Tuesday, November 30, 2010


It's always difficult to decide which delectable dish to prepare with turkey leftovers. I always make Turkey Carcass Soup the day after Thanksgiving--several people have told me the name just sounds unappetizing--but it is truly delicious. Just boil the turkey carcass and then use the broth to make a lovely soup. I also love turkey tetrazzini, turkey hot shots, and turkey ala king, but there's only so much leftover turkey!

The all-time favorite of my family is Turkey Croquettes served with gravy made from the drippings from the turkey. The gravy was so good this year I told Gerald I should just "mainline it in my veins!".

Mother's Turkey Croquettes recipe: adapted from The First Ladies Cookbook from Mrs. John Quincy Adams' Chicken Croquettes:

3 cups cooked turkey, cold
1 1/2 cups cracker crumbs
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon mustard
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 stick butter
2 eggs, beaten
oil for frying
extra cracker crumbs
parsley sprigs for garnish

Add cooked turkey, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, mustard, ketchup, and butter. Knead all together well until it resembles a meatball mixture. Shape into balls or cakes the desired size. Dip croquettes into beaten eggs, roll in cracker crumbs and fry in oil until light brown and hot in the middle.

Serve hot with gravy or alone.


Monday, November 29, 2010


Several years ago, in a group conversation, I made a reference to "Pip" to describe someone. A person whom I had never met, came over, placed her hand on my shoulder and said, "I know that you probably have GREAT EXPECTATIONS that people will understand your references; you can probably tell that most do not." I answered, "Perhaps we should be friends!" Although we have never seen each other since that evening, we are GREAT e-mail friends and she has branded us "The Constant Quoters".

In a group of new employees, I asked each to identify himself. One man said that his name was "Val". It wasn't until I handed him his paycheck that I saw his full name was JEAN VALJEAN. I exclaimed, "You HAD to be named for Victor Hugo's Jean Valjean!" He said, "Yes, but PLEASE call me Val." He explained that his mother was French and a fan of Victor Hugo, but he also told me that he appreciated my knowing about Hugo.

In the new "Signals" catalog there's a tee-shirt with "FREE 24601" on it! It's now on my MUST HAVE list!

Sunday, November 28, 2010


My father would regale us with stories of his mother's "cheapness"; or as she called it: "thriftiness." We learned, as we grew older, that he exaggerated for effect. He told us her method for making lemonade: she'd fill a tub with water and tie a string around a lemon and pull it through the water. Her potato soup was done in a similar method: tie a string around a potato and drag it through the water.

My favorite story was about Granny's "Jam Pie"--he said that she "jammed" two crusts together--and called it a pie. There was very little filling in her pies. One day, my brother Kenny, who at the time DID NOT realize about our father's exaggeration, told Granny he'd like to taste her "Jam Pie" and she said, "Well, Kenny Gene, I've never made a jam pie." He told her that our father always told us about her Jam Pie. Fortunately, he didn't repeat the punch line to Granny!

Saturday, November 27, 2010


A family member is very anti-organized religion. However, she is a strong supporter of the Salavation Army both by shopping at the stores, donating items to the organization, and by donating to the Kettles and other money donations. One of her biggest thrills was when we went to Columbus and I took her to ALL the Salvation Army stores in one day!

One day, at a store, there were extra copies of "The War Cry". I receive them by mail; I pointed to them and asked her, "Do you receive "The War Cry" in the mail?" She asked what it was and I said, "It's the official publication of the Church." She asked, with obvious incredulity, "What church?" I responded, "The Salvation Army." She said, "That's not a church." I was stunned that she did not know it was a religion. I told her I was always surprised by her generosity to the Salvation Army but I assumed she put aside her anti-organized religion feelings in the quest for bargains. She said, "I don't believe this!"

I went on to tell her about General William Booth and the history of the religion and I asked, "Didn't you have to read the Vachel Lindsay poem when you went to school?" She said, "I can't believe it's a church!" I laughed and asked, "Didn't you see "Guys and Dolls"?" Since then I haven't asked her whether she's had a dilemma deciding what to do: bargains versus beliefs!


By Vachel Lindsay

[To be sung to the tune of "The Blood of the Lamb" with indicated instrument]
Booth led boldly with his big bass drum—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
The Saints smiled gravely and they said: “He’s come.”
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
Walking lepers followed, rank on rank,
Lurching bravoes from the ditches dank,
Drabs from the alleyways and drug fiends pale—
Minds still passion-ridden, soul-powers frail:—
Vermin-eaten saints with mouldy breath,
Unwashed legions with the ways of Death—
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

Every slum had sent its half-a-score
The round world over. (Booth had groaned for more.)
Every banner that the wide world flies
Bloomed with glory and transcendent dyes.
Big-voiced lasses made their banjos bang,
Tranced, fanatical they shrieked and sang:—
“Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?”
Hallelujah! It was queer to see
Bull-necked convicts with that land make free.
Loons with trumpets blowed a blare, blare, blare
On, on upward thro’ the golden air!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)

Booth died blind and still by Faith he trod,
Eyes still dazzled by the ways of God.
Booth led boldly, and he looked the chief
Eagle countenance in sharp relief,
Beard a-flying, air of high command
Unabated in that holy land.

