Category Archives: Random Musings

A PTSD Election

I talked to a friend the other day, a fellow Bernie Sanders supporter (Berner), and we talked about experiencing a kind of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

We have since the end of the primaries, since Bernie Sanders endorsed Hillary, since the DNC the last week of July – been bummed out from: Bernie not winning, his endorsement of “her”, the fiasco of the DNC according to many Bernie delegates, the blatant (to many of us) election rigging, DNCLeaks, voter suppression and disenfranchisement, potential election fraud, #ExitPollGate, seeing the Bernie vote split between Jill, Trump, Gary, Hill or even those who just don’t want to vote at all now.

And, it occurred to me that it wasn’t that simple. It’s not simply just a case of PTSD.

The reason people feel lost now isn’t just that Bernie lost. We feel, deep down, that WE, the United States and perhaps even the World lost. Not just because we spent our hard earned dollars supporting his campaign, not just because we phone banked and text banked, not just because we knocked on doors and talked to everyone who would show even a slight interest in Bernie’s campaign or even those who didn’t, not just because we feel we are more in-tuned (awake) to the truth of life in America and even life in the world now than perhaps others who we feel may be unaware, not just because of the wars and the military industrial complex, private prison industry, fracking, the rape of our planet, climate change (global warming), the oligarchy, the TPP, our sick government, but so much more we see wrong with the world.

No, what we feel is beyond sadness. It is almost a hopelessness. With Bernie, we saw and felt HOPE like we had never felt before. Because we felt and heard and knew, he was speaking a truth. Maybe it was just a domestic truth, but in our hearts we knew it was the truth of the world. We finally, after years of seeing what we felt was the downfall of our society, our corrupt government bought and paid for by the rich and national and multi-national corporations, lobbyists – that finally, someone was (still) fighting for us, finally, someone was truly “telling it like it is” (and no, it wasn’t Trump). Finally, we had hope that we could change the world for the better, and it wasn’t just Bernie, it was a political revolution, and it wasn’t just him, it was US. We had hope even though we knew that if he won, he probably would not be able to get all he talked about the issues accomplished, and we knew that, yet, we also knew that what was important was that he would continue to fight, and so would we – and that what was even more important than him winning was that his message, our message, would continue to be heard – and heard loudly – and that maybe not just us, but the U.S., and even the rest of the world, could hear and see and believe – the world from a humanistic standpoint, can be and will be a better place for us all.

And, so, now, we are feeling lost, dejected, quieted, afraid, sad, lonely, hopeless – because we wonder if his message has died with his campaign. We feel no one is listening as we see Hillary select Tim Kaine, a centrist, as her running mate; as she selects former Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar as the head of her transition team (a pro TPP guy); as Trump continues to make one political faux pas after another; as we hear of the native American tribes standing against the North Dakota pipeline to preserve their water; as we hear of the flooding in Louisiana which seems to have drawn little national attention; bombing in Syria with pictures of small children; the constant tirade of the DNC blaming Russia; wondering if Julian Assange will make it to his big revelation in October; having just heard Bernie will resume stumping for Hillary in September; and Jeff Weaver is now on Our Revolution though wasn’t he working will Hillary’s national general election campaign?

We wonder – is anyone listening? Are we defenseless against the oligarchy? Has Bernie sold out? Does Jill really have a chance given the split in votes and the polls? Do we, Americans, have to continue to deal with the crumbs that are fed us from the 1%, or continue to see the middle class and those at the poverty level or below continue to decline into abject poverty? Does it matter who is “President of the United States” if the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the Trade In Services Agreement (TISA) pass in our legislatures?  Is America, the United States really run by 8 (or sometimes 9) Kings, those who with judicial review decide if a law is upholding or against the Constitution with no government branch or even We the People to question their findings?  We even wonder, is our Constitution specific enough for 2016?  230 years after it was established?

I understand your frustration. This is not just a line palavered by medical professionals in trying health crisis. It isn’t some band-aid to make you feel better. Some platitude meant to give you calm, peace, or reassurance.

No, in this case, I don’t want your frustration to be diminished or minimized. In this case, I want you to do as Bernie stated, “Never, ever lose you sense of outrage!” Keep fighting the fight. We may have lost the battle, but we can win the war.

To see each step that happened – to see that maybe that is how it was supposed to have happened.  To see that if Bernie had won the nomination, would we be working towards a third party possibility? To see that, would we have been as incensed or outraged as we are now, further looking at the unjust wars in the world, the raping of our land for greed and profit, the atrocities being brought on people throughout the world in the name of “freedom” by the U.S. hand,  the fracking and pipelines that continue to rape our fresh water?

To see that, maybe, just maybe, all is right with the world, even though Bernie isn’t the nominee for the highest position in this land of ours, a land of supposed freedom and liberty.

