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11/30/2003

WORDSMITH WORDS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 4:34 pm

“What do the words acme and acne have in common, besides being next to each other in a dictionary? The word acne began its life as acme. As a result of a misreading, it took on a new spelling. There are many more such words in the English language. Buttonhole once was buttonhold. Shamefaced used to be shamefast in the sense of restrained by shame. Cherry was originally cherise, but as that seemed to be plural, people spoke of a cherry when referring to a single fruit. The same happened with pease which was wrongly assumed to be plural and became pea. The list goes on and on.

Next time you see someone misspelling the word “definitely” as “definately” don’t snicker. Chances are the new spelling will find a way into the dictionary just as “miniscule” did for the original word “minuscule” because people thought the word had its origin in prefix mini-. It’s the usage that determines the flow of language.”

I love words. I wish I were better at using and remembering them.

FOREIGN ACCENT SYNDROME

Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 4:18 pm

An American woman told how how she suddenly developed a British accent after suffering a stroke.

This is a strange story:

“When Tiffany Roberts, 57, recovered from the stroke she found she had an accent placed somewhere between East London and the West Country.

Even the pitch of her voice changed, becoming much higher than the deep Indiana drawl she once had.

The dramatic change is even more surprising because she has no links with Britain.

She has never been to Britain or followed British television programmes.

Doctors have diagnosed her with a rare condition called foreign accent syndrome, which is caused when part of the brain is damaged.

The rest of the story.

SOLICH IS OUT

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:27 pm

As of last night Frank Solich, the Nebraska football coach, was out of a job. He has won more than 75% of his games, but that’s not good enough. The Nebraska fans have long memories, are short on patience and won’t settle for anyone who isn’t as good as Tom Osborne. It really doesn’t matter one way or the other about Solich losing his job as I’ve observed college and pro football and basketball coaches move up and down the highway finding other coaching jobs and continue doing what they want to do, probably at a greater salary. Solich will probably get hundreds of thousands …or bazillions of bucks…when they buy the rest of his contract. He’s not exactly on his way to selling Amway Quixtar door to door.

P.S. It will cost Nebraska 1.8 million to give Solich the boot. See??? Something’s really wrong with this picture, imo.

YEAH ANNIKA!

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 3:00 pm

In the first day of the million dollars Skins Game yesterday, Annika Sorenstam led the charge. She sank a 39 yard eagle shot from a sand trap on the 9th hole and won $175,000. She won the first hole today for another $50,000. She’s on a roll. She’s the first woman to compete in the 21 year history of the Skins Game. It’s about time the women had an equal chance at the money. At least one has the chance.

CLEAR THINKERS

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:38 pm

I had a wonderful visit this morning with one of my friends whom I don’t see often. Out of necessity these days we rely on the telephone to stay in touch. She’s part of our group of “clear thinkers”, as we refer to ourselves. We have such a strong basis of understanding built up over the past 55 years that we spend no time explaining…we share information of the same political/religious/cultural/economic/liberal thinking. It’s comfortable. I don’t know what you do in life without friends.

DIET UPDATE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:00 pm

Well, I’ve not melted and left a blob of butter where I once stood, but despite the lack of evidence, I think my diet might be working. I guess I won’t know for sure until I return in February to the doctor who will take a look at all my blood levels. Our bodies are made of chemicals and he’s really into weighing and measuring chemical levels. I’m sure he’ll let me know right away which one is in control of my body. I’m hoping all the prognostications in the South Beach book prove right in my case.

Diets have not worked for me. OH, one did…the one where I ate every other day. I can’t believe I could do that. That was a long time ago and I lost weight. I was also told to get off it so I did and regained the weight I’d lost, plus some.

I joined some weight-loss club, the name forgotten, in the early 80s where I had to buy their food and eat it. That was horrible. Only some anorexic bulimic person could manage to eat that food. I sure couldn’t. Plus…I was constantly starved, irritable and grumpy.

So, faced with the South Beach Diet, as I am, I find it just might be working. I’m encouraged that it and the Atkins Diet have worked for many others and continue to work.

