Wednesday, November 30, 2016


MARK TWAIN:  NOVEMBER 30, 1835--APRIL 21, 1910

I would bet that I quote Mark Twain more than any other writer.  Since beginning this BLOG, I have quoted Twain sixty-five times.

In 1907, Mark Twain wrote: "The truth is that when a library expels a book of mine and leaves an unexpurgated Bible lying around where unprotected children and age can get hold of it, the deep unconscious irony of it delights me and doesn't anger me." That's classic Twain!

How dare the current censoring or Bowdlerizing of Twain's masterpiece Huckleberry Finn be allowed! As a child, reading Huckleberry Finn, I did not know that it was banned when it was first published because Jim was treated as a "human being" and not a slave!  The fact that I, as a child, knew that Jim was a human being and deserved to be accorded fair treatment and because Huck gradually rejected the values he had been brought up with, especially the views on slavery, and the fact that I, as a child, comprehended that, is the ultimate triumph of Mark Twain.  Twain's ability to communicate to a child in rural Ohio in the 1950s, just as he had communicated when the book was published in 1884, is a testament to his masterpiece.  To quote Twain:  I don't want to be among those  "which people praise and don't read."

I have never used the "N" word in my life. Even as a child, reading Huckleberry Finn, I knew that it wasn't "right" for me to use the word, but I was worldly enough to ask questions such as "WHY?" WHY would Huck use those words? WHY did he act the way he did? Clearly, the answers were that it was an accurate portrayal of life at that time and place. Even as a child, I was able to grasp that the author probably didn't approve of the words and actions of some of the characters.

Did I suddenly begin using the "N" word or the derogatory term or the "I" word for Native Americans? Of course not.

Twain wrote: "The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter." He knew he had to use the RIGHT word because, as he wrote, it's "the difference between the lightning bug and lightning."

Hemingway was right when he wrote: "All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn; it's the best book we've had. All American writing comes from that. There was nothing before. There has been nothing as good since."--from The Green Hills Of Africa (1934

Read The New York Times regarding Twain's death.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


One of my favorite Mark Twain quotes:  "Don't let schooling interfere with your education."

During an interview in 1978, the person interviewing me was the Plant Superintendent. There were no females working in manufacturing management and I felt very insecure about my chances of being hired at that latge corporation although I had a good manufacturing management background.

The interviewer asked this question: "Which do you value more;  your work experience or your education?"   I paraphrased Mark Twain by saying, "I never let my schooling interfere with my education." He smiled and I assumed that he knew the original quote.

Of course, I knew nothing about the interviewer except his title; I just assumed that he was highly educated because of his position. After I was hired, he shared his background with me. He had started to work at the company during World War II when they were hiring 16-year-old guys. He had lied about his age; he was a tall, strapping lad but he was only 14; fortunately, they didn't check those things carefully then, and his mother signed the work permit. He didn't graduate from high school, let alone attend college, until he went into management.

He told me that my answer to that one question was the reason he chose me; he said, "Personnel wants me to hire all those Joe-College guys, but I want people who know HOW to work." I often thought, "What if I'd answered the other way?"

Other favorite quotes by Twain: 

"If you tell the truth, you don't have to remember anything."

"It is better to keep your mouth shut and appear stupid than to open it and remove all doubt."

 "Do the right thing,  It will gratify some people and astonish the rest."

"All generalizations are false, including this one."

"Man is the only animal that blushes--or needs to."

"Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience;  this is the ideal life."

"There are lies. damned lies, and statistics."

"To succeed in life you need two things:  ignorance and confidence."

"It is curious that physical courage should be so common in the world and moral courage so rare."

"Let us endeavor, so to live that when we come to die, the undertaker will be sorry."

Monday, November 28, 2016


Mark Twain: "Give a man a reputation as an early riser and that man can sleep until noon."

I am continually irritated with people who obviously think it is somehow noble to "get up early";  they always say:  "I'm an early riser" with a sort of moral superiority.

Gerald says, "I got up at 4:30 in the morning for 30 years and I'm gonna sleep as late as I want."

I sleep very little. Gerald sleeps a lot. If I need to get up early, I do, but I am a night-owl who spent nearly all of my work life on first shift. I was always happier, physically and emotionally, and more productive at home and at work, when I was on second shift. I could not tolerate third shift.

I am a night person; I've always been a night person. I have more energy at night. Obviously my CIRCADIAN RHYTHMS were inherited from my father who spent the majority of his work life on second shift.

