Monday, December 20, 2010

Pause to Enjoy Random Acts of Culture

Hi, Everyone,

Thanks to Pearl's husband, we have performances of the Opera Company of Philadelphia to enjoy.  Relax during this hectic time and let the music wash over you for a few quiet minutes.

Pearl writes, "I thought you might enjoy two pieces David found from Philadelphia YouTubelore -- the Opera Company of Philadelphia has a grant from the Knight Foundation to commit "random acts of culture". 

They've done the Brindisi chorus from La Traviata in Reading Terminal (on Italian festival Day), and just recently did the Hallelujah Chorus (650 voices) in Macy's Great Hall (the old Wanamaker Organ as accompaniment). .

The Messiah piece has nearly 6,000,000 hits."

The links are below


Thanks, Pearl and David too!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Reminders of the Season

Take time to enjoy the season by viewing the beautiful Christmas card forwarded to us by Barb R. and created by Jacquie Lawson.

Your children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews, family and friends should find it rewarding.

Click on this link:

Thanks, Barb!  It's well worth the 'click'.

For more ecards by Jacquie Lawson, go to and join.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Put a Good Novel on Your Holiday Gift List

Many of you may have read Girl With A Pearl Earring or seen the Oscar-nominated  film based on Tracy Chevalier's historical novel (Dutton, 1999).

Chevalier has written a total of 6 historical novels with Remarkable Creatures (Harper Collins 2009) the most recent.

Thanks to Pearl, we have a review of Remarkable Creatures to share.

Pearl recounts her recent attendance at a talk given by Chevalier.

She says, "I had the pleasure of hearing Tracy Chevalier talk about the research she does for her books. Besides the library research on Mary Anning ,she went fossil hunting multiple times to gain an awareness of the coast, the cold and the concentration fossil hunting took. There actually exists a small museum of Mary Anning's finds.

The book is about poor and uneducated Mary Anning, who really did exist, and her ability to find fossils on the English coast.

Of course the male academic community did not recognize her. The fictionalized character, Elizabeth Pilpot, from the middle-class brings notice of Mary to the London academic community.

The book has wonderful descriptions of the class structure in Britain and the fear of finding evidence of new creatures. It is a quick and enjoyable read.
Hope you enjoy the book,"

(Thanks, Pearl.  for sending us this review.)

For those who have enjoyed one of Tracy Chevalier's historical novels or who are choosing one for the first time, there are 4 others among of her literary achievements:

The Virgin Blue(Plume, 1997)
Falling Angels (Dutton, 2001)
The Lady and the Unicorn(Dutton Adult,  2003)
 Burning Bright (Harper Collins,2007)

Saturday, August 14, 2010

You Locked Your Car, Right? Well, Maybe Not. A New Scam

I always use the keychain remote to lock my car.  Smart, right?  Maybe not!

How to lock your car and why!

Please forward this important information
to everyone in your address book!

I locked my car. As I walked away I heard my car unlock. I went back and locked my car again three times.
Each time, as soon as I started to walk away, I would hear it unlock again! Naturally alarmed, I looked around and there were two guys sitting in a car in the fire lane next to the store.They were obviously watching me intently, and there was no doubt they were somehow involved in this very weird situation.

I quickly chucked the errand I was on, jumped in my car and sped away.

I went straight to the police station, told them what had happened, and found out I was part of a new, and very successful, scheme being used to gain entry into cars.

Two weeks later, my friend's son had a similar happen.
While traveling, my friend's son stopped at a roadside rest to use the bathroom. When he came out to his car less than 4-5 minutes later, someone had gotten into his car and stolen his cell phone, laptop computer, GPS
navigator, briefcase .... you name it.

He called the police and since there were no signs of his car being broken into, the police told him he had been a victim of the latest robbery tactic -- there is a device that robbers are using now to clone your security
code when you lock your doors on your car using your key-chain locking device.

They sit a distance away and watch for their next victim. They know you are going inside of the store, restaurant, or bathroom and that they now have a few minutes to steal and run.

The police officer said to manually lock your car door-by hitting the lock button inside the car -- that way if there is someone sitting in a parking lot watching for their next victim, it will not be you.

When you hit the lock button on your car upon exiting, it does not send the security code, but if you walk away and use the door lock on your key chain, it sends the code through the airwaves where it can be instantly stolen.

This is very real. Be wisely aware of what you just read and please pass this note on.

Look how many times we all lock our doors with our remote just to be sure we remembered to lock them -- and bingo, someone has our code...and whatever was in our car.

Please share with everyone you know! Thanks to Barb R. for sending this.


Our own Barbara Grippe Reese and Edinboro resident Barbara Tan Reinig have had their poetry published in a new collection of Erie County voices.  The collection has been edited by Berywn Moore who is Erie County's first Poet Laureate.

The collection has been published by Gannon University Press as Dwelling in Possibilities:  Voices of Erie County.  The new release is a collection of art work, photography and poetry by residents of Erie County, and Barbara Grippe Reese's "Raspberry Reflections" is a very special read.

