Waiting at home…

•September 7, 2018 • 2 Comments

Ode to Santa’s Christmas Tree

•December 24, 2017 • 9 Comments

In 1999 I wrote this story as a Christmas gift to my late Father-in-law.  On Christmas night, two years ago, I lost this beloved man to a battle with cancer.  Tomorrow is the anniversary of his death and the day that we in America, recognize the day of Christ’s birth.  It is my hope that each and every one of you will reflect upon the Promise of all that He has brought us.  We are all blest beyond measure, we may not feel that we are, but each of us will come to realize a moment in our life when that ultimate truth reveals itself.  Have a very wonderful Christmas Eve, and a beautiful Christmas Day.  Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward All.

It began the Friday

after Thanksgiving and would continue throughout much of my young life.  Little would I know that it would become a gift, one to be treasured and reflected upon as my youth would generate into my older years.  To this very day this treasure sits patiently, tied with memories far more grand than words can merely tell.  Today I would like to share my gift in hopes that I can hand you a part of me that I deem so special.  Special, because of who gave it to me, and special because you remind me so dearly of the goodness of this man.

My Grandfather was

a simple man.  He collected pennies in a coffee can above his desk.  He worked a gentleman’s hours, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  An auto mechanic, skilled in his trade simply by a love for cars and all that entailed this “wondrous” invention.  I never saw him study his trade, I merely saw him tinkering with hands and fingernails embedded with diesel, or car engine oils.  I’d many times witness a grown man’s sense of “wonder” as he pondered over some piece of an engines inner workings.

Yet this gentleman

captured more from his modest life than simply a love of car engines.  He held the respect of many of his peers, yet it would be years later before I would truly understand the depth and the reasons he was so valued.  Earlier this Holiday Season (which always begins for our family with the beginning of Thanksgiving), I found myself soul-searching as I reminisced over those who are no longer here on Earth to share these moments with me, and likewise have not (in my mind), yet been introduced to my beloved family.  Those of you that are a part of who I am on this place called, Earth.  Anyway, onward to my, “Ode,” may I capture a spirit and relate it to you in honor of my, “Santa”.

“Yes, it’s Thursday,

and Grandma has once again managed to cook the goose and prepare the plum pudding.  There’s bread dressing and mashed potatoes, gravy and freshly made cranberry sauce.  Pumpkin pie, mincemeat too (the real thing, made with venison stewed with raisins and brandy), relish trays and glasses of wine at each setting.  Including the children.  It was a tradition, and whether my folks preferred it or not, one will never know.  My Grandmother was not heavy into spirits, but the holidays meant a time to revive some of her time-tested traditions.  Her Mother and Father were native to France; the northern region.  Wine was a sacrament to the dinner tale at such festive times.  Today would be no different.”

 

It was time for

Grandpa to eat heartily, not because food was ever lacking from the table.  It was a time to stock himself with the nourishment that would sustain him over the next few days.  They would be busy days, hard days, long days and could possibly be quite cold and perhaps a bit concerning.  For every year, the Friday after Thanksgiving met that he and several of his cronies would venture up into the Colorado mountains for their annual trek.  Their mission?  Christmas trees!  They would spend the Friday through Sunday, not only cutting trees, but hauling them from the mountains and loading them onto trucks for a trip homeward.

Once home, the trees

would be “sized’ and placed into height arrangements out behind Grandpa’s garage.  After they were sorted, they were moved inside of the garage and placed according to height.  Then the pricing began.  (the most special of trees, those with height and favored beauty, considered to be the finest, were placed to the side.  (One tree belonged to my Grandmother, the others were gifts to local churches.)

Appropriately, the wood

burning stove in Grandpa’s garage would become less stocked over the next few weeks.  Heat would bring the sap to the forefront of the pine, moisture content would be compensated.  If the trees were to hold well for buyers, then it was the duty to keep them at their freshest.  Daily, folks came to buy their trees.  Some would travel the fifty or so miles south out of Wyoming.  Others would travel from Boulder and Denver.  Was it the beauty they came to expect, or perhaps the visit to see my Grandfather?  In my youth I simply thought there was no other Christmas tree salesman.  If there was, did I notice him? or them?  No, I never did.

Sales would be brisk

throughout the weeks before Christmas.  I have no idea how the monies were split, but common sense would tell me that it was divided equally amongst those faithful cronies that made those yearly treks into the snow-covered wilds of Northern Colorado .  Yet there is still the ambiance of something that occurred every Christmas Eve.  This is where my Santa, arrives before Midnight and delivers something far more grand than brightly wrapped gifts bearing expensive trinkets of joy.

Every Christmas Eve

at 8 p.m., an unusual “hustle and bustle” of traffic filled the garage.  Northern Colorado had, and perhaps still does, a large number of migrant farm workers.  In a region known for feed corn and wheat, their work hands are in great demand.  Their monetary means were/are meager.  Their Spirit of Christmas though, is as grand as yours and mine.  These folks knew simply by word of mouth (I know it had to be this, no advertisements announced this event, and none of our family knew their native tongue), that Christmas trees were available to them.  These trees had no pricing, no expectations, no reciprocal requirement attached to them.  They were a gift, a treat, a “Thank you,” if you will.  I wonder if they knew my Grandfather was, Santa?  Would it take them the many years it took me to realize it?  I don’t think it really matters.  I believe Santa knew just exactly what he was doing.

Dad, I made this Christmas tree for you in honor of my Grandfather.  I believe you deserve this.  I didn’t head up a mountain, trampling through snow to find it.  I learned from a 13-year-old Girl Scout* how to make it, but I learned from my Grandfather the value of what it symbolizes.  He’s not here for me to thank, but you are, and there is treasure you behold for me that is simply as grand.  I know and trust your word.  I understand that a handshake coming from you is worth more than a written contract, and more importantly, I value the expectations you hold for your children.  

*A tree crafted of ribbon pieces tied to a dowel.

Margie (Warden) L.

 

 

A Journey Unfolds…

•August 10, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Wild Mustang Grapes

 

Begin the Process to Yeast Conversion

 

 

Do Not Wash Your Grapes…

 

Wild yeasts exist on the surface of grapes.  When preparing a grape starter, use organic grapes.  Also, when creating your starter (this is sometimes referred to as, Mother), organic flour is preferred.

I gathered a small batch of grapes while walking thru our local park one morning.  Once home, I went to work Googling how to begin a starter using grapes.

The grapes were squeezed and placed into a clean mason jar, covered, and allowed to sit for four days.  Removing the lid, it was obvious that things had become lively.  Note photo #4 in the first row.  Fungi and mold had begun their work on the grapes.  It was now time to skim the surface and discard the mass (relatively easy, it peeled away from the juices, seeds and remainder of the skins, and was discarded into the compost pail).  Next, I poured the mixture into a small strainer and separated the skins and seeds from the juice (once again dumping the discards).  I measured out my juice, a mere three tablespoons, added three tablespoons of water to it, and enough flour to make a heavy paste-like consistency starter.  Mixed thoroughly, and covered with a tight wrapping of plastic wrap, this sat, untouched for approximately three days.  (Time variance depends upon temperature, wild yeast activity and a little bit of luck.)  Some people report that they see activity, bubbling of yeast, at one day.  I saw very little and opted to push my parameters.

On the third day I noted a very active culture.  I removed half of it (tossed the remnants into the compost pail), and replenished the starter with more water and flour.  I continued to dump and retain for a period of about three weeks.  NOTE:  It is not necessary to discard the take-away, it can be used in your waffle, pancake or any other pastry items.  Simply convert by using Baker’s Math (Google, it’s out there, and it’s REAL!).

Into my fourth week, I began discarding less starter and adding more water and flour.  NOTE:  Flour weighs approximately one half the amount of water.  Keep this in mind.  You will want to ALWAYS add twice the amount of flour to the water ratio.) The speed and consistency of the build were determined by how quickly the starter began to bubble, drop and rise.  (Don’t be fooled, this is not a difficult process to learn and is easily explained in detail by many resources.  I will also be happy to explain further, just zip me a note in your reply.) Also, at the fourth week, I began adding more flour than water, opting for a thicker, and heavier build.  This allows for a stronger sourdough flavor.

Is it baking day yet?  Nope!  ( I’ve been baking sourdough bread from a seed starter for several years and have grown accustomed, as you will, to “flying by the seat of my pants,” or as others might say, “winging it!”)  It was time to appropriate for a recipe that could convert for those trying this for the very first time.  I went back to my all time favorite bread baker, Peter Reinhart, and referenced his book, The Bread Baker’s Apprentice. 

I chose to retard my dough, twice, overnight, this allowed for a continued enhancement of dough flavor, and some time for me to plan my days around when I wanted to bake.  A firm starter was compiled using a measured portion of my starter, a percentage of flour along with a designated amount of water.  These were mixed together, lightly sprayed with oil, covered in plastic wrap and allowed to ferment for about five hours before being refrigerated.

 

 

Almost, but not quite ready to bake!  The firm starter is removed from the refrigerator and allowed to come to room temperature (approximately one hour, maybe longer, depending upon kitchen temperatures).  Now cut the firm starter into ten small pieces.  The remaining ingredients: flour, salt, and additional water are then measured, combined, along with the addition of the pieces of the firm starter until all are thoroughly mixed.  Move the dough onto a lightly floured counter top and knead by hand for twelve to fifteen minutes.  It should pass the windowpane test (The Kitchn has an excellent tutorial here.)

Lightly oil a large bowl, placing your dough and covering it with plastic wrap.  Allow it to ferment at room temperature for three to four hours or until it has nearly doubled in size.

Gently remove the dough and divide it into two equal portions.  Mine came to 22 ounces each (I cheated, using a baker’s scale, but one is not necessary…just eyeball it the best you can).  Shape it into boules, batards or baguettes; I chose boules, they simply are the easiest shaping method for me.  Now mist the shaped pre-baked dough with oil, or gently rub with an oil of choice.  Cover lightly with plastic wrap, being careful to leave enough room for expansion, but not open to air.  Place the covered items into the refrigerator.

HINT:  I opted to use a large cookie sheet, first placing a piece of oiled parchment down, setting my boules atop, sprayed, with room apart, onto the sheet,  I then topped them with a sprayed sheet of parchment before covering them lightly with plastic wrap before they went into the refrigerator.  

 

The Journey’s End

 

Wake up!  We’ve arrived and we are ready to bake, ALMOST!  Remove the dough from the refrigerator (Do not remove the plastic wrap just yet), and allow the shaped dough to sit for approximately four hours before you bake.

Preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  (The preferred method of baking is to add steam to the oven right as the loaves are placed.  To do so, take an old roasting pan, set it one shelf down from your baking shelf.  Have it in the oven as you are preheating.  Once the bread is placed, pour a cup of hot water into the pan.)  BE CAREFUL, STEAM IS NOT ONLY DANGEROUS TO YOU, BUT WATER SPILT UPON OVEN GLASS WILL CAUSE THE GLASS TO SHATTER,  LAY A HEAVY BATH TOWEL OVER THE FACE OF THE GLASS BEFORE POURING.  THIS PROTECTION WITH SAVE YOU HEARTACHE AND MONEY.  Trust me, I know from personal experience.  An alternate method of steaming is to use a spray bottle.  Once your loaves are placed, spritz the sides and back of the oven with water.  FIVE MINUTES into baking, lower your oven temperature to 450 degrees.  At ten minutes, rotate your loaves 180 degrees.  Close oven and continue to bake for ten to fifteen minutes.  The internal loaf temperature should register between 185 degrees to 195 degrees, Fahrenheit.

 

IMG_6351

Allow bread to cool for 30 to 40 minutes before slicing.  Also, do not store baked bread in plastic wrap, but rather, place it cut side, down, and cover with a towel.  Sourdough bread is treated differently than sandwich breads.  Enjoy!

“All that glitters

•December 16, 2016 • Leave a Comment

need not be gold”

 

Officers DOWN!

•July 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Another shooting, another ambush, more funerals to come.

 

Don’t stand and dare say to me, “Black lives matter,” and tell me that this is the motto we should accept. My son-in-law, nephew, best-friends son, are all law officers.

 

“ALL LIVES MATTER!”

Heartbreak never wins the day…

•June 15, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Hope, love, prayers,  and the thought that we never walk alone in our hour of need is the promise that helps us endure.

Stand with me in sharing a random act (or acts), of kindness in honor of those who have been affected by the multiple tragedies in Orlando, Florida.  It matters not how you reflect your selflessness, with whom, or even, what.  It may even be a gift of gratitude to yourself, that pat-on-the-back.  In the next 24 hours, let your light shine.  Let us give Orlando our best.

❤️

We Talk About Everything that Affects the Mentally Ill but Eugenics, Why?

•March 31, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Reblogged…

Please note the original blog title.  I found this via Robert Goldstein’s blog.  Original submission comes from,  Truth-out

Some things in life we chose to ignore, others, if we are truly filled with humanity, we must not.

Art by Rob Goldstein

Vanished                                      Vanished

From Truthout:

“In many communities, jails have become the only option for police confronted with a person in mental health crisis in public…

The reason behind this is obvious: the virtual shutdown of the nation’s public mental health care system for which Dorothea Dix fought. From 1970 to 2002, the per capita number of public mental health hospital beds plummeted from 207 per 100,000 to 20 per 100,000…

The plan was to dismantle large, often punitive mental institutions and replace them with community-based facilities that would have a more patient-centered ethos. Unfortunately, these closures took place at a moment when neo-liberalism was on the rise. In the name of fiscal responsibility, most states simply did not replace mental health institutions. In many instances, jails became the quick fix to handle poor people who had mental health crises and no access…

View original post 1,686 more words

www.pactforthecure .. Offering Hope for the Helpless Suffering PPD

•March 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Thank you to the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill , for this initiative.  I will forever be indebted to your servitude.

This past week I noticed a story on CNN of an upcoming app that was to be released. I am submitting this after receiving an email today giving me permission to submit my article to the organization responsible for this International study of women suffering/or having suffered from Post Partum Depression, and/or, Psychosis. It is my sincere hope that you will spread this information in an effort to draw attention to this program. They are looking to collect thousands of participants for this study.  You can find the app, for free.  Look for PPD ACT app.  I found it through the Apple Store.

I literally had tears running down my face when I read that this initiative was taking place. In 1984, at the time of my episode, there was not much information readily available to women suffering from PPD. This study will no doubt change that, and with it, the lives of thousands upon thousands of women. It is my understanding that one in five women will experience some sort of the so called, ‘baby blues’ and some will not be as fortunate as those of us who have survived the mayhem of insanity that swallowed our souls. Thankfully, we have returned to tell a story, using genetic markers they may one day find the answer to helping others from being driven into the abyss.

Bring hope to those who have lost theirs by sharing this initiative.  Again, I thank you.

