From Womb To Tomb

Bed is our cocoon . . .

Making the bed we just slept in is perhaps the most decisive act of the day.  Accomplished in such a few moments but what a mighty act, and how far-reaching.

The rite is so much more than a mere straightening of the sheets and a fluffing of the pillows. With that act we relinquish all possibility of snuggling in (oh, just for a moment) again.  For while the blanket and sheets are still rumpled and warm looking, there is the luring invitation to crawl back in for one more second of shutting out the world.  Making the bed is cutting of the cord between that ‘oblivion’ and whatever the day has to bring.

Bed and the blankets are a shelter from care.  A haven from whatever you didn’t accomplish yesterday and must do today.  Bed is the comfort of home, mother, and being cared for.  Bed is that sweet oblivion of the ‘little death’ that Shakespeare wrote about.

But once that bed is made, we have accepted the fact that we are going to face the world, take up  our task, pick up where we left off, and that life does go on.

Bed . . . the haven of security.  It is no happenstance that teenagers sleep late whenever they can.  They are perhaps, at the most tumultuous period of their whole lives, changing so fast they don’t know themselves from one day to the next, and bed is peace to them.  It is the security of childhood.  It is the place were they can blot out their inner turmoil and pretend it’s all like it used to be.

It is no surprise, either, that the mentally ill will crawl into bed, turn their faces to the wall and never want to get up.  ‘Getting up and facing the world’, though an old phrase, remains  so terribly true.

Bed.  Oh yes, in bed we’re born . . . probably conceived there, as well.  Is it any wonder we feel the mighty lure of returning there?  And to remaining there, also, when life gets too ‘hairy’?

And, in bed we die.  From womb to tomb it is our cocoon.  People gather round the bed at both these crucial times of life.  When  one is injured badly, they put us to bed.  When we’re  heartsick and traumatized with grief, pain or sorrow  . . . it is bed and sleep that knits up the raveled strands of our nerves.

These are the odd thoughts that drifted through my mind recently as I straightened out the nest I make of my bed each night.  These are the words I decided to write as I reluctantly bade goodbye to my bed’s comfort and  turned to face what ever my day  had in store.

And yet, strong as the backward pull within me is, I do not dread my days.  I like them.  I do not have mountainous problems facing me, no situation too fearsome to come to grips with.  And once the break is made, I’m content, and that night I’m even reluctant to ‘hit the sack’ again.  But the lure of bed is strong, universally felt and I ruminated and grumbled:

“In bed we laugh, in bed we cry.
“In bed we’re born, in bed we die.”

And about then the last corner of my bed was straightened and neat and I said to myself, Oh, Ethel, go get yourself a nice hot cup of tea and you’ll forget all these silly thoughts.  So I did and so I did.  But not before I’d scooted to my computer and put all these ideas there on the hard drive so I could share them with you. Thanks for being there.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Happy Birthday

I just marked a birthday and the cards, calls and emails rec’d from scattered places, wishing me a happy coming year were great. And so, as this past year was wonderful, I choose to thank those who made life so, and who will make the coming year just as great.

Beginning with life’s basics, my mother Nettie Ohlin taught me to need and enjoy a clean house, but ‘how she did it’, just didn’t ‘take’ on me, and so Crystal comes to my rescue. And we’ve both laughed as I’ve told her that she first came to my home as an infant in blankets and napped in a cozy warm kitchen corner while her father, Ron, shoveled snow. She’s known my place from birth.

And then there’s my lawn, which if more than seven days pass, looks as if no one lives here. A few years back, in rebellion, I put my front yard in BIG rocks and mulch, but that still left the back, and that’s why Steve and Chris, arrive every Wednesday afternoon to cut, trim, and sweep that green stuff. Pure bliss.

They make my outside yard as tidy as Crystal does the inside. Yes, and they’re all members of their exended family group.

But as winter puts a ‘damper’ on the growth of the lawn,  with no break, snow takes over and again, others of that same family are here to keep the white stuff in its place. What more can I ask??? In fact, as time has passed, Ron, the father of the clan, no longer wants the “killer’ job of snow, is the one who started it all. He is the father of Crystal who first slept in my home as he worked and is father-in-law to Jed, who is now Crystal’s husband, and is standing ‘in the wings’ to take over this coming winter’s snow.

