Sunday, February 28, 2010

Reading Hemingway

There was a dad sitting in a lounge chair at Panera's this morning reading Hemingway to his son. The son was about 9 months old and teething. Seemed to work. He took his daddy's finger out of his mouth long enough to give me a big smile.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Killer whales and wailing kitties

It surprised me to learn that the whale trainer Dawn Brancheau at Sea World who was killed had a loose pony tail which might have looked like a toy/food to the Orca Tillikum which just did what whales do. People who live and work and care for animals should understand animal behavior and never let down their guard, or forget that animals have instincts. Whether they are 11,000 lb whales, or 11 lb dogs. For instance, my 11 year old cat will still attack my shoe strings. I don't know what she thinks they are, but they send a signal. Another cat we had never figured out the tail thing (this one's never noticed her tail). And what cat or dog owner doesn't know not to stare their pet in the eye--even to tease--and if they do, should know not to put their face up to the pet's nose. Yes, maybe 99 times she just licks your nose, but the 100th time she bites, draws blood, sees your reaction, and from then on, you're in trouble.

The dog bite statistics for males is telling. Young male children are bitten by young male dogs, owned by young adult males. See a pattern? Dawn was not a male; Tillikum wasn't a dog. But I'm sure there are patterns that whales follow. I don't blame the whale, and I don't blame captivity. The whale has probably lived longer and had a better life than in the wild. Better than many human beings. Whale trainers are probably safer in a tank with a whale than on a California freeway. But long, loose hair? No, not ever.


John Podhoretz: "My sense of this summit is that President Obama is exactly as he always is — extremely intelligent, knowledgeable about policy details, so certain of the rightness of his views that he has no compunction about declaring the views of his antagonists to be merely politically convenient rather than substantive, startlingly condescending at moments, and even more startlingly long-winded when he gets going. As a result, he both looks good and bad in these settings — good because he's serious and doesn't appear to be a fanatic, and bad because of the condescension." From Taranto's Best of the Web, Feb. 26.

Liberals, of course, don't see Obama this way. They see a guy who is so much smarter, more virtuous and better than everyone else so of course he should appear this way and hog the TV time rather than listening. So why would that be condescending? I mean, are you paranoid if everyone really is out to get you? And if he stammers badly while groping for words, well, he's just waiting for the rest of us peons to catch up with his brilliance.

Although I'd have to disagree that he looks good, in any circumstance.

Just ask Google--applesauce to oil

We're having a few couples from church in tomorrow evening, and for dessert I'm serving warmed fresh blueberries over lemon cake with a dollop of real whipped cream. I'd thought some of mixing the blueberries in little blobs into the unbaked cake and swirling, but fortunately remembered the disaster of a few years back when I decided to mix cooked blueberries into a vanilla pudding mix for a pie. Because these mixes all have a little yellow food coloring (called yellow 5 or yellow 6) to make them look yummy and inviting, if you mix in blueberries, you get something that looks like pea soup--gray green. The taste doesn't change at all, but a lot of what we taste is really done with our eyes (which is why I always clean and take down the cobwebs before I invite people over for dinner). So, that disaster was avoided.

The Betty Crocker Super Moist Lemon cake mix (I never make a cake from scratch) called for 1/3 cup of oil. Now, that's not awful, but everyone I know is watching the calories, so I decided to substitute applesauce for oil. I know you can do it in baking, I just didn't know the proportions. That's where Google comes in.

Google answers millions of questions a day--I know because some of them end up on my blog since I write on 50 bazillion topics. Here's what I learned. In baking it's about a 1:1 swap, but don't do it with cookies or snacky things that need a bit of crispness or you get "frankensnack." Even with this cake, I used a little less than 1/3 cup of applesauce, and added about a tablespoon of oil. If the cake tastes a little less than perfect, the blueberries will cover for me; I've tasted them and they are fabulous. 2 Tbsp. flour, 3/4 c. Splenda, a few shakes of cinnamon, and a Tbsp. of butter; heat just to the point they start to burst. Then I'll reheat them before serving, but they won't be mushy.

My little Sunbeam mixer was a wedding gift, so it's 50 years old. I think I've blogged about it before. The cord is stiff, it falls out of its connection, it trips the outlet switch, and the beaters fall out about every 45 seconds. But how many more years will I be making cakes, so I don't replace it. Besides, at this stage, it would be like kicking out a member of the family.

Well, it's about time to take the lemon cake out of the oven. Smells heavenly. I'll let you know . . .

Friday, February 26, 2010

Richmond Oval Skating Complex in Vancouver

A lovely building. With some interesting features.
    "Each ribbed panel is clad in standard 2x4 plywood, milled from trees reclaimed from the forest floor—victims of the insidious pine beetle that decimated much of the local tree stock. There are nearly 1 million board feet of this wood—tinged slightly blue as a result of the infestation—in the roof structure. The 2x4s are staggered, and the resulting openings (which look like linear perforations) expose acoustical material to help dampen sound in the arena."
The site I'm checking says the USA has 32 medals, gold 8, silver 12, bronze 12. After the Olympics this building will be used as a community center with room for basketball, badminton, and iceskating. The architectural firm, Cannon Design, will begin the retrofit process after the Olympic crowds leave.

Blue Shoes returns to Mill Run

Today the Visual Arts Ministry of UALC is hanging a new show by the men and women of Blue Shoe Arts, which helps artists with disabilities create original art - outsider and folk art, found object sculpture, painting and drawing, fabric art and cartoons. They are supported by the sales of their own art and the MMRD sheltered workshop in an old shoe factory in Lancaster, OH. We purchased one of Joseph Greene's paintings of Noah and the Ark two years ago when they had their first show at Mill Run. Everyone who sees it, loves it. I'm no longer a member of the ministry, but so many people are out of town, I agreed to help.

The Mill Run campus of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church is open Sunday through Thursday, so be sure to make a special effort to see it if you are in the building, or looking for something interesting to enjoy or purchase. The above photos are from the previous show.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Glenn Beck reads poetry and recommends books

If you watch Glenn Beck, your TBR list will get a bit long. Not only does he write books, he recommends them. And interviews the authors. Today he had three authors on his show (this might have been a repeat because of the health care summit taking most of his show time), The Age of the Unthinkable: Why the New World Disorder Constantly Surprises Us And What We Can Do About It, by Joshua Cooper Ramo (Little Brown & Company 2009); The survivors Club by Ben Sherwood (Grand Central Pub., 2009); and America's Prophet by Bruce Feiler (William Morrow, 2009). Recently he's also been really pushing A Patriot's History of the United States: From Columbus's Great Discovery to the War on Terror by Larry Schweikart. You can take the Survivor's Club test answering questions about winning the lottery and finding a grizzly in your path. I came out as a "thinker," like Hillary Clinton, Steve Jobs, and Chesley Sullenberger (after providing a score they list celebrities with those characteristics. From Feiler's book, Glenn really became enamored with the Statue of Liberty and Emma Lazarus' poem. His complete reading list.

Petulent, rude, whiny, dismissive and sneering

And that was just their leader. Who cares about the color of his skin, it sure is thin. He shouldn't have skipped so many sessions when he was a Senator. Would've learned the rules. As Democrats droned on and on and on with stories of teeth, cousins and phone messages, McCain was rudely told to stop campaigning. Really, I was shocked. I'll take a cowboy's manners and presidential decorum any day over this stumbling grand stander. Clown in chief Reid claimed no one considered reconciliation! And Dick Durbin. Did he really say we should all just have the health care plan that federal employees have. Has he noticed how they get to pick and choose their "Cadillac" coverage from private insurers? The ones other Dems are calling rapacious crooks and want to destroy? Has he noticed their club is already a select group in wealth, education, race, and gender? There was really no reason for Republicans to show up. . . except they showed up the President and his party. And that they did.

