Cooking, Writing, Shopping, Exercising, and Reading

Back to the Kitchen

It seems I spent most of Saturday in the kitchen. I had picked some of my chard and kale from the front yard, and I needed to use them.  The kale had sprung up by itself next to the garage. Here’s what I did with a previous batch of home-grown kale.

Cooking, Writing, Shopping, Exercising, and Reading
Volunteer Kale Plant, © B. Radisavljevic


I tried a new recipe this time, one with chicken, kale, and onions. We both loved it. I will be posting it soon on Niume, another site where I  often make short posts on my daily adventures. I also made a batch of black bean soup so now there is something hot to eat at night. It’s been so long since I cooked anything from scratch I’d almost forgotten how.

Writing Kept Me Very Busy

It seems I spent a lot of the weekend listing and updating deals between Black Friday and Cyber Monday. I deleted the post today since the sales are over. I don’t think I will handle those deals the same way next year. Here are some of the posts I wrote over the weekend that are still up.

I was also editing the deals that were coming and going on a couple of older posts on another blog. Now you know why I didn’t post here over the weekend.

Shopping the Cyber Weekend Deals

After listing all those good deals, I decided I might as well take advantage of them to get some things we needed while the prices were low. We’ve already gotten some of our orders, and I expect more tomorrow. I also have some things to return to Land’s End that didn’t fit. They were too BIG. Kosta loved his new wool sweater from them, though. Shopping is a lot of work, even when you do it online. Still beats fighting the crowds in the stores.

Exercising and Reading – Finally

I love reading, but I haven’t had much time for it this weekend. After our trip to Madera before Thanksgiving, I had a lot of work to catch up on. That also kept me from exercising. I finally got back to the gym on Monday night and spent an hour on the stationary bike, reading.

Exercise is good for me, but I always get interested in the book I started reading on the bike and don’t want to stop reading it when I get home. And the book I read? Lake House Secret, by Debra Burroughs, a mystery / romance novel. I may review it one of these days. I enjoyed it.

I think it’s bedtime now. I will leave you with a photo of my chard, most of which is still growing in my front flowerbed.

Cooking, Writing, Shopping, Exercising, and Reading
Chard in Front Flowerbed, © B. Radisavljevic


Thoughts on Black Friday

Just a few thoughts on the day after Thanksgiving.

Our Thanksgiving Celebration

We enjoyed a long anticipated family dinner in Madera at my nephew’s home Wednesday afternoon. He usually has to work on holidays, so the family often celebrates when he’s available. Family members live long distances from each other, so getting together at all is something to celebrate. Even so, my other nephew had school and couldn’t come. I enjoyed the family time with those able to be there. I never know when or if the next time with them will come.

Thoughts on Black Friday
Thanksgiving Pies

Since my family likes privacy I won’t post their photos here, but I did post a photo of the delicious pies (above). I sampled all three.

I hope all of you who celebrated Thanksgiving with your families enjoyed a stress-free day of connecting to those you love. If you were alone because you no longer have a family, are estranged from family, or you have lost someone dear to you, I wish you peace and healing.

The Trip to Madera and Back

The traffic was heavy going south on Wednesday. It was lighter for us going north except here and as we approached Fresno and Madera.  It was especially bad trying to get back on Highway 41 going north after making a pit stop near the intersection of 41 and I-5. (Where the photo below was taken.)That line of cars is headed south to the only signal light that can get people access to I-5.

The only way to make a left turn, which we needed to do, was to hope someone would create a space so you could squeeze through while traffic was backed up to a red light. You can see a truck stopped to let a driver through who needed to make a left into the street we were on . The traffic was lined up for about two blocks behind what you see here. A kind driver did let us through to make our left turn, too.

Traffic near I-5 and Hwy 41 in California
Traffic near I-5 and Hwy 41 in California

As we had hoped, traffic was much lighter as we drove home on Thanksgiving Day. We finally got home yesterday in the late afternoon. After unloading the car, I had to get back to work on the computer.

Black Friday Deals

I’m not much of a shopper, but I am an affiliate marketer. I had posted early access specials to my blog before Thanksgiving, but I still had to add all the bargains that actually did start on Black Friday to a blog post. I needed to get them all posted before they started at midnight.