Jesus came from out the court-house door,
Stretched his hands above the passing poor.
Booth saw not, but led his queer ones there
Round and round the mighty court-house square.
Yet in an instant all that blear review
Marched on spotless, clad in raiment new.
The lame were straightened, withered limbs uncurled
And blind eyes opened on a new, sweet world.

Drabs and vixens in a flash made whole!
Gone was the weasel-head, the snout, the jowl!
Sages and sibyls now, and athletes clean,
Rulers of empires, and of forests green!

The hosts were sandalled, and their wings were fire!
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
But their noise played havoc with the angel-choir.
(Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?)
O shout Salvation! It was good to see
Kings and Princes by the Lamb set free.
The banjos rattled and the tambourines
Jing-jing-jingled in the hands of Queens.

And when Booth halted by the curb for prayer
He saw his Master thro’ the flag-filled air.
Christ came gently with a robe and crown
For Booth the soldier, while the throng knelt down.
He saw King Jesus. They were face to face,
And he knelt a-weeping in that holy place.
Are you washed in the blood of the Lamb?

Friday, November 26, 2010


There are two kinds of people in the world: those, like myself, who can't get "enough" of Christmas music, and the others, like Les and Gerald, who get so tired of Christmas music that they threaten to blow up the stereo! To keep harmony (PUN INTENDED) in the family, I compromised several years ago and agreed to have no Christmas music in the house until the day after Thanksgiving. Gerald got in my car today and Barbra was singing "Silent Night". He said, "I thought....." Before he was able to complete his sentence, I interrupted and said, "I only agreed about IN the house; the car is my domain!"

My brother Bode and I loved to sing Christmas carols and it was usually to the embarrassment of everybody else! One of my favorite stories: we were visiting Bode and family in Florida during the holidays and we went into a Mexican restaurant and over the loudspeaker was playing Bing Crosby's "When It's Christmas in Killarney". Bode looked at me--I looked at him--and we joined arms and started singing, at the top of our lungs! The other fasmily members with us slunk away to a table in the hope of people not knowing we were related. Bode went to the Manager and asked to have it played AGAIN! Bode said that if people couldn't appreciate the exquisite irony of "Christmas In Killarney" in a Mexican restaurant, then they were hopeless!

Bode and I had our definite favorites: ONLY Nat for "The Christmas Song"; ONLY Bing for "White Christmas"; ONLY Elvis for "Blue Christmas; ONLY Judy for "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas"; ONLY Harry Belafonte for "Mary's Boy Child"; ONLY Darlene Love for "Baby Please Come Home"; ONLY Vince Guaraldi for "Christmas Time Is Here"; ONLY Gene Autry for "Here Comes Santa Claus": ONLY Burl Ives for "A Holly, Jolly Christmas"; ONLY Perry Como for "There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays"; ONLY Peggy Lee for "I Love A Sleigh Ride" ("Jingle Bells"); ONLY Nancy Wilson for "That's What I Want For Christmas"; ONLY Giselle Mackenzie for "It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas"; and only ONLY Rosemary Clooney for "Suzy Snowflake" (which Bode always sang to me since I was a little girl!).


Thursday, November 25, 2010


I'll bet the "treeless" neighbors hate us this time of year! Gerald has spent five days blowing and bagging leaves and the sweet gum has not yet started losing its leaves. The neighbors have plenty of leaves to rake because of us!

I LOVE autumn! The yard is a scream of colors and the smell is glorious! I have begun my yearly ritual of picking the vibrant leaves, shellacking them and using them for decorations. I have a collection of cornucopias and some are overflowing with maple, oak, ginkgo and sweet gum leaves and the house smells like shellac! Tomorrow I'll be gone all day so Les plans to clean the silver; the silver polish should counteract the shellac smell! I fill my Waterford cornucopia with cranberries for my dining room centerpiece for Thanksgiving and the kitchen cornucopia is filled with gourds.

The falling leaves drift by the window
The autumn leaves of red and gold
I see your lips, the summer kisses
The sun-burned hands I used to hold.

Since you went away, the days grow long
And soon I'll hear old winter's song,
But I miss you most of all my darling
When autumn leaves start to fall.

C'est une chanson, qui nous ressemble
Toi tu m'aimais et je t'aimais
Nous vivions tous,, les deux ensemble
Toi que m'aimais moi qui t'aimais
Mais la vie separe ceux qui s'aiment
Tout doucement sans faire de bruit
Et la mer efface sur le sable les pas des amants desunis.

