The Only Time Democrats Pay Attention To Rural America Is Before The Iowa Caucuses. That’s BS.

The only way for the party to regain traction in rural places is by running strong campaigns in districts that usually back Republicans.
— Read on www.nytimes.com/2022/05/02/opinion/democrats-rural-america.html

The future of America depends on young organizers connecting with rural voters. We liberals have forgotten the maxim:

“All politics are local.”

I may dabble in mask making again… singing without a mask is too damn risky

Masks for singers: design specializations for breathability, filtration, fit and acoustics based on the science of singing, particles & COVID.
— Read on makermask.org/constructing-masks-for-singers/amp/

Someone at church contracted Covid during Holy Week; we’ve relaxed mask requirements, but now that seems risky. Especially for those of us in the choir, and though we have “singers’ masks,” they’re not very good. Meanwhile, infection rates are trending upward, a young family member tested positive, and an older family member has an upper respiratory infection (not Covid).

It seems to me that we’ll see a summer spike as people attend large events – we’re traveling, too – and I expect that masks will be needed intermittently.

This pattern looks… hefty but I’ll make some this week and see if it’s more comfortable/less foggy than my current KN95s. I have some 3M N95 masks (“3D style”) arriving tomorrow. I will test one for “singability” and whether my glasses fog up with every sustained note and exhalation.

But I have the right kind of materials to work with:

  • Tightly woven cotton, especially batik, for the inner layer
  • Nonwoven polypropylene like Filti or interfacing
  • A different cotton for the outer layer

Not to mention all the elastic, cord stoppers, and other notions. I took a look at the “burrito method” of construction, which minimizes center seams while adding a channel to insert boning to hold the fabric away from the lips and nostrils. My previous box pleated design kept fabric too close to my lips, my curved design has a vertical central seam.

Here’s a YouTube playlist with the original singer’s mask design, and the updated construction method.

The designer has a Spoonflower account, where I like to browse for quilting fabric for making small projects, so I have to look her up. Her construction method of the original open source pattern actually makes sense.

Quilting Inspiration: Ruler Roll Project by Angela Attwood | Sew Steady

Quilting Inspiration: I’m not ready to invest in quilting rulers to make these elaborate stitching designs. But this pattern just gave me a brainstorm about my next project: a table runner and set of placemats, with a self-binding and mitred corners – the top is patterned and folds over to the back, and they would be reversible.

This project will give you creative practice with your Westalee Design Ruler Foot Starter and Sampler Template Sets.
— Read on www.sewsteady.com/product/ruler-roll/

More Blogging, Less Tweeting

I’m going to revive my boring blog YET AGAIN, because I have thoughts to think before they go thunk and disappear.

Topics in no particular order to include:

  • Current events
  • Politics
  • Cats
  • Bikes, riding and watching others ride
  • Sewing and quilting
  • Entertainment I find entertaining
  • Sourdough bread; or how to revive neglected starter
  • Travel – my own and the biz
  • Whatever rando thing strikes me.

How to Sew Easy Mitered Quilt Binding

I’ve spent the last 2 years re-learning how to sew. First as a necessity, to make masks for family and friends, then as a creative outlet while furloughed from my travel job. After returning to work last year, I started getting interested in quilting.

The Spruce Crafts site was extremely comprehensive – every time I looked for info on how to do something, their clear, written tutorials showed up. I looked at this one for a recent project, and although I went with a different method from a video by Jordan Fabrics, this is an excellent starting point and reference.

Bind a quilt with easy mitered corners with step-by-step instructions and illustrations to sew a perfect binding every time.
— Read on www.thesprucecrafts.com/sew-easy-mitered-quilt-binding-2821069

FINALLY! Fixed CNN.com videos problem on iPhone iOS

I had whitelisted CNN.com on the Adblock Plus app, but the videos and their unskippable, long pre roll ads refused to play. Had to watch on the CNN app all year, but sometimes it was damned inconvenient.

Tonight, I disabled Adblock Plus, played a video (with ad) on CNN.com, re-enabled ABP, made sure CNN.com was on the whitelist, and now the videos and damn ads play like they should. It just needed an app restart, I guess.

