Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Thankful and Thanksgiving Day

For those who celebrate Thanksgiving Day, I hope you had a wonderful day with family, friends or volunteering.  This is the first time in a long time I did not cook Thanksgiving dinner, but this year I was not up to it.  I am feeling much better but seem to not have regained my energy and stamina yet.

I opted to make a reservation at my favorite restaurant and treated my cousin and my adorable 93-year old neighbor to dinner.  The food was delicious, and we all enjoyed it.  I did cook the next evening though for the three of us.  My neighbor's daughter-in-law had caught fresh wild salmon in Washington, and offered to provide it for dinner.   I marinated it in Sesame Ginger sauce, grilled it on a cedar plank, and it was delicious if I do say so myself.  We all ate too much on both evenings but enjoyed every morsel.

My son and his family live in Japan which is too far away to visit for the weekend.  My daughter normally is here for Thanksgiving weekend, but a new job  required her to stay in New York.  My cousin lives in a suburb of Los Angeles but joins us in the desert for the holidays each year.  She did a great job of putting the lights on my Christmas tree since that is something my daughter always has done for me and one more thing I am not yet up to doing for myself.  Slowly I will get the ornaments put on it, but the lights are a real chore so I am grateful to her for her assistance.

We did take time on Saturday to go to the movies where we saw  Lincoln,  and it deserves all the great reviews it is getting.  Daniel Day Lewis should win an Oscar for his superb portrayal of Lincoln.  Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones were also outstanding as were so many other actors and actresses whose names are too numerous to mention here.  If you have not seen the film, I hope you will have an opportunity to do so.  Even if you are not a history buff you will still enjoy the film I think.  I am not a history buff at all, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

This year my family and I especially have so much for which to be thankful, and I try to be grateful each day and not just on Thanksgiving Day.   I know sometimes I fall short of that goal, and my vow is to try to do better in the months ahead.  There are so many people in this world who are in harsh situations, and by comparison I know I am blessed and more fortunate.  I hope I will continue to remember that daily and do whatever I can to help others.

What about you?  Are you fortunate or unfortunate?  Are you grateful or ungrateful?  I would very much like to hear from you as to what you are thankful for or as to what your misfortune may be.  Thanks for taking time to read today's post.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Life Is What Happens When We Are Making Other Plans

Whoever coined that phrase knew about what he or she was speaking.  I have always been a person who plans, makes lists, utilizes planners and calendars and schedules.  Although since my surgery I have tried to resume those habits, I seem to be lagging behind in getting back on track.  I make a plan, and then I have to change it because a medical appointment must be kept.  I make a plan, put it on the calendar and find I must cancel it or reschedule it.  I now write things in pencil because I have to change plans for various reasons.  Unexpected visitors, too many phone calls from pollsters and/or telemarketers, as well as other interruptions have totally discombobulated my plans.

All that being said, however, I know it is really up to me to take charge of my time and get back to business.
I have begun listing new items on our website www.malcolmfortots.com and our ETSY shop www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com so please check back on both sites frequently to see what progress has been made.

The holidays are rapidly approaching so my mind swirls with ideas and plans for the various special celebrations of the season.  As I add them to my ever-lengthening lists, I also am thinking of new things to include in my blog in 2013.  I so much appreciate the thousands of page views my blog has had since its inception, and I hope to broaden its appeal in the New Year with the changes I am contemplating adding.

Thanks so much for continuing to read my posts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Way We Always Do Things

If you have been following my blog you know that the past several months have not been typical for me.  I was diagnosed with cancer in May, had surgery in June, and have been recovering slowly but surely.  Being very blessed to not need chemotherapy or radiation, I still have not regained my energy or stamina which I allowed to prevent me from doing certain things.  That being said, I decided that I needed to downsize expectations of myself until my energy is at my former level (assuming it will be someday).

My tendency to be a pack rat was exacerbated during my time of illness when I was just stashing things wherever I found a space which caused me to not be able to find things.  Although there have been many times in my life when I could clean closets, dressers, chests, desks, and cupboards in a day..............not so now...............instead I had to break down each project into smaller segments.  I have taken one side of a closet to clean one day and the other side on another day.  I have cleaned several drawers in a day and then several more on subsequent days.  I can happily report that my desks, armoire, closets, dressers, nightstands, and some cupboards are now clean and reorganized (of course, lots of the things removed have been carried out to my garage for future handling when the temperatures are no longer in excess of 100 degrees).

The point of this blog post is to tell you that even when we are unable to do things the way they have always been done, we can find other ways to do them albeit more slowly.  The results are just as rewarding as it is a wonderful feeling to open a drawer or closet and immediately see the item(s) I need. When the organization experts tell us to make three piles (things to keep, things to discard, things to donate) they are absolutely right.  I also followed their advice and turned all of the hangers in my bedroom closet so the hooks face outward.  As items are worn, laundered or dry cleaned and rehung, the hooks are turned to face the back of the closet indicating that the garments have been worn.  At the end of a season or a year the items on hangers with hooks still facing outward will become things to donate (although I sometimes delude myself thinking that things which no longer fit me will someday by magic again fit me).

Now I am spending less time searching for things.  I am going to give books to the local library; I am going to deliver clothing and household items to local charities; and  I am going to tackle kitchen cabinets and drawers in the coming weeks.  By the time I finish those it should be cool enough to tackle cleaning out the garage.............I  will try very hard to discipline myself to keep everything organized, but I make no promises.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Trust Is A Must

The more I read and the more I hear about what is going on in the world, I am shocked and dismayed by the lack of integrity existing today in the realm of journalists, newscasters, bloggers, and celebrities.  Slanted, biased, untrue, and misleading are just some of the words that describe the information that not only we are exposed to on a daily basis but also to what our CHILDREN are exposed.

There was a time when integrity was not considered optional in our society, but it seems that era is long gone.  From the highest office to the lowest citizen in our world blatant untruths abound and are passed around via the Internet at such speed that trying to stop them is like trying to stop a moving train.  The people who originate lies obviously must have their own motivation to do so, but people who pass lies on and on seem to do so without thinking or researching to prevent perpetuating lies.

To bring up our children to be honest, productive, successful, educated, and caring adults they need and should be able to expect integrity from everyone.  Children are innocent, trusting and malleable so trust is a must......................how on earth are we going to restore integrity in our society?

