Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Creative Way to Express Yourself

Feeling picked on by others?

Does your vocabulary need a jumpstart?

Never fear -- you can take advantage of the:

SHAKESPEARE INSULT KIT

3 columns of words from Shakespeare's plays and sonnets -- pick one from each, then combine for your own rude retort. Wasn't that easy?

 My trial run came up with "Thou dankish beef-witted cankerblossom!" But I'm sure you can do better than that. Tease your friends -- stun your enemies!  (And be sure to use it on your bratty little brother...even if he's 60.)

     See what a good education will get you?


 Combine one word from each of the three columns below, 
  prefaced with "Thou":

        Column 1            Column 2                Column 3

        artless             base-court              apple-john
        bawdy               bat-fowling             baggage
        beslubbering        beef-witted             barnacle
        bootless            beetle-headed           bladder
        churlish            boil-brained            boar-pig
        cockered            clapper-clawed          bugbear
        clouted             clay-brained            bum-bailey
        craven              common-kissing          canker-blossom
        currish             crook-pated             clack-dish
        dankish             dismal-dreaming         clotpole
        dissembling         dizzy-eyed              coxcomb
        droning             doghearted              codpiece
        errant              dread-bolted            death-token
        fawning             earth-vexing            dewberry
        fobbing             elf-skinned             flap-dragon
        froward             fat-kidneyed            flax-wench
        frothy              fen-sucked              flirt-gill
        gleeking            flap-mouthed            foot-licker
        goatish             fly-bitten              fustilarian
        gorbellied          folly-fallen            giglet
        impertinent         fool-born               gudgeon
        infectious          full-gorged             haggard
        jarring             guts-griping            harpy
        loggerheaded        half-faced              hedge-pig
        lumpish             hasty-witted            horn-beast
        mammering           hedge-born              hugger-mugger
        mangled             hell-hated              joithead
        mewling             idle-headed             lewdster
        paunchy             ill-breeding            lout
        pribbling           ill-nurtured            maggot-pie
        puking              knotty-pated            malt-worm
        puny                milk-livered            mammet
        qualling            motley-minded           measle
        rank                onion-eyed              minnow
        reeky               plume-plucked           miscreant
        roguish             pottle-deep             moldwarp
        ruttish             pox-marked              mumble-news
        saucy               reeling-ripe            nut-hook
        spleeny             rough-hewn              pigeon-egg
        spongy              rude-growing            pignut
        surly               rump-fed                puttock
        tottering           shard-borne             pumpion
        unmuzzled           sheep-biting            ratsbane
        vain                spur-galled             scut
        venomed             swag-bellied            skainsmate
        villainous          tardy-gaited            strumpet
        warped              tickle-brained          varlot
        wayward             toad-spotted            vassal
        weedy               unchin-snouted          whey-face
        yeasty              weather-bitten          wagtail



(Or go here and see another version, plus links to more 'Shakespeare abuse.')

Learn more about him...not that there's much to learn. 

Shakespeare's funeral monument...with probably the best real-life portrait of him out there. 
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Getting Ready For Colds & Flu

Now that the weather is wavering back and forth between steaming-hot-oh-won't-this-end and brr-I-need-a-sweater-fast, I know what's coming:

The annual bout of flu. 

Mine tends to be accompanied by an earache. Life is interesting, when everything is spinning. Hot water run into the ears during a shower helps. So does a dose of sweet oil, warmed and poured in, then plugged with cotton for a bit. But it's still an issue. (Ironically, the Brick's is always with chest congestion -- his ears are fine.)

I know what to do about the flu, though:

*Hot bath

*Vicks or another menthol rub, applied gently to the chest

*Warm clothes & slippers (and preferably the softest quilt or blanket in the house)

*a good book: I'm planning on reading through Dickens this fall, especially Our Mutual Friend and David Copperfield. (Maybe The Mystery of Edwin Drood, too, if I can get in the mood. Such a downer book...and weird, too.)  
         OR

*The company of Richard Sharpe (the sexy thing)


And this, perfect for congestion or a sore throat:

HOT TODDY

Add to your mug:  
1/3 cup whiskey or bourbon (Jim Beam, if you've got it)
3-4 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons honey

Now fill it with boiling water. Sip. Think cleansing thoughts. 

It's good for just before bedtime, too, if you're restless. A soporific, I believe it's called.



Diary of a Stay At Home Mom recommends another get-well remedy: sliced lemon or lime, plus a few slices of ginger, in a small jar, then filled with honey. The full treatment is here -- she says it's an old Oriental recipe.

When I was working at the office, I'd go out for Chinese food -- the spicier, the better. Those hot peppers are jumping with Vitamin C, and they go right to work. Green chile's great, for the same reason. (Add a handful of cilantro for extra oomph.) Rajas are a sauteed onion and chile mixture for tacos, or alongside a steak. Hey, some people make a plaster out of onions -- this way, you could have your chile, and eat it too!

The Newest Book Giveaway Has Just Been Born!

