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Collecting My Thoughts

Updated: 2017-12-12T19:32:28.382-05:00


Snowball cookies my mother never made


When I'm at a party, I usually reach for one or two of these.  Don't recall that Mom ever made them, nor have I, but they do appear at Christmas parties.Snowball cookiesYield:30Ingredients:1 cup butter, softened1/2 cup powdered sugar2 teaspoons vanilla2 cups all-purpose flour1/4 teaspoon salt1 cup pecans, choppedpowdered sugarDirections: Blend softened butter with powdered sugar. Add vanilla.Mix in salt, flour and chopped pecans.Form dough into 1 inch balls or flattened cookies and place on an ungreased cookie sheet.Bake in a 325 degree oven for 20 minutes. While hot, roll in powdered sugar. Let cool and roll again in powdered sugar.[...]

Practicing to be happy


You can practice being happy--it's a choice. "1. Gratitude Exercises. Write down three things you're grateful for that occurred over the last 24 hours. They don't have to be profound. It could be a really good cup of coffee or the warmth of a sunny day. 2. The Doubler. Take one positive experience from the past 24 hours and spend two minutes writing down every detail about that experience. As you remember it, your brain labels it as meaningful and deepens the imprint. 3. The Fun Fifteen. Do 15 minutes of a fun cardio activity, like gardening or walking the dog, every day. The effects of daily cardio can be as effective as taking an antidepressant. 4. Meditation. Every day take two minutes to stop whatever you're doing and concentrate on breathing. Even a short mindful break can result in a calmer, happier you. 5. Conscious act of kindness. At the start of every day, send a short email or text praising someone you know. Our brains become addicted to feeling good by making others feel good. 6.Deepen Social Connections. Spend time with family and friends. Our social connections are one of the best predictors for success and health, and even life expectancy."[...]

Speaking of having a purpose


Most women I know over 60 have one purpose in life--the grandchildren and/or great grandchildren--men go another direction, either still working or they are on boards or the golf course. I don't have any of those in my life, and I'm not huge on volunteering (I have a few activities in that category). My FBF tell me posting at my blog or Facebook just won't count. But having a purpose is really good for you. Sample of questions asked of participants in the study over 7 years.  "Effect of a Purpose in Life on Risk of Incident Alzheimer Disease and Mild Cognitive Impairment in Community-Dwelling Older Persons" Statement1I feel good when I think of what I have done in the past and what I hope to do in the future.2I live life 1 day at a time and do not really think about the future.3I tend to focus on the present because the future nearly always brings me problems.4I have a sense of direction and purpose in life.5My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me.6I used to set goals for myself, but that now seems like a waste of time.7I enjoy making plans for the future and working them to a reality.8I am an active person in carrying out the plans I set for myself.9Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.10I sometimes feel as if I have done all there is to do in life. "Cognitive and Social Lifestyle: Links with Neuropathology and Cognition in Late Life"  This article is more skeptical.[...]

Woman of color is whiter than I am


"To the casual observer, [Elizabeth] Warren, now the Democrats' Senate candidate, might seem a 100 percent woman of non-color. She walks like a white, quacks like a white, looks whiter than white. She's the whitest white since Frosty the Snowman fell in a vat of Wite-Out. But she "self-identified" as Cherokee, so that makes her a "woman of color." "
Mark Steyn, Washington's Redskins,

Ten tips to keep your brain young


A team of neuroscientists reviewed 17,000 medical studies on keeping the brain healthy as we age. This speaker at a Ted talk (works for a game company) reviewed what they found.

1. Physical exercise:  especially brisk walking 30 minutes a day,  5 times per week, vigorous aerobic exercise pushes out waste.

2. Brain exercise : brain fitness games / New language /ball room dancing/ music lessons / chess / bridge ; good if it’s fun, but you don’t have to be good—grows new neuro connections.

3. Eliminate toxic substances : Cigarettes / Alcohol / Toxic substance in household products like shampoo, soap;  Cosmetics database dot com will reveal toxicity.

4. Socialize:  5 social ties are good for the brain / isolation is bad for you / volunteer /

5. Have a purpose: pick a cause and it’s good for society

6. Relaxation : Spa / Meditation / read a book / walking in nature

7. Manage stress: stress causes brain shrinkage

8. Pick a good doctor: prevention oriented

9. Protect head from injury ; people who text while driving have 23x the accident rate; equivalent to 4 drinks

9.  Recommends Mediterranean Diet :  lots of colors; Fish / Almond, nuts / Vegetables / Fruits

10. Positive outlook:  way of thinking and responding matters.  Nun study,  most positive lived longer, had neurological signs of Alzheimer’s in brain, but not the disease.