Any suggestions?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Longing For Cool Weather

Although we are now one-third of the way through September, we are not having cooler weather here in the desert.  In fact, we are still having triple-digit temperatures.  I am getting anxious for sweater weather (of which we have very little) and for adding new merchandise to both of our on-line shops at:



We can now ship all over the world from our ETSY site, and we know you will be pleased with your purchases.  Thanks in advance for shopping with us.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Love, Sweet Love

Back in the late 60's or early 70's there was a song with lyrics that said, "What the world needs now is love, sweet love.  It's the only thing that there's just too little of..................."  Yesterday I was speaking with my daughter who lives in Manhattan.  Because of the recent tragedy at the Empire State Building we talked of  many things:

  • the insanity in today's world, 
  • the senseless crimes, 
  • the red flags that are ignored which could prevent tragedies,
  • the rage and anger exhibited by many people, 
  • the killing and wounding of innocent people, 
  • the bickering, dishonesty, and lack of action of our elected representatives, 
  • the insane greed and lust for power, money, and 15 minutes of fame,
  • the overwhelming national debt,
  • the millions of people looking for jobs,
  • the loss of moral compasses by many people,
  • the ever-increasing numbers of homeless people and addicts of every kind,
  • the looting and stealing of other people's property by thugs,
  • the destruction of property over stupid things like a sporting event won or lost,
  • the great lack of respect for authority, anything or anyone, 
  • the huge number of single mothers and abdication of responsibility by fathers,
  • the boys who think that they are tough because they belong to gangs and are no strangers to drive-by shootings and other criminal acts,
  • the ridiculous mismanagement of funds in cities, towns, and states causing the loss of needed protection provided by police, fire fighters, and our military.  
  • and so many, many more issues that taint life in the world today.
You will notice we did not mention natural disasters like earthquakes, tsunamis, floods, fires,  hurricanes or tornadoes as they are things over which humans have no control. The problems we discussed are all man made and, therefore, in truth can be resolved by mankind if we are inclined to fix them.  We talked about things that could, should, or might be done to resolve the problems and make the world a better, safer place.

We believe the thing that could start to make things better is LOVE.  All children and adults need love, compassion and kindness, and when they don't get it anger, rage, and bad behavior are the results.  There have always been evil people and evil acts, and there are people who have been loved but still choose to go down a wrong path in life. Many people want to fight, quarrel, kill, threaten, attack, and generally behave like jerks.  Love, kindness and compassion can help many of them and, over time, prevent the numbers from increasing.

Such a simple answer but a true answer.  Will we all ask ourselves what do we do that we need to stop doing, and what do we not do that we need to start doing?  Will we begin in our own homes, on our own streets, in our own cities and towns?  Bad people and bad deeds make the daily news, but there are still millions of good people in this world who are never mentioned................there are enough good people so that we could turn the world around if we join forces and decide to do it.

"What the world needs now is love, sweet love......................"  How about it?  Are you in?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Summer 2012

Summer 2012 has been filled with ups and downs, and I am so grateful for the "ups" in my life.  After my lung cancer surgery I am cancer free...........no chemo...........no radiation...........just five years of follow-up with my oncologist.  Knowing that the surgeon was able to remove all of the cancer is definitely a huge "up" in my life.  

Another really significant "up" is my only grandchild's recovery from a very scary experience.  He and his parents came from Tokyo to visit me.   I am always thrilled to see them since we are separated by so many miles.  My son and grandson were to take a side trip to Texas, and shortly after the plane departed my grandson experienced tremendous pain in his back and shoulder.  On board were a doctor, a paramedic, and a nurse, but no one had any idea what was wrong with him (no one had a stethoscope) so he was given oxygen for the remainder of the flight and advised to go to the nearest urgent care facility upon arrival at DFW Airport.  Urgent Care doctors could not determine what was wrong with him but, thankfully, decided to take a chest x-ray which revealed one of his lungs was partially collapsed.  An ambulance ride to the nearest hospital emergency room followed, a chest tube was inserted and he was admitted to the hospital.

After a week of being unable to get his lung to remain inflated on its own, he underwent almost the same surgery I had just had weeks earlier.  He was in the hospital for 13 days and then remained in Texas for two additional weeks waiting to be released to fly (not only back to the desert where I live but back to Tokyo).  We were all very relieved when they made it safely back to Tokyo last weekend with no problems of any kind.

My grandson is close to six feet tall at age 16, and he is extremely thin.  The doctors who treated him said that he had spontaneous pneumothorax which is not uncommon in teenage boys and young men who are very tall and thin. Spontaneous pneumothorax is a collection of air or gas in the space between the lungs and the chest that "collapses" the lung and prevents it from inflating completely.  They cannot predict when it happens or what if anything precipitates the collapse of the lung, but I can assure you it is a very scary experience for the patient and family.  

My grandson is doing well and this week started his junior year in high school. I too am feeling well and looking forward to Fall and Winter 2012.  Despite a long absence from my blog and on-line shops I very much appreciate all of you who continued to read posts and visit both shops www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com and www.malcolmfortots.com

My family and I have been truly blessed and are thankful for the outcome of this memorable summer.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Will Absence Make The Heart Grow Fonder?

For the next few weeks I will not be writing any blog posts due to my surgery and recovery.  I hope when I am once again back to my old self that I will be able to pick up where I left off and that you will once again be kind enough to read my blog, give me your comments, and share ideas or suggestions for topics that interest you.  Until then, I wish all of you well.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Do I Take Things Too Literally?

When people tell me they are going to do something, I expect them to do it.  I expect them to do it when they say they will do it, and I expect if they are unable to do it that they will contact me and tell me they are NOT going to do it.  They should either explain why they cannot do it, or they should give a new date by when they will do it.  I don't care if it is returning a phone call, following up on a service request, scheduling an appointment, providing information, or anything else; it matters not if they think their commitment is mundane.  It is NOT mundane to me.  Phone calls should be returned within the same day whenever possible or at least within 24 hours.  Follow-up is crucial so they should not drop the ball and never get back to their customers or clients.  Connecting the dots and using common sense should be requirements for all persons who holds jobs.  If they are unable to use their common sense or to connect the dots to see a conclusion based on their actions or lack thereof, then the people employing them should provide training to them and require that they not be too lazy to practice what they are taught.  We are
becoming a nation drowning in incompetence, ineptness, apathy, and even downright ignorance.  How did this happen to America?  Even in professions as crucial as healthcare, a doctor recently told me that he is increasingly frustrated because it seems no one has passion for their work anymore.  He said they just want to put in their shift hours, get their money and go home, and they really do not care about the patients.  Needless to say, as I face my upcoming surgery I hope I do not end up on the hospital floor where those types are.  A sad commentary on the times in which we are living!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

If I Were A Little Kid, Would I Cry?

