Monday, February 28, 2011

Not Enough Adjectives in the English Language

The possible dismissal of all the school teachers in Providence has recently made national news. If you haven't read about it, you shouldn't need to in order to understand my rage when I read this quote and wrote a letter to the editor of the Providence Journal. It hasn't been published yet so I'll consider it done here:

In the February 23 Providence Journal, Providence Teachers' Union President Steve Smith, in response to the possible layoff of Providence teachers, is quoted he “now knows how the United States State Department felt on December 7, 1941.”

This is the most disrespectful, contemptuous and unpatriotic statement I have ever heard. That such an inappropriate and outrageous comparison to an event that led to the loss of millions of lives around the world was uttered by someone who is supposedly an educator is shocking and disgusting.

Please don't respond with a comment in support of teachers or unions. My disgust with this man and his quote has nothing to do with either.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Food for Thought-Sausage, Zucchini and Pasta

It's been more than a year since I've posted a recipe. I cook a lot and am always trying new recipes or putting my own ideas together. Some are certainly better than others, but this is a real keeper. I put this dish together for the first time last night, and it was so good, I had to share it.

Paul never complains about anything I cook, although he does sometimes say I cook too much or too many vegetables. His usual comment is, You cook it, I'll eat it. But last night he pronounced this meal delicious. I have to agree. I absolutely love one-dish meals. This went into a nice big pasta bowl and looked very colorful. I forgot to take a picture of it. Next time.

We liked it so much I can't wait to try it again. I'm sure I'll make some changes but this is how I did it last night. It was really easy. Most of the work was in the chopping of the vegetables.


• 8 oz. pasta, fusili, penne, ziti, bowties are all good
• 1/2 pound spicy or sweet Italian sausage. (I used sweet and just increased the ground black and crushed red pepper flakes. It was just spicy enough.)
• red or yellow onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1/4 teaspoon dried Italian spices
• 1/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
• 3/4 cup Marsala wine
• 2 peppers red, yellow or green, whatever you prefer, chopped
• 1 zucchini, diced
• 1 cup fresh sliced mushrooms
• 2 cups chicken stock
• 1/4 cup blanched green peas
• Grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook pasta al dente. Drain.
2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet cook sausage until brown. Remove from pan. When cool enough to handle, cut into bite-size pieces.
3. Saute onion and garlic in the olive oil until soft and transparent. Add the Italian spices, salt, ground black pepper, red pepper flakes, 1/2 of the wine, peppers, zucchini, mushrooms, and saute until tender. Add remaining wine and chicken stock and cook until liquid has reduced to a thick sauce, about 20 minutes.
4. After sauce has reduced, add cooked sausage and thawed peas to the sauce and stir to heat through.
5. Toss pasta with the sauce to coat evenly. Sprinkle with the grated Parmesan cheese. Serve warm.

Makes about 3 servings.

Italian bread and a salad and you've got an easy meal! Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011


Here's another app on my iPhone I'm having fun with.

You know when you're riding in the car and a song comes on the radio that you know but just can't remember the name of? Or maybe you want to know who's singing it. And the DJ either doesn't tell you or you miss when they do! Isn't that so annoying?

I know it! It's on the tip of my tongue. I'll think of it when I'm not trying to. It's driving me crazy!

How about when you disagree with someone about what or who it is?

Back in the day I could tell you the name of a song and the artist after just a few notes. Old age and new music has taken care of that talent.

One of the favorite apps on my iPhone is called Shazam. It is so cool. Just point your phone towards the music source, press the icon on the screen, give it a few seconds and Shazam! It will identify the artist and the title.

For some it will give you a photo of the album, lyrics, bio of the artist, tour info, YouTube videos, and, of course, the option to buy the song from iTunes.

It will only identify recorded music so you can't hum or sing the tune. No problem for me, not even a computer could ever identify anything I sang.

Shazam keeps track of your "tags" (the songs that you've asked about). If you've had the app on your current iPod or iPhone since before November 2009, you have unlimited tags. After that you're limited to 5 tags a month unless you upgrade.

Online info says you can search over 8 million artists, albums and tracks. I have tested it on songs as far back as the 30's

I know there are lots of other features on the free app that I haven't explored as well as the option to upgrade (which I understand will remove the tags you already have so be aware of that), but I'm having fun with it and amazing people by how much I know about music. Not!

This project is my own idea and I am receiving no compensation from anyone. I am in no way an expert on the use of this equipment or apps. Any additional info or corrections received from people will be considered and should anything be suggested that I feel is pertinent, I will gladly repost with corrections.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I Am Smiling, Sir

I saw a report on the local news this week about a group of Rhode Island State Troopers having a pizza party at a Providence housing project.

The pictures on television were of smiling kids, probably all under ten, surrounded by smiling troopers in full uniform.

The Rhode Island State Troopers is an impressive group of men and women. Recognized nationwide for their award-winning uniforms, the demeanor you encounter when facing a Statie, as they're known locally, can be very intimidating. There's not usually a lot of smiling going on.

The Chad Brown housing project is often in the news, not for pizza parties, for shootings and drug busts. There have been many teens and young men and occasionally women, killed there over the last few years. It's a scary neighborhood that you stay out of.

