Friday, October 24, 2008

Pork and beef stuffed cabbage rolls comfort food

Comfort food for the economic crisis :: pork and ground beef stuffed cabbage rolls! My Hungarian grandmother Julia Nagy was married in 1928, a year before The Great Depression of 1929 -- which happened to be the very same year that my mother was born. Because my grandparents and mother survived perhaps the worst time our economy has faced YET, my grandmother knew a lot about comfort foods.

Grandma's #1 comfort food was undoubtedly her stuffed cabbage rolls. She was pretty well-known for her recipe. Grandma's stuffed cabbage rolls were quite popular with her family and grandchildren. She loved to use a mixture of pork and ground beef to stuff her cabbage rolls. But, it was her "secret ingredient" that made her cabbage rolls so special.

"Not everyone will add that secret ingredient," grandma often reminded us, "but it is that "secret ingredient" that makes all the difference in the taste."

Are you a vegetarian and want a recipe for vegetarian stuffed cabbage rolls? If you prefer pork stuffed cabbage rolls, I've got a recipe for that along with a recipe for the classic pork and ground beef stuffed cabbage rolls.

Our country is facing an economic crisis that is harkening back to The Great Depression. I don't know about you, but I am going to have some of grandma's comfort food, stuffed cabbage rolls.

Hats for the homeless

Hats for the homeless :: A yarn of good deeds. Ah, the beauty of the internet meeting Squidoo has provided me with the opportunity over the past 2-1/2 years to connect with some of the most incredible people worldwide. Just recently, I met a wonderful lensmaster who is doing more than her part to help out the homeless. To know a bit more about her and her unselfish work, you only need visit her website, Hats for Homeless. She is crocheting some of the most remarkable hats and ...
Creating warmth one hat at a time.
To learn more about this kind and giving lensmaster and her project to help the homeless, check out her Squidoo lens Linda's Hats For The Homeless. Her work is a yarn of good deeds.

Do you want to help support this wonderful cause? You can email Linda at: hatsforhomeless@gmail.com.

You can mail hats, gloves, scarves or yarn to:

Hats For Homeless
c/o Linda Deal
P O Box 1442
Catoosa, Oklahoma 74015-1442

P.S. Be sure to stay tuned to my blog to learn more about Linda and her many talents!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Extreme Customer Service Do-Over

Repairs Do-Over Rework at dry cleaners
What is wrong with this picture? It's a copy of the stapled-together 3-part ticket that was attached to a polka-dot dress that I took to the dry cleaners. Having been a seamstress for many years, I've found myself too busy these days to do my own alterations and repairs to clothing. Bright idea: why not take it to the professionals at my local dry cleaner who advertise that they do alterations.

So, I scheduled a trip by the cleaners when I went grocery shopping several weeks ago. I pointed out the seam tear AND the frayed fabric, stating what I thought was the obvious, 'can you stitch the seam AND do something to repair the fraying?' 'Sure we can,' stated the girl behind the counter. At first I thought she might be the seamstress, but she indicated NOT. It was one week and a few days later that I made a scheduled trip to pick up the dress. The same girl removed the dress from the plastic cover to show me the repair. Well, the seam had been stitched, but NOTHING was done to the fraying. 'That's not fixed' I said with a hint of frustration in my voice. 'You're not mad at me, are you?' was the girl's response. 'Mad at you? No, I'm not mad at you, but do YOU think that is fixed?' I asked. So, the dress was left for another week and a few days for rework ...

REWORK: To know me is to know that I come from a background of training as an ISO auditor in the 1990s. Prior to that, I worked for a few companies that bought into the 'zero defects' and 'get it right the first time' principles of business. Then, I went to work for a company that had a 'Rework' department. I'm thankful they didn't ask me to work in that department; I probably would have left sooner than I did.

What's the point I'm making about all this? Simple! Look at that picture again. Do you see that white portion of the ticket? "DO-OVER" is printed in bold letters. Would you want to take something to a company that has pre-printed "DO-OVER" tickets which are used routinely? I wouldn't!

Oh, and the company I work for/with now hasn't yet ordered any of those "DO-OVER" tickets. Thank you very much!

Gadget for measuring color in the pressroom

At Graph Expo 2008 in Chicago, many companies involved in the printing industry will be demonstrating their new products and presses. I'm not attending this year, although I did have the pleasure many years ago. Probably the one company that impressed me the most was Heidelberg with their 'huge' printing press installed in a prominent location in McCormick Place.

