What we consider basic rights, many are still trying to secure. In fact, less than half of the world’s population lives in a free society. (Freedom House) Civil wars, unrest, protest, and killing have occurred throughout history to secure freedom. Are we taking ours for granted? For presidential elections, voter turnout ranges in the 50% range of eligible voters. For mid-term elections, a dismal 35%.
Is it laziness, apathy, or simply a disgust with the political process? I can certainly understand the feelings of apathy or disgust. We are told by the media who is going to win weeks and month before we vote, and our politicians seem to be turning more and more into bickering, talking heads.
However, as someone with an undergraduate degree in Political Science, I cannot adhere to the notion that the whole system is rigged. I also have a firm faith that we should not be told how to vote and that the outcome of an election is predetermined. Just like sportscasters can’t tell you who will win the Super Bowl and nature does not determine how a child turns out, there is an element of surprise to every election. Because statisticians can’t see in our hearts or determine our ideas based on someone else’s. Don’t let them tell us they can. Because we have bought into that model, many of us fail to vote or fail to vote for the person we feel would be the best candidate because either “it is predetermined” or the candidate “doesn’t have a chance”.
I strive to be as good a parent as my mom is. The other day, my Mom said to me that she was sorry for any mistakes she might have made as a parent. I thought about what she said. I don’t want to influence my son so much that he feels like he has to agree with my opinion, and I want to make sure that I don’t pass on my bad habits. I guess my Mom made some mistakes, and I am sure I will too. But none of us are perfect. I am very grateful for my childhood and the lessons I learned from my Mom. I can only hope that my son feels the same when he has a child of his own.
Now I cannot possibly impart all I have learned from my mom in a blog posting, but I can share a few bits of wisdom that she taught me through the years:
Be careful what you put in your head because you can’t un-see it. My mom was always concerned about what I watched at the movies and on TV and about the environment around me. This often frustrated me as other kids were allowed to see “R” rated movies or go to adult haunted houses. My mother is a firm believer that what you put into your mind cannot be erased. I am extremely grateful that my life began with Sesame Street and Disney films.
Beware of negative people, you cannot help but be effected by them. I remember when I was in Jr High, my Mother told me she would prefer that I not hang around one particular girl because of her negative attitude. It was the only time she ever voiced an opinion about my choice of friends. At the time, I was upset and did not take the advice, but I did hear what she said. As it turns out, she was right, and I often find myself still today hearing that voice in my head telling me to walk the other way when I am around someone who is constantly negative.
One of the reasons I love being a Southerner is our rich culture. Over the years, we have maintained our own distinct speech patterns, cooking styles, and southern charm. There is nothing I like better than iced tea, bit and gravy (biscuits and gravy), and fried chicken. Try ordering a biscuit in another region of the US or in another country and see what you get. I double-dog dare ya’.
I started thinking about some of our Southern eccentricities when I said to a customer the other day, “You sound like you are as busy as a one armed paper hanger in a storm.” My customer laughed as I thought to myself, that phrase popped out very easily. I reckon I have a few more of those stored away. The next week, I was looking at a large piece of used equipment. I called the seller to enquire about the price and try to negotiate a better deal. He was from Pennsylvania. He mentioned that he was motivated to sell the equipment. When he told me the price, I suggested that he “think on it” over the weekend, and we could have a “come to Jesus meeting on Monday.” There was a long pause on his end of the phone and then he chuckled and asked me exactly what that meant. I hadn’t really realized what I had said. Many of these “Southernisms” are so rooted in our culture that they flow out like water from a babbling brook. I explained that what I meant was he needed to get his conscious and heart right, and we could negotiate on Monday.
If you are a Southerner, bless your pea-pickin' heart, I bet you have grown up with these idioms your whole life. My Mamow was full of life and fun and full of Southern sayings. I think of her every time I hear a good southern saying and every time I am in the garden with my flowers. You may have a great Aunt Betty or Uncle Bob. Might I suggest that you grab a plate and sit next to them the next time you are at a holiday meal or reunion? Some of these jewels of wisdom are getting lost and some, seem to be locked into our Southern consciousness – thank the good Lord!
Here are a few of my favorite “Mamow”isms
Southern Words Everyone Should Know
Doing the low carb diet? Try this chicken enchilada recipe. This is a great way to use up those Refrigerator Stragglers - I used turkey instead of chicken, half a bottle of leftover salsa, and the end of a jar of jalepenos.
