Monthly Archives: September 2013

STORYLINE – 1: A FACE IN THE MUD – Coin Find Near London Olympic Site Hides Political Turmoil (Historical Fiction)

STORYLINE - 1: A FACE IN THE MUD -  Coin Find Near London Olympic Site Hides Political Turmoil (Historical Fiction)

One of the few coins minted in the ten-month reign of Harold II

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William would not have wanted these to be available during his reign!

The Lost Coin

‘My Lord King we have cast your new silver penny’, Eadnoth tells the still dining Harold. Eadnoth is a balding, middle-aged fellow who owns and controls the only licensed mint in the Lea Valley. Before he died King Eadward ordered a new silver penny to be minted. After his coronation Harold had Eadnoth complete the casting for the other side with his image.

‘Can I see it?’ Harold takes the newly-minted penny from Eadnoth and scans it at arm’s length. He then holds it closer, admiring it. finally Harold hands back the coin to |Eadnoth, ‘This is fine workmanship. Your craftsmen have excelled themselves! Who carved my likeness?’

‘Wiglaf drew it onto parchment, and Earnald scored the image into the mould, my Lord King’, Eadnoth answers proudly.

Is Earnald your Flemish engraver?’

‘Aye my Lord King, recommended by Count Baldwin himself!’ Eadnoth adds, ‘Lord Tostig brought him in his own ship’.

‘So he did’, Harold sounds pained at mention of his renegade brother.

Twice this year Tostig has raided around the coast. The fyrd has had to be called out twice, taking men from watching the south coast for Duke William’s ships. Although Tostig’s men were beaten off, both times with great loss to himself, Harold did not need these diversions. He faced the possibility of invasion by a sworn enemy as well as by the opportunist King Harald Hardraada.

‘Show it to my brothers, Eadnoth’, Harold gestures to the young earls, Gyrth and Leofwin.

‘If I did not know you, Harold, looking at this I would take you for a king!’ Gyrth jokes. Unlike Harold and Leofwin, who with lighter colouring take after their mother, Gyrth resembles his father, the old Earl of Wessex.

When Harold took Godwin’s title, the younger brothers were given their earldoms. godwin’s rivals Leofric of Mercia and Siward of Northumbria took a step back, old men with ambitious sons who sought glory and resented the Godwinsons’ rise to power. Leofric and Siward are dead now. Leofric’s grandsons stand to gain by Harold’s demise, despite his marrying their sister Aeldgyth. They anticipate William’s generosity. Eadwin, Earl of Mercia and his brother Morkere of Northumbria watch events in the south with interest.

‘Are you hunting today, Harold?’ Leofwin asks, handing bck the penny to Eadnoth, who eagerly scoops it up and places it in the leather purse at his side. In pulling out his hand again Eadnoth inadvertently pulls out the coin with it.

The coin drops to the floor of King Harold’s hunting lodge near the River Lea. This lodge, at the edge of the hamlet of Leyton is where Harold prefers to stay when affairs of state allow.

‘Very well, Eadnoth’, Harold turns to look up at the excited old fellow and smiles, ‘proceed with minting’.

‘My Lord King’, Eadnoth bows and doffs his cap in respect. ‘I shall have the new pennies ready for distribution within the month’.

‘I thank you’, Harold smiles again and turns to his brothers. Eadnoth leaves. No-one spots the now tarnished silver penny in the broken, betrodden straw.

King William looks around in the half-darkness of the lodge. No torches have been lit here since the vanquished Harold last stayed here before the ride to Hastings.

‘Shall we prepare this lodge for you, my liege?’ Earl William fitzOsbern asks his friend the king.

‘We think not. Whoever wishes to use the lodge does so with our blessing. It is of no use to us. Tomorrow we sail for Normandy, so see to it that a tenant is found for this place’.

The Conqueror leaves the lodge and mounts his steed. A sudden gust of cold wind from the nearby marshes blows across his short, russet hair as he pulls on the reins and heads the hunting party back to Barking Abbey, leaving fitzOsbern to hand the keys to the newly-appointed coinmaker, the Fleming Earnald.

‘See that any coins here are removed and melted for the king’s new issue of silver pennies’, fitzOsbern tells Earnald. ‘He wishes to see no more coins with the image of that usurper, understand?’

‘I shall, my Lord Earl, of course!’ Earnald gladly takes the keys to his new home from the earl and casts an appreciative look about him. His new Saxon serfs can see to cleaning the floor of the lodge. The silver penny that fell from eadnoth’s purse still lies in the grubby straw that awaits the besom.

‘Dad, look what I found in the mud by the river!’ an excitable Gary Purser gingerly offers a small piece of round, flat metal to his father. Laid-off printer John takes the coin and holds it up to the light of the window,

‘Where did you find this?’

