Dear Husband has discovered a channel on TV that is presenting a variety of mini-series. It's called "Trio." Perhaps you're familiar with it.
November 2003 Archives
Each year at this time the women of my family have had a tradition of baking together for the holidays. We have had as many as six of us in the kitchen at a time, making dough, washing dishes, taking hot cookies out of the oven. We share what we have made and everyone goes home with more variety than they might have made on their own in one day.
This year schedules are so tight that we are foregoing the larger get together. One of my nieces joined me today, and another will cook with me next Sunday.
In the next entry.....please disregard the first paragraph. I swear, occasionally I could be the poster child for the ad that says "This is what your brain is like on drugs."
What I wanted to harp about was the inequality of Social Security vs the Federal employee retirement benefits. For all I know, their medical benefits are better, too. Although the first part of the post is odd, I hope you read the part that is collapsed. That at least makes a little more sense.
Just chalk up my confusion to blogging too late at night, on autopilot, after a LONG day. I'd delete it, but I figure it's a learning tool for all you young uns who need to know what happens to your mind as you age....
It's either that, or I'll just have to admit I'm a ditz, and stick to writing about herbal things.
Inequality. Unfair benefits! I want to know why Federal employees are not covered by the same Medicare plan that they foist off on the rest of us? I'd like to see ONE health plan for all Americans. Since coverage is better for federal employees....I want to be covered by THAT policy!
Of course, the next question is, how do we get them to do it?
Another issue I'd like to see addressed is the pension the legislators "earn." Awarding a person a pension for life without regard to length of service is a gross misuse of funds. Each year I get a note from Social Security about what they will pay me IF I continue to work until I'm 70. Medicare is afraid to do the same sort of mailing because it's likely the legislators will have spent everything before it's time for me to retire!
Perhaps we need to consider one year of reimbursement for each year served. And perhaps we need to average their income over that time, rather than basing the pension on the salary of the last year in office. Our government is like a good old boys club, with members voting in as many freebies and benefits as they can, despite the fact that we are just beginning to rise out of a recession. They are handing out golden parachutes right and left, when people barely above poverty level are being taxed to pay for those benefits.
I've found an advice column that I really enjoy. "Ask Amy" appears in the Chicago Tribune. Amy Dickinson writes a daily column in a fresh way. She clearly has a sense of humor, which she uses liberally, but she is usually spot on with her suggestions.
Saturday, November 22, she responded to a question about wedding ettiquette. I'm not sure if I agree with her or not. A woman who has married a man with grown children wrote for help. His daughter and his wife do not get along. He is paying for half the wedding, but his daughter has made it clear that his wife is NOT invited. Daddy told his daughter that she is wrong, and that she should be civil and include his wife. The daughter refuses.
About six weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit a Restoration Hardware. I want one of everything! I came across a wonderful product that appeals to me on several levels. It's a bottle of beach glass that has been scented with lavender. Herbs and recyling are a big part of my life.
I "borrowed" this from Jamie's site. Jamie, hon......there has to be something seriously wrong with this test if the two of us came up as Gweneveire!
Your medieval name is: Gweneveire. You are
innocent, quiet, beautiful and angelic. You
harbor an inner beauty and you usually keep to
yourself, following the lines of conformity.
You're totally innocent and loyal.
What is your Medieval name?
brought to you by Quizilla
Dear Abby reprinted these statistics from the American Cancer Society today. They tell a compelling story.
"When smokers quit, the benefits begin immediately. Twenty minutes after the last cigarette, blood pressure drops to a level close to that before the last cigarette. Eight hours after quitting, carbon monoxide levels in the blood drop to normal. Twenty four hours later , the chance of heart attack decreases.
After one to nine months, coughing, sinus congestion, fatique and shortness of breath decrease, and cilia regain normal function in the lungs, increasing the ability to handle mucus, clean the lungs and reduce infection. One year later, excess risk of coronary heart disease is half that of a smoker's.