Add a website to the whitelist | Adblock Plus

Add websites that you trust and want to support to your Adblock Plus whitelist. Ads will be shown on these websites.
— Read on help.eyeo.com/adblockplus/add-a-website-to-the-whitelist

Stroganoff 2021: No Leftovers

Back in 2009, I blogged this recipe:

Stonyfield Yogurt – Beef Stroganoff
Ingredients:
1 lb beef loin, sliced into 1 inch strips
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, thin sliced
1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1/2 teaspoon paprika
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup beef broth
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 cup plain lowfat yogurt
(I always throw in 2 or 3 tablespoons of Worcesterchire sauce with the mustard and yogurt)

Directions:
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add sliced beef loin, onion and mushrooms, sauté until meat begins to brown. Add flour to the mixture, and continue to cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Add tarragon, paprika, wine and beef broth, reduce the heat to medium, and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in dijon mustard and yogurt. Serve over egg noodles.

Yields: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts Per Serving:
Calories 340; Calories from Fat 150; Total Fat 17g; Cholesterol 70mg; Total Carbohydrates 13g; Protein 29g, Fiber 2g

Since then, it’s been a standby that we make about every 2 weeks or so during the colder weather. I’ve had mixed results – it’s pretty good, but over the years I’ve been scribbling notes about adjusting some of the proportions and adding things.

Tonight, I threw caution to the wind, REALLY changed some proportions, and it’s the best batch we’ve ever made. The only improvement would be if the meat were both tender and nicely seared; I think there was too much oil to get a good sear and it ended up braising rather than browning. Here’s how I currently want to make it from now on:

1 lb sirloin or thin sandwich steak, sliced into 1 inch strips
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon coarse cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided into 2 1/2 tablespoon portions
1 sweet onion, thin sliced
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
2 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon dried tarragon
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
3 or 4 tablespoons tomato paste
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1-2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/3 cup plain lowfat Greek yogurt (Kroger brand, Chobani, similar

Egg noodles – follow package directions to cook 2 to 4 portions (we prefer the No Yolk Whole Wheat kind).

Directions:
Season sliced beef well with kosher salt and cracked black pepper, set aside. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, to about 400F. Add sliced beef and sear until brown crust forms on some sides. Don’t move beef around too much. Once seared, remove to clean bowl, add the other 1/2 tablespoon of oil and saute’ the onion and mushrooms until the onions are translucent and mushrooms begin to release juices. Add flour to the mixture, and continue to cook for two minutes, stirring constantly. Meanwhile combine tarragon, smoked paprika, wine, tomato paste, and beef broth in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup, and pour mixture over the onions and mushrooms, stirring well to combine the flour coating. Reduce the heat to medium, and allow to simmer 10 minutes. Start the egg noodles cooking. When they’re almost done, drain and add to the strogonoff pan – using a Dutch oven makes this less messy. Remove from heat and stir in Dijon mustard and yogurt to taste.

The goal is to get that good brown “fond” from searing the beef in a relatively dry, hot skillet, and then the onions act as their own deglazing and pick up a nice color. If that doesn’t happen, it still tastes great, and the extra Worcestershire and tomato paste still give a good, rich color to the sauce.

Serves 4. or if you’re us, 2. There were no leftovers tonight.

How I Finally Marked 2 Unread Gmails READ (Hint: They Were Hangouts)

I have been trying to remove 2 “unread emails” from my Gmail account (on iPhone and iPad) for DAYS. I had looked at many webpages and Quora and Reddit posts.

It’s easy to overlook some messages in Gmail. In this article, we provide instructions on how to make Gmail show only unread emails, how to search for unread emails only, and how to add parameters to those searches.

Source: How to Find All Unread Messages in Gmail

It wasn’t ANY of the many good suggestions that worked in the linked article or the forum posts. I simply logged into mail.google.com on my laptop for the first time in 2 years and saw that I had 2 very old “Hangout” requests from friends from more than 5 years back. They were marked “unread.” So I read them, realized I’d never acted on them, deleted them… and WAH-LAH the little red “2” marker is gone from my iOS devices. They were vestiges of these ancient hangouts, apparently. The image shows my inbox – clear of unread hangouts. Wish I had screenshotted FIRST, deleted second.

Once again, deprecated Google functionality was screwing something up for me!

Now, I really should see about deleting the tags, buttons, and category that refer to Google+