Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Autumn, Harvest Time & Comfort Food

by Donna Jean

Maureen's Blog on Saturday got me to thinking of all the wonderful recipes that I know each and every one of us have hidden either in the back of our minds, or in our recipe books, binders, small 5X8 plastic recipe card holders, or stuffed like mine are, cut out from newspapers, magazines etc, into zip lock bags!

I think that it would be fun for each of us to contribute a favorite Fall/Winter recipe. It could be one of our own very "secret" recipes, or maybe Mother's, Grandmother's, Aunt's/ Uncle's ( trying to be politically correct) or even one that we found in Family Circle or Good Housekeeping!

I love to cook. During Summer I don't have the time, or I am too tired, hot, or just don't feel like cooking, but Fall and Winter is different. My kitchen is in constant use, from soups and stews simmering on the stove, to casseroles and roasts in the oven.

So, I will share one of my favorite Fall/Winter Recipes, and hope you all will try it and enjoy, and will share your favorite for all of us Owls to try!

This recipe is for my very favortite GingerSnap Cookies. Actually my daughters renamed them as "GingerBends", because we like them chewy instead of crunchy!


3/4 cup shortening*
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup dark molasses
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon**
1/2 tsp ground cloves**
1/2 tsp ground ginger**
1/2 cup sugar for dusting

1. In medium bowl, mix together melted shortening, 1 cup sugar, and egg until smooth. Stir in molasses. Set aside. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves and ginger. Blend into the molasses mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate dough for at least 1 hour (overnight works too)

2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Roll dough into walnut size balls, and then roll them in remaining sugar. (I shake them carefully in a clean brown lunch bag) Place them on ungreased cookie sheet about 2 inches apart. ( I also like to use parchment paper on the cookie sheets, easy cleanup and they slide right off)

3. Bake for 8-10 minutes until tops are cracked. Cool on wire racks. Make sure you don't over-bake or they become too crunchy.

* I use the Crisco that comes in pre-measured cubes. Much easier for measuring.
* * I always adjust the spices. I like lots more cinnamon and ginger. Just see what you prefer!

OK, I started with Dessert, but like the saying goes " Life is short, eat Dessert first"!

I am anxious to see and try all the different and delicious recipes and concoctions that I know you are all secretly cooking and not revealing to us!

As one of my favorite Cooks (Julia Child) always said, "Add more butter", and her most famous, " Bon App'etite"

This is Donna Jean's first blog
and she did a terrific job
Congrats Donna Jean
and enjoy your blog day!

Monday, September 29, 2008

What’s That Smell???

by Scirish

I have always had an overdeveloped sense of smell. Sometimes that can be a good thing, other times, not so much. It is amazing how certain smells can trigger a memory. For instance, the smell of hot tar reminds me of riding my bike in the summer as a child. The smell of burning leaves triggers memories of Halloween.

Some interesting facts courtesy of “The Smell Report” (seriously, that’s what it was called): “Our smelling function is carried out by two small odor-detecting patches – made up of about five or six million yellowish cells – high up in the nasal passages.

For comparison, a rabbit has 100 million of these olfactory receptors, and a dog 220 million. Humans are nonetheless capable of detecting certain substances in dilutions of less than one part in several billion parts of air. We may not be able to match the olfactory feats of bloodhounds, but we can, for example, ‘track’ a trail of invisible human footprints across clean blotting paper.

The human nose is in fact the main organ of taste as well as smell. The so-called taste-buds on our tongues can only distinguish four qualities – sweet, sour, bitter and salt -all other ‘tastes’ are detected by the olfactory receptors high up in our nasal passages.”

I had heard before that smell was a big part of taste, so I conducted a not so scientific experiment. I put on a pair of those flesh colored nose pincher plugs that one of the kids had used for the pool (did I mention that they pinch?) and cooked dinner. I made one of my favorites: Pot Roast. Usually, when I cook Pot Roast, I am absolutely starved by the time it is done. I have been anticipating all day. Well, I kept the nose plugs on throughout the cooking and also when I ate, the Pot Roast still melted in my mouth, but I couldn’t TASTE it! I took them off and voila, yummy! I think that I shall use the pinchers as a diet aid!

I think that for my next trick, I will try tracking human footprints. If you see “Woman poses as a Bloodhound” in the headlines, that will be me.

So, Owls, how is your sense of smell? Do you have any fond “smell” memories? What about smells that you strongly dislike? (Hate is such a bad word, but Liver would be an example for me.) Feel free to talk amongst yourselves; I have some tracking to do.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

How I Got Young Again

by Bon'O

Many of us know Mitch Albom as the best-selling author of Tuesdays With Morrie and For One More Day.
This is an article from last Sunday's PARADE MAGAZINE and the video link showing how he fulfilled his 50th birthday dream of recreating just one day with old childhood chums. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. And, I ask YOU...if you could recreate just that ONE DAY where would it happen and what would you do?

How I Got Young Again
By Mitch Albom
Published: September 14, 2008 See the Lucky Tiger Grease Stick Band in action. Watch the video!

We were never very good, and it never really mattered. Eight high school guys in a band. Guitar, piano, sax, bass, and drums. Three of us didn't even play an instrument, just stood around singing, "Shoo-bop, shoo-bop." We went by nicknames--"Rico," "Greaso," "Ace"--and we played dances, sock hops, even a local TV show once, singing songs older than we were, wearing hairstyles that were before our time. We practiced in my parents' �basement, and we named ourselves after the stuff kids rolled into their 1950s crew cuts.

The Lucky Tiger Grease Stick Band.

Some say adolescence is a time for angst, but eight buddies in a band will help you fight that. My teenage years were spent greasing up, tuning up, and cracking up. All I really remember from high school is laughter.