‘By the River Lea, near where they’re building the Olympics! Gary hums with excitement, trying to remember exactly where it was he saw the tarnished metal. What drew his eyes was a silver coke can he might use for his school science project. When he picked up the can, there was the coin, half buried with grass growing around it. He asks his father, ‘What’s it worth?’

‘How the hell would I know? History wasn’t my best subject’, John answers. Ring up the British Museum. They’ll tell you’.

‘Where was the coin exactly?’ Tom Wells, the coin consultant asks Gary. When the boy finishes telling him how he found the coin, the smiling consultant puts a hand on Gary’s shoulder and tells him, ‘Sit down before you fall down, Gary. This coin is rare. Few minted for King Harold were ever found. Had you found many, buried in a casket or whatever, it would be Treasure Trove, when things are buried for safe-keeping – or buried as grave goods. This was lost or abandoned. Sell it, take it to an auction – or keep it’.

He hands the coin back to Gary and laughs,

‘It’s like winning the Lottery. Lay it in flat coke for a day, and it’ll clean up like a new penny!’

(*The above, slightly re-written, was my entry into a short story competition for Newham Writing Competition with a limit of 1,000 words. It earned me ?100 for first prize. Where Earl, subseq. King Harold’s hunting lodge was situated is at Leyton, within the London Borough of Waltham Forest (LBWF). The coin find itself could have been made within either LBWF or London Borough of Newham (LBN), one of three boroughs – including Waltham Forest and Hackney on either side of the River Lea – that hosted the 2012 London Olympics. The Olympic Park is a regeneration area based around bombed-out and derelict factory buildings. The erstwhile Stratford Locomotive Shed (30A) and former Great Eastern Railway/London & North Eastern Railway/British Railways Locomotive Building Works were also sited here until the mid-1980’s. Besides the competition zones, the area includes housing and the Westfield shopping precinct).

Images down the Lea Valley

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River Lea at Amwell – this is how the scene would have looked at the time of King Harold’s reign
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The Lea below king’s Weir, again much as King Harold would have known it
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Where the Lea enters the Thames, modern London at Bow Lock.
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Map of the 2012 London Olympic Park site
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View north along the River Lea of the 2012 London Olympic Park
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View South along the Lea towards the 2012 London Olympic Park site including Westfield at Stratford (Newham)
Stratford Loco Shed is one area redeveloped for the 2012 London Olympic competition site
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Inside one of the derelict straight sheds at 30A after closure of the steam shed
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Another part of the large 2012 Olympic site, Stratford’s ex-Great Eastern loco works

Need of website monitoring

Need of website monitoring

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The Atom Soup-Oxygenated blood

The Atom Soup-Oxygenated blood

An Atomic Soup

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A moving Atomic Soup
Source: google free images
See all 2 photos
A moving Atomic Soup
Source: google free images

In order for our bodies to stay alive they must go through the process of respiration where the food we ingest is broken down into a molecule form and properties further breaking it down into an atom soup, where it converts to energy, glucose, oxygen, nucleic acids, and proteins.

Oxygenated Blood Process

The oxidation process is glucose (C

Java Source code: Reverse String in Java Using Recursion

Java Source code: Reverse String in Java Using Recursion
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Recursive Program on Reverse Letters/String

Reverse string in Java programming or printing a string backward using recursion is just a short program, which prompt the user to enter a string and the program output the last character up to the first character of the entered word. Originally, I used array on this but learned that it was not a wise decision so, I used the java predefined function charAt() instead. You can use charAt() if you want to extract a single character of the string. if you did not encounter charAt() yet, see the code below on how it works. Using charAt() is such a useful way to have a reverse string in java.

Java Source code: Reverse String in Java Programming

//Java source code on how to print a string backward using recursion
//java class
public class StringBackward
public static void reverseString(String word, int size)
reverseString(word, size-1);
//main class
import java.util.Scanner;
public class Main {
public static void main(String[] args)
Scanner input = new Scanner(;
String word;
System.out.print(“Enter a word: “);
word =;
StringBackward access = new StringBackward();
System.out.print(“The reverse word is: “);
access.reverseString(word, word.length());

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Below is the sample output of the program.

Sample Output:

Enter a word: hubpages

The reverse word is: segapbuh

Sample Output 2:

Enter a word: hubbers

The reverse word is: srebbuh

This is just how the program works, you can also make this program as a reference for a palindrome test using boolean. If the program is palindrome or the reverse word is the same as the original word return true and if not return false.

