Friday, January 29, 2010

Hip Hop Done Right!

Last night was a night I'll remember until my dying day. Noah and Owen's school held its annual variety show. Owen auditioned and was accepted as one of the acts. All the children were absolutely terrific. They ranged in age from kindergarten students to fifth graders.

Of course, the highlight of my evening was Owen. He's in the first grade. He's very smart, athletic, and dancing is in his soul. He dances on the baseball field while waiting for the action to begin. At his birthday held at a skating rink, he danced instead of skating. He danced for the young ladies at Hooters. (That's a story for another time, but it was during a child's birthday party there.)He has never had dance lessons, but he is such a natural. And he knows how to milk the audience like a pro.

I tried to upload the video that Mr. Fixit made, but after almost five hours it still hadn't finished so I decided just to try one of the ones posted on YouTube. Take a look and see a child with the music in him.



The crowd loved him! I am so proud of him.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Open Mouth, Insert Foot

Republican Lt. Governor Andre Bauer is running for the office of governor of South Carolina. At a town hall meeting while stating his position on the state of the welfare system, Bauer said his grandmother "told me as a small child to quit feeding stray animals. You know why? Because they breed."

He also wants to compel parents of students who receive free lunches or reduced price lunches to attend all parent-teacher conferences and PTA meetings or "bam, you lose your benefits." He failed to mention, or perhaps he doesn't know, that people do not have to be on welfare to qualify for the free or reduced price lunch programs.

I guess that means that if you are a single parent working at a minimum wage job and your boss won't give you time off or if you can't afford to take the time off and you miss your parent-teacher conference or you have to miss a PTA meeting where the topic of discussion is the latest fund raiser, your children could be denied lunch.

When critical reaction to his remark comparing welfare recipients to stray animals and his plan to stop children from receiving lunch if the parents don't comply with his rules began, he back-pedaled a bit. "Maybe the metaphor isn't the best metaphor." (the grandmother anecdote)He also said that he didn't mean that he would take food out of the mouths of children but rather that the parents should lose welfare benefits.

Most of the comments about the story agreed with Lt. Governor Bauer. I was left with the impression that most of those commenting thought that the majority of welfare recipients are black. No one said anything so blatant; I hope I read something into it that wasn't there. I wonder if I am the only person who thinks the "They breed" comment to be just a touch racist.

I do agree that the present welfare system should be re-vamped. There are too many undeserving people taking advantage of the system just as there are too many medical
professionals taking advantage of the Medicare system. I'm just not sure that the school lunch program is the place to start. The welfare of children should be our most important priority.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Not News to Me

A couple of years ago a woman I knew was murdered by her husband. I hadn’t seen her in quite a while, but at the time of our acquaintance, I liked her very much. I was hoping that the local news reporting would give some hint to his motivation for this horrendous crime when the case came to trial. Instead the reporting was terrible.

The trial was covered by at least two large regional newspapers and one or two local television stations. As I read each report, I realized that the stories were identical. It was as if they were written by one person and the same story sold to each outlet. I didn’t realize that the local media used free-lance writers or stringers and that they all would employ the same person and use the same story.

Tuesday’s story covered only the opening arguments of the prosecution and the defense. There was no indication of the theory of the crime of the defense. I don’t know if he claimed self-defense or if the attorney was trying to mitigate the circumstances claiming the death was a result of manslaughter or a lesser degree of murder or if he was trying the old blame-the-victim defense. In fact, I don’t know if the husband was charged with first degree murder or a lesser charge. The only testimony reported was by the police officers who responded to the wife’s call to
911. I am left wondering why he did it. I have only the rumors that were reported when the murdered happened.

This afternoon the headline read that the defendant had been found guilty, but I don’t know if he was found guilty of first degree murder or a lesser charge. It could have been manslaughter, I suppose, even though she was shot in the back in front of their 8 year old son. There was no mention of sentencing. Instead the first sentence in each of the stories was that the husband had been found guilty; the rest of the story was simply a word-for-word re-hash of yesterday’s reporting.

While I have no real experience in journalism, I do know that if I had turned in such poorly written material for my high school newspaper, the journalism teacher would have failed me and I would have been removed as co-editor. In that class in a little Kentucky school, I learned at least to write a factual report--who, what, when, and where in the first paragraph and to flesh out the story with a few details.

As I read the local news or listen to the local nightly news, I am appalled by the bad grammar and even worse writing. Not only is the reporting lacking, but the editing seems to be non-existent. It’s not only the media in smaller markets. I read the Houston Chronicle and the Louisville Courier Journal regularly. They aren’t much better.