The book  is available for $7.00 at the Erie Book Store or at the Gannon University Bookstore. 

Of the purchase price, $2.00 from each $7.00 price will be donated to "Hooked on Books."  Those of us who have been Delta Kappa Gamma members will recall that Dr. Delores Serafinski started the program for Erie area children approximately 2 decades ago.
A perfect way to wind down the summer!  Pick up a copy of Dwelling in Possibilities: Voices of Erie County.
Thanks to Barbara for sharing her writing talent with us.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Protecting Ourselves So That We Can Protect Our Loved Ones

None of us like to think that people might harm us or our families.  But, of course, we know they're out there.  A policeman has put together some hints to help us remain safe so that we can protect the people we love.

Subject: Sent by a cop.....Crucial

Because of recent abductions
In daylight hours, refresh yourself
of these things to do
in an emergency situation.....

This is for you,
and for you to share
with your relatives,
your children,
everyone you know.

After reading these 10 crucial tips,
forward them to someone you care about.

It never hurts to be careful
in this crazy world we live in.

1. Tip from Tae Kwon Do :

The elbow is the strongest point
on your body.
If you are close enough to use it, do!

2. Learned this from a tourist guide.

If a robber asks for your wallet and/or purse,
Toss it away from you.....
Chances are that he is more interested
in your wallet and/or purse than you,
and he will go for the wallet/purse.

3. If you are ever thrown into the trunk of a car,
kick out the back tail lights and stick your arm out the hole
and start waving like crazy..
The driver won't see you, but everybody else will.
This has saved lives.

4. Women have a tendency to get into their cars
after shopping, eating, working, etc., and just sit
(doing their checkbook, or making a list, etc.

The predator will be watching you, and this
is the perfect opportunity for him to get in
on the passenger side, put a gun to your head,
and tell you where to go.


If someone
is in the car
with a gun
to your head
Instead gun the engine
and speed into anything, wrecking the car.

Your Air Bag will save you.
If the person is in the back seat
they will get the worst of it .
As soon as the car crashes
bail out and run.

It is better than having them find your body
in a remote location.

5. A few notes about getting
into your car in a parking lot,
or parking garage:

A.) Be aware:
look around you,
look into your car,
at the passenger side floor ,
and in the back seat

B.) If you are parked next to a big van,
enter your car from the passenger door.
Most serial killers attack their victims
by pulling them into their vans while the women
are attempting to get into their cars.

C.) Look at the car
parked on the driver's side of your vehicle,
and the passenger side... If a male is sitting alone
in the seat nearest your car, you may want to walk back
into the mall, or work, and get a
guard/policeman to walk you back out.

IT IS ALWAYS BETTER TO BE SAFE THAN SORRY. (And better paranoid than dead..)

6. ALWAYS take the elevator
instead of the stairs.
Stairwells are horrible places to be alone
and the perfect crime spot.
This is especially true at NIGHT!)

7. If the predator has a gun
and you are not under his control,
The predator will only hit you (a running target)
4 in 100 times; and even then,
it most likely WILL NOT be a vital organ.
RUN, Preferably in a zig -zag pattern!

8. As women, we are always trying
to be sympathetic:
It may get you raped, or killed.
Ted Bundy, the serial killer, was a good-looking,
well educated man, who ALWAYS played
on the sympathies of unsuspecting women.
He walked with a cane, or a limp, and often
asked 'for help' into his vehicle or with his vehicle,
which is when he abducted
his next victim.

9. Another Safety Point:

Someone just told me that her friend heard
a crying baby on her porch the night before last,
and she called the police because it was late
and she thought it was weird.. The police told her
'Whatever you do, DO NOT
open the door..'

The lady then said that it sounded like the baby
had crawled near a window, and she was worried
that it would crawl to the street and get run over.
The policeman said, 'We already have a unit on the way,
whatever you do, DO NOT open the door..'

He told her that they think a serial killer
has a baby's cry recorded and uses it to coax
women out of their homes thinking that someone
dropped off a baby.. He said they have not verified it,
but have had several calls by women saying that
they hear baby's cries outside their doors
when they're home alone at night.
10. Water scam!
If you wake up in the middle
of the night to hear all your taps outside running or what you think is a
burst pipe, DO NOT GO OUT TO INVESTIGATE! These people turn on all your
outside taps full ball so that you will go out to investigate and
then attack.

Stay alert, keep safe, and look out for your neighbours!

NOTE:  Please pass this on

This e-mail should probably be taken seriously because
the Crying Baby Theory was mentioned on
America 's Most Wanted when they profiled
the serial killer in Louisiana .

I'd like you to forward this to all the women you know..
It may save a life. A candle is not dimmed by lighting another candle..
I was going to send this to the ladies only,
but guys, if you love your mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, etc.,
you may want to pass it onto them, as well.

Send this to any woman you know that may need
to be reminded that the world we live in has a lot of crazies in it
and it's better to be safe than sorry..

Everyone should take 5 minutes to read this. It may save your life or love one's life

(Thanks to Joan H. for sending this to us.)

