Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Favorite Christmas "jewelry", Part 1

It isn't really jewelry, it's an accessory. This adorable little Santa pin is a painted starfish. I've had him about 15 years and he makes me smile each and every time I wear him. So simple and so clever!

I got him at a craft show at the fairgrounds when looking for unique Florida crafts.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

When is it time to give up a hobby?

I told the story of reinventing the wheel back in January of 2011. I wrote about the difficulty in getting embroidery designs out of my computer and onto my machine's embroidery card. The problem is my new-newfangled 64 bit computer.

I tried to get new drivers for the card converter box, aka The Amazing Box. Look at this guy:

It didn't work, and there goes 2 full afternoons that I'll never get back. I could get a new box but I'm sick of having to buy something every time I want to use the machine. But I've only wanted to use it a few times in the last 7 years. It's not worth keeping an old computer around just for this.

Maybe it is time to give it all away. Machine, purchased embroidery designs, threads, stabilizers, and the whole big box of stuff that goes with it. Is it time to throw in the (un-embroidered) towel?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Political observation

So the big story in the news is Mitt Romney showing his true feelings about Obama supporters. The fact that he paints all "non-taxpayers" as self proclaimed victims, and folks with entitlement issues is just too ironic. Who feels more entitled than a rich white guy in the USA?
I'm trying not to bomb Facebook with my feelings, because so many are sick of it already. But really, could he be more insulting to half the country?
One of our patrons at the library is convinced they leaked the story themselves, just to solidify his extremist, right wing backers. He is right when he says a good chunk of us cannot be convinced, and he's right in saying we're not his problem, but only as it concerns the election. If he really feels that way about us as president then we have big, enormous problems. Even bigger than W. As much as I didn't agree with his policies, I never thought W dismissed us as unworthy, lazy, leaching slugs.
For the record, THIS taxpayer is an Obama supporter, and I can't be convinced otherwise. Where does that put me in the percentage game?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tropical storms are freaking WET

Tropical storm Isaac dumped over 10 inches of rain on Boynton Beach before Sunday night (August 25) was over. I went to work on Monday, and surprise surprise, it rained all day. When I got home around 9 PM the lake was up to the palm trees on the right of this picture. Yes, that's my patio directly to the left. Normal level for the lake would be at the right of the shrub line.

That is just too darn close, people. I am not in a flood zone, but you better believe I bought the flood insurance. This picture was taken Tuesday morning, and you can see it had already receded several feet by then. Thanks be to God. It could have been so much worse.

Monday, September 10, 2012

He's a good boy!

Everywhere we went on our vacation, Mr Raleigh got lots of attention. Lots and lots of it. Well, he is a beautiful basset hound, and not too drool-y either.

He is, however, afraid of people he doesn't know. If you approach him, he will back away. As a rescue dog, we really don't know what happened in his former life and we can only love him as he is. He's my sister's dog, by the way, not mine.

He is a GOOD boy! He doesn't pull on his leash, he is impeccably housebroken, and get this -- he comes when he's called. How's that for a basset?

And look at that face! What's not to love?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Guilty pleasure

I confess, I watch In the Kitchen With David on QVC every Sunday afternoon. That man makes the best yummy faces!

I just have to get stronger about not buying stuff.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

When you are craving crunchy, zwieback to the rescue!

When you are craving something slightly sweet and seriously crunchy, zwieback toast is the answer. The only problem is it takes 2 days to make it.

Well worth the trouble, even if there is no instant gratification.

Here's the link to my recipe. I highly recommend it.

King Arthur Flour Zwieback recipe.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Through the windshield in Boynton Beach

Yup, I was so bored at the stoplight that I whipped out my camera and took a picture of the Boynton Beach skyline. I was at the corner of Seacrest and Boynton Beach Blvd, looking toward the east, with its skyscrapers.

I seriously started to take more and more photos at traffic lights, and the one thing I could count on is the view of the back end of other cars.

Until I decided to take a detour over to West Ocean Ave.

Now, there were no cars directly ahead of me, but they were going down Seacrest, a lot!

Here's the northwest corner of the library:


Yes, that is a bicycle riding down Seacrest. He isn't even on the sidewalk. That guy has buckets of guts, let me tell you. I have seen the way we drive around here.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Still loving that pressure cooker

So, almost a year after I got it, I am still really loving the pressure cooker. On July 4th, I made a dozen and a half deviled eggs for the get-together.

