There was an error in this gadget

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Legalization of Pot

I heard something interesting about the coming election in California. The people will be able to vote for the legalization of marijuana for any reason, not just medical ones.

If this bill passes, it will be legal to buy, sell and use marijuana in California. However, under federal law, it is now and will still be illegal to buy, sell and use it. That sounds like California law will supercede federal law. Isn't that what the government said the Arizona law does? Attorney General Holder really should look into this and sue California.

Do you really think this will happen?

Friday, July 30, 2010

Transparency

TRANSPARENCY - The quality or state of being transparent.

TRANSPARENT - 1. Free from pretense or deceit: frank; 2. Easily detected or seen through: obvious; 3. Readily understood.

These definitions are from Webster's New Explorer Encyclopedic Dictionary, 2006 Edition.

Which of these definitiioons fits the current president? It's difficult to pick one which pertains to him. To some of us, he certainly is transparent; we can see right through him and his grand schemes. I guess to those who agree with him, he is free from pretense or deceit.

Certainly, the bills which have been foisted on us do not fit the dfinition of "transparent" and are not readily unerstood even by congress.

All of this researh into definitions was prompted by two recent articles I've seen. According to a recent New York Post article, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee is going to suspend its hearings on the sudden release last year of convicted Lockerbie bomber and Libyan citizen Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. According to Sen. Menendez (D-NJ) the reason the investigation was stopped is that the Briticsh witnesses they wanted to question on the possible link between Megrahi's release and a big BP offshore-drilling deal with Libya refused to testify. Sounds reasonable.

BUT could the real reason be that the probe might also have had to disclose what President Obama and Attorney General Holder knew and when they knew it. This comes up because on Sunday, the London Times published a letter written by deputy US Ambassador Richard LeBaron in the days before Megrahi was set free. This letter tells Scotland's first minister that while the Obama administration opposed the terrorist bomber's release, it was nonetheless "far preferable" that he be sprung on compassionate grounds than be moved to a Libyan prison. At the very least, this letter undermines the president's statement that he had been "surprised, disappointed and angry" by the release last year. It looks like he knew all along and didn't want to make a diplomatic big deal about it.

Now that the hearings have been suspended, we may never know the truth of what happened during those days last year, or read the transcript that the White House is withholding of a conversation Holder had with his Scottish counterpart before the release. Now we may never know the whole story.

One wonders just how serious the president is in fighting and winning the War on Terror. His handling of this affair seems to be part of a pattern. He started with making the release of prisoners from Gitmo a priority, then he went on his apology tour and his top terrorism adviser John Brennan's pronouncement that jihad is a legitimate religious practice. He has turned NASA into a Muslim-outreach program.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fuzzy Math

I just sat through the president's campaign appearance on The View. I didn't want to, but I felt it was important and I just might learn something unfiltered by the media.

My time would have been better spent daydreaming. There was nothing new, just a rehash of his claims of how wonderful he is. Personally, I think an appearance on a talk show, any show by a sitting president belittles the office of the president. The president is supposed to be special, above it all. His time could have been better spent.

I did learn something today though. We constantly hear from the president that the economy he inherited was in dire straits and no one challenges him. Today, he claimed, twice, that when he took office we were losing over 700,000 jobs a month. Today, the unemployment figures for the last week were 450,000. This number is down 11,000 from last week. Using the math I learned, the unemployment for the last two weeks is 911,000 which in two weeks is way over 700,000 jobs a month that the president claims he inherited.

Unless my math is wrong, the numbers show that the economy is truly doing worse that it was under George W. Bush. Why hasn't the media called the president on this phony math of his.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

SOAPBOX TIME

This is a dark day in America. The federal judge who blocked portions of the Arizona illegal immigration law has blocked several portions of the law, or at least put them on hold.

The judge delayed parts of the law that required immigrants to carry their papers at all times and that made it illegal for undocumented workers to solicit employment in public places. I thought that immigrants had to carry their "green card" at all times. At least, in the past that was the case. I remember public service announcements in the NYC subway system that reminded aliens (immigrants) to renew their "green card" and carry it with them. Officers cannot check a person's immigration status while enforcing other laws. Will someone please explain to me why that is wrong. If you are stopped for a traffic violation, you submit your drivers' license while the police check up on you to see that you aren't wanted for having committed any crimes. That should stop now since crossing a country's border illegally IS a crime.

