Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Cyber Shorthand

Rules, rules, rules. A perverse person can get really tired of rules sometimes. Having grown up among people who commonly said ya’all or yaal or ya’al or yawl, I never learned how to spell that contraction meaning “you all” or “all of you”. It was considered adequate communication of the region. I like it far more than saying “all of you” or “you folks” or “you people”. After moving to another region that commonly uses yuz or youse, or you’s meaning more than one of you, a non-native, English-speaking person could get confused.

This, however, isn’t intended as a study of linguistics. After four years of high school grammar and spelling and writing, followed by a B.S.(seriously) as an English major, I had learned lots of rules, and even after my thorough indoctrination, my speech still doesn't sound quite "Shakespearean."

I like grammar rules far more than the next person and generally try to follow most of them but only for the sake of accurate communication. Isn’t that what words are all about anyway? I will admit to cringing when I hear “ain’t.” I have to resist railing about the decline of literacy when I see a small “i” in e-mail when the writer intended the pronoun “I”.

Acronyms seem to have taken over the world of e-mail and forget texting. LOL! I simply can’t bring myself to try to communicate using “u r a —”. I get a bit uptight when other people use those abbreviations and shorthand, but I have to admit, I get lazy too, especially when I am rushed. The rebel in me grows horns and I dig in my heels too when someone wants to demand that I use various conventions like proper grammar and punctuation. I have discovered that misspelled words bother me more than poor grammar and punctuation, especially when they are seen in places where the writer should know better. Turnpike signs: “Busses Welcome”. Poor example, because that is probably the British spelling. Grocery store sign: “Stakes $3.95″. Do they sell to meat eaters or vampire slayers? My biggest pet peeve of incorrect usage is the “it’s” when the person really means “its”. It is not so complicated, or a possessive. The apostrophe takes the place of the letter “i” in the word “is” so that “it’s” always means “it is”.

Therein lies the difference in my outlook and that of some who make a practice of texting on cell phones. I think I know the difference and the correct spelling or rule, whereas it seems to have become a language that those who use it want to use as a shorthand or different language to fool others who don’t know the current fad expressions. Personally, it strikes me that they don’t know the correct words or spelling when they have to use some method of communication other than an expensive “charge by the letter” texting cell phone. How can they go to a job that has a boss who requires a written report requiring formal English written on real paper for the Board of Directors? Are they able to put aside their “second language” and use conventions that were used before they were born?

On the other hand, if someone reminded me to use proper English,it would annoy me and I would, perversely, misuse it again. People are so quirky. English is a great language because we can play with it and enjoy it whether we use it correctly and make puns, or use it incorrectly, and communicate exactly what we mean in spite of incorrect usage. The point is: we have to be able to do both. That’s the new world order.

I know all of those rules, but sometimes I, too, think enough with the rules already. Then I remember the college class that tried to decipher the real words and meaning of things written in Middle English. I can understand how the language would evolve to a form that is unrecognizable two hundred years from now. Our legacy to our progeny will be that they will need a “Rosetta Stone” to understand what we are trying to communicate to the ages. Maybe that is why “History repeats itself”. “Those who can’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it.” If they can’t understand our lessons, they will have to learn for themselves. “Experience keeps a dear school, but fools will learn in no other.” Maybe we are doing our progeny a disservice. Or maybe in the world of tomorrow, our descendants will have no need of our forms of communication. They will have devices only science fiction writers dream about today. Maybe they will have mental telepathy. Is that cyber shorthand or cyberspeak?

Anyone can speak properly and write in a fashion that can be read today or two hundred years from today without translation software. It isn't hard when a few basics of grammar usage are observed.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Turkey Recipe

A Thanksgiving Turkey is very special and best when moist. This technique guarantees that it will be cooked quickly, thoroughly, and it doesn't dry out with this method. It doesn't require a lot of tending or frequent basting. It is the most rewarding recipe for the cooking of Thanksgiving Turkey.


