Friday, December 23, 2005

The Power of One and Jesus

Whether you are a believer or non-believer, a Christian or an atheist, you must be amazed at the power of this one man, Jesus, who once lived and continues to affect so many people so profoundly today. We are all influenced just by the fact that he once existed, whether you believe in his existence or not. How did one man attain so much attention two thousand plus years ago that he is remembered by a more savvy civilization today? Without bringing religion into the picture, you still have to be astounded by the power of one.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

An Eleanor Roosevelt Quote

Eleanor Roosevelt is a favorite historical figure to many Americans. Her great wit is one reason why:

I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalog: "No good in a bed, but fine against a wall."

Sunday, December 11, 2005

The World's Best Christmas Cookie Recipe

A friend sent this recipe to me and I guarantee it will get results:
1/2 Cup of Water
1 Cup Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 Cup of Sugar
1 tsp Salt
1 Cup of Brwn. Sugar
1 tsp Lemon Juice
4 Large Eggs
1 Cup of Nuts
2 Cups of Dried Fruit
1 Bottle of Jose Cuervo Tequila
  • Sample the Cuervo to check quality. Take a large bowl, check the Cuervo again, to be sure it is of the highest quality, poor one cup and DRINK.
  • Turn on the electric mixer...Beat one cup of butter in a large bowl. Add one teaspoon of sugar...Beat again
  • .At this point, it's best to make sure the Cuervo(Tequila) is still OK, try another cup...just in case.
  • Turn off the mixerer thingy. Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit. Pick the friggin fruit off the floor...
  • Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers just pry it loose with a drewscriver.
  • Sample the Cuervo again to check for tonsistinsee.
  • Next, sift 2 cups of salt, or flour o! r something. Who giveshz a sheet..
  • Check the Jose Cuervo. Now, shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts for pitz. What? You know what I meant....
  • Add one table. Add a spoon of sugar. Greash the oven.
  • Turn the cake tin 360 degrees and try not to fall over.
  • Don't foget to beat off the turner
  • Finally, throw the bowl through the window, finish the Cose Juervo and make sure to put the stove in the dishwasher.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Thoughts On The Power of One

We live in a society which thrives on power---the more the better. Therefore, we are apt to overlook situations involving the power of one; we prefer the power of two or five or ten. But we should never underestimate the power of one. Consider the following circumstance:

One depressed person living alone plus the adoption of one abandoned animal living in a shelter since May equals unmeasurable happiness, delight, and contentment on the part of both. Who knows if the end result is tenfold, a thousandfold, or a millionfold? And who cares? We have just seen the miracle of the power of one.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Heaviest Element Recently Discovered---Governmentium

A friend of mine sent this. I do not know who the author is but I surely admire him/her for the insight:

A major research institution has recently announced the discovery of the heaviest element yet known to science. The new element has been named "Governmentium". This hurricane mess and gasoline issues are proof that it exists.

Governmentium (Gv) has one neutron, 25 assistant neutrons, 88 deputy neutrons, and 198 assistant deputy neutrons, giving it an atomic mass of 312. These 312 particles are held together by forces called morons, which are surrounded by vast quantities of lepton-like particles called peons.

Since Governmentium has no electrons, it is inert. However, it can be detected, because it impedes every reaction with which it comes into contact. A minute amount of Governmentium causes one reaction to take over four days to complete, when it would normally take less than a second.

Governmentium has a normal half-life of 4 years; it does not decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which a portion of the assistant neutrons and deputy neutrons exchange places. In fact, Governmentium's mass will actually increase over time, since each reorganization will cause more morons to become neutrons, forming isodopes.

This characterization of moron promotion leads some scientists to believe that Governmentium is formed whenever morons reach a certain quantity in concentration. This hypothetical quantity is referred to as Critical Morass.

When catalyzed with money, Governmentium becomes Administratium - an element which radiates just as much energy as Governmentium since it has half as many peons, but twice and many morons.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

It's Beginning to Look Like Christmas

As I sit in my favorite chair and look out the window, all around me my beloved hills are shrouded in white. We have had snow covering the ground almost continuously since Thanksgiving. Most of the time, it has been just enough to set the stage for the coming holidays, without the slick roads that threaten life and limb. In other words, the perfect amount.

Friday, November 25, 2005

A Disappointing Thanksgiving in Plymouth

Back in our traveling days, one year we decided to spend Thanksgiving in Plymouth, Massachusetts. We loved going to Plymouth during the warmer months to visit the Mayflower and Plimouth Plantation and thought nothing could be better than spending Thanksgiving there.

We arrived on Wednesday evening and found the weather to be a bit sharper than it had during earlier visits. (Ocean breezes in summer tend to be more pleasant than ocean breezes in winter in the northeast.) On Thanksgiving, we were more than ready for a big turkey dinner. Restaurant #1 did not serve turkey. Restaurant #2 did not serve turkey. Restaurant #3 did not serve turkey. By the time we arrived at Restaurant #4, we were becoming desperate. Again, no turkey. And the maitre 'd explained that the only way to eat turkey in Plymouth that day was to go to the town-sponsored dinner; there was a gentlemen's agreement that the restaurants would not compete with the town. At that point, we were too tired and weak to move on so we ate steak for Thanksgiving----in Plymouth, of all places.

By the time we returned home on Sunday evening, I was craving leftover turkey. I wanted my husband to pull over so I could run up to an unsuspecting homeowner. With my finger in my pocket, I would shout, "Your leftover turkey or your life!" My husband wouldn't stop.

At work the next day, I told the story to my co-workers. One of them invited us to dinner the following weekend. We sat down to a full-blown turkey dinner. It was the best turkey I ever ate.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

After Thanksgiving Dinner

This is how I feel after our big dinner. I was sent this photo in an e-mail. I would say that this cat has little trouble relaxing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Dear Departed Sam

On September 1, 2005 I wrote about Sam, reportedly the world's ugliest dog. Sadly, Sam who was nearly fifteen has now passed away. He certainly gave his owner love and devotion and the rest of us from afar thought of Sam with many different emotions. No matter how you thought of Sam, he will be hard to forget.........

Sunday, November 20, 2005

A Day of Challenges

Today has been a day of challenges for me and all of them involved our newly enlarged storage shed. For most of the summer and fall, we waited for an Amish team to "redo" our storage shed. When we bought this home, a very small shed was included. Naively, we thought we would just replace it with a larger one. Finally, we realized that there was no way to get a larger shed moved in. So we decided to make our shed larger by adding three feet on the back and to raise the roof one and a half feet. This expanded the storage volume enormously. While we were at it, we had the exterior dressed with vinyl siding to match our house. No more painting as we continue to grow older!

Challenge One: What we didn't have done was the interior because I wasn't able to envision how I wanted it set up. I finally decided to build a loft for general storage, a loft for lumber (at a lower height because it's easier for me to lift) and a series of shelves for current projects, power tools, hardware, etc.

Challenge Two: So off to get materials to complete the interior. Oops. We no longer have minivans or full sized station wagons. One itty-bitty sedan coming up. I folded down the back seat, etc. but still had to make two trips to get the lumber home.

Challenge Three: Being sixty-six with arthritis and assorted ailments. Lifting was horrible. Nailing was terrible (sometimes I had to hold the hammer with both hands). Even using the power screw driver was tough. Shaky hands and vision problems made lining up the screw and the driver head nearly impossible. The pain wasn't so great, either.

