New Foreigner Book!


a few hardcovers and pbs available from Closed Circle, signed. Latest: Moonlover and the Fountain of Blood, Jane Fancher short story. Chernevog, part 2 of the Rusalka trilogy co-written by CJ and Jane; and Orion's Children, a tetralogy from Lynn.

Two inches of snow on the ground, streets and walks melted clear…

And most of the CHristmas decorations are up. We had one oops last night, a vase set too near a door — which I knocked over; but it’s a metal vase and the greenery is all fake—us allergy sufferers can’t use the real stuff. But Jane’s got the place looking like a Macy’s window.

We’re just about ready for Christmas. I think it’s going to be my scratch-made pizza for Christmas dinner and Jane’s favorite chili and spaghetti for New Year’s!

36 comments to Two inches of snow on the ground, streets and walks melted clear…

  • CJ

    And…thought I could eat one dish that had a very little onion in it, maybe once in ten years. Less than a gram.

    Going to have to go take meds. Swelling in every joint. I’ll probably have 10 lbs extra water weight by morning.

    Not a happy camper.

    • paul

      I have IBS, myself. I’ve been surprized! As little as an ounce of something my tummy doesn’t like can make a 225# man also “not a happy camper”. Ain’t no sense of proportion in the Universe!

  • Hey, I hope you feel better. — BTW, what do you substitute in dishes that call for onion or garlic?

    I didn’t get around to making the Ratatouille, so that’ll be Wednesday after getting a fresh eggplant and some cheese.

    Not quite sure what I’ll do for Christmas dinner. I have frozen stuffing and roast from Thanksgiving, but I think I’ll cook something else for the meat entrΓ©e. I’m planning to get tamales at the store, for some reason I’ve been wanting them. A batch of wassail is forthcoming. I’ll make my choices either tomorrow or the next day, so I don’t have to go for the John Wayne and Red Buttons Hatari body armor to fight the grocery store crowds last minute! πŸ™‚ I’ll be happy with the meal, whatever I fix.

    I’ve been very laid back, not really decorating or making a big fuss. Whatever further house cleaning I do or don’t get done, fine. For this holiday season, I just want to relax. If I get visitors, well, they’ll have to understand, if things aren’t as ship-shape as I’d like. I’ll just keep at it. I’ve resolved to change up how I do things. Too much stressing and pressuring myself to no good effect lately, too much running from thing to thing without enough done on any one thing, often. So, gotta try something new. The break time at Thanksgiving really helped, so I’m going to make sure there’s more balance in my routine.

    I’m going to enjoy some quiet time at home, reading, over the holidays, and I’ll check in online too. I feel settled. There are still things up in the air to get done, but I’m not letting that get to me. I intend to enjoy the holidays.

    Still trying to figure out my new computer equipment, but getting there. I have a training session scheduled tomorrow which I hope will help a lot, and I’ve (naturally) bought a couple of books. LOL. One visit to the mall tomorrow, and that’ll take care of things.

    It’s finally turned a little colder and wetter here, which is welcome.

    Hah, pizza and chili or spaghetti sound great, even for Christmas.

    It’s been a while since I fixed a homemade pizza. I liked my last results, both traditional or the basil pesto version. That should happen again before the New Year.

    Oh, that reminds me to make sure I get black eyed peas for New Year’s Day!

    • chondrite

      “Peace on Earth, good will towards Men…” except at retail establishments during the holidays! I am lucky to have a grocery store only 15 minutes walk from my house, and a farmers’ market halfway there. If it can’t be procured from either place in an emergency, I probably don’t need it.

  • CJ

    I use spices to sub for onions and garlic: often peppers, chipotle, basil, oregano, cumin, some of the ’rounder, blunter’ flavors that taste a little rich; a little sour cream, a little white wine,—and I take the Italian flavors over to the eastern end of the Med, with cloves, cinnamon, allspice, and such as that. Much of my cooking leans to Chinese, Middle Eastern, Italian/eastern version, and plain old English roast beef and veggies.

    My homemade pizza involves the breadmaker—I use an Italian bread dough, but short the water by half a cup; I use the Classico spaghetti sauce, NEARLY as good as my from-scratch; mozzarella, basil, thyme, oregano, and pepperoni and MORE mozzarella. πŸ˜‰

    • chondrite

      I created a ‘green lasagna’ recipe using the pesto sauce from Costco, mozzarella and ricotta cheese, and copious layers of spinach leaves. You may want to check the ingredients on the pesto sauce you choose, or failing that, make your own to ensure nothing that will swell you up like a balloon. One thing: let the canned pesto drain in a strainer lined with cheesecloth or a coffee filter, or your lasagna will have a layer of green olive oil floating on top after baking.