Maybe that's why, decades later, when I was approaching my 50th birthday and my wife insisted that I do "something special," I felt a rush of ennui. I've always been a reluctant grown-up. I have no interest in suit-and-tie affairs, a few raised wine glasses, everyone so...mature.

"Well, what do you want?" she said.

The truth? I wanted my old basement back.

And so began the best birthday I ever had. It started with seven phone calls and seven anxious responses. "You're kidding?" "Heck, yes." "Count me in." It continued with a visit to my old neighborhood in South Jersey and a request to the McCutcheon family, who now live in my old house.

"Would you mind," our drummer Marc "Rosey" Rosenthal asked, "if we borrowed your basement for a day? Oh...and could we clear out your furniture?"

Incredibly, they said, "OK."

Old song lists were dug out. Instruments were brought in. And finally, on a beautiful Saturday in May, one car after another pulled up to a familiar house. Out stepped Howard, Victor, David, Marc, Sandy, Mark, Perry, and me.

For the first time in 34 years, we were all together.

"Look at you!" "Ayyy!" "Man, you got old!" Although some of us were now physicians or businessmen, we were back to teenaged insults the moment we laid eyes on each other. We rumbled down the steps to the low-ceilinged basement of my youth. We ran the familiar grease through our hair, donned sunglasses, rolled up our sleeves. We plugged in and tuned up.

We were never very good, and we weren't good now. We had less hair. Wider stomachs. Occasionally, we had to pull out glasses to read the lyrics. And it was pretty obvious that "Action Jackson," our guitar player, was not going to do the flying full-leg split he used to do on "Splish Splash." He's a doctor now. He knows better.

But if you love music--and we loved that music--it is always inside you. So, when my piano started plinking and Rosey's drums began banging and Sandy "The Kid" began plucking his bass, I can't explain it, it all came back. At our ages, we can't remember where we left our car keys, but we can still remember who sang what on "Silhouettes." We played only for ourselves and a few family members. A private basement concert. And we laughed until our ribs threatened to snap.

Now, our band's best memories were never of excellence (we didn't have much) but rather of screw-ups and shenanigans. Like the day we played on a beach and got attacked by bumblebees. Or the night when we pulled off a highway ramp and ran across the top of Big D's car. Or the gig where we sang "Sixteen Candles" and, when we got to the part about "Blow out the candles," one of us hit a light switch to darken the room--and all the power went out.

At best, such stories are cute to others. But they are priceless to us. So we told them again, for the thousandth time. And we cracked ourselves up. We sang "Teenager in Love," "Jailhouse Rock," "Great Balls of Fire." We did nearly 30 songs, many from memory. And when we finished, we didn't wash the grease from our hair. Instead, looking like Sha Na Na's retirement party, we piled into our cars and drove to the local diner where we used to stuff into booths late at night and punch songs on the jukebox. We ordered cheese�steaks and fries (the salmon and grilled veggies of adult life were put on hold), and the laughs went on for hours.

Stephen King once wrote, "I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12." That pretty much sums up my Lucky Tiger Grease Stick pals. It was nearly midnight before anyone heaved a sigh or looked at his watch.

It was the best birthday of my life. And the kicker is, the whole thing made me feel younger, not older. After all, every good memory is a notch on your life belt, and every happy song you sang is still somewhere inside you, if only in the "twiddle-lee-dee" backups on "Rockin' Robin."

I love my band mates. I missed them all those years. And I came to realize something as we hugged goodbye in the parking lot and promised another reunion.

We were never very good, but we were always good for each other.

And we always will be.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


by Maureen

Autumn is my favorite time of year. I love the crisp air, the low humidity, curling up in my blankies and the paint palette of colors. I know it leads to winter, but I still just love autumn.

I remember hayrides and apple picking. And playing in the leaves. And getting excited to pick my Halloween costume. And sitting around a fire pit...making s’mores and sipping hot apple cider. And clam bakes. And driving around looking at the beautiful colors god paints the leaves. And sweaters. And corduroy pants. Leotards under my skirts. Falling back. School football games and drinking hot chocolate in the stands. Capped off by Thanksgiving...pigging out with tons of family around. I am excited for the fall...are you?

What is your favorite part of autumn? Please share your memories or how you will spend this autumn.

Friday, September 26, 2008


It has been hard for me to write blogs lately, the words are so damn stuck, and I can't get them to flow. I know it has to do with American's crippled economy, Tinka's Mom, the Presidential Election etc. So whatever I write just does not seem fitting. If I want to post a humorous blog, or a funny video I feel I am being disrespectful to those who's lives have been turned upside down. My mood has been deary of sorts as well, my business has been slow, phones are not ringing, people are just not thinking of vacations, and rightfully so. I know I am in for a struggle these next couple of months.

I have gotten a couple of e-mails from bloggers, telling me of their turmoil and why they have not been on the blog, as how can one be lifted up, when such unrest is all around us. As much as a blogger wants to send me a blog, the words are just not there, the bitterness is, which will turn into hateful words, so a blog for them cannot be.

We are also very divided on our presidential choices, and I think some refrain from posting comments about their thoughts on each candidate, not to upset the apple cart of sorts. If you are very vocal, as I am, its very hard not to write what you feel in a comment, so instead, some choose not to comment. It is understood, I get it.

I guess we just have to be there for each other, we have to wait and see what happens daily, take it one day at a time. I think that is the best we can do for now.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Six Degrees of Separation

by Just_Lin

Today I did what I do on many days; I had lunch at Kerri's Coffee Shop. I'm considered to be a regular there, as are many other people. I was sitting in a booth, as I usually do, and was reading my book and eating my meal when I happened to look up just in time to see Dante enter the restaurant. Dante Santora is as cute as a button and is in his early 90s. He greeted me in his usual cheerful, outgoing manner and, after a few pleasantries, he took a seat at the counter next to another "regular", Bill.

