Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Our Trip to Silverton



This slide show is freeware which you can install if you click on the info box at the lower right. I had to customize the size in the object code on width and height to make it fit in the space I have. I changed the bg color for the fun of it. I looked quite a while to find a nice slide show that didn't have a prominent ad, and think this one is awfully nice, don't you? Of course it's made in Flash, but I didn't make it!

Monday, October 29, 2007

contest results

Be sure you check out the results of Whinsey's costume contest including the slapdash animation which took approx 3.5 hours and could be much better but I had to do the over the cliff hike, another eek.

The doorknob line to the RIGHT is random- each time you visit it may say something different.

I just added the hide and seek top logo- that and the random line come from BlogU. It also seems to have information on setting up three columns, but I haven't tried that yet.


off to Silverton in the morning!

Blogger widget mad

I'm going to be helping someone with her personal site, and I've been really pushing for her to use Blogger as the main site. I think it has more attraction and immediacy than personal domain sites. What do you think?

If you have specific interests, it's so easy to put enough tags/labels into your posts that people find you and start up a conversation. And you don't have to deal with the runaway webmaster, which various friends/clients always seem to be complaining about. I mean, how hard is it to upload an image or a video in blogger? And you can include interactive Flash and JavaScript. candy on the house!

And it's FREE! And when you want to add a post you just do it-- you don't have to bitch about how hard it is to get your webmaster to update, or struggle with css. Many people starting with blogger don't realize it's potentially more free form and more like a website than a diary, if you're willing to experiment.

The downside is you don't get the full page, and it's a little trickier to design things as you want them, but it can be done. I've seen hacks for making blogger three columns, though I haven't tried it yet.

Anyway, with that said, I can explain why I currently have so much TECHNO widgetry on this blog today, like who just said what when, and a calendar of past posts rather than the long list, and which posts are most popular-- now that widget is butt ugly but I haven't found a prettier one yet. If any of you want leads to where I found this stuff, just holler.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Sunday and Ouray (rhymes with Hooray)


Yesterday started with Hav-a- heart success. I live trapped our little mouse and let it out in the morning. I used Crisco as bait, and sonic boxes to do whatever it is they're supposed to do. It was hard to open the trap and take a picture at the same time, especially since once I let a rat out this way and it ran up my leg!

We went to Ouray on Saturday, a lovely town we hadn't been to in three years. It was so quiet there I could stand in the middle of Main St. and take this picture:



The Elks club had a Halloween event planned for that evening. Think it's the right spot?



The town is very pretty and empty, but they had a Main Street Art Supply store- shocking, and Jon treated me to a watercolor set. Hope I make up my mind to put it to use.



Later was the best part. There are radioactive springs in Ouray, and a big public hot springs spa and pool, outdoors, with HOT water, and lanes for swimming too. We soaked and later I swam. I left my camera in the car.

I love natural thermo occurences. When I went to Yellowstone I was beside myself, I found it so exciting-- those bubbling pots and weird mud events. Someday I want to visit Iceland...

Smoke from the L.A. fires has drifted to Colorado..



Goodtimes has a nice blog on Ouray here.

EEK!

Fooling around with the blog and I lost my settings!

Friday, October 26, 2007

PORCUPINE!


While our wondrous short rib dinner was cooking, we took our usual route hike which takes about 2 1/2 hours, high above our house along a rim trail. We saw no wildlife at all, which has been the state of things the last two weeks during hunting season... (eek)



Look close near center and you can see the orange Honda Element.

We were getting near home, when Molly ran into some scrub oaks and started rolling, then leaping in the air. Then she ran out. We figured she was rolling on elk poop or something similar.

Then Jon said, "She's got quills in her mouth." I got down and pulled out all I could find. They were outside her mouth, and on her orange raincoat. With porcupine quills, you have to get them right away before the base end starts to swell. Then it becomes really painful.

I said, "She must have rolled on a dead porcupine. I'm going to look for it." So I trudged around the scrub while Jon kept Molly in a down stay. I couldn't find it. I stood still. I heard something move nearby. I gave up.

Only when we were home did we put it all together. It must have been a live porcupine that Molly discovered in the brush, and she rolled on it. When it hurt, she ran back to us. This is what dog owners hope MOST will happen with the first porcupine incident.

It never played this way with Chow Chows. They would bark and snap and bark and snap and have to go to the vet usually because there would be too many quills. We wonder if Molly's porky may have been a baby-- the quills were fairly small.



When we got home, I removed more quills while she lay quietly. She is such a good dog.