I'd hang up my tool belt for good except I already gave it to my nephew.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Anna Quindlen's Article "Bedroom vs Courtroom"

In this week's Newsweek Magazine, my favorite columnist, Anna Quindlen discusses the abortion issue in the context of Judge Alito's appointment. To try to paraphrase Quindlen is like printing a dictionary with no words in it; her use of language is so melodic and precise. So here are the last two paragraphs of her article:

We’re in a real mess here, trying to fit a profound and intimate matter into a system more suited to tax codes and property issues, like trying to solve the mysteries of literature using formulas in math class. That’s because abortion is unlike any other matter and pregnancy is different from any other state of being. The situation in which an embryo is permitted to grow over time into an independent human in the body of another is just not comparable to anything else. Yet analogy is the lifeblood of both lawmakers and jurists.

Imagine how it could transform the landscape if somehow abortion were absent from government intervention or interference. Those who believe it is a moral wrong could fight through hearts and minds, not laws that would resurrect the Lysol and the garden hose. Those who believe it is a woman’s personal decision could choose either to end a pregnancy or to continue it and have a child. How much money could be raised for safe abortions for poor women and for prenatal care, too, if it didn’t need to be poured into the incessant pinball game of partisan politics. And judges could return to those issues that lend themselves to jurisprudence instead of puzzling out the singular fact patterns of the womb.

Perhaps that is the answer; remove government from the issue altogether. This act would require great courage and insight of the part of the lawmakers. Rise up, America. Insist that a matter so personal should remain personal.

You don't think it can be done. Look at Prohibition. The government stepped in on another personal choice issue, realized it couldn't control individual drinking and/or, enforce the law, and repealed the laws from the books.

Oops. That's an analogy. Sorry, Anna.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Some Great Put-Downs

A great web site contains Brain Candy. Here are some put-downs and insults with which to arm yourself:

0 A demitasse would fit his head like a sombrero.
0 A sharp tongue is no indication of a keen mind.
0 All that you are you owe to your parents. Why don't you send them a penny and square the account?
0 Anyone who told you to be yourself couldn't have given you worse advice.
0 As an outsider, what do you think of the human race?
0 Converse with any plankton lately?
0 Do you have to leave so soon? I was about to poison the tea.
0 Do you want me to accept you as you are or do you want me to like you?
0 Don't you love nature, despite what it did to you?
0 Has reached rock bottom and shows signs of starting to dig.
0 He does the work of three men: Moe, Larry, and Curly.
0 He'd steal the straw from his mother's kennel.
0 He's so dense that light bends around him.

Source: Brain Candy

Friday, November 04, 2005

Bet You Didn't Know This

From the Netscape Community site, I have copied the list of 12 Things You Didn't Know You Didn't Know:

Did you know...
1. It is impossible to lick your elbow.
2. A crocodile can't stick its tongue out.
3. A shrimp's heart is in its head.
4. In a study of 200,000 ostriches, over a period of 80 years, no one reported a single case where an ostrich buried its head in the sand.
5. It is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky.
6. A pregnant goldfish is called a twit.
7. More than 50% of the people in the world have never made or received a telephone call.
8. Horses can't vomit.
9. The "sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick" is said to be the toughest tongue twister in the English language.
10. If you sneeze too hard, you can fracture a rib. If you try to suppress a sneeze, you can rupture a blood vessel in your head or neck and die. And, if you keep your eyes open by force, they can pop out.
11. Rats multiply so quickly that in 18 months, two rats could have over a million descendants.
12. Wearing headphones for just an hour will increase the bacteria in your ear by 700 times.

How Old Am I?

My eighty-nine-year-old mother (shown above) is in a nearby nursing home. She often has panic attacks and when that happens, she has the home call me. I received such a call late this afternoon. When I got to the nursing home, she was still waiting for me by the nurse's station. I wheeled her back to her room. As soon as we got there, she asked, "How old am I?" and I knew immediately what had caused her panic; she couldn't remember her age.

I have been trying to figure out how I would feel if I couldn't remember how old I was. Knowing our age seems to be very important to humans. One of the first things a child learns about himself is his age. Knowing our age is a vital part of our being. How scary not to know that any more. I'll probably panic too.

Sunday, October 30, 2005

My Alibi

When reading other blogs, I've noticed that some writers often offer reasons for not posting everyday and oddly enough, I've enjoyed reading their excuses. You have probably noticed that my entries will be regular for a while and then, suddenly, there's a lapse in posting. No, I didn't fall into a black hole and I will use this past week as an example to explain what can happen that can result in my failure to post...........

Sometimes I get behind doing the laundry and have to measure the task awaiting in cubic yards. So Monday and Tuesday I worked on housekeeping, including the laundry. Wednesday we had a morning appointment with our attorney. I parked in front of his office. Lee had trouble getting out of the car, so I had to help him. Once he was out, he leaned back in to get his cane, lost his balance, fell back into the car, and lay wedged between the passenger seat and whatever.........

Our lawyer and a friend of his saw this happening. They called the ambulance and joined us out by the car. Pedestrians and vehicles stopped, offering assistance. Then the ambulance arrived, followed by a police car and a fire truck! My husband at first refused to go to the hospital but after hearing his blood sugar was down and his blood pressure was up, he agreed to be checked out. The rest of the day was spent in the emergency room. Our legal eagle said he would come to the house the next time we had to meet.........

I am very strong during each of these mini-calamities. Then when the crisis has passed, I collapse. So I spent Thursday recovering from my husband's latest fall.......

On Friday I drove to a nearby village to attend a truck sale. No, I didn't buy a truck. Periodically, we get a flyer advertising that a truck will be nearby and items will be sold from it. The lastest advertising included a red wagon with wooden sides at a good price. Why would an old lady buy a red wagon? Like some other old ladies, walking and carrying heavy items like groceries can be difficult for me. I will load the groceries from the car into my red wagon and pull it up the ramp to the house. My wagon is a beauty, with 10" pneumatic tires that are very impressive. I expect there will be some jealousy on the part of some neighboring kids and old ladies.....

Friday night (Saturday morning) I got a call at 3:30 a. m. The nursing home was transferring my mother to the hospital. So up and off to the emergency room again. I spent the rest of the night and the next morning with my mother while the hospital did tests and admitted her for treatment for pneumonia and extreme anemia. Fortunately, she was still behaving fairly well. Recently a doctor asked her how she was feeling and she answered, "None of your damn business." Yesterday afternoon I slept, then back to the hospital for much of today........

So that's my story and I'm sticking with it.

Friday, October 28, 2005

"The Partner" Thoughts

I recently read John Grisham's "The Partner" and find my thoughts returning to the book often. The book has all the elements of a great novel and is probably my favorite of Grisham's books. Few of us could equal the scale of Lanigan's "profit", but I wonder if we set ourselves up as Patrick did; we share our knowledge, insights and skills with loved ones, only to find that they betray us and make off with that which we "earned."


Friday, October 21, 2005

New Blog - Sir Ryder of Cupp

My new blog for animal lovers (cats in particular) is up and running and has even had a few visitors. The subject of that blog, Ryder is sitting on my lap and the arm of the chair while I try to juggle the laptop on the space that's left. I think he's telling me to remind you to tell anyone you know who would be interested about his blog. The address is

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Sir Ryder of Cupp

I am in the process of setting up a new blog devoted to feline fanciers everywhere. If anyone out there has anything to share on the new blog, get in touch.

More about the new blog later.

Monday, October 17, 2005

What I Learned Today

I learned something new today. I try to learn something new every day but today's tidbit dropped into my lap without me even trying. What I learned is this: Follow directions. If super glue says to use a single drop, then use a single drop, even if they include a brush that makes it handy to spread it all over...................

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Mad Mama

Talk about overly-protective mothers! I found this picture at a neat site called Pet Humor.

Monday, October 10, 2005

Wife or Wif?

After years of observing marriage, and also participating in it, I have decided the female plays one of two roles---wife or wif. What's the difference? It is obviously more than a missing letter.

