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Monday, January 30, 2012

The New Russian Roulette

Drinking soda is hazardous to your health; it's the new Russian roulette.  Are you one of the Americans with a drinking problem? No, not alcohol, we're talking soda here. BMC (the Beverage Marketing Corporation) says that an average American drinks nearly 45 gallons of soda a year. If you've filled your child's kiddie pool lately that's about the amount of liquid in it. Scary? More terrifying yet are the people who are drinking yet more of the stuff. I know some people who consume 2 LITERS A DAY!
We all know soda is bad for our health and that it is part of what contributes to our obesity problem. But those extra pounds and heavier hips are just the tip of the iceberg. 
Rodale recently reported some shocking factoids about soda and your body.  The first fact? The Danes recently completed a study that said drinking 'non-diet soda leads to dramatic increases in dangerous hard to detect fats.'  Participants were asked to drink either regular soda, milk containing the same number of calories as regular soda, diet soda or water every day for six months. Research results showed that while total fat mass stayed the same across all beverage-consuming groups, the participants who drank regular soda had a dramatic increase in hidden fats, including liver and skeletal fat. Rodale says, "Those who drank the regular cola experienced a 132 to 142 percent increase in liver fat, a 117 to 221 percent jump in skeletal fat, and about a 30 percent increase in both triglyceride blood fats and other organ fat," The regular soda drinking group also had an 11% increase in cholesterol compared to the other groups.  
Would switching to diet soda keep you safe from harm? While it might not have the same results as the soda tested above, it might cause health problems like hyperactivity, brain cell damage or set you up for a higher risk of diabetes.  Not a good outcome either. These results alone are enough to make me stick to water!
Factoid 2? Soda contains flame retardants.Yes you are drinking flame retardants! YCH! Some sodas, including the ever popular Mountain Dew, use brominated vegetable oil. Brominated vegetable oil is a toxic flame retardant. It keeps the artificial flavoring from separating from the rest of the liquid but who knows what else it's doing to your innards? This ingredient, often listed as 'BVO' has it's own set of nasty side effects.  It can cause bromide poisoning symptoms like memory loss, nerve disorders and skin lesions. OK, senior moments will arrive all on their own, I'd prefer not to accelerate them by ingesting BVOs.  And having just gotten past the age of zits... I'd rather not deal with skin issues either. 
Factoid 3? When you drink soda you are basically a lab rat. Yes, you may not have a cage, but you are a lab rat all the same. In the USA sodas are sweetened with high-fructose corn syrup, hardly heart healthy, but aside from that it is often made from genetically engineered corn. I didn't know a lot about genetically engineered foods until I started shopping at Whole Foods. Since we've only had genetically engineered seed in our food chain since the 1990s we don't know what the long term health issues will be. Corporations developing GE foods and seeds did not have to test for long term safety. It's been suggested that genetically engineered crops might be linked to digestive tract damage, accelerated aging and even infertility. 
OK, if just one of these facts is true, it's enough to put me off soda for life. I used to do medical research, I know numbers can be manipulated. But soda just has too many risk factors for me to chance drinking it any more. How about you? Like playing Russian Roulette? Have a soda. And by the way, think about what is in your soda bottles next.  Is nothing safe anymore?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Building A Better Mousetrap

Businesses are always trying to build a better mousetrap... or in the case of Creative Building Concepts of Boise Idaho, build a better door for your entry closet, pantry, linen closet, wine room, under stairway storage, or office, even for your media room.
All photos courtesy of Creative Building Concepts.

Creative Building Concepts makes doors that are totally functional and that will fit into most new or existing openings in your home. Some doors are purely functional, and are designed to add storage space or help you better organize the space you have. Still other doors, like the media room door, designed to look like a ticket booth, serve a more specific purpose for less prosaic use.

All photos courtesy of Creative Building Concepts.

If you read the testimonials, you'll find some writers credit the installation of these doors to helping to sell their home.  Who wouldn't want to buy a home with the charm and uniqueness of having a doorway into a 'hidden room?' And in this tough market that might be enough of a reason to install one? What kid wouldn't want a room that is hidden with one of these unique doorways?  Or even what adult wouldn't love showing off their 'hidden room?' 

All photos courtesy of Creative Building Concepts.

Adults may buy into the organizational and storage uses, but still others are entranced with the media room doorway as well as the wine room door. It seems we're all kids at heart when it comes to these doors that let us have a 'hidden room.'  

All photos courtesy of Creative Building Concepts.

Browse the photo gallery at Creative Building Concepts and then contact them with your specific needs before ordering. 

Better organization using these interesting doors by Creative Building Concepts is the perfect way to start off your new year.  If it's true that an organized home is the sign of an organized mind, Creative Building Concepts can help us all!  But what do I love about their products? The doors by Creative Building Concepts are a sign of thinking outside the box. Organization they can keep, the cool 'WOW' factor is what I want! 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Flying Deer

Video From YouTube on When Squirrels Attack

Squirrels are well known to defend their territory, and if someone invades it, BEWARE! See what happens when a deer invades what was previously 'SQUIRREL TERRITORY.'

Thursday, January 26, 2012

This Means War!

This Means War, (and I don't mean against the squirrels) No, This Means War is the new Reese Witherspoon romantic comedy with co-stars Chris Pine (yummy!) and Tom Hardy (not my type but the other ladies were swooning.) Chelsea Handler plays Reese's best friend and provides her own particular point of view. This Means War is being pre-screened in a city near you as you read this.

Poster Photo courtesy of: Movie Poster DB

Witherspoon's character dates the two men (both spies) at the same time and hilarity ensues. I hesitate to ruin the rest of the plot line of This Means War by giving too much away! I'm not sure about the casting, not that Reese wasn't her usual gorgeous self, and the guys were hot, but she seems more 'mature' than both her co-stars and their characters.  It was an odd plot line for a cougar and her cubs.

Our pre-screening tickets of This Means War were at The Ritz East in Philadelphia and the place was packed. Obviously Reese manages to draw the crowds no matter what the subject matter or the age of her co-stars. The movie was 'cute' but definitely not a blockbuster. I predict it will do well on the rental market and the pre-Valentine's Day crowd.

That being said, it was a nice 'date night out' and a fun flick.  The Ritz East has great popcorn, which will suck me in every single time, and team that with a romantic comedy, I'm content for the night!

So men, take your lady to see this movie, you'll like the 'spy parts' and enjoy watching Reese, and your ladies will ooh and ah over the unattainable men and get a kick out of the plot line! Fantasy at it's best! This Means War is a movie choice you won't have to fight over.

