Sunday, December 28, 2008

Comments on 2008

It’s in the news, it’s on everyone’s mind, but no one says it. This was the WORST Christmas season in memory. For Americans, this season was overwhelming sad. The sadness was truly palpable.

As if it were something over which to exude pride, an announcement in the paper read, more children than ever received some or all of their Christmas gifts from charity donations. Parents cry tears of gratitude, laced with despair and depression for their inability to make a living in the richest country in the world.

News writers declared earlier this month that it’s only a previous taboo to let go or lay off workers through the holiday season. It’s okay now. Oh really?

Would someone please explain how is it okay auto companies get the money and close the plants, at Christmas no less?

Where’s the relief for the families facing or going through foreclosure? The continuing and overwhelming numbers of families loosing everything is shameful. Banks got their money. Billions! But families are still being put out on the street. Where are those relief dollars going? The banks won’t tell, won’t tell? Won’t Tell? Won’t Account?

Love the drop in gas prices! But where’s the rebate check from being (please choose the words you like best) overcharged, extorted, extracted, obtained under duress, ripped off, for how many years?? Was it six or seven years of mostly rising, gouging prices? And let’s remember how rich they all were at 75 cents a gallon.

The crowning glory, even the elite have realized there’s a problem because their profits have gone down. They’re a bit slow on that epiphany. How many years slow could be debated. But the hysterical part is that the economists still don’t get it. Do institutions of higher education only suck the common sense or the complete brain out of these people’s heads?

To be a truly great economist the qualifications must read: blathering idiot able to keep a straight face in front of a camera while spewing nonsensical rot to take the focus off the real and simple solutions by making everything seem complicated through a series of algebraic equations which any sensible seventh grader will tell you has no applicability in real life past figuring marginally useful information, miles per gallon, etc.

An economist quoted in today’s paper actually said that it was the worker’s fault the plants had to close but it should have closed 15 or 20 years ago because those workers were just getting paid too much money. Is he being sarcastic? No, the fellow really believes it.

Contrary to economist’s beliefs, workers are customers until they’re unemployed. Just a guess but it’s doubtful that any of the people laid off will buy a new car in 2009. Hooray, lower sales next year! Squeezing your workers… customers… workers… customers… workers… out of existence, just doesn’t make for large profits. And, if you keep it up long enough there are no profits at all.

As we come to the beginning of 2009, let’s hope the privileged have a moment of clarity: get rid of all their advisors that have gotten them into this mess, talk to some real sensible people and get things back on track.

Accountability is only required of those who have the ability to make the change, the rest just live with the consequences of things out of their control.

Friday, December 26, 2008

The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine

As of late, Thomas Paine has become the center of some controversy within some of the post/groups to which I belong.

Regardless of how many times I notice that people speak before they understand, offer opinions based on hear-say rather than facts, it still amazes me. The writings of Thomas Paine are not for the primary reader. There is also a need to place the man and his writings in place and time.

Thomas Paine had a great faith in the goodness of humanity despite the treatment he received from friends after the publications of his works.

Priviledged as I am from time to time to come across a book that not only is enjoyable to read but also filled with information, I am pleased to review "The elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine.

The Elementary Common Sense of Thomas Paine: an interactive adaptation for all ages by Mark Wilensky is a delightfully thorough examination of writer and revolutionary through his works interpreted to context.

The American Rebellion was a unique occurrence in the history of human kind. The stage was set with the ingredients of independence along with the force of ingenuity and resources that encouraged a brand of men in a new land without the bonds of economic or governmental oppressive control that allows for a brief moment the shining light of liberty and freedom.

Thomas Paine was a exceptional man who when finding himself alone after his wife and child died, set out for a new life leaving England behind and the New World ahead. In the New World, he reasoned that men so far from the benefits of Old World Society must seek to govern themselves using the resources given them in the new land for a new country, rather than supporting the old monarchy with its whims of personality dictated by a personage. Paine didn’t view monarchs as having the blessings of God but rather were rather the feeble yet powerful descendents of bullies and thieves.

Wilensky updates the language to today’s linguistic cadence and explains the unavoidable arcane words which Paine specific chose in his philosophical manifestos. It is a most readable text.

You may wish to read from this book to a class or workshop, or read along with your child as you explore the Revolutionary Times and the great men who set our country free from an unjust and oppressive government that taxed the people beyond justification and sought to invade their privacy and control their lives. Paine’s arguments are set out so logically even the British understood the American cause was just.

The second half of the book provides fun exercises to reinforce the lessons and play with the types of cartoon propaganda used in the 18th Century to persuade the general population to a particular opinion. This book has the potential to encourage youth to become fiercely American in a way similar to that of the Revolutionaries that founded this great country.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Book Review: The Life and Legend: Doc Holliday

The Life and Legend: Doc Holliday by Gary Roberts. NJ: John Wiley & Sons, 2006.

A most enjoyable read, The Life and Legend: Doc Holliday begins with background of the man who was probably best known as Wyatt Earp’s friend. Doc, named John Henry Holliday came from a Georgian family who moved Westward after the War. Their trials greatly impacted the young boy to the depths of his soul. Clearly, he cared deeply for his family and personal honor. Clearly, he wanted to be successful in his career as a dentist. Clearly, this man was dealt a formidable blow with the diagnosis of consumption (tuberculosis). It changed the direction of his life toward becoming an American Legend.

Doc Holliday does not have the column space of Wyatt Earp, but the man was as much responsible for the OK Corral as was the famous lawman turned entrepreneur. What there is known about Doc Holliday comes often from a side bar to the famous Kansas City lawman, or as a story handed down within a family both proud and ashamed of their connection with Doc. Holliday’s wife or girl, depending on who you believe, recorded her memories about the man she loved… and hated. All these bits of information, pieced into a cohesive story tells about the man and the myth.

The relationships created and broken in the Western territories shaped the Southwest into what it is today. 19th century factions of merchant ranchers fighting for land rights and cattle across the US/Mexico boarder set the stage for the most fascinating and romantic period of Western history. At no other time was there the opportunity for men to become what they might. The possibility of hitting it rich in the mines or making a reputation for oneself had never before, nor perhaps since, been so open for courageous men to seize the moment. However, life in the West may not have worked out as well as one might have hoped. Doc was one of these characters.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Review: Affectionately Yours, Screwtape

Probably best enjoyed after reading C.S. Lewis’ book, Screwtape Letters, this DVD Affectionately Yours, Screwtape: The Devil and C.S. Lewis may be viewed as a 5 part study guide or as a documentary.

Discussions on the DVD include such difficult and theological questions as good and evil, or good versus evil, and how free will is given to each person. Of course, the reference point is the Screwtape Letters and Lewis’ perspective on the World.

CS Lewis, a most beloved author wrestles with the temptation dilemma and all the ways perhaps a devil might try to engage and command an individual into sin. Initial presuppositions include who is Satan through the Bible and other historical texts and art, as well as how demons might be arranged in a hierarchy not unlike today’s corporations. The letters from a higher demon to his demon nephew/employee are revealing in the subtle ways in which temptation bombards the unaware and how even a good person may succumb to sin in minute increments.

Everyday spiritual battles are the essence of the Screwtape Letters as is the question for everyone who wishes to guard their soul from sin’s temptations.

Screwtape Letters is among my all time favorite books. I read the C.S. Lewis book for the first time about twenty years ago. Before reviewing this DVD, I revisited the experience before watching this DVD. The DVD revealed some of the author’s personal history, of which I was previously unaware. This information gave greater depth to the book and Lewis’ perspective and intentions for the Screwtape Letters. The DVD is thoroughly enjoyable, easy to watch and may be used as a study guide or as a documentary. I would highly recommend reading the book first so that one may understand all the references in the DVD.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Four Christmases

Vince Vaughn & Reese Witherspoon are absolutely hysterical in Four Christmases, if you're not from a dysfunctional family, otherwise, there are "moments of clarity" waiting for you between the laughs.

The story of a couple who both come from divorced families and have decided not to inflict their issues on each other, so they never go home for Christmas... until, by chance the freak fog keeps them from boarding a plane and they are filmed by the News Crew at the Airport... Now, it's Home for Christmas... all four homes!

Hang on to your cell phone and your therapist's number just in case you discover some hidden source of emotional pain... and laugh about it too!

Thursday, December 4, 2008


All the ingredients for a good movie... story line, good actors, appropriate locations and a bit of unreality.

The romantic story about a teen girl who moves in with her father, after her mother's remarriage. Bella falls head over heels in crush with a dishy teen-looking vampire who's been in high school for 90 years.

Suspend reality and the premise is amusing.

The vampire on an animal blood, rather than human blood diet likens himself and his companions to vegetarians. Of course, Bella orders a Garden Burger at the diner. So the two relate...

While sitting in the movie theatre with an ample number of teens. I'm pleased to note that there are as many romantic young men as women, giving me hope for the future.

Their parents, however, are busy stressing that this may not be a good movie because kids like it, which is more a comment on the parent than the teens.
One woman said she was worried her kids will want to be vampires... P-please...

It seems that most teenagers that watch a romantic vampire movies don't turn into vampires but may end up with romantic tendencies...

Of movies in the last decade... this one rates in the 90s.... very enjoyable, paced well, good characters, good story... looking forward to the sequel.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Not a Ticket to Paradise

Eddie Money and his band played last night. It took some arranging to attend. Looking forward to hearing one favourite from the 70s & 80s, just didn't come together the way it should.

His picture in the newspaper was fabulous. WOW! This guy has really taken great care of himself.