Most of the time I am a very strong, positive person with so much optimism that my daughter has always referred to me as Polly (Pollyanna).  Recently I was diagnosed with lung cancer, and it is not easy to wrap one's brain around that kind of news especially when one does not look or feel sick.  For the past two weeks all I have done is be examined, scanned, biopsied, pinched, patted and poked, and have three days at the beginning of next week with more of the same.  I have been trying to be very upbeat and not write the ending until I know the middle.  So if I can deal with something significant like lung cancer, why am I on the verge of tears because the circuitry board in my central air conditioner burned up a couple of hours ago.  I got my reliable repairman to come out even though it is Saturday, but he cannot order the part until Monday and has no idea how long it will take to get the new board.  You may recall that I live in the desert so the temperature is already well into the 100's and rising.  Trying to juggle all the appointments, prepare for the surgery which has been scheduled, organize things so as not to burden my children with too many details to handle.............all of that I have been doing and can do...............but the darn air conditioner breaking was not in my plans or on my calendar.  Now I must either impose on a neighbor or friend to use their guest room or go to a nearby hotel..............forgive me for whining as I know there are people with so many more problems and worse ones than I have...........but today at this moment I have just reached my coping limit.............tomorrow is another day, and I will do better.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Doctor Is In And Eisenhower Medical Center Is The Place To Be

Even more often than usual, my calendar is filled with medical appointments.  Scan for this.  MRI for that. Biopsy of something else. Injection for small tear in rotator cuff. I have some doctors whom I have been seeing since moving to the desert six years ago.  Now I have added two new ones just this week.
Since moving here I have encountered only three doctors I chose not to remain with, and I replaced them with different ones who actually seem to be interested in my health.  I am thrilled to say that the two additional physicians are in that same category so I am feeling very blessed as I face some new health challenges.  When you must put your life in the hands of strangers it is imperative that you at least like these people, that they listen to you and address your questions and concerns, and they do not crank patients in and out of their offices as if  they were factories.  My two new doctors and my existing physicians all serve me well, and together they encourage, comfort, heal, and treat me with unfailing kindness.  I am very thankful for each one of them and for Eisenhower Medical Center which provides great care and high standards to all who enter their doors.  Lucky me to have the good fortune to live in an area with such good health care.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Has Common Sense Vanished From The USA?

There is so much information masquerading as "news" or "truth" it is hard to know what to believe or whom to believe.  I am very distressed when I read things that indicate decisions are being made for the citizenry by people in official capacities who have absolutely NO qualifications for the jobs they hold.
We are lacking people who have common sense, who can connect the dots of any scenario to form logical conclusions or come to intelligent decisions.  Surely I am not the only person who feels that our lives have been tossed on something akin to a carnival ride (the Tilt-A-Whirl comes to mind) from which we cannot escape until we the people take back our country and demand more from our paid elected representatives and leaders.  

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Means More Than A Holiday Party

As the long weekend begins many have plans for parties, BBQ's, heading to the beaches, attending parades, catching up on household chores, or even working.  At some point during this weekend I hope all of us will pause and remember what Memorial Day means.  Teach our children and grandchildren what it means.  Let us remember that it is not just a day off from school or work.  It is a day to pay our respects to all of the military people who paid the supreme price to serve our country and protect our freedoms.  It is a day to pay tribute and give thanks for all of them and for all of their families and friends who lost their loved ones.  It is a day to give thanks for all of the men and women currently serving in our armed forces, facing danger and death, giving up precious time with their spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends.  We must also remember to ask blessings for those spouses, children, parents, siblings and friends who struggle to make ends meet based on low pay for high risk duty, who have babies alone, who raise children alone, and who relocate frequently, and who are unappreciated or acknowledged.  Last but certainly not least, let us give thanks for all of the men and women who are suffering from life-threatening and life-changing injuries.  Let us offer prayers for their healing and relief from their pain, for renewal of their spirits and hopes for the future, and for the never-ending love and support of those spouses and children whose lives are also forever changed.  May they all have faith, hope, love, courage and strength to keep on going and to never give up no matter what.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Fortune Cookies To Love

What would a night of Chinese take-out be without the included fortune cookies?  Not only do I actually like the taste of fortune cookies, but I think there is something fun about going around the table with each person sharing the prediction from his or her cookie.  One of my favorite "fortunes" has been taped to the top of my computer monitor for several years.  It simply says.................We are continually faced by great opportunities brilliantly disguised as insoluble problems.  Today life has thrown me a curve ball like no other I have ever experienced, and I am hoping that very soon a great opportunity will appear on my horizon.   

Monday, May 21, 2012

What To Think OR How To Think?

It seems to me that many young adults are graduating college without a clue about how to think for themselves.  They can be very opinionated, but those opinions are not necessarily their own.  From kindergarten until under graduate degrees are distributed our children should be taught how to think for themselves.  They need to know how to take the information available to them and make the best possible decisions or reach the best conclusions. They should be able to explain why they make the decisions they make or form the opinions they hold.   When was that type of teaching replaced with teaching our children and grandchildren what to think, what opinions to hold, and to have little or no regard for civil discourse when differences of opinion are voiced?  Our children and grandchildren are just "short people" who early on are able to make decisions as to whether or not they want to eat, whether or not they want to be held, by whom they want to be held, with which toy they wish to play, etc.  As soon as they have language skills we should give them choices so they learn to make decisions for themselves while we still can protect them from making bad choices. Do we know our children's teachers in grade school or high school well enough to think that we want our children to adopt their beliefs or parrot their opinions?  Do our children have enough self-confidence in college to not just automatically accept a professor's personal opinions or bias as their own?  Have we taught our children how to think for themselves or how to challenge other people's opinions in a civil, respectful manner?  If not, why not?  Debate classes should be offered to all students in order for them to learn how to research points of view which may or may not be their own, defend points of view, and prove their stances on different topics.  When I see the way journalists, politicians, talk show hosts and their guests behave rudely to each other, talk over each other, disrespect each other's right to have different opinions, etc. I wonder how we expect our children to behave differently?  We must watch what comes into our homes from our television sets and ask ourselves if that is how we hope our children will behave when they are adults. If the answer is no then we must do our part not only in teaching them how to think and behave, but we must also be role models for them when they witness our interaction with others with whom we may or may not agree.  

