February 28, 2011

Page 6

Living in Jefferson County

Kristin Depew
Where's The Tylenol?
I found this to be a really disappointing week in Jefferson County Government. Ironically, my expectations of government are fairly low, so it takes a lot to make me register any type of feeling regarding their actions. I suppose that sounds rather cynical, but it is what it is. I spent the week trying to catch up with elected officials who spent the week avoiding me. Of course, I get the fact that I am presenting information to the public via The Jefferson County Post.- however shouldn’t they (officials) find out what I want before they refuse to speak to me. Confidentiality agreements (which baffle me), and stoic secretaries who insist that “he is busy with work all week” (which annoy me because addressing citizens is part of their “work”) gave me a week-long headache.
And by-the-way, when I do show up for a meeting, I don’t expect visible anger when asking for a quote or clarification of actions taken. Did they not realize that accountability to the public is part of any elected position? And if you run the County Department with the most employees and the largest budget – people are going to ask you questions. So... I spent my time checking “outside” sources of information. It is unbelievable what can be learned by stepping outside the confines of the “Jefferson County System”. 
A disappointing week, yes … Unproductive…No.

New Orleans’ Beignets and Chicory Coffee
Tricia Swann
A trip to New Orleans would not be complete without chicory coffee and beignets from the original French Market coffee stand Café Du Monde. Whether you have them for breakfast or a midday snack, the combination is perfection. Chicory, which is part of the endive plant, is roasted, ground, and added to the coffee and gives it a unique and distinct flavor. The beignets, square French doughnuts, are deliciously puffy and sweet, topped with mounds of powdered sugar. While it is possible to make beignets from scratch, it does require more effort than most are willing to give. So, why not buy a mix? Café Du Monde sells their own original beignet mix. All you add is water (and powdered sugar for topping after they are fried). Check out their website at www.cafedumonde.com to find information on how to order their beignet mix as well as their coffee with chicory. They also offer tips on how to make the best beignets and make them just like they do in the French Quarter. Yes, you can get a taste of New Orleans, easily, right in your very own home.



Caroline Graham Swann
Spring Prom... the Cinderella evening arrives, changing each girl into a Princess. The long awaited event will always be remembered. Memories of Prince Charming arriving with flowers... the dance trend of the year... and the exquisite ball gown. Oh, the formal coiffure and dazzling dream dress brings tears to Mom and Dad, as they realize their little girl has changed into a beautiful young woman. Unfortunately, there is no magic wand to bring this about instantly. Decisions... decisions...decisions!! What date to accept... which dress to wear... what hair style is most becoming??? And ,of course, the DREADED DRAGON .......STAYING ON THE BUDGET!
Well, your Fairy Godmother has arrived with a few suggestions. Let's start with identifying your vision of this grand occasion. One can truly express her own sense of style. "It's OK, your Royal Highness, to think our of the box". For example, the classic "old Hollywood movie star glamour". To "really rock" the Hollywood look, Rita Hayworth is a great example. Start with a really tight fitted gown with a strapless sweetheart neckline. Wear hair down with a wave sweeping down one side of the face. Pull the other side behind the ear with a gardenia holding it in place. RED, RED nail polish, RED, RED lipstick, and false eyelashes. Three gardenias in a vertical and simple corsage, pined to one side of the strapless bustier. Absolutely.... no embellishment on the gardenias corsage! Stiletto ankle strap heels complete the vision. Now... enter the scene (Prom) like a Star!
Caroline's Tips
1.  A really great dress doesn't have to be budget breaking.  Also, remember that terrific accessories can always make an outfit.  To view some really great choices of gowns, go to www.renttherunway.com, a great source for any budget. Every gown and accessory is for rent and affordable. 
2. Getting a new perm, color, cut or straightening, should be done one month ahead for a trial styling. This assures no crisis and disappointment. A mistake with the crowning glory can bring the Fairest Princess to her knees.
Next week, more suggestions to create a perfectly enchanting evening.
Remember, staying within your budget is always in style.

