Sunday, January 22, 2012

Recipe: Banana Spice Cake

Here's an easy way to use up those bananas that are getting too ripe.  Keep a box of spice cake mix on hand to use for this. (I try to buy cake mixes when they're on sale)

  • 1 box spice cake mix
  • 2-3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/8 teaspoon baking soda

Empty cake mix into bowl. Add baking soda.  Mix the cake according to package directions, except reduce the water by 1/4 cup.  Add mashed bananas. Bake according to package directions. When cake is cool, frost with buttercream or cream cheese frosting.  Makes a nice, moist cake.

Review of Destination: Love and Whales

I bought this book because it's written by my friend Jeanne Kern, along with Bruce Held. It's a romance between two unlikely people from the same hometown who both end up on a whale watching trip. The other characters on the excursion are fun, and you may even learn something new about whales. It's a fun, quick read. (Note: It does have a couple of "adult" scenes.)

 You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How to Fix the Facebook Feed

Facebook is fun, but not when it decides what I want to see.  I am not a fan of the “Highlighted Stories.”  How does Facebook know what stories I want to see the most?  Often the ones I’m most interested in are not the ones I comment on. 

The Facebook Powers that Be have made it better now that we can click on “Sort” and choose “Recent Stories First.”  But it still seems like I’m missing something.  I’ve found I can control what I see on Facebook by using the List feature. 

Here’s how to make a list that will show all the updates on Facebook:
  1. Click on home.
  2. On the left, you should see some lists that have already been created.  (You may need to click on “More” to see it.)
  3. To the right of where it says Lists, click on “More.”
  4. At the top, click on “Create List”
  5. Give it a name. For this list, call it “All Friends” or “Everyone.”
  6. Click on “Create.”
  7. Click on “Add Friends”
  8. The next step is the time consuming one.  Click on every single friend you have. Make sure they are checkmarked after you click on the name.
  9. When you are done, click “Done.”
  10. Now you will see everything that the group has posted.  There is one more step. On the upper right click on “Manage List” and scroll down to “Choose Update Types.”  You can choose what you want to see from this list.  If you want to see everything, that’s fine.  But perhaps you don’t want to see updates about games, so you can unclick that.
  11. Now go back to home and look at your lists.  Do you see your “All Friends” list?  If not, click on “More.”  Hover your mouse to the left of the name and you will see a pencil icon. Click on that icon and click on “Add to Favorites.”  This will move that list to your Favorites list at the top, so you can find it more easily.  Now, whenever you log into Facebook, click on “All Friends” and you will see all the updates without any Facebook censoring.

Whenever you make a new friend on Facebook, remember to add them to the list.  You can also go back under “Manage List” and add the new friends from time to time.

Now that you know how to make a list, you may want to make other lists. You can make another list of all friends, call it “Photos” and under “Choose Update Types” choose only “Photos.” You may want to do the same with status updates.

 You can also make subgroups. You might want to make a list of people who you are most interested in (instead of letting Facebook decide what you want to see.)  Call it “News” or “Top Friends” or whatever you want. Just go through all the steps listed above, but instead of clicking on all your friends, just click on your top friends. You can make lists for various aspects of your life, such as friends from school, church, work or an organization, or simply “Old Friends.”  I also made one for Fan pages.  To do that, when you go to add friends, look at the upper left corner of the Friends Box, where it says “Friends.” Drop down and choose “Pages” instead, and you’ll see all your fan pages.  Choose all those, and you will have a list of fan pages.

You’ll find it much easier to keep up with everyone by using the lists feature. 

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Review of the Dovekeepers

The Dovekeepers is a historical fiction book set in a unique place and time - the Jewish fortress called Masada, during the Jewish-Roman war of 70 AD. The story is told from the point of view of four women who work tending the doves, whose droppings fertilize the gardens in their fortress-village. Their lives intertwine in often surprising ways. It's a story of struggle and suffering told in beautiful language. The characters are intriguing, though their actions are not always entirely believable. But it's an interesting look at an event in history not often talked about.

 You can see the books I've read so far (starting in 2011) here.

Monday, January 2, 2012

Grammar Tip #3: “Mary and I” or “Mary and me”?

For some reason most people always use “Mary and I” (or “he and I” or “she and I,” etc.) in a sentence, no matter where the phrase lies.  So they end up saying something like this: “Mary and I went for a walk. A cop gave Mary and I a ticket for jaywalking.”

The first sentence is correct, but the second sentence is incorrect.  Why? In grammatical terms, the rule goes like this: Use “Mary and I” when the phrase is the subject of the sentence, and use “Mary and me” when the phrase is the object of a verb or preposition.  But that might as well be a foreign language to some people.

It is helpful to note that “Mary and I” often comes at the beginning of a sentence, while “Mary and me” comes in the middle or at the end of a sentence.  But that doesn't always work.

The best way I’ve found to determine which to use is simply to take out the “Mary and.”  Then read the sentence and see what sounds better.  Thus: “I went for a walk” sounds good, but “A cop gave I a ticket for jaywalking” sounds odd.  It should be “A cop gave me a ticket for jaywalking.”  Thus we should use, “A cop gave Mary and me a ticket for jaywalking.”

Here are some more examples:

He and I both like to eat sour apples.
It seems to her and me that we should turn left here.
On Friday, Sarah and I went to the movies.
Don’t tell Fred and me what to do.