Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Snowball cookies my mother never made

When I'm at a party, I usually reach for one or two of these.  Don't recall that Mom ever made them, nor have I, but they do appear at Christmas parties.

Snowball cookies

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, chopped
powdered sugar

Blend softened butter with powdered sugar. Add vanilla.
Mix in salt, flour and chopped pecans.

Form dough into 1 inch balls or flattened cookies and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. While hot, roll in powdered sugar. Let cool and roll again in powdered sugar.

Practicing to be happy

You can practice being happy--it's a choice.


"1. Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you're grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours.
They don't have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day.

2. The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint.

3. The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant.

4. Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you're doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you.

5. Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good.

6.Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy."

Speaking of having a purpose

Most women I know over 60 have one purpose in life--the grandchildren and/or great grandchildren--men go another direction, either still working or they are on boards or the golf course. I don't have any of those in my life, and I'm not huge on volunteering (I have a few activities in that category). My FBF tell me posting at my blog or Facebook just won't count. But having a purpose is really good for you.

Sample of questions asked of participants in the study over 7 years.  "Effect of a Purpose in Life on Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Community-Dwelling Older Persons" https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2897172/ 
1I feel good when I think of what I have done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.
2I live life 1 day at a time and do not really think about the future.
3I tend to focus on the present because the future nearly always brings me problems.
4I have a sense of direction and purpose in life.
5My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me.
6I used to set goals for myself, but that now seems like a waste of time.
7I enjoy making plans for the future and working them to a reality.
8I am an active person in carrying out the plans I set for myself.
9Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.
10I sometimes feel as if I have done all there is to do in life.
"Cognitive and Social Lifestyle: Links with Neuropathology and Cognition in Late Life"  This article is more skeptical.

Woman of color is whiter than I am

"To the casual observer, [Elizabeth] Warren, now the Democrats' Senate candidate, might seem a 100 percent woman of non-color. She walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. She's the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out. But she "self-identified" as Cherokee, so that makes her a "woman of color." "
Mark Steyn, Washington's Redskins, https://www.steynonline.com/8279/washington-redskin

Monday, December 11, 2017

Ten tips to keep your brain young

A team of neuroscientists reviewed 17,000 medical studies on keeping the brain healthy as we age. This speaker at a Ted talk (works for a game company) reviewed what they found.


1. Physical exercise:  especially brisk walking 30 minutes a day,  5 times per week, vigorous aerobic exercise pushes out waste.  https://www.brainhq.com/brain-resources/everyday-brain-fitness/physical-exercise

2. Brain exercise : brain fitness games / New language /ball room dancing/ music lessons / chess / bridge ; good if it’s fun, but you don’t have to be good—grows new neuro connections.

3. Eliminate toxic substances : Cigarettes / Alcohol / Toxic substance in household products like shampoo, soap;  Cosmetics database dot com will reveal toxicity.

4. Socialize:  5 social ties are good for the brain / isolation is bad for you / volunteer /

5. Have a purpose: pick a cause and it’s good for society https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22566582

6. Relaxation : Spa / Meditation / read a book / walking in nature

7. Manage stress: stress causes brain shrinkage

8. Pick a good doctor: prevention oriented

9. Protect head from injury ; people who text while driving have 23x the accident rate; equivalent to 4 drinks  https://www.edgarsnyder.com/car-accident/cause-of-accident/cell-phone/cell-phone-statistics.html

9.  Recommends Mediterranean Diet :  lots of colors; Fish / Almond, nuts / Vegetables / Fruits

10. Positive outlook:  way of thinking and responding matters.  Nun study, http://hapacus.com/blog/nuns-prove-happiness-leads-to-longer-lives/  most positive lived longer, had neurological signs of Alzheimer’s in brain, but not the disease.

The Bayeux Tapestry

The challenge of the internet: you start looking for one thing and then find another.  I was browsing the course offerings at Coursera https://about.coursera.org/ which has 3 levels of offerings taught by instructors at different universities, and came across the Age of Cathedrals under general interest (not a degree program).  When I looked up the instructor, M. Howard Bloch, I decided to look for videos and found one on the Bayeux Tapestry.  I'm not particularly a craft person, but I do following quilting, crocheting, knitting groups on Facebook.  This is history in embroidery.


The Bayeux Tapestry is the world’s most famous textile–an exquisite 230-foot-long embroidered panorama depicting the events surrounding the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is also one of history’s most mysterious and compelling works of art. This haunting stitched account of the battle that redrew the map of medieval Europe has inspired dreams of theft, waves of nationalism, visions of limitless power, and esthetic rapture.


Blood transfusions from women to men

If further study shows that men receiving blood transfusions from women who have been pregnant is more risky than receiving blood from men, I wonder if the research will be accepted or condemned as transphobic. It would show that men and women aren't interchangeable based on feelings. Just in case history and biology haven't shown that to be obvious.



A rank, fly bitten codpiece . . .

Insults in Shakespeare--perfect for today's social media.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

On the first day of Christmas. . .

Actually, the first ten days of December we had eight events!  Everyone seems to have wanted to get a head start on the holidays.