Pulled out the old albums... listened to some really great songs and wondered, was it worth putting up with a smoke filled room to see Eddie?

Perhaps, Siloam Springs Arkansas/Oklahoma at a Casino just isn't the best venue to show his talent. Maybe it was an off night...

The band was excellent, I have to give it to the guys. Even so, they couldn't cover for Eddie loosing the words, continually inviting the audience to sing, having trouble keeping a beat with the tambourine. He didn't look much like the photo in the paper. I was reminded of Elvis in the last few years of his life.

The crowd being overwhelmingly three sheets to the wind enjoyed Two Tickets to Paradise as if Eddie had actually sang the lyrics.

I just felt sad, wished I hadn't come and left before the show was over.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

I beg to differ

The caricature of JD Rockefeller likened to Dickens’ Ebenezer Scrooge sets the example of a hardened heart, a practical misanthrope, a cynic, but a successful one. Turning the gloom of hatred into financial success or is it the misery of success that produces the revulsion of one’s fellows?

The converse finds the ever bright and shining light of Melanie Wilkes, Scarlett O’Hara’s long suffering friend who would not say a bad word about anyone and dutifully, with dying breath, asks Scarlett to care for Ashley. Actual shining lights are hard to find outside religious martyrs. One finds temporary examples in Tammy Faye Baker or Oprah, both during their early years before an inquisitive press revealed the human foibles behind the image.

Oh but to the skeptic goes the prize, sometimes the Nobel Prize. The lineage of great skeptics includes Benjamin Franklin, Samuel Clemens, and Will Rogers, all men who sought the reason behind the action and the truth within the myth.

America’s uniqueness was founded in the skepticism of freethinking individuals who dared to ask questions, think about the answers, and return with even more questions as doubt and concern for the rational, logical, positive progressiveness spurred them on to create the greatest capitalistic country the world has ever seen.

Rising to the occasion of continual skepticism requires increasing vigilance as time creates history from current events. An inherent positivism, in the face of evidence, that allows joys to shine through while endeavoring to search for the radiance humankind has within to propel the species forward toward greater things, makes a reporter get up in the morning, stay late, ask the questions of representatives and the citizenry, get the story, the whole story, because we need a frame from which society can scrutinize itself to change for better.

The good news for the publishing industry is that inquisitive reporting, superior writing and telling people the truth increases readership, promotes an informed citizenry, sets ethical standards and it’s good for business.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Going to the Chapel

The Mildred Cooper Memorial Chapel in Bella Vista serves the community as a reminder of the founders of Cooper Communities, as well as, a monument to the work of Fay Jones, University of Arkansas professor of architecture.

Mildred Cooper, wife of John Cooper Sr, founder of Cooper Communities, lived in Bella Vista during the early years of the project. After her death in 1983, her family built the chapel to honor her good works within the community.

Fay Jones, the well known architect was engaged to design the Mildren Cooper Memorial Chapel in 1986-87. The arch and glass design echos his Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs. Jones received the AIA Gold Award in 1990.

The chapel small chapel serves as a public venue for musci recitals, small weddings and peaceful meditations. The chancel features a glass apse showing with views of Lake Norwood. The small nave feels grand and open with views from all sides through the glass walls held by pointed arches. The sanctuary embues tranquility.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Customer Dis-Service Continues

Okay, Okay, it's a pet-peeve, I admit it.

I received my replacement credit card in the mail today.

The plastic card had a sticker on it that read: Please call to activate after 9/22/08 & the 800 number.

When I called the 800 number to activate the card, the recording referred me to another 800 number because the computer had "no record of that number".

Dragon answered the phone.

Somewhere in the Northeast probably New York by the sound of Dragon's accent, there lives a mother who actually named her child, "Dragon".

Dragon had a difficult time understanding my problem, after thre times explaining the situation, he "got it" and put me on hold.

I have to give credit to him, despite apparent lack of training, he came back on the line several times to check to know if I still waited on hold. Finally, the answer came, I just needed to wait until next month to activate the card, the sticker was printed incorrectly.

Not Dragon's fault but I think the corporation could get their act together a bit better in their mailings and train their customer service a bit better and maybe, maybe, even pay a living to excellent customer service people who do their job well... just a thought.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Customer Dis-Service

Ever been disrespected by your credit card company? I hear it happens all the time to folks who, ummm, pay their bills.

Apparently, in some meeting, the smart people at the top decided to treat all their customers the same.

Pay your bill or don’t pay your bill, you will be calling someone in a distant land, who doesn’t quite understand what you say, no matter what you say, or how you say it and they will deny charges and create embarrassing situations, perhaps, even ruin your relationship with stores, business people and even with your employer, and why?

The answer comes in broken English, “You are using your credit card.”

But what are the details you ask? Perhaps, there was something wrong… something happening that was unusual that alerted the security department to suspend credit?

Here are the gory details: low pending balance plus one family birthday (sent flowers to grandma), business expense (charged a gift to a client), cold weather (charged a purchase of kids’ jackets) and craft projects (Christmas is Coming)…

Was the balance approaching the limit? No… not half way.

Was there a late payment? No… everything’s on time.

Were the charges all at once (like a stolen credit card)? No… charges were made over several days.

The account history shows that credit card use goes up this time of year. So, what’s the problem?

Retail Establishments encouraging spending this time of year should note that some credit card companies are working against them. So, if sales don’t go up put the blame where it belongs, on companies that treat their good customers the same as bad customers. Disrespectfully”.

“So why,” the customer asks, “would you not approve the charge?”

Customer Dis-Service: “You used your credit card.”

Customer: “Was there a problem?”

Customer Dis-Service: “No, no problem.The security department denied the charges.”

Customer: “Did they try to call me to find if they were my charges?”

CD-S: “No. The security department only denies charges.”

C: “I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”

CD-S: “You were using your card.”

C: “Yes, I used my card. But why was the charge denied? Am I close to my credit limit?”

CD-S: “No You have $****.** still available. “

C: “But they denied this $114.00”

CD-S: "Yes"

C: “And didn’t call?”

CD-S: “No, they don’t call”

C: “So they don’t want my business?”

CD-S: “Oh, you are a good customer”

C: “Will they call the company back and amend the situation?”

CD-S: “Amend?”

C: “Yes, will the security department or you, customer service, call the company that you denied the charges and tell them that my account is fine and put the charge through.”

CD-S: "No, you will call them, please."

C: “So won’t correct this situation with the company for me.”

CD-S: "You will call them, and tell them we said your credit is okay.”

C: “But you just told them it was denied.”

CD-S: “Yes, Can I Help You with Something Else?”

C: “Well, you haven’t exactly helped me with this. You do realize that I’ll be using a different company.”

CD-S: “Thank you. Can I Help You with Something Else?”

C: “You’re in India, aren’t you?”

CD-S: “Yes”

C: “Have A Great Day!”

CD-S: “Thank you.”

The security department didn’t pend the charge, they denied it. The guy in India didn’t understand or didn't care that I'll put the charge on a different company's account, didn’t understand or didn't care that it was a problem for me to call them to find out that there was nothing wrong, they just wanted me to call… Isn’t that special?

I’m not sure, but... I think someone doesn’t have a clue

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Devil's Night

The encyclopedia history of Devil's Night dates back to the 1930s, as a mischief night especially destructive in Detroit MI where the vandalism escalated to yearly bouts of arson.

But Mischief Nights are cross-cultural although usually in other seasons and pre-date this particular tradition.

The Mischief Night is depicted in the Classic Movie directed by Vincente Minelli and starring Judy Garland "Meet Me In St Louis". Placed in 1904, St Louis, MO just before the World's Fair. Margaret O'Brien as Tootie dresses up and runs a muck on mischief night. Residents leave old furniture on the porches that the children pile in the street and burn.

The Halloween Tradition of Trick or Treat was not violent but more prankster, funny, silly or messy but not intentionally destructive. Candy beggars would ring the door bell and yell, "Trick or Treat" and with out the treat, they'd leave a trick.

Sometimes old men would come to the door and show kids magic tricks that produced candy usually out of thin air. This made for the joint occurrence of trick and treat, much to the delight of the scavengers.

April Fool's Day is another mischief day. Magic Tricks or Illusions are particularly welcome. Where the clever and bright folks use the mischief times to tell jokes and laugh at self or friends, the angry or the dense use the day as an excuse to destroy.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

So, What Do Ya Do??

So, What Do Ya Do when the economy comes to a near halt? Do you reflect on how we got here? Or do you just hope, wish things will get better?

Funny thing happens when things don't go the way they should. Most people do more of the same and hope for different results. In the psychiatric world, doing the same thing, expecting different results can be classified as insane. Does this mean the economic world is crazy? Maybe...

Look at the facts:

There's been how many years of reaping without much planting. There's been an increase in profits per item but a decrease in the buying power of the average guy. There's been a flood of millionaires but not equal to the hurricane of working class slipping into poverty.

Let's look at the economist way of looking at things:

Profit base theory in retail works well when the rest of the economy has a broad base of manufacturing, government, wholesale, not focused on mega-profits but conservative growth. Profit driven theories leave out critical components if they dominate the landscape.

It's the classic not seeing the forest for the trees syndrome.

So, What Do Ya Do??

The few items you may have a choice of where to purchse or actually select from different manufacturers rather than just different brand names made in the same factory on a different day with a different brand name plate, have become the only way to voice your opinion. As they say, Money Talks.

Pick your stores carefully, are they economically friendly to the citizens of the USA? Pick your products carefully, are they economically friendly and environmentally concerned for the citizens of the USA?

