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Wednesday, December 31, 2003

For information on everything pertaining to New Year's Eve—making resolutions and keeping them, learning the history of this annual celebration and discovering ways the event is observed in places around the globe—we searched and located the following:

Hours Mean No More or Less than Years
Copyright by Nicholas Gordon

Hours mean no more or less than years.
A moment is a point with no dimension.
People count to undermine their fears,
Persuaded numbers lead to comprehension.
Yet time is an illusion of our motion,

No realer than the rising of the sun.
Each line we draw rests on a restless ocean,
Way, way beyond the scope of more than One.

Years do not begin and never end
Except for purposes of calibration.
A need to share our yearnings, friend to friend,
Requires just one point of celebration.

This site offers help on how to keep your resolutions and highlights some of the most common challenges people choose:
Need Some Help?
Resolving to lose
a few pounds this year?
Maybe we can help...

Resolve to help medical science!
Participate  in a clinical trial


Couch Potato?

Are you the smallest thing in your world?

This site takes the "keeping" aspect of your resolutions VERY seriously and offers "in your face" reminders!

Resolutions Reminders @

KEEP YOUR RESOLUTIONS THIS YEAR!! Sign up for a FREE monthly Resolution Reminder e-mail that will be sent to you throughout the entire year — full of helpful tips and internet links to hopefully encourage you to succeed in meeting your personal goals. Get motivated! Get support! Get a Resolutions Buddy! NO excuses this time... with our help you are going to finally reach those goals! We've been helping people keep their resolutions since 1997, so if you really need someone to hound you into doing something good for yourself, you've found the right service! And it's free!! Read more about us. We've been featured in the media (CNN Headline News, NY Times) and won a few awards. You'll find links to a lot of great sites here.

"Celebratin' New Year's Eve is like eatin' oranges. You got to let go your dignity t' really enjoy 'em." Edna Ferber

Tuesday, December 30, 2003

As we begin the final countdown to the end of this year, we want to honor and celebrate women, present and past, who have served as an inspiration to us all. Today is the birthday of one of Eve's dearest friends—we'll call her Jan. She and Eve first met when they were in the fourth grade….and that was many, many years ago. Jan was the older of two children. Her younger sister was born with Downs Syndrome in an era when parents were not only encouraged to institutionalize such a child but to then completely forget about them—act as though they had never been born—and a great many parents did.

Jan's Mother and Father refused to even consider such an alternative. It made life extremely complicated and often heartbreaking for the four of them. Jan did not invite lots of girls to visit her at home but Eve loved Jan's sister and the feeling was mutual. Eve felt very blessed to be included in this family's celebration of life…they looked upon the arrival of Linda, more than 50 years ago as a blessing, not a burden.

Jan excelled in school and eventually graduated with a degree in engineering—one of a small minority of women at that time to accomplish such an undertaking. Jan also dearly loved music and she and her father both sang in their church's choir. As girls, Jan always promised to sing at Eve's wedding and she kept that promise—although, learning "Ave Maria" was quite a daunting task. Jan, however, has always been fearless as well as exceptionally compassionate. When she married, she became step-mom to four children.

Jan lost her father more than 20 years ago, at which time, her sister Linda, who had until then been a chatterbox, ceased talking. Just a couple of years ago, Jan's very best friend for fifteen years (they talked on the phone at least once a day), Nancy, took her own life. Then, three years ago, Jan's mother passed away. Jan and her husband were moving into a new home and she had already painted a room in Linda's favorite color, knowing that one day, when their mother was gone, Linda would come to live with them. Linda moved in the same day Jan and her husband did. Jan and her husband have suddenly become parents to a 56 year old child. Linda cannot go to the bathroom alone, needs help when she eats and is very slowly beginning to try to talk again. On a daily basis, Jan encourages Linda to become more inquisitive and outgoing—also traits Linda's lost touch with in recent years. How would you handle all this?? Frankly, we find Jan more inspiring than ever before. We also want to pay tribute to Jan's husband, who is extraordinarily gentle, kind, and loving toward Linda….we cannot think of any other man who would be as remarkable faced with such a situation! Richard—kudos and orchids for you! (Richard actually grew prize-winning orchids for years and now concentrates on roses)

Using the keywords "downs syndrome" we located more than 9,000 sites. It's a very different world today for those with this condition—not remotely like the place Linda was born into during the 1940's. We especially liked the following site….it's a joyful tribute to a father's love for his daughter Emma.

Watership Downs Syndrome Home
(Blessed with an extra Chromosome)
((In my opinion, anyway ...))

Hi folks; I'm Andrew. This is to be a site where people lucky enough to have encountered Downies can share the joys they have experienced. I'm back from holiday now. Snapshots are developed and scanned and provided for your perusal. Highlights of the holiday were seeing Emma's effusive reaction to the surf and coping with her Chicken Pox !!!


"Fear of difference is fear of life itself." M. P. Follett

Monday, December 29, 2003

I've never made a fortune,
and it's probably too late now.
But I don't worry about that much,
I'm happy anyhow.

And as I go along life's way,
I'm reaping better than I sowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

Haven't got a lot of riches,
and sometimes the going's tough.
But I've got loving ones all around me,
and that makes me rich enough.

I thank God for his blessings,
and the mercies He's bestowed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

I remember times when things went wrong,
My faith wore somewhat thin.
But all at once the dark clouds broke,
and the sun peeped through again.

So Lord, help me not to gripe,
about the tough rows I have hoed.
I'm drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

If God gives me strength and courage,
When the way grows steep and rough.
I'll not ask for other blessings,
I'm already blessed enough.

And may I never be too busy,
to help others bear their loads.
Then I'll keep drinking from my saucer,
'Cause my cup has overflowed.

"The very rich and the very social are, often, the very stuffy." Edna Ferber

Sunday, December 28, 2003


In anticipation of making New Year's Resolutions, we offer the following, sent by our friend Jayne with this note: "These are from l969!!! Some of them need updated or changed somewhat, but I think they all have merit." (We agree they all have merit and don't need editing because they are "time-less.")


If you can't change facts, try bending your attitudes.

Faced with a given set of problems, one man may tackle them with intelligence, grace and courage; another may react with resentment and bitterness; a third may run away altogether.

In any life, facts tend to remain unyielding. But attitudes are a matter of choice--and that choice is largely up to you.

Don't come up to the net behind nothing….It is true, the tennis player who follows his own weak or badly placed shot up to the net is hopeless vulnerable.

And, this is true when you rush into anything without adequate preparation or planning.

In any important endeavor, you've got to do your homework, get your facts straight, sharpen your skills. In other words, don't bluff-because if you do, nine times out of ten, life will drill a backhand right past you.

When the ball is over, take off your dancing shoes.

No one lives on the top of the mountain. It's fine to go there occasionally--for inspiration, for new perspectives. But you have to come down. Life is lived in the valleys. That's where the farms and gardens and orchards are, and where the plowing and the work are done. That's where you apply the visions you may have glimpsed from the peaks. It's a steadying thought when the time comes, as it always does, to exchange your dancing shoes for your working shoes.

Shine up your neighbor's halo.

We'll add one more—Remember, When You Stumble, Make It Part of the Dance!

"A willing heart adds feather to the heel." Joanna Baillie

Saturday, December 27, 2003


T-shirt Slogans

"Filthy, Stinking Rich -- Well, Two Out of Three Ain't Bad"

"Real Men Don't Waste Their Hormones Growing Hair"

"Upon the Advice of My Attorney, My Shirt Bears No Message at This Time"

"That's It! I'm Calling Grandma!" - (seen on an 8 year old)

"Wrinkled Was Not One of the Things I Wanted to Be When I Grew Up"

"Procrastinate Now"

"My Dog Can Lick Anyone"

"I Have a Degree in Liberal Arts -- Do You Want Fries With That?"

"Party -- My Crib - Two A.M." (On a baby-size shirt)

"If a woman's place is in the home WHY AM I ALWAYS IN THIS CAR!"


"A hangover is the wrath of grapes"


"They call it "PMS" because "Mad Cow Disease" was already taken"

"He who dies with the most toys is nonetheless dead"

"POLICE STATION TOILET STOLEN ....Cops have nothing to go on."


"A PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS--But it uses up a thousand times the memory."


No one can fracture a Christmas carol better than a kid. Sing along with these new takes on old favorites:

Deck the Halls with Buddy Holly

We three kings of porridge and tar

On the first day of Christmas my tulip gave to me

Later on we'll perspire, as we dream by the fire.

He's makin a list, chicken and rice.

Noel. Noel, Barney's the king of Israel.

With the jelly toast proclaim

Olive, the other reindeer.

Frosty the Snowman is a ferret elf, I say

Sleep in heavenly peas

In the meadow we can build a snowman, Then pretend that he is sparse and brown

You'll go down in Listerine

Oh, what fun it is to ride with one horse, soap and hay

O come, froggy faithful

You'll tell Carol, "Be a skunk, I require"

Good tidings we bring to you and your kid

"Laughter springs from the lawless part of our nature." Agnes Repplier

Friday, December 26, 2003


KWANZAA is derived from the Kiswahili phrase "matunda ya kwanza", which means "first fruits of the harvest" which is a depiction of the celebration of harvesting the first crops in traditional Africa. Kwanzaa is an Afrocentric centered institution that is celebrated by people of African descent in North America, the Caribbean and other parts of the African Diaspora. It was created in 1966 by M. Ron Karenga. The celebration of Kwanzaa is a means for Black people to reaffirm their commitment to themselves, their families, their community, and the black struggle for equality. There are seven days of Kwanzaa (The Black Cultural Celebration of the holiday season) December 26th thru Jan 1st. Each day focuses on a specific principle, so there are seven principles.

