Monday, December 31, 2007
It's a little cool, but the Bag Lady has experienced New Year's Eve at much colder temperatures, so she's not complaining.
As the year winds to an end, the Bag Lady likes to sit for a moment and reflect on all that has transpired over the past 12 months.
Okay, ready for next year...
Sunday, December 30, 2007
Oddly enough, from where the Bag Lady was standing, the sky to the south was a different colour:
Once down in the river valley, the clouds took on yet a slightly different hue:
The hoar frost on the trees was not nearly as prominent when we reached town, so we attributed it to the fact that the little ski hill on the river bank was in the process of making snow.
And last, but definitely not least (at least, not in HIS mind), here is a picture of the youngest member of the Bag Lady's family, enjoying Christmas morning:
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The Bag Lady is looking ahead to the New Year and trying to decide on a strategy for getting into better shape. She has to come up with something different, because, obviously, the old ways haven't worked.
Her most urgent problem is beating the smoking demon. She has quit twice in the past little while, but hasn’t managed to stay a non-smoker. She hates the way certain people look at her when they realize she has started again, but can’t seem to get to that place where the cravings for nicotine can be over-come. “Why can’t you just quit?” they ask. Obviously, it’s not that simple. The Bag Lady knows all the reasons for quitting, and agrees whole-heartedly. She knows several people who have been successful at quitting, and envies them greatly. She also knows that at least one of them craves a cigarette every day, but doesn’t give in to the craving. Good for her. The Bag Lady just isn’t at that place yet.
The Bag Lady reads several blogs written by healthy, active people, and she envies them greatly, too. Bunnygirl's tales of preparing for her upcoming marathon make the Bag Lady want to weep. Running is totally out of the question for the Bag Lady, not only because she is out of shape, but because she is so clumsy! This is one of the reasons she never travels…if she ever had to try to out-run a tsunami…or a wild dog…or a crazed sloth…(have you seen the claws on those things?!)
So the Bag Lady is open to helpful hints for quitting smoking and losing weight and getting into better shape. Any suggestions?
Notice she posted this on a weekend, during the holidays, when most people won't be around the blogosphere...hmmm, makes you wonder if she really IS committed to this, doesn't it?
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
There were presents galore, with much hilarity during the exchange. The family decided a few years back to do a silly exchange in which everyone brings a newspaper-wrapped gift, then everyone gets to choose one at random (one at a time), or steal one from someone else who has already opened theirs. Makes for great fun, especially for the person who gets to go last!
There were new games to play – the favourite turned out to be something called Battle of the Sexes. There are so many family members, the games have to be played in teams, and that game worked well for teams. (Naturally, the women won!!)
When the Bag Lady got home, another nice gift was waiting – an email from Leah, saying she was finally at home! Now we can look forward to new posts on the Goat's Lunch Pail.
Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas.
Monday, December 24, 2007
The Bag Lady realizes that she is a poor substitute, but she will attempt to take over the Gratitude Monday duties just this once! Many of you are faithful readers of the Bag Lady’s cousin Leah’s blog, the Goat's Lunch Pail, and the Bag Lady is sure you are missing her dry wit and insightful comments as much as the Bag Lady is. Leah has a regular Gratitude post on Mondays, and finds things to be grateful about in many situations.
The Bag Lady is grateful for the good medical care that Leah has received, and also that there is a possibility that Leah may be released from the hospital. The Bag Lady has all her fingers and all her toes crossed that Leah gets her MRI and gets to go home today.
There is so much to be grateful for at this time of the year – family, friends, and good food (to say nothing of all those presents glittering under the tree!). Friends of the Bag Lady and the Cowboy appeared at their doorstep yesterday, armed with chainsaws and a flat-deck trailer. They knew that the Cowboy was still having back trouble (and the Bag Lady has a few problems of her own – some of them are even physical!). They also knew that there was very little wood left in the woodshed, so they took time out of their own busy schedule to come and help fill that up. The Bag Lady is so grateful for such good friends! Her house is warm, and so is her heart.
The Bag Lady hopes that all of you have something to be grateful for today, and that your holidays are filled with warmth, both in your homes and in your hearts.
Merry Christmas, and the blessings of the season to you all.
Friday, December 21, 2007
The Bag Lady is off to town today to do a little last minute shopping. She is taking her famous Spinach Salad to her sister-in-law’s for Christmas, so will pick up the ingredients for that, as well as a few more things. Hopefully, if she gets in and out of town early enough, it won’t be too busy!
She will be posting again before Christmas, so if you have time, pop on in. With any luck, she will have her sense of humour back soon - this business with Leah has been rather distressing, and the Bag Lady’s been doing a lot of worrying (her specialty!).
If you won’t have time to stop in, the Bag Lady hopes your Christmas, or Festivus, or whatever you celebrate, is all you want it to be!
