“No decision should be made on an empty shopping bag.”

It was rain I first heard when I woke up. The drops were falling from the roof to the overhang, and their rhythmic sound lulled me right back to sleep for another hour. When I woke up the second time, the rain had stopped so I went out and got the papers and yesterday’s mail. Since then the rain has come and gone a few times. When I hear the drips, I know.

Gracie and I shopped yesterday. It was the perfect day to be around and about. We went down 6A, one of the prettiest of all routes to take. I stopped at the Brewster Book Store. It hasn’t ever disappointed me. I bought books for the grand-niece and nephews for Christmas and a few neat little things for their Christmas bags from me including head lamps, rubber duckies, small wooden trucks and a doll. I was tempted to buy myself a book, and I did look, but I have a rule about not buying myself stuff around Christmas so I dragged myself backed to the car. Our next stop was a small bakery. I bought dessert for tonight, game night, chocolate peanut butter brownies, and a lemon square for me to eat as we went along. It was so good I almost went back for another. I still wish I had. Gracie and I stopped at a couple of my favorite shops where I bought a few more small things for stockings, and that was it.

When my parents shopped for Christmas, they hid the toys in a variety of places where we seldom ventured. One was the attic. A small staircase came down so you get up in it, but the attic wasn’t finished. It was just beams from one end to the other with insulation in between. I remember one year I woke up when they were taking things down from there. It was a musical toy I heard. I was beyond Santa by then so I wasn’t shocked, but I was curious. They made a couple of trips back and forth to the living room then they turned off the hall light so I knew they were done. I sneaked downstairs to watch. I never got caught. Another hiding spot was the closet across from the cellar door. My mother kept her ironing board, iron and cleaning supplies there. I happened upon a few Christmas presents hidden there one year. I was never one to hunt for them. I preferred the surprise, but this find was serendipitous. Three of them were books for me. I sneaked and read one of them but pretended surprise when I saw them Christmas morning.

I keep all the gifts I have out in the open except for Gracie’s. She found hers on the spare room bed one year and ate all the treats. Now I hide them.

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18 Comments on ““No decision should be made on an empty shopping bag.””

  1. olof1 Says:

    The temperature has fallen down to 12,2F now but it goes up and down all the time.It shouldn’t be this cold already so I’m hoping for clouds to arrive even if I know there are no around 🙂

    I always buy myself something for chriostmas since we don’t give each other presents any longer. This year I’ll buy me that wild life camera (I think 🙂 ) so I finally can see what it is that walks around the dog yard when the dogs are there.

    We were too bad in opening any packages before christmas so none of us dared to try but we all knew that the presents were in the closetr by the hallway. It was a deep closet and very dark so I was always a bit afraid of going in there anyway 🙂 I do miss that feeling the day before christmas even when all presents were placed around the christmas tree and only the tree lights were lit.

    Have a great day!
    Christer.

    • katry Says:

      Christer,
      It is raining heavily right now. I’m glad it’s warm enough not to be snow.

      If I had no one to get presents for, I’d do the same thing-buy myself something I really want. My sister, though, is good in getting me the perfect present.

      I always have my tree lit and put the presents from my sisters under it. You’re right-it always looks so wonderful. One of my cats, Fern, also loves it and sleeps under the tree in the back near the wall.

      Enjoy your day!

  2. Morpfy Says:

    Red Velvet Cheesecake

    Serves 12
    Red Velvet Cake
    ½ cup granulated sugar
    ¾ cup all-purpose flour, plus 1 tablespoon to coat pan
    1½ teaspoons cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    Small pinch coarse salt
    1 large egg
    ¼ cup sunflower oil
    ¼ cup coconut oil
    ⅓ cup buttermilk
    ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste
    ¼ teaspoon red gel food coloring
    1 teaspoon butter to coat pan
    Cheesecake
    3 cups cream cheese (24 ounces)
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ¾ cup heavy cream
    ¼ teaspoon coarse salt
    3 large eggs, lightly beaten
    1½ teaspoons lemon juice (about ½ lemon)

    Cream Cheese Frosting
    ½ cup cream cheese (4 ounces)
    4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
    ½ cup powdered sugar
    ¼ teaspoon vanilla paste
    ½ cup chopped pecans
    The red velvet cake: Preheat oven to 325°F. In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients. Whisk together to combine.
    In the bowl of your stand mixer, or a large bowl, add the egg and oils. Mix on medium-low for 1 minute to combine.
    Add the buttermilk, vanilla, and red gel. Mix on medium-low for 1 minute to combine.
    With the mixer on medium-low, slowly add the dry mixture. Mix until the flour is just incorporated.
    Butter and flour (shake off excess) a 10-inch springform pan. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 35 minutes. Let cake completely cool.
    The cheesecake: In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the cream cheese, sugar, heavy cream, and salt. Beat together until thoroughly mixed. Add the eggs, beat together. Stir in the lemon juice.
    Pour on top of the cooled red velvet cake in the springform pan. Bake at 325°F for 45 minutes.
    Remove from the oven and cool on a rack. The cheesecake will look slightly golden. Let cool completely.
    The cream cheese frosting: In the bowl of your stand mixer or a large bowl, add the cream cheese and softened butter. Mix on medium speed until combined.
    Slowly add the powdered sugar, a few spoonfuls at a time. Pour in vanilla paste.
    Spread the frosting on the cooled cheesecake and sprinkle the pecans evenly on top of the frosting. Store in the fridge

    • katry Says:

      Mortify,
      I haven’t ever had red velvet cheesecake though I have had red velvet cake.

