Sunday, January 31, 2010

Peeling Potatoes!!

Throw your peeler away, here is a one and a half minute video showing you the VERY easy way to peel potatoes:
How easy is that?
Use your George Foreman and slice them into chunky potato slices and brush them with garlic olive oil and sprinkle some dried herbs on top Smile
Just the Potato Nutrition Facts:
Potato Nutrition Image“One medium-size potato has just 110 calories and is absolutely fat-, sodium and cholesterol free, making them downright undeniable for any diet.  The power of the potato doesn’t stop there.

Starchy carbohydrates, such as potatoes, seem to be specifically targeted by low‐carbohydrate fanatics. But don’t fall for the hype. There is actually little scientific evidence to support the notion that starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, cause obesity. In fact, most research indicates that diets high in complex carbohydrates are associated with a lower body weight…”

1 medium Potato has 25 g of carbs., and that stacks up very well compared to a cup of pasta or rice:
Pasta (serving size 1 cup cooked)  Carbs:
Lasagna, verdi                     44g
Macaroni                              40g
Macaroni, whole wheat        37g
Spaghetti                             40g
Spaghetti, whole wheat       37g
Tagliatelle (FETTUCCINE)    44g
Rice (serving size 1 cup cooked)
Long grain brown rice         45g
Long grain white rice           45g
Short grain white rice          37g
Basmati rice (3oz)               44g
Fried rice (3oz)                    56g

See all the benefits of potatoes here:

One medium potato with skin is a good source of potassium......

Vitamin C
Potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C (45% of the DV), which is more vitamin C than one medium tomato (40% DV) or sweet potato (30% DV)......

One medium potato with the skin contributes 2 grams of fiber or 8% of the daily value per serving...

Potatoes are a good source of vitamin B6 with one medium potato providing 10% of the recommended daily value.....

One medium potato provides 6% of the recommended daily value of iron.....

More at:
Storage:   Potatoes should be kept in a cool, dark place with good ventilation. The ideal storage temperature is 45 to 50ºF. At these temperatures, potatoes will keep for several weeks.
But don’t store potatoes in the refrigerator! When kept below 40º F, potatoes develop a sweet taste, due to the conversion of starch to sugar. This increased sugar causes potatoes to darken when cooked. If you store potatoes at room temperature, try to use them within a week or so.

This makes a big difference to the taste of the potatoes:

When making mashed potatoes, after you drain the potatoes return them to the hot pan, cover tightly, and allow them to steam for 5 minutes. Doing this allows them to dry out so they'll mash to a beautiful texture and soak up the butter and cream more readily."

I am making zucchini and potato patties today.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The “Blocks”, Not Slabs! TX needs Park Hosts.

Most Rvers have heard of The Slabs, near Niland, CA,

But have you heard of “The Blocks”?
“It is just east of Naples Florida at GPS coordinates 25.9931, -81.5025. Fly in through Google Earth and check it out. All paved roads in and out. One of the greatest best kept secrets of Florida. It will not be here much longer as it is being restored to its original condition as part of the Everglades. This was the largest subdivision ever planned in American history and also one of the great Florida "swampland land schemes" of the 50's, 60's and 70's. That is why it is called "The Blocks" for short. Otherwise it is called The Picayune State Forest.”

Total Acreage: 78,615
Counties: Collier

Picayune Strand State Forest

Location | Natural Features | Restoration | Recreation | Contacts
“Picayune Strand State Forest is primarily comprised of two major tracts of land, the South Golden Gate Estates Tract and the Belle Meade Tract. The South Golden Gate Estates Tract comprises the majority of the forest. The land which is currently Picayune Strand State Forest was originally logged for cypress trees in the 1940's and 1950's, and then in the 1960's, a developer purchased over 57,000 acres to create the largest subdivision in America to be called "Golden Gate Estates". A massive system of canals and roads were built and thus began the infamous "swampland in Florida" scam.

State Forest location map.Potential buyers were flown over the area during the dry season then subjected to high pressure salesmen who were selling lots averaging 2.5 acres apiece. Most of the land south of Interstate 75 could never be developed due to the summer flooding, and the development eventually went bankrupt. “
Here is a video:

Making the destruction that man made, all better:
Park hosts needed in Texas State parks
Park Hosts are volunteers who supplement park staff and serve as a representative of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. Hosts greet campers and give assistance to park visitors and park staff.
More than fifty State Parks, located throughout the state in a variety of scenic settings, have host positions available. Most parks have opportunities for fishing, hiking, viewing wildlife and other recreational activities.
Hosts are used seasonally in some, and at all times of the year in others. Hosts usually serve a minimum of one month; this may be extended with the approval of the Park Superintendent.

Here are some of the parks needing volunteers, and the job descriptions:

I have been searching on line about the 060-mini-stick (Small) little stick/hand vac, that I bought yesterday.  I had tried it out as a stick vac at the thrift shop, and it picked up all the lint and threads off their dark green carpet.   It seems to be pretty powerful.   It doesn’t hold much, but is easy to empty.
When I tried it out here, the hand-held part easily picked up stray litter crumbs from around the cat’s cages, but converting it back to a stick vac, is a pain.   So I might use it as one or the other.  Or just keep it for the RV.