It was difficult to choose which rendition of "Autumn Leaves" to use: Frank, Nat, Eva Cassidy, Doris Day, Sarah Vaughn or the original by Edith Piaf; it's hard to go wrong with Keely Smith!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Click on Pumpkin Pie at the end.








Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Noel Coward wrote "Mad About The Boy" to express his feelings for Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. I am MAD about the works of Noel Coward AND Dinah Washington, the late, great jazz singer.

It's always difficult for me to choose my favorite Dinah song: "I Don't Hurt", "Teach Me Tonight", "Send Me To The Electric Chair", "This Bitter Earth", "September In The Rain", "That's All I Want From You", "I'll Never Be Free", "Relax Max", or her greatest hit "What A Difference A Day Makes", but this interpretation of the Coward classic ranks very high.

As a teenager, I found Bessie Smith's works because of reading liner notes from an album of Dinah Washington's homage to Bessie, and then seeking out Bessie's works. "WHAT A DIFFERENCE" Dinah Washington made!


Monday, November 22, 2010


The full moon of November arrives on Sunday and will bring with it a cosmic addition: It will also be a so-called "blue moon."

"But wait a minute," you might ask. "Isn't a 'blue moon' defined as the second full moon that occurs during a calendar month? Sunday's full moon falls on Nov. 21 and it will be the only full moon in November 2010. So how can it be a 'blue' moon?"

Indeed, November's full moon is blue moon – but only if we follow a rule that's now somewhat obscure. In fact, the current "two-full moons in one month" rule has superseded an older rule that would allow us to call Sunday's moon "blue." To be clear, the moon does not actually appear a blue color during a blue moon, it has to do with lunar mechanics.

Confused yet? Well, as the late Paul Harvey used to say — here now, is the rest of the story:

The blue moon rule

Back in the July 1943 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine, in a question and answer column written by Lawrence J. Lafleur, there was a reference made to the term "blue moon." [Gallery - Full Moon Fever]

Lafleur cited the unusual term from a copy of the 1937 edition of the now-defunct Maine Farmers' Almanac (NOT to be confused with The Farmers' Almanac of Lewiston, Maine, which is still in business). On the almanac page for August 1937, the calendrical meaning for the term "blue moon" was given. That explanation said that the moon "... usually comes full twelve times in a year, three times for each season." Occasionally, however, there will come a year when there are 13 full moons during a year, not the usual 12. The almanac explanation continued:
"This was considered a very unfortunate circumstance, especially by the monks who had charge of the calendar of thirteen months for that year, and it upset the regular arrangement of church festivals. For this reason thirteen came to be considered an unlucky number."

And with that extra full moon, it also meant that one of the four seasons would contain four full moons instead of the usual three. "There are seven Blue Moons in a Lunar Cycle of nineteen years," continued the almanac, ending on the comment that, "In olden times the almanac makers had much difficulty calculating the occurrence of the Blue Moon and this uncertainty gave rise to the expression 'Once in a Blue Moon.'"

An unfortunate oversight

But while LaFleur quoted the almanac's account, he made one very important omission: He never specified the date for this particular blue moon. As it turned out, in 1937, it occurred on Aug. 21. That was the third full moon in the summer of 1937, a summer season that would see a total of four full moons. Names were assigned to each moon in a season: For example, the first moon of summer was called the early summer moon, the second was the midsummer moon, and the last was called the late summer moon. But when a particular season has four moons, the third was apparently called a blue moon so that the fourth and final one can continue to be called the late moon. So where did we get the "two full moons in a month rule" that is so popular today?

A moon mistake

Once again, we must turn to the pages of Sky & Telescope. This time, on page 3 of the March 1946 issue, James Hugh Pruett wrote an article, "Once in a Blue Moon," in which he made a reference to the term "blue moon" and referenced LaFleur's article from 1943. But because Pruett had no specific full moon date for 1937 to fall back on, his interpretation of the ruling given by the Maine Farmers' Almanac was highly subjective. Pruett ultimately came to this conclusion: "Seven times in 19 years there were – and still are – 13 full moons in a year. This gives 11 months with one full moon each and one with two. This second in a month, so I interpret it, was called Blue Moon." How unfortunate that Pruett did not have a copy of that 1937 almanac at hand, or else he would have almost certainly noticed that his "two full moons in a single month assumption" would have been totally wrong. For the blue moon date of Aug. 21 was most definitely not the second full moon that month!

Blue moon myth runs wild

Pruett's 1946 explanation was, of course, the wrong interpretation and it might have been completely forgotten were it not for Deborah Byrd who used it on her popular National Public Radio program, "StarDate" on Jan. 31, 1980. We could almost say that in the aftermath of her radio show, the incorrect blue moon rule "went viral" — or at least the '80s equivalent of it. Over the next decade, this new blue moon definition started appearing in diverse places, such as the World Almanac for Kids and the board game Trivial Pursuit. I must confess here, that even I was involved in helping to perpetuate the new version of the blue moon phenomenon. Nearly 30 years ago, in the Dec. 1, 1982 edition of The New York Times, I made reference to it in that newspaper's "New York Day by Day" column.
And by 1988, the new definition started receiving international press coverage.
Today, Pruett's misinterpreted "two full moons in a month rule" is recognized worldwide. Indeed, Sky & Telescope turned a literary lemon into lemonade, proclaiming later that – however unintentional – it changed pop culture and the English language in unexpected ways. Meanwhile, the original Maine Farmers' Almanac rule had been all but forgotten.