Monday, July 5, 2010

Remembering the 50's: Music, Politics, History, Fashion, Cars: All That You (or your children) May Want to Know About That Memorable Time

The link below goes to a video created  by  Joan H. sent it to us for those of us who remember growing up in the 50's and for those of us whose parents did.  The music speaks to everyone who knows where Rock 'n Roll really started and the famous musicians who were part of that time.  Will your grandchildren believe those poodle skirts?  How about the cars from that era?

Check it out.  Thanks, Joan! 

Please note:  It's illegal to show this video on a website, but it is legal to send the original website address to others so that they may enjoy it.

*Most of the pictures on postings are from Microsoft Clips OnLine, but the jukebox photo is Fotofilia.  That is, except the ones accompanying the blog title-those are from friends and family.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Finally! Time to Read: WHAT THE DOG SAW by Malcolm Gladwell(2009)

What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures
Malcolm Gladwell, Little Brown & Co. 2009

This collection of Gladwell essays derives its title from the essay on the Dog Whisperer, Cesar Millan, and his talent in changing aggressive dogs into more amiable characters.

The essays range from the reason for Heinz Ketchup's success to the inventor of the birth control pill. “ Mammography, Air Power, and the Limits of Looking” is interesting because it examines what we can and cannot predict in life.

We’ve all experienced both highly effective and totally ineffective leaders in the work place. In Part III the essay on "The Talent Myth" gives insight into the characteristics of ineffective managers. Gladwell refers to an essay by Raskin and Fazzini called "The Dark Side of Charisma" (listed by Gladwell as published in the early 1990s) in which they identify 3 types of ineffective leaders

Recognize this type? Some of us have seen far too many of the narcissist type.

"The Narcissist, whose energy and self-confidence and charm lead him inexorably up thecorporate ladder. Narcissists are terrible managers. They resist accepting suggestions, thinking it will make them appear weak, and they don't believe that others have anything useful to tell them."

Just in case you still aren’t familiar with this type…

"Narcissists are biased to take more credit for success than is legitimate and are biased to avoid acknowledging responsibility for their failures and shortcomings for the same reasons that they claim more success than is their due. Moreover "'Narcissists typically make judgments with greater confidence than other people, and, because their judgments are rendered with such conviction, other people tend to believe them and the narcissists become disproportionately more influential in group situations. Finally, because of their self-confidence and strong need for recognition, narcissists then self-nominate(when a leadership gap occurs)'" (quoted from the Raskin and Faxzzini essay).

For those of us who have dedicated our careers to education, the essays on “Late Bloomers,” “Most Likely to Succeed,”“The New- Boy Network,” “Dangerous Minds,” and “Troublemakers” are thought-provoking. In “Most Likely to Succeed,” Gladwell refers to the economist, Eric Hanushek, who observed that just replacing 6 to 10 % of the worst teachers with average teachers could change the below-average global ranking in educational achievement that the US holds now to an advantageously high ranking in league with the higher-performing nations.  Could that be correct?  Those of us who have had wonderful experiences with the best teachers and  far too many experiences with the 'worst' will find food for thought here.

And who can resist a study of pit bulls and, in general, dogs  who attack people? Is the breed itself dangerous? What other breeds have attacked people? What about the owners of these animals? What can we say about them?

The essays on the Veg-o-Matic (“The Pitchman”) and the professional taste testers of “The Ketchup Conundrum” weren’t favorites, but overall, the essays make connections that we don't normally think of;  they are well researched, thought-provoking and well worth the read.

Make What the Dog Saw your non-fiction choice for the summer.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bragging Rights

Subject: Bragging rights...

Finally!  Something we can brag about. 

Thanks to Pearl for forwarding this nugget.

I don't want to brag or make anybody jealous or anything,

but I can still fit into the earrings I wore in high school.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Thinking about Your Age as Toddlers, Preteens, Teens; In Your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and Beyond-As Per George Carlin

When is the last time you thought about your age in months? 6 months? 18 months?  24 months?  Sure!  720 months, DEFINITELY NOT!

In 1/2 years?   2 and 1/2?  6 and 1/2?  11 and 1/2?  Absolutely!   But 60 and 1/2?  I DON'T THINK SO...
In decades? The 30s, the 40s, the 50s, ...the 100s?  We can certainly hope so.
PS:Just forget any "Black Balloon" Birthdays, PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE!

George Carlin shared his thoughts on age(in societally-acceptable language, no less).
 Truly,  the late George Carlin's beautiful take on age is worth watching.  Plus the photography is outstanding.

Thanks to Marty for forwarding this to us.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Watching Out for Our Little Ones

The second page of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette(June 6, 2010)  has a health and science column that is very important to pass on to anyone who has little ones.

Lithium batteries ingested can cause death. These little button batteries used to power remote controls, toys, musical greeting cards, and other home electronics are deadly.

Please alert all parents of young children about this danger. And for those of us with grandchildren, the warning will make us double check the toys we buy or what we have around the house when our most precious family members visit.

Also, McDonald's is recalling the Shrek glasses.  They have traces of cadmium on them and should be disposed of if you have one in the house.

