November 26, 2009

November 25, 2009

  • Currency trading has engulfed me.  I’m about to switch over to using real money instead of paper trading like I’ve been doing  Every day from 8:30 – 1:30 and then when I get home from work, 9:30 – 1:30 a.m., I spend learning Forex. 

    Remember the guy who taught me about stocks?  Well, now I’ve found a guy who writes about currencies.  He’s a fantastic writer, an excellent teacher, and he’s got a sense of humor.  I’ve learned enough that I think I can start risking real money.  And I think my timing is good as I believe we are approaching another period of high volatility which should provide lots of fluxuation. 

    I have a question.  My children and various friends are urging me to get on Facebook.  I like the idea of easy connection with people but I don’t want any of it leading back here.  I like the sanctuary and privacy of my secret place here with just a few close friends. 

    Nor do I want to waste time with yet another computer activity.  My pants are getting tight.  I sit all day and night now, not a usual position and not a healthy one.  If I avoided the games do you find that it’s reasonable to plan on spending just a couple hours a week there?

October 31, 2009

  • At the library.  My computer caught a virus after I opened up a warning email about the virus.  Be careful. 

October 24, 2009

  • Today was one of those special days that just turn up somehow.  Our first semi-stormy day I spent cozed up cooking, listening to Bach.  A new friend called to see if she could stop by and I’d just washed the kitchen floor, done all my laundry,  and I even had a pot of soup on.  Just like those testimonials for

    What started the day off right was that I completed my first currency trade in the black.  And in the nick of time before it turned the other way and I would have lost my little gains.  The two or three previous attempts didn’t go so well so this time I paid close attention to what my mentor said.   It’s paper trading so it doesn’t really count but I learned a lot.

    The other thing I’m feeling good about is that I went to yoga.  Between my mother’s ordeal this summer and my work hours switching back and forth and the studio moving to some unknown location, tonight was my first night back.  I absolutely floated out of there. 

    Listen to what I cooked today.  I baked two yams.  I like them with butter and brown sugar.  Then I made cream of broccoli soup with mushrooms.  While my new friend the realtor sat in the kitchen eating my yummy soup I cut up beets, fennel, parsnip, potato, and onion, threw some garlic cloves in and doused all that with olive oil.  I couldn’t decide which of Penzey’s spices to use so I just added salt and lemon pepper and roasted it at 400 for over an hour.  When it was done I added a little balsamic vinegar and honey. 

    After I got home from yoga I made pork chops to go with the yams.  Mmmm.  I have the gas fire going and I don’t even mind that summer’s over.  Tomorrow I’m driving to the beach with my good friend TJ (I don’t call her that but I’ll use it here) and we will enjoy what will probably be the last sunny day.  I’m ready for the rain.

October 19, 2009

  • I forgot to say what I got.  Actually, I didn’t forget I just chose not to.  But now I will fess up to a 58.  Any more points than that and I might be worried.  Like I should tone it down.

October 18, 2009

  • This was an email I got from a good friend:   

    Below is Dr. Phil’s test. 

    (Dr. Phil scored 55, he did this test on Oprah
    and she got a 38.)  Some folks pay a lot of
    money to find this stuff out! 

    Read on, this is very interesting!

    Don’t be overly sensitive!


    The following is pretty accurate and it
    only takes a few minutes.


    Take this test for yourself and send it on to your friends.

    The person who sent it placed their score in the email subject box.  Please do the same before
    forwarding it on to your friends.


    (send it back to the person who sent it to you..)


    Don’t peek, but begin the test as you
    scroll down and answer.

    Answers are for who you are now
     and not who 
    you were in the past.  Have pen or pencil
    and paper ready.

    This is a real test given by the Human Relations Dept.
    at many of the major corporations today
    .  It helps them get better insight concerning their employees and in their prospective employees. 

    It’s only 10 Simple questions, so grab a pencil and paper, keeping track of your letter answers to each question. 

    Make sure to change the subject of the email to read YOUR total.

    When you are finished, forward this to friends, family, and also send it to the person who sent this to you..

    Make sure to put ‘YOUR’ score in the subject box.



