Thursday, January 29, 2015

As Michael Buble Croons, I Wanna Go Home...

It's time.  I wanna go home, home to 'Da Rock. 

It's only been a month since my last visit home, BUT and there's that but, a lot has changed in a month. And I am not just talking foliage as winter will be on its way out in Arkansas with pansies planted and daffodils emerging... 

You see this visit I won't be heading to the house on Grant Street but rather to the nursing home which is my Mom's new home. It's with mixed emotions as I know this is the best place for her to be, yet, I know this is not rehab and a temporary visit but rather really is her home. She won't be moving back to Grant Street.

My brother painted the older, yet very conveniently located facility, Alzheimer floor as depressing with a description right out of the movies. "The nurses were visiting in the common room and the hallway was lined with its patients sitting in their wheelchairs."  I've decided I'm just going to expect that scene and then be thrilled to discover anything different.

Perhaps when I arrive my folks will still be enjoying one of the nursing home's daily programs of an afternoon musical concert. My Dad made some comment that he was going to go back to take her. And I inquired, "wouldn't someone there take her over? " Oh sure," he replied, "but this way I can roll her over and sit with her and hold her hand." That picture is pretty sweet. 

I'll be fine. She's fine. They are fine...

Here's Michael Buble's I Wanna Go Home 

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

It's More than Exercise

Good conversation always come with our endeavors
There's one activity that has moved with me 7 times over the years and it's my exercise program, Jazzercise. Jazzercise has more than just exercised my body in the different locales, it has also broadened my friendship base. Good health involves not only the body but the psyche as well. :)

This week our class shared more than just coffee as one of the class members, Carol, shared eating healthier with us. She had printed off healthy recipes from the Sanoviv Institute she had visited in Mexico. 

If interested, we could choose a recipe to make and share with the others. Yesterday we got to sample these healthier recipe options. Nowadays many folks have diet related health issues.

Any how not everybody might have the necessary ingredients in their pantries but most items could  be found in the local grocery store although some of us needed to visit our local food co-op/ a health food store. There were some "unique" concoctions such as Lime Pudding Shake which Jeanne blended up fresh for us with ingredients like stevia, lime, avocado and almond milk. 

We sampled quite a spread. Drinks, breakfast items, salads, soups and desserts.

I chose to make the Breakfast Vegetable Pie which received compliments so I thought I'd share the recipe. You know me, I substituted in addition to making a recipe one and a half times the 4 serving amount  as we had 20 staying for the taste testing.

Here's the healthy recipe:

(4 servings)
2 c chopped broccoli or cauliflower ( I did a combo)
1⁄2 c chopped onion
1⁄2 c shredded carrots (red pepper or red cabbage may be used)
1⁄2 c shredded cheese (suggest raw milk cheddar or Daiya vegan cheese for a non­dairy alternative)
1 1⁄2 c unsweetened almond milk (regular organic or raw milk may be used)
3⁄4 c Pamela’s Gluten Free Baking Mix/other wheat­free baking mix 
4 organic eggs
1 t unrefined sea salt (Celtic, Himalayan)
1⁄4 t black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease pie plate or square casserole dish using organicbutter,
coconut oil or ghee.
3. Mix all ingredients except vegetables (add chopped veggies
4. Put into  greased pie plate.
5. Bake 35minutes. Cool slightly and serve.

Serve on a bed of lightly steamed spinach or with lightly sautéed red cabbage and carrots. The idea is to present a very colorful plate.

Nutrition Information for one serving
Total Calories 230 Protein 14 g Fat 6g
Carbohydrate Fiber
32 g 3 g
Sanoviv Recipe Book: September 2012 Page 16

Eating healthy is up to us. It's not easy to change eating habits but once one makes healthier choices, one's body is going to appreciate it.

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Stuff We are Made of/ Hear and Here

Arriving as strangers, leaving as friends

Hear, Here.

It was Show 'n Tell Time this past Saturday. 

Sitting around the 2 pushed together tables in McCaffrey's coffee house were about 2 dozen storytellers.

It's always fascinating to see what people have chosen to bring and to hear the stories behind each object... 