So what allows my happiness? We never give it a thought, but I can’t even begin to list ‘all the things I’d have to go without, if the electricity went OFF. Just sitting here at my computer, without moving, I can list this machine I’m typing on to begin with, and the printer that does the next step. The lamp that gives me light, and from the kitchen I hear dinner cooking away. There’s the clock on the wall, Classic County Music from TV Channel 934, the doorbell telling me I have a caller, a timer to tell me when I’m needed in the kitchen, and on and on.

What would I (and you) do without water at the twist of our hands. Just for starters, today’s kitchen would close shop, the bathroom would retreat to the back yard, and baths revert again to once week in a wash tub. Oh, I’m not going into that, but give a thought from the garbage disposal in our kitchens, to the bathroom, and we quickly change the subject. Yeah sewers are unmentionables, but without them, our lives would be unmentionable.

What else? What else makes my days joyous and wonderful? How about cars? Think about them, because we seldom do. We just use them. 24-7, too. Yeah, so what else makes my life Happy? Joyous? Worth living????

I could go on and on, but again getting down to the nitty gritty, my life, in any circumstance is centered around my family. And, as such goes back to a long time ago when my Ohlin parents and siblings formed the foundation for this life I love.

And I thank Gram, who, by being a Bradford ancestor, gave me my home and the land it sits upon. And next there was Brad, who with my help brought those two stalwarts of my life, John and Bill, And they opened the doors to Carol, NIna, Mike, Eric, Rachael, Zaden and Asher. A veritable cushion of loved ones without whom, I would have no life.

Yes, I could name people, household utilities, things, but then I am taken deeper, to the world . . . the Universe . . . and I bow in gratitude as I’m taken from the selfish wants of my physical comforts, to my family, and still deeper, my gratitude keeps going and gets to The Source.

And call It by any of the thousands of names people have given IT, my thanks must go back to That Beginning. And Knowing that from the most trivial to the most sublime, all thanks go to That Source. And also for birthdays that sometimes wake us up to the  blessings given us.   So, ultimately, as we ever do,  Thank You God for birthdays, the eye-openers we all need,  and hopefuly use.  .

Too Good To Throw Away

“One man’s meat is another man’s poison,” and it’s never more true than when it comes to our garbage.

And right now, the Spring Season, is when most of us get the urge to clean out the garage, closets, drawers, etc. of stuff we’ve kept for years because it’s all Too Good To Throw Away. or TGTTA.

But sooner or later, we realize “something’s got to go”, and begin putting those TGTTA’s out on the ‘other’ side of sidewalk, side-by-side with our mail box, knowing those passing by will also know that it’s our way of saying ‘Here is some still usable stuff, but I’m through with it, and if you can use it, take it. It’s free.”  We all know the game.

My kids, (when they really were kids), and their pals were experts and I cringed at what they sometimes brought home, but the evening before Garbage Pickup, they would head straight for Three Fountain condos. which they considered a Gold Mine and they all tried to be first there for the best pickings.

I now put my stuff out on any day of the week, and it works. People know what ‘stuff on the street side of the sidewalk’ means, and it’s become an established way of moving a lot of TGTTA, and, if you’re on that ‘other’ side, you get rare bargains and are busy giving your still good stuff, a new life.

It’s not just kid stuff either, but items that accumulates in all homes, but which, dang it, we finally admit will never again will be used, and so with a sigh and fond farewell, we haul it from the garage, basement, closet, to a place right next to the Mail Box, give it a ‘farewell pat’, wish it well, and that’s that.

My garbage pickup day is Monday, but I put most of my TGTTA out on Saturday or Sunday.

Why? Do I like to see my mail box flanked by discarded stuff?  Well, No AND Yes. It turns out to be fun, for as you quietly watch, people pause, go round the block and are back again for a second look. And then, with almost guilty demeanor, some item goes into their car, and whoooosh, it’s gone. Some times they come to the door to ask, but it’s now such a common-place happening that if it’s on the ‘other’ side of the sidewalk, it’s up for grabs.

Often your TGTTA’s disappear within hours, and the garbage man, finds slim pickings for him to put to one side for his personal ‘find’. Which I’ve seen happen more than once. If you haven’t tried it, you’re missing a good deal.

