Thursday, October 16, 2014

The whitest girl with a Hispanic name

We were sitting in the doctor's waiting room this afternoon (sinus infection - got a shot and a prescription and I'm already better), and this old white man walked in. The "white" is significant, otherwise I wouldn't mention it. He looked at Johnny and said, "Como se llama?"
Now that I feel better, I can see that the man was just wanting to show off to somebody that he spoke a little Spanish. But at that moment, when I was feeling like crap, it sure pissed me off.
Johnny and I just looked at each other because it was Old White Man Spanish and we weren't sure what he was saying (not that either of us understand Old Spanish Man Spanish any better but that's not the point). So he repeated it.
And for some reason, I guess because it was Spanish, Johnny didn't answer "Johnny" but said, "Juanito."
"Fajito?" said the old white man, and then rattled off some more Old White Man Spanish. Which still kinda pissed me off.
I said, "He'll understand you if you speak ENGLISH. He was born here in TEXAS. Same as his PARENTS."
Nooow, I feel bad for being so rude. But I guess we can all be thankful that, at the time, I didn't say anything worse, or anything at all after that, for insulting my husband.

"Fajito, where do you work?"

No dónde trabajas, so he must have caught on that the esposa is a little gruñón (had to look that one up; don't quite think that's part of my Texmex inlaws' vernacular.)

"At Ebaa Iron."

"At a gold mine?"

"EBAA IRON."
"Oh yeah, yeah. I used to work the oil fields myself. Spent a two or three years in Mexico. Picked up some Spanish. You know, out there at Hobbs."

Then he transitioned somehow into wishing they'd bring back the electric chair and the hanging tree. And something derogatory about President Obama (I'm Republican all the way but I don't disrespect the president) and how he used to live around a bunch of n's (a word my parents would have lit a fire on my butt if I had ever said it) and how none of them had any sense.

I leaned my poor sinus-dizzy head back against the wall and sighed, "Ay chingao."

A little Spanish lady snorted her amusement. I don't recall him asking her se llama.

Mama's got a bigote and she's poco loco

Google translation

I probably shouldn't blog on a sick day. Or speak aloud in public.


Sunday, October 12, 2014

1 Chicken - 3 nights of delicious meals


This post is mainly for College Man and his girlfriend. This is how I use 1 chicken for a few nights of easy, inexpensive, meals.

You'll need:
  • 1 whole chicken (it's the cheapest way to go)
  • 1 small bag of little red potatoes
  • Bag of carrots OR Green beans (2 cans, drained, or a big bowl of garden fresh green beans)
  • 1 package of flour tortillas
  • Grated mild cheddar cheese
  • 2 cans of biscuits, the cheap ones that are 10 small biscuits to a can, homestyle or buttermilk (NOT butter flavor, trust me)
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • Seasoned salt
  • Salt
  • Pepper

If your pantry was completely bare and you had to buy everything on the list, you're probably in at around $18-$20. About $6 per night for 3 suppers that will feed 3 or 4 people.

You'll also need:

Roasting pan, or any big pan that is oven-safe, like a cake pan
Lid or aluminum wrap
Frying pan
Big pot

Night 1 - Roast chicken and vegetables




Start early so the chicken can cook a good long while. Other than cook time, this is quick and easy. You'll be able to get on with other things while it's in the oven.
  • Scrub the potatoes and cut them into quarters, put them in the roasting pan. (They might not all fit, leave room for carrots, chicken on top)
  • Scrub and cut carrots, about thumb size is good, add them to the pan (or use the green beans)
  • Sprinkle veggies with seasoned salt
  • Rinse the chicken and place it on top of the veggies (if you want to get fancy, pat it dry with a paper towel and rub melted butter all over it). Toss any innards and neck in the pan too; you'll use them later..
  • Sprinkle the chicken with seasoned salt
  • Cover with the lid or aluminum wrap.
  • Cook in a 350 degree oven for about 3 hours.
There's your first night. Save some of the chicken for the next meals; pull all the meat off and save in a container in the fridge. Save all the bones, skin, gristle, neck, innards, the whole carcass, and all the juices from the pan in another bowl in the fridge.


Night 2 - Chicken quesadillas




College Man is a chicken quesadilla expert but here it is for anyone else who stumbles upon this post.
  • Season some of the chicken meat with seasoned salt. You can even use most or all of the chicken if you need to. Not much is needed for night 3.
  • Put a frying pan over med-low heat, use a non-stick pan or spray a regular one with a little cooking oil.
  • Put one of the flour tortillas on the pan.
  • Add about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of chicken to the tortilla, try to keep it all to one side so you can fold it over
  • Add some grated cheese.
  • (Leave it like this or add anything in the fridge that sounds good: real bacon bits, chopped bell pepper, sliced black olives, etc.)
  • Fold the tortilla over and let one side brown a little. Flip it over so the other side can brown.
There's your second meal. Serve it with picante sauce or sour cream if you have it. No biggie if you don't.

