Category Archives: 101 Things

Tiki monkeys

So … I can cross No. 79 (enter a Craftster challenge) off my 101 Things list tonight. I just finished posting my entry for the Dollar Store Challenge. You had to take no more than $10 worth of stuff from the dollar store and make something creative and unexpected out of it. I found some tiny baby socks, a pair of flip-flops, and a silk lei … so of course I had to make myself a pair of tiki sock monkey house slippers.

I doubt they win the challenge, but I had fun making them, anyway. It was a good way to spend another stormy evening while the computer was unplugged….



“If it were not for what the human mind says of the body, the body, like the inanimate wheel, would never be weary. The consciousness of Truth rests us more than hours of repose in unconsciousness.”

— Mary Baker Eddy

I’ve quoted this passage before — and not that long ago — but I really need it today.

My bosses were all out of town, and I’d put in some extra hours working on Main Street stuff last night, so I came home from work early today for the express purpose of having time to read for a little while, work on the Trip Guide ads for a little while, and work on my 101 Things list for a little while.

I went to Lee’s Feed and bought a hummingbird feeder for my office window (#29). I’ve also crossed off #27 (keep the living room presentable), #32 (do two articles or photo packages a month for work), and #73 (research Webcams for the garden, which I’ve determined aren’t feasible at the moment).

I assembled the feeder, mixed up some sugar syrup for it, and went to take a nap at 4 p.m. Four hours later, I woke up — and I use the phrase loosely — with no sense of what time it was and only the foggiest grasp of where I was.

I’m pretty fed up with this nonsense. I am doing honest work, and there is no reason I should be hampered by a false sense of exhaustion as a penalty for accomplishing things. I want some of that “consciousness of Truth” that Mrs. Eddy is talking about, and I want it now. Maybe I’ll find it at the Reading Room tomorrow.


Getting things done

I needed to feel useful tonight, so I crossed No. 84 — clean out the cabinet under the bathroom sink — off my 101 Things list.

I also read the latest Sentinel, baked a quiche, made some refried beans, and Photoshopped a boatload of pictures that I shot this afternoon for work. I’m doing a really fun project that involves printing out copies of historic photos of Red Fork back in the ’40s and ’50s, standing in the same spot where the photographer stood, and shooting pictures of the same places as they look now. The concept has been done over and over (perhaps most notably by Russell Olsen, who has put together two great books full of beautiful then-and-now images from along Route 66), but it’s still fun to do, and I think people around here will enjoy looking at the neighborhood and seeing how it’s changed over the years.

The weather was beautiful — with temperatures in the 80s — and the sky was a dazzling shade of blue, so while I was out with the camera, I took some extra pictures to use as stock photos. I posted two of the more colorful images on the RedFork Main Street blog. Go take a look — I think they’re very pretty and springy. I’ll probably put up several more images over the next few days, including some “whatsit” photos.


Today rocked.

Things I did today:

1. Got paid to blog about Route 66. Really. Check out the new blog I made.
2. Got paid to work on a newsletter for a nonprofit group. Really. (I love my job….)
3. Hung up a piece of Jamie’s original artwork at the office. Framed and matted, no less.
4. Bought stuff for the latest Craftster challenge.
5. Got a stick-on LED light to go on the back side of my file cabinet so I can see to plug in my computer.
6. Bought a rainsuit for walking to the office on soggy days.
7. Received the cute new messenger bag I ordered the other day.
8. Downloaded the new B-52’s album.
9. Bought some cute Sesame Street ponytail holders made of shaggy, Muppet-textured material with Muppet eyes attached to them to look like Cookie Monster, Oscar, and Elmo.
10. Found two awesome stuffed animals for Jamie — one of the bear from Hop on Pop, and one of Fox in Socks — for $5 apiece at Kohl’s.
11. Had dinner with Ron.

I think I’ll go work on my 101 Things list now….


Hoppin’ Juan

Another one from the 101 Things list: Here’s a new vegan recipe. (Does it count as “trying a new recipe” if I just make it up as I go instead of actually using a recipe?)

I don’t really know what to call this. It’s sort of like Hoppin’ John, sort of like chili, and sort of like posole. I guess I’ll name it Hoppin’ Juan. Anyway, here it is:

1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced (use more if you have it; I was running low)
1 can diced tomatoes
Chili powder to taste
Cumin to taste
Paprika to taste
Bacon Salt to taste (OK to substitute a little ground chipotle or a dash of smoke flavoring)
1 can blackeyed peas, drained
1 can hominy, drained
1 can chopped green chiles

Saute onions in olive oil. Add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Add tomatoes and spices. Stir. Bring to a boil. Add blackeyed peas and Bacon Salt and bring to a boil. Add hominy and chiles and bring to a boil. Serve with tortilla chips and hot sauce.