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How To Cook With Beans

How To Cook With Beans

Culinary Basics – Healthy Cooking with Beans

Beans are one of the healthy culinary basics found in a kitchen aimed at preparing healthy recipes while sharpening your culinary talents.

Using beans to create healthy recipes is one way to effectively incorporate them into your daily diet. However, there are also other ways that you can add them to your diet that don’t require specific recipes.

Beans not only boost your immune system and have been shown to fight such cancers as breast, prostate and colon – they also are a superior source of protein as well as a major player when it comes to creating energy for brain and muscles.

The Facts About Beans

Beans have carbs but they are ‘good carbs’ supplying energy for brain and muscles

People eating beans or legumes at least 4 times per week have a 20-25% lower risk of heart disease than people eating them less than once per week

Beans have high levels of fiber – this regulates blood glucose levels – an especially good idea for diabetics

In countries with the highest bean consumption rate, these countries have the lowest death rates from colon, prostate and breast cancer

Beans have been shown to fill you up but not ‘out’ – they give you a feeling of your hunger being satisfied and they also help you to eat fewer calories – thus being able to maintain a steady weight

Some raw beans but especially kidney beans are known to create a toxin if not cooked properly. The toxin leads to a digestive ‘flu’ type illness if undercooked beans are consumed. The recommended method for dried beans to avoid this is boiling for 10 minutes before using in recipes

If dried beans are used in slow cooker recipes, make sure the above rule of thumb is applied (that the overall cooking time at high temperature is for 10 minutes).  Temperatures in a slow cooker will not destroy the toxin

Beans can cause digestive flatulence.  An effective strategy to avoid this is to soak the beans several hours prior to adding to other ingredients to reduce the natural sugars found in beans. Vinegar is also said to eliminate these excess sugars

Anasazi beans are said to be the only ‘fartless’ bean – they are also more expensive than most beans but you have to like the rep! 

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Some Common Beans

Whether you are using canned beans or dried beans, here are some of the most popular and healthiest kinds of beans

Navy Beans – Rich in protein, fiber, folate, vitamin B1, magnesium and iron
Black Beans – Perhaps one of the most popular – loaded with antioxidants and fiber as well as high-quality protein
Pinto Beans – Very popular especially in Hispanic foods and cultures – likewise high in antioxidants, fiber, protein, vitamin B1, iron, magnesium and potassium
Kidney Beans – Very popular in chili recipes and for addition to salads, etc. Loaded with fiber and protein and a mineral that actually combats sulfites in your body – sulfites are increasingly present in many foods
Lima Beans (Butter Beans) – High in fiber, protein, potassium and iron


How to Use Beans

Soup and chili recipes are great ways to feature beans in your diet

Add kidney, garbanzo, or black beans to salads

Make a bean salad to complement meat or fish

Instead of refried beans, use whole, cooked pinto beans (otherwise known as rancho beans) as an accompaniment to Hispanic dishes

Use kidney, black or other beans in creole recipes for rice and beans – just about any rice can be combined with beans as a side dish or as a meal

Summing It Up

Beans are a great ingredient to round out meal-planning and are part of a program of healthy culinary basics. 

They are not only versatile, but they are relatively easy to prepare, economical and good for you. 

There are many, many ways to add them to your diet and the added health benefits are well worth the effort.



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Culinary Basics Using Rice and Grains
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Culinary basics using beans would not be complete without a recipe! This recipe is from an old cookbook of mine from Williams and Sonoma I purchased it years ago for bean and rice recipes and it is…
Huevos Rancheros Delicious Twist
INGREDIENTS: Tortilla chips/multi-grain tortilla chips/flour tortilla chips/crispy tortilla pieces 1 can pinto beans (substitute black beans/kidney beans/any kind of beans) Shredded or torn red leaf…
Kidney Beans
Kidney beans have been around for about 7000 years having originated in southern Mexico and there are a wide range of beans which are considered to be included within the kidney bean family. It reached Europe…
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Why Beans? Beans are: 1- high in fiber 2- high in protein 3- rich in complex carbohydrates 4- low in fat (soy beans excepted) 5- low in sodium 6- …
The stuffed bread with kidney beans is easily made without oil or butter thus could be eaten by people who are calorie conscious ,it is rich in protein too. Ingredients:- 1.cup kidney beans 8 slices of…
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Baked beans can be the standard pork and bean variety, or they can be black beans, black eye peas, butter beans, garbanzas and many other types. The following recipes are all different in bean content, and…
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There as many chili recipes as there are Texans. To say that this chili recipe is the world’s best may be a little difficult to prove, but it’s pretty darn good! The secret to great chili is using the…
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Understanding SAD-Seasonal Affective Disorder

Understanding SAD-Seasonal Affective Disorder

The raw beauty of winter is thrilling, but its shorter days and lack of sunlight can prove a joy killer for many people. Why? Seasonal affective disorder or SAD, a form of winter depression.

