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 Mediterranean Dusk At The Old Harbor © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas all rights reserved
JANUARY 2008
Guide To Living Alone and Surviving
A bimonthly
February will not be published.
March is the next issue. To be sure to receive notice, sign up below.

Going it alone
from friends and family, the recently divorced
or in the midst of deciding, or suddenly alone due to a loss.
In this Issue:      Don't miss amazing photo bottom of page.
  • Exercises For the Lazy
  • Something To Care For
  • Caring For Plants
  • How the Computer Is Like A Woman
  • Spices
  • Light Lunches (Recipes)
  • From Grandmother (new recipes)
  • See New Blog Impatient Cooking for this site.
    Volume 2 No. 1    JANUARY 2008

    Story of the Month

    Full page format

    OUR BABY PELICAN

    There was this baby pelican. He broke out of his shell which he considered to be the hardest thing that he had ever done sort of thing. Well, besides the pieces of shell, all he saw around him were a lot of long, round things all woven together. Looked pretty safe - even at that young age he was discerning. He could tell what was safe and what was not safe. One day he could become an inspector of... well that's for another story. But he was all alone, there was nobody and he knew that there should be somebody because he had heard all this yapping, cooing or whatever pelicans do as he was growing inside the egg. But now, nothing. Was it all an illusion, a dream that he had heard all of this and imagined who was making all of the sounds? He couldn't really be sure - no, he was sure, and now ... just a tinge of fear crept in. Everything wasn't ok because he was ALONE. What was he to do?

    read full post

    © copyright 2008 J. Morgan Thomas All rights reserved
    ________________


    Article of the Month

    EXERCISES FOR THE LAZY
    or Exercising On Your Back - Plan For Staying In Shape

    Disclaimer: See bottom of the page. I am not a licensed anything. These exercises were developed for myself and have helped a great deal. However, if you have any doubt, be sure to get your doctor's approval before doing them, otherwise you are on your own.

    PART I

    The exercises in this session are for everyone, not just the lazy. It is a plan to help you stay in shape in only 15 minutes per day of your time.

    Much work went into the development of this set of exercises - mostly on my back.

    The individual who loves to do things lying down will find this particularly easy. And even if you suddenly want to fall asleep, there will be no problem, you are already lying down.

    The exercises involve most of the muscle groups which we use in our regular life and even some of those we seldom use but must depend on in a tight situation so that they will not cause us sudden and unexpected problems.

    Before we continue, there are a few simple rules:

    Read Full Post

    Something To Care For

    This is given as a thought piece and is not definitive or even necessarily accurate. You will have to judge for yourself.

    There is purpose, friendship, and for some, therapy in having something to care for, something which depends on you, and with which you can form some sort of bond. The choice is very individual and so the following order is based on the amount of time and care one must invest from personal observation, but this usually doesn't matter to the individual who has a certain relationship or feeling for a particular type of animal, reptile, fish, or bird.

    The least demanding are fish. Although the environment which must be purchased and maintained to have them live and not all die off within a short time is rather daunting for most people. I make one plea here. If you buy fish, get all of the paraphernalia including oxygen input into the water tank. How would you feel if you were in a glass bowl and the oxygen was getting less and less everyday. Also, get them some space. Even the tiny ones need more than a small bowl for life when it is necessary to move more or less constantly. Life is to be enjoyed, and not kept as a prisoner in a space barely enough for two circles, or back and forth every 6-8 seconds. By the way, it is very easy to get attached to a fish. If you are interested in getting fish, see a forum on a betta which almost died – it is not clear if he pulled through. There is some good advice and some excellent links which might be of help with other fish also. Betta- I think he's dead.. what did I do wrong?

    The next up the list of least demanding is a plant. Some would argue that plants should be first but to one who has 57+ plants, I would differ. See the caring of plants below. But here, watering schedules must be adhered to and there is the worry attached to leaves suddenly turning brown or other problems which plants have. But their beauty and their growth, new shoots, etc. make up for everything else. You may think that interaction is just not possible but if you can really feel these things, then you know that it is. According to many studies and accounts, they react to you and can sense your reactions at a distance. So there is the possibility of true interaction – you just have to know how to hear and feel it and how to react in return.

    The next up the scale of least demanding is a bird but only if there is a pair. They pretty much keep each other company. I feel very sad for single birds. There is no way that you can make up for the flock or the company of another bird. How would you like it if a bird bought you alone and stuck you in a cage and then came in once or twice a day and said "Hi, ____(some terrible name he/she gave to you). What have you been doing today? "Well, sitting here in this cage all alone and doing well… nothing". The interaction can only fall far short of true friendship although one can truly love a bird and the feeding and caring for birds does fulfill some primal instinct in many of us which should not be overlooked.