The Seven Principles
December 26th Unity (Umoja)
27th Self-Determination (Kujichagulia)
28th Collective Work & Responsibility (Ujima)
29th Cooperative Economics (Ujamaa)
30th Purpose (Nia)
31st Creativity (Kuumba)
January 1st Faith (Imani)

The seven principles are collectively referred to as the Nguzo Saba, and are intended to serve as guideposts for meditation and daily living. The greeting for each day of Kwanzaa is Habari Gani and the reply is Habari Gani followed by the Principle of the day. Kwanzaa also incorporates seven symbols from African Culture that have a significant ritualistic meaning. The seven symbols are mazao (fruits, vegetables, and nuts), mkeba (place mat, representing as our foundation, our ancestors and our cultural history as a people), kinara (candleholder), vibunzi or muhindi (ears of corn, one for each child in the family), zawadi (gifts, usually made or selected to represent the principle of the day), Kikombe cha umoja (communal cup of unity), and mishumaa saba (seven candles, one lit each day starting with the black in the center on Unity Day, the first red (which are all located to the left) and rotating to the first green on the third day (which are all located on the right) red, green, red, green. The candles are incrementally lighted, so on the day of Imani all seven candles are burning uniformly. At the time of Kwanzaa, we come together and commit ourselves to work and study for the World liberation of African people now and forever.

(The Seven Principles)

Umoja (Unity)
To strive for and maintain unity in the family, community, nation and race.

Kujichagulia (Self-Determination)
To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves and speak for ourselves.

Ujima (Collective Work and Responsibility)
To build and maintain our community together and make our brother's and sister's problems our problems and to solve them together.

Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)
To build and maintain our own stores, shops and other businesses and to profit from them together.

Nia (Purpose)
To make our collective vocation the building and developing of our community in order to restore our people to their traditional greatness.

Kuumba (Creativity)
To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.

Imani (Faith)
To believe with all our heart in our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders and the righteousness and victory of our struggle.

Thursday, December 25, 2003

If there is light in the soul,

There will be beauty in the person,

If there is beauty in the person,

There will be harmony in the house,

If there is harmony in the house,

There will be order in the nation.

If there is order in the nation,

There will be peace in the world.

At Neat Women Inc, that is our prayer for this Christmas Day

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Christmas is a time of sharing with family, friends, and other loved ones. EVE has asked us to print this poem, written by Mamie Ozbun Odum, and published by the Emory University, Banner Press in 1954. Mrs. Odum gave this to EVE, some years later, for Christmas quite unexpectedly. Mrs. Odum was the "housemother" in the college dormitory where EVE lived. She inscribed it to "Gold Butterfly." EVE was very blonde and always in a hurry—fluttering about we guess.

The World at Christmastide

The Master planted a Christmas tree
That all the world might come and see,
And seeing many massed around;
Some were in rags, some richly gowned.
And seeing the big tree standing bare
The Master asked their gifts to share.
"Bring of your gifts you prize most dear,
Adorn the tree with Christmas cheer."

The children came, both girls and boys,
With packages and tinseled toys.
A hard-faced woman bent and old
Placed at its base, false stories told.
A debauched man that knew no right
Put down the evil things of night.
A painted woman, strained and tense,
Placed, shamelessly, lost innocence.
A financier, disgruntled, old,
Bent down the limbs with tainted gold.
An actor of undisputed fame
Placed there the secret of his game.
A woman old, and arrow-bent
Brought forth her gifts of rich content.
A youth put down, yet thinking twice,
Ability to take advice.
One by one pressed the human host,
Placed there the gifts each cherished most,
The worldly tree with gifts was bowed
Yet, never sparkled, gleamed or glowed.
The crowd in startled fear drew back
When noticing this awful lack.
All waited, stunned, silent, strained,
But by the tree one man remained,
And he with calm and gentle grace
Now put his Christmas gift in place—
And to the horde's immense delight
The tree blazed forth in Holy light.
Each begged the man his gift to know
That caused the tree to gleam and glow.
He answered them, reluctantly;

"Faith, Hope, Love and Charity."
They asked, "Did this gift come from above?"
He answered, "Yes, and the greatest is Love."

Mrs. Odum—RIP

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

An Angel In honor of and in memory of Erma Bombeck, who lost her fight with cancer, here is an angel sent to watch over you.

by Erma Bombeck

I would have talked less and listened more.

I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded.

I would have eaten the popcorn in the "GOOD" living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace.

I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth.

I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed.

I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage.

I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains.

I would have cried and laughed less while watching television and more while watching life.

I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren't there for the day.

I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn't show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I'd have cherished every moment realizing that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle.

When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, "Later. Now go get washed up for dinner."

There would have been more "I love yous"... more "I'm sorrys".... but mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute...look at it and really see it ... live it ... and never give it back.


"Angels are pure thoughts from God, winged with Truth and Love." Mary Baker Eddy

Monday, December 22, 2003

Have we allowed political correctness to get out of control? You decide. Our friend Jan sent us the following, titled, "Season's Greetings."

Please accept with no obligation, implied or implicit, these best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low stress, non-addictive, gender neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasions and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all...and a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling, and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2004, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country or is the only "America" in the Western hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith, or sexual orientation of the wishee.

This wish is limited to the customary and usual good tidings for a period of one year, or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first. "Holiday" is not intended to, nor shall it be considered, limited to the usual Judeo-Christian celebrations or observances, or to such activities of any organized or ad hoc religious community, group, individual or belief (or lack thereof).

Note: By accepting this greeting, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal, and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher at any time, for any reason or for no reason at all. This greeting is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. This greeting implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for the wishee her/himself or others, or responsibility for the consequences which may arise from the implementation or non-implementation of same. This greeting is void where prohibited by law.


"If we are to reclaim our culture, we cannot afford narrow definitions." Starhawk

Sunday, December 21, 2003


There are moments in your life when you miss someone
so much that you just want to pick them from your dreams
and hug them.

Dream what you want to dream; go where you want to go;
be what you want to be,
because you only have one life and one chance to do it all
the things you want to.

May you have enough happiness to make you sweet,
enough trials to make you strong,
enough sorrow to keep you human,
enough hope to make you happy.

Always put your self in others' shoes. If you feel that
it hurts you, it probably hurts the other person, too.
The happiest of people don't necessarily have the best of everything,
they just make the most of everything that comes along their way.

Happiness lies for those who cry, those who hurt,
those who have searched, and those who have tried,
for only they can appreciate the importance of
people who have touched their lives.

Love begins with a smile, grows with a kiss, and ends with a tear.
the brightest future will be based on a forgotten past,
you can't go well in life until you let go of your past
failures and heartaches.

When you were born, you were crying and everyone else
around you was smiling.
live your life so that when you die, you're the one who is smiling
and everyone around you is crying.

Please send this message to those people who mean something to you,
to those who have touched your life in one way or another,
to those who make you smile when you really need it,
to those who make you see the brighter side of things when
you are really down
and to those who you want to tell how much their
friendship/love is appreciated.

And if you don't, don't worry, nothing bad will happen to you;
you will just miss out on the opportunity to brighten someone's day
with this message.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

Now, we're going from the sublime to the ridiculous, and offering yet another bit of hilarity. Many people are fed up with the PC trend, so this is simply a reminder not to take life too seriously!


'Twas the night before Christmas and Santa's a wreck.
How to live in a world that's politically correct?
His workers no longer would answer to Elves,
"Vertically Challenged" they were calling themselves.
And labor conditions at the North Pole
Were alleged by the union to stifle the soul.
Four reindeer had vanished, without much propriety,
Released to the wilds by the Humane Society.

And equal employment had made it quite clear,
That Santa had better not use just a reindeer.
So Dancer and Donner, Comet and Cupid,
Were replaced with four pigs, and you know that looked stupid!

The runners had been removed from his trusty old sleigh;
The ruts were termed dangerous by the E.P.A.
And people started to call for the cops
When they heard sled noises on their rooftops.
Second hand smoke from his pipe had his workers quite frightened.
His fur trimmed red suit was called "Unenlightened."
And to show you the strangeness of life's ebbs and flows,
Rudolph was suing for unauthorized use of his nose,
And had gone on Geraldo, in front of the nation,
Demanding millions in overdue compensation.
So, half of the reindeer were gone; and his wife,
Who suddenly said she'd had enough of this life,
Joined a self-help group, packed, and left in a whiz,
Demanding from now on her title was Ms.

And as for the gifts, why, he'd ne'er had a notion,
That making a choice could cause so much commotion.
Nothing of leather, nothing of fur,
Which meant nothing for him….and nothing for her.

Nothing that might be construed to pollute.
Nothing to aim. Nothing to shoot.
Nothing that clamored or made lots of noise.
Nothing for just girls. Or just for the boys.
Nothing that claimed to be gender specific.
Nothing that's warlike or non-pacific.
No candy or sweets, they were bad for the tooth.
Nothing that seemed to embellish the truth.
And fairy tales, while not yet forbidden,
Were like Ken and Barbie, better off hidden,
For they raised the hackles of those psychological,
Who claimed the only good gift was one ecological.
No baseball, no football; someone could get hurt;
Besides, playing sports exposed kids to dirt.

Dolls were said to be sexist, and should be passe;
And Nintendo would rot your entire brain away.
So Santa just stood there, disheveled, perplexed;
He just could not figure out<[ what to do next.
He tried to be merry, tried to be gay,
But you've got to careful with every word that you say.
He sack was quite empty, limp to the ground;
Nothing fully acceptable was to be found.
Something special was needed, a gift that he might,
Give to all without angering the left or the right.
A gift that would satisfy, with no indecision,
Each group of people, every religion;
Every ethnicity, every hue,
Everyone, everywhere, even you.

So here is that gift, it's priced beyond worth.
May you and your loved ones enjoy peace on earth!

