Category Archives: Just Saying

What is on my mind today? Testicle or Not to Testicle, that is the Question?

hereford bull

I have been working diligently on my oil painting for these past several months and it is finally nearing completion.

Yesterday, my dad and mom came down to deliver excellent potatoes and squash out of their garden and join me for lunch.  As dad came into the room where my easel stands with the painting on it, he took one look at the painting and said three things…you painted that for yourself, you really captured a Montana sky, don’t you dare touch that, and what do plan to do with that one?

I think he figured that a painting of the Dakota badlands and a meso-cyclone in hot pink with Hereford cattle is probably a Pat painting. It is time for me to find a gallery to show and market my artwork, before I drive my friend Pat to distraction. She hadn’t seen the canvases I painted for myself, before I became disabled, that are stored in the basement until this week. This painting will probably join them, but it is not quite done yet.

There is the usual tinkering to complete.  Putting in some grass, light and color corrections and I have to decide whether to testicle or not testicle the Hereford Bull.

Yes, I have to tinker with testicles and I actually have put some thought into this testicular dilemma.  Bully, bully is a pretty proud looking fellow standing guard over his family, but one must think of the troubles caused by testicles or lack there of.

The case against testicles can be summed in two words…Harvey Weinstein. There is no excuse and there should never be any tolerance for the Weinstein’s of this world.  And, there are way too many of them.

I do not think I know of a woman, who has worked outside the home, that at some point in her career hasn’t been sexually harassed.  I know I was. Whenever I think about the grossness, hurt, stress, shame, sadness, anxiety, anger and lost career opportunities,  I lean strongly towards a testicle-free bull.

So, why would I consider blessing my bull with the awesome responsibility of testicles?

There are several reasons:

1.    I still have paint left,
2.    The artistic challenge,
3.    I often think society in general needs to get a pair.
4.    In all fairness, I must admit that some of my sexual harassers in the workplace
weren’t male.

Sexual harassment isn’t about sex, it is all about power.  Remaining silent about abuse is not golden, it is cowardice of the worst sort.  My grandmother told me long ago, that if I didn’t admire cowards, I should choose not to be one.  I may be a lot of things, but few people would ever call me a coward.

Yes, I have reported abusers in the work place.  I have also supported and stood by other women who found themselves in gosh awful situations, whenever I had first hand knowledge of the harassment.

Did I pay a personal and professional price for speaking up? Of course!  But, it was worth it!

In retrospect, if I found myself in the same situation again, would I do things differently? Absolutely not!  And do you know why? Somebody had to stop it and I am somebody.  We all need to be somebodies.

It’s like the Bible says, “Here I am God….Send me!”

 

 

 

Advertisements

What is On My Mind Today? What to serve for the next big……NASCAR Race!

nascar

Here are some stand-up recipes for race day.

Best Lasagna  Recipe Ever

Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C).

Prepare a one pound box of lasagna pasta according to package directions.  Drain, and rinse pasta with cold water and set aside.

Meat Sauce:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 onion, finely chopped
½ cup carrots, finely chopped
½ cup celery, finely chopped
2 pounds ground beef
½ cup tomato paste
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste
2 cups red wine
4 cups diced canned tomatoes

Cheese Mixture:
15 ounces ricotta
½ cup basil, chopped
1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
½ cup parsley, chopped
1 egg
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste

Toppings:
Mozzarella cheese, grated
Parmesan cheese, grated

PREPARATION
Into a large skillet, on medium-high heat, add olive oil and butter.  Into the melted butter and oil add carrot, onion, celery and garlic.  Cook until golden brown.  Must be stirred occasionally.

Add the ground beef, salt, pepper and tomato paste to the caramelized vegetables. Stir to combine. With a wooden spoon, break up meat into small pieces and continue to cook until meat has browned.

When the sauce is a deep brown and beginning to stick slightly to the bottom of the skillet, add the red wine.  With the wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the skillet to loosen all of the brown bits.

Bring wine to a simmer, then add the diced canned tomatoes.  Stir to combine, bring to a simmer and cook for at least 30 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium-sized mixing bowl combine ricotta, basil, Parmesan, Parsley, egg, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Cover the bottom of a 9 X 13 inch baking pan with the meat sauce.  Top with a layer of pasta.  On top of the pasta spread a layer of the cheese mixture.  Repeat.  Meat sauce, pasta, cheese mixture.  Cover with remaining meat sauce.  Garnish with shredded mozzarella and Parmesan cheese.

Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove foil and bake for an additional 15 minutes, to brown the cheese on top.

Cut into serving-size rectangles and enjoy!

Serves 12.

**********

beer bread

What goes with lasagna and Nascar?  Warm beer bread.

Beer Batter Bread

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Grease a loaf pan with butter and dust bottom of pan with corn meal.

In a large mixing bowl combine:
3 cups of flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sugar

Once dry ingredients have been mixed together add:
1 (12 ounce) can beer.  Bland is best.

Stir just until all of the ingredients are combined.  Do not over beat.

Bake for about 35 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

Remove from oven and drizzle two tablespoons of melted butter over loaf.

This bread slices best when cool, but tastes wonderful warm.

***********

oreo-bar.jpg

Somethings in life really are black and white.  Oreo Cookies are a wonderful example of this phenomena.

Oreo Cheesecake Bars

Preheat oven to 350º and line a 9-x-13″ pan with parchment paper. Spray parchment with cooking spray.

Crust:
1 box fudgy brownie mix, plus ingredients
15 whole Oreo cookies

Make brownies according to package directions.  Spread batter evenly in pan and top with the Oreo cookies.  Set aside.

Cheesecake filling: 
3 (8 ounce) packages of cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt
15 Oreo cookies, crushed

In a large bowl, beat together until fluffy sugar and cream cheese.  Add eggs, vanilla and salt.  Beat until combined.  Gently fold in crushed Oreo cookies. Pour cheesecake mixture over the brownie-Oreo cookie crust and bake for 35 to 40 minutes.  When done the edges should be set and the center of cheesecake will be slightly jiggly.

Let cheesecake cool completely in pan.

Topping: 
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted

Drizzle with melted chocolate and white chocolate and serve.

************

I hope you enjoy these wonderful recipes.

Now, my husband and I are off to the races…..just saying.

 

 

 

 

What Is On My Mind Today? Trivializing the Momentous and Complicating the Obvious

fire
Montana on fire

It seems to me that by now almost everyone in this country knows someone who has been personally impacted by Hurricane Harvey, will be hit by Hurricane Irma or is being affected by the horrendous fires devouring several of our nation’s western states.

These natural disasters have, are and will be affecting millions of our fellow countrymen and women.

So, what did I see first thing on the nightly news last evening and this morning.   Not hurricanes, not fires, not even North Korea and their latest nuclear missile, DACA…a program that effects less than a million people and that will not be ended for another six months.

Oh, I saw lots of people marching expressing their ire against President Trump…yet again.  Which made me wonder if I am the only person who is becoming totally numb to these protests?  Yes, I get it already,  Trump can do nothing right.  But, I’ll tell you, I am much less fearful of a leader in whom the media finds only fault, than in one that can do no wrong.  Just for the record though, under our Constitution, only Congress can make law, not this president or any other.

On the bright side at least these protesters are getting some exercise, however I think they could all benefit greatly from a reading of the children’s story, Peter the Wolf.  It is a Russian story so conspiracy theorists beware!

Then, to escape the mainstream media, as I do everyday, I went online to look at several different media outlets and saw this story about a 10-year-old girl and her donation of 167 pairs of her own shoes to hurricane victims in Texas.  I went to public school, so I did the math.  In my head. That is 16.7 pairs of shoes a year.  That’s a lot of shoes.  An impressive amount of shoes for any child to be sure.

Now don’t get me wrong, I think it is wonderful that this little girl is pitching in to help with storm relief.  It’s with her parents and the media I have issues.

How is this, in any way shape or form news!  Especially, for a national news outlet? What is the media’s news story prioritization process?  What must this process look like?

I can just picture their newsroom meeting.  The beast in charge summarizes, “Well on today’s docket we have two major hurricanes—Irma could be the biggest and deadliest ever; DACA is on a six-month hold in hopes that Congress will get its act together and do the right thing to give these folks some permanent peace of mind in law; the North Korean nuclear threat is increasing by the day; Montana is on fire; well, actually many of our nation’s western states are fighting out of control fires; oh, and this cute little girl in Georgia is giving away 167 pairs of shoes that she’ll never wear again or put on any of her future children to hurricane victims.”