Another layer of clothes is in order, as it is definitely colder today.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Top 10 Pet Poisons.

Top 10 Pet Poisons of 2009


“Sometimes it seems like our trouble-making pets will eat anything. Their hoovering ability comes in handy when you spill chicken soup on the floor (tongues being just as good as mops).
But unfortunately, it's all too easy for our pets to get into substances that can harm them.
The ASPCA Poison Control Center recently released a list of the top 10 poisons that affected cats and dogs in 2009. So take note, and be sure keep these toxic substances far away from your pets in 2010!

Human Medicines:   Human drugs were the top cause of pet poisoning in 2009, the ASPCA reported. Last year, the Poison Control Center managed more than 45,000 calls from people whose pets had swallowed pills such as pain relievers, cold meds and antidepressants.

Insecticides:   One of the most common insecticide problems was misuse of flea and tick products. Make sure to talk to your vet about how to properly use these products.

Human Food:  Most people know chocolate is dangerous to dogs. But did you know that grapes, raisins, avocados and products containing xylitol (like sugar-free gum and candy) can also be harmful to your pets?

Plants:   Dozens of common houseplants, including azaleas, rhododendrons, sago palm and kalanchoe are dangerous for pets. Lilies are particularly toxic for cats, and can cause deadly kidney failure.

Vet Medicines: Almost 8,000 cases of pet poisonings in 2009 involved pets that were given medicines incorrectly. Make sure you follow instructions and talk to your vet about how to safely apply over-the-counter and prescription medicines for your cat or dog.

Rodent Killer: Poisons that are attractive to mice and rats can also smell tempting to dogs and cats. Be sure to keep your pets away from potentially deadly rodent poisons.

Household Cleaners:   Bleaches, detergents and disinfectants can cause serious gastrointestinal and respiratory problems. Keep cabinets locked to prevent your pets from swallowing or sniffing the harmful substances.

Heavy Metals: You know lead poisoning is bad for babies, but it's just as dangerous for your furry friends. Keep your pets away from paint chips, linoleum, and the dust produced when you sand the walls in older homes.

Garden Products:   Fertilizers and other garden chemicals can cause severe stomach upset in dogs and cats. So let your dog stop to sniff the roses, but not the fertilizer, please.

Household Chemicals:   Our homes often contain a lot of chemical substances, from antifreeze to paint thinner to drain cleaner. Such substances can cause stomach upset, respiratory problems and chemical burns in dogs and cats.
More at:


It rained buckets during the night.  The road into town was flooded.  Ditches were brimming over.   The creeks were running at top speed.  Accidents on the freeway had traffic backed up for miles this morning.

I took Jay to cash his check, and we did some more shopping, un-shopping, and thrift shopping.  The Nearly New Thrift Shop was having a sale where all the clothes you could stuff into a grocery store plastic bag were $2.50.   We shared a bag and got several nice T-shirts each. 
I bought a little upright vacuum ($10) that has a hand held vacuum incorporated, so I think it will be handy in the grooming room.

It is turning colder today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

"Put me on your DO NOT CALL list". Dog on Ice Floe.

To Get Telemarketers To Stop, You Must Specifically Say "Put Me On Your Do Not Call List"
Before they call...
“NEVER give out your phone number! Common traps for acquiring your phone number are: contest forms; credit card applications; when you return merchandise to a store.
If they simply MUST have your phone number and will die without it, give them your cell phone number (if you've got one), and clearly write (or tell them to write) "Cell Phone" next to the number.
(When telemarketers call a cell phone number, it's an instant violation worth $500.) If you don't have a cell phone, give them the number of a local telemarketer. (You can get this from your local yellow pages.)”
It doesn’t take long to put phone numbers on the “Do Not Call List”, here:

“Think twice before entering sweepstakes and drawings. The main purpose of many contests is to compile mailing lists. If you enter one contest, you are likely to receive mailings from other contests. Avoid entering sweepstakes unless you can "opt-out" of being put on a mailing list (read the contest rules).

Don't fill out warranty or product registration cards. Most cards are used to compile information on consumers that is sold to companies for marketing purposes. Most times your receipt will ensure that you are covered by the product warranty if the item turns out to be defective. If you decide to send in the card, don't fill out the "lifestyle" information, such as your income or hobbies.

Send it back. Junk mail that arrives in envelopes stamped "Address Correction Requested" or "Return Postage Guaranteed" can be returned unopened by writing "Refused–Return to Sender" on the envelope. This may encourage the company that mailed it to you to remove you from its mailing list.”  From:

Once you have removed your name and address, as per yesterday’s journal, please recycle the paper and save a tree.
By Melissa Breyer, Senior Producer, Care2 Green Living.
“In a single year Americans receive 19 billion catalogs in the mail. That boils down to 3.6 million tons of paper at the cost of 53 million trees. Ouch. And that’s not to mention all the rest of the junky junk mail that seems to flood our mailboxes like a swarm of locusts. We’ve collected the information here that you need to tame the catalog beast and stop junk mail in its tracks.” 
Remedies for junk mail here:

Video of one very fortunate dog stranded miles out to sea on an ice floe:
Still a mystery how he got there, but he had been seen from the shore, and floated away before he could be rescued by the locals.  Thank goodness the boat saw him.