Friday, December 19, 2003

Today marks the beginning of a very special holiday: The Jewish Holiday of Hanukkah Hanukah. Chanukah. Hanukkah. The Festival of Lights. It's one of the / Our good friend Emily Zeitman sent us the following. Although it is in a humorous vein, Emily has invited friends for a Hanukkah celebration and it does commemorate an important event.

  • Christmas is one day, same day every year, December 25. Jews also love December 25th. It's another paid day off work. We go to movies and out for Chinese food and Israeli dancing. Chanukah is 8 days. It starts the evening of the 24th of Kislev, whenever that falls. No one is ever sure. Jews never know until a non-Jewish friend asks when Chanukah starts, forcing us to consult a calendar so we don't look like idiots. We all have the same calendar, provided free with a donation from either the World Jewish Congress, the kosher butcher, or the local Sinai Memorial Chapel (especially in Florida) or other Jewish funeral home.
  • Christmas is a major holiday. Chanukah is a minor holiday with the same theme as most Jewish holidays. They tried to kill us, we survived, let's eat.
  • Christians get wonderful presents such as jewelry, perfume, stereos...Jews get practical presents such as underwear, socks, or the collected works of the Rambam, which looks impressive on the bookshelf.
  • There is only one way to spell Christmas. No one can decide how to spell Chanukah, Chanukkah, Chanukka, Channukah, Hanukah, Hannukah, etc.
  • The players in the Christmas story have easy to pronounce names such as Mary, Joseph, and Jesus. The players in the Chanukah story are Antiochus, Judah Maccabee, and Matta whatever. No one can spell it or pronounce it. On the plus side, we can tell our friends anything and they believe we are wonderfully versed in our history.
  • Many Christians believe in the virgin birth. Jews think, "Joseph, Bubela, snap out of it. Your woman is pregnant, you didn't sleep with her, and now you want to blame G-d. Here's the number of my shrink".
  • In recent years, Christmas has become more and more commercialized. The same holds true for Chanukah, even though it is a minor holiday. It makes sense. How could we market a major holiday such as Yom Kippur? Forget about celebrating. Think observing. Come to synagogue, starve yourself for 27 hours, become one with your dehydrated soul, beat your chest, confess your sins, a guaranteed good time for you and your family. Tickets a mere $200 per person.
  • Better stick with Chanukah!
  • (ILYCM)

    If you are still grappling with the demands of the holidays, don't forget:

    Looking for last minute, easy, free gifts? Freebies

    Thursday, December 18, 2003





















    This poem was written by a Marine stationed in Okinawa Japan.

    Share the holiday spirit with those uniformed women and men serving their country:
    If you are so inclined, visit the Department of Defense web page below and sign a brief message thanking the men and women of the U.S. military services for defending our freedom. The compiled list of names will be sent out to our armed forces at the end of the month. Please pass it on to your email friends.


    "The calamity of war, wherever, whenever and upon whomever it descends, is a tragedy for the whole of humanity." Raisa M. Gorbachev

    Wednesday, December 17, 2003

    "On a bone chilling Thursday, December 17, 1903, a 745 pound wheelless biplane nicknamed the Flyer perched precariously on a dolly that was set on a wooden monorail anchored in the sand dunes near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. The aircraft's twelve horsepower motor roared, the wind whistled through the wire bracing, and the angry surf rumbled as Orville Wright lay face down in a hip cradle set in middle of the forty foot long lower wing. His brother Wilbur released the restraining cable, and the plane moved slowly forward into the twenty-seven-mile-per-hour wind.

    "Wilbur Wright ran alongside holding the right wing tip to steady the aircraft. Near the end of the runway, the Flyer rose smoothly into the air and climbed steadily to about ten feet above the sand. It flew erratically for several seconds, rising and falling, then made a nose-dive toward the ground, slapped sharply against the sand, and skidded to a halt. The flight, the first by a powered aircraft, had lasted a mere twelve seconds and traveled only about 120 feet. But as the Wright brothers recognized, it was the 'first time in the history of the world in which a machine carrying a man had raised itself by its own power into the air in free flight, had sailed forward, on a level course without reduction of speed, and had finally landed without being wrecked.'

    The Wrights made three more flights that morning before the Flyer was damaged by a sudden gust of wind. The final flight was 852 feet in length and lasted fifty-nine seconds. Orville, thirty-two and Wilbur, thirty-six were not engineers; in fact, they were high school dropouts. The brothers owned a bicycle shop in Dayton, Ohio when in 1899 they began their methodical survey of existing aviation literature—little more than a confusing collection of rumors and untested theories. Then, over the next four years, they developed and tested their own theories. Inspired by German engineer Otto Lillenthal's success in glider flying, Wilbur Wright concluded that the secret to flight lay in developing airworthy rigid wings. Once a person could learn to balance and soar in the air on man-made wings, it would be easy to add a motor and propeller to complete the flying machine.

    One of the people who had observed the efforts of the Wright brothers, which lead up to the initial flight, related, 'We couldn't help thinkin' they were just a pair of poor nuts. We'd watch them from the windows of our station. They'd stand on the beach for hours at a time just looking at the gulls flying, soaring, dipping. They would watch the gannets and imitate the movements of their wings with their arms and hands. They could imitate every movement of the wings of those gannets; we thought they were crazy, but we just had to admire the way they could move their arms this way and that and bend their elbows and wrist bones up and down and every which way.' This same individual was present to witness the first successful attempt, 'Orville climbed into the machine, the engine was started up, and we helped steady it down the monorail until it got underway. The thing went off with a rush and left the rail as pretty as you please, going straight out into the air maybe 120 feet, when one of its wings tilted and caught in the sand, and the thing stopped. I like to think about that first airplane the way it tailed off in the air at Kill Devil Hills (near Kitty Hawk) that morning, as pretty as any bird you ever laid your eyes on. I don't think I ever saw a prettier sight in my life.'" Twentieth Century: History With the Boring Parts Left Out, by David Wallechinsky

    We've certainly come a long way since that day in December, 1903! In many different respects we've made great strides. The aviation industry was another one of the last bastions of male dominance to ultimately accept the talent and resourcefulness of women. As recently as the last decade, women have been piloting commercial airplanes, commanding military jets, working in NASA programs and traveling into the cosmos aboard space shuttles. When commercial airline companies began, the women they hired as flight attendants were required to be Registered Nurses. As the size of the planes grew and air travel became more common, the role of the flight attendant evolved into something more complex—"flying waitress" as some passengers said, public relations specialists as the people who graduated from "smile school" explained and "hostesses" representing their corporate employers. The flying public has not generally understood that their primary responsibility, and the only reason their presence is required on the airplane, is safety—in any type of emergency.

    The lessons we might embrace, which the Wright Brothers embodied, have to do with flying, both figuratively as well as literally. Their ambition "to soar" was about pursuing a dream. They were high school dropouts and their early endeavors were viewed with skepticism and even derision ("we thought they were a couple of nuts") but they persevered.

    Women, perhaps, grasp that perspective more quickly and have long understood the adage, "The sky is the limit." And, we didn't wait long to express our views on the topic:

    "This new sport is comparable to no other. It is, in my opinion, one of the most intoxicating forms of sport, and will, I am sure, become one of the most popular. Many of us will perish before then, but that prospect will not dismay the braver spirits…How delicious to fly like a bird!" Marie Marvingt (1911)

    "Aviation is poetry…It's just the finest kind of moving around, you know, just as poetry is the finest way of using words." Jessie Fauset (1933)

    "Flight is nothing but an attitude in motion." Diane Ackerman (1985)

    And, our absolute favorite:

    "Landing a Tomcat (on an aircraft carrier) is sort of like dancing with an elephant…you can kind of nudge it over to the right and ease it over to the left, but when it decides to sit down, there's not a thing you can do about it." Kara S. Hultgreen (1994)


    "It is necessary that we dream now and then. No one ever achieved anything from the smallest to the greatest unless the dream was dreamed first." Laura Ingalls Wilder

    Tuesday, December 16, 2003

    We have so many Neat Women friends who are sending us fun stuff for Christmas that we expect to be jolly well into the New Year. And, we're going to share them all with you in hopes that they'll brighten your holidays and give you a pause for chuckling when the frenzy seems like it might overwhelm you. We're reminded again of the quote from Anna Quindlen speech when her father said to her, "Just remember, if you win the rat race, you're still a rat." So, please slow down long enough to smell the pine scents and all the potpourri that is scattered about at this time of year!

    I hate to be the one to defy sacred myth, but I believe he's a she.

    Think about it. Christmas is a big, organized, warm, fuzzy, nurturing, social deal, so I have a tough time believing a guy could possibly pull it all off!!

    For starters, the majority of men don't even think about selecting gifts until Christmas Eve. Once at the mall, they always seem surprised to find only Ronco products, socket-wrench sets and mood rings left on the shelves. On this count alone, I'm convinced Santa is a woman.

    Surely, if he were a man, everyone in the universe would wake up Christmas morning to find a rotating Chia Pet under the tree—still in the bag.

    Another problem for a he-Santa would be getting there. First of all, there would be no reindeer because they would all be dead, gutted and strapped to the rear bumper of the sleigh amid wide-eyed, desperate claims that buck season had been extended. Blitzen's rack would already be on the way to the taxidermist.

    Even if the male Santa DID have reindeer, he'd still have transportation problems because he would inevitably get lost up there in the snow and clouds, then refuse to stop to ask for directions.

    Other reasons why Santa can't possibly be a man:

    -Men can't pack a bag.

    -Men would rather be dead than caught wearing red velvet.

    -Men would feel their masculinity is threatened by being seen with all those elves.

    -Men don't answer their mail.

    -Men would refuse to allow their physique to be described, even in jest, as anything remotely resembling a "bowlful of jelly."

    -Men aren't interested in stockings unless somebody's wearing them.

    -Having to do the "Ho-Ho-Ho" thing would seriously inhibit their ability to pick up women.

