Monday, August 30, 2010

Tea at Trianon: What is Vulgarity?

Tea at Trianon: What is Vulgarity?


Jack is my daughter's black cat. For Halloween in 2006, I made a "Jack O'Lantern" in his honor. It's made of papier mache and is painted in the Primitive style. He has a just handle. His eyes glow in the dark for a spooky affect.
Do you see the resemblance?
Go see some more scary Mondays!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Where the Red Fern Grows

A daughter and son like to haunt used book stores in search of a good read, so I'm never surprised when one of them is reading a book that looks vaguely familiar. Such was the case of "Where The Red Fern Grows."

I thought the title was familiar. Had I read it way back when I was still in school? As I looked the book over, the plot seemed familiar, but I still wasn't sure if I had read it or not. A little research showed that in the 1970's the book was made into a movie. Was I thinking of that?

So I asked my daughter if I could read the book after she was done with it?

"No." she replied. "It's too sad for you, I think." Well, that is what happens as one ages and your children grow older than you; they start making decisions for you regarding your welfare. They do it to protect you, because they love you. Sounds vaguely like something I've said in the past, and while the sentiment is appreciated, it's about as welcomed as it was originally received.

So, after thanking my daughter for her kind care and concern, I began to read the book. It was a bit tainted for me though, as I turned every page wondering if this is where I would be hit with the sadness my daughter had sought to protect me from?

There are reasons that some books are considered a classic; quality of writing, how interesting the story is, the theme that flows through it. This book is a classic, and if you haven't been required to read it while you were in school, or if you only saw the movie, I really encourage you to read it.

I won't reveal anything of the story, except to tell you that a red fern has nothing to do with the story at all, until the last few pages. Then you will realize that the red fern has been in the story since almost the very start.

Back to School

Everyone with kids is either already back to school or thinking about school. If you aren't entirely happy with your child's school situation, I am listing a link that might intrest you. Tell Lori that I sent you!

There's Still A Bag In Our Front Yard

Son #2 came to visit this passed week. He doesn't read my blog (neither does son #1, son#3, daughter #1, husband, or daughter#2 for that matter), so he had no idea why there is a SunChips bag on our front lawn, but he never said a word. Do you think it's because he is just used to his mom and her eccentric ways?
Anyway, the picture you see at the top of this blog, is a picture of the inside of the SunChip bag. The bag itself doesn't look any different than when I first put it outside. That bag has been through horrible heat (over 90 degrees at some points) torrential rains, humidity, dry, hot winds and now cool mornings and evenings.
But if you look on the inside, you can start to see the outside of the bag, through the inside of the bag. So it is starting to break down, just not the way that you would think.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Spooky Mondays

I didn't really have enough time to do anything too Halloween scary.
This week I am posting some handmade Halloween decorations that I made and sold on Ebay a few years back.
They are made of papier mache and twigs from South Carolina. They have dried beans in them, so they make a shaking sound, but they are not 'rattles' for a baby's use. They are called "Prim Halloween Shakers." Mine are not made in the usually accepted form which is a acrylic paint on muslin that is then baked and sanded.
I am a "Primitive" artist, a genre that not all people can appreciate. In fact, most people wonder "why?"
Why would anyone buy this kind of art?
Why would anyone like this kind of art?
Why would anyone admit to making this kind of art.

The bells on these shakers were first soaked in
vinegar to remove the 'safety' coating, then
rinsed, covered with a coat of glue, and then
rolled in cinnamon
while the glue was
tacky. This is a "faux"
rust, that makes the
shakers smell like the
autumn season. Well
at least to me. I hope you enjoyed this little tour!

You Are Invited To A

Boo Bash!!!!

When: Every Monday from now until the last Monday of November

What: Scary Halloween Stories, Halloween Decorations (scary or not scary, handmade or commercial) and anything ORANGE!

