Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Nowhere? Really?

Today, we did not need to drive to any hospitals or doctor’s offices. What that means is that the spinning plate act seems to be over. So hey, let’s bring on the dog and pony show!

Seriously, the good news is, that while not all mysteries have been fully solved and the “patients” are not 100%, the really, really scary things have been ruled out! Phew!

I believe it was Etta Clark who coined the phrase, “growing old is not for sissies”. Boy howdy, was she right! I have been impressed by the fierce independence exhibited by our older relatives in recent days. I have also been frustrated by it as well! I successfully fought the occasional urges to wrap them in cotton wool and try to insulate them from everything I could think of that might cause them harm. Good thing, or I would have gotten my ears pinned back! As it was, when I would propose what struck me as a simple and logical solution to a problem, but did not put their personal independence as the top priority, I was quickly corrected!

So I guess it’s not yet time for the dog and pony show. Now begins a different sort of balancing act - a juggler perhaps. If so, the balls are labeled: “health”, “safety”, “happiness”, “well being”, “quality of life”, and “independence”!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Still Spinning...

Plates are still spinning, still wobbling, but thankfully, no plates have crashed!!!

-- For one of our loved ones, surgery has been done to repair the L3 vertebra. This is an explanation of the amazing science fiction which is now a medical reality. We’ll know tomorrow if it was 100% successful.

-- Dizziness and wobbliness continue for another loved one, but several serious things have been ruled out. “Vertigo” was a great movie, but not a great way to live! Hopefully, more mysteries will be solved tomorrow.

-- Emergency rooms are not fun. Most of the folks who work there have shiny halos, the one doctor with the bedside manner of a dead fish notwithstanding!

-- Extended family members are a Godsend! Cell phones are little miracles that fit in your pocket and let you stay in touch with far flung family members in need of information and assurance. What flows back is love and support to the person in need. Did the inventors of the cell phone win a Nobel Prize? They should have.

-- Two hospitals, in two states, on the same day is too much.

-- More doctors and hospitals are on the agenda for tomorrow. Thanks for holding us in your thoughts and for the good wishes. Stories about the readers of Pink Granite make for entertaining and distracting chit chat while keeping patients company. Thank You All!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Plates - Meet Giddy

Remember the variety act where a guy would get plates spinning up on poles? They’d be whirling around like tethered flying saucers, when suddenly one would begin to wobble. He would dash over, attend to the plate threatening to fly out of orbit, when another plate would wobble - and so on. It was exciting, a marvel to behold and quite stressful. 

Welcome to our world!

In the last couple of days, we’ve had a little more excitement with some members of our extended family than we would like. Neither Chuck nor I can remember rubbing a lamp and asking for anyone we love to have fractured L3 vertebrae or dizzy spells or mysterious infections. Did we get somebody else’s wish list? I doubt it. It seems more like somebody else’s voodoo dolls. “Hey! Please feel free to remove the pins anytime now, thank you!”

Luckily (despite the fracture) no plates have spun out of control and crashed to the floor. But there has been an awful lot of wobbling in the last few days! 

Earlier this evening, we took a break from tending one particular plate spinning in a Boston hospital and stopped at the Alewife Whole Foods store in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Walking from the car to the store, Chuck veered off from me and returned with a small two tiered shopping cart. Despite being tired, I nearly broke out into a happy dance. I love those carts! Whole Foods is the only store that I’ve seen use them and Chuck knows they make me ridiculously giddy! Those puppies turn on a dime and you can always maneuver your way out of a shopping cart/bumper car/traffic jam. Seriously, if I could figure out even the remotest practical use, I would buy one and push it around the house all day. Crazy, I know and I so don’t care.

