“Do YOU Need HELP Returning Christmas Gifts”

“WOW” – Take a Rest!

How is everything with you???   Now that “CHRISTMAS” is over – do you think that you can sit down and take a very well – deserved rest?  Does it seem that the “TIME” to do everything   – the clock runs faster for us who have been doing all this “hard work”  – – year after year  – – – so much faster – it is hard to keep up with everything ?

“OH” – another thought – is this the day to take everything back to the stores? We were talking about that earlier – and what we thought – was that – -everyone who bought stuff at the  “HIGHEST  PRICE”  – – just so that they could give it to someone  –  – – hoping that the receiver will be “HAPPY” – – – Did you ever give it a thought that the receiver is now standing in line at the store and returning  – their prize gift – they will now go back to the department and get the same thing for half as much – and with the extra money  get their selves a little extra gift!

If you are young and have a lot of extra energy – – to stand in long lines and be aggravated – more power to you!   In the 1970’s  – something that I had purchased for one of the children had some kind of a defect – it was a special order item from the  catalog  department, and if you were wanting the same item to be   re-ordered and sent out to you  – there was this special line – that you needed to get in. So, there we were patiently – waiting and the line moving at a snail’s pace.

Finally, one customer ahead of me  -– and now – – they are  being waited on. This was a very young couple and with a very small child  – and the item they were trying to return was a “folding /expandable gate” – and something was wrong with it – the child could get hurt in some way – due to this gate not being  able to stay shut. The store’s clerk was the type that was not about to let everyone return merchandise  – –  – if she could over-power you with some of her double-talk –  – that would get the customer so confused  – that the customer didn’t know if they were  coming or going???

Well, I heard all that I was going to put up with – so, I took a couple of steps forward – toward the “CLERK” – and I said – “loud and slowly” – so that anyone within 50 feet could hear me, “This young couple has a “defective gate” – they do not want it – they want their money back – since you do not have any others available!   Give them their money back – she is handing you her receipt  – — why are you  trying the patience of everyone in this line???”

The young couple looked at me – they did not know what to say or do – so I just said to them and anyone who was afraid to state exactly what they wanted – “YOU need to speak up loud and clear and do not let yourself be intimidated by an over-zealous sales-clerk!”  — “Always remember that when you are in the store to buy  – -– you are “KING” as you and your dollars can buy merchandise in this store or in  any other store in this “MALL” – and you can also  report “SALES CLERKS” – to the manager – the “CUSTOMER” is usually right when they have cash in their hands!”

“It’s the “PITS” when some “SALES-CLERKS” – try to take advantage of the general public – the people – who  are paying them their wages  – -– and I always feel  –  that in a situation like the above  – – that it is my duty – to give a little   “more powerful” voice – to those who are  need  of  help!


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“Gemma’s Best-Ever Brownies”



Prep Time25 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Total Time1  hour
My chef-tested, Best Ever Brownies recipe are everything you’d want in a homemade brownie: ooey-gooey, fudge-like, and oh so delicious!
Servings: 16 Brownies


  • 1 cup (8oz/225g) butter, melted and cooled
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil (coconut or canola)
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (6 1/4oz/177g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (8 1/4oz/227g) white sugar
  • 4 large eggs , room temperature
  • 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup (5oz/142g) all purpose flour
  • 1 cup (4oz/115g) good quality, unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups (9oz/255g) roughly chopped chocolate or large chocolate chips


  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) then line a 7×11 inch baking tray with parchment paper and set aside. 
  • In a large bowl combine melted butter, oil and both sugars.
  • Add the eggs, vanilla and salt then whisk for about one minute until evenly combined and light in color.
  • Over the same bowl sift in the flour and cocoa powder. Gently fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until JUST combined (do NOT over mix). Fold in half of the chocolate chunks.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared pan, then smooth the top. Generously top with the remaining chocolate chunks.
  • Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the centre of the brownies no longer jiggles and is JUST set to the touch.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool to room temperature before removing from the baking tray and slicing into 16 brownies. Enjoy!


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NEW YEAR’S EVE – December 31

Every year on December 31st, people around the world celebrate New Year’s Eve, the last day of the year. It’s a day to say “goodbye” to the old and “hello” to the new.

Also known as Old Year’s Day or Saint Sylvester’s Day, New Year’s Eve is one of the most exciting holidays of the year. In some countries, such as the Philippines and Latvia, New Year’s Eve is a public holiday. In Japan, it’s a government holiday. In other countries, many businesses let their employees off of work early so that they can partake in the many festivities.

There are many reasons this day is one of the biggest nights of the year. Not just because it’s a time of big parties and celebrations all around the world. New Year’s Eve can be a significant turning point in your life. It’s a time to reflect on the past year and all of the lessons you have learned. It can be a time you decide to start making better choices. If you have had a rough year, New Year’s Eve offers a feeling of relief. You can be thankful that the year is finally over

New Year’s is also a time to forgive past mistakes and form new habits. Many people make New Year’s resolutions. Although, only 8% of people actually accomplish them. Instead of making resolutions that you’re not going to keep anyway, it’s better to set three or four goals. Breaking down goals into actionable steps, and reviewing your progress daily helps to keep them. It’s also a good idea to find a friend or mentor that can hold you accountable.


As we count down the last hours and seconds of the old year, it is an excellent time to look back at the year and reminisce with friends and family.   

Many cities throughout the world go all-out to celebrate this exciting night. Fireworks, concerts, countdowns, and ball drops are usually among the many festivities. Some of the best cities to celebrate include New York City, Sydney, Bangkok, Dubai, Cape Town, London, and Las Vegas.

In Spain and other Spanish-speaking countries, it is a tradition to eat 12 grapes during the countdown to midnight, symbolizing hopes for the new year. Around the world, eating anything in the form of a circle or ring symbolizes coming full circle and is considered good luck.

