Tuesday, November 27, 2012

I wish my mom had told me

I was just listening to the Bob and Tom Show on the radio today (I know, now I'm retired I agree I have too much time on my hands).  There was a comedian on the show, telling how he has five kids.  I have five kids, I don't know why I've never been invited to that show.  I emailed them about this oversight, but I am not sure if I'll get any reply.

Five kids sounds like a lot...........but isn't...............Okay.......so that statement has to come from those of us who have five kids.  It really is a lot of kids........no denying it.

There is nothing in this world that can ever prepare you for five kids.  When I was a little girl, my favorite doll was a Betsy Wetsy doll I got for my birthday when I was 9 or so.  That doll drank water, shed tears and wet her pants.  We didn't have the dolls, like today, that cry, poop, eat and never shut up crying until their needs are met.  Those don't really help any either because with some babies, their needs seem to never be met.  No matter what you do to help them.

Oh, Betsy, you should have taught me better!

The oldest three kids were close enough in age that they rode bikes together and did many things together.  Each had a bike and one bike got broken, the chain came off, the thing wouldn't steer and no brakes.

The oldest kid, a boy, decided to simply tow the two girls on that broken bike, using his bike that was not broken.  Well, after about 20 minutes, they came limping home, the girls with gravel in their knees, blood galore and a twisted tire on the broken bike.  That is the moment when a parent realizes that everything you tried to teach them didn't sink in.

Towing a broken bike on a gravel road, a road that may as well have been covered with marbles, and asking my son: "When towing a bike, didn't it seem odd to you that the girls were passing you, the one who is supposed to be providing towing power?"  It was painfully (for them not me) apparent that he did not.

So you also realize that the 'common sense' your own mom drummed into your head, is not so 'common' after all.  In those days we did not have to place helmets on the children's heads when riding a bike, hell, we didn't even have seat belts or car seats for infants.  I recall driving around in a convertible, top down, with my baby laying on the seat next to me.  I shudder to think about the possibilities of that poor kid bouncing out onto the pavement.  She never did.  Luck was on my side. 

But ya know, not one thing prepares us, as little girls for any kids, much less five of them.  I guess celebrities just do not know this.  Gee, I never had the money to hire a nanny like celebrities probably do either. But, somehow, we all survived.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Let's talk about death squads

I'm the first one to admit how much I hate politics
and I hate having to play stupid political games,
especially in the workplace. But of all the places
I've worked in my lifetime, I've never had to play
more political, bull shit games, than I did as a
Social Services person in a nursing home setting.

In fact, if nursing home Administrators were as
concerned about the residents living there as much
as they were about those political games, even
traditional nursing homes would be better places to
live. In my book, politics has no place in a nursing
home where it simply messes up peoples lives and
makes no sense at all.

Recently many people have been quite upset over
the public health care debate because certain
factions in the debate seem to be fixated on what
some have dubbed ‘death squads.’ The death squad
debate seems to stem from some people thinking it
will be mandatory for physicians to have end of life
discussions with elderly patients. If this is what
some people consider death squads, then nursing
homes in America have already been acting as such
death squads, it is simply that no one noticed or
cared, until we started to debate public health care.

If Americans think President Obama has placed
stipulations in his health care proposal about ‘death
squads’ because they think it will be mandatory for
older people to discuss end of life plans with their
doctors, then nursing homes have always fit this

Staff members in the nursing homes, where I've
worked, were always approaching me to ‘discuss
end of life, or Hospice plans’ with the elderly and
their families. It seems nursing home staff
eventually do get tired of sending elderly people to the ER when they become ill because ‘the ER says
they cannot do anything more for them anyway’ as
the reasoning goes.

Unfortunately they are correct because Emergency
Room personnel will only do so much and
apparently feel time and life saving efforts are
‘wasted’ on very old, very frail people. The
problem, when the elderly decide to get hospice
services, is Medicare will not pay for any more
room and board in a nursing home, so families have
to pay out of pocket for their loved one to stay in
the nursing home, which can be a significant cost.

I recall one of our residents who had a very sedentary  lifestyle, sitting her chair all day long, a fondness for sweets and she was over weight.  One morning I came to work to find out she was dead.  It seems she had diabetes, the kind where you should be on insulin.  Apparently those lovely nursing home nurses and doctors never saw fit to give her a blood sugar test.  She went into a diabetic coma and died all in one night.