I see a wife as an equal partner in the relationship and someone who sometimes gives and sometimes takes. She has opinions and preferences just like her husband does. He respects her and she respects him.

On the other hand, a wif (and no coincidence that it sounds similar to wimp) plays a completely subordinate role. She always gives and never takes. If she has opinions and preferences, she would not dare to reveal them, especially to her husband. He dominates her and she fears him.

If you are a wif, here's a news flash. The female in a marriage is no longer chattel, owned by the male. You have rights and there are plenty of people out there who will help you to claim them.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Loose Ends

This week has tied up a couple of loose ends for us. I don't mean to imply that it is the end of these stories because I'm sure it is not. Nevertheless, they have been pretty big steps forward.

Yesterday, Lee faced the operating room again; his injured (fractured and dislocated) shoulder was manipulated to increase his range of motion. He'll start another course of physical therapy Monday morning. (Look at the June 18th post in Archives for the details.)

And I started treatment for severe sleep apnea. Treatment includes my spanking new CPAP----a REMstar pro 2 with C-Flex. I also have Breeze SleepGear. If this equipment is unfamiliar to you, a CPAP is really a tiny air compressor to which you attach head gear with a hose. This forces air into your nose and/or mouth under enough pressure to keep your airways open and to prevent you from apneas. Apneas are episodes in which one stops breathing for at least ten seconds. I was having 65 apneas per hour; those figures don't allow much sleeping and can lead to a host of other problems. I'm thrilled that I was finally diagnosed and am receiving treatment.

I encourage anyone with the major symptoms of excessive daytime sleepiness and frequent episodes of obstructed breathing during sleep (ask your sleeping partner about that because you may not even be aware of it) to learn more about sleep apnea and discuss it with your doctor. The life you save may be your own.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Heart Vs. Brain

I just got home from a three hour stop at the emergency room. My husband and I were just returning from dinner when I saw my neighbor's dog attack a little dog walking on a leash with her owner. After the dogs were separated, I was feeling so badly for the little dog that I reached out to console her. She bit me on the finger. It was totally my fault. I know better than to try to touch an upset animal.

My injury is minimal but because of my diabetes and chronic renal failure, infections have to be avoided. Plus I needed a tetnus shot.

So what happened? Once again, I listened to my heart and not my brain. My heart said to console that poor little dog and my brain said to never to reach for an upset animal. When I told my neighbors that, they assured me that listening to the heart instead of the brain is what makes us human.

Funny. It just makes me feel stupid.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

The World's Ugliest Cat?

While surfing the internet, I found this picture. I have tried to explain to my cats why they should never sit like this. Maybe this picture will help..........

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Political Comment

Pity about Tom DeLay being indicted in Texas (she says sarcastically). I might be more sympathetic if his own House Ethics Committee had not slapped his hands three times. He seems to have many of the characteristics of a slime ball who walks the line of legal/illegal and ethical/unethical and crosses over at will---when he thinks no one is looking. Well, Tommy, we are all watching.

Monday, September 19, 2005

A Thousand Dollars Worth of Candy, Please!

To fill our prescriptions, we leave the city and drive about five miles to a small town with a drug store that has been in business more than a hundred years. I remember going there as a small child and at first glance, little has changed in the last fifty or so years. Beavers has always sold penny candy and it remains popular as ever.

A couple of weeks ago, I went in, marched over to the candy counter and said, "A thousand dollars worth of penny candy, please!" Tim, the store manager, replied "Okay. Do you want that in a bag or a box?" One of my favorite clerks added "Do you want that tonight or tomorrow?"

I finally had to confess that I was there to pick up my insulin. But it was a dream come true, however briefly, for a diabetic.

But Condi, I Gotta Go!

Did you ever wonder what message a President of the United States would scribble to the US Secretary of State during a United Nations meeting? Check it out.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Did I See What I Thought I Saw?

Did you ever have one of those moments when your brain stalls and seems to hesitate before sounding off an alarm that the data just processed was unusual/questionable/out-of-the-ordinary? Such a moment happened to me a couple days ago.

It was a bright, sunny, calm morning with the temperature hovering about 80 degrees. As we were driving to to my husband's physical therapy session, we passed a woman wearing a bright yellow rain slicker with the hood covering her head. It took a couple of moments before the brain kicked in and let me know that the woman's garb didn't fit the weather. Ever since, I've been wondering why she was wearing that rain slicker.

Monday, September 05, 2005

Diet Drinks Cause Obesity!!!! (?)

How do I know? Did you ever see a skinny person drinking a diet soda?

Actually, this theory is proposed by Stanley Bing, who writes about business matters. He is a regular columnist for Fortune Magazine and currently has an article entitled "Great Questions of Our Age". In this article, he questions where the workers are at highway construction sites, why martinis are smaller, whether cops cause traffic jams, cell phone behavior, etc.

If you regard business writers as dry and unentertaining, then you haven't read anything by Stanley Bing. He also has written several books including:
  • Throwing the Elephant
  • Zen and the Art of Managing Up
  • What Would Machiavelli Do? The Ends Justify the Meanness

Sunday, September 04, 2005

The World's Angriest Cat

After featuring the world's ugliest dog, my cats demanded equal time. So here we go. Can you imagine what this cat wants to tell its groomer?
By the way, this is not one of my cats but the photos were included with other animal pictures sent by a friend. Thanks, Judi.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Meet Sam, The World's Ugliest Dog

This is Sam, the world's ugliest dog for three years in a row. Sam and his "mommy" have their own poignant story and an article on Netscape at

Check it out. Sam doesn't look nearly as ugly after you read about him.

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

How To Recognize a Liar

Here's some information we can all use.

Dr. Charles Ford, a psychiatrist and professor at the University of Alabama Birmingham, says the average person lies to others once or twice a day.

How can you tell when you're being deceived? Per Dr. Paul Ekman, a professor of psychology at the University of California-San Francisco and the author of 'Telling Lies: Clues to Deceit in the Marketplace, Politics and Marriage', look for the following:

Know their baseline behavior.
Establish rapport.
Ask for minute details.
Watch for "false" facial expressions.
Give them an out."

To read the complete article, go to this site.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm As Mad As........

I learned years ago not to do anything (except wait) when I'm angry. I think it has something to do with my Irish temper. Anyway, I am now going to ignore that lesson and react to a situation while I am still angry.

Yesterday, a neighbor's cat crawled home with an arrow protruding from its body. My neighbor, Jean, cut the bulk of the arrow off and took her pet to the vet's. Unfortunately, Paws did not make it.

That saddens me because I know how much my cats mean to me and Jean's mean as much to her. It angers me even more because the arrow was a transmitter-tracking arrow. What does that tell me? It tells me that Paws didn't meet a kid with a simple bow and arrow playing cowboys and Indians. It tells me that an adult was directly responsible for the murder of this pet. He himself shot that little animal deliberately or he left lethal equipment accessible to a child. This was a cold-blooded act to cause pain to an animal and its owner.

And dear readers, don't dream up defenses for the shooter or try to blame the cat. I'm in no mood to listen.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Kudos for Colonel Collins

Everyone in this area breathed a collective sigh of relief, at the safe return of Eileen Collins, shuttle commander of the last NASA flight. She grew up in the area (Elmira, NY) and lived here until she finished community college in Corning.

While she is an inspiration to all, teachers in the area use her as an example to motivate girls to reach as far as they can and to explore non-traditional careers for women.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Back To Normal

Things are almost back to normal at the Russo household. Mr. R has returned from a couple of months in the nursing home after breaking and dislocating his shoulder; he can feed himself and take care of more private manners. He still needs help with dressing and walking without his usual cane or walker is precarious. He has a hospital bed which allows him to get in and out of bed alone. He can sign his name again. At one point in the hospital, he had to sign a paper with an "X". I found that amusing and really ragged him about having a master's degree in education and signing his name with an x. He can't drive yet so I am sole chauffeur and errand-runner.