Thanksgiving Turkey Cooked in Foil

Weight---------------Cooking Time

7 - 9 lb.---------------------2 ¼ - 2 ½ hr.

10 – 13 lb.-----------------2 ¾ - 3 hr.

14 – 17 lb.-----------------3 – 3 ¼ hr.

18 – 21 lb.-----------------3 ¼ - 3 ½ hr.

22 – 24 lb.-----------------3 ½ - 3 ¾ hr.

Wash thawed turkey (I use turkey breast), dry, sprinkle with salt and Bell’s Poultry Seasoning to individual taste. Add small pats of butter or Smart Balance if desired. Cooking times can be for either stuffed or unstuffed birds. Place in center of large, long strip of heavy duty aluminum foil on a shallow oven baking pan. Put foil covers on ends of wings or drumsticks if it is a whole bird. Bring ends of foil to top and roll together to form a loose tent, not touching the top of the bird. Also seal the ends. Place on a rack in the center of the oven, not too near the bottom to avoid overcooking the bottom.

Bake in preheated 450˚ oven according to the chart above. Remove for the last 30 minutes, open the foil (careful of the steam!). If additional browning is needed, return to the oven. Juices can be basted over the turkey first to retain moisture. Remove juices either before or after this step to make gravy. Sometimes the turkey is cooked at this point and doesn’t need additional time in the oven. I prefer to leave it in the oven to the end of the cooking time, remove it, open foil, and let it cool for 30 minutes before slicing.

Servings vary with turkey size – normally allow ¼ lb. per serving.

*Marsh, Dorothy B., ed. The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., 1963.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

What Cats Want Owners to Know

I had to learn how to anticipate the cat's needs. After living with cats for many years, I concluded that it isn't the cats that need to be trained, but their owners. Cat behavior reflects decisions that cat owners have made. Living with cats can be such a pleasure and very rewarding until they shred the drapes, pee on the couch and sleep on the dining table. I like to have a more rewarding relationship with my cats.

When I got two cats, I lived in a small apartment with two bedrooms. That meant that a small number of cats was a good choice. One cat will get lonely; more than two cats will create problems as shown in studies of rats that are put in overcrowded environments. Cats are expert loungers who don't like stress. Too many cats for the square footage of one's living space guarantees stress for the cat, which creates unruly cats. I did not plan to let my cats roam the neighborhood to impose on other people, or get injured, and get diseases to increase the vet bills, so I needed to limit the number of felines in the house. Indoor cats are healthier and live longer.

I chose kittens rather than pre-owned cats that would have brought along habits, good and bad. I got litter mates so they had been together since birth and they were able to get along together. I got a male and female, but I now think I should have had only two females. Males that have been neutered are more prone to cystitis which is chronic and makes them irritable and prone to spray curtains, beds, couches, etc. Since males to have to be neutered, unless you plan to raise limitless numbers of kittens, females make easier domestic pets. Naturally, females have to be spayed for the same reason. A male cat that doesn't use the litter box may have cystitis which requires a visit to the vet.

I found that periodically simply clipping the cat's front and back claws carefully to dull the tips, avoiding cutting too close to the nail quick, prevented their ability to greatly damage fabrics they scratched. There was no need to de-claw them which would be very cruel. Providing scratching posts of carpet or scratching toys purchased in pet stores also draws their attention away from couches, or drapes. When catnip is sprinkled on scratching posts or their toys, they are more interested in scratching those.

Cat training that works quickly and easily requires water sprayers. If my cats ever attempted to scratch anything they shouldn't, I sprayed them with water kept nearby in a spray bottle. Eventually, they will avoid doing undesirable behaviors if you just pick up the sprayer. They stop even trying to scratch the couch. I kept spray bottles everywhere for discipline. If they tried to get on kitchen counters or tables, I would spray water on them. They don't like to be sprayed with water and it doesn't hurt to add a loud "NO". After some conditioning, the cats will react to just the loud command "NO".