Bacon Salt is, for the record, completely vegan. It is also laden with MSG, but I think that’s a small price to pay for salt that tastes like bacon. In this recipe, it helps make the blackeyed peas taste as if they’ve been cooked with salt pork.

Playing chicken

Life at the House of the Lifted Lorax is many things, but dull is never one of them.

I got off work this evening and went out to a great little nursery in Berryhill, where I picked up a mesh bag of barley seeds to help control algae growth in our pond.

When I got home, I put the dogs out, tossed the bag into the pond, and looked up in time to see Songdog and Scout barking furiously at a mysterious animal moving around in the compost pile.

Upon closer inspection, I realized that four of the hens had escaped the friendly confines of the chicken tractor and were happily sorting through the compost pile in search of worms, of which there are plenty. (Incidentally, I turned the compost last night and found conditions that would make any gardener’s pulse race just a wee bit: steam coming from the center, and red wiggler worms nibbling around the outside edges. Gorgeous.)

Anyway, I let the hens have their fun while I went to see how they’d gotten loose. As it turned out, the chicken tractor was on uneven ground, and one of the girls had scratched enough to dig out a large hollow area under one corner. Pushy, Solitaire, Plenty, and Elektra all seized the opportunity to stage their very own Shawshank Redemption, leaving a rather bewildered Maud alone in the chicken tractor. I had no idea chickens would tunnel their way to freedom if given the opportunity, but ours certainly did. If I had to guess, I’d say Solitaire probably dug the hole, and Pushy probably led the flock through it, but we’ll never know. This is another reason I really need to look into setting up a Webcam back there….

I moved the tractor to more even terrain, retrieved the hens, and planted half a flat of strawberries in the hay bales behind the back fence before coming in to work on less agricultural pursuits.

I intend to spend the rest of my evening enjoying a bowl of Jell-O with extra Cool Whip, framing some of Jamie’s artwork, and stumbling through a Spanish translation of Science and Health.

Life is good….


Oh, P.S.: I crossed No. 83 — “Try Halim and Mimi’s since it changed hands” — off my 101 Things list today. For the record, it was awesome. The new owners make killer baba ghanoush, and their tabouli — made just the way I like it, with plenty of parsley and lemon juice — is hands-down the best I’ve ever eaten.

Oklahoma adventures

Ron and I were both off Sunday, so we spent the afternoon working on No. 64 on my 101 Things list, which is “Visit every attraction listed for Oklahoma on”

We headed over to Guthrie and then Kingfisher to cross a few attractions off our list. Here’s what we found along the way:


1. Grave of Elmer McCurdy the sideshow mummy in Guthrie.


2. Another occupant of Guthrie’s own Boot Hill.


3. Blue Belle Saloon in downtown Guthrie, where Tom Mix once tended bar. The saloon was closed Sunday, but the exterior looks great — very historic.


4. The State Capital newspaper office (now a museum, which was also closed Sunday), catty-corner from the Blue Belle Saloon.


5. A steel box inside this tiny jail across from the old newspaper office was set up to take donations for the Guthrie Gunfighters Association, which sometimes holds Wild West shootout re-enactments nearby.


6. Guthrie’s Beacon Drive-In, featured in the movie Twister.


7. Statue in Kingfisher. The base and a plaza surrounding the statue were under construction, and no interpretive materials were available to help us figure out who this guy might be.


8. Sam Walton’s disembodied head, torso, and arms floating above a statue of his famous bird dog, Ol’ Roy, in front of the recently constructed Wal-Mart Supercenter in Kingfisher. I don’t know where Sam’s legs are. Maybe Ol’ Roy ate them. They’re probably more nutritious than Ol’ Roy’s namesake dog food….


9. Some of the plants I bought at a little nursery in Guthrie. I think the place was about to close when we got there, but I made it worth their while to stay open another 10 minutes — I wound up spending just over $50 for three ranunculus, three gerbera daisies, two hibiscus, 10 strawberries, and a small pot each of chives,  basil, and sage, and the owner and I had a nice conversation while she rang up my purchases. I’m looking forward to planting those strawberries. I hope the ground beetles leave them alone this time….

Hope your weekend was good and your Monday was even better.


