National Engineers Week

If you live, work, or have ever sought shelter in a building that is structurally sound; If you regularly cross a body of water, cloverleaf interchange or similar high overpass, confident the bridge will not fail;

If you can turn on lights, keep warm or cool, and dry your hair because of energy generated by a massive dam/hydroelectric source;

If you have enjoyed hike and bike trails and other municipal or National Park amenities;

If you drive cross country, or just take your child to school via a network of strategically designed streets and highways;

If you can flush your toilet, never doubting that waste will be carried far from your home and appropriately treated, so we can live free of waste-borne diseases…

Thank an engineer.

February 21-27 is “NATIONAL ENGINEERS WEEK.”

Celebrate the security of the safe, healthy society they create and maintain.

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Give Up or Just Give – A Lenten List

Ash Wednesday, and so it begins, the season of spiritual renewal, and for some Christian denominations, the Lenten sacrifice. Typically, chocolate and other sweet snacks are offered up for this six week period. I can’t help but wonder if the objective there is truly spiritual sacrifice or using religion as an increased impetus to lose weight.

Then, there are the tricks, like giving up a fruit that is out of season, anyway, or a food you never eat. For example, if I gave up sushi, liver, or buttermilk… The lack thereof would never be noticed by my body or soul.

Seriously, maybe it’s time to reconsider the familiar “go to” (or “go from”) sacrifices. If, like me, you need all the calories you can get, let’s take food off the table, so to speak.

Instead of giving up physical nourishment, you might add something spiritually nourishing, such as reading the Bible every day, or a volunteer or other charitable activity.

I would also suggest, instead of forgoing food, give up a behavior or activity, such as cussing, reading gossip magazines, or daily selfie posting.

Some things I don’t recommend giving up: Deodorant, brushing your teeth, clipping your toenails, shaving your legs.

Just sayin’. . . It is, after all, a season of spiritual growth – no other growth.

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Confessions of a Freelance Worshipper

Okay. I admit it. I’m a fair weather church goer.” Note, I did not say a fair weather believer. No, I am always there in spirit, and I am a certified prayer warrior. I just don’t attend church with any regularity. Perhaps I should have dubbed myself a stormy weather church goer. Because, that is when I find myself on the kneeler. Disclaimer: I was raised to attend church, and usually went to Presbyterian Sunday School as a child.  I later converted to Catholicism, and always fulfilled my Sunday obligation. When I had an intact family, we were there – every Sunday, regardless of how squirmy the kids tried to be.

It has been the past decade (or so) I began my freelance worship.

Ouch – for a person who resists the face-to-face confession, preferring to hide behind the screen, that was quite a public admission. Continue reading

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I Am Writer, Read Me Roar! 

No “BossSpringsteen here. Not “born to run,” I was born to write. Seriously, my grandmother’s message in my early childhood was “Children are to be seen, and not heard.”
So, I spoke seldom and softly, but wrote really LOUD.
Eventually, my family dubbed me the “paper tiger.”
When I had a regular newspaper column, at parties and informal gatherings, my brother would half jokingly warn the others, “Be careful what you say. Nancy will make it a column, and she names names!”
I dearly miss that creative outlet, and writing for a living.

Talk is cheap.  But, writing is completely free – especially if you don’t get paid for it.  I am a firm believer in that old saying (most often attributed to the late Red Skelton):  “If you have any talent, that’s God’s gift to you.  You use that talent, that’s your gift to God.”

I hope to someday give that gift to God again. Seems a sin to waste it.

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Goodbye to November

A poem I wrote years ago – last day of November 🍁🍂🍁  

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National Chicken Fried Steak Day (chicken or steak?) Blog Redux

October 26 has been designated “CHICKEN FRIED STEAK DAY.” One year, it fell on a Sunday, which only interfered with traditional football fare (wings, chili, chips, dip).

I was not born in Texas. So, when I first heard of this somewhat Southern (with a heavy leaning toward Texan) dish, it was completely foreign to me. I could never master the cooking of it, because I was not exactly sure how it was supposed to taste. Continue reading

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Cultural Literacy – Best Learned From Movies andMusic 

Yesterday, coworkers in their 20s offered me Reese’s Pieces. In my best E.T. voice, I said, “E.T., phone home.” They just looked at me like they thought I had Tourette Syndrome.

They are in their 20s. I don’t really expect them to know who the Beatles are. I don’t even expect them to know Jewel, Dave Matthews Band, or Seal.

But, E.T.???   By any standards, it is a classic.

Cultural literacy is so important to me. I didn’t just know the music and movies of my own era, but also of my mom’s and grandmother’s lifetime.  I sat up late, watching old movies with them, listened to their records.  My awareness of the Great Depression  helped me understand my mother’s nagging about turning off lights when we leave a room.  Understanding  the sacrifices and crises of WWII helped me comprehend the “Cold War” era in which I was growing up.

Consequently, I made a concerted effort to ensure my kids would be culturally literate. I had them watch old movies with me. As a result, they know, not just my 60s/70s music, but also Sinatra, etc. People cannot just literally “live in the moment,” with no comprehension of all that went before you. It is necessary to know the sacrifices that were made, all that built the foundation, and bought the opportunity that makes it possible for you to live in your own personal, little, self-centered moment.

“Here endeth the lesson.” (Sean Connery’s character Jim Malone in The Untouchables- yes, another must-see for cultural literacy.)

Now, for the proverbial “call to action:”

If you liked this piece, please click “Like,” leave a comment, “Follow” my blog, – better yet, share the link with friends, family, or colleagues you think would enjoy it. It’s the only way a writer can gather an audience. Thanks very much! Nancy 🌹

Posted in 1960s, Aging, american history, americana, Baby Boomers, cultural history, Generation gap, Growing up, history, Humor, mid-centurions, movies | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment