Wednesday, December 21

What’s Cooking?

A whole bunch o’ stuff!

I have been cooking up a storm. I made quiches, lasagnas, cookies, breads, crostini, and short ribs. We are hosting three dinner parties in a row, starting with 6.5 guests, then 9.5, ending with 12.5 on New Year’s Eve. The .5 is our 3.5 year old granddaughter Savannah.

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Our New Year’s Eve party took on a life of its own and grew exponentially—but it’s okay, because our mantra is the more the merrier! And the celebrating goes on into the new year, since we get two New Year’s Days this time. It’s all good. Plus, I have mucho golf scheduled, which is a very happy thing.

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I gifted myself with a new putter. I have been thinking about a change ever since I pole-vaulted on it and bent the shaft, like two years ago, and I finally got around to doing it. I haven’t had time to practice with it on a real putting surface yet so I can’t report on it, but I like the way it feels. Who knows if it will help me putt better—I am a terrible putter—but it certainly can’t be worse than my too-heavy, bent-shaft putter.

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I sold Godzilla. (Godzilla is my quilting machine/rack.) Its new owner is coming tomorrow to help me dismantle it and we will load it into her van and off it goes…well, that is if she shows, she might have changed her mind. I have mixed feelings about selling it, which surprised me, but I really need the space more than I need the rack. And I rarely used it. The timing was perfect because I was going to take it apart this week anyway and store it in the garage.

The sailboat quilt made it safely to my son and he loves it. Unfortunately one of the two gift cards went missing from the box, which means one of my granddaughters won’t get a Christmas present. I’ve been on the phone with the customer service people, but so far no luck. Keep your fingers crossed for me. I hope I can get a replacement.

Anybody been watching X Factor? Who do you think will win?

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Melanie has the chops, but she sounds like so many female singers; nothing new there. I like Josh because he’s gritty and soulful and he sings the kind of music *I* like to listen to. Chris is loveable, but I’m not a big hip-hop fan and he’s kind of a one-trick pony, but there’s no denying he’s the most relevant and unique, so I think he’ll win.

Have you noticed more people saying “Merry Christmas” this year instead of “Happy Holidays?” Is it just me or do you sense a greater feeling of politeness and good will this year? I have. I wonder if there’s any correlation.

Over and out for now. Thanks for tuning in. Merry Christmas! And Happy Chanukah, too.

Thursday, December 15

Bragging Myself Up

I don’t usually brag, but I gots some cool stuff to share with you.

First, my book came! Yay! What a thrill. I created it, I edited it a zillion times, I knew every square inch inside and out. But holding it in my hand…well, words can’t describe. I was pleased in every way.

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What did I learn? You have to have very clear, sharp photos. Even the ones you think are perfectly in focus, you find out they’re a hair off. Blame the guy driving the safari vehicle who didn’t understand the concept of “stop.” He would roll slowly, try to get closer, and the animal would run away. It drove us all crazy. Still, it was a fun project and I love, love, LOVE my book!

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Next up, here’s the quilt I’ve been working on. I actually packaged it up and THEN I realized I forgot to take its picture, hence the fold line. Sheesh. My son is counting the years until he retires and sails around the world. That’s his dream, and the title of the quilt is “Dreaming.”

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But wait, there’s more. Can you believe I WON my Eclectic Tournament? Yep! I played really good today. Everything just clicked. I got four (4!!) pars, and only a couple double bogies for a gross score of 97. That’s a fantastic score FOR ME. A lot of the ladies in my club play in the 80s and 90s, so we all get to deduct our handicap, which is the great equalizer, and I have a high handicap. I am JAZZED! This is my second tournament win, and the 4th time I’ve broken 100. It ain’t the money (obviously), it’s the glory. And the glory feels reeeeel goooood.

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Just for fun, the last show ‘n tell item is fake candles. I got ‘em online at Frontgate. You can’t see it in the picture, but they flicker. They have a little “flame” that has a light on it, and it dances back and forth. And, if that isn’t enough, they turn on and off by a tiny remote. I’m easily amused.

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Well, I’d best come down to Earth and get my work done. Reality—what a concept. Hope you’re all having a wonderful lead-in to Christmas!

Monday, December 12

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like…Chaos

I got the tree done. It only took two days. Many of my beloved chartreuse ornaments got broken in the move. They’re ordinary glass balls, but they’re hard impossible to find, so I marked my calendar for next October so I can go to Stats in Pasadena. While I’m there I’ll play a round of golf or two with my pal Cheryl.