Scrap the bill. Start over.

The story of the housing meltdown from an economist

Nobody caught on--not Greenspan, Bush, or Frank. And Barney Frank is still pushing more home ownership--without standards. But Bush will continue to be blamed because it happened on his watch. Video interview June 29, 2009

Sowell asserts in his book, "The Housing Boom and Bust," that politicians in Washington were trying to solve a problem that didn't exist.

"The problem that didn't exist was a national problem of unaffordable housing," Sowell explained. [And he's quite correct--housing was quite affordable in central Ohio.]

"The housing in particular areas, particularly coastal California and some other areas around the country, were just astronomically high. It was not uncommon for people to have to pay half of their family income just to put a roof over their head. So that was a very serious problem where it existed.

"But it existed in various coastal communities primarily and a couple of other places. Unfortunately, the elites whose strongholds are on the East and West Coasts don't seem to understand that there's a whole country in between, and in most of that country housing was quite affordable by all historical standards.

"So they set out to solve the problem by setting up a federal program to bring down the mortgage requirements, the 20 percent down payment and that sort of thing, and by forcing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up those mortgages from the people who no longer had to meet the same requirements.

"The banks had no choice but to go along because the regulators controlled their fate. So the banks would simply sign up people, sell the mortgages to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. It now became Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac's problem. And that meant it became the taxpayers' problem." [quotes from Newsmax interview]

Repairs and improvements

If you own rental property: "A repair keeps your property in good operating condition. It does not materially add to the value of your property or substantially prolong its life."

I wonder if the the genius who wrote this ever tried to sell or rent a house with mold, discolored wall board, or sagging ceilings because the plumbing, gutters, or leaks weren't fixed. It might not add value, but if you neglect repairs, you can certain subtract value.

"You can deduct the cost of repairs to your rental property. You cannot deduct the cost of improvements." Improvements you depreciate. And if you understand depreciation, you should be a CPA, not a landlord.

Skills you need to find a job

One of my temp jobs I had in 1976 (see below) was with JTPA (successor to CETA)--Ohio Senior Training and Employment Program (STEPS). I worked with a wonderful group of women in an efficiently run state agency. I wrote publications, planned workshops, travelled throughout the state, and wrote speeches for the head of another government agency. I learned so much on that job, not the least of which was job hunting skills (because I had to write about them and teach them in workshops not because I used them). However, I got the job in aerobics class overhearing my instructor talking about it--and that's how most jobs are found, "networking." Still, there are other important points I learned, and have updated to account for new technology.

1) If you're unemployed, your job is to find a job. Spend 40 hours a week researching, interviewing, networking, updating skills, writing thank you notes, and knocking on doors. If you do internet social networking about job hunting, be careful what you say. Never, never bad mouth your previous employer or boss.

2) Dress appropriately for the interview (this might take some research if you are 18-25). If you love that big hair look from the 80s, you might want to reconsider what it says about you. Cut the gray pony tail if you're a guy.

3) Develop a fabulous resume, brief is best. Use a professional or have someone proof it for you. Anything you have on the internet may speak louder than your resume, so better check that out. Read requirements carefully! Some companies don't want paper; some don't want attachments.

4) All jobs need good oral and written communication skills. If you've been text messaging for 4 years, you might need a brush up on how to spell "you" and "are."

5) Eye contact, body language, posture, good grammar--they say more about you than you know. Video tape yourself--watch for all those unneccesary uhs, now, hmmm, etc. It's a form of stuttering and doesn't make a good impression. Just don't put anything on YouTube.

6) If they take you to lunch (this is customary at the university), it's not because you look hungry. Your table manners will be observed. How you behave in a social setting will be important to your colleagues.

7) Do I need to remind you to be on time? No excuse will be accepted--they've heard them all--babysitter didn't show, mother in law is ill, snow plow covered the drive, etc. etc.

8) Also, do your homework on the company! At least know what they produce, service, loan or build.

9) Be prepared for really dumb or tricky questions. Maybe they can't ask your age, but they can chit chat about other things that will trip you up if you're lying.

10) One last thing--although they can't ask about your kids, they can spot baby spit up on your clothes.

I won't even go into drug testing, but there are now companies that won't hire smokers, and they test for it. If you need to worry, you're probably not right for the job anyway.

Should you take a temp job?

We joined our church, UALC, on Palm Sunday 1976 and the next day my husband lost his job. The economy was a mess--he was already on a 4 day week and had changed firms about a year before, so it was "last hired, first fired." I have no recollection what we did about insurance--probably didn't have any, and if unemployment benefits were available, we didn't know about it. He found another job in 3 weeks where he quickly became a partner and owner, and which he left in 1994 to start his own sole proprietorship. But the shock of being unemployed with a wife, kids, mortgage, car payments, etc. affected his health and confidence for years.

Before he found a job, I signed on for temp work. I doubt that we had any savings to speak of. I was a stay at home Mom and the kids were in 3rd and 4th grade. I had dabbled in job-sharing, a big idea in the early years of the Woman's Movement of the 70s, but the baby sitting arrangements were appalling. After signing with a temp agency who located the jobs for me (taking a percentage of my salary), I did some interesting office work at various local firms like Ashland Chemical, Battelle, plus a medical office at Ohio State University. I distinctly remember it was my first experience socializing with women who had live-in boyfriends, and as the older woman (36) in the staff room on coffee break, I got an earful on why this is always a bad idea. Especially for the kids. No sharing of bed and utility bills is worth that. It was a bit like second hand smoke. Stinks as conversation.

In early 1978 through 1983 I began taking part-time, contract jobs. Yes, I was on the "government dole," as my dad liked to point out. All these jobs, mostly library or clerical, were from federal government grants, massaged and funnelled through state or university offices with a long red line of employees above me taking their cuts. Sometimes my benefactor was the USAID (Agency for International Development, State Department), sometimes FIPSE (U.S. Dept. of Education) or some other library funding group, and once Dept. of Labor, JTPA. But one stint was with a private company--a chain bookstore. Wow, what an eye opener. State workers have cushy jobs compared to private industry, and believe me, I couldn't wait to get back! Running an electronic cash register is not as easy as a library computer. Someone always had to rescue me with the gift card/discount stuff. Now, as a retiree whose pension depends on investments in the private sector, I see things a bit differently.

If you do take a temp job to tide you over, remember they are great learning experiences, and may actually lead you to your next best job. Just keep your mouth shut on coffee breaks.

Thursday thirteen--13 tips from waiters

This is from the Reader’s Digest, August 2008, and supposedly, real wait staff offered “tips.” I think #12 is important. Don’t take so much time that you hurt the waiter and the owner both! And #5 is good in any business. Treat people as you want to be treated. #4 is funny and suggests a touch of hostility, don't you think?

1. Avoid eating out on holidays and Saturday nights. The sheer volume of customers guarantees that most kitchens will be pushed beyond their ability to produce a high-quality dish.

2. There are almost never any sick days in the restaurant business. A busboy with a kid to support isn't going to stay home and miss out on $100 because he's got strep throat. And these are the people handling your food.

