Something to Think About

"I found it is the small everyday deeds of ordinary folk that keep the darkness at bay. Small acts of kindness and love."
- J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

'Tis the season

Our minds turn to giving this time of year.  We not only think of giving presents to friends and family but of giving to various charities.

The charities a person prefers often tells you something about a person.  For example, you can many times tell if they are an animal-lover or if a particular disease has touched their lives depending on the charities they favor.

I realized this, myself, when I ran my mind over the charities and non-profits I prefer to give to:

  • The American Red Cross - I'm sure everyone is familiar with this organization and the wonderful work it does so there is no explanation needed.
  • Kiva - An online friend introduced me to this organization.  Basically you lend money to people who need it to set up a business (or expand a current business) in a poverty-stricken area of the world.  They pay back the loan as their business prospers and you can use that money to lend to someone else - or take it back if you prefer. It does have some risk, but they have an almost 99% repayment rate so it's worth it to me.
  • IGLHRC - International Gay & Lesbian Rights Commission.  This is a terrific organization that helps people who are discriminated against because of their sexual orientation or gender identity throughout the world.
  • CBLDF - Comic Book Legal Defense Fund. Anyone who knows me at all knows that I'm a huge supporter of first amendment rights.  This organization works to protect the rights of comic book professionals.
  • Paws of PA - A co-worker volunteers for this local organization.  This is a pet rescue organization that also organizes low-cost spay/neuter programs.
  • Foundation Beyond Belief - I've recently discovered this non-profit.  A person chooses a set amount to contribute each month. Contributions are split up among many worthy charities which are listed on the site and change each quarter.  The contributors are mostly athiest, agnostics and non-believers (hence the name) though of course anyone can contribute.
Whenever I consider giving to a particular organization, I always check their rating on the Charity Navigator.  Smaller local charities probably won't be rated but the larger ones should be.  It's a good place to check out before you give!

Image of the earth courtesy of NASA

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Petty people and their implications

So... there is an uproar about President Obama's Thanksgiving address this year. (transcript, video) Some people are having a fit because he didn't use the word "God".

Seriously, people?  Did you actually listen to or read the address?  Okay, no.  He did not use the word "God" in his speech but he did talk about being "my brother's keeper" and "my sister's keeper".  He did talk about having faith and mentioned blessings.  If those aren't religious terms, I don't know what they are. Trust me.  God was in that speech even if he wasn't mentioned by name.

I really wonder why people go out of their way to create an uproar over nothing.  Absolutely nothing.

I, personally, was pleased to see that the President was more inclusive by not using the word "God".  See - lest we forget - not everyone in this country is a Christian.  There are people of various different faiths living here and every time the President uses the word "God" he is exluding those who use a different term for their deity (or deities) or who don't believe in a deity (or deities).

As for those who are using this as some sort of indication of.... something or another: They are being petty and ridiculous.  If you have a problem with some of the President's policies, then say so.  If you have a problem with the President because he isn't the one you voted for, then too bad.  Deal with it.  Just don't go making implications that have no basis in fact.

Image of North America nebula courtesy of NASA

Monday, November 28, 2011

To the stars!! Well, alright... to Mars, then!

I'm working a different job today that starts 2 hours earlier than my usual job.  It's a long story.

Since my schedule is screwed up, I'll just leave you with a picture of the rocket carrying Curiosity to Mars.

Didn't hear about that?  Click here for the scoop.

Have a good one, all.  I hope to be back on track soon!

Image courtesy of NASA

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Sunday Seven - November 27, 2011

Name seven Thanksgiving treats you’ve enjoyed over the past few days.
I should mention that our family meal was at my sister's house so we only have the leftovers of the dishes we took to the meal.

