I have been thinking about – and missing – my friend Kathy Allen a lot lately. In truth, I think about her, and Fred, every day, but on some days, more than others. I still have blink moments when I think, “We’ll see them for dinner on Saturday, or next time they’re in town, or I’ll call her later and catch up.” And then it settles in. Kathy is gone, Fred is gone, and there is an empty spot that only good memories can fill.

I can’t look in many rooms in our home that don’t hold a reminder of Kathy. Our friendship began in the ’60s when we worked at what at that time, was known as Ma Bell, the telephone office where we were operators. “Operator, number please?” Back when a human voice connected one person with another via a dial-up telephone. Over the years we exchanged gifts. In the kitchen I see holiday trivets I keep up year around, on the patio a tinwork angel, a wooden angel wall hanging in the hall, Christmas ornaments and nativities on China cabinet shelves, tiny books and big books here and there, handmade pot and dish scrubbers in the kitchen, drawers full of handmade scarves, bracelets… These small reminders bring on a smile along with a catch in my throat.

I wrote the poem below sometime ago with Kathy in mind, and posted it on this site long before her passing. I repost it today because I wish for one more walk and chance to talk with my friend. I have so much to tell her, all of which , of course, she may well already know. As a believer, I know there is only a thin veil between this shadowy and insubstantial thing called life, and the people we have known and loved. Kathy loved yellow roses, but what she loved most were the people in her life, Fred, Mark and Marlene, her sisters and their families, her friends. I miss her.

Let us stroll along today and talk.
Tell me what makes you laugh, as we walk.
I want to listen to what you say.
Share your heart with me today.
I want to know what makes you cry.
May I ease your worry, wipe your tears dry?
Share with me your anger deep inside.
I will help you slay that dragon, and turn the tide.
I am your friend come what may.
Please share your heart with me today.

Plant-Based Twists to Classic Summer Dishes

(NewsUSA) – With people more focused on wellness and nutrition these days, interest in a plant-based diet is hotter than ever. One easy way to get in on the trend: Pair summer produce with simple ingredients like pecans for a dish the whole family will enjoy.

Pecans are a versatile ingredient and are naturally sweet with a rich and crunchy texture. As each one-ounce serving of the nuts offers three grams of fiber and protein, essential vitamins, minerals and heart-healthy benefits, pecans also happen to be one of the tastiest ways to elevate the nutrition of any recipe.

In fact, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, scientific evidence suggests, but does not prove, that eating 1.5 ounces per day of most nuts – including pecans – as part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. A one-ounce serving of pecans has 18g unsaturated fat and only 2g saturated fat.

Add a sweet and nutritious crunch to this Mediterranean Pecan Pasta Salad, or swap meat for Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with a nutty and nutritious pecan pesto.

Discover more delicious recipes at AmericanPecan.com

Mediterranean Pecan Pasta Salad 

Mediterranean Pecan Salad

Serves 10 
Prep time: 15 mins 
Cook Time: 12 mins 

1/4 cup salt 
12 ounces pasta 
4 cups radicchio, sliced 
1 cup halved marinated olives 
1/2 cup marinated artichoke, bite-size pieces 
1/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes 
1 cup pecan pieces 
3/4 cup chopped parsley or mint 
6 ounces feta cheese 
1 orange, sliced 
2 cups chopped spinach 
Lemon vinaigrette and fresh cracked pepper (optional) 

1. Bring a pot of water to a boil with 1/4 cup of salt. When water is boiling, add in pasta, and cook about 10 minutes. When pasta is cooked, set aside. 

2. In a large, clear bowl, layer half the radicchio, and half of the olives, artichoke, and tomato on top. Next, add half the pasta, 1/2 cup of pecans, half of the parsley, 3 ounces of feta, and the orange slices. 

3. Add the spinach, then repeat layering with the radicchio, olives, artichoke, tomato, pasta, pecans, parsley, feta, and orange. 

4. If using dressing, add after layering is complete. 

5. Add fresh pepper and refrigerate before serving.

Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Pecan Basil Pesto 

Serves 8 
Prep time: 5 minutes 
Cook time: 10 minutes 

2 heads of cauliflower, cut into 8 1-inch cauliflower steaks 
1 tablespoon pecan, avocado or olive oil 
Salt and pepper, to taste 

For the pesto: 

2 cups fresh basil 
1/4 cup raw pecan halves 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/4 teaspoon pepper 
1 garlic clove 
1 teaspoon lemon zest 
1/2 cup pecan or olive oil 
1/3 cup shredded parmesan cheese 

1. Preheat grill to medium high heat, about 375 to 400 degrees F. 

2. Brush sides of cauliflower steaks with oil and add salt and pepper. 

3. Grill each side of steak for 4 minutes. 

4. Remove from grill and let rest. 

5. Make the pesto: in a food processor, pulse the basil, raw pecans, garlic, salt, pepper and lemon zest until finely chopped. Add olive oil and blend. 

