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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Anniversary

Yesterday was the 6th anniversary of my blog.  I had meant to write something, but, obviously, I didn't.

I've enjoyed writing about my adventures, both planned and spontaneous, my cats and just my view on life in general.  I hope you've enjoyed it too.  If you haven't, I hope I inspired you to look at the other side of things and maybe open a discussion or two.

I hope to do better next year.  Until then, Happy New Year!  Keep safe and warm.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Adventures in Driving

Last week my son came in for Christmas.  He flew into Philadelphia airport which I had never driven to before.  Since I no longer trust my "man" on the GPS, I got directions from MapQuest.  It's very difficult to travel on the interstate while trying to read directions.  But I tried.

Everything went well until I turned onto the NJ Turnpike.  While driving along, I remembered that I had to exit for Pennsylvania, so I took the first mention of Pennsylvania.  It was the wrong one.  After a series of wrong turns, I asked how to get to the airport and was told to take I95 South, which I did.  After a little while, I took another wrong turn/exit and wound up in a residential area.  I saw two youngsters and stopped them for directions.  They told me how to get back onto I95, but I'm sorry that I didn't tell them how smart they were not to get too close to my car.

At this point, I was so lost that I actually decided to "trust" my "GPS Man".  Now I was back on the road, headed to the airport.  I took the right exit and pulled into the parking garage, but it was the wrong garage.  Back onto the road and another series of wrong turns.  Back to my "GPS Man".  He told me to take I95 South which I did for several miles even though my gut said otherwise.  When I saw that I had left the Philadelphia airport way behind me, I decided to finally trust my gut and get pack on I95 North.  After driving around for about 3 1/2 hours for a 1 1/2 hour trip I got to the airport and met my son.

Then we went back on the road to my home.

Today, I let him take care of the directions and we arrived at the airport in about 1 1/2 hours.  I parked the car and dropped him off at the TSA checkpoint.  Then it hit me.  I never took note of the area of the parking lot when I left the car.  I knew what section I was in so I walked around, periodically pressing my clicker which resulted in silence.  Then I remembered that we had crossed the road, not taken an overpass like I had when I left the terminal.  So, I reversed my steps into the terminal, and found the exit which would take me to my car on the ground level of the parking garage (not the upper level where I walked around).

My car was just where I left it and I was able to find my way back home.  The trip home was not as difficult as last week's to the airport.  There has to be an easier way.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Christmas Carols

Today would have been my mother's birthday.  She would have been over 100.  Listening to the Christmas Carols on the TV all week reminded of her 75th birthday.

My brother and I had arranged for a dinner at a very nice, old restaurant on Long Island.  We reserved a room and invited her sister, niece and some old friends.  Of course my brother and I were there with our spouses and our children.

During the course of the evening, some carolers came into our room and offered to sing for us.  They asked if we wanted to hear anything special.  We all thought for a while, then one of her grandchildren (there were four), suggested a new and favorite carol.  We were somewhat embarrassed when we heard the request.  One of the cherubs asked for "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer".

My mother lead us in a great laugh, then we all sang along.

It was a good party with some good memories.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Good Morning!  It's Christmas and I want to wish everyone a  very Merry, Blessed Christmas.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Instructions

About a year ago I bought a steam mop for my house.  I needed something like this because, sometimes, the one of the cats has a digestive upset in a hard to notice spot when I'm not around.  It may not be discovered for a few days and is hard to clean up.

Well, I got the mop, assembled it and started to use it.  I've never been completely happy with it.  It does clean well, but the mopping cloth would just slide around on the mophead.  No matter what I did, it slid around.

Today, I had such a spot to clean.  I knew the mopping cloth was dirty so I looked in the closet for a cloth for another mop.  Instead, I found a mopping cloth for the steam cleaner, but it looked too small.  I looked further and found another mophead, but this one was much too big for the new cloth.

Then I realized my problem with the cleaner.  I was using the larger cloth on the smaller mophead.  No wonder it kept sliding around.  I put the smaller cloth on the cleaner and it worked beautifully.  Now my floor is cleaner and I had no aggravation.

All my problems could have been avoided if I had just read the instructions that were included and not just put the pieces where I thought they should have been.

Not reading instructions has always been a huge problem for me.  I remember when I was a teenager and trying to lay out a pattern for a dress I was making.  My mother saw my problem and reminded me that, "Someone was paid good money to write the instructions for layout and cutting".

I guess I'll never learn.

Monday, November 25, 2013

I Love Penny

Penny machines, that is.

Today, with about 200 of my neighbors, I went to Atlantic City.  It must be a year since I was last there.  So there I was, with some cash and my new "system".

When I started going to AC several years ago, I couldn't understand how people could play the penny machines and win.  After all, they were just playing with pennies.  I also couldn't understand the games so I stayed away.

One day, I was having horrible luck so I decided to stretch my money and play the pennies even though I didn't understand them.  Well, bells started ringing and money started coming my way.  I was a convert.  Now, I very rarely play any other machine.

Back to today and my "system".  It's very simple really.  When my credits reach a certain point, usually about $20 more than I put in, I cash out and put the coupon away.  I save those coupons until the end of the day and cash them all in.  Some days there only a few and other days there is a stack of them.

Today was one of those days.  When I cashed in, I realized that I had won a bit.  Then I headed to the Ladies Room and counted my money in the privacy of the stall and discovered that I had won quite a bit - $150 to be exact.  I am so happy.

When can I go again?

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Tell It Like It Is

Tonight while watching The Five I was really listening to their words.  They kept talking about "government subsidies" for people who cannot afford health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  All I heard was that they would receive "government subsidies".  I'd like to hear the truth.  These are not "government subsidies", they are TAXPAYER SUBSIDIES.  After all, the government gets its money from us, the taxpayers.  Let's rename government subsidies and call them taxpayer subsidies.

Later, they were speaking about the latest trend in which groups of young people walk up behind someone and try to knock them out with one punch.  Several of those on the panel tried to say that these crimes should be considered "hate crimes".  I can't stand that term.  After all, isn't any crime a "hate" crime based in hate.  After all, if you have something that I want and I hate that you have it, if I take it, it's a crime based on hate.  Don't bank robbers hate that banks and stores have all that money?  If they take it, isn't it a hate crime?

Maybe I should I start a group advocating honesty in language, particularly as it applies to government's newspeak.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

I Told You So

I really hate it when people say "I told you so", but today I have to.  Last year I wrote about my suspicions  about the unemployment numbers.  I doubted the sudden drop so soon before the election and the rise right after the election.  I suspected that someone had "cooked" the books.

Now, it seems that I was right.  Today, the NEW YORK POST has an article saying that the census department made up the numbers.  You can read about it here.

http://nypost.com/2013/11/18/census-faked-2012-election-jobs-report/

You have to wonder if the election would have turned out differently if the true numbers had been released to the public.

Friday, November 15, 2013

The Law of the Land?

All the way up to the October 1 launch of Obamacare (Affordable Care Act), whenever the Republicans tried to introduce or pass a bill that would delay or defund this law, we were told by members of the media and several democrats that it was the "Law of the Land" and nothing could be changed without approval from both houses of congress and the signature of the president.

My thoughts on that excuse were that at one time, slavery was the Law of the Land, lack of voting rights for women was the Law of the Land, segregation was the Law of the Land and they were changed.