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shrimp & Cheese Grits ------ Yum Yum!

If you have never eaten shrimp and cheese grits you are missing one of life's most delectable dishes.
The first time I ate it was in New Orleans, Louisiana. I knew it would remain on my favorite foods list for years to come.  I still remember it as if it happened just yesterday.  We were visiting friends, and our hostess prepared this wonderfully simple but incredibly delicious dish.  I never attempted to recreate the recipe myself for some reason still unknown to me until yesterday.  In the late '80's I was served a similar version of the dish at a luncheon. At that time I owned a bed & breakfast inn located in Wilmington, North Carolina where wonderful restaurants abounded (and probably still do) both on Wrightsville Beach and the Cape Fear River. Shrimp and Cheese Grits is a popular entree in most southern coastal cities and towns. On the Internet there are numerous recipes explaining exactly how to prepare it.  My personal preference has to be Paula Deene's recipe which I know you, your family, and your guests will enjoy.  Google Shrimp and Cheese Grits, and then click on the link to Paula Deene's recipe (or to any of many others from which to choose).  This dish is elegant enough for company, but it is also pure comfort food.  Enjoy!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Hope Is A 4-Letter Word

Are you filled with hope?  Have you ever been filled with hope? Do you really know what it feels like to be truly hopeful for your life, your future, and your children?  I realized recently that because of all of the negative news emanating daily from every type of media organization we are losing hope by leaps and bounds.  Think about the negativity with which most media coverage suffocates us.  I am encouraged because during the weekend I made a list of people who are eliminating some negativity and replacing it with hope for all who literally or figuratively meet them.  As I navigate the Internet and Social Media I have become an ardent fan of a number of young people who are bright, creative, enthusiastic, positive and generous in what they share while trying to build their own businesses.  Through their blogs, videos, products, courses, advice, life experiences, interviews, warmth and humor they serve to remind us that all is not lost ..........youth is not wasted on the young....................there is much to be proud of and great success to be achieved if we open our minds, our eyes and our hearts in everyday life.  There are so many young people whom I have not yet encountered, but I am going to keep my eyes and ears open so as not to miss them when perchance they cross my real or virtual paths.  Shortly I am going to listen to an audio program on line as a group of these terrific young people gather to talk about their businesses and share ideas to help other entrepreneurs.  Small businesses have been the cornerstone of our country since the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker were in every small town and city that sprang up as settlers moved across America.   Look everywhere for the goodness in people and especially in young people who truly are our best hope for the future.

P.S.  I am going to share the names on the list I made............watch for the next blog post!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Should You Be Honored On Mothers' Day?

Some people seem to be naturally maternal while others seem to have been standing behind the door when maternal instincts were passed out.  Do you ask yourself which type of mother you are?  The reason I pose the question as to whether or not you should be honored is because there are too many instances in the news today of women whose parenting leaves much to be desired.  Mothers are meant to nurture and care for their offspring.  Yet we see and hear many dreadful examples of women who either do not want to or are incapable of providing the love and nurturing their children need if they are to thrive and grow up  as undamaged human beings.  Our society is plagued with sociopaths, psychopaths, gang members, bullies and abused and neglected children of all ages.  Somehow it is inconceivable to me that these people grew up in loving, caring environments.  I do not believe that babies come into the world as anything except pure innocents, and we parents and other adults mold, shape, and enhance or tarnish the lives that are in store for little ones.  There are no perfect parents, but before we accept accolades on Mothers' Day and regardless of the ages of our children we should ask ourselves if we truly are worthy of being honored as mothers.  If the answer is affirmative then have a glorious day and bask in the warm affection of the family surrounding you.  If, however, the answer is negative then decide to find help to improve your parenting skills.  Ask a friend, a neighbor, a clergyman, a teacher, a doctor, or the person who is the best mother you know to help you.  All children deserve to be protected, nurtured and loved by their mothers so take any steps necessary to remedy things before passing the point of no return in your relationship.  It is a huge responsibility, but you hold your children's present lives and their futures as adults in your grasp.  Handle with care.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Malcolm For Tots In Your Language

Now that I am once again able to fully access my blog, I am really excited that I have added to it a translation widget. Now any of you for whom English is not your first language will be able to read my blog posts in your native language or any language.  The technology which allows someone who is not tech savvy (like me) to provide translation ability by the click of a mouse absolutely amazes me.

My son was for many years a translator in Japan.   I think of the hours he spent translating textbooks, documents, advertising and public relations items, Beatles lyrics, contracts, etc. for numerous clients.  Now with just a click of a mouse anything I write in English can be read all over the world.  I have been honored to know that people in so many countries take time to read my blog, and I am humbled to think that even more people may now choose to read a non-English version of it.

I hope everyone is having a great week.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Lost And Found

My apologies for having no new posts recently.  Without any notice my browser was no longer being supported by Google Blogger.  I could get to my blog but could not log in to make updates as I kept getting a message saying no such page or unable to connect but no explanation as to why.  Then I started looking for on line Google Blogger Help.  That was incredibly frustrating because there were no solutions but lots of complaints from others.  Not being a tech savvy person I exhausted every possible way I could think of to log into my blog to write posts, check stats, but nothing I did would work.  Finally today I again got to my blog, and when I tried to log in I was informed that I needed to change my browser to Google Chrome.  So that is what I have done, and voila I am back in business.  I am hopeful that future interruptions will be few and far between. Thanks for sticking with me.  I appreciate your support.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Blues In The Night

Blues In The Night has always been one of my favorite records (and I am talking vinyl and 45's long before CD's and iPods). For some reason the melody has been running through my mind today. Not sure why, but I think perhaps it has to do with getting sad news about three friends last week. One friend's husband has prostate cancer and will have surgery. One friend had to have a mastectomy last week just before moving out of her recently sold home on the 28th. The third friend has lung cancer and a number of other health issues putting him in the hospital and then to a rehab facility. All three individuals are much younger than I am, and I am struck once again by the seeming unfairness of life. About six weeks ago another younger friend suffered a massive stroke and has a long road to recovery ahead of her. I am so sorry that these misfortunes have befallen them because all of them are among the best people I have ever known. People of faith say that God does not give us any more than we can bear, and I am so hopeful that all of them and their families can bear these illnesses. Because we all live miles and miles apart, I am not able to help them in the ways I once could and would have. Instead I have placed them on prayer lists at various churches and asked my local friends and neighbors to pray for them as well. Today I saw my own doctor who said he does not need to see me for another year so I am once again reminded of my many blessings, and I am thankful.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Dick Clark, Levon Helm, and Stanley Rizor RIP

Learning of the deaths of these three men is a reminder that life is indeed fragile. They were from very different walks in life and yet they all made significant contributions to us and to our country. If you do not know who they are or what they accomplished in their lifetimes, I suggest you Google them and read about them as they were extraordinary men. May their souls be blessed and light perpetual shine upon them and grant them peace this day and evermore.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Another Talented Artist To Admire

Today I watched Monica Lee interview Sarah Jane of Sarah Jane Studios. Sarah is a delightful person who exudes talent, confidence, and ambition for the future. She illustrates children's books, re-creates wonderful vintage children's art, designs fabrics (her new collection is coming out soon), and she makes embroidery designs. She is married, has three young children, maintains an ETSY shop and her own online website, takes lovely photographs which appear in her well-written blog, and has lots of other ideas and plans for future work. Sarah Jane Studios is very successful which is understandable. I encourage you to visit the website and see Sarah's charming original artwork. I think great things are in store for this gifted young woman, and I wish her tremendous continued success.

Monday, April 16, 2012

........But I Want A Video Camera

My camera is a very basic model because I have been afraid to invest in something with more bells and whistles since photography has never been something at which I am even adequate. My father bought me my first camera when I was 8 years old. It was a little Brownie Hawkeye, and I snapped pictures of all kinds of things. In those days film processing was not something my allowance would cover so I had to be frugal in purchasing film and persuading my parents to pay for the developing of the pictures. When my own children were small I received a Polaroid Camera which developed the pictures quickly.......alas, my skills were not improved. In my family I was always the last person asked to take pictures because experience taught everyone that I would cut off the heads of the subjects, take a picture of my own fingers in front of the lens, or that my hands would shake producing blurry results. I see so many wonderful pictures in ETSY shops, on websites, and in blogs and Pinterest. I watch wonderful video clips on U-Tube or in blog posts. I have an idea for a project which would require a video camera. I think perhaps with a tripod I might be able to stabilize the camera and have acceptable results. I would have to learn how to edit the videos. I have been watching Heartmade Blog's Mayi Carles Vlogging 101 videos which are most helpful. April of Blacksburg Belle and Mayi Carles have advised me about the types of video cameras they use so now I have a place to begin shopping. Annemarie of Brunch At Saks also answered my inquiry about the equipment she uses to take photos for her lovely blog so I now know more than I previously did (at least about equipment......as for improving my skills....not so much). Wish me luck, and if you have any suggestions or opinions about digital cameras or video cameras please share them with me. I need all the help I can get!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Like Mother Used To Make

As May approaches with the celebration of Mothers' Day, my own mother has been very much in my thoughts this week. She was an amazing woman who left us a few months before her 91st birthday. Among her many talents were baking and sewing, and she did a lot of both in her lifetime. When my daughter was little she wore sweet little dresses my mother made for her. My mom was a wonderful seamstress who made many of my clothes when I was growing up and then did the same for my children. She could sew with or without patterns, and she could make anything from tiny hand- embroidered "angel tops" to prom dresses with yards and yards of fabric. Sometimes the simplest styles made of pretty fabrics were the sweetest of all her creations. In tribute to many happy memories of my mother, we have included some simple little dresses in both our ETSY shop and our website. White eyelet embroidery, pink tonal prints, blue tone-on-tone, lavender/pink floral print, navy blue gingham, and light blue striped denim are some of the fabrics we used for spring and summer styles.
Visit www.malcolmfortots.com and www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com to see more, and we will be adding some others soon. Mint green with white polkadots, blossom eylet embroidery in pink, blue or yellow, and little sun dresses that have either matching panty or sun hat.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Perfect Recipes

If you enjoy entertaining friends and having them give rave reviews about your cooking, then you must try Ina Garten's recipes. Her Baked Shrimp Scampi is the perfect choice (http://www.foodnetwork.com). Do all of the preparation ahead of time, and then pop it in the oven 12 to 15 minutes before serving dinner. Accompany it with Orzo (al dente takes only 9 minutes), asparagus or haricorts verts, and Ms. Garten's Cape Cod Chopped Salad and dressing (which can be prepared early in the day). Add a scrumptious dessert such as Tiramisu, and your guests will shower you with compliments. Ina Garten's recipe books are beautiful to see, her recipes are delicious and fail-proof, and her videos are so helpful (she makes everything look so easy). In addition to viewing her recipes on the Food Network website, also visit her website at http:www.inagarten.com to see her books, more recipes, and learn more about this talented woman. I am a huge fan and think you will become one after you serve Baked Shrimp Scampi and Cape Cod Chopped Salad with her special dressing. I hope you will give me your comments after you try some of her recipes.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Life Is What Happens While We Are Making Other Plans

The title of today's post is a saying I have often heard, but I have no idea who first coined the phrase. It really is true though, and today I am feeling it! With an old friend visiting from Chicago, gorgeous weather here in the desert and lots of plans with other friends during her ten-day visit you would think everything would be great........right? Wrong! For about the 6th time in the past 12 years I am having an attack of Vertigo. With the room spinning anytime I move my head it is like being on a never-ending amusement park ride. The spinning makes me nauseous so it is like having motion sickness only I am not going anywhere. I am missing all the fun and feeling a bit cranky about it. Then I remind myself that this too shall pass. There are so many people all over the world who have much bigger, more serious problems than my Vertigo so I need to get over myself and just wait it out. Whether you enjoy Passover or Easter or neither this weekend I send you good wishes and a reminder that we should always count our blessings. I will be the first to take my own advice because I have much for which to be thankful.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Salmon Fishing in Yemen

Today I went to the movies with a friend who is vacationing here. She wanted to see Salmon Fishing In Yemen a film about which I had no knowledge. Actually it turned out to be quite interesting, a little slow in some places, but overall it was enjoyable. Ewan McGregor and Emily Blount are quite good in their roles. The scenery was both beautiful and at times depressing. They filmed in England, Scotland and Morocco. While I am not sure exactly what I should have taken away from the movie, I came away thinking that people from different backgrounds and cultures came together to undertake a massive project and executed it together very successfully. Then I thought what a pity it is that in real life we cannot do more "working together" instead of worrying about terrorists, nuclear weapons, and wars. Food for thought?