Cats are more inclined to use a litter box if it is kept scrupulously clean and smelling nice. People don't like dirty toilets and neither do cats. Also, they don't like to be annoyed or made nervous when they go to the litter box. It should be in an out-of-the-way, quiet place as far from house traffic as possible. That is another reason to avoid getting more cats than your living space should have. Consider through the cat's perspective--they like peace and quiet. Cats aren't like dogs who like lots of activity. If cats are nervous and stressed, they are less likely to use the litter box.

I learned that I shouldn't confuse cats by having things like bean bag chairs lying around the house. They can mistake a bean bag chair for a litter box. My cats were more cooperative when I kept their litter box in the same place and very clean. No amount of training will prevent the occasional hairball or upset stomach, so those things just have to be tolerated and cleaned up quickly. Cat owners learn quickly that tile or wood floors clean easier than carpet. People get sick, so do animals, and they can't be punished for that.

They trained me when I saw that they preferred sleeping in cardboard boxes that were about fifteen inches square with sides about eight inches high. They would curl up in those to sleep and stay off the couch or bed. They also taught me that they liked to play on their terms. If I played too roughly, they would bite, I treated them in a gentle, loving way and they never became aggressive or irritable with me without provocation. They like attention when they want it, not necessarily when the owner wants it. Follow their lead.

When I learned to anticipate their needs rather than trying to "train" them, or modify their behavior, it became obvious that some of my choices as a cat owner needed careful consideration.

Friday, September 26, 2008


The last "atta boy" I received was a bottle of spring water. Before that, my incentive was a t-shirt with some slogan that guaranteed that I would never wear that t-shirt. I have received lapel pins, certificates, desk calendars, figurines, ink pens, posters, towels and the list is endless. Multiply that with all the other people receiving similar junk. How much of the economy is wasting money on programs that are senseless and serve no positive purpose? The only entity that benefits is the company that makes all the giveaways that end up in landfills. I wish I had all the money that had been spent on all that junk that I received that I neither needed nor wanted. I would never have chosen to buy a poster that said "Life is a daring adventure". If I want motivation, I will look for whatever speaks to me, not what someone else thinks will motivate me. Where should I store all that "free" stuff or how do I discard an endless stream of trinkets? These "free" items really aren't.

If I pay membership dues to places like a fitness center or a club, I don't need trivial rewards for that. I would, however, like to have my membership fee lowered so I don't have to pay for all that garbage that is handed out as a reward for joining. Whoever is deciding to purchase and give away all the trinkets has to make a "One size fits all" decision that ends up fitting no one and it only impresses me that it is a very wasteful project. Maybe that person gets to put on their resume that they pioneered an incentive program, I would look at it totally differently. I would say they have no judgment and waste members' money on junk. The best incentive is to lower membership dues.

For years, I have received trivial junk on the job. Again, raise my salary, and I will decide how I want to spend that money, but don't give me junk that has been bought with money that could have gone into my paycheck. Every time one of those giveaway programs comes through, the workers say the same thing, "We got junk, the person with that lack of judgment got promoted." Cold, hard cash speaks louder than t-shirts, lapel pins, calendars, ink pens, or caps.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


It is amazing to see how many magicians live among us. Every day, driving down the roads of our country, are magicians who open their car windows, toss out scrap paper and for that magician, the scrap paper has disappeared. It is no longer in his car, so it ceases to exist. Follow a magician out of a convenience store, and watch as he opens a candy bar. He drops the paper on the pavement, removing it from his hand, so for him, it ceases to exist. Watch the next magician that you see who is smoking. The ashes are flicked to the wind, disappearing for him. The cigarette butt soon follows to either the street or pavement, disappearing from his hand, and ceasing to exist for the magician smoker. The whole world is his personal ash tray. Our neighborhoods are filled with magicians in the fall who rake their yard leaves into the street. For that magician, the leaves are off his grass and cease to exist for him. If these magicians are so successful in making things disappear, why do we need more magicians coming along behind them trying to make all of it disappear a second time?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Discontinued Products

