Friday, December 21, 2012

Merry Catmas And Happy New Purr

When Mother-in-Law called for me to bring my camera, what to my wondering eyes did appear?  It was three puzzled cats, one at a time, with a hat and a beard! Next time, I think I'll give them catnip before we try something like this, but they didn't protest much; they didn't howl or try to scratch, they just made it clear that they wanted the hats off as soon as possible or sooner. I printed a few copies of the picture to distribute as our holiday greeting. It's a silly form of creativity, I suppose, but it's all our own!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Conserving Happiness by Gluing The Tree

Glue, Cannister and Tree
Celebrate A Different Kind of Christmas Story
Last year, I broke the base off a resin Christmas tree with built-in snow globe that, when you wound it up, played a tune while the branches turned. Replacing it probably wouldn't cost much, but I didn't want a replacement; this one had come from my mom. Also it seems wasteful to toss stuff that can be mended. I put the problem off but finally when we hauled out the holiday decor I gifted myself with the problem of how to fix it.
I've had good luck with "Gorilla Glue"; it seems to have most of the virtues of old-school Superglue and few of the disadvantages. But gluing works better when the pieces are clamped together for the glue to cure; how the heck do you clamp a cred to the base?
The solution was to insert the tree into a cardboard oatmeal cylinder. The tips of the tree dug likely into the cardboard to hold its position. I stacked a couple of cans of soup on top, and that proved the force to hold the piece together while the cylinder kept things aligned.
I then let it all sit for a day and cure. The process worked, and the ornament now looks almost new.
I had resisted the impulse to through it away because:
  • It was shiny
  • It moved
  • It played music
  • It was a gift from my mom.
But through this I Learned A Valuable Lesson: a little glue and a little ingenuity can reduce waste and conserve resources. I don't know if that's a traditional Christmas message, but saving an ornament (and a little cash) it may be something to balance against the Gospel Of Consumption.

Beef Stroganoff Soup

Only a little soup left ... want some?

Sunday at Big Al Brewing we had a little soup contest. The mandatory ingrediant was "beef" and there were four entries, ALL of them very tasty! The winner was Kris' Beef Stroganoff soup, and here's the recipe:

Let a handful of dried mushrooms go swimming in a cup of sherry for a day


  • 1 pound chunk of beef with a bone in it and heavily marbled (noticable fat)
  • 4 medium sized parsnips
  • 1 large sweet Walla Walla onion

Put all the above into cast iron Dutch oven or casserole if you aren't lucky enough to have one.

Cook 4 hours at 300F
Remove from oven
Dredge out bones and gristle
Transfer carmelized veggies and meat to 2nd pot


  • half cup sherry
  • half tablespoon of marjoram
  • half tablespoon of salt (or to taste)
  • 2 and a half cups water
  • 1 cup sour cream. We used  a Mexican style sour cream from the Savon store in White Center; it has extra flavor!

Simmer for 45 minutes on medium high

You can add a quarter cup of chopped pickles, if you like that in your Stroganoff. We didn't do that this time.

Serve and stand back!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

4freeCLE: Your Free CLE Newsletter! December 16, 2012

4freeCLE: Your Free CLE Newsletter!
December 16, 2012
In This Issue
2012 Webcast CLE
2013 Webcast CLE
On-Demand Recordings
In California
In Massachusetts
In Minnesota
In New York
In Ohio
Past Issues
Web Conference Outside 
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Learn more at 4freeCLE's On-Demand Page.
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Webcast CLEs: Accessible Whereever You Have A Web Connection!
2012 Webcast CLE

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2013 Webcast CLE
Plan Now for 2013!
Why not calendar next year's learning now, to start the year off right!
Find more webcasts at 4freeCLE's Web-Based CLE.

On-Demand CLE 
Computer Lab
Learn What You Need, When You Need It, With On-Demand CLE!
Learn and earn credit on your own schedule!
Find more on-demand programs at 4freeCLE's List of On-Demand CLE.

Remember to Bring Business Cards To In-Person CLEs, So You Can Network As You Learn!
In-Person CLEs State-by-State

Most in-person events are great places to meet your colleagues, share experiences and make your interests known. A question prepared ahead of time, if both relevant and succinct,can both address a problem you encounter in practice, and show yourself to the speaker and to the audience as someone worth knowing. A conversation during a break can lead to future opportunities, especially if you are prepared for that conversation!
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New York
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As the year winds down, many professionals face a need to earn credit quickly at little cost. If this is your situation, email the editor and I'll see if I can locate something helpful. If you are able to use online recordings, you should be able to get much of your need satisfied.
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