Enjoy the rest of this holiday weekend, fellow Americans. I hope those of you from other parts of the world also have a pleasant weekend and can do whatever your heart is set on.

What Does Your E-Book Learn From You?

What Does Your E-Book Learn From You?

I have long been a fan of paper books, and I’m not ready to replace them with an e-book of any kind yet. Reading this article has convinced me to wait a bit longer before taking the plunge into e-books.

Your E-Book is Reading You

Some of my Favorite Childhood Books
Some of my Favorite Childhood Books

I have long been a fan of paper books, and I’m not ready to replace them with an e-book of any kind yet. Reading the above article has convinced me to wait a bit longer before taking the plunge into e-books. I haven’t yet forgotten the readers who downloaded Orwell’s 1984 on their Kindles only to have it disappear. One of my colleagues at pointed out that if Amazon can erase an entire book overnight from countless kindles, it could also erase or rewrite a paragraph or a chapter, making it possible for  Big Brother to  rewrite history without anyone being aware of it — unless, of course, there was an earlier paper edition to compare it to.

So I plan to hold on to any of my paper editions that are important to me. And this article gives me another reason. Reading is an intensely private activity for me. I don’t mind discussing what I’ve read with others after I’ve read a book, but I really don’t want a computer taking note of how far I get in a book, what I underline, or whether I decide not to finish a book I started. I want to lean back in my recliner, open my paper book, and get lost in it. And I don’t want anyone looking over my shoulder when I’m reading it.

Fun with Microsoft Customer Service

I share my adventures with getting what I thought was a simple, non technical question answered at the Microsoft Store on line.

A couple of days ago I decided it was time to stop stalling and buy the software I needed to start overhauling my web site, since the software I started with has been obsolete for a couple of years, at least.  I’m not a programmer, so back in 1996 I built my site with FrontPage. It has since been superseded by Expression Web, so I went on line to the Microsoft Store to buy it. I just wasn’t sure if my owning FrontPage 2002 qualified me to buy the upgrade version instead of the full version. This was what was on their web site:

“You must be a licensed user of one of the following products to be
eligible for this upgrade version:
* Any Microsoft Expression product
* Any Adobe Creative Suite
* Any Microsoft Office product”

As best I knew, by 2002 FrontPage was considered part of Office, though I had bought my copy separately. When I installed it, it went into the Office folder by default, and the label on my installation disk said “The Microsoft Office Web Site Creation and Management Solution.” That was good enough for me, but I always like to double check before assuming anything will work on a computer unless it’s spelled out. I didn’t want to spend $80 and then discover I should have bought the full version. So before making the purchase, I called the Microsoft Store to ask the person answering the phone there to confirm having FrontPage installed qualified me for the upgrade version. I told her what I just told you. She didn’t know. She put me on hold to ask someone, and they didn’t know either, so I was transferred to another number. She was very kind and stayed on the line with me until the person at that number picked up.

The person at the call routing Department connected me to yet another number, and the person at that number said the department that could answer my question was closed until the next day. So yesterday I called the number he had given me, and the person there referred me to another number, who then referred me back to someone at the department I had  just talked to who then transferred me back to the Microsoft Store. The person who answered there, different that the person who originally sent me chasing wild geese, didn’t know off the top of her head, either, so she put me on hold. When she came back she said the product qualified and she took my order. She said she had searched Bing for the answer and found it.

When I got the usual customer service survey from Microsoft, I filled it out and added quite a bit in the comments section and got an email back requesting more information. I suggested that if they had spelled out what the qualifying Office products were on the web site in the first place, it would have saved a lot of people a lot of time. It never occurred to me that I had asked a difficult question. I had assumed that those in the store would have known enough about Microsoft Products to have the answer in their heads. At least two people had told me they didn’t think the product qualified. Perhaps no one wanted to be held accountable for the answer they gave me. But it did make me wonder if all the people who man phones in various customer service departments are lost when there is no script to follow. Perhaps each department’s focus is so narrow or the personnel so new that they can’t remember products that have not been supported for three years enough to know that they were once a part of one of Microsoft’s most popular and used products.