Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Evening Rain


Evening Rain

Rain fell so softly, in the evening,
I almost thought it was the trees that were talking

     - John Fletcher - 1918

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Every March

It seems like every March I get sick with some sort of fever and head cold. This year it's a sinus infection. I tried a new walk-in clinic this weekend for treatment. It was located inside a well known pharmacy. As I was waiting, I noticed almost everyone behind the pharmacy counter was in scrubs. A couple of workers behind the consultation counter were in lab coats. I can't really explain why, but I was comforted by this. It made me feel like they really took their job seriously and with a sense of pride.

These days everyone is so much more casual. Your doctor is as apt to come in wearing jeans and tennis shoes under the lab coat. It is probably more of an attempt at a better beside manner. A few years ago, I would never have noticed. But, as I get older, those things stand out to me. In stores, it's hard to tell the clerks from the customers sometimes. I have even had customers ask me questions thinking I worked there! Maybe it's time we went back to wearing more than a name tag. I'm not saying everyone should wear a uniform, but something that says 'yes, I work here and I would be glad to assist you.' Aren't those workers and clerks the first line of their company's representation?
In case you're nursing a cold this Spring, here are some vintage recipes from a late 1800's cookbook:
Chicken Broth for the Invalid

Procure a dry-picked roasting chicken; cut it in halves; put one half in the ice box; chop the other half into neat pieces; put it into a small saucepan; add one quart of cold water, a little salt and a leaf of celery; simmer gently for two hours; remove the oily particles thoroughly; strain the broth into a bowl; when cooled a little, serve to the convalescent. Serve the meat with the broth.

Chicken Soup

Take three young male chickens; cut them up; put them in a saucepan with three quarts of veal stock. (A sliced carrot, one turnip, and one head of celery may be put with them and removed before the soup is thickened.) Let them simmer for an hour. Remove all the white flesh; return the rest of the birds to the soup, and boil gently for two hours. Pour a little of the liquid over a quarter of a pound of bread crumbs, and when they are well soaked put it in a mortar with the white flesh of the birds, and pound the whole to a smooth paste: add a pinch of ground mace, salt, and a little cayenne pepper; press the mixture through a sieve, and boil once more, adding a pint of boiling cream; thicken with a little flour mixed in cold milk; remove the bones, and serve.

Chicken Soup

Cut up one chicken, put into a stewpan two quarts of cold water, a teaspoonful of salt, and one pod of red pepper; when half done add two desert spoonfuls of well washed rice: when thoroughly cooked, remove the bird from the soup, tear a part of the breast into shreds (saving the remainder of the fowl for a salad), and add it to the soup with a wine-glass full of cream.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Are You Ready to ShakeOut?


Are You Ready to ShakeOut?

With more the 40 million people living and working in the central U.S., a major earthquake could cause unprecedented devastation. What we do now, before a big earthquake, will determine what our lives will be like afterwards. With earthquakes an inevitable part of this region’s future, we must act quickly to ensure that disasters do not become catastrophes.

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut in April 2011 will involve more than one million people through a broad-based outreach program, partnership with media, and public advocacy by hundreds of partners. This event is being organized by the Central United States Earthquake Consortium ( and the states of: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Tennessee. The 2011 Great Central U.S. ShakeOut earthquake drill will be held at 10:15 AM local time on April 28, 2011 (April 19 in Indiana)

A key aspect of the ShakeOut is the integration of comprehensive science-based earthquake research and the lessons learned from decades of social science research about why people get prepared. The result is a “teachable moment” on par with having an actual earthquake (often followed by increased interest in getting ready for earthquakes). ShakeOut creates the sense of urgency that is needed for people, organizations, and communities to get prepared, to practice what to do to be safe, and to learn what plans need to be improved.
Not just any drill will accomplish this; it needs to be big. It must inspire communities to come together. It must involve children at school and parents at work, prompting conversations at home. It must allow every organization, city, etc., to make it their own event.

The 2011 ShakeOut drill will be the largest preparedness event in central U.S. history. To participate, go to and pledge your family, school, business, or organization’s participation in the drill. Registered participants will receive information on how to plan their drill and how to create a dialogue with others about earthquake preparedness. All organizers ask is that participants register (so they can be counted and receive communications), and at the minimum practice "drop, cover, and hold on" at the specified time. It is only a five minute commitment for something that can save your life. It all begins with registering, which is free and open to everyone.

For more information, visit

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Dirty U

Gather close while I tell you the story of The Dirty U. Back in the hollow, card games were played often. These were mostly Rummy and Rook. Well, one Christmas our Uncle gave us all different forms of Scrabble games. Scrabble quickly became a family favorite as all three generations enjoyed nightly games. We were new to this game and allowed the use of a dictionary for brief moments. If you've played Scrabble, you know that drawing the Q can be a blessing or a curse. With 10 points just in that letter, it can create a high scoring word. But, since most words need the U, it was also a difficult letter.
We never counted our tiles, so we never knew that we were playing with only 3 U's instead of 4. Thinking back, what a difference that extra letter could have meant in countless games. One day, while cleaning, the missing U was found under a corner cabinet. Having been missing for some time, the tile had darkened quite a bit. When we added it to the other tiles, this difference became apparent. Everyone knew where the dirty U was located. The unspoken rule became to leave that tile alone unless you had drawn the Q. Thus, became the legend of The Dirty U in our Scrabble games. I treasure those memories now more than ever and The Dirty U still brings a smile.
Since snow is in the forecast again, which means a dreary day ahead, here's a vintage recipe for comfort food.


1 large head cabbage
1/2 lb. dried beef
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 cup milk
1/2 cup buttered crumbs

Chop cabbage coarsely and cook in salted water until tender, then drain. Chop the dried beef and soak in a little warm water for 10 minutes. Grease a casserole and in it place alternate layers of cabbage and dried beef. Mix soup and milk until smooth. Pour soup mixture over it and top with buttered bread crumbs. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Get Ready To Shake Out!

Protect Yourself During an Earthquake...
Drop, Cover, and Hold On!

At 10:15 a.m. on April 28, 2011, millions of central U.S. residents will practice Drop, Cover, and Hold On. Many people and organizations will also practice other aspects of their emergency plans.

The Great Central U.S. ShakeOut will be the largest earthquake preparedness event in central U.S. history and will be held on the fourth Thursday in April of 2011.

Register now and join our goal of one million participants in 2011 practicing quake safety!

The central U.S. must get better prepared before the next big earthquake, and also practice how to protect ourselves when it happens. The purpose of the ShakeOut is to help people and organizations do both.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

In Like a Lamb

Well, March has definitely come in like a lamb this year. So, be prepared for anything at the end of the month!
Just for fun, here's some March lore:

March month of "many weathers" wildly comes,
In hail and snow and rain, and threatening hums and floods.

A wet March makes a sad harvest.

If March comes in smiling and gay, saddle your horses and go and buy hay.

March, Hic, Hac, Ham'
Comes in like a lion
And goes out like a lamb.

If March comes in stormy and black, she carries the winter away on her back.