2 1/2 lb Sugar

I’m convinced that it is only a matter of time until the sugar industry begins packing sugar into 2 1/2 lb. bags.  That way one need only buy 2 bags to get the 5 lbs of sugar we used to get in one.  Of course we will be paying double the cost. This thought occurred to me this week when I went shopping for Halloween candy for the little tricksters in my neighborhood. The first problem arose when the “2 for $3” bags of candy I had thrown into my cart suddenly became $2.99 each at the cash register… seems the sign over the display was in truth the price of some tiny things on the shelf above. Taking these bags back to the display, I realized that the bags only contained 11 oz. of candy….which means the 1 lb bags I used to buy had not only shrunk in size but were now more expensive. You probably noticed that the manufacturers didn’t decrease the size to 12 oz. but leapt ahead to 11 oz.   pretty soon 8 oz bags of tiny candy bars will be on the shelves.

We can only conclude that once again the evil corporate world has stuck it to consumers, maliciously decreasing the size of containers and simultaneously raising prices. All manner of canned goods have suddenly become 11.5 oz rather than the previous 15 .5 oz.  5 lb bags of flour and sugar have become 4 pounds.  Imagine the profit they have gleaned from this manipulation of sizes. It’s similar to those $10-$20 pills the pharmaceutical industry offers us, the $404 socket wrench that companies sold to our government…and the $25 plates Halliburton provides in the military mess halls and charge us  everytime a soldier gets a refill. We are so screwed!

And They Wonder Why People Are Marching

In the October 11 AARP Bulletin an article caught my eye causing me to storm out of the bathroom this morning. It seems 70 year old Sharon Bulington and her husband had refinanced their mortgage with Bank of America. Last December Sharon sent in her first new payment a week early. WRONG! Because she had sent the check a week early BOA claimed that invalidated the loan modification and began foreclosure!! Not until the she got lawyers and had her congressmen intervene did BOA relent and admit their “MISTAKE”  Their mistake was trying to foreclose on  someone who fought back. http://www.aarp.org/money/credit-loans-debt/info-10-2011/early-payment-sets-off-foreclosure-outrage.html

This is why people are marching in the street including the elderly.  Bankers who are causing incredible hardship on the little guy, who have their money grubbing hands in everyone’s pockets (BOA’s $5 per month fee for using a debit card to pay for groceries) should be sent to jail with the other criminals…There’s something to this 99% mentality of the marchers. Too bad I have bad feet .

Oh, Lord, I Sound like a Republican!

Late last week Massachusetts police received a 911 call from a family lost in a corn maze. Twilight was turning to darkness and this man, woman and their children felt trapped within the maze. The police dispatcher first tried to calm the woman on the phone and then asked to speak with her husband.

When the man got on the phone, the dispatcher again assured them that police were on the way, told him to calm his wife, and then asked the husband for his age.  “42”  the man answered and then continued, “No one has come out to get us. We can see the lights of the buildings, but you’d think the people who ran this place would have come out after us.”

Now, I grew up on a farm and spent a lot of my childhood hiding and running through corn fields. I know how tall and dense the fields can get, but I always knew I could get out…and I was a child. To me the fact that these people 30 and 42 years old could actually see the lights from the farm buildings and did not walk toward the lights  is symptomatic of a people who are waiting for someone else to rescue them, who do not have either the initiative or intelligence to actually help themselves. Americans, there are no K-9 units coming to help us!

Oh, Lord, I sound like a Republican!

I Want My Country Back!

Hank Williams Jr who. in his latest drunken appearance,  compared President Obama to Hitler and declared him the “enemy” is emblematic of a deep and possibly fatal breach in the U.S.  And if we, as citizens, continue in our oblivious way, this division may ultimately destroy us.  Shortly after the 2008 election, I inadvertently dialed in to a talk radio show featuring ultra right pundit Mark Levin. With syllables dripping with venom he screeched that Liberals  wanted to destroy “Our Way of Life.” compared them with commies and socialists who hated America and declared that he wanted his country back. To every caller who agreed with him, he, as well as his alter ego Rush Limbaugh, repeated the phrase, “You’re a fine American.”