The blogger received two complimentary tickets from  I was not asked to write this review by fobo, nor did receiving free tickets effect the content of her review in anyway, but the blogger would like to thank them for the opportunity to see the film ahead of time and at no cost to us.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Squirrel Pompoms?

Faux Fur Pompom inspired by Harricana
Photo from Sauvages

Don't you love these 'squirrel pompoms?' Trapping squirrels? Want to know what to do with the squirrel pelts? Why not make a fur pompom for your hair! 

OK OK PETA STOP THROWING THINGS! it's faux fur, but wow it sure does look like the gray squirrel in my front yard! Anyone interested in the directions for making this furry pompom for their hair go to this link. (The original is in French, so just click the box to translate it.) 

Maybe wearing it will be enough to terrorize the squirrels out of your yard.

Up The Chain Of Command

Up The Chain of Command
The Rise and Fall of Joe Paterno, A Hero With Feet of Clay?

Photo by Greg Grieco

Today is the final day for people to pay their respects to Penn State icon, former football coach, Joe Paterno.  Paterno will be buried Wednesday afternoon in a private ceremony. The question being asked as former players, co-workers, and Penn State students pay their respects is: Was Joe Paterno a hero and role model or an example of putting the mighty school machine above the individual.

Penn State staff and students are split on whether JoePa should have been fired for not reporting an alleged incident of child abuse to the police when administrators at Penn State did not take further action against Penn State's former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky.

Paterno was dismissed after a 62 season career, 46 as Penn State's head coach for not following up after making the initial report of alleged abuse to the administration. Paterno, a long time record-setting coach at Penn State, was responsible for bringing Penn State to the fore of college football. He was also a well known philanthropist and advocate for the University.

With Paterno's firing a significant split occurred between his family and the university. Whether his family and the university will heal their breech is unknown at this time. Will Paterno's legacy at Penn State be football or a morality play?

What do you think? Paterno the man? the hero? the coach? the role model? Where did he fail and why?   Yes, Paterno is from a generation that didn't actively discuss child abuse. Is that an excuse? Paterno did report up the chain of command, but did he have a responsibility to take it further when they didn't? Would you want your son being coached by a man who wasn't willing to protect them from an alleged predator? Will Paterno remain a role model for young men and women who want to go into coaching sports?  And did this one poor decision make him a bad man, a bad coach, a bad role model? Is Joe Paterno a hero with feet of clay?

Each individual will have to make that decision on their own. Anyone who has been a victim of child abuse will probably have a far different viewpoint than those who have enjoyed a child/young adulthood free from abuse and untouched by a predator.

In the end, Paterno was a man. Not infallible. He made decisions, some good, some bad. Maybe the most important thing we can learn from this story is to stand up for what's right, no matter the cost. Paterno paid a high price for not doing the right thing when he was faced with a co-worker being accused of alleged assault. For not following through, because it was easier to lay the blame on those higher up the chain of command.

What's lost in this story? The price paid by all the children/young adults who were allegedly assaulted. While all the students and former players are voicing their support for Joe, who is voicing their support for the children involved?

I hope our local school districts learn a lesson from this whole sad situation. Sad for those assaulted, sad for their families, sad for the college, and yes, sad for Joe Paterno, a man at the end of his illustrious career whose last days were tainted by this sad situation.

If a child comes to you with a complaint about sexual assault, please don't brush it off saying 'boys will be boys.'  Or shove it up the chain of command and presume it's not your problem.  Abuse is everyone's problem. Any child who brings a complaint alleging assault by a school employee or by another student within a school building deserves the support of the school district personnel.  Don't brush them off.  Don't shove it up the chain of command. Follow through. Don't make Joe Paterno's mistake.

Vegetarian Squirrels?

Are your squirrels vegans? vegetarians? What a picture in my head... the gray squirrels who usually inhabit the trees out front suddenly taking to shopping at health food stores!  I am sure the next time I park at Whole Foods I'll find they have taken over not only the parking lot or garage but the interior of the store as well.  

Photo of Vertical Garden Wall at Whole Foods Vancouver
Courtesy of: Snacking Squirrel

Actually, according to the web page, A Squirrel Place, squirrels normally don't eat meat.  They'd be perfectly at home among the vegetarians shopping at Whole Foods, especially this Vancouver store with it's vertical garden walls and a bar filled with nuts to make your own trail mix

But if squirrels are facing starvation they have been known to force themselves to eat bird eggs.  Oh Yuck! (Oh wait, I eat eggs...guess chickens are birds!) And if they get still hungrier they'll snack on insects or (TOTAL YUCK!) pick at a carcass.  

Male squirrels have even been known to eat their young, though this is a rarity.

It's obvious you don't have to worry about your local squirrels taking over your Whole Foods Store in an attempt to grab some tofurkey!  But they just might be looking for some of the great nuts they have in their stores, so if you see a furry guy pushing a cart, loaded with nuts, (and he has a bushy tail) you'll know we've been invaded!

Squirrel Factoids from: A Squirrel Place 

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Crayola Squirrels

credit: Diliff/CCSA

When I started writing this blog I never realized there was a veritable Crayola Crayon box of colors of squirrels living somewhere in the world. While I didn't find any green or blue squirrels (or haven't yet) most of the others are out there.
photo courtesy of Crayola Products

It would make sense that a gray squirrel would be gray--right? Nope.  In fact gray squirrels can be gray, and gray is it's most common color, but gray squirrels are also brown, pure white, as well as pure black.  The pure white and pure black squirrels are variations on the shade of gray.  

Likewise red squirrels aren't all red. Some red squirrels have an all black coat! And the Kaibab squirrel has a white tail but a black body! 

credit: Cephas/CCSA

I don't know who named these squirrels but it seems to me they were trying to confuse us all! I mean I can understand the variations in the gray squirrels being the extremes at both ends of the gray spectrum resulting in the white or black squirrel.  But red squirrels that are black? It seems that squirrels come in nearly as many colors as there are in a box of Crayola Crayons!

Monday, January 23, 2012

I'll Never Understand...Juice Diets


Photo courtesy of Sarah Smiles Awhile

If you're like me, everywhere you go SOMEONE is on a juice diet. They are drinking green juice, orange (color) juice, red juice, yellow juice... all day long.  Just how much juice can you consume? It seems to me some people are juice-a-holics. They don't just drink at meal times. Juice dieters bring their juice in the elevator, to a business meeting, to a doctor's office, and on mass transit. Juice dieting is literally EVERYWHERE!