My favorite hairspray was just discontinued. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know, we are all supposed to go to the Aussie hair products web site and take the "no-helmet hair" pledge, so why the meltdown? I like my helmet hair! I refuse to vow to wear long, flat, thin hair, as if that were even an option. Since less than three hundred have taken their pledge, obviously, I am in good company. Hair spray is the only thing that gets me through the day with my dignity in semi-respectable status. I used to be eighteen too. I used to have long, flowing tresses, even though I wasn't one of those people gifted by birth with beautiful, thick, manageable hair, but when you reach a certain age, Mother Nature says, "I want your hair to look awful. I want it to go gray, get thin and disappear." Health issues force people to take medications that also wreak havoc on hair quality. Every day becomes a bad hair day. Hair spray is the only product standing between me and a loony bin.

So why do they discontinue products people like and buy? They want you to have to buy a dozen more products before you find another one you like. That means everyone who liked a discontinued product will have to buy a dozen more products than if they had just continued buying the one they liked. The market flourishes while the landfills pile up more unused, unsuitable products that we discard. Not only did my favorite hair spray disappear, so did my favorite razor, lipstick, bra, briefs, hand cream, and the list goes on and on. They claim that they put out a new, improved product. Isn't that what Coke said when they decided to remove the old reliable, successful product that people loved and caused a world-wide revolt? An improvement is when a company puts my favorite hand cream in a bottle with a pump dispenser instead of in a bottle with a tiny hole that you can't squeeze out the cream. An improvement isn't to discontinue the product altogether. An improvement is to change the color on the package. We have a joke in my family that if we visit a furniture store and actually buy something and pay the one-year extended guarantee on the fabric, that furniture store is doomed to close within the year. The same seems to be true of any product that I find that I like. It is going to be discontinued in short order.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Last night, just before nine o'clock, I was working on a web page and inserted a video that I had spent hours building on a photo website. It worked perfectly once, but the second time when I tried to preview it on the website, it wouldn't work. The code was there, but it disappeared when I tried to preview it. I struggled with it for an hour, gave up and went to bed. I agonized about it wondering what I did incorrectly. I woke up blaming myself for not knowing enough about the whole procedure to troubleshoot it. This morning, I thought of a half dozen possible reasons and tried to figure out the problem before calling tech support. I hate to give up in defeat and ask for help. My usual morning routine is to check on several websites and I discovered that two more videos from the same site were not working either. Did they expire? Was it being blocked somewhere in the process? Was there something new that the browser I was using had not updated to handle? I started checking other browsers. I work with three different browsers just to compare how each handles various applications. Was there a setting in any of the browsers that I had not managed correctly in order for this video to function correctly? But how would that explain the fact that it had worked correctly one time? Last thing I tried today was to go to the home of the video to check out the settings there. I found a message that the site would be unavailable from 9 p.m. yesterday to 9 a.m. today. The site had gone into hibernation, so to speak during the time I was working with it, but I didn't realize that at the time.

All that struggling to figure out what I had done wrong just to discover that I wasn't the problem. I hadn't done anything incorrectly. The problem existed elsewhere and would go away when the site had finished updating. What is it in some people that they are willing to take the blame when things go wrong and the last thing they consider is that they may not be the problem because the problem lies elsewhere? Even more interesting is why do some people never assume responsibility when things go wrong and blame everything or everyone other than themselves?

Friday, July 18, 2008

Made in U.S.A.

