Holidays on Ice- mstrust's #8
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That's right, I've jumped right from Halloween to Christmas. And picking up my theme again, this thread is inspired by the book Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris, which means I'll be referencing both Christmas and holiday cocktails. We may need a wall to slide down.
Hi, I'm Jennifer and I'm originally from Orange County, Ca., but I've lived in Phoenix for twenty years. I like books, sweets, cold weather and my husband Mike. And we have a darling boxer named Coral. As always, my threads are politics-free, but with enough snark to keep you warm like a scratchy sweater.
Books Read in 2019
1. Around the World in 80 Days- 4.5
2. Hemingway & Bailey's Bartending Guide- 4.2
3. My Family and Other Animals - 4 stars
4. The Death and Resurrection of Elvis Presley-3.5
5. My Friend Dahmer- 4 stars
6. The 7 Secrets of Awakening the Highly Effective Four-Hour Giant, Today- 3 stars
7. Blood on the Boards- 3.5
8. Lumberjanes: Sink or Swim- 2 stars
9. Book Towns- 4.2
10. 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea- 4
11. Nothing More Than Murder- 3
12. John Dies at the End- 5- ScaredyKit Group
13. Soulless- 3.5- February ScaredyKit Group
14. The Walking Dead Cookbook- 4 stars
15. The Twisted Ones- 4 stars
16. Hollywood Said No!- 3 stars
17. The Widow Clicquot- 3 stars
18. Handwritten Recipes- 3 stars
19. A Year in the Merde- 4 stars
20. The Finer Points of Sausage Dogs- 4 stars
21. The Murder of Helen Jewett- 3 stars- ScaredyKit Group
22. The Twits- 5 stars
23. Diamonds Are Forever- 4.2 stars
24. The Red House Mystery- 2 stars
25. The Friends of Eddie Coyle- 4 stars
26. Hotbox- 4 stars
27. Home from the Vinyl Cafe- 3.5 stars
28. Intoxica!- 4.5 stars
29. Robert Kirkman's Descent- 3 stars
30. Al Capone Does My Shirts- 4 stars
31. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian- 4 stars
32. Mental Floss presents...Be Amazing-3.5 stars
33. Under the Glacier- 3 stars
34. The Art of Tiki- 5 stars
35. More Skipper Stories- 3 stars
36. My Life in Heavy Metal- 3.5 stars
37. The Book Of Lists London- 3.5 stars
38. Say Cheese and Die- 3.5 stars
39. Thirsty- 4.5 stars
40. A Head Full of Ghosts- 4.2 stars
41. Hail to the Chin- 4 stars
42. pReturn to Fear Street: Drop Dead Gorgeous- 4 stars
43. pGoosebumps Most Wanted: Planet of the Lawn Gnomes- 4 stars
44. Dear Boris: The Life of William Henry Pratt- 4 stars
45. Marco Polo: Canada West- 4 stars
46. Go, Mutants!- 4.2 stars
47. Harry's Bar- 3 stars
48. Guide to the National Parks of Canada- 3 stars
49. Blues of a Lifteime- 4 stars
50. The Hawaiian Lei: A Tradition of Aloha- 5 stars
51. Mucho Mojo- 4 stars
52. The Jaws Log- 4 stars
53. Fever: A Nameless Detective Novel- 3.5 stars
54. American on Purpose- 3.5 stars
55. Book Lust To Go- 4 stars
56. Tales From Beyond the Brain- 4 stars- July ScaredyKit
57. The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry- 4 stars
58. AA Gill is Away- 4stars
59. Supernatural: Witch's Canyon- 4.2 stars- July ScaredyKit
60. Born on the Fourth of July- 4 stars
61. The Wounded and the Slain- 3 stars
62. Al Capone Shines My Shoes- 4 stars
63. The History of Rock in Fifty Guitars- 5 stars
64. Fireside Gothic- 4.5 stars- August ScaredyKit
65. Lemmy: The Definitive Biography- 5 stars
66. Junky- 4 stars
67. A Stab in the Dark- 4 stars
68. Elvis in Hawaii- 4.5 stars
69. Johnny Cash at Folsom Prison:The Making of a Masterpiece- 4 stars
70. Elevation- 3 stars
71. Contagious- 4 stars
72. Tales from The Haunted Mansion- 4 stars
73. Fear Street Nights: Midnight Games- 3 stars
74. From Here to Eternity- 4 stars
75. How I Got My Shrunken Head- 3.5 stars
76. Death and Douglas- 4.2 stars
77. DK Top 10 Vancouver & Vancouver Island- 4.5 stars
78. Goosebumps: Ghost Camp- 3 stars
79. A Night in the Lonesome October- 4 stars
80. Seasons of Connecticut- 4 stars
81. The Valancourt Book of Horror Stories: Volume Two- 4 stars
82. How to Survive a Horror Movie
83. Northwest Mountain Flowers- 4 stars
84. Annihilation- 4 stars
85. The Stand- 5 stars
86. Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant- 3 stars- ScaredyKit
87. Supernatural: Nevermore- 4.5 stars
88. Poe-Land- 5 stars
89. Attack of the Graveyard Ghouls- 4 stars- ScaredyKit
90. The Hollywood Book Club- 4 stars
91. The Squared Circle- 3.5 stars
92. Emma- 3.5 stars
93. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan- 3.5 stars
94. Mr Mercedes- 4.2 stars
95. The Body in the Dales- 3 stars
96. The Nimrod Flipout- 4 stars
97. The Best of Mrs Beeton's Cakes & Baking- 4 stars
98. Rogue Male- 4 stars
99. You Better Not Cry- 3 stars
100. The Life and Opinions of Maf the dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe- 2.5 stars
90. The Hollywood Book Club by Steven Rea. This is a LT ER win, published by Chronicle Books.
A book of old Hollywood stars interacting with books, all black and white photos with a paragraph about the actor or the circumstances in which the photo was taken. There's Joan Collins on set and in Western costume of 1958's The Bravados reading You Can't Go Home Again, Orson Welles lying on his couch in 1939 and reading A History of Technology, Vol. III: From the Renaissance to the Industrial Revolution, Sammy Davis Jr. reading The Robe on a patio lounger, and Alfred Hitchcock yawning as he flips through The World of Birds in a bookstore. The cover photo, included inside, is a 1951 shot of Marilyn Monroe reading The Poetry and Prose of Heinrich Heine. It's a nice collection of glamorous people and books. 4 stars
The only reason I let you get away with such an early Chrismas thread is that I feel sad you don't have Sinterklaas in between Halloween and Christmas like we do ;-)
>9 FAMeulstee: Thanks, Anita! We make do with three big holidays in a row, and they make the end of the year go super fast. Throw in our anniversary yesterday, vacation and a couple of birthdays and the last three months of the year are a non-stop sugar rush.
