Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Tornado Season

Howdy from Oklahoma! 

As we move into April and May, the thoughts of Sooners turn to tornadoes.  If you happen to live in the tornado alley - a wide strip stretching from Lawton northeast through Moore, Harrah/Jones and up to the turnpike - the thought of April and May turns your stomach. 

This is the area of the killer tornadoes, and the largest tornado ever recorded.  The May 3, 1999 twister killed, maimed and destroyed, leveling a good part of the cities of Moore and Midwest City.  I rode that one out in the closet, with an O.U. football helmet on my head and a heavy winter coat on my back.  Shortly thereafter a storm shelter went into my garage, where it came in handy during the May 9, 2003 tornado that took the same swath across Oklahoma.

This is just a reminder that it's time to prepare.  If you have a shelter, you may want to move your valuables, pictures, computer back-ups, etc. into it until the dangerous months have passed.  If you haven't taken digital pictures of the property inside and outside of your home, now would be a good time.  It's really easy!  Most importantly, have a disaster plan.  Know where you and your family will go in the event of a disaster and it's always a good idea to put a few emergency items in a backpack in case you need to grab it in a hurry.

Here's hoping that we will all stay safe this year - We need a little downtime!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello - happy spring Monday to you all!  It's time for another Lois Elaine recipe, straight from the box.

Lois Elaine Mueller's recipes are featured every Monday on this blog. Her heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

Lois was from Michigan, where there are quite a few people of German descent, including the Mueller's.  This German potato salad was a favorite in the Mueller house....

Lois Elaine's German Potato Salad:

3 T. flour
1 t. salt
1 T. celery seed
Sugar - approx. 1 cup
1 c. vinegar
1 c. water
1 small jar pimientos
bacon - several slices, cooked and crumbled, and save the grease
2 onions, chopped
potatoes, cooked

Put the following in a frying pan:  bacon grease, flour, salt and celery seed.  Start with 4 T. sugar.  Mix together, then add onions and 1 c. water.  Heat and stir.  Add vinegar.  Then add more tablespoons of sugar until it's as sweet as you want it.
Add pimientos and bacon.  Pour over potatoes and mix through.  Bake in the oven until heated.

Friday, March 25, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello and happy Friday everyone!

Sofi the Talking Schnauzer is finding signs of spring and saying goodbye to winter.  Here is one more look back at what we WON'T be seeing for awhile!
Adios, snow!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Who Do You Think You Are?

Hello.....Are you interested in family research?  You should be - there's nothing more exciting than uncovering stories about your ancestors from hundreds of years ago.  But like most people who have a job and lots of responsibilities, my time to research is limited, and I don't want to spend the money for an membership. 

I get motivated from time to time, and do a lot of research over a couple of months, then I go to something else.  Lately I have been motivated by the television show Who Do You Think You Are.  Each week a celebrity researches someone in his/her family heretofore forgotten.  What follows from their research is sometimes horrifying, astounding, or joyful, but always fulfilling.  This season we have seen Tug McGraw, Rosie O'Donnell, Lionel Richey and Kim Cattrall go back in history, with shows featuring Steve Buschemi and Gwyneth Paltrow still to come.  It's a terrific show, sponsored, of course, by

If you're interested, you should try  This is the free LDS site, and it's truly amazing - full of information and resources.  You can research right in your own home and connect with others who are researching your ancestors.

I've been looking for my deceased grandmother's parents for years, and have at least put a chip in the brick wall by finally learning her father's initials (W.N. Nash).  She was an orphan, and it's often extremely difficult to make progress in those situations.

Anyway, I hope you get the research bug - it's a lot of fun....Kind of like hunting Easter eggs!

Monday, March 21, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Happy great Monday, everyone!

Today, straight from the recipe box of Lois Elaine Mueller, is a recipe for Chocolate Satin Frosting. For the next several months I will be featuring Lois Elaine's recipes every Monday. Her heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

Lois has several great recipes for chocolate frosting.  The others will be published later.

Lois Elaine's Chocolate Satin Frosting:

2 c. confectioners' (powdered) sugar
1/4 c. soft butter
1 T. milk
1 t. vanilla
1/8 t. salt
1 egg
2 envelopes Nestle's Choco-Bake

Combine all ingredients except the egg and Choco-Bake into a bowl and beat until well-blended.  Then beat in the egg and blend in the Choco Bake.