I’ve done this several times, and yes, to me it’s Garbage, and one day I saw a well used old lawn mower being pushed up the sidewalk, by two young boys, and I only hoped their Dad was handy with the pliers, wrenches and oil cans.

A hamper lasted but an hour, and an old bulky TV was still there at dusk, but had disappeared by midnite. I’ve found that most heavy TGTTA does disappear, after dark. I suppose the ‘taker’ needs help in moving whatever it is, into the car or truck. Who knows?

Yup, ‘One man’s meat is another man’s poison’, and if you pass my way and see some odd objects sitting out by my mailbox . . . take your choice. I call it my Mail Box give away.

But, be careful and not spoil a good thing, so stay on the Street side of the sidewalk, because the stuff on the House side might look like TGTTA to you, but is still wanted by that home-owner. So you keep on the Public side of the sidewalk, I’ll stay on mine, we’ll all stay friends, and have a bit of fun, along the way. Thanx.

Thank You Dad

My son, Bill, gifted me with a book a week or two ago, and it was as if I had been given an introduction to parts of Ethel I hadn’t even known existed. Yeah, almost every page had some thought that opened new doors, and very few pages didn’t spark my mind into new ways of thinking.  I understood only about one-tenth of it, and yet that tenth, was so compelling, so thought provoking, that here I am, trying to share it with you. Sometimes I think I should stop reading. But, it’s a habit I inherited from my Dad, Carl Ohlin, and couldn’t shake it, even if I ever got foolish enough to want to. Thanks, Dad.

The book is: Living The Secular Life, by Phil Zuckerman and the following words are from his book.

Life, this world, and our very existence—are all surreal, awesome, scary, yet pleasantly mind-blowing mysteries.

The depths and breadth of the Infinite, the Source of all Being, the Causes of the Universe, and the Beginnings or Ends of Time and Space – — when it comes right down to such matters, we don’t   have a shred of a clue, And   perhaps we never will.

What a funny and strange situation we find ourselves in.

We’re the only ‘animals’ in existence with the simultaneous awareness and knowing, that one day we won’t exist. The only creatures that ponder and argue about the nature of our very own essence and purposes.

We’re the only carbon-based life-form with the ability to produce Abstract Art and then hang it in a large building that also contains a cafe that offers hot dogs, colas, sweet rolls and a gift shop that sells cute little books, if you can imagine, on the Philosophy of Abstract Art.

And with all our admirable scientific advances that save lives, and ease suffering, and improve communication, and increase mobility, and able to harness energy, and also expand knowledge, and yet, with that scope of our attainments, we still have no sense of what it is all about.

We don’t know if there was anything, or, if so, what was here to begin with. Or how it is all actually possible. And, we never will. “Humanity’s Destiny”, by philosopher Andre Comte Sponville, acknowledges that all the imponderables are “irreducible unknowingness.”

Sure, we still can hear the reverberating echoes of the Big Bang. Yet that cosmic vibration tells us nothing about what was here before the Big Bang, or what was before that, or how or why there even was a Bang to be Binged.

This mostly wet Ball we call Earth, full of TV commercials, freeways, hamburgers, ponytails, oceans filled with our own plastic garbage, and poverty, is floating in Space among a billion other Balls, and there are galaxies swirling and there is a universe expanding, which itself may actually just be an undulating freckle on the cusp of something we can’t even conceive of, amid an endless soup of ever more unfamiliarities.

And we find such a situation to be utterly, manifestly, psychedelically amazing–and far more spine-tingling and awe-inspiring than any story I’ve ever read in the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Upanishads, Dianetcs, the Doctrine and Covenants, or the Tibetan Book of the Dead.

So, why not take time to smell and taste your sack of tangerines, or nimbly hammer away on your dulcimer, or pluck a chicken, or listen to your conscience, or master a new algorithm, or walk to work, go biking in the park, or hitch a ride to the next town.

Might just as well, because we’re here. And we will never, never know who or exactly how all this came about. Like it or not, that’s the situation we’re in. Deal with it. Accept it. And marvel over it, but the mystery remains.

The Unknowable.  Some call it God,  or Allah,  or Buddha, others The Force.  Still it remains and so do we.

Four Rest Rooms

Or will it be five, another for Questioning . . .