6. Transfer pesto to a bowl and add parmesan cheese. 

7. To serve, top cauliflower steaks with pesto.

Day by day

Golden Lily

The doing of a thing
shapes who we become
making each life ring and sing.

Do a thing today
that makes you smile
or helps another along life’s way.

Make your story chime
rich and vibrant,
splashed with colors sublime.

Sometimes the thing
is a softly spoken word
like the gentle brush of an angel’s wing.

Sometimes it is creating
art, or music, or a tale
so beautiful it’s breath-taking.

Sometimes it’s praying,
knowing God is listening
to what you are saying.

The things we do and say
define our stories
and shape our lives day-by-day.

How Your Business Can Survive Coronavirus

HICoronaVirusC(NewsUSA) – As the world has hit the metaphorical panic button during the rise of Coronavirus (Covid-19) cases worldwide, the daily reality for people and businesses is rapidly changing.

Practically overnight, businesses have been forced out of the comfort zone of face-to-face contact, now having to heavily rely on digital platforms. Businesses, especially, are struggling with figuring out how to survive by using digital communication techniques.

With the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and government officials emphasizing “social distancing and mandatory nonessential business closures,” technology such as live video conferencing, chat boxes, and email will be the basis for millions of Americans for their jobs, schooling, and everyday communication. So, with so many players in the game, how can businesses continue to function successfully?

Higher Images, a 20-year-old full-service digital marketing agency located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, is helping organizations, businesses, and the community re-imagine what their lives and work-life will look like through web-based technology and mobile devices.

President and CEO of Higher Images, Bryan Thornberg, says, “Rather than going into crisis mode, businesses should take this as an opportunity to expand their knowledge and reach. With many more people relying on digital communication, this is an ideal opportunity for businesses to break boundaries and try new techniques when connecting with clients.”

Thornberg and his team want to help people not just survive this crisis but to thrive during it and come out with an organization and business model stronger than ever.

Thornberg has already been able to impact his clients by thinking outside the box and recommending the usage of technology such as live feeds and Facetime.

For example, a hot tub distributor – a business that relies on their retail location for sales – took the recommendation of Thornberg and is now offering live video conferencing for customers to do live demonstrations of products and make purchases.

Higher Images also urges businesses to utilize their existing websites to drive business: for example, adding a chat-box function to their website for customer communication, allowing organizations to respond to clients in real-time from the convenience of a cell phone or office computer from any location in the world.

With higher internet traffic, this is also a key time for organizations to utilize search engine marketing, Google ads, and mobile in-app advertising technology such as Webtracker, which geo-fences homes to enhance brand visibility. Strategizing with a digital marketing company like Higher Images will provide businesses with the tools they need to succeed.

Visit www.howcanmybusinesssurvivethecoronavirus.com for more information.

This is the blog of Sharon Vander Meer, an indie author of six books and two chap books of poetry. Check the BOOKS tab to find out more. Follow her at www.vandermeerbooks.com, https://www.facebook.com/vandermeerbooks, Amazon Author Central. Please like, share, or comment – or all three!


Car Parade Aug. 30 to celebrate Women’s Suffrage Ammendment

Women's Rights

On Aug. 18, 1920, the 19th Amendment to the Constitution (Women’s Suffrage Amendment) was finally ratified. After nearly 100 years, activists and reformers won the right for all American women to vote. It was no easy journey. It started with women stepping out in support of various reform groups, like temperance groups, religious movements, moral-reform societies, and anti-slavery organizations. The idea that a woman’s place was at the cook stove and raising kids was being redefined, shaping anew what it meant to be a woman and a citizen of the United States. In the first election following ratification of the 19th Amendment on Nov. 2, 1920, more than eight million women across the United States voted for the first time.

A Car Parade in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Woman’s Suffrage Amendment will take place on Sunday, Aug. 30 at 2 p.m. Organizer Sonya Berg has worked with city officials and the police department to make it happen. But that’s just part of the story.

She started 18 months ago working with Meredith Machen of the League of Women Voters New Mexico to identify New Mexico suffragists and plan public events to celebrate the Centennial Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, making it legal for women to cast a vote, as well as doing research for national databases to recognize Suffragists in New Mexico.

She was inspired  to put together the Car Parade on Aug. 30 because other planned events fell through as a consequence of COVID-19.

“I looked for other ways to celebrate this historic year. Santa Fe planned a car parade along the same path the Suffragists took in 1916 to Senator Catron’s residence to deliver speeches and try to convince him to support the 19th Amendment. I decided Las Vegas should also have a parade. Three people in Las Vegas were influential in getting the Suffrage Act passed,” Berg said.

