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Archive for December, 2012

Penultimate day of 2012

The days between Christmas and New Years are strange, aren’t they? We all get our Christmas celebrating out of the way in advance of the holiday, so afterward we have nothing left for observing the feast days. This year, people we might have seen in a normal week are either traveling or sick. My husband has been on vacation this whole week, but the to do list we developed with optimism at the beginning of his time off is now kind of weighing like a brick. It feels as though our time, like the year, is slowly dwindling and giving way to something new. I think the best thing about New Years Eve is that we get the chance to look forward to real life again with optimism and celebration. Bring on the new year! I have rested and I am ready!

I am starting to formulate plans and strategies for 2013. I would like to read more, internet less, eat better, go outside often, and continue keeping up with both my house and my relationships. I hope to see my parents this year. I have a long lost friend I’d like to get back in touch with. Frugality will be an issue and will take a lot of effort. My godbaby will turn 3 this year and will continue turning into a strange little person that I am enjoying getting to know. Maybe we’ll finally have one of our own? Who knows. I’m looking forward to this year and all of its promise.

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The very patient cardinal

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This cardinal is the only bird I saw today, and it obligingly sat in the same tree for quite a long time. This gave me a chance to play with my camera’s settings and figure out how focus works on my new lens. I’m not particularly happy with this photo, but I have been getting some good feedback on Facebook so I guess it’s not so bad.

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Our new house is in the woods on the side of a lake. A couple of weeks ago, while sitting on my front patio watching the babies play, I realized that there had been a great racket coming from one of the tall trees over my house. I ran inside to grab the binoculars and saw a whole group of red winged blackbirds eating the seeds out of a sweetgum tree. It was awesome! Red winged blackbirds are one of the birds I’ve missed most since moving here 14 years ago.

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After that day I kept the binoculars close at hand, and do you know what I saw? Very little. The impression I got was that the birds knew when I had the binoculars out and they would handily hide just on the other sides of branches and leaves.

I am having a similar experience with the new camera lens I got for Christmas. The first couple of days were great and I got all sorts of photos. But now? It’s like they know when I have the camera out (even from the other side of the window) and they hide.

So for now I am going to have to content myself with nice photos of squirrels until I either set up a feeder or the birds realize I’m not a threat.

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Recipe testing: cheesesteaks

I tried something different for Christmas dinner this year and it didn’t work out so well. My husband and I usually travel for Thanksgiving, so when we have the traditional ham and turkey dinner for Christmas it is the first time we’re having it with his family. But this year we stayed home and hosted both Thanksgiving and Christmas (which was basically a given when we bought the family home) and I just didn’t feel like making the same meal for both holidays. Instead I tried prime rib.

The technique I used for making the prime rib seemed reasonable, but I think we must have had a faulty thermometer. When we cut into the meat at the table it was still purple and raw inside and I ended up putting slices of my beautiful cut of beef under the broiler. People ate it and all was well, but there were definitely some leftovers.

So tonight I tried my hand at making cheesesteaks with the leftover prime rib using this recipe. First I put the leftover prime rib in the freezer so it would be hard enough to cut into thin slices. After that everything was pretty easy. Dinner turned out great. I’m looking forward to making this again!

What did you make for Christmas dinner?

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Rainy Christmastime

It is the day after Christmas, and the storm that is bringing snow to much of the country is just bringing us a cold, dreary rain. The weather is somehow fitting for a day when we’d rather just sit around and do nothing, anyway.

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I am working today, and by that I mean that my godbaby is napping in the next room. My husband, home for the week, is also napping. It’s just me and the birds awake in the middle of the day.

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Happy second day of Christmas to all of you. I hope you’re having a peaceful day.

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Merry Christmas!

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Christmas Eve

Somehow I always forget just how much church we attend at Christmastime. What starts in my mind as a full day on Christmas Eve to get last minute things done ends up being a couple of chunks of a few hours each that aren’t very useful at all. Today my husband and I were lucky to find a few quiet minutes for lunch together so we could catch our breath and light the last Advent candle in our wreath.

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The rest of the day is devoted to attending an early Christmas Mass, the traditional Christmas Eve dinner with anyone who shows up, and preparing what we can in advance for tomorrow’s dinner with the family.

And, of course, chasing the cat away from the tree:

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Merry last day of Advent to you and yours.

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