3. When customers' dissatisfaction devolves into personal attacks, adulterating food or drink is a convenient way for servers to exact covert vengeance. Waiters can and do spit in people's food.

4. Never say "I'm friends with the owner." Restaurant owners don't have friends. This marks you as a clueless poseur the moment you walk in the door.

5. Treat others as you want to be treated. (Yes, people need to be reminded of this.)

6. Don't snap your fingers to get our attention. Remember, we have shears that cut through bone in the kitchen.

7. Don't order meals that aren't on the menu. You're forcing the chef to cook something he doesn't make on a regular basis. If he makes the same entrée 10,000 times a month, the odds are good that the dish will be a home run every time.

8. Splitting entrées is okay, but don't ask for water, lemon, and sugar so you can make your own lemonade. What's next, grapes so you can press your own wine?

9. If you find a waiter you like, always ask to be seated in his or her section. Tell all your friends so they'll start asking for that server as well. You've just made that waiter look indispensable to the owner. The server will be grateful and take good care of you.

10. If you can't afford to leave a tip, you can't afford to eat in the restaurant. Servers could be giving 20 to 40 percent to the busboys, bartenders, maître d', or hostess.

11. Always examine the check. Sometimes large parties are unaware that a gratuity has been added to the bill, so they tip on top of it. Waiters "facilitate" this error. It's dishonest, it's wrong-and I did it all the time.

12. If you want to hang out, that's fine. But increase the tip to make up for money the server would have made if he or she had had another seating at that table.

13. Never, ever come in 15 minutes before closing time. The cooks are tired and will cook your dinner right away. So while you're chitchatting over salads, your entrées will be languishing under the heat lamp while the dishwasher is spraying industrial-strength, carcinogenic cleaning solvents in their immediate vicinity.

Link to Reader's Digest
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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

My Hot Wheels went to Haiti

It's not that I had a large collection--eight still in their wraps. I never joined a club. My nephew Ron gave me two dups from his large collection some years ago, and I still have those. But really, I was never going to do anything with these. So we packed them carefully in my husband's bag, and I hope he's found some boys in Haiti that would like them.

I've been amazed at the creative collectors I've found on the internet. Ugly sock puppets; pillowcases for soldiers; fruit labels; fountain pens; old musical records about prisons; tons of stuff our mothers threw away, and then there's that whole social networking thing where you collect friends.

The boomers are turning 65

Click to enlarge

Scary, isn't it? The generation that affected everything in our culture from education theories to music to recreation are entering . . . the falling years. Yes, according to JAMA more than one-third of adults 65 years and older will fall each year, and two-thirds of those who fall will fall again within 6 months. But before you rush out and buy a walker, keep in mind, that includes people in their 90s--the parents of the boomers. And people on multiple medications which may be keeping them alive, but unsteady from the toxic mix. Still, it's important to keep some of these tips (above) in the forefront of your consciousness. Exercise that includes strength, balance and flexibility can go a long way toward preventing falls. I cringe when I see a mid-lifer or 50-something jogging in the streets--I know that I'll be paying for that knee or hip replacement down the road. To say nothing of being hit by a car or biker. For goodness sake (and the taypayer's sake) use some common sense about pounding the life out of your joints! Many communities have exercise programs that are free or low cost, like body-recall; and if you live in a neighborhood that has good, obstacle-free streets and sidewalks, a walk outside is good. Many malls are open early for walkers. Our exercise class substitute instructor called yesterday and cancelled. I'm going to meet the class at the door and see if I can talk them into walking instead.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The obesity challenge

Today I was watching a very interesting program on the cable channel Biography about George Lucas. A lot of it was old footage of the development of his early films like American Graffiti (1973) and Star Wars (1977). Lots of fun to watch. However, the old clips of 37 years ago showed how thin he was in his 20s, a beanpole really . . . and how heavy he is now. Not obese by Columbus standards, but certain chunky. Plump. Chubby. I wonder what the government can do about this. Michelle, the CDC, hundreds of foundations and non-profits, all sorts of government grant money are being thrown at this problem. And he's not poor. Not a minority. He's rich, got health care. Gosh. Won't that skew the stats? JAMA is reporting that the government is so impressed by what it's been able to do with taxing cigarettes (although since it's been taxing tobacco for 360 years I'm not sure it's all that successful and hurts primarily the poor), that it wants to use the same methods for fighting obesity that it has used for fighting nicotine. I guess you won't be able to eat with anyone else in the room. Second hand calories, you know.

Insulting the Tea Parties

This video of Keith Olbermann, criticising tea parties for not being "diverse" while his colleagues at MSNBC are all white, is a hoot. But then, he probably had been gazing at his own navel so long he didn't notice.

13 Columbus pastors going to Washington DC

But not for the cause of social justice. Not for the poor. Not for Christ. I think it's the same gang that went after Rod Parsley. See my other, other blog.

New books on my shelves (or couch)

After exercise class yesterday I stopped at the public library branch and found out the book I'd placed on hold had 9 other holds! Wow. It's called The Checklist Manifesto. It's been getting some buzz--the author was even on the John Stewart show. I'm not a list maker; I resist lists. But as I age, my internal list generator has sputtered. Freakonomics blog agrees. Even those of us who don't like to make lists, will probably like this book. JAMA reviewer wrote: ". . . is beautifully written, engaging and convincingly makes the case for adopting checklists in medicine. . . a direct call to action to change the way health care is delivered."

So while I was there I spent $7.50 at the used book cart--3 books and one genealogy journal. I like my vegetable grilled fresh in a little olive oil--maybe 4 or 5 mixed together. But I bought Sensational Vegetable Recipes anyway. Thought maybe the photos would inspire me. Good quality paper and excellent photographs. Filo vegetable pouches. Cauliflower fritters with tomato relish. Sweet potato muffins. Hmmm.

Then I picked up Taste of Home Annual Recipes 1999. It's always fun to read while watching TV, and I'll probably take it up to our lake house, because it's compact and won't take up much space. Peachy Pork Chops. Turkey Salad for 60. Chocolate-filled Cream Puffs. The calorie police are coming! Watch out.

The third book was Prevention's Ultimate Guide to Women's Health and Wellness. I think this is on the bargain shelf at major book stores now because it's 2002. But this one looks like it's never been opened. Must have seen what the author said about women and smoking! Lots of white space, colored boxes with anecdotes, decent photographs for the exercise section. One doctor says she tells all her patients this: 1) Exercise regularly, 2) maintain a healthful weight, and 3) use exercise to control moodiness. Advice for backs: bend your knees rather than your back--will reduce strain. Another doctor's advice on coughs: 1) try to avoid decongestant nose sprays, 2) use cough suppressants sparingly, 3) don't insist on antibiotics (I'm surprised that there would still be doctors that would give these out on request).

Cross posted on my book blog.

