Thursday, September 23, 2010

And so it begins.

No, I did not spray paint these.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Holding on.

I'm holding on to the last gasps of summer, not ready for it to leave. The calendar and the temperature are saying otherwise, though, so I guess I'll try to be a big girl and deal with it. One of my coping mechanisms will probably be food.

While I probably should have shared this recipe with you weeks ago (you know: when your tomatoes were starting to ripen, rather than when you would be getting ready to yank the plants out), I didn't want to let it slip my mind again until next season.  Besides, one of the beauties of this simple recipe is that the ingredients are available pretty much anywhere at all times of year now, so you can insert a little taste of summer into a dark winter day.

I know of one person who reads this blog that will run, screaming, from this post due to the fact that the recipe calls for fresh tomatoes.  But, if you're like me and you like them, this is a salad you should enjoy. I clipped it out of a random magazine years ago--it was either Prevention or Reader's Digest--and since I get requests for the recipe every time I take it somewhere, I thought it might be nice to share here.

Caprese with a Twist 
(serves 4)
  • 2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1/3 cup sliced green olives
  • 1/3 cup chopped basil
  • 1/2 cup cubed mozzarella (1/3"-1/2" cubes)
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

Slice and chop the first four ingredients.  Add to bowl and toss with the oil, vinegar, salt and pepper.  Let sit for at least 20 minutes so the flavors can blend.
Chopped Caprese Salad.

Even DH, who doesn't like olives, likes this salad.  Go figure.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We interrupt this blog for a little venting.

It's times like these when I wish details didn't matter so much to me.

I started to cut out a bag this morning using this beautiful Amy Butler print from the Midwest Modern collection.  I've always loved this print; it's so vibrant and dramatic, isn't it?

I took great pains to center the motif and ensure it was vertically straight.  But apparently, either I didn't get enough sleep last night or I should've had a fourth cup of coffee this morning, because I forgot to check my horizontal alignment.  It wasn't until I got the piece cut out that I noticed the problem.  Do you see it?

Do you see the top edge?  The design is off by a good half-inch from one side to the other.   Whether that's intentional (God forbid.  Who in their right mind would do that to this particular design, which is so carefully aligned in every other way?!?) or whether it happened during the screening process or at some other point in the production of the material, I don't know.  What I do know is that it bugs me.  A lot.

I get really annoyed when I think about the fact that I pay more for higher quality designer fabrics.  Seems to me part of that should include some quality control.

I can't bring myself to move ahead.  So I'm back to the drawing board--literally--to come up with a more forgiving pattern that won't make the fabric shout "LOOK!  LOOK AT ME!  SEE HOW CROOKED I AM?!"

Wish me luck.  And worry about me a little, because now I seem to be working with talking fabric.


Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Seamstress. Sewist. Sewer. Ugh.

Photo courtesy Museum of American Heritage.

I don't like any of them. 

The names, I mean. 

I know many individuals who sew--myself included--and I like them just fine.  But none of these titles works for me.
  • Seamstress:  Sounds like I should be sitting at a treadle machine--or maybe even with just a needle and thread--with an oil lamp lighting my way.  Very Little House on the Prairie.  Very...crafty.
  • Sewist:  ???  WTH?    Where did this come from?  And does it mean I'm also a knittist?  I don't think so, Tim.
  • Sewer:  Umm...has anyone else noticed?  I can't look at this without pronouncing it "sooo-er".  As in...well, you know.  Ick. 

There has to be a better alternative.  Someone?  Anyone?  Please and thank you.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I've been looking at it for at least three months, telling myself I don't really need one.  And that I should probably wait for the next version to come out.

But, then I tell me that I could do all sorts of cool things with it that would eliminate my having to carry around quickly-outdated hard copies of stuff.  And that I wouldn't have to haul my laptop everywhere.

In the debates between me, myself, and I, it isn't exactly clear which one of us won, but I now have an iPad.  Or, as Apple likes to say, I now have iPad.  What's with that?  Weird. 

Anyway....after little more than a week, here's what I like so far:

I can actually type on this keyboard!

I can buy a data plan when I need it, month-to-month for as little as $15, instead of signing a two-year contract with a $30--or greater--monthly fee.  The rest of the time I can use WiFi.
Most-used apps so far:  Blogshelf and At Bat 2010. lets me haul a game around easily from room to room, complete with gameday audio (because I'm too cheap to subscribe to MLBtv), which is a big deal because we rarely get my teams on TV, and I can't be sitting at the desk all day.


Blogshelf is like iBooks for blogs...a very cool and convenient way to organize and keep up on the ones I follow.  And thanks to the app developer and their "recommended blogs" that default when you open the app, I'm now hooked on The Pioneer have I not been following her up to this point?  I laugh, I cry, I admire her photographic talent, I get hungry...

I can organize my accessory products in albums, instead of a physical book.  Saves photo printing, keeps things current, one less thing to carry.  Very handy.

I can use it in the kitchen to follow my recipes.