The Bayeux Tapestry


The challenge of the internet: you start looking for one thing and then find another.  I was browsing the course offerings at Coursera which has 3 levels of offerings taught by instructors at different universities, and came across the Age of Cathedrals under general interest (not a degree program).  When I looked up the instructor, M. Howard Bloch, I decided to look for videos and found one on the Bayeux Tapestry.  I'm not particularly a craft person, but I do following quilting, crocheting, knitting groups on Facebook.  This is history in embroidery.

The Bayeux Tapestry is the world’s most famous textile–an exquisite 230-foot-long embroidered panorama depicting the events surrounding the Norman Conquest of 1066. It is also one of history’s most mysterious and compelling works of art. This haunting stitched account of the battle that redrew the map of medieval Europe has inspired dreams of theft, waves of nationalism, visions of limitless power, and esthetic rapture.

Blood transfusions from women to men


If further study shows that men receiving blood transfusions from women who have been pregnant is more risky than receiving blood from men, I wonder if the research will be accepted or condemned as transphobic. It would show that men and women aren't interchangeable based on feelings. Just in case history and biology haven't shown that to be obvious.

A rank, fly bitten codpiece . . .


Insults in Shakespeare--perfect for today's social media.

On the first day of Christmas. . .


Actually, the first ten days of December we had eight events!  Everyone seems to have wanted to get a head start on the holidays.

Dec. 1:  Retirees from OSUL Christmas Lunch at the OSU Golf Club (I was hostess), Mary Jo, Eleanor, Graham, Gerry, Mary, Beverly
Dec. 2:  Birthday party for Rob and Lynn at the Depot
Dec. 3:  UALC SALT group brunch at Jane's; Carol, Kevin, Donna, David
Dec. 6:  Conestoga Christmas dinner at the Boat House Restaurant in Confluence Park, sat with Betty,  Jerry and Joan, Christine and John, and Harry
Dec. 7:  PDHC Christmas dinner and party at the Amelita Mirolo Barn in Upper Arlington, sat with "young people" who are instructors for teens in local schools
Dec. 8:  Dinner at the Rusty Bucket with Phoebe and Mark
Dec. 9:  Dinner with Rod and Judi at their home with Bruce and Marty
Dec. 10: Condo Christmas party at two of our neighbors' homes

Homelessness in a growth economy


"Los Angeles County's homeless population has soared 23% over last year despite increasing success in placing people in housing, according to the latest annual count released Wednesday. ... Homelessness also increased sharply in the city of Los Angeles, where the count of just over 34,000 was up 20% from 2016. ( LA Times May 31, 2017) The city government had promised an additional $138 million this past year for homelessness, and I know it's a shock, but sometime governments don't deliver on their promises. But isn't it odd that the homelessness increased by 20% after the budget increase was announced in 2016? In Ohio where homelessness was decreasing all over the state (down 17%), it was increasing in Franklin County (24%) where I live. Low to zero unemployment, economic growth and soaring housing prices, which look good for marketing your city or county, also mean less affordable housing. And no one seems to want rotting mattresses, blanket tents and human waste in their neighborhood.[...]

Assisted suicide gaining acceptance in Canada. Are we next?


This report says 70% of Canadian Catholics accept euthanasia and 70% of evangelical Protestants don't. Here's what the catechism says: "“Thus an act or omission which, of itself or by intention, causes death in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder gravely contrary to the dignity of the human person and to the respect due to the living God, his Creator. The error of judgment into which one can fall in good faith does not change the nature of this murderous act, which must always be forbidden and excluded” (2277). The legal assisted suicide rate in Canada since the law changed in 2016 is now 3x higher than Belgium which led the way in 2003, with difference in size taken into consideration. Yes, it's a suicide slippery slope, but also a slide begun in the 20th century as abortion for any reason (gender selection, deformities, convenience, shame) became popular and accepted in society“The fact remains that the only clear line is to kill or not to kill. Once you have accepted killing as an acceptable response to human difficulty, then the only remaining question is: Who can be killed and under what circumstances?” he said."[...]

Weatherization Assistance Plan


The Weatherization Program in the new budget is one of the areas Democrats and media critics are complaining about. It's almost impossible to find a total for the amount spent in 41 years (since 1976), but it's billions, maybe trillions. Sometimes I see $225,000,000 annually, sometimes $191,000,000 + another $883 million from the states (2009), plus $5 Billion from ARRA. Really, how could there possibly be a home left in America that doesn't have insulation and air tight windows and doors? They talk about money saved and jobs created. So it's a jobs program? Money, not cold air, seems to be leaking from this program.  The Head Start program has been shown to have failed in its mission, but is used as a jobs program for adults and supporting industries.

