Tuesday, December 27

Post Christmas

How have your holidays been?

Thankfully, ours was pretty carefree and relaxing. What a nice change of pace, lol.

I ended my chest cold with a head-sinus cold thing so that has been lovely. To make me feel worse, the SO caught the latter of my two diseases and it was the cruddier one. :( Luckily, it's only lasts a few days.

FMIL did a ton of baking and made white chocolate dipped pretzels, peanut butter blossoms (pb cookies with a hershey's kiss in the middle), chocolate fudge with walnuts, sweet spiced mixed nuts (walnuts and pecans), wreath cookies (cornflakes mixed with marshmallows and sprinkled with red hot cinnamon candies), and Russian tea cakes/ Mexican wedding cakes. There was plenty for this household and more to give as gifts to friends and neighbors. I decided to try to make homemade salsa again and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.

The tree was decorated and the stockings were hung just in time for the big day and on top of all that baking, FMIL whipped up a mini feast for the three of us for Christmas Eve dinner. Beef roast with green bean casserole, mashed potatoes, and fresh salad with some of my tomatoes. Oh yes, we ate like kings this past weekend.

The next morning, the rest of the boys were here and we had Christmas Day brunch. Something new to try to make many of our lives easier. We've learned our lesson again after Thanksgiving. : ) After we finished munching, we went to gather around to open presents. The SO's family has a tradition of opening one gift at a time (while you have some) and the youngest going first. The pets got some gifts so at the very last moment, we decided to let them go first (they are the youngest after all!).

Oh boy. The cats. If I had been more awake, I should have gotten video footage of them. Their grandma, FMIL, got them these big catnip filled mice with animal print and fuzzy yarn tails and a bell attached. Normally, our kitty is not impressed by catnip but they were both absolutely enamored by these toys! While his kitty cousin did his best to kill his mouse and then roll around on his high, ours was torn between killing it and loving on it and, being normally very reserved in crowds of people, was flopping around and very brave. They were hilarious fun to watch while the people took turns opening gifts.

They also got treats and the doggie got a giant meat-filled bone as well as a bag of smaller ones. That big one was her best friend for the rest of the day. She was torn between eating it, carrying it around, and attempting to hide it but unable to find a suitable spot that no one knew about.

Another half tradition is to ball up your tissue and wrapping paper and chuck it at someone. Needless to say with two kitties rolling around in euphoria, most of the paper was tossed into the middle of the living room at them. They couldn't have cared less. XD

I got some orange-flavored TicTacs that I finished by the end of the day (the same thing happened last year XD), a Native American crafted necklace made with coral, a pretty silver hair pin that also doubles as a sweater clasp (FMIL and I picked out yarn today because she wanted to make be a turtleback sweater as a gift), Phineas & Ferb fruit chews (I've been dying to get my hands on them! We love that show here), and pajama pants that have penguins in winter hats and scarves. So comfy.

I've already planned out an entire workshop to host a month from now and that was kind of stunning. Thank goodness for having someone around to bounce ideas off of. Been slowly but surely getting back into the swing of reorganizing my life again and it feels very satisfying. I think that shall be one of my goals for this coming year- to take most of that time I waste worrying and fretting during mental planning and just use that energy to get something done. Even if it's something small. The steps add up and then the next weight can be put onto my shoulders. Strength and stamina training towards becoming a well-functioning adult. Lol.

After opening gifts, we munched on the treats and played video games together for a little while. The rest of the day and the days since have been pretty uneventful besides running quite a bit of random little errands all over town. I'm very grateful for this chance (however long it will last) to recharge and relax.

Hopefully, I'll have fun stuff to share soon! See you then. <3

Friday, December 23

Eyes Of A Predator

I will not procrastinate on this post any longer. No matter how cruddy I feel.

That chest cold I thought I was finally getting over? It is not letting go without a fight. My sinuses. To quote one of my favorite artists, Meghan Murphy: "I was so sick, I was more mucus than human. Ugh." Just stick an "am" where the "was" is located.