Night 3 - Chicken and dumplings, southern style



(This can wait till the next night if you're tired of chicken)

Here's a day to start kind of early too, but you'll want to check in on your broth occasionally. This looks long but it's really no big deal:
  • Put all the chicken bones, carcass, etc., in a big pot and fill it with water. If you have any part of an onion that can go in, even peelings, all the better. It will all be strained out later.
  • Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat to a low simmer, and let it cook for at least an hour (the longer, the better, just don't let it boil down; add hot water as needed)
  • About an hour before you want to eat, strain all the chicken parts out of the broth. Make sure no little bones slip through.
  • Put two quarts of the broth back in the pot and bring it back to a good simmer (freeze the rest in ziplocs or plastic containers; it's great for cooking rice, mashed potatoes, all kinds of good stuff)
  • Put 1/4 cup of flour in a bowl.
  • Open the 2 cans of biscuits, place one in the flour, turn it over to cover it well, flatten it out with your fingers, just squeeze it round and round till it's fairly flat.
  • Pinch nickel to quarter size pieces off the biscuit and drop them in the simmering broth. Do this to all the biscuits.
  • When you've put the last piece of biscuit in, check the time and let it simmer very low for 1 hour.
  • If you had any uncooked carrots left, grate a few of them into the pot (if you had left over cooked carrots, add those at the end)
  • Add about 1/2 tsp salt.
  • If you happen to have celery salt, add a dash of that. Or chop up a little celery in it if you have any. No biggie if you don't.
  • Stir it often; it tends to stick to the bottom of the pan.
  • When it's done, stir in what's left of the chicken meat if any.
  • Taste to see if it needs any more salt.
  • Pepper to taste.

Bonus recipe for the broth - Sausage and rice gumbo



In a big pot add:
  • About a quart of the chicken broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 1 smoked sausage, cut up
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Also good but not necessary, any of the following: 1 can of ranch beans or red beans, chopped onion, chopped bell pepper, chopped okra, chopped celery
  • Best spices to add if you have them: Tony Cachere criole seasoning, smoked paprika (or regular paprika), chili powder, garlic salt, celery salt, dried basil, dried crushed bay leaves
Bring it to a biol, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 20 minutes.
After the rice starts absorb the water/broth, add hot water to make it however soupy you want your gumbo.
Salt and pepper to taste




Illustrating the cat

I have 4 picture book projects to illustrate (two of my own and two for friends) but haven't been really satisfied with where my look/style is.

This is Fiday night's illustration of our kitten and her fear of the thunder storm going on.

Cute but kinda boring.


This is last night's (Saturday) illustration of the same concept. Trying to push more toward funny and more personality.

Less worry about being cat-shaped; more fun.

My friend Wanda says this is what her dog Meesha
does during a thunderstorm.


Here are the steps. All digital. I use GIMP; it's similar to photoshop but without the pricetag.

Simple line drawing.

Color-blocking.

Some shading.

More shading. Details added.

Window and lightening was pretty much an afterthought.

KABOOM! Light 'er up.

The cat's unofficial name at our house is El Pinche Gato, courtesy of my husband. I looked up "pinche" in my 1987 college Spanish dictionary and it said "rotten". So I went around saying pinche this, pinche that.

Then my father-in-law, who is Hispanic, asked Sweetheart how Spanish class was going at school. I jokingly told Sweetheart to walk into class and say "Pinche escuela." My father-in-law nearly choked on his dentures.

So I typed el pinche gato into Google translate. Google had a slightly different take on "pinche" than the old dictionary. It explains why my father-in-law didn't think pinche escuela was a good idea.

(I just now checked Google translate again; it now says "click the cat" is the translation. That is NOT what it said a few months ago when I checked).



Sunday, August 17, 2014

Bring faded plastic fenders back to black

We bought an old 97 jeep cherokee sport from a friend this week and are fixing it up for College Man. It doesn't need a whole lot done. We changed the spark plugs, put in a new valve cover gasket, cleaned it up, and are about to put a couple of new tires on it. The spark plugs were really all that was needed to get the sputter out. We wanted to put on a new fuel filter but it is inside the tank of this particular model. Since the spark plugs cleared up the sputter, we'll wait a bit longer and replace the filter and fuel pump all at once.

A cool thing I learned from a bleepinjeep.com youtube video was how to get the sun-bleached fenders and other faded plastics back to black... take a heat gun to them.


This is how it turned out on ours. Took about an hour and a half for all fender flares and bumpers.

And BONUS! Check out how bleepinjeep did some cool DIY bushwhacker fenders for cheap in this video. We're gonna do it!




As for heat guns...


