Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Good Friend Is Missing...!

I have some sad news today.

For those of you that don't know about my cats, I had two male Siamese. I got them when they were kittens, and they became my friends and my "roomies".

One was a lot bigger than the other...and the biggest was named Smokey, mainly because of his coloring. He was mostly gray at the ears and face. Smokey was a really big cat, which was not usual for cats of Siamese blood. In fact, Smokey reminded me of a panda bear!

His brother was named C.B. (short for cry baby) because he is always talking and carrying on, especially when he first comes in after being outside! C.B. has a more natural Siamese along the face and ears, slim and lanky in build!

Both of these wonderful creatures were more people friendly than anyone could imagine. They loved being around people, even children. They showed no fear when it came to being around most folks, only hiding when the yard guys came around! For some reason, they did not care for lawn mowers and leaf blowers! Too noisy , I guess!

Anyway, both the boys liked staying outside at night, prowling and carrying on like Toms are prone to do. They were always glad to come in first thing in the morning, always glad to see me, would get up in my arms, and give me a hug before they devoured their morning rations of cat food and fresh water! They were a lot company...and a true pleasure in my life!

Below is a picture of Smokey taken last Summer. As you can see, he was indeed a handsome guy!

Posted by Picasa

Smokey is no longer here. After spending the night out five days ago, I went to let the "boys " in and when I opened the door, in came C.B....all alone! I figured that Smokey was going to hang outside just a little longer, but he would soon be home. He does NOT like to miss a meal, believe me!

He never showed up that day, or the next, or the next after that! Finally, I drove around the neighborhood, hoping that he would be walking around the neighbors house. At the same time, I was afraid that I might find him dead in the street!

C.B. started talking to me, looking all over the room and the yard...calling to his brother the whole time! Neither of us had any luck, I'm afraid.

I can only assume that someone has taken him in and adopted him. If that's the case, sooner or later they will have to let him out...and I'm hoping that when they do, he'll come home. Anyway, I would like to have him home. I miss him, and his brother misses him! I feel that a part of my family is gone. I know that I profess to be a Hermit, but my "roomies" are very important to me and I don't feel really complete with one of them missing, ya know?

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen, OK? I'll show you some more pictures of my boys...!

Saturday, February 27, 2010

You Might Want To Look At This...!

My sister sent this to me and I thought that the figures were interesting enough to pass on to you, in light of all the controversy about health care!

I tried to verify them using Snopes, but couldn't find a pro or con view on their web site.

A recent "Investor's Business Daily" Article provided very interesting statistics from a survey by the United Nations International Health Organization.

Percentage of men and women who survived a cancer five years after diagnosis:
U.S. 65%
England 46%
Canada 42%

Percentage of patients diagnosed with diabetes who received treatment within six months:
U.S. 93%
England 15%
Canada 43%

Percentage of seniors needing hip replacement who received it within six months:
U.S. 90%
England 15%
Canada 43%

Percentage referred to a medical specialist who see one within one month:
U.S. 77%
England 40%
Canada 43%

Number of MRI scanners (a prime diagnostic tool) per million people:
U.S. 71
England 14
Canada 18

Percentage of seniors (65+), with low income, who say they are in "excellent health":
U.S. 12%
England 2%
Canada 6%

I don't know about you, but I don't Want "Universal Healthcare" comparable to England or Canada .

VERY INTERESTING! The percentage of Each past president's cabinet who had worked in the private business sector prior to their appointment to the Cabinet. You know what the private business sector is... A real life business, not a government job. Here are the percentages.

T. Roosevelt........ 38%
Taft..................... 40%
Wilson ................. 52%
Coolidge.............. 48%
Hoover................. 42%
F. Roosevelt......... 50%
Truman................. 50%
Eisenhower........... 57%
Kennedy.............. 30%
Johnson................ 47%
Nixon.................... 53%
Ford..................... 42%
Carter................... 32%
Reagan................. 56%
GH Bush.............. 51%
Clinton ................. 39%
GW Bush............. 55%

And the winner of the Chicken Dinner is...Obama...8% !!!

Yep! That's right! Only Eight percent!!!..the least by far of the last 19 Presidents!! And these people are trying to tell our big corporations how to run their business? They know what's best for GM...Chrysler... Wall Street... And you and me?

How can the president of a major Nation and society...the one with the most successful economic system in world history... Stand and talk about business when he's never worked for one?.. Or about jobs when he has never really had one??! And neither has 92% of his senior staff and closest advisers..! They've spent most of their time in academia, government and/or non-profit jobs....or as "community organizers"..when they should have been in an employment line.


Now, my friends, it's time for some coffee in the kitchen, don't you think?

Friday, February 26, 2010

How About Some Sam Adams...?

No, I'm not talking about the beer this time, but instead I want to discuss the man!

Sam Adams is someone that we don't mention very often. He doesn't come up in many discussions about freedom or politics or revolutionary thought, but many of his quotes are very much in keeping with our views on freedom and liberty!

Read these and see if you don't agree with me on this...

Among the natural rights of the colonists are these: First a right to life, secondly to liberty, and thirdly to property; together with the right to defend them in the best manner they can.
Samuel Adams

He who is void of virtuous attachments in private life is, or very soon will be, void of all regard for his country. There is seldom an instance of a man guilty of betraying his country, who had not before lost the feeling of moral obligations in his private connections.
Samuel Adams

How strangely will the Tools of a Tyrant pervert the plain Meaning of Words!
Samuel Adams

It does not take a majority to prevail... but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.
Samuel Adams

Mankind are governed more by their feelings than by reason.
Samuel Adams

Our contest is not only whether we ourselves shall be free, but whether there shall be left to mankind an asylum on earth for civil and religious liberty.
Samuel Adams

The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
Samuel Adams

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
Samuel Adams

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
Samuel Adams

The Constitution shall never be construed... to prevent the people of the United States who are peaceable citizens from keeping their own arms.
Samuel Adams

The liberties of our country, the freedom of our civil constitution, are worth defending against all hazards: And it is our duty to defend them against all attacks.
Samuel Adams

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on Earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but only to have the law of nature for his rule.
Samuel Adams

Now, it's a very good thing that we still have the quotes and the wisdom of all the wise and brave men in our past to read and ponder! But it makes me question just one thing...where in the hell are the great and wise men of today? Where are the leaders that will stand up for the average American citizen, voicing concerns over the fact that more and more each day, many of our rights seem to be slowly removed by people in power that don't care for the individual, don't care that the voice of the people differs from their actions, don't have a clue about what the people of our country really want, nor do they care!

