cookies, as to me they always seem underdone. I'll be interested in hearing about yours if you do make cranberry orange; I've added dried cranberries (Craisin-style) to my oatmeal cookies in place of raisins in the past with some success.

I'm not sure when I'll start making the cookies, but next week seems likely. Today was another day for biscuits to go with the ham and pinto beans that have been cooking on the stove all day.

des. 2, 2020, 8:32 pm

>83 mstrust: I made ones like these today. My dough has butter, egg, flour and finely ground hazelnuts. It's been a tradition since I was a wee kid and still remains my favourite Christmas cookie.

Glad to hear the dermatologist's good news.

des. 3, 2020, 12:36 pm

>93 harrygbutler: I'll bet your orange cookies turn out really well. Mini chocolate chips would be good in that too, but I'm always tweaking recipes. I had a piece of orange cake once and it was great, but for some reason you rarely find orange cake, always lemon.
Years ago I came up with a dark chocolate and orange bundt cake recipe that I called "Black Sunshine". Tasted like a Terry's chocolate orange.
Your ham and pinto beans with biscuits sounds like one of my dad's favorite meals, but he was from Georgia, so swap out pinto beans for a pot of butter beans.

>94 figsfromthistle: That sounds great! The hazelnuts would certainly add a lot of flavor.

My mom in Vegas told me that our favorite Mexican restaurant there, Lindo Michoacan, has been closed once again, not because of another governor shutdown though. A giant sinkhole opened up in the dining room Friday night. This poor guy.

des. 3, 2020, 12:48 pm

Today's cookie will be an attempt at a dark chocolate marshmallow fluff swirl. After a little research into how to best swirl a cookie, I be trying out the method of making a ball of the chocolate dough and putting a ball of fluff inside. I'll let you know if it works.

Oh, and I'm on Chapter 48 of Moby Dick. 48 isn't even halfway.

des. 3, 2020, 1:24 pm

>95 mstrust: I was given a bottle of orange-infused olive oil and I used it all on brownies - replacing the oil in a Ghirardelli brownie mix made decadent adult brownies. Chocolate and orange go very well together.

The trick to Moby Dick is to just enjoy the journey and to never expect to arrive at the end. Those whale classification chapters ended up being my favorite.

des. 3, 2020, 1:44 pm

Hi Jennifer. I watched the movie about the author who was obsessed with finding the Golden State Killer. I note you gave I'll Be Gone in the Dark 5 stars. I wish that he would have been found while she was still alive. I cannot remember remember if it was a Netflix or HuLu movie. It was well done.

des. 3, 2020, 1:46 pm

>35 mstrust: Jennifer. What a terrible series of events, one after another.

des. 3, 2020, 1:49 pm

>95 mstrust: I'll probably stick to the recipe this time. I've seen a couple recipes for orange cake but haven't made any. We do have a supply of orange juice on hand at the moment, so maybe I'll consider baking one. First, though, I should make an apple cake to use up some aging apples.

I'm definitely a fan of butter beans, but for the all-day pot I generally use pintos, with either ham or fresh pork butt or shoulder. My mother loved butter beans, and we often hauled a dozen cans of Hanover brand, which she liked, out to their house when we'd go to visit, as she couldn't get them locally.

des. 3, 2020, 2:00 pm

For those interested in the Neapolitan and eggnog cut-out cookie recipes:

Dark dough:
3 c sifted all-purpose flour
¼ teasp. Salt
1 teasp. Baking soda
½ teasp. Cinnamon
½ teasp. Ground cloves
1 c. soft shortening
1 ½ c brown sugar, packed
2 eggs, unbeaten
1 c coarsely ground nuts
1 pkg well-chilled semisweet chocolate pieces (1 c), finely ground

Sift flour, salt, soda, cinnamon, cloves. Mix shortening with sugar, then with eggs, until very light and fluffy. Mix in flour mixture, nuts, chocolate.

Light dough:
2 c sifted all-purpose flour
½ teasp. Salt
¼ teasp. Baking soda
½ c soft shortening
¼ c granulated sugar
1 egg, unbeaten
1 teasp. Vanilla extract
½ teasp. Almond extract
2 tablesp. Water

Sift flour, salt, soda. Mix shortening with sugar, then with egg, extracts, and water, until very light and fluffy. Mix in flour, mixture.

To assemble: Pack half of dark dough into waxed-paper lined 10” X 5” X 3” loaf pan. Pack in all of light dough, then remaining dark dough. Refrigerate at least 24 hours.
To bake: Start heating oven to 400 degrees F. Cut dough lengthwise into thirds; slice crosswise into ¼” slices. Place 1” apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until done. Makes 8-9 dozen.