Instead of returning to my book, my thoughts wandered to Dante. It always lifts my spirits to see Dante. There's always a big smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes. He's always neatly dressed in a plaid cotton sport shirt and pullover v-neck sweater and, of course, the requisite baseball cap. If it's really cool, he'll be wearing his San Francisco Giants jacket.

Dante seems to have an endless number of entertaining tales to tell about the early days of baseball in San Francisco. See, Dante grew up in the Italian neighborhood of the City known as North Beach. He spent many boyhood hours playing ball in the streets and in local parks with the DiMaggio brothers, Joe and Dom, as well as many other old-time ballplayers, most of which are now long gone.

Before there ever was a team called the San Francisco Giants, there was the San Francisco Seals. Joe DiMaggio started his professional career playing ball with the Seals and Dante was a scout for the club. Oh, the stories that Dante tells of the old days. Back then, they played for the love of the game. There were no big salaries. Players had to hold regular jobs in the off season in order to make a living.

I think all of us know that Joe DiMaggio was married to Norma Jean Baker (Marilyn Monroe) for a short time. Dante once showed me a photo copy he has of Norma Jean DiMaggio's U.S. Army Commissary I.D. card. That's what I was thinking about today as I sat in Kerri's Coffee Shop. That, and the fact that Marilyn Monroe later had relationships with Robert Kennedy and John F. Kennedy.

That's when it dawned on me! There are only three degrees of separation between me and Bobby and John Kennedy!

What about you? Is there a connection between you and someone famous in six degrees or less?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Just Life

i need some sunshine, as hard as i try at times i
can't seem to find it, we can look in all our usual
places, thinking it will be there, but to no avail, it
just does not seem to appear

as life goes on, more issues arise and each day
brings a new hurdle, as much as i think something
is behind me, it either resurfaces, or i am hit with
something new

what is happening of course, is just life, as we all
go thru it, the ups and downs, the sadness and the
happiness, all mixed into to one

i guess it is just up to me to keep on going, to fight
the good fight, to never give up, i just think at times
it is so much easier said then done, i just wish there
was a rule book, you know one of those notebooks
we brought for school, with the black and white spotted
cover, it already had the lines in it so our penmanship
was straight, how great would it be to open that book
and all the instructions on life were in it

then again that might be to easy, and we would not
be who we are if we did not work for it

i think i see the sunshine, yes perhaps i do, as
words always help me, you know its just life~

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Mixed Blessings

by Tina~in_ut

It is so hard to know what to say when someone passes. Whether it’s a relative, a friend, or a neighbor, there is usually nothing that can be said that will help the grieving person. I want to tell them that their loved one is in a better place, but I don’t want to ignore the grief that they are experiencing now.

When we lose someone young, the focus is on the parents and brothers and sisters left behind and the fact that the youngster didn’t get a chance to live a full life. Those situations are the hardest for me. It makes me so grateful for my healthy children.

When we lose someone older, the focus is on the grown children. I haven’t lost a parent, but I remember my parents losing their parents and how hard it was on them. I remember my grandmother being in a coma for a year, and my mother finally told her that it was okay for her to let go. When she did, and even though my mom was “prepared”, she was completely devastated when it happened. On the other hand, when my grandfather died, it was sad, but he was 95 years old, and hadn’t been able to take care of himself for a long time. I was probably the most irreverent grandchild ever. My cousins and I sat and giggled at his funeral. We made up stories about how Papa was driving a big truck in fields full of wildflowers with our grandmother in Heaven. And for good measure, we added a cat to the story. (He hated cats!)

When I think of Tinka’s mom, I am sad for the family, yet I can’t help but think how wonderful it is for her to be with her other daughter now. She is pain-free, able to walk and dance and run. They are together in Heaven and able to watch over Tinka…..and that…..makes me smile.


Monday, September 22, 2008

How dare she!

I saw a video that Sandra Bernhard has on the net. When I watched it I was warned it was about Sarah Palin and it was graphic, however my curiosity got the best of me, so I clicked on the arrow and onto the video I went.

My first reaction was "no way" and then "oh my", and then "how dare she!"

Her words are cruel, and hurtful, they are not funny, however in the back round you hear laughter, as she presents each line the laughter gets louder, and my anger rises. She calls Sarah awful names, names that are not deserving. She does this very matter-a-factly, like she knows it to be truth. I really don't care that this is suppose to be a comedic routine, as it is not, it spews venom and you can see it in her face.

What gives these celebrities/comedians the right to be so cruel and so very vocal about their hate towards a candidate in this presidential election. Who gave them the right to bash anyone in this election, who crowned them judge and jury.

Comedic routine is fine when put forth in a intelligent manner, as in the SNL skit. Or on late night talk shows during the monologue. I am accepting of all the digs and remarks, as they are not bashing, just making points in a comedic way.

Neither of the four candidates deserves any words spit out by Sandra Bernhard. Actually nobody deserves her words. How anybody could find her routine funny is beyond me. It really makes me sad, that people would laugh instead of getting up and walking out. Anyone running for a presidential position should not be spoken about in this way, these people will be our leaders. And we as Americans have the right to vote for anyone of them, and whomever gets the more votes, us as Americans have spoken, and what shall be shall be.

This comedic hate should not be. Sandra Bernhard is nobody, other than a bad comedian taking her plight to a whole different level. Shame on her as a American. America gave her what she is today, and yes Freedom of Speech is a right we all breathe for. However it is a right that some of these celebrities/comedians take way to far.