Is it any wonder that newspapers are failing? The really frightening thing is that in the very near future we could be left with only the internet and television news. I just can’t see myself trusting anything that the Headline News channel’s silly, giggly anchors report. I stopped watching HLN when I saw several of the anchors stuffing saltines into their mouths and reporting on the results.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sheriff Rhodes and Pierced Ears

This morning about 3:30 I was awake and reading a dandy little mystery, Shotgun Saturday Night by Bill Crider. This is the sheriff‘s reaction when his lady friend had her ears pierced--“Rhodes was feeling a kid again, and he wasn’t exactly sure what to say. When he had been young, ‘nice’ girls weren’t the ones with pierced ears. But that had been a long time ago. Surely he was that old-fashioned, was he?”

It reminded me of getting my ears pierced.

Observations of an Ordinary Person, Post of 4/30/07
Monday, April 30, 2007

"Once I mentioned to my parents that I would like to have my ears pierced. Back in the early 60’s very few people had pierced ears. My father gravely explained to me that my reputation was the most valuable thing I would ever have, and it should be guarded zealously. I was left with the uneasy feeling that any girl with pierced ears was not a “nice” girl. At 15, I didn’t quite get what made someone not a “nice” girl; I was so na├»ve.

After my father died in 1964, I once again discussed getting my ears pierced with my mother. By that time, I was almost 18 years old, living in an apartment alone, and earning my own living. My mother had moved back to her hometown to be near her family. I decided to stay in what I considered my hometown. I still wanted to see if she would be upset with me if I did the reputation destroying deed. Surprisingly, she didn’t think it was a big deal. When I told her there was no one in my town to do it, she said she would ask around to see if she could find someone in the more sophisticated town where she lived. She asked her hairdresser if she knew anyone who could pierce my ears. The hairdresser said she would do it, but if had to be on a Saturday afternoon in her home. I was under the impression that it was a rather clandestine sideline for the hairdresser.

When my mother and I arrived at the hairdresser’s house, she sat me on a stool and brought out a bottle of alcohol, cotton balls, an eyebrow pencil (for marking my lobes), a few ice cubes, a cork, and a large needle and white thread. After marking the lobes, she swabbed my ears with alcohol, held the ice on my ear to numb it, and jabbed the threaded needle through my ear into the cork. I also fainted. It didn’t hurt that much. It was just the thought of that needle and thread going through my ear. I almost told her to forget the second ear. She tied off the thread leaving a big loop running through my ear. After I recovered from my near faint, I told her to do the other one. When I left $5.00 poorer with thread hanging from my ears, she told me to be sure to apply an antiseptic cream every day (I guess she didn’t want my lobes to rot) and to slide the thread through the holes frequently so that my flesh didn’t stick to the thread as my ears healed. After a week of wearing those disgusting thread loops, I went to the jewelry store and bought a discreet pair of gold studs. I think a short time later I had my long hair cut to show off my earrings. Reputation bedamned! I thought I was quite the rebel.

While I do wear a bit more makeup than my grandmother and mother, I don’t wear hats except to protect my head. I don’t wear heels and little white gloves to go shopping. I have worn earrings every day of my life since that day in the fall of 1964 except when I was required to remove them for the births of my sons. My earrings are in the same category as my wedding band; they are always there. I hope my reputation hasn’t suffered."

I wonder why everyone thought only girls with loose morals had their ears pierced. It had nothing to do with wearing earrings. Everyone wore them; at least, everyone in my family did.

(I tried for about 30 minutes to simply "link" to the old post, but I couldn't get it to work. My wizardness is slipping.)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Cat-ricide

We almost committed cat-ricide today. When we left to run some errands, Mr. Fixit turned off the kerosene heater; perhaps I should say, he thought he turned off the heater. We were away for about 2½ hours. As soon as I opened the door from the garage to come into the house, I noticed the fumes were horrible. Little Girl was the only cat inside. She couldn’t get out; she doesn’t have access to the cat door in the kitchen. The other two with access to the cat door were sitting on the deck.

When I walked upstairs it seemed to be a bit smoky. I opened some windows and turned on the fans to clear it out. I have a whopping great headache after being here for about 30 minutes. Mr. Fixit said that the heater didn’t shut down completely, and the fumes resulted from incomplete combustion.

If I have a headache after only a few minutes exposure, I would how Little Girl feels. She must have a headache, too. If we had stayed away for a bit longer, there could have been a fatal result for her. You can be sure that Mr. Fixit will make sure that the heater is completely off in the future.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

And Now Let's Take a Look at the Weather

The weather continues to be the main topic of conversation here. The predicted low tonight is supposed to be a balmy 18 degrees. It is now a little after 9:00 pm, and the thermometer outside my window shows a temp of 20 degrees. It will probably drop a lot more since there is no cloud cover, and no one has indicated that a warm front is heading our way tonight.

We have the kerosene heater on and it keeps the living room and the upstairs toasty warm, but the kitchen where the cats stay is cold. But, as Mr. Fixit said, it’s a lot warmer in there than it is outside. The little goofs stay in all day and wait until dark to go out. They are going to freeze their whiskers off if they aren’t careful.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Snow in South Carolina

The is the result of the "snow fall" predicted for last night.