I can't understand why the federal government wouldn't want any help in controlling ILlegal immigration. The great state of Arizona was willing to provide that help but has been turned down. It seems that the federal government can't or doesn't want to control the problem. Federal lawyers said the law is disrupting U.S. relations with Mexico and other countries and would burden the agency that responds to immigration status inquries.

What has Mexico done for us, aside from exporting their drugs, that we have to be afraid of ruining relations. If the agency that responds to immigration status inquiries is understaffed, why don't they hire more people, thus reducing unemployment in this country. This would result in more income from taxes and less outgo through unemployment benefits and would help the president grow the government.

One of the arguments against this law that I find deplorable is that it would lead to racial profiling. Racial profiling is specifically forbidden by this law. What those arguing that it would lead to profiling are doing is declaring the state police of Arizona guilty until proven innocent. I always thought that a person is innocent until proven guilty. But I guess that doesn't apply to police officers.

I completely disagree with this judge and side with the people of Arizona. In case you haven't figured it out by now.

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's All Relative

I'm sure by now everyone knows that we on the East Coast have had the hottest summer in memory. Last week we saw temperatures in the high 90s. Even if we had a shower, it was not enough to cool things down.

This past weekend I visited my cousin and her husband in upstate New York. She lives in the Catskill Mountains and of course, since it is so rural there are many trees. It was a nice break from all the sun and heat I've been through at home.

We went to a bar-be-que and many of her friends were commenting on the heat of the past week. They didn't feel like doing anything because of the heat. I thought that maybe the heat wave had reached the mountains, so I asked her the range of temperatures. Their "heat wave" range was between 85 and 90 degrees. What I wouldn't have given for those temps last week.

I guess it is really all relative, they're not used to such high temperatures, but they seemed comfortable to me.

Friday, July 23, 2010

I DID IT!

It's a success. The comforter/bedspread came clean and after four days on the rack has dried. There is no stain and I owe it all to oxy-clean and my son who recommended it years ago. My bedroom has now been summerized. During the cooler months I have a blue and white toile quilt which I love, but it looks too heavy for the summer.

Here it is before the pillow shams dried. I forgot to wash them with the comforter.

This morning I put everything together and decided that maybe I have too much white. What do you think?

I added the two toille pillows to see how they would look.


It's nice, but I don't see myself moving them each night and returning them in the morning, no matter how nice they look.

While I was at it, I also changed the tablecloth from blue to white. It adds to the freshness of the room. My cousin gave me the lamp a few years ago, the shade goes so well with the toile accessories.

Some of the pictures have been photoshopped to make them a little brighter. It's all the same room at the same time. Isn't photo editing great.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Laundry

About three years ago I splurged and bought myself a new skirted comforter in white. I just loved the way it covered my bed, and made it look so luxurious, light and airy. After a while I took it to the dry cleaner and specifically asked him to pay close attention to removing the cat hairs. He said he could do that, but he couldn't remove any stains from the cats.

All went well, until last year when I discovered one of the aforementioned stains. Thank you Crash and/or Burn. I thought it was ruined and it may be. But I had to try to save it. The care instructions clearly say "dry clean only". Since the dry cleaning won't get it clean, I had only one alternative. I had to try to hand wash it. That's a more gentle way than machine washing, and it probably won't fit in the washer.

This is a queen size comforter and is quite heavy when dry. I decided there was only one way to wash it. I filled the bathtub and put the comforter in, along with some oxy-clean. Since it is a jetted tub, I aerated the water for a little bit, then soaked it overnight. This morning I rinsed it out and added fabric softener to the final rinse. Then the fun began.

How can I get it to dry. It's much too big for the dryer. I had a drying rack which I put in the bathtub and draped the comforter over it. Do you know how heavy a wet comforter is? I'll tell you, it's very, very heavy. I'm sure it will take a couple of days to dry and then I'll know whether or not the stains have been washed out.

