Thursday, December 31, 2009

Big Fun

The holidays were festive and busy! We started off Christmas Eve with some last minute shopping.

A brief stop for coffee (yes - decaf)

and then on to a few stores in the Coventry District

Big Fun is the best... isn't this mirror slimming? I could shop here all day!

Picked up a delightful dashboard hula dancer for The Boy now that he has his driver's license (shhh.... I wasn't allowed to post that!) and an awesome joke ketchup bottle for the husband so he won't get into trouble squirting condiments onto my plate before I'm actually finished with my meal!

Also helped out Santa by picking up some vintage candies there. This is The Boy's best impersonation of Hunter S. Thompson... he wanted a real one for Vegas but I "forgot" to buy him one. Candy is nicer. (Wanted to get myself some candy cigarettes too but decided against it.)

Then on to Mac's Backs Books...

This place is very cool. I really need to come back when we have more than an hour to spare! I love books. Kindles are the anti-Christ. Seriously. The decline of civilization will follow.

Spent the Eve with the Macko's - the usual fun was had by all.

We opened our gifts Christmas morning and I made the breakfast for my hungry menfolk. Puff pastry with cream cheese and sausage, cheesy potato casserole, cinnamon rolls, orange juice... Midwestern enough for ya!? You bet, eh!

Gotta love the relative gift-wrap styles at our place. Mine were color coordinated in solids with complementary ribbon designed around the glitter tags. This from the anal retentive chemist.

The Boy on the other hand took a more green approach carefully selecting newspaper with appropriate theme... dinosaurs and essential Cleveland for The Husband, and Toys 'R Us and a subtle Avatar hint for me. (Soon! I promise! We'll go!) Hand made bows and such! I guess that's what we get for our art school dollar!

The Boy and I checked out Sherlock Holmes Christmas Day. It was a nice little flick. However! There are no girls in Sherlock Holmes folks. No girls. Nope. Nada. None. Enough said.

Saturday I cruised to Toledo to spend the evening with my Chi Omega pledge sisters - I am so glad to be seeing them regularly. We closed the place down then I drove back to Cleveland!

The Carpenter Christmas Extravaganza was held in Columbus at Sister Deb's house. Checked out Morgan's soccer game to start the day then a delicious lunch.

We skyped in Megan from California and spent the afternoon trading our favorite iPhone apps... Cyber Christmas!

Three cities - three days - three times the fun!

Hope yours was swell too!

Next stop - BALL DROP!


Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Lot Like Christmas

Last minute shopping bringing out the animal in your fellow man? Soothe those savage beasts with good cheer.

Stuck on the roads? At least the traffic lights are red and green!

Almost out of egg nog? The horror!

If all else fails, get into the Christmas "spirits"!

Three more sleeps until the big day!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Bright Lights, Blessed Solstice!

Happy Solstice! Can you believe it is that time again?

Being as there was no Sun to catch an image of this morning, how about some festive light of another wavelength?

As we welcome back our old friend Sol (and we are VERY glad he is on his way back) let's visit the city of lights! I'm not talking about that impostor Paris, or even that fake no sleeper New York... it's Vegas Baby!

Enjoy the bright!

Who thinks the husband might have been ready to take the camera away during the trip?

1. neils, 2. flamingo, 3. mickeys, 4. mgm, 5. rocka, 6. funcity, 7. holiday, 8. vic, 9. glitta, 10. genie, 11. dorothy, 12. megatini, 13. hiho, 14. lactaid, 15. chief, 16. 4queens, 17. fremont, 18. potogolld, 19. horseshoe, 20. golden, 21. vegas, 22. impudent, 23. chipotle, 24. white noise, 25. dragon, 26. mardigras, 27. harrahs, 28. guitar, 29. jubilee, 30. rolla, 31. times2, 32. paris, 33. planet, 34. mirage, 35. east, 36. girlpowa

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Confection Connection

Well the family has made the big time!

My Mom and Sister Diana have been having a Christmas Cookie exchange party for the last ten years. I drive to Toleod over for it when I can - when blizzards or other events do not prevent it! It is always quite a good time.

