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August 2013

A Close One

Last Sunday, as I was heading back into my driveway after a run, I could see a hot air balloon way off in the distance.


I could tell it was one of two particular balloons that frequently fly the skies over my neighborhood.

And I went inside to get some water.

Then, I could hear the whooooosh of the balloon, so I knew it was getting closer.  I grabbed my phone and went outside.


It was moving fast!






And even closer.


Until it was right over my head.


So close that I was conversing with the people IN the balloon!  (They were much amused with my picture-taking and Jenny's wild barking.)

I feared for my trees.  And my roof.


But they sailed right on by.

That was fun!

In the Kitchen


In my kitchen, I'm surrounded by helpful gadgets.  My Kitchen Aid mixer.  Mr. Coffee.  The food processor.  A submersion blender.  The set of wonder-knives. 


But when it comes right down to it, my Ten Favorite Kitchen Gadgets are the tried-and-true, trusty, everyday workhorse tools.


My favorite kitchen gadgets. . . are these:


  1. Most Excellent Nylon Spoon (from Good Cook, purchased at Target 20 years ago) - This non-descript spoon - probably obtained for less than $5 - is ideal.  So ideal, in fact, that Tom and I have been known to hide it from each other so we can use it when we need it.
  2. OXO angled measuring cups - I have them in a variety of sizes: from the quart-size to the mini-measures (up to 4 Tablespoons or 1/4 cup).  The BEST.
  3. Double-ended measuring spoons - So handy!  You can measure two separate ingredients - one in each end of the spoon.  Plus - the elongated end is perfect for fitting into narrow jars!
  4. Herb scissors - Quick and effective!  (Fun, too.)  Really great for chopping herbs for toppings and making those charming ribbons of herbs.
  5. OXO swivel vegetable peeler - Not terribly swivel-y, actually, but very comfortable to use.
  6. Plain old crank-handle can opener - nothing fancy here; just the basic model.
  7. Microplane rasp grater - I use this way more than I ever imagined! Citrus zest, shaved chocolate, a bit of parmesan.  Perfect.
  8. Plain old wood and/or bamboo spoons and spatulas - I keep a bunch right at my stove and use them all the time. 
  9. Herb chopper - (Actually called a mezzaluna) - My mom got me this most handy herb chopping board and mezzaluna for Christmas several years ago; it is The Best for mincing fresh herbs!
  10. Timers - I use the timers on my stove, my microwave, and sometimes even my iPhone when I'm cooking.

How about YOU?  What are your favorite gadgets in the kitchen?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.


NOTE: I am having some inconsistency with my email server at present.  While incoming emails seem to flow just fine, outgoing emails are getting mucked up.  I'm working on it -- but in the meantime, my apologies for not answering your emails and comments in a timely manner!

On the Playground

You know what's fun? 


Nature is fun.  In fact . . .


In my garden, I have a bee house.  (This very one, if you'd like to order one of your own.  And read this to find out why you might want to have one.)


(This is actually my third bee house.  They don't last forever. . .)

It is awesome fun to watch the bee-action in and out of my bee house.

Check this out.


Fun, non?



Just a Box of Rain. . .

It's been a rainy, cool summer here in Michigan.  When I think of rain, I often find myself humming this one . . .


which reminds me. 

I never wrote about finding Jerry Garcia's house in San Francisco!

It wasn't a pilgrimage or anything.  My sister and were walking down Haight Street.  Just wandering.  And marveling.   When we stumbled upon a Ben & Jerry's at the corner of Haight & Ashbury.


And I got a bit of a hankering for a scoop of Cherry Garcia.  Right there.  In Jerry Garcia's stomping ground.


As we paid for our ice cream, the guy at the counter asked us if we'd walked past Jerry's house yet. 

No, we said.

You're a block away, he said.

You should go, he said.

So we did.


That's my Cherry Garcia. . . in front of Jerry Garcia's!

Coolest thing?  The "tattoos" on the sidewalk in front of the house!


Just a box of rain. . .

Such a long, long time to be gone . . .

and a short time to be there. . .


This is my 1,000th blog post!  AMAZING!

Tell Me About . . .


You know those weird and impossible questions you need to answer when you interview for a job?

Tell me a little bit about your background. . .

Tell me about a time when you identified a problem and then found a solution. . .

Tell me about your biggest weakness. . .

