Welcome to my little corner wedge of the world. This is NOT my first post. It’s probably not my second or third either, but as you can guess, my life was interrupted for a while and now I’m starting over.
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I was standing at the stove the other night fixing supper and having one of those "lost in space" moments. You know the moments I mean – the ones where your body and your mind are in two different places.

The Boss

I then got my body and mind all lined up again and realized just how much I miss Kit-Kat. What a great little buddy and what a loss in our home now that he is gone. Kit-Kat was a pound kitty. When I was working at the police department, the animal control officer talked me into giving it a try. She said she had a cat in the pound that really wasn’t the usual pound kitty. He had arrived in town with a family when they moved here. They had been living with relatives and searching for a place of their own where they could have pets. They had been unable to find an apartment, and were making the tough decision to find a new home for their cat. They had tried to find a good home for him, but had been unsuccessful. The animal control officer had agreed to see what she could do, and I became the target home long before I knew what was going on. “Just try it for a few weeks. I’ll take him back if it doesn’t work out. He’s had all his shots, he’s neutered, and about a year old. How can you resist?”

It should have been easy to resist. I was not a cat lover at all. I’d tried a couple of kitties once and what an experience that had been. So why I ever said yes, I’ll never know. But I did, and as quick as a snap, there he was, making himself the king of the house. He actually didn’t arrive with a name, and Kit-Kat became a default name. Jennifer and I couldn’t seem to come up with one we liked, and bounced between calling him kitty, and the cat. So eventually Kit-Kat just became his name.

He was a lover cat. He wasn’t one to play much, but liked to be in the same room as people. He was a big cat, about 16 pounds most of his life. Jennifer enjoyed him a lot and even had him in some of her senior pictures. He arrived with some very unusual quirks, and I really always thought he might be half dog. I’d always had the belief that cats are picky eaters, but that didn’t hold true with Kit-Kat. He also loved to be vacuumed – yes every time the carpets got vacuumed, so did the cat. He would come over by the running vacuum cleaner, flop down on the floor and just wait to be cleaned. I once had a Kirby salesman come to the house and I told him I had to know if his vacuum cleaner would pass the cat test. Kit-Kat didn’t like his noisy thing, and I had to give the sales guy a demo with mine so that he could see how Kit-Kat really did like to be cleaned. Needless to say, I didn’t buy a new one.

When Gene moved here, they became the best of buddies. I think Gene just has a way with animals to begin with, but the little treats Gene would give him sure helped in the beginning. One of the favorite treats was “hamburger man”. Yes, raw hamburger rolled into little balls, and made like a snowman, stacked on each other. I didn’t think an animal should be fed any place but in the regular dish, but it wasn’t long and I was doing hamburger man also. Along with anything else we discovered he would eat – cooked noodles, chicken, olives, bread, and even veggies were all things we tried.

So, the other night as I was cooking supper and thought to myself how I hadn’t made “hamburger man” for Kit-Kat, my thoughts quickly drifted away from the task at hand, and I was sad for a moment as I realized just how much I miss that little guy.

R.I.P. little buddy. You are greatly missed.

R.I.P.

December 1992 - December 2005

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by baseball and childhood.

Many many years ago in a land far far away, I got to go to a baseball game. Not just any baseball game, but a game with my heros! This story involves my childhood, so it was MANY years ago, a different century and millennium, and any trip over 50 miles was far far away to me. As it was we were traveling to New York to see my grandparents. Travel in those days was not easy as my dad usually had to take us to a train depot, or an airport far from home to make connections.

So we had taken part of the trip in the car to Kansas City. We visited some friends of my parents and while there we went to a baseball game. At that time the A’s were in Kansas City (1955-1968) which is a fact that only matters because I was able to go and see them play the YANKEES, which were in the Bronx, and continue to be in the Bronx.

The YANKEES were THE team. Every kid in America loved them, including me, and this was a time frame when they were powerful. I think I knew every player, at least the ones that counted: Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Whitey Ford, Moose Skowron. I was about to go and see them all. It was a day I’ll never forget. Actually I didn’t get to see them all. One of the M’s didn’t play but I can’t remember if it was Mantle or Maris, so I have chosen to remember that I saw them all.

