Sunday, November 21, 2004


We spent all yesterday touring assorted used car lots and purusing the Auto Trader paper trying to find a cheap but usable car for Manager to use.

We looked at many totally unsuitable cars: too expensive, too big, wa-a-a-ay too small, too old.

We want to get a car that's younger than Manager, mostly because if it does need repairs, the newer models will have parts easily available.

We finally ended up in a small town about 25 miles south of us, and there, we found a Ford Focus SE. It's a 2002 model, with 66,000 miles on it, and we while we haven't made the final talk to the auto dealer, it looks as if we'll be able to buy it for somwehere between $7,000.00 and $8,000.00, with a 1 year warranty on it and a drive train warranty that will extend for another 100,000 miles. He's pulling what he can find of the service record on the car. Without it, we're going to push for the lower price, as we don't know what kind of care the previous owner took of it.

We feel this is a reasonable price, as the Blue Book price for the car ranges between $6,000.00 and $9,000.00 for such a car bought through a reputable dealer.

That means Manager will be able to conduct her business safely, cheaper, and with enough space for all her equipment.

We've been spending about $150.00 a month on gasoline alone for her old car - that's the payment for this newer one (including insurance), and her gasoline expenses will drop to $30.00 a month.

No more phone calls to pick her up at this corner or that because the old car overheated or a hose broke or it just quit for some reason.

She'll be much more reliable in visiting clients, banks, and potential investors.

Maybe as a holiday gift, I'll give her a set of magnetic door signs advertising the Cracked Cauldron.

On to more interesting things - food!

Manager has 2 holiday clients - she'll meet with them after we finalize the car on Monday. Yes, this is cutting things close, but Manager can do it. We met both as we searched for a car, and told the salesmen why we wanted that particular type of car. Both want simple, traditional turkey meals: roasted turkey, oyster stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, giblet gravy, feather rolls, pumpkin pie, apple pie.

It's much simpler than the holiday meals we normally prepare.

For ourselves, I'll be preparing the meal, as Manager will be working.

Isn't that a lovely sentence?

Manger will be working.

I won't repeat it again, because it would bore you to read it again, but that refrain is dancing through my head: Manager is working!

Anyway, what I'm preparing for the family will start with a bread cornucopia stuffed to spillage with antipasta and surrounded by hollowed vegetables filled with assorted dips. We'll also have hte now traditional Bacchus Bites: homemade crackers topped with goat cheese and black olives.

The first course will be a clear turkey soup carefully poured over individual veggie sculptures of Indian corn, and accompanied by little turkey shaped rolls.

We'll clear that with a light green salad garnished with the petals of orange and gold marigolds and the last of the lavender blossoms.

The main course will be herb coffined cornish hens that have been brined overnight - you make a wet paste of herbs and completely enclose the hens with it, bake them in the case until it dries, break it off, then brown the hens and glaze them with orange sauce. We'll have 6 sides because we're just greedy that way: tiny baby Brussels sprouts in a tarragon butter sauce, whipped potatoes with cream cheese, baby carrots steamed with dillweed and almonds, green beans with porcini and portabella mushrooms in a chardonnay sauce, a cranberry and wild rice stuffing and a cornbread herb stuffing, jellied cranberry sauce shaped like acorns, feather rolls, herb butter.

This will be cleared away with a light creamy three muchroom soup and a fruited green salad.

Then on to dessert!

This is where we really shine!

Apple cream tartlettes, pumpkin chiffon gallettes, cranberry pecan pie, brownies, ginger pumpkin bars, acorn cookies, cherry almond pielettes, chocolate macaroons, Indian pudding with a caramel sauce, and a platter of cheeses, apples, and pears with assorted olives (yes, this is a favorite dessert, especially accompanied by either elderberry or pear wine).

Of course, Friday is our shareholders' meeting, and we plan a yummy luncheon to serve at it. We're keeping the menu secret until afterwards.

We'll post photos, now we have the camera back.

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