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12/12/2002: Too many to count

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Today started with me sleeping in as late as I possibly could - which actually turned out to be nearly 8am this morning. I'm not sure how I got so lucky that the cats decided to leave me alone, but one doesn't look such a gift horse in the mouth.

Richard popped in The Nightmare Before Christmas and proceeded to shell every single walnut in the huge bag I'd received from my mom (from their walnut tree). And then, movie over, there was no longer any excuse for me to procrastinate any further. So I sent Richard off to the grocery store with a list of baking ingredients like powdered sugar and marshmallows and chocolate chips. When he returned, he dragged out a box of gutter clips and a few dozen strands of lights and climbed out on the roof to start hanging those, while I got busy making cookies.

I started with gingerbread men, and once those were done, I whipped up the dough for a double-batch of Russian teacakes. In the midst of the gingerbread men I took a break and chopped up all the veggies for the potato cheese soup planned for this evening because I knew that by this evening I wasn't going to have any energy left to chop things. Somewhere in the middle of the gingerbread men, we also realized it was lunchtime, so we made grilled peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I ate mine standing up, a few bites here and there between rolling and cutting the dough. And I took advantage of Richard's being inside and had him put the raisin eyeballs on the gingerbread men (because he actually *likes* raisins).

Next it was time for the fudge. I decided to be clever and oh-so-efficient and make both batches at once - one of milk chocolate and one of semi-sweet. In case any of you were pondering doing this as well, don't. In retrospect, it was a bit of a crazy idea. I had two pans on the stove, both of which hit the boiling point at different times, which meant I had to stir one pan of butter, milk, and sugar through the boiling period while I was frantically dumping marshmallows, nuts, and chocolate chips into the other pan before the concoction cooled too much. Somehow I managed to get both batches of fudge made without burning either one, which I think classifies as some sort of minor miracle.

I followed the fudge-making fest with an hour or two on the teacakes. This of course resulted in me getting powdered sugar all over everything (always a requirement when I'm baking) Then I dragged out the food coloring and made the dough for the cookie press cookies.

Luckily by this time, Richard was done with all the lights, both along the eaves and also inside, lining all the front-facing windows. So I put him to work with a bowl of green dough and the cookie press while I started in on the dough for the candy cane cookies, figuring that this way I'd get them all done in plenty of time before we had to leave for choir practice. Ha. Silly me.

I was rummaging through a drawer, looking for another measuring spoon, and as I slid my hand underneath my nifty slicer/grater thing, I felt a sudden sharp pain. Turns out I must have left the slicer attachment in instead of the grater attachment, and when I pulled my hand back, I left part of my finger behind.

Talk about inconvenient! I managed to get the rest of the dough stirred up with only one hand (while holding the other pretty much over my head in an attempt to stem the bleeding), and between Richard and I we managed to finish off the rest of the cookie press cookies. I slapped a cotton ball over it, pasted that down with a Band-Aid, and did my best to ignore it while I got the soup set up for dinner.

However, by the time we sat down to dinner it hadn't stopped bleeding, and by then it'd been about two hours. Sigh. I called the advice nurse to see if there was anything I could do at home, but she said I was better off coming in. So we hastily crammed cookies into boxes so they wouldn't be left out in an empty house to tempt certain four-footed furry creatures, and then headed off to the hospital.

If you're the squeamish sort, just skip this paragraph. Because I just had to mention that while Richard and I sat in the little examining room waiting for the doctor, we had fun admiring my injury because we are both sick and twisted little puppies who find this kind of thing far too fascinating. But hey, when you can look at your own finger and note with a sort of detached excitement that if you'd sliced off probably just one more layers of skin, you'd have hit muscle, well, what can I say. It's kinda cool.

Anyway, I amused the doctor and her assistant with my tale of idiocy, and then they soaked my finger in some betadine solution, applied some kind of dermatological stuff that was supposed to stop the bleeding and also hurt like hell, wrapped my finger up in gauze so it looks (and feels) like a little sausage, and sent me on my way. Oh, and because the injury was done with metal, I had to get a tetanus shot, which should mean that by tomorrow my left arm will be sore. Ah, fun times.

So despite my best intentions, I didn't get *all* the baking finished today. But at least it's nearly done, and the house smells marvelously of butter and sugar and spice, and there are more cookies than I even want to try counting in boxes downstairs and more to come. Oof. And that trip to the hospital meant that we got a great chance to see how awesome all the lights look on the house as we drove home. Richard did a terrific job. No, I don't have a picture of it to show you. Yet. Be patient. Probably tomorrow. Instead I have a picture of another 'decoration'. Azzie did this to himself, but then, he has a Ph.D. in Cute, so it's only to be expected.

Tis the season for Holidailies!

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