Adapted from Good Housekeeping Cook Book, ed. Dorothy B. Marsh, Good Housekeeping, 1955.

Eggnog Cut-Out Cookies
2 c. sugar
1 c. butter, softened
2 eggs
1/3 c. eggnog
1 teasp. Vanilla
4 ½ c. all-purpose or unbleached flour
1 teasp. Nutmeg
2 teasp. Baking powder
Egg Yolk Paint
2 egg yolks
½ teasp. Water
Assorted colors of liquid food color

In large bowl, combine sugar, butter and eggs, beat until light and fluffy. Stir in eggnog and vanilla. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In medium bowl, combine flour, nutmeg, baking powder. Add flour mixture to butter mixture; blend well. Cover dough with plastic wrap; refrigerate 30 minutes for easier handling.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, combine egg yolks and water, blend well. Divide mixture into several small cups, tint with food color. If paint thickens, add a few drops of water.
Heat oven to 350 F. On floured surface, roll half of dough at a time to 1/8” thickness. Cut with assorted 2 ½-3” cutters, re-rolling dough as necessary. Place 2” apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Using small paint brush, paint designs on cookies with egg yolk paint.

Bake 350 F for 8-11 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Remove from cookie sheets. Makes 6 ½ doz. Cookies.

From Holiday Cookies & Candies, Pillsbury, 2001.

des. 3, 2020, 2:37 pm

>92 mstrust: Haha! He's just an old guy who won't change. I hope Mike gets used to the sunscreen habit.

I happen to know your cookies and other baking is excellent. I've tried many of your recipes. My efforts are definitely in the "rustic" class.

des. 3, 2020, 4:45 pm

>95 mstrust: Awe, that's just heartbreaking. Restaurants are having a tough enough time as it is, let alone, a cenote revealing itself in the dining room and kitchen.
At least they have sister restaurants to ease the financial pain.

I think we're planning on a much smaller Christmas gathering. The covid thing is freaking me. Too many households gathering is frowned upon in Ohio. Sigh

Editat: des. 3, 2020, 5:53 pm

>97 RidgewayGirl: That sounds really interesting and I wouldn't have thought of it. I've heard of lemon and olive oil cake but not orange olive oil and chocolate. Well now we've all learned something new.
So far my favorite part of Moby Dick are the chapters before they even get aboard the boat, with Ishmael meeting Queequeg and them becoming friends.

>98 Whisper1: The doc series for I'll Be Gone in the Dark is HBO, which is why I haven't seen it yet. I saw the A&E series that was produced before he was caught. It really is unfair that McNamara didn't get to see what an impact all her research and work made.
I have Netflix and Prime. On Netflix I'm on the third episode of The Staircase, a doc series about a woman found dead in her home and her husband is suspected of murdering her.
On Prime I've discovered so many Masterpiece Theater shows to get to. Anyone else catch the 50th anniversary special?

>99 Whisper1: Ha, it was a few days of wondering what else would happen!

>100 harrygbutler: Good luck with your baking! I'd devour either apple cake or orange cake. Cake is great!
The chocolate & marshmallow cookies turned out really well with gooey streaks of marshmallows throughout.
My dad would crumble cornbread up into a sundae glass full of butter beans and eat it like it was ice cream. Never seen another human being do that.

Editat: des. 3, 2020, 6:11 pm

>101 CassieBash: Thanks so much for those recipes! They both look very good!

>102 VivienneR: It's his incredible stubborn streak alright. He's bragged about how he would outwait his mother when he didn't want to eat his dinner as a kid.
I'm so glad you've tried my recipes out and liked them!

>103 Carmenere: The location that this happened at is supposedly the oldest Mexican restaurant in Vegas, so it's got more atmosphere. I believe there's one actual sister restaurant and a bunch of others who have attempted to pass themselves off as part of the same family but they aren't. This is the only one we go to. They have fresh tortillas and killer mango margaritas and horse statues in the parking lot.
If I had two broken legs I would still get to my mom for Christmas. I have so much guilt about her being alone for Thanksgiving.

Okay, now that I discussed Mexican food I can't get the thought of nachos out of my head. Melted cheese is my crack.

des. 3, 2020, 6:09 pm

>101 CassieBash: Many thanks for your recipes. I will use them.

Editat: des. 5, 2020, 1:36 pm

More food talk.
We've been to the farmers market this morning and among lots of produce, I got a container of the prettiest edible flowers that I'll use in a salad tonight. We also got a big clump of chestnut mushrooms. Never seen or heard of them before but they're locally grown and the girl said they have a nutty flavor. I'll saute some tonight.

And just noting that I'm at chapter 54 now, which is titled "The Town-Ho's Story".

des. 5, 2020, 2:06 pm

>83 mstrust: Glad Mike doesn't have skin cancer! I had nose surgery about a month ago for that and I am still trying to get little pieces of stitches out. Argh. Tell him I said to wear suntan lotion!! LOL

>90 mstrust: Yum!