It's my personal opinion that someone, anyone, needs to step up and heed the call of the People! Someone needs to speak out in a voice that can and will be heard! Someone needs to help the overly destructive forces in power to back off a bit and slow down!

If someone that already has the tools and the access to the proper processes cannot be found, or is unwilling to take up the banner of concerned citizens...then it is up to us, the voters, to find someone to do so. Find them and groom them if necessary to step up to the plate, to join the struggle, to speak for the average man!

I can't help but feel that the time is short to find that someone, to work within the system, to peacefully make the changes that need so desperately to be made!

Make no mistake, some changes need to be made. We all would like to have them made without violence. No one wants a violent end to a problem that might have a peaceful solution ! NO ONE...!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Now This Makes Sense To Me...!

I think that this move is about the best thing that could happen in politics.

It's true that this may be just symbolic in nature, but at least someone is finally taking a decent stand about things. According to this story in the Houston Chronicle, Wyoming is doing just that!

Wyoming lawmakers eye ‘cowboy ethics’ code

Associated Press
Feb. 23, 2010, 12:47PM

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — Some members of the Wyoming Legislature want to instill “cowboy ethics” in state law, lest lawmakers and citizens forget the state’s western roots.

The code would stress the importance of living with courage, keeping promises, finishing what you start and saying more by talking less.

Based on the “Code of the West” outlined in a 2004 book by James Owen, a Wall Street investor from Texas, Senate File 51 galloped through the Wyoming Senate last week and on Monday lassoed unanimous approval from the House Minerals Committee.

The bill is a symbolic gesture that carries no criminal penalties and is not meant to replace any civil codes.

The full House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill soon.

Sponsor Sen. Jim Anderson, R-Glenrock, said Owen’s book captured his interest, and he was inspired to introduce the bill after seeing the December premier of a related video project, “The Code of the West: Alive and Well in Wyoming.”

“There’s a work ethic in all things that we do, particularly in government,” Anderson said.

A number of states have enacted ethics codes, but Wyoming’s proposal has a unique flare, said Peggy Kerns, director of the Ethics Center at the National Conference of State Legislatures.

“It’s OK to put in statute these kinds of aspirational statements, and then of course, the proof comes in how it’s played out,” she said.

Brent Hathaway, dean of the University of Wyoming College of Business, keeps a copy of the cowboy code hanging above his desk.

I think it's a shame that some of this can't be passed on to the folks in Washington, don't you? Oh well, never hurts to dream!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the kitchen. Too chilly to sit on the patio, ya know?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Bit On The Country Side...!

I had the pleasure of finding some quotes by a man I had never read very much, if at all!

I don't know how I went this long without finding this gentleman, but from the quotes that I've read...I think he must have been a country boy, at least at heart!

So much of what he said fits right into what we talk about, right into what we profess to feel, that there is no doubt in my mind that he would be welcome at my table anytime!

No man but feels more of a man in the world if he have a bit of ground that he can call his own. However small it is on the surface, it is four thousand miles deep; and that is a very handsome property.
Charles Dudley Warner

What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it.
Charles Dudley Warner

Goodness comes out of people who bask in the sun, as it does out of a sweet apple roasted before the fire.
Charles Dudley Warner

Mud-pies gratify one of our first and best instincts. So long as we are dirty, we are pure.
Charles Dudley Warner

One of the best things in the world to be is a boy; it requires no experience, but needs some practice to be a good one.
Charles Dudley Warner

The thing generally raised on city land is taxes.
Charles Dudley Warner

Happy is said to be the family which can eat onions together. They are, for the time being, separate, from the world, and have a harmony of aspiration.
Charles Dudley Warner

To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a hoe, to plant seeds, and watch the renewal of life-this is the commonest delight of the race, the most satisfactory thing a man can do.
Charles Dudley Warner

Guess he just about says it all! A real mouthful of what appears to be just bout as country as you can get, in my opinion!

Now, my friends, lets get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit. We can watch the rain and wish it was Spring!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Bill Of Rights...Revisited !!

From time to time, we should stop and reflect on just how far we have come since these rights were written!

I know that a lot of you have a copy either on your person...or hanging on your wall! That's a good thing. However, we still need to take the time to read them again. Many times!

Some of these rights are memorized, many are quoted often, and all are equally important! But besides the important words and the ideas behind the Bill of Rights, there is also a history that we should remember.

It cost a great deal for our founding Fathers to bring us these rights! Much endless discussion, sleepless nights, probably an unbelievable amount of soul searching about whether or not all the basic needs were addressed. It couldn't have been easy, and it's important that we, as a people, never take them for granted!

The Preamble to The Bill of Rights

Congress of the United States begun and held at the City of New-York, on
Wednesday the fourth of March, one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine.

THE Conventions of a number of the States, having at the time of their adopting the Constitution, expressed a desire, in order to prevent misconstruction or abuse of its powers, that further declaratory and restrictive clauses should be added: And as extending the ground of public confidence in the Government, will best ensure the beneficent ends of its institution.

RESOLVED by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, two thirds of both Houses concurring, that the following Articles be proposed to the Legislatures of the several States, as amendments to the Constitution of the United States, all, or any of which Articles, when ratified by three fourths of the said Legislatures, to be valid to all intents and purposes, as part of the said Constitution; viz.

ARTICLES in addition to, and Amendment of the Constitution of the United States of America, proposed by Congress, and ratified by the Legislatures of the several States, pursuant to the fifth Article of the original Constitution.

Note: The following text is a transcription of the first ten amendments to the Constitution in their original form. These amendments were ratified December 15, 1791, and form what is known as the "Bill of Rights."

Amendment I

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Amendment II

A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.

Amendment III

No Soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the Owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law.

Amendment IV

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

Amendment V

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offence to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Amendment VI

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defence.

Amendment VII

In Suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise re-examined in any Court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law.

Amendment VIII

Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

Amendment IX

The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.

Amendment X

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Amendments 11-27
Note: The capitalization and punctuation in this version is from the enrolled original of the Joint Resolution of Congress proposing the Bill of Rights, which is on permanent display in the Rotunda of the National Archives Building, Washington, D.C.

After all of these years, this still brings a lump to my throat and a feeling of pride to my heart! I can only hope that our children, and their children will continue to hold dear the ideas put forth in this endeavor so long ago!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the kitchen for a while! OK?