I hope I've succeeded as it will look great with the new curtains. I'd hate to have to throw it out and I can't use it anyway since the stain is/was visible as soon as you enter the room.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Stalling

I've been reading too many cautionary tales about living alone. Don't leave things on the floor that could trip you (does that include cats), never let outsiders know you're alone, be careful with ladders, etc., etc., etc.

The last warning kept coming back to me. In my last house, I did fall backwards from the ladder and proceeded to put a hole in the door fortunately I wasn't hurt, just a little stiff. I've been letting things go around the house if they involved a ladder.

Part of the problem is Burnie... he likes to climb ladders. It's such a project to use a ladder. First I have to put Burnie in one of the rooms, then get the ladder from the garage, set it up and make sure Crash is not near me. Only then can I start to work. As a result, I've been living with two burned out light bulbs in the kitchen and bedroom curtains that sorely need a washing, or even replacement.

Today I decided to change that. I had bought new light and airy curtains for the bedrooms and I'm tired of cooking in dim light. Before I could start work, I noticed that I was stalling, putting off getting the ladder, etc. First I had to check my email, then take the papers in, wash the breakfast dishes, empty the dishwasher and put the dishes away. I thought of every possible excuse including changing my shoes because I was afraid I'd slip out of the slides.

Time to work. It went surprisingly well and quick. Unfortunately, I opened the door when I was finished and there was Burnie waiting. He managed to remember how to climb the ladder, he also managed to "tree" himself up there. He was afraid to let me take him down, so I pushed the ladder up to the bed and made him jump onto the bed.

Everything looks so fresh and summery now. All I need now is a nice new cover on my bed.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Email

Yesterday my mail in Outlook started acting strangely. I kept getting a message to give my password, then I got an error message that Send & Receive failed. No matter how many times I typed in my password, the same thing happened. All I could think was that my computer was failing again and I had just gotten everything back to normal.

This went on all day. I went directly to my service provider, but I still couldn't access my email. I was getting very frustrated. There was an upside to the lack of email. I was forced to find other ways to spend my day. I discovered something new to do - cleaning. I actually did some filing and straightened my office a bit.

I went through my old magazines and sorted the recipes I had cut out. Some of them I decided I would never make. I did find one - Garlic shrimp with angel hair pasta. I had some shrimp in the freezer and I always keep garlic on hand. Tonight I tried that recipe. It was delicious. It was very hard to not eat it all at once.

But I digress. The email problem continued all night, even this morning when I got up. I tried to send a message to another email address and that worked, but I still could not receive mail. I had one more test before I called my provider. I went to the Clubhouse and used their computer, still no mail. Now I knew my computer was OK.

A few hours later the mail started coming through. Everything seems to be working well now and I'm almost up to date on my mail.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

To celebrate, our Photography Club took a road trip to Eastern State Penitentiary in Pennsylvania. This facility was opened in 1829 and closed in 1971. It is definitely showing its age.

Before we got there, we had a little meeting with the police of our own. While we were stopped at a red light, a driver behind us took a little too long to hit the brakes and hit us. I wasn't driving, my friend's husband was. We were all wearing our seat belts so no one was hurt. It helped that we were in a mini-van. Two of my friends complained of sore necks, but decided against going to the hospital especially when the police said they would be outfitted with a neck collar and board.

One simple fender bender brought a fire engine, two marked and one unmarked police car. After having our ID's and licenses checked for any outstanding parking tickets or warrants, we were sent on our way.

It was a very interesting visit. As you can imagine, the facility was in terrible shape since it has been unused for almost 40 years. It was a strange feeling, claustrophic at times. The cells were very small. Originally, they only opened to a small exercise area with no contact with any other inmates.

Each cell block was long with cells on either side. Naturally, when this facility was built in 1829 there was no electricity, so there was a small window in the ceiling for light and air. It was very hot in there.

We saw several cells that had been invaded by tree roots.

They had an Honor Roll plaque on the wall that listed the convicts who had served and died in the World War. They didn't say which war, I'd guess WWI. The odd thing about this plaque, and I don't think it's noticeable in the picture, is that there are no names listed, only numbers.