There is quiet in the room. Only soft breathing, and the occasional slap to an overly inquisitive hand is heard, as the powers that be mull over their news story choices and mentally wrestle with the importance of their weighty decision.  Quickly, they individually conclude that the hand slapper just lost her promotion.  Eventually, their eyes light up as they realize which story is most important to the viewing public. Then, in unison they all jump to their feet and yell, “Go with the shoes!”

I must say about our media as General James L. Kemper said about General George Picket in the movie Gettysbury, “Well, I got to hand it to you, George. You sure got a talent for trivializing the momentous and complicating the obvious. You ever consider running for Congress?

….just saying

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2017/09/05/georgia-girl-10-donates-167-pairs-shoes-to-hurricane-harvey-victims.html

What Is On My Mind Today? Memorial Day and Cupcakes

memorial-day-clipart-Memorial-Day-Clipart-2

I was watching the news this weekend and there was a segment where a baker was demonstrating how to decorate cakes.  At the end of her demonstration, she showed off cupcakes that she had decorated especially for Memorial Day.  They were bright red, white and aqua blue.  Then, with chipper voice she joyously explained that the cupcake icing design resembled fireworks.

Memorial Day is not a day to hold celebrations, in truth, it is a yearly national funeral for our military dead.  It is a day of remembrance….of loss…not victory, freedom or national pride.  It is the day to think about all of those young men and women whose lives were cut short and whose beautiful bodies were torn, mutilated and so grievousness wounded that they could not survive their injuries.  Their trauma and deaths were horrific.

I have been reading the book, “Unbroken”.   This book is about World War II soldier Louis Zamperini, an Olympic runner, who spent much of World War II as a Japanese Prisoner of War after his plane was shot down over the Pacific Ocean.  The brutality of his war experiences are so vividly described as to, at times, seem to be frankly unbelievable.

I do believe them, because I have had the privilege of knowing many veterans both personally and professionally and their stories were oftentimes very similar to Mr. Zamperini’s.

For instance, take my friend El.  Now in his nineties, he is the last man left on this side of the turf from his army unit.  I first met El on a World War II Honorflight.  I was his caregiver and he was one of my folks.

That day as we chatted together, he mentioned that he had once been a Japanese prisoner of war for four hours.  I chuckled and said that nobody was a Japanese prisoner of war for a couple of hours, how did he manage that?

He then told me how this happened. His platoon had been ambushed, all of them were killed outright or wounded.  For the next several hours Japanese soldiers walked among those American boys, stabbing them with their bayonets to see if anyone was left alive. Any groan that was heard, was quickly followed by a gun shot. El always says the same thing, “Thank, God, I fell on my stomach and that my eyelids never fluttered.”

Then, there was Sid Schmuckler.  What a great name! Sid was quite a guy, at over 90 years of age, he still worked every day and drove himself to his office on Minnesota’s freeways in his station wagon.  Sid was a navy man and fought in the Pacific. He was a beach commander.

The night before an invasion was launched, he would go ashore to scout the position and help radio our soldiers ashore.  He was a beach commander on Iwo Jima and was in a few other very notable battles.

Sid could tell me about boys, who were just his age, that he had seen blown to bits just as matter of fact as if he was describing restaurant menu.  He did have this sad chuckle about the ironies of war that he had witnessed.

He once told me about this chaplain that was walking right down the beach on Iwo Jima as it was being heavily shelled and under constant fire by the enemy.  From behind their fortified breastworks, he and the soldiers with him screamed at the chaplain to get down!  The chaplain, as calm as if he was taking a Sunday stroll, just kept walking down that bomb pocked beach, stopping to check on each wounded, dying or dead soldier in his path.

As they were yelling at the chaplain, the boy next to Sid took a bullet to the head.  Still alive, it was immediately determined that his wound was mortal.  When the chaplain was much closer to Sid, he was grabbed and thrown behind the breastworks. Sid pointed at the young dying soldier and asked the chaplain, to give the Catholic boy last rites.

