Saturday, July 31, 2010

Baking Soda Is Your Friend...!

I may have posted this list before, but if I did I don't remember it!

At my age, I forget a lot of things, though. Anyway, it never hurts to revisit old post, especially about some helpful things.

That's my opinion and I'm sticking to it!

Household Uses for Baking Soda

Did you know that baking soda can be used to remove stains, keep your sneakers smelling fresh, and even get rid of your sweet tooth? Check out these tips for home uses of baking soda.

Add baking soda to your bath water to relieve sunburned or itchy skin.

Make a paste of baking soda and water, and apply to a burn or an insect bite for relief.

Clean your refrigerator with a solution of one-teaspoon baking soda to one quart of warm water.

Pour a cup of baking soda into the opening of your clogged drain and then add a cup of hot vinegar. After a few minutes, flush the drain with a quart of boiling water.

To remove perspiration stains, make a thick paste of baking soda and water. Rub paste into the stain, let it sit for an hour, and then launder as usual.

If you crave sweets, rinse your mouth with one-teaspoon baking soda dissolved in a glass of warm water. Don’t swallow the mixture; spit it out. Your craving should disappear instantly.

Add a pinch of baking soda to boiled syrup to prevent it from crystallizing.

To remove pesticides, dirt, and wax from fresh fruits and vegetables, wash them in a large bowl of cool water to which you’ve added two to three tablespoons of baking soda.

Soak toothbrushes in baking soda and warm water overnight to clean bristles.

Gasoline and oil odors can be removed by putting clothes in a trash bag with baking soda for a few days before washing them.

Lay down barrier of baking soda under sink-pipe openings and along basement windows to keep carpenter ants, silverfish, and roaches from invading. Roaches eat the baking soda, dehydrate, and die.

A light baking soda paste on a damp cloth will remove bugs and tar from cars without damaging the paint. Let paste sit for a few minutes before wiping and rinsing clean.

To remove stains from your coffee and tea cups, wipe them with a damp sponge dipped in baking soda paste.

Keep your rubber gloves dry and smelling good by sprinkling baking soda inside them. They’ll slip on more easily too!

Sprinkling baking soda on your front steps will provide traction and melt the ice. Unlike rock salt, kitty litter, or sand, it won’t damage outdoor or indoor surfaces or shoes.

Boil two inches of water in a pan with a burned bottom, turn off the heat, then add half a cup of baking soda. Let it sit overnight. In the morning it will be easy to clean.

Sprinkle a teaspoon of baking soda on the bottom of your toaster oven to eliminate the burned smell from drippings and crumbs.

A paste of baking soda removes red sauce stains from plastic.

Of course, there are lots more uses than just these, as I've only listed a few! Heck, I've even heard that soda can be used in baking! Imagine that!

Coffee and iced tea on the patio this morning! Looks like the weather will give us a break for a bit!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Lammas Day Is Coming...!

Sunday, the 1st of August, is Lammas Day!

Now, this may be one of those days you don't know about so the Hermit...with a little help from the Almanac, is going to share a bit of it's history with you!

This is another one of those days that started out as a pagan holiday that was adopted by the Church, changed to meet their needs, and allowed to continue. That was nice of them, don't you think?

Lammas Day—August 1

Lammas Day marks the beginning of the harvest. In old England, loaves of bread were baked from the first-ripened grain, consecrated in churches, and eaten.

From the Old English hlaf, “loaf,” and maesse, “mass” or “feast,” Lammas is very old indeed.

It derives from the ancient English festival called the Gule of August, which marked the beginning of the harvest, traditionally August 1. The early English church kept this pagan dedication of the first fruit but converted it to Christian usage.

After Lammas Day, corn ripens as much by night as by day. –proverb

Ya see? The Hermit is just a warehouse of almost useless information! Always glad to share these obscure bits of history with you!

Now, how about some coffee or iced tea on the patio? Looks like rain, but that's nothing new lately!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Be Careful Where You Camp...!

Anytime you go camping where there is an active wildlife population, there are certain rules you need to pay attention to!

Behind these rules is the experience of a lot of long time outdoors folks, and a good helping of old fashioned common sense!

The story below is a good example of just what can happen when you don't take the proper precautions, or even if you do!

Sometimes, just choosing the right area to go camping in can make all the difference, ya know?

1 dead, 2 injured in bear attack at MT campground

By MATT VOLZ Associated Press Writer © 2010 The Associated Press
July 28, 2010, 4:30PM

HELENA, Mont. — At least one bear rampaged through a campground Wednesday near Yellowstone National Park in the middle of the night, killing one person and injuring two others during a terrifying attack that forced people to hide in their cars as the animal tore through tents.

Three separate attacks left a male dead and a female and another male injured at the Soda Butte campground. The female suffered severe lacerations from bites on her arms, and the surviving male was bitten on his calf. Both were hospitalized in Cody, Wyo.

Wildlife officials did not release the identities or ages of the victims. A response team was being sent to piece together what happened.

"We don't know if it was one bear, two bears, a black bear or grizzly bear," Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said. "Obviously, the bear's gone now. Will it come back tonight? That's the question."

Authorities were setting traps and seeking bear hair, saliva and droppings while measuring the bite wounds of victims to determine the type and number of bears involved in the attack.

Park County dispatchers took a 911 call early Wednesday from a male reporting that a bear had bitten his ankle and was tearing up tents, Aasheim said. Dispatchers got two more calls, including one from a man who said a bear bit the leg of his daughter's boyfriend.

At 3:50 a.m., park officials went through the campground to advise campers to get into their cars. A half-hour later, the dead male was discovered at a campsite. Authorities then evacuated the campground, sending campers to nearby hotels.

It was not immediately clear how many people were in the campground at the time.

The same campground was the site of a 2008 attack in which a grizzly bear bit and injured a man sleeping in a tent. A young adult female grizzly was captured in a trap four days after the attack and transported to a bear research center at Washington State University in Pullman.

The 10-acre Soda Butte campground has 27 sites for tents and recreational vehicles in Gallatin National Forest, some five miles from the northeastern entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

It is located just off the mountainous Beartooth Highway about 125 miles southwest of Billings.

"It is a populated area for bears, not just grizzly bears but black bears," Gallatin National Forest spokeswoman Marna Daley said.

The campground, which is run by the U.S. Forest Service, has been closed, as well as two other nearby campgrounds, Daley said. Forest Service officials will consider closing more campgrounds after consulting with state wildlife officials leading the investigation, she said.

Folks, there are so many ways to help protect yourself in the wild, even if it's a park, that you would be very foolish NOT to use caution in setting up your campsite.

If you are not familiar with the area or the cautionary rules, please do your homework before you undertake your camping trip! Don't let a careless mistake ruin your camping trip, or even your life!