Seasonal affective disorder may be caused by darker days and lower sunlight levels, which effect serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is the seasonally shifting, mood regulating hormone found in the central nervous system. It is key to the maintenance of moods, sleep, cognition, and blood vessel constriction. In the winter, the body’s internal clock is disrupted by lower amounts of sun, which also abates serotonin transporter protein, a chemical in the brain, triggering diminished serotonin levels surrounding brain cells.

Although this condition cannot be prevented, there are many proven ways to diminish SAD, which is a shorter episode than general depression. For treatment for depression in general, anti-depressants may be in order by your doctor’s prescription.

Vitamin D

Naturally occurring vitamin D, also known as the sunshine vitamin, is found in sun rays even on the cloudiest of days. Research shows perennially low levels of vitamin D exposure leads to depression, and especially more so when the sun shines briefly. One chemical free way to get more vitamin D, which is absorbed through the skin, is to go outside within two hours of awakening each day. Also, spending a mere twenty to thirty minutes outside in even partial sunshine doing simple activities like yard cleaning or dog walking can raise vitamin D levels, thus relieving depression. Peel back the curtains, blinds, and drapes and let natural sunlight in!

Light treatment

Serotonin levels respond to bright light treatments or photo therapy, which resemble naturally occurring sunshine. A dawn simulator is one way to safely increase sunlight intake. The simulator turns on early morn and slowly brightens, permitting your body to wake up to “natural” sunlight. Another way bright lights to elevate mood-associated brain chemicals and reduce depressive symptoms is by wearing a cap-like lighted visor or placing yourself in front of an exclusively designed light box daily for thirty minutes a day until the SAD feelings are alleviated. The light should not directly hit your eyes directly and this treatment is not recommended for those with sensitivity to light. Your doctor can advise what amount of light is best to alleviate your symptoms.

Physical activity

Weather permitting, take an outdoors run or walk three times a week for at least thirty minutes. Inside, pop in an aerobic exercise DVD three times a week, or lift weights. Regular exercise builds up serotonin, which gives a mood boost. Try yoga or meditation for a spiritual high.


In locales where it gets cold during winter, people have a tendency to hibernate like bears; they stay indoors to ward off the frigid temperatures and often pack on the pounds. However, eating a sensible diet without too many carbohydrates, sugar and fat is a great way to ban sluggishness that comes with reduced sunshine and activity. Additional ways to boost your physical and emotional stamina are to eat healthy, and sample the food rainbow; try depression fighting foods like oatmeal,walnuts, salmon and oranges. Snack on blueberries, strawberries and grapes for the mental energy they provide.


Visit family and friends during cold months-it will warm your spirit! Telephone an old buddy you lost contact with for a chat. Go to the movies, a concert, or play if you do not like cold weather activities. Use your computer to stay connected with others, too! Skyping, instant messaging or emailing loved ones are great energizers. Having regular positive contact with others doing cold months keeps you connected, which is another emotional well-being enhancement.


The sunless days of wintertime do not have to equate with brain inactivity or giving in to the doldrums. Whether solo or with a group, spark your happiness and intellect with puzzles and games such as seek and find, crosswords, Scrabble, Words with Friends, or Sudoku. Build brain cells and fight the blues using arts and crafts, too!

Seasonal affective disorder does not have to banish you to never-ending sadness. Simple changes can put let the sunshine in until the arrival of the vernal equinox.


Beat the Winter “Blues”, The Doctors, USA Weekend, December 7-9, 2012


Healthy Oatmeal And Cranberry Snack Recipe: Healthy Oat Bars With Dried Cranberries And Sour Cream

Healthy Oatmeal And Cranberry Snack Recipe: Healthy Oat Bars With Dried Cranberries And Sour Cream



1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup quick-cooking oats
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4-1/2 cup of extremely finely chopped walnuts or almonds
6 tablespoons butter, melted
4 tablespoons orange juice – add zest if you wish


1-1/3 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon orange zest
1 large egg white slightly beaten
Cooking Spray


Heat oven to 325 degrees.

For the crust:

Spoon flour into measuring cup to measure out. Combine flour, oats, brown sugar, salt baking soda, cinnamon and nuts in a medium bowl and stir well with a whisk.
Drizzle butter and orange juice over the flour mixture stirring until it is moistened. (the mixture will be crumbly).

Reserve 1/2 cup of oat mixture.