Registered voters for Obama--illegally

Still working hard for Obama and the Democrats, studying Muslim cultures at Oxford. I see he has a Facebook page. Don't think I'll "friend" him. A very temporary resident and voter in Columbus--just long enough to register voters.
    "The house on Brownlee according to Malkin contains out of state folks here only long enough to register others, and vote absentee. They are Marc Gustafson, Heather Halstead, Daniel Hemel, Jen Kyle and Greg Nolan. Nice, clean cut looking Ivy League type kids (except Gustafson and Halstead (a couple?) are no kids) working for non-profits, government and businesses, all here to steal our election. Two Truman scholars and two Marshall scholars. Tell me again, Heather MacDonald what exactly you don't like about Sarah Palin's small town, western values and ethics? I'd put her up against these moral midgets any day." My blog, Oct. 15, 2008

Dogs will be dogs

IRS Publication 17, p. 172: "Loss of property due to damage by a family pet is not deductible as a casualty loss unless the requirements discussed earlier under Casualty are met." So I looked at that section, and it referred me to the above. The only example given is your new puppy pees on your oriental rug. Because it is expected and not unusual that puppies do this, you can't claim this damage. However, if the dog pees during a terrorist attack or government demolition of your home, you might have a case (IMO). But you might also have bigger problems.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Memories--Bus Rules

Most of the away athletic and musical events I participated in when I was in high school involved car pooling. But somewhere along the way, the Board of Education decided we could use the school buses. So of course, a few rules were written up.

    The Use of Buses for Athletic Games (1954)

    1. Bus fees, 30 cents for short trips and 50 cents for long trips, will be collected before the bus leaves. There must be a minimum of 35 students in order to use a bus.

    2. After signing to ride, no cancellations will be permitted later than 24 hours before departure. All students signing to ride will be liable for payment of fees, unless a cancellation is made in time.

    3. Students must be ready to go at the time of departure. The bus will not wait on latecomers.

    4. A faculty or adult sponsor must be on each bus, beside the driver [I think this means in addition to, not sitting with].

    5. No moving about when the bus is in motion, no rowdy or boisterous behavior. Windows must not be lowered without permission and then not below the designated point. There must be no shouting or whistling to persons outside the bus, nor should arms or any part of the body be extended from bus windows.

    6. Waste paper and other refuse must not be thrown on the bus floor nor from windows.

    7. The driver and sponsor are to have absolute authority over students riding in the bus. If students wish the priviledge of using buses for transportation to athletic games and other school activities, cooperative and courteous conduct will be necessary at all times.

    8. All students going in the bus must return to Mt. Morris in the bus.
Now compare those rules to the Renton, Washington school bus transportation handbook. Notice the difference in language. The "must" and "must not" has given way to "should" "may" and "is expected." Kinder, gentler--but far more serious problems are anticipated. Lots of "suggestive" phrases--not demanding obedience, but certainly hinting that there would be trouble (rarely specified).
    Your child should appreciate the important part he/she plays in accomplishing SAFE and EFFICIENT district transportation.

    Bus passengers should arrive at the bus stop no sooner or later than five minutes before the bus is scheduled to arrive.

    students are expected to stand a safe distance from the street and avoid activities that could injure themselves or others.

    Safe, respectful conduct is expected of all passengers to insure safety

    Certain activities may result in immediate suspension from bus riding privileges. These include (obscene gestures, pointing a laser, smoking, doing drugs, assaulting the bus driver. . . things we couldn't have imagined)

    For reasons of safety and health and in order to comply with state law and district policies, the following items are not allowed on a school bus: (list included animals, guns, knives, open containers of food, cd players, etc.)
Our list at MMHS went to the students, who were expected to comply; the Renton guidebook was for parents, who are expected to explain the rules to the kids.

How's that working out?
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What tax laws are new for 2010?

On p. 38 of Publication 17, it says, if you want to know what tax laws (affecting credits, IRAs, withholding and estimating) are new for 2010, look in the front of this publication (17). If you want to know what is expiring in 2010 you'll need Publication 505. Sorry.

How long should I keep my tax records?

"You must keep your records for as long as they are important for the federal tax law." p. 18, Publication 17. It could be 3 years, or 2 years, or 6 years, or forever if you've tried to evade taxes. For property, don't throw anything away. And if you plan to file for Social Security, it looks like you should be saving Copy C of the W-2 forever, also. Just in case there's a screw up and someone's been using your number. Looks like you need to keep the copies of your returns too, just in case. You can get a copy from the IRS (form 4506), but it will cost you. And it's not speedy, either.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Pope wants to hear from you

Pope Benedict XVI says priests should start using web sites and blogs, Facebook and YouTube. At you can go on Facebook and send the Pope a message. Since I'm a Lutheran, I probably won't do that, but it sure is a jazzy web page. And you can choose from 5 languages.

How can bankers justify outrageously high bonuses?

What an odd question!

How do you justify your work contract? Your "merit raise," your paycheck, your perks that others don't have, your nice office, your club membership, your four week vacation when new hires only get one or two?

Why are you paid more than the janitor, the retail clerk, the UPS driver, or your pastor? Who's flogging your greed? What did you sign on for?

Google was invented by a Russian immigrant. He hadn't even finish college. Why should he be incredibly rich and famous and you're flipping burgers, or teaching third graders, or mucking stalls. Got me. But it's a good place to start (by creating suspicion, fear and envy) if you want to destroy the economy. Figure it out.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

It's morning in America

Thank you, Glenn Beck, for that inspiring keynote speech at CPAC. Loved the chalk board.

Update: I won't embed them, but Maggie's Notebook has the full 60+ minutes, plus two smaller 6-8 minutes videos. Particularly watch where he really lays it out for the Republican Party, comparing what they need to do with what Tiger needs to do.

It’s tax time

We pay for a CPA. Do you?

HT Taxman blog

The media's induction of Joe Stack into the Tea Party movement

Although there was no clue in his suicide note that Joe Stack (flew his plane into an IRS building in Texas) was anything other than deranged and unhappy with the government (also set his home on fire with his new wife and stepdaughter in it), some in the leftstream media immediately began linking him with various tea party groups. If anything, considering his Marxist and anti-capitalist remarks, he was left of center.
    ". . .the Washington Post's Jonathan Capehart wrote at the Post Partisan blog, "There's no information yet on whether he was involved in any anti-government groups or whether he was a lone wolf. But after reading his 34-paragraph screed, I am struck by how his alienation is similar to that we're hearing from the extreme elements of the Tea Party movement."
Regardless, he was first of all deranged, and those come in all political shades. But where is Capehart's analysis of the mental state and political biases of Amy Bishop, who killed her brother 25 years ago, then fled the scene and held people hostage trying to steal a car, assaulted a woman in a restaurant in 2002, fought with neighbors, planned a gender bias law suit, read aloud in class from textbooks instead of teaching, listed her children as co-authors of a paper, and finally shot a roomful of colleagues, three of the dead being minorities. According to people who knew her and spoke to the press, she was a leftist fanatic. Off-putting even to other liberals.

Capehart + Amy Bishop--I find nothing on Google that he's written about her political connections. I don't know. . . Does this seem a good way to build readership or save the dying newspaper industry? Capehart needs a new line of work.

The public employee retirement plans theft

Lately Glenn Beck has been focusing heavily on the economic problems of the various states. We hear a lot about California; not so much about Illinois. Last night he hit Illinois hard. The state has "borrowed" (stolen) money from all its public retirement funds to support and pay for other programs. I think he showed five. That's illegal to do if you're in business. But has it helped Illinois' budget? Apparently not. How many people do you know who got out of debt by drawing cash from their credit card? I know Pinecrest in Mt. Morris is in trouble because the state can't make its Medicaid payments. Here's the letter I got from the University of Illinois:
    "Due to an excessive delay in the payment of our appropriation by the State of Illinois and uncertainty over what lies ahead, your university is facing unprecedented fiscal challenges. In the coming weeks and months, we will be taking a critical look at all aspects of our campus operations, re-examining everything from our administration to small academic units assembled years ago to meet specific needs. An extensive review process will underwrite each decision we make, and every decision will be strategic - designed to transform your university to meet the challenges of the future.

