Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tricia’s Coleslaw

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010

I invented this coleslaw for my friend TR who throws wonderful parties and praises my salads.

2 cloves garlic, crushed
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 T olive oil
1 T mayonnaise
1 t dijon mustard
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 t sugar
freshly ground pepper
1 cup yogurt cheese
2 T chopped fresh cilantro

1 head green cabbage, thinly sliced
2 carrots, grated
1/4 cup red onion, minced

To make yogurt cheese, place 1 1/2 cups plain yogurt in a fine sieve lined with paper towels. Place the sieve over a bowl, cover and refrigerate 6 hours or overnight.

Combine all the dressing ingredients except yogurt, whisking well to form an emulsion. Whisk in the yogurt. Store the dressing and salad separately, until 1 hour before serving. Combine dressing with salad and chill for 1 hour.

Whirled Peas

Monday, January 18th, 2010

Whew – the holidays went by in a blur, didn’t they? I’ve just now gotten all the photos I took posted and blogged. Scroll down or click to see Christmas, Crafts, Niece, Nephew, and Other Cool Stuff.

I hope you had a great Christmas and I hope your new year is off to a great start.

How to knit a sweater in a week

Sunday, December 6th, 2009

Don’t get excited! It’s elf-sized. I knitted this mini sweater Christmas tree ornament as a thank-you gift for my uncle, aunt, and cousins in Redding who are always so hospitable and generous, and outdid themselves during my visit last month.

MiniSweater03

Actual size: about 4″ long.

I used craft wire to make a little hanger for it. I duplicate-stitched their last name initial (no, the R is not for Ron Weasley.) I will probably write up a pattern for this, when I’m home from Christmas vacation.

Ravelry link

Photos are posted…

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

… Finally! Things have been a little rough, re-adjusting to life on the Mainland. But I finally got my Kauai pictures sorted and posted. Looking back at the warmth, light, and beauty, it’s hard to believe we were really there. It already seems like a dream.

Microshaft

Friday, June 26th, 2009

I have a gripe against the Evil Empire. They have changed the file formats for Word and Powerpoint – .doc and .ppt files are now .docx and .pptx. This makes immediate upgrade mandatory – it’s getting more common for client materials to be in these new formats and my old software versions can’t read them. Not cool, Microsoft!

The Upgrade Saga

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Fidget turned 3 last week. It’s been a great way to share my thoughts and photos with family out of the area and I still get a thrill when local friends tell my they’ve read my blog. Thanks for taking an interest, everybody! The following tale may not interest anyone except me, but I wanted to write down the process I went through duringĀ  the last few weeks of moving, backing up, and upgrading this blog.

When I first set up the blog I made the mistake of naming the folder with an uppercase F. The Internet is case-sensitive so whenever I was telling someone my blog address I felt I had to mention that the F was required. This minor irritation increased a few notches when I recently entered some photos of hats that I’ve knitted in Annie Modesitt’s 1000 Fabulous Knit Hats project. I was filling out the paperwork, and typing my web address on the form. I looked at that capital F and thought, what if my images get selected for the book? what if the person entering data forgets to hit shift-F? what if a broken link to my website is out in PRINT?

So I decided to move the blog. Not far, just into a different folder.

Right around the same time, just before I actually did the move, the blog broke and I couldn’t save or publish any new posts or pages or even edit existing posts or pages. I was pretty sure that this didn’t have anything to do with the directory move, partly because I noticed the issue before I did it but also because it wasn’t giving me any kind of error message, just jumping to the home page and pretending it had never seen what I had just typed. This was a lot bigger of an issue than a bunch of broken links that I feared I’d have to deal with between F and f. I tried tweaking the file permissions with no results. I realized I would have to upgrade to the newest version of WordPress, since it had been 3 years and they’ve made a lot of changes since then.

What did your cyber-mother always tell you? BACK UP YOUR DATABASE. So I did that, using the handy plugin that I’d installed in WordPress. I’d done that many times before, in fact. But, could I actually restore from the backup? I’d never done that part before and I figured I should make sure my backup would be worth something before I forged ahead with the upgrade.

That was when things started to get really horrifying.

