Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Gifts of Yummy Goodness

Everybody loves gifts, but one thing I would like to extol is what I consider one of the best gifts, the gift of food. Any kind of food. Homemade, store bought, but all of us need to be mindful of the vegetarians/vegans/Diabetics/Celiac disease, etc. No one wants to get steak when they are vegan or loaves of bread that is not gluten free. I know it seems like a real hassle, but try to approach it as a unique way to show you care. Think of the fun you can have as you make a neat gift basket or a little gift bag of goodies that will be appreciated by the recipient. I have added some recipes that adhere to certain dietary issues. Most are homemade, so maybe my next post will be gifts to purchase :) Enjoy!

Fig & Olive Tapenade.  Yes please!



I would love to get fudge as a gift as it is something I would never make myself.

Apricot Rosemary Jam just sounds pretty and would be nice packaged with some muffins or scones.

Tea is always a welcome gift.

Rose Petal Granola sounds elegant and presented in a nice glass jar would make a lovely gift.

Chocolate Dipped Peppermint and Walnut Biscotti. Oh my!


Rainbow Bean Mix in a Quart jar with an attached recipe is a very thoughtful gift.

Sparkling Cranberries

Sweet and Hot Pepper Jelly from Bad Mama Genny and as she says, it is not for the bedroom ;-)

I have a lavender fetish. A friend made Lavender Jam once which was just delicious. I also grow lavender but have not harvested any. Maybe one day, but in the meantime, this recipe is just pure decadence to me.
Lavender and Espresso Truffles from Tartelette. She has quite a few Gluten Free recipes that look divine.


Spiced Mulling Syrup.

Cinnamon Tea Cake for the vegan in your life.

Gluten Free Thin Apple Tart.

Cranberry Nut Tea Cake from Diabetic Gourmet Magazine.

No Bake Double Chocolate Torte is a vegetarian, vegan, soy free and gluten free recipe.

Cheers!
MissFifi



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Google Drive

I am now the owner of one of these new fangled Chromebooks and would like to share my experience with it so far.

My little netbook was on her last legs and so my hubby excitedly suggested I look into the Chromebook. So I did. I read all the reviews I could find about the pros and cons of the machine. Most people's issues were pretty low key and everyone praised how fast it powered up and how the keyboard is a regular keyboard size and the beauty of the Cloud, etc.

I must've missed the reviews that said if you are a writer stay away from this laptop because it will give you nothing but grief. Now, just to prepare you, what I find annoying you may see as minimal, but I figured it is important to point out the quirks anyway. What is going on is that instead of getting work done, I am constantly fighting with a system to work or recognize my work and not lose anything I have typed.

The computer itself works lovely and is lightweight. Yes it moves fast and the speakers work well. Just a little note here, you cannot stream Netflix, they are working on making it compatible for Google OS, but You Tube works just fine. Which it should. Now, when you buy a Chromebook, if you have a Google account, you have access to the whole suite of Google products. This is fine as I save all my work on Drive as a nice backup to my Dropbox and hard drive. There computer has no hard drive, which is fine, but then again, you are to use all the Google Suite. ONLY the Google Suite. So that means, for me, good luck getting Open Office. I had to use RollApps to get Open Office Writer, which looks like a 1995 version of Word by the way, and downloaded my work from Drive to that and needless to say, the counts and formatting are off so for now I am not using RollApps. I have no issues using new products or learning new formats, I have an iPad and that was a learning curve, but the issues with Drive are ridiculous.

My spellcheck in Drive does not work. That is, when I right click, since they removed the actual spell check button. So I have a bunch of underlined words that I need to manually fix every time.

Formatting goes off. Oh yeah, good times right there.

There is no delete button, just a backspace,. Getting used to this has been entertaining. I keep hitting the upper right button on my keyboard trying to delete and end up almost shutting computer off half the time.

