Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Junk food isn't cheap.

There was an excellent article in Sunday's NYT showing how fast/junk food isn't cheaper than nutritious food.  I've long suspected as much.  I know that I can make a huge pot of vegetable soup that is tasty, nutritious, and really inexpensive.  Tonight I am making roasted chicken and vegetables which is absolutely divine and will make about 6 servings for a total cost of about $10. Then I will use the bones to make chicken stock for chicken noodle soup.  That one chicken will make a total of about 12 delicious servings.

Then there is the non-monetary costs of junk/fast food.  Obesity and its attending health problems, high blood pressure and diabetes.  The trashing of the environment with all the bags and plastic.  The trashing of the art of family meals--the set table, the aromas from the kitchen, the anticipation, and finally congenial companionship while eating.  One last personal peeve: how will the children ever learn table manners when everyone is noshing their faces in a paper bag in front of the television??

Monday, September 26, 2011

To Renew or Not to Renew, that is the question.

I am a registered pharmacist and in Texas, RPh licenses are renewed every other year for $325.  In addition to license renewal, there is a Continuing Education requirement of 30 hours CE.  I retired May 1 of this year and considering my neuromuscular condition, it is exceedingly unlikely that I will ever work again. I can't walk and I cannot manipulate syringes.  I could do order entry verification and I could check technicians work.  My previous employer has asked if  I would be interested in doing PRN work but I have put them off.  I don't particularly want to work again even part time; I don't financially need to work.  But once your license lapses, that's it buddy.  To be reinstated I would have to take the national boards again and frankly my dear, my brain isn't what it used to be.  I think to be on the safe side, I'll renew because you just never know what's coming.  What do you think??

Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake

I am making this cake this morning and I wish I could post the way the kitchen smells so that you could enjoy it too!  Here's the recipe in case I haven't posted it before:

Applesauce Raisin Spice Cake

1 ½ cup flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 ¾ cups sugar
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon
½ teaspoon cloves
½ teaspoon allspice
½ teaspoon nutmeg
½ cup oil
1 ¾ cups applesauce
3 eggs
1 cup raisins
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 9X13 inch pan with non-stick spray.
Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and spices into a large bowl.
Add applesauce, oil, and eggs beating at medium speed for 2 minutes.
Stir in raisins and nuts.

Turn into prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.
Cool before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

½ cup butter
1 8 oz. cream cheese
1 lb box powdered sugar
½ tsp vanilla

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Trip to the ER

For 43 years DH's response to "Don't you think you should go to the doctor??" has always been an irritable,  "No, I don't need to go to the doctor!"  So when he was in bed groaning that he had hurt his back, hip, and leg while using the shovel to dig a hole to plant a tree, I was surprised that he answered in the affirmative that he indeed did need to see the doctor.  At 9am I made the appointment with the doctor for 3pm--6 hours to wait.  But at 11am he was in such pain that I suggested I take him in to the ER and he agreed.  He has never been in an ER in his 64 years.  I had to dress him and get his shoes on as he couldn't bend to put them on himself.  He was able to slowly hobble out to the van and off we went. They took him right in to an exam room and the ER doctor examined and questioned him carefully.  He determined that it was a nerve injury at the ileo-sacral joint.  60mg injection of Toradol, 5mg oral Valium and waited 30 minutes--some relief. 4mg injection of morphine--much relief.  I dropped the prescriptions off at the pharmacy on the way home, got him settled in the recliner, and went back for the prescription Naproxen, Valium, and Tylenol #3 and a new ice bag for his back.  By the time I got back, he was feeling much better and was very mellow from the Valium.  I made scrambled eggs and toast for dinner, got him in bed, cleaned up the mess in the kitchen, and collapsed into bed myself.  Today he has some numbness and tenderness in his right leg, but he is able to move slowly without pain.

