Thursday, May 31, 2007

Thursday Thirteen--my new walking goal

--the distance to Lakeside, OH and back by Labor Day. I'm not really walking to Lakeside, just counting the miles while I walk. Getting in shape for a trip to Ireland in the fall.

1. 250 miles to Lakeside round trip.
2. 100 days between Pentecost and Labor Day.
3. That's about 2.5 miles per day
4. Walk early--might be in the 90s today.
5. Wear good shoes.
6. And thick socks.
7. Wear sun screen.
8. Drink a lot of water.
9. Stretch before starting.
10. Listen to some good audio-books while walking.
11. Maintain good posture.
12. Take a long the camera for special moments.
13. Keep track on the ticker.

The message in favorite children's books

Neo-neocon has an interesting entry on favorite children's stories, and which were her favorites as a child.
    "When I was very little, for example, I detested the familiar story of The Little Red Hen. Its relentlessly self-reliant dog-eat-dog Protestant-ethic world seemed so chilling. Forget "it takes a village"—this was individualism with a vengeance. And yet, later in life, there were times when I found it necessary to apply its heartless lessons, and to Do It Myself (and she did).

    A more benign early childhood book was The Little Engine That Could. This one was about trying, trying again; about having in faith in oneself and finally succeeding against huge odds. Being rather little myself, and the youngest in the family, it gave me hope (it’s interesting, also, that the Wiki link mentions the story as being a metaphor for the American Dream; it occurs to me that it could also apply to the jihadi dream).

    But a much greater favorite was Ferdinand the Bull. Ah Ferdinand, Ferdinand, he of the fragrant flowers under the cork tree. I didn’t know the word “pacifist” (nor is it mentioned in the book), but the idea of opting out of struggle and strife into a simple life of non-aggression and nature was remarkably appealing.

    According to Wikipedia, it turns out that Ferdinand has a bit of a political history. Published around the time of the Spanish Civil War, it was widely seen as a pacifist tract and even banned by many countries. And if you look at the comments at the Amazon listing for the book, you’ll find many people whose lives were quite affected by reading it, citing its "timeless pacifist message."

    I'm not campaigning against the book itself, which I loved. But I wonder how many people never grow past the fairy tale notion that evil will disappear if we would just sit under that cork tree and smell those flowers long enough. As one of the Amazon commenters points out, in a real bullfight Ferdinand's lack of ferocity would cause him not to be shipped off to pleasant pastures, as in the book, but to be killed–which is the almost invariable fate of bulls in that activity anyway."
I remember the first two, but don't believe I ever read about Ferdinand. Maybe he came along later. My favorite story for Mother to read to us was "Wee wee mannie and the big big Coo," which is about a very cantankerous cow (Big Coo) that won't behave until told (by Wee Mannie) to misbehave, kick and bellow and then she does just the opposite. I don't think there was a political or pacifist subtext to it, but Mother was very smart, so who knows? She probably didn't know that in the traditional version, Big Coo is threatened with a knife and then she decides to cooperate. Olive B. Miller, the editor of My Book House, probably thought it was too violent an ending for children.


My daughter's garage sale

Tomorrow I'm going to help with my daughter's garage sale. But I can't put anything in it because she says she already has too much stuff. Not only was she the world's best daughter-in-law when her mother-in-law was in her final illness, but she is helping to finalize the estate which will help with the nursing home bills. Her MIL was a "collector," if you know what I mean. She loved many things. Beautiful things. Things never taken out of the box or wrap. So yesterday my daughter called about some chests (yes, plural) of silverware and wanted to know how she should price them. "Are they silverplate or sterling?" I asked. She didn't know, but I told her how to find the name of the companies and patterns. She's of a generation that doesn't want to polish silver and owns very nice stainless, but no silver. When she told me the names, I told her not to price them until I had a chance to check the internet china and silver sites. Then I called her back. "Do not put them in the sale. Don't let anyone know you even have these in the house. We'll find a dealer."

Wednesday, May 30, 2007


New walking goal

Our Easter walk is finished, so we're selecting a new goal. I set Pentecost to Labor Day, mixing my holy days and holidays. I figure a round trip walk to Lakeside and back to Columbus at about 250 miles, although my husband says 244.


Vegetable Lasagna

Yuk! I had a brilliant idea yesterday, inspired by two products I hadn't seen before--a ribbon lasagne that was supposed to fit a 9 x 12 pan with no boiling, and a 4 cheese tomato sauce (brand name unfamiliar). So I whipped up a vegetarian lasagne--didn't use a recipe, but did use turnip greens lightly grilled in olive oil, onions and yellow peppers and black beans. Anyone for lunch? It could have really used some sausage or mozzarella. So this morning I looked at my niece Julie's recipe which she contributed to my 1993 family cookbook, "Taste the Memories."

    8 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked
    2 medium onions, chopped
    4 cloves garlic, minced
    3 Tbsp. olive oil
    2 cups tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, or thinned paste
    2 tsp. dried oregano
    1 tsp. dried basil
    1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
    2-3 tsp. salt
    1/2 - 3/4 pound sliced mushrooms, sautéed in olive oil
    3/4 cup dry small red beans, cooked tender
    3/4 pound mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
    2 cups ricotta or cottage cheese
    1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

    Rinse and set aside the cooked noodles. Sauté the onions and garlic in the olive oil until transparent, but not brown. Stir in the tomato, oregano, basil, parsley and salt. Cook the sauce about 1/2 hour, simmering it and stirring often until it has thickened. Stir in the sautéed mushrooms and cooked beans.

    To assemble the lasagna: place a layer of the noodles on the bottom of a shallow baking dish, put 1/3 of the tomato sauce over the noodles, spread a layer of ricotta or cottage cheese over the sauce, then a layer of mozzarella cheese, then sprinkle 1/3 of the parmesan cheese overall. Repeat the layers twice more, ending with parmesan. Bake the lasagna in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes. Serves 8. 1 portion=approx. 18 grams of usable protein, 41% to 50% of average daily protein need.
And Julie added: "This is my first and still favorite vegetarian recipe." I guess buying the sauce with cheese already in it was my mistake. Or maybe it was the turnip greens.

Mothers, daughters, cousins, nieces, sisters, etc. in 1999

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


Religion in the schools

Last week when I was on my blogging hiatus, I came across two cases of spiritual/religious advocacy in our schools, one at Stephenson Elementary in Grandview Heights, the other at Ohio State. On May 24, Channel 10 ran a story on using yoga to fight obesity in children:
    More and more public schools, yoga centers and gyms across the U.S. are beginning to offer yoga classes for children, 10TV's Heather Pick reported.

    "Yoga for kids is a little different than yoga for adults," said instructor Julia Sims Haas. "We use a lot of the same poses but it's presented in a fun way."

    Sims teaches young children yoga techniques as part of the Afterschool Adventures Program at Stevenson Elementary School.

    "It really encourages kids to learn about their body, learn about the world around them, and get in touch with themselves so they can have a healthy approach and lifestyle," Haas said.

    Kathleen Lemanek, a pediatric psychologist at Columbus Children's Hospital, said that everyone, including children, has some stress in their lives.

    "What is going to stress a second grader is going to be very different than a tenth grader or, for us, but anything that's unexpected, unpredictable that can be stressful," Lemanek said.

    She said that yoga teaches children to breathe more efficiently, calm their minds and strengthen balance, gain flexibility and improve posture.
They recommended that your pediatrician give approval, but you might also check with your pastor. Yoga is an integral part of the Hindu religion. It is not just an exercise program, although it is presented that way. It's about as honest as having the children gather for afterschool story time and then finding out the only stories presented were from the Bible, and at the end of each story, there was prayer time. That would never make it past the school board or principal, would it? But Yoga? Oh, it's just about fitting your body into prayerful positions to worship various Hindu dieties.

Then I was researching digital archives at Ohio State. The fancy name for it is "institutional repositories," or at OSU, Knowledge Bank. So I was looking through the list, noting how inconsistent the catalog subject terms were, learning that each department makes up their own (unfortunately), when I came across a video presentation of a lecture on the battle between Black Hawk and Keokuk back in the early 19th century. That sounded pretty interesting, so I brought it up. Imagine my surprise when the faculty member of Ohio State who introduced the guest speaker, gave sort of a laudatory praise to "Our Grandmother", who by definition in that culture is the Creator, Supreme Being and Author of Life. A lecture on some aspect of Christian history or literature or Crusades battle would not open with a prayer to the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (whom Christians accept as Creator, Supreme Being and Author of Life). At least in my many years at the university, a department sponsored event didn't open this way, although special invited guests for para-church organizations using a university room might.