Noodles Milanese

In keeping with my promise to myself on the 101 Things list, here’s your flavor-of-the-week vegetarian (but not vegan) recipe:

Noodles Milanese
adapted slightly from The Gradual Vegetarian by Lisa Tracy

Half a bag of egg noodles
Two large tomatoes, cut into chunks
Half a cup of frozen chopped onions (fresh is fine; I just happened to have frozen on hand)
Two cloves of garlic, chopped
2 tbsp. plain yogurt
Grated cheese

Start the noodles. Saute the onion in butter until it’s clear. Add tomatoes, garlic, and basil and cook until tomatoes disintegrate and turn into a chunky sauce. The noodles should be just about ready by the time the sauce is done. Drain cooked noodles and toss them with the yogurt. Top with tomato mixture and grated cheese. Serves 2.

By popular demand …

… here is the recipe for my vegan lasagna. I actually made a half-batch for last night’s party, as I did the other half lacto-ovo, and I just kind of made it up as I went along, but these are the rough proportions:

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 jar of spaghetti sauce (or make your own with two cans of tomato sauce and your favorite Italian spices)
1 medium yellow squash, sliced
1 green bell pepper
1/2 lb. sliced mushrooms
1 c. chopped onion (frozen kind is OK)
1 box frozen spinach
1 bag julienned carrots
Half a can of cheap beer
1 lb. extra firm tofu (NOT silken)
Two bags vegan mozzarella shreds
Chopped garlic to taste — start with about six cloves and adjust to your liking
Olive oil or margarine

In a wok or large skillet, saute onion and pepper in olive oil or margarine until pepper is soft. In a heavy skillet, brown carrots in olive oil or margarine. Add beer and simmer until it evaporates. While carrots cook, add squash and mushrooms to wok and saute until squash is tender. Thaw spinach in the microwave. Add spinach and cooked carrots to wok. Cook until spinach is heated through. Add garlic and cook very briefly (30 seconds or so).

Using two knives in a criss-cross motion, crumble the tofu.

In a greased baking dish, place a layer of lasagna noodles, a layer of vegetables, a layer of sauce, a layer of vegan mozzarella, and a layer of crumbled tofu. Repeat until all ingredients are used up.

Bake at 350 for about an hour.

Extra-firm tofu is a healthful and less expensive alternative to ricotta cheese, which has a very similar texture and flavor.

Lasagna is a very forgiving dish, which means you could start with this recipe and riff on it to your heart’s content. The squash seemed to be the key to the whole thing, but I think zucchini would work as well as yellow squash. If you don’t need it to be truly vegan, saute the vegetables in real butter.

Signs of spring


We’ve got crocus blooming in the front yard. I’ve seen several robins in the past week or so, and Ron saw the scissortails in the backyard the other day while he was splitting wood. I saw some henbit blooming like crazy the other day when I was out taking pictures, and we’ve got purple deadnettle all over our yard.

I had a good morning. We had breakfast at Ann’s Bakery, which I plan to review for Indie Tulsa. I had a very good doughnut, a sausage roll, and an absolutely wonderful creme horn, which got powdered sugar all over the car but was totally worth it … especially since we were in Ron’s car. (Ha, ha!)

When we got home, I put a coat of lacquer on the new house numbers, aired up my bike tires, and installed the basket on my bike. I bought my basket in November or something but never got around to installing it. It’s the kind that slips into a bracket mounted on the front of the bike, so you can take it off easily and use it as a shopping basket when you’re running errands. I’m supposed to work in the Reading Room this afternoon, but when I get back, I’ll probably ride for a little while. I think I’ll plan on two miles. That’s not very much, but I’m really out of shape, and I want to ease into it gradually so I don’t wear myself out and decide it’s too much trouble (like I usually do,  unfortunately).

I have to put on the bee suit and take the menthol pellets out of the hive this evening, too, but I want to wait until the girls get settled in for the evening, ‘cos they’ve been busy all day and are likely to cop a serious attitude if I go out there and mess with the hive before sunset.

Here are a couple more signs of spring:



Not sure what either of these little wildflowers might be, but they’re both tiny and seem to like shady areas.


UPDATE: I spent the afternoon at the Reading Room, where I picked up a Spanish-language edition of Science and Health (the first step toward No. 5 on my 101 Things list) … rode my bike around the neighborhood … took the menthol pellets out of the hive (I have no words for how much I love the bee suit we bought from Dadant last fall) … retrieved an egg from the henhouse … and am now trying to figure out what I want to make for dinner. Maybe I’ll see if there’s something interesting in The Enchanted Broccoli Forest.