IN THE NURSERY
by Jennifer Sampou & Carolyn Schmitz   (C&T)

Have any baby or toddler quilts in your near-future? You'll love this easy pattern book of bright, cheerful pieces --more than 30 of them. And they range all over, from quilts and bedding accessories to a lampshade, wooden picket fence headboard...even a painted floorcloth!
    This book will be someone's playpen FREE in the next few weeks. Just take a minute to mention your favorite baby patterns -- that's one entry. Add, in a separate post, whether you subscribe to this blog or 'follow' it -- and that's 3 more!

Giveaway entries end Sept. 6 at midnight. We'll randomly pick a winner, and notify you. P.S. Please be sure to leave your name, or a contact link of some kind. Posting anonymously doesn't give us any way to contact you! At least one would-be winner lost out on a book giveaway because of this already.

Good luck, and happy baby thoughts.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff: It's Good to Be Home

I spent pretty much all week last week either appraising, or driving. First up was the Peaks & Pines Quilt Guild in Granby, CO. (Hi, dears!) Then it was on to the Cheyenne Heritage Quilter's annual show, where I appraised for three days. (Hey there, Bea and company...)
    I enjoyed both, but appraising, especially that much, really guts it out of you. Got home late Saturday night; I slept in today, made cinnamon rolls, watched the Broncos (who lost - but not by much) read the paper and picked beans. Even cleaned the chicken coop out, without too much griping!
    So while I'm picking up the reins again, here are things I found for you via the Internet:

How to blow through $100,000...before you're even 21.  (I Heart Budget did this, poor guy.)

The downfall of Zeek Rewards.  Hopefully you've had no contact with this MLM scheme. Unfortunately, several cousins did -- and they paid for it, too. Yet another struggle with "If it sounds too good to be true...it is."

Phyllis Diller died, at age 95. It's hard to believe that this feisty girl with the mod clothes is gone...

Phyllis arrives for one of Bob Hope's overseas entertainment shows at Korat Air Base, Thailand. From Wikipedia.

6 cheap tips to help perk up your kitchen, from Money Beagle. (Who knew ice cubes could do so much good?)

Neil Armstrong also died, aged 82. Armstrong was an incredibly classy man, a quiet person who didn't boast about his accomplishments.
   
Although he had been a Navy fighter pilot, a test pilot for NASA's forerunner and an astronaut, Armstrong never allowed himself to be caught up in the celebrity and glamour of the space program.
"I am, and ever will be, a white socks, pocket protector, nerdy engineer," he said in February 2000 in one of his rare public appearances. "And I take a substantial amount of pride in the accomplishments of my profession."
    (I said something to the Brick, also an engineer type, about a colleague dying...and read him Armstrong's quote. 'Sounds just like you,' I said. He was shocked: "But I don't wear white socks all the time!")



And finally:
Zombie debt and the Supreme Court, from Liz Weston. I dare you to read this, and not think about the AMC series, The Walking Dead.


and now, since it's past 2 a.m., I'll go to bed... oh, one more thing. Lynaeve, you've won our latest book giveaway! We'll start the next one up in a day or so. 

Have a great week.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Keeping Going - Timewise, Snackwise

Joe at Retireby40 is going through late-night munchies cravings.

He's trying to stay up late to get his blogging chores done. (Little Joe is not exactly reasonable about letting his dad work during the day....the words "crazy little monkey" apply.)

On the other hand, Big Joe's been scarfing down junk food to stay awake -- and it's not doing his triglycerides level any good.
    What can he do to get through the "perils of midnight blogging?"

I can relate.

This problem occurs at home -- but it's worse when I'm on the road. There's lots of stuff to do on the computer, but I've already put in a full day (often more than full) teaching, appraising, judging...or all three.
   This trip, it's appraising -- lots of it. I get done about 5 p.m. (wow, early) -- but by the time I have supper with my hostess and spend time with her, it's already 8 or 9 p.m.

The solution so far has been to take a short nap -- then have something to drink, or a light snack to wake up. Fruit (especially peaches or grapes), or a plate of cucumbers.
   Or the leftover sandwich from lunch. I've got a handful of protein bars stashed away in the laptop bag, as well. They do the trick -- I can stay awake long enough to get the necessary work done.

Hot tea kept me going (and nearly ruined my laptop) before I left...I'll go back to that when I get home. Plus popcorn or a handful of pretzel chips. (Charley the dog likes those too and will keep me company, hoping for a handout.)

Joe's friends recommend carrot sticks, popcorn, Jell-o pudding snacks and sugar free jello, among other things. Plus cookies and good old milk.

Or another option -- give up, go to bed and get up early, instead.
Which is what I'm going to do tonight. Last night's sleep was longer than usual, but I helped out with the Wild Wild West guys nearly all night. (Too much watching those tv reruns before I left.)
     Hopefully James West and Artemus Gordon can fight their own villains again.





One more day of appraising -- then I'm on the road home to the Brick, a footrub and a nice soft bed.

Appraising, We Will Go...

I'm working at the Cheyenne Heritage Quilters' annual show this week. If you're in the vicinity of the 1st Methodist Church in Cheyenne (not far from the Capital building), come on down! They've got vendors, demos...and of course, row after row after ROW of beautiful quilts.

