Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Leap Day Plus a Snow Day

According to global statistics, about 4.1 million leaplings, or leapers, are born worldwide on February 29.  What a bummer.  These little frogs will have 75% fewer birthdays than the rest of us.

Leap year gives us an extra day to get our income taxes done before April 15th, but doesn't affect the Lenten season.  Leap year is a clever way for us to remember the year of our U.S. Presidential elections.

My part of the world is getting snow as I type this.  For those of us who are free to stay indoors and not have to contend with the elements, this is probably the perfect day.  First, it's a free extra day on the calendar, plus it's what we in the Midwest know as a snow day.  Snow days are days to do whatever the heck we want days.  All rules of guilt are tossed to the wayside.

My first notion is to go in the kitchen and bake a batch of cupcakes.  The problem is we'd eat 'em, and that's probably the worst thing for our health numbers.  There's just something about putting pans of cupcakes in the oven, taking them out, putting them on a rack to cool, and nibbling while they're still warm.  Soft, warm and chocolatey.   I found this cute idea for decorating a cupcake like a frog for leap day, but I'm going to exercise my willpower and axe the thought.

We took fish out of the freezer for supper.  There, too, we have to make the choice of rolling them in flour and frying them to crispy delights, or giving them a squirt of lemon and baking them into flaky fish, far less delightful than the fried.  Why is the good stuff the bad stuff.

The wind is picking up now, which adds another safety factor to a snow fall affecting visibility for the drivers.  Winter has slipped by so quickly with so little snow thus far, it's hard to fathom tomorrow is already the first of March.  Last year at this time hubby had spotted the first robin.  We know this because he jotted it down on the 2011 calendar.

Ta-ta for today.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Appreciation and Affection


This reminds me of my parents.  After my daddy finished eating a meal, he'd get up from the kitchen table, wrap his arms around my mom, embrace her 'girls,' kiss her on the cheek, and tell her, "Thanks, Mamma, for the good supper (or whatever meal it was)."

My daddy shared some sad stories about his childhood, and I think that's why he always appreciated food on the table, a warm bed to sleep in, and a wife who was a darned good cook and baker.  Every kindness was something to be thankful for.

Two stories in particular stick in my mind.  The one was when he was a little boy, he dreaded going upstairs to bed, because in the wintertime snowflakes would fall down on top of him.  He would be so cold, all he wanted to do was fall asleep as fast as he could.

The other story he told us was about his only and treasured toy....a train car.  One day his sister tattled on him for doing something to her (that he didn't do), and as his punishment, his mother threw the train car down the hole in the outhouse.  That was the end of his train car, and he never received another toy after that.  When he became a teenager, he was farmed out to earn money that he, in turn, had to give back to his parents.

Life maybe didn't treat him the way he deserved to be treated, but he sure knew how to show his love and appreciation to his own family with genuine open-faced affection.....like thanking mamma for the good meals she fixed for us.

Monday, February 27, 2012

God's Dog.....The White Bear

If you've ever received a Christmas card showing the picture of a Polar Bear and a Penguin standing next to each other, the picture was altered.  Polar bears live only in Arctic areas surrounding the North Pole, while Penguins live almost exclusively in the Southern Hemisphere.

Until this morning, I did not know that the word arctic comes from the Greek word for bear, and antarctic comes from the Greek meaning the opposite, without bear. 

This day is set aside on the international calendar to pay our respect for the Polar Bear that lives in five nations:  U.S. (Alaska), Canada, Russia, Greenland, and Norway.

Lonely Roamer
The Inuit people, or Eskimos as we affectionately refer to them, call the polar bear Nanuk, the animal worthy of great respect.  Some call the polar bear the great lonely roamer.
The Russian term for polar bear is beliy medved, the white bear.
In Norway and Denmark, the polar bear is isbjorn, the ice bear.
In eastern Greenland, the polar bear is known as Tornassuk, the master of helping spirits.
The Lapp or Sami people of Lapland refuse to speak the polar bear's real name for fear of offending him.  Instead they call him God's dog or old man in the fur cloak.
The Ket, a Siberian tribe, revere all bears.  They call them gyp, grandfather, or qoi, stepfather.

Polar Bears have really big paws that can measure 12 inches across.  They're like snowshoes that help distribute the bear's weight over a large area, making it easier for them to walk on thin ice.  If a polar bear senses that ice is thin, it will spread its weight out by crawling on its belly so it won't break through.  Sometimes there's nothing it can do except go for an unexpected dunk.

Hind and Front Tracks
If a person was tracking a polar bear in the snow, this is what the tracks would look like.  The smaller foot pad is the front track, and the larger is the hind track.  When they swim, they use their front feet to paddle and their hind feet to steer them through the water.  

Polars, when left to themselves, are affectionate, playful, well-groomed, and well-mannered.  If one bear has had a successful hunt, he will share with other bears if asked politely.  To join in the meal, another bear must approach the owner of the food in a submissive, low-to-the-ground position and slowly circle the carcass.  Then the bears must greet each other by touching noses.  Once they do this, they will eat together.