I say that the only thing Mother ever taught us that was sinful was sleeping. She was also one who had the air of moral superiority of being an early riser.

In the seventh grade, I can recall that I was telling what someone had said on the Jack Paar Show the previous night. A teacher, who heard the exchange, had a sudden intake of breath and said, "Your mother shouldn't let you stay up late like that!" My mother didn't care if we stayed up late; she was always up--usually still working--but we had better get up the next morning.

When I was a kid, I thought that my mother NEVER slept, as she was always UP and cheerful! When I was working, I would be rushing around in the morning, getting ready. I am known as "The White Tornado" in my family.   I know that Mother was always awake but would never bother me in the morning, because I am totally anti-social until I've been awake awhile. When I was ready to leave, she would open her bedroom door and say, "Have a good day, Hon!" By that time I could barely mumble a response, "You too--love you."

Circadian Rhythms (according to

A circadian rhythm is a roughly a 24-hour cycle in the physiological processes of living beings, including plants, animals, fungi, and cyanobacteria. In a strict sense, circadian rhythms are endogenously generated, although they can be modulated by external cues such as sunlight and temperature.

Circadian rhythms are important in determining the sleeping and feeding patterns of all animals, including human beings. There are clear patterns of brain wave activity, hormone production, cell regeneration and other biological activities linked to this daily cycle.

Circadian rhythm sleep disorders are a family of sleep disorders affecting the timing of sleep. People with circadian rhythm sleep disorders are unable to sleep and wake at the times required for normal work, school, and social needs. They are generally able to get enough sleep if allowed to sleep and wake at the times dictated by their body clocks. Unless they have another sleep disorder, their sleep is of normal quality.

Humans have biological rhythms, known as circadian rhythms, which are controlled by a biological clock and work on a daily time scale.  Due to the circadian clock, sleepiness does not continuously increase as time passes. Instead, the drive for sleep follows a cycle, and the body is ready for sleep and for wakefulness at different times of the day.

Delayed sleep-phase syndrome (DSPS) is a chronic disorder of sleep timing. People with DSPS tend to fall asleep at very late times, and also have difficulty waking up in time for school or work which begins in the morning. Often, DSP individuals report that they cannot sleep until early morning. Unlike insomniacs, however, they fall asleep at about the same time every night, no matter what time they go to bed. People with DSPS have at least a normal - and often much greater than normal - ability to sleep during the morning, and sometimes in the afternoon as well. In contrast, those with chronic insomnia do not find it much easier to sleep during the morning than at night.

Sunday, November 27, 2016


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 and turkey hot shots, 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.


Saturday, November 26, 2016


While shopping for strawberries I saw an item I'd had never seen before;  as I was peering at the package, I commented to another shopper, "I wonder what these are.", and she replied , "I think those must be DRAGON FRUIT I've heard about on cooking shows."  I pointed to the label on the container and said, "I don't know how to pronounce this--R-A-M-B-U-T-A-N--but I'll check it out when I go home."  What I saw were indeed rambutan and not dragon fruit.

After researching rambutan and dragon fruit, I will try dragon fruit if I can find it.  Rambutan is closely related to the lychee which I do not like, and the dragon fruit (also known as "pitaya") is somewhat like the kiwi which I do enjoy.

Friday, November 25, 2016


My mother would pore over the Burpee seed catalog and she would order and plant a different vegetable yearly.   We were exposed to rutabaga, kohlrabi, Jerusalem artichoke, and a variety of squashes (acorn, turban, spaghetti, and patty pan) and one year she grew WHITE sweet potatoes and another time she tried to grow yams. 

Most people have never tasted a true yam.  Yams are the starchy edible root of the DIOSCOREA genus and are generally imported from the Caribbean.  Yams have rough and scaly skins and are very low in beta carotene.

Sweet potato flesh can vary from white to orange and even purple.  The USDA requires orange-colored sweet potatoes to be labeled "sweet potatoes" but people are still confused about the differences between sweet potatoes and yams.  Yesterday, in Kroger,  I saw cans labeled "yams" and I wondered how that escaped the USDA as the contents were obviously sweet potatoes and   "cut sweet potatoes" also shows on the label!

HERE IS A QUIZ:  answer yam or sweet potato.  Answers below.