Rone` worked today, and got the fence boards sanded, (to get green junk of them), primed, and one coat of paint today.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Are You Really Going To Do All That? Hydronic Heat.

That’s what their TV ad says!  They are trying to sell you their product to protect you from identity theft.
If you are careful about anything with your name, address, SS number, bank numbers, pin numbers, this should not be necessary.
I tear off any pertinent numbers, my name and address off any mail, and that includes junk mail, and shred it.  Not the whole envelope, just the little tiny pieces that I have torn off.
Suppose you don’t have a shedder but you have a pet, those little pieces of paper can be put in your doggie bags, or in with the used litter. 
Suppose you don’t have a pet, keep a used can or margarine tub off to one side.  Put your used coffee grounds, tea bags, or vegetable peelings in that tub, and all those important pieces of precious information in there.  Then you can put it in the rest of the trash.
It is just to get them wet, so they will become illegible before throwing them into a dumpster where your information could be retrieved.

Now, you really CAN do all that!

Please remember to click E V E R Y day, every click is helping.  Look how many books the clicks have brought in to the Literacy site, just by clicking, one person at a time:

If you need a daily reminder here it is: service    


Here is a great idea, when the prices come down:
Propane-powered hydronic heater
"TAqua-Hot 375LP propane-powered hydronic system for heating gas-powered Type A and Type C motorhomeshe Aqua-Hot 375LP from Aqua-Hot Heating Systems Inc. is a new propane-powered hydronic system for use in gas-powered Type A and Type C motorhomes.
The 375LP incorporates Aqua-Hot’s proprietary propane burner technology, which is said to produce more than 37,500 Btu. The system has three separate thermostatically controlled heating zones to provide quiet, comfortable, evenly distributed heat. According to company literature, it is capable of producing 1.5 gallons per minute (90 gallons in an hour) of continuous, on-demand hot water."
The Aqua-Hot 375LP has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $7,193.22.
Aqua-Hot Heating Systems Inc.
15549 E. Highway 52
Fort Lupton, CO 80621-8225
(800) 685-4298
(303) 659-8221
Phew! $7,193.22 !!

“In my many years I have come to the conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a Congress”.  John Adams

“A government which robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support of Paul”.  George Bernard Shaw

“The only difference between a tax man and a taxidermist is that the taxidermist leaves the skin”.  Mark Twain

Jay and I installed the new AC in the grooming room this morning. 
But I don’t know when it will get used, as the weather is starting to get colder today.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Don’t Have GPS, then Benchmark.

Geocaching is a very popular hobby with a lot of RVers, but what if you don’t have a GPS?   Then “benchmark”, it will take you to lots of interesting places that you would never had known about, just like geocaching.

“Do I need to have a GPS receiver to find benchmarks?
No. A GPS makes getting to the right area easier, but when you're there, you will (generally) be better off if you use the details of the benchmark's location description to locate it. Because most of these benchmarks were installed prior to the existence of GPS, the benchmark database is geared toward finding benchmarks from the descriptions, not the coordinates. “
Here is where you can find them in your area:

Jay and I spent most of the day shopping.  We went to our local Justice of the Peace to see about paperwork so that I can sue two people who owe me money.  Then on to four thrift shops, plus  HEB, Home Depot, Lowes, Petco, Krogers, Tobacco Barn and Dollar Tree.  Whew!!   And we didn’t even stop for lunch.  All the samples in the stores were our lunch.  At the last store I tried some Crab and Spinach dip, but within five minutes my eyes were watering, my nose ran, and I got itchy places on my left arm and side.  And I only had a bit on a cracker!

I latched on to a matching royal blue set of non-stick Farberware cookware with glass lids, for $7.50.   Also a little coffee maker for $2 and some T-shirts, etc.  Jay bought some T-shirts and a telescope.  Neither of us had ever been to the Dollar Tree, we usually go to the 99c. Store.  We each got bargains there, including a strength of reading glasses that the 99c. Store doesn’t carry any more.  I had to buy a new AC for the grooming room, the old one didn’t even come on when I tried to use it.  And I bought more fence boards for the fence.   It had warmed up, so I had been removing layers of clothing, but we had to run the AC on the way home.

“Just because you don’t take an interest in politics, doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you.”  Pericles (430 B.C)

“Talk is cheap….except when Congress does it”.  Anon.

“If you don’t read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed.”    Mark Twain

A busy day.

Monday, January 25, 2010

State Park Free Days. RV Polls.

The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has announced its schedule for 2010 Free Park Entrance Days, when anyone may enter individual state parks without a vehicle permit. (Camping and other permits are still required.) Special events planned in conjunction with Free Park Entrance Days differ from park to park. Each park is allowed two free entrance days, both on a single weekend or two separate days of the year.


At least 2 free days in AR:

Mammoth Spring State Park
Meeting place: Depot Museum
Mammoth Spring
Mammoth Spring
Join us at the restored 1886 Frisco Depot Museum today for a tour and pay no admission fee! Spend time in the depot, baggage room, and caboose listening to and looking at what life was like in the early 1900s around a railroad depot. All ages will enjoy this interactive experience. Make a day of it and bring a picnic lunch to the park.
Admission: Free on May 15th. 2010

June 5, 2010
This red heart symbol designates programs involving physical activity and promoting heart health.

