Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Almost done - the CHICKEN, that is!


Visit Write Brain Challenge to check out my latest free write piece, and the photo that inspired it. Thanks, Jenny.

☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀☀

What were you thinking? - another reflection post about 2014.

HA - Not happening on my shift. 
And my shift ends at midnight.

I’m so over 2014.

Where did I find such a great shot?

Pump me up…

I've packaged up 2014 and my good friend, Arnie, is taking care of business. (I’m not condoning the use of steroids, but hey, he’s the one carrying the big black box.) 

Now that that’s taken care of… 

Here, this is my new toy.  (okay, I asked for a Harley, but hey, Santa was feeling the economic slow down and thought I should focus on cooking - I’ve got a few choice words for the fat man…)

The Beast - 5 in One

I received this Crock-Pot from my kids (yup, now I have two - daughter and son-in-law).

I LOVE IT! (I still love the kids a wee bit more - most days)

Yesterday, I slow cooked a pork rib roast - damn, was it fine.

Today, I’m slow cooking a chicken - damn, it smells good.

I even made stuffing, from scratch thank you very much - and it too smells oh so yummy.

Okay, I’m cheating with the Brussels Sprouts. I’m letting my good buddy, GG, take care of those. (Green Giant, for those of you that actually do the whole Brussels Sprouts thing - as I’m not a huge BS fan I refuse to invest precious time in them.)

Roast Chicken and a chilled bottle of Proscecco.

That is how I’m sending off that casket full of 2014 BS… (no, not Brussels Sprouts).

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

BRING ON 2015 - I’M READY. (Hammer and all!)
Yes, I found this too… here.


Are you ready for yet another year to roll you over and have its way with you? (Come on, admit it, that’s what it feels like once the year comes to an end.)


Cheers, Jenny

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Resolutions, REVISIONS, Goals and GAMES

Let’s start with RESOLUTIONS



Well, let’s say we did - and move on. We know I’m not making any, right?!

How about REVISIONS



Okay, there’s one and it’s in reference to my previous post about my one and only GOAL for the New Year.

So, than this is really about REVISIONS to the GOAL.

I’ve decided that my goal should now be: 
To set TIME aside DAILY to free write. So, it’s not “doing” the free writing that’s the goal, it’s making the TIME to free write that is the newly revised goal.



Now… onto something else…

GAMES.

I like games. I play games, and I read about games.

Presently I am reading the GAME OF THRONES (Book 1)



AND I AM LOVING IT!  

REALLY LOVING IT! OMG (yup I’m even going there with an acronym. Why? Because I can!)

NEXT…

I’m reading it on my NEW Kindle Paperwhite - which I received for Christmas. 

Yes, I was good! (What? You have to ask!)

Santa saw my name on his NICE list, so there. (Okay, it was also on his NAUGHTY list and I did get a lump of coal too!)

I’m not going to debate the virtues of an e-reader over turning a page in a ‘real’ book. Mostly because I like turning pages too. I will never stop loving the feel of a real book. I buy real books. I even read them too.

That said… I really, really am enjoying this Kindle Paperwhite.

Two years ago I received the Kindle Touch and was not thrilled. Really, I thought this is not what I wanted for Christmas - and I know for certain I was NOT on the Naughty List. It was like getting a lump of coal; that was until I got over my pout and decided to try it.

Thing is - IT IS NOT A REAL BOOK - I get that, but it does something that real books can’t do; it fits nicely into the side pocket of my purse. 



Books can be bulky. Have you seen Stephen King’s, The Stand - need I say more, you need a little red wagon to cart it along.

So - these little gadgets have a place in my life. Now, when sitting in doctors offices waiting for spare body parts I can read… and read… and read one of the many books all neatly housed in this very thin little electronic book.

About GAME OF THRONES - all I can say is if you haven’t given it a read you are missing out on some amazing storytelling. 

Okay - now for the question… (drum roll please)

Do you do any reading with an e-reader? 

