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Writer's Block: Bottoms up!

How do you usually spend New Years Eve? Do you like big parties, small celebrations with friends, or do you prefer to hang out by yourself? Is New Years a time of reflection for you?

On New Year's Eve, we stay home.  Boring, I know.  I don't want to be on the road with a bunch of drunks, so we hole up on the couch and eat shrimp cocktail (required) and watch the ball drop in NYC and count down to the New Year with two glasses of champagne and a kiss.  Then we call the family and yell "Happy New Year!"  over speaker phone.

Usually, during the day we review last years' goals and discuss new ones for the upcoming year: personal, financial and family.  Then, I quickly read to finish the last book(s) of the year.

I think I might like to go out on NYE, I just never have.  Not even when I was growing up.  I don't miss it and I think I would probably be annoyed by a big crowd of people but I guess I should try it at least once.  If I were to go anywhere, I think  I'd prefer a small celebration with family or friends.  However, since we've gotten our dogs we would probably decline since one of them has seizures whenever there are a bunch of fireworks going off.  For the last three New Year's Eves, at some point during the night, we've sat on the floor and gotten Wanda through it and then clean up  the drool and/or whatever else she's lost control over.  We'll do it again on Thursday.  New Year's and Forth of July are really exciting days at my house; but she's our "kid" so that's just what you do.

Craft Fair this weekend!!!!

Well, the big day has come.  I'm finally going to get to try and sell some of my jams to the public!!!!  I donated some to my niece's Harvest Festival, but I was not there to represent myself.  This time I'm going to get to talk up my yummies.... All low sugar, made with seasonal fruit and the occasional spirit.

I'm looking at getting an e-business started but I haven't found the time to make all the appropriate inquiries.

If you're in the Castro Valley area, come and visit!!!

Click for details

Post DC mini post

Just returned from my cousin's wedding.  It was very nice and the fact that she had the reception in a historic place was pretty cool. 

So for the mini post- 
  • My feet are happy to be home.
  • Metro is about a million times better than BART (and significantly cheaper).
  • The Library of Congress is simply amazing.
  • We ate at Spike Mendelson's (Top Chef) burger place, which was pretty good, considering it was just a hamburger and fries, although the toasted marshmallow shake was super yummy.
  • We ate a Eric Ripert's place - that was like food heaven.
  • Had some family drama that I can't decide if I want to post about.  Maybe but I don't feel like typing out 20+ years of stuff just to whine about this past weekend.  It's probably not whining really;  what's going on is starting to bother me and make me very sad, so in reality, I should just do something about it. 
A few snaps:



Been away awhile...

My entrance into the Facebook community has taken me away from blogging anything.  I thought it was about time to get back to this...

Yea for bullet points:

*  I bought myself a laptop.  I love it and can't believe we were a one computer family for as long as we were.

*  Work is crazy with ups and downs.  I have no idea if I will have a job in six months but I'm sticking with it for the time being.  Biotech is always a little risky but sometimes it feels more risky than I like which is causing me to think and evaluate my options.

*  We almost have one complete month of emergency money saved, so that is making me very happy and a *little* more secure.

* I've been selling some stuff on eBay this week to get rid of some things around the house.  Things sure don't sell as well as they used to, do they?

* Been doing a lot of home improvement lately:  new blinds throughout the house, new windows and doors (taking advantage of the tax rebate and it will make the house so much warmer in the winter), and we removed the carpet in our 2nd room revealing a very nice wood floor.  The floor could stand being refinished but it's not that bad.

* Finally, the thing that it taking up the most of my free time lately - JAM!  I have over 100 jars of jam put up in my house right now.  I brought some of my very best flavor to a meeting with some croissants one night and I've been invited to sell it at multiple craft fairs around the area (Castro Valley).  I do about 3-5 batches a week so I've got jam all over the house.  People at work have been buying off of me at my cost so this will be the first time I try to actually turn a profit.  I hope it sells because 100+ jars is a LOT!  I've been developing some of my own flavors, too, so my confidence is growing.
Flavors so far: 
Mango Raspberry
Cherry Amaretto
Strawberry Nectarine
Rhubarb Orange
Blackberry - from my own bushes
Blackberry Chambord
Peach Rum with Gosling's Black Seal (more of a sauce than a jam)
Vanilla Bourbon Peach - the far and away favorite of everyone
Orange Fig with Grand Marnier
Cardamom Plum

To do this week:
Strawberry & Stemilt Apricot (they are beautiful, little, blushed apricots)
Balsamic Strawberry (which I can't wait to eat with ricotta or vanilla marscapone on an english muffin!!)