Remember this, the area you are camping in is the domain of some predatory animals , and to a lot of are little more than dinner!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit before it rains! Mother Nature can be mean when she wants to!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Sometimes A Little Humor Helps...!

Since I had to go to the V.A. yesterday, I've been thinking a lot today about health!

Here is a little health related humor I thought you might enjoy...


If my body were a car, this is the time I would be thinking about trading it in for a newer model. I've got bumps and dents and scratches in my finish, and my paint job is getting a little dull. But that's not the worst of it. My headlights are out of focus, and it's especially hard to see things up close.

My traction is not as graceful as it once was. I slip and slide and skid and bump into things even in the best of weather.

My whitewalls are stained with varicose veins. It takes me hours to reach my maximum speed. My fuel rate burns inefficiently.

But here's the worst of it --

Almost every time I sneeze, cough or laugh, either my radiator leaks or my exhaust backfires.
CASH FOR CLUNKERS..........I QUALIFY - How about You?

I hope you all have a good day, my friends! Now...let's get some coffee in the kitchen, OK?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Let "Sleeping Lizards Lie"...!

I've always heard the saying to let "sleeping dogs lie", but I reckon that it could apply to lizards as well!

This story is one I found on UPI...and is funny on several accounts, as you'll see when you read it!

Just goes to show that you never know what you may find when you go out for a walk!

'Sleepy' iguana awakens, frightens woman

Published: July 25, 2010 at 6:52 PM
STOCKHOLM, Sweden, July 25 (UPI) -- A woman carrying a sleepy 5-foot iguana she found while walking home in Stockholm, Sweden, panicked when it woke up, officials said.

"She got scared and called the police when it started to come back to life," police spokeswoman Christina Johansson said. "There's a unit now making its way to Skansen Aquarium with the iguana."

Iguanas, which are herbivores and native to Central American forests can live more than 20 years and grow to 8 feet, but an aquarium official said they are becoming a more common sight in Swedish woods during the summer vacation season, The Local reported Sunday.

"There was a time when people would throw out their summer cats. Now people throw out their summer reptiles before going on holiday," Jonas Wahlstrom at Skansen Aquarium said.

The iguana is not the largest animal to end up at the Skansen Aquarium, The Local said.

"Two old ladies were out picking berries in Huddinge when they happened upon a 20-foot-long boa constrictor that weighed 185 pounds. We went out and rescued the snake while the police rescued the ladies," Wahlstrom said.

Let me just say that just because something doesn't appear to be active, doesn't mean that it's safe to pick it up and carry it! We learn that at an early age here in Texas, especially with snakes!

Rule of Thumb...if you don't know what it is, what it does, and especially what it likes to eat or bite, then leave it alone!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit in the kitchen for a bit! Raining outside this morning!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Too Many Are Giving Up...!

Regardless of how hard the times get, how hopeless things look, or how dark the future looks...we need to find a way to hang in there.

Mustering up the courage to stay the course is very often a hard thing to do.But the seemingly easy solution is neither easy or a true solution! In fact, this action hurts many more people than the person doing the act itself!

As is obvious from this story in the Chronicle, the problem is getting worse, and shows signs of increasing even more.

Houston crisis center awash with suicide calls

July 20, 2010, 10:36PM

Suicide-related calls to Crisis Intervention of Houston have surged since the economic downturn began a few years ago, with the number of calls tripling in the first half of 2010 compared with the first six months of last year.

Counselors attribute the spike to the prolonged pressures of extended joblessness, depleted savings and expired unemployment benefits.

Compounded by the financial hardships of hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Ike — as well as the real and predicted losses wrought by the Gulf Oil Spill — and the region has more people than ever turning to a calm voice on the other end of the line to talk about suicide.

“In the last six months, specifically, but really since the economy created such a bumpy road for all of us, we have been noticing … there’s a huge increase in suicide-related calls — either people who are considering suicide themselves or people who are worried about loved ones,” said Shari Koziol, Crisis Intervention’s executive director. “It has been 18 to 20 months of crisis.”

Resilience eroded
The nonprofit’s crisis hotline received 451 suicide-related calls in the first half of 2009 and 1,446 over the same period this year.

“It just tracks perfectly with the economy, with the jobless rate, with the sort of accumulated desperateness that different people have,” Koziol said. “You have a different level of resilience and six months later that resilience is a little eroded because things haven’t happened fast enough.”

Crisis calls related to economic hardships have increased along with suicide-related ones. Since November, callers with financial challenges have been screened to determine if they can be transferred to a new resource: The Houston Job Hotline. Those counselors answer questions, give referrals and offer callers resources to improve their chances of becoming employed.

Money for the job hotline came from a $7.2 million stimulus grant that Gulf Coast Community Services Association shared with 70 agencies. Crisis Intervention received $75,000 to start and staff the 24-hour job hotline.

Gulf Coast Community Services officials decided to spread the wealth to better serve people in need and to ensure that all of the money was spent by the one-year deadline, CEO Jonita Reynolds said.

“Because of the new face of poverty, we needed help,” she said.

In its first seven months, the job hotline received 2,309 calls.

“I think the numbers are going to prove that at the end of this relationship that there’s a significant need out there in Harris County,” Koziol added.

Empty cupboards, eviction notices and other economic emergencies are simply symptoms of larger insecurities families are facing in the Houston area.

That’s why a spike in suicide calls when there’s a glimmer of hope on the economic horizon rings believable to Scott Hickey, a clinical psychologist at Mental Health and Mental Retardation Authority of Harris County, which provides low-cost care to poor and uninsured residents.

“We have reports at our neuropsychiatric center that we have had about a 30 percent increase in crisis visits in the last year,” Hickey said. “These economic times place unusual stress on people.”

I'm always surprised, and saddened, to see folks that chose to end their life. It's a sign of cowardice, of giving up, of total disregard for the feelings of friends and family! I strongly urge anyone thinking along these lines to call someone, ANYONE, and talk things over!

If you know someone that may be having these types of thoughts, please reach out to them! This ol' life is difficult enough at times, without having to go through tough times alone. Your friends can help, even if it's only by being there!

Believe me, there are other options available. There are folks that can help, folks that care about you, and believe it or not, nothing is as bad as it seems!

Besides, I'd miss having you drop by for coffee!

Now, my friend, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. Want to talk things over?

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Easy Going Saturday...!

No post today, but instead I thought I would leave a little music for you!

I love the harmonica! Always have, always will! I hope you like this piece as well...!

Time for some coffee on the patio, OK?

Friday, July 23, 2010

Some Good News For A Change...!

In a bit of much needed good news along the Gulf of Mexico, the NOAA has decided to re-open the waters for fishing.

