Long Break

It’s almost been a year since I started my blog.  I was so excited about my new project that I was sleeping only 4 hrs or so per night even though I am a solid 8hr-per night person.  And I didn’t even miss the sleep I was having so much fun learning about blogging and exploring my creative side that I didn’t know I had.

I was trying to be really happy-go-lucky, fun, positive person on my blog, which is a bit of a stretch for me.  I could be that, but I am not that all the time.  That would not be me.  So when our 15-year old cat Boxer died last June, I couldn’t blog.  It broke our heart so much because he was like our child.  When you get used to having someone around the house everyday morning and night, and when it’s gone, it left a gaping hole that I couldn’t possibly imagine could be so big.  Boxer was 12 pound cat but his absence made the house feel so empty….almost lifeless.  I kept thinking of those parents who lose their child and I couldn’t even imagine what that would be like to go through if losing a cat we adapted only 15 years before had such an impact in our lives.

Since I am someone who cannot stick to one thing for too long, this break in my blogging project ended up lasting for about 10 months now.  I am still heartbroken and I still cry in my pillow at night.  I decided that my blog doesn’t have to be always so happy and positive and someone I am not.  I am just going to be myself, for the sake of longevity of my blog page.

So here I go.  Change of direction.

 

 

make popcorn using a brown bag

Popcorn Your Way – No Special Tool Required

Popcorn is a pantry staple in an American household.  Typical household would have some sort of popcorn- whether bought popped or to be popped just before consumption.

In good ol’ days, we had jiffy pop, which I still think it’s so much fun to watch the extraterrestrial looking dome form right before your eyes.  But I always ended up with burnt popcorn because I was focused on the dome’s size, not the doneness of my popcorns.  You can still buy jiffy pop today from grocery stores in their popcorn section.

Then I had an air popper I bought from a thrift store.  This was also fun to watch because I could see the popcorn popping in action.  And they came shooting out of the chamber, and it was like a game trying to catch them all into a bucket.  I never burnt popcorn with air popper, but I just couldn’t ever figure out how to use the butter melting function without making a huge mess on it.  My niece and nephew thought I was so cool and loved the homemade popcorn as they ate them out of a gallon-size bucket.  Their parents didn’t agree with them however.  Microwave popcorn, which made their kids very self-sufficient and required no clean up, was no longer good enough for the younglings as they were asking their parents to make popcorn in a seemingly harder way.

One day I discovered that my husband had gotten rid of my air popper, because he was always weirded out, that the machine that would produce something that we would put in our mouth came from a thrift store, yet I never washed the popping chamber, because I couldn’t.  It wasn’t built for washing.  Because it didn’t need to be washed.  The chamber’s bottom was fashioned with a heating element, kinda like the wires that glows red in a popup toaster, and it got so darn hot that anything bad would have been either burnt or killed off at some point.  I was not about to give up on a machine that made me a cool aunt.  So, my husband took it to his own hand and tossed it when I wasn’t looking.  He didn’t even donate it back to the thrift store.  He claimed that any food-prepping tool that couldn’t be washed shouldn’t be recycled.  Let the buyer decide that!  But, whatever.  It’s done.

So this time, I went and found an un-used air popper at a thrift shop.  It had a cute retro design and color to it.  It didn’t have a box, but everything looked like never had been used, with instruction tucked inside, plug in cord still neatly twist-tied.  More importantly, it now has a seal of husband-approved.  It promised longevity in our household.  Hopefully this is the last air-popper I would have to buy in a long time.

I went shopping for all the popcorn ingredients, even picked up a movie that would go with the popcorn.  When I got home, I studied the instruction carefully as I always like to do.  Here we go, we are popping!

Not.  This one, this never-before-used machine, didn’t seem to have enough heat to really get the kernels to pop, so kernels slowly burnt inside the aluminum drum.  A few popped, but there was not enough force for them to jump out of the drum, so they also slowly burnt inside.  I re-read the instruction.  Maybe I put too many kernels?  Maybe not enough?  I tried all different ways, but it didn’t make any difference.

I was so irritated how this new and cute popcorn machine turned out to be useless.  I had such a high hope for it.  It couldn’t even do the ONLY job it was designed to do – to make popcorn.  How would anyone make something that doesn’t work and sell it?  Is it supposed to be just for the looks?  (I am talking about this popcorn maker.  I don’t know the person you are thinking of.)  Who’s got counter space for that these days?  I am a sucker who bought it.  But now I know what it does (or doesn’t do, to be more accurate), I am not going to put up with it.  She’s fired.  (Still talking about the popcorn machine.)

I was going to have popcorn that night, no matter what.  Not because I wanted popcorn, but because succeeding in making edible popcorn seemed like the way to get back at the company who made the worthless popcorn machine I just slam-dunked into the outside trash can.  So I:

  • Mimicked jiffy pop using a frying pan – didn’t really pop and kernels just burnt
  • Mimicked popcorn maker pot by using a cooking pot – again didn’t really pop and kernels just burnt.