Many people are concerned about the upcoming elections... I say cast a vote that will be heard. Really think about where you spend your money. Spend it wisely. Spend it in a way that keeps your family, friends and neighbors employed and sends the message: "We're sick of it and won't take it anymore!" (quoting from an old movie)

So, What Do Ya Do??

Got the Answers? Yea, Me Too... But being a nobody, all I can do is ask, "So, What Do Ya Do?"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Easily identifiable, the Cardinal shows its flamboyant color year round. Mid-Summer the male cardinal shines through the dense green Ozark forest. Winter the bright red Cardinal give hope of life on the other side of snowy cold days.

Male Cardinals make the cover of magazines and memorable appearances in our mind's eye. Female Cardinals are just as memorable but for their motherly ways rather than their splash on the scene.

A family of Cardinals, when they come to your yard, is a glorious event. Daily eating from the bird feeders, they prefer seeds but are quite capable of cleaning out a batch of peanut butter corn meal balls.

The couple joins together to direct the young in the food route. The young birds follow for some weeks, then take the lead. If there are several young males, they will jest and play together.

Read more:

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Yom Kippur

8 October 2008 is Yom Kippur, a Jewish High Holy Day.

This date changes every year because the date on the Jewish calendar is 10 Tishrei 5768. Next year, 10 Tishrei 5769 falls on 27 September 2009.

Yom Kippur traced back to the beginning at Leviticus 23:27 calls for Atonement and Repentance.

This can only be done by first recognizing what wrong we have done. Seeking out the person or persons we have harmed. Amending the situation caused by our wrong. Resolving to correct our behavior.

This is the true nature of atonement and repentance.

The day is spent fasting while in prayer and contemplation.

The rigors of the day are meant to realign ourselves.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


October: the tenth month of our calendar has Oct as the root. Oct means eight. History shows that calendar changes like map changes are political by nature.

For what October truely is includes the festivals honoring the harvest and the period when all beings sense the greater universe and choose to embrace or run from it. This is the time to deal with fear and scream or deal with fear and face it.

We see this played out time and time again as more horror stories, horror movies and the down right creepy come to the forefront of popular culture. This is the time of year when it's okay to talk about the world as a whole: the seen and the unseen, as clerics put it in their sermons.

Visiting graveyards and haunted tours abound. Why is that?

The vale between the seen and the unseen have an ebb and flow, as do all things in nature. If our ancestors were right about October and the Autumn, this is the time to honor our ancestors as they honored theirs. It's a time to reflect on our lives and know that soon we too will "give up the ghost" as they used to say. It a time to ponder the falling of the leaves and the meaning of life and death.

If you wonder if ghost are real...check out these sites...

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Autumnal Equinox

Just a day after the autumnal equinox, the air feels different. The trees started migrating their sap to the depths of their roots away from their branches and leaves. The green lost its vibrant nature of even a week ago. Pumpkin Patches and Halloween celebrations promise happy times for the new seasonal year.

Simple Baked Pear

1 pear, smooth & very firm

Preheat oven 350F

Place upright in a baking dish.

45 minutes

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Joy of the County Faire

Moving to a place where the county faire is a big deal can be as fun as quaint.

Fair Rides for the little ones whirl and twist, screams of joy, of fear, of nearly tossin' their cookies echo through the air.

Smells of cattle, cows, sheep, goats, rabbits surpise the senses of city and country folks alike.

The Bull Ring brings it's own version of entertainment. Will he or won't he get tossed this time? Who wins man or beast?

Talent Show kids throughout the county present themselves to the judges, guests and fair goers alike. WOW! That girl can sing!

But the best part of the fair, the part that few noticed or will remember came in the form of a little old lady, sitting in the corner. Each and every day she was just sitting there, smiling her little old lady smile as the men and women and children passed by... she served on the committee for the fair since the 1930s when she was "old enough to help". Some 70 years later, she's still helpin'. The things she's seen and the people that have come and gone, she mentioned and sighed. Things have changed. Things have stayed the same. The best part about her was she was as enthusiastic about every entry as if it were the only entry, the best entry and she encouraged every person that took time to talk with her to share their talents at the faire, to show the county what it has within it, and remember, she added, "do more for next year".

Women's Crafts are fewer each year. Who has time to knit? Crotchet? Who, in the next generation, will even know how? Who has time to bake for the faire? Who bakes for their family? Who can paint a portrait? Who can pose Photographs? Digital or Film? Who can make a Quilt? Who Gardens? Who carves? Who creates? Who has time? Who knows?

Examining the exhibits, the precious exhibits makes the county faire a one time event. Never again will this particular collection of items, crafts, art be exhibited again. It is a unique experience to be appreciated for the unique event that it is...

What will you show next year?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Book Review: Reading The Man

Reading The Man: Portrait of Robert E Lee through his private letters
by Elizabeth Brown Pryor

Friday afternoon, I sat, the youngest in the room, a member of the local book club, ready to give my first book review to the group of 20 or so women; all of whom are well read, articulate, and formidable. Was I nervous? You bet I was...

Quietly they sat as I told about the story Elizabeth Brown Pryor crafted about the amazing life of Robert E Lee. The book truly moved me to tears as I read. In the retelling, I did indeed get choked up more than a time.

The War of Northern Aggression began and ended as a war against Lee and his family by his former West Point school mates, as well as by former military brethren, who showed no mercy for a man they called traitor.

The Civil War was crushing to the common people on both sides. Few, if any families weren't touched deeply to the heart by the bloodshed of the war. Burn and starve tactics are always a way for war to show it's ugly face against civilians, in spite of what any General might say. The North sought to crush the families of the South.

What interests me about history are the details about life in another time and place. I wonder how can their lessons teach me about people, about that time and this, about life...

My interest in this particular story was the story of Mrs. Lee, her life, the children of this most famous or infamous man... what did they endure... how did they live... what legacy was left to the family of this much-loved, much-lived, much-hated man?

Mrs. Lee was the grand-daughter of Martha Washington. In her care were the Washington artifacts, legacy to her family but also, and she was quite well aware, legacy of the country. The Lee family of Virginia honored their ancestory of great Rebels of the Revolution, including Light-Horse Harry.

By the end of my report, some of the ladies also had tears in their eyes... it was a great story to tell... and the ladies were so kind to me afterwards, I felt honored to be part of their group.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Rain Rain

Plus and Minus to any situation, the yin yang as the Chinese refer to it, manages confirm itself in all things. It is for mere humans to recognize it.

Case in point: Rain

One requirement for life is water. Fresh water for mammals and plants is essential, we need it. Too much water, then, we drown. Storms and floods destroy much, kill many. Some curse the very thing that we need to survive because it came in abundance.

Children sing:
Rain Rain Go Away
Come Again Some Other Day

Or this one:

It's raining
It's pouring
The old man is snoring
Went to bed
Bumped his head
Couldn't get up in the morning

Adults speak of the Rainmakers and Flood breakers…

The Weather Channel fills your head with fear and dread of storms and floods that don’t materialize, after you’ve completed your storm proofing purchases for the day. Yet, there are those victims of storms who Weathermen declare are caught unaware because no one can really predict the weather.

When the rain comes
They run and hide their heads
They might as well be dead
When the rain comes

Makes ya think, don’t it??

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Amazing Crawdads

Amazing Grace How Sweet the Sound... a standard and a song that can bring tears to my eyes... for two reasons... it's sung well and it's sung badly...

As I sat on a friend's sofa last night, several people decided to sing a few songs. Amazing Grace was requested and happily, this time it was sung Amazingly Well. I was pleased to listen.

Not to give the wrong impression, the next song was "You Get A Line" which is a childhood favourite and one of the first songs I learned to play on guitar.

you get a line and I'll get a pole, honey
you get a line and I'll get a pole, babe
you get a line and I'll get a pole,
we'll go down to the crawdad hole
honey sugar baby mine...

As a child, crawdads were not on the menu... so I sang that song for years with no idea about what I sang.

Having moved to the Southern United States, I've seen folks fishing for crawdads, catching crawdads, and I'm left wondering... who was the first person who pulled a crawdad out of the water and thought, "geez, that looks like good eatin'..."

My Daddy used to say, "To each his own, said Mary, as she kissed the cow" which didn't make an sense to me but it made me laugh... Now, I completely understand especially when it comes to crawdads, and it still makes me laugh.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Very Easy Yummy Recipe

My chiropractor's wife/receptionist told me how to make this cake. I was skeptical because it seemed just too easy. But it's yummy! And the empty pan can testify to a cross-generational success!

One box Devil's Food Chocolate Cake Mix
One 12 ounce can of Dr Pepper


Prep the baking dish as you would for cake. Bake as directed.

Top with powdered sugar, or ice cream, or plain...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Shopping / Hunting, Same Difference

Elizabeth Montgomery popped onto the TV screen and announced Bewitched was coming next…in color… She was a fabulous actress and beautiful woman. The Bewitched Show wasn’t amongst the best material to showcase her talent but it certainly entertained many people through the years.

One black & white episode comes to mind when Mother and Samantha go shopping at a department store. Samantha explains to Mother that the object of shopping was to find lovely items on sale. She tells Mother that it’s really kind of fun.

Today at Kohl’s, the sale racks started at 40% off, the height of savings the 70% off. The hunt is on…. with the sale flyer and coupon 30% off, it was clearly time to shop.