Statistics say that if present trends continue everyone in the US will be FAT by 2040. That’s terrible. When I was in grade school/high school, I only remember a handful of students who were overweight. It was very rare. Look at our kids now. We’re doing something very wrong.

I look forward to “bacon and eggs” for breakfast, but limit myself to true bacon and eggs. This morning I had egg beaters with fresh diced onions, green peppers, tomatoes and lots of Serrano peppers mixed in. That will tide me over quite well, thank you, until I figure out what to eat next with steamed or stir fried veggies. It’s pretty painless and I don’t feel deprived. I was not even tempted to eat mashed potatoes, gravy and dressing during our Thanksgiving dinner. But there isn’t any way I could have survived a diet that said “just push away from the table of wonderful food that Ally cooked for you”. That just doesn’t work for me although I see it working for others all the time.

I know I’m not eating those things I’m not supposed to eat, and I’m not even hungry for them. I thought I’d be curled up in a ball, naked in the corner by now without bread, but I’m doing very well in that department. I don’t think about bread and toast and how good it is. Well, right now I am but I’m not tempted.

The thing about diets is that you hope you’ll see results right away. I suppose some people who carry around cisterns that gather up liquids will see some immediate changes, but I figure it took me 20 years to put this solid weight on and I can’t expect it to take less time to rid myself of it. Well, maybe by the end of next year things will be different. We’ll see. The possibility is close at hand.

SUNDAY MORNING

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 9:08 am

Coffee is brewed around here each morning rather irregularly. It’s the only time we make coffee unless we have guests for dinner and they want it.

Since Brit’s retirement ten years ago, he has made the morning coffee more frequently than I. Usually I’m up much earlier and don’t want to rattle around in the kitchen and disturb him and Jack so I trudge silently in my 30 year old Indian mukluks to the basement and plop in front of my computer. Later, sometimes hours later but always about 7:30, he makes the coffee. He and Jack bring me a hot mug and we exchange greetings of the day. That includes hugs and a Beggin’ Strip for Jack.

We’re both morning people and very glad of it. I can’t imagine having to live with someone who was grumpy or sullen in the morning. What a waste of a good morning.

Many mornings, like today, our schedules coincide so I make the coffee. I like to know what it is I’m drinking. Brit methodically measures the coffee, teaspoonful by teaspoonful, while I dump coffee into the basket until it’s almost full. The results are decidedly different. If I’m going to drink it, no matter what it is, I like it strong. Maybe that’s why I think Rich Vargo makes the best fruity wine in the world. Maybe that’s why I have so much difficulty drinking water. Probably it relates to my shattered taste buds. Poor Brit is “wired” for the day on the mornings I fix the coffee. One 12 cup pot takes us zooming through the day!

11/29/2003

KU HEADED TO TANGERINE BOWL

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 8:23 pm

KU is headed to the Tangerine Bowl which will be at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 22 in Orlando.

ADDITIONAL BEDS PROPOSED FOR EL DORADO PRISON

Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 8:20 pm

A proposal to add space for as many as 256 additional inmates at the state prison outside El Dorado was endorsed Tuesday by a legislative committee. FULL STORY

MY SORTA NAMESAKE IS IN TROUBLE

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:13 pm

We’ve had good, professional fireworks in Ellsworth for over 20 years and now we learn they are in jeopardy. The lack of money and volunteers are the culprits.

The Star Spangled Spectacular, as it has been known in recent years, was a name I suggested and it won the little contest they had for it. I’m not sure anyone else entered! I still have my Sammy Beanie Baby they gave me for winning. It sits on top of my monitor and smiles down at me.

Ron Svaty, the event organizer, wrote a letter that said in part: “For the past few years, I have been the fund raiser for the Fourth of July celebration. Basically, the committee has operated on putting things together and I told them I would raise the money and that has always worked. This year it did not. At the time of my writing this letter, we are still $840 short of paying off the Fireworks Company…

…While I think the event itself has improved dramatically over the last few years under Lou Boley’s guidance, the financial support from the community has continued to decline. I have therefore advised Lou that I can no longer continue to be the fund raiser…”

The fireworks cost between $12,000 and $13,000 and the city has picked up from $5,000 to $7,500 of that amount from its tourism fund. The rest has come from private donations. Unless there are financial commitments and more volunteers, the project seems doomed.