The cats are adapting to his return. Ryder, who usually serves as Lee's private nurse has not returned to duty. He still feels the need to punish Lee for leaving him; he'll need a few more days to warm up. Shasta is more interested in the different bed than the master's return, but of course, she's blonde. As for me, even after nearly forty-three years of marriage, I'm glad he's home.

Monday, August 01, 2005

The Cabinet Crisis Is Over

The cabinet crisis is over. You regular blog readers remember that a bathroom cabinet was found hanging by a single screw and was removed for safety's sake. It sat for a few weeks on the floor in front of my husband's closet.

This weekend, my brother-in-law re-installed it. My brother-in-law is a cross between John Wayne, Ghandi, Robin Hood, George Washington and Jerry Seinfeld. He's the one everyone in the family calls when help is needed. His approach to life, a just-right mixture of wisdom and humor, is unparalleled. Thanks, Red.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Christmas In July

I've been noticing the "Christmas in July" sales and activities recently. So I have decided to offer my contribution to the mix. This is Ryder being defiant and demonstrating that he is King of the House and can do whatever he wants.

Selling Our Library

I took the first step. I called the local paper and placed an ad to sell our books. I don't know how it happened but we are totally overrun by books. They have outgrown our so-called library and are lurking in every nook and cranny. They're in drawers, in stacks, in the hall, here, there and everywhere. I know coat hangers have the ability to reproduce in the dark of night. I'm beginning to think that books do too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Another of Life's Ironies

How ironic that Lance Armstrong with his small team and relatively simple machines, bikes, are flying high. At the same time NASA with the support of thousands and its expensive, complex machines, shuttles, are grounded.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Rome Wasn't Built In A Day But.....

I hate waiting; I am not a patient person. My husband loves to tell about the time when I was fussing about something that wasn't happening as fast as I wanted it. My mother-in-law tried to console me by saying "Lil, Rome wasn't built in a day." To which I grouchily replied, "Well, it would have been if I had been there."

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Cerebral Dominance In Unexpected Places

Today I had my first long chat with a neighbor who is a veteran of both dialysis and a kidney transplant. Her matter-of-fact understanding and acceptance of her situation was inspiring. Her attitude seems to be one of "Well, this is the way things are and I might as well regard it as an adventure."

It was during that part of the conversation that she related that one of the things she had learned was that if you were left-handed, the new kidney was transplanted into the left side of your abdomen. She also said that the transplanted kidney was the left kidney of the donor.

I don't know if her understanding is standard medical practice. It makes sense and if it is true, doesn't it make you wonder about the genius of the person who figured out the importance of cerebral dominance even in transplanting organs? Wow.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Kiss My (Unbroken) Foot

A few weeks ago, my right foot started hurting. Maybe "hurting" is an understatement. It became downright difficult to walk, to sit, to sleep. The foot looked innocent enough. It was slightly swollen and slightly reddened on the side where the pain was centered. Finally, I realized that "walking the pain away" was not working.

I called the doctor's office. They told me to go to the emergency room and have it x-rayed. After twisting my foot into impossible positions (which should have broken anything not yet broken), the x-ray technician announced she had the films she needed and she wheeled me into a special area of the emergency room. The walls were lined with crutches of all sizes, plaster-of-paris, gauzes, splints, braces, etc. As I waited for the doctor to come in, I started imagining a grand cast that grew from covering just my foot to one that was basically a body cast. Just as I had moved on to selecting a set of crutches, the doctor came back and told me that my foot was not broken and that I was suffering from tendonitis.

Tendonitis, my foot! In fact, I almost suggested that the doctor kiss my.....foot. Fortunately, I kept my mouth shut and he wrote out a prescription for a powerful painkiller. The painkiller improved the pain but a few days later, my foot started to turn black and blue. Isn't that an unusual sympton for tendonitis?

Friday, July 15, 2005

A Cabinet Crisis (Mine, Not Bush's)

When I returned home from visiting my husband at the nursing home today, I discovered that a wall cabinet in the master bathroom was partially hanging off the wall. (Maybe there was an earthquake, although none was mentioned on the news tonight.) One of the doors had come open and there was broken glass and cupboard contents all over the floor. So I did what any reasonable person would do. I took a nap while I considered my options.

Several hours later, I decided that this was a crisis situation requiring immediate action. So I got out the power screwdriver and a million or so screws and bravely approached the touchy situation. I soon discovered that I could not hold a 900 lb cabinet, keep a screw in place and operate the screwdriver all at the same time. So I did what any reasonable person would do. I went to the backdoor and told the chatting neighbors down the street that I needed help.

To make a long story short, we felt it was better to take it off the wall and let someone else worry about getting it back up. I guess this means a future blog post "A Cabinet Crisis-Part 2."

Sunday, July 03, 2005

A Perfect Day

Today we had a family gathering because my brother and sister-in-law from Florida are spending a few days in NYS. The weather was perfect and so was the company. And to wrap up such perfection was the setting sun tonight. Sorry I couldn't do it justice.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Being Well-Hydrated

I have to have a procedure called a lasix renal scan next week. When the nurse was setting up the appointment for me, she said, "We want you well-hydrated for this test. Drink lots of clear liquids before you go."

I said, "You mean like gin and vodka?"

She firmly replied, "No, like water."


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Person Vs. Party

I watched the President's address on Iraq tonight and it served to remind me of the current "challenge" I'm working on. From time to time, I select a topic and redirect my thoughts to that subject when I find myself thinking about unpleasant things. (An example is an earlier post, Pain Vs. Pain, in the March archives.) Right now, the PC (personal challenge) I'm thinking through is Person Vs Party in national elections.

I have always voted for the person I felt best suited for a position. So why am I rethinking that stance? It seems to me, that at this point in time, individual officeholders have conceded their personal identity to jump aboard the party bandwagon. I can't remember a time when government has been so polarized. So my dilemma is: Will an individual vote reflect his/her conscience and that of his/her constituency or will he/she vote the party line? If most representatives of the people are going to follow party line, then I must vote for the party rather than the individual. The fun in my PCs is that nothing is black or white.

When I was growing up, politics was black or white, Democrat or Republican. I grew up in a Republican household in a Republican-dominated area. (In fact, I was nineteen years old before I realized "Damn Democrat" was two words.) My husband was the opposite: his was a Democratic household in a Democratic stronghold.

Ah, the innocence of childhood! Adulthood brings such mistrust of labels.

Monday, June 27, 2005

"Golden Links" Welcome

I have neglected my blog recently as I became caught up in health issues---my mother's, my husband's, my niece's and my own. Upon reflection, I realize this has had the effect of sharply narrowing my world to trips to the hospital, nursing homes and doctor's offices. Now it's time to get back to the greater reality.

The rest of the world is still out there. That big, exciting, mysterious, funny world with all it holds for me to discover. So here I go again. As E. H. Chapin said, " Through every rift of discovery some seeming anomaly drops out of the darkness, and falls, as a golden link, into the great chain of order."

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Bloomfield Blooms Posted by Hello

Bloomfield Blooms

The photo is a bouquet from my sister's garden in East Bloomfield, NY.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Forrest Gump.....

After the stress of the past few days, it's about time for some laughter. One of my favorite stories involves Forrest Gump.

The day finally arrived. Forrest Gump dies and goes to Heaven. He is at the Pearly Gates, met by St Peter himself. However, the gates are closed and Forrest approaches the Gatekeeper.

St Peter says, "Well, Forrest, it's certainly good to see you. We have heard a lot about you. I must tell you, though, that the place is filling up fast, and we've been administering an entrance examination for everyone. The test is short, but you have to pass it before you can get into Heaven."

