Archive for the ‘Musings’ Category

“I said what I meant, I meant what I said..”

Last year’s Presidential election saw a surge in political comments, cartoons, and rants in social media. Any hopes we “common folks” harbored that this would all go away after inauguration have been dashed. The President is a magnet for criticism and over analyzation.

Listening to the news this morning I heard a phrase that I must have read several hundred times when our daughter was young. She loved elephants after our trip to California in 1986. First there was the Dumbo ride with her Aunt B. Then a departing gift, a stuffed Dumbo became the favorite “security/comfort” night time must have.

It was probably a few years later that she brought home the required school library check out. It was

At the time she was not an independent reader and had merely chosen the book because there was an elephant on the cover. That night I dutifully read through the book and rediscovered the joys of Dr. Seuss. Then I read it again the next night, and the next and so on. Library day came one week later and she wanted to renew her selection. The teacher said that wasn’t the way this library worked and put the book in the return bin. She selected another book but left it at school in her locker. When I asked what we were reading at bedtime the darling little girl began to retell Horton in amazingly accurate recall. There was special emphasis on the phrase, “I said what I meant, and I meant what I said. An elephant is faithful one hundred percent!”

In the morning I told her to bring the library book home from school. After all I was a teacher! Well you guessed it no library book again that afternoon. I loaded her up in the car and said before we could go to the barn, (another whole book), we were going to the library to check out a book. She asked for Horton at the front desk and the librarian took her right to the shelf. checked the book out and off we went. We usually listened to the country station on the radio as we traveled to the barn but not today. There sat our little girl in the back of the car reading her book.

Eventually, I had to buy a personal copy. That was the long road to creating an independent book loving reader.

That is how the spokesperson’s comment, “He said what he meant, and meant what he said”, triggered a 25 year old memory for this Mom.

Dr. Seuss is alive and well in this technology crazed world.


I recently learned that two of the local newspapers had closed shop after trying to boost delivery and cut costs for several years. The papers had been around for close to 50 years but just couldn’t compete with the news 24/7 of this new era. Yes, they served small communities with few local small town businesses but I know they are missed.

My relationship with newspapers dates back to my Grandparents. My Father’s family lived off the news. His parents began a news distribution business in rural upstate New York. They met the trains each morning and then delivered papers throughout our largely rural county on the Canadian border. The business grew as they branched out to distribute paperback books, magazines, comic books and other periodicals. The four colleges and many high schools relied on them for all types of print materials.

I came to believe that my Father had the largest newspaper route in the world!

It was wonderful to have comic books and magazines at your finger tips. We all read the newspapers even if it was just the funnies. Remember, this was a very rural area in upstate New York and television was not our go to entertainment. I still read a major newspaper every day even though it often contains old news. I love doing the Sudoku, Jumble, Word Game, Lexigo, and the Daily Commuter Puzzle.

Trying to keep the ole brain sharp!!

Family Favorites

I have served this “special cake” at Christmas time for over twenty years. One modification I made for many years was using sugar free pudding mix for G. Often I made two cakes because so many people enjoy this cake. Our Grandson asks to take home the “left overs.” It’s my favorite winter treat.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake
1 pound cake mix 4 eggs
3.5 oz. vanilla instant pudding mix 1/4 cup Galliano liqueur
1/2 cup veg oil (canola) 3/4 cup orange juice

Grease & flour Crock-Pot Bread ‘n Bake pan and cover. Turn Crock-Pot on high to pre heat. In large bowl blend cake mix & pudding mix. Mix last 4 ingredients in separate bowl. Combine mixes & liquid and mix on high for two minutes. Pour batter in cake pan, cover, and place in covered Crock-Pot. Bake on High 2 to 3 hours. Check center for doneness with toothpick after 2 hours, continue to check until toothpick comes out clean.
Remove cake and lightly dust with powdered sugar.

Harvey Wallbanger Cake

We finally have cold weather, no snow but cold.