  1. Stovetop stuffing and mashed potatoes.  This is a dish that K's mother used to make that he made to take to the family Thanksgiving feast.  I never had tried Stovetop stuffing until I met K and I'm not a fan. Perhaps if you grow up with it, you get a taste for it.  Anyhoo... when K cooks, he makes  a lot so we will have plenty for another day or so.
  2. Corn casserole.  I tripled the recipe this year and was glad to see that there was a small amount left over. I figure that means that everyone got what they wanted and that's a good thing.  Most years I've doubled the recipe and came home empty so I thought a triple recipe might work better.  It did.
  3. Pumpkin pie.  This wasn't left over from Thanksgiving, but K's mother made one for K.  ("Since I don't bake".   This isn't entirely true - I do bake.  I just make sweets rarely because we're fat enough in this house and don't need them! )
  4. Cookies. Four different types. From K's mother.  See above.
  5. Biscuits!  I had forgotten these but noticed them when I went through the kitchen just now. We have 1/2 dozens biscuits left over from Thanksgiving.  My daughter took them to the meal.

Um... now I've run out of food items from Thanksgiving and extended it to food that technically doesn't count (though they were given to us "for" Thanksgiving)  I guess I don't have 7 items that fit the meme but I'll still submit these answers!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Saturday Six - November 26, 2011

1. From Aislínge: Where have you lived? I've always lived in Pennsylvania.  Central Pennsylvania, to be more accurate.
2. From Strange: What famous person — living or dead — would you like to meet if you could? Katharine Hepburn. She is my all-time favorite actor and just seemed like such a unique person.  I would have loved to have dinner with her!
3. From Strange: If you could have any superpower, what would you choose? I guess flying - unless teleportation was a possibility. That'd be even better!
4. From Cat.: Has there ever been a time you’ve had creepy stalker-types hassling you in real live over your blog? Oh, dear... yes.  This is why I used the name "Strange" when I first started this blog. I've come to the conclusion that my main"stalker" has not followed me here but I've also decided that I'm tired of hiding.  If someone gets their jollies by emailing me threats and such, so be it.  I know that sort of person is a coward.  Luckily I've been extremely careful about revealing very much about me to the general public online.
5. From Cat.: What have you been reading? I've just started reading Fluke by Christopher Moore who was recommended to me by an online friend!
6. From Cat.: What’s for dessert? [This is, clearly, THE most important question!] My favorite dessert would be cheesecake!  Anything chocolate would be a close second!

These have been the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place!

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Little Things

I know... It's Thanksgiving weekend here in the US and many bloggers will create a post talking about what they are thankful for.  It's done so much that it really is a cliche to do so.

This will not prevent me from doing so myself - but I think I'll skip over the usual things we think of and concentrate this blog on something a little different.

Don't get me wrong.  I'm extremely thankful for my family, my friends, that I have a job in his economy and that I have my health.  Sometimes, however, it is the little things that seem important on a daily basis.

For example, I'm thankful that...

  • When my solid antiperspirant popped out of the container and hit the floor yesterday morning it did not crumble into a dozen pieces but stayed intact so that I could place it back in the applicator and use it... for I do not have a replacement.
  • When I tripped over a curb and fell on the way to work this week, the only casualty was my umbrella.  It is much better to have to replace that than deal with a broken bone, broken glasses or even a ripped jacket.
  • K's employer's facility is large enough that he and my ex-husband can both work there and not have to interact - as that would be a disaster.  Yes... K noticed my ex show up for work this week with a new group of workers from the temp agency.  He immediately went to his boss and suggested that they not place my ex on the same line that K works as this would not be best and the boss agreed.
  • I have one good pair of shoes that does not have a hole in the bottom and will prevent me from getting wet feet on the way to work when it is raining.  I'm not sure if I'm hard on my shoes or if they are just not being made as well as they used to be but I've a habit of wearing out the soles of the shoes before the uppers look worn!  This has happened more than once.  I even had a pair of shoes re-soled only to have the soles wear out again while the uppers look perfectly good!  I don't let the fact that there is a small hole in the sole keep me from wearing them, but I don't wish to wear them in rainy weather and end up with wet socks.
  • Even though I keep gaining weight I am still not in the "plus size" category.  It is a small thing and I might be squeezing into clothing that I really should not but I don't want to get that heavy!  I know... the solution would be to lose some of this extra weight but that is easier said than done when all I want to do is to stuff food into my mouth constantly.  I seem to have lost my urge to exercise at the same time so that just adds to the problem.  There's no easy solution, I'm afraid.
  • That people in companies like Think Geek have a sense of humor that matches mine so that I get to chuckle at their message on the email they sent out today which reads "Happy #000000 Friday!"
  • That NASA images can be used without permission on non-commercial web pages so I can use them on my blog - as there are so many fascinating pictures to share with all of you! (Note:  I usually link to the page I found the image on which will generally have a description of the image, as well, if you are interested!)
today's image courtesy of NASA

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

Just a quick note to wish my readers a lovely Thanksgiving - if you celebrate it - and a lovely Thursday if you do not!

