Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Haven't posted in awhile....

I'm a bad blogger...

It's been incredibly busy around here - and with another tweak of the knee - that further complicated things. So - instead of complaining and what not, I'll share my most recent plight of UPS... the little brown truck people...

So I placed an order a long time ago - it was back-ordered. But then I got an email that it had shipped (yay!) It was coming from New Jersey and was shipped on the 22nd, 8 days ago. My shipment made its way to Lawnside, NJ followed by Horsham, PA -- all is good, right? It made its way to Commerce City (in Colorado) on the 24th and life was good. Traditionally things that make it to Commerce City take a day or so before being delivered.

Then - on the 25th I had another package delivered by UPS and the online status reported that my New Jersey parcel was in Grand Junction and was sent out for delivery - YAY! But ... when the guy in the little brown truck came by -- only one package. hmmm... I checked the status of the New Jersey parcel and .... no update except for out for delivery.... 26th nothing - 27th nothing -- weekend.. 28th - still showing the 25th "out for delivery" update.... hmmm....

Finally - yesterday - the 29th - I checked online and much to my dismay - my discs have been transported to Little Rock, Arkansas... WHAT?!?!? *sighs* I check back later, and it was sent to Lenexa, Kansas followed by Salina, Kansas. So today when I sign in - it's reporting that it's once again at Commerce City and we'll see if it gets delivered tomorrow.....

*sighs* I'm just glad I wasn't charged by the mile! Holy heck!!

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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Font Conference

A friend who knows I am font fanatic sent me this tonight so no one will probably think it is funny except well....those that like fonts as much as I do. (Be aware this is hosted on an adult humor type site but the actual video itself isn't adult.)

Link to Video - since it screws up the blog layout

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Gratitude Friday (on Saturday)

I express my sincere gratitude...
1. For being able to live in a beautiful state...Colorado is so beautiful. We were out taking pictures and saw a lot of places we hadn't been to in a while and it was just so breath taking
2. For Michael having a good subject for pictures today -- his niece. He was taking her senior pictures and was willing to climb out on rocks to get really close to the waterfall and climb down sides of creek banks to sit on rocks next to the water. She was loves the camera and the camera loves her!
3. For bottled water! Hot July day taking photos -- we packed a cooler of water and I am thankful we did!
4. For a cool shower after a long hard day.
5. For being able to sleep in tomorrow.

I recognize that I have much more to be thankful for in my life.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Nicest Thing

Just sharing because I liked the song and the singer never heard her before but now want to hear more....(not really a video just the song)

Monday, July 21, 2008

Denver Trip

We are back from Denver. Now it is catch up time for work. Being away for so long really makes things a little crazy when we get back.

But we also had a nice time in Denver. I saw my friend DM and her partner. It was great to see them! The time went to quickly for me though. I wish I could have spent more time with them. I felt like I wanted to talk about so much and time just kind of got away from me. But I am still thrilled that I was able to see them even for that short of time. Getting time with them both made my week!

Most of our week consisted of meetings. We got quite a bit accomplished while there. On Saturday morning Michael took a look at some pictures that were ruined. Michael's parents basement flooded and they had been sitting on the floor so they were ruined. Michael looked to see if he could think of a way to salvage them. One was a photo of a stain glass window that Michael's Gram was given for her good works with the youth of her church. That photo was ruined so with some pooled resources Michael and his Mom were able to track the window down. And Michael called to see if we could go take pictures of it. As it turned out the church was open so we went down to take pictures of it. It is a beautiful stain glass window in a very cute little church so I am glad Michael was able to get pictures. They turned out great. We then dropped one off at Wolf's Camera for 1 hour development and then ran to Michael's Arts and Crafts to get a frame for it. And then got another frame for the other photo which Frank took of Maroon Bells. So it was not only a productive day but a touching day seeing the stain glass in person. Michael's parents thanked us many times for helping them with the photos and frames.

Of course while in Denver we always seem to hit good places to eat! Michael's parents took us to Jim 'N Nick's BBQ for dinner. Yummy! I had never been there but everyone else had and Michael kept telling me how good it was and he was right. I didn't leave hungry. We also went to a really good vegetarian/vegan restaurant in Denver with my friends as they are vegan. The food there was beautiful. I had banana bread french toast with toasted walnuts and fruit. I had planned on getting a sandwich but then saw that on the menu and it was calling my name! We also got to have Beau-Jo's Pizza while over -- met family there. Michael's sister needed glutten-free and they had a whole page of menu devoted to glutten-free - even glutten free pizza. And she said it was pretty good for being glutten free --- and now knows when she is craving pizza where to go.

