Sunday, July 31, 2011

Evolution and the Soul

Sunday is an appropriate day to ponder things like Creationism and Evolution.  Many scientists feel sure that we humans are the product of an evolutionary process.  Sitting here in my living room, without a PhD in any of the sciences, it's fairly silly of me to even bring up a subject like this.  But, who among us doesn't at one point or another have countless questions about life and how we got to where we are.

Okay, let's suppose that we have evolved over millions and billions of years.  The one question that keeps bugging me is this:  At what point during this evolutionary process did the soul come into being? 

It seems to me that if we do have a soul, then every living creature and organism before us, and beside us, also had and has a soul. 

What do you think? 

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Mother Nature is a mix of magnificent colors.  Her greenery comes in lord only knows how many shades.  The same with the sky as it changes, one blue cloud to the other.

The colors that surround our days affect how we think and feel.  It's interesting that colors can mean different things in different parts of the world.  In the United States.......

Green - When we see green, we think of grass and nature, a fresh and healthy color.  Dark greens remind us of money.

Orange - This is my least favorite color, but it is said to evoke feelings of excitement and fun.  Hmmmm on this one.

Red - Psychologists are of the opinion that seeing the color red causes a physical response in us, not just a subconscious response.  Tests show that our heart rate accelerates, and that is why red is considered to be an aggressive and energetic color.

Blue - Men and women tend to like blue.  It's said to evoke feelings of calm, trust, dependability, and security.

Yellow - communicates positivity and warmth and is said to be the first color that we see.  If we want to draw attention to something, color it yellow!

Pink - is feminine. Pale pink is perceived as romantic and bright pinks perceived as exciting, fun, and young.  Victoria's Secret built an entire line with Pink.

Brown - is associated with the earth and evokes the feeling of durability.  If you notice, UPS owns the color brown in the shipping industry, and it has worked very well for them.  My bridesmaid dresses were made of brown velvet trimmed with gold velvet, and they were simple, but elegant.

Purple - Guys don't particularly care for purple.  It's considered to be a creative color, and also a sophisticated color closely associated with royalty and spirituality.

White - Did you ever wonder why cleaning products come in white containers?  It's because white is a symbol of purity and cleanliness.

Black - communicates power, high-class, sophistication, luxury, and expensive. 

Gray - is the neutral color.  It gives a detached and isolated feeling.  Gray can have a cooling effect when placed next to other more vibrant colors.  Mother Nature must like gray, because gray gemstones are healing stones that are often used to improve relationships toward more stability.

Here's a little color quip that I think says it best......

"Your attitude is like a box of crayons that color your world.  Constantly color your picture gray, and your picture will always be bleak.  Try adding some bright colors to the picture by including humor, and your picture begins to brighten up."   -Allen Klein

Friday, July 29, 2011

Do What You Wanna Do!

Today's hours are quickly slipping away.  Already it's afternoon, and my blog isn't written.  The two highlights of most mornings are my coffee and my blog.

The other half of me has gone to a museum display that he's interested in, and I opted to stay at home.  Sometimes it's just nice to have space, where each of us does our own thing for awhile.  We laugh that we're a pair of shadows.  You see one of us, and the other isn't far away!

Projects are sitting around me waiting to be tackled, but I'm not in the mood.  I get that way, and I suppose the word that would describe me best would be 'procrastinator.'  Such a dumb word.

Maybe I'm an odd one, but I get so tired of the way society bashes us for the things we do or don't do.  Doesn't seem to be much that is permissible without getting plastered with a negative label of some kind.  Bah humbug to that.  This chick is going to do what the heck ever she feels like doing.  Like it or lump it.

The weather here today is what most would call the perfect summer day.  Blue skies and sunshine.  Recent rains have our lawns bright green and growing.  Our meals have been vegetarian, to the point where both of us are already getting tired of the garden goodies.  It's about time now that I start freezing zucchini.  All I do is cut it up in pieces with peel on, put it in a zip-lock bag, and put in the freezer.  Then in the winter, I take it out and put it in soups and stews.  Great nutrition and fabulous taste.

The older I get, the more concern I have for food's nutritional values.  Fruit and vegetables were always easy for me to eat cuz, to me, they're delicious.  My hubby bought groceries last week, and he brought me a bag of gorgeous bing cherries.  They were dark in color, and had that perfect bing cherry sweetness.  The fuzzy one thought she had to have a taste, so I gave her one.  That was a mistake.  She ate about ten and wanted more. 

Soon the tomatoes will be ripening.  Those I freeze, too.  I either cut them in pieces, or I put them in the blender and put directly in zip-lock bags for winter chili and casseroles.  Isn't it interesting how our palates look ahead to the seasonal foods?  Won't be long and we'll be craving squash, pumpkin pie, turkey, dressing, and all the other fall delights.  After that, will come the craving for sugar cookies and mince meat pie!

Puppy Nap
While the fuzzy one and I are alone now, maybe I'm going to cuddle down and take a puppy nap with her.  She's a cuddle bug, and when I have the chance to close off the rest of the world......well, I'll grab it.  One thing I've learned in life is to not let the world tell me what to do and what not to do.  My philosophy is to throw guilt to the lions and be good to ourselves!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Where is Syria?

Before yesterday, sitting in a hospital waiting room, I really never gave Syria a thought.  I heard of Syria, but that was about it.

We plopped ourselves down in two high-back chairs in the cardiac waiting area, where a 91-year-old lady sat behind the hospitality desk.  She weighed about as much as my left leg, but kept getting up to see that all of us were comfortable.  She passed the candy jar, brought pillows to those who had closed their eyes, and when we got ourselves coffee, she said, "Next time I'm bringing cookies.  You two should have cookies with your coffee."  We figured she had to be a veteran at what she was doing, and we were right.  She'd been volunteering at this hospital for 51 years.

