Friday, December 30, 2011

Reason to Vote

This morning I read an article on CNN entitled “Candidates, give us a reason to vote in 2012”.  Titles like this infuriate me.  Why should there be a reason to vote in an election other than people died for the right to vote and you are going to do it because it’s the right thing to do?
it's even harder to imagine that the more than three-fourths of Republicans who were thoroughly uninspired by him just a few months earlier would suddenly get excited enough to turn out and vote.
This is exactly what is wrong about American politics today.  We have to be inspired to vote.  We have to be enamored by the candidate to want to take 5 minutes out of our day and swing by the voting booth to cast our vote for a person on Election Day.  All I have to say about that is nasty words.  What’s wrong with voting because it is our right to vote and be a part of a system that allows us to have a voice?  What’s wrong with voting because our ancestors fought and died for the right to vote?  What’s wrong with voting because it’s the thing to do as a citizen?  Why do we have to be fueled with excitement to wnat to do this? 
The Election Board as bent over backwards to have people at the polling place and have it open for 14 hours so it’s convenient for us to vote.  The least we can do is perform our civic duty regardless of the fact the people on the ballot make us yawn or jump up and down.  It isn’t American Idol, folks, it’s the future of the our country which looks pretty bleak at the present. 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

A Little Early

I know I am a little early in planting, but I was so excited about the greenhouse and the grow light that I planted the seeds for the flowers that needed to be planted in January.  I just couldn’t wait.  Over the Christmas holiday I organized all my seeds and determined from the grow calendar which plants needed to be started in each month, carefully plotting on a spreadsheet the months of indoor sowing, outdoor sowing, and transplanting.  Then I took all those plants that needed to be indoor sowed in January and planted them in the little newspaper pots I made with my pot maker.  They are now sitting in the greenhouse with the grow light set for 16 hours.  I also wrote down on all the ones that were planted and the date in my garden journal.
I know it’s a little early, but hey it’s almost January, right?  I figured the more head start I get on these seedlings the better off they will be come April or May when they can go outside, and will be bigger and stronger then.  It is a little strange to walk by the basement door and see this eerie light on down there.  It makes me think someone forgot to turn off the overheads, but then I remember, and it fills me with anticipation and excitement.  Yeah, I know, small things…
So anyway, I am off and running.  Next month there are more seeds to start and before I know it the sun will be shining longer and it will be time to plant all these seedlings in the ground.  In one way it’s a way to deal with the winter blahs that is productive and gratifying. 

Monday, December 26, 2011

Happy Holidays

I hope you all had a very happy holiday and it turned out as you wanted.  It is not totally over yet as there is the New Year’s celebration to take place, and I think there are some other year-end holidays that are going on.  But, basically the 2011 is over and 2012 is on the horizon and I don’t know about you, but to me it is a time to reflect and to right some of the wrongs one has control over.

That means getting back on the wagon for health.  I have big plans this year for a garden that will provide me all the fresh vegetables that my family can consume.  That is not a tall order in some respects as it is just my husband and me right now.  It is a tall order in the variety of vegetables that my garden can produce.  My goal is to not have to shop for vegetables at the store.  The other part of the wagon is not eating sugar and fat.  I have already begun drinking my coffee black to cut back on the fat.  I have a mouthful of sweet teeth so the sugar is a hard thing for me.  Of course the third part is the exercise.  My husband and I rode on Christmas day and are planning another ride today as soon as it gets a tad warmer.  It is a matter of discipline and awareness.  I am so out of shape for not doing anything last year that it is going to take some time to get back up to speed, but with the mild winter that is predicted, maybe we will be able to ride all the way through.

So this week and I am going to do some reflecting and list making to see what I can do to improve 2012.  Let’s see where this will go.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


First we have the Catholic priests, then a university football coach, and now a Philadelphia journalist.  All of a sudden people are jumping on the bandwagon with the sexual molestation accusations from when they were children.  What is it with these guys, and why is it all coming out now?  l
I don’t understand how a person can molest a child.  How is a child considered a sexual creature in the first place?  Sure they are innocent and sweet and trusting, but how that makes them enticing as a sexual “partner” is beyond me.  It is so horrible to even think that a child could be subjected to that kind of treatment in the first place. 
These men are men of authority and stature of some kind.  Is it that they are so drunk with power that they feel they can take advantage of a child?  Just horrible.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Unfamiliar Ground

A good friend of mine’s mother died the other day and since she is Jewish, she is sitting Shiva this week.  I am totally new to this and have never visited anyone sitting Shiva so I had to look it up to see what I should do to so that I won't be out of step with anything that was going on when I see her in a few days.  I found a couple websites that explained what the custom is and what to do when you visit someone who is sitting Shiva.  They were very helpful and now I feel much more comfortable about the whole thing.  I know I will still be a little shy about it as I do with any new experience.

Shiva makes a lot of sense to me.  The family is in mourning and it’s the community’s responsibility to take care of them.  The family does not cook, does not clean, or do anything else because the whole time is devoted to reflection of the person who passed and concentrating on their grief and prayer.  It seems a lot more involved than the Christian custom of visitation and burial with a luncheon afterward.  Having recently lost my father, I would have liked to have more time to reflect on his loss rather than having one day to grieve with family and friends and then having to get back to work.  