This probablt is way too little too late for a lot of families that make their living in the gulf, but it is a step in the right direction! At least, in my opinion!

26,000 square miles of Gulf reopened to fishing

© 2010 The Associated Press
July 22, 2010, 6:17PM

NEW ORLEANS — The government is allowing commercial and recreational fishing again in roughly one third of the waters it had closed because of the BP oil spill.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said the area that reopened Thursday is 26,388 square miles of federal waters in the Gulf.

The administration said that since mid-June, no oil had been found in the area. Additionally, projections of where the oil might go in the future shows a low risk of the area being hit.

NOAA also says fish caught in the area and tested have shown no signs of contamination.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke says that the reopening provides important assurance that seafood is safe and protects the Gulf seafood brand.

Now, if we could get BP to honor it's claim to pay the folks that were all but destroyed by this disaster, then just maybe the folks most affected by the oil spill could get on with the daily routine of trying to survive!

Hey, things could be worse! The White House could be coming to Texas for their August vacation, instead of going to Florida! Right?

Coffee in the kitchen this morning, my friends. Seems that it's raining again here in Houston!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Near A College? Better Hide The People Paper...!

If you live anywhere close to Texas A&M university, you may want to start hiding your t.p., or as some folks call it...people paper!

In what could be a potentially "crappy" move, the free t.p. in the dorms may be a thing of the past! Just one more thing for the poor college students to worry about!

I have a feeling that this may lead to some serious changes in the lawn and building decorating pranks come Halloween, know what I mean?

A&M may drop free TP in dorms

By MAGGIE KIELY The Eagle (Bryan, Texas)
July 21, 2010, 12:40PM

Share Del.icio.usDiggTwitterYahoo! BuzzFacebookStumbleUponEmail Close [X]

Elaine Benes sits in a bathroom stall, pleading with a stingy toilet-paper hoarder to "spare a square."

"Excuse me. I'm sorry. This is, a, kind-of embarrassing but there's no toilet paper over here."

"Are you talking to me?" the stranger asks.

"Yeah, I just forgot to check. So, if you could spare some."


More awkward banter.

"Three squares? You can't spare three squares?" Benes shouts.

The woman leaves after saying: "No I don't have a square to spare. I can't spare a square."

That famous scene from Seinfeld soon may be playing out thousands of times in dorm bathrooms across the Texas A&M campus.

It's come to that.

To save money, the Department of Student Affairs is considering shelving free toilet paper in the residence halls. Discussions still are under way, but it's likely that the larger dorm bathrooms — where four or more gather - will keep the necessary item in stock.

Other cost-cutting measures under consideration: Not buying new furniture for Rudder Theater, reducing student worker wages, eliminating one exhibition a year in University Arts, eliminating cell phone stipends for several staff members and reducing the amount of paper, toner and other supplies throughout the year.

The toilet paper savings would wipe away about $82,000 of the $2.2 million that Student Affairs has been charged to reduce in its operating budget for fiscal year 2012. The department's reduction plan was released Tuesday, along with almost $40 million in proposed downsizing across the campus.

Some students interviewed said the t-paper issue brings into focus how desperate the funding situation must be.

It wasn't clear late Tuesday how many rolls or what type of toilet paper the university buys annually. Under the proposal, after getting a few free rolls at the beginning of a semester, students would be on their own in purchasing the hygiene supplies.

Michael Spiegelhauer, a 20-year-old biological and agricultural engineering major from Bartlett, said the cut in bathroom supplies is "definitely going to be a major complaint for students."

Spiegelhauer lives in Fowler Residence Hall and said he receives new rolls about once a week.

"It's going to become a problem," he said.

He said he'd rather see tuition raised than have to worry about where he's going to get his TP from.

"How's he going to get TP?" asked his buddy, Daniel Overstreet. "He doesn't even have a car."

Overstreet, a 20-year old electronics, engineering and technology major from Flower Mound, said he thinks the change will result in Aggie's breaking some rules.

"It's going to make people resort to going where there is toilet paper on campus and taking it from there," said the off-campus student.

I can't help but wonder if this would be called a true SHTF event? Only to the students that will be short on paper, I guess They might want o spend part of the summer vacation stocking up!

As we say "hope for the best, prepare for the worst"! I'm thinking that for some of them, this could fall into the worst category!

How about coffee on the patio outside this morning? Oh, and please save your paper napkins...we may need 'em!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Does DinnerTaste Like Plastic...?

If it does, this may be the reason.

I found this story in the Houston Chronicle that confirms what we all have thought of for a really long time! This is just another reason to raise your own food and grow your own garden!

What I want to know is, where the hell are all these highly paid, "nose in your business" government inspectors? Where ever they were, they were not doing a very good job of inspecting, I'd say!

This story from the Houston Chronicle says it all better than I could...!

45 tons of chicken nuggets recalled
Associated Press
July 20, 2010, 9:14AM

PERRY, Ga. — Perdue Farms Inc. is recalling thousands of pounds of frozen chicken nugget products officials say could contain foreign materials.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food Safety and Inspection Service announced Monday that the products include 1-pound, 13-ounce bags of "GREAT VALUE Fully Cooked Chicken Nuggets."

Officials are recalling approximately 91,872 pounds of the nuggets after the Perry-based company discovered small pieces of blue plastic following consumer complaints.

Agriculture authorities have not gotten any reports of injuries.

Each bag bears the establishment number P-33944 as well as a case code of 89008 A0160.

It's a damned shame that the food we buy with the intention of feeding our family turns out to be contaminated because of sloppy practices in the factory! It's about time that some of these jerks be made to answer for crap like this!

Well,I'm gonna stop before I get into a full blown rant this morning!

Let's get some coffee and sit outside for a bit,OK? I promise I'll calm down in a little while!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hotter Than Hell All Over...!

We all know it's getting hot, perhaps a lot hotter than we can remember.

Just in case you want to know how hot it is, let me tell you. This story points out just how dangerous the hot weather can be, even in ways you may have not have thought of before!

Phoenix man suffers 2nd degree burns after walking on hot street

By Corey Rangel

PHOENIX - A 78-year-old man suffered second degree burns to his feet on Saturday after walking outside without any shoes on.

James Wankel said he went outside his home, near 30th Street and Campbell, to try and catch the mailman. After making it halfway across the street, the pain from the hot street brought him to his knees.

“I couldn't stand up. The pain was so bad in my feet,” said Wankel.

His neighbor, Terri Cryan, saw Wankel fall down in the street. She and her sister ran over to help him.

“By the time he turned around he couldn't run back to the grass. So he fell down and then he's burning his knees and his hands so we had to, both of us, had to pick him up by his arms and then run him to the grass,” said Cryan.

