Author: Janet

Passion

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Most people I know are passionate about something.

Those things vary from person to person – even in intensity between those who share a passion for a specific thing.

As you might know, I love reading, film, TV, food, crafting among other things. I’m a long time Star Trek fan – 50 years worth. And, yes, that astounds me more than one might think it would.

Some folks love gardening, others are into sports. Some find politics a competitive sport, not me. Much too serious repercussions involved for me to think that way.

Food can be an interesting passion. Eating is a simple joy. I actually know a few folks who eat because they have to — and one or two of them have to be reminded (!!) to do so. For me, food is a way of expressing love, a communal process, an adventure of exploration.

Books and reading or audiobooks and listening take storytelling to a new level of art.

Film or television can be an amazing experience or a monumental waste of time, depending upon what is being watched. This relatively new ability to binge watch TV shows has brought about a new way of experiencing and exploring television. I admit I like it…usually. 🙂

Passion for anything is an amazing gift. It provides focus, food for thought, ability to grow and learn. If not for Science Fiction, I would have a much different understanding of what we take for granted today – computers, for example.

There is a sort of zen-like component to passions. Crafting, for example, requires a certain type of focus that lends itself to meditation and contemplation. Odd as it might seem, there is a reason so many people engage in certain activities – and it might surprise you to find that it isn’t the activity itself that draws them in.

Justin Scarred recently when to a convention that focused on comic books, characters, anime and the like. I remember my first convention many, many years ago. I had no idea what I was getting myself into, but when I stepped out of the elevator and the first thing I saw was a storm trooper coming at me down the hallway, it changed my life.

There is something special about being among other people who share your passion. Not only does it offer the opportunity to share something you enjoy, but it opens up the world a bit and adds more to the experience.

Ever been to a quilters convention? Same thing, just different subject. 🙂

There will always be folks who don’t get it. No matter how hard you try to explain or expound on the topic. But for those of us who do, it can be a life changing experience that will provide a lifetime of opportunity, interest, excitement and pleasure.

Don’t be afraid to explore and find your passion – or several if you like. You’ll be glad you did!

Bits & Pieces

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Hello! How’ve you been? If you are new – Welcome!

Every once in a while I have a post that is the sum of whatever is on my mind lately. Odds and ends, you know. 🙂

Today I dropped in on my Pinterest feed and was amazed and amused at what popped up. Every once in a while I do a search on a new topic and Boom! New stuff appears. Its magic.

Some times I find things that jog my memory or get my creativity flowing. Other times I see things that make me stop and think a bit. You just never know what you will find. Sort of like a huge garage sale in an area you’ve never been before.

A week or so ago I reset my TV. I get most of my feed via antenna and the signals shift. As is usual, some channels dropped off while others moved a touch. I always have to remember to reset my scheduler app so I get reminders of shows I want to watch.

I also reset my YouTube feed. This one is a bit trickier because there are some channels I follow while others are more hit and miss.

The good thing about doing this, even with the potential misses, is what I find that I wasn’t aware was there.

I love animation and recently found tributes to voice over celebrities along with some great documentaries about the ‘making of’ process. Right up my alley.

Have you seen the latest Chantix commercial with the turkey? Hysterical! My hat is off to whoever came up with the idea – very creative and clever!

I also started watching “The Fix” on ABC. The series is supposed to last only 10 episodes, which is fine by me, but is interesting enough to be worth spending the time. So far. 🙂

I’m getting used to the idea – as I do every year – that it is almost Rerun Season. Many of my favorite TV shows are either closing the series or the season within the next few weeks. Where does the time go?

Then again, Spring Break just finished in my neck of the woods. It doesn’t seem time for that, either. 🙂

Here’s hoping you have an interesting week. Do take time for yourself. You are worth it!

Categories: Musings

Small Joys

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I admit it – I love the comics. But then, I love animation and story telling. What can I say? 🙂

When I was growing up, I remember stretching out on the floor of my Grandmother’s living room with the Sunday Comics in front of me. Pages and pages of quick reads with interesting pictures that were hand drawn and colored.

As a young adult, I discovered the yearly collections that some strips put out. Books that covered the main story lines or the entire year’s story. Not every strip put one out, but many of the most popular did; Doonesbury, Baby Blues, Zits, For Better or For Worse.

It was a thrill to discover that the newspapers who had moved to the Internet, brought their comics with them. Further, to find websites devoted to the daily, and weekly, strips.

