one street over

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One street over
grapevine reindeer
celebrate their faded glitter bows

One street over
phlox and jonquils
push through thatch and leavings

One street over
clothes, stilettos
piled onto a windshield

End? Hiatus? Who can know
this crazy Memphis winter.

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gamesssss

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In most circles of geekery today, I would not be considered a gamer.  That doesn’t stop me from referring to myself as one.

Why?  Because when I get tense, I find an online game to distract me from work and make me feel superior to myself.

Since I am tense during most of my waking hours and some of my sleeping ones, I pretty much play online games way more than a silverish lady should.  And “gamer” is a much nicer label than “fanatic” or “nutjob.”

Now it happens there’s been an all-out war against the much-despised Flash platform that locks up your browser, hogs your memory and requires updating every 3.2 days.  Firefox even blocked it for two days in mid-July 2015.  And while Adobe “fixed” Flash, the latest FF/Flash update left my favorite king.com games unplayable.

I refuse to play games on Facebook because “the popular social media site” (as they say on CNN) wants too much of my attention.  It wants to rat me out every time I play Candy Crush.  And it keeps asking me for stuff, like all my pictures, my email address and sensitive information, like whether or not I shave my legs every day.

So this week when I got tired of watching the wheel of infinity/browser timeout on king.com, I wandered over to Google and found my way to the Famobi game site.

Aside from the grammar-twisting hyperlink labeled “What is HTML5 games?” and a few misspelled words, it’s a nice, quiet little place to go and waste some time or reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s, depending on your perspective.  There are typical match 3, bubble shooter and mahjong selections, all sorted into tabs at the left side of your browser.

Girls?  There’s a Girls section?

I resisted looking at it for days and then curiosity got the better of me.

There are a lot of makeup games in that section (as in putting it on your favorite actress’ face), one called Fluffy Egg (I cannot figure out why this game is gender specific; it has nothing to do with reproduction), a few about baking (see previous comment) and one called — I kid you not — What Does Your Boyfriend Look Like?

In order to avoid barfing on my keyboard, I quickly went back to the home page and located a few games that you might enjoy.

I think if you click on the pictures it will take you there.

If not, the Web address is html5games.com.

Don’t tell the authority figure(s) in your house I told you about this.

FastFoodTakeawayTeaser JuicyDashTeaser SpeedPoolKingTeaser UltimateSudokuTeaser

Caramel Cinnamon Apple Tart

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scoop

 

This is an all-calorie creation.
Do not look for carb substitutes here.
This is for when your sweet tooth is really aching.

I like to make this in a deep baking dish — less likely to bubble over in the oven.

Also, my pie crust box said to put in an ungreased dish but it stuck after baking so next time I’m prepping with cooking spray.

INGREDIENTS

1 9″ pie crust (make your own or use refrigerated premade)
2 large apples, peeled, cored and sliced thin (I used Fujis)
1/4 c flour
1/2 c sugar
dash salt
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/2 jar caramel ice cream topping, heated until pourable
Aluminum foil
tart
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Center your pie crust in a glass baking dish or a deep dish pie plate.
If the crust is too big just let the edges hang over the sides.

Put sliced apples in a large mixing bowl.

In a small bowl, stir together flour, sugar, salt and cinnamon.
Pour over apples and stir until each slice is well coated.
Spread apples evenly over pie crust.
Drizzle first with melted butter, then with caramel topping.

At this point, if you have pie crust hanging over the sides of your dish, just fold the edges over the top of the filling.

Cover with foil.
Bake for 20-30 min or until crust is brown.

Serves at least 4 if you’re polite.

windows

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I dreamed that I was on the phone with a nurse, trying to complete the information necessary for Dad’s hospital stay.

I dreamed that my brother and I went to a group therapy session where Mom said that I was not actually born in January and that she had two other children that we did not know about.  We looked at each other while trying to decide if this was the truth or delusion.

I woke suddenly, my desperation and confusion as vivid as it was nearly a year ago, when it was real and daily for almost three weeks.

In the recovery community we are well aware of the emotional tides that an anniversary brings.  And while some brush it off as folklore, others of us invariably have a using dream around the time of our sobriety date.

When I was a young woman, a beau took me to his aunt’s beach house for a holiday.  The sea was rather rough on our first day out.

“If a big wave comes along,” he said, “just duck down and let it wash over you.  That way it won’t knock you down.”

That advice has been a metaphor for me throughout recovery, reminding me that humility and surrender are not evidence of weakness, but of courage.  They are also the biggest windows one can open to allow grace to enter one’s life.

