Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Susie Horwitz

Someone that I knew through my work at the University of Rochester Medical Center died this week of a brain tumor, about a month after being diagnosed. Susan Horwitz was a therapist and educator whose focus was domestic violence. She was passionate about her work and had enormous success in helping families in distress. I was fortunate to know Susie personally. She and I were the same age and both Republicans. She even tried to play matchmaker once and introduce me to a man she knew. While that didn't work out, I was grateful to her for caring. Susie was one of those people that everyone liked. It just seems unfair that someone who had so much to offer the world would die so young. It reminds me of a quote that I think sums up Susie's life. . . It is not how many years in your life that matters, but how much life you put into your years.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jen!

Today is my daughter-in-law's birthday. Happy birthday, Jen. See you in a few days.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Homemade Spaghetti

You will never be served spaghetti out of a jar in my house! This afternoon I put a big pot of it on to simmer for the rest of the afternoon.

Recipe? There is no recipe! But here is what I put in it:

olive oil
6 or 8 cloves garlic, chopped
one large onion, chopped

Heat the oil in a large cast iron dutch oven. Then cook the garlic and onion for a few minutes.

Next add a pound of good quality ground beef (at least 95% lean)

When the meat is brown, add a large can of tomatoe sauce, medium size can of tomatoe paste, and a large can of tomatoes.

Stir to combine.

Now add basil, oregano, 4 bay leaves, salt, brown sugar, and a dash or two of ground cinnamon.

If I have red wine [today I don't], I will add about a half a cup of that.

The longer it simmers, the better the flavor.

A committee that I co-chair is having a pot luck dinner meeting in a few weeks. Several of the participants responded that they would come but due to time constraints, they would just stop at the grocery store and bring something. I certainly understand that and don't think less of them for doing it. [After all, not everyone shares my love of cooking and baking]. But, on the other hand, I think it is sad that our world has become so complex and busy that more and more people have turned away from a good homecooked meal.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Promotion at Work

Two weeks from yesterday I will leave my current job and move to the Clinical Translational Science Institute within the University of Rochester Medical Center where I have worked for six years. I am excited over this new assignment.

About a year or so back, the University was one of 12 in the country to receive a 40 million dollar grant from the National Institutes of Health to form the CTSI. The work there involves bringing new research "from bench to bedside" as quickly as possible. Of course, it is much more involved than that, but that is the layman's term! Traditionally the UofR is among the top 10 funded research institutions in the country. Guess that means we are doing something right!!!

I found the interview process I went through for this job quite notable. I had been looking for a new challenge for some time. Many times I would submit a resume and never even be called for an interview. That hurt, even though I realize for every job opening there are often over 100 applicants. Then I would get interviews and things just didn't click and I knew this wasn't going anywhere. It seemed between the jobs I rejected and the ones that rejected me, I would never find the right match.

This one was different! I had two interviews with three different people. Both interviews went very well. I sensed a strong connection here. The interviews felt more like a conversation than an interview. I felt we were on the same page.

The next two weeks will be busy as I tie up loose ends in my current job and leave detailed instructions of what I do so that things can run smoothly there. It is amazing how many personal belongings I have around my work area, two framed family pictures, two potted plants, various dictionaries and reference books, even my compact refrigerator. . . the list seems endless. In the middle of all this, I'm taking a previously planned two-day vacation and have a class I have to attend. I won't have time to be bored!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Happy Birthday, Jake!

My grandson, Jake, is 7 years old today! Happy Birthday, Jake! I am convinced Jake is going to be a corporate CEO or a lawyer. He has amazing powers of persuasion!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Deer Prevention

Now that I've cut down my black-eyed-susans and coneflowers and lamb's ears for the winter, all plants that are offensive to deer, I have to use other measures to keep them away from my burning bushes, which they love to chomp on. One method is to sprinkle shavings of Irish Spring soap around the plants. That seems to work. Another method is to place human or dog hair around the plants.

The deer totally eliminated a holly bush I had by the front of the house one year - ate it right down to the ground. I also learned the hard way that I cannot plant red tulips in my front yard. Deer love the big red blooms.

Genesee Valley Park is not far from my house and there is a large deer population there that frequently wanders throughout my neighborhood, even in the middle of the day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A fantastic salad recipe

Wanted to share with you a corn salad recipe I discovered this weekend when I was invited over to the Lauterbach's house for a cookout. Try it! It is colorful, delicious and full of good nutrition.

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons salt
black pepper to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
4 cups corn
1 bunch scallions chopped
8 to 16 oz. mozarella, cubed
fresh basil to taste
avacados to taste, cubed

Combine the first four ingredients and set aside.