Witch hunts in Europe sound familiar


There was a mid 19th c. book called "Memoirs of Extraordinary popular delusions" by Charles Mackay that's still in print that lists the crowd delusionary behavior (a lot of it financial schemes) that has the most perfect description of the Trump witch hunt. These witch hunts in Europe lasted 2.5 centuries, and anyone (both women and men) could be accused, who would then be tortured to reveal more names. Sounds just like the FBI tactics with Flynn. The crowd cheerleaders asking for more victims sound like Joy Behar of the View

“An epidemic terror seized upon the nations; no man thought himself secure, either in his person or possessions, from the machinations of the devil and his agents. Every calamity that befell him he attributed to a witch. If a storm arose and blew down his barn, it was witchcraft; if his cattle died of a murrain—if disease fastened upon his limbs, or death entered suddenly and snatched a beloved face from his hearth—they were not visitations of Providence, but the works of some neighbouring hag, whose wretchedness or insanity caused the ignorant to raise their finger and point at her as a witch. The word was upon every body’s tongue. France, Italy, Germany, England, Scotland, and the far north successively ran mad upon this subject, and for a long series of years furnished their tribunals with so many trials for witchcraft, that other crimes were seldom or never spoken of. Thousands upon thousands of unhappy persons fell victims to this cruel and absurd delusion. In many cities of Germany, as will be shewn more fully in its due place hereafter, the average number of executions for this pretended crime was six hundred annually, or two every day, if we leave out the Sundays, when it is to be supposed that even this madness refrained from its work.”   Vol. 2

First responder at Pulse let go


Omar Delgado, one of the first responders at the Pulse nightclub shooting in Florida is losing his job--PTSD--he's been reassigned to a desk for some time. But looking through the USAToday article, I noticed his salary--$38,500, and thought about the carnage and grief he's had to suffer; then my thoughts redirected to the spoiled, pampered, millionaire NFL player who lost his job too, but decided to protest the police instead of taking responsibility for his own poor performance. I don't know what else is in Delgado's work history to make him lose his job and being vested in a pension, we only know one small part, but this doesn't seem right.

Shifting language--income inequality isn't poverty


Democrats spend a lot of time twisting language to their own use, and now "income inequality," or "income gap," or "income disparity," has come to mean "poverty." The hype is unreal. Of course cutting corporate taxes is good for anyone, it's hard to work for an appliance or computer company that has relocated in Thailand.

And of course, the people who pay the most will get most of the breaks--the top 10% pay 2/3 of the taxes. If you cut taxes, it won't be the bottom 10%--they aren't paying any. Most of the people at the bottom in any one era, move out and up, but they can't do it without jobs.

I don't care if Serena Williams is worth $150 million and her husband Alexis Ohanian is only worth $9 million. Who is hurt by this gap/disparity and inequality? Did she take money from him in order to be worth that much and he so little (comparatively speaking)?

How government disinherits the young


  • Expanding entitlement benefits that support older Americans at the expense of younger Americans
  • The Affordable Care Act’s higher health insurance premiums for young Americans
  • Tenure laws that favor older, often ill-qualified teachers at the expense of quality education
  • Shuffling of students into four-year colleges regardless of their aptitude, resulting in students drowning in debt with very few job prospects
  • Minimum wage laws that make it difficult for young and low-skilled workers to acquire valuable work experience
  • licensing requirements costing hundreds of dollars
"Disinherited: How Washington Is Betraying America’s Young" Diana Furchtgott-Roth and Jared Meyer New York: Encounter, 2015