National Trails Day

Petit Jean State Park
Celebrate and enjoy Petit Jean State Park’s 20 miles of trails! Today will be filled with hikes and hiking related programs for all ages. Contact the park for a schedule. This event corresponds with American Hiking Society programs nationwide.
Admission: Free   From:


Another in S. Dakota, with free fishing statewide.:
May 21-23, 2010 / Spring Open House Celebration
Enjoy this weekend at Custer State Park filled with events and activities for the whole family. Pancake feeds, fishing derby, hay wagon rides, outdoor cookouts, Volksmarch, the infamous buffalo chip flip and much more. This weekend is also free entrance into the park and free fishing weekend statewide. From:

This one in WV is $1.00:
June 20, 2010, West Virginia Day
On June 20, 1863, West Virginia became the 35th state to enter the Union.  Come and celebrate West Virginia Statehood with $1.00 park admission, lemonade and birthday cake.  Cost: $1.00 Contact: 304-363-3030.

Also in WV, for birding folks:

June 24, 2010
Three Rivers Avian Center
Pipestem Resort State Park

Birds of prey take center stage this evening. Wendy and Ron Perrone present live birds—hawks, owls and eagles—in an entertaining and educational format. Great evening for youth groups and families.
Amphitheater Show.  8 p.m.  FREE admission.  Campsites start at $18.00.


In FL:
Sunday, May 16
Armed Forces Appreciation Day - Free entry to all state parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park.

Saturday, July 17
National Recreation and Parks Month - Free entry to all state parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park. Launch of Geocaching program at Jonathan Dickinson State Park, Southeast District.

Friday, September 10 -
Sunday, September 12
State Park Literacy Month - Free entry to all state parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park.

Thursday, November 11
Veterans Day - Free entry to all state parks except Skyway Fishing Pier State Park.

40 parks are free anyway:
“Dollar for dollar, FL state parks provide a value that is hard to beat, with 40 free parks, and most day use entrance fees ranging from just $2.00 to $8.00. Florida's 160 state parks offer white sandy beaches, vast open prairies, steep ravines, lush semi-tropical forests, cultural sites and crystal clear lakes, rivers and springs. State parks also offer countless locations to learn about Florida's cultural history and serve as outdoor classrooms for students of all ages.”


As for California:
Maybe y'all need to make a concentrated effort to go to your State Parks and see them before they close.  I don't think they realize how much it will cost to put the parks back into shape when they open them back up.   Visiting now might keep the coffers going, please.


Some interesting polls on RV 101:


“I contend that for a nation to try to tax itself into prosperity is like a man standing in a bucket and trying to lift himself up by the handle.”   Winston Churchill.

“I don’t make jokes.  I just watch the government and report the facts".”  Will Rogers.

“If you think health care is expensive now, wait until you see what it costs when it’s free.”   P.J. O’Rourke


The cats and I have been enjoying some nice sunny weather on the screen porch.
Then they helped me put new sheets on the bed. 
I have been doing laundry and odd jobs around the house today.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

FB!! Nat. Parks & Global Warming Again

I received an email that someone wanted me to be their friend on Facebook, and while I was logged in, I saw that ‘chat’ button on the bottom.  I clicked it, just to see what it did, and low and behold my niece, Heidi, in England was on there.  This is the neice that visited me last year with her husband and son.  I figured how to chat with her, and it was smashing!

Then she got my brother on there, so that was extra superb!!  I found out that he and my SIL should be coming to the US for a trip to AK this summer.  They have just ordered a new American fifth wheel, which will have the necessary 220v. for Europe, and it is being shipped over there soon.  They don’t want to take it to AK, but they might bring their new Dodge diesel and truck camper.  They bought a used Dodge gasser and American fifth wheel, see picture, some years ago, right there in England, and now they are getting a new one.  It was great to chat with them.  And I didn’t think FB was ever going to be any use to me!!

Lovely slideshow of the parks here:
The series on our National Parks is being re-aired starting on the 27th. January at 7.00 PM Central.  Here is a list of the episodes, and the dates:

Global Warming??
UN Climate Chief Won't Resign Over Glacier Warning
“The argument over the IPCC's melt date went public last November, when a paper written by Indian geologist Vijay Kumar Raina revealed that there was little consistency in the behavior of the Himalayan glaciers.
Some were shrinking, he found, some expanding, and others were stable. If global warming were to blame, he asked, why weren't they all following the same pattern? "A glacier ... does not necessarily respond to the immediate climatic changes," he wrote. "For if it be so then all glaciers within the same climatic zone should have been advancing or retreating at the same time."


A jolly good day!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Use Debit Card as Credit Card to Be Safe! History Channel.

Debit-Card 'Skimming' Scams
Friday, January 15, 2010
Provided by
“Three steps to take to protect your account data from getting into the wrong hands:
Whether by choice or necessity, American consumers are increasingly relying on debit rather than credit cards. Debit card spending has risen steadily, growing from 47.7 percent of purchases made with plastic in 2003 to 58.9 percent in 2008 and it is expected to surpass 67 percent by 2013, according to the Nilson Report, a newsletter that tracks the consumer payment industry.

