Reactions to Presidential Candidates Coming to Visit

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Have you ever thought what it would be like to have a candidate for president of the United States come to your house if your children were home? Although many may view this with excited anticipation, I, on the other hand, look at it with trepidation.

If John Kasich came to a house party he would most likely be the guy who respectfully gets his drink, goes to the living room, sits in a corner chair with a side table and lamp on low and begrudgingly waits until his wife tells him it is time to leave. Although a cordial guest, John really doesn’t want to be there pressing the flesh and sharing nonsensical stories. He half-smiles at your children.

If Donald Trump showed up at your house for a pool party, he would arrive in a chauffeured driven limousine, donning dress shorts, a silk shirt and an ascot. Donald would ask for a lemonade with little ice. Keep your young daughters far, far away from him.

Should Hillary Clinton come to your house party make sure to hide the wooden spoon. The last thing you want at a party is the older lady in a pantsuit scolding your children for running around and acting like kids.

Ted Cruz is the person you didn’t want to invite to your home, but a friend made you feel guilty if you didn’t ask him. Once Ted arrives you vigilantly make sure none of your children sit on his lap.

If Bernie Sanders comes to your house for a get together you can rest assured he will be hospitable and thankful that someone thought enough to ask the old guy to join in on the festivities. The kids love “grandpa Bernie” and everyone laughs during question and answer games because Bernie’s arms are always raised.

Five presidential candidates are currently seeking office.  Which of these five would you want in your home and around your children?

Written by Dennis L. Page

My Friends Are Hungry

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The birds were soaring overhead, watching me diligently filling the various feeders.

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The different species call out to each other that breakfast has been served.

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Many of my feathered friends sit on tree branches patiently waiting for me to finish setting up the morning buffet.

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Of course, it never takes the squirrels long to scurry, hop, skip and jump across the field at lightning speed in an effort to fuel their little bodies.

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The restaurant in the backyard is now open and all my little friends are enjoying another scrumptious meal. I can’t imagine not having the wildlife around me on a daily basis. For you see, they quite simply, fill my heart.

Written and photographed by Dennis L. Page

 

The Dark Cloud of Criminals

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Would someone please explain what possesses some to live a life of crime? Why are so many free from feelings of guilt surrounding their heinous actions? What causes such anger? Why are we vilifying educators and higher education and not exploring the underlying causes of a morally inept society due to bad parenting, no parenting, economics, environment, drugs, alcohol, mental illness or simply a blatant and flagrant lack of morals? I ask myself these questions daily and yet, I have no answers.

Most likely you’ve heard about bands of teenagers going around and attacking unsuspecting victims in what authorities have labeled the “Knockout Game.” Why do certain segments of society derive pleasure in causing pain and even death to others? To me, it is unthinkable to maim an elderly person simply to steal their purse or Social Security money. What possible joy can one derive from beating a homeless person? I am miffed by the actions of someone who willingly robs a pizza delivery person or a cab driver. We’ve all seen the stories of a convenience store or gas station being robbed for a six-pack of beer and a carton of cigarettes and my standard reaction is the same. Are these criminals that desperate that they are willing to risk their freedom for such small spoils? I also find it amazing how a crook who steals $100 gets sent to prison for years, while the embezzler who has taken thousands of dollars is given a verdict of probation, restitution and community service, with a conditional discharge.

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I can’t imagine the fear and helplessness felt during a home invasion. What gives someone the idea it is okay to take from those who work and struggle in this world, simply because the perpetrator is high on meth or heroine? I want to scream, “GET A JOB! GET SOME EDUCATION AND TRAINING! GET SOME DAMN RESPONSIBILITY! YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO TAKE FROM THOSE WHO EARN THEIR WAY IN LIFE!”

As a small boy, I was nearly assaulted while sitting in a car waiting for my aunt and uncle who were picking up a few things in the grocery store. It was a hot summer night when I noticed the large, drunk and ogre looking man eyeing me. He reached out with his big paws like a grizzly bear. Electric car windows didn’t exist in those days. Frantically, I rolled up the windows in the back seat of the car. He was circling the vehicle with a constant focus on me and the look of a monster. I jumped into the front seat and secured the driver’s window. In a panic, I slid across the front seat to roll up the passenger’s window when the man reached in to grab me. My little arms turned the window lever at lightning speed. I rolled the window up on the man’s fingers and held onto that lever for dear life. A cab driver noticed the commotion and pulled the man away from me and the car. I can only imagine my fate had he been successful in his pursuit of me. Needless to say, I was so petrified that I ended up losing my voice for three days.

I also don’t understand crimes of passion. What would ever make someone want to murder an ex-spouse or lover because that person doesn’t want them anymore? For crying out loud…move on and leave the other person alone.