So why the double standard for Christianity and other religions?

How's your golf swing?

We live near a fabulous golf course. When I'm driving to or from home, I see a lot of bad golf swings. I know nothing about the game, but I know when a belly is in the way. Extra pounds looks like the culprit to me.

In today's Wall Street Journal, Tara Parker Pope writes about fitness and your golf swing.
    1. If you need the cart, you probably need to improve your fitness level.
    2. Short drives--lack of flexibility may be your "at a desk" life style.
    3. Accuracy--posture, arthritis.
    4. Inconsistent swings--lack of strength in the core muscles.
    5. Game falls apart after a bad shot--you need stress management.
The women who use the OSU golf course seem to be in much better shape than the men.

Look a little deeper at our medical statistics

Whenever government controlled health care is trotted out, the left points out miserable statistics about who isn't covered by insurance, our infant death rate, and how our per capita health care costs (government + private) are the highest in the world.

The left, particularly feminists and pols who depend on a steady supply of victims, won't point some dirty little secrets they've contributed to the problem of poverty and health care. For instance, more than one third of infants in the U.S. are born to single mothers, most never married, teens and non-white. Many of these babies are premature and will require extraordinary health care costs the rest of their lives. They will struggle in school, need special classes, and go on to have more babies. What and who has promoted removing men from the family and giving women money to do so with Uncle Sam as the absent step-father? The federal government and the programs, although well-intentioned at the beginning, have been promoted and marketed by the left. Conservatives, not wanting to be "mean" have gone along, and along and along, contributing to the problem through inaction and acquiescence. The liberals only solution to the problems they helped create is to kill the little ones before they are born and enroll in the system.

We have millions and millions of illegals in this country. Liberals encourage them to be illiterate in two languages in the failed name of diversity and multiculturalism. They are not learning English--some are afraid to leave their homes, let alone learn how to call for a squad or read a prescription. They miss or don't know about vaccinations and don't get health problems taken care of until they show up in the ER. They can't read to get a valid driver's license. They bring in diseases that have long been conquered in this country. Who is protecting and encouraging them in this unhealthy life style? Not conservatives.

Why would you compare this mess to Canada, which easily controls its borders (one being ours, one being too cold, and two being too wet) and rations health care or to Argentina which is 98% European and mono-cultural with zero diversity and strict immigration?

We already have government health care; it's called Medicaid for the poor and Medicare for the over 65. It is expensive and rationed. Why would the rest of you want it? When the new shingles vaccine became available the first thing I was told was that Medicare didn't cover it--so I paid for it because it is worth it (I've seen shingles and definitely want to avoid it). My Medigap policy is very expensive and doesn't always cover and by the time I finally get the bill that has been passed around, it is 6 months later and I've forgotten the appointment--and that's what the rest of you want?

Next time you hear Hillary or John-Boy touting universal government health care, peek under the rug and ask which universe and how much care.

New restaurant in Marblehead

Yesterday we enjoyed breakfast at Avery's in Marblehead, OH. It's a new place, almost next door to the book store that is raising money for the new library, on the main street (i.e., Main St.) through town. Wonderful baked goods, yummy pancakes, fresh fruit. It fills up early. We got there about 8 a.m., but when we left at 9, it was full. There's also a new coffee shop I hadn't seen before. Coffee spills, possibly, or is that the name of my other, other blog? We went with Lakesiders Jim and Marian from Toledo. She's also a retired librarian.

Do you like to quilt? Quilts by Elsie sells quilt patterns for lighthouses. Here's one for Marblehead.

Monday, May 28, 2007


Just about now

they are dedicating the Veterans Memorial in Forreston, Il, 2 p.m., May 28, 2007. It had been talked about for some time, but in 2003, Dave Snapp, a Korean War vet took the ball and ran with it. Journal Standard Story The names of veterans includes the Civil War to the present.

My dad was the 13th District Commander of the American Legion, which had a total membership of 6,500 when he was membership chairman, and he was post Commander of Forreston in 1950.

Lakeside is Open!

We enjoyed our three day holiday at the lake, although yard work, gutter cleaning and ceiling repainting isn't exactly a holiday, still it is fun to be there and see the cottages being opened and cleaned. They've had a lot more rain there than we've had in central Ohio and all the lawns and flowers look great.

Coffee 'n Cream at 2nd and Walnut

Ooh-la-la on 2nd

Friday, May 25, 2007

On Holiday

My most loyal reader called to ask why I wasn't blogging. Thanks, Bev! Hope you all (in the USA) have a nice holiday week-end; time to go to the cemetery, decorate some graves and say Thank You.

Meanwhile, I found an interesting blog for you to visit--especially if you've ever been a student or a teacher, which would be just about everyone. It's called Rate Your Students. Near as I can tell, both students and teachers send the site comments about classroom experiences and assignments which are then posted by the blog hosts. Here's a good one.
    The next time you give a formal presentation and kick off your flip-flops on the way to the front of the room, perhaps you shouldn't come to me two days later demanding why your effort grade wasn’t higher. Also, I have no problem with you bringing your well-behaved child to a class because the daycare fell through, but I must admit that I wonder about your parenting skills when I lean down to warn you that we will be watching a couple scenes from an R-rated movie that contains adult language and you say, “Oh, we’ll just stay here. She’s used to it.” I suggest you reserve her “Girls Gone Wild” consent form in advance. Oh, and her suite at rehab. Maybe you can get a window room.
I mean, is that priceless, or what? Haven't we all seen that sort of effort or parent just about everywhere? Or this one from a music teacher:
    Your knowledge is bounded by your bigotry. I get it. You're indie. You hate everything that reeks of formalism and conformity. You like bands with names like “The Decemberists” and “A3”, but you will immediately stop liking them as soon as you hear that I know they exist. Every time I give you an assignment like writing 4 part choral harmony, or programming a hip-hop drum part, you have to protect your indie cred by informing the entire class that this type of music sucks, and that you don't need to learn how to do this because your own unique artistic voice will always only consist of poorly played guitar riffs layered 50 times and washed out in reverb. Two things: first, the fact that you think Coltrane sucks does not, in fact, make Coltrane suck. It makes you a narcissist with a myopic range of cultural influences, which is basically the exact opposite of people I like. The second thing is this. Your parents are spending $30,000 a year to send you to this school, where you chose to study music in a formalized setting, from people who make their living in this industry, and where a significant portion of your education will come from imitating the artistic masters who came before you. I don't know what indie cred is, but I'm pretty sure that you lost all of it when you chose this path. Wanna be indie? Drop out, move to Silverlake, rent a room from a cross-dressing coffee shop owner, work at an organic grocery co-op in NoHo for minimum wage, and practice your instrument 9 hours a day. If you want to be the thing, be the thing, don't just wear the clothes.

RYS will be blogging light during the summer, but I'm sure the archives are good.

Sunday, May 20, 2007


New Blogger feature has a new automatic save feature--at least I've only noticed it recently. However, something's not working right and I think it might be related to the SAVE NOW feature. If you ignore the automatic and save anyway, I think you might be turning off the comments feature. Four or five times recently I've discovered my comments feature has been turned off--not on the whole template, but just selected entries. I'm not doing anything to go into "options" and reset the comments feature, so I think something in the automatic saving feature is doing it. Also, the automatic SAVE NOW seems to be resetting the time. So if you've drafted something, let it sit a bit, do another entry, publish that one, won't the newly saved (but older) entry be out of order? Any thoughts?

Women who snore

Yes, we do. Maybe not as loud as the guys, maybe we don't rock the house or scare the dog, but we snore. Especially if we are fat. Today I was reading "Menopause not always to blame for sleep problems in midlife women" in the May 2 issue of JAMA (I'm not caught up, sorry). Lynne Lamberg reports that sleep complaints from midlife women (and we all have them) may not just be menopause. They may be more subjective than objective, too, because sleep lab studies show that postmenopausal women had better sleep overall than premenopausal women! Just a guess here, but I'm betting Lynne hasn't reached the hot flash, soak-the-bedsheets, wake-up-dripping stage of life yet. Here are some of the other causes
    job stress

    care responsibilities for aging parents

    ill spouse

    bed partner's snoring (I think it's funny that you have an "ill spouse," but the person you sleep with is a "bed partner." But I digress

    obstructive sleep apnea (OSA)

    restless leg syndrome (RLS)
Women with sleep apnea (and you know who you are, dear readers) "commonly present with insomnia, depression, fatigue, and hypothyroidism, and they are more likely to have higher body mass indexes (BMIs)" than men who have the same condition. The article then proceeds to discussing the medical profession's cop-out--encourage the woman with OSA to use CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure). It only requires 6 hours of use nightly to restore sleepiness to normal levels--but it does nothing for the sex life, so many women refuse to use it.