Monday, February 22, 2010

Not Sure...But I Think We Got Slammed...!

You know, I don't moderate my comments section. I've never felt the need!

By the same token, I normally don't delete the comments that are made. I just don't. I've been very fortunate in the fact that the discussions we have had here seem, for the most part, to be done in a respectful manner.

Yesterday, I feel that, for some reason, myself and my readers got slammed. Other than trying to tell you what was said, I decided to post the entire comment as it was made...and let you decide if it was a little over the edge. I've included my answer to the comment!

Anonymous said...

Oh, where to begin. First of all, don't fall into the typical socialist/marxist thinking of 'what is fair' for someone else to earn. Second, who are you to judge what this CEO makes either for a salary or a bonus? He was hired to do do a specific thing - performance based (as in accomplishing what the board members wanted him to do -COUNTER THE EFFECTS OF A DETERIORATING BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT. He did that by eliminating excess expenditures in personnel. Alcoa earned $11.2M in 2009, - earnings not profits. Basic business here, profits meaning after the overhead was paid and all accounts were settled.
By the comments I have read here, it sounds more like you want Obama to also take over Alcoa because it brought in earnings last year. Does this also mean, you want the grocer down the street to be taken over because he also had earnings last year? listen to yourselves. A bunch of pity parties. I know that it 'just not fair" that Klaus did his job and earned a bonus because he lived up to a contractual agreement.

Big business is not the enemy here. it is over-government and over taxation that has driven big business to shed workers. No amount of TARP or stimulus $$$$ is going to change this fact. Government has never created jobs, and never will. It is business that drives an economy. And for those economically-challenged, so save your ire and angst for the ever-growing government sector that produces no products or services.

By the way, had mr kleinfeld not made those choices, the entire corporation might well have gone belly up.

With regard to Home Depot, mere conjecture. If you are not a player in the big leagues, or have a background in micro and macro economics, stay out of financial discussions. It makes you all look very uneducated.

And finally, a business, large or small, does not owe you anything, other than what was agreed up at initial employment. In fact a business does not have to think of you at all. You all will fit in nicely in the FEMA camps. Three hots, a cot, and just the right kind of Kool-aid. Food stamps anyone? Section 8 housing anyone.

And no, I am not a troll. i am just tired of everyone expecting something for nothing, passing judgement one what a person should be entitled to, and just plain trying to get into someone else's wallet.

February 21, 2010 11:50 AM

HermitJim said...

Hey Anon 11:50...
Although you don't know me very well, I just wanted to say that everyone is still free to say what they think here.

Also, I just want to say thank you for your visit...

Now, first of all let me state that the bold type is mine, added because those areas really seem to be out of line to me.

Second, if the Mr./Ms. Anon had read the article and quoted it properly...they would have noticed that, according to the article, the CEO recieved 11.2M as a yearly wage and bonus, and that the money earned by Alcoa in 2009 was not mentioned.

Well, there you have it! The article was taken from the Houston Chronicle, the links provided to the story, and I still have the feeling that we have all been slammed for having and voicing our opinion!

Seems like I remember reading somewhere that Freedom of Speech was one of the rights that we still have!

Anyway, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit.OK?

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Now How Screwed Up Is This...?

When I first saw this story in the Houston Chronicle, I had to go back and re-read it several times!

No wonder the economy is so messed up, when big business follows this type of plan!

Alcoa CEO earns $11.2M in 2009
By The Associated Press © 2010 The Associated Press
Feb. 19, 2010, 6:33PM

FULL YEAR'S PAY: Alcoa Inc.'s Klaus Kleinfeld received a compensation package valued at $11.2 million in his first full year as CEO, according to an Associated Press calculation of preliminary figures disclosed Friday in a regulatory filing.

PERFORMANCE BONUS: Kleinfeld's performance-based cash bonus nearly doubled to $3.8 million as he cut costs to counter the effect of a deteriorating business environment.

ALCOA PERFORMANCE: The Pittsburgh aluminum producer struggled as the recession dried up demand in key markets last year. It eliminated thousands of jobs and curbed production. Kleinfeld expects key markets to improve in 2010.

I wonder if his bonuses add up to the same amount as the salaries of the folks that were laid off?

It's a cray, sick world in the halls of big business, folks! That, of course, is just my humble opinion...!

Let's get some coffee, my friends, and sit in the kitchen, OK?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Cold, But Beautiful...!

Some folks really know how to turn Winter into a thing of beauty!

Check out these pictures of some amaing work at the Alaskan Ice Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska!

Like I said...very cold but beautiful! Come to think about it...that sounds a lot like my ex-wives! But then, that's a story for another day!

Now, my friends, how about some fresh coffee in the kitchen?

Friday, February 19, 2010

Hey, I'm In Good Company...

There are just so many reasons to read the Farmer's Almanac, I can't begin to tell you!

I use the information for a lot of different reasons, and I'm not the only one. Folks have been using this book as a source of dependable information for a long, long time! Don't believe me? Well, here is a little story right out of the history books that will show just what I mean! Even Abe Lincoln agreed...!

The occasion depicted in the above Rockwell painting is the 1858 murder trial of an Illinois man named William "Duff" Armstrong. Armstrong was accused of murdering James Preston Metzker with a "slung-shot"—a weight tied to a leather thong, sort of an early blackjack—a few minutes before midnight of August 29, 1857. Lincoln was a friend of the accused man's father, Jack Armstrong, who'd just died, and so he offered to help defend young Duff Armstrong, without pay, as a favor to Jack Armstrong's widow.

The principal prosecution witness against Armstrong was a man named Charles Allen, who testified that he'd seen the murder from about 150 feet away. When Lincoln asked Allen how he could tell it was Armstrong given that it was the middle of the night and he was a considerable distance away from the murder scene, Allen replied, "By the light of the Moon."

Enter the Almanac!

Upon hearing Allen's testimony, Lincoln produced a copy of the 1857 edition, turned to the two calendar pages for August, and showed the jury that not only was the moon in the first quarter but it was riding "low" on the horizon, about to set, at the precise time of the murder. There would not have been enough light for Allen to identify Armstrong or anyone else, said Lincoln. The jury agreed, and Duff Armstrong was acquitted.

See, you just never know when you might need the Almanac to prove your case, schedule your planting, find the best time to go fishing, find out about the next full moon (ya know, for that special date!) or just to browse through on a cold Winter's night in front of the fire!

