Saturday, June 30, 2012

Tour de France - 2012

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By Diane Forrest

Since I began writing on this blog, I have learned so many wonderful and interesting facts.  Today is no exception.  Today is the start of the Tour de France.  I am not that big into sports, I do know enough to fake my way through a cocktail party.  For example, I know that the Tour de France involves bike riding in France, and Lance Armstrong, a competitor from the United States, has won the most times in history for a record 7 times.  If the conversation goes beyond that, then I am at a loss.  Well I should say was at a loss, because I have done some more research on the subject and have found some more interesting facts.

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Did you know that the competition began in 1903 and it takes 23 days?  It will begin today in Liege, Belgian and will end in Paris on July 22.  In fact, it always ends in Paris. This marks the 99th time the tour has been held.  There was no race during World War I and II.

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There are 18 teams that have been invited to participate.
The race is 2173 miles, and has 20 different stages.
For more information about the Tour de France, or if you would like to find where to watch, or purchase merchandise, click on this site:

I think I will pull out my bike and start training for the next competition, or at least make it around the block!

Start and Finish
Saturday 30 June
Liège > Liège
6.4 km
Sunday 1 July
Liège > Seraing
198 km
Monday 2 July
Visé > Tournai
207.5 km
Medium mountains
Tuesday 3 July
Orchies > Boulogne-sur-Mer
197 km
Wednesday 4 July
Abbeville > Rouen
214.5 km
Thursday 5 July
Rouen > Saint-Quentin
196.5 km
Friday 6 July
Épernay > Metz
207.5 km
Medium mountains
Saturday 7 July
Tomblaine > La Planche des Belles Filles
199 km
Medium mountains
Sunday 8 July
Belfort > Porrentruy
157.5 km
Individual time-trial
Monday 9 July
Arc-et-Senans > Besançon
41.5 km
Rest Day
Tuesday 10 July

High Mountains
Wednesday 11 July
Mâcon > Bellegarde-sur-Valserine
194.5 km
High Mountains
Thursday 12 July
Albertville > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles
148 km
Medium mountains
Friday 13 July
Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > Annonay Davézieux
226 km
Saturday 14 July
Saint-Paul-Trois-Châteaux > Le Cap d’Agde
217 km
High Mountains
Sunday 15 July
Limoux > Foix
191 km
Monday 16 July
Samatan > Pau
158.5 km
Rest Day
Tuesday 17 July

High Mountains
Wednesday 18 July
Pau > Bagnères-de-Luchon
197 km
High Mountains
Thursday 19 July
Bagnères-de-Luchon > Peyragudes
143.5 km
Friday 20 July
Blagnac > Brive-la-Gaillarde
222.5 km
Individual time-trial
Saturday 21 July
Bonneval > Chartres
53.5 km
Sunday 22 July
Rambouillet > Paris Champs-Élysées
120 km

Friday, June 29, 2012

Rebuild Your Life Month (June) – 2012

We all need help from time to time
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By Terry Orr

Building upon last year’s article ( the following is offered for your considerations.

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Kristine Smith of the Berthound Examiner writes: “Because June is 'Rebuild Your Life Month', there's no better time than now to reexamine your life and take charge of it by removing stressors as you are able. While stress comes in many shapes and sizes, and much of stress is our perception of the environment around us, some situations are simply too big to ignore for long. Our bodies react strongly to even short term stress and long term stress can take the body and mind months or even years to recover from. Therefore, rebuilding your life can be the healthiest option for us, both physically and mentally.”

“Recognizing the stressor is the first step to rebuilding your life or redefining what you want your life to look like.”

“Rebuilding your life can be as simple as rearranging furniture or rearranging the relationships in your life. The bottom line is that looking forward to the future by readjusting the sails to navigate away from the past can be the best decision you will ever make.” (For more from Kristine’s article, please follow this link:

Good advice Kristine and thank you.