I will promise this. Whomever wins, I will respect and honor, as my President. As the teaching of my elders have been instilled in me, and I for one, am proud to be a American, no matter who my President is.

I refuse to post the video here, or in the comment section, I will not give it any merit. Anyone can find it, it is there, if so be it, you just need to look.

Sandra Bernhard you said it first, and now its my turn, to you I say "Bitch" go spew your venom at Osama bin Laden, or did you just happen to forget what he did.


Sunday, September 21, 2008

Nobody Knows....

Pink, Nobody Knows

She might be a rocker and a rebel, but she has a powerful voice and some very powerful words. She is a amazing singer, her voice range is wondrous, and she does not scream her words, she sings them, which of course is what a singer is suppose to do. So many in today's music world scream their words, as the range is to high for them so their singing turns to screaming. My perfect example of this is Mariah Carey, I don't think she can sing at all, her words at times are obscure and her voice to me has no range, even her high pitched falsetto, sounds like a squeal to me, I don't get the attraction to her music.

There are many other artists with this screaming range, that truly think they are singing. I am sure you all can think of some.

This song, is all about nobody knowing what we feel, when our rooms go dark and we are alone, our thoughts are our own, it is just us and our inner voice, and all are secrets are safe, as they are ours. And each day we wake we start all over again, in hopes that someone is there to greet us, as we keep our inner thoughts within ourselves.

I want to thank dawn~naughty♥croc for todays Sunday Music Video she led me to Pink on her ms page, which then reminded me of this song, which I have always loved. I could not find it at first, but with prevailed determination I present it to you today! Thanks Dawn!


Saturday, September 20, 2008

Internet Addiction?

by Iteach

Lately, I have noticed how dependent I am of the internet. I love chatting on the blog, playing with myspace and I have always enjoyed shopping on it too.

Is it a hobby for me?

Is it an addiction?

Do I need an intervention?

I became very attached to the computer four years ago. At that time hubby was traveling a lot and it was hard to get out. Even though I truly enjoy staying home with my kids sometimes I miss the adult conversations. So during nap times, Barney TV hour, and bedtime I would always run to the computer.

I have my ritual everyday of which websites I visit and I write down new ones to visit later.

Is it easy for you to unplug?

Do you have favorite websites that you go to everyday?

What are your thoughts about the internet?

I sure do enjoy it, but I think sometimes too much.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I give you Laughter!

Robin Williams, Colonoscopy

Laughter is what we need at times, even tho you don't feel much like laughing, a hearty chuckle will make you feel better, even if it is just for a moment, the smile appears, and the laughter begins. For that moment, let it be, don't fight it, as everyone, no matter what the circumstances are deserves laughter.

So today for those of you, that I feel in my heart need it,
I give you a moment of laughter, a moment to smile, a moment just to be.

And, later, ice cream sundaes for all :O)


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Swearing Kids

by Sandie

I'm sure we've all been there--the embarrassing moment when your child, grandchild, niece, nephew or just a child you were with spits out a swear word. It's awful and funny at the same time! When my son was seven, we were at a family picnic. My cousin was there with his boys and they and my boys were playing together (they rarely saw each other--just once a year at these family reunion picnics). My cousin and his mom (my aunt) were talking to my mom and me. My aunt was super snooty--very above it all. Well, up walked my son, obviously very upset and tattled on my cousin's boys--saying they were mean. I very quietly told him to try to work it out and play nicely together. He blurted out, "I'M NOT PLAYING WITH THOSE ASSHOLES!" The look on my aunt's face was priceless--as I'm sure the look on my face was!! My cousin and I still laugh about it!

Most of you have probably seen this video but I think it's so cute that I wanted to make sure! This little girl is just adorable--and so innocent in her quest to take care of the monster. What's your funny story about swearing kids?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Three Things?

slow day for words, they are not forming
i had a long day, and a long night, so its
empty, words cannot be.....

i will offer a question that was given to
me today, that i had to think about before
i answered....

if you were sent to a deserted island for one year
and allowed to take only three
personal belongings what would they be?


Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Those That Leave An Impression

by Vig

A teacher that definitely has impacted the lives of so many, many people! Randy Pausch, may you rest in peace!

Have you had a teacher who years later you still think about what and how they taught? The impact they had on you, stays with you? I had a professor in university who left such an impression. He taught two of several History courses I took. He wasn’t liked by everyone – he was truly a macho man and a bit of a dude. I was majoring in Women’s Studies (History was my minor) and I didn’t always agree with him – his manly man attitude slipped through sometimes. I did, however, respect him. He was the same age as me and had gone back to school after having been in the work force for a while – just as I had. He understood that it was exciting but also a little overwhelming to go back to school when most of the students were many years younger. He was the most accessible professor I ever had - his office hours were extensive, he answered all his e-mails and phone calls immediately, he was willing to sit and listen to a stressed out student, and offered great suggestions when one was stuck on an assignment. He helped me get in to a class that I couldn’t get into, which I so appreciated as I needed it to graduate. He was really there for his students. He was a great teacher - inside and outside of the classroom.

As I continued on to a second degree in Education and then on to a teaching job, I thought about him and the way he taught. I incorporated some of the techniques he used for adult learners and I tried to be as accessible and as there for my students as he was. I often thought I should contact him and tell him of the impact he had made. I imagine college and university professors teach so many students who just disappear into their own lives, that profs don’t necessarily ever know the continuing effect they have had. One day about two months ago, I saw him going into a store that I was coming out of. I was going to run after him and talk to him, and then decided I would write him a letter. I went straight home and did that. I told him of the lasting impression he had made. I heard back from him within a half hour of sending that letter out by e-mail. He was so gracious and appreciative that I had written and I was really glad that I had.