This past Tuesday, we had the somewhat unexpected happen in our household. It's a little graphic and you've been warned. You can skip until past the italics. The sixteen year old calico cat that belonged to FMIL has been battling with breast cancer tumors and had decided to... well, not deal with that particular tumor anymore. She ripped it out of her belly and, despite having a large gaping wound, then decided to carry on about her business- jumping up on top of a tall armoire and playing with a ball that had been batted underneath the door to her bedroom.

The SO, FMIL, and I brought her into the vet to confirm our suspicions and upon hearing so, the decision was made to put her down. She was her stubborn self to the very end. I have teased that she's been death incarnate and was, at this rate, going to out-live us all, and this was just her merely opening a portal to the underworld. We can all still hear her distinct and loud yowl-meow and feel her piercing stare even now.

After it was all done (we were glad to have the opportunity to stay with her through the process so that she, nor FMIL, would have to face death alone), we talked in the car on the way home about how she was probably going to reincarnate into a predatory bird (if she hasn't been several already) and we'd probably feel that glare of hers and be screeched at any day now.

With those thoughts, rest in peace, Clown.

I'll see you soon. <3

Monday, December 19

Seasonal Stupor

We really did it, we really survived.

Three parties in three days and now we don't have any formal plans for the rest of the holiday season. As weird as that is for someone like me who is used to being booked solid, I don't mind it nearly as much this year.

Well, I went from being a bit brain-dead to a whirlwind of activity with heading into work on Friday, which was the last day for the kids. We made latkas and ornaments with the kids for them to take home to celebrate the holidays. Got home, changed for the staff party and whipped up another batch of cake pops to bring to the home of the hosting coworkers.

I friggin' love their remodeled home. It is so cozy, quirky, and perfect for entertaining. I want my own dream home to feel like that one day. It's inspirational. The catered food was from a Mexican restaurant that I really like and with the dessert selection, I was in heaven and the rough day in class was very much worth the reward. Good food makes for one happy girl.

The next day, the SO and I crammed in some more holiday errands before heading to a family friend's home for a graduation party for their daughter. This also had good catered Mexican food and yummy cake. She has two ferrets, so I did a little research and found out about crocheting a cover over plastic Easter eggs filled with different dried pastas. You can put other things to jingle and rattle in there, but with the very likely chance that they will have way too much fun with the toys and annihilate them, pasta is pretty safe for them to accidentally ingest. So... that's what I did, lol. I used different amounts and shapes to alter the sound and provide a little extra stimulation because those creatures are so cunning, clever, and curious like that.

Yesterday, it was pretty much get up, get ready, pack the car, and go. Our last party for the weekend/ season was up in the Phoenix-Metro area and that could sometimes be a 2.5 hour drive is the traffic is crazy, but it was the usual 1.5 hours to get there. This dinner was very different in that it was a family friend who had helped sponsored my mother and aunt to come to the States from a refugee camp back in the eighties. She's a wonderful lady with an eclectic collection of people in her life that we got to meet and chat it up with. Many people knew of my mother and aunt there and it was pretty cool for me and them to see/ for me to be my mother's twenty-something years old daughter. Man, what can happen in a few years time or over a lifetime.

That's been really interesting about this holiday season. The SO and I have been increasingly reclusive (although we can be pretty darn sociable) but we decided to break away from the monotony that this rough time in our lives has brought on and tackle these very social events and chat it up with all sorts of people. That's something that we really enjoy doing in our own quirky ways and it was very cool to get back in touch with that part of our personalities and indulge in a bit of grown-up holiday mayhem again. It was really fun, in a chaotic way, to get all dressed up together. With this practice, by the time that becomes normal for us, we'll have it down to a second-nature science. I can't wait to be that couple going through that part of our lives. You know, before we start a family and it all goes out the window. XD

Now, for some hardcore recovering. I've already gotten started on making a gift stash to help save my sanity and here are some pictures from the past few days:

 Snow-capped mountains as of late.
 One of the trees the coworkers have around their beautiful home. This one is white because we put all of our White Elephant gifts underneath.
 The Oreo Truffle Cake Pops I made for the staff at school. With grateful hand-stamped and Cricut-cut tags. Not the cutest, but being in baggies made it so very festive.
The final batch of the holiday-party season. I've gotten much better at it! I tend to use different candy coating colors or sprinkles for chocolate verses vanilla flavors.