My best guess puts this Crockpot at over thirty years old. I have searched through the little recipe booklet for a date but can’t find one. This little old crockpot has provided us with many wonderful dishes. I took a photo of the booklet, maybe some knows the date it was printed. IMG_2452

Thursday’s Thirteen – Irkers

I have been keeping a list of what I call “Pet Irkers” (PI) and decided to share 13 of them on this rainy Thursday. The PIs are not in any particular order, just thirteen PIs.

1. Ads in magazines. I have been reading Reader’s Digest for a long time and first noticed that perforated ads where making the magazine hard to handle while reading in bed. For over a year I would tear out the ads when the new issue arrived in the mail. Then I began to notice that ads where on the pages just like the many excellent stories I enjoy. Well, now it is ridiculous, I just counted 32 (one was three pages long) in the June issue and I was only at page 72, that’s two fifths of the pages! There is even an ad on the inside front cover.

2. I call this the magazine subscription PI. My lastest and best example of this is purchasing a kid’s nature magazine as a Christmas present last December. Since February we have received no fewer than six letters or emails (I purchased online) to renew the magazine. Reader’s Digest is no better. Whether it’s our personal subscription or a gift subscription the company starts hounding us about eight months before renewal time. I have finally cataloged all subscriptions with pertinent information online, then I check when the notices start coming in. More hassel for me,irk

3. PI number 3 is telemarketers. I thought the no call list would stop all these calls but telemarketing has become very creative and found every loop hole in the regulations. Frequently nonprofits call between five and six (the dinner hour) with the message that you have contributed in the past and would you be willing to help by pestering your neighbors for us. Colleges and universities are always having a fund raising campaign and the law allows them to contact anyone who has ever visited the campus I guess. Another is “Jim” calling on behalf of police, state troopers, or the fire department and asking if would be willing to send a family of four to the circus, no! Telemarketers have even figured out that we can identify them when they mispronounce our last name so now they address us by our first names only. Looks like we will soon be getting rid of the land line. Our answering machine is frequently loaded with offers for credit ratings, security systems and senior citizen medical equipment.

4. TV Medicine commercials made the PI list a long time ago. Television commercials for medicines advise people to consult with their doctor before taking medicines, yet will send you samples through the mail. Tell your doctor if you have high blood pressure, a heart condition etc. is always part of these commercials, shouldn’t your doctor know if you have these conditions? I also get dizzy when the announcer starts spouting out the list of adverse reactions, they put a lot into those thirty seconds.

5. This PI is self promotion. Many local television stations proudly flash “Rated Number 1” or “Most Watched” during commercial breaks in popular programs. I now refer to this as bragging breaks. The major networks are perhaps the worst offenders. How many time have you been watching a sports event, even golf, when the announcer will talk about a television program on their network being the top choice among viewers. I often doubt that they have even seen the programs. Even Reader’s Digest is guilty of self promotion. Six of the above mentioned ads were for their products or telling readers how to read the magazine online.

6. Ads PI. While I’m on the subject of television, who is running the advertisement department? It never fails that during a commercial break especially in the evening there will be a series or 4 or 5 ads in which two and sometimes three are for very similar products or services. For example Ford trucks outperform in carrying heavy duty loads, then Toyota has a higher performance rating than all others, and the third might be a Chevy built tough. If I were head of the division that bought this air time I would complain about the placement of similar ads. Speaking of ads how irksome are those infomercials?

7. Reality TV is another PI. Get over it! It’s not real! I get irked when I realize how many shows feature performers shouting, criticizing, and carrying on as if this is how we behave in real life. Visit a courtroom for a day even an hour. I feel safe in saying even the judge will not come up with one zinger. Try camping out in the woods for a week then check your reality. IRK

8. The eighth PI always gives me a heavy heart . It is the on scene interviews with friends and families of victims involved in accidents, natural disasters, fires or other horrible incidents. People are in no condition to answer reporters questions about the incident and I see no compelling reason to broadcast this live.