Consumerism--then and now


Government statistics drive me crazy. USDA and Federal Reserve (yes, I know the Fed isn't government) don't always line up. The information I look for is sometimes percent, sometimes rate of increase, or numbers, or Hispanics are whites in one table, but not in another, or it's divided by age group, etc. But as near as I can figure, the year my father entered the Marines in 1943, 41.2% of the family budget was for food. (It was 35.4% in 1939, which was still the Depression.) Imagine--and everyone who could had "victory gardens," sugar and coffee were rationed (we had little coupon books for each family member), every scrap of fat was saved, and no one was eating in restaurants. "Eating out" in my family was visiting grandma, or walking to Zickuhr's for a 5 cent ice cream cone. But in 2016 only 12.9% of a household budget for children and parents was for food, only slightly more of that was at home, than eating out. And I've seen figures much lower than that--can't find it now. USDA publishes food plans that run from Thrifty to Liberal. When I used to track costs (haven't for years) the Bruce Household was always below Thrifty, and eating out was going to Friendly's for breakfast on Sunday, $5.00 for the whole family. 2017 food plans, our sermons on affluenza at church and the myths, fairy tales and wishful thinking about federal taxes, I've been pondering the 1970s. I called us upper middle class because we had way too much "stuff" when others didn't have enough. One income, one SAHM, 2 small children; 3 bedroom, 1.5 bath home, slab on grade; 2 TVs one 1960 and one 1967; 1 phone attached to wall with a 50 ft cord so I could keep an eye on Phil; 1 1968 car bought used; no AC, no microwave, no computer, no VHS player (yes, some of our wealthy friends had those); no savings, no retirement, 1 week vacation, cash for doctors, and too much month left at the end of the money. Our gross income in 1972 was $17,211, well above the average of $11,419. I didn't work, but 37% of American women did. I'm not complaining by any means; we lived in a beautiful neighborhood and had great friends through our church and community activities. But our lifestyle in 1972 is considered poverty today.  1972-73 Bureau of Labor statistics. told my husband this when he came down for breakfast, and he listened quietly as his eyes become glassy, and then said what he always does, "I'm sure glad I married you instead of that other woman." That's sort of a standing joke when he gets a boatload of statistics with breakfast. But it's better than the Madalyn Murray O'Hare gruesome story he got on Saturday.[...]

Monday Memories--into the 19th century railroad history


Today I'm calling to reserve a place for Bob's birthday party--The Depot, the best kept secret in Upper Arlington, Old Henderson Rd. next to the tracks. We attended a birthday party there for Lynn and Rob (their 135th, her 60th and his 75th)  It has a rebuilt 19th century train depot from Brice, Ohio, furnished either with Ohio Amish made furniture or Ohio antiques, an 1886 Ringling Brother's Executive car, a 1909 Caboose, a 1926 locomotive, and 1951 Great Northern Ranch Dining Car with all the authentic décor and memorabilia. The manager gave us a very entertaining tour which included a lot of history. Sometime this month it has a special Christmas party with all the decorations up, and there's a miniature train you can ride. There's another facility in East Columbus called the Golf Depot. None of us who live in the area who were at the party were aware of this event center. If you were ever at the old Suburban News building (I was years ago when Phil had a paper route), that's the spot.I had food in my mouth, and it was difficult to smile[...]

5:30 a.m. tail lights


I glanced out the window this morning and saw a car moving slowly through the condo.  A mom on newspaper duty. Just like I did, just like my mom did.

Actually, unless we had 4 feet of snow, my mom just gave us a warm breakfast, bundled us up, wrapped scarves around our faces, shoved on our leather and fleece snow boots, helped load the heavy Sunday Rockford Morning Star into our bags, and opened the door. But for three us, she had quite a work out before she could sit down with a cup of coffee and toast. My route was about 12 papers scattered at the SW of town with some farms--I was maybe 8 or 9. My sisters had the long routes with houses closer together.

My niece remembers that Mom told her she considered it good physical therapy for Carol after her bout with polio in 1949--riding her bike and walking with the bags of newspaper.  Also playing the saxophone for breath control and building up her lungs.

Almost 5,000 miles


My goal, in 2015, was to get to Indianapolis (figuring mileage on my exercycle) to see my sister-in-law, Jeanne, but I went right on to my other sister-in-law, Debbie, in California, and now I've returned to Columbus (in theory). There are 1,973.65 miles from Columbus to Los Angeles in southwest direction and 2,238 miles (3,601.71 kilometers) following the I-40 route. I did I-40. Now I've turned around and am on my way to see my siblings in northern Illinois, 455 miles. Almost there. Stan and NormaJeanne and brother Bob with DivaDebbie, Norma and Bob[...]

