Wednesday, February 27, 2013


I have come to believe in the three-legged stool metaphor.  Certainly I have used it to teach models of success in business, and as a design for personal achievement in Life Skill lectures.  This old milking stool concept has been around for many years.  It reappears in every topic, whether political, personal, religious, scientific of philosophical.
   Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
   Physical, mental, spiritual. 
   Faith, hope, charity.
   Morning, noon, night.
   Red, white and blue.
   Me, myself and I.

Our United States was based on this philosophy.  The three branches of government were designed for balance of power to ensure that no one person or branch could have too much power.
   Legislative branch,
   Judicial branch,
   Executive branch.

Social Security was described and depicted to the American public as a three-legged stool.  Designed as a working citizen's insurance, Social Security is one leg to maintaining minimum life necessities following retirement.  Private and business pensions make up the second leg while personal savings and investments is the third.

Did you know this same metaphor was employed by football coaches who told their teams games are played and won with knowledge, mechanics and sportsmanship; insisting if one leg is weak, the stool will topple?

McDonald's milking stool consists of the business, the franchisees and the suppliers, according to the late Ray Kroc who brought the golden arches to fame and fortune.

President Reagan's three-legged stool consisted of free enterprise, strong defense and pro-family social policies.  Currently, some people believe his three-legged stool is being replaced by a Pogo stick as the single area of interest is the springboard for political advancement. 

Nonetheless, with so many successes, I maintain this metaphor, when designed and used for good, is a model for balance and stability, so
  Identify goal, map route succeed, take action to achieve your goal. 
   Work, enjoy life, share your success with others.
   See the beauty around you, laugh often, dance-dance-dance.

Tell me your experience with the 3-legged stool metaphor.  I'd like to know.

Nancy yTe \

Wednesday, February 20, 2013


Except for Valentine's Day, I've always thought of February as cold, uneventful and boring.  That was, until this year.  What happened?  When did February, with its snow drifts and overcoats don a party hat and dancing shoes to make merry all month long?

This February started right out with a tongue-twister event as Punxsutawney Phil made a grand appearance on Groundhog Day.  People showed up at this little town in Pennsylvania on a freezing cold morning as a troupe of men in tuxedos and silk top hats pulled Phil, an otherwise non-descript groundhog, out of its hibernation tree to see if the critter could cast its own shadow.  Can you believe real people put faith in the weather prediction of this rodent?  Though skeptical, I, too, want to believe Phil's prediction of "an early spring."  Dare I note Pennsylvania, along with half dozen other east coast states, got blasted by a blizzard before the month was out?

And  then there was the Super Bowl - that annual event football fans look forward to all year long.  I'm not sure whether the attraction is the game, the food or the half-time show but all were highly touted events this year in New Orleans; especially with brothers being rival head coaches of the competing teams.  Isn't that taking sibling rivalry to the extreme?

The stadium emptied just in time for New Orleans' famous Mardi Gras to begin.  Streets were noisy with colorful parades.  Jazz and blues filled the air.  Every instrument in the city joined in the celebration before Lent begins.  The event, all gold and purple, green and sparkles is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.  Party masks and tons of strings of beads are worn by revelers as they shout and dance in the excitement of a traditional New Orleans' Mardi Gras.

Chinese New Year got its share of revelry as well.  Here comes another colorful February event.  This one is celebrated all over the world with red lanterns, brightly colored clothes, gifts, dancing in the streets and fireworks.  2013 is the year of the snake.  I will celebrate quietly with American Chop Suey and a fortune cookie (also of American origin) even though I am a Monkey, according to the Chinese calendar, and must wait till 2016 for my special year.  

February also went to the dogs on the 12th and 13th with the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show.  Some feisty little black dog (I don't recall the breed) named Banana Joe won the Best of Show.  My favorite dog didn't make it to the finals but I thought Banana Joe was a personable and eye-appealing winner. 

The Constitution of the United States is celebrated on the 12th then Ash Wednesday as Lent begins.  George and Abraham's birthdays are celebrated separately and jointly as Presidents Day. There are two Flag Days, the 18th and the 24th, so Valentine's Day is almost lost among February's most important celebrations and birthdays - like Helen's Ruth G's and mine on the 23rd.

February wasn't a very cold month this year (and I am glad) but it has been a very busy month.  I found time to host and play MahJongg, have friends in to visit and, hopefully, I'll get my driver's license renewed.  As always, Valentine's Day is my favorite, so I'll ask you one more time:  Will you be my Valentine?   X O X O X

How did you celebrate February?  Tell me.  I'd like to know.

Nancy yTe \

Monday, February 4, 2013


We take the most important room in our homes, the bathroom, for granted.  Every family member, without a second thought, uses it on a daily basis.  Yet, only 100 years ago most houses were not equipped with flushing toilets, hot and cold running water, a shower, bath or tub.  So, people did what comes naturally in the outhouse, the woods or some secluded spot.

Civilizations developed ways to deal with human excrement.  I read that even in 3000 B.C. there were some indoor toilets with rainwater pipes to underground drains and cesspools.  Ancient Romans had elaborate water systems, including sewage drainage systems,  They had public toilets with rows of seats cut into marble ledges where water below carried away their refuse.  These public baths and public toilets were social and business meeting places where people paid to use the facility.  Yes, they did.  Humans, it seems, were not sufficiently impressed with sanitation to find human waste a problem. 

Improvement began in the 16th century.  People did not shower or bathe with any regularity but did learn to use chamber pots; some being emptied out a window or on the street.  As more people lived in towns and communities, rules and laws for health and sanitation were established.  In England, for instance, people relied on outdoor pits, dug at a distance of an arrow's shot from a residence.  It took many years for some areas of Europe and America to modernize.

My parents' newly built four room farmhouse was at the top of a knoll in Arkansas.  It had no accommodation for a bathroom, no electricity or running water.  It was the summer of 1949 and we began to 'modernize' the farm with electrical wiring, well pump with lines to bathroom, kitchen and a septic system.  As workers, we found relief only in ritual visits to the outhouse.  You see, my mother had never lived without electricity, running water or a fully-functioning bathroom and she wasn't about to start here.  Neighbors stopped by to see what we were doing.  They said, "You'll never get water pumping to the top of that knoll."  But the delivery truck arrived with toilet, sink and bathtub - in pink porcelain.  In about 1960 my sister and I visited our mother at the farm - and took pleasure in dismantling the old oak outhouse.

I take the two bathrooms in my house and the innumerable public rest rooms elsewhere for granted.  I expect cleanliness, flushing toilets, running water and quality toilet paper, too.  I haven't seen a 'real' Arkansas outhouse in thirty years and I don't own a chamber pot - never did.  So much for potty training. 

Do you remember outhouses and chamber pots?  Tell me.  I'd like to know.

Nancy yTe \