As a consequence, schools in the county started an hour late. Mr. Fixit made it to work with no problems encountered. As far as the late school opening, I suppose one reason is because part of our county has mountains (well, big hills) where the snowfall could have been heavier. When one school closes, or delays opening, all of them are affected.

When Mr. Fixit and I were out yesterday, we noticed noticed a lot of people stocking up on milk and bread. People in the South have a bit to learn about preparing for snow. When we lived in New England and a storm was forecast, the three items that left the shelves first were milk, bread, and bathroom tissue. New Englanders have their priorites in order.

It's still very cold; this morning it was about 24 degrees when I woke up which is about 10 degrees warmer that it's been for the last several days. The temperature has been falling even though the sun is shining. It's predicted to be about 10 degrees tonight. We have lived here since 1982 and this is the first time we have had such low temps lasting for so long. We usually have a few really cold days, but not this many in a row.



On another subject--This morning about 8:00 am when I was reading the Yahoo! news there was an article about the increase in jobs created in the last few months, seemingly another positive factor indicating a strenghtening economy. My reading was interrupted so I cook breakfast for Mr. Fixit. I mentioned the story to Mr. Fixit. When I resumed reading, the story had disappeared and the one taking its place described the loss of jobs in the last month or so which heralds not-so-good news for our economy.

Did I image the first story? Am I completely delusional? Can the press be considered unreliable? No, that can't be possible even though it seems quite often that I read one article or listen to one story on CNN and ten minutes later, completely different information is reported. It must be me; after all, we know that the press is all-seeing and all-knowing. And, we know that the news media checks its sources before publishing. Don't we know that? Hmmm. . .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Three Dog Night

It's about 9:30 pm. It's snowing a little. I would be really happy about that except for the fact that Mr. Fixit leaves the house at 3:30 am to drive almost 20 miles to work. South Carolina doesn't have that much snow removal equipment. In fact, they never plow our street. I'm hoping it will snow enough that he won't be able to make it up the hill and will stay home. His truck isn't that great in snow and certainly not on ice. It's very cold, too.

I can see that it is going to be a very long night.

The First Lucy & Ricky Ricardo Moment of 2010

It is very unusual for me to stay in my pajamas for more than 10 minutes after I get up. Mr. Fixit called me on his 10:00 am break. When he asked me what I was doing, I replied, “I'm still in my jammies reading the newspaper on line.” He called again a few days later with the same question. I replied, “I'm doing the crossword on line in my p.j.'s.” (I don't know why I had changed my habit after a lifetime routine of getting dressed first thing in the morning. It just seemed like a good idea at the time.)

Yesterday he called before leaving work with his usual question. “What are you doing?”

I said, “I'm reading the newspaper.”

He said, “Are you still in your peejees?”

I had to stop and think about that one even though over the years I've learned to “listen with an accent.”

After I couple of second's thought, I realized he had combined “jammies” and “p.j.'s” to coin a whole new word—peejees. I like it! From now on, my night attire will be know as peejees.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

I Need a Keeper

My lunch menu today was to be grilled chicken breasts, white rice, and corn. I prepared the rice as usual (I thought) and put in the microwave. I seasoned the chicken and put in on the grill. Mr. Fixit was in the living room trying to get a new heater going. (We are having heating problems during the coldest time in several years.) He called me into the living room and said he couldn't find the instructions. I went in, found the instructions, and went back into the kitchen. I noticed the smell of something burning. I thought it was the grill, but there seemed to be no problem when I checked. The microwave was doing its thing, but the smell of smoke and another noxious, chemically odor took my breath away. I open the oven and smoke came rolling out.

This was the result.




I think I forgot to add the water to the rice steamer, and the noxious fumes came from the melting microwave cookware.

In the almost 44 years that we've been married, I have cooked rice almost every day.
It's a staple of the Colombian and Venezuelan diet where Mr. Fixit was raised. I have overcooked it, undercooked it, and burned it a few times, but this was the first time I ever melted the pot.

Monday, January 4, 2010

355 days until Christmas (Groan!)

Thank goodness, the holiday season is over.

My Laugh of the Day



(Click on image to enlarge.)

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Colder Than a . . .

It’s cold! When I reluctantly left my warm bed this morning at 7:15, the temperature outside my window was 10 degrees. Even I think that’s cold. It’s very unusual here in South Carolina. The forecast calls for very low temps for the next few days.

Mother Cat, who only comes inside to eat, was waiting for me on the deck railing. She’s the reason I got up early. I thought maybe she would stay inside for a little while. I went upstairs thinking she might stay longer if I weren’t there, but I heard her leave when she finished eating. I feel badly that she is in the cold, but I guess she is used to being outdoors all the time. She panics if I close the door when she is inside. She must be about 7 or 8 years old; she’s been hanging around our house for quite a long time. She must have a warm place to stay, but I still worry about her.



Click on photo to see her wonderful, bright green eyes. I wish she would let me pet her just one time.