So we are back and busy working. I have several websites going and a logo to work on too. Michael has quite a few projects too so we are busy.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Gratitude Friday

Thankful for...
1. very productive meetings this week. Really good things for our future!
2. seeing my friends!
3. Beau-Jo's Pizza!
4. Rain in the mountains yesterday-- although it spoiled our plans it smelled so nice and was pretty
5. Coldstone ice cream!

I recognize that I have much more to be thankful for in my life.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Hitting I-70

Leaving for Denver! Seeing my friend DM and her partner on tomorrow. I can't wait as we haven't seen each other for 7 years.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Book Review: PS, I Love You

I got the movie from netflix and watched ummmm 2, 3 okay 10, 12 times before returning it. It is great chickflick!

PS, I Love You PS, I Love You by Cecelia Ahern

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
After just watching the movie and being a big sap for chick-flicks, I had to read the book. I enjoyed it. Of course the story was quite different then the book but both equally as good. Holly Kennedy just lost her husband Gerry. She is in a deep state of grief when she finds out he has sent her letters to help her through it. One for each month for 10 months. He has her get a bedside lamp so she doesn't trip going to bed, sets a trip up for her and so on. The book explores how she processes her loss with his help. This book did contain tears but I laughed out loud many times too.

View all my reviews.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

A Quick Catch Up Before Leaving Again

Things really got messed up on Monday this past week to cause lots of changes to our schedule. We left for Denver Thursday got back late Friday. And now Michael is finishing up a memorial video. So he is trying to get that done so we can deliver it Monday or hopefully early Tuesday. And then we leave to go back to Denver as Michael has some meetings. My friends that were going to visit here in GJ -- had plans to stop in Denver to stay with one of their friends there so we are going to actually just see them their hopefully Tuesday for dinner. Or maybe Wednesday for lunch before they leave Denver. And then we won't be back from Denver until Saturday. So it is crazy.

I had a mammogram -- it was a follow up to one that they were suspicious about. But they say often when it is your first one they like to do one at 6 months also just to make sure that is your normal tissue. And so what they saw was just my normal tissue. So I am fine. I really didn't even get time to stress about it.

So that is where things are at....

I am busy doing laundry and getting us ready for trip this week today. As well as doing some web work. And yay our internet is back fully. It was out for 10 days - 12 hours a day. It really made me lose faith in customer service people. We had 2 bad customer service experiences recently.

Well better get busy packing!

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Book Review: Bread for Breakfast

Bread for Breakfast Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
I love to read cookbooks. I get into bed under the covers and read them just like I would any other book. And I like to cook. So I sit, go over the ingredients, thinking of them as if I would be mixing up the dough for the breads of this book. This book had many recipes that I would make. I have only made two so far (and both were delicious) but would like to try a few more before returning it to the library. It will be a book I put on my wish list too. It had very easy quick breads to breads that require a little more time and then delicious looking coffee cakes to eat when gathering with friends. Plus some recipes that use bread but are the perfect Sunday breakfast/brunch recipes. I really want to try out each recipe out. The book also has little stories or antidotes with each recipe. And tips also. Good to read and delicious recipes to make!
View all my reviews.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Little Rant & Potato Herb Rolls

I am working on some website for clients but in between today I made some rolls to go with dinner. Also today made it clear I need to do a customer review of a company. I won't do it though until we are all free and clear of them. But really i have never seen such horrible customer service. Michael has been dealing with a lot of customer service lately (internet outage - has to call everyday and we have been out a week today) and we have had some really unenthusiastic help. But this company I need to do a review about (nothing to do with the internet) has been horrendous. We actually need to do a good customer review for the company Michael used to get his parents engraved wine glasses. They WERE awesome! I should ask Michael to do that as he dealt with them.

Okay on to the dinner rolls...I did the dough in my bread machine and then took it out, shaped and baked in oven. I didn't want to do my usual just little round bun shape so I googled how to shape dinner rolls and came up with a really great link from Cooks Illustrated. It is a pdf with instructions on how to shape dinner rolls. I did mine a few different shapes just to play and see what I liked best. I did the double knot and then from another website just a single cross over. I didn't brush mine in egg as I was out of eggs.