    We know that you will have great interest in our work and the resulting decisions, and we invite you to stay connected to the process. Indeed, as we explore the options available to ensure our continued excellence, you may well hear that we are reviewing your college or program. We have created a Web site called Stewarding Excellence @ Illinois as a resource for everyone in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign community. By visiting the site, at, you can stay informed of the latest information and activities, and we invite you to offer your ideas through the site's virtual suggestion box.

    A final note: we hope also you will urge the Governor and members of the Illinois General Assembly to reach an early solution to the fiscal crisis that now holds Illinois in its grip. As we move forward we pledge to you that all of our decisions on the financial challenges facing this campus and the University of Illinois overall will be guided by our land-grant mission of excellence in teaching, research and public engagement."
Unfortunately, what can the General Assembly do now but raise taxes during a time of high unemployment? A time when instead of focusing on jobs, our federal government just tried to grab more of the economy by taking over health care.

Several times, Beck said, "These people should be in jail," referring to the Illinois legislators who did this. Wonder if he meant Obama who was part of the Illinois General Assembly when some of the theft went on (although he probably wasn't there for the votes)? Beck also noted how many states and municipalities are in trouble because of unfunded federal mandates--and there will be more from EPA. No blame for the present administration for that--these go way back. But there are more to come as the EPA just by-passes Congress.

This study features Colorado and Kansas public employee retirement plans, so it's not just Illinois and California.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Friday Family Photo--Caleb's Graduation

Our great nephew, Caleb, grandson of my husband's sister, graduated from basic combat training on February 19. 165th Infantry Brigade at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. His brother, sister and family, his parents, and grandparents attended.

Here I am with Caleb about 20 years ago. They do grow up fast--and big!

Techno Jeep--Does this remind you of some church services?

This song is called “Techo Jeep” by Julian Smith. It was recorded live using only a 1991 Jeep Cherokee Laredo. Not too hummable, but then neither is a lot of music these days. Might work for exercise class, though.

Hoover was hardly a conservative

He was a progressive, and FDR followed his path until it was set in concrete and took 10 years and WWII to recover. This letter was in today's WSJ by George C. Leef. According to various bios on the internet, he's a libertarian and did run for office in Michigan back in the mid-80s.
    "The standard leftist narrative about our history holds that President Herbert Hoover was a die-hard laissez-faire advocate who wouldn't budge from his capitalist convictions even as the nation's economy spun into the Great Depression. The truth is that Hoover was a "big government conservative" who believed that aggressive federal economic intervention would speed recovery and reduce suffering. He specifically rejected the advice of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon that the best policy would be the same as President Warren Harding had pursued after the sharp 1920-21 recession: to cut taxes, cut federal spending and allow market adjustments to proceed unimpeded.

    FDR did not take the country down a different path, but accelerated rapidly down the failed, counter-productive statist path Hoover had chosen. The parallels between the Hoover-Roosevelt era and the Bush-Obama era are striking."
I've been saying this for years, and I'm not even a libertarian. George W. Bush spent like a Democrat, especially on social programs, and it took Obama to get even more reckless. But at least GWB had the economic sense to encourage more tax money for the government coffers instead of discouraging it with punitive regulations, cap and trade, higher taxes, and finger wagging threats.

Sky News Reporter Kay Burley

Not only is she a lapsed Catholic who didn't know why Joe Biden had a mark on his forehead on Ash Wednesday, the start of the most important Christian season, but she made things worse with her "apology" after staff explained to her what she'd done during a break. The commenters on this story are even more obtuse.

Amy Bishop file found

You can read the scan here. It's really chilling. One thing I noticed right away was that her mother called the police instead of an ambulence for the wounded (not yet dead) brother. Also, Amy Bishop was lucky (although not her colleagues 25 years later) to have not been shot by the police as they attempted to disarm her and she refused to put down the shotgun after she fled the murder scene (the family kitchen).

Update: From the Chronicle of Higher Education, "Her colleagues agree that she could be unusual. William Setzer, chairman of the chemistry department, recalls that she would interrupt meetings with bizarre tangents, “left field kind of stuff.” Robert O. Lawton, a biology professor who was in the room during the shooting but escaped unscathed, also thought she could be strange, but said she wasn’t the strangest academic he’d run across in his long career.

Another professor, however, has long been wary of Ms. Bishop. He asked The Chronicle not to use his name because, considering recent events, he is worried about his own safety. The professor, who was a member of Ms. Bishop’s tenure-review committee, said he first became concerned about Ms. Bishop’s mental health “about five minutes after I met her.”

The professor said that during a meeting of the tenure-review committee, he expressed his opinion that Ms. Bishop was “crazy.” Word of what he said made it back to Ms. Bishop. In September, after her tenure denial, she filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, alleging gender discrimination. The professor’s remark was going to be used as possible evidence in that case." [Since she killed or critically wounded most of the people on her committee I doubt that he will remain anonymous for long.]

Thursday, February 18, 2010

This really is delightful

Hmmm, hmmm, hmm. Chocolate raspberry. One of my favorite combinations. Lots of processed food doesn't live up to its advertising. Especially, low fat, low calorie. Most of it is also low taste. I bought Yoplait Delights Parfait, Chocolate Raspberry flavor, and I must say it really is very tasty and you'll feel like you've actually had a dessert instead of a cheap imitation that will leave you hungry.

Media got their talking points

It was announced on its one year anniversary that the stimulus is working--the Obama Biden dog and pony show said so. This morning the two newspapers I checked--Wall Street Journal and USAToday--obviously received their talking points. Both papers were just full of it--happy clappy, hopey changey articles. Whoopee. It's over. New housing starts. Our great leader has saved us from a Depression! More businesses hiring. They really spread it thick. Still, it's odd isn't it, that so little money has actually been spent, and yet they claim it's working? And didn't they say that in June and September too? I thought TARP was supposed to stop us from tumbling into the Depression. Oh, and USAToday threw in not one but two H1N1 articles about very serious complications for children with other health problems, just in case people were a bit suspicious of all the scare tactics and shortages in that program.

A great music blog

Music isn't one of my hobbies or strengths, but I still enjoy reading David Meyers' blog about the local Columbus music scene. Columbus is a musical crossroads (also the title of one of his books), and David is a meticulous researcher and entertaining storyteller. His recent reminiscences about Earl Wild formerly of Columbus and Ohio State who died January 23 at age 94, and Pat Wilson and her autobiography Yesterday's Mashed Potatoes which you can look through on Google, are a great read.

Partisan politics--Bayh's announcement

Apparently, a broken and dysfunctional Senate is a repeat theme, according to the Star Ledger editorial. Fifteen years ago Bill Bradley of NJ decided against a 4th term, citing the same reasons as Bayh of Indiana did this past week, although he leaned left (probably thought Clinton was too conservative) and Bayh leaned right (wasn’t an enthusiastic Obama team player). Forty three members of the the Senate or House have announced retirement, from both parties. It's always the other guys' partisanship when you're not the one winning. George Voinovich, a much criticized RINO from Ohio, being a good example from the other side.

