Write Lightning is a blog from writer Deb Thompson.
Everyone is welcome here.
(Some links or topics may not be completely kid-appropriate.)




Wed, Nov 26 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

We're having Thanksgiving dinner with great friends tomorrow. I wish each of you a beautiful day full of fellowship and favorite foods. To our service men and women and their families who may be apart this year, a special thanks from those of us who wait and hope with you for better times. True thanks always seems to have a glimmer of hope in it to buoy it toward the future.

The blog will probably be a bit quiet until next Monday. In the meantime, enjoy the continuing updates to the Christmas lights.

posted at: 07:30 | category: | link to this entry



Tue, Nov 25 2008

White coat syndrome no stranger to me

The article on the 24-hour monitoring of high blood pressure spoke to me. My white coat syndrome is so severe that I have to warn health care professionals who are new to me that my readings will go off the scale. They tend to do double-takes when they see that lower number go well into 3 digits. They offer to wait a few minutes and take it again, but the longer I'm in the exam room, the worse my pressure tends to be. The best thing they can do for someone like me is to let me out of there as soon as possible.

posted at: 10:08 | category: /Health and Fitness | link to this entry



Mon, Nov 24 2008

People turning to Campbell soups more now

Those beleaguered financial and auto executives will probably be drowning their sorrows in a good bowl of soup when they mourn their loss of corporate jets and filet mignon feeding frenzies. Their loss might be Campbell Soup Co.'s gain. The article I've linked to mentioned that folks are eating at home more right now and are taking lunch to work. When microwave ovens became common in the workplace it was easier to take soup and mix and heat it there instead of packing a thermos at home before a commute. The pop-top lids make the cans easier to open in any location. Even before that, casserole cooking became popular in the last half of the 1900s and condensed soups provided the basic sauce that went with almost any combination of layered ingredients. When slow cookers came on the market we could dump foods, including condensed soup, into one dish and come home hours later to a house filled with comforting aromas. Those full slow cookers also make their way to church and work potlucks and family reunions. Campbell even managed to invent a classic dish for holiday tables with their introduction of the green bean casserole recipe. The company's consistent quality combined with their willingness to work with new cooking methods and to meet changing social needs has made their products trusted by every American I know.

posted at: 09:37 | category: /Food | link to this entry



Fri, Nov 21 2008

Green laser suspect nabbed

How on earth can people who aim lasers at aircraft see well enough to do it? They must have particularly excellent vision. Either that, or it only takes getting the laser in the general direction of the aircraft in order to interfere with pilots' sight. Or maybe the folks who do this sort of thing are just a lot closer to the planes than I'm thinking they are...

posted at: 14:14 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Thu, Nov 20 2008

How much cutting back is enough?

I can understand how people would recognize that desperate times call for desperate measures. What makes these scenarios tough to read is that I know of an increasing number of people who have already cut back on their household budget for the last couple of years, only to find out that their cutbacks aren't enough to see them through another year or two of recession.

posted at: 14:03 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Wed, Nov 19 2008

Shoebox gifts

There are quite a few churches and other organizations jumping in to do shoebox gifts this year. You can join with an organization already sponsoring the boxes or create your own network. Our local Grange is doing boxes that combine play items with small school supplies. You can pick a particular theme or choose an age group on which to concentrate. If some folks can't do the boxes themselves they might opt to donate cash to help defray the cost of shipping or distribution of the boxes. We have so many malls and souvenir shops and stores with dollar items that we forget what a great amount of wealth that represents to so many children in the world. The next time you meet an anti-Christmas snob who fusses at you about the commercialism of Christmas, maybe you can hand them a shoebox and suggest they focus on filling it for a child for whom Christmas seems a whole universe away from the idea of commercialism and excess.

posted at: 10:35 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry



Tue, Nov 18 2008

Odds and ends ideas for a November Tuesday

Well, here's something you can make if you find yourself with too much time on your hands. Whip up a batch of Bacon Soap.

On a more practical note, we have a slow bathroom sink drain right now, so I might try clearing the drain with science.

I haven't quite figured out the directions yet, but if you want a neater linen closet, someone did instructions on how to fold a fitted sheet.

If you like recycling things, how about making Christmas containers out of Folgers coffee canisters?

I can get carried away when I start finding ideas for Christmas, so maybe it's best that I pause here and get back to work.

posted at: 17:12 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Mon, Nov 17 2008

The Monday after the food shopping

We've been working on frugality lately, due to recession-style cutbacks in the household budget. This past weekend we did something we rarely do. We went through the local grocery store sale papers and planned meals around the items that were on sale. We had a coupon for twenty-five dollars off our cost if we spent one-hundred dollars (or more) at one particular store. So we tried to maximize our use of that store and we came home with a lot of food. The problem is that we had to get right to work with storage and prep with that much fresh food streaming into the kitchen. Today we have the Rival Crock Pot filled with a big meal that will actually last for several meals, but I still have to portion out and cook (and/or freeze) several other items for future meals. I doubt I would ever become one of those once-a-month cooks on a regular basis, but there is something to be said for doing this once in awhile so that you can grab things out of the freezer and throw in a few fresh items to pull together a meal on days when you barely have time to eat, much less cook.

We have an electric oven which we've been trying to use more efficiently by cooking or baking more than one thing in it, once we have it heated. I don't always get to bake from scratch the way I'd like to bake, but I do often buy quick bread (or muffin) mixes when they're on sale, doctor them up a bit, and pop them into the oven. If two mixes require two different temperatures, I start one baking and then mix up the other one to bake immediately after the first. Then I can cool the loaves (or muffins) and freeze some for later.