Now, my friends, how about some fresh coffee in the kitchen? I have chocolate or tea instead, if that's how you roll!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Some Thursday Thoughts

While browsing around the web, I found this poem written by Robert Frost.

Somehow, it struck a cord with me today. I don't know why, but it did! So much so that I wanted to share it with you.

It may not affect you the same way, but it still makes for an interesting read for a Thursday morning.

Fire And Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,

Some say in ice.

From what I've tasted of desire

I hold with those who favor fire.

But if it had to perish twice,

I think I know enough of hate

To say that for destruction ice

Is also great

And would suffice

Now, at first glance this short poem seems like a nice and simple piece. But is it? Is there more to this poem than meets the eye at first reading? Is there a hidden meaning deep inside?

This is one of those poems that the more you read and study it, the more it causes you to ponder on it.

This morning though, I think I'll just take it at face value...and enjoy it for what it is!

Let's get some fresh coffee, OK? We can toast to the talent of Robert Frost...!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Simple Is Good...!

After the post yesterday dealing with gravy using cornmeal instead of flour...I had several folks tell me that they could never get any type of flour gravy quite right!

Sometimes I think the reason that so many folks have a hard time with recipes, is that they want to make cooking too hard. Cooking anything should be a fun adventure, with no right way or wrong way to do it! Common sense is the best guide to use when cooking!

A low or medium fire is really all that's needed to cook nearly anything. You should never be afraid to experiment with different ingredients, because often substituting one thing for another may lead to a brand new and tasty dish! Don't overdo the grease or oil! Start with a little, adding more if needed. Same with salt!Try cooking without adding salt and only add it after you're through...or better yet, let folks add it to the dish themselves to taste!

Now as far as simple recipes for gravy goes...this one could not be any more simple. No flour, no milk, no extra ingredients...except coffee or water. Sounds a little weird, right? Take a look!

Red eye gravy is well known in the South, but little known in the rest of the United States. Also called bird-eye gravy, poor man’s gravy, red ham gravy, and muddy gravy, it is made from drippings and black coffee, although some debate that using water is better. The history of red eye gravy is rife with culinary lore.

So the story goes: Andrew Jackson (1767-1845), 7th President of the United States, called for his cook to tell him what to prepare for the morning meal. The cook had been drinking “moonshine” the night before and his eyes were rimmed in red. Taking a look at those bloody red eyes, General Jackson instructed the cook to bring him some country ham with gravy as red as his eyes. The conversation was overheard by others and from then on, ham gravy became “Red Eye Gravy.”

It doesn't get any simpler than this. Using a cast iron skillet (or your skillet of choice) fry some country style ham until brown on both sides to your liking. Remove the ham and place it on a platter to stay warm.

Take a cup of fresh brewed coffee, hot or cold, and slowly pour into the skillet. Use the coffee (or water, if that's your choice) to scrape any drippings off the skillet and continue to stir until the liquid is well mixed and very hot!.

That's it! The cooking part is over...and the gravy can be poured over grits, cornbread, biscuits, or the ham...even rice! Makes a very simple gravy or sauce that's a very tasty addition to any meal!

This is definitely a case where simple is better. Easy, fast, and uses just the things readily at hand. What more could you ask for? In this case, maybe just a second helping!

Now, my friends, how about coffee in the kitchen this morning?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Food For Surviving The Winter...!

Now, those of you that live in the South or have been in the South for any length of time, know that there is one food that stands out as the breakfast of champions!

Gravy...! All kind of gravy! Call it milk gravy, flour gravy, country gravy, red-eye gravy, sausage gravy, or saw mill gravy! No matter what kind or what base you use...gravy and biscuits is a traditional breakfast for a lot of country folks.

This is a real "stick-to-your-ribs" food and is just as good for supper as it is for breakfast! Very filling, cheap to make, good for using all the ingredients in the pantry.

One of my favorites is the Sawmill Gravy...and I found an old time recipe for this wonderful, wonderful dish! The beauty of this dish is that it uses cornmeal instead of flour as a base!

Below is a little history and the recipe for this culinary wonder! I hope you enjoy it!

"Sawmill gravy (or Logging gravy). In the years following the turn of the century, logging camps sprang up all over the Smoky Mountains where timber companies had bought up tracts of virgin timber. Lumberjacks and saw-millers by the hundreds came in to snake out the logs to nearby streams, sawmills, and newly built railheads.

Entire families moved in with the men to the camps. To feed the multitude was a big challenge. Breakfasts usually consisted of coffee and meat plus flour-based gravies and large "Cathead" biscuits.

One day, the story goes, the Tremont camp ran out of flour and had to substitute cornmeal in the gravy. Inquisitive loggers arriving before breakfast asked what kind of gravy was on the menu that day. "This gravy's made out of sawdust!" the cooks replied. The name stuck. The cheap, easy-to-fix cornmeal gravy caught on.

While "sawmill gravy" was the popular nickname, some called it "Logging Gravy." Others named it Poor Do or Life Everlasting, a reference to what many felt was its role in keeping them alive. This recipe adapation comes from Janice Miracle of Middlesboro, Kentucky...

"Life Everlasting" Sawmill Gravy

3 heaping tablespoons white cornmeal
1 tablespoon bacon drippings
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups milk
A dash of pepper

In a frying pan, combine cornmeal, bacon drippings, and salt. Stir until brown. Add milk and let boil until gravy thickens. Stir forcefully to keep gravy from pumping. Add pepper to taste."
---ibid (p. 207-8)

If you have never had this gravy using cornmeal...let me suggest that you try it. I really think you'll find it very satisfying !

You know, if I am ever lucky enough to meet a young lady that likes the country, can bake good biscuits and bread and cookies, and can make great gravy...then I might even consider getting married again! Looks aren't important, but if a lady can cook...well, then that is a different story all together!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! OK?

Monday, February 15, 2010

Sharing the Cat's Food...!

No, it's not what you think!

This may sound like a silly idea to you, but I've been thinking about it for a while. Most of the time I feed my cats dry cat food. I also give them a treat once in a while by giving them a can of wet food (read meat). They really like this combination, but being typical cats...they start getting picky!

Dry food isn't too expensive, but the canned food is starting to get costly. Normally I can get canned food at Kroger's for about .49 cents a can. Today I found canned tuna in another food store for the same price! You see where I'm going with this, right?

The thing is, the cats will eat the cat food...but I won't! They REALLY like the canned tuna, and that is something that I'll eat as well! Now, I figure that we can share a food source and all be happy!