Press the remainder of the oat mixture into the bottom of an 11 x 7-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

For the Filling:

Combine all the filling ingredients (cranberries, sour cream, sugar, 2 tablespoons of flour, vanilla, orange zest and 1 large egg white) in a medium bowl, stirring well.
Spread the cranberry mixture over the prepared crust.
Sprinkle your reserved oat mixture evenly over the filling.
Bake at 325 degrees for 30-40 minutes or until edges are golden.
Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

The Benefits of Cranberries

Cranberries are becoming very popular for baking in place of raisins or other dried fruits.  They are being used as a topping for salads and incorporated into many recipes as their health benefits become more well known. Here are just a few of the health benefits of cooking with cranberries and adding them to your daily diet.

Cranberry is felt to reduce the risk of heart disease as it works on low density lipoprotein and inhibits its oxidation
Cranberry is known to be beneficial in preventing urinary tract infections caused by bacteria
Cranberry has proven effective in anti-cancer studies in the prevention of cancer
Cranberry’s specific acid can aid in the prevention of kidney stone formation
Cranberry inhibits bacterial growth which causes dental plaque 
Cranberry has been shown to provide asthma relief
Cranberry has been shown to increase circulation

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Homemade Cranberry Sauce

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Big needles, little needles, scary needles – suriviving cancer from the eyes of a poodle

Big needles, little needles, scary needles - suriviving cancer from the eyes of a poodle

HI, I am Albert, the poodle

Boy, has it been a scary year for me! BIg strange-sounding machines, people coming to take me away from my mom, and needles, needles and more needles. But hey, I am here and who would have thought that? If you give me a few days, I will tell you my story. Whoa, I hear the refrigerator door open. Oh boy, oh boy….I smell my special food. I am hungry…really hungry.- Gotta go, gotta go, gotta go…..Food!

I am back. Boy was the food good! I hated it at first. A special diet ’cause I have cancer. In the beginning it tasted like bad medicine. I remember the first time I tried it a year ago….I refused to eat. I looked up sadly with my big brown eyes waiting to get my regular food but my mom said, “No, no, no more old food, Albert boy Those days are over. The oncologist said no more grains.” And I thought she loved me.

Wow…. a kid on a bike! Time for me to go chase him…”Invader, invader on the sidewalk. Mom, Mom, come, he is trying to pet me.”.Yuck…..patted by a kid with chocolate on his hands…hey, chocolate, sweet chocolate…looks good. Should I try it? Nope, I remember the emergency trip when I got up and ate a pound of See’s Candy. Never again. “Woof, woof, woof – get outta here, kid! This is my turf! ” He left……….End of danger……………………..

Okay, back in the Lazy-Boy. It was nice of my mom to get this for me. Cool in the summer and she puts a special cover on it for me in the winter. I love it. Time to put my feet up and tell my story.

It all began a little over a year ago. I went in to my local vet, Dr. Douglas Paulson, ( he has known me ever since I was a baby) for teeth cleaning. Yeah, I know, I should brush more often. There was no food the night before. I was really ticked at Mom especially when she took the water away from me too. She will never know what happened to that sock of hers but I showed her! No food and water…no sock for her. Wait ’til she finds what’s left of it under the bed! Oops, off track again…….so I went in for a normal teeth cleaning. But when they came to get me out of the cage, Dr. Paulson and his great assistance Valerie (I love Valerie because she has warm hands and a warm heart too) examined me. He kept pushing on my stomach. I had tried to tell Mom that something felt bad around the stomach but she ignored me. It felt like I had swallowed a ball….a big ball. And she thinks she is bilingual! Well, Dr. Paulson closed his eyes one last time to feel, then he went to the phone. I heard him say my mom’s name but by that time Valerie had taken me back to the cage so I could not hear what he was saying. I tried to look pathetic so I could hang out with her but she was far too busy for that! Good try though.

I waited for the dreaded teeth cleaning moment. I always remembered a bunch of people in special outfits, I would shake and whine and then a needle was stuck in my leg and I remember nothing…but this time, no one came for me. As a matter of fact, Mom came almost immediately to pick me up. Yep, good old mom’s voice but not with the happy lilt as usual. While she waited an assistant came to take pictures of my stomach area. She looked business-like but also very serious. Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap…and then needles, needles, needles…they took so much blood that I thought I was going to be a blood donor for some other dog. And all of this on an empty stomach. How dare they? Not even any treats afterwards to get my stamina up.

Mom went into a room with the doctor. I heard them talking….how dare they talk about me when I am not there! But then Valerie of the warm hands came to get me. I knew she could not resist those cute eyes and the wet tongue. I was so happy to see Mom but I was very tired and sore from all of the needles and X-rays. Mom picked me up and looked at me so sadly. Hey, what was up with that? And then I heard Dr. Paulson say, “Take these x-rays to the Specialty Clinic in Sorrento Valley and have them do an ultrasound on Albert’s abdomen. There is a mass in there and we have to find out what it is. I have already made the phone call.”

