Saturday, February 27, 2010

Wanna bet?

There was a BIG picture today in our local paper showing the Canadian Women's Hockey team smoking cigars, swilling beer and pouring champagne on each other at the arena after their victory.

Apparently some thought that was offensive; the girls were quick to apologize.

If I was a Canadian cigar store owner, or beer brewer I would be making a point today to ship each girl a congratulatory package of my goods.

If I was one of their mothers I would be explaining to my daughter the value of a non-apology as in:

I am so sorry that you found my smoking and drinking offensive.


Gold Medal Winner Jane Smith

Privately I would tell her that I hoped she would refrain from cigar smoking except for instances such as winning Olympic medals. Mouth cancer is a threat not to be taken lightly; but my lectures on the subject to my own husband and son has to date fallen on deaf ears. Celebratory events such as a game of golf, a day of skiing or a dip in the hot tub all qualify as cigar puffing worthy events.

All of which is to explain why I am putting forth a small bet on the upcoming Canadian/USA hockey game.

If you agree, here's the bet:

If your team wins, you get to drink the beverage of your choice.

If you lose, you must take at least one puff of a cigar.

And post the picture of yourself doing so on your blog.
(I personally have NEVER smoked ANYTHING ever in my whole life. At age 55, I'm hoping I won't need to give up that standing. But one puff? It won't kill me if I had to do it.)

Anyone interested in betting?

Aw, come often do you get to get in on a crazy bet like this one?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Root, root, root for the home team...

I've been quite taken by all the enthusiastic and supportive Canadian blog "shout outs" to various Canadian home town Olympians.
Isn't it fun to cheer the locals on?
Isn't it just THE BEST when they do good?
It makes watching the events so personal.
So special.
So memorable.

And of course it makes one feel so proud of one's own home town.

I wish I could say it was the same way with our local Salt Lake City area Olympians:

Team USA has 216 members.
FIFTY SEVEN of them reside in Utah either full or part time, mostly in areas that are just minutes away from my house.
(I think the training facilities around Salt Lake and Park City have a wee bit to do with that fact.)
With so many contenders from here, there actually is a "Utah House" up in Vancouver's Olympic Village.
I really can't do "shout outs" for all my homeys; I'd grow hoarse before I was a third of the way down the list!
I'm afraid I could never even survive watching all their events.
Truth be told, most of the time I don't even remember all of their names.
Sort of sad, isn't it?
I know players for Utah have won medals in each category, and more medals are likely still to be won.
Apolo Ono, for instance, has won a few medals in skating

Shannon Bahrke (lives in Salt Lake City, Utah, from Tahoe Calif.) won a Bronze Medal in Free Style Skiing at the Women’s Moguls

Chad Hedrick (lives in Salt Lake City, Utah) won the Bronze medal in Speed Skating Men’s 1000m

Bryon Wilson (lives in Park City, Utah) won a Bronze medal in Free Style Skiing at the Men’s Moguls

Last night another Gold medal was draped on one of our lads.

There are others who have medals of various colors, and I am sure there are more medals coming our way soon.

But I think I have probably already said too much about all this.

You know how it is.

Americans are just modest by nature.

I wouldn't want any one to think I was bragging!

(I just couldn't resist. With love to all my Red Mitten wearing Maple Leaf wagging blogging friends! I cheer for your teams whenever they are not going up against my team and think of all the fun you are having right now.)

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Registering china patterns in my mind...

On my way to work and running early for a change...

I stopped at a traffic light by the O.C. Tanner building, originally a library built in 1905 that was renovated just last summer.

Been meaning to take a look at the place...wonder if they will let me inside?

I know the O. C. Tanner company has something to do with jewelry...class rings maybe?


Looked like it was time for another Field Trip!

I pulled up to the curb in front of the building, put my car in park, scrounged up two quarters for the parking meter and bought myself 30 minutes to explore.

Inside I found a three story high spiral staircase, with an imaginative folded paper sculpture suspended on LED fibers.

There were jewelry cases everywhere, but what immediately caught my eye was...

A series of china plates.

Not just any ordinary plates...these were the plates used in the White House during various Presidential administrations!

Above is the orange lily patterned china that was part of the china service from the Presidency of U. S. Grant right after the Civil War.

