Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Evolution of a digital project

I took a bunch of pictures in Venice Florida years back, with the very distinctive Lomo camera. Like this photo of Venice pier at sunset:

Then I took all the photos in the batch that I didn't like and cut them up and made a wall collage out of them

Then I loaded it onto Photoshop and got rid of the color

I kind of like that better without the color. So then I made a bas relief out of it

Or extruded:

It's fun! I settled on the extrude because it reminds me of a pointillist Mondrian photo of the skyline of NY from bird's eye view.

And that's a digital project!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Figs, naps, summer

Lunch: freshly picked figs with quinoa salad, kale chips, iced green tea. Vegetarians unite!

From a list from my friend on Facebook, "I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger." I've been mulling whether to ramp back on the wonderful afternoon naps I've been enjoying since May 31, in preparation for resuming normal life on August 12, or hoarding as much nap time as I can before resuming exhausting life on August 12... I think I'll sleep on it.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

The feline icy stare-down

Here was the scene this morning

I've got one cat on one side of the laptop and another cat on the other side. Both are staring at me. Usually at this time, it's breakfast, but they didn't finish yesterday's kibble. They are not impressed with my statement that as long as they have food in their bowl I am NOT going to give them more food. Their accusatory stare is saying, "That was yesterday's food, numnuts, totally different thing, we're over it..." and they want fresh, and they want it now. I keep telling them that as long as there is food...but their stares just get icier. If I don't show up Aug 12 for work, you'll know what happened...

I lasted three hours. Then I caved.

This afternoon the kitchen was abuzz with me, a-cookin'.

I had cooked half the veggies I'd gotten from the Bountiful Basket I'd ordered last Saturday. This Saturday, I cooked the rest. Bountiful Baskets round two. In the oven- Asian marinated cabbage wedges, roasting cauliflower, carrots, potatoes, peppers, and onions, and kale chips. In addition, making black bean/quinoa patties on top of the stove. That, in addition to some of the fruit I have left, (plums, mangoes, cantaloupe) will be my food for the week.

Yum yum. Monday I'll order another basket and this time I'll include the artisan bread. Next Saturday is pick up. Can't wait to see what's in my basket! No matter what, it will be a vegetarian's dream come true

Friday, July 26, 2013

Eggs 'N' Figs

My new favorite breakfast is scrambled eggs with figs. I am so blessed! A friend who keeps chickens gives me eggs sometimes. Just now I scrambled a fresh, fresh egg with some figs I just picked off the tree in the yard. I scramble the egg with a snitch of milk. Goodness, is that good!

Fresh makes the difference. Sometimes I get tired of getting punk'd with what looks to be a fresh looking piece of fruit at the grocery store only to bite into it and it is hard as a rock, juiceless and pulpy. Ick.

I see the apples on the tree are getting red and later I'll go check the pears. Also grab a few more figs! Fresh, yes, fresh. When it comes to an apple off my tree or an apple trucked in from Oregon, I am all for the local. Not that trucking in is horrible...the availability of items previously unavailable to the vast majority of Americans is tremendous. I remember when Kiwis were hitting the east coast market. Then carambola (AKA star fruit) and then it seemed there was no end to the things the produce aisle would offer.

But still, fresh is better. I am very lucky and happy to be living in a temperate climate and eating local produce. Now pardon me while I go see if the garden tomatoes on my windowsill have turned red yet...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

My morning walk around the yard was productive

The dew was deep this morning and the air was cool. I love it when the days dawn cooler than 70 degrees, it makes for such a fresh morning. I took a walk around the yard to see what is blooming these days, of course taking my trusty broom with me to ninja-bust the huge spiderwebs. Just as I am invigorated by a dewy cool morning, so are the spiders.

The blue hydrangeas are going gangbusters now:

As you can see, they are huge. And very blue.

The chickens came back. I'd heard a weird sound nearby my open window. It sounded like a baby squirrel being taken, or a child's cry at the playground across the street, but not quite either. I heard it several times, so I got up to investigate. There was a flock of chickens under my window. This group was bigger than the few that had pecked their way across my yard the other day, Apparently they went home and got friends. I grabbed my camera but when I opened the door they scattered from under the window to the middle of the yard, and then quickly made their way to the hay field line and nibbled their way gone.

As I tracked them to the edge of the yard I checked on the fig tree. Some figs are ready! I picked about a dozen good and big ones. They were high up but I had my broom to grab a branch and swing it down. The smaller ones at eye level will be ready any day. I am going to have scrambled eggs with freshly picked figs for breakfast, with a side of blueberry muffin I'd made a few days ago.

