pen rainbow

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—Pesto, Ricotta & Tomato Tortilla Pizza

Adapted from Weight Watchers online.  This is one of our favorites!

Made with a wheat tortilla crust!
Add real bacon bits for an added kick of flavor

Pesto, Ricotta & Tomato Tortilla Pizza

Add my 5-star review to this easy supper!
Points value:  8-10
Serves 4

  • olive oil PAM
  • whole wheat tortillas
  • 1 container Buitoni reduced-fat pesto with basil
  • 1 container part-skim ricotta cheese 
  • 1 pkg shredded Italian cheese
  • 2 large heirloom tomatoes, cut up
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Make It!
  1. Preheat oven to 450°F.  Lightly spray a large baking sheet with PAM (or use non-stick aluminum foil, or use a non-stick baking sheet)
  2. Arrange tortillas on the baking sheet
  3. Spread each with 2 T. pesto
  4. Top each tortilla with 2 generous tablespoons of ricotta; squish the dollops of ricotta around to distribute more evenly
  5. Top each with chopped tomato
  6. Sprinkle each with 2 T. shredded Italian cheese
  7. Add bacon bits & grated Parmesan, if desired
  8. Bake until the edges of the tortillas are crisp & the cheese is bubbly (7 to 10 minutes)
  9. Slice each tortilla into 4 wedges before serving; you'll need a fork & knife to eat it

Optional Add-Ins:  Sprinkle 2 T. real bacon bits on top before baking.  Top with grated Parmesan cheese.

I increased the ricotta to 1/4 c. per tortilla
Beautiful ripe heirloom tomatoes
Better than straight mozzarella

Sprinkle a little grated Parm & cracked black pepper on top
(add a point for the Parm)
Steve likes bacon on his

Bon Appétit!

Monday, March 30, 2015

Monday—National Parks Artist-in- Residence Program

Artists + National Parks = A Natural Connection

Pearle Jones (my grandmother)_Grand Canyon 1928

Artist-in-Residence Programs
Sponsored by the National Park Service

Here is an interesting way to explore the national parks!  As an artist-in-residence.  

The National Park Service has over 50 in-residence programs for visual artists, writers, musicians, performers, and other creatives to capture the unique identity of each park through individual works of art.  

Residencies typically last 2 to 4 weeks, and most include lodging.  Each park has its own schedule and application procedures, so applicants need to work with the individual park websites.

Artists are usually asked to contribute original works of art &/or make park presentations to park visitors.  Check the program requirements for each park. 

Click HERE to access the interactive map 

  • Great Basin National Park (Nevada):  The deadline for 2015 submissions was 1 March 2015.  The Artist-in-Residence for each calendar year is chosen in April.  The residency starts in mid-September to 1 October.      
  • Big Cypress National Preserve (Florida):  Residencies available during the wet season (May through October) and dry season (November through April).  I'm not sure what the application period is, but applications are reviewed in August for the following year's residencies.
  • Glacier National Park (Montana):  Applications are accepted between 1 November and 31 December for the following year.  Applicants are notified in late March.  
  •  I was disappointed to find that Joshua Tree National Park does not have any info posted on an artist-in-residence program.  Contact them directly to inquire.  

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Sunday—Old Friends & New Friends

Make a new friend this week...We did!

Our Tennessee Friends

Steve  Troi  Maddie  Rebecca  Jimmy  Lulu

Have a Fun Week!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Saturday Trust Final Edition

The end of the road

A page from Desert Challenge by Richard Lillard c.1942

✓  My Job Is Done

It is time to turn the page on the work that I've been doing since the day that my dad died in November 2013.  

The final trust taxes have been filed, and I will oversee any residual trust business for the next couple of years.  The work of administering the Jones Family Trust has reached a conclusion. 

Click HERE to go to the beginning of my journey as successor trustee.

Losses & Gains

I lost a parent and spent the majority of last year away from my home in California.  I gained quality time with my sister and my mom that probably would not have happened if my dad hadn't died.  

I lost a nagging sense of inadequacy and gained the confidence to tackle any problem, no matter how daunting.  

I lost the need to collect stuff and gained the satisfaction of knowing that possessions are meant to be shared and passed on, not kept until the day I die.

I gave up on trying to control my relationships—and gained clarity.

I let go of a misplaced sense of obligation to save people.  I gained a more balanced and realistic view of my own potential.

I lost whatever insecurities I had going into 2014—and gained certainty.

I let go of resentment and replaced it with uncompromising indifference.  

I stopped letting other people define my happiness.  I gained control.

One last time...

Thanks, Dad

Moving ahead

Friday, March 27, 2015

Friday PS Gallery—Layouts

Lesson #14_A Little of This & A Little of That by Kim Klassen_Layouts

Pretty Roses

post-processed in PSCC & Lightroom

Free template by Claire

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Throw-Back Thursday: UNR 1928

My grandmother's first year at the University of Nevada Reno

87 years ago...

My grandmother's college friends

Enjoy your week!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Good For You, Good For the Home—Custom Buttons!