After five years, stroke risk is reduced to that of a non-smoker. After ten years, the lung cancer fatality rate is about half that of a smoker's and the risk of oral, throat, esophageal, bladder, kidney and pancreatic cancer also decreases."
I brought these statistics to you because my sister was diagnosed with lung cancer. Her doctor didn't even let her go home. Two days later she was recuperating from having the lower third of her right lung removed. I'm delighted to tell you that she is (at least) an eight year survivor. The important thing is, that she lived to see all three of her sons become dads.
Her experience has helped almost everyone in my family to quit smoking. When we built our home we announced that it was a non-smoking area. My mother would stand out in the semi-enclosed entryway to smoke, even during the coldest winter weather. When my sister had her surgery, Mother made the decision to quit.
I have had asthma due to allergies almost all my life. For me, the trend toward not smoking is one of the best things that could have happened. My family always made sure to seat me upwind of their smoke, but that doesn't eliminate second hand smoke.
November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month, and today is the 27th Great American Smokeout. If you smoke, I hope you tried to do without them today. It could be the best thing you'll ever do for yourself....and your loved ones!
About four years ago I signed my mother up for a senior exercise class. She was going to make a trip to England to see the Chelsea Flower show, so I thought it would be a good idea to get her in shape. Since I have to take her to class, I decided to ask if I could attend too.
Last year we had a switch in teachers, and our new teacher brings a lot of Asian philosophy to her exercises. We start with stretching and we work from head to toe. She picks the pace up for cardio work, and throws in a little Tai Bo, and then we do fifteen minutes that is a mix of balance, resistance and weight training.
Are you ready for Thanksgiving?
I'm delighted to announce that my oldest sister's youngest son is now a dad! I have 13 nieces and nephews. As a group they have now made me a GREAT aunt seventeen times! And there's one more headed our way in May. I can hardly wait to meet the newest member of our family! I guess you could say we have a lot to be thankful for.
The cat is sitting at my elbow. The dog is across the room, snoring, and Dear Husband is watching the Nova on the Earth's magnetic field. It's been a long day, and I'm thinking about bed.
I was going to sleep in this morning. I wanted to get up at 6:30, but Defer arfed me up at 5:40. I figured I might as well get up and get going. Mother was hosting a group of ladies who were making fleece hats for cancer patients, and I had a dental appointment at 1:15. My niece and her boys joined us for dinner, and DH had a hair cut at 6:00. It was a busy day.
I began with a few loads of laundry, and while that was perking, I cleaned the kitchen. We readied the table, and I boiled a pot of multi-colored rotini. As it cooled, I put dishes away and started chopping veggies.
I cut up red pepper, broccoli, julienned carrots and pepperoni, and added it to the pasta. I threw in some cherry tomatoes and poured part of a bottle of Paul Newman's Light Italian dressing over it. A quick toss, and it went back into the fridge to chill.
Then I cut up veggies for minnestrone and put that on to cook. I had cartons of red raspberries and blueberries, so I rinsed and mixed them and put them in a crystal dish. Last, I sliced some banana nut bread.
My mother had planned to make tomato soup with roasted red pepper for her guests. She also made oatmeal cookies. I thought she might appreciate the pasta and fruit to round out the meal. I set a pot of Iced tea to perc and went to get dressed for the day.
My periodontist is happy with my new crown, so my visit was a good one. I don't have to see them for another six months.
My niece and her boys joined us, and we chatted about everyone's week. I added mozerella to the pasta. I think the boys were underwhelmed by the soup, but were too well mannered to say anything. Besides, garlic bread, pasta, fruit and cookies seemed to fill in the chinks.
All in all....it was a typical day. Not the kind of thing you hope to read about here, but a slice of my life. I need to get a different life (sigh).
Christmas season 2003 has opened. Today I received my FIRST e-mail from Jamie trying to finagle some sugar crisp. Of course, she said Q14 (her son) needed them.