If you were a box, what would you say on the outside. . .



Well, today, Carole asks us another weird and impossible interview question:   Tell me . . . 10 Words to Describe Yourself in an Interview!

Let's see.  Here's what I'd say. . .

  1. Innovative
  2. Insightful
  3. Organized
  4. Autonomous
  5. Direct
  6. Influential
  7. Determined
  8. Curious
  9. Principled
  10. Uppity (but in a good way!)

How about YOU?  What words would you use to describe YOURSELF?


Join the fun!  Sign up for Ten on Tuesday here.


Not Always Equal

I'm discovering that not all days are equal . . . when it comes to fun.

Some days, for example, are full of fun.

Heavenly coffee made by your personal barista in your own kitchen on Friday. . .


AND A date . . . complete with excellent beer and awesome live music . . .


Followed by Art in the Park on Saturday . . . with your Mom (and fresh-squeezed lemonade) . . .


and ice cream after new-car browsing . . .


Plenty of fun. 


Other days . . . not so much.

Some days, you see, are just full of Not Fun.  Like Sunday:  Errands.  Laundry.  Running.  Grocery shopping.  Catching up on work.  Dealing with Internet FAIL.

Some days you have to look harder for Fun.

But it's there.


Purple toes = FUN.


That'll do.


Remember learning about Venn diagrams back in elementary school?  I used to love playing around with them then  -- partly because they made math seem . . . not so much like math!  But I also thought it was interesting to see where seemingly odd things . . . actually come together and share attributes.

Take these two things, for example:


Beer - brewing


Where do they intersect?

Why . . . HOPS!  (Of course.)

Tom and I are very supportive of each other's hobbies.  He has no problem with my yarn stash, for example.  And he is very good at photographing my finished knitting projects.  I help him look for fibers and fly-tying materials -- and I don't mind when he does the "tank test" on new fly patterns right there in our bathtub.  I experiment with my cooking.  He cleans up.  I garden.  He digs.  He makes beer.  I drink it. 

But we found our hobbies overlapping this year, when we decided to plant hops!


Earlier this summer, I found two golden hops plants.  We found and ordered a new wire arbor, decided on a good location, and planted both arbor AND hops.


(You'll have to click to embiggen ... then you can actually SEE the arbor...)

Now, we both delight in running out to see how much the hops have grown each day.


Because GROW they do!

Before you know it, our new arbor will be covered in hops.

So, it's easy to see where gardening and beer-brewing intersect . . .


right there under the hops-arbor!


As for FUN today . . . check out my gardening gloves!


These are great gardening gloves -- lightweight, comfortable, durable, washable - with fingers and palms coated in nitrile. 

And . . . I smile every time I put them on.  Because FUN!


Want to make a Venn diagram of your own?  Interactive link here.




A Month of Fundays

Okay.  So earlier this week I was in a long-ish line at the grocery.  I grabbed a magazine to thumb through while I waited.

This headline immediately caught my eye.


A Month of Fundays.

Right there on page 114.


I loved it!

I bought the magazine.

And then, when I got home, I was horribly disappointed to find out that when I turned to page 114, A Month of Fundays . . . was a beauty calendar!


Yes.  This magazine's idea of a Month of Fundays amounted to suggestions of various beauty products or beauty regimens to try . . . every day of the month.

Not what I was expecting.  Not what I am interested in.

But, still. . . I was inspired.

A Month of Fundays.

Maybe it was the fact that it's felt more like fall than summer around here lately.  Maybe it's just that the summer is speeding along much more quickly than I'd really like it to.  Maybe I'm just ready for some FUN in my life.  But this notion of a Month of Fundays really appealed to me.

I kept thinking about it.

I was inspired by it.

So I'm going to give myself a Month of Fundays.  Not a big deal.  No rules.  No expectations.  I'm just going to look around me . . . for FUN.  Maybe I'll do fun things.  Maybe I'll read fun stories.  Maybe I'll plant something fun in my garden.  Maybe I'll make something fun.  Maybe I'll just . . . notice . . . FUN things.

I'm not really sure what will come of this.  But I'm declaring August my Month of Fundays!

Today, my bit of fun is this . . .


A new pair of cheaters . . . with purple edges.  Mostly only noticeable in certain lights or at certain angles.  But when the light shines just right . . . they are Very FUN Glasses!