On My Week Off From Work:

House-sat/Cat-sat for MaryAnn and enjoyed the heck out of it.  Oh, what a fat, funny cat!  She was like a black basketball with legs!  It made me miss my kitties.  It has been something like five years since I had a companion animal to brighten my life.  Oh well, its been pretty bright anyways!

Had Christmas Eve with the Schatzke's.  We went to church, played games, and I then ate far too much Chex Mix in my excitement over being in the presence of vegan Chex mix. 

Had Christmas with my dad  and Dana in Sidney.  It had been too long since I'd spent a holiday with my pa!  They had some amazing cats there too!  I had forgotten how hilarious and into-everything kittens can be.  The roads were blessedly clear and dry.  It wasn't long enough a visit, but...it never is!  I didn't get to see everyone I would have like to, but you make do with what you get.  I did get to visit many friends like Allison, J.D., Meagan, Glenn, and Josh.  I also attended my first Boxing Day celebration where I proceeded to eat way too much hummus....it was just too good....I couldn't stop myself.  Mmmmmm......Roasted garlic hummus.....oh, baby....  I could go for some right now!  Played Loaded Questions for the second time and it was just as awesome a party game as I remembered!   Oh, the laughter!!

Made fajitas from scratch for the 1st time.  Matt was so enthusiastic about them I felt I must have really succeeded.  I always worry when I start adjusting recipes on a whim as I am not exceptionally talented in the cooking department (but I am learning!).  It made me proud of how far I have come as a chef...he didn't really rant and rave about any of the "blackened" dishes that used to be my specialty.  Of course, I didn't rave about them either, but they were, if nothing else, edible.  If I keep up this practice I might gradually transform into some sort of hippie Martha Stewart.

Dusted the house from top to bottom, a task I ignore until I move something and am horrified by what I see.  Then, motivated by the dusting, I cleaned the bathroom from top to bottom and did all the laundry.

Made Miso Soup for the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd times (Matt and I both ended up liking it so much that it demanded more meals.).  It's like chicken noodle soup without the chicken!  

Organized the game closet because they were starting to overwhelm the space and spill out on to the floor.  I also had to make room for my new The Simpsons Monopoly which I got for Christmas.  It's awesome.  I got to be Mr. Burns carrying a sack of money!

Read a Kurt Vonnegut book that I had never read before and then learned they are releasing another collection of previously unpublished fiction.  Hooray!  Started book two (Sirens of Titan) in my quest to read all Vonnegut books in order. 

Took to the painful task of weeding out books until they all fit on the bookshelf again.  I have to take to this task every couple of months because the "curse" of working in a library is that you are constantly bringing home more books.  In the end I rearranged so that I only had to get rid of one.  Whew!  It looks so much better when the books aren't just stacked on top of each other and shoved in there all over the place.  It is probably something that only bothers me though. 

Organized that camp gear that had been haphazardly strewn about the basement at the end of the season and started dreaming about camping in 2011.  I already know where our first camp out will be!  We always are impatient to wait for the snow/cold in the mountains to melt off, but this year we are going to the prairie first!  It is nice there so much sooner than up in the forest and peaks.

Wrapped up shirts and onsies to be dyed.  Helped Matt do a little dying.  (Which sounds more sinister than it is...)  Started planning out our schedule of tie-dye vending gigs.  I will NOT be caught off guard again this year!

Hauled a huge car load of cardboard, cans, bottles, and paper to the recycling center. 

Walked around the neighborhood almost every day.  I really like following all the little animal tracks in the snow.  It make up for the fact that the walk is colder than in other months.  The snow is so magical and enchanting.

Labeled and organized the digital photos from 2010 and began the section process for the "Year In Photos" that I print off every January.  I love having hard copies of my photos.  I look at them more.  Plus it is a nice way fro Matt and I to work through the whole year again and reminisce about all the fun we had.  And, boy, did we have some fun!

Tried to throw a New Years Eve party centered around the live Futhur show being broadcast over XM Radio, but it ended up mostly being a bust because of technical difficulties.  The show aired for about...oh...10 minutes.  Oh well, we still had a good time anyways.  Jeremy beat me a chess.  I drank organic sparkling cider.  We made and consumed a Wacky Cake.  I always enjoy Wacky Cake more than any other chocolate cake because the recipe came from my grandmother.  It makes me feel connected with history.

Grandma's Wacky Cake:
1 1/2 cup flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup cold water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
Preheat the oven to 375F.

Sift together the flour, cocoa, soda, salt, and sugar. In a 2-cup measuring cup, measure and mix together the oil, cold water, and vanilla. Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry and mix the batter with a fork or small whisk. When the batter is smooth, pour it into a 9 inch square cake pan.  Then, add the vinegar and stir quickly. Stir just until the vinegar is evenly distributed throughout the batter.   It should turn from dark brown to a nice light tan.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes and set aside to cool.  Frost as desired.

2010 was grand.  I don't see any indication that 2011 should be any different.  :)  I count my blessings, and they are many!


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