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Of the candidates currently running, Gary Johnson reminds me the most, of Charlie Brown.  He’s a good guy.  I know, that’s hard to fathom in this day and age, but they do still exist occasionally.  What’s more important at the moment, is that Gary Johnson is a valid political candidate running for President, and his presence in the polls is on the rise.  He’s the Libertarian party candidate, which means he believes in smaller government, fewer regulations and restrictions on business, or in your personal lives, and a more autonomous citizenry.  Under this type of government, creativity and invention flourish. Businesses are started, and grow. Work becomes available for more people, and productivity increases. People are happier, because they have the freedom to indulge themselves in speculative efforts; which sometimes pay off quite well.

Now, I know that we have two, very powerful, candidates running under different party banners.  It might seem impossible to dream of having such a good guy candidate actually win, but there is a scenario in which it might happen.  If the other two candidates cancel each others’s electoral college votes out, somewhat, so that neither of them have enough, if Gary can win a state, and pull just enough votes to keep either of them from winning flat out, then the decision goes to the Hill.  It would be something like what happened when Nixon Resigned, and his Vice President was already impeached.  Our congressmen and women made the decision who would be the President until the elections happened.  That’s how Gerald Ford became President after Nixon.  So Maybe, the congress wouldn’t like either of the two powerful candidates enough and would choose Gary.

Maybe that’s what his campaign rallying cry should be. Choose Gary.

 

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author, Ellen M. Lattz, and/or blog owner, is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M. Lattz, and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Related Links:

Hillary Clinton’s Health

Why Donald Trump is Smarter than Joe Scarborough

New Wikileaks news about election interference

Fixing the Medicaid Nightmare

 

craps

craps (Photo credit: Ben McLeod)

OK.  So I’m feeling guilty for not writing sooner than this.  It’s not that I haven’t had any opinions on anything, nor that I don’t wish to express it, but I just haven’t had a lot to say on anything, so I haven’t.  Other people have been doing a fine job of saying all kinds of things, so I don’t think you’ve had any lack of reading material.

I know that I’m not alone in wishing that the elections were already over.  It’s been a Really long electoral season, and the rhetoric has been thick from all sides.  There’s an awful lot of research and pondering to do about it all.  For many, this season is one of a toss of the coin.  It may seem like there is no clear choice. To some, both candidates may appear to have blatant weaknesses.  So the question then becomes what do you want to take your chances on?

Casting your vote in an election may be akin to tossing the dice at a Craps table.  You’re putting all the juice behind your selection that you can get, hoping fervently that the outcome will be in your favor.  Come on….. baby needs a new pair of shoes!

Well, that last saying may be truer for many than it ever has been before if the rate of increase in people on food stamps is any indication.  In this gambling climate, the question becomes do you want to leave your money riding on the current course, and hope that the odds will change and fall in your favor this time?

Of course, when we gamble, we usually have a set limit that we won’t go beyond.   What limit did we set for ourselves, for our economy, for our nation?  Have we exceeded that limit?  Would casting your vote for the same course of action be doubling down on a long lost cause?  Can we afford to double down?  What would happen to us if the gamble Fails?

Maybe it’s time to walk away from this crap game and find something that’s more along the lines of applying our talents to earning our money the old fashioned way.  It may be slower, but the risks are fewer, and we have more individual control over the out come.

 

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, llc 2012.

Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 

Gallon milk jug

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Ball and stick model of the caproic acid molec...

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English: milk bottle showing cream at the top

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I wrote a rant a while back when a gallon of milk that I brought home didn’t taste like the usual 5% butter fat “Whole Milk” that I was used to.  It tasted more like the 2% milk, only a little richer.  I noticed then, that none of the milk jugs I had purchased recently had the fat values on the labels anymore.  What’s up with that, anyway?

Which brings me to this new piece of information.  I was in a store last week talking to the guy who stocked the milk.  I mentioned to him that I had noticed that sometimes the milk didn’t taste like whole milk anymore.  He told me that was because the fat value for whole milk isn’t 5% anymore.  It’s been changed to 3% now.  He said he didn’t think the cows were making the milk as fat anymore.  I was aghast, not just for the fact that my Milk is being systematically reduced in value, but also because this national anti-fat push is actually harmful.

We need our milk fat.  It’s part of our balanced natural fat source diet.  When we don’t balance our fats,  when we limit our fat intake to only one type, and little enough of that as well, we are actually doing more damage to ourselves than people who eat bacon fat in everything.  Fats are necessary for a whole life well being.  Your body is designed to use fats as part of it’s overall system, and the glands appreciate the type of slow, even release of energy that the body’s conversion of fat to sugar provides.

Fats are what helps you be happy.  Literally!  Without fats, your metabolism is entirely dependent on immediately available sources of energy and vitamins and minerals.  We would have to be snacking all day long on mixed salads to give our body what it needed to operate properly, if we remove the fat content from our diets.  Without a Balance of the two types of fat, your arteries get clogged and damaged. You need both types to counter each other.  Natural sources of fat are the best type.

Milk fat isn’t harmful. It’s helpful.   Put the butter-fat back in the Milk!  5% was low enough!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

 
Tim Allen

Image by Alan Light via Flickr

I feel like making those famous Tim Allen grunting noises (huhhh, huhhh, huhhh). Not for extra powerful motors on ordinary home improvement tools, but for extraordinarily successful experimenting in the kitchen.  I’m so pleased with the way it turned out.  It all started with a thawed out, cut up chicken, and a desire to eat it fried, but I was out of eggs.  Without an egg in the milk, the flour batter would fall off too easily…. 😦  What to do, what to do…..

