this weather…

My high school friend Tina lives in Spencer Massachusetts. Where she lives has the distinction of having some of the most snow or the most snow in New England. She sent me this photo today and it is the side of a 14 foot tall greenhouse – she and her husband own a large plant nursery.

Just OMG.

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“teachable moments”

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The first Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition occurred the year I was born, 1964. Babette Beatty was the model. The photo there above? That is her last year during the 50th anniversary of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition. And that photo was considered scandalous back then.

However, the first woman to appear in a bathing suit on the cover of Sports Illustrated was named Pamela Nelson in 1954

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So 2015 bought a new interpretation of the bikini shot on the cover. I’m sorry but who cares? The magazine does this every year, and either you subscribe to the magazine or you don’t, buy a copy or you don’t. But this year apparently the Puritans are coming so look out.

This cover shot this year is being described as a “teachable moment”. No they don’t mean “wear sunscreen”.

Once again Sports Illustrated has done what they do every year, almost every year: create a controversial cover. It’s what they strive for all year long , and that’s how they sell magazines. And I have to be honest and say that I have seen skimpier bathing suits and skimpier while being more covered up outfits on girls starting as young as 12 in the real world. And that’s the point isn’t it? This isn’t the real world it’s a freaking magazine.

This morning I thought I was entering Censorship USA when I peeked in on a Facebook group. There was this mom declaring a mother’s jihad on Sports Illustrated. She said (and I quote):

Ok Mommies of Girls! I have a job for you! Every time you see the new Sports Illustrated in a grocery store checkout line or anywhere else your daughter may see this – – – PLEASE turn it around! Your daughter, your sons, and the kids behind you should not have to see this unrealistic image that object defies girls. Thank you. Rant over……Oh course this is a teachable moment. I’m not saying that you shouldnt seize this opportunity. However, a journey starts with one step. We may not be changing the world when we simply turn a magazine around but it’s something that we can actually DO. Sure we can complain aimlessly about these faults in our society but there are simple everyday things we can DO, like have a convo, turn the TV off and again- simply turn a magazine around. Don’t underestimate the power of a small action.

Ummmm…..I had visions of when strollers attack.

Of course this will throw me out of the mommy club but I don’t really care I think they are being ridiculous.

Seriously? Teachable moment? Give me a break! I don’t buy Sports Illustrated, I have no interest in the swimsuit issue, can’t see it from my window when I wake up and who cares? Turn on the TV you see far worse. Frankly kids can learn far worse from their friends and the Internet and even other parents. Go to your local beach or swim club in the summer and you often see far worse.

If women want to give their daughters weird self body image issues keep turning around magazines. And I’m sorry if that sounds mean or uncaring or even careless, but I think the whole premise is ridiculous. It is what it is and we don’t have to bring it into our homes as a matter of personal choice.

But that doesn’t mean that we go all censorship on things and start turning around magazines we personally find objectionable in a store. In my humble opinion but also teaches a poor lesson, does it not? Why not just ignore it? Why do you have to create some false premise of a teachable moment because you don’t like it?

The world is made up with a lot of different people, different tastes, different religions, different styles, and while we want to set the best example possible for our children we not only need to be realistic but we also need to teach them that the world is a very diverse place right, wrong, or indifferent.

Journeys do start with small steps and teachable moments but it is how you teach and how you present that makes the world of difference.

This whole thing reminds me of a story a friend of mine who is a grandmother told me a year or so ago. She knows someone who has a grandchild living with a parent and female stepparent. The child is a teenage girl and she is a lovely girl. A truly good girl. Yet the stepparent prefers that this cute teenage girl dress basically like a refugee from a weird polygamist cult. All covered up at all times, not at all like a teenager.

So maybe this stepparent is trying to teach a teenage girl modesty but the message I’m seeing loud and clear is that the teenage girl should be ashamed of her figure, and that the adult here trying to “teach” the child has serious self body issues. And that is the message I am seeing if mommies go on the rampage turning around copies of the swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated in the grocery store checkout line.

Should women be objectified? Of course not. However and let us not forget that these models chose to be in this magazine for this issue. It’s good for their careers and they make a lot of money. That is their choice. I know this is a contrary opinion for me who is a New Age Victorian times, but the truth is I just don’t care. I don’t know anyone with daughters who have to worry about their daughters running away to become a Sports Illustrated swimsuit model. Kids aren’t that dumb and even they realize this is somewhat of a fantasy and unrealistic issue of the magazine.

If kids male or female ask about the issue why can’t we just say it’s just a magazine it’s not the real world? Why do we have to go into all the drama and angst of turning the magazine around in grocery store aisles and check out lines ? Are we all supposed to start running around with a pile of the “Glamour Don’t” black bars in our purses to slap on things we find objectionable in magazines in the grocery aisle? Doesn’t that make more of a big deal of these magazine, make it more of a forbidden fruit?

Okay I know the Puritans with their pitchforks and brooms will be at me now for my opinion it’s just I’m so tired of hearing about the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and the fact that the model is basically showing off her Brazilian and need for sunscreen. And I laugh because a lot of the people complaining about this are the ones that don’t check out the outfits on some of the tween and teen girls on even the Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or ABC Family….or reruns of Gossip Girl and the original 90210.

I just don’t think we should teach girls to be ashamed of their figures and their bodies. You can teach them about appropriate behavior and how to dress more appropriately and how to behave… and at some point as I’m learning you have to let go a little bit or they will go where you don’t want them to. They are after all, teenagers, and once upon a time we were too.

Happy Valentine’s Day thanks for stopping by.

acquiring art

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So I have been following this online conversation in a social media group I belong to. Someone posted that they were looking to start getting art on their walls. They said:

Hi everyone…..have been thinking about trying to find some real affordable artwork to hang in our house. Does anyone have any suggestions on any show rooms or places to go in the area to purchase?

A lot of the answers came back suggesting local artists. But then there were a bunch which came back were along the lines of go to a craft store buy canvases and paint and let your kids play Picasso.

Ok look, nice idea for a playroom or a kid’s bedroom but that is a made for HGTV idea that makes me crazy. People trying to find affordable art aren’t necessarily wanting to do the art themselves or have a house full of finger paintings on canvas. I am not anti-child art , I just think inexpensive doesn’t need to always mean loving hands at home.

We live in an area that is rich in artistic talent. All you have to do is go to fairs, festivals, local art shows. Sometimes at the shows the artist prices are higher so take their business card and contact them after the show. Events like Clover Market have tons of local and beautiful vintage art.

For years I was the publicist and photographer for a small arts-based nonprofit called First Friday Main Line (The photo at the bottom of this post is actually one that was taken during the First Friday Main Line of my framed photography on exhibit in a shop in Ardmore called past *present* future and some of my work is still for sale there). Anyway, one of the things about Friday Friday was “art in unexpected places.” Because there were not art galleries in Ardmore, the local artists would exhibit out of stores and restaurants. And it gave people the opportunity every month to buy reasonably priced art at one of these events.

So art is truly all around us. And you can also find terrific art at barn sales, at garage sales, in consignment shops , grift shops, and even the local yard sale groups on Facebook.

The thing about art is it should speak to you. It doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive or well-known or even highly collectible. It is simply that you have to like it because it’s going to be hanging on your walls. Not all of us are born with the bank account and can afford an art consultant or trips to upscale galleries. So seriously? Look for your art in unexpected places.

I love the Yellow Springs Art Show. This year it starts April 25th. this is a show that gives you a really good look at a lot of amazing local artists, and a lot of what I would term the modern Chester County School. It is not a show I buy from a great deal to be honest because the prices can be very high. But if you really like a piece of the show it never hurts to ask the artist if that is their best price.

I also really love my friend Sherry’s store in Ardmore called Past*Present*Future. Sherry is an artist by training so her store is a fabulous mix of all types of art including wearable art and beautiful handmade jewelry.

Now some of my other go to places for seeking out art include Smithfield Barn, estate sales, holiday church sales, fall festivals and some local Chester County favorites. Resellers Consignment in Frazer and Frazer Antiques and Consign-It Furniture in Kennett Square. Chester county is also loaded with artisans who repurpose old and vintage items into new pieces of art. So you have a lot of choices out there. And eBay and Etsy are other places to discover inexpensive art.

Another way to acquire art is when you travel. Going through New England? Or through New York State? Or down south? Out west? There are artist colonies everywhere you go and often you can pick up something lovely that you might have to frame when you get home for pennies on the dollar.

Don’t be intimidated by buying art. Go out and see what you like and experiment. It doesn’t have to cost a lot to get things you like on your walls.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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stop the crazy

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Brian Williams, now a suspended NBC national news anchor lied. Is it awful? Yes. Can I see it from my window? No. But this whole giant example of ego and stupidity is making as much news around this country as that poor girl Kayla Mueller who was killed by Isis and isn’t that truly almost criminally sad?

So, it is when I read things like the SECOND article linked below from ConservativeHQ.com I am astounded because it just reads crazy, full on crazy. And when we are facing so many things that are so much more important in the world today, why is it that a news anchor losing his job has so much importance in the news? Should this guy who reads the news really be the news?

Someone sent me this ConservativeHQ web article today and I think it is cuckoo for cocoa puffs for lack of a better description.

The whole hypothesis is Brian Williams a national newscaster who lied on an anchor desk is responsible for things like Enron. Or a symbol of those responsible for things like Enron. Either way, I love a good dose of pretzel logic on a hump day don’t you?

Brian Williams screwed up. In a glorious career-fatal way. But Brian Williams on or off and anchor desk for NBC news is not going to affect my quality of life.

Brian Williams has a giant contract has been been put on suspension as I suspect they are trying to undo that contract because he’s not going to be credible on air any longer.

I don’t mean to be rude, but somewhere somehow we all have to stop and take a freaking breath and get out of the extremes. Once again I will say that the politics of extremism are ruining this country.

All of these extremists conservative or liberal give a bad name to American politics. And allowing their voices to continue to grow means the bulk of us who are somewhere in the middle lose again and again and again.

This article actually has some points to consider which get completely lost in the hyperbole of crazy. They aren’t necessarily wrong about Comcast and NBC and how networks produce the “news”, but they go so far off the rails with the rest of it that THAT thought which is actually important, gets lost.

(And speaking of how networks produce the news who has seen the commercial the Comcast has produced for the local NBC 10 News? What’s up with the female reporters and female anchors and the dresses chosen for them for the commercial ? Are they being dressed for a new season of Breaking Amish or Conservative Barbie has an adventure or something? I really wish HBO series The Newsroom had not been ended. I would love to see their take on all of this.)

Brian Williams is NOT a symbol of anything other then how lying and stupidity can tank a career. Wow can’t wait to see what these people do with Colonel Mustard in the library can you?

But again , and seriously, somewhere people in this country need to stop and hit the pause button. The two major political parties are essentially controlled by forms of extremism, and that trickle down effect is running this country into a constantly and consistently angry hole.

Before you read crazy, read the student journalist editorial I have posted before it. At least the future of journalism is not completely bleak.

Williams’ drama doesn’t belong in the newsroom Katherine Waller, Staff Columnist | Posted: Tuesday, February 10, 2015 12:23 am

This week posed a threat to NBC Nightly News’ Brian Williams’ career. Reports testified that he had falsely accounted being on board a military helicopter in Iraq during 2003 that was hit with an RPG and had to make an emergency landing. He is under additional scrutiny about false statements regarding events he witnessed while covering the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina….It looks like that handsome face and perfect TV voice can no longer disguise who he really is: a liar…..I’m not saying that trustworthy news sources do not exist. After all, I am a student journalist myself…..News organizations need to value why they can’t just tell people what they want to hear….Seeing everyone get so upset over Brian Williams’ questionable truths makes me wonder why everyone is so surprised. In a business that has become about selling information, selling an ideology and selling people, why are watchers shocked

Brian Williams: Symbol Of The Corruption Of America’s Establishment Institutions George Rasley, CHQ Editor | 2/10/2015

Monday, two more examples of NBC News anchor Brian Williams’ despicable stolen valor lies about his experiences covering the Iraq war in 2003 surfaced, but Williams was not fired.

It was announced late Tuesday he was being put on six months unpaid leave and, most astonishingly, that Steve Burke, the Chief Executive Officer of Comcast, which owns NBC said Williams “deserves a second chance and we are rooting for him.”.

…..In our view it is not because some guy in the personnel department of NBC is going over Williams’ contract with a fine-toothed comb before handing him his pink slip six months from now.

It is because the establishment institutions of America, the media like Comcast and NBC, business, and especially politics, have become so mired in a culture of lies and corruption….This is the “anything to win” culture that led to the ENRON scandal….

retro and vintage girl scout items

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Country Living Magazine on page 13 of their March, 2015 issue about Girl Scout memorabilia. They said:

We’ve been spotting retro Girl Scout items camped out everywhere, from flea markets to our own CL Fairs. Now it’s your turn! Post your finds on Instagram, and we’ll share them throughout March. Don’t forget to tag photos #CLSCOUTSIGHTING

I happen to have my mother’s Girl Scout handbook from 1947. When she and my father downsized from a large house to an apartment after my dad got sick with prostate cancer there was a lot of stuff that was slated for a junk pile. It happens when you go from house to apartment. I saw this book in such a pile and took it home with me. I thought it was sweet. I have had it ever since.

Over the years I have contemplated getting rid of it because I was never a Girl Scout and what am I going to do with a 1940s edition of a Girl Scout handbook?IMG_3419 It almost bit the dust a few years ago when I moved from the Main Line to Chester County, but seeing my mother’s signature in her little girl handwriting with her address on inside flyleaf of the book make me just put it into yet another packing box and now it is back in a bookcase. My mother was 12 when she inscribed her handbook.

Anyway I just thought it was cool that they were talking about vintage and retro Girl Scout items. I guess they must be collectible now or something, or gaining in popularity. It doesn’t matter to me either way as this to me is just a cool little piece of family history.

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just so darn funny

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I saw this on the Today Show this morning and as a blogger I can relate. What do you do with all those essentially “hate” comments? Well I am thinking I should send them to the Holderness family to turn into songs!

Watch the Holderness Parody Video “Comments of Love” (based on Rent song “Seasons of Love”) by clicking on this sentence which is a hyperlink.

You can find Clan Holderness on Facebook and their website/blog.

Anyway enjoy the video of these people crack me up! It’s all in good fun so what’s the harm?

good morning sports fans!

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Good morning sports fans! How is your day in the neighborhood so far? Mine is terrific!

So listen, I have something I have not felt the need to say in forever, but I think the time has come to remind my “fans” who love to leave the nastygrams that no one is forcing you to read my blog anymore than anyone forces you to read any other website out there.

And while I might appreciate a difference in opinion, it doesn’t mean I’m going to post comments I feel are abusive or harassing or just offensive. Although I will post some of the comments just because they are quite humorous in their ridiculousness. And I do have to laugh at those who think that their comments can’t be traced back to them that they are shielded by some cloak of invisibility. They aren’t.

The latest post to lather up the masses is the post I posted before the media on the iconic Devon Horse Show sign all smashed up. Apparently my comment has some with their knickers in a twist.

Yawn.

I appreciate my readers greatly, don’t misunderstand me. But I have to wonder at those who don’t like my writing because I have to ask if what I say is so objectionable, why are you still reading ?

Have a great Saturday all!

read this article

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Please read this article linked below. It’s sad and dark and depressing….and necessary. It’s about heroin and the modern epidemic which swirls around it. Don’t read this and think the setting is such a world away because if you read the article, the junkies and addicts are from all over.

And I realized this weekend that if I am counting the years correctly, this coming Valentine’s weekend it will have been 19 years since I lost a childhood friend to addiction so powerful that it eventually overtook his life.

My childhood friend became so scary the final time he fell back into old habits (after being in recovery for a few years) that the last time I saw him (which was a week before he died and another mutual friend met him with me) I told him that I was afraid if he did not get back into rehab or a program or get some kind of help the next time I saw him he would be dead. He looked at me with drug fueled and glazed eyes and told me I did not know what I was talking about.

Unfortunately truer words were never spoken. He died somewhere around the following weekend, Valentine’s Day weekend. I never knew what exactly was in his system that got him other than what I was told which was a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol. He was never married and had a bunch of siblings and parents he left behind. I don’t think anyone in his family has ever been quite exactly the same since. How could they be?

Since then, I have known others who have had their lives tainted and marred by addiction tragedy. A friend of mine became a widow because of it. And now some people I grew up with and went to high school with basically wait and wonder if it will happen again because another person we know from those growing up years just basically is pickling themselves on cheap wine and booze.

So I am very familiar on how this goes. It is so awful and so tragic.

Addiction can strike anyone from any level of society. It doesn’t discriminate. All ages, races, creeds, societal levels.

Anyway, this is a very powerful article. Please read it.

On Kensington Avenue, parents try to pull their children from the drug world
BARBARA LAKER, Daily News Staff Writer lakerb@phillynews.com, 215-854-5933
Posted: Friday, February 6, 2015, 12:16 AM

IN A BEAT-UP maroon Toyota Corolla, Carol Rostucher drives slowly up Kensington Avenue, the street of tortured souls lost in heroin’s handgrip.

She scans the young faces, the ones with the faraway eyes of self-disgust. One of them might be her son, Drew, a handsome 25-year-old. He was her first-born, once an athletic, artistic “social butterfly.” She knows he is out here.

“As long as he’s breathing, there is hope,” ……..On a recent frigid Sunday afternoon, Rostucher doesn’t know if she’ll see Drew, or worse, if she can help him save himself.

But she, along with other moms and dads from various corners of Philadelphia and the suburbs, wants to help the dozens on the street, mostly heroin sick, teetering on the thin, fragile line between life and death.

“They all could be my son,” says Rostucher, 51, sweeping the bright blond hair from her face. “We are losing way too many of our kids to this disease. It’s everywhere and it does not discriminate.”

coffee butterscotch bread pudding

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Winter means comfort food desserts as well as comfort food entrees. Here’s an easy bread pudding that you will like.

My friend Linda makes homemade extracts so I use her coffee extract in this and I have approximated how much regular espresso you would use in place of the extract.

1 package of potato rolls (about 12 oz) cubed into bite sized pieces and left sitting out a couple of hours to get stale

3 eggs beaten
4 cups whole or 2% milk
1/2 cup butter melted
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons coffee extract or half a shot of espresso
1 1/4 cup of butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350°.

Butter a 9 x 13″ baking dish. I have a deeper square one I like to use that accommodates the same amount of liquids and food. It’s a vintage Pyrex that is square and deep.

Melt the butter in the microwave for only as long as it takes to melt it which is under a minute and set aside.

Separately in a large bowl beat eggs, milk, sugars, coffee extract/espresso together.

Stir in butter that you have melted into egg/milk/sugars mixture.

Put cubed potato bread and butterscotch chips in buttered baking dish and mix together evenly. Pour the liquid mixture over the bread and chips and give an additional stir. The whole thing will be a big goopy mess.

Place pan that you have put the pudding in into a Bain Marie (fancy name for a larger pan with hot water and at the water should only go about half up side of your baking dish) and place entire thing in oven.

Bake for between one hour and one hour and 20 minutes. Pudding will be nearly set coming out of the oven or have a good jiggle to it.

Serve warm or cold.

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