The Center of the Universe
I baked molasses cookies from an old tattered recipe card in my mom's handwriting over the weekend. My grandchildren were there to help me "sample" them and I thought about my own childhood and the wonderful smells that emanated from my mom's kitchen, especially around the holidays.
What's your favorite holiday recipe? Here's one of mine.
1 cup of sugar
¼ cup of molasses
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp baking soda
Mix shortening and sugar with mixer. Add egg and mix. Add molasses and mix. Mix in dry ingredients. Cover and put in refrigerator to chill at least ½ hour. Form walnut sized balls and roll in sugar. Use the bottom of a drinking glass to flatten balls. Bake at 375 degrees for 5-8 minutes. When I take the cookie sheet from the oven, I tap the cookie sheet on the stove to flatten the cookies, remove from cookie sheet immediately with a spatula.
I was heading westbound on K10 early this morning and came up on the wreck in which two people died. I was the third car back heading west that had pulled over. I arrived after the ambulances or helicopters had left the scene. There were probably 10-15 emergency vehicles there, some still arriving after I had arrived. They told us there would be it would be 6 or 7 hours before the road was cleared so this told me it had to have been a horrific accident and lives were most likely lost, which was confirmed when I read the account in the paper this morning. We were told to cross the median and go back east. This was the second accident I came across on my way home from Kansas City. There was a pretty serious accident at I-35 and Lamar that involved at least two cars. I had some time to reflect on these accidents as I drove around trying to find an alternate route home. :~) Since I was the first car diverted back to the east, there wasn't yet someone available to provide an alternate route besides going back to Highway 7 and taking the turnpike back to Lawrence. Although I have lived in this area off and on (mostly on) for the past 37 years, I don't know many roads off the beaten track and I am especially directionally challenged on a dark an foggy night, I drove around some time before accepting that fact I can't find my way out of a paper bag. It is obviously a miniscule thing to even bring up but it gave me an opportunity to think about the families and others impacted by these accidents.
I have realized before that is so dangerous to be out of the highway that late (or early in the morning, as the case may be) because other drivers may have been drinking or extremely sleepy. In both of these accidents, the scenes had not been well secured yet and I remembered what I'd been told as an EMT many years ago. Rescue personnel such as police officers, paramedics, firefighters and tow truck drivers are at such a risk of being struck and killed or seriously injured by another driver while they are attempting to save people's lives. At the earlier accident on I-35, a car came zooming by on the right side of this accident scene and I was so fearful for those working the scene.
My condolences to the families who lost loved ones in these accidents. I was struck again about how precious life is as well as the unpredictability of our lives, and but for spending a few more minutes with good friends last evening, I could have been one of the victims in these accidents. It reminds me to tell those I care about that I love them and to not take them or the blessings in my life for granted.
I am often tempted to say in these situations, but by the grace of God go. But, I guess I don't believe God chooses to provide me grace but not the victims of this accident. Rabbi Harold Kushner wrote a wonderful book called, "When Bad Things Happen to Good People" that seems to say the same thing. Rabbi Kushner very purposefully started the title of the book with the word "when" not "if", because bad things do happen to good people. I can not possibly say it as well as this very wise rabbi, but he asserts that this is a chaotic world that we live in and bad things inevitably do happen. He believes God is there is provide us support, but doesn't intervene in the natural laws of this world. I know for people who believe in the power of prayers, this seems off-base. I guess I believe God may answer our prayers, not by always giving us what we ask for, but by giving us the strength to endure bad things and providing us with a loving and supportive community.
As a social worker, I have recommended this book to many people that have experienced the grief of a divorce, a death of a loved one or their own serious ailments, whether physical, emotionally or spiritually. I don't suggest that people have to look at the world the way Rabbi Kushner does, but by reading his book they may find comfort and solace. Rabbi Kushner is an expert on the Book of Job and the trials Job endured. The rabbi and his wife know something personally about grief and tribulations. Their beloved son had a disorder called progeria, which is essentially accelerated aging. The expected lifespan is age 13. They watched hopelessly as their precious son grew old and died right before the eyes.