I'll think about it Jamie. It's possible. *S*
I'll be away for a few days. Dear Husband is going to take a day off, and we're going to take Mother to Indiana to see my youngest sis and her family. They've just lived through the home renovation from HELL and I'm eager to see the changes that have been made.
My mind is still on gardens, cleaning, and preparations for Thanksgiving. Each year I try to stave off Christmas until AFTER Thanksgiving.....but I had to send a request for a wish list, and an invitation to Cookie Day already. Mother has her Christmas cards all addressed!
A good friend sent an e-mail, asking if we were booked up for December, and could we set a date to meet for dinner. I discovered, that if you didn't count the last weekend in November, we have a grand total of FOUR weekend nights left before Christmas to book that dinner. WOW! Where is the time going??? I think we should have a communal post where everyone gives their absolute best time saving tip for Christmas.
Well...I'll check back on Sunday, when we return. I hope you all have a great weekend!
One of my sisters forwarded an e-mail with these pictures. Given the horrors we have seen, I wanted to share a kinder view of our soldiers.
This is the message from the originator of the e-mail, Amy Dunavant:
Sometimes in our everyday life we tend to forget what's going on elsewhere in the world and that the brave men and women of the service are just like you and I. They have family and friends back home who love them very much and are praying for their safe return.
Hope you pass these on
Yesterday I wanted to write about Veterans's Day. I knew that many of you would have messages on the subject, and that you would say what I feel, most likely better than I could say for myself. So, I chose to visit other blogs and read your tributes rather than writing one of my own.
Last night, one of my nieces brought her two boys to dinner at our house. The oldest boy is 14 and his younger brother is 9. I couldn't resist the chance to talk to them about why they had had a day off from school. We talked about what Veteran's Day stands for. I tried to help them tie the people in their family to the wars they may have read about.
This seemed like just too much to pass up. I was visiting Site Meter, and checking out a referral from google when I came across this:
Steal this HTML:
"I'm making peanut-butter-and-banana quesadillas. You want?"
What "Buffy" Character Are You?
Yup.....I have SUCH depth of character! Screaming Orgasms and Dawn.....what a match up. Do you think I might have erred a little on the test????
(I can't wait to see the comments on THIS one! lol)
Have you ever been to New Orleans?
One of the famous places to visit is Cafe du Monde. There are several of them scattered around the city, but I managed to get to the one in the Market in the French Quarter. Cafe Du Monde is famous for coffee with chicory, and beignets, which are made as you watch.
Hot, puffy little pillows of dough dusted with confectioner's sugar. They are best eaten when they have cooled enough so that you don't burn your fingers or your tongue. Yum!
You can order a gift package of the coffee, a box of beignet mix and a cup for $11.50 plus shipping. While I'd MUCH rather take a trip to N'awlins and have the real thing, this might tide me over. And it seems like a great gift for a snowbound friend.
To order, call 800/772-2927.
Not just any blue cheese, but MAYTAG blue cheese. For sixty two years, this cheese has been made by hand on the same dairy farm in Newton, Iowa.
My mother raves about this cheese, and she recalls my grandfather (who lived in Iowa) serving it.
I think I've found an unusual Christmas gift for my mother. A two pound wheel of this cheese is available for $23 plus $5.00 in shipping and handling. That doesn't seem like too much to pay for what is considered the "definitive" American blue cheese. Besides, each bite will bring back memories for her.
If you're interested in trying this cheese, you can call 800/247-2458 to order.
The herb list I belong to has chatted about "Lasagna Gardening" in the past, and I've always thought it sounded like a great concept. The idea is to layer four to six inches of compost or layers of material over a spot where you want to make a new garden bed. If the area is in your lawn, the layers will kill off the grass and the bed will be ready for planting without having to use harsh chemicals.
Oddly, I found a note about this method in the "Real Simple" magazine, November, 2003. They suggest mowing an area you wish to dedicate as a bed next spring, and then putting down four sheets of newspaper, and a four inch layer of shredded fall leaves or bark mulch. Hose it down and let it sit for the winter.