Note:  I'm not sure that Choco-Bake still exists.  I would substitute 1/4 cup of chocolate powder.

Friday, March 18, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello, and what a great Friday!

Sofi the Talking Schnauzer LOVES St. Patrick's Day.  It's the one day that she renounces her German roots and becomes Irish.  She and the Irish Setter next door plan to share a few green beers before the day is done....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Should We Protect Hateful Free Speech?

Hello and happy hump day - We're headed straight for the weekend, now!
It's Wednesday, and time for a serious subject.....

You may have heard about a recent Supreme Court decision, Snyder v. Phelps,  that states that the Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas has the right to picket the funerals of soldiers.  This warped handful of people (mostly members of one family) regularly marches and pickets at the funerals, shouting the most vile things at the family and friends attending the funeral.  The reason for this outrageous action, apparently, is the church members' hatred of what they believe is America's tolerance of homosexuality.  According to the attorney for Fred Phelps, the leader of the "church", the members believe that gay people should be put to death.

They are an embarrassment to all good churches and church members.  They are an embarrassment to Americans in general.  And they spread hate and pain to the most vunerable of people - those who are struggling to cope with their grief.  This little group of haters make even the most gentle of us curse their ignorance and joy at what they obviously see as great power.  One of their visits to Tulsa last year resulted in their discovering the air gone from the tires on their van when they returned from spewing filth at a funeral. Yes, even peaceful, laid-back Okies feel a need to take action against this bunch.

The haters make us cringe at their lack of human decency.  They make us cry for the pain of the families, struggling in the midst of grief to deal with strangers laughing at their deceased loved ones.  They make us sad, mad, crazy and sick.  And the Supreme Court decision that protects them was absolutely correct....

This is my opinion, of course, and your's may be different.  But please consider this - The First Amendment of our Constitution protects free speech.  This amendment was not written in contemplation of nice, happy speech - it was written to protect the right of all of us to say whatever we want, even if no one else in the world likes it.  Once we begin limiting speech to whatever we deem is correct, where is the line drawn and who will draw it?  I believe we are the only country in the world that protects our citizens' speech to this extent, and I personally am proud that we do.  My father went to war to protect this freedom, along with all of the other freedoms that we often take for granted.

I detest the people from the Westboro Baptist Church who spit their hatred toward our innocent fallen heroes and their innocent grieving families.  But I will defend their right to spit that hatred - The Supreme Court got it right.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello - Spring is definitely on the way, and none too soon.  It's been a rough winter!

Hello, and happy March Monday! Here is a recipe that you will really like...

Lois Elaine Mueller's outstanding recipes from Michigan are featured right here every Monday. Her heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

The don't grow bananas in Michigan, but Michigan people love to eat them, and the Mueller family was no exception.  And why not, the banana is one of the healthiest foods - a truly guilt-free treat!

Lois Elaine's Banana Cake:

1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 c. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1 t. salt
1/4 c. milk
1 c. bananas, mashed
1/2 c. chopped nuts - any kind

Cream the shortening and sugar.  Beat in the eggs.  Add the flour, baking powder, soda and salt.  Then add the milk, bananas and nuts.

Bake in greased and floured pan at 350 degrees for 35-45 minutes.


2 T. flour
1/2 c. milk
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar

Thicken the flour and milk over heat.  Cream together the butter and sugar, add to the thickened milk and spread on the cake.

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello and happy Friday - Hoping that Spring has finally sprung!  Here's a REALLY cute little dog for your Friday....

Max the Magnificent doesn't enjoy these "Spring" cold snaps in Oklahoma.  He's decided to stay snuggled up in bed until at least May.  And anyone who tries to coax him out of bed gets the stink-eye.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Does Donald Trump Promote Bullying?

Hello everyone, hope your Wednesday is going great so far.....Happy birthday to my terrific pal and partner in crime - Barb!

I tuned in to Celebrity Apprentice last Sunday night because this season features some true characters and I thought it would be fun to see some fireworks.  What I and everyone else witnessed was a mean bully being rewarded for, well, being a mean bully.

Now, I've seen Celebrity Apprentice before, and I understand that ruthless people often win (Joan Rivers).  But Sunday, Donald Trump had the opportunity to send an important message to bullies everywhere.  Unfortunately he chose the wrong message to send.