Mix together the remaining ingredients in a large bowl. Pour olive oil mixture over and mix well. Chill.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Something that tickled my funny bone

I was watching CNN this morning and there was a story about a man in Colorado whose passion is golf. He loves golf so much that he built a very nice putting green in his yard. Each day he would leave a dozen or more golf balls on the putting green when he finished practicing. Then, mysteriously, these golf balls began to disappear. Every night, something or someone, was taking the golf balls from the putting green. He estimates he lost about 70 balls.

He installed a video security camera aimed at the putting green. Can you believe it? Every night a wolf was coming by and taking away the golf balls!


Monday, September 14, 2009


Until the day I die, I will not forget the look on a co-worker’s face recently when she found out I am a gun enthusiast. “You are the LAST person I would pick to be interested in guns!”

I think I was as shocked to hear this as she was to find I enjoy handguns.

I gave her time to get over her shock and then I went to her cubicle in a calm manner. I said, “Jane (not her real name), yes, I do own handguns and yes, I enjoy target shooting, and God forbid, the time ever comes, I am ready and willing and fully capable of defending myself with deadly force.” She was still a bit startled but she remained calm. I then told her that there are MANY people who are law abiding, mature individuals who carry a concealed weapon and these people are not radical trouble makers or hoodlums from the inner city. I also added that the overwhelming majority of responsible gun owners, prepared though they may be, will never be faced with defending themselves with a gun. It’s like having insurance. . . you may pay your premiums all your life and never need it.

I don’t remember the exact script of our conversation. She seemed to understand and accept my point of view. I told her I have been around guns all my life. As a teenager, I enjoyed going to the clay pits in my hometown, stacking up tin cans and shooting at them with an old .32 caliber revolver. There is family land in rural Alabama that has been in my family for close to 150 years where my grandparents once raised cotton. For decades, we have gone there and enjoyed target shooting.

Then she said something that surprised me. She said, “You know, it is a cruel world out there and I have often thought about owning a gun for protection but I just don’t know anything about guns.” I told her if she wants to do that, that’s fine. . . I would even be a reference for her on her pistol permit. I also told her if that’s what she wants to do, she needs to learn as much as she can about guns and take a course or two in the safe handling and use of one, adding that there are plenty of venues for appropriate gun training here in Rochester.

This woman is not an ignorant, narrow minded person. She is educated and holds a very responsible job. Yet, all too often many people like her have been duped by the anti-gun radicals out there that think people that carry guns are bad and should have their guns confiscated. Someone else who I work very closely with – no names and don’t ask! – once said, in reference to yet another gun crime in Rochester, “We need to get all the guns confiscated. There are too many guns out there.”

New York State, where I live, has some of the toughest gun ownership laws in the country. And I fully support those laws. It is a lengthy, time-consuming process to even get a pistol permit in this state. And to purchase a gun is a real pain! Awhile ago, as I was purchasing a new gun, I was standing patiently in the gun shop as the owner completed the mass of paperwork involved in transferring ownership of the gun to me. I commented to him, “Here I am, going through legal channels to own this gun and a thug in the city can go out and get a gun in half an hour and kill someone with it in the time it takes me to get a gun.” The man said to me, “Not even half an hour.”

I have a collection of guns that I value greatly. They are locked up and inaccessible. It is my hope they will be passed on to my grandsons when I die, assuming they will take the time to learn the proper use and handling of them.

Why am I writing this? Those who follow my blog know that I don’t venture into controversial subjects here. Jane’s initial comments to me made me realize that too many people truly don’t understand the whole issue of guns. I want to help set the record straight. Yes, Jane, I am a tax paying, law abiding homeowner and grandmother who goes to church on Sunday, practices my religion on a daily basis, and goes to work everyday to support myself. From the day they were born till they were adults, I took the time and interest to raise my two sons to be outstanding citizens AND I like guns!

End of the Season

Yesterday I tore down my flower gardens. It's a sad time for me. This summer, especially, they were just beautiful with more blooms than in past years. They attracted butterflies and hummingbirds. But when they start to droop and turn drab, well, there is no other choice. Now all that is left on the big garden out by the road are my two Burning Bushes. In a couple of weeks, they will be bright crimson. After that comes winter. We haven't had a killing frost here yet, or any frost for that matter. There is just a slight hint of fall in the air and here and there are patches of fall colors on the trees.

In the back yard, my hydrangea bushes still have large pink blooms on them that look healthy. They will last till the frost kills them.

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Now, be honest, do you know what a sturgeon is? I didn't until last night. I went to a presentation on reintroducing the Sturgeon to the Genesee River located in Rochester, NY. It turned out to be quite an entertaining presentation. This was the September program for the local chapter of the Adirondack Mountain Club, of which I am a long time member. More on that later.

A Sturgeon is a rather ugly looking fish that dates back to the dinosaur era and was almost extinct. Through a collaborative program that includes the University of Rochester, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seneca Park Zoo, efforts have been underway to increase the Sturgeon population.