Well, this blog has rambled on and began as a comment about a wreck I came upon so please forgive the disorganization of this blog. Please give your loved ones at extra long hug today and be especially kind to people who've had bad things happen to them. I know I will.
When I was growing up in north-central Kansas, my family watched the CBS news with Walter Cronkite on our black and white television set faithfully every evening. As a carefree and rather oblivious young child, most of the time I paid little attention to what Walter Cronkite had to say. I knew to be quiet or play in my room so my parents could watch the news.
There were times, however, that the excitement or seriousness in the tone of his voice drew me to look up or come out of my bedroom to see what he had to say. Probably one of my first memories of listening and watching Walter Cronkite was in the aftermath of the John F. Kennedy's assassination. We had been sent home early from school on that November 22, 1963 after hearing an announcement from our fourth grade teacher, Ms. Kinter, about the shooting of President Kennedy.
I'm not sure I could even wrap my 9- year old mind around the announcement that was made in the class. I was confused by the teacher's tears and the tears of some of my classmates, particularly Catholic classmates. Retrospectively, I know understand why Catholic children may have been more aware of who John F. Kennedy was and the historic nature of his presidency. In the same way, even very young minority children may be more aware of President Obama now. I wonder what Cronkite thought of yet another historic occasion that happened in his lifetime.
Walter Cronkite seemed to understand and appreciate when historic events were unfolding in front of him. Over the past few days, we've reflected on his impact on the nation. At times of great achievement, such as Neil Armstrong's first steps on the moon, he shared his excitement with his viewers. He shared and modeled a way for a country to grieve when our president was assassinated.
Thank you, Walter Cronkite, for sharing the events of the past five decades with us. You'll be missed by your family, friends and ordinary citizens.
Congress initially passed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in 1996 and it includes many aspects of medical care, including coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and release of confidential medical information. The part of HIPAA that most of us are familiar with was enacted into law April 1, 2001. We are often asked to sign forms related to HIPAA at our dentist and doctor's offices. HIPAA protects patients from having their medical information released without their consent.
A nurse practitioner, Cherilyn Lee, has spoken on three different programs tonight on CNN via the telephone. She related that she initially became acquainted with Michael Jackson at the beginning of this year when she saw his three children in their home for treatment of colds. She then started providing Michael with nutritional advice to increase his level of energy and to treat insomnia. At one point, Michael asked her to prescribe/admininster a sedative, Diprivan, for him that is only administered in an inpatient setting. She reports she wasn't even aware of what the medication was and had to check with a physician. She reports she has never prescribed any medications to Michael and told him it was a very dangerous drug.
Although Michael Jackson is now dead, does he give up his right to privacy of his medical records? This nurse had a professional relationship with Michael and both he and his children were her patients. Though she may be compelled to provide information to the coroner or the police department due to their investigation (which she says she's not spoken to about this), I believe she has violated both ethical boundaries and perhaps the law by disclosing this information.
Should she be charged with violating HIPAA regulations? Should she lose her nursing license for disclosing this information? What would your reaction be if a health care provider disclosed you and your family's medical information without your consent?
Make Me Some Potato Salad Mon, 06/08/2009 - 11:03 — By Walter Pfaeffle in www.germerica.net
If you had closed your eyes and listened to Ronda Miller’s grandfather speak you might have echoed Judy Garland in the Wizard of Oz saying, “Toto, I’ve a feeling we’re not in Kansas any more.”
He spoke with such a thick German accent you might think he had spent most of his life in Europe. In fact, Ronda’s grandfather was born on the farm his parents owned. Her great-grandmother spoke only German and lived into her 90s. It was the family elders and their friends in German areas of Kansas who spoke with the Teutonic accent they brought in.
A third-generation German-American, Ronda lived on the 880-acre property until her parents sold it. Way back the family even changed their name to Miller from the original Mueller, possibly because of the anti-German hysteria that prevailed in our country after World War I.
“It’s always heart-wrenching to see something that you know meant so much to your ancestors in the hands of others who don’t care for it nearly so well.”
As a child, Ronda had a uniquely American experience down to the one-room country school located about a mile from the Colorado and Kansas border. Later at the University of Kansas she earned degrees in Creative Writing and Human Development/Family Life (Photo: Ronda, left, and her siblings).
