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Hodgepodge from The Geranium Farm

Debbie Sharp Loeb, teacher by training but full-time mom to a disabled son, craftsperson, bead artist, great cook, creative homemaker & terrific spotter of cool new products for everything under the sun, presents Hodgepodge: recipes, household hints, stories about children, friends & relatives, cool stuff, music, & much more.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

Life's Purpose as Shown by a Dog

Here's another one of those things circulating the Internet that I just had to share.

Be always grateful for each new day.

A Dog's Purpose, (from a 6-year-old)

Being a veterinarian, I had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog's owners, Ron, his wife, Lisa, and their little boy, Shane, were all very attached to Belker.
I examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. I told the family we couldn't do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.
As we made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told me they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.
The next day, I felt the familiar catch in my throat as Belker's family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that I wondered if he understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.
The little boy seemed to accept Belker's transition without any difficulty or confusion. We sat together for a while after Belker's death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.
Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, "I know why."
Startled, we all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned me. I'd never heard a more comforting explanation.
He said, "People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life-- like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?" The six-year-old continued, "Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don't have to stay as long."

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.

Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.

Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure ecstasy.

Take naps.

Stretch before rising.

Run, romp, and play daily.

Thrive on attention and let people touch you.

Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.

On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.

On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.

When you're happy, dance around and wag your entire body.

Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.

Eat with gusto and enthusiasm. Stop when you have had enough.

Be loyal. Never pretend to be something you're not.

If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.

When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by and nuzzle them gently.

Be always grateful for each new day.


(Thanks Jen for passing this along.)

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Help for Flat Hair

I have straight hair with zero body. Over the years I've tried product after product that would help give it some lift and not weigh it down. I finally found something I like in these aussie - aussome VOLUME products. They are from left to right - Shampoo, Conditioner, Styling Mousse, Spray Gel. I had bought the mousse first but I prefer the gel more. Also when I bought the shampoo and conditioner they came together with a small sample bottle of hair spray.
Here's their website if you'd like to find out more about these and their other products:

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Beware of Garbage Trucks

Here's one of those things circulating the Internet that I thought was different. Thanks Jen for passing it along.

Beware of Garbage Trucks
by David J. Pollay

How often do you let other people's nonsense change your mood? Do you let a bad driver, rude waiter, curt boss, or an insensitive employee ruin your day? Unless you're the Terminator, for an instant you're probably set back on your heels. However, the mark of a successful person is how quickly she can get back her focus on what's important.

Sixteen years ago I learned this lesson.
I learned it in the back of a New York City taxi cab.
Here's what happened.

I hopped in a taxi, and we took off for Grand Central Station. We were driving in the right lane when, all of a sudden, a black car
jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his breaks, skidded, and missed the other car's back end by just inches!

The driver of the other car, the guy who almost caused a big accident, whipped his head around and he started yelling bad words at

My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was friendly. So, I said, "Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!"

And this is when my taxi driver told me what I now call, "The Law of the Garbage Truck."

Many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment.
As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it. And if you let them, they'll dump it on you. When someone wants to dump on you, don't take it personally.

You just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. You'll be happy you did.

So this was it: The "Law of the Garbage Truck."
I started thinking, how often do I let Garbage Trucks run right over me?
And how often do I take their garbage and spread it to other people: at work, at home, on the streets?
It was that day I said, "I'm not going to do it anymore."

I began to see garbage trucks.
Like in the movie "The Sixth Sense," the little boy said, "I see Dead People."

Well, now "I see Garbage Trucks."
I see the load they're carrying.
I see them coming to drop it off.
And like my Taxi Driver, I don't make it a personal thing;
I just smile, wave, wish them well, and I move on.

One of my favorite football players of all time, Walter Payton, did this every day on the football field. He would jump up as quickly as he hit the ground after being tackled.

He never dwelled on a hit.
Payton was ready to make the next play his best.
Good leaders know they have to be ready for their next meeting.

Good parents know that they have to welcome their children home from school with hugs and kisses.

Leaders and parents know that they have to be fully present, and at their best for the people they care about.

The bottom line is that successful people do not let Garbage Trucks take over their day.
What about you?
What would happen in your life, starting today,
if you let more garbage trucks pass you by?

Here's my bet.
You'll be happier.

Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets, so..
Love the people who treat you right.
Forget about the ones who don't.
Believe that everything happens for a reason.
If you get a chance, TAKE IT!
If it changes your life, LET IT!
Nobody said it would be easy...
They just promised it would be worth it!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

College Text Books - A Different Lesson Learned

As many of you may already know college textbooks are very expensive. My son Brian called me last week that his $130 math text book was missing. He said he tries to remember to always check his backpack before he leaves a class to make sure he isn't missing anything. Anyway, his class was on Tuesday and when he went a day or two later to look for his book for the next class he discovered it wasn't anywhere to be found. The bad thing was that he had not written his name/cell # or had any distinguishing marks in the book. I spoke to a man in charge at the campus bookstore and he said that one of those books had been turned in for resale but without anyway to identify it as his he didn't know if he would be able to do anything for him. (I told him he did still have his original receipt.) He told me the name of the detective he works with on the campus police force and told my son to report the incident to him. If the book in question was turned in by a person that didn't have, or doesn't now have the class they might be able to do something.

