More Coursera Courses!

I’ve become addicted to taking online college courses at Coursera.org.  I’m finding it  incredibly draining and yet it is absolutely fulfilling at the same time!

The good news is that anyone can sign up to take classes.  The bad news is there are no limits to the number of classes you can take, and for me that means I’m handling  more than I am capable of handling at one time.  For example, I am now enrolled in a class on global history, a class on the economics of obesity, a class on Greek and Roman myth, and a class on design and I can’t forget the class on genetics and evolution.

I know, some college kids are taking that many classes, but they aren’t also doing some of the other things I”m doing in addition to going to class.

I don’t expect to complete all the activities and tests and papers in each class, so in all truth I’m not really taking these classes,  basically I’m auditing them, but oh my goodness– it is fabulous to be exposed to so many new ideas shared by so many wonderful professors.

Fascinating facts from my classes:

Zheng He was a sea trader who plied the seas around the time Christopher Columbus did.  His ships were humongous.  The comparison between his huge ships and Colombus’ ships is amazing.  Check it out.

The citizens of the United States tend not to believe in Evolution.  Only Turkey beats us in discounting it as a scientific theory.

Most of you know what absenteeism is, but have you ever heard of “Presenteeism”?  I’m learning about that in the class on Obesity.  The term refers to employees that can make it to work, but that aren’t working as effectively as their “healthy weight” peers.

Coursera is amazing.

Check it out.





Does Anyone Want To Start A Book Club Locally?

I’m reading a couple of books that make me realize it would be fun to have someone to chat with about them.  If anyone wants to start a club, we can find a neat place to meet locally, or we can even meet on Skype!

Just let me know.
Books on my current night table are:

The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd

Run by Ann Patchett

The Floating Admiral by Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers and G.K Chesterton

Graves in Academe by Susan Kenney
What do you like reading?




Guess Who Has a Leopard Lounging Robe?!

Remember I was saying I’d love a robe to cuddle up in at night?  I asked for one for my birthday and surprise!  I got one, actually I got two,but one is the kind I can snuggle up in in the evening.  I think it even came from Macys!  I opened the box and I stupidly asked where we got a Macys box from, but I didn’t even think that it was possible that my gift had come from there.  Is that silly or what?  It’ just that we tend to re-use old gift boxes, so I usually have some stashed, which means if you ever get a gift from me and the box says “Boscov’s”…it might not be from there! 🙂

My daughter’s did call, so that was wonderful, and my youngest got some girlfriends to sing Happy Birthday to me from school. ( Thanks Faith, and Rebecca, and Natalie).

I got lots of nice cards and some phone calls and emails and it was a very, very happy day.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend.




Sanatoga Thriftway!

I live near the Coventry Mall, so the Sanatoga Thriftway isn’t exactly in my backyard, butI like going there. In fact, I’ve got to recommend that store as a nicely laid out market with pretty decent prices.  It isn’t close to my home, but it is minutes away from my workplace which is why I  make it a point to shop there once in a while.

The  other day I was there and I’ll admit, the prices in the meat case weren’t so great.  I noticed some steaks for 22 dollars. They were an instant “No.”  But there were some reasonably priced meats, so I picked up some flank steak which is excellent when broiled, and I got some hamburger, and some crab cakes and fish.

I also got some cereal; trust me I didn’t buy any boxes that were over 4 dollars!  I bought a nice cheap box of Golden Grahams.  I got 2 Keebler’s chips deluxe for 5 bucks, and that worked perfectly because my daughter needed to take cookies into school this week.  And I bought 2 loaves of bread, some milk, some eggs, some cheddar cheese, and a nice selection of  veggies and some rice, and I spent less than 60 dollars.  It wasn’t one of my best shopping trips, but it provided me with enough for at least 5 dinners, a couple of breakfasts and some treats for my sweetheart.

Before I close, I want to explain broiling a flank steak because some people just don’t know how to do it.  The truth is it’s simple, you just turn your oven to broil, get a heavy flat tray and wait till the oven heats.  Grab your package of steak, peel off the pad that soaks up the fluid in the tray, slice into your steak not completely through, but so that it has a nice diamond cut on both sides.  That allows the heat to penetrate and your steak won’t curl while cooking.  Add salt and pepper, or any seasonings you like, and pop it in for 5 to 7 minutes.  It will turn gray but that ( doesn’t mean it’s done.  You are going to have to flip it and cook it on the other side, remember, the broiler will heat the top of your meat so have your oven grills set so that the meat is close to the burners.( this is for an electric oven, in a gas oven you probably have a bottom broiler, which  uses the same technique just in a different space in the oven.)