If yes - when, where and why.

If no - what’s holding you back?



Cheers, Jenny

PS - for the photos, in this post, I used Google Images. I would like to credit each but I think the sites they went to had taken them off Google too.

That said, here are the search words I used: 1-Resolutions, 2-Revisions, 3-Time Management and 4-Bulky Purses. See - that's how it's done! Credit where credit is due!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

On to the NEXT event… the NEW YEAR!


So, who’s making New Year Resolutions? 

We know, from past posts, I WON’T be making any.

But then…

this year might be the start of something different.

Source


How about one Goal...

I was toying with the idea of setting a goal. 
Is that the same as making a resolution? Hmmm, not sure. 

Okay, I’ve thought it over and it is NOT the same thing.

Definition of “goal” (as in setting a goal)
the object of a person’s ambition or effort, an aim or desired result.

Definition of “resolution” (as in New Year’s Resolutions)
a firm decision to do or not to do something

Okay - so we see there is a difference. (We could be splitting hairs here.)

MY GOAL:

To do a 15 minute free write, DAILY. (or not)

I’ve been free writing for a while and enjoying, but I was thinking about doing one a day for the year… hmmm, it may be too ambitious - reeks of resolution.

I’ve got this blog called Write Brain Challenge and I’m thinking a post a day (the results of my 15 minute daily free for all) for 365 days would be a doable goal. (I hear you laughing yeah, yeah, I know, with me, not at me.)

I get it word on the blog is she can't even post once a week, so how's she going to do it daily. Might you have a little faith.
  

Okay, so now I’ve put it out there.
Hmm, maybe I should sit on it for a year and think about it. 


What about you?

Will you set goals, or do you make resolutions?



Cheers, Jenny

PS   At the top right side of my blog you'll see FEATURED POST - that's my latest free writing piece.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas!


The Pearson Girls are sending their 
BEST WISHES  
for a 
very Merry Christmas
and a Happy New Year.

However you celebrate this Holiday Season we hope it sees you all in good cheer surrounded by those you love.


My daughter and I have been getting Santa Photos taken for twenty-six years - it is our Christmas Tradition.

What is your holiday tradition?

Merry Christmas, one and all!

Cheers, Jenny

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Tis the SEASON to design a NEW frock.

A REPOST…

I was busy changing into my Holiday Outfit, here at Pearson Report, and thought I'd share my wardrobe secrets.

ENJOY…

Header and Background fun - what does your blog wear? Original post: Nov. 9, 2012.

If you frequent Pearson Report you will undoubtedly have noticed I like playing dress up with my blog.

Since this is my blog it will be addressed in the feminine. 

She, that would be my blog, likes to be seen in custom designed hats (Headers) with matching outerwear (Backgrounds) and I like to oblige. (yes, some bolts are not completely tight, but then if this is as bad as it gets I’d say I’m in pretty good shape)

Here is a peek at some of her outfits…

City Skyline, Vancouver


Dandelion Farm, in the Cariboo


Hubbard Glacier - Alaska


Jericho Beach, Vancouver


Lake in the Cariboo


Lizard (Header only, background is a Little Black Dress)

Lost and Found (Header only - Background: LBD)

Sunset Beach, Vancouver


I have discovered a few things while creating these looks. I’m going to share what I’ve learned because that’s just the kind of gal I am...always willing to share a few of my spare bolts! (if you really “read” my blog you’ll get the reference)

Although I work with a Mac I’m sure this bit of info can be translated easily for Windows users.


Here we go…

I start by creating a folder on my desktop called Blog Header and BG sets.

I then go looking for photos (I use all my own pictures) in my photo library. 

I decide on a background; when I find a photo I like I crop it. I pay attention to the “width” of my photo as I crop it. I don't want it any smaller in width than1800 pixels - I use 2100 or 2200, unless (as in the case of the Dandelion set) the photo is maxed out at 1800 pixels already.