1.  I am a tuberous root with sweet, moist flesh.

2.  I am originally from Africa and rarely sold in the United States.

3.  I am super sweet and can grow over 7 feet in length.

4.  My skin can range from thin and pale to thick and dark.

5.  I am toxic when eaten raw but perfectly safe when cooked.

6.  I am known for high content of vitamins A and C.

7.  I have rough skin which is difficult to peel and can even be hairy at times.

8. My flesh can sometimes be white, orange, or purple.

9.  I have an oblong body with tapered ends.

10.  I have very low glycemic index which is a special benefit to diabetics.


1.  BOTH
2.  YAMS
3.  YAMS
5.  YAMS
7.  YAMS
8.  BOTH
10.  BOTH

Thursday, November 24, 2016


Thanksgiving or Thanksgiving Day, currently celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November by federal legislation in 1941, has been an annual tradition in the United States by presidential proclamation since 1863 and by state legislation since the Founding Fathers of the United States. Historically, Thanksgiving began as a tradition of celebrating the harvest of the year.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


The cashew nut is actually a seed which is harvested from the cashew tree.  Brazil was the original native home to the cashew tree but cashew trees are now widely grown in many tropical locations for its nuts and cashew apples.  Cashew apples are a fruit produced by the cashew tree but the skin of the fruit is very fragile and makes them unsuitable for export.  Fruit drinks made from cashew apples are  popular throughout Latin America.

Cashews are an excellent source of antioxidants and dietary trace minerals of copper, magnesium, and copper.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2016


When I posted that 9/11 was the worst day in American history and that 11/9 was the second worst day, my brother said, "I kinda thought November 22, 1963 was the worst day."


Monday, November 21, 2016


I have a collection of cornucopias made from materials ranging from silver, crystal, brass, wicker, alabaster, glass, pottery, wood, and porcelain. Some are overflowing with maple, oak, ginkgo, and sweet gum leaves which I shellacked.  I fill others with fruits, nuts, pine cones, and gourds.  A cornucopia on the kitchen table is filled with gourds I shellacked.

I fill my Waterford crystal cornucopia with cranberries for the dining room centerpiece for Thanksgiving.  I am always torn about the wastefulness of using the cranberries as the medium to secure the flowers.

Sunday, November 20, 2016


As I was shellacking leaves and gourds for Thanksgiving decorations, I reminded Gerald and Les about my first coffee table.  In my first apartment everything was from recycled materials, hand-me-downs, and items "scrounged" from unlikely sources.

The only furniture I had was the furniture from my room at home which consisted of a bed, dresser, chest of drawers, radio, record player, and a chair. I couldn't afford to buy any furniture. A friend saw a couch that was being thrown out and we were able to get it. I had two wooden crates that I used for end tables beside the couch.

I put the two wooden crates together and on top of them I put the mahogany top that had come from our first television set when I was a kid. Voila! A coffee table. On top of the mahogany, I put a piece of glass that had been left over when another piece of glass was broken from my friend's baker's rack and she decided to get rid of the whole thing. I used the baker's rack--minus the glass shelves--to hang my plants. In 1970, Gerald bought a 19-inch Zenith color television set for me for Valentine's Day and it lasted until 1990.  That RCA television was a beautiful piece of furniture. My father had purchased it from Yeoman's before the blizzard in 1950.   It was a console television with mahogany doors and brass handles concealing a 12-inch television on the left side;  on the right side was a radio and a 45 rpm record player;  below was a record player able to play both 78 and 33 1/3 records. When the television died, the record players and radio still worked and the cabinet was so beautiful Mother couldn't bear to part with it.  On top of the cabinet my father and brothers placed a "portable" Sylvania television that weighed about 200 pounds.  Even after the record players and radio quit working, she used the cabinet for storage and I cannot remember how or why she got rid of it, but the top to it was still remaining;  thus I was able to use it as the top for my first coffee table.  That top is in Gerald's workshop today.

I love leaves. In school, I had the biggest leaf collection of anybody as we would go to my grandfather's farm in the hills and I collected many different types of leaves--paw-paw, persimmon, butternut--I even found a Blackjack Oak which is very rare in Ohio. [My younger brother used my leaf collection for his own when his class was required to collect leaves; I was so glad he also received an "A"]

For my apartment, I collected leaves (from ginkgo, three different kinds of oaks, sweet gum, and maples) and shellacked them. I put leaves under the glass for my coffee table; I pressed the leaves and "decoupaged" the wooden crates with leaves. I used leaves everywhere. To this day, for one of my Thanksgiving arrangements, I shellac leaves from the trees in our yard--ginkgo, oaks, sweet gum, maples--and put them in a big cornucopia. I love the smell of shellac and the leaves and the brilliant autumn colors.

