Thursday, June 20, 2019

Look at What I Can Do!

I was cleaning up my various email inboxes and came across some Photoshop tutorials that I'd signed up to receive, and of course never looked at because I have no time (sarcasm) to learn anything new. One caught my eye, about being able to use text to reveal an image. I clicked on it, fully expecting jargon I would not understand about functions of Photoshop that don't exist on my ancient version of the program, Photoshop 7. (I have a couple books on how to use Photoshop 7 and can't seem to get through a single chapter without becoming annoyingly confused.)

"HAH!" is what I said when I pressed Ctrl + Alt + G -- and the image you see appeared, with the text revealing the image. I felt like I had just reached into my top hat pulled out a rabbit smoking a cigar. And it was so easy. I made a new file image and filled it with black, put text on a new layer, made another new layer, and pasted the image on it. Then the Ctrl + Alt + G thing ... presto!

The image revealed by the text is of the tomatoes sitting on the counter waiting for someone to eat them. We've had sliced tomatoes, tomato and cucumber sandwiches, salsa, tomato-onion-garlic-basil on pasta, salads with tomato, and we love them all. In fact, I'm going to go pick some more tomatoes right now. Day before yesterday, the total was 21 pounds 5 ounces.

I love tomato season.

Update: After picking the tomatoes, the season harvest so far weighs in at 29 pounds 4 ounces.

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Computer User

There he naps, in his sunbeam.

I got a surprise the other evening when I was fiddling with my computer, and Kermit came by to see what I was doing. Suddenly a new window opened, with an advertisement for cat food.

Kermit had seen the image of the cat in the ad on the sidebar of the site I was perusing, and poked it with his nose.

Touchscreen computer = dog friendly. Good thing I wasn't on Amazon.

Tuesday, April 09, 2019

Yet Another Amenity

A redwood deck in the front yard, nestled among the young podocarpus trees and Swiss chard, seats four comfortably, free wi-fi, pets okay.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Had To Experience It Formyself To Believe It

I'm not a bad housekeeper.

Too true that I'm not good at washing windows, and I don't stress out over dog hair (as long as it isn't in my food or my sheets), but no visitor is going to wind up with food poisoning from a dirty kitchen, or sustain major injuries tripping over stuff left on the floor. But ...

We got the interior of the house painted this past year, and had scrumptious carpeting put down in the bedrooms and hallway, and as a result, I had to delve into closets and corners and clean up enough for work to proceed. More than once I had to say to myself, Good grief, how long has that been in there?

Also in the past year, Bernie found an article on the web that talked about this Japanese woman, Marie Kondo, who specialized in teaching people how to "tidy up." There was a book by her:

 ... and so we ordered it from the library and read it. Most of it, anyway.

The result was that Bernie and I cut the amount of clothing in our closets by more than half. The process was easy -- take every article of clothing out of the closet and pile it on the bed. Then pick up each piece and ask yourself,  Do I love it? Really love it? If yes, then it goes back in the closet. If not, it goes, to trash or donation bag.

A couple days ago, Bernie and I found a Netflix series on the same subject, and since, having cleaned our closets, we felt like experts, we condescendingly decided to watch it.

The 40 minute show took us nearly two hours to watch, as it sparked so much conversation about how we do things and think about our household. Yow.

One of the bits that I hadn't read in the book was about arranging drawers in baths, bedrooms, and kitchens. "Stay out of my drawers" was a statement my mother taught me from childhood. However, watching the TV series, I realized that I had not only underestimated the importance of drawers and organization, I had missed out most of my life a truly lovely and uplifting -- prayer-like -- experience of bringing order and finding joy in it.

I'm not going to show a picture of my lingerie drawer, but it turned out great;  the kitchen drawer that houses dishcloths, dish towels, potholders, and a couple miscellaneous things, and that USED TO BE a veritable rats-nest of tangled fabric and buried kitchen linens now looks like this:

This thing was overflowing when I unloaded it onto the counter. I threw nothing out, but now, orderly, there is room to spare and I can see at a glance what all is in there.

The handling and folding of the individual pieces was the most surprising part of it. In taking time to do so in a certain pattern allowed me to appreciate each towel, respecting its nature and its purpose.

 And oddly enough, I think that the process has made me a better woman.


Tuesday, February 05, 2019

The Wild Tree

My little almond tree on the north side of the house has clusters of beautiful blossoms. Last year it had only two, and they were pretty ratty-looking. This spring, the tree had a better idea of what to do.

Perfectly placed, the tree is not too close to the fence, and Joma can see it from her bedroom window. The scrub jay who planted it did a great job.

Thursday, January 31, 2019

Leftovers: Golumpki Meatballs

So you open the fridge and there is a pound package of hamburger that's a couple days old. Oxidation has begun to make it look less appealing ...

Hmm. There's the leftover rice from two days ago when you made chicken piccata. Half a yellow onion lingers in a storage bag. Out in the garden, the stumps of three harvested cabbages still have big blue leaves living and waiting for someone to love them.

A couple months ago, I watched a food show in which some man threw his meatloaf ingredients into a stand mixer. Why not let the Red Lady Kitchen Aid stand mixer do all the dirty work? Throwing the meat, an egg, and the rice into the mixing bowl, I flipped the switch, and off she went, effortlessly and evenly mixing the ingredients. Why did I never think of this before?

Salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder.

The big blue leaves of the cabbage -- and a few outer leaves from a Napa cabbage in the back yard planting -- got wilted in a frying pan filled with boiling water. Into the Cuisinart food processor those leaves went, with the leftover yellow onion and a couple cloves of garlic left over from a salsa construction the day before. (Shh, I stole about three heaping tablespoons of Bernie's salsa and threw that in with the meat, egg, and rice mixture, too.) Having chopped to hell and back the cabbage leaves, onion, and garlic, I mixed those in with the rest. Go Red Lady, go.

I could have cooked the meatballs in the oven for three hours, but instead I placed them into a pressure cooker, with a can of tomato sauce dumped over them: 8 minutes at 15 pounds pressure. Cool off the burner for five more minutes, then cool the pressure cooker until the lid is safe to open under cool running water.

Then I walked away until later in the evening, when I carefully scooped the meatballs out and put them in storage containers for today's meal. Not only do they taste better the second day, but they're a lot easier to handle when they're cool. When they're hot, they fall apart. All the liquid from the pressure cooker went into a separate container.

That was yesterday. Today, I gently reheated the meatballs in the microwave on a low setting while I made fresh potatoes for mashed potatoes, and heated the reserved juice after adding a tablespoon of corn starch to thicken it just a little. (Flour works, too.)

Oh, yeah. Who'd have thought leftovers and discards could taste so good?

P.S. Don't forget the ketchup drizzled across the meatballs. You just would not believe how good that is.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Not Making This Up

Lillian and her mother came back from the store in gales of laughter. They couldn't even tell me what they were shrieking about -- Lil just called up a photo on her phone and showed me. I looked at it and gasped, "Where is THAT from?" (I figured it was some trash from Tumblr.)

"SaveMart!" Lillian cried, and then dissolved into another fit of giggles.

What on earth could they possibly have been thinking? Wait, don't tell me. I don't want to know.