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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: Leon County, Florida
Member since: Tue Feb 12, 2008, 10:18 PM
Number of posts: 20,573

Journal Archives

Bob Ross Remixed!

Fish Bowl now on National Geographic!

So far, the action is riveting. A white puppy is sleeping next to a goldfish bowl. Every so often the goldfish swims around some.

Found a recipe in a 200 year old notebook! UPDATED

The entries in the book are between 1812 and about 1842. This recipe was in the book:

2 or 3 tea cups of sugar
1 or 2 of butter and
1 of pecans
3 Eggs
1 Teaspoon of perlash *
3 tea cups flour
brandy to your taste.

*(Pearl ash or potassium carbonate was an early raising agent but when added to fats could make soapy tasting baked goods. Substitute baking powder.)

It sounds as though it would be some sort of cake. I'm thinking of trying it when I get home, using baking powder.

UPDATE - Final version of the recipe - this is my second effort and it got rave reviews at my needlework meeting this morning.

Modern adaptation:
1 1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 cup (two sticks) salted butter
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or brandy or Irish Mist
2 cups chopped pecans
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 F. Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until well blended. Stir in pecans. Add 1 cup flour and baking soda, mix until just blended. Add rest of flour, mix until just blended; scrape sides of bowl, blend.

Drop by teaspoons on ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes. Allow to cool for a few minutes, then remove to rakes to cool completely. Makes 4 dozen cookies.

Notes: I used salted butter since that is what my husband brought home. I was going to add 1/2 teaspoon of salt but with the salted butter I omitted it.

The original recipe called for "brandy to your taste" but I used vanilla extract with my first try. While the cookies were OK, they needed something. The second time I used Irish Mist and they were much more interesting!

A Love Affair with Birds - The Life of Thomas Sadler Roberts by Sue Leaf

I've just finished reading this book and thought some of the birders here might want to check it out.

Thomas Sadler Roberts was my husband's great grandfather and a pioneering ornithologist in Minnesota. He wrote the definitive bird book "The Birds of Minnesota" based very much on his own and his network of friends' observations about birds from his youth in Minneapolis in the late 1800s. He also promoted education about the state's wildlife, especially the birds, and conservation of habitat to preserve the birds he loved.

While the book is mostly a biography of Thomas Sadler Roberts, it also gives insight into the changes in attitude towards the birds and conservation over Roberts' lifetime. It also shows how he used his influence with his wealthy patients and friends to create Minneapolis' Bell Museum of Natural History (http://www.bellmuseum.umn.edu/).

Without people like Roberts and the students he taught and inspired, we would not have the conservation efforts that have helped preserved the small scrap of the natural world he took for granted as a young man. I'm proud that he is an ancestor of my husband!

A more complete review of the book is at http://www.minnpost.com/books/2013/05/love-affair-birds-chronicles-life-thomas-sadler-roberts

Anybody here make stuffed animals? A question about noses....

I'm making memory bears from my Dad's old shirts. I've got all the bears sewn, most are stuffed (that's my husband's job), I'm having no problem sewing the stuffing holes shut or sewing the buttons on for eyes.

The problem I am having is with noses. The pattern instructions (I'm using Simplicity 5491, out of print pattern) says to cut a felt nose, stitch it on the stuffed bear, then satin stitch over that with pearl cotton. The pattern doesn't say what size pearl cotton to use. I've got black in sizes 5, 8 and 12, but I'm having no success stitching a good looking nose in any of those!

I've done a lot of embroidery and can do a mean satin stitch on taut fabric with everything from pearl cotton to untwisted flat silk but my effort at satin stitching the nose on an already stuffed bear is horrible.

I'm thinking of bailing on the stitched nose and getting some buttons for the noses. The eyes are 1/2" half ball buttons in a shiny black - I'm thinking a flat black button in 3/4 or 1" might look good.

Any suggestions?

Things don't change much - except for style

Other than being a folk song style, this could be performed today and still be true:

Working my way through the loss of my Dad

Dad passed away just before the end of August. He'd been very ill in March and had made his peace, happy that he had turned 90, but he recovered and way doing pretty good until a catastrophic event that ended his awareness a week before he passed.

At the same time I pretty much lost my little sister and her oldest daughter. They acted as though they were the only ones losing our father and were very inconsiderate and at some points extremely cruel to my mother. I may never speak to either of them again, I am that angry with their actions.

We're losing Mom, too. At 92 the loss of her husband of 67+ years is accelerating her previously mild dementia. She's still hanging in there, but I can see the deterioration in just the last few months.

47of74's thread about the memory bear that his/her aunt gave his/her grandma (http://www.democraticunderground.com/1234790) made me think about what I have begun working on. My Mom has a memory bear that was made from clothing of our brother in law after he passed and she treasures that bear.