When you use a debit card, the money is immediately taken from your checking account. While using debit guarantees that you pay as you go, these cards have downsides, including a growing appeal to thieves. "As economic conditions have worsened, there's been a noticeable increase in all types of card fraud," says Avivah Litan, an analyst specializing in fraud detection and prevention at Gartner Research in Stamford, Conn. "But ATM and debit-card fraud is the top area of concern we're hearing about from banks all over the world."

Unlike credit-card thieves, who usually charge merchandise and then resell it to come up with money, people who create counterfeit ATM or debit cards by stealing your PIN and other account data can simply pull cold cash from your bank account. Using a technique known as skimming, they set up equipment that captures magnetic stripe and keypad information when you input your PIN at ATM machines, gas pumps, restaurants, or retailers.
Here's how you can protect yourself:

***Don't Type in Your Pin at the Pump***
Be especially vigilant at gas stations, Litan says. "Gas pumps are notorious for skimming because they're produced by only a couple of different manufacturers, and if someone gets the key to one from a disgruntled employee, they can insert a skimming device inside the pump where it can't be seen," she says. She recommends using a credit card rather than a debit card when you fill your tank.

If you must use a debit card at the gas pump, choose the screen prompt that identifies it as a credit card so that you do not have to type in your PIN. The purchase amount will still be deducted from your bank account, but it will be processed through a credit-card network, which will give you greater protection from liability if fraud does occur. This is because card issuers typically have "zero liability" policies for both debit and credit cards, but sometimes exclude PIN-based transactions from that protection.

Stick With ATMs Located at Banks
To reduce your risk at ATMs, use machines at banks rather than in convenience stores, airports, or any isolated locations, advises Darrin Blackford, a spokesman for the U.S. Secret Service, which investigates financial crimes involving interstate commerce. "A thief has to be able to attach and retrieve a skimming device to use the data it's gathered," he says. "And that's more likely to happen in nonbank settings where there's less traffic and no surveillance cameras."

That doesn't mean that bank ATMs are immune, however. In August 2008, Wachovia Bank reported that several debit-card "identities" were stolen when a skimming device was placed on an ATM at a branch in Cape Coral, Fla.

"It's often hard to spot skimmers," Blackford says. "But if you notice a change at an ATM you use routinely, such as a color difference in the card reader or a gap where something appears to be glued onto the slot where you insert your card, that's a warning sign you'd want to report to the bank that owns the machine."

Closely Monitor Your Bank Accounts
Check them regularly—preferably online rather than waiting for monthly statements to arrive in the mail. Federal law limits your liability for fraudulent debit-card charges to $50, but only if you report the theft or loss of your card or PIN within two business days of discovering the problem. If you fail to report unauthorized charges within 60 days of the date the statement listing those charges was mailed, you could be liable for any unauthorized withdrawals afterward, including the full value of credit lines or savings accounts linked to your account for overdraft protection.

Visa and MasterCard have zero liability policies that go beyond federal law by exempting debit cardholders from liability in most circumstances when a bank investigation confirms that a transaction is fraudulent. But dealing with debit-card fraud can have a greater impact on your finances than credit-card fraud.

When you're a victim of unauthorized charges on a credit card, you won't be out any money while the disputed charges are being investigated. But when a thief steals money from your bank account using a counterfeit debit or ATM card, that cash won't be restored to your account until the bank conducts its investigation and classifies it as a case of fraud. Some victims of debit-card skimming scams who have contacted the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a nonprofit consumer advocacy group, about their experiences report that while banks in most cases replenished the stolen funds, some of them had no access to the money for several weeks while bank investigations were conducted.”
Copyrighted 2009, Consumers Union of U.S., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

I groomed Muffie, and watched several interesting episodes of History channel’s “How The Earth Was Made”, today.

Friday, January 22, 2010

“Teacher” Home. FaceBook Mugging.

Jay and I scooped up all the sand and coir out of the bathtub we had put in my grooming room for the tortoise.  Jay carried the bathtub back to the storage place, and we moved the bin of sand, coir, and Teacher back down to Jay’s house.

As the weather is up in the 70’s during the day, so Jay thought it would be OK for Teacher to go back outside.   When we got him there, he wandered around Jay’s fenced yard for a while, and then headed for his old bed under Jay’s house.   We had already put the sand/coir in his little hidey hole.   So he dug himself in.

The cats were on the porch while this was going on, so when they went in their room, my grooming room, they were taken aback by all the space!!

My allergy testing is going slowly.  I have gradually been re-introducing different foods back into my diet, and I still have mild reactions to - I don’t know what!  Nothing like it was before though.   Little Puddin’, the Yorkie scratched the back of my legs yesterday, and I didn’t come up in red welts.   Yes,  I did consider that maybe I had developed an allergy to cats, but I don't think so, as the rash comes and goes, and I am around them all the time.  I also changed to a hypo-allergenic laundry soap and bath soap.