For the past several months, I've been receiving an assortment of emails hinting about new products and invitations to visit various booths. Today, I received such an email from Techkon. You could register for an opportunity to win a Techkon SpectroDens Premium, as pictured here, to be given away at Graph Expo 2008.
Fast, reliable, and repeatable color means your presses are more productive. And you're more profitable. Engineered to perfection, the new Techkon SpectroDens delivers an unmatched combination of features and redefines color measurement. Single-click ease and solid-state design–no moving parts–lets you speed through color measurement at 3x the speed of conventional clam shell devices.

Doesn't that color gadget look pretty cool? Almost makes you want to be in the pressroom to be able to use it! It's a multi-functional gadget: a spectrophotometer and a densitometer; it's also a G7™ on-press color measurement tool. You can check you ink densities and perform an ISO-check on your colors.

Seeing such a tool as the Techkon SpectroDens Premium gives me a renewed appreciation for those involved in prepress and in the pressroom!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Extreme customer service or not

Today I received an email that made me stop dead in my tracks and wonder, are you kidding me?

From: CUSTOMER SATISFACTION
Subject: Tell us how your order is working.

Dear POTENTIAL CUSTOMER,

It’s been three months since your order with OUR WONDERFUL COMPANY. How is it going? Please share your compliments or complaints! Share right here! Click Now AND TAKE OUR WONDERFUL SURVEY.

Very Sincerely,
President
Customer Satisfaction

Please do not reply to this email.
----------------------------------
If you no longer wish to receive survey emails, please click here.

Tell me, would you want to take that survey? Or, even consider doing business with that company. Maybe you would. I’m not yet a customer although I was a customer many years ago. It was some three months ago that I was researching a number of companies for leads on lists for a direct mail campaign. We hadn’t decided that we really wanted to go the route of direct mail, but wanted to explore our options to see what the various costs are for such lists. I remembered this company, so I thought I’d check them out.

I registered on that site to do some preliminary research. It was not even 2 hours later that same day when a customer service rep from that company called me. Hmmm, that might qualify as ‘extreme customer service’ I thought when I received that phone call. After chatting with the rep, I told them our position and left the contact as a ‘don’t call me, I’ll call you when I am ready.’ Now that it is some three months after my initial research and the temporary shelving of the direct mail project, I received the follow-up email to “take our survey and tell us how I am doing with the order.” Hmmm, I didn’t order from your company, but I am sure glad to hear that your President is seeking to measure my customer satisfaction. Extreme customer service, or not?

Photo Credit: Jeff Bucchino Ebenezer on a Computer.

Friday, October 17, 2008

I am channeling Beverly Feldman

I am channeling Beverly Feldman as I love her style! Ah, when I'm channeling my inner style fashionista, I'm thinking of that fashion icon Beverly Feldman. Yes, to know me is to know that I think of Beverly as a soul or sorority sister of sorts. IMHO, she is the coolest fashionista. Getting a second opinion from my dear old hubby, he even said when looking at her beautiful handbags and shoes, "OMG, those are YOU!"

Hello, Beverly! Girl, you totally rock. Keep it coming. I hope you never quit what you are doing. You know, it was just this morning on The Today Show that Matt Laurer was interviewing

Did you get a chance to check out my former Squidoo lens dedicated to Beverly? Well, because Squidoo ultimately sold out to HubPages, that tribute page did a trip to HP for a bit and then finally, I moved it to my blog! Penning that awesome tribute to this fabulous Queen B : Beverly Feldman Designer Shoes and Bags!

I've also got a mention about Beverly on my Blondes that DIY blog.

Oh, you definitely need to check out her Beverly Feldman Shoes Website too. She is a self-described, 'Obsessed Shoe & Handbag Designer.' Her 'museum-worthy shoe archive pays a tribute to footwear near, dear and far,' writes Melissa Knific. Check out the article about this 'designer's muse.'

Thank you Beverly from one of your many fans. Oh, and be sure to check out designer items from Beverly's Closet!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Jessica Alba and our friend Dave

Jessica Alba and our friend Dave; what they have in common! We have a married couple who qualify to be called rock stars or even super stars because they are actually quite remarkable people. Both Dave and Victoria have a theatrical background that is secondary to their normal income-producing careers. They have an intense appreciation for art, being art collectors for a number of years. In addition, Dave is a wine collector and aficionado who is an encyclopedia of data on wine. Just ask him about a bottle of wine, he’ll tell you all about it.