Anyhoo, we went in just to get two things. But I happily wheeled my little cart all over that store to the tune of $70.00. Mind you, that’s not at all hard in a Whole Foods store, but it was way more than just our original two items. If we hadn’t been so hungry, I’d still be tooling up and down the aisles in Cambridge. But we were hungry, so we decided to have dinner right there from the soup and salad bar. (That did contribute mightily to the $70.00 total, so I guess it wasn’t too bad!) After we checked out, the three of us headed over to the cafe area at the front of the store to enjoy our soups and salads. Yes, I typed three. Chuck, me and our little two tiered cart! Ridiculously giddy and just what the doctor ordered after all those spinning plates!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wild Willy’s in “Wistah”

I realize this won’t help the more far flung folks who read this blog, but if you live anywhere near Worcester, Massachusetts you are in luck. Recently, Jeff of Wormtowm Taxi waxed rhapsodic about a new burger joint in Worcester called Wild Willy’s. He and his wife Kathy of Stitches & Samplers both raved about the burgers and the fried sides at this small chain of restaurants. Since we’ve been on the hunt for a really good burger around here, we had to check it out.

We went this evening about quarter of seven. The parking lot was way too small to handle the crowd, even though inside there was still plenty of seating. The line to place your order was long, but moved very quickly. Chuck and I each ordered the “Bubba BBQ Burger”. With Jeff and Kathy’s endorsement we also ordered a small order of fries and a small order of onion rings. Once Chuck spotted the “Steak Chili” he had to give it a whirl. Our order placed, we were given an oversized playing card. We took it to an available (and clean) booth by a bank of windows and placed the card in a holder on the table. This allowed the staff to find us easily and deliver our order to the table. Wild Willy’s cooks everything to order and proudly states that theirs is not a “fast food” restaurant. But it didn’t take long for the food and drinks to arrive.

The burgers did not disappoint! Chuck ordered his medium and it arrived with just the right amount of pink in the center. I ordered my burger well done, which in many restaurants is considered an insult to the cook and therefore can be difficult to get one prepared correctly - not tonight! The burger was well done, still juicy and very tender! Both burgers had just the right amount of char on them and were very flavorful. The buns were grilled, but a little too white bread for me. (I’m still hooked on the sourdough rolls up at Geddy’s in Bar Harbor, Maine.) The fries were tasty. I had hoped for something more akin to the legendary Al’s French Frys in South Burlington, Vermont. (They were a staple of mine all through college!) Chuck noted that the flavor and inside texture were perfect, but he would have liked the fries a little crispier on the outside. On our way out, he checked with the gal at the counter who said no problem, next time just ask for the fries “extra crisp”. On the other hand, the onion rings were superb. They even had malt vinegar on the table for them! But perhaps the biggest revelation was the Steak Chili. It was terrific! It had just the right flavor balance of sour, sweet and spicy heat - along with peppers and black beans. Chuck added a little Tabasco to kick it up a bit, but it started out just-fine-thank-you.

A big thank you goes to Jeff and Kathy for their recommendation. And another big thank you goes to Wild Willy’s on West Boylston Street! We’ll be back...

Update, February 21, 2008: You can see another post about Wild Willy’s by clicking here.

Update, February 20, 2009: You can see my most recent post about Wild Willy’s by clicking here.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Politics Free Post

Did I just hear a collective sigh of relief?
I needed to climb down off that high horse - at least for today...

Speaking of horses...

I found a gal, who has a website with blogs. She lives on a ranch. She writes very well. She takes beautiful photographs. She has a sense of humor. She cooks. More importantly, she posts about the food she cooks, with step by step photographs.

Her name is Ree. She is The Pioneer Woman. Her food blog is the logically named The Pioneer Woman Cooks. The photographs of the wild mustangs will leave you slackjawed at their beauty. The photographs of her delicious dishes will make you drool.

WARNING: Ree believes that butter is a major food group. O.K. I warned you. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Dear Bill,

Dear President Clinton,

May I call you Bill? Thank you. Bill, I thought as President you were the bees knees. You made some serious errors in judgement in your personal life and I never did understand that whole “what-the-definition-of-is-is” thing, but overall I was quite happy with your two terms as President.

I also was pleased to see you out on the campaign trail, stirring up the base, reminding us all of those pretty darn good eight years, prior to these disastrous last seven years of the Bush administration. I thought it was sweet that you were speaking on behalf of your wife Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton. But Bill, you’ve gone too far. You really need to dial it back! Certainly you should be a strong partisan for Hillary, while still being, well, presidential.