>10 quondame: Thanks Susan!
Thank you for the Christmas reminder, now is the time to think about gifts, to prepare the texts for the Christmas greetings....
For the right mood a small handicraft work of a friend:
>14 SirThomas: Thank you, Thomas! What amazing craftsmanship!
And you're welcome for the reminder, as the end of the year tends to sneak up on us. Three days ago I bought my mom the new Longmire and a book of Texas history she wanted. Yesterday I bought my sister Elegy for Eddie from the series she likes. I also bought myself They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and ordered Twelve Nights At Rotter House, which came out a few days ago. Because I get presents too.
>15 SomeGuyInVirginia: Larry's in! Time change, huh? What's the point? Btw, that was me who left you the mug of warm peppermint schnapps by your head. I filled it from the "water bottle" you keep in your desk. You're welcome!
Ok, all you pro-Christmas types, I've gotten us all matching leather jackets. We're going to hang around the street corner by Santa's Village and throw cherry cordials when RidgewayGirl walks by. She'll smell delicious, and then she'll be sorry, ha!
I've just ordered lunch in. It's going to take FOREVER but in reality 45 mins, tops. Really, microwaves ruined my generation. Well, microwaves and Disney.
>18 SomeGuyInVirginia: But did you find your car keys that I put in the bottom of the mug? I thought, "I'll bet he'll lose them if I don't put them somewhere safe." Do you like how they make your whole car smell like Christmas vomit?
>19 SomeGuyInVirginia: Did you enjoy your delivered lunch, Fancy Pants? 45 minutes is kinda a long time to wait, so I'm guessing you didn't get McDonald's. We went to Ruth's Chris the other night and our steaks had big chunks of mushy fat, and the fire roasted corn had big pieces of the cob in it.
I started The Gunslinger for the Stephen King & Family ScaredyKIT, but after 15 pages, I'm dropping it. I think the only fantasy I've gotten through is the Harry Potter books and Jasper Fford's, and I've never read a Western, though I intend to try Louis L'Amour someday. This may be the first King that hasn't sucked me in.
I believe I did have a very cool aqua Christmas tree last year. If Mike ever became allergic to the real thing, I'd insist on a tinsel one. The lavender ones are beautiful and glow like they're radioactive.
Happy Final Thread of 2019!
I swear I am going to finish another book soon. I'm juggling just two, but got greedy and loaded a few more on my Kindle yesterday. I'm catching up on my murder podcasts, and back to hiking the preserve. We've almost finished the Christmas shopping for my side of the family (are you cussing at me?) and I'm making a list of the cookies I'll be making for the fourteen tins we'll give out this year. But I've put too little thought into Thanksgiving dinner so far.
Apparently, today is National Donut Day. We must comply.
National Doughnut Day.
>31 quondame: Did you hear about that college student who was driving to another state, buying 100 boxes of Krispy Kremes, then selling them at school for a profit? It got on the news and the next day Krispy Kreme corporate told him to stop.
Late last week I picked up a new glass for my whiskey sours. Here it is (not my photo; snagged from ebay):
>34 harrygbutler: Mike loves those cream filled ones too. It's like the thick frosting they put on birthday cakes. My favorites are the yeast chocolate or maple iced, or I like LeMar's cinnamon crumb a lot too.
A Don Ho shot glass! Fabulous!
>35 Carmenere: You are welcome! I especially like the Santa with the tomato red face, like he sucked down a bottle of bourbon.
Other books I've bought in the last few days: the autobiography of Debbie Harry,Face It and Mrs. Sherlock Holmes, the bio of Grace Humiston.
Gather around, children. Mother is going to read you a Christmas story from the Book of Leviticus.
91. The Squared Circle: Life, Death, and Professional Wrestling by David Shoemaker. With the beginnings of what would be modern professional wrestling, as apposed to Greco-Roman Olympic-style, the author gives the history of sideshow wrestling and it's first headliners, then goes into the top acts, mostly from the 1940's to present day. But this isn't about wrestlers who were just famous, this is a book of dead wrestlers. The focus is on their lives and often too early deaths, often with a connection to their profession. Bruiser Brody was stabbed to death in the locker room, Owen Hart fell to his death while making an entrance to the ring, several wrestlers were found dead from a combination of painkillers and other drugs meant to mask the pain from years of ring work. The author also delves into the topics of misogyny and race in professional wrestling, and the constant fight between the various territories, which Vince McMahon pretty much wiped away.
Fond memories of the Wrestlemania era? You might like this, but it certainly delivers the surprising and often harsh reality of the business backstage. 3.5 stars
>36 mstrust: I am old enough to remember wearing pant suits and teasing my hair into strange shapes - I now look back and it makes me think of Gary Oldman as Dracula:
Oh no, hopefully you didn't turn your head into a giant heart, ha! Although I've always admired the elderly ladies with really long hair who wrap it around like a danish pastry.
>44 Familyhistorian: Thanks! I'm about ready to break out the peppermint striped paper and start wrapping presents. And we've already received our Christmas tamales from a friend.
Go get you own.
But seeing how I ate three apples plain and used two more in the roast, I don't know how long my greedy haul will last. I'm most likely to make an apple cake or baked cinnamon apples. And we also have a two jugs of apple cider in the fridge, so I might have to make cocktails. Oh, twist my arm...
Apples seem like they would go so well with chicken and pork. Has anyone else thought of this or should I trademark it? Asking for a friend.