Thanks to Joan H. for sending us warnings that will help to keep our little ones safe and healthy.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Women Over 40

Attributed to Andy Rooney, this commentary is dedicated to all who have reached that very, very young age of 40-also to those of us who remember it well.

“As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

1.  A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, ‘What are you thinking?’ She doesn’t care what you think.

2.  If a woman over 40 doesn’t want to watch the game, she doesn’t sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it’s usually more interesting.

3.  Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won’t hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

4.  Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it’s like to be unappreciated.

5.  Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

6.  Once you get past a wrinkle or two, a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They’ll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don’t ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

 7.  Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons.

 8.  Unfortunately, it’s not reciprocal. For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, hot woman over 40, there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.
Ladies, I apologize.

9.  For all those men who say, ‘Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?’, here’s an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it’s not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage."

Thanks to Chris for forwarding this to us.










Just before he passed away in 2004, the author, Stieg Larsson, submitted manuscripts to Norstedts Publishing in Sweden.  The first of the three-novel series and published in 2005, is The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

What makes this a good read?  In a word, complexity.  One main character, Mikael Blomkvist, the 42- year- old writer and  publisher of  a Swedish financial magazine, Millennium,  has just been fined and sentenced to 3 months in prison for libeling a powerful businessman.  Shortly after, Henrik Vanger, a famous industrialist, contacts him to investigate the decades-old disappearance of 16-year-old Harriet Vanger .  Before making the offer to employ Blomkvist, Vanger has had the disgraced publisher vetted by Milton Security. The investigator who completes the report is Lisbeth Salander.

 Lisbeth Salander is a mysterious twenty-something private investigator who is brilliant, but unusual to say the least.   Years before, she had been designated as mentally incompetent by the state, necessitating the assignment of a government-appointed guardian.  She has learned to control her destructive impulses through a system she calls "Consequence Analyses" taught to her as a coping mechanism by her first guardian.  When he has a debilitating stroke, she is assigned a new, and totally different guardian. It is this guardian with whom she learns the true value of "Consequence Analyses".

The Vanger family itself is cloaked in mystery.  As Blomkvist tries to unravel the mystery of Harriet's disappearance, he meets Lisbeth Salander who is conducting her own investigation into his libel trial.  Both struggle to make sense of their own lives and, at the same time, they work together to find answers to the Vanger mystery. They  discover much more than they had anticipated, information on all fronts, putting them in extreme danger while juggling personal, ethical and moral dilemmas.

What reaction did this reader have on closing the book for the final time?  The desire to read the second in the series, The Girl Who Played with Fire, available now in paperback.  And finally to read the third novel of the series, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, published by Alfred A. Knopf in hardback this year.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

We Have a Winner!

The Kanzius Cancer Research project ended the competition as first-place winner in the $250,000 Pepsi competition.

News reports credit social networking sites for fueling the Kanzius votes.  So we have had a small part in obtaining funding for this worthwhile project.  Some of us voted every day.  Thanks to those supporters and also to those who forwarded our request for votes to their other distribution lists.

 The lead researcher, Steven Curley, M.D., Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, worked with John Kanzius up until the time of John's death from leukemia last hear.  He has outlined plans for using the award.  Of the total,
  • $120,000 will be set aside to "hire a molecular biologist specializing in cancer-cell targeting";
  • $60,000 will provide funds to hire a "physicist for nanoparticle research";
  •  $70,000 will be used for a "global communications plan" ( Erie Times - News, May 1, 2010,9B).
We have all helped this initiative.  Thanks to all of you who voted...and voted...and voted again!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Musings of Wise Women

Girlie Wisdom!
1. A friend of mine confused her Valium with her birth control pills... she has 14 kids but she doesn't really care.
2. One of life's mysteries is how a 2-pound box of chocolates can make a woman gain 5 lbs.
3. My mind not only wanders, it sometimes leaves completely.

4. The best way to forget your troubles is to wear tight shoes.

5. The nice part about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you are doing, someone else does.

6. The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight, because by then your body and your fat are really good friends.

7. Just when I was getting used to yesterday , along came today .

8. Sometimes I think I understand everything, and then I regain consciousness.

9. I gave up jogging for my health when my thighs kept rubbing together and setting fire to my panties.

10. Amazing! You hang something in your closet, for a while, and it shrinks 2 sizes!

11. Skinny people irritate me! Especially when they say things like...'You know sometimes I forget to eat!' .....Now, I've forgotten my address, my mother's maiden name, and my keys, but I have never forgotten to eat.. You have to be a special kind of stupid to forget to eat!

12.. The trouble with some women is that they get all excited about nothing -- and then they marry him.

13. I read this article that said the typical symptoms of stress are eating too much, impulse buying, and driving too fast. Are they kidding? That's my idea of a perfect day !



Thanks to Wanda D. for sending this out and to Linda L. for forwarding it to us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

In Fashion or Not! Guess What I've Found.