    -Finally, being responsible for Christmas would require a commitment.

    I can buy the fact that other mythical characters are men:

    -Father Time shows up once a year unshaven and looking ominous. Definitely a guy.

    -Cupid flies around carrying weapons.

    -Uncle Sam is a politician who likes to point fingers.

    Any one of these individuals could pass the testosterone screening test. But not St. Nick!

    "Our children await Christmas presents like politicians getting in election returns: there's the Uncle Fred precinct and the Aunt Ruth district still to come in." Marcelene Cox


    Looking for last minute, easy, free gifts? Freebies

    If you are so inclined, visit the Department of Defense web page below and sign a brief message thanking the men and women of the U.S. military services for defending our freedom. The compiled list of names will be sent out to our armed forces at the end of the month. Please pass it on to your email friends.

    It takes only about 10 seconds.

    Monday, December 15, 2003


    I hate this time of year. Not for its crass commercialism and forced frivolity, but because it's the season when the food police come out with their wagging fingers and annual tips on how to get through the holidays without gaining 10 pounds. You can't pick up a magazine without finding a list of holiday eating do's and don'ts. Eliminate second helpings, high calorie sauces and cookies made with butter, they say. Fill up on vegetable sticks, they say.

    Good grief. Is your favorite childhood memory of Christmas a carrot stick? I didn't think so. Isn't mine, either. A carrot was something you left for Rudolph. I have my own list of tips for holiday eating. I assure you, if you follow them, you'll be fat and happy. So what if you don't make it to New Year's? Your pants won't fit anymore, anyway.

    1. About those carrot sticks. Avoid them. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

    2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. Like fine single malt scotch, it's rare. In fact, it's even rarer than single malt scotch. You can't find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnogaholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

    3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand-alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

    4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

    5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

    6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

    7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. Don't leave them behind. You're not going to see them again.

    8. Same for pies; Apple, Pumpkin, and Mincemeat, have a slice of each. Or, if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

    9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

    10. And one final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Reread tips. Start over. But hurry! Cookie less January is just around the corner.


    "Food is an important part of a balanced diet." Fran Lebowitz

    Sunday, December 14, 2003


    Someone sent us the following, which is yet another inspiring example of a woman's deep understanding of people who "are different."

    "I am a mother of three (ages 14, 12, 3) and have recently completed my college degree. The last class I had to take was Sociology. The teacher was absolutely inspiring with the qualities that I wish every human being had been graced with. Her last project of the term was called, 'Smile.' The class was asked to go out and smile at three people and document their reactions. I am a very friendly person and always smile at everyone and say hello anyway, so I thought, this would be a piece of cake, literally.

    Soon after we were assigned the project, my husband, youngest son, and I went out to McDonald's one crisp March morning. It was just our way of sharing special playtime with our son. We were standing in line, waiting to be served, when all of a sudden everyone around us began to back away, and then even my husband did.

    I did not move an inch….an overwhelming feeling of panic welled up inside of me as I turned to see why they had moved. As I turned around I smelled a horrible 'dirty body' smell, and there standing behind me were two poor, homeless men. As I looked down at the short gentleman, close to me, he was 'smiling.' His beautiful sky blue eyes were full of God's light as he searched for acceptance. He said, 'Good day' as he counted the few coins he had been clutching. The second man fumbled with his hands as he stood behind his friend. I realized the second man was mentally deficient and the blue eyed man was his salvation.

    I held my tears as I stood there with them. The young lady at the counter asked him what they wanted. He said, 'Coffee is all Miss' because that was obviously all they could afford. (If they wanted to sit in the restaurant and warm up, they had to buy something. He just wanted to be warm).

    Then I really felt it—the compulsion was so great I almost reached out and embraced the little man with the blue eyes. That is when I noticed all eyes in the restaurant were set on me, judging my every action. I smiled and asked the young lady behind the counter to give me two more breakfast meals on a separate tray. I then walked around the corner to the table that the men had chosen as a resting spot. I put the tray on the table and laid my hand on the blue eyed gentleman's cold hand. He looked up at me, with tears in his eyes, and said, 'Thank you.'

    I leaned over, began to pat his hand and said, 'I did not do this for you. God is here working through me to give you hope.' I started to cry as I walked away to join my husband and son. When I sat down my husband smiled at me and said, 'That is why God gave you to me, Honey. To give me hope.'

    We held hands for a moment and at that time we knew that only because of the Grace that we had been given were we able to give. We are not churchgoers, but we are believers. That day showed me the pure Light of God's sweet love.

    I returned to college, on the last evening of class, with this story in hand. I turned in 'my project' and the instructor read it. Then she looked up at me and said, 'Can I share this?' I slowly nodded as she got the attention of the class. She began to read and that is when I knew that we, as human beings and being part of God, share this need to heal people and be healed.

    In my own way, I had touched the people at McDonald's, my husband, son, instructor, and every soul that shared the classroom on the last night I spent as a college student. I graduated with one of the biggest lessons I would ever learn: UNCONDITIONAL ACCEPTANCE. Much love and compassion is sent to each and every person who may read this and learn how to LOVE PEOPLE AND USE THINGS—NOT LOVE THINGS AND USE PEOPLE."

    Many people will walk in and out of your life,
    But only true friends will leave footprints on your heart.

    To handle yourself, use your head,
    To handle others, use your heart.

    Anger is only one letter short of danger. Great minds discuss great idea;
    Average minds discuss events;
    Small minds discuss people.

    God gives every bird it's food, but He does not
    Throw it into it's nest.

    He who loses money, loses much;
    He who loses a friend, loses more;
    He who loses faith, loses all.

    Beautiful young people are acts of nature,
    But beautiful old people are works of art.

    Learn from the mistakes of others.
    You can't live long enough to make them all yourself.

    "We give birth to others / by believing in that first, small spark of life / the spark we can barely see. / It is called hope. / It is immensely helpful / at birth." Macrina Wiederkehr

    Saturday, December 13, 2003


    The following rattles past us every year about this time so we hope you've not been subjected to it several times already. And, it is funny. In this politically correct world of ours, it may be a good idea not to take ourselves too seriously..


    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    TO: Everyone
    RE: Christmas Party
    DATE: December 1
    I'm happy to inform you that the company Christmas Party will take place on December 23, starting at noon in the banquet room at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue. No-host bar, but plenty of eggnog! We'll have a small band playing traditional carols..feel free to sing along. And don't be surprised if our CEO shows up dressed as Santa Claus!

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 2
    RE: Christmas Party
    In no way was yesterday's memo intended to exclude our Jewish employees. We recognize that Chanukah is an important holiday, which often coincides with Christmas, though unfortunately not this year. However, from now on we're calling it our "Holiday Party." The same policy applies to employees who are celebrating Kwanzaa at this time. Happy now?

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 3
    RE: Holiday Party
    Regarding the note I received from a member of Alcoholics Anonymous requesting a non-drinking table ... you didn't sign your name. I'm happy to accommodate this request, but if I put a sign on a table that reads, "AA Only"; you wouldn't be anonymous anymore. How am I supposed to handle this? Somebody?

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 7
    RE: Holiday Party
    What a diverse company we are! I had no idea that December 20 begins the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, which forbids eating, drinking and sex during daylight hours. There goes the party! Seriously, we can appreciate how a luncheon this time of year does not accommodate our Muslim employees' beliefs. Perhaps Luigi's can hold off on serving your meal until the end of the party - the days are so short this time of year - or else package everything for take-home in little foil swans. Will that work? Meanwhile, I've arranged for members of Overeaters Anonymous to sit farthest from the dessert buffet and pregnant women will get the table closest to the restrooms. Did I miss anything?

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 8
    RE: Holiday Party
    So December 22 marks the Winter Solstice...what do you expect me to do, a tap-dance on your heads? Fire regulations at Luigi's prohibit the burning of sage by our "earth-based Goddess-worshipping" employees, but we'll try to accommodate your shamanic drumming circle during the band's breaks. Okay???

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    Date: December 9
    RE: Holiday Party
    People, people, nothing sinister was intended by having our CEO dress up like Santa Claus! Even if the anagram of "Santa" does happen to be "Satan," there is no evil connotation to our own "little man in a red suit." It's a tradition, folks, like sugar shock at Halloween or family feuds over theThanksgiving turkey or broken hearts on Valentine's Day. Could we lighten up?

    FROM: Pat Lewis, Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 10
    RE: Holiday Party
    Vegetarians!?!?!? I've had it with you people!!! We're going to keep this party at Luigi's Open Pit Barbecue whether you like it or not, so you can sit quietly at the table furthest from the "grill of death," as you so quaintly put it, and you'll get your salad bar, including hydroponic tomatoes. But you know, they have feelings, too. Tomatoes scream when you slice them. I've heard them scream. I'm hearing them scream right now!

    FROM: Teri Bishops, Acting Human Resources Director
    DATE: December 14
    RE: Pat Lewis and Holiday Party
    I'm sure I speak for all of us in wishing Pat Lewis a speedy recovery from her stress-related illness and I'll continue to forward your cards to her at the sanatorium. In the meantime, management has decided to cancel our Holiday Party and give everyone the afternoon of the 23rd off with full pay.

    Friday, December 12, 2003

    For the remainder of this year, we are going to emphasize the importance of priority issues for Neat Women EVErywhere: stress reduction, healthy living, positive thinking and bringing this period of time to an end on a HIGH note! We believe Neat Women deserve nothing less and our hope is to convince you, beyond a shadow of doubt, that YOU find yourself in this Neat Women's neighborhood because you are just that. For all those who have already begun thinking, "Oh, BORING, just one more reminder of all the things I need to do but have such a struggle dealing with," we want to say, EVE is the worst offender of all in that department, so just give this a chance.

    From a hospital newsletter: What makes women happy?