Better than a soap opera, these quick reads provide a touch of humor along with a continuing storyline that engages the reader enticing them to return the next day for the next installment.

There is a wide array of material; kids, adults, slightly (?) weird to totally weird and pretty much everything in between. Some are sweet while others carry cynical barbs. Some provide glimpses into what could easily be our neighbor’s world. Or our own.

While the rest of the newspaper may carry some serious and depressing articles, the comics pages are full of options that could bring a smile and make the day a little less dreary.

No fooling!

Categories: Musings

Burgers

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I got to thinking about my favorite burgers today. An odd thought, true, but one that I found myself pondering for quite a while.

Before I continue, I need you to know that I grew up on a small farm where we raised our own meat. Our beef was grass fed Angus cattle. If you have not had grass fed beef, you don’t know what you are missing.

I didn’t realize just how lucky I was to have been raised like this until I moved to California and had my very first burger from a chain I shall not mention. I took a bite and wanted to know where the beef went and why they were using cardboard.

To be honest, very few of the national chains have beef that really has a good flavor. When you buy beef raised by Big-Agriculture you get … cardboard.

Most national chains have worked hard to develop unique recipes that the buyer will like and want to eat time and again. Barring that, they look for a unique style of burger. Square or round, anyone?

Toppings tend to be standard, even if they are applied in different intensity or manner.

What I love to find is the small chain or mom-and-pop shop that create interesting and unusual burgers.

I am a huge fan of In-N-Out Burgers. Not only are their fries made fresh – right in front of you – but their burgers have a great flavor and are the right balance of everything. Put them with the fries and a coke or a shake and you have a meal worth waiting in line to get.

Trust me – you won’t find beef that tastes like cardboard there!

I recall a great burger that came from a local shop. The best thing about it was not the toppings or the bun, but the way the meat had been seasoned. It took me a while, but I finally figured out that in addition to the usual salt and pepper was poultry seasoning; Sage, Thyme, Rosemary, Marjoram, and Nutmeg added to the salt and pepper gave the burger a wonderful flavor and enhanced and condiment you cared to add.

Char broiled, grilled, fried, they all have their pluses and minuses. I enjoy them all depending upon my mood. A good grilled burger can be a joy if it is prepared properly.

One thing to keep in mind: fat = flavor. Your burger must have at least 20% fat to provide not only flavor, but the moisture necessary to keep it from drying out in the pan.

My mom used to combine 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 pound of mild sausage, 1 egg, salt, pepper, garlic and onion. This mixture makes a great burger and is a perfect starting point to a simple and tasty meatloaf.

Give it a try – and don’t forget to give the poultry seasoning a try as well. You might be on your way to a wonderful burger!

Categories: Cooking Food

Comfort Zones

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I’ve been watching Maymay Made It on YouTube this week. Look for her under Maymay Made It Crafts. She is in the midst of an ATC challenge. Artists Trading Card, that is. I’ve been following Maymay for quite a while. She does a lot of crafting; card making, paper crafting, painting, wreaths and more. This new ATC challenge is an interesting take on sharing your love of crafting and getting out of your own way.

What started out as a collection of potential A2 card fronts, has evolved to trying new techniques and tools. I found the paint pouring show particularly interesting as it was the first time Maymay had used the tools and the technique. Fun? Absolutely!

During the course of the show, the discussion moved to those folks who buy crafting supplies, but don’t use them. Some don’t even take them out of their boxes.

Not that anyone here <cough> would do that. 🙂

As I watched, and listened, Bella was exploring the world outside through the screen door. Then she bounced (literally) over to her food dish and then to her water and then over to the door again. She finally settled on an unusual (for her) spot on the coffee table for some in depth grooming.

Bella, who has been Very Content To Stay In Her Safe Place for weeks, is stretching her comfort zone and exploring a bit.

We all have our comfort zones. The colors we wear, the foods we eat, the places we go, the books we read, the channels (or shows) we watch. Some crafters inhibit their work by fretting over the imagined ‘police’ who tell the world what to do, or not to do. Quilters know of the Quilt Police. A fantasy for certain, but there are lots of folks out there who believe in their existence.

While there are guidelines and rules for certain practices, in many cases they are not to keep you from doing something, but allowing you to learn so you can move forward.

Recipes are a good example. They are the foundation to create a flavorful and interesting product. They are also the basis to add to. Brownies with a touch of mint become something special. Coffee with chocolate becomes mocha, which adds something unique when added to a muffin recipe.