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
She has been moved from hospital to hospital, and is now in the University Hospital in Edmonton, undergoing a battery of tests to try to determine what has caused this. I know that she would be most pleased to receive your good wishes (and virtual chocolates!), so anyone who wishes to have a message passed on to her can leave it in my comment’s section and I will ensure that she receives it! I will also keep you posted on further developments as I hear them.
None of these are very complicated, nor do they take a great deal of preparation, but they all taste great and look appealing.
Hot Crab Dip
1 can crab meat
2 Tbsp minced onion
1 Tbsp butter
8 oz pkg reduced fat cream cheese
2 Tbsp 1% milk
1 Tbsp lemon juice
¼ C sliced green olives
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 drops Tabasco Sauce
Drain crabmeat. Saute onion in butter in saucepan. Add cream cheese and stir over low heat until smooth. Blend in remaining ingredients.
Serve in chafing dish, or round loaf.
Green Goddess Veggie Dip
½ Cup Mayonnaise
½ Cup Sour Cream
2 tsp anchovy paste
2 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 ½ Tbsp chopped green onion tops
1 small clove minced garlic
1/8 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
1 Tbsp water
2 tsp lemon juice
1 ½ tsp Tarragon Vinegar
Combine all ingredients. Chill several hours or overnight.
Serve with raw veggies.
Ported Cheese Apple
1 ½ Cups grated Cheddar Cheese
1 pkg (125 g) softened cream cheese
1 Tbsp Port Wine
1 cinnamon stick
1 bay leaf
Blend cheeses and port wine. Form into a ball and wrap in plastic wrap. Chill 1 hour. Shape into an apple. Remove plastic wrap and sprinkle with paprika. Use the cinnamon stick and bay leaf for stem and leaf of apple.
Serve with crackers.
The Bag Lady usually doubles this recipe, making two balls. One she forms into the apple, and the other she forms into a pear, using turmeric instead of the paprika.
This recipe is simple, doesn't take a great deal of time, and always gets raves. Set the "fruit" in the centre of a platter, surrounded with cubes of different cheeses, meat and crackers and scatter a few grapes (or grape tomatoes) on top. People will think you worked for hours...
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
She doesn’t know if the mild winters of these past few years (not counting last year) can be attributed to global warming, or if it is just a natural cyclical thing. She is not a scientist so she keeps her opinion to herself. She does think, though, that it is partly due to the natural cycle, and partly caused by humans.
So far this winter there have been a few fairly cold snaps, but relatively little snowfall in our immediate area. The Cowboy said there is a lot more snow on the ground not that far to the north of us. But we still have a good three months of winter left, so there is still plenty of time for more snow. According to the calendar, winter hasn’t even arrived yet!
The Bag Lady is more than happy to have relatively mild winters with not too much snow because it is so much easier on the cattle. And on the Bag Lady!
So, to our friends in eastern Canada, hope the snow isn’t too deep nor the temperature too cold for you. Maybe you didn’t notice that while you were basking in your unseasonably warm autumn, we were freezing our butts off. Actually, the Bag Lady is not being nasty. The news reports of people stranded in airports for hours, if not days, did arouse some sympathy in her, and she hopes the weather improves in time for everyone to get safely to their destinations before Christmas. But, after all, this is Canada, and anyone who has lived here for any length of time knows that the weather can be unpredictable. That’s part of what makes us all so tough…right?
Sunday, December 16, 2007
The Bag Lady had her very first ice cream cake. Please note: ice cream cake is perhaps NOT the best choice for 50 candles!!
Sure was easy to cut, though....
Friday, December 14, 2007
Her sister-in-law is hosting Christmas this year, and another sister-in-law usually hosts New Year’s Day, so the Bag Lady should be relaxing and enjoying the fact that she doesn’t have to cook a big meal, or clean her house - well, okay, she has to clean her house, but she doesn’t have to re-arrange furniture and make all the preparations for having a large number of people in her house.
Part of the anxiety the Bag Lady is feeling probably stems from the fact that old age is looming large. Her birthday is on the weekend, and she is afraid that the Cowboy has planned something. Or has NOT planned anything. She wonders which would be worse… On the one hand, she would like to mark this momentous occasion, but part of her wouldn’t mind letting it slip by unnoticed. The only reference the Cowboy has made to the occasion so far has been while he was watching a TV commercial the other day for Grey Power Insurance. (“If you’re over 50, with a good driving record, you qualify…”) He drawled, “Guess I can give them a call on Monday…”
There are 11 days left until Christmas. The Bag Lady has almost all of her shopping done. Her cards are ready to be mailed. She did some of her baking, but the Cowboy ate most of it, so she will do some more. But, because she isn’t entertaining anyone, she doesn’t have to do much. She hasn’t done any decorating, but still has time for that. So, okay, she’s ready. Sorta.