Well, I'll be jiggered.  Is this how the Eskimos learned to rub their noses together?

(Mama wants me to
take a nap now)

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sweet Somethings

There are days I don't feel motivated to do a darned thing.  On those  days, no matter what I tell myself, I still keep hearing that frickin' little voice, "Be guilty, girl.  You should be doing something.  Everybody else is.....doing something."

Or, are they?

Maybe it's time to ask myself four major questions and answer them with my heart....not my head.

Question 1:  Am I pleased with what I have accomplished up to now?

Question 2:  What do I want out of life for the remainder of my years?

Question 3:  Have I done more than my share for myself and others?

Question 4:  How comfortable am I just the way I am?

What have I already done?  What struggles did I battle my way through to have survived to this point?  Is it any wonder that I grow weary and tired of pushing myself to do stuff I no longer care to do?  

Imagine how many spiral notebooks we baby boomers could fill if we wrote down every single one of our life accomplishments (including the personal ones that no one else knows about).  Maybe we'd all feel better about ourselves if we kept a "ta da" list instead of a never-ending "to do" list.

Wild Rose
I've been known to tell that annoying little voice inside my head to shut the hell up.  If I am busy doing something productive all the time, I will surely overlook the details.  And, I don't want to do that.  Our Creator put the pink wild rose beside the road and the nest of blue robin eggs here for a reason.  He wants us to take notice, take joy and hope from them, and in our later years quietly sit back and sigh, "Ahhhhhhhhh, this is such a beautiful world.  Thank you for showing me the sweet somethings that you scattered here and there for me to find."

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Fall, Supper, and Sky Show

Man alive, did I ever take a nasty fall yesterday.

We were coming out of an apartment building when my right tennis shoe hit a patch of ice and slid out from under me.  I felt myself fall in slow motion.  My butt took the hardest hit when it slammed against the cement.  At first I didn't think I could get back on my feet, but hubby helped me up and to the car.  It was disappointing that two young boys were sitting in a pickup next to the sidewalk where I fell and could have cared less about me.  They just sat there and stared.  Today I feel like my butt should be in a sling, my left shoulder hurts when I move my arm, and other parts of me are unhappy when I move or sit.  Three gel cap Advil every four hours should ease the ouchies and let me go on with life.

After concluding that no part of me was broken, hubby figured I deserved supper out.  What better than a Friday night fish fry with salad bar.  Gotta confess, though, that a tall vodka, tonic, with lime was the first thing I ordered to stop me from shaking.

It was dark when we headed home....simply perfect timing to watch as the Moon, Venus, and Jupiter were lining up in the western sky.  The three of them took center stage and will do so again tonight.  This brilliant sky show will be visible from around the world at twilight, you don't need a telescope, there will be no admission charge and everyone on Earth is invited.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Observation and Perception

 It's a wonder our planet doesn't wobble out of kilter and go careening through space, considering every human being perceives the world and its business differently.

Back in the 1800s, John Godfrey Saxe wrote an insightful poem about six blind men who were eager to know what an Elephant looked like....

It was six men of Indostan
To learning much inclined
Who went to see the Elephant
Though all of them were blind.
That each by observation
Might satisfy his mind.

The First approached the Elephant,
And happening to fall
Against his broad and sturdy side,
At once began to bawl:
'God bless me, but the Elephant
Is very like a wall.'

The Second, feeling of the tusk,
Cried, 'Ho, what have we here
So very round and smooth and sharp,
To me tis mighty clear
This wonder of an Elephant
Is very like a spear.'

The Third approached the animal,
And happening to take
The squirming trunk within his hands,
Thus boldly up and spake:
'I see,' quote he, 'the Elephant
Is very like a snake.'

The Fourth reached  out an eager hand,
And felt about the knee.
'What most this wondrous beast is like
Is mighty plain,' quote he.
'Tis clear enough the Elephant
Is very like a tree.'

The Fifth, who chanced to touch the ear,
Said: 'Even the blindest man
Can tell what this resembles most;
Deny the fact who can,
This marvel of an Elephant
Is very like a fan.'

The Sixth no sooner had begun
About the beast to grope,
Then seizing on the swinging tail
That fell within his scope,
'I see, quote he, 'the Elephant
Is very like a rope.'

And  so these men of Indostan
Disputed loud and long.
Each in his own opinion
Exceeding stiff and strong,
Though each was partly in the right,
And all were in the wrong.



Thursday, February 23, 2012

Free and Available Therapy

On our continual quest for inner peace, let us not forget that humming can be the hidden healer that.....
  • calms the nervous system.
  • promotes good sleep.
  • reduces the number of thoughts going on inside our head.
  • soothes muscles in the face, head, neck and shoulders.
  • helps lower blood pressure.
  • helps sinusitis...the vibration helps clear nasal passages and sinus pathways.
  • slows down the breathing rate...research shows we normally breathe 15-17 in a minute, but humming  can bring it down to 4-6 a minute.
  • helps in clearing the vocal chords, giving our voice better tone.
  • keeps the mind focused and less distracted by other things.
  • replaces negative thoughts with ones that will rejuvenate our spirits.
  • is a free and readily available therapy.
  • should be done privately so we don't annoy others.
  • and it offers a perfectly safe alternative to talking on the cell phone while driving.
Trivia

If you plug your nose, you won't be able to hum.