Well, it was football Sunday at another some friends’ house and there was Dave – his usual slightly ‘on’ style entertaining all the guests. It was well into the 4th quarter of the game, with about half of us sitting out on the back porch getting that seven second preview of the Jaguars game. Victoria was sitting in the living room with the rest of the guests, getting the seven second delay of the game. More than a couple of times, Dave would run into the living room to announce a really good play that the Jaguars made. I’m thinking that this must have annoyed a couple of the guests who wanted to see the good plays unfold for themselves. Perhaps Victoria finally said something to Dave.

Jessica Alba in Hannibal Lechter muzzlePerhaps it was what Victoria said to Dave that prompted him to share a ‘cute’ bit of info with me. Because he is so ‘theatrical’ by nature, he can get quite passionate when he is ‘fussing.’ “The other day I was really upset about something,” says Dave. “Victoria just looked at me and smiled. ‘Dave, you are not at your most attractive.’” Imagine that! To hear Dave tell it, Victoria calmly brought him out of his funk with a single sentence. I’m thinking that’s what she must have said to him in the living room.

Surely, the latest television campaign which features Jessica Alba in a muzzle the likes of Hannibal Lechter would qualify as an unattractive offering. I’ve got to admit that I don’t truly get the imagery of lovely Jessica Alba in a muzzle which is meant to inspire me to get out and vote or ‘keep my mouth shut.’ I’m sure it is also intended to get people talking like I’m doing right now. But, Jessica dear, you are not at your most attractive! Can I get one in a size large for my friend Dave? ;-)

Buy a new all-in-one printer or keep the old one

HP Photosmart Color Flatbed All-in-One PrinterIn an economic quandry: To buy a new all-in-one printer or keep the old one? Have you seen the latest OfficeDepot specials where you can buy this all-in-one HP printer for only $104.99? It normally sells for $149.99, but for a limited time, you can save $45.00. Personally, that $104.99 price makes it mighty tempting to me.

You see, I have an all-in-one printer that can also scan and fax. It's an Epson RX-500. I love my all-in-one, BUT, it costs me more than $104.99 for the 6 OEM ink cartridges. I'm into being green and eco-friendly, so I do recycle all those OEM cartridges for a whopping $0.50/each. CompUSA used to give me $3.00 a piece, but stopped that practice a couple of years ago. Some of my friends have their cartridges refilled, but I prefer the OEM cartridges.

This is what doesn't make any sense to me: You can get that brand new all-in-one HP printer for only $104.99 AND it come with INK, of course. Or, you can simply keep your old Epson printer and restock it with ink cartridges that cost you MORE than $104.99. What would you do?

Let me see, I can probably donate the Epson RX-500 to Goodwill if they will take it. You see, the last time we tried to donate our computer and monitor, there was a big sign at the local donating station: "NO COMPUTERS OR MONITORS." One of my former coworkers Gary says he has a bunch of 'old' printers stacked up some place in a corner. "Hey, it's cheaper to buy a new one rather than restock the old one with ink."

Hey, it's an economic quandry in this day and age when we are looking at where we can cut costs.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

DIY becoming more complicated

Feather River Fiberglass Door from Home DepotHmmm, ever notice that DIY is becoming more complicated these days? Yep, the next time you decide to tackle a so-called do-it-yourself [DIY] project around the house, you better have the yellow pages handy! We didn't need to resort to the yellow pages, but we did know better to call a friend of ours, Roy, who is a handyman of sorts freelancing since he retired from his normal programming job.

We have been debating for more than a few months about replacing our beat up front door. After shopping Home Depot online, we identified a few possible fiberglass doors that would work for our 36" x 80" wooden door. Before committing to that Home Depot door, we consulted with our next door neighbor Joe who happily offered to help us get a door through his construction company. When Joe came back with the initial figures, we opted for a so-called cheap fix with the Home Depot door.

On September 27th, we picked up the door and brought it home. It was too heavy for me to lift with hubby, so we engaged Joe's son to help put it in the garage. It wasn't until Saturday, October 11th, that Roy was able to schedule time in his busy schedule to help with the install. The idea was that we would take the new door out of the frame and simply swap out the hinges and install it where the old door was.