    Catching Some Rays © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    Catching Some Rays. Ahh, the good life

    The next up the list is a cat which doesn't need to be walked and is purrrfectly happy when you come home and pet it for a while each day and feed it. Someone you can ask how its day went and can tell it that you bought something special which he/she will like. Something which curls up with you and gives you the sense of a warm body next to you.

    Waiting on the Mediterranean © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    Waiting

    A dog is perhaps the most satisfying of pets. It demands the most attention but gives back far more than most human beings. The demands are a little bit higher since it needs to be walked unless you live on the ground floor and can put in a dog door to the yard which of course must be fenced. The minuses of a dog are far out weighted by the many, many pluses. Every other animal demands time and returns precious little in terms of companionship. Although, I must say that some forms of lizards, mice, gerbils, hamsters, and the like, do form an interactive bond which is quite enough for many people and do not need the amount of time the other animals require although they probably could use it just as much. It is sometimes hard to tell unless you have a special bond with one of them. Again, get a pair, or if you do not want a lot of young, two of the same sex, but get them someone to interact with besides you. You may be great, as least for your own species, but think twice before getting someone (and I use this term advisably) who in the long run you will just not have the time for and I mean that in terms of quality.

    In any case, if you have not already done so, give the whole subject some thought. There is a lot of life out there waiting in some shop or at the pound that needs someone to care for it.

    Caring For Plants

    I am no expert. I inherited 57 plants and three indoor trees and have kept them alive and even flourishing for 3 months during the heat of the summer. That does not make me an expert except for the fact that they are still here and even look happy (if a plant can look happy). This is except for two, and another one because I did not water it on time (it was a small individual shoot and did not have the entangling roots to hold water past the due delivery date). The other needed far more than I was giving it since it was a vine and needed a lot to reach up to wherever it was going. What I have learned is that you have to talk to them. Doesn't matter what you say – they are good listeners. Even if you think that they are not listening, believe me they are, and they know if you care or not. Caring is a large part of the equation as it is with anything. The other thing I have learned is that the watering schedule should be fairly stable. If I just can't water on time, I ask them if it is O.K. and listen (invariably one will say that it isn't – so give it some), and that I will do it first thing tomorrow or whatever and then keep the promise.

    Twice, I have had a plant or two which needed a lot of water just lay down when it ran out. I raced around, gave it water and talked to it to give encouragement. Now he/she/it is as right as rain… it only wished. But, it’s a tricky thing. When is there enough water? How do you know? The plants are not outside so I can not use a hose. So I bottle it and I ask each plant if it is enough. Sounds crazy? Ask anyone who knows plants and they will agree with me. Most of the time I get the sense or in my case an answer – internally of course – that it's enough or there is a request for a little bit more - type of feeling. The last time I was not so lucky – really feel badly about it – now I have a calendar with circles on it for every 4 days (seven in the winter).

    Fertilizer Also, once every month or so (the bottle says every week in the summer and once a month in winter), give some liquid plant fertilizer or give the real thing. But, follow the instructions on the bottle carefully. You could be overdosing.

    I guess that once-in-a-while over-watering can be a good thing if there is drainage. A neighbor went away, and the second night a friend came and watered the outside plants with a hose – she appeared to know what she was doing. Not knowing the neighbor had come, the mother came the next night and I literally thought that she was preparing the ground for the growing of rice. Anyway, all the plants survived.

    But, drainage is a big thing. If you have a plant in a pot where there is no way for excess water to drain, then the roots are in danger of rotting. In one case, even with drainage, one of the plants started to die. I checked and the soil was sopping even though I had not watered for 4 days. I stopped watering for one time, or perhaps two and it revived and sent out new shoots. So you should be willing to stick you finger in to see the moisture content of the soil when something seems to be not going the way it should.

    Oh, and another thing, if you water some plants and not the others tell them that you will get around to them and say when – in an hour, tonight, tomorrow morning, etc. I don't know if this helps them but it helps me. For the rest, you really should get a book by someone who knows

    Part V: Types of Food and Vitamins
    Continuation of Helpful Hints On
    Eating Right Without Trying

    This is not fun but important. I have attached the best sources I could find to help in this staying alive business. Hope it helps.

    SPICES
    For some people, ketchup / mustard / BAR-B-Q / chili / sweet-and-sour sauces ARE the spices. But if you look at the labels on these bottles, they always say "and spices". What spices? These are what gives it the taste you love. And in many cases, you can not pry the names of the spices out of the manufacturers - that's their stock in trade - like Coca Cola and its secret formula which people have been trying to re-discover for decades.