I have no objection to people in other countries making a living creating products and selling them to citizens in the U.S.A., if we had equity or balance in those trades which is questionable. However, I would also like to see more oversight to restore my confidence in the products I use. I'm not a fan of de-regulation.
As was discovered in A Year Without Made in China, it is hard to buy all products made in the U.S. I am less concerned about items that don't threaten my safety with their contents. Clothes, or other non-consumables are less objectionable. When we hear about lead or other harmful substances going into things ingested or put on the body, it tends to result in a loss of confidence in those products and to question the quality of those products. That is not to say that everything made in the U.S.A. is safe and things made elsewhere are not. I would like trustworthy disclosure on labels. I read labels and see "distributed in the U.S.A." by company XYZ. I look for "Made in the U.S.A." labels. When I see "Made in the U.S.A. with U.S. and non-U.S. components, the red flags go up. What are those non-U.S. components and from where? I know labels are tiny, but I would like to choose products that I hope are safe. If it said lead-based eye makeup from Timbuctoo, I wouldn't buy it. Therein lies the reason many products just say "Distributed in U.S.A. by Company XYZ. Truth in Labeling does not mean omit what producers don't want the consumer to know. Why should I have to guess what is in that skin cream that made my skin turn red? People have serious allergies that need complete Truth in Labeling.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

I Love "The Closer"

In 1961, Newton Minow said "television is a vast wasteland." It seems that little has changed since that time. I don't watch much on television, because even with Verizon's FIOS and hundreds of stations broadcasting, it is hard to find anything interesting to watch, especially in the middle of July. It isn't with desperation, but with admiration that I look forward to one show on television in July. The Closer begins its new season July 14 on TNT. All previous seasons are available on Netflix as well as other sites. It is an excellent, well-written program that isn't part of the vast wasteland. The focus is not on the crimes, but on solving the crimes. No nightmares in those murders. The plots are never boring but you don't have to watch serial murderers torturing people before killing them. The suspense holds the viewer, start to finish. It's about cops doing their jobs well. The cast of characters is a likeable group that amuses and entertains. They relate well to each other in the fictional work place. The long-suffering Fritz must have major feelings to put up with the mercurial Brenda and her dedication to her job. No one but Brenda can go from the syrupy "Thank you, so much" to "Put your hands over your head" at the speed of light. She is really, really good at her job and had to be to earn the grudging respect of her squad of men. Nevertheless, in the end, her addiction to chocolate is endearing. Pop the corn, gather the Hershey bars, Brenda is baaack!

Word Processors

I really like the word processor, Microsoft Office Word. I like to keep various documents stored in it while I work on several at the same time. I like to compose my thoughts with it, sometimes over a long period of time, then copy and paste text to my blogs or web pages. I'm not a big fan of HTML code so I really appreciate those folks who developed wysiwyg. However, I have learned enough about it to learn that Microsoft Office Word somehow inserts code that doesn't play well with others. When I copy and paste text from it, I get error messages that I haven't learned how to repair yet. My best solution, short of taking time to learn HTML code, is to just use another word processor. Maybe I should just use Notepad to avoid composing online. I hope some of the wizards out in cyberspace will solve that problem for the rest of us HTML-challenged folks.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


I hesitate to call my enjoyment of shoes either a fetish or a mania, I just love shoes. It must be genetic and I’m no exception. Like most women, I have more shoes than one needs or can ever get around to wearing. Storing my favorites makes me envy the closets of Imelda Marcos. I used to have two requirements of shoes, pretty and affordable. I love that euphemism “affordable”. I bought the prettiest, cheapest shoes I could find with the philosophy that more was better since they would change styles quickly. I had never heard of Manolo Blahniks until the OJ trial hit TV. All women love beautiful shoes and no matter the cost, we buy as many as we can afford and sometimes more.

My parents took me shopping when I was four and the idea was to buy a practical pair of brown leather lace-up saddle shoes to wear with socks. I fell in love with a beautiful little pair of low-heeled, powder blue, leather flats that I wanted to wear without socks. We compromised and bought both pairs of shoes, but I had to wear socks with both pairs. I agreed, but soon “forgot” to wear the socks with the blue pumps which I was only allowed to wear to church on Sunday. The brown shoes were for school, or everything else. Since I was allowed to buy that pretty little pair of blue shoes when I was four years old, I have loved beautiful shoes.

