Thursday, January 30, 2014

In which....Cold Spring and a few random photos.

The problem with being a travel doll in winter is that winter usually screws up your travel plans.

However, since Maddy was in dire need of a trim and shape, we headed down to Cold Spring today.

Main Street....

From the muni lot we parked in....

At 21F, it was really living up to the name. That is the Hudson River somewhere under all that ice.

We just missed getting an Amtrak train in the background of this shot. Talk about your bullet train.

I will spare you any "train song" jokes....


Super pretty.....

But super cold.....

Really should have remembered my coat....


This is the walkway leading up to the theater entrance at the local mall. (Taken when we went to see The Desolation of Smaug. I thought it was a two-parter, not three. Oh well, just means more hobbit to look forward to!)

This pic really doesn't capture the scale. When you're in the middle of it, you really feel like you're in some weird dystopian future - or else in the City on Camazotz, walking toward the building where the Man With The Red Eyes awaits amid all those mainframe computers, ready to sentence you to reprogramming via IT....

A little better, but the camera doesn't do the overwhelming scale justice.


A rock star Hitty such as myself only drinks the finest Rock Star Tea.... :)

This was taken at New Grace Chinese in Kent, NY. Best Chinese place around here.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

In which - snow and roads and snowy roads and checkerboard floors.....

Sometimes it doesn't take much....

This was a couple of Saturdays ago. It was pretty unexpected. A 30% chance of snow showers morphed into a quick 2.5". With some rain we'd had a few days earlier, there was no salt on the road, and it got slick for awhile. There was even an accident down at the three-way intersection at the bottom of our road - the house on the corner had its fence partially taken down by a car for what Maddy said was at least the fourth time in seven years. (No injuries save for the fence.) It was about an hour and a half before the Highway Department was able to get a salt truck out, but by noon the road was clear. No more than a couple hours' inconvenience.

But this.....


All over the same amount of snow.

"Looks like they underestimated it," Maddy said as we watched Georgia officials stammering and blustering their way through a late-night news conference. "If you don't deal with snow and ice that often, you don't realize how much of a mess it can make. It really doesn't take much." She looked at me. "It reminds me a little of something that happened here back in, I think, December 1999."


She shook her head. "Freezing rain. Even worse. We were supposed to have rain that day, but in the afternoon - after the temperature went above freezing. When I left for work around seven, it was cloudy, but there was nothing on the radar. Then, on the way in, I started seeing an occasional raindrop on the windshield. I also saw when I passed the time and temperature sign on the bank down by CVS that it was 26F. Well, I got to work about seven-twenty, pulled into the lot and parked - just as it started raining fairly hard. By the time I got to the door I had already almost faceplanted twice in my high heels because the rain was freezing as fast as it was falling. Had I been five minutes later, I would have been stranded. As it was, it was me and seven other people in the building for most of the morning, until they could get salt trucks out and treat the roads. Up until then, we'd had no snow or anything. By noon, though, everything was cleared out and by two PM, it was fifty-three degrees. But that really was unexpected. I hate to say that they told them so down in Atlanta, but they did. They had a winter storm warning. Just because it was issued early that morning didn't make it any less valid."


So anyway, I had a weird dream last night....

Remember the story from our Woodstock trip about John Ashton and the rest of the band nearly getting stranded when it started snowing while they were out at that bar? Well, I dreamed that we were hanging out in the bar with them that night. When it came time to go, it turned out that Maddy, instead of Red October, had her first car, Stormy Llewellyn - aka a bright turquoise 1993 Geo Storm.....
(Image courtesy of www,conceptcarz,com -couldn't find an actual photo of Stormy to scan in...)

"Wait..." Maddy said, looking over my shoulder. "You did?"

"I did. By the time we left, it was snowing. Now in the dream, I don't seem to remember John being drunk. You handed him the keys. We put Richard and Tim Butler in the back..."

"Proving it was indeed a dream," she said. "You couldn't have fit comfortably in the back of that car, never mind two guys over six feet tall. Did we make it back?"

"Yeah. No problem."

"Totally a dream, then. That little car could not handle snow. We would have ended up buried in a snowdrift somewhere off of Mink Hollow Road." She went to find the watering can for the plants in the window.

(I'm NOT telling her about what happened with me and John in the dream once we got back. *Evil grin*)


In other news, we redid the living room floor. We had to cut and piece like crazy because we wanted a diamond pattern and the paper was printed straight across like a checkerboard.

Took some work but it was worth it.

I think I'm going to leave the bedroom floor as is, though.....

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

In which we have our cake, but wonder if anyone would want to eat it, too.....

 *Sigh* Here we snow again....

This one is Janus. Maddy said that if you take away the "J" it sums up nicely what she thinks about winter. She also told me not to repeat that. Oops....


"John-John, what on earth are you looking at?"

"It's some kind of cookbook. I found it stuck in the one Maddy had out earlier," he said.