Last Sunday they were featured in The Toledo Blade, which is after all "One of America's Great Newspapers" it says so right on the Masthead! The article told of how they began the tradition and how they keep it going.

Here is a snap of one of the three tables of cookies that the revelers brought to share!

One of the best things is seeing the houses decorated for Christmas. My nieces counted 23 trees in Diana's house, but I think they were low... They are many and they are themed: snowmen, bears, Santas, gingerbread folk, Suessical, Ohio State buckeyes, frogs, and Noah's ark are the first that come to mind.

If they weren't all in the storage unit, mine would be legion as well. I collect ornaments of snowmen, owls, Curious George, shoes, and a few others. I started a collection of bear ornaments for The Boy his first Christmas - and get him a new one every year. The tree I've building for The husband is, of course, Hot Wheels themed - with an emphasis on Redlines! I miss decorating for the holidays and am going rogue and putting up an unauthorized tree this year. It's not that the Macko's are anti-holidays by any means, just different than the Carpenter's that's all.

We have always been big cookie makers - I'd guess Mom and we girls used to make maybe thirty different kinds each year?

Anyway... Just in case you need a new recipe for holiday cookies, may I recommend one of these? The first one, the chocolate shortbread, has cayenne pepper in it - which always reminds me of the "know-it-all" in the Polar Express. Remember?

You know, Montezuma, the king of the Aztecs...
...would drink quarts of hot chocolate every day.
It was thick as mud and red. He put chili pepper in instead of sugar.
- Get it? Hot chocolate?



· 8 oz. NESTLÉ CHOCOLATIER™ 53% Cacao Dark Chocolate Baking Bar(s), broken into small pieces
· 2 cups all-purpose flour
· 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
· 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
· 1 cup packed light brown sugar
· 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
· 1 cup pecans, toasted, chopped


*Preheat oven to 325º F.
*Microwave small chocolate pieces in small, uncovered, microwave-safe bowl on HIGH (100%) power for 45 seconds; stir. If pieces retain some of their original shape, microwave at additional 10- to 15-second intervals, stirring just until melted. Cool to room temperature.
*Combine flour, cinnamon and cayenne in medium bowl. Beat brown sugar and butter in large mixer bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in melted chocolate. Stir in flour mixture until blended. Stir in pecans.
*Shape dough into 1-inch balls; place 2-inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten with bottom of glass dipped in sugar.
*Bake for 10 to 12 minutes or until edges are set. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

This one is just because my Mom can't have chocolate, so I replaced the mini morsels with fruit and nuts. Frankly it is good for almost any addition - sweet or savory. I also use it for Christmas morning with sausage... I don't add the sugar of course! Let me know what you add!



· 2 sheets (17.25-ounce package) frozen puff pastry, thawed
· 1 package (8 ounces) cream cheese, softened
· 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
· 1 cup cranberries
· 1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts


*Unfold 1 puff pastry sheet on lightly floured surface. Roll out to make 14 x 10-inch rectangle.
*Combine cream cheese and sugar in small bowl until smooth.
*Spread half cream cheese mixture over puff pastry, leaving 1-inch border on one long side. Sprinkle with half morsels.
*Roll up starting at long side covered with cream cheese. Seal end by moistening with water. Repeat steps with remaining ingredients.
*Refrigerate for 1 hour.
*Preheat oven to 375° F. Lightly grease baking sheets or line with parchment paper.
*Cut rolls crosswise into 1-inch-thick slices. Place cut-side-down on prepared baking sheets.
*Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown.
*Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

Here's to a tasty holiday.

If you see any chocolate spritz camel cookies... send them my way!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Another Christmas Miracle


Eight sacks.

Josh Cribbs rules.

...and Brady finally got to lead the boys to a victory.

Thanks for the early gift Santa!

To think no one believed me when I predicted this earlier today.

Gotta have faith!

Use your terrible towels to dry your eyes folks - 'cause the arguably worst team in either league just beat the defending Superbowl champs.

Okay. I'm done now.


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Vegas, Baby!