So this morning I am letting the waves of grief wash over me.  I am giving myself time for my heart to slow down and my panic to subside, reminding myself that it’s over.  I got through it.  And I am OK.

I am remembering I have more than a dozen friends who’ve lost a parent, a sibling, a child, a grandparent, even an ex-spouse in the past three years.  From time to time they reach out to me, surprised by the intensity of their sadness.

This is for them.  I love you.  You will get through it.  And you are OK.

triage

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when Faith is a well-chewed pencil point breaking mid-page,

on the periphery, Hope quietly burps and squints through a frazzled curl.

The skyline returns to its place in the distance
while Love finds a spot not far from the marker,

merrily beaming and resolute as the greening wood.

~ for Rachel

Crunchy Oat Bars

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I’m never hungry in the morning. I’d always rather have breakfast for supper. Give me coffee with milk and I’m good until noon. However, I tend to get foggy by mid-morning, so I try to have a light snack. Nothing tempts me like granola bars, especially in the winter when cold fresh fruit seems like a bad idea.

Satisfying, high in fiber, these are also high in calories, a whopping 300 per bar. The culprit here? The almonds. They’re higher in calories than either the coconut or the condensed milk. You can make a lower calorie bar by eliminating some of the extras and increasing the oats and still have a great snack.

You can substitute any dried fruit, nuts or seeds. This is what I happened to have in my pantry the day I made them. You just want to end up with a sticky ball of dough that isn’t too runny and that presses easily into the pan.

INGREDIENTS

2 c oats
cooking spray
1 c chopped toasted almonds
1 c shredded coconut
1 c raisins
1/2 t ground cinnamon
1 can condensed milk

aluminum foil
waxed paper

Preheat oven to 300.
Line 9×12 cookie sheet with foil.
Spread oats evenly and toast for 10 minutes.

Pour oats into bowl to cool.
Set aside foil-lined pan to cool.

Increase oven temp to 350.
Put open can of condensed milk on rack to warm.

Spray cooled foil with cooking spray.

Combine toasted oats, almonds, coconut, raisins and cinnamon.
Slowly pour warmed milk over mixture and stir in completely.

Spread evenly onto greased foil.
Cut length of waxed paper and use to press mixture evenly into pan to edges.

Bake at 350 for 18-20 minutes.

Remove from oven and lift bars from pan.
Flip upside down into pan and peel off foil.
Allow to cool for 10 minutes then use pizza cutter into bars.

Allow to cool completely before storing.

Makes 16 bars.

P.S.  They were crunchy coming out of the pan.  After overnight storage in Tupperware, they’re chewy.  I like them either way.

 

White Bean Chili

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white bean chiliThis is another of those recipes that welcomes improv.

If you are lucky enough to live where you can pick up a hot rotisserie chicken at the grocery store, you can have the wings and leg quarters for dinner another time and make this soup with the breast.
Or dice and saute your own boneless breast.

If you have the time and the presence of mind, cook your own Great Northern beans.
But a can of white beans works fine — you can sub cannellini, navy or limas.

A mild yellow onion is my preference here, Vidalias are best but a white onion works.
And you can sub bell pepper (any color) or jalapenos for the chilies.

Add handful of chopped greens (turnip, spinach, kale) if you need green leafies in a meal.
Add a cup of cooked macaroni to tempt the kids.
Throw in some diced cooked carrots for color.  It’s all yum.

I keep ground cumin in my pantry, but if you’re out, no worries. Use chili powder or oregano or basil.  Or not.

ingredients

1 c diced onion (1 cup)
2 T cooking oil
1 small can chopped green chilies (1/4 cup)
1 T minced garlic (2-3 cloves)

1 entire chicken breast, cooked and diced (2-3 cups)
1 quart cooked beans with broth (1 can beans with broth to make 4 cups)
1 t ground cumin
Salt to taste (1 tsp)

1. Saute first 4 ingredients in a hot kettle until onion is soft.
2. Add next four ingredients, stir and simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Serve with hot bread (try the Jalapeno Cheddar Cornbread!)

Field Pea Soup

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20150330_184435Too tired to grocery shop and not in the mood for fast food, this is what’s for supper tonight. It’s a lighter soup for a warmer evening.

Yes, this soup is almost entirely from cans. But it’s probably still healthier than drive-thru.

indexCanned field peas are hard to find lately. These are *not* blackeyed nor crowder peas, but probably an Austrian winter pea, also known as a dun pea. They are currently my favorite legume and when I see them on the shelf I get half a dozen cans.  I particularly like Allens or Texas Fair.