    • paul

      Next time my sister makes enchiladas, I want to be there to do the topping. 1/3 of the top with red enchilada sauce at one end, green enchilada sauce at the other end, sour cream in the middle, then a round little design in chopped olives in the center. Mexican Flag! πŸ™‚

  • CJ

    It is by the way blowing and snowing out there.

    • paul

      Yeah, this weekend was pretty nasty over here on the west side! Got some brief snow showers Saturday morning–figgered you’d get hit. Cold, wet and blustery all weekend. Lots of my rhodies in their containers are blown over, but I’m waiting for it to be over before I try to set them up again. From the GOES10 image, it ain’t over!

  • purplejulian

    I do hope the streets and walks stay melted clear, but I suppose that’s too much to expect overnight. you don’t want to have to be out there clearing with swollen joints – what a misery, one little bit … oh dear!
    but it would be nice to have pretty snow without the effort! πŸ˜€ we aren’t going to have a white christmas, the weather seems to have gone onto atlantic mode – mild and occasionally wet and windy, but some lovely sunny, if short, days at the moment. (that’s the east side of the UK)

  • Perhaps Bansu could send you some green pizza sauce!

    I hope you’re able to get rid of the pain in those joints. (BTW, the joint specialist said that my implants are fine, but he hasn’t ruled out an infection, and wants to do a bone scan on my knees. They’ve already done a blood test, so the scan is the next step.)

    Watch the Classico sauce to make sure there isn’t any onion or garlic added to it. I can’t live without onions in my sauce, but I don’t have any allergies, that I’m aware of, and for those who do, I cannot relate, but don’t dismiss them as something to live with.

    • CJ

      Hope they get the problem ironed out soon!

      Yep, I read labels on EVERYTHING. At least half the time an interesting new product at the grocery goes right back onto the shelf or into the freezer unbought. Curiously, though I once loved the taste of onion, it doesn’t even taste good any more. It’s apparently kind of like salt. If you go low-salt for a prolonged time, breakfast at Grandys tastes as if everything had been soaked in brine.

  • Empty Nest

    I’ve entered an unexpectedly busy phase and haven’t been posting here. (I’ve been filling in at a place I used to work many years ago. I’m off this week but this temp job will likely last several more weeks and it involves an hour commute each way, so I’m away 11 or 12 hours each day.)

    I hope you are feeling better after the onion effects. I wanted to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year and to thank you, Jane, and Lynn for many blissful hours of reading.

  • CJ

    Thank you all.
    Alas the wind continued quite violent at times, and is melting all our nice snow. Sigh. The area will probably have some downed tall trees from all the soaking and then this strong blow: tall evergreens are prone to this.

    • brennan

      They sure are. Unless they hang up as widowmakers, they are exceecingly prone. LOL

    • paul

      I think it’s less the tall trees at fault than the developers who buy a property with a stand of tall trees, which all covered for and protected each other. Developer cuts ’em all down but a few here and there, suddenly exposed, then has trenched and graded for utilities, cutting roots. It’s no wonder they go over!

      • CJ

        The ones on our west side grew here since the building—30-40 feet tall. Our house is from 1956. Some down the hill are from the late 1800’s, so we’ve got some really big residential trees. Canadian Hemlocks are pretty fast growers (prolific with the pine cones)—ditto Ponderosa Pine. We don’t have the tallest trees in the neighborhood, but close to it. Out in Spokane Valley there are some new developments that have really messed up a hillside; and you see that a *lot* over in King County—but construction around here…the last burst of construction must have been the one that produced what they call California style, with a ground floor living room, and a basement under the elevated kitchen and bedrooms. Those must be from the 70’s. We had a big tree in town go down last spring—house built around the 1930’s..3 monster trees on the corner of the lot, and one of the 3 went down, apparently healthy.

  • I’m not a salt user so I really understand. Every thing tastes, to me, over salted, unless I make it myself.

