My blog. I'm opionated and I just want to sound off.
This is a way of making myself write something coherent and grammatically correct almost every day. I'm opinionated and need an outlet. I'm also prone to flights of fancy. Thanks for stopping by. |
| I'd like to study Western folklore, as in American Wild West and balance it with actual history. The West kept changing its Eastern boundary. At one time, everything west of the Blue Ridge Mountains was The West. Illinois became The West for a while. When I researched my family tree, some of my ancestors left to "Go West" and settled in Illinois, some in Tennessee.
As the 1800's rolled on, more pioneers settled in the area we wouldn't dare call The West today. It was a rough way to live. Different dreams and schemes collided. We stopped having cattle drives once the railroads were easily available.The period of cowboys and round-ups was relatively short. The westerns we see on TV reruns and movies picture a very short time in our history. Sometimes the facts and the time-lines in these fictional pieces are all mixed up.
I won't find a course like that in my state, where that kind of stuff is just fluff. It really isn't. I imagine there are some historians in Western colleges who offer some on-line courses. I just haven't found them yet. I'd like to see how statehood, history of all areas, and cowboys, trappers, farmers, and so forth all fit together.
This is on my long-term to do list. And if a chart isn't readily available, I want to make one. For instance, in 1880, Wyoming did this, Texas did this, Washington DC did this, New York City, San Francisco, etc., for style, food, history, inventions. And to keep it in perspective, point out other world events, like Bhutan, England, France, World Fairs. I guess it would have to start with Lewis and Clark.
| Today I learned a few things. I never knew that a church business meeting could have absentee voters. Our by-laws allow for such, but they have to be announced by the moderator: who is the absentee and who is placing their vote. I'm sure more would take advantage of this if they could. The ones doing this had family emergencies, so the issue came up at the last minute.Someone had to have advised them of the by-law. Who reads by-laws other than the people who handle personnel?
I further learned that not knowing how parliamentary procedure works can hurt your stand. As far as I'm concerned the unusual matter at hand was handled the way I wanted. But we won my a simple 2/3 majority, which means there will be hurt feelings and grudges. The motion in question could have been amended, but the folks who wanted that didn't know how to do it, and didn't ask until the last minute.
We always have a town hall meeting before an official meeting, unless it's a special "called" meeting. That gives us time to ask questions and argue out some things in advance and keep the official meetings shorter. It also gives us time to research the questions that come up. At this town hall meeting, the moderator told us what the procedure would be. The motion would be presented by committee, then reread by the moderator, then the floor would open for discussion. No one could speak a second time until everyone who wanted to speak had a first opportunity. We could table it, which could be a 3 month delay on an immediate issue, send it back to committee with specific instructions, or make amendments. If you make an amendment, you call for a vote to accept the amendment. If it passes, then you vote on the amended motion. If it fails, then the original motion is back on the floor. What he didn't say that night is that if the motion is voted on as is, and fails, then a new motion could be made by anyone over the age 16 who is qualified to vote.
Today we actually found ourselves in the vote, ballots passed out for secrecy, before someone asked, "What if this doesn't pass?" I knew the answer, but some others didn't. The ones who wanted to make an amendment suddenly realized they had missed their chance. They began to hope it would fail. That was unfortunate. I knew something was wrong because I expected more trouble. But it went so quietly and smoothly into that vote before a wave of horror went through the place.
The next time I will know, as clerk, to remind the moderator to go through the procedural possibilities before we start. I know it is incumbent upon the people who want to resist a motion or action to find out in advance what they must do. But this is not Congress. We want to be fair and open-minded, and allow our opposition the opportunity to state their case and have their chance. I would have accepted the amendment if my way had lost. That's the way majority rule works. We still have a unity when it's all said and done. But we want to be fair and just in the process.
| I had been walking 4 or 5 times a week in the park last spring. It was almost always full of people. After school got really busy with team sports, and even some older groups played softball in the day on Fridays. There would be kids on the playground, people in the dog park, and the lunch time crowd just sitting in their cars in the shade for a while before returning to work. Saturdays were the busiest with every ball field full.