One good thing is it saves automatically so you never have to worry about hitting Save or Ctrl-S. What does suck is it saves offline and online. Or it is supposed to, but my novel is only offline and has yet to synch with the Cloud. Why is this? Well, it seems that Drive is currently having issues running in Chrome. Yeah, I am not joking. Go read the forums and figure that one out.

The biggest issue that I am really pissed about is if I am working on page 125 out of 312 and I shut down for the night or for a few hours or whatever, when I go back it opens at Page One. I emailed their tech team to tell them about this and their answer was "But if you are co-sharing the document, how will it know where you last left off?" Okay, clearly we missed a coding class that day, so I asked if they could add a "Go to Page" or "Last View" feature. The response was the engineers will most likely not add those even if they are a good idea.

These are the great tech minds of Silicon Valley people.

Google's Forums are filled with all kinds of quirky and even serious issues people are having with Drive so no, I am not alone, but it seems like Google rushed to get something out that performed so beautifully, they forgot to consider true, practical applications. "It powers up quickly" Great, now can we stop reformatting my book? Thanks.

So, right now, I am charging up my old Acer and am going to try and salvage my novel from Drive. I emailed the whole document to myself and I am going to cut and paste it from there into Dropbox/Open Office. The only other thing I could do is have both computers open and go line by line to make changes in Dropbox to assure it is up to date. (Because every writer likes to waste and lose precious writing time to technological blunders.) I may need to write long hand or get a typewriter if this keeps up.

I have already considered sending the computer back and get a plain old netbook, but I am not so sure yet. It would be nice if Google took their customer's complaints seriously, they seem to with certain issues, and implemented these little things. To them it may seem trivial, but to those of us actually writing in the program, it holds up our productivity and that is not a good thing.

Cheers!
MissFifi

*UPDATE: My spell check is now working. Amen.





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Yes it is Tuesday

And I am a tad overwhelmed. My son keeps climbing the stairs which I think is great, but he does need to learn to get down as well and there are 13 of them. At the top of the stairs, to the right in a cover, there is the cats litter box and littler tray. Needless to say the child wants to put his hand on the tray. When Mommy says "No" she is mean and unfair. So, we need to put the gate up at the top of the stairs. I would rather prevent a litter box mishap for now and let him keep learning to climb the stairs with me in tow. I also see it as a good work out for me so it is sort of a win-win here.

Middle east still fighting. I feel like that will go on for centuries and I want no part in it because quite frankly, who the hell am I to comment on an issue that has nothing to do with me let alone, I do not fully understand. I could say split Israel in two ad let the Israelis have their area and the Palestinians theirs, but that makes no one happy. Good thing I never pursued that career in Politics and International Relations.

This  squirrel nut cracker is really cute.

The novel is going well considering how sporadic my chances to write are. That's okay, I had to make peace with that and so I do my best to work as fast as I can when I get the chance. I find my writing improving, but I need to finish this so I can send it out and be done with the stories and characters. I have enjoyed them and love them, but they need to be released onto the unsuspecting public and let them be loved or hated. This is also why writing a series does not work for me. At some point it is best to say Good bye to what you have created and let exist in a good way and not dragged on for years just to make a buck. Yes, I am sure I just offended someone but too bad. Tom Clancy is not weeping in his cereal because of what I say.

My netbook is on its last legs which blows, BUT I have a Google Chromebook on its way to save the day. Nice rhyming there right? Why not a Mac you ask? Because we do not have a lot of cash, the Mac Book Air is $1100 bucks which slays me, and what I use my computer for is simple. Writing, email and internet stuff. No major graphics or film making. James Franco I am not.

This looks pretty and tasty!

I really want to decorate our front door and two front windows this year for the holidays. I would like to do garland around the frame or two boxwoods in planters flanking either side of the door, but I think I am too late. Things are way over priced now and I can't find much that makes me go "YES! YES! THAT IS IT!" I still would like to do something nice since it is the little man's first Christmas, so I am on a sort of quest to find decorations that will bring a little extra oomph of holiday spirit to our home.