Quilts may all be made using pieces of fabric, but the way those pieces are cut and sewn together changes the end product. There is no “One Right Way” to cut or sew and the pattern can change depending upon how the segments are sewn into the block.

Comfort zones can also be false equivalents. By limiting ourselves to what we know, we prevent ourselves from trying new things, from learning new things.

Watching Bella today gave me a new appreciation for courage and enthusiasm. This is, after all, a cat who has had some serious issues with change. Her world has been upended often enough to leave her uneasy and frightened because what may appear to be stable has too often been shown not to be.

As you contemplate your own comfort zones, I hope you will join me in re-evaluating their value. Perhaps it is time for a change – even just a small one – so the world will open up a little more.

Categories: Musings

Life Maintenance

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Tuesday brought a few surprises with it. Like, a doctor’s appointment made several months ago that I had totally forgotten about — and never updated my calendar to remind me.

I called and rescheduled the appointment and then went to my calendar to correct the issue. Yikes!

In the mail was a past due notice about a bill that had been regularly paid, but only for a specified number of months, as I expected to get a renewal notification, but didn’t.

After a phone call to clarify and correct the issue, I learned that the bill was for services that would not expire. Something that I had not seen on any paperwork received. Whew!

Mercury in Retrograde? Maybe. Using updated tools without really learning how to use the updated tools? Likely.

So far, 2019 has been an interesting roller coaster of a year.

One good thing that has come from Tuesday’s surprise package is that I’ve spent time clearing out not only my desktop of old, outdated and unused icons and links (laptop loads faster now). Another is the archiving of old emails. I admit I try to do that more often, but when I ran out of ink and kept things I wanted to print until I had new cartridges installed, things got a touch out of hand.

I learned years ago not to hold off on software updates, so I don’t have issue with that, but there are times when seeing what new tweaks have been added get put aside until <cough> ‘later’.

At the end of the day, Tuesday was a reminder that little things make a difference in how we live our lives. I prefer the stress free version, myself. 🙂

Categories: Musings

Spring Cleaning Part Two

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I was pleased and surprised to see an article on Groknation.com regarding Clean Mama. For those of us who struggle with keeping our homes clean, this was a great article with some inspiration and great tips.

Read it: Groknation.com – Clean Mama Shares How To Tackle Spring Cleaning

Looking for a bit more inspiration and ideas? Check out CleanMama.net.

I’ve been cleaning house for almost 6 decades, so I’ve encountered a thing or two. While I have not used any product sold on CleanMama.net, I have used some of her tips and tricks.

If nothing else, it is a good place to get some great information and ideas on how to tackle your home.

Categories: Musings

Spring Cleaning – Sort Of

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As I write this outside there are bits of rain that are slowly turning to frozen drizzle with more to come. The idea of “Spring Cleaning” doesn’t even begin to appeal to me.

That being said, I have come across a couple of things that I thought I would share.

Over on YouTube Hermione Chantal has been presenting a series of “Sort Out Your Life” videos that have been not only inspiring but thought provoking.

Decluttering may be a “thing” but it is also a great way to not only create space in your home but potentially create cash if you decide to sell your cast offs. All that being said, the best part of decluttering is the way it opens you up to life.

Let’s be honest, “Stuff” usually costs money and for many people that means credit card debt or little to no money in the bank which creates stress. Want to get rid of some stress? Try cleaning out your closets, library, garage and store rooms.

Been there, done that.

Spring Cleaning usually includes a touch of redecoration. This does not necessarily require spending a lot of money. Take a look around your house and see if you find things that could live in a different part of your home.

One thing I’ve seen return to the decorating scene is using either scrapbook paper, wallpaper or wrapping paper in frames to hang on the wall. Hermione recently did a video on the entryway to her home and used wallpaper in a frame as a focal point. Beautiful!

All you need is a frame you like and the paper of your choice. You can use old calendar photographs or photos from magazines. How about old posters?

Don’t have frames or posters? Head over to the local resale or second hand shops and see what you can find. HINT: Why not drop off a load of your old things you no longer want or need at the same time?

Do you have some old pillows that have seen better days? Before you toss them, why not wash them? I have a throw pillow that has been around for years. Anytime I see it getting a bit bedraggled and sad, I toss it into my laundry and watch the magic. It comes out full and fluffy and fresh.

Be sure to read the labels on your pillows before you wash – some might be a bit particular.