I found instructions in the WordPress documentation about using phpMyAdmin, the interface provided by most web hosts to manipulate one’s database. When I performed a backup this way, it was a disconcertingly small 15MB – disconcerting because the file I’d gotten via the plugin was 100MB! Even more troubling – when I tried to restore from the big-file backup, it wouldn’t take. File size too darn big.

After a lot of frantic thrashing around, which included several trouble tickets with my host, a side trip into the php.ini file to increase the allowed upload filesize (didn’t help); and wondering if I would lose most of the comments on my 3 years worth of posts, the following became clear to me:

Every single spam comment that ever showed up in my moderation queue has been stored on the database for the past 3 years. Yikes! Talk about a wake-up call. I had no idea that when I clicked “moderate as: spam” it actually meant “keep this” rather than “toss it, NOW!” It would be like suddenly discovering that your basement was full of every single bottle and can you thought you had sent to the recycle bin during the last 3 years.

Mixed in with those 100MB of spam comments (the rest of the content was a paltry >1MB) were comments from my family and friends that I wanted to keep! But, thankfully, my web host was able to restore all 100MB for me so that I could start fresh and try to get rid of all that excess baggage.

In a miracle of Internet information serendipity, I found a video that was so helpful, so clear, and so relevent that it seemed it had been made for me. Once I (little ol’ me!) went into phpMyAdmin and – get this – used an SQL query to clean up my comments table, my entire site was a bit over 1MB. Sigh. of. relief. (Know what else? Maybe the reason I couldn’t make any new posts was the database was feeling full. No more new stuff for you, lady, not till you clear out this packrat’s paradise of a comments table!!!)

Then, I followed the Worpress upgrade instructions. That went off without a hitch. I love the new version – I can control how my sidebar is set up, and the whole control panel system is way better. I installed an anti-spam plugin, a stats plugin (how many people have viewed this post?) and of course the backup plugin. (Just because I now know how to do a few things in phpMyAdmin doesn’t mean I want to hang out there all the time!) I even came full circle on the file directory move – I did a find-and-replace on the /F to /f and also put a helpful re-direct page on the /Fidget URL.

Next stop: theme design. I think I’ll go for an evolutionary rather than revolutionary approach. Keep your eyes peeled for new framing images.

I’ve upgraded!

Sunday, May 24th, 2009

Well, it looks like I’m able to post to my blog again! It’s still showing “must be logged in to leave a comment” – that’ll be what I tackle next. Stay tuned!

[…later…]

Well, that was easy! Go ahead and leave comments… no log-in required. :)

VW R.I.P

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

My dad’s first car was a pale-yellow 1970 Volkswagen Beetle. I have memories of riding in the Bug in my car seat as a very young child. My dad drove it to Mountain View when he worked at Moffett Field and we would listen for the distinctive rumble of the engine to signal, Daddy’s home! It always felt exciting to ride in it, being that close to the road you seem to go faster.

In the mid 80’s Dad started working for a Japanese company and helped to found their US Office, named Opto Films. He got a vanity plate for the Bug, “OPTOBUG.” Eventually he started to drive the company car to work every day, but we would tootle around in the Bug on weekends running errands for household repairs.

I was a bit of a late bloomer when it came to driving (among other things!) but I finally got my license when I was 19. I learned to drive on the family van, also a Volkswagen, but the Bug became “my” car and I drove it for 4 years, the first four years of my adulthood.

I commuted to Santa Cruz every day for 2 summers, down to a few times a week during the school year, while I was an intern for LA & JF at their web design firm in Pearl Alley. I almost can’t believe I drove that Bug over Highway 17 for 2 years! Actually I got my first (and only, so far!) speeding ticket in the Bug, just past the summit on 17. It must have been the fact that it was on the downhill, the Bug wasn’t exactly a speed demon.

During this time I was on the volunteer staff for the junior high youth group at church, and I would park a few blocks away to avoid the Sunday morning crowds in the parking lot. After church on hot summer noons the black vinyl seat would burn my legs right through my sundress. Ouch.

I drove the Bug to visit my friend LN, first to meet her for coffee in Willow Glen and then to Santa Cruz while she was going to college. Her first car was the family Bug as well, a light blue convertible. It was a sad day when she got rear-ended – not hard enough to injure her but enough to damage the car beyond repair.