Now, suddenly with the prospect of incumbent democrats losing their seats in the 2014 elections, the president feels that he can make more changes in the Law of the Land without congressional approval.

Can someone out there in cyberspace, or at the NSA, please explain to me why Obamacare was the Law of the Land in the summer before it took effect and now why this fall and after it has taken effect is it perfectly permissible to change the Law of the Land.  Or is it just because the president's approval rating is sinking faster than the Titanic and he has decided to change the law, yet again?

'Tis a puzzlement.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Slip of the Tongue or Truth

I have always thought that president Obama was completely wrapped up in himself.  He is so self-centered.  He is always late for televised press conferences or special announcements.  His sentences start with "I".

Last night in an interview when speaking about the website debacle, he said "I was burned", then quickly changed that to "the American people were burned".  That kind of explained how he felt about this whole mess, which he is responsible for.

On another topic, the cancellation of millions of insurance policies which the insured liked, after his statement that "if you like your policy, you can keep it", he "clarified" it by adding that if the policy had not changed, you could keep it. He has now started blaming the insurance companies for changing the policies.  They were changed because the Obamacare Affordable Care Act mandated those changes.  Some of these changes included mandatory maternity and pediatric care coverage for everyone, regardless of age and circumstances.

That was a very sneaky way of getting everyone to sign up for his law - claiming that existing policies were grandfathered into the law as long as they did not change, then mandating that they be changed to include unnecessary coverage.

Very clever.  Nothing is ever his fault, someone else did it. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Standards?

Bill O'Reilly has a weekly segment on his show called "Mad as Hell".  It is aired on Thursday.

Right now, I'm mad as hell about something, but it would make no sense to send it into his show, so I'm going to vent here.

There is a man in Kentucky who attended a Halloween party dressed in an Obama mask and a straight jacket.  Word got out to someone who was offended.  Now this man and his fellow employees have to attend diversity training.  For years, people have been wearing presidential masks.  Remember the masks and ridiculing of Nixon, Reagan and Bush?  Oh, that's right, that's OK, they are Republicans.  It's only wrong to poke fun at Obama.  I guess that proves what has long been suspected - Obama is very thin-skinned and the Republicans are mature enough to take ridicule.

While I'm on the subject of Halloween and costumes.  I just heard today that the best-selling costumes for children are Miley Cyrus as that twerking dancer for girls and a pimp for boys.

What is the matter with parents today.  Don't they realize that costume is nothing more than kiddie porn.  Any parent who dresses his or her child as Miley Cyrus should have his or her head examined.  The same goes for any parent who allows his or her child to dress as a pimp.

If these are the standards by which children are living, we are in a lot of trouble.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Fall has Arrived

I know that according to the calendar, Fall arrived last month, but it just hasn't felt like it.  It's been a little warm, but yesterday and today it has cooled down.  Call me crazy, but I love the cooler, even cold, weather.

Today, to celebrate Fall's arrival I made my first pot of soup of the season - beef vegetable.  I started this morning and let it simmer all day.  For dinner, I had a large bowl of soup with a roll from the freezer and they were delicious.  Of course, I washed it all down with a good glass of wine.  Just perfect for a cold October night.

Next week, I will have three friends for dinner.  We're celebrating the end of Daylight Savings Time.  Any excuse for a party.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Fifty Shades of Green

My "bug" has struck again.

Two weeks ago, some friends and I took a trip to Scotland and Ireland.  It was billed as a Taste of Scotland and Ireland.  And it was.

We arrived in Glasgow in the morning and the next day we were off on a tour of the Scottish Highlands with a view of Loch Lomond and a cruise on Loch Ness.


I tried, but I never saw "Nessie". 

The Highlands are beautiful.  The area is very rugged and hilly.  We saw many sheep grazing on the hills, but our guide said that their wool was too coarse to be used for anything but mattress stuffing.

We spent a day in Edinburgh and visited the castle.  It's quite impressive and in very good shape.


I thought this shot would  give the impression of a good mystery story.


We stopped in Belfast at the Titanic museum.  Luckily, we got there before this violin and its case were taken and put up for auction.  I just heard that someone paid 1.5 million for it.  It is the violin of one of the orchestra members who played.  As the ship was going down, he put his violin in its case, strapped it to his body and then went down with the ship.  His body was found a week or so later with the violin.

 
We stopped at Blarney Castle and no, I didn't kiss the stone.  As soon as I heard what was involved, I decided that wasn't for me.  First you had to walk up 80 uneven stone steps, then you would lay on your back while two people held your feet and legs, then you would slide to the stone.  If you can see the hole in the next picture, you can see where the stone is.  Some of the people on the tour were brave enough to do it.

 
 
 We spent a lot of time just driving around the country.  Our tour guide/driver was wonderful.  He knew all the history of the area and included some humor in his stories.  That made it all the more interesting.

The area is as green as everyone says, and there are many shades - at least 50.




We had a medieval dinner in a castle.  I've always wanted to visit a castle.  I'm very happy that I saw so many castles in various conditions.  Some of the hotels where we stayed were old estates that had been turned into hotels.

 It was truly a taste of those countries and I saw many places that I would love to see again.  If I were younger, I'd love to go back.   It would be a perfect road trip if only they didn't drive on the wrong side of the road.



Friday, October 4, 2013

My Ipod

I have the most unusual, or most amazing, Ipod ever.

When I turned it on today, I was surprised to see that today is Thursday, March 5, 1970.  Isn't that remarkable.  I don't think that Ipods were even invented back then.  Of course, it would be nice to be that age again.

Then I turned on the calendar feature and it is now Tuesday, December 22, 2009.  Where did the years go?  I haven't even done my Christmas shopping or decorating or even baking yet!

According to the weather ap, which was updated back to March 5, 1970, the temperature is 86 degrees, and the time is 12:10 AM.

At least it's the right date, day and time for the stockmarket report.

I know I can change the settings and bring everything up to date, but I think I'll keep it, I feel so young.  Besides, how many people do you know who had an Ipod back in the 70's?

Monday, September 30, 2013

Government Shutdown

We've been hearing for a few weeks that the government will shut down if the house and senate don't agree on a spending bill.

Yet, while the house has been working on such a bill which they sent to the senate, and which the senate returned (I doubt they even read it), the senate under Harry Reid took the weekend off.  The house worked on Saturday and passed a compromise bill.  The senate won't even start working on the compromise until 2:00 PM TODAY.  They wasted yesterday.

Of course, the president won't even try to work on a compromise.  He won't consider even a little change to his precious law.  He won't speak with members of the house unless they are democrats.

Maybe I'm being na├»ve, but it is my belief that in an emergency (as we are led to believe), the president should meet with both houses of congress to try to work out a compromise, or at least let each side offer suggestions and reasons for their ideas.  They should not be dismissed and they should be working around the clock to reach some sort of compromise.

The president, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi will make sure that their friends in the media spread the word that the republicans would not budge on the spending bill.  They will make sure that the republicans will be blamed for the mess.

It's up to us, the thinking citizens, to set the record straight.  The republicans in the house sent one bill to the senate which was rejected.  The republicans then worked until late on Saturday night to make a compromise so that the government would not shut down.  What was Harry Reid doing on Saturday and all day Sunday?  Why couldn't he call the senate in to work, that's what they are getting paid to do?

What was the president doing during all this?  We need answers.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Religion of Peace?