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Life is about change.  Things all around us are changing constantly and we need to incorporate those changes (some we can simply ignore and other we may choose not to include).  I still take time each morning to have a short chat with myself in the mirror – reviewing how things went yesterday and if I had a do over – how would I change my actions.  Now that I am retired, I revisit my short, mid and long term goals – generally monthly.  While I was still working, that happen about two or three times a year – depending on what was going on.  Point being –be willing to make those necessary adjustment as smoothly as possible.

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A quick search on this morning list 787 books on the topic “Rebuild Your Life”.  Lots of good  meaning information out there – lots of folks are willing to tell you what you need to do – but when it comes right down to it – you need to do what is best for you!

National Candy Month

Who can take a sunrise
Sprinkle it with dew
Cover it in chocolate and a miracle or two
The Candy Man
The Candy Man can 'cause he mixes it with love and makes the world taste good

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By Diane Forrest

First of all I want to apologize to you.  June is National Candy Month, but I picked a terrible time to tell you since it's the next to the last day of the month.  That doesn't give you much time to indulge, so I guess you can say I was looking out for your health.

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June is a great month for candy.  In recent years a popular item at wedding receptions is a candy bar,  A table is set with all kinds of different candy, sometimes in the bride's wedding colors, and in various types of containers.  This is a big hit for children who are attending, and is also fun for grownups too.  Normally a bag is provided for the guests to fill with their choice of candy and this serves as their "wedding favor" or gift for attending the wedding.   Since June is the most popular month for weddings, celebrating candy in June makes good sense too.

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When my son was small we had pizza and movie night every Friday night.  Every Friday night he would always get the same movies, Peter Pan and Willie Wonka.  My favorite part of Willie Wonka was when all the kids were on the boat and they are floating down the chocolate river and they arrive in "Paradise".  The room where everything is edible and the kids are running around tasting everything.  It all looked so delicious.

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I have dabbled a bit in making candy.  Mostly at Christmas time I will make fudge, divinity and pralines.  Pralines are a southern specialty, and I have a wonderful recipe for them that will simply melt in your mouth.  Since I was so late in telling you about Candy month, I thought I would share my secret Praline recipe with you.
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So for the last days of Candy month, treat yourself to your favorite candy, or try your hand in making your own.



1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 can evaporated milk
5 Cups sugar
1 stick butter
2 tsp vanilla
1 pound pecan halves


Mix first 4 ingredients and cook on low in large pot.  I use my biggest soup pot.  Stir side to side until you can see the bottom of the pot when the spoon scrapes across.  This takes about 2 hours.  Add vanilla and pecans.  Cool pot in water and stir until thickens.  Drop on wax paper in large spoonfuls.  Let Cool.  Enjoy.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

National Waffle Iron Day – 2012

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By Terry Orr

What is a Waffle?
A waffle is a batter- or dough-based cake cooked in a waffle iron patterned to give a distinctive and characteristic shape. There are many variations based on the type and shape of the iron and the recipe used.

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Waffles are eaten throughout the world, particularly in Belgium and the United States. Common toppings are strawberries, chocolate, sugar, honey, syrups, ice cream, and pieces of other fruits. (Wikipedia)

A waffle iron comes in many shapes and sizes – and they have been around for hundreds of years.  Last year we shared history of the waffle iron.

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Waffles are one of those fun foods to make and eat.  There seems to be an unlimited number of recipes, toppings, and foods to go along with Waffles.  One such variation is a dinner time with fried chicken (my grandson Evan enjoys this meal).

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So go ahead, find a new recipe or make up your own and enjoy a Waffle!!

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National Handshake Day

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By Diane Forrest

Every Sunday Morning at my church we have a part at the first of the service where we welcome each other and guests.   During this time we shake hands or even hug people.  I can tell alot about a person by their handshake.  I like a nice, firm handshake with a dry warm hand.   Some of the people around me have cold, clammy weak handshakes, the kind where after you shake their hands you want to say Yuck!

