Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Not That I'm a Maven...

In marketing terms, a "Maven" is someone who spots and sets trends. That would not be me, unless you have a penchant for baseball caps and glittery Dansko sandals. Then, that's me...

However, I can tell you that, in my experience, except for home-made, my new favorite salad dressing is Marzetti Simply Dressed Cherry Balsamic Vinaigrette. There are no preservatives in this dressing. I can pronounce everything on the label. 

And it's delicious on the Baby Kale salad mix I have for lunch. 

I try to make my own dressings, but this one isn't bad at all. No high fructose corn syrup, artificial preservatives, trans fat. And it tastes good. 


Christmas Cards...

Are about 90% done. I need to get more labels for our family website; just so people can read it - my handwriting after about the 30th card is kind of atrocious! 

Usually, I try to not only mix up who gets what card, but also I have them out shortly after Thanksgiving. I'm blaming this "late" 2013 Thanksgiving for throwing me off my game. Most everyone will get the same card; I got a really pretty one and it has a nice sentiment on it. But some will get different one. 

The Thanksgiving also threw off my Christmas baking schedule, while we're at it. I'm still miffed! 

Oh, and I'm covered in glitter. My desk is covered in glitter. And my laptop is covered in glitter. So far, it's missed my lunch salad. But I could be wrong...

Food in General...

So we all knew that McDonald's was "Franken-food" right? Chef Jamie Oliver just went gangbusters on this. And of course, it's not being played out in the media. Maybe because McDonald's makes large corporate political donations? I wouldn't be surprised. Instead, though, the world is tilting off its axis because President Obama shook hands with Raoul Castro. We'll get to that in the "Politics" section... For now, let's look at Chef Oliver, who coined the term "pink slime" and did a demonstration on how exactly those chicken nuggets are made. If this doesn't turn you away from fast food - especially if you have kids or grandkids - I would suggest an appointment with a nutritionist ASAP. The food -- or "food" served at McDonalds (at least the burgers) is considered in Chef Oliver's opinion as "unfit for human consumption." 

Well, personally, I wouldn't feed one to my dog, but then I'm particular. 

And even though Burger King and Taco Bell don't use adulterated meat, I'm not a big fan of their food either. I'm not 100% vegetarian, raw, or vegan. I'm just getting older, and I realize the old computer saying: "Garbage In, Garbage Out." I feel better when I eat better. And the side effect of losing weight and better blood tests? Well, that's ok by me!! 

My two serious vices are good dark chocolate and chai.  But then, I don't drink alcohol, smoke or swear. So a gal's gotta have a vice or two. 


So President Obama (gasp! GASP!) shook hands with Raoul Castro at Nelson Mandela's memorial service. Nelson Mandela stood for peace. What was Obama to do, seriously? Had he walked past the man, the Right would've said, "Uppity black guy" - so in the spirit of Mr. Mandela, he shook his hand. For God's sake: he didn't offer up the firstborn of every family in the United States. He shook hands with the man.

Tell me, please, how that's different from GW holding hands with a Saudi prince. Or Richard Nixon shaking FIDEL CASTRO'S hand? Or Ronald Reagan (a/k/a St. Ronnie) meeting with any one of several dictators? 

Oh. Hang on. Sorry. 

BECAUSE OBAMA'S BLACK. Truly, that's the kind of thing the Right gets its combined panties in a wad about. The man did nothing that other US presidents haven't done. And several of them have been farther in bed with some of the most evil people. Obama, to my knowledge, isn't playing footsie with Cuba. He just shook the man's hand. 

Sometimes, people, a handshake is just a handshake. 

And, further in the "Let's bash the President" news... The "selfie pic" that the conservative blogosphere is blathering about? The Yahoo photographer who snapped it made a statement to say that people are (surprise...) "creating more than there actually is" in this moment. Just read the article here to see what the true scoop is. I would be interested to know if England and Denmark are all as crazed as our rightwing... After all, it's their prime ministers, too. 

Minimum Wage...

So the right (are we sensing a theme today??) is using this totally awesome argument AGAINST raising the minimum wage:

"You want to raise the minimum wage to $15? Why not $50? Why not $100?"

Way back in college we learned about different kinds of arguments. This one is clearly a red herring. You want to make some statement sooooooooo outrageous that it makes your opponent stop and think. Well, all I can say is that I think this argument is totally bogus. The $15 figure is based on facts, people. 

It's a FACT that if the current minimum wage had kept up with worker productivity during the 1960s, we'd be AT a minimum wage of around $15. Perhaps more, according to the Economic Policy Institute. They're saying it'd be closer to $18.67. 

Sooooooooo - since we're back to President Obama - asking for ONLY $10.10... That ten bucks sounds downright reasonable, doesn't it? You still can't raise a family - or probably be married, even, on that. But it's better than the current $7.25. 