After wasting half of the bag of popcorn kernels and washing several pots and pans, while smoky aroma and haze filled our little house, I turned to a bag of microwave popcorn…  I ripped opened the plastic and threw the bag into the microwave angrily, feeling defeated, even violated of my justice and rights.  I guess there is a reason for popularity of microwave popcorn.  It works.  It’s easy.  No pots or pans to wash.  Set it and forget it.  Kids can do it without parental supervision.  But why does it work so well?  It’s just a bag with corn and butter inside, I think.  Right?  Heck, I have a bag right here, corn chips came with Mexican food take out.

So I tried mimicking microwave popcorn this time.  I didn’t add butter to it, because I figured that the popcorn bag had some sort of special coating inside preventing butter to bleed threw the bag.  My brown bag would not stand a chance against butter.

I made the bag flat, put it in the microwave just like I would with a microwave popcorn.  I followed the microwave popcorn’s instruction for popping – 2 to 2 and a half minutes, depending on microwave.

I set the microwave for 2 minutes and got back to cleaning around the kitchen, which was now quite messy with kernel spills everywhere, and pots and pans heaping on my dish rack, fully anticipating the air to get even more smokier in a couple of minutes.

POP!

Well, that’s one more pop than I got from other methods.

POP! POP!

Sounds promising.

POP! POP!……. POP!POP!POP!POP!POPPITTY POP!

I dashed to the microwave.  It’s working!

I hopped in place and clapped my hands, watching the bag slowly expand.

I stopped the microwave as soon as I heard a slight pause in between pops.  I didn’t care if half the popcorn was still kernels.  I think I am getting un-burnt popcorn!

I took the bag out from the microwave, picked up the end with one hand, the other holding the bottom of the bag, as though the microwave printed a sign on the bag says “fragile.”

My heart was racing with excitement.  When I put the bag in a bowl upside down and pulled up the bag, white, light popcorn came pouring out.  A lot of it.

“JUSTICE!”

I was so impressed with the result I told everyone about it.  To my surprise no one knew that you could do this.  So give it a try, go show off to your friends and your children.  I guarantee they will be impressed!

Brown Bag Popcorn

What you need:

A Microwave

A paper bag*

½ cup Popcorn kernel** (found in popcorn isle at the grocery store)

Topping (Optional)

Liquid, spray, or melted butter

Seasoning salt, your favorite (I like Jonny’s seasoning)

Nutritional Yeast (usually found in bulk isle, flake or powder. (video shows powder)

*lunch bag size, and thin material.  Full-size grocery paper bag material will be too thick.  Fast food bags will work fine, too.

**try Mushroom popcorn found in a specialty or bulk store.  It makes large meaty popcorns!

***Nutritional Yeast and Brewer’s Yeast are not the same, in case you are wondering.

 

  1. Put popcorn in a brown bag.  Fold the opening twice.  Flatten the bag so that the kernels are laying in a single layer.
  2. Place the bag on its side, folded side down.  Set the microwave on high for 2 to 2 ½ minutes, depending on your microwave.
  3. Empty in a bowl.  Add topping of your choice.  Let the bag air dry and save it for the next time.  You can reuse the bag as long as the bag is good.

Tell me what you think!

This Zombie Apocalypse Prank Is Hilarious

I love Ellen DeGeneres.  Who doesn’t, really?  She’s got to be famous worldwide.  I know her show is now on the telly in UK!  You don’t know her?  Check out her show’s website, The Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Her ellentube has some of the funniest videos, and I think this is the funniest yet.  A pair of loving brothers successfully convince their little sister, who just came out of Anastasia after her wisdom teeth were pulled, that zombie apocalypse has begun.

 

 

smoke a little smoke…Don’t.

I LOVE going to concerts.  But I don’t love the air I have to breathe while I am there – it always, always comes with pot scent.

I live in Washington State, the Evergreen state, who houses an incredible amphetheatre, the Gorge.  I have gone and seen James Taylor, BB King, Lilith Fair, Metallica, Dave Mathews Band, Tom Petty, and Foo Fighters.  I have come to learn that when I buy a ticket for an event at the Gorge, I am waiving the clean-air rights, possibly taking on a risk that the 2nd-hand smoke from the drifting pot smoke could cause me to fail a random drug test at work.  (you can say I am over reacting.  I just really don’t like marijuana.)

Washington State has been smoke free in public area for several years now.  We enjoy smoke free restaurants and bars, and I love it.

But then the green-bud law passed.

I went to an indoor arena concert.  My enjoyment was interrupted by annoying pot smell.  How naïve was I.  I didn’t realize that being indoor wouldn’t stop people from smoking.  I was determined not to let it ruin my night.  I put up with it.

I went to a baseball stadium concert just last weekend.  It was at Safeco Field, home of Seattle Mariners.  It’s a beautiful ball park, and I love the fun, family atmosphere it exudes.