I'm waiting on Vietnamese food delivery. Not because I'm Mr. Fancy pants, but because I'm way too f****** hung over to cook for myself and that includes peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Or enjoy anything that I even see in my refrigerator. I love being hungover on Sunday mornings. Maybe that's why I love brunch, as an ideal to be striven after.
Somebody say something interesting while I wait for the doorbell to ring. Yes I do like the way Judy Garland sings, why do you ask? (Actual brunch question I was faced with.)
I hope the Vietnamese food pampers your hangover.
Apples and pork- crazy talk! But Mike has never eaten pork chops or pork loin without applesauce on top. Perhaps you could put a new and disgusting spin on it, like pork and caramel apples?
Sorry I wasn't around to sympathize with your hangover, but we've been out all day. Did some pho make you feel better? Today was spent taking Coral for her run in the park, then Christmas shopping, lunch, and Mike happened to call his aunt in Vermont yesterday and it was "thanks for calling on my birthday!" So we went and bought her some Native American earrings and local foods because she loves the Southwest. She'll have a birthday box. Oh, and I went next door a while ago and had a confrontation with the neighbors about them turning on not one, but two Harleys in their driveway and just letting them rev and shake our windows. Fun day, and I got a ginger cookie!
Oh, and just try and find someone who doesn't like Judy Garland. You can't.
Which is why I took the ok Vietnamese food on the balcony with a Bloody Mary and a phone list of People With Whom I Have a Grievance. (OK, not really. About the phone thing. I did sit on the balcony and make calls while I propped a foot against the door because it doesn't latch from the balcony and it would be a really Bad Day if Parker forced it open we we learned that he can't fly. I love that cat. He has a very small brain. Right now while I shave every morning he sits on the bathroom sink eyeing the top of the shower stall with a 'Hold my beer' speculative look.)
>51 mstrust: Oh god, so sorry about the noisy neighbors. Did it work? Is that the first time you've been over? Do you think you could empty a box of scorpions in an open kitchen window? I've had noisy neighbors in the past and, personally, the only thing that I've found that works is calling the police and filing a complaint.
I know the problem is also with the property itself, as it's a huge corner lot with a second house, which is zoned as a workshop but he's got people living in it, and a pool. It's one of those places that realtors advertise with "enough space for all your toys!!!" so that's who buys it.
This morning I made espresso chocolate wafers and sandwiched them with chocolate mint buttercream. I'm deciding what I'll make for the Christmas tins.
We've been looking for a compound type place for a long time. One that has a separate workshop big enough for Mike and maybe a pool, and most importantly, neighbors who are waaaaay over there.
>58 quondame: Our bottom lock on the front door is like that. It's been years since I locked myself out, but the fact that the door is on a really tight spring that will slam shut unless held definitely helped it happen in the early days.
Hiking today. Our weather has settled right at 80-82F for the past week and will continue until we get a storm next week. The consistency is unusual.
And a friend of Mike's showed up with what looks to be Old Pawn. I looked at the stuff with my jewelers loop but I'm no expert. A really unusual bracelet of olive green turquoise that may be an indication that it came from the Kingman mine, and old brooch and pendant, all in untreated blue and green turquoise. We'll see what the deal is.
And today I'm ordering a package of Priester's Pecans to be sent to Mom for Thanksgiving. We still don't know if anyone will be able to be with her for the holiday.
How's your mom feel about celebrating Thanksgiving alone? Does she have friends near her? A package of pecans would help me get over it pretty quickly.
Mom would never make her kids feel guilty about not getting there, she just says it's no big deal, but it is. We're across three states now. She's alone there since Dad died and she refuses to move near either of her kids because she loves being in Vegas. No matter how early she gets up, she can go to a casino and have breakfast and play a little and she loves the desert. Both my sister and I have tried to get her to join a book club or something like that, but while she's friendly, she isn't that sociable. Dad was the one who talked to all the neighbors and knew everyone. But my niece has plans to move to Vegas in the Spring, and that would be so great if she does.
The gift box I've ordered for her has several types of roasted and glazed pecans, but also has two mini pecan pies, cheese straws, pralines, peach and pecan caramels, and her favorite, pecan logs. If you haven't encountered these before, they are thick bars of white nougat, like divinity, with pieces of maraschino cherries throughout. The whole thing is covered in thick caramel and then rolled and pressed in chopped pecans so it's entirely covered. Your teeth are aching from reading that, huh?
I woke up at 5 this morning, picked up my phone and realized that some jerk had called me at 3:30 in the morning. The nerve! So then I Google search the telephone number and realized it was coming from the Philippines. So then not only are they jerks but they are international scammers and very scary people.
And then I thought, 'Hum? I wonder if it could be our office in the Philippines trying to reach me? Of course it was oh, and before I could do anything about it they called again. Man people in the Philippines have the most gracious manners around. The lady I spoke with should teach a course on what you should do when you know that you were going to be waking a co-worker up.
>63 SomeGuyInVirginia: My mom loooves driving, but she can't come to visit because of Emma, her 12 year old Boxer. Emma is near the end and has been there for several months. Mom feeds her CBD oil and Marie Callender's pot pies, just keeping her as comfortable as possible.
>64 SomeGuyInVirginia: :-D Oh, I read your original post late last night, Mister, and enjoyed it a lot. I just assumed it involved that Bullitt Bourbon you like so much. Gibberish-bibberish, but fun!
Your co-worker may have been nice when you spoke to her, but anybody who calls me at 3:30 in the morning had better be calling from a death scene.
I hope you're well rested this morning.
92. Emma by Jane Austen. Miss Emma Woodhouse has recently lost her best friend, her governess, to marriage, and so she turns her attention to a local poor girl named Harriet and determines to see this girl married and happy. Her first step is to talk the girl into breaking up with the young man she had an attachment to, as Emma says he isn't good enough for Harriet now. Emma proceeds to attempt various manipulations of her social circle in order to selflessly help her poor friend, but she has overestimated her ability to read people.
A humorous story of heartbreak. The funniest parts, to me, were watching Emma silently boil over the even-pushier-than-her Mrs. Elton.3.5 stars
I've had this on my Fire since January, and the physical book sat on my shelf for a few years before that, so it's a ROOT.