Fast forward to December 2007. We took a trip to NYC to see my daughter. Boy did we see NYC and had a blast, but the highlight of the trip for me was a surprise that Jennifer and Gene cooked up. A birthday present I think. They had planned a tour of Yankees stadium!! WOW!!

bridgeIt was a Sunday as I remember and the day was gray and windy. We decided to drive and took the Throg’s Neck bridge. We could see the white caps on the water and there were spots where the water had splashed onto the highway. But nothing was going to dampen my enthusiasm. I was only worried that we would get lost. I had always hoped to go to a ballgame at Yankee Stadium and this was as close as I was ever going to get.

subwayWe did arrive safely and decided we had enough time to grab some lunch before the tour. I think it was a McDonald’s or a chain fast food place at least. As we came out of the restaurant fast food place we could see the subway sign and my heart started beating a little faster. The stadium was right there in the background, but it was so large I didn’t actually notice it. Not only one stadium, but two. The new one was being built right across the street from the old one.

gene-dugoutWe made it to the tour. We were inside that historic stadium and I was soaking it all in. Photos everywhere in the halls. All the greats. The pressbox where we could see all the field, covered with snow I might add. The clubhouse where we couldn’t take pictures because it is being used by the players. I could see some stuff left during the off-season, and smells, just like any locker room.

fieldAnd then …….. We were there, in the dugout!! All I could do was stutter: Babe Ruth sat here, Mickey Mantle sat here, and I continued to utter names that I knew. It was a minor point that none of those players had actually sat in that dugout since they did major renovations in the 1970′s. It just didn’t matter to me one little bit. Next thing I knew I was walking up the steps and touching the field. I really wanted to go out onto that field, but my desire to not be arrested took control. (I actually did step out onto the field later on, but there is no evidence, and I’ll deny it.) As a sidenote I could mention that my daughter has been to several games in this very stadium, but for now I again choose to ignore certain facts. She wants me to be jealous and I’m not going to do that.

So now it is October 2009. World Series time. The Yankees are once again playing in the Series. (I am going to totally ignore that they are one game behind the Phillies because a lot can change.) They are now playing in their new stadium and possibly someday I will take a tour of it also. I never grew out of loving them! And for now I’ll just enjoy my memories as they warm my heart on this cold snowy day.

Did I say snow? Of course I did, and let me just share the latest forecast on Day Two of this autumn storm we are having. This is not a good start for what is going to come when winter actually arrives.

Today:
Snow. Blowing snow. Snow accumulation around 2 inches. Highs 30 to 35. North winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts to 35 mph. Chance of snow near 100 percent.

Tonight:
Areas of blowing snow in the evening. Cloudy with snow likely. Colder. Snow accumulation around 2 inches. Lows 15 to 20. Northwest winds 10 to 20 mph with gusts to 30 mph. Chance of snow 70 percent. Wind chill readings zero to 10 above zero.

Today’s interruption is keeping me warm. Go Yankees!

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by the weather and sadness.

I looked at the calendar earlier this week, right after I looked at the weather forecast which was predicting 10-20 inches of snow. SNOW!! again. I don’t think it is necessary to add the rest of this post which will describe my opinion of said forecast, but you have nothing better to do than read my opinion, and I have nothing better to do that give it.

It is autumn people! In fact, when I looked at the calendar I confirmed that we are only slightly over 1/3 of the way through autumn. Autumn: the season when leaves fall from the trees. I see nothing about snow in that definition. Let me repeat that: I see NOTHING about snow in that definition!!

snow1Now let’s talk for just a minute about that weather forecast. Originally it said we were in a “winter storm watch” and of course it now says “winter storm warning”. It says nothing about “autumn storm watch or warning”. Further, it says this warning continues until 6pm on Thursday. Today is the first day of this snow, and in a few hours we’ll add some nice wind to blow the snow around. I can hardly wait!

snow2As you can see by the photos, the leaves have not completely fallen off the chokecherry tree in our backyard, although they seem to be mostly off the other trees in the neighborhood. This is thanks to the snow we had a couple of weeks ago. The top of the privacy fence seems to have 3-4 inches of snow, and I took this photo at about 8am. Not that I am usually up at that time, but today was supposed to be a special day.

Special, but yet part of my usual routine. Not an interruption to it. It is quilting day – my once a month all day 10am-10pm sewing day working on just whatever projects I want, but mostly UFO’s (un-finished objects) which also could be called PIGS (projects in grocery bags). So there is sadness that I don’t get to go. Yes, quilting day is in that town 60 miles away. Sixty miles of snow-covered highway that will be full of drifts later today after the wind starts up. Sixty miles of winter weather that should be autumn weather!