But the cooler grass did not ease the pain.

“Even when we got in the grass he just kept collapsing because his feet burned so bad,” recalled Cryan.

Wankel was taken to the Arizona Burn Center at Maricopa Medical Center.

“Both the right and the left feet had blistered all the way across the balls of my feet,” said Wankel.

But he knows it could have been worse if his neighbor had not helped him.

“I would have had a hell of a time getting off that asphalt,” said Wankel. “I feel pretty lucky to say the least.”

Folks, please don't take this heat lightly! Regardless of your age or location...the heat and weather conditions can kill you! I don't want to lose any of my friends for any reason, but especially because of the hot weather! Ya hear me? OK!

Now, let's get some coffee or iced tea and sit outside for a while. Just stay in the shade for me, alright?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Attack Of The Killer Clowns...!

We've all heard about them, joked about them, read about them, but there are some of us that might have even seen some of them!

This poor guy may want to reconsider his choice of recreational drugs. I guess that if you have to see some imaginary killers, you could find something a lot worse than clowns.

I'm surprised that he managed to NOT get shot to death by the police, considering the climate in law enforcement now days! Thank goodness that the LEOs used some great restraint in this.

Man believed clowns were attacking home in Roberts, Wis.

Mother's house shot up; Arizona visitor admitted taking hallucinogen
By Andy Rathbun
Updated: 07/13/2010 10:44:27 PM CDT

Police responded early Friday to a call of shots fired at a home in Roberts and found a man apparently hallucinating an attack by clowns.

The 40-year-old man, armed with a shotgun, had fired several shots in his mother's home. It also appeared that he fired a shot at his mother and visiting father as they fled from the home in a vehicle, said St. Croix County Sheriff Dennis Hillstead.

"Pellets probably hit their windshield," Hillstead said.

Police arrived about 4 a.m. and surrounded the home. The man came to the door at one point and was "yelling at what he could see in the yard, but there was nothing there," Hillstead said.

The man went back into the home and fired more rounds, Hillstead said. In total, about 22 shotgun rounds were fired into the walls and ceiling of the home.

The man then went to the porch with the shotgun in hand and a bag of ammunition around his neck. He did not respond to police commands, but after the man slipped and fell, deputies were able to take him into custody, Hillstead said.

While being taken to a hospital for examination, the man indicated he had taken a hallucinogenic drug. He said he believed that people dressed as clowns were attacking his mother's home and that he had shot and killed a number of them, Hillstead said. He also said he had shot dogs that were attacking him and that his mother had been shot and killed.

"He was ... not in touch with reality," Hillstead said.

No one was injured in the incident.

The man, who was visiting from Arizona, is being held in a mental facility while he undergoes a psychological evaluation, Hillstead said Tuesday. He has not been charged with a crime, and police have not released his name.

The obvious understatement of this article is the statement is "He was...not in touch with reality,"! That, I think, goes without saying...but I appreciate the authorities telling us this little bit of information!

Just imagine if this guy started seeing these "killer clowns" while in a crowded place, like a train or shopping mall! Sorta scary, don't you think?

Let's get some coffee and sit outside before it starts raining this morning. Oh, and keep an eye out for any dangerous looking clowns lurking around, OK?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Gotta Watch Those Pork Rinds...!

Being from Texas, it stands to reason that I like pork rinds...or pork skins, as I call 'em.

Most truck drivers seem to like 'em because they are a good snack to enjoy while driving down the road. Most of the time, that is!

Sometimes, it's better not to have anything at this story shows!

Trucker chokes on pork rind, jackknifes rig

Associated Press
July 13, 2010, 7:50AM

BLAINE, Wash. — A Washington State Patrol trooper says the driver of a FedEx tractor-trailer rig choked on some spicy pork rinds, lost control of his truck on an interstate and jackknifed it before coming to a stop in a muddy ditch.

From the Bellingham Herald: Trooper Keith Leary says Edward Sutherland was driving his rig southbound from Blaine near the Canadian border Monday when he began choking and veered from the southbound lanes across the median into northbound lanes of Interstate 5.

The trooper says the truck didn't hit any vehicles. Leary says the 42-year-old driver suffered minor injuries and will be cited for driving with wheels off the roadway.

Now I can't help but wonder what the guy was using to wash the snack down with. Don't suppose it could have been whatever was being used to wash the pork skins down that might have contributed to the jack knife, ya reckon?

Just wondering!

Now, my friends, how about some fresh coffee on the patio? Sorry, no pork skins today!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Now This Is Really Dirty...!

We all are taught from an early age that we shouldn't put money in our mouths, that money is dirty, and that worn and torn money is turned in and destroyed with new!

These folks, it seems, take the art of money laundering to a whole other level! It is bad enough to make Uncle Sam get really angry about the whole process!

Hey, that alone makes it a good story, right? From the Houston Chronicle, here is the story!

Zimbabweans wash dirty U.S. dollars with soap, water

By ANGUS SHAW Associated Press
July 6, 2010, 8:16AM

HARARE, Zimbabwe — The washing machine cycle takes about 45 minutes — and George Washington comes out much cleaner in the Zimbabwe-style laundering of dirty money.

Low-denomination U.S bank notes change hands until they fall apart here in Africa, and the bills are routinely carried in underwear and shoes through crime-ridden slums.

Some have become almost too smelly to handle, so Zimbabweans have taken to putting their $1 bills through the spin cycle and hanging them up to dry with clothes pins alongside their sheets and clothes.

It's the best solution — apart from rubber gloves or disinfectant wipes — in a country where the U.S. dollar has long been the currency of choice and where the lifespan of a dollar far exceeds what the U.S. Federal Reserve intends.

Zimbabwe's coalition government officially declared the U.S. dollar legal tender last year to eradicate world record inflation of billions of percent in the local Zimbabwe dollar as the economy collapsed.

The U.S. Federal Reserve destroys about 7,000 tons of worn-out money every year. It says the average $1 bill circulates in the United States for about 20 months — nowhere near its African life span of many years.

Larger denominations coming in through banks and formal import and export trade are less soiled. But among Africa's poor, the $1, $2, $5 and $10 bills are the most sought after. Dirty $1 bills can remain in circulation at rural markets, bus parks and beer halls almost indefinitely, or at least until they finally disintegrate.

Still, banks and most businesses in Zimbabwe do not accept torn, Scotch-taped, scorched, defaced, exceptionally dirty or otherwise damaged U.S. notes.

Zimbabweans say the U.S. notes do best with gentle hand-washing in warm water. But at a laundry and dry cleaner in eastern Harare, a machine cycle does little harm either to the cotton-weave type of paper. Locals say chemical "dry cleaning" is not recommended — it fades the color of the famed greenback.