So here's the plan for now. I'll stock up very heavily on the canned tuna, and only buy the canned cat food when it goes on sale! That way, when I run out of canned cat food I can feed them tuna fish...with a clear conscience. I'm really not wasting food, but instead I'm buying a smaller number of cans to feed us all! At the same price, see? Now does that sound like a crazy idea?

I mean, I'm going to eat regardless and I'm going to feed the cats anyway so it only makes sense to me!

Besides, I can't wait to see the look on the faces of folks when I tell them that I eat the same foods as my cats! That look is priceless!

Now I can hear some of you saying..."how can you feed your cats canned tuna when there are so many hungry people in the world?" That's simple! I just open the can, split the tuna into three parts, and place their share on the floor. My share I use to make a sandwich with. That's the three of us sharing one can of tuna that cost less than .50 cents. No guilt for me, sorry!

Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen, my friends. I just glad that the cats don't like coffee!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Some Valentine Day Thoughts For You...!

Well, it's here! The most celebrated day of lover's everywhere!

This day offers, above all else, hope! Hope for lasting love and better times...

It is this that I wish for all my friends and readers! Peace, joy, and the love of someone special to enjoy them with. Remember the most important thing in our daily lives...HOPE!

Oh, and just one more thing today...I wish for you the greatest of JOY...!

On that note, I offer up some fresh coffee in the kitchen...and help yourself to the fresh oatmeal cookies!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Learning A Textile Craft...!

OK...I have a confession to make here!

I started knitting! That's correct, me! I started knitting! How's that for strange?

What happened is this! Several days ago, my friend and fellow blogger, Wretha, put a video on her website here and showed how she had started Loom Knitting!

I have always been a little sad that I didn't sew, or knit, or crochet...since all my sister's did, as well as my Mom. Being the only boy, I never seemed to learn all that stuff when I was younger!

I do like to do things with my know, create something! I have done ceramics, made music boxes, built furniture, all that kind of thing! But when it came to sewing or any other textile arts, I was totally lost!

I tried several times to teach myself, but without any luck. Then came Wretha! She showed me those looms and how easy they were to use...and BAM, I was hooked!

I borrowed a small loom from one of my Mom's friends to practice with and soon decided to buy my own set!

I'm still learning, but I have been able to make several caps and such and I have to admit, they don't look too bad at all!

I was a little concerned about the fact that I smoke, thus causing the finished pieces to smell of the lingering smoke, if you know what I mean! However, I found that if I put the finished pieces in a large plastic bag with a dryer sheet for a day or two...the smokey smell goes away! It never was too bad, anyway!

So now, I can knit! At least a few pieces, and that's a good start! I can create something useful, something made with my own hands, and that I don't mind people looking at!

BTW, everything that I've made so far, mainly small caps, is being given to the preemie ward at one of the local hospitals. Mom's sewing group makes up things to give to the hospital to sort of dress up the preemies in new clothes and make them look a little less sad for the families. The group as allowed me to donate a few things as well!

Many times, when a small baby is still born, or passes very early on...the family wants to see them before they are laid to rest. Having something to dress them in that's new and fresh and made to size helps the family just a bit by doing away with the drab and ill fitting blankets and such from the hospital.

Next, I'll do a few blankets for babies...maybe some booties. Then I hope to make up some Chemo-Caps for those in the hospital and suffering the loss of hair due to the treatments. It isn't much, but it's something that I can do to help out in some small way!

So...Wretha, thank you for introducing me to this wonderful and satisfying craft! Now, if you can tell me how to NOT spend so much money on yarn...!

Oh, and before I forget...if you haven't been over to Wretha's blog for a visit, why not drop in on her and say "howdy!" I know she would love to see ya!

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit at the kitchen table for a bit, OK?

Friday, February 12, 2010

Another Good Man Gone...!

I never met the Man in person, but somehow I feel as though he was a friend!

As far as I'm concerned, this guy was indeed a real man. Hard, tough, and compassionate...and as real as they come!

His sons, his crew, his friends all loved him and thought the world of him! Hell, I thought the world of him, and I didn't even know him!

It's always a shame when we lose one of the good guys, and when they are so young (53) it is even worse! here is a video tribute to Captain Phil Harris...late of the f/v Cornelia Marie!

He smoked, he had two sons, he was a hard worker...and he had his own brand of coffee! What's not to like?

Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen. Rest In Peace, Phil...!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Got It Figured Out...!

It took me a while, but I figured it out when I went to the V.A. Wednesday!

What they tell you is just a routine blood test to check and see how well your blood thinner is working is, in fact, a very well disguised full-blown physical exam!

Pretty smart when you think about it! And the nice thing doesn't require the hiring of any additional people!

The normal twenty mile trip to the V.A. hospital, usually more than a little like the old style Bumper Car ride at the carnival, is carried out on the toll way (which is a good source of revenue for the City) and for the most part is uneventful, because everyone on the toll road has paid to be there. Gotta make some more money to give away!

After you arrive at the V.A. the first thing you have to do is find a parking space! This is when the exam actually starts...

1. Eye test....if you can spot an empty parking spot in a 2 or 3 acre parking lot, your eye sight is pretty good!

2. Dexterity test...if you can park a full size Ford F-150 in a space barely big enough for a skateboard with fenders, and do so without having to back up more than once, then your dexterity is fine for now!

3. Endurance test...since the parking spot that you found is usually about a half mile away from the entrance, the trick here is to be able to walk all the way to the entrance, without having a heart attack or having to stop for a breather more than once, then you have passed the endurance test (for now!)

4. Mental state...this particular test is really a multi-stage test all rolled into one! It covers reading and comprehension both by seeing if you can comprehend the instruction part of getting a number out of the "machine"and then read the overhead board where the numbers are shown in green LED lights to show what number is being serviced at that time! The mentally stable part comes in to play when you are forced to sit in a small room, a television droning in the background and tuned to soap operas, and you have to strain and listen very carefully for them to call your number, which they trade in at the counter for another tag with your name on it! If you can do this without breaking down, or striking out, or passed!

5. Memory test-Part one...when you get into the area where the blood is actually drawn, the first thing they do is to take your tag with your name and social security number on it...then ask you to tell them your name and social security number! Now, I'm hoping that this is to make sure that that you are the correct victim...I mean, patient, and not because the people doing the drawing of the blood can't read! If you can remember your name and social security number and why you're pass!