Playing by the (old) rules

Now, let's come back to this Sunday's full moon. Under the old Almanac rule, this would technically be a blue moon. In the autumn season of 2010, there are four full moons:
Sept. 23
Oct. 22
Nov. 21
Dec. 21

"But wait," you might say. "Dec. 21 is the first day of winter." And you would be correct, but only if you live north of the equator in the Northern Hemisphere. South of the equator it's the first day of summer. In 2010, the solstice comes at 6:38 p.m. EST (2338 UT). But the moon turns full at 3:13 a.m. EST (0813 UT). That's 15 hours and 25 minutes before the solstice occurs. So the Dec. 21 full moon occurs during the waning hours of fall and qualifies as the fourth full moon of the season. This means that under the original Maine Almanac rule – the one promoted by Lafleur and later misinterpreted by Pruett – the third full moon of the 2010 fall season on Nov. 21 would be a blue moon.

Choose your blue moon

So what Blue Moon definition tickles your fancy? Is it the second full moon in a calendar month, or (as is the case on Sunday) the third full moon in a season with four? Maybe it's both. The final decision is solely up to you. Sunday's full moon will look no different than any other full moon. But the moon can change color in certain conditions.

After forest fires or volcanic eruptions, the moon can appear to take on a bluish or even lavender hue. Soot and ash particles, deposited high in the Earth's atmosphere, can sometimes make the moon appear bluish. In the aftermath of the massive eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines in June 1991, there were reports of blue moons (and even blue suns) worldwide. We could even call the next full moon (on Dec. 21) a "red moon," but for a different reason: On that day there will be a total eclipse of the moon and, for a short while, the moon will actually glow with a ruddy reddish hue.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Gerald seldom goes to the grocery with me, but he did so today as I am not competent to select cat food and HIS bananas!

As Gerald was sacking groceries in Aldi's, I noticed a person whom I know from Water Aerobics, further back in the checkout line, and she asked when I was going to return to class. She and I began talking and Gerald finished sacking and started pushing the cart toward the door. My Water Aerobics classmate asked, "Did something happen to your husband?" I asked, "No, why do you ask?" She asked, "Is that your brother helping you with the groceries?" I started laughing and said, "That's Gerald--he shaved!" She said, "Oh, I didn't even recognize him!"

Later, in WalMart, Gerald was waiting for me as I shopped. A guy Gerald went to school with came up to me and started laughing and said, "Gerald's out there waiting for you--I didn't recognize him--I thought he was a people-greeter!"

Saturday, November 20, 2010


In high-decibel level manufacturing areas, hand signals are often used to communicate. I was assigned to an area where it was well-known that the men did not want women working and the workers there did everything they could to make the women quit. I was warned how rough it was going to be, but it was "my turn in the barrel." My job was at the end of the line--the "take-off" job where one loaded the product onto a pallet. My training on the job lasted approximately two minutes:

1. "Here's the order--measure every fifteen minutes."
2. "Don't turn this machine off UNLESS your arm is caught in it!"

I soon noticed the men down the line using a variety of hand signals. After about a half-hour a different size product started coming down the line. I started stacking them on a scrap pallet, but soon ran out of pallets. I realized that the order had changed and nobody had warned me! I went over and kicked the big red button which shut off the line. I got in the gangway and held my thumb and forefinger together and waved the other three fingers. The Operator, Leadman and Supervisor all rushed up to my station. The Operator screamed at me, "Why the f--- did you shut off the line?" The Leadman asked, "What the f---does that hand signal mean?" The Supervisor asked, "What's going on here?"

I said, holding my thumb and forefinger together and waving, "This is a flying butthole--which is what ALL of you are for not telling me that you were changing orders!" The Supervisor asked, "Didn't you see the signal they were changing orders?" I said, "Nobody explained ANY signals!" The Supervisor said to the Leadman, "Get your ass on that job right now," and he took me to the break area and explained all the hand signals used. I told the Supervisor "They were all too busy conspiring to get rid of me that they weren't worried about what was good for the Company!" I returned to work and I always say that "I not only survived, I triumphed!"

Years later, when I became the FIRST female Supervisor and that Supervisor became a General Supervisor, we were together in a training session about good communication and each of us in the group was supposed to give examples of good and bad communication. The General Supervisor told the group the story of a young employee who had not been trained and how the employee shut down the line, got in the middle of the gangway and gave a hand signal with thumb and index finger together with the other three fingers waving and he said the story was an example of good AND bad communication. The General Supervisor looked to me and asked, "Did I tell it pretty accurate?"