Some activities have already been set for the 2004 celebration. The committee hopes to know by February 1st if the celebration will be a go.

It’s my favorite holiday. I love the community activities and fireworks that combine in such a beautiful way to celebrate our independence.

EXPLORING THE MUSE

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 1:24 pm

The PBS special last night, Exploring the Muse, was excellent. The photography and narrations were very good…and of course, the subject matter was well chosen.

If I have any criticism at all…and certainly it is slight…I would have liked to have heard Dennis Rogers talk more about his art rather than having it come from the narrator. The words were well-chosen and effective nonetheless.

If you missed it last night, maybe it will be on again. They have run the first Muse more than once and I’ve enjoyed it each time. I wish everyone who saw it would send Marci Penner $18.61 to join the Explorers Club. 978 Arapaho Road, Inman Kansas 67546 will catch her.

MORE ABOUT THE FLU

Filed under: prairie musings — Peg Britton @ 12:55 pm

As of Wednesday 3,957 cases of the flu have been confirmed in Colorado. Three children have died. Normally, only three or four children die in an entire year in Colorado from flu complications. More cases have been reported in Colorado this year than in any four previous seasons. Only a handful of states have no reports of flu.

Flu season usually peaks in December and January and giving rise to the early start this year that more and worse is yet to come

“They say” the vaccine is never sure thing even when there is a match between the vaccine and the circulating strains of flu. For those of us who are older, the vaccine is only 30% to 70% effective when there is a match. No match, no protection. Most deaths are in people over 65.

The predominate strain of flu in circulation this year is type A, a type that usually causes high rates of hospitalizations and death. One subtype of this strain, A/Panama, is included in the current vaccine, and a different subtype of it, called A/Fujian has emerged causing illness.

One virologist says the strains of flu circulating now are not the variety that could cause a pandemic, or worldwide outbreak, because there is not an unknown strain. There was a pandemic in 1918 when more than 20 million died and in 1957 when the Asian flu caused nearly 70,000 deaths in the U.S. In 1968, 33,800 Americans died in a flu pandemic. We’re going to be in a corner when the next pandemic hits, which they expect to be severe, as we don’t have anti-viral medicines stockpiled and we’re not ready to develop effective new vaccines quickly.

I guess the best we can do is get flu shots, stay away from those who have it (crowds) and my favorite, keep your hands clean and away from your face. Old folks ought to hibernate, it seems.

TO THE MARKETSCORE.COM READER IN THE YUCON

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 11:32 am

I have several faithful marketscore.com readers, but two happen to be very far away…one in the Yucon the other in Russia. At least that is where their time zone readings come from.

The Yukon is a big place….well, a whole lot of territory around Whitehorse, I guess you’d say… but I’d like to suggest to the Yukon reader to take a look in the entertainment section of the Whitehorse newspaper for Heather Bishop, my singer/songwriter friend to see where she is performing in Whitehorse. She’s scheduled there for performances until Dec. 4th. She puts on one heck of a good show. You will fall off your chair laughing at some of her songs. If you can take in her show, you will love it…and please tell her hello for me. I chatted with her the other day before she left home, but there’s nothing like a friendly face in the audience bringing good wishes from a friend.

I only have one friend in Whitehorse, that I know of…Annie with a husband and a son named Huckleberry!

HEATHER BISHOP

DON’T MISS THE CHRISTMAS OPENING MONDAY AT 4:00 DOWNTOWN!

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 11:19 am

I always enjoy the evening of the Christmas opening in downtown Ellsworth. It’s festive and reminiscent of the days when I walked with my grandmother, hand in hand, from her house by the river to down town Ellsworth…that would be 70 years ago.

There are things to see and do, food to munch on, stuff to buy from those trying to make money for their organizations, the EHS band to listen to…plus all the stores are open with everything new and different stocked for Christmas shopping. It’s just a nice time to be downtown.

I think this is the plan…everything starts downtown at 4:00. The food booths open at 5:00 and the tree lighting is at 5:30 at the Hodgden House Museum. There may be caroling like last year during the lighting ceremony. The parade starts at the Museum at 6:00. I think the EHS band will be in the parade. At least I know a couple of trumpet players plan to be there. There will be carriage rides and photos of your kids with Santa will be available.