If you plug your ears, you will enhance your hum.


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Margarita: It's More Than a Girl's Name

Blue Agave Plants
Margarita Cocktail Recipe

1-1/2 oz. Tequila
1/2 oz. triple sec (preferably Cointreau)
1 oz. lime juice

Rub the rim of a cocktail glass with lime juice and dip in salt.  Shake above ingredients with ice, strain into the glass, and enjoy.

Tequila is produced by fermenting and distilling the nectar from the blue agave (pronounced ah-GAH-vay) that thrives in the volcanic soils of Southern Mexico.  The Aztecs considered the plant a gift from the gods and used a mixture of agave nectar and salt as a dressing for wounds and balm for skin infections.  Modern medicine confirms agave as a healing remedy.  Agave nectar has been proven effective against intestinal bacteria.

When an agave plant is 7 to 10 years old, the leaves are cut off, exposing the core of the plant, called the pina.  The pina resembles a giant pineapple and can weigh from 50 to 150 pounds.  Sap is extracted from the pinais filtered and heated at low temperatures, which breaks down the carbohydrates into sugars.

The carbohydrate in agave nectar has a low glycemic index, which provides sweetness without the unhealthy sugar spike caused by other sugars.  Agave nectar is a natural sweetener that can be used moderately by dieters, some diabetics, and health-conscious cooks.  Depending on the variety, honey's glycemic index usually ranges between 65-85.  The glycemic index of agave differs by variety and manufacturer, but usually ranges between 11 and 30.  This makes  it less likely to raise blood sugar levels or store body fat.

Agave is completely vegan, which means that it can be used by those not wishing to use products associated with animals.  Agave doesn't crystallize in the bottle like honey does.  It's thinner and easier to measure and pour, and dissolves easily in hot and cold liquids.

Well, I've nicely talked myself into a trolley to a health food store to get us some of this natural sweetener.  Move over tequila.....the agave nectar is moving in, too.

Treat yourself  to a Margarita.....
 it's National Margarita Day!   

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

A Powerful Message

We were standing in line......waiting.  Ahead of us was a father, mother, and son. Good old-fashioned hard-working souls, treating themselves to a hearty buffet lunch.  Right off the bat they welcomed us to the line by commenting on our warm weather.  They were chatters and chirpers, so listening and nodding passed the time  for us.

The three-some paid for their meals first and were following the waitress to the dining area to be seated.  The older gentleman made a point to turn back to us, and with a wave and big smile said, "Don't stumble."

Man alive, the shivers ran through me.  His words felt like we'd just been hit with cannon balls.

The concept of not wanting others to stumble can be found in Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8 of the Bible.  Paul tells the Romans, "Let us stop passing judgment on one another.  Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in your brother's way......"

Is that what this was man was referring to?  Or, was it just another friendly way of saying, "See yah?"

Guess we'll never know.  What is significant, however, is that we were reminded of our responsibility to clear the way for others so they don't stumble and fall.  If my friend has a problem with drinking, I will respect him and not drink in his presence.  My actions could cause him to stumble.

For all who read this blog, I pray that you......don't stumble.


Monday, February 20, 2012

50th Anniversary of John Glenn's Flight

Monday morning, and once again my part of the world is graced with a beautiful winter day.  27 degrees, blue skies, and no moisture falling from the sky. What the heck is going on up there.

Fifty years ago today, my generation was glued to our Zenith television sets as John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in Friendship 7.  The flight was risky, and the stakes were high as the U.S. and Russia vied to dominate the planet.  Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, on April 12, 1961, had already taken first place by making one orbit around the Earth and the following August cosmonaut Gherman S. Titov made 17 orbits.

Glenn orbited the Earth three times in 88 minutes and 29 seconds.  He flew 75,679 miles and reached a speed of 17,544 miles per hour.

U.S. Marine Pilot
Astronaut
U.S. Senator
Why was his spacecraft called the Friendship 7?  Well, the 7 represented the seven original Mercury astronauts (Glenn, Shepard, Grissom, Carpenter, Schirra, Cooper, and Slayton.)  As for the name Friendship, this is what John Glenn wrote in his memoir......

"I had several ideas, but I was trying very hard to keep Dave and Lyn (his children) involved and make them feel a part of my mission.  I asked them if they would be willing to think about some names.  I said, 'There's only one ground rule.  The world is going to be watching, so the name should represent our country and the way we feel about the rest of the world.'  They pored over a thesaurus and wrote dozens of names in a notebook.......At the top of the list was their first choice:  Friendship.  I was  so proud of them.  They had chosen perfectly."

Sunday, February 19, 2012

10 Ways to Simplify the Rest of My Life

I WILL......

