pen rainbow

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—Easy Oven Kabobs

Easy • delicious • fun 

Summer Kabobs


Perfect for hot summer nights & as easy as can be for the 4th of July!  

I use metal skewers.  Alternate sausage-peppers-pineapples-onions
  • pre-cooked chunks of Hillshire chicken sausage
  • cut-up red & green bell pepper
  • fresh, pre-cut pineapple (available at Safeway)
  • red onion chunks

Place on a tray lined with non-stick (Reynold's) foil & bake in a 400°F hot oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until pineapple & peppers start to brown.  

Remove from the oven.  Un-skewer 2 kabobs per serving. 

Dress with a few squirts of Kikkoman Ponzu sauce.  Serve over brown basmati or white jasmine rice.


Happy 4th of July weekend!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Monday—Standing Up to Bigotry

A president who sings...

Amazing Grace

Searchlight Cemetery

Excerpts from President Obama's eulogy last Friday for the Rev. Clementa Pinckney in Charleston, South Carolina

"...For too long, we've been blind to the way past injustices continue to shape the present.  Perhaps we see that now.  Perhaps this tragedy causes us to ask some tough questions about how we can permit so many of our children to languish in poverty, or attend dilapidated schools, or grow up without prospects for a job or for a career.

Perhaps it causes us to examine what we're doing to cause some of our children to hate.  Perhaps it softens hearts towards those lost young men, tens and tens of thousands caught up in the criminal justice system, and leads us to make sure that that system is not infected with bias...

Maybe we now realize the way racial bias infects us even when we don't realize it, so that we're guarding against not just racial slurs, but we're also guarding against the subtle impulse to call Johnny back for a job interview, but not Jamal.  

So that we search our hearts when we consider laws to make it harder for some of our fellow citizens to vote.  

By recognizing our common humanity by treating every child as important, regardless of the color of their skin or the station into which they were born, and to do what's necessary to make opportunity real for every American—by doing that, we express God's grace...

But, it would be a betrayal of everything Reverend Pinckney stood for, I believe, if we allowed ourselves to slip into a comfortable silence again.  Once the eulogies have been delivered, once the TV cameras move on to go back to business as usual...That's what we so often do to avoid uncomfortable truths about the prejudice that still infects our society.  

To settle for symbolic gestures without following up with the hard work of more lasting change—that's how we lose our way again."

What We Can Do

1.  Educate
Understand the origins of bigotry

2.  Speak Up.  

10 Effective Ways to Respond to Everyday Bigotry

1.  Use "I" statements
You know that I'm your friend /relative /coworker, but I am not  comfortable with comments like that.  What you said is offensive because...  If you continue, I will leave, hang-up, block you.    

2.  Use Technology
If you can't refrain from stereotyping, then I am going to use my phone to videotape you and share it with all of my friends.       

3.  Let Protracted Silence Work for You
Say nothing and wait for the speaker to respond.  Then, calmly explain why the comment is offensive.

 4.  Ask to be Removed from A Mailing List
 Respond to sender:  Explain why the email offended you and ask to be removed from any future emails.  Be sure to explain why—that you find bigoted language offensive, that jokes like this are not funny and that stereotypes are unfair and hurtful.

Reply to All:  If the offensive language continues, reiterate your message and "Reply to All."  There may be others who feel the same, even if they won't speak up.  At the very least, it is important to resist the normalizing of bigotry.  

5.   By the Book
It makes things easier when there are policies in place to protect individual members from certain types of bigotry.  Do your homework & fire back with a helpful warning when someone is in violation of a group policy. 

6.  Don't Laugh
Use body language to make your point.

7.  "Pyramid of Hate" Business Card
Make up business cards with a Pyramid of Hate graphic.  Leave one where it will be noticed by the person who is making the offensive remarks.  Subtle, but effective.

8.  Find an Ally/ Be An Ally
Seek out others in the group who may feel the same way that you do.  This can be especially effective in family groups where casual familial bigotry goes unchallenged.  Safety in numbers and the more voices, the better.

9.   Who Holds the Power  
Complain, but complain to someone who can do something about it.  Follow the chain of command, be patient and don't give up.  Document names, dates & conversations. Keep a written record.  

10.  Use the Grapevine
Don't keep quiet.  If you are the target of bigotry, start talking to neighbors, family members, classmates, coworkers.  Chances are someone else has experienced the same treatment. 