Forrest responds, "It shor is good to be here, St Peter, sir. But nobody ever tolt me about any entrance exam. Shor hope the test ain't too hard; life was a big enough test as it was."

St Peter goes on, "Yes, I know, Forrest, but the test is only three questions:
  • First: What two days of the week begin with the letter T?
  • Second: How many seconds are there in a year?
  • Third: What is God's first name?"

Forrest leaves to think the questions over. He returns the next day and sees St Peter who waves him up and says, "Now that you have had a chance to think the questions over, tell me your answers."

Forrest says, "Well, the first one--which two days in the week begin with the letter 'T'? Shucks, that one's easy. That'd be Today and Tomorrow."

The Saint's eyes open wide and he exclaims, "Forrest, that's not what I was thinking, but you have a point, and I guess I didn't specify, so I'll give you credit for that answer."

"How about the next one?" asks St Peter. "How many seconds in a year?"

"Now that one's harder," says Forrest, "but I thunk and thunk about that and I guess the only answer can be twelve."

Astounded, St Peter says, "Twelve? Twelve!? Forrest, how in Heaven's name could you come up with twelve seconds in a year?"

Forrest says, "Shucks, there's gotta be twelve: January 2nd, February 2nd, March 2nd.........

"Hold it," interrupts St Peter. "I see where you're going with this, and I see your point, though that wasn't quite what I had in mind.........but I'll give you credit for that one, too. Let's go on with the third and final question. Can you tell me God's first name?"

"Shor," Forrest replied, "it's Andy."

"Andy?!" exclaimed an exasperated and frustrated St Peter. "OK, I can understand how you came up with your answers to my first two questions, but just how in the world did you come up with the name Andy as the first name of God?"

"Shucks, that was the easiest one of all," Forrest replied. "I learnt it from the song..........ANDY WALKS WITH ME, ANDY TALKS WITH ME, ANDY TELL ME I AM HIS OWN...."

St Peter opened the Pearly Gates and with a smile said, "Run, Forrest, run!"

So you see, there are rewards for thinking outside the box.

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Whadda Week!

It all started with a 3:00 A. M. phone call on Tuesday morning. My mother was being transported to ER with severe breathing difficulties and a lack of response. I flew off to the hospital and spent the rest of the night there until relieved by other family members about 8:00 A. M.

Fast forward. On Thursday, about 4:45 P. M., I felt, rather than heard, a thud. Lee had fallen and was in great pain. I called an ambulance. He was taken to the ER where x-rays revealed that he had both fractured and dislocated his shoulder. An orthopedic surgeon was called in and he managed miracles to avoid surgery.

The problem is that the injury is on his right side. His left side was left weakened by a stroke when he was six months old. Without the use of his right arm, he is virtually helpless. He can't feed himself, get out of bed, go to the bathroom---well, you get the picture. So when he is released from the hospital next week, it is off to a nursing home.

And of course, my medical problems remain. I have appointments with two more specialists in the next couple of weeks. So we are facing a trying time ahead but I have no doubt that we will get through this too.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Let Reason Reign

Due to a situation that is another story, we ended up living in a mobile home park. It was the best thing that could have happened to us. We've been here now for over four years and they have been wonderful years. Lately though, we have noticed a lot of discontent in the park and have made a few observations regarding why.

The park owners are a group removed from the area. To represent their interests on site, they hired two men; let's call them Bob and Jim. Bob and Jim live here in the park with the rest of us. Their job is to keep the park safe and clean for the residents and they do that by enforcing the park rules. The park rules were written by the park owners and must follow state law. You may read the state law on the internet. One of the laws does say that all rules and regulations must be enforced uniformly.

But let's keep this simple. The facts are:
  • Bob and Jim didn't make the rules but their job is to enforce them equally for all of us.
  • Without supervision, unhealthy and unsafe situations can arise quickly in a small community like ours. For example, trash on any site can attract rats that could affect all of us. Another example, cars improperly parked can create hazardous conditions that could affect walkers and drivers.
  • Bob and Jim are paid a set wage. What they earn does not depend on how many rules they enforce. But you can bet they would lose their jobs if they didn't enforce the rules.
  • I don't see Bob and Jim getting rich with this job. Prove it if you think otherwise. (What's the rumor I heard about them keeping the money for the dog fee? How stupid!)

Look around you, neighbors. We live in a beautiful setting, largely made possible by these two men who work hard with little thanks. Let's be reasonable. If you have a problem with the regulations, take it up with the people who made those regulations---the park owners. Your lease has all the contact information. Remember that old adage: don't kill the messenger. Join me in being grateful that we have very reasonable messengers. Thanks, Bob and Jim.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Reason-able Cats

Who says you can't reason with cats?

Getting our cats to come in from the porch at night used to be a nightmare. We have a screened-in porch that the cats love. In fact, they love it so much that it became a battle every night to get them to leave it. First we would call them. They would ignore us. Then one of us would go out and plead with them to go into the house. They would ignore us. Then we yelled at them to go in. They would ignore us. At that point, things turned nastier. We would pick up the fly swatter and threaten them with it (we called the fly swatter a "whip"). They would ignore us. Then it got physical. We would try to whack them with the whip and they would run under furniture to escape us. Obviously, we weren't going to win that battle.

Finally, in disgust, I said "Okay, Ryder. You tell me when it's time to come in." I left them alone. In a few minutes, Ryder came in and meowed at me. Eventually, I realized that he was telling me that it was time to come in. As soon as Shasta saw him in the house, she came in.

This became the nightly routine and continues just like clockwork every day between 9:00 and 9:30 pm. My husband says that Ryder wears a tiny wristwatch that he uses to keep on schedule. You have to agree that this is a more pleasant picture than the former one of two old, fat people chasing cats with a fly swatter.

Peace now reigns in the Russo household. And it's all due to our two reasonable cats who were made an offer they couldn't refuse.

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Hummingbird Beacon

Last night while a neighbor was sitting on the back porch with me, a hummingbird zoomed in unexpectedly. That means I don't have a feeder out yet. But because there was a bauble hanging with a red stone, we assumed that had attracted the bird. A few minutes later, a second zooming occurred and then I realized the bright orange tee I was wearing might be the attraction. Judi remarked that she hoped a hummingbird wouldn't land on my shelf looking for nectar. When a rainbow formed and I leaned over the railing to see it, a third hummingbird flew in within a foot and hovered at menacingly close range to my orange top.

The moral of the story? If you're not prepared to host hummingbirds up close and personal, don't wear certain bright colors.

Sunday, June 05, 2005

GM vs Microsoft

I just read and copied this from a blog named Archive. Unfortunately, I do not know the author's name.


GM vs. Bill Gates

For all of us who feel only the deepest love and affection for the way computers have enhanced our lives, read on.

At a recent computer expo (COMDEX), Bill Gates reportedly compared the computer industry with the auto industry and stated, "If GM had kept up with technology like the computer industry has, we would all be driving $25.00 cars that got 1,000 miles to the gallon."

In response to Bill's comments, General Motors issued a press release stating:

If GM had developed technology like Microsoft, we would all be driving cars with the following characteristics (and I just love this part):

1. For no reason whatsoever, your car would crash twice a day.

2. Every time they repainted the lines in the road, you would have to buy a new car.

3. Occasionally your car would die on the freeway for no reason. You would have to pull to the side of the road, close all of the windows, shut off the car, restart it, and reopen the windows before you could continue. For some reason you would simply accept this.

4. Occasionally, executing a maneuver such as a left turn would cause your car to shut down and refuse to restart, in which case you would have to reinstall the engine.

5. Macintosh would make a car that was powered by the sun, was reliable, five times as fast and twice as easy to drive - but would run on only five percent of the roads.