As I was brushing on the shellac, Les asked, "Why don't you just use polyurethane spray?"  I answered, dismissively, "Oh, it wouldn't be the same."

Saturday, November 19, 2016


I LOVE autumn!  The yard is a scream of color and the smell is glorious.  I especially love my ginkgo;  it was a gift from my mother in 1985 and it has grown splendidly.  This year the leaves seemed to change to yellow overnight.
Mother and I loved the song Autumn Leaves.  When I was a girl an instrumental by the pianist Roger Williams was very popular.  It was difficult to select a rendition of the song to use here.  Frank, Nat, Ella, Doris, Sarah, or even the original in French by Edith Piaf came to mind, but it's impossible to go wrong with Keely Smith.  Listen here:

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.

Friday, November 18, 2016


We all know people like this: ones who can't stand to have others complimented. These people always respond with negative remarks whenever compliments about others are stated. They act as if hearing compliments about others somehow diminishes them.

Recently an associate of mine told me that her grandson was appearing in a high school musical.  I said that a friend of ours had a son who was going to be in the same play and I planned to attend.  That same evening, I saw the grandson and I asked about his part in the play and I also mentioned that our friend's son had "the lead" in the play.  The youngster immediately responded, "Well, ONE of the leads."  I said, "Well, if it's anything like the movie, there's definitely just ONE lead!"  

Why on earth would the youngster want to diminish the importance of the person having "the lead" in the play?  Petty jealousy?

My husband's 86-year-old aunt is forever proselytizing with a holier-than-thou attitude, but lacking a true Christian charitable attitude, she oftentimes unwittingly displays her true, petty self.

I mentioned to her that I knew a woman who attended the same church as she and I commented, "She's a very pretty lady." The aunt responded immediately, "Well, she MAKES herself that way." Instead of a gracious "Yes, she is", she was compelled to respond in that catty, judgmental manner. Naturally, being the ornery person I am, I kept saying other kind things about the mutual acquaintance. After my complimenting the other woman's singing, piano playing, and lovely decor in her home, the aunt replied, "Well, she had definite advantages growing up." MEOW!

But, what did my "egging on" accomplish? It was fun for me to expose the aunt's mean-spirited side, but since I didn't tell her that I knew how mean she is, she probably doesn't realize that she IS mean-spirited or that that is my opinion of her.   I doubt that introspection is her strong suit. My husband says she's too old to change and that it would be disrespectful of us to correct her. IF she didn't proselytize and present herself as a righteous person, then I would not feel compelled to expose her hypocrisy. For once, I behaved myself and my husband was proud of me because I DID NOT correct her.

My husband told me that I would demonstrate a character flaw in myself if I were to point out the aunt's character flaw. 

Did I also mention that he is a NICER person than I?

Thursday, November 17, 2016


November 17 is HOMEMADE BREAD DAY.

One of my sisters-in-law was known for her marvelous homemade breads.  One time, feeling much like Lady Bountiful, she sent a loaf of her homemade bread home with one of her son's friends.

Several days later she asked the boy how his family had liked her bread, and fully expecting a compliment, the boy answered, "It was almost as good as Pennington's."

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


Honestly, I was wondering what my problem is because people on Facebook attack me when I post what I consider reasoned and factual information.

I used the word zeitgeist in a thread and another person wrote:  "Maybe if you didn't use words like zeitgeist people wouldn't hate you."

Well, I guess the problem IS with ME, dear Brutus, and NOT in the stars, BUT I never seem to have ANY problems with comments I write to out-of-county Facebook friends!

Tuesday, November 15, 2016


AMERICA RECYCLES DAY is observed on November 15.  It is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products.

Started in 1997 by the recycling sector organization National Recycling Coalition, the America Recycles Day has been a project of the national nonprofit Keep America Beautiful since 2009.  

It is sponsored by private and public entities and the EPA.

I hope that the new administration will not abolish this worthwhile program.

Monday, November 14, 2016


Wearing a safety pin is a symbol of solidarity to those opposed to Trumpism and hate.  

Safety pins were worn after the Brexit vote in the UK as a protest against the rise in hate crime. Brexit made the safety pin the symbol of opposition to hate and intolerance and Trump's election has made it relevant here.

During his campaign Trump expressed hatred for Mexicans, Muslims, Asians, Jews, women, and the LGBT community. As America comes to grips with the evil we will be facing it is important that we stand together.

Sunday, November 13, 2016


William Butler Yeats is my favorite poet.  I turn to him in moments of despair.  The Second Coming is one of my favorite poems.  Here are the opening lines:

"Things fall apart;  the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity."