Whenever my wife goes to a meeting, the store or the credit union I always make a mental note of what she is wearing and always remind her to be aware of her surroundings. It is unfortunate, but we cannot have a cavalier attitude about our safety anymore. We now live in a world of constant vigilance and must never let our guard down.

Written By: Dennis L. Page

Meaty Homemade Lasagna

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Grown in my garden

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I’ve noted that with aging many latent passions have surfaced and now I have the time to hone my skill level. Several things I enjoy are gardening, reading, writing, and cooking. The above photos highlight some of my vegetables, garlic, and potatoes. It is a thrill to grab a bulb of garlic in April that was harvested in July.

It is no secret that my favorite meals are Italian dishes. There is a lot of flexibility and personal taste in the preparation of Italian food. I’ve made several versions of lasagna, but must confess, this meaty lasagna recipe is my favorite.

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Ground beef, Italian Sausage, Green and Red Peppers, Onion, and Sauce Simmering

Ingredients:

1 pound ground beef

1/2 pound sweet Italian sausage

1 medium white onion

1/2 green pepper

1/2 red pepper

12 lasagna noodles

32 oz. ricotta cheese

1 egg

1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

18 slices of mozzarella cheese

1 teaspoon garlic powder

3 cloves minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon of salt

1 tablespoon fresh minced parsley

2 26 oz. jars of marinara sauce

1 26 oz. jar of spaghetti sauce

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Ricotta Mixture

Preparing the meat mixture:

Add ground beef and sausage (removed from its casing) in a large skillet to brown. To make the meat into a finely crumbled form I use a potato masher. Dice up the peppers and onions and add to the skillet. When the meat is browned and the vegetables cooked add in the minced garlic. Cook for a couple of minutes and then drain off the excess fat. Add 1 26 ounce jar of marina sauce and 1 26 ounce jar of spaghetti sauce and 1/2 – 1 26 ounce jar of the marina – depending how saucy you want your mixture and let simmer.

Preparing the ricotta cheese:

Using a large bowl, combine the ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder and salt and mix well.

Cook lasagna noodle according to directions on the package and preheat the over to 350 degrees.

 

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Assembling Your Masterpiece
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Oh My – This Is Looking Good
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Can You Feel the Love?

Some assembly required:

Coat a 9-inch by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread one cup of your meat mixture on the bottom of the baking dish. Place 3 lasagna noodles on top of the sauce and spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the noodles. Layer with 6 slices of mozzarella cheese and then 1/3 of the meat mixture. Repeat this process for 2 more layers, making sure you end up with meat sauce on top and then cover and bake for 50 minutes. After 50 minutes remove lasagna from oven and uncover. Add the remaining 6 slices of mozzarella cheese and return to the oven (uncovered) for 15 to 20 minutes longer. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 10 minutes before serving.

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Time To Eat

I would gladly put this lasagna recipe up against any local Italian restaurants and the best part is I can have it in the comfort of my own home. Make sure you have some fresh Italian bread to compliment your meal with a tossed garden salad on the side.

 

 

A Walk in the Garden

A Walk in the Garden

Living in the northeastern United States finds me chomping at the bit to begin my

gardening season. The following pictures are from previous years and I only hope this year

will reap the same rewards I’ve grown accustomed to.

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Opening the back door I enter an exciting world of sights and sounds during this most

glorious time of year. I love the spring and summer for so many reasons, but mostly due to

the fact these two seasons signal new life, growth, and maturity.

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Walking outside into the backyard I am greeted with the magnificence of a living canvas.

Four of my trees are approximately 50 years old and they are tall, full and strong. I have

planted numerous seedlings throughout the years and the result has been a canopy of

green lushness. I have no idea how many plants, flowers, shrubs and ground cover plants I

have put in the good earth, but I do know they surprise me each year with the wonderment

of elegance, charm and fragrances they faithfully emit.

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The true seductiveness of my yard occurs when Mother Nature meets the grand majesty of

wildlife.

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I will admit to being obsessive and compulsive when it comes to feeding my outside friends. I am first on the list of bird club members at our local feed store, I purchase over 100 pounds of bulk seed per month, along with separate bags of corn, cracked corn, peanuts and sunflower seeds. Needless to say, when venturing out into the backyard and under the two arbors, it is as though I have been transported into a Walt Disney movie. Immediately, the birds start singing and calling their friends. The ground animals stand back in the distance, patiently waiting for me to fill the feeders and then miraculously the featured film of life commences.

Although today is a great day, Mother Nature played her tricks on a late April Fool’s day joke with a two-day snowstorm. Life is always full of surprises and the weather certainly reminds us that we should never take anything for granted.

It’s now time to put down my coffee and enter the magical world just outside by the back door.

Written By: Dennis L. Page