You'll enjoy it.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

George Washington - and Politics - In Cloth

What is it about George Washington cotton artifacts? They're surfacing on Ebay like crazy right now. (One guess: they've skyrocketed in value the past few years, and their owners are looking to cash in.)

At $3500, this pair (early 1800s) is actually a very good buy:

Go here to find out more, and bid.

This mourning piece is a real winner, too, but you'll pay more for this one -- almost a cool $10,000! (Okay, you'll save ten bucks on that.)


Go here for more, and to bid. 

This one, "The Tears of America," is even more -- almost $15,000. Both are mourning handkerchiefs, by the way -- a popular way to show your grief at the loss of your country's leader. Mourning ribbons and pins were also popular, and show up more often. This is changing, though...our last president to die, Jerry Ford, had only a mourning pin, as near as I can tell.

Go here for more, and to bid. 

And fabric yardage, c.1783, of George being crowned with a laurel wreath:

 Go here for more, and to bid.

These textiles are so very rare that it's a pleasure to have photos to view them up close. If you're wondering, "Gee, did the other presidents also have handkerchiefs and such to honor them?" Yes, yes, they did! Even President Obama has a number of cotton fabric prints. This one's my favorite:

(It's here, if you'd like to take a closer look, and buy a piece.)

Textiles like these are literally pieces of our history, captured in cloth for future generations to admire and ponder. Have you thought about adding a political or social-event fabric to your next project?

Monday, August 20, 2012

George & Martha Washington Portraits Resurface

...and they're beautiful.






One of only five Washington portraits to be done 'porthole' style. (Martha's the quilter, remember?)


They've been donated to the Columbus Museum, where these photos came from. They were found still in shipping crates from a NY gallery!

    Find out more in the full report here.

Monday Stuff on the way to Other Stuff

This week started better than last, thankfully. I'm even typing on the laptop (poor baby) that had all the trouble. Cooler temps here have made it far more relaxing, though we are still wayyy overcast with smoke from the fires out West. (Some in Idaho aren't projected to clear up until snow flies. Think of it!) Having gone through it for a good many weeks in Colorado, I really feel for my fellow Westerners. It wears you down after a while. 
     The garden is going great guns -- out front, that is. The chickies managed to worm their way past the fence, and nibbled my green beans down to nothing out back. They love the leaves and blossoms -- but are indifferent to the beans, if they manage to form. (Go figure.) Ergh. 
    So life goes on.
    I'll be on the road a lot this week -- appraising Wednesday in Granby, CO for the Peaks & Pines Quilt Guild, and the rest of the week at the Cheyenne Quilt Guild's annual show. (Wyoming, of course -- see dates here.) A couple of talks for Cheyenne, as well, on what judges look for in prizewinners. Stop by and say hi! 
    Meanwhile:

Yours truly's full report on what to do when your electronics go wrong. From my staff post on Joe's Midlife Finance site. A fairly-full report on what the Brick did with the computer is here. 

The significance of a red front door on your house. And it's more than one meaning. I'm guessing you'll be surprised, too! Thanks, Stacy Makes Cents.

Lessons learned from Octomom. Another yours truly post, this one on the other site I write for -- Penny Thots. (I learned quite a bit from Celebrity Money Mishaps, too.)


Don't have a smartphone? You won't be able to access info at some museums...get used to the idea. (Thanks so much, Find Me Frugal[er].)

Life Lessons from an Editor, a Sharp Shooter and Some Nuns. (From Fox Business.) Aren't you just a bit curious, with a title like that?

And a link to the full archive of Simple Dollar posts. I've learned a lot from this guy over the years. He was never shy about being honest with his own financial struggles, either, like this early post: I'm in Big Financial Trouble - Where Do I Start?' 
   His 'Reader's Mailbag' on Mondays and Thursdays also inspired my 'Monday Stuff' columns. Thanks, Trent, for all you do.

We went to a Rockies vs Marlins game yesterday. The Rocks won, but both teams made enough chuckleheaded mistakes that I started to wonder if we were really watching professional baseball. My favorite was watching four Marlin guys (pitcher, shortstop, second and third base, I think) run in circles, trying to catch a ball -- which dropped smack in the middle of the confused group. Better than the Three Stooges.


It was Faith Day at Coors Field, and Third Day, a Southern Christian rock band, was the headliner. They sang this one, among others. Good stuff.


Don't forget about the latest book giveaway -- you've still got this week to enter! Hope it goes well for you.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Thank God It's Friday

This is pretty much how my week has gone...



but things are looking up.

 The Brick got the computer working.  (Yay!!! I'm lucky to be married to such a smart guy!!!)

It's definitely cooler. Lucky for that -- I felt like body parts were going to start melting off.

The deadlines are slowly but surely going under. Whoo hoo! They're not completely done yet -- something I'd hoped for by today. But they're getting much closer.

And I've seen the entire last season of Frazier, plus nearly all of Wild Wild West's second season, while I've been working on the quilt restoration. (The Brick's heard the WWW theme song so often, he can actually 'cluck' it.) Hey, only intellectual stuff for this egghead.