Hm. I think my beloved bed beckons me now. I'll see you soon. <3

Wednesday, December 14

Foodie Fiona

What year is it?

Ugh, I've been fighting that cold-sinus-thing pretty hard the past few days. Let's see, the garage door has been fixed, the cards and gifts have not only gone out but some arrived by Saturday(!), and the cake pops have been made and delivered. I decided to start a new batch of herbs indoors in individual pots because the ones outside in the planter are overwhelming each other, lol.

The SO and I have been on the weirdest errand runs ever lately. (Sidenote: He knows of the best sandwich shops! They are all family-owned little shops with the most delicious of foods! He knows how to spoil me with good food, lol.) These are unexpectedly dragging us all over town but somehow it's been a bit of a relief to get out of the house, even for a little while. One of those included me getting a new food processor. My little cheap-o one burnt out after I tried to make a few mini batches of cake pops. Now, thanks to my ineptitude for cutting food items and a 20% off coupon paired with a $10 rebate, I have this gorgeous 7-cup food processor that I have named Fiona:

That is her full of the makings of a homemade salsa. It wasn't the best but we liked trying using new things like Anaheim chili peppers, tomatillos, and my cherry tomatoes. The results weren't necessarily bad, it just wasn't the fantastic combination that we were hoping for, but I guess that's what you get when you experiment without any plan.

I've neglected to take pictures of everything that I've made recently thanks to my ill-induced stupor and I'm realizing-regretting it now. Sigh.

Well, hope to have fun stuff to share soon! See you then. <3

Thursday, December 8

Bright Fruits Of Labor

We have been covering the plants for the past few nights and have had minimum frost damage. In the desert. Go figure.

I did manage to get out into the garden Saturday evening. The SO did help me harvest all of the cherry tomatoes and Bird's Eye Chilies. The catch was that it was dark, really cold, and raining so I've been a little sick this week because of it.

Here's a glimpse of the results:
The haul before separating...
... and the haul after separating so they may finish ripening better.
The scantily-clad chillies huddle close together- ready to be covered for the night.
The cherry tomato plants. I have trimmed many dead branches off and have spied more blossoms and baby tomatoes that I did not have the heart to harvest.

This was oh so satisfying and now comes the fun part of figuring out how to get rid of all of this fruit! XD I am so proud of my first garden harvest and have already started planning for next year. It sounds far away but I'm going to try to start (a bit more) properly in terms of time-frame. That means starting off my new babies indoors in the next month or two so they'll be healthy and strong sprouts that are ready for a ton more sunlight come early spring. The idea gets me a little giddy and that's a really nice feeling to have again. 

To update on what I wrote about last: I have finished all of the cards and had so many extra, I wrote cards to people I hadn't initially planned for and the gifts have all been made (and then some!). I finished addressing everything last night and the SO and I shall be making a crazy trip to the postal store later. We're currently getting our garage door fixed (Hooray! If just for the overhead lighting in there while we dig around for Christmas decorations, lol!).
I finally got the tree set up yesterday, ornaments and little knick knacks will be going up this evening a la FMIL and then I can get ready to make a whole boat-ton of cake pops. I'm crossing my fingers that they will turn out presentable and go over well. All of the parties happen next weekend and we still have a special birthday dinner to make this weekend. I almost hear my mother's voice in my head about how I need all of the help I can get to be presentable myself. I should start primping hardcore asap. Sigh. If you can't tell, I'm the hot mess of my family. Lol.