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The spice company, McCormick, has a relatively new line of combined spices that has caught my eye.  They are called Recipe Inspirations and come with pre-measured spices and a recipe card that shows you everything you need for a particular dish.  I have tried two of their packages; Asian Sesame Salmon and Chicken Marsala.  Both were easy to prepare and very tasty.  They have quite a few types, but the store I go to only carried a few. 
Since I generally have quite a few spices on hand, I primarily bought them for the recipe at first.  I really consider them waste because of the excess packaging that is involved, but these can be really useful if you are a new cook and not used to cooking with spices, have no more than the obligatory salt and pepper on hand, or want to try something new.  If you have a large spice collection then after the first go-round you can just use the recipe card and do the meal again.  Unfortunately they don’t have the recipes online but I can rationalize buying the package just for the recipe knowing that if it does not turn out the way I like, I can always not use the card again, or make small adjustments to the recipe as I see fit and I don't have a lot of excess stuff around. 
Overall I give this product a big thumbs up.  It helps new cooks experiment with different ways to prepare meals, it encourages the use of fresh ingredients, and it is quick and easy to use.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


This morning when I went to get coffee, the cafeteria had a new flavor for the Holidays.  The flavor was advertised to be bold and festive.  What exactly does festive taste like?  I wondered.  The coffee was bold and slightly strong, but festive?  Even after drinking the coffee I am still not sure what festive is supposed to taste like.
Sometimes the people who market products and food come up with the craziest stuff.   The best are the names that are thought of for cosmetics, especially the colors.  Lipstick shades as Icy Plum are quite descriptive and easy to imagine, but Sweet Surrender?  Really?
I suppose if nothing else it does warrant a blog entry.  Maybe that’s what they were going for.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Ramble On

Leaves are falling all around
Time I was on my way.
Thanks to you, I am much obliged
For such a pleasant stay.
-          Led Zeppelin

“Ramble On” is one of my favorite songs of all time.  It was popular when I was in my teens (and I know I am dating myself) and I always enjoy listening to it over and over again.  The message behind it is probably lost on me especially when the lyrics start talking about the Lord of the Rings but I don’t mind.  There are times that I just like to listen to the music and not try to figure it out.   Besides I hardly think that there is some deep meaning behind it anyway.

Music has a way of taking one back.  I think the auditory memory, like the olfactory memory is one of the strongest memories that we have.  When I hear a song of my youth, I can remember certain times that were very important to me, or things that were pleasant.  There is one particular Rod Stewart song that reminds me of the times I had driving back and forth to my boyfriend’s house.  Or when I used the car to just cruise around – back in the days when gas was $.36 cents per gallon and I could put a dollar’s worth in the tank to replace what I had used.  Ah, good times.

Monday, December 5, 2011


Normally I don’t mind autumn and winter. I don’t really have a problem with the cold as long as my house is warm and as long as I have enough body lotion to take care of the dry skin that I get during the colder months. This year, however, I can’t wait until spring and I blame my new gardening hobby for that. I have been perusing the gardening blogs and catalog stores on the web and I see wonderful pictures of Cottage Gardens, that I want to emulate, from around the world that are as enticing as a good glazed donut!

I guess it is the anticipation of putting all of those wonderful plants in my garden and the imagination of the smell and texture of all those beautiful flowers. I put a calendar together of dates when I should sow the seeds for the flowers and vegetables I want. My only consolation is that many of the perennials that I want have in the garden should be started in January and February. It’s not that far off and very wait-able.

Friday, December 2, 2011


The other day I was directed to a video that someone posted on their Facebook page. It was an ad, supposedly in Australia, for same sex marriage. It was a beautiful film done from the perspective of one person showing snippets of a relationship between two people who obviously loved each other. At the end it showed a man kneeling on the ground with the proverbial ring box. It wasn’t until that moment was it known that the other person he held the ring box to was also a man. It was a touching video and somewhat tearful – at least for me.

I am not shocked by the thought of same sex marriage, and fully support it as I may have mentioned in this blog before. I can’t understand how some might feel it damages marriage as it exists between a man and a woman.   Homosexuality has been documented to exist in species other than humans.

So why do people think they can decide for another what makes that other person happy? For one thing, ardent Fundamentalists point to the Bible which in one scripture says it is a sin to lie with a man as is done with a woman. But I seem to remember from my history that the ancient Romans celebrated homosexuality and even one definition of the Latin word for Love means love between two men – women here being pointedly left out again. So maybe the Bible was objecting to it back then. Of course since the Bible was translated from ancient Greek, some might argue that it was lost in translation.

At any rate the bottom line is human rights, in my opinion. Every person should be able to live their lives in a manner that makes them happy if that manner does not cause physical or emotional harm to another person. The pursuit of happiness is even in our constitution, so I support and believe that this country should legalize same sex marriage; marriage not civil unions, not partnership, but marriage. Because until all people are given the same rights regardless of their gender, religious background, race, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and any another other classification you want to throw in there, we are all not free.

Thursday, December 1, 2011


An unidentified man distributed $100 bills the other day in Reading PA according to an article that appeared recently. I find that truly amazing. He apparently distributed an estimated $20,000 at a bus station downtown. First I find it amazing that a person would be able to hand out that amount of cash, and secondly I find it amazing is that he didn’t get mugged while he was doing it. I suppose a person dressed in a Santa suit might be immune to being attacked?

A $100 doesn’t go very far these days, but it can buy a week’s worth of groceries and two tanks of gas for a person who is scrapping together every cent they can get. I remember when that amount was a lot and I was really happy getting only slightly more than that for a weekly wage when I was in high school. Of course back then my mother spent $36 for a week’s supply of food and I could replace the gas I used in my mother’s car for $1.

But still just giving away a $100 bill to that many people is over-the-top generous and should give you pause as to the impact this person made in those poor people’s lives. That is the real meaning of Christmas.