6. Memory test-Part two...after the blood sucking part is over, the object here is to be able to find the exit of the lab, look out over 2 or 3 acres of cars, and try and remember what vehicle you were in and where you parked it! Then the final of the Endurance test as you try and make the half mile trek back to your vehicle without having a heart attack or stopping for breath more that once. If you find it, you pass!

I might mention here that the V.A. does have vans driving around the over-sized parking lot at all times. They say "Parking shuttle" on them, but I think they are really there to grade you on this part of the test!

Anyway, the visit is over for another six weeks, when the fun starts all over again! Now I do hope that you understand this is all an exaggeration! I really have all the respect in the world for the great folks at the V.A., but sometimes I just can't help myself! After all, ya gotta pick on somebody, right?

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit. Raining again outside, and too chilly to sit outside!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hey, It Ain't Rocket Science...!

As you know, I am often a warehouse of almost useless information!

When I find something I think is interesting, then I feel duty bound to call it to your attention! After all, that's what I do, ya know?

Listen, it's not easy as you think! Sometimes I have to read page after page of really serious stuff to find some small bit of not-so-serious stuff that you might find interesting! It's hard work, but someone has to do it!

This list of ways to find your "true love" is a very good example of what I'm talking about! This is from a 1986 copy of the Farmer's Almanac, so you know it's got to be true, right? Yeah, and all politicians are going to behave properly from now on!

Herewith, from science and folklore, are over 20 surefire techniques for finding, attracting, and wedding the person you will love forever.

Roast hummingbird hearts, grind them into a powder, and sprinkle it on your beloved.

Kiss as many people as possible. Dr. Bubba Nicholson of Tampa, Florida, says that kissing is a way for us to taste semiochemicals on another's skin. Semiochemicals transmit biological signals of compatability and attraction.

Pluck a stalk of yarrow and stick it up your nose. If a drop of blood appears, your love is true.

Australian aborigines prepare a love potion from the testicles of kangaroos.

Think of the one you love while you swallow a four-leaf clover, and your love will be returned.

Upon hearing the first coo of a dove in the spring, take off your left stocking and look in the heel of it. You will find a hair the color of your true love's hair.

Swallow the heart of a wild duck.

On New Year's Eve, walk from one room to another while throwing a shoe over your shoulder, then look in a mirror and your mate's face will be there.

Place a snail in a pan of cornmeal, and the tracks it makes will spell your true love's initials.

Hide the dried tongue of a turtledove in a girl's room; she will love you forever.

In 18th-century France, a man told a woman three times that she was beautiful. The first time she was required to thank him, the second time to believe him, and the third time to reward him.

If you touch your little finger and forefinger behind your two middle fingers, you can have any sweetheart you like.

Swallow a white dove's heart, point downward, while resting your hand on the shoulder of one you love.

Hardboil an egg, cut it in half, discard the yolk, and fill the egg halves with salt. Sit on something you've never sat on before, eat the egg, and walk to bed backwards. You will dream of your future mate.

Walk around the block with your mouth full of water; if you don't swallow it, you will marry within the year.

Pull a hair from the head of a girl you like, and she will love you.

Pick an apple, prick it full of holes, carry it for a while under your left arm, then give it to your lover.

If you stub your toe, kiss your thumb and you'll see your beau.

Cut your nails on nine Sundays in a row.

Stop looking. Many experts agree that searching for a perfect mate is doomed. Be flexible and commit to the unknown. But if you must look, then carry the heart of an owl with you at all times.

Now to be honest, I have never tried any of these suggestions, so I have no idea if they work or not! What I would like for you to do is this...if you try any or all of these, and they work, please let me know! I'll write a full post about it if they turn out to be true!

Who knows? We could write a book of these ideas, get it published, and make a lot of money! Or not!

For now, my friends, let's just get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! We can talk about how we would spend all that money...if we had any!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Wonder Why That Is...?

Now days, things are making me wonder more and more!

Now I know that I'm getting older, and I may be just a little out of touch...but every day I find something that I just really don't understand.

For instance, why do some men spend so much time getting a haircut to look good...then comb their hair peaked up on the top of their head so they look like Woody Woodpecker?

Why would some men start to let their beard grow...then keep it neatly trimmed in a permanent 5:00 shadow length? Grow the beard or shave, for goodness sake!

Why is it that somethings that were wrong by all standards to even talk about a few years phone sex, are now being shown as commercials on television?

Why is it that some of the most watched shows on television today are about such unpleasant things like parking tickets, getting speeding tickets, compulsive hoarders of trash and junk, people with addictions being forced into interventions, folks facing repossessions, all this kind of fun stuff?

Why is it that I daily get bombarded with ads trying to sell me products like Viagra, condoms, KY Jelly, and all manner of things like this? Do I fall into a special age group that somehow turns into sex maniacs who are physically unable to perform for some reason?

I'm sure that there are good reasons for this stuff, but for the life of me I can't figure out what it is! Just like I can't figure out why a video of young girls in various stages of nudity making out with one another is so popular!

I luckily am old enough to remember when most of the folks I knew had a totally different set of moral values. I'm not saying things didn't go on...but it just wasn't acceptable to make it public!

How many of my friends were into that sort of thing? I'll never know, because we just didn't talk about it! Now, I'm not a prude...but I still do believe that somethings are better off behind closed doors, so to speak!

Told ya I was old and out of touch, but you know what? I like it better that way!

Now, what say we get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Special Day Coming Up Soon...!

As all of you know...Valentine's Day is coming up pretty soon.

That is traditionally the day for most folks to give some token of endearment to their partners. It can be small, it can be large...but that doesn't really matter as long as the gift is one given from the heart!

I think it's more important that ever to show some love and respect for those in our lives that offer their support and encouragement, be it lover or husband or wife! And we should never forget the young ones in our group! They face the same challenges and the same obstacles as the heads of the family...and are often more troubled by everyday happenings simply because we haven't taken the time to talk things over with them and offer up some reassurance.

Often, when searching for an ideal gift for this special day, we look and look but nothing seems exactly right! Too expensive, too mundane, or too commercial, know what I mean?

I have a little suggestion for you. How about a gift like a "message in a bottle?" That's right...just a note filled with your personal thoughts and thanks, stuffed in an attractive little bottle, maybe accompanied by a single rose!

It's simple, it's personal, and it can be one of the most remembered gifts that you have ever given! There is even a company that offers delivery of one of these designed by you.