Restless leg syndrome (feels like bugs crawling) also is aggrevated by higher BMI and by smoking. It too can cause depression, drowsy driving, impaired concentration, anxiety and all that other stuff we mid-lifers get. Again, the medical profession recommends a medication that affects the brain center.

So after reading the article, I asked my husband a simple question: "Do you think I snore as much as I used to?" He didn't hesitate to think. "No."

I wasn't enormous--I was just at the tipping edge of my range on the BMI scale, but I did lose the 20 pounds I didn't need (see my TT about food triggers). The reason I asked wasn't just this article. I had noticed I wasn't waking up as much at night and was wondering what was different. I didn't connect it with the weight loss. This is not medical advice, but if you ask your doctor about your sleep problems, I'm guessing you'll be told to lose weight. I'd at least pass on the CPAP or the meds and try 10-20 lbs to see if that helps.

Whoa! Wrong blog!

The questions I see on my site meter (that bring strangers to my blog) aren't as amusing as some I see reported by other bloggers, but this one's got to be the best.
    "i wan to collect money for a low income woman to go to college in texas"
I hope this was from the woman and not the boyfriend or husband wanting to cash in on a government program.

Saturday, May 19, 2007


Falling off the wagon

My husband was out of town last night, so we didn't have our Friday night date, and my Philly Cheese sandwich and fries that I look forward to all week. So I ate my vegetables alone. Then I ate several ounces of cheddar cheese alone. Then an ice cream bar alone. He still wasn't home by lunch today. So I ate my vegetables alone. And then about 10 small sugar free oatmeal cookies alone. Thank goodness he's home now and I can return to my diet maintenance and get a Philly Cheese tonight!

KeeWee has a really cute diet post. If I share it with all my women friends, I'll loose 10 lbs. Actually, I don't want to loose any, so I'm glad I know chain letters don't work. But you'll have a good time reading it.

Depression in teen girls

A study published in a recent issue of Archives of General Psychiatry links low birth weight and depression among adolescent girls, but not boys.

There were 1420 participants in this study done in North Carolina, 49% of them females. The cumulative prevalence of depression among adolescent girls with low birth weight was 38.1%, compared with 8.4% among girls who had normal birth weight after controlling for other adversities. When adversities were present, they affected the low weight girls more than the normal weight. The thinking is that fetal development has consequences for stress response. Low birth weight did not predict other psychiatric disorders in either boys or girls.

"Prediction from low birth weight to female adolescent depression: a test of competing hypotheses," by EJ Costello and others. Archives of General Psychiatry, 2007;64:338-344.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Not much has changed in 13 months

Here's what I wrote about immigration on April 11, 2006
    Bridges to nowhere. Gender politics. Pork Barrel Polkas. Deranged fringe elements of both parties. Killing the unborn legally with impunity. Really, I thought I'd seen every disaster our Congress could move out of committee, but this immigration thing takes the cake, doesn't it? And it's not immigration. That's what you do when it is legal.

This new thing, the one they are cooking up behind closed doors, the one to fix IRCA the 1986 law that only increased illegal immigration after establishing amnesty? I'm calling it Bipa-Pabi--the bi-partisan pandering bill, because big business likes it, big agriculture likes it, unions like it, Democrats like it, and . . . the President likes it. Be suspicious. Be very suspicious.

Bush is losing support of conservatives--not because of the war, but because of his amnesty course. Bob McCarty rescinds his legacy post: "I’m poised to rewrite the Bush legacy of 2060 five decades early: If “W” signs the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act (a.k.a., the SHAMNESTY™ plan), he will lose my support and that of millions of truly patriotic Americans and, as a result, won’t deserve a place in history among our nation’s greatest leaders.


Whales or racism?

I've lost count of how many times I've heard a radio news report on those whales who've gone miles upstream near Sacramento, CA. Or how many times I've heard the sad, sad story about a rural church in Ohio that burned down this week and now the members are struggling to "move on" with their lives. But the story about the 5 African Americans who kidnapped, tortured, raped, murdered and dismembered a couple of white college students? Not a peep except around Knoxville.

Why do we get swamped with stories about the Duke lacrosse students being guilty before the evidence is even gathered with national coverage and the Jesse noose posse getting ready to hang them on the basis of the accusation of an exotic dancer who's done this before. But barely a word except on the internet on what was obviously a racially motivated, brutal torture and killing. If this had been a bunch of white guys (and one woman) torturing and raping a black man and woman, or someone cutting off the penis of a homosexual, we would have had riots in the streets with the network and cable news media whipping up the frenzy with hordes of cameras and "journalists."

I have no doubt that the psycho-sicko crew will get their much deserved punishment, or that we have sufficient laws to cover this without hate crimes legislation--the two young people couldn't be more dead if there had been a motive other than hate. But what sort of punishment should the media get for slobbering all over the Duke story peeking under every possible rock looking for racism (except on the part of the woman) when some white athletes hire a woman who has willingly chosen this lucrative type of profession, and ignore the other? And Don Imus using the word Ho to insult black female athletes--the media acted like the world would come to an end. Well, it actually did end for Newsom and Christian. Why do we get endless hours of Anna Nicole or whales who try to swim upriver and yet the two older Ohio women who disappeared 4 weeks ago barely get a blip. It took 3 weeks to make it to AP and Fox.

I don't want the media to make news; I just want them to report news.

WaPo defends the media coverage of the mutilation murders

Dear Pat W. Johnston, Director of Consumer Services

Give it up, Pat (I think it is a made-up name like Betty Crocker, or Mr. Goodwrench). Stop sending me credit card offers. I don't care if you have NO ANNUAL FEE. I don't want your 20,000 bonus miles. I don't need your annual percentage rate of 9.24% (0.02532% daily) because I never carry a balance on my credit card. You have spent so much money, time, paper and postage on me. Do you think I'm being coy when I send your love letters back? And if I were to accept, here's what I'd have to do:
    Authorize you to check my credit and employment history (which you've already done to pre-approve me)

    Authorize you to transfer my current balance (don't have one)

    Agree to limit my legal rights, including my right to go to court, to have a jury trial, and to participate in class actions

    Accept an offer that is void to residents of GU, PR, VI and all other U.S. dependent areas, but apparently not to illegal immigrants who might be using my SS number and Tax ID that Ohio State lost in a hacking incident recently

    Accept that I won't know my limits or the full details of the agreement until after you approve me

    Accept that if you do make a mistake in billing, I must contact you no later than 60 days after the first bill, but if I phone to report the error (press 1 for English), I won't be preserving my rights. I need to write you a letter!

    If I stop payment on an automatic withdrawal from my bank account because of your error, the letter (not a phone call) has to reach you three business days before the automatic payment is scheduled

    After I've jumped through all those written letter and mail deadlines, you get 90 days after the 30 days you took to acknowledge my letter. You know what Pat, if that is really your gender-free name, this is beginning to sound as though you've got all the goodies on your side, doesn't it?

    And if the merchant is the problem, he has to be in Ohio, within 100 miles of my current mailing address.
Then you have another bunch of rules specially made for Ohio residents about anti-discrimination. Credit must be equally available to all creditworthy customers and credit reporting agencies maintain separate credit histories on individuals upon request. In Ohio? Really? So that's how you got my name and address and put me in your data base? You can't get credit reports in other states except Ohio, New York, and Vermont? And I can't even begin to figure out what you said about married Wisconsin residents, but it sounds pretty strange.

Now that I've read all the way to the bottom, I see that you've already looked at my credit report and pre-screened me. Instead of tearing up these offers, I should have been calling the consumer opt-out number 1-888-567-8688. What do you want to bet that they'll ask me my social security number and there won't be a live person, and the recording will assure me all this is confidential?

Derek has been keeping track of Pat's letters. According to one of the commenters at his blog, these are more than just benign, pesky offers--these scum scams check your credit rating twice a month which degrades your credit! Another commentor added that calling the opt-out number didn't stop the offers.

Dry Clean Only!

This is a terrible dilemma. The tag says dry clean, but you haven't worn it in ages, and you hate to even donate it if it isn't clean. What to do? What to do! Wash it on gentle, slow cycle, in Woolite and see what happens.