Really? Over the years, I’ve noticed that people tend to take life literally. Nuance, sarcasm, parity, overstatement, sensational exaggeration, and even analogy are lost on many.
By David Swann
 In short, people literally believe almost anything they hear.  I know it’s wrong, but sometimes I use this knowledge for my own amusement. For example, overhearing a conversation about submarines, I might interject, “Air Force submarines are the best because of their dual core low exhaust nuclear reactors.” At this point, you can see the conflict behind most people’s eyes. Their brains are stuck in a reverberating loop of confusion. Never heard that . . . sounds true . . . must be true . . . never heard that . . . sounds true . . . must be true.
So they respond, predictably, “I didn’t know the Air Force made submarines.” Now I’ve got them. “Oh, yes. They made the first submarines. In fact, that’s how they got their name. They had to force air into the submarines back then. Most people think they were named after ‘flying in the air,’ but it was submarines that gave them their name.”
While the tendency of humans to literally accept what they hear is often a source of amusement, there is a bit of terror involved. I can’t help wondering, even fearing, what will happen during a strong Copernican Z rotation meteor shower. These rare showers have, so far, only hit remote areas, but their effect on alpha brain waves is well documented. Through a synaptic shift, alpha waves become omega-beta-zeta waves. These waves enhance natural tendencies. Under these conditions, telling someone to “jump off the nearest bridge” could have catastrophic results. Search crews will work for hours looking for people up the creek without a paddle. People will be begging friends not to go out on that limb. Small children will wait in torrential rain for puppies and kittens to fall from the sky. There will be rows of ducks everywhere we turn. Chaos will reign.
Of course, you don’t need to worry about any of this if you’re wearing a hat. In order to wear a hat, your head has to be on straight. Everybody knows that. And if your head is on straight, you won’t take everything you hear literally. In fact, you won’t even believe half of it. So when a strong Copernican Z rotation meteor shower strikes, put your hat on, if you can, and enjoy the show. I will.

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The Elegant Recycler
Antique, Collectible, or Vintage?
By Rachel Glenn
Did last week’s Spring weather send you to the attic or basement to de-clutter? Did you find a thingamajig and wonder: What is It? Can I sell it? Where? These days we hear and see the terms antique, collectible, and vintage 
bandied about on popular TV shows, the web, and in casual conversation. Did you find an antique or collectible? What do those terms mean really? 
In the US an antique is generally 100 or more years old. There are exceptions such as antique cars. Since cars have barely been around one hundred years, they become antiques at a younger age. According to Wikipedia, an auto earns the title after its forty-fifth birthday. Older couples visit my shop and one will joke that he or she brought me an antique, referring to the spouse. I always laugh wholeheartedly, but really a spouse would have to be a centenarian in order to be an antique. A word of caution . . . not every item for sale in an antiques store is an antique. If you want to know how old an item is, ask! Reputable dealers will tell you the age if they know it and say honestly if they don’t know.

Collectibles on the other hand can be much younger and include a wide range of products. Generally collectibles are at least twenty years old. Antiques shop owners who advertise their wares as antiques and collectibles often carry items less than one hundred years old in categories such as art pottery, books, framed art, furniture, glassware, paper and ephemera, porcelain, and more. You can also find specialized collectibles stores that carry books, comic books, records, and sports collectibles. Exceptions to the twenty year age guideline include fads (remember the Beanie Baby craze) and contemporary collectibles sold new in the box in retail stores around the country. 
Of these three terms, vintage is probably the most misused. When used in web listings, vintage often means ‘used or second hand of some age.’ It’s used to prop up the item descriptions and try to add credibility. Actually vintage should be used with artifacts the same way it’s used with wine. You might say, “This is my grandmother’s vintage 1940s tablecloth,” or “Here is an example of antique majolica pottery, vintage 1900s.” ‘Vintage’ plus date denotes age and time period.
As you do Spring cleaning this year, look for antiques, collectibles, and items of a certain vintage. Once you categorize them, you can determine pricing and the best venue for selling.

