Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Day at the Nail Salon

This comedian talks about a day at the nail salon. Hilarious!

Great Depression Cooking with Clara

Clara Cannucciari a 93 year old grandmother in upstate New York has become the latest YouTube sensation after her grandson filmed her making meals that her family ate during the Great Depression.

In this video Clara cooks what she calls “the three-course Poorman’s Feast,” which includes salad and lentils, rice and a little bit of meat cooked in lemon and oil.

Part of her appeal is of course that in these times of financial troubles people are doing whatever they can to stretch their dollar. But I enjoy it because they're simple meals with simple ingredients that are easy to replicate. As an added bonus, while the food is cooking, Clara sits down on the couch and shares stories of her life during the depression. It's like spending time with your grandmother while she cooks. Something very endearing about that.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

We Need to Talk (Gapingvoid)

My husband turned me on to this guy who goes by Gapingvoid. He's a social marketing guru who draws these simple little cartoons on the back of business cards. He's a genius all around, and highly entertaining. I look forward to his tweets on Twitter more than anyone else (with the exception of my husband).

If you're interested, check out his work at:

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Depression survivors remember hope

By P.J. Huffstutter, First In A Series Of Occasional Stories About Economic Struggles In America February 15, 2009

The lessons they learned during childhood in the 1930s weren't easy, but have lasted a lifetime.

In the early hours before dawn, Thelma May Beets shuffled across the cold linoleum floor for a weekly inspection of the trunk next to her bed.Her husband built the rust-colored tool chest when he came home from World War II. Now it is full of food: sugar, pasta, soup, oats, crackers, creamer.

Nearly blind, she reviewed her inventory by touch -- peanut butter jars with ridged lids, ground coffee rustling inside a can like dried oak leaves blown in the wind."If you like to eat, you better save some," said the 91-year-old widow, her fingers spotted with age and curled by arthritis. Thelma has long kept some food in the chest, but as the latest recession has deepened, she's made a point of keeping it full.

It's a compulsion she learned as a child of the Great Depression, the period of epic hardship that began with the stock market crash in 1929 and lasted for a decade.Her memories of that time have come flooding back lately. The survivors of the Depression are approaching the ends of their lives, and their tales flow freely -- of countless injuries and precious joys. They experienced humiliation and unexpected generosity, moments of fear and times of laughter.

The privation left scars that have lasted a lifetime. Thelma still smarts from the looks that other children gave her worn checkered dress, her only one. The bare walls of the abandoned home her family moved into, and snowflakes that sneaked in through broken windows, still linger in her memory.

"My age group, the older people, we came up the hard way," she said from her home in Sedalia, Ind., about 60 miles northwest of Indianapolis.

But many survivors of the Great Depression say that their youth eventually became a time of triumph for them. The country, ever resilient, learned to adapt to this society of wanting and embraced a cooperative spirit that would carry it through another world war, the Cold War and a dozen recessions to come.

The children of those times learned things that they would remember for the rest of their lives. They discovered how to make endless pots of soup, how to use corncobs for fuel, how to make undergarments from bleached feed sacks. They learned the value of a wild imagination and honest neighbors.They were good lessons.

It all began for Bertha Greenstein when she couldn't get a new pair of shoes.Good shoes were everywhere in New York in the late 1920s -- T-straps, Mary Janes, slip-on boots, soft leather pumps. Nothing said style like shoes.

Her father, Jacob Greenstein, was an immigrant from Romania and co-owned a tailoring shop in Lower Manhattan. He spent his days surrounded by bolts of fine cashmere and the sharp, rich scent of hair tonic. His nimble fingers smoothed the cloth across the shoulders of stylish stockbrokers and other businessmen.

Bertha was not quite 11 when the stock market crashed in 1929. Still, she was old enough to navigate New York's streets alone. On weekends, she delivered her father's lunch and watched the customers pass through the glass double doors of Tress and Greenstein.In the weeks after the crash, she heard people on the street talking about wealthy men who had lost their fortunes. Some drank poison or hanged themselves, the newspaper hawkers bellowed on the streets. She became aware that her father, now pale and drawn, was spending more time at home.

"He never talked about the business to the kids or when we were present," said Bertha, the youngest of seven. "He would say, 'Well, we'll have to look for something else to do.' "Eight months after the crash, Jacob sold his share of the tailoring shop and bought a bakery on 110th Street, a block from Central Park. It was a deep and narrow storefront with a faded green awning. People lined up for dense loaves of rye and horn-shaped rolls covered in salt.