As for the 3:30am call, she was calling on behalf of her boss who runs the company in the Philippines. I knew it was a big deal. No worries, glad I could help the lady out.
Did I forget to mention that my fair ribbons arrived along with my winners check? I made a sweet $13 in prize money.
And today I made another version of an espresso cookie, this one soft and cakey. I'm determined to use this espresso powder.
My son is trying out Disney+ for a month. He says the new Star Wars series is very good. He gave us his sign in soooo maybe I'll be streaming the Simpsons.
Congratulations on your ribbons and prize money! Visitors to this thread had no doubt you'd be a winner!
Congratulations on your ribbons and book money, I mean prize money!
I suppose she has, and because she's in Vegas, she gets lots of visitors. She has two guest rooms and in the Spring they seem to have a revolving door on them.
>70 drneutron: Exactly. Now I can pay off that Rolls.
>71 PaperbackPirate: Wasn't that a surprise that such a good show would get cancelled? But I've said before that if I like a show it's about to get cancelled.
Thanks! I'd actually forgotten about the ribbons until they showed up, and lookee here, this time they aren't smeared in frosting. Fantastic!
Mike lost another very good friend yesterday, which was sudden but the guy had been in bad shape for many years after a fall from the roof of a two story apartment building about eight years ago. His skull and face had been reconstructed in a series of operations and he was waited for a kidney because his had been so damaged in the fall. But he had been stable enough that he came from L.A. and visited us a couple of times recently.
I walked away from two relationships I was a fool to leave. Tom wouldn't have me until I got serious, and I don't know what my problem was with Rob. The pure entitlement of a confident 30 year old I guess. If I'd known he would live to love again AND win an Oscar I would have been more patient. I was fortunate in that both were grounded with a finely tuned moral compass. Oh, and they both had brown hair, which is my favorit!
That's the thing about the gay community, things always happen and the always happen fast.
Anyway, Parker has a trust fund, I have a do not resuscitate on file, next o need to cover transport too the family place and a jelly jar for the ashes.
Have you actually seen a picture or posting of the one(s) who got away lately? Because they might be really beat to hell now, and maybe they've turned into people who take their shoes off on planes, or lick their fingers to open plastic bags at the grocery store. You're better off.
I picture you as so well rested in the mornings that you do that jump-in-the-air-and-click-your-heels-thing. Am I right?
Oh, and did you watch the AHS: 1984 finale?
Not counting this as it's a short story that takes no more than an hour to read.
The Last Conversation by Paul Trembley is available for free on Kindle by Amazon Prime for a limited time. An unnamed person wakes up in bed in a dark room. The person is in pain and it's clear that this is some kind of facility. Everyday a woman's voice guides the person through physical therapy, and though the voice belongs to a kind doctor, she refuses to enter the patient's room. Soon, she is forcing the frustrated patient through memory exercises, making the patient wonder exactly where this locked room is located.
Part of a collection of stories from different authors begun by Blake Crouch, all to explore "the resounding effects of a pivotal technological moment".
I'm usually very reticent about personal details, so I'm blaming the Ambien also. I may have to drop down to 5 mg at night. Weirdness weirds me out.
So. You and the jewels. There's a story there and I want to hear it. Pics or it didn't happen.
As for Disney+, I get that free for a year because I have an unlimited phone plan with Verizon. I was a early adopter of Netflix, and at the time shares were trading for $4 per. I knew that it was a bargain and the Netflix was going to go places but I had just lost all the money I put into equities so I didn't buy. Now Netflix shares trade at $290 and reached $400. Anyway, a couple of days ago I bought 100 shares of Disney and immediately lost $500. Still, I bet they go up to $300 a share. I hope.
I have a ton of things that I need to do today, but I'm going to do them all tomorrow instead. Today I'm going to prop my feet up, watch cheesy movies on television, and read thrillers. Really, it sounds like a perfect day to me.
So, anyway. The bag of jewels?
I'm glad that whatever change you made worked for you last night, but I'm a little disappointed not to have another stream of conscienceness post from you. I was thinking of giving you special guest star billing, and we can call it something like "Weird Moments with Uncle Larry". Only available between the hours of 11pm-5 am, then it's wiped away forever...
>79 SomeGuyInVirginia: You're welcome, I like Tremblay too. Even though I picked up The Cabin at the End of the World from the library and only read maybe six or seven pages before saying "Nuh-uh". I hadn't read the synopsis on the back, so when I realized it was about a home invasion that was it for me.
I'm going to see if I can get Disney free. I'm pretty sure we have Verizon too.
Wow, that $500 went fast. Sorry. But I agree, Disney streaming is likely to do well. I'd like to invest in Dutch Bros. but apparently they're still all family owned and don't have investors. They're business is growing quickly though, so it'll happen.
I don't have any jewelry that would make you gasp, lol. I just have regular middle class lady jewelry, diamond wedding ring, some sapphires, a nice emerald, an unusual garnet...but I do have a small collection of good Native turquoise and silver bracelets and rings. I bought most of it at trading posts up north and in Gallup years ago, and my Grandmother left me two rings. And I've mentioned my freaky tiny hands, so anyone who gets my rings, like my niece, would have to either wear it all on their pinkies or get everything re-sized.
>80 Ameise1: Thanks, Barbara! And happy weekend to you.
My sister in California says that El Pollo Loco has Mexican hot chocolate now, and that it's very good. Imma have some of that. Also, McDonald's has a cinnamon cookie latte, but when I went to our location, their coffee machines were all broken.
We went back to our mystery bookshop yesterday and I picked up my special order of Twelve Nights at Rotter House and I also bought Excellent Intentions by Richard Hull, as long as I was there.
And the Debbie Harry autobiography, Face It, that I bought on Amazon two weeks ago still hadn't shown up and there were no tracking updates, so I looked into the seller and found that she has lots of one star buyer reviews saying they hadn't received their merchandise and the tracking numbers were fake. I looked at my tracking number on the USPS site, and the number was created but no package was ever received into their system for the number. So now I wait for a refund.