> So are you now more than halfway in the whale of a tale?

Editat: des. 5, 2020, 2:19 pm

Sorry to hear you had to have surgery. I'll give Mike the message!
No, not halfway yet and I feel like it's producing more chapters as I read. I believe it goes up to 136 chapters. Honestly, I really am working hard at it.

I do believe I'm making those sliced orange cranberry cookies today as I have fresh oranges.

And starting today, there's a three day auction of rare and collectible mysteries being auctioned. This is Otto Penzler's collection, he of The Mysterious Bookshop in NYC.
Click on the session number to see the books available that day:

des. 5, 2020, 11:58 pm

>109 mstrust: Ooh I wish!

Have a great weekend, Jennifer.

Editat: des. 7, 2020, 2:24 pm

Thanks, Paul! I did have a great weekend and hope you did too.
My mom did not have a great weekend though, as she finally had to let her 13 year old boxer, Emma, go. It was time.

We got our Christmas tree yesterday. It's mostly decorated, entirely by me of course, but I still have some of the more fragile ornaments to put at the top.
And now I'm completely done with shopping. Stockings are stuffed. Just cookies to bake and wrapping left.
Today's is traditional sugar cookies. This will be my fifth cookie variety so far.

des. 7, 2020, 7:58 pm

>111 mstrust: Hurray for finishing your Christmas shopping! I've finished mine for now. Still don't know what I'm getting my other half. Normally we would go shopping for clothes (he picks, I pay), but we're not keen on browsing these days and he doesn't like shopping for clothes online.

des. 7, 2020, 10:06 pm

>111 mstrust: Sorry to hear about your mom's dog.

None of my planned cookie baking has begun, but today I made a banana cream pie to use up a few bananas and, since I couldn't bear to let the egg whites go to waste, some meringues to snack on as well. They seem a little too fragile to be included in Christmas cookie packages, but we'll see.

des. 7, 2020, 10:14 pm

>111 mstrust: Those look AMAZING!!! Now I have to go get some cookies, although they won't be that splendid. Only halfway done with shopping.

des. 8, 2020, 7:44 am

Awe, I’m sorry to read your mom lost Emma! I’m sure she was a great companion for your mom.

des. 8, 2020, 9:57 am

>112 rabbitprincess: I don't have anything for Mike. When I ask what he'd like he gives me the same answer he's given for ten years- "nothing." Add in his new diabetes and now I can't even get him those gigantic Reese's or the big pack of Tofifay that he loves. He may get a CD or two, but his phone will ping the second I pay for them, so he's never surprised.

>113 harrygbutler: Thanks, Harry. I drove Emma out to my parents as a surprise for them when she was five weeks old. She was our oldest boxer ever.
Mmmm, banana cream pie AND meringues. I've made meringues for the Christmas tins before and I was thinking of doing it this year too. The trick is to make them last of all so they aren't going in the freezer, make them smaller than normal so they fit in without having to push them at all, and of course, put them on top along the edge of the tin. I suspect that when the tin is opened they are the first ones eaten because they look so pillowy.

>114 Berly: Aren't they beautiful?
You still have plenty of shopping time, over two weeks. You can do so much damage in that time!
>115 Carmenere: Thanks, Lynda. Emma was the sweetest dog with big hopeful eyes. Yes, now my Mom is without a dog for the first time in 50 years and it's too soon to discuss if she'll move near us or just get another pet.

des. 8, 2020, 9:59 am

des. 8, 2020, 2:15 pm

>117 mstrust: Don't know if you were thinking along my lines with this one or if you were just thinking alcohol, but having finished recently a book on the history of poisoners, this is definitely a sinister statement, lol!

des. 8, 2020, 2:56 pm

>116 mstrust: Thanks for the tips on meringues. Since all of our gift cookies will be traveling through the mail, I don't think I'll try including them this year. But I'll bear the advice in mind should I be prepping gifts to give in person.

des. 8, 2020, 5:04 pm

>118 CassieBash: Ha! Didn't even think of that, but I'm sure your book included at least one of the multiple poisoners who snuck it to a victim with a plate of delicious powdered doughnuts.

>119 harrygbutler: Making my cookies smaller than average is now my hard learned go-to for the cookie tins. I use to make big cookies that just took up too much room to pack in the variety I make.