I think I may try this on a section of my formal garden that has been infested with grass. I plan to put down layers of newspaper, chopped leaves, shredded paper from the office, compost and grass clippings. What better time to renovate a bed than in the winter, when nothing is going on?
If you're interested in this technique, you can read more about it in " Lasagna Gardening: A New Layering System for Bountiful Gardens: No Digging, No Tilling, No Weeding, No Kidding!" by Patricia Lanza, et al You can buy the paperback new for $11.17 at Amazon.com. What have you got to loose?
And, while we are speaking of memory...
Did you know that you can sign up to be reminded of important dates, such as birthdays and anniversaries?
www.birthdayalarm.com has a service that allows you to store names and dates and then e-mails you seven and three days before each birthday. Go check it out.
Can you hear your family beginning to talk about the fact that each and every one of them have gotten a card or a call from you, and ON TIME!!!???
Have you noticed an increase in the number of postcards you've been receiving from businesses? The other day I received a postcard that had our last name printed across it in nine fonts, four directions and three colors. It certainly got my attention, and I set it aside, rather than throwing it out. It was from the woman who had helped us to refinance, reminding us that her bank has other services to offer.
(Can't you hear the song from "Cats" running through your head???? Wait....that was "Memories"......)
Okay.....memory is a touchy subject with me. The past three or four years my memory has been shot full of holes, and it's particularly disturbing since I have to remember detail for our company, to care for my mother, to manage the house, for my husband, and for my own interests. I decided to blame it on menopause, firmly announcing to one and all that I would get it back on the "other side."
Well....it's possible that is true. But until then I read everything I can find on memory. (Sometimes more than once. *G*)
Did you know that scientists feel that we begin to loose our memories at age 35? It starts with simple things like misplacing our car keys, or in my case....my purse.
I've said many times that my mother lives with us. She will be 87 in a month, and last year at this time she voluntarily decided to stop driving. I suspect the world heaved a sigh of relief. I occasionally made her drive so that I could observe her driving, and I knew she was coming to the time when she'd have to quit. She had voluntarily limited her driving the last couple of years to four or five places: the hair salon, the grocery store, the library and JoAnne's Fabric, and her doctor. If she needed to go elsewhere, I took her. We talked about the least heavily traveled routes, and we also talked about times to avoid being on the road. I think we eked out freedom as long as we could, and I was lucky that SHE was able to decide it was time to quit.
This morning I was listening to the third installment of the Petulant Politics of Illinois. We have a zealous young governor, Rod Blagojevich (BLAH-GOY-A-VITCH to the uninitiated), who was saddled with a 5 billion dollar deficit in the state budget when he took office. Of course his primary concern is cost cutting.
Well, he's been initiated to the real world of budgeting, now. FOr example, it seems that agreement had been reached concerning funding for the office of the Secretary of State, but at some point, the legislature decided to add an extra five million to that figure. The Governor is up in arms, saying that the legislature is spending the public's money like "a bunch of drunken sailors." One legislator took offense, and said he'd never been a sailor!
A budget was agreed upon last Spring, and the legislature adjourned for the summer. During the summer the Governor cut additions that he felt were special interest in nature. When the legislature returned for the two week fall veto session, they began restoring that funding to the budget.
There's a good explanation of the situation at this site.
Did you know that Voyager 2 left Earth before Voyager 1? ( Voyager 2: August 20, 1977, Voyager 1: September 5, 1977) Recently, on the nightly news, we heard that Voyager 1 has reached then end of the heliopause (the edge of the solar wind's influence), and is continuing on into space. I believe they said it is moving at a rate of one million miles a DAY.
I checked the Voyager website, and it's speed was given in these terms: "Voyager 1 is speeding away from the Sun at a velocity of about 3.50 AU/year...." I don't have enough math to do the equation, but if you do, you can check to see if 1,000,000 miles a day is correct. Isn't that an astounding figure?