 

This original post was submitted in May 31st of 2013.Story of My Life Challenge…Etched upon my heart…

Jenni, It’s Day 31, and a Friday. Somehow I managed to write for all 31 days of your May Challenge (although, somehow a post of mine is time-stamped for the last day of April?…we’ll count it anyway, okay girlfriend? Thanks, I knew you would understand).

Today’s post, our last one, is writing about:

“A Vivid Memory”

This may take me all of today and well into the night. I had written in an earlier post that I would revisit something. I made a special promise to my oldest daughter. And today is the day I fulfill that promise. It began the day that she was born.

She arrived three weeks early. And, just like any new child’s arrival she came without a warranty clause, a type-written instruction manual and no return address label.

I’d practiced the natural birthing process, The Bradley method. The 8.25 months of pregnancy went without a hitch, except for mom catching the flu at five months of pregnancy.

Birthing went almost according to plan. No pain meds, no spinal block, but after several hours from having my water break, the doctor(s) where concerned that infection or stress of labor may cause concerns to the unborn baby. They prescribed Pitocin, and with knowledge I’d gained in birthing class, I clung to my hope of having a natural child-birth, but was also warned that the induction could produce rather strong contractions, and it did not offer a buffering from any pain that I would incur by its introduction. I kept with Plan A. Let me bear this baby, naturally. (The following link provides further details on Pitocin via Yahoo)

*http://pregnancy.about.com/od/induction/a/pitocindiffers.htm

Now, I have to give my doctors and St. Francis hospital in Tulsa, kudos for the way they helped my delivery. My labor had begun at work, around 8:30 in the morning, and by 10:00 a.m., I was strapped to a gurney, and plugged into all the machinery a labor and delivery room can offer for the monitoring of baby and mama. Noon came, but no lunch, who cares though, laboring the birthing of a baby you really have hunger on the last of your lists of wants.

Hubby and I logged miles around the nurses desk and lobby. Too many to count, and at one point a nurse beckoned me back to my appointed room for a vitals check and centimeter observation. I tried resting, but I was too anxious. I was on top of the world and could not wait to see my, Megan Kathleen. I had dreamt of this moment for so long. The afternoon rolled on, more walking, more monitoring, and finally at six p.m., my doctor arrives and tells me that he thinks it’s time we get this baby something to speed up her arrival. It’s that drug, Pitocin. I agree, but only after he can confirm that I can still birth her naturally, no pain meds, spinal taps, nada, zip and zero. He assures me he will follow my directive, but warns me that the drug used to induce labor can also cause severe labor pains, and if the time came that he felt it was too much for baby and me he would medically do what he needed. I couldn’t fight with him there. He’s the educated soul. He graduated medical school, a certificate that required 12 years of laborious studies. Let’s rock and roll! You carry the knowledge and I’ll try marathon walking until this unborn baby charges to the finish line. Deal?

Shortly after six my husband’s family arrived from Texas. Someone mentioned they were hungry. The folks had spent four hours en route, and I know that Cliff hasn’t eaten since breakfast. I knew that I couldn’t, but more importantly, as the Pitocin’s effects began to work on my body, and labor earnestly began, eating was the furthest thing from my mind. I asked them to go, give me a breather, grab some food, enjoy themselves. Linger if they wished. Why hell, I’ve been here all day and it looks as if I’ll be here all night trying to birth this baby.

8:30 p.m., and where in the heck were those fools? Did they not have any clue about what I was going through? I’m not a screamer, but I do enjoy a hair-pulling now and then. The R.N. assisting me was becoming less than jovial as I started practicing my Bradley method of breathing. Every now and then she would ask, “Are you sure you don’t want something for your pain?”

“Sister, where were you when I gave my directive? Is my clipboard of info missing from the foot of this bed? Has the doctor given YOU the board certification to overtake his assigned SEAT at my party?”

I tried to deliver it humorously. I tried to cajole her into seeing my side of it. She tried to get me to see her side. We both failed, Communication Skills 101.

WHERE IN HELL IS THAT FAMILY OF MINE? ARE THEY EATING PRIME RIB AND CELEBRATING? I’LL BET THEY ARE. THEY HAVE THE EASY PART IN ALL OF THIS. THEIR THEATER TICKET OFFERS A FREE DRINK AND REFRESHMENTS…while I stroll through hell…

The little girl dances into my world after midnight. Drug free from day one, but moms chucking her insides out and there are four nurses pummeling me, explaining something about blood flow, placenta, oh hell, I don’t know the jest of it all! I was too busy loosing my insides, suffering a notorious headache and begging for water.

Now, the vivid memory.

I am not sure how to write about it, other than to say that it belongs to my Megan. It belongs to her and I. Beginning early in the days before we even left the hospital, something was amiss. Sadly, I felt no maternal bliss, and I feared that I knew nothing. All those books I’d read on childbirth, the before and after. None of those had prepared me for the roller-coaster ride , the journey in to hell and the fear that would one day it would descend into thoughts of infanticide.

I warn you. This is not an easy read, and although Megan is almost two thousand miles from me today, I would give anything to sit beside her and hold her hand as I attempt to answer her questions and to allay her fears. But I can’t, and since I have promised that I would find a way to communicate something to her within the 31 days of May’s Challenge, today is our day.

I could not sleep. For three days in the hospital, and for days, off and on, once we were home. Irrational fears would enter my head and I would quickly try to change my thinking. I cuddled my angel. I played with her. I fed her and I connected with her as best I could, but I was afraid that those so-called baby blues would consume me. I tried talking to my husband about them, but he didn’t get it, and how could he, had anyone in the male species been through this birthing thing?

Days dragged, literally. I became consumed with schedules. I laboriously centered my life around a list of ‘to-do’s’ to fill my time, to keep me busy. But, I still was not sleeping. And then one day I could not eat. Literally. I could not swallow. I choked each time I tried. But I had to eat and drink, I had to sleep. I had a little one that relied upon me and I was breastfeeding, so it was more important than ever that I find a way to get ahold of myself.

Then I found myself dwelling on a pair of scissors. I’d been in the baby’s room wrapping a gift. I saw the scissors, and I remember thinking, “These could kill the baby.”

The thought became obsessive. It overwhelmed me with grief and shame. And try as I might, I could not shake the image, nor the auditory, “These could kill the baby.”

I tried hiding the scissors, but I couldn’t find a place to put them, somewhere that was ‘safe’ … someplace where they couldn’t talk to me.

I forced myself to put them back in the spot where I always kept them. If they could talk to me. I could talk to them. I could tell them, “NO!”

For days I fought this battle, until I realized it was beyond me. I attempted to express my concern for the baby to my husband, but I did not tell him about the scissors, or the voices.

I became so exhausted. And then the hallucinatory began its foray. I was fighting an army, and I was ill-equipped for its challenge.

I no longer felt connected to anyone except for my baby. I felt as if I could protect her I could win the inner war, but I was losing.

The phone would ring. I wouldn’t answer it. I had nothing I could communicate.

Postpartum depression accompanied by psychosis

This is not a war to win. It cages a soul and will not allow reason of any kind. I prayed, I begged and I pleaded. You can have me, but you cannot have my daughter.

On this particular morning I thought I’d heard a knock at my front door, or was that coming from the back door? I trusted nothing. I sat in the nursery until the pounding stopped, and the sound of what I thought was my name being called, ended. Rocking my angel. I sobbed so violently. I wanted the voices and the visions to go away. I wanted nothing more than to save my baby from myself.

Something made me pause. Was that the front lock-set being opened, the door flinging open, where those real voices?

They found me. Jo and Prescilla. They found me, and they did not let go of me. One took the baby, the other took the phone directory.

And every chance I get, I tell them, “Thank you.”

I spent the following three and a half months in a locked Psych ward.

Each one of us has a story that shames us, it can trap us in a sort of hell, but sometimes to escape hell, we must find words to express its grievance. I used to think this would be one that I could not share for fear of losing someone whom I love(d). Now I fear that if I don’t share it, someone may lose their way, they may find themselves lost, alone, aberrant, and of course, crazy. I would rather lose every friend I have for the sacrifice of gaining that one that reached out to me in need. The one that discovered hope, when they felt there was none left. But, if you can find clarity, if you can trust that there are people in this world that care first for others, and second for themselves, than you, and they, will walk with you through hell. When we have true friends, they don’t leave us when the going gets rough. They stop at nothing to see that we realize how important we are, in their life. They don’t call you, Pyscho, MisFit, Crazy. They call you, Friend. That having us is a joy, a blessing, a God-send. A true friend does not judge, does not keep a score card and knows that we are them, should they ever need us and not out of guilt or because a favor needs returning. No, a true friend stands by knowing that without our connection we are only half of ourselves.

When others walked out, you walked in. You asked for nothing in return. You never used my illness to shame me, to discount me, to write me off. You stood beside me, carried me through my darkest hours. Prescilla Senn, Jo McCormack, thank you for seeing me when I could not see myself. But more than anything, thank you for saving my Megan from the psychotic lunatic that I had become. We have fought hard to win, and without each of you, I would have lost. It took three and a half months, out-of-state, in a mental institution, numbers of medications and therapy sessions, but I came home, loving and vowing that one day I would share this story.

Never give up hope. When you are at your weakest, grasp for straws. Dial for help. Swallow your pride. Do not fear that you will be labeled, CRAZY, for the rest of your life, even by those you thought would stand behind you through thick and thin. One of the best pieces of advice given to me were these words:

“They already think you’re crazy. Nothing you do, or say, will change their opinion. Absolutely nothing, therefore, be yourself. Only you know the journey and the victory.”

To Megan,

I promised you I would finish a tale that I had begun earlier in one of my posts. I think I even noted Day 16 as the day that I would write it. Day 16, arrived, but the time didn’t feel ‘just right’. Today it does. I believe you will recall the post, original, and if not, I’ll help you retrieve it.

BlogEverday

“The Year of Bill”

•January 5, 2016 • 11 Comments

A tribute to her Grandpa

http://mallorycanteven.com/

(Comments are turned off at this time.  I want to thank each and every one of my followers for their thoughts and prayers.  Feel free to post a note to Mallory.  I think she’d like knowing you were going to help her celebrate the gift of her Grandpa’s love.  My other daughter wrote a beautiful piece too.  Perhaps I can get her to share it.)

May all of you have a wonderful and prosperous, New Year!)

 

Thankful

•November 25, 2015 • 37 Comments

Thanksgiving, a time to review our lives and give thanks for our many blessings.  And this year is especially poignant.  Our family was blessed with abundance and Grace.  

My father-in-law was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer, and this past Christmas was given one to three months to live.  God willing, Thanksgiving Day we will be sharing and rejoicing in his company.

As our Country moves through these challenging times, I am reminded of our gift of freedom.  Let us rejoice and give thanks to every man and woman who has fought to defend our right to live in peace.   Yes, we have many obstacles before us, but let us never forget to be mindful that united, hand-in-hand, we are capable of overcoming what some may believe is impossible.  Let us stand with our friends, around the world, knowing that the evil among us are not to be feared.  Thankful and grateful are we that love has no border, cannot be confined, and will always lead us to Peace.

Thank you for following me on my journey.  I am blessed by your presence.  Happy Thanksgiving to all, no matter what day of the year you set aside to collectively come together in gratitude.

☕️❤️

Robert Golstein’s, The ‘Respect’ Award, Recipient

•November 15, 2015 • 40 Comments

(In my haste, I consistently referred to Melinda by the name, “Melanie.”  My sincere apologies to you, Melinda)

I am blessed to have been awarded Robert Goldstein’s, Respect Award, from Melinda, author of, Looking For the Light Blog  .

Robert Goldstein’s

The ‘Respect’ Award

Clarion Alley 2012

The “Respect” Award is my personal award for fellow bloggers who consistently reach out to other bloggers, offer support, are kind, struggle to understand differences in people, and who treat themselves and other people with kindness and respect.

You don’t have to do anything for this award.

You can choose to copy the Award Picture and give the award to the people who have earned your respect or you can do nothing.

This is my way of saying thank you. You have earned my respect.  – Robert Goldstein

………………..

To be awarded this is more than humbling; it’s awe-inspiring.  I met Melinda a few months back, discovering that we both live in the North Texas area.  We have yet to meet, personally.  My sweet, dear friend is fighting a courageous battle with Lyme disease, an overwhelming case that leaves her weak, but never broken in spirit.  And, it is her spirit that drew me to her blog.  How can one not be drawn to a light that beams brightly?  Light brings energy, guides and enlightens, and such is the life of Melinda and of the author and founder of, The ‘Respect’ Award.  I encourage everyone to discover bothMelinda and Robert NOTE:  Melinda has had WordPress issues and is currently attempting to navigate her blog from lookingforthelight.wp.com over to lookingforthelightblog.wordpress.comRobert can be found at RobertGoldstein.com

………………..

I can’t think of one of my followers that do not deserve to be honored.  Each of you bring a joy that only YOU can deliver.  I sat for a long time trying to make a decision, and in that period of time I told myself I could only choose two from over 362 of my followers.  Below, you will find Ann, she is dedicated to helping those who suffer from Mental Illness.  A professional counselor that hails from the Boston area of Massachusetts.  Follow her positive and altruistic blog and you will discover how she illuminates the world of those she works with, as well as those who follow her blog.

Next, meet the gentleman that is dedicated to honoring all our Veterans, both within the United States, the U.K., Australia, and points beyond.  Take a history lesson from each post.  He is networking with other Vets and historians to bring us knowledge learned, forgotten or never made available to us before.  Truly a guardian for all of those that have served their countries.  I feel honored each time I see a posting from G.P.; I am more informed than ever before, and therefore, honored to acknowledge his work and the work of those who submit their stories.

Thank you to Ann, G.P., and to all of you for your support, love, and the illumination you bring to my journey.  I am blessed.

Ann Koplow

GP Cox

What is intolerance and identify its forms? How best to come out of it all?

•November 4, 2015 • 9 Comments

Reblogged by permission

This post is rather lengthy, but well worth reading.  Authored by Harbans, a gentleman author from India, I could not help but find many correlations to the situation(s) that we currently see within the United States.  The media is reacting to incite, rather than to calm the waters of discontent and malcontent within our nations.  There is much more to be gleaned by this eloquent outline.  Again, I do hope you will take the time to read this. Please drop a line to the author and offer your thoughts.  I’m quite sure he would appreciate any/all feedback.

