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SINGING THE WINTER BLAHS, OR HOW COLD DID IT GET LAST NIGHT?

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Actually, the overnight low was 2 above zero, but the wind chill dropped that to somewhere between -10 and -15! Not that I went outside to test it. I did get up at 4:00 to let Mlle Renee out to water the lawn. That’s what happens when Renee doesn’t want to get out of a warm bed (mine) before turning in for the night. Anyway, she woke me up at four to open the door and let her out. I let her out, and before I could say “This floor is freezing! Why didn’t I put my slippers on?” she was coming through the sun porch door. (Why do they call it a sun porch in the middle of the night in the middle of winter?) Anyway, Renee beat me getting back to the bedroom, and was waiting at the door for me to turn all the lights off and get back to my bed. I think Renee must be a vampire dog, because she won’t go into my bedroom until I tell her she can come in. Then she comes in and waits for me to get in bed and pull up the covers before she jumps in and snuggle down. She’s a very welcome visitor on chilly nights. She doesn’t like to sleep under the covers with me, but prefers to sleep on a fluffy terry cloth beach towel I spread over my comforter. Also she snuggles next to my legs which she uses as a pillow for her head. She is probably the best sleeping partner with whom I’ve ever shared a bed. She doesn’t snore or toss and turn during the night.

To be honest, I’m not adjusting to the polar vortex winter we’ve been having. Tuesday I had to dress up like an Nordic explorer to trek to an appointment with my dermatologist. I wouldn’t think of cancelling because it took me three months to schedule it. Who thinks about frigid weather in November. But then yesterday, the temps moved into the upper 30s only to plunge overnight again. Tomorrow, the temp is going back into the 30s! And guess what? MORE SNOW!

And you wonder why I’m suffering and singing the winter blahs.

DSC08944Though I think compensating for the weather by cooking comfort food is going to add a few extra pounds.  Tonight, I made Parmisian Crusted Shell Pasta with ham.

WINTER RULES! My World And Welcome To It!

DSC08911 FRIDAY the 17th of JANUARY, and it was a day totally lacking in any hint of warmth. Unbelievably, I woke up at five and I felt as if I was sleeping in an igloo! So I called my faithful companion and coaxed her into my bedroom and onto my bed. She snuggled against my legs and feet and soon they thawed out. It took her about 30-second to fall asleep and start snoring. Naturally, I soon followed her.

We slept in until the alarm went off at nine. I got up and checked the remote external thermometer to discover that it was 13F out. Wish I had known that before I got out of bed. I had set the alarm because I was scheduled for a lunch meeting with a bunch of guys who went to high school with me. You would have thought that a bunch of well-educated older gentlemen would have had enough sense to choose a day that was a bit warmer for their lunch gathering. So I cleaned up, got dressed, and braved the chilling winter winds.  Mlle. Renee went back to bed, and she had never even gone to high school.

This is what winter looks like!

This is what a Saint Louis winter morning looks like! Snow flurries, too!

The lunch was scheduled at the original Pasta House restaurant in University City and we spent two and a half hours mostly talking with eating in between.  Then when we broke up, I stopped at a bakery and picked up some winter comfort food to take home.FreshBakedBreadThere’s really nothing better to eat on cold winter days than hearty, fresh-bake multi-grain bread with strawberry jam and a mug of hot cocoa. Also while waiting for my Metro bus to take me home I took this picture of an endlessly long and graffiti emblazened freight train.DSC08902

And when I got home, the temp had almost reached 20 F and the snow was still falling.

So when I got warmed up, I had time to work on today’s origami project.DSC08912

And that was my totally chilling winter’s day.

MY DAILY CALENDAR – DAY 356 – DECEMBER 22, 2013

MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SUNDAY, DAY 356 OF 2013: And the remaining days of 2013 are quickly dwindling down to a precious few. Today I spent the day creating and wrapping the gift boxes I’ll be handing out on Wednesday. I’m not one for store-bought gifts. Instead I try to assemble a gift box that reflects the personality of the giver and recipient.  (Not that I’m cheap or anything.)  That’s why it took me all afternoon printing off things from the computer and wrapping up the boxes. Besides, it was quite cold outside today, and I only went out to feed the birds and take the trash dumpster down to the curb for pickup tomorrow. I also had a complete turkey dinner with all the trimmings. In other words, I cleaned-up all of the leftovers in the freezer.