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

When Parents Are The Bullies

Perhaps you are tired of me getting on my soapbox to complain about the way some children are abused by the people who should be protecting them. I will stop getting on my soapbox when people stop abusing children. Protecting them is not synonomous with a lack of discipline. Children need boundaries and structure, and with them they will not only behave better but will feel more secure and more loved. They do NOT, however, need to be beaten into submission or tortured by cigarette burns or any other inhumane treatment. Today's news carried a story of a stepfather who allegedly beat his 12-year old stepson AND made him eat two screws (perhaps they are the screws that this guy has loose because no intelligent, mature adult would force a child to eat metal screws). Only a sadistic bully does something like that OR a lunatic! We must all get sick to death of these stories so that we can somehow stop the madness and unbelievable treatment some children are forced to endure. How do we expect these children to grow up and know how to behave and not become bullies themselves? Children learn by example, and I am incredibly appalled at the pitiful examples that some parents, step-parents and guardians are setting for children. Do you have any ideas of what we can do for these poor children? Please share your ideas and comments with me. Child Protective Services cannot handle all of the cases they already have, and as we have read and heard many times they have dropped the ball resulting in deaths of children. Surely there is a solution. Please help find it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Have You Heard Of Nathan Laube?

Last evening I took my delightful 92-year old next-door neighbor to an organ concert because she thoroughly loves organ music. I personally think organ music is an acquired taste since many of the selections written for the organ are not melodic but very intense. It was an absolute pleasure to watch and listen as 23-year old Nathan Laube shared his incredible musical gifts with us. He has poise and presence beyond his years, and is very articulate. I think he is brilliant, has an amazing personal history, and will no doubt have a successful and exciting future. My memory did not retain all of the facts about Mr. Laube's education, awards, honors, and experiences which are numerous. I can tell you that he began a graduate degree program in Stuttgart, Germany last fall, and he holds the position of Artist in Residence at The American Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Paris, France so commuting is frequent. Somehow he finds time to pursue other interests which include medieval and modern architecture, gardening, international travel, exotic cuisine and cooking, sketching and drawing. Learning what Mr. Laube has accomplished in his young life, it makes me think it is unbelievable in comparison to the young men we hear about too often in the nightly news. I mean the way-too-large number of young men who are in gangs, on trial, incarcerated, or dead before they are 25. It also makes me think when the arts are taken out of our schools due to lack of funds, we are denying some potential artists the chance to learn, blossom and succeed. If ever you have an opportunity to attend a concert by Mr. Laube in the USA or in Europe, jump at the chance. You will be glad you did!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

When Things Turn Out As Hoped

Yesterday I had a luncheon for a neighbor who lives here in the desert only six months of the year. Then she returns to her primary residence in another state to escape the 100+ degree temperatures of our desert summers. This gathering was special because my neighbor is 92 years old, and we are not certain she will be able to return to us in the Fall. I made sure the table setting was pretty because she appreciates those touches and was a wonderful hostess in her day. Cooking for guests makes me nervous because I cannot be confident that everything will turn out as it should. When it does it is cause for great relief on my part. I made her favorite Hawaiian Chicken Salad served with cantaloupe slices, watermelon wedges, huge strawberries and piping hot croissants. I made creme brulee for dessert which is also one of her favorites. The weather was beautiful so my doors and windows were open; conversation and laughter flowed freely; spring flowers from other neighbors' gardens provided spectacular colors and fragrances; and she was reminded of how much she is loved and will be missed by all of us. Our prayer is that she will remain healthy enough to come back to us in October for another six months, but life is fragile and can change in an instant so we will hold our collective breaths as we wait for October and her return.

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe In Logan, Utah

Perhaps many of you are already familiar with Kris and Kim, identical twins from Utah who are incredibly talented, successful entrepreneurs, and very creative fiber artists. Their videos and websites provide creative ideas, patterns, and how-to-instructions for making apparel, accessories, home decor, and an abundance of other projects. They maintain several websites http://www.theDIYDish.com, http://www.youcanmakethis.com, http://www.swakembroidery.com and http://www.mygirlfriend's quiltshoppe.com. Kris and her husband own the retail store My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe in Logan, Utah. If you take a virtual tour of the shop on line you will see it is filled with charm, color, beautiful fabrics and great ideas. If you watch their videos and/or subscribe to their free newsletters you will be enchanted by these young women who are absolutely delightful to watch. One of the recent how-to videos from My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe showed me how to make a ten-minute table runner. I needed a gift so I went to my fabric stash, followed the video, and quickly made this table runner for a friend.
Kris and Kim seem to offer something for everyone in the variety of arts and crafts they share. Visit their sites and enjoy!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Where, Oh Where, Are My Blog Readers Living?

It is very exciting and gratifying to me to realize that people from so many different parts of the world are reading my blog posts. I wish I knew something about my readers. Hopefully, as time goes by I will learn more about them as individuals. If you are thinking about writing a blog, I encourage you to just do it. You'll really enjoy it! Since I started blogging, following is the breakdown of the countries from where my readers hail: United States 1,113 **** Russia 173 **** Malaysia 56 **** Germany 37 **** France 13 **** United Kingdom 11 **** Canada 7 **** Brazil 6 **** India 4 **** Panama 4 **** *************************** Thanks to all who take time to read my posts. I truly appreciate you!

Monday, March 5, 2012

Is Learning To Drive More Important Than Learning How To Be A Parent?

Two toddlers in Alaska were allegedly punished for wetting their beds by being locked in a room with a window open when the outside temperature was 30 degrees below zero. One of the children froze to death, and the other little one is in a hospital with hypothermia. I am sick to death of reading about children being abused or killed by the people who should be taking care of them and protecting them. Single parents who allow boyfriends, girlfriends or step-parents to harm their children are equally if not more guilty in my opinion. Can our education systems do more to teach children how to be responsible adults before they actually become parents? In order to drive an automobile we deem it necessary that kids receive training, and take written and physical driving tests before obtaining a license. While I agree that is essential for public safety, should there be a test or training to ensure an individual is fit to be a parent? Even individuals who are good parents sometimes have trouble coping with the stresses of child-rearing. Children cry, children wet their beds, children get sick, children get cranky! How many more children are going to suffer or die before serious consideration is given to educating people to help them determine if they will be suitable parents? Perhaps if they realized they were not cut out to be parents they might think twice about getting pregnant or about allowing boyfriends, girlfriends or step-parents to harm their children. Heaven help the children who are in harm's way!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Mother Nature Is A Formidable Opponent