A reader of the Star Ledger (NJ) writes in response to that hand wringing, pro-Democrat editorial: “There must have been no "mindless partisanship" when Hamilton and Burr dueled to the death over politics, or when the country near collapsed in civil war over trying to politically end slavery, or when the Republican Congress stifled Wilson’s attempts to start a congress of nations by personal attacks that caused him to have a stroke (or mental breakdown no one knows). Or when FDR attempted to circumnavigate the Republican senate by stacking the courts.”

Someone in la-la lib land needs to catch up on American history, and I suggest 30 days of watching Glenn Beck, or your ignorance back. When he recommends a book on history, politics or economics, it goes to the top of Amazon’s list.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The party of NO and the party of KNOW

The party of NO. That would be politicians and voters who support:
    No life for those children who aren't perfect or wanted; or who are inconveniently conceived; or who have Downs Syndrome; or who are the wrong sex.

    No life for the elders or parents who have outlived their usefulness to society and are gravely ill.

    No freedom of speech except their own.

    No freedom of religion except their own.

    No need for the Constitution.

    No need for trust or honesty, masquerading as moderates to get votes.

    No need for free markets.

    No need for capitalism.

    No need for investment in business.

    No need for private sector growth to employ more people.

    No need to think about unintended consequences.

    No need for border control.

    No need for military courts for terrorists.

    No respect for women politicians who didn't ride into town on their husband/father's coattails.

    No understanding of history.

    No right to decide how to use your own wealth.

    No human of greater value and worth than any animal.

    No school choice except for their kids.
The party of KNOW, on the other hand, is just about any other party--conservative, libertarian, Republican, Populist, Tea Party--who KNOWs what's going on in Washington, DC and will support candidates and legislation with their values.

Obama's stimulus is a dribble

It's awfully hard to find a WSJ news story critical of Obama's first year, or positive about Bush's 8 years. (Only the editorials are conservative in case you aren't a reader of this business periodical.) But today's U.S. News section (A2) is close--it actually points out the failures of ARRA without calling them that.

But think about the economy as if it were sex. Would you prefer the same old, same old (speaking of socialism here) that didn't work even when it was young, and now old and tired, dribbling out a little at a time? Or would you enjoy some focused attention with promises kept, not distracted by the condition of your health? And how well do you perform with constant threats and criticism?

Today is Ash Wednesday

If you live or work in the NW Columbus suburban area and wish to attend a service with communion and imposition of ashes, you're invited to one of the services at the three campuses of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church. The earliest, at 6:30, is over. At Lytham Rd. there is a 12:10 p.m. traditional service (liturgy), a 6:00 family service and a 7:30 traditional service. At Mill Run at 6:30 p.m. there is a family service, and a 7:30 contemporary service. At Hilltop at 7 p.m. there is a worship service with communion. Check the link for addresses, and maps.

Still providing misinformation on libraries

The Upper Arlington Progressives still don't understand that "free circs" are not the responsibility of public libraries to distribute. They are rehashing 2005 again. The public meetings in 2005 were "packed" with outside, non-tax paying (in UA) liberal interest groups to force the library to maintain piles of sex-peddling free circs in the lobby. For those of you not in the biz, a "free circ" is basically boiler-plate articles with some original content, and like all newspapers and magazines they are completely dependent on advertising, but they are provided "free." They are also known as "fish wrappers." The result? The libs won, and the situation made worse when the free circs were moved inside to specially made cabinets. The objectionable sex publications were already cataloged and available in the magazine/newspaper section of the reading room, proof the protesters were just making a political move.

Don't let the word "progressive" in the name fool you. There's never anything new or original in socialism. Certainly not progress.

Sadie's the total package!

The Scottie was judged Best in Show at the Westminster Kennel Club championship. "She's the total package," marveled Elliot Weiss, of Eagle, Idaho, who judged the Best in Show round before a cheering, capacity crowd at Madison Square Garden.

"This is the complete dog ... That's what you want a Scottie to look like," said Weiss. (Reuters)

Now if the rest of us could all look as good and behave as well as those dogs! But if you need a four legged friend and companion, consider a shelter dog. They will truly appreciate you! Don't forget the training, either, so others can enjoy your pet!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I'm not an early adopter

That's why I only recently joined Facebook. It sounded like junior high school to me--asking people to be your friend. Besides, with 12 blogs, who needed more on-line time? But, sign up I did, found lots of relatives, have put faces with names of church members, started a fan page, linked to news sources, and today I even tried to add the little widget thingy.

In 2009 Facebook went from about 54 million registered users to 110 million. And it wasn't just registered users. Unique visitors, page views, and total time spent all increased by at least double. That's big. It's experiencing Zuckerberg's law.
    At the Web 2.0 Summit in November 2008, Facebook founder & CEO Mark Zuckerberg famously remarked “I would expect that next year, people will share twice as much information as they share this year, and next year, they will be sharing twice as much as they did the year before. That means that people are using Facebook, and the applications and the ecosystem, more and more.” In other words, once the network is in place and people are active and engaged, the dynamics of the social interaction taking place incentivize participants to share information about themselves more regularly, which in turn solicits more engagement from others, creating a virtuous cycle of interaction. With increased interaction comes newer and fresher content, which helps feeds the addiction to consume information about what’s happening with the lives of people in one’s social network. ComScore
2009 Digital Year in Review

Who knows, in a few years, I might Twitter!

A new element making the rounds

This can be found on the internet in a slightly different form three years ago or more, and it's making the rounds again, probably because it was posted on Glenn Beck's site.
    Heaviest element discovered and named

    Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California has now identified with certainty the heaviest element known to science.

    The new element, Pelosium (PL), has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312.

    These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

    Pelosium is inert, and has no charge and no magnetism. Nevertheless, it can be detected because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A tiny amount of Pelosium can cause a reaction that would normally take less than a second, to take from 4 days to 4 years to complete.

    Pelosium has a normal half-life of 2 years. It does not decay, but instead undergoes a biennial reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places.

    Pelosium mass will increase over time, since each reorganization will promote many morons to become isodopes.

    This characteristic of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Pelosium is formed whenever morons reach a critical concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as critical morass.

    When catalyzed with money, Pelosium becomes Senatorium, an element that radiates just as much energy as Pelosium since it has half as many peons but twice as many morons.

Time Shares--I've never understood them

USAToday on Jan. 18 had an article about a well-educated, wealthy couple who were apparently not real smart about money. Their marriage was in trouble. So they accepted a free week-end at a resort, and were "suckered into" buying a time share during a week (October ) they can't possibly use! They have school age children.
    $18,000 for one week
    $1,150 annual fees
    $90 annual club fees
    $200 trade fee for a different week
She blames the beauty, excitement and charismatic salespeople. I see her dilemma (divorcing while trying to cut expenses and sell it), but we did something slightly similar in the heat of the moonlight when we bought a lake lot in Indiana we really couldn't use. However, we paid $10,000 for it and sold it a year later for $25,000.

Tight pants and funny hair

That's what football looks like to me, a non-fan. So I was happy to read in the WSJ a few weeks ago that in a 3 hour football broadcast there is just 11 minutes 43 seconds of the ball in play and 67 minutes of standing around. No wonder I can't get interested and always go back to reading or blogging.

Monday, February 15, 2010

More snow--probably a February record

We're supposed to get about 9", although depending on whether you're north or south of Columbus, your inches will vary. I have a feeling I'll be drinking coffee at home tomorrow. Children around here went to school last Thursday, after being off 3 days due to weather and/or ice or cold, then Friday the teachers had a meeting and today, Monday, is a holiday. I'm guessing they'll all close tomorrow--Columbus already has. Parents must be going stir crazy. Many were kids during the blizzard of 78, so it's pay back time.