    Happy Women Tend To:

    • like themselves—they have high self-esteem and believe themselves to be more ethical, intelligent and accepting
    • have a sense of personal control
    • be optimistic
    • be extroverted
    • have close, personal relationships
    • be involved in work or life pursuits that provide new challenges and person growth
    • Get enough sleep, eat right and exercise (If only that was as easy as it sounds—and realistically, it doesn't even sound that easy!)
    • Act confident. People who feign high self-esteem actually end up feeling better about themselves
    • Determine which activities you enjoy—then spend more time doing those activities
    • Consider stress reduction techniques, such as meditation—some experts believe these therapies may alter brain activity linked to anxiety


    From Woman's Day Magazine, April 21, 1998, Are You Making Things Worse?

    It pays to put things into perspective. Instead of saying… / Tell yourself….

    • "How could I make such a mistake?" /
      "Everyone makes mistakes."
    • "It shouldn't be this way!" /
      "That's the way things are."
    • "I don't deserve this. /
      "Maybe God is trying to teach me something."
    • "It's a catastrophe!" /
      "It's only a pain in the neck."
    • "I'm devastated!" /
      "I'm sad—but I'll survive."
    • "It's not fair!" /
      "Life is not fair."
    • "I can't stand this pain!" /
      "It hurts, but it won't last forever."

    Adapted from Finding Joy, by Charlotte Davis Kasl, published by Harper Collins, 1994 (The book and a year's subscription to Woman's Day would make a nice stocking stuffer—for you!)

    "We're all capable of climbing so much higher than we usually permit ourselves to suppose." Octavia Butler


    "Joy is the holy fire that keeps our purpose warm and our intelligence aglow." Helen Keller

    Thursday, December 11, 2003

    Thanks again to our friend Jayne for the following which seems especially appropriate now!


    I am your flag - the red, the blue, the white. I am the symbol of a great nation of people in whose veins flow the blood of many lands, their forebears and those people, who, in their times, sought for a chance to be free.

    I am your flag. I represent to all the peoples of this world a nation painfully born in the midst of suppression of mind, body and the right to look up into the heavens and pray to the God of their choice, for the freedom of body - mind and spirit.

    I am your flag saying to all who view me, yes, I am America, conceived in suppression, born of a child among adult nations and their struggles for existence. We have survived and will survive until that Great Planner and Manager of all destinies shall say to all nations, this is no more.

    I am your flag, not asking that you grovel when I pass by or, if you are preoccupied, to stop your labors. I will know by your eyes, that I am the symbol of a great country.

    I am your flag and I see many eyes - some with tears of pride, some with tears of sorrow; but you and I know that in your heart a prayer is being said, that I will always be your flag, and I will continue to wave over the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.


    "Americans….believe in the future as if it were a religion; they believe that there is nothing they cannot accomplish, that solutions wait somewhere for all problems, like brides." Frances FitzGerald


    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards - Click Here

    Wednesday, December 10, 2003

    There are many moving true stories about Christmas, it's hard to select just a few. However, we have been blessed with the online friendship of so many Neat Women, a number of whom have sent us their favorites. This is one.

    Angels, Once In a While

    In September 1960, I woke up one morning with six hungry babies and just 75 cents in my pocket. Their father was gone. The boys ranged from three months to seven years; their sister was two. Their Dad had never been much more than a presence they feared. Whenever they heard his tires crunch on the gravel driveway, they would scramble to hide under their beds. He did manage to leave $15 a week to buy groceries. Now that he had finally decided to leave, there would be no more beatings, but no food either. If there was a welfare system in effect in southern Indiana at that time, I certainly knew nothing about it.

    I scrubbed the kids until they looked brand new and then put on my best homemade dress. I loaded them into the rusty old 51 Chevy and drove off to find a job. The seven of us went to every factory, store and restaurant in our small town. No luck. The kids stayed, crammed into the car and tried to be quiet while I tried to convince whomever would listen that I was willing to learn to do anything. I had to have a job. But, still no luck. The last place we went to, just a few miles out of town, was an old Root Beer Barrel drive-in that had been converted to a truck stop. It was called the Big Wheel. An old lady named Granny owned the place and she peeked out of the window from time to time at all those kids. She needed someone on the graveyard shift, 11 at night until 7 in the morning. She paid 65 cents an hour and I could start that night. I raced home and called the teenager down the street that baby-sat for people. I bargained with her to come and sleep on my sofa for a dollar a night. She could arrive with her pajamas on and the kids would already be asleep. This seemed like a good arrangement to her, so we made a deal.

    That night when the little ones and I knelt down to say our prayers we all thanked God for finding Mommy a job. And so I started at the Big Wheel. When I got home in the mornings I woke the baby-sitter up and sent her home with one dollar of my tip money—fully half of what I averaged every night. As the weeks went by, heating bills added another strain to my meager wage. The tires on the old Chevy had the consistency of penny balloons and began to leak. I had to fill them with air on the way to work and again every morning before I could go home. One bleak fall morning, I dragged myself to the car to go home and found four tires in the back seat. New tires! There was no note, no nothing, just those beautiful brand new tires. Had angels taken up residence in Indiana? I wondered. I made a deal with the owner of the local service station. In exchange for his mounting the new tires, I would clean up his office. I remember it took me a lot longer to scrub his floor than it did for him to do the tires.

    I was now working six nights instead of five and it still wasn't enough. Christmas was coming and I knew there would be no money for toys for the kids. I found a can of red paint and started repairing and painting some old toys. Then I hid them in the basement so there would be something for Santa to deliver on Christmas morning. Clothes were a worry too. I was sewing patches on top of patches on the boy's pants and soon they would be too far-gone to repair. On Christmas Eve the usual customers were drinking coffee in the Big Wheel. There were the truckers, Les, Frank, and Jim, and a state trooper named Joe. A few musicians were hanging around after a gig at the Legion Hall and were dropping nickels into the pinball machine. The regulars all just sat around and talked through the wee hours of the morning and then left to get home before the sun came up.

    When it was time for me to go home at seven o'clock on Christmas morning, I hurried to the car. I was hoping the kids wouldn't wake up before I managed to get home and get the presents from the basement and place them under the tree. (We had cut down a small cedar tree by the side of the road down by the dump.) It was still dark and I couldn't see much, but there appeared to be some dark shadows in the car—or was that just a trick of the night? Something certainly looked different, but it was hard to tell what. When I reached the car I peered warily into one of the side windows. Then my jaw dropped in amazement. My old battered Chevy was full—full to the top with boxes of all shapes and sizes. I quickly opened the driver's side door, scrambled inside and knelt in the front seat facing the back seat. Reaching back, I pulled off the lid of the top box. Inside was a whole case of little blue jeans, sizes 2-10! I looked inside another box: It was full of shirts to go with the jeans. Then I peeked inside some of the other boxes: There were candy and nuts and bananas and bags of groceries. There was an enormous ham for baking, and canned vegetables and potatoes. There was pudding and Jell-O and cookies, pie filling and flour. There was a whole bag of laundry supplies and cleaning items. And there were five toy trucks and one beautiful little doll. As I drove back through empty streets as the sun was coming to life, I was sobbing with gratitude. And, I will never forget the joy on the faces of my little ones that precious morning. Yes, there were angels in Indiana that long-ago December. And they all hung out at the Big Wheel truck stop.

    I BELIEVE IN ANGELS! They live next door, around the corner, work in your office, patrol your neighborhood, call you at midnight to hear you laugh and listen to you cry, teach your children, and you see them everyday without even knowing it!

    "I was talking to angels long before they got fashionable….So maybe you don't believe in angels, that's all right, they don't care. They're not like Tinkerbell, you know, they don't depend on your faith to exist. A lot of people didn't believe the earth was round either, but that didn't make it any flatter." Nancy Pickard


    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards - Click Here

    Tuesday, December 9, 2003

    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards - Click Here

    One childhood memory for many of us, that is "laced" with recollections both funny and painful is that of roller-skating. We can't even clearly recollect how they were affixed to our shoes—it wasn't actually with laces was it? There was a skate key involved that would broaden or shorten the width as we attached them. The jazzier ones did have laces because they were actually a boot that was worn. There were roller rinks where the more proficient hung out and the clumsier ones like EVE merely visited when a school group or church gang had a "skating party."

    All in all, it's a fairly satisfying bit of nostalgia because it usually involved people we enjoyed being with, lots of laughter whenever someone landed unceremoniously on the seat of their pants, and was often followed by snacks and "soft" drinks. A bad scrape could be viewed as a badge of merit—we had the gumption to try it even when we weren't very good at it. If we had the fortitude to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again, it even served as a metaphor for life.

    On December 9 in 1884, ball-bearing roller skates were patented. So, we decided to find out more. Have you ever done that, only to discover that you had to make yourself a little crazy in the process, and wound up learning more than you really wanted to know? That's what happened, but here goes.

    An overview of the evolution of dry land skating (already this sounds like a snoozer but we hope you'll read on.)

    "Early 1700's, in Holland, an unknown Dutchman decided to go ice skating in the summer. He accomplished this by nailing wooden spools to strips of wood and attached them to his shoes. Ice-skating was the widespread method used in the Netherlands to travel the numerous frozen canals in winter, and 'skeelers' was the nickname given to the new dry land skaters.

    In 1960, a London instrument maker and inventor, Joseph Merlin, attended a masquerade party wearing one of his new inventions, metal-wheeled boots. Joseph desiring to make a grand entrance added the pizzazz of rolling in while playing the violin. Lining the huge ballroom was a very expensive wall length mirror, and the fiddling skater stood no chance. Merlin crashed solidly into the mirrored wall and rolling skated into society.

    1818, in Berlin roller skates made a more graceful entrance in the premier of the German ballet Der Maler oder die Wintervergn Ugungen (The Artist or Winter Pleasures). The ballet called for ice skating, but because it was impossible at that time to produce ice on a stage, roller skates were used.