6. The oil, water temperature, and alternator warning lights would all be replaced by a single "This Car Has Performed an Illegal Operation" warning light.

7. The airbag system would ask "Are you sure?" before deploying.

8. Occasionally, for no reason whatsoever, your car would lock you out and refuse to let you in until you simultaneously lifted the door handle, turned the key and grabbed hold of the radio antenna.

9. Every time a new car was introduced car buyers would have to learn how to drive all over again because none of the controls would operate in the same manner as the old car.

10. You'd have to press the "Start" button to turn the engine off.

- posted by cries havoc @ 7:49 PM


This is a very interesting blog. Read some of the other entries.

Break Down

I thought that title would get you. It may be a little misleading. What I mean is---today I broke down and did what common sense has been telling me for some time. I went to Wal-Mart and used one of the electronic carts to move around the store. It meant swallowing a considerable amount of pride but it was either that or I would have no crossword puzzles to work on tonight. And as any crossword puzzle addict would tell you, no sacrifice is too great when it comes to replenishing your supply. Now I hope I won't become addicted to riding electronic carts..........

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Info On Fishing In The Marsh

After the previous post, I decided to check the Internet for information on fishing in the Marsh (please note, its' official name is Cryder Creek). The map area labeled Barney Mills is the area where the houses once stood (Pic 2) and as you travel south along Rte 248, you come to the widened part of the creek; that is the area the locals call Marsh Pond (Pic 1).

If I don't have the right facts here, I'm sure one of my brothers or sisters will let me know.
North End Marsh Pond Posted by Hello
The Road Bed in the Marsh Posted by Hello

Sentimental Journey

Today, another cold and gloomy one, brightened considerably when we decided to visit the area where I grew up. There had once been a cluster of four homes in the middle of wilderness and oil wells. Only one of the houses remains. The two we had lived in are long gone. Instead of civilization crawling into the area, it seems to be creeping away.

Areas which were once swamp and occasional patches of dry land are now all under water. Canada geese and ducks currently bustle around where my siblings and I used to play. The road to one of houses we lived in had been a railroad track in the 1800s. The track was removed and a dirt road was build on the original bed long before we moved there in the late 1940s. In the second photo. the ribbon you see in the water is what remains of the road.

The first photo shows the northern end of the Marsh Pond, near the second house where we lived . We spent many hours fishing in the area. The wildlife is really flourishing. I wonder how the fishing is.........

Thursday, May 19, 2005

Sarah Bernhardt

I ran into Sarah Bernhardt as a clue on a crossword puzzle last night and it reminded me of something I had once read. It seems that in addition to her skills as an actress, she was also a very thin woman. One of her contemporaries (I have forgotten who) said "An empty carriage pulled up and Sarah Bernhardt got out."

White Hair, Anyone?

Shasta has become a regular manufacturing plant of white fur lately. Too bad there's no demand for white cat hair. I know why her plant is running overtime these days. Looking out my window, I see a heavy frost on the ground and the temperature is 31 degrees. Need I mention that it is May 19?

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Visiting the Doctor

If I had a Top Ten List of Things I Don't Like to Do, visiting the doctor would top the list. I understand on an intellectual level the necessity of regular physician calls, but on the emotional level, I see no need at all. You may have gathered from my whining that I had my regular appointment today. And that opens up another can of worms. When I was first diagnosed with CRF, I decided against dialysis and have that in my Health Care Proxy. The last tests showed a huge drop in kidney function. Now that crisis time seems nearer, I wonder if I will stick by my earlier decision. Umm. I see a connection here. That was an intellectual decision; crunch time moves it to the emotional. Stay tuned, folks.

Monday, May 16, 2005

Reader's Digest List of Best Formative Reads

For those of you planning your summer reading, here are some books worth considering. Reader's Digest has compiled a list of books "that have helped define the national character." You probably have already read most of them so maybe a re-read is in order.
  1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
  2. The Age of Innocence by Edith Wharton
  3. Moby-Dick by Herman Melville
  4. The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  5. The Last of the Mohicans by James Fenimore Cooper
  6. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  7. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
  8. Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  9. The Wings of the Dove by Henry James
  10. Tales of the Grotesque and the Arabesque by Edgar Allan Poe
  11. Walden by Henry David Thoreau
  12. Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington
  13. The Education of Henry James by Henry James
  14. Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman
  15. Poems by Emily Dickinson
  16. The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

As I typed this list I realized that I read many of these books so long ago that I have a very dim memory of the details. A second reading always seems sweeter to me. That adage "Education is wasted on the young" comes to mind.

Friday, May 13, 2005

Condoleezza Rice

I watched the Larry King interview with Condoleezza Rice a couple of days ago. She is a remarkable person---articulate, tactful, savvy, attractive, educated, focused, experienced, and countless other complimentary adjectives.

Too bad she has the wrong boss.

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Another Bizarre Flight---Who's Paying for This One?

The big news today is the evacuation of the White House and the Capitol due to the intrusion of a small plane in Washington's no-fly zone. I'll bet that was expensive. Imagine the cost of putting those fighter jets in the air. Imagine the off-duty officials who were called back to the job. Imagine the man-hours of work lost when all those government workers had to flee the buildings. Imagine the stress the workers and tourists were under during those minutes when they thought their lives were in danger. Imagine the turned ankles or fender benders caused during those moments of panic.

As I watch the news commentators recap the incident tonight, I keep waiting for them to ask us viewers if the two hapless pilots in that small plane should pay for all the expenses incurred today. You know, similar to the way they asked us if the "runaway bride" should be held responsible for the cost of the search during her flight. Officials say the pilots were lost (pilot error) and had radio problems. I say the "runaway bride" was "lost" (judgment errors) and has personal, perhaps mental, problems.

When did we Americans lose our ability to understand that confused people make mistakes? Holding them financially and legally responsible for every mistake may be a moral expense we Americans cannot afford. Especially, if we are not consistent in billing for errors. How can we become so indignant about the "runaway bride" and so understanding about "lost pilots"?

Sunday, May 08, 2005

A Great Mother

During my lifetime, I have been blessed to know many great mothers, but today I want to pay tribute to one, Erma Allen, my aunt by marriage but my mother by nurturing. She says that she was delighted to discover there were many children in his family when she married my uncle. She came from a family where there weren't many offspring. She immediately opened her home and heart to all of us, my siblings and cousins. Her quiet and gentle guidance was always there, along with her steadfast love, no matter how large a load she carried. What a lady and what a mother! I love you, Aunt Erma.

Saturday, May 07, 2005

Change Is Good

Back in my business days, I remember a discussion I had with one of our sales reps. She was a very consistent performer who met her quota successfully month after month. I asked her what made her so unbeatable as a salesperson and she said "Change. Jingle, jingle change. Nickel and dime change."

She went on to explain that her territory was like everyone else's; that is, banks were a common customer of hers. However, the first thing she did when approaching a bank was to gain their business in coin wrappers. Coin wrappers, a low ticket item but sold in huge quantities, month after month, with no foreseen end of use. Other sales reps would try to sell an expensive piece of equipment which paid a large commission for one month. So did she, but only after she had created that steady source of income supplied by coin wrappers.

Sometimes it is smart to think small. (Hey, Sis. You listening?)

Friday, May 06, 2005

Jealousy = j-e-a-l-o-s-y NOT!

I hate meeting misspelled words in public places so I have cringed everytime I open my blog and view the headline on the story regarding my sister's lack of certain assets. This is the same sister who claims I returned the letters she wrote me in college, corrected in red pencil.

