Thursday, December 27, 2012
Saturday, December 22, 2012
The second review ends with: "So, get a cup of hot cocoa, your favorite blankie and curl up with this warm-hearted collection of romantic Santa stories."
Tuesday, December 18, 2012
We like to call Fifty Shades of Santa "romance for the rest of us," the rest of us being readers whose idea of love doesn't include implements of pain, according to our publisher.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Hummmmm, Santa's a pretty big guy, I wonder if one skein will be enough?
Sunday, November 25, 2012
You hate cold ankles. I have a remedy for that -- cozy anklewarmers. If you choose a dark colored pair, and wear them under the legs of your slacks, no one will know that you are a sissy.
Or, you can go where only the brave dare go. Last winter I had a request for a pair of anklewarmers in the red and gold colors of Pittsburg State University. This college girl wore her ankle warmers on the outside, and everyone knew exactly what her colors were. And you can bet she stood out even more prominently when there was snow on the ground.
If we're at the same Christmas party this year, I'll be there with my "plastic storage-bag", big as a suitcase. No pair of anklewarmers are alike -- all pairs in the same color will be a different size. You could even try them on, if you like.
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
Didn't work for me. Tried knitting in the dark the other night, when I was waiting in the car. Wasn't totally in the dark, but neither the street lights, nor the dash light in the car provided enough illumination.
Next day I spent a good half-hour undoing the two rows of knitting I had attempted. Drat!
Saturday, November 10, 2012
The good news is I have finally conquered my fear of cooking chestnuts. Bought some freshly-harvested chestnuts from Chestnut Charlie, not at the orchard in Lawrence, but at Whole Foods, where he and Deborah were demonstrating chestnut preparation. Came home and tried the boiling method. All cooking methods require the scoring, or cutting of the outside skin with a sharp knife, which will also cut fingers if the knife is not managed properly.
SO, the small cut on my knitting finger has slowed down my knitting, but my consolation are the chestnut nuts which are delicious eaten with chocolate, such as Nutella.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Labor Day was one politician’s double-sided (notice I didn’t say two-tongued) attempt to appear to be honoring the labor movement while at the same time taking some of the steam out of the movement.
May 1 has traditionally, historically, for many centuries been a day of unrest, a day of loosening of restraints, a day of riotous celebration, and after the Chicago Haymarket Affair (or Massacre or Riot) on May 4 (not May 1), 1886, a day for international workers of the entire globe to honor the memory of the American Martyrs to the labor movement. In fact, in 1889 May First was selected as a day for international celebration of the working man (yes, man, women did no recognized work in that era) by the First Congress of the Second Socialist International in Paris.
In an attempt to defuse the historical significance of that day, in 1894 President Grover Cleveland proclaimed the first Monday in September to be Labor Day. The tradition had scant precedence.
Chicago had won the right to host a World’s Fair in 1892, the four-hundredth anniversary of Columbus voyage to the New World. Typically for Chicago (full disclosure here, I have a love-hate relationship with Chicago), the celebration didn’t materialize until a year later, in 1893. (History does have a way of almost repeating itself – one hundred years later Chicago won the right to host the five-hundred anniversary celebration of Columbus’ discoveries. This time Chicago was worse than one year late – all of you who attended the five-hundred anniversary World’s Fair in 1992 in Chicago please raise your hands.)
But back to the earlier century, in the early part of the decade of the 1890s recession gripped the country, peaking with the Panic of 1893. George Mortimer Pullman’s factory at the little Illinois town of Pullman, now at 111th Street and Cottage Grove, had few new orders for Pullman Palace Cars. Mr. Pullman tried to keep his work force employed by shortening everyone’s hours. He did not, however, reduce the rents for dwellings, all owned by the Pullman Company, in the town of Pullman.
The dissatisfaction built gradually, but finally erupted into the Pullman Strike, or the Great Chicago Strike of 1894, what became the first national strike in United States history. Ironically, the protest spread until it gripped the entire country, but the little village of Pullman remained relatively quiet.
On July 2 a federal injunction was issued against the leaders of the American Railway Union, a fledgling organization led by Eugene V. Debs. Amusingly, sometimes the difficulties were described as “Deb’s Rebellion”. The injunction against Debs was one of the first applications of the Sherman Anti-Trust Act, passed in 1890 to curb the excesses of the sugar and match monopolies. (Go figure!)
The strike was suppressed by federal actions, the legality of some of the actions are still arguable today, and the designation of the first Monday in September as Labor Day was an attempt to ameliorate the crushing of the Pullman Strike. President Cleveland was also running for re-election that year.
