It’s STILL My Dream

I want to be the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Do I need to add more to that? Is there any little girl who has seen The Nutcracker ballet and NOT wanted to be the Sugar Plum Fairy? Not for me Clara, or the Waltz of the Flowers or Chocolate or Coffee. I want to be the Sugar Plum Fairy.

We went to the ballet last night with my sister and her husband. I LOVED seeing all the little girls coming in their best “going to the ballet” outfits. There were 2 little sisters in pink tulle with (fake) fur stoles and their hair up in ballerina fashion. There was a little girl in black and red plaid with a huge red bow in her top-knot. The little girl in front of me in her lovely black velvet dress with a white kitty on the front spent most of the ballet sitting in her mother’s lap. And *I* alternated between directing the live orchestra and clutching my husband’s hand in excitement.

After the performance several young ladies were gathered in the lobby to pose for photos. That is, once they had been collected from pirouetting and attempting en pointe. 🙂 Oh you have no idea how I yearned to spin and twirl too. I should have dressed for it. When the young ladies were finally in line, they were all cradling their very own Nutcrackers. It was wonderful.

I’d not been to a live performance of the Nutcracker in about 20 years. I asked my son yesterday if he remembered the ballet and how the tree GROWS RIGHT ON THE STAGE!!!! He said “yep”. Ahem. Thank you thank you thank you to my husband for suggesting we go.

When I grow up I want to be the Sugar Plum Fairy.

Baking Beats the Blues

Ah, New Jersey in winter, when a glimpse of the sun is a rare and wondrous moment!

It was pouring rain yesterday. (That’s redundant, isn’t it? What else could be pouring when discussing the weather? Snow doesn’t pour.)IMG_9918 I was working from home and the gray and gloom was making me blue. I’ve seen several articles lately that baking and cooking lift depressed moods and I know it’s true for me. I didn’t have much time to do anything that would require multiple steps, but I knew I needed to get in to my gorgeous new kitchen (have I mentioned that I have a beautiful new kitchen, incredibly functional as well as gorgeous?) and create!

I opted for batter bread. Batter bread is so simple, fast and flavorful. It’s not the same texture as a yeast bread, but it works for sandwiches and yummy snacking. I didn’t really like any of the recipes I found online (to be fair, I didn’t spend much time looking).IMG_9920 I knew one of my cookbooks had a recipe. (We were out with friends last night and we talked about actual paper cookbooks – would they last?) I went and pulled out one of my trusty cookbooks (I have 3) and there was my recipe. My 3 go-to cookbooks are “The Settlement Cookbook” – my very first one and I love it, “The Joy of Cooking” – 2 copies of that, and “Woman’s Day Collectors Cookbook“. And that is pretty much the order I use when I’m searching for some basic recipe.

IMG_9921Batter bread it was – less than 20 minutes prep and it pops in the oven. I had some non-alcoholic beer for the riser and I used my herbs de provence for seasoning, with a touch of onion powder. Nothing better than smelling something good from the oven as you hear the rain thundering on the skylight. Okay – it’s better to actually EAT the yummy thing from the oven!

This Might Have Been A Mistake

I’ve been concerned about the palm tree I brought inside a few weeks ago. IMG_9899It does not look healthy. I’m not sure if it is getting too much light (from the grow lamp) or not enough light, not enough water, too much water, too cold near the window. It doesn’t look healthy and I’m not really sure what to do about it.

My first guess is not enough water because I water the plants inside maybe once a week, if that. The succulents seem fine with that schedule but maybe the palm needs more. They all got MUCH more water outside over the summer. I decided to take the pot and water it thoroughly and see if that was the issue. To do that I had to move the pot from where it is and put it into the sink or outside, because otherwise I’d flood the room. I managed to get it across the room and up and into the sink. Once there I watered it until the water ran out the bottom. It is sitting there now, draining.

IMG_9900I’m not sure I’m going to be able to get it OUT of the sink. 😦 Getting it up and over the counter and down into the sink was not simple – the pot weighs so much. I’m looking at it sitting there, and trying to figure out how I’m going to hoist it UP and back over the counter. It’s not looking promising.

This may be a job for Husbandman. 🙂

Life in the Country

Except I live in the suburbs, as I have mentioned in the past. Last weekend it was the falcon/hawk/big bird of prey. This weekend – I had to wait for the deer to cross. I put on my turn indicator and pulled a bit to the side to wait and watch – you never know exactly where those deer will head. The car behind me had no such qualms – just pulled out around me and barreled on through. As pesky as the deer might be with the havoc they wreak on my garden, somehow I still get great pleasure in seeing them wandering about town.
deer crossing

Workplace Hazards

And I wonder why my back/neck/shoulder hurt after I’ve been working at the computer for awhile. I feel this post is ESPECIALLY relevant because I see that my friend Honour has posted today about harsh working conditions. As I pointed out to her on her post, she doesn’t KNOW from hardship… *grin*

MY arm

Learning About Whiskey

I grew up reading books. A lot of books. A lot of reading. Much of my overall image of the world was shaped by that reading. I read a lot of British manor house murder mysteries. It seemed folks were always having a glass of whiskey before the fire or in the reading room. A ‘splash’ here and a ‘nip’ there. Somehow it always seemed so grown-up, so elegant, so sophisticated.whiskey and fire I couldn’t wait to be an adult, having my own splash of whiskey whilst the friends and family gathered round.