I've spent far too much money on jeans from catalog buys:  some advertised as 'sits at the natural waist' when they really fit 3 inches below'; others listed as 'sits slightly below the waist' when they really defy the definition of 'slightly'; and those that do fit at the 'natural'waist but are so baggy (or tight) in the hip and thigh that they can't really be sized correctly!

Through the untold number of catalogs arriving in my mail, I've also been introduced to the 'Paris fit'.  For those who might not recognize the term, it is a new rendition of 'sits at the natural waist'.  By the way, the 'Paris fit' wasn't any more satisfactory than the ones I've already listed. 

Finally, I have found jeans that fit-and in an array of colors: sand, black, stonewash, dark blue, gray-even pale colors like yellow.  Where?  At Kohl's!

I've been in Kohl's only once before as I searched for a reasonably priced, nice looking red purse.  But this week I was on the hunt-once again-for jeans...and found them.  Made by Gloria Vanderbilt, called 'Amanda', and actually fitting at the 'natural waist' as well as through the hip and thigh...both straight leg and boot cut.   And that's just one surprise.  The other?  They were on sale.  It seems that almost everything at this department store is. 

Who knew?  Probably all of you!  But for me, finding jeans at Kohl's was a great experience-a great spring surprise!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Finally! Time to Read:Garth Stein's THE ART OF RACING IN THE RAIN

The Art of Racing in the Rain is a compelling story told through the eyes of - and with the all-consuming love of- Enzo, the family dog.

Sarah Gruen, who wrote Water for Elephants, describes the narrator of Stein's The Art of Racing in the Rain:  "This old soul of a dog has much to teach us about being human."  She adds that she loved the novel.
I must admit I loved it, too!

Enzo believes that special dogs come back as humans in the next life.  He also believes he might be a special dog who will be able to give advice and transmit all his knowledge of people, racing and love that  he has gained in this life after rebirth as a person in the next.

This special dog lives with his racing driver owner, the owner's wife, and their little girl, Zoe.  The family goes through deep love, extreme trauma, and the depths of despair while always comforted by their compassionate and intelligent pet. He prvides comfort when they are sad, is joyful when they are happy, and admonishes them when they need it.

Wally Lamb describes the story as "a meditation on humility and hope in the face of despair."  Hope, faith, and desire to be a rock of strength for the people he loves, Enzo displays all of these traits. 

The spirituality of Enzo's narrative shows that people-or animals and people-who are destined to go through life together have souls that stay together, no matter what life or death may bring.

Thanks to Ann A. for recommending this book.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Special St. Patrick's Day Gift

Some of us will be celebrating St. Patrick's Day in Key West, others in Pittsburgh, Edinboro, Erie, Philadelphia, and Ardmore, Pennsylvania;  Heathsville, Virginia; Shelton,Connecticut; Las Vegas, Nevada; Phoenix,Arizona: Scotty's Castle, Death Valley; and West Virginia. Wherever the celebration takes place, we hope these thoughts add to the happiness of the day.

May joy and peace surround you,

Contentment latch your door,
And happiness be with you now,
And bless you evermore.

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been
the foresight to know where you're going
and the insight to know when you're going too far.

May your pockets be heavy and your heart be light
May good luck pursue you each morning and night.

(Thanks to Rachel M. and Barb L. for forwarding this St. Patrick's Day gift.)

Saturday, March 13, 2010

For All of Those Walking Enthusiasts Among Us

Many of us try to stick to an exercise schedule-with more or less success.  Walking seems to be one of our favorites, though.  For a tongue-in-cheek commentary on walking, take a moment to look at the following from Tom Z.

The Importance of Walking

can add minutes to your life.

This enables you at 85 years old
to spend an additional 5 months in a nursing
home at $7000 per month.

My grandpa started walking
five miles a day when he was 60.
Now he's 97 years old
and we don't know where he is.

I like long walks,
especially when they are taken
by people who annoy me.

I have to walk early in the morning,
before my brain figures out what I'm doing.

I joined a health club last year,
spent about 400 bucks.
Haven't lost a pound.
Apparently you have to go there.

Every time I hear the dirty word 'exercise,'
I wash my mouth out with chocolate.

The advantage of exercising every day
is so when you die, they'll say,
'Well, she looks good doesn't she.'

If you are going to try cross-country skiing,
start with a small country.

I know I got a lot of exercise
the last few years.
just getting over the hill.

We all get heavier as we get older,
because there's a lot more information in our heads.
That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


Every time I start thinking too much
about how I look,
I just find a Happy Hour
and by the time I leave,
I look just fine.

(Thanks, Tom, for forwarding this to us.)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Signal That You've Been Together Too Long

One of the perks of managing a blog is that important people in my life send me all kinds of information and stories or anecdotes to post.  Joan H. for forwarding this bit of humor for the day.

*The Black Bra*

I had lunch with 2 of my unmarried friends. One is engaged, one is a mistress, and I have been married for 20+ years.

We were chatting about our relationships and decided to amaze our men by greeting them at the door wearing a black bra, stiletto heels, and a mask over our eyes. We agreed to meet in a few days to exchange notes.

Here's how it all went.

