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I'm a middle-aged (if I plan to live to 134) grandmother, retired from full time work, though working as a part-time theatre critic. I foster dogs (usually puppies) for the SPCA and many of my entries end up being about dogs and/or puppy poop. Walt and I raised five children and buried two of them. Our remaining three are married to three fabulous spouses, all of whom I love a lot and we have, of course, the most beautiful grandchild in the world.
This journal started in March of 2000 and I've pretty much updated daily, with very, very few misses, ever since then. (I even wrote an entry on a coin-operated computer in a tiny town in England!)
I WATCH SURVIVOR...I CAN DO THIS
25 December 2010
As I write this, it is about 11 p.m. on Christmas eve. Walt is in the kitchen trying to open a can of pumpkin, because the stand can opener doesn't seem to like us. I just heard Joe's bottle opener playing the USC fight song...I guess Walt thought he'd try that as an alternative.
It's kind of been like that all day. We had a lovely breakfast and then, with an 8 hour drive ahead of us, packed up early and headed off to Santa Barbara. My mother, as usual, stood on her porch and waved us off.
We decided to drive as far as Gonzales, where our favorite burger joint, The Burger Queen (an independent fast food place) was located. While we were driving, we listened to an excellent podcast Jeri had on her iPod of a "Fresh Air" (NPR) interview with Jon Stewart. Is it any wonder that so many of us (male and female) are in love with Jon Stewart!
We finally saw the Gonzales water tower off in the distance, and, already salivating over the Burger Queen mushroom burger and onion rings, we pulled into the parking lot, only to see this:
Undaunted, we headed for the BurgerKing across the street in the small strip mall, only to find it closed too. I pointed out a Subway nearby, which was open, but had no bathroom, which we all needed. The clerk told us we could find a bathroom at McDonald's. So there we sat, at McDonald's, looking longingly at the Burger Queen.
Back in the car for the last leg, listening to fascinating interviews, first with Stephen Sondheim and then with the guys who made Toy Story 3, while Jeri worked on finishing grading her papers so she could enjoy Christmas with the family.
We arrived to an empty house. The others are at Christmas parties, so we came in and made ourselves at home. Jeri and I both fired up our computers (her to do her class grading, me to post yesterday's entry). Only Joe's wifi does not show up in my list of available networks. Sh*t.
OK...I can work around it. I would just take the flash drive on which it was stored and put it on Joe's computer. It wouldn't recognize or install the flash drive. Sh*t again.
Finally I got the idea of putting everything on my Secure Digital disk and THAT finally worked and the entry was posted.
Next we had some dinner and then I started to make the pumpkin pies. I didn't want to make them before I left home. Making pies on December 22 to be eaten on December 25 just didn't sound like a good idea to me. So I made the pie crust and kept that in my mother's refrigerator. I also, fortunately remembered that last year I had to send Walt out for a rolling pin since there wasn't one here.
I figured they had spices and sugar, so I didn't need to buy that, but I did bring eggs, pumpkin and evaporated milk.
So I go to get ingredients together, hoping against hope they had the spices. Yes, they had two bottles of ginger and 1 of cloves (which maybe I bought last year), but NO CINNAMON. I needed 2 tsp of cinnamon. We did find stick cinnamon and Jeri convinced me we could grate 2 tsp of cinnamon. She grated and grated and grated and we go 2 tsp of cinnamon, but much of it is bark-like. I thought the blender (no mixer) would grind it, but it didn't.
I went to add the rest of the ingredients, and needed 1-1/2 cups of sugar...they only had 3/4 cup. I managed to dig up a box of brown sugar, so I added that. The final straw was when I couldn't find salt and had to use the table salt shaker, which ended up spilling salt all over the place.
Then I couldn't get the pumpkin can to open...nor could Walt, but he had more patience than I did.
I had remembered to bring my handy dandy new pie crust rolling bag and it worked sorta ok on the first crust and worked better on the second, until I discovered I had turned it inside out and couldn't unzip it.
As I write this, the pies are cooking. I'll know tomorrow if it all worked and if it was all edible.
I think my part is all finished. All I have to do now is sit back and wait for the festivities to start.
PS...now that the pies are cooked, the gang has come home. "You're out of cinnamon," I said. "We just bought lots of cinnamon," they said. "It's in the bathroom." (they use it to keep ants out)
Gee. I never thought to look there.
...now we're watching It's a Wonderful Life.
PHOTO OF THE DAY
Jeri grating stick cinnamon