Her parents immigrated to the United States from Syria, and she was born in the U.S.  She was born on Labor Day and married on Mother's Day.  She married in an Orthodox Church, where the priest spoke Arabic.  She didn't understand one word of her marriage ceremony.  She and her husband didn't say any vows to each other.  Three generations, including her own 7 babies, consisted of 5 boys and 2 girls. 

When I asked her how old she feels in her 'heart,' she giggled, raised her black eyebrows, and didn't need time to think about her answer.  It was a quick, "16."  I told her I'd never met anyone like her before, and she said, "Don't feel bad, neither have I."  She talked about Syrian food preparation, and she gave me her recipe for stuffed grape leaves.  After I wrote the recipe on a piece of paper to take home with me, she asked for my name, address and phone number so she could check up on me to see how the grape leaves turn out.  She shared a rice dressing recipe that is versatile and can be eaten with beef, pork, or chicken. And, a vegetable salad dressing of lemon juice and Mazola oil.  It felt like I was sitting next to a help-yourself buffet of life knowledge.

She was telling us about her childhood and how her parents' raised them when she told us,  "We weren't taught, mind you.  We just understood."

I think sometimes we all need a human flashlight to show us what the road up ahead looks like.  This kind and caring lady of Syrian background was such an enlightenment.  I learned so much from her in so short a time.  I learned that age is meaningless, it's okay to be silly and a sense of humor has no price tag.  After watching her bent little body inch her way around the waiting room taking care of us, it makes me sick to think of all the able-bodied people in this world who act like helpless fledglings and expect the world to take care of them.

Anyone who has waited in a hospital knows that an hour feels like a month. But, yesterday time flew like a hummingbird as this lady visited with us. I swear, I've never met anyone remotely close to her. In the morning when we left home, I thought I was 65 years old. When we left the hospital I thought I was 65 years young. It was a comforting lesson for me that age means jack nothing. 

After encountering this little Syrian angel, I'm ever so curious and anxious to learn more about the country of Syria, its people, their customs, traditions, and history.  It's a big world wide world we live in, but then again, sometimes it feels like a real small world. 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Humor is Good for Us

What do you get when you cross poison ivy with a 4-leaf clover?

Answer:  A rash of good luck!

My Dolly

Today is a milestone day in my life, and I'd like to introduce you to my little friend who has stood beside me the whole way.

This is Dolly.  My very first doll.  My Gramma H designed her and sewed her just for me, her first granddaughter.  My Gramma H still lives now through my Dolly.  I can feel her and see her cutting the fabric, sewing it on her treadle sewing machine.  She braided her hair with brown yarn, and each braid is tied in red ribbon.  I had long dark brown hair when I was little.  Gramma's hands embroidered Dolly's eyes, nose, and mouth with needle and colored thread.  Somewhere in the stash of childhood photos, there's one of me holding Dolly beside me, and we were both the same size.

Gramma didn't use patterns when she sewed, according to what Mom told me.  She could look at a dress and reproduce it.   It tickles me how she put ruffles on Dolly's sleeves and at the bottom.  Having Dolly all these years has been my secret way of still having Gramma with me. Gramma died when I was 12, but in those years she influenced me more than anyone else ever has.  I think I got my knack for reusing things from her.

Dolly's hair cap is ever so special to me.  Not only did Gramma make it, but my Mom wore it when she was a baby.  That really compounds the sentimental value of Dolly.

 Most little girls of today would look at my little friend and snub her.  Dolls are fancy and expensive, but they can't hold a candle to this one.  My Gramma's touch lives in Dolly.  My Gramma's artistic and frugal tendencies continue to show me that less can be so much more.  The dress Dolly wears is more than likely made out of a feed sack.  Feed sacks back then were colored and printed in flowers and other calico patterns. 

There's a table that sits by my side of the bed, and that's where Dolly lives.  This table belonged to my Gramma, too, so our bedroom brings back cozy memories of staying at her house and the childhood comfort I felt there.  Between Gramma and Grampa, their simple country existence showed me how to live so that I appreciate every single thing that comes to me. 

I have a little story to tell about Gramma and her sewing.  You see, she made all my clothes until I was 8, and then I got a real store-bought dress.  Anyway, Gramma was sewing something on her treadle machine, and she accidentally sewed through a finger nail and into her finger.  Poor lady, we knew she was in awful pain, but it was her style to bear all discomfort in silence. 

So, now you know who my little life companion has been.  Dolly and I have come a long way, been through a lot.  But, all things are manageable when a person has Gramma's hand to hold onto.

Monday, July 25, 2011


We recently attended an open house hosted by a local veterinarian.  It was one of those 90-degree days, so they had a tent set up for the four dogs that were up for adoption.  Those poor dogs, on leashes, were waiting for someone to want them.  They didn't belong to anyone.  They didn't belong.

Me and My Daddy are buddies!
When we got home that day, the first thing I did was have a heart-to-heart and face-to-face chat with the fuzzy one.  I made it perfectly clear to her that she is one of the luckiest pooches in the world, because she belongs to us.  She belongs.

I'm not able to wrap my mind around what it has to feel like to not belong.  I've always belonged to a family or to my spouse.  I belong in our home.  That's no small potatoes. 

When we have dear friends, when we have dear neighbors, and when we are involved in life's social networks, our sense of belonging is satisfied.  Anytime someone recognizes us, we feel accepted.  Actually, it feels wonderful when someone greets us and/or teases us.  There's one guy in one of our local grocery stores that banters back and forth with me every single time I go in for groceries.  What he throws my way, I throw back his way, plus a little more. 

