The Blog Hole

Monday again, which means I was last here a week ago. Lame. It’s been one of those crazy weeks where…. well, you know. You’re doing the pre-Christmas-crazy-dance, too, I’m sure. Or maybe you’re doing the post-Hannukah-crazy-dance. Either way, it involves hair-pulling, food-cooking and a little butt-wigglin’. At least, it does if you’re me.

I thought I’d give you a little update about what I’ve been up to these last few days that has kept me away from you. Last Tuesday I made a cheesecake for a friend’s birthday party. The cooking didn’t start until late because I realized my spring pans were in storage. After a frantic drive across town, I made what turned out to be my most delicious cheesecake ever. I have finally found a recipe that satisfied my cheesecake requirements: dense but still creamy, flavorful but not over-the-top. I’ll share the recipe one of these days…If I’m feeling generous.

Wednesday, I had more cooking in store. Marianne and I had a date planned to make lasagnas for the office potluck. There was only one minor setback, though. The burglar alarm at my house (which is not connected nor being paid for) decided it’d be fun to go off the instant I got home from work that evening. Loud, awful, awful sirens. Simba, of course, panicked and hid under the bed.

Fish Taco was as calm as…. well… Fish Taco.

Nobody knew the code on the dang thing so it went off for probably 15 minutes before we finally managed to get it to stop. I’ve had a headache ever since…

Thursday, I went to see a holiday lights show in town. Spending a few years in Nashville spoiled me during Christmas time. The Opryland Hotel has one of the most beautiful Christmas displays I’ve ever seen. So I was a little underwhelmed by Santa’s Wonderland, but it was still a fun time. There was a even festive alligator made of lights. Need I say more?

The weekend was weekend-y, and today was the definition of a manic Monday. I woke up to realize a pipe had burst under my house. Possibly related to the toilet fun a few weeks ago? This is not to say I expect you to willingly click a link called “toilet fun.”

And after work it was a mad dash to the store to buy ingredients for cookies followed by a madder dash home to make it in time for the finale of The Sing-Off. (Don’t get me started on the results. My Nashville friend, Jeremy, is in Street Corner Symphony. I know they say “don’t kill the messenger,” but Nick Lachey will not be getting any Christmas cookies from me.)

Anyway, Patrick’s dad would hate me forever if I showed up to Christmas without my oatmeal cookies.  And tonight I decided to try another cookie recipe touted by Marianne called Split-Seconds. Here are the results.

Yum. Santa better be good to me this year.

All I want for Christmas is no more plumbing problems.

Fling Into Filing

While my friends in Nashville, Chicago and Cleveland were digging themselves out of mounds of snow this weekend, I dug myself out of mounds of paper. If there is one thing I could change about myself, I would be more organized. I HATE filing so much that I have approximately 4 years of filing I’ve been putting off (I’m only slightly exaggerating). And my kitchen cupboards frequently look like little mice crawl through them and dance around with cans on their backs, flipping over spices and packages of pasta as they go. Gross. Now I’m going to worry that mice really do go through my cupboards.

And you may remember my closet

They say that opposites attract though, and when it comes to Marianne, I’ve met my organizational match. What I lack in neatness and order, Marianne makes up for ten-fold. So when my amazing friend offered to come over on her Sunday and help me file, I was overwhelmed with gratitude. I don’t think she knew what she was in for. But she showed up ready and eager, patiently teaching me what to keep and what to toss. She will never know how much this means to me.

It’s not quite done, but the pile is shrinking and slowly chaos is turning into order. And since I probably won’t see much snow in Texas this winter, I’m thinking of shredding the old papers into smithereens and making my own white Christmas. It may be a few days before the living room is back in order, but at least the Christmas tree looks nice.

And I think Simba agrees.

‘Tis the Season… Or Something

Today, little less than three months out from Christmas, I’m thinking about the holiday season and filled with nervous excitement. I’m not usually ahead of schedule with these things, but this year, I’m planning on getting my holiday cards done early. It may be that I’m just ready to go home and see my family…

Last year, I didn’t mail out many cards because I was on a budget… and a little lazy, honestly. This year, I think it would be nice to let my friends and family all over the country know that I’m thinking of them… just in case they’ve forgotten me way out here in the lonely Lone Star State.

Holiday cards are one of those annual rituals I used to watch my parents complete with admiration. How do they know so many people? Don’t their hands hurt from all those signatures? Aren’t they tired of licking stamps (this was before the sticker-stamp)? And each year, our living room would fill up with colorful cards and photos of families I’d never met.

In an age where the impersonal has become personal, it’s nice to send (and receive) something palpable that says “I’m thinking of you.” I enjoy having trinkets to display on my mantle (if I had a mantle), and you can’t put scotch tape on your Facebook wall posts and hang them on your refrigerator.

I think this year, I’ll design my own card. Usually, I raid the TJ Maxx bins for their “Last Season” stock of holiday wonders. I’d like something nature-y this year, something neutral and non-denominational. The design is only half the work though. In addition to the frenzy associated with picking a printing website, I’m already anxious about my list of recipients. What if I forget someone? Who should be added? Who should be removed (I have people on the list who probably don’t remember me anymore)? Don’t even get me started on the subsequent gift purchasing. WHY DOES CHRISTMAS HAVE TO BE SO NERVE-WRACKING?!

I know I’m crazy to already be thinking about the holidays, but my amazing friend Brooke is already listening to Christmas music, and I figure, it’s never too early to think about telling the people who matter in your life that you care. Plus, maybe if I put the word out there now, I’ll get some extra use out of my scotch tape this year.