Shopping is always such an experience. Often reminiscent of the world in which I grew up, I can’t help but note how far manners and general decorum has fallen… and frankly, it doesn’t matter to me if it’s the style for everyone’s flab to hang-out all over… at 200 pounds, honey, the small sizes just aren’t going to fit! What happened to the cry for self-respect? Oh yes, and adding perfume does not take the place of a bath…. Really!

Fun as it is, judging the other women in the store, wasn’t my mission… it was the item of most savings, I sought.

The 70% off rack is usually pretty sad. It’s full of horrible prints that even a bag lady wouldn’t wear. Makes you wonder about clothing designers and store buyers doesn’t it? But every once in a while, there’s an out-of-season item that makes its way to the rack. These are the items of “I bought it on sale” legend.

A practiced shopper can flip through a rack with the force of purpose, but you must have knowledge of several things before you get up to speed. You must know a) your size, b) your colors, c) a good deal versus cheap crap… Armed with this information you too are ready to Flick, flick, flick… Too ugly, Too big… Oh My Gawd…. Flick, flick, as the hangers scrape along the metal rod…

And then, there it was between the flower print and the baby vomit color jacket… a purple sweater… before we go any farther let’s go through the process, because let’s face it, many items on the sale rack are missing buttons or ripped and really should be removed from the store but management or a lazy clerk fails to remove them and the unwary shopper may purchase a defective garment. And a defective garment is not a deal. So, we need to check, everything.

Pulling the hanger from the rack, the arms appear the same length… since it’s a sweater is it stretched out in some odd way… no… check the inside of the collar for wear (is it a returned item?)… no… At this point, the excitement starts to build… check the seams… looking good and then the moment of Truth… does it fit? YES!

Starting at $44.00, marked down, down, down to $7.20… then subtract the 30% coupon… -.72 x 3 = 2.16 …. 7.20 – 2.16 = $4.04 TRIUMPH… less than 10% on a great purple sweater! Granted it’s August and I probably won’t wear it until late September or October… But I’m okay with waiting for the big day.

The Shopping Huntress Applauds…

Thursday, July 31, 2008

X-Files:I want to believe

If you liked the X Files, you’ll like this movie. It’s a continuation of the story. The characters have continued to live in their universe. We find out what they’ve been up to with a few hints within conversations. David Duchovny and Gilliam Anderson are easy on the eyes and believable in their characters.

In the 1970s, many people were open to different ideas. There were societies and organizations that researched, promoted, educated and believed that there was more to life than the 3D dissection oriented scientific or blind faith. Put to the task of explaining the previously unexplainable were people not unlike Fox Mulder and Dana Skully. People who were on both sides of the argument but not so set in their own beliefs as to disregard the evidence of the other side. Sometimes manifesting in a psychic being a proven a fraud; Other times manifesting in the acceptance that there was simple no way to explain what happened.

Some of the brave researchers and activists that come to mind are R Buckminster Fuller, Elizabeth Kubler Ross, Raymond Moody, Hans Holzer, Betty & Barney Hill. These people stood up to ridicule and told their experience.

Paranormal Psychology, as a field of study does not produce the type of evidence many scientists suggested it should, which resulted in funding cuts. One could respond with a question: how is it that when medical researchers who fail to produce their evidence, treatment or “cure” still get funded?

We know that when a person dies, 21 Grams of weight leaves the body. Is this the weight of the soul or spirit? Why do we, as a society, not wish to learn more about this and other related questions? There were large number of those who ventured into this area in the 1970s, not unlike a similar period in the 1920s, as well as, the late 19th century. It would be nice to have a renaissance of open minded folks who would want to believe.


Friday, July 18, 2008

Family First

In the best interest of important priorities, Kate will return to blog after a short break.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

It's About The Economy, Stupid!

By middle age, one would think that you might understand the happenings in life better. But I find myself not understanding more people in more ways...

Case in point: Economy

Economy is the movement of money from one person to another. It is conceivable that with just a few wealthy people within a town, the town’s economy would thrive by circulating the money and thrive if there were some clever people able to bring more money into the town to circulate more at a faster rate. For this to happen, everyone needs to understand their function in that economy.

There are bakers, and butchers. There are nurse and doctors. There are gardeners and merchants. There are teachers and mechanics. There are postal workers and street cleaners. There are repair men, paper delivery people, artists, manufacturers, computer programmers, inventors, gas station attendant, hat check or coat check attendants, restroom attendants, door men, elevator attendants, store clerks, chefs, tailors, people that get paid to do any number of jobs and services… necessary for the humanity of a civilized world.

Everyone that works in the town employs other people in the town. In fact, for a good thriving economy, the more people each and every person can employ to do the smallest of tasks, through business, the better the economy. Imagine the possibilities!

Take my neighbor… Please… He’s a lawyer, a professional, well, at one time that was considered a profession, with status. But this guy, who is an example of his generation and the problem with society today, is that he does everything himself. He hates to pay anyone for anything he can do half as well.

Handy as he may consider his attempts at home maintenance and repair, his house is not the jewel on the street. In fact, he does most things less than adequate. But he does it himself and he’s happy with the shabby look, I suppose, because he didn’t pay anyone else to do it. He fails to add to the economy. He doesn’t pay gardeners, landscape architects, fence builders, painters, car mechanics, OH NO! He makes regular runs to the liquor store and shovels landscaping rocks for hours on end. I heard he wonder why his business is so slow… and why people have started filling out legal documents themselves…. He was serious.

And his wife…she works outside the home. Of course she does. Instead of being an example of morality to the community, instead of volunteering her time, she slaves in an office for someone else who obviously doesn’t pay her very much because this lawyer’s little wife, cleans her own house, washes her own car, helps her husband paint decks. They often eat at Mc Donald’s, Taco Bell or order Pizza Delivery. No nice restaurants for this working woman of the 21st century married to a lawyer, no shopping sprees… she lives a lower working class life style and calls herself liberated.

And their child… it’s all about day care, baby!

These aren’t the only folks that have personally shared their ability to do everything for themselves.

The Periodontist stained his deck. The dentist repaired some flooring. The Marketing Director of a Major corporation can be seen every week cutting his own yard. The Bank President was seen changing the oil in his car. The Million Dollar Sales Person who irons her own clothes. The Teacher-of-the-Year cuts her own children’s hair. The Computer Programmer builds bed frames for his kid’s bedrooms. The Doctor of Science painted his office at work!

Every time, I see what should be an upper middle class professional laboring away… I wonder why they went to college when they really wanted to be working class?

They do it all themselves. They wonder why sales are down… few people can afford their services.

Everyone has gone to the do-it-yourself method of everything. And the economy… well… you know…

Friday, July 4, 2008

July 4th

The beauty of a good pyrotechnic show is a sight for young and old a like.

Fireworks or Pyrotechnics were developed by the Chinese as a natural growth from their invention of gunpowder. These master Pyrotechnicians were honored with respect and a good living for entertaining the people and the elite alike. Everyone loves a good show.

As of the 2007 Guinness World Records recorded the largest Catherine Wheel was lit in the UK on 30 October 1999, it was 85 feet in diameter.

The largest Display was in Portugal on 31 December 2006 with 66,326 fireworks exploded in the evening.

The longest Waterfall display was in Japan on 24 August 2003 with a display called “Niagara Falls” measuring 10,255 feet.

Halloween is the time to see great firework shows in Ireland and Canada, not to mention the great firework shows at all the Disney Entertainment Parks around the world. Disney consistently creates exciting shows over Sleeping Beauty’s Castle.

In the United States, it’s a common, if not required, tradition to spend some money for international relations on the Chinese imported fireworks and shoot them off in a show of patriotism. Some cities spend a large budget on fireworks, private clubs and individuals can procure vast numbers of explosive devices in the celebration of the Declaration of Independence dated July 4th 1776. There will be quite a show in America's night sky from July 3rd through the 6th.

But the best fireworks show in the world cost $17.04, happened on my driveway, because it made my kids smile.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Life is a Garden

There are days, weeks, even months that seem to revolve around a common theme. Is it intentional? The thoughtful person will wonder, is this a natural occurring or outside of self theme or is this an issue that needs to be addressed within. In the end the journey is what we perceive, therefore, it may just matter that the issue is addressed.

Contemplation in a busy world is something to be designed and obtained as often as possible. Contemplation provides the time to see the forest for the trees. If it is only the blossom that is focused upon, much of life will pass by without the notice, care and nurturing it requires. Without nurturing the whole, the blossom will whither on the vine and the beauty that could comfort and uplift will be lost for future generations. In time, the old ones will say, there was a blossom, it looked like this… and the children having never seen a blossom won’t believe them.

In the Great United States of America of the past, opportunity was available for people who worked hard. Quality work was rewarded. People were fed, clothed. The economy of the Great United States was built in the shape of a diamond, with the greatest number of honest, hard working Americans the following life style:

A typical American family had one parent working and the other parent at home to care for the family (which really is a full time job).

The family had a home, 2 cars, cupboards full, clothes for everyone, shoes that fit, health insurance, dental insurance, life insurance, investment, savings, 2 weeks + vacation paid, 40 hour work week, time for recreation, money to pay for services such as: gardening, pool service, plumbers, contractors for additions, handymen for maintenance. The kids enjoyed extra classes, music lessons and more.

In our upside down world today, most families are in varying stages of stress, and financial ruin. Two parents working three jobs, and a myriad of tasks left undone because there is little time and less money.

Basic essentials are disregarded because the hard working American has to choose between bad situation or bad situation.

For one family the choice was between health insurance for the family and tires, an essential part of a car, the car that carries the family from place to place.

