Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Night in Suburbia

Last Scary Things Post - ID THEFT

My heart ached this morning as I opened my sister's blog. She and my nephew have been through hell for four years. Now, her son has been wiped out by a thief who apparently has his debit card and personal information. My guess is that this is internet related.

I shudder whenever I order something on line, although because of necessity I did while in rugged Wyoming and never had a problem. But about ten years ago, a box of our bank checks was stolen from our mail box while "H" was in the hospital with a hospital acquired staph infection after hand surgery. That's another story. It was a nightmare.

I suspected a woman or women as they were signing my name in four different distinct signatures and not getting the spelling of my name right even though it was on my check and cashing them, many large ones at Walmart. Now Walmart would NEVER take a check from me in the amount of $600.00 even if I spelled my name right and wrote the right DL number on the check. So I assumed there was an accomplice at Walmart. (Today some of those names are on MY credit reports, and I can't seem to get them cleaned up despite phone calls and letters to the reporters.)

The police weren't interested as I guess they have crimes more important than my overdrawn checking account and draft protection card. I would have thought is would be easy to check who took the fraudulent checks at Walmart and trace it from there. But no. But at least we had our copy of the police report. It ended up that it was a good thing "H" was off work, because he had to run to the bank every other day, as well as take the report around to the various stores where the fiends were cashing checks. I, myself, could not write a check as everything was bouncing. Again, I wondered how could these people continue to write checks?

The bank was so helpful - and they ate the loss eventually, as they aren't supposed to take checks that are obviously not signed by the account owner, or after fraud has been reported.

The effects were long lingering.

It affected my job as I was in finance and we were required to pass credit checks.

The nightmare continued:

Sears called me to verify my social security number for the new account I just opened. WHAT! I have a Sears account, why would I open another one? It was a good thing they checked with me! Someone else was buying tires on a new account they were opening in my name! Again, I reported it to the police. Again, they could care less, but at least it was on record.

Lingering affects today are bad reports on my credit record because the credit report agencies refuse to take incorrect things off. Yes, there is a law that they have to, but it has to be enforced to work. I have persons' names (similar to my own) on my reports that aren't remotely linked to me other than through a mispelled first name.

So, in my nephew's situation, he is just starting a credit building process, as he is just out of high school. This could follow him a long time. Such crimes can be disastrous.

How to prevent? Besides dropping out so to speak and not having a checking account or credit cards? Well in the case of checks, you do not want to preprint anything other than your name on the check - and under that you need to write, "Ask for Driver's License" - then you will have to tediously write in the other information by hand when you write a check, but that will make whoever takes the check make sure your ID matches. I was lazy and printed EVERYTHING on my checks except my social security number.

Never give out your social security number. In fact, I think it might be illegal to use that in the U.S. anymore for ID purposes.

When on line with your bank or with any financial process on line, remember to log out. If you have a home network, make sure it is on "secure."

Credit cards - you want to always have them written down and placed in a safe place complete with the numbers, the little 3 digit number on the back, and expiration dates and the phone number so you can make notification immediately when ID theft is discovered.

Next, if you do face an ID theft by credit card or bank checks, immediately report to the police. Keep a copy of the police report. Then give a copy of the report to the bank(s) or credit card company(s). (These are hints for U.S. citizens) - it will take you a while to straighten everything out, be patient. Also inform the three top credit reporting agencies of the ID theft. We didn't do that and that might be why incorrect information remains on our reports. If you get turned into collection, handle it immediately. Ignoring the collection agency definitely will not make it go away. There are laws in place that provide for this sort of thing - you should not have to suffer collection tactics on something you aren't responsible for. Have your bank close the account and open a new one with a different number.

And remember, after all this: ID theft is not your fault! Not anymore than getting hit on the head while at the teller machine or any other time and having your money stolen through one method or another. If then probably we would have world peace and everyone would be fed.

Have a safe night tonight everyone, especially the little ones. My grandson and daughter will be going to our church's huge community "safe" activities bash - I will be at home handing out candy to trick or treaters.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Sir Fred

Sir Fred, faithful sword bearer! Most of you know I am a cat person, but there have been a few dogs that have found the path to my heart. This old fella is Sir Fred, noble sword bearer to Leo Paints for Less. Isn't he a doll? He is being weaned off of people food, but I do sneak him a piece of chicken now and then.

Ah, Sistah, you are asking the question, is it pre-chewed? No it is not. And he butt is being left pristine. And no, he's not living with me. But I do let him in the house. He is very well mannered. A bit clumsy, but well mannered. And I have not yet gone to stalking Sir Leo to make sure the sword bearer is being overfed, no breaking into his truck to feel the dog's rib bones, no kidnapping to take him to vet for anal gland cleansing. Ah, poor Fred, he is packed like a sausage. But his dog food regime is slimming him up some.

So, if the above seems cryptic to you, I can explain later. There is a dog lover in the family, actually a dog co-dependent. Not me. Not Sistah. Not Ya Think. I'll never tell. And I'll never tell it from the rooftops that I just love this dog, Sir Fred.