As long as I’m writing to you in such a frank manner, you need to have a heart to heart with Hillary about her dialing it back. Heck, as one of the two living Democratic Presidents, you might want to call a truce with Senator Barack Obama and advise him to dial it back as well.

One of the problems the Democrats have had over the years is we tear each other apart. In doing so, we make the case for the Republicans, providing them with tons of free ammunition. The Democrats need to pull together - that means former Senator John Edwards and Congressman Dennis Kucinich as well. These top four Democratic presidential candidates all need to be heard on the issues!

So let’s get out there, discuss the issues, play nice and elect our ourselves an excellent Democrat as the next United States President.

Sincerely and with gratitude,

Lee/Pink Granite

I Still Wish...

Last year, I wrote and posted this piece. My feelings have not changed. I believe it bears repeating, perhaps even more so because we are in the midst of a United States presidential election year. The next president will most likely be involved in appointing a judge to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Supreme Court is key to this issue.

Today is the 35th anniversary of the United States Supreme Court Decision known as Roe v. Wade.

In light of this anniversary I have a few wishes to state:

- I wish, that from this moment on, no woman would ever have to make the decision to have an abortion.
- I wish contraceptives, including the morning after pill, would always be readily available to all women.
- I wish that all young people would be taught age appropriate sex and health education.
- I wish that all young people would be taught that abstinence is a legitimate choice, at the same time they get clear information about all forms of contraception.
- And I wish that abortion would always be safe and legal and available to all women.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

“Cowardice asks the question: 'Is it safe?'
Expediency asks the question: 'Is it politic?'
But conscience asks the question: 'Is it right?'
And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but because conscience tells one it is right.”

- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929 - 1968)

For many years after 1968, I had trouble figuring out what year it was. When I was asked, I would reflexively think: “1968”. It took me a second or two to realize that it was 1969, 1970, 1971 and so on. 1968 was a traumatic, tumultuous and terrible year. Dr. King was assassinated in April. Senator Robert F. Kennedy was assassinated in June, less than five years after his brother President John F. Kennedy had also been assassinated. The Vietnam War was raging. Americans were protesting the war, most especially on college campuses. It felt as if every single day something awful was being reported on the news.

In 1968 I was only ten years old. 1968 changed me. Those slain leaders, the protesters against the war, the participants in the civil rights movement and the preaching from the pulpit by post Vatican II liberal Catholic clergy, shaped who I grew up to be. I am grateful to them all, indebted to their sacrifices, inspired by their courage.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Sis!

”Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday to you,
Happy Birthday dear Gail
Happy Birthday to you -
and many more!

Today is my sister Gail’s birthday. So much changed in the last year. Most dramatically, she made that long anticipated move from Rhode Island to Georgia! She has not turned into a “southern belle”, but she loves her new home and is flourishing in her work. We hope she has a great birthday and that this year is just as successful as the last! Love you Gail!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Save Money? Yes Please!

Part of what we imagined robots and computers would do for us in the future was boring, repetitive tasks. Like checking back to see if something you purchased had been marked down after you bought it. That little piece of the future is now. Price Protectr (no, that’s not misspelled!) will keep an eye on items you register with them and e-mail you if and when the price drops. We’ve used it twice. The first time no luck, but yesterday we bought the second Fraser & Hass CD ”In The Moment” on Amazon. We then registered it online with Price Protectr. Last night we got an e-mail from Price Protectr saying the CD had been marked down by $1.99. We contacted Amazon and today they let us know they were refunding us the $1.99! Easy peasy!

Price Protectr watches 78 stores at this point and each store has its own price protection policy. But Price Protectr is free, simple to use and definitely worth a try!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Bright Spots

A busy day today, it was full of what makes up any given day. Nothing special, but it was all good. This morning brought an inch of sludgy, slushy snow down on top of all the other snow. Everything was even brighter and whiter than the day before - just a little mushier! These bright red berries provide a wonderful splash of color every winter. This stand is above our well head, just beyond the hemlocks. This photo wasn’t taken today, but it could have been!

Hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Canada Speaks Truth To Power

CTV reports that the Canadian Government, in educating its diplomats on how to tell if Canadian prisoners in foreign jails have been tortured, provided them with a list of countries with an increased risk of torture. The United States of America was on that list.

I can only hope that having our loyal neighbor to the north speak such truth will cause a brighter light to shine on what has been happening not only at Guantanamo Bay, but in other locations throughout the world where the U.S. has exerted its power.

I do not deny that terrorism is real. I do not deny that we must protect ourselves against attack. But we must adhere to The Geneva Conventions. We must remember our Constitution and the goodness that is at the very core of our democracy. How can we send our military out in harm’s way expecting other nations to treat them according to the rules of the Geneva Conventions when we are not honoring those same rules?

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Fair Warning!

The only problem with Trader Joe’s is that they sell only their “bestsellers”. That means, from time to time, they will discontinue a product which is not selling briskly enough. Chuck and I already believe ourselves to be the kiss of death, when it comes to products we love suddenly disappearing from store shelves. So this leaves us in a delicate position at Trader Joe’s. Case in point: their outstanding Pomegranate Glaze. I used it in lots of different ways, most especially as a main ingredient in sauces for everything from veggies to fish. I used it on the baby peas on Thanksgiving and told everyone to head to Trader Joe’s. A few weeks later, when we went to replenish our supply, we got the word that TJ’s Pomegranate Glaze was history! Arrgghh!

We sincerely apologize to everyone else who loved the stuff. Ironically more than one manager told us they had some precious bottles of the glaze squirreled away in their homes! So we began the hunt for a substitute. A knowledgeable gentleman at a Whole Foods store told us to try pomegranate molasses. Naturally, they were out of stock at that moment, but we kept checking back. I’m happy to report that the “Al Wadi Pomegranate Molasses” is excellent. It’s a simple reduction of pomegranate juice with only citric acid added to it. It’s made in Lebanon and distributed here in the States by Sahadi Fine Foods. For those of you scattered around the globe, here’s the link to the Al Wadi website (introductory music plays!).

Now, if in fact, Chuck and I are the big jinx, consider this fair warning to stock up on lots of Al Wadi Pomegranate Molasses before it suddenly evaporates from markets around the world!

Thinking of you Dad...

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

On Winter

It’s staying lighter longer each day around here. After we passed the winter solstice, the shortest day, it began to happen ever so slowly. But here we are, less than a month later and we can see the difference. It won’t be long before these cold winter days will morph into the blessedly brief mud season and then comes spring. I need to stay in winter, present in this time. After autumn, winter is my second favorite season. It’s one of the more challenging ones; ice, snow, bitter cold, biting winds, but beautiful and so very much of this place. I strayed from New England, but only once, only briefly and scurried back to the six state region that feels like home. And this region has winter. I’ve never been one to crave a “summer” vacation in winter. Oh sure, I daydream about swimming in a pool, drenched in sunshine, but I never hunger for the trip south to Florida or the Caribbean in January or February. Besides, with summer my least favorite season, why would I suddenly insert a chunk of it into winter?

Nope. Shrug on another sweater, pull on the wool socks. Think tea and cocoa, soups and stews. Step outside into the still winter air. Exhale the cloud of warm body/warm house breath and marvel at seeing the invisible. Listen for the black capped chickadees. Wait, they’re never far away. There they are: ”chick a dee dee dee dee dee” as they flit from branch to branch. The first winter we lived here, I stood statue still, my outstretched palm filled with bird seed as the tiny chickadees circled. After many frozen moments, just before I thought I would give in to fatigue and frustration, one landed, feather-light on my finger, little claws gripping, bobbed its head, snatched a seed and darted away! I wanted to squeal with delight, but remained still, grinning from ear to ear, fatigue forgotten, as it happened again and again. I felt like the princess in the Disney films, animated little birds singing above my head, tying ribbons into bows to transform the mere mortal girl into something magical.

Be here now.
Will do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Less Is More

Our geography made us fortunate. Ten to fourteen inches of snow were predicted, but only eight or so fell. Our location in the hills of Worcester County gave us enough altitude, so while the snow was excellent for snowballs and snow people it was not back breakingly heavy to shovel. The colder temperatures from altitude and being a couple of hours inland also helped to keep our trees and power lines in their upright positions. It was not so for many areas closer to the coast or farther to the north.