Helpful Links

Work for Change

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Happy Anniversary #35!

Pix from our honeymoon to the Grand Canyon North Rim via Zion National Park & Yosemite on the way home

Honeymoon Advice to Anyone Who Is Thinking About Getting Married

Avoid cheap motels on your wedding night.  Seriously, we  had our pick of any honeymoon suite in Las Vegas, and we picked the Travel Lodge on the way out of blew.  It really did!

Make your wedding night memorable and don't believe anyone who tells you that you can make up for it later.  Think of it this way.  It's worth returning every crap kitchen appliance & irregular set of bath towels you'll get as a wedding gift.

35 years ago, our little cabin at the North Rim cost $79 a night.  Even if you don't have a lot to spend, you can have a perfect honeymoon.  

You only get one wedding night.  Make it magical.

Don't put it off.  There is nothing like the newlywed high immediately following the ceremony.  Every married couple remembers the pure joy of referring to your new partner as "husband" or "wife," especially the day after the ceremony.  It's pretty amazing.  But, it's not the same if you put it off for 3 months.  That's what anniversaries are for.    

Go for it.  Find a place that is all about you & own it.  Make it your honeymoon and don't worry about well-meaning in-laws, wise grandparents, or buttinski friends.  Ignore them.  Offend them (hey, you gotta start sometime).  Don't worry about THEM.  There is no substitute for a honeymoon immediately following the ceremony.  If you have a choice, it is worth the effort to make it happen.

TIP WELL.  Leave the maid $10 /day every day on your honeymoon.  This will guarantee that your room will get cleaned on time, and you'll get special treatment from the maids.  

Use a bellman to show you to your room.  Tip $20.

Tip the service people:  

  • table servers 20%
  • Valets whenever they park your car (drop-off & pickup) $3-$5 each time!  Don't be a cheapskate hick on this.  These people work hard for their money.
  • Have lots of 5s & 10s before you leave

Take good pix.  That "just married" glow is something special.  

Leave your gadgets at home.  No explanation necessary.

Our Honeymoon
steve, troi, bridesmaids brooke & heidi + brooke's boyfriend, kenny
still at the reception (notice the classy paper bells in the corner...)
Handsome father-of-the-groom, Jim, and adorable niece, Rebecca

the buggy windshield of our (yellow) Honda Civic

on the road to the Grand Canyon

the Grand Canyon Lodge 

Our cabin

we arrived!

Tired, but happy.

a little heart in the cabin wall

an overcast day on the north rim

glorious sunset


a stunning sunrise

technicolor canyon

the mule ride down the trail to the bottom of the canyon

another stunning morning

steve's mule, Clark
my mule, Rosie
a beautiful morning on the edge of the canyon

we bought cowboy hats at the lodge

on the way back to the bay area via yosemite

celebrating love today

Friday, June 26, 2015

Friday Photoshop Gallery—Portrait Touch-Up in Lightroom

Using Lightroom tools for portrait touch-ups_2B Lesson #31_Natural Portrait Touch Ups by Kim Klassen

steve 1

black & white

steve 2
 + photoshop & radlab

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Throw-Back Thursday—Nelson Nauvoo

Nelson family history in Nauvoo, IL_family pix from the personal collection of Verna Hohl Nelson

Nauvoo Electric Light and Power Company

The Nauvoo Electric Light and Power Company
Organized 1 March 1909

Joseph B. Nelson, President (Steve's grandfather)
Mulholland Street, Nauvoo, IL (still standing)

An earlier version
"NELSON" sign at the top

It looks like the sun cornice cap may have been part 
of the original sign (barely visible) 

The sign fell off during a storm years ago & now lives on our deck
The sun cornice cap slot is visible from the top

From the Democratic Historical Association
Springfield, IL, 1935

"Joseph B. Nelson, who since 1930 has been chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Hancock County and who makes his home in Nauvoo, was born April 21, 1887, in the city where he still resides.

His father, Joseph Nelson, whose birth occurred in Nauvoo, Illinois, in 1851, died in 1913.  He was a lumberman there for some years and afterward engaged in the implement business.  Later, he became the organizer of the Peoples State Bank of Nauvoo.  His activities, however, were never confined to a single line, and from 1874 until 1880 he was editor and publisher of the Nauvoo Independent, a weekly newspaper.  He was successful in his business affairs and became a recognized leader in connection with civic welfare.