This morning while checking the news I saw that there was an armed siege at a Kenya shopping mall and that at last count there were 59 dead with 49 people still unaccounted for.  So that I wouldn't get only the conservative viewpoint on this, I checked the msnbc.com website.  This is where I got my report.

Some of the survivors reported that the gunmen told Muslims to stand up and leave and that only non-Muslims were to be targeted.  A militant Islamic group claimed responsibility saying it was in retaliation for the lives of Muslims killed by Kenyan forces leading an African Union offensive against that group.  Instead of fighting back against those forces, this group has decided to kill innocent non-Muslims.

In other news on this same website, there was a report of a Sunday morning bombing at a Christian church in Pakistan that killed at least 75.  These people, including women and children, were just leaving a morning service when the blast occurred.  One man reported that the police did nothing and just stood around.

The Christian population in Pakistan is about 4% of the 180 million and try to keep a low profile in a country where Islamist militants frequently bomb targets they see as heretical.

Let's also not forget about the Coptic Christians who have been killed in Egypt during the presidency of Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood friends.

Will we ever hear outrage from President Obama about this attack on Christianity by the so-called Islamist Religion of Peace?  I think not, he wouldn't want to offend his friends in the middle-East.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Problems

Tomorrow we are having an Arts & Craft show in our community.  I'll be submitting my photos.

I had thought I was all caught up and ready for the show, but I was sitting at my computer this morning and one of the pictures in the screen saver caught my eye.  I suddenly realized that I hadn't seen any of my Yellowstone pictures.  I went to the file and started printing them.  I particularly liked these






I started printing them.  Then my problems began.  The printer stopped; I checked to see the problem.  I was out of ink even though I just put in a new cartridge yesterday.  So, I changed my clothes and went to Staples to buy more toner.  Unfortunately, they were out of the kind I needed.  Oh well, I can always use my other printer which doesn't print as well, but I can use it in a pinch.

I checked the ink supplies there, replaced where needed and started to print.  After letting about 5 pictures go through I noticed that there are lines all through the pictures.

I guess I'll have to make do with the many photos already printed and save some of my favorites for next year.

Now, I better start ordering enough ink and paper for those pictures.

Now all I have to do is make some refreshments and wrap some door prizes for tomorrow.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

There Should Be a Warning Label

On airline tickets, that is.

I just spent a wonderful, long weekend with my son and his girlfriend in Seattle.  Everything was great, it didn't rain, the sun shone brightly.

Then I boarded the plane for the five hour or so flight home.  I usually take connecting flights, but this time I went straight from Newark to Seattle.

There was a woman in the row ahead of me who was sniffling, but I didn't pay much attention to her, even when she picked at her meal.  It should have raised a red flag when she was leaving the plane and the flight attendant hoped she'd feel better soon. 

I hadn't thought much about it when I got home until the other day when I woke up with a sore throat and runny nose.  That progressed into much sneezing and coughing which strained my chest muscles and limited my sleep.  I now have a full-fledged cold.  I should add that I rarely get colds.

After a night of waking up every hour or so, I rummaged through my medicine cabinet and found some Nyquil.  I don't remember ever  buying, or even using, it.  I tried it last night.  That stuff is good!  I had the best night's sleep in weeks.  Can't wait to go to bed tonight and have some more.

The government and the airlines won't tell you this, but I will.  Remember, flying can be hazardous to your health if other passengers are sick.  All that time confined in recycled air can spread germs.

I can't wait until I win the lottery and can afford to have a private jet at my disposal.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Martin Luther King Speech Anniversary

Or maybe I should have titled this rant Democratic Campaign Speech.  I do have to admit that I didn't watch the speeches.  Quite frankly, I forgot about it.  I do remember the original day and the speeches.  I was between jobs and watched.

But I digress.  Have you looked at the list of speakers?  Presidents Obama, Clinton and Carter.  Do you notice anyone missing?  Were either of the Presidents Bush invited?

None of the other speakers were conservative blacks.  Where were they?  The few snippets of speeches I heard didn't praise Dr. King.  He was a man of principals, he truly believed in his cause and was willing to take responsibility for his actions.  He was a man of peace.

There has been a lot of progress toward true equality in the past 50 years thanks to Dr. King and his peaceful crusade.  We need more leaders like him.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Fort Hood Shooter

I just saw the news that the Ft. Hood shooter has gotten the death penalty.  Even though he does deserve it, I'm disappointed.

He should have gotten life.  He wanted the death penalty so he could be a martyr for his cause.  We gave him just what he wanted.

If I were in charge, I would have given him life and since he is paralyzed and will need medical care, he would have had a female doctor assigned to him for his care.  Radical muslims like him tend to consider women as lower, inferior members of the human race.  Being cared for by a woman for life would be a wonderful punishment.

Giving him what he wants is certainly no punishment and will only give encouragement to other radicals to become martyrs for their cause.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Soapbox Time

The recent senseless murders in Oklahoma and Washington make my blood boil.  This is one more example of the deterioration of respect of any kind in our country.

The males arrested in this case claimed they were bored so they decided to kill someone.  Of course, some in the media blame this on the fact that there are no jobs.  They don't want to mention some of the other reasons. 

In the other case of the WWII veteran who was beaten and left for dead, I haven't heard any reason for the attack, except that it was a probable robbery.  What cowards those males are, two young, strong men against an elderly man.

There is no respect for human life in this country.  An injured or abused animal gets more attention than the abuse of a person.  If these males in Oklahoma and Washington had abused an animal, there would have an outcry in all the media.

Now, I'm going to be HUGELY POLITICALLY INCORRECT.  I wonder if any think tank would be courageous enough to do a study on the increase in violence across our country since the supreme court issued their decision in Roe V. Wade. 

I truly believe that since some people believe abortion is OK when a pregnancy is inconvenient, those some people think there would be no problem in eliminating inconvenient people if they don't hand over their money when you tell them to, or when they're bored and want some excitement.

We need to go back to our original  values of family, respect for others and ourselves.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Bug

Shortly after I retired, I caught a bug.  I think the bug was always there, but it was dormant.  Since retiring, the bug has gotten stronger with every year.  I think that now it is at its strongest.

You see, I caught the travel bug.  No, it isn't the result of travelling, rather, it causes travelling.  After I retired, I was content with one trip a year and a visit to my son in Seattle.  Sometimes I combined the two trips - driving cross country and ending with a visit in Seattle.  One year, I took the train to Seattle, that was a good way to visit my son and also try a train trip. 

Now, the travel bug seems to have gotten out of control.  This year I have two trips, plus my trip to Seattle along with one or two short driving trips.  So far, I've already booked two trips for next year.

These trips don't help me meet my goal of visiting every presidential home/library.  So far, I've visited four - Kennedy, Truman, Teddy Roosevelt and Eisenhower.  As you can see, my visits have been bi-partisan.

I think I should cut back on the big trips and concentrate on the presidential trips.  I could cover three presidents in Texas (LB Johnson and GHW Bush and GW Bush), then another year to California for Reagan and Nixon.  Washington and Jefferson could be covered in a road trip.

Guess I better get busy making arrangements for these trips before I hear about another big trip.  Do I hear any volunteers for cat sitting?

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Gardening

I admit I'm not much of a gardener.  I really don't enjoy playing around in the dirt.  However, every spring I head to my local Lowes and pick up an assortment of herbs.