Meanwhile I told Brian to write his name and cell # in all his books on the inside front cover and to additionally make a distinguishable marks on certain pages on everyone one of his books.
He has since filed a report with the campus police.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Sharing the Feast

You may remember me mentioning back in February, actually it was at the Spaghetti Dinner and Sock Hop, that I was launching the start of collecting recipes for the St. Luke's church cookbook. Well, with the help of Kathy Young, and my brother John Sharp as co-chairs, it is done and published! It was presented for sale at the annual Welcome Back Brunch. People brought recipes they had entered and all sorts of goodies. We all spent a wonderful Sunday afternoon, "Sharing the Feast".
I'll announce at a later date info should you be interested in purchasing your very own copy. It has around 200 pages and just under 300 recipes and comes with it's own nifty stand!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Bless your pointy little head!

These photos were sent in by Geranium Farm Reader Karen M. Johnson and she says:
"I'm forwarding the ones that my sister-in-law sent several moons ago and I somehow sent them off into cyberspace or something. I so loved those photos that I asked her to try to find them and re-send. The one that you spoke of is very nice because the birds are surrounded by lovely plants and trees. However, those that I'm enclosing here are much more fun.....those beautiful birds look so scruffy after their baths but the color is still wonderful, isn't it? Golly, they look a whole lot better than I when I've just crawled out of the shower!!!!! I do like the last one where you can see water droplets.
The pink and grey birds are Galahs and they, too, come often to eat, drink, and bathe. Apparently, their behavior is very comical and my brother and sister-in-law love watching them. When very young, like most other species, they are somewhat less than graceful in their flight, etc. I'm told the little ones misjudge their speed, come flying up to the feeders, clasp a wire and find themselves upside down with a very surprised look on their little faces as if to say "Crikeys!! How did I get here?"
I only sent these for others' enjoyment after Barbara spoke of the African birds which were so colorful. Can you just imagine whole trees full of these birds? As Barbara said and I concur, "I don't think my heart could stand it." Please do as you like with these. I love sharing them. And as an old boss used to say, Bless your pointy little head! "

Thanks for passing these along Karen.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


These pictures are to accompany the eMo from September 19th, entitled above, sent by Geranium Farm Reader, Laura Heid, Fort Washington, MD.
She says, "We went as a family, as this was a lifelong dream for my mother, now 77. The trip focused on northern Tanzania, which is about 4 degrees south of the Equator. The trip occurred from Sept 2-Sept 12 and the regions visited included the Serengheti, NgoroNgoro Crater, Lake Manyara and Terengire. The final stop was Arusha, which is at the foot of Mount Kilamanjaro. It was dry season. Some of the larger herds are still up in Kenya and will begin the Great Migration back into Tanzania in October. The climate was ideal - upper 70's ,low 80's except for NgoroNgoro (7600 feet up).
All across the savannahs we would spot black dots on the horizon -ostriches.
Ostriches are very territorial and we did witness two females viciously chasing each other - and imagined the insults they were hurling at one another. More often than not, however, a female would try to get the male's attention -- and the male would look up cluelessly. . . Enjoy!
Some have asked about my camera and lens - I used a Canon Digital Rebel XT and a 400mm 4-5.6 L glass telephoto (aka. "the bazooka"). I have no training in photography and am a gynecologist by profession - so I often commit sins like backlighting. It's a work in progress. (LOL)"

Thanks for sending along the pictures to go with the eMo.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Meningtis and Meningococcal Disease

Meningitis is a common name for infections that take place in the membranes (called meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. It can be caused by viruses and by bacteria. One of the most serious forms of meningitis is caused by bacteria known as meningococci,which can be a serious, potentially fatal infection called meningococcal disease. You may have heard it referred to as bacterial meningitis.
To learn more about this and Viral Meningitis and their symptons and prevention go to:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Another Trip to the DMV (NJDMV-Phone Numbers)

I made a stop by the NJDMV to try to replace the hanging handicapped placard we have for David as a piece from the bottom snapped off today and part of the hook it hangs by had long ago broken off too. I was given a form to fill out and had started to do so when I realized the Handicapped ID I had for him was outdated. I told the young lady at the information desk, explaining who it was for, and asked what did I now need to do. She asked if I had Power of Attorney, that I would need to write a letter with it saying I lost (which I hadn't) the ID, and have it notarized. I said I was sure at some point over the years we had gotten a form, filled it out, returned it, saying we were still in need of the handicapped parking permit, but we never received a new ID. So . . . because of this, I 'll have to do this extra running around. Then when I got home I realized I had left the partiality filled out form on a counter that had my name and driver's license number on it. Yikes! I didn't want that info sitting there. I went to try to find a number to call them which I couldn't find. I finally found a website that said they are unpublished but had a listing of them for the whole state of NJ. So I called them up and the person at the info desk said she'd rip it up. Anyway . . . for those of you that live in NJ and need a phone number for your local DMV, go to:

Update - I returned to the DMV a day or two later with my necessary paperwork and was on my way in a short time!