Well, I had a hip injury in June from yard work, so I cut down the walking. When I ventured out I kept to yard work for exercise where I could limp at my own pace without embarrassment. When I was better, the temperature and humidity were too much to back into the swing of it. Again, the yard work was the place to get sweaty and I could take breaks. So I haven't been to the park.
Yesterday, I went to the park and walked for 40 minutes, mixing in some light running since the humidity is unusually low for this time of year. I didn't mind because hardly anyone was there. The tennis courts were empty and no on was on the ball fields. Today, a Saturday, I expected the usual crowd, but again I was the only one there. The tennis courts at the far end were being used. Some people were kayaking in the river. But I had the place to myself.
I guess ball season is over. I still couldn't get up to the endurance I had just six weeks ago. I have to work my way back into it. Knowing there's a few weeks maybe of having it all to myself will help me get back into the rhythm of it.
| We have an abundance of zucchini from our own garden. One day they're too small to pick, and two days later, they're gigantic! I washed one today and grated it. 8 cups of grated zucchini. I've already made one recipe of zucchini bread--Paula Dean's recipe. Omygosh! It's delicious. If you want to make some, just look up her recipe; it's simple and wonderful. (Disclaimer: Zucchini bread is not diet food. Paula's recipe is especially high in sugar, but you can substitute Splenda; however children should not consume artificial sweetener.)
As I mixed the dry ingredients, I noticed tiny streaks of brown from the cinnamon and nutmeg, but overall the flour, salt, and sugar were staying white. On the one hand, I thought, maybe I should add more spice. I can't see it in there. Then I remembered, I would know it with every bite of it. Sure enough, the aroma of it baking filled the house. And, yes, you taste the spice in every mouth-watering bite.
I thought this is kind of like a parable. A little negativity, although it may be minor and not noticeable, can have a big effect on the whole loaf, or life or workplace or school or church. It can have a far reaching effect. Likewise, positive thinking, faith, hope can have the same effect. A little goes a long way.
The lesson we take away from it? If we want our lives, or our jobs, or our family to be positive and bright and strong, we need to have that small, quiet positive outlook. We don't have to be jumping up and down for joy or have flamboyant personalities. We need to discern the cinnamon and nutmeg for us and make sure it stays there.
| I'm the church clerk, which means I take minutes at quarterly business meetings and keep a notebook of all meeting reports, etc. For some reason, the clerk keeps everything, including old materials. Today, for the first time in 3 years someone called about notes from 1997. I said, "Sure, I'll look it up."
For the first time, I opened up the plastic boxes and went through the old notebooks. I've only been using the books from the last 5 years. It turns out that my information starts in 1998. The previous clerk gave me everything she had. So we're missing all the things prior to that. The clerk before her has passed away, and so has her husband. So if she kept anything, it's long gone.
I keep the old boxes in the closet in the foyer. We actually hardly ever use that closet. Dad jammed some things that had belonged to my late brother in there, along with other boxes. So when I went into the closet, I noticed some cobwebs in the ceiling of the unlighted closet. It has a tall ceiling, because the foyer is sort of big for this little house in the split level entrance. So I decided to clean.
I pulled everything out and discovered lots of goodies. I didn't know the Pillsbury Doughboy lived in that closet, but there he was. There was a box of picture frames and some old pictures. There were two new, unused crystal vases! I also found a toy iron, a tennis ball with no bounce, an out of date necktie, a plain metal Slinky, and several boxes of candles for the Christmas Eve lights. I threw out the necktie, the tennis ball, and a small toss pillow. I played with the Slinky, realizing that they now come plastic coated in neon colors. I consolidated the candles, took the vases to the dining room, and mixed two other boxes together to make it roomier. I vacuumed the closet and the whole foyer. I even found a pair of my mother's boots. She passed away in 2007, so the boots are going to charity.