I mean I love some orange juice (fresh squeezed is good, but I'll take some good Tropicana) with my breakfast. A small glass of OJ gives me a pleasant way to start the day. Tomato juice or even V-8 isn't too bad at lunch or dinner. But orange and parsley juice? YCH! Carrot-apple juice...pluease!!!!! Spinach juice?

It seems everywhere I go people are whipping out their little 'jars of juice' to consume, grossing out the rest of us who have to watch them consume the stuff. So please, keep your 'cleansing diets' at home. Don't make me watch you drink it while I'm trying to enjoy my lunch! And don't give me the details of how it 'detoxes your body' while I'm eating, in fact I don't want to know about it at all! Don't sit next to me on the bus and offer me a sip (especially when I don't even KNOW you.) Don't drink in the elevator and spill it on my cream colored suit as the elevator lurches to a stop. Just put the stuff away. Be a closet drinker.

Actually, when it comes right down to it, go ahead and drink it. I know, you have your rights (hmmm, though I don't know that drinking juice in public is covered in the Constitution.) Drink it in front of me. Just not out of a see through jar so I have to observe the green glop as you extol it's virtues and how it 'cleanses you.'  TMI... (Too much information). Some things I REALLY don't want to know! So if you're 'juice dieting' suffer in silence, don't tell me about it and put your juice in an opaque jar!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reminder To Brides

Want to win a beautiful garter set by Garter Mademoiselle or The Pink Birdhouse?  Get your choice of a single garter or garter set.  Go to WDW (Wedding Day Weekly) Blogging For Brides, read The Great Garter Giveaway, and see the many ways you can enter! Be sure to follow the directions and keep alert for the announcement of the winner.

Don't want to take the chance on your favorite one of a kind garter being sold in the meantime? Buy yours now, save the one you win for the next time you need a gift for a wedding shower.  Or if you have a sister or cousin who is heading to a prom this year, pick one out for her when you win.  Or save the set for a night with your special someone.

Just browsing these two sites will make you want one for your own.  Read all about Deborah, the artist who makes them, she puts a lot of artistry as well as love into each piece she makes.  What could be better for a wedding day than a garter crafted with love?

Identity Lost

The Name Game For Brides

Brides in the United States frequently change their names and take the name of their husband. I've been married over thirty years, and I'm still not comfortable with my husband's name attached to mine. I admit, I MISS MY NAME!

I love my husband, but my name... so much of 'me' is bound up in my name. My maiden name. I regretted changing it soon after my wedding when a few years had passed and I realized a part of 'ME' was missing.  

Suddenly I'd lost my ethnicity. Now everyone assumes I'm Italian. They ask me for Italian recipes (the ones I know I knew when I wasn't 'Italian.') Most of my Italian recipes are not hand me downs from a grandmother in Sicily, no, they are courtesy of the back of a Ronzoni box. Or I found them in a cookbook filled with Italian recipes from the library or at my former hangout Borders Books. Or from a cooking magazine.  But my grandmothers didn't cook Italian, their 'gravy' was for roast beef not spaghetti or lasagna.  

Then there are people who presume I know where to travel if they go to Italy. Repeat after me, 'SHE IS NOT A TRAVEL AGENT! SHE IS NOT FROM ITALY. SHE'S FROM NEW JERSEY!' That's not to say I don't know how to find out information about places to go and things to do if I ever went to Italy, it's just I didn't grow up in Rome, Venice, or any of the surrounding countryside and neither did my parents or grandparents. 

Then there are the people who think I understand OPERA. I'm not Italian. I don't speak Italian. The only opera I 'get' are some of the more modern pieces that are performed in English. I'm not proud of this, it's just a comment on the lack of my cultural education--an education that did not include attending the famous Italian  Opera House, Teatro Alla Scala. It did not even include opera in Philadelphia. Local musical theater was the closest I ever got.  So if you have a question about Oklahoma! or West Side Story, I'm your girl. And besides, the one thing I do know is not all great opera is Italian. It just seems to be a popular assumption of the masses.

Then I get the kids who think (god forbid!) that I KNOW the people on the television program Jersey Shore! Or the cast of the Sopranos. OK, I mind this WAY more than them presuming I can give them opera tips! The only reason I know who the cast of Jersey Shore are is because anyone who watches television cannot avoid seeing them, even if it is only on the news or Jay Leno. Why anyone would think an 'over 40' year old woman would know these people is beyond me. Yet it's a question I get asked. WHY? Because of my last name. As far as knowing the Sopranos cast? Come on, I'm don't work for HBO, I don't even get HBO at my house, how would I KNOW these people? 

No one ever asked me these things when I had my old last name. If they asked for recipes it was because they knew I was a good cook. Or if they asked about traveling in Italy it was because they knew my mom used to be a travel agent. If they asked about opera it was because they knew my brother was involved in it.  But total strangers didn't make assumptions about me based on my last name. They asked because they knew me personally and knew I might have some information.  

So if you're a bride contemplating changing your last name think long and hard. Be very sure you're willing to give up your identity and possibly your 'presumption of ethnicity' and become someone else. I'm sure there are brides out there who are thrilled with their new names, to them I say 'hurray! I'm happy for you!' To the rest I say, think about it. A long time. Think hard. Do you want to give up your 'you-ness?' In some cases do you want to give up your ethnicity? Do you want to be known for the rest of your married life as your husband's wife or do you want to maintain your unique identity, just like he is? Things that make you go hmm....

Friday, January 20, 2012

The District of Columbia Squirrels

Have you ever wondered who has the most squirrels in the United States? That lucky individual is the President of the United States.  President Obama, or whoever is the current resident of the White House when you read this) is the lucky 'homeowner.'  

Scientists have determined that Lafayette Park, directly across the street from the White House has the largest concentration of squirrels in the entire United States. Why?  It seems that the throngs of visitors, government employees and yes, even the Secret Service are always feeding them.  In fact there is also a large pigeon (and grossly enough, rat population for the same reason. Lafayette Park has such a large squirrel population that it's known as "The Squirrel Capital." 

So I guess there are some really good reasons NOT to get elected to the presidency--squirrel infestation!

Video courtesy of YouTube.

Park It!

I've come to the conclusion that parking in Drexel Hill and the surrounding areas is always going to be at a premium. Live near the trolley? Leave home to drop your child off at St. Andrew's on a rainy morning and if you WERE parked in a nice spot in front of your house suddenly you come home to find a commuter has snatched your parking spot! And you have to park a block and a half away in front of yet someone else's house.