I used to want to make up quick bread batter and freeze it to thaw and bake later, but I've learned that the batter will work better if baked immediately after mixing. What does freeze well is some cookie dough, including chocolate chip and shortbread doughs. And since the holiday season is upon us, making up dough and then baking a bunch of it in one day is a great way to make efficient work of it all.



posted at: 10:34 | category: /Food | link to this entry



Thu, Nov 13 2008

No pro-life stance allowed for Catholic hospitals? Then maybe no Catholic hospitals.

The article on Roman Catholic bishops planning to lean on the next federal administration was a bit disturbing to me, on several levels. When they speak of "no compromise" they are saying it's going to be their way, period. And anytime I hear that sort of statement it sounds like a veiled threat. I have no idea what the threat might be, but the very wording bothers me. And if they feel they would be forced to close their many Catholic hospitals over the subject of abortion, what would they do with the many patients who might need them for other health care? Would those people just be left to fend for themselves? How would closing down Catholic hospitals protect unborn children who needed their care in the event of illness of either the baby or the mother?

Furthermore, why bring all this up now as a new president prepares to take office, a President-elect who has not so much as hinted that he will try to force a change in the current laws for how hospitals treat such matters? The past several administrations have done essentially nothing to change the status of abortion in America up to this point, so what is this sudden warning that the Catholic hospitals will have to rush to get out of the hospital business?

If it's about the government funding the Catholic hospitals in the event of being forced to perform abortions for those who sought them, I suppose they have a right to close, but threatening to do so before anything has even come up on the subject strikes me as a kind of religious extortion. It's fine for a church to give its views on topics, but trying to tell the government what the government can and cannot allow according to the Constitution makes the church into a lot more than just a church. Let's watch this one for awhile.

posted at: 13:26 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry



Wed, Nov 12 2008

Summum monuments in public parks

I must admit that I had not heard of the Summum until I read about their efforts to erect monuments in public parks. I did look up the Summum web site and found it interesting that they have a stained glass graphic of Christ on their home page, along with a couple of Bible texts. They claim that Moses first came down from Mount Sinai, not with Ten Commandments, but with Seven Principles, or Aphorisms. If you decide to go and read about those, expect to see words such as "psychokinesis", "vibration" and "copulation". I'm sure it would take a lot of study for me to see how these things go with their stained glass graphic of Jesus. But they did know how to get my attention with that graphic.

The town that has allowed the Ten Commandments, but not the Principles, in its park, may end up denying both kinds of monuments from the park in order to prevent the presence of the Principles. These kinds of conflicts underscore our need to try to keep the favoring of any one religion out of the hands of public officials. If we allow any one set of beliefs to be controlled by our government, sooner or later our government is going to end up toying with our own particular favorite set of beliefs. And when they do, it will be our own fault for having encouraged them to set that precedent.

posted at: 09:20 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry



Tue, Nov 11 2008

Veterans Day

Veterans are being honored today and so I want to express my gratitude to those who have served. To the families of those whose loved ones gave the ultimate sacrifice, I wish for you the hope that comes with the promise of a day of resurrection.

posted at: 11:31 | category: /Miscellaneous | link to this entry



Fri, Nov 07 2008

Christmas (and other seasonal) lights

I've begun updating the holiday lights page for 2008. Updated entries are preceded by a red asterisk. There are currently about 85 verified listings and more will come, right up to the last minute of the 2008-2009 holiday season.

posted at: 09:57 | category: /Arts and Entertainment | link to this entry



Wed, Nov 05 2008

Austin

We had the very sad task of taking our cat for one last trip to the vet. Austin had come to us after a neighbor had fed him as a kitten and had taken him to be neutered. He eventually took up the habit of sitting at our screen/storm door and staring in at us in the evenings. He slowly became more and more of a fixture in our family.

The little guy had been living with Feline FIV for some time and had battled skin cancer on his nose, infections, severe anemia and low lymphcyte counts, fevers and a host of other conditions. We had his symptoms treated and tried to keep him comfortable. But the last few weeks he was wasting away, eating a mere bite or two, if any, and he slept most of the time. He had part of a day in the sun on the back deck last Sunday, but other than that, he slept either in his little house (complete with heating pad) or he came indoors, even though this had previously been forbidden or very restricted, because I'm allergic to cats. My spouse put Austin on his lap in the recliner several times and they enjoyed several naps that way. On Monday we brought Austin inside and he slept with a heating pad and soft towel on the recliner. Movement around took energy, so he rested, rising only to change positions a little, take a rare drink of water (which we kept in a bowl beside him) or amazingly, ask to go outside for a bladder break. He used what little strength he had left to insist on the dignity to take those few steps to the outdoors to do his business. He would make a turn back to the house when he was finished and then one of us would carry him back to the chair to rest.

Austin was a great little cat who chose us and trusted us in that regal sort of way that only cats are able to pull off. They are one of God's best ideas. We miss him.

Austin
Austin in earlier days, enjoying shade and sun near the garden bunnies
Rest well, sweet kitty.


posted at: 10:50 | category: /Religious and Spiritual | link to this entry



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Stealin' copy is as bad as horse-thievin'
and cattle rustlin'! Lightning may strike
such varmints when they least expect it!