If you pressure cook your eggs for 6 minutes at low pressure, they are very easy to peel. I mean, I peeled 18 eggs in about 4 minutes. That's some kind of new record for me.

And they all fit nicely into the cooker, too!

Now for the big question:

How come you can check all the eggs in the store and when you get home there is always ONE egg that is cracked anyway? I replaced it with one from another box, but still, why?

Friday, July 6, 2012

Going old school with iced tea

It's time for iced tea again, and I have, for once, gone backwards technology-wise.

I put the old electric iced tea maker in the garage and pulled out my old teakettle. The reason I did is that I am officially in love with my new tangerine colored Fiesta pitcher. She's a beauty! And a classic, too.

How many of us remember a pitcher like this in our Mom's or Grandmother's house, all loaded up with either lemonade or reconstituted frozen orange juice? My grandmother's pitcher was a light turquoise, and not as big as mine. It was almost always used for OJ.

Yes, I'm tripping down memory lane again, but I'm not ready to give up my Keurig in favor of a Drip-O-Lator just yet.

My formula for tea is 4 family sized bags of decaffeinated tea, 2 teabags of Lemon Zinger, and 64 oz of boiling water. After adding the boiling water to the pitcher, I wait until the pitcher is cool enough to handle. Then I transfer the tea to a plastic pitcher and add 4 Truvia packets. I refrigerate this pitcher, and when I want a glass of tea I put ice in the glass and water up to, or just past, the halfway mark, then add the tea.  Yes, this is very lightly sweetened, and I like it like that!

The best part is the cleanup. It is much easier than with the old Mrs. Tea. Yay, old school!

Monday, May 14, 2012

You can't go home again.

Well, sure you can try, but at our ages the homes are occupied by somebody else.

I went to my hometown last Saturday, just out of curiosity. My brother and sister met me there and we had lunch at the local southern cooking buffet.

My sister and I got there early and met at the library. It is not the same library I used growing up, but it is a friendly, neutral place to leave my car for a few hours. We drove around to look at the houses we used to live in. The house pictured above is was my grandmother's. We had plenty of good times there. RIP, Nanny.

At my parent's house there was a woman sitting on the little porch, so we stopped and complemented her lavishly on the exterior improvements. She invited us in to see the inside, and wow, it really is a different house now. Gone is all the orange wood paneling in favor of textured drywall. Where the cabinets from the kitchen flowed into the dining room are double doors to the outside. Also gone is the yellow/aqua color combo in the bathrooms. (Yes, built in the late 1950's) Yes, that is exactly what it needed.

Then, we drove to the graveyard. Well, we don't have living relatives in town, so why not? We were able to find our grandparent's graves, but our parents' were elusive. And it's a big family plot, too! After lunch my brother took us to the family plot, and boy was I embarrassed. It was so easy to find if you get your landmarks fixed in your head.

Now I am becoming one of those southern ladies who wants to scrub the headstones. My uncle Floppy's headstone is completely grown over. Next time we'll bring a whisk broom, a probe, and a little edger. Maybe some spray cleaner and some paper towels too. Aunt Bess' was practically sanded over. Yep, I'm one of them now. A little early for Memorial Day, but what the heck.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Big Louie's bigger cousin

Yes, another big lizard story. I thought the one that ran up my shirt was big, but this one is a foot long or more. Just hanging out on the palm tree, waiting for lunch.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Angel or devil?

My new Keurig brewer is amazing. Every cup of coffee is delicious all day and all evening. I never drank coffee in the evening before because it was kind of a hassle and by the time I got to the 2nd cup it wasn't so yummy any more.

But I have a devil on one shoulder whispering "Do it. Use the K-Cup. You know you like it!" And I have an angel on the other shoulder who says "If you use the reusable cup there will be less plastic to throw out and choke up landfills."

My reusable cup is the EZ-Cup with paper filters. I tried the MyKCup and one other with the wash-out filters but I didn't like them for 2 reasons. One, I'm spoiled and like my coffee clear filtered through paper, and two those reusable cups are darn hard to clean. I ended up leaving a skewer out on the counter top to loosen up and dig out the tight grounds. With the EZ-Cup, the little filter lifts right out and you are good to load up another one, lickitey split.