One of the highlights of the tour was Al Capone's cell. He, somehow, managed to have all the comforts of home. It has been said that, if nothing else, he was a very generous man. I guess that's why he had such plush quarters while there.

It's a very impressive building, not unlike a castle. I expected to see a moat, although by the end of the day there may have been. It rained, a lot, as we were leaving.

No visit to a penitentiary would be complete without a picture of the guard tower.

As we were leaving we saw this building. From a distance I thought it was a greenhouse, but on closer inspection I saw the designs in the glass. My guess is that they were etched. What do you think?


Before we went to lunch, I saw this clearing in the sky. Unfortunately, it didn't last since we had a lot of very heavy rain on the return trip.

It's a very interesting facility and I'm glad I had the freedom to leave. There was an audio tour which was a little frightening at times. They included sounds of gates closing and inmates walking. The clanging gates were very eerie.

Before leaving, we stopped for lunch. I had my first Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. It was very good. We ate in a converted firehouse across from the State Pen.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Weather

Today we finally got some much needed rain. At times, it seemed as if the skies opened and the rain was poured out. Maybe some of the lawns can be saved.

It's been so hot here, high 90's even hitting 100 some days that all the lawns have at lease one brown spot. Last week we were restricted from watering. One side of the street could water one day and the next, the other side. I think we may have a few days off from these restrictions.

I checked with Weather Bug and saw that there is a flash flood alert for the coast. That's the way it's been lately - all extremes no in-between. Parched earth, then flash flood although I believe I'm far enough away from the coast.

We expect more rain tonight.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Redecorating

Whenever Burnie has a hairball, he deposits it on the bathmat. As a result, I go through a lot of them. A few weeks ago I decided to buy some more so that I don't have to do the laundry as often.

While in the store, I decided to buy a new mat for the guest bathroom as that one has a lot of pulled threads, again the result of the cats. I also decided that the bathroom was bland so I bought a taupe mat to go with the taupe towels I already had.

Last week I wanted to redo the bathroom. I looked all over for the taupe towels, but no matter where I looked I couldn't find them. I'm beginning think that I never bought them. They were just a figment of my imagination. Today I went out to buy taupe towels, but instead I bought dark brown ones and had to buy a new mat.

Let's hope these new towels perk up the room.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Burnie's New Friend

Poor Burnie. He's had a rough day. His cough was particularly bad today. He finally settled down to look out the window and watch the world go by. I was relaxing on the couch and Crash was behind me on the couch.

Suddenly, Burnie kept running back and forth in front of the sliding doors. Back and forth, back and forth. I just had to see what got him so excited. There it was, that hungry baby bunny. He sat so still if I didn't know better I would have thought he was a statue.

Burnie just watched from the window.


I got my camera and they both posed for pictures.



Finally, the bunny finished eating the weeds and left. He left Burnie feeling very lonely.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Missed Walk

I never thought I'd say this, but I really miss my morning walk. Monday was my only day this week. Tuesday and Wednesday were too hot - 80 degrees at 7:00 AM. I really had planned on going out today, but Burnie fell down on the job.

Either he was very tired and slept very late, or he spent the night munching on the dried cat food I keep in the bedroom and wasn't hungry, but he never woke me up. Usually, he starts patting my head and "combing" my hair with his claws around 5:30 AM.

Maybe tomorrow will be a better day. Guess I should take the food out of the room so that he's hungry and wakes me up.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

My Garden

I'm not a gardener. I guess I should clarify that. I'm not an outdoor, in the ground gardener. The idea of digging in the dirt just disturbs me. I much prefer my container garden. For some strange reason, the dirt seems cleaner.

Because I hate playing around in the dirt, I'm also not much of a weeder. Things had gotten so bad in the front of my house that I was embarrassed to be seen going in or out the door. I was very happy to drive out of the garage since no one could really see me. This way of thinking doesn't make much sense since everyone knows where I live.

Anyway, I finally contacted a landscaper to clean up the small patch of garden that I have. The weeds were quite high and there was one that was covered with thorns. The landscaper said it was thistle. This is what the area looked like before he did any work.




It may have been full of weeds, but at least it was green. I don't have to worry about the grass, the community takes care of that.