The chaplain quickly went about his business.  Just as he concluded, the young soldier breathed his last. As he closed the boy’s eyes the chaplain said, “I hope his Catholic mama never learns that a Ra bi administered her son’s last rites.”  Before anyone could detain him, the chaplain quickly leaped from relative safety of the breastworks and continued his mission of mercy on that beach.

However, there was one war story that brought instant tears to Sid’s eyes.  He was back on his ship, the war nearly over, and they were smack dab in the middle of the entire Pacific armada with vast air power protecting the fleet.   American air superiority was so complete that even Kamikaze’s were no longer considered much of a threat.  He finally felt safe from the enemy.

The ship next to his was a hospital ship.  That evening, the deck of the hospital ship was brightly lit as the nurses and doctors operated feverishly to save the lives of wounded soldiers.

Sid was on the deck watching the hospital ship when one lone blip showed up on his ship’s radar.  It was determined that it had to be an American plane….it wasn’t. The Kamikaze pilot targeted the hospital ship.  His plane crashed onto the ship’s deck and burst into flames as it skidded across the top of the entire ship. I can still hear the despair in Sid’s voice as he described the horrific scene, “He killed all of the nurses, those girls, those girls, they all died!”

Memorial Day is set aside for us to think about human cost of war and to solemnly remember and honor our nation’s military dead and their families.

It is not about ……cupcakes

Just saying…..

 

 

 

Election 2016: The Alamo and American Voters

Today, is a good day to reblog this post written before Trump was even the Republican nominee for president. The tone of our nation’s politics certainly did not improve after November’s election.

However, contrary to the media hype, this White House is not the Alamo. Even a politically embattled president is considered innocent until proven guilty and has the right to face their accusers.

No, this White House is not the Alamo. Nor will it be. Too, many experienced generals in the cabinet. Besides, what do Republicans really have to fear? After all, if President Trump is hounded out of office, the next three in line are also conservative Republicans.

Its always important to be careful what you wish for, especially in politics. Oh, there may be a political massacre. Who ends being massacred, is the question at hand.

For the sake of our great nation…may truth will out and justice be done.

The Swedish Farmer's Daughter

2016election

I have been reading a book about the battle of the Alamo.  It is a sad tale of a besieged and surrounded fort near San Antonio, Texas. There in the early morning hours of March 6, 1836, its brave defenders all gave their lives for their state and country.

The over 160 American men, of diverse ethnicity, that held that small fort from February 23 until the final assault by Mexican troops on March 6, knew that the Mexican General Santa Anna did not take prisoners and that their time on this earth would shortly and violently be over.

There were several famous American frontiersmen, including Jim Bowie and Davy Crockett who died at the battle of the Alamo.  Accounts recorded later by Mexican officers and an officer’s widow and a male black slave, the only adult lives spared, are filled with the horrors of kissing a young husband goodbye as he ran out to meet certain…

View original post 722 more words

What Is On My Mind Today? Auto-correct and Too Few Dictionaries

I think that one of the major problems of auto-correct is that many folks use terms or words for which they do not know the meaning.  For example the term “rule of law”  or the words, “hate”, “fascism” or “intolerant”.

As a public service, I have provided the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definitions  for these terms.

Definition of rule of law


a situation in which the laws of a country are obeyed by everyone.  The courts uphold the rule of law.

Definition of hate

intense hostility and  aversion usually deriving from fear, anger, or sense of injury

extreme dislike or disgust :  antipathy, loathing.

Definition of fascism

a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascist) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition.

Definition of intolerant

unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters

unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights

Using political propaganda or “spin” to advocate a policy or personal position with the intention of shaping or changing personal or public opinion has been around since the Garden of Eden.   I have sat in political meetings where the goal was to use language to confuse the voting public.  I expressly did not approve of that tactic then, nor do I now.

“Spin” terms are chosen because their connotation is perceived as more positive than the word or term being replaced.  Examples of this would be: “undocumented immigrant”  replacing the term “illegal immigrant;  “gentrification” replacing “urban renewal”; or “white privilege” replacing “white guilt”.

Some words are chosen because they are intimidating and people have a natural aversion to them.  Their calculated use is intended to bully, shame or scare. Excellent examples of this propaganda tactic would be the words fascist and hate.