The mom was saying how she couldn’t imagine life without health insurance and therefore the dad had taken a job for less money that offered health insurance to the family. In the meantime, someone noticed that the tires on this family’s the car were bald. They couldn’t afford new tires or even used tires.

Guess they’ll be covered for injuries when the tire blows out on the highway.

They could make other choices, what would you choose:

Should they not put gas in the car?

Should they not buy groceries?

Should they not pay their utility bills?

Should they not pay the house payment?

There is no other money. They squeeze out what they can with coupons, buying on sale. They kids wear cast-offs, they shop at resale stores. They are average Americans.

Why are these the choices for most American in the 21st Century? Choices of what would have been considered substandard in the 1950s. Is there no one of influence who knows America’s great history? Is there no one of influence who understands how an economy works?

If the average citizen doesn’t have enough for a decent standard of living, you’ll find banks going under, businesses closing, sales down, health care crisis, homelessness, hunger, substandard work to match substandard wages, filth in the street, foreclosure of homes, stock-market losses, surge in prison population, alcoholism, drug addiction, bridges and streets in disrepair, freedom lost for security measures… oh… we’re already there. Isn’t it time for someone of influence to speak the truth and make the change?

When the Owner looks out from his place, he scans the views of his garden to see what his wealth, knowledge and work has created. The owner hired a Master Gardener, who hires Gardeners, who train apprentices. The lowly apprentice works hard to learn from the Gardeners, they are paid as they train with the promise of better work and living wages.

The Gardener works hard to train the apprentice who eases the laborious tasks. The gardener is responsible to the Master and responsible for the apprentice. There are many levels of gardeners who specialize in particular plants. Then there is the Master Gardener who being in the honor place of providing for the owner the garden of their desire and the responsibility of all the gardeners and apprentice. Each individual being fairly compensated for their efforts by working hard, working well and produces a quality product with little or no waste. They recognize their responsibility at home with their family and at work. The economy of the world is the economy of the garden. All work together for harmony. The harmony produces the bounty. The owner reaps the benefits of the garden but also has the greatest responsibility to see that all have good work, good food and a good life.

The greatest lessons can be learned in the garden. If you wish it to grow, you will nurture it. If not you’ll end up with weeds, rocks and sand.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Name: Kate
Birthdate: December 30
Birthplace: Michigan
Current Location: Arkansas
Eye Color: brown
Hair Color: Greying
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 123
Piercings: three in ears
Tatoos: no
Overused Phraze: Ya know whad I mean?
Food: chocolate
Candy: chocolate
Number: 13
Color: green
Animal: wolf
Drink: water
Alcohol Drink: no thanks
Bagel: onion
Letter: Z
Body Part on Opposite sex: Big Arms
This or That
Pepsi or Coke: Coke on crushed ice
McDonalds or BurgerKing: neither
Strawberry or Watermelon: strawberry
Hot tea or Ice tea: hot
Chocolate or Vanilla: chocolate
Hot Chocolate or Coffee: hot chocolate
Kiss or Hug: hugs
Dog or Cat: dogs
Rap or Punk: punk
Summer or Winter: summer
Scary Movies or Funny Movies: funny
Love or Money: Love
Bedtime: earlier all the time
Most Missed Memory: my dad & my son
Best physical feature: ?
First Thought Waking Up: here again...
Goal for this year: pay the bills
Best Friends: Hubby
Weakness: honest
Fears: this quiz
Heritage: human
Favorite Eye Color: green
Favorite Hair Color: brown
Short or Long: long
Height: 6'
Style: real
Looks or Personality: personality
Hot or Cute: Hot
Drugs and Alcohol: no
Muscular or Really Skinny: muscular
Number of Regrets in the Past: nada
What country do you want to Visit: Greece
How do you want to Die: out like a candle
Been to the Mall Lately: no
Do you like Thunderstorms: yes
Get along with your Parents: I am the parent
Health Freak: yes
Do you think you're attractive: no
Believe in Yourself: yes
Want to go to College: graduated
Do you Smoke: no
Do you Drink: water, soda, juice, tea
Shower Daily: yes
Been in Love: yes
Do you Sing: in the shower and in the car
Want to get Married: Done it
Do you want Children: Done it
Have your future kids names planned out: Grandkid names even :)
Hate anyone: Takes too much energy....

Friday, June 20, 2008

About the Author

1. What time did you get up this morning? 6:30
2. Diamonds or pearls? Diamonds
3. What two things do you always have with you? cell phone & business cards
4. What is your favourite TV show? I don’t watch TV
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? Oatmeal
6. What is your favorite book? There are so many… Tao of Pooh
7. What is your middle name? Noneya
8. What food do you dislike? meat
9. What is your favourite CD? Korn
10. What type of car do you drive? My car is a Truck
11. Favorite sandwich? Grilled Cheese & Tomato
12. What characteristic do you despise? No honor
13. Favorite item of clothing? Cozy sweaters
14. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go? Any Warm Peaceful Tropical Island, I’m not picky.
15. What color is your bathroom? Green
17. Where would you retire? By choice, that warm tropical island
18. What was your most recent memorable birthday? 45… who knew I’d live this long??
19. Furthest place you are sending this? WWW
20. Who do you least expect to send this back? Don’t know
21. Person you expect to send it back first? Should be interesting…
22. Favorite saying? Can I say that here??
23. When is your birthday? December
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? Neither, I prefer afternoons
25. What is your shoe size? 8
26. Pets? 2 dogs
27. What did you want to be when you were little? A Good Mother
28. How are you today? Besides the pain/agony…stressed & bummed…it’s a vicious cycle
29. What is your favorite candybar? Dark Chocolate Godiva. although lately, I've enjoyed Milky Way Dark
30. What is your favorite flower? Whatever is blooming. Right now, Yarrow, Chamomile, Rose
31. What is a day on the calendar you are looking forward to? Tomorrow, it’s Summer!
32 What is the last thing you ate? Peanut Butter & Crackers
33. What are you listening to right now? Lawn Mower/Blower
34. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? Black
35. How is the weather right now? Humid
36. Last person you spoke to on the phone? Client
37. Do you like the person who sent this to you? Yes! :-)
38. Favorite soft drink? Coke on Crushed Ice in the Summer, Dr Pepper in general
39. Favorite restaurant? Roasted Garlic, just outside Atlanta, Georgia
40. Hair color? Grey
41. Sibling(s)? You could say that…
42. Favorite day of the year? Today
43. What was your favorite toy as a child? Stuffed dog
44. Summer or winter? Summer!
45. Hugs or kisses? Hugs from Friends & Family, Kisses from My Man
46. Chocolate or Vanilla? Chocolate straight up, Vanilla shakes
47. Do you want your friends to email you back? Sure
48. When was the last time you cried? Today, during physical therapy
49. What is under your bed? The floor
50. Who is the friend you have had the longest? My Man
51. Favorite smell? Trees & Flowers after the rain
52. What are you afraid of? Been there, done that…
53. Plain, butter or salted popcorn? Butter, real butter not the fake stuff
54. How many keys on your key ring? Ha! Which key ring?
55. How many years at your current job? Ha! Which job?
56. Favorite day of the week? Today
57. How many towns have you lived in? Too many to towns to count…7 states
58. Do you make friends easily? Depends on the friends
59. How many people will you be sending this to? Blog Readers Only

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Hip To Be Square

I met a wonderful couple from El Paso Texas the other day. As we chatted about this and that, I found myself revealing that I’ve become rather boring, or as we used to say in the “good old days” a square. But the really amazing part is how I’m so okay with it.

I must admit, I’ve taken Square to a new height but with the same process that squareness began. The method of applying reason or logic to every subject and situation makes the decision process of what to keep and what to eliminate from life simple, not necessarily easy. The poignant questions become: Does “this thing we are evaluating” have value? What does it add to life?

The process of eliminating the TV was something like this:

The cable bill expounds on the value of paying for 150 channels. The remote control programs 7 channels. Flipping through the channels becomes the primary activity because there is nothing worth watching. Pay for this, why?

Let’s try a while without TV…

Six years later…

Next on the list is the newspaper, if they don’t start including some news I may be able to do without it too…

Having a full life with no time to be dramatic, it truly is hip to be square. Huey Lewis and I have much in common.

“Hip to be Square”

“I used to be a renegade, I used to fool around
But I couldn’t take the punishment, and had to settle down
Now I’m playing it real straight, and yes I cut my hair
You might think I’m crazy, but I don’t even care
Because I can tell what’s going on
It’s hip to be square

I like my bands in business suits, I watch them on TV
I’m working out most everyday and watching what I eat
They tell me that it’s good for me, but I don’t even care
I know that it’s crazy
I know that it’s nowhere
But there is no denying that
It’s hip to be square

It’s not too hard to figure out, you see it everyday
And those that were the farthest out have gone the other way
You see them on the freeway, it don’t look like a lot of fun
But don’t you try to fight it; an idea who’s time has come.

Don’t tell me that I’m crazy
Don’t tell me I’m nowhere
Take it from me
It’s hip to be square”

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Ice Cream is Good for You!

Ice Cream is not only good, it’s good for you too! But don’t overdo!

Ice Cream in the Food Pyramid

Dietary guidelines from the Food Pyramid tell us to include 2-3 portions of milk, yogurt or cheese in our diet everyday. USDA says okay to Ice Cream.

Fat in Ice Cream

Recently, food scientists have discovered there is good fat and bad fat. Everyone needs some good fat in their diet. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet, because it helps our bodies and brains stay healthy.