Mass, what mass? Ul’ Sound…??? Ultrasound? What’s that? Tomorrow? Hey guys, I am supposed to chase the mailman tomorrow. I gotta protect the home. Who is gong to protect the home if I am someplace else?

But my stomach does feel bad and I have been so tired lately. I finally got to eat. Food is so wonderful. When you are worried you can eat. When you are happy you can eat. I love the sound of the refrigerator door and get so excited when I hear the can opening. Anticipation…wow. With food life is better no matter what.

That evening Mom and I hung out in the Lazy-Boy watching “Dancing with the Stars.” What funny humans! They dance and no one even gives them a treat. I dance and get treats. Now who is the dumb animal here?

Day 2 – The Bad News Terrors!

Here I sit at the Specialty Clinic with my mom. It was a long drive from our house in El Cajon. About 35 miles or more. I entertained myself by looking out the window but Mom refused to roll the window down. What a Grinch!. She looks so worried and I do not understand why. She got me up out of bed really early to head out. I am sleepy and tired and wouldn’t you know it – no food again. What’s up with that?

We arrive. Not much traffic. Boy what a huge building! Hey, they have artificial grass. This cannot be a good thing. Where do they expect me to go? Fake grass is like eating fake eggs. it is just not the same. Oh well, business is done. Let’s see what is inside.

Boy, there are so many dogs, so many people and so many places to sign in. Mom signed in where it said internist. What the heck is an internist? Ya gotta be kidding me? RIght? There is no way there is another name for a veterinarian. Maybe it is the guy’s name. Dr. Internist. That has a nice sound to it. Appointment time…yeah, yeah..tell the woman behind the desk that it is way too early for me. Hey, food…cookies…Come on Mom. Cookie, cookie, cookie. Look, they are giving them away. Come on, come on….food…treat. And the lady is saying, “Can Albert have one?” Thanks Mom…wait…where is the cookie? What do you mean, “No cookies, he is having an ultrasound.” Can this be fair? Well, I will find another sock that is a part of a matching pair and she will no longer have a matching pair for that set either. Revenge is sweet sometimes.

Wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. Sniff..sniff…Boy, some of these guys look really sick. OMG, there is a dog coming in that cannot walk. They are bringing him in on a cot. He is bleeding. Wow! What a sickie. Can’t look, can’t look, can’t look. I hate the sight of blood.

Hey, look at the other side. Cute girl there. Little, petite, cute face. Boy, a toy poodle. A red head…what a looker! Maybe I should go over and introduce myself. Come on Mom. Let’s go check her out. What…Albert…Albert. Who is calling my name? Oh, the nurse is saying it is time to be checked over. Drat…well,maybe I can catch her eye when I walk by.

In a small room. In a very small room. In a really, really, really small room. Sniff, sniff, sniff. Smells like antiseptic and pills and shots…I do not like it here. Not one bit. Well, I hope Dr. Internist shows up soon. I gotta get home and protect the home. Check out the mailman. And I need to be where there is real grass and not the fake stuff. How dare they mess with nature?

Wait, wait…I am thirsty. No water either? Boy, double Grinch today. I hear someone coming. It is Doctor Internist. Looks kind of nice but we will see. Examine, examine, examine. Hey, watch what you are touching back there. You are getting kind of personal. Ouch, my stomach. Yeah, it hurts over there. Yeah…ouch, ouch, ouch. Stop that! Okay, where are they taking me? Ultra sound, ultrasound. Hey, Mom is supposed to go with me. Come on Mom. I am scared and you need to be there. Where are you going? Do not leave me!

Cage, cage, cage,cage. I hate this. Why? No food! No water! No Mom. What a drag! I cannot even see other dogs. Rush, rush. Wait, I hear a noise. The cage is opening. Back to Mom? NO, TO A BIG ROOM with a large machine. Hey, what are you doing down there with the clippers? Don’t get so personal! Why are you shaving my stomach? Jerks. Come on, stop that. Stop that I say! I could growl but Mom would be upset with me. She told me to be a good boy so I gotta be a good boy.

Big machine, very cold gel. Tickles….all over my stomach. Pictures, lots of them…pictures, more of them. More and more and more pictures. How long is this going to take before I go back to Mom? Ridiculous. Don’t these people know I have better things to do? Ouch. That hurts where you are putting pressure.