Friday, November 19, 2010


My husband is constantly amazed by the "verbal shorthand" displayed by my brother and me and oftentimes he gets lost in the verbal crossfire. Last week, I was whining about all the STUFF I have to do and Les responded with an uncompassionate shrug and said "Smaller bites." Gerald asked, "What's that mean?" Les explained that I bite off more than I can chew!

On Wednesday, after the election, Les said, "Well, maybe now you can take a break." I said, "Oh no, I have an Angels Awaiting meeting today, I need to retreive my stuff from the Headquarters, and this evening I go to my first week of a 12-week class to learn how to start a Community Garden."


Thursday, November 18, 2010


My brother and I have an ongoing "Kevin Costner Debate". I always rent his movies, but I invariably say, "I don't care for Kevin Costner; I think he's a very wooden actor." And then Les will counter with, "But you liked "Dances With Wolves", didn't you?" To which I mumble, "Well, yeah." Then he'll say, "You liked "Bull Durham"--right?" To which I answer, "I saw that because of Susan Sarandon." Next he will bring up "The Big Chill" and "No Way Out". I always quote Dorothy Parker's review of Katharine Hepburn, "She ran the gamut of emotions from A to B," to describe Costner's acting ability.

I rented "Field Of Dreams" because of the "Salingeresque" character played by James Earl Jones. Les watched it first and then Mother, Gerald and I watched it together. In the scene where Kevin Costner realizes that Ray Liotta is his father, Gerald and I both had tears in our eyes. Mother looked at us and said, "I can't believe the two of you BAWLING at a movie!" Gerald said, "Gladys, you must not have had any father issues!" She just tsk-tsked and shook her head.

After we finished the movie, Les came downstairs for our usual movie discussion and he asked Mother how she had enjoyed it and she said, "It was OK but the two of them were bawling like babies!" Les said, "Mom, you'd have to have a heart of stone NOT to cry at "Field of Dreams."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


When our co-worker John Holtz announced that his relative Lou Holtz had accepted his plea to be the speaker at our Management Club meeting, I was surprised by all the hubbub from my fellow management people; they thought it was quite a coup to have him. I had NO idea who/what Lou Holtz was and of course, being abysmally ignorant about football, I was neither thrilled nor impressed. The guys were actually taking footballs with them hoping to have them autographed. Of course I did know that Notre Dame was famous for football; I'd seen the movie "Knute Rockne"!

Holtz' speech centered on the importance of faith and family in his life and the speech was sparked with pithy quotes and humorous anecdotes. He told us, "Don't tell your problems to people; 80% don't care and the other 20% are glad you have them."

He ended his speech by telling us that he'd leave us with the words of his grandmother, "My grandmother always told me to do right, do my best, treat others the way you want to be treated and if that's not good enough, the Hell with 'em!"

I really enjoyed that ending, especially after listening to all of the faith/family/motivational schmaltz! Today, I wanted to learn if Coach Holtz were still alive; imagine my shock when I found that little quote as one of his "famous quotes"--EXCEPT it's written thusly: "Always do right, do your best, and treat others the way you want to be treated." I like it so much better the way he said that his grandmother said it!

After the speech, my brother had asked me what I thought of Holtz and I told him that my gut feeling was that I didn't like him, and my brother said, "Good instinct; he was fired at Arizona because he made political endorsements for Jesse Helms."

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Vic Cassano, the "Pizza King", spoke at our Management Club meeting. After telling us the history of his and "Mom Donisi's" business, he told an amusing story about a one-armed fisherman. The punch line was: "He said he caught a fish this big." and Cassano held one arm outstretched. Maybe you had to be there to get the full visual effect.

Cassano told his business philosophy that there are some magic words and those words are: "Will you help me?" He told how he used the question in all aspects of his business. For instance, if he were in one of the restaurants and he asked one of the cooks that question the answer would be, "Of course, Mr. Cassano." He said that if he asked one of his Managers that the response would be, "Sure, Mr. Cassano, glad to help." He said when he would ask his Board of Directors, they would usually respond, "Maybe, Vic." but he said that sometimes he would have to change it to "ARE you going to help me?" and they would answer, "Of course, Vic."

Over the years, I myself have used those "magic words". Just recently, in trying to enlist some volunteers, a person responded, "Oh, no, you're using that look and asking will you help me--AGAIN!"

Perhaps I use the magic words too often!

Monday, November 15, 2010


My brother Les and I play what we call "ONE UPSMAN TRIVIA". When we ask a trivia question, we must respond with another trivia question, along similar lines! My brother Les asked, "Do you know the only food which doesn't spoil?" I told him that I did not and he told me HONEY! He said that there have been jars of sealed honey found in Egyptian tombs and when opened it was still good after thousands of years. Of course honey will crystallize but one just needs to heat it for it to be edible.

