Tuesday, October 21, 2014

I'm Turning 60... plus 5 by Margaret Ullrich

I’m still in a bit of a celebrating my blog's Anniversary mood.
Publishing I’m Turning 60... has been such fun!
I’ve really enjoyed doing this blog and I’m so grateful that you’ve been visiting.

We’re enjoying a mild Autumn this year.
I still have a few tomato plants which are still giving us fruit.
A tossed blanket takes care of them on the nights we’ve dipped below freezing. 
It’s such a treat seeing them by the side door that I don’t mind helping them along.

Soon enough everything will be covered in snow.
But, not now.

I made a few changes - just small tweaks - and I hope you like them.
Since the top posts were listed in the Anniversary post, I added the post to the list that’s on the right side called ‘Handy Pages of Grouped Links & Info’.
I also made a post for the ‘Translate Measurements’ chart.
By removing the two lists, their 20 pictures, and the chart the page loads more quickly.
That’s a good thing.
I’ll make a few more posts that will gather links under one topic and add their posts' links to the list so you will be able to find things more quickly.

A friend asked if I’m going to change the title to I’m Turning 65.
I know I’m not turning 60 any more.
I got my letter and the pension forms to fill out from the government.
In a few months I’ll be a card-carrying, pension-collecting, bone fide senior of 65.

As I mentioned in the Anniversary post  visitors use search keywords to find posts.
Sometimes they even use I’m Turning 60.
It would be confusing to change the name of this blog just to reflect my age, which will keep changing.
Folks know and find me as 60 year old lady.
So, I’ll stay blog-wise as 60 year old lady.

It’s like the television show Two and a Half Men.
Alan's son Jake grew up and left the show.
Charlie Harper's daughter Jenny moved in with Walden and Alan.
But the show is still Two and a Half Men.
It makes it easier to find the show in the television listings.

A couple of weeks ago I posted about Thanksgiving, the blood moon, the eclipse and all the other excitement that was happening in the sky.
I’m sorry that I posted about that on the day of the eclipse.
A friend pointed out that she got her e mail about the post on the day after the post had been published.
So, it was day-old news and useless.

From now on I’ll post about time sensitive topics - like full moons, new moons and eclipses - before they happen.
That way, if there is anything special about something happening that week, you’ll have time to prepare.

Speaking of which…
Thursday night there will be a new moon and a partial solar eclipse.
This is a link for what you need to know so that you can enjoy it safely.
The sun, moon and venus will all be perfectly aligned and close together.
What a month for special effects in the sky!!

About Thursday night’s new moon in Scorpio…
According to the folks at astrology.com:
Some of us have a list of hopes that was composed at a different time of our lives.  They no longer align with who we are now. It’s important to occasionally review this list and make sure that everything on it speaks to where we are at present.

It's time to ditch old emotional baggage so you can move forward. Take advantage of this opportunity to step into your power and transform yourself and your life! 
All solar eclipses initiate an important new cycle. For this one in Scorpio, you receive helpful knowledge just as secrets and agendas are revealed. 

Put everything you've got into furthering your goals, and allow the transformative energy of Scorpio to help make your dreams come true.

This being the final eclipse of the year, astrologers feel that as people transition through this fall season, they will begin to have a greater understanding of the struggles they have recently experienced.

At the next full Moon on November 6, you'll have a chance to stand back and see everything you've accomplished!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Happy Five Year Anniversary, I’m Turning 60! by Margaret Ullrich

Happy Fifth Birthday to I'm Turning 60...!!
I want to thank everyone who has been kind enough to visit, whether you have visited on a daily, weekly or occasional basis.

I’m amazed at how quickly the past five years have flown.

I used to send Ma recipes, especially the holiday brochures and leaflets I had found in the baking section of the supermarket. 
I still enjoy sharing recipes, especially Ma's recipes. 

I recently took a look at how this blog’s 802 posts have been doing.
According to the all time top posts, Ma’s recipes are more popular than Carmela’s.
Here are the current all time top ten posts:

During the past month these have been the top posts:
If you haven’t tried the recipes on any of these, I hope you’ll pick one and try it soon (well, not the lion one).

Finding out where you live has also been interesting.
Blogger also keeps track of visitors. 
Since I began this blog, there have been 209,346 visitors.
The United States is still number one.
American readership has gone up from last year’s 76,356 visitors.
And the U.S. is followed by Canada.
By last year 10,581 Canadians had visited. 

Last year the top countries also included: Malta, Russia, United Kingdom, Australia, France, Romania, Germany and Indonesia.

Now the top ten countries and their visitors are:

United States....... 108,408
Canada…………………. 20,729
Malta…………………….. 12,284
Australia…………………. 8,056
United Kingdom……….7,289
Russia…………………….. 6,791 
France…………………….. 4,530
Ukraine.………..……….. 3,513
Romania……….…………. 2,624
Germany…………………. 2,612

During the year there were also visitors from Turkey, Italy, Finland, Poland, Spain, the Netherlands, Macedonia, Mexico, Afghanistan, Thailand, Slovakia, Ireland, Denmark, Bangladesh, Sweden, Israel, Moldova, Malaysia, Ireland, Singapore, Kuwait, Greece, Kenya, Vietnam, Czech Republic, Namibia and China.
I’m amazed at how we have been able to connect!