1.  Select my five most indispensable things and invest my energy only in them.

2.  Stop second guessing myself.    

3.  Come to grips with the fact that not everyone has to like me...and, in turn, I don't have to like everyone else either.

4.  Laugh and be silly every day.

5.  Stop trying to rescue others.

6.  Keep in touch with my dear friends.

7.  Nourish my soul by staying connected with Mother Nature, She who sustains and refreshes me.  

8.  Graciously welcome the physical changes that are coming to me with older age.

9.  Try to understand and pardon the painful betrayals in my life.

10.  Close my eyes every night and whisper, Thank You.




Saturday, February 18, 2012

Out of Kleenex

I'm not exaggerating, I'll bet I spent ten minutes trying to find simple white Kleenex.  Facing me was a grocery aisle of colored boxes and a variety of prices.  There were the......

  • Everyday Tissues.  Soft, strong and absorbent.  Perfect to have on hand.  Available in a variety of sizes and colors.
  • Cool Touch Tissues.  The only tissue that releases a cool sensation to soothe a sore nose.
  • Ultra Soft Tissues.  For colds, allergies and noses that just want extra comfort.
  • Lotion Tissues.  Softness with a delightful touch of lotion.....this one is the most soothing tissue.
  • Expressions Tissues.  Unique box designs to help decorate any room of any home.  Choice of 10 box designs. 
  • Anti-Viral Tissues.  Specially treated middle layer that kills 99% of cold and flu viruses in the tissue within 15 minutes.  
Wait.  There's more........  

The new Auto Pack Everyday Tissue, perfectly packaged to fit in the door pocket or wedged between the seats or visor.  These come in three everyday box styles, the Brooklyn, the Harlem, the Manhattan, and the Soho. 

The Ultra Soft Tissues, for those times you need a little extra TLC, come in 8 box designs, Blooms Hydrangea, Blooms Hosta, Blooms Lilac, Blooms Daffodil, Blooms Rose, Ogee Birch, Ogee Hydrangea, and Ogee Earth.  The Bloom boxes are floral designs, the Ogee boxes are curvy swirly designs.       


The Lotion Tissues, when you have the sniffles and sneezes and your nose gets sore, also come in 8 box designs, the Water Lily Dune, Water Lily Blush, Water Lily Frost, Water Lily Daylight, Water Lily Iris, Ebb and Flow Dune, Ebb and Flow Moss, and Ebb and Flow Frost.

The Expressions Tissues, designed to make a strong decorating statement, comes to us in 10 natty patterns, the It's a Hoot (an owl), Lace, Hexahedron, Electric Daisies #3, Spectrum, Leaf It To Me, Fantasy Avenue, Noir, Pixels, and Hopscotch.

The Anti-Viral Tissues are available in only 4 designs, Looking Glass Azure, Looking Glass Leaf, Looking Glass Hyacinth, and Looking Glass Honey.

It gets even wilder...........we can go to www.kleenex.com and actually design our own box of Kleenex.  How flamboyant is that.

Grocery shopping can be frustrating for those of us over sixty.  Many, like me, are not ever going to waste our money on a pretty box of kleenex.  All we want is something to blow our noses in and toss in the waste basket.

P.S.  One piece of personal experience advice:  The Lotion Tissue is not the one to clean your eye glasses with.  It will smudge and smear your lenses till hell won't have it.

Timeline of the Kleenex

1920s - Up until now there was no such thing as a facial tissue, until Kleenex came up with a way for women to remove cold cream from their faces.  Kleenex was born on June 12, 1924.
1930s - Kleenex Company received umpteen letters from consumers saying that the facial tissues worked great for colds.  This meant that both men and women could benefit from the Kleenex.  The company responded, and that was pretty much the end of the handkerchief.
1940s - Paper restrictions during World War II limited tissue production, but not the spirit of the company.  During the war, they used the same tissue material for sterile dressings for our wounded soldiers.
Little Lulu
1950s - After the war, America entered an era of optimism.  Celebrities and innovative leaders endorsed Kleenex.  Even Little Lulu became part of their advertising campaign.
1960s - To stay on top of the game, Kleenex moved their CBS advertising from evening to daytime programming to coincide with daytime television popularity.
1970s - Kleenex introduced new styles and designs to keep up with latest trends.
1980s  - Kleenex Brand celebrated its 60th birthday.  It introduced its first scented tissue and the Bundle Pack.
1990s - Popular specialty packages brought new line of Expressions.
2000 - Kleenex now being used in over 150 countries.

Until my Mother's dying day, she preferred the lady's pretty hankies that were washed so many times the edges frayed off.  God bless her soul for teaching me, by example, to choose the no-nonsense approach to life.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Crank Phone to Cell Phone

This was the style of telephone we had at home when I was a little girl.  It speaks of antiquity, doesn't it?  Well, for me it speaks of memories that will forever make me smile and giggle.