Well, that was until we got to the final step after measuring to confirm the hinge placements. Those were supposedly spot-on. But the other side of the door wasn't lining up. It looked like we would need to fill the holes where the deadlock was placed. Next thing I know, hubby is in my office reaching for my tape gun. "What are you doing?" I asked. "The door isn't going to fit." he says. "What?"

The Feather River fiberglass door is NOT a 36" x 80" door after all! It actually is more like 36" x 79-1/4". If you want to have that door, you will need to totally 'tear apart' your front door frame to put it in ... in the frame that it comes in! It will not work in the existing door frame.

Hmmm, I do recall the young man in Home Depot telling us that it is RARE, extremely rare, that a door, any door, will fit exactly. Now why is that I want to know? Isn't a front door standard? Shouldn't a front door be standard? Well, I guess after all, size does matter! Must have been a man who designed those doors. After all, 79-1/4" is 80".

By the way! You might have heard that I am one of the blondes that DIY. Oh, I have been doing it yourself, or myself, for so many years.

Monday, October 06, 2008

A Wordle for my blog



What you are seeing is a Wordle for this blog! As of August 1, 2008, the 100,000 wordle had been created. It's rather like a tag cloud for web pages, blogs, lenses, or a compilation of text that has been submitted.

You can create your very own Wordle by #1 pasting in text, #2 adding a web page URL, or #3 adding a del.icio.us user's name to grab their tags. Once your Wordle is created, you can customize the layout, font, and colors. Pretty darn cool if I say so myself!

Jonathan Feinberg is the mastermind and inventory of Wordle. He's a Senior Software Engineer at IBM Research.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Schmap's Prague digital travel guide

Our last Eastern European vacation entailed a trip to The Czech Republic. We began our stay in Prague and then ventured out into the countryside, finally staying in the castled town of Cesky Krumlov.

I previously worked for a FujiFilm company, so you can well imagine that my enthusiasm for photography became piqued when that company sponsored an employee photo contest. No digital photos were allowed at that time, only film. The customs agents must surely have thought that I was some professional photographer with my Nikon N-75 camera with Sigma lenses and 36 rolls of film! However, by the time that we visited The Czech Republic, I was no longer with that FujiFilm company. And, I was no longer shooting film, but had a nifty FujiFilm FinePix V10 digital camera. I was able to take hundreds of pictures during that visit.

It was one of those pictures that got noticed by Emma Williams, Managing Editor, Schmap Guides. Emma selected my picture of a absolutely beautiful Louis Vuitton red and black designer handbag. I just heard today that my picture had made the final selection to be included in their Prague digital travel guide! Check out that marvelous LV handbag -- oh, I want one!
Schmap Guides -- Schmap’s series of digital travel guides integrates dynamic maps with useful background reading, suggested tours, photos from the traveling public and reviews by local correspondents (for sights and attractions, hotels, restaurants, bars, parks, theaters, galleries, museums and more) to profile 200 destinations throughout the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

To see more pictures from our trip to The Czech Republic, and to learn about designer items that are actually made in that country, be sure to check out my Squidoo lens.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Don't call us we'll call you

The funniest thing happened the other day; not ha-ha kind of funny, but curiously ironic kind of funny. You see, I am one of those stone age type of gals who is NOT physically-connected to her cell phone. Yep, that's right -- I know you probably find this pretty surprising. My cell phone is used primarily in case of emergencies, like a fire extinguisher. In case I get a flat tire, run out of gas, god forbid I have an accident -- you know!

I am sitting at work, and I've been thinking for a few days that my cell phone has a problem. "It simply won't hold a charge and I never HEAR it ring." That's what I told dear old hubby. Hey, even our printer said so -- he told me he called me several times the week before yet I never heard his call. Yep, I saw a message from the printer saved on the phone, but I never heard it ring! So, back to I'm sitting at work, and THE PHONE RINGS! Yikes, loud and clear -- too loud in fact. "Hello," I say in my ever-so-sweet cell phone answering voice. "Lemmee speak to Sean!" the curt female voice shouts out. "Hey, ya got the wrong number!!" I respond.

So, I guess my cell phone does work after all. But, funny thing ... it was a wrong number! Figures, doesn't it?

P.S. That cat is working with me to promote First Coast No More Homeless Pets and all the fine things that they do in our community. Want to know more about them? Not only do they help with the spaying and neutering of feral cats in Northeastern Florida, but they are now providing vaccinations for domestic pets!