Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Blank Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste!

I haven't posted in awhile but only because I could not think of a thing to write. Trying to follow my friend Tony's good example of keeping to the positive, I have had a difficult time finding good things of which to write. Not that there isn't a lot of good out there, I just can't seem to put it into words or think of it to begin with. My mind is blank, words are not available, thoughts do not coagulate. This is most frustrating and I can only blame springtime and pollen counts. Claritin is part of my daily diet and I believe it may be having an adverse effect on my thought processes, which were not acute to begin with but I've learned to live with that short-coming.

So here I sit, pondering a fairly blank screen and wondering what words should muddy the surface without sounding negative and biting. Arlen Spector is now a Democrat...President Obama has passed the 100 day mark....warm weather graced us for a short reprieve....grass is growing in my backyard....Mikey's parents gave him a Mohawk (oh that's right...I'm supposed to keep this positive so let's try that again)...Mikey's mom cut his hair...I'm learning to paint watercolor...and tomorrow is payday. Without going into detail of any of these things and therefore stirring up the bad as well as the good, I will leave it short and simple and focus on the positive. Thank you for setting such a good example, Tony!

Friday, April 24, 2009

One of the Best Movies I've Seen

Last night I took the opportunity to watch a movie that has long been on my waiting list through Netflix. I knew it was supposed to be good, but I was extremely surprised at the quality of writing as well as acting that took place in this picture. I was even more surprised to be reminded that it was not nominated for any Oscars as it was most definitely the best movie of 2008. All I can ask is...didn't those people watch it?

Set in South Carolina, one of the many places I have been lucky enough to call home, in 1964 in an area rife with segregation and hatred. And though it is illegal to persecute blacks, this does not stop radical whites from treating black basely. This white child with a cross too heavy for one so young to bear, runs away from an abusive situation, breaks her best friend (who happens to be black) out of jail and hightails it out of town, searching for a place that calls to her heart.

Not a huge fan of Queen Latifa's acting, I was blown away by the extent of her charisma on the screen as well as the perfect mold she took with her character. Dakota Fanning is a star, and this movie should be a large step to building upon her career as a young adult. Jennifer Hudson proved herself to be first rate in her last film, and takes it even further here. Alisha Keys and Sophie Okunedo are just as polished as all the others. Finally, Paul Bettany (who played the Alibino in The DaVinci Code) played the part of Dakota's abusive father perfectly. Though you never like him, you come to understand him in the end.

For any of you who have yet to see it, check it out on, the link is in the title of this blog. Then rent it through netflix or redbox, or whatever. It's a wonderful, feel good movie and it will make you want to run to the library to read the book...which is what I'm getting ready to do right now!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Can we Trust the CIA Reports?

Former vice president Dick Cheney, the puppet master of the Bush administration and instigator for the adoption of torture as an interrogation technique, dared President Obama to release more reports (from the CIA) chronicling the "success of the effort." My question is, are these reports written by the same people that avowed there were WMD's located in Iraq even though the UN failed to find them? And could we TRUST these so called reports to be honest? Somehow I doubt it...don't call his bluff Mr. President. I'd like to say just prosecute him, but he's a slippery eel. He'll get out of it like a greased pig. There is only one punishment for people like Dick Cheney and it's not here one earth but in the afterlife.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


And so the weekend began. The dog is standing on my freshly tilled soil, a hard clay that is saturated with night crawlers and earth worms. It wasn't difficult to turn but it took all afternoon. When Michael got home, he saw all my hard work and decided to remove the huge, pine tree's stump that occupied most of the center of the back yard. I didn't think he would accomplish this feat so quickly but I came downstairs Friday morning to this view. When he puts his mind to something, he accomplishes it!

As you can very well see, this stump is not small bit of a ball and its branches reached wide and far. Using every tool imaginable (to include car jacks and wedges) they (Michael, Josh and Jeremy) worked dilegently into the night and were able to get the stump out before midnight. How these men did so much in the dark is beyond me. So now the clean-up begins.

I tilled the remainder of the yard, and, after work and a crazy run to the pediatrician (another blog I'm sure), Michael filled in the large pot hole in the yard using the many rocks that they dug up with the root. Because it was not quite full and the ground was not even, he decided it needed top soil. I decided I had done enough and pulled out the old hookah, lit the fireplace and ordered pizza. We spent a very nice evening in front of a fire and enjoying all the hard work that we did.

Saturday meant more work! We turned more soil, weeded around the fence, pulled the junk up from the side of the patio, realigned the bricks around the tree in the front yard, and weed-eated around the driveway. Mike finished his filling of the pot hole then blew up the baby pool (barely seen on the left) as well as put the half tent up in the yard (not sure why he did the latter). I took some tough beef and marinated it all day, so the Weber came into the yard and we grilled steaks and potatoes in the early evening. Another day down!