Oh, and on one final note: the electricity is not co-operating, so I’m not sure I’ll even get to sew at home. We were without electricity at 5am this morning for a couple of hours, but it came back on before I got too cold. Since then it has been flickering a bit. I have the pellet stove cranked up and hopefully the city can control eliminate the outages.

This is the day the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Yes, there are much worse things that could interrupt my life.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by a giveaway and pumpkins.

giveaway fabricsMore specifically the Pumpkin Patch Primitives Quilt Shoppe is giving away a HUGE fat quarter bundle of Red Rooster’s Pumpkins and Spice fabric line. It is yummylicious!! Well at least the photo is, and I’d really love to win and touch and fondle sew with it. I have a million ideas of what I could make.

Another bright note for today is that I leave in the morning for the quilt retreat. I’m so excited!! There is a slight interruption though as my friend has come down with something and won’t be going with me. She has vowed to sew at home the entire time, but I will miss her loving encouragement and fabulous sense of humor.

As the farmers around here say: There’s always next year. (as far as the retreat) For the giveaway, I am planning on winning: this year, this month (actually Nov. 1st) this time.

P.S. I found this contest at Elaine Adair Pieces – she’s listed over there is my sidebar. If you enter yourself, please give her the credit.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by the USPS and retreat.

I’ve been looking forward to my quilt guild’s retreat since I joined the guild a year ago. Actually I wanted to go to the retreat even before I joined, and quite possibly was the very reason I joined. I had heard from friends how fun it was and all the munchies they had. Food always does it for me!

lunchI had recently ordered a booklet with some quilted items and was hoping the USPS would come through for me and deliver it on time. They did, and I am happy. I’m not a very prolific quilter, but I do have LOTS of ideas as well as supplies. In fact (feel free to roll your eyes) I just bought some favrick (fabric, for those of you who don’t speak childease) to make some market totes. I’m actually considering making them for gifts for Christmas, but am wavering because of my limited sewing skills.

If they come out good, I’ll want to keep them. But if they come out bad, I won’t want anybody to see them. Dilemma Dilemma! Oh wait, I can make double – one for me and one for a gift. Another for me and another for a gift. I might be onto something here, but as I said, I am NOT a prolific quilter.

As I close this post, I’d like to give a shout out to my brother, Richard. It is his birthday. I’ll be kind and not tell you how old he is, but alas, he is still younger than me. If you notice my archives, you’ll see that Richard seems to get mentioned regularly. I have two other brothers I love just as much, but they are much quieter and not as prone to note-worthy escapades.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by 38 old cars and brothers.

So, I’m going about my normal daily routine: wake up and stumble to the coffee pot. Actually this is right after I stumble somewhere else, but I didn’t think that was a detail you needed to hear. So I have my coffee, freshly made by Gene of course. He is so good to me, and he gets up earlier than me. Next, I grab the newspaper off the front porch to see what news I might have missed. Mostly I read it for the comics and local sports. The rest of the news I’ve probably already seen on the internets.

Time to check email. The usual newsletters, and not much else. But wait! Why do I have email from the Omaha World-Herald. I don’t subscribe and it wasn’t marked as spam. I can see by the preview that my brother Richard has sent me a story. Actually a link, but I can already tell by the subject line I am going to see Carhenge, whether I like it or not. I’ve already sent flowers to my brother, thanking him for his kindness.

ss-carhenge

Carhenge is the scourge of my little town. Most people seem to think we could have done without this little tourist attraction, especially when it is #2 on the list of wackiest places to visit. Here’s a little quote from the World-Herald article:

The only attraction deemed wackier than Carhenge is the toilet seat museum in San Antonio that features more than 800 decorated toilet seat lids but no bathroom.

BUT the rest of the world loves it. I’ve had visitors from three foreign countries, and several US states, and they have ALL wanted to see Carhenge. One of them in a blizzard and one of them even wanted to go straight from the airport.

And let me tell you about this straight-from-the-airport visitor. He lives in England. Ninety minutes from Stonehenge! 38carsNinety minutes that he had never found, for gawd’s sake, to visit Stonehenge. And now it was top priority to see Carhange? Kids these days! Now I admit it is unique, but not worthy of the homage it has received. In the end it was good we had gone from the airport as things changed drastically in the next days. Princess Diana died. This young man was devastated. This young man felt so alone in a foreign country that doesn’t have royalty. A country that is thousands of miles from where he wanted to be. We were glued to the television for days.