Fat is used by the brain and the nervous system. Toddlers and young children need a good amount of fat because their brains are developing so quickly. Kids from 6-8 years old should eat 50-60 grams daily. Kids from 9-12 years old should have 60-75 grams in their diet each day. If you have a balanced diet, about 30% of calories should come from fat.

Food labels list the fat content per serving size, so it isn’t too hard to figure out if you are getting enough fat in your diet.

For example:
On average, Peanut Butter contains 16 grams of fat in a 2 Tablespoon serving. Compare that with Ice Cream that contains 14 grams of fat in one serving.

Good Facts About Fat

Fat helps fuel the body. Energy comes from burning fat. Fat helps vitamins travel in the body to where they are used to build healthy cells. Fats are necessary to make hormones. And it takes fat to create tissue for the nervous system. Without fat we wouldn’t think clearly or move as quickly.

What is Ice Cream?

According to Canada’s Food and Drug Act Ice Cream is mostly air. In fact, only 36% of Ice Cream is solid, that leaves 64% puffed air. Out of the 36% solid, only 8% of Ice Cream is milk/fat, 2% is flavor, syrup, fruit or nuts.

What’s your favorite Ice Cream?

A survey by the International Dairy Foods Association reported Vanilla as the most popular Ice Cream flavor. Here’s the breakdown:

1. 29% Vanilla
2. 12% Chocolate
3. 11% Nuts
4. 8% Neapolitan
5. 7% Cookies/Baked Flavors
6. 5% Fruit
7. 4% Candy Flavor
8. 3% Strawberry
9. 3% Chocolate Chip
10. 3% Mint Chocolate Chip
11. 2% Coffee
12. 2% Fudge/Marble
13. 11% Miscellaneous /Everything else

Vanilla sells the most because it’s the main ingredient in milk shakes, Ice Cream cakes, banana splits and it’s great on Apple Pie!

The Right Amount

Wise people tell us that Moderation is the Key to Good Health Habits. What that means is too much is not a good thing but too little probably isn’t very good either. There is a balance that is correct. So when it comes to Ice Cream how do you know what’s right? Simply, you don’t want to eat lots of it in one sitting , and you don’t want to eat it every day.

Keep Ice Cream special and you won’t eat too much. Eat Ice Cream on special occasions or just once in a while. Ice Cream was designed as a dessert treat for Kings. It adds sweet fun after a meal. It adds delicious delight to Birthday Celebrations.

Remember, a portion of Ice Cream is just one scoop.

Follow the guidelines and you won’t overdo. You can Eat Ice Cream and Enjoy it too!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Smooth Heels

There are few things as pleasing as producing something that is useful, good for you, and environmentally friendly.

Some of the best home-made cosmetics recipes come from Rosemary Gladstar and Jeanne Rose. Both women are long standing matriarchs of the herbal movement. Both women share their wisdom with the next generations of herbalist.

Although I can’t recall exactly where I got this recipe, it has proven useful, good for me and environmentally friendly. So I decided to share it.

With summer comes sandals and with sandals comes dry heels.

Heel Softener
1 tablespoon cocoa butter
1 tablespoon marshmallow root powder
1 teaspoon beeswax
1 teaspoon avocado oil

Place all ingredients in a glass or ceramic pot. Warm until all ingredients are melted together. Stir. Remove from heat. Pour into a jar. Cool.

Use with a pumice stone for best results.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Good Morning Blue Jays

This sporty fellow in the blue suit stops by the bird feeder each morning. A voracious appetite sends him on his morning rounds through the neighborhood cafeteria, Cyanocitta cristata better known as Blue Jays are omnivorous.

A most aggressive bird, the Blue Jay drops and swoops onto the ground chasing a Titmouse of her low hanging perch in the process munching a beetle bug, then bounds back up to the seed feeder for a taste, then one hop to the peanut butter grain mix and off over the fence into the wild of the Commons Hollow Property. These birds range across most of the United States and are unique in their coloring and behavior.

Larger than most back yard birds, Blue Jays average 9 -12 inches high with a 13- 17 inch wing span. They are easily identified by their blue and white feathers with black about the neck and a stripe at the eye. Males and females are virtually identical.

Blue Jay families are highly vocal, calling to each other relaying locations of delicious snacks, water and each other. They also warn when hawks or other predators come within range.

Bird Watching books and magazines encourage responsible environmental stewardship, as well as just having a great time with friends and family learning about the place we live.

For more information about Blue Jays, visit these and other web sites:

Truly a delightful time, watching Blue Jays will captivate the attention of young and old alike.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Mother's Day 2008

For Mother’s Day 2008 to meet expectations it must reach an estimated spending spree of $3.8 billion. This breaks down, according to IBIS World, in the following way: $2.6 billion on flowers, $1.53 billion on pampering gifts, and $68 million on greeting cards. Notably, 7.8% of jewelry sales are attributed to Mother’s Day gifts.

Greeting card holidays always seemed, well, commercial. Instead, it seems that a tribute paid to honorable people, or ideals might be better served in thoughtful deed at a more logical or appropriate time.

The purpose of the acknowledged origins of Mother’s Day are many. Several cultures site the observance of Goddess manifestation in Mother Goddess or Earth Goddess.

Clearly, the moment of birth or beginning gave the ancient ones pause. The act of becoming Mother in ancient times, as today is an journey of transfiguration for the woman into Mother and the Child into existence. While an occurrence happening everyday, each event is one that should be observed with awe and wonder.

Later, as in the American tradition, the women who sought to call a particular day, Mother’s Day had another agenda, most notably, anti-war or pro-sanitation stances for the American population. These women hoped to find within other women the force of will to make our society less violent and more caring, as a Mother might seek these conditions for her children, so should society seek to make better the conditions of each citizen.

It seems logical that most Mothers would be for Peace, yet, War Continues around the world. It seems that the world would have made headway in some way with “Mothers Against” name your type of pain & suffering, as it shows itself in Lack of Care, Lack of Funding, Lack of Love, yet we find reports of suffering in the daily paper as well as down the street, perhaps, next door.

It was my desire that my children not observe these quirky cultural days in relation to me. Should they desire to do so otherwise with their offspring, that is a choice they will make.

The experiment seems to be successful as we went about our business in much the same way as we do everyday. In much contrast to the day becoming hectic with additional obligations of a “nice dinner out”, our regular simple faire is quite acceptable.

Time is the gift I received with a bit more sleep in the morning, calm throughout the day, a chance to regroup before another busy week and meditation in the sun on this lovely Mother’s Day.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Value of a Recipe Contest

The value of a recipe contest is threefold: Aspiring chefs practice their newly acquired recipe or cooking technique, taste test their new idea & skill on a wider audience, and learn that the blue ribbon dishes aren’t necessarily the best tasting.

My three chefs –in-training are happily learning self sufficiency, whether they want to or not. It’s a requirement that individuals learn to prepare enough food for a variety in their diet, and so that future in-laws are not blaming me for the lack of domestic skills training.

For this Dairy Recipe Contest, two recipes came from the Star Wars cook book. "Dark Side Sundae" which is very dark and very yummy. The other, "Ewok Eats" suggests eating the (again, yummy) dip with broccoli, is much as perhaps an Ewok might do. The final and best recipe of the day came from the back of the Velveeta Cheese Wrapper, Potato Cheese Soup. This soup was fabulous. We set aside the first half of the large pot for the contest and ate the other half for dinner.

My three chefs were pleased that in a room of more than 20 young chefs, all of their dishes were completely eaten before the judges returned with their verdict. So it seemed that we had winners, at least by the audience’s standards.

The judges filed into the room. The young chefs and family members were hushed as the anticipation of the awards became palpable in the room. Clearly, the judges were loving the attention because they gave lofty and long winded yet general opinions about the overall quality of the food.

“All the food was great.”
“You all try real hard.”
“Keep on Cookin’.”
“By the way, when I was young…”

Then, the moment everyone was waiting for… it was all I could do not to laugh out loud, as the worst tasting but prettiest displayed dishes won for the third year straight. As testimony that it’s not just my humble taste buds, all these dishes had plenty of left-overs after the feast was complete, and I wasn’t the only one to say, “Wonder what she put in that dish, bless her heart?” This is a nice Southern way of saying, “Ugh”. Apparently, the plate or serving dish far outweighs the taste-test in this contest.

Luckily, the audience opinion given by clearing our serving dishes was most important to my three chefs because they haven’t been tempted to buy dishes but have continued to cook some very delicious recipes.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Book Review:Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
Barbara Kingsolver with Steven Hopp and Camille Kingsolver
NY: Harper Collins, 2007
Hardcover: $26.95 370 pages
ISBN: 978-0-06-085255-9

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle is the story of the author, Barbara Kingsolver’s family’s adventure moving from urban Tucson Arizona to a rural Tennessee farm. The move may be what many Americans might call, extreme but not just because of the geographical location, but because the family’s lifestyle and diet changed from store bought to home grown…radically.

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle promotes a return to locally grown seasonal diet to the extreme. The Kingsolver family grew much of their own food and what they didn’t grow they purchased from local farmers.

A few items such as coffee and spices such as cinnamon were obviously not local commodities, so the these scant items the author justified her diversion from the thesis with purchasing necessary items through Earth friendly, employee friendly World focused cooperative programs.

The entire family participated in the experiment adding to their list of family projects, cheese making, and raising chickens for eggs as well as slaughter. I laughed out loud when the author declared she’d slaughter “only the mean ones” for dinner. Clearly, Mrs. Cluck’s personality could extend or shorten her life span, which is more a city folk determination rather than a traditional rural attitude toward subsistence farm/food animals.