As if liberals were not?!? When did this happen? I vividly remember the dissension surrounding the Vietnamese War.  My husband was drafted and spent a year in Nam…I resented the pundits and protestors, but I never declared them unAmerican. Even in my fear for his safety, I recognized that they, too, were worried about the direction of the country. We simply disagreed — we were not enemies. I didn’t arm myself.

Now I want My country back. a land that has stood for freedom to the entire world. a country that welcomed my ancestors with open arms and gave them untold opportunities to succceed with hard work. a rich tapestry of states and communities that had a common goal  although they may have had a diverse heritage. A country which recognizes that liberal views married with conservative theories is what built this nation. A people who have always had a big heart, who helped their neighbors, even those who were silly, a people who cheered not only for our flag but for the success of our fellow citizens and who joined forces to achieve  wonders. Folks who realized that the flag worn on one’s sleeve could never compare to the flag imprinted on one’s heart. A people who believe that the Constitution was formed by our founders to be the glue that held us together, not the pathway to Civil War.  And that we are all “fine Americans.”

Wheat Belly Diet Update

Well, it’s been 2 months since I started living wheat free following the advice of Wheat Belly author Dr. William Davis. I am amazed at how easy it has been for me. I anticipated huge regrets when I saw wheat laden goodies, but that has not happened. I even spent 2 weeks away from the safety of home, on vacation one week at the Clearing in Door County where delicious home made bread is de rigeur, and another week with friends at a vacation home where each night different cooks showcased their specialties. Fortunately for me, I am retired and was able to cook and bake what I could eat — using special wheat-free breads, muffins, pizza dough, and quiches to occasionally supplement  my new diet of healthy foods.

The result thus far. I was able to literally cut my insulin by half, and have lost 16 lbs.  My endocrinologist was amazed and pleased. In addition, I am feeling much better generally. To me this has been a win-win, and I am committed to at least another 6 weeks.

As you can imagine, the Grain Foundation is not happy with Dr. Davis’ book. I am much more aware of the number of other obese people I see, and their proclivity to eat carb filled and wheat laden foods. And the government and health care professionals continue to push eating “whole wheat” everywhere you look. But contemporary wheat is NOT the wheat in the bible, is not the wheat our ancestors ate and it is NOT good for us.

For me I’ll take the Shrimp and Scallop Scampi I am fixing this evening with a side of lucious veggies and perhaps some spaghetti squash linguine.

Friends

Pajama Breakfasts

Friends are the Glue of Life…people who knew you when, who share your values, and though they may roll their eyes, love you all the same.

This week saw my husband and I traveling to the Whitehall/Montague, Michigan area to the vacation home of friends. In all, there were 6 couples in the house which overlooks an inland lake with an outlet to Lake Michigan.

We have been friends for nearly 45 years.  The husbands were all aircraft mechanics for United Airlines. I’m sure that fact is responsible for the steadfastness of our friendships. Working for a 7 day/24 hour operation, we spent our lives with husbands working through weekends and on holidays. My husband was on the midnight shift for over 20 years.  We needed friends who led similar lives, people who wouldn’t blink at the idea of a party on a Tuesday night, people who weren’t judgmental that you couldn’t make a family event. In that sense the women worked for United as much as the men…keeping children quiet when Daddy was asleep during the day, foregoing  normal weekends, enduring strikes together, joyously traveling on passes, but living through the bankruptcy of the company, loss of big parts of pensions, the horror of 9/11 (no one mourned more than the mechanics who had spent their entire adult lives keeping the aircrafts safe only to see them used as weapons)  and ultimately the merger with another airline.

Above all we’ve had years of laughter, and none more than the last few days.  There we were, generous and giving hosts, men who can fix anything and enjoy a little Jack, women who can cook anything and shop, laughing, playing games, eating, pontooning, watching  for satellites, deer and eagles, eating, and sharing lots and lots of stories and memories.

Things are different now. We’re no longer running after each other’s children or starting careers. All of us are retired. We  walk a little slower, we tend to have to help each other out of situations or sofas, and remind everyone to take their pills. But the concern and love and teasing is there as always.

Now let me tell you about my library friends…!  I am so blessed!

Day of Destruction, Decade of War

On this weekend when we are all remembering 9/11, I am recommending an excellent film.