Unfortunately for me, it turned out I did not LIKE whiskey or brandy. *grin* Of course my first exposures to those beverages was when my mother attempted to help me alleviate the infamous cramps. It was harsh and it was sweet and although I DID like the warm after-glow, getting there was not worth it. I also tried it at college. Or rather, over-tried it my freshman year holiday party. There are a lot of unpleasant associations there as well. All in all, I have to say that although I still wanted that whole book image of my amber whiskey in a glass, I never tasted anything that lived up to fantasy.

Flash forward a few decades to my son’s graduation (MS in Game Design). The 3 of us went to dinner at The Whiskey, a restaurant that came up on our search for good burgers. It certainly had delicious burgers but it also specialized in whiskey. You could get whiskey flights to test different brands. There was Rye, Bourbon, Irish, Scotch and various limited release whiskies. IMG_9885My husband was all excited but neither my son or I were much interested. My husband INSISTED that we both try one of his flights. I rolled my eyes but obliged. It was delicious. Warm. Smooth. Flavorful. NO burning sensation. That beautiful afterglow. It was Whistle Pig rye. I don’t remember which barrel it was, but oh my – what I remember was LIKING whiskey. We had a wonderful dinner there. The owner/chef came over and chatted with us for awhile. It is a wonderful restaurant – the atmosphere was warm and comfortable, the food was delicious and the hospitality of both the owner and the wait staff was excellent. What a shame my son no longer lives in Orlando. 😦

Now I knew I liked expensive rye whiskey, but I did nothing about it. I like wine and for my evening glass of relaxation, I had wine. Oban 14 at the bar TarrytownI still had the image, however, of having my splash before the fire, or with friends. I met a friend for dinner after work last April. It was rainy, raw and wretched and I was aggravated about something. I got to the restaurant first so I went up to the bar. I felt I needed to do SOMETHING dramatic (well, dramatic for me). I asked if they had Whistle Pig. Nope. Any 15-year old whiskey? Nope. But they did have a 14-year old Oban. I said that sounds fine and yes it was. 🙂
I texted a picture of my drink to my nephew-in-law to show him I’d ‘grown up’ (He is the wine manager of a very large and well-known liquor store in the Delaware/Maryland area).

My niece and nephew-i-l went to Japan this past spring. They bought us back a bottle of whiskey. IMG_9884I have no idea what it says on the bottle, but you can see by this picture that it has been enjoyed since June. If my nephew picked it out, you know it will be good. Last night I decided it was my turn to try. I’d done errands and chores during the day, my husband was cooking up an Israeli style braised short ribs (in the-big-red-pot!) and I thought it was time to relax. I poured my dram. It was very very tasty. I liked it! I definitely can’t do this often, but I can see it for a cold wintery day indulgence. Next time – I have a 12-year old Balvenie to try! Now I need someone to write me into a book. 🙂

Taking Another Step Away

I treated myself and bought a new computer. It arrived yesterday – a Lenovo Yoga 730. I got the active pen as well, about which I know nothing. 🙂 I gather it lets me draw on the screen. IMG_9869How can someone be so ignorant about their new computer? I don’t pick my own computers. I (like Blanche DuBois) often depend on the kindness of others, in this case coworkers, not strangers.

Way back at the end of the summer I asked a former coworker for advice on a new computer. He’d given me great advice when I was searching for a hard-core gaming computer to handle Second Life and Open Sim. That was all the way back in 2010 and I got an Alienware. I still have that Alienware and it is still going, but I can’t upgrade it and USB ports are a bit different now, and so are operating systems.

Somewhere between then and now I bought myself another computer that could handle gaming and virtual realities. That one was the same machine that we’d bought our son, with a few enhancements added.IMG_9871 I never got a chance to use it. First my son broke his, so I gave him mine. Once it returned to me, my sister’s computer ceased to run her programs so I lent her mine. Permanently. 🙂 I love my sister. So here I am, without a modern functioning computer. I back up all my iThings to the Alienware, but I’ve discovered that I cannot write from it to the iThings. I had to do my last phone update by using my work Mac. It’s time already for a new machine.

I took the list of suggestions from the first coworker and showed it to my former teammates, whose opinions I have ALWAYS sought and trusted. I told them all that the only thing I do anymore is read mail, blog, social media, and process photos. They all agreed on the Yoga 730 and they all told me “buy the pen, you’ll like it”. Okay, I did. IMG_9872I haven’t even opened the box yet, *grin*, but I’m sure one of these days I’ll figure it out.

So why “another step away”? Because I suspect this machine will NOT run Second Life. I loved my time in SL. I’ve written about how much fun I had, how it challenged me, changed me, shaped me. I’ve written about the friendships I made that exist today and moved from virtual reality to RL reality. I still, foolishly, maintain my premium membership, although I have surrendered all my land. I want to go back, but there is no “back” – we have all moved on. Some of my friends are virtually dead, others have passed away in physical reality. Buying a non-gaming computer is yet another step away from the past.

You can take the woman out of SL, but you cannot take the SL out of the woman. No matter WHICH computer she buys.