Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christmas Dinner, Here and There

Christmas is celebrated in many countries around the world. The centerpiece of the celebration is the Christmas dinner meal. But the center meal is surely not the same in so many different cultures.

Well, that's true. Turkey seems to be popular in many homes, almost everywhere. If not turkey, other poultries such as duck, goose, or even pheasant make the family happy. Ham, too, is favored, as is roast beef, especially in the UK and former colonies. Some cultures have different ideas.

Japan likes fried chicken and strawberry shortcake. In Australia, chicken or ham is eaten cold, or shrimp is bar-be-qued. Remember it's summer down under.

Several cultures center their meal around twelve courses or dishes. Poland, for example, has 12 meatless dishes breaking a fasting period. The Ukrainian 12 courses are each dedicated to an apostle. They eat boiled wheat.

Finnish dinners consist of ham or fish with a smorgasboard of side dishes. The French stay up, often after midnight. The Netherlands has gourmet dishes, often individually cooked and the table in small skillets. The Mexican feast is largely fruits around special stews and tamales.

So many different cultures with as many different culinary tastes, all to celebrate Christmas. Read details in Wikipedia or an article about special dinners around the world.

Enjoy your Christmas tradition and your family dinner, or try something new by borrowing a taste from another culture.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Sending Smiles to Wounded Soldiers

I suggested sending a Christmas card to a wounded soldier. I thought it would add a smile to his or her day.

I ran across an article that cautions sending letters to unnamed soldiers. Apparently the Pentagon is concerned a toxic substance or a hateful message will be sent. The hospitals lack the manpower to screen the cards, so they will be returned or discarded. How sad.

If you have names of specific soldiers, be sure to remember them this festive season.

Sorry to be the one to spread this information. It sounded good to me. Sorrier we have to worry about such things.

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Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A World Fit for Children

World War II had ended, an organization had begun an international co-operation promoting world peace, and Europe was facing a grim winter. As the Iron Curtain divided Eastern and Western Europe, a Geneva conference worked to restore Europe.

Ludwik Rajchman spoke for the children suffering from lack of resources in their war-torn homelands. A resolution in the UN General Assembly created United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund, December 11, 1946. UNICEF was born with the promise of no restrictions where the aid might be provided.

Look at UNICEF now after 61 years review of "Progress for Children" towards building a world fit for children. What started with providing powdered milk to children of the war evolved into a broad range of programs to benefit children around the world.

Support by sending UNICEF cards and gifts. They even have a variety of e-cards.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Does Medicare Matter?

If you are not on Medicare now, there is a good chance you will be sometime in the future, so you might want to pay attention.

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) is a membership organization leading positive social change and delivering value to people 50 and over through information, advocacy and service. AARP has a project that supports legislation to strengthen Medicare. This legislature benefits everyone, not just the aging population.

Medicare premiums are rising to the point that some doctors are likely to limit the number of Medicare patients. AARP would like to preserve access to doctors and prevent premiums from skyrocketing. Prescription drugs are often quite expensive, and lower income citizens need help to pay for them.

With this in mind, AARP is asking Congress to pass legislation to ensure Medicare is accessible and affordable. Support this project and sign the petition.

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Happy Birthday, Emily

If I read a book and it makes my whole body so cold no fire can ever warm me, I know that is poetry. ~ Emily Dickinson Dec. 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Give a Smile to a Wounded Soldier

Here it is, Holiday Season again.

This year many of our young men and women are recovering from wounds and injuries in military hospitals. If you have an extra card or two, send them to recovering troops. With help from the U.S. Department of Defense, Walter Reed Army Medical Center, and Pitney Bowes Government Solutions, the Red Cross will gather and distribute the cards throughout the holiday season.

Please address your holiday cards to:

We Support You During Your Recovery!
c/o American Red Cross
P.O. Box 419
Savage, MD20763-0419

Sounds like a good idea to me.

12/12 Note:
I ran across an article that cautions sending letters to unnamed soldiers. Apparently the Pentagon is concerned a toxic substance or a hateful message will be sent. The hospitals lack the manpower to screen the cards, so they will be returned or discarded. How sad.

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Another Fun Site

Ask500People is a new site that is kind of fun and potentially useful. You can pose a survey question to be answered by people all over the world.

Here's the drill - Register. If your question is chosen -- by site visitors like you -- it will be available for 100 random respondents, whoever signs on and chooses to vote. Then it remains available for more respondents.

Read through some of the questions that have been submitted to Ask500People. Questions are serious, quirky, personal, political, and just plain silly. You can review questions that have been submitted and vote for any you think should be featured.

The featured question is displayed over a world map and you can track the response live. When someone answers, a pin is placed on the map, so you can see how many people agree or disagree and where the respondent is from. You can leave a comment if you choose.

Before you Marketers ask, yes, it can be used for business and the results can remain confidential. All you have to do is sign up for a premium account and you're ready. For the rest of us, it's free and fun. Think of a question. then Ask500People.

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Monday, December 03, 2007

Looking to Hire?

Consider hiring a disabled person -- maybe a disabled veteran.
Congress acknowledged that society's accumulated myths and fears about disability and disease are as handicapping as are the physical limitations that flow from actual impairment.
William Joseph Brennan, Jr. (1906 -1997), Associate Justice of the Supreme Court
Today is International Day of Disabled Persons, and the theme for 2007 is "Decent work for persons with disabilities." Many disabled people are denied the opportunity to work in an accepting environment. In most countries, 80% of working-age disabled people are unemployed. That's a high rate for so many capable and talented people.

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

It's That Time of Year Again

December. The joy of the holiday season has begun. Lights - Music - Decorations - Gifts. What do you buy for a disabled child?

Chris Coleman wrote me a message about this very topic.

Holiday time is exciting for every child. Each year kids wait with anticipation to open special gifts hiding within beautifully wrapped packages. This year, more than 6 million of America’s children awaiting gifts have disabilities. For parents, grandparents and friends, selecting toys for differently-abled children can be challenging. Afraid of selecting the “wrong” toys, many parents, families and friends of special needs children end up placing socks and pajamas in those brightly colored boxes, instead of what kids really want – toys and games.

Chris reminds us that all children want to have fun. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, all want to buy the best, most appropriate toy for the child with a disability. So where do you start?

“The first step is to look at what your child can do and what skills you want your child to use or practice. Think about skills such as fine motor, gross motor, language, or reading. The key to choosing a successful toy is understanding your child’s abilities AND the features of the toys.” -- Diana Nielander, Executive Director for the National Lekotek Center

A new web site has been launched to help shoppers learn about the "hidden" features of the toys. The free website, AblePlay, was designed to help make the best match between the toy and the child. Toys on the site have been evaluated and rated by Lekotek's trained therapeutic play experts.

To see the National Lekotek Center's Top Ten Tips for selecting toys for disabled children, see my post on Down the MS Path. Happy shopping!

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