Once the worst of it was over, I began to shovel. (Despite Chuck’s best efforts, the snow blower’s in the shop.) Along the way, I took photographs as an excuse to rest!

Looking out the kitchen window, under the hemlocks, toward the old clothesline

Hemlock branches and cones dripping under the weight of the snow

Looking down the driveway from the dooryard

Snow clinging to every surface

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Tipping Point

I can’t decide if this would be a dream come true or a nightmare. A guy actually got to live in the IKEA store in Paramus, New Jersey for seven days! The geographical location aside (sorry New Jersey), it might be really cool to try out all the nifty furniture and gadgets in the showrooms and marketplace. But since I don’t like surprise visitors, I can’t imagine having a gazillion people walking through my bedroom, twelve hours a day.

O.K. I’m still on the fence, but leaning toward nightmare. If it were Wal Mart, Tiffany, Target or Nordstrom, the decision would be easy: total nightmare, But we’re talking IKEA, home of all things wonderful! You judge for yourself at filmaker/comedian Mark Malkoff’s video diary of his Paramus IKEA experience. He’s from the “Annoying School of Comedy”, but I have to give him points for creativity and chutzpah!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Simple Stitches

I got the hang of sewing with my grandmother Gagee teaching me on her big black treadle machine. Years later, for two summers around fifth and sixth grades, I took lessons at a sewing machine store. The Christmas in between, my Mom and Dad bought me a Singer sewing machine. It could do straight and zig zag stitches. It was a less deluxe model than what the store had us learning on. At the time, I was both thrilled to have my own machine and disappointed that it didn’t have all those nifty bells and whistles. Turns out, my folks chose the perfect machine. I haven’t stopped using it for the past nearly four decades! I’ve sewn clothes, accessories, purses, pillows, table linens and wall hangings, along with countless mending jobs.

Today, I sat down to do some mending at the machine and felt myself hungry to take on some projects. In recent years we’ve shifted over to reusable shopping bags. We started out with string bags, which Chuck likes to say are bigger on the inside than outside, but they don’t stand up and therefore aren’t as easy to pack up and transport. So we’ve tried some branded reusable bags from different stores. The best seem to be shaped like a traditional brown grocery bag, made of a sturdy fabric, with strong handles. The ones with a plastic insert that fits the bottom of the bag are the best of all. So I think I see a few new bags, made from some snazzy material from my fabric stash, on the horizon.

If you’re looking for some fiber arts, sewing or craft inspiration, check out Folks make stuff (from homely to fabulous) and then post photos and tutorials of how they did it. If the site seems too huge and unwieldy, try the’s Best of 2007 section. Enjoy!

Friday, January 11, 2008

All Things Bright & Beautiful

I think there are four categories of people: folks who love IKEA, folks who hate IKEA, folks who like IKEA products, but not the experience and folks who have never been to IKEA and have yet to be sorted into one of the first three categories!

Both Chuck & I are in the “love IKEA” category. Yesterday we made the long trip to Stoughton, Massachusetts to happily experience all that is IKEA: the showroom floor, the Marketplace and the Cafe. We even hit pay dirt, for the very first time, in the “As Is” section near the checkout area. We only discovered “As Is” in the last year after I kept reading about folks who found great deals there and hacked various creative projects using stuff they had bought for amazing prices. “As Is” is really a crap shoot. I’m choosing my words accurately. Sometimes the merchandise dollied off to a corner of the warehouse is really crap. But yesterday I happened in there while Chuck was off at the men’s room. I couldn’t believe my eyes. There, in the back, was the very Karsten desk chair that we had been looking at upstairs in the showroom. Only instead of $79.99 it was $47.00. I promptly sat down on it and pulled out my cell phone to call Chuck. Luckily I had signal and I wasn’t catching him at an inopportune moment. He hurried over and we inspected the daylights out of the chair. Other than a bright yellow seat cushion, instead of the blue one we had been admiring upstairs, it was in fine condition.

