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Monday, February 28, 2011

FINALLY!

I believe in giving credit where it's due.

Today the president issued a permit to one company to start drilling one well in the Gulf. It's a start, a small one, but a start nevertheless.

I know we won't see this oil for a few years, but it is a beginning. Maybe this will give some psychological support for the price of oil futures. Hopefully the president will issue more permits in the next few days.

It might be good for a few votes in 2012.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Separation of Powers

Have you heard the news. Until recently I hadn't heard it. We have a new Supreme Court Justice. I guess he's just a part-time justice since he has another full time job - president.

President Obama has just declared that the Defense of Marriage Act, which was passed by both houses of congress and signed by President Clinton, is unconstitutional. He has also refused to lift the ban on deepwater drilling even though a real judge has ordered that the ban be lifted and we need our own supply of oil.

I wonder what would happen if a republican president acted in this way. What would happen, if in the future a republican president like Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee or Donald Trump were to decide that the health care reform act is unconstitutional. The media and democrats would be calling for impeachment. There has not been much mention of this president's recent decision.

Does the president not realize that the constitution provides for separation of powers? The president is the executive and the supreme court is the judicial branch. It's as simple as that. The legislative branch makes the laws, the president signs them and the judicial decides on their propriety. Those are the three branches, not the branches that vice president Biden believes. He has been quoted as saying the branches are - the house, the senate and the white house.

The constitutionality of a law is decided by the judicial branch not the possible votes of one particular group.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Public Workers

After watching the news recently, I'm beginning to think I live in the Mid East. There are so many demonstrations against the governor of Wisconsin and there may be some against the governors of Ohio and Indiana. The only thing the governors are guilty of is trying to restrict some of the power of the unions. Public sector workers have walked off their jobs, even the legislators in Wisconsin have abandoned their job which is to debate and then vote on the merits of the bills that come before them. These people have shirked their duties and fled to another state and are in hiding.

Over 40 years ago I said that the unions had outlived their usefulness. Yes, in the beginning, there was a need for them, but now we have minimum wage laws, child labor laws, etc. We don't need the unions.

According to Matthew Continetti of Beltway Confidential last October 1, 2010, "Even President Franklin Roosevelt, a friend of private-sector unionism, drew a line when it came to government workers: 'Meticulous attention,' the president insisted in 1937, 'should be paid to the special relations and obligations of public servants to the public itself and to the Government….The process of collective bargaining, as usually understood, cannot be transplanted into the public service.' The reason? F.D.R. believed that “[a] strike of public employees manifests nothing less than an intent on their part to obstruct the operations of government until their demands are satisfied. Such action looking toward the paralysis of government by those who have sworn to support it is unthinkable and intolerable.”

Maybe the governor of Wisconsin should follow Ronald Reagan's example and fire the teachers and any other workers who have walked off their jobs.

Governor Walker does not want to eliminate collective bargaining. He merely wants to restrict it to pay and benefits. Other states want to implement "Right to Work" laws. That seems fair to me. Why should a worker be forced to join a union and pay dues. Those dues are used to support political candidates who the worker does not support or agree with.

I hope the legislators who ran away from their responsibilities will not receive any pay for their vacation, nor should the state have to pay their expenses.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Food and Movies

I've been thinking lately that my meals have been, well, boring. I've convinced myself that it's more healthful to eat lots of fish and chicken with just one vegetable or salad. That's all well and good, but it's been the same thing every day. No wonder I've been craving cookies, cake and chocolate. The past few weeks I've gone through so much chocolate and cake, I'm embarrassed to admit it.

Today I decided to change that. I found a recipe for honey-mustard chicken. The original plan was to just use one boneless chicken breast and marinate the other for tomorrow. When I saw how much honey-mustard sauce there was, I used both pieces. It was very easy to make. For a vegetable, I included green beans, then I decided to make rice too.

It turned out very well and was very good, at least I think it was. While I was eating, I was watching The Inn of the 6th Happiness with Ingrid Bergman. This movie was made in 1958. I never saw it then, so I sat through it tonight. Unfortunately, I'm a crier. I cry over everything. This story was based on a true story about a missionary, Gladys Aylward, in China in the 30's, a few years before the Japanese invaded China. She fell in love with a soldier, so there was a tearful farewell. Then she had to take 100 children to another town at least a week's walk away over mountains and through Japanese territory with very little food. I cried through the last half of the movie.

Do you know how hard it is to eat, taste and swallow while crying?

Friday, February 18, 2011

There's Hope!

The snow has pretty much disappeared. We've had a few warm sunny days and except for a few small spot we can see the sidewalk and ground.

