Nov 17 2012

When a week with a Thanksgiving Day is looming ahead, winter can’t be far behind. I don’t do well thinking about it.

At least, I don’t do well with transition. I suppose it’s a good thing I’m usually happy where I am. I love fall. I love winter as well, once I’m made the switch over to it. But, during the transition between them, I never feel ready for the change.

I’ve been going through this every year since I was a child, happy where I am. Not ready to move on until I have to, however once moving on, I’m perfectly OK in the new time and space. And yet, knowing I have to move forward, all I can think of is,“There’s so much to do.”

Oops! First sign of fall is when you find Chestnuts!

So, here I am tonight, trying to be calm, blood pressure rising, thinking food prep, present prep, house prep, card prep, decoration prep, family newsletter prep, clothes prep, vehicle prep, guest bedroom prep, fireplace prep and the list goes on and on.

Getting to the bottom of the garden veggies says “Fall!”

Need to winterize the house, the car, the sheds, the lawn mower and the veggie garden beds. Need to plant garlic, broccoli, kale, pansies and flowers bulbs. Have to cook, can, carry, comfort, contemplate and consume. Oh! The list grows and grows.

Warming comfort foods say, “Uh oh! Fall’s here.”

And who has to do all of this without weeping, wishing, worrying and whining? Why, the female of the species, of course. Who else will relegate, delegate, punctuate, simulate, and not hesitate?

Just the mom, wife, daughter, sister, niece, grandma and grand daughter, you can be sure. But, let’s face it. You can bet we’ll pull it off with style.

Yikes! Christmas trees and homemade decorations!

So, here it comes! The holidays. Whether happy or habit, we’re on our way. Here comes Silent Night, new, Noel, Nativity, nice, New Year, nestled and….

…my own personal favorite….NAP!

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Jun 04 2012

Teens and the Internet: Social Media or behavioral risk?

Thinking about my Saturday, June 2, post, Blogging is Good for Teens, TennisMama, FatCat and I started Commenting about Facebook and the minimum age for signing up. Turns out, as FatCat stated, thirteen year olds can have Facebook accounts. Wow! I didn’t expect that.

So, I started nosing around, finding what’s out there by doing searches on BlogHer and Google. I wanted to discover what is available for working with children and teens on the Internet social media sites.

Protecting children is easier when they’re
physically and emotional dependent, but….

First, I checked BlogHer. Right away I found Kimberly’s post from February titled, “Mistakes Rookie Moms Might Make when helping Teens Navigate Facebook.” Wowser, was that an eye-opener. So much to learn and so little time before little fingers become bigger fingers able to type on a keyboard.

Click on the image to download this PDF.

Then I found a handy-dandy resource, The Parent’s Guide to Facebook, a great PDF with TONS of information you can download right here. This PDF is published and available on two very helpful sites set up to instruct parents on Internet supervision on the mobile and fixed Internet. Connect Safely says, “Smart Socializing Starts Here,” while the I Keep Safe Coalition encourages Digital Citizenship, “to see generations of the world’s children grow up safely using technology and the Internet.”

BlogHers are not the only ones aware of the changes in the way we reach out, relate to each other electronically and gather new information. Two new books caused The Washington Post to feature an article showcasing how we relate to the Internet and to each other.

New Books

The Post comments, “Net Smart,” arrives at the same time as a similarly minded title that is more narrowly focused on parenting in the digital age. James P. Steyer founded the San Francisco-based nonprofit organization Common Sense Media with the aim of helping parents figure out how to responsibly usher children into the digital era; his new book, “Talking Back to Facebook,” shares that goal.”

The book, “Talking Back to Facebook” helps parents
monitor their children in the Internet adult world.

The Post article continues, “To grab the reader’s attention, both authors put forward an array of startling numbers and statistics about our digital habits. The average 15-year-old receives nearly 3,500 texts a month, we learn from Steyer. On YouTube, Rheingold tells us, 35 hours of video clips are uploaded every minute.”

Wow! That’s hard for me to believe. All of that time focused on a screen, virtually experiencing life, rather than being in the real world. To me it’s like thinking there’s no reason to visit the Grand Canyon because one can got to the Internet and visit the National Parks web site. But, on the other hand, if that’s where our children are mentally, emotionally and socially, we need to know about it.

As time consuming as it is to hover, it is easier to
monitor Internet usage than clean up a bad situation.

What a sobering prospect this is. There is an avalanche of negative influence out there in cyberspace.  Any part of it can easily enter our children and infect our home lives. As I read in Kimberly’s article, even a slight default in supervising access to friends and strangers, can result in invasive harm. Hopefully, these web sites, books and articles will provide tools for enriching, rather than injurious, family Internet experiences.

Well, it’s always something.

I know I feel better armed to deal with it all.

How about you?