My older sister gave me eight plaid shirts that were my Dad's and I was supposed to find someone to make memory bears from them. Instead I am making them myself. So far I've done the sewing on two of them, but still need to stuff them, stitch the seams shut, and sew the faces on. I'm carefully cutting the collars from the shirts and will button them on each bear.

I started wondering why I have taken this on - I don't really want a memory bear. I don't give a shit if my little sister or her crazy daughter want them. I'm stitching them for my Mom and will let her select who gets which bear. If I do keep one, it may be made from the leftover scraps. mom wants the bears to each be made completely from a single shirt so she won't even notice if I keep one made from the extra bits. With Mom, my sisters, and the grandchildren, there are nine people who might want memory bears - we don't have enough shirts. Maybe I can get two bears from the scraps and someone else will want a mixed up bear.

Tonight I decided that this is one way I am working out the loss of my Dad. I think the hardest day is yet to come. February 2 would have been Mom & Dad's 68th wedding anniversary. At least Mom will have a memory bear from Dad's shirt to hold that day.

A Mind-Reading Dog Translator That Just Might Work

A Mind-Reading Dog Translator That Just Might Work

Today on Indiegogo, you can preorder a device called the No More Woof for $65. It promises to read your dogís mind and speak out what he/she is thinking.

At first glance, itís the epitome of everything wrong with crowdfunding platforms: Itís vaporware, a concept that has no hope of becoming a reality. And so far, the press has met it with skepticism. But after talking to the Swedish creatives behind the device at Studio Total, I, like most of you, will kick myself for not thinking of it first.


Mazetti isnít exaggerating. The project started as a bit of a joke between him and his brother, when Tomas suggested an Epoc (an off the shelf EEG) could be used to read the mind of their motherís dog. Then Mazetti ordered one. His studio began trying the Epoc and other EEGs on dogs. And as you might expect, they could discern very basic mental states, just as these EEGs can do in a human.


Hook that EEG up with two other off the shelf components, a cheap Raspberry Pi processor and a portable speaker, and suddenly, you have the extremely basic, $65 No More Woof being offered on Indiegogo today (which makes you wonder if, at that price, the device is selling for a significant loss).

More: http://www.fastcodesign.com/3023686/why-a-mind-reading-dog-translator-isnt-nearly-as-crazy-as-it-sounds

Why does this make me think of this?

Just had a Blue Screen crash on my Win 7 machine

Report gave this info:
Problem signature:
Problem Event Name: BlueScreen
OS Version: 6.1.7601.
Locale ID: 1033

Additional information about the problem:
BCCode: 7a
BCP1: C05C4210
BCP2: C000009C
BCP3: 842348C0
BCP4: B884201C
OS Version: 6_1_7601
Service Pack: 1_0
Product: 768_1

This computer was locally built in July 2009. I don't really need an update, but the blue screen worries me. My last computer was unreliable at the end and I lost data because it wasn't saving stuff to the hard drive even when it said it had.

That computer turned out to have the swollen and leaking capacitor problem both on the motherboard and in the power supply. Now I'm concerned that this computer is developing hardware issues.

I can have my local builder put together a new computer and move my 4 terrabytes of hard drives into it. He'd probably need to upgrade Windows since my version of 7 is 32 bit and I'd like to move to a 64 bit system.

This is NOT in my budget. But I've been wishing for an excuse to upgrade - guess I've got it!

Keeping seniors engaged in life

My Mom is 92 and still pretty sharp mentally and active physically. But since Dad passed away in August she is not as engaged or active as she was. It sort of started when Dad was very ill last spring. Until then, they worked two crossword puzzles and several word games every day. After Dad's illness, he was not as able and Mom was not as interested in doing the puzzles by herself.

Now that Dad is gone, Mom is not reading - she used to read books after the puzzles were finished. While she says she is going to read, it seems that she no longer has the attention span or the ability to concentrate on reading.

She used to do needlework and quilting but her hands are now too arthritic for that kind of work. She spent years editing a local historical newsletter but she's turned that over to others and is no longer active in that group on a daily basis. She also no longer is interested in genealogical research, though she did that for decades.

My sister and I are trying to figure out what we can do to keep Mom engaged and mentally active. While we visit as often as possible, most of the time Mom is alone with caretakers. They are nice people but Mom does not enjoy their company and complains if they hang around her too much. We've tried for years to get her to write her remembrances about her life, the tales she has about growing up in rural Alabama during the Depression, about her time as a Navy Nurse. But typing is hard for her with her arthritis and she won't record her memories when she is alone or just with the caretakers.

When we visit, we talk with her about her memories, photos that she has, family, etc. but that only engages her while one of the family is there to encourage her.

We're worried that her mild forgetfulness will progress and worsen if we can't keep her mentally active.

Does anyone have suggestions on what kinds of activities we might be able to encourage her to do when she is basically on her own?
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