Although Les is usually ALWAYS right, I still had "to look it up"! In further investigation I learned that honey has an indefinite shelf life but it will stay good if properly sealed and stored. Temperatures over 81 degrees Fahrenheit will degrade the honey and it will start fermenting. The product of fermented honey is MEAD. Mead is supposedly the first wine! How many times have we heard MEAD referred to in old movies? I seem to remember Charles Laughton "quaffing" the brew. It's hard to believe that I didn't inquire what mead was!

Failing miserably with the honey query, and to stay within the "similar line"--food--I countered with, "Do you know what's the common term for porridge?" He chuckled and answered, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, who would put peas in the MUSH 10 days old?" Dammit, he one-upped me again!

Sunday, November 14, 2010


When Gerald was at Kroger he said that he saw a woman bend over and he could see that she was wearing thong underwear but that she really should not have been wearing them as it was NOT an attractive sight. In conversation with a friend, I told about the incident and remarked, "I wonder when this "thong generation" gets older, incontinent and they are in nursing homes whether they will request thong DEPENDS." She immediately responded that she was going to apply for the patent NOW!

An interesting aside: I posted this on my Facebook account and received more comments than anything else I've ever posted! I even learned new terminology from our great-niece Aron: "whale tail" to describe the look! This goes along with "muffin top" and "camel toe" to describe unflattering results of poor clothing choices.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


Today, in a restaurant, we ordered "new" selections from the menu. The General Manager stopped by our table and asked how we were enjoying the new selection. I gestured in the air and said, "It couldn't be more perfect--the great Louis Armstrong singing "A KISS TO BUILD A DREAM ON" over the sound system!"

Gerald patted me on the thigh and said, "Sweetheart, I think he was referring to the entrees!"

During further conversation the Manager pronounced "Louis" as "Louie" and I, as an aficionado, mentioned that Louis himself never pronounced his name Louis as "Louie". Somehow, I was even compelled to do an imitation of Louis hissing "Louis" when he sang, "Hello, Dolly, this is LOUISssssssss, Dolly!"

Friday, November 12, 2010


I had read awhile back that Biblical scholars believed that the "apple" in the Garden of Eden had to be a pomegranate because apples were not indigenous to Mesopotamia. In a discussion with a friend who believes in the literal translation of the Bible, I mentioned the apple/pomegranate quandary. I quipped that I could see why there was so much trouble in the Garden because of the difficulty with eating pomegranates! (I also told her the problem wasn't the apple on the tree but the PAIR on the ground but she doesn't share my love of puns!)

I have never cared for pomegranates and think they are more bother than they're worth, but another friend of mine who loves pomegranates told me that Alton Brown had demonstrated an easy method of opening them and I would like them better. Kroger had pomegranates on sale 10/$10 so I bought several to give to him and he came to give me a demonstration.

I love Botticelli's painting of "The Madonna Of The Pomegranate" and of course pomegranates are a traditional food at Rosh Hashanah, but I still DON'T like pomegranates!

The French word for pomegranate is "GRENADE"; the syrup GRENADINE was originally made only with pomegranates from GRENADA, but the most fascinating tidbit to me is that HAND GRENADES are called that because grenades resemble pomegranates. Oh, those French have a way with words!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


Thanks to MY veterans for their service:

My brothers Bode, Kenny, Neil, Norman, Duke and Les and
to my husband Gerald.

The Veterans Day National Ceremony is held each year on November 11th at Arlington National Cemetery. The ceremony commences precisely at 11:00 a.m. with a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknowns and continues inside the Memorial Amphitheater with a parade of colors by veterans’ organizations and remarks from dignitaries. The ceremony is intended to honor and thank all who served in the United States Armed Forces.

The Veterans Day National Committee also selects a number of regional sites for Veterans Day observances throughout the country. From stirring parades and ceremonies to military exhibits and tributes to distinguished veterans, these events serve as models for other communities to follow in planning their own observances.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


A friend of mine just told me the most harrowing story. She said that for 27 years she has stopped in her car at her mailbox to get the mail. This week she stopped the car as usual, reached to get the mail with her left hand and her coat sleeve caught on the mail box handle and as she tried to use her other arm to loosen the coat, her foot slipped off the brake and the car started rolling forward. As the car rolled, her forearm became entangled in the mailbox handle and it began to rip the flesh of her arm. As her coat was attached to the mailbox and her body was being dragged by the rolling car, she could not get her foot back on the brake; she envisioned her arm being torn out of its socket. Fortunately, the coat ripped and she was able to free her arm. Fortunately there was no artery or blood vessel damage and she is recuperating at home. I told her I would tell the story as a warning to others to put the car in PARK!

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


This article is RECYCLED! It was among the first postings on my BLOG. Yesterday, my friend Concha (see her BLOG "Concha's Cauldron") posted an article about "freecycle" and I decided to add to my original article.

