Share Your World #19

Oh boy, I’ve been missing the boat on this challenge lately and suddenly I realized if I didn’t get this one up today I’ll be facing another new challenge tomorrow.  So I’m scrambling:

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?

I love a one story house.  Partly laziness and partly I have a knee problem and stairs are the one thing that really sets off the pain.

If you have a TV, would you prefer the TV in the living room or another room?

I’m a big TV watcher.  Or more big on having a TV on — usually I’m doing stuff on the computer and more half-listening than watching.  But I like more than one.  So I’d say living room and family room (which is what we have) and if I had a place big enough to also have a den there’d be one there too.

When you leave a room, do you turn the lights off behind you or keep the lights on throughout your house most of the time? Explain your answer.

We tend to keep the lights in the main part of the house on since we move around quite a bit in that area but in the extended parts of the house, they’re generally off unless one of us is actually in that area.

What’s your favorite room in your home?

Probably my bedroom.  I live with my mother, who’s a hoarder.   My bedroom is the one room that’s entirely mine and therefore not piled with stuff.  To be honest, I contribute to the mess elsewhere because I don’t have anywhere to put things…

The bedroom is also where I meditate and sing chants so between sleep and meditation, the energy in the room is calm and nice.

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I’m grateful that my 89-year-old mother’s toe removal surgery went smoothly and she’s doing amazingly well.  And looking forward to another cranio-sacral appointment this week.

For Share Your World

WordPress’s not improved posting experience


Ever since WP unveiled the “improved” new posting experience some months ago I have tried it periodically and found it frustrating and not easier but more difficult than the old supposedly less good experience.

Through the entire time that you could choose, I kept trying the new and then choosing to go back to the old method.  For a bit when they switched it over to the new method and took away the option of choosing the old, I used the new method again.  Every time I wind up gnashing my teeth.

I was so pleased to realize that if I mouse over “My Sites” and go down to “Blog Posts” and click, I can click on “add new” at the top of the page and get the old posting experience.  Dread the day they take that away.

The old method gave me lovely long lists of my tags and categories over on the side.  Now it lists a tiny few and I have to keep typing in some or all of every tag and category I want to put on my post.  It’s been kind of iffy whether starting to type a much-used tag or category will lead to a drop down list of suggestions.  So much easier in the old experience to just click on all the ones I want without having to type anything.

The editing drives me particularly nuts.  If I click “edit” from a published post it puts me into the new improved experience — which takes all the paragraphs out.  I not only have to fix whatever mistake I noticed but I have to put every paragraph back in.  How is that an improvement?

In editing it also sometimes only puts the upper half of the post in the editing box.  No amount of trying to scroll down to the bottom gets me there.  Better make sure never to make a mistake in the latter half of a post.

Again, at the moment, if you go to the Blog Posts page and click edit you can get the old editing experience in which all your paragraphs are still intact.

Is anybody else finding these problems?  Having some great experience with the new improved experience that I’m just missing?  Having a problem I haven’t noted yet?  Any way we can get them to let us keep using the old experience that’s so much better than the improved one?

Share Your World #17

What is your most favorite smell/scent?

I’m a great lover of scented things, so it’s impossible for me to name one favorite.

I grow a lot of herbs and I love to go out and rub my fingers over some rosemary or basil or thyme or lavender leaves and then breathe in the scent.

I burn Nag Champa incense quite a bit and I love the way the room smells for hours after.

Anything I bake with cinnamon, cloves, and ginger sends heavenly aromas wafting through the house and I adore that scent.  But then there’s the smell of bread baking.  Or brownies fresh from the oven.

And don’t get me started on perfume.  My newest fave is by Hanae Mori, Butterfly.  I always keep four of five scents around so that I can suit my perfume to my mood.

Do you prefer long hair or short hair for yourself? 

As I get older I’m wishing I had the face and hair shape for really short — and hair that would cooperate.  Lately I’ve been trying to decide if I want to get it cut off anyway and have it easy without regard to appearance.

As a child my mother made me wear it short for her ease so of course for most of my adult life it’s been mid-length to long and there was a stage when I LOVED my long shiny hair.

Do you plan out things usually or do you do them more spontaneous (for example if you are visiting a big city you don’t know?)

I’m a bit more of a planner when I’m visiting.  One of my few fear areas shows up about being in a strange place and having to figure out how to get around and what the local customs are, etc.  A plan makes me feel a little less anxious.

In daily life, I’m a bit more inclined on the spur of the moment to say, “Let’s do this” or “Let’s go there”.

What is your favorite outdoor activity?

I’m not a big outdoor person.  A half hour walk in a pretty area –like my old neighborhood in Corte Madera–suits me.  Or better yet, lying in my hammock on the back patio…

My old neighborhood

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

Grateful for healing continuing to unfold and looking forward to its continuation.

For Share Your World

Share Your World #16

What are your favorite spices?

Ooh, I love so many.  Right now I’m obsessed with the banana oatcakes I’ve been making, to which I add cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, cloves and orange peel.  LOVE that combo!

English: Cloves. Español: Clavos de olor, syzy...