I looked around my kitchen for some kind of substitute batter solution.  In the refrigerator there was a half a can of condensed Cream of Mushroom soup.  Hmmmm….  and I had an open bag of instant potato flakes.  Would it work?

Potato flakes can be used to make potato pancakes…..

I turned on my stove and put the large wok on the burner with a cup and a half of corn oil in the bottom of it.  I made sure I had my largest pot lid ready to cover it.

I quickly put the condensed cream of mushroom soup in a bowl large enough to dip my

Cream of Mushroom Soup

Image by avlxyz via Flickr

chicken quarters into, and added some water (about a the same amount of water as the soup in the can) and stirred it up; just enough to get it to a thick creamy texture, so it would stick to the chicken.  I got a second bowl out to put the  potato flakes in, also large enough to roll the chicken quarters in.  I had a lot of potato flakes, which is good, because you want it to have plenty of flakes to create the  crust.  The creamy mushroom soup was just right for absorbing the flakes and getting it all to stick to the chicken pieces.

I also put a three quart sauce pan on the back burner with lots of water and some butter in it to boil to use up the mashed potato flakes after I was done with the chicken pieces, and I put on a smaller pan for some green beans that I added seasoning salt to for flavor.

 
 

I had my large wok pan with plenty of oil in the bottom set on a good medium temperature (between 5 and 6 on an electric stove) already hot before I put the chicken quarters in and a good large lid to hold the heat in while the pieces were frying.  

 
 

The oil was just about half way up the chicken pieces so they were steaming on the top while they were frying on the bottom.    After about ten minutes, I flipped the pieces over to fry on the other side.  The Mushroom Potato crust stayed on!  And it looked good too. 

 

Another ten minutes on the second side and I took the pieces out and put them on a plate with some paper towels to absorb some of the oil, and then popped them into the microwave for a couple of minutes to make sure these heavy chicken pieces were cooked all the way through.

I repeated this for a second set of chicken pieces as they don’t all fit in the pan at the same time.  I actually had enough pieces of chicken that I filled the wok pan a third time before I was finished.  

 

For the third set of chicken pieces, I just put the pieces in the still heating oil, and let them fry themselves while we ate.  The portions of potato crusts that had fallen off the previous chicken pieces adhered themselves to the third set of frying chicken parts, and they turned out delicious, as well.)

Rachel had fried chicken. Delicious and sweet....

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Add iodized table salt over the tops of the still hot chicken pieces, just before you put them on the table.

 

An added bonus to this cooking experiment was the left over cream of mushroom soup went into the already cooking season salted green beans, and the left over potato flakes went into the boiling water pot to become Mushroom and Chicken Seasoned Mashed Potatoes.  There was no waste and it was all delicious.  Even my picky eater who doesn’t like mushrooms liked it all.

Mourning Dove

Image by mizmak via Flickr

When in doubt, I close my eyes, hold my breath;

I open them again, and count to twenty.

Breathing in, breathing out, leaves death to death;

Refocus my heart on seeing plenty.

 

The things I’ve seen are all recorded;

engraved upon my heart forever.

If someday diligence is rewarded,

Pain and suffering will visit, never.

 

While I’m waiting here, there will be others

Who’ll use another to make life easier.

There’s no single day that comes to mothers

where someone’s life is not made queasier.

 

she was looking around in the vegetable market...

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For those in bondage, there is sympathy;

Mourning tears for the dearest departed.

Those gone before would not begrudge me,

I hold up my head, not broken-hearted.

 

;Name :Pelargonium quercifolium 'Fair Ellen' ;...

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In setting aside the pain and suffering,

We make time to honor what remains;

Not forgetting time for sorrowing,

There’s still time enough to live, and love again.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

A field of opium poppies in Burma.

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English: Four ounces of low-grade marijuana, u...
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Have I ever told you that I am For legalizing drugs?  Especially the cannabis plant?

This position might lead you to believe that I do drugs, or that I Want to do drugs if they were legal; however, I don’t  do them, nor do I Want to do them.

I’ll explain my position thus:

CIA Map of International drug pipelines

Image via Wikipedia

Making these drugs illegal did Not make them unavailable.  It does not save anyone from poor processing methods. Nor does it save our society from the evils of them.   In fact, quite the opposite has occurred.

1) Pretty much anyone who wants to use them can get them.

2) There are no safeguards on their manufacture,  and

3) It is Very expensive to maintain the criminal justice system around the unenforceable and really lucrative sale and distribution of illegal drugs,

4) There is a far larger cost to human lives than would be sustained by people doing the drugs legally, because of the nature of doing business with illegal items, and further;

5) The only people who benefit are those who:

a.  Do not pay taxes on the sale of them,

b.  Do not choose to abide by our laws,

c.   Do not care about the value of anyone else’s life, and

d.   Represent a decided hazard to the society around them.

Making the drugs legal would m0ve the growing, and manufacture of them into a different realm.  The public would benefit by:

a. Being able to collect taxes on the sale of them,

b. Better manufacture methods would be employed,

c.  Fees would be collected for the licensing of the facilities, and

d. Fines imposed if the methods for producing them caused a greater hazard to the users.

When legal drugs for sale to the public are created, they are generally tested to see what dosage is appropriate.  Taking any of them at more than the recommended dosage is courting disaster, but especially when it’s being done as a method of “entertainment“.  At present, there are no set limits on the use of drugs that are deemed “illegal,” but which are nevertheless being used as entertainment, and little to no judgement being used in the application of this entertainment.

I don’t know whether it’s sadder that so many more of our youth are lost to this form of entertainment, or that I have actually heard of some respectable, middle aged, supposedly rational people who have begun, late in life, experimenting with various drugs; only to end up, like so many of our youth, as addicted, mentally strung out, and physically destroyed individuals.

