Where do you write?

North Myrtle Beach in March

Sky, sea, and sand. What’s not to love? Grab a chair and write!

Me, I write wherever and whenever I can. Inside my van parked in the lot while waiting to pick up my daughters from school is a cramped but quiet spot. Propped up with pillows, sitting in a patch of morning light in my bed is a comfy place to write. I’ve written at airports, bookstores, and coffee shops. I’ve written while sitting at picnic tables, park benches, and desks. Since I initially write long hand and then type and edit on the computer, I don’t have to worry about screen glare or finding a power source when creating a first draft. So really anywhere is as good as any place else.

North Myrtle Beach in March

A good place to walk and clear your head.

However, my all time favorite place to write is at the beach. Sand, surf, and sunshine? I’m there as often as I possibly can manage. Just last month during my annual spring break I spent a week on my favorite beach: North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. My only interruptions were the gulls checking out what I brought for lunch and wayward frisbee. If only I could live there year round, just think how productive I could be!

Where’s your favorite writing spot? Let me know in the comments below.

How a Candle and a Pair of Tweezers Saved the Day

Anti-Theft Device

You can buy this anti-theft device at RetailResource.com

“Pinned merchandise helps deter shoplifting”

“Clothing security tags trigger alarms to prevent theft”

“Unique spring gate prevents tampering”

And your twelve-year-old daughter cannot go to the party with one attached to her pant leg!

I actually take issue with claim number 2 because the security tag on the junior pants I bought at Kohl’s for my kid did not set off their alarm. Otherwise I would have taken the pants back into the store and had this %0$^ *!()# thing removed. So my hindsight compels me to tell you to make sure when you check out that all your items are “checked out” for these pesky anti-theft devices. I thought she’d gotten them all. I’m sure she thought she’d gotten them all. I wish she had gotten them all!

My choices? A–drive back to the store, in the snow, in the freezing night air, crumpled receipt in hand and have the customer service person remove said device. Or B–figure out how to get the device off myself without ruining the pants.

I chose Option B and spent about 60 minutes watching “How To” YouTube videos. First I tried the low impact actions like winding a rubber band around the pin to slowly pressure pull the device apart. And, finding the strongest magnets I own and placing them on the back of the device to disengage the device. And, using two adjustable locking pliers on either side of the device and trying to pull apart until I screamed and gave up.

What I ended up doing is as follows:

Device dismantled

This is what the device looks like when you’re done. The button/pin (left side of pic above) was on the front of the device and this is the backside view of the device (right side of pic above).

Step 1: pull back fabric from the device as much as possible.

Step 2: light a taper candle in a holder and place the candle in the sink just in case things get out of hand.

Step 3: hold the raised back of the device over the flame (not the button side) being careful not to burn the fabric.

Step 4: continue to hold the device over the flame until the plastic gets warm and melty. It may smoke and it may smell.

Step 5: remove the device from the flame and before it cools down, poke around in the melted plastic and pry the little spring out with a pair of tweezers.

Step 6: Once the spring is out the whole device separates into two pieces that you can easily remove from the fabric.

So, let’s be clear I am not advocating for you to start a shoplifting ring nor am I suggesting you burn your house down because you’ve put an item of clothing next to a lit candle. I just offer up my experience and a grateful daughter who got to wear her new pants to a party.

My War with Tofu

Mango Curry with Steamed Rice

Mango Curry with Steamed Rice

Yesterday, I was ready to dive in to lunch. I made it Sunday and since curry always tastes better the next day, I didn’t eat a full serving. Instead, I tasted to make sure it was seasoned well and then packed up six lunch-sized containers. I stacked them in the fridge with high hopes for a tasty experience throughout the week. Give me a good recipe and I can cook anything. I’m not a culinary expert. I am an expert direction follower. And I had followed the directions.

Before I go further, I should mention that I’m vegan. See previous post as to why, here. Thus, there is tofu in this recipe.

Also, this was my third attempt at cooking tofu. My first two attempts were, in short, epic failures.

Attempt #1, I made Tofu Chili (recipe here). I drained the extra firm tofu on paper towels, crumbled it up, and sautéed as instructed. Cooked it in the chili for an hour. Chili tasted great once I picked all the tofu out.

Attempt #2, I made Tofu and Potato Hash Browns (recipe here). Again, I drained and blotted the tofu, cut it up, and sautéed it with the potatoes. Ended up eating the potatoes and leaving the tofu behind. Far, far behind.

Attempt #3, My daughter, who is more “in the know” than me said, “You need a tofu press Mom!”

Need to sear something? Cast iron is my tool of choice.

Got one. Pressed the tofu. Which was kinda fun. Sliced it. Then I was instructed to sear it. Used my cast iron pan for that.

Flipping my little tofu briquettes in my perfectly seasoned cast iron pan went smoothly. No sticking. Just a nice sizzle.

Then I put them into the Mango Curry. Recipe from Thug Kitchen. THE. BEST. EVER. COOKBOOK (Thug Kitchen Cookbook).

The finished product smelled divine! It passed the initial taste test too. But honestly, I did not eat a piece of the tofu just yet. Mostly because I thought the tofu would taste better if it had a chance to soak overnight in the curry sauce.

So back to diving in to my lunch. Did I finally achieve a tofu triumph? Was I on my way to winning the war? How exactly did the tofu taste?

Yeah, well, you know those pink school erasers?

Just in case you forgot what one looks like. Now you know what one tastes like.

Score as of today: TOFU 3, ME 0

Any tofu cooking tips are more than welcome in the comments below.