Again, pesky FACTS get in the way. It is a fact that the richer you are, the less you terms of daily necessities, I mean. Let's face it - if you're rich (or even "doing well") you likely HAVE all your necessities taken care of. If you are poor, or "working poor" - you will spend money on necessities. So an increase in the minimum wage will also boost the economy.

Take THAT, "job creators." Give U.S. workers a wage they can live on and guess what? They'll spend it! Because they have to. They'll buy clothes; groceries; gas. The daily stuff that they need. And yeah - the TVs or furniture that they need. And what's wrong with that? They're boosting our economy because they will not be stashing that extra money in some off-shore accounts. It's not all THAT much money. It's enough to allow them to live without worrying about the next paycheck. And who doesn't deserve that kind of security?

How can you call yourself a human if you deny so much of the population just that much economic comfort?

Holiday Party...

Public Landing Tree
So our Zonta Club had their Christmas Party at Public Landing Restaurant. Here's the tree in the lobby. It's a gorgeous renovated old building. We had a lovely dinner, the local Sweet Adelines performed, and there were door prizes. None of which I won. And Hubby was the only man in the group! 

So when the "Head Adeline" said something about "being happy we could sing for you ladies,'" Hubby raises his and and asks, 'Do I need to leave??' Cracked everyone up. 

He managed to get all 35 of us in a group shot, which was nice. It was cold, but a lovely way to spend an evening.

Our club meets about 9 months out of the year. In June and December, we have a meeting that's strictly social. I have to say that for the past two or three years, our Special Events Committee have out-done themselves. The parties are well-organized; reasonable in cost; have fun things to do; and the food is usually fantastic. 

I love planning a party, but these gals go above and beyond. I wouldn't even attempt it. Watch - next year, they'll put me on THAT committee!

Anyway, if I do that, I'd want to do a blow-out "Ugliest Christmas Sweater" party, and I'm not sure how many of them would be up for that.

Come to think of it, my sister said that if I could convince my brother (kind of a stick-in-the-mud), we could have our Christmas Eve with that theme! I'm in!! 


Rt. 30 going south
Speaking of cold, we got our first "real" snow, and of course, everyone went nuts. Here's a picture I took along Rt. 30. Yes, I was stopped. That's snow BLOWING from the west across the road. It was afternoon then, and I'm sure that the road was quite polished by the time dark set in. 

It's snowing again. I love this. What I don't love are drivers who have lost their minds. 

Please. SCRAPE THE ENTIRE WINDOW off, front AND back. Please slow down. Please use signals. Four-wheel-drive? Oh, that slides NICELY on ice. Especially black ice, which we have a lot of during this kind of weather. 

We had a "Winter Storm Watch" last night, so I was kind of hoping for a lot more than we got. But I guess that, after my drive into work, I'm happy we ONLY got an inch or two.

I hope we have a snowy winter. I want to get out in the park and use my snow shoes. I think I may have given up on the cross-country skis. I'm a klutz. But give me ICE SKATES --- there you go; that's my favorite! 

Knitting & Reading...

Combining the two. The sock - haven't picked it up in a few days. I've been practicing my "Silent Night" for Midnight Mass. Will be doing a sound check this weekend at the church. Acoustically, the church is phenomenal. I just have to set up a spare amp. The building is well over 100 years old, and they aren't exactly exploding with electrical outlets or a good speaker system. I'm not happy with the amp, but it beats me being all the way in the back with the choir all the way up front. That one-second delay is a stinker.

Right now, I'm plowing through Jane Austen's Persuasion and breezing through a Debbie Macomber piece of fluff called Angels at the Table. It's one of her Christmas novels, and yeah. Fluff. But you need fluff. It clears the brain. 

Random Picture...

Pinkie as a Pup
This is a puppy picture of the famous Pinkie of my recent blog entry. Shes a Dogo Argentino, a mastiff-type breed. They're known for their fearlessness. They're a stubborn dog that needs a strong hand. They're good with strong owners. You don't have to bully the dog, but you do have to be firm. 

It seems to me that they're kind of a "short-haired-Husky" in that, if they don't feel YOU are in charge, they will be happy to be The Boss. You can't let that happen in a dog which can reach 100 lbs.!

Pinkie is, unfortunately, deaf. She's a lovely, and very lively girl. She knows sign language. She takes her owner for a "drag" - not a walk. She will do laps around the big tree in the yard where she's just a blur of white. 

I'm not making any recommendations. A dog like this, even if it can hear, is not for everyone, and certainly not for a first-time dog owner. And you know my favorite saying: "Rescued is my Favorite Breed." All I'm saying is that this picture is total random puppy cuteness. 

She's now the size of a SmartCar! (Just kidding, but close...) 

Let's just say that she's finally grown into those feet and those ears. 

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