This form of entertainment ends so badly.  The feel good only lasts for a little while (if at all), and the crash on the other side leaves you worse off than you were before, but people will still do them anyway; so the best scenario for this is to make them legal, and issue guidelines for safer use in this context.

In addition, the taxes collected on the sale of them, could be used to pay for the health care of the individuals who hurt themselves or others with the use of the drugs.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Cancer CounselingI am thanking another blogger who took the time to share this Doctors article on how to die with dignity.  More to the point, what Not to have done in the event that you get diagnosed with a terminal illness, or have a horrifying accident that does major damage.  It’s refreshing to hear that not all medical professionals would encourage radical treatment for something, just because it is doable.  Doctors don’t ask to have all those treatments done on them.  They just go home and die peacefully in the loving arms of their family members, some times, months, or years later than their diagnoses had suggested.

It saddens me though, to realize that the social services and courts don’t have this mindset.  If they did, then that little boy with the cancer that he didn’t want treated with chemotherapy and radiation would have gotten his wish.  Instead, his parents got dragged into court, treated like criminals, and in the end, were forced to watch as their son underwent the full assault of possible treatments available in the U.S. for Cancer, though that was Not what He wanted.

Did we ever hear about how his “treatments” went?  Did we hear anything about his survival?  I’ve been watching, but I haven’t seen anything.  Have you?

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I have the privilege of helping to shepherd the children ages 3 through 11 at my church.  We have a two hour block of time to teach basic scriptural principles and have fun.  The two hours covers one hour of Sunday School class time and 1 hour of singing and sharing a fun activity as a larger group.  This Sunday was the Children’s Christmas Party.  We didn’t actually do much different this week than we usually do in sharing time, but the story was Christ’s birth and the children got to stick paper presents on the tree whenever they answered a question.  They loved it.  And there were favorite songs sung as well.  The main difference this week was that we added a food treat.

Food treats for any group can be challenging when you factor in allergies and philosophical preferences.  We have some who are allergic to dairy, and some allergic to wheat (gluten), and some who can’t have any nuts.

I managed to find a treat that could fit those criteria.  I used a basic Crispy Rice treat and modified it for taking out the dairy and still retaining a wonderful flavor. It only required a simple substitution of Coconut oil for Margarine or butter.

You’ll need:

1 – Large (preferably non-stick) pot

1- very large bowl or pan (spread a tiny little bit of coconut oil in it to keep the mixture from sticking to the sides)

1- large (preferably wooden) spoon

6 cups of Crisped Rice product

4 1/2 cups little marshmallows

1/2 cup of coconut flakes

4 tablespoons of Coconut oil

(Wal-Mart has the cheapest food grade coconut oil available – though you can pay way more for it at a health food store)

Put a large pot on low heat and put three tablespoons of coconut oil in the pan.  Add 4 cups of the little marshmallows. Stir it until all of the marshmallows are evenly melted.  Add 2 cups of the Crisped Rice, and 1/2 cup of coconut flakes, and stir until you have picked up as much of the marshmallow mixture as you can scrape off the sides of your pot.  Turn this out into a very large bowl or large pan (spread a little coconut oil in it if you don’t want anything to stick to the sides) with the rest of the crisped rice already in it. Mix the contents together until all the marshmallow mixture is evenly distributed through the crisped rice.  At this point decide if you want to pat it all down into an even layer  to cut up later, or as in our case, we made little individually wrapped snow balls out of it with the coconut flakes added into the mixture.  It was a hit with the all the kids but one (I have a vegan I didn’t know about)

Next time I will find or create a recipe that works for her as well.

Hooray for the new challenge!!!   😀

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Bread
Image by ulterior epicure via Flickr

I love fresh baked bread.  More than that, I love actually making it myself.  It’s therapeutic to mix all the ingredients and feel the dough in your hands, and finally to “Know” when it feels “just right”, and it’s ready to place in a warm spot to let rise.  And the Smell of it…..  Ahhhhh ……  so wonderful, from the yeast growing in the bowl to the actual baking in the oven.  It’s such a heavenly aroma that fills the whole house.

My favorite recipe is derived from a “Redbook”, magazine back in the mid-70’s of all places and times.  It works every time, and it’s so easy to modify and still get great results with.  I believe the key ingredient, and the reason for the delicious taste in this recipe, is the molasses.  You can use golden molasses for a light sweet flavor or full dark (but not black strap) molasses and get a full bodied, robust flavor out of your wheat bread.  It doesn’t hurt to have an extra dab of butter put on just before it finishes baking either, as this makes the crust deliciously chewy and moist.  This recipe makes two full size loaves of  sweet wheat Bread that isn’t too heavy or dense.  My family loves it.  It’s Just right.

You’ll need:

1 – really large bowl (to mix it all up in)

1 –  two quart bowl (to measure the flour and salt into initially)

1 –  small sauce pan for heating the milk, butter, sugar and molasses in

1 – one cup measuring scoop

1 tablespoon

1 teaspoon

2 – bread loaf pans ( or two large baking pans depending on whether you want to make loaves of bread or dinner rolls)

a surface suitable for punching your bread down on (it helps if this surface is lower than your waist)

This can be done inside the really large bowl if it’s large enough to fit both your hands easily into the bottom of it.

Ingredients list:

1 cup of lukewarm water

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon of white granulated sugar

1 –  8 ounce stick of margarine or 1 cup of butter

(plus an extra stick of butter or margarine for the little extra bits of butter on the tops 0f the baking bread, and for eating it after it’s baked)

1/4 cup plus one tablespoon of full dark or golden molasses

1 cup of milk

1 teaspoon salt

3 cups white all-purpose flour

3 cups whole wheat flour

In the really large bowl, mix together:

1 cup of warm (not hot) water (Remember, heat kills yeast, so cool everything down to lukewarm to mix it together)

1 tablespoon of molasses

1 tablespoon of granulated sugar

2 packages of active dry yeast (1/4 ounce each) or 1/2 an ounce of active dry yeast from a jar (That’s the equivalent of 1 1/2 tablespoons)

Stir this together till all the yeast is melted into the sugar/molasses water, and let it sit (and grow) while you mix and cool the other ingredients.