9. The cable service overload PI is actually two irkers. The first occurs during television broadcast as the announcer points out that all their stories plus more news/information can be found on “Our Website” – www. Channel What do they think we tuned into the broadcast for? From personal experience I know that it is hard to read and keep a sustainable thought after 10:30pm and medical professionals tell us we should turn off electronics at least one hour before retiring. The second is receiving offers to subscribe for cable tv or internet service through commercials or online. Irker alert, I’m already watching on a television and with present day regulations the only way I can be doing this is to be a cable or dish subscriber. The ultimate insult is that my service is usually being offered at a lower price and we are not elegible, the deal is only available for new subscribers. Irk irk. While we’re on the topic of cable service another irker is offers for internet service on the internet. I thought I was being so smart watching my favorite network tv shows 24 hours after they had aired on the computer while doing something else. Now before you can watch the show you have to listen to a infomercial for a cable service. Once again irker alert – I’m already connected to the internet and don’t want to pay for rewiring my house along with new holes in the walls or floor or exterior walls because you can’t use the outlets available.

10. The Instructions PI. For a long time I thought my eyes were going bad when I couldn’t read the instructions on the box of cake mix. So I’d go hunt up my reading glasses and realize the space now held two sets of instructions, one in English and the other in Spanish. Like many of my contemporaries I carried on and the cakes were delicious. Now I view the grocery store as a chance to review my long ago college Spanish lessons. Then I began to notice that every new appliance (new range), toy (Grandchildren), and gadgets too numerous came with multi page books on how to assemble or maintain. The raised garden boxes we recently purchased contained a small 12 page how to leaflet. In the kitchen we now have an entire shelf for instruction booklets we need to consult.

11. The Tag PI. Is it just me or does your muffin top roll frequently become irritated by those stiff tags attached on the side seam of the garment? Thank goodness undergarments now come with all the necessary information stamped on the inside, I was tired of cutting off tags. Have you every noticed the tag sticking out on your throw rugs or bed linens. Once again I make good use of those super sharp scissors, I have a pair just for tag removal. The most irksome are the towel and wash cloth tags. I have actually scratched my cheeks!

12. Folding PI. This irker arises when I try to fold bed sheets and towels. Fitted sheets are the worst, my arms just aren’t long enough to neatly contain the seam corners which seem to be rounded and the sides of our queen size linens. Towels are impossible to fold flat once the decorative edges shrink. I have towels that shrank almost two inches and when folded the shrinkage seems to bunch and bulge. Irk

13. The last PI is the Renaming PI. I get irked when stadiums, arenas, and even games/tournaments are renamed for a national brand or corporation. What happened to traditions? Whoever heard of Charming Stadium or The Ty-D Bol Bowl? Charming didn’t build that stadium taxpayer dollars did and a university’s location as well as reputation established many tournament/bowl titles. The ultimate blow came while watching football last fall. I realized that the Heisman Trophy was now sponsored by Nissan and AFLAC among others. IRK!

I have concluded after reading this list that I may be having a gloomy Gus day, am watching way too much television or just have way too much free time.
Hope your day is IRK free


It’s been too long between posts. However, I found a fun filled weekend has given me inspiration to post.

After several years of following blogs on cooking, gardening, quilting, education and creative bloggers I just found interesting I thought I was ready to jump in, well easier said than done. As our SIL helped set up the page and get me started I thought my writings would center around what I have done in retirement. Many of my peers expressed feelings of doubt, thinking I would be bored or even lonely if my husband didn’t retire at the same time. Oh, how wrong they were….

As I stated above I had a refreshing weekend – going out to dinner with good friends, golfing, cooking, watching a movie on television, and attending a demonstration luncheon with several other ladies at a new condiments shop in our town. These activities reminded me about why I had this blog. It was also an invigorating three day weekend and what I love about retirement.

Here’s a short list of what I’ve been up to:
Enjoying breakfast and completing my “puzzles” before ten in the morning
Playing golf, even made a hole-in-one last summer
Attending movies, dinner theater, and cultural performances during the week
Visiting family and friends on our time schedule
Week night dining out, thanks Groupon
Picking grapes at local wineries
Touring/tasting breweries, wineries
Trying new recipes
Having time with the Grands
Joining a Writer’s group
Participating in charity walk/runs
Wine strolls
Just relaxing

That’s it for today going to bind a quilt.