Today I looked down and saw what appears to be shoots sprouting through the dirt. I had several bulbs planted last fall and I can't wait to see what will grow.


I do believe that Spring is near.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Hipocrisy of Democratic Civility

Not too long ago, the president was calling for less name calling and more dialogue between the two parties.

Today, we saw a fine example of this new "civility". The demonstrators in Wisconsin have been comparing their Governor Walker to Mubarak and Hitler. His crime? He wants the teachers' union to contribute to their pension and health insurance. How awful. We see everyday what a wonderful job these teachers do.

The president, instead of chastising the demonstrators for their comments, came out on the side of the unions/demonstrators. Where's the civility there? I guess the president believes in that old saying, "Don't do as I do, do as I say". What a hypocrite.

The democrats in the legislature, instead of doing their job and debating the issue, took the coward's way and left town. They went to a motel in Rockford, Illinois.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Telephones

I honestly don't know how my parents managed to get by. We got our first phone when I was about 12 and then we only had one and there were four people in the family. As my brother and I got older, we each got an extension in our rooms.

Now, I'm the only person in the house and I have four phones, two of which are cordless. I don't know how I managed without a cordless phone until 10 or more years ago. I love my cordless phones, but the only problem I have with them is that I usually leave them in the living room instead of putting them in their cradles in other rooms. As a result, the battery is constantly running down.

After all this charging, discharging and recharging, the batteries have gotten very weak. Today I decided to replace them. I was able to get one, but couldn't find the other. The price of the batteries ranged from $14.99 to $17.99.

Right next to the batteries, they sell the telephones. I started looking at them and saw a phone for $39.99. The phone for the battery that I couldn't replace is about 11 years old. I started thinking that for only $22 more I could get a brand new phone, which I did. The stand is nice and small. Then I had a great idea, why not keep the cordless phone in the living room and the larger phone in the guest room. This way, I could charge the phone every night and it takes up less room on my end table.

I don't know why I didn't think of it before.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Nothing

The other day I had several brilliant thoughts. Unfortunately, I never wrote them down and now they are lost to senior moments.

And I have nothing to say right now.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Laundry

This week my washing machine simply stopped working. I had my suspicions of the cause, but I called for service anyway.

The service person came today. She was a woman. After I explained the problem she knew just where to go. I needed a new pump, which fortunately she had in her truck.

As she was vacuuming out the water left in the old pump, she found two knee-hi stockings lodged there and saw another one stuck in the hose. The box that had the new pump included a mesh bag to be used for small articles. She suggested that I use it. I used to use a mesh bag, but after a while, it just seemed like too much trouble so I stopped using it. After she installed the new pump, she checked the space between the drum and the wall of the washer and found about a dozen knee-hi's. It was very embarrassing.

I admitted that I thought the problem might have been the amount of powdered detergent I was using, which is a lot. She said that I really don't need too much detergent. She also added that it has recently been discovered that Oxy-Clean can cause damage to the rear bering in front loader washers since it is designed to go after grease. Another mistake I've been making.

The third mistake I've been making is that I don't separate my laundry except for light colors and dark colors. I put sweaters in the same load as jeans or bulky towels. That's a big no-no.

She also suggested that I occasionally run the machine with about 1/2 cup of white vinegar, just to clean it out.

Imagine, after close to 50 years, I'm finally learning how to do laundry.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Technologically Challenged

While he was here over Christmas, my son set my car up so that I can listen to my i-pod while driving. I never read instruction booklets or manuals. It was never necessary, things used to be so simple. Put the key in the ignition, turn and the car starts. The radio was either AM or FM. I never even had a CD player in the car before. Anyway, he set everything up and tested it for me.

Last week, I tried and it worked very well. I really enjoyed listening to some podcasts. Yesterday, I knew I'd be in the car for quite a while, so I took the i-pod. I plugged it in, chose my podcast and put it in the console. Nothing happened. I picked it up, raised the volume and could barely hear it. I tried raising the volume on the radio, tried to change the setting from AM to FM to CD to Video, still nothing. I couldn't figure out what was wrong. I was about to give up when...


I looked down and discovered that the plug had come out of my i-pod. I put it back and VOILA it worked and I've been enjoying it ever since. There's a lesson to be learned here. Before getting so upset, check the plug.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Shopping

I had a few errands to run today and it felt so good to be on the road again. I really enjoy getting in my car for a long ride.

I'm having some of my friends over tomorrow for a light lunch, mostly cold cuts and salad. While I was on the road, I decided to stop at Wegman's. This is a supermarket with stores in only 5 states, all in the east. I don't go there too often because I spend too much. It's not that they are more expensive, it's just that their food is SO good with a good variety. Their produce lasts much longer than that from the regular supermarket. It was there that I first discovered bison meat. Bison is just like beef, only better. There's less cholesterol and more flavor.