The episode pitted the aggressive Richard Hatch of Survivor fame against a much smaller and meeker David Cassidy of the 1970's show The Partridge Family.  The scheming Hatch, leader of the men's team, obviously chose the seemingly-weaker Cassidy to be the scapegoat in the event that Hatch's team lost.  When a team loses, that team's leader is fired by Trump unless Trump can be convinced that another team member caused the failure. 

Hatch carefully set Cassidy up to be the fall guy, bullying him mercilessly along the way.  Hatch even shoved Cassidy on one occasion and pushed him on yet another, all in full view of the rest of the team.  What Hatch didn't count on was Cassidy's competence - Cassidy worked hard throughout the task, was pleasant, well-liked by his team and an all-around good guy.  Hatch could only come up with two criticisms in the boardroom after his team lost - that Cassidy took some breaks from his work and he brought in little money for the charity event (although I think he brought in more than Hatch).  Hatch, on the other hand, was an incompetent leader and was clearly the cause of his team's failure.

But the real fly in the ointment turned out to be a guy that said almost nothing during the entire episode - baseball slugger Jose Canseco.  Canseco witnessed the bullying and went all over Hatch in the boardroom in front of Trump.  This brought agreement by the rest of the team, all of whom told Trump that they would fire Hatch.  Cassidy, when he could get a word in, defended himself to Trump against Hatch's attacks.  It was a unanimous decision to fire Hatch, except for the one man whose vote really counted....

Donald Trump should have fired Richard Hatch then and there - sending a clear message to the millions watching that bullies are losers and the bullied can come out on top.  There has been an effort in our country lately to encourage people who witness bullying to stand up for the victims and defend them, and this is exactly what Canseco did.  He earned my respect for his actions and his words.  But, of course, Trump chose the wrong message to send.  Smelling future conflict between Hatch and Canseco that will translate into higher ratings, Trump bowed to greed and, inexplicably, came up with a lame excuse to fire the guy that was bullied.  Why did he fire Cassidy and not Hatch?  Well, according to Trump, Cassidy didn't "stand up for himself".  Because he was bullied, he was evidently deemed a weak link by Trump, and therefore not worth keeping on his show.  So, Trump rewarded the bully, the guy that everyone on his own team and everyone watching the show was convinced should and would go.  The bully strutted back to his room in Trump Towers, and the victim left through the front door with his shoulders slumped.

Trump's message to America:  Bullies are winners.  Bullying victims are losers.  Plain and simple.  

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Monday Recipe Blog

Hello, and happy March Monday! Here is a recipe that you will really like...

Lois Elaine Mueller's outstanding recipes are featured right here every Monday. Her heyday was in the 1950's and 1960's, and her children swear she was the best cook that ever lived. Many baby boomers will remember these mouth-watering recipes, and these dishes are just as tasty today as they were in the sixties.

When Lois received recipes from others, she noted this on the card. Today's recipe came from Laura in 1976 - the country's bi-centennial!

These Swedish Meatballs would be terrific when served with buttered noodles and wax beans.

Lois Elaine's Swedish Meat Balls:

1 1/2 lb. ground beef
1/2 lb. pork sausage
1 onion, chopped
2 eggs, well-beaten
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. pepper
1/4 t. poultry seasoning
6 slices buttered toast, dry
2 c. cream

Thoroughly mix meats, add egss, seasonings and onion.  Mix.  Add crushed toast.  Add 1 c. cream and knead well.  Shape into balls and place in flat casserole.  Heat remaining cream and pour over meatballs.  Bake for 2 hours at 275 degrees.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The Friday Dog Blog

Hello....Welcome to another great Friday, and another great dog!

Princess Leia, the 10 foot tall poodle from Poteau is back, this time from work.  Yes, the Princess isn't just a sports junkie, she's a working dog as well.  She puts her purse in the chair and gets to her to-do list every day...

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Some Great Ways To Beat The Winter Blues

Hello everyone - We have a few more weeks of winter left, then Spring will be here!!  This is the time of year that the winter blues tend to set in during the cold blasts after a long, hard winter.  Keep going, though, better days are ahead.

To get you through the remaining cold weather, here are a few helpful hints, forwarded to me by Linda, a longtime friend.  There's some real wisdom here!

10 Great Ways To Bust A Bad Mood....

1) Spice Things Up

Capsaicin, the zesty compound that gives hot peppers their zing, can stimulate a rush of feel-good endorphins in the brain, erasing a funky mood in as little as two minutes, say researchers at the University of Texas.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Jazz up your next meal with at least three slices of pickled peppers, one tablespoon of fresh jalapeno or a half a teaspoon of hot sauce.