“E-mugging takes place of real mugging” from the Star Tribune:
“On Jan. 13, I received an urgent phone call from a Facebook friend asking if I was OK and if I really needed money. While logged into Facebook, she had received an instant message from someone posing as me. She was told that I had been mugged and robbed in the United Kingdom and was asked to wire money to me because my purse had been stolen. Any questions or objections my friend raised were answered by the impostor.”   Read the rest here:


How about some more quotes for a change:

“Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk before it stops snowing.” - Phyllis Diller, comedian, Phyllis Diller's Housekeeping Hints, 1966
“You can get all A's and still flunk life.” ~ Walker Percy
“Education is learning what you didn't even know you didn't know.” ~ Daniel J. Boorstin, Democracy and Its Discontents
“Life expectancy would grow by leaps and bounds if green vegetables smelled as good as bacon.” - Doug Larson
“It's bizarre that the (grocery store) produce manager is more important to my children's health than the pediatrician.” - Meryl Streep

Mindi’s dogs were picked up last night, so now there is just Bobcat, and the two foster cats, today.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Please Help Haiti ‘Rebuild Right’. Haiti Animals

Please don't forget your clicks every day.  The Rainforest, Child Health and Hunger sites are all donating their clicks to Haiti:

Business Week says this:
 "Paris Club members agreed in July to cancel their claims on Haiti, totaling $214 million, though some countries have yet to finalize the process. The Paris Club is an informal group of creditor governments from industrialized countries, and those who were owed money by Haiti are Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Britain and the U.S."    

So that Haiti isn’t burdened with repaying their debt which started nearly 200 years ago, plus trying to rebuild from this terrible earthquake, here is a petition to try to help them:
As the country is already $1.9 BILLION in debt, they are going to need any funds they have available for rebuilding, and to do it right, not just shoddy makeshift dwellings.

“Earthquake aside, such a prominent call for debt relief for the Caribbean nation is overdue. Haiti is a very poor country. It is also a very indebted one, part of a legacy extending back to the 1820s. Then, France required the former slave colony to pay something like $20 billion in today's dollars for its freedom. The country has struggled ever since, with former dictator Jean-Claude Duvalier raiding the country's accounts and amplifying what it owes.
The debt hurts Haiti, horribly. As of last year, Haiti was paying $50 million a year just to service its debt, not even to pay down the principal. It owed hundreds of millions -- more than a quarter of its GDP. “

How Companies Can Truly Help in Haiti

Philanthropy expert Timothy Ogden says the best advice for corporate givers is:

"Don't just do something, stand there." Allow him to explain:

That sounds contradictory, but here is the article:

How YOU can help.
“100% of site advertising goes to our charitable partners.”

“Haiti has suffered from the slings and arrows of outrageous debt to the West since its creation. Haiti, the first black republic in the West, was not always the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. It was once one of the the richest colonies of the Caribbean. After defeating Napoleon's forces in a slave rebellion, Haiti declared itself a nation on Jan. 1, 1804. The victory was short lived however. By 1825, Haiti was forced under threat of invasion and exclusion from international commerce to pay France, it's former colonial master, $21 billion to compensate French slave-holders for their loss of "property." It took Haiti 120 years to repay that disgraceful loan.
The United States also played a part in Haiti's economic tragedy. Thomas Jefferson, an enthusiastic slave owner, feared that Haiti's success in the hemisphere would give millions of black slaves in the southern states dangerous ideas about freedom and human rights. Congress soon passed a law prohibiting all trade with Haiti, signed by Jefferson at the turn of the 19th century, furthering that country's isolation. Between the shattering debt to France and the trade isolation, the new republic hardly stood a chance. America also occupied Haiti from 1915 until 1934, then supported a series of dictators until 1990.
Debt relief may prove to be a more earth-shattering than the earthquake, but it is the right thing to do.” From:

Now, we will see if the countries that pledged to release Haiti’s debt, follow through.

Now, you know me, I am going to be equally concerned about the poor animals in Haiti. Please help them, too, even if it just by clicking     E V E R Y   day.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wanna Buy a Bridge? Tires. Allergy.

This one isn't in Brooklyn or San Francisco Bay!   This one is REALLY for sale!

The steel pony truss bridge was built in 1932 and is 27 feet wide. Federal regulations require that bridges must be at least 32 feet wide to handle the traffic load that crosses the span daily. State officials said it would be easier to take the bridge apart and move it than it would be to widen it.  See:|htmlws-main-n|dl7|link4|

Benadryl type medicines seem to take the edge off my allergy, but I over sleep if I take them, so I couldn’t take any last night. It was going to be an early morning rush, as Ray was going to help me get the minivan into M & P Front End shop in Conroe.  We (my late DH and I) have been going to Pete’s for many years.  He has a smart, honest and efficient shop, and they do other auto repairs too. It had been pulling to the right, and the steering wheel center wasn’t straight when I was going down the road.

After we dropped it off, I came home and fed all the animals their breakfasts.  It was such a nice day that I let the two foster cats on the screen porch, as they have been locked up in their big cages since the dogs got here.

Later on, Pete called and said that my front end was fine, it was pulling because one of my tires had a bubble.  Oh, horror!  I had been driving it on the freeway like that!!  We check the tire pressure every month, and we hadn’t seen it, as it was on the inside.  So I spent quite a bit of time calling around comparing quality and prices for a new set of tires.  ( Also asking where they were made, as some were Chinese!)