Every couple of weeks, as customers' debts grew, her father sent her to collect. She would crisscross the neighborhood, climb flights of stairs and politely ask for the lady of the house. Everyone recognized her as the baker's daughter.

She loved to walk -- to school, to basketball games, on dates strolling through Central Park. She found jobs along the way -- tutoring children, selling paper flowers, folding bolts of cloth in a fabric store.There was a beauty to never standing still, even though it was hard on her shoes.

When holes in her soles grew to the size of quarters, she cut off a chunk of the tan cake boxes in her father's bakery and slipped them inside her shoes, over and over again."If the cardboard was thin, we'd put two layers in," said Bertha, 90, who still arches her tiny feet when she walks on a cold day, as if trying to get away from the memory of wet snow.

It took time for the Depression to settle into the minds of children whose parents had jobs, a precious commodity at a time when the national unemployment rate would eventually hit 25%.

Arthur Lewie's father, Dr. Lemuel Lewie Sr., was the only African American dentist on Main Street in Columbia, S.C. For years, patients -- black and white -- came to him with aching jaws and throbbing teeth.Arthur began to notice that things were different when patients stopped paying cash.

"They'd bring hams, chickens, things like that, for us," he said.Arthur was 10 at the time, the eldest of three, and he had never known hard times. Unlike many of their neighbors, the Lewies owned their wood-frame home, with a wraparound porch so wide that the children could race their tricycles on it. It sat on 4 acres of rich soil with corn, flowers and grapevines running along the side of the house.

His mother, Ophelia, heard the news of banks collapsing in the North. She suggested to her husband that they pull their money out of the black-owned bank in Columbia and invest in postal bonds. "My father left all his money in the bank and, of course, he lost it all," Arthur said.

He realized that life was changing. Trips to buy clothes became less frequent. There were fewer visits to family in other parts of the South.He began spending more time with his parents, turning the land into a working farm. Sections of lawn were replaced with rows of tomato plants, cabbage and collard greens. Pits were dug into the ground to store potato slips and vegetable seeds.

His father, who had a passion for automobiles, worked on his own car to save money. He showed Arthur how to fit piston rings, adjust valves and replace crankshaft bearings.Each vegetable picked and engine repaired impressed the boy with the importance of self-reliance.

"I knew the value of being able to make things, and do things yourself," said Arthur, 89. "I could be self-sufficient. . . . I could live off the land."I wouldn't ever have to beg," he said.

Reva Goodwin remembers lots of strangers showing up on her family's back doorstep, asking for something to eat. There was always a bowl of soup waiting for them.

In northwest Baltimore, she grew up with the constant smell of stock simmering from the blackened cast-iron pot that sat on the stove's back burner.Her mother, Edith, would add whatever was available to the pot, depending on the season and the amount of money that Reva's father, William, made from the auto repair shop he owned.

Bunches of kale, winter squash and ruby-red stewed tomatoes went into the pot. In the summer, ears of corn were shelled to join onions, potatoes, rice and celery.Meat joined the soup whenever available: ham hocks, chicken chunks, stew beef, bacon grease -- anything to make each spoonful more satisfying.

Visiting friends would cross the kitchen's gunmetal gray linoleum, carrying a gift for the pot. A couple that worked for a caterer in the city routinely arrived with boxes of leftover chickens, extra beans, even sweet rolls to enjoy after a bowl of Edith's soup.

That pot was never empty, and nothing in the kitchen was wasted. Ketchup bottles were turned upside down to coax the last few drops.My mother "had everything imaginable in that soup, all of the vegetables that were nourishing," said Reva, the eldest daughter of six children. There was always something to share.

Her father complained that she was giving away food, but Edith shrugged it off. Theirs was a tight-knit African American neighborhood, a line of brick row houses filled with schoolteachers, chauffeurs and city workers.As children grew older, winter jackets and summer dresses were passed down from home to home, until the cloth was too thin to wear. After that, they became rags for quilts and washing.

The people asking for food were often white. It didn't matter to Edith. In her eyes, having food to share meant the difference between being rich and barely surviving."In the neighborhood, everyone looked out for each other," said Reva, 79.

"We had to mind everybody in the neighborhood. . . . People have forgotten that."

Even with the help of family and friends, there were sacrifices, many of them beyond the understanding of children.

In the depths of the Depression in 1933, Richard Harding's mother found a job as a nurse's aide at Whidden Memorial Hospital, just outside Boston. The pay was decent and there was a spare room in the hospital's nursing home where she could live for free. There was, however, no room for children.

Richard was 7. His father, a fisherman from Newfoundland, had drowned when he was 10 months old. His mother, Temperance Anne, had struggled to raise him and his sister, Margaret.