 

What is intolerance and identify its forms? How best to come out of it all? Intolerance is supposed to have taken place when we do not accept others’ point of view or belief, are not in sync with others’ sensitivities or habits which are different to that of ours, etc. This intolerance could be due […]

https://emulateme.wordpress.com/2015/11/04/1783/

“Happy Halloween” from Hannah

•October 31, 2015 • 26 Comments

Not really my favorite holiday

The doorbell rings constantly, small people dressed in obnoxious outfits shout something about,  “Trick or Treat!”  My siblings and I, the three felines, do all that we can to avoid the foray of strangers and their insane ways.  The cats leave me out in the open though, squeezing themselves into spaces that will only hold them.  And the worst of it?  My mother encourages me to join in on the holiday festivities.  She knows I love children, what she can’t understand is how much I dislike seeing them dressed as if the Mother Ship landed and they all rolled onto the tarmac, located our street address and instantly hit, ‘The Big One!’

A few days back I thought I’d try something.  It was the day I saw her decorating for this ridiculous holiday.  We’d had a nice rain, something like 9.5 inches.  It was time for my last nightly visit to the backyard.  I swam back to the compost pile and found something interesting.  Mom tried calling me in several times, even sloshing through the deep water, flashlight in hand, attempting to pry me away from my snack box.  I was able to ignore three or four of her pleading attempts to get me inside, but finally I caved.  This woman was soaking wet, had an attitude and appeared to be on the verge of calling for reinforcements.  (That would be the cats.)  I caved and headed into the light.  OMG! Dripping wet, mouth wide open and words falling forward upon my ears, “Hannah!  Look. At.  You!  What on earth? “  

We entered into the den.  Slowly.  Cautiously.  I knew exactly what was expected.  I walked straight into my cubby.  Mom quickly disappeared.  I feared what was to come next.  And sure enough my fear materialized.  She had the camera.  Something important was about to be documented.  Oh Lordy; not good!  It’s 11:30 at night.  Dad’s out-of-town on business.  All of her friends are surely sound asleep.

IMG_1600 IMG_1606 IMG_1610 IMG_1615

I stayed here, panting, trying to catch my breath.  Mom left the room after she snapped these photos’ and I had no idea what was coming next. Remember, it’s late.  Time for bed.  What could mom possibly be plotting? Just about then, she rounded the corner, towel in hand and spoke these four words, “Go see Mr. Sprinkles.”  I didn’t argue.  As she removed my mud encrusted collar, wiped my webbed feet, I tucked my tail between my legs and followed her into the shower.

She never spanks me.  Never yells at me and is the best mom anyone could ever hope for, but look at what I have done.  She’s tired.  She’s old.  She’s wanting to go to bed, but now she can’t.

The scent of cucumber and mint begin to waft thru the air.  The warm water and massaging of the soap ease my tired and weary bones. But poor mom, she sits at the foot of the shower stall, soaked now by very dirty water.  And then I suddenly realize, I never brought her the treat for my trick.  I’ll get that possum come morning.  He’ll be floating.  He lost his footing right before my deadline.

Kissed by raindrops

•October 22, 2015 • 43 Comments

A promise of rain, an opportunity to transplant, but then a reminder that this may be a torrential water fest.  I took a chance and moved a crape myrtle, but made myself stop at that.  Would you like to see my work?  Any arborist would surely admire it, from a distance, especially if he were blindfolded.

P1180276

The chair fainted, delighted so by my ingenuity.  I used cable ties to secure this beauty to some supports.

Well, rain soon began to fall. I quickly scooted about the yard to catch what may be the final blooms of this years flowers.

P1180282

Borage

P1180312

Confetti Lantana

P1180285

Marigold (variety unknown, but extra-special because she was gifted to me by my sweet next-door neighbor, Carol.)

P1180303

Pink Penta, loved dearly by both butterfly and bees.

P1180299

Cigar Plant, Cuphea.  Magnet for the hummingbirds.

P1180301

White Penta.  Magnet too, for butterfly and bee.

P1180278

Not just another green plant.  This is Comfrey, the plant produces the best organic feed for anything you grow.  Invaluable!

She blooms a pretty pink, tinker-bell shaped flower, but I try to keep those to a minimum.  Her greenery is where the gold is located.

P1180307

A Delphenium.  She is poisonous and was placed in front of some Foxgloves that the Spring floods killed.

They paired beautifully together, so if this latest flood doesn’t get the girl, I’ll plant Foxglove with her in 2016.

P1180271

Milkweed.  Nectar extraordinaire to the Monarch Butterfly population.

Last years plants drowned, I replanted and to my surprise… yes, SURPRISE!  The re-plant is

the invasive number.  Oh My Goodness!  What to do, what to do?

My whole back yard will be overrun this time next year.  But isn’t this a remarkable beauty?

Yes.  Yes, she is.

P1180286

Borage, dressed in pink.  She grew from a re-seed of a blue.

P1180292

I found this and transplanted it into my garden.  She’s an angel cat.  Not rare, but exceedingly beautiful.

Don’t you love her?  Yes.  Yes, I knew you would.

P1180274

This one is for Scott and Barb.  Here’s my sweet potato vine.  Funny story:

One day I was clearing debris and something got caught on the vine.  Up came a good portion of it,

along with a potato.  Awe shucks!  I thought I had destroyed her.  A month later and she is bigger than ever!

Throw Back Thursday *Fresh Air..Cool Breezes…Nature*

•October 8, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Walk into the room and listen to some music. While you visit, peruse this beautiful, and at times, difficult to read blog. Surviving one storm is a true test of ones will to overcome tribulation, to survive innumerable obstacles defies definition. I’m thankful for your gift of being. My path lights by your presence.

Nominated for the Liebster Award

•October 7, 2015 • 30 Comments

blissfullyinformedhippiechick.wordpress.com

 

 

Nominated me for this award.   Thank you, Girlfriend! 

 

IMG_0545

 

By accepting this award, I am to do the following:

 

IMG_0546

 

 

1) What is your inspiration for writing?

Reading.  Nothing stirs my curiosity more than to come upon a writer willing to share his or her opinion.  It broadens my scope and teaches me tolerance while showing me how close and fragile humanity really is.  Every person has a right to the way they feel.  I may not agree with it, but I still want to hear it, and more importantly, I want that person to hold it and defend it to the end.  They own it, as I own mine.  Neither of us is wrong, we simply believe differently.  When did life depend upon being, “Politically Correct” in order to maintain, peace?  Being PC is one thing, being honest and forthright, with respect to all, is a totally different item.  AND, it’s our birthright. It’s also the cornerstone to true peace. Not one of us has walked in another’s pair of shoes.  How can we possibly understand their heart?  Let us have compassion, humility and let us honor one another.

2) If money didn’t exist, what would your job be?

Training service dogs.

3) What is your dream house like?

Craftsman/Bungalow, 700 sq. feet.  two bedroom, one bath, large front porch and a carport out back.

4) If you could choose to be reincarnated as anything, what would you be reborn as?

An Officer in a Roman Legion.

5) What is a skill you would like to learn how to do?

Landscape design, Xeriscaping.

6) What is a movie that always makes you laugh?

Animal House

7) What is a band that puts a smile on your face?

He’s not a band, he’s a solo artist:  James Taylor

8) What is something you’ve always wanted to do, but have been too afraid?

Learn to dive into the deep ocean and swim like a shark.

9) Everyone has “comfy clothes”…what are yours?

Yard clothes, tacky, ripped, faded, falling apart and made of 100% cotton (summer).  Wool socks, leggings under fleece, thermal t-shirt with fleece shirt and a flannel scarf (winter).

10) What is something you did as a child that you’d love to do again?

Live on the beaches of Hawaii.

11) If all animals were tame, which one would you have as a pet?

Wolf

…..

This is where I am to nominate eleven new bloggers and ask them to answer eleven questions that I would like to learn about them.  I have to be honest.  I’d be interested in having anyone answer from my list.  It’s fun learning about folks, and it’s a great way to bring us all closer.  Now grab your keyboard and answer my eleven:

  1. If you could, would you travel into space?
  2. How old were you when you learned to tie your shoes?
  3. Snow skiing, or horseback riding?
  4. Favorite book of all time?
  5. Name your favorite hobby?
  6. If money wasn’t a factor, what would you purchase immediately?
  7. Who’s the better cook, you or your significant other?
  8. Which do you prefer:  t.v. news broadcast, Internet news, hardcopy newspaper?
  9. Would you abolish Daylight Savings time (null to folks in Arizona and Hawaii)?
  10. Do you hoard pennies, or leave them in the tray on the counter?
  11. Name your favorite board game.

Thank you for playing along!

 

Grab me a pen, give me some paper…

•October 6, 2015 • 17 Comments

 

Kind of sounds important, doesn’t it?  Don’t be fooled.  If by the second paragraph I remember why I sat down to write this, we’ll both eat cake.

Oh, it was about the weather.  WAIT!  That’s simply unjust, mean and cruel.  I saw the news today and my heart breaks for those of you in North Carolina, upstream, as well as downstream.  Let’s wander elsewhere.  Shall we?  Yes, we shall.

I spent three full days in bed making Pom-Poms out of tissues.  And not intentionally.  “No, Martha, I did not use your official cut-and-twist guide.”  I fashioned mine while I tried building a dam to nowhere, for my sinus drainage.   I took my temperature so many times I killed the battery in the thermometer.  I’ve never slept so many hours in my life!  This comes from someone who suffers extreme bits of insomnia.  Food?  I found two cans of soup at the back of the cupboard, and considering we don’t eat processed canned items I can’t help but wonder where they came from, much less, why I consumed them.

I’d had enough of this Chit, so by 10:00 a.m., I drug my lazy self out of bed and into the steaming shower, threw on some clothes and asked Hannah if she’d like to go for a walk.

I thought I’d heard a lot of commotion over the roar of my blow dryer, but I wasn’t in the mood to go ‘seek-and-find,’ what all the mischief was.  Once dressed, and out the door, I looked up the street to see the fire truck.  What the heck?!#&@

Okay, right off the bat I have to confess.  I’m not into seeking out horror.  I can’t handle it. Put me in a car, drive me down the freeway and have someone shout, “Look!  There’s been a car accident!”  What do I do?  Slither down in my seat and turn my head in the opposite direction.  If I’m the one who happens to be driving, you won’t find me rubbernecking.

 

Where was I going with this?

 

The Walk…(and not on the wild side.)

Finally, upon our way, and we journey toward the coffee shop.  I realize I can’t enter, doggie and all, but then I remember the new app I have downloaded on my phone.  Hannah and I mosey up to the patio and sit down.  Attempting to order, I realize this app needs a few software upgrades, but I’m not in the mood to hack up the menu in broad daylight, much less try to find a work-around on the stores wi-fi firewall.  Dang, I can’t just walk away, the pup is looking at me with those sweet, begging eyes as if to ask, “How much longer, Mummy?”

Thinking comes quick when smitten by man’s best friend.  I lasso a chair with her harness and tie the pup securely to it, placing her in full view of any area I’ll find myself at once inside the store.

Entry.  Order.  Exit.  (Prayers answered that no one kidnapped my doggie!)

IMG_1575 IMG_1584

…..Admit it, you’re just a wee bit bored, but you just can’t seem to pull yourself away from all the action. Consider yourself a rubbernecker and let’s get moving…..

We are at a junction in the road.  If we take the route we came, we’re out 1.5 miles, but if we journey the alternate route we are out 1.5 miles.  Decisions, decisions, oh, and the trick math question at the end.  (Find your calculators.)

Let’s go rogue.  I’m caffeinated and jet-packed by toxic chemicals from eating rancid soup. What could go wrong?

The Traffic Light!…(into the jungle)

Sucker must have been rigged for red-light runners!  Hannah and I were caught in the median of a crazed intersection.  Everyone dreams of a cuppa joe or a fuel tank of $2.35 gasoline.  I think the only thing that saved us was my California Highway Patrol t-shirt my son (in-law) gave me.  I looked OFFICIAL!

Okay, I was only a third grey, now color me white-headed.  I match the dog now.  Lesson learned:  Rubberneckers.  “You folks are everywhere!”  One of you almost put tire tracks on my bright orange and pink sneakers.  Tell the truth, “We’re you wanting my eye color or that close-up of fear earmarked across my face?”

…..This painstakingly will end at some point.  Why don’t you take a snooze and check back later for the mischief of the last mile and a half?….

Safely upon green space, we walk among the oak trees listening to the sound of acorns dropping in our midst.  (Note to self:  Bring bike helmets in the future.)  Meandering along and I look up to see we are at the high school.  My heart skips a beat, and then another. “Wasn’t it just yesterday?”  Oh how time does fly.  But I won’t let this moment go.  I grab my phone and take a couple of photos.  I zip them off to my two beautiful daughters.  They’ll open their messages and go back in time themselves.  I wonder at what moments their day will stand still?  I knew mine.  I know it well.  I’ll cherish it forever.

There I sat awaiting the dismissal bell.  The bell echoes.  Oh, I miss that bell.  I miss all the ringing of that far off bell.

IMG_1586

Saturday my youngest daughter moves away from home.  Off to her grown up home.  Not a dorm room, no, those days are gone, too.  There’s part of me that wants her to go, but then there is that part of me that knows how far away she may one day travel.  And yet, I must give her the pieces of the apron strings, the wings to fly, to soar, to dream and dare.

Did anyone find me a pen and some paper?  Did you find your calculators?  Get ready, here she blows:

If I live 1.5 miles in one direction, yet I am able to travel in an opposing direction 1.5 miles and arrive at my origination, what direction am I traveling?

Hey, it’s a trick question.  ;)

 

Yesterday’s Mischief Makers…

•September 23, 2015 • 16 Comments

We set off to run errands. Hannah errands, actually. I should just admit that some days I simply say to hell with the housework, laundry included, and I put my best friend in the car and we set about finding mischief.

We ran thru CVS drive-through to pick up some of my meds and to beg for the usual dog biscuit. FAIL! They were out of treats.

Starbucks redeemed her spirit though when they gave her a Puppy Whip. It’s a small cup container filled with whipped cream.

Across the railroad tracks and we head into Southlake. The outdoor shopping mall is always fun. There are fountains galore and hundreds of shade trees. Unfortunately they have no outdoor drinking fountains. Hannah drank a bit of my iced tea as I cursed myself for not having brought along her collapsible water bowl and some water. Finally, I recalled the Whole Earth Provisions Store allows dogs in their store. I took my girl in and she made a group of newly found friends, all human and eager to dote upon her. Someone snagged a dog treat for her and everyone took turns petting her.

This picture was actually taken a bit earlier. We visited Three Dog Bakery before our walking pursuit. Seems they are in the process of doing a Facebook gallery and they wanted her photo. I expressed sadness that I’d miss seeing her posted and that’s when they kindly asked for my email so they could send her posting to me.

The girl is worn out. Now resting with a full tummy of treats and back inside to the cooled air conditioning.

 

"Yummy for my tummy!"

“Yummy for my tummy!”