     When do you feel your best… 

    A)  in the morning 
    B)  during the afternoon and early evening 
    C)  late at night 

    2.  You usually walk…

    A)  fairly fast, with long steps 
    B)  fairly fast, with little steps 
    C)  less fast head up, looking the world in the face 
    D)  less fast, head down 
    E)  very slowly

      When talking to people you…

    A)  stand with your arms folded 
    B)  have your hands clasped 
    C)  have one or both your hands on your hips 
    D)  touch or push the person to whom you are talking 
    E)   play with your ear, touch your chin, or smooth your hair 

      When relaxing, you sit with… 

      your knees bent with your legs neatly side by side 
    B)  your legs crossed 
    C)  your legs stretched out or straight 
    D)  one leg curled under you

     When something really amuses you, you react with… 

      big appreciated laugh 
    B)  a laugh, but not a loud one
    C)  a quiet chuckle 
    D)  a sheepish smile 

    6.  When you go to a party or social gathering you… 

    A)  make a loud entrance so everyone notices you 
    B)  make a quiet entrance, looking around for someone you know 
    C)  make the quietest entrance, trying to stay unnoticed

    7.   You’re working very hard, concentrating hard, and you’re interrupted… 

    A)  welcome the break
    B)  feel extremely irritated
    C)  vary between these two extremes

    8.  Which of the following colors do you like most…  

    A)  Red or orange 
    B)  black 
    C)  yellow or light blue 
    D)  green 
    E)  dark blue or purple 
    F)  white 
    G)  brown or gray

    9.   When you are in bed at night, in those last few moments before going to sleep you are…

    A)  stretched out on your back
    B)  stretched out face down on your stomach
    C)  on your side, slightly curled
    D)  with your head on one arm
    E)  with your head under the covers

    10.   You often dream that you are…

    A)  falling
    B)  fighting or struggling
    C)  searching for something or somebody
    D)  flying or floating
    E)  you usually have dreamless sleep
    F)  your dreams are always pleasant


    1.  (a) 2     (b) 4     (c) 6 
    2.  (a) 6     (b) 4     (c) 7     (d) 2     (e) 1
    3.  (a) 4     (b) 2   (c) 5     (d) 7     (e) 6 
    4.  (a) 4     (b) 6     (c) 2     (d) 1 
    5.  (a) 6     (b) 4     (c) 3     (d) 5     (e) 2 
    6.  (a) 6     (b) 4     (c) 2 
    7.  (a) 6     (b) 2     (c) 4 
    8.  (a) 6     (b) 7     (c) 5     (d) 4     (e) 3     (f) 2     (g) 1 
    9.  (a) 7     (b) 6     (c) 4     (d) 2     (e ) 1 
    10 (a) 4    (b) 2     (c) 3     (d) 5     (e) 6     (f) 1 

    Now add up the total number of points. 

    OVER 60 POINT:
     Others see you as someone they should ‘handle with care’.  You’re seen as vain, self-centered, and who is extremely dominant. 
     Others may admire you, wishing they could be more like you, but don’t always trust you, hesitating to become too deeply involved with you. 

    51 TO 60 POINTS
    :  Others see you as an exciting, highly volatile, rather impulsive personality, a natural leader, who’s quick to make decisions, though not always the right ones.  They see you as bold and adventuresome, someone who will try anything once, someone who takes chances and enjoys an adventure.  They enjoy being in your company because of the excitement you radiate. 

    41 TO 50 POINTS
    :  Others see you as fresh, lively, charming, amusing, practical, and always interesting, someone who’s constantly in the center of attention, but sufficiently well balanced not to let it go to their head.  They also see you as kind, considerate, and understanding, someone who’ll always cheer them up and help them out. 

    31 TO 40 POINTS:
      Others see you as sensible, cautious, careful & practical.  They see you as clever, gifted, or talented, but modest..  Not a person who makes friends too quickly or easily, but someone who’s extremely loyal to friends you do make and who expect the same loyalty in return.  Those who really get to know you, realize it takes a lot to shake your trust in your friends, but equally that it takes you a long time to get over if that trust is ever broken. 

    21 TO 30 POINTS:
      Your friends see you as painstaking and fussy.  They see you as very cautious, extremely careful, a slow and steady plodder.  It would really surprise them if you ever did something impulsively
    or on the spur of the moment, expecting you to examine everything carefully from every angle and then, usually decide against it. They think this reaction is caused partly by your careful nature. 

       People think you are shy, nervous, and indecisive, someone who needs looking after, who always wants someone else to make the decisions and who doesn’t want to get involved with anyone or anything! They see you as a worrier who always sees problems that don’t exist.  Some people think you’re boring.  Only those who know you well, know that you aren’t. 

    Now forward this to others, and put your score in the subject box of your e-mail, like this:
    Dr. Phil’s Test, I scored…

October 17, 2009

  • I’m on a roll.  Tonight it was fig and walnut pizza with gorganzola.  This may be one of the best recipes I’ve come up with yet.  I went to to see what other people did with their figs — I have a tree — to figure out what to pair with them and how you cook figs.