We don’t have many occasions to gather downtown in the evening. Some towns have a night set aside when merchants stay open until 8:00 but that has never been very successful here…that is since the old days when Ellsworth was very much a Saturday night town. I guess if you don’t continue trying, it won’t ever work. But it’s the merchants call from what they see at their cash registers and they put in very long hours as it is.

Last year the air was brisk and the mood festive. Everyone was having a good time. I intend to be there and would encourage you to spend some time wandering around downtown Monday evening. It’s a nice thing to do. We need to do as much shopping at home as we possibly can.

STEAMED SPICY SHRIMP

Filed under: recipes — Peg Britton @ 9:31 am

I found this on a fellow blogger’s website and I intend to try it. It sounds very good.

You need a steamer pot, or a pot large enough to hold a metal colander.

For each pound of peeled and deveined medium or large shrimp, in a small bowl make a seasoning mix of 1 teaspoon of salt, one tablespoon of cajun seasoning, and one tablespoon of Old Bay seasoning.

There are several brands of cajun spices that will work well in this recipe. The House of Blues chain sells a version online, and there are other varieties available through online outlets such as Peppers (look in the dry seasoning section).

Pour into the pot a 1 cup of cider vinegar and a 12 ounce bottle or can of beer. Heat to boiling.

As the liquid heats, place a layer of shrimp in the steamer container or colander, and spread a liberal dose of the seasoning mix over the layer. Repeat until you run out of shrimp and seasonings.

Place the steamer container or colander over the boiling beer/vinegar mixture, cover, and wait a few minutes.

Remove the cover, stir the shrimp a few times, and cover again. Check frequently.

When all the shrimp are pink, they’re done. Remove from the heat and pile the shrimp on a bowl or plate.

These shrimp don’t need anything to go with them other than a good beer.

For those who like cocktail sauce with their shrimp, I find Chili Sauce mixed with horseradish, lemon juice and Tabasco to taste is very good.

PRIME RIB NIGHT AT THE MIDLAND

Filed under: family, Wilson Musings — Peg Britton @ 9:22 am

It’s prime rib night at the Midland but I’m not sure I can weasel another invite from the squeeze to eat out again this week.

I do know, in case I’ve said otherwise, you get prime rib by making early reservations and getting your order in for dinner so that others before you haven’t gobbled it all up. It’s on a first come-first serve basis…arrive early in the evening and there will be some hot out of the oven. I’m told you can’t go for dinner at 8:00 and expect there to be any prime rib left.

Sometimes I get an early morning call from the chef during her commute from Abilene to Wilson. She says they already have 68 reservations for tonight.

11/28/2003

TURKEY-FRYERS-ONLINE.COM

Filed under: prairie musings, friends — Peg Britton @ 8:09 pm

If you are interested in turkey fryers, here’s a site Janis Gore offered. She also says a lesser-known delicacy particularly good for small groups is fried cornish game hen, prepared just as you would turkey but cooked a shorter time. You can cook a few of these for, say, a threesome or foursome.

From what I’ve heard (and I sure know nothing about it), I’ve learned you really need the sturdy stainless steel fryer, not the aluminum type. Also, I’ve heard the types that have a basket are preferable to those that don’t…for some purposes. But don’t take my word for it.

The only thing I can say for sure is the fried turkey that Butch Kepka fixed for us was absolutely wonderful. He has made a real believer out of me for HIS fried turkeys.TURKEY FRYERS

HAVE WE HUMANS PEAKED AS A SPECIES?

Filed under: print news — Peg Britton @ 7:45 pm

Dane sent this to me a long time ago and I just forgot to run it. It is a very good essay and I think you’d enjoy reading it.

In part: “I would say, here, if we can send a man to the moon,”  but we even gave that up. About the same time American aerospace industry canceled its own version of the Concorde ” the stillborn”  SST.  America’s space priorities shifted from manned interplanetary adventure to hauling cargo into orbit. Not coincidentally, I would argue, that’s about when we set a national speed limit of 55 miles per hour, had our last house call from a doctor or fresh milk delivered in cold glass jars at the front door.”
As Concorde goes, so do we

NEWSCIENTIST.COM

Filed under: print news, Tyler Britton USAF — Peg Britton @ 7:33 pm

Here is a very interesting read that I picked up off Jim Smith’s blog.