The freecycle network is made up of 4,837 groups with 6,659,000 members across the world. It's a grassroots and entirely non-profit movement of people who are giving (and getting) stuff for free in their own communities. It's all about REUSE and RECYCLE and keeping good stuff out of landfills. Each local group is moderated by a local volunteer. Membership is free.

To join:
Type in freecycle
Enter your location in the search box: e.g., Fayette County, Ohio
Follow the menu and join us RECYCLERS!


The best item we ever received was FREE DIRT! Someone advertised "free dirt" and I answered and when Gerald picked it up it was SOD! He returned with a truck load of sod! He filled in many low places in our yard and used the remainder to landscape one of our rental properties. What a wonderful gift!

One of the things I donate on "freecycle" is coupons. Several people from freecycle take turns receiving them! I also donate magazines; my brother Les pooh-poohed the idea by asking, "Do you really think there are OTHER people in Fayette County who will want old copies of "The New Yorker", "The Atlantic", and "The Smithsonian"?" I was also doubtful but I was pleasantly surprised to have several responses.

I also donate pine cones; I was shocked to see the price of pine cones at craft stores. I also provided information about how to treat pine cones with salt and other additives to make them colorful when tossed into a burning fireplace. I always keep treated pine cones by the fireplace to toss into the fire for a beautiful glow. I also donated pine cuttings for people to make grave blankets and wreaths. The tiny cones from my hemlock tree always surprise people as it takes quite awhile to pick a bunch!

The seed pods from my sweetgum tree are very popular; when I wrote about spray painting them with silver paint to use for Christmas decorations, I had several people come to my house to pick them up from the ground! A woman called yesterday to ask if she could drop by this year.

Friday, November 5, 2010


My husband and I saw "2001-A Space Odyssey" in 1968 and this truly great movie (and deservedly rated in the Top Ten Greatest movies on nearly every critic's list) has caused a 42-year ongoing debate about the "meaning" of the movie. I believe that the monolith (tychomagnetic anomoly--tma--1..2..4) is God and Gerald states that since Clarke was an atheist, that CAN'T be the meaning! We debate the "Star Child", HAL, and nearly every aspect of the movie.

The best thing about the movie is it piqued his interest in classical music. He wore out the movie soundtrack record and we had a tape and now we have a CD of it. He now loves Ligeti, Strauss, and Wagner. As Kubrick is our favorite director, we went to see "A Clockwork Orange", "The Shining", "Barry Lyndon", "Full Metal Jacket" and "Eyes Wide Shut", and he appreciated the classical music Kubrick used. Gerald had not been fortunate enough to see the older Kubrick movies: "Paths Of Glory", "Dr. Strangelove", "Spartacus", "Lolita", "The Killing", "Killer's Kiss", "Seafarers", "Fear and Desire", "Day Of The Fight", and "Flying Padre", so I bought or rented them!

When we saw "Platoon", Gerald leaned over and asked, "What's that music?" I answered, "It's "Adagio For Strings" by Samuel Barber." He said dismissively, "I think that Oliver Stone's copying Kubrick using classical music!"

Over the years, he has been pleased to learn of classical music in other films: Bach from "Slaughterhouse 5" and "The Godfather"; Pachelbel from "The Godfather"; Mascagni from "Raging Bull"; Mendelssohn from "Breaking Away"; Debussy from "The Right Stuff"; Vivaldi from "Kramer Versus Kramer"; Wagner from "Apocalypse Now"; Bartok, Ligeti and Penderecki from "The Shining"; Shostakovich from "Eyes Wide Shut"; Rossini, Purcell, Elgar, and Beethoven from "A Clockwork Orange"; Shubert, J.S. Bach, Mozart, Handel, Parsiello, and Vivaldi from "Barry Lyndon".

Gerald had never seen "Fantasia" until it was re-released on its 50th anniversary in 1990. What a veritable treasure trove of discovery: Dukas, Shubert, Beethoven, Stravinsky, Punchinelli, Tchaikovsky.

I told him the definition of an intellectual: a person who can hear "The William Tell Overture" and NOT think of the Lone Ranger; I also told him an intellectual is someone who can listen to "Also Sprach Zarathustra" and NOT think of Promise margarine!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


After my back injury we decided to put a Jacuzzi tub in the downstairs shower room. I was working long hours at the time and Gerald said he would go "online" and check out the tubs. He told me that he had compared prices and that he had ordered one. One day I came home from work and there was an enormous crate on the patio. I commented that it sure was a big box. Gerald arranged to have the shower removed and to have the tub installed.

The bathroom was tiled in lovely 1950's yellow tile which I wanted to keep. One day I came home from work and Gerald announced that the tub was installed. When I opened the door the tub almost filled the entire room. The tub measures 9 feet by 4 feet! To enter the tub, one must disrobe, sit on the edge of the tub, swing one's legs around and maneuver INTO the tub. Once in the tub, it's a wonderful experience with all those jets beating against one's aching back!