    And whenever you eat something and say to yourself "This needs something." That's what you are talking about, unless your next move is to go and get the chocolate sauce.

    So, what are they and how and when do you use them. To get myself off the hook, I can tell you to just look on the back of the spice canister/box/bottle and most of them now-a-days have it written on the back - "good for stews, soups, salads" and so forth.

    I decided that it would be important to get them and use them if I was going to do this project. So I did. And there they sat on the shelf over the stove and every once in a while, one or two would be taken down and I would look on the back and then put some into whatever was on the stove. But this was not getting me or my dishes anywhere. So here is some information which may help if you know absolutely nothing about cooking - like me. It may seem as though I do by my blog but its all a bluff - I'm just creative and like colors. Now the secret is out. And I can relax and just continue to be creative and maybe learn something along the way, which I will probably never use again after I finish this project.

    I looked for the words "spices how what when" and I got the Spice Girls. That's not going to help me here. So you won't have to look it up Spice Girls

    Just to show you how important spices are, this is a quote from a lecture The Consumption of Spices and Their Costs in Late-Medieval and Early-Modern Europe: Luxuries or Necessities? by Prof. John H. Munro, Department of Economics, University of Toronto

    "... no economic historian of late-medieval Europe can ignore the importance of the spice trades and few can escape its fascinations. From the 12th to the 17th centuries, Oriental spices constituted the most profitable and dynamic element in European trade -- the veritable cream that brought Italian merchants in particular enormous profits; and it may very well be that Italian dominance of medieval commerce and finance rested principally upon their control of the Oriental spice trades." Source

    If you just want a comprehensive listing of spices, see List of culinary herbs and spices Links to origins, description, derivatives, and use together with photo. Also includes a link to medicinal herbs.

    Now to the good stuff. This is probably the best that I found. Spice Recipes and Cooking Information Gives the different spices with links to history, storage, and a raft of great recipes for each. After going here, you will not come back to me. Oh well, easy come, easy go. Also has a Spice Mix Chart, Spice Pantry Basics, and a Spice Substitution Chart when you run out of whatever you wish you had.

    The LIST - which is what I was looking for from the beginning. Cooking with Herbs, Spices, and Seasonings A very elemental list of what each spice is good for, with, and some very good, very short advice at the beginning. College of Family and Consumer Sciences, University of Georgia.

    One Tip - some of these spices have sticks in them and that is why they normally come in containers with small holes at the top - to filter out the big pieces. If you get tired of shaking until you have a teaspoon full or whatever, and open up the top and pour, you are entirely on your own. One case in point is Thyme.

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    Recipe of the Month
    Light Lunches

    Burgher's Delight © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    Burgher's delight
    With my ideas and a real chef I could open up a restaurant to which droves of New Yorkers would come. And I don't live anywhere close to New York. That's how famous we would be. This is a rice cake made with egg and flour and rice with burger covered in sweet and sour sauce. The rice is mixed with instant vegetable soup with non-instant fried mushrooms, together with cheese croutons (I thinks you would call these crouts because they are larger) made from broken up tops of a sweet bread loaf.

    Three Kinds of Cheeses on Sweet Bread Roll © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    Three Kinds of Cheese on Sweet Bread Roll
    The half fried cabbage, with...can't remember the name of the spice. You're right. Why couldn't I remember that? - and you thought this wasn't an interactive site. And the sweet bread roll with three-kinds-of-cheese sauce made with rosemary. End pieces underneath to Roman arch it. Avocado with olive oil, vinegar and za'atar that Middle Eastern spice (also zaatar, zatar, zattar or zahatar with dried thyme, toasted white sesame seeds, and salt. Some sources also include savory, hyssop, oregano, cumin, and fennel seed from wikipedia.org) which makes everyone smarter. I just wonder when it's going to start working for me.

    Flying South For The Winter

    The Last Leg To Africa  © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    The Last Leg To Africa

    Actual migrating bird formation - late December 2007 over Mediterranean © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    No One's Going To Mess With This Bird
    Actual migrating bird formation over Mediterranean
    late December 2007
    I took this picture and did not see the pattern until it was developed. Click photo to enlarge.

    © copyright 2008 J. Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    ________________

    Photo of the Month
    Also see photos end of page

    Last fling before the night  © Copyright 2007 Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    Last Fling Before The Night


    Just looked up and there it was

    footnote
    Each month a new photo, having nothing
    to do with the contents of this site, will be
    put up showing aspects of my immediate
    environment. From time to time, works
    of others will be shown.


    click on these for stories, tips, recipes, articles
    December    The Emu who went to Africa, Recipe of the Month, Handling A Sense of Guilt, Laundry - Do It or Not, Notes on Garbage Disposal and Other Things, Photography, Computer Tips: Blogging, and Instant Saving of What You Just Typed.
    November    Happy Hippo, Dealing with loss, Do Something, Eating right, Backing up to CD, Unfreeze computer
    October    Angie the baby antelope, Laws if alone, Eating right, Getting out, Clear screen, Saving as you type
    September    Ants Story, Never leave without keys, Foods to buy/double-up, Eating out


    From Grandmother With Love

    ENTRIES (click images to enlarge)

    Spinach Omelet.