We were just about to leave “As Is” when I spotted a lampshade I had been hemming and hawing about earlier in the lighting department. It was half price. Unfortunately it was presently in the hands of a gentleman who was examining it closely. Chuck sat in “our new chair” while I hovered near the lampshade. Lord love a duck! That man was thorough and he eventually dropped the lampshade into his big yellow shopping bag. Rats! Oh well. We rolled on over and checked out. That was actually our second trip through checkout. We had stopped in mid-shop to recharge our batteries and get a bite to eat. Our trips to IKEA are events because we live so far away. Pacing ourselves is the key to our success! So we were headed back in to finish shopping for what we had originally come for: a couple of replacement lamps and more compact fluorescent bulbs, when “As Is” had beckoned.

After our second trip to the car and stowing the chair, we headed back in for excursion number three. (I apologize to those of you reading along who hate IKEA and are probably feeling a little queasy at the thought of braving the big blue and yellow box again and again!) This time we found everything we needed to improve our home lighting and headed for the exit for the last time. Well, the last time that day! The new chair is comfy. Our home is now cheerfully lit. And hopefully our electric meter is spinning a bit more slowly. I’d expect nothing less from a trip to IKEA!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

One Door Closes

The Blogosphere will be a little quieter and a little poorer for the foreseeable future. Tonya, who posted at “Ugly Is The New Pretty”, has shuttered her Typepad blog page to focus on other aspects of her life. I’m happy she’s come to a decision she feels best about. But I admit to feeling the loss already. Tonya was the second blogger to do me the honor of linking to me on her page. That was almost exactly one year ago. I’ve appreciated her honesty, her frankness, her sense of humor and her artistic eye. There’s a chance she might revive her Blogger page someday, but in the meantime we shall have to content ourselves with her varied and expressive photographs over on her Flickr page.

Thank you for everything Tonya!
I wish you well in making all your dreams come true...

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Where The Heart Is

We can sometimes get jaded, angry, cynical and frustrated. But deep down our hearts still beat a little faster at an inspiring speech and we get choked up at a pure gesture of kindness. A sweet report on National Public Radio today, epitomized the heart and soul of the electoral process here in the United States. Pop over to the NPR website and see the signs made by third graders in the tiny town of Antrim, New Hampshire, encouraging the grown ups to vote. You can also see the election official from the same town, who baked homemade peanut butter cookies for people to enjoy after they voted. Turnout was terrific, so she was down to the last three cookies by late morning! If you can, do listen to the full five minute report.

To all our neighbors up in New Hampshire who voted today, let me echo one of the signs painted by a third grader:

“Good Job Voting!”

- no matter whom you cast your ballot for...

Monday, January 7, 2008

Time Check Please!

Most of the polls for the New Hampshire primary don’t close until 8:00 p.m. TOMORROW.
So could the national media please stop calling the race NOW???


You know I think it was great that the Iowa Caucuses finished with Democrats Barack Obama, John Edwards and Hillary Clinton in the top three slots. But tomorrow is only the second major primary. We still have the absurdly large “Super Tuesday” yet to come on February 5th, when 24 states will participate in their primaries. Therefore, it strikes me as inappropriate for pundits and reporters to start declaring a party nominee NOW, when the Democrats won’t even be gaveling the national convention to order until August 25th. It’s unfair to the candidates. More importantly, it’s unfair to the voters!

Sunday, January 6, 2008


Well that didn’t work out exactly as planned. We thought we had successfully evicted the bug that wreaked havoc with Chuck a few days ago. Apparently the bug liked this general address and decided to condo-ize me. Oy. I hope that I was truly kind and sensitive to Chuck when he was felled by this nasty creature, because anything less would have been cruel. With Chuck’s assistance, I have now progressed from apple juice and Saltines to chicken soup and Saltines. Being that sick, however briefly, is just the pits. I’m very glad to be climbing up and out.