After attending the latest movie known for its fashion focus, my friends and I had a lively discussion centered around, “Who wears stuff like that, except for a movie?” I was assured that people in New York dress like that. I suppose it has been longer than I remembered since I last visited New York, or maybe I didn’t cross paths with any “fashion conscious” people.

Over the years, I have made many unwise shoe purchases and learned that I don’t wear them anyway and I stopped buying the ones I know I won’t wear, no matter how beautiful they are. I used to buy shoes that were too small just because they were beautiful. I moved to shoes a size and a half larger and my feet are happier. After three foot surgeries, and Morton’s Neuroma, my requirements have evolved beyond beauty in a pair of shoes. I still require that they look acceptable and attractive, but I would drive a shoe designer crazy. I would love to have a long discussion with a shoe designer and explain what I require for my abused feet.

My number one requirement now is comfort, with a capital C. I haven’t given up on the idea that comfortable shoes can also be beautiful. I never bought into the “Frankenstein” look that was popular years ago. Combat boots aren’t in my closet either. I require that I be able to actually walk in shoes or even run without breaking a leg or getting blisters. I used to wear high heels every day to work, but I wore out my feet before the shoes. I like a reasonable heel on most shoes, but the stilettos only exist in my "high school, can't bear to throw it away" closet now. I don’t wear shoes with heels higher than two inches even in dress-up shoes. Shoes with pointed toes aren’t in my future, but they played a prominent role in my current foot problems.

I buy lots of sandals every summer and I wear sandals most of the summer. I love dressy sandals for night time, but even if they are backless, they have to have enough leather across the top of the foot that I can keep them on my feet even if I ran while wearing them. No flip flops for me. I require that my little toes have containment on the sides of the shoes and I wear no sandals with leather between my big toe and second toe. I love sandals with suede bottoms where the sole of my foot contacts the shoe. Anything else sticks to the bottom of my feet and makes sucking sounds when I walk. I love all leather sandals because leather behaves well after many wearings and it gets softer with foot oils. They don’t start to smell like feet either. Leather is a wonderful product in any form but I like to avoid man-made materials like plastics. I like cool feet and plastics make smelly, sweaty, hot feet. Many shoe designers have a clue and design wonderful sandals so when I find one, I buy several in different colors or several in the same color. Sandals stay in style longer than other types of shoes. It is hard to wear out a good pair of sandals, but I have managed to do just that. I’m still looking for the perfect little, beautiful pair of powder blue sandals to add to my closet. I still love little blue shoes.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Physical Fitness and Little Red Nothings from Vicki's Place

Last week, research said sun exposure was bad for us. This week, research said we need more vitamin D so we need either more sun or food supplements. I’ve lost track, is coffee good for us this week or bad for us this week?

The mythology of weight loss and effective exercise is extensive. Everyone would like to be slim and fit, but what is the best method to choose? It is hard to evaluate all the theories and determine which will give us the most "bang for the buck." If I am going to spend my valuable time exercising, I want to know what I can expect in results before I spend a year doing something that might turn out to be worthless. I want to be able to lose weight quickly and as easily as possible even though I know I have to be realistic. Gaining weight is easy, losing weight isn't going to be as easy.

Research says we need to exercise to be healthy and a half hour of walking every day is good. Today’s research says interval training is the way to go. We have to avoid building up body memory by doing the same thing over and over. So now, we are supposed to jog or do sprints, and alternate with walking for a total period of twenty minutes to have effective exercise. I’ve walked for miles to nowhere on a treadmill so I could fit into those "little red nothings from Vicki’s place", but research says no pain, no gain. I think I get it. If my exercise program is comfortable, it isn’t effective. If I keep my body guessing and make it work harder, the pain just means my body will get in shape, but it won’t like it. A few aches and pains aren't the same as an injury. It isn't necessary to injure the body to lose weight and to get into shape if the appropriate exercises are used.