Barbara Kingsolver’s husband, a scientist influences the source of the basic premise from which the family makes life changing decisions. The statistics are not overwhelming for the non-scientific reader because Kingsolver puts them within the narrative.

Within the story is another story told by Camille, Kingsolver’s oldest child. Camille offers a young person’s perspective and recipes to adapt to the new life style. Her contributions are set off as side bars.

Kingsolver’s passion for her family and local farm movement as well as the planet as a whole is evident throughout. Her argument is persuasive and many sensible suggestions for a less radical conversion helps the reader relate because the author realizes that an overnight change is quite demanding.

Still the corporatization of farming spearheaded by Monsanto and Dow companies have produced chemically resistant bugs which in turn has doubled the percentage of crop damage from 6% loss in the 1950s to 13% 50 years later. Clearly, the corporate bean counters have fewer beans to count because of their shortsighted decisions of just 40 to 50 years ago.

Return to local food, local water, grow your own, be with your family, create a home around your hearth; these are the directions of which Kingsolver encourages ever reader to strive.

Interested in this subject?? Visit

Friday, April 18, 2008

Watch a Movie...Again

Admittedly, I enjoy a good movie. I enjoy better, a great movie. Because I enjoy the good and the great, I find myself revisiting movies that I’ve watched once, twice, or a dozen times before. This is simply because I won’t watch a bad movie. Sure, I’ve started some bad movies, but I just can’t finish them.

As a result, I’ve collected what some might call, a large collection of movies. Happily, most are movies I can enjoy over again.

Last night, I watched an oldie and a goodie: Sense & Sensibility. Once again, I thoroughly enjoyed Alan Rickman’s performance as the Colonel. Emma Thompson was fabulous as always. Hugh Grant was Hugh Grant, but I like him, so that’s okay.

I especially like period movies with all the costumes and the charm of by-gone-times. Once upon a time, I thought myself a romantic but reality makes it difficult to live there. So I’ve come to accept that movies provide an escape from the mundane 21st century, just as they had in the 20th.

If you find life getting to be a bit much… escape into a favorite movie…

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Are they serious?

A deeply disturbing article appeared in newspaper this morning. Disturbing, in that I can’t believe there are people still arguing this question.

The case: A 32 year-old man strangled his girlfriend and her children, aged 2 and 4 in December 2006.

March 2008, the prosecutor asked the man to describe how he strangled them. The man gave great detail and the trial reporter told us the murderer described how 4 year old boy squirmed he recreated the sounds of the boy’s struggle, gurgle and dying breath. He went on to explain how he started to cook the body for a while in the oven before putting it in the bathtub because it was burning. This made the people in the gallery gasp, turn away and even cry.

The murderer admitted he knew it was wrong. He said he deserved to die for this crime.

Apparently, there are people that don’t agree.

Some experts for the defense argue that the man who has a Special Education High School diploma doesn’t understand because his IQ is 63, several points below the line that labels a person retarded. And yet, he’s been gainfully employed for 14 years. Some experts say he held that job because a family member was in management and that he wouldn’t have kept the job, if it hadn’t been for that family connection.

So what is the regular tax paying citizen suppose to get from all this, besides the bill for feeding, housing and defending this murderous piece of flesh? Once an expert reaches a certain level of education, does all reason and morality oozes completely out of their brains? Does anyone question the family member in the management of a company that had this guy employed? The company owners should question the company management hiring and keeping retarded people unable of being responsible for their actions on the payroll, shouldn’t they?

The jury who listened to the case, found this man guilty of murder. The murderer admitted that he killed 3 people, his girlfriend and her two children. He states that he understands it was wrong and he believes he should die for the crime. The society at large represented by the prosecutor wants this man punished to the full extent of the law.

Why is there a problem?

What does all this say about our society? In a time when 2 working parents average 3 jobs while juggling the kids, smart people with degrees are unemployed, healthy people can’t maintain employment, hard working law abiding people end up homeless…we have a murdering retarded man being coddled with employment and treated so well he passes for a regular guy… then murders his girlfriend and two preschoolers and cooks one… this guy gets valuable resources thrown at him from his Special Education that costs more than a regular child in school, to a job that is saved by a family member leaving someone who needs a job unemployed, to the grand expense of a defense attorney and experts in a murder trial. After being found guilty by the jury from his community, experts want to give him more resources keep him alive and in an education program because he just couldn’t understand the consequence of his actions.

Are they serious?

If a dog were to kill someone, the department of animal control would put it down.

Clearly, this murderer deserves and agrees with the death penalty.

Experts need to stop hanging the taxpayers out to dry by throwing good money at bad. Put resources where it can do some good and clear out the dead weight that dragging everyone down.

If the experts find redeeming qualities in this murderer let them pay the bills for his food, the bills for clothes, the bills for housing, the bills for guards, the bills for attorneys and oh yeah… the bills for the expert witnesses too.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not My Mother's Generation

By the time I reached junior high school, women’s liberation had been in full swing for some time. Gone were the days that men held doors for women whether they were trying to seduce them or not.

Boomer women had pounded into the heads of the establishment that women needed to know how to navigate a repair shop rather than a sewing machine and I was right there too asking questions like: why aren’t there more women fire fighters or police?

When it came time to pick my seventh grade classes, I selected the shop series: wood, metal, print and horticulture. I was one of five girls that first year the school principal allowed girls in the shop area. I learned a lot. I enjoyed the whole thing. Being a tom-boy and not yet filling out, the boys knew I could play street ball and fight with the best of them. I wouldn’t change that experience. It was the beginning of my non-traditional life, outside-the-box.

However, nothing comes without a price, what I didn’t get were sewing or cooking skills of any kind.

After high school, I found my experience in shop class put me in a unique position, I had the same knowledge and experience as many of my male peers, but I was not hired for the apprentice plumbing position or the apprentice carpenter position.
The lack of domestic skills has been an embarrassment over the years. I’ve had to learn those skills I deprived myself of learning because I had bought, hook, line and sinker, that women wouldn’t have to do those mundane chores.

Years later, much to the dismay of my husband in our early marriage, I knew very little about cooking and indeed, I burned water, more than once.

Sewing, ha! If I couldn’t hand sew it (reference: small mending of partially pulled hems or a button) I was completely lost. I hemmed pants with safety pins more times than I care to remember. The drycleaner’s seamstress loved me.

Historically, sewing was not gender segregated. Tailors were more often men. Towns that afforded their own tailor were hubs of commerce. Women were not generally considered weavers or tailors. Tailors were tradesmen, craftsmen, artisans and business men, venerated for their skills.

In the days of the traveling salesman, men knew how to mend their own clothes. Civil War memorabilia includes small sewing kits from soldiers’ on both sides of the Blue & Grey.

Indeed, men did and do sew. At the George Washington Carver Museum in Missouri, there is an entire display of the quilts and needlework completed by Scientist Carver. Former Football Hero, Rosy Greer sat on a talk show panel doing needlepoint. Even bikers are seen sewing accoutrements for their “hogs”.

Perhaps, I’m continuing in my non-traditional stance. Or maybe it’s just good sense to teach children to sew. However you might look at it… I took my sons (along with my daughter) to sewing class today.

When the instructor of the usually all girl workshop asked the boys why they were there, they said, without prompting from their mother, it was another life skill they’d like to learn.

The truth is the boys have been in sewing class a time or two. But if they’re ever going to learn this skill, it’s not a lesson mama can provide. While I have taught myself how to thread a sewing machine and replace a zipper, I am not by any means able to teach them the skill in depth or answer anything but the most rudimentary questions.

The sewing instructor, who would be within my mother’s generation, came up to me after class and said how well the boys did on their projects. She was especially impressed by their attention to detail. She asked if I had taught them. I laughed and briefly explained my domestic impairment.

She said her daughters (my age) didn’t know how to sew either, with a sort of puzzled look on her face.

Apparently, the gender pendulum had swung away from home arts across the country not just in my home town.

We gathered all three sewing projects. I would defy anyone to determine the gender of the creator of any of the projects. My girl and boys did very well indeed.
I cannot decide which skills are required for my children. I do not know where their life paths may lead. I do, however, believe I am obligated to make sure they have a variety of skills. It never hurts to know how to be creative, constructive, and productive; even if you never end up needing that skill. I hope I would never make a child learn something or deprive them of that knowledge based on gender.

Clearly, I’m not of my mother’s generation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

No Such Thing as Adolescence

This subject really caught my eye. It all started with the email mentioning the latest report

"RE: Have you read the latest? The adolescence years go up to age 25 now."

Historically, there was no such thing as adolescence. You were a child or an adult. Teenage years or adolescence was a phenomena of the 20th Century with the increased ability of families to keep offspring immature and not responsible.

The natural progression of life includes spiritual rites such as bar-mitzvah or confirmation into adulthood at 13 -15 years old. As full members of the the church young men were able to start working to pick a wife and create families.

In more societies than not, the process of accumulating enough assets to provide a home and a living with learned trade or mercantile would take the average young man five to seven years before they were able to start courting, or arrange for a marriage. So about somewhere late teens or early 20s, many young people were selecting the mates. We see this in historical documents throughout Western Civilization, until the late 20th century after WWII, when marriage age increased and first time mother's age increased.

Ultimately, it's cruel to delay adulthood in society when both historically and physically adulthood occurs with the hormonal changes makes us ready for reproduction.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Customer Service, Ha!

