Thursday, July 29, 2010

One of the many rewards of Blogging…

Some of you may remember the blog entry that I had back in June of 2008 entitled “The ‘Other’ Tea Party”. It was about the time that JFK ran for the US Senate in 1952 and his mother, Rose, hosted a slew of tea parties in the Boston area to promote him.

I was studying for a Journalism degree at BU then and our class got a blanket invitation to attend. It was considered quite a coup to be invited so I was thrilled.

Just recently I had a nice email from a lady named Sara who is an intern at the John F. Kennedy Historic Site in Brookline, MA. where he was born. She had come across my blog in her research and wanted permission to quote from it. She said that they are “currently working on a special event and that the quote would be placed within a small photo exhibit that will accompany the event.”

JFK Birthplace, 83 Beals St, Brookline, Massachusetts.

Now, I realize that this is not a big deal, but it does help to reinforce that parts of my past do merit being written about and remembered. I feel pretty sure that you bloggers out there know what I mean. It’s not an EGO thing. It’s knowing that our words are not falling on deaf ears and that they just may open up memories for others.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

THEN … 1978

In 1978 my husband, our three children and I moved South from New York. Jobs were scarce in the area so I felt relieved to get one in the ER of our local hospital. It wasn’t my “dream” job but it was full time and provided us with much needed health insurance.

As it turned out I ended up spending 23 years in the ER ! I would work with the Dr’s and nurses … ordering lab work and tests, etc. Looking back on that time it amazes me how casual it was. Almost everyone smoked and the medical personnel would be exhaling smoke as they entered a patient’s room.

It was around the mid 80’s when one of the MD’s (who specializes in pulmonary diseases) started to complain. At first he was laughed at (especially when he warned us of second-hand smoke) but he kept at it ruthlessly.

The first things to go were the ash trays in the ER ! Then, little by little the powers to be started to rally behind him and by the mid 90’s all smoking was banned inside the hospital, including in the cafeteria.

However, when I retired in 2001 they still had designated smoking areas outside at perhaps 20 different locations …

NOW ... 2010

Today I visited a sick friend at the hospital and I was really pleased to see this sign. HALLELUJIA !! The entire hospital, inside and out, is smoke-free.


Wednesday, July 21, 2010


Once again Fox news claims another INNOCENT VICTIM. Will this never end?

Andrew Breitbart posted an edited video on his blog which caused an innocent black woman, Shirley Sherrod, to be forced into resigning. She had been Georgia Director of Rural Development with the USDA.

In true Fox fashion a very small portion of a story told by Ms. Sherrod was taken completely out of context and used to “prove” their point that she was a racist in reverse. This is absolute nonsense and thank goodness for CNN who played the full video.

Ms. Sherrod was telling the story of how she came to grips with her own life’s experience. Her father had been murdered by a white farmer and, in her job with a non-profit organization, she had come face-to-face with the decision of whether to help a poor white family save it’s farm. She explains her feelings and then her moment of clarity when she realized that poverty is not exclusively a black problem. She rose above her instinctual prejudices and over a 2 year period was able to help the family save it’s farm.

And now it is 24 years later and this courageous and hard working woman has lost her job thanks to the smear tactics of Fox news and it’s cronies. I pray that it is not too late to have the Obama administration rectify this mistake.

Once again I ask…how can these toxic right-wing commentators at Fox News (or, should I say Fox Gossip) sleep at night? This is nothing short of blasphemy … a group of reporters who take extreme measures that include cropping, editing and taking quotes out of context in order to distort and manipulate the “news” to their own small ends.

We Americans don’t stand a chance of becoming one at peace with the world as long as we tolerate this garbage. I pray that this latest disgrace will back-fire but I doubt if they’d have the common decency to even notice !

Friday, July 16, 2010

A delightful few hours at the C.I.A.

Yes, this is the one…not the Central Intelligence Agency or (as we joke in AA … Catholic-Italian-Alcoholic !) It was the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and I was there with my daughter and her husband and his dad last month. Although I have been there a few times I am always amazed at what an outstandingly gorgeous place it is. The property was once home to a Jesuit novitiate and it retains the calm and beauty of that era.

We were there on a Monday so only three of the many restaurants were open. Two of them were completely booked up so we “settled” for The Apple Pie Bakery Café. As the name implies the deserts were sinful but the sandwiches were a culinary delight too . Here is a brief sampling of the menu:

Banh Mi 9.95 French-Vietnamese sandwich of spicy pork meatballs withcarrots, pickled daikon radishes, jalapenos & cilantro. Served with hot Siracha mayonnaise & a side of pickled cucumbers
Muffaletta 9.95 Mortadella, ham, Genoa salami, provolone, mozzarella, & black olive tapenade on foccacia. Served with Old Bay spiced potato chips.
Portabella Mushroom Sandwich 7.95 Warm Olive Oil roasted Portobello Mushrooms, Soft Goat Cheese, Red Onions, and Baby Spinach dressed with Balsamic Vinegar on our Francese and Caramelized Onion Bread. Served with a Watercress and Sherry Vinaigrette Salad.