Tonight, when the old man came home from work, I gave him a rundown on the inventory, so that he could find things. I also asked him to go through the coats and decide what he wants to keep, wash, or give away. He's already done his winter clothes in his bedroom and the snow shoveling jackets he keeps in the garage. One little phone call failed in its purpose, but boosted me to a small personal achievement.
| Yesterday I took my dad to his great great grandfather's grave. It is marked my a huge monument right at the old front door of a country church in the next county. There's one other grave, of shinier stone of similar size and style for some other pastor 50 years later, and a small marker for his wife. They are the only graves next to the church. There is a small cemetery of about 20 graves at the far side of the church property. I looked for other possible graves of Grandpa, but they were all relatives of the second pastor and one other family. Apparently, that church got out of the cemetery business over half a century ago.
I had been there before because I've researched the family tree, but he had not stopped to look at it before. We took a lot of pictures, one of each side of the obelisk (taller than my dad) to get the engraving close up. My ancestor had been a farmer who preached for whatever church needed him. At one time he preached at a different church each Sunday of the month. Farmers couldn't take time off from work to go every Sunday. He had to go by horseback 80 miles each way to one church. His wife hated that he was so devoted to his church work and seldom received the promised pay, even if it was only one load of firewood each year.
What makes the church unique is that it was started in the 1700's; the building was erected in 1824 while Grandpa was preaching 2 Sundays a month there. It stands out in that it is the only church of antiquity in the county that has been and still is in continuous use, and one of the few in the state. The architect was a friend of Thomas Jefferson and helped with details at UVA. Certainly Grandpa would have met with the architect. Maybe even a poor farmer/preacher like him had an occasion to meet Jefferson when he was a boy in that area.
Anyway, we left there to see a piece of property for sale, as it turns out, only six miles away. We didn't know it was that close. I turned the wrong direction out of the church parking lot, then asked Siri to give me directions. The GPS sent me about 19 miles in a loop into yet another county on the other side of the James River and down a road under construction. I ended up going down lots of small country roads until I finally got to a major highway which took us to familiar territory.
I've discovered my dad has forgotten his way around all these country roads that he doesn't travel any more. So we spent the afternoon cooped up in my car, which is hard on his back. We found our way to yet one more stop, the grave of the daughter-in-law of the minister. My dad's great grandmother was a civil war widow, and had remarried. He never knew this, so I wanted him to see the headstone for himself. From there we were only 10 miles from home, but it was down the side of a mountain on a windy road at rush hour. A lot of people live on that mountain.
I've got to get outside the city limits more, and off my hill which is outside the city limits but so close to the down town.
| I'm so pleased when I invent a recipe and it works! Today I had homegrown squash to cook. I cut it up and put only a tad of water to keep it from sticking. If you cover the pan, liquid cooks out of the squash, and the steam stays in. It made too much liquid for what I had in mind, so I had to drain it.
I barely put any salt on it, so it probably needed more for most folks. I added a can or Ro-Tel tomatoes with green chilies, just before serving, stirring to get warm. It was delicious! The squash wasn't too mushy, and the tomatoes had just the right zing. The chilies didn't add color. So I guess if I added parsley or a small amount of cilantro, I could call it confetti squash. (Too much cilantro can ruin it. It has a very strong flavor.)
Basic salsa and bruchetta topping are very similar. Both start with tomatoes and onions. I have learned, though, that you need sweet onions, not regular yellow or white onions. For the Italian version, you add a little olive oil, lemon or lime juice, parsley, and garlic. Serve on almost anything including day old Italian bread-bruchetta-toasted with a little EVO.