Sunday dawned grey and chilly. We stayed out of the yard for most of the day, having other things as well as extremely sore muscles complaining of overuse and abuse. But late this afternoon we decided to clean up, sweep up and move and remove and so we now wait for grass to grow. If it doesn't (two week limitation here) it is time to get about 600 sq/ft of top soil and start again. The season is young and we can probably have grass by the end of summer. Mike said he is more excited about this project than any other as he has never had a grassy backyard in his life. The simple joys are the most pleasant and loved. I can't wait for our first crab fest of steamed crabs and Frogmore stew with biscuits and coleslaw. YUM YUM!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Spring has Sprung

What an absolutely glorious day! Unfortunately, tomorrow I will suffer for my enthusiasm. First some background information...I am living with my daughter and son-in-law in the townhouse where Big Mike spent most of his life. There were three boys and a dad in the home and none were very big on taking care of the place. When Mike's dad died, soon followed by his older brother, it soon became a frat house of which it remained until they moved into it last summer. (To say it was a pig sty is an insult to the pig.) But slowly and with great creativity and ingenuity, it has become a very fun little abode for this family.

The front and back yards, however, continue to be an eyesore as well as a death trap. There was a huge, dead pine tree gracing the back which is now nothing more than a stump. And there was no grass whatsoever. So today I got a wild burr and decided to overturn the yard, one large patch at a time. I guess Bravard told Mike because he came home with some great grass seed and the need to dig out the old stump. All I can say is "wow". Mike is not generally motivated to take on endeavors such as these, so it was a real surprise and as well as a push for me to do more. Hence the sore muscles....

Hopefully by Saturday, I'll have the entire yard turned and new grass seed planted...then it is off to the front for some much needed TLC. I can only hope my arms hold out long enough for me to complete my tasks in a manner beneficial to the household.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another Positive Story!

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I believe I can positively say that she even surprised Simon, though he denied it. This large, square Scottish woman with a bad haircut belted out something that would have shone bright even when compared to Elaine Paige, the woman Miss Boyle would like to be. She just proves once again that looks can be so deceiving and we shouldn't judge books or bookish women by their covers. Inside are words, stories and voices of such depth and magnitude that we are often surprised by their beauty. Yes, it truly comes from within, and is not necessarily reflected in what we may look like.

Hats off to you Susan Boyle. For the readers who have not experienced this phenomenon, click on her name and watch the YouTube short. If you are not amazed, I will be very surprised.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I have a definite cause for celebration in that I have finished my Algebra course with the completion of my final exam today! I missed two answers giving me a grade of 97 which made my class average 94%. I am both elated an exhausted with this accomplishment. Algebra took up the better part of my life for these last 8 weeks and I am not sad to see this completion. It will be good to wake up tomorrow and not have the onus burden of another batch of numerical homework and the dark cloud of an exam hanging over my head. I may actually get a full night's sleep tonight as I cannot count the number of times I awakened at 4:00 am to do math. Why? I was dreaming about it, of course. I will enjoy these next 10 days of nothing but Nutritional Science and writing in my blog. Yes, it is time for the happy dance, so until next time I post I will be twirling wildly about my bedroom!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

The Bailout is Starting at the Wrong End

It is my childlike and somewhat juvenile opinion that the bailout of America is starting at the wrong end of the spectrum. While government has decided to give large companies money, the average citizen still doesn't have the money to spend on the product. That being said, wouldn't it be more beneficial to all if money was given to the citizens instead of to the large companies?

The population in the United States is approximately 303,824,640 and out of that about 80,000,000 file tax returns. The stimulus/bailout package is running at about $747 Billion (that is nine zeros following the original three). So, by my math, if that money was instead divided between the American taxpayers, they would receive $9,837.50. Even if everyone just spent 1/2 the money and hid the other half in their mattress, that is still almost $400 Billion going back into the economy. With that much money being spent, it seems our economy would get the kick-start it so badly needs. Do you think the people running the country even thought of this? Wouldn't it be easier than what they are doing now?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Too Bad George Wouldn't Understand This!

So here it is, my paragraph with all my new words. Will take comments and suggestions.