Once I've cropped my photo I Export it to a desktop folder. (this makes life easier when I want to change my blog’s look as often as I change my lacy bits, or boxers...depends on my mood!)

When exporting in iPhotos, I get this box: 
#1 
I always select the smallest size for the JPEG quality as this will keeps my picture below 300k, which is the maximum size allowed for Backgrounds on Blogger. 

#2
Next, I need to specify a “size” for my photo; I select Custom and then choose “width” and type in 2100 or larger, but 2100 pixels wide seems to do the trick for even the larger monitors, right Dezmond!

Thanks to earlier feedback, from good friends like Dezz, I was able to determine the right pixel size so someone with a big monitor would get to enjoy a decent sized background.

However, there is a limit to how far 2100px will stretch so I always select an actual Background colour (in the Template area) then if my picture is not wide enough a matching, complementary colour will be visible.

Like this…

I have stretched my blog (pulled it from one side) and exceeded my actual picture width; this is what you would then see:

Once I have exported my Background, to my desktop folder, the upload is straight forward but I do have to remind myself to pay attention to this area: 

I choose to align my photo in the centre, I don’t tile it and I don’t have it scroll with the blog - my Background is static.  You can play with this area, and depending on your photo and your intentions you may wish to have different settings.

Now for the Header...

Again, I select a photo and crop it. Here I want the width to be no greater than 1000 px (again, this may vary depending the page layout) but for me this works and in any event, Blogger scales it down further to fit the Template size.

In iPhoto I do a custom crop and select 1000 x 300, I like to keep my Header on the smaller side in height. Once cropped I go through the same Export step, only I select 1000px for the width, and I still use the smallest JPEG size.

I like a custom Header and to that end, once I’ve Exported my picture I use the Preview option, with my Mac, to add my blog name, and a border, to my picture. (poor woman’s Photoshop - yeah, go me!!! It's how I do all the writing on these screenshots as well!)

When I want to upload my Header I go to Layout and click on the Header tab.


Note: I click “Shrink to Fit” otherwise my picture will be the width I cropped it to. That's to say, 1000 x 300 would show as 1000 pixels wide and would exceed the width of my post area and sidebar combined.


Also, since I do a custom Header and have added my blog's name to my photo I need to pay attention to the Placement area, shown here, so I don't get a second Blog Title showing up:

And that's about it!


Okay, I don’t really know how necessary it was to "share" this because I love what you all do out there already. Mighty fine looking blogs I follow, I can tell you that!

Butt (big butt, yes two t's *giggle* cause it's late and I'm in need of sustenance - liquid preferred) just in case my millions of readers (reading is good, commenting is better...butt nothing, comment trumps reading, ask Donald, he comments without reading!) wanted to know how I work my magic, here at Pearson Report, well, now you know! 

It’s all about lacy bits and boxers...or, Headers and Backgrounds - take your pic(ture) and run with it!


How do you create your Header and/or Background? Any tips you care to share? 

Cheers, Jenny

Friday, November 28, 2014

I CLICKED on IT - Have YOU?


IT is in my screen shot, can you see it - there… wrapped in red.



It's the Next Blog button… and I pressed it.

On my first hit I found this wonderful blog… ZEPHYR'S ZOO



Talk about Lucky - in more ways than one. Not only do I love dogs but my dear, sweet, little Lucky Lucky Pow Pow was an ace at Agility in her younger years.

This video was shot back in 2007; my daughter and Lucky loved their time together taking Agility Classes.

So I'm doing a little sharing - if you love dogs than you've got to check this site out.

And, as a bonus - if you'd love to see some really fun Agility videos then check out this blog (sister blog to ZEPHYR'S ZOO) called Art of Dog.



Plus - yes, there's more - the photography is stunning - some of the best I've seen. Some photos clear took my breath away.

This blog was worth adding to MY BLOGS OF NOTE (new addition) LIST! 

Well, I just thought you all might like to know CLICKING on Next Blog wasn't a half bad idea - wouldn't you agree.