Potato Herb Rolls

1 C. plus 2 tablespoons water (70 to 80°F.)
2 T. olive oil
1 t. salt
2 t. dried herbs -- I use more then that and use garlic powder, onion powder, basil and oregano
3 C. bread flour
1/2 C. instant potato flakes or buds
2 T. nonfat dry milk
1 T. sugar
1 1/2 t. bread machine yeast


1 egg, lightly beaten

To make dough: Measure all dough ingredients into bread machine pan in the order suggested by manufacturer, adding potato flakes with flour. Process on dough/manual cycle.

When cycle is complete, remove dough to floured surface. If necessary knead in additional flour to make dough easy to handle. Divide dough into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece to 10-inch rope; coil each rope and tuck end under coil. Place rolls 2 inches apart on large greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm, draft-free place until doubled in size, about 45 to 60 minutes.

To Top:
Brush tops with egg; sprinkle with sesame seed (optional). Bake in preheated 375-degree oven for 15 to 20 minutes or until done. Remove from pan; cool on wire rack.

Note: Dough can be prepared in 1 1/2 and 2-pound bread machines.

Monday, July 07, 2008

It's a Monday!

It is turning out to be a true Monday in every sense of the word. Looks like we will be in Denver almost all next week. Kind of screwed up plans with my friends but they are staying in Denver for 2 nights so we are hoping to be able to meet them for lunch or dinner there.

I have a mammogram appointment today. A follow up from my one 6 months ago. On the appointment for my first one the tech said that they sometimes ask people who just had their first one to come back in 6 months because sometimes a spot might look off but really it is just how my/others normal tissue looks. Everyone is different basically. So that is what they are going to find out today -- if it is how my tissue looks normally or if there is really something there. I haven't worried about it a lot because I have been to busy really.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

No More Papyrus Please!

I just read one of those lists -- 25 Reasons you might be a graphic/web designer. And all to many of them I could relate too but one of them has been a personal crusade of mine for a long time. It is to not use the font Papyrus. For the last several years -- to urge people not to use it. I said it once in a workshop I was teaching and they just looked at me like I had slapped them in the face. But I guess they just don't see how OVER used it is. To me it feels clunky with most designs. Nothing seems to mesh with it very well. So my suggestion is to not use papyrus for anything you do (I was going to add except for personal correspondence but really it even bothers me seeing it there.) Please just step away from the papyrus font! Pretty Please!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Internet Outage and Muffins

Well our internet most likely will be going out about 9:30pm our time. It went out every night since Wednesday at that time and was up again at 8am. Michael has a feature on his program that goes to the webserver to pull mail that tell him the last time it did that well it does that at 8am. Bresnan came out on Thursday and today and made some adjustments but couldn't find anything visibly wrong. So I am trying to get this posted before 9:30pm.

I made another recipe from Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger. It was okay. It wasn't bad but it wasn't what I was craving. I made it because it looked like something that would appeal to Michael. And he did enjoy them. I am hoping this is a trend with her recipes too - they stay puffy and raise up like I think normal baked goods do so that makes me happy! As the altitude is always something I am battling with.

Biscuit Muffins
Makes 12 muffins

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cardamom or ground nutmeg (I used cardamom as I am always looking for recipes with it in it)
1 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoon butter, cold and unsalted, and cut into small pieces
1 cup cold buttermilk
1 tablespoon sugar for sprinkling, optional

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease the cups of a standard muffin tin.

In a large bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, nutmeg, and salt. Distribute the butter over the flour mixture, and with a fork, or an electric mixer, work in the butter until coarse crumbs are created.

Pour in the buttermilk, and mix using low speed with a mixer, or a fork, until dough forms a sticky mass, about 30 seconds. Do not overmix, you are just letting the dough come together.

Lightly dust a work surface with flour. Dump the dough out, sprinkle the top with flour, and knead gently, 6-8 times. The dough should remain soft and sticky. Cut the dough into 12 equal portions, and place in greased muffin cups.

Sprinkle with sugar, and bake 25-35 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove pan from oven, and transfer muffins to cooling rack to cool for a few minutes before serving.

***I use powdered buttermilk and they came out great! I just made sure the water was really cold and added the powder with the flour mixture.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Gratitude Friday

I express my sincere gratitude...

1. For Bread for Breakfast book - wonderful recipes
2. For almost being done with my redesign of my art site (crossing fingers)
3. For A&W Rootbeer with dinner
4. For the library - I know I had said that before but I can't say enough how great they are -- they send books from all over the state to the branch I use, I order them online, I get notified online they are in so just have to go to the desk to pick them up. It is so quick and easy! And everyoen is always so nice there!
5. For such wonderful man in my life. Michael cares about my emotional and mental wellbeing as much as my physical well being. I am really struggling with something that is happening in my life and he has been my rock.