It won’t be soon, but a plan is being ‘talked about’, and if it keeps going, inevitably there will be Four Rest Rooms, instead of the standard Men and Women duo.

You know what they’ll be. Yeah, in addition to the usual two, there will be one for those who claim to be Female, but their Birth Certificate says Male; and another for those whose Birth Certificate says Female, but grew up feeling Male.

They’ve long been known as Lesbians and Gays, and no doubt those will be the names used on the added Rest Rooms. And for those who want, or need them, the change is legitimate and overdue.

Two questions have been asked. First: If you are Female, would you be comfortable making use of the Male facilities? Followed, of course, by the opposite: If you are Male, would you be comfortable in the Female rooms?  Of no importance for most of us, but well known in the Locker Rooms of all Sports, and more and more often in our schools.

Of course the first line of confrontation has been and continues, (in fine print, but in all contracts), is that “You play well and we want you on our team. We pay well, but you must sign that you’ll be content with the Locker Rooms as they now are”. Period.

And that’s what men and women, (Yes, it goes both ways), have been doing for many years, and while there’s been many a hullabaloo over the unfairness of it. There is no solution, and the problem grows.

It’s unfair that a person whose Birth Certificate says Female, but grows up to be Male in feeling and strength, and so can (and many do)  perform in some Women’s sport in a stronger manner than the ‘regular’ females and because of that added strength, gives that team an unfair advantage. Like it or not,  it ends up with ‘men’ on  women’s teams.

 And it works the other way with some person whose Birth Certificate says Male, but grows up being Female, will not be able to perform with the expected muscle, vigor or strength.

It’s a long, long recognized problem. In the earliest day of National Baseball, there were hints in the newspapers, and the majority didn’t know what they were talking about. But we learned.

That was the era when Gays and Lesbians were known, but never publicly spoken about. Every Player or Owner knew about it, but separate Rest Rooms and Locker Rooms were never even thought of, and they are discussed today only because those so affected have grown in numbers, giving them more voices, and ergo, more power.

It gets confusing. We hear hints for Sexuality Cards (as any Charge Card) that would slide through some machine to open the doors, and like it or not, such Cards, would be a protection from Sexual crimes by the wily ones who could profess to be Gay or Lesbian and so get into the ‘wrong’ facilities.  The ramifications are endless,

It won’t be easy, and ‘big money’ will fight it tooth and nail, for, if this ever becomes a law, it will require major remodeling of every public building, and many businesses will not have the needed space, nor the money, to pay for it. It will probably be solved, as in many European cities, (still only Men and Women) but where large public-owned Rest Room structures are on every block and thusly, are paid with Tax money.

There are hints that our dependence on what our Birth Certificates say is coming to an end.  And on all ident cards, the Sex question will have four squares, M.F.L.G. And we will check the Real choice, and not the one on our Birth Certificates.

My son Bill who is far more into today’s world than I am, says that the current ‘politically correct’ categories are: LGBTQ, or Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning. And how all that would fit on Door Signs is beyond me. So, for simple folks it just boils down to: does the person have a penis or a vagina. And with that, we’re back to the Rest Room signs we’re using right now and I’ll stick with that, and leave well enough alone.

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Water, Rain, An Eternal Cycle

Rain pattering on my window wakened me one recent morning and I pulled open the blinds to marvel over the wonder of God’s world. How intricate each part is, and yet how perfectly it fits together.

The rain hit just inches from my face, and as I was in a sleep-pensive state, I thought of how those same drops of water had been pelting the earth and being used over and over again. Time after time. Eon after eon. And yet each time arriving as fresh and clean as it was on that first day when He separated the earth from the water and ‘found it good.’

I sat up and considered how the very water on my window sill, no doubt once fell upon pre-historic man as he retreated to his cave until the storm passed by. It fell upon slaves in Egypt as they toiled under the master’s lash to raise the pyramids there.

The same water nourished the crops in Bethlehem to grow the grain, the tares and the fig trees, just as it fell here in our valley in answer to the prayers of Utah Pioneers as they faced starvation without it.

The very rain upon my window once nourished the Garden of Eden. It supported Noah’s Arc, Moses drank it in the wilderness. It carried the Pilgrim’s to our shores, and the explorers rode its waves as they braved the inland territories of our nation. Alexander, Caesar, Cleopatra, Hitler and his co-horts all drank it, as also did your own grandparents. And so do you. 