Back to Mom. Back to home. Hey, why aren’t we going home? Dr. Internist wants to talk to Mom. About? Because? Wait, wait, wait. Let’s see if the cute red head is still around. Nope she is gone. Boy, is there one ugly guy over there. All wrinkles, short legs, big eyes, difficulty breathing. What kind? A bull…bull what? How old? Boy, I would hate to be that ugly. And not able to breath? Wonder if he drinks? Those wrinkles. Those short legs. Hey, he is looking at me. Guess I better quit staring. He is butt ugly though. Hope he cannot read minds.

Okay, we are going back into the small room. So, Dr. Internist, what do you have to say wasting all of my time? What? A mass. Surgery? Benign or malignant? Most are malignant? What is he talking about? Blood work, urinalysis, more x-rays? Chem panel. Spleenectomy? Adrenal glands? What is he saying? When? Where? Who? My mind is frazzled. I need the Lazy Boy recliner. I am getting scared. No worried. No freaked out. No terrified.

Home…but the bill has to be paid. Geez…what a huge amount. Mom is going to have to work selling on Ebay to get that kind of money. She must love me ’cause that is a big amount of change. Way more than I ate when I was younger. Maybe I will not destroy her second pair of socks. Gotta figure that one out when I get back home and she feeds me – if she feeds me.

Home, home sweet home. Real grass, real food, real love. I love home. I love everything about home. I miss Mom when she is at work but I have other family members who sleep with me when she is at work. Food. Yes, comfort food all warmed up for me. TIme to hit the recliner and…………..zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

If you want to read more, go to my new HUB, Albert the Poodle Has Surgery

Hey, here’s a picture with my Martha!

Here I sit at the Specialty Clinic with my good friend Martha Estrada. Martha has known me since I was a baby too. She still laughs at the time I swallowed coins and had to have them pulled out by Dr. Paulson.

Alcohol Concern. Preventions, Abuse And Facts.

Alcohol Concern. Preventions, Abuse And Facts.

Alcohol Concern.

Alcohol is a part of life. For many of us, drinking wine or relaxing after work with a pint is a normal part of everyday life. However, when does relaxing or socialising with a drink become a problem? What’s the defining line?

For many, the edges are fairly blurred. It’s all too easy to wind down with a glass of wine over dinner. Followed by another one post dinner. Before you know it – you’ve finished the bottle. Open another bottle? Or call it quits? Most of us can have a glass of wine, a tumbler of whisky on the rocks, put down the empty glass and simply walk away without a second though.

But what happens when that’s not the case? Is it the defining moment on the rocky road down into the depths of alcohol dependency and all it brings with it? Who knows. There are many factors than can cause alcoholism. For some, it’s simply life’s pressures. Their job. Or trying to create a balance between home and work. Others find themselves edging towards developing alcohol problems due to life events: divorce, grieving over a loved one – being made redundant.

Social Drinking

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Unfortunately, social drinking can become a lot less social when it becomes dependence or binge drinking.

Alochol is addictive.

In short, there are many reasons. However, when an individual does find that they are reliant upon alcohol, they will need a lot of support and understanding. Alcohol dependency is a medical disorder and cannot be treated by way of simply directing good advice at the person concerned.

Alcohol dependence is first and foremost an addiction, an overpowering urge to drink, despite the obvious and very real affects and implications. Each person that develops a problem with it needs specialist help and assistance. And being addicted to alcohol can have a lesser form – binge drinking. Again, in itself a tricky problem to alleviate. Many teenagers binge drink, as do countless young adults that are struggling to cope with peer/cultural pressures and/or the transition between childhood and adulthood.

That said, binge drinking is not solely for the young. There are mature adults that also binge drink and, as with alcohol dependence, drinking in short sharp bursts can also carry implications related to health and relationships. Unfortunately, it’s a sad fact that in todays’ modern society, social drinking is a very accepted part of most if not all western cultures.

Don’t Drink

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Not drinking is a great way to avoid becoming dependent on alcohol. But there’s no need to avoid it altogether. Moderation is the key.

Avoiding alcohol dependency.

So how does a person go about drawing the line? The truth is, for many it’s not a problem. Many of us go through life without ever experiencing a need to use or abuse alcohol. Who hasn’t drunk to excess on occasion? Not many of us. For the most part, we’ll get drunk, fall down and wake up the day after with a blinding headache and feeling rather worse for wear. But, for some, that alone is not enough to relay a warning message.

A part of avoiding alcohol misuse is to view alcohol for what it is: an addictable liquid drug, potent and freely available. Used sensibly, it won’t have nor will it cause an adverse affect. Make sure that you have other interests in your life other than social drinking. Don’t allow your social life to revolve around drinking or meeting in places where you can easily purchase drinks – bars, clubs and restaurant for example.