Storekeeper Jackie Dube hasn't yet taken up advice of friends to start washing the often damp and stinking U.S. dollars she receives for the garments and cheap Chinese consumer goods she sells in Harare. It's time-consuming, she says, but notes stinky bills are a problem.

"I get rid of the worst of the notes as soon as I can in change," she said.

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh drinks (coffee or iced tea) and sit outside for a bit! No money needed, but the tip jar accepts all donations...dirty or otherwise!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Here's Some More Weather Folk Lore...!

I'm sure you've noticed that the weather has been a little crazy as of late!

I did a little research over at the Old Farmer's Almanac, and came up with some bits of folk lore that might help tell you what's on the horizon, weather-wise.

See if any of these help you out!

Here are some ways to judge the weather, grounded on 50 years' experience and observations by an ancient English shepherd in 1812.

If the sun rises red and fiery, it certainly betokens more or less wind or rain. This observation agrees with the old English rule: If red the sun begins his race, be sure that rain will fall apace.

If cloudy at sunrising, and it so decreases, it is a certain sign of fair weather, agreeable to this is an observation of Pliny's, in his Natural History, which says: If at sunrising the clouds are driven away and retire as it were to the west, it denotes fair weather.

Little round clouds like a dapple grey, and at the same time a north wind blows, denote fair weather for a few days.

If the sun be surrounded with an iris, or circle of white clouds, and they equally fly away, 'tis a sign of fair weather.

And this old English proverb is often right: In the decay of the moon, a cloudy morning bodes a fair afternoon.

If the weather be hazy, and the wind falls away, and small clouds increase, depend on much rain, and that soon.

When mists rise in low ground and soon vanish, nothing is a surer sign of fair weather; when they are heavy, rise slowly, and keep visible on the hilltops, they soon fall down in rain, which, however, seldom lasts long.

A mist in the morning, before sunrising, and at or about the full of the moon, betides fair weather; if mists appear in the new moon, you may depend on more or less rain in the old; and when they arise in the old, there is generally rain in the new.

If the wind shifts from the north to the south in a few days without rain and turns north again with rain, returns to the south in one or two days, and so on for two or three keeps shifting, it will afterwards fix south or west two months or more.
In summer, or autumn, when the wind has been in the south two or three days, and the weather very hot, and the clouds rise one above another with white tops, like battlements of a tower, and joined together, and black on the hills, depend on thunder and rain very speedily.

You may sometimes see two clouds, one to the left, another to the right, which denote a sudden shower.

When clouds float in a serene sky, you may expect winds, and if they rise from the south, depend on rain; if you see them driving at sunset, come from what quarter they will, depend on a tempest approaching. Clouds that have a dusky hue and move slowly are laden with hail; if they have a blue cast, with large hail; if yellow, small.

The faster it rains, the sooner it will be over, and sudden rains never last long. But when the air grows thick, and the sun, moon, and stars shine dim, then it is likely to rain six hours successively.

When it rains an hour or two before sunrising, it generally clears before noon and continues so the whole day; if the rain sets in an hour or two after sunrising, it generally rains all day, unless the rainbow appears a little before the rain begins, and then it seldom lasts long.

When October and November are warm and rainy, January and February are frosty and cold; but if October and November be snow and frost, then January and February are open and mild.

I don't know if this will help or not, but the almanac has a better track record than the local weather guys with all their fancy equipment, so use your own judgement!

Now, coffee and iced tea is ready on the patio if anyone is interested! What say, my friends?

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Boy, This Just Stinks (Or Will )....!

Now if you are looking for something unusual to do on your vacation, how about coming down and viewing the opening of the "corpse flower"!

From what I understand, the opening of one of these flowers is rare here in the United States! Think that the way they smell has anything to do with that?

Hold your nose: Corpse flower to bloom at butterfly center

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
July 8, 2010, 12:25AM

A rare Amorphophallus titanum is ready to bloom at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

• Size: Up to 5 feet across.

• Smell: Like rotting flesh.

• Native: Of Sumatran rainforest.

• U.S. history: The first cultivated plant to bloom in the United States flowered at the New York Botanical Gardens in 1937.

• See it: At the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center, 5555 Hermann Park Dr.

• Updates:
The corpse flower is so rare that only 28 have ever been known to bloom in the United States. The 29th is poised to open any day now at the Houston Museum of Natural Science.

The lime-green bud, which resembles an oversized endive, was nearing 5 feet tall on Wednesday in the museum's Cockrell Butterfly Center and has been growing about 4 inches a day. Cockrell director Nancy Greig says it could open Friday or by early next week. Once open, the corpse flower will last about two days.

"Is it pretty?" a visitor to the museum asked Greig.

"I'd say it's spectacular," she answered.

The bloom of the Amorphophallus titanum, which can stand 10 feet tall and measure up to 5 feet across, is one of the world's largest. And, as its common name implies, stinkiest.

The only other one to bloom in Texas came in 2004, when a 61-inch specimen nicknamed Big Jack put on a show at Stephen F. Austin State University's Mast Arboretum in Nacogdoches.

The botanical name is the first clue that this is one weird, horticultural wonder: Amorphophallus translates to "shapeless phallus." Titanum means "giant."

Native to Sumatran rainforests, the endangered and unpredictable species produces the world's largest unbranched inflorescence. It's technically not a single flower, but a cluster of flowers on a stem.

The bloom structure consists of a central, fleshy spadix, or stem, that stretches taller than a man. Thousands of male and female flowers surround the base. The spadix is sheathed in a pleated, leafy spathe that opens like a frilly, raw-liver-colored Elizabethan collar.

Related to jack-in-the-pulpit, calla and caladium, the corpse flower grows from an underground corm that can weigh up to 200 pounds. A $75 walnut-sized corm six years ago, the museum's plant — nicknamed Lois after a former staff member's mother - now weighs 30 pounds.

As its common name warns, the corpse flower is a smelly thing, with the withering stench of rotting flesh. As the spathe begins to unfurl, the spadix becomes a gas chamber, heating its natural oil and emitting noxious fumes for eight to 12 hours to attract pollinating carrion beetles.

Greig is asking other institutions that grow the plant, also called a titan arum, for pollen to help Lois set viable seed. The male and female flowers don't open at the same time, discouraging self-fertilization.

Flowering takes tremendous energy, and after her big act, Lois will collapse; the corm will drop weight and rest.

This would be a very interesting thing to watch! You just know that most kids would love it! Anything weird, kids are drawn to it, ya know?

Heck, I probably know several grown-ups that would be interested! But then, I know some strange people! Present company excluded, of course!

Now how about some fresh coffee on the patio. Worse smell out here is the roses!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let's Talk 'Skeeters...!