It’s the same water, from time immemorial.  At times moving gently, other times violently on its unending cycle. Today it falls on me and will within hours, become one with the earth beneath my lawn.  There it will sink lower and lower until it reaches the deepest, most outreaching root of tree or bush, and then, through osmosis,  will again begin the upward  journey through an intricate root, limb and leaf system to the surface. Exactly, don’t forget, it’s the same journey when it goes through our bodies as we quaff the wonderful stuff, use, and then eliminate it.

The hunger and thirst of the tree will suck it up, up and up and on every step of the journey, the tree will leech minerals and food from it. It will continue rising until it finally reaches the outmost leaf of tree or bush and there, through a miracle called photo-synthesis, it, along with the sun, will feed the very air we breath.  Re-charging it with oxygen, and thusly making it possible for all animal life, including you and me, to live.

And when that final act is finished, the drop of water will evaporate into the air, where  as dew and mist will rise again. And will remain so, as it is cleansed and re-charged with oxygen and minerals, while at same time, gathering together with other minute droplets of moisture until a tiny cloud, perhaps hundreds of miles in space will form.

How long does it float there? A year? Two?   Dozens or hundreds? Who can tell. But eventually it will become one with other small clouds, and the winds will send them through space, coming nearer and nearer to the earth and sooner or later drop again to the ground. Or perhaps it will drop and become one with the ocean and rise again as steam under some hot tropical sun.

Or maybe it will come as snow to some mountain top and remain there as a glacier for  thousands of years, but yet moving slowly, slowly downward until it drops into the ocean as an iceberg ‘calf’ that will ultimately melt as it drifts south.   Or perhaps it will drop on some arid African desert where man, animal and vegetable life will lift thankful arms and hearts to its coming.

Or, just maybe, it will continue its cycle of bringing sustenance to the earth by falling once more upon my window and wakening such thoughts of God’s harmony in my mind.  And  so, that’s how one of my days began last week. And, how was your day?

I hope just as wonderful, and that in some way you, too, travel through time and space as I did. And I thank God for how intricate and yet how simple He made our world, and for giving we mortals Minds to see, accept, and then explore His wonders.

Yes, oh  yes, I Thank you, God for raindrops on my window. Only inches from my eyes . . . . and Mind . . . and Heart.

 

ethelbrad@comcast.net

Sex And Spring Fever

Just like a couple going on their honeymoon, but each going to a different Hotel . . .

I’ve written about Artificial Insemination before and have yet to be sued for malpractice or even threatened with a law suit. And so, here goes again. And my method is absolutely infallible. Time tested.

Of course, the fact that it happens to be Tomato Plants I tell about might be the reason for such indifference, but just the same, if you plant a few tomato plants in your back yard, and grow beautiful vines, but no tomatoes, try my method. It works like a dream.

I blundered upon this solution one year when I bought 4 or 5 tomato plants which had small tomatoes already formed. They grew into beautiful red globes, but, though the bushes continued to blossom, there were no more tomatoes.

Yes, they were getting enough sun.  Yes, I watered them and yes, I cultivated and even fertilized the soil, but still no fruit.

What I had forgotten, oh foolish me, was that it ‘takes two to tango’, and for two of the same species to create another of their ilk, the rules must be followed.

Yeah, I knew about the birds and bees, the boys and girls, and even the fish in the sea. But tomatoes? Frankly, I hadn’t given it a thought, and had to be reminded by one wiser than I, that if you have only one or two plants, spaced far apart, they just can’t do what they’re supposed to be doing, and will remain sterile.

Just like a couple going on their honeymoon, but each going to a different Hotel.

So, with fewer than a dozen words, that maven, my wise-one, gave me the secret to backyard failures and backyard triumphs.  And now I am an agricultural specialist and pass the information along to you. Pay heed and you too, will become an expert.

Each day the gardener must stroll from one tomato plant to another with a Q-tip in hand, and gently, gently. touch each blossom with the cotton tip and then go to the next blossom and do the same, with the same Q-tip. and repeat the soft touch. Spreading the good stuff around, don’t you see? Oh, and be sure to keep that same Q-tip to use every day, again and again and again.