Anne asked two of her brothers to take care of her children, and they agreed. Earlier in the Depression, she had helped them.

"I have to work and I'm sorry," Richard remembered his mother telling him.His uncle reminded him that he was "the extra kid in the family," said Richard, who resented the chores he had to do that his four younger cousins didn't have to.

Across town, Margaret was included in most family activities, but knew she too was a burden.Both uncles were carpenters who were struggling to find work in Boston. They rose early each morning and headed to a nearby union office, waiting for jobs that came sporadically.

Anne and the children spent weekends together. They wandered along the downtown square's shops, gazing at window displays of the latest fashions. "We never talked much about how we felt about how we were doing," Richard said.

For nearly four years, they lived apart from their mother. Richard thought of running away. Margaret grew withdrawn.Then Anne met Andrew Hillier, a Newfoundlander 12 years her senior. He was a good man with a steady job, and they wed in 1937. Anne told her children years later that she remarried to bring them home.

Long after the Depression, Richard said, his uncle reached out and they slowly developed a friendship. Richard, after raising his own family and facing his own worries, came to understand his uncle's words."A lot of his abrasiveness was this constant on edge of 'How am I going to provide for this family?' " said Richard, 82. "He gave me a roof to live under and enabled my mother to work."That was worth forgiveness, he figured.

After years of the Depression, the hardships gradually began to ease as federal spending boomed, factory jobs grew and prices slowly rose.The changes, however, were hard to notice on the farm outside Jonesville, Mich., where Judy Kyser grew up.

She was an avid reader, sneaking away from the battered metal washtub to curl up on her feather bed with a stack of movie magazines about faraway Hollywood. At dusk, when the wagonload of hay had been harvested, she sat next to the family's oil lamp with murder mysteries and dreamed of solving crimes.

But as the Depression wore on, she set aside the books and magazines from the school library once the sun set. Coal oil was too expensive to waste.She was left to her own imagination at night.

"I can remember as a teen going to bed early because then I could dream," said Judy, now 84. "I dreamed about the movie stars and the different lives and how it would be to meet these people."

In 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Rural Electrification Act, which promised to install electrical distribution systems to rural areas. It was one of many government efforts to pump cash and technology into the country.

It took two more years for electricians to arrive at Judy's family farm. On a summer day, they came with rolls of cabling the size of a tractor and began planting wooden poles along the road.

Judy was the youngest of seven and the only girl. Her father had passed away. Her mother and two brothers were running the farm. Crop sales were rising. So was the price of milk.

That first night, after the workmen left, she raced to her bedroom. There it was: a light fixture, with a single bulb. She tugged on its metal chain and a warm light bathed the room.Within months, the family bought an electric iron, a washing machine and a radio. "It was all the things that made life easier," she said.

World War II was coming, and the country's impending burst of production would eventually catapult the U.S. out of its economic malaise.But at that first moment, a lightbulb was enough for Judy. The dark days of her childhood would never seem so dark again.

*Judy Kyser briefly attended Michigan State College and, under the stage name Judy Perkins, became a country music performer, starring in the "Midwestern Hayride" television show in the 1940s. She married Robert Sinclair in 1949 and had one child. Her husband died in 1965. The 84-year-old lives in Springdale, Ohio, a suburb of Cincinnati.

*Bertha Greenstein met David Gold, at a dance when she was 17. He courted her over the counter of her father's bakery and they married in 1941. She played on the Manhattan Co-Eds exhibition basketball team in the late 1930s and later worked as a secretary. The couple traveled the world, pursuing their hobby of learning new dances. David died last spring. Bertha, 90, lives with her eldest daughter and son-in-law in Watsonville, Calif.

*Arthur Lewie, 89, served as a first lieutenant with the Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. After the war, he earned a master's degree in biology from Atlanta University and taught science and math at George Washington Carver Vocational-Technical High School in Baltimore. He met Reva Goodwin at a funeral and they married in 1948; she is now 79. They live in the Baltimore suburb of Windsor Mill, Md., and have kept a vegetable garden at home for 50 years.

*Richard Harding, 82, served in the Navy in World War II, graduated from seminary, married in 1948 and had four children and seven grandchildren. A Methodist minister, he served as pastor of the historic Old West Church in Boston. Harding, now a part-time minister in Sudbury, Mass., established a group of retired United Methodist Church pastors in New England who perform same-sex marriage ceremonies. He and his wife, Shirley, live in Concord, Mass.