As I watched the news yesterday evening I could not believe that more tornadoes had decimated lives, homes, and towns. I was so happy today to receive an email from one of my childhood friends who lives with her husband just a few miles from Henryville, Indiana. They waited out the tornadoes in their basement and are safe, thanks be to God. Once again Mother Nature demonstrated her power to change lives in an instant. All the more reason why we should do what we need to do, say the things we need to say to our friends and families, apologize for the things we should not have said or done, be thankful for all that we have, and appreciate every moment of life. Life is a fragile gift, but a gift nonetheless.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Sympathy To The People In Ohio

There are really no words to adequately express my sorrow for the most recent high school tragedy or my sympathy for the victims and everyone who is affected by it. I am so crazy about my children that I cannot even begin to imagine the pain of losing one of them, and my heart aches for the families and friends of those who died and those who are injured. My heart also aches for the alleged shooter because something happened to him in his young life to bring him to the moment yesterday when everything went haywire. Each time I look at a baby I realize what responsibility parents have for bringing that person into the world and what power they have for molding and shaping that child's future. Parenthood is the most important job in the world, and it is also the most difficult one because babies do not come with step-by-step instructions to ensure they lead happy, productive, successful lives. They come with their own DNA, their own personalities, their own strengths, and their own weaknesses, and they will have their own experiences, joys, sorrows, and problems all of which can alter the courses of their lives. Heaven help all children and parents! My thoughts and prayers are with the people in Ohio.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Did You Watch The Academy Awards?

When I was a little girl my sister and I were in love with movies. Our mother's only brother met his wife when both worked for famous columnist Hedda Hopper. They were very dear people and fed our appetite for all things Hollywood when they sent us still photos, autographed pictures, and signed Christmas cards from dozens of our favorite stars. Growing up we lived within walking distance of the only movie theater in our Chicago suburb, and the movies changed 3 times a week and always double features. The admission for us as children was ten cents each, and many weeks we were able to go to the theater each time the movies changed. Summers were the best because snow, ice, school work, and bedtimes did not interfere with our ability to see six films a week. A very special privilege was to be allowed to stay up late on a school night to watch the Oscars after we finally had a television set. Last evening was an evening to enjoy the current award ceremony as well as to reminisce about the wonderful childhood we had enjoying the glamour, magic and Golden Era of Hollywood.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Can't Quite Remember A Song "They Call It Mellow Yellow"

For some reason that melody has been going around and around in my head all day today. I cannot remember who recorded it, who wrote it, or what the lyrics and title actually are. I just remember the melody and those few words. Mellow Yellow sounds like a pretty color as is Powder Yellow which is the color of the yarn used to knit this four-piece gift set. Handknit of 100% acrylic yarn which is soft, cozy, and machine washable this set will be a perfect baby shower or newborn gift for a special baby in someone's life. It is available now in our ETSY shop and on our website. Visit www.malcolmfortots.com and www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com

Monday, February 20, 2012

And Now........New Merchandise AND International Shipping

Today we have added to both websites our handknit soft green poncho and hat for a little girl ages 12 to 24 months old. We are also very pleased to add international shipping to both our website and our ETSY shop. Since so many readers of my blog live in other parts of the world, it seems only fitting that we be willing and able to ship merchandise to those countries in addition to the USA.

Friday, February 17, 2012

A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

In my life I have had the opportunity to live in a number of places, and I have been happy in all of them. Some I liked better than others, but when the weather created a perfect day then I liked even my least favorite city. We had half an inch of rain here in the desert on Wednesday (we normally get only 4 inches annually)so it was an unusual day for us. It was so enjoyable though and a change from our usual sunny days. Thursday was nice, but today it is absolutely perfect. Sunshine, clear skies, and snow covering all the mountains surrounding us. What a picture! I actually played hookey from my lengthy to-do list for an hour so I could be outside on the patio potting new herbs (parsley, basil, and rosemary). The weekend is upon us, and I hope all of you have a great one.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What The World Needs Now Is Love, Sweet Love

Happy Valentine's Day! Perhaps some of you remember the song What the world needs now is love, sweet love. It's the only thing that there's just too little of....... When I see all of the Valentine cards, flowers, candies, toys, and jewelry displayed on line, in print, and in brick and mortar stores I must admit I smile and think love is a wonderful thing. It is what makes life worthwhile. If you are fortunate enough to have someone to love and someone who loves you, be thankful. If you have children to love who love you, be thankful. If you have friends and neighbors to love who also love you, be thankful. Love should be a 24/7 thing 12 months a year so don't forget to keep spreading love even after Valentine's Day. It will make the world a better place for everyone with whom you come in contact.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

How Do Humans Become Capable Of Atrocious Acts?

There is so much going on in many parts of the world which involves killing and torturing people. I continue to be appalled and alarmed at how vicious and violent people can be. This morning I attended Mass at a Catholic Church with one of my neighbors. As I looked at the exquisitely carved crucifix behind the altar, it occurred to me that crucifixion was one of the earliest forms of torture and execution. Throughout the service I watched the figure of Jesus Christ hanging on the cross. I began to ask myself, "How in the world could any person look at another person still alive, nailed to a cross, and think that it was acceptable to do such a thing to anyone for any reason?" I watch the events of the world unfold during the evening news; I see gangs killing members of other gangs as well as innocent children. I see people found guilty of molesting the very children whom they were employed to teach and keep safe. I see people being terrified, tormented, injured and killed by order of barbaric dictators. I see people killed because of religious persecution. I see people being threatened with nuclear weapons. I see the United States being threatened by a leader of another country who does not even know us but would have no compunction about blowing all of us to smithereens. Every person in the world comes into life as a pure, innocent, little baby. What causes any of them as adults to become so hardened, so greedy for power and wealth, and so dysfunctional that they are amoral or immoral? We as parents have both a great responsibility and a great privilege to raise our children so they do not become perpetrators of atrocious acts. Are we not paying attention? Are we too busy? Are we not interested in parenting? Are we ourselves bad role models? Do we want our little ones to grow up in a world that is filled with hatred, unkindness and danger? If not, then we darn well better do something about it.........each and every one of us in our own home has the opportunity to make the world a better place for our children and all future generations. Why would we NOT want to do it?