Yesterday, I opened the local paper, which I hardly ever buy and it opened immediately to the obituaries. And there was his picture and a write-up. He had died suddenly last weekend at 49 years old. Even though I really didn’t know him, I was very sad. And then I was extremely happy that I had written that letter when I did.

Now I am trying to think of other teachers I should write to say thank you to while I still have the chance. Have you had a teacher (elementary, high school, college, etc.) that years later you remember fondly and that he or she continues to have a positive impact on you? If you were to write a letter to that teacher, would there be anything in particular that you would want to say?

Monday, September 15, 2008

SNL....Did it again!

This is absolutely priceless, I would think most of you have seen this, however I had to post this video today.

Tina Fey as Sarah, and Amy Poehler as Hillary did such a great job, and the facial expressions are so "right on". Since Sarah Palin's nomination I have been wondering about Hillary's reaction, and what she is thinking, this video parody is in sync with my thoughts. Amy Poehler's Hillary is a riot, her stance is so very much the same as Hillary's. Tina Fey's possess Sarah's primp and properness, as well as the Alaskan accent, it is so parallel to Sarah's

You just wonder how the heck they come up with these parodies. I would have loved to be in the writers room when this skit was being written, just so I could watch these writers and their amazing minds do their thing!


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Such a memory!

I so remember every word to this song, I remember the meaning behind it, and the look, that "I know" look between the two of them. It seemed at the time that this love was to be unbroken, as they stuck together, they knew they had something, and it was deep. And I remember when they were no longer together, and their hearts broke in two. What comes next in my memory is Cher's eulogy at Sonny's funeral, her tears so real, her feelings so raw. As you see, she remembered too, he molded her, he made her who she is, he gave her the confidence that she so needed, and then she took what he taught her and made a life of her own forever expanding her career, however, always remembering along the way the respect and love that they shared.


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dance Moves?

by Zona

This You tube video has had over 98 million hits...98 MILLION!! That was just mind boggling to me...until I watched it. It brings back so many memories....and it just makes me laugh. Do you remember doing any of these dances?? I do. Did you do them well? I didn't....but I sure had fun trying. Sit back and enjoy this video...I guarantee it'll make you may even get you wigglin' in your chair! Oh, and if you're braver than me....get up and try a few of these dance moves....let us know how you do!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

A Birdee Moment?

by Maureen

My blog was inspired by our dear Chicken Owl, BIRDEEEEEE! I read her comment about her encounter with the meter reader. After my raucous laughter died down, I started thinking about some of my own "BIRDEE MOMENTS"! We have all had them (some still do!)...don’t deny it!! I will share a couple of mine. Some of you may have heard them already, but if I have to re-live them, then you have to read it again!!!

When I was about 14 or 15, we lived in the downstairs flat of a 2 story duplex. The elderly landlord lived upstairs. She used to rent a room in her flat out for extra money. She had rented the room to a 22 year old dental school student. Al was GORGEOUS...tall, dark and handsome! I, of course, fell madly in love with him! One day, I was wearing one of those bodysuit shirts. It was brown and it snapped at the crotchal area. I had been sitting around watching tv and my mom asked me to go upstairs and ask Al something. So, I happily trotted up the stairs. As we talked in the doorway, I couldn’t help but notice how Al was starring and smiling at me. OOHHH, he is madly in love with me, too!!


Prior to my trip up the stairs, I had snapped my bodysuit OVER my jeans! It was kinda like wearing your underwear on the outside! I was mortified!! As you can see, now I think it is hilarious...but not so much then!!

When I lived in L.A I worked for a few months in an office setting. I wore dresses and suits and skirts and blouses to work. I also wore underwire bras! One day, I was talking to the accountant in her office. She kept smirking and I didn’t have a clue as to why. After our conversation, I went back to my desk and sat down. I noticed something sticking out of my underwire popped and had worked its way out the top of my blouse!! Not only did I have a wire sticking out, I now had one boob north and one boob south!! I vowed to never wear an underwire bra again! As long as they both sag evenly, I am happy!!

Oh, there are so many more! But then you would all think I was a bigger dork then you already think I am!!!!!!

What are your BIRDEE moments, care to share????

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September 11, 2001

It was a bright sunny Tuesday morning here in NJ on September 11, 2001. I was getting ready for work as I always did, my same routine was in order, as my day was about to begin. While watching our local Fox news which is stationed out of NYC, a commenter on the street in NYC was speculating that a small plane hit the north tower of the world trade center, he said very clear "the pilot probably misjudged" in the back round you can see smoke bellowing from the tower. There was no breaking news flashing across the screen, it really was like any other small news event that happens in our area all the time. I called to my dad to put the local news on, and he and I discussed the error in judgment of the pilot while watching the scenes being shown on T.V. 15 minutes after the first plane hit, another plane hit the South Tower of the World Trade Center. And that is when it began, the realization, that something was not right, and these plane's hitting the Towers where not by accident.

On this day, nothing is a blur, I remember everything that happened afterward just like it was yesterday. I drove to work while trying to get my cousin who works in the city on her cell phone, however it was not to be as the recording I was getting was stopping me "all circuits are busy please try your call again" and as many times as I tried, the same damn recording became a brick wall. In those same moments I began to repeat, "we are being attacked".

The day continues on, with one catastrophe after another, and each time, my mind reels with sadness and confusion. As I tried to say focused, I checked my passenger list on which clients were flying that day, and if any of my clients were on those planes. It was a relief to find out that none of them were. When the airports shut down, I knew that this was a event never to be forgotten, also knowing how many lives where about to change.

In the late afternoon, I finally reached my cousin who was now stuck in NY, as the only thing running were the waterways from New York to Hoboken NJ, she was standing in line with thousands of stranded Jerseyans trying to find their way back home. All I thought, was that she is safe. She finally reached Hoboken, around midnight. I was overjoyed, to say the least.