“A small company in London, UK, claims to have developed a technique that overturns scientific dogma and could revolutionize medicine. It says it can turn ordinary blood into cells capable of regenerating damaged or diseased tissues. This could transform the treatment of everything from heart disease to Parkinson’s.”BLOOD REPAIR KIT

DROVERS CHRISTMAS TREE

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ellsworth — Peg Britton @ 4:29 pm

Jim and Cody Gray and Linda Kohls were decorating a beautiful Christmas tree today when I stopped in Drovers to see them. They cut a tall, well-shaped tree at Bell Tree Farm (as once we used to do) and placed it right by the front door. When I left they were adding ornaments that are for sale…cute little cowboy type decorations. It’s a very festive tree. If you need a stocking stuffer or an exchange gift for not too much money, stop in and buy an orament, or any one of a number of unusual gift items they have for sale. It’s a good thing to shop at home.

I had not met Cody Gray before, but maybe I have and forgot. He’s too good-looking and personable to do that or maybe he was too far away for me to get a good look when he was here a number of years ago re-shingling our roof with the Kohls brothers. He was recently married, lives in KC and does contract work for Sprint. I like Jim and Robin’s boys and their sister Megan…nice young people.

The downtown area was full of cars and people which is a very good sign. I need to check to see when the Christmas opening is…Monday I think. I don’t want to miss that.

The high school Spanish class is selling homemade peanut brittle today at ALCO. They appeared to be doing a brisk business. Drew helped with that. He says he doesn’t know how to make it as it was an assembly line project and all he did was the same one thing over and over for four hours. If you haven’t tried their peanut brittle, I can attest to the fact it is as good as any you can make. It’s pulled thin and has a great flavor. I think I bought 12 pounds last year for gifts. This year I’m steering clear. The diet you know.

Brit got a load of red oak firewood from Todd, Karen and the boys for his birthday. Caleb Svaty had it as a fund-raising auction item at the Presbyterian Church so Todd bought it and today Caleb and his cousin delivered it. Drew and Tyler helped stack it. It didn’t take those strong, willing guys very long to do that and bring a bunch to the back door for our fireplace downstairs. We use a lot of firewood during the course of the winter.

It’s time to start on the Christmas “stuff” that I churn out of my kitchen. It isn’t what it once was by any means and a lot of that is because the friends my age, like me, are on restrictive diets of some kind or can’t “drink”, so nogs are out.

I have a peppery “sorta” hot, candied pickle recipe that I’ve made to share. And I will continue to make several batches of Rom Pope, the very secret recipe I’m sworn not to divulge to anyone…for fear of instant death. Last year I think I blogged how we got the recipe and I’m not going to blog it again. I just can’t tell how I make it as I promised Ally I wouldn’t and she promised the guy who told her she wouldn’t. It took years and years to get it.

I have several friends who would never let me forget it if they didn’t get a big jug of Rom Pope every year. Meridith and Cindy have fits of apoplexy just thinking about getting through the holidays without it. Jim Gray is not far behind only he savors his for months. I thought you’d die if you didn’t drink it in a couple of weeks, but he is living proof you won’t.

I better go check to see how my supplies are for making it.

We’re not putting up a tree this year, at least I don’t think so. I have my Christmas chair that Lori at La Prairie made for me and that is enough. The grandkids really don’t care and for the last 15 years, I’ve only done it for them. I falter at traditional Christmas celebrations for obvious reasons…as do many of my friends. The family has grown accustomed to our humbug spirit during the holidays and enjoy things with us other than the anticipation of Christmas.

Speaking of the grandsons, they are joining their brother, Rod, his uncle Ron and other guys to see the K-State basketball game tomorrow. The grandson brothers are driving themselves to Manhattan tomorrow. It’s not their first trip, but it tells me that when they can do that…and they are responsible…they are growing up. They’ll soon fly away.

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