Going...Going...Almost Gone

Hard as it is to imagine, 2011 is almost over. Anyone blame me for saying "thank Heaven for small mercies"? I will be happy to see this year in the rear view mirror of my life, for certain.

The 24/7 Time Warner Cable news channel is telling that today (December 28) is No Regrets Day, with suggestions to write what you want to forget about this past year ("troubling souvenirs of 2011") on a piece of paper...and SHREAD IT! There's even a giant shredder set up in Times Square. Well, I've got a good-size shredder right here, folks. Wonder if there is some limit to how many pieces of paper I'm allowed to use?

OK, moving on...

Speaking of moving on...NO, we are NOT moving...sorry to even put that idea in your head! I was referring to our grand "move" on Monday, from KY back to NC. We reversed the process of ten days ago, loading up two cars with all of our stuff...and the three dogs, and driving back through four states in ten hours. Somewhere between the third and last toll booth on the WV Turnpike and the VA Welcome Center, my body and brain began to join forces in protest, threatening to Un-Occupy the driver's seat any longer. "I'm so over this," screamed that voice in my head. "I don't want to do this anymore!"

Right. Roll the window down...turn the audiobook up ("The Language of Bees")...and keep on moving, woman. This too shall pass.

I have had this same feeling once before in my life. On my first overseas flight from ATL to Manchester, England, back in 1997, I think. Somewhere over the North Atlantic, I suddenly had this overwhelming need to GET OFF THIS PLANE! It wasn't fear...it was the "stick a fork in me, I'm done" feeling. It was also the middle of the night, and I had to do "laps" up-and-back in the aisles to calm down. Couldn't do that now, could I, what with post-9/11 security measures dictating that passengers remain seated? Ah well.

We're home...at least I am...and recovering from the trip. Actually, Mr. T was here less than 12 hours...long enough to repack the necessities...and then off to VA for a meeting today at one of his dealerships. The end-of-the-year stuff is piling up for him, with too-few hours left to accomplish it all. He's supposed to return tonight, as tomorrow will be close-of-business for Fuso...so the Blackberry should be burnin' until the very last minute since they are in a twizzle to meet their numbers. Fingers crossed...toes, too!

To help him keep up his strength, I finally got around to making the Bundt(tm) cake he requested (pictured above; recipe below). Although the original Cocoa Bundt* recipe called for a chocolate glaze, I substituted a vanilla one...made with Justa Wee Bit o' Bourbon. Thought he might appreciate that!

I'm trying to get caught up around the house. Laundry took less time than expected, because we took advantage of Missy M's machinery before we left to do the majority of the loads. Indoor gardening took more time than anticipated, as everything needed watering and tending...and this was the final feeding until March for all the houseplants. I'm still trying to make it through all of the mail, which includes many of your beautiful cards and letters. (Thank you!)

And, last but not least, I'm unpacking all our wonderful gifts. This is truly the fun part of the week between Christmas and New Year's, isn't it?

I have so much to be thankful for...Santa and his Elves were more than generous with gifts of books (I'm almost done with "V is for Vengeance" by Sue Grafton), batteries (bringing life back to several comatose watches), and all manner of gardening goodies. But I am over the moon over one special gift. One that was wished for...not expected...and already considered an heirloom.

Missy M made me a quilt. Full size. Pretty on front and back. And in shades of purple, one of my favorite colors (matching the paint below the chair rail in its new room) and teal-blues (another fav!)...with peachy-pinks, to match a solid color matelesse quilt I already have. I've taken this photo to share with you...but my skills and the lens of the iPad's camera are both lacking to do it justice. Trust me, it's absolutely gorgeous. Now where is that box of Kleenex when I really need it?

As you can tell from the photo (above), I've put it on the guest bed...beyond the reach and The Drool of The Houndz...and, I'm already planning the matching pillows I'll make with the extra fabric Missy M gave me. You'll just have to come see it for yourselves.

Maybe in 2012?


Cocoa Bundt Cake*
1 2/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 small box vanilla pudding (I use the instant)
3 eggs
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F). Spray Bundt pan with cooking spray.
2. In large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients.
3. In a large measuring cup, beat the eggs; add the rest of the wet ingredients.
4. While beating on low speed, blend the wet ingredient into the dry. Beat mixture on high for 3 minutes.
5. Pour cake batter into prepared pan. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.
6. Cool for 5 minutes. Remove to serving platter.
7. Drizzle with glaze (like the vanilla one below)


Justa Wee Bit o' Bourbon Glaze

1/3 cup butter, softened
2 cups Confectioner's sugar
1 Tablespoon bourbon (or vanilla flavoring) (more or less)
2-4 Tablespoons milk (more or less)

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over LOW heat.
2. Remove from heat.
3. Stir in the confectioner's sugar and the liquids, one Tablespoon at a time. Add enough liquid to make the glaze smooth and of desired consistency.
4. Pour over Bundt cake. Yields about 1 1/4 cups glaze. Can easily double.

*An updated version of a recipe from "Hershey's Make It Chocolate!" Cookbook (c) 1987


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