May 31, 2020

See You Later In June!

I'm taking a short break ... I will be away from posting new posts here on Thoughts from Mary Rae Fouts for a bit.  I will moderate and post comments during this time.  See you later in June.  And stay well and healthy, everyone!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 28, 2020

A 3 Year Revisit: Meet Then 17-Year Old Laura Pierson. Math Genius Extraordinare.

Laura Pierson ... Math Genius Extraordinaire


The post below was originally posted more than 3 years ago on March 20, 2017.  It profiled then 17-year old Laura Pierson, a teenage Math Genius headed off to Harvard.

This post ... for whatever reason ... is one of the most visited posts on my blog.  In fact,  this year it has gotten visits nearly every day, although no one has ever left a comment.  Given the popularity, and the good news it portrays, it's worth a Good News Posting again!

You can see what Laura is up to now ... or was up to before the COVID-19 Pandemic shut downs ... by visiting the Harvard Mathematics Department web page.  Laura, thank you for continuing to inspire people of all ages with your diligent mathematics work!  Mary Fouts

~~  Originally posted March 20, 2017  ~~

I typically do not use the word genius to describe someone.

But this young lady deserves the title.

Photo Credit:  eastbaytimes.com

Meet 17-year-old Laura Pierson, a student at the College Preparatory School in Oakland, CA.  And Math Whiz ... Math Genius, more accurately .... extraordinaire.

Laura recently placed 6th among 1,749 high school seniors in the prestigious national Regeneron Science Talent Search.  Her entry? A presentation of the use of theoretical algebra to study the representation theory of mathematically symmetric groups.1

Got that?  And Laura won an $80,000 prive for her 6th place finish.  A few more things about this remarkable young lady:
  • She will attend Harvard University next year.
  • Math has been a fun and interesting passion for Laura since she was a young child. She has been a member of the Berkeley Math Circle since 5th grade, and started taking college level ... yes, college level ... math courses in middle school.
  • But Laura is not just about math.  Among other activities, she is active in theater (as both a performer and technician), enjoys dancing, and loves art.
Read more about this incredible young lady and her award in this East Bay Times article.

Oh, and Laura hopes to use her math skills to solve society's problems. And I just bet she finds success.  And inspires many people along the way.

Congratulations, Laura. You go, girl!

1Symmetric group. Encyclopedia of Mathematics. URL: http://www.encyclopediaofmath.org/index.php?title=Symmetric_group&oldid=35368

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 25, 2020

Pet Food and Water Bowls: Do You Keep Your Pet Bowls Clean? They Can Be Prime Breeding Spots For Dangerous Germs!

Germs in Pet Food and Water Bowls


How often do you clean your pet food and water bowls?  It should be done on a very regular basis ... experts recommend daily, particularly with food bowls.  Otherwise, the bowls can harbor dangerous germs.

This  study by NSF International examined 30 items from 22 households.  Pet food dishes ranked 4th in the list of germ hot spots.  The top three germ hot spots were kitchen sponges and dish rags, kitchen sinks, and toothbrush holders.

Lexi Enjoys a Meal.
This is Lexi's Place Mat and Food Bowl.
Sid's and Lexi's Bowls are Cleaned Every Day.

E. coli and Salmonella was found to be living in some pet food bowls from food residue, which can make both pets and humans very ill, or worse.  Similar dangerous germs can live in unclean water bowls, presented by the pet's saliva, food residue, and algae/slime growth. You can read more about this important pet issue in this  Reader's Digest article.

The material composition of pet bowls matters, too.  Experts suggest using stainless steel or ceramic pet bowls for food and water, rather than plastic.  Plastic bowls scratch, and the scratches can provide ripe breeding areas for germs.

And for those of you who use automatic pet watering units, how often do you clean and disinfect the units?  Plus the units are plastic, which further creates breeding grounds for germs.  I've noticed automatic pet watering units at some homes that were so filthy, the bowls were lined with gunked algae.  On one bowl, the water was completely black.  Gross and Gross!  No wonder pets get sick.

As the old saying goes, Cleanliness is Next to Godliness.  That goes for pet bowls, too!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 22, 2020

Food: Do You Know Where Your Food Comes From? It's Even More Important To Know, And Support Local Producers, Today!

COVID-19 And Food.


We've all experienced shortages of items in grocery stores, and the crazy, head shaking hoarding of toilet paper.  But lately, COVID-19 food concerns have turned to the serious outbreaks of COVID-19 infections in  large, industrial meat packing plants in the midwest, including in South Dakota, Iowa, and Wisconsin.  This has lead to both temporary closures and ongoing reduced capacity.  Result?  Many large, industrial pork growing farmers in the midwest are having to kill their pigs because there is no available space in pork processing facilities.  In Iowa, the nation’s largest pork-producing state, agricultural officials expect the backlog to reach 600,000 hogs over the next six weeks.

This is why it is more important than ever to know (1) where your food comes from, and (2) support local/regional producers, and producers who treat their livestock and workers humanely, and who use environmentally friendly farming methods.

credit: stemplecreekranch.com
With the exception of one cheese - a Brie from France - and one breakfast sausage, my meats,  poultry, eggs, cheese, and other dairy is sourced locally from Northern California.  The shorter supply chain means more availability, and avoids reliance on the outdated farming methods still used today by so many large industrial farmers.

