Monday, April 25, 2011

A travel game

Sorry to say I'm indulging myself in a travel game on TravelSmith in their Taste for Travel Giveaway where the winner wins a European culinary cruise for two on a riverboat. If it were as simple as visiting the site once a day and clicking 'enter', I'd be okay. But it's not. It's a game with many parts.

Part One has you clicking to remove six dish covers in order to find three meals which match. Three tries per day and so far, I'm not winning any gift certificates. But playing earns one an extra entry. Or maybe it's three.

Liking on FaceBook will get an extra and probably linking above will also if I could figure out how to tell them about my blog. Then, maybe I'd garner another reader?

But the real hook is the Travel Trivia geography game. A map of either the US or Europe is on screen and a place name is listed with a stop watch. Fifteen seconds to find the place, like Washington, DC. Click! Then a plane arrives from the previous answer and calculates how far off you are from the real place. It starts easy and I have been as close as 10 miles. Or as far away as the other side of the country with no points proffered at all!

You go up levels and so far I've made it to the fifth, but have yet to attain the magic 120,000 mark to see what's on the other side. I did get to 116,000. As we know, close only counts in horseshoes and items which make big bangs. As you are unceremoniously dumped out of the game, you get to see the top ten players. Someone neared 500,000 points so there must be lots of levels.

However, even as you're being offered the option to play again, you're told you can only play twenty times. I'll have to pace myself.

My only saving grace is that some of the answers are repeated. I'll consider it an exercise in memory and stubbornness.

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Saturday, April 23, 2011

The Power of a Quarter

Three years ago my mah-jongg group started accessing ourselves a quarter every time we lost a game with the intent to donate the proceeds to charity. We had no idea how much we could raise or what good we could do with it. Read what we did do here in yesterday's North Texas e-News.

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Monday, April 18, 2011

I wish I'd thought of that!

We will shortly be taking a cruise. It will necessitate flying which means small bottles and sample sizes of cosmetics, along with twice as many shoes and clothes as we'll wear. I need to keep in mind that there is a washer and dryer available.

Although I have samples of perfume, I like to take my favorite scent with me. Currently it's Bulgari Amethyst. (That's BULG-ar-i rather than Bul-GAR-i because I stopped and asked the guy at the Bulgari boutique door once.) So I strolled into Nordstrom's to beg samples.

The sales clerk had a much better idea. Really, it was. About the size of a baby carrot, it was a travel perfume holder. You filled it with your own! Squirt, squirt, squirt! They've had them for years! Very popular item for $5.

And it was lots of fun to fill this morning, too!

Now, why couldn't I have thought of something like that?

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Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Baking Blues

Today is our library's annual spring bazaar. It's a four-fold event: used books, beautiful potted plants, garden items, and a bake sale.

For the first time in a while, the bazaar is being held before Easter. This has expanded our crafts into things for children like yard bunny stakes and eggs. It has also expanded our baking.

I like to make yeast breads so I dug up international bread recipes: hot cross buns, Russian Easter bread, Brazilian. The hot cross buns were going well, the Brazilian bread made with pineapple and Brazil Nuts rather exceeded my expectations in size (next time I'll divide the dough in thirds), and the Russian should have been so easy.

Alas, no. For starters, the recipe is so old coffee was still sold in one-pound cans. And while I had smaller cans, they all have inside rims, so I reverted to 9-inch loaf pans which proved too big.

Then I hit too many buttons on the oven and cut the oven off. Didn't mean to. Didn't discover it until I checked on the three loaves of bread at the 25 minute mark and noted they'd risen nicely but weren't exactly baking. So I took a deep breath and turned the oven on. They eventually baked up, but by then, I'd started a second batch.

I didn't have any more almonds, so I switched to pecans. Calling the second batch "southern" Russian Easter bread. Kept the oven on. Since I didn't have coffee cans, the loaves are a bit rough around the edges, not smooth like the first slow-risen batch.

But the crowning touch was dropping the instant read thermometer in the water-milk-butter mix warming to 120-130. I pulled it out, washed it, opened it, dried it, got the battery straightened out and then the two little wires which connect top to bottom came out. I may be down one good thermometer if I can't figure out where said wires go.

On the up side, I cut open a loaf from the first batch to share this morning and to make sure it was edible. Even on slow rise, it's just fine.

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Friday, April 08, 2011

The way of it

It's taken four years, but granddaughter Emily who will be 4 next week, has broken the code to her granddaddy's heart. And credit card.

Said granddad kept Emily and Jack this morning while their mom had an appointment. A grand time was had by all, I gather, and they eventually went out to lunch. Then Emily and her pigeon--uh, granddad--went shopping at the NorthPark Disney Store without mom's supervision.

Although warned via text from me to be careful in all non-approved parental purchases, my spouse texted back that he had learned one could never have too many shoes.

He also now knows the term "jelly shoes", an item NOT on mom's shopping list.

But then, isn't that what Granddaddys are for?

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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Pick a stick

As I stood at Starbucks the other day, I contemplated the stirrer holder before I picked one out to mix my cream and sweetener into my coffee.

(Aside: At home I mix from the bottom up like my dad taught me: cream and sugar in first, then coffee. It gives it a much better flavor. Or maybe I'm just used to it.)

Still, looking at the stirrer collection, I wondered how other customers picked one out. Granted, you'll use the end that's still in the container, but do you touch them all before making your choice?

I tend to pick one that's by itself, or slightly disturbed, sticking up a bit.

Just wondering.

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Saturday, April 02, 2011

The view from the nursery

It was only after I had nearly decapitated (and nearly was close enough) the Sweet 100 tomato baby that was destined for the Topsy-Turvy (what's one more year of dismal 'mater production?) and torn in half the basil plant as I was releasing it from the bondage of its 4-inch growth pot, that I realized what all the noise had been the last two afternoons as I journeyed home from the garden nurseries.

It was my plants, those poor creatures captured in the back of the vehicle, crying. Sobbing, really. Knowing that their fate was sealed, that at least one of them wouldn't be living up to its full potential. And, in my garden, maybe very few.

As it is, the remainder, those that are currently ensconced in new homes or hanging from new hooks (whew! they're saying, she didn't touch us!), are probably thinking that if one or two of them had to give their life, it was just as well it was the vegetables.

I've got news for them. I'm going after more...

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