In this time of recession, the resulting lack of spending/playing money is ubiquitous. The hubris of the last administration is no more apparent than in the present market place where the recession is so blatantly "in your face". Having ignored all the signs regarding the financial down slide that the United States was about to take in order to finance a "war on terror"was arrogance in itself. But to be so didactic as to foist our beliefs on people who do not necessarily think or process in the manner in which we do was the ultimate in egocentric behavior. There is nothing so parsimonious as the unfair nonacceptance of differences of opinions or values, especially when these are not necessarily individual but rather those of a whole ethnic group. To perceive that they would even want the types of freedoms that we have is above the pale, and to take whatever order they had and give them freedoms they do not understand was fecund ground for terrorism to REALLY take affect. And we and our troops and contract workers that are still there are left mendicant for retaliation. We should have been more sophrosyne, like the French. It probably gets in the craw of some to admit that the "frogs" were actually correct in their surmise of the Middle East situation. Thank the voting gods that we now have not only another man in office, but another party. Hopefully, he will be able to extemporize using good sense and circumlocution to not only get us out of this useless war in Iraq but to bring about some positive results in the American financial market. If he can't I fear the next election will be nothing but an osculation good-bye for the Democrats

Monday, April 6, 2009

New Words

About three weeks ago I decided to start compiling a list of those words I had to look up whilst reading blogs or newspaper articles. Never one with a huge or impressive vocabulary (my younger sister has hubris regarding her mastery of verbiage) I have always had some difficulty retaining the meanings or spellings of words. Being dyslexic as well as ADD did not help in my youth, but these things were overcome with years of practice as well as quietly relying on dictionaries, thesauruses and the spell-check option. So here is the list. I am sorry I did not write down the original sentences. I will definitely do that in the next go round. Also, these are in the order in which I acquired them, thus meaning they are in no order whatsoever. How many do you already know?

1. Didactic–teaching or intending to teach a moral lesson
2. Sophrosyne-moderation; discretion; prudence
3. Hubris-excessive pride or self-confidence; arrogance
4. Osculation-kiss
5. Mendicant–begging
6. Circumlocution-verbiage
7. Fecund-fertile
8. Parsimonious–stingy
9. Extemporize-improvise
10.Ubiquitous-to be everywhere

I suppose my next assignment would be to use each in a sentence in a blog. Maybe tomorrow....for today I shall concentrate on completing my Algebra assignments for the week and studying for my Nutritional Health quiz on Friday. When I have the time for my creative juices to begin to flow once again which will allow me to develop an entertaining yet witty editorial, I will tackle the task of using the above words. Until then....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Taking another new road, yet again!

I went to my first Pampered Chef party about 15 years ago. I thought, at the time, that it was something I could sell, but I didn't know if my lifestyle would be condusive to building a busines. Afterall, I moved every eighteen months to three years so how could I possibly establish myself with such uncertainty? You know, we make some stupid decisions as children but the ones we make as adults are so much worse! But everything in its own time.

Being a stay-at-home grandmother and taking classes doesn't offer me much opportunity to make extra money, and the job market being what it is presently, no one is hiring for work 1 day a week. Having a home business seemed like the next best solution. I received my box of paperwork and was immediately overwhelmed. So much to do, so much is expected, so much to organize, and my immediate reaction was "Have I bitten off more than I can chew?" Probably, but I have a pretty big mouth and it takes a lot to choke me. I do, however, wish I had taken this chance AFTER completing my algebra course, but it's too late now.

So, here I am, off on yet another adventure. I am a good salesperson so that aspect will be a no brainer. I love entertaining so I can handle that part of the job. I was a theater arts major so standing in front of a crowd performing and selling won't be too hard. Having a son that is attending culinary school, having a background in entertaining, and having once worked for Williams-Sonoma and knowing products shared by both businesses, I feel as though I have a foot hold that most might not, so product knowledge should not be a problem. But where do I find my customer base...yikes. It's too late for second thoughts now and not willing to quit so easily when faced with a challenge, I will conquer Pampered Chef as well. If anyone out there would like to purchase Pampered Chef products, please let me know!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Over a HUGE Algebraic Hump

Well, it took me over a week, but I finally passed my Algebra exam and I can move on to...well, more algebra. I don't know what had me so befuddled and confused, besides all the a's, c's, j's, h's, x's, etc. and how I was supposed to find their lines after putting them in proper order then doing actual math. All I do know is I was stuck, plain and simple, and I was ready to pull out my own teeth with tweezers. After three days of intense studying I finally braved the 20 problems put forth by my teacher. Low and behold, after saying prayers to the Algebra gods, I only missed two problems...and they were typos, my typos. By the time I checked my work the third time, I was cross-eyed. But I'm very happy with my 90%.

I am sure there are times I have had to use basic algebra in my life. Figuring out percentages, for example, when I was in retail. Also, there is quite a bit of math in cooking. But can someone please explain to me why I need to know how to figure out 1/9(x-3)+1/3(x-12)=x-7? Or why I need to find Y if given four numbers? And what is the use of a quadratic equation in everyday existence?

But, alas, now I can concentrate on Nutritional Science. Did I mention there are only 3 1/2 weeks of this left? No? Well, thank the heavens above that I'm halfway through with this grading period. I look forward to the next one when I can take another creative writing course. Then I'll be using the side of my brain I understand and to which I can relate!