Have a slice of pumpkin pie on me! (<-click on the link) 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Under construction!

Dear Readers,

I'm currently in the process of changing the appearance of my blog.

Please let me know if you have any problems viewing my blog in its new form.  

I think everything looks clear, but your experience may vary. If you do have an issue, please let me know what browser you are using so I can see if that is the issue and prevent that from happening again.

Other changes I have made include an email subscription, an RSS feed and I plan to combine have now combined this blog with the one I use for memes only in the near future.  [This was incredibly easy, by the way, and absolutely painless!]

Thank you for your patience while I work on these things.


This Thanksgiving

My family has a huge get-together for Thanksgiving.  This year we have 26 people attending.

The event is held at my sister's house - because she has the room - but we all contribute to the meal.

This year we are having:

  • roast turkey 
  • filling (yes.  We call it filling in these parts.  Not stuffing.  Not dressing.)
  • cranberry salad
  • green bean casserole
  • corn casserole
  • macaroni and cheese
  • sweet potatoes
  • dinner rolls
  • several different desserts and (of course) pumpkin pies
I'm bringing the corn casserole.  We used to make a dried corn casserole but I tried a different corn recipe one year and the dried corn has been replaced with the new recipe.  I'll share it here - because someone always asks for the recipe.

Corn Casserole

1 16-oz can creamed corn
1/3 cup flour
1 3-oz brick cream cheese, cubed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup onion, chopped

Combine above ingredients in a saucepan and heat until cheese melts.  Then stir in:

1 16-oz can whole corn (drained)
1/2 cup swiss cheese, shredded

Pour into a casserole and top with fine cracker crumbs. (I use Ritz crackers but you can use whatever you like) Bake 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

To those in the US:  Have a lovely Thanksgiving!
To those outside the US:  Have a happy Thursday!

today's image of Saturn courtesy of NASA

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Living "la vida loca"

I've started to blog every day.  I should be clear that I don't feel that I need to create a blog post every day but I really want to for the sake of consistency.  Nothing is worse than reading a blog on a daily basis and getting used to it then... nothing for days on end for no reason.

At least that's my point of view...

But, anyhow, real-life is making it difficult for me to be consistent.

Here's some of what has been going on.

  1. I've had to do "that other job" last Friday and yesterday.  [I fill in for another employee when she takes vacation.  I've complained about this many times and regular readers are aware that... the job is one I did 10 years ago but has changed so much over time that it is practically an entirely different job than it used to be, it starts 2 hours earlier than my present job and screws up my sleep schedule - majorly - and I hate it with a passion.  It is very stressful.]
  2. This is a short week due to the holiday. So not doing my job yesterday put me automatically in a hole already.
  3. TPTB scheduled a meeting about a new computer system TODAY! Yes.  I believe they are seriously trying to break me.
  4. Next week is financial period close week. Which means I have more work than I usually do so, of course...
  5. I have to do "that other job" for at least Monday next week. Because my boss doesn't like to tell anyone that they can't take their vacation when they want to...   and...  it's more screwed up than that.  Monday marks the beginning of deer-hunting season around here. The worker I cover for is a hunter.  She always takes off the first week of hunting season. My boss made a deal with her - realizing that I will  be in dire straights if she is off the entire week.  As soon as she gets her deer, she will come in to work the next day so that I can get back to my job.  She generally gets her deer the first or second day so he doesn't think this will be a problem.  I suppose not but... there is so much that can go wrong.  I don't even want to think about what I will do if this doesn't work out.
So... yeah.  I'm a bit stressed out.

Hopefully things will turn out better than expected and the good news is that I've been cleared to put in whatever amount of overtime that I need to get my work done!  That's also the bad news, I believe...

Today's illustration of a star being ripped up by a black hole courtesy of NASA (and oh so appropriate, don't you think?!?)  