I watched in horror people jumping from windows that were stuck in the towers, their bodies falling to the ground, as they outstretched their arms thinking that perhaps that would save them. The mass of people running when the towers collapsed, they were running to safe their life's and they knew it. The determination it must have took to run from falling concrete debris, as all they wanted was life.

This day is a day that did indeed change many peoples lives. I almost lost my business as no one would fly in the upcoming months, my struggle was to just survive and keep my business going at all cost. My landlord agreed to take 1/2 the rent each month till the new year began, my family and friends gave me money to pay my office expenses, and grocerys were given to my business partner, as he lives alone, and depends more on his paycheck than I. I applied for the SBA loan they were offering, after mounds and mounds of paper work, I was denied, as SBA said I was a high risk business and they did not want to take a chance on loaning me the money, I was asking for $5000.00 dollars, which is not a lot, I was pushed aside and needed to fend for myself, as I was not going down without a fight, more so I would not let these awful attackers destroy me. My survival during those times were based solely on the family and friends mentioned above.

My cousin lost her job in the city, a couple of weeks later we had to go to Hoboken so she can apply for aid, she received one months rent and money for food. There was a memorial of sorts set up, and we walked around looking at all the pictures of the deceased or lost. People were still looking for loved ones, they had pictures with them asking people if the saw their mother, father, sister etc. We gave our sympathies and explained that we have not. It was a long day, and it is embedded in my mind. So many disoriented people, just wandering around aimlessly in hopes of finding a loved one.

Each year on this day, our local news stations show the memorial at Ground Zero, and each year I watch. Through clients and friends I know some people that perished or better yet, killed. The sadness pours thru me, the anger front and center. I hate everyone of the attackers, for they
are selfish, cowardly bastards, I am glad they are dead. If they want to praise Allah for the good of their people, then praise Allah in your homeland, keep your Allah, as I have no use for Allah or their beliefs.

I used to be able to see the Twin Towers, when riding on certain streets in my area. I would drive up a hill and before me were beautiful structures, made my man. So we Americans can have jobs and prosperity. Now I see empty spaces, which always reminds me of that dreadful day, the day we, Americans were attacked, the day we lost close to 3000.00 people. Mothers, Fathers, Daughters, Sons. Innocent people who were about to start their day, just as I was.

I will never forget what happen, my anger will be instilled in me for the rest of my life, I will not let it go. I made a promise to myself back in 2001, to never forgot, and if ever the day comes that we get the mastermind that was behind this hideous attack, it will be a day that I will be joyous, and hopefully what goes around comes around.

My deepest and most heartfelt sympathies to all the families that lost loved ones, may the memories of them give you comfort, and may they always be in your hearts.

Click here for the Timeline of the September 11 attacks

Click here for the names of those that perished

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Taking the Steps

did you ever feel that you are in another realm
that nothing else exists but the world that is
circling around you, for just that moment, and in
that moment reality just does not exist?

this past week, that is what i was feeling, a sense
of fantasy, each day as dawn would break and the
sunshine would envelop my room, i had to pinch
myself to make sure i was living this and not just
dreaming it

i decided a couple of weeks ago, i was going to treat
myself, as i have never done before, this trip was going
to be my "first class", and that it was, from the flight
to the beautiful suite, to the amazing dinners, it was
surely my "first class"

what is strange to me, is i thought i did not
deserve to do this, that i felt somewhat guilty for doing it,
i questioned myself so, and put myself in my so
familiar mode of panic and to my complete surprise, panic
was not to be, i found calm, i finally, after so many months found the yellow

i have promised myself, i will do this each year for as
long as i can, i will give myself that much needed fantasy,
i will never again, question my rights to be me

reality has now touched me, and my fantasy is now a
memory, and it is ok, because without fantasy, reality
can't exist, i have a renewed feeling, i found me, not
working me, not daughter me, just me!

we have one life, and i must remind myself of
this daily, as hard as it might be to make that step
i have no choice, for that step takes me to myself
and boy, what a great place it is to be

many times i have said this, and it is so very true,
no matter what it is, life, hurt, family, job, love, friends,
just take "baby steps" just a little at a time,
and before you know it, you will
be there!

~~first class awaits~~

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Yes, you do have talent!

by zona

Frank Sinatra could sing. Gene Kelly could dance. Hemingway could write. DaVinci could paint. Talk about understatements, right?? But I believe that everyone has a talent of some kind, most are just too modest to talk about it. Today, don't be about your talents. Maybe you're a painter...or a poet...maybe an excellent cook. Go ahead and tell us what you are really good at...what can you do that you would like people to know about?? I'll start.....I am a great doodler....really. I'm not really an artist...but boy can I doodle to beat the band. So let loose everyone....shout it from the mountaintops....yell it from the roof...what is your talent??

Monday, September 8, 2008


by iteach

Maria is a student in my classroom. She always has a smile on her face and a bounce in her step. She wears a cute ponytail that is always swishing around to a joyful beat. I also think she is the bravest little girl I know. She has been in America for only 20 days and you wouldn't know it unless your tried to talk to her. I just admire the confidence she has when she comes to my room. Everything is new and strange to her and she takes it on like it is a neat adventure.

She doesn't know any English, yet, but I'm sure it will come fast. The way she just dives into every challenge with zest and strength that I think learning another language will come easily to her. I do have two children in my classroom who translate for me which is a blessing. They whisper into her ear and I can tell they are doing a great job with her. I watch them count in Spanish with her and then in English. I love watching them play "teacher".

So as I reflect on little Maria, I wish I could have some of her confidence. At times I feel like I'm in a rut and I'm too scared to leave my comfort zone. I would love to try new activites, try new foods, meet new friends, and not always worry about failing.