Once again you get to decide the stories you'd like to hear. Email, Facebook message me privately / on my wall, comment on the blog entry space and yes, now you can even text me in the End of the Rainbow Valley ( a story for another day).

paper weight with a famous rock inside

a lucky coffee mug

music box
Crewel Work

Chinese Colors art work

a lazy susan Scrabble game

The neighbor girl 
A youngster in Manchester

a boxelder made bowl

a miniature wooden Devil, a British made chapstick and Hear/ Here...  

So what tickles your fancy as to what you'd like to hear about? 

I will add the stories as the requests arrive... because as you know life is full of stories.

*The first story request came from Linda for the 'paperweight' story. Rita was given this by her son who as a journalist was in Berlin when the wall came down. He gathered little pieces of the rubble and made paperweights for his family members. How cool is that?  Seeing the world events this past week of "I am Charlie," " Je suis Charlie" and "Ich bin Charlie" reminiscent of Willie Brandt's "Ich bin ein Berliner" and the paperweight's importance.

*Next request came from Ginger who wanted to know about the snapshot of the neighbor gal. Lois, its owner, the other gal in the photo didn't like school. So much so her Mom enlisted Linda Olson, the neighbor gal, to walk Lois to school. Linda talked ad nauseum en route and didn't even care if Lois was part of the conversation. In fact, Lois used to hide behind a tree some days and Linda was so engrossed in her own talk she'd would walk right by her house still talking to herself.

*Kaye inquired about Terri's small music box. While Terri and her brother get along famously now, this wasn't always the case. Her brother seemed to have a knack for getting her in trouble when they were kids. One day as he pulled her around feverishly on a sled, she fell off and knocked herself out. To avoid being in trouble,  he urged Terri to get up and chase him around the yard to prove she was OK and nothing had happened.  Their Mom must have witnessed the entire thing and put Terri to bed. Although Christmas was a ways off, guilt got the better of Terri's brother and he gave her her Christmas present early. You guessed it, this small music box. It plays, Rock A Bye Baby. Sweet story, eh? 

Friday, January 23, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY this week welcomes your favorite bumper stickers. 

This Wisconsinite ice fisherman's caught my fancy this week . 

 Looking forward to seeing your submissions.

Cheryl, the eternal crafter is now situated with wifi in Mesa, AZ. Here's a bumper sticker she sent:  

Last week's :PET PICS

Thursday, January 22, 2015

A Little Change Never Hurts

Ready to change up your usual chili recipe? Here's a quick easy fix. All you need is one cooked cubed butternut squash. Presto. 

Don't worry about slicing the squash in half before cooking. Cook the entire squash.  
Spray/ rub squash with olive oil.
Be sure to cut 4-5 slits before putting the entire squash in to cook
 to allow air to  escape. 
(You can expedite the process by cooking it in the microwave.) 
If you choose the oven cook at 350 degrees until done. ( 20-30 minutes) depending on size. 
Test doneness but sticking with a knife. Does the knife go in smoothly?  
Cut in half, let cool a bit. Remove seeds by using a spoon to scoop them out.
Cube cooked squash and add to your chili.
 Pretty and the squash takes some heat out of a spicy chili.

 Serve with some corn bread.

Yum on a cold winter's day!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

'Through My Eyes, Then and Now '

Imagine being 6 years old, having completed kindergarten and having started your first grade year with classmates who all look like you and with teachers that look like your parents. That probably doesn't take very much imagination for most of us. But then, your parents agree to let you take a test that will decide if you can go to a better school. You with 136 other children who look just like you, take the exam and only 6 pass. Hmm? Anyhow, you are one of those 6. All 6 happen to be girls who will be divided between 2  elementary schools. But 2 of those going to your new school decide not to go, leaving you the only one. You feel very special because everybody is making sure you have new school outfits and you must be so smart, you think you must be going straight to college.  For some reason your Dad isn't excited about this opportunity. The first day of school comes but you won't be walking to school like before but will ride in a car to a school that is closer (?) than your old school. People from your neighborhood all come out and follow behind the car. Wow. Men you don't know are riding in the car with you and your Mom. 

