Sunday, December 24, 2006

The Ungrinchification of Ansley

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas, finally.

I have been a little grumpy for the last week, not really negative grumpy, just not overly positive and ready for Christmas. So what helped me kick the grump habit? I had tried having a Christmas party, going to Christmas parties, and decorating my apartment, all to only small avail. So here's what did it; making Christmas cookies while singing along to a new Christmas mix. And just in case you're still struggling to get Christmasy (or stay that way while fight crowds on the roads and in stores), here's the music and the recipe.

The music, click here if you want a copy:
Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
All I Want For Christmas Is You - Olivia Olson
Walking in a Winter Wonderland - Bing Crosby
Jingle Bell Rock - Bobby Helms
Frosty the Snowman - Fiona Apple
Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow! - Dean Martin
Baby It’s Cold Outside
Jingle Bells - Ella Fitzgerald
Christmas (Baby, Please Come Home) - U2
The Christmas Song - Nat King Cole
I’ll Be Home For Christmas - Aimee Mann
Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas - The Format
I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas - Ella Fitzgerald
It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas - Bing Crosby
Santa Baby - Eartha Kitt
Sleigh Ride - Ella Fitzgerald
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen - Barenaked Ladies & Sarah McLachlan
It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year
Santa Claus Is Coming to Town - Ella Fitzgerald
Last Christmas - Wham
What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve - Ella Fitzgerald

The recipe:
Chocolate Mint Cookies
Makes about 3 dozen

2/3 C packed brown sugar
1/3 c margarine or butter
1 T water
1 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 ¼ C flour
1 egg
½ tsp baking soda
About 18-36 Andes mints

In a saucepan, heat brown sugar, margarine, and water over medium heat just until melted, stirring constantly. Stir in chocolate chips until melted. Put mixture in a large bowl and let cool for 10-15 minutes. Add about half of the flour, the egg, and baking soda to the chocolate mixture. Mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in remaining flour (dough will be soft). Place tablespoon-sized blobs 2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 6-8 minutes. Let cool a bit but while still warm place ½ an Andes mint (or a whole one depending on what you like) on top of each cookie. As it melts, spread it around the cookie.

So that's the regular recipe. I wanted them to look more festive so I replaced part of the chocolate chips with the Andes mint so they had the same flavor but it was all in the cookie, then I melted white chocolate and spread it on top.This is my attempt at creating a double boiler. It worked and I love this photo because you can see my canisters from my grandma and also the CD player that was playing the mix. And my Portland mug, which always makes me smile.

While the white chocolate was still warm, I sprinkled red and green sugar on top.Lots and lots of cookies!

Then I wrapped small stacks in saran wrap and put then in red cellophane bags with the CD in it too, attached a homemade tag, and have gifts for friends and the Christmas spirit for myself.All ready to go for delivery. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Light in the Darkness

Today marks the winter solstice, the official start of winter, the shortest, darkest day of the year. While that seems dreary, I've been counting down the days as I count the accumulating snowflakes.

See it also marks the start of days getting longer. Whenever I feel cold or tired of the snow, or missing the warm weather, I can just go to, look at the sunrise and sunset times and see that the days are actually getting longer. Summer is coming!

Today also marks Tamara's birthday. It's like God knew if the earth would be the darkest today, it would need her light, her optimism, her smile to brighten it up. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!That's not her! It's her cute dog Watson. I thought his picture would make her smile more.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Getting Political As A Nurse, Sort Of

A few days ago I was thinking about all the funny things that have happened or that I have said in the 4 short months I've spent as a nurse. Sadly, right now I can only remember one, but it's my favorite. A little backstory without breaking the law and telling you too much about the patient. He had taken a mix of an estimated 75 anticonvulsants and psychiatric meds. He was very agitated and when asked any question would reply with full, coherent sentences that had nothing to do with the question asked.

Example: Q: Do you have any pain? A: When can I leave so I can meet my friends on safari in Africa?

So he hadn't peed the whole time in the ER so we bladder scanned him, a painless completely external procedure. He had almost a liter in his bladder but had no desire to try to pee. So the doctor asked us to place a catheter. No this is never fun for anyone but even less so with a patient who is delusional, irrational, thrashing around, and potentially violent.

So I agree to hold his arms and try to calm him down while the aide put it in. The whole time he is saying random stuff but right at the end this was the conversation:
Pt: What are you doing?
Me: We are putting in a catheter, we need to do this because you have so much urine in your bladder and that's dangerous.
Pt: My dad, the president, George Bush, wouldn't want you to do this to me
Me: You really need this and, yes, George Bush would want you to have this catheter.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

You Don't Bring Me Flours Anymore

Earlier this week I saw Stranger Than Fiction instead of being outside in the cold and snow for Family Home Evening.

I loved this movie! I loved the premise, I loved Will Ferrell playing a different kind of character than usual, I loved all of the other characters, and I loved the attention to detail. Dustin Hoffman was hilarious as the Literature professor and I loved trying to figure out which novels he was mentioning as he questioned the events of Harold Crick's life. I love seeing Emma Thompson commit to her role of distracted, hermit author with all the idiosyncracies and affectations. I loved the architecture, color schemes, and the little details like when Harold is staying with his friend who loves space camp (Buster Bluth) the sleeping bag has the cosmos on it. I loved the play on words of flower/flour although it took me about 5 minutes to get the joke. But one of my favorite exchanges was this one...
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Hell Harold, you could just eat nothing but pancakes if you wanted.
Harold Crick: What is wrong with you? Hey, I don't want to eat nothing but pancakes, I want to live! I mean, who in their right mind, in a choice between pancakes and living, chooses pancakes?
Dr. Jules Hilbert: Harold, if you pause to think, you'd realize that that answer is inextricably contingent upon the type of life being led... and, of course, the quality of the pancakes.
And if you want that song that Harold plays, click here...