Friday, November 20, 2009

Pumpkin Shortage Announced

There is a Communist plot to destroy the holidays this year. First a shortage of Eggo waffles and NOW pumpkin puree. What in heaven's name will be next? Cranberries, miniature marshmallows, Campbell's cream of mushroom soup?

I'm going shopping TODAY and will buy every can of pumpkin puree on my grocery store shelf - yes, I have been reduced to hoarding, but Thanksgiving without pumpkin pie? SACRELIGIOUS!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

New Mammogram Study

I shouldn't be surprised, but this is a new low for the GOP.

Only women's issues hit the political circuit. Abortion, reproductive rights, birth control, and now mammograms are routinely attacked by a group comprised largely of men. Why are women always underrepresented in these matters?

Prostate exams show a remarkably similar efficiency and also carry the "risks" of stress, false positives, and unnecessary biopsies, yet there is no movement to deter men from getting examinations. And just to keep this topic gender neutral, last week I lost a 46 year old male friend to colon cancer, so it would seem logical (to me) that similar studies on the benefits of automatic colonoscopy at 40 is probably worthwhile but that will probably never happen. As usual, the GOP brings nothing to the table except fear mongering.

In this climate, when we are all paying attention to how we can decrease the cost of health care, the only conclusion I can come to is that it's economically motivated. Forty-nine states require insurers to cover screenings for women 40 and older. Medicare also pays for the procedure. So now, a federal committee of so-called medical experts recommends against routine mammograms for women in their 40s, saying it is not worth subjecting some patients to unnecessary biopsies, radiation and stress from false positives. HELLO, of course, there will be false-positives. It is the false-negatives that kill you!

Breast cancer runs in my family (both sides) and I’ve had yearly mammograms for years now. I’ve had to have repeat mammograms and an even an ultrasound because of “something suspicious.” Yes, it was very stressful and made me extremely anxious but finding out that it was a false alarm was so wonderful that it made up for the anxiety. I cannot imagine any woman thinking that it is worse to have stress and anxiety and a repeat mammogram or even a biopsy than delaying treatment for actual breast cancer.

Many on the Right are now screaming that this is prove positive for the Republican assertion that the Democrats' proposed health reforms would lead to reduced care for patients (aka ‘Rationing’). I’m thinking it’s more likely the task force has been swayed by insurance companies that stand to save money if fewer screenings are performed. Bottom line: we simply cannot continue to allow the insurance industry to continue to drive health-care decisions.

Republicans suddenly care about the health care of American Women? Right. When pigs fly!


This is just WRONG. I grew up watching "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" (the one voiced by Mickey Rooney and Bing Crosby) and one of the tenets of that show was that ALL of the letters written by children from all over the world were answered by the North Pole. Christmas is a time of wonder and joy and I have written my fair share of Letters to Santa over the years and was always thrilled beyond belief when I got my personal response from Santa (or one of his Elves). How can we as Americans allow the US Postal Service to continue to take away our culture and traditions just to save a little money? I mean COME ON, the government can bail out all kinds of big business and waste our tax dollars anyway they want but they can’t bail out Santa Claus?

USPS I hope you find lumps of coal in your Christmas stockings this year.

Leggo My Eggo!

OMG, two of the four plants that make Eggo waffles have had an "Interuption in production" (terrorists???) and it will take until the middle of 2010 -next summer- before shelves around the country can be fully restocked.

Now you can laugh, but this is serious!!! Forget about health care reform, the war on terror, the economy, etc., write your congressperson NOW and tell them to do whatever it takes to get those Eggo's back in the stores. The American way of life depends on it.

In order to help my fellow Americans get through this difficult time, here is my own recipe for homemade waffles - the only catch is that you have to have a waffle iron. I know, I know, it's not the frozen, tasteless cardboard you're all used to, but it'll do in this time of great despair.

ItMeCissy's Homemade Waffles
2 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup oil or melted butter
1 3/4 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Heat the waffle maker (spray with non-stick cooking spray).
Beat the eggs with a hand beater in a medium bowl until light and fluffy.
Beat in remaining waffle recipe ingredients, just until smooth (try not to over beat).
Pour batter from a cup or pitcher onto the center of the waffle maker.
Close lid and bake about 5 minutes or until the waffle maker stops steaming.
Serve immediately with lots of butter, maple syrup, fresh fruit, etc.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
Minimum Tools Required:

waffle maker (non-stick preferred)
measuring cup and spoons
whisk or hand mixer
medium mixing bowl and spoon

Just doing my part to lessen your misery, somehow, we'll all get through this together.