While washing may refresh, why not create your own pillow covers to update your decor? There are tons of How To videos available for the novice or expert sewer.

Do you have old sheets that you haven’t used in a while? Do you have enough flat sheets that you can use them as curtains? This means two flat sheets per window.

If you don’t have enough on hand, trek on over to the second hand shops and see what you can find. Don’t be surprised if you also find new curtains or other window treatments. HINT: Good idea to have a list of your window measurements and maybe color swatches in your bag or on your phone just in case.

Not too fond of the color? Why not try your hand at dyeing the material?

One other Ultimate Spring Cleaning tip is to rearrange a room. If you can, move the furniture about or reorganize your storage. Do you have bookshelves that could use sprucing up? You can change the contents, or put in new backings with removable wallpaper, inserts or paint. YouTube’s Engineering Your Space can help.

If you are contemplating spring cleaning your home, take the time to plan it out. Depending on what you have in mind, it could be a project that carries over several weekends. Weather can (and will) affect some of the things you might want to do.

Not matter how much, or how little, you want to clear out for Springs, don’t be surprised at how great you feel once each step is done. Getting rid of things you don’t need, freshening up your living space, and adding new things of interest will give you a bit of a lift.

Categories: Musings

The Sunday Roast

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I’m one of those fly by the seat of my pants cooks. Mostly. When I put together my grocery list, I have a good idea of what will reside in my pantry or freezer. What I do with that food might end up a different matter.

One thing I love to do – and is a no-brainer for weekly cooking – is prepare a meal that will have potential for lots of left overs or re-dos.

The Sunday Roast is perfect for this.

A roast chicken can be the main meal plus chicken casserole or chicken tacos.

A roast beef can become a wonderful beef stew.

A roast pork can evolve into a casserole or enchilada dish or …

The Domestic Geek has built a following on weekly meal prep. This is an idea I can support simply because it is brilliant. Do most of the work ahead of time so you can get through your week with healthy food read to go.

The Sunday Roast fits into that theme perfectly. Sunday is the one day of the week you can let the oven do its work without a lot of fuss and bother so you can ease into the rest of the week.

As I write this, my Sunday Roast is a pair of beautiful pork shoulder steaks that will be seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic and sage, then spend about an hour to an hour and a half in a 325 degree oven. They will be accompanied by sweet potato fries.

Yum!

Categories: Cooking Food

Say Hello to Miss Bella!

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If you received today’s newsletter, you learned about our brand new barn cat, Bella. As promised, here are a few (!) of the photos I’ve taken since she arrived.

Sweetie (aka: Bella)

This was her photo from the shelter. Yes, it came in the Large Economy size — which is pretty amusing when you realize that Bella is far from Large. I haven’t taken the trouble to check, but I’m pretty sure she weighs in under 10 pounds. She is smaller than Annie by far.

Very Soft Fur!

Her colors are a bit muted due to lack of a lot of fur. I’m hoping that once she gets settled and the skin condition is under control, her fur will be less muted and fluffy.

She really likes the bed!

A snuggle cat, Bella loves being warm and cozy.

As I mentioned in the newsletter, I’m thinking a lot of the issues with skin and fur are stress related. If Bella is upset or unsettled, she chews her fur. This situation has eased off quite a bit, but every once in a while something happens to upset her.

A work in progress, you know. 🙂

When she gets especially happy, the toes on her back feet curl.

Tidbit we discovered by accident. 🙂

If you are considering a new cat or dog, please check your local shelter. There are lots of animals that would love a good home. Most won’t have issues like Bella’s – they just want a family of their own.

Also, and this is a big issue for me, please consider an older animal. Many, many times these animals have lost their humans due to issues that were not their fault. Some lost their humans due to death, while others couldn’t not stay with their humans for other reasons. Bella’s former family had to move and couldn’t take her with them.

In many cases, an older animal has learned their house manners, so training shouldn’t be so intense. They also have developed their own personalities. Kittens, puppies and young animals can be wonderful additions to a home, but please don’t overlook the adult or senior animals.

And, if you are inclined, don’t forget to check out the Special Needs animals. These guys really need human champions to care for them. They can be loving companions just like the other cats and dogs who are looking for new homes.

My hope is to share Bella’s journey here. I’m going to let that unfold and see where it leads.

In the meantime – Thanks for checking in and don’t forget to say HI! to our brand new barncat!

Categories: Bella Musings

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