How about the rest of you? Have you finished your shopping yet? Done your baking? Are you calm and well-organized, or do you, like the Bag Lady, leave things to the last minute because you work better under pressure? Anything else you want to share?
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
The word evokes such powerful memories. Presents, turkey, church, family, singing. The Bag Lady's family was quite musical, so we used to sing all kinds of carols. Four of us sang in the church choir. We even sang in 4-part harmony at home. The Bag Lady and her mother were sopranos, Reb was an alto, one brother sang tenor and dad and the other brother sang bass. We would sit around the table after supper, having a little Christmas cheer and sing. Strange, huh?
We had our little family traditions, like jigsaw puzzles, as mentioned on Reb’s blog, and our folks always hosted a musical Christmas party. They had friends who played in a band, and they would all come, toting their musical instruments. They played and sang well into the night. The Bag Lady remembers as a child, lying in bed, listening to the music and singing emanating from the basement, going on well into the early morning hours.
When we were older, we were allowed to stay up and sing and dance with the grown-ups. There was always someone playing a guitar or two and someone else on the piano. The fiddle, banjo and accordion were usually there, too.
They played everything from old-time country music to Christmas carols. Dad would even bring out his bagpipes and play a tune, but only one or two. For those of you not well acquainted with bagpipes, they are definitely not an instrument to be played in small, enclosed spaces!
Mom would serve a ton of food that she had spent days preparing – everything home-made and delicious and beautifully presented. Pastry and cookies and cocktail foods. We kids would pray that there would be lots of left-overs to feast on the next day. There usually were some, because mother would have been mortified if she ran out of food, so there was always plenty.
The Bag Lady looks back on those days fondly, and wishes she could be transported back in time just once more to listen to the laughter and singing, and watch the dancing and feast on some of those delicious treats.
Excuse her while she closes her eyes for a moment, just to remember…
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The internet has been an incredible help in her search. Bless the Roots Web people! Most of her ancestors on her mother’s side have been in Canada since the 1700’s, mostly on the eastern coast. Her father’s father came from Sweden, via Russia, and some of her father’s mother’s family has been in North America since the 1600’s. One of her great-great uncles died in the American Civil War. She even has a photo of him!
Her father’s grandmother was an amazing woman. She traveled to Nebraska from Ohio with her family as a very young girl, lived there for long enough to marry and have a family. At the age of 29, while pregnant with her 7th child, her husband died. In 1901, at the age of 44, after raising her family alone, she became a pioneer again, moving to Canada to start a new life. All of her children and several of her sisters and their families immigrated to the same area in Alberta, which was then part of the Northwest Territory. Her maiden name was Crockett, but there is no direct connection to Davy Crockett that the Bag Lady can find.
The Bag Lady would love to travel to some of the areas where her ancestors lived to try to find traces of them, but that probably isn’t going to happen. She already dragged the Cowboy on a graveyard tour of Alberta in search of ancestors, and she’s pretty sure that isn’t going to happen again! Some of the areas she would like to visit include Nebraska, Ohio and Maine in the U.S. and Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island in Canada. She would also love to travel to England to continue her search. She hasn’t had much luck on the internet with her search on the other side of the ocean.
She wonders if any of the rest of you have an interest in your family history. Have you traced you ancestors to the Mayflower? Or do you not care at all? Don’t even know your grandmother’s maiden name? Couldn’t care less? How do you feel about this?
Monday, December 10, 2007
The only problem is that they are slippery in the snow, and the Princess runs everywhere! She adapted, though, and seemed quite happy. The Bag Lady will have to attempt to add something to the soles to give the Princess better traction.
Isn't she stylish?
Saturday, December 8, 2007
She was in bed fairly early (OMG, whatever happened to Friday nights?) which was a mistake. The Princess, who is accustomed to getting up with the Cowboy when he gets up at all kinds of ungodly hours to go to work, woke up at 4 am today and insisted on waking up the Bag Lady. The Cowboy actually has the day off from his regular job (which does not mean that he isn’t going to work today, just means he gets to sleep until whenever he wakes up), so the Princess didn’t have to get up with him at 2 am. Consequently, she felt she had to wake up the Bag Lady to let her outside so she could do her customary barking to warn off any (real or imagined) intruders.
So the Bag Lady got up and stumbled around, waiting for the Princess to want back in. Of course, the dog was ready to play after her invigorating foray into the -30C temperatures outside, and the cats decided that since everyone else was awake, they might as well venture outside, and pretty soon the Bag Lady realized there wasn’t a chance in hell of getting back to sleep, so she turned on the (new) coffee pot and caught up on some reading. Right about the time everyone else in the civilized world will be waking up, the Bag Lady will be ready for a nap!