I have a white linen, two piece outfit that definitely says, Dry clean only. Linen is just awful for wrinkling. So, pay $10 for drycleaning and have it look like I'd kept it for 5 years in my computer bag the minute I fasten my seat belt? I wore it a few times in 2002, but we're at the lake most of the summer, and for the last two summers I was too fat to get it zipped. Now it fits, but is 5 years old. So I washed it. Seems to be OK, but if not, at least it will be clean when I donate it.

After I stopped working, there was little need for blazers, and I've gradually eliminated them, keeping a navy blazer, and a beige one, which is linen and rayon. Its label too said "dry clean only," but so what. I live on the edge. I'm a retired librarian with 10 blogs! It seems to look fine, my arms have grown a bit in the last 7 years, but I wore it today because it was a bit cool.

Friday Family Photo

Yesterday the WSJ ran a parenting article about overscheduling children in their summer activities. In my mind's eye I replayed the dozen or so summers I remember when I was a child--they seemed to run forever--hot, hazy and relaxed with hours of finding shapes in the clouds and bugs in the grass and bubbles in the tarred streets for bare toes.

At first I couldn't imagine my mother managing my summers for me, but looking back I realize she was quietly (she was always quietly doing something) planning my schedule. In Forreston I attended summer recreation program at the community school for games, swimming and sports. From age 11-16 I attended summer camp at Camp Emmaus. In elementary school I had babysitting jobs; in high school I detasseled corn, worked at the drug store, at a feed company and the town library. I had a horse, or my friends did, and we rode them down hot, dusty roads. After age 14 I was dating and going on picnics at the Pines, to the roller rink, to movies out of town and locally. My church CBYF had weekly Sunday evening meetings; my girl friends and I had slumber parties; the town had summer band concerts (still does) where you bought bags of popcorn and hoped to see someone special even if you didn't hear a note; and there were 4-H projects to get ready for the county fair. And the projects Mom would invent to keep us busy! Gardening, canning, cleaning, cooking, sewing, laundry. Oh my! That could cut into a sleepy summer day's reading.

Obviously, this is not a summer photo, but my mother's camera broke around 1945 and we don't have many pictures of my childhood. There was no extra money to get it fixed, she once told me. I thought hanging upside down was just about the most fabulous trick, and it was performed on our back yard slide on Hitt Street in Mt. Morris. The two board and batten barns you see in the background were actually garages, but in those days, many barns from an earlier era had been converted. We had a "real" garage, one side for us and one side for our neighbors, the Crowells. The barn nearest in the photo was behind Mike Balluff's and Dick Zickuhr's homes, and the one further away I think was behind Doug Avey's house or possibly the Aufterbecks. At the left edge I think I can see a chicken coup. There were no horses in town, but a lot of people still had a few chickens for fresh eggs.

There are no leaves on the trees, and I'm wearing a coat, head scarf, and slacks which must mean it was cold. Little girls only wore slacks if it was really cold--the rest of the time we were in dresses. The coat was probably a hand-me down from one of my sisters. I think it was navy blue, double breasted with large white buttons, most likely made by my mother.

So maybe childhood schedules aren't so different. What do you think?

Thursday, May 17, 2007


This 'n That

Are you happy yet, Algore? Food prices are soaring--hurting the poor. Putting corn in the gas tank to please the global warming fundamentalists is raising gas prices, raising the cost of corn that is used in a lot of products, taking some products out of production as farmers switch to the high demand for bio-fuels.
    Best quote in the Republican debate was the one from Tancredo on conversions on the road to DesMoines. Fox questions are definitely better than the softball lobs the other media mavens throw.
The Lexus LS 600hL ($104,715) owner's manual has 1,097 pages, according to WSJ story. Gone with the Wind has only 960 in paperback. But it has been edited, so it could've been larger. It won't fit into the glovebox, so needs a special place in the trunk (who reads books in the trunk?). There is a supplement of 74 p. for a quick reference.
    The growing middle class of China and India might have a thing or two to say to folks who think they'll turn around global warming by reducing the life style of Americans.
Jonathon Clements of WSJ advises new college grads to aim at accumulating a savings goal of 2x their projected income. He suggests funding your employers 401(k) plan and your own Roth IRA. I suggest you first look for the sound investment of a good marriage. The new financial divide isn't racial, it's marital. Nothing like the support of 2 sets of parents for a good safety net.
    Washington DC ranks second (New Hampshire is first) in per capital alcohol consumption in the U.S., falling to 4 gallons/person in 2004 from 6.6 gallons in 1970. (Politico, May 14)
I overheard a woman from Bulgaria telling her co-worker that she was surprised that the planners of her high school reunion in Bulgaria were able to track her down in another country with another name (married now) to invite her to the reunion. Maybe our government could learn something about tracking immigrants from the Bulgarians?
    The federal government is taking over the private Richard Nixon library which had been managed by a private foundation. Nixon's papers, 44 million pages of records and 3,000 hours of audio tapes are "secure" in the National Archives. NARA security was no problem for Sandy Berger who barely got a slap on the wrist for stealing 9/11 documents. Timothy Naftoli will be the librarian. Of course, he's not a librarian, he's a historian, more evidence of how weak and disrespected the American Library Association is. Maybe they should try being less political and more librarian?
I was listening to Catholic radio talk show today. A grandmother who has custody of her grand daughter called with concerns about what was being taught at her parochial school. They were designing mandalas in art class and being taught yoga in gym class. For this Catholics are paying money?
    There's a Relay for Life in our suburb May 18-19. We're about 99.5% white; due to international adoptions and some university folk, the population mix of the schools might be 98% white. The poster must come from "headquarters," which this year has decided on a diversity push. So the poster shows 8 happy, smiling young people participating--1 Hispanic, 2 African American, 4 Asian, and 1 middle-eastern.
For Mother's Day I got the DVD of Dreamgirls.
    Between 1962 and 2004 the marriage rate for black women has steadily declined from 62 to 36%; among whites, from 84% to 64%. At mid-20th century, the least educated were the most likely to be in an interracial marriage, but by the end of the century, the most educated were most likely to intermarry.
It was no surprise that Upper Arlington's library levy passed. They've raised our taxes another $800,000 even though they have more money than they know what to do with. That's $61 per $100,000 of assessed home value.

Poetry Thursday--Oft in the stilly night

This poem by Thomas Moore (1779-1852) was the selection for May 17 in my "A poem a day" book, so I decided to do a little research. It certainly reflects the thoughts and conversations of people my age. That stays consistent over the years. It was put to music and very popular in the 19th century. I haven't written any poetry for awhile, but am reading it.

Oft in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Fond Mem'ry brings the light
Of other days around me:
The smiles, the tears of childhood's* years,
The words of love then spoken;
The eyes that shone,
Now dimm'd and gone,
The cheerful hearts now broken!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad Mem'ry brings the light
Of other days around me.

When I remember all
The friends, so link'd together,
I've seen around me fall
Like leaves in wintry weather,
I feel like one
Who treads alone
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Whose lights are fled,
Whose garlands dead,
And all but he departed!
Thus in the stilly night
Ere slumber's chain has bound me,
Sad Mem'ry brings the light
Of other days around me.
*boyhood's was in the original
    Moore was a precocious child, publishing his first verses at the age of 11. As a boy he studied French, Italian, and music, and in 1794 he entered Trinity College. Later, by dint of his verses and singing, he became a familiar and well-liked figure in London, where he had gone to study law.

    With the first publication of his Melodies, he found himself both rich and a popular hero. Although not a revolutionary, he was a friend of Robert Emmet; and his songs, which were performed for and acclaimed by the English aristocracy, had the effect of arousing sympathy for the Irish nationalist movement.

    Influenced in part by Scott's historical novels, Lord Byron's "oriental" tales, and the popularity of the newly translated 1001 Nights, Moore in 1817 published Lalla Rookh, a narrative poem set in the Mideast (or at least an 18th-century Irishman's conception of the Mideast). It was wildly successful, selling out in a matter of days and running through half a dozen editions over the next six months. It quickly became the most translated work of its time. In 1818 Moore published the first of his National Airs, and in that collection appeared the song "Oft in the Stilly Night." Lord Byron was a devoted friend; and after the poet died in Greece, his personal memoirs fell into Moore's possession. In one of the great belletristic tragedies of the Romantic period, Moore and the publisher John Murray decided to burn these priceless pages — probably out of concern for Byron's reputation. Moore later wrote a biography of the poet, which was published with the Letters and Journals of Lord Byron (1830). In poor health and his mind failing, Moore died in Wiltshire, England, in 1852. Thomas Moore, Music in the works of James Joyce

Do you read the ads?