 

“Hi, my name is Hannah. Let me teach you about life:  Give a dog a bone and they will follow you home.” …words of wisdom brought to you thru Hannah’s, yet to be written book, Canine Collections.
🐩🐕🐺

Sent from my iPad

Coffeegrounded and FloridaBorne

•September 21, 2015 • 6 Comments

Seize the day if the opportunity ever presents itself! Yesterday I visited with a dear friend and blogger over tea, soup, and of course, coffee. FloridaBorne lives in Florida, and I can be found at the nearest coffee station close to the tarmac of DFW airport.

 

Please scroll down to the ‘View Original’ wording.

In reblogging, I’m unable to change FloridaBorne’s formatting, but once you get to that area, you can read without supersonic readers.

:)

Two on a Rant

IMG_4251

After several days fighting off strep with antibiotics that would choke a horse, I am back among the living (sort of).  

Coffeegrounded and I planned to meet on Saturday, but my daughter would’ve had to peel me out of bed and carry me into the restaurant.   It wasn’t that we were concerned someone might mistake me for a dead body and call a coroner, but that I would pass along strep to a whole bunch of people who didn’t deserve that level of bacterial hell.

We were going to meet 1/2 way between Dallas and Oklahoma City.  Instead, one of the kindest people I know drove 2 1/2 hours to meet me at a Pandera in OKC.

 This was the first time we met in person.  We sipped on soup and talked for 3 hours as if we were old friends.

Kudos to my daughter, who sat alone for 3…

View original post 78 more words

September is Suicide Prevention/Awareness Month

•September 17, 2015 • 32 Comments

Dedicated to Prescilla

If you’re a regular reader of my blog you have most likely heard me refer to depression from time to time, namely, my personal journey with this heinous and insidious monster.

Many people find it taboo to discuss it openly, especially if it hits a bit too close to home. Shame and stigma are the calling cards of Mental Illness

(“Oh my God, what happens if someone I know reads my wife’s blog?”)

(“Why on earth would my daughter-in-law publicly embarrass me like this, OMG!”)

(“How can I distance myself, scrub this embarrassment from my social world?”)

Well, maybe they really pay me no mind and all of this is just a figment of my imagination, or maybe I’m cautiously reminded of words that bounced about the room, a finger pressed into my chest as I was taunted over how ridiculously embarrassing and cruel I was to put my family through so much shame…

Perhaps?  Maybe?

Okay.  All of that is forgiven.  Truly it is.   But I’m humanly flawed and will never forget the biting sting of those words.  However, I do want to thank you for toughening up my edges!  I learned I could unintentionally embarrass you without embarrassing myself.  I could learn to love being a failure because it taught me something greater.  It taught me about true success, the kind that no one can rob from me or take credit for.  You showed me that conditional love is not love, and how it varies so greatly from true love.  I learned that the unconditional item respects both parties, and garners hope and courage for the long haul. I would learn where it exists, understand that it never comes under question or doubt and that it builds unbreakable bonds that will stand the test of time.

Yes, I wish I could twinkle fairy dust and wave a magical wand, but I am powerless to do so. Just as powerless as I was to succumb to this aberrant behavior, disease, condition, genetic coding, or whatever the hell it is, or why it is.  I’d love to simply do a Donald Trump comb-over and hide the whole damn mess for any and all of us.  It is simply a reality that exists, and sadly it hits home for more people than some of us realize.

It isn’t pretty.  It’s certainly not something anyone would wish upon even their worst enemy.  It’s heartbreaking, life-taking to some, and a very real day-to-day struggle for all that are affected.

September is Suicide Prevention/Awareness Month.  Will you consider that someone you know is hiking a treacherous trail and you may be their one and only lifeline?

You are more important than you realize.  Don’t discount your importance even if you find mental illness difficult to understand.  You very well could be the difference between hope and hopelessness.  Do you understand your potential, the power you hold by learning to overcome shame and stigma?

A survivor does.  We know how education opens the world to understanding the complexities of the human condition.  Your eyes are upon us, our hope is that you will help us break the cycle of stigma and shame.

☕️❤️

 

 

We Own the Night

•September 12, 2015 • 15 Comments

What if mayhem broke thru and shattered the stillness of your night?  If mortar shells began an assault, shattering the concrete abutments that once provided silence and freedom from unexpected terrors…

Would you gather belongings in your haste, or would your fear consume you to the point of utter distraction and tear you out upon the street, running aimlessly?

Your neighbors, would you gather around their doors in hopes of securing numbers in safety?  Could you contain your panic and focus on necessities needed to insure hope with your unexpected travel?

What would you bring into that horrid rampage of the night?  Shoes, water, fuel?  So many things to consider, such little time to think.  The seconds explode upon the clock face, panic ensues and tears flow heavily down the screaming faces.

I think about the refugees’ fleeing those war-torn countries.  Fleeing through the night, hoping against hope that those they meet at the border bring promise of shelter, food, water…

Or is there a tent city, a train, razor wire and an onslaught of interrogations fueled with mistrust and burgeoning burdens too great to endure this massive refugee count?

Are these fleeing from the night simply fleeing from one to another?

The mere thought of their exodus conjures up visions of those trains boarded, families separated.  Dark journeys, unknown destinations.  False promises.  Dead ends…

I read about, The Death Camps in my innocence of youth.  I learned of them in the safety of a harbor where food and water were aplenty.  These were stories of unknown terror, read while I wrapped myself within my blanket of safety.  I look around me.  Comfort within my zone.  I am helpless to help and so I write…

This is a note to those who traverse a landscape amidst the agonizing anxieties of the unknowns that await them…

I fear for all of us.  Whether you wish to accept this or not, each and everyone of us have a responsibility to look at the direction our footwork takes us…

This is the night we must acknowledge.  We own the night.

Benghazi – 9/11/2012

•September 10, 2015 • 2 Comments

Source: Benghazi – 9/11/2012

International Literacy Day 2015: About That 16%

•September 8, 2015 • 5 Comments

A beautiful reminder of how we can each impact the world. Bring hope to those who believe there is none, open a book before them and teach them how distance is not measured by miles or kilometers, but by their entrance upon the landscape when measured through knowledge.

Who do we blame?

•September 6, 2015 • 8 Comments

When we see a little boy’s body washed ashore?

Can we ask ourselves that dark question, the one we push against each time another tragedy strikes:

Who am I, and how can I make a difference?

That question:  Can we ask it?

We certainly refuse to accept our part in it.

How can we?  It belongs across another continent, far from the recesses of the lines that delineate our own State lines, the Continent upon which we rest.

It’s too much burden to be taken upon, to put as, Task #1.  To hold accountable those that made it what it became.

It is beyond the ignorant minds of those who are governed by greed, contempt, hatred, and all the parts of deceit.

Dirty and disgraced because we did not understand the minutiae, only the perceived reward.  The lies.  The rhetoric.  The consumption of hatred.

When do we no longer allow them to be ignorant and hold them in contempt of things we do not want, fathom, believe?

How do we reach them before our reserves are among the vultures that feast the harvest of our own wasteland?

If we bellow loudly, take to the streets, rally peacefully, will there not be someone hell-bent upon charging forth and creating mayhem where understanding set out to be our tone?

You can bet on it!  No one likes a goody, two-shoes.  Take one look at what is rising in the ranks of an upcoming presidential election.  Where have all the good men gone?

How sick do we have to become of the anger, mistrust, the propaganda of the agent before we steady ourselves before him and ask, simply:  What is it that you want from me?

And so we are back to that lifeless little body, forever etched upon the seascape of our minds.  Innocent of all deceit.  He was, he is, he will be our napalm girl.

This is our week.  What will we do with it?

“All Lives Matter!”

•August 31, 2015 • 13 Comments

(Click to enlarge photographs.)

Safety, Service and Security

image

image

image

image

Middle East Lifestyles – Those from the Subcontinent

•August 28, 2015 • 2 Comments

Thanks to MB for giving insight into the lives and living conditions in areas of the Middle East. I greatly appreciate his insights and hope that many of you will forward this post to others.

It takes each one of us doing our part to build peace and trust and it is never too late to begin. We start where we are and give hope that our genuine best interests and intent is understood to be true and steadfast.

HX Report

MB received a response to his last post that made him stop and think………….

SONY DSC SONY DSC

View original post 861 more words

Happy Birthday!

•August 22, 2015 • 14 Comments

 

Happy Birthday!!

 

image

 

Grandpa and his youngest granddaughter horsing around, as usual, only this time it’s more than special.  Gramps turns 87 on the 30th and Mallory, 25 a little past midnight, tonight. They have celebrated their birthdays together for as long as I can remember.  Even when we were living in Oklahoma we carved out time and space.  One particular party took place in McAlister, Oklahoma at a Holiday Inn .

We are gifted beyond measure.  Indulge us.  Grab a fork and have a slice of a bakery cake known as, Chocolate Therapy.  (I’d serve ice cream, but it might melt before it hits your monitor ;)

☕️🎈❤️💝🎁🇨🇱🎉

Hopefully next week I’ll create a handmade treat especially for Dad’s actual birthday.  All depends on my new bundle of baby joy over there in Fort Worth.  Think positive with us. Let’s make it happen!

 

Gifted!

•August 12, 2015 • 12 Comments

Get ready…

image

Yes, Fort Worth, TX., has increased it’s population again. Miss Camden held her baby sister, Capri, for the first time this afternoon.  Brother Caylix was busy pushing buttons, turning knobs and climbing the rafters in celebration.  As for Auntie M?  She’s still glued to the ceiling.  The woman is beyond control!

💝

A reminder…

•August 10, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am right to remind you that EVERY life has a purpose…Reach out. We are here to listen and to remind you of the splendor you hold within, but that the darkness has hidden. Let us be your light until the clouds and vacuum disappear. Our greatest joy, today, is helping you find hope.

Tangle me within your mystery…

•August 9, 2015 • 4 Comments

 

The majestic Orbs are back…webbing themselves against the very exterior that was challenged by suds, jet-sprays of water and the swipe of a mop end just yesterday.

Determined.  Undefeated.  Casting their net against the hottest heat of the mid-day sun. Today I captured their tummy sides.  Beautiful.  Spellbinding.  These frantic little engineers are on a mission and will not allow the minor inconvenience of a woman’s mop, the suds and flush of a jet sprayer to deter them.  They will create their splendor before our eyes for one more day.

Meet the Orb.  Hopefully, soon I will be able to correctly and fully identify which Orb family he is relative to, until then, check their beauty from the safety of your monitor.

 

image image image

image image image

 

 

Their eyes were upon me

•August 8, 2015 • 2 Comments

IMG_1309

 

 

as I flipped the ‘On’ switch of the mechanical sprayer, dousing them with sudsy spray and a clearing rinse.  They did little to retreat.  The tensile strength of their web proved mighty against the jet spray.  In the end I would find myself dragging a sponge mop across the window to dislodge their beautiful, courageous handiwork.

I’d noticed them from the interior, one day before, and had secretly hoped they would caravan their way off of the window and forward to another more promising arena.

‘Twas not to be.  But murder was never my intention, just displacement.  These spiders have a mightier chore to perform than that of the wicked woman who is busy trying to destroy their handiwork.  I’m in the business of building a comfort zone for a new buyer. These crawling, rural dwellers are busy prepping a birthing pad for their unborn, a safe harbor, and a snare for feeding.

I’m hoping that shiny clean windows are appreciated by the new ‘interior’ family. Unsuspecting are they, that this wicked old woman has a soft spot for spiders, snakes, bees, and songs of the coyote.

There is majesty written within this countryside.  It takes a wild creature to understand the safe harbor that is necessary to support a balance to nature.  Concrete, steel and briefcases are out-of-place in this sanctuary.  Rural life breeds the sturdy, the prepared, the undaunted.

Their eyes were upon me, mine upon them.  My window soap is environmentally safe.  Set charge and build harmoniously against that north wall.  No windows, no prying eyes, and temps will be cooler.  Safety, my Arachnids, safety and peace.  Live long and keep your eyes, open.  All eight of them.

 

IMG_1308

 

 

HEADED TO COLORADO!

•August 7, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Blog Friend is visiting, Colorado, my home state.  If I can’t make it, I want my friends to go, see the sights, smell the pine and visit the beauty of the Rockies.  This is one such friend.  We blogged together thru many a bread baking challenge.  Sally and her husband are AMAZING people!  I highly suggest you enjoy a visit to her sight and read about her research.  How on earth this lovely lady finds time to do all that she does, is beyond the word, “AMAZING!”  Check her SCIENCE section on her site.  Prepare for an adventure.  Enjoy!

…..

Enjoy “Gods Country”…(actual slogan for Colorado).

((Went to elementary, thru part of high school, in Boulder and Boulder County. Born at Greeley. Grandparents lived at Ault, north, close to the Wyoming border.)

I hope you have a wonderful trip! ❤️☕️

Bewitching Kitchen

Well, folks… it is finally time to take a break and enjoy a week off from work.  Summer is one of the busiest times of the year for us. You can ask our poor graduate students who are faced with daily 8am meetings in which we talk about the plans for the day and what was accomplished the day before.  But, as they say, if you work hard, you gotta play hard too.

As this post goes live, we’ll be getting ready to drive to Colorado once again, as we did last year.  We’ll head to cooler temperatures (not something I’m particularly thrilled about), golf, hiking, relaxing, re-charging our batteries for another year of work ahead.

As usual, the blog should go on…  who knows, maybe having some time off I’ll be able to finally share with you a certain trip to Hawaii that happened 5 months ago!  Slowly but surely…

View original post 27 more words

Headed for Home…

•August 1, 2015 • 16 Comments

 

This is a difficult post to write.  Generally I’ll mull something over for a day or so, trying to organize my entry, center and exit.

But this has danced about my world for months now.  I’m trying to co-ordinate a game plan that cannot be instituted until the real journey begins.  The last chapter.  The letter of triumph.

Yes.  I have a roadmap.  This territory has been traversed before, but not this particular part of the forest.  I’m somewhere above the tree line this time.  Searching and seeking, setting up my co-ordinates.

It’s not that my time of searching is in vain, surely I’m lining up my defenses and corralling my allies.  But I’m walking aimlessly, all the while carrying a ticking time bomb in the pocket of my being.

Death paces back and forth outside this doorstep.  It’s anxieties and fatigue argue with its captor as we helplessly sit on the sideline.  No release, no refuge, only the banging of the seconds that ricochet across the room.  Sometimes we speak to it, but often we chaotically careen about its edges.

Aimlessly we circle.  Weary.  Downtrodden.  Fatigued beyond all bone weariness. And we are lost, knowing that nothing we say, nor do, can calm this awful ache of watching helplessly as death paces.  Endless is its trajectory, and yet, we hang a false veil of hope that this is only a night terror and one that will release us once we awake.

I will be overwhelmed upon its arrival.  Nothing can prepare my heart and soul for the loss of someone that means so much to me.  My faith is full, but in my human-ness, it is tested. Why?