My engaged friend:

The other night when my boyfriend came over he found me with a black leather bodice, tall stilettos, and a mask. He saw me and said, 'You are the woman of my dreams. I love you.' Then we made passionate love all night long.

The mistress:

Me too! The other night I met my lover at his office and I was wearing a raincoat, under it only the black bra, heels and mask over my eyes.. When I opened the raincoat he didn't say a word, but he started to tremble, and we had wild sex all night.

Then I had to share my story:

When my husband came home, I was wearing the black bra, black stockings,stilettos and a mask over my eyes.When he came in the door and saw me he said, "What's for dinner, Batman?"

(Thanks to Joan H. for forwarding this to us.)

Finally! Time to Read: Michael Palmer's THE SECOND OPINION

For those of us familiar with Palmer's previous novels, The Second Opinion (2009) will bring us to familiar territory:  the medical world of Boston, its hospitals, surgeons, and mysteries, manipulations, and secret agendas cropping up within this very specialized community.

But this novel is unique because the author draws on his family's experiences with Asperger Syndrome.  The Palmer's son, now 18, was diagnosed at the age of 4 and is, in Palmer's words, "a joy to be around and who has a boundless future." Thus, the author's deeply personal knowledge of the disorder contributes to his characterization of Thea Sperelakis, an  adult AS who is also a brilliant doctor with Doctors Without Borders. She is called home when her father, a famous diagnostic physician, lies in a coma after being struck by a hit-and-run driver.

As she tries to help her father and unravel the mystery surrounding his accident, she also puzzles through the implications of another patient, Hayley Long, who has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. A contract killer, the complications of two brothers and a sister with their own agendas, and Thea's constant effort to read motives, manipulation, and misdirection by those around her give this novel a depth that this reader has not seen before in the Palmer medical mysteries.

Questions about Asperger Syndrome arise as the reader compares Thea's fictional  reactions and struggles to those of other adults who cope with the same disorder in our real world .  As a postscript to the novel, Palmer provides answers to many questions that we have about Asperger's and the bright, wonderful people who cope with its challenges while accomplishing  many wonderful things in life.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A Warning to Men: Be Grateful; Be Very Grateful- for the Mature, Loving, Understanding and Reasonable Woman

A Warning to all men with "mature" wives at this most loving time of year.  One man reflects on his 41-year marriage and receives the following carefully reasoned reply:

Older Women Are So Reasonable.

After being married for 41 years, I took a careful look at my wife one day and said, "41 years ago we had a cheap apartment, a cheap car, slepton a sofa bed and watched a 10-inch black and white TV. But I got tosleep every night with a hot 25 year old girl."

Now I have a $1,000,000.00 home, a $45,000.00 car, a nice big bed and an LCD High Defintion TV. But I'm sleeping with a 64 year old woman. It seems to me that you're not holding up your side of things."

My wife is a very reasonable woman. She told me to go out and find a hot 25 year old girl and she would make sure that I would once again be living in a cheap apartment, driving a cheap car, sleeping on a sofa bed
and watching a 10-inch black and white TV.

Aren't older women great? They really know how to solve your mid-life crises.

( Quoted from email forwarded from Joan H.  Thanks,Joan H., for sharing this little warning.)

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A Warning to Men as Valentine's Day Approaches

Careful with your answers, Walter!

You'll know that the spark is definitely out of your relationship if your partner answers, "What is your partner's favorite flower?" with a response like the one below.

Walter, and all men, need to remember that celibacy can be an individual choice or it can be "a condition imposed by circumstances."

While attending a Marriage Weekend, Walter and his wife,
Mildred, listened to
the instructor declare, 'It is essential that husbands
and wives know the
things that are important to each other.."

He then addressed the men,
'Can you name and describe your wife's favorite

Walter leaned over, touched Mildreds arm gently, and
whispered, 'Gold Medal-All-Purpose, isn't it?'  And thus began Walter's life of celibacy.........

Happy Valentine's Day, Everyone!

(Thanks to Rachel M. for this and to Barb L. for forwarding it to us.)

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Grandma Alert: Children See Us and the World in Unique Ways

It's always fun to realize the way a child has interpreted something we've said, a question we've answered, even the way we look with or without our glasses. 

Whether we have grandchildren or not, we can relate to the adult's surprise when a child comes out with something we would never have expected.  It can usually make us laugh or sometimes sadden our day.  Always it twists the heart.  Thanks to Tom  for forwarding this today.

(My personal favorites are #s 2,9, and 14!)

1. She was in the bathroom, putting on her makeup, under  the watchful eyes of her young granddaughter, as she'd done many times before. After she applied her lipstick and started to leave, the little one said, "But Gramma, you forgot to kiss the toilet paper good-bye!" I will probably never put lipstick on again without thinking about kissing the toilet paper good-bye....

2. My young grandson called the other day to wish me Happy Birthday. He asked me how old I was, and I told him, 62. My grandson was quiet for a moment, and then he asked, "Did you start at 1?"