It has been a difficult process for a number of reasons. Although a male Sturgeon can live up to 55 years and the female up to 150 years, they don't begin to spawn until they are 7 or 8 years old and then only about every two years.

A Sturgeon can get up to 10 ft long and 300 pounds. One picture in the presentation showed a large group of men holding up a big one with the caption, "It took 8 hours, 10 men, and 4 6-packs of beer to pull this one in!"

If you live in Rochester, the Seneca Park Zoo has a large exhibit on these efforts that appeals to both children and adults.

Now, more on the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK). The ADK is an organization with over 20 chapters and 20,000 members in the Northeast that promotes outdoor education, recreation, and conservation. I have been a member since the mid-1980s and have spent many enjoyable days participating in outdoor activities - hiking, backpacking, canoe camping, kayaking, and cross country skiing. Our local chapter meets the second Wednesday of every month from September through June and the meeting programs usually center around an outdoor topic. If this kind of thing interests you, check us out. Visitors are welcome at meetings and most activities. The website for the Rochester chapter is http://www.gvc-adk.org/

I am proud to be Co-Chair of the ADK Outdoor Expo Committee which presents the annual Expo every June in Rochester. Here you can learn about opportunities for outdoor recreation in the Rochester area. It gets bigger every year so come and join us on June 12, 2010. Come and try out a kayak or canoe, learn about bicycle repair, backpacking techniques, camp cooking, or take a hike through Mendon Ponds Park or any number of other activities.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Web surfing

It is amazing what you can find when you start poking around on the web. Here are a few sites I have found and check in on from time to time.

www.classicmoviekids.com: This one is all about child movie stars from the past and what they are doing today.

www.ehow.com: A how-to site with loads of good information

www.maxlucado.com: An inspirational site from Max Lucado

www.wa-wd.com: Who is Alive and Who is Dead. Have you ever wondered, "I haven't heard about _______ in awhile. I wonder if he/she is still around?" This site lists famous people by categories.

www.nobodyhere.com/toren.hier: A really cute game. It begins with a pyramid of teddy bears. As you move your mouse across the pyramid, the teddy bears topple down and then spring back in place. The sound effects are humorous. A good no-brainer for a rainy day!

www.die.net/earth: This is a satellite view of the earth showing daylight and darkness.

www.eatwild.com: A reliable source of information on grass fed beef and where to find farms that raise and sell it.

How did we ever live without the internet and all it offers???

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Football season is here!

I love football , especially college football. I guess you could say football is in my blood. My parents took me to high school football games in Pensacola, Florida when I was just a toddler. I remember how hard it was for me to climb those big concrete steps in the stands with my little legs. I remember being scared to death the first time I experienced everyone around me standing up and screaming wildly because somebody on the field outran everyone else with a football in his arms, running the length of the field into what I learned was the end zone. Back then my only interest in football was the halftime show with the bands and the majorettes. "Is it time for halftime yet?", I would ask impatiently. But I soon learned that a touchdown or a first down was a good thing if your team was the one that made the touchdown or a first down.

As I grew older I began to feel the excitement of the game. I was in the stands once when the legendary Paul "Bear" Bryant was coaching the University of Alabama. He wore a light blue pullover sweater that day with his trademark houndstooth hat. That was back in the days when it was still easy to get a ticket to a college game!

When I was in grade school, my father took me to see the Rose Bowl Stadium on a vacation to California. There wasn't a game that day and the stadium was empty and quiet. To this day, everytime I watch a game on TV from the Rose Bowl, I recall that day my father and I were standing at the gates. I sensed the obvious pride he had in showing me the Rose Bowl.

My favorite college team is the University of Alabama Crimson Tide. I think the Southeastern Conference (SEC) is among the very best football conferences in the country. Why? Because every Southern boy grows up wanting to play football for an SEC team! I think it's something in the water down there. Whatever it is, there are many exceptional football players born and raised in the South.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

According to the Old Farmer's Almanac. . .

The Old Farmer's Almanac predicts the Northeast is in for a bitter winter this year. All the more reason to make the most of the remaining days of summer and the nice days of fall. I am really looking forward to the 3-day Labor Day Weekend this week.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

It's September!

I can't believe I have published over 80 posts and have lasted more than a few months at this blogging thing. I let Jeph, from Jeph's Spot, talk me into blogging. He used to maintain my website - actually, I should say "websites" since I had a professional one for my real estate business and then later on added a personal one. When I left real estate a number of years back, I held on to my personal website for a time.

I also enjoy following dozens of blogs on any number of subjects. There is granny in Australia, Going Country in upstate New York. . . the list goes on and on. There are a lot of interesting blogs out there where I find recipes and ideas for all kinds of things. The ones on my blog list here (to the right of your screen) are only the tip of the iceberg of what I read regularly. A few years ago I had never heard of blogs. Now I can't live without them!