Get creative and stay on your diet. I omitted the sour cream and it was still delicious. PS - Trever had a blast making cabinet soup.
1 head of cabbage
Shredded Chicken (I used frozen turkey leftovers)
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup sour cream
2 (4 ounce) cans of chopped green chiles
Salt & pepper (to taste)
shredded cheese (optional)
For the Sauce: Add the chicken broth to a saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and mix in the sour cream and green chiles, heat thoroughly but do not boil and make sure to stir often. Let simmer for just a bit and the sauce should thicken. Season with salt and pepper.
For the Enchiladas: Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Peel the cabbage leaves – make sure to peel them gently, as you don’t want them to tear. I ran the cabbage under warm water as I was peeling. This helped a ton. Throw the cabbage leaves into the pot of boiling water for a couple of minutes. Remove and set on a paper towel to dry.
Mix the shredded chicken with chopped fresh cilantro and shredded cheese (optional). I also seasoned well with salt & pepper.
Spread the enchilada sauce in the bottom of an 8×8 baking dish. Then take your cabbage leaves and place the chicken mixture inside of them and roll up. Place each cabbage roll in the baking dish. Once done, pour the rest of the enchilada sauce over them. I also topped with shredded cheese.
Bake at 350° for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Also, I made the mistake of putting birdseed pans on the tables. This is an invitation to play in the birdseed for those children who cannot follow instructions – lol! Be sure to keep the temptation away.
THE PROJECT: Have the children hold the pine cone on one end and take the knife and spread peanut butter up and down the pine cone. You may have to show them how to push the peanut butter into the grooves in the pine cone. As the children finish covering the pinecones, you can have them come up one at a time and roll them in the birdseed. Have cups ready to put the finished birdfeeder in for easy transporting home. We covered the cup with aluminum foil so they would survive the bus trip.
You can see from this description that wet ones come in very handy as does multiple adults to help with the sticky hands and birdseed rolling. Grandma Judy came and helped us as did Trever’s wonderful teacher, Ms. Oakes. We actually broke the class in half and had one half do Project 1 and one half do Project 2. This worked out very well since the pine cone project is messier, and we had 20 kids to handle.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE: Run two pipe cleaners through the hole in a large wooden bead. With bead at the middle of both pipe cleaners, twist the pipe cleaners around the bead tightly. If you are working with older children, they can do this step.
SETUP: Set the pipe cleaners and a plate of Cheerios at each child’s place.
THE PROJECT: Have the children thread Cheerios on each of the four legs of the pipe cleaner. We used multigrain Cheerios so the children could make a pattern if they chose to do that which is another skill they are learning. It is a good idea to let the cereal set out a day or two so that it is stale. This helps with breakage when the kids are threading it and the birds really don’t care J As each child finishes threading the pipe cleaners, ask him/her to twist the top together. If they cannot do this, you may need to assist. Tie the top twist with an 18” length of twine. Spread out the four “legs” to make a ball.
Are you obsessed about an item or activity? Food, sports, clothes, cooking, crafts? I guess I should come clean and just admit that I have a rather large obsession. I've had it for quite a while now. Most people think it's a bit weird for a middle aged woman. Kids kind of dig it. (I know; I'm showing my age.)
My husband just loves it – NOT! But, I refuse to give it up. I know you have already seen the pictures so you are not surprised to learn that I have a Converse monkey on my back. You may be wondering; how bad can it be? Well, when we moved into our 1920s house last year, I had to adopt out about 10 pair due to lack of closet space. It took me hours to decide which of my babies could go.
Is it obsessive if you have over 30 pairs of high-top tennis shoes? I say no. You need different colors for different occasions and holidays. I have work pairs, crazy pairs, subdued pairs, sport team pairs, holiday pairs, and or course, sequined pairs for dress. The way I look at it, I could have much more expensive hobbies, right? Please don't ask about my cowboy boot collection.
I think this obsession might stem from my Aunt Bert. Can you inherit a shoe fetish? I remember going to her house when I was younger. She didn't have clothes in her drawers. She had pairs and pairs of shoes. Shoes in drawers, shoes under the bed, shoes in the closet and shoes in every spare nook and cranny. Go Aunt Bert!