Endless cardio exercises can be replaced by interval cardio exercises for greater weight loss. More effective strength training workouts that are shorter in time spent, but greater in intensity can also result in weight loss especially around that hard-to-lose middle zone of the body. High intensity strength training with dumb bells and body weight exercises can improve muscle tone, overall fitness and energy levels. Body Mass Index (BMI) can be lowered by combining interval cardio with strength training resulting in a healthier, leaner, toned body.

The research is in and help is on the way. There is a better way to shape up, and lose weight to fit into those "little red nothings from Vicki's Place."

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Perfect Peach

The quest for the perfect peach begins with great expectations and is destined for an experience totally unlike those expectations. We look in the market at the beautiful selections available and think of past perfect peaches void of all imperfections and the sweetest fruit ever tasted with pretty skin, and great texture that separates perfectly from the seed. As we bite into the perfect peach, we think how sweet, how juicy, how healthy it is. We think of the countries that throw out tons of imperfect fruit or those countries that shrink wrap in plastic the perfect fruit to sell as gifts. How about those companies that sell fruit mail order and guarantee perfect fruit! We get to look over the selection at the market and pick our own perfect peach from hundreds of perfect peaches.

We select the prettiest peach we can find with no visible imperfections, and watch as the grocery bagger throws it into a shape-shifting plastic bag while complaining about extra hours to a colleague. We think, my perfect peach is fragile, have you no reverence for fruit? What if it gets bruised? We rush it home to the refrigerator and hope for the best. Two days later, we figure if it wasn’t ripe, surely it is ripe by now. We figure if the bagger bruised it, that too, will be apparent. So we look at the perfect peach and cut into it. The knife finds a very firm peach, that will not separate from the firmly-held seed. So it is necessary to cut it away from the seed. The flesh of the perfect peach looks great, and is very firm, so we bite into it to find it neither ripe nor sweet. Not even a reckless bagger could convince any part of that peach to turn to sugar. Another perfect peach that disappointed. It looked great, but didn’t meet our expectations. Because we bought it, we hope the price was worth the disappointments. It isn’t spoiled, we eat the whole thing and hope that the benefits outweigh our disappointment in not finding a perfect peach.

The quest for the perfect friend can be a little like searching for the perfect peach. We meet someone and think what a great person, looks good, sounds great and we seem to click. As the friendship progresses, we start to see the issues about which we disagree, and the annoying little habits that with time start to drive us crazy. We start to wonder if the time invested in the friendship is worth the effort. On the other hand, I have never found the perfect peach or the perfect friend. There will be imperfections. No one is our clone. No one will agree with all of our opinions or preferences. We take what we can get out of the experience and try not to set our expectations impossibly high. We pay the price of overlooking their opposing viewpoints, annoying habits and look for common ground. We can’t throw out imperfect peaches and we
can’t throw out imperfect friends. Look in the mirror.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Restaurants and the Energy Crisis

It's summer and air conditioners are running on high, or low, depending on how you look at it--high output, low temperatures. They use lots of energy and we have an energy crisis in this country. Restaurants make their buildings much too cold, certainly colder than necessary for patron comfort. Yes, serving staff is running around serving and get warm, but even so, many are wearing long sleeves because it is too cold even for them. So are the cold temperatures for the benefit of the kitchen staff? Perhaps the kitchen should have another system than the restaurant area and they can make the kitchen as cold as needed when cooking without freezing the patrons. When you come into the restaurant from one hundred degree temperatures outside, it is quite a shock to the system to find seventy degrees or even lower inside the restaurant. Those of us who suffer from hypothermia in restaurants know to bring a jacket, or to wear long sleeves and long slacks. I feel terrible to watch little kids wearing no sleeves, and shorts and shivering with cold. That can't be healthy for anyone. We could save a lot of energy by raising temperatures in public places like restaurants and movie theaters. They could save money on their operating costs by raising their thermostats.