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Monday, September 17, 2007

Need Help Finding a Contractor?

It's hard making that big decision to get work done on your home but here's a service that can help take some of that headache away. At contractions have to go through a 10 point screening process where they are screened to verify their Trade License, Insurance, and State Business Filings. They do a Criminal Records and Sex Offender Search as well as an Identity Verifications of their Social Security Number and Reverse Business Phone Listing. They are searched for any Aliases or if there are any Legal Civil Judgments against them and lastly they Verify Customer References. So in essence they have done the homework for you, actually probably more that you yourself would do!
Here's how it works:

If you've used this service please let us know how it worked for you by leaving a comment.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Better Toast!

If you're stuck on having white bread for your toast at least try Thomas' Original English Muffin Toasting Bread. It toasts up nice and crisp on the outside but is soft on the inside. Nice for grilled sandwiches too.
Give a loaf a try and see what you think!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Safer Car

Are you in the market for a new car or want to know just how safe your present vehicle is?
You can go to: to find out.
There's also information on:
Tire Ratings
Child Safety Seat Information
How Electronic Stability Controls Work,
How to Stop a Roll Over
Information on Air Bags
Frequently Asked Questions About Hybrids

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Top Cat

My cousin Gerry and his wife Dawn have the four cats pictured above. Even though it was around 4:30am they wanted their breakfast. (This is back in August when were up early to make our 7am fight home.) Dawn said watch Figaro, the old man of the bunch, he'll eat as fast as he can to hopefully finish before the rest so he can move in on their food! You can see him making his moves.
As for those of you that remember "Top Cat" the cartoon, go to:
For information on episodes go to:

Oh, and Figaro, he was the cat from Pinocchio. Read more about him at:

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

" is the official Web site of myGoodDeed, a nonprofit 501c3 organization leading the effort to establish September 11 as a national day of voluntary service, charity and good deeds. Our mission is simple: to encourage people everywhere to set aside time every September 11 to perform good deeds of their choice to help others in need. In this way, we hope to keep alive forever, in our memories and actions, the spirit of giving and selfless service that unified our nation following the terrorist attacks."

To learn more go here:

Thanks Diane for passing this along.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Extinguishing an Oil Fire on the Stove

Friday, September 07, 2007

Stevia - another kind of Sweetner

Stevia is sweetner that comes from a plant extract that is native to South and Central America. Since the FDA hasn't approved it as such it can only be sold in health food stores as a "dietary supplement". The bottle shown above is from a local health foods store. You may notice some extracts to have a bit of a liquorice-like aftertaste. Here's a place where you can read more about it: and also

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Are You an Apple or a Pear?

The WHR (Waist-to-hip ratio) looks at the proportion of fat stored on your body around your waist and hip and is a useful measure of fat distribution. Most people store their body fat either around their middle (apple shape) or around their hips (pear shape). If you have more weight around your waist, that is Apple-shaped, you have a greater risk of diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips (Pear-shaped).
You can find out your risk by putting your measurements into this calculator at the bottom of the page link at:

You can also figure out your BMI - Body Mass Index here too.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

A David Moment - with his Dad

Last night Paul came home from a workout at the gym and was starting to get undressed when David asked him for help on his computer. As Paul sat down to his computer, David seeing he had his shirt off, went over to his dresser. He opened the first large drawer and rifled through it. Not finding what he wanted he went to the second, nope, couldn't find what he was looking for. So he went onto the third drawer, and after going through even more piles of clothes he finally pulled out what he was looking for and handed it to Paul saying, "Here Dad this is for you." He had found a long sleeved T-shirt (that actually happened to be one of Paul's). After he took his shower he came out with it on and showed it to David. He said, "It fits good!" David just grinned from ear to ear.

Copyright © 2007 Deborah Sharp Loeb

Monday, September 03, 2007

Out with the Old, In with the New

I'm not sure how much Charlotte and Chuck would like this title but this is their garden as mentioned in Barbara's eMo "Invasive Species" -
You see it's basically a shade garden but that's going to change as the big old oak tree in the backyard has to come down. (The trunk of it is pictured above.) They're going to miss that tree and the shade it provided. Now they'll have to see what will adapt or survive to the changes of more sunlight being let into the garden. On the up side, things that couldn't have thrived there before can now have a home. Oh, it's going to be a whole new adventure in gardening. Different plants to consider. Something to look forward to, and do I see another trip to that really cool garden center that I introduced Charlotte to a few weeks ago, next spring?

(Their daughter's mural "Flight of Fancy", a work in progress, shown above too.)

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