I come from a family where the parents were divided on the subject. I have three sisters and a brother. Each of the girls felt that Dad loved them the best. We have no idea how he kept from showing favoritism, but he was a master at it. Dad's been gone almost 20 years, but we are still comforted by the sense of love and family that he instilled.
My mother has always championed my brother. Given the ridiculous lengths she has sometimes gone to defend him, it's a wonder he turned out so well! For the longest time the phrase "You always DID love him better" would pop up at family gatherings. He would smile a cheesy grin and nod.
One year in an attempt to get even, she had t-shirts printed for the two of them that said "I DID love HIM better," and they wore them to the family Thanksgiving dinner. It didn't stop the taunts, but it slowed them down.
I was cutting down the peonies today, and I never garden without listening to the radio. The news was on, and I was sort of paying attention to the report. I'm sure that I heard them say that the Illinois General Assembly voted today not to give illegal aliens legal driver's licenses.
First of all, why in the world were they voting on this issue?? When we have such pressing matters concerning the residents of this state, why are we at all concerned with documenting someone who is here illegally? And WHY are we not packing them off to detention when they apply?
I know.....to be politically correct I should be calling them undocumented persons. In these times when we are so concerned about "Undocumented persons" within our borders, what possible reason could we have to discuss giving them legal driver's licenses??
Please tell me that I heard that wrong, that I missed the boat, and that I need to apologize. Otherwise, it's time to vote the jerks OUT!
I'm a cat person. When I was growing up, my family always had dogs. We had some great dogs, but it wasn't until I grew up and moved away that my parents had cats. Dad was allergic to cats, but put up with them. I can remember visiting one summer and watching one of a litter of kittens testing the brick Dad had just laid. He'd hopped up onto my Dad's shoulder and walked out his arm and gently pushed the brick to see if it was set just right.
I was truly aggravated this evening to be shown over and over a sobbing relative of the military personnel lost in Iraq yesterday.
When did someone decide that it was appropriate to intrude on these people in their time of grief? What makes the TV stations feel that it's NEWS to tightly focus on a woman who has just lost her son? Why do they send reporters out to stand on the lawn and comment on the serviceman's home?
I just don't understand this approach to news. I think it stinks! If they are newsworthy, then approach them in a few weeks, when they have had a chance to deal with the first rush of loss. Don't push your way into their homes and harass them in the hope of raising your ratings. Both network news and local news ought to be more circumspect. We don't need our newsrooms sinking to the level of a Jerry Springer show.
If the families are newsworthy, give them time to grieve, and then make a podium available to them. Otherwise you're exploiting them.
Dear Husband has a new job for me. Somehow he has become aware that there are corporations which have blogs. He feels that I should now spend my time trying to match up bloggers and corporations.
I've pondered the small circle of blogs I currently read, and here are some of my recommendations.
Following Jamie's latest post, I suspect that Penthouse or one of the men's magazines might be our best bet, or better yet.....PLAYGIRL! (I guess this means we have to give up the phone sex idea, Jamie.)
Dr. D, I can see several choices here. You could blog for Coppertone, but I think you'd be a very eloquent spokesperson for Trojans!
Billy, perhaps you could make a splash by blogging for Depends, but I bet you'd opt for Spiderman comics.
Speedbump, you could sweet talk the New Zealanders into being their blogging wizzard, but I bet you'd enjoy championing the Kiwi industry. WEG
I suppose it's just too trite to assign Pepcid to Acidman, but DH would be thrilled that I opted for the simplest shot.
Pob is already working at an airport. I doubt he'd want to blog for them. We need to find him a cushy job that will put him in contact with a LOT of beautiful women. Let's see.......a modeling agency?? Maybe a casting agency. Hmm...perhaps he could blog for the Miss America contest!
WichiDude and the Dudette might be great spokespersons for the wine industry. Maybe the 'Dude could blog for the Amateur Writer's Association.
