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Pennsylvania, United States
What changes hath time wrought...mostly a different hair-color, a few wrinkles and loss of short-term memory.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Acting Wormy

I'm finally getting around to reading Discover 100 Top Stories of 2010. (Thanks to an on-my-back-attack of the flu!) I'm on #63 and haven't read but one that made me go 'huh?': #12 Brain Map Shows You Think Like a Worm.

This is a photo of said worm: a marine ragworm.
This photo came from this site: http://www.nordicphotos.com/EN/Details/1367832

What made news is that the ragworms' clump of neurons inside this little guy's head is "eerily" similar to our brain's cerebral cortex!
Our cerebral cortex is associated with the higher brain functions, as voluntary movement, coordination of sensory information, learning and memory, and the expression of individuality. The big news is we probably have a common evolutionary ancestor.

The more I read the more I think humans are so arrogant in their position at the top of the food chain. I am NOT a vegetarian but I still think all organisms deserve a measure of respect.

Hormonally yours,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Today's Quotable Quotes

Our friends' thirteen-year old son to his sister, "Of course there's a Santa. You don't think mom and dad would buy us presents THAT expensive!"

My 5-year old son: "Initiate boob launchers." I knew Spongebob would be a bad influence! He has some movements that coordinate with that command, too.

Not sure what this animal is but he's sitting in an emesis basin and a rectal thermometer is lying across one end of the basin. The animal is being interviewed about going to the vet: "When they want to stick things in your rectum that just flies in the face of nature. Things are meant to come out of there and not go into it. ---Creature Comforts America Season 1, Episode 1. (That rectal thermometer was MY biggest fear when going to see a doctor as a child.)

These quotes are still making me chuckle...

Hormonally yours,

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Deck the Halls with Chips and Salsa

I'm enjoying some quiet time while listening to some Christmas music. My children and I attended a Christmas concert at my high school alma mater last night. It included singing and instrumental. It's been a while since I've attended anything there, but, I'm always amazed at the level of talent high school kids possess. And it's always a delight to hear something you've never heard before. One song was the title of this blog. I LOVE the music to this Christmas standard. I'm trying to locate a decent MP3 version of it. Another cutesie song was Good King Kong Looked Out. Here is a link to the lyrics -
- The ultimate touch was when the whole choir pulled out kazoos and hummed in harmony! It was so fun. Here is a link to the Virginia Beach Chorale video performance of this song.
I would say the high school group was as good, if not a touch better!

The auditorium was nicely filled, but not cramped. I had both kids with me, Jacob on my lap, when I heard a girl behind me say to her kids, 'There's Mr. McC. He was the choir director when I was here.' I tried to inconspicuously see where Mr. McC was because he was my choir director, also. Lo and behold, he was sitting in our row three seats away from us. Leaving Jacob behind I slid into the seat beside the former music director, tapped him and asked if he by any chance recognized me. Allaying any embarrassment at NOT making an ID I told him my last name. He remembered and even recalled my involvement in all the music programs- vocal and instrumental. Music was everything to me when I was in high school. I had a moment of dread that I didn't have any continuing musical achievements to share. But as the evening's program started and I returned to me seat I thought about the influence he and our band directors, Mr. E. and Mr. B. played in my life in my other musical endeavors.

My musical endeavors started during my early years of teaching in an Erie parochial school. I instituted my own brand of music into religion classes. Hoping to sauce up the routine of practicing songs for Mass I used a song from a District Chorus concert in which I'd been a part. It was an inspirational round. We did not have a music teacher at my first school so everyone was willing to participate. Grades 5-8 sang it for a meditation song.
As time went on I tried to incorporate 70s protest(?) songs into classes, pathetically strumming my guitar while the kids sang, Get Together, One Tin Soldier and You've Got a Friend, etc. I wrote and my classes performed several prayer services. The last one showing the principal's trust in me when I put modern music and dialog into the story of the passion of Christ. I only organized one performance after that and it was back to a more austere atmosphere as a student played the piano while the rest of the fifth graders sang Only a Baby Came. Where on earth did I get any knowledge or arrogance to think I could pull these things off? Mr. McC, who always showed me more confidence than I actually ever felt in myself.

Mr. E was the one who cemented my enjoyment of big band music. In my current favorite oldie, Little River Band's song Reminiscing, they mention "Cole Porter tunes...Night and Day..." I love Night and Day. I have a cassette Christmas In the Mood. Thank you Glenn Miller. I played the piano in our high school's Stage Band. I remember practicing the Tonight Show Theme on the piano over and over and still never feeling completely confident that I was playing it well. As a result I tried to play quietly. I still remembering Mr. E encouraging me to play louder! Playing the saxophone and piano in a group are two of my favorite memories of my school years.

Teachers don't always get the recognition they deserve. But it sometimes takes years for their students to perceive the influence of those steadfast figures . That includes parents, teachers, neighbors, bosses and unwavering friends.

The concert ended with the invitation of former choir members to come onstage/up front to sing the Hallelujah Chorus. I did not go up- two kids couldn't be left behind. I wasn't sure if I SANG it in high school. It seems to me I accompanied the choir on the piano. I did know the soprano part and sang it from my seat. The girl behind me was singing the alto part. She did pretty well, too! They asked everyone to stand up for this performance. I think this was the only thing that marred the show: it was next to impossible to see anything but the backs of the people in front of me! It would have been much better if everyone had remained seated.