According to the trivia section, Robert Conrad did a lot of his own stunts -- and split his pants a lot, as a result. You can see why, watching the show...but they're surprisingly good, for being nearly 50 years old.
    I had a huge crush on ol' Robert when I was a kid...and wangled away Little Brother's Wild Wild West lunchbox as a sentimental souvenir. What a guy.

Hope you're headed for a restful weekend. I'm not -- have a barbecue tonight, and tea with a friend/Rockies baseball game. (Not that they're doing that great.) Plus finishing more deadlines. Hopefully Monday will be much more serene.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hot, With A Touch of Fall

How can it be 90 or so degrees outside...and yet have a sense that things are changing?

Maybe it's the cloudy skies. (Not rain, darn it -- we're getting smoke from all the Western wildfires again.) Or the garden, producing like crazy. Like it knows something's coming.
     That delicious wash of sweet air that flows over your face in the early morning. Or the huge practically bombproof chicken coop we just set up for the chickies. It will keep them warm and snug this winter. (They're very suspicious of the thing -- we literally had to chase them around last night and stuff each chicken individually into the door before the others oozed out.)

I love Fall. It's just a surprise that it's coming so soon.

The computer situation is better. At least calmer. All I can say is --

*Don't eat or drink anything within spitting distance of the keyboard! You may have gone decades without a problem, but sooner or later, you will regret it regret it regret it.

*If you do spill something on it, take action quickly. There are lots of places for advice; this article on EHow is one of the best.   This article is terrific, too. (And very calming.) This one's good, . I've got one coming as well, based on my own (and the Brick's) experience. Why not read the articles now...or watch this video.


*And finally, keep a backup. I wasn't talking about a second computer (though laptop #2 was a big help for us). You need a backup system that saves your files (automatically, if possible) and keeps them accessible even if your laptop crashes.
    This is critical for my writing and appraisals, and it sure comes in handy in Bad Situations. The only problem: it's a new system, the Brick is still finishing setting it up, and I have to remember to save save save. Now there's new incentive to do just that!

In the meantime, yellow leaves are beginning to show up, like the dots and dashes on a developing Impressionist painting. The air cools. (Thank God) You get your work done as best as you can, and forgive yourself for not being perfect.
    And life goes on.


Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Stuff on the Way to Other Stuff

It is Monday, isn't it? 
This morning, at 1:30 a.m., I managed to drip hot tea on the keyboard. It wasn't much, but you can guess what happened -- everything went blank and the computer immediately shut down. Thankfully, I was able to reconstruct the appraisal report I'd been working on. (There have been a lot of those lately, unusual for summertime.) But we'd just loaded a huge batch of photos -- and deleted them off the camera. And what about the other reports I'd been working on?
     I mentioned it to the Brick after he got up this morning, figuring that all was lost. He spent the entire morning working on it -- carefully blow-drying each part, and using a thin-tipped brush and tweezers to dry and clean out each area. I still can hardly believe it -- not only did he retrieve all of the data on the hard drive, but he thinks the laptop will be ok. That is, after he can call Google and get the password. (Google apparently assumed that since he pulled the motherboard and fooled around in there, he was trying to steal information. So it won't let him boot everything up.)
     Thank God for grace after you do something stupid. Thank God also for a clever, patient husband who just doesn't take no for an answer. This isn't the first mess he's gotten me out of, computer-wise. But as he pointed out, we're a team. We tackle things together. 
     I am a lucky woman.
    So while I'm kicking myself from one county to the next, you might enjoy sipping from here and there on the Internet. (Don't drink anything else while you're on your computer!!)

Len Penzo's annual 'State of the Sandwich' survey...wherein he analyzes the cost of 10 popular sandwiches. (Warning: the news ain't good this year.) His post on ingratitude at the Olympics is also interesting, though I'm not sure it happened for the reasons he gave. (You'll have to read the post to see what 'it' is.) Maybe nobody had the bucks...

Whether loyalty counts for anything in today's job market...according to One Frugal Girl. (I saw similar happenings when I was laid off from Leman Publications years ago, courtesy of the hatchet man from Rodale. And I wasn't the only one laid off, either -- a good share of editorial got the ax that day, with the same grace and delicacy OFG experienced.)

Why the American Dream became a nightmare. Another finalist in the PF Olympics, this one from Randy Mitchelson of Dailydollarnewsletter.com . Good, thoughtful stuff. 

One of the weirder memory pieces I've ever seen -- necklaces made from your kids' teeth. (Go here for more.)  The girlies would have my head if I suggested this. (Confession: I do have a few of their baby teeth, as well as some elk teeth the Brick gave me, in my jewelry box. Couldn't help it--but I don't WEAR them!)


Need an inspirational pick-me-up? Try this amazing rendition of Beethoven's Piano Concerto, Movement #3, courtesy of Itzhak Perlman and the Berliner Philharmoniker:


(Perlman's fast bow and finger work about the 8 minute mark is awe-inspiring)

A practical look at what being a 'stay-at-home-dad' really means. This one's from Joe at Retire by 40. (He's also my boss; I write for him now at MidlifeFinance.com .