We are both aware that the situation would have been much different if we were one of the 1 in 4 Texans without health insurance.  At least the president and the Democrats are trying to get health care for everyone.  Thanks a lot Republicans, I'll remember you at the polls.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Internet dependency

Our internet access was down for 2 days and frankly, I went into withdrawal.  How could I connect with my internet blogging friends? What was going on in their lives? Was Crystal at MoneySavingMom.com able to get her freezer cooking in an hour done?  What was new in politics with CabDrollery, Hattie’s Web, and Darlene’s Hodgepodge?  Has Morrison’s husband at AllDoorsConsidered had his hernia surgery?  I missed the animals at BedlamFarm and the beauty at PleasantviewSchoolhouse.  My daughter’s dog had diarrhea and I couldn’t google to find out how to treat it and how to clean dog poo and deodorize dear daughter’s house. As if that wasn't bad enough, I was without Panadora--no music!!  I’d like to say that I used all the extra time to clean cabinets, bake and freeze meals, exercise, and all other noble activities.  But I didn’t—I played solitaire and watched the cooking channel.  Access came back up yesterday afternoon and I felt reborn.  I had so much to catch up on.  Nice to be back.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Greater Journey by David McCullough

This book is about the American men and women who went to Paris in the years 1830-1900 in order to further their education in the arts and in medicine.  It also gives a eyewitness account of the turmoil and tragedy from revolutions to epidemics in Paris during those years. Some of the people in the book I was familiar with but for many, I was not.  The major thing that I came away from this book is the knowledge that I knew so little about that most important and interesting time and place.  That is the gift of a talented historian such as David McCullough—you learn just how much you didn’t know.

Wow!! Two books in two days, that's a first.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

State of Wonder by Ann Patchett

I really, really wanted to love this book as I loved her earlier book, Bel Canto.  But I couldn’t.  It has the same feeling of the suspension of time in a confined place and it explores the characters and their reaction to the restrictions and a plasticity of time as in Bel Canto.  But I couldn’t get past the implausibility of the story.  It just wouldn’t have happened, at least not that way.  The writing is vividly descriptive—you are in the dense green jungle, the anaconda leaves you breathless, the martins and rapps and martinets are exquisite.  Most of characters are complex and evolve as the story unfolds; others remain excruciatingly one dimensional.  I just don’t believe research pharmacologists working for a large pharmaceutical company set off so completely unprepared into the Amazon and the repetition of first one, followed by another, and another, is just so implausible as to spoil what would otherwise have been a really good book.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Rod's Back!!

I have loved Rod Dreher and his family ever since I read his book, Crunchy Cons.  (If you haven't read it, you are missing a delightful, thoughtful book.)  Rod had a blog crunchycons.com for a good while, then blogged at belief.net for a bit, and finally blogged briefly at Big Questions Online which abruptly and inexplicably ended about a year ago.  It was like Rod fell off the face of the earth. How could I find out about Julie's garden and chickens? the children's schooling vs. homeschooling? and most of all how was his beloved sister who was stricken with cancer doing?  I was actually hurt that he just dumped the blog so abruptly; all I could think was that his employer must have given him the choice of his blog or his job. Every couple of months I would google Rod Dreher but nothing new ever came up...until today!!  He is now blogging at The American Conservative.  Now the fact that he is at TAC should tell you that we don't always see eye to eye on things political but that's OK because I don't always agree with me either. So the good news is that Rod is back.  But the sad news is that his sister died yesterday and he is with his family planning her funeral.  Our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.

Do It Anyway

Mother Teresa's Anyway Poem

People are often unreasonable, illogical and self centered;
Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;
Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends and some true enemies;
Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;
Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;
Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they may be jealous;
Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;
Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough 
Give the world the best you've got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and your God;
It was never between you and them anyway.

Sunday, September 11, 2011


I have been thinking quite a bit about Morrison who blogs at All
Doors Considered.  She is 60 and her husband is 55.  They are the poster people for what is happening in this The Long Recession.  They are probably better off than most their age because they have savings, no debt, a paid for house, and most of all they are better off than most because Morrison is paying attention.  But because she is paying attention, she is worried, very concerned.  Employment is the key and the fact is there just isn’t enough.  Add in age discrimination and she has good reason to be worried.  Currently her husband has a job but he was injured on the job and who knows how long the job will last.  Morrison is smart, she has found health insurance for them at the lowest cost but with a high deductible and she has found prescription drugs at rock bottom prices. But then again, one bad accident, one serious illness, what happens then??  