Dec. 1:  Retirees from OSUL Christmas Lunch at the OSU Golf Club (I was hostess), Mary Jo, Eleanor, Graham, Gerry, Mary, Beverly
Dec. 2:  Birthday party for Rob and Lynn at the Depot
Dec. 3:  UALC SALT group brunch at Jane's; Carol, Kevin, Donna, David
Dec. 6:  Conestoga Christmas dinner at the Boat House Restaurant in Confluence Park, sat with Betty,  Jerry and Joan, Christine and John, and Harry
Dec. 7:  PDHC Christmas dinner and party at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington, sat with "young people" who are instructors for teens in local schools
Dec. 8:  Dinner at the Rusty Bucket with Phoebe and Mark
Dec. 9:  Dinner with Rod and Judi at their home with Bruce and Marty
Dec. 10: Condo Christmas party at two of our neighbors' homes

Saturday, December 09, 2017

Homelessness in a growth economy

"Los Angeles County's homeless population has soared 23% over last year despite increasing success in placing people in housing, according to the latest annual count released Wednesday. ... Homelessness also increased sharply in the city of Los Angeles, where the count of just over 34,000 was up 20% from 2016. ( LA Times May 31, 2017)  http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-homeless-count-20170530-story.html


The city government had promised an additional $138 million this past year for homelessness, and I know it's a shock, but sometime governments don't deliver on their promises. But isn't it odd that the homelessness increased by 20% after the budget increase was announced in 2016? In Ohio where homelessness was decreasing all over the state (down 17%), it was increasing in Franklin County (24%) where I live. 

Low to zero unemployment, economic growth and soaring housing prices, which look good for marketing your city or county, also mean less affordable housing. And no one seems to want rotting mattresses, blanket tents and human waste in their neighborhood.

Friday, December 08, 2017

Assisted suicide gaining acceptance in Canada. Are we next?

This report says 70% of Canadian Catholics accept euthanasia and 70% of evangelical Protestants don't. Here's what the catechism says: "“Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded” (2277).

The legal assisted suicide rate in Canada since the law changed in 2016 is now 3x higher than Belgium which led the way in 2003, with difference in size taken into consideration. Yes, it's a suicide slippery slope, but also a slide begun in the 20th century as abortion for any reason (gender selection, deformities, convenience, shame) became popular and accepted in society

“The fact remains that the only clear line is to kill or not to kill. Once you have accepted killing as an acceptable response to human difficulty, then the only remaining question is: Who can be killed and under what circumstances?” he said."

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Weatherization Assistance Plan

The Weatherization Program in the new budget is one of the areas Democrats and media critics are complaining about. It's almost impossible to find a total for the amount spent in 41 years (since 1976), but it's billions, maybe trillions. Sometimes I see $225,000,000 annually, sometimes $191,000,000 + another $883 million from the states (2009), plus $5 Billion from ARRA. Really, how could there possibly be a home left in America that doesn't have insulation and air tight windows and doors? They talk about money saved and jobs created. So it's a jobs program? Money, not cold air, seems to be leaking from this program.  The Head Start program has been shown to have failed in its mission, but is used as a jobs program for adults and supporting industries.


Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Witch hunts in Europe sound familiar

There was a mid 19th c. book called "Memoirs of Extraordinary popular delusions" by Charles Mackay that's still in print that lists the crowd delusionary behavior (a lot of it financial schemes) that has the most perfect description of the Trump witch hunt. These witch hunts in Europe lasted 2.5 centuries, and anyone (both women and men) could be accused, who would then be tortured to reveal more names. Sounds just like the FBI tactics with Flynn. The crowd cheerleaders asking for more victims sound like Joy Behar of the View

“An epidemic terror seized upon the nations; no man thought himself secure, either in his person or possessions, from the machinations of the devil and his agents. Every calamity that befell him he attributed to a witch. If a storm arose and blew down his barn, it was witchcraft; if his cattle died of a murrain—if disease fastened upon his limbs, or death entered suddenly and snatched a beloved face from his hearth—they were not visitations of Providence, but the works of some neighbouring hag, whose wretchedness or insanity caused the ignorant to raise their finger and point at her as a witch. The word was upon every body’s tongue. France, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, and the far north successively ran mad upon this subject, and for a long series of years furnished their tribunals with so many trials for witchcraft, that other crimes were seldom or never spoken of. Thousands upon thousands of unhappy persons fell victims to this cruel and absurd delusion. In many cities of Germany, as will be shewn more fully in its due place hereafter, the average number of executions for this pretended crime was six hundred annually, or two every day, if we leave out the Sundays, when it is to be supposed that even this madness refrained from its work.”

http://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/713/pg713.txt   Vol. 2

First responder at Pulse let go

Omar Delgado, one of the first responders at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida is losing his job--PTSD--he's been reassigned to a desk for some time. But looking through the USAToday article, I noticed his salary--$38,500, and thought about the carnage and grief he's had to suffer; then my thoughts redirected to the spoiled, pampered, millionaire NFL player who lost his job too, but decided to protest the police instead of taking responsibility for his own poor performance. I don't know what else is in Delgado's work history to make him lose his job and being vested in a pension, we only know one small part, but this doesn't seem right.