All in all, a good morning so far!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Tater tots and nylons

This morning, I headed to the Dollar Store, the Post Office and then right across the street from the PO, to the Golden Pantry to get some tater tots. Life is good.

photo credit: Renée S. Suen via photopin cc
Last time at the Pantry, they were out of the tots. Of course, I never get fast food, (literally, never. I haven't been to MacDonald's in 5 years and I've only ever been to the Pantry twice). The one time this year I did get a hankering for a Pantry biscuit and tots, they were out. I remember, once in Maine, I went to Mr. Bagel. I said to the lady at the counter, "I'll have a bagel." She said, "We're out."

This morning the Pantry didn't have the tots but they had the hash browns. The lady behind the counter
was struggling to get her latex gloves on to dig out the hash browns and we got to laughing. I said 'it reminds me of trying to put on nylons in summer for church'. We got to chuckling real hard about that, I mean, ladies, you can relate! The other lunch lady in the kitchen poked her head around to comment also. We gravitated to reminiscing how our moms used to wear girdles, and we made the hip motions. The men in line weren't too impressed, but the Pantry is usually a Testosterone Zone anyway so it could do with a little shot of estrogen once in a while. So instead of tots I got lols. A good trade.

I bought black beans at the Dollar Store, They have a great price for the large cans for $1. Black beans a re a great and mostly overlooked food. This website explains, "They are protein rich, as well as containing calcium, iron, and other minerals. They are also a good meat substitute as far as flavour is concerned, being rich and almost “meaty” in flavour and quite dense and meaty in texture too. In general, beans of all sorts are quite good as a substitute for meat too. Consider making at least one of your meals each week based on beans (black beans or other beans). You’ll find it easy, tasty, and really not lacking anything your diet requires."

They are high in fiber and protein and are apparently good for your colon, but the website I read that explained that was a little to happy about the colon stuff so let's just leave it there.

My usual recipes have been black bean and quinoa patties, black bean soup, and black bean Mexican salad. That last one is really easy. It's open can of black beans, rinse, dump in a bowl. Dump in canned Spanish rice, also from Dollar Store, tomatoes, cheddar cheese, and lettuce. Voila, serve with taco chips. You can add avocados, green peppers, and/or sour cream if you want.

Recently the grocery store has been selling avocados for either 89 cents, 99 cents or $1. It has been about a year and I've been waiting for the price to go up. Sure enough, last Saturday they were $1.99. No more avocados for me!

Summer has been good so far. Today I fixed a hummus-garden tomato-lettuce sandwich for lunch, accompanied by roasted cauliflower and chilled water. I haven't had to use the AC every day and I've really enjoyed the mild nights. Nothing has gone wrong so far, the car is still going and the body is still going and the cats are still going. Church has been good and my studies have been productive.

My cats are just the best. They have really settled down and become the cutest little cuddle-bunnies. They are 6 years old now, I guess in middle age. They are learning the joys of sedentary life.

I love the cartoon Simon's Cat on Youtube. These short videos make me laugh so hard every time! The creator really is named Simon and he really does have a cat. What he draws about are things any cat owner will really identify with, and the cartoon doesn't go too far into exaggeration to make that happen. Well, also on Youtube are several real-live action videos of cat owners videotaping themselves sleeping at night and we can see what the cat does- acting exactly like the cartoon of Simon's Cat.

In one video (which is played fast forward, so it's 3 or 4 minutes of an 8 hour sleep compressed) a guy starts out in his back, all splayed atop the covers, and by morning he is huddled in a fetal position with two pillows on top of his head and the sheet covering his face. LOL!

Sometimes I wake up with cat toys on me. I guess they had wanted to play during the night...thinking if they plop down a milk ring on my face I'll jump right up and start throwing it for fetch. Apparently they are unaware of the sleep of the just.

Anyway they are great cats and super company.

I finished a book called Mortal Prey, about a CIA guy and an assassin...and I'm still in the zone where I don't want to start another book yet. I wish I hadn't read all the Grisham books twice or three times. I'd read them all day one after another all summer long. On second thought...

Enjoy the day!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Kale chips are so good!

With my fabulous Bountiful Baskets I'd picked up on Saturday (more here), I made a lot of things.

Kale chips. Very good! All you do is remove the hard stem, toss them in oil and salt and lay on a baking dish and bake at 275. They are terrific, having a great crunch and totally healthy.

I roasted cauliflower, potatoes, carrots, and onions. I absolutely love to have dishes of roasted veggies around. I can mix them with rice, quinoa, or pasta as desired. Or heat them and plot a fried egg atop with some cheddar cheese.

I baked a dozen blueberry muffins with the blueberries I got in thebasket and cranberry muffins with some craisins I had.

I still have half a cauliflower head left and an entire head of cabbage.

Someone gave me a bag of green tomatoes today and I'll use the cantaloupe to make a green tomato gazpacho with it tomorrow.