Rural life has benefits, one of which is the close social circle that then sprawls out into separate areas, like church, schools, towns, counties, states, and you get what I'm saying.  They all provide us places to belong.  Only one time in my life did I feel a sense of "not belonging," and that was on my trip to Italy in 1996.  While I was there, it hit me like a rock that I didn't belong to Italy.  If I got hurt there, would my U.S. insurance pay for the Italian hospital bill?  A lot of thoughts like that frightened me, because I didn't belong to any of their systems.  My one consolation was that the U.S. embassy was real close to my hotel, and I knew that would be my only safety net. When a person is away from our own shores, there's a scary sense of not belonging. 

So, let's make it a point to always kiss each other good night.  And, that goes for our pet-children, too.  All of us, no matter our pedigree, need to know that we belong.

Oh, by the way, I would have adopted all four dogs that day, but could you imagine what the fuzzy one would have had to say about that?   

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Pansy

The pansy's name is derived from the French word 'pensees,' which means thoughts.  Pansies are symbols of thoughtfulness, remembrance and love.  This one is from me to you.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Yikes, that's a pretty big question to tackle in such a short amount of time. Hmmmm.  What the hay, I'm gonna kick this around a bit and see where the ball falls.

When a person takes the time to think about the continuous string of emotions we live through, isn't it amazing that we're able to keep going as well as we do?  Emotions don't necessarily come one minute and leave the next.   Rarely they do that.  Some linger for weeks, months, and even years.  If those that linger are negative, well, that eats away our silo of strength and then we have to work even harder to refill our silo. 

There are scads of human emotions.  After a quick review of my years, I know what it feels like to be......

Positive feelings:  Humorous, compassionate, eager, capable, comfortable, creative, determined, enthused, hopeful, joyful, relieved, excited, courageous, inspired, surprised, fascinated, grateful, happy, interested, loved, relaxed, satisfied, peaceful and thrilled.

Negative feelings:  Annoyed, angry, anxious, burdened, confused, disgusted, misunderstood, frustrated, lonely, scared, tired, cautious, exhausted, impatient, irritated, overwhelmed, betrayed, shocked, sad, uncomfortable, depressed, doubtful, embarrassed, envious, suspicious, concerned, disappointed, intimidated, manipulated, stressed, and used.

Every human being is a jar of emotions.  Every emotion we experience is individual to ourselves.  When emotions clash, it's no wonder that there's unrest, hard feelings, and even despair.  But, like everything else that Mother Nature gives to us, there are two jars to draw from....the helpful and the harmful.  It's not so easy as simply putting our hand in the jar, grabbing an emotion, and putting it on our face.  No, it takes work and determination to straighten out our emotional see-saw.

One of my favorite bible verses
As our years pile higher and higher, we eventually tire and become weary.  We slow down, take things slower.  It's a gradual way of letting go of life itself.  It's my belief that we are wired in a way that lets us fly high in our youth and then lets us cruise calmly on quieter waters when we're older.  That way we get to experience all that life has to offer.

After experiencing the good, the bad, and the ugly, my conclusion is that one ticket to see this circus is great plenty.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Making New Things Out of Old Things

An early morning thunderstorm brought our area 2-1/4" of rain.  The thunder gods and lightning gods and rain gods were blessing us.  A serenity follows a storm.  The earth says, "Ahhhhhhhhh, this feels sooooo gooood!" 

We are heading back to the dentist this morning.  My tongue feels a piece of tooth that has worked its way to the surface, and he'll have to remove it.  Not fun, but I'm a big girl.

Yesterday my hubby had a medical appointment that we tended to.  When that was over, we treated ourselves to an over-the-top meal at one of our favorite restaurants.  One has to balance life's negatives with positives, you know. 

On the way home, we stopped to look at a used Class C RV that we spotted on our way to the doctor.  It was a 1996, owned by a widow, 60-some thousand miles, in really nice shape.  Only one problem.  The 'check engine' light stays on.  The lady said it's really not a problem.  Hmmmmm.  We couldn't be that sure, so we opted to get back in our car and continue on our way.  We still enjoy the thought of camping in federal and state parks, but it's the work of putting up and taking down the camper that is the bugger.  With a Class C van-type, we could drive in a spot, and be ready just like that.

All of our married lives we've stopped and looked at stuff that's for sale.  It's sort of been a sideline hobby of ours.  By looking at stuff, we learn about it.  Yesterday was the first time I'd been in a Class C van, and I was really impressed. 

As we were driving home and chatting about this type of RV, we decided that we could rig up our Escape to serve quite well as a 'sleeping device.'  After all, the two of us, back in the 1980s, camped for 3 weeks to visit Nova Scotia and Eastern Canadian a used pickup topper.  We had more fun sleeping on a make-shift bed that my hubby fashioned.  There's no reason now why we couldn't put the back seats down in the Escape and fashion ourselves a bed just as nicely.  In my periferal vision I'm seeing a late-fall venture up to the Canadian border.  Yippee Skippee.  We wait till late fall so the helicopter-sized mosquitoes won't eat us alive.

We are experts at coming up with ways to use what we have instead of buying new.  Just like a couple of years ago when my hubby wanted to build a smokehouse so he could smoke the homemade baloney he makes.  Without me knowing it, he went in the garage, scrounged around for boards that were just taking up space, and within one day he built the sweetest, very workable smokehouse.  He could very easily have gone out and bought a new one for $500. 

So it goes at our house.  The creative wheels are always spinning.  If anything hangs around our property long enough, it just might end up being made into something else.  That's kinda fun, and we get oodles and oodles of satisfaction out of doing this.  I look at everything with the same thought......gosh, how could I make something with that!