    I decided to combine several ideas.  One was cooking red onion in port.  They suggested balsamic vinegar and brown sugar but I tried some honey and port.  That was lacking so I added a little butter and brown sugar.  I’m so thrilled to know how to make those red onions soft and sweet.

    What I was looking for was a glaze for the walnuts, a way to candy them while they baked on top of the figs.  I also was nervous about the taste of the figs so I wanted to be able to sweeten them.

    The other question, once I decided to use Trader Joe’s self-bake pizza dough was the sauce.  I knew I wanted to use gorganzola which would preclude anything but a pretty bland white sauce.  I found some marscapone and creme fraiche and combined that with cream cheese.  It was the perfect backdrop for the sharp cheese which I sprinkled generously. 

    Two recipes called for baking the halved figs in olive oil.  The results were not impressive.  They tasted bland and looked undercooked.  That’s why I thought of pizza, a way to hit them with a lot of heat and pair them with vibrant textures and tastes. 

    Placing the walnut halves in the middle of the figs and breaking up the rest to throw over the cheese added a nice mellowness.  The candied red onion and glaze were the sweetness and color it needed and I drizzled that everywhere.

    It’s sweet, it’s savory and it used up my figs. 

October 16, 2009

  • Just over a million shares were traded today, the earnings this quarter so far so good.  Google just reported with even the top-line earnings up.  In other words they aren’t just up because they fired a bunch of people and didn’t spend any money, unlike the rest of the companies whose bottom lines, only,  have been up.  So that’s exciting.  It looks like Dow 10,000 might hold for a little while.  If we can make it through Friday’s close.

    I’m also juiced about my new spices.  I went back to Penzey’s and got Lamb Seasoning, a combination of oregano, rosemary, cumin, celery, paprika, black pepper, onion, garlic, spearmint, and ginger.  In olive oil I browned the lamb (organic, boned, butterflied leg) in this aromatic new combo, along with their lemon pepper and my garlic salt.  I took that out and added the onion.  I just learned that if you add salt it will make them sweat so you can get up all the brown bits without having to add liquid.  Cool new trick. 

    When the onion was limp I added two cloves of garlic, minced.  Then I put in the stock:  half chicken, half beef.  To that I added carrot, celery, and potatoes.  I almost put fennel in but chickened out.  Probably would have been good.  I just don’t know what these new spices will taste like. 

    I sat the lamb on top of the vegetables with just the bottom touching the liquid, covered it, letting it all simmer.  Hopefully, the lamb will steam.  I’ve never cooked it this way but I want to use half the lamb for something else and I want it rare.  It’s fun to experiment. 

October 14, 2009

  • For years I have been wishing I had a receptive audience, someone interested in learning the Taoist breathing exercises I know.  It starts out simply but you can do complicated things with your breath. 

    One of my students is very close to passing her 80s but she has horrible text anxiety.  So, a little before last night’s test I taught the class how to breathe into their lower tantien (2 inches below the navel) in order to get centered and relax. 

    After class she came up and told me how much better she had done on the test; that she thought she had passed it.  Tonight I went a step further.  I taught them how to breathe into their heart, and I told them about the corresponding color and the sound that organ resonates with:  Hahhhhhh, with a soft, almost silent H.

    So, two minutes before the test we got centered in our bellies and then I had them put their hand on their heart and exhale, thinking of love and the color red and then we took the test. 

    There’s only one guy in the class and he made a joke after the test but behind him sits a professional ballerina who said, “That’s the same color for the heart chakra.”  So now he thinks it’s cool.

    After a particularly hard Lit piece several of them suggested I read more of my story.  I’ve been thinking it would be good to have a story about a court reporter.  I know!  It could be about a CART writer and his or her deaf student.  Or maybe I could call all my old friends from school and get them to tell me their worst and funniest stories and work those up.

October 13, 2009

  • Several students tarry, coming to class, so I decided to read my little story for a warmup, first thing.  And since each take is only five minutes and there is a surprise ending it will be fun to slowly lead up to it.

    I told my youngest, who also writes, about reading the short story to my class and she suggested I write a story about a court case.  I was intrigued for a second or two but it’s not my kind of thing.  But I’ll think about it.  Tell me if you think of something or know someone in a situation that could lead to a trial.  It would be fun to have an ongoing story that was court-related so I could get in all the relevant lingo they need to learn to write.