Years ago we would frequently see porcupines, and had to build little fences around young pine trees, because they can just strip them and kill them. But we had a neighbor who was a porky vigilante and shot everyone he saw. Even though they caused trouble for dogs and trees, we missed seeing the porkies. So it was kind of a treat to know they were still around. We thought he'd gotten every last one.

The crock pot recipe was basically this one, without the mushrooms or sour cream. Later Jon ran a 16 mm print of THE LETTER, directed by William Wyler, starring my favorite BETTE DAVIS. This movie is a great one. It also connected in my mind with Lord Jim, which I recently read.

ps an email I got this week:
Psychic Lenny Offers Free Numerology Reports would like to be added to your MySpace friends list.

No wonder I stay away from myspace! Do you?

Does Rice Have a Pull Date?



I must have made the worst rice pudding in pudding history. It was so thick I had to whap it off the spoon to get it onto the plates. Library paste tasted better than this. And the expensive black cherries looked like the constant flies that stick to the flypaper on our windows. Could it have been because the rice was five years old? I kept cooking it, hoping the rice crunch would vanish, which it never quite did. Ah, culinary defeat.

and that wasn't the only one. The wheat free cornbread was the texture of the rice pudding as it went into the oven, and the texture of the pudding when it came out... The color was quite gray, not my favorite color for cornbread. That one I chalk up to a bad mix or a bad cook who may not have measured the milk correctly while enjoying the wine.

But the shrimp were good, the shrimp were good, and so was the eggplant, but since I've failed home economics already this week I won't include the recipe.

Today we've got that darn old crock pot cooking. Nothing like coming down to cook dinner at 8 am after making a mess of the dinner the night before. It's kind of creepy that you can look into the crock and see it doing its thing all day. We'll see what develops here.

However, we all had a great time on the 2 1/2 hour walk before hand. Even here I was not on spot, totally messing the exposure on these happy hikers. (and no, alas, I'm not the babe on the right.)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Company for Dinner



Hopefully not this mouse, just seen again under the sink when I reached to get a new sponge. Mouse had eaten major hunks of yesterday's new sponge, as well as some aluminum foil, passing by an open box of Trader Joe's crackers. No accounting for taste.

But we really are having company for a hike and dinner, and when you spend so much time semi-solitary, as we do, it seems like a BIG DEAL! Plus the recipes got thrown out the window when we found that Catherine's a vegetarian and wheat intolerant. No lasagna for us... we had that last night, and the night before, and it's just as well they're not getting that!

So it's going to be:
  • Pioneer Woman's Shrimp (cooked twice now and like it)
  • My eggplant dish- thin slices with a tomato/garlic/olive oil paste top, roasted. Usually delicious but not always reliable.
  • Cornbread from a special mix for the no wheaters.
  • simple salad
  • rice pudding- I just made this one. The recipe, from a NY Fire Dept. Cookbook, says it feeds ten. Ten what? Ten mice? I split the recipe and ended up with some pudding that tastes good on the spoon and is about one big cereal bowl size-- so we'll hope the rest of the dinner fills them up. By the way, rice pudding is incredibly tedious to cook. You have to stand at the stove stirring for 50 plus minutes, at least at this altitude.



Fortunately I'm reading a great book, Death Valley in '49: The Autobiography of a Pioneer.

I'd read it once before, but then it was a loaned copy, from someone who didn't really want to loan it, (a friend's husband), and I was amazed to find it on Amazon because I'd thought about it a lot and didn't know what it was called. If you don't enjoy Western history, you wouldn't like this, but if you do it's amazing.

Greta, here's a video snippet for you. I found a whole lovely video of this rat in this house half a year ago, but looking for it today I couldn't find it anywhere on youtube.


video

Sally G, the eggplant recipe: eggplant crisps (I made it up)

Slice an eggplant thinly, maybe 1/3" and put garlic salt on both sides. Place between paper towels with something heavy over it for 1/2 hour at least. This pulls out the moisture.

Preheat oven to 350. In blender make a paste of Parmesan, olive oil, a clove of garlic, some of those tasty small tomatoes that aren't cherry tomatoes, and chives or basil. If it tastes good smeared on a cracker, it's good.

Lightly oil a cookie sheet right before cooking. Place slices on the sheet with a thin layer of the topping. Don't do this in advance or the eggplant will soak up the oil and get soggy. Eggplant is fussy. Cook for about a half hour, should be bubbly on top but not burned, and if you're lucky they'll be crispy. Still can't figure out why sometimes they aren't crispy, but they're always tasty.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Are you my mama?



"No, sorry Llama."

This llama lives on Landfill Road in Montrose. Nothing like a classy address, huh?