Worse yet, live near one of the many bars in Drexel Hill and you will be lucky to find street parking on any weekend night or on a night there's a Phillies game, Eagles game or during March Madness (especially if any of the local schools are in contention.) And forget the Erin Express! I don't know where those people go but some of them don't come back for their cars for days! It seems these are the ones who park across the exit for my driveway, or just enough across the driveway that I have to drive on my lawn to get out. Yes, don't even get me started on the pleasures of living near a bar in D.H.!

Now I know, in reality I DO NOT own the street in front of my house.  Or next to my house. (I live on a corner). But it seems to me that a business that is going to import fifty to a hundred people in cars to a neighborhood ought to have to provide them with some off street parking.  And streets near the trolleys and bus stops and bars should have restricted parking so that homeowners can have at least one parking space in front of their house. My property has between 5-6 parking spaces on the street.  Is it too much to ask if I go out to dinner on a Friday night I come home to find 1 parking spot left for me to park in?  No, usually what happens is I come home to find no parking spaces unless I wait for the bars to close before I try to park (and it's not my neighbors who are parking there).

Not only that, some of these winners seem to have found a way to routinely drive up on the curbs, breaking them up so I have to pay to replace them. If the township wants to have free for all parking then let them pay for repairing curbs. If it's not my parking spaces why am I paying to replace curbage? (OK I doubt that's a real word but you know what I mean.) These itinerant parkers also destroy the grass along the curb, which again, I have to replace. At times I have gone out to get my newspaper on the weekend or do early morning grocery shopping and I find someone SLEEPING in their car. They've obviously had too much to drink and couldn't make it any farther than their cars. Or I find them passed out on my lawn, brown bag in hand. Nice. Really nice. The next time I buy a house I'm going to be sure I'm nowhere near a bar or restaurant.

Now I know when homes were built in Drexel Hill and other areas in Upper Darby township there were far fewer cars per household. Often no cars at all. I've seen some of the old movies of my street in the 30s. There were maybe three cars on the whole street. Things sure have changed.And as anyone who lives in the area knows, as more homes were built, the homes were built very close together, with only a few having their own driveways. Today many homes with four people have three, sometimes four cars each. All of which explains the dearth of available parking spaces in our town.

So my solution? Like many city dwellers, have parking stickers that allow homeowners to park in the area near their homes. No barflies. No commuters. No truckers grabbing lunch parking their semi along the side of my house.

Yes, I know I can call the police on the offenders. We have. On occasion. When it's REALLY REALLY bad. But how often do you want someone distracting the police, who have more important things to do in your town, responding to PARKING complaints? I know it's not high on my list of ways to solve this problem.  The police have better things to do.

So provide for restricted parking by permit only in certain areas. SELL me the darn permit. Write tickets and collect revenue from the offenders. So I have one parking space. Just one. Yes, I know I can get a handicapped parking sign (for an obscene price) that is designated just for my home. But restricted parking stickers would be a much easier (and less unsightly) way to go. For all of us.

Defrost My Bikini?

Defrost my bikini? Oh sure, I'll just run out to the kitchen and get it out right now. NOT! Whoever wrote this ad must be joking! And whoever approved it to run crazier yet. This is one of those ads that runs on my television that I see out of the corner of my eye and go 'oh sure! some man wrote that one!' FOR ANOTHER MAN! And I proceed to ignore the rest of the message.
For one thing, bikinis on the majority of women are BAD news. On some the news is far worse than others.  Bikinis are meant for the young and very firm bodied--most of us mom kicking back and finally putting our feet up after a long day with the kids have bodies that, well, have had children. We no longer resemble a Victoria's Secret's model and the idea of living on sprouts and tea and exercise for the rest of our lives no longer holds any appeal if it ever did.
That's not to say some incredible women (I bow to you all!) are able to get back to their fabulous pre-babies bodies. I'm not really sure how they do it. I was so exhausted with baby care that hitting the gym was on the bottom of my list of things to do once babies went to sleep.  
What was at the top? A shower without interruptions? A conversation with a husband that didn't revolve around spit and diapers? Or sometimes just some quiet time alone.  But not in the gym pumping iron and doing aerobics or some of the newer forms of exercise torture designed since my baby producing days ended.  
So to that ad, I say "HELL NO!" You lost me with those few ill-chosen words. Maybe the ad wasn't meant for me.  Maybe it has a different target demographic. But any ad that immediately alienates a good portion of its audience is a BAD ad. So I won't be defrosting my bikini any time soon! Will you?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Headed For Disaster!

There are times a woman should just know she's headed for disaster.  It shouldn't take reading a page of 'fashion  don'ts' to let her know that it's time to leave some new trends to her daughters or granddaughters. The new trend in headbands is one.

Photo courtesy of the PB Pulse

Bad enough the years we (and I shudder to even think about it!) had Hillary Clinton wearing her simple black headbands, but at least they were plain black bands. The headbands Hillary wore always made me think she was trying to show she was in mourning like an old fashioned Victorian, but at least they were unadorned with funky flowers or big bows.  But now the new trend is for headbands with big floppy flowers, large bows or even butterflies attached! Please tell me you aren't going wear that out of the house if you are past the BIG 40!

Photo courtesy of Fabulous After 40.

Confused about what styles work past 40? Over 40s who are looking for some fashion guidance should consider reading Fabulous After 40, a fashion blog written by two of the most fashion sensible women I've ever met.  No, this doesn't mean they don't look stylish and chic, no, Deborah Boland and JoJami Tyler are two of the best dressed women I've ever met. Their blog is filled with no nonsense tips for those of us who are just a 'little bit' over 40. (OK, so some of us are a lot over 40!) No matter what age you are, Deborah and JoJami have great advice to keep you and me from making those fashion faux pas. 

LOLO headband from (There's a reason the model isn't over 40)

This trend for hairbands worn by after 40s was addressed in a recent Q&A from Fabulous After 40 in their January 19th newsletter. (Conveniently delivered direct to my email.) Take the time to tell me what you think in the comments below. Are women over 40 wearing hairbands headed for fashion disaster? Also go to their web site and sign up for your own newsletter, it's always fun reading and informative too. And will keep you from heading for fashion disasters!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Cruise for Disaster

The last few days have been full of news of the cruise ship disaster in Italy. Seeing that ship go 'tilt' with people still aboard was horrifying. Allegedly the captain managed to get off the ship before the passengers...there is something seriously wrong there.

But as I watched it I thought back to summers at the lake. Of my swimming lessons. Given by our neighbor Mrs. Scarmuzzi. Yes, I've written about other things she's taught me before, but one of the things she taught us was a water survival class. One skill? How to jump off a ship, sans life jackets, throwing our pants (knotted at the bottom of each leg) over our heads and blowing them up to provide us with a float until a life boat could reach you. We must have been quite a sight bobbing around the lake hanging onto our inflated pants!

We laughed as we practiced this skill. We were sure it was something we'd never need. But as I watched the tragedy unfold of that ship tilting over into the sea I think how lucky I am. I probably would have had a much higher possibility of survival in a similar accident thanks to her lessons. Or at least I might not have panicked as easily.

I'm sure she never taught us those skills expecting any of us would be on a cruise ship that tilted over and sank, and as far as I know none of my former swimming classmates were on that ship or any other ship that had a similar disaster.

But it made me realize there is a reason behind all those odd things you learn in life. Sometimes it's something that just might save your life. Sometimes it's something that enriches it. But I learned to PAY ATTENTION TO DETAILS!

You never know when those details might be something you'll need. Thank you Mrs. S. for teaching us, for caring, for giving us your time and skills. I'm not sure the Red Cross still offers this class but it taught us the value of looking a an object and transforming it into a useful piece of safety equipment. But I'm still not sure I'm up for a cruise in the near future!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Teeth, Tunes and Heartthrobs?

Teeth, Tunes and Heartthrobs. Whoever would have thought we'd see them all linked together?

We all know our dentist recommends brushing for 120 seconds.  But trying to get your child, tween or older teen to actually make it past about 30 seconds is a chore.  Thanks to Brush Buddies for many it's a chore no more.  Now it's 120 seconds of Justin Bieber pure listening pleasure. (with the added accompaniment from spitting and rinsing.) That's right, it's a singing toothbrush.  A Justin Bieber singing toothbrush.

YouTube video from Best Buddies website.

Yes, I suppose you could just play 120 seconds of his music and blare it out for your kids to listen  to, but Brush Buddies have designed a ergonomic, fun toothbrush that plays Justin B crooning "Baby" and "U Smile."  Or try the other option, that plays "Love Me" and "Somebody To Love." 

As one teenie-bopper said, I have two, one for morning, one for night--school won't let me bring one in to use at lunch time! LOL Well I can understand the schools POV, can you imagine your middle school at lunch time suddenly having after lunch bathroom breaks drawn out while hundreds of Justin's fans each spend a full two minutes each brushing their teeth to tunes?  And think of the SOUND.  Hundreds of brushes all on at once, almost like Justin Bieber went to summer camp and recorded himself singing 'rounds' of his fans' favorite tunes.  And playing it over and over hundreds of times all at once! I suppose we should be glad Justin's voice is one of the less ear splitting things our kids could be listening to.

Have a child who is younger and not into 'The Bieb' yet? Brush Buddies has a line of Brush Buddies Talking featuring a cow, a dog, a cat, a monkey and a the ever popular pig.  These singing wonders give directions to younger kids on how to brush and encourages them with positive reinforcement AND keeps them brushing till the two minutes are up.

Today GroupOn has offered two of these Justin Bieber singing wonders from Brush Buddies for the low price for two singing brushes for the low price of just $14.  A savings of 53%.  And if you check their web site you'll find Justin has a whole line of oral care products.  Some sing, some don't, but when even one of his flossing products is sold out you know this is a young man with some POWER.  Are you a closet adult Bieber fan? You can buy a brush that doesn't sing but has Bieber's face on it and hide it in your bathroom.

According to Brush Buddies' website this Bieber brush is endorsed by dentists and tween alike.  Each brush has a replaceable brush head (with DuPont bristles) and an easy to hold handle graced with Justin Bieber’s trademark of his floppy crop of hair and big eyes. So households far and wide, prepare for the invasion of Bieber Brushes!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

I Swear It's Like Herding Cats!

There are a few things in life that are like herding cats.  Herding cats has become a popular catch phrase in business management for getting people to do what they don't naturally want to do. In my life getting the squirrels out of bird feeders is like herding cats, although we still try. We buy the gadgets, try fancy seed, lube the poles, in short, we've tried it all, keeping squirrels off your bird feeders is an 'impossible dream!' There's always one that manages to evade your current 'trap.'  Or learns his way through your latest maze to conquer the feeder.

At my house the only thing harder than defeating the squirrels (or herding real cats) is getting my husband out of bed in the morning.  Actually that's not quite true.  There's nothing he likes better than staying up watching movies on Netflix until 3AM.  For me, this doesn't count as 'getting up in the morning' since he's already up when it's morning.  No, he heads for bed after the last movie is over...but getting him up before noon the next day?  Definitely like herding cats! Or defeating those wily squirrels. In fact getting him up in the morning before noon is like herding cats through peanut butter! Slow and tortuous.  And he always wants to stop and eat along the way!  Men!

After thirty plus years of marriage you'd think I'd give up.  Figure it was never going to happen.  But I keep hoping.  I keep trying.  My family has given up.  They know if we're invited for holiday dinner the only way we get there on time is by 'creative timekeeping.'  Better known as lying about what time dinner is!

My mom knows anytime we're supposed to be at her house at 2, she'll get a phone call from me (who is a neurotically on time) saying 'we've just left the house when it's 1:45.  (Stop laughing as you read this mom! I bet you can count on 1 hand then number of times we've shown up on time without using 'creative timekeeping' or me calling!)

All of us have our 'herding cats' issues.  For some it's getting their kids to do their homework as soon as they come home from school.  For others it's getting the black dog hair from your black labs off those cream colored pants. For some of us it's motivating some of the people who work for us.  Yes, herding cats is something all of us face in our lives. 

When was the last time you tried to herd cats?  Or have you given up trying?  I'm such a sucker.  I'm still trying, to 'herd the cat' and defeat the squirrels.Who are the recalcitrant critters in your life? Tell me all about them.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Impossible You Say?

I was floating around on the 'net today and someone asked if a certain things were impossible.  OK, that got me going...impossible...the word always gets me going.  Impossible just means someone hasn't figured out how to do it yet.  Or they haven't thought outside the box enough.  These challenges were the perfect way to start out the week.

Here's the quote from the blog called amirite:

"The next time someone tells you nothing is impossible, tell them to dribble a football, BBQ pancakes, slam a revolving door or nail jello to a tree. amirite?" Was amirite right or wrong?  What do you think? Can you BBQ Pancakes?  Dribble a football? Nail Jello to a tree, or slam a revolving door? 