Another lady was experiencing acute heart burn every evening when she tried to sleep.  Her husband kept telling the nurses, who, in turn, ignored his pleas.  Finally one of the nurses said she would give her an antacid each evening.  Well, well, a few night later that lady was rushed to the ER and suffered a massive coronary and died.  Even I know that acute heart burn can mean a pending heart attack.  But, hell, when people get old, no one seems to think they need quality health care.

So my advice: STOP believing all the BS you have been told by those who hate the idea of health care for all.  I think it can only improve on an already bad medical system that charges huge amounts of money while killing people in droves, especially the elderly, without batting an eye.  

Both available on:



Wednesday, November 21, 2012

American Wages

Holidays each year make me stop and think as I see so many people shopping and lining up for the latest fad to buy for Christmas.  America spends, they spend in the big box stores, claiming they cannot survive without those cheap goods in those big chains.  They have few jobs in this year, 2012, yet they still shop for items they could live without, contributing to the big box store empires.  

I also start to ponder on the ruining of American lifestyles, the middle class that was, the decent wages that once were and the unions that made decent benefits possible.  I have also been reading about the Hostess company and how it 'just has to fold mainly due to union demands.'  I wonder.

Let's look back at wages, mom and pop local stores and *sigh* what used to be pretty decent health insurance.  

This company once offered decent insurance to families.

The year is 1970, I was a very young newlywed.  We were able to purchase a nice little house for $9,000 and our mortgage payments were a whopping $60 a month.  Now, mind you, my parents had a mortgage of $12 a month when I was a kid.  (Oh the inflation!) Now you have to pay $500 rent for a dump, and $12000 to $3000 for anything semi-decent.  

 We were able to bring home a week's worth of groceries for $40 a week.  My then husband, was making $9,000 a year at his job and we had health insurance that covered everything, no damn co-pay and that included prescription drugs.  We still had mom and pop local stores to shop at.  Yes, some chains existed, but for local shopping, the locally owned stores had quite a lot to offer.

In 1970, the Small town of Penn Yan, where I lived, had industry.  It had Michael Sterns, a clothing factory.  Pennsylvania House, a furniture company.  Penn Yan Express, a local trucking company.  The Boat Company, owned by the person who invented the tunnel drive system for boat motors.  There were quite a few places to work.  Slowly but surely, each and every one of those industries closed up shop and left the town.

 Women were seeking more opportunities in 1970.

Now let's look at 2012.  In 8 years George W. Bush and his cronies managed to bring America's economy to its knees. Now if you make a lousy $9 an hour, you are supposed to be grateful for no health insurance and no benefits.  Just what amounts to slave labor in the 21st century.

In the 1960's, my now husband, worked a big grocery store in Lafayette, Indiana.  He started as a bag person, bagging groceries and actually helping people out to their cars with the groceries.  He later worked his way up to a manager position.  Hell, in 2012 you are not even given bags in many stores, you are lucky if the sales person gives you a smile much less help with any groceries to your car. You get to bag your own groceries when you do get a bag.  So technology, and cheap employers, getting rid of bag people to save a few pennies, is supposed to be progress?  Right!  

The store Steve worked in Indiana in the 60's and 70's.

Wages:  I remember in 2000, I had a nice Bachelors degree, but the crappy area of NY's Southern Tier had few jobs to offer.  So in desperation I had to take a home health course and during the course, the instructor said: "You can make $6.50 an hour doing this for an agency.  That's really good money."  Okay, well I'm not sure what planet $6.50 an hour constituted really good money, but planet Earth was another story.  That agency she spoke of, amounted to a lousy 30 hours a week max, you got to drive over 50 miles one way to a client's home to work, and the agency offered no gas mileage and charged each client $75 an hour for services.  Our slice of that million dollar industry, for doing all the work, was a whopping $6.50 an hour.  Be still my heart, I think I'm rich!

Mom and pop stores once thrived in America.

We could collect these stamps when buying groceries and swap them for really cool stuff!  Now, you don't get a damned thing from grocery stores or gas stations, except a 'go to hell' attitude.