2) Wrap Yourself in a Soft Blanket

Your brain and body are so interconnected, that the sensation of something soothing touching your skin can have a significant impact on your mood, explains John Bargh, Ph.D., a professor of cognitive science at Yale University.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: After a tough day, wrap yourself in a soft blanket. This simple trick can chase away a bad mood in as little as 20 minutes, say University of California researchers, since being enveloped in softness shifts brain wave activity from the right side, which produces negative emotions, to the left, which promotes positive feelings.

3) Pop a Peppermint

The scent of peppermint significantly increases your brain’s production of alpha waves, electrical impulses that can produce a calmer, happier mood in as little as three minutes, say researchers at Chicago’s Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation. Bonus: “And for as many as 86 percent of people, this crisp scent can also quickly lower feelings of stress,” adds

4) Spoon Up Potato Soup

Soup is always soothing. But pick a potato variety and you can feel noticably calmer in as little as 30 minutes, thanks to the tuber’s proven ability to boost brain levels of tryptophan as much as 54 percent, say scientists at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The reason: “Tryptophan is a key building block of the calming hormone, serotonin,” explains Amy Lanou, Ph.D., a senior nutrition scientist at the Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine in Washington, D.C. “So the more tryptophan in your brain, the more serotonin you’ll produce and the more laid back you’ll feel.”

 Smile-Inducing Strategy: At the supermarket? Be sure to buy a few cans of potato soup to spoon up on stressful days.

(5) Sing Inspirational Songs

People who sing along to their favorite songs are 81 percent less likely to fall into a funk, according to Columbia University researchers. Experts say it produces vibrations in the brain that kick-start production of calming neurotransmitters called endorphins, helping almost 100 percent of people feel calmer for an hour or more.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: To nab the mood-boosting benefit, experts suggest belting out your favorite tunes 15 minutes daily.

6) Bite Into a Brownie

Brownies contain cocoa and cocoa contains phenylethylamine, a potent antidepressant found naturally in the brain. Scientists at Tucson’s University of Arizona say phenylethylamine also prods the brain to produce more of the feel-good hormones serotonin and dopamine, which can help secure a sunnier mindset faster.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Yes, it's a bit of an indulgence, so stick to a small serving. Even a one-inch square brownie or a small cup of hot cocoa can help you get the feel-good effect.

7) Relax in a Rocker

The gentle, rhythmic motion of a rocking chair stimulates your brain to produce the calming hormone, oxytocin, lulling you into a relaxed state within two minutes, say researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Their follow-up studies suggest just 10 minutes of rocking is so soothing, it can slash your production of the stress hormone, cortisol, for up to four hours!

8) Wash a Few Windows

A burst of brisk exercise can erase blue moods for over an hour afterward, say researchers at Stanford University. The reason: It slashes the production of mood-sapping cortisol, adrenaline and other stress hormones by 45 percent and that helps your brain stay 25 percent more upbeat, even when your stress levels are off the charts.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Take a few moments to scrub two windows until they gleam. Bonus: The extra blasts of light you’ll get from the cleaner panes will shut down your brain’s of sleep-inducing melatonin, helping you feel more energized all day long, says Norman Rosenthal, M.D., professor of psychiatry at Washington’s Georgetown Medical School.

9) Spread Some Good Words

Taking the time to praise people has been shown to improve mood and banish stress as effectively as meditation or yoga, and the effect can last two days, say researchers at Duke University. “Being uplifting to others naturally increases production of the antidepressant hormones dopamine, endorphins and oxytocin,” explains Scott Haltzman, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University. It also builds strong social ties, which University of Rochester researchers say helps prevent depression for up to 72 percent of people.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Strive to dole out a compliment or two daily. Just a few kind words will make you, as well as those around you, feel better.

10) Say Cheese!

Feeling grumpy? Fake it! Simply acting happy, by smiling, even if you’re frowning on the inside, causes major biochemical changes in the brain that boost production of the antidepressant hormone, serotonin, often in as little as three minutes. “Your brain is constantly checking body cues, like your facial expression, to help gauge how it should be feeling and it alters neurotransmitter production to get you there!” explains James Laird, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at Clark University.

Smile-Inducing Strategy: Sport a smile even when you don’t feel like it and walk with good posture. For at least 40 percent of people, says Laird, combining a smile (real or fake) with good posture helps them feel more calm and content.