In one way, it’s a good thing the Princess woke the Bag Lady because the woodstove was almost out and it gets pretty cold in the house without it. Of course, the dog has subsequently gone back to bed – in fact, that was probably the plan all along! She had to get the Bag Lady up so the Princess could take her place on the bed, rather than get back on the chair she spends the night on.
Truthfully, the Bag Lady doesn’t mind being awake so early in the morning. She has always been an early bird and enjoys the peaceful quietness of the house. She putters around, catching up on her reading, drinking coffee and thinking deep thoughts. Well, okay, maybe not so deep.
But there are still a couple hours before the sun comes up, and the Cowboy wakes up and will want to do some work around the ranch. He said something yesterday about wanting to wean the calves, so that may happen today. And if it does, it’s certainly going to spoil the peace and quiet around the ranch for a few days! Weaning is not one of the Bag Lady’s favourite times. The mothers, in spite of the fact that it must be tiresome to still be feeding calves who are tall enough to practically lift the cows off their feet, will stand at the corral fence and bawl for their babies. The babies will stand on the other side of the fence and bawl back, deprived of that nice, warm milk. This will go on for at least a couple of days, and no-one will get much rest! As soon as the cows stop producing milk, they will settle down and stop calling for their babies, and the babies will get accustomed to eating only hay and a little chop (rolled oats, or barley) and things will quiet down again.
Thursday, December 6, 2007
It didn’t really take her very long to determine what had happened, though. That particular coffee maker, although it made some damned fine coffee, had a little problem. It was one of those coffee makers that you press a button with your cup and it fills the cup. No carafe. This was the third such coffee-maker that we had gone through, and, in some ways, the worst of the bunch. It had a nasty habit of intermittently allowing the coffee to run down the back side of the cup, which then ran onto the counter top and down the front of the cupboard. Annoying as hell, but because it didn’t do it all the time, the Bag Lady hadn’t gotten around to replacing the coffee-maker.
There was a thermos carafe sitting on the counter, which had coffee in it, so the Bag Lady wasn’t totally caffeine-deprived. She didn’t have time to sit around drinking coffee for long that morning anyway, as she had appointments and errands to run in town. So she drank some coffee, then jumped in the shower to prepare for her day.
After her shower and breakfast, when the sun finally came up, the Bag Lady discovered what happened to her coffee maker. It was lying in several pieces in the snow in the middle of the yard! The Cowboy had previously threatened to “throw the damned thing out the door”, so the Bag Lady wasn’t too surprised to see it lying there.
When he got home, he told her that it had gone crazy that morning (she wondered whether it was the coffee-maker or the Cowboy…). Apparently, after he filled his thermos, the coffee wouldn’t stop running; out of the pot, across the counter and down the front of the cupboard! He had grabbed the extra thermos carafe and filled it, then took the coffee maker and threw it out the door as promised!
The Bag Lady had to laugh – and thank her lucky stars that she doesn’t live in a city with neighbours who would wonder why on earth her coffee maker was lying in the middle of the yard!
So the Bag Lady has a new coffee maker. With a carafe. Enough, already.
Just another day on the ranch.
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
With the Cowboy's work schedule, the Bag Lady doesn't see a lot of visitors.
What about the rest of you? Do you host big Christmas parties? Do huge amounts of baking? Do you always go to grandma's house for Christmas Eve? What are your traditions?
Monday, December 3, 2007
The feature that makes the CartSmart Bag different from all other tote bags is the fact that it can be hooked over the handle of the shopping cart, thereby helping to protect your hands from the germs found there (e-coli, salmonella, etc.) In addition to the main compartment, it has 3 interior pockets that can hold your wallet, cell phone, etc., and has an attached key ring. While you are shopping, you can keep your purse and/or extra cloth shopping bags in it, which frees up room in the cart.
There are quite a few different colours and fabrics to choose from, and the Bag Lady tries to add new colours periodically. She knows that most of us don't want to carry exactly the same thing as everyone else is carrying, so most of the bags are available for only a short time. Here are some that she has in stock right now.
This looks a little on the Christmasy side:
Here is the newest fabric, one that has quickly become the Bag Lady’s favourite. She was going to release this in the spring, but loves it so much she wanted to share it right away.
Oh, and by the way, the Bag Lady designed and created these bags so she owns the copyright.
If anyone is interested in ordering a bag, email the Bag Lady at the address on the sidebar. She still might be able to get it to you before Christmas.
Saturday, December 1, 2007
Bag Lady's Blend
4 Cups Spoon-sized Whole Grain Shredded Wheat and Bran
4 Cups Multi-grain Cheerios
4 Cups Multi-grain Baked Ritz Chips
4 Cups Pretzels
1 pkg Original Bugles
1 275 g can mixed nuts
Mix in large roaster.
1/2 Cup melted butter
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion salt
Pour over mixture in roaster. Bake at 275 for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes or so.
Cool on paper towels. Store in covered containers.