Thursday, June 23, 2011

Update on Cell Phone Situation and a Yummy Cookie Recipe

Mmmmmmmm!  Yummy cookies hot out of the oven!
The Samsung Strive cell phone that is about to become history in this family!

Well, here's what has happened on the cell phone front.  Jim, my son-in-law and owner of the Alltel/ATT account (ATT bought out Alltel and that's when our troubles started), read my blog and I guess my troubles added to all their troubles was the last straw.  He called Customer Service and discussed the problem with a very courteous and helpful person.  The guy checked out the Verizon tower situation and assured Jim that ATT did have an agreement with them.  He gave Jim a number for me to call and told me to request technical support.  He made a big deal out of the request since you couldn't just hit a button to get it.

Jim, called me and gave me all the info so I got right on it and here's my story.  I requested tech support just as instructed and was asked what the problem was.  When I explained, the customer service person said oh, I can do that and the fun began!  After about 30 minutes of checking this and that and talking to their manager, they decided I needed to talk to tech support (duh).  So I go through the whole thing again with the young lady on tech support, including waiting for her to talk to her manager!  Everyone kept assuring me they had an agreement with Verizon.  After another 30 minutes she came back on and announced they had a 72 hour window to resolve this case and they would get back to me within that time.  I thought "yeah right" but prepared to wait out the 3 days. 

That afternoon I got a call from their field man!  He wanted to know who he could call in town to check out service there.  I tried to tell him no one had ATT in the county because service was so poor but finally agreed he could call River Rock Cafe if it made him happy.  He had found them on his GPS map online when he put in Walden!  In passing, he happened to mention their roaming partner, Union Cellular and I began to wonder why they were the partner if Verizon had the tower.  Anyway he was going to talk to the roaming partner and see if any improvements were planned, etc, etc, etc.  He would get back to me soon.

72 hours went by with no communication--no surprise there.  I reported all my info to Jim and we kind of left it at that over the weekend.  Sure enough, I did get a call from another field guy on Tuesday!  Here is his report.  He talked to Union Cellular and they said their coverage in North Park was fair to nothing.  Big surprise there!  He also asked if they were planning any improvements.  None--no surprise there!  I asked about the agreement with Verizon AND this guy finally admitted that Verizon had a different technology than ATT and of course we couldn't use their tower!  I said, "So there is not going to be any change in service, right?" and he said no.  A few hours later,  I got a message saying our case was resolved.  I will say, their customer service was good but not that helpful in the final analysis!

Meanwhile,  Jim had decided enough was enough and has changed over to Verizon!  We all have to get new phones and Thomas is going to try to sell our practically new ATT ones (remember, a whole different technology),  I really do like this one I have, sort of, but will be happy with a new one too.  By the way, while talking to the tech support people I asked about uploading my pics off the phone onto my computer.  She told me only people with smart phones could do that!  Why did they supply cords to Ozzie, and Erin if they wouldn't work????  I'm still not sure she knew what she was talking about.

You will be glad to know I got all my pictures off my cell phone.  Here's what happened.  I decided to try once more to email them to me when I was down at Danny's and had phone service.  When I checked my email they weren't there again.  I finally thought to check my spam and there they all were!!!! Finally I have them all safely on my computer!  Yes, safely!  I got a good deal on Carbonite and they are safely saved online as well as on my computer!

We need a recipe to go along with this story.  I found a really good cookie recipe in the red-checked Better Homes and Gardens  Cookbook.  It is quick and easy and has very few ingredients, always a plus!

This cookie jar was a wedding gift to Bob and I over 51 years ago!  I hate to admit that it is probably an antique--but NOT me!
Butter-Pecan Shortbread

All you need for this recipe.

1 1/4 C. flour
3 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 C. butter (1 stick)
2 Tbsp. finely chopped pecans*
1/2 tsp. vanilla

* I used 1/4 c. and then threw in those leftover chopped ones as well--I love pecans!  I also toast my pecans before chopping them.  Not really necessary but good. 

Quite a bit more than 2 Tablespoons but it made the cookies that much more yummy!


In a medium mixing bowl combine flour and brown sugar.  Cut in butter using a pastry cutter until mixture resembles fine crumbs and starts to cling.  I just cut butter in with my mixer.  Dough is very crumbly at this point.  Add chopped pecans and combine.  Sprinkle vanilla over dough and form into a ball.  I just dump the crumbs onto a cutting board sprinkle with vanilla and start squeezing it into a ball.  I think the warmth of your hands helps it to hold together. 

Crumbs dumped out and ready to knead.

All kneaded and ready to roll out.
Knead it a bit to blend in the vanilla and then you are ready to cut them. The cookbook gives several options but I like the quickest easiest plus I decided to experiment so I divided my dough in half. 

I divided the dough into 2 batches to try something new.  You can easily just roll out the whole thing or make one large log, too.

This is about 1/ 3 inch thick

Cut into squares or rectangles.  1 inch by 2 inches is recommended by cookbook.
The first half I shaped into a rectangle and flattened it out with a rolling pin until it was about 1/4-1/3 inch thick.  The book says 1/2 inch thick but I like my thinness better.  Just my opinion.  If you roll out the whole amount and roll it 1/2 inch thick , it should be about a 6 by 8 inch rectangle.  Then you can cut with a knife 24 2X1 inch cookies.  If you go thinner or divide dough like I did, make them whatever size you want--they don't spread out. 