As a Christian observance, it is traditional to hold an evening Mass the night before a Holy Day. New Year’s Day in the Roman Catholic Church honors the Virgin Mary. In some countries, St. Sylvester, Pope of the Catholic Church from 314 to 335, is celebrated on New Year’s Eve.

Other ways to participate:

  • Host a party to ring in the New Year
  • Set some achievable goals
  • If you can’t be at a celebration, watch one live on television
  • Have a game night with your family and see who lasts until midnight
  • Go for a midnight run
  • Attend a concert that goes past midnight
  • Go ice-skating at a nearby park or indoor rink
  • Kiss your spouse or significant other at midnight
  • Enjoy a quiet evening at home journaling
  • Think about what you can do to make next year the best one of your life

No matter what you decide to do to ring in the New Year, share it on social media with a picture and #NewYearsEve.


The first New Year’s celebrations were thought to be held in ancient Mesopotamia. Because of the calendar at the time, these celebrations took place in March. Ringing in the New Year consisted of an 11-day festival. When the calendar switched from the lunar year to the solar year, the New Year began in January. This occurred in 46. B.C., when an astronomer convinced Julius Caesar to follow the solar year. It seems that since way back then, the coming New Year has been cause for celebration. Through the years, many New Year’s traditions have formed. Some of which include fireworks, parties, and singing “Auld Lang Syne.”

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“Some Old Time Memories, Can Not Forget”

“Christmas Memories”

While – remembering   my childhood in the early 1940’s and during the WWII years  –  also have a photo taken of me and my Father sitting by the lamp in the living room – and we are looking at the very large  size “Hail Stones”  …  in a large bowl,  that my Dad had just collected from in front of our house, during a very bad storm!

In all of my years…those “HAIL STONES”   are the largest that I have ever seen – why  such a large size – no idea – – but since  then  the average size … that I have seen… were the size of small beans.

The memory is only remembered because… I’ve seen the photo – several times and there must have  been a special reason for collecting “HAIL STONES” and taking a picture.

No body was taking a lot of pictures in those days – since there was a WAR going on – you almost always had to have a “Ration Coupon” to buy so many things – because – most of the material and  general  supplies the people used – had to first go toward the WAR effort – we did want to Win the WAR – and all of us – did learn early  in LIFE, to do without – so that America would be victorious in the putting an end to all Wars!

When we lived in the North Saint Louis area, it seems to me that we had lots  of  ice and snow.  At least more than we have today  and there were  no organized street cleaners… since I remember my DAD having to put chains on the car  tires … if we were to have to go somewhere. 

So, in  one of those early years… I must have ask for “ice skates” … having no idea…  what “ice skates” looked like and or if I would even be able to skate  even if … I did receive them? Well … I received “ice skates” and there must have been plenty of ice out side on the side-walks where we lived… the “ice-skates” that I received…  were the kind that you attach to the shoes that you have on and you should have a good strong and firm shoe on… so that the skates can be attached properly!

My Father put the skates on me in the house and then carried me out side. These “ice skates” had double blades – on each skate – so at-least I could  stand without falling.

So my DAD took my hands and just pulled me – for a while – and then had me move one foot ahead of the other and pulling me slower to see if I could do the leg work of skating … but … all that  time, I felt secure – just holding on to him.

We only went around our block and for a very long time. I was dressed so warm – in those days…  little girls worn “Leg-gens”  … which were made to match your coat…  plus the knitted hat and scarf around the neck – and also I had  one of  those “HAND-MUFFS” …  it had a long attached ribbon that went around  to the back of the neck – so  that when you took your hands out – from each side – it was still hanging on to you – it did not get lose – and was always ready for you to put your hands in … and or some of your stuff or even your gloves…  that is,  if you did not need them… also a pocket that zipped shut for some money …  it was  really the best thing…  that I  remember…  for keeping the hands  really  warm!  The warmest.

It was amazing that my DAD would take the time to hold me  and run along side of me as I was learning to skate … as I did learn how to skate – and whenever it was okay with my parents, and the weather was just right… I was outside skating …  all by myself… all around the block!

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“1902 Scott Joplin is registered with the U.S. copyright office”


“Sure looks like Al’s hands and jeans… could that be King Al”

“We have always  had,  a large collection of  “Scott  Joplin” music  as my Mother had some of his music from the early 1900 days… as all the family   living back then… enjoyed … and one more … ” The Entertainer”



and…  “Mu MOM’s  favorite”


Scott Joplin “Maple Leaf Rag” Paul Barton, FEURICH HP piano…

Viewer request in overhead keyboard view. In this recording I play MLR as written in the published score.

In a related video tutorial I play Maple Leaf Rag in 4 different ways: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fotil…

Free public domain edition of original published score: https://www.mutopiaproject.org/ftp/Jo…

In this recording I use the harmonic pedal (only) in resonance half-position. The harmonic pedal was invented by Denis de la Rochefordière.

My Patreon: http://www.patreon.com/paulbarton for those that like to support online creators from as little as 1$ a month.

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“Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings Recipe”


Air Fryer Sriracha-Honey Chicken Wings Recipe


  • 1 pound chicken wings, tips removed and wings cut into individual drummettes and flats.
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • juice of 1/2 lime
  • cilantro, chives, or scallions for garnish


  1. Preheat the air fryer to 360 degrees F. Add the chicken wings to the air fryer basket, and cook for 30 minutes, turning the chicken about every 7 minutes with tongs to make sure the wings are evenly browned.
  2. While the wings are cooking, add the sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan and bring to a boil for about 3 minutes.
  3. When the wings are cooked, toss them in a bowl with the sauce until fully coated, sprinkle with the garnish, and serve immediately.

Yield: 2 servings

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