I usually get 3 or 4 basil plants, some mint, oregano, and as a tribute to Simon and Garfunkle - parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme.  Most times they don't amount to much, they either die or go to seed before I get a chance to harvest them.

This year is different.  I didn't buy my usual assortment, but did buy about 6 basil plants, some mint, parsley and oregano.  I heard that putting used coffee grounds in the soil feeds the plants, so I thought why not.  I couldn't do any worse than in previous years.

I don't know if it was the coffee, all the rain we had earlier, or after all these years, my thumb has become green.  My basil is thriving.  I have made 5 batches of pesto, plus I've taken some leaves for salads and there is still plenty.  I haven't harvested the mint yet, think I'll do that this week.


 
As you can see, I don't put them into the ground, I keep them in pots.  At the rate they're doing this year, I may be able to take them into the house in the fall.
 
 
While I was checking the plants tonight, I saw a pot of soil from last year that I had abandoned to the elements.  Among the weeds, there seemed to be some basil leaves and on the other side of the pot, some mint leaves.
 
Ah yes, this is a very good year.
 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More Adventures in Cooking

Back in June I wrote about my attempt at General Tao's Chicken.  Well, I'm a very stubborn person and don't like to give up.  I tried again today.

I had my rice and noodles all ready.  I followed the recipe to the letter.  I checked and double checked each instruction. 

Success!  It was very good, but now I know why so many people are afraid to order it, or they ask for it to be less spicy.  It was VERY SPICY.  Maybe I shouldn't have used the crushed red pepper.

I did make one mistake with the meal.

Whenever I try a new recipe, or retry one where I made an error, I always have a glass of wine.  To my way of thinking, if the meal is a disaster, at least I can have a good glass of wine.  Tonight, I chose a nice merlot, one I've had several times before.

Unless you want a really spicy hot experience, don't drink merlot with General Tao's Chicken.  The wine multiplied the effect of the spices, my mouth burned, my lips burned.  Although, it did clear my sinuses.  Maybe that's why they always serve tea at Chinese restaurants.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Baseball

A few weeks ago I wrote about the baseball themed pool party in my community and the fact that our table won as the most original table.

Last night we got to use our prize - tickets to the local minor league team.  This team is part of the Philadelphia Phillies' organization and the team they played is part of the Washington Nationals' organization.

It has been almost 30 years since I attended a baseball game, that was at Shea Stadium in NYC.  I've often gone to see games, starting when I was quite young.  Very often in the summer, my parents, my brother and I would walk to the local baseball field, Dexter Park in Woodhaven, to see the Bushwicks play.  When I was in my early teens, my father took to many games at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  I even got to see the last game played at Ebbets Field before the Dodgers moved to LA. 

I was a big Yankee fan, mainly because of the players - Mickey Mantle, Billy Martin, Yogi Berra and Phil Rizzuto, and also because I had to be different from my friends who were Dodger fans.

But, back to last night's game.  It was a beautiful night, perfect for baseball.  The field is fairly new, and nothing like Yankee Stadium.  Even though I really haven't followed baseball for a few years, it all came back.  So did several foul balls, and I ducked a lot.  Fortunately, none of them came close to me.

The game started out badly, the home team made an error resulting in a run.  Things quieted down and it was a better game.  The home team won by a score of 4 to 2, although they almost lost it in the 9th inning when the pitcher walked the first two batters.  But they survived the inning.  All's well that ends well.

I enjoyed the evening very much and am glad I went even though I wasn't looking forward to it.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Mail Problems

I don't know how it is in the rest of the country, but here in my little section of New Jersey, the mail delivery has been terribly late.

I've always gotten my mail late in the day, sometimes as late as 5:30 PM, even though mail is supposed to be delivered by 5:00.  I guess some of this is my problem since I've accepted the late delivery as "normal".  But, lately, it has gotten much worse.  On Monday, I got my mail at 7:58 PM and yesterday I saw the mail carrier riding around at 7:30 PM.

This morning I decided to call to complain.  I was told that the mail was being delivered later because the carriers start working later and some are working double shifts because of vacations.  This doesn't make any sense.  I would think that during this heat wave they would want to start their day as early as possible, before the real heat of the day.  But, I guess they do like the overtime pay.

I don't want to be one of those old ladies who think things were better in the old days,  BUT... in this case they were.  When I lived in Queens, we had a mailman who walked the block, climbed up the stoop and slipped the mail in the door and there was much more mail to be delivered than now when we receive so much via email.  The only time he rode around was to pick up the mail from the storage boxes located every few blocks.  Sometimes, he even stopped to speak with the neighbors.  We actually knew our mailman and got our mail at a respectable time, late afternoon.  Now, since our mail carrier rides from house to house depositing the mail in mailboxes at the curb, we don't know who delivers our mail or when it will arrive.

In this case, give me the "Good Old Days".

Monday, July 15, 2013

Justice

Now that the Zimmerman trial is over, until Eric Holder decides to press civil charges, let's talk about another murder, or several murders.

Over the 4th of July weekend in Chicago, there were 62 people shot, resulting in 12 murders.  Where is the outrage about this?  Why are Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson not holding protests for arrest and conviction of those responsible?  Why are the president and attorney general not pursuing those charges.

This is Chicago, the president's home town, the town being run by his pal Rahm Emmanuel.  You would think that the president would want his town to be safer.

Is it possible that there is no racial element to these killings?  Possibly they are black on black crime and not worthy of an investigation.  There's no way to divide the country on the basis of race if they are black on black.  The only crimes worth investigating and prosecuting are perceived as racial.

To paraphrase the words of that darling of the democrats, Hillary Clinton, with all due respect, the fact is we had one dead American. Was it because of racial profiling or was it because of a guy out for a walk one night decided to go kill some American? What difference at this point does it make?

I don't know if Zimmerman killed Travon Martin in self defense or not, but the jury has decided.  Let's accept that decision and start looking into all the murders of young people in Chicago even if they are the result of black on black crime.  The young victims in Chicago deserve justice.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Responsibility

I was raised with the understanding that I should take responsibility for my actions.  I still believe in that and get annoyed with those who refuse to accept responsibility when they either make a mistake or do wrong.

A few weeks ago I received my first traffic ticket EVER, in 50 years of driving.  The light was just turning red when I went through it.  I probably could have stopped, but decided to go ahead and take my chances.  Of course, I was caught.  I accepted my ticket and went on my way.  That was on Saturday.

The following Tuesday and for a few days after that I received letters from several lawyers offering to help me with my case.  They would represent me in court and help me plead "Not Guilty" and fight my ticket.

Of course, I paid the fine.  I was wrong and I, thought I hate to admit it, did go through the red light.  I deserved the ticket, although I hate to have that spot on my record.

What really bothers me about the whole thing is the fact that there are people who won't take responsibility for their actions and there are people willing to help them avoid taking that responsibility, for a fee of course.

I just find the whole idea of getting away with doing wrong so distasteful.  That's what is wrong with our society - no one is responsible for their actions and problems anymore.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Party Time

Last night I went to a pool party at our clubhouse.  There was a theme, "Take me out to the ballgame" and they were offering a prize for the best and more original table decorations.

Naturally, there were several Yankees and Mets tables.  There was even a table for the Blue Claws, the local farm team of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Our group took a table, but one of the ladies suggested that we not follow the crowd.  She suggested we make our table in honor of the Rockford Peaches.  If anyone of you remembers, that was the team in "A League of Their Own" that was so popular several years ago.

To get us all into the mood, we had a private showing of the film which followed the formation of the All American Girls Baseball League which was formed during WWII because so many of the major and minor league players were being drafted to fight the war.  I never knew this league existed.  They lasted until the mid-'50s.

We went all out.  One of the other ladies (the only one of us who isn't retired) bought pink T shirts for the ladies and white T shirts for the two men in the group.  She also researched the team and printed team pictures, individual pictures and logos.  She printed the logos on heat transfer paper and then ironed them onto our shirts and red hats.  For the backs of the shirts, she ironed on our first name and house number.

Our table looked great, I even made several bags of peanuts.  As a last minute thought, she made a scoreboard, showing nine innings and of course that the Rockford Peaches won.

To keep everything fair, the DJ was in charge of selecting the winning table.  He made two passes around each table then announced that we were one of four finalists.  Finally, he made his decision and.....

                         WE WON!!!!!!

Each of us at the table won a ticket to a Blue Claws game the end of the month.

It was a good night.  It's good to be a winner.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

She's Back




 
What a perfect time for the re-opening of Lady Liberty.
 


Hope you all have a happy and safe Fourth of July.
 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Breaking My Silence

It's summer and it's hot out.  I've been trying to stay calm and not get too excited and hot under the collar about the current events.  But this morning, I've had enough.

The buses in Seattle have been carrying posters and ads showing pictures of the most wanted terrorists.  That's a really good idea, especially since several years ago a terrorist was stopped trying to cross into Washington from Canada.  Some "brilliant" congressman has decided that these ads are racist because it shows only muslim terrorists.  It doesn't matter that the majority of terrorists are muslim.  Maybe, in the interest of political correctness, the FBI should have invented some non-muslim terrorists.  Anyway, the FBI has wimped out and will withdraw the ads, thus  making sure that no muslim's will be offended and the streets of Seattle will be safe.

This morning I heard the president's answer to a question whether or not he was in contact with Putin regarding Snowden's return to the US.  This president responded that he didn't think he should have to call Putin.  To quote Freddie Prinze, "It's not my job man."  Whose job is it then?  What is our secretary of state doing?  Is this the flexibility the president talked about before he was elected?

It looks like, in the president's eyes, coal is the biggest threat to our survival as a country.  He talks about reducing our carbon footprint while he flies off to Africa with his entourage of  fighter jets; hundreds of Secret Service agents; a Navy ship with a full trauma center; and military cargo planes to bring 56 vehicles including 14 limousines and three trucks loaded with sheets of bullet­proof glass to cover the windows of the hotels where the first family will stay.   Some of this is necessary, but 14 limousines?  Does the first family travel in separate cars?  That would only account for 4 limos.  I can understand the need for a Navy ship with trauma center and the fighter jets.

At least he gave up the idea of a safari where he would have been surrounded by snipers in case an animal seemed threatening, although I've heard from friends who've been to Africa several times, the animals are so used to people that they don't notice and are not threatening.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Adventures in Cooking

Several months ago I bought a packet of seasoning mix for General Tsao's chicken.  I've been meaning to try it, but somehow, the packet always got pushed to the back of the shelf.

This morning I found it and decided to make it tonight.  I thawed the boneless chicken breasts.  This evening, I took the packet and turned it to the back to read the instructions, which were very clear by the way.

Unfortunately, I rushed through the directions and added the oil to the sauce mixture, then I realized that the oil was for browning the pieces of chicken.  Oh well, I can live with a little extra oil.

I put the sauce together, browned the chicken.  While all that was being done, I made the rice and opened a can of noodles.  This was going to be a wonderful dinner.

I put everything together on the plate (which I forgot to photograph), poured a glass of wine and sat down to eat.  I couldn't understand why so many people are afraid to order this, it was so bland.  It was OK, but even with some crushed pepper flakes, there was no particular flavor to it.  I was very disappointed.

I just finished cleaning the counter, putting the dishes in the dishwasher and wiping off the counter.  I picked up the packet of seasoning and thought it seemed a little heavy.  Then I discovered the reason for the bland dinner - I had forgotten to add the seasoning.

I was so intent on getting all the ingredients together and preparing the chicken that I had forgotten one of the most important ingredients for this dinner - the seasoning for the sauce.

I must learn to slow down when making a new dish and go over each step several times to insure proper cooking.  I rush though things much too much.  Or maybe I was distracted because both Crash and Burn were meowing at my feet even though they had their afternoon snack earlier.  Yeah, that's it, the cats made me do it.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

D-Day

 
Today is D-Day, the 6th of June.  Until this year it didn't mean that much to me.  Oh yes, I've seen the news footage of the landings at Normandy and I knew it was the beginning of the end of WWII, but I was so very young on the actual day it didn't seem real to me.  Until...
 
 
I saw the artillilery that our boys faced as they landed.  Until I saw the countryside which was farmland with no place to take cover.

 
 
Then I saw the beach and the cliffs they had to climb.

 
 


And the wreckage of a landing craft still in the sea.  I wonder how many were injured or killed when it was hit.




And this is how it ended for so many.


And for the one whose family will never know exactly what happened to their son or husband or boyfriend.



Monday, June 3, 2013

Temperature

Every year there is a mass exodus from the northern states to the southern and southwestern.  It seems most people can't wait to get away from the cold winters.  I'm happiest in the winter when it's cold and snows.

I just saw an article on www.marketwatch.com that listed the 10 Happiest Countries.  I was surprised at this list.  The 10th most happy country was Mexico, no surprise there.  The climate is warm, there are many beaches and resorts.  Then I came to the next country - Finland.  Half of the happiest countries have the reputation of being cold, bordering on frigid.  Some, like Iceland, have cold winters and Denmark has a temperate climate.

I also noticed that the life expectancy in these countries is around 80 years.  Maybe Rhoda was right when she said she moved to Minneapolis because, "It's cold and I may keep better in the cold,"  Maybe I should think of moving to some northern climb.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Memorial Day

On my recent trip to France, we visited the beaches of D-Day. We saw the battlefield and the guns that greeted our boys as they landed. We saw the scars in the earth from the battles.
 
 


 We also saw the more than 9,000 graves of our fallen. 
 
 
At the cemetery. they had a ceremony which started with the Star Spangled Banner. At first, we only heard the music, first it started as a low murmur, then slightly louder until it became full fledged singing of our National Anthem by all who attended. It ended with Taps and a moment of silence.
 

 
 
Each of us was then given a rose to place on the grave of a soldier of our choice. I chose a boy from New York, although as I think about it now, I should have chosen the grave of an unknown.   
 

 
 On this Memorial Day I think about all those boys who died in the various wars.  I also think about the families of those who are buried in the cemeteries around the world.  I especially think about  and remember those who have never been identified and who are "Known but to God".
 
Thank you all.

 
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Thoughts on the Scandals

I'm not going to go into specifics on the recent news events/scandals.  Much has already been said about Benghazi, the AP, James Rosen of Fox News, the IRS and whatever else may come up in the next few minutes.

Yesterday, I was watching some clips of the president's chief-of-staff.  I noticed that he was speaking very fast and filed it in the back of my mind.  Then I noticed some other people in the administration also speaking very fast, when they weren't telling us they didn't remember or that something was irrelevant.