English: Cloves. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What object do you always have with you when traveling and why?

My toiletry bag.  Really it’s many objects.  I got tired of trying to remember all the toiletries years ago and so I keep a toiletry bag packed with duplicates of things I use all the time.  I make note when something is running low while I’m on a trip and replace things before I travel again.

Sometimes I just pour shampoo or whatever into a travel bottle, sometimes I buy a travel size.  Toothpaste, I occasionally stop using a tube half way through and shove the remaining half in the toiletry bag.  I love being able to just grab that bag and know it’s all in there.

What is one thing you love about being an adult?

Setting my own schedule.  Which I also like about working for myself.  I’ve always been a night owl (my mother says from birth) and the “normal” hours the school and business worlds keep have never suited me.  I also do better with five or six hours and then a nap later and I relish having the freedom to keep that crazy schedule.  Nobody tells me when I should or shouldn’t be asleep!

What item, that you don’t have already, would you most like to own?

I mostly feel I have too much stuff, so I don’t have a big wishlist beyond replacing various electronics as they wear out.  BUT, I’ve really been jonesing for a Chevy Volt.  With a 38 mile scope for running on electric, most of my driving could be done in electric mode.  And the mileage when it’s running on gas is quite good, 38-40 mpg.

Although I do already have a car, I don’t have a gas/electric hybrid and I would so like to have this one.  Plus, my Dad is a retired General Motors man, I grew up in Buick Town (Flint, MI) and I still can use his employee discount so I like the idea of a Chevy.  Even though I don’t think any of the GM employees in Flint are working on Volts…

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?

I had an amazing healing session last week and another at the beginning of this.  The kind of major healing that unfolds for weeks to come — so I’m looking forward to seeing what happens next.

See Share Your World to check out other folks’ Shares.

Weekly Small Pleasures: Coffee and healing

The main source of pleasure this week came from a great appointment with a healer but I’ve posted about it on the other blog already:  Past Lives and Ancestors, Imprints Gone, and Update.  I’ll be continuing to update there as the process unfolds.

La Coppa

So the source of pleasure for today is coffee.  I’d been meaning to order more from La Coppa,  where I get the best coffee I’ve found outside of France and Italy, but just kept not doing it.  For once procrastination paid off as I received an e-mail this week offering free shipping for two pounds or more.  I jumped on the deal and ordered three pounds –which came to not much more than two pounds plus shipping.

It arrived a couple of days later.  Although I have a bit left from the last batch, I’ve been more often having less expensive local stuff.  I’ve been indulging in a special cup of the good stuff each morning and will for a day or two more before I return to alternating the pricey and the less pricey.

For Weekly Small Pleasures

*Last batch they sent whole bean.

Kindle Scout – A New Program from Amazon


More good info for writers

Originally posted on Authors Supporting Authors:

Listen to this!     Have you heard about Kindle Scout?

This could prove to be another option for Indie Authors publishing on Amazon.  Here is some basic information about the program:

“Customers who have shown an interest in books about publishing might want to know about Kindle Scout, a new reader-powered publishing program where readers help discover the next great books.
Submit your book to Kindle Scout and be considered for a publishing contract with Kindle Press in 45 days or less. We welcome submissions for English-language books in the following genres: romance, mystery & thriller, science fiction & fantasy, and literature & fiction.
If chosen for publication, you receive:

  • Guaranteed advance & competitive royalties: A $1,500 advance and 50% eBook royalty rate.
  • Focused formats: We acquire worldwide publication rights for eBook and audio formats in all languages. You retain all other rights, including print.
  • 5-year renewable terms, $25,000 in royalties: If your…

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Thunderclap Hooooo!


Help a fellow author/blogger — and check out Thunderclap for your own stuff

Originally posted on Rebirth of Lisa:

This story will have you cheering for

Yesterday I had a chat with someone who has become dear to me over the past few months. The thing is I have never met her in person, but she and I are building a “BLOGSHIP”. I know that’s not a word, but there is not a word for a relationship via a blog, so I made-up my own. Colleen Chesebro from the Silver Threading blog has been a great source of support with the launching of my debut novel, The Mistreatment of Zora Langston. Well Colleen suggested I start a Thunderclap campaign to help get the word out.

As an indie author I am all about finding unique and effective ways to market my book, not to mention FREE! I decided to check out their website and found it very interesting indeed. Thunderclap is an online forum for people to spread the word about their causes. You’ll find campaigns…

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Streamlining food prep

English: lamb stew with leeks, lentils, yellow...

English: lamb stew (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As mentioned in a recent post, I have issues about standing too long so cooking my favorites, which generally have lots of ingredients and steps, is often a challenge.  Since I figured out that you can usually pick and choose among various methods I have been making my way through my go-to recipes and streamlining.

I figured out in cases where you want some veggies cut or sliced but not in a pulp, the food processor gives you mostly uniform slices quickly and easily.  So for lots of soups and stews, I figure out an order for which items will need to saute the longest and work the slicing backwards.