  • CJ

    The wind is so extreme that one of the huge household garbage containers, the sort the city trucks pick up with giant arms, has gone sailing down the S-curves on the street just past our house. I started to call the police—because it’s still blowing a gale, and it’s dangerous out there with traffic barreling along in two downbound lanes…to come to a sudden obstacle. But before I could dial, the thing had spun its open end to the wind and kited on down the S-curve, out of sight from here. I can’t tell them where it is now, so I hope someone else gives them a call. Problem is, if they just set it on a curb, it’ll be back in the street downbound again in about five minutes—another thing that dissuaded me from trying to do anything about it. The city provides us 3 of these big bins, one for trash, one recycling, one for yard waste, and I only hope it’s not one of ours…

    • Walt

      Would it be worth calling the PD on their non-emergency number and telling them about where it came from? I would with my own shire-reeves. Somehow, they always remain polite and considerate, though maybe that’s me: I had a couple nice interactions with my local suburban beat cop, and it’s set my whole pattern for dealing with police. I think it would be fair to say I was harassed by a shire-reeve in my teens, but my reaction was, “He must be having a bad day.” I remained polite and respectful, and we parted well. Strange how a hour of your life can influence the rest of it!

  • CJ

    I would have, but we really should have a phone number written down somewhere. My eyesight is too lousy for a phone book without a good deal of struggle and a quest after really strong light. My own senior-year run-in with the town cops was downright comic, and very fortunately they did have a sense of humor. πŸ˜‰ But yes, we have what’s called a cop-shop nearby, not a beat cop to be had; but that thing was headed. What we now have to ascertain is whether, after all that, it was one of our three, but that requires going round to the side of the house and it’s freezing out there. Got to find out, however. We had up to 50 mph winds all day, so that can is no longer in our neighborhood by now.

  • CJ

    And, yes, indeed, our garbage bins are still here. It’s some other household, maybe from several blocks up the hill, whose recycling bin is down on Boone street (the main cross street at the bottom of the hill, or the top of the next river terrace. Poor folk. I’d have had to dive into heavy traffic two houses down on slick roads in a snowstorm in my bathrobe and muffies to have saved their garbage bin…I hope the garbage people are reasonable for them: they’ve got to be sorting out strayed bins all over town, wherever they were sitting empty. All of Spokane is up one hill and down the other, so no telling where what is. The wind was so crazy—we had to go to Costco, and I had a plastic sack blow out of the back of the Forester when I was trying to load groceries: it kept dancing around as if it had a life of its own, and finally I nabbed it and a scrap from the cart in midair and secured them: our windstorm had gotten down to simple pranks instead of sustained blow by yesterday evening.
    Then we had supper at our favorite pub only to find they’d cut corners and given us not the usual really good burgers but something with filler and tenderizer—Jane waked this morning so stiff she couldn’t move. I swear, if it isn’t onions, it’s tenderizer or some other surprise. I’m a real devout label reader and maybe I’ve kept us too pure this last year of home cooking—one taste of chef’s surprise and we’re in pain.

  • Phooey, I forgot tamales at the store. Might go out Thursday for them, but more likely, I’ll wait till after Christmas. I think I’ve got everything else. Got ingredients for homemade pizza if I fix it.

    We’re supposed to get a cold snap right around Christmas Eve through the day after Christmas. Not quite down to freezing in the daytime, but near or below at night. Yay!

  • Xheralt

    And you though you had something to worry about, vis-a-vis koi and eagles? Try this:

    scary moment!!!

  • CJ

    Wow! That’s been reported since ancient times—but ornithologists and historians have said the bird couldn’t possibly get off the ground with the load; this one was doing a pretty good job—he wasn’t climbing fast enough, with an angry adult human bearing down on him, but on a riverbank or on rough ground—he might have carried his prey high enough to drop the kid to a quick demise. Not to mention what would happen to a baby who was set down where mom was working in the fields.

  • pence

    There is a comment stating that the video was faked.

  • CJ

    I’ve looked, and seen info that it was done by an advanced film making class… and I would say it was a darned good job, if that was the case: they had to handle the shadow angles, but also the baby drop—without actually dropping anybody’s baby. The thing that struck me is that the eagle’s wings were not laboring heavily, as I have seen happen (only in film) with a salmon that proves too heavy. Also the relative size of the eagle seems larger than than I’m used to in the bald eagles, which I am very, very familiar with up close, the rascals. But I don’t know the goldens on that familiar a basis, so I can’t say what the record size for one of them may be.

  • haika

    And…..lots of chat about this viral video on the Washington Tweeters (birdwatching) list!

  • pholy

    A class project in digital animation… And that’s why Electronic Arts and/or UbiSoft have set up shop in Montreal!

    They were told to get 100,000 views on YouTube, but had about 5,000,000 in a day and half (I think it was).

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