I know one thing, my neighbors surely think I am totally bonkers since I've been attempting the 'impossible' all day long!  Fortunately for me most of them were already at work when I started trying to dribble the football.   That one isn't actually too hard, even for this overly round (and I admit, slightly crazy) old lady.  I admit, the ball never came up to the same height as I can dribble a basketball, but hey, the challenge was to dribble it, not make the NBA! 

Unfortunately a real estate agent brought some potential buyers to see the house across the street while I was working on my next task, BBQ'ing pancakes. The potential buyers stopped to chat on the way to their car.  There I was, BBQ going, sausages, apples and pancake batter in hand... they gave me a REALLY funny look, and didn't hang around long.  I'm sure they'll go home talking about the insane lady who looked like she was going to BBQ her pancakes.  It is probably fortunate they weren't around for the nailing Jello to a tree that came next! My husband got to laugh at me trying that stunt. 

Nailing Jello to a tree really isn't that difficult.  About as hard as nailing it to a wall.  Making Jello is a little trickier. Some cheaters may just try nailing a box of Jello to a tree or a single serve container of Jello to a tree.  NO CHEATING!  Actually its far easier to use single serve Jello taken out of it's container for this one.  I think it's consistency is a little more rubbery.  Try a little less water in your homemade Jello, that might do the trick! Unfortunately, I had to 'borrow' a neighbors tree.  I am sure they will understand.  Won't they?  I have to report, you definitly CAN nail Jello to a tree (or most anything else, including walls, for that matter.)

Former Sen. John McCain obviously has never tried nailing Jello to a wall or he never would have made the following comment during candidates debate during the last presidential election:  "Nailing down Sen. Obama’s various tax proposals is like nailing Jell-O to the wall."  Either that or he's dumber than he looks.  (See the YouTube clips of McCain comparing the Obama Tax Plan to nailing Jello to a wall).  He's SOOOO going to regret that phrase!  And the fact that thanks to the Internet it will replay over and over and over again! 

My next trick was finding a revolving door.  Anyone who lives in Drexel Hill knows there aren't many of those around town...but there is one at Delaware County Hospital by the Emergency Room.   I'm just not quite brave enough to try it out.  In front of cameras and security guards.  Any takers? Let me know if you can figure out how to do it--without getting arrested!  After all, this is NOT a movie.  (For movie fans watch Elf and the revolving glass door scene.)  Breaking doors is not part of the project. 

The moral of the story?  Don't presume something is impossible because at first thought it seems that way.  Make an effort.  Be creative.  Try it out.  Just DON'T get arrested doing it!  Or end up IN the hospital after your break the glass in their revolving door!  One man's (or woman's) impossibility is another's 'SNAP! I can do that!'

Eliminating Livestock--Unwanted, Nasty Livestock

It's time to start researching summer camps again, and time to check out some products that will make your little campers' life much more pleasant.  It's been in the news a lot lately. BUGS. Bedbugs. Lice. How you get them. How you get rid of them. But more important how to avoid them! Camp and school are two prime places to pick up these bugs. 

A company called The Logic Product Group has easy ways to help you navigate the maze of avoiding these tiny nasties or treating them if you miss out on the prevention phase.

If you have children you've probably gotten the dreaded letter home from school or camp: "a child in your child's classroom/camp may have exposed your child to lice."

Yuck!  Anywhere you have large groups of children in one place they are exposed to all sorts of things you cannot avoid. But by using LiceLogic Products you can prevent lice or treat them should your child get them. 

The nice thing about LiceLogic? It's ORGANIC, hypoallergenic, non-toxic, eco-friendly, pesticide free and manufactured in the United States using local ingredients. No matter how nasty the problem is, you can safely prevent or treat it organically, this is particularly important with your children and pets. Their small bodies can't take the harsher chemicals. (And they aren't good for adults either!)

So before you send your child to school or camp this year consider investing in some LiceLogic.  LiceLogic's prevention shampoo will mean you won't have to worry the next time one of "those" notices comes home with your child. Buy it on their web site or on Amazon.  An ounce of prevention...

Worried about bedbugs when you travel?  I know I do.  Paranoid?  Probably.  But I'd rather prevent them than have to spend up to $5000 to get them out of my house.  How can you get bedbugs?  If you've been listening to the news you know that some of the local movie theaters had a bad infestation a few months ago. Talk about a great reason to use Netflix!  A number of the large hotel chains have also reported problems.  I'd probably be a lot happier if I'd just turn off the news channels.  But it's out there, and it's happening to families across America.

I suspect summer camp is another breeding ground for bed bugs. If you're sending your child to camp why not be proactive and use BedBugLogic products?

Get a bottle to pre-treat the mattress on your child's camp bunk.  Or toss it in your suitcase the next time you travel to avoid bedbugs in your hotel room, on the airplane or train, in your rental car when you travel. If you still want that full screen experience at the movies pick up some BedBugLogic a 2oz or 8oz spray size and take it to the movies with you. Leave your home with confidence that your won't be coming home with 'more' than you left with.

Writing this post is making me wonder how many gallons of this I'll end up purchasing!  Fortunately you can buy a gallon size to refill smaller travel bottles. 

BedBugLogic protects you, your family and your belongings from bed bugs.  People purchase travel insurance, BedBugLogic is insurance against bed bugs. It's inexpensive, organic, and will protect you and your family from these nasty critters.  It wards off bedbugs before they can get into your living environment.  Like the lice repellent it's available on Amazon and the company's web site. 

So the moral of the story? BedBugLogic, LiceLogic, Don't Leave Home Without It!

Saturday, January 7, 2012


Photo courtesy of Purdue Krazy Eights

I was reading one of the millions of boards I subscribe to and someone asked if anyone knew where to find people who square danced. I laughed, wow did that bring back memories!

The fact is I met my husband at a square dance. I know, humiliating isn't it? To even admit I was there, or that he was. (Thank goodness no one took my picture!) But I was in charge of orientation at college in Bryn Mawr that year and it was the ONE activity that was organized by the administration! The whole student committee dreaded it. But we were troopers. We all showed up. Much to our surprise there were about a hundred men from surrounding schools who also showed up. Were they there to dance? Frankly I think about six danced. I know my future husband didn't! Of course he doesn't dance no matter what kind of dancing it is, unless you count the two foot slow dance shuffle. I guess he wasn't born with rhythym! But the men showed up--thank goodness, so the girls were happy! But that's not the only time square dancing has been part of my life.