So, for instance, I often grate or slice an onion (or more) in the processor while the EVOO is heating.  Then while the onion sautes, I might next slice broccoli and add it, then run some leafy greens through the slicer and add those.  Instead of having to stand and chop for 30-45 minutes before I even start cooking anything*, this method often gets me to soup simmering or frittata baking or stew cooking in 20-30 minutes total.

As I streamline recipes I’ll post them with instructions.  I have the ingredients for ribollita, so a step-by-step re-tweaked version will appear soon.  If you look at the tabs up top you’ll see that I’ve also added a page for recipes where you can find all that I have posted.

* My fingers and knives don’t have a great history so anything like the speed with which chefs chop isn’t happening for me.  Even assuming I could go that fast if I wanted to.

Weekly Small Pleasures: visitors and road trip

Photo: Leigh Gaitskill

Photo: Leigh Gaitskill

1.  More than a small pleasure really…  My dear friend Sue lives in San Jose and we just don’t see one another often enough.  Her husband, Pete, has had family business to attend to in Knoxville several times in recent years and we’ve developed a tradition of meeting somewhere in between for lunch.

A couple of years ago I introduced them to Berea, a charming town in the foothills of Appalachia, which features lots of shops full of beautiful craft items from the mountains, a historic hotel/restaurant and a lovely tuition-free college originally founded in 1866 as an interracial college.  On that occasion we had lunch in the lovely dining room at the hotel, Boone Tavern

On this occasion they chose a nearby restaurant.  It was ok.  The great thing was the company.  I never remember to take pictures when I eat with good friends — too busy enjoying the people to even think about electronics…  Sadly on this occasion that extended to forgetting to take pictures of them…

We shopped around at some of the lovely craft places after lunch.  I’ve been collecting mugs for something like 35 years though I’ve been slowing down in recent years in part due to space issues.  However, I found one of the prettiest mugs I’ve seen in a while (see top photo) and couldn’t resist–especially since I’ll remember my lovely visit with Sue and Pete every time I sip coffee from it.

2.  We haven’t been making it to our favorite Indian restaurant, Masala, as often as usual.  So last night’s Saag Lamb brought great pleasure!

3.  This is our second sunny day in a row, which doesn’t seem to happen much here.  I lived in the Pacific Northwest (Portland then Seattle) during six years between droughts–which included extra rain from Mt. St. Helen’s aftermath and El Nino–when it was grey/misty/rainy something like 28 days a month from September to the middle of July the following year.  This area is the only other place I’ve ever lived that sometimes seems poised to rival that…  So two sunny days in a row is definitely a pleasure!

For This Week’s Small Pleasures #44

Cooking: pick your preference

Shrimp and chicken stock and the cajun trinity...

Shrimp and chicken stock and the cajun trinity (bell pepper, onion, celery) for gumbo. Garlic and parsley are also on hand. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’ve learned a lot over the years from watching my favorite chefs on Food Network (many of whom no longer have shows…).  It took me a while to register how frequently all the chefs contradict themselves about the best way to do something.

I’ve seen one grab a box of store-bought chicken stock and tell us we really don’t need to make it from scratch since very good ones are now available in the store.  In other episodes I’ve seen the same woman make stock from scratch while telling us there’s nothing like stock from scratch…

I’ve seen most of them process aromatics (onion, garlic, celery, etc.) in to a pulp, then saute.  I’ve seen the same ones hand dice them while insisting that you must wield a knife and try to get it all the same size, then saute.  I’ve seen the same ones use the grater or slicer on a food processor and discuss the uniformity, then saute.

Eventually I realized the taste as the base of flavor is pretty much the same regardless of which method you use.  I have an odd blood pressure condition wherein it goes down instead of up when I stand; I get more and more light-headed the longer I stand.  So for me the pulse in food process method works well because it’s fast and tastes great and I don’t have to lie down after I do it…

I’ve seen chefs make pasta from scratch and tell us there’s no substitute.  And then the same chefs make lasagna with the no cook variety of noodles and tell us they come out so well there’s no need to make your own.  Same for spaghetti or …  you name the pasta.  Again, the method that involves the shortest amount of time standing works best for me.  And the meals are always good.

Many insist you MUST use a whisk to beat eggs for an omelet or frittata but really a hand mixer — manual or electric — adds the froth you need just as well in far less time and with far less wear and tear on your arm.

When it finally sank in I realized that cooking is so much more malleable than chefs sometimes make it sound.  They have a tendency to discuss whichever method they’re using with a voice of authority and an implication it won’t turn out well if you don’t do it that way.  But since I watch every episode for my faves, I couldn’t miss the many contradictions from one time to another.

I meet a lot of people who are frightened of cooking in part because of those authoritative statements about specific techniques.  The reality is –outside of baking, where some more precision IS often required–for most cooking there are several potential methods and the only thing that really matters is what do you prefer both in terms of ease of preparation and final taste.

There may be some modicum of difference to the taste in one method over another, but let’s be real, most of us aren’t that nuanced in our taste.  I’m looking for rich, layered flavors when I cook, not the most perfect version of the dish I can achieve.  I don’t want to feel like somebody deflated me after I’ve prepared a meal.  So I use whatever method is easier and faster and involves the least time standing as long as the taste comes out good.