How this blogger healed her son's skin infection -- without antibiotics. (She doesn't trust them.) Looks a bit messy, but hey, if it worked... and I'm all for saving $$ by not having to go to the doctor in the first place!

"I just want to have fun" -- one of the worst excuses for not saving, via Financial Samurai.

And from Penny Thots, my fruity tribute: Peaches....Ahhhh. 

When your parents die broke -- what to do. Sage advice from Liz Weston. Thankfully, we haven't gone through this -- my Hollander father would have been heartbroken to put his kids through this. And because he saved and scrimped and wore the same workclothes over and over, he didn't have to.

Hopefully the rest of the week will go better than the start has. For you, too...

Sunday, August 12, 2012

New Giveaway: Surprising Designs from Traditional Quilt Blocks

The new giveaway is out!

SURPRISING DESIGNS
    FROM 
         TRADITIONAL QUILT BLOCKS
     by Carole M. Fure  (That Patchwork Place)


Take a block -- color it one way. Now add a second, a third and a fourth. And every one of the quilts made from these four designs will look different from the others!
     That's the charm of this unusual workbook/pattern book. It gives you a different perspective on some traditional designs...and your work will benefit from it.

     This book is out of print, and hard to find. We only have one copy left in inventory -- and we're giving it away, FREE. Just take a moment to comment on your favorite quilt block design...or tell us what you're working on right now.
     'Follow' this blog, or subscribe via e-mail, and mention that in another comment, for a bonus three entries, as well.

    Giveaway ends Sunday, Aug. 26 at midnight MST. Good luck!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Once I lived in Austria...

with my cousins Tim and Joan, who were missionaries there, first in Vienna, then Villach.

It was only for a summer, during college, but it changed this little Michigan farm girl's life. I even bought a dirndl!

This was taken by their house in Villach. (They're missionaries to Galway, Ireland now.)

 Happy Anniversary, Tim and Joanie!


Thursday, August 9, 2012

There's A New Crazy At the Brick House...

...and it's a quilt!  Look at this beauty:


The real gems, though, are in its details.

    A nice crisp Benjamin Harrison campaign ribbon:

If you'll remember, Harrison was our 23th president, making this ribbon (and most probably the quilt)  c.1889. It's easy to mix him up with his grandpa, William Henry Harrison, our ninth president, who died in 1841.

Lovely apple blossoms (innocence, if you know your Language of Flowers):


Another nice floral detail:


 Polished cotton backing. Yes, this is machine-quilted. I've seen it before on Crazies from the Victorian period; it must have been popular back then.




Ooh, ooh, ooh. Won't my students enjoy this one! 

If you'd like to learn more about Crazy quilts, try my book CRAZY QUILTS. You'll find it on Amazon and the Brickworks website. Warning: it's addictive. You might end up as crazy as me!



For the Birds


Aren't these wonderful little statues? Two toddlers, each trying to grab a partridge; notice the inlaid eyes on one. Hair in curled topknots. All bronze; even their eyelashes are trimmed bronze. About 20 inches high.

    'Bookends' keeps coming to mind. (I know. Shame on me)

If they were, they'd be some of the most expensive ever. Pre-auction estimate is...

     THREE TO FIVE MILLION DOLLARS.

You see, these are Roman bronzes, first century B.C. - c.100 A.D. They're currently in private hands, but were originally acquired from "renowned Swiss collector Giovanni Züst in the 1960s, whose collection formed the nucleus of Basel’s famed Antikensammlung." (Where he got them from is unclear.)


If you want them for your collection, they're being auctioned off at Christie's Dec. 5. “'Christie’s is truly privileged to offer these bronzes as a highlight of the December Antiquities sale,'” comments G. Max Bernheimer, International Head of the Antiquities department. 'Not only are they remarkable for having survived the centuries in superb condition, but the high quality of the workmanship makes them all the more exceptional.'”

     Start saving your pennies.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cool-And-Crunchy Salads

Opened the door this morning to let the dogs out, and realized -- the hanging baskets are all wilted.

So are the planters. It's really hot around here lately.

I don't feel too much like cooking, although now that the peaches are in, I'll whip out a dish now and then. And peach smoothies are wonderful! 

Time for a good, crisp salad. Sure, you can chop up the greens (or pull them apart, please - knives can cause marks), throw on some carrots and a boiled egg or two.

Or you can open a can of tuna, and make this French classic. This version's from Simply Recipes -- yum.  No fresh herbs or shallots? Dried ones will do this time, and chopped onion, instead. Skip the capers and anchovies, too, if they freak you out. The salad will still be delicious.