Have a pleasant day, everyone, and let's not forget to give thanks for the thirst-quenching rains that come to our beautiful earth at the perfect times!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Beauty Sleep

Perhaps I'll be called "old-fashioned" in what I have to say today, but that's okay.  It's simply my turn to be a senior citizen, and that gives me the same right to say what I believe is true just like everyone else in this fast-paced society of ours.  Have you noticed that there's been a gradual shift to a 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a week work schedule?  Well, medical research is now starting to report the negative effects this is having on people, and those effects are quite significant.

Several reports from the Harvard University Nurses' Health Study Program "have linked insufficient or irregular sleep to increased risk for colon cancer, breast cancer, heart disease and diabetes."  Research from across the country is showing that lack of a good night's sleep affects crucial hormones and proteins that play major roles in these diseases.  All of this goes on within our bodies without us even realizing it.

Getting too little sleep creates a "sleep debt" which is the same as being overdrawn at the bank.  Eventually the human body will demand that the debt be repaid.  While the body may get used to a sleep-deprived schedule, our judgment, reaction time, and other functions and behaviors are still impaired, despite how we may argue otherwise.  If a person can routinely fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, that person probably has severe sleep deprivation.

The American culture has created the widespread practice of "burning the candle at both ends," and what used to be abnormal is now the norm.  That doesn't make it okay.  Medical research makes it clear that a lack of sleep is dangerous.  Sleep-deprived people have been tested with driving simulators and by performing hand-eye coordination tasks, and they are shown to perform as bad or worse than people who are intoxicated.  The lack of sleep also magnifies alcohol's effects on the body, so when a person is tired and drinks, they become much more impaired than someone who is well-rested.  Statistics show that driver fatigue is responsible for an estimated 100,000 motor vehicle accidents and 1,500 deaths each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  Drowsiness is the brain's last step before falling asleep.  The National Sleep Foundation says that if you have trouble keeping your eyes focused, if you can't stop yawning, or if you can't remember driving the last few miles, you are probably too drowsy to drive safely.

Other effects from lack of sleep include impaired memory and mood swings.  Frustration with others and irritability with one thing after another are classic symptoms of not getting good sleep.  We've all heard the old saying, "beauty sleep."  That may be the case, really.  Activity in parts of the brain that controls our emotions, our decision-making processes, and social interactions is drastically reduced during deep sleep.  This suggests that good deep sleep helps us get to along better with our families and co-workers, and is a beautiful thing.

I don't have a dog in this fight.  I simply sit back and watch with interest as others self-destruct by working too many hours and not getting enough sleep.  Life goes by too fast the way it is.  It's just not worth the struggle of having to work so much and sleep so little.  It's easy for me to say that now that my working years are behind me.  But, I do know that when I didn't get enough sleep, I was as cranky as an old car.  As you might have guessed, I'm wholeheartedly in favor of the 'old-fashioned' 40-hour work week and the 8 hours of good sound sleep at night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

24 Things to Remember and 1 Thing to Never Forget

Your presence is a present to the world.
You're unique and one of a kind.
Your Life can be what you want it to be.
Take the days just one at a time.

Count your blessings, not your troubles.
You'll make it through whatever comes along.
Within you are so many answers.
Understand, have courage, be strong.

Don't put limits on yourself.
So many dreams are waiting to be realized.
Decisions are too important to leave to chance.
Reach for your peak, your goal, your prize.

Nothing wastes more energy than worrying.
The longer one carries a problem the heavier it gets.
Don't take things too seriously.
Live a life of serenity, not a life of regrets.

Remember that a little love goes a long way.
Remember that a lot ..... goes forever.
Remember that friendship is a wise investment.
Life's Treasures are people ..... together.

Realize that it's never too late.
Do ordinary things in an extraordinary way.
Have health and hope and happiness.
Take the time to wish upon a star.

And don't ever forget .......
for even a day .....
how very special you are.

Author:  Colin McCarty

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Good-bye America

Where I live, the temperature is forecast to be 100 degrees, or maybe a titch higher.  Maybe it's this extreme heat that ignites a fire in my pants about the USA's debt.  Our morning newspaper headline reads, "USA's IOU."  Big graphic explanation of who owns OUR $14 trillion national debt.  It's enough to make a grown man cry.

I'm as un-political as it gets.  I stay under the radar in political arguments, the same as I do in arguments about religion.  With that said, I think it's time we quiet ones start making noise.  The way I feel this morning, my blogs may be a bit 'heated' during this hot spell we're having.

Back to this morning's headline.  Who do we Americans owe money to?  How much do we owe them?

China:  $1.2 trillion
Japan:  $907 billion
Taiwan:  $155 billion
Russia:  $125 billion
Hong Kong:  $122 billion
Britain:  $333 billion
Switzerland:  $112 billion
Luxembourg:  $78 billion
Oil exporters:  $222 billion
Caribbean banks:  $138 billion
Canada:  88 billion
Brazil:  $207 billion
Rest of the world:  $199 billion.

Pretty scary, isn't it?  And, I might add that the "oil-exporting countries" include Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates.   

What's the first thing we hear when tragedy happens in another country?  You got it, the United States is first up to bat shipping god only knows how much money out of this country to "help."  If we're in such horrible debt, where do we get this money to give to other countries?  After the tsunami hit Indonesia, did we borrow money from China to give to Indonesia along with a card that read, "from the USA?"

What's the first thing we hear when tragedy happens to the United States?  Do other countries ever help us back? 

To put this into perspective, the word "trillion" is a 1 followed by 12 zeros.  CNN made an eye-opening comparison that gives us an idea about what a trillion actually is:  "if you start spending a million dollars every single day since Jesus was born, you still wouldn't have spent a trillion dollars."