In the small sauce pan mix together and bring Just to a boil (some recipes prefer to “scald” the milk – that’s what happens when you boil it a little):

6 ounces of margarine or butter

1/2 cup of white granulated sugar

1/4 cup of molasses

*If you don’t have molasses, but you do have brown sugar, you can substitute 3/4 cup of packed brown sugar for both the molasses and the white granulated sugar.

1 cup of milk (preferably whole milk)

Then let cool off while the yeast is growing in the bowl.

(do Not add these ingredients Hot to your yeast mixture – it would immediately die if you did, and your bread wouldn’t rise then)

While the other ingredients are cooling, get out the two quart bowl and  measure into it:

Three cups of white flour

1 teaspoon salt, and

Three cups of wheat flour.

Mix these ingredients together thoroughly.

*If you don’t have whole wheat flour , you can use all white flour but you will need an extra cup of it. This substitution would result in a sweet, light golden bread.

When the milk/butter/sugar /molasses mixture is cooled off, pour into the really large bowl

Add one cup of the flour mixture to the wet ingredients, and stir in thoroughly.

Add another cup and repeat this step until five cups of flour are stirred in.

It will get quite stiff when you are nearly there.

Put some flour on your hands and begin to knead the dough in the bowl.

(you can do this on a flat surface like a table but put some flour down on it before you put the dough down on it or the dough will stick to the surface)

Add some more flour to the mixture as you are kneading it.

Knead in the remaining flour until the dough feels a little less sticky and a little more elastic.

It should spring back when you poke it with your finger.

Knead for at least 5 minutes, then cover the top of the dough with a little butter or margarine, and put some in the bottom of the bowl too so the dough will not be impeded in it’s rise and won’t get dried out.

Cover with a clean dish towel while it’s rising to keep things out of the dough.

Place the bowl in a slightly warm location while it’s rising for the next hour.

Prepare the loaf pans by buttering the bottoms and sides with one of the remaining two ounces of butter.

When the dough has doubled in bulk, punch it down again and knead for another five minutes (if you don’t knead it for five minutes it will get a large bubble under the top crust when it bakes),  then divide the dough in two parts and place in the buttered loaf pans.  Butter the top of the dough again.   Let rise undisturbed for another hour.

When it has doubled in bulk again, place the twice risen bread dough in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes.

During the last five minutes, pull out the oven rack with the loaves on it and use the last ounce of butter on the top of the still baking loaves, and put back in the oven for a couple more minutes to make a nice chewy crust.

It’s always nice to have the people who want to eat the bread available when it is just getting done, as there is just about nothing better to eat than freshly baked bread with butter on it.

To store this bread, wrap it in plastic wrap while it is still hot, and it will stay moist until you are finished eating it.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Once upon a time, I wasn’t feeling very good about myself.  I had let someone talk me into doing something I didn’t want to do that day, so I felt like shit.  The person who had talked me into it, then had the audacity to take me to a “Party” to celebrate my new status.

So now,  I let some different people talk me into taking a large dose of over the counter cough medicine.  They said I would have a “trip”.  I was a very small person then. I only weighed about 100 lbs.  The amount that the other people recommended was a full four ounces.  I knew at two ounces that I had had enough, but the others kept pushing me to finish the bottle.  Maybe for them, weighing closer to a couple of hundred pounds, four ounces was needed to have their “Trip”, but not for me.  Even so…

I finally finished the bottle at their constant urging, and immediately regretted it.  I threw up a total of 7 times in the next 15 minutes.  Probably a good thing I did, as I spent the next 8 hours afraid to go to sleep, for fear that I would stop breathing if I went to sleep.  The room and the other people in it became still scenes from a photo album.  With each beat of my heart, I got a snap shot, but in between there was only blackness.  In the morning, when the others had awoken from their sleep, I told them of my experience.  They said I had a bad trip.

Wow!   Really???!!

These were the same people who, after I had taken the four ounces, and finally finished throwing up, then proceeded to tell me that several of their “friends” had committed suicide, because of the long term affects of over dosing on this over the counter drug.  What kind of “Friends” would keep doing this same thing, then, and not only that, but would encourage others to do it as well.

With friends like these, who needs enemies.

I hadn’t been having a “Bad Trip.”  I had been poisoned and barely survived the experience.
It was Stupid.  Never again would I let someone talk me into doing any kind of drug without there being a medically valid reason for it, and at the proper dosage.

There is a reason it’s called “Dope”.

I responded to an invitation on Twisteens’ blog to describe a time I nearly died with a portion of this, and decided it was worth re-telling in my own post.  Thank you ziiAn for telling us of your brush with a painful accidental electrocution and nearly dying from it.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Pain comes from disappointment.

We expected more from ourselves.

Our expectations are our enemies.

Anger comes from fear.

We fear what we do not understand the end of.

Fear is the opposite of faith.

Despair comes from giving up on yourself.

You are afraid you don’t have the right stuff.

God believes you are always worth hoping for.

If God believes it, why don’t you?

He is smarter than you.

He already knew you before you were here.

He knew there would be difficulties.

That’s why he agreed to pay the price for you ahead of time.

After everything you can do, he will do the rest.

Do everything you can.

Do what you must.

Trust him.

He will bring you home.

He is not disappointed.

He already knew what would happen.