A mother of two, Ronda writes blogs for the World Company as well as other media. She is a self-employed Health and Fitness Coach and offers support services to those who have lost some one to homicide or suicide. She knows what its like to lose something precious.
“It’s too easy to lose touch with our roots .. they are essential to our well being on a very base level,” she says. Like most rest of us, Ronda is a loyal American proud of her German ancestry.
Soon Ronda will be an empty-nester. Her son Vardaman, 21, has joined the army and will begin basic training in Georgia in August. Daughter Apollonia, 18, will enter the University of Kansas at Lawrence at about the same time.
With the kids soon out of the house, Ronda might have more time on her hands to dream up recipes.
Before revealing the secret of her mustardized potato salad, let me tell you that I prepared it myself and, honest, it was yummie! My 21-year old daughter ‘Andy’ agreed (she ate most of it). Photo: Publisher Walter Pfaeffle and daughter Andy in New York City enjoying Ronda's potato salad.
Sorry, Ronda, we know Kansas produces superb wines, but our local vintner couldn’t come up with a bottle. So we washed down your potato salad with a Chardonnay from Napa Valley.
Here now is Ronda Miller’s recipe for hot German potato salad with mustard. You might want to stick it on your refrigerator door with one of those magnets.
A Hot German/American Mustard Potato Salad
By Ronda Miller
6 or 7 red potatoes
3 to 4 hard boiled eggs
4 Tablespoons of mayo (don't you dare use a light one) I have to adjust this depending on how large the potatoes are as I don't like mine too dry or sloppy.
1 teaspoon of dry mustard (sometimes I use a tablespoon of wet honey mustard)
freshly grated sea salt to taste
freshly grated black pepper to taste
one small red onion diced
liberal sprinkling of dill seed ( I am more conservative with this now that I am a Republican)
Serve it very cold....or eat immediately after mixing when it is still warm. Who really cares?
So the low calorie version would be the same as above, but you could leave out the egg yolks and use low fat mayo....just don't bring it to my house. And I am a nice enough person that I make an onion free batch to please my son.
Since I'm the grandmother of 1, 5 and 12 year old grandchildren, the movies I actually see on the big screen tend to be the latest animated children's film. Yesterday my daughter and I took the grandchildren to see Pixar's latest film, Up.
Up is a tender love story between Carl and Ellie who befriend one another as children because of their common interest in exploring far away places. They grow up and marry , they hold on to their dream of going to a fictional place in South America called Paradise Falls. But life happens and they are not fulfill that dream before Carl's beloved wife, Ellie, dies. Carl turns into the stereotypical, grumpy old man and grieves the fact Ellie was not able to experience the adventure she wished for.
As Carl is being forced into a nursing home, he decides he is going to follow he and Ellie's dreams. A retired balloon salesman, Carl uses lhis leftover inventory of balloons to set his house aloft to travel to Paradise Falls. He befriends an accidental stow-away who needs Carl as much as Carl needs him.
This film is sweet, funny and full of life's lessons. No matter your age, I'd recommend you see this film. If you feel funny about going to a children's movie without a kid, take a grandchild, niece or nephew or the neighbor's kids. "Up" will definitely lift your spirits.
Check it out Linda's published article here.
We are proud of you, Linda!
Max Hutchinson was born October 12, 1915 on a farm outside of Logan, Kansas. His birth certificate officially lists his place of birth as Densmore, Kansas. Max was the second oldest of the 10 children of Willie C. and Annie Josephine Hutchinson.
Max was a bright young boy who started first grade (there was no such thing as kindergarten in those days) in a rural one-room school house at age four because Lee, his brother two years older, was afraid to go to school alone. Learning came easily for Max and althought it seemed he was paying no attention at school and at home, he learned quickly and a developed a sharp wit.