After the tires were installed, I went to the grocery store.  I am getting a little hungry, even though I have plenty of food here.  I am still scared to eat anything, as I keep on breaking out in hives, or get indigestion.  I am allergic to something,  but I don’t know for sure what it is yet.  Looking at the list of the most common allergens:  didn’t leave much for me to buy.   So all I had for dinner was some almond butter on bread and canned peaches!!  But I did buy some more organic sugar which is made of cane juice, which is what I used to use.  The regular brown sugar has molasses containing sulfites in it:  It might be that, or all the antibiotics they have been giving me for my sinuses. Also, seems to be worse when I eat beef from certain stores.  Maybe all the sh** they feed the cattle, nowadays.

Little Puddin’, the Yorkie, keeps on scratching at the back of my legs, and I come up with nasty, itchy welts, like I have been flogged.  It itches a lot, and then goes away after about an hour.  I wish she wouldn’t do that.

The antihistamines I took are making me drowsy, so that’s it for today.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Please Help State Parks. Boarders.

Arizona parks
Picacho Peak State Park is one of 13 Arizona parks slated for closure by June. (Ross Franklin / Associated Press / January 15, 2005)
From Los Angeles Times,  by Nicole Santa Cruz, January 16, 2010

“Wrestling with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit, Arizona decided Friday to close nearly all of its state parks, including the famed Tombstone Courthouse and Yuma Territorial Prison.

The State Parks Board unanimously voted to close 13 parks by June 3. Eight others had already been closed, and the decision would leave nine open -- but only if the board can raise $3 million this year.
The action represents the largest closure of state parks in the nation, although several other states are considering similar moves.
"It's a dark day for the Arizona state parks system," said Renee Bahl, the system's executive director.  "We have 65,000 acres around the state and the majority of them are closing."
The Arizona parks receive about 2.3 million visitors per year who bring about $266 million into the state, Bahl said.
"It's unfortunate that a short-term recession is having an impact on our future," Bahl said.

Please read and sign the petition:
“Arizona isn't the only state struggling to support its parks.
Louisiana and Iowa may close parks due to budget problems. Other states have transferred their parks to local control to save money.”
"This is the time when people need to be getting out and releasing stress."

As for the ones in CA:
”In May, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed closing 220 of California's 278 state parks to help close a multibillion-dollar deficit but backed off after protests.
This month, Schwarzenegger proposed to expand oil drilling off the Santa Barbara coast to provide up to $140 million for state parks in place of state funding.”

“Parks don't cost much - closing them would.”     From
“The tax expert could cite a case in point from last year. "When fires closed Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park for 10 months, State Parks lost $2 million in revenue from user fees and the Big Sur community reported it lost $40 million in total revenue from the multiplier effect."
Schwarzenegger would likely then survey his vice governors. "All this makes me look like an idiot, to think cutting off State Parks would solve our budget deficit. Why have you advised me to do this?"

You can help stop it here:

More on this by Frank Gormlie Of Ocean Beach Rag, CA:
“How do you close a desert, Mr. Governor?”
Have you heard this joke: What happened when the Governor tried to close the desert? The Turkey Vultures went on strike.  … Don’t get it? Read on:

Please look for a petition regarding your local parks, if they are in danger of closing.  They are our kids inheritance.

Here is a breakdown of how TX State Parks and their surrounding communities fare:
“The economic impact of state parks is wide-ranging. The communities that host state parks benefit directly from salaries paid to park employees and from the spending of tourists who visit the area. Restaurants, retail, hospitality and other businesses benefit from the presence of nearby parks.
Additional benefits come from the positive effect that parks and open spaces tend to have on the value of nearby land. And parks provide the state with revenue from visitor fees, and local governments with increased sales and property tax revenue stemming from parks-related economic activity.”

It is a lovely day in the 70’s, so I let Bobcat out on her porch, and the tortoise out in my fenced back yard.  “Teacher” wandered around for a bit then tried to dig into some soft soil by the roses.  This area has a little fence to keep the dogs away from the rose’s stickers, but he found a way to get in there.  So I made him a ‘house’ out of the top of a cat litter tray, as it has an archway door opening.  I put some pine needles in there and he dug himself under them.  If he wasn’t going to wander around and eat the grass and dandelions, he might just as well be inside, where I don’t have to worry about him getting out.

 Mindi brought four of her dogs to stay with me for three days.  Puddin’, the Yorkie; Sheba, the little old white Poodle with the collapsed trachea;  Jakey, Sheba’s silver son; and Precious the Dachhund.   I am always with them when I take them out, so I wasn’t worried about them hurting the tortoise.

So it will be lots of little dinners to make today.

Monday, January 18, 2010

MLK Day. Chained Dogs. Codfish.

Science isn't everything, as King observed in 1964 during his Nobel Peace Prize lecture: 
"There is a sort of poverty of the spirit that stands in glaring contrast to our scientific and technological abundance," he said.  "The richer we have become materially, the poorer we have become morally and spiritually."  He was a pretty wise man.

On the last speech he gave earlier in the night, Martin Luther King said,
"I just want to do God's will. And He's allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I've looked over. And I've seen the promised land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the promised land."
and "I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character."

I don’t think that this has happened to the extent that he dreamed it would.