Monday, November 21, 2011

Curiosity minus the cat

Last week a newscaster mentioned the US National Debt Clock on the news.  He noted that the national debt has exceeded 15 trillion dollars.

It got me thinking that I really didn't know very much about the debt clock.  I wondered if our tax dollars paid for it and had countless other questions.  I looked it up.

Here are some things I discovered:

  • You can view the clock in real time on line here This site is really cool because it contains all sorts of data.  (I got a kick out of the auto sales and gold/precious metal tabs at the bottom.)  It's a great reference source for all sorts of information!
  • The clock is updated weekly from figures published by the US Treasury.
  • According to Wikipedia, the debt clock was started - and funded -  by a real estate developer named Seymour Durst in 1989. 
  • There have actually been 2 (physical) debt clocks over the years.  The original clock was unable to run backwards so they had to turn it off from 2000 to 2002 when the debt decreased.  Since that time, it's been replaced by a clock that can run backwards and forwards.  The clock was moved to a different building at this time.
  • The clock has outlived Seymour who passed away in 1995.
  • The clock is currently maintained and updated by the Durst Organization. 

These are just a few quick facts about the calculator.  More details can be found on Wikipedia or click to look at the debt clock online!  It really is fascinating - though a bit depressing, as well.

Image of Saturn courtesy of NASA

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sunday Seven - November 11, 2011

Name seven dishes you generally only eat on or around holidays.

1. Cranberry sauce.  I'm not sure why, as I do enjoy it and could make it now and then but we save it for Thanksgiving and generally have it for Christmas dinner as well - if we have turkey instead of ham.
2. Corn casserole.  I make a corn casserole that contains corn, creamed corn, swiss cheese, cream cheese and onions.  It's very rich and best to save for the holidays!
3. Filling (or what many others will call stuffing or dressing). We don't generally make a turkey unless we are having a big holiday meal and if we do, I don't generally bother to stuff it!
4. Turkey.  We rarely cook a whole turkey unless it is for a holiday meal.  Some years both K and I will get one from our employers for the holidays so we have an extra to make but this is rare.  We don't generally buy one otherwise, though perhaps we should take advantage of the holiday sales and do so!  We do like turkey!
5. Pumpkin pie. One could argue that fresh pumpkins are not available year round so it makes sense that we have pumpkin pies more in the fall.  (I refuse to use canned pumpkin)
6. Fruit cake.  Despite it's reputation I have had some delicious fruit cakes!  Home made trumps store bought, however...
7. Sand tarts.  We don't bother to go through the effort to make these year round so they are saved for the holidays!

These have been the Sunday Seven from Patrick's Place!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Saturday Six - November 19, 2011

1. From Cat.: What’s the best part about where you live?  I like that you get the full effect of the seasons changing over the year.  As much as I dislike winter cold, I do like how pretty snow is after it's fallen and would miss it if I lived in a warmer climate where it didn't snow. There are harsher winters where I believe I'd like to give it a try sometime, however... 

2. From Cat.: What can we do about so-called Christians who really aren’t? At least, they don’t look like they’ve ever read the Gospels. At least, not the Gospels you and I seem to have read. Well... I'm not a Christian but it seems to me that you are going to have very little luck changing someone else's mind about what they believe unless they are open to listening to your point of view. There are all sorts of people in this world and all sorts of belief systems.  I'd recommend that you do what you can to accept people for who they are.  

3. From Strange: Where did you grow up? I grew up right here in Central Pennsylvania about 1/2 hour from where I live now.

4. From Strange: What do you like to do in your spare time? Spare time?  What is that? Just a little joke, there... I read quite a bit.  I also interact with other people on the internet via blogs, social networks and all. 

5. From Strange: If you could visit anywhere in the world where would you go? I'd visit England!  I've never been there and would absolutely love to visit!

6. From Aislínge: What made you decide to start your blog? An inspiration, a need to empty your head, a complaint of something, or something entirely different? I originally started to blog back in 2003 mostly because I needed an outlet for my thoughts.  I discovered a blogging community (Xanga) where I met a lot of lovely people at that time.  I've moved away from Xanga and off to blog on my own.  I miss the interactions that I had on a daily basis with folks there but I really don't have the time I would need to generate that sort of traffic now. That is one advantage of those sorts of blogging communities and a disadvantage to blogging on Blogger like I do now.