Richard Engel, an extraordinary war correspondent for NBC and Rachel Maddow, commentator on MSNBC  have put together a thoughtful and dramatic documentary of the events of 9/11 and the impact on the U.S.  To sum things up..”It took 19 men armed with box cutters, sent by a vicious terrorist to change our world. It ultimately took 24 Navy Seals to track down and kill Bin Laden. In between those events we spent 1.3 trillion dollars, saw the deaths of over 6,000 soldiers, the wounding of thousands more, and unfortunately, embittered the entire muslim world.”

Engel is seen in firefights with our soldiers, interviewing Al Quaida fighters, swimming underwater with NY city police to protect bridges and giving an inside look at the protections, cameras and technology which hopefully will protect the city. They have cameras on helicopters which can track a squirrel in Central Park !)

Rachel reports the detailed  events of 9/11, interviews families of 9/11 victims, soldiers and politicians. She traces the money spent on the war, investigates the enormous use of contractors and sums up how this decade has changed our habits and fears, our economy, and our standing in the world.

It is an excellent film in that it provides a cogent and organized overview of  the events of 9/11 and the resulting years. It is in two parts, an hour each, and well worth the viewing here

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/44292512/

A Foursome of Seagulls

As I watched a flock of ducks heading out from the shore of the pond in the park behind our home to feed and float at dawn , four white seagulls gracefully soared overhead, darting here and there behind the trees, rising up and around each other. It was such a sight of beauty and calm that it made me pause at the window.

Where did they come from? We live almost 40 miles west of Chicago’s lakefront which is full of seagulls who have made their way down the St. Lawrence Seaway and pose picturesquely on the beaches. But those seagulls are raucous and bothersome, swooping down on picnickers and small children to pluck at food and wrappers.  This foursome is silent and almost ephemeral as they rise and turn at sunrise. Almost ghostly or even angelically.

We spent the weekend in the town my husband was raised, attending an annual Labor Day Picnic at his old parish. vsiting relatives and neighbors, driving along back roads, visiting graves.

I wonder.  The four seagulls are gone now, but I remember.

Alley Oop Zucchini Redux

You may remember my recent dilemma with the gigantic zucchini I called the Alley Oop Zucchini.  Since I had no takers for it ( despite the fact my daughter expressed an interest in it), I tried sneaking it to my neighbor.  Strategy : call her up and offer a couple of summer squash for her.  Then as she opens the door, try to sneak Alley Oop past her foot. Result: Open-mouthed consternation then total rejection. The twins were literally screaming as I started back home with Alley Oop in my arms.  Alternative strategy : Offer it to the new mailman  coming down our block.  Result: Head shaking rejection.

So what did I do?  Got out the cuisinart and Alley Oop is now :

2 loaves of Zucchini Bread

24 no-wheat Zucchini Muffins

2 containers of frozen grated zucchini for future baking.

I kind of miss seeing him leaning against the wall as he was wont to do.

Extreme Athletes

Anyone that knows me knows that I am the last person who could be referred to as an athlete, but that doesn’t mean I can’t admire or wonder at those who achieve great things through their own tenacity and training.

This weekend was Chicago’s triathalon and one of the participants rising from Lake Michigan in a lovely pink bathing hat was Mayor Rahm Emmanuel. Granted he did not participate in the full triathalon, but did a lot more than former Mayor Daley could ever contemplate.

But last week a feat was accomplished that amazed me, and I have not heard of it in the U.S. press. Six British adventurers (I love that word, adventurers…conjurs up mountain climbers, doesn’t it) rowed to the North Pole. I want to know just how one says to one’s wife, “I’m just going to pop off with the lads and row to the North Pole?” Had they practiced on the Thames, or by crossing the English Channel?

Imagine spending 28 days in this open boat rowing to the North Pole. Was there a chaser boat, a local ice cutter on standby? By the looks of the photo, they seemed on a weekend jaunt. One is simply wearing an aran sweater. This was made possible due to global warming. The ice around the North Pole has melted enough this summer to allow a small boat and 6 intrepid athletes to row within three miles of it and finish the distace by pulling the craft over the remaining ice floes. They assume that in the next few years, continue warming will most likely make the trip easier.

My question, in 2020 will we be taking cruises to the North Pole during the summer? If so, don’t ask me to help row.

For more information see the article from The Independent here: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/rowers-reach-impossible-north-pole-thanks-to-global-warming-2344689.html

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