Senator Andrieus Aristieus Jones, elected to the US Senate in 1915, was appointed chair of the Senate Select Committee on Woman Suffrage. “Sen. Jones successfully shephered the Act through both chambers and it passed June 4, 1919,” Berg said.

“Gov. Octaviono Larrazolo the fourth governor of New Mexico, ran on a platform to support Women’s Suffrage. When the state legislature convened, legislators decided they didn’t really want to vote for that. The session ended. Gov. Larrazolo called a special session and he and Nina Otero-Warren lobbied the legislators until they agreed. Because of this, Larrazolo was a one-term governor,” Berg said.

The third influitial advocate for the Suffrage movement was Aurora Lucero, who was born in Las Vegas, the daughter of Antonio Lucero, the first New Mexico Secretary of State. Lucero was well-educated and a talented bilingual speaker. “When the national organizations first sent representatives to New Mexico, they understood the importance of including influential Hispanic women from prominent political families in their effort,” Berg said.

Events recognizing the 100th Anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment had been planned months in advance. Among the aborted plans were:

  • talks by Fort Union National Park Service at the Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation office;
    focus on the Suffarage moment during Heritage Week;
  • Sara Jo Matthews was developing a “Suffrage cocktail” and a voter registration drive was planned at Borracho’s;
  • AAUW-NM annual convention was scheduled to be held in April with a focus on the Suffrage Movement and portrayals of influential Suffragists;
  • a celebration of the 100th Anniversary was planned near Aug. 26, the official date the ammendment became part of the constitution, now known as Women’s Equality Day;
  • a poster contest was planned to get school children involved in the occasion;
  • a period play about the Suffrage movement was under discussion.

When that all fell through, attention was directed toward doing what could be done now, according to Berg.

“We’re getting proclamations from the city council and the county commission, we’re putting a store front display at CCHP and dressing a mannequin at Blowin’ in the Wind in Suffrage colors – white for purity, purple for loyalty, and yellow for hope – and featuring a parasol with sunflowers, and a sash stating ‘Votes for Women,’ and other storefront displays,” Berg said.

Berg believes this focus on recognizing the 100th Anniversty of the 19th Ammenment is timely and important.

“I think many do not realize the commitment and courage of the activists. One often hears the statement, ‘Women were GIVEN the vote.’ More correctly, we FOUGHT for and TOOK the right to vote! The 72-year-long struggle to Win the Vote is generally considered to have started in July 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York. The meeting was organized by Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott and three other women. The Declaration of Sentiments was written by Stanton and modeled after the U.S. Declaration of Independence and borrowed language from the antislavery movement, demanding that women be given full rights of citizenship. Sixty-eight women and 32 men signed the document. Charlotte Woodward Pierce was the lone surviving woman to see the 19th Amendment signed into law,” Berg said.

The route for the Car Parade on Aug. 30 has been determined. To keep it to an orderly procession, Berg suggests carpooling. She is also asking participants to wear suffrage colors and to decorate their vehicles accordingly.

“Yellow roses and sunflowers were also symbols of the movement,” she said. “I will have some sashes and hats but I encourage participants to make their own.”

Sashes should say “Votes for Women” or “We Won the Vote.”  Participants can find signage slogans on the internet.  Berg will also have some balloons for cars and other materials for decorating. Additional supplies will be welcome.

The Route: Parade participants will congregate near Love’s on North Grand, beginning at 1 p.m. From North Grand, the parade will proceed down Grand, south to New Mexico Avenue where the parade will turn right and drive north to Mills Avenue and proceed east on Mills to 6th Street. Turn on to 6th Street and drive south to Douglas. Make a right and drive west to 12th Street, turn right and drive to National/Bridge Street. Left on Bridge Street to the Plaza. Those who wish to park and stroll around the Plaza and Bridge Street, are asked to wear masks and socially distance.

Celebrating women's right to vote
Las Vegas women celebrate ratification of the 19th Amendment 100 years ago. In the first election following its passage, more than eight million women voted.

Berg said she has a beautiful sunflower umbrella/parasol she plans to carry and suggests parade participants create umbrellas of their own, using any old umbrella as a base.

“Tape the slogan ‘We Won the Vote’ on it and get colorfully creative with embellishments,” Berg said.

Berg would like to know in advance if you plan to participate in the Car Parade. Please call her at 505 425-6680 or 505 718-0232.

“If you prefer not to be out with other people, please let others in your neighborhood know the route so you and they may watch the parade safely,” Berg said. “Watchers can also hold up signs to help us celebrate.”

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