I chilled the sugar cookie dough overnight and baked and decorated today. They're still drying but turned out well. I'll put up a pic later.
I believe I'll be making vanilla coconut balls tomorrow.

des. 8, 2020, 7:04 pm

Hi Jennifer, I can't believe how long it's been since I dropped by. We have been getting ready for Christmas here, although it is going to be a very small one. My younger daughter and husband are coming over on Christmas Eve but other than that, it will just be the two of us. Our tree is up, shopping is done, cards are done and will be sent tomorrow. I've made a batch of butter tarts which we enjoyed and I am planning on making some mincemeat tarts closer to Christmas. I don't do a lot of baking anymore but there was a time when I made about 6 or 7 varieties of Christmas cookies. Both my daughters continue to bake the family favorites so I get to sample them occasionally.

You're doing well with Moby Dick, I have it sitting on my shelf and plan to tackle it one of these days, but so far, something else always seems to come up first.

des. 9, 2020, 9:22 am

Well, you made it here now, Judy!
I'll bet it's been a very long time since it was just the two of you for Christmas. You'll have a relaxing day then, and you can have as many tarts as you like. And butter tarts sound very good. Is it French?
My mom will have sugar cookies to decorate when we get there, and probably some pecan tassies because those are her favorites. My sister always brings peanut butter blossoms and I love them.
The last of my cards are going out today.
Moby Dick is proving a challenge. It has really interesting passages sandwiched between some boring stuff, but more than that is the Quakerness of some of the language. I'm starting to think I won't be able to finish before the end of the year but I'm plugging along.

Editat: des. 9, 2020, 9:32 am

Here's another small business to consider if you need a gift. Polly's Pancake Parlor in Sugar Hill, NH is both a restaurant and gift shop. They specialize in maple syrup and other maple products along with pancake and baking mixes. I've never been there but hey, it's maple and that's good.

des. 9, 2020, 11:20 am

<120 Nope, no powdered doughnut poisonings that I know of, BUT if you were going to go that route, probably white lead would be your best bet. From what I've read (and if I remember right), lead is sweet in taste, and of course the white powdered sugar and the white, finely ground lead would probably mix well visually on the doughnut. But lead is not a good choice as far as detection; it's easy to spot lead poisoning, and it isn't as fast a killer as some of the others. If you want quick, you want hemlock.*

I think we're going to start baking Christmas cookies this weekend (sans poison, of course, lol!).

*DISCLAIMER: I am in no way endorsing the use of poisons in general or lead or hemlock specifically, and no, I've never tried poisoning anyone. I just find the topic morbidly fascinating. :)

des. 9, 2020, 2:38 pm

Oh for sure, we're all onboard with you not poisoning anyone.

It was a guy named something like Michael Slago that I was thinking of, who was a doctor or nurse and seemed incapable of not giving it a good try at killing both his patients and co-workers. I'm hazy but it was in the 80's. I think arsenic was favored by lots of poisoners, maybe because it could be readily gotten hold of in rat or ant poisons.
I've heard that lead is sweet and that's why kids used to lick wallpaper or paint back when it had lead in it.
Hope your cookies turn out well!

des. 9, 2020, 3:31 pm

>123 mstrust: My mom talked about Polly's Pancake Parlor for years after she visited there when they were touring the U.S. She got me a jug of the maple syrup from there. It's really good.

des. 9, 2020, 6:00 pm

It looks like a really great place and I'm glad to hear that it is. I wish there was a song about maple syrup for people to sing when they eat it. I'm weird.

des. 9, 2020, 6:14 pm

>127 mstrust: I have two songs for you that mention maple syrup:

Trent Severn, "Stealin' Syrup":
Gordon Lightfoot, "Love and Maple Syrup":

Editat: des. 10, 2020, 10:08 am

:-D Maple syrup songs exist! I should have known that Canadians would be writing odes to such a great product. Thanks, Princess, I enjoyed that!

It's raining so hard here, our first rain in months. Mike has just taken Coral off to the vet's for her nail appointment and I've just finished up pumpkin spice fudge. If I'm feeling it, I'll make maple cookies later. Maybe play a maple song while I'm at it.

des. 11, 2020, 8:56 am

Oh look, I've finished a book.

107. Dangerous Days in Elizabethan England by Terry Deary. A rather light-hearted look at the life of Elizabeth I, including her parents, her unlikely ascension to the throne, the political intrigue and courtiers, and battles with the Spanish Armada.
The author is the creator of the tv show Horribly Histories a truly funny show, but this book is full of what I'd identify as "dad jokes", in that he likes asides and footnotes that fall flat.
Throughout the text are boxes of quotes, and some are quotes from a witness or other relevant person to the episode being discussed, but most are not, they're quotes that were made about other events by people who weren't speaking of Elizabethan England, such as Charlie Chaplin or Thoreau. Seemed like padding, really.
That isn't to say this isn't full of interesting information, and it's formatted in a way that even someone who doesn't read history wouldn't be intimidated. Sprinkled throughout, there's also a selection of asides by a doctor who explains exactly what "drawing and quartering" means and how diseases such as typhus or tuberculosis destroy the body. 3.5 stars

Editat: des. 11, 2020, 9:23 am

Here's another gift idea:

Boyden Valley Winery in Vermont produces wines, hard ciders and glogg. And they make maple wine! But December is their last month that they will be shipping directly to customers, ever. They've had to make changes, such as closing their tasting room. If you live on the East Coast the shipping isn't so bad.

des. 11, 2020, 4:10 pm

>131 mstrust: Oooh! That sounds like a great product.