This country is so worried about the well-being of other countries, but what about us here at home?  The high and mighties have given America away.  They gave our jobs to other countries.  Our wealthy are getting wealthier, our needy are getting needier, and it won't be long before we'll all be known as Asians. 

Maybe it's hi-ho time I learn what the Tea Party is all about.  It sickens me to think that I'd even think that, but I'm old enough to put two and two together and realize that the country I love is sinking deeper every day.  And, while it's sinking, the polished guys wearing 3-piece suits in Washington are throwing spit balls across the table and acting like a bunch of spoiled brats.  Kick partisanship in the ass and let's get busy and save ourselves.....if that's even possible.

There, I feel better......for now. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

No More Chicken Wings

Guess now that I'm qualified for Medicare, I'm going to have to quit eating chicken wings!

Yup, a few nights ago I bit into one and just like that my tooth broke in half.  It wasn't until this morning that I could get in to see the dentist.  It was quite a struggle for him, but he did finally get the chopper out.  Now I'm on pain killers and antibiotics.  Am sipping on a homemade fruit smoothie to get my vitamins.  The right side of my face is swollen, even my eye.  I've got good roots!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Separate Fingers or One Hand

Uh-oh, the philosopher in me is antsy this morning.  It wants to say something.  Okay, so what is it that you want to say?

Every day my curiosity takes me to remarkable websites.  I'm usually out there exploring and hunting for inspiration, motivation, hope, and understanding.  Besides those things, my big game hunt is for the words and metaphors that jump off the screen and punch me right in the nose.  Here's what I mean......

Okay, here we are, imagining one hand held up in front of us.  It appears to have 5 separate fingers...all different, all useful in their own way.  Do you think each finger dreams that it is a separate entity?  Because that is what we, a collage of human beings, think about ourselves.  We think we are separate entities scrambling for placement in an uncaring world.

We are finger one versus finger two versus finger three.  Finger one is better off.  After all, it is carrying a substantial and costly ring.  Finger two has no ring and is a child of poverty.  Fingers three and four have scars, inscribed since childhood, but they have overcome their obstacles to become useful and respected  citizens.  Finger five has power and leverage because it was born a thumb.  All other fingers are jealous of thumb's high rank, but are too polite to let on, and are completely powerless to change the situation anyway.  Finger five likes being the thumb but complains privately that it has to do most of the work.  See?  Nothing's perfect in fingerland.

Okay, so why don't we instead think of ourselves not as separate fingers, but as one hand.  That way we would take the impossible burden of one and turn it into a powerful hand that could give good old-fashioned pinches and slaps.  If we'd use that hand to pinch and slap the right people in high places, then maybe we could put a stop to some of our nation's wrongful spending of American dollars.  If we continue to tolerate all varieties of these new-fangled bail-out practices and passing out subsidies during bountiful times, well, I can look into my crystal ball and accurately foretell where our children and grandchildren will eventually end up on the global totem pole. 

The eye of the Eagle cries.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Pink and Blue

In our Western culture, the color blue is associated with boy babies and pastel pink for girl babies.  With ultrasound abilities that let parents know beforehand what the gender of their baby will be, expecting parents give a lot of attention to this color theme.  That's the tradition today, but it always wasn't that way. 

In the 1800s infants were clothed in white, and gender differences weren't highlighted.  Both boys and girls wore dresses of white.  Boys dresses buttoned up the front, while girls' buttoned up the back.  One theory is that distinguishing boy babies from girl babies simply wasn't important, and dresses made changing diapers a whole lot easier.

By the mid-1800s this started to change.  One of the first mentions of assigning colors to distinguish gender appeared in 1868 when Louisa May Alcott wrote "Little Women."  Amy tied a pink and blue ribbon on Jo's twins to distinguish whether they were a boy or a girl.  From the 1890s onward, clothing for boys and girls started to change, and little boys were dressed in trousers or knickers at early ages. 

In the early 1900s, pink became the color for boys and blue for the girls.  One thought is that pink belongs to the red family, which is seen as fiery, a manly color.  Others think the association of blue with girls came from the frequent depiction of the Virgin Mary in blue.

Because a pink triangle was used to identify homosexuals in Nazi German prison camps, after World War II the custom shifted permanently in favor of blue as a boy's color.  By 1915, an infant-wear buyer for one department store told Times magazine, "A mother will allow her girl to wear blue, but daddy will never permit his son to wear pink."

From the 1940's on, pink was pushed as a woman's color. "Think Pink" was the marketing slogan to convince women to embrace their femininity by wearing pink lipstick, driving a pink car, or buying pink household appliances.

So it is that we here in America have created a lot of colorful hoopla that immediately tosses a girl baby in the pink bin and a boy baby in the blue bin.  I betcha any money it won't be long before this custom will go away, knowing how careful society is becoming not to stereotype our children.

Just because something is the way it is right now, doesn't mean it was always like that.  Just as our fashion styles change, so do our customs and traditions.  I find it entertaining to look back in time and see the gradual transitions of our present-day cultural practices. 

My first opinion on this custom is that like all else, the one sector that benefits is the retail industry.  Retailers promote this tradition and try to keep it going simply because it's money in their pocket.  It starts with the baby announcements and continues with adorable clothes for tots and cutesy furniture.

My second opinion is that I'm sure that if I'm invited to a girl baby shower, I'll buy something that is NOT pink.  There's only so much pink that the closet can hold, I figure.   And, if I'm invited to a boy shower, I'll buy something that is also NOT pink.  I have this crazy notion in my head that pink is highly overrated, and don't ask me why.  

Friday, July 15, 2011

Do you have a Kleenex?

