Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Cooking Adventures in the Winter Kitchen

I love cooking during winter months when it is cold and dismal outside but bright and warm in my cozy green-walled kitchen. A pot of water for pasta will warm up the house, or a pot of beans, or soup.

I've already started my annual soup-making. During summer I don't bother but when winter hits - and today IS the winter solstice - I love to make soup, cook my own pinto beans for refried beans, and warm up the kitchen the natural and fragrant way.

I don't use my oven much anymore for several reasons: first, my baked goods are delicious and I eat too much of them, which isn't good for me. Second, the propane way out here in the country is expensive and hard to replace. Third, I haven't lit that oven in so long I'm a little leery of giving it another try.

I do, however, love to use my cast iron skillet which resides on my stove or over the sink on it's hook - where I dry it after each cooking/frying episode.

During winter it doesn't matter if I generate too much heat. Heat is always welcome!

Another thing I love about winter in this cabin is the cast iron cooking stove that sits between the living room and dining room. We've got a fairly traditional-looking Franklin-type stove and it has plenty of cooking surface on top. At times we cook there instead of on the propane stove. It is like a flash to the past and actually an excellent place to cook a meal while the fire merrily burns beneath, warming the entire cabin.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Energy Flower Hoodie

I'm making products on Zazzle.Com . . . with my own art on them.

Here's one:

The excitement of getting my art out there in a way that others can see, appreciate and buy... this is thrilling. I love Zazzle, and of course many other artists, entrepreneurs and photographers do too. It is similar to Café Press, but I think there's more variety in the products.

Here's a page that explains why I started my Zazzle store, Emanations From A Playful Imagination.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Helplessly In Love With Horses - And Horse Movies!

I love horses. I love their strength, power, beauty, the mane flying in the fresh spring air, the joy they evince as they gallop across a prairie or down a hillside. So I love watching horse movies like National Velvet or any of the others. This week I've been watching as many horse movies as I could manage...

Hidalgo was billed as a true story - based on a memoir written by Frank T. Hopkins in the 30s and 40s. Before the movie was released people starting writing trash about him, trying to prove that his memoir was fabricated. They said there was no "Ocean of Fire" race across hot, arid Arabia, that Frank had made the entire thing up. Well, if so, it was still a great story. The movie is fantastic!

The Man From Snowy River is an old favorite. Not only are the horses spectacular, but there's a sweet romance and lots of action / adventure. The plot is great... there's something for everyone!

The Silver Stallion is much more slow paced, and is intended for children - especially those who love the "Silver Brumby" series of Australian children's books. Both The Silver Stallion and The Man From Snowy River are Australian films.

Last night I watched the older version of Black Beauty, and The Black Stallion. I'm working on reviews for them today.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Bigfoot - Bigfoot Jamboree - Bigfoot Sightings - Bigfooting

Just Bigfooting today, in my mind... because I've been focused on Bigfoot since 2005. That's five years of thinking about a marvelous monster I've never seen. Seems strange to me that I'm spending so much time on this! I started my Bigfoot research as a service to my community but since then have realized that (1) many people in my community don't appreciate my effort, and (2) many people in my community don't appreciate me, and (3) I often fantasize about living somewhere else.

That's not about Bigfoot, however. There are many factors that go into my community perspective. I dream of going elsewhere because I like to roam, I like to experience new places, and I'm an adventurer and always have been.

I haven't been to our community's Bigfoot Jamboree in years. Has the sheen worn off for me? There are many people in the community I love to pieces but when grand hooplas materialize I retreat. The last time I was there was to see Matthew Johnson give his talk about his Oregon Caves Bigfoot sighting experience - he told us what happened to him, his reactions to seeing a Bigfoot, and what he's done since to look for more Bigfoot evidence in Southern Oregon.

I started my Bigfoot blog way back in early 2005. It was one of the first Bigfoot blogs on the internet - I didn't know of any others at the time. I tend to be a trendsetter. Now there are dozens of Bigfoot blogs. A good idea whose time had come, perhaps?