This morning I noticed a full page ad for Allstate.
    Why do most 16 year olds drive like they are missing part of their brain? Because they are." [graphic showing a brain with a piece missing]

    A teen-brain hasn't finished developing. The underdeveloped area is called the dorsal lateral prefontal cortex. It plays a critical role in decision making, problem solving and understanding future consequences to today's action.

    Car crashes injure about 300,000 teens a year and kill 6,000."
Other research shows that if you add alcohol or drugs to that teen brain, the hole really never fills in the same way it would if it had the opportunity to be drug free. Immaturity in the 30s and 40s may be a result of a teen brain that never grew up in a timely fashion. The fabric to stretch over that hole is thin and frayed. Important things that should have been learned at 16 or 17, come much harder if learned later.

The other day I heard that if you can keep your teen from drinking or smoking until they are 20, the chances are good it won't become a problem for them. They'll have the maturity and self discipline to limit their behavior. Sounds like we could save a lot of lives just by raising the legal driving age a year or two. If you can keep a teen-girl from having sex with her boyfriends until she is out of her teens, chances are good she will not end up on welfare because she will probably finish her schooling and not be popping out babies or having abortions.

Just a bit of digression. Who do you suppose it is, social/political conservatives or social/political liberals, who think teens need early freedom to experiment, to "learn to be responsible" by making the wrong choices, who need to find their gender identity by exploring, who don't need filters on computers or ratings on music, or should have alcohol at the parties their parents provide. Who is it that wants to park the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff rather than put up some road blocks and fences along the dangerous curved road to prevent the disasters? Hmmmm. Who seems to have a piece of their brain missing and can't foresee the future consequences of illegal immigration, diversity laws, over regulation of business, special hate speech laws, "taxing the rich" out of business, running out on our allies, and aborting the future generations at about a million a year?

Just wondering, of course. About that missing piece of brain among our legislators and candidates for 2008.

Allstate information on teen drivers

Another reason to give up smoking

This is a new one on me. Back pain. I've had back problems and pain off and one since my horse fell on me when I was 12 years old. Holding two babies, one on each hip aggrevated it when I was in my late 20s. But I've never been a smoker. Just the mother of one. Now there are new guidelines for aching backs from the NCQA, the National Committee for Quality Assurance (I assume that's medical insurance). $90 billion a year is being spent on x-rays, CT scans, injections and surgeries! Wow.

One of the top suggestions of the guidelines is to quit smoking. Smokers with back pain have more severe back pain that lasts longer and they have poorer outcomes after surgery.

Fear of litigation on the part of doctors is the primary reason you might getting the help you don't need.

Let's see: Cancer; heart disease; lung cancer; wrinkles; body odor; bad breath; slow healing; COPD; and now back pain. Geesh. Smoke gets in your eyes--and everything else, apparently.

Seen in the WSJ.

Lil Luke still needs a home

This beautiful, badly injured Bichon is healing nicely in his foster home, but still needs a permanent home and some help with the vet bills. Checkout Hollywood Dog for details. Jinky really wants him gone!

If you'd like to help, or are interested in providing a family:

Brent Air Animal Hospital
11560 West Olypmic Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90064

Thursday Thirteen--New Cable Shows

Cable is increasing original series. We started watching "The Closer" which premiered in summer 2005 because there wasn't much else on. I've really enjoyed Monk, too. Yesterday in a special advertising section I noticed a list of those that will start this summer or early next year. Unfortunately, we'll miss most of the premieres because our summer home doesn't have cable. But here goes.
    USA--"The Starter Wife," mini-series with Debra Messing

    TNT--"The Company"--about the Cold War era.

    FX--"Damages" Glenn Close as a ruthless attorney

    TNT--"Heartland" about an organ transplant specialist

    TNT--"Saving Grace" has Holly Hunter as an Oklahoma City cop

    USA--"Burn Notice" is a spy thriller

    TBS--"The Bill Engvall Show" blue collar comedy

    TBS--"House of Payne"--family sit-com

    Comedy Central--satirical comedy "Lil' Bush"

    Bravo--"Hey Paula" reality show about Paula Abdul

    A&E--(to start Jan.1, 2008)"Confessions of a matchmaker" reality show about Patti Novak of Buffalo

    USA--"The Coreys" reality show about former kid stars Corey Hains and Corey Feldman (I'm not familiar with either one of them)

    Discovery Channel--special even series "Ten ways to save the Planet"

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Making the pledge

Apparently there is a push (from somewhere left of center) for college graduates to take "the pledge." I noticed it at a Manchester College peace studies site, and it has taken up the cause. Obviously, the definition of "peace" has expanded a bit since I attended Manchester in the 1950s. It's not about war anymore, or personal behavior. They don't pledge to abstain from promiscuous sex; or to be responsible in their use of alcohol; or to make changes in their community by running for office or voting regularly; or to be pleasant and non-confrontational at work; or to avoid jobs that will support the killing of the unborn, or euthanizing the sick and elderly; or to only look for jobs that will pay off their college loans so their parents or future spouse aren't burdened with debt. The students get to define "responsible," so maybe they will do the right things. But they do pledge to consider the environment, and it started on the left coast. Surprise, surprise.
    "Humboldt State University (California) initiated the Graduation Pledge of Social and Environmental Responsibility. It states, "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organizations for which I work." Students define what being "responsible" means to themselves. Students at over a hundred colleges and universities have used the pledge at some level, at schools which range in size from Whitman, to Harvard, to University of Wisconsin. This now includes some schools overseas, graduate and professional schools, and high schools. Graduates who voluntarily signed the pledge have turned down jobs they did not feel morally comfortable with and have worked to make changes once on the job. For example, they have promoted recycling at their organization, removed racist language from a training manual, worked for gender parity in high school athletics, and helped to convince an employer to refuse a chemical weapons-related contract."
Didn't people always do this without signing a pledge card? Would someone who registered as a CO for the draft 40 years ago have gone to work in the armaments industry? In the 80s I refused to apply for a women's studies position at the OSU library because I knew I'd have to buy books that supported abortion; I refuse to buy stock in companies that make their profits creating alcohol or tobacco products, which in turn creates death; I don't want viaticals in my retirement portfolio; I won't buy tickets to movies or plays or buy or read books that demean and ridicule women; I write to advertisers of shows that ridicule and criticize Christians; I regularly write my congresswoman who is a Republican in name only and remind her of conservative principles; I let my pastors know when the message is weak and not gospel centered, offering false hope; I recommend books to my public library, even when I know I'm ignored; I don't laugh at jokes or watch TV programs that belittle women or Christians or the elderly or the not-so-bright; I tithe my income and I'm pretty careful to whom it goes; I am an advocate for the Mexican people's government shaping up and creating opportunity in their own country; and I would have never needed a pledge made at college graduation to know that racist language had no place in a training manual, but I'd have to be pretty desperate for a cause to turn down work because of gender parity in athletics or anything else.

The pledge was seen at something written by Neil Wollman, Senior Fellow, Peace Studies Institute, Manchester College. I'm not sure how old the item was, but it seems Manchester now is the source for this pledge that originated in California.

Reading about another war

Many of the passages of David McCullough's 1776 have been very moving and informative. I didn't know Americans in 1776 had a higher standard of living than any people in the world.
    "The Hessian and British troops alike were astonished to find Americans blessed with such abundance-substantial farmhouses and fine furnishings. "In all the fields the finest fruit is to be found," Lieutenant von Bardeleben wrote after taking a walk on his own, away from the path of destruction. "The peach and apple trees are especially numerous .... The houses, in part, are made only of wood and the furnishing in them are excellent. Comfort, beauty, and cleanliness are readily apparent."

    To many of the English, such affluence as they saw on Long Island was proof that America had indeed grown rich at the expense of Great Britain.

    In fact, the Americans of 1776 enjoyed a higher standard of living than any people in the world. Their material wealth was considerably less than it would become in time, still it was a great deal more than others had elsewhere. How people with so much, living on their own land, would ever choose to rebel against the ruler God had put over them and thereby bring down such devastation upon themselves was for the invaders incomprehensible." 1776, p. 158
I googled "Lieutenant von Bardeleben" and found out that many of the diaries and letters of the German mercenaries fighting with the English have been translated.