NaBloPoMo June 2012

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May 07 2012

Zoe never disappoints. I am still fascinated by her.

I’ve received some inquiring BlogHer Comments about Zoe and her travels, as a result of my other two posts. In the 1970s, she was an Administrative Aid in the Carter White House,

Introducing Zoe Artemis

Zoe’s New Feminism

Because of the interest, here is another essay she wrote. This one about her experiences working with the Press on the Carter Campaign.

Zoe had a flair for the unusual and dramatic.

Zoe Artemis Remembers Hunter S. Thompson

Hunter Thompson is another American casualty in the war against hypocrisy and political corruption. Thompson was fearless….Thompson was a revolutionary…Thompson was a man’s man……Thompson was an oracle who continually pushed the envelope into the faces of the straights, into the face of conformity, into the faces of lame journalists. Thompson was American’s shaman. He carried his shadow side with him like a badge of courage, while most of us suppress or sanitize it. If all the world is a stage and I believe it is, then each of us has a part to play for better or worse. Like a consummate performance artist he stepped up to the plate ranting and airing the dirty laundry of the power elite.

I met and worked with many journalists when I worked on the Carter Campaign in l976 as an advance person. I was on the bus for four months and had the time of my life. Most of the press people, like Sam Donaldson were amazingly arrogant uptight cynical mainstream assholes. Donaldson, who worked for ABC and wore a toupee, always gave me a hard time. He complained about the size of his hotel room. It wasn’t big enough. He complained he was bored when Carter gave the same campaign speech at three or four rallies in one day. As if we were there to entertain him. He sneered at all of us and told me, ‘you’re candidate will never win’. There were a few cool people, like Ed Bradley, with whom I had a brief affair. We talked about Hunter’s book ‘Fear & Loathing on the Campaign Trail’ and how he got it right. There was lots of sex, drugs and alcohol and when were were in New York we hung out with John Belushi. Working on a presidential campaign produces the most amazing adrenal rush especially when the candidate starts off as the underdog and then begins catching up. President Jimmy Carter credits Hunter Thompson in winning the election when Thompson covered Carter’s Law day speech in Rolling Stone magazine.

Some may say it is a tragedy or a waste when someone takes their own life. On the other hand it may be seen as an act of courage. Thompson fully accomplished what he needed to do in this life time and we are the benefactors. What more can we ask of him.


NaBloPoMo May 2012

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Mar 16 2012

Cat people don’t find cats. Cats find them.

How many cats does one family need? Zero

How many cats does our family have? Seven

What! I hear you saying. Seven!?!?! Oh, sigh. Yes, seven.


Cats are regular BlogHers.


My muse, Kitty, sleeps on top of my computer desk
telepathically giving me inspiration.

Kitty was the first. I was a dog person. I had had a small Yorkie for all her life, thirteen years, when she finally passed over and I was petless. I missed her terribly, but, at the same time, I had gotten her when I was single, far from being with a family. Without a pet, I was to the point where having one less demand upon me was a relief. I was happy to have one less thing to worry about.

Then I got a call from a certain someone that there was a family of kittens born in a field at work, eating crickets for food and living in a rabbit hole. It was October, winter was coming, the big boss was taking one of the other kittens home, so how could we say, “No?” But, when I received the call, I had my wits about me and said, “Well, I don’t really want a pet, but we can one get it if you agree to change the cat box.” Not a first time cat owner, as you can see.

Smokey is a Tiffany. She is just as
strange as all of the articles on
Tiffany cats say they are.

Then, my Dad got sick and we were spending as much time at his house as our own. Kids miss cats, so driving home one day, there was a sign “free kittens” that drew us in. Once we saw Smokey, we were hooked. We consider her “medicinal” as she provided a little buddy for the kids at my Dad’s house while he was alive.

Helen was named for Helen of Troy,
in the movie “Troy.”

Then, one day, we went to see the movie, “Troy” with Brad Pitt. When We came out of the theater, there was a couple with a kennel of kittens yelling, “Free Kittens!” We couldn’t stand it, not knowing who would be taking them home, so we saved one. We got Helen because Smokey was laid back, loving and sweet, while Kitty was a die hard career women and wanted nothing to do with raising kittens. Smokey was constantly being rejected by Kitty and we felt sorry for her. Helen was the perfect playmate and they have been close ever since.

Helen and Smokey are constant companions.

So, verything went rather well until one day, the kids were yelling about a cat going in and out of our shed. Being no fool, I thought, “Kittens!” And I was right. Going into the shed, there was a tragedy in store. Here were three freshly birthed kittens, umbilical cords attached, eyes closed, dying and half dead. The mother was so sick, she couldn’t take care of them. The mother didn’t make it and GUESS WHAT!?!? The kittens did.

We didn’t know much about taking
care of young kittens.