      This would be so pretty for Christmas. I think I’ll need a new springform pan as mine is only 9″.

      Thanks for this-sounds wonderful and perfect for the season!

  3. Richard Says:

    Hmmmph! No rain here today. Homey is not a happy boy. It’s bright – sunny – but, on the ‘plus’ side, it’s cold … kinda. If y’ consider high 50s / low 60s ‘cold,’ well, it’s cold.

    I planned to cook yesterday. Instead I spent the bulk of my daylight hours and a good part of those in the evening arguing / haggling / wheedling / ‘making nice’ or whatever it took to get the job done with Comcast. The problem began when I started seeing the msg ‘Your set-top box is NOT AUTHORIZED to view programming.’ followed by a number to call that is no longer in service. Imagine how bright was my mood when I made the first of too many calls. I had already installed the new set-top box, following the directions included. It. No. Work. Tried using the remote. It. No. Work. Thus was set in motion the Wheels Of The Day’s Ordeal. Resolving this problem – after negotiating the impenetrable-by-design ‘IVR’ (their voice menu with the nonexistent ‘person’ who guides the caller thru irrelevant options). The entire process, which included multiple call-backs and re-negotiation of the IVR, took over six hours. That’s just too damned long in my tiny universe. Comcast is a customer-hostile ‘service provider’ … well, let’s omit the word ‘service.’ If they offered ‘a la carte’ menus instead of their damned ‘bundles,’ I could at least give ’em partial credit for ‘service.’

    I’m now doing the cooking postponed from yesterday. Two pork loins, each having pockets cut into ’em for stuffing with garlic and green onion, then rubbed down with a home-made ‘dry rub’ … the onions, garlic, shallots, carrots, tomatillos, bell pepper, Fresno pepper, and other goodies were browned earlier and set aside for later. They’ll be added back into the beef stock in the pan under the wire rack holding the loins. That’s gonna be for the gravy.

    After a few Christmases, we finally figured out the ‘hidey-hole’ locations and always got into the presents early. Didn’t matter. We still got all excited anew when we opened ’em on Christmas Day. We already knew ‘Santa’ and his ‘helper’ were Dad and Mom, but that was okay. It didn’t detract from anything on The Day. One year I even took a minute to see if ‘Santa’ had eaten the cookies under the lamp – he had.

    Now that I’m in the ‘grandfather’ role in what may laughingly be called my ‘Wonder Years,’ I get to watch my daughter do what I did for her and what Mom and Dad did for us … it’s nice to watch continuity of tradition in action.

    Oh, Morphy … thanks ever so much for that recipe that’s going to do more to add to my girth than any amount of turkey. It sounds great, and I’m sharing it with my daughter ‘cuz she’ll love it equally as much as I will.

    • katry Says:

      Richard,
      The dog came inside after being out a while, and her fur was soaked. I was so busy I hadn’t noticed the rain had started again, heavier than before. It is 53˚ which is warm for this time of year. The next few days will be in the 40’s which is more seasonal. I figure we won’t see 60˚ again until late spring.

      Every single customer hates Comcast. Down here it is either Dish which is just TV or Comcast which also provided internet and phones. I had been at my wits end trying to find out why my modem didn’t work. Finally I found a capable tech guy, and we solved the problem.

      That pork sounds delicious, especially with a rub and all those lovely vegetables. I don’t think we have Fresno peppers around here. I’d have to use jalapeño.

      We were never into looking to find presents. I think we enjoyed the surprises. Santa always ate the cookies. I mean who wouldn’t eat frosted sugar cookies?

      My sister loves being a grandmother, and she is one of the best. Her grandchildren love her. They also are a family of traditions some of which date from our childhoods.

      I love traditions!

  4. Coleen Says:

    Hi Kat..

    When I was a kid I could never tell where presents were hid. I got a dog one year and I remember the story went that my Mom and Dad hid the pup in the house next door until Christmas morning. A very sweet memory…

    Got a giggle over Gracie finding her present…they can be impatient little children, can’t they? 🙂

    Waving from a cold, grey Jersey…

    Coleen

    • katry Says:

      Hi Coleen,
      My mother told us how one year they hid the toys at my grandparents’ house across town. On Christmas Eve there was a huge snowstorm, and my father couldn’t use the car. He had to make several trips using a sled to transport the gifts to our house. He really was a Santa on his sleigh that year.

      Waving back from a wet Cape Cod!