Have a wonderful weekend.

des. 11, 2020, 4:17 pm

>111 mstrust: What beautifully decorated cookies!

Editat: des. 11, 2020, 5:30 pm

>132 figsfromthistle: Doesn't it? Of course I'm imaging that it tastes just like maple syrup, but syrup that gets you tipsy.
Thanks, and you too! We're kicking off the weekend at a German biergarten tonight.

>133 Whisper1: I agree! And that reminds me that I still need to get a picture of my less professional sugar cookies. Today's bake was a tray of butterscotch walnut bars and they're so good. I know that because I trimmed the edges and ate all the scraps.

des. 11, 2020, 5:53 pm

>130 mstrust: Horrible Histories started out as a book series; that's how I know of them. They used to sell them at the Bristol Ren Faire in Wisconsin. I have several; quite enjoyable!

des. 11, 2020, 10:28 pm

>134 mstrust: Butterscotch and walnuts makes a great combination.

des. 12, 2020, 11:51 am

>135 CassieBash: I knew there had been books but I'd always thought they came after the show was a hit. So other way round. Thanks!
>136 thornton37814: They really do!

We walked the park very early this morning. We had schnitzel, rouladen, beer, and a giant pretzel last night, so the walk doesn't shave off even an eighth of what we put on.
I've opened a new package of Zabar's coffee, this one is "Cappuccino & Fudge" and it's divine. And today I make good on my threat of maple cookies.
Here's a pic of my own sugar cookies from the other day that I keep forgetting to post.

des. 12, 2020, 1:16 pm

>137 mstrust: They look beautiful and delicious!

des. 12, 2020, 2:06 pm

>137 mstrust: Those cookies are incredibly decorated!

All good wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

des. 12, 2020, 5:00 pm

>138 rabbitprincess: Thanks very much! They're almond sugar cookies.
>139 Whisper1: Thank you! I cut them out with a scalloped edged cutter, then dunked them in white royal icing and drew green lined on, then dragged them with a bamboo skewer.
Thank you for sending Santa to me! Wishing you a merry season too!
*Tip for anyone decorating: gel food color gives a more vibrant color than liquid.

des. 12, 2020, 5:04 pm

>137 mstrust: Oh that dinner sounds delightful. We'd only just found the local place that does good schnitzel a few months before Covid. My schnitzel is great, but lotsa work, so I'm happy to have it done for me. I hope the place is still there when we are free to go - great wurst too, though it is very noisy.

Lovely cookies!

des. 12, 2020, 8:18 pm

>137 mstrust: Gorgeous cookies! I used to make a cake with that design. Don't know if I could manage cookies - well, I know I couldn't. There would be lots of bits and crumbs.

des. 13, 2020, 5:49 am

>137 mstrust: Yummy!
I wish you a wonderful sunday!

des. 13, 2020, 12:35 pm

>141 quondame: Thanks, Susan!
It's a very good restaurant called Edelweiss. They have an accordion player, of course.
I've never attempted to make schnitzel at home, it's just something I leave to the professionals. But this one came with a delicious bacon mushroom sauce. And I didn't mention this dessert that I'd never heard of before: a big mound of ground walnuts held together with some kind of light sweetener I couldn't place, wrapped in a crepe and covered in a white sauce that was cream based, I guess. I've eaten in a few German restaurants, even spent a few weeks in Germany but never came across this dessert before. I took a few bites but didn't like it because the combination of the beer I was drinking and the walnuts made it very bitter in my mouth.

>142 VivienneR: Thanks, Viv! Usually I'd decorate sugar cookies with different colored icing and sprinkles and sugars and a big mess. No more. These were the easiest. Get the consistency of the icing right and it's a snap.

>143 SirThomas: Oooh, sugar cookies are good! Have a great Sunday, Thomas!