Now I am trying to find the perfect decaffeinated coffee. I have some organic decaf from Walmart, but it is too dark a roast for me. Now I'm going to be buying cans of decaf until I can get the perfect medium roast that I like to drink and drink and drink...

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Don't buy your mom a Kindle

Really, don't do it unless she is at least a little computer savvy. Or unless you live nearby and can help her.

My day at work on Tuesday consisted of attempting to help 2 different women download eBooks from a neighboring library's Overdrive collection. Both were told confidently by their offspring that they could borrow library books and read for free. Amazon makes it very easy and even fun to select books and buy them, and have them appear, by magic, on your Kindle. Borrowing books is a whole different thing, and anything but simple.

In both cases we spent over 30 minutes and near the end of the process neither of them could log into Amazon. In one case I assured the woman that it wouldn't work anyway since her Kindle had a 3G connection, not Wi-fi. For the uninitiated, all Overdrive eBooks for Kindle are downloaded directly from your Amazon account. We won't even get into the privacy issues here. For library eBooks for Kindle, if you have 3G you must download to a PC and then transfer via USB. Publishers can also insist on USB transfers of certain titles even if the Kindle is Wi-fi equipped.

But wait, it gets even better! The 3G owner came back the next day, and I spent over an hour with her, patiently explaining Overdrive, Amazon, 3G, Wi-fi, DRM, and why the book she borrowed was likely delivered to her daughter's Kindle. She doesn't have a computer in Florida, and I wouldn't allow downloading the book to our research computer and transferring via USB. Shhh don't tell, we don't have a policy in place yet. The sad bit is she insisted they helped her at her home library up north, and sure enough, there was an expired library book on her Kindle. She didn't remember anything about using a computer to do it, but that's the only way to get a book on there, so I know it was used.

It was very frustrating for both of us. She ended up purchasing the book, and then it didn't auto deliver. I suspect it was because she had just borrowed it. I left it to her to call Amazon customer service.

It wasn't even my library's eBooks. I deserve a chocolate brownie for this one. Our library is getting eBooks in April. There are maybe 3 people on staff who are comfortable with this stuff. Sure, there will be lots of training, and when it's all said and done staff will pass off the most confused people to the magic 3.

OK, if you must buy your mom a Kindle, and if she plans on using library books, make sure it is a Wi-fi enabled model. 3G is best if she is going to BUY books from Amazon. There is a big difference. And for goodness sakes, please, PLEASE make sure they can log into the correct Amazon account. Nothing happens without that.
Heaven help us, here come the elderly parents.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

New dishes!

I did it! After years of threatening to, I bought a full set of Fiesta dinnerware, in 8 different colors.

I couldn't be happier. They are so pretty, even dirty in the dishwasher. Each time I pull out a plate, I'm all pleased with it, thinking, wow, this one is my favorite. Then I do it again for the next color.

Love it! I've used the cheap plates from the Big Lots so long that I had forgotten what nice plates looked and felt like.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Christmas cards

Ok, I seriously can't seem to let go of the holidays.

I recently got a die cutting machine (Making Memories Slice) and a bunch of memory cards for it. I have spent a bunch of time, and I'll not admit how much, cutting and pasting, and gettin' merry like Christmas. Making cards that is.

The plan is to make a bunch of these for sale in our church bazaar next fall. No, the real plan is to use up this patterned green paper which has been in my paper stash since 2004 when I started scrap booking.  Come to think of it, the paper may have even looked dated then.

My dining room table is as cluttered as ever. No, I'm not getting ahead of it. It is a good thing I live alone, because no one could ever eat.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Speaking of unfinished projects...

At least I'm working on these. My dining room table is an example of multi-tasking overkill. Really, I have my photo scanning, scrap booking, laundry folding and fat clothes give-away thing going on all at once.

This doesn't even show the stuff laid out on the temporary folding table near the china cabinet, or the stray instructional books on the coffee table.

I'm pretty sure I have adult ADD. As if I needed proof.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Let go of that UFO!

Sometimes you just have to let go of those unfinished projects. You know, like if you cut the outfit out on July 4, 2007, and you've lost 30 pounds since then, this project cannot end well.