By the way, while things were at their worst, I couldn’t stand to even think about food. That meant even the distraction of television was a minefield of food commercials - except of course for Turner Classic Movies and CSPAN. As a result, I watched more black and white movies and listened to more of Hillary Clinton than I had planned. I came away feeling reassured that if Senator Clinton were to get the nomination, I could comfortably vote for her for president. I don’t think that’s my fever talking. She struck me as well informed, thoughtful and realistic as she fielded questions from a large crowd in a New Hampshire high school. I admit I still wish her husband, former President Bill Clinton, could run for president again and that she suffers by comparison to his brilliance and charisma. But it’s great to have at least three well qualified, intelligent, individuals who appreciate the Constitution and the long standing values of our nation, offering to lead us out of the darkness of the present administration.

Oh, and “Topper” still holds up well after seven decades...

Friday, January 4, 2008


Anne Taintor’s creativity and artistic sense makes me smile (as my sisters Karen and Gail will attest). I am particularly taken with this image and now have the magnetic version on our refrigerator. I also have my eye on this image (bottom row, #37161), but am reluctant to buy it as set of a dozen note cards. But boy howdy, I like that sentiment:

“Honey, you couldn't pay me to be twenty!”

I believe I’ll adopt that as the slogan for “My Quest”!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

One High, One Low

The Democrats came out in record numbers and Barack Obama won the Democrat side of the Iowa Caucuses. Mike Huckabee won the Republican side. These are two very different men with very different ideas about the path the United States of America should be on. I am rooting for Barack Obama. But John Edwards made a strong showing in a squeak-out for second place leaving Hillary Clinton just barely in third. It all works for me. I want John Edwards’ voice to continue to be heard in this vitally important presidential campaign.

The photo above shows the temperature in our kitchen: 57.6 F (14.2 C). It also shows the temperature right outside our kitchen in the dooryard: - 3.1 F (-19.5 C). Tonight, the strong showing the Democrats made in Iowa will have to keep us warm - that along with two cats, lots of blankets and a friendly spouse...

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

The News From Here

This current cold snap will only last a few days, but it is seriously nippy. Tonight, the temperature will be in the low single digits (@ -15 C) with a wind chill advisory in effect for seventeen below zero (- 27 C)! But next week we could hit 50 (10 C). Thus proving the adage: “If you don’t like the weather in New England, wait a few minutes.”

The Iowa Caucuses will take place tomorrow. The caucuses are a cross between a town meeting and a presidential primary. They get a huge amount of coverage in the U.S. media, but relatively few Iowans actually participate. Tomorrow evening, we’ll know if Barack Obama, John Edwards or Hillary Clinton won the Democrat’s side of the race. We’ll also know if Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee or “fill-in-the-blank” won the Republican’s side. All of these candidates have been campaigning for months. Some of them are tipping into their third calendar year of active pursuit of the Oval Office. Unfortunately, the general election isn’t until November of 2008. Oy. And Iowa is just the first state - next stop: New Hampshire. Me? I’m counting the days until January 20, 2009. That’s when the U.S. will inaugurate a brand new president. May the best Democrat win...

The weather and political reports out of the way, let’s move on to a human interest story. Chuck is sick. My head cold is fading fast and (despite my mother’s dire predictions) Chuck never caught it. He did, however, manage to pick up an icky 24 hour bug. We personally limited the bug to 24 hours, but apparently it might be more like 48. We’re standing firm and refuse to renegotiate a longer lease. Chuck has progressed from apple juice and Saltine crackers to chicken soup and Saltine crackers, so we remain optimistic.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Happy New Year!

There’s much chit chat about New Year’s resolutions in the days leading up to the turning of the year. Some lists seem so unrealistic, you just know the treadmill will become the clothes rack before Valentine’s Day and the new diet will be abandoned before St. Patrick’s Day. In light of this, I offer the following suggestions:

Laugh - any chance you get, including at yourself
Love - yourself, your pet, your family, your world
Sing - in the shower or out, on or off key, but with enthusiasm
Move - walk, dance, shift your perspective
Breathe - deeply - to relax, to calm, to excite and one big one just before you leap into something new
Try - something new, something different - brussels sprouts, a new author, a new craft
Gratitude - big or small, find three things to feel grateful for every single day

Here’s to 2008 and all our dreams coming true...