 As the car turns the corner, ahead you see all these people, men, women and children lining the streets, a sight you associate with Mardi Gras when it is not uncommon to see random parades occur on side streets. But these people don't look happy, some have very angry faces and they have signs and are screaming. 

You arrive at the school and the men in your car escort you inside to the office. And there you sit and sit and sit until those men (U.S. Marshals) come and take you back home... 

Your name is Ruby Bridges and you live in the City of New Orleans, the year is 1960 and your life will be forever changed as you begin to understand the separate but not equal world in which you live.

In fact this inequality manifests itself that very first day at William Frantz Elementary with its beautifully polished floors, so shiny you could see yourself, not old and worn like your old school.

Your second day you are taken to a classroom where you are the only student.  Your new teacher looks like those angry people on the street but she has a smile on her face and she has love in her heart and has come from Boston to teach you many new things.    You are her only student that entire year as the other teachers refused to be your teacher

Apparently no one knew ahead of time which 2 schools would be the first to integrate so all those white parents with children were waiting outside school that first day to see if a black child would arrive. They took their children home when they saw you arrive. 
You eventually discover only half a dozen other families allowed their children to come to school and those children are being schooled in another part of the building. 

You can not eat in the cafeteria with them and must eat your lunch at your desk in your room. Oh, the loneliness you must feel.

You meet with a counselor weekly at your home. Your father loses his job, your sharecropper grandparents their land and your family receives death threats. And why does this all happen?  Your Father's fears are realized as a result of you being the first to integrate an all white elementary school. It is your African American community who protect you and yours, watch your house and get your Father a new job. 

It was Ruby Bridges who shared this story, her story, as the keynote speaker at our city's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Community Celebration. There was a strength in her voice beyond its gentleness as she spoke of social justice. You could hear a pin drop in the mesmerized overflowing auditorium, recital hall and lobby audience of about 2000.

Her innocence as a child didn't understand the anger and hatred nor the danger of racism. She spoke of an incident where one student told her his mother said he couldn't play with her because she was a 'nigger.' The young Ms Bridges's feelings were hurt but she didn't question the reason since she understood the importance of following what a parent commanded. Racism, she says is an adult disease taught to children.

Ruby Bridges, motivational speaker/ travel agent, mother of 4 sons, actually now 3 (as gunfire took the life of her eldest) delivered a message of differentiating good and evil. "There's something terrible going on in our communities and we have to take care of our children. All children are ours. One has to decide which side we are on regardless of the community." 

"We are overseas fighting wars for others while at home we are fighting our own wars  in our communities" Ms. Bridges Hall resonated the thoughts of the leader we were honoring with her presence, Martin Luther King Jr.  who said, "A nation that continues year after year to spend more money on military defense than on programs of social uplift is approaching spiritual death."

Today, we seem to be moving backwards.  Public education is under attack with monies diverted to privatization, higher education's becoming increasingly unaffordable to the middle class, workers salaries are stagnant, racism's on the rise within public and private sectors, the right to vote's threatened and a right wing Congress is making statements to dismantle the social safety net i.e: Social Security and the Affordable Care Act. As our society becomes more and more unequal it is apparent we must heed Ms Bridges words and take better care of 'all' our children and be on the side of good. Our President actually also spoke of this very  priority in his compassionate State of the Union speech.

May we always keep Martin Luther King Jr.'s following words in mind as:

"Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "


Link to interview with Ruby Bridges

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Still A Ways to Go to Reach that Mountain Top Together

The struggle continues today for diversity, solidarity and community as we honor and remember Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Dr. King was not just a dreamer but also a realist. 

Here's some of the power point presentation from the celebration at Viterbo University last night to honor a great man.  

May we all continue working to reach that mountain top and Promised Land with and for each other to make all our lives better... then we will do Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s legacy justice.

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Fight for Equality Continues...

This past Friday through tear filled eyes I viewed the showing of the movie 'Selma,' released in time for Martin Luther King's birthday.  The 1965 nonviolent march organized by the Southern Leadership's Christian Conference was between Selma and Montgomery, ending at the capitol to demand the right to register to vote for blacks. What one witnessed on the screen was not fiction but the historical depiction of the violent resistance the protesters were met with by not only white community members with bats and sticks wound with barbed wire but state troopers with batons, with some on horseback with whips, (throwback of masters whipping their slaves), humanity at their worst. 

