Saturday, December 31, 2011

End of the Year Wrap-Up

This past week has been extra busy. My husband and I fed and watered the horses on Christmas Eve. There are 29 horses and twelve of them have to be hand watered. Five of them are far enough away from the water source that carrying the buckets is quite a workout. It was snowing and quite pretty and we accomplished it all in about an hour and a half.

Christmas was nice and peaceful with just the two of us. We had a delicious rib roast and I even remembered to bake the side dishes ahead of time so they could be reheated at the last minute and everything was hot at the same time. My only failure was a baklava recipe I tried. It called for miniature phyllo dough cups crumbled over the top. My store didn't carry those so I substituted Pepperidge Farm puff pastry shells - big mistake.

I received a lot of cool gifts; books, DVDs and clothing. My brother and sister-in-law got me PW's cookbook which I already have. They bought it at a store in Solvang, California so returning it isn't really an option.

Monday I helped out at the barn. I groomed six horses both before and after their training sessions - does that count as twelve horses? Then it was time for my regular lesson so a seventh horse was not only groomed but tacked up. I was seriously tired and considering going home but my stubborn pride wouldn't let me admit that I couldn't do everything so I forged ahead. The lesson was great but my left leg was barely strong enough to get me out of the saddle; it took me two attempts. Once my mare was put away I headed for home.

It snowed heavily on Tuesday. I needed to go to the grocery store but managed to convince myself it could wait until the next day.

Wednesday up early for an 8:45 doctor appointment and then did the grocery shopping. I think I was the only customer in the store and was home by 10:00.

Thursday I groomed at the barn again and additionally fed warm mash to all the horses except the two babies. The trainer was working with some of the younger horses so grooming was a tad more challenging. One of the three year olds in cross-ties threw a hissy fit when her half sister was led out to the arena. I did not want to approach her as she seemed out of control but the trainer showed me that she calmed right down once she was being groomed. She loves attention. One of the other young ones didn't want to lift her hooves for cleaning but I eventually got them done. She's such a pretty thing that it's hard to get mad at her plus she also loves attention and begs you to pet her when you walk by her stall.

Bart the puppy ensures that I don't lounge in bed in the morning, although I have managed to get him to wait until 7:30 occasionally. I'm happy to report that he made it to and from the vet's office yesterday without getting carsick - a landmark day for him. I spent the rest of the afternoon dealing with Amazon. I love their wish list but unfortunately neither my sister or mother-in-law understands that they should click the "buy" button so we had five duplicate gifts to return. This proved quite challenging for the representative I worked with and I ultimately had to re-contact them as she kept e-mailing the same information for one item, not the others that I needed. She also claimed that I had to use UPS, which I know is wrong but did not want to argue. The packages should be picked up "some time within five business days." UPS is supposed to provide the mailing labels. I sure hope they plan on three packages as that is how the return authorizations were given to me. One large package would be easier but I'm not in charge.

Yesterday had another riding lesson and then me and another student fed and watered the horses again. Things kept happening and I didn't get home until 10:00 p.m.

Today I plan to put away the few Christmas decorations I managed to get put out. My husband asked about a box sitting on the fireplace hearth - stuff I had dragged up from the basement but never unpacked.

In answer to Midlife Mom's question, yes, I mostly tend to cross-stitch Christmas items. One year I included an ornament with all my Christmas cards. I think that was the first year I was retired and hadn't figured out what to do with myself. I have a huge stash of patterns and kits so of course I had to order another one yesterday because of the year-end sale. I find that I finish items that are meant for gifts. I have a lot of started but never completed projects for myself. I think I have one picture (Christmas, of course) that I actually finished for myself.

Hope everyone has a happy and safe New Year's Eve and a peaceful and prosperous 2012.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Projects

I've been stitching:

I had the gingerbread house framed for my sister. The other four are coasters stitched on plastic canvas for my mother-in-law. They go in the mail today so may arrive after Christmas.
I also made a gift tag of a cat sitting on top of a present. I know I took a picture but it wasn't there when I was downloading yesterday.

Yesterday I made the reindeer cupcakes that PEA shared on her blog a while back.

I'm having lunch with friends today then will go to the grocery store to pick up a few perishables for Christmas dinner. Maybe I'll actually start decorating. I have some new Dept. 56 items that I'd like to actually display. Hey, Christmas isn't for another three days...

Monday, December 12, 2011

Frightful Weather

Mother Nature is having PMS and is taking it out on us. I flew back into Anchorage about 11:00 p.m. Friday. It was 28 degrees and clear; normal for this time of year. High winds kicked up Saturday night and all the fresh bird food I had put out earlier in the day is probably scattered to the four corners of the earth. Yesterday was a combination of snow and hard rain - I got absolutely soaked loading my truck at the grocery store. This morning we have a bunch of fresh snow, the heavy, wet kind. The birds couldn't find seed for all the snow, even if there was any to be had. I have a riding lesson early this afternoon. Hopefully the snow will have stopped by then and maybe the snow plows will have cleared the main streets. I really, really want to see "my" horse.

So, Christmas is less than two weeks away. I got most of my gift buying done while I was in California and left wrapped presents behind. Unfortunately I still need an idea for my mother-in-law's husband. I've met him exactly twice and have no idea as to his hobbies, interests, etc. I'm getting no help from her, either. She praises my wish list on Amazon for ideas for me and my husband but won't set up one for her and him. I just read an article this morning indicating Visa gift cards fall under the category of "worst gift ideas." Apologies in advance to my step-niece and her husband because that's what they're getting. I was going to get one for the in-law and may still... Whatever I end up getting has to be mailed so I don't have forever.

No decorations adorn my humble adobe and I realized that I hadn't added any cookie ingredients to my grocery list so probably no baking will get done. The only day I don't have an appointment this week is Thursday. Bah!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

So I'm Weird

Had a nightmare of sorts last night. Dreamt I returned to the stable without carrots and had a panic attack, insisting that I had to go to the grocery store to buy some before I could visit the horses.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday on Vacation

My sister and I drove to LA yesterday to visit my BFF. I insanely offered to drive back to San Diego and am happy to report that we made it without mishap. It's been 36 years since I've driven on a California freeway, not to mention its rush-hour traffic, but it all came back and I was whizzing along without a care. Just amazed that I kept being passed when I was going 75 - speed has never been a problem for me - but apparently I'm too slow for a lot of drivers.

Looks like today will be a lazy day. We may go see a movie tonight. We've narrowed it down to either Hugo or the Muppet movie. Too bad War Horse isn't released yet.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Quick Update

Having a great vacation and unlike when I'm home, spending hardly any time on the computer. I can already tell that I'll never catch up reading posts on all the blogs I subscribe to - seems like everyone was extra chatty over the long weekend.

The weather here has been perfect; it's quite warm for just a couple of hours mid-day and cools off enough in the evening that we can have a fire in the fireplace. I've finished most of my Christmas shopping so will be able to save quite a bit postage-wise not having to mail gifts from Anchorage this year. I figure that gives me leeway to spend a little more on shopping, ahem.