Here are the fruits of my labors. I was going to practice golf today in hopes of getting a little more length off the tee for the second round of my tournament, but A) I am too sore to move, and B) it’s raining. Screw that. So I tweaked the tree a little more.

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The Christmas cards are ready to mail and my to-do list is laid out. I have something to do each day. Lest you think I’m obsessive…nah, I’m just lazy. This way it’s out of my brain and on paper and I sleep better, and it’s spread out so I don’t knock myself out. I have three days set aside to cook, then I’m having the cleaning service in. If I get the cooking done in two, I can play golf.

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Whoops, I didn’t anticipate this mess. There are even more boxes behind me. J put them in the garage and we put the two leaves in the dining table. I am delighted that we can get the full length of the table (124”) and still be able to walk through the room. It’s the largest dining room we’ve ever had.

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The next post-it note on my calendar is planning the menus. A sit-down job. Ahhh, I need it.

Thursday, December 8

Baby it’s Cold Outside

What is wrong with this picture? The golf course is frosted over. The sun is just coming up and it is 38 degrees. Brrr!

I played golf in this today. It was 38 degrees. I busted my butt to get to the course in time (at the crack of dawn), skipping makeup and breakfast, going nuts at red lights, only to face a frost delay. Hurry up and wait…sigh.

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Wearing four layers, one feels like the Michelin Man. But by the fourth hole the sun is high and it warms up rather quickly, and the layers peel off. In spite of the cold I played okay—I played to my handicap anyway. This was the first round of a two-round eclectic tournament. My net score was in the mid-70s despite an ugly start due to the cold.

I’ve been busy! I finished the quilt and I’m happy with it. Pictures later (it’s a gift).

I made a 50-page picture book of our trip to Africa, here’s a screenshot of the cover:

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I had a great time making it, but I have to say it was intense and laborious. But only because I was a newbie and constantly on a discovery curve. I wanted to get it done in time for the holidays and I did. It’s being printed as we speak. Now I want to make books for our other adventures. What a fun way to relive your trips. Beats the hell out of DVD—you can pick up a book, it’s low-tech and tactile. By the way, I used Blurb by BookSmart and my book cost around $50. The program is free.

Now that the above projects are done I can concentrate on Holiday plans and preps. The cards are halfway done, that’s the good news, but no shopping has been done; and the tree, well, maybe this weekend. Yikes! Our ToDo list is long!

Life is good. I love being busy!

Thursday, December 1

Many Projects

I’m always busy—who isn’t. I have several projects in the works. I discovered a cool program to make a book and I’m working on one for Africa. Then I want to make books for our other travels. Very cool. And fun. But, as with everything else, there is a huge learning curve and lots of trial and error. It’s like you get to use both sides of your brain at the same time.

This is the cover. Minus the red outline, which comes from my screenshot app. I’ve been having a lot of fun making this. Don’t you just love the pattern on this zebra’s hindquarters? It looks like his tail has been braided.

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Here is a screenshot of a page. Two pages, I mean. I’m very impressed with myself.

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I made our Christmas cards, too. We got them yesterday—it’s a happy moment when they turn out as good as they looked on the screen. The lion’s paws don’t show up in the photo, but they do on the card—this is a screenshot from Shutterfly.com and I obviously didn’t snip all of it.

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This is the first time I didn’t make quilty cards. But then, I traveled most of the year.

Here is my other “project.” Learning this thing. But it’s a whole lot of fun and the apps are a kick in the pants. Figuring out the touch is the hardest part. You get your finger close to a hotspot and it goes. And not always when you wanted it to. Lots of “woops!”

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Q School is being held this year at the course where we live. It has been interesting to watch the [large] groups of players, caddies, scorekeepers and spectators as they walk the course. If you are an amateur golfer, you can play in this six-day tournament to earn the right to enter PGA tournaments with amateur status. If you are a professional, you can’t play in the amateur events, and you might not be good enough to make any money on the PGA, so a lot of top-notch players don’t turn pro. The Q stands for Qualifying. I don’t know why they call it School.

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I was going to go over to the practice tees today—got a golf game Sunday—but the weather has turned nasty. Cold and windy—b-r-r-r. Even the intrepid Q School golfers are wearing all their layers. (The above picture was snapped yesterday.)  Pity the poor people who didn’t pack warm clothes. They look very unhappy out there.

Quilting is progressing on the sailboat quilt. But I can’t show ya yet—cuz it’s a gift. You never know who might visit the blog.

That’s all the news for now. Stay happy and healthy.