And we went to a little independent pet supply store,( it's a small house turned into a store), and now Coral has a new purple harness that she's not that happy about. She had started putting on the brakes at the park and trying to pull out of her collar.
93. Three Bedrooms in Manhattan by Georges Simenon. Francois Combe flees his cheap apartment to get away from his neighbors' noise and ends up at a diner. He sits down at the counter and is immediately in conversation with Kay, who is also French. Conversation through their meal leads to a walk around the city and visits to many of the dive bars. Kay knows them all. The next few days see the two behave in ways that usually take months to reveal, but Kay is an incessant talker, and Francois demands to know everything. They stay the first few nights at a hourly hotel and spend hours walking the city and drinking. Francois quickly becomes insanely jealous, then abusive, even while noting that he doesn't find Kay attractive. It's clear that both have lived much better lives before they met and that the biggest reason they are clinging so tightly together is from fear. The reader has no idea where the story is going because the characters don't know where they stand themselves. 3.5 stars
This was first published in 1946 and is so different from the Maigrets, closer to noir. But I was pretty surprised to see Francois calling people "a bunch of asswipes."
I bought this nine years ago, so a ROOT, and probably my oldest ROOT this year.
And it's just weird to watch a guy with a five o'clock shadow get that excited over a toy.
>84 SomeGuyInVirginia: Now that's a side effect I'd never heard. Ha! Didja ever think that maybe it's to keep you from taking it every night. With bourbon the vomit flavor is gone by morning ;-)
Sorry, I'm triggered.
Here Comes Larry!
>89 SomeGuyInVirginia: But how was the tabbouleh?
Everything go okay? 'Cause it's clear that somebody served you ;-)
>90 SomeGuyInVirginia: Glad to see you know when to say when. Well...you go a little past that, dontcha?
I joined you in being sick last night, and a little this morning, but I think it was some minor food poisoning. I think it may have been the wild chanterelles I cooked in butter, parsley and truffle salt. Mike didn't get sick though.
Can you believe that I haven't finished a book all week?
Sounds like interesting times with your neighbours. Poor you.
>61 mstrust: - The pecan logs sound divine, even if they would probably give me a sugar rush to top all sugar rushes. I don't mind sugar rushes, I just hate to sugar crash that follows.
Very good news! I was worried that Mom wouldn't have a Thanksgiving, but now she's having two. Niece Samantha and her boyfriend are going to be there sometime today and they'll have Thanksgiving #1. Then Julie and Wade will get there on Friday and she'll have Thanksgiving #2. Yes, she'll have to cook her homemade mac and cheese twice because everyone wants it, but she doesn't mind cooking. And she'll have help putting her Christmas tree up.
I've decided to go with all tradition cookies in the Christmas tins this year, something Mike has been leaning on me for these past few years. Peanut butter, oatmeal raisin, chocolate crinkles, snickerdoodles, sugar, chocolate chip, frosted brownies. But I'm going to make those walnut bourbon balls too because they're great.
Last week we rained from Wednesday 3pm to Friday night. That's very unusual for us to have multiple days in a row of rain, but we're expected to do about the same this week.
My mum's starting to think about her Christmas baking too. She tends to make gingerbread, sugar cookies, M&M cookies, chocolate brownie cookies, and raspberry thumbprint cookies. My job title in the baking process is Chief Decorator and Head of Quality Assurance.
Also, being married means letting someone else make the pecan pie and it's not looking good. Last year, he decided that molasses would be better than corn syrup. It was not. This year, he's adding corn meal for "texture." And I hear him in the kitchen now using a mortar and pestle.
I love gingerbread, and the thumbprint cookies too. You have a very important job, or so Mike tells me, as he holds the same Quality Assurance title. Which means that as the sugar cookies are decorated and placed on the drying rack, he's seated at the end of the table and eats them. I'm not exaggerating. He sits at the end and eats them as we put them down.
My mom's specialty is pecan tassies, and she bakes a batch of sugar cookies too. My sister makes really great Kiss cookies. I can't remember the name but they're soft peanut butter cookies with a chocolate kiss pressed in them. They're so good.
Your dad sounds like a man who gets what he wants. I can't blame him, a proper Thanksgiving meal is pretty much my favorite meal. I like everything on the table, except that nasty green bean casserole. I never heard of it until I was an adult so it's weird.
You'll have to let us know what he could have been crushing for the pie. He sounds adventurous.
I like your idea of traditional cookies. I think I'll add a few of those to my dessert table.
Sorry to hear about your troubles with delivery of Face It. I have it on loan from the library but it came in the same day at King's The Institute. Decisions Decisions
94. Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King. Former detective Bill Hodges has been retired from the police for six months and has sunk into a deep depression of afternoon tv and holding his .38. Then he receives a letter from "Mr. Mercedes", the perpetrator in an unsolved case from the previous year in which someone stole a Mercedes and drove it into a crowd of people waiting in the cold parking lot for a job fair to open. The taunting letter is intended to make Hodges feel guilty for not catching the killer but instead it gets Hodges out of his funk and back to detecting. With the help of a teen who's good with computers and a victim's fearless sister and cousin, Hodges tries to catch Mr. Mercedes before his next massacre.
Not a murder mystery as we find out early on who the culprit is, but a crime story in which the reader spends half the time observing the twisted life of Mr. Mercedes and the other half with Hodges and his band of good guys. I read the second in this trilogy, Finders Keepers, about a year ago, not realizing it was part of a series but enjoyed it anyway. I should re-read it now so that I can go on to the last, End of Watch, which is also on the shelf. 4.2 stars
I like trying out new cookie recipes for Christmas, but sometimes you have to admit that classics are classics for a reason. It's certainly less stressful to make stuff you've been making for years.
I haven't even looked at the library, but I have been bidding on signed copies on Ebay. I've lost so far. It'll happen.
>103 SomeGuyInVirginia: Time to shop and fight! Too bad Amazon doesn't have a "punch a stranger" button as you fill your cart, right? ;-)
I'll be looking all over Amazon for stuff I don't need today. And the cart thing works, somewhat.