You deserve to be free.  Thanks, Dad.  You have made me wealthy beyond measure, taught me things I had never realized I needed.  You sheltered me from the storm when needed, but left me to drift and bash about when it was necessary.  You taught me that silence was golden, but words used wisely could soar beyond the heavens, bringing  justice to the doorstep of where it so rightfully belonged.  The riches you bestowed upon me are my cartography.  I have been blessed by your gifts and will always remember their latitudes and longitudes.  He was your beacon, you are my light.

 

 

Weird with a side of turkey bacon

•July 31, 2015 • Leave a Comment

An absolutely wild ride of hilarity! Pull up a chair, pop a top and get ready to roll.

I love this girl! Oh, and I thoroughly enjoy her writing. ☕️

nudge. wink. report.

There’s nothing special to report, just the fact that I’m hemorrhaging currency out of every orifice in my financial body (aka, the usual).

This ***)))SPECIAL REPORT(((*** was told to me by my sister-in-law’s brother’s 2nd wife.  She’s a very reliable source, except when she’s pissed.  Then things get blown all out of proportion.  I’m certain thatsomemost of this is true.

chevycavalier

It’s not like her financial body was much to begin with, but jeez!  How can the well pump, both cars and the washer from hell all decide to die at the same time?

Here is the story as told to me in her own words.

beerwash

The well was fixed, the washer found another use, and I thought the car problem was solved.

carproblem

Murphy’s Law had other plans.

My husband has a friend who is brilliant with fixing vehicles.  Born and raised in the back woods…

View original post 1,934 more words

Hump Day Hi-Jinx

•July 29, 2015 • 13 Comments

Sometimes being clueless is priceless…then there are times when “Being in the know,” is mind-blowing!

Get the low-down on my daily barometer. Buffalo Tom Peabody is my advisor.

;)

My Dogs in this Fight…

•July 23, 2015 • 22 Comments

I’m not here to incite a riot, nor to inflame my readers. Think of this post as a note, a personal one, that I have chosen to write in hopes of retrieving data from my subconscious. I’m trying to understand that slap I incurred earlier this week. It came out of nowhere. My face recovered, my soul? No. I’m digging deep within me to find forgiveness. Actually, if I consider the faux pas, I remember its source, therefore I do not own this. Empathy and sadness generate my wish to type. I am thankful I can feel this pain. I understand true bravery is found upon a battlefield and not by a microphone, audience and multiple, hefty bank accounts.

Donald Trump. John McCain.  Stars and Stripes. American Veterans. Prisoners of War. Casualties of War. Taxpayer dollars. The cost of Freedom. A bone spur. Numerous draft deferments. The safety of ‘privilege.’ Moral bankruptcy. Financial bankruptcy. Reorganization of debts. Educated. Ignorant. Inept. Clueless. Careless. Egotistical. Arrogant. Vietnam. All wars. Diplomacy. Brotherhood. Navy. Marine Corps. Army. Air Force. Airmen. U.S.S. Forrestal, Aircraft Carrier. Troops on the ground. A knock on the door. Phone calls. Twenty-one Gun Salutes. Folded United States flags. Recipients. Caskets draped with our Stars and Stripes. Napalm. Screaming. Burnt flesh. Agent Orange. My father. Brother. Uncle. Friends. Classmates. Boyfriend. Torture. Sacrifice.

I’m headed to rest my noggin. The neurons are screaming, raging war within me in hopes that I might find justice and peace within my racing thoughts. Tonight I sleep in peace, inspired by the thousands who bravely fought to keep our flag flying.  Yet, I also will slumber knowing Donald Trump dismisses John McCain’s P.O.W. experience.  Does he know that Senator McCain refused to leave until another P.O.W. was allowed his freedom?  Does he even care?

 

Radish, Cucumber & Apple Salad

•July 17, 2015 • 4 Comments

Throwback Thursday…get it on with good, lite and fresh …

Blazing Burners

What better way to stay refreshed than with a crunchy bit of cool.  And that’s exactly what this salad was.  I’d hoped for a bit of leftovers, but those two hungry bears arriving for dinner had feasted most feverishly, and all that I have to remember this bit of history is the veggie & fruit photo-op’s.

Wait here, while I stir things up…

(Stone ground mustard, olive oil, rice vinegar, a bit of lemon with a bit of salt and pepper.)

…..

Crunch, crunch, crunch…crunch…I lost the photo of the apples, or more precisely, I ditched it. Twas not a pretty post-op.  Mixed up, it wins, but naked, well, it was just ugly.  ;)

(The original recipe didn’t call for any jalapeno’s, but I’m a rebel, living for a thrill ride down the back alley of veggie-ness, messing things up with a bit-o-smoke.)  ;)

Some folks just have big-time Mojo.  They…

View original post 169 more words

Point, ‘Homeward’…

•July 16, 2015 • 2 Comments

image

(Girl, I haven’t forgotten you.)

Three days from now and I will be heading homeward. I may someday write a short story about it that gives fuller meaning to this journey. Tonight my heart is simply set on getting back to family and friends. Almost three weeks ago, I traveled with my niece and her two little ones to North Eastern Arkansas.  My nephew is a former Arkansas State Women’s Assistant Basketball Coach.  Recently he was recruited by TCU, Fort Worth, to join the coaching staff for the Horned Frogs Women’s Basketball team.  He left to begin his assignments and I offered to return home with his wife to complete the sale of their home. Because there are two little “cookie monsters” sprouted, I thought a second set of hands might come in handy while he was away.

But the second day after arriving, we would learn of the hospitalization of my father-in-law.  He suffers stage IV lung cancer and had developed another case of pneumonia. AND, then there was news that he had suffered a mild heart attack! For days I struggled trying to decide should I go, or should I stay. Truthfully I was a mess! I agonized as his condition worsened,  “What should I do?  How can I leave a woman in her eighth month of pregnancy, with two small kids , to sell her home, manage the utility cancels, insurance quotes,  let alone the 7.5 hour card ride (one way)?  Well, I couldn’t and wouldn’t allow it.”

Anyway, this transition may not sound encouraging, but I can guarantee I will walk from it a better person due to all that it has taught me.  I love these kids, even these two grown ups; they are my family.  And we are a family that cares dearly for each other. My niece and I were open and honest with our struggles. We walked a heavy road knowing that we were doing our very best. I have grown to love and APPRECIATE this beautiful, vibrant young lady all the more.

I left home in the trusting hands of my spouse and our twenty-four year old daughter.  They have taken up gourmet-style cooking.  I’m in for a superb treat if I discover they want to take over the kitchen.  With the yard, garden, laundry, shopping and bill-paying, it would be lovely to drop one chore from my list.

Besides, these two are best buds!  Why should I wrangle into their business? Each time I do, there is an uneven battle line drawn.  Best for me to just putz around with bricks and sand and appreciate that they do well without my best laid intentions. I need to apply myself to a few other neglected items.  I still have that brick walk area that I want to install, the redesign up front on the exterior landscaping.  It’s too hot to jump into the midst of the planting, but I’ve got a guy lined up from the organic nursery that offers his services reasonably.  Come early Fall and I could execute the newly planned program.

And then there’s my best friend, Hannah.  Usually this time of year finds us floating with our safety vests on, jumping and diving into the lake.  It’s a joy to watch her jump and play as a way to exercise her rheumatoid arthritis and hip problems.  I look forward to our playtime. Rains have flooded Lake Grapevine, chances are we won’t be vacationing on those beaches. But a sprinkler and a children’s pool is an option.

Thanks for lending an ear.  Come chew on mine if you need to.  That’s what friends are for, family too.

‘Space, the Final Frontier…’

•July 11, 2015 • 4 Comments

image

“Prepare for landing…”

image

Real Men Wear Pink

•July 7, 2015 • 13 Comments

(Click the photos to enlarge them.)

All I want for my birthday is a horse, Auntie M.

image image image

Yes, Little Man, has chosen his future.  Bronco Buster it is!

Those Cookie Monster socks need Spurs, and that pair of, Thomas the Tank Engine P.J.’s will have to be traded in for leather chaps, some silver spurs and leather boots.  Maybe, the Stetson will be upgraded too?

Sorry about the poor quality of the photos.  I was working as fast as I could to capture, “The Moments.”

Stars and Stripes, FOREVER!

•July 4, 2015 • 6 Comments

 

  Happy Fourth of July, Everyone!

(Click the pic to enlarge.)

Camden is ready to roll!

Camden is ready to roll!

 

(My niece is cruising her pumped-up bike in the neighborhood parade this morning.).

Thank you to all who have served with the United States military services.  You make us proud!  Our reverence to all who served and lost their lives.  My special appreciation to all who came back home maimed, injured, and all who suffer from Post Traumatic Syndrome.  Trust and believe that  you  will NOT be forgotten. ❤️  It is time for all of America to stand and be counted in the commitment to aid and assist all who made the “Call to Duty!”

 

Send bug spray!

•July 2, 2015 • 8 Comments

 

(Click photos to enlarge them.)

imageI

 

I need a can, heck, I need a caseload!  Send the good stuff, you know the kind:  green can, found in the hunting aisle over at Wally’s World?

I’m vacationing in Northern Arkansas, land of the rice fields.  Boggy, humid, and a smorgasbord haven for the buzz and hum of that vile little creature that loves my O-Positive blood type!

Once I read a sure-fire remedy to ward these bloodsuckers off just by eating tons of garlic and onions.  I tried it.  The only thing it did was scare my family away.  Oh, and then there’s that other homeopathic remedy,  Oregano or Rosemary oils.  Geez-Louise, I imparted a chemical burn to my flesh and smelled like a pizza for a week!image

Next came my experiment with shoving fresh herbs into the pockets of my shorts, and creating a masterpiece crown from fresh Rosemary from the garden.  Still.  Nada. Zip. Zilch.

I can be organic to a point, and then I simply have to throw my hands in the air!  The thought of catching West Nile virus hits smack dab into the brutal reality of this season.

My chosen perfume of Summer is a hefty dose of bug spray mixed in with my SPF’s.  Kind of a manly sent, I guess, but I’ll proudly  go where others only dare.

Like, right here…in Arkansas.

 

 

As an Advocate I was Defeated

•June 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

No one is ever defeated when they stand and speak of things that have been muted, silenced, kept under lock and key for fear that they will be difficult for others to understand. This is one such message, for silence can be deafening, fear can be all consuming. Ignorance can be deadly.

To be shunned is one thing, to be feared, another. To feel hopeless is life’s greatest despair. Within each one of our lifetimes we will struggle with something. This woman and I share something in common. We have a mental illness.

A powerful voice cannot be silenced by fear, especially when the voice strives to educate. This is one such voice:

A Journey With You

Last night was sad for me. My husband and I tried for hours to work through my paranoia about an open letter I wrote to a game developer. The letter was spreading on the Internet, and I became frightened that the game developer would come after me.

My husband and I read the letter again and again. There was nothing wrong with the letter it was just my opinion that creating a game about psychosis, depression, and anxiety is disrespectful to those of us with a mental illness.

The company developing the game claims the game is being developed to help eradicate stigma. My position was, and is, that it is a game. That means it is entertainment. Making the suffering of others into entertainment is, in my opinion, awful. I said why in the letter I wrote.

My husband thought the letter was well written, powerful, and he was…

View original post 501 more words

Climbing to the Top

•June 22, 2015 • 5 Comments

(Click photos to enlarge.)

Following the transformation:  Monarch Butterfly

Nighttime dreams:  Coccoons to weather our wait.

Nighttime dreams: cocoons to weather our wait.

 

We've munched the dill plants down to the stems in many places

We’ve munched the dill plants down to the stems in many places.

 

Some of us are a bit chubbier than others

Some of us are a bit chubbier than others.

 

The milkweed, a favorite food source (nectar), for the Monarch butterflies, has burst into bloom just a few feet away.

As some of you might recall (from an earlier post), I was monitoring the cocoon of another Monarch.  Eagerly, each morning, I would dash to see if he had begun his transformation, spawned his wings and had set flight.  I missed it!

Transportation

•June 18, 2015 • 4 Comments

I’m an alien tracking my best buds. Get on the bus! Prepare yourselves for the ride of your life. Seriously.

Someone Please Date Me (Please)

•June 17, 2015 • 4 Comments

Let’s revisit this bit of genius. It’s a tad bit colorful in parts, but if you can put your adult britches on you may just humor yourself into a laughter spasm. Enjoy:

Someone Please Date Me (Please).

Pacific Grooves

•June 8, 2015 • 2 Comments

A gifted and talented force to be reckoned with, this young man is filled with great promise.

I’m dedicating this re-blog to my sister, Bernadette.

Enjoy!

That’s So Jacob

A little over a week ago, I posted a blog entry about a book I read (Pacific Performanceswith promises that I would update the entry with a review, since I didn’t have the time right then and there to write a full-blown review. You probably thought that I forgot, but I didn’t, and now it’s been updated.

But before you check it out, here’s some music to get you in the mood (or to possibly listen to as you scroll down and read it):

Some people don’t like to read and listen to music at the same time. I get that. Actually, I am one of those people; I tend to focus more intently during the silent moments at the beginning/end of a song, but I listen to music while reading most of the time anyway, if only to drown out the outside noise (which is…

View original post 451 more words

Wonders Never Cease…

•June 3, 2015 • 17 Comments

I no longer trudge through mud.  There is no reason to cry about the drowned, and once beautiful Oak-leaf Hydrangea, nor the loss of the other plants and flowers that went by way of high ‘seas’, drowned a midst the inches of water that were unable to escape fast enough through the French drains.  We are very fortunate, for we were the ones left with only minor inconveniences.

Today while surveying the battlefield, I began pulling up the faded, weary, and the dead plants that had gloriously and proudly proclaimed our yard as a tropical paradise.  Yes.  It really was quite beautiful!  Many mornings and evenings I would look upon the butterfly garden in awe, so thankful for all that set the stage for the migrating Monarch and others that would come for nectar.  Probably all too often for some of you, I got my trusty little handheld camera, zoomed in for a macro shot, and shoved it in front of you after traipsing thru the soggy yard.  I’d apologize, but it wouldn’t be an honest regret.  Like many, we hovered down within the confines of a dry space and followed the news on t.v., or spent the day in galoshes and umbrella’s wondering if “forty days and forty nights” was once again upon us.

The saddest of news came, continues to, in fact.  It isn’t the monetary that saddens us to the core, but the loss of life, livestock, homesteads that had once survived generations.  It is one thing to live in Texas, it is another to thrive and never give up in the midst of this heat and humidity.  Often I will jest, “I will never understand how this State came to be; it is simply so damned hot in the summer, too dry, all too often.  Why would anyone not have considered moving further North to homestead?”  The answer is simple:  After winning the Mexican-American War, the land was free and poverty great, securing a foothold and making a living off this land promised you a piece of the pie.  A chance to carve out a dream and make something out of nothing.

