Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It's cookie time!

One thing that I enjoy about Yuletide is baking cookies.  Cranberry-orange slices have already come & gone (lovely little butter cookie, but needs a stronger orange taste.  Think that next year I will add a little orange juice.)  Next up is my altered Lebuchen recipe.  Can't remember where I got the original recipe from, but this is what I use. You can add ground nuts &/or 1/4 cup finely chopped citron, but as the grandchildren are appalled at the thought, I don't. I will cut stars & trees out of the dough tomorrow.
     My Lebuchen:   1 cup brown sugar, 1/2 cup butter, 1/2 cup honey;  4 1/2 cups flour., 2 teaspoons orange or lemon rind, 1 tsp. cinnamon, rounded 1/2 tsp. nutmeg, rounded 1/2 tsp. ginger, scant 1/2 tsp. ground cloves, 1/2 tsp. salt; 2 tsps. baking soda dissolved in hot water; 4 eggs.
      Melt sugar, butter, honey together until warmed.  Remove from heat. Combine all dry ingredients & add honey mixture.  Add eggs & baking soda. Mix well.  Chill well overnight.
      350F oven for 10-15 minutes.  Once cool, may frost with confectioners'/icing sugar glaze.
For 'gingys' (grandchild speak for gingerbread people) I prefer Marthas' gingerbread cookie recipe. It makes 10 large gingys for me.  It has a wonderful ginger bite :)   This is what Santa will find waiting for him Christmas Eve. Likely minus being dipped in white chocolate.
My daughter complains every year that I bake too many cookies, but that's only because it isn't her idea! The grands don't complain one bit ;)

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2 quotes, 1 visual #3

I was lucky enough to win a copy of one of Magalys' favorite books: The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield). An engrossing story of an older woman telling a younger woman her lifes' story, in bits & pieces, as the younger woman searches for what is real & what imaginary.

Quote #1: "It never failed. A good story is always more dazzling than a broken piece of truth." (page 6, paragraph 2)
     How many politicians have practiced this bit of truth found within a work of fiction?

Quote #2: "(People disappear when they die....Yet for some there is an exception....) For in the books they write they continue to exist."  (page 17, paragraph 3)
     Not only do writers continue to exist, but lovingly crafted characters live on as well. In this brightly crafted story Vida Winter (awesome name), the twins, & Lea will continue dancing long after Setterfield has moved on.

Visual: "And off he went.  His feet danced delicately in & out of the jagged edges of wood, then skipped swiftly up the stairs, while the upper half of his body sailed serenely above, as if unconnected to the elaborate footwork going on below." (page 133, paragraph 7)
     Just wonderful! Setterfield kept me guessing until the last 2 chapters. She brought satisfaction to a tragedy, the sweetest of potentials for a main character, & rewrote  a fairy tale into tears. I hope that Diane Setterfield will craft another such novel in the near future.

2 Quotes, 1 Visual #2

"Troll or Derby" (Red Tash) is the next book up. A visit to the darker side of Fae & Troll-folk, with drug dealing, roller derby, and  a (maybe) human girl in the middle of it all.

Quote #1: "I mean, you've seen movies, you've read Rowling & Tolkein.  I'm telling you that the real-live working-class trolls of the Midwest are nothing like you've been told." (page 9, paragraph 5)
     Not to give anything away, but Tash has blended Trolls & Amish seamlessly.

Quote #2: "Humans are suckers for drama. Trolls aren't.  That's more of a fairy thing--they're quite good at it."  (page 42, paragraph 1)
      This tale is a sweet blend of fiction set in our reality.  The logic of Tashs' world of Trolls & Fairies hangs together neatly enough to give the unwary reader a twinge of maybe-there's-a-bit-of-nonfiction within the story of Deb & Harlow.

(Couldn't resist this one)
Quote #3: "She saw so many truths flash in front of her eyes that she sometimes forgot what she had told to whom, & free will has a way of cancelling them out."  (page 43, paragraph 7)
     Said of one of my favorite characters.  It isn't, you know, that Zelda lies......

1 visual: "Most pixies are as considerate as a horde of fleas, as lighthearted as an angry hornet, & unless you've got them under a spell or well-bribed, they don't give a moments' pause for anyone elses' well-being but their own."  (page 163, paragraph 3)
      Sounds rather like my daughter......

     Red Tash is a favorite author of mine.  I adore fairy tales, & Red has written a brand-new one!This book has a permanent place beside my Grimms' tales, & I look forward to the sequel.


2 quotes, 1 visual. #4

These snatches of words come from "Runemarks" (Joanne Harris).  500 years after Ragnarok, it's Order vs. the old gods & dreams.  The Word vs. runes & cantrips.  A wonderful read.

"Maddy shook her head, still puzzled. "So what you're saying is....I shouldn't play with fire," she said at last.
  "Of course you should," said One-Eye gently. "But don't be surprised if the fire plays back."
(page 35, paragraph 5)
    This conversation gave me a laugh. A wonderful piece of advice for Maddy as well as anyone who dances with flames.

