Monday, March 30, 2009


Dear Gals - Very Smart Gals:
At the urging of another very smart gal (actually, there were threats made), I have created the Gals - Very Smart Gals Blog. My goal is to share my thoughts, get yours, and connect very smart gals who have common interests and/or needs. Most of you have received my Gals - Very Smart Gals email commentary about books, food, politics, children,
movies, fears and joys, and most have responded positively.

Today my topics are free directory assistance, class distinction, Risotto, stay-at-home working very smart gals/moms, my decadent garden, and the word for the day.

Free Directory Assistance:
One of the many, many amazing things that I learned form Jeff Jarvis' book, "What Would Google Do," (a must read) is that you don't have to pay $1.50 every time you need a phone number. Just dial 1-800-466-4411. It is free! Free at last from the tyranny of the exorbitant cost of getting phone numbers! Put that in your cell phone and use it!

Class Distinction: I recently began writing grants for an organization that primarily
serves working-poor Hispanic families, many of whom are from "generational poverty." When they hired me, the Executive Director asked that I read a book, "A Framework for Understanding Poverty," by Ruby K. Payne, Ph.D. When I began the book I though, well, this is good; I need to understand more about this issue. Although I gained really amazing insights into poverty, what seemed even more personally relevant in the book were the descriptions of the distinctions between each of the classes, situational and generational, and what is involved in moving from one class to another, forward and backwards. I was raised in a very modest, single-parent environment, but with the benefits of education, and although I have lived most of my life in the middle class, I lived for 15 years amongst the wealthy class, relatively speaking. I think I was no more than 50 pages into the book when I said out loud, "Well that explains a lot." I won't get into specifics, but I will tell you that this is a short but very interesting read, no matter what your history.

Coincidentally, at the same time I was reading "The Reader" by Bernhard Schlink, which I thought was about an older woman having an affair with a young man (reference the movie for which Kate Winslet won an Academy). Turns out it is about illiteracy (and
the Frankfurt Auschwitz trials). Never before have I so seriously considered the impacts of illiteracy. If you have some thoughts you would like to share on these topics, I hope that you will post a comment. Just click on the word "comments" at the end of this blog post.

As a pretty fearless cook, there are not many recipes I will not tackle, but for some reason, I guess because of all of the dire warnings I have seen about gummy rice and hours of stirring, trying my hand at Risotto was an intimidating cooking frontier for me. However, this intrepid very smart gal took on Risotto recently with brilliant results. I believe the key to my success may have been beginners luck, but using the correct variety of rice (Arborio) was probably a key decision as well. The following link is the recipe that caused my husband, who is not quick to compliment food, to say, "Now I see what all the shouting is about." It was light but rich, vegetarian, satisfying, and honestly, easy to prepare. I would love to hear about your favorite Risotto recipes.

Stay-at-Home Working Very Smart Gals/Moms: Many years ago I had the privilege of being a stay at home mom, but when my home life situation changed and I had to go back to work, it was very difficult for me to convince someone to hire me, having been out of the work stream for 5+ years. I vividly recall literally getting down on my knees and begging the CEO of Schlotzsky's Inc. to hire me. He did, and it didn't take long for a very smart gal like me to progress, but prospective employers definitely eyed my years of absence from work with suspicion. It just so happens that I have on my virtual desk the resumes of three stay-at-home working moms. Each have amazing education, experience and qualifications, and each is looking for part-time work that they can perform from home. If you have special projects, a short-term project, or part-time projects with which you could use some help, please contact these individuals.,, and

My Decadent Garden: I have a confession. I hired someone to not only put in a garden for me, but to maintain it as well. There, I've said it. I know there is nobility in working the earth with your hands, nurturing the tiny buds as they poke their little heads from the womb of Mother Earth, and harvesting the bounty of organic vegetables and herbs, but honestly, I hate working out in the hot sun and I'd rather read a book. So when I saw the sign on the side of the road, "Grown Your Own Vegetables," I made the call. Brilliant! So now, a couple of times a week I stroll out to my garden to see how the little plants are doing, and day dream of home-grown vegetables on my table, and loosing tons of weight. Then I go back to my computer and work like a demon to pay for it all! No problem. I'll write grants 'til the cows come home. But weed? Forget it!! You'll find my Garden Guru's info in the left column of this blog page. Any gardening stories? Post a comment.