Live here long enough and you will learn to appreciate the resilience of any and all things that survive its terrain.  You will also come to understand why we say, “Everything is bigger in Texas” ; it is simply as important as our famous litter campaign slogan, “Don’t mess with Texas!”  We joke about our lot, some of us even proclaim that we aren’t native to the area, for fear that folks will think we are out of our territory and maybe we should just shut-up, or better yet, “Get yourself back from whence you came.”  Actually, I’ve never met a Texan that would attack me for attacking the place they call home.  These folks are forgiving and above all, friendly.

And my heart belongs with them, proudly, as we go forward and help those who are doing everything they can to locate the missing, relocating the livestock and rebuilding the homesteads.  This past winter we watched in awe as we saw our neighbors back East carve their way through tremendous snowfall.  We sit, all of us, hoping that relief comes to those so desperate for relief from their own drought, and we are thankful to all who now have water where there was none.  Many may not know this, but there were towns that had exhausted their water supplies, one such city was Wichita Falls, where they took to reclamation of water and cleaned, purified and made it available for drinking and getting on with life.

…..

Let’s have some fun.  Take a breather from the heaviness and see what I discovered (OH YES!), with that camera this afternoon.  For my cheering section out there, National and International, this is my gift.  I came upon it quite by surprise.  Misha will know immediately what it is…and yes, I will try my best to keep close tabs upon it and see if I can capture its moment of flight, or as near to it as possible.

Are we a Monarch butterfly?  I do believe we will be.

Are we a Monarch butterfly? I do believe we will be.

Chrystalis, attached safely to the post of the deck.

Chrysalis, attached safely to the post of the deck.

 

And over in the nursery I spotted only one remaining caterpillar.  Others are surely nested among the garden, but I won’t snoop.  I will let nature fine tune the elements for us.  From what I understand, the Chrysalis can be moved during this period of time, and it will not affect the cycle, but within this household there’s a party of three cats that might find them a bit enticing.  Best to leave them in the place they chose.

This caterpillar has a bit of growing to do; I wish I could plant a time lapse camera within the Dill plant and spy on my little friend.

This caterpillar has a bit of growing to do; I wish I could plant a time lapse camera within the Dill plant and spy on my little friend.

…..

Let’s go visit the Daylilies.  They are beautifully and playfully dancing in the breeze. Capturing them with a handheld was a breath-holding challenge.

 

 

P1180036

P1180050P1180031

P1180030

Friday Finds

•May 30, 2015 • 7 Comments

She’s at it again…besides, all of my photos show flooding, dying flowers and a very sad pup. She would love to romp and play, but all the pine and hay in her run path is inches under water. We’ve already had one bath this past week. Yes, WE is the operative word. I was digging trenches toward the French drains, hacking at tree root branches for clearing and too busy to keep up with Hannah’s antics. At one point I did happen to notice she resembled, Bullseye, the Target doggie. Resuming work, I became obsessed with my engineering project. Completing the dam and the two trenches, I was ready to call it a day. I called for Hannah and was not prepared for what I would discover: A yellow Lab had miraculously turned into a chocolate one.

Back to that bath. It was actually a shower and the two of us indulged in a cucumber and mint, dog shampoo, lengthy spa treatment.

Dang stuff costs more than my brand, but I think I’ve killed all of my fleas. Maybe it’s time I took another treatment. So minty fresh, and the cucumber helped eliminate those bags from under my eyes.

Mallory Can't Even

Hello and happy Friday! Thankfully this week breezed by thanks to the Monday holiday, but as always, I am ready for the weekend. Tomorrow morning my Dad and I’ll be running a race hosted by a local brewery, otherwise known as the T.A.P 5K. They had to change the course due to the excessive amount of flooding this area has received over the past couple of weeks, so it will interesting to see how creative the race directors had to get in order to avoid the race turning into a mini Iron Man. Other than that I don’t have much else this planned this weekend, so I am looking forward to a lot of reading and relaxing! Until then, let’s round up some favorites from the week.

  • Power outage and board games

Life

On Monday evening we experienced a bit of a power outage, so instead of sitting around and staring…

View original post 785 more words

No Hits, No Runs, No Errors…

•May 27, 2015 • 10 Comments

 

Let's play ball!

We were ready for game day…

Anyone up for a swim?

Oops!  Rained out, flooded in and wondering….when?

Doug is out.  He was benched one too many times.

Doug is out. He was benched one too many times.

Batting and pitching practice were a washout.

Batting and pitching practice were a washout.

Scoreless.

Scoreless.

What car?  Where's my car?  Where's your car?  Who took my parking sticker?  (This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, "We towed your car."

What car? Where’s my car? Where’s your car? Who took my parking sticker? (This gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “We towed your car.”)

 

I wrote this post with a bit of jovial jesting, but want everyone to know that my prayers and thoughts are with everyone affected by weather concerns this year, whether it be from:  drought, heavy snowfall, flooding, earthquakes, hurricanes or any other natural disaster.

Humor is one of my coping mechanisms.

We are all in this together, no matter where we live.  Take care of your neighbor, your family and your friends.  Life is a beautiful thing; sometimes I am guilty of taking it for granted.  And then a reminder comes along…

George Clooney, Caffeine Crashes, and Running Underwater.

•May 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I know this writer, she’s funny to the bone. Growing up she always said, “One day I’ll be a writer for SNL.”

She and her sister are book addicts, but a 12-Step program is the last thing they need.

Her sister grew up saying this, “One day I want to live in a cardboard box on the street.”

Thankfully, neither one of them live inside a cardboard built villa. I’m pretty sure Jeff Bezos castle has a turret they funded, though.

Mallory Can't Even

Hello and happy Tuesday! Sorry for the lack of a post yesterday! After returning from my Grandparents yesterday evening our power went out, and stayed that way for hours. By the time it did kick back on it was late in the evening and I was about a half hour away from going to bed. This whole weekend we bounced from tornado to flood watches, and needless to say, all activities remained indoors this Memorial day weekend!

  • Friday

TomorrowLand

Friday after work Jake and I ventured to Alamo Drafthouse to see the new Disney movie, Tomorrowland. Alamo had crafted up a new themed menu for the film, which is one of the million reasons why they are coolest movie theater ever. I opted for “The Bright Future”, and it was wonderful! As for the movie, it was kinda meh. It was a pleasant surprise seeing Hugh Laurie though. I am…

View original post 680 more words

Memorial Day – 2015

•May 25, 2015 • 6 Comments

Memorial Day – 2015.

The Latest Buzz…

•May 24, 2015 • 6 Comments

(Please click to enlarge the photographs.)

Before we get the latest buzz, let's just feast our eyes on this beauty.  She was looking a little weary the other day.  I raised her pot up out of the water, plucked off a few spent flowers, and had a long talk with her.  I told her she was pretty, that the sun would soon kiss her face and that we are fortunate to have her as a visitor.  I think the pep talk helped.

Before we get the latest buzz, let’s just feast our eyes on this beauty. She was looking a little weary the other day. I raised her pot up out of the water, plucked off a few spent flowers, and had a long talk with her. I told her she was pretty, that the sun would soon kiss her face and that we are fortunate to have her as a visitor. I think the pep talk helped.  (Cuphea)

Witnessing a bar room brawl.  Nasty barbs are being tossed around, all over the place.

Witnessing a bar room brawl. Nasty barbs are being tossed around, all over the place!  (Blue Borage)

Sipping the good stuff!

Sipping the good stuff!  (Lime Knifophia)

She's a buzzing and a sipping!

She’s a buzzing and a sipping!

I noted more green coloring than in years past.  Perhaps this Monarch is going camouflage.  It was a break in the heavy rains.  Surely the birds are about looking for groceries.

Look!  The Monarch nursery is busting loose.  This guy’s planning his get-a-way.  Seriously, he did not like me messing within the area.  I worked quickly.

He was climbing up to find out what was taking place.  He quickly began his descent.

He was climbing up to find out what was taking place. He quickly began his descent.

More beautiful than yesterday.  So many flowers yet to bloom.  I'm hoping these little Zinnias don't catch fungus.  Let's enjoy them while we can.

More beautiful than yesterday. So many flowers yet to bloom. I’m hoping these Dwarf Zinnias don’t catch fungus. Let’s enjoy them while we can.

Grey Santolina in bloom.

Grey Santolina in bloom.

 

A Lesson for Mom

•May 21, 2015 • 7 Comments

(Click photos to enlarge them.)

My toys are out here, I know they are.  Surely the rain did not wash them away.

P1170929

I see them, over there, in the grass!  My pink tennis ball and my green lob toy.  Yippee!  Playtime.

P1170924

My lightbulb toy is in my dog run.  I left it there yesterday.

P1170905

I promise I’ll steer clear of this fun splash pool.

P1170904

And this one, too. 

P1170910

And I won’t mosey over here, either.  I promise.

P1170922

…..

Where’s Mom?  (She got distracted again!  She went into her garden.  It will be awhile before she returns.  I hope she remembers we had a play date.)

…..

P1170916P1170901

P1170913P1170889

P1170894P1170892

P1170885P1170915

I’ll teach her a lesson!

P1170928

When she wants to go on a walk in a little while, I’ll teach her!

…..

(” THE DOG REFUSED TO GO ON A WALK WITH ME!”)

….

I can’t believe she would refuse to play with me!

…..

(“Is Hannah upset with me?  I wonder why?”)

Sunshine & Rain, May 19, 2015

•May 19, 2015 • 14 Comments

 

(Click on to the photos to enlarge them.)

 

The artistry of a vine.  This beauty cropped up as a volunteer.  I believe it's a sugar pumpkin whose seeds did not fully compost.

The artistry of a vine. This beauty cropped up as a volunteer. I believe it’s a Sugar Pumpkin whose seeds did not fully compost.

Varigaeted Hydrangea that continues to amaze me.  From the bottom of the clustered lavender flower comes a delicate arrangement of larger blooms that encircle the flower head .

Variegated Hydrangea that continues to amaze me. From the bottom of the clustered lavender flower comes a delicate arrangement of larger blooms that encircle the flower head .

Speaking of butterflies...a Swallowrail flitted between the dill plants this afternoon.  One of my three dill plants is a nursery.

A Swallowtail flitted between the dill plants this afternoon. One of my three Dill plants is a nursery!  I look at these flowers and plants in awe, especially in light of the fact that so many have suffered dearly through this rainy, snowy start to the season.   And then my thoughts turn to those in the midst of continued historical droughts.  This year my blessings have been abundant; the garden that saves my sanity, offers me a place of solitude, and a wondrous place of joy for myself and my best friend, Hannah, is a gift beyond measure.

The dog that rescued me.  Say, "Hello" to Hannah.  ❤️

The dog that rescued me. Say, “Hello” to Hannah. ❤️

A lovely white Penta awaits the buzz and the flit of her busy winged friends.

A lovely white Penta awaits the buzz and the flit of her busily winged friends.  Her nectar is prize worthy.

Canna leaf wrapped by nature; during the next day she will unfurl her new leaf.

Canna leaf wrapped by nature; during the next day she will unfurl her new leaf.

Oh my goodness, her name escapes me. (I'll be back to let you know.)

Purple Pin Cushion Flower

One of two cucumber vines.  (Last week I harvested two cucumbers!)

One of two Cucumber vines. (Last week I harvested two cucumbers!)

(Georgia O'Keefe, I dedicate this to you.). A Daylily, kissing the sunlight.

(Georgia O’Keefe, I dedicate this to you.). A Daylily, kissing the sunlight.

The cilantro has already bolted!  'Tis okay, she provides nectar to the bees and butterflies.

The Cilantro has already bolted! ‘Tis okay, she provides nectar to the bees and butterflies.

Lime colored Marigold.  She unfolds in a wave of decending color.

Lime colored Marigold. She unfolds in a wave of descending color.  (A hurried shot as storms move in again.)

Look closely, what is it that awaits us?

Look closely, what is it that awaits us?  (You may need to click the photo.)

The herb, Borage, added to the organic garden to ward off unwanted predators.

The herb, Borage, added to the organic garden to ward off unwanted pests.

 

Chores, there are always chores, it is no wonder that I escape to the garden!  I run away from the tedious, the boring, the ever amassing, accumulation of duties within this house.  Out to the garden I go, followed by Hannah.  We have no time for nonsense, redundancy, the loathing of the necessary, everyday drudgery of chores. Should you come to visit, make entry through the side gate.  You are welcome to stay as long as you wish, but when we head in for ice tea and a sandwich we must do so quietly.  We must not wake the dust bunnies.

 

Rednecking 101

•May 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 

 

Proud to be a transplant

 

I don’t own cowboy boots, but that’s only because I suffer from dreams of indulgences beyond my means.  It’s easy for me to dash into any corner drugstore for a cheap pair of flip-flops and settle for anything-style/color, but this boot dream is off the charts crazy. Same thing goes for my horse.  The one I don’t own, have never ridden, and will most likely never see moseying up my drive-way.

There are simply some things in life that have to be a certain way, form, manner or fashion.  In no way will I settle for less.  I consider myself worthy AND entitled.  Hence the reason I never hesitated when it came down to investing in some equipment for my imaginary dude ranch.

Let me spell this out for you in more simple terms:  Necessity, is one thing, got to have! is quite simply an imperative, non negotiable right.  A freedom, if you will, to overlook the checkbook balance AND simply, “Go for it!”  Hell-fire and gee-whiz.  Guns ablazin’ and chimney smoke.

And so it came to be.  Now some will say I had a right to it from the get-go, livin’ here in Texas, and all.  But I ain’t a native gal.  Never was, never claimed to be, and in the midst of an August heat wave, can’t truly understand why anyone would want to lay claim to that right in the first place.  (Truth be told, I think that heat done burnt their senses all to Hades.)

You ready for this investment idea of mine?  Don’t go all native and start whupping and a hollerin’ … you’ll scare my imaginary horse and then I’ll have to shoot you with my cap gun:

 

image

 

Thar ain’t nothin’ like rain, well, unless of course you’ve been visitin’ the fine folk of this here State of Texas the past couple of weeks.  Then you might just whack me a good one upside my ear and tell me to shush-my-mouth.  (We been rained on, hailed on, tornado’d on and flooded in/under and over upon, the likes we ain’t seen in almost forever…but seriously, and I do mean this in all sincerity:  I may be trying to humor up the journey, but many have lost loved ones, property and their whole livelihoods.  Please think about those that have been affected and raise them up in thought and prayer.)

And, for those who want to kick me in my britches for calling these fine folks, natives, don’t be throwing that Politically Correct stuff at me.  If you are born and raised in Texas you EXPECT the RESPECT of that honor, and the reason I didn’t capitalize the word is an easy answer.  I think each and every one of us is a native to the land we hail from, proud and worthy of it too.  Now put that cap gun away and move over yonder.  I gotta go round-up some more of my buckets.