I have determined that it is a sign that Maria is in my room this year. As I try new adventures this year, I will always think of brave Maria to help me boost my confidence.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Your Song

by Tina~in_ut

I was driving home from work the other night and heard this song. I love Elton John. I love his songs. Sometimes I listen carefully to the words and sometimes I don’t. That night, the words spoke to me. I had been talking to my best friend earlier in the day, and this song made me think of her. She’s the kind of friend you can laugh with, cry with, share your secrets with, disagree with, and yes, even fight with. She’s intelligent, hilarious, caring, supportive, and just plain sassy! I wish we lived closer to each other. I wish I didn’t have to work so we could spend more time together. I wish I had written this song for her…..well….not exactly the same words….but you get my meaning. “How wonderful life is while you’re in the world!” Tell me about your best friend. Is there something special that reminds you of them?

Saturday, September 6, 2008

"Down with Love"

by Zona

I have a guilty's not something I talk about a lot, because people usually roll their eyes and laugh when I do. I can't seem to give it up matter what anyone says. What is it? The movie "Down With Love". I absolutely love it. I love the story...the actors....the songs...and the fact that it is just so campy. Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor make me smile from the first scene to the last. I bought the DVD as soon as it came out, and yet I'll still sit and watch the movie when it's on cable. It's a take off on the Doris Day/Rock Hudson movies of the late 50's and early 60's...which I also love. Do you have a favorite movie that's a guilty pleasure...or perhaps your guilty pleasure is something else entirely??

Friday, September 5, 2008

You Drive me Nuts?

by Shirley

Are you or would you be a good roommate? Do your little idiosyncrasies drive your husband or significant other just nuts? Do they have some that drive you up the wall?

I would not make a good roommate. Certain things have to be a certain way. I could put up with you for about a week and then you would have to hide the knives! Lets share today how neurotic we really are. Ohhh! This is going to be fun!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Little Girl Found

by Vig

Casa Guatemala, Rio Dulce, Central America, Orphanage where I met this precious child

For reasons still yet to be determined, I have never married and I have never had children. Resolving that I would not have children has proven to be much more difficult then resolving the marriage part - especially when I came very close to being a mom. In 1996 I went to Guatemala for two months to volunteer at Casa Guatemala orphanage on the Rio Dulce River. It was hard work but the kids were amazing so it was well worth it. One small girl stood out amongst all the little children. She was three years old and had the biggest sparkly eyes I had ever seen. She lived in adverse conditions but was so full of life, it was bursting out of her. The kids were grouped together by age and she was apart of the group called Los Ninos. The volunteers called her the Head Nino because she was definitely the leader - always in charge of her peers. She was wonderful and she stole my heart.

A month after I got back from Guatemala, I received a phone call informing me that she had just become adoptable and asking if I was interested in adopting her. I was ecstatic and extremely interested and started the adoption process immediately. International adoption is a very expensive endeavour and I didn’t have a lot of money, but friends and family wanted this to happen and were helping out in whatever way they could. The Canadian government however was not as helpful and was blocking the wee girl’s adoption to Canada. She had a syndrome that would require medical care and since this country has socialized medical care, they felt that one little girl would cost the government money. They offered to allow me to cover the cost of her medical care, but I could barely afford her adoption. For almost a year it was a roller coaster ride. I would hear she would be arriving in six weeks and then something bureaucratic would happen. At the end of almost a year, the government’s final decision was that it was a high-risk adoption, which they would not allow. I was devastated.

About three months later, I began to receive phone calls from a family in the US who was interested in adopting her. They wanted to know everything they could about her. Her medical condition did not prevent them from adopting her, because they had medical insurance through work. They eventually did adopt her and I was able to come to terms with it as they were a wonderful family and she would grow up in a loving home. I kept in touch with them for about five years, but eventually lost contact.

Earlier this week I received a friend request on Facebook from a teen-age girl whose eyes I recognized right away in her profile picture. The little girl has come back into my life. And I am beyond the moon and the stars that she has.

So to you, my fine feathered friends, I pose the question, have you ever had someone who has had a huge impact on your life disappear for what you thought was forever, and then have them reappear unexpectedly?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

This makes me Laugh!

by Jodi, for Zona

Here is a clip from the show Laugh In.....featuring Goldie Hawn and Lily Tomlin. Goldie was just a joy to watch and Lily's Earnestine still makes me lol!! ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Can you spare a dime?

by Lynn D

I am writing this after having spent most of Wednesday at the food bank. As you all know that is where I am a weekly volunteer. I do this for a myriad of reasons but mostly I started because I wanted to help give back to my community in a meaningful way to me.

I had a very trying day there and came home with a somewhat heavy heart after my shift. I guess I was feeling a little hopeless and like I was just not doing enough. I very seldom share my experiences there because I figure no one really wants to hear about them. Even at times my own family, I don’t know if this is a defense mechanism, which is what I strongly suspect because most of us have so many worries that we just don’t want to think about other people’s problems.

Today I am going to share 3 stories with you because I can’t get them off of my mind.

I have been the intake person for the last month on Wednesday’s at our food bank. That means I work the front desk. I check people in and assess what food services they need from us that week. I also sign up new people coming through our doors. This week we had many new people but the three stories I am sharing really stood out in my mind.

A couple came through the door and right away let me know that this was the first time ever for them to come to a food bank let alone ask for assistance. I could tell they were very embarrassed to be asking for help. Well part of my job is to make them feel at ease and to help them through the process. I am proud to say that we as a food bank have very firm rules about not making people feel uncomfortable or about being judged. This is not true at all food bank facilities.