I just ordered a 1.25 inch Tecre button maker

Custom button maker

My New Gadget FAQs

Q.  Why do I need one of these?
A.  Because I want to make 50 custom buttons for a wedding.

Q.  How much do these things cost?
A.  $263 on Etsy from ButtonBoyInc (about $281 incl shipping)

Interesting factoid:  ButtonBoyInc ships out of Las Vegas

Q.  What are the reviews?
A.  1,516 reviews—all 5 stars!  

Q.  What do you get with this kit?
A.  Supplies for 500 buttons + a 1.25 inch hand-held cutter

Q.  Where will I store it?
A.  In the cupboard with the laminator and the rubber stamp embosser

Q.  How does it work?
A.  Here's a really good video by Maria

Stay tuned for my update after it arrives.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—Blackened Mahi Mahi with Radish & Cucumber Salad

So good!  Lots of chopping, but worth it 

Adapted from Weight Watchers Recipes Online, 2015_423 ratings of 4.5 stars (out of 5 stars)


Blackened Mahi Mahi with
Radish & Cucumber

  • Olive-oil PAM
  • 1-1/2 lbs. defrosted mahi mahi boneless, skinless filets (also good with tilapia or albacore tuna)
  • 3 T. blackening spice rub
  • 5 medium red radishes, cleaned, sliced in half & chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 of a Japanese cucumber, chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 1 medium red & 1 medium yellow bell pepper, chopped into 1/2" pieces
  • 3 medium green onions (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 T. cilantro, cleaned & roughly chopped
  • 1 avocado, chopped
  • 2 T. lime juice
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. kosher salt to taste 
  • 1/4 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. Italian herb mix

Make It!
  1. Spray a large nonstick skillet with PAM.  
  2. Coat fish with blackening spice rub & sauté on medium heat until fish flakes with a fork, about 4 minutes per side.  Serve fish alongside salad on the plate.
The Salad
  1. Slice each radish in half, then slice each half into 1/2" moon-shaped pieces.  Cut up all other veggies into 1/2" pieces.    
  2. In a medium bowl, combine chopped radishes, cucumber, bell peppers, green onions & fresh cilantro.
  3. In a 1-cup glass measuring cup, whisk together lime juice, olive oil, salt & freshly ground pepper.  Whisk in 1/2 tsp. Italian herb mix to season the vinaigrette.  Adjust seasonings to taste. 
**  For extra yumminess, serve the fish over a 1/2-cup of hot basmati rice  **

A perfect Springtime supper!

Yellow & red bell peppers, avos, green onions, radishes,
cucumber & fresh cilantro tossed in a simple lime vinaigrette

I use Safeway's frozen fish filets (albacore, tilapia or mahi mahi)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Monday—National Puppy Day!

A celebration of National Puppy Day_23 March 2015

Best Friends Forever

Sweet Nala_Best Mommy Dog in the Universe

Our dog, Caraboo_Most Adorable Doggie in the Universe_Daughter of Nala

Rusty_my dad's dog

SnoopDoggy_my mom's dog

A Northstar dogg

A Lafayette Rez doggie

Leeroy_my family dog growing up
He wore a life-jacket because his fur was too heavy for swimming

My Aunt Bev & her faithful doggie_1931

Best Friend Forever_Caraboo at the Rez

Have a Great Week!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Good for You, Good for The Home—One Drawer Challenge

Clean out one drawer this week!

My vanity junk drawer

Principles of Organization

  • Vision:  What do you want to see in the drawer?  Hair brushes, stationery, etc.  
  • Function:  What kind of drawer is it?  Is it a bathroom vanity drawer, a coffee table drawer, a kitchen drawer?
  • Zones:  Like things with like.  Personal belongings, for instance, live in a person's bedroom.  Rubber bands are office supplies & should be stored in the study or office.  Hair clips go in the vanity /bathroom area.  Tools go in the garage or in the utility drawer.  
  • Limits:  Put a limit on your supplies.  If you have too many socks, jeans, shoes or envelopes, it's time to thin out your supply. 
  • Expiration:  Get rid of anything that is expired.  Hotel soaps from a year ago, use them or throw them away.  
  • Share:  Let someone else enjoy your treasures.

Principles of Sorting

  • Keep, Give, Throw Away:  Before you start, set up boxes or bags for each.
  • If in doubt, say no:  It's okay to keep things that you like!
  • Is this a personal memento that I can pass on?  Reusables make wonderful, personalized gifts!  Ticket stubs, old letters, blank postcards from vacations, unused Post-Its, labeled pencils, colored pens, hotel stationery..It's really fun to put together meaningful collections of personal items.
  • Create a new space:  Move stuff from drawers to clear plastic bins on shelves.
  • Stop Hiding:  Treat yourself to inexpensive new storage containers & put regularly used items up top, on display and in sight.  Small baskets & plastic containers give any surface a clean, uncluttered look.

Get Real About Time

  • 2-Hour Rule:  Give yourself 2 hours to finish a drawer.  Work quickly, turn the ringer down on the phone, and close the door to the computer room.  
  • Schedule a reward at the end of your project!  Plan work times before logical quitting times.  Then, do something nice for yourself, e.g. a relaxing happy hour, a movie, or a cozy bubble bath.