I collect rain barrels buckets, but if I bring you a transplant from my garden, you get to keep your prize.  Ain’t they just down-right pretty?  Take a large nail and use your mighty hammer, punch holes in the bottom and sink ’em halfway into the soil.  You got yourself a redneck compost/water collection ‘dream-machine’!

This message is free-o-charge.  “Don’t Mess with Texas” … It ain’t nice to be unfriendly, and besides, we don’t like litter, unless you is a kitty-cat or a pile of snow we iz tryin’ to get away from.

 

;)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Heaven’s Irrigation System, May 10, 2015

•May 10, 2015 • 6 Comments

It’s time to belly up to the bar, slosh my way into the garden.  This weekly update is especially exciting.  A week ago on Monday we discovered our French drain was clogged. Thankfully our plumber worked his magic and we were ready for the latest onslaught of rains that came.  Came.  Kept coming. And are still coming, and will continue after a short delay.  Tomorrow promises us a clear day, but soon afterward we will be on our way to setting a record for Spring rains.  No complaints here!  Our lakes are filling and our exceptional drought threat is now abated.  Come along, let’s go see what we can see, while we can see it:

 

The area Hannah is headed for is where the cleared drains are located.  They are pushing water as quickly as they can.  Sadly, I think Hannah is about to be disappointed.  This is no stock pond, no deep ditch and a very sorry swim hole.

IMG_0752

IMG_0733

At one point, water was scaling over the rock border and bringing debris from the compost. I’ll be power flushing the system once the rains move out, until then I can only hope that the organic matter spills onto the grass and adds a nitrogen boost of the major kind. (Thankfully, my Hydrangea’s are in a raised bed and do not appear to be in danger of root rotting.)

IMG_0742

Water runoff from my neighbor’s yard.  Thankfully we slope to the west from this spot. Oh, and look, the cucumber plants have a surprise!

IMG_0751

IMG_0750

Picked the bounty of four yellow cherry tomatoes this week.  YUM!  (No photo…they were so delicious.)

IMG_0748

A quick dash through the splash and here’s an update on the herbs and veggies.

IMG_0749

Jack will soon take up residency.  (The “lovely” yellow bucket is an added compost/water station.  Those beans are growing so quickly, I’ll need to revitalize their soil with some topdressing.)

IMG_0738

Yes, there are my infamous bricks.  Still waiting for their install.  One day soon.  The scent of,  Off bug spray invades my nostrils as I type this.  Rather to go under from chemical poisoning than West Nile Virus.  We lost a good friend and dear band instructor last year.  Another friend suffered for months in the hospital and then went to rehab to learn how to walk again.  DFW area is Magnet City for the mosquitos that carry this dreaded illness.

IMG_0745

No, those are not snakes corralling at the A-OK Corral, just some twigs that were blown from the nearby trees and bushes as high winds approached.

 

“Happy Mothers Day!”

•May 10, 2015 • 2 Comments

 

Nebraska "Husker Red" Penstemon.  (She was nectar to honeybee's between the numerous rain showers this week.
Nebraska “Husker Red” Penstemon. (She was nectar to honeybee’s between the numerous rain showers this week.)
Lime Kniphopia inching her way skyward.

Lime Knifophia inching her way skyward.

(Brain hiccup...be back later with her name.)

Pink Guara

"Minnie Mouse" Cuphea

“Minnie Mouse” Cuphea

Persian Shield

Persian Shield

Coleus (I keep pinching her back to keep her from becoming 'leggy.'

Coleus (I keep pinching her back to keep her from becoming ‘leggy’).

Golden Barberry, my favorite garden shrub!

Golden Barberry, my favorite garden shrub!

Anole lizard (male)

Anole lizard (male).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

UPDATE! Entomologist, Botanist, Hobbiest, HELP!

•May 6, 2015 • 12 Comments

 

 

Yesterday afternoon I received the following reply.  I waded out to the backyard this morning and quickly plucked that silken cocoon from the eggplant leaf.  One squish, from a flip-flop, sent this “unknown, and unwelcome”  guest off to the recycled bin of Life.  My many thanks to Mr. Steve Chaney, and to the folks at Texas A&M University.  (https://tamu.edu)

I am not aware of any beneficial insect that this cocoon would be, so my suggestion would be to go ahead and remove it from the garden. Happy gardening!!

Take the Earth-Kind challenge at http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/earthkind/ and learn how Earth-Kind your landscape is. Sincerely,Steve ChaneySteve ChaneyTexas A&M AgriLife Extension Service-Tarrant CountyExtension Agent – Horticulture 200 Taylor Street, Suite 500Fort Worth, TX 76196-0123Phone: 817-884-1944FAX: 817-884-1941s-chaney@tamu.edu

A photo for Steve Chaney.  Thanks for helping solve the mystery.  :)

A photo for Steve Chaney. Thanks for helping solve the mystery. :)

 Can you help identify my friend?

Someone came visiting a few weeks ago.

 

Stay tuned.  Hopefully I can document the transition, unless a bird or other critter finds her first.

He was bundled up in a silken cocoon.

 

I’ve kept a steady watch on him.

 

P1170720

P1170687

P1170688

P1170690

 He dines upon an eggplant leaf.

 

Thank you!

 

A photo-gift.  Thank you for helping solve this mystery.

A photo-gift. Thank you for helping solve this mystery.

 

April Showers: May 3rd, 2015, Flowers

•May 3, 2015 • 11 Comments
Candy Cane Amaryllis, gifted by Vicki & Frank.  "Once upon a Christmas"

Candy Cane Amaryllis, gifted by Vicki & Frank. “Once upon a Christmas.”

 

What is not to love about her beauty?  Radiantly she smiles...

What is not to love about her beauty? Radiantly she smiles…

 

Oak-leaf Hydrangea, popping out her, "Hello!"

Oak-leaf Hydrangea, popping out her, “Hello!”

 

Delicate and promising, a profusion~intrusion within this week.

Delicate and promising, a profusion~intrusion within this week.

 

The Variegated Hydrangea promises up a bit of color within her center.  Pink?  I believe so...we will wait in eager anticipation.  Lovely, either way.

The Variegated Hydrangea promises up a bit of color within her center. Pinkish lavender? I believe so…we will wait in eager anticipation. Lovely, either way.

 

A Cuphea, nicknamed, "Cigar Plant".  While poking through the garden center I had hummingbirds poking me!  (An annual to Zone 8, I'm going to pamper this baby; I'm hoping she likes this spot, and can winter here safely.)

A Cuphea, nicknamed, “Cigar Plant.”   While poking through the garden center I had hummingbirds poking me! (An annual to Zone 8, I’m going to pamper this baby; I’m hoping she likes this spot and can winter here safely.)

 

American Variegated Beautyberry.  (The non-variegated variety have a purple berry, this lady will show pure white berries.)

American Variegated Beautyberry.

 

The Variegated Beautyberry may cast white berries, but look at the beautiful purple branches!  A keeper, for sure.  I planted her to fill in a dead space and to hide some of the composting area.

The Variegated Beautyberry grows white berries (Non-Variegated have purple), but look at the beautiful purple branches! A keeper, for sure. I planted her to fill in a dead space and to hide some of the composting area.

 

Trying my hand at Foxglove, generally considered an annual, or biennial, for our area.  They are so beautiful, I couldn't resist!

Trying my hand at Foxglove, generally considered an annual, or biennial, for our area. They are so beautiful, I couldn’t resist!

 

Another Foxglove, photographs from my hand held camera simply cannot capture the true beauty of these plants.  (Notice, it hasn't kept me from trying... ;)

A  Delphinium, photographed from my hand-held camera, it simply cannot justify the true beauty of this plant. (Notice, it hasn’t kept me from trying… ;)

 

Mortimer, my snake friend, lives at the base of this tree.  I was trimming Mondo Grass on Friday.  He was a no-show.  This morning while I was working around this area, another, no-show.  He and Marsha must have been at early services, or perhaps they were dining a few feet over at the all-you-can-eat buffet, “The Compost Pile”.

 

Borage, an herb that naturally repels insects, one particular type that loves to attack rose plants.  (You can't see her, but I have a miniature red rose that sits right next to this plant.)  Borage flowers are nothing spectacular, but once she blooms, I'll try to photograph her.

Borage, an herb that naturally repels insects, one particular type that loves to attack rose plants.  Borage flowers are nothing spectacular, but once she blooms, I’ll try to photograph her.  In the meantime, I’ll probably be clipping the enormous leaves away from the rose.  Also, at front and center, a single Marigold tries to hold her own.  She ain’t doin’ too well.  I’ll transplant her on a overcast day.

 

It's Texas, and this is a reminder.  Some horse lost his shoe, and somebody blasted off two rounds of buckshot.  Well, I've never owned a shotgun, nor did I meet up with the horse that wore this shoe.  Makes one wonder, doesn't it?  Was the shotgun owner the one who also rode the horse?  There are somethings we are just not destined to know....

It’s Texas, and this is a reminder. Some horse lost his shoe, and somebody blasted off two rounds of buckshot. Well, I’ve never owned a shotgun, nor did I meet up with the horse that wore this shoe. Makes one wonder, doesn’t it? Was the shotgun owner the one who also rode the horse? There are somethings we are just not destined to know….

Rainfall Trekking, April 27, 2015

•April 27, 2015 • 6 Comments

Grab the mud boots…

We’re walking the garden today…

 

A silken bag of wonder.  I'm on a mission to discover who moved to this eggplant.

A silken bag of wonder. I’m on a mission to discover who moved to this eggplant.

 

Caution!  Slick roads ahead, and one major dip.

Caution! Slick roads ahead, and one major dip.

 

Beans are racing up the trellis.  If I stand here long enough, there may be visible action. ;)

Beans are racing up the trellis. If I stand here long enough, we may see action!  ;)

 

The cucumbers are keeping the lone pepper plant company.

The cucumbers are keeping the lone pepper plant company.

 

The basil plant looks wimpy and sad...but no problem.  Moth or butterfly?  Not sure.  Maybe that critter that is now housed within his silk cocoon.  :)

The basil plant looks wimpy and sad…but no problem. Moth or butterfly? Not sure. Maybe that critter that is now housed within his silk cocoon?

 

The butterfly garden is rapidly awakening.  Another month, and things should be quite active.

The butterfly garden is rapidly awakening. Another month, and things will be quite active.

 

Nebraska Red Penstemon, in full bloom, and at least a foot taller than 2014!

Nebraska, “Husker Red” Penstemon, in full bloom, and at least a foot taller than 2014!

 

Thankfully, I was able to spread the straw before all the rainfall.  (Lake levels have risen by 54 inches within the past two weeks!)

Thankfully, I was able to spread the straw before all the rainfall. (Lake levels have risen by 54 inches within the past two weeks!)

 

Stay tuned.  Hopefully I can document the transition, unless a bird or other critter finds her first.

Stay tuned. Hopefully I can document the transition, unless a bird or other critter finds her first.

 

I spoke with my oldest daughter in California today.  Usually I’ll see her comment on my posts.  I asked her if she had seen my snakes and she quickly responded, “Mom, you know I don’t like snakes!”  Guess what?  I will not be shocking the poor girl with the sight of snakes again any time soon.  Or, if I find the need to photograph Mortimer and Marsha’s offspring, I’ll have to call and warn her not to look.  While we are on the subject, I haven’t seen the sights of those two lately.  Hopefully they haven’t moved.  They are probably hunkered down, or up, depending on what they do when the rainfall is heavy and the rain gauge gurgles the words, “Thank You!”

We get a little giddy around here when the wet stuff comes falling, and falling, but those high winds need to just stay clear of me and my snakes!

Seriously.

;)

 

 

 

 

Earth Day, April 22, 2015, Grapevine, TX

•April 22, 2015 • 14 Comments

 

Let’s take care of Earth, together, Globally.

Earth Day, 2015

 

Green, with a forecast of wet.

Green, with a forecast of wet.

Here comes, Rico!

Here comes, Rico!

Loving life!

Loving life!

Ready to burst into bloom soon!

Ready to burst into bloom soon!

Partial view of the Butterfly Garden.

Partial view of the Butterfly Garden.

Shading our existence, in a canopy of green.

Shading our existence, in a canopy of green.  (View from the upper area of the deck..)

Happy Earth Day, 2015!

Happy Earth Day, 2015!

The Shocking Truth! April 24, 2015

•April 21, 2015 • 10 Comments

 

I was living the dream,

working away in my little garden spot

and then Marsha arrived…

 

image

Prepare for the unthinkable…

 

Mini-Mondo (extension) prep site.
Mini-Mondo Grass (extension), prep site.

And then my friend Marsha showed up, in a tizzy and he//bent on getting an explanation from me.  I’m not proud of the fact that I hurt her feelings.  Seriously.  As she ranted and raved about my rendezvous with her husband, I found myself helpless to defend my actions.  Finally, I’d had enough.  I grabbed my shovel and shoved it towards her.  I have to warn you, the following photos may prove a bit unsettling to some of you, for that, I’m sorry.

Marsha-Marsha!

Marsha-Marsha!

It was all too much for her, as Hannah arrived to explain, Marsha fainted! Click on the pic. (Evidence)
It was all too much for her, as Hannah arrived to explain, Marsha fainted!
Click on the pic. (Evidence)
I felt eyes on me for the rest of the afternoon.

When she came to, this is where she found herself.  And as the sun was setting , there was still no sign of Mortimer.  

 

 

 

Butterfly or Moth Larvae?

•April 19, 2015 • 8 Comments

 

I placed the straw mulch in the garden yesterday.  Heavy wind and thunderstorms were forecast for early evening.  While I worked, I was cautious around the dill and fennel plants.  Those particular plants play host to the Swallowtail, a strikingly beautiful butterfly!

I noted that all the plants were vacant, but also recalled what I had witnessed last Spring. Those Larvae are wise to the weather.  One day I noted one lounging about on a plant, and as storms approached the creature went into hiding.  The next afternoon I found him back amidst his host.

It was late afternoon when I saw this particular, beautiful specimen.  He was lounging in the planter, in a part of the deck area that is roofed, munching and crunching away within the Bizzy-Lizzie’s (better known as Impatiens).

Tomorrow I’ll venture back to his home site and see how things are going.  My hope is to see him flitting about the butterfly garden once the blooms are heavy-set.

Last week there was  a Giant Swallowtail feeding within the Pittosporum tree.  A yellow and brown one, my first to see!  Generally the black and blue marked swallowtail are frequenting the beds, along with the Monarch, and yellow and white moths at this time of year.

Nature's artwork.  Butterfly or moth larvae, hiding within the Impatiens.

