Thursday, December 19, 2013

Freedom is a rather messy thing

All Americans have the constitutional guarantee to freedom of speech.  This allows the KKK to march on public streets.  It allows that dreadful woman from Alaska to publish her inane ramblings in books.  It guarantees my right to any bumper sticker I want on my car and to say anything I please on my own blog or facebook page.  It allows that kook pastor in Florida to burn any Koran he owns.  And yes it allows creepy stars on reality TV to express their views.

BUT . . . . .

That reality show is a privately owned company.  And capitalism working the way it does, that company has every right to tell said star that they won't tolerate such words on their channel.    No one said he can't state his views, no one is accusing him of a crime.  Nobody says he can't write a book, or a blog, or letters to the editor.  But the folks that own A&E feel his words will hurt their bottom line, so out he goes, and THAT my friends is free speech and capitalism, all rolled up in one.  And sometimes that sandwich ain't tasty.

If I'm a waiter and I tell some customers they're fat and lazy for eating out, and really shouldn't be ordering the french fries, I'd probably be fired, agreed?  I exercised my right to free speech, meaning I did not commit a crime, but I will most definitely lose my job.  The firing is NOT an infringement of my free speech.

Remember how the right wing media and conservative voters were ready to tar and feather the Dixie Chicks for speaking THEIR views at their very own concert???  And how some country radio stations refused to play their music??  Where was their outrage over the Dixie Chicks' rights to free speech?  The Dixie Chicks suffered public backlash and a loss of commercial revenue because of their words.  And that is the very same capitalism/free speech shit sandwich.

Have your views, state them loud, but be a grown up and face the commercial consequences.  Freedom isn't always neat and pretty.


Sunday, December 15, 2013

No Calorie Christmas Cookies

Did you seriously believe I'd make cookies without calories??  

It's just not the Holiday Season for me if I don't make an obscene pile of cookies.  Or as my daughter's call a large amount - a SHIT TON of cookies.  Last year I told you about Mocha Chewies - those I'm making later this week.

Today I made Chocolate Crinkles, those lovely dark chocolate sweets you roll in powdered sugar before the oven.  I may make spicy gingersnaps later.  But first was my absolute new favorite; Peppermint Sugar Kisses!  Make these - your cookie plate will be the hit of the year.

1.5 cups of powdered sugar
1 1/4 cups butter, at room temp
1 tsp peppermint extract - this is TOTALLY optional.  I don't add it and I think it would kill the cookie.
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup finely chopped Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses
Regular sugar
About 30-40 unwrapped Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses

Preheat the oven to 350.  Make flat space in your frig or freezer for ALL the cookies to cool.  The freezer really is best, or if you live in a very cold climate and have a table in your screened porch, even better.  I had to use the frig - the kisses melt a bit but they are still yummy.

In a large mixer bowl, combine powdered sugar, butter, extract(s) and egg.  Beat at medium speed, scraping the bowl often, until creamy.  In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Add that to the wet mixture and beat, scraping sides as needed.  Dough will be a bit crumbly.  Stir in the chopped kisses.

Shape dough into 1" balls, roll in regular sugar, and place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper*.  Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set - in my oven that takes 15 minutes.  As soon as they com out of the oven, press a Kiss in the center of each cookie.  Put them in the freezer/frig/porch immediately so the Kiss will set.

*If you do not use parchment paper, just start.  Seriously.  It's a must for cookies, but also for tuna melts, frozen pizza, etc.  Makes clean up so much easier.  And you don't need to buy the fancy-schmacy stuff at gourmet stores.  Get plain old Reynolds brand or store brand at the grocery store.  You'll thank me.

Monday, December 9, 2013

An Agnostic Holiday Season

Many of you know I have a very conflicted spirituality.

Now I love the whole holiday season, well except New Year's Eve which I've covered here.  I love the lights, the presents, the food, the music (OH! the MUSIC!), the sweaters, church services, the baking, the festivals, just all of it.  Except Rudolph, I hate Rudolph.

What I'm not fond of the constant screeching from the Christian Right about this so-called "War on Christmas".   There is absolutely no war on Christmas - it's a pathetic excuse to get their panties in a twist.  If they would review basic history, Christ-Mass was invented by the church as a means to displace pagan solstice celebrations.  All biblical scholars agree that the story of Jesus's birth was set in the Middle Eastern spring, not mid-winter.  So you people, get over it already.  If anyone should be claiming a repression of their religion, it's the Druids.

At our house we celebrate a rather secular Christmas, with a heavy emphasis on my Methodist upbringing.  Thrown in is a good portion of Johnny C's Italian Catholic heritage.  Mixed within is my new-agey-neo-pagan spirituality.  But I can't go full-on heathen.  I just can't start collecting that horrible art full of sexy female elvish creatures.  Plus I like sports and hot wings too much.  But I COULD huddle 'round a campfire on December the 21st with some hot grog and take turns leaping the fire to celebrate the return of the light.  If it's over 20 degrees that is.  Now, who wants cookies???