We have to drive our trash to town.
There's a recycle center with no one there in one part of town, but the landfill is far from that.

The landfill is in a sandy hill with a weird and windy road that seems almost like a bad fairy tale road where the ogre is waiting for you at the top. When you reach the top, you stop your car, take out your trash, and THROW IT ON THE GROUND! For a seasoned recycler like me this was very weird and creepy. Jon said we'd never go there again. (There are other dumps to choose from.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

More Fire!



update: here is a link to the most up to date information on California wildfires.

Just received this awful email from my best friend at college-on East Coast- (protecting names for privacy in this difficult time)
quoting:

"Shocking - brother J's home is gone, brother B- (and wife, dog) and sister C- both evacuated their homes in Poway and Encinetas respectively. The family email and phone traffic all about collective relief that we didn't lose each other. Mom and Dad in love with their children, proud of their calm, organization, ability to move on. Everyone was ready with important stuff in portable lock boxes, plans ready. 12 year old C- text-mailed her cousin in Pacific Grove: "the damn fire burned my house".

Unbelievable so many people homeless in no time at all. Imagining the energy to rebuild and return as overwhelming as the energy to manage the loss.

Hard to be so helpless and far away. "

...

Thinking about the Fires



While we look out the window and worry about erratic icicles, Southern California is on fire. Two years ago Dinah and I had to evacuate horses during the fires. A friend called this morning and said it was unlike anything he'd ever seen, so smokey that you have to drive with headlights on in the day. We're keeping KNX radio on to follow it- that's the local news station. What the news isn't reporting is that formerly the National Guard would be helping put these fires out, but guess what-- they're mostly in Iraq.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Snow Cows!



We had a big snow last night, and I saw this out my office window this morning. Wish we could let them in, but that would be a big mistake!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Mickey Moss (for Linda)



Linda Davick has posted a wondrous series of found stones from her Cliff House walks on the beach, with names and emotions. As we were walking back from our "picnic" today, I passed this moss on a rock and thought, "Linda, it's Mickey Moss!"
(photoshop enhanced, but only slightly.)

Got Me a Magpie



These are such beautiful birds, but hard to get a picture of them on our porch beause they always see me coming. They land with a big thud. I wonder why their tails are so long.

Jon went to put his old plaid deerstalker hat on this week and there was a dead mouse inside!

I'm reading Joseph Conrad's "Lord Jim". It's incredibly good.

A big storm is coming tonight. All the aspen trees have dropped their leaves.

Our house is looking kind of spooky too.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Feeding Whinsey



I first made a page like this long ago in JavaScript. Thought I'd rebuild it in Flash. woah was that a lot of code. Have fun.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

March of Time



It's been raining, sleeting, snowing, blowing all day. Feeling my California weather wimpiness. Molly's chewing on a bone out by the wood pile, dusted with snow.



I was going to go up and take a picture of this homesteader cabin, below, but this picture from last summer will have to do. It's too COLD and there are hunters in the BUSHES!



Twenty years ago we met the couple who built this and spent their honeymoon here: Elbert Harris and his wife. Doesn't it seem hard to imagine, looking at this log cabin?

But then I remember my mother telling me about going to Raleigh to meet my father's relatives when they were first engaged. In a big old house on Hillsborough Street, maiden Cousins Minnie and Daisy told her about the end of the War, (as in Civil War) and seeing all the veterans as they returned, walking back over the hill. ..

Do you have any one step away connections to the past like that? (of course I'm older than all of you.)

Once we went to the Hastings Mesa reunion picnic, (our Colorado home is on Hastings Mesa), when some of the old homesteaders were still alive. The party time was 12 noon. When we got there at 12:15, ALL the food was gone. It was their style. I brought some food and it vanished just as fast.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Things Fall Apart



But not at the Target in Montrose we went to today, which had only been open since Sunday. I had to test out the mechanical Halloween novelties.



This one was called an animated portrait, but she just stuck her tongue out at you, and her eyes got a little weird.



This rock is perfect for where we live as it seems to define the neighborly spirit. It made a spooky noise, but failed design-wise because you have to push a button for it to light up. You'd want it to light up and do its thing as soon as anyone came near it. It was called a haunted rock. Pay attention, Linda.




Target was so red inside I felt as if I was entering the Communist Party. Here's Jon paying for our RED crock pot, which the gal in red is having trouble lifting.



This guy was a cool old timer, and seemed so out of place in this red shopping madness. I guess that's a cel phone in his holster. Montrose is an old ranching town which has decided to hell with zoning and the mega stores have all creeped in.