"Loki waved his hand dismissively. "Gods? Don't let that impress you.  Anyone can be a god if they have enough worshipers.  You don't even have to have powers anymore......you peope see gods everywhere. Gives you an excuse for not thinking for yourselves."  (page 102, paragraph 5)
     The Northern pantheon have such twists & turns, such complexities.  Much more enjoyable to read about than the Greeks/Romans. I have an innate aversion to ancient Rome, to begin with. Plus, the Northern gods are much closer to my heart than any other.

    Even though Harris' writing drew me in within the first chapter, letting me see the world that I was reading, it took me a good few pages to find a visual I felt strong enough to share.  Here it is:

"But the icicles were the least of a thousand wonders that filled the cavernous hall. There were strands of filigree no thicker than a spiders' web; there were flowers of glass with leaves of frozen gauze; there were sapphires & emeralds growing out of the walls; there were acres of floor smoother than marble, fit for a million dancing princesses."  (page 164, paragraph 5)

     This book has a permanent place on my bookshelves, with space given for the sequel "Runelight" (hopefully a purchase I can make for my birthday :).

2 quotes, 1 visual...

Not so much a book review, as an opinion.  My logic doesn't stretch long enough for most to easily comprehend my leaps & links from one book to random bits of information ;)  However, inspired by the ever lovely Magaly, I can share two quotes & one visual in the hopes of sharing what I find interesting reading.

These snatches of words are from "The Travellers' Guide to The Duat" (Kiya Nicoll).  This book is for those planning a trip to the Egyptian spirit world, a guidebook for tourists. Nicoll writes in a lighthearted manner, with no disrespect. She has taken her time, researched well, & has taken the effort to translate ancient spells in modern poetry forms as a method of making them more accessible to modern readers.

"You may wish to consider the possibility of using a pseudonym in at least the more public portions of the presentation of your name......Certainly, if you have many enemies, use an alias!"  (page 37, paragraph 2)
     Quite practical, as any good guidebook is!

"The ba will want to be able to recognize its original inhabitation when it sojourns in the daylit lands, & it can be greatly distressed if the features of the khat are damaged."  (page 44-45, paragraph 7 & 1)
     Here, then, is my wondering begun.  From what I have read, the ancient Egyptians put great store in the preservation of the body in it's whole, perfect form.  I wonder, how they would modify..or, if they would modify this view...presented with the modern day problem of soldiers returning from active duty maimed in body, if not mind.

A visual.....from the poem 'Feasting'
       "So hail to food, & hail also to grain,
         To flour, hail, & all abundance laud,
          And all the ones who Ra's meal do obtain,
          All on the Great Flood, everyone a god."    (page 114, paragraph 1)

     The poems are my favorite part of this book. I read them all, but stopped halfway reading the text. Not from poor writing or editing, but from an admitted lack of interest in the Egyptian pantheon.  I chose this excerpt because Thursday is Thanksgiving, & this reminded me of that.

I will be keeping this book as I enjoyed the poetry so much.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ear Worms!

They most especially strike when I am tired or stressed....or both :/
    #1 Dream
    #2 Gitchi Gitchi Goo
    #3 Gravity Falls theme
    #4 Dear Mom & Dad
    #5 Addams family
    #6 Pinky & the Brain
    #7 Randy Cunningham

Yea, these are all 'cartoons' songs.  I tried to find catchy adult or prime time ear worms, but I could only come up with a few.
     #8 Midsomer Murders
     #9 Inspector Lewis
     #10 CSI

Wednesday, November 14, 2012


Linda Ursin runs/owns one of my favorite blogs: Heksebua.  Loads of lovely photos, herbs, tarot, & runes ...plus a monthly contest.  A simple contest...you just have to look for something or at something. I'm much better at looking for something, as this months' contest has me befuddled!

I've won twice, & both times have been graced with a painting Linda has done.
 A sweet watercolour of the sea dancing is my latest.
The first was this lovely study of summer waters :)

Sorry about the glare. I really wanted to show the brush strokes!

Thursday, November 8, 2012


I haven't really decided if I like the gingerbread people or not.
Either way, they will end up in the Grandchildrens' Yule stockings.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

It was kind of Yule-y.....

In the morning, all red & white, kind of Yule-y & cute & such....
By mid-afternoon, not so much the 'cute & such', but still Yule-y....

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

I did it!

   The daughter & I were at our polling station by 7.30 a.m., & it was nice to see that it was humming steadily along :)  Grandchildren #1 & #2 went with us. The voting is done did.  Lazy soninlaw can't be bothered, although he likes to talk a great deal of junk about doing so.
  In the spirit of things, here are a few comics with their views on the state of American politics:
          Kevin and Kell
                 Safe Havens
                               Arlo and Janis
                                             The Duplex
   & finally, just because I think that everyone should listen to the music....Girls withSlingshots.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A friend in New Jersey.......

could use a little help.  They made it through Sandy relatively unscathed, but, given the damage done elsewhere, employment is a little shaky.  Deb, however has two etsy shops, the Glamoury ApothecaryLa Sirene et Le Corbeau .  Speaking from first hand experience, her oils are wonderful & her spun yarn beautiful! The yarns knit up beautifully, & are brilliant in colour! So, if you're in mind of a little yarn hoarding or starting Yuletide shopping, please stop in & support Deb.  Thank you!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's Autumn now

One of my favorite shades of grey. A pity the sun setting doesn't show her glow on the leaves.