Like it or not, we here in Houston have to deal with these little buggers a lot!

I had no idea, though, that we had so many different kinds of the critters! Probably a good thing that I didn't know, because I can't do anything about them except gripe!

I've probably tried just about every kind of repellent known to man, but I still get bitten a lot. When I drank a lot of beer in my younger days, it seems to me I didn't get bitten quite as much...but it could be that the booze just made those memories fade away some, ya know?

Anyway, it seems that we have 55 or 56 different kinds of mosquitoes here in the greater Houston area and you know what? They all bite! A lot!!

Here's a story from the Houston Chronicle that tells a little about this critter!

The hated mosquito comes under scientific scrutiny

Copyright 2010 Houston Chronicle
July 6, 2010, 6:08PM

Sure, they are part of the food chain. They may pollinate something, but what and how much is a subject of study. But mostly they breed, pester, attack and, sometimes, transmit disease.

"They do keep entomologists employed," joked Dan Kline, a research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, Fla. "That's a good thing. But other than that, I'm really hard-pressed to say something really nice about them."

They are interesting in their many varieties.

Kline is particularly interested in what attracts and repels them.

Mike Merchant, an urban entomologist in Dallas, studies Texas' rogues gallery of pests including cockroaches, termites and fire ants.

"I guess I'm interested in mosquitoes because they bite me," said Merchant, who works with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, an agency of the Texas A&M University System.

And they do bite, morning, noon and night, said Molly Keck, an entomologist with the San Antonio office of the extension service.

Though they often bloom, so to speak, after a rain, mosquitoes can always be a problem, Keck said.

"I would say they are bad every single year," she said, "whether we have a lot of rain or we don't."

That faint buzzing sound driving you crazy? 10 facts to divert your attention:

1.More than 3,000 varieties of mosquito inhabit the world. More than 200 live in the United States. San Antonio is home to more than 50, and Houston has 55 or 56 varieties.

2. Only female mosquitoes bite and suck blood. They need the protein to produce eggs.

3. After the bite, the result - think red welt and itching - is an allergic reaction to mosquito saliva.

4. It is better not to smack a mosquito if she is biting you. That can make the reaction worse. Better to take the pacifist approach and let her do her thing.

5. Mosquitoes don't survive very long after they feed on blood. They usually lay their eggs and then their business on Earth is done. Their life span is usually not much longer than three weeks.

6. Most mosquitoes don't bite humans or carry disease. But the ones that do both can be a problem.

7. Asian tiger mosquitoes, scientifically known as aedes albopictus, are among the most common in urban areas and have a reputation for being nasty. They are daytime feeders. The species was imported from Asia in the 1980s in tires. Its first stop in America was Houston, said Rudy Bueno, director of Harris County's Mosquito Control Division.

8. Another Texas favorite is the Southern house mosquito, or culex quinquefaciatus. This mosquito usually feasts on birds but will creep into a home and bite humans at night. It can carry West Nile virus and encephalitis.

9. Mosquitoes are attracted and repelled by smell and heat. What smells attract them is one of the issues that Dan Kline of the United States Department of Agriculture researches. But it is clear some mosquitoes are attracted to some people more than others. They like natural odors, such as body odors. We know they don't like DEET.

10. Mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors. Yet another reason to wear white linen in the summer.
Sources: Dan Kline, research entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Gainesville, Fla.; Mike Merchant, urban entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas; Molly Keck, entomologist and integrated pest management program specialist with Bexar County's Texas AgriLife Extension Service; Rudy Bueno, director of Harris County's Mosquito Control Division

Taking precautions against mosquitoes can have benefits for health and peace of mind.

Be aware of where mosquitoes breed. Many times it is a bucket of water, a birdbath, a tarp with water on it, backyard clippings or junk in the yard that is creating the problem.

Wear repellent. Most mosquito specialists consider DEET effective and safe. Picaridin and lemon eucalyptus can also help.

Stay inside when mosquitoes are most active. That means dawn and dusk, though some mosquitoes bite day and night.

Seal doors and windows. This cuts down on the chances they will get in. Also, close the door behind you.

Source: Mike Merchant, an urban entomologist with the Texas AgriLife Extension Service in Dallas
Just as you thought, mosquitoes have few redeeming qualities.

There ya go! More information than you ever wanted to know about the 'skeeter! One thing about it, they are probably here to stay!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit! Don't worry, I got plenty of bug spray to share!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Check This Out ! Wretha Is Famous...!

It's always so cool when one of our blogging friends gets recognized for doing what they do!

Not that we need it, but it sort of lends credence to the fact that many of us travel a slightly different road than others!

If you haven't had the chance to drop by Wretha's place for a read, may I suggest that you do so? She and her better half are living the life that many wish they could do!

She and her husband recently had a visitor and the story of the visit can be found here! Check it out!

Wretha and her husband have lived off grid full time since December 2007, there have been ups and downs, but all in all it's been a great adventure. Now Wretha and her husband have been immortalized in an off grid book, click here to learn more about it.

Those of you that may be interested in a great book is your chance! Wretha and her husband are having one...and it looks like a good one!

Why not drop by and tell her that the Hermit sent you over? She would appreciate the visit, I'm sure!

I'll bet she even has coffee on the stove!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Very Nice Comment From SSG DeLaCerda...!

If you remember...a few days ago I did a post about SSG. DeLaCerda and his desire to start a band!

Well, it seems that the SSG. read the article I posted and responded with a really nice comment to the post! It was really addressed to everyone that commented and because of that, I thought I would share it with you all!

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Makes The Heart Sing...!":

I would like to thank each and everyone of you on this site for the well wishes and support...its americans like you that keep this country going and makes me ever so proud to have sacrificed my time in my life to it. As we say in the Airborne..."ALL THE WAY!"

Warrior Spirit Band

Of course, you could just drop down to the post and read the comment for yourself...but I thought it was nice enough to post here, especially since the SSG. took the time to drop by and visit!

Thanks, guys! That's all I had!

How about some fresh coffee on the patio this morning?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Blessing For Ya...!

Being Sunday and all, I thought I would share this little story with you.

It shows just how literally kids take things. Plus it has just a bit of humor in it1

A mom was concerned about her kindergarten son walking to school. He didn't want his mother to walk with him. She wanted to give him the feeling that he had some independence but yet know that he was safe.

So she had an idea of how to handle it. She asked a neighbor if she would please follow him to school in the mornings, staying at a distance, so he probably wouldn't notice her.

The neighbor said that since she was up early with her toddler anyway, it would be a good way for them to get some exercise as well, so she agreed.

The next school day, the neighbor and her little girl set out following behind Timmy as he walked to school with another neighbor girl he knew. She did this for the whole week.