Then I smelled someone getting stoned.  Sigh.  I really cannot get away from it, can I?

And it dawned on me.  I am confused.

Smoking is prohibited inside the stadium (designated smoking areas are all outside the stadium, 25 feet away from the entrances.  I know that only smoking I had seen from the stadium before was from fryers in concession stands.)  Cigarette smokers seem to obey non-smoking rules.  Yet, there is no stopping of people from smoking pot.  Maybe because the non-smoking sign looks like only targets cigarettes.

I don’t agree with recreational use of marijuana.  But whatever.  I am not going around and preach people about how they shouldn’t smoke cannabis.  They can do what they want to do.  I don’t care about that.  But I do care about my rights.  I should have the right not to be around a substance that is still widely illegal in most parts of the United States.  I have all the rights not to get involuntary high with Mary Jane.

Next time I am at a venue, I would like to see non-pot-smoking sign to make it really clear.  That would be swell.  It probably won’t stop people from smoking.  But at least it’s clear to everyone around them that it’s not allowed.  It helps to have that if someone wants to bring that to the smoker’s attention.

You won’t like that, Stoners?  Deal with it.  Someone didn’t invent brownies for nothing.

 

PLUGIN – Add To Any Share Buttons

I chose floating share buttons to show up on the left side instead of right side of the screen.
I chose floating share buttons to show up on the left side instead of right side of the screen.

Today I installed a free plugin that will add those social media icons to your website.  AddToAny plugin for share buttons lets you add a floating button banner or list of buttons directly on the page, post, or site, top or bottom.

As you can see on the below screenshot, it’s really simple by selecting what you want to see, and then save.  That’s it.  No code writing, even though it offers further customization for those who is interested in it.

In matter of 5 minutes, I had buttons added to my site.  see this screenshot here?  They work great, too!

Add to Any Share

If you want your visitors to share your blog, but you don’t want to waste no time setting it the buttons, this is the plugin for you.

 

How to share my new post on Facebook

I don’t have any traffic through my blog site yet.  Some may say you don’t need to have a Facebook account of your blog site until you see a fair amount of “likes” on your blog posts.  Only a few close people in my life use Facebook, but everyone I work with seems to live in their virtual reality Facebook world.  I cannot ignore the power of Facebook.  It would be much easier to ask my friends and co-workers to like my page, which will require them to act on it only once.  Even if they forget about it after they like my site, my posts will remember them of my existence. (of course until they decide to unlike it…)  And think of the network of friends people have!  I don’t even know how they keep up with all those “friends.”

I found a plugin called “Social Media Auto Publish.”  It supports Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.  It’s really simple and their tutorial hand holds you through the whole process.  When you are going through the setup, you are asked to create a Facebook developer account.  No worries.  If you want to create a link between your Facebook page and your site, you have to sign up for it.  The instruction is very detailed and helpful, so just follow each step. The screenshots look differently from today’s Facebook’s developer page, but the steps are the same.  Once done, it works so simply.

The plug in claims to:
★ Attach post or share link to Facebook
★ Publish to Twitter with image
★ Publish to LinkedIn with image
★ Filter items to be published based on categories
★ Filter items to be published based on custom post types
★ Enable or disable WordPress page publishing
★ Customizable message formats for Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook

this is what it looks a posts look like on my Facebook page.
this is what it looks a posts look like on my Facebook page.

I M POSSIBLE

Looking for an inspiration?  Meet Amberley Snyder.

She competes in Barrel Racing at rodeos.  What makes her story so special?  She is paralyzed from her waist down, and that’s not stopping her from doing great things.

It all happened when she was on the top of the world in her senior year in high school.

Even when she learned that she would never walk again, her mind and heart were fixed on the day she would race again.

damn right

The road to recovery wasn’t easy.  At one point she felt so down that she even told her mom to sell her horses.  Mom always knows best.  She didn’t sell the horses.

We are all glad that she didn’t.

You would be, too.

She is not only a barrel racer again, she has become a motivational speaker to inspire us all by sharing her experience.  I was lucky to be at one of those events with Amberley as a special guest.  She was so engaging, personable, and truly inspiring.  She has taken her devastating life event and turned it around into so much more than she would probably ever imagined possible.  And she is sharing the uplifting energy with everyone.

Read more about Amberley on her own website and be more inspired.  http://www.amberleysnyder.org/my-story/

Watch You Tube videos of Amberley that will make you feel like you can do anything!  My favorite is her Wheelchair Wednesday episode #25, in which she lifts herself up onto her horse.  A-mazing.

My Screen Turned Upside Down!

Ctrl + Alt + Up arrow key will fix that.

Looks like you can use each arrow key to rotate your screen.  Why does a short cut exist for such thing?  Who on earth would ever need to make their screen upside down in a hurry??  Maybe it’s a programmer thing.  Or maybe it’s just because they can.

Well, at least it gave me a good laugh over this.