Then there was a sample of the china selected by Mary Todd Lincoln...the first time White House china was selected by a First Lady.

(Some people thought Mary was trying to be "royal" with her choice of a purple band on the china).

Mrs. Franklin Roosevelt dignified choice...

Mrs. Wilson's slightly more exuberant choice...

The unexpected and controversial selection of Mrs. Hayes...

Popular with the people, yet panned by the critics. I think she was quite brilliant in her design thinking!

Mrs. Benjamin Harrison's selection with a corn border designed to honor her home state...

With a bit of sad history noted.

Theodore Roosevelt's plate.

and this design sprigged with wildflowers...can you guess which First Lady selected this pattern?
(Answer at the end!)

I learned later that the china display would end Feb. 28th. Whew! What a lucky impulse I had!
As it turns out, the foremost collector of White House china has a friend living in SLC. The friend convinced the collector to to loan some of his collection to the store. An article about the collector and the plates can be read HERE.

I warn you though, collector shared some pretty funny and touching details that are likely to haunt you for awhile. I'm still laughing about his wife's comment about the collection, and President Truman's thoughtful designing methods.
The top floor of the O. C. Tanner building had art objects for sale. I took a fancy to this glass design immediately.

And enjoyed the idea of having this adorable real diamond bunny to wear when feeling spring-ish.
If you are interested in seeing a few more examples of Presidential china, check out THIS or THIS site.
I realize that many of the First Ladies were around my age when they selected china patterns for White House usage.
What a daunting task that must have been for them.
I myself can hardly ever pass by a display of china patterns without mentally deciding which pattern I like best.
Sometimes my husband agrees with me, other times he doesn't.
It is a simple routine that we engage in...yet I find I wince when he doesn't care for my pick.
The First Ladies don't just get feed back from their husbands, they get feed back from the whole country!
How brave they must be to dare to select something that will be commented on forever.
I've read the biographies of many of the First Ladies. They form an amazing sisterhood. So many of them moved into the White House with personal sorrows burdening their hearts, grieving children that died weeks before moving in or miscarriages, bearing personal physical limitations, mental health challenges and homesickness that would over shadow their new station in life.
Growing up they all seemed so that I am closer to their age I can picture their personal lives better and am quite amazed at how they managed so well in the public eye.
If I should ever be invited to a White House dinner you will be sure to see me edging my way over to the China room to have a look-see, while ignoring the high profile guests seated at the next table. I have a feeling that there would be quite a few women who would be quite game to join me!
So which pattern is your favorite?
Mine is the red bordered Reagan China.
Or maybe it is Theodore Roosevelt's china.
Gosh it is hard to decide!
Answer: Lady Bird Johnson of course, she who championed beautification via wild flowers across her home state of Texas.
***O. C. Tanner makes the Olympic Team rings. Now that's what I call a "class" ring!

Monday, February 22, 2010

When I am old I shall wear leather....

When I grow old (say age 97...) I shall wear leather, dye my hair pink, go to biker bars and shake my bootie while holding on to my walker.

Seriously, could happen.

Here's a story about one group of 90+ year old women who did all that!

Oh yeah...I think I already know a few women who would be happy to sign up for such an outing when the time comes.

And I'm thinking about reserving a space at a Bethesda nursing home for some time in the future.

Heck, with this kind of fun, I'd be happy to move in today!

Nursing Home Residents Form a Biker Gang
“I want to be the first one on the bike,” said 90-year-old Scheltes.

(For now, I'll leave biking to my son....)



Lydia Scheltes woke up in her bed at Bethesda Retirement Center one morning with pinkish hair, a tattoo on her arm and a hangover. Not a typical morning for the 90-year-old.

“Seniors are more fun than you’ll ever know,” she said.

Scheltes wasn’t alone: Seven ladies and one dude – aged 65 to 97 – all had a similar hazy look in their eyes after they hung out with bikers at the Evil Olive bar in Wicker Park on Feb. 11.

Some of them were still wearing their own biker gear.

Bethesda’s residents usually spend their time knitting or quilting or doing an activity typical of their age group, but they wanted something different for a change. They often drive past the Evil Olive during day trips and fantasized about what goes on inside.

One day Elizabeth Barrett, 68, asked their Life Enrichment Director, Ruth Werstler, if they could check it out.

“I did a little digging and found out it was a nightclub,” Werstler said. “But that didn’t deter them.They still wanted to go.”

In fact, Barrett upped the ante: She suggest going out as bikers.

“It was all my idea,” Barrett says with a devious laugh. “We aren’t the regular type of nursing home.”

Werstler indulged her crew and reached out to various people who could help transform the retirement home crew into a boss biker gang. She recruited hairstylists, make-up artists, a professional costumer and a tattoo artist from Artreach at Lillstreet to donate their time to make the ladies look fearsome.

About 100 people showed up to the club, including members of the Latino American Motorcycle Association and Chicago’s Chapter of A.B.A.T.E.

“These women were serious, man,” said Evil Olive General Manager Eric Bollard. “They showed up with pink hair and skull caps. It was for real. One woman walked straight up to the bar and ordered a Dirty Martini. It was great.”

They even turned the event into a semi-fundraiser. Werstler is trying to raise $25,000 for a touch screen computer system for the non-profit retirement home so that the women can learn and use the Internet. The bikers who showed up pitched in about $250 toward the “Never-Too-Late.”

But it wasn’t the money that tickled the residents. It was the exhilaration of an evening that felt like it “flew by in a nanosecond,” said 66-year-old Janet Kaplan.

Kaplan, who is wheelchair bound and admittedly extremely overweight, was disappointed when she first arrived at the club because there were stairs by the entrance.

“I said, We’re not going to make it,” Kaplan said. “Then before I knew it a group of bikers came and grabbed my wheelchair. All I saw was my head being tipped back and my feet were up in the air and they had me in the club.”

The bikers gave the women club hats, and spent time chatting them up, flirting and even dancing.

“One of our residents, Katie, just turned 97, and she got up with her walker and shook her booty," Kaplan said. "She shook it good."

The one thing the women didn’t get a chance to do was ride on a motorcycle, because it was too cold.

But that’s coming.

LAMA and A.B.A.T.E. members made plans to come by the residence center in the spring and take the ladies for a ride.

“I want to be the first one on the bike,” said 90-year-old Scheltes.

They may ride straight back to Evil Olive.

“Man, those ladies were an awesome bunch," Boland said. "Everyone was so into it that we’re thinking about arranging another party for them soon."

Find this article at:

There is a reason...

Hang around with a librarian and you get fun factoids on the this one:

Imagine you are holding a new baby in the crook of your arm.
Got the picture in your head?
In which arm is the precious little head being cradled? Your right arm or left arm?

Next: You are holding a baby over your shoulder, steadying the baby's head with your hand and patting the baby's back with the other hand.

Which shoulder is the baby resting on? Your right shoulder or left shoulder?

Record your arm preference in the Poll at the top of my side bar!

Now for the factoid:

As you probably already know, the human brain is divided into two spheres. The right brain is the more creative or emotional hemisphere and the left brain is the analytical and judgmental hemisphere.

But...the way that the spheres receive information is switched: The left ear/left side of a face informs the right side of the brain emotional information that is needed for bonding and caring, while the right ear/right side of the face delivers information to the left side of the brain, which is concerned with analyzing and evaluating things.

The optimum way for a human to tune into the needs of speechless infant is to observe subtle cues. The left side ear/eyes are best suited to register those cues and deliver them to the right side of the brain, where it bonding and caring occurs.

Interesting, eh? There actually is a good reason behind the inclination to hold infants over a left shoulder!

This information was from a study reported in this month's Psychology Today magazine.
How the brain works facinates me. The brain really is the last frontier in my opinion. Only now do we have the tools to "watch" brains process information. The more studies that I read about brain studies, the more amazed I become.

Who knew that the instinctive left hold on babies had a specific reason?
Not only does the holder have better access to the emotional needs of the baby, but the baby's left ear is held open when held on the holder's left side, enabling the baby to readily process signals with his/her right brain that looks for emotional content. Cool!

The study lead to a suggestion: When speaking messages of emotional content, speak them into the left ear for more impact.

When speaking messages that need analytical processing (such as should we do this or that? or "I've put the mail to go out on the table" for instance..) try speaking the message to the right ear.

Hmmm....this information may be useful on many levels of routine family life!

Happy Washington's Birthday! Anyone baking a cherry pie out there today?