The cry of fascism produces instant mental pictures of history’s most brutal tyrants. Our government is a republic with a constitution that includes checks and balances on executive power.  I have no fears of American’s ever tolerating a king. However, the use of fascist tactics to shut down opposition speech has reared its ugly head. Anyone who has or plans to shut down free speech from opposing political view points through intimidation or violence has become the monster they claim to fear.

“Hate” was chosen to replace “disagree or dislike” because of its intense intimidation  “wow” factor.  It’s overuse has numbed its sting and only succeeded in promoting greater divisiveness.  Name calling is rarely a good idea. Sugar has always been known to attract more flies than vinegar. Like the school rhyme said, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.”

So, whether you are politically on the left or right, when on top of your loving tolerant democratic religious pedestal you use these terms to bully, condemn, confuse, shame, or scare, any reasonable person would then have to provide one further definition:

Definition of hypocrisy

a feigning to be what one is not or to believe what one does not :  behavior that contradicts what one claims to believe or feel:  the false assumption of an appearance of virtue or religion

 

 

Just Saying…Cancer, Capitol and Grizzly Bear!

A view

My cancer battle against multiple myeloma was a very long and painful one.  It began in earnest during the Christmas holiday’s in 2012 when I first broke my spine taking the turkey out of the refrigerator.  Over the next four years, I would have many new unpleasant experiences.  Such as being in a body cast for 18 months, confined to a hospital bed in my living room for years, months of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, baldness, drug withdrawal and other physical, emotional and mental challenges.

Having cancer is just plain tough.  I have now done it twice. Thyroid and multiple myeloma. No matter what your age, a cancer diagnoses is terrifying.

Cancer patients suffer.  They become quick friends with much of the worst that life has to offer. Their new companions include the fear of death and dying; pain; nausea; anxiety; depression; isolation; loneliness; and job and financial loss.

Cancer patients lose.  They lose body parts, hair, appetite, mobility and independence. While most of those things can often be compensated for or regained, there are permanent losses.  Relationships change. Friends and relatives drift away, because they are either too busy to be bothered, your situation is bringing them down or they just cannot stand to watch the suffering.  Some of those relationships will never be made whole again.

In addition to physical, mental, emotional and financial loss, cancer patients often miss out on everyday things that most people take for granted.  Like being there for the special children in your life as they grow up. Then, too, due to circumstances beyond control special events cannot always be attended. When I was in chemo and still in a body cast due to my broken spine, I missed my only daughter’s wedding.

Cancer patients surmount.  This morning when my latest round of cancer tests indicated that I am still cancer-free, I told my husband that it is time for me to experience the things that for so many years were beyond reach and only dreams.

Capitol Steps
Stairs to the Senate Chamber at Minnesota State Capitol

When I was hospitalized for weeks for physical rehab to relearn standing, walking and stair climbing. I vowed to myself that not only was I going to conquer those five steps in the rehab room, but that someday I would, again, climb the steps to the Senate Chamber at our state Capitol.  After four years, God willing, next Friday, March 17,  after my oncology appointment and infusion at Regions, I am going to return to the Capitol.  I am going to visit friends, deliver some cookies and check out all of the changes. And, I am, again, going to climb all of those beautiful marble steps.

Later this spring,  I will need to complete a short test run of a trip. So, my husband plans to take me to see where my daughter was married two years ago.  Then, I am going to return to the land of Lincoln to visit my daughter and her husband and finally see their apartment.

IMG_0760
Our last trip to Illinois before my cancer struck. 

If my back can survive a car trip to Illinois, then, later this summer I am going to Montana. I am going to visit my dear Aunt Margaret in Great Falls, Montana, who spent so many hours in prayer on my behalf. When I was totally bed bound, with not much light at the end of my tunnel, Aunt Margie called me every week, for months on end, to lead me in bible study.  I need to give her a hug.

great fall 2
Great Falls, Montana

Then, I am going Glacier Park.  I am, again, going to stand outside of the cafe at Swift Current, look up at those God made granite cathedrals and hear the Lord whisper in the winds that race around those cliffs.

glacier part
Glacier Park, Swift Current Lake. 

After, I get my fill of the view,  I am going to take on a few trails with just as much determination as I did my cancer while trying my best to avoid a  bear.
11825626_10155917231805268_7017724789989752971_n

Although, after all I have been through, the bears would be wise to watch out for me.

490055-001
….just saying.