Happy Easter!

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Happy Easter! It’s 7:19 PM as I begin this post. Better late than never, right?

My day started at 5:00 AM, as J.P. and I had to sing and I had to play my clarinet at the 7:00 and 9:00 services.

He put the ham in the oven and set it to come on at 8:00. Thankfully it did, and it didn’t burn the house down (Hi Blurry! 😉 ). Our friends arrived around 1:00, and we ate. And ate. And ate. Everything was delicious. The glaze on the ham—brown mustard, brown sugar, bourbon, and crushed ginger snaps—was unbelievable. And also very, very sticky. We have the blackened pan to prove it. Note to self: next time, use a disposable pan. Update: Apparently, we’re slow learners around here. (Read the last few sentences.) I thought that sentence sounded familiar!

As we were finishing up dinner, our 8-year-old guest headed out into the yard to hide eggs for three-year-old M and almost-two year-old J. Then the rest of us went out, and the kiddos had a blast hunting for them.

Now I sit here with J.P., his mom, and Maggie snoozing all around me. I’ve nearly succumbed to The Nap several times myself. But right now I think I hear some leftover ham calling to me from the fridge. Because apparently I didn’t eat enough earlier.

Happy Easter everyone!

Happy Easter!

Jam & Bokeh

Unbelievably good

It’s a good thing my new 50mm f/1.4 lens arrived early last week. (Ask J.P. what happened to my old nifty fifty lens.) I had to try it out, and if I had waited until today to take this photo you probably wouldn’t even be able to tell what color the jam is—there isn’t much left.

J.P. won these preserves in a raffle last week. It was part of a basket of English teas and other goodies, and it was second prize. First prize was $146, and at first I was disappointed that he didn’t win it. But then I tasted the jam, and I think we might’ve gotten the better end of the deal. I’ve been eating it on toast at least once a day since. (Yes, there was a day when I had some for dinner too.) And he’s had it nearly every day as well. The label on this jar says, “By appointment to Her Majesty the Queen,” and we know the reason why.

I don’t know whether we’ll ever be able to go back to Smucker’s, but we definitely can’t go on polishing off a jar a week. I almost wish I hadn’t spotted it in the International section at Wegmans last week.

P.S. Isn’t the lens great? All that nice bokeh means you can’t tell how much crap is in the background.

I am in trouble

I hate to waste things. I can’t stand to throw away a perfectly good magazine, even though I’ve already read it. So we stack them on the coffee table until the pile is in danger of toppling over. Then we move it to the butler’s pantry, and eventually I take everything to the doctor’s office so patients in the waiting room can read six-month-old issues of Philadelphia Magazine instead of three-year-old issues of Numismatic News.

Every night, J.P. turns on the shower while he brushes his teeth. Because it seems to take FOREVER for our water to get hot, I’m fine with it running down the drain for a minute or two. But if the water is already hot because the dishwasher is running, or because I’ve already run enough to warm it up? It drives me crazy!

When I was in college, my roommates teased me because I washed and reused Ziploc bags. We weren’t exactly rolling in money, but I didn’t do it because of the cost. If a big heavy-duty gallon-sized bag only held a sleeve of crackers or something else that was already wrapped before it went in the bag, why wouldn’t I reuse it? (Note: I would never reuse a bag that had held raw meat, something that had gotten moldy, or anything that was sticky, gooey, or messy.)

When J.P. started buying Oscar Mayer Ready to Serve bacon, he’d put it in a Ziploc bag after he’d opened it (inside its little plastic tub thingy). Then when the bacon was gone, he’d throw the bag away. What a waste! So we labeled the bag, and now we put it back in the drawer to wait until the next time we need it.

Mmmm . . . bacon

::Mrtl-style tangent #1::
Yes, we eat the ready-to-serve bacon. No, we’re not particularly proud of that fact. However, it’s a heck of a lot easier than cooking real bacon, and there’s a lot less packaging than the Hormel microwave version.
::end Mrtl-style tangent #1::

::Mrtl-style tangent #2::
Would you believe that Oscar Meyer Mayer/Kraft Foods doesn’t own the oscarmeyer.com domain?

Update: It seems Kraft does own the Oscar Mayer domain. But Oscar Meyer? Never heard of him.
::Mrtl-style tangent #2::

Now that you know how the Bacon Bag works, you can understand why I was simultaneously horrified and delighted to open the drawer yesterday and find this:

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An Early Christmas Present?

So you may have been a little surprised when you saw my page load today. This is quite the switch from the dark brown template, wouldn’t you say? For the moment I’m liking this one better. The only thing it doesn’t have is a customizable header. BUT! It’s bright enough and wide enough, and gosh darn it, people like it! (You do like it, right?) And also, the comments link is at the bottom of the post. Hooray!

That’s it. My early Christmas present. From WordPress to me, and from me to you. Hope you’re not disappointed. I know some people had trouble reading against the dark background, me included. So let’s see where this takes us, shall we? Same old drivel, now with a bright new look!