Red Eagle, who already has more than enough on her plate might be able to blog for Avon.......or perhaps for PartyLite!
Bogie. Hmmm.....the Firefox woman......I can see her representing the wilds of Montana or Alaska. Or perhaps she could blog for animal adoption. Or maybe for Quizilla as they develop the newest quiz "What kind of animal owner will we let YOU be?"
Essay, how do you feel about being the blogger for Prozac??
Dawn has the first hand experience to take on the Detroit Department of Streets.
Can't you see T-bone as spokesblogger for Pampers??
Okay.....I'm sorry that I didn't reach out to each and every one of you, but I need to eat my dinner.
I went to a baby shower today. My youngest nephew is going to be a proud papa in about five weeks. The women in his family arranged a shower. I was astounded at the decorations, the brunch, and the endless gifts that were given.
It seems that babies are big business these days. The couple spent an afternoon at Babies R US registering, and I'll bet they got most of the six sheets of items that they put on the registry.
The grandparents purchased a bed and armoir. Relatives bought things like a high chair, the car seat, a baby monitor, a diaper disposal system, and several other big ticket items. Friends brought things like sleep sets and onesies, outfits complete with hats, receiving blankets, diapers, disposable changing pads, diaper bags and bottle bags. There were ball player outfits, a Santa outfit, dungarees, sweats, Oshkosh b'Gosh, and Ralph Lauren.
It makes me feel a bit old to remember that it once was perfectly okay to have hand me downs for your baby, and that special safety seats weren't required. I can remember cloth diapers, and I bet my brother-in-law thinks we should return to them. So much has changed! It seems that every 20 years or so they change their minds on whether a baby should sleep prone, or supine.
I'm delighted that this couple have all they wished for to care for their baby. I'm sure they will put it to good use. I hope, when the baby outgrows the clothes, the bed and the furniture, that it will go to someone who needs it who might not otherwise have it. And.....I hope they have the joy of a happy, healthy baby!
Dear Husband is watching a program on MSNBC called the Ultimate Explorer. The program is discussing the rangers and climbers at Denali in Alaska. I looked up in time, the first time, to see a helicopter carrying off the splayed, frozen bodies of climbers, who were stranded and died.
This has turned out to be a very frustrating day.
I got a later start than usual, and worked in the garden. With rain coming in, we pulled the tarp with the herb cuttings to the compost pile, and covered two bales of straw, and then I came in for the afternoon.
I have numerous quilting projects underway, and I’ve been trying to finish some of them before starting new projects. I managed to get a twin-sized signature quilt top finished today. I pieced the back, too. Now all I have to do is pack the top, back and batting and mail them off to the ladies who will machine quilt them for me. Perhaps I’ll have a special Christmas present for my mother if they finish in time.
I have a friend in the Fort Worth area who is a superb gardener. She's always researching ways to have healthier soil and stronger plants. We've had many a conversation about the use of compost. She feels that it should be incorporated into the top three inches of so of the soil to make the best use in feeding plants organicallybecause the plants feed mostly in those three inches.
I've read somewhere that double digging is the best way to prepare a new garden, adding compost in as we turn that soil. My friend is trying to persuade me not to disturb the soil, but to add compost on top.
She has also taught me about corn gluten meal, and alfalfa.
It seems that if you put alfalfa on your iris in the fall you'll have huge numbers of blooms in the spring. You can use pellets, meal, or hay to achieve this. I'm going to try it. I'll let you know in the spring how it turned out.
If you've tried this, I'd like to hear from you.
After waiting for FOURTEEN YEARS, we finally had our first trick or treaters. Four boys came to the front door. I'd say they were in a range between nine and fourteen. They were dressed as bums or mimes, and carried pillowcases to hold the candy. DH actually had them come into the house. The only thing we forgot to do was to take their picture!
Mother slept through the whole thing.
No eggs, no tricks that we have found yet, and nobody was hurt.