I've been a long time direct purchaser from Stemple Creek Ranch in nearby Marin County.  Their grass fed lamb, beef, and pork is the best, and their wool sponges can't be beat!

Support local ranchers, farmers, growers, and artisans as much as you can.  Our food chain,  health, and local economic livelihood depends on it! 

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 19, 2020

Sid and Lexi ... I Think They Kinda' Like One Another!

Sid the Dog.

Lexi the Dog.


Sid and Lexi.  My Faithful Canine Companions.  Here they are recently, at my side as I finished reading the New York Times newspaper and did some crossword puzzle at night before bed.  This is our normal routine each night.   Both dogs follow me upstairs for their bedtime snack, then they follow me to my Craft Room where I read and/or work puzzles before going to bed.
On this night, Sid and Lexi were extra lovey dovey.  Here they are grooming each other's face!  🥰💖  I think they kinda' like one another, don't you?!



Sid and Lexi sometimes carry on this same grooming routine right after we get up in the morning.  They will groom each other's face and ears.  It's cute, as Lexi will growl at Sid if he's not grooming her ears to her liking!  And she has a very specific "You're not grooming my ears right, Sid!" princess growl. 

Unconditional Love is as close as your nearest Animal Shelter.  Please adopt, don't shop.

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 15, 2020

Crazy! Contra Costa County Superior Courts Opening Back Up With Jury Service While Shelter In Place Order Is Still In Place

Contra Costa County, California Superior Courts To Reopen With Jury Duty Requirements During COVID-19 Healthy Department Mandated Shelter In Place.


That's Plain Crazy!
Of all the plain foolish and health threatening notions from our government entities during the COVID-19 Pandemic and Shelter In Place requirements, this one earns a Bonehead Award from me.

My county's court system, Contra Costa Superior Court, announced earlier this week that they are opening the courts with mandated jury duty on May 26 ... While the Health Department mandated Shelter in Place order remains in effect until at least May 31.

Yep, the courts think they know better.  And as someone who has both served as a juror and a Court Volunteer in the Contra Costa County Court system, I can tell you there is no way ... NO WAY ... that 6 feet social distancing can be enforced.  NO WAY to enforce that masks remain on faces at all times; people have to eat and drink, after all.  NO WAY all of the touched surfaces will be kept constantly clean.  How grimy will those little boxes be that you place your items on when going through security?  And what if you have to get searched at security?  And how about the hallways and rooms that will be packed with people responding to court dates and arraignments?

And, to top if off, the court says it will take everyone's temperature at entrance.  And they will allow people in, as long as the person's temperature does not exceed 100*F.  And ... duh ... a normal temperature is 98.6*F.  So that means SICK PEOPLE WILL BE ALLOWED INTO THE COURT HOUSE.

This action is so reckless it's beyond crazy.  It threatens the health and lives of everyone, including the jurors that receive a summons to appear.  No way I would honor that summons, my health and life is too important!

Headshaking the selfishness and stupidity of the Contra Costa County Court system.  If the court wants to reopen, to so with only Court trials.  Not jury trials.  And allow testimony via telephone or zoom video ... which, according to court's announcement, will require special permission from each judge.  That's crazy!

This is exactly NOT how to reopen our communities.  Shame on you Contra Costa Superior Court for giving a middle finger to the health and lives of Contra Costa County residents. 

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts

May 13, 2020

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie Recipe! Try This For An Extra Special Take On Apple Pie.

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie Recipe


Ok, I know it's not yet Autumn and Apple Season here in Northern California.  But ... the organic Fuji apples I've been eating recently (from Washington) have been DELICIOUS!  I enjoy them sliced up, and sometimes paired with Skippy Crunchy Peanut Butter.

Anyhoo, these delicious Fuji apples got my-can't-spend-enough-time-baking mind to thinking about apples and baking.  And I remembered this mouthwatering Caramel Apple Crumb Pie Recipe I posted some time ago.  It's worth a repost now, especially that people are doing more cooking and baking at home.  Which is a good thing, in my love-to-cook-and-bake opinion!

The recipe is more time consuming that most apple pie recipes, but the end result will be worth your efforts!  Give Caramel  Apple Crumb Pie Recipe a try.

Caramel Apple Crumb Pie
Photo Credit:  lecreuset.com

Get the Apple Caramel Pie recipe from Le Creuset here.  And yes, I'm a huge fan of Le Creuset.  I use my faithful Le Creuset products as daily workhorse go-tos.  They are as pretty as they are functional and durable.

Happy Baking!

Concerned about Tax, Insurance, Annuity, or Related Financial Matters?
About Mary Rae Fouts, EA


Mary Rae Fouts, EA provides Tax Services, Insurance Consulting Services, Annuity Consulting Services, and Expert Witness Services to clients who typically have technical or complex concerns.  For more information visit FoutsFinancialGroup.com.  And remember ... Don't just stay positive, be positive!

Mary Rae Fouts