Amazing as well, the three cats, two of them rather temperamental or crazy whichever description you prefer, seem to sense the spirit of laid back Fred and they tolerate him. They aren't washing his face yet. Fred just looks at them calmly.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

And sumtimes I even scare MYSELF!

My mother used to sing a song to me - I can't remember all the words, but it ended in "...........and sometimes I even scare myself!"

I cleaned out and vacated my storage unit today. This is requiring a major re-organization to squeeze more stuff in the house. I decided to throw away the drawings that were no good. Was going through some class assignments from art school, and I found this charcoal drawing. I can't for the life of me remember the assignment, other than a self portrait, but as I went through all my drawings, I'm thinking, what kind of space was I in then? I don't remember being gloomy, but do remember having such a great time. But here it is - I can't deny it. So, booooooooo! Hahahahaaaaaaaaaaaa

On the spur of the moment this morning, I called Hattigrace and said, "Hey, want to go to an artist's house with me, she is having an open house!" Right now Hattigrace's mode is when she hears the word ART, she definitely wants to head in that direction. We met there and a few other ladies were there, artists and writers, and we talked and talked and talked, and I snacked. Then we headed to Hattigrace's house for a grand tour - she has a knack with decorating - absolutely charming home. Also I met Bella, her teacup schit-zu (that's a bad word to mis-spell) and fell in love with the little varmit.

All in all, it was a good day, but I am sooooooo tired, the rest of the art work stays in the car until I get energy to get it out. I found paintings I thought I had lost. I also found a few that are crying out to be sanded off and a new painting started afresh. One canvas is a New Orleans courtyard I started years ago in acrylics - I might rework that one - I have new ideas, but stay with the courtyard theme. Oh, exciting....

Scary Things Again

Since Halloween is coming up and I've already started a theme of things that scare me (bridges), I'm going to post another SCARY thing...STEAM ROLLERS!

The sight of a steam roller five or six times (or more) larger than myself would send shivers of fear down my whole body as the roller chugged across street pavement. I could picture myself, unable to run, being rolled right over the top. Even at six years, I knew I would not pop back up like a cartoon character.

The roller pictured above is a real antique (more so than myself even) - the steam rollers I am talking about are the super sized solid "steel" machines that haven't changed so much in the last 50 years or so.

Just think - you are six and standing in the curb - a steam roller comes slowly down the street - its roller looks like a mountain - what if it jumps the curb - what if it suddenly gets too much fuel - what if? Why can't I jump into my mother's arms, she is standing near to me - why can't I scream - ??????????

So, what is in the human nature that makes that old creeping electricity run up my body even now when I see a roller? Besides the obvious that is - my mind says run, but my body would not run fast enough - and would I look silly letting out a shrill scream and breaking into a slow trot at the site of a roller and in the street or parking lot?

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Absolutely Must See - Bring Your Kleenex to the Computer

This is about golfing - about courage - about love - about the impossible being possible. View Top Video First.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Bridge Fascinations

Some information on Lake Ponchartrain, the second largest salt water lake in the U.S., and some of the bridges of New Orleans:

I was terrified as I tried to find my way out of New Orleans Saturday night late, because I got lost, and ended up crossing the bridges in the dark, silent, surreal night landscape. The fear I experienced crossing these bridges stems from long standing dreams experienced by the women in our family of driving off of high bridges and going down under the water. How wierd is that? New Orleans is somewhat deserted and being alone with an occasional, I thought, sinister looking vehicle, ok, ok, too much sci fi channel, passing by like a silent dark ghost in the night, gave me the spooks unequal to anything I'd experienced for a long, long time. It was like a living dark dream.

Even given the wierd phobias, bridges have always fascinated me for some unknown reason. On my list of books I want is a book on the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. From the building to the standing finished structures, I'm fascinated. I found this information in Wikipedia, on New Orleans bridges, down to the murders on one of the bridges.

But first a bit on Lake Ponchartrain:

Map Coordinates 30.206055° N 90.102132° W

Lake type: salt-water lake

Basin countries: United States
Surface area: 630 sq mi (1630 km²)

Settlements around lake: New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Mandeville, Slidell, Madisonville, etc.

Lake Pontchartrain (local English pronunciation [leɪk ˈpʰɑntʃətʰɹeɪn]) (French: Lac Pontchartrain, pronounced [lak pɔ̃ʃaʀtʀɛ̃]) is a brackish lake located in southeastern Louisiana. It is the second largest salt-water lake in the United States, after the Great Salt Lake in Utah, and the largest lake in Louisiana. It covers an area of 630 square miles (1630 square km) with an average depth of 12 to 14 feet (about 4 meters). Some shipping channels are kept deeper through dredging. It is roughly oval in shape, about 40 miles (64 km) wide and 24 miles (39 km) from south to north.

The south shore forms the northern boundary of the city of New Orleans, plus its two largest suburbs Metairie and Kenner. On the north shore are the cities of Mandeville, Covington, and Madisonville. To the northeast is the city of Slidell.
Another Bridge: The Crescent City Connection, abbreviated as CCC, (formerly the Greater New Orleans Bridge) refers to twin cantilever bridges that carry U.S. Route 90 Business over the Mississippi River in New Orleans, Louisiana. Today, they are the tied as the 5th longest cantilever bridges in the world. Each span carries four general-use automobile lanes; additionally the westbound span has two reversible HOV lanes across the river. The westbound span, which carries motorists into the city's Central Business District on the Eastbank, requires a toll of $1 ($0.40 with an electronic toll tag). It is the most downstream bridge on the Mississippi River
Sir Isaac Newton did a number on the Interstate 10 bridges in New Orleans, according to a team of researchers at the University of Missouri-Rolla that helped document some of the damage caused by Hurricane Katrina.

The team believes Newton’s theory of gravity can explain why the 65-foot concrete slabs dropped off their supports into Lake Pontchartrain.

“The bridge’s design created structures in the shape of an upside-down rice bowl in each span, with the opening faced downward to the water,” explains Dr. Genda Chen, associate professor civil, architectural and environmental engineering at UMR. “Our preliminary analysis shows that the main culprit for the collapse or displacement of spans is the significant reduction of effective gravity loads. Air was trapped underneath the bridge decks in these ‘rice bowls,’ allowing the bridge decks to partially float and tilt.”

The reduced gravity load weakened the ability of the bridge spans to resist the water current.

“The main span over the navigation channel is a much taller structure than the approach spans; it experienced no damage during Hurricane Katrina,” Chen says. “All the approach spans experiencing excessive horizontal displacements were moved toward the ocean, which indicates that the displacement was caused by the storm surge and wave-structure interaction rather than the wind gusts associated with the hurricane.”
(Hee hee – this must have been an analysis by the insurance companies.) (My comment)

After the water level was lowered or air escaped from underneath the bridge decks, the bridge structures landed again on piers -- but at wrong positions -- or dropped off their supports altogether.

The rice bowl theory helps explain why Highway 11 and railroad bridges – located near the twin bridges – suffered minor or virtually no damage, Chen says.

“The Highway 11 bridge consists of shorter spans and shallower girders, reducing the volume of air that could be trapped underneath,” Chen explains. “The railroad bridge is a solid deck structure, which means no air can be trapped underneath the bridge.”

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) in Rolla sponsored the team’s trip to New Orleans and provided researchers with satellite imagery, and various forms of mapping information and scientific assessments of the damaged areas.

The team is preparing its final report and intends to share its findings on the Internet by early next spring, using a tool developed by the USGS and the Department of Defense.

The Danziger Bridge is a vertical lift bridge which carries seven vehicular lanes of U.S. Route 90 (Chef Menteur Highway) across the Industrial Canal in New Orleans, Louisiana. When this bridge was completed in 1988, replacing a previous bridge of the same name, it was the widest lift bridge in the world. Most marine traffic is accommodated in the down position.
Shooting controversy
A deadly police shooting occurred on the bridge in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005. On Sunday, September 4, seven police officers responded to a police dispatch reporting an officer down. According to the police, at least four people were firing weapons at the officers who then returned fire. Nineteen-year-old James Brisette and forty-year-old Ronald Madison were killed in the gunfire, and four other civilians were wounded. All claim to have been unarmed. The police officers involved in the shooting were taken into custody on January 2, 2007 and have been indicted for murder.

An Evening in New Orleans

Crossing of the lake into New Orleans. The water was sparkling. The bridge was under construction and knowing that it is a construction survivor of Katrina, it was also scary.

Candy and company met me in the courtyard of the hotel. I haven't put in any closeup photos yet as I feel I should have permission of the people in the photos and I forgot to ask!

Candy is in forefront with the orchestra behind her.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Meeting Blogger Friends

Some long time blogger friends invited me to come visit when they were in New Orleans. As badly as I wanted to I didn't know if I could make it. However, despite obstacles galore, my final decision was that, if I didn't go, I would regret it - if I did go, I most certainly would not regret not going. Well, it turned out to be a fabulous evening (except for getting lost coming out of New Orleans at 10:00 p.m. Will blog about that later.)

I have a confession to make - since I had the "medical experience" in April, I have had a big problem with anxiety and its very hard for me to leave the house and I get exhausted very quickly. My girls thought I was crazy - but they don't blog. If I hadn't gone, I would have missed meeting some fantastic people who have been a part of my life for over two years as well as having one of the best nights of my life.

We met in the courtyard of the hotel, ah those fabulous New Orleans courtyards, what a way to meet blogger friends for the first time! Within a few minutes I felt like I'd known Candy for a long time. The evening started with a visit to a martini bar with the smoothest martinis in the universe, (and the funnest conversation in the world) and a small, elegant restaurant for a spring roll for me and onion soup for Candy, bread sticks and butter - we found we both love butter. The spring roll was so delicious it gave a new meaning to spring rolls. Then we scooted off to a concert - fabulous show,, an eighteen piece orchestra called The New Leviathan Oriental Fox-Trot Orchestra, specializing in music from the first third of "this Century." The talent was incredible as was the sharp-witted tongue in cheek humor. This orchestra has a new fan! So how Chicagoans could find the best in New Orleans when I have a hard time finding anything besides the normal tourista traps, I don't know.

Candy Minx and Anthony Stagg are two great people. Candy is a long legged elegant, energetic blond artist and how can I describe her: an amazing intellect. One of those people you just know can do ANYTHING they set their heart to do. Stagg is a tall good looking sweetheart of a guy and a tremendous artist as well. The couple they were with were also in the arts and it was a stimulating experience and a treat meeting them as well. I could write pages on what a great time I had. And, even more importantly, I felt as if I'd known Candy and Anthony forever and my heart knit to them. I wish we lived closer to each other. So thanks guys, and I so enjoyed meeting your friends too! Words can't completely convey.............

Pics to follow after I fix grandson's breakfast and get him off to school. Daughter on her long night shift........and its raining cats and dogs and everything else out there - the roads are so dangerously close to be flooded already - - I wish it would quit!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Friday Photos

The top photo is a picture of water standing after our twelve inches of rain storm and four tornados that ripped through the area. This area in the top and bottom photos is a deserted FEMA trailer village not far from the house. The flooded asphalt with trailer connections sticking out of the water is a grim reminder of Hurricane Ivan in '04.

I volunteered at the boy's school in the a.m. and judging from the shape of the roads to the school, I decided not to venture into the tornado hit areas for pictures because of the flooding. The road to school was close to being flooded and filled with big holes from the moisture and made traveling hazardous. The holes were already being filled by county workers.

The middle photo is my trumpet plant which handled the pounding rain wonderfully - in fact it has over 15 blooms!

Today, I'm going to meet some blogger friends in New Orleans! How exciting is that! I hope the timing works out ok - they are so close it would be a shame not to go! A lot closer than they normally are, that's for sure!

So I will leave you for the weekend and be back to post later with, hopefully, pictures of some wonderful bloggers who've been with me through thick and some of you also have been. I'll be able to make the trip in "hops" stopping at friends' homes along the way so my back will tolerate the drive. I can stay anywhere along the way if I can't make it back home by tonight. It's such a glorious clear day that it is incredible, it will be pretty drive over the sparkling bays. I will charge up my Zune and be on my way! Maybe I can talk one of the older grandkids into going with me, I don't spend a lot of time with them and it would be nice. Too hard a trip on the little guy.

I'm going to put on a pot of coffee, find some decent clothes, shave my legs - don't want to disillusion anyone who might have a picture of me as being sort of civilized. Ha!

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


I can't believe it! Blogger actually uploaded a photo. Here's parrot. He's got a long ways to go - but we're started. I found a down side to moving art into study - no ventilation. I'm having to quit a while, open window and work later, me head's spinning from the turps.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Rough Weather

Everybody is ok here. There have been lots of scary storms in the area. For pictures you will have to go to CNN. It was sad, a big hit was in a poor area where the blue tarps on homes were still on from Hurricane Ivan - some of these homes had their last hit today.

Night before last, I took a beautiful long stem wine glass out and probably drank too much wine while sitting in the moonlight looking at my plants for an hour. There was a great breeze, warm yet cooling, I almost felt as if I were part of an early 1940's movie! (Oh, ye seductive southland!) I talked to God a while and felt very peaceful and slept marvelously well on the old sofa. I hope its not what you call passing out. Oh, that was an easy wine to drink, Hattigrace. We must send the names of those wines to my sister.

Yesterday, once more reworked the background on hibiscus. The parrot painting is underway....right now it looks very pregnant.

My daughter went to her boyfriend's for the birthday celebration. She came home with a couple of dozen red roses, and some gorgeous - uh, I don't want to say - personal apparel should I say, a hot pair of high heels, fishnet tights, and I wondered if it was his birthday or hers. He hasn't had time to do really serious shopping - so we're still waiting to find out what THE present will be. I got her a set of special brushes for mineral makeup and a brush holder.

Back to the TV - we are too flooded to go out looky-looing, besides the emergency people don't appreciate being hindered by sight seeing people. Laters.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

News Flash & What's it with Women?

****The boogie woogie beagle boy does not live here. I absolutely could not tolerate another species to take care of. Just for clarification. As cute as he was. I am over impulse doggies and impulse men.****** Good Morning everyone!

Now that that's over....(I think I gave my sis a heart attack - she knows my big heart gets me in bigger troubles)...................

Its black outside, tornado black, but the forecast is just rain and more rain and more rain.

I'm reading a book that is focused on mothers' guilt about working and trying to nurture our children properly. Seems like society has set us up - you mean our children's unhappy moments are not our fault?

Oh, darn, we invested so much time in that guilt, now we are hearing it is all for naught? Now don't get me wrong - I'm the queen of guilt - I can let my thoughts drift back to all the I shoulda's and I oughta's, and end up writhing in the floor in tears and guilt - I do not dare go some places in memory - ya know? Where could we be today if we just saw and could see things clearly?

The author states that primates have no such conflict, baby clings to them, pretty much 24/7, while mom finds food, nurtures, and grooms. Granted, any nice tree will make a home - no lawn mowing there. And....No babysitting problems, no leaving sick children with sitters or in nursery school or home alone in bed if they are older - gosh, guess what - when mom primate is down - others take over as a natural course of business. No refusal of raises if baby is suckling while mom gathers the berries.

Women usually are primary caregivers, yet expected to work as many hours as men, take care of the house, the laundry, sometimes the yard, the cooking, and then the kids need quality time! Oh, don't forget to get the car serviced and the new tires put on and drop by the dry cleaners and the grocery store on our way home. Then we are paid about $10,000 (at least) a year less than men in the same fields (as a rule) because we are women and the birthing and child rearing process falls mainly to us. But, hey, wasn't too many years ago we weren't allowed to vote either. So should we be grateful for the fact we are allowed out in the workplace at all? No gratefulness necessary - if not for us the economy would collapse. Should we all go on strike?

Now I'm talking of society in general when it comes to us suffering from self-inflicted blame. If we fail in this monumental endeavor (whether for real or only in our guilt ridden working mom minds), then is it a lack of support within our system? Heck no, it's the woman's fault! But in reality it may be society. This is a very interesting book and I think it raises some real questions in regard to a healthy society - and why approximately one-half of our society (women) are just exhausted, sad, and another large segment in the one-half are living near poverty or in poverty if divorced or aged. In a few days, I'll give it a short review over in the reading club blog. Or maybe I won't need to - I just keep typing here.

And, I'm not bashing men, its just the way our society has evolved - actually I feel sorry for men that are not carrying an equal load with the women in their lives, they are missing pain that will mature their characters magnificently!

Joking aside, men should know how to cook and do laundry. They should know the children's schedules so they can fill in just to let the kid know they care, so they can help teach, nurture, take kids to doctor, etc. (Mine doesn't want to know, never did. But he's in an older generation where men controlled their money and the woman's too if she worked, and then when not working, sat and watched TV and were pissed (excuse me) because they weren't getting the companionship they needed or wanted. Period.) What makes it "impossible" for men to get away from jobs for dental appointments, etc. for kids, when mom somehow manages to do it even if she's working?

"H"'s partial awakening was when I left him about 15 years ago, and he knocked on my apartment door with a load of laundry wanting ME to do it. I slammed the door in his face and told him to grow up!

I do think men are more involved in parenting than ever before, but generally there are still huge inequalities in chores and child rearing duties for the most part. On one hand, I feel sorry for men because when they become grandpas then they know what they missed. But often if they had to go back, they would again choose to "miss it."

Then there are other things to consider - we had the feminist movement - men had no choice other than to sit on a stump like a dazed frog awaiting doom, or to respond to the shift in the women's camp. I don't think men have had a road map to follow as women did in the feminist movement. Some Christian movements sprang up, such as Ten Million Men, with strong Christian men realizing they were missing it. And even with leadership, we are still all finding our way.

Speaking of Christian men and women, some have been victims of man-made stereotypes that were perpetrated as "the way" to relationships that they need to break out of. So many men-women rules in the Church are merely religious rules much unlike the teachings of Christ for relationships.

But speaking of society in the U.S. now, it's getting me sort of angry actually; work me to death, and then society promotes guilt because I'm not performing 100% in all categories? Think about it. On the other hand, there are chapters on WHY we feel that way - and some of that "ain't purty" - it falls somewhat over into our own control issues. That's the part I have to re-read before posting to the book club site. Of course women have control issues - humans have control issues, period.

Could it be the studies of child care institutions that result in our children suffering less than good care, rather than shoving guilt onto women, should result in an improvement in childcare for working mothers?

Ok, guys and gals have a great day! Enough of this. Some of you probably wish I would burn that book! I ran it by "H" and he glared at me and responded with a "Nuyh." P.S. Blogger doesn't want to do images today or some other things.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Puddy Tat

When my sister was here, she was worried about Big Meowie, aka Kronos. After all, she is the one who discovered this magnificent gentle animal. I went to get him because she had two dogs who wouldn't appreciate a meowie hanging around their territory.

Big Meowie had become much too thin during my absence. So she suggested a senior cat feeding regime. Well, its working. I can't tell too much on the human scales, but he is getting much more hefty when I lift him. The other cats carry on when he gets his special feeding, so I let them lick the cans. They carry on something terrible when I pull the can out, but seem content to lick the leavings, I guess cats don't measure how much the other is getting. Anyway, he's gaining!