LOVE THIS


Cheers!
MissFifi








Monday, November 12, 2012

Wood Stove

Not much to say on the topic except that I really, really want to have one of these in my home. Oil is obnoxiously expensive and we do not have natural gas lines in our neighborhood. We have propane, which is HALF the price of oil, but it is only for our generator. The next logical step is then to go the wood stove route. Pellet stoves sound solid as well, but I have not researched them enough to compare and decide which one is better than the other. This company, Rais, make some pretty cool looking wood stoves.





A neighbor has a Jotul stove and adores it so that is also a possibility. They have the old school square looking ones as well as this sleek modern looking one.



Cheers!
MissFifi

Friday, November 9, 2012

Lovely Ribbed Cowl

Things are busy with my ten month old getting into many things. One of those being the cat food bowl when I do not place it up high quick enough. There is nothing like pulling kibble out of a baby's mouth. I freaked a little because she is on prednisone and we mash the pill up in her bowl with her wet food. All I need is him getting a small chunk of that in his system. Ahhhhhhh the joys of parenting.


Once again I turn to Purl Soho for a gorgeous Ribbed Cowl



The one thing I hate is having to cast on 156stitches. Yeah, yeah, use stitch markers, but still, I will lose count. Especially if I am digging cat food out of my kids mouth. Forgetfulness is a big thing that happens when one has a kid. I used to think that was hogwash when I heard about it, but have found it to be true. Where the hell my short term memory has gone who knows? Alright, back to the pattern. It is gorgeous and I might make it for myself or a gift or file it away for a later date. But if you are not into merino wool, I am sure there is a lovely option to use int its place to make such a pretty accessory.

Cheers!
MissFifi




Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Hello Again

I live in New Jersey. A rural/suburban area better known as Horse Country to some folks and I just got my internet connection back yesterday. We got power back on Saturday. Luckily we have a Generac generator that is hooked up to our electric panel and has a transfer switch and also runs on propane. I am beyond expression with just how grateful I am that we made that purchase.
Trees came down around our neighborhood, but no one got hit or hurt. We were very fortunate, but some people we know were not so lucky. A friend in Rockland County, NY had a tree go through their roof and destroy the guest room. They are all fine, but being displaced with three kids (who are all 2 years old) has been trying to say the least. Also dealing with insurance, tree removal and contractors has been no picnic.
Being without the Internet I had no idea just how awful the destruction was to the New Jersey and New York coasts. I had only seen the aftermath in my area and it looked like Armageddon with all the trees perched precariously on wires or downed on front lawns. The telephone poles snapped in half, dangling and ready to fall in the road because no one has been able to come out and cut them down yet.
Now it is snowing here and the wet snow and coastal flooding threatens our beleaguered state. I am happy we were prepared and still are. We had a propane deliver on Sunday which was wonderful because we were due to run out of gas on Monday. That would have sucked, but we could have handled it until they got here with our gas.
I am fortunate to know someone who practices emergency preparedness and we had gotten a good education and amount of info from her and so we were very ready. I worry now about those who aren't and never will be. But let's be honest, we can only do so much. Mother Nature is strong and no generator would have saved the houses in Union Beach or Mantoloking or Breezy Point. People have lost every single thing they owned. They have lost their communities, their neighborhoods, the lives they may have always known or were just starting. Ocean City, MD, Staten Island, NY, Point Pleasant, NJ, these are just some of the towns and areas that will never be the same. They will exist in a different way now or not at all. People of all socioeconomic backgrounds were hit by this storm so there should not be "Well, those million dollar home owners have money, so rebuilding should be easy." These were their homes, the place they loved to be. Whether it was a cottage, a stately mansion or year round or weekends is irrelevant. Sandy took all they had worked for and tossed it around like dust in the wind.

Here is a link to some pictures of the devastation.


Warm regards from the Garden State.
MissFifi