Anyway we progressed with the paperwork portion and the poor woman kept stressing how sorry she was to be there asking for food. As I listened to her she shared her story. She had just gone through a very lengthy and nasty divorce, it even involved stalking by the Ex, the process had left her in financial uncertainty and she realized that even though she works that the money she makes is not going to stretch for the next couple of months. I then found out that the man with her was her brother who moved in with her and her 2 children to help her with the mortgage payment so she would not lose her home. It came down to a matter of asking for some help or being able to afford gas to go to work. I tried to put her at ease and explained our process and sent her off to the different areas to get food for her family.

The next man right behind this woman was also new. I handed him the intake paperwork and had him fill it out. I then checked everything like always and started to go through the same process with him. There is a spot on our paper work where we ask what day they will be coming in whether it is Wednesday or Saturday, the two days we are open. When I asked him to check one of these days off he looked at me and said this will be the only time I come in. Well that made me pause, I looked at him and said,”You are always welcome here, If you need help please come see us. We are here to help everyone in our community.” I could tell by looking at him that yes his pride was hurting by the prospect of asking for help. Yes he too had a job a job in construction that had hit a slow down because of the housing and real estate market.

The last story is about one of our regulars that comes in and really he does not take much just enough to get by for the week. Well he was about done and heard someone ask about dog food. Yes we are very fortunate that we have a local animal shelter bring us tubs of dog food and kitty litter to share with our clients. I had just finished telling the person who asked how much they could take, when the other gentleman said to me “I did not know that you had dog food may I take some?” I said of course and told him how much he could have. He turned to me when he was finished and said “This is a god send, that will be five more dollars I can put in my gas tank.”

I finally had a slow down at the desk and went to check on people. The first woman I told you about spotted me and came over to tell me how much she appreciated that we did not make her feel like we were all looking down on her for being there and that we helped her through this process that was so difficult to even take the first step and come through our doors. Yes Shirley I reached out and hugged her, much to my surprise. I could tell she was so sincere and that it was heartfelt.

I am telling you all of this because those three people stayed with me all day. I came home and that night I watched Joe Bidens speech at the DNC and this is what resonated with me. He said and I am paraphrasing "Working in this country should be about dignity not just about getting a paycheck." We should be able to go home and tell our children that everything is all right, that we will be fine." It hit me from that phrase and his talking about people around their kitchen table talking about what bills can we pay? Will we be able to pay the heating bills for this winter? Etc…. That I am seeing this every week at the food bank. People are making tough choices and these are people who are working! They are trying like hell to make the money stretch and it only goes so far. They are loosing ground at an alarming rate and I keep staring it in the face. For the last 6 months at the food bank I have watched the lines get longer and people who thought they would never be in this position swallowing their pride and asking for help.

It strikes me that our Politicians, the John McCain’s, the Barack Obama’s and the Joe Biden’s anyone on the campaign trail needs to set aside time to visit local non-profits and to stop and talk and to really see the people in those lines! I see the elderly, I see the middle class, I see the single parents, and yes the downright poor. Oh there are always some that abuse any system and yes I see them. My reality is that those people have children and I cannot turn them away or make an issue over it for the sake of the innocents involved.

Really if anything I have learned to separate my judgments and preconceived notions at the door. If I didn’t do that it would drive me crazy.

I don’t have anything to ask you, I just needed to share. Take what you need from this blog and leave the rest. Thank You my friends for your time.

This video was added because Carol asked me for a picture to go with my blog. After much searching I found this on youtube. This was put out by PBS in April 2008. Conditions are worsening as of August 2008.

Everything in this video speaks to what is happening at our local foodbank. More people, bigger demographics, less food, less available dairy, eggs etc... More working people. We are the canaries in the mine. We are trying to get the word out while still keeping some food available. It really could be you or me.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Unsung Hero's

Thank you to the Unsung Hero’s

Fireman working on the fire

by Goldie

As many of you know the office building next to mine burned down last week. It was a horrific fire that left 2 non- profit businesses without a home and scrambling to provide services to their clients. The fire began during the night, raged with 40 feet flames at times and then flared and smoldered for 2 days.

Twice during the fire and aftermath, I encountered the police and firemen in my office. The first time was an officer asking me if he could use our microwave to heat his lunch, he was starving and had to stay in his patrol car in front of the building. As he stood staring at the container in his hand he said he didn’t have a fork. I did and gave it to him. He thanked me profusely.

The second time was when a fireman came in and said that they needed us to evacuate our just opened parking lot. They needed to bring in heavy equipment to cave in part of the still smoldering building. Would I please go around the building and tell everyone? Of course I would. He thanked me.

However, it should be everyone in my building, who is sending out the huge thank you. We were spared, separated only by a narrow driveway from a burning inferno. The fact that our building was saved from any damage in itself was incredible. Our places of business are intact and we have jobs to go to without the interruption and chaos of trying to rebuild.

There is nothing left but a side door, some bricks, beams and a huge pile of debris from the building next door. Yet the people who lost everything in that building put up a big Thank you to the men and women who risked their well being to fight that fire. On that white door that still stands, in colored markers it says “Thank You MFD” (Madison Fire Dept).

The building that burned down

I am ashamed to say that when that officer and that fireman thanked me- it should have been me who said, “No, thank you and for what you do”. All too often we take for granted that the people doing their jobs are doing just that, doing their job. We forget the risks they take and the impact it can have on our lives.

So, thank you Madison Fire Dept and Madison Police Dept for all you did for us that day and everyday.

I fully intend to make sure in the future that I thank them personally. My son is an EMT – I know that he too does it for the love of his job (it sure isn’t the money) so thank you to him and all EMT’s as well.

Is there someone whom you believe needs to be thanked for his or her work, who often goes as an unsung hero?