*Thelma May Young graduated from high school and married Paul Beets in 1936. The mother of six became a prolific writer of historical short stories and, until her eyesight began to fail, and was one of the most successful Tupperware salespeople in Indiana. She lives in the same house in Sedalia where she raised her children.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Reunited 40 Years Later

Boston Globe
Maria Cramer
February 12, 2009

In 1968, a white firefighter saved a black baby girl, touching the heart of a divided city. The two did not meet again. Until yesterday.

The firefighter crawled on his stomach through the pitch-black apartment, the smoke so thick he couldn't see his hand in front of his face. Somewhere inside was a baby and he had to find her.

A window broke, light filled the room, and he saw her lying in her crib, dressed only in a diaper, unconscious. Soot covered her tiny nose. She wasn't breathing and had no pulse.

He grabbed her and breathed life into her as he ran from the apartment.

A newspaper photograph captured their image - a white firefighter from South Boston with his lips pressed to the mouth of a black baby from the Roxbury public housing development - at a time when riots sparked by racial tensions were burning down American cities.

But despite this most intimate of introductions, they remained strangers. William Carroll won a commendation for the rescue, stayed on the job another 34 years, and retired. Evangeline Harper grew up, lost her family to drugs and illness, had six children of her own, and became a nursing and teaching assistant. And through it all someone would often tell her the story about the day she almost died and the man who would not let it happen. She always wanted to meet him and say thank you.

Yesterday, more than 40 years after the fire, she finally did.

In the neighborhood where they first met, Carroll, a slim 71-year-old, got out of his car, dressed in a navy blue uniform he had borrowed from a fellow firefighter, strode up to the 40-year-old woman, and beamed.

"You've grown a lot since the last time I saw you," he said, laughing and putting out his hand. She smiled, gently took his hand, and looked at him almost shyly.

"Thank you so much for remembering me," he told her.

Then he pulled her into a tight embrace and they held on to each other as they stood on Keegan Street, just a few yards from where he had carried her limp body decades ago.

"Thank you so much," she said softly.

The Globe arranged the meeting after Evangeline Harper, now Evangeline Anderson, introduced herself to a reporter at a community meeting and asked for help tracking down Carroll.

Anderson, who now lives in Dorchester, had tried twice before to locate the firefighter, first when she was 18, after her adoptive mother told her about the rescue, and again right after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

She tried to get his address from the Fire Department, but they said they could not give out personal information. She left her name and phone number, but never heard back.

"I thought, 'Oh, forget it. He probably doesn't remember," she said. " 'He's not interested.'

That could not have been further from the truth.

"Evangeline Harper," Carroll said. "I'll never forget her name if I live to be 100 years old."
He heard once that she had been trying to get in touch with him, but somehow her phone number was lost and he did not know how to reach her.

For a while, Anderson stopped looking. Then, she heard the news about Lieutenant Kevin M. Kelley, the firefighter who was killed in January after his firetruck crashed into a Mission Hill building.

" 'Oh my God, this could have been this gentleman, and I never got a chance to say thank you,' " she recalled thinking. "I didn't want him to leave this earth or I to leave this earth without saying thank you."

Yesterday, she brought her youngest child, 6-year-old Reginald, and her godmother, Jacqueline Greer, who witnessed the rescue. For the meeting, Anderson swept her hair in a curly updo and carefully applied lip gloss.

The women brought Carroll a giant stuffed bear, and a thank-you card tucked inside an envelope addressed "To Our Hero."

Richard Paris, vice president of the firefighters union, stood nearby with Carroll's wife and little Reginald, who kicked at the frozen snow on the sidewalk as Greer, Carroll, and Anderson reminisced about the neighborhood. Gone were the brick high-rises that had once formed Orchard Park. In their place were two-level attached apartments painted in pastels and browns.

"I haven't been here in so long," Carroll said.

No one could remember exactly what started the fire on Nov. 7, 1968, but Greer said it began in the family's kitchen. Carroll, who was assigned to Engine 3, heard the report of children trapped in a burning building.

When Carroll arrived, Greer was at the scene, screaming and crying hysterically.
Carroll saved Evangeline, while Firefighter Charles Connolly rescued her 17-month-old brother, Gerry, and handed him to Lieutenant Joseph O'Donnell, who gave the boy mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

"He just cared," Greer, now 60, said of Carroll. "It wasn't that the child was black or she was white. It was a child and he was trying his best to bring her back her life."

Yesterday, both remembered who was missing from the reunion. Connolly and O'Donnell died long ago of heart problems. Anderson's brother Gerry succumbed to pneumonia as a toddler. Her grief-stricken mother turned to drugs for comfort, and died of an overdose at age 25. Her two sisters died young of natural causes. Last year, Anderson lost both her adoptive mother and uncle.

