Monday, February 28, 2011

Just when you thought it was exciting enough...

After writing the piece about my embroidery machine and coordinating software I started exploring on the "box's" website and discovered there is an upgrade, and the upgrade supports sub-directories. Yay!

I downloaded the upgrade and attempted to install it according to directions. Well, sometimes no good deed goes unpunished, and in this case it did not upgrade according to the printed instructions. Not to be discouraged, I uninstalled it and did it again. And again.

You know the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Just call me certifiable by this point. Now it doesn't connect at all. I am officially stuck with the 6 designs I put on there Saturday until I can get this straightened out.

Somehow I suspect this won't come free.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Machine embroidery, starting over, again

I had forgotten how much I had learned before and it had to be relearned. I got my embroidery machine in 2002 and had a great time with it, but didn't use it from 2005 to 2009. My friend Sam wanted a special embroidery job on his new lab coat, and I was glad to help. But Murphy assisted in the design of this one. He wanted the snake on a stick portion of the paramedics' symbol, but all the designs I found had the star of life with it. He picked a good one and I was able to edit out the star, then put his lettering around the stick. As it turned out, he liked the star but the lettering wasn't what he envisioned. We worked up a sample piece with brief lettering and I decided we needed to use my computer to adjust the lettering, rather than rely on the built-in letters on the machine. You can never tell on the machine how the kerning is going to work without actually stitching it out first.

I only had one font on my software, so I went to the website that sells them, thinking it would be a simple operation to add a couple of fonts. HA! Not so fast sister. The version of software I had was the 2004 version and I needed to upgrade before anything else could happen. So I did, and $235 and an hour of fussing with the installation later we were designing the lettering. Sam did most of the adjusting because he knew exactly what he wanted. How fast he picked up how to run Embird was amazing.

The embroidery machine uses a memory card that is similar in size to a Compact Flash card, but wider and flatter. The card can only hold 6 designs at a time, even though each one averages about 50 kb each. That's KB, not MB. Wow. That's how designs get from my computer to my machine.

The card reader/writer has a usb connection but I can't just use Windows to copy the files over because Windows does not recognize this device as a drive. So it requires proprietary software to do the actual transfer. But, the software does not recognize sub-directories (how primitive is that?) so designs have to go in a top level of c: or in the top level of a jump drive before I can even put them on the machine's card.

This is one of the main parts I forget each and every time. Oh, and the card reader with the card in it has to be plugged into the computer BEFORE the computer is booted up, or it chokes on a com connection which it doesn't even have. So after 9 YEARS I got smart and wrote these things on top of the Amazing Box. That's it's name, really!

We worked over 6 hours on this, and it looks great! But friends and family, know this, I will NEVER do this for money. It's so slow for me I could never make a profit! Plus, as everyone might guess, once you have to do it, it's no longer fun. This was fun, thanks for a great afternoon, Sam!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Teaching myself to fidget

So, in addition to doing some actual, real exercise, I'm trying to teach myself to fidget. I've heard fidgeters burn a tiny bit more calories and raise their metabolism (a tiny bit). I don't know what the science of this is, but I like TV and reading, so I am trying to add leg wiggling and toe tapping to my habits.

So, if you are sitting next to me and I'm jiggling your chair, know that I meant to. Tell me to stop, otherwise I won't.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

I really miss tuna fish. The one of my youth, that is.

A few months ago I picked up this book, Four Fish, by Paul Greenberg. I don't eat much fish so it was just an idle curiosity about fish, fishing and the fish "industry". Plus, I had heard all these cautions about farmed fish.

But, as I was reading along, I had a sudden ah-ha moment. The reason I don't like to eat tuna in a can anymore is that light chunk tuna is no longer "chunk". The cans are smaller, and what passes for chunk these days is what was labeled as "flake" back when. Professional homemakers used to say that flake tuna was alright for tuna salad since you were going to break it up when you stirred in the mayonnaise anyway. But my mom and grandmother, in fact none of the women I knew would ever buy flake tuna. It was always chunk light for us! I am talking the 1970s and prior. Maybe into the 80s, but honestly I don't remember when tuna became either flake tuna or solid white. Solid white is flavorless, IMO, and with a texture of fish that's overcooked. I eat it but I b*tch about it.

The problem is of course, people. We have fished for tuna so much that the actual fish are harder to find, and they are smaller, too. So the cans are smaller and the cans have a higher portion of liquid to tuna. I remember squeezing out the oil with the lid and having more than half a can of meat left. No more.

I really miss tuna, but I do understand that with as many people who also love it, we have got to let the tuna reproduce and grow some or we won't have any.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

House painting

All the houses in my neighborhood are getting painted. They are getting painted with exactly the same colors they have been, since the beginning, 1996. Apparently some of the residents were ok with a color change but the most vocal were not ok with it.

I wish I had seen the samples; I would have blogged about them, with photos. But, the samples were on #1, which I don't usually drive by. Oh well, drama opportunity missed. I like the old colors or I wouldn't have been so charmed by this place, but when the next painting time comes around I will be on the lookout for the new opportunities.

Since it's raining today, the painters are not in the neighborhood. They come in a crowd with suprisingly few vehicles. There must be some kind of drop off, but my vision of the street through the kitchen window is quite limited and I haven't seen it. This picture was taken Thursday morning, on the building across the street from me. As near as I can tell they work on 3 buildings at a time.

I must say, if you had asked me I wouldn't have said my house needs painting yet, but the ones that have been done really do look better and brighter. This must come from years of reduced expectations in the paint department of my brain. But, new paint is good, even with the old colors.

Uh oh, looks like it's time for me to pressure wash the driveway again.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Worst food product EVER

In my attempt to eat healthier snacks, I picked up some packages of freeze-dried fruits at Target. The strawberries were tart and kind of tasty, but these freeze-dried bananas tasted like they had been dipped in gasoline. What the what?

I keep a small but potent list of "do not buy again EVER" products and this is going to the top of my list. Yuck, double yuck.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

New spices, same old chicken? We'll see.

Wanda gave me these 3 new rubs and I think it may help to cure chicken boredom. If I make 3 different kinds of chicken tenderloin strips on the same pan, then the leftovers for all week long won't seem so repetitive, right?

I am tired of chicken but maybe this will work? A girl can dream, right?