      • Coleen Says:

        Great story! Happy Thanksgiving…and I am grateful you are recovering nicely from your fall! I can relate…

        Coleen

      • katry Says:

        Thanks, Coleen

        My hand is almost totally black and blue, and I can’t carry anything. The swelling has gone down, but the hand still hurts quite a bit. Some things are nearly impossible to do one handed.

        I curse a lot.

  5. flyboybob Says:

    I’m always glad to hear that you buy your gifts from small local retailers instead of from Walmart. It’s a good thing we have the holiday season so that the economy doesn’t go into recession. BTW I am not against Christianity by calling this time of year the holiday season because there are other people’s holidays. For some reason anyone who says, ‘Happy Holidays’ is not a muslim terrorist nor making war against Christmas as the far right wing nuts think. If the retail stores don’t have a good holiday season then there is nothing they can do for the rest of the year to make up for it. We don’t buy gifts for ourselves until after Christmas when the real sales begin. 🙂

    The sun is shinning here and the temperature is in the mid 50s. The forecast for the Thanksgiving holiday is for cool temperatures and rain.

    • katry Says:

      Bob,
      We don’t have a Walmart’s on the cape. I haven’t ever been inside one. The little stores around here have the neatest stuff you don’t find anywhere else so I love shopping in them. I can find really neat presents.

      There are a huge number of religious special days in December. To call them all, including Christmas, holidays doesn’t quite work as they are really holy days.

      I found this list:

      Ramadan (Muslim)
      Eid al-Fitr (Muslim)
      Saint Nicholas Day (Christian)
      Eid’ul-Adha (Muslim)
      Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Mexican)
      St. Lucia Day (Swedish)
      Hanukkah (Jewish)
      Christmas Day (Christian)
      Three Kings Day/Epiphany (Christian)
      Boxing Day (Australian, Canadian, English, Irish)
      Kwanzaa (African American)
      Omisoka (Japanese)
      Yule (Pagan)
      Saturnalia (Pagan)

      Yikes!!

      Here we also have summer which is even a bigger time for revenue than Christmas as we’re talking the motels and restaurants more than retail.

      I have a few friends I won’t see until after Christmas so I’ll shop the sales for them.

      • flyboybob Says:

        Wow thanks for the list of holidays or holy days in December. I know about Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanzaa. I had heard of Fiesta of Our Lady of Guadalupe, I live in Texas, and Boxing Day because I travel to Canada. Ramadan moves around the calendar because the muslims don’t have a lunar leap year built into their calendar like the Jewish calendar has.

      • katry Says:

        Bob,
        It is surprising the number of special days in December. I remember Ramadan in Ghana. There was no eating between sunrise and sunset. My Muslim students had trouble getting through the day.

  6. Hedley Says:

    The kids admitted they searched and discovered – my daughter would stand watch and my son would be surfing through my closet. I was a shade disappointed, but I didn’t know for many years.

    I am deep into my internet purchases which are going to the office to avoid too much suspicion from Mrs MDH. I have a sense of panic until there is a reasonable basis of gifts

    I have tried to ignore the ugliness of dealing with 12″ of snow, but I can tell you and Richard that the new Toro was as advertised.

    In this household our weekend of sport was complete. Sparty rode through a 15 spread and took out the over rated Buckeyes, Tottenham played beautiful football this morning as they hammered West Ham 4-1 and to round it off my Detroit Lions cruised past Oakland.

    • katry Says:

      My Dear Hedley,
      They were quite good in not telling you, but it is still disappointing, and I think it may have been to them as well on further thought. Part of the fun of Christmas is the element of surprise.

      I went internet shopping the other night and managed to find a few neat gifts for people. I’m down to needing only a few. I’m going to start wrapping Colorado gifts so I can send them.

      I am so glad you bonded with your Toro. I’m sure it made the snow an adventure.

      No sports for me here. I did check in on the Denver game, but only for a bit. The Pats play tomorrow, and I will be here rooting.

  7. Caryn Says:

    Hi Kat,
    We didn’t really look for presents but now and then we’d run across them if my mother hadn’t been particularly careful about where she put them. I remember one year she put them on the upper shelf of the closet in my brothers’ bedroom. Not a good place. I don’t know what her thought process was for that one. Boys don’t use closets because they never put their clothes away so they wouldn’t go in there? IDK. I still remember those coloring books that were in the pile. 🙂

    Today was dreary. It rained, I guess, but I didn’t see it or hear it. Every time I went outside it was newly wet and drippy. I didn’t go outside much. Just for the dogs. I’ve been fighting off a cold for the past several days and I must have lost the battle in my sleep last night. I woke up around 2AM with the coughing and sniffling and I’ve been doing that ever since.

    Enjoy the evening.

    • katry Says:

      Hi Caryn,
      That’s what happened with the books I found. I wasn’t looking for Christmas presents. I just lucked out. We always got coloring books and a new box of crayons when we were little.

      It rained most of the day and is still raining, heavily too. Gracie doesn’t mind going out but right now she is cozy in the afghan on the couch. I think she is there hoping to dry quickly as she just came inside.

      I hope that cold goes away quickly!


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