As much as I love the fabric, and the style, this can't work, so throwing it in the trash, pattern and all, is the only solution.

Goodbye, little dream outfit!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

This. This is why I love digital photography.

This isn't a great snapshot, but we love our family. I'm finally getting around to scanning and color correcting all the photos from my Dad's house, and I saved the album from the 70s for last. Woah, I should have gotten those puppies out of that album sooner.

Most of them are faded and quite a few have visible foxing and acid damage from the album. I am not a skilled photo restorer, nor do I think a lot of these are worth it, being Instamatic type shots, but they are a good reminder of our past.  Look at this album. If this is what your old albums look like, GET YOUR PICTURES OUT! Yes I am yelling. The acid in the paper is eating away at your memories.

Oh, back up your digital pictures too, while you are at it!

Friday, January 6, 2012

I really need to go outside more.

Notice anything funny in this picture? (Ignore my helpful camera settings, please.) Well, I was taking photos at various settings for an online class I'm participating in, and whoa, did I get a surprise.

You I don't see these things until I really look at the picture.

There is a fern growing out of the framework of my patio. A fern! Yes, I need to really notice stuff like that sooner and get out the old pressure washer. Florida, gotta love it.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Camera shy people, you are warned.

One of the things I get to do at work is take pictures. I should take more pictures but some of my staff are camera shy. The same people are in lots of pictures because they don't duck away.

I have resorted to subterfuge. In the photo above, I tried to get this guy's photo and he put his hands in front of his face repeatedly. I lowered the camera (still pointed his way) and said that my camera has a bad case of shutter lag. While I was saying "lag" I snapped the picture. That's why his hands are where they are. And why one eye is drooping.

If you want a flattering picture, you need to cooperate. If you want no picture, I'll have to go all sneaky on you. There, everyone is warned.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Such a thoughtful neighbor!

My library is in such a charming neighborhood. The house directly to the south of us put out a bench so you can rest under a shady tree and read your book. How thoughtful!

Alas, on bulk pickup day it was trashed. But it made a great picture and Facebook status.

Bob's Barricades are ubiquitous in Florida!

Bob must have the state contract on barricades or something. Almost everything except some of the cones are labeled "Bob's Barricades".

My family had a lively discussion about Bob over the recent holiday. Seems they are all over the eastern US, but out west barricades belong to someone else. Who knew?

This stack of barricades has been in my quiet neighborhood for weeks, decorating a tree trunk near the entrance. I asked several people if they knew why they were there, and no one seemed to know. When I looked up old Bob on the Internet I discovered that these are leased. Somebody is paying for these longer than they need to.

Oh yeah, they are going to reconstruct some of the driveway aprons. I knew that. Yes, I did.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Nina's Home!

For a visit, that is. She arrived about an hour and a half before the new furniture for her room did. Whew!

Her room (the guest room) is so small I only put in a bed, nightstand, and chest. It still requires closing the closet door to get to the head of the bed.

While she's home she has to complete her classes from the last semester. She's been here 2 weeks and I don't think she's done any schoolwork yet.

Anyone want to bet that she'll wait until the last 3 days? Anyone?

My old Yashica FR

Ok, so I seriously miss my old Yashica SLR. Sure, it took film, and taking lots of pictures was frustrating and expensive, but the pictures sometimes came out great!

So I never got super good with it, but all in all it took better pictures than any of my previous point and shoot cameras.

It had just a few simple buttons. Shutter speed, ISO, and the shutter button itsself were on the top. Focus (manual), and f-stop were rings on the lens. Inside the viewfinder was a simple light meter with a red or green dot indicating over or under exposure, or just right. If it wasn't right I could play with the aperture or speed until it registered ok. The slowest the shutter would go was 1/30th of a second.

 I didn't have any other lenses, but I did have a flash attachment that went on the "hot shoe" on top. There was a dial on the back of it that recommended f-stops based on distance to subject, film speed, and shutter speed.

Now, I haven't used that camera since the early 2000s, I abandoned it without looking back, so why can I remember this so well? Who the heck knows, I sure don't.

I ordered a DSLR and it arrived last week and it has a sharp learning curve. More on my new baby (camera) later.

In the meantime, here's a picture I took with the old Yashica: