Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Rural Gourmet.

Yesterday, I had just finished weeding the rain garden on the grounds of the nearby museum, and since I did not look too grubby, I stopped by a grocery that I rarely use to pick up some basic food items.

During this quick visit, something caught my eye.  As I passed the freezer cases I saw white 3-gallon plastic buckets of something sitting on the bottom of the case.  My curiosity got the better of me and I paused to read the top of the label and it said simply 'pork chitterlings'.  I was not exactly sure what these are, but I did not think they were probably healthy and I was sure they were a 'southern thing'.  It is a good-old-boy county that I live in after all.

If you Google images of pork chitterlings you will get photos of what look like little gray white slimy unappetizing grubs.  If you go further in research you will see that this food, sometimes called chitlins, is pig intestines.  To be a more accurate connoisseur...they are from the SMALL intestine.  Boy that makes me feel mouth watering better.  While I feel free to denigrate this food on my blog and might assume it is the food of poor people since it was given to slaves in our early history,  my research reveals that it is eaten everywhere across the globe.  I know that the French eat strange animal body parts...but this part of the pig is eaten EVERYWHERE!  Yet I still wonder why someone would need three gallons of it!

Nutritionally these rubber tubes are high in calories from fat.  What a surprise.  They get a C- in nutritional value but since their preparation requires detailed attention due to the fact they carry salmonella and e-coli, maybe weight issues are of no concern.  After a bit of e-coli, you can be very thin.

I did read that in the U.S. a small onion is added to mitigate what might be an unpleasant odor when it is cooked.  Really.  An unpleasant odor...wonder why?  When you have to add an ONION to erase odors...well, enough said!  I do not think I will be eating these in my future.

Now before my readers put me in the food snob column, as a small child I loved pickled pigs feet and did eat them as a snack with my dad.  Of course,  we were farm folk and food was never thrown out.  But when the pigs were slaughtered, I am sure we did not eat chitterlings.  We did have our standards.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Bigger is Better(?)

(This post is not about what you are thinking so get a grip, although bigness in certain parts of our bodies is another part of the problem.)

I think it is big that has got me in my funk this month.  Everything is big these days...too big.  A bigness that is suffocating in its presence is everywhere.  In America we are big on big.  (I am also not talking about the size of our butts, but that is certainly an area we can claim as big.)  I am talking about other types of big.  Americans go to big box stores to buy...big boxes of stuff that is essential to our lives.  We then buy bigger shelves to store all our big boxes.  When we run out of shelves we rent big walk-in storage units on the other side of town to store even more of our stuff.  Stuff that we will get to someday.  Stuff that we may use someday.

Appliances are certainly bigger as is furniture.  We have to have lots of food and then larger chairs to fit those butts in place.  Even airlines are adjusting for bigger weight and bigger butts.

Prior to the housing collapse, big houses, called MacMansions and named after the Big Macs of our culture, were the dream to strive for.  I have mentioned before that I live down the road from a lottery winner and I actually think she now regrets her big foyer in her lovely mansion.  She explained to me one day that she feels intimidated when entering her own house!  When I built this house that I now live in, I was a Sarah Susanka fan.  I bought all her books.  She is an architect and the author of "Creating the Not so Big House."  She was all the rage back in 1998, which to me was not so long ago, but to the younger people ages ago. Her philosophy is to build a home that nurtures spirit rather than simply impresses with scale.  She writes about these "impersonal storage containers" we build that are "only the hollowness of the promise of bigger is better."  Anyway, I digress.

Our American society wants big in each and every way.  Our Presidential Election is now mired in big spending.   The DNC spent 70.8 million by this past June and the RNC spent 38.8 million over a similar time.  We still have months to go!  Figuring in all types of spending from those amazing super PACs on this election and the numbers come close to 2 billion dollars!  Such jaw dropping numbers must fill other countries with terrifying awe, especially since we are in the midst of a global recession.  Imagine what you or I could do with this money to improve the fate of a few citizens or perhaps an entire country!

I watched a Sundance documentary the other day about the Barnes Foundation outside of Philadelphia.  This collection of multimillion dollar art had been housed outside the city where it could be available only to those who could appreciate its beauty and rareness as an educational foundation.  The founder and owner was aghast at how rich people used art like wallpaper and he wanted to prevent that by making the art available to small groups of those who truly loved art and keeping it set in a home where it could be savored.  Upon his death the movie indicated that big philanthropists such as Pew and Annenberg (yes those good guys who had wanted to get their hands on this collection for decades) manipulated the system without using much of their money but most of their power to get the collection moved to the city where it could be housed in a new art museum paid for by the taxpayers.  I will not argue whether this was wise or philanthropic, but I will say that they were able to overcome the wishes in the owner's will and the will of those who loved and worked for years on the collection without including them in the decision making process.  They were Big rich, they influenced state politicians, and even though it went to court, they got what they wanted.  They were Big.

Do I even need to rant at all on Big corporations?   Time and our sighs as emotional fear has left the building have given us perspective.  We now know that the creation of derivatives, another name for selling junk paper, by big banks and big investment firms, are what brought this country into this horrible recession.  Time has shown that it is not the greed of the home buyers, nor the high pensions of retirees, that caused this debt.  Big Wall Street has gotten off free to continue to find new ways to fleece big money from all of us.  The dirty paper they sold to pension funds as far away as Australia and as close as your nearby city, has resulted in elected officials and board members being fined and/or sent to jail and towns becoming bankrupt, while bankers and wall street paper pushers are left to get biggerIt is hard to follow the money trail, but it is not the greed of the little guy that started this nor finished it. 

And you can complain all you want about the subsidized food program for the poor, but Uncle Sam has made sure that Big Corporations do NOT get cut in this.

 J.P. Morgan even insults us by outsourcing their management of the Food Stamp phone bank to India because it is cheaper.

As far as I am concerned, nothing in this country is too big to fail, and Congress may even make sure it is the U.S. government that goes bankrupt if they refuse to pass budget bills this fall.  I guess they agree with me.  After all, Iceland filed criminal charges against it three Big banks and has come out on the other side way ahead of the Euro crises. 

"But others deem that Iceland’s purge of its financial sector has been a success. For his part, Hauksson, who hopes to finish his task by 2015, hopes that Iceland, whose economy is gradually recovering, will one day “look behind and be proud of being able to learn the lessons of the past.”

As he told Le Monde, “I don’t know of any similar procedure conducted in anywhere else the world, and our work has shown the extent to which the banking system that was put in place was a far cry from what we imagined it to be."

Now I am going to go make me a small cup of tea...it is 4:30 in the morning here!
(I have to really stop writing this way, my followers have begun to drop!)

Friday, July 27, 2012


I have nothing to write really.  Friko would like something humorous to read, as would many bloggers, because life just seems a little too depressing right now.  But I cannot write humor at will.  My mood has a little to do with an acquaintance who's daughter fell to her death from the roof of a building in New York recently.  It was accidental as she was talking on the phone.  I also lost a distant friend who died of cancer within weeks of symptoms after a return from a vacation to Hawaii.  I was not close to either of these people which certainly does not diminish the importance of their lives in anyway nor keep their family from my thoughts.

I read on the Internet where global climate change has increased the intensity of the storms and climate scientists are now seeing moisture thrown up 60,000 feet from these storms which is blowing holes in the ozone layer of our atmosphere.  Extremely dangerous to our health.  A reality that is inconvenient to those who think it is God's will.  I think this God threw up his hands long ago and is now overseeing another planet.

I also read where climate change is causing more dangerous anomalies and  "If global warming approaches 3°C by the end of the century, it is estimated that 21-52% of the species on Earth will be committed to extinction (3). "   If you love watching your head explode over multiple graphs with bad news, read the above article from the Columbia University Earth Institute.  If not, just take my word for it...we are in deep doo-doo.

I cannot watch TV because both Presidential candidates realize that negative ads are much better than actually focusing on solutions to problems. Of course, if Obama focuses on the accomplishments he made in spite of a constipated Congress, he is accused of bragging in dire times.  And facts be damned.

The Internet is filled with discussions about schizophrenia and automatic weapons with neither side even bringing forth ideas of worth.  Banning automatic weapons...really??

There is a very good chance that food next year will cost 5% more due to the global drought.  Since I need food more than Television, I called Comcast and asked them to drop all my premium channels immediately and the sports package that my SOL added over a year ago.  (He had to watch games while he visited!)  I saved over $54.00 a month with that little move.  You can close you mouth before you catch a fly. 

On a lesser note, I planted sunflower seeds not once, but twice this summer, and lost 99% to deer, ground hogs, rabbits, and a tiny cutworm that I found at the bottom of one seedling tray.  I gave up.  No sunshiny yellow happy faces to improve my mood in the simmering days of summer.

Yes I could focus on all my many, many blessings...but right now I want to moan and groan...so shoot me.


New Hampshire baby waterfall

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Mainly Maine

Just  few of the photos so that those readers who have been so generous with their interest in my travels can get a feel of the State of Maine.

How the top 1% live in Maine where they get a view of the harbor at Bar Harbor, Maine.

A not very good photo of the red fox that was intrigued by the sound of children laughing and chasing in the nearby playground.

A public beach in Maine. Water in the ocean was still pretty cool!

John D. Rockefeller put his millions to good use by purchasing the area above Bar Harbor which became Acadia National Park.

This view in the photo above is from the highest point in Acadia looking back toward the town of Bar Harbor.

And we never were hungry as blueberries were in abundance wherever the soil was boggy enough!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Random One-Liners

Some comments (in no order as my granddaughter is talking to me industriously while I type) on the trip and also in answer to a few questions:

  • No we did not take in the play on PEI as Hubbie wasn't into that so much but I bought the Anne trilogy and am going to re-read it.
  • The natural area where the author grew up on PEI was small and surrounded by a golf course, which sort of took away some of the atmosphere.
  • I was also a "little" disappointed at how much potato, wheat and barley agriculture covered all of the island and how little natural park area was left.
  • On the other hand, PEI has lots of nice beaches and lighthouses!
  • The bear sign was both a warning and temptation on the bog walk in Maine and we used it that way.
  • We did see a lynx on the ski trail while walking down after riding the ski lift up in New Hampshire and it did not see us.
  • We also drove by the lake where "On Golden Pond" was filmed, and it was no more lovely than all the other New Hampshire lakes.
  • We did not take the zipline down from the mountain at the ski resort which was long and very fast and kind of ominous in its whine.
  • I also saw a large red fox checking out the playground of children one morning outside our hotel in Maine.
  • I did not see any moose, unfortunately.
  • I used to not like lobster but this trip I could not get enough and due to the warm summer there was an abundance.
  • We were a little sad that it was NOT much cooler as we drove north, and global warming was showing its teeth.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Signs of This Time

My trip north through Maine toward Prince Edward Island and back through New Hampshire provided lots of opportunities for photos, many of which I have deleted upon my return already.  I will not bore you with them all, but here are a few that certainly reflect the area and are very different from what I might see in my neck of the woods.

Best place for breakfast in Bar Harbor.

Great place for a lobster roll at the ferry crossing.

Quote of Lucy Maud Montgomery, author of Anne of Green Gables.  Taken where she grew up.

Enough said...or written!

There were no skiers that I could see!

We didn't, but there were plenty of places where we could!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Yep, I am back.  Up to my ears in laundry, mail and yardwork.  Those of you who travel know exactly what this means.  Adventures are great, but it is wonderful to be home even if facing lots of work and more heat.  The very last day on our return we were stuck for two hours (no exaggeration) crossing the George Washington Bridge in NY.  Only one lane was closed for repair, but that caused a major crisis it appears.  So glad I do NOT live in the city.  Going off to read all the posts I have missed and not posting for some time it appears as I have to cover as babysitter this weekend (again!).

Friday, July 06, 2012


Just a quick decision to head up north where the weather is cooler.  First there is a visit with friend in Connecticut and then further north until we spend a few days (too few) at PEI.  Maybe we will find it compelling enough to return and spend longer time.  Of course the weather here is dropping into the high 80's!  I have not decided whether to take my laptop, so posting may not be available.  So, Aloha, which means both hello and goodbye.

Wednesday, July 04, 2012


There are so many freedoms we enjoy in this country.  The freedom of the press, the freedom to assemble, the freedom to travel where we wish in this country without having to present papers at state or city border crossings, the freedom to study and read what we wish, the freedom to pursue a career, the freedom to raise a family of as many children as we wish, the freedom to speak our mind, the freedom to divorce, the freedom to marry, the freedom to live where we want, the freedom to have personal privacy protected unless warranted by authority and so many other freedoms.  But freedom is a very fragile entity and it is certainly not free.  It is the responsibility of each and every citizen to stand up for these freedoms for everyone in this country and to be fearless in doing so.

Monday, July 02, 2012

I Done Something Right

This is a post my son put on his FB page today.  He has been without power since late Friday and probably will not get power until the coming weekend.   I read his post and had to share with my Blogger friends because I think he has it right on.
 "1.6 Billion people live without electricity everyday. That's roughly a quarter of the population. You still have clean water, available food, and natural gas. Get some perspective, people. You have been coddled and lulled into a state of flacid luxury, and your complaints mock the very global humanity you ignore everyday. Likely, you have done nothing to help build the infrastructure that lets you see this very post, yet at it's first failure, you cry foul. You are standing on the shoulders of giants and complaining of the view. Be thankful for what you have, and be thankful for the crews from around the country who have come help to restore.  If you have an elderly neighbor, stop by and check on them. Take the money you are saving on electricity and consider helping others get cleaner electricity: http://www.solar-aid.org/
or help those closer to home by donating to the United way: http://www.unitedway.org/ or the Red Cross: www.redcross.org.   I hope you all are well, and am proud you have read this far. Pedestal detachment commencing."

Sunday, July 01, 2012

When it rains...when is it going to rain?

When it rain it pours...or not.  I was complaining about the fires in Colorado.   The storm that roared through our area a few days ago and which has left a large number of people in Maryland and Virginia without power in 99 degree heat, passed over us around midnight without dropping much rain, downing only a few large branches, which, of course, fell directly on the one bed that seems to have survived rabbits, ground hogs and drought, and leaving us with power!  We never lost power!  Tell that to my PC.  It lost its power and is now at the Geek doctor's.  Therefore posting will be intermittent until I pay what they wish or exchange my first born.  This global warming with it increase in intensive storms and weather patterns is a bugger!