Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Can you help me find a tutorial?

I'm usually great at research, but I'm looking for a certain tutorial, and it is eluding me.

Does anyone know of a link to a tutorial for a fabric-covered pad of paper?
I'm envisioning a yellow pad (legal or standard size), where I can slip the cardboard back into a book-like cover.
When the paper is used up, a new pad could be slipped in.
A portfolio, if you will.
Even a steno pad cover would be fine.
Good gift for a guy (that's what I'm thinking anyway)


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Butternut Squash Biscuits

I love to bake.
For me, baking is a stress release.

I tore this recipe out of a catalog of books by Countryside Magazine.
This is a Shaker recipe, and I love the idea of keeping tradition and history alive in the kitchen.
Too, I pretty much never met a biscuit I didn't love.
In fact, I'll go so far as to say I am biscuit obsessed.

This recipe is from " Seasoned with Grace", a cookbook by Eldress Bertha Lindsay.
The recipe is from Beth Lindsay's scrapbook, c. 1938

I personally think it needs more salt, but it's definitely worthy of making again and again.
See my notes in parentheses.

Shaker Raised Squash Biscuits
1 cup milk
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt (next time I'll try 1 teaspoon)
1 yeast cake, or one envelope dry yeast
4 to 5 cups flour
1-1/2 cups butternut squash, strained, or one 16-ounce can (my can from Trader Joes was 15 ounces)
2 eggs, room temperature

In a small saucepan, heat milk and butter to very hot.
Mix sugar and salt in large bowl and pour in milk.
Let sugar/milk mixture cool until lukewarm.
Add yeast and 2 cups flour.
Beat at medium speed in a mixer for 2 minutes.
Add squash and eggs.
Mix well.
Continue to add flour (with wooden spoon) until you have a stiff dough; the dough should begin to leave the sides of the bowl.

Turn out onto floured board and knead 7 to 8 minutes, using additional flour on the board to prevent sticking.
(my dough never got stiff, but stayed sticky. It still turned out fine)
Put dough back in cleaned, greased bowl.
Turn dough greased side up and cover with a towel.
Let rise in a warm place until double.

Punch dough down and turn out.
Shape into biscuits.
Place in square 8" x 8" pan for soft sides' in muffin pans, or shape into cloverleaf rolls.
(I didn't understand the small pan. I had enough dough to cover a sheet pan. I used a biscuit cutter)
Let rise until double again.

Bake in preheated 400 degree oven until brown, about 25 minutes (at 20 minutes, mine were too brown, so next time I'll check at 15)
Butter tops while hot.
Makes 2-1/2 to 3 dozen. (I got large rolls, about 18 or so)


Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Thursday, July 09, 2009

Terry: October 14, 1990-July 9, 2009

Terry, 4 months, 1991

Death, you are not my friend.
In fact, I hate you.
I want you to take your greedy little hands and go away from here.
You take...you change things...you leave a hollow void behind.
You are not "a blessing", you are not okay because "he lived a good, long life".

Inside, I am throwing a tantrum. I am slamming my fists, I am screaming, "It's not fair!".
Another part of me is just overwhelmed by sadness and loss.
I am enveloped by the pain. My stomach is in knots, I feel nauseous.
My tears have etched ridges on the side of my eyes.

Yet another part of me reminds myself to be grateful for all the moments I did have, and for this special closeness I was granted.
This very very special angel that came into my life, and stayed three months short of 19 years.

And hopefully, eventually, this numbness will soften into a peace.
All I know is my love for Terry is so huge as to cover the earth.
If only I had special powers, if only I could perform miracles, I would have kept him here by my side forever.
I can only pray that Heaven exists, and that God lets animals in the gates.
Knowing I will see him again gives me hope.

me and Terry

Some people don't like animals, and don't have pets.
Others say they like animals, but treat their pets as backyard ornaments.
Some people love their pets, but on the same level that one loves a favorite piece of furniture--it's great, but if something happens to it, well, life goes on.
For me, it's an entirely different experience.
Being a pet sitter, obviously bringing joy to animals is my primary focus.
I love the pets I watch.
Nothing makes me happier than seeing a dog smile.

But my heart always beat the strongest for Terry.

A boyfriend gave me Terry in 1991, for Valentine's Day.
I had a fluffy gray male cat at the time, and had asked for a companion to match. Literally.
I asked for a long-haired, gray, female kitten.
It was pretty funny that what I received was just the opposite--a short-haired, black, male that was four months old.

But the truth was that he was the best cat on the planet. I have had cats my whole life, and I love cats, I know cats, but Terry was extraordinary.
Sweet sweet sweet.
Would climb on my shoulder and purr.
Would sleep under the covers with me and snuggle.
A little spirit companion.

For some of us, our pets are our friends, companions, rock, support...and family.
I called him my "super special angel kitty".
He was my "bear bear" for almost 19 years.
I am so so thankful for having had him in my life--and that is what I am trying to hold on to....the positives, the gratefulness.
Because to wish him to go on forever is thinking of my own selfishness.
But it is just so damn hard.
I verge one moment on falling apart, so the next I am in zombie mode to protect myself.
So many people don't understand. He was "only" a cat, they think.
But how sad for them that they haven't experienced a connection with an animal, because that connection is a truly magical thing.

Terry definitely lived all his nine lives--two or three times he just missed death's grasp after urinary tract problems, hyper thyroid, raspy breathing, and high blood pressure.
There were multiple trips to emergency over the years.
Trips to the vet on holidays.
Over a year ago a vet told me he didn't expect him to live more than a few months. I am so glad that vet was wrong.

When I would be gone for extended times house-sitting, he would deteriorate a bit. He always revived when I came home.
Imagine my guilt when I was caring for someone else's cat last week, in someone else's home, when my own was dying.
It's so hard to juggle life and bills and still give adequate attention to family, friends, and our pets.
I try so so hard, but always question if I've done enough.

I found a new vet who is more loving and understanding.
She said listen to him, and he'll tell you when it's time to go.
She said he hung on this long because he wanted to stay with me.
God that makes me cry every time.

Right now I am just holding on by a thread.
Prayer gives me a life vest.

previous posts about Terry here, here, here, and here.

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Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Bear with me

I am going to take a short blog break--hopefully I will continue to post again at the end of the month.
Stress is just taking a toll on me right now.

Please cruise my blog archives, and check out my purse blog and neckties blog--lots of time and effort went into the sidebars of those blogs (tons of tutorials), so please take advantage of the information.

I'll be back soon.