"I wish my friends . . . were here," Carroll said. "But they're up there watching over us."

"That's what I say about my family," Anderson said.

The two quickly built a rapport. He asked about her children, and she told him her eldest son was studying forensic science in college and how musical her other children are.

He told her he wanted to get to know her, and she promised to cook him some soul food.
"Oh, baby," he said, laughing. "I love it, but my stomach don't."

Carroll then took the group for lunch at Florian Hall, the union's headquarters, where Carroll still goes every week for coffee with friends or to help fellow retirees with healthcare questions. Over sandwiches, the group looked at old black-and-white photos of that day and traded stories about the challenges of raising children.

Carroll bonded with Anderson's son, who drew a picture of himself holding Carroll's hand.
Parting in the parking lot, Carroll hugged Greer and Anderson and told Reginald to call him.
"There's your new grandpa," Anderson said to her son.

"What a beautiful day," the retired firefighter said as he turned and walked back inside.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

College student is excited and overjoyed to ask Obama a question

A college student in Florida gets chosen to ask the last question at a town hall meeting with President Barack Obama. (Obama went boy/girl/boy/girl so that no one would get mad at him. Hehe.)

This really touched me & made me smile. I feel the same way about Obama and his new administration being in the White House. Someone is really listening and trying to do some good. It's about time!

Sunday, February 08, 2009

56-year-old becomes first woman to swim Atlantic

Update: The great Atlantic Ocean swimming hoax

By Danica Coto, The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Jennifer Figge pressed her toes into the Caribbean sand, exhilarated and exhausted as she touched land this week for the first time in almost a month.

Reaching a beach in Trinidad, she became the first woman on record to swim across the Atlantic Ocean — a dream she’d had since the early 1960s, when a stormy trans-Atlantic flight got her thinking she could don a life vest and swim the rest of the way if needed.

The 56-year-old left the Cape Verde Islands off Africa’s western coast on Jan. 12, swimming about 2,100 miles (3,380 kilometers) through strong winds and waves of up to 30 feet (9 meters).

She now plans to swim from Trinidad to the British Virgin Islands, ending her odyssey at the Bitter End Yacht Club in late February.

Then it’s home to Aspen, Colorado — where she trained for months in an outdoor pool amid snowy blizzards — to reunite with her Alaskan Malamute.

“My dog doesn’t know where I am,” she told The Associated Press on Saturday by phone. “It’s time for me to get back home to Hank.”

The dog swirled in her thoughts, as did family and friends, as Figge stroked through the chilly Atlantic waters escorted by a sailboat. She saw a pod of pilot whales, several turtles, dozens of dolphins, plenty of Portuguese man-of-war — but no sharks.

“I was never scared,” Figge said. “Looking back, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I can always swim in a pool.”

Her journey comes a decade after French swimmer Benoit Lecomte made the first known solo trans-Atlantic swim, covering nearly 4,000 miles (6,400 kilometers) from Massachusetts to France in 73 days. No woman on record has made the crossing.

Figge woke most days around 7 a.m., eating pasta and baked potatoes while she and the crew assessed the weather. Her longest stint in the water was about eight hours, and her shortest was 21 minutes. Crew members would throw bottles of energy drinks as she swam; if the seas were too rough, divers would deliver them in person. At night she ate meat, fish and peanut butter, replenishing the estimated 8,000 calories she burned a day.

Figge wore a red cap and wet suit, with her only good-luck charm underneath: an old, red shirt to guard against chafing, signed by friends, relatives and her father, who recently died.
The other cherished possession she kept onboard was a picture of Gertrude Ederle, an American who became the first woman to swim across the English Channel.

“We have a few things in common,” Figge said. “She wore a red hat and she was of German descent. We both talk to the sea, and neither one of us wanted to get out.”

Figge arrived on Trinidad’s Chacachacare Island, an abandoned leper colony, on Feb. 5 at 5:20 p.m. She plans to leave Trinidad on Monday night. During this brief respite, she has avoided the hotel pool and nearby ocean, opting instead for the treadmill.

Barack Obama is now following me on Twitter

From: Twitter
Sent: Sunday, February 8, 2009 12:31:49 PM

Subject: Barack Obama is now following you on Twitter!

Hi, rosehook (rosehook).Barack Obama (BarackObama) is now following your updates on Twitter.

Check out Barack Obama's profile here:,Twitter

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Amazing Rainbow appears after the rain

My husband and daughter woke me up at 7:30 AM to view this beautiful rainbow (actually double rainbow if you look closely), that we could see from our home, after two days of rain. What a great way to greet the day!