Friends and acquaintances will attest to my continued chagrin when it comes to customer service.

In the old days, whenever a company would want to attract customers, they would provide their products with polite and accommodating service.

One of my favourite services of years gone by was the Service Station.

I recall accompanying my father to the service station on Saturday mornings. It was a big event for a young Daddy’s girl. Not only did I get to be with Daddy, I got to ride in his sports car, top down in the summer. What fun!

Much to my delight, every Saturday we pulled up to the Service Station and a man would hustle out to the car and ask, “May I check your engine?”

“Of course and fill it up!” Daddy replied.

The attendant hopped over to the pump and began the pump. In the time it took to fill the gas tank, the fellow would have washed the windows, popped the hood, checked and added needed oil, checked the air filter, check tire pressure and added air if needed. All this, just as the ringing of the pump bell stopped. (For you young people, there used to be a bell that rang every ten cents, imagine what that would sound like now!)

He’d happily ask, “Is there anything else I can do for you?” as he made change.

If a customer had a question exceeding the attendant’s expertise, that was not a problem. Each station had an on-site mechanic that was happy to answer your questions and schedule appointments (at your convenience) for any work needed.

Oh Yes! And the gifts! If you bought ten gallons or more, the customer would have their choice of gifts. I don’t recall what adults would select. But for a year, my father chose the International Doll Series, each time a new doll was available.

I tell you our parents and grandparents had it made!

Today, we’re overcharged for gas (by at least $2+ plus tax with a cost analysis), pump our own gas, and stand in line to pay a disgruntled, underpaid cashier. When the bill comes in the mail, there’s always something that isn’t quite right. So a brave consumer might venture to call the 800# to ask a question. No human answers the phone, the recording says they value your business… sure they do… that’s why you’re on hold so long! Finally if you make it through the labyrinth of push # for this, push# for that… you’ll reach someone who doesn’t speak English, and they can’t do anything but read the bill back to you. Don’t get too upset because the second they irritate you to frustration, they either put you on hold, or tell you they are recording the conversation from that point forward. In the end they refer you to the web site.

So much for 21st Century Customer Service!

Saturday, March 1, 2008

How does your garden grow?

Spring is coming! It’s a good time to plan your spring plantings, even if it isn’t time to plant in your climate area.

Where can wildflowers go in a garden? Just about anywhere. Wildflowers can create a meadow, a boarder, or just fill in those bare spots in corners or edges where nothing else seems to grow. Pick wildflowers that are native to your area and you will find they need very little tending.

Once established, wildflowers will thrive with little care and they will return year after year. Choosing wildflowers and grasses will enhance your yards appearance as well as work the soil.

Soil preparation for wildflowers is limited. You may plant wildflowers in areas that you didn’t have a chance to prepare for anything else.

Know your seeds. Some seeds germinate best in warm wet conditions. Other seeds need cold treatment before planting. Ask the vendor that sells you the wildflower seeds which type of germination works best on their seeds.

Creating an artificial cold treatment is simple. Dampen a paper towel or peat moss. Sprinkle the seeds on the towel. Place the towel in a plastic zip lock bag. Store the bag in the refrigerator for a month or two. Plant the seeds in the spring ground, as the weather begins to warm. Some of the seeds may have sprouted during the cold treatment, plant them as well.

Turn the soil the day before you plant the seeds. Mix your seeds with sand. Sow your seeds by the handful. Lightly rake some soil over the seeds. Keep the area moist but not wet until the seeds have sprouted. Thereafter, all you need do is water as needed and sit back and enjoy your wildflower garden.

Monday, February 18, 2008

hmm, 30 years ago

I’d like to think I’m wise beyond my years, but I doubt it. I think the years have just passed me by…

Some 30 – 40 years ago, my grandparents shared their thoughts about acceptance or resignation that their impact on society was to forever be limited to that which they had immediate control, even though they knew better about many things. When would my grandparents ever get to sit down and share his wisdom with those men making the decisions that affect everyone? They knew it was past their time to impact society, so they shared with me in hopes that I might be able to help at some future time.

Today, I look at my society as it is framed for me to consume in the daily newspaper, the findings are, well, the same as they’ve been, and I thought about that…

As I read the newspaper and realized that nothing in the last, how many years… well, my cognizant lifetime anyway, has changed for the better, unless you’re into games. But then that’s games, so does that really count when you’re talking about the global human condition? I don’t know.


The promises our society made to youth, when I was that youth, were for a grander world, a cleaner world, a world where people would be fed, clothed, housed and free to create a better place. Disease would be a thing of the past, healthcare was a human right.

Our lives would have a harmonious feeling as we as a species improved ourselves: physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. Our lives would be determined by what our choices produced.

The best and the brightest would be used to their greatest potential. The world was to be a paradise by the turn of the 21st century!

Humans would make amends for our offenses during the dirty retched past with a clean present and a bright future.

The possibilities were endless, only by how you limited yourself and your imagination. Imagine a better town, a better city, a better state, a better country, a better world.

Promises Broken

As I read the articles in the paper today about proposed “new” technology to harness the wind, solar and ocean power. I recall the same promises and discoveries about hmm, 30 years ago.

As I read about the rise in other prices because of OPEC's choke-hold on the US economy, I recall the same situation about hmm, 30 years ago.

As I read about Russian’s opposition to free smaller states and the trouble between ethnic Albanian and Serbs, I recall a similar state of affairs with the USSR about hmm, 30 years ago.

As I read about bombers in the Mid-East, I recall the same circumstances about hmm, 30 years ago.

As I read about the politicians who have already revised their campaign promises, I recall an election where politicians adjusted their positions about hmm, 30 years ago.

As I read about the economic situation including more job lay-offs, subsistence jobs being downscaled to substandard wages for the benefit of the company, foreclosure rates up, people displaced, food banks stretched, elderly in need of medication, I recall a stories of a time called the Great Depression, and minus the added hardship of the Dust Bowl during that same period, it seems that we (regular people) have hit a Greater Depression economically than in the 1930s, even if the talking heads are silent or inaccurate on that point.

Economically, for the average American family, things are tighter and more stressful financially than it has been during my life time. The Haves & Have-mores have even started to notice that return on their dollar isn’t what once was.

Since I haven’t been tapped to move up the food-chain to a place where my thoughts matter, I guess I’ll just wait to see what the folks at the top can figure out…

The answers are so simple. If it weren’t so sad, I’d laugh at the irony. I find myself saying things I heard the old people say, hmm, 30 years ago.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Shortest Month

What can we do with February?

It seems to be a very commercial month. It is a month of Hallmark cards, See's candy and cut flowers. Choosing to be more scientific, one could address the reasons why this month is so short. This gets into astronomy, rotations of the earth around the sun and the evolution of our calendar. That's good but it just doesn't seem enough somehow. In an effort to cover more subject material within one theme, Black History month was the answer.

Once you get past all the politic and social undercurrents that must be, at least, acknowledged in that the shortest month of the year, February, was the month chosen for the celebration of the contributions given our country by our citizens of African descent. The material available for study is endless.

Way back when, whenever I was in school the two African Americans we studied were Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr. Honestly, we didn't study their lives, their accomplishments, or their contributions. They were mentioned among other issues discussed. The Civil War and President Lincoln were accompanied by a side line about the Underground Railroad and Harriet Tubman. The Sixties and Presidents Kennedy & Johnson were covered as Martin Luther King Jr. became a footnote. Needless to say, my knowledge of the lives, triumphs and defeats by an entire segment of our population was lacking.

I have to make sure that my children receive a better education and understanding of the society in which we live so that their opinions of people, places and things are not based in ignorance. Our society is a mixed race society with people from all areas of the world. They bring with them traditions and beliefs from their homeland as they assimilate into the wider American culture to varying degrees. The amount of time in which a family has lived in the United States also has an impact on their children's beliefs and behaviors.

A newly arrived immigrant reacts differently to a situation than one whose family has been in this country for centuries. The community social codes impacts the way in which children learn to interact as they grow into adulthood. Intermarriage and the children of those marriages are sometimes treated differently than those who are of one cultural or racial background. This diversity should be celebrated instead of scorned. Children of diverse backgrounds have the opportunity to learn first hand from all their heritages.

"But I'm not Black, why should I study African American History?"

Good question. An article in Interrace magazine entitled, "Roots in Many Gardens" discusses with Shirlee Taylor Halzip, her mixed race background and the passing of family members as "white."

She states, "95% of white people have African heritage, 85% of black people have European heritage, and 80% of black people have Native American heritage. If we were taught that early on, we would grow up with a different attitude about physical differences."

So even if you aren't black, your friends or neighbors may be, even if they don't look like it.

Where can one begin to study Black culture and history?

There are many books at the library about the following Black Americans: Sojourner Truth, Malcom X, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Toni Morrison, Harriet Jacobs, Onnie Lee Logan, George Washington Carver, and don't forget Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King Jr.

The social/political/spiritual movements of the Black community are worthy of study as well: the Harlem Renaissance, the Black Muslim Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and much of our modern music; jazz and the blues are based in Black spiritual music.

There isn't a subject that one could study that there hasn't been some contribution by African Americans. But why doesn't the general population know or acknowledge this?

That is a question to ponder, as we who chose to view the world through realities eyes and strive to teach our children a greater understanding of the society in which they live by doing what we do best; providing them with the information, knowledge about all peoples, in greater depth and understanding than they could get anywhere else.

After all this, I'll get back to the construction paper hearts, cherubs and maybe a piece candy.