Let's review those important sins we all live in mortal fear of... m'kay?

Because I blew all of them last week in Vegas celebrating the husband's 50th birthday!

Here we go:

Let's start with GREED - the desire for material wealth or gain, ignoring the realm of the spiritual. Shiny machines spiting out easy money. Enough said? Maybe not. The slots I picked gave all the money to someone else - probably to save my soul. Thank you cosmic universe.

Then there is GLUTTONY - an inordinate desire to consume more than that which one requires. Food, drink - Dionysus would have been so proud.

LUST - an inordinate craving for the pleasures of the body. After years of travel there, I finally made it to a real old school Vegas topless review. Fabulous! Spectacular! Best of all.... SHINY! I love the shiny. How does that tag line go? "The headdress weighs 35 lbs. but the rest of the costume could fit in a teacup." Bally's Jubilee! was well worth the wait.

There was a wee tinge of ENVY as well. The desire for others' traits, status, abilities, or situation. On one hand, most of the fashions I saw in the windows of the myriad shops I would not have worn to a trailer park (no offense intended to any readers who may reside in a trailer park... but you know... the reputation and all) however: the jewelry stores were another matter entirely. Want. Want. Want. Naughty Connie.

Ah PRIDE - excessive belief in one's own abilities, that interferes with the individual's recognition of the grace of God. It has been called the sin from which all others arise. And frankly that applies when we are overly enamored of our children's beauty and accomplishment as well. Seriously? He's that good looking and can stack a double tower of all the creamers on the table to entertain his mother while we wait for dinner? Righteous!

Then there is SLOTH - the avoidance of physical or spiritual work. No work. No school. Very little deep thinking. There was a LOT of walking though so perhaps I was not a super sloth. But I tried really, really, hard. Really.

And lastly I am left with ANGER - manifested in the individual who spurns love and opts instead for fury. Anger that we do not get to play there everyday. Anger that I have not yet visited the real Paris, the real Pyramids, the real Venice. Anger that I sometimes do not appreciate every single day even we don't.

So there is today's cosmological examination.

Now you'll probably have to go to confession as I have likely corrupted you with only the telling of my sordid story.

Have you learned your lesson?!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Not Fade Away

Went for a crisp Fall walk in the park after Dad's talk the other day...

Wildwood Preserve in Toledo is a lovely place - walked the trails and visited the Ellen Biddel Shipman Garden near the Manor House.

But even with the beauty, I can see that Summer is over and winter is approaching

You do get the splendor of the colors

yet Winter is whispering that her turn is coming.

Took Miss Roxy for one more spin before she sleeps,

Had one more barbecue before it is too dark and too cold to enjoy it.

I guess though that you need to look for hidden wonder.

But, it snowed the other day - along with lovely hail balls

...I'm just not ready yet!

I suppose we'll just need to slide into this slowly and see where the path takes us.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

A Close Shave

Last week I had the pleasure of listening to a very special guy talk about a hobby he enjoys... My Dad!

He has collected razors and shaving tools for many years...

Some items have special histories

and many of them were given to him by friends from all over.

Some of his artifacts cover all the mysteries of grooming!

He demonstrated the idiosyncrasies of the straight razor - safety first!

Discussed how the razors were sharpened

and told how the Gillette Company wanted to increase sales by switching to a new kind of razor with a replaceable blade... why sell one straight razor when you can sell blades over and over again!

So many styles of shaver were born once the blades were invented...

...and new ways to sharpen the blades for the frugal!

a plethora of honing devices!

(And did I mention my Mom dressed him and added the fake mustache to complete the ensemble? He's a good sport my Dad - ever ready to play along with the theme dressing!)

Know those fancy vibrating Fusion Razors that are all the rage? Here's an old school one that plugged in. Some where in the display is a wind-up one that is even older! Every thing old is new again...

Every Christmas we bought Dad a new bottle of Mennen aftershave - each year a new design some were pretty cool!

And here is a photo of a real live barber shop belonging to a cousin from Southern Ohio.

Hope you enjoyed our little tour through shaving history! Wish you could have heard it first hand!