I used to play this joke with my son using different handshakes.  There would be the guy from the dairy farm, and I would shake his hand squeezing it every second like I was milking a cow,  Then I would be the guy from the hardware store, who sold saws (I would move his hand back and forth like I was sawing something) then hammers (I would raise it up and down, as if I was hammering), then clamps (I would squeeze down hard on his hand).  Then I would be the guy from the mortuary and barely touch his hand, that would feel the creepiest.

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Handshakes have been practiced since at least the 2nd century B.C.? Many researchers believe that the handshake originated in the Western world. It was a gesture peace, demonstrated by the fact that the hands held no weapons.  Today, a handshake is offered upon meeting or parting. It is an expression of goodwill, gratitude and congratulations, or even a secret way to identify a group or club.

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My husband was a member of some organization that had such a secret handshake.  He would grab the hand but then place his thumb on a certain knuckle.  Since I thought that was weird and he was no longer in that organization...I told him he didn’t need to do that type of handshake any longer.

There are other types of handshakes, those that are too hard and forceful, and those that never want to let go.  There are handshakes after a sporting event to show good sportsmanship, and those that signify some sort of deal or contract.

There are some who are germ phobic, and prefer to not shake someone's hand, Howie Mandell comes to mind.  He practices the "fist bump".  A form of greeting that doesn't allow the grasping of the whole hand, but just the back of the fingers.  This move was commented on when the first lady performed this action with the president after winning the nomination from the Democratic Party.

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Today is National Handshake Day.  You don't have to be a general signing a peace treaty, or a major league ball player or even a member of a secret club to give someone a nice firm handshake and wish them a good day.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Effective Communications Month (June) 2012

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By Terry Orr

What is effective communications?

Communication is the process of sharing information, thoughts and feelings between people through speaking, writing or body language. Effective communication extends the concept to require that transmitted content is received and understood by someone in the way it was intended. The goals of effective communication include creating a common perception, changing behaviors and acquiring information.

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Tip 1: You aren't a computer! (Stop Multitasking)
  • When you are having a conversation, don't do something else at the same time.
  • Take care to minimize distracters (TV, computer, cell phone, etc.) in the environment.
  • If you find your attention drifting, consciously bring it back to the conversation.
  • Make a mental note of key points that you hear during the conversation.
  • Listen, don't just 'wait to talk'.

Tip 2: Set the stage (Tell your audience what's coming)
  • What's the subject you wish to discuss?
  • What's the timeframe for the conversation (schedule and length)?
  • What's required of the listener?
  • If it's a negative message, prepare the listener ("This is difficult for me to say, and may be difficult for you to hear...")

Tip 3: Think before you speak - and while you are speaking (Be more conscious to be more effective)
  • What's the message you are hoping to get across?
  • Determine associated information that's needed to support your message.
  • Consider anticipated response of the listener, including possible concerns or objections.
  • Word choice, tone and body language shape your message.
  • Being more conscious helps you to be a better listener, too.

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Tip 4: I can see clearly now ... (Clarification is critical for effective communication)
As a speaker:

  • 'Check in' with your listener to make sure that your message is being conveyed as intended.
  • Don't make assumptions of your listener's knowledge of or interest in the subject.
  • Allow for and respond to questions.
  • Use analogies or common examples to help facilitate understanding.

As a listener:
  • Use 'active listening' ("What I hear you saying is ...)
  • Ask clarifying questions ("Do you mean...")
  • Reflect observed body language and tone to confirm impressions.

Tip 5: Take the high road (Break the cycle of negative interaction patterns)
  • Responding to an attack with an attack contributes to a downward spiral of negative interactions.
  • Take a couple of deep breaths or count to ten before responding.
  • Look for common ground to get back on track.
  • Watch for emotional 'flooding' and take a time-out if needed.
  • If what you are doing isn't working, do something different.
Communication is the exchange of thoughts, messages, or information, as by speech, visuals, signals, writing, or behavior.

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