SUNday Morning

This morning as I tuned into CBS Sunday Morning I realized that I was developing a new ritual. Over fifty years ago I had a Sunday paper route and I have made it a habit to read at least one Sunday newspaper since that time. Today I sensed the change in my ritual that has come about in the past three years. My husband may say the change is due to my inability to have our dog retrieve the paper for me.
Newspapers have been in decline with the emerging electronic advances. First television news programs and commentators slowly replaced the print media and now the internet dominates with its speed and many sites. However, we still subscribe to a Sunday paper and I make it a habit to read most of it.

This Sunday morning I tuned in for the full ninety minutes. In the central time zone “Sunday Morning” begins at 8 AM. I find myself multi-tasking during the show, eating breakfast (blueberry muffins), emptying or loading the dishwasher, dressing, planning tonights dinner, and going over my weekly calendar. These activities would not be possible if I were reading the newspaper.

Charles Osgood has become my favorite anchor. He opens every show with the traditional teases. Today’s main theme was the Presidential Inauguration. Along with the cover story there are several features which I enjoy – Almanac, Television, Passage, Profile, Opinion, By The Numbers, and Nature. I always manage to gleam some interesting facts/trivia, knowledge, and reaffirm some of my educator/life philosophies.

Almanac was presented by Mr. Osgood and reviewed the life of Audrey Hepburn on the anniversary of her death in 1993. She is a favorite of our daughter so I sent her the link on this story.
Television featured Highclere Castle otherwise known as “The Real Downton Abbey.” I texted a good friend to tune in because like so many others we watch the series on PBS.
You can’t have an Inauguration without the President so several stories, including the Cover Story, pertained to past Presidents, and as a student of American history I sat down and paid close attention. Two Presidential biographers outlined what they believe were the essential qualities in a good President. A President must be wise and honest, (taken from John Adams letter to his wife Abigail), he must have courage, patience, determination, and integrity. D. McCullough stressed that the good Presidents, “Lead not only with actions but with words.” I especially liked D. Gergen’s addition to the list – persuasion. He cited Thomas Jefferson as the first President to use inside the beltway persuasion to achieve political success. I also felt that both men wanted a President to be friendly, especially with his political adversaries. Citing J. Meacham in “Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power” Gergen said, “He believed, I think rightly, that it is harder to say ‘no’ to someone when you know them.”
Passage was another Osgood piece and covered the passing of Dear Abby. I grew of reading Pauline Phillips “Dear Abby” advice column in the newspaper. She died of Alzheimer’s disease this past week at the age of 94.
By The Numbers Nine was the number today. This is the number of Presidents who were not sworn into office on January 20th before noon. I learned that Calvin Coolidge was staying at his home in Vermont. The house had neither telephone nor electricity so the news was delivered to him in the middle of the night by his father who later sworn him in by the light of an oil lamp.
Profile talked with Warren Buffet on life and investing in stocks. He is very interesting.
Nature took us to the USA’s first national park, Yellowstone. This segment is always wordless and is about a minute long video that the show closes with. Today I watched the geysers in the snow, beautiful.

SUNday Morning always features numerous suns. Today mt favorite was a snow covered sun.
Check out the show next SUNday Morning on CBS

2013 Beginnings

The title of this first post is not exactly right, but I’ve procrastinated far too long.  Perhaps a better heading  would have been, “What To Do?”

That is a  question I’ve asked myself many times over the last eighteen months.  It was two years ago that I started the retirement process and at a recent holiday gathering a good friend and fellow educator contemplated her upcoming retirement. She wondered what she would do all day.  I reassured her that there was plenty to do.  She laughed and said, “I know, just look at you and your partner in retirement, Dee.  It seems we hear of a new adventure or activity every week!”  

I have been thinking of that exchange for three weeks now. The questions that arose over and over were: What have I learned about myself, my family, our neighborhood, Kansas, and the world? What life lessons have I applied to retirement? What activities have I found fun and fulfilling? And finally what did my lifelong friend, Nancy, mean when she told me there would be no regrets?

Now, I have come to the conclusion that this blog will be about what I’ve been doing with myself since retiring from the education field. There will be posts about family, learning, senior moments and frogs. One of my 2013 resolutions is to post at least once a week.

Hoppy New Year!