The Growing Years
Eye / Hand Coordination
Linda G. Swann, M.S. Early Childhood / SPED
Last week I promised more information on early childhood development. We learned how to encourage gross motor development. In turn, these skills encourage other areas of growth. Using the large muscles, the infant is encouraged to begin developing cognitive thoughts about repeating behaviors that were pleasurable. This leads to a desire to expand his/her horizons, but how will this happen? The hands are not yet functional. Herein, we begin discussion of the next area of development in our developmental sequence, fine motor skills.
Fine motor development involves the smaller muscles of the body, to be specific the hands and eyes. You have often heard the term "eye/hand coordination". Both eye and hand muscles must develop before we see the eye/hand coordination necessary for further development. At birth, the infant's eyes cross as he/she struggles to make out our image. We place a rattle in the infants clenched fist and watch him/her make beautiful sounds. While this is a great activity for the infant, as it stimulates hearing and touch, it is not initiated by the infant. Our goal is for the infant to pick the rattle up and shake it. This is the beginning of independent play, using eye/hand coordination skills. Later, the child will begin to use the thumb and finger to grasp objects. While we rejoice in these major accomplishments, we are far from finished. Fine motor skills will continue to develop throughout the early years of childhood. We witness this in children's handwriting and art work. With each school year, we see a child's writing magically improve and change. As teachers, we would like to take all credit, but in reality, we know, the muscles are maturing. I will confess, as a parent, I did not worry over handwriting grades. I knew this was a grade my child had little control over.
Fine motor skill development is so important to our everyday lives, I could go on and on. But for this article, I must stop and give some ideas on how to encourage it's development. A very simple and early lap activity, is to face your infant, put your fingers in his/her fist, and gently sing or speak. Exaggerate your facial movements, making them as big as possible. With his/her hands clutched tightly around your fingers, gently move the infants arms forward and backward in a rocking rhythm. Offer tactile toys to stimulate touch. Choose toys with bumps, smooth surfaces, waffles, or other texture. When choosing toys, remember safety first. Nothing that will come off in the child's mouth, as this is the first place the toy will go. Place the textured toy in the infant's hand and a rattle in the other hand. You are stimulating both touch and hearing and the infant is getting practice in integrating two senses. It is important to allow your child to finger feed as soon as he/she is sitting independently in a high chair. Begin by putting a spoonful of the food you are feeding him/her on the tray. Put his/her fingers into the food and swirl it around. Raise the hand to the mouth. I know this sounds messy but it is very important. My son ended up looking like he had been in a food fight, but it will wash off. Don't be afraid to let your child get messy. It is necessary for good early childhood development.
As the child grows, new activities should be added that focuses on developing of the muscles in the hand. Anything that can be squeezed, such as, wringing out a wash cloth or sponge is great. Bath time is a good time for this activity. Start the activity as soon as your child can sit independently in the bath tub. Make it fun, squeeze water into a bottle or sink a boat. Make a picture. Have your child tear paper strips. Glue the strips on a piece of paper. Let your child squeeze the glue. Finger painting or playing in shaving cream on a table are also good ways to develop the muscles in the hands. Use tweezers, eye lash curlers or clothes pins to pick up cotton balls. Play dough is another important tool useful in hand muscle development (kneading, rolling, cutting). Other activities include, stamping, drawing, and coloring. Pick up small food objects (raisins or cheerios), one at a time and put them in a bowl.
As the child gets older, remember your fine motor objectives. Ask the question, What are the fine motor goals for my child? Teachers are taught a skill called "task analysis". This is the ability to break a task down into it's smaller parts. We use this skill in our classroom. You can use the skill in your home. Here is how it works: I want my child to snap his/her pants. OK, what must he/she be able to do? You try it! Easy, you need finger and thumb pinched together, and the ability to push hard. Try again! You did more than finger, thumb and push. Let's see! Write it down, step by step, beginning with your hands and arms in front of your body. You reach for the waistband of your pants.... grasp the two end flaps..... hold each between the thumb and finger... pull the two pieces together.... overlap the two pieces.... match up the snap halves... hold them in place with one hand (specify which hand)..... with the other hand, put the thumb behind the snap.... put the pointer finger in front of the snap.... push the thumb and finger together. Wow! would you have believed snapping a pair of pants would be so complex ? Now, look at the steps and identify what your child needs to know to accomplish your goal. Don't forget the language involved. Does the child know what the language in each step means? Now that you know how to do a "task analysis", apply it to all fine motor goals such as: holding, grasping, independent bottle feeding, independent spoon feeding, pulling up pants, pulling on shirts, independent bathing, marking, coloring, tearing, cutting, pasting, zipping, buttoning, writing, etc..
Next week we will explore cognitive development as it relates to motor skills. In the mean time, have fun with a "task analysis". Write your steps down. Have someone read the steps as you follow them. Do nothing but what your are told. Did you meet your goal? Good Luck!

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