His fellow townsmen again and again called him to public office.  He acceptably filled the offices of mayor, alderman, city clerk, member of the school board, and supervisor, being Chairman of the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County at the time of his death.  

His wife, who bore the maiden name of Katherine Knaust, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1852, a daughter of Conrad and Gertrude (Ketteman) Knaust, who were natives of Germany.  Her father was born in Prussia and on coming to America settled in St. Louis, Missouri, where he lived for a time, but later became a resident of Nauvoo, Illinois.  In politics, he was always a staunch democrat.

To Joseph and Katherine Nelson were born seven children, as follows:  Lettia, wife of Ralph Shipman of California; Nelly, deceased wife of Wesley Schneider; Orville, who is stationed with the United States Army in California; Joseph B. of this review; J.A. who is a captain in the aviation department of the United States Marine Corps, at present stationed at Port au Prince, Haiti; Ralph, who is in the employ of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company of Dayton, Ohio; and Willa, a stenographer in Jacksonville, Illinois.

The public school training of Joseph B. Nelson was received in Nauvoo, and he made his entrance into business life as an employee in a drug store, working along that line for seven years.  In 1910 he became connected with the Nauvoo Electric Light & Power Company, and mastering the various details of the business until qualified for control, he was made manager in 1913.  For more than twenty years, he has occupied this position, never swerving from his determination to give the patrons of the company the best possible service.

On the 22d of June, 1920, Mr. Nelson was married to Miss Verna O. Hohl, a daughter of Lewis E. and Odille Hohl.  They now have two sons, Joseph L. and James C.  Mr. Nelson is a Mason and an Odd Fellow.  His greatest activity outside of the field of business, however, has been in the realm of politics.

He has served in various public offices and the interests of the community are dear to his heart.  For eight years he filled the position of the city clerk and for four years was alderman of Nauvoo.  He acted as chief of the local fire department for eleven years, served for sixteen years on the school board and for two years of that period was president of the high school board.

For the past eighteen years, he has been a member of the Board of Supervisors of Hancock County, a record of continuous service which is indicative of the confidence reposed in him and of his faithfulness in the discharge of his duties.

He has always voted with the Democratic Party since attaining his twenty-first year, has been a precinct committeeman for the past twelve years, and in 1930 was elected chairman of the Democratic Central Committee of Hancock County, being re-elected in 1932.  He is also senatorial committeeman from his district, and he has been a delegate to many of the district and state conventions.  For four years he has filled the office of the chairman of the Unity Club of Nauvoo.  

He possesses a keen sense of humor and a ready wit that enriches and enlivens his conversation and contributes in marked degree to his popularity, for Joseph B. Nelson is one of the best known and best liked men in Hancock County."

Enjoy your family history!

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Wednesday—Good for You, Good for The Home: DIY Jar Lanterns

Spirals & bells make these jar lights super neat for outdoor lighting

Rustic DIY Ball Jar Lights

I saw these on Pinterest today and thought I'd share.  

Check out this great Etsy shop!  treasureagain

The seller who makes these has an Etsy shop called treasureagain.   She specializes in the salvage & reuse of canning jars.  

Her prices are very reasonable!  You supply regular size Ball or Mason jars (not wide-mouth), and she supplies the lids with curly wires & bells.  Orders are in multiples and run about $4 a lid, depending on how many you want.

She has used regular jute twine to hang the jars.  She also suggests using "s" hooks, which I like with the curly wire.

Great summer project!  Fun, too!

Check out her original designs HERE on flikr.  

Click HERE to go to the shop on facebook.

Have fun!

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Tuesday's Cupboard—Turkey Picadillo

I have "fantastic" written at the top of this recipe!

Turkey Picadillo
Adapted from Weight Watchers Magazine 1-2-3 Success © 1998

Easy Skillet Supper

Try this classic Latin American dish!

Ground turkey, green olives, raisins, pine nuts, tomatoes and Mex seasonings make this dish exotic & delicious.

Simplify prep with jarred chopped garlic in water, 
 & pre-chopped onion

Serves 4


Flavorful & delicious!
  • White or brown long-grain rice
  • A spray of olive oil
  • 2 T. pine nuts
  • 1.25 lbs. ground skinless turkey breast
  • 1 large onion, diced (about a cup)
  • 3 tsp. jarred chopped garlic (or 3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped)
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 2  14.5-oz. cans Italian-style tomatoes
  • 2-3 medium zucchini or yellow squash, chopped
  • 1/4 c. raisins
  • 1/4 sliced pimento-stuffed green onions
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper
Make It!