I think two of my goals for next year are to figure out how to properly prepare packages for mailing because I seem to send out the strangest-shaped items and to have a little stockpile of already made gifts so I'm not doing this at the last moment. I hadn't planned to do many gifts this year because of our finances, but I know I can put my crafting skills to some use and give something to those that we love. 

I keep being told that I give plenty but even when I'm frustrated as all get-out, I instinctively choose to keeping giving more somehow. There may be tons of grumbling to myself and close friends, but somehow I'll still manage to do something positive. It must be some combination of my upbringing and personality or whatnot. This is probably coming off as lamenting, but dang it if it's not draining when you haven't found a balance. I'm getting there each year and I love the joy it can generate. It's just that... holy cow, I still want to gouge my own eyes out with a rusty spoon because of all of the nonsense around me. *Deep breath* This is only temporary. This is only temporary. I have some wonderful people in my life that I will choose to keep a part of it when I finally achieve better circumstances. Right now, I am very grateful for all of the blessings and good fortune in my life. Whew. 

I need more coffee. This is going to be a long day/ holiday season. I'll see you soon. <3

Thursday, December 1



has been one of the few things that have given me strength and comfort lately and at this very moment too. Other include four close friends, the SO, our beloved sweet kitty and making sure he's as comfortable as possible, making gifts, and planning for some semblance of a decent holiday season.

I can't believe I somehow turned on the date feature in the corner. That was a handy feature back in the day, but since uploading the pictures to a computer records the exact time and date, it's kind of an eye sore, lol. 

I've been wanting to blog so badly but had no idea what to talk about. Being here is like being all warm and comfortable in bed. It's just a familiar and often safe place. 

I'm still at a loss. Maybe that's mostly because I'm in the middle of a lot. Items have been woven, knitted, and crocheted. I still need to make those cake pops for the school and may start that project a week earlier than originally planned because morale has hit an all-time low from what I've seen.

This past month has been a whirlwind of negativity and a huge example of that would be the fact that the SO, FMIL, and I spent nearly $100 and 6.5 hours changing all of the locks on the house last night in order to protect ourselves. It drains my energy just thinking about all of the details and events that have led up to this latest development.

It's flabbergasting how self-serving and destructive people can be these days. There is a massive lack of accountability in the air. It reminds me of how grateful I am for the tough lessons I was taught growing up because I'm that much more responsible. Or my moral compass is stronger than most that I've observed, at the very least.

I'm nearly done with all of the gifts that I need to send out, then I can work on preparing the gifts closer to home. I actually have one wrapped as of today! So weird. XD Still haven't started writing the cards but that should go much more quickly this year with the stamped sentiments. 

Tomorrow I go into school to balance my time between two classrooms, then go home and prepare for a meeting on the phone to determine my education future (Fingers crossed that all my concerns will be taken care of in as little as possible!), and I might be able to meet up with good company for ladies' night out. I may not drink, but I am all about finger foods and fun conversation.

I will finish all of the cards that need to be sent out this weekend. I will finish and prepare the gifts that need to be sent out. The SO and I have planned to harvest all of my tomatoes and Bird's Eye Chilies this Saturday with the impending very cold weather coming soon. Even if they are still green, we've gathered paper bags and newsprint to wrap them individually until the ripen on their own indoors. We have so many cherry tomatoes that we've been scrambling to find recipes to use them in or just eating them like candy. I think I'm okay with letting the trees die off (They are already getting so yellow! >_<) this winter and using some of the seeds from the fruits that I have grown for next year's crop. I'll just try for one main tomato plant and think we'll start one off indoors at the end of this month or the middle of next. Hm.

Dear Universe, please let this new month bring better experiences for the loved ones in my life as well as myself. Thank you and sincerely, Me.

I'll see you soon. <3

P.S. I hope you have been able to do a little something to help raise awareness and fight today in honor of World AIDS Day. Every bit counts against this epidemic!
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