    Spinach Omelette


    One/two eggs with a splash of water to make them fluffy; just whisk them lightly with a fork. Set aside while you put some spinach or swiss chard (greens) into a lightly oiled pan and just cook the greens until they are wilted; set aside and using same pan add a spot of butter or oil (I like olive oil) put the eggs in and let them set slightly (not hard) and set the eggs out on a plate, put the greens in the middle with a sprinkle of cheese, fold egg omelet over greens and voila there you have it. I've done same with just red pepper (green is too strong) and cheese, but the spinach one is the best. Make sure you "squeeze" the extra water from the spinach once it has thawed or your omelet will be too watery; and if you have any cheese of any type, add that on top for that extra tasty bite. Enjoy!

    Re spices - Put dill on potatoes, oregano on tomato slices and basil on everything. Add cinnamon to your vanilla ice cream or pudding. These are typical spices and again, Mrs. Dash Spices works wonders and comes in one container.
    Sonia Penny

    __________________

    Old fashion Bread Pudding just for digging in Old fashioned Bread Pudding - individual portions

    Old Fashion Bread Pudding
    I used frozen hamburger buns, a few slices of whole wheat bread, 2 rye crisp crackers and a little oatmeal to make sure the pudding had good nutrition. I also used some brown sugar, maple syrup, less than 1/2 cup of regular sugar, 2 eggs, cinnamon, vanilla, canned evaporated milk, a little water to dilute the milk but only about 3 tablespoons, and dried cranberries. It tasted good. I then cut it into pieces and froze 2 pieces per package so that we can have some for later.
    Tricia Semmelhack

    __________________

    Kit's Super Tonic
    It is great for ...everything.

  • 1 lb of onion, 1 lb of garlic, 1 lb of horseradish, bunch of hot red peppers.
  • Chop SMALL - I use my juicer and it really cuts it small l!!!
  • Put all in a gallon jug and fill to the top with apple cider vinegar. 5 % acid.
  • Let steep in a dark place for 5-6 weeks. Store in brown or dark colored glass bottles. I use old rootbeer bottles. Once when I checked it, there was a beautiful iridescent blue color to it. Oh well, how bad can it get. I drank it anyway. Actually that is the mix I am just finishing up now.
  • Remember that germs die in apple cider vinegar. That is half the point right there. So hopefully RC will stay well by just drinking the vinegar.
    Kit Weiss

    THE REQUEST
    We need some advice, but first of all, you have to be a grandmother to give it. With more and more young people on their own and many families split up by jobs and just the sheer mobility of modern society, we need help. We've called it "From Grandmother With Love". If you have a recipe for those who are alone and do not have the time to cook or just do not know how, and some advice or... click to read further

    Recommended Sites

  • M.O.M.S. The International Non-Profit Single Moms and Dads Organization aka Single Mothers On a Mission. Highly recommended. Memberships from 65 countries.

    Some Tips

    How the computer is like a woman

    For The Geeks Out There


  • Can try to forget but its always in the back of your mind.
  • Try to shut down one part and the whole system shuts down.
  • Extremely complex. Must learn a lot to work with it successfully, and you keep on learning.
  • If you do not do the necessary maintenance, you have to wait a long time for it to open up.
  • At times must have infinite patience.
  • It actually works better when handled with care.
  • Once you think you have figured out something, always surprised to find that there is something else.
  • There are the masters out there, and then there are the rest of us tinkerers.   more...read full post

    © copyright 2008 J. Morgan Thomas All rights reserved

    ________________

    And Now The Computer Tips

    Save Directories, Not Just Files, To Your Backup Disk or CD
    Put directories you work in a lot on the disk and not just single files. If the directories are large, separate out the files you are working on in a separate directory. Then when you save to disk, the program will check the whole directory for changes and add those files. Between one day and the next, I made changes to over 20 files and had some new ones. I could only remember three and would have missed updating or adding all of the others, if I had the backup only on separate files.

    ________________

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    Thanks
    I wish to thank the following persons
    for help in editing and suggestions:
    Sonia Penny, Tricia Semmelhack,
    Kit Weiss, Gail Thomas.

    Other Sites I Work On
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