After he cleaned everything up, it looked like this.

Unfortunately, with the heat we've been having and the new water restrictions, it probably won't look so good for long. Some of the flowers look like they're dying. I've been trying to give them a little water. Hope it helps. The hydrangea also looks very wilted. There's hope for them since they've been in the same spot for 3 or 4 years.

If I'm lucky, this drought and heat will kill the weeds.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Stolen Berries

This morning after my 1.3 mile walk (bragging) I decided to water my plants. There are some new flowers that are looking wilted along with one of my hydrangea. I thought I gave them a good soaking, but it's been so hot here that they still don't look so good.

Then I went around to the herbs. While I was watering them I remembered that I saw a lot of half ripe strawberries on Saturday. Thinking there might be 6 or 7 I started looking forward to sliced strawberries on my breakfast cereal. Imagine my shock at not seeing any berries. They were all eaten right off the plant. One was even dropped on the ground.

I can't imagine what animal would have eaten them. I know there are deer in the neighborhood, but I'm on the main street in the community away from any woods and have never seen them here. There are a lot of birds and there is the hungry baby bunny I see hopping on the lawns. Maybe one of them had a feast.

Who is the thief?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

I'm a sort of perfectionist. Most times I keep this trait hidden, but today it came out.

I was invited to a July 4th party and volunteered to bring a dessert. I had this idea in the back of my head. I would make a cake and decorate it like our flag. In my mind it was beautiful, in real life, not so much.

Because I doubled the recipe and used a larger pan, it stayed in the oven too long and some parts burned. Also, since I didn't use a true cake pan, the sides weren't straight. I started frosting it last night. I wanted an exact replica, so I counted the stripes making sure they were in the right position. I measured the cake so I would know how big to make the stripes. That worked out well on paper, but I kept having to readjust the size of the stripes and sometimes I scored the cake too deep.

No matter how much red food coloring I used, I just couldn't get the right color. After the stripes were done, it was time to do the blue background for the stars. Again, I just couldn't get the right shade of blue. I decided it was a flag that had been out in the sun too long and it faded. When I was doing the stars, I think I lost count and the arrangement wasn't quite right.

This is how it finally looked.

Finally, it was finished and I went to bed. As I laid there, I couldn't stop thinking about the cake. I just wasn't satisfied. I couldn't bring this out for everyone to see.

This morning, I decided to go with a tried and true dessert. I've made this for the 4th of July many times and it usually goes over very well. AND, it's very easy.

It was a success and everyone liked it. All it is is slice strawberries, Cool Whip (I don't keep whipping cream in the house) and blueberries. Perfect for this time of year.

Would anyone like a faded, slightly stale flag cake?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Walking

Ever since I retired, I've exercised and walked less and less. As a result, whenever I do some walking on a "city fix" I'm in pain for days. My legs and feet hurt.

Since I have two vacations c0ming up soon and they are sure to involve a lot of walking I decided to do something. I've mapped out three (so far) routes in the community for walking. They range from 1 mile to 1.4 miles. My goal is to walk 5 days a week and hopefully increase the distance to 3 miles a day. I know that once I get back into shape it's doable.

There are a couple of problems with walking in my community. One is time. You can walk for distance, but you can't plan on being out for a specific time. It never fails, I usually meet someone I know and stop and chat, or greet a dog.

The other is a little game I like to call, "Dodge the sprinkler" I'll be happily walking along and suddenly hear the hiss and then I have to quickly move to the other side of the street or get wet. Someone's sprinkler has gone on.

In spite of these little problems I've enjoyed getting out each morning for my little walk.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Hello Again!

I just realized that I haven't blogged since June 21. I can't believe I've been so lazy. Part of the reason for this lapse is the fact that my PC has been ailing. I have my laptop, but I felt "out of it" without all my old emails and documents.

Fortunately, my son was at a trade show close by and he made a house call. He had to take my pc back to factory settings and then use Carbonite to restore all my old files. Tonight he made the final repair and I now have all my old emails, calendars and addresses. I was just overwhelmed at the thought of compiling all my email addresses and telephone numbers.

He worked long and hard to restore everything and I didn't even get a bill.