Our phone was situated on the east kitchen wall next to the walk-in broom closet.  Perfectly poised for me to 'listen in.'  I'd take the receiver off the hook (that black thing on the left side), squeeze myself into the closet, and listen to Trigger and Skeeziks  talk about their undying love for each other.  Trigger was the neighbor boy a few years older than I was, and Skeeziks was his girlfriend.

These old wall phones had party lines, meaning that several families shared one line.  Confidentiality had not yet been discovered.  Each household had its individual ring pattern, and ours was one long ring, one short ring, and one long ring. We called 'em crank phones, because the rings were made with the little black crank on the right side of the wooden box. Whenever I would hear Trigger's ring pattern, I'd make a bee line for the kitchen, gingerly take the receiver off the hook, and retreat to the closet. The phone cord was short, but any discomfort was worth the education I got from those two silly love birds.  For me, this was better home entertainment than I could have hoped for.

Remember the phone booth?  We rarely see one anymore, but boy they sure were necessary in their day.  We called 'em 'pay phones.'  That was the old joke when we teenage girls would go out with a boy on a date. Our Catholic Mothers made sure we girls always had a dime with us so we could call from a pay phone if our date fizzled.

How ever would we function in 2012 without cell and smart phones?  While they are surely the cat's pants, I worry that they are adversely affecting our roadway safety.  Too many of us are driving and talking at the same time.  When I was still commuting to and from work, I remember calling my Mother on the way home.  I'd pull in my driveway and have absolutely no recollection of my drive home.  Not good.

Last year we discontinued our land line here at home and now each carry a cell phone.  We were wary of making the step, but we're so glad we did.  My generation needs to at least grab hold of the kite tail of technology to stay above ground.  The crystal ball indicates upcoming changes that will yank our eye balls out of their sockets.

My bonnet goes off to Mr. Bell, the inventor who started all this back in 1876 when he spoke, through a device, to his assistant in the next room the famous first words, "Mr. Watson -- come here -- I want to see you."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Purple Martins Returning to North America

Gourds Painted White to Reflect the Sun
After wintering in tropical Brazil, Purple Martin sightings are now being recorded in Texas.  These large swallows are faithfully returning to their backyard landlords in North America....like these two Amish gourd condominiums that are all cleaned out and waiting to welcome them back for the summer.  The condos are located about thirty miles from where we live.

It warms the heart of a nature lover to see this interest in the Martin, because in our part of the country they're completely dependent upon us humans to supply their housing.  If humans would stop supplying Martins with homes, they most likely would disappear as a breeding bird in eastern North America.  West of the Rockies, however, they mainly live in natural cavities, like holes in trees, in cacti, or crevices in cliffs.

Mrs. and Mr. Martin
Anyone who has tried to attract Martins to their back yards will say it's one heck of a challenge.  Hubby remembers as a little boy their next-door neighbor being a mighty dedicated Martin landlord.  If the three little boys went anywhere near his Martin houses, not only would he whoosh them away with a broom, but the birds themselves would start dive bombing to get them out of their territory.  Most days after taking his afternoon nap, the old guy would come out on the back porch, plop down in his rocker, a low-impact pellet gun right beside him, just daring the poor little sparrows to mess with his Martins.  I suspect there were more than enough times that he would have much rather taken a good pot shot at the three little pests with pants on.

The Native Americans were the first to lure the Martins into their villages by hanging up gourds with holes cut in the sides. Picture the excitement in the village when that very first Martin accepted their gourd for its family home.  Little did they know that besides acquiring a new villager, they also got a dependable alarm clock, a calendar, and a trusty watch dog.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meanings of Dreams

Why in the world would I dream about an upperclassman back in my high school days when he was a senior and I was a freshman?  He was the genius type, not the gorgeous type.  He excelled in math, the teachers loved him, and I was scared to death of him.

Here's the gist of the dream.  He and I were in school together, and he invited me over to his home for noon lunch.  In my dream his family was very poor.  His mother put before me a plate of boiled potatoes sprinkled with salt. Out of respect, I ate the potatoes and thanked her for the good lunch.  Before leaving to go back to school, I asked her name.  She hesitated like she was trying to think up a name, and then said, "Betty."

This morning I came downstairs, poured me a cup of coffee, sprinkled a bit of dream dust on my laptop and googled www.dreammoods.com to see if I could make some sense of this sleep time scenario......

1.  To see people you know in your dream signifies qualities and feelings of them that you desire  for yourself.  (his mathematical genius)

2.  To see potatoes in your dream represents your earthiness and simplicity.  Also, the dream may be a metaphor that you are a couch potato. (remember my blog of a couple days ago?)

"A dream which is not interpreted
is like a
letter which is not read."

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Guest Blogger


Myne MoTher axted me 2 ryte Hers bLog 2dae.
Shee seD I shud wishes U a hAppee Vallunttttuneys Dae!

GuDbye

FuzZie oNE

Monday, February 13, 2012

How Times Have Changed

Have you ever wondered what life would be like without the radio, t.v., newspaper, and Internet?  That was the way life was when my grampa and gramma were kids.  In that short a time, our world has given birth to the news media as we know it today.....the messenger of the bitter and the sweet.