I realized I had made a typo as soon as I published the aforementioned entry. I decided to leave it so my sister would have the pleasure of correcting me. But alas. No correction has been forthcoming so I have to assume that my early attempts to improve her writing skills were fruitless. Future efforts have been shelved.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

The Giant Is Awake

This week's print issue of NEWSWEEK has a series of articles on China, including details on its remarkable economic growth and a discussion of future possibilities for the country. My fuzzy, aged brain seems recall a past description of China as "a sleeping giant." Well, the giant is wide awake and we'd better set our own alarm clock.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

My Sister's Jealosy

Regarding certain physical attributes, I am well-endowed; my youngest sister is not. I have tried to explain that our relative places in the line when those features were being passed out are the reasons for this---I am the oldest of four sisters and she is the youngest. She refuses to accept this and keeps referring to my "shelf".

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Word of the Day: Plebeian

I ran across the word “plebeian” when I was doing a crossword puzzle recently. Now there’s a noun I can’t recall using in conversation since I was in college. Today, it strikes me as a a word used by an elitist.. Other than academics, who would use that expression in a normal exchange? In no time at all, my imagination was off and running trying to envision how “plebeian” would come up in every day conversations:

  • The butler at the French embassy in Washington approaches his boss at the breakfast table and said, “Monsieur, there’s a plebeian at the door who says his name is George Bush? Do you wish to see him?”
  • One A- lister says to another, “Jean, this caviar is wonderful! Let the plebeians have their Friday night fish fry dinners. I’ll stick with this.”
  • One cat to another: “Let’s see how long it takes these plebeians to figure out that calling us does no good. Why don’t they just leave a message? I’ll get back to them when it’s convenient.. If it’s convenient….”
  • A sales associate at Neiman Marcus’s to a friend: “I hate spending time with these plebeians. Doesn’t Wal-mart carry Rolex watches?”

Any of you other plebeians have more examples?

Monday, April 25, 2005

Internet Scams

Dan Tynan discusses the top five online scams in an article in PC World. Briefly they are:

  • Auction fraud
  • Phishing scams
  • Nigerian 419 letter
  • Postal forwarding/reshipping scam
  • Congratulations, you've won an XBox (IPod, plasma tv, etc.)

Personally, I think we are most vulnerable to phishing because even if you just go to the link out of curiousity and don't fill in any blanks, you have already unknowingly given out information. Beware!

Sunday, April 24, 2005

A Lazy Day

Today was an unremarkable lazy, rainy Saturday shared with two remarkable lazy, sleepy cats.
Lazy Cats! Posted by Hello

Friday, April 22, 2005

A Misnomer

If a vacuum is an "absence of matter," how can you clean it with a vacuum cleaner? What's there to clean? And while I'm on the subject, whoever dreamed up the spelling of vacuum?

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Our Neighbor Molly

Here's a picture of Molly who lives nearby. She visits us frequently and greatly adds to the richness of our lives today. She's about the size of our cats, who have not welcomed her with open arms. Ryder is quite fascinated by her and follows her around whenever she is here. Molly just ignores him. Shasta, armed with a full set of claws, hides when Molly comes.

Molly Posted by Hello

A Test of Courage

Last night I was telling a group of neighbors about the time my personal courage was really tested. We were living in Manchester-by-the-Sea, Massachusetts at the time. One Sunday night, I was folding clothes and watching TV in the living room and my husband was watching TV in a room upstairs. All of a sudden, our front door opened and a strange man stumbles into the room. I start shrieking "Who are you? What do you want?" and he's muttering incoherently. There was a decorative sword on the wall and I grabbed it down and brandished it threateningly between me and the stranger. I called my husband (only time in his life he's heard me on the first call) and he comes running downstairs. My husband tells me to call the police and I tell him I don't know how. In the meantime, he's pushing the intruder out the door. One of us finally called the police.

Later that evening, the police came back to tell us the man who burst in had once lived in Manchester. He had gone to a reunion and inbibed a bit too much and then decided to visit an old friend who had once lived in the house where we were. They stated that they thought he was more frightened by our confrontation than we were.

They obviously didn't know that my personal bravery had been tested and I failed miserably.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Clive Cussler Novels

Everytime I start reading a Clive Cussler novel, I make a firm decision not to read any more of them because of the gore. Unfortunately, by the time I make that decision, I'm already caught up in the intrigue so of course, I have to finish that book. And by the time I finish the book, I'm so impressed that I can't wait to start another Clive Cussler. Another of life's so-called vicious circles.

This time I read Sahara. And ladies, check out Dirk Pitt.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

My "Blonde" Cat

Not long after getting our white cat, Shasta, I came up with the theory that white cats are the equivalent of blondes. Just as the blonde who didn't make ice cubes because she didn't have the recipe, Shasta struggles through life without the benefit of a User's Guide. She tries to bury her food and water and never buries you-know-what. She has a hard time making decisions. Every day, it takes several tries of peering out the door before she decides to go out. But in spite of her difficulties, she is a devoted sidekick and I love her dearly.

Friday, April 15, 2005

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

You'll Get a Kick Out of This

My sister-in-law, who always looks and acts like a real lady, recently locked herself out of the house. She briefly contemplated breaking in the front door, a wood and beveled and etched glass beauty. She decided her husband might not appreciate that so she rethought her position. She kicked in the cellar door. She said it felt so good that she recommends that everyone kick in a door at least once in their lifetime.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Cooking Follow-Up

They did it again. By "they" I mean my family--- the undeclared enemies, the camp of cooks, whatever. Just when you think a meal can't be topped, they manage to do it. Yesterday's meal was one for the books. The array of salads, vegetable dishes, and desserts was phenomenal but the piece de resistance was the meat course of pulled pork. It was cooked over a charcoal fire with hickory for eight hours and the taste was incredible.

There was plenty of humor on the side but my favorite was when my great-nephew, Alex, was finishing a piece of chocolate cake. He said, "Hey, Dad. You know that rule about only having only one piece of chocolate cake? Well, a raccoon ate about half of mine.........."

Friday, April 08, 2005

A Family of Cooks

Tomorrow is a big family gathering and I am faced with the same dilemma each of these occasions brings---what will I take for our "dish to pass"? I know it's not a competition but I feel so inadequate because I happen to come from a family of cooks. It all started with my mother who cooked for a living. Along came my siblings and they all took after my mother (except for one brother who had sense enough to declare kitchens were for eating in). Then my siblings married---yep, you've got it. They all married good cooks. And it didn't stop there. They had offspring who all excelled in cooking, even my nephews who are more like c-h-e-f-s.

Now I've never had any great fascination for cooking. I'd rather read, or listen to music, or build things. So where does that leave me? Stressed out.

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Inertia vs. Interest

These days, I feel my body and my mind are constantly battling with each other. Something grabs my attention and my mind says "Go check it out!" My body says "Are you crazy? I don't feel like doing that!" With that, the war is on between inertia and interest. So far, there is no clear winner.

Misery Loves Company

Last night I watched Jane Fonda plug her new book on the Larry King Live show on CNN. After all, Jane starred in two of my favorite movies---On Golden Pond and Barefoot in the Park. From her interview, three revelations especially interested me. Firstly, how close she has stayed to all her exes and their families. Secondly, how much she regrets posing on an enemy tank during her activist days and lastly, she is in need of hip replacement. Yep. Jane Fonda has to have her hips replaced. All of a sudden, my arthritic knees didn't hurt as much.

Sunday, April 03, 2005

An Old Poem

I don't know if anyone out there is interested in amateur poetry but I just ran across this poem I wrote more than twenty-five years ago. It's entitled "Confession."

The pages of the sketchbook you gave me
are covered with word drawings.
The paints I use are the words
I brush in with my pen.

I intended to paint bright, pleasing pictures
for the eye
But somehow I got caught up with elusive images
perceived by the mind.

The challenge is in the infinite combinations
of composition, color and style
On the tiny canvas
of a few short lines.