To see that even as Bernie endorses and stumps for her, we KNOW what we have to do to take our country back.  That if he had won or fought the nomination, would we be where we are today?

I used to believe “everything happens for a reason.”  I got away from that thinking for a few years, maybe decades.  Now, I am revisiting this notion – because I have also, in these past few years come to believe this – if you believe you can, you are halfway there.  If you can visualize and imagine the world you want to be, see it, believe it – you, we, can manifest it.  The law of attraction is real.  Imagining and thinking something is the first step to it actually happening!

Will it happen today, in 5 years, in 10 years or in 20 years? There is a notion floating around that Seeing is Believing.  But there is also another notion that Believing is SEEING.  Is that where we are now?  We must imagine and believe it to be possible before it actually is not only possible, but reality?

No matter how you feel about Bernie today, can you see that he has made the idea of the POSSIBLE great, equitable, fair, just, tranquil, serene, enlightened REALITY a more likely possibility?

Can you see that it is not up to him?  That him, as he is now, as everything happens for a reason – that he is exactly where he needs to be, and that even if by some miracle, or is it by us believing it first, that he DOES become President of the United States of America, that even if that becomes our reality, everything has happened as it should?

Because now, we know, we see, we are aware – he needs us to be by his side, helping him and even reminding him, or perhaps he even needs us to take our OWN leadership and initiative – AND to remind us who we are, what we think, what we want -so that truly, we will finally be a country, a world – OF the people, BY the people, and FOR the people – for the highest good of all concerned.


Brush with Greatness – Cyndi Lauper

So, to continue my semi-random series on Brushes with Greatness, I will highlight my brush with Cyndi Lauper.

I don’t know how the ex scored these tickets, but at the time, we lived in Westborough, Massachusetts.  December 4, 1986, we had tickets to see Cyndi at the Worcester Centrum, about 40 minutes from where we lived.  I didn’t know many people attended, but we somehow lined up babysitting for the night and off we headed further west to Worcester – pronounced Were Ster.

Anyway, it was the True Colors tour, and I was then and am still a Cyndi fan, so it was awesome that we got to go backstage and meet her.  Many people lined up for pictures with her and the ex said I should do it.  I feel so silly now, but I noticed before hand and while standing beside her that she had lipstick on her teeth.  So, I told her, and she wiped it off, and we got a picture of that after.  I have it somewhere.  I still feel silly for saying, “Hey, Cyndi, you have lipstick on your teeth!” but in a way, I feel like she probably appreciated the candor.  I know I would have.

So, there is another brush with Greatness.  Do you have any?

MSQC- Disney World for Quilters!

For many of you quilters out there, you know what MSQC stands for – the Missouri Star Quilt Company.  If you’ve ever looked up quilting tutorials on YouTube, you’ve probably seen Jenny Doan, the owner and creator of the Missouri Star Quilt Company giving tutorials on making quilts and other things quilted.    She loves using precuts  and saying things like “awesome”, “this is so much fun.” and “isn’t it adorable?”.   Her enthusiasm  and cheerful disposition makes you want to go out and buy tons of fabric and start putting together quilt tops as soon as possible!

MSQC is located in Hamilton, Missouri, which happens to be about 4 1/2 hours from where I live.  I’ve known about this place for a couple of years and always said I wanted to go visit there, but hadn’t done it yet.  My friend and I talked about going for about a year now, and we finally decided to go last weekend for an overnight trip.  They were having a car show, quilt show, prizes and lots of things going on, so it seemed like a good time to go.

In just six short years, Jenny has gone from having just one shop to now having five shops that sell  fabric and other quilting supplies and even a bed and breakfast so quilters can come and stay overnight on a retreat.  They are also in the process of refurbishing two other buildings  that I’m not even sure what their use will be, and someone told us with the plans that they have, when they are done, there will be somewhere in the teens of buildings and shops!  It’s like a small empire!

Needless to say, after a 4 1/2 hour drive and before we knew all this expansion information, my friend and I were anxiously hoping that the trip was worth it.  I can report with extreme honesty that it certainly was well worth the trip!   Not only did I get to meet Jenny Doan,  I also got to see the Batik Boutique  and visit the Main shop which carries a large selection of wide quilt backing and many other calicoes. They also had the largest selection of flannel prints I’ve ever seen.  The Mercantile, a few doors down, was a store totally devoted to vintage and reproduction fabrics, which I love the 30’s and 40’s reproductions because they remind of old quilts my Grandma did.  One of the stores had all holiday prints, such as Christmas, Halloween, and the Fourth of July.   And then there was the store devoted to novelty prints  and a very large selection of solids (Penney’s Quilt Shop – Hamilton is the home and birthplace of J.C. Penney!)  And all of the stores had the most precuts I had ever seen – layer cakes, charm packs, jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles, and more.  They even have a burger place and a bakery!