These are the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place.

Friday, November 18, 2011

School vouchers unconstitutional?

Question of the Day: Should school vouchers be given to pay for private schools, even if they're religious schools?  What about the separation of church and state?

I've been mulling this over in my mind recently as PA is considering passing a bill to enact a school voucher program.

[For those who might not be familiar with them, what this would do is to give a parent funds -presumably what the state would have paid to publicly educate their child- that the parent could use to send their child to a private school.]

I'm not sure what this would do to the public schools as far as funding and I've flip-flopped in my mind about the wisdom of taking funds from public schools even though they would have less students and I've decided I don't have enough information to decide if that is going to be detrimental or not.  So, disregarding the funding issues, the other thing nagging at me is the separation of church and state and whether this would violate that.

The term "Separation of Church and State" is not in the constitution but comes from a letter Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1802 which reads:
 "... I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State." 
Getting back to the voucher idea, there is no exclusion of religious schools in the bill so if it is passed as it presently reads, it would allow parents to use tax-payer money to help pay for the tuition of religious schools.  I feel that this is inappropriate.

Don't get me wrong.  I think that parents have a right to expose their children to whatever religion they wish to. That is their prerogative. HOWEVER, I don't think that my tax dollars should go toward religious education. Nor should anyone else's.

If parents have problems affording tuition at religious schools for their children, then perhaps churches and religious organizations should set up scholarship programs or funds to help them afford to send their children to these schools.  It is not the responsibility of the general public to fund these schools.  That seems clear to me.

Image of the Eagle Nebula courtesy of NASA

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Workplace Classes

I received an email from my boss yesterday informing me that it is soon time for my annual training.  Well... all of us in the office, really....

I need to take the following classes:

Emergency Preparedness
Fire Prevention and Protection
GMPs:  Effective Hand Washing Techniques
Hazard Communications
Prohibited Harassment

Most of them seem like standard workplace classes.  Since I work in a poultry-processing plant, the hand washing class is important, as well.

I got to thinking about what other classes I feel that folks in my workplace could benefit from. Many of my coworkers could use a class in

  • Proper Email Techniques.  It would include information such as how typing in all caps is inappropriate, proper forwarding techniques (as in, take time to remove all the stuff from other forwarders) and how to use spell check.
  • How to Compromise with Other People. Subtitle:  No. You aren't going to get everything you want all the time so learn to work with other people so that you can reach a happy medium!
  • How to properly use the telephone. Don't call me twenty times!  Leave a freaking message and I'll call you back!!
  • How to Treat Other People. I believe some people did not learn basic manners in kindergarten and need a remedial class. You would not believe the level of rudeness I encounter in a day!
What classes would you give your co-workers if you had a choice?

Image of The Sombrero Galaxy courtesy of NASA

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Queries and considerations

Question of the day:  Do you folks think I should combine my blogs - this one and the meme-only one - or should I keep them separate?  I can see pros and cons of each but I'd like some other opinions.


In other news, I've been thinking of trying to take a class in creative writing.  I oftentimes have ideas in my mind to write about but I feel like my skills are lacking when it comes to putting them down on paper.

I anticipate that K will not support me in this, however.  He doesn't understand my thirst for knowledge for the sake of knowledge but feels that if there is no financial gain from learning something new, then there is no value.

Going forward, I can see that if I did take such a course and wanted to set aside time to write, I would have a hard time convincing K that this is a worthy activity.  Any time I spend on the computer - with the exception of billing-paying or budgeting - is "playing" in his mind.  Never mind that I don't really have good friends outside of the online friends I've made.  It is still just "playing" to him.  (I should note that he really doesn't have friends with the exception of one who he doesn't bother to keep up with so he obviously doesn't value friendship.)

So... I'm not sure whether I should bother to try or not.

And now I've bummed myself out.

Subject change:  I listen to the same radio station in the morning when I'm doing the breakfast dishes and packing my lunch for work.   At the top of the hour, the local announcer will give the traffic report, weather and local news.  Is it unusual that I talk back to him?  I mean....  I'm the only one there so the alternative would be talking to myself which I don't tend to do very often.  I just wondered if other people would think this is unusual.