"What's it called?" For some reason I was thinking of the old Twilight Zone episode - you know, "To Serve Man." While I realize the line "Don't get on the ship! They translated the first few pages and....IT'S A COOKBOOK!!!!" is supposed to be horrifying, I was falling off the computer lapdesk laughing.




"I guess," he said. "Hey Maddy, when was this published?"

"I have no idea. There's no date. But I'm guessing the Fifties," she said. "Fifties or very very early Sixties. Like Mad Men era Sixties."

This "Spry" of which they speak is apparently something like Crisco. And "Aunt Jenny" here pretty much explains why the Sixties had to happen.

Not that I'm against doing something really awesome for your fella, but - not really liking the attitude here. Like the only thing a woman has - or should have - time for is baking her husband cakes.

Although this one might be a good one if you're really, really mad at him for some reason, given what prunes are supposed to do to humans. Although Maddy said that with orange instead of prune, it might be a good orange spice cake - if you could figure out how to work around not using all that shortening, that is.

This was the book John-John found it in. It's the sole souvenir from that trip to Hershey, PA when Maddy was a kid - the one where her father stopped for an hour to tour some rose garden but refused to visit either the chocolate factory or the park. Her mom, however, was able to score this cookbook. It's available on Amazon and she'd really recommend it. The cake pictured on the front is about the best yellow cake ever. You may never want to look at another cake mix again.

And best of all, this book is 100% prune-free!

Here's a sample recipe - it's the one Maddy made today while we were snowed in. After all, ancestor Hitty's birthday is tomorrow, so we needed a cake....

Demon Cake (adapted from the cookbook above)

4 squares baking chocolate or equivalent (the Hershey's Cocoa cans list these in case you don't want to mess around with melting chocolate)

1 cup butter (We used one stick of margarine and one stick butter)

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

3 cups flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

5 eggs, seperated

1 tsp vanilla extract

Tip - use a LARGE mixing bowl. This thing is three layers, so there's a lot of batter.


1) If using the chocolate squares, melt over a double boiler, otherwise, add the cocoa powder equivalent to the bowl

2) Add the butter and sugar and mix together well

3) Add the buttermilk and flour and mix well again, then add the baking soda, baking powder and salt

4) Separate your eggs. Mix the yolks up well with a fork and add them. Mix again

5) Now beat the egg whites until they're stiff, like meringue. Fold them gently into the batter with a spoon. Don't use the mixer this time.

6) Add the vanilla and gently stir in with the spoon again

The directions call for three 9" round pans, but you can use whatever works. We used 9"x9" brownie pans. Grease and flour your pans (it WILL stick if you just use Pam or whatever without the flour) and bake at 350F for 30 minutes or until done.

This is the icing from the book, but we just used store-bought vanilla icing. If you're feeling brave and want to give it a go, here it is....

Fluffy Vanilla Icing (not Ice!)


1 cup sugar

1 cup water

1/4 tsp cream of tarter

2 egg whites

1/2 tsp vanilla

1) Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the cream of tarter

2) Boil to the soft-ball stage, around 234F (Yes, it says that. I know it's a candy-making reference, but it still doesn't sound good....)

3) Beat the egg whites until very stiff and pour the sugar syrup over them, still beating. Add the vanilla and beat until cool and frosting is the right consistency to spread.

Or just use the canned stuff. It sound a lot less scary....

Friday, January 17, 2014

In which - Satellite Paradiso and candy photo challenges and - not much else....

This week's photo challenge was "Candy." After Maddy ix-nayed my original idea (although I still maintain that eye candy is indeed, candy!) Emmaline and I decided to try our hands at making some. However, making candy is a LOT harder than you'd think. Turns out you need stuff. As in stuff I've never heard of. Double boilers and pastry bags and candy thermometers - the latter of which sounds like a neat giveaway for the Weather Channel, if you ask me. Chocolate thermometers with raspberry filling....

HOW long now until the album is out? *Sigh*

The pledge page is up, BTW. The link is on my Facebook page and also Here. I bet you Maddy was one of the first. She was killing time on FB waiting to see if someone was going to email her back about a possible interview when John Ashton posted it. I also think she got so freaked out that it's really really happening that she forgot how to use the keyboard for a moment there....

Maddy took the Rogue to the carwash today to get at least a few layers of salt off of it - it was starting to look like a cross between an SUV and a margarita glass - and somewhere between the wax station and the blowdryer thingy we heard a *THUMP.* Neither of us thought much of it until we got to the pet store, got out - and realized the sunroof wind deflector was missing.

Oops. Guess Shel was right about that one....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

In which we show the bookcase apartment light setup and roof garden....

Since several people have asked about it - it's much easier to explain the setup here than on Facebook or Yahoo. This way the pictures stay attached to the descriptions and in some kind of order, unlike say, on Yahoo.....

Click the pics for a better view....

This is the full view. The bookcase itself is in Maddy's bedroom between the closet and the TV. That's a terrarium on the third shelf. The bottom shelf has two storage boxes for Hitty-size dresses, the storage box for John-John and Shel's stuff and some magazines.