There are days when Morrison is down, she’s worried with good reason.  The rules of the game have been changed.  In fact, she thought she was playing one game and all of a sudden, she finds it’s not just new rules—it’s a whole different game.  Then there are days when she is happy to be alive and well, happy to cook good inexpensive food, enjoying the beauty of upstate New York.  Morrison is a fighter though.  She may be down but you can bet those mental wheels are cranking out ways to cope, ways to get a handle on the situation, ways to get and give joy in life.  Here’s to Morrison and all the other Morrisons who are struggling and living through The Long Recession.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 Overdose

It was a terrible thing.  It is over. I have had enough of the 24/7 9/11.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ready to evacuate

OK, the active fires are one county away so I have the house and car titles, the insurance papers, checkbooks, and credit cards packed in the van. The cats are inside and the carriers are ready; cat food and litter in the van. All our pictures are on a portable hard drive in the safety deposit box at the bank. Suitcases with clothes and shoes, quilts and pillows are ready to move. Portable radio and batteries, camera. DH medicine.
I am on a first name basis with Wendy at the Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office. She says that the smoke which came rolling in about 90 minutes ago is from the fires in Montgomery county and that there are no fires currently in our area.

What am I forgetting to get ready if we do have to evacuate?     

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Cool Day

This morning the temperature was in the low 60's!! This is the first time that has happened since May.  And today's high temperature is only 90!!  The humidity is very low (well, low for the Texas Gulf Coast).  So pleasant when I was out trimming the roses this morning.  Even the cats were frisking about.

Another Cool thing about today is the whiz of hummingbirds at the feeders. I could see 4 at one feeder and 5 at the other.  There were more but they just move too fast to count.  They love our feeders, butterfly weed, and purple salvia.  They are gathering along the coast before their migration to Central America.

The last Cool thing is my lemon cake which is out of the oven, cooling on the counter, waiting for the lemon glaze.

Thought for the Day:

I've learned from experience that the greater part of our happiness or misery depends on our dispositions and not on our circumstances.  Martha Washington


Home Economics

There's a wonderful article in today's NYT about reviving Home Economics.


It is aimed at the cooking aspect of home economics which I admit is very important.  So many people simply don't know how to cook anything much less nutrition, meal planning or shopping from a list and budget.

But in addition to cooking, how about sewing? Not everyone will be a skilled seamstress but simple repairs such as replacing a button or repairing a hem.  Actually, it would be wonderful if everyone could learn to use a pattern to make simple garments.  Maybe then we wouldn't see so many people bursting out of their tank tops or with their jeans around their knees. Ack!!

Then their is budgeting and time management.  Home maintenance. Lots of useful information in Home Ec. And while we're at it, how about bringing back shop and auto mechanics??

Monday, September 5, 2011

Postcard to the President

My latest missive to the President was brief and to the point and fit nicely on a post card.  Somehow, President Obama has missed the fact that he is the President of the United States.  I wanted to clarify his position to him.

Dear President Obama,
You won the election. You are the President. Stop being Mr. Nice.  You have Power.  Please start using it.  

Friday, September 2, 2011


Is it just part of growing older to have trouble sleeping?  Right now the only way I can sleep is propped up on 3 pillows or sitting semi-upright in the recliner.  I fall asleep easy enough but wake about 90 minutes later. Some time between midnight and 4 am I will sleep 3 uninterupted hours.  I have some arthritic pain in my shoulder that makes it difficult to get comfortable but I hate to take aspirin or ibuprofen every night, (Tylenol does nothing for it.)  I can take a nap during the day and that helps but oh how I long for the nights of blissful uninterupted sleep!!