The post also reminded me that about five years after I was married when we lived in Harrisburg PA (where the sidewalks rolled up at 9 PM,)sometimes my girl friend, Sue Z. and I would go to Denny's after a, dare I say it, a Tupperware Party! There we were, two young moms, purveyors of all things plastic and indestructable, sitting in Denny's Restaurant with the square dancers (the only other people up that late other than the people working at Denny's.) A bizarre combo-Tupperware Ladies, Square Dancers and the Grand Slam Combo!

At yet a younger age (we're talking grammar school and high school gym classes), square dancing was part of the curriculum at school. (Yes, I admit, I lived out in the sticks!) But we all grew up knowing how to 'allemande left' with panache.

So my quest was to find out if people still square danced and if they did who were the square dancers of today. To my surprise I found square dance clubs across the United States. Some at university centers, and not just hick universities. No, some of the places I found square dance clubs were Purdue University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of San Diego and North Central College. Groups tend to be a combination of students and locals, all getting together to have a down home good time.

North Central University even offers a mathematics class called "The Mathematics of Square Dancing." This elective class shows how square dancing may be utilized to visualize abstract mathematical concepts. (OK, this is way beyond my square dance experience!) Their final exam is administered by one of the top square dance callers in the country.

So I guess it's safe to say that square dancing is alive and well across the United States and across all age groups. One senior commented that keeping up with the physical demands keeps her in shape and the mental acuity needed to keep up with the demands of the caller without making an error keep everyone on their toes.

Square dancing is sure to help keep you young. It benefits the heart, the cardiovascular system, and increases lung capacity. It's said that "the muscle exertion and breathing rates of Square Dancers performing in one evening of dance is equivalent to those of cyclists, swimmers and an Olympic Level 800 meter runner." Wow! Guess my gym teachers were on the right track!

Smoothie, The Naked Telly Savalas of Squirrels

It's not just your husband who has to worry about going bald, it seems your local squirrel population may be suffering from the same malady.  Bald you say?  Squirrels?  I've never seen a bald squirrel!  Squirrels suffer from baldness just like humans do, though perhaps not for the same reasons. 

Most often when you come across a squirrel who resembles Telly Savalas it's because he is suffering from something called 'mange.'  Sounds gross! But its an illness that is caused by mites.  I'm not sure what's worse, knowing the local squirrel population is infested with mites or seeing their oddly bald heads stealing feed from my bird feeder!

But a completely bald squirrel (or a naked Telly Savalas squirrel) has come to the attention of vets in St. Tiggywinkles Wildlife Hospital in Aylesbury.  The squirrel, who is completely bald except for a few hairs on his tail has lost all his fur--that is so--YUCK!

They haven't figured out how or why he lost his fur but they're keeping his warm and dry and on a diet of pecans--the lucky critter! I love pecans! But I guess I'd rather keep my hair and do without a steady pecan diet!  Smoothie isn't suffering from 'mange' so vets are still puzzled over the reason for his sleek hairless body. 

Photos of the squirrel, who has been nicknamed "Smoothie" can be found in the January 7, 2012 Mail Online.

Friday, January 6, 2012

10+ Ways to Trade Your Old Electronics for Cash

Somehow each year my storage closet ends up cluttered with more electronic gadgets that are out of date or that I've replaced for one reason or another.  There has to be a way to move them out without simply throwing them away and cluttering up the landfill.  Sometimes people we're connected to on Linked In provide the answer to our prayers!

One of my Linked In connections posted this article written by Christine Erickson, 10 Ways to Trade Your Old Electronics for Cash for Mashable Tech.  I found it shared on Linked In, but no matter where you read it, the details are sure to help you clear out those old electronics usually in exchange for a gift card.  I also added a few ideas of my own to help clear out those closets.

Of course there are also simple resale shops that resell your old computer, printer, and other electronics.  Usually you'll find these in your local strip mall, possibly in a unprepossessing storefront but don't underestimate these stores based on their looks alone. 

Reselling a cellular phone? There are several web sites out there that will send you a box to overnight your old phone, complete with it's charger and direction booklet in return you'll get a check from them.  Don't hold onto your old cellular phones forever, the older they are the less they are are worth when you resell them.  Be sure to remove any personal information before reselling any item. Just Google "who will buy my old cell phone" and you'll get an endless list.  A few were listed by Christine Erickson on her post, but there are more out there.  Look for one who will send you pure, unadulterated CASH!  No gift cards for me.  Nope.  I like cash. 

Another way to turn your old electronics into cash is to list them on your local Craigslist.  It's not as easy as simply mailing an item to a company but you may make more money out of it.  Listings with photos always sell better than those without so consider taking the time to provide buyers looking at the web site a photo.  If they have to email you for photos they may pass you by and move on to the next seller.  I know people who have made hundreds of dollars on Craigslist in the last few years, not all of it was in electronics, some were other home goods or furniture. But the fact remains, consider Craigslist.

So don't let those old electronics sit in your closets gathering dust.  Sell them for some cold, hard cash.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Fighting Deskchair Tushitis or Truck Driver's Tush

If you're a writer or work in any office job, the chances are you have some serious deskchair-itis.  And if you're a truck driver you likely suffer from similar symptoms.  You know what it is.  That feeling when you've been sitting too long.  Working too long.  And haven't had enough breaks?  Yep, been there, done that. 

I'm a writer, not a truck driver, so I can't testify to the efficacy of this for a truck driver. But I've tried a variety of desk chairs and have never found an answer to decrease my seat discomfort.  Yes, getting up and walking around helps but... not quite enough.

Then yesterday I got an email.  From Hammacher Schlemmer.  You know the folks.  They have great gadgets you don't really need but want anyway? Or some that you need but can't afford?  It's a great go to site when you're stuck for guy gift at Christmas time.  But today, today they've may have provided me (and millions of others) with the answer to recurring deskchair-itis or trucker tush. 

They sent me an advertisement for their "Truck Driver's Pressure Reliever Cushion."  Ah! Relief! I am all set to order this great sounding product (despite it's nearly $100 price tag) when I spot another product, "The Portable Gel Seat." 

Now I'm in a quandary.  What should I buy?  The gel seat costs less but does this mean it will be less effective?  The pressure reliever cushion actually shows the product being used on a desk chair... so I'm vacillating back and forth.  Which one will work best?

The cost isn't what's stopping me (although I'm a relatively poor writer, so it is a consideration.)  But I sit in a desk chair 10-12 hours a day.  My backside is ... crushed! (not to mention spreading!) Unfortunately neither of these products will prevent over 40 spread! But my desk chair is crying out for a cushion!  So tell me, which do you think I should buy?  I need advice!  All suggestions welcome.  Truckers, office workers or anyone else who spends a lot of time on their tush on a daily basis--weigh in with your opinions!