 3. After putting her grandchildren to bed, a grandmother changed into old slacks and a droopy blouse and proceeded to wash her hair. As she heard the children getting more and more rambunctious, her patience grew thin. Finally, she threw a towel around her head and stormed into their room, putting them back to bed with stern warnings. As she left the room, she heard the three-year-old say with a trembling voice, "Who was THAT?"

4. A grandmother was telling her little granddaughter what her own childhood was like: "We used to skate outside on a pond. I had a swing made from a tire; it hung from a tree in our front yard. We rode our pony. We picked wild raspberries in the woods." The little girl was wide-eyed, taking this all in. At last she said, "I sure wish I'd gotten to know you sooner!"

 5. My grandson was visiting one day when he asked, "Grandma, do you know how you and God are alike?" I mentally polished my halo and I said, "No, how are we alike?'' "You're both old," he replied.

 6. A little girl was diligently pounding away on her grandfather's word processor. She told him she was writing a story. "What's it about?" he asked. "I don't know," she replied. "I can't read."

 7. I didn't know if my granddaughter had learned her colors yet, so I decided to test her. I would point out something and ask what color it was. She would tell me and was always correct. It was fun for me, so I continued. At last, she headed for the door, saying, "Grandma, I think you should try to figure out some of these, yourself!"

 8. When my grandson Billy and I entered our vacation cabin, we kept the lights off until we were inside to keep from attracting pesky insects. Still, a few fireflies followed us in. Noticing them before I did, Billy whispered, "It's no use Grandpa. Now the mosquitoes are coming after us with flashlights."

 9. When my grandson asked me how old I was, I teasingly replied, "I'm not sure." "Look in your underwear, Grandpa," he advised, "mine says I'm 4 to 6."

10. A second grader came home from school and said to her grandmother, "Grandma, guess what? We learned how to make babies today." The grandmother, more than a littlesurprised, tried to keep her cool. "That's interesting," she said,"How do you make babies?" "It's simple," replied the girl. "You just change 'y' to 'i' and add 'es'."

 11. Children's Logic: "Give me a sentence about a public servant," said a teacher. The small boy wrote "The fireman came down the ladder pregnant." The teacher took the lad aside to correct him. "Don't you know what pregnant means?" she asked. "Sure," said the young boy confidently. 'It means carrying a child."

12. A grandfather was delivering his grandchildren to their home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog.The children started discussing the dog's duties."They use him to keep crowds back," said one child." No," said another. "He's just for good luck." A third child brought the argument to a close."They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrants."

 13. A 6-year-old was asked where his grandma lived."Oh," he said, "she lives at the airport, and when we want her, we just go get her.. Then, when we're done having her visit, we take her back to the airport."

14. Grandpa is the smartest man on earth! He teaches me good, good things, but I don't get to see him enough to get as smart as him!

15. My Grandparents are funny, when they bend over; you hear gas leaks, and they blame their dog.

(Source Unknown)

Monday, January 25, 2010

My Truly Evil Sister (or) The Lure of the Most Dangerous Chocolate Cake

Sisters are wonderful people, right?  Well...yes, most of the time, but on occasion, they can be truly evil. 

How about the time when the unsuspecting little girl had the right side of her hair buzz cut and the left side hacked like shingles nailed on by an inebriated roofer.  Who did that? Her sometimes-evil sister, of course. 

And what about those bus trips into town on piano-lesson day? While the younger sister trudges up to the door of the piano teacher and explains that her sister just can't make it today, her evil sib is downtown spending her music lesson money .  That's evil, right? 

And the very unforgivable evil is that the sometimes -evil sister is aging much, much better than her sweet  sister. Grrrr!

 So it shouldn't surprise anyone that Sometimes Evil Sister is again on the loose-this time tempting me to pack on more pounds with a treat that no sister can possibly pass up: Chocolate cake made in a mug-in the microwave-in 5 minutes. Now how can I resist that?  Great baker that she is, famous for berry pies and all kinds of wonderful meals, she knows the secret that her sister, the terrible cook with plants on the stove, tries to keep under wraps: little sister does use the microwave.
So... she passed this recipe on to me.

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract
1 large coffee mug (MicroSafe)

Add dry ingredients to mug, and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly.
Pour in the milk and oil and mix well..
Add the chocolate chips (if using) and vanilla extract, and mix again.
Put your mug in the microwave and cook for 3 minutes at 1000 watts.
The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don't be alarmed!
Allow to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired.

EAT ! (this can serve 2 if you want to feel slightly more virtuous).

*And why is this the most dangerous cake recipe in the world?*
Because now we are all only 5 minutes away from chocolate cake at any time
of the day or night!

Hmmm...I can salve my conscience a little by topping this wonderful, luscious, fattening dessert with nonfat frozen yogurt.  That's what I'll do.  Ha!  And what do I have to say to you,  Sometimes Evil Sister???


Our thanks again to Joan H. for this great recipe.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

For All Who Have Lost Jobs in the Recession or Who Know Those Who Have

Most of us know of people who have lost their jobs due to the recession.  Bankruptcy seems to be the word in every newspaper's headlines. 

Although the experience is wrenching and frightening, it can also bring about experiences to laugh at.