Of course, all the basic functions such as e-mail, calendar, web browsing, music, maps and such are terrific, too.  I haven't really begun to dig into all the apps, or opened the floodgates that is iBooks...I'm sure I'll continue to find a million and one more reasons to like this thing.

So, tell me:  Do you have one?  What do you like best about it?  What apps are some of your favorites?

    Sunday, September 12, 2010

    Sometimes, nothing beats snail mail.

    I to get to hug on these two in a few weeks!  You can be jealous.  It's okay; I understand completely.

    Happy Grandparents' Day to all those who are!

    Saturday, September 11, 2010


    Things are quiet here today.  This is the first weekend in a while that we haven't had plans.  So, I'm going to sew a bit, enjoy the sunshine, knit a little, take the dog for a walk, and be thankful that I'm able to.

    Wednesday, September 8, 2010

    Back to School. Or, the Summer That Was Beer.

    It was the first day of school here in Oregon yesterday.  I have no children in school, and I haven't been in school myself in a very. long. time.  Our grandson did just start his first day of pre-school in Alabama, though (where did that time go?!?), so we got a little taste of the old excitement.  Big changes in his world this week!

     Backpack:  check!  Lunch:  check!

    Is it just me, or does something about back-to-school time give you a swift kick in the backside and make you look at where you are and what you want to accomplish?   It always feels like the end of summer--even though technically there are a couple of weeks left.  And the transition to fall always feels like change is in the air; as though big things are about to happen.

    I'm not talking about the weather here; we all know that's going to change, and a lot quicker than I'm ready for!  No, I'm talking about big, life-changing stuff.  Stuff like the fact that four of the five jobs I've had started in the fall...we got married in the fall...we've moved in the fall.  Stuff that you really need to have your act together for.

    And then there's the stuff that's not so life-changing.  It's just more shape-shifting.

    Even though we've been on the go quite a bit, our summer while at home has been fairly laid-back.  Something about living in a resort town can make you feel like you're on perpetual vacation, I guess.  When that resort town has seven micro-breweries, it just makes things worse (or better, depending on your point of view).  You feel like you should taste them all.

    What?  You didn't feel that way?  Oh.

    These past two months, my exercise, diet, and discipline have suffered, and I'm chalking it all up to beer and summer.  It was too easy to play without worrying about it being a school night.   Slingball in the neighbor's back yard with some Boneyard Girl Beer?  You betcha...Dominoes and dice until way past midnight with a little Cascade Lakes Blonde Bombshell?  Great idea!...Bend Elks games with some Deschutes Mirror Pond?  Of course!  Have to grab those games while they're in town, right?  And what's baseball without beer?...A trip to East Lake with some 10 Barrel Apocalypse IPA?  Of course!  Sign me up!...The Bend Brewfest? Can't miss that now that it's back, can we?!

    Do you see what I mean?!?

    Well hello, four pounds.  Thanks for visiting, but I really can't invite you to make yourself at home.  So, don't get comfortable.

    It's time to get my act together.  Back to the school of exercise, diet and discipline.  Then we'll get on to the big life-changing stuff.

    Monday, September 6, 2010

    Pork products and a promise kept.

    For a very long time, DH has wanted to attend the Best in the West Rib Cook-off held each year at the Nugget Hotel in Sparks, Nevada.  He's a huge rib fan--and so am I--so we took off last Thursday and drove what ended up being uncomfortably close to 8 hours to meet up with some family, friends, and pig.  It took no time to realize we weren't the only ones with this great idea...when they claim that about a half-million people attend over the course of the 5-day event, I don't think they're over-estimating.  This is an Event.  With a capital "E".  Not for the faint of heart, or for the vegetarian. 

    We went during the "less busy" times of Friday and Saturday late morning/early afternoon.  Even then, it was a sea of people floating through a gajillion pounds of meat and almost that much BBQ sauce prepared by 24 different rib cookers from all over the country.   Hog Heaven.  If you're ever in Euless, TX, check out North Main BBQ...they won my vote!

    As impressed as I was with some of the ribs we sampled (not a lot of photos of those; my hands were too messy by then...), I was really struck by the elaborateness and sheer size of some of the booths these people haul all over the country (for extra credit, see if you can spot the table-full of trophies...they were at EVERY booth):

     Yes, this is a smoker in the shape of an armadillo.  He's 24 years old.  They're very proud of him.

    My favorite oxymoronic sign of the day?

    Now, for the promised knitting update:  I've done it.  And it didn't even take a week.  Just a day, really, to select the pattern and find some suitable yarn from the stash. 

    Granted, it's just a scarf...but I think it's going to be a pretty pattern that will keep my interest.  Plus, I realized while I was looking at past projects that I've given away each of the previous six scarves I've made.  I might actually keep this one.  It's an 8-row repeat with every other row being mindless purling.  I found the pattern on Ravelry (Naturally. Silly question.).  It's called the Best Friend Scarf in case you're interested.  The yarn is Rowan's Wool Cotton in Riviera. Amazing what a little self-imposed pressure combined with a desire to knit can accomplish!