Mission Impossible? Not Really.

This squirrel has conquered this insane obstacle course with seemingly little effort at all! How any of us can hope our simple bird feeders will defeat a determined squirrel is beyond me! Yes, you can still grease the pole to your feeder and hope this 'defeats the squirrels' but this is so much more fun.   I mean look how hard he has to work to get his food!  It's almost like one of those hamster cages with all the tubes and wheels.  Obviously squirrels are no strangers to the acrobatics needed to make it through this obstacle course!  Definitely not Mission Impossible for this squirrel! 

As is making it through the obstacle course wasn't enough, this ingenious squirrel has managed to do the impossible--to get candy out of a vending machine.  No, he didn't deposit any money.  He didn't shake the machine--watch to see his ingenious invasion of the vending machine--and his prize!

If you want to see this video in all it's full size glory head over to YouTube.  Video courtesy of YouTube.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Sisters, Sisters!

Photo courtesy of The Sweet Unfolding

Sisters.  I fought with mine.  Argued with her.  Oh yes, it ran the gamut.  But in the end, Charlotte Bronte got it right.  "The value of sisters' affections, there's nothing like it in this world."  

I got teased growing up for reading Charlotte Bronte and other similar authors.  My one brother took great glee in reading the backs of novels with great drama.  But there are some things the authors shared with the world that I know I appreciate every day.  The quote above is one of them.  Share it with your sister.  (Or your brothers if you want to remind them to appreciate you!)

What Do You Mean They're NOT REAL?

As women we've all been battered by the media showing women with plastic surgery of various kinds. From enhanced breasts (both well done and poorly done) to hair extensions and padded booties(though why anyone would want to do this is beyond me!).

But the one thing that's always defeated me are false eyelashes. And face it, I'm getting to an age when my own lashes are thinning a bit and a few extras here and there would be a huge improvement. If ONLY I could figure out just how to get them all to stay on. On my lash line that is.

What happens when I try to add lashes? I end up with one or two on my nose. (what a sight that is! like having nose hairs sprouting out the TOP of your nose!) One or two lashes are half on my eye, half off. One lash on my lips. And several adhering to my bathroom sink. Are any of them on my eyes? Maybe one or two, but never neatly applied. Never even numbers on both eyes. I could never leave the house with lashes I've applied.

Which is why I talked to an expert! My daughter, who else? Not only are kids experts at all things techie, they seem to have mastered the art of lash additions as well! (And the annoying thing is she doesn't need extra lashes!) But thank goodness she showed me an easier way to apply my fake eyelashes.

First she explained that while it might seem easier to add a whole line of lashes, it won't give me the look I want. I don't want to look like ... well I won't say EXACTLY what she said, but suffice it to say I want to look, well, ladylike. But I just want to be a lady with more lashes. So she suggested applying lashes, single lashes. 

The first thing I noticed about what she called 'single lashes' is that they aren't really single at all, they just aren't an entire eye strip of lashes, but they have a single root that you need to glue on.  She suggested trying these first because it would 'fill in' my lash line faster.  As I get better at manipulating the lashes I can do a single lash at a time.  She told me I'd also need some eyelash glue or adhesive (duh! That I'd figured out!), some tweezers, some mascara and liquid eyeliners.  Oh yes, and some lashes.  She also suggested using an old top for a pill bottle to put the adhesive in to save on cleanup. (Foil also works.)  And a steady hand... when I could stop laughing.  All this over eyelashes?  Am I nuts? (OK, you don't need to laugh so hard at that one! OR point out that I've been that way for years!)

Here's her tutorial for single eyelashes:

1. Squeeze some adhesive into the pill bottle lid.  A small dot is plenty--less than the size of your pinkie nail.  You can just use a tissue but I like the way the lid contains the adhesive.
2.  Use tweezers to pick up a single lash, just above the 'root.'
3.  Dip into the adhesive, coating the root of the lash. 
4.  Add them at the end of your lash line next to the last natural lash. 
5.  Be sure they are lined up properly and are securely anchored.  Look to both sides as well as up and down. Check your mirror again, be sure they're securely in place. I use Lash All You Want from the Mark catalog from Avon. It gives you 12X the volume with just ONE coat of mascara.  Don't forget to pick up some eye makeup remover from Avon as well--great product at half the price you'd pay in the department stores.
6.  Keep adding single lashes one at a time.  My eyes take two, sometimes three if it's night time.
7.  Then use your mascara to 'connect' all the lashes and make them all look the same.
8.  Line with some liquid eyeliner.  I use some by Avon's Mark Catalog's "What A Line" felt tip eyeliner (be sure to click on the Mark icon if you're clicking in from the ad at the side of my blog).  I use black, but you can choose the color that best suits you.

And the end result? Perfecto!  They stay on, don't look fake, and best of all, they aren't growing out of my nose!

I've now moved on to actual single lashes.  A few in the center and working my way out.  Once again I have lush lashes! Now that I've mastered this skill, what's next? 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Squirrels Aren't Just Pests in the United States

Photo courtesy of

Squirrels live all over the world.  These Malaysian Squirrels or Plantain Squirrels have the genus name Callosciurus which means Beautiful Squirrels.  This genus has some of the most colorful animals.  This one has gray brown fur and a chestnut colored belly with a black and white line between it's belly and it's other fur.  Quite a picture isn't it?

Photo courtesy of this link

Obviously from their name they eat fruit (plantains) but they also eat nuts, insects and the occasional bird egg. They've also been known to open antplants and eat ant larvae.  They help disperse plants by eating their fruits, but are considered pests by coconut plantation owners and fruit farmers alike.  Ah ha! seems worldwide squirrels, no matter how beautiful, are considered pests. 

It's not unusual to see Plantain Squirrels because they've adapted to being around humans on farms, in orchards, and in gardens and parks.  They are found in the Malay peninsula, Indonesia, Borneo, and Sulawesi.

Unfortunately for the Plantain Squirrels unlike their cousins in suburban Philadelphia, one of their most common predators is man.  It is not unusual for large groups of hunters to go after them both to stop their destruction but also because they enjoy eating squirrel meat.  While I know some places in the United States eat squirrels, it seems to be more prevalent there.  I'd say those red bellies are a definite problem when they're trying to hide from hunters!  Far better to be the boring gray squirrels of Pennsylvania.

So the next time you think you're alone suffering from squirrel infestation here in the United States and you're all alone being inundated by these furry creatures, don't forget, somewhere around the world someone else is sharing your pain!