I assumed that the tub would be white as the basin had been white. The tub is an enormous LAVENDER tub! When I asked Gerald WHY he had chosen that particular color he said, "You know, when we're driving along you always say how much you like chicory." How could I not LOVE the fact that he had chosen "chicory" because he remembered my loving the wildflower weed chicory color? How SWEET is that?

CHICORY--the color of the tub is not CHICORY! CHICORY is blue, NOT lavender! WHY is the tub LAVENDER? WHY don't they know what the hell color CHICORY is at Kohler?

Mother told me about using chicory root during the Depression to mix with coffee to make the coffee go further! When something was bitter, she would always say, "That's as bitter as chicory!" I knew she used chicory for different "potions". She always called chicory "blue sailors". I decided to research chicory and guess what? Chicory CAN be LAVENDER and WHITE as well as the BLUE that I have seen all my life!

It's well known how I love Binney & Smith Crayola crayons (see MAGENTA article); I am forever correcting people about colors and shades. Just last night someone said that something was "green" when it was obviously "chartreuse". And NOW, I am corrected about CHICORY!

Chicory (cichorium intybus) is also known as Blue Sailors and Coffeeweed. It is a bushy perennial herb with blue or lavender flowers.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


We had a beautiful Zenith console television in a cherry cabinet and it was the "creme de la creme" when we bought it in 1981. About ten years ago, we decided that when the "good ole Zenith" died we would get a big-screen television. I couldn't justify such an expensive purchase when we had "a perfectly good TV"! Several people suggested we just put it in another room and I sheepishly admitted that we had televisions in the four bedrooms and that I didn't want one in the living room and there wasn't room in the library.

The neighbors across the street have a picture window and four years ago, we couldn't help notice that they had purchased a big-screen TV. I kept telling myself that I was not envious and that we had planned to get one before they had theirs, but nevertheless, we also kept looking at our television and yelling "DIE!" The neighbors are not friendly--which is OK with me--because I am not friendly with neighbors either. [I only mention this because it is important to the anecdote!] I do not speak, wave or in any way acknowledge their existence and neither do they! I do notice that they have opposing political signs in their yard!

Fortunately, our Zenith died a painless death at age 27 and we purchased the big-screen television; Gerald had been checking out Consumers Report and comparing prices for weeks! When we decided on the perfect viewing spot for the television, I admit that I was a mite disappointed that the neighbors could not see ours which was sequestered in the rear of the family room.

My brother is either a mind-reader or just knows me too damned well, because, as we were having the Dish and everything installed, he said, "Well, you know they're NOT our kind of people." I asked, "What do you mean?" He said, "Look, they're over there watching Leno and we're Letterman people!"

Monday, November 1, 2010



I have been quite fond of "Glee" and have watched it since the beginning. As Les tapes everything for me I just now watched the HOMAGE to "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". Boy, that took me back to the late 70's. I think Gerald and I initiated at least twenty teenagers to the Midnight Movie bashes of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show". We would go at least once a month and take a different kid with us! Yes, we danced "The Time Warp" in the aisle, threw toilet paper at the screen, dressed in costume (I had to be "Magenta"--my favorite color!)--the whole schtick--we had no shame! What fun! We were the crazy ones with props:

Some of my favorite memories:

I subscribed to the Cleveland Plain Dealer so I would have "The Plain Dealer" to put over my head like Janet did when it rained!

Water pistols--to rain on Brad and Janet--thus the newspaper covering her head!

Rice: At the beginning there's a wedding and we threw rice when the screen wedding guests did!

Toilet paper--bought Scott toilet paper to throw when Brad yelled "Great Scott" !

Flashlights--to use when they sing, "There's A Light Over At The Frankenstein Place":

"There's a light over at the Frankenstein place,
in the darkness of everybody's life!"

Toast--when Frank proposed a toast--threw toast.

Confetti--when the Transylvanians threw confetti--we threw confetti!

Rubber gloves--When Frank snaps his rubber gloves and when Magenta took the gloves from his hands--snapped gloves at same time!

Party hats--when Frank put on a party hat, so did we!

Noisemakers--At the end of the Creation speech, the Transylvanians used noisemakers as did we!

Bell--when Frank sang, "Do you hear a bell ring?" we rang our bells.

Cards--when Frank sang "Cards for sorrow, cards for pain", we threw playing cards!

I loved it when the movie switched from black and white to color--just like "Wizard of Oz"; Riff Raff, "Dammit, Janet", Dr. Frank-n-Furter, Rocky, Meat Loaf's appearance, but my all-time favorite is dancing in the aisle with Gerald to:

"The Time Warp":

"It's a jump to the left,
And then it's a step to the right,
With your hands on your hips,
You bring your knees in tight,
But it's the pelvic thrust,
They really drive you insane,
Let's do the Time Warp again!"

Oh, Gerald, let's do "The Time Warp" AGAIN!