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

Hope your Thanksgiving is grand,

Your pie crust flaky

Your turkey juicy

Your cocktails plentiful

Your stuffing tasty

Your relatives funny

Your potatoes smooth

Your butter creamy

Your weather perfect

Your team victorious

Your sleep deep and restful

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Today Sucked

Today just blew.

And I really feel bad saying that because I have friends grieving their son, and two friends grieving husbands, and of course let's not forget all the hungry and homeless people all over the world and really who am I to complain about my centrally-heated American life anyway?  But today still blew . . . in a relative white person in America who has food, a job, a car, a family, and no major illnesses sort of way..

1. Our computer has a virus, AGAIN.  And I learned that in April our OS will no longer be updated by Microsoft, or some such techy problem.  So it's buy a new one, or update an old one for $$$$.

2. Our printer is STILL broken.  This POS has been the raspberry seed in my wisdom tooth since we bought it.

3. I made a new multi-ingredient recipe for the crock pot and forgot to add the tomato paste.  So tomorrow it's getting marinara over the top and we'll hope for the best.

4. I've lost 25 lbs but it's still not enough, and I must face the fact that FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE I cannot eat all the brownies or chips-and-dip that I want.

5. Loaded up on good cheap choices at the grocery store only to have my debit card malfunction.  I got home at supper time hungry and grocery-less.  So mad at the world I ate a cheese quesadilla.  And see #4 by the way.

6. I read about the Hawaiian legislator who took a sledge hammer to abandoned grocery carts so the homeless can't use them, and that McDonalds advises it's own poor and hungry employees to break their food into small pieces so they feel fuller, and that we are all subsidizing Wal Mart profits to the tune of nearly $6000 per employee because their low wages keep their employees on food stamps.

If I smoked I'd light up right now.  Perhaps a drink will do it.

Friday, November 15, 2013


I'm lucky.  I really like the people I work with. No, really, I'm not kidding.  They are funny, smart, caring and can make otherwise brain-numbing-hard work fun.

Among them, I'm the "old lady".  Most of my jokes go right over their heads because they were born in the 80's.  I'm sorry, but how can someone born while I was in college be walking around, unsupervised, having children, working and driving cars?

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Wintertime is here

To be sung to the tune of "Christmas Time is Here" by Vince Guaraldi
Wintertime is here

So cold it hurts my rear

Numbs my nose

And my frozen toes

Sends chilblains through the year

Wintertime is here

Car is full of gear

Ice scraper

And kitty litter

To battle ice and snow

Wind is in the air

Spinning tires everywhere

Hot chocolate by

The fireside

Makes frozen shivers disappearrrrrrr

Wintertime is here

Cannot feel my ears

Frozen snot

But a roast in the pot

Eases chilblains through the year

I "wrote" this while driving cupcake to school.  She said "you think you're pretty funny, don't you?"  Yes I do darlin, yes I do.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Needed - a cook

I seriously hate the chore of planning and cooking dinner.
I used to be more June-Cleaver-inclined, and I could be again if I didn't have to work full time.  After an 8 hour day, I want Ward to meet ME at the door with a cocktail.  Then scuttle back to the kitchen where good smelling things are happening while I go to my den and read the newspaper.  Then Ward can call me at 6pm to belly-up to the roast beef and mashed potatoes.  Heck, I'd even wash the dishes!  Cuz I'm all about equality that way.

But instead I'm married to a great guy who is absolutely NOT Emeril.  He can heat frozen pizza  - period.

There's still a 14-year-old at home and she can occasionally boil up some pasta, but that gets old. 

Seriously I'd do anything if you one of you want to take over the cooking.  I'll even take in your laundry!  Time to quit blogging and hit the grocery store.  Guess it's broiler chicken again tonight.  "Hey Family, get in here and eat your fill of antibiotic and hormone-filled crap!"

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Up the Snow

It's fucking snowing.

Usually the first snow of late Fall in Minnesota has me all excited for the holidays . . .  hot tea, warm pjs, winter walks and everything that comes with it.  But we had FUCKING SNOW until FUCKING MAY this year, and 4 months of no-snow is not an adequate break  Might have 3" to 5" by morning.  Fucking snow. Fuck off.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Who the heck are you?

You may not remember me, but I used to blog here.  So I opened the windows, let in the fresh air, and decided to start writing again.

Miscellania of late:

1. Still employed at Small Rural Hospital in Blue Collartown, MN.  Not my dream job, but one I rather enjoy on most days.  Thinking about an MSW - anyone want to take bets on whether or not I'll actually do it?

2. Just celebrated 23 years of solid marriage.  Yep, I chose well.

3. I've lost 25lbs lately - I like to say I lost the DONK off my badonk-a-donk butt.

4. Haven't been much of a homemaker - working full time will do that.

How've you been my good friend???