Later today, after all the running around, I'm going to make Wine Biscuits. The recipe is from Mrs. Beeton's Cook Book and I made them last Christmas and liked them, but the original recipe uses white wine. I'm going to try it with red wine because that's what we drink and I can't leave a recipe well enough alone.
And we've already opened some presents. Mike's Aunt Kath in Vermont sent us a big box of Vermont, which included Shepard's Pie cookies for Coral, a Vermont hoodie for Mike, Vermont calendar, and a nightshirt for me that says "I moose be dreaming". We have a box of Arizona products to mail to her.

des. 14, 2020, 10:09 am

I've set up a 2021 Category Challenge. Drop in.

des. 15, 2020, 12:01 pm

108. Recipes from the Dump by Abigail Stone. This is a quirky one, hard to place in a genre other than just lumping it in general fiction.
Gabby is in her thirties, overweight, working yet lives below the poverty line, and has three children though she's never been married. She listens to Shakespeare on tape and memorizes lines, and her only close friend is elderly neighbor Hester, whom she walks around the shore with as they watch the progress made on low-income housing nearby that caused the forest to be cut down. It's the early 90's in a small Vermont town, and Gabby is still holding on to her hippie days as much as possible.
Gabby's loneliness is palpable, a desperation she keeps returning to. At first she makes light of it even as she's acknowledging it, but as times passes it turns to depression. Yet just when she reaches her most desperate moods, when she wonders why she can't get anyone, one of a couple of interested men appear and she is reminded that she still has standards.
Funny and introspective. The title refers not to workable recipes but parodies of recipes, ones that call for telemarketers, mailmen delivering bills and creepy strangers in the ingredients list. 4 stars

Editat: des. 15, 2020, 12:27 pm

We walked the park across the street this morning. It was 37F when we set out! They had flooded the park and as we're walking the sidewalk that rings it, which is quite a bit lower than the park on the West side, a the water was so deep and the weather so cold that team of a dozen ducks comes floating past me on the water. I've never seen that before but it was fun.
I've stocked up on my heavy cold weather face and body moisturizers and moisturizing shower gels and hand soaps. I'm ready.
The red wine cookies from the other day taste very good, but with two sticks of butter and just a cup and a quarter flour, they are fragile and I don't know if they'll survive the cookie tins. They really melt in the mouth though.
I'm making peanut butter cookies today.

My package from The Mysterious Bookshop in Manhattan arrived this morning. I ordered three of their bibliomysteries:
Hoodoo Harry by Joe R. Lansdale
Bibliotheca Classica by Simon Brett
Mystery, Inc. by Joyce Carol Oates
and "A Christmas Puzzle" by Ragnar Jonasson came free with any purchase while supplies last.

So, besides baking and cooking, I've been shopping and wrapping and spending a lot of time on the phone asking about presents and "what time will you be there?" stuff. I know I said a few weeks ago that I was done but I've managed to go out buying several more times since then.
We're on season 5 of both "Schitt's Creek" and "Community", season 1 of both "Friday Night Dinners" and "River" and season 3 of "Big Mouth". We've also been watching "Big Sky", which is good and I'll watch John Carroll Lynch in pretty much anything. And I'm watching the Christmas baking shows. And while I mix and bake I've been listening to "Full Body Chills", "Tenfold More Wicked" and "Let's Not Meet" podcasts. Why do I like listening to creepy stuff while I make Christmas cookies?

Editat: des. 16, 2020, 4:32 pm

Not counting this in my official numbers because it's only 21 pages long, but I read "A Christmas Puzzle", the complimentary book by Ragnar Jonasson from The Mysterious Bookshop. It takes place almost entirely in TMB and has a very unexpected twist. I enjoyed it.
Today's cookies are Chocolate Crinkles. The dough is chilling.

des. 19, 2020, 5:15 pm

Hi Jennifer! I am taking advantage of a typical weather day here on the island (dreary rain) to see if I can get caught up with any threads.

>19 mstrust: - I have to say, that chip looks really good! That is one thing the other half and I have been doing this "wonderful 2020", we decided to venture far and wide with our potato chip snacking. Some were a bit of a diaster, some pleasantly surprising but in the end, we keep coming back to chips like "All Dressed" or a type of smoked chip. I think we would like the Her's Smokehouse Maple chips!

Glad to see the good news re: Mike not having skin cancer!

>90 mstrust: - Oh, I have made a similar cranberry icebox cookie before. So good!

>137 mstrust: - Those sugar cookies with the white and green icing look too good to eat!

Yes, I have been skim reading this thread, so I have probably missed a lot.

Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season and best wishes for the New Year.