I wish I had a camera hat. I would have really liked to take a front view, not a back view, of this guy, and many others, but I'm just too shy and non-confrontational.

And about the title of this post: Things Fall Apart: A Novel is a book by Chinua Achebe that appeared on so many people's lists of best books of the 20th Century that I ordered and read it. I thought it would be better. It's a very dignified and elegant book about tribal life in Nigeria before the missionaries and white men destroy it. Strange that the only animals mentioned are goats and chickens, and one serpent that gets destroyed. (It had a required reading/junior high school feel to me but I'm critical, as if you hadn't noticed.)

The otherwise very stylish cover mentions four times how many copies have sold, which seemed tacky to me. The names of the characters were such mouthfuls it could almost pass for science fiction if you just changed a few details.

An essential book for someone interested in anthropology, but then, do people even study that anymore, or is the whole concept not p.c.? Just wondering.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Orange Alert



Jon fell over a log in the rain yesterday and his knee hurt, so I went for a walk with Molly by myself today.

On the way up we encountered a neighbor who didn't remember ever meeting me. (It's that kind of place.) Fashion tip for her: Big older gals who look like Julia Child shouldn't dress like big babies, even in the woods. You know those little knit caps with Nordic trim and dingle dangles? Of course I've made her look like she's headed into World War I. I should talk. Notice how many pictures of me I post compared to pictures of Molly? There's a reason!



I actually didn't draw that with my left hand, it just looks that way.

So Molly and I wiggled under two barbed wire barriers and were marching merrily across the mountain top when I heard a strange noise, rumbling. I thought we must have finally come upon the elusive thundering elk herd.

And then I spotted three guys far across the aspen forest, wearing orange coats like Molly's, riding motorized tricycles. They were looking at us. We'd heard cows nearby the night before.

My first thought: These cowboys lose the romance on tricycles. Kind of sad...
Next thought: They're going to yell at me for climbing under their fences and my dog off leash. I better get going.

Next thought: Ya big dope! They're hunters on tricycles. And they call them ATVS! It was only because of Molly's orange coat they'd seen us. I was dressed in an old aspen gold color jacket, blending perfectly with the landscape.

Hunter rant: not only do they use telescopes on their rifles but they buzz around the land forcing the animals out.

We hurried home.

Colorado Cassoulet



And now we move on to the main course. I'm not that good a cook, in fact Jon usually does the cooking, but this dish was unexpectedly: PERFECTION!

We cook duck once or twice a month, then have half a duck left over the next day. Sometimes we maked duck salad, or put it in pasta, or just eat it standing up, quack, but then sometimes I make an improvised cassoulet and it's alright but only just. (Has nothing to do with Julia Child style recipes for cassoulet.)

At City Market Jon said why not make it with dried black eyed peas instead of the canned beans I usually use. In L.A. black eyed peas cook in a couple of hours, so I thought, why not?

It took a day and a half for those rock hard rockin' black-eye peas to soften up in simmering water. (Turned them off over night.) By morning I'd added to the large sauce pot:
  • A chopped onion
  • A chopped red pepper
  • chopped carrot
  • chopped celery
  • half a can of chopped green chilis
  • chopped parsley
  • two bay leaves
  • splash of worcestershire sauce
  • can of chopped tomatoes
  • half a duck
  • weird stuff at hand like dabs of old spaghetti sauce, vermouth, and a glob of last week's turkey consomme.
By dinner time the duck had fallen off the bone, the beans were soft, and the flavor was exquisite. I didn't bother putting a buttery bread crust on it. What the flavor most resembled was chili verde, which is made with pork. It was very satisfying. Maybe this is why people buy crock pots, but I don't have one.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Colorado Cocoa



I've been making cocoa every morning we've been in Colorado twenty years or more.

To make good cocoa, you have to buy this product:
It's Droste Cocoa Powder, I didn't realize I took a picture of the foreign side of the label. Many nicer grocery stores carry it.



Here's how I make delicious cocoa:
  1. Fill a large mug 3/4 full of milk. Do this for as many mugs as you're preparing.
  2. Pour the milk into a pan and start heating it.
  3. Pour a small amount of milk into each mug again, to cover the bottom and then some. You will use this to make a paste of cocoa and sugar.
  4. Add two tablespoons sugar or a little more to each mug.
  5. Add one super heaping tablespoon of cocoa.
  6. Stir and stir until you have a glossy brown paste in each mug.
  7. When the milk starts bubbling, pour into the mugs, and stir again. It mixes right away.