2 c. sliced smoked sausage
1 c. chopped onion
1 can field peas with snaps
1 can chilies
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1 t Cajun spice mix
1 t cumin

Saute the sausage and onion together in a small amount of water until the onion is soft. Before lowering heat, add tomatoes and chilies and stir well for a couple of minutes to prevent sticking. Lower heat and add peas, broth and spices. Simmer for 30 minutes.

Do a taste check before adding additional salt or spice. Both the sausage and the peas will add salt and occasionally chilies will add a little fire.

Serves four.

Migrating MS Office

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I have an auxiliary part-time job: managing Windows 7.  My Dell Inspiron’s warranty expired about the same time that it began having problems:  USB weirdness, spotty sound card issues, random loss of screen image.

So I bought a backup unit to work on when I finally had to send Big Blue to the shop.  It’s another Dell, not as powerful, not as wide = not as heavy.  So it’s ideal for traveling.

But getting it set up for work has been aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaughhhh.  I have reinstalled MS Office twice, downloaded multiple apps, spent 4+ hours on the phone with Microsoft Support (more a good faith gesture than anything else.  I really didn’t expect them to provide solutions.)

So The CatWirks has a new Category here on the blog just so I can remember what I did the next time this happens.

THE IMPORTANT STUFF:

1.  Secure your computer.  Download these apps from majorgeeks.com and run them.  They are my most trusted source for freeware and general tweaking advice.

  • Malwarebytes Anti-Malware
  • Spybot S&D
  • HijackThis

MajorGeeks has a whole section on how to set these up.  It’s at http://forums.majorgeeks.com/showthread.php?t=35407

It’s a lot of reading, but it’s quicker than dealing with Microsoft Support.

Do this at night when you’re doing the laundry or something.  You don’t want to try to do this during work hours.  It will send you over the edge.

2. Delete the registry key:  instructions for this is at http://wordprocessing.about.com/od/troubleshootin1/qt/wordregentry.htm

3.  Boot Word and create a new template from scratch.  On a blank document, set your default font, paragraph, etc.  Go to Word Options and set those preferences.  Name it Normal.dotm and remember to select “Word Macro-Enabled Template” in the Save As Type.  Leave it on your desktop.

4.  Navigate to the Templates folder — mine is in C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Office.  If you can’t find yours, go back to Word Options\Trust Center\Trust Center Settings\Trusted Locations and you can find the pathway there.

  • Close Word.  Rename your Normal.dotm template (the one in the folder, not the one on your desktop) to something like Old.dotm.  Then drag the new Normal.dotm to your Templates folder.
  • Delete all the other templates in the folder.  They’re probably screwed up, too, and you can create new ones from Normal.dotm when you get that one working right.

Reboot Word and see if it works.  If it doesn’t, try something else.

P.S. If you bought a version that has “non-commercial use” tattooed into the title bar, here’s a hack for that:

I bought a copy of Office 2010 Home and Student edition and was appalled to find “for non-commercial use” appended to the title bar of each Office application in the suite.  You can use the steps below to remove the stupid admonition from your copy of Office.
  1. Open regedit
  2. search for the term “non-commercial”.  Edit them as you wish.
  3. Usually you would be all done here, except that the clever folk at Microsoft have the applications reset these registry entries on opening the application, undoing all your good work!
  4. Right click on it in the tree, select ‘permissions’, then ‘advanced’, then the username (not system, it is the user who is opening and operating the software) and then ‘edit’. I guessed with this bit and allowed all items to be set to ‘allow’ except ‘Set Value’ and ‘Delete’ which are set to ‘Deny’.
  5. Repeat for each user.
  6. Seems long-winded but it worked for me!

Source: msmvps.com

via jonathonball

 

I’ll be adding to this later and rearranging stuff, so stay tuned.  And good luck.

 

 

Sweet Potato Pecan Bread by the Harris Sisters

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20150213_183339I probably knew what I was doing when I bought a 3# bag of sweet potatoes. I’m not sure I knew what I was doing when I baked them all at the same time.

I got tired of having them one at a time as a side with dinner. So tonight I mashed up all the rest of them and made this bread.

Oh, my goodness, it smells like a party in my kitchen. Of course I didn’t follow the recipe to the letter.  I added raisins to the batter and skimped on the sugar in the batter, and then doused it with a lemon glaze when it came out of the oven.

And it’s what’s for dinner tonight, with a glass of Earl Grey iced tea.  Life is good.

http://theharrissisters.blogspot.com/2014/10/sweet-potato-pecan-bread.html