December 4, 2016: Hola everyone! Winter has arrived in Milwaukee and there are snow flurries today. Despite several hard freezes remarkably my "spikes" in two of my patio planters have absolutely refused to die. The rosemary and thyme plants I nursed inside the house through last winter spent the summer in their pot outside next to the side stoop off the driveway, where they get plenty of sunshine all day long. I transplanted them into a cozy sheltered spot right next to the stoop in October and they are still green and growing, too! With the delay in getting the drywall patching done in the relatively minor "reconstruction" work I had done in my kitchen, I am way behind my time in getting the house decorated. But yesterday I got my wreath decked out with extra lights and dressed the front door of the house, and my battery-operated traditional candles were put up on the window sills all around the house Friday evening. It becomes a ritual to go around at dusk and turn the tops to the right to turn the candles "on" and at bedtime to go around and turn the tops to the left to turn the candles "off." Today I put some "glittery" throw pillow covers purchased new last month from H&M on three of my sofa pillows to glam things up a bit in the living room and add some sparkle. Later on, after I sufficiently fuel myself up with wine and snacks and probably to distract myself while I listen to the Packers game on the radio, I will huff and puff and pull my artificial tree up from storage in the basement. I will decorate it simply this year. Every year I say that, and every year I end up throwing just about everything except the kitchen sink on the tree. I am very proud of myself this year, though. I did not buy a single new ornament or Christmas doo-dad for the house (throw pillow covers don't count!!!) Happy Holidays to all, with hope and fervent prayers for 2017. I've a feeling we're all going to need a lot of help from Goddess in the coming year. Jan

Monday, January 21, 2013

Beat the Winter Doldrums Pahty Pahty!

Hola darlings!

I don't expect that my 6 fans will be interested in this at all, so you can skip this blog post unless you want to read about debauchery and decadence... Nope?  This is for the Beyatches who comprise those rocking wild and crazy cougars plus honorary cougar Thelma, cuz she's just too damn young yet to actually be a cougar, those Woo Woo Wisconsin Wenches, the Ladies of the Bus!!!

Saturday evening was our mid-winter Beat the Winter Doldrums Pahty Pahty and I hostessed.  The house was left dressed in its Christmas finery for the most part, in anticipation of this Gala Event of the Season.  Ta Da!  Of course I wanted to show off my gorgeous mantle/mantel and my even gorgeouser - er - drop-dead gorgeous - Christmas Tree!

Saturday started out as Day 2 of crazy mild weather for this time of year and it got into the mid-40's, with hazy sunshine in the afternoon for awhile, after an overcast morning that looked like it was going to rain. But, we had been forewarned -- subzero temperatures and strong winds were coming our way.  Damn! 

As I went through the day doing my final shopping for the pahty pahty and then started a round of cleaning and prep (I was making sloppy joes and doing it the Lazy Woman's way, with a big honking can of Manwich and two pounds of ground round), I had the local radio on to catch the weather forecast.  A wind advisory was put into effect for southeastern Wisconsin beginning at 5 p.m. Well, it was still mild and not windy at Maison Newton at 5 p.m., but I knew better than to scoff!  Sure enough, it didn't seem long after the ladies were here, by 6:15 or so, that when I cocked an ear (no off color comments from Ginger Snap, please!) I could already hear the winds blowing hard outside (no off color comments from Ginger Snap, please!)

Ani was so sweet!  She brought flowers for me, and they spent the evening happily bobbing in the warm air from the fireplace and enjoying the comradery and witty conversation flowing every which way!

Soooo pretty!  And you should see them now, Monday evening as I'm
writing this!  The rose has opened more, the rest of the flowers are
still perfect!  Guess they like this household.

Everyone brought way too much food!  Despite reminding everyone not to go too overboard because we always buy way too much when we have get-togethers at Meyer's Restaurant and Bar, we ended up with way too much!   I should have taken pictures of the spread on the countertop in the kitchen and the dinette table, but I didn't think of it until I already had most of the things cleared away and stashed in containers in the fridge.  Everyone also brought their own special drinks (beer, fixings for brandy Manhattans, soda) and I supplied two different kinds of wine plus cheap box wine plus Rumchatta for shots, and Pepper (Peppa) Spray brought several boxes of "low alcohol" (20%) shots already in plastic shot glasses -- half was a flavored liquer and half was -- not sure what, white stuff that was gooooooooddddd!

Tons of left-overs!
More left-overs!

We had brownies from Thelma (delish -- I "tested" two -- but a little difficult to cut), Ginger Snap made her world-famous taco dip and also supplied a relish tray and a veggie tray, and slushy wine and lots of chips plus, Mr. Hot Dog Men and fixings from Pepper (Peppa) Spray (we fried one in my microwave...oops -- didn't mean to do that, but I had no idea how long to cook a hot dog in the microwave, so we set it for a minute!  Poor Mr. Wiener... or is that Mr. Weiner?  Mr. Whiner?  He was toast!)  DD brought a cheese platter PLUS a wondersome layered filo pastry filled with some kind of cheese that I cannot remember the name of but was DELICIOUS,  plus grapes plus - hmmm, I forget, there was just too much.  Ani brought NUTS (har!) and fixings for a dip that we never even made up because we already had tons of stuff, PLUS all the makings for hot fudge sundaes and banana splits!  And we didn't even eat any -- so now it's all mine...bbbbbwwwwwaaaaaahhhhaaaaa!  I cooked up the sloppy joes and never even pulled out the Badger Baked Ham (best ham in the whole damn world!) that I'd picked up earlier in the day during my Saturday trek to the Pick 'n Save, so now I get to keep THAT all to myself, too!  Double bbbbbbwwwwwwwaaaaaaahhhhaaaaaaa!  All the left-overs were wrapped up righty-tighty and will be toted to the office after I just cannot eat any more of it and it's in danger of spoiling! 

I took some pictures at the beginning of the evening, but most of them didn't turn out very well.  I really do need to take a course some day in how to use this camera to better advantage:

Peppa, Thelma, and Ani!
Oooooooh, special effects!  This is Ginger Snap! Look, her head is
in two places at once...
Another photo of Peppa, Thelma and Ani.

Let's see - we went through 27 of those "plastic shot glass" shots that Peppa brought along, but I think we had more, because we used some of the empty shot plastic shot glasses over a few times for shots of Rumchatta (since I only own 2 regular shot glasses, not enough for everyone to have a shot at the same time), and I think a couple got tossed in the garbage when we did a first round of clean-up.  Plus Ginger Snap brought along a dozen dark chocolate shot cups that we were able to devour after we had our shots!  I just love dual purpose "green" items -- absolutely no waste was left from those chocolate shot cups other than the packaging, and that went right into my recycle bin!

We talked and talked and talked and laughed and laughed and laughed our butts off!  And then we got down to serious yuchs when we played Password!  LOL!  We only had two password card-Holders so we played in teams of 3: Peppa, Thelma and Ginger versus me, DD and Ani.  Our side won! (But later on, Ginger and Peppa got their revenge on me but giving me mostly horrid clues when we were were playing one-handed Password, making up the rules as we went along, and changing them as we pleased, LOL!) 

Password!  Thelma is so young, she had no idea what the game was!
Look - someone's tennies attached to legs!  More weird spirits
emanating from the candles...  WooooooooOOOOOOOOooooooo.....
Ani won "Imaginiff" as a door prize, ding ding ding ding ding!

Okay, this score card is from when Peppa, Ginger and I were playing
and they consistently were feeding me totally CRAPPY clues!  And
look, I was the score-keeper, and I was totally FRICKING HONEST!
Check it out - I got two perfect scores when I was given two decent clues.
Ding ding ding ding ding!

About 9:30 or so DD, Thelma and Ani started talking about maybe, possibly leaving and calling for a ride, but they were easily dissuaded, at least for a time.  They ultimately left shortly after 10:30 p.m. (pahty started at 6 p.m.).  After yet more drinks and more Password and more yuks, close to midnight Peppa and Ginger called it a night too.  As they departed, all of the Ladies helped wrap up some things and took some of the over-abundance of food and goodies home, but I was still left with a TON of food.  So I got to work putting away the left-overs, cleaned up and scrubbed up a few dishes. 

Then I sat down to do a little blogging, reading of email, catching up as I gobbled down a final sloppy joe for the night.

And then, I couldn't believe it -- it was nearly 2 a.m. and the winds were roaring outside and I could hear twigs and small branches smacking into my aluminum siding as I headed to bed after a wonderful night.

Pahty Pahty!  We laughed.  A Lot!  We argued about politics! A Lot!  We Laughed Some More and forgave each other for our various non-sins of holding some differing political views.  The main thing is, I know each and every one of these ladies has a truly good heart and generous spirit.  We are all Sisters in Spirit and Soul, and love and appreciate each other.  We miss each other if we don't see each other on the bus for a few days!  Thank Goddess for The Ladies of the Bus, the best-ever support network that ever was, or ever will be.  What an awesome group of friends to have.  Truly, I think I might not have made it through the second half of 2012 without their encouragement, support and sympathy during the dark moments.  Every single one of those at least 27 plastic shot glasses filled with liquers plus the 12 chocolate shot cups filled with Rumchatta were hoisted in different toasts by all of the ladies, in turn, throughout the evening, and all of those toasts were for blessings for us and blessings for our continued bonds.

Doesn't look like 27, does it, but I counted them again tonight while stone cold sober,
and there are 27!  Here's to US, Ladies of the Bus!

The empty box from the dozen chocolate liqueur cups!  27 + 12 = 39 shots
(minimum, but who's counting...)
Going into the future, no one knows what it holds. But I have a little more Peppa in my step each day, and a little more Ginger in my "snap," a sense of those Territories Yet To Be Explored that Thelma brings, the droll sense of humor and depth of experience of Ani (Ani is the ancient name for the fortune-telling black-bird, and having one in your life is considered a great blessing by Old European Peoples), and the motherly warmth and wisdom of DD.

I am sure, however, that we will have more PAHTIES like the one we had Saturday night, just because we're all WONDERFUL! 

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