I hope you had a good holiday. Somehow I didn't undercook anything this year. And after we were done, I went up and had a nap.
But then, my MIL did show up with her own dressing, gravy and apple pie just for herself because she's doing gluten and diary free this year. She has something unusual going on food-wise nearly every year. The stuff was really, really dark. But she managed to eat a huge pile of my mashed potatoes made with milk and half a stick of butter.
Hope the kitchen cleanup happens quickly for you. I am running my first morning dishwasher load. But it's all okay because I have leftovers to enjoy!! Happy day after. : )
AND!!! Thanksgiving is officially over and NOW I can get in the Christmas spirit.
Amazon's Black Friday- I bought cds for everyone as stocking stuffers. ELO for Julie, 60's Christmas music for Mom, polka greats by Frankie Yankievic for MIL and a 4 cd set of Dean Martin for Mike, who has suddenly become a fan. As I was cooking and setting the table yesterday, he was on the couch with his eyes closed listening the a Dean Martin album without a care in the world.
I also got a great deal on a big box of dog food.
And I read the short story Randomize by Andy Weir, which is part of the Forward collection of stories on Amazon by different authors about technology. This story was about an IT guy at a Vegas casino who orders the keno lounge to be shut down. As he explains to the owner, he shut the lounge down just as a new software was released which would have made it possible for players to cheat and win with the present system, but it turns out that if you're smart enough, it's possible to beat any system.
wow, great cd stocking stuffers! My only purchase on Black Friday, ten word search books from Book Outlet for mom. Um....those should keep her busy till March, maybe?
Happy December 1!
Glad the Thanksgiving feast went well.
We ended up going to Home Depot on Black Friday as Mike was looking at a drill and shop vac on their sale. The place was so crowded and the shop vac was too small, so we left, but there's a Walgreen's right next door so I went in just to see if anything was going on and left with two big popcorn tins and sherpa lined booties as another stocking stuffer.
>110 rabbitprincess: Oh, I add lots of butter to mashed potatoes. Not stingy at all. Do you ever make champ? I like that too.
Happy December to you!
>111 figsfromthistle: Hello! It did go well, but then if something went wrong I would still find a way to get a meal out of it. ;-)
Glad to hear you are enjoying your turkey leftovers!
So back to normal, huh? Doesn't take long at all.
And I think I'll have a turkey cranberry sandwich for dinner.
>115 quondame: They might taste just like Coffee Nips! I have Oreo candy canes waiting for the tree.
>116 Berly: :-D And if you can believe it, I didn't say a word to Mike about what I was making for dinner, but when he came home it was already cooking in the skillet, and he said, "This is what I was hoping you'd make with the turkey."
We had a very long day out today with Christmas shopping, lunch, the park with Coral, and grocery shopping. Also, we dropped by the bookstore and I found this for Julie's stocking, along with Sherlock Holmes vs. Dracula and Alfred Hitchcock's Death Bag for myself:
The back of the package proclaims "Now Mercury-Free!"
Hope you have had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend, Jennifer.
>119 PaulCranswick: Someone had a good idea. Now why isn't there a brownie flavored cane?
Thanks, Paul, I had a very active weekend. But our planned hike for this morning is off as it was raining and thunder a few hours ago so the preserve will be nice and muddy. It's the cycle and podcasts for me today.
Have a good week!
95. The Body in the Dales by J.R. Ellis. When the body of Dave Atkins is found in a hard-to-reach spot in the local cave system, Yorkshire Detective Inspector Oldroyd and his team have to figure out not only who murdered the hated man, but how the murderer could have carried a dead body into such a difficult underground location, and how the body could show signs of having been in the cave for over a week when the caving club had been exploring that very path just two days before.
Atmospheric with Northern dialect and a little village full of suspects. 3 stars
96. The Nimrod Flipout by Etgar Keret. A collection of short stories, many with the thinnest of set-ups and most involving some kind of magical realism. The title story is about a group of four friends, one of whom kills himself at the age of eighteen. Over the years, the remaining three take turns, like on a rota, losing their minds, then recovering in time for the next guy to lose it. Some of the stories are just a page or two, but my favorite was a longer one, "For Only 9.99 (Inc. Tax and Postage)" about a young man who's father is enraged to find that his son is dumb enough to send off for a booklet from an ad in the back of the paper that promises to reveal the meaning of life.
Keret's style is unique, taking mundane characters into surrealism, often using raunchy language, and endings that leave the reader with no resolution. The stories here were translated from the Hebrew by two different translators. 4 stars
97. The Best of Mrs Beeton's Cakes & Baking. A reprint by Marks & Spencer of Mrs Beeton's most popular recipes. This is a really pretty book with thick pages and glossy gold on the cover.
The recipes have been re-worked for the modern baker and include a few that Mrs Beeton likely didn't create at all, such as "Southern Pecan Pie" and "Texas Cornbread", but this book is full of traditional English and French desserts, biscuits and breads. There were many I'd never heard of, such as "Moggy" and "Anzacs", but the majority sound pretty great. And my first tryout is "Wine Biscuits", made with cloves, cinnamon, nuts, and a little white wine.
Mrs. Beeton was a 19th Century English journalist and cook who became famous with her 1861 book, Mrs. Beeton's Book of Household Management. This book would have benefited from a brief bio, but as it was meant for the British market, I suppose the publishers expected the reader to be familiar with Mrs Beeton in the way an American reader would know the names Fannie Farmer of Julia Child. 4 stars
Next up, either snickerdoodles or chocolate chip.
The Declaration of Independence& The Constitution of the United States- Bantam Classics edition
Uncle Fred in the Springtime
Four Supernatural (tv series tie-in)-
Carved in Flesh
War of the Sons
>135 lkernagh: It doesn't say if that recipe was one that came from Mrs Beeton herself originally. If it is, it's about 150 years old, so before chocolate chips or canned pumpkin or Heath bits, so people would have thought this fluffy, nutty spice cookie was awesome, and it is a good cookie. We're just so jaded ;-) I might try the recipe for the Bourbon biscuits next. Sadly, they contain no bourbon at all, but they do have a little golden syrup.