Robins and Spring

Today we woke up to Daylight Standard Time, the painful loss of a giant figure for our time, and four inches of fresh new snow. These three things have nothing in common except, as the Pope said in his previously quoted Letter to Artists, "the mysterious unity of things."

But that is leading me away from the robins. I told a friend a couple of days ago that I had yet to see a robin this spring. But as I look out now, there are about thirty robins milling around in the snow, just outside my window. I wonder if they are there to reassure me that spring will come. At the moment, I am less worried about spring coming than the snow going.

Friday, April 01, 2005

Revisiting The Pope's Letter to Artists

Regardless of your religion or politics, I am sure that at some point today you have thought of Pope John Paul II. In mulling over some of his accomplishments, I recalled a letter he wrote some years ago to artists---yes, artists. I think you can get some idea of his great intellect by reading this letter.

It was written on April 4, 1999 and among many significant observations, he writes "
Every genuine artistic intuition goes beyond what the senses perceive and, reaching beneath reality's surface, strives to interpret its hidden mystery. The intuition itself springs from the depths of the human soul, where the desire to give meaning to one's own life is joined by the fleeting vision of beauty and of the mysterious unity of things. "

You can read in its entirety The Letter of His Holiness Pope John Paul II to Artists, April 4, 1999.

Thursday, March 31, 2005

A Chance Meeting

When I visited my mother today, she already had another visitor. It was my uncle, one of my father's brothers. He is a widower now but there he sat, looking very preppy. He said that he had driven to Dansville to visit friends before stopping in to see my mother and that earlier today, he had raked and rolled his lawn.

We left together and because my arthritis was acting up, he helped me down the long hallway. Oh. Did I mention that he was ninety on his last birthday, March 4?

A Plug for Cheesy Eddie's

The latest issue of my college alumni magazine, Geneseo Scene, featured an article about Geneseo student and faculty involvement with alumni to revitalize the South Wedge neighborhood in nearby Rochester, NY. One of the businesses discussed was Cheese Eddie's, recently purchased by two Geneseo graduates, John and Colleen Baker.

Colleen was my trainer when I was first hired by Unisys (actually Burroughs in those days) and later was one of my supervisors. Still later, when I was the trainer, she returned to Unisys from time to time to work as a consultant. So of course, I found the article to be quite fascinating.

Cheesy Eddie's has an exceptional reputation for cheesecake, carrot cake, wedding cake and all those other goodies that diabetics are not supposed to even think about. If you live near Rochester, stop in and test their wares. And even if you don't live nearby, you can order their cheesecakes to be shipped to you.

For some reason, I am unable to link this blog to their website but it is located at

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Coffee Lovers Everywhere

In the recent past, I started to realize that the cup of coffee I enjoyed most each day was the first one I took from a freshly brewed pot. From that realization, I decided that I could create the same situation (first cup, freshly brewed) as often as I wanted by getting a single cup coffee maker.

So I did (get a single cup maker) and so I do (enjoy the first cup, freshly brewed coffee as often as I want each day).

What I didn't realize is how many other people are out there like me. When I got on-line to order more coffee pods, I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of choices I had. Demand has to be high to support that many companies.

Thanks, coffee lovers everywhere, for making a great selection possible.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Great Reading

I recently completed a very compelling book entitled Daughter of God by Lewis Perdue. It is classified as belonging to the thriller genre but contains enough factual material to appeal to the history buff, the religious buff and the art buff. Even more tantalizing is the theological issue raised: Daughter of God?

Behind the scenes is another fascinating story. Lewis Perdue claims that Dan Brown based his extremely popular book, The DaVinci Codes, on two of Perdue's books---Daughter of God and his earlier novel, The Da Vinci Legacy. To learn more about this controversy, click on the title of this post.

Thursday, March 24, 2005

Bald Eagles in the Neighborhood

Today's paper also showed a photo of a bald eagle in a tree near Almond Dam (about five miles from our house). Apparently, there is a pair nesting in that locale and possibly others along the Canisteo River. You can read a detailed DEC report on bald eagles in NYS by clicking on the title of this entry.

It is very exciting to know that bald eagles are returning to this area.

Update on Spring

The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.
This photo, taken today by The Evening Tribune staff photographer, Lynn Brennan, was captioned "THINK HARDER"

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Spring 2005

Spring 2005, originally uploaded by Lillian H Russo.

The Look of Spring

This was my view of spring this morning when Spring 2005 was about an hour old. The picture was taken from my favorite chair and looking across the Canisteo Valley to the top of hill on the other side.

If you cannot see a photo, don't worry. After trying numerous times, I checked the website of the software I have been using to post photos and discovered the problem was in the software, not in my execution of it. So I'm now trying to locate another means of posting photos. You'll see my view of spring yet.

Friday, March 18, 2005

Yesterday's Comics

A comic strip called Mutts by Patrick McDonnell accurately sums up my daily outlook. Yesterday's strip shows a dog or cat waking up in his bed and saying the following:

I shtart every day with curiosity!

How will it begin?
What will I do?
Where will I go?
Why am I here?

When's my next nap?

Thursday, March 17, 2005

My Wild Irish Cat

We once had a cat named Sean McIntire O'Russo and his name fit him to a tee. He had a temper and would brawl with any creature regardless of size. He had a daily routine of visiting selected neighbors; I called it his pub crawling. His best friend was a dog and Sean would stroll along beside whenever the dog was walked. What a sight it was, a little old lady, a scruffy dog and this arrogant cat. I know Sean swore because he was always stomping along, muttering under his breath. And aside from the tough persona presented to the rest of the world, he was a most gentle creature who had to get his cuddles from me before he could go to sleep at night. I miss you, Sean.

Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Chinese Proverb

Speaking of life, don't you love the old Chinese proverb that says "Wherever you go, there you are."

Life is a Handheld Mixer Or.....

I like the analogy of life to a common household appliance, the mixer. Look at all the ingredients that go into the mix---genes, environment, the people who influence us, the events that shape us, the list is endless. The combinations are endless. And then there is the control of the mixer itself; sometimes the beaters move slowly and sometimes they whip around seemingly out of control.

To me the only question is: is life a handheld mixer or is there something else out there?

What are the attributes of a handheld? A handheld mixer can be used anywhere. It's portable. It has power sufficient to do most things. For my entire married life, I've had a handheld mixer. We've lived in seven different towns or cities. We've moved a dozen times. And look at the rest of the mix---different jobs, different friends and acqaintances, different homes, different times and events. Through it all, we were never given more challenges than we could successfully handle; the power of the handheld mixer was adequate. Of course there were times when we felt we were riding on an out-of-control merry-go-round and times when time dragged. But my old handheld mixer kept working.

So what is the alternative to a handheld mixer? A big, brawny, powerful stand mixer. It never occurred to me to get one as long as I had a mixer that worked. However, I started thinking about a stand mixer that would allow me stir things up without standing there holding the mixer throughout the whole process. I thought about the extra power that would allow me to make bread. Finally, I asked Santa to bring me a stand mixer for Christmas; I got it.

Now a stand mixer is different from a handheld mixer. One has to find a place for it, a large, level, handy, permanent spot. Sort of like what Hornell, New York has become to us. We are surrounded by hills, trees, fresh air, supportive neighbors, friends and family, nearby medical assistance, knowing that we don't have to handle everything alone throughout the whole process, and a feeling of finally being home.

And someday I' m even going to make bread.

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Looking for Spring

This picture was taken on our sun porch a couple of years ago. You can see Ryder and Shasta looking out, probably watching the birds. Right now, the porch is littered with salt and other winter debris. Where's spring? As Maxine Younglove used to say:

Spring is sprung
The grass is ris...
I wonder where
The flowers is.
Looking for Spring Posted by Hello