Your choice of search keywords have been interesting.
I love things like:
60 year old lady stuffed hot cherry peppers recipe
Thank you for finding me!

I'd also like comments.  Really.  
It's easy to do.  Just click on Comments and write. 
Or message me on Facebook. 
Tell me what you want to know about. 
Would you like more holiday recipes, or more easy, cheap, quick meals or…?

Thanks again for visiting!

Thursday, October 16, 2014

There Be Circles by Margaret Ullrich

I recently posted a story about Paul meeting the performer Geoffrey Holder.  
I had written it for when I was a co-host on ‘2000 & Counting’. 

Last week I got an email asking if I’d post the Halloween story I had also read on air in 2002.  
I had also read it on a few other pre-Halloween shows.
It had become one of our show's traditions.

For you, E., here's the story.  
Thank you for remembering.  

And Happy Halloween, everyone!!

     I don't know if you've ever noticed but there are an awful lot of cul-de-sacs in this city.  I've never understood why they're so popular, especially after a Winnipeg snow storm.  After the city plows all the snow into a small mountain on one curb and blocks the view, you have to take your life into your hands to drive out. 

     When we first moved to our present home neighbours told me about a cul-de-sac a few blocks north of us.  When kids have to sell candy in September they avoid going there.  It's not far but I don't walk our dogs near it.  Well, our neighbours had said to avoid it.  The people there have a reputation for being 'different'.  Nothing dangerous.  No, nothing like that.  It's just that they have a bit of history.   

     I've heard stories, but I'm sure there's no truth to them.  I mean, things like that don't happen.  It is the twenty-first century, right?  Still… better safe than sorry.  

     The interesting thing is that the families in this cul-de-sac are all descendants from some of the Selkirk settlers.  Imagine that.  A few families that have managed to stay near each other and to intermarry for almost two hundred years.  

     The Selkirk settlers faced hard times when they arrived in Winnipeg in 1815.  Cold weather and lack of food and housing to name just a few.  The Selkirk settlers were strong and brave and never complained about these physical hardships.  Some people find comfort in religion at times like that. 

      There again the Selkirk settlers, mostly Presbyterians, had a problem.  They had to wait until 1851 for a minister to be sent over from Europe.  Imagine that - 36 years without an ordained minister.  Two generations with no one to properly officiate at weddings, christenings or funerals.  In the spiritual void they had to take care of themselves.  If I were in their place, I don't know what I'd have done.  Do you?  Some continued as best they could with Bible readings and trying to observe the Christian calendar. 

      But, some of the settlers went further back, as if some primitive force was just waiting for them to need more than Bible stories.  Well, that's what some people say two or three of the settler families did.  That that's what their descendants were still doing.  It actually looks cheerful to drive by and see neighbours gather around and celebrate things like solstices and equinoxes.  That's all it is, right?  

      One story - oh, it couldn't be more than a local urban legend - is that Sally, a young woman new to the north end, met Bethany from the cul-de-sac, when they were both out walking their dogs.  The dogs, both healthy puppies, took to each other and started playing together.  Well, you know how it is.  The pups were on their leashes so while the dogs played, the women chatted.  They were both about the same age, so they had a few things in common.  They'd walk and chat about work, husbands, kids, the usual stuff.  

     Well, as sometimes happens, the economy took a downturn and Sally's husband lost his job.  Bethany offered Sally the usual tea and sympathy and said she'd pray for them.  Sally didn't think the prayers would make much difference but she thanked Bethany and didn't give it another thought.  Within a few days Sally's husband got a job at twice his former pay.  Well, Sally was thrilled and phoned Bethany to tell her the good news.  

    Now, here's where the story gets a bit hazy.  It seems Bethany told Sally that she had to do certain things.  Sally was a Catholic and she was used to things like saying a rosary or publishing a notice of thanksgiving to St. Jude.  But, what Bethany said struck Sally as being, well, a little odd.  Sally said sure, no problem, she'd do them.  But she didn't.  Sally couldn't take what Bethany said - things like retribution - seriously.

     A month went by.  Sally felt a little funny when she bumped into Bethany.  She had the oddest feeling that Bethany knew she hadn't done any of those things.  Well, Sally couldn't really trust her feelings.  She'd just found out she was pregnant and you know what that can do to a woman's perceptions. 

     Then things started going wrong.  First Sally's freezer went off.  It was the strangest thing.  Sally opened the lid and the stench nearly knocked her out.  All the meat had gone bad.  Yet the other food was fine and the freezer  was cold.  None of the clocks were flashing 12, so Sally knew it wasn't a blackout.  The repairman said there was nothing wrong.  Sally figured it was just one of those things and bought fresh meat.

     A few days later, Sally's husband was downsized out his job.  Well, the economy was a roller coaster.  Then Sally's puppy was found dead under a bush.  The vet couldn't explain how a healthy puppy could die like that.  No poison, it hadn't been sick, no explanation.  Then Sally miscarried.  The doctor reassured her.  It happens all the time, probably for the best, Sally was still young, nothing's wrong, probably stress.

     Sally was distracted and almost didn't recognize Bethany when she bumped into her on the way to the market.  Sally told her about how things had taken a turn for the worst.  

     Bethany listened without comment.  After a long pause, Bethany gave Sally a cold stare and said, "What did you expect?  You didn't do as you were told."  And with that Bethany just walked away.