1.  Start the rice.  It should take about 45-55 minutes in a rice cooker.  Allow 30 minutes to make the picadillo.

2.  In a large nonstick skillet, add a spray of olive oil & toast the pine nuts, stirring often until golden brown, about 3 minutes.  Watch them because they burn easily.  Transfer to a paper towel to cool.

3.  In the skillet, cook the turkey, breaking apart with a silicon or wooden spoon until no longer pink, about 7 minutes.  

4.  Stir in the chopped onion, chopped garlic, chili powder, cumin, cinnamon & salt.  Cook, stirring occasionally until the onion is tender, about 4 minutes.    

5.  Add the canned tomatoes, zucchini, raisins, green olives, ground pepper and pine nuts.

6.  Reduce heat & simmer covered, but partially vented until the zucchini is tender, 12 - 15 minutes.  

7.  Serve over hot or warm rice.  (Be sure to add the cals /points.)  

Per serving (original recipe):  243 calories, 7g total fat, 1g sat fat, 53 mg cholesterol, 466 mg sodium, 21g total carbs, 4g fiber, 25g protein, 77 mg calcium.  Points per serving = 5  

For my adapted version, add 3 points.

Either white or brown rice works well

Lots of yummy ingredients

A great way to use summer zukes!


Monday, June 22, 2015

Monday—The Writing Corner: Suppose Poems

Suppose Poetry develops cadence, juxtaposition and creative writing in the classroom_A fun writing device!

2d Grade Poetry

Just Suppose illustration by dsmp_7 yrs old_c. 1964 

Just Suppose

Just suppose the milkman
Brought us cake and bread

Just suppose the postman
Brought us milk instead

Just suppose the bread man
Brought us mail and money

If everything were "just suppose"
Wouldn't that be funny?

A copy-from-the-board writing practice assignment.

I like how my teacher put a smiley face and "o.k." in the clouds.  :)
Have a fun week!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Happy Father's Day 2015

happy father's day to...

our dads

"My father worked for the same firm for twelve years.  They fired him.  They replaced him with a tiny gadget this big that does everything my father does, only it does it much better.  The depressing thing is, my mother ran out and bought one."

~Woody Allen

DADS with too many babies
(my gpa uther jones & my dad in the middle)

jimmy c.

mom, gpa & gma jones, heidi, brooke, troi, stepuncle chuck, aunt bev, daddio

my mom & her dad


catalog men

Photo courtesy of the USS Hornet Museum

Woody & his puppies

father [fah-thr]  noun  

1.  a male parent  
2.  a father-in-law, stepfather or adoptive father
3.  a male ancestor
4.  a man who exercises paternal care over other persons  
5.  a man who has founded something  
6.  one of the leading men in a city, town, government, religion, etc.  
7.  someone whose fatherly abilities fall somewhere between Papa Q. Berenstain and Superman.

We learn a lot from our dads.
Happy Father's Day 2015

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Saturday Finances: Tips for Lowering Your Electric Bill

10 free & painless ways to lower your electricity usage

Free Tips to Reduce Your Electric Usage
From PGE My Energy_Ways to Save

Our usage from April & May 2015

1.  Close your shades in the summer.

  • Sunlight passing through windows heats your home & makes your a/c work harder.  Windows that face south or west let in the most heat during the day.  Follow the sun & shade those areas.  
  • Light-colored shades, drapes or blinds are the most effective at reflecting sunlight.  Yadda-yadda, this isn't free if you have to go buy new shades.  When it's time to purchase new window coverings, go for the lighter tones. 

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

2.  Set your refrigerator's temperature to 38°F.

  • A refrigerator runs all the time, so it makes sense to focus on the cost of operation.  According to the Department of Energy, refrigerators should be set between 35°F & 38°F.  The freezer should be set between 0°F and 5°F.  
  • Older models have dials, so adjust toward the middle, especially for refrigerators that may not get a lot of use (i.e. garage refrigerators &/or vacation home models).