After our lunch we strolled the campus and I was pleased to get an actual photograph of one of the students at work and a panoramic shot of the garden area overlooking the Hudson River.

As we drove away I couldn’t help but think that this had, indeed, been a palatable experience … satisfying an inner peacefulness as well as our taste buds.

Be sure to visit if you are ever in the vicinity.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


(I take no credit for this posting. I received it as an e-mail but I can’t resist sharing it with you … )

Harry Truman was a different kind of President. He probably made as many, or more, important decisions regarding our nation's history as any of the other Presidents preceding him. However, a measure of his greatness may rest on what he did after he left the White House.

The only asset he had when he died was the house he lived in, which was in Independence, Missouri . Bess Truman inherited that house from her mother and father and, other than their years in the White House, they lived their entire lives there.

When he retired from office in 1952, his income was a U.S. Army pension reported to have been $13,507.72 a year. Congress, noting that he was paying for his stamps and personally licking them, granted him an 'allowance' and, later, a retroactive pension of $25,000 per year.

After President Eisenhower was inaugurated, Harry and Bess drove home to Missouri by themselves. There was no Secret Service following them. When offered corporate positions at large salaries, he declined, stating, "You don't want me. You want the office of the President, and that doesn't belong to me. It belongs to the American people and it's not for sale."

Even later, on May 6, 1971, when Congress was preparing to award him the Medal of Honor on his 87th birthday, he refused to accept it, writing, "I don't consider that I have done anything which should be the reason for any award, Congressional or otherwise."

As president he paid for all of his own travel expenses and food.

Modern politicians have found a new level of success in cashing in on the Presidency, resulting in untold wealth. Today, many in Congress also have found a way to become quite wealthy while enjoying the fruits of their offices.

Good old Harry Truman was correct when he observed, "My choices in life were either to be a piano player in a whore house or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference!”

Thursday, July 08, 2010


If you live in the Southern part of North America, as I do, you will not find this picture unusual. These are trees and a field that have been completely covered with KUDZU. When winter arrives the foliage will lose it’s green color and you are able to see what’s underneath. However this does not mean that the plant will be eradicated. The minute that our weather turns warm we are back where we started ... overrun with KUDZU.

It seems impossible that all of this growth has evolved from one simple plant that was not even native to our land. In 1876 the United States celebrated our centennial and countries were invited to build exhibits at the Philadelphia Exposition. The Japanese Pavilion was especially elaborate, festooned with the large leaves and delightful grape-smelling purple flowers of the imported ZUDZU plant.

This quick growing plant caught the eye of government officials and by the 1930’s the Soil Conservation Service paid hundreds of men to plant KUDZU. It was used to prevent soil erosion and as forage for cows, pigs and goats. By 1953 the USDA stopped advocating the use of KUDZU and in 1972 it was declared to be a weed !

Today, KUDZU covers 7 million acres of land in the southeast and is spreading at a rate of 120,000 acres a year. Although KUDZU causes much damage and I’m sure that the cost to keep it contained must be astronomical there seems to be little that the states have done to keep it in check. I do know, however, that in Florida and Mississippi they are experimenting with grazing goats amid the KUDZU.

But I keep thinking that a country that is not as “rich” as ours would surely have taken advantage of this voluptuous crop long before now. KUDZU has great nutritional value and can be fed to most livestock. The vines are excellent basket making material and many food products can be made from the plant. More importantly, KUDZU shows great potential for medicine.

Can you imagine any of the impoverished countries of the world letting an abundant crop such as this go to waste ... and, what’s worse, complaining about it?

Something to ponder…..

Sunday, July 04, 2010


Recently I enjoyed a 10 day visit with my daughter and her husband in New York State. One of the highlights for us was taking the “Walkway Over the Hudson”.

This is a 1.28 mile walkway connecting the two shores of that impressive river. It was originally the abandoned Poughkeepsie-Highland Railroad bridge that was built in the late 19th century to link New York and New England. It was demolished by a fire in 1974, leaving it unusable.

In 1992 a non-profit group called “Walkway Over the Hudson” began efforts to provide public access to the bridge and joined with local and state municipalities to make this a reality. It was completely refurbished by 2009 and is now operated by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historical Preservation.

The day that we were there they were installing meters for parked cars so we got by without having to pay. But the $5 per car fee is a great bargain, nonetheless.

The pictures that I’ve posted show the delightful entry gate, the walkway and just one of the continuing vistas that appear as you walk the length of the bridge. It was a perfect day…in the mid 80’s with a slight breeze … and that made it even more memorable.

If you are ever in the Poughkeepsie, NY vicinity be sure to make this walk part of your visit. You won’t be disappointed.