As the two walked and chatted, kicking stones and twigs, Timmy's little friend noticed the same lady was following them as she seemed to do every day all week. Finally she said to Timmy, 'Have you noticed that lady following us to school all week? Do you know her?'

Timmy nonchalantly replied, 'Yeah, I know who she is.'

The little girl said, 'Well, who is she?'

'That's just Shirley Goodnest,' Timmy replied, 'and her daughter Marcy.'

'Shirley Goodnest? Who the heck is she and why is she following us?

'Well,' Timmy explained, 'every night my Mom makes me say the 23rd Psalm with my prayers, 'cuz she worries about me so much. And in the Psalm, it says, 'Shirley Goodnest and Marcy shall follow me all the days of my life', so I guess I'll just have to get used to it!'

Here's hoping that you have Shirley Goodness and Marcy following you all this next week!

Now, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. OK?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The View From The Top...!

Well, it's actually not the top...but it's as far up in the San Jacinto monument as we were allowed!

The observation deck is about 489 feet above the ground. That, my friends, is a long way up!

Minerva is taking a break here as she watches a short little movie about the battle itself. Believe me, after all the walking we had done...any reason for a short sit down was welcomed!

That board we are standing in front of contains a world of information about the monument itself. Quite a piece of building and engineering, to say the least! The star on the very top is built in such a way, that the five points of the star are visible no matter what angle you look at it from.

You really should Google the San Jacinto monument someday and look at all the information of the size and building process. It's actually taller than the Washington monument, if I'm not mistaken!

Here is a picture from one of the windows of the observation deck, looking down on the Battlegrounds and the river! That dark spot in the center is the Battleship Texas! If you click on the picture, you should get a better look at it!

This is another picture taken from the other side of the monument, looking out onto the battleground! Staggering when you consider just what took place here, believe me! All in all, this was a very educational trip for I had forgotten so much (if I even was ever taught it in the first place!) and to revisit the monument and battlegrounds, to read the documents and letters, to watch the movie "Texas Forever"...this all makes for a totally new outlook on this bit of Texas history!

Minerva leaves this morning for California (by way of Denver) to visit with some friends there, before flying back home to New Zealand! She's logging in a ton of miles in travel, that's for sure!

I've known Minerva online for a number of years, but meeting her in person was a true blessing! I wish I could meet all my net friends in a face to face! Being able to sit and talk with a long time net friend in person is a very special feeling!

So, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside for a bit. We are toasting to all our far away friends, as well as those that are close! Our wishes for safe travels, healthy days and peaceful nights.

Peace to one and all!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Welcome To The Wetlands...!

Here is a good shot of my friend from New Zealand...Minerva!

I'm not sure about the grumpy old guy standing next to her, but he looks surprisingly a lot like the guy that lives in my mirror!

This was taken in the kitchen while we were watching the rain come down (in buckets, I might mention)! During times like this with all the rain and storms, it pays to stay close to the coffee pot!

It looks like the rain has stopped for a least for no, so tomorrow we are out to see some of the sights again! Rain or shine!

It's been a nice visit so far! Minerva has been working on speaking Texan and learning all about some favorite southern foods! She already knows more about Texas history than a lot of Texans I know! She has been to the Alamo and was moved by it and the story about it!

Lots more pictures to be taken, more sights to see, more food to sample, and certainly more coffee to drink!

Let's all meet up on the patio for a cup, OK?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Very Late Post Today...!

What with the rain and picture taking and visiting and all the is a very late and short post today!

This might just be a timely post if you are getting all the same kind of storms we are here in Houston!

We still haven't made it to the San Jacinto Battlegrounds yet, but we are going to try again tomorrow! The weather just won't co-operate! Hope you like this short bit of information from the Old Farmer's Almanac!

There are many superstitions about summer thunder.

Some believe that it will frighten the beans into growing.

Others say that thunder in the morning brings wind, while a noon thunder brings rain and an evening thunder brings a tempest.

If there’s lightning without thunder, fair weather is on the way.

As for wind direction, “Thunder and lightning in the summer show, / The point from which the freshening breeze will blow.”

I'll get the pictures posted as soon as I can, and introduce you to my friend from New Zealand!

In the meanwhile, coffee is in the regular help yourself!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Makes The Heart Sing...!

If this story from the Houston Chronicle doesn't get you chocked up, then maybe you should get some help!

A story like thio is certainly a sign of the strength of the Human Spirit! It makes you realize just what folks can do if they want to badly enough!

Disabled veteran wants to form band, called Warrior Spirit, made up of others wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan combat

July 6, 2010, 12:10AM

Retired Staff Sgt. Paul DeLaCerda, 38, wounded in Iraq, plans auditions for his band this month.

E-mail Paul DeLaCerda at Auditions will be held during an open mic night for veterans of all wars at House of Blues, 1204 Caroline, on July 29. Doors open 7 p.m. Show will start at 8 p.m. Event is free and open to the public.

About three months after returning from a combat tour in Iraq, Paul DeLaCerda stepped into a Walmart near Fort Bragg in North Carolina and suddenly realized he couldn't remember his own name.

"I forgot where I was at, I forgot who I was, I forgot what I was doing there," he said. "I sat there for 10 minutes trying to figure it out."

The Army staff sergeant from Houston was diagnosed with traumatic brain injury from a bomb blast that had almost destroyed his Humvee in Iraq in 2005. He also suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, back pain and nerve damage.

"When somebody tells you you're disabled, it's almost like the end of the world," recalled DeLaCerda. "You feel like everything's over, like you can't be 100 percent anymore."

DeLaCerda, who drummed for several heavy metal bands before he enlisted, fell back on music to keep his spirits up. Now he's recruiting members for a new band, called Warrior Spirit, that will be made up of disabled Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Auditions will be held later this month at an open mic night for veterans at House of Blues in downtown Houston.

"It'll show other people that despite our disabilities, we're overcoming them," said DeLaCerda, who celebrated his 38th birthday on the Fourth of July.

DeLaCerda deployed to Iraq in 2005 with the 82nd Airborne Division.

His unit was assigned to look for improvised explosive devices and provide emergency response if any bombs did go off. Music kept him sane.

During deployment, "your music is your outlet and everybody shares," DeLaCerda said. "You've got your 'angry music,' and you got your 'I want to relax music,' you've got your 'chill music 'and the 'music that reminds you of home.' "

He had a hard time falling asleep in the bombed-out house where he and his fellow soldiers lived in Tal Afar, near the Syrian border. The distant sound of gunshots and explosions kept him on edge. The only way he could drift off was if he listened to music with one headphone in his ear. He left out the other headphone in case of emergency.