The only places I've tasted cocoa as good: The Savoy Hotel in London (in our glory days), and a chocolate shop in San Miguel de Allende. I've bought other products from Scharffenberger to those weird Mexican wheels that taste a little like tires. Droste is the best.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Hunting Season Starts Tomorrow

video

Run Molly Run!



Jon's old biking vest fits her, though it's a little humiliating.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I've Always Loved Maps



This is one I made for my story of the Titanic Two. It's a story that's more or less lost now, because it depended on Javascript engines created by someone in the Netherlands who's vanished. You can see Rebozo in the center carrying the cocktails. Each icon represented a different story. The art was all gifs, because those had transparent backgrounds, whereas jpegs are solid. Gifs also have hideous outlines, with a rat chewed black line.

I do love maps. If I'm in a car and don't have anything to read, (and am not the driver) I can sit and look at a map of anything for long stretches, then forget it all. Although Mapquest and gps make it easier for everyone not to get lost, they don't give you that wonderful sense of physical space. And if any step goes wrong with Mapquest, you're toast.

I've always felt mapmaking is one of the unrecognized bright spots of civilization, where you can think of all the different people all down through the years who contributed their part to make sense of space. Imagine those folks who locked things down in the U.S. with the U.S.G.S. maps... That must have been an adventure.

Anyway, imagine my thrill last night when I installed a map on this blog to see where visitors were coming from, and spotted someone in TASMANIA! Also I thought only about four friends ever showed up here.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Molly Makes Friends



We went out in the meadow early to play chuckit with the tennis balls, and when we came back to the house, two dogs were in the yard.




Molly's been through a lot of training to deal with her bipolar approach to other dogs ("I like you, I'll kill you), but this visit went pretty well. The pale shepherd ran on home.



Molly had buried a bone by the front step but I didn't tell her that's why friends came calling.



The Malamute is gorgeous and very friendly.



We went to see a movie in town last night, "Eastern Promises", by David Cronenberg, and had an Italian dinner. I ordered Osso Buco. It turned out we'd met our waiter last summer at the Norwood rodeo, which made it a little more fun. I had to cover my eyes a lot during the movie, but it had great things about it too.

A Bear for Namowal



Blogger pal Namowal (look at her name in a mirror), has a cute ongoing comic strip involving martians and a scorpion, among other things!, at tail o' the rat.

This cute painting was one of a series of bear paintings my mother's cousin did back in the 40's for a children's book they were working on together that never got published. I love the use of color. There are six illustrations in the series. My mother gave them to me.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Molly Loves It Here



Playing Rin Tin Tin



Keeping the pack together



Rolling in Bear Poop!

Is Smiley Face Rock changing?



Taken this morning, with frost on the ground.

Taken last summer for Linda Davick:



The other Smiley Face that isn't changing is the release date, sigh, for the movie Smiley Face that Gregg Araki directed and I did animated titles for. It's a cute movie and got good reviews last January at Sundance, then corporate changeovers caused its long release delay.

Judge a Book By Its Cover



Funny blog I came upon today, written by a librarian.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Heck of a Night, Brownie



The wind was blowing so intensely last night that it felt like intermittent earthquakes all night-- except earthquakes don't moan and howl. Needless to say, I couldn't sleep.

Dinah had called us last night with news that she's been taken on as an intern at the veterinary school, which is very unusual for a freshman. She felt that Tia's recent emergency had helped her get this position, since she'd gotten to know so many vets during that time. She also said that in her animal science class they learned how to flip sheep.

So when I couldn't sleep I thought maybe flipping sheep might work-- because sometimes counting them helps me. But then I couldn't figure out why she was flipping sheep, and once you've flipped one, in your mind, how do you move on to the next one with the first one still there on the ground.

So then I started thinking about blogs, and the nice digital friends I've made since I started participating more.

Recently Mean Jean, a friend from the first blog I used to read, J-Walk, contacted me, which was a kick. (Only at J-Walk can you learn how to cook lasagna in your dishwasher and other odd things. His food posts are especially great.)

While I was reading Mean Jean's blog, I travelled on to this hilarious post about Amy Sedaris.

As I tossed along with the wind, I started thinking about that writer, pseudonym heather, and what a funny bitchy persona he/she has. I also love/hate pioneer woman for that same strong partly made up persona.

And with all that floating around in my head, I knew it was time for the Whinsey blog. Hope I'm up for it. Too tired to do much about it today.

8:10 pm and about to crash. "Beta Whinsey" is here. It snowed here this afternoon. Kate Chopin's "The Awakening" is like 1901 airport fiction. I just finished it. Has some interesting takes on New Orleans society at the time, but flimsy writing, though brave for disobeying moral standards.