I like to remove my steak before it turns to shoe leather.  It will  be slightly red in the center when I’m ready to take it out.  I just let it sit on it’s pan while I get the rest of my dinner together.  By the time I slice it into strips it has finished cooking.  But in the event that your steak is still too red for your liking, you can always toss it into a small frying pan for only minutes,  just add some flavoring to the pan like oil, or butter, or soy sauce, or Worcestershire sauce, so that you don’t burn your meat.

When I took out my steak, I threw some onion rings into the cooling oven and then made rice and beans.  Dinner was easy, it took 15 minutes or less, and it was cheap compared to some meals.  I think the steak was 7 dollars, the beans were 85 cents and the rice 1.19.  That is three  meals, plus  leftovers, for just a smidge over 3 dollars a person.


Buy Some Books For Toddlers!

I was just reading over at the Daily Mail about a University of Pennsylvania study ( I know, why am I reading about this local study in a newspaper from England??)  Anyhow, the study seems to suggest that children who are read to, or who have books in their home when they are 4 years old, will do better as older teens when it comes to thinking and communicating.  When older children, who were 8 years of age, got books, or had parents or caregivers read to them, they didn’t have the same brain changes later in life.

I can tell you first hand that I have seen little children fall in love with books.  In fact, in my real life  job, I introduce children to books and instructional toys.  If you need help getting your kids to read, just send me a note!  I’ll get back to you at NO COST to you!

But it’s easy to share a book with a toddler. You can pick them up at yard sales, ask friends for used books, or  contact people like me!  Tiny children need books, they might not appear to be interested in them immediately, but teach them to hold them, and teach them that they can relax by paging through them, and most importantly, give them the gift of hearing your voice while you read them some of their favorite stories.

For those of you who have children who prefer being online, I’ve created a small collection of stories that children can view in video format at my other blog called “Pottstown Reads”.  Let them view the online stories and then amaze them with a paperback version of the story they’ve read  online!  They’ll love it.

I don’t make any profit from this website, and I don’t pay any attention to who visits,( other than noticing where my visitors are coming from).  I won’t sell your name, and I’m not interested in signing you or your children up for some tutoring classes.  I’m just a regular person, I live in the area, and you may have seen me at the supermarket, or at church events, or at local activities.  I really do have a job in which I read stories to toddlers and I reallydo want Pottstown area parents to introduce their kids to reading!  That is my story.  Don’t believe me?  I’ll provide references.

You want to change the world?  Read to a child!



By the way, contact me at mogallant@gmail.com







What Mormons Think About Working Women!

Earlier today I wrote that I wasn’t quite sure that I’m comfortable with Mitt Romney’s idea that we are all children of the same God.  I don’t want to frighten people about Mormons, but I refuse to pretend that we are all one big happy family.

In all honesty I have to applaud most Mormon families, or  at least the Mormon mothers who have created blogs online.  They do have a sense of home and family that you don’t generally find in today’s world.  So, please don’t assume I’m against their habits of creating families, or their conceptions of how families should be maintained.  I like a lot of what I’ve seen.

My point in making this post though, is I don’t believe along with those in the Mormon church that all women are meant to be mothers.  I don’t believe that women should only work if they absolutely have to in order to sustain their families.  I think that some women want to work and I think they should be allowed to do so with no constraints!

I could tell you that Mormons don’t feel that way, but instead I’m going to point you to their teaching for the newly married.  You read about what they think about women in the  workplace.  It is their teaching that says that women who don’t teach children are sinners!

Please note that I’ve been a “stay at home Mom” for most of my life.  I’ve worked, but it was always part-time.  When I am working I am in fact teaching children, so even though I’m not a practicing Mormon, I’m living out their plan for women within a marriage, but I wouldn’t insist that anyone else would do what I’m doing because quite frankly, I can handle being irrepressibly bored.  Motherhood is wonderful, but there have been times when I’ve wanted to cry out because it can be both incredibly trying and absolutely inane at the same time!



It’s Finally News! Women’s Periods Aren’t Really Fun!

I just laughed reading this silly stuff over at Salon about the CEO of a UK company called Bodyform, that apparently sells feminine hygiene products and had a funny guy write that his girlfriend wasn’t the skydiving,  sports loving woman that he expected her to be during her monthly cycle.  Richard said she was more like the young girl from the Exorcist.

Bodyform’s CEO responded with a refreshingly honest video, that she closes with a fart.

It might not be everyone’s humor, but I thought it was silly enough to share.