Read the instructions before you purchase

I wrote that yesterday was a dusty day--a new cook top was installed (old one). We ate lunch out because the men were in the kitchen cutting a bigger hole in the marble counter--there was dust and noise everywhere. Tip: you'll need more than a 30" base cabinet to install a 28" cooktop. Anyway, when they were finished, I got out two of my favorite skillets, which are cast iron and over 45 years old, and fixed supper. Not good on glass cooktops when they were used for years on a gas stove (previous home). The residue from the bottom of the skillets applied itself to the top and I'm not sure I'll ever get it off. This was a very expensive mistake. I THEN read through the instructions.

Actually, everyone I know who's opted for some sort of trendy modern kitchen feature from glass tops to granite to Corian sinks will tell you it's not your mother's kitchen! Or even the one you used for years and years. I hate marble counters. Granite shatters and you can't pour boiling water into a Corian sink.

After reading the instructions I'm not sure I would have thought immediately that the bottom of my iron skillets were covered with grease and soot, although I should have realized it because I never washed or wiped off the bottom of the skillets--they were always oven or stove dried.

The brochure says ceramic glass cooktops are tough, resistant to heat and cold, and attractive and easy to clean. They lie. Oh, they lie. The next section is: Precautions.
    Check each time that the bottom of the saucepan and the cooking zone are clean and dry.

    Lift up the saucepans--sliding can cause scratches

    Avoid peeling vegetables over the cook-top as this could lead to grit and scratching

    Use saucepans large enough to avoid spillage onto the cook-top, especially if a it contains ANY sugar, as this can cause irreparable damage to the glass ceramic

    Keep the surface clear--do not keep plastic or aluminium packages on it which could melt and damage it

    Each and every stain or deposit on the cooktop surface must be cleaned off quickly once it has cooled down--unless it is sugar, then get it up quickly!

    Use only special cleaning products

    This brochure is first in French, then English, then Spanish
Then the safety instructions say
    do not to operate or clean a broken glass cooktop, or you'll get an electric shock.

    And to avoid steam burns if you're wiping up a spill

    Use only a flat bottomed wok (don't have one)

    Make sure the diameter of the pan matches the diameter of the surface unit (all stoves instructions say that)

    Use only a flat bottomed pan

    A pan with a rough bottom (like my iron skillets which are not specifically mentioned) may scratch the cooktop

    Never us the griddle or similar cooking sheet on glass cooktops

    Do not use plastic warp [sic] to cover food. Plastic may melt onto the surface and be very difficult to clean [I think they mean impossible, since grease is in the "difficult" to clean category]

    Aluminum foil will damage the cooktop--do not ever use it

    Not a good idea to even use aluminum utensils because they melt at a lower temperature than other metals (there goes my tea pot)

    Metal marks from copper bottoms must be removed immediately after the cooktop as cooled or they will become permanent. All the pans and skillets I have that are not cast iron, are copper bottoms.

    Oh--I found it--"cast iron, metal, ceramic or glass cookware with rough bottoms can mark or scratch the surface"

    Do not use your cooktop as a work surface

    Don't use bleach or ammmonia to clean the ceramic surface (there goes the glass cleaner)

    Don't slide an oven rack across the surface

    Never use a trivet or metal stand between the cooking utensil and the cooktop

    Don't drop anything on it because it could break

    Don't put any food items on it even when not hot because it will make cleaning difficult

    Sugary spills can cause surface pitting

    Bottom of cookware must be clean and dry

    Minerals in water that collects and drips from cookware may cause a gray or brown film to develop.

    Clean daily with special cleaner, but not when it is warm; toxic fumes will result

    Never use that cleaner on anything else.
Boy! What they don't tell you at the store. I have a 20" electric coil stove at our cottage that is at least 40 years old, and all it does is cook, get dirty, get cleaned. I won't be able to let anyone else touch this cooktop unless we have a private lesson first!

If you need a new electric cooktop or stove, be a bit less fashionable and get coil burners at 1/3 the cost and 90% less worry!

Is there anyone out there who believes this is about a girlfriend?

World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz's girlfriend's compensation package is the problem? Oh, please. Wolfowitz is on the Bill Clinton side of feminism, and liberals don't usually object to that, nor do they worry about nepotism.

The wife of our former President is running for President; the son of a former President is our President; when a Senator or Congressman dies in office, his wife is appointed to the office; the wives of disabled Presidents have run the country; the wife of the Democratic Mayor of Columbus gets a cushy, well paid job in our Democratic governor's administration; the wife of a former President of Ohio State University has a job and office open up where previously none existed; same for a librarian whose husband had been appointed a full professor in another department. And it is no different for girlfriends, boy toys and significant others.

The Wolfowitz "ethical lapse" is part of the larger Bush Derangement Syndrome, but with a slightly broader base.
    Wolfowitz was Bush's former deputy defense secretary who helped move Bush into the war in Iraq.

    He's a NeoCon, a former liberal, so he's doubly hated by the left because he left.

    But most importantly, because the World Bank is a liberal institution run along the same management lines as the United Nations, he was going after corruption within the organization. If aid with no strings attached and no outcome requirements worked in the last 40 years, Africa wouldn't be mired in rotting infrastructure and corruption. If he were successful, the board and the corrupt officials taking the "aid" would be out of power.
Wolfowitz's transparency about the girlfriend when he was appointed, his willingness to recuse himself, his taking the advice of the ethics committee, were signs of what was to come. The Board panicked. Wolfowitz needed to go. Plus there's all that messy Iraq War stuff and believing Jihadism really is a threat to the world. I doubt that the Bush Administration will stand up for him; but if they cut him lose, it won't stop the liberal left from attacking something or someone else. I personally find Wolfowitz's marital behavior a huge downfall for him (and his family), but fiscally, he was probably what the World Bank needed, but didn't want.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Get a church!

Yesterday I was reading a chatty, well-paced blog by a self-identified atheist librarian. She was ridiculing the fashion tastes of the Christians who were gathering in the meeting room of the library. They must have been more joyful than allowed to be in the halls of the inner sanctum of a public library, because she said, "Get a church!" I wonder if she says "Get a kitchen" to the amateur chefs, or "Get an agent" to the wanna-be writers, or "Get a concert hall" if they sponsor the very loud hip hop groups for the teens that gather at my suburban public library as part of their "reach out to youth" program.

I truly wish the women I see at church were as modestly and attractively dressed as the ones she described and found so hilarious. I'd much rather see a floral print and lace collars than tight jeans and skinny tee's that leave the cleavage and muffin tops bursting in all their fullness for God.

Of course, what is really funny is a librarian, even me, giving out fashion advice. We're known for being tenacious, directional and investigative, but somewhat fashion challenged. And we're proud not to be taken for Paris or Rosie or some other clothes-hanger type. There are exceptions, of course. There's Matthew, the Well Dressed Librarian, and then there's Pam over at Health Sciences, and I'm sure there's more, but it's a pretty short list.

I recently saw some Christian women dressed similarly to the group she described. They were part of a prison ministry--feeding and clothing and job mentoring for some ex-cons. I wonder if atheist-librarians do that?

Another dusty day

I'm in my work clothes waiting for the carpenter. We're having a new stove top installed today and it needs a slightly larger opening than the old one, which I think was installed in 1990, if I've got the ownership correct.

Old stove top, one eager burner, two half-hearted, and one out to lunch--and breakfast and dinner.

So I've moved everything out of the kitchen that I could and covered the table, chairs and bookshelves.

My current choice

Harris Sherline has an editorial at American Daughter about the choices Republicans have at this point in the 2008 campaign. Romney is the only one I'd support. So I left this comment.
    I realize there are no perfect candidates, but here's how I make my choice. No womanizers who will have constant stories being leaked to the press from the angry ex's and the other party; no one with cancer, even in remission, because the stress of the campaign could cause it to return and then we'll either have the wife or the Veep running the country; no one who has deserted his wife and married money. That only leaves Romney of the top contenders. This is a problem, not for me, but some Republicans are living in the 19th century. So maybe we need to also look and see if the bench is deeper than we think. Someone who will be realistic about our borders and illegals; someone who will do some of the fiscal things Bush promised, like fixing SS; someone who understands terrorism isn't going to go away with nicey talk; someone who has character, charm and a good television presence just for those voters who never look any further. Someone like Tom Tancredo.

Illegal aliens

Our border guard, who is helpless, noticed her first.

But, there she was in the shadows near the border, looking for a spot to cross.