And there we go...  Now you have two questions to answer for me today!

Image courtesy of NASA- details about this particular image can be found here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Forgetful moments and conspiracies

Some recent incidents have convinced me that I should look into one of those password-storage programs. Okay.  Not so much incidents. How about we call them forgetful moments which have occurred on multiple occasions on different sites within the past month or so.  This wouldn't happen if they didn't all have to be 8 characters long with upper and lower case letters and numbers or sometimes letters, numbers and symbols or sometimes letters and numbers but no symbols!! and yeah.  You get the idea...

Anyhoo, the problem is that I need a system that can be accessed from more than one computer and I don't want to spend a lot of money. Not only that, but I know very little about them so I don't want to rush out and buy into one only to discover that there is another one that would suit my needs better that I did not purchase. Oh!  and I want it to be able to produce random passwords for me to increase the security. So! If any of you folks know anything about these programs, please let me know!  Thanks!

In other news, my employer has implemented a new site-blocking system.  It is different from the old system as there were sites that I could access under that one that I cannot now and vice versa.  For example, I cannot now access Google + which is my preferred social network and yes - I am really upset by this!  I can, however, access my old blogging site, Xanga, which would be fine but I'm all set up here now, thankyouverymuch, and I'm not going back now! I cannot even go to NPR's website to read their news stories and such -when I used to be able listen to the programs and read the articles!  I'm really upset about this, as well, as I used to listen to their programs while I worked and I miss having something to listen to.  YouTube is now blocked when it didn't used to be, as well! It just seems so random and unfair at the same time!  Did I mention the kicker?  I can access Facebook - and Facebook games.  Not only that, but I could on the old system, too.  I'm convinced that someone in the IT department likes to use Facebook at work and has entered it as an exception!  I can't prove it, however, without admitting that I tried to get on Facebook so I"m stuck. I am miserable right now.

Moving on.... Jerry Sandusky now says that he is innocent and didn't molest those boys.  Seriously, Sandusky?  I mean, honestly?  With all that has come out - from multiple sources - it is next to impossible for me to believe that he is not guilty of molesting the boys. Story here if you aren't up-to-date.

And I've taken up enough of your time today.  Have a good one, folks!

photo of Soyuz spacecraft courtesy of NASA - who have the most awesome images!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sunday Seven - November 13, 2011

Name seven things you’d love to get for Christmas this year!
1. A weather station. Something like this. I've long been fascinated by the weather - and probably missed my calling.  I should have gone into meteorology...
2. An iPad or other tablet.  I really think I'd find something like that handy to have - though not necessary, of course.
3. A clock that synchronizes with the atomic clock.  I used to have one of these but it stopped working. I'm not sure why I have a fixation with knowing the "correct" time but I do!

Huh... now it's getting a little difficult...

4.  Books.  I have a wish list on Amazon that I generally refer folks to.  Most people ignore that I have it, but I still have that list.
5. Tickets to a St Louis Rams game - at home!  (and, I suppose, also airline tickets to get to St. Louis and a hotel room, also)  I've been a Rams fan since the late 70s but I've never been able to see them play at home.  This would be awesome.
6. Um... how about a Wii?  I think I could really enjoy playing around with one of those!
7.  Tickets to see Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me!  We missed our opportunity to see the show live a while back and I hope some day they'll do a show near us and we can see it!

These are the Sunday Seven from Patrick's Place!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Saturday Six - November 12, 2011

1. From Aislínge: What is your favorite food?  I don't really have a favorite but many favorites so I'll list a few! I love a good steak (delmonico - medium rare),  potatoes cooked in the coals of a campfire (I've no idea why they are so much better this way but they are awesome!), asparagus, whole-grain cream of wheat - with a little butter and salt (this, too, is awesome!  You'll never eat the instant stuff again!) Um... oh!  Cheesecake!  (New York style), Sour cherry pie (no. it is NOT the same if you used canned fruit.  Use either fresh or cherries you froze.) and... chocolate.  Dark, milk, or white chocolate - I love them all. 

2. From Strange: Who were your heroes or people you looked up to when you were young? I loved reading biographies when I was young (especially about women) so my heroes were people like Harriet Tubman, Florence Nightingale, and Clara Barton!  