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

3.  Reduce time on your desktop computer.

  • Laptops need less electricity to run & spend more time in low power modes than desktops, making them 90 percent more energy efficient.  
  • Laptops readily revert to sleep mode in order to conserve battery life, which accounts for much of their energy savings.  Because laptops are also built for portability, they spend less time being plugged in.  
  • Once your laptop is charged, unplug it!  It's actually better for the battery to keep it unplugged once it is charged.  Ideally, it's better to keep your laptop battery charged to 80%, then let it drain to 40%.  This will prolong the life of the battery up to four times.  According to Battery University, a battery charged to 100% will have only 300-500 discharge cycles, while a battery charged to 70% will get 1,200-2,000 discharge cycles.  What's a discharge cycle?  It has to do with the voltage charge of the battery and how long it is stored before it is discharged.  The higher the charge, the higher the voltage level.  The more voltage a battery has to store, the more stress it puts on the battery.  
  • Reduce the build up of heat in your laptop by keeping it out of your lap.  Laptops should be renamed "tabletops" because that would actually help reduce excess heat which shortens the life of the battery.  

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

Source citation:  WIRED_Keeping Your Laptop Plugged In All the Time Will Kill Its Battery Faster by Roberto Baldwin_GEAR_28 September 2013

4.  Reduce the brightness on your television

  • We all love the beautiful display we get with wide-screen TVs, but adjusting the display settings can reduce its power consumption by 5-20% without compromising the picture quality.  
  • Access the display menu with the remote.  Tweak the brightness & contrast down just a notch until you are satisfied with the display.   

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

We have reduced our bill by $224.63 compared to
the same billing period a year ago

5.  Reduce television usage by half

  •  Keep the TV off when no one is watching.  
  • Substitute other activities like eating outside instead of on TV trays.  Read for an hour before bedtime, then turn on the TV.  
  • Watch programs on your laptop instead of the TV.
  • Schedule times to watch TV together.  We love Netflix nights!           
COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

6.  Adjust outdoor lighting as the daylight hours change

  • This is a simple technique.  It just takes a little monitoring.  Adjust landscape lighting in accordance with the changing daylight hours.  As the days get longer, change the clock on your landscape lighting to come on when it gets dark.  

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

7.  Kill the Vampires!
  • This is fun!  Electronics that draw electricity while they are turned off are called, "vampires."  Go on a vampire hunt around the house.  Look for anything with a tiny LED light or a remote.  Go room-by-room...  
  • Computers
  • Entertainment systems
  • Video game systems
  • Printers, scanners & fax machines
  • DVD players
  • Plug-in scent diffusers
  • Adding machines
  • Auto-timers
  • Anything in a guest room (i.e. TV, lamp, clock radio, etc.)
  • Battery chargers (i.e. Kindles, cameras, etc.).  Once the device is charged, unplug it.
  • Electric pencil sharpeners
  • Garage tools

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

8.  Task Lighting
  • Bring better light to the task area instead of overhead lighting.  
  • Directed light reduces eye strain.
  • Use under-counter lighting in the kitchen
  • Use countertop lighting in the bathroom (a small lamp away from the sink; not for kids' bathrooms).  
  • Try timed battery-operated candles for room lighting!  I use these in the living room for accent lighting at night instead of lamps.  These are also quite lovely to use for dining instead of room lamps.  

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

9.  Don't Over-Dry Clothes (for gas & electric)
  • Dryers use more energy than any other household appliance.
  • If you can't hang-dry, then use your dryer more efficiently.  Dry longer on a lower setting.  This uses less energy than drying for a shorter time on a high setting, and it will help your clothes last longer.  
  • Dry towels & heavy linens separately from lighter-weight loads.  
  • Use a fluff (no-heat) cycle with light-weight or synthetic items (e.g. nylon, polyester, bamboo, etc.)

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate 

10.  Shave A Minute Off Your Shower Time

  • Another fun one!  Time your normal shower, then shoot for a minute less.  
  • The average American spends about 8 minutes in the shower once a day.  Reducing shower time by just one minute can result in a 13% decrease in shower water use, which reduces the energy that is needed to heat the water.  This small change adds up to about $50 per year in savings.    
  • While you're at it, think about taking a slightly less hot shower.  I found that by notching the heat down just a tad, I was just as happy with cooler (not cool, just cool-er) water, especially during the summer.  

COST PAYBACK:  Immediate

Have a money-smart week!