Shape into a squared log,  You can wrap this in plastic and freeze for later use.
Slice to your desired thickness.  Adjust time accordingly.
The other half I made into a cylinder.   I kind of squared it up and then sliced the cookies as thick as I wanted them.  This worked really well and I'd do it that way again.  Also if you make a double batch you could wrap one cylinder and freeze it for later use.
Place on an ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake at 325 degrees F. for 20-25 minutes (18-20 minutes for thinner ones--watch carefully) until slightly browned on edges.  You can smell the browned butter--yummmm!  but don't let them get too dark or it's burnt butter!

Slightly brown on the edges.  Let them cool and eat them up!

Oh my goodness I just can't quit eating them! Enjoy!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

There's No Place Like Home........

Dog toothed violets carpet the forest.  First flowers of spring.
Just some random thoughts on coming home to our cabin here in North Park.  First, I wanted to use some pictures on my cell phone but I can't seem to figure out how to get them to my computer!  Because our house is sitting in a hole , it is difficult to get cell service here but also ATT is absolutely useless all over North Park (except on our airport hill) but you can't message or send photos from there either.  Apparently, ATT doesn't have an agreement with Verizon and that is the only tower anywhere near here!  I even tried emailing my pics from Danny's house in Nebraska but I never received them so that was out.  Then Brent and Erin tried to hook up the phone to my computer.  (My Kindle cord worked)  But then it asked for me to put in my CD that came with the phone.  I couldn't remember where I put it but I knew it was here somewhere--oh well, it was time for them to leave when Erin found it still in the car where I hadn't finished unloading!  Too late for them to do it but I figured it would be easy to do.  Today I tried.  No dice!  I tried everything including support and help menus and it didn't work.  I finally put my model number in for a search and Samsung couldn't even find it on their list!!  What a bunch of nonsense!  I can't use any pictures I take.  ATT you suck!!!  As well as Samsung!!!  OK, I got that off my chest.
The useless phone.  It has a great camera but I can't get the pictures off it!  HELP!
Next,  there are many things we needed to do when we got home.  The first was to turn on the pump and hot water heater.  Well, that turned out badly......  Shortly after Bob turned on the pump, I started to get dinner and noticed water pouring down the wall behind the sink!  Our trusty Maytag valve finally rusted out and water was pumping into the machine and couldn't shut off.  It overflowed for awhile until the floor was soaked and finally came pouring down the wall.  We got the water shut off and I tried sucking up water with the shop vac.  Not too effective with the bunk bed, washer, dryer and dressers all in the way!

The Blue Room, pre-flood.

Pre-flood view.  Notice the lack of space to suck up the water .

  Kenny, Tony and Levi were coming out on Sunday 4 days later and offered to help move the bunk bed.  Each day I messed around but water kept coming out from under stuff.  It was smelling very sour by Saturday and I began to think we would need to tear up the rug and subfloor and start over.  It wouldn't be that bad, I would get a new wood laminate floor that would be easy to install and easy to keep up too.  We got the bed taken down, I got my laundry done (another frustrating story) but still we needed to move washer and dryer.  Oh well, Erin and Brent would be here on Tuesday to help!  Still pretty sour smelling but parts of the floor were getting drier as I shifted to using the Bissell but still not very good.

Bunk bed is gone and we can finally get that floor dry!

Erin tried her hand at "Bisselling"

She was much better at directing the clean up!

So was I !
Wednesday morning Brent was up early ready to start moving stuff.  We got the washer out and moved the dryer.  We sucked up more water from under these appliances and decided to let things dry for another day.  The next day we shampooed the rug and let it dry--the smell was going away!!!!  Finally the floor was dry, there was no smell and we could move around the furniture!  I sure am glad everyone showed up to help us out.  We even found a working Maytag (from Wendover) out in the shop so I am back in business!

Looking and smelling good!

The room seems so much bigger after we got the furniture back in place minus the bunk bed!  I need to move the mattresses on the floor under the window in the big room in here!  Sorry, Paul.

By Saturday I was ready to go over and check out the fishing.  I headed out for our little bridge over the rushing creek and here is what I found!


A project for later in summer.  At least we have plenty of logs to support it!
I did catch 2 fish and one was pretty big.  I froze it and want Danny to smoke it in his new Big Green Egg knock off.

Everything wasn't a disaster.  We got the hot tub set up and filled without incident although the rusty water (Brent described as hot tubbing in warm tea) did not clear up until after they left, but it is crystal clear now!
I LOVE hot tubbing even in summer up here!
  The TV's both work after calling to get them rebooted, our internet connection works just fine (Yea Wildblue!), and the light over the sink is now working after buying just one replacement bulb!  I found the pictures I was looking for to upload onto Facebook for West Wendover's class of 2001 reunion,

Some of my colleagues at West Wendover High School in the first few years of the school's existence.  Maybe around 1998.  We sure had some interesting experiences--didn't we, ladies?  But where are Patty Ekland and Heidi?