Will celebrate my youngest's 32nd birthday tonight (no, not that old, no, no, noooooooooooooooo) and I need to find the wrapping paper and get a cake picked up. Half my day is gone because I ran the boy to school and then talked to my mother forever on the phone. I am wanting to paint in the worst way! The hibiscus has seen some changes and I know exactly how to finish it - won't take long, getting to it is the problem.

The boy's dad bought over a dog which is supposed to be the boy's but I can tell it has bonded with the dad. It is a very civilized dog except for peeing on my palm tree. Boy's dad told me on the phone dog was a chi-wa-wa - yes, I can't spell, nor do I have a dictionary around nor the time right now to look up on computer - that really sounds like I came from the hills somewhere I know - or a greyhound. I'm thinking, hmmm - there is quite a bit of difference. Anyway it turned out to be an older beagle who is an absolute dear. House broken, mellow around cats, a connoisseur who wants nothing to do with cat food (or dog food) - he wants people food, and puh-leeze make it something besides hot dogs. Perhaps a roast with potatoes, carrots, and pumpkin for dessert.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

I Just Wanna Have Fun

Today was supposed to be the last day for the hematologist visits. I was so elated and happy.

He pronounced good news and bad news....stop the blood thinner, be watchful for another embolism, come back in two weeks for more blood tests, and in a month for followup. Sigh. So.........there is just something about visiting this guy that makes me spend money I don't have - besides his bill........I went to the Greek Fish Market.

Fishing boats were docked, and there was that quiet that large bodies of water exude - "Vast-ness" has a sound. It reminded me of standing out in the mountains and the hush that is in the mountains. I just sat in the sun for a while relaxing, breathing deeply and enjoying "being."

Finally pulled my body into the market, picked out my Red Snapper, and moved on over to the Greek grocery side. A pint of seeded Kalamata Olives followed, along with Cajun crab dip, a whole wheat bread loaf (ha, ha, *, NOT a "roll"), a wild rice mix, and for tomorrow, slices of extra sharp cheddar, and for the little boy's breakfasts, slices of Boar's Head Canadian bacon. Yum.

Well, Red Snapper is in the oven, stuffed with rice, celery, shallots, and various herbs. Unfortunately the boy and I are the only ones that like fish. "H" gave me a "Yuh." He might eat some, the negative is usually "Nyeh."

In the meantime, a biology lesson proceeds with the removal of one of snapper's eyes. We learn the brain is connected to the eye. We learn where the bone is that is in the throat and, if pulled, will open the mouth. We will probably look up the parts of an eye on the internet and figure out which is which. I found out Red Snappers have little cute sharp teeth. And a spiny back fin that is akin to a transfusion needle.

With the fish in the oven, the part that is sort of bothering me, bringing out my obsessive behaviors of worry, is, "Did I clean the fish all the way to the butt, or did I leave the lower bowel encased in the fish butt?" I'm sure the transverse colon is gone, along with the appendix.

So, tell me, how fun a day was that!

Monday, October 08, 2007

Butia Capitata Jelly

There is a new undertaking going on in "Granma's Kitchen."

Grandson gathered the fruit of a Butia Capitata in our front yard. We decided to make Butia Palm Fruit Jelly. Any self-respecting southern male of the 21st Century should know how to make palm jelly, right?

The palm tree in our front yard was loaded with golden "fruits." We bravely tested one - tastes like an apricot with lemon juice in it, and its a tad bit "smokey." What fun!

This will be like some of the crazy things the kids and I did in Iowa like searching for a pig head in order to make head cheese. Never did find one. Thank goodness. We made sauerkraut, because I did not think the old arts should die out. One of my daughters thinks these activities are totally senseless as long as there is a Walmart about.

But I'm thinking, weren't the old ways more conserving of our planet's resources? And speaking of resourcefulness - I'll let you know how the jelly turns out! Gads, none of us even like jelly. But a challenge is a challenge. Maybe, if it turns out, we can use it for the science project? or gifts for northern friends? (Hmmm, I remember the boiled peanuts one year went over like lead balloons - don't worry, I won't afflict anyone with butia jelly!) Anyway, the boy is excited!!!!!

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Northern Stuffing

Well, Canadian Thanksgiving has me thinking about Thanksgiving down here as well. I'm craving, craving turkey. And stuffing - and -

I make Northern Stuffing. Yep, it was named so by Southerners when we used to share Thanksgiving with friends as well. And they ask for it over cornbread stuffing.

So, if anyone is interested - here it is, passed down from Grandma - considerable years ago, and modified by me:

Two loaves of bread - one white and one a good grainy wheat - break the pieces up and let them dry out a day before making stuffing.

Throw on some poultry seasoning, salt, and pepper to taste.

Then, melt a cube of butter, chop an onion and about 10 stalks of celery (to taste) and lightly brown in butter. Pour this over the dry seasoned bread.