Have YOU ever CLICKED on IT?


Cheers, Jenny

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The KINDNESS of strangers...

Linda (not a stranger, but very kind) sent this link to me.

And now, I'm sharing it with you.

You may have seen it - you may not. Either way it's worth looking at more than once.

I know, because I've enjoyed it several times.  It's called "Unsung Hero".


(You might want to view in full screen mode to read the captions)


On Sunday I met such a Hero.

Per my last post I'm in the market for laundry machines but while I'm renovating a portion of my house where the washer and dryer reside I am without these life altering appliances so I made a trip to my local laundromat.

I arrived early - so I thought, 10ish - the place hopping. I needed four machines; the fellow running the place, a mild mannered middle-aged Asian man, pointed me to some that were available. 

I needed coins too, a dollar fifty per washer, and I needed laundry detergent because, yup, I forgot to bring some with.

As I asked the owner about detergent and its cost (Tide, a dollar a box, single use size) the customer, a little Vietnamese woman,  he had just given coins to turned to me and said, "You can use mine - I have lots. I just filled up my bottle." She then held up a big dark blue bottle.

Now, okay, laundry snob that I am, I thought, "What did she fill that bottle up with?" It was labelled Tide something-or-other (you know Tide has many options) but I asked her what was in it anyway. 

"Purex, I like Purex, I get the big bottle at Costco." she pipes up. Then adds, "This morning I added more because something tells me today I would share it." She grinned, ear to ear, as if I had done the right thing by forgetting my detergent.

My reply was simply, "Thank you. That is so sweet, and so kind of you to share you detergent." It's important to receive graciously - it's the karmic wheel turning. What goes around, comes around; today it was my turn to receive.

My kind detergent benefactor stood by as I poured a half capful into each load encouraging me to use more, after all she had lots she reminded me. Not a Purex user I erred on less being more.

That done I sat and waited - thirty minutes - during which time I watched the people at this laundromat, and do you know what I saw…

People helping people. An air of kindness and patience.  Voices were gentle and soft and people waited patiently for machines to come available and for tables to fold laundry on.

A young boy, accompanying his father (his mother works Sunday's) was sitting quietly playing a handheld game. I took out mine and he came to see what I was playing - we compared notes, and laughed. His father came over to apologize thinking his son was disturbing me.

When I told him what a good boy he had he smiled and told me he was proud of him - all this in broken English. I figured he's new to the country but willing to try his hand at the language - kudos to him. I appreciated the effort - and I think it indeed was an effort, but he smiled all the while.

When it came time to use the dryers - my little Vietnamese friend, Loang, gave me the lowdown. I acquired more quarters and went to town. What huge dryers too - two washer loads can go in one. And fast too. Twenty-five cents for five minutes, but in twenty minutes my two loads of bedding were done. I gave the towels an extra five minutes.

All in all - what I came away with, besides clean clothing, was a feeling that kindness is alive and well in my corner of the planet. My entire day was impacted by this experience.


It was on the next day my friend, Linda, sent the video. It made be think about the Unsung Heroes in my world.


How about you? 
Do you encounter random acts of kindness coming your way?



Cheers, Jenny

Monday, November 03, 2014

It’s a FULL LOAD… but no BULL…

Hey… time for the “what have I been up to” report.

Yes, I see you sitting there with bated breath going… “ah, no, too busy with my own load of bull, but, okay, give ‘er a go - I’ve got, like, a minute”.

What BRAND is your WASHER and DRYER?

Source
Yes, I do wear heels and an apron when I do laundry!
What? You don't? My, my… tsk, tsk. 

I’m in the market and need a new set - you know, a washer that can actually take a full load and “wash” it, and a dryer that doesn’t groan as the door opens, then continues groaning for the duration. (Like some old guy wishing his dose of Viagra would finally wear off - really, four hours, come on, who are we kidding - even as a young buck he’d be lucky to hang in for 10 minutes.)

