Deb's Monthly Review
September 1999

Special Quotes
"It's how we spend our time here and now, that really matters. If you are fed up with the way you have come to interact with time, change it."
--Wieder Marcia

To parents, teachers, and other guardians of children:
The Review is a place where adults or kids should be able to stop by and browse.
But, remember - I have no control over outside links.
balloons For happiest results, please surf the Web with your kids!

Get stories, submit stories, find storytelling festivals, visit other storytellers' sites.

Carla's HomePage
Vincent Van Gogh, family, genealogy and more.

Free programming source code in cgi, java, more.

Stormfax Fall Foliage Guide
Numbers to call for the best viewing in the U.S.

International Frugal Fun Day
It's the first of October, so make your plans now!

Last Chance Landscapes
Scenic beauty shortage?

Cowboy Hall of Fame
Take a virtual tour.

September Events
festivals For September Travelers

September 3-5, 1999
West Virginia Italian Heritage Festival Clarksburg, West Virginia.
Italian foods, crafts, concerts and strolling minstrels, golf tournament, bocce tournament,
pasta cook-off, morra contest (it's an Italian game which involves pointing and shouting).
Frankie Avalon and Fabian are scheduled to appear this year, along with Blue Highways and
Scooby Doo. This is one of America's most popular festivals, drawing up to 100,000
people each Labor Day weekend.
Additional information: Call 304-622-7314.

September 3-6, 1999
The Festival of Mountain and Plain: A Taste of Colorado
Civic Center, Denver, Colorado.
Restaurant samplings, artists, panning for gold, music, activities for kids.
Details: Call 303-534-6161.

September 9-12, 1999
Michigan State Potato Festival
Edmore, Michigan.
Carnival, used book sale, spud-peeling contest, Community Hymn Sing, arts and crafts,
food, talent contest, potato cook-off. The festival is in its 30th year.
Further details: Call 517-427-5641.

September 10-12, 1999
Pittsburgh Irish Festival
IC Light Amphitheatre and Festival Tent, Station Square, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
Food, bingo, a Gaelic mass, music, marketplace.
Information: Call 412-661-1221.

September 10-12, 1999
Swamp Fox Festival
Thomas Park and other locations, Marion, Iowa.
Historic tours of old houses and cemeteries, card and coin show, golf tournament, pet
show and parade, car show, arm wrestling tournament, entertainment.
Further information: Call 319-377-6316.
NOTE: If you enjoy antiques, listen. This little town has over 60 antique dealers, so leave
room in your luggage to take home a treasure or two.

September 11-25, 1999
Chrysanthemum Festival
Garfield Park Conservatory, 2505 Conservatory Drive, Indianapolis, Indiana.
Thousands of chrysanthemums on display, also a giant mum sale.
More details: Call 317-327-7184.

September 18-19, 1999
Quaker Ridge Hawkwatch Weekend
Audobon Nature Center, Greenwich, Connecticut.
Join the naturalists as they count up to 30,000 broadwinged hawks.
More details: Call 203-869-4437.

September 18-19, 1999
Almond Festival
O'Hara Park, Oakley, California.
Recipe Contest, Love a Nut 5k Fun Run/Walk, parade, almonds history display,
karaoke, bass derby. The event is celebrating its 10th year.
Additional information: Call 925-625-1035.

September 18-25, 1999
Persimmon Festival
Main Street area, Mitchell, Indiana.
Arts and crafts, food stands, candlelight tour of pioneer reenactment at Spring Mill State
More information: Call 800-580-1985.

September 24-26, 1999
Napa Valley Music and Wine Festival
Skyline Park, Napa, California.
This year's line-up includes, Girls With Guitars, The Mighty Avalanche Choir, The
Waybacks, and Jon Vesner. There will be a silent wine auction and special activities
for children.
More details: Call 707-252-4813.

September 24-26, 1999
Salsa Fest
Salinas Valley Fairgrounds, King City, California.
Midway, music, salsa demonstrations and tastings and the salsa challenge, quilt
challenge (entry fee is $30 and they supply fabric), vendors, children's area.
Further information: Call 831-386-1812.

September 25-26, 1999
Western Days Festival
Old Town at Mill and Main Streets, Lewisville, Texas.
Arts and crafts, entertainment, food, retail vendors, wiener dog races, kids' area,
carnival, classic car show, sports events, street dance.
More information: Call 972-436-9571.