Some of the cabbage will be made into an Asian slaw and I'll roast or grill the rest.

So that's the roundup.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Bountiful Baskets: love at first sight

My friend brought me a Bountiful Basket two weeks ago. In our town a local co-op opened up that is a site for the nationwide co-op known as Bountiful Baskets. The baskets are loaded with fruit and vegetables, and they are overflowing with bounty indeed. The produce is spectacular also, very fresh and tasty. The fruit TASTES like something. Here is what I got this week.

Great basket today. Cantaloupe, 2 heads Kale, large and fresh head Romaine lettuce, blueberries, 6 bananas, 2 lb grapes, huge head cauliflower, head of cabbage, 6 kiwis, 8 plums 3 mangoes. Wow. Just wow. The head of cauliflower is very large, so is the head of romaine.

I plan to grill the cabbage, bake the kale into chips, and roast the cauliflower. Mango smoothie, cantaloupe smoothie, blueberry muffins, and corn flakes with bananas (and banana pancakes). Romaine salads with seasonally ripe garden tomatoes. Yum.

How much did it all cost? $15 and ten minutes of time. WOOT!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Ten Years Ago:

This ten years went by fast.

Gray editor appointed to legislative committee

Matters of record | Lewiston Sun Journal
Thursday, November 6, 2003

AUGUSTA - State Senate President Beverly Daggett announces that Monument Newspaper editor and publisher Elizabeth Prata of Gray has been appointed to the Committee to Study Compliance with Maine's Freedom of Access Laws.

The committee was established by the 121st Legislature after a state-wide freedom of access audit conducted among state municipalities, school departments and police departments last November revealed that the law was being unevenly applied. Trained volunteers who had requested various public documents were asked to show identification, questioned as to their motives and in some cases denied access to the information.

As a result, the Legislature filed the bill in December, "Resolve, to Study Compliance with Maine's Freedom of Access Act."

Rep. Susan W. Austin (R-Gray) nominated Prata, saying that, "Elizabeth's work as an educator, journalist and publisher has signified her as a protector of our precious freedom of speech. Her extensive travels around the world have given her invaluable experience and greater perception of the importance of American freedoms. She will prove to be a valuable asset."

The committee has 12 appointed members from among various constituencies, including a member of the Senate, member of the House of Representatives, Maine Press Association, Maine Chiefs of Police Association, the School Management Association, the Attorney General, Maine Association of Broadcasters, Maine Freedom of Information Coalition, and two members of the public.

The committee will meet to study state and local government compliance with Maine's freedom of access and other issues relating to citizens' access to public records and public proceedings. The members will produce a report that contains its findings and recommendations, including suggested legislation.

Prata launched the weekly newspaper, The Monument, in March 2000. Since then, it has increased its circulation twice, its distribution area twice, and has become Gray and News Gloucester's newspaper of record.

All Gaul

Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres, quarum unam incolunt Belgae, aliam Aquitani, tertiam qui ipsorum lingua Celtae, nostra Galli appellantur.

Students of Latin know this sentence as the very famous opening sentence of Caesar's Commentary, De Bello Gallico. Translated the sentence says

"All Gaul is divided into three parts, one of which the Belgae inhabit, the Aquitani another, those who in their own language are called Celts, in ours Gauls, the third."

This is my artwork of what that sentence looks like in my head.

I took two years of Latin in High School, and I'm glad.

"East Greenwich High School is a public secondary school located in East Greenwich, Rhode Island, U.S. The school serves students in grades 9-12 in the East Greenwich Public Schools system. East Greenwich is the wealthiest town in Rhode Island, and EGHS is the highest performing high school in the state. It is the only school in the country with the mascot, the "Avengers". East Greenwich High School was ranked 824 on Newsweek's list of America's Top 1,000 high schools out of approximately 31,700 high schools in the United States. It was the only public high school in Rhode Island to make the list."

I don't think they offer Latin anymore at my HS but they still offer Spanish and French, which I also took. I think languages do a body good. But I think they ought to offer Latin. If you graduate Summa C-u-m Laude, then you will know what it means.

Friday, July 12, 2013

It was raining

It was raining. You can't really tell, though, This is the top of the windchimes I have hanging next to my front door under the living room window awning. I cut off the bottom of the chime so it would not make noise. Hey, works for me.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

My old school

East Greenwich RI is the 8th oldest town in the state. It was founded in 1644 and incorporated in 1677. Currently (As of June 2013) the median household income is $96,591. It is #3 in Best Community ranking and #2 in schools. It was a pretty town, too, and the rural areas outside of town were fun to play in. I liked Payne's Pond across the street, summer time to catch tadpoles in the brook and winter to go skating. There was a large cemetery behind us and a small historic cemetery across the street next to the pond, both of which I enjoyed exploring.