Did I mention that I had to take that home health course out of desperation because I could not find any other employment, and had to obtain food stamps, having 2 kids still in school and having a college degree?  God bless American employers!  So now, when you feel sorry for Hostess, feel like you cannot live without big box stores, that by the way, have depleted America of decent jobs, remember the $9 wage of the 1970's and take a good look at your $6, $8 and $9 of 2012 an know wages have stagnated or gone down because chains cannot afford the new healthcare.  All the new healthcare will do is force those rich chains to offer what once was offered, thanks to unions, to hard workers years ago.  

"No one who works for a living should live in poverty"

Could not have said it better myself!  Remember this as you spend in big box stores.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


We are searching for a different place to rent, NY State is our first choice because we do not relish that long drive to Indiana anymore.  So we look in newspapers and on Craigslist all the time.  My question: What in hell has happened to America?

I ask that question because Steve and I are retired professionals, moderate income, not low, not poverty and certainly not wealthy.  We are very responsible, we take care of property as if it is our own, sometimes better than a landlord takes care of it.  Steve does plumbing, heating and electrical work so often we spend our own money to fix something, we always ask first, out of our own pocket.  For instance, where we live now, we asked the landlord if we could have a screened in front porch.  He said yes, he bought the materials and we put it up.  This nice porch will bring up the value of the place, as the landlord even stated after he saw it up.  Now the once wide open front porch, is a nice living space in spring through fall.  We even cleaned out the nasty looking flower beds, also something the landlord noticed and was pleased with. We place very pretty flowers in the beds each spring, making the yard area very attractive.  So being very responsible and having great references, we decided: How difficult can it be to find a nice place?  Ha Ha!

I guess I don't get exorbitant prices for places with no garages, some looking dumpy, and of course nearly every one of them say: No pets. We have a cat.  A cat is small with a litter box.  Not the least bit destructive in any way.  But anyway, go figure landlords.  I looked at one on Craigslist (I have to see pictures, please) and it also said, no pets.  This one is in the Ithaca area, more or less, I mean within a 50 mile radius it seems is the 'Ithaca area' to landlords.  This place with 'no pets' had pictures of curtains that looked like bed sheets to me, two cages in the living room and a dog perched on the back of the sofa.  Geesh!  No pets?  Then quit showing a pet in the picture.

Most landlords in the Ithaca area think they need to gouge college students.  What college city doesn't anymore?  College students are notoriously poor and so charging huge prices makes no sense to me at all.  I saw one ad for an 8 bedroom house, charging each student $875 a month for each room.  Nice work if you can get it, I always say.

So Ithaca is like the rest of the Finger Lakes area.  If you are in a 50 mile radius of Ithaca, it's 'the Ithaca area.'  Penn Yan, Geneva, Canandaigua and beyond, if you can drive to a lake, it's lake property.  LOL  I guess landlords aren't much for geography either.

Even the God forsaken Southern Tier now tries to ask exorbitant prices.  Now we are talking the Olean, Wellsville area, which to me, is Boondocks, end of the world, middle of nowhere.  Those places advertise: Need references and credit checks.  OK  So if they had not rented to all the meth cookers and users in the past, maybe a credit and background check might not be necessary.  So now, everyone is a potential druggie?  Apparently so.  Credit check to rent?  I hand out my Social Security number and birth date to no one unless I'm buying something.  When did renting turn into buying anything?  Geesh, yet again!

Even in the Prattsburgh, Italy Hill area, they think they have a gold mine.  I lived in that area, once and believe me, it is nothing to write home about.  Desolate, wooded areas, huge areas in fact of desolation and a war zone in hunting season.

Elmira, well this one is absolutely funny.  One ad there said: "Bring a police report when looking at the property."  Again, if they had not rented to every drug lord, meth user, crackhead, and bank robber in the past, maybe a police report might not be needed.  

Do people realize all these areas, or most anyway, of NY State is considered the Rust Belt?  This mean there are no jobs, most small towns in NY are dying at a rapid pace, NY is bleeding population and these areas have seen their hey day?  Guess not!

So all landlords have gold mines, I guess, by the looks of things.  But we keep looking and maybe, just maybe, somewhere, someplace there will be a 30 something or 40 something, or older, landlord who is reasonable, allows a cat, knows we do not intend to buy the place (well we will consider a rent to own if possible) and would like a retired, professional couple who are very responsible.  Every landlord we have ever had was sad when we did not renew a lease, for whatever reason, because they come into their rental unit and see nothing but clean, neat and very nice. 