I don’t know if my brother, Richard, has ever seen Carhenge or Stonehenge for that matter, but I can guarantee that the next time he comes to visit I WILL give him the royal tour. Oh, and I lied about the flowers.

Footnote: Yes, I borrowed the photo of Carhenge, but just until I can drive out there to take my own, which I’m sure will be very soon.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by Crisco or whatever other brands of shortening are out there.

This was a couple of months ago.

Ring Ring or more like Doo-dah-DEE-duh Are you hearing the Halluliah chorus ringtone? Nothing as ordinary as ring ring for me.

Hello. Dessert is served in five minutes. WOW! Be right there. The conversation was short, very short. I think they hung up right after I said WOW and just assumed we would be there. And we were.

Our friends had invited us over to enjoy a freshly baked peach pie. Lois had gone to her son’s house to check on things and water the plants, and there right in front of her eyes was a pie. It had been a surprise gift for their son and new wife, but since they were off traveling for their honeymoon, Lois didn’t want to just leave it on their porch for another week. The fact that the pie was sitting on top of the freezer was just not an important point to her. Who would think of putting it in the freezer to await their return? Certainly not me, and obviously not Lois either. Thus, we got the phone call. When something good happens, share the news, or the pie, whichever the case may be.

We enjoyed! We raved! Especially about the crust! It had been forever since any of us had tasted crust so yummy and flaky and so homemade. If a pie is cut into 8 pieces, and there are 4 people, simple math tells you we got to bring some home.

Not long after, I got to meet the pie maker. Meredith makes lots of pies every week and she made it sound so easy. I just figured I would probably never learn the secret.

Yesterday, I headed out the door to go and have coffee with Lois. This is not an interruption in my daily, or at least weekly routine. We like to get together and catch up on news or plan what things are coming up in the way of quilting classes we might be taking.

As I walked in the door, there was Meredith, the pie maker. She has become a friend of Lois since the wedding and I just figured our coffee time would be a threesome, which always is fun.

We’re going to learn to make pie crust Lois announced, as she asked me if I wanted flavored coffee or regular. I chose flavored since it was already made and we could get to the pie making faster.

Get to the pie making? How exciting! I was going to learn how from a pro! I was going to become a pro, which was even more exciting! No more cooking shows on TV for me. I was going to be the star!

So Meredith started putting flour in the bowl. “How much” I asked. hmmm Meredith replied. “You’ll have to sort of guess. It depends on how many pies you are making” It looked to be about 4 cups of flour to make enough for 2 pies, with both a bottom and top crust. Next was the Crisco, and again with the “have to guess” method. Again, I guessed it to be about a cup and half.

This was not going to be easy at all. It seemed like I was never going to be a pie maker. Goodbye stardom. Goodbye TV show. Hello again Mrs Smith my old friend.

Throughout the next hour we watched; we learned. About the texture of the dough, the temperature of the dough, when to add a little more shortening, when to add a dribble more of water, how to flour the counter and then roll out the dough, as well as some other neat tricks and helpful hints. Yes, Virginia, you can teach an old dog new tricks. Now I just have to be brave and try it, or go and study all the step-by-step pictures at Pioneer Woman. She has a totally different recipe but it does have actual measurements if you’d prefer not to guess.

And speaking of Pioneer Woman, did you notice her site is in my favorites in the column over on the right hand side? And did you know she is coming out with a cookbook, with LOTS of living color pictures? And did you know it is the only thing on my Christmas list? (so far)

Happy Pie Crust making to everyone. What a pleasant interruption to an otherwise ordinary Wednesday afternoon. Next time I’ll take pictures.

 

Today’s interruption is brought to you by the Union Pacific Railroad and the Nebraska State Patrol.

Okay this isn’t starting out as likely to have a happy ending, but, trust me, it does. Of course it does; I’m writing it aren’t I, and I can do anything I want with my story.

Yesterday I had a meeting in a neighboring town about an hour away from home. (Yes, when a person lives in the wide-open-spaces, “neighboring” can mean distances of 60 miles or more, with not much but space in between.) I already knew when I left home that the meeting was going to last a couple of hours, but I didn’t think more than that. *sigh* Yes, the meeting lasted until 5:30. Could it have gotten over earlier? Yes it could have, but that is a story for another day.