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting Rid of My Stuff

I spent thirty years collecting stuff. Now I'm spending twenty years getting rid of it (so far). I have cut down on my possessions for years now, ever since I read Taming the Paper Tiger back in 1993 when I lived in a flat in North Oakland, California. I had an entire room full of boxes of "stuff" and set out to organize it. Well, it has been a struggle ever since, but I've finally got it down to a dull roar, meaning most of my unwanted/unorganized items can fit into two closets at this point.

I still have a few items that tear at my heartstrings, that I have yet to resolve, as to how to handle them. Of course, old family photographs are one item. Another is my collection of valuable old Beatles albums. These will go to my children. My oldest daughter has been a Beatles fan since she was a teen. Now she's a princess among women and deserves to get this aging collection of albums I purchased in the 1960's.

The family photographs are a bit harder to deal with. I have five kids and will divide among them. What else can I do? I will try to give each child lots of photos of themselves. This will require a lot more organizing and sorting than I've put into it so far.

As it turns out... old boxes of filing and paperwork are easy to go through and dispose of because most of the papers are no longer relevant to my life. The only things I tend to hold onto are my writings... I have a backup system because I consider my writings the most important things in my home. I've been writing since I was a teen and still have most of it in my possession. Pretty strange, huh? Luckily I haven't lost much of it over the years.

So, I continue to declutter but the huge pressure I felt a few years ago is over. I'm doing much better with "stuff" now.

Ah, that reminds me of a video a friend told me about recently:

I have to love George Carlin - though he went way over my comfort level with profanity and vulgarity at times, most of what he said was spot on and I have to respect him for that.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I am Creative / Disorganized

I've got way too many things to do. I love to start new projects. I'm constantly looking for new ways to organize my time and projects.

Sound familiar?

I thought I was a total freak until I read Time Management For Unmanageable People. The author explains the situation without making it sound like a problem. The fact is, we're just this way and should focus on using the condition's positive aspects. If creating multiple organizational methods and experimenting with them motivates us, we should do it without feelings of guilt. It is just the way we think and our constant need for new systems.

We spend way too much time with guilt, IMO. It saps our strength and keeps us from getting things done.

My newest system is to write projects on index cards - then choose one random project, complete it, and move on.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thoughts on Starting Over

Not a huge life change - just a new identity on my old Dell computer.

Long story.

Well, over a week ago my eMachines computer caught a wretched virus. You may think that’s no big deal - that I could run my virus checker and have it deleted or quarantined. This one wasn’t so easy. I ran AVG, AdAware, Malwarebytes, and a rootkit killer program. None of those eradicates the virus.

So I found a site online, Bleeping Computer, with a message board where volunteer experts help others with computer virus nightmares. They had a long list of pre-posting requirements, and it took two days to work through them. (Maybe I’m slow, but the learning curve was treacherous.)

So... there I was with my post all ready to run, and I found out there was a l-o-n-g waiting list. In fact, it has been six days now and so far, there’s no volunteer ready to help me. I do expect someone to help within the next twenty-four hours or so. Then there will be more utilities to download and tests to run, but I have confidence this is the way to go because there was another woman there with the same virus who managed to have it eradicated from her laptop computer.

The virus does terrible things:

1. It opens browser tabs and switches you to them, then loads advertising pages you don’t want. They must be immediately closed. Some will resize the browser. Some have popup windows that are hard to keep closing because there are so many. All the popups have to be closed before you can close the offending page. I’ve had to reboot the computer to get rid of these! Occasionally it will open another browser window instead of a tab.

2. When you go to Google or Bing to look for something, if you click on any of the search results it will redirect you to one of their awful advertisements.

3. Apparently it opens a backdoor on the computer that allows access into the computer itself, despite the firewall you may be using. Any banking or personal information must immediately be removed from the computer.

I’m not telling the name of this terrible virus as I don’t want people looking for info on it to find this page.

So, I’ve had to abandon my eMachines computer. My Dell needed new memory cards. I ordered them and they came yesterday. Now this machine runs FAST and happy, and I came back to it, but couldn’t adjust to the identiy I had here so I made a new user identity and am down to the bare newness of it all... so much work to do to install all my comforts: a personal front page that resides on my computer, my work files, other organizational helps like my Firefox Morning Coffee add-on configuration. Plenty of work to do... and I couldn’t manage to get my bookmarks transferred right. Oh well. That’s what I mean by starting over.