Since it's in a nice bright spot - the room is pretty bright in winter - we turned the top into a roof garden of sorts, complete with benches, an arch and a birdhouse. And a really good view of that poster. (The Led Zeppelin sign came from the Stockbridge trip. The Furs poster has been up there since before she made me.)

Here's how we put the lights up - these clear plastic hooks. They come with adhesives that are supposed to be repositionable, but I think we'd need C4 explosive to reposition them. But at least they're not going to fall down.

That's what they look like a little closer up. The lights themselves are just a string of white LED Christmas lights. They're bright enough to give a nice overall light that helps balance out the flash when taking pictures. We tried stick-on fluorescents. but they were too harsh and didn't stay stuck to the ceiling.

With the sides of the bookcase being open slats, it was easy to run them down the side and plug them in. And yes, that bottom shelf is a mess. :-)

The back was open, too, so we used foamcore with scrapbook paper for a wall, held on by Velcro strips. At first we had ideas for making interchangeable backs, but after the "fun" we had just making these, we abandoned that idea.

 And - the top floor.

Hope that helps out! :-)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

in which we once again post a bunch of random photos....

Me: I am one with The Fox....

Maddy: Caroline, stop mind-melding with my browser. I need the computer back.

Me: I'm not talking about your browser.

Maddy: *facepalm*

John-John: You're not seriously going to wear those, are you?

......and that was when the fight started.

Thought he heard food.....

Hey Polar, don't let the door hit you in the Vortex on the way out.

(Although, according to Maddy, "Polar Vortex" sounds like a drink - something with vodka and creme de menthe. I think that sounds more like a Polar Blackout, personally....)

This week's theme for the Photo Challenge was "Love." I think these two summed it up nicely.

(Waiting at Town Hall for Maddy's mom, who had to drop something off at the assessor's office)

Me: So that's what a "speed trap" is....

Zaphod, aka "Mr. Too Lazy To Take The Bedding Downstairs To His Actual Bed..."

Friday, January 3, 2014

In which I start to question my knowledge of mythology....

Correct me if I'm wrong here, but I thought Hercules was supposed to be a nice guy.

I think we got his evil twin, Jerkules.

Yes, that area of vaguely dirty-looking snow is the road. Not that you'd know it. Just after we took this pic, we watched a white pickup truck go sledding down it. Problem was, I think the poor guy wanted to be driving. He managed to stop just short of disaster, unlike some cars in other storms.

We didn't get a lot of snow - that's not the problem. The 9.8 on the thermometer is. That's the high temperature - in Fahrenheit. It's so cold that the stuff they put on the roads to melt the snow won't melt it. Luckily, it's supposed to warm up after tonight.

As you can see, though, winter doesn't always mean having to choose warmth over fashion. Maddy herself has a bright red wool duffel coat with a black velvet collar and big black toggle buttons. She said she's though with ugly coats.

"When I was a kid, winter meant a big ugly coat," she explained. "I used to have a hideous blue down-filled parka. It was warm, but it made me look like a giant mutant pineapple in the Parade of Weird Tropical Fruits. Not exactly the look you're aiming for at thirteen."

Not a lot to do, so we cleaned up a bit after Christmas. I put my new table up - it came from a display of fairy garden items in Hobby Lobby. Sometimes you can find some great Hitty-size stuff that way. I have a feeling that, like Maddy's, my "sewing table" and "dining room table" are going to end up being the same one.

John (my guy) brought home two dogs he adopted. They're brother and sister - the white one is a girl. Maddy asked if they were spayed/neutered (yes) and I was more concerned about whether or not they were housetrained. (So good so far.....) The staff at the shelter named them Luke and Leia. We'll have to see if the names stick. Shel thinks they might be a little too much alike.

Cat is not digging this, as you can see....

Maddy said I should think about a blue dress, to go along with the song  "Touch The Sky." I don't know - pink is kind of my thing, you know.....

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

In which 2014 really is going to rock....

Okay, so it looks like 2014 is indeed going to rock.

First, we're doing a photo challenge on Facebook, although we'll post some of the pics here, too. If you're interested in following (or joining in) the info is on Miranda Wandering: Photo Challenge.

The first challenge was "Self-Portrait," so I give you - the Caroline semi-selfie (had to get Maddy to hold the camera!) Since I'm a travel doll, it seemed appropriate to take it in the car.

But - the really, really BIG news.....

My most favorite Fur, John Ashton, has a new project! Maddy and I had heard about it back over the summer, but we didn't have much information then. But check this out: Satellite Paradiso. Talk about your all-star cast here - even the late Lou Reed. And John Ashton, of course....

Didn't I say 2014 was going to rock? It's off to a great start already! (OMG, psyched, psyched, psyched....!) Maddy was just saying how much she missed being all psyched over hearing about a new album by someone she really likes, so she's really excited, too.

So yeah, not even the prospect of over a foot of snow for us tomorrow into Friday is getting us down at this point....