The middle-aged man looking for another job is spending much of his day job hunting.  He's also faced with spending some of his day doing what he may never have done before:  Housework!  Hilarious...and worth passing on.  See  Please pass it on.   Thanks!

Our Health: 5 Ways to Get/Stay Healthy in 2010

Thanks to our resident health expert, we now have another resource that all of us can use:   A monthly newsletter published by UCLA Division of Geriatrics-Healthy/Years:  Helping Older Adults Lead Happier, Healthier Lives (

The five ways to achieve health in this new year are

1) Exercising (no surprise there).  All of us who already exercise on a regular basis, raise hands, please. Oops!  I see that both of my own hands are still on the keyboard--a very bad start.  But many of you are in programs:  Marty and Alice in weight training, Julie in Yoga, Jan in Curves, Joan H. in an exercise routine at the Y, and some on Wii Fitness or step routines. Others are  braving our Arctic temps with walks and still others are braving the 38-degree Florida weather or hiking in Death Valley.  Great examples, all, for those in the group who, like me, are much too lazy for our own good.

2) Understanding body weight, LDL cholesterol, blood pressure and glucose levels and working to move these numbers into acceptable ranges.  My personal downfall is pizza so I have a way to go here.

3)  My personal favorite:  "Strengthen your social networks."  We do that, I think so this way of staying healthy should be easy for all of us.

4)Moderating alcohol consumption.  We've all read about the  benefits of red wine and from the gatherings I've attended, we all heartily agree that this is one way we already practice!  But the 'in moderation' part means only 1 glass per day.    We can all point to days that just demand a little more.  So self discipline is really called for here.

5)  Making sure to track any meds or supplements and checking the list with our favorite MD. 

This newsletter is really informative, and our own Dr. Alice recommends it for accuracy and specific articles for women over 40.   I'm one of those who has subscribed to Bottom Line Health ( for years, but  no more.  I'm switching as per Alice' recommendation.

She's also recommending Vitamin D-3 supplements (as in 2000 IU per day).  According to Alice, a side benefit is an increase in serotonin which lessens any down-in-the-dumps feelings we might be experiencing-especially in this long stretch of  sub-zero wind chills and 4+ feet of snow. I'm following that suggestion as well.

Thanks, Alice.  Lucky for us that you're willing to share your expertise.

Note:  See the change of picture on the blog title.  Sunshine appeared today and made the ice-covered trees glitter-can't pass a scene like that up!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Computers and Cars: Bill Gates and GM Trade Barbs, and We Enjoy the Exchange

Bill Gates Vs General Motors

At the COMDEX computer expo Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and said "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25 cars that got 1000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Gates' comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics:

1. For no reason whatsoever your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines on the road you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason, and you would just accept this, restart and drive on.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn, would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Only one person at a time could use the car, unless you bought "Car95" or "CarNT". But then you would have to buy more seats.

6. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, reliable, five times as fast, and twice as easy to drive, but would only work on five percent of the roads.

7. The oil, water temperature and alternator warning lights would be replaced by a single "general car default" warning light.

8. New seats would force everyone to have the same size butt.

9. The airbag system would say "Are you sure?" before going off.

10. Occasionally for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key, and grab hold of the radio antenna.

11. GM would require all car buyers to also purchase a deluxe set of Rand McNally road maps (now a GM subsidiary), even though they neither need them nor want them. Attempting to delete this option would immediately cause the car's performance to diminish by 50% or more. Moreover, GM would become a target for investigation by the Justice Department.

12. Every time GM introduced a new model car buyers would have to learn to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

13. You'd press the "start" button to shut off the engine.

Thanks to Linda C. for sending us this.  The source is  on many websites. You can find it by googling "billgates vs cars," as I did to find the source.  The text above comes from although versions on other sites seem to be the same.

Finally! Time to Read: THE HELP

The Help by Kathryn Stockett (her first novel), Amy Einhorn Books, GP Putnam's Sons, 2009.

Joan H. has sent us her review shown below and encourages us to read The Help.

Set in Jackson,Mississippi in the early 1960's this story centers around the lives of Jackson's black maids. Their love for the white children that they are paid to raise comes back to reward them when one of the grown children (Skeeter) decides to expose how most of the white families treat blacks in the South. This is a book that is difficult to put down until you reach the last page. As the dust jacket explains, this novel describes "the way women-mothers, daughters, caregivers, friends-view one another" and "the lines we abide by, and the ones we don't."  Enjoy and pass it on.

Thanks to Joan H., I have also read the book, have enjoyed it, have been saddened and elated by it,  and have passed it on. A good read.

If you have read and enjoyed- or are touched by- Stockett's first novel, you can contact the author at

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Grandma Alert: New Baby Girl

Two days before Christmas, Noelle Joie entered our lives, healthy, happy, beautiful.  Her big sister has reddish-blond hair and blue eyes.  Noelle has dark hair and brown eyes, 7 lb. 14 oz., and 21 1/2" long.

All is well with the CT branch of our family as we celebrate our new arrival!