I also got to meet Angela Waters and bought one of her books. My friend bought a wide selection of fabric for various projects.  I bought my first jellyroll – which I can’t wait to unroll!

While talking to Angela, I said, “I’m so overwhelmed and have no specific projects in mind so I don’t even know where to begin!”

Angela replied, “This place is like Disney World for quilters. The first time I came here I felt like my head was going to explode!”

If you’ve thought about visiting the MSQC but felt unsure it was worth the time, effort, or money – imagine a Main Street where every other shop is owned and operated by the MSQC. Then, plan your days or weekend, pack your bags, and head on over. You won’t be disappointed!

That’s just weird food, mom!

More on that family gathering.  Yes, we had the sour cream/buttermilk debate, but a few other things came up.  Tell  me what you think.

I put marshmallows on the baked beans after they came out of the oven.

Daughter: Marshmallows on the baked beans, that’s weird.

Me: I always do that.

Daughter: I don’t remember you doing that. (to SIL) Have you ever had marshmallows on baked beans?  Do you think it’s strange?

SIL: I don’t know, I don’t think so.  It is kind of weird.

Me: Dad, have you ever had marshmallows on baked beans.

Dad: Mom used to do it.

Me: Well, at least I didn’t put them in the cole slaw.

Daughter: Eww, that would also be weird.

Me: Dad, have you ever had marshmallows in cole slaw?

Dad: Mom used to do that.

Me: See, it’s not weird.

Daughter: Just because Grandma used to do it doesn’t mean it isn’t weird.

Me: Well, if you think that’s bad, you should watch Frankenfood.

Niece: I haven’t seen that, what kind of things did they do?

Me: Well, they put together chocolate and bacon.

Daughter: Eww, that is weird.

Me: Well, actually, I think it was like a giant chocolate chip cookie with bacon on top. I can’t remember exactly.

Daughter: Hmm, that sounds kind of good like that.

Me: So, how were those baked beans?

I can’t remember anyone complaining, but I can’t remember them raving about them either.

But, I’m sure that at the next family gathering, someone will say, “What, no marshmallows?”

Do you have any weird family food traditions?


The Banana Bread Sour Cream Debacle

Last Saturday, we had my dad, my niece Rachel and my sister-in-law with one of my other nieces and two nephews – over to meet the new granddaughter and see my daughter and grandson.

The plan was to have pulled pork sandwiches, cole slaw, potato salad, beans, and potato chips.  Dad was to bring pie.  SIL was to bring drinks, though we made iced tea, too (yes, people who don’t live in Texas drink iced tea year round). We forgot the potato salad. So, I felt kind of bad, and we had ripe bananas, and my family loves banana bread, and my 17 yr old daughter has actually been making it herself lately.  So, I asked her to make it.

It takes an hour to bake, so we had time to eat and talk a bit before it was done.  When it came out of the oven, I took it out of the foil-lined loaf pan and set it on a cooling rack, so we could cut into it faster.

My SIL made the first slice, though it doesn’t cut well when it’s still too warm, that didn’t deter anyone.

As my nephew was eating it, she asked him if it was any good, and with a full mouth, shook his head yes and mumbled, “Hmm, mmm.”

This is where things got kind of weird and crazy. This conversation may not be an exact duplication, but went something like this.

SIL: When Alan makes it, it’s always so good, better than any banana bread I ever made.

Me:  It’s probably the sour milk or buttermilk. Like buttermilk pancakes.

SIL: Alan doesn’t use those, he uses sour cream. (to Dad) Did Carol use sour cream or buttermilk?

Dad:  Mom always used sour cream.

Me: No she didn’t, she always used buttermilk.

Dad: Well, I always remember seeing her use sour cream.

SIL: Well, the recipe Alan got from your mom says sour cream.

Dad: I’m sure she did use sour cream. It’s on the recipe on the fridge still – and I think it says buttermilk OR sour cream.

Me: Ah, ah! See, it does say buttermilk. I don’t remember her ever using sour cream when I was a teenager, and I used to help her make the banana bread.

Daughter: The recipe you gave me doesn’t have sour cream – it has 2% milk.

Me: Well, maybe my original recipe had sour cream, but over the years, I had to recopy it, and since I never had sour cream in my fridge all the time, I may have just left it off your copy.  (Everyone in back ground saying uh, huh) The secret is the sour part – buttermilk or sour milk or sour cream. They are basically equivalent in acidity or something, ask Alton Brown.

Daughter: So, why does mine say 2% milk? What happened to the sour cream?