Where: on my blog, if you are a blogger and would like to join, here is the link
And of course, if you are a reader follow the links to Wendy's blog and follow the bloggers there! It sounds like A LOT of fun. I'm not sure that I am ready to give up the summer already, but for one Monday a week? I'm there!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

New Cancer Blog post, The Stalker

If you might be interested, here is the link

If you know anyone who m ight be newly diagnosed with stage four cancer, please share this blog with them.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Things are Getting Ugly

Oh yea, things are definitely getting ugly on FaceBook, but I'm sure they are getting ugly on other social networking sites too. "What is getting ugly?" you might ask. "The mood? Posts?"

No, the pictures!

Now you might wonder, how is this in the least bit something I am interested in? Well look through the pictures your family, friends and may-be even worse, your co workers have posted on any of the social networking sites. These are people that you see everyday, and you at least thought that they liked you. Well, that illusion is over! It seems everyone has a camera now a days. They are on most cell phones and on a few of the hand held gaming systems. Everyone seems to know how to use them and how to send the pictures to e-mail or directly to the Internet. What people don't seem to know how to do is use discretion, charity, empathy in their postings and how to crop a picture. Case in point, how do you like the puss above? Think the 'delete' button should have been used, may-be?

Some pictures are a unflattering portrait of a person (again, notice the picture above. Which on second thought actually is very flattering!!). These kind of pictures, if taken at all, should be deleted. So should the picture of someone who is chewing, getting ready to yell, wiping their nose, picking their teeth ... the list goes on. In fact, I'd like to read some of the ones you think should never be taken.

Then, there are the pictures where the main subject is posed and beautiful, but someone to the left is scratching their groin, bent over with their but in the air, or taking a bite of food like a great white shark. The only kind thing to do, is to crop these images out and only post the posed, pretty person.

Does this happen in real life though? Nooooooo! What happens is the picture is posted, and tagged. For example Mary and Nate on their 30th anniversary. Lenny shotgunning not one but two beers, Uncle Ruf dancing on the picnic table, Aunt Bev after a few too many losing her coconut bra, Denny staring at June's cleavage.

Is anyone looking at the picture of the prettily posed Anniversary couple? Noooooo! They are staring at the tagged shenanigans and seeing if they can spot any more untagged ones.

Oh, and the shenanigan people? Well the picture goes over to their FaceBook page, with their shenanigans tagged for all to see. Even Denny staring at June's cleavage, so that Denny's girlfriend Marge can wonder why she wasn't invited to the picnic and is anything more than Denny's rude gawking going on between Denny and June? Because she wasn't invited to the picnic.

In conclusion, before you post a picture to the Internet, ask yourself, What would Jesus do?

Monday, August 16, 2010

I didn't know we still lived in the 1970's!

Wow, just when I thought I was living technology wise just like everyone else, I find out, that I don't. We were watching Rob Reiner, Meathead on All in The Family. He was talking about the popularity of the show, and the numbers of people who watched it.
He reminded us that there was no recording it for watching it later, in those days. No dvd's, no dvdr's, no Tivo. If you wanted to watch a show back in the 1970's, you had to physically sit in front of the television, and watch it. You had to make arrangements before the show, to make sure that you would be able to be in front of the television at that time. Or you didn't get to see it. You got to hear about it later from friends or co workers.
"Ha!" said number three son joining us. "I don't use Tivo or recording and I get to watch my shows when I want to."
"How?" I asked him.
"With my computer. There are a bunch of different websites you can go to to watch television when you want."
"Yeah, but how much does it cost?" my husband asked.
"Nothing. Free. As long as you have a decent Internet connection, you don't need cable or satellite to watch television shows."
Wow, I didn't know that. I began thinking about our way-too-high cable bill. And we don't have anything special, just basic.

We never realized it, but the hubby and I have been living in the 1970's. If we miss a television show when it's scheduled, we don't get to see it until it shows again in reruns. This used to be really an annoying prospect when you used to have to wait at least until the summer seasons for reruns to start. Not any more. Reruns are everywhere, and rather quickly. We never realized how low tech we were.

Someone pass me a Fanta please!