1...2...3...Find a drawer & get started!

Sunday Eagle Cam—We Have Chicks!

Liberty and Freedom, the Pennsylvania Bald eagles, have 2 chicks!

Mom eagle on the nest

Hungry Little Guys!

Click HERE for the nest cam

Mom serves a tasty fish for lunch

Gentle mother eagle feeding the 2 baby eagles

Mom getting ready to tuck the babies in for an afternoon nap

Saturday, March 21, 2015

The Saturday Trust—Tips from The Pros

Here are some great articles by professional estate planners & trust attorneys

Becoming a successor trustee

Be Prepared
It's been 4 months since I closed my dad's trust.  The big job is done (i.e. the final distribution of assets), and as we cycle through another tax year, there is a little bit of paperwork left in order to finish off the current trust taxes.  Fortunately, we have a trust tax accountant who is handling that.  

To the Successor Trustee:  Under the category of—Doing Things Right—hire an experienced tax accountant who specializes in filing trust taxes.  This will save you a lot of time & worry later on.  

Since my dad passed away in November 2013, I've been writing about my personal experiences from the POV of someone who had never administered a trust or created a trust of my own.  Now, it's time to listen to the experts. 

To the Successor Trustee:  Have the contact info for the trust attorney (the attorney who drew up the original trust).  You'll need to contact the attorney and meet with him or her to sign on as the successor trustee.

There is a lot of information online about estate planning.  Here are some great links that cover the basics:

The Pros
  • Will vs. Trust_14 April 2011_Dana Law Firm Blog_by Mark Anderson, Atty
Avoiding Estate Planning Infographic

Friday, March 20, 2015

Friday Photoshop Gallery—Replacing Skies

Changing out sky backgrounds in Photoshop CC

The Sky's The Limit!


Original untouched photo by dsmp_EMPIRE_5 September 2009


Same photo_new sky & a lens flare
High Res Cloud Pack 01 by


Original untouched photo by dsmp_Eldorado Valley_Nevada


Same photo enhanced in PSCC_Sky by Lizzie-Bitty

Have a creative week!

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Throwback Thursday—Grand Canyon Summer 1928

Pix from Pearle's collection

A Trip to the Grand Canyon_Summer of '28

In their car
Deer up ahead hiding in the trees to the right
Pretty aspen & pine grove
A beautiful meadow of wildflowers
Grand Canyon Lodge_S' of 28
Sitting on a log in the parking lot

They made it!  
Have an adventurous weekend!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for the Groom

Neat ideas for modern weddings from Bridal Musings 

Less frill, more masculine elegance

A Nod to the Groom
I love these ideas from Bridal Musings for making weddings less traditionally feminine. 

Let's face it, ladies...Most Boomer brides went bat-shit girly when it came to our own weddings.  That was the style.  When Lady Diana Spencer got married in July 1981, she was wearing miles of ivory silk taffeta decorated with layers of antique lace, hand embroidery and 10 thousand pearls.  

For my $500 backyard wedding plus reception-at-my-gramma's-condominium-clubroom, I wore a Jessica McClintock Gunne Sax dress, permanently borrowed from my sister who bought it for her high school freshman Homecoming in 1977.  

June 28, 1980
Maids-of-Honor, Heidi & Brooke_Judge Segerblom_Best Man, Jim
To hear the wedding march of Di and Charles, click here > Prince of Denmark's March  (When you get to the website, click the PLAY button.)

To see some Gunne Sax patterns, click here >  Vintage Gunne Sax Dresses  

We were cute, but...
Times have changed for the better, I think.  The Emily Post book of wedding rules is out, and weddings are about the personalities, styles, and personal preferences of the wedding couples.

10 Ideas for A Masculine Wedding by Bridal Musings 

My Faves
  • #4.  Minimal Bloom Buttonholes — Choose simple & soft, e.g. Dusty Miller with lavender, Lamb's Ear with Lantana, orange blossom & fern, pussy willow & a single white button chrysanthemum.  Or, lose the flowers altogether & go with these little doodads and a super-cool pocket square by Sartorial Grandeur.

  • #9.  Industrial Complex — Love this non-traditional venue!  Anything non-traditional would be cool (e.g. a refurbished barn, a baseball field, a lakeside garden, a mountain lodge, etc.).  An upscale country club with lots of outdoor balcony space, wood paneling, a full bar, servers, garden paths, and oversized glass windows with a fantastic view...also great.   

  • #10.  Live music — Lose yappy DJs for a jazz trio, a ukelele singer, a small bluegrass band, a piano bar singer.  Make sure the music is good for dancing & fits the demographic of the guests.    

Keep it simple •  Keep it elegant  •  Make it personal

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Tuesday—St. Patrick's Day Special

Where are the leprechauns?

In my yard...

...underneath a toadstool? the ivy with the deer?

... tucked into a bouquet picked by finches?

...hiding in a patch of green clover?

...covered by sweet jasmine vines?

...concealed by a calla lily?

i think they may be everywhere