Anonymous Valentines for chained dogs:
Please help address the problem:
“Know a penned or chained dog who could use a valentine? Find out their address and call 877-636-1408, e-mail addresses to or fill out the form at Dogs Deserve Better's website by Feb. 5. Don't worry—your information will remain anonymous. “
Why chaining hurts dogs:
“As social animals, dogs need to have regular interactions with their family. Dogs who are left chained up in the yard experience boredom, loneliness, and isolation, which eventually lead to territorial and aggressive  behaviors"  :
and more about the Valentines here:

Well, after not having stevia sweetener for a few days, I thought I had my allergy licked, and then it came back with a vengeance last night.  I itched all evening and most of the night.

The only thing that I could think of that I had done differently was that yesterday I took a cod liver oil softgel, which I haven’t taken for a few days.  Then I came across this, from:

What is fish allergy?    “Allergy to fish results from a physical reaction to a protein in the fish meat. This protein is found in many types of fish, however most individuals allergic to fish react predominantly to fish belonging to the cod family.” 

Now, if this is the cause it must be a new allergy for me, as just about all the fish and chips in England are made with cod, but I haven’t had any for many years.  I used to eat what they called Rock Salmon, when I did eat fish and chips:

I have become paranoid about eating, or drinking anything today.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Allergic To Something.

This train of thought came about when I was looking into different chemicals that are in the foods we eat, because I know I am allergic to something. 

I think that I have narrowed it down to either Stevia, Splenda, or something that is in a new brand of creamer that I bought.

Note: Stevia is in the sunflower and aster family (Asteraceae for those of you into botany). If you have an allergy to those flowers, you might react to stevia.
Read more:

Flavored Coffee:
“How do they get those nuts in there?
There are some things in this world that were meant to taste like hazelnut. Actual hazelnuts, for instance, and also Aunt Sylvia's famous holiday pralines. Maybe even a hot cocoa or a cookie batter that has a dash of extract in it.    But what about coffee beans?
Think of it this way: Does a quality butcher marinate his best cuts of meat in soy sauce before laying them out for sale? Do any world-class vintners reserve their best grapes for wine coolers?”

“Many flavored coffees contain propylene glycol, a form of antifreeze that is regarded as "safe" enough to consume in small quantities. You can find this on ingredient lists on some company websites. On the other hand, if you look up propylene glycol on the manufacturer's product safety data pages, you see that the manufacturer does not claim it is safe to drink. Look up the possible side effects and you will stay away from it. (P.S. It's in fast food cocoa and many salad dressings too.)”

“Pre-flavored coffee tastes like chemicals. I sometimes add a shake of cinnamon and a dash of pure vanilla to a basket of ground coffee right before I brew it and it tastes great- just like French vanilla.”

PROPYLENE GLYCOL is even in Wendy’s Twisted Chocolate Frosty:
Chocolate Frosty (milk, sugar, corn syrup, whey, nonfat dry milk, cocoa (processed with alkali), guar gum, mono and diglycerides, cellulose gum, carrageenan, calcium sulfate, disodium phosphate, artificial and natural flavoring, vitamin A palmitate). Coffee Syrup (water, high fructose corn syrup, PROPYLENE GLYCOL, caramel color, cocoa powder [processed with alkali], natural flavoring, potassium sorbate [preservative], instant coffee, citric acid. May contain xanthan gum). CONTAINS: MILK.

Some other Surprise Ingredients in Fast Food:
“Some of these food additives are not foods at all, but are chemicals that are generally recognized as safe. Most of these additives cannot be found at your local grocery store, probably because they aren't food. But some can be found at your local hardware store, though in inedible products like low tox antifreeze, silicone caulk, soap, sunscreen, and play sand.” From:
____________________  has a lot of information about sugar and sugar substitutes, here are just a few of the items:

“Excess sugar consumption also upsets the balance of intestinal flora in your digestive tract and can cause symptoms of intestinal distress such as bloating, cramping, and gas (for more on this, see our section on digestion). Other symptoms of sugar sensitivity are headaches, insomnia, aggression, panic attacks, irritability, mood swings, and depression. Too much sugar can deplete levels of serotonin, the neurotransmitter whose deficiency is linked to depression. What’s worse, low levels of serotonin actually trigger more sugar cravings.
New studies in accelerated aging link elevated sugar intake with a process called glycosylation: proteins in our bodies morph into AGE’s, or advanced glycosylation end-products, a kind of metabolic debris that collects in our organ, joint, and skin tissues.

Artificial sweeteners are chemicals, not food! They have no calories because they don’t nourish your body in anyway — they’re toxins your body has to clear, or, depending on how well you detoxify, store them.

At our practice, we encourage our patients to build their snacks and meals from whole food, which means food that has not been processed and manipulated. Your food should resemble its source as closely as possible (e.g., fresh fish, not fish sticks). And this includes sugar.

Even if you don’t have a reaction or sensitivity to sugar, continue to use refined sugar rarely, if ever. Instead, sweeten sparingly with the more nutritionally complex natural sugars such as honey, rice syrup, molasses, and maple syrup.”
_____________________   The dangers of sugar.

Even most of the brown sugar available today is regular refined white sugar with molasses added for texture and color.  So which is the best sweetener for me?

So I guess I will be going back to using good old honey with no chemicals, or refining, in my coffee, as of today.