It works and this spring your tomato blossoms won’t dry up and fall uselessly to the ground, but soon there will be a tiny tomato sitting there, needing only time to develop into one you will take to your table. Or eat right there and then.

I always thought such impregnation techniques had to be performed by highly trained people, wearing white sterile clothing, etc. etc. But this spring, knowing nothing about reproduction (well, hardly nothing) you will be doing that marvelous job as well as a pro.

My   mother and dad could have used the wisdom of my teacher, as I did. They had a beautiful cherry tree and each year that tree bloomed profusely, but nary even one cherry developed.   Years later I read that certain trees, cherries included, have both male and female trees, and at least one of each must be planted close to each other before pollination can occur.

At one time, in what was then a vacant yard, and now Bill and Nina’s home, I had a Pie Cherry tree side by side with a Bing Tree. And had more fruit than I could ever have eaten and gave most of it away. And there, with a male and female tree, it worked.

Every farmer knows that a few long rows of corn won’t produce, but the very same number of stalks, bunched cozily together, will produce ears and ears of corn. The wind, which is the pollinator for corn, whips the precious ‘stuff’ into the air, but if the stalks aren’t right handy, the vital ingredient drops uselessly to the ground.

Even for tomatoes, you gotta have togetherness for the ‘birds and bees’ thing to work naturally.   And so, this summer, if people see you . . . with Q-tip in hand . . . going from tomato plant to another tomato plant, they will know you’re doing your job of matchmaker.

No, you won’t be in a doctor’s white coat, or in a sterile laboratory, or have expensive equipment in hand, but this method works, and you will have tomatoes by the dozen. Sometimes I amaze myself at the folk-lore that someone learns, passes along, and we all eat better because of it.

 

ethelbrad@comcast.net

 

 

The Check Is In The Mail

And this time it really was . . .

I wager that we’ve all bought some item, found the promises made were phoney, and if the cost is small, we shrug our shoulders, and toss the item out. But this time I’d spent more than a few dollars. First I paid for the dang stuff, then paid for the repair bill for the damage it caused, plus the inconvenience of being without the use of what the stuff was supposedly for.

It was odd, for I finally hired a man to fix my problem, and as he was getting ready to leave, casually asked what I had used and when I told him, he said, “Yeah, I thought so, I’ve been getting other calls from the same stuff, and as soon as your call came, I thought “Here’s another one” and I was right.”

And, right now, I’m not saying what ‘it’ was. Liquid, powder, pill, or mechanism for house, car, bathroom, kitchen or whatever, and so I shall call it stuff. But yet it was sold as a good fix for a problem we all, at least every year or so, need.

The stuff works nicely at first, but in a few month’s time, it begins to have side effects and “You were lucky” the repairman said, “by calling for help before it really was a PROBLEM. I’ve seen some big ones from that little innocent looking stuff. ”

I knew darn well that the manufacturer couldn’t help but know of the strength, and the weaknesses of what they were extolling day by day, for the repair person ‘knew’ what had happened, before he even got to my home.

So, I wrote a letter to that company.  And quite soon got a letter telling first of all that it was my fault for not following directions, but, they needed proof that I owned the home it happened within, and was not a renter; a copy or the wrapping, bottle or box the stuff came in, the price tag, proof of what my expenses had been, and a picture of the damage I claimed done.

Well, it seemed rather demanding, but by then, I was determined and got together, a copy of papers to prove my home ownership, and I sent the bill I had for charges. They also asked for a picture of the damage done, but no, I didn’t take a pix of what had happened, but did mention that I have an Internet Blog where I tell in detail what happens in my life..

This time they answered quickly with a phone call, telling me again, that it had been my fault for not using it right. Right? Well, it seemed to be only one way to use that stuff,  but they said they would send me a check but only partial for I had not followed their directions.

And, they cover their bases well, for in big, firm language, it said that when I cashed the check, it meant I would never mention their name or what had happened. And so you see, I tell about the stuff in parables.

And so, so, so. We know advertisers blow up their claims as if they were miracle workers, and yet there’s also a part of us that wants to believes them. And, if the product isn’t as wonderful as they claimed, what can we do about it???

Well, we can do more than we thought. and that is the ‘why’ of my words today. And while I know it’s a bore to write a letter, but somewhere on every bit of ‘stuff’ we buy, there will be, in tiny print, an address or phone number where we can write or call. Do it. And do it swiftly and strongly. Let them know you’re one angry, disappointed customer. Be firm. And a talkative one, who will spread the message. and I think my mentioning an Internet Blog speeded things up for me.