This site was recommended to me by my son. There are many, many others, but I haven't checked them so I won't vouch for them. If I may suggest, before you try any sites, make sure your anti-virus and anti-malware is up to date and make sure your settings don't allow any sites to start running scripts or other programs without your permission. Why? Check out my blog "attack of the malware"

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Tears of St Lawrence and Other Roman Musings

I can hardly believe that we are in the middle of August already! How can that be? Somehow, it feels as though we should still be in July and yet.... My Morning Glories are finally established and
greeting us every morning with these gorgeous blue blooms! On a day, where the sun shines as it only can in summer,
the combination of golden yellow summer sun and blue Morning Glory makes me feel happy. I don't think anyone could feel any other way!
This variety of Morning Glory is called "Heavenly Blue." What a perfect name, don't you think? I always thought that this color blue, must be the color of Mary, Mother of Jesus, mantle.
The weather for the beginning of this week kept threatening rain, and even when it didn't rain, the sky was cloudy, so that I couldn't see the sky that important night of August 12th, so we couldn't watch the "Tears of Saint Lawrence," also known as Perseid meteor shower. The reason this meteor show is called The Tears of Saint Lawrence is because they usually occur on, or very close to the Feast of Saint Lawrence which is August 10th.
I guess I have to accept that summer is just about over, even though the majority of my tomatoes are green. The dog days of summer, according to the
Farmer's Almanac extend from July 3 to August 11
We are now a few days past that. Obviously, de
spite the heat and despite my own desire for summer to continue....

Actually, what I am wishing for, I suddenly
realize, is not for the actual continuance of summer. My favorite time of year is Autumn, the season that directly follows Summer. What I wish to have continue is the lifestyle of Summer. It must be a throw back to my schooldays (who would think I could remember back that far?) when summer meant no school. No alarm clocks to get you up on time, no jumping out of bed to start the day, no living by the clock.

No matter my commitments of the day, if it's summer, I somehow feel freer than the I do during the rest of the days of the year. Does it make any sense what-so-ever? No. Having to be at a certain place, at a certain time means that you are living by the clock, no matter the season, no matter your state of mind.

The calendar says that we still have a good month left of the summer season, but it's not the same summer of July and not the same summer that we enjoyed, or tried to enjoy, during the dog days of summer. I should have realised that when I went out to go lightning bug hunting with my favorite little, and saw the amount of flashes decline day after day until soon, we saw none.

Now when I get up with my husband on his early mornings, it is no longer sunny like it was only a few weeks ago. It's not until he's left a little while, and I'm watching HLN with Robin Meade that the morning starts to get lighter. Why didn't I notice this sooner?

The curse of seeing, but not noticing!

Interested in reading more? Try these links:

Dog Day
St Lawrence

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Why There's a Bag in Our Front Yard

"Why do we have an empty bag in the front yard?" my husband asked resignedly. You know that he is pretty used to my recyclable ways when he doesn't ask if I realize that there is garbage on our front yard.
"Because I'm waiting for it to rot away." I answer him with the bare facts.
"Will it?"

Now that is the big question, will it? I don't know. It's supposed to, after being exposed to the elements for a while. So far, it's been a week. I have it weighed down with potting soil on the inside, and the bag itself is located in the sunniest part of our yard. I know that, because that is where all of our grass has died.

So we'll see how the compostable bag does. If it does perform as promised, we might never eat any chips except SUN CHIPS in the compostable bag ever again.

On the subject of my blog not accepting comments, I've tried to follow the advice that a reader, Sherri, e-mailed me. So if you still have trouble with leaving comments, will you please e-mail me at and put BLOG in the subject line? Much thanks to Sherri for her advice.

More Mary Bennett blog Here

Friday, August 6, 2010

Missing comments

I've just gotten a letter telling me that the person has tried to comment on my blog a number of times, but has been unable.

If this has happened to you also, please e-mail me at and put "BLOG" in the subject line.

I am so sorry if this has happened to you. I LOVE getting comments. And I'm at a loss for what to do to fix it?

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Movies Based on Real Life

Lately I've had a yen for watching movies based on real life. Regular readers of my blog know that my usual Netflix choices are documentaries, so watching movies based on real life isn't really much of a stretch for me.

I hate to say it, but I've been so disappointed! In the past few weeks, I've watched "American Gangster" and "Rescuing Dawn," two movies based on real life. Well, kind of sorta, which means actually, not really.