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Children's Books May Become e-Books

Today I read an interesting article that Random House may offer certain children's books as e-books. I'll give you a hint......Elmo may be in one of them. I think it is a marvelous idea to make books available to children everywhere. Think of all of the possibilities to introduce children to new books, classic books, how-to books, etc. I am not sure I would have loved ebooks when I was a child and must admit I would be hard-pressed even now to give up my "real" books for ebooks. The dust jackets, the illustrations, the feel of quality paper, and the spines lined up on bookshelves are all things I would miss. I suppose it is a good thing I am not a child any longer because today's children will find e-books exciting and normal for the era of their childhood.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Smashed Potato Soup

Today it is chilly here in the desert (not our usual weather), and I came across a recipe from Better Homes and Gardens for Smashed Potato Soup. It sounds delicious and a perfect thing to make today. There are so many incredibly delicious recipes on so many websites. I know I will not live to try all of the recipes I have printed out or saved or bookmarked......but I am going to enjoy trying as many as I can. I have two elderly neighbors (both in their 90's and amazing) with whom I like to share food on the days I actually cook. Last night I made Blackberry Cobbler from a recipe I found on a blog (and now I cannot find the blog because I failed to bookmark it). It was so yummy served warm with vanilla ice cream...........not on my diet, but I ate it anyhow and loved it!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee

Today I received a solicitation from St. Jude's which was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas (father of Marlo Thomas). For many years I have been able to be a modest financial supporter of this marvelous institution and the wonderful care they provide to children. I especially laud them for providing care for children whether or not the parents are able to pay for such care. If ever I win the lottery (Reminder to self: Buy a ticket) I would be thrilled to make a huge contribution to St. Jude's. I must confess, however, that I can barely bring myself to watch their infomercials on television because seeing children suffering from terminal illness just breaks my heart. I am a devout coward when it comes to witnessing tragedies befalling children (and their parents), but I want to support organizations that can and do address, treat, cure, assist, and/or prevent any such tragedies. Some of you may be unfamiliar with what St. Jude's does, the criteria for being a patient receiving care, the warning signs of childhood cancer, and/or the amazing results they have achieved since opening their doors in 1962. If so, I encourage you to visit their website http://www.stjude.org. Also, if you want some delicious recipes visit www.stjude.org/gameday as today's solicitation included a recipe for Yum Yum Brownie Muffins which I am going to try this week. There are many worthwhile charities that help children, and certainly St. Jude's is one of the best as evidenced by their results.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

When A Blessing Follows A Tragedy

Recently I blogged about the tragic, senseless murder of a young husband and father-to-be. Although the killers have not yet been caught, today I received a phone call telling me that the young widow delivered a 9 lb. 4 oz. baby boy. Mother and baby are doing well, and the joy of this arrival is a blessing despite the incredible grief which is still being felt. I believe there is nothing sweeter than a baby, and I hope and pray that this little boy and his mother will have a wonderful life together.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Are You Interested In Watching Young People Succeed?

As most of you know, I have both a website and an ETSY site for our handmade clothing and accessories for babies and toddlers. In the process of learning how to establish a successful online business, I have come across some very smart young people whom I am personally cheering on as they pursue their careers. I find each of them to be charming, intelligent, motivated, creative, results oriented, self-confident, and sassy with delightful personalities. Even if you do not need their services, you should check out their sites which I think you will find refreshing and interesting. Mayi Carles at http://www.mayicarles.com, April Bowles-Olin at http://www.blacksburgbelle.com, Megan Auman at http://www.craftingmba.com, Laura Roeder at http://www.lauraroeder.com, and Marie Forleo at http://www.marieforleo.com

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Heartfelt Sympathy And My Growing Hatred

The niece of a dear friend of mine is expecting her first baby in about a week. Her young husband was murdered last week after being robbed in their driveway as he arrived home from work. There are no words to adequately express my sorrow for his young wife, their unborn child, their parents and siblings, and their friends. I find more and more that my feelings of disgust and disdain for the wicked, evil people of the world are evolving into feelings of actual hatred for their actions and attitudes. I hate their crimes, their lack of respect for anything or anyone, their failure to value any life, their cowardly inability to face life and accept responsibility as decent human beings, their stupidity, their arrogance, and the burden they become on society when they are finally apprehended, found guilty and punished. I hate that they live on while their innocent victims do not. I hate that our judicial system is not always just, and I hate that our prisons are overflowing. I hate that we coddle criminals and provide them with better living conditions than homeless families with children whose only crime is poverty. I hate whatever happened or didn't happen in the lives of the wicked people that caused them to make such wrong choices. I hate that some parents abuse and/or neglect their children. I hate that some parents fail to teach their children right from wrong, that they tolerate and encourage disrespectful behavior, that they do not set good examples for their offspring to emulate. I hate that we have a society where deceit, duplicity, greed, avarice, and corruption flourish among those people we elect to represent us and govern our cities, counties, states and country. If good people still outnumber bad people (and I believe they do) then we must do whatever it takes to ensure this new baby and all children can grow up in a better world. We cannot do everything, but each of us can do something and all of our somethings can add up to everything.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Down For The Count

Although I am not entirely certain of what that phrase means (I think I heard it used in the movies during boxing matches), today it is how I feel. I have the flu again for the second time in 8 weeks, and I am really hating it! I had a flu shot in September which seems to have done nothing for me, and this time I am feeling as bad or worse than I did with the first bout. Today if you look up the word "whine" in your dictionary you might very well see my picture..........sorry to subject you to that so will end this post with hopes that all of you are well, that none of you will contract the flu this season, and that your New Year is off to a very great start. Catch you next time.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

More About Sale Prices

In addition to 25% off of all merchandise displayed in our ETSY shop at www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com you will also find those sale prices on our website www.malcolmfortots.com Prices are effective through February 1, 2012.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Do You Have A "Pay It Forward" List?

Having just caught up today on reading blog posts, I particularly enjoyed Annemarie's Pay It Forward list on her site www.brunchatsaks.blogspot.com What a great idea and one that all of us should have and then follow up with action! If you have not yet visited her blog, do yourself a favor and see it soon. She covers a myriad of beautiful things with great photos and ideas.

ETSY Shop Sale

Although I don't want this blog to focus too often on my business websites, I do want to let you know that we are gearing up to show our Spring and Summer merchandise very soon. So starting today and through February 1, 2012 all merchandise currently displayed at our ETSY site www.malcolmfortots.etsy.com is on sale for 25% off of the regular retail prices. If you are going to need a baby shower gift, a newborn gift, a birthday or special event gift or something for your own baby or toddler we think you will find what you need and at great prices (think about how long it takes to handknit any garment).