I kept doing my motherly duty in preparing the kids for the fact that these kittens were so far gone, they wouldn’t make it. All the while I was preparing kitten formula, filling doll bottles and using flannel in a shoe box to make a kitten nest, not to mention feeding them every two hours. And, best of all, did you know kittens do not have peristaltic action in their little digestive systems? Did you know kittens can’t go to the bathroom without the mother cat licking their tummies?

Every two hour feedings ’round the clock.
Yes indeedy!

Well, neither did we. The vet showed us how to use WARM cotton balls to stroke their tummies and get them to go. It was really more than I needed to know, talk about TMI and “oversharing,” but once you get going on something like this, there is no turning back. Wherever you find yourself, there you are, as they say.

Here are two of the three twenty pound cats.

Well, they made it and we became the proud parents of three tremendous male cats. Didn’t we do a FINE job?

Turns out, they are Turkish Vans, another rare breed. How do we create these rare cats out of thin air? Why do they come to find us? What are we doing wrong? Or right?

We found out the “Boys” are Turkish Vans because that is the only breed of cat that likes water. Every time we drew bath water, these three hephalumps would come running and jump in the tub. We quickly learned not to leave doors open when taking a bath, because if one or more wandered into the bathroom, the bathtub became very friendly.

The Boys’ connection to water was the weirdest thing. While trying to figure out what in the world was wrong with these cats, we found their origins. Leave it to us to come up with this one. Turkish Vans are originally from Turkey and Armenia where they swim in ponds and streams and catch fish.

The Boys were named Bruiser, Dot and Mini. We still have Bruiser and Mini, but Dot passed on after a congenital deformity manifested in later life. After the loss of Dot, I have turned down my feline “love light” and things have been relatively quiet.

This is FatCat, a lady of refinement,
with a goal and a heart of gold.

Recently, though, I’ve gotten into adopting virtual cats that I find on BlogHer. I just open up my BlogHer Profile, and Ag-g-h-h-h, there they are. But, I have found virtual cats easy to care for, requiring only a comment or two every day or so. And I have Followed them as well. FatCat was my first virtual kitty love. Who could turn away from her sweet demeanor and zest for living? And, every day she has new stories to tell.

jennifer.watson is a very loving
cat who just adopted a kitten.

Just this week, I’ve gotten to know jennifer.watson and I have been fascinated with her stories of adopting a kitten, or child, as she prefers to call them. I was very happy to see her when she Followed me home to my Profile. I decided to Follow her immediately, when given the chance.

It occurred to me, that with her now blogging as a Mommy Cat, all of us on BlogHer will be able to hear about this baby growing up. Very regularly so, until she gets frazzled by motherhood like the rest of us and can’t keep up with everything. But, either way, “Welcome little Esme Louisa.”

And there you have the introduction to my cat family.
I am sure this post served a really good purpose and
was worth all the time it took to read it.

No cats or avatars were harmed in the
production of this blog post.


NaBloPoMo March 2012

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Sep 15 2011

Fashion, childcare, homemaking and health care
advice were as close as the mailbox to each
homemaker. The family was the center of the
home and female figures were the core.

There was a time when printed periodical media, in other words magazines and newspapers, were centered on people and their family life. While bringing in the news, main stream media’s human interest features and advertisements focused on making life more rewarding by helping families spiral upward, economically and emotionally.  The goal was bettering each person’s vision of what was possible and what they deserved out of life.

Then, as now, selling “new and improved” product advertising was also the purpose, but it is fascinating how older magazines and newspapers focused on those family members living inside the home rather than on unrelated people living outside of the family group. In other words, while there was some mention of Hollywood lifestyles, most of the articles, ads and photos were relevant to the management of the home and its occupants. The focus was local and immediate as people felt celebrity happenings and far off celebrity relationships had no personal relevance.

Magazines didn’t promote unrealistic standards
of wealth, but demonstrated how to improve family
life. See the tag line above: “The key to happiness
and success in over a million farm homes.”

Women’s magazines in particular were emissaries of family values and home life standards that brought homemaking inspiration and camaraderie into the mailbox when the postman delivered. Homemakers were nurtured by the stories, ads and guidance found in magazines from the early 20th century up to and including the 1970s. Vintage magazines were a large part of families isolated in a culture without television and, in some areas of the country, without radio or telephone contact.

Since the 1970s, it seems cultural emphases on homemaking and motherhood have gone onto the back burner. Likewise, magazines have changed their tone from nurturing the woman of the house to pushing her into the corporate world while she tries to do all of the home chores as well without recognition. In addition, it seems what home-life advice there is, many times pushes families to incorporate false values and high levels of consumerism, concentrating on what celebrities and rock stars are doing, rather than encouraging families to relate to each other and to their neighbors in the community.

Most vintage magazines marketed to women have
“home” or “family” on the front. Compare that
to today, when most women’s magazine covers
say “diet,” “sex” or “staying young” while
homemaking magazines are androgynous.