Most of us, when disappointed in a product, shrug our shoulders, vow we’ll not buy that again, and the producers keep on making a small fortune on the next buyer. But they don’t want angry people talking about their product, and that’s exactly what we are when we catch them in their lies. We’ve got to write, write, and WRITE, And don’t worry about using the proper language, but be sure to give them your name, address, phone number and email also. They don’t want their name being negatively tossed around the internet.

I doubt it, but just maybe they’ll learn not to exaggerate (read ‘lie’) so blatantly, and partial reparation is better than none, so the next time you get ‘stung’, write a letter to the company, and perhaps you’ll hear those lovely words I did: The Check Is In the Mail. And it was.

Who was it that said, “Half a loaf is better than none?.” Well, that’s exactly what I got. Half a loaf.

A Food Plan For Solo Eaters

A grocer, a freezer and a micro are God’s blessings for anyone who cooks for one or two, for with that trio anyone can eat lavishly, easily, and quickly, too.

This is my method: Every meal needs a Protein, and I keep one freezer shelf for only such, and it’s stocked with a sack of Swedish Meat Balls, deli-baked chicken thighs and legs, sliced turkey, a meatloaf cut and frozen in single servings, fish cakes or what you like.   Each ready for a moment in the micro, and it’s as if you had cooked for hours.

Vegetables. Again you’re not cooking for a family, and want to be able to serve just one or two and so this is how to get around that problem. Open a can of peas, (beets, whole kernel corn, or whatever) but work with one can at a time.

Open, and Drain the can (of peas or whatever vegetable you chose). Discard the water, (or save and freeze to use as a base for your next pot of soup) and then spread the peas in a single layer, on an empty cookie sheet, or a flat surface that will fit in freezer, and freeze. That will be in less than an hour, AND each pea will be single unit and NOT a solid mass.

Put the frozen loose peas in a freezer bag, seal, label and when you want to have a serving of peas with your Meat, take out the amount you want, tuck the rest of them back in the Freezer. That one can has 5 or 6 single servings and can be used whenever you wish. Tomorrow or a month from now.

Repeat the same steps with sliced beets, string beans, asparagus, or whatever vegetable and soon you will have a variety of such to use as you wish.

Fresh veggies are a cinch. Take a sack of small carrots, put in a sack and toss in the freezer. They don’t freeze into a lump and I sometimes put them in the freezer in the sack they came in, but just be certain you can open and seal again.

Fresh veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, or zucchine must be cut into serving-sizes and then, into the good ole plastic freezer bags and then the freezer. They do not freeze into lumps and so, require none of the special treatment cans of small veggies need,

And then come tomatoes, cream corn, cream soups. These are easier than the veggies. Open the can of tomatoes or such, put them, surprise, surprise, in an ice cube tray, and freeze. When frozen, again take from the tray and put into a freezer bag. The cubes will stay separate. You must dilute the cream soups before the freeze, (see my reponse at end of blog) but do as YOU want.

Your freezer is beginning to look like ‘something else’, but follow me. Take a full ‘stalk’ of Celery, (not just a stick) trim off brown or such spots, and then, starting at the root end, begin slicing, through the entire stalk and with each cut of your knife, dozens of small semi-circles of celery are yours. Do this next to a sink half-full of water, slide the slices into the water to clean of any sand. Drain, put in a freezer sack, freeze and voila, celery at your fingertips. Do the same with big white or purple onions, cutting as to how you will use them.

And do a white Baked Potato, and a yam. Get big potatoes and wash well, puncture once or twice, micro them until done, but firm, NOT mushy. Don’t peel, cut in half-inch slices, put single layers on the cookie sheet and freeze.   Then into freezer bags, and they will not stick to each other. And for months, you can brown a slice of white potato in a skillet, at the last moment break an egg alongside, and you’re in heaven. Same with the yam, only not for breakfast. Yum.

Canned beans, navy, pinto, lima, or any sort are blessings in disguise for dieters, or health-eaters,   Open a can, put in frig, not freezer,and eat a tbsp of them in the middle of the morning or afternoon or as you go to bed.  They are applauded by every health-menu planner, for health and good eating.