For the Mexican version, omit the oil. Add lime juice, ground or crushed chili pepper, and fresh cilantro in moderation. Once you get that down, you can add almost anything you like, including hot peppers, fruit, corn, etc. It's good on fish as well as tortilla chips, or Mexican foods. Invent your own; don't be limited by convention.
| I spotted a woodpecker during dinner by the back window. He had a black and white belly, a brown back, a red throat and head, and was small in size. He was eating the seed on the railing. I've had bad experiences with woodpeckers, so they don't make me really happy. They're pretty to watch, but they can be an enemy.
My husband and I had an A-frame with cedar siding on a wooded lot in a lake community. The carpenter bees invaded some of the cedar timbers. We tried spraying, but that didn't work. We didn't notice the holes, but humming was noticeable at certain times of day when you went outside. I moved out when I filed for divorce, but still had an interest in the house and the German shepherd that I couldn't take with me. We were told the carpenter bees themselves couldn't do any real damage, but other bugs could get in.
The other bugs came, and that was an invitation to the woodpecker, the Woody the Woodpecker type, not the little one I saw tonight. That thing drilled to wake the dead. My ex couldn't get rid of it. I asked the 4H teacher at church, and he said to shoot it. Well, you can't fire a weapon in a subdivision. So we had to get the pest control guy to put powder on the holes. I did try with a B-B gun, but I wasn't fast enough.
So I'm glad this little guy on the back porch is just passing by and eating some seed, not bugs. We don't have cedar siding. Hopefully, there are no trees in our yard to attract him or his family. (You can fire a gun discreetly in this neighborhood. Two neighbors have shot rabid animals without anyone hearing or complaining.)
| I understand that you hate the ugly news stories, the attacks on TV and on Facebook. You want a more positive outlook, so you fill up your f\Facebook page with cute animals. You send out an email every day with cute babies or cute animals or rainbows. Gotcha.
Now here's the thing. Who's got the time to read the captions or watch the videos that stream in all day? I have to delete like Spam or skip. Brag about your kids or grandkids. That's fine. Tell me about your awards or promotions or activities at your church or club. Tell me about your garden. Those are things that keep me connected to you.
I love cute animals, but I can't look through them all due to shortage of time. I skip through the negative things and choose what I'll read. The media like to cover the same thing over and over. I agree, let's move on, but to weightier things.
I'm also tired of pictures of abused animals. I think it's deplorable, and the people who do it, or who let dogs get hurt fighting, should be punished under the law. But I don't need to see the pictures. I'd like to see less hate, less whining, and more constructive suggestions. Let's see some community service being done instead of just spreading rumors or ugly photos. And those with the positive vibes could participate to make the world a little less ugly.
| We've started buying from a local farm to supplement our home grown vegetables. Our neighbor gets the delivery, so we just pay her. Organic vegetables--their selection. Last week included tomatoes, corn, peaches, potatoes, one onion, peppers, cucumbers, yellow squash, and zucchini. We grow peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and summer squash ourselves. But we can use the extra. I think my dad uses non-organic pesticide. So these will at least be chemical free.
The cucumbers look great. I don't eat them, but I fix them for Dad and our guests. He loves his corn, which I get sick of week after week. So he won't need to get so much from the store. Range free eggs are available for a steep price. I passed on those.
I read today that basil keeps mosquitoes away. I tend to the basil daily out back, but I'm scratching huge mosquito whelps tonight. I bought some cilantro and made salsa from the tomatoes and onion, with garlic, EVO, and lemon juice. (I was out of lime juice.) We had our own zucchini for supper.
I want to go meatless for a few weeks to test the theories I've read. You have to substitute in a lot of vegetables, not fruit. Fish and shellfish are okay, so are eggs. The idea is to reset your digestion and your blood sugar metabolism. So I went shopping for salmon today. Every cold water or wild caught fish that store had in the seafood department and meat department came from China. Consumers Digest warns against all fish from Asia. North Pacific salmon only. So I didn't buy any. I might go back to bacon before the three weeks are up.