You might want to go to their website and look them over! The name is "Love Messages" and it might work out for you or at least give you some good ideas, ya know?

I guess the important thing is to let the special people in your life know just how important they are. We all need that from time to time, maybe even more with times being what they are!

Just a suggestion, and I don't have any association with these folks or anything like that! Just remember to remember...OK?

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit. Rain today, so we are inside again!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Jefferson's Wisdom Revisited...!

It never hurts to take another visit to the wise men in our past!

Despite their faults, despite their weaknesses, they were still men. Wise and often prophetic, they passed on to us in language easily understood by all men, messages of both hope and of caution.

Let's look one more time...

Now, my friends, how about some fresh coffee? Good start for a Sunday, right?

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Homeless---1, Bad Guys---0 !!!

It's true! Sometimes the butt-heads of the world do manage to lose one!

For some strange reason, one of the bad guys in Houston gave up his lawsuit against a homeless shelter! Just goes to show, even the homeless folks can catch a break once in a while...and it's about damn time!

It's called KARMA, folks, and if you aren't will come back and bite you in the ass!

Feb. 5, 2010, 8:26PM

In a legal U-turn, Houston lawyer Harry Arthur late Friday dropped his lawsuit against Christ Church Cathedral and its Beacon Homeless Center, an outreach effort he contended attracted panhandlers and drug users to his downtown office's neighborhood.

Arthur's decision to drop the legal case, filed in November, came just two days after he had filed an amended lawsuit that made additional claims against the Episcopal church's program, headquartered at 1212 Prairie.

Arthur had sought an injunction to close the program and $250,000 in damages.

Arthur did not return telephone calls, but the church's lawyer, Arnold Vickery, said a neighborhood advisory board consisting of property owners, church representatives and Beacon clients will be formed to “regularly share insights and mutual concerns and ... explore ways in which the operation of the Beacon can coexist in harmony.”

In a prepared statement, Vickery said Arthur's wife would be a member of the panel.

“My prayer — and expectation — is that a neighborhood advisory council will find ways for the Beacon to be a part of the solution that are ever more caring, efficient and attentive to all of God's children,” the Rev. Joe Reynolds, dean of the cathedral, said in the statement.

Reynolds declined to comment beyond his remarks in the statement, which was prepared by a public relations firm.

Vickery called the agreement a “win-win-win” resolution.

The outreach effort, which is cater-corner from Arthur's law office, serves as many as 8,100 homeless people four days a week. It offers hot meals, clothing, showers, laundry services and case management.

In his lawsuit, Arthur argued that what had “started as a good and noble idea” had grown into a danger to the health and safety of the community.

Not allowed to sleep on church property, he contended, Beacon clients slept on neighboring sites, where they urinated and defecated. The homeless played music and danced, fought and shared drugs, the lawyer said in the lawsuit.

Arthur's petition contended that the defendants ignored pleas from neighbors to take action to alleviate the problems and allowed them to grow worse. In the updated lawsuit filed this week, Arthur said an apparent client of the homeless program cursed his secretary when she told him the lawyer had left the office for the day.

Vickery described Arthur and his wife as “good Christian people.”

“I hope that once our clients at The Beacon have heard them out and vice versa our outreach mission at Christ Church can continue with renewed sensitivity to the concerns of all our neighbors,” Vickery said.

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen...we can make a toast to the Good Guys!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Take Time To Lick The Bowl...!

You know, sometimes in our everyday life...there are parallels that can show up when we least expect it!

Take, for instance, the act of baking a cake. Just as in our everyday lives, certain chores have to be done. Many times, it's important for them to be done in a certain order. Cooking breakfast, cleaning house, getting the kids ready for school, paying bills, everything that simply eats away the time that we have available.

Cooking is the same. Certain ingredients have to be added to the mix in a certain order, cooked at a certain temperature for a designated amount of time. Then, after the right texture is reached, the icing or topping can be added and the cake is finished...having taken up a big chunk of time.

However, after the daily list of "have to's" is taken care of...or the cake is all iced and cooling on the rack, there is a small amount of time to sit back for a minute, take a deep breath, and enjoy a cup of coffee or mug of tea. This is the time for calming your clock down, fill your mind with good thoughts, and allowing your batteries to recharge just a bit!

We call this time by many names: stop and smell the coffee, stop and smell the roses, or taking time to lick the bowl! Now you know what I mean, I'm sure!

Just follow the lead of this puppy...and put yourself into this endeavor with the same gusto as he shows and you will find that the cake looks a lot better...and life seems a bit less hectic!

Take a break from the clock, or the timer on the stove, or the everyday chores and allow yourself to relax! Things will still get done, the chores aren't going anywhere, and the cake will still taste just as good and look just as pretty in a few minutes, believe me!

Life is way too short to hurry through. Slowing down is NOT wasting time, but living life a little more by appreciating the small things. Small maybe licking the bowl, ya know?

Now, my friends, let's take the time to enjoy some fresh coffee at the kitchen table, OK?

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Taking Things A Little Too Literally...!

Guess we are going to have to be more careful about what we call our pets!

Either that, or we need to sit down with them and explain just what we mean by the name we give them. We don't want them to follow the example of this "hunting dog" in California, right?

Maybe it would be a good thing to double check and make sure that we are feeding them food that they like and want...just in case!

Man wounded with No. 2 shot

LOS BANOS, Calif. — One California hunting dog apparently takes the term a bit too literally.

Authorities say a central California hunter was wounded when his own dog accidentally sent ammunition into his back.

The 53-year-old man was treated at Los Banos Memorial Hospital and released after a few hours.

The Merced County Sheriff's Department says the man and a partner had been hunting near Highway 152 in the Los Banos area Saturday. The man set down his shotgun to retrieve some duck decoys and his female Labrador retriever stepped on it, causing the safety to disengage and the gun to fire, sending shot into the hunter's upper back.

The names of the man and dog have not been released.

Of course, you can't blame the dog. You have to remember that the dog was all excited and was not well versed in the proper way to handle and care for loaded firearms when hunting!

Even though this story is rather humorous...there could have been a very different ending to it! The rule about firearms is just the same now as it has always been! What is that main rule...?

TREAT EACH WEAPON AS THOUGH IT WERE LOADED ! All hunters worth their salt know this! All gun owners know this! Everyone, and I mean everyone, that handles guns of ANY kind should know and practice this!

Suppose that the hunter had a child with him and the child was in the line of fire? Can you imagine the tragedy that could have ensued from this lack of proper care of a loaded weapon?