My intentions were so good. I picked out my cold cuts and salad, then decided to walk around. Big mistake. Of course, I picked up just a few "essentials" like cook and serve pudding, bread mixes for my bread machine and dinner for tonight which I really didn't need since my freezer is chock full.

If I didn't enjoy cooking so much, I'd be a regular there. They have so many and such a variety of pre-made meals, ideal for someone who lives alone. I bought dumplings and lo mein for tonight and a quiche for tomorrow's lunch. They also have soups, salads, Thai food, macaroni and cheese and so many other dinners that I don't remember.

It's such a fun store.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Don't Do as I Do, Do as I Say

Those words seem to be Michelle Obama's philosophy. She is on a campaign to make us eat more healthfully. Her latest "suggestion" is that restaurants should serve smaller portion and that children's menus should include more fruit and less fries or cookies. Sounds great, but, did you see the menu for yesterday's Super Bowl Party?

They served bratwurst, kielbasa, cheeseburgers, deep dish pizza, German potato salad, twice baked potatoes, Snyders potato chips and pretzels, salad and ice cream. They also served beer. Granted, this was a special occasion, a party, but they certainly could have done without some of the food.

I checked out the menus for a couple of state dinners held in the last two years. The fare wasn't much more healthful. For a dinner celebrating India, the menu included potato and eggplant salad, red lentil soup with fresh cheese, roasted potato dumplings with tomato chutney chickpea and okra or green curry prawns with caramelized salsify with smoked collard greens and coconut aged basmati. The dessert was pumpkin pie tart, pear tatin,whipped cream and caramel sauce. They also served petit fours and coffee, cashew brittle, pecan pralines, passion fruit and vanilla gelees and chocolate dipped fruit.

The dinner for China was even better. They had D'Anjou pear with farmstead goat cheese, fennel, black walnuts and white balsamic. The second course was poached Maine lobster, orange glazed carrots and black trumpet mushrooms. The main course consisted of dry aged rib eye with buttermilk crisp onions, double stuffed potatoes and creamed spinach. Dessert was old fashioned apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Oh, the cholesterol!

Contrast this dinner with one given for Nelson Mandela by the Kennedys. They served layered late summer vegetables with lemongrass and red curry. The entree was halibut with sesame crust and carrot juice broth. They also served bibb endive and watercress with New York wild ripened cheese. Dessert was grandilla sherbet, lychees and raspberries, apple sabayon and cookies.

Jacquelin Kennedy did not go about "suggesting" that restaurants limit the amount and types of foods they serve. She did, however, plan a menu around healthful foods in reasonable quantities.

Until the White House cuts back on some of the non-healthful foods they serve, Michelle Obama should stop trying to change our eating habits.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

My Bones are Good

Yesterday, after checking the temperature I went out to get my paper. It was 34 degrees and everything looked wet. I took a few careful steps on the walkway, saw that it was OK and took my usual quick steps without quite looking where I was going.

Suddenly I slipped and all I could see was the walkway coming up to meet my face. I put my hands out in front of me and landed on my hands and knees. Knowing the risks of falls to seniors, I checked, everything seemed to be OK. I got up and got my paper. Of course, my pants' knees were soaking and one knee was a little scraped.

Today's another story. my knees are a lovely shade of blue, I have a bruise under my thumb on my right hand and my arm muscles are sore. BUT, thankfully no broken bones.

Guess I won't have to have a bone scan to check for osteoporosis, since I've already done it, for free. But I don't recommend it as a way to check your bones. It's rough on the muscles.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Vacation

About a month or so ago, a friend suggested that we go to Chile, Easter Island and (I think) Argentina. I told her I'd think about it, and think I did. One day it seems like a great idea and the next, not so much. Part of my reluctance to go is the fact that I'd be away for at least 3 weeks. That seems like too much to ask of a cat sitter, especially since I'm lukewarm about the trip.

Yesterday, I saw an email from National Geographic. They have a trip that's only a week long that follows part of the Lewis & Clark Expedition, mostly in Oregon. Then I saw a trip to Yellowstone, Grand Tetons and San Francisco being run by Amtrak. They both seem so interesting, more than South America. The best part is that this one is only 11 days.

Judging by my enthusiasm, my decision seems to have been made. Forget about South America, California or Oregon here I come. Now I just have to tell her I'm not going. But, I have to wait until she returns from her trip to Africa. She's such a traveler.