It's kind of hard to figure out what part is the real life? For American Gangster, for instance, there was a Frank Lucas, and he was married. His testimony did help bring down a corrupt faction of the NYC police, and a few criminals. He did go to jail, and his wife (who was not a Miss Puerto Rico, by the way) did leave the continental USA (with a daughter who is never mentioned in the movie) for Puerto Rico to get help from her family to be a single mom. It doesn't mention that Frank and Julie's marriage never dissolved because of the drug conviction, or any other convictions that Lucas had afterward. That's right, Lucas didn't go straight, although the movie sure makes it seem that way. Oh, and Julie? She was recently arrested in Puerto Rico on drug charges. Why Denzel Washington ever bought Lucas a Rolls Royce, I'll never know.

And then, there is the true story of Deiter Dengler in "Rescuing Dawn." Well, true....ish. This movie strays so far from the book (Escaping From Laos) and the truth, that the (at that time) only living survivors actually made videos on YouTube to tell the truth.

The biggest divide between truth and fiction, one that is unforgivable, in my opinion, is the slandering of the name of a man, who very likely spent his dying day in a POW camp, well into the 1990's. This man is Eugene DeBruin, who was depicted in the movie as a space case, someone who folded under pressure and looked out only for himself; a sort of POW hippy. The truth was that DeBruin looked after his fellow POW's, shared his food, shared his blanket, and sacrificed his chance for freedom when a fellow POW was too sick to go on. His thanks for his humanitarianism is to spend his dying day as a POW (likely well into the 1990's, so well over 30 years) separated from his family forever, and to be portrayed as someone contemptible in a movie. Hardly fair.

My advice is to read the book, instead of watching "Rescuing Dawn." Regarding "American Gangster?" Just skip it!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

When I feel .....nostalgic

Some catalogues arrive at your doorstep, just sooo beautiful

that I knew that the items inside were "good stuff." In fact I thought the catalogue was sooo pretty, that I copied it over for my blog so you could see it.

Sometimes, on a bright autumn day that can seem so lonely, or on a dark winter's day, I feel a little nostalgic for the family members that I know through the stories of other family members who have also since passed on.

I think about the Victorian and early turn of the century days (turn of the 20th century that is) that they lived in. I've been exposed to many of the items that were once theirs. I've heard the stories of the simpler, and yet just as fulfilling days, that they lived in.

I wonder, if I was alive then, what would my life be like? Would I be married, or would I be a spinster woman? Would I live in a Victorian house, or what my Grandfather used to call "a little bungalow?" If I was a spinster, would I live with my family? Or would I have been able to follow my dream of being a teacher, and I'd live in a few rooms of a Victorian rooming house? Would I live in town, or out?

Apparently, these musings are not unique to me, although may-be the way these musings come about might be. One day though, I was talking to some friends online, and they were gushing about a catalogue that some of them had just received, and some were still waiting for. The "haves" were raving, the "have-nots" were impatient. I just had to see this catalogue, and they gave me the website to go to where I could order my own catalogue for free. (The link is at the bottom of this page, so that you can order yours for free too)

I waited for what seemed like forever for the Victorian Trading Company to arrive. Before it arrived however, I warned my family that when it did arrive, I would be taking the afternoon off to browse through it's luscious pages. I even bought a family sized, frozen dinner for supper the night of it's arrival.

And then the big day came! The catalogue cover was sooo pretty; it could have been a piece of art! The paper was glossy and substantial, good thing, because I paged through it often. On the walk from the mailbox to my living room, I wouldn't let myself open the catalogue; I wanted everything to be just perfect. I started water in my electric kettle and rinsed out my teapot. I took the phone off the hook. And I got out my favorite indulgence,
my Stella Dora Anisette Sponge cookies. When everything was set out next to my camel -back, love seat, I opened the catalogue.

Ooohs! Aaahs! issued unconsciously from my lips. I was transported back in time to clothing that was beautiful, and simple enough that I would wear it today. I began to decorate two different living spaces in my imagination; one was the little cottage my husband and I will someday occupy, the other was the room I would occupy in a Victorian house if I was a spinster lady at the turn of the century.

This chair would definitely be in my room if I was a Spinster Lady at the turn of the century. What luxury to return home to! A chair during the day, and a comfy bed at night!

This comfy floral chair would be mine in our little cottage in the future, while the more substantial looking leather, wing back chair would be my husbands. He'd
sit in his chair and do crossword puzzles and I'd crochet

while we listened to the radio.

This lamp reminds me of one of the favorite animals in my son's childhood stories, and the acorn reminds me of my favorite season of the year, autumn. So this lamp would be on a table next to my comfy chair.

While this lamp for reading would stand by my husband's chair to shed light on those tricky crossword puzzles, or as he read a book to me while I crocheted.

Sometimes I would want to write in my journal or a letter to my favorite cousin, so I'd pick a dip pen and appropriate nib from this wood pen case. What a luxurious feeling to be picking the size of my pen nib, and the color of the ink.

I would write my thoughts and impressions in this clever little journal with my dip pen. I don't have this book, but from the quality of things that I have ordered, I am sure this book is well bound, and the paper creamy, soft and a joy to write in!

This trash can is so beautiful, that I'd have it in my living room just as an accent piece. It reminds me of the hamper that my grandmother used to have. A pretty trash can is hard to find nowadays, where trashcans are usually plastic, utilitarian and ugly.

A glance at this imaginative clock, would warn me that it is time to turn in since we aren't "night owls" ourselves. I would remember the stories my mother told me about her youth, and the owls that would fly out from the abandoned barn from the property behind her family home.

So you see now, just from these few examples I've shown you what a dreamy, wonderful catalog this is! Just looking at it on my tea break makes me feel more calm after a crazy morning.

Thank-goodness for businesses that have endeavored to transmit dream appeal for harried women!

Hi Mary,

Thank you for your inquiry. You are welcome to feature our company in your blog.

Thanks for your interest!

Kind Regards,

Sarah E. Rouchka
Marketing Director
Victorian Trading Company
15600 W. 99th Street
Lenexa, Kansas 66219
913-438-3995, x 124

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Attack of the Malware

Today has been a nightmare! There were so many things that I wanted to write about on my blog today, but, I couldn't get on the net!

"Gee, why not?" you may ask. Do you wonder the reason? Didn't we pay our Internet provider bill? Or may-be there was a power outage, or Internet outage? Nope. May-be someone in my family needed to use the computer? Nope.

So, what happened?

Well, I turned on the computer, the same as usual, when all of a sudden a program popped up, outlined in bright red and warned "Your computer may be infected!! Do you want to launch your anti-virus?" And before I could do anything, an anti-virus program popped up and started scanning, telling me that my computer was being attacked by multiple threats, including bankerfox!

Did you notice that I didn't say that my anti-virus popped up and started scanning? That's because it wasn't my anti-virus that popped up, but a malware, that somehow had attached itself to my computer that had popped up. It's name was Antivir Solution Pro, and it had some pretty nasty intentions. The next thing I knew, a window for Viagra had opened up, and another window with the web address of WWW.ADULT.COM was trying to open.

Antivir Solution Pro warned me," Don't you want to launch your anti-virus. " I clicked "no," and these are the reasons why:

1. Antivir Solution Pro is not an antivirus program. The viruses that it claims are on my computer are either not viruses, not on my computer, or both.

2. The many adult sites opening on my computer was to scare me that I had a virus, a horrible virus, and to buy their virus fighting program. By doing this, they not only would have gotten my money, they would have gotten my credit card number, my security code for that number, my name, address and phone number.

This is where I went to get rid of the malware :
and it was completely free!

However, this has taken literally, my whole day. And I even bought a bogus program because it's name was so similar to the program I wanted to buy. I was stressed, my computer wasn't working, and the family, concerned, kept asking me what was happening now?

I'm proud to say, not one cuss word, not even a mild one crossed my lips today though. If you've read my past blogs, you know I've discussed this before. I wasn't even thinking any. But I was thinking of what punishment virus and malware programmers deserve.

And it ain't pretty!


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