I pulled down my well-worn copy of Collected Poems to refresh my memory.  My brother asked, "Remember we were talking awhile back about how many others who've appropriated Yeats for their titles?"  Remember No Country For Old Men?"  I said, "That's a line from Sailing To Byzantium."   He said, "I recently heard an old Lou Reed song where he sang that the best lack all conviction."

 He quipped, "So, are you slouching towards Bethlehem with Joan Didion?" I answered,"Well, it does feel as if the rough beast's hour has come round at last!" Here are the last lines of The Second Coming:

"And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?"

He continued, "Remember Eastwood reciting Yeats in Million Dollar Baby?"  I sighed and said, "Well, I remember it was phony because Eastwood's character  was supposedly translating Lake Isle Of Innisfree from Gaelic but Yeats never wrote in Gaelic and never learned to speak Gaelic and fought about using Gaelic for street signs and other issues."

Listen here to the virtual movie version of Yeats himself reading The Second Coming:

Please read the link from Paris Review about the usage of Yeats' lines by other writers;  it is titled The Second Coming:  Our Most Thoroughly Pillaged Poem.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Friday, November 11, 2016





Thursday, November 10, 2016


From Doctor Who:  "At worst,we failed doing the right thing as opposed to succeeding in doing the wrong."

We know we did the right thing.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


I plan to re-read Alan Paton's beautiful 1948 book Cry The Beloved Country this week.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016


I promised myself that during this campaign I would NOT say, "This is the most important election of my lifetime." because my niece told me that I was "so melodramatic" when I uttered the phrase in 2008 and I realized that I had probably said the same thing during EVERY campaign since I cast my first vote in 1964.

On reflection, this IS the most important election of my lifetime!

Monday, November 7, 2016

Sunday, November 6, 2016




Saturday, November 5, 2016

Friday, November 4, 2016



Thursday, November 3, 2016


I had been canvassing door-to-door for the campaign for several hours and I needed to pick up some items for the Headquarters for the following day.  As I was loading groceries into the trunk of my car, I noticed a young couple standing outside a car with the hood raised.  I also noticed another couple in the back seat of the car with a baby in a car seat.

It had turned rather chilly in the evening and I was concerned about the baby in the back seat.  I asked, "Do you need help?"  The man answered that his car needed a jump and he was holding jumper cables in his hands. I said, "Let me turn my car around and I can help you."

The couple began thanking me profusely.   I asked the woman, "How long have you been waiting?  Do you want to get the baby in my car where it's warm?"  She said, "About half an hour;  thank you so much but I think we'll be OK if we can get the car started."  I said, "If we can't get the car started, I can take you home or we can call Triple A."

They told me how they had asked a "bunch of people" to help but nobody would.   We were commiserating about the lack of human kindness and I said that I believed in "Pay It Forward" as I had been helped a number of times in my life.

However, I didn't want to miss an opportunity to quiz potential voters.  I asked, "Are you going to vote this year?";  they said they were.  I asked if they would share with me their selection.  The man said that I probably wouldn't want to hear his choice, but it was Gary Johnson.

I answered, "Being a Democrat, I would have helped you anyway, even if I'd known that beforehand!"

Wednesday, November 2, 2016


Gerald loves deviled eggs but his heart-saving diet warns against eating them.  This week Kroger has eggs on sale for 79 cents per dozen;  it would be a shame not to have a treat.  Les asked, "Where did the term "deviled" start?"

The first known reference of using "deviled" to describe food was in 1786 but by the 19th century the term was regularly used when referring to zesty or spicy food.  Deviled eggs are also known as stuffed eggs, salad eggs, dressed eggs, and mimosa eggs.

Over the years I have sometimes added ingredients to deviled eggs to "spice them up" but usually just stick with Mother's tried--and--true recipe:  eggs, Miracle Whip, salt, and pepper.  My brother Bode liked his deviled eggs very SOUR and Mother would add mustard and vinegar for his palate. I sprinkle paprika over half the eggs on the plate just because that's the way Mother did it and besides, it looks pretty!

I have friends and acquaintances who use mayonnaise, pickles, pickle relish, tartar sauce, olives, pimentos, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne pepper, turmeric, cilantro, and other additives;  everyone thinks that THEIR eggs are the best!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016



SUE:         "I can't believe that ANY woman could be for Trump!"

GERALD:  "I can't believe that any DECENT man could be for Trump!"

THANKS, once again, to my husband, an undeniably DECENT man, for his succinct appraisal.