Although we lived within walking distance of the Light Rail station where I caught the train to San Jose State University, I would drive the Bug to the park-and-ride lot during the semesters when I had night classes. My friend PL and I would use the buddy system and take the train home to south San Jose where we lived just a few stations apart. The spring semester of 1999 was a busy one – I was taking portfolio-preparation classes to apply for the Graphic Design Program at SJSU. Much animated discussion occurred, as we hung around in the art building and weighed our chances of gaining one of the 25 seats in the program that year. My acceptance letter came in early summer, and I drove to school to pick up my portfolio and check out the list of who all made it in. I faced my friend MS, his expressive eyebrows stricken with rejection. I had been so sure he would make it. Feeling a bit empty, I returned to the car and backed out of my narrow space in the 7th st. garage. Bump! – to my horror, I’d backed into a pickup truck. My bumper, less than a foot from the ground, had tucked itself behind the truck’s large tire and I was stuck. I couldn’t go forward or back. What to do? I ran down to a pay phone on the street corner and called my dad. I ran back up and switched gears, back and forth between 1st and reverse, until I edged my way out of the predicament. I looked for any marks or dings on the truck, but I honestly couldn’t see any. That’s on the top of my list of most bizarre days. I had a few other mishaps in the Bug – For awhile the gas gauge was broken and I ran out of gas. Once a cap or bolt popped off the engine a few blocks before getting on the freeway – the car refused to accelerate. Another call to Dad to come bail me out.

The Bug served me faithfully in my various adventures with Boys. I wouldn’t exactly call it dating. A crush helped me put the car cover back on the Bug after a day at the soccer game. My computer-geek buddy from work and I went on a field trip to Fry’s Electronics – the Ancient Egyptian-themed one. I spent a long time talking to a guy who’d noticed me at a friend’s party, after dinner at a sort of “double date” with mutual friends. That was awkward, but after we walked out to our cars we talked for quite awhile, me sitting on my Bug fender, him, leaning against another car. But things pretty much fizzled out after that. Months later, after the double date couple had moved to a different house, I sat outside after a party at their place, leaning against the Bug, talking with my new friend BN. Things most definitely did not fizzle out with him, and now we’re married.

My baby brother has grown into the Bug, and it was an eerie experience to ride with him in it when I visited last summer. The smell in that car instantly conjured up vivid memories of my entire life but mostly my early twenties. Dad had been planning to get it painted, fixed up a bit, if he could only find the time.

IMG_6180

Then, one night last weekend, some joy-riding jacked-up-truck-driving IDIOT crashed headlong into OptoBug as it was parked in front of my parents’ house. The left taillight was smashed in, and the right rear tire burst as it was pushed up over the curb. The killer drove away, and will never experience consequences from this action since no one got his license plate number. All we can hope is for karma to kick in at some point. My dad took a hub cap to remember by, and our good old car was hauled away for parts. Perhaps some enthusiast will be helped along in his quest to restore a vintage Beetle by the parts (and spirit) of our 1970 friend. They don’t make ’em like they used to!

A site for good reads

Thursday, March 20th, 2008

Recently BN and I were made aware of a book-lovers website, GoodReads.com. Your free sign-up will allow you to keep lists of books you have read, are reading, and want to read. You can rate books with a simple five-star scale and go more in-depth by writing a review. You can read other people’s reviews of books, and add comments in discussion threads. Neat! I found the site somewhat clunky to use, but the concept is useful and the visuals are clean.

Warning: these premises are equipped with surveillance-kitties

Saturday, February 23rd, 2008

This has happened many times before, to my immense amusement, but this is the first time I’ve remembered to grab the camera:

CatStare1CatStare2

I’ll be going about my business at home and suddenly I look out and there’s a cat, perched right on the edge of the neighbors’ concrete wall, staring in our front window. It’s not always the same cat, either! Do they take it in shifts to keep an eye on us? Do they do it when we’re not home, even? What do they find so interesting to watch?! I guess I should be glad it’s not the neighbors themselves staring out the window at us. It’s a bit awkward, the way our windows are placed to be able to see right into each other’s living rooms. And in our case, into our kitchen and down our hall.

There are lots of kitties in our apartment complex. I assume they are owned by the residents, but many of them spend a lot of time outside. On laundry day they watch me going up and down stairs with my full and empty baskets, and sometimes engage me in conversation. I think I must look like I speak cat. They give me that look that seems to mean that they know that I know what they are talking about.