One of media's targets is the food we eat, and quite honestly I'm growing tired of hearing the latest reports on trans fats, free radicals, and how death and disease are certain for only those of us with bellies and butts.

Another peeve.....who was the chump to come up with the phrase 'couch potato?'  I'd like to stab that person with my potato fork, cuz they hit me right where it hurts.  I make no bones about it whatsoever...you can call me a sofa spud, couch potato, or a davenport diva!

Day before yesterday I was baking homemade crackers.  When I was adding the seasoning salt, I noticed the words NO MSG on the front of the shaker.  Huh?  No Madison Square Garden?

Pretty much everything we grew up knowing and doing is either wrong or illegal by today's standards.  That's why it's so darned hard for us boomers to keep quiet as we watch our world changing lanes.  As a teenager, if I would have come home with rings in my lips and nose, my parents would have escorted me by my ears out to the hog house....where I would have lived out the remainder of my days.

Let me share the story of us buying our house before we were married.  Both sets of parents were tickled pink to see us show such adult responsibility.  However, it was my mother who conveyed the warning to the two of us that we were forbidden to go into our house alone, without a parent, before we were married.  Imagine that by today's standards.  But, you know what?  We honored her directive, and we never stepped foot in our home....just the two of us....from the summer of 1966 until the fall of 1967......when we said I Do.

In later years my feelings about that were stretched to the limit, when I had to watch my same mother calmly condone her granddaughters living with guys they weren't married to.  Times change.

But, you know what?   Forty-some years have gone by and here we are, still living in that same little house.  Perhaps it was my mother's mandate that to this day makes us appreciate the pleasure of being here alone together.  

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Strawberry Parfait Pie

Just flopped my weary body down on the couch.  This old chick ain't what she used to be.

Finished making a strawberry parfait pie.  Using a store-bought chocolate crust, I put a small box of jello in a bowl and dissolved it in 1 cup of boiling water.  When dissolved, I added a pint of strawberry ice cream and stirred it until melted.  Poured in the pie crust and it's in the fridge setting up.  When I serve it, I'll top it with cool whip, chocolate syrup squiggles, and top with a fresh strawberry.  Easy peasy.  Yummy tummy.

There's a special birthday in the world today....my buddy M.J. in AZ!



Friday, February 10, 2012

Busy Day = Short Blog

I'm thinking a really nice thought about......
YOU!

Thursday, February 09, 2012

National Toothache Day

Every day is a holiday, and today we pause to think about the toothache.

A Chinese dentist, Yu Qian, has been a dentist for 32 years in the Heilongjiang Province of Northeast China.  He came from a family of dentists and has treated over 100,000 patients.  In an effort to raise awareness about dental hygiene, he collected 28,000 teeth, that represent five different types of dental disease, from his patients' mouths.  With these teeth, he built a tower of human teeth more than 8 feet tall, for the lobby of his office.

I'm having trouble linking the You Tube Video showing this tower, but if you google Chinese Dentist Builds Tower of 28,000 Teeth, you'll be able to find it.

I say a prayer for everyone tolerating the pain of the excruciating toothache today.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Today's Chuckle

Bill asked his friend, Mike, whether he had bought his wife anything for Valentine's Day.

"Yes," came the answer from Mike who was a bit of a chauvinist, "I bought her a belt and a bag."

"That was really kind of you, Bill added, "I hope she will appreciate the thought."

Mike smiled and replied, "So do I, and hopefully the vacuum cleaner will work better now."

*******

This reminds me of our dating days.  Our going together was well into its third year, and my 20th birthday was rolling around.  Our friends kept asking me, "Do you think you'll get a diamond for your birthday?"  

Well, my special day finally arrived, and he kept me in suspense right to the last minute.  I waited and watched out the window for that blue '57 Chevy to come flying in our yard.  My heart pounded like a jack hammer as I watched him get out of the car, open the back door, and retrieve my present ........a nifty Zebco Combo rod and reel.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

My Family in the Czech Republic

Why is it that all of a sudden I have this urgent need to know more about my daddy's ancestral background back in the old country.  All I was ever told was that my great-grandfather worked in the stone quarries south of Prague in Bohemia (now Czech Republic) before he came to the United States in the mid-1850s.  The answers to my many curiosities are out there somewhere, most likely held by my unknown distant cousins living in the Czech Republic.

Last evening's supper at our house was labeled Don't Throw Me Away Casserole.  I rooted through the fridge, found hamburger and chicken leftovers, two egg rolls, a few stalks of wilted celery, and groggy green onions. Got out the trusty electric skillet, a few shakes of olive oil, chopped and sauteed.  Then I took a couple bags of Boil in Bag rice and nuked them in a bowl of water while the fry pan was doing its thing. (I believe now days they call that multi-tasking.)  We had frozen zucchini from our garden this last summer, so I threw in a bag of that for sweet flavor, and within a half hour I had this place smelling like Wing Wong's Wok.  My culinary talents exploded even beyond that.......I preheated the oven, cracked a tube of crescent rolls against the edge of the counter top, rolled the triangle wedges into crescents and baked 'em till they were golden brown.  Whew!