"When I was in Iraq, I mostly listened to old Metallica and just some heavy 'Let's go out there and go get 'em' kinda music," DeLaCerda said. "Then during my recovery process I got into jazz and blues because to me it says a lot about how you feel. That's what blues is all about: that even though you're down and out you sing it and let everybody know how you feel."

DeLaCerda medically retired from the military in June of last year, but chafed against doctors' warnings that the memory loss, back pain and numbness in his arms and legs that ended his Army career might limit his civilian life, too.

"I was told I couldn't play drums, couldn't run, couldn't lift heavy things, like my kids, for instance, which really sucks," DeLaCerda.

He got the idea for the Warrior Spirit band at a talent show during a retreat hosted by the non-profit Wounded Warrior Project in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

"They scrounged up a drum set for me, so I got up there and threw down a drum solo, and a guy with a prosthetic arm got up and played guitar," DeLaCerda said. "Afterward, we were sitting around talking, and I was like, 'We should put a wounded warrior band together.'"

DeLaCerda is looking for disabled combat veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or other wars, who can sing or play guitar, trumpet, sax, bass, keyboard, or pretty much any other instrument. He envisions the band playing a variety of music, hard rock, blues, jazz or even rap.

"And of course we're going to do some originals based on some of the experiences the band members have had during war, and their personal struggles they've had since they've become disabled," he said.

DeLaCerda already has received offers of gigs in Chicago, New York and here in Houston, where Warrior Spirit could perform at Veteran's Day and Memorial Day events.

"We're trying to support him in getting the word out to all the veterans if there are any musicians out there," said John Boerstler, president of Lone Star Veterans Association in Houston. "We definitely want to see this happen because some of the guys who are severely wounded, it's good for them to get involved in something positive that recognizes their sacrifices."
'From the heart'

The band's concerts would provide an opportunity for the public to see veterans in a positive light and for fellow veterans to network and share war stories and advice, DeLaCerda said.

Sonya Rowe, DeLaCerda's former nurse case manager at Fort Bragg's Warrior Transition Battalion, said the band could be therapeutic.

"I'm a psychiatric nurse, and I see very often that music is a way for people to move into another frame of mind, to take them to a different level, or take them to a different place where they're not always frustrated," Rowe said.

"It's the greatest feeling in the world to play with other vets and know that these guys know where you came from and know that the music, when you play it, it's from the heart," DeLaCerda said.

Time for coffee on the patio this morning...then off to visit the San Jacinto Monument and the battleship Texas!

Monday, July 5, 2010

Company Coming For A Few Days...!

A friend of mine from New Zealand, a nurse, is coming to visit for a couple of days!

She has been in San Antonio for a convention, and now that it's over...she is coming to Houston for a visit!

I've known Minerva for a couple of years, but I've never met her in person. So this will be a chance to get acquainted and see each other face to face!

I don't know why those of us that can...don't do this sort of thing more often. Makes everyone more real, and talk about a photo opportunity!

I'll update things as I can and, of course, I'll include whatever pictures I can!

Thanks for understanding, my friends! Don't forget to drop in for coffee once in a while...OK? OK! Oh, and BTW, if you want to drop by the house...come on over! The more the merrier, ya know?

Sunday, July 4, 2010

An Exercise In Freedom...!

Happy Birthday, America!

I wanted you all to read this little excerpt from the Constitution, if for no other reason than to remind us all what this day is all about.

It also points out our responsibility in dealing with the government...and that is a very large responsibility that should not be taken lightly!

What we are talking about here, folks, is our very freedom itself! I think we should pay close attention!

Text from The Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.

We need to continue to read and teach these words...and be ever vigilant. Maybe even more so now than ever before!

Now, my friends, let's get some fresh coffee and sit outside on the patio for a bit. We can toast to our great country on this very special day!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

The "Dog Days" Are Here...!

A little bit of mundane stuff for you this morning!

Seems like a lot of weather items are on folks' minds, so here's a little more!

Dog Days Begin

The phrase "Dog Days" conjures up the hottest, most sultry days of summer. The Old Farmer's Almanac lists the traditional timing of the Dog Days: the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11, coinciding with the heliacal (at sunrise) rising of the Dog Star, Sirius.

The rising of Sirius does not actually affect the weather (some of our hottest and most humid days occur after August 11), but for the ancient Egyptians, Sirius appeared just before the season of the Nile's flooding, so they used the star as a "watchdog" for that event.

Since its rising also coincided with a time of extreme heat, the connection with hot, sultry weather was made for all time:

"Dog Days bright and clear
Indicate a happy year.
But when accompanied by rain,
For better times our hopes are vain."

I don't know about you, but I have a feeling that the Dog Days are going to be really, really HOT! Know what I mean?

Now, how about some coffee or tea in the kitchen? Still raining outside!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Love In The Woods...!

I guess I had it wrong all this time!

I always thought that the saying was "love is blind", but I guess that it should be "love is in the blind"!

I can't fault the couple for getting married in such pleasant surroundings. I mean, you have trees and birds singing and gentle breezes...just the kind of setting that's so pleasant for true nature lovers.

Plus, neither of them was armed! That's a good start!

Camo-wearing bowhunters marry in tree

ANAMOSA, Iowa — An Iowa couple whose passion for bowhunting encouraged Cupid's arrow to strike wore camouflage to blend in with the wooded backdrop at their treetop wedding.

Forty-two year-old Kim Silver dressed in a silk gown made by camouflage specialists Mossy Oak, and her 61-year-old groom, Marvin Hunter, was dressed in camo shirt and pants at the Saturday nuptials.

They said their vows atop a tree stand hunting platform at the Anamosa Bowhunters Archery Club in the state's northeast. The bride and groom occasionally punctuated the ceremony by firing arrows at targets.

Hunter said the couple had always joked about getting married on a tree stand. Silver said the pair hunt together so much that the camo wedding "just seemed like the right thing to do."

I can only imagine what the wedding shower must have been like. I'm thinking the cake and the gifts must have been something to behold!

Do you suppose tat they spent their honeymoon in the same hunting blind they used for the wedding? Good way to break in that new double sleeping bag, don't ya think?

Now, my friends, let's get some coffee and sit in the hunting blind...I mean, the kitchen!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Lincoln Had It Right...!

Like him or not, it seems like ol' Abe hit the nail on the head with his concerns on this!

Amazing how forward thinking some of the old timers were, isn't it?

"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. As a result of the war, corporations have been enthroned, and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed. I feel at this moment more anxiety for the safety of my country than ever before, even in the midst of war." -

President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 in a letter to Colonel William F.

Seems like a lot of our past leaders could sense the corruption that has befallen our country today. I can only wonder what keeps us from seeing the same thing?

Coffee in the kitchen today! Alex is still messin' with the weather!