>136 DeltaQueen50: if I was there, I'd be encouraging you on with the cookie baking.
If you were here, I'd put you to work! We'd be done in no time!
Thanks for the encouragement, I'm gonna get there!
I made the spicy cheese crackers yesterday. And my Ramones 2020 calendar arrived from New Zealand yesterday and it's awesome. It took three weeks but arrived in a cardboard envelope with all kinds of beautiful NZ stamps on it.
98. Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household. The story begins with our unnamed narrator seemingly ready to assassinate the leader of an unnamed European country, but he's discovered, beaten and expected to die. He doesn't. Severely injured, he manages to escape the country even with every government agent on his tail. Once back in England, he's suspicious that he's still a wanted man, which proves to be true.
Action-packed and suspenseful, and even though it was published in 1939 it retains a modern, and at times, frantic pace. 4 stars
Tiki Farm's latest design arrived today. It's called "Von Baron" and is heavily influenced by the Rat Fink hot rod characters by Ed "Big Daddy" Roth of the 60's. The silver and black is hand-painted. Limited edition, but I don't know the numbers. Mike was watching for it and was able to buy it as soon as it was announced.
Which reminds me that I ruined one of my Christmas presents Friday. We were talking about when this mug should arrive and I said, "Shouldn't Frankie's anniversary mug have come out about now too?" and Mike looked all annoyed and said, "Yes, it did. Merry Christmas. Jesus." Ha! No, really, I felt bad.
I look forward to your compliments, complaints, and tips for successful hermitting.
99. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs. A collection of personal essays about memorable Christmases. Some are humorous, such as when a very young Burroughs was gifted a life-sized Santa doll that had a wax face, which he chewed off. Other essays are bleak, featuring disease, death and betrayal. I don't know how much of these stories are true and how much is fiction, as "Why Do You Reward Me Thus?" reads like a made for tv movie, with the author getting blackout drunk for two days, then waking up on Christmas day to find himself among lucid, caring people who happen to be the group of homeless people who camp on the street near his NYC apartment. That one of these people studied opera and sings an aria to him while doling out profound advice about life made me roll my eyes. Still, an interesting holiday-themed collection. 3 stars
100. The Life and Opinions of Maf the Dog, and of His Friend Marilyn Monroe by Andrew O' Hagan. Narrated by Mafia Honey, the white Maltese owned by Monroe in the last years of her life. The dog explains his own grand lineage, and the various owners whose homes he shared, including Natalie Wood's mother and Frank Sinatra. He explains that dog's can not only read human emotions, but they also have a sort of psychic ability to know what a human is thinking. Dogs can read, which allows Maf to explain philosophy, art, history and psychiatry, while proving himself more self-aware than the majority of humans he lives with.
A reader might expect this to be a quick, rather cute read, but I found it somewhat annoying, as the point of the story seems to be more about the author showing off his knowledge of Maf's interests, such as philosophy, which makes the little dog into something of a know-it-all, and throwing in every famous person of 1960. Maf encounters Sammy Davis Jr, Lee Strasberg, Carson McCullers, Peter Lawford and Lillian Hellman. It's a Who's Who of the era that comes off as too long and the human characters are all surface. 2.5 stars
I've had this on the shelf for five years.
I've just pulled brownies out of the oven, which will go in the freezer until Friday, when they'll be frosted before going into the tins. That's when my cookie baking is over. I'll make up 15 cookie tins that morning and they'll be delivered that afternoon. So far:
2 batches of peanut butter
walnut bourbon balls
spicy cheese crackers
I actually made two batches of chocolate chip, but the first batch wasn't great because my brain went offline and I put double the butter in. This is a recipe that I've been making for a dozen years. Mike enjoyed the very buttery and crunchy result.
Tomorrow I'll experiment with a white cake ball rolled in raspberry jam, then white frosting and shredded coconut.
And Mike flew to L.A. yesterday to be an honorary pallbearer at Kelly's memorial service. It was held at a huge Buddhist temple, and Mike didn't know what to expect as Kelly died last month. American Airlines announced his flight would be delayed two and a half hours, but an employee at the desk got on the phone and told someone he had to be at a funeral at 11am, so they got him on a plane and he walked into the temple just minutes before it started. He got to see old friends and have a reception lunch with them, then had to get back into L.A. traffic (which we left 25 years ago and he said was unbelievable, just cars sitting on the freeways that I used to do 80 on) and get to the airport for his flight back. He was gone almost exactly 12 hours.
We went shopping today and saw Santa!
I tried a new recipe for brownies yesterday because my regular recipe is for a small pan. So this recipe made thin yet cakey brownies, which I'm going to get around by sandwiching them with dark chocolate buttercream, like petit fours. "Pretend you meant to do that" is my motto.
We bought the last Christmas present this morning, a McDonald's gift card for my Mom. She has one just around the corner and she drives through on her way home to get herself iced coffees and fries for the dog.
And my sister's last gift (and one for us too) came Friday. Tiki Farm had a $10 sale for a few days on discontinued tiki mugs. What an amazing deal!
It's called The Victor and stands 7" tall.
I've been not baking all day. At this rate, i'll juuust reach my goal of not baking at all this year. It's all about pacing yourself.
I have every confidence in you that you will not bake through the whole year. You're an over-achiever, man!
>150 RidgewayGirl: If anyone can pull off not wanting it, it's Larry.
But I've just pulled the cake out of the oven and the house smells really good.
>148 mstrust: very cool
I'm down to making the last one or two batches. Only because I don't have room for more.
I think Victor is pretty cool too, and quite defiant.
Try out the Rudolph version of a Moscow Mule: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PRbER6VRuTI
>148 mstrust: Nice mug!
I haven't made any cookies this year and may not. I'll probably buy some springerle and pfeffernüsse when I pick up our order of stollen at the nearby bakery. Last week, I traveled for work and picked up a tasty small peppermint torte at Kretschmar's Bakery in Beaver, Penna. (famous in the area for their almond torte); the photo here shows the full cake, while I got a single, so no candy cane: https://kbakery.com/?p=1259.