I recognize that I have much more to be thankful for in my life.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Cooking for Vegan Friends

I am going through a little bit of a panic as I have a good friend visiting with her partner and they are both vegan. We live in a town that I don't feel caters to vegans. And my choices on where to get food for them are limited. I asked the advice of a message board I belong to and everyone was saying Trader Joes or Whole Foods. Ummm yeah Grand Junction will get those soon right? Not going to hold my breath on that one. My friend's partner is a chef and told me to check out and at least there looks like some recipes there I might be able to find ingredients for locally. Vitamin Cottage should have some ingredients I can use. (Crossing my fingers!)

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Living the Creative Life

On Friday's Gratitude list I said for the beautiful book I picked up at the library. I haven't finished the book but I had to write at least a little something at which is below. But in reading more of this book since then I just am amazing by the words just as much. They really had got into my head -- many of the things I struggle with they are addressing. Definitely a book I am adding to my wishlist!

Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists Living the Creative Life: Ideas and Inspiration from Working Artists by Rice Freeman-Zachery

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
June 27, 2008: I opened this book tonight and have not even read much of it yet but I started to cry. Cry because it evoked such a feeling of home for me. That this is truly the art I have inside wanting to come out. The pages are beautiful - truly inspiring.

View all my reviews.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Vanilla and Cinnamon Crumb Cake

Every month on the first I am greeted with Michael saying, "Happy Anniversary!" Our official anniversary of when we started seeing each other is February 1, 2003 but it doesn't matter if it is February, July or November....if it is the first of the month I get greeted Happy Anniversary, warm embrace and passionate kisses at the start of the day. We love each other and try to celebrate that love and life. The moment we first knew we were right for each other is brought up each month in his words and embrace.

So today being the first of July I decided to make Michael something special for breakfast. I checked out the book Bread for Breakfast by Beth Hensperger recently from library. The book has some delicious looking recipes in it. And it is a book I would like to have on my bookshelf because I know I would use it quite a bit. This morning I tried Vanilla and Cinnamon Crumb Cake from it. And it turned out so good! Michael doesn't like nuts so when I find recipes with a crumb top usually it has nuts in it. And I have substituted other things such as more flour or oatmeal at times but this one didn't have any nuts in it so I flagged it right away as one I wanted to try.

Makes one 10-inch round coffee cake

Crumb Top
1 1/2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
10 tablespoons cold unsalted butter - cut into small pieces (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)

Cake Batter
6 tablespoons unsalted butter - softened (3/4 stick so basically the rest of what was left after the crumb topping)
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cake flour - unsifted
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sour cream (not fat reduced)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees (325 degrees for a dark-finish pan). Line a 10-inch springform pan with parchment, grease the bottom and sides and set aside.

To make the crumb top, in the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar; and cinnamon. Cut in the vanilla and cold butter on low speed until coarse dry crumbs are formed. Pour into a small bowl and set aside. If not using immediately, refrigerate until needed.

To make the cake batter, without cleaning the mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla extract and beat well on medium speed for 30 seconds. The mixture will be loose. Add the flour; cinnamon, baking powder; baking soda, and salt and beat on low speed for 15 seconds. Add the sour cream and beat on medium-high speed only until the lumps smooth out and the mixture looks fluffy, about 30 seconds on medium-high speed. Do not overbeat.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared springform pan. Sprinkle the top evenly with the crumb topping. Bake on the center rack of the oven for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the top is crisp and feels firm when gently touched in the center; the cake separates slightly from the sides of the pan, and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean (it may be a bit moist; that's okay). Do not overbake, or the cake will be dry.

Remove from the oven and cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes before removing the sides of the pan. Let cool at least 30 minutes before serving warm, or cover in plastic wrap to serve later at room temperature.
Store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

*** Of course I made a few modifications. I didn't have cake flour so used all-purpose - as I said turned out great. I add some cardamom as I just love the flavor and it sounded like a good add for this cake so just did a couple pinches of it in the cake batter. And last thing I changed was the springform pan. I didn't want to use my springform pan as I just didn't want fight with it leaking at all -- although I sure it would look prettier in it so might try that eventually. But today I just used a 9-inch square pan. Only problem that came with that is it seemed to need to bake longer. I baked 1 hour 10 minutes.