What are 10 things to do with a kleenex?
  1. Blow the nose.
  2. Wipe the eyes.
  3. Use as a napkin.
  4. Remove makeup.
  5. Clean eye glasses.
  6. Pack bloody noses.
  7. Sneeze into.
  8. Wipe up small spills.
  9. Pick up puppy poop.
  10. Make flowers.  (For instructions, go to:
Can you think of more?

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Shoulda Coulda Woulda

Yowza, sounds like our part of the world is in for more hot-hot-hot weather this weekend!  Guess we'll be closing the doors, putting on ceiling fans, and cranking down the air-conditioning.  We've been able to sleep upstairs the last couple of nights, and that's been a good thing.  Couches are not beds!

Our to-do list for today is quite lengthy, actually.  Chores have a way of piling up, one on top of the other, until a person feels bogged down.  Anyway, that's the way I operate.  It's easy for me to get sidetracked doing one thing and forget about what I 'should' be doing.  I've never liked shoulds, coulds, or woulds!

Leave it to Shel Silverstein to come up with a little ditty about that very thing....

All the Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
Layin' in the sun,
Talkin' 'bout the things
They woulda coulda shoulda done...
But those Woulda-Coulda-Shouldas
All ran away and hid
From one little Did.

(by Shel Silverstein)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

You're Richer Than You Think

The media inundates us daily with gloomy prospects of our nation's economy.  First thing in the morning, the newspaper splashes our faces with headlines about the national debt, corporate corruption, and frightens us with news like yesterday's possibility of no social security checks next month.  For us seniors, this last one is a grabber, isn't it?  For almost 50 years we willingly and diligently sent part of our paychecks to Washington to build up Medicare, and now when we should benefit from the program we built up.....well, we may be floating up a deep river in a leaky boat.  And, none of us know how to swim!

All of this negativity penetrates our brains and infests itself like a growing bacteria.  The only way to stop the growth of this debilitating infection is to add positive thoughts to fight off the negative ones.  Instead of dwelling on the riches most of us don't have, let's take time to zoom in on the riches that we do have.  We must not take these lightly, because they are the core riches to contentment.  And, contentment is the ultimate lifestyle, in my contented opinion. 

What really determines how rich we are?

Friends.  No amount of money on earth could equal the value of our friends.  The oil fields in Saudi Arabia would be worth pennies compared to the goodness, kindness, and caring that our friends give to us.  A good exercise is to actually take a notebook and pencil and write down the names of our friends.  If we go a step farther and add their phone number next to their name, we have a personal 911 system that is dependable and will result in sure-fire response.  Let us never under estimate the powerful force of friendship.

Health.  By the time we reach our 60s, things start going haywire with our physical being.  Living takes on a new dimension.....fixing and repairing.  Who among us doesn't have a routine for taking our meds?  At our house, we remind ourselves, "Did you take your meds?"  We're to that point.  But, you know what?  We're just happy that there are meds to keep the Grim Reaper at bay, for awhile anyway.  The longer we live, the more precious our health becomes.  Next to gold, I don't know of anything right now that is such a high commodity.

Strength. The strength I value the most is strength of spirit.  Long ago I learned (the hard way) from my mom when she would see me sitting in a corner crying.  She'd say to me, "Don't be such a calf!"  At the time, I thought that was a brutal thing to say to a little girl, but now I know it was the trump card we call "tough love."  She knew I was a softy, and she also knew that life would be terribly hard for me if I didn't get tough.  I will always be grateful to my parents for two things.  One, I thank my daddy for teaching me the meaning of the word, "no," and my mom for teaching me to buck up and be tough.  Life isn't for sissies, and they both knew that.

Family.  My life buddy and my fuzzy one here are the angels on top of my tree.  Then there are the other family members who have stuck by me through some pretty raging waters.  I come from a strong ancestral line of women, and there are now a couple strong women who are following me.  When it comes to me and family, quality means more than quantity.

Knowledge.  This is a good one.  I believe in reading and learning.  Unfortunately for me, I don't have a degree to boast about and flaunt, but I've done all I possibly could to learn on my own and study the things that interest me.  Knowledge might be the one and only thing we can take with us to Heaven.

Skills.  Oh, we don't give ourselves enough taps on our shoulders for the talents we were given at birth.  The things that we do naturally and don't think of skills, we ought to.  I believe in predestination, so it's my thought that we have skills that we need to be using to make the world a better place.  If talents and skills are left unused, then the world suffers the loss.  Life carries more than a right, it carries responsibility.  We can't just continually complain about the way of the world without adding our portion to keep it going on the right track.  When and if we get tangled up in the notion that we are entitled....without contributing.....well, then the negative headlines are going to keep slapping us in the face.

Character.  If we work hard to do the right thing, eventually a richness of character will emerge.  When that happens, other people will trust us.  And, if others can trust us, then our wallet will be bursting at the seams with the things that allow us to get a good night's rest.

There's a philosophy out there that goes something like this:  "No matter how much money you make, you always want more.  So, if you make $50,000 you believe that if you just made $100,000 you would be happy.  But, then you begin to make $100,000.  At that point you believe if you just made $150,000 you would be happy, and so on through life.  This pattern is true whether you make $50,000 or $10 million a year, because as you earn more money you acquire more expensive tastes.  It seems to me that you might as well learn to be happy on $50,000 a year, figure out a way to earn it, and then have the rest of your time free to do what you want."