I had seen this pattern of fastspeak before.  Many years ago, I had a meeting with the principal of my boys' school.  We were interrupted because a 1st grader was inconsolable because he missed his mother.  A few months before he started school, an older brother had died of cancer so the principal understood his problem.  She started speaking to him and gradually increased the speed of her words to distract him.  Before long, he was feeling better.

It seems that fastspeak is very effective as a distraction.  This seems to be what we are hearing from the administration.

I do find it odd that no one on the president's staff has told him about all the problems they are facing and that he had to hear it on the tv news (which he has said he doesn't watch).  I was a secretary to the president of my company and she wanted to know all about any problems or potential problems.  That's what being a good administrator is all about.

This leads me to this observation.  Was the president not told about these problems because his staff wanted him to be able to honestly deny knowledge, or did he orchestrate them.  Or, as another thought, is the president a front or puppet for someone else?  Someone who is pulling the strings.  I wonder who that could be.

Until more in the mainstream media start looking into Benghazi, the AP, James Rosen and the IRS, it will be like it always is.  The democrats get away with everything and the republicans get prosecuted and harrassed.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Where Do I Start

Ah yes, where do I start.  There has been and is so much going on, I don't know where to begin.  So I'll begin with the fun part.

Last month, I took a geographical expedition to Brittany and a riverboat cruise along the Seine.  The trip to Brittany was very informative and surprising.  I got a clear understanding of the geography of the area.  Now I know where Brittany is.  Despite its name, it clearly is in France.  I was also surprised to see palm trees growing there in the north of France and bordering on the English Channel.

One of the main reasons for the trip to Brittany was to see Mont Ste Michelle.  This is a town and monastery on what, at times, seems to be an island.  When the tide is low, you could walk to the town and in the past at high tide, the town was surrounded by water.   The streets are very narrow and almost always uphill.
 
 
I tried to go all the way up to the monastery, but got only about 3/4 of the way.  I guess I'm very out of shape.
 
Thanks to the zoom feature of my camera, I did get a good shot though.

 
A few days after we started cruising, we stopped at Giverney.  The gardens there are just lovely.



Even though it was early in the season, most of the flowers were in bloom.  Unfortunately, it was a little too early for the water lillies.

 
Of course, I saw the famous bridge.  Trust me, it's there in the distance.



 
There was a line for the house, but it moved quickly.  Monet's home was filled with his collection of Japanese prints and of course, copies of his works.  Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to take pictures of the interior.  The dining room was yellow, yellow walls, yellow table covering and yellow dishes.  The kitchen walls were covered in blue delft tiles and there was a lot of blue delft.  I thought it was too much, but what do I know.

 
It was a good two weeks and I saw a lot more, but I don't want to be one of those people who MUST show you ALL of my vacation pictures in one sitting.  I'll save the others for another time.  I took over 800 pictures, love my digital camera.  Don't worry, I won't bore you with all of them.
 

Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Good Time Gone Bad

Ever since I got back from my trip Crash won't let me out of her sight.  She follows me all over the house, squeezes into the space between me and the arm of the couch.  If she wakes from a nap and can't see me, she meows and meows until I call her, then she comes runninhg with her belly swinging from side to side.

Tonight, I decided to take a relaxing bath.  I filled the tub, added an envelope of powdered milk and turned on the jets.  I felt that after all the walking I did in France, my muscles and feet could use a little pampering.

Everything was going along great, the water was nice and warm, the bubbles were climbing up the sides of the tub, then I heard it - the faint meow.  She found me.  After she checked out the bubbles, she climbed on the stepstool and looked at me.

Then she got her confidence.  She started walking around the edge of the tub, occassionally slipping.  As she got behind me, she slipped again.  She still has all her claws, so I was understandably worried that she'd slip into the tub and try to climb up my back to get out.

Luckily, she regained her footing and left.  But the mood was gone.  The bath was no longer relaxing.  I kept waiting for her to come back, so I too left the bath.

It was nice while it lasted and I feel great and my skin feels nice and soft from my milk bath.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

From foie gras to hot dogs

I've just come back from a 15 day "geographical exploration" of Brittany and cruising the River Seine.  It was wonderful and at a later date, I will post some of the 873 pictures I took.  Right now, I'm still recovering from jet lag.

I didn't plan ahead before I went away.  There is very little food in my refrigerator/freezer.  One of these days I'll have to do some food shopping.  Today, I had franks w/o beans.;  That's quite a comedown from last week when I had such treats as filet mignon, onion soup, crepes, snails, oysters and of course, ice cream every day.

If I only had a resident chef who could prepare such meals for me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Pay Cuts and Celebrations

I hear that the president, secretary of state and other members of the administration have announced that they will be taking a 5% pay cut in support of federal workers who are being furloughed because of sequestration.  This sounds wonderful doesn't it?

Let's see how it works in the case of the president.  His pay is not actually being cut 5%.  Instead he will write a check for 5% of his salary and donate it to a charity.  He's so generous.

Come tax time, he's be able to take that 5% charitible contribution deduction on his return.  I'm not sure of the exact math, but somehow that doesn't amount to a 5% cut in his salary.  He gets the benefit of a deduction.

If only the federal employees could consider their 5% cut a charitible contribution to the US federal budget.

On another note, White House tours were eliminated because of sequestration and the fact that some secret service agents were being either reassigned or furloughed.  There was a gala party at the White House on Tuesday night.  I've heard that it was being paid for with private money.  I'm sure there were additional secret service agents assigned.  Were they paid with private money, or was their cost added to our budget for the running of our house?

Just asking.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Margaret Thatcher - an example for young women

Margaret Thatcher died on Monday.  I'm sure we've all heard about it by now.  Although she was British, she is an example of the American Dream.

Her father was a grocer, the family lived above the store.  She worked hard, got an education at a time when that was not an easy thing to do for a girl/woman.  She married, had children and went into politics.  She became the first woman to lead her party and the first woman prime minister of England. 

You may not have agreed with her politics or methods, but you can see that she made changes and improved the lives of her fellow citizens.

I'm disgusted by some of the reports I have seen - people celebrating her death.  People who are too young to remember life before the "Iron Lady" (I like that name, might take it for myself). 

Have they no decency?  Don't they have any compassion for her family?  I guess they feel it would be hypocritical to keep their feelings to themselves.  There will be a time to discuss the pros and cons of her leadership, but now is not the time.

How would they feel if someone celebrated the death of a member of their family?

We need to return to a time when there was respect.  Remember that saying, "Don't speak ill of the dead".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Gun Control

There's been a lot news today which I'll get to gradually.  Today I want to concentrate on the arguments for gun control.

Yes, the recent mass murders are terrible, but we should be careful about knee-jerk reactions.  All kinds of people in the media are calling for background checks and limits on the type of gun that can be purchased.  I wonder if they have thought things through.

Background checks would be wonderful.  Who wouldn't argue with them?  If you take the time to think, putting the emotions aside, you'll realize they just wouldn't work.

Does anyone really believe that the mob and gang members will actually submit to a background check from a legal dealer?  Gang members and the mob have their own sources and can, for a price, purchase any type gun they want.

As far as checking the mental stability of a prospective gun purchaser, there is a little thing known as "doctor/patient confidentiality".  All a doctor can say is that the person was or was not a patient.  As I understand it, if you visited a psychiatrist or psychologist for help in conquering a fear, such as an unreasonable fear of dogs or flying, or even large, open spaces, you would be labeled as having been a patient of the doctor and possibly red-flagged as not being mentally fit to own a gun.