    1819, France, the first patent for a roller skate is issued. The skate was a contraption, which attached to the bottom of a boot and was fitted with two to four rollers made of copper, wood, or ivory, arranged in a straight single line.

    1863, American James Plimpton, found a way to make a very useable pair of skates. Plimpton's skates had two parallel sets of wheels, one pair under the ball of the foot and the other pair under the heel. The four wheels were made of boxwood and worked on rubber springs, and this skate was the first that could maneuver in a smooth curve. This was considered the birth of modern four-wheeled roller skates that allowed turns and the ability to skate backwards.

    1902, The Coliseum, Chicago, opened a public skating rink, and opening night was attended by over 7000 people.

    1908, Madison Square Garden, New York was converted into a rink, and hundreds of rink openings in the United States and Europe followed. The sport was becoming very popular, and various versions of the roller skating developed, recreational skating on indoor and outdoor rinks, polo skating, ballroom roller dancing and competitive speed skating.

    1960, technology (with the advent of plastics) helped the wheel truly come of age with new designs.

    The late 70's through mid 80's, a second big skating boom occurred with the marriage of Disco and Roller Skating. Over 4,000 Roller Discos were in operation, and Hollywood began making roller skating movies.

    1979, in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Scott and Brennan Olson, brothers and hockey players find an antique pair of roller skates. It was one of the early designs that used the 'in-line' wheels rather than the four-wheeled parallel design of George Plimpton. Intrigued by the in-line design the brothers began redesigning taking from the old skates and new materials. They used polyurethane wheels, attached the skates to ice hockey boots, and added a rubber toe brake.

    1983, Scott Olson founded Rollerblade, Inc., and the term 'rollerblading' is now almost always used for the sport of in-line skating. This is due to Rollerblade, Inc. being the only manufacturer of in-line skates for a long time. The first mass produced rollerblades while innovative had some design flaws, difficult to put on and adjust, prone to collecting dirt and moisture in the ballbearings. The wheels were easily damaged and the brakes came from the old roller skate toe brake and were not very effective. The Olson brothers sold Rollerblade, Inc. and the new owners had the money to really improve the design. The first massively successful Rollerblade skate was the Lightning TRS, the flaws vanished, and fiberglass was used to produce the frames. The wheels were better protected, the skates were easier to put on and adjust, and stronger brakes were placed at the rear. With the success of the Lightning TRS, other in-line skate companies appeared UltraWheels, Oxygen, K2 and more.

    1989, Rollerblade, Inc. produced the Macro and Aeroblades models, and these models were the first to be fastened with three buckles instead of long laces that needed to be threaded.

    1990, Rollerblade, Inc. switched to a glass reinforced thermoplastic resin (Durethan polyamide) for their skates replacing the polyurethane compounds previously used, decreasing the average weight of the skate by nearly fifty percent.

    1993, Rollerblade, Inc. developed ABT, (Active Brake Technology), a fiberglass post was attached at the one end to the top of the boot, and at the other to a rubber brake hinged to the chassis at the back wheel. A skater had to straighten one leg, driving the post into the brake hinged, which then hits the ground. Previous to this braking meant tilting your foot back to make contact with the ground, the new brake design increased safety.

    Presently, the best way for you to experience inventions in the world of wheels is up close and personal. Please do so and keep rolling."

    And the rest, as they say, is all down hill from there!! Yes, we know—all you ever wanted to know and more about the subject.

    "If a young dog strays up the aisle during church no one says anything, no one does anything, but, none the less, he soon becomes aware that something is wrong. Even so, as the distance between myself and the hearth rug diminished, did I become aware that something was very wrong indeed." Ethel Smyth


    Which is our way of saying, if you want to really embarrass yourself, try something like rollerblading—or not.

    Monday, December 8, 2003

    Just for Today

    Just for today I will try to live through this day only and not set far-reaching goals to try to overcome all my problems at once.

    I know I can do something for 12 hours that would be overwhelming if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

    Just for today I will try to be happy. Abraham Lincoln said, "Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be."

    He was right. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. I will chase them out of my mind and replace them with happy thoughts.

    Just for today I will adjust myself to what is. I will face reality. I will try to change those things that I can change and accept those things I cannot change.

    Just for today I will try to improve my mind. I will not be a mental loafer. I will force myself to read something that requires effort, thought and concentration.

    Just for today I will do a good deed for somebody - without letting her/him know it. (If he or she finds out I did it, it won't count.)

    Just for today I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll make an honest effort to cut down. If I'm overweight, I'll eat nothing I know is fattening. And I will force myself to exercise--even if it's only walking around the block or using the stairs instead of the elevator.

    Just for today I will be totally honest. If someone asks me something I don't know, I will not try to bluff, I'll simply say, "I don't know."

    Just for today, before I speak I will ask myself, "Is it true?" "Is it kind?" If the answer is negative, I won't say it. Just for today I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will look as well as I can, dress becomingly, talk softly, act courteously and not interrupt when someone else is talking. Just for today I'll not try to improve anybody except myself.

    Just for today I will have a program. I may not follow it exactly, but I will have it, thereby saving myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.

    Just for today I will have a quiet half-hour to relax alone. During this time I will reflect on my behavior and will try to get a better perspective on my life.

    Just for today I will be unafraid. I will gather the courage to do what is right and take the responsibility for my own actions. I will expect nothing from the world, but I will realize that as I give to the world, the world will give to me.    



    Get out of Grumble Lane and Live on Thanksgiving Street....
    Be thankful for many things you do not have...
    There's one thing for which we can be thankful;
    only God and we have all the facts about ourselves.

    Sunday, December 7, 2003


    Something to Ponder:

    Jack took a long look at his speedometer before slowing down: 73 in a 55 zone. Fourth time in as many months. How could a guy get caught so often? When his car had slowed to 10 miles an Hour, Jack pulled over, but only partially. Let the cop worry about the potential traffic hazard. Maybe some other car will tweak his backside with a mirror. The cop was stepping out of his car, the big pad in hand. Bob? Bob from Church? Jack sunk farther into his trench coat. This was worse than the coming ticket. A cop catching a guy from his own church. A guy who happened to be a little eager to get home after a long day at the office. A guy he was about to play golf with tomorrow.

    Jumping out of the car, he approached a man he saw every Sunday, a man he'd never seen in uniform.

    "Hi, Bob. Fancy meeting you like this."

    "Hello, Jack." No smile.

    "Guess you caught me red-handed in a rush to see my wife and kids."

    "Yeah, I guess." Bob seemed uncertain. Good.

    "I've seen some long days at the office lately. I'm afraid I bent the rules a bit-just this once." Jack toed at a pebble on the pavement. "Diane said something about roast beef and potatoes tonight. Know what I mean?"

    "I know what you mean. I also know that you have a reputation in our precinct." Ouch. This was not going in the right direction. Time to change tactics.

    "What'd you clock me at?"

    "Seventy. Would you sit back in your car please?"

    "Now wait a minute here, Bob. I checked as soon as I saw you. I was barely nudging 65." The lie seemed to come easier with every ticket.

    "Please, Jack, in the car."

    Flustered, Jack hunched himself through the still-open door. Slamming it shut, he stared at the dash board. He was in no rush to open the window.

    The minutes ticked by. Bob scribbled away on the pad. Why hadn't he asked for a driver's license? Whatever the reason, it would be a month of Sundays before Jack ever sat near this cop again.

    A tap on the door jerked his head to the left. There was Bob, a folded paper in hand.

    Jack rolled down the window a mere two inches, just enough room for Bob to pass him the slip. "Thanks." Jack could not quite keep the sneer out of his voice.

    Bob returned to his police car without a word. Jack watched his retreat in the mirror. Jack unfolded the sheet of paper. How much was this one going to cost? Wait a minute. What was this? Some kind of joke? Certainly not a ticket.

    Jack began to read:
    "Dear Jack, Once upon a time I had a daughter. She was six when killed by a car. You guessed it - a speeding driver. A fine and three months in jail, and the man was free. Free to hug his daughters. All three of them. I only had one, and I'm going to have to wait until Heaven before I can ever hug her again. A thousand times I've tried to forgive that man. A thousand times I thought I had. Maybe I did, but I need to do it again. Even now. Pray for me. And be careful. My son is all I have left."

    Jack turned around in time to see Bob's car pull away and head down the road. Jack watched until it disappeared. A full 15 minutes later, he too, pulled away and drove slowly home, praying for forgiveness and hugging a surprised wife and kids when he arrived.

    Life is precious. Handle with care. This is an important message, please pass it along to your friends.

    Drive safely and carefully. Remember, cars are not the only thing recalled by their maker.

    Pass this on - you may save a life. Maybe not, but you'll never know if you don't try.

    Thanks to Sue in Indianapolis for sending us that.

    Saturday, December 6, 2003


    HOW TO STOP PEOPLE FROM BUGGING YOU ABOUT GETTING MARRIED: Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs, cackling, and telling me, "You're next!"

    They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals!

    It is with the saddest hearts we pass on the following:

    Please join us in remembering a great icon - the veteran Pillsbury spokesman. The Pillsbury Doughboy died yesterday of a yeast infection and complications from repeated pokes in the belly. He was 71. Doughboy was buried in a lightly greased coffin. Dozens of celebrities turned out to pay their respects, including Mrs. Butterworth, Hungry Jack, the California Raisins, Betty Crocker, the Hostess Twinkies, and Captain Crunch.

    The grave site was piled high with flours. Long-time friend Aunt Jemima delivered the eulogy, describing Doughboy as a man who never knew how much he was kneaded, someone who rose quickly in show business, but his later life was filled with turnovers.