September 15-16, 1999
Grape Jamboree
Main Street, Geneva, Ohio.
Grape and grape juice tastings, wine, other grape products, Grape Culinary contest,
ethnic foods, raffles, exhibits, antiques, amusement rides, parades, grandstand entertainment.
Details: Call 440-466-JAMB.



clutter file cabinet clutter
The Real X Files

They've duped us all, you know. They regularly air a TV show that points to strange stories of aliens, conspiracy, mystical powers and loss of control over our daily lives. But let me tell you what's at the very heart of the matter. It isn't the filed stories of mysterious beings in souped-up sedans we ought to fear. It's the files themselves.

I needed to start a new file folder a few weeks ago, but found I could fit nothing more into the file drawer. In fact, I could fit nothing more into any of the file drawers. I knew it was time.
My husband Ron loves to sort through things. He finds it oddly soothing. I, on the other hand find the stress level of sorting somewhat akin to the thought of cleaning the Bay Area's notorious Highway 101 with a toothbrush during rush hour.
I have it all: newspaper clippings, magazine articles on how to turn a shoe box into a pinhole camera, recipes for tofu stroganoff and sauerkraut cake, pictures of "cozy" bathrooms the size of Walmart, household tips, rubber stamp catalogs, and instructions on spool knitting. I even have a file called "Bad Housekeeping Tips" which grew from an old discussion on Prodigy among those of us who find ourselves organizationally challenged.

There is good news. I sorted. And I ran across some interesting things, and decided to share these odds and ends with you.

Life Helps And Household Hints
In one family the youngest child was learning her alphabet, but the older child wanted to show off, and kept interrupting and saying it faster. The family dug out an old Greek textbook and wrote out the Greek alphabet to give the older child his own challenge.

A bridal or baby shower can have an extra theme by putting a different time of day on each invitation. Guests gear the gift toward the hour on their invitation. (A variation of this was done for Yours Truly, in which guests were given a letter of the alphabet and told to bring a non-perishable food item which began with that letter. In addition, they were asked to bring a recipe they liked, using that ingredient. It helped us fill the pantry and gave me more tried-and-true recipes.)

When you send a get-well card to someone in the hospital, put their home address as the return address on the envelope. If they are released earlier than expected they will still get their card quickly.

A lady wanted to hide a spare door key in case she got locked out, but she didn't want to be so obvious as to put it under the doormat or over the doorsill. She thought of leaving it with a neighbor, but realized she would still have a problem if the neighbor wasn't home. She finally solved her problem by trading door keys with her neighbor and they both hid the respective keys in their own yard.

A crock pot is good for melting and holding chocolate for dipping.

If you don't want that faded look your old jeans have, wash them with new ones, and it might perk them up a bit.

When you make scrambled eggs, add a teaspoon or two of water to make them light and fluffy.

If you have nothing around but newspaper when you want to pack items to be mailed, put the crumpled newspaper inside cleaner bags. This keeps the packed items from getting newsprint all over them, and the recipient will have cleaner hands when he or she unpacks the box.

For those of you in cold-weather country, these ice candles are like crystal luminarias. To make one, get a balloon that will inflate to a round shape of 9-12 inches. Fill the balloon with tap water to a diameter of 10-12 inches. Blow in 2-3 inches more air. Knot the balloon neck tightly.
] Set the balloon into an empty dry pail or other container. If the outdoor temperature is less than 25F degrees, put the container outdoors to freeze for about 12 hours. You'll want the ice wall to be about 1 and 1/2 inches thick. If you set the container in an indoor freezer it may take 15 hours.
When the ice wall is the right size, puncture the balloon with an ice pick. The top of the ice should be flat, and you'll want to chop out a 3-inch square hole in the top and pour out the water inside the ice wall. Put a lighted votive candle in the ice globe and set outdoors.

A pretty centerpiece for the dessert buffet can be made starting with a small green styrofoam cone. Put toothpicks into red and green grapes. Stick alternating rows red and green grapes (work them into a slight spiral) into the cone. Trim the top with a bit of greenery. Use floral clay to stick the cone to a pretty compote dish, and add more grapes or greens around the base of the "tree" if you wish.

Make metallic fans by pleating heavy-duty foil wrap (kids can help with these). Set them near candles or lights for a pretty reflection.
If a family member or close friend can't make it to the big holiday brunch or dinner, run a tape recorder during the meal and then send it to them.

If you've been wanting to beat the heat wave in Texas lately, the answer could lie under your car wheels. One mile south of Georgetown, beneath I-35, is Inner Space Cavern, with an average year-round temperature of 72F degrees.

Henry Ford slept here. So did Thomas Edison. One of their favorite campsites was at Swallow Falls, in Swallow Falls State Park, part of Herrington Manor State Park. It's on Herrington Lane in Oakland, Maryland.

To make colored sugar for cookies: Mix 1/2 teaspoon food coloring, 1 and 1/2 teaspoons water, and 1/2 cup granulated sugar. Keep mixing until color is uniform throughout the sugar. If it needs more color, add more food coloring, not more water. Paint cut-out cookies with a bit of egg white, and then sprinkle the colored sugar over the cookies and bake.

When you make a chocolate cake, don't dust the pans with flour. Dust them with cocoa.

If you're on a budget and worried about protein in your family's diet, dry beans, peanut butter and eggs provide the cheapest sources of concentrated protein. Most expensive sources would include lamb chops and Porterhouse steak.

In a small kitchen, additional built-in storage doesn't have to be as deep as a regular-sized cabinet. A set of shelves deep enough to hold one layer of cans or cereal boxes could be a bit space-saver. One photo idea in the file suggests gaining a bit more depth by going between the studs of the walls. The photo shows a cabinet 7 and 1/2 inches deep, but which only extends 4 inches beyond the wall. Each unit is 75 inches tall and 12 inches wide, to fit between the studs.

Tip on hanging light fixtures/chandeliers over a dining table: One rule of thumb is that the chandelier should measure in inches what the diagonal of the room is in feet. For an 8-foot ceiling, keep the bottom of the chandelier 30 inches above the table. Add 3 inches to this measurement for every foot of ceiling height over 8 feet.

If you plan to put an island between the kitchen and dining/family room, make the latter side of the island taller than the side facing the kitchen work area, to help hide kitchen messes. Or, consider an island that has standing-height work area on one side, and table-height on the other side, for counter meals.

If you put glass fronts or inserts in your cabinet doors, your kitchen will look a bit larger, because the eye will travel beyond the door to the wall behind it.

A photo from a magazine clipping shows a pot rack with a difference: The top is a wooden rectangular box, fastened to the ceiling, above a work island. Hooks are fastened around the edge of the box and are used to hang pots and bowls. The ends of the box have recessed side panels which form "walls" which are then used as the ends for cookbook shelves. They added lighting to make it work even better.

Use music to heighten your creative flow.

From The Lure Of The Pen by Flora Klickmann, 1920, G.P. Putnam and sons
"You need to have a score of facts in your head for every one you put down on paper."

From Walter S. Campbell
"If we are to keep our readers reading, we must speak their language. We must make it easy for them, and easy reading is often enough hard writing."

One interesting way to come up with character names is Chris Pound's Name Generation Page.

Local Menus
"Local" covers several California counties in this case.
Country Waffles
  Freedom and Airport, Freedom.
This is an old breakfast standby for us. They do scrumptious waffles, plain or with fruit toppings. They also have tasty skillet meals with country potatoes (don't ask about calories). Lunch items are available, but we've honestly never tried any of those.

Falafel of Capitola
  2121 41st Avenue, Capitola.
The owner is quite a friendly, interesting man. The restaurant is neat, but is not big on atmosphere. Little do we care. The combination plate boasts smokey baba ganoush, hummous, falafel patties and salad with tahini dressing, and pita breads for dipping or stuffing. Baklava lurks in the display case, beckoning you even if you are full. The only solution is to go again sometime. If someone in the crowd isn't keen on the idea of Mediterranean food he'll make them a fresh burger and fries.

Tarpy's Roadhouse
  Highway 68 and Canyon Del Rey, Monterey.
Just give me an excuse to go here. The setting is lovely, and the servers are always savvy, taking a cue from your mood on how best to keep you happy. Some of their salads are a light meal in themselves, but you owe it to yourself to try an entree at some point. There is a little wedding chapel next door to the restaurant, so you may see folks in the sorts of garb in the restaurant. Linger awhile and have coffee and dessert here. It's just that kind of place, at least to me.

Chef King
  727 West Hamilton Avenue, Campbell.
Cantonese food here, and always nicely done, but the specialty here as far as we're concerned is the Chinese Chicken Salad. I generally don't care for this dish because it tends to be heavy on vinegar. This salad tastes like peanuts or peanut oil and is not sour at all. They also have the classic favorites such as Lemon Chicken, fried rice and chow mein. The Chef King Beef is very good too, slightly sweet and a bit spicy. It makes me think of a sort of Cantonese mole sauce, if that makes any sense.

Chiefs of State and Cabinet Members of Foreign Governments
Vanity License Plates
Peanut Sauces
Cyndi's List of Genealogy Sites on the Internet
Best Las Vegas Buffets

I hope you enjoyed a look inside my file cabinets. This is only a bit of what I've accumulated over time.
And maybe now you'll even be motivated to clean out your own file drawer, junk drawer, or junk closet.

Go for it!
You'll probably find something you forgot you even owned!


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