He only wants you to let him help you.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I was angry.

Now I am not.

I was afraid.

Now I am not.

I felt despair.

Now I have hope.

There is no rational explanation for what I feel.

It just is.

Because it is what it is.

That is the nature of the challenge.

If there were no difficulties,

How would there be a test?

If there were no test,

Why bother with this type of existence?

God could make us all run on automatic with only a little tweaking.

But he doesn’t,

Because he wants the test to show us what we are, and can do, and can’t do.

Then we will be satisfied

that where we are placed is the right place for us.

We will all be happy.

Everyone will be happy.

I will be happy.

So I may as well start being happy now.

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Spaghettis

Image by HatM via Flickr

Beef being cooked in a frying pan.

Image via Wikipedia

Beef being cooked in a frying pan. It has been...

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A can of Contadina tomato paste.

Image via Wikipedia

Cooking spaghetti. Photo by Eloquence.
Image via Wikipedia

I know, I know…. good spaghetti is supposed to take forever to cook.  All the herbs have to simmer the flavor into the sauce, yada, yada, yada.  Well, be that as it may, sometimes you just don’t have time for all of that, and this recipe works Really well in a fifteen minute pinch.  For those of you who already know how to cook this stuff, don’t mind all the little details.  I will write it for those who may not have had a lot of experience in the kitchen, just in case this gets read by someone new to cooking spaghetti.

Things you need:

One large skillet

One two or three quart pan for boiling the noodles in (or you can use that upright  noodle cooker thing)

Two or three quarts of water (depending on how many people you are serving – this recipe can stretch a little)

If serving three people, enough spaghetti to fit inside a ring made by your thumb and middle finger (if you have small hands like mine)

If serving four add a little more spaghetti.

(and a tiny bit of oil for the cooking noodles to keep them from sticking to each other while they cook)

1 pound ground beef  * (can be frozen – but then you have to keep cutting it off as it cooks in the pan)

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, or one crushed garlic clove

Half an onion, chopped fine, or 1 1/2 teaspoons onion powder (onion powder is fairly potent)

1 teaspoon iodized salt (where else are you going to get your necessary trace iodine?)

1 tablespoon oregano

1/4 teaspoon powdered summer savory

1/4 teaspoon powdered thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried parsley

(Or you can use two tablespoons of your favorite Italian Seasoning mix)

1 small can of tomato paste

1 16 oz. can of tomato sauce (you need both of these)

Start the noodles cooking first.

Put the water on to boil, add a little salt here if you want, and the little tiny bit of oil (1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon added into the water)

While you are waiting for the water to boil put the ground beef into the skillet and start it frying (turn the temp between 6 and 7 on an electric stove)  If the meat is frozen, you can also add a little water to help keep it from browning too much while all the parts cook, but then you need to cover it some to keep all the heat in (add a little iodized salt onto the cooking meat, it smells better) (You really do need your trace iodine to make your thyroid function properly).

When the water is almost to a boil, add the noodles.  It can stick out of the pot initially.  As the noodles cook, keep poking them down.  They will sort of bend/melt into the pot of water as they start cooking.  Stir them up as they bend into the water to get the little bit of oil to coat them all evenly.  The noodles are done when they turn almost white.  They Won’t look translucent (sort of see through) anymore.

When the ground beef is all browned, pour some of the grease off of it.  How much depends on how much there was in it before you started cooking (some ground beef doesn’t have much to begin with).  You don’t have to get All of it off,  just most of it.  Don’t pour this in your kitchen drain, it has a tendency to harden down in the pipes and make everything stick to it, and then you’ve got yourself one heck of a clogged drain.  If you have rose bushes, save the grease for them.  They love the fat from your cooking  (don’t pour it over them hot). Pour the cooled grease around the base of the roses.

When the grease is off the meat, add the tomato sauce into the skillet with the browned meat (I did say a large skillet), then the tomato paste.  Then add the salt, onion, garlic and herbs.  Let this simmer together for a bit.  If you are serving four people, add a  1/2 cup of water to it. If it is going to be a little while (maybe someone is late), add a little more water and let it simmer down.  When finished, the sauce should be just a little thinner than a good ketchup.

While this is simmering together check on the noodles.  They should be getting about done by the time you have added all the ingredients together.  Drain and rinse the fully cooked noodles in a colander under cold water.  The cold water stops the cooking process so your noodles don’t get all gooey ( If your spaghetti has to sit for awhile, leave the noodles in some cold water to keep them moist).

If you have some ready salad fixings this goes well with spaghetti.  Red leaf lettuce, baby spinach,  and a chopped tomato,  some halved radishes, and thinly sliced cucumbers, with a little salt and a little Italian dressing…  Yummmm…

If you still have some time, butter some bread on one side, sprinkle lightly with salt and garlic powder, and slip this on a cookie sheet under the broiler for a little bit (watch it like a hawk, so it won’t get burnt).

Place a portion of the cooked noodles on a plate and ladle the finished spaghetti sauce over them.  Serve hot, with the salad on the side and garlic toast.  This meal goes well with milk, dark grape juice,  mulled cider, or a dry red wine if you like it.

Note*  If you are working on disaster preparedness, this recipe can be used with a 16 oz can of beef chunks substituted for the ground beef.  All the rest of the ingredients can be part of your food storage.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I love a beautiful, lush garden in the front yard of any home.  Some neighborhoods aren’t allowed to have vegetables in the front yards, but did you know that there are a lot of edible flowers?  Some of them used to be grown for food, but people have forgotten that they were good for that too, and just grow them for their beauty instead.  The salad garden used to be full of edible flowers.  Roses were used for salads, including the rose hips, which are known for their vitamin C content.

Lilies.  All the true lilies are edible, root, stem, leaf and flower.  And they are delicious. I especially love the short  little yellow lilies that are grown so often in clumps as a favorite of landscapers.  They bloom all summer long, and their flower petals are  slightly sweet, and ever so slightly spicy.  You can grow several different kinds of Lilies and have different colors blooming all summer long.

Don’t include in that group the Lilies of the Valley which are not actual members of the same family.  They are more a cousin of Foxglove and both provide forms of digitalis.  The little flowers have a smaller amount than the larger flowers.  They are good for people with heart problems, but not for people who have a healthy heart beat.

Chrysanthemums are used in a variety of ways in China, including as a form of tea.  Sometimes they are used as a fancy garnish on food plates.  Their flowers are edible.

Speaking of fancy teas, Jasmine flowers make a wonderful, relaxing  tea.  I just love the smell of Jasmine tea.

Hibiscus flowers also make a great drink.  Take the flowers and dry them. Crush the dried flowers into water and let steep.  Serve hot or cold with as much sweetener as suits your taste buds.

Grow peppermint in your garden. You can harvest it about three times a year.  My peppermint started from one sprig that got chopped up by a weed-eater.  Since it rained a lot right after that, all the pieces took root.  I soon had a garden full of peppermint. It has lovely little purple flower stalks on it in the late summer. The bees love it .  My daughter uses it for her digestion.  She puts a little sugar in it for sweetening.   She also likes it with lemon juice added to make a Peppermint Lemonade.  It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day, and you can’t beat it served hot for helping ease your breathing when you have a cold in the winter.

Of course there are some fruits that are also good for growing in your gardens.  Strawberries make a great ground cover, and they are one of the earliest  fruiting  plants.  Raspberries are early bearers too.  Their canes are tall and have thorns so be sure to grow them in the very back, and they grow well in shade.  If you grow them under your windows, they are a natural deterrent for thieves.  If you want a later bearing fruit, blackberries also grow on thorny canes, and they don’t mind shade or boggy ground, but don’t cut them during the growing season.  They will spread out along runner roots all over your garden.

Tomatoes are a fruit too, and used to be grown only for their decorative effect, back in the days when it was thought that their red fruits were poisonous.  They are worthy of being grown in the front yards in the sunny corners.  And I just love the beauty of a watermelon vine. the leaves on them are so gorgeous, who wouldn’t want to see them twining their way through a patch of other assorted flowers, like nasturtium, which has a spicy flower and leaves, or around the base of your rose bushes.

I know some of you are thinking, “Why is this silly woman writing about this now?”  “This is the wrong time of year for planting!”

That’s true, but it’s the right time of year for planning what you want to grow next year.  This is a great time to buy gardening books as presents,  and don’t forget to order the seed catalogs. Happy garden planning everyone!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I’m not always the most persuasive person.  I call myself straightforward, other people call me blunt.  Either way, you always know where I’m coming from.

Just so you know, I love trees.  They are beautiful.  They are also a renewable resource.  Meaning that they can be regrown.  Here in Maryland, trees grow like weeds.  They can become a serious nuisance when not kept in check.

What I’m getting at, is that I like a nice environment as much as the next person, but there are ways, and then there are ways of having that.

And none of the environmental considerations will matter to any of us if we end up tearing each other apart over no jobs and high oil prices.  So here’s my contribution to the dialogue below.

Subject: THIS IS A VERY INTERESTING OIL STORY, WORTH READING

Oil Anyone?

By the way, this can be verified.

Check it out at the link below !!!!!!

http://www.usgs.gov/newsroom/article.asp?ID=1911

Cruz Construct

http://www.cruzconstruct.com/services.php

(I do not know where the below letter came from or I would credit it properly, but I got it in my email, and have copied all the bits of it into here).

They are doing a lot of frack sand mining in Wisconsin near Chetek. It’s a special sand used in the extraction process from the oil shale deposits.  As you may know, Cruz Construction started a division in North Dakota just 6 months ago.

They sent every Kenworth (9 trucks) we had here in Alaska to North Dakota and several drivers. They just bought two new Kenworth’s to add to that fleet; one being a Tri Drive tractor and a new 65 ton lowboy to go with it. They also bought two new cranes (one crawler & one rubber tired) for that division.

Dave Cruz said they have moved more rigs in the last 6 months in ND than Cruz Construction moved in Alaska in the last 6 years. Williston, ND is like a gold rush town; they moved one of our 40 man camps down there since there are no rooms available.

Unemployment in ND is the lowest in the nation at 3.4 percent last I checked. See anything in the national news about how the oil industry is fueling North Dakota’s economy?

Here’s an astonishing read. Important and verifiable information: About 6 months ago, the writer was watching a news program on oil and one of the Forbes Bros. Was the guest. The host said to Forbes, “I am going to ask you a direct question and I would like a direct answer; How much oil does the U.S. Have in the ground?” Forbes did not miss a beat, he said, “more than all the Middle East put together.

” The U. S.. Geological Service issued a report in April 2008 that only scientists and oil men knew was coming, but man was it big. It was a revised report (hadn’t been updated since 1995) on how much oil was in this area of the western 2/3 of North Dakota, Western South Dakota, and extreme eastern Montana.

Check THIS out: The Bakken is the largest domestic oil discovery since Alaska’s Prudhoe Bay, and has the potential to Eliminate all American dependence on foreign oil. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) estimates It at 503 billion barrels. Even if just 10% of the oil is recoverable( 5 billion barrels), at $107 a barrel, We’re looking at a resource base worth more than $5.3 trillion.

“When I first briefed legislators on this, you could practically see their jaws hit the floor. They had no idea..” says Terry Johnson, the Montana Legislature’s financial analyst.

“This sizable find is now the highest-producing onshore oil field found in the past 56 years,” reportsThe Pittsburgh Post Gazette. It’s a formation known as the Williston Basin, but is more commonly referred to as the ‘Bakken.’ It stretches from Northern Montana, through North Dakota and into Canada. For years, U. S. Oil exploration has been considered a dead end. Even the ‘Big Oil’ companies gave up searching for major oil wells decades ago. However, a recent technological breakthrough has opened up the Bakken’s massive reserves, And we now have access of up to 500 billion barrels. And because this is light, sweet oil, Those billions of barrels will cost Americans just $16 PER BARREL !!!!!!

That’s enough crude to fully fuel the American economy for 2041 years straight. And if THAT didn’t throw you on the floor, then this next one should – because it’s from 2006 !!!!!! U. S. Oil Discovery – Largest Reserve in the World Stansberry Report Online – 4/20/2006 Hidden 1,000 feet beneath the surface of the Rocky Mountains lies the largest untapped oil reserve in the world. It is more than 2 TRILLION barrels.

On August 8, 2005 President Bush mandated its extraction. In three and a half years of high oil prices none has been extracted. With this motherload of oil why are we still fighting over off- shore drilling?

They reported this stunning news: We have more oil inside our borders, than all the other proven reserves on earth. Here are the official estimates: 8 times as much oil as Saudi Arabia 18 times as much oil as Iraq 21 times as much oil as Kuwait 22 times as much oil as Iran 500 times as much oil as Yemen And it’s all right here in the Western United States !!!!!!

HOW can this BE? HOW can we NOT BE extracting this? Because the environmentalists and others have blocked all efforts to help America become independent of foreign oil! Again, we are letting a small group of people dictate our lives and our economy.

WHY? James Bartis, lead researcher with the study says we’ve got more oil in this very compact area than the entire Middle East, more than 2 TRILLION barrels untapped. That’s more than all the proven oil reserves of crude oil in the world today, reports The Denver Post.

Don’t think ‘OPEC’ will drop its price even with this find? Think again! It’s all about the competitive marketplace, it has to. Think OPEC just might be funding the environmentalists? Got your attention yet?

Now, while you’re thinking about it, do this: Pass this along. If you don’t take a little time to do this, then you should stifle yourself the next time you complain about gas prices, by doing NOTHING, you forfeit your right to complain. Now I just wonder what would happen in this country if every one of you sent this to every one in your address book.

“One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferior” . . . Plato

Dressing, whether made from chicken or turkey bits, is a wonderfully variable and easily adaptable snack. Today, partially because I didn’t shop in time for the ingredients I listed on the last post (the stores were all out of raw sunflower seeds – go figure), and partially because things otherwise never go as planned, I made several substitutions and variations in the recipe for the Pecan, Mushroom, Sunflower Seed, Turkey Dressing.    Dressing is a very forgiving kind of food.  It doesn’t mind if you change things up a bit. When you vary things, use your nose to decide what goes together.  Use an extra fork or spoon and your tongue to determine how much of something is needed.

1) I didn’t spread the butter and spice mixture on the bread before it got dried out.  I added it to the cooked turkey giblets instead.

2) I didn’t leave the all the giblets in the pot as my cats were begging, and I took pity on them (the smell was driving them crazy).  I gave them the liver and heart, and other small bits from the neck bones.(there was plenty of meat left as I did have the two turkey wings in it).

3)  I added a whole cup of chopped Hazelnuts to it.

4) My turmeric had previously been combined with some curry powder, thus, my recipe now had added ginger and some other unidentifiable spices into it.

5) To compensate for the ginger, etc., I added more of the full bodied Molasses, all total, about 1/4 cup full bodied type.

6)  I added a little more iodized salt (salt to taste)

7) I toasted the bread to get it dried in time.

8)  I used hot dog buns instead of bread slices.

9) I used 1/2 cup of roasted in the shell sunflower seeds, painstakingly taken out of their shells by me and my youngest daughter ( it was so hard not to eat them while doing so).

10) I added  a little more butter to the pot of cooking meat and all, etc.( It makes so much difference in the way things taste).

As the meat, nuts and seeds cooked down I added water along the way to maintain enough moisture to be able to stir it all into the dried bread chunks.  All in all, I had a whole sauce pot of ingredients when I finally added it all to the dried bread in the pan.  I had enough left over that I added the rest into the already slow cooking turkey in the crock pot (I have a 6 quart crock pot that I used for the turkey, hence, no wings on my bird).

Yummmmm….. it smelled so good, I could hardly stand to wait for it.  It’s a good thing I’m the cook, I got to taste test things all through the process  🙂

This happens to be another great way to use up turkey left overs.  Make several different types of dressing out of it.   It tastes good with many different meals, and works well as a cold refrigerator snack as well.  Happy cooking to you all.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

I had the privilege recently of guest writing on my daughters blog.  So I’m introducing her to you and it’s her turn to be a guest on my blog.  After reading the post I just published, she was laughing, and wanted to comment on the value she thinks milk brings to my life.

Here she is, Just call her Naomi:

Well, I know that my mother definitely drinks more milk than I do. She was able to open up the pickle jar earlier when I could not.

I definitely know not to mess with my mom. She could easily break my arm if I ever tried to oppose her physically. But of course I’m never going to do that and she will never break my arm, even if I did physically oppose her. She’d more likely smack me down since it’s quite effective when it comes to me 🙂 otherwise all she has to do is yell.

Now she’s ranting about the milk again (lol) and pacing the kitchen. This is how much she loves whole milk. I myself love whole milk but can occasionally settle for 2%. I hate 1% and skim. You give either to me in a glass and I won’t touch it. Skim milk just tastes like water. Yes people, we love our whole milk and don’t like it when it’s been tampered with.