Sunday, July 29, 2012
It seemed that the guests had been invited, not for the information they could share, or even out of respect for their positions as legislators or CEOs or university leaders, but so they could serve as a sounding board for the hosts’ rudely shouted questions.
John McCain was the only guest I ever heard who was able to deflect an obnoxious interrogator with a very calmly spoken, “If you would please let me finish?”
The goal of some programs seemed to be to have the host and several guests all arguing with each other at the same time. I marveled at the apparent inadequacy of the production staff – wasn’t there among the behind-the-scenes crew a single engineer who knew where to find the cut-off switches for the microphones?
One time at a courthouse I was sitting outside a room in which a mediation session was being conducted. Unfortunately, the parties were rather heated and the conversation was loud. I heard a man say: “You interrupt me one more time and I’m out of here.”
The man began to speak again in a more normal tone, but the woman did not heed his warning. She had said scarcely three or four words before the door suddenly flew open. I hadn’t been listening with my ear at the keyhole, but I narrowly missed being run over as the man departed the scene.
A young friend of mine was the only female in a group of medical students. Weekly, the students had a lengthy meeting with the doctors, during which time they discussed the condition and treatment of their patients. The discussions were recorded and transcribed for later review.
In reading the transcripts, my friend was disturbed that her contributions to the discussions often ended in three dots, a punctuation mark used to indicate that the speaker’s voice had trailed off in an indecisive manner. This distressed her so much she replayed the tapes. Virtually every time a male colleague’s voice, or that of a doctor’s, had over-ridden hers, not allowing her to finish what she had intended to say.
I may be over-sensitized to conversational interruptions. A dear family member was particularly guilty of treading on my words, seldom giving me an opportunity of finishing a sentence.
Holding my hand up, palm out, is a universal signal to halt, but usually has no effect – the interrupter keeps talking. The referee’s traditional time-out signal is equally ineffective. I asked two court interpreters for the deaf if there is a standard sign language signal to signify a message of “Please do not interrupt me”. They came up, well, empty-handed.
I keep hoping that someone will invent a universally acceptable hand signal that will be a very clear message to the interrupter that means, “You are violating common courtesy by treading on my words”.
Otherwise, my only alternative may be to go flying out of the room.
Monday, July 23, 2012
My Comcast Diary.
In my diary I shall record every time I either cannot get on the internet to begin with, or when I am working at the computer, and the internet is suddenly cut off.
The all-to-familiar screen tells me "Unable to Connect to the Internet" and suggests there are things I can do to troubleshoot the problem.
Heck darn, it's not my problem. Suppose I do try to troubleshoot? I'll soon get lost in a confusing set of steps, run the risk of all unintentionally changing settings, and in the end will not succeed in getting on the internet, because IT'S NOT MY PROBLEM!
IT'S COMCAST'S PROBLEM.
Instead of trying to imply that the problem is my fault, or the fault of my computer, why don't they just 'fess up and admit they're having a problem? The solution is entirely in their hands, why do they even suggest that I start troubleshooting around, which only results in mucking things up.
I've kept notations before on a sticky notepad, but this time I'm serious. I'm keeping the record -- hand-written, of course, because how could I keep a printable record with a non-internet computer -- on a large sheet of paper. Each month when I pay the bill, I'll also send along the pertinent pages of my diary.
Friday, July 13, 2012
So with dread I approach the task of crocheting a small chain to make a tiny hanging loop in a knit facecloth.
I've inherited a number of sewing tools, from several older women in my family, and alas, the previous ownership of most of them cannot now be traced. I picked up a crochet hook, works okay for the job, although a slightly bigger hook might make the task a bit easier. What size is the hook I'm using? Must be a number somewhere on the hook. Okay, it's made by Boye, a highly respected name in needleworking tools, and it's a size 5. Made in the U.S.A., I find on the opposite side, along with some more numbers -- 15 cents, only it's the little "c" with a slant line drawn through.
I stare at the price marking, permanently stamped in the metal.
Which grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt, great-aunt, great-great-aunt could have been the original owner? Which ancestor of mine lived in a time of such economic stability that a manufacturer dared put a stamp, permanently on metal, of the price of their products?
Monday, June 25, 2012
I was driving east on Loula Street in near downtown Olathe. I stopped for the stop sign at Water.
Another motorist was coming west bound on Loula, and likewise stopped for the stop sign at Water. I thought we had reached the intersection at about the same time, but since I wanted to make a left turn, I remained stopped to allow the other motorist to proceed through the intersection.
A patrolman on a motorcycle was behind the other motorist. The patrolman accelerated as the motorist moved forward, but he did stop at the “stop” line. I thought it was my turn to go through the intersection, and I started to move forward.