Consumer Report was rather useless - only big ticket brands seemed to warrant their time and attention.

Here’s what I want in a washer and dryer.

SIMPLICITY - no fancy computer dashboard. I want nobs, just ordinary, simple nobs! The kind that do their job for at least two decades. (My nobs still work by the way, it's everything else that's on the fritz.)

And, doesn't dear Bettie Wallace just lay it out for us… see… she's HAPPY - gotta go with the happy folks on this one!

Source
(BW is a Speed Queen success story - for real!)
I enjoyed reading the "success" stories featured on the Speed Queen site - click HERE if your up to some honesty.

GOOD AGITATION - this is one of those times when being an agitator is essential and in washing machines it’s a must. (There was soooo much potential to add my penny's worth about good agitation, but… you've only got a minute, remember!)

TIME FACTOR - I don’t want to stand around (or sit watching TV and thinking about my laundry) for an hour and a half - which seems to be the time HE (high efficiency) front loaders take to wash a load. Now that’s a full load of bull right there!

Last, but equally important is COST - they should be affordable. (I don’t want to sell the first born (my only born) as I’m thinking she might come in handy down the road when I can’t find my dentures or my wig!)

Anyway - I’m leaning toward SPEED QUEEN. They’ve been around since before electricity - well, close - 1908! Wow! And, they are the major supplier of commercial machines. And, (yes, another and) they use the same industrial grade components for their retail line.

So, after reading THIS C/NET ARTICLE (particularly the comments, which are way more informative than Consumer Report) and watching the following video I think I’m making a wise choice.

HERE ARE TWO OF THE COMMENTS THAT GOT MY ATTENTION

This first confirmed my fears that front loaders "could" have their share of problems. The comment had a lot more chronology but this will give you the gist - plus the author has a link to her complaint website if you really have that much extra time. (Like, what happened to only having a minute, eh?)

CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE 

In this next comment, it was the bit about Speed Queen which spurred me on the path of due diligence and do it I did.
CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE

A FURTHER BONUS - their warranty is three years, parts and labour - that’s right THREE years - not the piddly one year that is the norm. Well, that speaks volumes too!

Here’s that video that sold me…



Another thing that worked in Speed Queen’s favour, while calling around, was the recognition HUEBSCH (Speed Queen’s name for their product in Canada) received when I asked about it at three different stores. 
And… (yes, yes, the stand alone, out front, and) one of the sales folks even owns a set - well… that’s it for me. I use the face product I sell and believe if it’s good sales folks will use their best products too.

-------------------------------------------------

My circuitous ramblings are now complete, I am back to where I started...

What BRAND is your WASHER and DRYER?

And… do you love them!

Would you recommend them?


Cheers, Jenny
PS - A post-post note. Here in Canada the set retails for $1659-1798 + tax. Delivery is $60-80, removal of old W/D is $20-30.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Teaching the old dogs

Old dogs bark.

Old dogs like to sleep.

Mostly, old dogs sleep.


Lucky, filling in for me… but you get the idea, right!


I've been having a hell of a time at the SIWC

I'm liking my bed - it's big, comfy and oh so fluffy. 

Did I say it's comfy, oh yeah, I see I did.

Mostly old dogs sleep.

And bark.

Last night the old dog barked.

Old dogs bite too.

But that's another story.

-----------------------------------


Right now, I'm giving you a teaser… 

the new, and improved, opening line of a piece I'm working on.

After an awesome start to Friday's set of classes, this one titled: 

Creating Narrative Drive, by Roberta Rich

I have learned something.

You can teach the old dog.

-----------------------------------

Here.

Here's the first line of a Short Story I'm working on…


Death by bus would have been easier, now she would have to wait.

----------------------------------

That's it.

The old dog needs to leave her big, comfy, oh so fluffy bed.

A new day dawns.

Knowledge awaits, and the old dog is eager.

Like a young pup.

-----------------------------------


How's your battery these days?

Old and worn?

Young and eager?



Cheers, Jenny