Editat: des. 20, 2020, 10:15 am

Hi, Lori!
Good to have you drop by. What you call "dreary rain" would have us saying, "It's raining!" Ha! The rarity makes it exciting.
I'm hoping to come across some maple chips sometime. I made need to be proactive.
I really liked my cranberry orange cookies and if I get some good feedback I'll put them in the yearly rotation. A few days ago Ryan, Mike's delivery guy, relayed that one of the yearly receivers of one of my cookie tins said he has a favorite of my cookies and makes sure he's there at work on cookie tin day to take his favorite for himself. Greedy, but I wish he'd told Ryan which cookie he liked so much.
Have a Merry Christmas!

des. 20, 2020, 10:20 am

I enjoy the images of the cookies you are baking. This season of baking brings back memories of my mother who loved to bake. She was obsessive compulsive, and while she really did make the holidays fun, it also was a bit of stress because the house had to be cleaned spic and span, and the cookie baking meant tins and tins and tins of too many to count different selections.

des. 20, 2020, 7:10 pm

Wow. That sounds stressful. Bright side, sounds like you had lots of cookies for yourself.
Though I have fourteen tins to fill, I enjoy it, so at least I can say that I like what I'm doing. (I had a little side dessert catering business about 15 years ago.) I like deciding on which to make and I'm glad all the guys like getting my cookies. I'll be making the coconut balls tomorrow.

And I'll mention this fantastic pastry we picked up at a bakery stand at the farmer's market yesterday. It's called a Cranberry Pop Tart, but it's nothing like the boxed pastry. This was a big, tall, square croissant that had been sliced and sandwiched with a layer of cranberry jam, then iced with a thick layer of vanilla royal icing. Delicious.
We bought Coral a Winter coat today at our independent pet store. And I've wrapped, bagged and sealed everything and I'm ready.

des. 20, 2020, 8:30 pm

Oh, dear God, that Cranberry Pop Tart sounds good!

Editat: des. 21, 2020, 9:52 am

You a fan of cranberry? I am, but surprisingly it was Mike who ordered it. It was so big that it easily fed two. A huge pastry is a good pastry ;-)

I think I'm done with any accomplished reading for the year. I'm still picking away at things and trying to catch up with magazine subscriptions.

Cornflake Wreaths

des. 22, 2020, 4:03 pm

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas!

May you get that thing you've been wanting!

des. 22, 2020, 4:05 pm

des. 23, 2020, 8:25 am

Or good enough that we can't remember it.
Merry Christmas!

Editat: des. 23, 2020, 8:32 am

I finished up my Christmas baking yesterday with an experiment of pie crust brushed with butter, vanilla and cinnamon oil, then sprinkled heavily with cinnamon and sugar and cut into thin strips. I braided them and cut them into three inch pieces and baked.
So all thirteen varieties are in the tins and ready for delivery. Done.

des. 23, 2020, 9:31 am

Hey, a suggestion for your next October stack (or rather, right away, if you're in the mood for scary...). Christopher Buehlman's The Lesser Dead - good classic vampire story. Ain't no sparkly vamps here!

des. 24, 2020, 3:27 am

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful time, remain healthy and full of hope.
I took this picture 2 years ago when we were on our pre-Christmas vacation.
Last year there was no snow, this year we were not allowed to go. Therefore, we revel in fond memories and look forward to next year.

des. 24, 2020, 9:03 am

Wishing you and yours a very merry Christmas and an insanely happy 2021.

des. 24, 2020, 12:30 pm

Hi Jennifer. Wishing you peace, joy and happiness this holiday season and best wishes for a wonderful New Year!

des. 24, 2020, 6:12 pm

Wishing you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
May 2021 bring you less need for masks (the medical kind, not Halloween!), loads of peace and joy, good health and, of course, books!

des. 24, 2020, 8:41 pm

Happy Holidays, Jennifer!

des. 25, 2020, 12:19 am

Have a wonderful Christmas, Jennifer!

des. 25, 2020, 1:05 am

Happy Holidays Jennifer!

des. 25, 2020, 6:57 am

Merry Christmas!

des. 25, 2020, 10:23 am

Merry Christmas and Happy Festivus!

des. 25, 2020, 11:33 am

I hope you get some of those at least, Jennifer, as we all look forward to a better 2021.

des. 25, 2020, 4:34 pm

Hope you and Mike are having a wonderful Christmas, Jennifer!

des. 25, 2020, 5:43 pm

The very merriest of Christmases and every happiness in, 2021!

Much love- Larry

des. 29, 2020, 8:43 am

Hope your Christmas was Merry and you were able to spend some time with your mom.

des. 29, 2020, 12:11 pm

Thanks everybody!
We got back yesterday afternoon, after having a really good Christmas in Vegas. I've brought back three bottles of champagne and seven bottles of wine (oh man, did we exchange bottles of liquor this year!) and gift cards, scented body lotions, chocolates, books and I got at least 10 boxes and packages of coffee, including maple pecan, peppermint mocha and Texas Turtle. That makes me happy. And Mom got each of us a huge bottle of barrel aged maple syrup.