The sky is clouded over this morning with an occasional snowflake.  Our agenda is clear, so this just may be a good day to cozy in with a good book......until one of us gets the itch to go somewhere.

I'm pleased to share that my pretty crimson Christmas poinsettia is still gracing the front window of our living room. I give it a swig of water every day, and that seems to keep it happy.  One day I accidentally knocked off one of its leaves, and white sappy stuff dripped on the floor.  Kinda gave me the willies.  Plants don't have white blood, do they?

Last night's moon
as it looked
through our
kitchen window

Monday, February 06, 2012

Wishes Won't Wash Dishes

How I wished the Patriots would've won the Super Bowl last night, but I'll be a good loser, fork over my last $20 bill to my betting buddy and go apply for welfare!!!!!!

Wishes are a big part of our days, aren't they?  It seems we don't talk about our wishes very much.  We keep our little whispers of want tucked inside us, yet we have a pocketful of wishing rituals that we use to make them come true.

On each birthday, another candle is added to our birthday cake.  After Happy Birthday is sung to us, the dramatic moment arrives when we're told to close our eyes and make a secret wish before blowing out the candles. If we can blow out all the candles in one breath, our wish will come true. It's that simple.  There are differing theories where this custom came from, but with respect to my hubby, I'll say that the Germans did it first.  They felt that the candles symbolized the "light of life."

Another wishing ritual is the breaking of a chicken's wishbone.  Actually, the wishbone from a duck or goose works better cuz they're bigger and one can get a better grip.  As kids, we dried the V-shaped bones on the kitchen window sill for a couple of days, and then my brother and I would each hold one side of the bone and pull.  When the bone broke in two, the one holding the larger piece would win the wish.  Some say that this tradition comes from the ancient Italians.  When they wanted special knowledge from their gods, they would lay the wish bone out in the sun and use it as their messenger.

Who among us hasn't crossed our fingers wishing for something to happen or begging for something not to happen.  I used to do this in school during a test.  I'd cross two fingers on my left hand, cross my ankles under my desk, and write with my right hand. This wishing ritual was originally done with two people crossing their index fingers to form an X, another form of the sign of the cross.  One of them made a wish and the other supported the wish.  This is how the one-person crossing of fingers started out.

Seeing a star fall from the sky is another wishing hopeful.  It happens rarely and it happens quickly.  Some say we don't have to wait for a falling star, but can choose any star, keep looking at it while making a wish on that star, not tell anyone our wish, and chances are pretty good that our wish will come true.  Is it possible the stars can influence some kind of supernatural intervention into our human affairs?  Since ancient times, humans are fascinated by, and pay reverence to, the heavens.  Thus, the wishing on a star is another way for us to say a prayer.

Finding a penny on the ground is one of my favorite signs that a wish will come true.  The spot where the penny is found is said to mark the place an angel has just been.  Others believe that the penny has "In God We Trust" printed on it, and that finding one is God's message that He is here with us, in control, and we have no need to worry, but trust that He will take care of us.


Sunday, February 05, 2012

Go Patriots

This morning I opened a new can of coffee.  I salute the person who came up with a foil coffee can lid to replace the metal one with jagged edges.  The manual can opener is not a friend to the arthritic hand.  Another real bugger is the pill bottle with childproof covers. Pressing down and twisting those plastic caps was enough to make me scream.  I finally asked the pharmacist to please use the non-childproof covers for my meds.  Before he could do that, I had to sign the proverbial CYA release.

Today we're invited to a house warming party for someone very special to us.  I am going to fix a veggie pizza to contribute to the snack table.  It'll be easy and yummy and healthy.  This young gal is starting a new life in her own apartment, and we're each bringing something to help her get started.  She's had a lifetime of health issues, so this is a 'big hurrah' day.  I bought a non-stick cookie sheet for the veggie pizza, and then I'll leave it for her.

I went through our dish towels and put together a set of seven that hubby's mother had hand-embroidered, one for each day of the week.  We know his mom would want us to do this. Sometimes the special connection to a gift means more than the gift itself.

Am also going to make her a floral arrangement of pretty silk pink roses in an adorable tea pot.  I just love putting flower arrangements together, and I think the roses will add a special touch to her new home.  My thumb has grown quite fond of growing fabric flowers.  They don't wilt.  They don't dry up and get crunchy.

And, of course, it's Super Bowl Sunday.  Migod, yesterday the grocery store aisles were jammed with women shoppers heaping their carts with chips, crackers, dips, cheeses, meats, and booze.  The stores put novel ads in their weekly flyer, and naturally we took advantage of them like good cherry pickers should.

I've got $20 riding on the Patriots, so I'll be cheering on New England.  Hubby and I will have our own party here later tonight with special munchies.  I think I wrote before that I don't even understand the game of football, but I know enough to recognize a touchdown.....I tell by the screaming crowds when one of the players runs across that line way on the far end of the playing field.  I think I got that right.