The words “family” and “home” were inseparable in vintage magazines. This created a home sanctuary and a safe place for family members to fall and at that time, most family homes were organized by women.  Then, as now, the family homemaker did not have to be a women, but now, it would be nice to have more literature showing women affirmed and complete in the focused role of being a homemaker. While it was timely in the 1960s and 70s to open up work force options for women who wanted them, it was not good to demean the family group and the traditional “women’s work” that provided for it.

While it is heartwarming to recognize new types of relationships and different types of families, the lack of support for homemakers who happen to be women continues to be glaring. All homemakers should receive support and affirmation, including women who like traditionally feminine rolls. We need to move away from presenting women, who are married with children as “burdened” as all people and their vocations of choice have value.


Inner Peace For Busy Women

A “5 out of 5 Star” Review: Inner Peace For Busy Women By Dr. Joan Z. Borysenko is a very nice surprise in that it is not a lot of advice about how to meditate, although this is one of her prime suggestions as a daily practice for gaining inner peace, but this 2 – CD set is her private sharing of the demons she has faced throughout her career as first a medical student/mother/poor housewife and through the years through divorce, single parenting, and balancing a demanding career as a doctor. The pain she experienced and the wisdom she gained she shares openly and especially deals with the persistent guilt of the working mother who is told by society that she can have it all, but in reality she is living a juggling act that kills relationships and individuals. She and her children succeeded through it all and have a loving adult relationship, although her marriage did not. She gives sage advice and encouragement to any woman walking this tight rope. EXCELLENT!

If attaining inner peace sounds like a good idea to
you, hover your mouse over this link to preview:

Inner Peace for Busy Women: Balancing Work, Family, and Your Inner Life

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Dec 26 2010

Nothing homier than a thatched cottage in Ireland.

The ingenuity of thatching fascinates me. What a frugal use of natural materials. If it interests you, you might want to click here to visit a site with practical information for thatched cottage owners and “roof maintainers.”

I enjoyed the video below after finding it tucked inside
 an e-mail this morning. See if you like it.

Join Mr. Gobnait O’Lunasa who’s writing his friend,
Nuala, about her lovely Christmas gifts.

For an attractive web site showing how to stay in an Irish cottage on your next visit to Ireland, kindly click here.

If you like thatched houses, you might want to
preview Lida Bulf’s book by hovering your mouse over this link:

Donegal Homesteads: The Disappearance of the Irish Thatched Cottage (Volume 1)

An Amazon reviewer says, “I have personally visited some of the scenes that Lida Bulf depicts in her new book and her rendition is spot-on. Most, if not all, of her subjects are from County Donegal’s Inishowen Peninsula, “Ireland in Miniature,” and her tasteful combination of cottages and flowers and plant life is inspired. I highly recommend the book and know you won’t be disappointed.”

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Sep 20 2010

Why is there never time enough to do something,
and yet always time enough to do it over?

When I was in graduate school, I worked in a lab and there was a TREMENDOUS sign on the wall with the phrase, “Why is there never enough time to do something right the first time, and yet always enough time to do it over?” Wow! That was heavy. I had to admit that someone was onto something I had never thought of before.

I couldn’t understand it, but it certainly was true. There never was enough time to do anything, and yet always time to do it over. As a science student, I wanted to think this was a revelation from somebody in a physics class about a new space-time continuum, but the more I studied the phrase the more I realized that no, this was just a common fact of life. Many times I don’t allow enough time to do and job, rush through it because of a time crunch, mess it up and then, surprise, surprise, have to spend time doing it over. And, if you have experienced this, you know there is always time to do a job over. So why not do the job deliberately, intentionally, while being totally focused on the job’s successful completion in the first place?

Not being distracted, living in the moment and living with intention are things that I have been working on for quite a while. For almost thirty years, in fact, since the middle 1980s. I first learned to verbalize the concept with gifted counselors and life coaches in the Boston, MA area. When the time comes, I’ll introduce you to them. But until then, this book will explain it all better than I can and give you some insights:

To live your life with intention, or at least preview the book about doing so, determinely hover your mouse over this link: Life Is a Verb: 37 Days to Wake Up, Be Mindful, and Live Intentionally

One of the Amazon reviewers had some great thoughts I thought I would share: “In short, as I read on, I found myself getting sharper and smarter. I considered why it might be better to make a mistake — and learn from it — than strain to get everything right. And I read the obituary Patti Digh wrote recently for her father — who died in 1980, when she was in her teens — and misted over.

The stories in the news these days are so big. Tectonic plates are moving. History is being made. But then, it always is. “Life is a Verb” is a reminder that our lives are bigger than the stories in the headlines. A small thought? Not to me. Now I have to go back to the beginning and start again….”

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NaBloPoMo November 2012