I’m going to be fashionably late to Susie‘s cookie exchange party. I really want to join the fun, but just ran out of time tonight. There’s a recipe for Sea-Salted Smoky Almond Chocolate Bark that I’ve been wanting to try. It sounds kind of weird, I know. The site says it’s a “treat for the more sophisticated palate.” Um . . . yeah, that’s me. And if it’s really disgusting? I also bought some butterscotch chips so I can make oatmeal scotchies. Not exactly Christmasy, but mmmmmm . . . don’t they sound good?

Perhaps I could’ve made the almond bark—and probably the cookies too—in the time it took me to update my site and write this post.

Merry Meme

I haven’t done a meme in a really long time. But I saw this one over at Mary P.’s and thought it looked like fun.

1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?
Does the egg nog have a lot of nutmeg? ‘Cuz if it does, I’ll just go with the hot chocolate. Especially if you have some peppermint schnapps to put in it.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?
We don’t often see Santa ’round these parts, but when I was a kid he usually wrapped them.

3. Colored lights on the tree/house, or white?
I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?
Nah.

5. When do you put your decorations up?
Depends on the year. This year we’re about 1/3 of the way through it—everything’s on the mantel and the advent calendar is up, but the trees are still in the basement. They’re almost half done already, though—we just haul them downstairs as-is (we do take the ornaments off), lights and all.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?
A favorite, huh? Hmmmm . . . I’m not exactly a picky eater, so this one’s tough. Oh, I know—this is becoming something of a tradition at our house:

J.P.'s Chow Mein

It’s Japanese chow mein, and J.P. makes it when his family comes for the holidays. And his mom makes ginger chicken and rice balls. It’s all good.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child:
This isn’t exactly a favorite memory, but it’s a vivid one nonetheless. When I was in first grade I came down with the chicken pox a few days before Christmas. I was really upset that I had to miss the class Christmas party. That was back when kids could have Christmas parties in public school.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?
Yes, if there’s only one. But if there are multiple gifts we open them all. My family has always opened gifts on Christmas Eve.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?
We use white lights and ornaments from over the years. My grandma has always given each of us grandkids an ornament every year, and some of them are even hand-made. Over the years she’s done cross-stitch, needlepoint, and beads. J.P. and I usually buy a new ornament every year too. His favorite is (surprise!) Mickey and Minnie Mouse. This year we found this one:
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Recovery Randomness

Really still life

J.P. and I returned from Minnesota on Sunday night, after two long days of driving. We had a good, relaxing vacation, and Maggie couldn’t have been better with the kids, dogs, and birds, or as a passenger in the car.

I won’t say I was looking forward to going back to work today—that would really be a stretch. But somehow it did seem almost like the first day of school and the fresh start it brings. After I got to the office, that feeling lasted for all of 20 minutes. It took me nearly all day to slog through my 200+ emails in between conference calls. So maybe tomorrow I can do some actual work!

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When I put away the Easter decorations three weeks ago (Shut up! They weren’t still sitting out—they were in “temporary storage” in the butler’s pantry.), I found an unopened bag of Starburst jellybeans. I threw them into my bag for a road trip treat.

As we drove and I munched, I realized that I have a Jellybean Consumption Method. In each handful, I separate them by color. I eat my least favorite flavor first, then proceed with the next least favorite, and so on. Here’s my order, from least favorite to most favorite:

  1. Yellow/lemon
  2. Orange/orange (duh!)
  3. Red/cherry
  4. Green/apple(?)
  5. Purple/grape
  6. Pink/strawberry

Note: This list applies only to Starburst jellybeans. The order may differ for Brach’s or other run-of-the-mill brands. However, when black beans are in the mix they always top the least-favorite list, and they never see the inside of my mouth.

What’s your JCM?

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Wow, that butler’s pantry pic (link above) really blew me away:

My Actual Bad Habit

Can you believe how BAD the photo is??? Wow—my photography and Photoshop skills have really improved in the last year, if I do say so myself. My cleaning and organizational skills, however, have not. The pantry looks pretty much like this today. Hmm . . . maybe it just has a seasonal rotation . . . you know, like department store displays. This is its Summer Look.

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How’s that for a random post? Please bear with me as I recover from our trip and too many 3:00 AM bedtimes. I hope to be back to my regular (1:00 AM) bedtime and schedule soon. Of course, that means I’ll probably go back to once-a-week posts too. Hey, less frequent posts—something for you to look forward to! 🙂

Pass the Pepto

State Fair Foods

Today’s diet (in order of consumption) included:

  1. A corn dog.
  2. Southwest chorizo egg burrito from Tejas.
  3. Ribs from Famous Dave’s.
  4. Chocolate chip cookies from Sweet Martha’s.
  5. Milk to go with the cookies.
  6. Cheese curds . . . of course!
  7. Hotdish (that’s casserole, if you live outside the Midwest) on a stick with cream of mushroom dipping sauce.
  8. Famous Dave’s ribs . . . again.
  9. Deep-fried Snickers bar.

Dashababy commented the other day when I referenced Ricky Ricardo in my post, so I thought of her when I saw this crop art today:

Ricky crop art

The portrait is made entirely of seeds, which is why it’s called crop art. I’m amazed by how much detail and subtle shading it has. And here’s a bonus pic for you Lucy fans:

Lucy crop art