Friday Family Photo--Christmas songs


My great niece Catie who lives in Florida asked on Facebook what was our favorite Christmas song.  I mentioned "I'll be home for Christmas" as a secular choice, and "Mary did you know" for religious, but then later I added this memory about White Christmas.  It got so long, I decided to add it here along with a photo."White Christmas" is a favorite song, too. When your Grandma Yoder and I were little kids we lived in California, and that's the first time I heard that song--Christmas 1944. It had come out in 1942, so if I'd heard it before I was too little to remember. We went to a community center for a Christmas party (I don't think we had a church), and a group of teen boys sang it. Just about everyone in our community (Alameda, CA) was from somewhere else--and it was damp and foggy as usual in the Bay Area--so the song had a lot of impact. By Christmas 1945 we were back in Mt. Morris, the war was over, dad and his brothers, brothers-in-law, and cousins were home (about 500 men just from our rural area were in the military), the country had recovered from the Depression, and I still remember the gifts. In 1944 I'd gotten a small glass cat figurine, but by 1945 we had "real" presents--like a sled! One was the doll house that we 3 sisters were to share, and you and your mom as children played with it later in the basement of my parents' home on Lincoln St. My mom's camera was broken when I was little, so I have no photos of those Christmases, but I do have one of your Grammy Yoder in the snow in front of our house at 203 E. Hitt St. Probably winter 1940. She's the little one--she was very tiny for her age.[...]

Why did Trump call Elizabeth Warren Pocahontas?


In addition to drawing attention to Elizabeth Warren's cultural appropriation, President Trump calling her Pocahontas on Monday points to the CFPB Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which is really a laundry operation for Democrat favorite projects like abortion and climate change. (staff is 523 Democrat, one Republican)  It was a 2-fer. She's fake; it's fake. If she's defending her honor, she's not busy defending the phony CFPB, her brainchild. While the morally self-righteous media got to cry "racism," they missed the point. The CFPB (formerly run by Warren), not run with tax money, was a way to get hush money from "guilty" businesses--mostly banks which she hates, which would rather pay than go to court, and then instead of it going back to consumers who may or may not have been cheated, it gets redirected to a Planned Parenthood type group, or any left wing group that then funnels the donation back to the party. It's an old trick by Democrats; Jesse Jackson used it long ago against companies that weren't diverse enough for his rainbow coalition, and the LGBTQ mafia have also used it to whip companies in line with their agenda.
I don't know if you had a chance to watch Mulvaney eviscerate the press, but it's like trying to listen to that guy who does the super fast voice over commercials.


One tax proposal is not popular with college students


One guy in the Washington Post reported the tax plan could cost him $11,000! Well, how big was his subsidy that it was so high he'd pay that much? I had two graduate assistantships back in the 60s, and I don't recall the tax plan. But if I got the assistantship, someone else didn't, and may have taken a job as a student janitor, or meal server, and had to pay full taxes on that. (There weren't many fast food places then.)  Both my jobs were really cushy--one (translating medical newspapers) I could do at home and not use a baby sitter. The other was in library science and wasn't difficult at all. The student who pushed a broom or washed windows or waited tables didn't have that luxury. The student who went to a college instead of a university didn''t get those jobs, and tech school students didn't get them. I think that still applies today. There's a lot of politics and influence in who gets these subsidies, and to give some students a free ride from the federal government while the university continues to raise the costs on everyone else, is pretty fishy.

Early morning gratitude


Gratitude. Thank you, Lord--turned on the beautiful Christmas lights. Thank you, Lord--first cup of coffee with a little dark chocolate in it. Thank you, Lord--walking with no pain. Thank you, Lord--first Christmas card--from long time friends. Thank you, Lord--long chat with my brother and he sounds great.  And so much, sometimes I forget. . .

Looking back on the Chicago Annenberg Challenge


The Annenberg Foundation funds one of the popular liberal Fact Checkers. But back in the mid-19 90s, it funded a huge program to improve the Chicago Public Schools. "The funding, which had also been provided to cities such as New York and San Francisco, was part of a large-scale local school reform philosophy that intended to improve student achievement and other social and psychological outcomes. In Chicago, the Annenberg Challenge reflected a democratic localism that placed great faith in the ability of local schools, in partnership with parents and their communities, to develop their own strategies to achieve professional development and instructional goals." I was a liberal in the 90s, and if I'd known about it then, I would have been supportive. . . especially the part about "local," and "partnerships." It was an impressive amount with lofty goals for 200+ elementary schools (Annenberg gave half a billion to be matched by others to 3 city school systems). Barack Obama, a rising young, handsome star on the Chicago public scene, and Bill Ayers, the 1970s terrorist, and meddler in education through the University of Illinois, worked together in the Annenberg Challenge (Ayers wrote the original grant), as it was called. By 2001 a research arm of the University of Chicago did a thorough evaluation at all levels, and pretty much found no improvement in academic scores (compared to those schools which received no funding). It's the same discouraging results that came from Head Start after a 50 year evaluation. So maybe Obama thought it wasn't enough money and went for higher stakes? And Bill Ayers hasn't changed much either.[...]