My fun with any sport is placing bets.  Since I quit work, I've put a lid on my bets and go no more than $20.  Oh, I suppose I could be coaxed into going higher, but twenty seems to be a comfortable win or loss.  I've got a favorite betting buddy, and he's always itching to throw me a bet or grab one that I throw at him.  I think the same $20 bill goes from his billfold into mine, back and forth.  Like my Mom used to say, "You can't win if you don't bet."

Much to do in the next few hours, so will scoot and sign off........GO KICK SOME BUTT, PATRIOTS!

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Has anyone ever asked you which animal you resemble the most?

Last evening I was just like a Mama Bear, snuggled in her den, baby close by.  The outside world didn't interest me.  Darkness had set in, small town winter quiet had arrived, and the white lights on our Valentine Tree twinkled ever so sweetly.  Within our walls existed peace on earth.

Then came the question.  "Would you like to go out for supper tonight?"

Most women would give anything to hear those words from her husband.  Me?  Well, there are times that I'd just as soon stay at home.  Mainly because I get so comfy here, that I can't stand the thought of changing clothes, putting on eye makeup, and jazzing up my hair.

So, what did I do?  I trollied to the kitchen to see if there was a box of spaghetti in the lazy susan.  After half a spin, there was the box I was looking for, and right next to it was a jar of spaghetti sauce.  I offered hubby a counter-proposal, "How 'bout we stay home and I make us spaghetti?"

My offer was instantly accepted.  Hubby scurried downstairs to the freezer and brought up a package of Italian sausage.  How perfect was that.

As the water and spaghetti boiled, I fixed us an appetizer of cream cheese and cocktail sauce (didn't have shrimp) and brought out the corn chips.  Hubby mixed us each our favorite cocktail, and there you have what truly is our ideal Friday night.

Not only that, but we saved 50 bucks.

Friday, February 03, 2012

We Have Got to Be Smart

Well, well, well.........

Donald has finally taken sides with Mitt.  Help me out here, friends.  Aren't these two guys among the wealthiest people in our nation?  Is it my personal skewed perception, or do both of these gentlemen tend to smirk when they try to smile?  To be perfectly honest, they make me skittish as a filly.

Is it even possible for anyone in their financial bracket to know the plight of the honorable American citizen working a darned good job with a check book balance of under $100?  with rent due.....with empty cupboards.....a light bill to pay.....an insane health insurance bill to pay on time.....car insurance due a certain date....an empty gas tank.....and kids to send to school?

This election year, we Americans have got to remember one thing.........

"A politician thinks of the next election;
a statesman thinks of the next generation."
~James Freeman Clarke

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Free Sky Travel

"Life on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun every year."


Now, that's heavy.  I'd not thought of that before. 

The only relevance astrology plays in my life is the horoscope in the back pages of the morning paper.  Some days when hubby reads it to me it's spot on, and others it makes no sense at all.  Like I say, it's the daily crap shoot.

Supposedly, we all have unique personality traits governed by the Zodiac.  Astrologers say that when and if these traits are in any way suppressed, we cannot and will not be content with ourselves.  They also say that astrology is a language.  If we understand the language, the sky will speak to us.  

Oh, dear, here I go again thinking and drowning myself in deep waters of thought. Not a day goes by that I don't wish I had a college education in my back pocket, but that wasn't in my parents' plan for me.  My transition from high school desk to office desk was swift and certain.  No questions were asked of me.  Things were amazingly different in the 1960s than they are today, and let's thank the stars above us for that.

Interestingly, a Leo's favorite colors should be Gold and Orange.  Hmmmmm.  Wonder what's wrong here.  I strongly prefer silver over gold, and orange is my least favorite color.  

I need more coffee.......         

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

45's and Record Players

Sixty-three years ago today, RCA Records put out the first 45 rpm (revolutions per minute) single song vinyl record.  The record player followed, and a whole new world of music opened up.

Music is, for all of us, an integral part of life.  We baby boomers well remember the sock hops, where we danced in our socks so we wouldn't scuff up the school gymnasium floors.  The slow songs brought the shy boys out on the floor.  All they had to do was put their arms around us girls and sway from side to side.  Some boys barely even swayed, which was okay, too.  The fast rock-and-roll songs brought us fast and furious dancers to the floor, where we twisted and twirled to perfectly synchronized steps.  I had one favorite fast-dance partner all during high school.  Even now when we see each other, he and I reminisce about all the fun we had.  Solid proof that music and dance tie souls together.

Most of us teenagers owned our own record player...a box-like piece of affordable technology with a turn table and a needle arm that played the single-song record.  We kept our 45s in paper sleeves to protect them from getting scratched.  Records didn't grow on trees, so when we were lucky enough to get a new one, we took darned good care of it.  When we'd get together for sleep-overs or birthday parties, we'd tell each other to "be sure to bring your records along."

Both hubby and I still have our first record players tucked away in our basement here. All these years later, and neither one of us are willing to part with that one very special possession that brought music and dance to our teenage hearts.