Tuesday, in NYC…

The Wednesday Giveaway will return next week. Right now Steve and I are in NYC, visiting the kids. We are already having a great time!

I’ve been posting pictures to instagram and facebook. I’ll post more, in between enjoying the kids and living in the moment.

I hope that each of you is having a good week. I know that some people are stressed at the holidays. My wish  is that you can let go of the angst and embrace the moment. People are who they are and you really can’t change them. The only person you can control is you. It’s taken me 61 years to grasp that. Wish I had done it sooner but there you go.

Happy Thanks giving!

Side note: I lost my glasses last night. I took them off, hooked them on my scarf while I took a picture, and forgot about them. I realized blocks later, at the hotel, that they were not there. Damn. I am thankful for FedEx, who will deliver my backup pair from home in the morning. That was faster and cheaper than having a new pair made here.

First, the pie mishap. Then the glasses. I stubbed my toe a while ago! I’m hoping my 3 bad things are over now :-).

The pecan pie story…

I decided to try a new pie crust this year, using Steve’s Gluten Free Cake Flour and a pastry recipe from Patisserie GF. I made two batches and refrigerated them overnight thinking I’d get the pies in the oven pretty quickly the next morning.

Here’s what I learned: pastry is different from a pie crust. I realized pretty quickly that that was not going to work (my first ‘wrong’). I turned to my no-fail pie crust by Annalise G Roberts that I’ve written about before (click here). Here’s a link to the pie crust recipe but be aware that it is written for the Authentic Foods Classical Blend GF flour. I can’t say how it will work with other GF flours. It didn’t take long to make the two crusts, but it threw me off my stride.

Then I made the 1st pie filling. I used a recipe from United States of Pie by Adrienne Kane, an excellent resource. Her recipe is similar to many except that she recommends toasting the pecans before adding them to the mix.

I had everything measured out, got the first pie in the oven, and then realized that I had not added the dark Karo syrup (2nd ‘wrong). Words escaped my lips but I decided what the hey (hay?) and pulled the pie out of the oven. I added the Karo syrup and tried stirring it in. Not a good plan, so I dumped the filling into a bowl and stirred it up, returned it to the pan and put it in the oven.

At this point, I was beginning to have real doubts about my mental faculties. However, in my defense, Steve was bustling around the kitchen. He was being helpful but I realized later that I am used to concentrating more when baking. Not his fault, it’s on me that I was easily distracted.

I made the 2nd pie, put it in the bottom oven, set a timer for it and waited. It was when the buzzer went off for pie #1 that I realized that somewhere in there I had (3rd wrong) turned off the top oven!!!!! Geez, Louise. No wonder it looked like it wasn’t cooking. I turned up the heat because, why not?

Both pies got done at the same time, they look about the same, and they both tasted great. I was stunned.

Here’s what I learned:

  • If you have a no-fail crust recipe, use it.
  • Pecan pie is very forgiving.
  • 3 wrongs sometimes to make a right.
  • As Buzz Lightyear says: Never give up. Never give in!

Fresh Air…

I had the boys, Jack and Bear, today, all day. My strategy is the same as the one I used on my own boys when they were little: take them outside and run ’em.

Fresh air, lots of movement, and by 2:00 or 3:00 I can do what I need to do and they will be too tired to complain. The strategy still works!

I think we walked 3 1/2 miles. That’s pretty impressive for Bear, at 4 1/2. He only sat down at the end, and he did get back up because my days of lugging a kid that size are over. The first park had a play structure, the second park had a lake that we walked around.

The only downside is that I’m kind of tired too… but they are more tired! Judy, their other grandmother, has them overnight. I guess I’ll find out if I did my job tomorrow. My hope is that they go to bed and sleep soundly all night long.

Tomorrow, Steve and I are taking them out hiking again. Outside. I like it way better than screens.

My Day with Becky

Hi Friends, my name is Amy Marson and I am the Publisher at C&T Publishing. This week I am visiting my good friend Becky before I head to Quilt Market. Today we went to the Dallas Museum of Art and saw the wonderful Infinity Mirror Room with Pumpkins exhibit by Yayoi Kusama. The exhibit was wonderful, the mirrored room is delightful and the effect of the infinite space is a bit unnerving.  The pumpkin, orange and gold colors were stunning and the dots are mesmerizing.  It made me want to appliqué a slew of circles.

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The other favorite exhibit was the Islamic Art installation, the miniature size of the paintings and ceramics required a magnifying glass to view. We felt like detectives as we walked from piece to piece looking at the detailed, historic works of art.

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More importantly we had a delicious lunch, Artichoke, Chicken Salad with a delicious glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  The day was filled with color, light and beauty and tomorrow we are off to the Dallas Arboretum. Cheers.

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Hiking Wheeler Peak…

Note: You may have read this post way too early. WordPress hiccuped and I couldn’t fix it. But here it is, in the intended order of posting.

We talked to a local who said that if we started our hike early, we ought to miss the storm that was forecast at Wheeler Peak so Chris, Steve, and I were out the door by 5:00 AM on our last vacation day. Lorna opted to stay back with the kids on their last day in Red River. She and her mom took them on a 4-wheel excursion up the mountain.