Me: Well, I started using sour milk because I always have milk and vinegar in the house. I don’t always have buttermilk and sour cream.  And, once I tried making it with half and half or whipping cream, you know, thinking it’s thick like buttermilk.  But, it didn’t turn out right. So, it can be milk or soured milk, but not cream.

SIL:  I think it’s good with sour cream.

Niece: I just texted Mom, and she says she uses sour cream and asked me why I was asking.

Me. Great, well, I know mom used to use buttermilk, because I remember her trying to drink the stuff, and I also remember you’d have to buy it in a quart, and she’d only make banana bread once a month or so, so the buttermilk would always go bad.  And, we’d always find out when we tried to make another loaf and I’d have to pour the nasty stuff down the drain.   Anyway, Dad, about your tree stump.

Everyone: Oh, wait a minute, so now your just trying to change the subject.

Me: No, it’s all the same, and Dad said the recipe on the fridge has sour cream OR buttermilk! Agh!

And they’re all like shaking their heads and saying “Uh, huh!”

At this point, I could picture myself (as in a sitcom scene that doesn’t actually happen, but you think about it) screaming “Why do you diss my reality?  Obviously, Mom made it this way when I was there, and after I moved to Texas, you all learned a different way.  Why can’t you admit that my reality may have been different from yours! Why can’t you validate me?”

Instead, and I know I didn’t handle this well, I just walked outside.  In my defense, I did have some other emotional turmoil on my mind.

And, when it boils right down to it, does it really matter?

Also, I later realized something else that may have upset me – funny how these things  hit you unexpectedly.  The one person who can resolve this ridiculous conflict (Mom), isn’t around to do so.  But, unlike the employee who is now gone so you can blame all the things you find wrong on them, instead of casting blame for this confusion, it just makes me miss her and wish she was here.

Anyway, you probably are curious about this recipe now, so here it is.

Mom’s Banana Bread

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3 mashed ripe bananas
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup buttermilk, sour cream, or sour milk (milk with 2-3 teaspoons vinegar)

Mix in large measuring cup or medium bowl – flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In large bowl, cream butter and blend in sugar.  Stir in eggs.  Then, add bananas and stir well.  Add to this 1/2 of flour mixture and 1/2 of milk.  Stir until flour is mixed in.  Add remaining flour mix and milk.  Stir gently till all flour is mixed in.  Do not over stir.

Pour this into a greased loaf pan.  I like to put in half of the dough, then sprinkle with cinnamon sugar over entire top, then add remaining dough, and sprinkle cinnamon sugar over the top before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.  Check for done ness with toothpick after 50 minutes.  Bread is done when toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf.

P.S. You know that at all future family gatherings, someone is going to say “Oh, I used sour cream” and wink, right?


Because – changing diapers is messy!

One thing I noticed when my daughter started having babies two  years ago – people don’t sell diaper changing pads!  Yes, they sell “changing table covers” – which are ridiculously expensive.

But, simple cloth or quilted or flannel backed changing pads – I couldn’t really find them in a shop (don’t remember if I searched much on-line) – at all, but I thought I did.

I remembered my mother making me some, I think, and I think I even made a couple sewn flannel ones myself back 30+ years ago. And, they are ever so handy for the changing table or pad or on the sofa, the floor, at a friend’s house, on the bed, in the bathroom at the restaurant on the “baby changing station” (which they didn’t have when I had babies!).

So, why aren’t these readily available?  Or at least, affordable?

I made several two  years ago when my grandson was born – pretty much my first attempt at free-motion quilting and quilt piecing).  She has used them every day since Mr. Man came into this world.

Mr. Man was famous for peeing when you changed him, so she appreciated the several pads I made then.

I made six for granddaughter – sending them up with Auntie when she went up before birth to be there to take care of Mr. Man – telling her, “Tell sissy to keep what she wants, and if she doesn’t want them all, I’ll find a place for them.”

She kept them all.

Spit up, peeing when the diaper is off (ooh, it’s so cold!), dumping a load – each pad only seems to make it through a day or two before hitting the washing machine.

Here’s a picture of the July bunch for my sweet granddaughter.


I’m seriously thinking of making a bunch to have “on hand” for gifts and such.

Should I?

Because… Grandchildren

I’m tired this week.

I have a post of my activities from last week which I’ll put up next.

But, I was exhausted Sunday, still catching up Monday, and even went to bed early last night (Tuesday).  Went to do some job testing for the State and to a job fair (Wednesday), and even took a nap, and I think I my energy level may be back to almost normal.  I am, after all, still awake, though I’d like to be asleep, I wanted to blog some posts, or is that post some blogs?

My daughter says sleep deprivation is a normal thing for her since having a baby – yeah, but, so much tougher when you are 22 years older!