It's up to the adults to exercise the proper care as children, just like the dog, don't realize what could happen!

Now, let's get a fresh cup of coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! Oh, and don't leave your guns where the cats can get to them, OK?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Some Farm Lore Followed By The Old-Timers...!

With the Spring weather not that far away, I thought it might be a good time to look at some of the folk lore used by the old timers on the farm.

These have been around for a long time, and whether or not any of them are valid...that's a matter of opinion.

More and more today, we are starting to realize that some of what were once considered "old wives tales" do, in fact, have a great deal of truth in them.

See if you have ever used any of these...and if you think there is a grain of modern day "reality" in one or two, OK?

"Folklore is rich among farmers, given their close ties to Earth and her natural rhythms.

Rail fences cut during the dry, waning Moon will stay straighter.

Wooden shingles and shakes will lie flatter if cut during the dark of the Moon.

Fence posts should be set in the dark of the Moon to resist rotting. Ozark lore says that fence posts should always be set as the tree grew. To set the root end upward makes a short-lived fence.

Don't begin weaning when the Moon is waning.

Castrate and dehorn animals when the Moon is waning for less bleeding.

Slaughter when the Moon is waxing for juicier meat.

Crabbing, shrimping, and clamming are best when the Moon is full.

Best days for fishing are between the new and full Moon. See our best fishing dates for the year.

Dig your horseradish in the full Moon for the best flavor.

Set eggs to hatch on the Moon's increase, but not if a south wind blows."

Now, I have to admit to having heard some of these before! Others, however, are new to me and I can't say one way or the other if they are based in reality. I do know that most of them are history based, as I found them in the Old Farmers Almanac (where else?)!

Now, if I may suggest a fresh cup of coffee on the is supposed to be nice today. Let's take a chance, OK?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Surrounded By Negativity...?

That's where I have found myself as of late...and that's not good!

At time like this, it's very important that you find some way to remove yourself from anything that isn't positive.

Believe me, a negative atmosphere will only attract more negativity! I know, because I have been there, my friends.

It took me a long time to discover just how true that is...and how to correct it. One thing I found that worked for me was to surround myself with calming sounds. Nice music, nature sounds, and then one day...I tried wind chimes!

The musical sounds produced by wind chimes is so pleasing, it makes you want to sit and listen for hours! It certainly forces you to slow down the mind and to relax.

I found a video of what is reported to be the world's largest wind chimes, and the sound from them is absolutely beautiful! To those that can't view the video, I'm sorry. You just can't imagine what you're missing, in my humble opinion!

Take a look...!

Now do you see what I mean? Friends, videos are nice, but there is nothing like the real thing! If you can find a place that has a display of chimes...take the time to go and listen. It just might be the best thing for your mental attitude.

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit...we can listen to my chimes!

Monday, February 1, 2010

How To Scare Up Business...!

I guess that when times are hard, you find a way to attract more business.

This might just be taking it to a whole new level, though!

I found this story in the Houston Chronicle and thought you might just find it interesting. If nothing else, it's a good marketing ploy!

GALVESTON, Texas — People visit Galveston for the salt surf, hot spots along the Great Texas Birding Trail and for one of the country's largest collections of historic architecture.

But one group says this island city also could conjure tourists with something less tangible than beaches, birds and bricks.

Members of Southern Paranormal Investigations, equipped with an array of gadgets, went ghost hunting Saturday night in the J.D. Rogers building, which houses Bistro Le Croy on Galveston's historic Strand.

About 30 customers paid $10 to watch the live and interactive ghost hunt over dinner and drinks. The hunt was broadcast on the bistro's big-screen television and around the world on the Web.

Members of the group said they hoped the investigation would renew interest in The Strand and Galveston's history and attract tourists mesmerized by things paranormal.

Jennifer Hanson and Jennifer Parker, founders of the group, said money from the event would help the organization continue probing for contact with the other side.

Hanson and Parker started Southern Paranormal Investigations in 2007 after they met at a paranormal interest group meeting in Alvin. Both said their group always wanted to conduct an investigation in the J.D. Rogers building and others nearby because the buildings were a source of many reports of paranormal activity through the years.

"There have been reports of entities that look like Civil War soldiers here," Hanson said.

She said the building was a morgue during the 1900 Storm.

Many visitors, business owners and workers in the building also claim to have seen the ghosts of a woman and a boy dressed in Victorian clothing, Hanson said.

Daryl Olson, son of the owners of the J.D. Rogers building, was visiting from Los Angeles and said almost all the buildings on the block were haunted.

A girl named Annabelle haunts the Nichols building next door, Olson said.

The Nichols building, made up of lofts and banquet space, can be reached by connecting stairs from the J.D. Rogers building.

"The first night I stayed here, I heard a little girl crying," Olson said. "So we had some psychics come through here, and they all said her name was Annabelle."

In a small office in the Nichols building, Olson pointed to a daguerreotype photo of a young girl in a frame hanging on the wall. The girl was dressed in Victorian clothing, had blonde hair and big eyes. "That's Annabelle," Olson said.

He said the picture was there when his parents bought the building and that psychics said it was Annabelle.

Back in the dining room of the bistro, Joshua Christie, 22, a student at Texas A&M University at Galveston, was sitting at a table with friends enjoying a beer.

"We're all fans of the TV shows like 'Ghost Hunters,'" he said, referring to the Syfy channel production airing on cable TV.

He said he expected to see ghosts in the J.D. Rogers building.

"It seems like a creepy place," Christie said.

At the table next to Christie, the Dorsetts, a family of four from Friendswood, were eager for the investigation to begin.

Amanda, 10, said she had encountered paranormal activity on one of the family's previous trips to the bistro.

She said she saw a door open by itself in the corner of the building's atrium. Her sister, Drea, 12, said pictures they took in that same corner contained floating orbs.

About 10:45 p.m. after setting up the J.D. Rogers building with cameras, voice recorders, electromagnetic meters and leaving marbles, a skate board and a tea set for child ghosts to play with, the team from Southern Paranormal Investigations turned off the lights.

Inside the bistro, the big-screen TV projected shots of rooms in the building that were thought to be haunted. A few minutes later, what looked like a small circle of light darted by the camera set up in the building's atrium.

"Did you see that?" a diner yelled.

It was clear that a lot of others had seen it, whatever it was.

Now, my friends, let's see if we can "scare up" a fresh cup of coffee, OK?