Max attended school through 8th grade then stayed at home to work on the farm so his younger siblings could go to school. He and his siblings were a tight-knit group who had many stories to tell about their years out on the farm. His brother, Ward, broke his leg jumping off the neighbor's haystack and limped home and didn't want to tell their parents what happened since they had disobeyed their parents. His sister, Eve, stuck a younger brother, Gene, in a cream can when he was little and they still talk about it to this day. His sister, Lucille, got the nickname, Boo, which stuck with her until the day she died because of her fear of storms. Brothers Bill and Don always joined in when could always tell some tales at family gatherings.
A sister, Phoebe, died of appendictis at age 13, before the widespread use of antibiotics. His mother used to go spend time in the attic alone, grieving the loss of her daughter. After his mother died, Max and his siblings discovered the cherished items of Phoebe's in the trunk in the attic. Among the items in the trunk was a picture Phoebe had colored of her baby sister, Wauneta and Phoebe's worn toothbrush. Max and his siblings had long wondered what secrets that trunk held but never violated their mother's private treasures until after her death.
Max was in his twenties when WWII broke out. He had worked and stayed close to home and had not yet married prior to the war. He and his brothers who were old enough joined the army or other branches of the military. Max, who was a homebody and very close to his parents, was stationed in Texas. His comrades called him "Arky" a shortened version of "Our Kansas boy". Before being shipped overseas, Max decided to take the train back to Logan to see his parents. Max didn't tell anyone he was going and never asked permission. By the time they realized he was missing, Max had returned to base and was ready to go overseas to serve his country. Max was demoted to Private because of his unexcused leave. He never regretted getting to go home to see his folks.
Max spent time in Northern Africa and Italy. He was assigned to a tank destroyer battalion. Letters to home indicated how homesick he was as he'd tuck in money or souvenirs for his sisters and brothers too young to serve. He recalled coming through Rome in the tank destroyers, their turrets turned to the rear out of respect to the Vatican. Women and children clamored aboard the tank destroyers, anxious to give thanks to their liberators. Max was still a Private when he was discharged from the army, which was okay with him. He had served his country as had many other men and women and that was recognition enough.
Max married the love of his life, Delores, after the war. He pumped oil wells in western Kansas until he retired, working 6 1/2 days a week. He and Delores raised three children in Logan. He remained close to his siblings and loved reminiscing about their days on the farm. He and his brothers and brother-in-laws talked from time to time about their military experiences in north Africa, Iwo Jima and the European front. His brother, Ward, was at Normandy but usually Max and Ward would rather talk about fishing than the horrors of war.
I was the middle of the three of Max and Delores' children and could not be prouder to call this man Dad. My dad died about 12 years ago, 14 years after the death of his beloved wife. On this Memorial Day, I honor the service of my dad and all the other Americans who serve our country. I love you, Dad.
Paul Harvey was a masterful storyteller. One of the most inspiring yet heart-wrenching stories he ever told was about a little girl named Mary Ellen McCormack. In 1873 a janitor told a church worker, Etta Wheeler, about a little girl living in an apartment building in New York City who was being severely abused by her adoptive parents.
Mary Ellen was tied to the bed, beaten and struck with scissors by the parents. Etta Wheeler went to law enforcement to try to rescue the little girl from her life of horror but there was nothing can be done. Child abuse was not against the law at the time.
A few years earlier in New York City a man named Henry Bergh founded the SPCA, the Society for Prevention of Cruelty against Animals. Mr Bergh heard of little Mary Ellen's horrible plight and agreed to represent the little girl's interest in court. Although child abuse was not against the law, abuse and cruelty to animals was. Mr. Bergh had Mary Ellen brought into court on a stretcher. She was bruised and battered, she was disheveled and Mr. Bergh implored the judge that the little girl was indeed an animal. The judge agreed that it was a crime what was happening to Mary Ellen and other children like her. Mr. Bergh went on to found the SPCC, Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Children, believed to be the first child protection agency in the world.
So now you know the rest of the story........................ that because of a law protecting animals from abuse, this little girl's life and countless other lives have been saved.
According to the Huffington Post, a case brought by a New Jersey man challenging President Elect Obama's citizenship has been tossed. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/12/08/obama-birth-certificate-c_n_149229.htmlWhen will these silly lawsuits end and the far-right fringe accept the results on the election? It is time to move on and work together to solve our country's problems.