SALADE NICOISE    (fine -- Nicoise Salad, for you red-white-and-blue types out there)

Vinaigrette
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium shallot, minced
  • 1 Tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 Tbsp minced fresh basil leaves
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • Salad
      • 2 grilled or otherwise cooked tuna steaks* (8 oz each) or 2-3 cans of tuna
      • 6 hard boiled eggs, peeled and either halved or quartered
      • 10 small new red potatoes (each about 2 inches in diameter, about 1 1/4 pounds total), each potato scrubbed and quartered
      • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
      • 2 medium heads Boston lettuce or butter lettuce, leaves washed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
      • 3 small ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into eighths
      • 1 small red onion, sliced very thin
      • 8 ounces green beans, stem ends trimmed and each bean halved crosswise
      • 1/4 cup niçoise olives
      • 2 Tbsp capers, rinsed and/or several anchovies (optional)

Directions

*Marinate tuna steaks in a little olive oil for an hour. Heat a large skillet on medium high heat, or place on a hot grill. Cook the steaks 2 to 3 minutes on each side until cooked through.
1 Whisk lemon juice, oil, shallot, thyme, basil, oregano, and mustard in medium bowl; season to taste with salt and pepper and set aside.
2 Bring potatoes and 4 quarts cold water to boil in a large pot. Add 1 tablespoon salt and cook until potatoes are tender, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer potatoes to a medium bowl with a slotted spoon (do not discard boiling water). Toss warm potatoes with 1/4 cup vinaigrette; set aside.
3 While potatoes are cooking, toss lettuce with 1/4 cup vinaigrette in large bowl until coated. Arrange bed of lettuce on a serving platter (I used two serving platters, shown in the photos). Cut tuna into 1/2-inch thick slices, coat with vinaigrette. Mound tuna in center of lettuce. Toss tomatoes, red onion, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste in bowl; arrange tomato-onion mixture on the lettuce bed. Arrange reserved potatoes in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
4 Return water to boil; add 1 tablespoon salt and green beans. Cook until tender but crisp, 3 to 5 minutes. Drain beans, transfer to reserved ice water, and let stand until just cool, about 30 seconds; dry beans well. Toss beans, 3 tablespoons vinaigrette, and salt and pepper to taste; arrange in a mound at edge of lettuce bed.
5 Arrange hard boiled eggs, olives, and anchovies (if using) in mounds on the lettuce bed. Drizzle eggs with remaining 2 tablespoons dressing, sprinkle entire salad with capers (if using), and serve immediately. Serves 6.


Here's another international salad, Mani Scalco, an Italian dish that translates out as "blacksmith's salad." Hey, with that job, they get hot, hungry and tired. Serve your local workman this crunchy mix of celery, mushrooms and parmesan cheese, along with a frosty glass of iced tea. They'll perk up in no time.

MANI SCALCO    (recipe courtesy of Parmesan.com-- find it here.)

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced shallot
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 pound fresh white mushrooms, cleaned
  • 6 ounces celery hearts
  • 2 teaspoons chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh mint, chopped
  • 4 ounces Parmigiano Reggiano wedge
  • 1 head romaine lettuce

Directions 

Prep Time - 30 min
1. Whisk together lemon juice, salt and mustard, until salt dissolves. Add oil in a very thin stream, whisking constantly. Stir in shallots and ground pepper.
2. Thinly slice mushrooms through the cap and stem and the celery on an angle. Combine mushrooms, celery, parsley and mint in a large bowl.
3. With a vegetable peeler, sliver ½ of the Parmigiano Reggiano over the top. (Can be made ahead to this point and chilled.)
4. Just before serving, place lettuce leaves on 6 plates. Toss salad with dressing and mound on each plate. Sliver remaining Parmigiano Reggiano over each plate before serving. Serves 6.

For supper tonight, I'm thinking about a recipe that showed up in Ellie Krieger's column, 'Cook Smart,' in USA Weekend. It's simple, yet sounds tasty. (See the full recipe here - plus more info on Ellie's cookbooks.)

SHRIMP, SNOW PEA AND RADISH SALAD WITH SESAME DRESSING


• 1¼ pound medium shrimp, shelled and deveined
• 4 cups snow peas (12 ounces)
• 6 radishes, thinly sliced into half moons (4 ounces)
• 4 scallions, thinly sliced
• 1/3 cup rice vinegar
• 1 Tb. canola oil
• 1 Tb. toasted sesame oil
• 1 Tb. grated fresh ginger
• ½ tsp. salt
• 2 Tbs. toasted sesame seeds
Bring a large saucepan of water, fitted with a steamer basket, to a boil. Put the snow peas into the steamer basket, cover and cook for 2 minutes. Transfer the snow peas into a bowl of ice water briefly to cool. Drain and pat dry.
Add the shrimp directly into the pot of boiling water. Return the water to a boil, cook the shrimp for 2 minutes, then drain. Plunge the shrimp into a bowl of ice water until cool, then drain and pat dry.
Slice each shrimp in half lengthwise to form 2 thin rounds. Cut the snow peas on a diagonal into ½-inch diamond shapes, discarding the end piece. In a large bowl, toss together the shrimp, snow peas, radishes and scallions.
In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, canola oil, sesame oil, ginger and salt.
Right before serving, pour the dressing over the salad, and toss to coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and toss until they are evenly distributed. Serves 4.

Salads are cool, healthy, and a great choice for a picnic, too.


Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Olympians Who Overcame the Odds

...and we think we've got it hard!

Check out this amazing slideshow, courtesy of MSN, including people like Jesse Owens:


Wilma Rudolph:



and Shun Fujimoto:


Wow...

Monday, August 6, 2012

Monday Stuff On the Way to Other Stuff

 Joyce Gates, I'm happy to say you've won the America's Glorious Quilts book! Once you send us your snail mail address, then we'll get it shipped your way. Congratulations!
   We'll be posting the next book giveaway very shortly...so come on back soon to check. 


I'm headed to Golden and the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum today, to help out with a kids quilting class. Lots of little rug rats flowing around my ankles, grabbing and asking questions -- just the idea of it feels like chickens!
     Our chickies, by the way, are looking and sounding more like hens every way. They even do the "buck bacaw" sound when they get excited. Only a few issues: they like beans and squash in the garden. (And I found out almost too late. The stinkers.) They enjoy pecking at shiny things -- like buttons and toenails. Startling, which means you drop the tin of hen scratch all over if you're not prepared for it. And finally, they're still not laying eggs yet. Go, chickies, go!

While I'm dealing with chicks of the human kind, here are a few things out there in Internet-Land:

Five homes made out of shipping containers. There are hints here and there, but other than the general shape, you'd be hard-put to guess it!

How to make a lovely hand-dyed dress...courtesy of Ami Simms, my friend and colleague. 

In honor of the Olympics...
The 100 Worst Sports Athletes in History. (mostly American history.)


Who's going to be president, come January? BuyCostumes.com's poll has been accurate since 2000 -- and it's all based on how many paper masks they sell.  (The company figures that if you're willing to cough up some cash to wear a paper version of your favorite candidate, it shows your loyalty.) I'd tell you who the current frontrunner is...but then again, you wouldn't take a look for yourself...

One of John Hartford's best -- perfect if you're planning on spending any time on the water this summer:



Yours truly has posts up on two other sites: Penny Thots, where I hang out periodically, and Midlife Finance, a new site I've just started writing for. Enjoy!

Penny Thots has The Best Things in Life Are Free: Or Maybe Not!
   as well as Chickens: Are They For You?

Midlife Finance has  What Do You Really Want?



If you're still debating what to think about all the Chick-Fil-A fuss, I'd recommend going to the source. (The link's here.) Read what Mr. Cathy said. Many of the people who are getting most upset are responding to what the media said about his words -- not what he actually said, not what his restaurant chain's credo is, word-for-word.
     We do still live in a country where we are allowed to hold varying opinions, thank God.

And have a peaceful week.





Saturday, August 4, 2012

Don't Forget...

to cast your comment in the America's Glorious Quilts whirlpool! You've got one more day; we'll shut down comments Sunday night at midnight. Being a 'follower,' or subscribing via e-mail gets you 3 more votes. (Be sure to mention it in a separate comment.) Go here to get things started.

We'll choose one of the comments randomly after that...and send this wonderful book their way. FREE!


Not much to say around here...some weeding (and now that the chickens have discovered the green beans, trying to keep them out of it). Lots of appraising work. Making slow progress on getting things stacked away before the fall rush starts.
      Hopefully your weekend is going peacefully.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Making Progress...I Guess

Why is it that the week after you've gone on vacation, everything seems to be in slow motion?

It's been beautiful here -- hot, but not the blazing, sticky, lay-down-and-die weather we had in July. In fact, it was the hottest on record -- even beating out the previous high month, set in 1934. (Yup, the Depression.) Charley the dog has been scratching himself raw, trying to get away from all that fur. Here's hoping that the break in temps will help him some.

I wasn't the only one who noticed the groundswell of support for Chick-Fil-A yesterday. (Not to mention free speech.) The newest suggestion for a 'boycott:' same-sex couples are supposed to meet in front of their local Chick-Fil-A restaurant on Friday...and kiss!

The green beans are producing now. I got them partially weeded before the heat drove me inside. Also the weird feeling of being watched by beady eyes. (The chickies are free-ranging now. They don't seem to like bean plants, but decimated our once-healthy squash bed, the little stinkers.) Unfortunately, an afternoon hailstorm paid me back for my diligence by smashing the bean plants down. (Again.) Apparently the weeds were supporting them some. Ah well. They're still alive, though battered.

Thanks to our Palisade stop, there are approx. 20 packages of peaches in the freezer...and we've been up to our hips in fresh peach smoothies all week. (Oh, the sacrifice!) By far, the best ones we got came from Anita's Pantry and Produce. Go to their Facebook page for more -- or just stop by their stand at 625 37 1/4 Road in Palisade. (Or call 970-985-2282, or e-mail anitas-pantry@hotmail.com.)
     We stopped twice. Even though we didn't spend a cent at first, Anita spent some time explaining types, and cut up a couple of peaches for Husband to try. (An older lady -- her mom, maybe? -- was very friendly, too.) Our second visit came because not only were Anita's prices competitive, but her peaches were in outstanding condition -- fresh, but with few bumps, spots or bruises. (Try keeping peaches for long, and you'll see how remarkable that is for a dealer.) Even after we'd made our purchase (a bushel of Glow Havens), Anita quietly had the older lady fill a paper sack of "ripes," so we had a snack for the drive home.
    She said she would be doing her usual fundraiser at Bear Valley High School this fall...so you don't even have to go to the Western Slope. (They ship too, by the way.) Funny -- we'd bought peaches before through Bear Valley, and thought them very good. We just didn't know we were going to meet their producer!
    I don't usually do commercials -- and I'm not getting a cent for mentioning this,. If you're looking for fresh peaches right now, Anita's Pantry and Produce is the place to go to. (Tell her Cindy and Dave from Castle Rock said hi.)