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Computer Virus Hell

My main computer caught a virus, and I've been trying for two days to deal with that. I'm still working on it though there's progress for which I'm very thankful.

This started when I discovered a hacker from Russia (!) was using space on my writing site's server for nefarious activities. In the process of dealing with that I looked at one of the files. Big mistake, because it infected my computer.

The worst part of all this is that so much of my time was wasted. I use my computer for what I consider important stuff, so two days focused on virus removal seems excessive. And it isn't over yet.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Locked Out of Facebook

I've been locked out of my Facebook account since August 19. The site states my account has been suspended due to suspicious activity - perhaps phishing. I have no idea what I could have done to deserve this... but that's not the problem.

My problem is that I've emailed them repeatedly and am not getting customer service to correct the problem. You see, there's a way to reactivate my account, but their script isn't working right.

Yesterday I found their mailing address and wrote them a letter via snail mail to explain the problem. I wonder if that will get someone's attention.

At this point I'm thinking that if I ever do get access to my account again, the first thing I'll do is delete it!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Battle for My Veggies

My garden veggies are coming in - but a huge army of snails apparently think they need the tomatoes and cucumbers more than I do! I've had to resort to phosphorus - hardly a happy thing. However, I'm not going to sit idly by and watch all these veggies I've watered every morning since June go to waste.

We've got to learn to produce our own food supply. Watching over this garden has become a way of life.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking For Work

Seriously, I'm looking for work, but I find it a bit frustrating when there aren't many businesses in my small town, and my phone calls go to people living far away in towns I couldn't possibly commute to. If I found a job there, I'd have to relocate, and live in a strange place. So my motivation is shaky. None-the-less I make the phone calls to see who might be hiring, and whether I might want to work for them.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Internet Radio

I just spent the last 70 minutes listening to an internet radio show and honestly, don't believe I've enjoyed it much. It keeps me from being able to write, and I'm reduced to the few activities I can manage without using my brain in productive ways. I really need to recover from time wasting!

Friday, August 13, 2010

The "Take Action" File

I've labeled a file, "Take Action" ... and am sitting here wondering why it is so hard to actually accomplish these little tasks. I think my main problem has been a lack of organization. Maybe the new file will help focus my attention on things that need to be done. I've also got an ongoing to-do list on a spreadsheet that's helping me focus, if only on things that I honestly don't have time to do.

My commitment this year is to focus on one project at a time. First on my list was Literature For Kids - a domain name I've owned for years, that has had several previous incarnations. The most recent is a Drupal CMS. I've moved all my children's-literature specific postings to this domain now. I wanted twenty articles there, but it looks okay with just ten. I think I'll move on to something else now.

Next on my list is 1200 Calorie Vegetarian Diet. Maybe working on this site will inspire me to get back on my diet! It would be a good idea. (sigh) I don't suppose today's zucchini/garlic/onion* sandwich qualified... because I fried the zucchini in olive oil. Perhaps a deli sandwich would have been a better idea. Anyhow, I need to devise about ten suggested vegetarian menus for 1200 calories daily. It couldn't be too hard; in fact, I expect it could be a lot of fun.

* Just a brief brag: the zucchini and garlic came from my vegetable garden! ;) Now if I could just get some tomatoes to turn from green to red so I can eat them! I love onion and tomato sandwiches.

Besides taking action on my site-of-the-moment, I need to promote my Squidoo lenses, and do everything on my guilt list. Sad to say, it is kind of long at the moment, and all those items weigh heavily on my sub-conscious. I really should put that list first!

Okay, all that, plus a "Take Action" file which contains scraps of paper I came across while de-cluttering yesterday. These items should be added to the guilt list.

Oh, I have so much to do!

Friday, February 05, 2010

Funny Life

I haven't written in this blog for four years, but tonight I came by and read some of the posts. I was truly amused.

I'm thinking ... maybe I'll come back here and write now and then. So much has happened since way back then.