3. From Cat.: What’s the best part about your job? The best part about my job, I often say, is the fact that a lot of it is monotonous and doesn't take a lot of thought.  So... if I had a bad night sleeping (which seems more the norm than the exception recently) I can still function at work fairly well.  Of course, this also causes the job to be boring.  I've discovered that listening to NPR programs while I work solves this problem.  I can keep up on what's going on in the world and hear stories about fascinating subjects while I work. That's a win-win situation!

4. From Aislínge: What is the one thing for which you are most grateful to your parents? My parents never let me - nor my sisters - believe that we could not do anything we wanted to when we grew up, despite the fact that we were female.  
I grew up in the 70s.  Women, for the most part, were expected to grow up, marry and stay home with their children during that time.  The undercurrent was that women just wouldn't be able to handle a lot of what men did so they should stick to raising children and keep up the household for their husband.  (It seems like an alien culture compared to now days, doesn't it?)
I was never told that I couldn't do whatever I set my mind to and I am grateful that my parents believed that to be true.

5. From Aislínge: What was/is the one thing your parents did that most made you angry? I really can't think of anything off-hand.  I know there were plenty of things they did that displeased me as I was growing up but I realize now that I didn't have the perspective they did at the time so I couldn't understand their point of view.

6. From Strange: What is your favorite time of year and why? My favorite time of year is Autumn!  I love the cooler nights and how lovely the mountains look when the leaves start changing!  There is something about the light at dusk in the fall that I just adore. (and I know that makes no sense but I'm not able to articulate why I think the light is different at that time of year but I do!)

These are the Saturday Six this week from Patrick's Place!

Monday, November 7, 2011

A moral dilemma?

A little while back, the area I live in had a lot of rain from hurricane Irene.  Because the ground was already saturated from previous precipitation, there were areas that flooded which had "never" seen flooding. (or no one recalled a problem before)

The comptroller where I work was one of the unexpected victims.  He had water that washed into his finished basement.  His son's bedrooms are down there along with a rec room - all carpeted.  Of course the carpet needs to be replaced.  It sounds like little else was damaged to the extent of having to be replaced so he was fairly lucky.

Now, as most people know, one's regular homeowners insurance will not cover damage from flooding. He figured that he'd have to foot the bill for this himself and has since ordered new carpet to be installed.

He found out late last week that he was eligible for money from FEMA.  He had thought previously that he wouldn't have qualified because he was under the impression that it was an income-based aid program and his is not a low income household. (Well, he and his wife both work and she works for the state so yeah.  Surely they wouldn't qualify for anything for low income folks.)  But anyway, he's signed up to receive funds from FEMA.

For some reason, this bothers the heck out of me. No.  It actually offends me!  Here is a situation where a person is eligible for financial aid from the government but - given the shape the economy is in - is it right for him to accept the money?  He certainly would not suffer hardship from footing the bill himself, so maybe he shouldn't accept the money.  After all, there is a finite amount available and he is taking money that could be used to help less well-off individuals.

What do you think?  Is this a moral issue or am I off base?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Saturday Six - November 5, 2011

1. Do you think you have the same accent as most of the people who live in your neighborhood, or do you sound like you’re from somewhere else?  I don't think so.  Many folks around here have a heavy PA Dutch accent and I don't think I do.  I could be wrong, though!

2. Have you ever been mistaken by a stranger as being from somewhere other than your place of birth? If so, what’s the farthest from your hometown one has guessed you’re from? I can't recall this ever happening. Huh. Maybe that's an indication that I do sound like everyone else around here!

3. If you had to come up with a name for the dialect you hear most often, what would it be? Pennsylvania Dutch is what we call it.

4. Take the quiz: What Kind of American English Do You Speak?

You Speak General American English!

50% General American English
25% Yankee
15% Dixie
10% Upper Midwestern
 0% Midwestern

Well that sounds rather boring, doesn't it?

5. What regional word or expression common to your area do you find yourself using most often? I can't think of one right now. 

6. Which regional word or expression common to your area do you hate the most? "Yous" -they use it as a plural of you, ignoring the fact that "you" is plural!  This drives me batty!  

These are the Saturday Six from Patrick's Place!