     The Mama and Grandma used to spend hours in a steamy kitchen, canning peaches. I canned right along with them for years, but freeze peaches now. It's incredibly easy:
     1) Wash the peaches
     2) Put them in a zip-lock bag; seal.
     3) Bung in the freezer.

That's it! You can get fancy, and take the pit out before you throw them in the bag...or peel (easiest way: soak in a pot of boiling water for about a minute) and chop them, ready for peach crisp or pie. (Use while they're still half-frozen, for less mushy results.)
     Either way, they're perfect for a:

FRESH PEACH SMOOTHIE

2 peaches, halved and pits removed (or straight from the freezer)
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
1/3 cup sugar

Blend until the ice and peaches are pulverized, and the mixture is thick. Makes a blenderful; about 2-4 large glasses full.

Call when you make a pitcher of this, wouldja? We'll be right over!



Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Chick-Fil-A...And the Recent Fuss

In case you live out in the boondocks and haven't heard about it, Chick-Fil-A's president recently made some comments about family and his beliefs in an article for Baptist Press. (Granted, you would have to live wayyyy out there, not to hear media screaming about it.)
   Here's exactly what he said:

Company president Dan Cathy told a Baptist website the Atlanta-based restaurant chain is "guilty as charged" in its support of traditional marriage.
"We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit," Cathy said in article published Monday by the Baptist Press. "We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

Ooh, that's awful. Shame on him, advocating for the family and thanking God like that!

From the same article...
Chick-fil-A spokesman Don Perry emailed a prepared statement to the AJC Wednesday evening.
"The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect -- regardless of belief, creed and sexual orientation," the statement said. "We will continue this tradition in the over 1,600 restaurants run by independent Owner/Operators. Going forward, our intent is to leave the policy debate over same-sex marriage to the government and political arena."
In his own words, Perry said, "There is no change of course in our previously stated Chick-fil-A position."

Cathy expressed his opinion. In fact, he also said, "We know that it might not be popular with everyone, but thank the Lord, we live in a country where we can share our values and operate on biblical principles,"

Sadly, I have heard more venom, bigotry and name-calling used against this man than he ever said in person. Did he advocate getting rid of all gay people? Did he say they would never employ people whose lifestyles he didn't agree with? Nope. What he did was express his opinion -- and got jumped on all over for it.


The backlash may not be what you would think. Instead of boycotting Chick-Fil-A, customers have been visiting it in droves today to express their support. "Chick-Fil-A Appreciation Day," they call it, after a movement started by Mike Huckabee. ("Daniel Jordan of Atlanta, for example, said that while he doesn't agree with Cathy's marriage view, he came out specifically to support Chick-fil-A because he's equally opposed to shutting down a company because of the views of one of its leaders.") 
     Husband stopped by our local Chick-Fil-A today, and had a heck of a time getting two salads to go -- because the lines were so long. At 2 p.m.!

Cities have been backpedaling, too. Although some of their mayors have sent nastygrams, they're not actually acting on their words. Philadelphia is a prime case in point. After threatening to block Chick-Fil-A's recent applications for new stores, they got hit with such a backlash of complaints (thanks in great part to potential jobs lost) that they quickly backed down, though muttering all the way. Now they're "considering" a resolution condemning the chain -- though they're happy to take Chick-Fil-A's money while they're thinking about it..
   They're not the only ones, either. The modus operandi seems to be 'make a big public fuss -- and quietly approve the applications.' That way, you look noble to one faction of your constituents, and you get to use the tax income a new business brings in, as well.

     Doesn't that seem more two-faced than Cathy's actions?

     The issue has been blown way out of proportion. As been grudgingly admitted, Chick-Fil-A is not advocating barring a gay lifestyle. Nor do they refuse to hire -- or serve -- gay people. (And if you've never visited one, not only is their food really tasty -- but I have to pinch myself not to grin when I'm treated so politely at the front counter. Obviously good training.)
     Does this refusal to condemn Chick-Fil-A mean I hate gay people? That would be difficult to argue, since I've had several friends (and admired colleagues) who were gay. A much-loved cousin is gay, and other family members who we cherish have made similar choices.

     What I do hate is seeing someone pilloried and bullied for his politely-expressed personal opinion. You have a choice here; that's why we live in America. You can choose not to eat at Chick-Fil-A. I'm just not sure, though, how it helps the cause.


Getting Through Life (And This Week)

In a few days, it will be better. Really.