Congress and the president should take a step back, away from the emotion of the issue and really study this issue.  The recent shooters had real mental problems and should have received help for their problems.  Unfortunately, due to the lack of facilities and the stigma of mental illness, help was not available.  The murders in Chicago (which has one of the strictest gun laws in the country) were done with illegally obtained guns.  Do congress and the president really think a law will prevent that?  Are they that naive?

I am a supporter of the right to own guns, may even buy one myself someday.  I'd like to learn to shoot among the other topics I want to learn about.  My brother owned guns and taught his children to respect the gun.  They know that it is a powerful weapon in the wrong hands.

If congress and the president can absolutely guarantee that there could be a law that would prevent the mob and gang members from obtaining guns I would be all for it..  Before any more  laws are put together on an emotional basis, we should devote our time and energy to getting the much needed help for the mentally ill.  But, human nature being what it is, that will never happen.

This is an emotional issue and emotional issues get votes.  We don't need new gun control laws, we need stricter enforcement of the laws already on the books.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Grace & Dignity

This weekend I spent quite a bit of time watching QVC when they were highlighting copies from the jewelry collection of former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy.

That woman had dignity and grace which she brought to the White House.  I must say that I'm not a fan of the Kennedy's and the way they have been praised by the media.  I will say that they added a certain elegance to the presidency which has very rarely been seen since.

I know people will argue that it's easy to have grace and elegance when you have money,  but a large bank account doesn't guarantee dignity and grace.  What does define grace and dignity is how you treat others and how you act on a daily basis.

I know that we live in different times from the 60's, but I would like to see more of that dignity, grace and elegance return to the White House.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

SPRING?

All this talk about its being spring brought back some memories.  When my son was about 3 or 4, he heard on the radio or TV that spring had begun.  It was a year very similar to this one.

He was convinced that since it was spring, he should stop wearing his winter clothes and begged me to get out his "spring" clothes.  He was very fussy about his appearance and wouldn't budge - he wanted his spring clothes.  I remembered my mother's solution to a stubborn child so I gave in.  The house was warm enough for short sleeves, so I really didn't see the harm.

After a day or two, he relented and went back to the long sleeve shirts and comfort.

My mother's solution?  When my brother was about 3 years old, all he wanted to eat was Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup - for every meal.   She gave in to him.  He had that soup for breakfast, lunch and supper for two days.  At last, he asked if he could please have something besides chicken noodle soup.  Problem solved.

One of the things to remember when dealing with children is to pick your battles.  As long as what they are pushing for won't hurt them and doesn't contradict your core beliefs, why not let them have what they want.  Put your foot down when they get really outlandish ideas.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Tis a Puzzlement

There are a few rhings about our government's spending that I don't understand.

When the president was campaigning back in 2008, he called our $9 trillion debt "irresponsible" and "unpatriotic".  Now, under his leadership, our debt is now $16 trillion and he does not feel it is an immediate problem.   I know that if my personal debt had almst doubled in 4 years, I'd be very upset and looking for ways to cut my expenses.

That brings me to my next problem - government spending.  According to the powers that be, there is not enough money to cover the cost of tuition for members of our armed forces, but there is enough money to send to Pakistan.

While the cost to the taxpayers for food stamps has risen, we have people in our embassy in Mexico to inform immigrants to our country of the advantages of food stamps.  In the past, potential immigrants were required to be sponsored or show proof that they would be able to support themselves.

While the White House tours have fbeen cancelled, the president's organization, Organizing for Action, will, for a $500,000 donation give access to meetings with the president.

This president believes the wealthy should pay their fair share.  Maybe the government should be more fair in the way it spends our taxpayer money.  The money should be spent on our people, not sent to a country as a bribe for their friendship.

I would like to have the opportunity to go over our budget with a fine-tooth comb and cut the waste.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Presidential Tantrum

Earlier this week president Obama decided to cancel White House tours because of the sequester cuts.  Of course, he didn't cancel the restaurant dinner with republicans, even though there is a chef at the White House.  And, the secret service personnel who conduct these tours are still on the payroll.  Where's the saving?

He seems to forget that the White House is OUR house.  It is not his to use as a political tool to get his way.  These tours were only cancelled because he wanted to annoy the people and get them to blame the republicans for their inconvenience.

Yesterday, Eric Bolling during the broadcast of his program The Five on Fox News pledged to cover the cost of these tours for one week.  Later, Sean Hannity also pledged to take a week.  Newt Gingrich also said he would raise money for these tours.

We haven't yet heard from Warren Buffet, Bill Gates, or any of the Hollywood millionnaires.  I wonder why.

Will the president change his mind, or will he keep trying to punish us citizens just to get his way?

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sequester

Remember all the gloom and doom we heard from the president and his spokespeople?  There were going to be all kinds of delays at the airports, all kinds of terrible things would happen because of the cut in the increase in spending.

I just heard and saw a report from LaGuardia Airport in New York.  There are no lines, or cancellations, except for one flight.  That was a flight either to or from Minneapolis (I don't remember which).  That cancellation is probably due to the storm out there today.

The reporter mentioned that Janet Napolitano claimed this morning thagt there were delays in Chicago and Los Angeles.  The reporter checked with both airports and they weren't aware of any delays in their jurisdiction.

Just another example of the honesty and forthrightness of the president.  Of course, if he was being honest last week about the terrible consequences, then he's just incompetent.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Men Have It Made

At least in senior communities they are.

There's a small group of single people in my community who have decided to get together every two weeks for dinner or socializing at someone's home.

Of course, women out number the men.  In our group, there are 12 women and four men.  This week, our group was much smaller.  At dinner on Thursday, we had two men and eight women.  They were the envy of all the male diners in the restaurant.

Last night we went to a comedy show and our group was smaller.  There were eight women and one man.  He certainly got some envious stares from the male diners.

The odds are certainly in their favor.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sequester

Now that the president has had his turn with the scare tactics about the so-called cuts to go into effect in a week or so, it's only fair that I have my turn with some facts.

The "cuts" don't actually mean a cut in present spending.  They are merely a cut in the amount of spending or growth in the future.  Therefore, unless a government is trying to make a point, there will be no mass layoffs.  Possibly, there will not be as much hiring in the next few years.

Social security recipients will not have their checks reduced, there may not be any increases for the next few years.

There will still be as many food inspectors and air traffic controllers the day after the sequester "cuts" go into effect.  There will just be no big hiring push.

So, before you panic and give into the fear mongering, stop and think.  Just what will these "cuts" really mean?

Also, to all those people who have bought into the president's claim that these "cuts" are wrong and dangerous, this whole idea of sequester was introduced and approved of when "budget cuts" were necessary to his campaign, by the very same president who is now condemning them as dangerous.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Mistake

Have you ever made a mistake that you didn't even realize you made and that turned out to be something great?

This past Christmas season I was checking out some books and my son's wish list on Amazon.  Somehow, while I was in the wish list section, I added two books to my wish list that I didn't even know I had.  My son took the opportunity to arrange for me to receive these books on my Kindle and I'm so glad he did.

This week I started reading the first, The Book of Mychal by Michael Daly.  It's the story of Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY Chaplain, who died when the World Trade Center was attacked and fell.  This book follows Father Judge's life from childhood to the end.  I'm about 2/3's of the way through.