We parked the car at Taos Ski Valley (altitude 9439′) and started up the Bull of the Woods trail. This is longer, slightly easier, scenic route to the top, but it’s uphill all the way. It is 2.1 miles to this meadow.

We still have 5 1/2 miles to go to reach the peak. Oh my. This sign got my attention. If you ski, you know that a black diamond means ‘expert’. It may not mean that for this hike, but it wouldn’t surprise me at all.

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Some parts were only a little uphill, more were really uphill, and there were a few disheartening spots where we went downhill and then had to climb back up. Deep sighs all round.

We walked across snow a few times…

Honestly, our lungs were killing us. As we got higher, we stopped to breathe every 100 steps.

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You reach the 2nd highest point before the you get to the actual peak. And then you hike down a while before turning back up. It was harder than it looked like it would be but we did it. Wheeler Peak, altitude 13, 159′

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The views were amazing!

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This is Chris standing way closer to the edge than Lorna would have been able to tolerate…

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We took the short, steep way down. The first part were switchbacks over a huge granite talus field. I was happy to have on knee braces and to have a real trekking pole because this was the scariest part of the whole hike. No photos, I was focused on not falling.

The last part of this trail intersects with the downhill part of the Williams Lake trail that we had hiked earlier in the week. We went back to the Bavarian Restaurant to celebrate reaching the peak and hiking 11 1/2 miles with more Andechs beer. As we sat there, the rain finally came. Life is good :-).

 

 

Red River, NM…

Sometimes you have to get away from your actual business to plan the future of that business. That is why I took my office manager (Lorna), web and social media consultant (Chris), shipping clerk (Elanor), and the man who does everything else that comes up (Steve) on a working vacation to Red River, NM. The boys (jack and Bear) had to come too because they couldn’t stay home alone and, besides, we love them :-).

Red River is a long day’s drive from Sherman. Lorna and I did a lot of talking on the way out and back. I made notes and took photos. The white van in front of me in most of these photos belongs to Chris and Lorna. It was a 2-car expedition.

The land is mostly flat from Sherman to the mountains. There are lumpy stretches (not really hills), and towns. There were trees in most of the towns but out on the prairie, not so much. The elevation rose as we drove west.

I didn’t get good photos of the mountains from the car on the way to Red River because the light was wrong. And I missed some lovely photos when I was driving. It’s better to be safe than wrecked, right?

We took a more scenic route on the way home, through Tucumcari and Las Vegas, NM. The mountains in Red River quickly gave way to plateaus. The trees gave way to scrubbier plants.

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And then it got flat again, all the way home, which is one reason why we who live on the prairie go to the mountains :-).

I do love being able to see off into the distance, and I love how big the sky is over flat land, but it’s not for everyone. I’ll share more photos of the trip, with mountains and people, later this week.

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Listen to your bits…

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I have spent 24 years drawing with my mouse on the computer. For the last several years, I used Apple’s magic mouse which is touch-sensitive and allows you to swipe across it to move the cursor and it has been wonderful — until a few weeks ago when I was doing a whole lot of drawing in Illustrator.

My right index finger (the mouse-finger) started to hurt, a lot. And it got swollen. And then it hurt worse. It is at this point that many people go into denial. I do not.

I treat my body like a used car. If warning lights start flashing on your car, you take it to a mechanic, right? We should all head to the doctor when our bodies send us similar warnings.

It may not be this way in your town, but here plastic surgeons are the hand guys. I visited Dr. Swamy who has been in practice here a long time and is much beloved. I took my mouse and asked if that was the problem. Yes, it was. I asked if rest would make it better enough to be able to use the mouse again. No, it would not. We agreed that I had to find a new way to draw in the computer and I had to also find a more ergonomic mouse.

 

 

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The mouse was easy. I got a Logitech M570. I’ll have to be careful not to overuse any of my fingers but I can do that.

I won’t be using the mouse to draw. I am, instead, viewing this as an opportunity to buy a tool that I have lusted after — a Wacom Cintiq tablet! (Imagine a quilt-y picture instead of a lizard.)

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The Cintiq tablet is actually a very fancy computer monitor that is touch-sensitive and that you can draw on. It’s similar to the iPad Pro, but you hook to to your computer and the Cintiq mirrors whatever is on screen. I’ll be able draw in Illustrator with a special pen. I’ll be able to use the pen in Photoshop as well, and I’m sure there’s more. I suspect that I’ll be able to move the mouse on the screen with my finger, much like you can on your smartphone.

On the advice of a friend (thank you, Amanda) I got the biggest Cintiq. I have gotten used to using a very big monitor and there isn’t any going back from there. Thankfully, this is piece of business equipment that I should have gotten a long time ago. I think it might actually make me more productive while also helping me to preserve my right hand – my sewing hand!

The bigger issue, and the point of this post, is that you need to pay attention to your body! Don’t ignore warnings, take care of your bits early rather than after damage has been done. Because I said so :-).