Money certainly is a necessity to survive.  We all know that.  But, it's not the only necessity.  Spending time with friends, laughing together, crying together, talking about the easy things and the hard things....those are the gems that fill our treasure chest.....not the $10s, $20s, $50s and $100s.  Then we have to toss in our maintainable health, our loyal families, our strengths, skills and talents, knowledge, common sense, and integrity.  It's so easy to get down in the dumps about the direction the world is going, but let us never lose sight of our blessings.  Maybe we should put more faith in the human spirit, heart and soul that are born again with each new generation.  There are young people out there who are going to save us from ourselves.  I know they will, because they have the riches to pull it off.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Prayer for a Dear Friend

We ask you to please join us in the following prayer for a dear friend and his family.  We were told this afternoon that something went awry during a major surgery, and he is now in critical condition.  He and his family need all the prayers we can offer......

Dear Lord,

You know our friend so much better than we do.  You know the burden he carries.  You also know his heart.  Lord, we ask you to be with our friend now as you work in his life. 

Lord, we pray for our friend just as your Word tells us to pray, for healing.  We believe you hear this earnest prayer from our hearts and that it is powerful because of your promise.  We have faith in you, Lord, to heal our friend, but we also trust in the plan you have for his life.

Lord, we don't always understand your ways.  We don't know why our friend and his family have to suffer, but we trust you.  We ask that you look with kindness toward our friend.  Nourish his spirit and soul in this time of suffering and comfort him with your presence.  Please return him to good health. 

Let our friend know you are there with him through this difficulty.  Give him strength.  And may you, through this difficulty, be ever present in his life.  Amen.

Asparagus Patches

We who live in rural America, probably all remember some old guy who knew where the morel mushrooms grew and where to find patches of wild asparagus. These guys walked the timbers, eyed the ditches, and carried a plastic bag in their over-alls pocket.

We knew several of these nature sages, and the mere mention of their names could still to this day start a conversation that might go on for hours. They are the legends of our lifetime, the old men who knew their stuff, were stubborn as hell, and grew to local fame through their secretiveness. It's the grown-up version of "I know something you don't know!!!"

One guy in particular comes to mind. He kept his asparagus findings in a notebook. He counted the fence posts and how many feet from the fence lines it grew. This was light years before GPS and the "No Trespassing" signs. When springtime rolled around, he'd take his old Mercury and drive his asparagus route, and would return with sacks of the coveted sprigs, prouder than a peacock.

The first thing one might ask is, why didn't someone follow him? Well, that went against the grain of old-country respect. The community buzzed with curiosity, but still nobody trekked after him. Life was very different back then. Nature and its bounty was an incredibly important part of how men fed their families. I can't help but think the secrecy involved in finding food goes way back to the jungle warrior going out in search of food for the tribes. The search is as intriguing as the catch.

Now, in 2011, life in rural America is mighty different from when we were kids. Land is posted for people to keep out. No one is welcome anywhere. One time when we owned a precious piece of property in the woods, I went out for my favorite walk. Down the hill, around a corner, up another hill, and on toward the eastern sun. My heart fell into my shoe when a big old iron gate appeared in front of me with a huge sign that read, "Keep Out And That Means YOU!!!" Huh? What? You mean I can't continue my walk? The one I've done for years and years? I can't see the trees and the brush and the bunnies and the squirrels and the birds and the butterflies?

So, I had no choice but to turn myself around and walk back to where I knew I was welcome. On our property. The first thought that came to my mind was.....if my daddy would see this, he'd turn over in his grave. He grew up a quarter mile from this now "gated" place, and I felt his boyhood on the woodsy paths I walked. His little footsteps had been isolated by cold hearts. To this day, I still can't believe how nasty some people can be.

Well, that's the way life goes. I learned to accept as best I could what had changed in our precious place in the woods. There had been a violation that mattered to me. It was with shaking hands that we signed the deed to sell our property in the woods, but when we found two young men who are as close to us as natural-born sons, we knew they were the ones we would entrust our property to. It's the progression of life. Living proof that we really don't own anything on earth. We are given temporary custody, that's all. One can't help but feel sorry for those who selfishly put up fences, gates, and other barriers.

Till the day I die, my friends are welcome to come and sit on my porch, my lawn, and my livingroom. All I'd ever ask in return is respect. The kind of respect paid to the old guy with the notebook who knew where the asparagus grew.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Wood Spirits

Legend has it that within every tree lurks a Wood Spirit. They are extremely elusive and keep themselves hidden well. Only certain people are gifted with the ability to find them, and I'm excited to say that my husband is one who can.

When he goes on one of his hunts, he needs to take two things with him....his sharp eyesight and his sharp knife. It might take him awhile before he spots the Old Guy inside the stick, but if he looks long enough something will catch his eye. When it does, he starts removing the space around the Wood Spirit, and like magic the Wood Spirit appears! It's the most magical thing ever. It's even more magical than anything David Copperfield can do. Why? Because it's not a trick. It's an art.

Yesterday my husband took a stick from his workshop, sat on our backyard bench, and I watched him hunt for one of these spirits. He must have seen a glimpse of one, cuz he quickly put his knife to the wood and started carving.

After awhile my husband called me to come look at the Wood Spirit. Like always, I immediately fell in love with the old guy's strength and gentleness. I always say that my husband's Wood Spirits all wear wisdom like halos.

These works of art are then fashioned into fine Walking Sticks that are guaranteed to protect and support their owners for a lifetime.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Clerihew Day

When Edmund Clerihew Bentley (born this date in 1875) was 16 and attending school in London, the first 'clerihew' came into his head during a science class. Together with his school friends, he soon after filled a notebook with these whimsical 4-line poems. In 1905, he wrote his best known clerihew:

"Sir Christopher Wren
Said, "I am going to dine with some men.
If anyone calls
Say I am designing St. Paul's."