NO ORIGAMI CHALLENGE, BUT HERE’S A MENSA PUZZLE:.DSC086552

FIRST LOOK TIP: The only place for the is under the 1.

And do I hear the prancing of reindeer?SparkleDeer

MY DAILY CALENDAR – DAY 355 – DECEMBER 21, 2013

MY DAILY CALENDAR FOR SATURDAY, DAY 355 OF 2013:  The bad news is … today is officially the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. The good news is the days get longer from here. To make today a totally miserable day, it was cold and it rained all day!  That also mean there were slick roads in a few areas around town. I stayed in and baked cookies.

OREO CHEESECAKE COOKIES

OREO CHEESECAKE COOKIES

It wasn’t easy, but I only allowed myself to taste test one of them. Believe me, they are better than good! And easy to make, too. Here’s the recipe …

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies
1 cup (2 sticks) softened unsalted butter
6 oz. carton of cream cheese at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
2 cups crumbled Oreo cookies
(Preheat oven to 375 and line a cookie sheet with parchment.) 
In the bowl blend the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer until combined.
Add sugar and vanilla, mix well.
Add flour one cup at a time and mix on low just until combined.  Stir in chocolate chips with a rubber spatula.
Pour Oreo crumbs into a shallow bowl.  Scoop dough in 1.5-inch balls and roll in cookie crumbs until they are throughly covered.  Space cookies about one to two inches apart on the cookie sheet. Place the cookie sheet on the center rack of the oven and bake about 15 minutes. Remove and cool on the cookie sheet for about five minutes then move the cookies  to a wire rack and cool completely.

TODAY’S ORIGAMI CHALLENGE:DSC08657

Just wanted to show you the messages I get on weekends.

6efcd7ddccf21234c TODAY’S MENSA PUZZLE:DSC08656

And in case you forgot, there’s only three more shopping days to Christmas.

 

 

 

 

OMG! I MISSED THE FIRST DAY OF WINTER!

I don’t know why I thought today was the first day of winter. I guess it was because my calendar in the kitchen said it was. I should have known better since none of the weather wizards on TV were spewing all the winter weather trivia they had gleaned from their Old Farmer’s Almanac. I had a OFA, but I used it as a coaster for a potted plant last spring. Pot leaked and soaked almanac. So I threw it away! Then the plant died. Guess it had formed some kind of attachment for that soggy almanac.

So, I began preparing to welcome the winter solstice by writing my ode to the changing of the seasons.

FALL HAS FALLEN … AND WINTER RULES

SO NOW I CAN PUT AWAY THE GARDEN TOOLS!

I should have known something was amiss when all the trees went bald last week, and the littering leaves staged an OCCUPY the Streets, Lawns, and Walks protest all around town.

It was a very colorful demonstration to say the least!

Then it hit me like a snowball direct from hell!

WINTER DOESN’T START UNTIL RIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS!!

AND I HAVEN’T EVEN STARTED DOING MY CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!!!

So in spite of the fact that yesterday’s temp dipped to 22F it is still FALL … glorious FALL! It was like Ebenezer Scrooge waking up on Christmas day and finding out the temp is going to skyrocket to the mid-50s today. So don’t believe everything you read on the internet … until you get to the last line.

MAKING TRACKS WITH MLLE. RENEE!

Today was the kind of day where you just wanted to snuggle up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate. Unfortunately Mlle. Renee cannot have hot chocolate and while she has on occasion been seen promoting a good book that deals with canine issues she supports …

She really cannot read.

And also, she doesn’t think I should be reading when I could be taking her for a walk … even though it was dull, dreary, damp and damn cold out!

But she is persistent!

And who can say no to those pleading eyes?

So, I bundled up like Ralphie’s little brother Randy …   I went outside to brave the November chill!

Today, Renee decided to explore the tracks left by others.

CATS!

DOGGIES!

HUMANS!

AND REALLY DUMB HUMANS

WHO DON’T HAVE ENOUGH SENSE TO AVOID WALKING ON WET CEMENT!

And with that display of how dumb some two leggers can be, Renee decided to go home where it was warm inside.

Snow flurries due tonight, and that book is really sounding like the way to go!

Note … Ralphie’s brother Randy’s photo is from my favorite Christmas movie of all time – A CHRISTMAS STORY.

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