Ah, safely across, now to just blend in.

Now to scope out a place for a nest to drop her babies, who will then see our condo grounds as their forever home, a place to come back to next year. Last year, she was probably hatched in a nest right on the creek, but this looks cozier. I may have even taken cute photos of her mommy leading her and the sibs, upstream. The skunks and woodchucks probably won't come this close, so it might even be safer to have the babies here. It's close enough to walk to the creek. Afterall, the residents will probably make sure her nest is protected, and might even bring food and protect her from those noisy lawn guys with trucks and mowers.

As I type this, she has boldly walked up to my border guard, and seems to be saying, "Catch me if you can. I've come to stay."

Monday, May 14, 2007


Food tag

Or a blog link fest. Not sure. Gekko tagged me.

1. Add a direct link to your post below the name of the person who tagged you. Include the city/state and country you're in.

Nicole (Sydney, Australia)
velverse (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia)
LB (San Giovanni in Marignano, Italy)Selba (Jakarta, Indonesia)
Olivia (London, England)ML (Utah, USA)
Lotus (Toronto, Canada)tanabata (Saitama, Japan)
Andi (Dallas [ish], Texas, United States)
Todd (Louisville, Kentucky, United States)miss kendra (los angeles, california, u.s.a)
Jiggs Casey (Berkeley, CA, USA! USA! USA!)
Tits McGee (New England, USA)
Kat (Ontario, Canada)
Cheezy (London, England)
Paula (Orange County, California, U.S.)
Jeff (Colorado, USA)
gekko(Arizona, USA)
Norma (Columbus, OH)

2. List out your top 5 favorite places to eat at your location.
My daughter's home on special holidays. For Mother's Day we had salmon with a yummy smokey sauce, tossed salad, asparagus, wheat rolls, and lemon pie.

Rusty Bucket . Sports bar. Loud, friendly, good sandwiches. We've closed a lot of restaurants, but this one seems to be doing OK.

Schmidt's--I love their Bahama Mamas and cross cut fries. It's been too long--they also have great cream puffs. Thirty years ago, we went here regularly--not so much now. Going downtown seems a big effort.

Big Fat Greek Cuisina has wonderful seafood and Greek dishes. There have been several restaurants in this location over the last 10-15 years, and we've enjoyed most of them. We love to dip the warm pita bread in the green stuff.

We love small dinner parties at friends' homes. The price is right, the atmosphere terrific. And we're usually home early.

3. Tag 5 other people (preferably from other countries/states) and let them know they've been tagged.
Sally (England)
Janeen (Ohio)
Em (Florida)
Renny (Norway)
Mr. Cloud (Canada)

Jewish Genius

If you read no other article today, be sure to stop at Commentary and read Charles Murray's article on why Jews are smarter than the rest of the population. He's a Scots-Irish from Iowa and he examines all the different theories and history of Jewish intelligence. The American "normed" intelligence is 100; for Jews it is 110.
    The imbalance continues to increase for still higher IQ’s. New York City’s public-school system used to administer a pencil-and-paper IQ test to its entire school population. In 1954, a psychologist used those test results to identify all 28 children in the New York public-school system with measured IQ’s of 170 or higher. Of those 28, 24 were Jews.
Although in the end, after citing all the theories going all the way back to the Babylonian captivity, some of which have to do with employment selection, he has painted himself into a corner and finally concludes,
    At this point, I take sanctuary in my remaining hypothesis, uniquely parsimonious and happily irrefutable. The Jews are God’s chosen people.

Monday Memories

Monday Memories: Did I ever tell you about:
Our First Spring in Columbus?

This photo is a bit fuzzy, but it is my husband and his mother (possibly Mother's Day) Spring 1968. We bought the house right after a big snow storm, and we were anxious to see what would come up in the Spring. There is the magnolia tree right behind them, and some wonderful daffodils (had already bloomed) that continued on another 10-15 years. There's the mighty oak tree in the front yard that didn't drop its leaves until February, the tree my husband says he doesn't miss one bit. Our drive-way was separated from the neighbor's by some very messy, straggly bushes that eventually we cut way back in order to get them to fill out.

My children wouldn't remember that the house across the street was painted white then. Early in the 70s the paint was blasted off to reveal a wonderful "used brick" pattern, not popular in the early 40s when it was built, but right in fashion in the 70s. Our house was still white then, with black shutters. About 7 or 8 years later we took off the shutters and painted it a light gold with a darker trim color. It had a standing seam metal roof with bits of green and black roof paint from an earlier day, so we also painted that--tan I think. I'm sure my in-laws made a huge fuss over our baby daughter, and this may have been their first visit both to see her and our new home. June was a lovey, gushy grandmother who adored all her grandchildren and thought they could do no wrong.

Sunday, May 13, 2007


Back home again in Indiana

One of the nice people I've met at the coffee shop is Sharon Burns. She's also the only person I know who is making plans to retire in Evansville, Indiana. I won't even tell you all the great things she has told me--she wouldn't want too many people to rush over there and buy property. But she is also an author. She's written this book published by Barnes & Noble.

Pop over to the link and read the synopsis. If it is as interesting and charming as she is, it should be a good read. My parents are gone now, but it might have some useful information for others.

We're fat, lazy and addicted, but we can control the climate

This morning I was listening to a radio interview with Governor Strickland (Ohio) who gave a rah-rah presentation about what a boost bio-mass energy sales are going to be for an agricultural state like Ohio. This was prefaced by the usual blah-blah about the seriousness of global warming and what we're going to do about it, because we, the human race, can turn it around.

And the thought occurred to me:
    We can't do the right thing for the one body we actually do control--we eat too much, full of bad stuff and don't exercise; we smoke, drink and use drugs, legal and otherwise, all of which we know are bad for us; but we claim not to be able to stop these bad habits. To top it off, we teach our children that a minuscule loop of latex will protect them from the most vicious and voracious bacteria and viruses in history. And we're going to stop global warming by putting corn into gas tanks, mercury into light bulbs, buying phony carbon exchanges and gazing at the moon on Earth Day?
Where's the tooth fairy when you need him?

Standing Women

"In the spirit of Mother Earth." This is an event being held today in 63 nations at 1 p.m., according to the Columbus Dispatch.

I don't care who or what you worship, but worshiping Mother Earth isn't benign or positive thinking. It's a very, very old religion. People were no more peaceful when the men went off to war with battleaxes and spears and the women gathered berries and roots, birthing in huts in the woods and bowing down to trees rocks and ancestors.

Now someone will jump on me and proclaim that I'm negative and hateful just because I point out the obvious.

Saturday, May 12, 2007


School choice is saving us money

Education by the Numbers is the title of a new study about school voucher and tax credit programs. "This study calculates the fiscal impact of every existing voucher and tax-credit scholarship program, in order to bring empirical evidence to bear on the debate over the fiscal impact of school choice. Of the 18 voucher and tax-credit scholarship programs in the United States, twelve began operations before the current school year and their fiscal impact can thus be assessed." It was prepared by Susan L. Aud, PhD, for the Milton and Rose Friedman Foundation.

"When a student uses school choice, the local public school district no longer needs to pay the instructional costs associated with that student, but it does not lose all of its per-student revenue, because some revenue does not vary with enrollment levels. Thus, school choice produces a positive fiscal impact for school districts as well as for state budgets." (from summary) School choice does not take money away from the district--it saves money. It does cut back on some power, and that in my opinion, is the real threat, whether from private, voucher, or homeschool.

One program that is different than most states is Ohio's Autism Scholarship Program.
    "In addition to the Cleveland voucher program, Ohio provides up to $20,000 in state funding for privately provided education services, including private school tuition, for students with autism. Assessing the fiscal impact of the Autism Scholarship Program is difficult, as autism ranges in severity from very mild to very severe, meaning that private school costs for these students will also vary considerably. To make matters worse, Ohio school districts do not currently report data on instructional spending for autistic students.

    Since Ohio does not make sufficient data available, we cannot calculate the program’s fiscal impact on local public school districts. We can, however, calculate its fiscal effect on the state of Ohio. Funding for disabled students in Ohio uses weights for the various categories of special needs. For example, a disabled student receiving a weight of 2.5 would generate special education funding for the local school district equal to two and a half times the foundation funding level for one regular student. Students with autism receive a weight of 4.735 for their Basic Aid portion of the formula revenue. In addition, these students are counted in the general enrollment and generate funds that way as well. Determining the formula revenue associated with an autistic student requires multiplying the foundation amount ($5,169 in 2005 and $5,283 in 2006) by 5.735. This gives us the total funding burden that is shared between the state and the local districts. We multiply this by the local share percentage (which is 0.68) to determine how much is funded locally. What is left over after this local share is subtracted is the average state formula spending per student. The results of the calculations for 2005-06 and 2006-07 are shown in Table 7. (of the article)

    Even though the program serves very few students, and even if we make the conservative assumption that each student uses the maximum voucher amount of $20,000, the Ohio Autism Scholarship Program has generated $1 million in savings for the state."
HT Joanne Jacobs

Party Girl

Terrapin Station had this list of questions and I hadn't done one for awhile. It's all about parties.
    1) Would you rather be the host or the guest? I like both. "Party" isn't exactly what I do--maybe more of a "gathering." If I go to someone else's party, I get to meet new people. Last Saturday we went to a Kentucky Derby party--we all wore hats and dressed up, watched the race and enjoyed a fabulous meal with interesting people. I like to have "Whistle stop" parties--if you talk about weight, age, or health, I'll blow the whistle and stop you.

    2) When you are hosting, do you clean everything up the minute the guests go home? Usually. If it is really late, it can wait, but all the dishes are rinsed and in the kitchen. Right after the meal (if it's a dinner), I load the dishwasher and keep everyone out of the kitchen, but I can see and hear what's going on. The dining room is a bit tight for 6 or 8, so they really can't move, which helps my plan.

    3) If you had the wherewithal, and I guess I mean more than money, to throw a great theme party, what would the theme be? Doing something on a movie theme is fun. We went to one for my son-in-law's birthday--although I think for our age group we'd have to do an era, or specific stars. We rarely see movies anymore unless they are on TNT or AMC. The 70s were the pits for movies. 90s and 50s pretty good. 30s and 40s the best. If money were no object, I'd rent a spot and we'd have some sort of opening for an art show.

    4) What's the worst time you ever had at a party? This one's easy. The first party I attended as a married woman was my husband's office Christmas party. It was a small company and I knew most of the people. The host was so inebriated by the time we got there (and we're always on time) that he had wet his pants. He was so drunk, it didn't bother him either and he didn't change his clothes. It made the guests really uncomfortable. I think we left early.

    5) And to end on a brighter note, what was the best? I always tell people that my daughter's wedding was the best party. She was old enough (and independent enough) to do most of the planning herself, so I just had to show up, look pretty and enjoy myself. I got to see all my friends, dance, and eat good food. She was probably a frazzled wreck, but, hey, it's all about the mother-of-the-bride, right?

Librarian publishes her third book

Nancy Pearl is the 62 year old librarian who developed the program whereby a whole city or town reads the same book. She's now published "Book Crush: for kids & teens." USAToday story

Mine is hardly an unbiased opinion, but I don't think librarians are the best guides on how or why children read--or adults either for that matter. I've seen some fabulous book blogs, and the best are simply by people who love reading and want to share their joy. However, not everyone loves to read or wants to read. Nothing emotional, spiritual, or intellectual happens when they read like when they play guitar, or hit a golf ball, or feel the tug of a fish on the line, or smell the leather of a saddle against the sweat of a horse. Zero, nada, zip.

I read to my children when they were young (it's a great cuddle time), it was a positive experience for the three of us, and both could read by the age of four. We made our own books too, using the cards they received for holidays. We had spelling contests, illustrated stories, and played word games. They always got books for birthdays and Christmas from my parents. One loved school; one hated it except for recess. They had excellent teachers, in a great school system, and parents who had a good education and who read to them. One does read fiction selectively by certain authors, only in hard cover, and only what she purchases; the other never reads. Neither have a library card.

I also took them to story hour at the local public library within walking distance of our home. They both disliked this experience, but for different reasons. My daughter wanted to stay right with me in the adult section, clinging to my leg; my son wanted to go play in the park next to the library. Neither thought sitting with strangers on the floor of the library was a fun way to hear a story.

I just mention this so nobody gets too puffed up about her ability to inspire children to read. And don't have too many regrets if you didn't have the time, inclination or interest and you think you've failed your children. If they are readers, they will find a way. There are many studies on learning types, environment, accessibility, illustrations, word difficulty and choices. And the "research" changes from era to era. When I was a little girl, teachers and librarians discouraged books in series, now it is encouraged. Comic books in a library? They would have been horrified, but not today.

Yes, by all means expose children to good literature with good illustrations; just don't be alarmed if they go another direction.

Helicopter parents

That's a term for parents who hover. I thought I was the world's most hovering Mom, but I was a novice. Or maybe some of today's parents just seem that way because others are so neglectful.

The Columbus Dispatch had a photo of a boy, about 8 or 9, flying a kite in a park, talking to his mom on the cell phone with one hand, managing the string with the other. She calls every day at the same time, the article noted.

He was with his father.

Last night we went out to eat with a young, about-to-be-divorced mom and her two young sons. Both the father and grandfather called to talk to the boys.

Tighty whities

Are tight, shorter length jeans back in style for all guys, or just gays? I saw a photo on the fashion page in WSJ of skinny leg, tight jeans, hitting snug in the crotch as well as the ankle just above the shoe. This wasn't the photo (from Sartorialist) but the same idea--tight and white. Quickly--hit the resale shops before all the 80s jeans are gone.

A Mother's Day post

Joan has a great Mother's Day post today--stop by and enjoy it. I'm not a "goal setter," (I'm a problem solver), but I liked it. Not everyone wins in the gene pool, but Joan and her sibs (most are also bloggers) and my sibs and I were very fortunate. Joan's mom is Methodist minister (as was her father) and I've also visited her blog, and she's writing about her mom!

My mother wasn't a pastor, but she certainly did her share of teaching Sunday School, Bible school, and women's Bible study around her dining room table while volunteering for about 35 years at the local nursing home after looking out for her own mother and mother-in-law. My mom was a talented writer--even wrote some short stories--but I can't imagine her ever taking up blogging. She even destroyed my father's letters from WWII after we children found them in the attic. I have every letter she ever wrote to me--just filled with Illinois crop and weather reports and updates on my grandparents' health. Just fascinating stuff, but I enjoy seeing her handwriting.

Yes, Joan and I are blessed.

Sometimes I have trouble with English, too

Perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised if newspapers are shrinking or folding and people are communicating in text messages with no capital letters, numbers for words, and no punctuation. English is a world-wide language, can be difficult, and each culture puts its own slant on it. I use English all the time, and sometimes I struggle. (I have a problem overusing adverbs and parenthetical statements.) Yesterday I was reading Terry Teachout's theater column in the Wall Street Journal (you can see part of it here on his blog). I don't do theater, although I did see a matinee in New York about 50 years ago, but I like to keep up. Please don't misunderstand; he's a superb writer, but I'm out of practice. It's like reading some of the old research articles from the 20s or 30s in JSTOR--it's good exercise, but tiring. Maybe it's my age, or the age we live in age in which we live. I was exhausted by my own pauses: read, reread and ponder the meaning. I knew the idioms and phrases weren't critical to the sense of the essay, that he was just enjoying being playful, but still. . . I love words, language and meaning, and it shouldn't be so difficult. For instance:
    "not excluding," does that mean "including?"

    "repays careful watching," does that mean you get back the time if you pay attention?

    "a couple of much-admired revivals not with standing," does that mean yes, the play has had revivals that were good?

    "it goes without saying," I know that means "I'm going to say something you'll agree with, but I'm saying it anyway," but . . . it's still confusing to say you're not going to say it and then you do.

    "an actor who sings not a singer who acts," would mean one is better at cross over than the other?

    "can't be anything other than gorgeous," means very pretty, but why do so many of our idioms use the negative to be positive? Do Greeks or Cambodians do this? Probably, if they speak English.

    "would that this tale were something other than an ordinary celebrity vehicle," What do you call that construction of, "would that. . .were. . .other than"? Future pluperfect past something?

    "deliver the goods with postage to spare," must mean it's beyond successful, but I'm not familiar with the phrase. Is it theater English? New Yorker English? An idiom from his school days? Pony Express?

    "so transparent as to be but invisible" I'm sure this construction has a name (so . . .as to be . . .), but it's been a long time since English class.

    "a pair of golf-playing straw businessmen in bespoke suits" Yes, I did have to look up "bespoke" which is past tense of "bespeak" which is a British tailoring term meaning you choose the material. And I know a straw man is something made up to knock down. But strung together (a play about African Americans), I'm a bit confused.