1. Clerihews are four lines long.
2. The first and second lines rhyme with each other, and the third and fourth lines rhyme with each other.
3. The first line names a person, and the second line ends with something that rhymes with the name of the person.
4. Put the person's name at the end of the first line, rhyme it at the end of the second line.
5. Then write two more rhyming lines that make it funny.
6. No need for regular length or metre.

Clerihews are simple, easy to write, can be about a person or character, real or imaginary. They can be about animals, cartoon characters, or anyone else you can think of. It's great fun to do with kids and a great way to encourage them to enjoy writing.

Let me introduce my very first clerihew.....

I see old Mr. Lynch
now owns a goldfinch.
Crazy old bird
never says a word!

How's that?

Saturday, July 09, 2011

We took a plate of dark fudge brownies to a pot-luck last evening. Pot-lucks are so much fun. When everyone brings something, a variety of goodies appear like magic. I love the snacky foods. Crackers and dips are probably my faves. A shrimp dip and a cheesy dip kicked my tastebuds into gear last night, and once I had a taste....well, I couldn't stop reaching for more.

One gal brought an unusual dish, a hot cabbage casserole. Everyone flipped over it. The lady who added it to the table said she'd be sharing the recipe, which included onions, cabbage, cream of celery soup, crackers, cheese, and mayonnaise. When I get the recipe, I'll post it here for other cabbage lovers.

Hopefully our garden will produce big heads of cabbage. This casserole will be a good way to use them. I usually fix cole-slaw when there's cabbage in the fridge. Lots of different cole-slaw recipes out there, but we prefer the vinegary ones rather than the creamy.

Now that we're retired, it's so satisfying for us to walk out to the garden and pick lettuce, onions, and peas for our noon salads. A garden wasn't part of our lifestyle when we both worked, plus our mothers were gracious in sharing their gardens with us. Actually, they had us pretty spoiled. Not only did they share, but they would prepare the food for us, call us on the phone at work, and tell us to be sure to stop by for something on our way home.

Pot-lucks are a perfect tribute to human generosity. We gather around to taste each other's food. I can't think of nicer way for people to socialize. Food seems to be the best mortar there is to keep us all connected.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Casey Anthony

Having worked in the legal arena all my life, I'm always interested in the high-profile cases that the media brings into our homes. The unfortunate part of the media's coverage is that we pick up only snippets of the evidence. Unless I'm present in the courtroom to hear every single word of testimony, and view all the evidence, there is no way that I'm qualified to give a bona fide opinion of guilt or innocence. However, like everyone else, I can't help but have my own thoughts regarding the Casey Anthony case.

The jurors are now saying that they wish there had been evidence to make a conviction. They were sick to their stomachs to announce their decision. The 'who, why, where, and how' just weren't shown to them. Anyone who has served on a jury knows perfectly well that serving on a jury is not easy. Add onto that the fact that the jury's decision might sentence someone to death....well, that's about as tough as it gets. Would the verdict have been different if prosecution hadn't asked for the death penalty?

I can't imagine life outside of prison being easy for this woman. I ask myself, what if she would move into the house across the street from me. Would I allow my children to play at her house?

Whether she was found guilty or innocent now isn't the point. Either way, she has to live with herself. If, in fact, she is guilty of killing her little girl, then her nightmares will be her prison. Conscience is a flawlessly accurate jury.

Speculation has it that she's going to write a book. Will I read it? My curiosity would tell me to read it, but my sense of right and wrong would tell me not to. If I knew the proceeds would go back to the State of Florida, probably then I would.

I'd like nothing more than to be able to watch a rerun of the trial and come up with an unbiased decision. What bugs me is that the prosecutors know full well what they need to show a jury in order to get a conviction. Just makes absolutely no sense to me why the State of Florida pursued a case of this magnitude without having sufficient evidence to show the jury.

Thursday, July 07, 2011

To Hug or Not to Hug

The urge to write this blog is so strong, that I’m bending in submission.

The details of the incident are private. Let’s just say that a recent experience called my attention to something I’ve never before given second thought to…...hugging someone.

Giving and receiving hugs are as natural for me as sneezing. All my life I’ve hugged countless living animals and just as many cuddly stuffed ones, and lord knows how many people I've hugged. I thought everyone liked to be hugged the way I did, and I always figured a hug expressed my affection and that it was a nice thing for me to do.

Well, we’re never too old to learn. I guess I failed to realize that hugs involve two people.....a giver and a getter. Just because I, the giver, thought it okay, didn’t mean that the getter felt the same.

Personal space is a right and privilege. We huggers stand a good chance of violating that space when we reach out to give someone a hug. Until this July 4th weekend, I never before thought of hugging as a violation, but I do now. My experience forever changed how I will approach people from now on.

There are basic rules to hugging like basic rules to everything else. I just wasn’t tuned in to them. I pass on these rules to others, like me, who intend to promote love in the world, but instead might be unintentionally crossing personal-space boundaries.

  1. Always respect another person’s space. Family background, culture, age, and gender all play a part in hugging.
  2.  Ask permission before giving a hug.
  3. Follow the 3-second rule. Keep the hug short.
Starting today, I’ll be working on a research experiment that will address the giving and receiving of hugs. After my criteria will be met and the results tallied, I will be posting my findings here in another blog.

No matter what, I will always consider my natural tendency to show affection to be a good thing. Whether I continue to initiate hugs, well, that’s another story.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Taking a Break!

Am taking a few days off.  I'll be back on Thursday!  See ya on......

Saturday, July 02, 2011

Our Photogenic Fuzzy One

Napping with my mommie

Fishing in our boat

We're sewing blankets for my best fends

I've got 'em wrapped around my little paw!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Wabbit Wins

He thinks he's so smart by putting up a fence.....
Well, I'll show him I can find other good things to eat
besides his stupid garden!