    He was not considered a very "smart" cookie, wasting much of his dough on half-baked schemes. Despite being a little flaky at times, he still, as a crusty old man, was considered a roll model for millions. Toward the end it was thought he would rise again, but alas, he was no tart. Doughboy is survived by his wife, Play Dough; two children, John Dough and Jane Dough; plus they had one in the oven. He is also survived by his elderly father, Pop Tart.



    1. Humans shall make no law respecting an establishment of boundaries or prohibiting the free exercise therein, or abridging the freedom of access, or the right to peaceful assembly. In other words: The cat is entitled to go outside anytime he wants.

    2. A well-carried provisional chamber, being necessary to the fulfillment of a feline's whims, shall not be infringed. In other words: The cat is entitled to EAT anytime he wants.

    3. The right of the feline to be secure in their domain and effects against unreasonable discomposure, shall not be violated. In other words: The cat is entitled to SLEEP anytime he wants.

    4. Humans shall issue no warrants or decrees or edicts as prescribed to the demarcation of possessions or property which are in direct conflict with right of life, liberty and the pursuit of feline affirmation. In other words: The cat is entitled to sleep ANYWHERE he wants.

    5. The feline shall be immune to all criminal accusations, indictments and complaints. The accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and impartial dismissal of any and all charges provided said feline's compulsory right to obtain any or all witnesses, including character witnesses, are obtained in his favor. In other words: Cats can do anything they want as long as it's cute.

    6. Neither serfdom, vassalage, or involuntary servitude will be tolerated, except by said cats in proprietorship of their humans. In other words: What I say goes. (And I say feed me ... Again.)

    7. No Canis familiaris shall, in time of peace or at any other time, be quartered in any dwelling without the consent of the potentate, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by sovereign. In other words: No dogs in the house without my permission.

    8. The right of the feline to be protected against unreasonable search and seizures shall not be breached or infringed upon at anytime or any place. In other words: Don't disturb me when I am sleeping.



    Men are like.....Bank Accounts.
    Without a lot of money, they don't generate much interest.

    Men are like.....Bike helmets.
    Handy in an emergency, but otherwise they just LOOK SILLY.

    Men are like.....Coffee.
    The best ones are rich, warm, and can keep you up all night long.

    Men are like.....Computers.
    Hard to figure out and never have enough memory.

    Men are like.....Government bonds.
    They take so long to mature.

    Men are like.....High heels.
    They're easy to walk on once you get the hang of it.

    Men are like.....Horoscopes.
    They always tell you what to do and are usually wrong.

    Men are like.....Lava lamps.
    Fun to look at, but not all that bright.

    Men are like.....Mascara.
    They usually run at the first sign of emotion.

    Men are like.....Placemats.
    They only show up when there's food on the table.

    Men are like.....Weather.
    Nothing can be done to change either one of them.

    "Personally, I like two types of men—domestic and foreign." Mae West

    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards - Click Here

    Friday, December 5, 2003

    EVE decided to conduct an informal survey to see how they feel about life, and the A word in particular. (A for age or aging).

    36-year-old hair stylist named Trina

    EVE….. "How do you feel about aging?"

    Trina…. "I don't mind it. Everybody has to do it, so why worry?"

    EVE…. "Are you curious about anything that has to do with aging?"

    Trina…. "Not really. It's going to happen no matter what, so I don't actually think about it."

    EVE…. "In other words, you're pretty "kicked back" about life in general?"

    Trina….. "Absolutely! All that really matters to me is taking good care of my family and putting food on the table. (She has a baby girl named Kendall who is 3 years old). It makes my husband a little crazy because he worries about everything and gets uptight about a lot of little things."

    EVE…. "How about what you want for yourself. Don't you ever think about that?"

    Trina…. "Well, I'm going to school part-time to get a Bachelor's degree and that's important to me and something I really want to do. Right now I'm taking German and have to study a lot."

    EVE…. "Why German?"

    Trina…. "Because I have to take two years of another language."

    EVE…. "Good luck. You've got a great attitude. It took me a lot longer to come to grips with and stop worrying about the 'small stuff.' Apparently, lots of people have that problem because, Don't Sweat the Small Stuff, was on the best seller list for ages!"

    We'll concede that might not sound like a particularly scintillating conversation, but we were struck by the wisdom of Trina's brief responses. Occasionally, EVE tries to "wax eloquent" about the "meaning of life" and all that good "whoo-haa," but bottom line, the profound insights are often the simplest ones. Recently, someone sent us the following which you've undoubtedly seen before but as the year ends, it seems worth a quick re-visit:


    Age 8: Looks at herself and sees Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty, etc.

    Age 15: Looks at herself and sees Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty/Cheerleader (or if she is PMS'ing: sees Fat/Pimples/Ugly and "Mom I can't go to school looking like this!")

    Age 20: Looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"--but decides she's going anyway

    Age 30: Looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"--but decides she doesn't have time to fix it so she goes anyway

    Age 40: Looks at herself and sees "too fat/too thin, too short/too tall, too straight/too curly"--but says, "At least I'm clean" and goes anyway

    Age 50: Looks at herself and sees "I am" and goes wherever she wants to

    Age 60: Looks at herself and reminds herself of all the people who can't even see themselves in the mirror anymore. Goes out and conquers the world

    Age 70: Looks at herself and sees wisdom, laughter and ability, goes out and enjoys life.

    Age 80: Doesn't bother to look. Just puts on a red hat and goes out to participate in the world.

    Age 90: Can't see and doesn't worry about it!

    "One of the signs of passing youth is the birth of a sense of fellowship with other human beings as we take our place among them." Virginia Woolf

    "By the bye, as I must leave off being young, I find many pleasures in being a sort of chaperon for I am put on the sofa near the fire and can drink as much wine as I like." Jane Austen

    "In youth we learn, in age we understand." Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach


    Recommended reading: "Forever Fifty" by Judith Viorst

    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards - Click Here

    Thursday, December 4, 2003

    We thank neat woman Jayne for the following:

    Be understanding to your enemies.

    Be loyal to your friends.

    Be strong enough to face the world each day.

    Be weak enough to know you cannot do everything alone.

    Be generous to those who need your help

    Be frugal with what you need yourself.

    Be wise enough to know that you do not know everything.

    Be foolish enough to believe in miracles.

    Be willing to share your joys.

    Be willing to share the sorrows of others

    Be a leader when you see a path others have missed

    Be a follower when you are shrouded by the mists of uncertainty.

    Be the first to congratulate an opponent who succeeds.

    Be the last to criticize a colleague who fails.

    Be sure where your next step will fall, so that you will not stumble.

    Be sure of your final destination, in case you are going the wrong way.

    Be loving to those who love you.

    Be loving to those who do not love you, and they may change.

    Above all, be yourself.


    "Character—the willingness to accept responsibility for one's own life—is the source from which self-respect springs." Joan Didion

    December is a month of so many different celebrations that we urge you to take advantage of the free online greeting card section of NEAT WOMEN INC! Cards

    Wednesday, December 3, 2003

    Today EVE'S in a major "vent" mode! About what?? Oh, a bit of this and that. We'll tackle the "this" first….

    Fact or fiction?? (you decide)

    When the bill arrives, Mike, Phil, Rob and Jack will each throw in $20, even though it's only for $22.50. None of them will have anything smaller, and none will actually admit they want change back. When the girls get their bill, out come the pocket calculators.

    A man will pay $2 for a $1 item he wants. A woman will pay $1 for a $2 item that she doesn't want.

    A man has six items in his bathroom - a toothbrush, shaving cream, razor, a bar of soap, and a towel from the Holiday Inn. The average number of items in the typical woman's bathroom is 437. A man would not be able to identify most of these items.

    A woman has the last word in any argument. Anything a man says after that is the beginning of a new argument.

    A woman worries about the future until she gets a husband. A man never worries about the future until he gets a wife.

    A successful man is one who makes more money than his wife can spend. A successful woman is one who can find such a man.

    A woman marries a man expecting he will change, but he doesn't. A man marries a woman expecting that she won't change and she does.

    A woman will dress up to: go shopping, water the plants, empty the garbage, answer the phone, read a book, get the mail. A man will dress up for weddings, funerals.

    Men wake up as good-looking as when they went to bed. Women somehow deteriorate during the night.

    Ah, children. A woman knows all about her children. She knows about dentist appointments and romances, best friends and favorite foods and secret fears and hopes and dreams. A man is vaguely aware of some short people living in the house.

    Surely, you will not be surprised to learn the list was compiled by a man!

    "Men don't live well by themselves. They don't even live like people. They live like bears with furniture." Rita Rudner

    What follows next is the "that" part of the "this and that" Eve is on a venting binge about. Every one of these was listed in the subject area of an E-mail sent to Neat Women Inc within the last couple of months. Each was designed to provoke enough interest so the E-mail would actually be opened rather than deleted, unread. And ALL purport to carry messages of how to "get rich quick" on the Internet. Fortunately, everyone at Neat Women Inc has a well-developed sense of humor—in 1999, the site made $18 and in 2000 $7.59 and as the end of the year approaches we're in a deficit mode but we always remind ourselves that money isn't everything! This is a rather exhaustive list…and it's exhausting to open the mailbox and see them sitting there…so you may want to take a very quick glance through!