One bad winter doesn't make "climate change," but all the news about lost data, damaged reputations and moved weather stations isn't going well for the IPCC--and there never was a consensus. Just greedy politicians moving ahead with regulations and rubbing their palms in anticipation of the riches of carbon credits. The science definitely isn't settled. There have been massive cover-ups, see Mark Sheppard.

Amy Bishop and "true crime"

Mysteries and crime novels are not for me. "True crime," written like fiction telling more than the writer could possibly know, is more interesting. Will Amy Bishop's story make good "true crime?" She murdered or critically wounded her P & T committee at the University of Alabama, Huntsville. What little we know of her story is almost too bizarre, as are the hints, missteps, and keystone cops in her sad history.

She had wanted Harvard, and was cut from the team early in the game. U.S. News ranks Harvard as #1 (other rating systems have it much lower), and University of Alabama at Huntsville isn't rated (although it's much higher in other systems). Is it a stretch to imagine that she considered her university, her committee beneath her? That they were lucky to have her?

Getting tenure isn't just about execellent, ground breaking research, or a list of publications in peer review journals. It's about being able to work with a group of people whose own advancements in their field will be tied to yours. She wanted Harvard, and someone saw through her. She moved on, and they noticed something strange too. Probably from day one. Or so it will say in the book.

Government push back

“The year [2008] just ended was characterized by three trends: a growing worldwide demand for greater personal and political freedom, governmental efforts to push back on those freedoms, and further confirmation that human rights flourish best in participatory democracies with vibrant civil societies.” Introduction, 2008 Human Rights Report, U.S. Department of State, February 25, 2009

The assault and ridicule by the mainstream media and the Obama Administration attacking tea parties, talk show hosts, conservatives, Republicans, libertarians, and cable opinion shows, including targets as minor as notes for a speech, indicates that this trend--a demand for greater personal and political freedom--is continuing and growing. Especially here at home. The push back would seem they believe our own civil society is too fragile for the freedoms for which we go to war elsewhere.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Cost comparison of notes by Obama vs. Palin

"Barack Obama and Sarah Palin each have their own unique crib notes technology. The two diagrams analyze how much each type of technology costs per speech." This is really funny.

No snow in Vancouver, too much in DC

Blame global warming. Here's a list of all the problems it's caused. All you have to do to stop it is return to the stone age. Or maybe not. I think the climate was changing in those days too.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ten churches burned, but "not a hate crime"

That's because most of the congregations are white. When small rural Christian churches are torched, and the congregations are black, then it's called a hate crime. At least in the media. If not, it's just arson.
    ""It doesn't have to be a hate crime," Crowley said, noting that a variety of denominations and non-denominational churches were targets. Most, but not all, have predominantly white congregations." USAToday
Something's wrong with our language.

Harry Reid's definition of the real world

He has accused judges of the Supreme Court and the American Bar Association of not living in the real world--you know--the one he experienced! James Taranto in Best of the Web [Feb. 12] takes a look at his resume.
    Here is a list of the jobs Harry Reid has held, according to his congressional biography: U.S. Capitol police officer (1961-64); city attorney of Henderson, Nev. (1964-66); state assemblyman (1969-70); lieutenant governor (1970-74); Nevada Gaming Commission chairman (1977-81); U.S. representative (1983-87); U.S. senator (1987-present).

    By our count, Reid's 50-year career spans some 33 years in elected office, 8 in appointed office (city attorney and the gambling commission), and 3 in a patronage position (the Capitol police). That leaves only about six years during which he might have been in the private sector, most recently in 1982, though during part of that time he must have been busy campaigning for his seats in the Assembly and the House.
Didn't his mother ever teach him that parable about stones and glass houses?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Our God will have the last word

Pastor Dave Mann and his wife Pam of Upper Arlington Lutheran Church are teaching in Ouanaminthe, Haiti. This is where my husband will soon go on his fourth short term mission with other members of our church. This area was not damaged by the earthquake, but the school, Institution Univers (private Christian), has taken in over 300 new students as relatives and friends take refuge in Ouanaminthe, an 18% increase using every available space. Dave writes on his Facebook page:
    "This morning as the students lined up in the lobby before going into their classrooms, it was easy to recognize the new students. Not only did they wear a Univers t-shirt instead of the full uniform, but there were also many other tell-tale signs – arms wrapped in gauze, wrists banded between splints, arms resting in slings, bodies balancing on crutches, eyes downcast. It was a moving sight. Two of my top English students who often come to practice English over the lunch break shared that they saw a girl who just cried all morning.

    The day began with an all-school worship service. I was privileged to give the message. It was not difficult to find the word that would be right – Ours is a God who knows how to transform evil into good. The story of Joseph which is a key piece of my Bible curriculum in the 10th and 11th grades demonstrates this teaching. As I began to quote Genesis 50:20, many of the students completed the verse with me aloud. And, of course, the cross of Jesus is the ultimate proof that our God is a redeemer. Joseph’s story was not finished when he was in prison. Jesus’ story was not finished in the tomb. Haiti’s story was not finished on January 12th. Our story is not finished today. Our God will have the last word."

Friday Family Photo--Mother's girl friends

September 18, 1995

[This letter from my mother begins with a story of my birth, which was induced with some castor oil so the doctor could go fishing. However, Mother said I came so fast I wasn't wrinkled and red, so I became "Peachy" at a very early age.]

"We have had a busy week-end with the 150th celebration of the Church of the Brethren at Franklin Grove. Saturday morning we went to the Pinecrest sale and then at noon we grabbed a sandwich and hurried to the celebration at the Emmert Cemetery on the highway to Franklin. [There are nice photos of the building and "Dunkard" cemetery at Flickr, but I couldn't download.] It was a nice meeting. Lucile Kinsely and Arlene David were there. Ada Blank, who is 93, recalled memories and Lucile spoke about her father's ministry of 37 years. That was the period of the free ministry. We had three pastors and they all made their living as farmers.

The church at the cemetery was the original building with a start of 13 members. There must have been a fast growth. Annual Conference was held there in 1865 or 67. The railroad track was on the other side of highway 38 and the train stopped there for people to get off or on as they needed. That was service.

When that new church was built in Franklin after the old one burned at the edge of town, boards were taken from the Emmert Church since there were no longer services held there. It all makes an interesting story and is the story of many small communities."

Lucile Buck and Arlene Beachley, 8th grade graduation photo, Pineview School. Mother and her girl friends went on to graduate from Franklin Grove High School in 1930, and all started that fall at Mt. Morris College. Arlene died a few years ago and when I looked up her obituary I learned her first name was Norma.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Thursday Thirteen--Norma's Laundry Tips

Recently the Wall Street Journal had an article on home laundry. It seems 78% of households do approximately 9 loads of laundry a week, and 1,100 washloads are started every second! Wow! The first 5 tips on this list came from the article; the other 8 are mine, from over 50 years of doing my own laundry mistakes.