Don’t reduce the fat to 3% and call it whole milk. It won’t work. Us whole milk lovers will most definitely notice. And don’t try to replace it with something else because again we will notice.

My opinion, whole milk is sacred and should not have to be changed. If it is changed it is not whole milk.

I’m going to apologize up front.  This is going to be a rant.  A Milk Rant.  I love whole milk.  It’s my favorite drink.  I grew up on peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and whole milk.  They were the main staple in my picky-eater diet.  Milk is still my mainstay.  Whole milk. It’s my go to food when I’m in a hurry.  It’s my re-hydrater after a really hard work out. It’s my snack between meals, and my treat when I get home from work.

For a while there, when I was a child, we even had real, whole, un-homogenized milk straight from the dairy farm.  That milk had a Lot of cream in it.  It would rise to the top when the milk sat for a little bit.  We would skim part of it off and put it into a quart jar and shake it for about 45 minutes and turn it into butter.  Even after we did that, there was plenty of cream left in the milk to make it taste good.  It was wonderful milk.  And I never got fat on any of it.  We just didn’t have the total caloric intake to make that happen. Not for any of  the 13 of us (including step siblings).  We weren’t starving, but we didn’t any of us get heavy.

The milk at the grocery store had to have at least 5% volume of cream left in it to qualify as whole milk.  It tasted pretty good.  Then they came up with 2% Milk.  Yechchch!   And then 1% milk.   Bleh!   And the final insult was the even worse skim milk, which had no taste of milk at all, just awfulness. Ptuie!!!!

So Ok, I bought 5% pasteurized homogenized milk my whole life.  Until lately.  What is this stuff?  I bought a gallon of milk with the red cap on it, like it always had when it used to say it had 5% milk fat in it.  My mouth was watering for it.  I was all set to quench my thirst with that rich cool liquid food.  I filled a mug with it and raised it to my lips, poured it over my tongue and swallowed.  “What,  I thought, is wrong with this?”   I tried it again, savoring the liquid for a bit to sort out what was different.  “It tastes like it doesn’t have enough fat in it”, I thought.  I called my teenage daughter over and asked her to try it. She likes milk almost as much as I do.  She raised the cup to her lips and tasted the milk.  A puzzled expression came over her face.  She tried it again.  Yep. she said, it’s 2%.

We both looked at the labeling, in case we accidentally bought some that said 2% but had a red cap on it.  Nope.  There’s no indication at all of the percentage of total milk fat.  They have changed the labeling.  It doesn’t say what the cream percentage is anymore.  It has a whole lot of percent daily value per serving going on in it, but nothing about the volume of cream in the milk.  I compared the new jug of milk to an older jug that I bought from a different store.  We had drunk that milk and then cleaned out the jug and put water in it for emergency storage.  Surprise, it too had no indication of the total percent volume of milk fat in it.  That gallon of milk, though, didn’t taste like 2%.   It  tasted normal.

So, what is the deal?  Why the change in labeling?  Are you trying to change over all the milk to a lower fat volume without us noticing it?  It’s not going to work for those of us who are true milk lovers.  I never liked the 2% milk.  It’s barely recognizable as milk.  It’s tolerable if it’s added to sugary cereal, or if you add chocolate to it, but otherwise I’d just as soon not drink it.  By the way, adding 2% milk to sugary cereal doesn’t reduce your total caloric intake.  It raises it. No fat, plus sugar does not equal a diet food.  And who wants to drink a glass of reduced fat milk with a carrot or an apple anyway?  No one.  It’s wholly unsatisfying and therefore will not work.

Stop the nonsense and get back to real food.  The milk fat levels for whole milk should remain at 5%.  And put it back on the label!

 

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

When a grass roots movement on the right meets a grass roots movement on the left, and they share some common goals, it’s time to pay attention.

Adrian Sainz of the Associated Press reported that during a lively question and answer session, the members of the Occupy Memphis movement informed their cultural counterpart Memphis Tea Party movement of some of this groups aims. When the Memphis  Tea Party movements group heard how the Occupy Memphis group wanted to limit the influence of lobbyists on Legislators, they extended an invitation to join ranks.

If the two movements link up, even temporarily, to achieve the goals they have in common, the legislators are going to have a tough time ignoring them.  If members of both movements can meet in each city, and discuss what their goals are, and when finding common ground, agree to work together for those goals, there will be no wriggle room for their respective legislators to deny them success in those goals.

I became an Independent voter because of the apparent lack of a rational middle ground in either party; however, I believe there are people of all parties that desire, or at least would settle for,  a rational middle ground, rather than the total stalemate that currently exists.  Our legislators will continue to use the extreme issues to deny us all of any forward progress as long as we continue to polarize ourselves.  It’s an easy control measure for them only if we let them use it.  We have to be smarter than that if we want real, effective change in our government.

Our Forefathers, who set our form of government up, did not agree on everything, but they came together and discovered their mutual goals, and agreeing on those, fought for their independence from the tyranny of any corruptible Crown.  Our legislators have become confused by influences that do not have our countries best interests at heart.  The personal and professional agendas have taken precedence over the health of the nation.  This has caused an egregious burden on the average working person, no matter what your party affiliation.  As a result our people are re-discovering their power to influence, because if we don’t do it, who will?  Each movement has some valid points.  Each movement has people with good intentions in it.  But neither movement can, by itself, obtain goals that both movements want.  Joining forces to achieve common goals, like our Forefathers did, is a sensible and probably necessary thing to do.  For the health of our country.  Perhaps it’s not everything that either movement wants, but it’s some progress, and some progress is better than no progress every time.

© Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises, 2011. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ellen M Story and emariaenterprises with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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