And for instance . . . for one of my meals, I will put 3-4 meat balls in a soup bowl, and then I go wild. I get ten or so sacks from the freezer, and add to that bowl, some celery, corn, piece of broccoli, another of cauliflower, peas, beets, green beans, and on and on as I please.

Salt, pepper, put a cover on the bowl, micro for 4 or so minutes, and while that’s going on, I get a wheat-bran slice of bread, a cup of my choice, and by the time ‘the table’s set’ and the daily paper at my side, it’s all ready. Well, you’ll have to stir your ‘meal in a bowl’ once, but, big deal, stir away.

Once you catch on to making these sacks, you’ll come up with your own ideas. So get with it. Today. You’ll eat like a queen or king, and no one will know how easy it all is.

Genesis Chapter 1

 “The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun.”

The turmoil in the Middle East leaves us all worried and bewildered. On one hand the events are new and frightening, yet on the other hand, the hostages being held . . . the leader’s meetings . . . and armed men gathering in the deserts, the seas, and now the air, are old, old stories.

In fact ever since the beginning of recorded history, that area has been the site of violence, with the first recorded murder, Cain killing Abel, taking place right there.

Then go on through the Old Testament.  From beginning to end, and in the same places, those books tell of little else but of wars, arguments, intrigue, adulteries, terror, killings and every other manner of man’s inhumanity to man.

Today, we cringe as the Moslems cold-heartedly take lives of those who do not ‘believe as they do’, justifying their acts, with their belief that Allah guides them. And in our outrage, we forget.

Yes, we forget that when Moses gave us the Ten Commandments, which included telling us not to kill, that at the very same time, the Old Testament tells us that God also instructed them to make war upon the Philistines, the people of Canaan, the worshipers of Ashtoreth, and on and on.

Throughout time, there have been mixed messages, and when those ancient people were told not to kill, that injunction was evidently only for those of their own tribes. In the name and words of Allah, their God, all those of other tribes were ‘fair game’, and is repetitious of what we hear today.

Then I make a big leap to the Middle Ages when the Middle East was invaded by Christian armies from Europe, calling themselves The Crusaders . But, whatever their name, they killed and pillaged wherever they went, in their efforts to wrest the land from the hands of those they labeled ‘infidels’.

During the 11th, 12th, and 13th centuries, even children were recruited, and thousands of those 10, 11, and 12 years olds, were called by God, so that in their innocence, they could make ‘right’ what the adults could not do. But they died as the ships carrying them were lost in stormy seas. History named them The Children’s Crusade.

We also read of when the city of Altamont, which was under siege (blockaded) with neither food or water. The inhabitants finally died by voluntarily throwing themselves off the high cliffs rather than surrender to the enemy whom they knew would torture them before the kindness of death was given.

The Middle East has not changed, nor perhaps, have we.  Yes, the weapons, motives and methods are different, but the violence is the same, and, according to many, still in the name of Allah. Or God. Depending entirely upon which group you give your allegiance to.

It seems the motive has been and still is, almost unimportant.  It’s as if it’s inherent within the people of that area to differ from the rest of the world. And for us to differ from them. And the only thing that has changed from Biblical times, are the weapons, the methods, and the motives, which today of course, is oil.

The Egyptians made slaves of the Hebrew people for over 400 years. To free them, Moses’ God sent plagues upon the Arab people, and later on, Joshua, in the name of his God, laid siege (blockage) upon the city of Jericho, killed the inhabitants, took over the city and now, who even knows the motives of any of it.

But there will never be a way of ‘righting all the wrongs’ and errors, of both sides, that have occurred in that Middle Eastern crucible of war and terror, but it all began ‘way back, as recorded in Genesis, when the ‘sons of men’ and the ‘sons of God’ contended against each other,

Yes, over and over, we must go right back to the Garden of Eden to even begin to figure out the ‘why and how’ of it all. And are left with our guesses and pondering.

The entire world has and still does send Peace Envoys there to search for some understanding upon which to build a true Peace, but it’s as if that place, that place where Jesus, our Prince of Peace was born and crucified, has never been meant for Peace.

But within us, there still remains the undying urge to seek that hidden, elusive Peace that through the millennia, has, up till now, remained beyond our reach and prayers.