Word of the Day: Having always felt that one of the trenches between the educated and the not-so-educated was vocabulary, I have spent a good deal of my life trying to get some - vocabulary, not trenches. The minute I see or hear a word with which I am not familiar, I go look it up (in secret of course). Well, it is time for me to "out" myself on the paucity of my vocabulary (I learned paucity a few years ago and try to use it occasionally). So, each time I post on this blog I will unashamedly (wow, can't believe I spelled that right) bare my "vocabula-soul," and introduce what may not be a new word to you, but is to me.

The word for the day, actually two, are quantum and solace, as in Quantum of Solace, the new James Bond movie. I guess I am one of three people in the world who have no idea what that really means. So I did a little (very little) research. Unfortunately, my research did nothing to improve my opinion of the movie. Do not get me wrong, I like James Bond movies, and think that Daniel Craig is the best thing to happen to James Bond since Sean Connery, who I fell out with when I saw a quote from him saying something along the lines of, "Men should slap women around every now an then to keep them in line." With regard to the quality, or lack of, of Quantum of Solace, I completely relate to one of my friends' summary of the movie. "It was just OK," she said. "But any man that can look that good in a pair of white pants has my attention." I came to truly appreciate that comment when I watched the movie.

So, according to Wikipedia, quantum is an indivisible entity of a quality that has the same units as the Planck Constant. No help there. OK, so I knew what solace meant, but I just didn't get the quantum of solace thing, so I Googled around and got a pretty good explanation - a measure of comfort. Not a movie title, but certainly a quantum less confusing and it did bring me solace.

These are my thought. What are yours?

You can post comments by clicking on "comments," below, and you can email the Gals - Very Smart Gals blog, with your comments, to your friends by clicking on the little envelope.

Best Wishes Always,


Wade-Crouse Grant Writing


  1. Love the "Did You Know" YouTube Video.


  2. Hi Sue Ann:
    After spending time with your blog, I am reminded of a program that I use to watch every Sunday morning while growing up (before heading out to First Baptist, of course). It was a thirt y minute program hosted by the owner of a Tulsa, Oklahoma bookstore-Lewis Meyer. He would spend thirty minutes reviewing all of the new books of all types that had arrived in his bookstore during the last week. I can't remember even one book that he reviewed but I will always remember how he signed off each week, "THE MORE BOOKS YOU READ THE TALLER YOU WILL GROW!" I also think that reading is very much like gardening.
    Your friend, (A very smart guy) Mike Cathey

  3. Hey OKie- You don't have to be a gal to tune in to this blog, just smart, and you are exceptionally qualified!! Thanks for sharing your childhood memory. I love Mr. Meyer's saying! Your friend too. SueAnn

  4. SueAnn -

    Love your blog! What a perfect thing for you to do since you have so many varied interests. Now you can share them with everyone! Your book list hit home with me - many of the same titles. You may inspire me to work on my own favorites - usually it's the one I'm reading at the moment.

    I'll be checking with you often so keep up the good work - from one old Iraan girl to another (much younger) Iraan girl - Charlena

  5. Thanks for the feedback Charlena - You should have your own blog - about growing up in West Texas, to promote your wonderful book! I think you could make a lot of connections through Facebook and MySpace too.SueAnn

  6. AWESOME...SueAnn!! LOVE your blog! You have always been so amazing to me...& you continue to be one woman I look up to!! I see so much of Momy Wade in you & I love that! Truth be told that is where I learned to be "strong"...thank you Momy Wade!! Love & Miss ya...Debby

  7. So glad to hear from you and to receive your comment. I look up to you too. Love always. SueAnn

  8. Hello Sweet Sista!

    Thanks for the invite to participate in your interesting blog! Here's my first contribution ....

    A quantum is the basic unit of matter or energy that is from 10,000,000 to 100,000,000 times smaller than even the smallest atom. All quanta are made of invisible vibrations -- ghosts of energy -- waiting to take physical form. At this level, matter and energy are indetectable. So ... Quantum of Solace indicates someone is either receiving or giving so little comfort that said solace is not even detectable.

    Credit for this simple description of Quanta belongs to The One & Only and The Great ... Deepak Chopra.

    xoxo Annie

  9. P.S. The following must be added to the discussion of Quanta for a well-rounded perspective. According to Ayurvedic medicine, as practiced by the sages of India between 5 & 10 thousand years ago and introduced to modern civilization by Deepak Chopra in the late 20th century, addressing disease ("dis-ease") within the human body at the quantum level is the most powerful route to Perfect Health. The quantum principle reveals that the most subtle levels of nature hold the greatest potential energy. Therefore, Quanta is both the smallest form of energy/matter, yet also potentially the most powerful. xo Annie

  10. Well I feel "enlightened.” Thanks, Annie, Fannie, it is always great to hear from you.