I borrowed my dad's but some time before I start pulling up the ugly old linoleum in my laundry room, I'll get my own. This Wagner had the best reviews and was about middle of the price range, $22 bucks on Amazon (the range for heat gun prices was $15 to $30).

No matter where I wind up buying what I'm looking for, I usually check Amazon reviews first. Those people are brutally honest. (Plus, I learned something about fixing the xbox 360 Red Ring of Death in J. Hagen's review... awesome.)


2 heat settings, weighs under 2 lbs. Over 450 amazon reviewers liked it. Sounds good to me.


Sunday, August 10, 2014

"Jennifer" Quilt Pattern, a.k.a Cajun Hopscotch :)

Pam P. demonstrated how this quilt goes together. SOOO much simpler than how I thought.


This is the quilt that 24blocks.com posted on their facebook page, and said "From our reader, Becky."

Here's the one block Pam P. showed us that makes this quilt. It's made of half-square triangles. See it?...


Here is the one block...


Like I said earlier, we've got those half-square triangles licked; click here for how to make them quick and easy. Basically, for this one, you're going to make a million of them that are half white and half colorful scraps. Maybe a bazillion; depends. Then sew them together like the block above.

From there you could go bigger blocks or rows. Whatever floats your boat. I'll probably do rows.



One more look at the whole thing...


Thanks Becky, Pam, and 24Blocks! Can't wait to make my own!

PS...Several readers listed the book that the Jennifer quilt pattern is in, "3 Times the Charm". It's available on Amazon. (I bought it just now; looks like it has a bunch of sweet quick ones).


http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00HH1G8F6/?tag=texastootb-20

PPS...They named all their quilts girl's names. I like names like Drunkards Path and Arkansas Crossroads. A Google search shows plenty of people making this particular half square triangle quilt but nobody seems to know a traditional name for it. How 'bout Cajun Hopscotch. Why Cajun, because I have a friend named Cajun Ray. And it sounds cool. And the quilt is kind of hard to understand at first.


Monday, May 19, 2014

Favicon for GoDaddy Website Builder v7, workaround

After searching for an hour for instructions to add a favicon to my books website with Godaddy's Website Builder version 7, I discovered a long list of complaints that favicons are not supported in v7.

Here is a workaround that will get you two out of three. My favicon shows up in the browser tab and on the favorites bar but not in the address bar. See it here.

1. Design your icon and download it. I used http://www.favicon.cc/

2. Insert the image on one of your pages, just like adding any other image on Website Builder. Or upload to a host site like picasa or photobucket. It's so tiny, you could stick it in a bottom corner of any page on your site and it would probably go unnoticed; that's what I did.

3. Save and publish (if you added it to your web site).

4. Open up notepad or wordpad and paste this code there (we'll come back to it in a few seconds):


link rel="icon"
type="image/ico"
href="http://example.com/myicon.png"



(Thanks to Michael's comment below,
we now have a much simpler code to work with.
Thank you Michael!)

5. In your browser, go to your site to the page where your favicon is stashed (not within the website builder; just visit your site). Or, if you uploaded to a host site, go there.

6. Right click on the favicon image, click "Copy image URL"

7. Go back to the code you pasted in notepad. In the line that says href="http://example.com/myicon.png" , highlight the text between the quotations marks, right click and click paste. A long line of url text will replace the previous url. Make sure you still have the quotation marks.

8. Now copy your entire new code.

9. Log back into website builder.

10. Click the "manage site" button (just to the right of the green Publish button), choose "site settings", click the "general settings" tab.

11. Paste the code into an empty line in the black box under the HEAD section.

12. Click OK, save, publish.


CHROME: When you're finished, visit your page and hit F5 to refresh. Your browser is storing your previous version and will not show you your updated version until you refresh. New visitors to your page will see the new favicon but you will not unless you hit F5 to refresh. (Did I say refresh enough? Oh, there it was one more time). I use Chrome, by the way; this works.

NOTE: You can also use a 16x16 gif image. I did this because I wanted to edit my downloaded icon design a little further in GIMP (similar to photoshop but free software). Make sure your transparent parts stay transparent by pasting into a new layer and disabling the background layer before you save. You'll alter the code above by telling it you're using a gif file instead of an ico file: change... type="image/ico" ...to... type="image/gif".


Oh wow! I never noticed until now that we can change our blogger favicon from the orange and white B. It's a widget on the Layout page in the upper left corner titled (drum roll please)... Favicon.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

First step toward a children's book app

My very first animated .gif !


I've been kind of watching illustrator Will Terry's progress on creating children's book apps. Also looking around a tiny bit on Google's app creator. Tonight I searched "animation software" and discovered that the illustration software I've been using all along, GIMP, can do animated .gifs. So I watched this short tutorial on YouTube...


... and then created the swimming fish up there, modeled after Heidi Wittlinger's fish in the Nighty Night app.

I have a long way to go toward a children's book app but I'm gonna get there.