Obviously it wasn't such a problem because I hadn't even considered it until I started writing this blog. Deck the Halls with Chips and Salsa. That's memorable. And sounds like time for a snack.

Hormonally yours,

Sunday, December 12, 2010

This is what the voters wanted?

I was just reading the Erie Sunday Times. I came across this AP article Obama: Tax Cut Deal Not Perfect--- http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hE7jEUWP7-iXGq3S8UUaJ6D8pNsQ?docId=33fab62999354f4293e374c55893b959 Go here to read the article in its entirety. I've been following it since the news broke of Obama's negotiation with Republicans to get this passed. This is exactly what mystifies me:

"Republicans support the plan because it would not impose higher taxes on the wealthiest, as Obama long had wanted to do. Democrats object to the pact on grounds that it is too generous to the rich.

Obama said the agreement will require that both parties accept some things they don't like. But he said the agreement will help the middle-class families that he and others have argued should be spared further economic hardship."

Who voted Republicans back into the majority??? I completely understand about fiscal responsibility. You should only spend money you have. And I do not have a Robin Hood Syndrome: Take from the rich to give to the poor. Simply put everyone, richest to poorest, has to do their fair share. There are no free rides. These tax cuts, according to the news articles I've read, began in the Bush (2001-2008) administration. It extended to the middle class, also. Which, being middle class, is nice. BUT, I'm probably in the minority- a bipartisan who believes what I get for my tax money is the best bargain of my life. How much would it cost me to support a small troop to protect my personal property and freedoms? Back to my question: is this truly what most Americans believe will build a strong nation?

In my opinion President Obama is on the right track but is constantly being derailed by corporate/industrial interests who can now legally donate to political candidates' campaigns. Yikes.

Damn, I tried to publish while this was saving and now half my blog is missing. Maybe that was fate telling me not to share what I was thinking today.

Hormonally yours,


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Chef Blessings and Blunders

I love having a laptop stationed on my kitchen counter. Having access to thousands, nay, millions of recipes is very helpful when making dinner. My kids, 5 and 9, are extremely picky eaters. No longer do I make special meals for them as I once did; (and as my sister likes to remind me as my mother did for me! Gosh, I miss my mom.) The same for my husband who entered the marriage having only regularly eaten beef, peanut butter sandwiches and pizza. I admit as a kid I was terribly picky but now I enjoy trying new foods and usually find I enjoy them. Cajun seasoning, horseradish and garlic are flavors I savor. Veal is my new meat of choice. And I just bought Cornish Hens for our Christmas feast when my son just couldn't agree to duck. So I try to make a variety of foods. If they don't like it, fine, if they do, I usually faint. My husband always graciously thanks me for making dinner and says it was good. If his comment is "not bad" I know he didn't like it at all.

Tonight's dining adventure was veal scallopini. We'd had veal marsala a few weeks ago. Here's the link to the recipe I used. http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Veal-Scallopini/Detail.aspx It was easy and I only had to buy some mushrooms. May I recommend crimini (baby bella) mushrooms. Even Tim admitted they were good tasting and he NEVER eats mushrooms. This took about 15 minutes to make. I wanted to put it over linguine but I hated to pull out my BIG sauce pan. So we settled for egg noodles.

Prior to starting to dinner I thought I would make some hard-boiled eggs to put on salads for dinner tomorrow. I think I'm a fairly intelligent person, but it took me a LONG time to learn and remember how to make hard-boiled eggs. I think I've mastered the two-steps and let them sit for 17 minutes after boiling and immerse them in ice water. So I'm not too vigilant about monitoring the eggs as they're warming to boiling point. I was watching Word Girl with the kids when I heard what sounded like gunshots in our kitchen. I ran out and looked around stumped for a few seconds before I realized MY EGGS WERE EXPLODING! Yes, the one KEY step to successfully making hard-boiled eggs is turning off the heat when the water boils! I had a lack of vigilance yesterday when making tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner: I left the kitchen while the tomato soup was heating. When I returned it had burned the bottom of the pan. Tuesday we had tacos and I put the ground beef on the lowest heat and ran my daughter to her piano lesson, less than a mile away. I then decided to make another stop. When we returned the meat was a crusty dark-brown on the outside and pink on the inside. I'm sensing a pattern here.

I guess my attempt at food variety has made an impression on my daughter. Here is her instructions for making Thanksgiving Dinner: I don't use wine very often, not sure why she thought that would be necessary?

Food warning: If capers are on the list of ingredients be conservative. I thought I would add a few more and they overpowered (whatever it was) I made.

Do you ever inadvertently add too much cream to your coffee when refilling and then keep adding more coffee as you drink it? That's what I'm doing right now. I recently read where your brain makes its own cholestrol and diabetics with low-blood sugars starve their brains of this necessary nourishment causing a brain-malfunction. Maybe that's my residual problem. I love to blame blunders on factors I have no control over. But, I've got to face it: I'm over 40 and these things start to happen- as the doctor I saw today likes to remind me.

Hormonally yours,