I had wanted to get home by 6 for several reasons, with the weather being a huge concern. For the last several days we had been having winter weather. Not the once in a while fall snowfall we can get, but real honest-to-goodness winter weather. Winter weather, horrible weather, what the heck is happening weather Where is global warming weather. We’d had days of snow, and freezing cold, as in the teens and twenties, and now it was expected to start raining or more accurately rain turning to snow. Life just doesn’t get any better than this!

Another reason to get home by dark is the deer. Deer don’t like to follow the rules you know. They don’t stay away from the highways and leave the cars alone. Why do we have fences then, you ask. “Obviously, they are only for cows,” say the deer.

I had decided to take the route that follows the river on the south side. There is a much prettier view, and far less traffic this time of year. It is beet season here. Sugar beets, for those of you who don’t realize that not all sugar comes from cane. During beet harvest there are numerous semi’s loaded with beets heading to the factory, which is located on the north side of the highway. And due to the weather (see above) they were out in full force. I wouldn’t mind the trucks and I do think the drivers are competent, but every once in a while a beet decides to jump out of the trailer and onto the windshield of an oncoming car. The beets seem to be in cahoots with the deer.

Shortly after I started out on the highway, going down the south side, enjoying the view, watching out for deer, I realized I was following a state trooper. Not to worry as I had no plans to exceed the speed limit, but the trooper seemed to have no plans for at least going the speed limit. Nope, he was going about 15mph slower. What to do? Not having total confidence that the speedometer in the car is accurate, I decided not to pass. I would follow until the “cut across” to the north side and take whichever way he or her didn’t. Yep, mind is made up.

At the cut across he/she went straight, so I decided to cut across to the north side. I was so focused on not following the trooper that I neglected to see the train beside me. I slowed, I turned, I stopped right behind a car that was stopped at the railroad crossing for the train that was just starting to move. A coal train! An 872 car coal train! Maybe even more. Okay maybe not that many cars, but the most they are allowed if there is a law. Here in western Nebraska we get to experience at least 100 coal trains a day coming out of Wyoming. Suddenly I realized that as soon as I crossed the river I would be in BNSF Railroad territory doing the same thing: moving that coal to power plants on the east coast, so that all people living in metropolitan areas instead of wide-open-spaces can have electricity to power their computers to read my blog.

The force was with me! I reached the north side and no trains were coming. I pulled out onto the 4-lane, full of beet trucks going and coming from the factory and continued on my way. No more troopers; no more trains; only 50 (of the total 60) miles to travel home, and 10 minutes to get there before dark! All the time watching for deer who think they are in charge of the traffic flow.

Freezing rain, fog, and more traffic all greeted me as I traveled onward. I should be working for the post office. But I knew what awaited me at home: a warm house with the pellet stove going, and supper ready to be served. That Gene! He is so good to me!

 

Classic Sugar Cookies (Cookie Exchange Quantity)

3    cups powdered sugar
2    cups butter or margarine, softened
2    teaspoons vanilla
1    teaspoon almond extract
2    eggs
5    cups  all-purpose flour
2    teaspoons baking soda
2    teaspoons cream of tartar
Decorator’s Glaze
4    cups powdered sugar
1/4    cup water
1/4    cup light corn syrup
1    teaspoon almond extract
Food colors, as desired
Decorations
decorating gel, colored sugar and/or decors, if desired
decorating icing (in 4.25-oz tubes), if desired
Flaked coconut, if desired

1.    In large bowl, beat 3 cups powdered sugar, the butter, vanilla, 1 teaspoon almond extract and eggs with electric mixer on medium speed, or mix with spoon. Stir in flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
2.    Heat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease cookie sheet. Divide dough in half. On lightly floured surface, roll each half 1/8 inch thick. Cut into desired shapes with 3-inch cookie cutters. Place about 2 inches apart on cookie sheet.
3.    Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until edges are light brown. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
4.    In small bowl, beat all glaze ingredients except food colors on low speed until smooth. Divide among several small bowls.  Stir desired food color, one drop at a time, into each until desired color. Decorate cookies with glaze and other decorations as desired.
High Altitude (3500-6500 ft) Bake 6 to 7 minutes.