    This Dumb Little Ad Could Make You Look Smart
    What's up DOC
    The Magic Story Will Change Your Life
    This is a pleasant surprise
    Wear Nothing but UNDERWEAR to Work
    You Tired of Earning Chump Change
    You have heard about it Now here it is
    20000 Weekly While You Play or Sleep
    Sex sites are not the only ones making money
    Discover How To Make $4,000 A Day! Secrets Revealed.
    gotta do it ... Make $$$$ giving away $10
    Six Figure Global Internet Income System!
    Putting CASH in Your Pocket
    What are you doing?
    How money is made on the Internet
    A Happy Wish for You... :)
    Want To Laugh Earn A Fortune Giving Away FREE Info Biz-In-A-Box Disks!
    Look what I found
    They R Stealing From You!
    Make $462 per DAY!
    What do you want?
    Unlocking the Secrets
    It costs ZERO!
    Five Bucks Free -- no strings!
    120 dollars an Hour
    Earn $5 just by reading this email...
    1.5 Million dollar payout!
    Thank you.....
    Please read!
    VIAGRA KILLED 522! Safe Alternative! Could Make You MONEY!
    Did you miss Soup To Nuts?
    PLEASE READ ASAP! This is Unbelievable!
    Have you tried this?
    Why Doesn't Everyone Succeed Online?

    Gee—they make it sound so easy!!


    If you're fairly new to Neat Women Inc, you may not be familiar with Eve's coded daily message to her daughter who lives 1100 miles away (I Love You Catherine, Mommy) or (Catherine, I Love You Mommy)…corny but heartfelt!

    Tuesday, December 2, 2003

    Since this is the final countdown to the holiday season and some of us may be feeling a bit more frantic than usual, we offer the following as a mindless diversion.

    Is it possible that the right to "freedom of expression" has been carried too far in some parts of the world? Do you suppose that the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness was intended for folks living in the Los Angeles, California area and that they went a bit "over the top" with that? Someone recently sent us the following, and we'll let you be the judge.

    How you KNOW you're in Southern California

    1. Your coworker has 8 body piercings and none are visible.

    2. Your make over $250,000 and still can't afford a house.

    3. You can't remember… pot illegal?

    4. You have a very strong opinion about where your coffee beans are grown and can taste the difference between Sumatra and Ethiopian.

    5. Your child's 3rd grade teacher has purple hair, a nose ring, and is named Breeze.

    6 You've been to more than one baby shower that has two mothers and a sperm donor.

    7. A man gets on the bus in full leather regalia and crotchless chaps. You don't even notice.

    8. A woman gets on the bus with live poultry. You don't even notice.

    9. You take a bus and are shocked at 2 people carrying on a conversation in English.

    10. You know which Brentwood restaurant serves the freshest arugula.

    11. A really great parking space can more you to tears.

    12. A low speed pursuit will interrupt ANY TV broadcast.

    13. Gas cost 75 cents per gallon more than anywhere else in the U.S.

    14. Unlike back home, the guy at 8:30 a.m. at Starbucks wearing the baseball cap and sunglasses who looks like George Clooney IS George Clooney.

    15. Your car insurance costs as much as your house payment.

    16. The gym is packed at 3 p.m……on a work day.

    17. It's sprinkling and there's a report on every news station about "STORM WATCH 99."

    18. Your paperboy has a two-picture deal.

    19. The three-hour traffic jam you just sat through wasn't caused by a horrific nine-car Freeway pileup, but by everyone slowing to rubberneck at a lost shoe lying on the shoulder.

    20. The weatherman talks about the weather in the other parts of the country, as if you really care.

    21. You pass an elementary school playground and the children are all busy with their cell phones or pages.

    22. It's sprinkling outside, so you leave work an hour or two early to avoid all the weather-related accidents.

    23. You AND your dog have therapists.

    Well, these are indeed interesting times and all the excitement is by no means limited to Southern California. Much of it is as close as your nearest multiplex cinema or video rental store. Consider:

    Things You Learn From the Movies

    Large, loft style apartments in New York City are well within the price range of most people—whether they or employed or not.

    At least one of a pair of identical twins is born evil.

    Should you decide to defuse a bomb, don't worry which wire to cut. You will always choose the right one.

    When you turn out the light to go to bed, everything in your bedroom will still be clearly visible, just slightly bluish.

    If you are blonde and pretty, it is possible to become a world expert on nuclear fission at the age of 22.

    All beds have special L-shaped cover sheets that reach the armpit level on a woman but only to waist level on the man lying beside her.

    All grocery shopping bags contain at least one stick of French bread.

    It's easy for anyone to land a plane providing there is someone in the control tower to talk you down.

    Once applied, lipstick will never rub off—even while scuba diving.

    The Eiffel Tower can be seen from any window in Paris.

    A man will show no pain while a taking the most ferocious beating, but will wince when a woman tries to clean his wounds.

    If staying in a haunted house, women should investigate any strange noises in their most revealing underwear.

    A detective can only solve a case once he has been suspended from duty.

    If you appreciate Steve Martin's offbeat style humor, you might want to rent, "LA Story" which he wrote, produced and starred in, keeping in mind that the point of the story is to offer evidence on how that city got the reputation for being, "LALA Land."

    Our reality today is shaped in so many ways by various electronic mediums, including movies, television and the global communications network. Will we get even "crazier" in the 21st Century or, as some people are already doing, begin to embrace more of the simpler, gentler life styles of the past? Only time will tell.

    "Time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations." Faith Baldwin

    "Time heals all things but one: Time." Cynthia Ozick

    "Time, like money, is measured by our deeds." George Eliot

    "I've been on a calendar, but never on time." Marilyn Monroe

    "There is Indian time and white man's time. Indian time means never looking at the clock….There is not even a word for time in our language." Mary Brave Bird


    And, we saved our favorite for last: "Years…should be nothing to you. Who asked you to count them or to consider them? In the world of wild Nature, time is measured by seasons only—the bird does not know how old it is—the rose tree does not count its birthdays!" Marie Corelli

    Monday, December 1, 2003

    The following was widely circulated on the Internet about this time last year. We could not resist dusting it off and posting it again.

    A Martha Stewart Christmas

    Dear Santa:

    I rarely ask for much. This year is no exception. I don't need diamond earrings, handy slicer-dicers or comfy slippers. I only want one little thing, and I want it deeply.

    I want to slap Martha Stewart.

    Now, hear me out, Santa. I won't scar her or draw blood or anything. Just one good smack, right across her smug little cheek. I get all cozy inside just thinking about it. Don't grant this wish just for me, do it for thousands of women across the country. Through sheer vicarious satisfaction, you'll be giving a gift to us all. Those of us leading average, garden-variety lives aren't concerned with gracious living.

    We feel pretty good about ourselves if our paper plates match when we stack them on the counter, buffet-style for dinner. We're tired of Martha showing us how to make centerpieces from hollyhock dipped in 18-carat gold. We're plumb out of liquid gold. Unless it's of the furniture polish variety. We can't whip up Martha's creamy holiday sauce, spiced with turmeric. Most of us can't even say turmeric, let alone figure out what to do with it.

    OK, Santa, maybe you think I'm being a little harsh. But I'll bet with all the holiday rush you didn't catch that interview with Martha in last week's USA Weekend. I'm surprised there was enough room on the page for her ego.

    We discovered that not only does Martha avoid take-out pizza (she's only ordered it once), she refuses to eat it cold (No cold pizza? Is Martha Stewart living?) When it was pointed out that she could microwave it, she replied, "I don't have a microwave."

    The reporter, Jeffrey Zaslow, noted that she said this "in a tone that suggests you shouldn't either."

    Well, lah-dee-dah. Imagine that, Santa!

    That lovely microwave you brought me years ago, in which I've learned to make complicated dishes like popcorn and hot chocolate, has been declared undesirable by Queen Martha. What next? The coffee maker?

    In the article, we learned that Martha has 40 sets of dishes adorning an entire wall in her home. Forty sets. Can you spell "overkill"? And neatly put away, no less. If my dishes make it to the dishwasher that qualifies as "put away" in my house!

    Martha tells us she's already making homemade holiday gifts for friends. "Last year, I made amazing silk-lined scarves for everyone," she boasts. Not just scarves mind you. Amazing scarves. Martha's obviously not shy about giving herself a little pat on the back. In fact, she does so with such frequency that one has to wonder if her back is black and blue.

    She goes on to tell us that "homemaking is glamour for the 90s," and says her most glamorous friends are "interested in stain removal, how to iron a monogram, and how to fold a towel." I have one piece of advice, Martha: "Get new friends."

    Glamorous friends fly to Paris on a whim. They drift past the Greek Islands on yachts, sipping champagne from crystal goblets. They step out for the evening in shimmering satin gowns, whisked away by tuxedoed chauffeurs. They do not spend their days pondering the finer art of toilet bowl sanitation. Zaslow notes that Martha was named one of America's 25 most influential people by "Time" magazine (nosing out Mother Theresa, Madeline Allbright and Maya Angelou, no doubt).

    The proof of Martha's influence: after she bought white-fleshed peaches in the supermarket, Martha says, "People saw me buy them. In an instant, they were all gone." I hope Martha never decides to jump off a bridge.

    A guest in Martha's home told Zaslow how Martha gets up early to rollerblade with her dogs to pick fresh wild blackberries for breakfast.

    This confirms what I've suspected about Martha all along: She's obviously got too much time on her hands. Teaching the dogs to rollerblade. What a show off.

    If you think the dogs are spoiled, listen to how Martha treats her friends: She gave one friend all 272 books from the Knopf Everyman Library. It didn't cost much. Pocket change, really. Just $5,000. But what price friendship, right?

    When asked if others should envy her, Martha replies, "Don't envy me. I'm doing this because I'm a natural teacher. You shouldn't envy teachers. You should listen to them." Zaslow must have slit a seam in Martha's ego at this point, because once the hot air came hissing out, it couldn't be held back. "Being an overachiever is nothing despicable. It is only admirable. Never lower your standards," says Martha.

    And of her Web Page on the Internet, Martha declares herself an "important presence" as she graciously helps people organize their sad, tacky little lives. There you have it, Santa. If there was ever someone who deserved a good smack, it's Martha Stewart. But I bet I won't get my gift this year.

    You probably want to smack her yourself.

    Eve would add this comment: "As Ms. Stewart faces her current formidable dilemma, life proves yet again that no one is perfect."



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