Not gonna pay $1200 to $3,000 a month for a shack!

Affordable, cute homes are now only in a child's imagination.  How very sad America has become!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Some of the loveliest pictures on aging

You don't get much more beautiful in life than this!  Age well and have the time of your life!  You are all beautiful and unique.

• Assisted Living Care Guide: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/assisted-living/
• Memory Care Guide: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/memory-care/
• Nursing Home Guide: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/nursing-homes/
• Care Home Guide: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/care-homes/

• Independent Living Guide: http://assistedlivingtoday.com/p/independent-living/

Ode to stupid landlords

I'm supposed to get rid of this beautiful face?  Don't think so!

So the landlord decided we cannot have a cat.  He called us on his cell phone to tell us this.  He obviously has no balls or he would have knocked on the door.  Obviously he likes to sit on his ass, collect rent and do nothing more. 

Well it's not like we set out to get a cat. She was a kitten in the backyard, dying, abandoned and we didn't have the heart to take her to the pound.  They kill cats who find no homes at the pound, so no, we will not take her there.

He can start an eviction notice for all I give a damn and we are looking for a different place as I write, a better landlord or a rent to own place.  She just caught a mouse this morning and played it to death.  So here is the lease breaker anyway.  Any state law says:  If you have cockroaches, mice or any infestation or ongoing problem and the landlord does not take care of it, you can break a lease due to the fact it's the landlord's problem to fix.  We have given this jerk written statements and told him in person that every year when it gets cold, mice come in.  We have told him for two straight years.  He has always forgotten.  Well, well, so he can shove his lease, Slumlord!  Our cat is doing the landlord's job.  He gave us no time limit on 'get rid of the cat' so while we look he can start an eviction notice for all we care, it will cost him money to do so.  

The thing is, we have rented some absolutely beautiful homes, with a dog, with the landlords knowing we owned a dog and no problems.  We come to stupid, stupid Penn Yan, the red necks who think they are sophisticated, I know since I moved here in 1970 and then lived other places since and coming back here was a mistake for sure.  

The Finger Lakes is a beautiful landscape but the people, well, much to be desired.  We rented a brand new house, never been lived in, in Indiana in a housing development and had a dog.  The landlords were sad we didn't renew the lease the next year because I wanted to move closer to my job.  They loved us, even with a dog because we treat all homes as if they are our own house.  We keep them clean, pay all our rent on time and keep the yards pretty.  Most normal landlords appreciate good tenants when they see them.  But Penn Yan dips apparently have no idea how to attract good tenants then whine because someone ruins their places.  I have no sympathy at all for stupid landlords.  Stupid ones abound in the rural areas of New York State.

When we moved in here, our oven door was broken, we had to tell him several times to fix that too.  The woman who lived here before had a young kid, and he probably sat on the oven door and broke it.  I know, I've raised five kids and have seen that happen.   Our cat is less destructive than her kid was!

So we get rid of our kitty?  No, and I will suggest he go home and pick which of his kids he should give away.  Same diff in my book.

Here's to all the idiot landlords who have no idea how to treat a good renter when it crawls up their noses.  Those kind deserve bad tenants! 

Beautiful baby, You are Staying with us!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mostly Midwestern Thing

When we lived in Indiana, I always noticed two things on the menus whenever we went out to eat.  One was grits, the waiters and waitresses would always ask: "Would you like fries or grits with that?"  I'm not a big grits fan, even though my grandfather loved them for breakfast, but the other item on almost every menu, I did grow to like quite a bit.  That item was pork tenderloin sandwiches.  This is something Steve grew up with and almost always ordered each time we were out.  I never knew much about pork tenderloin sandwiches, but in Indiana's defense, whenever I'd ask for gravy on my french fries, I got funny looks, must be that one is mostly an Eastern thing.  So I guess we are even.  Here is our recipe for pork tenderloin sandwiches.

Start with however many pork tenderloins you want to make.  Take each one, place it between plastic wrap and pound them until they are about 1/4 inch thick, the thinner the better.  

Place them in a bowl and cover them with buttermilk.  If you cannot get buttermilk you can use one tablespoon of vinegar to one cup of regular milk, that works fine as a substitute.  Let the meat soak overnight, if you can, or all day while you are at work.

For the coating you will need:

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 cup flour, depending on how many you need to coat

2 beaten eggs

1 cup bread crumbs, either seasoned or plain, your preference, (hint: Panko bread crumbs will make a crunchier end product).

Add all the spices to your flour mixture.  Take the meat, one at a time, from the buttermilk and dip each one in the seasoned flour mixture first, then the beaten eggs, and finally coat with bread crumbs. 

Fry each tenderloin in your deep fryer, electric frying pan or stove top pan until each side is nice and brown.  

Place each tenderloin on toasted french bread, toasted garlic bread or on a hamburger bun.  We like ours topped with ketchup, mustard and dill pickles.  You can also add lettuce and tomato if you like.  We serve them with steak fries on the side and you can use whatever sides you like. 

We usually saw these tenderloins on the breakfast menu with white gravy on the meat and a couple of eggs and toast on the side.  They are wonderful that way too.

It has been our dream for the past ten years to own a nice little diner, serving down home cooking.  In the Midwest I came to appreciate those small diners dotted along the highways and in small towns whenever we traveled.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. 

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Meatloaf for two

I buy my hamburger at BJ's Wholesale by the tube.  This way I can come home, slice the tube into 3 or four round chunks, freeze them in foil and use each chunk as I need them during the month.  This is recipe for meatloaf for two, or three, depending how thin you slice it.  It can be hard to know what to fix for only two people.  We like this recipe very much. 

Steve always mixes it up for me because for some reason his meatloaf slices hold together better than mine.  This is a restaurant quality, delicious meatloaf that I can cook in my electric toaster oven.  Cooking time, about one hour on 350 degrees.  We serve it with mashed potatoes, any vegetable or salad, rolls and sometimes I make brown gravy for it.  Enjoy!


1 pound lean hamburger

1 small onion, diced

1 cup of crushed, canned tomatoes

1 egg

1/2 cup of bread crumbs

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 tablespoon of mustard

Mix all the ingredients together and shape into a loaf pan.  We use a metal bread pan which seems to work very nicely.  

hamburger, onions, egg and bread crumbs mix

With mustard, ketchup,tomatoes & seasonings.  Mix by hand until all ingredients are well mixed.

Place in loaf pan and glaze top (brushing) with mustard and ketchup.  Bake for about 1 hour.

Finished product, sliced and ready to eat. 


Thursday, November 1, 2012

What does it mean?

I was checking my blog views when I noticed the most viewed blog I have is entitled: Over Stimulated and Blogging.  That one has 79 total views.  My blogs average 8 views.  Now what does it all mean? The title meant I'd had too much coffee and was up late.  It means that 71, possible deviants, must have thought it meant something ominous.  If young girls do not think deviants crawl all over titles insinuating something provocative, well guess again.  I'm sure they (the naughty readers) were sorely disappointed because I talked about trying to decide if I should give myself a perm or not.  Too, too funny!  OK then, on with today's recipe.

Steve's almost famous biscuits and gravy:

You will need one half package (a whole package of you want a large amount) of ground sausage.  Steve gets the tube kind. One tube, more if you need them, of country style biscuits.  We like the big flaky kind.  You can make your own homemade biscuits if you are that ambitious. 

Start baking biscuits while the sausage is frying.

 While frying the sausage, add Italian seasoning, ground black pepper and flakes of red pepper.  Cook sausage until nice and brown. 

Into the sausage, stir four to five tablespoons of margarine and allow to melt.  Sprinkle 1/4 to 1/2 Cup (depending on the portions you want) of all purpose flour over the sausage and melted margarine.  Stir and allow the flour to coat the sausage and allow the flour to turn a light brown.  (This is the base for the rue or thickening of the gravy.)  Turn the sausage mixture on high and begin whisking in milk slowly and allowing it to become thick.  Continue pouring milk and whisking the mixture until you have the desired amount you will need and continue to stir until mixture becomes thickened.  You may add salt and pepper to taste and your gravy is now ready to pour on to the finished biscuits.  

Add an egg on top and WOW a hungry mans breakfast.