When the cops show up they aren't smiling so this was a really nice story. Part of the department's 2011 Community Outreach Program, it's an opportunity for the kids of Chad Brown to see State and Providence police as mentors, not just investigators. Mostly it just looked like they were all having fun.

It was nice to see something positive in the news for a change.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

No Facebook Spoken Here

I deactivated my Facebook page last week. I did it because I stupidly clicked on something a friend sent that was bogus, which hijacked my friends list and sent the same stupid message out.

I was embarrassed by my stupidity (get my drift? I felt stupid because I know better) and in an attempt to stop it from going further, I deactivation my account. I don't even know if it stopped it but I felt I had to remove myself anyway.

I know with a few clicks I can reactivate the account. When I took that step I figured I would go back eventually but the longer I go 'deactivated' the better I like it.

I know Facebook is a time sucker, (Pam's phrase and so appropriate) but I didn't realize how much of a time sucker it was for me. Let me not be too dramatic but I feel a bit of freedom.

For the record I did create a Twitter account but have never used it. I don't think anyone cares if I'm having coffee, a sandwich or in the bathroom. And I can't compete with Ashton Kutcher's followers so what's the point?

Honestly there are some good ways to use Facebook. It has gotten me back in touch with several friends from high school and even a couple from childhood. That's pretty neat but after "Hi, how are you?" there's not much else to say, at least on Facebook. If we were face to face there might be more but I have lived without these people for nearly 40 years (oh gawd, did I write that??) so what's the big draw now? I don't even go to high school reunions.

Let me think about some of the positives about Facebook:
  1. It reminds me of birthdays. That's nice but I can remember the most important ones on my own.
  2. I did learn that Paul's cousin was in the hospital. That was a big one, although I assume they would have called before long.
  3. It's let me offer words of comfort and concern to people. I can do that with a card or a phone call.
  4. It has given me an opportunity to see some photos that I wouldn't otherwise. That's a loss, but I'll survive.
  5. It gave me a chance to share some of my blog posts. I didn't do it regularly so no great loss.

Some people in my business stress the importance of social networking and recommend having a Facebook page. So I guess I'm losing that connection with some of my younger clients but I'll risk that. So there are some positives but nothing life altering.

But the one really important positive of NOT having a Facebook page is that it frees up some time and creativity (that may be a stretch) to spend writing and keeping up with some of the blogs I have neglected. Far more valuable ways to spend my time.

Just now when I ran spell check on this post, the word Facebook came up as a misspelled word. That tells me something right there.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Project 365

If you're like me, the older I get, the faster time seems to go. Something that happened three months ago seems like last week.

Apple has an app that keeps a photo record of events each day. It's called "Project 365" and can be loaded on your iPhone, iTouch or iPad.

A calendar that lets you keep photos of something that happened on a particular day for each month, it takes just a few seconds. I often cannot recall what I did yesterday, so this free application (there is also a Pro version for 99 cents) is a fun and useful way to help me remember, and it's a breeze to use.

Press on the current day on the onscreen calendar, take a photo of something that happens that day, or use a library shot, opt to use it for that day and that's it. It takes just seconds.

I prefer to use a picture from my camera roll and add it to Project 365 because if you take a picture and post it directly to the calendar and then inadvertently delete it, you can't get it back. Or at least I don't know how to get it back.

Using a photo from your own library also gives you the chance to take several shots over the course of a day and go back to choose the one you like best. Or shoot several different events during the day and decide which one you want to use later.

You can scroll through the calendar later to see what happened over the course of a week, month or year. Only 40 days into the year and so far I haven't missed one. The app also reminds you if you haven't loaded a photo for the day. You can send your photos to Facebook, too, but I haven't done that yet.

You can add captions. Below is the photo I used on January 12 with the caption "Can't find the pee place, Mom!"

I've had my iPhone for about 18 months, and I love it. It's my first smart phone and I've been really pleased with how easy it is to use. I've also been having fun with several apps.

As a new blog project, I'm planning to post info on some of the apps I've used and like. I'm no computer geek. I thought that might be an advantage for regular people to understand how and why I use certain apps. I know that other providers are now going to offer service for iPhones, too, so I thought it might be a good time to begin.

This project is my own idea and I am receiving no compensation from anyone. I am in no way an expert on the use of this equipment or apps. Any additional info or corrections received from people will be considered and should anything be suggested that I feel is pertinent, I will gladly repost with corrections.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

And the Winter Goes On and On and On

If you are living in the United States you are either tired of the winter or tired of hearing about the winter. Being a New Englander I am in the former group.

Everywhere you go in BlogSpace you see photos of incredible amounts of snow and ice. I haven't been taking many photos this year because after a while all winter photos begin to look alike. Nevertheless here are a few of my favorites from the Winter of 2011.

This drop made me think of some earrings I used to have.

I think this is some form of beech not only because of its shape but because it held on.

Hard to remember all the grapes that were on this vine last year.

Usually after an ice storm the ice is gone the next day. Not this year.

Here's Lucy just before she figured out that she could run on top of the snow. You can see how deep it is. This is actually snow fall amounts not drifts, well over her head. She's pretty funny to watch run in the snow. All you can see is that little black head bounding along.

Here's proof I live with a crazy man. He insisted on shoveling off the roof of the garage which obviously has a pitched not flat roof and unlikely to collapse. I kept looking out the window expecting to see a body fly by but I have to admit he has good balance.

Is it spring yet?

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