Up at the head gate.  It needs opening!
we got the ditches opened and did some hiking.

Trying to decide how we are going to pry that old thing up.

Erin and Brent even hiked all the way up to Aqua Fria in the snow on June 5!
Aqua Fria, buried in snow the first week of June.
Proof that they made it all the way up there!

  I got a new puzzle going, made some bread and baked brownies and peanut butter cookies!

A very rare picture of all three Corkle boys together!
Despite all the woes of getting organized for the summer, I am sooo glad to be home and able to swing on the porch,

sit in the sun and drink my morning coffee,

go out and fish while watching the beaver try to chase me away,

Look at the snow on the mountain!  Rare to have that much in early June.

 soak in the hot tub while reading my Kindle, hike up to the thinking rock,
I'm not sure why we love the Thinking Rock but it seems we all do!
ride the 4 wheeler up to airport hill, and yes, looking forward to picking some rhubarb for pies, cake, and cobblers!  Ahhhhh!  I LOVE  summer!  Now, I can look forward to mosquito season.  I am looking forward to entertaining guests, too.  I hope some come to visit!
Brothers and cousin plus Brent all together in one place! 
  Maybe I ought to plan an open house for this summer........  Anyone want to come?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Promised Memorial Day Recipe

So, I'm a few days late but this recipe promises to be a summer stand by.  To be honest, I was waiting until I tried it, but I don't have any beans in the house!!!  This is bad especially when I have a Jones visiting me and it is their stand by food!  Oh well Erin also has other cabin food she has to have while visiting so it's not a complete disaster.

Anyway, this is a recipe sent to me by a very good friend and former colleague from Wendover.  Her husband is a chef who worked with me in my professional cooking classes and Becky was an English teacher there.  She is now teaching in Parump, NV.  I trust her recipes implicitly and this one sounds so easy and good I have to post it!  No pictures to go with it though.

Jean’s Beans

For each 1 lb of pork and beans, add 2 tablespoons of ketchup and 2 tablespoons of brown sugar. We add chopped onion but Aunt Jean would take a small peeled onion, cut it in quarters lengthwise and insert a piece in each quadrant of the baking dish. Top with bacon cut in narrow strips, laid across the entire surface. 4 strips will cover a 1 ½ quart baking dish. So no mustard and no vinegar. Bake at 300 degrees for 3 hours or so. A smaller amount of beans will be done in a bit less time and if you start with a huge 7 lb can it will take longer. As the bean liquid concentrates it can become almost like candy. Yum.

June 1 Hike to the Thinking Rock and the Headgate

The new Headgate which is not opened yet.  I guess we'll have to go back up....
**You can click on the pictures to get a better look and then click on the back button to get back to the blog!  It is worth it!

Yesterday Erin, Brent and I went for a walk up to the National Forest.  It is one of my favorite hikes and we just HAD to see if there was any snow up there.  On the way up I took a few pictures of the dog-toothed violets and the snow banks we had to traverse to get to our destination.

The first flowers of the spring.  Dog-toothed violets!  Don't they just brighten up the mud?  They are blooming as they stick their heads out of the snow.  I love them!

A whole carpet of them out among the trees.  So pretty.

The first snow we encountered was at the big hill going up to the thinking rock.

Looking down the hill.  Notice the slash pile from the clear cutting at the bottom of the hill.

We made it to the "Thinking Rock" with very little snow but were amazed at all the trash of twigs and branches around the rock.  We could hardly climb up it because of all the sticks and "stuff".  But, of course, we did get on top of it and sat there and thought for awhile.  Of course it had nothing to do with the fact that none of us were acclimated to the altitude yet and had to catch our breath after the first hill climb.

Brent made it!  On top of the Rock!

Erin and Brent with that old dead tree still leaning up there. 

Then we decided to head on up to the headgate to see what Richard had done to fix it.  We came to some trees in the road and heard some scary creaking in the woods as the the breeze blew through but pressed on.  At the National Forest gate we came to another huge drift but we could walk up it pretty easily without sinking too deep.

OK, now we're getting into some serious snow!

Erin, you're going the wrong way!  You have to come UP the snowbank.

We made it to the weir and saw the big new ditch.  I had to do a little back tracking
to figure out what had happened to the road but finally figured it out and made my way to the top of the hill.  Erin and Brent chose to walk up the ditch--which was not running yet.

The new ditch,  Does it look like it is going up?  Must be an optical illusion!

Brent and Erin standing on the old headgate.

Look at that snow in the trees!  This is June 1!

More snow pictures!  Those drifts look deep.

Not much bare ground.

The leaky old headgate.

The shiny new headgate!

  I walked back down to the headgate and took these pictures.  It was incredible.  The whole north face of the hill on the other side of the creek was covered with snow and huge drifts.  My pictures just couldn't do it justice!  The creek is rushing but not as high as I've seen it. Seeing all that snow tells me it will be a lot higher the first really warm day we get! 

Brent surveys the snow drifts.

The old headgate and more snow!

Water is leaking under and through the old headgate.