Just so you know, I don't horde just any tennis shoe. Nor do I want an expensive pretender. I am only interested in the real deal – Chuck Taylor All Stars (High or Low Top). And I find them everywhere – discount stores, online, and even in other countries. I am not alone in my love of the "Chuck." Below is a bit of the history of my beloved shoe. If you don't have a pair, I highly recommend them. They make me happy every time I put them on my feet! I will admit, they are not the most comfortable of shoes - I wear an insole to make them more comfortable. But, was anyone suffering from the delusion that shoes should be worn merely for comfort???
Converse Rubber Shoe Company was created by Marquis Mills Converse in 1908 in Malden, Massachusetts. In 1917, the company designed a shoe called the All Star. The shoe was composed of a rubber sole and canvas upper and was designed to be an elite shoe for the professional basketball league. In 1921, a basketball player named Charles "Chuck" Taylor joined a basketball team sponsored by the Converse Company called The Converse All Stars. Taylor held basketball clinics in high schools all over the county and while teaching the fundamentals of the game, he sold the All Star shoes. As a salesman and athlete for the company, Taylor also made improvements to the shoe he loved. His ideas for the shoe were designed to provide enhanced flexibility and support and also incorporated a patch to protect the ankle.
All Stars were soon worn by a variety of professional basketball players and became the envy of all aspiring basketball players. Soon after, All Stars were being worn by athletes in the Olympics, and during World War II, American soldiers began to wear All Stars while in training. In the 1960s, Converse expanded their company and opened more factories. By that time, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars were being worn by ninety percent of professional and college basketball players. As the years went on, the shoe gained more popularity and became a favorite for numerous groups and subcultures.
Throughout the years, Converse Chuck Taylor All Stars made a shift from athletic sportswear to casual footwear. Originally an elite basketball shoe, the Chuck Taylor All Star evolved into the shoe of choice for many subcultures, particularly artists and musicians. “In recent years, it has become a more mainstream trend seemingly endorsed by everyone except podiatrists."
Chuck Taylor All-Stars or Converse All Stars are often referred to as "Converses", "Chuck Taylors", "Chucks", "Cons", and "All Stars." The shoes are currently produced by Nike, Inc. through its Converse division. Nike has owned the rights to the brand since acquiring its former competitor out of bankruptcy in 2003 . Tree Rollins was the last player to wear Converse All Stars in the NBA during the 1979–1980 season. (Converse history from Wikipedia)
I have grown to realize over the last few years that I take the care of my pets very seriously. My last dog had kidney issues so I cooked for him for the last two years of his life. Sparky was a rescue dog who was five when we found him. Some of the issues with his health may have been due to poor nutrition before we got him and some due to bad genetics. For me, caring for my pets is no burden because they give me much joy and love. They are part of my family.
With my new rescue pup, Harriet, I have done quite a lot of research on the best food to feed your pet. To my surprise, the food you can buy at most pet supply houses is full of fillers and other mystery meat. This is food that fattens up your pet and does not give them the nutrition they need. Worse still, much of the food is unregulated and the contents of the food can actually be of danger to your furry friend. Many of the dog food brands that you might think are reputable (and that are high priced) are being made overseas and have been subject to numerous recalls.
What to Watch:
Bad Ingredients: Ingredients from rendering facilities should be avoided. Look for terms on the label like “meat” and “meat meal.” This so called meat can be roadkill, zoo animals, and sometimes even spoiled meat from the grocery store that’s still wrapped in plastic. EWWH!!!
Place of Production and Recall History – Avoid all products made in China and check the recall history of any company before you buy food for your pet from that manufacturer.
Food Formula – Just like humans, dogs require a balanced diet. Pick a dog food that is suitable for your pet and for the stage of your pet’s life. Older pets require less protein than younger pets. And if you have a dog like Ms. Harriet, the persnickety pants, you might have to find a manufacturer and change flavors every week to keep the princess happy ;)
After researching different brands of dog food, I settled on a brand that is made in Canada call ACANA. This company makes food with high quality, limited ingredients, has a great reputation, and is ranked among the highest among experts. They also make a higher priced brand called Orijen that has a bit more protein. I am also trying a wet food to top off Ms. Harriet's dry food that was recommended by my groomer - I will keep you updated!