>151 mstrust: Ack-shully, I've got an 8-quart instant pot and between 0 and 6 instant pot recipe cookbooks, and I'd really like to start using them. Plus, I have to break my Uber eats habit. That stuff is really expensive.
A caravan load of us are going out for Chinese turkey on Christmas Eve, and I hope midnight mass at Christ Church in old Town Alexandria. It might be a bust, I imagine there's 5,000 people who want to go to the same service. I don't know how old Christ Church is, but I wouldn't be completely surprised if parts of it didn't date from the 1600s. Which, I know, makes it the perfect setting for a Christmas ghost story. So it's either midnight mass at the Episcopal church or we all go to the MGM National harbor and play craps for the rest of the night. Like something out of Dickens.
>155 SomeGuyInVirginia: I remember that you bought that Instant Pot about a year ago. Are you saying you still haven't used it?!
I'll bet the Uber Eats gets expensive. Put on a fifteen pound coat and go stand in the snow to eat your cheesesteak like a normal person.
The caravan sounds like fun. Good luck to you, both in craps and getting in the church. Go ahead and yell, "I'm a winner!" in either location.
I had to look at this church. Isn't it grand?
Winter has come to Phoenix with our temps at night hovering around 40-42F. I know, don't laugh. My skin feels so tight that I've got a box of multiple face creams, body cream and moisturizing shower gel arriving today. I'm greasing myself up with whatever gets here.
And I don't know if our plan to meet friends at the art museum tonight will happen. We'd been planning this for a week with friends coming up from Yuma, but now two of the three are sick.
//Go ahead and yell, "I'm a winner!" in either location.// That made me literally laugh out loud.
Not only have I not used the Instant Pot, it's still in the box. That is totally unacceptable!
There's another colonial Episcopal church a few miles south of Christ Church, Pohick Church which was finished around 1774 (I thought Christ Church was older.) It's interesting because it still has the boxed-off seating to keep the aristos from having to mingle with the hoi polloi and probably catching something. It's very Rite I while Christ Church is Rite II. Rite I means you have a stick up your rectory and Rite II means you're practically Unitarian for God's sake.
I love historical buildings. Colonial or Googie or old Vegas, they all took workmanship. Now we get square boxes made of drywall.
>158 RidgewayGirl: What, like "hold your breath, close your eyes" sized? Make that body butter smell like chocolate and you'd have a line around the building.
>161 figsfromthistle: Well, thank you very much!! I thought my arm would break from patting myself on the back.
You deserve a Christmas present for noticing:
And Meeeery Christmas! I hope it fits, because I didn't get a receipt.
And congrats on 100 books, too!
You know, I've been thinking about this all day. Why haven't they ever called a moisturizing lotion slather? It's perfect. You should trademark that.
I just checked and slather.com is available but it costs $50,000. So, Go Fund Me? Venmo?
ETA And, as God is my witness, I swear that I will never not use my Instant Pot to make delicious and nutritious dinners again. I'm taking it out of the box and dusting that puppy off. Somewhere, someone's plucking a tasty bird just for me.
So, chicken. Do you have to pick them out of a tank the way you do with lobster? One lesson my mama always told me was not to bond with your food. Not that I listened. As a child, I can't tell you how many Shakespearean plays I've re-enacted using jumbo shrimp on a stick and kabobs. as far as I know, I'm the only eleven-year-old in the history of the world who used an actual ham to play Hamlet. Sure, it was playing to type but at least it allowed the audience to feel comfortable. And oh Lord, the stories I could tell with a poo poo platter.
And my finished cookies were:
2 batches of peanut butter
chocolate & espresso chip
walnut bourbon balls
maple walnut bars
spicy cheese crackers
I am done!
I'm going to do everything I can to not get the flu. It's a new strain every year.
>166 harrygbutler: Thank you!
You are a good nephew. We sent Mike's Aunt Kath in Vermont a package from Zabar's of chocolate and cinnamon babka and their coffee. We didn't have to guess because she told us what she wanted for Christmas.
Yesterday I frosted the brownies and decorated the sugar cookies and sent three cookie tins out with Mike. Today it was nine. Tomorrow will be the last one.
Chickens don't make it easy. My grandmother grew up on a farm in Texas and raised her own kids on a farm, and I remember her describing how to ring a chicken's neck. She told me when I was maybe seven and was horrified. And Grandma had large eyes and wore thick glasses that made her eyes look huge, which somehow makes it worse.
Anyway, I cook chicken thighs in the crockpot with fresh sage, rosemary and thyme, and onions and carrots. Throw chopped white potatoes and dried cranberries or raisins in about an hour before you want to eat. But that timing would be very different for an instant pot.
>168 Berly: Thank you very much!
I finished at 100 and I'm happy. The past week has been spent with Christmas shopping, a little reading here and there, movies, and now, packing. The tins of Christmas cookies went out Thursday-Friday-Saturday. We're having three Christmases. The first tomorrow afternoon at MIL's. The second on Christmas with Mom. The third when Julie and the kids get to Mom's on Friday, because Julie has to work Christmas and that's the closest she can get to the actual day. We'll definitely hit some casinos, Frankie's, and the after Christmas sales.
I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a peaceful time.
The 2020 Group is up!
Best wishes this holiday season!!
Every happiness, Jennifer, in 2020 and always.
>177 quondame: Doggie Christmas tree! Thanks, and I hope yours was good too!
>178 harrygbutler: Thank you, Harry! Have a Happy New Year!
>179 RidgewayGirl: Ha! That's a brilliant idea!
>180 SomeGuyInVirginia: Thanks, and I hope you had a Merry Christmas, Larry!
>181 PaulCranswick: Thank you, Paul!
>182 drneutron: I'll be setting mine up today. Thanks for getting us organized!
>183 Berly: Well thank you very much! Wishing you a Happy New Year!
>184 DeltaQueen50: Looks like someone has hatched a new ploy for the holidays... Glad you had such wonderful treats!
>185 SomeGuyInVirginia: And to you, Larry! Let's make some resolutions we'll never keep!
>186 Familyhistorian: It was a very good Christmas. The end of the year always sneaks up, doesn't it? Suddenly you realize that it's just a few days away.