1. Don't use too much detergent. Read the directions.
2. Sort by color.
3. Close all zippers and hooks.
4. Pretreat stains. [I use green handsoap--works great on fast food synthetic uniforms.]
5. Don't stuff the washer.
* * *

6. If you are retired, a couple, or live alone, have at least 2 weeks of underwear; launder less often.
7. Always, always check pockets for tissue. You might even find money, but dollar bills don't disintegrate and Kleenex does.
8. First and second floor laundry space is nice until something (roots in the drain 50 ft. from the house or too much soap) causes an overflow. Everything that backs up ends up in the living room. Trust me on this one. If you're slab on grade, you have no choice. Just get a root service out once in awhile.
9. Keep a suspended rod from the ceiling over head for hanging some items right out of the dryer. I use the brackets and dowel rod from kitchen cafe curtains we no longer use.
10. If your pet uses the laundry room (kitty litter), be careful about scented products. Their little noses are much more sensitive than ours.
11. Clean your lint trap after every use.
12. Pay attention to your warranty. Appliances produced in the 21st century are junk. Especially Maytag.
13. In addition to sorting by color, I sort by fabric. I don't put synthetics in the dryer unless they are a blend with cotton for shaping. Some time ago I read a laundry page that said oxygen bleach works better in cold water. It really works!

Someone thought this was a clever logo

I don't. I remember when you didn't dare mess with it. It stands for Quarter to Semester Update. Ohio State uses the quarter system, now it's converting to Semester. When you glance at this logo you think it's OSU, or Ohio State University (or Oregon State University or Oklahoma State University, etc.) It's a big job--and has been discussed, and voted down for years. There are advantages and disadvantages. The biggest advantage is 85% of colleges and universities use some form of the semester system.
    Advantages and Disadvantages of Specific Calendars

    Reports from the University of California at Davis and Ohio State University that examined the merits of calendar system use addressed the issue of quarter versus semester system advantages and suggested the following. Some of the advantages of the semester calendar cited are that: (1) it provides an opportunity for more thorough examination of subjects, research assignments, and term papers; (2) it increases time spent in each course, making it possible to receive in-depth learning and a better opportunity for students to "rebound" from a poor start in a course;(3) it promotes greater interaction between faculty and students; (4) it reduces the tendency towards course fragmentation; and (5) for transfer students, it offers greater compatibility with other institutions' calendars and curriculums.

    Some advantages cited in favor of the quarter system include its ability to: (1) afford departments greater flexibility in providing course offerings and availability; (2) allow students increased flexibility in selecting majors and arranging class schedules; (3) allow fundamental, introductory courses to be offered more frequently, making scheduling easier and classes smaller; (4) allow students to receive instruction from more instructors; (5) provide opportunities to retake failed courses sooner; (6) allow students who miss terms to resume college enrollment sooner; and (7) provide more opportunities for students to drop in and out, possibly shortening time-to-degree for part-time and transient students.

Not if Obama keeps this up

Maybe we'll just move in with the kids. Got this in my e-mail today.
    DO YOU HAVE ENOUGH TO LIVE THE RETIREMENT LIFE YOU WANT? Merrill Lynch invites Ohio State faculty and staff to attend a free retirement seminar; “Planning for Your Retirement Lifestyle,” on Wednesday (2/17) or Thursday (2/18) at the Fawcett Center.
Love or hate Glenn Beck, recently he's been lecturing on the debt our states are in due to some of their pension plans. As California goes, so goes the nation.

After being smacked around by the SOTU speech, the stock market went up a little when the government was so snowed in by this last global warming blizzard they couldn't do anything. In November 2008 everything started to nose dive because business sector knew more taxes and regulations were coming even before he took office. It accelerated the drop that began when Democrats took over Congress at the beginning of 2007.

Text messaging won't last

I'm going through some old boxes of cards and letters looking for valentines to use. Found some 20-30 years old. One was hand-made by one of my children, but I can't tell which one. Hint to moms: I know you think you'll remember, but jot the name on the back anyway. And I came across a 1951 letter from a friend. We'd moved (15 miles) and she was missing our friendship. No text message will ever last 60 years like this pencil and note paper plea. Today's children will not be able to get misty eyed or chuckle over life's little problems of 60 years ago.
    "You've just got to come up Xmas vacation and keep me company before I crack up. Because you are my very dearest friend and even if you lived 111,912,345,678,910,000,000,000 miles away you'd be my best friend.

    You come up Xmas vacation and tell each our troubles and cry on each others shoulders.

    Your friend till eturnity."

Why Americans are fat--cream cheese

Last night I put on my jammies and robe, and curled up on the couch to glance at TV and read a good book--the 2004 Taste of Home Annual, purchased at a library sale for $2.00.

"What are you planning to make?" asked my husband. "And why are there all those cook-books in our the bedroom?"

"Those are Martha Stewart. I never use them and I needed more room on the kitchen shelves so I shifted everything."

"Why are you looking at that book if you're not going to cook?"

"People who read mysteries aren't planning to kill anyone; women just like to read cookbooks," I replied, completely baffled that after 50 years, he understood so little about women.

After browsing several sections before I nodded off, I decided Americans have been made fat by a conspiracy to add cream cheese to everything from pastry dough to potatoes to salad dressing. And what doesn't get two 8 oz + one 3oz package of cream cheese, gets half a cup of sour cream, or a fourth a cup of butter (no substitutes, please), or all three! In my grandmother's day, women were fascinated by Jello. Just look at the recipes in the women's magazines of the early 20th century. Then when I was a little girl, it was cottage cheese on lettuce with half a pear and melted Velvetta and grilled Spam. My generation 30 years ago was discovering condensed soup mixed with any frozen vegetable and calling it a casserole for the church pot luck.

I did find a very tasty recipe in this volume (p. 91) that I modified yesterday, "Pumpkin Cheese Coffee Cake." Instead of mixing all that flour, sugar, salt, vanilla, etc. and spices, I used a box mix of Carrot Cake that I had on hand. I didn't use the package directions for oil, water and eggs, and instead used the recipe from the book.

1 1/4 cups of canned pumpkin
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs

The filling which is cut through the cake batter, uses

1 package (8 oz) cream cheese
1 egg
1 TBSP sugar (I used Splenda)

The topping which called for pecans (didn't have any),

3/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup packed brown sugar (mine was loose)
1/4 t. ground cinnamon

You still make a mess in the kitchen and use three bowls. It's also very messy to have the nut chopper jar slip out of your hands and throw walnuts for 20 ft.

Bake in 9 x 13 greased baking dish at 350 for 35-40--and I suggest 35, because 40 made it a bit dry. I taste tested it twice, one warm piece and one cool, and yes, it's just fine. It's the cream cheese, I think.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Gorewellian truth in the Audi Ad

"It will be interesting to see whether the ad actually sells cars. The premise only works if you take it as a given that this Gorewellian nightmare is inevitable. But the commercials arrive at precisely the moment when that inevitability is unraveling like an old pair of hemp socks. The global warming industry is imploding from scientific scandals, inconvenient weather, economic anxiety and surging popular skepticism (according to a Pew Research Center survey released in January, global warming ranks 21st out of 21 in terms of the public's priorities)." Jonah Goldberg

Earthquake awakens Chicago suburbs this morning

About 4 a.m. central time a 4.3 earthquake awakened the suburbs.
    The USGS listed these major population centres distance from the early morning 4.3 earthquake February 10 2010.

    * 6 km (4 miles) WNW (292°) from Virgil, IL
    * 8 km (5 miles) E (94°) from Sycamore, IL
    * 8 km (5 miles) N (1°) from Maple Park, IL
    * 14 km (8 miles) ENE (67°) from DeKalb, IL
    * 35 km (22 miles) NW (315°) from Aurora, IL
    * 77 km (48 miles) WNW (282°) from Chicago, IL