Next week:
Pear & Anise - from my own tree!!
Vanilla Pear
Apple butter
Carmel Apple butter
Spiced Carmel Pear butter
whatever other fresh fruit I find

*In addition to jams, I've been putting up pickles with my favorite being dilly beans.   They are dill pickled green beans and I had NO idea they would be SO good.  I'd never heard of them before and someone mentioned them at work... they are awesome.  I've been eating them over salads and find that I don't need any dressing because the flavor of the beans is plenty.  I've done some bread and butter pickles which are quite good and some kosher dills that I don't like too much but Lenny does.  I've also got a dozen jars of sauerkraut that I fermented myself.  Fermenting food is a little unnerving but no one has gotten sick yet, so that's good.

*I also came into some tomatoes today, so I guess I'll be canning those this week too.

*Home canning - it's a sickness.

*Lenny continues to travel for work far more than I like.  He's home one week out of every 6 and I'm getting tired of it.  Done, not going to bitch about it right now.

* We are taking a vacation to DC in early October for my cousin's wedding.  Our big plans were supposed to include NYC but since he's never home we decided on taking one week in DC and one week at home.  NYC will come soon, but not as soon as we'd hoped.

Well, that's enough, I guess.  Good night, LJ - I'll try not to be so absent....


Friday Five- The Cleaning Edition

1. How often do you clean your home? Very rarely do I clean the WHOLE place.  Mostly, we'll do the public areas or the private areas on opposite weeks.  Some rooms don't get cleaned for a looooong time;  we're too busy with other things to worry about a spotless house.  I'd rather go out and live my life.  However, if there a people coming over I will clean -- most people would be amazed at how much dust I tolerate.

2. What domestic chore do you hate? I don't like to vaccuum, fold/ put away laundry or change sheets. 

3. What domestic chore do you enjoy? I like cleaning kitchens and bathrooms.

4. Do you own a washing machine or go to the laundrette?  I have a washing machine - one of the few perks to being an old lady with a job (as opposed to a poor college student).

5. Do you iron underpants and/or bed sheets?
  ARE YOU KIDDING???  I don't iron ANYTHING unless forced at gun point.


I should feel sorry for people who have no vision and want to shit on other people's ideas but right now I'm just pissed.


Melissa F

Right now, I am sad.  My cousin and her husband are losing his (their) daughter within the next few hours or days.  She was diagnosed with a brain tumor February 2008 and while they've had a few months more with her than they thought, it has been a hard journey for them.   

Her dad admitted to me that he wished she would "go soon" back in October.  (They didn't expect her to see Christmas in 2008.)  He said, "I know that sounds terrible"  but I told him that I understood;  waiting for the inevitable would feel impossible.  They were very close because she was his "buddy", loving to fish, hunt and camp with him.   I told him that I had could not begin to understand how he was feeling and that I didn't know how he was getting through it.  He replied, "Xanax".  We chuckled.  There is a little truth in most humor, I guess.

I met her once so I didn't know her at all really.  But I can't imagine what it must be like for her parents.   All the promise and dreams for her life that is dying right along with her must be unbearable for them.  She is 14.  

My heart is breaking for family in Illinois tonight.

Annoyed - what else is new

I hate it when people use Facebook status updates to preach about whatever; especially when it is, by-and-large,  propaganda.

I've also pulled my back or something and it is horrendously painful.  If this is what my mom has been feeling like for the last few months, I am elated that she's had her surgery and that she is no longer in pain.  (She's pain-free except for the healing part... but that is temporary. YAY!!)

We've been racking our brains (me and Lenny, that is) trying to come up with a name for a company that we are in the fledgling stages of starting.  It is REALLY hard to come up with something that is personally meaningful but doesn't sound stupid.  We've brainstormed seriously for the last two days and there is not a lot that is sticking out saying, "Pick me! Pick me!"

SO... if you were a client/ financially based organization what would you be called?  You need to sound strong yet caring, original (if possible), brand-able (depending on growth), easily spelled, with longevity so that 10 years down the road you don't sound pathetically trendy. 

We've got one, maybe, but it lacks originality.  Something might have to be sacrificed - originality looks to be it, so far. 

I'm getting antsy to get going though.  Without the name, we cannot set up the LLC, get an address, business cards or credit.


I got a bill from UPS today.  Which is wierd in the first place, but as I dig around I find that it is for something shipped from Kansas to Vermont.  WTF?  There is a shipper number assigned to my name.  I hope this is a simple mistake and not some kind of identity theft.