To my horror, so did the patrolman.
I instantly put on the brakes. So did the patrolman.
Hastily, I tried to review in my mind the rules of the road. I thought I was second in line for the right to enter the intersection – I thought he was third in line.
No doubt he was on duty. It crossed my mind that he had received orders to go to a specific location, and his mind might be more on the task that awaited him than the current need to safely navigate the streets. With my vehicle awkwardly paused, crosswise, in the middle of the intersection, I waved the right-of-way to the patrolman.
And got the shakes thinking about what could have happened if either one of us had been a little quicker on the pedal.
Monday, June 11, 2012
Sunday, May 27, 2012
I wonder sometimes how men find the time to think about their writing. Back in the olden days, men sat and whittled -- I remember a frequent scene from my childhood when all the males in my life, my father, my uncles, my grandfather, and any stray males who happened to wander down the road, would be sitting in an informal circle somewhere out in the yard, sitting on a stump, or leaning on a fence, the blades on their pocket knives flashing while they all whittled away on a stick or a twig.
My mother complained that none of them ever actually made anything, they just kept whittling a point on the stick, until it was nearly gone. I can understand. If they'd been whittling an object, a cooking spoon, a wooden doll, a little bird, they would have had to stop to think, and that would have interfered mightily with their
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Some ten-fifteen years ago there was a movement to unite the four major conflict resolution organizations under one institutional roof. Those four would have been the Academy of Family Mediators, The Society of Professionals in Dispute Resolution, the teachers group that promoted conflict resolution programs in public schools, and the National Association for Community Mediation.
As a member of NAFCM at the time, I felt strongly that the interests of NAFCM would not be served by joining the new organization, which was to be known by the name of Association of Conflict Resolution, ACR. The issue was discussed with passion and conviction at the NCPCR meeting in Phoenix, and NAFCM did not join ACR.
I am not truly surprised to learn that the Academy of Family Mediators has now decided to pull away from ACR and re-establish their former independent organization. I can only surmise that the attempt to meld their goals into the larger organization did not work out in the long run.
Friday, March 2, 2012
Friday, February 24, 2012
I used to see it in small claims court, plaintiffs or defendants, who were totally incapable, and always would be, of understanding their opponent’s point of view. Of course, in most small claims cases, they did not want to understand where the other person was coming from; they had a profound fear that any exposure to the other person’s position would weaken their own.
You feel sorry sometimes for someone who “doesn’t’ get it”, and you wonder what never-going-to-happen circumstance it’s going to take to open their minds to other opinions. There are times when you fault yourself, and believe yourself to be a failure when you cannot find the exact words, or any words, to create a bit of enlightment.
And if you’re truly honest, you’ll wonder if there are times when a friend or acquaintance or associate looks at you in bafflement and wonders why “you don’t get it”?
Friday, February 17, 2012
Remember that best seller – How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe – written by Thomas Cahill?
“Not only did St. Patrick bring Christianity to Ireland, he instilled a sense of literacy and learning that would create the conditions that allowed Ireland to become ‘the isle of saints and scholars’ – and thus preserve Western culture while Europe was being overrun by barbarians.”
Cahill tells the story of how Europe evolved from the classical age of Rome to the medieval era. Not only did Irish monks and scribes maintain the very record of Western Civilization – copying manuscripts of Greek and Latin writers, both pagan and Christian, while libraries and learning on the continent were forever lost . . . when the seeds of culture were replanted on the European continent, it was from Ireland that they were germinated.
Another artifact of incomparable historic significance is the Rosetta Stone. When finally translated, the Rosetta Stone gave the world a glimpse into civilizations far older the the Roman Empire.
Words laboriously copied by the monks and scribes onto parchment, the Rosetta Stone, are all tangible records, solid things you can hold in your hands – or touch, since the Rosetta Stone weighs about 760 kilograms.
Technology is both ephemeral and ever-changing. Will our present civilization be preserved forever on electronic books?
Sunday, February 12, 2012
But, which is the better course? Spend twenty minutes seaming up the anklewarmers after I've finished the knitting part, OR, let the unsewn anklewarmer nag at me for twenty days while I keep postponing and procrastinating?
Sunday, February 5, 2012
A regular wash cycle left an obvious stain. This next wash cycle has bleach. If it doesn't work, I'll try to dye the whole garment with coffee. And I'll start another lengthy search for a white hoodie.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
Saturday, January 14, 2012
Eating and thinking about writing is a workable combination, but then you just can't keep eating all day -- or shouldn't.