Then beat a couple of eggs up and add some of the turkey broth left over from boiling the giblets. Pour this mixture over the stuffing.

Refrigerate until time to stuff turkey. I also make a pan of it outside the turkey as well, adding a bit more of the broth. The stuffing needs to be moist, not soppy.

(Sometimes I chop up the giblets and put them in the stuffing and gravy as well.)

Bake till done......also I have to confess this is delicious raw, delicious! But I have to confess that eating raw eggs is not a good idea. But hey, gotta take some risks!

Ok - next our traditional cranberry dish is:

Take a bag of cranberries - wash them, put them in your blender and chop them up.
Pour two cups of sugar on them and let them sit over night. Then add a can or two of drained small chunk pineapple and throw in a large bag of minature marshmallows and chopped walnuts or pecans. Let this mixture sit in refrigerator overnight.

Then, whip up a carton of whip cream - depends on how much you like on other things as well. Add a bit of vanilla - a capful. Then fold about two cups of whipping cream into the cranberry mixture. Pour into butter greased loaf pans and freeze until your holiday. Then simply warm the pan a little, turn the loaf out and slice it, garnish it with some greenery - and wallah, a pretty twist on cranberries!

Yeh, forget the calories for that meal!

Happy Thanksgiving to all My Canadian Friends

Enjoy, enjoy!

Saturday, October 06, 2007


My youngest daughter's new boyfriend is asking her what she wants for her birthday. He has money. But she buys what she wants. She is stumped. I suggested beginning a collection of diamonds. But neither one of us really likes diamonds. (Yeh, I get vicarious pleasure out of these things!)

A fur coat? In Florida, no, besides we can't be responsible for killing animals. A TV? She has a huge one in her room. Pets, oh, heaven, please no! I suggested a monthly visit to the spa for a year. But she wants something tangible to remember him by, should she need to remember. Ha ha. Who knows where this is all going? Is she arm candy? Is it true love? Ah, stay tuned in.

A trip to romantic Costa Rica? Neither he nor she can get away from the medical field without massive planning involving time.

I think its very nice he asked, rather than rushing out to get something HE thinks she should have. This is a good sign that he MIGHT not be a control freak.

Do I sound like a Mother? Yes, I do. An obnoxious one. But mothering never ends. Never.

Still reading the news...........

I have to quit listening to and watching news. (I promise, no more news posts after tonight!)

Today: A 54 year old Assistant Prosecutor arrested for soliciting sex (on the internet) with a five year old (through her mother - yeh, there are parents that do that) - uh, I don't compute the terms - seems to me that is rape and assault, not sex, at least for the child. The perp committed suicide in jail. That way he doesn't have to cope with the grief his disgraced and humiliated family will endure in the community.

A question comes up - how many children in our community were assaulted by him that we will never know about? Of course, these fiends are not wont to name their victims so the victim can possibly get help.

Then, a story about a 15 year old girl dropped off in our area by a 45 year old internet predator (in this case he had many, many priors). She thought she was meeting the love of her life - a 20 year old (non-existent) kid. The guy, when she realized - ooops - NOT Prince Charming, but an evil demon, forced her into his vehicle at gunpoint.

Then, another girl disappears from Walmart.

These guys (mostly guys, but a MOTHER selling her child???? computes to women too) don't quit. Why are they released back into society after being caught? Would it be because some are in positions of power like Mr. Assistant Prosecutor and into the same horror of child abuse?

In these cases, yes, I believe in internet censorship! And a long-life-time-lockup, throw away the key situation.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Airplane Travel can Kill you

Well, folks the news is full of too much injustice - you know me - big mouth, well not mouthy, but the fingers do the talkin'.

Another story came across the news on the computer this a.m. In fact it was a video of a 45 year old mother protesting her treatment by the TSA, United States Airport Security - supposedly "protecting" the American Public.

Folks, my sister and I can both attest that these TSA folks, while most are sober, decent folks, have some real power nuts working for them. To make matters worse, the government's written rules and regulations give them unlimited power.

Now we have a 45 year old mother dead in a "holding cell" because she was "yelling and screaming." (The TSA's words.)

If I hadn't had personal experience and if I didn't know others who have had their civil rights violated by the TSA I wouldn't have such a tendency to disbelieve the story of this woman's death as related by the news.

In my encounter I remember insisting that the TSA personnel who were hassling me call the police. (Thank God I kept my voice low and modulated.) I needed the protection - the confronting agent was livid with fury when I refused to let him confiscate some of my items. I requested that I be allowed to walk my offending items, a key chain and a small film cannister opener, about ten feet over to my family who were waiting to tell me goodbye. He refused. However later in the fray, someone, I don't know who did give my items to my family. I guess the TSA agent must have been wanting something to help him develop his film.