Monday, November 09, 2009

When I Retire

Now that I am able to see the big 'R' in the light at the end of my tunnel, I find myself wondering what I'm going to do with my life after I retire. Mr. itsme and I have agreed that we want to travel. We've even started looking at travel trailers (since we do not fly) and the rest of my family all have RV's or trailers, so there'd be no shortage of people to "RV with," not that we'd always need them to RV with. I don't think we'll do the boat thing since it's often said that a boat is just a big black hole in the water you throw money into. A friend advises that the best way to have a boat is to have a friend that has a boat. That works for me.

Except for a summer working in retail sales (NO THANK YOU EVER AGAIN) libraries have been my life. Still, I don't want to retire from my University library to work again in a library, probably a public library, for less money. And probably for people less experienced than me. (Sounds snooty, I know). I have a comfortable, non-threatening look about me, kinda like a friendly-faced Golden Retriever without the lolling tongue and wagging tail, although I have been known to drool occasionally.

I love to bake, cook (I read cookbooks for pleasure), entertain, and make guests comfortable in my home (hmmm, sounds a little Geisha-like; alas, I'm over 21, too old to be a Geisha). I'm also the person who when in a store, any store, gets stopped by other shoppers and asked my opinion about which of these measuring cups is better (true story while in Ross Dress for Less) or while in the grocery store a man showed me a recipe he was trying for the first time and needed cannellini beans and did I know about them. Or what wine goes best with beef stew? Stuff like that.

My most recent true story was about 2 weeks ago. I was in the Le Creuset Outlet store looking for a new cork puller, and a man and his son came in looking for a particular kitchen gadget. The store clerk - a mere youngster - didn't know what he was talking about, and since I am also an avid eavesdropper, I excused my busybodyness and told him he needed a mandolin. He wanted to make long shreds of zucchini to substitute for pasta, and since I own two mandolins of my own and make a great sauteed zucchini dish using the same technique, I knew EXACTLY what he needed.
I even told the guy the best store to purchase his mandolin from (and it wasn't the store we were in). Note: I should give credit to Mr. itsme for the zucchini recipe since he was the first in our house to do this.

So, I've narrowed it down to working (part-time because I will be on the road a lot) to a kitchen gadget store like Williams Sonoma, Crate & Barrel, Home Goods, etc. (think of the discounts I'll get) or some kind of specialty food boutique like (I like the word boutique) Harry & David or Rocky Mountain Candy Factory, etc. I think I'd even like being a Food Demonstrator at Costco, at least I could dish (pun intended) with other members about food.

No, wait, I have another idea. I loved the movie 'You've got mail' (even though the grammar usage is horrible in that title), I'll be a Meg Ryan-type and have a bookstore like the "Little Shop Around the Corner" that gets run out of business by the big bad big box book store . . . oh, maybe that's a bad idea afterall.

Well, at least I still have a few years to nail it down.

Sunday, November 01, 2009

Happy Dia de los Muertos!

We passed a local Catholic cemetery this afternoon and it was packed with cars and people. The whole place was alive with color and movement. Family members were sprucing up gravesites, decorating them with flowers - primarily large, bright flowers such as marigolds and chrysanthemums - setting out and enjoying a picnic, and interacting socially with other family and community members who were also gathered at the cemetery. The meals prepared for these picnics are sumptuous, usually featuring meat dishes in spicy sauces, cookies, chocolate, and sugary confections in a variety of animal or skull shapes, as well as a special egg-batter bread called “Pan de Muerto” (Bread of the Dead). Similar to the Mardi Gras’ King Cake, it is considered good luck to be the one who bites into the plastic toy skeleton hidden by the baker in each rounded loaf. It is also traditional to remember the departed by telling stories about them.

I took the time to remember my late older brother Ed who passed away 2 years ago today. Too young to die for sure, and still greatly missed by me. I also remembered my Mom who passed away 2 years ago this January to come. Some might consider 76 ‘young’ but she had been ill for so long and had suffered enough, it was a blessing that she died in her sleep as she had wished. This time of year was her favorite and I am just like her in that way.

If I could tell one story about each of them it would be these, first my brother: one Saturday, husband and I went to my brother’s house for dinner and just hanging out. They (husband & brother) decided to chop some wood for a fire. Pretty soon they came rushing into the house to say that Ed had to go to the ER right away. Husband drives him there. When the Dr asks my brother how so many splinters got embedded into his hand, he replies “we were chopping firewood,” and husband chimes in “with our hands.” Later, my SIL and I learned that a bottle of Jack Daniels was involved in the wood chopping.

For my Mom: she was an enthusiastic Grandmother. During high school, many moons ago, my oldest nephew Richard played the Lead in the school’s production of Cyrano (de Bergerac), huge, ugly nose and all. So while Cyrano is hiding in the bushes feeding words of love to Christian the Nobleman who in turn recites them to the lovely Roxane, Mom gets involved, and with tears in her eyes she unconsciously sobs “Oh Richard!” out loud. My nephew turns beat red and says “Grandma!!!!!!” and the entire audience roared.