Look at your social group. Do they prefer the opportunity to drink to be included in social gatherings – or are they just as happy to meet for a night at the cinema, for a round of golf or some other sport? There are many social activities that don’t have to include alcohol as the central focus.

Moderate Drinking

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Drinking in moderation can be pleasurable. It’s when it becomes a need/addiction that the pleasure is no longer involved.

Binge Drinking

Analyse Your drinking.

Further, if you already enjoy alcohol as a part of your social life, analyse why. Does it make you feel less inhibited? Do you believe that you’re happier and enjoy life better after a few drinks? Or do you drink to alleviate stress and pressure or because you’re suffering from depression? Thoroughly examining why you enjoy drinking may help you avoid some of the pitfalls and, ultimately, the horrible possibility of becoming addicted to alcohol.

The plain and simple fact is that the old saying ‘drink in moderation’ is a very good foundation on which to base your drinking habits. Having a drink now and then is not a bad thing. A glass or two of wine with dinner is fine. Celebrating an occasion and including alcohol is fine. There are many instances whereby we can drink in moderation. It’s when the line becomes blurred that you could go on to develop a problem and cause an alcohol concern.

Remember: drinking can be an agreeable part of life. But that’s all it ever should be: agreeable. Binge drinking and alcohol dependency are, unfortunately, anything but enjoyable.

Alcohol In Depth

Alcohol Information.
Alcohol information abounds on the internet. How much is too much and what effects can alcohol have? This article contains some basic facts and information relating to alcohol – and the side effects of drink problems.
Alcohol Intervention. Family Intervention And Addiction Treatment.
Alcohol intervention is when an alcohol dependent individual is intervened, by family or friends, as a means of helping them confront their alcohol addiction. Co-ordinated by a professional interventionist, it can be their last chance.

Healthy Lasagna Recipes: How To Make Light Chicken Florentine Lasagna

Healthy Lasagna Recipes: How To Make Light Chicken Florentine Lasagna

Chicken Florentine Lasagna

Pasta and spinach is a win-win combination as far as I’m concerned and anything Florentine always gets me to try the recipe.  I found this recipe many years ago in a Cooking Light magazine and it has become an old favorite at our house.  I routinely make it for get-togethers because I can make it so far ahead and freeze it. 

The sauce calls for skim evaporated milk but I have made it with skim milk and it turned out equally well.  I also almost always make my Butternut Squash and Spinach Lasagna to go with this one (though that recipe is twice the size of this one) so that people can sample 2 vegetable lasagnas and since the squash lasagna is totally vegetarian, all bases are covered. Try one or both – I think you will like it!

4 servings


1-1/2 tablespoons margarine or butter
3 tablespoons flour
2-12-ounce cans evaporated skim milk (or substitute skim milk)
Salt to taste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Cooking spray
6 no boil lasagna noodles
1-1/2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast (about 6 ounces)
1-10 ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained and squeezed dry.
Black pepper to taste
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded Italian cheese or combination of Italian cheeses


Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Spray 8 x 8 inch cooking pan with vegetable cooking spray.
Melt the margarine in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Gradually add the milk and stir with a whisk until blended. Add salt and nutmeg.
Cook until thick, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.
Arrange 2 lasagna noodles over the sauce.
Top with half of the chicken and half of the spinach.
Sprinkle with pepper if desired. Top with 3/4 cup sauce.
Repeat the layers, but end with the noodles.
Cover and bake at 450 degrees for 25 minutes.
Uncover and top with cheese – bake an additional 5 minutes.
Let stand 5 minutes.


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Substitute fresh spinach and cook down, drain, squeeze dry.

Add grated Parmesan cheese sprinkled over each layer of sauce.

Try Fontina cheese as part of the cheese – or Romano or other Italian cheese.

Add chopped onion or shallots for a bit more flavor – saute for about 5 minutes before adding to recipe.

This lasagna also freezes like a dream. Cook in disposable foil pan that comes with a lid – when completely cooled, put lid on and either slip the pan with the lasagna into a freezer bag and label – or wrap in freezer paper, secure with freezer tape.

Thaw in the refrigerator during the day and pop into the oven to reheat 200-300 degrees when ready – or simply cut slices of lasagna and reheat in microwave. This lasagna is delicious rewarmed after thawing or delicious right from the oven.

Serve with French Bread or Wheat French Bread and a salad and for dessert, try Biscuit Tortoni for something light and delicious!

Summing It Up

So even though you are eating your spinach, you are getting your vegetables – and what a wonderful way to absorb them into your diet! Florentine is a great method of preparing pasta and one that is to way of thinking more nutritious because it does incorporate spinach into it. Try it and see if you don’t like this variation on a traditional dish.

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