This man was so out of control, I was very frightened, but also determind not to let my rights as a U.S. citizen be ripped away from me by being detained for something not against the law. I requested that the City police be called. The insane agent said they called the police, when in reality they had only called other TSA agents who only had HIS story (that I was supposedly carrying concealed weapons). I requested the other TSA agents look at the "weapons" but they refused, and the insane agent was not about to humiliate himself by showing anyone a key chain and a one and on-half inch film container opener. I really didn't care about the film thingie as I could buy another one, but I tried to explain to the agent the key holder was passed down by my grandma and it meant a lot to me, and, once again, my family was right there to take it if they felt that it could really take down a plane.

According to reports, the dead woman was only "yelling and screaming." She was probably terrified...............maybe I'm wrong, I wasn't there, but this situation "stinks" - as grandma would say, there is a snake in the woodpile.

Anyway, I was deprived of local City police protection. If I was a real terrorist now doesn't it stand to reason the REAL police would have been called? It's a long story, but they continued to hassle me as the crazy TSA guy waved my ticket in the air at me. He must have been amused at my anxiety and fear, as he was having so much fun he was smiling, and not letting me have the ticket as the airline issued its "last call for boarding." After several requests for my ticket, I finally grabbed it out of his taunting hands. As I ran for my plane I truly expected to be tackled or shot by the asshole. Yep, correct terminology. That's calling a spade a spade.

Anyway I think from the reporting in regard to the recent death, that there is a cover up when they are saying, "The woman even threw up in the agent's mouth that was giving her resuscitation without the aid of a device and he just spit it out and kept giving her mouth to mouth." I mean was that a necessary piece of the news? What WAS really going on?

In the mean time, remember, folks, if you get on an airplane in the USA, take only the bare minimum, (only items that you don't mind disappearing forever), be aware you can be legally accused of anything and hassled literally to death, so be VERY DOCILE, even if being pushed and shoved, or if they refuse to return your ticket or ID, or if your credit cards and money are rolling down the belt while you and your purse (carry-on) are being searched or your "underwire" bra is being patted down with you in it. Your life could depend on it. Don't scream. There will be no one there to help you and it will only make TSA madder. Perhaps you can call the American Civil Liberties Union later if someone happens to be videotaping your incident.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

The Manure Award

There should be some kind of award for this: Bush has vetoed a bill that would give health insurance to four million kids. Remembering back, didn't he run on "No child left behind?" Has he gone mad(er)?

Then tonight Pat Buchanan makes a statement that someone suggested funding health care for kids by charging a "sin" tax on cigarettes. Then he plunges his foot even deeper and states that a "sin" tax would only hurt the working people and the blacks. Excuse me? The blacks work too! And what's all this "sin" tax about? How - who - determines sin? Is there a big satellite out there that catches us with dirty words, or telling a white lie, or trading prescriptions because we can't afford our very own?

I don't keep up with a lot of news, who in the __________ (watching out for that sin spotting satellite) is Pat Buchanan? I mentioned it to "H" who got huffy and said that Hillary was going to give people $5,000 per child! Huh? What's she going to do with them - make soylent green? Sorry folks - I'm going beyond sarcasm....gosh, and one more year until elections!

(My computer is fighting a virus, but if I could a picture of a large pile of manure would accompany this post.)

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Zebra Chairs

"H" went hunting and bagged two Zebra chairs. I don't know what got that going, but I now have two of these zebra chairs in the living room, one leopard table, and a purple couch, AND a wine colored chair, and a horribly ugly worn area rug. And a flowered couch that my daughter gave us and it was her first furniture purchase from Helieg Myers and her and I both feel bad about it going away. But something has to go. The couch needs cleaned badly. But throwing something away because it's dirty goes against my grain. Then its the only place I have to go when "H" starts snoring other than the floor or the bathtub, both of which are very hard to get out or up from. I should be joyous over my new furnitures - but I feel depressed because I haven't been able to choose them. I feel like a boarder in my own house. Oh whine - I'll get over it.....its just that daughter and I don't do well with loss anyway - and these "things" must have long attached cords to us somewhere - - ah, yes, hooked into our hearts perhaps. And, if I had red light bulbs, the decor could be misconstrued as being dangerously close to "bordello" decor....dear, dear.....I had hoped for New Orleans southern style....well, we'll see what evolves. Hattigrace and I are going to create a sexy studio here soon.

Bromeliad Puppies

One of my kids gave me a bromeliad for Mother's Day. It had this gorgeous, sexy pink but spiked exotic bloom.

My instructions were to "Keep it alive." I looked the species up on the internet, determined to "keep it alive." What I found out is that it dies. It's supposed to die. The plant has "puppies" I find, then it dies. Then I am supposed to plant and tend three puppies because mamma is dying and can't nurture them anymore. Heaven help me - is there any more I need to do?

Actually, I'm joking - the idea of propagating three more plants with a value of $30.00 or so apiece appeals to me. Maybe I can start a bromeliad breeding business? I'll get some soil today, there are pots in the garage if I can find them and go for it. I'm sure they will have to come inside late January and early February. We'll see what I am made of. I hope I don't inadvertently kill any puppies.