I have spent most of yesterday and today reading.  I usually can't sit still more than an hour when reading, but today I did.  I even ignored an NCIS marathon with Mark Harmon and David McCallum, this book is so good.

Father Judge spent his days saying Mass, ministering to AIDS patients, counseling those struggling with addiction.  No matter the time of day, he would answer a page to console firemen and families when one had been injured or killed in a fire.  He would visit the hospital, counsel and console the family until the fireman either recovered or died.  He would then say the funeral Mass if the deceased was Catholic, or just offer whatever support he could.

There were days when he would return to his home at 2 or 3 in the morning, check messages, pray and go to sleep only to get up in time to say Mass at 7:30 AM.  And, he was not a young man.  I wish I had his energy.

As a New Yorker, there are stories that I remember - the crash of TWA Flight 800, the deaths of three fireman that resulted in the city's providing special protective gear for the department.

Unfortunately, I know how this story ends - the horrific attack on my city on September 11, 2001.  All through the book, Mr. Daly mentions firemen who were friends of Father Judge who also died on that day.

He also mentions some of the good stories of NY - Stephen McDonald who was shot by a young boy.  Mr. McDonald had been married a short time and his wife was pregnant with their child when he was shot, that's not the good story.  Mr. McDonald is now in a wheelchair and breaths with the help of a portable respirator, but  Mr. McDonald forgave the shooter.

I could say more about this book,  but I want to get back to reading.  I would recommend this to anyone who is interested in reading about real people, people who make a difference, people who care.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Confusion

 
 
 
I'm sure, by now, everyone has heard about the big blizzard in the northeast.  Some were hit really hard by the storm, but in my little corner of the world, there wasn't much.  And what little there was is almost gone, thanks to the rain and higher temperatures.
 
 

Of course, the higher temperatures have caused other problems.  The bulbs that are supposed to come up and bloom in the spring have gotten confused by the 50 degree temps.  This is what I saw in the front of my house this afternoon.


The hyacinths are trying to come up.  Don't they know it's still winter, and February to boot.  The weather in February is so unpredictable, we may have another freeze.  I wonder what will happen to my garden then.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What Changed?

During the Bush Administration, there was a huge outcry about the administration's plans to wiretap the phones of suspected terrorists living in the states who made overseas calls.  The media and liberals (sorry, that's redundant) complained about an invasion of privacy, a violation of due process, etc.  They also complained about the use of waterboarding and enhanced interrogation.

Fast forward to the next administration.  Now, it is OK to send a drone to kill American citizens living abroad if there is an imminent threat, the target has engaged in terrorist activities and the target has to be unable to be captured, even is there is no intelligence pointing to an active plot against America. 

This leads to several questions.  Who can decide if a citizen is an imminent threat to our country?  Would this be a unilateral decision?  Would congress have some input into the decisioin?  What constitutes a threat if there is no intelligence pointing to an active plot?

Why is this OK, not a violation of the right to a trial and wiretapping is an invation of privacy?

Why is waterboarding with the intent to get information so wrong, but killing a suspect without having received any threat perfectly OK?

Where will this stop?  When will these drones be used against American citizens here in our own country?  Will they be used against those practicing their right to free speech?

WHERE WILL IT ALL END?  BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Redecorating

I'm getting bored with the way my house looks.  So, I've decided to make some changes.  I'm starting small - with the bathroom.  When I bought the house, I would have liked to have cobalt blue fixtures, but, something like that cuts resale value, so I went with an almond color.  All the accessories (soap dish, cup, etc.) are the same color.  I did get brave with the towels, they're deep blue, along with the bath mat which Burnie does terrible things on after he's eaten a plant.

I started looking for deep blue accessories to jazz the room up a little.  Do you know how hard it is to find deep blue cups, soap dishes, etc?  I tried all the stores I could think of.  I went on-line and did see a set I liked, but they didn't have the toothbrush holder in stock, so I didn't buy any other pieces.

Then I checked on a major on-line retailer.  While going through the list of bathroom accessories, I saw that they had urns for sale.  OK, that didn't seem too odd until I saw that they were adult or large sizes.  They were nice urns, keepsake urns.  I really didn't think they should have been with the bathroom accessories, should they?

I wonder how many people keep these urns in the bathroom.  I always thought they were kept over a fireplace or on a shelf, but the bathroom.  'Tis a puzzlement.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Soup Weather

It's been cold this week, in case anyone hasn't noticed.  I like the cold.  I like getting  bundled up in a nice heavy sweater at home, or in a nice warm jacket if I have to go out.  It's also a great time for soup.

This morning I went to the supermarket to get some stew meat to make beef vegetable soup.  While there I saw oxtails.  They were a staple when I was young.  My mother made a great big pot of oxtail soup on cold winter days.  The soup was very good, but what I really remember was the vegetables she used.  She would buy cans of either Veg-All or Veg-Pack.  The strange thing about these vegetables was that they were a combination of carrots, peas, lima beans, corn and green beans, all packed separately and  divided by a sheet of paper in the can.  Why they were separated I'll never understand since they were meant to  be put into a pot and mixed up.  Oh well.

When I got home, I realized that I couldn't find my mother's recipe.  It's buried somewhere in one of my cookbooks.  I decided to wing it, after all how hard is it to make soup.  So, I put the oxtails in a pot, browned them, added beef broth, some tomato paste (I think she used ketchup) and the vegetables (a frozen mix).  It simmered for hours.  It tasted pretty good, it should be better tomorrow after everything has had a chance to settle. 

Oh, I also added a small fistful of  barley and that reminded me of my brother.  Several years ago, he decided to make the soup following my mother's recipe.  When he got to the barley, which was supposed to be about a tablespoon, he decided that wasn't enough.  So, he added the whole box.

Of course, the  barley expanded and instead of oxtail soup, he wound up with barley stew.  Once I got through the barley, it wasn't too bad.

I'm looking forward to a nice piping hot bowl of soup tomorrow night.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Decisions

When I chose this house, it had not been built.  That meant that I could make decisions about the room sizes, types of materials used, etc.  I made many decisions, some good and some not so good.  I should have opted for a storage room over the garage and 42" kitchen cabinets instead of the 30".  Oh well, next time.

One of the best decisions I made was to have hardwood floors instead of carpeting.  My thinking was, again, one of economics.  I felt that if I opted for carpet (which would have been installed over the concrete slab, or a cheaper floor) I would be stuck.  If I changed my mind and wanted hardwood, I would have had to install a new floor.  If I so desire, I can always put carpeting over the hardwood.  Enough rambling.  One of the advantages of a wood floor is the ability to move large items.

At Christmas time, I put my tree on an old blanket and just drag it through the house.  One time, I assembled a bookcase on the floor, again on the old blanket.  When it was finished, I just pulled the blanket up to the wall and lifted the bookcase.  So easy.

Yesterday, while sitting in the living/family room I looked around and decided the room was boring and needed a change.  It was time to rearrange the furniture.  Under most conditions, this is not an easy task - I have a sofa, sofabed and recliner, ottoman, two coffee tables and an eterge.  Because of the wood floor, I just slid the furniture around until I had the right arrangement. 

Years ago, in my old house, with carpet, rearranging the furniture was a backbreaking, all day job.  Yesterday, all it took was about an hour.

I like it now, don't know how long it will be until I'm bored with it.