>159 drneutron: Thanks for the rec, Jim! Yeah, I don't do sparkly vampires.
>160 SirThomas: That's a very beautiful pic, thank you! I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
>161 Carmenere: Hi, Lynda! So cute! Thank you and I'm wishing you the best 2021!

des. 29, 2020, 12:15 pm

>162 lkernagh: Thank you, Lori! I wish you a wonderful New Year!
>163 Berly: Thank you for the good wishes! I wish a wonderful New Year and 2021 for you, and yes, fewer masks and more books!
>164 RidgewayGirl: Thank you for the wishes, and for what must be the most unusual Christmas card I've ever seen. Fantastic!
>165 VivienneR: Thank you, Vivienne! Happy New Year!
>166 quondame: Thank you, Susan! Oh, that bookcase!

des. 29, 2020, 12:19 pm

I have to ask! How did you find LasVegas?!

des. 29, 2020, 12:22 pm

>167 harrygbutler: I hope you had a Merry Christmas, Harry! Thank you for the pretty card!
>168 PaperbackPirate: Merry Christmas, Nicole! I'm sorry I missed The Airing of the Grievances, it's my favorite part of Festivus.
>169 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul! I wish you a wonderful New Year!
>170 DeltaQueen50: Thank you, Judy! Have a Happy New Year!
>171 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thank you, Larry, and Happy New Year! I think you're going to have a good one, as you richly deserve. PM me your new address.
>172 Carmenere: Thank you, Lynda, I did get to spend a lot of time with Mom. We shopped and gambled! She won $160 on Sunday!

Thank you again to everyone who came by! I hope you had a great holiday!

des. 29, 2020, 12:31 pm

Glad to hear you had a good time in Vegas with your mom. Enjoy the maple syrup!

des. 29, 2020, 12:32 pm

>175 SomeGuyInVirginia: Not too bad for the most part. It seems like everyone is doing their own rules. Some casinos have machines shut down to distance players, some don't. Restaurants and bars have tables spaced far apart and the mandate takes it further by making it "reservations only", as if that does anything. So one restaurant had us write our names on their reservation chart after we were seated, others had a long list of "rules", like you couldn't take your mask off until there was food on the table and that you should leave some of your food uneaten if you wanted to keep your mask off. Because the virus only gets transmitted when you're not eating.
Stores were open and we shopped, though one store was only allowing 18 people at a time inside and we had to wait outside for people to come out.
No problem finding machines in the casinos though, it wasn't as crowded as usual. My sister and the kids went downtown to the opening of the new Circa casino.

Editat: des. 29, 2020, 12:34 pm

>177 rabbitprincess: Thanks! When everyone around the room started pulling giant bottles of maple syrup out of gift bags there was an "Oooh!" from everyone, ha! I love sugar.

des. 29, 2020, 12:35 pm

Here's my 2021 75 Challenge thread. Hope to see you all in the new year!

des. 29, 2020, 1:04 pm

>175 SomeGuyInVirginia: With GPS, of course! (Ha, couldn't resist the setup, nor the opportunity to upgrade the joke for the modern era, lol!)

des. 29, 2020, 1:38 pm

>181 CassieBash: Oh, you are a card, Cassie!

des. 29, 2020, 1:48 pm

Oh, I should mention the books I brought home from Vegas. Just a few, but I was also given gift cards...
Bowie's Bookshelf
Living Like A Runaway by Lita Ford
Second Grave on the Left- haven't read anything by Darynda Jones yet.
And when we came home, Skeleton Man by Tony Hillerman was in the mailbox.

des. 29, 2020, 3:18 pm

Wishing you and Mike the best of health and happiness in 2021.

des. 30, 2020, 8:45 am

Thank you, Vivienne! Have a wonderful 2021!

des. 30, 2020, 9:17 am

To wish you all a Happy New Year! *
Thanks for making LT a fun place. I hope to see you all in 2021.

*Dear God, let it be better.

des. 30, 2020, 8:41 pm

*Two words- Raccoon City.

I say that only to cross out the jinx. Dear God let 2021 be better.

des. 31, 2020, 11:11 am

It's leaving! It's going away!

Now go set up your thread, Larry. I swear, if your head wasn't attached...

Editat: des. 31, 2020, 11:14 am

My 2021 threads:
75 Challenge:
Category Challenge:

Proof that there can indeed be too much mstrust.

des. 31, 2020, 9:49 pm


As the year turns, friendship continues

des. 31, 2020, 10:24 pm

gen. 1, 2021, 9:57 am

>190 PaulCranswick: Happy New Year, Paul!
>191 quondame: Yes, kick 2020! Kick it in the head!

gen. 1, 2021, 11:16 am

>188 mstrust: Yes!
Happy New Year!

gen. 1, 2021, 12:37 pm

Happy New Year, Nicole!