This Freedom March was pivotal in the Civil Rights movement as our nation saw firsthand via television and newspaper reporting the inequality and racism.   

In 1954 Brown vs The Board of Education had declared segregated schools unconstitutional. Having been schooled in the South but not quite old enough for the 1957 rearing of the ugly heads of hatred of the initial enforcement of desegregation of   Little Rock's Central High School, 9 black students were met with taunting, spitting and racial slurs by hostile white parents, students, community members and hate groups. Governor Faubus had deployed the National Guard not just for crowd control but to prevent the Little Rock Nine from entering the school.  It must have been terrifying. After that initial attempt named the Little Rock Crisis, President Eisenhower ordered Governor Faubus to insure the 9 safety and entrance into Central.

It wasn't until the 1970's that bussing from black neighborhoods occurred at my Little Rock high school on the other side of town.  Fast forward to the 1990's when my children attended Magnet Schools in Little Rock which were formed for the purpose of creating equal education. It was the white students who were bussed this time to the black neighborhoods to schools were more monies were allotted per student at schools for International Global Studies & Languages, Science & Math/ Arts Magnet. Actually during the time my kids were in school, the mandated desegregation order had ended.

Tonight Ruby Bridges, one of the  first 4 black children in New Orleans to desegregate an all white elementary school will speak in honor of a community celebration in honor of Martin Luther King's Birthday.  


 Link: Little Rock Nine 50 th anniversary

Friday, January 16, 2015


FOTO FRIDAY this week is SIMPLE. All you need to submit is a pic that emanates the essence of your/ someone else's pet. I know you all have a favorite pet pic. Don't be shy and share...

You've heard of the city mouse going to the country. Well, here's a new spin as this feline vacations in Liberty Pole for winter break and now has returned to her main home in NYC. What a beauty. City cat goes country. 

Elvis is the sweetest Basset Hound you will ever meet and recently survived a trip to the doggy ICU. He belongs to Daniel's sister and is beloved by Jen and Daniel's children who have no first cousins, except dog and cat cousins...

Haley's the new kid on the block in her household. Recently adopted, she will want for nothing. Here's what she had to say about today's car trip to the vet. " I milked that for all it was worth. Needed a new bandage and I had to be sedated to get it. It made my mommies worry but I felt grrrreat! Now I have a pretty pink bandage and some new treats and this pretty red halter top. I've got them trained already too." You can see why.

From the D.C. area "Fat, warm and INSIDE." Smart dawg.

Your turn...

Last week's topic was MUSICALITY. Be sure take a gander at the additions.

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Count Your Blessings

Every day we should count our blessings for good health... 

Yesterday was a tough day for my family as my 85 year old Mother entered a nursing home. My brothers and I have known for a while that our Father needed to come to this decision. It has been heart wrenching watching her mental and physical health take a downward spiral these past months and the effect it has also had on our Dad's health. 

Blindness will not make her adjustment any easier in the new environs on an Alzheimer's ward. The immediate concern is her lack of appetite.  Her refusal to eat what our Dad prepared per her requests frustrated him to no end. Alas, this is just part of the disease.  We couldn't convince him to let others take over chores such as cooking and have more coverage during the day as he insisted he could do it. This new care arrangement will be a big adjustment for both of them.

With dementia one never knows how much the individual really is in the present. My youngest brother probably had the last real coherent conversation with her at a birthday lunch on November 14th. Since then, conversations deal with the past/imaginary situations and even in her native German tongue/ gibberish. Lack of sleep with day and night reversal add to the confusion. Denial doesn't help so one has to become very creative in playing along but trying to be respectful and truthful at the same time.  She has been insisting that she wanted to go home even though she was home. Now she really won't be home... 

Our hopes are to be blessed with trained staff that can make her days easier... as for our Dad we hope that he will now take better care of himself.  Good health can never be overrated...

Taken  a year ago...