I attended a massive and stately elementary school in East Greenwich RI. Eldredge Elementary School, opened for the first class in fall of 1929.

I remember it was large, many stairs to get to the second floor. I remember the ceilings were high and the windows were huge. The teacher needed a pole to hook into the top window to draw it down.
I remember the place was loud. It had hardwood throughout and the pounding of many hundreds of feet echoed uncomfortably in the halls. The desks squeaked over the floors and the shuffle of feet even while sitting was also loud.

It was pretty. I liked the wood, the sunlight streaming in, and the absolutely monster-big playground. Actually, three playgrounds. I remember as a very small kid playing with a hula hoop. I must have been in first grade. (1966 or so).

Robert J. Smith / Time Life Pictures
Playground 1. It used to be a grassy field, not have a basketball court in it. It was lined with trees on the street side (still is) and swing sets across. I used to like standing under the tree and watch kids play tag.

 This second playground always was paved but it was not a parking lot then. It was here I used to play hula hoop.

Even though I'm grown now and I can see that the third playground fields are not as large to me as they were when I was a student, this field really IS big. There are basketball courts at the end of it. There was a penny candy store across the street from the end of the playground and we used to sneak off to buy some. I always got pumpkin seeds. They were 5 cents a box then. The teachers on duty must have been driven wild by kids leaving the recess field and wandering across the street...Sorry ladies :( The annual fairway set up here, with all the rides and carnival games.

Despite being 84 years old, the ole gal still looks pretty good.

I attended school here in 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th grade. For Kindergarten I went to Hannaford School and in fifth grade we went to Meadowbrook. That lasted only one year. Then I was back to Eldredge. Junior High was Cole Middle School for 7-8th but that is another story!

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Time for another haircut

Well the hot weather is here to stay a while. It is the heat AND the humidity, for sure. Mostly I stay in and write and read and do a bit of cooking. My cats love snuggling with me. They'll be shocked in August when I go back to school and am gone for 9 hours a day!

Bert has taken to snoozing under the chair I sit in at the kitchen table where I write on my laptop. Luke likes to sleep on the table across from me. Neither of them ask for much, just to be near me. They are good cats. I think the world of them.

On Youtube, my "YesterYearTVShows" channel, they just uploaded a bunch from 1950s, the old show What's My Line. These professions must have been hard to guess!

Sells Plastic Toothpicks
Teaches Philosophy
Sells Kites
Buys Turtles
Baseball Glove Designer
Fish Counter For US Gov't
Paints Fire Hydrants

My hair has turned me into Medusa again, it's time for a cut. Tomorrow when I go to the PO to retrieve my printer ink and send some letters, I'll wander over to Wilda's and see if she can give me a quick cut. I hate the feel of it on my neck. Drives me nuts.

On Youtube I have been watching the early seasons of the 70s show Taxi. That was a hilarious show. I laughed so hard...I think it's funnier than Cheers and really good Frasiers, two other really funny shows. Like belly laughs, the kind that make your whole face scrunch up.

I saw a movie called "The Next Voice You Hear..." starring James Whitmore and Nancy Davis (Reagan) which was good.

What am I going to do when work intrudes on my busy schedule? Well, at least school starts a week or so later this year. Instead of August 1 the kids will come back around August 16. Or sometime. I'll look at the calendar to be sure when it gets closer. Meanwhile, this is going around on Facebook-


Monday, July 08, 2013

Bountiful Baskets and Danielsville Co-op

I joined Danielsville Co-Op this week. It is affiliated with Bountiful Baskets. For $15 you receive a basket of fruit and veggies. You never know what you are going to get. In this week's basket I got the following- 7 peaches, 5 plums, a pineapple, 2lb grapes, 2 mangoes, 4 bananas, huge head lettuce, great looking broccoli, 6 very large carrots, 6 red onions. There was a baby watermelon too but I gave that to a friend.

Huge carrots!

Gorgeous peaches!

The carrots were so large my friend only needed one to make a three-layer carrot cake. I made roasted veggies, peach cobbler and broccoli quiche. Tomorrow I’ll grill the remaining peaches and the plums.

It is a huge amount of food, and very cost effective. And the food is GOOD. $30 is my weekly budget and so the $15 is half which is consistent with the food I get at the store, half of my budget going to fruits and veggies, but I got so much more with this $15 than I do at the store. The grapes alone would have been $5. You don’t have to buy every week and they ask you to work at the co-op only once every 6-8 weeks.

It is a good deal. Check out the Danielsville Co-op on Facebook or Bountiful Baskets to see where a co-op near you is. They have them in many states.

Friday, July 05, 2013

King of the manse

Bert, Bert, Bert, is there any part of this house you don't rule?