Nature’s artwork. Butterfly or moth larvae, hiding within the Impatiens.

 

Nature's majestic beauty.

Beauty, defined by Nature.

 

Clutching, or should I say, "Hanging on for dear life?"

Clutching, or should I say, “Hanging on for dear life?”

 

ETA:  Unknown.

ETA: Unknown.

(Bucket List) … I’m a Snake Wrangler!

•April 16, 2015 • 17 Comments

Yep, it was there on my list!  Only a few knew it existed, but today I placed a check mark next to that item.  My special thanks to Grapevine, TX.,  Animal Services Officer Michael Owens.

Like most Spring days, there were chores needing done in my garden.  Initially, I set out to find a spot in the yard that would offer enough sunlight for a volunteer Crape Myrtle tree. Discovering a spot that offered enough sunlight (they need a good amount to ensure beautiful blooms), I set about to dig the volunteer up from an area under a fir-tree.  Since I compost my oak leaves to use as mulch and a food source for bushes and trees, it took me a minute to move debris, only to find that my baby seedling was growing directly against some steel edging.  No problem, I’ll just ‘shrink’ myself into the area and easily work the shovel, careful so as not to damage any more root than necessary.  I got that little jewel out of the area and deposited her in her new home.  Backtracking, I carried a shovel of compost to fill in the hole from whence she came.

Oh my heavens!  As I went to fill the hole I discovered a visitor had arrived.  Standing there, halfway between elation and mortification, I began conversing with myself and all of nature.  Suddenly, I came to my senses and zipped my way into the screened in porch for a bucket.  Flying nearly as the speed of light, I arrived back at the hole and found my friend enjoying the sunken livingroom my digging had provided.  I worked quickly with my shovel and carefully hoisted the beauty into my bucket.  Thank goodness the bucket was actually a cat litter container with a handy lid.  

Officer Owens & Mortimer

Officer Owens & Mortimer

Officer Owens explaining identification markers.

Officer Owens explaining identification markers.

Beautiful markings!

Beautiful markings!

Running to the house, I grabbed my phone and dialed up my girlfriend.  No answer.  Quickly I called another friend only to discover that she and her hubby are fighting nasty cold infections.  Checking to see if I could bring my friends some juice or food, and learning they were covered, I told my girlfriend I had an emergency, of the fun kind, and had hoped she could join me.  I’d call her later with an update.

I had actually called Animal Control initially, and asked if they were open and if there might be a staff member who could identify a snake for me?

“Sure, bring it on in!”

Okay.  The excitement is mounting.  Well, okay, maybe I’m living the dream and this feels like your worst kind of nightmare.  No worries.  After all, this is my Bucket List item, or at least it’s about to be.

I try calling my other girlfriend back.  Her hubby answers, and by now I am in mania mode, but somehow explain with frenzied excitement about the treasure dig discovery.

“Is it dead?”

“No, but I sure wish I knew if it was just a little garden snake, or if it’s poisonous!  He appears to have a triangular-shaped head.  Aren’t those indications of a poisonous snake?”

“I’m on my way with the hoe!”

“No!  I don’t want you to kill it, I just want to find out what kind it is and wanted to know if Linda wanted to go with me to Animal Control?”

He arrives with his hoe, ready for action.  I told him things were safe.  He said:

“Do you need more duck tape for that lid?” jokingly.  We chided back and forth and then I opened the possible, ‘Pandora’s Box.’

We stood there admiring a rather docile, and surely confused serpent.  Well, maybe only one of us three humans was wistfully hoping the best was yet to come.

Girlfriend and I jumped in the car, carefully being sure the lid is secured with the duct tape back in place.  A shot across town and we arrive at, The Animal Shelter/Services Office, introducing  myself to the receptionist as the lady who had phoned earlier about a snake.

“Is it dead?”

“Oh no, he’s right here, alive, in this bucket.”

“Well, I don’t care to see it, but I’ll find someone who can help you.”

And off she went, returning with Animal Services Officer, Michael Owens.

Officer Owens arrives and gently takes the bucket for a look-and-see.  The brave man even puts his hand directly into the bucket and retrieves our new-found friend.  Right away he confirms to Linda and I that we have a non-poisonous snake.  He gives us some excellent tips on what to look for as a means for quick reference as he holds the snake both top, and bottom side.

Finally, I went for the golden opportunity of a lifetime, explaining that I’d always wanted to overcome my fear of snakes, I asked Officer Owens for his assistance.

“I’d like to hold it.”

He smiled and offered it to me, and I found myself carefully taking it from him.

Mortimer and I are bonding.

Mortimer and I are bonding.

My hope is that those who read this will consider taking a chance and try something they have always dreamed of doing, but fear has kept them at bay.  I’m certainly not advocating life-threatening actions; I’m talking about a supervised, safe environment where you get to challenge yourself.

My sincere thanks to Officer Michael Owens, and to my dear neighbors and friends, Linda and Jim.  Mortimer, our snake, is back home, deposited in his newly sunken living room, with a fresh rooftop made from organic compost  His wife is probably questioning his sudden departure this morning, but the fact that he finally attacked that honey-do list may just keep him safe.  I know I will.

 

AMAZING!

AMAZING!

 

 

 

 

 

Organically yours, April 14, 2015

•April 14, 2015 • 2 Comments

 

Bluebonnet, Daylilies, Mint & Swiss Chard seedling trying her best.

Bluebonnet, Daylilies, Mint & a baby Swiss Chard seedling hanging on for dear life!

Beans prepping for take-off;  "NASA, we have a GO"!

Beans prepping for take-off; “NASA, we have a GO!”

Circling deliciousness.  Tomatoes & Eggplants amidst a feeding and watering station.

Circling deliciousness. Tomatoes & Eggplants amidst feeding and watering stations.  Onions at curbside.

Nelly Moser Clematis, faded color, stunted growth.  We must educate the gardener.

Nelly Moser Clematis, faded color, stunted growth. We must educate this gardener.

Tomatoes and Pole Beans charging forward.

Tomatoes and Pole Beans charging forward.

Forward, the herb garden.  Trailing Rosemary, baby Basil,thyme, Greek Oregano & Sage.

Forward, the herb garden:  Trailing Rosemary, baby Basil, Thyme, Greek Oregano & Sage.

Dill nursery planted for the Swallowtail Butterflies.  Cherry Tomato plant, already fruited!

Dill nursery planted for the Swallowtail Butterflies. Cherry Tomato plant, already fruited!

"This dog ain't goin' nowhere, and neither is that pile of sand!"

“Hello and welcome to my garden.”

Story of My Life Challenge…Etched upon my heart…

•April 12, 2015 • Leave a Comment

This is a re-blog of a post I wrote about my personal struggle with Postpartum Psychosis.  Too many women suffer in shame and silence, sometimes lost to the point that they are unable to help themselves.  I was rescued by two women who saved my life, but more importantly, my daughter, Megan’s.

…..

The stigma of Mental Illness imprisons the heart and soul of the afflicted, it wraps that heavy burden around the yoke of all who know and love them too.  Shame keeps people from seeking help.  Acknowledging that you need help keeps so many of us from seeking the very help we need.

Society still doesn’t know what to do with us.  Once upon a time they simply just locked us up and threw away the key.  Today?  I know what I can do.  I can tell you about my personal experience in hopes that you are encouraged to share your story.  If we give a voice to our struggle we empower others to do the same.  If we talk, we save ourselves and others from feeling so alone.  United, we may just find a way to break the cycle of shame and stigma associated with Mental Illness.

 

 

CoffeeGrounded's Blog

Jenni, It’s Day 31, and a Friday.  Somehow I managed to write for all 31 days of your May Challenge (although, somehow a post of mine is time-stamped for the last day of April?…we’ll count it anyway, okay girlfriend?  Thanks, I knew you would understand).

Today’s post, our last one, is writing about:

“A Vivid Memory”

This may take me all of today and well into the night.  I had written in an earlier post that I would revisit something.  I made a special promise to my oldest daughter.  And today is the day I fulfill that promise.  It began the day that she was born.

P1160329

She arrived three weeks early.  And, just like any new child’s arrival she came without a warranty clause, a type-written instruction manual and no return address label.

I’d practiced the natural birthing process, The Bradley method.  The 8.25 months of pregnancy went without a…

View original post 2,048 more words

I Was The Kind of Kid Who…

•April 9, 2015 • 4 Comments

Mallory Can't Even

LisaFrank

I was the kind of kid who entered to be in the Lisa Frank catalog ultimate fan section numerous times (as seen above), only to be outdone by other children who probably didn’t look like they were aiming for the “Nick Nolte mugshot” when styling their hair that day.

I was the kind of kid who was emotionally invested in the television show Cheers.

I was the kind of kid who had zero athletic ability, and who did so poorly during 7th grade basketball tryouts, lost out to a girl who straight up vomited during the tryout and still made it.

I was the kind of kid who used to reenact the Mary Katherine Gallagher sketches from SNL at school and then be politely asked to stop by a teacher.

I was the kind of kid who once wrote a letter to American Girl asking them to lower their prices because they were…

View original post 226 more words

Stepping into the garden, April 7, 2015

•April 7, 2015 • 31 Comments
No brickwork.  Corralling the stomach flu.

No brickwork. Corralling the stomach flu.

I dug up the invasive Tiger (Ditch) Lily and gave my neighbor the Oleander!

I dug up the invasive Tiger (Ditch) Lily and gave my neighbor the Oleander!

The transplanted Oregano, Sage and Thyme visiting the trailing Rosemary!

The transplanted Oregano, Basil, Sage and Thyme visiting the trailing Rosemary!

Palm Tree on lower left side.

Palm Tree on lower left side.

Nellie Moser Clemantis!

Nelly Moser Clematis!

Texas State Flower, lupine, Bluebells!

Texas State Flower, Lupine, Bluebonnet!

Oak Leaf Hydrangea & Silver Leaf Hydrangea!

Oak Leaf Hydrangea & Silver Leaf Hydrangea!

Comfrey is blooming!

Comfrey is blooming!

Nebraska Red Penstemmon!

Nebraska Red Penstemmon!

Beans are up!

Beans are up!

NEW EXCERPT FROM A ROLL IN THE HAY (comments invited and appreciated)

•April 6, 2015 • 2 Comments

Such a talent, you are. A weaver of words that dance across the mindscape, leaving me wanting for more.

My Sanctuary, the Garden…

•April 1, 2015 • 4 Comments

 

(These particular photos were taken on Sunday.  I’m hoping I can keep track on a regular schedule so that I can make garden notes.) Some of you will recall, from earlier posts, my enthusiasm at noting the greater numbers of bees, butterflies, dragon and damselflies that increase in number each year.  I also have a few small garden snakes, every once in a while, tiny, pencil-thick, grey-brown with white bellies.  Initially, I did the heinous act of killing them with the garden hoe, only to learn at how very important they are to the overall health of the natural ecosystems.  Gecko and Anoles lizards are most numerous, too, and are actually quite the entertainers.

 

Rustic trellis for the Pole Beans

Colorful wire cages for tomatoes and cucumber vines

image

At at the forefront,  my perennial herb section

Yucca plant was a mere root three years ago.  I’m growing it for my niece.  

image

Here is a lengthwise shot.  Note the plastic barrels slightly submerged, and yes, one appears to be a planter, it’s currently holding tiger-lilies.  They were planted eighteen months ago and are quite invasive.  I had grown hybrid and prized varieties, and was aghast when I learned the ‘ditch-lily’ would choke out those beauties!  I’m afraid I will be fighting the battle of this invader for years.  NOTE to the World:  stuffed beneath the greenery, in that large bucket, are the cast-offs that I’m turning into compost.*  

image

From top to bottom:  trailing sage, greek oregano, thyme and sage.

image

Fennel is perking up from her winter’s nap (forefront), three small dill plants and another tomato plant, forward of the herb garden.

image

*The black, semi-submerged buckets are two-fold.  Discarded banana peels, coffeegrounds, teabags, yard refuse, etc., are placed into these.  This is also my main means of irrigation for the garden.  While working in the garden, I will let the hose trickle, allowing the sub-surface to irrigate directly to the roots.  It may be necessary to hand water small plants until their root systems grow toward the underground source.  This is especially true of my onion sets.  You are unable to see them in these photos, but they outline the garden, eventually marigolds will also make their entry.  (Onions and marigolds help to keep unwanted bugs at bay.)

VENTING ON VACCINES

•March 29, 2015 • 2 Comments

I met Sally in the Blogshere several years ago. We were up to our elbows in bread flour, learning all we could about sourdough breadmaking. Today she isn’t blogging about bread, but comes front and center, discussing the need for child vaccines.
Sally is an expert in this field. (She encourages us to share her knowledge with others. I highly recommend that you do.)

Thank you.☕️

Bewitching Kitchen

Disclaimer #1:  This is not a food-related post

Disclaimer #2: I am taking my gloves off

Few things upset me more than the disturbing movement to stop vaccinating babies and kids. For a while now I’ve been debating whether I should write about it. Having watched an episode of Frontline the other day that dealt with the subject, and almost succumbing to cardiac arrest while screaming at the screen, I decided I cannot stay silent any longer. First of all, let me get this straight out up front: I have a doctoral degree in Biochemistry, three years post-doctoral experience in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at Stanford, and I taught Microbiology to Medical students in Brazil at Universidade de Sao Paulo. I also worked for about 10 years on basic research into the biotechnology of vaccines.   I’m not bragging, but I am stating my experience, that hopefully will convince…

View original post 2,544 more words

The Day Before.

•March 24, 2015 • 2 Comments

The race girl spills the beans…M2, in all her glory. 😊

Mallory Can't Even

Hello, and happy Monday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend! I am currently walking around like a newborn horse, because I completed the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Dallas yesterday morning!! Jake is still editing some of the pictures he took on his fancy camera, but I have some (by some, I mean two) pictures I got from my mom. I’ll do an actual race day recap tomorrow, but I thought today’s post could cover the night BEFORE the race, because it was jam packed from start to finish!

My Saturday started at 9 am with a small four hour shift at work, and then Jake and I booked it to the DART train into Dallas. The race expo to pick up my packet closed at 5 and I didn’t get off work till 1, and I still had to eat and make it into Dallas! Shortly…

View original post 776 more words

Rockin’ and rollin’ the streets

•March 23, 2015 • 10 Comments

 Dallas, TX

March 22, 2015

She’s been putting in the hours at the gym, along the shoreline of Grapevine Lake (Saturday morning run club), and was ready to roll with the best of them yesterday.  This was her second time to both start and finish her goal.  By-the-way, if you are new to my blog, M2 is my beloved daughter, the youngest of two.  Both of them are runners, in more ways than one:  running shoes, and as in, “RUN!”

image

Setting up her tunes

image

“I can do this!”

IMG_0430

 Out of the gates:

IMG_0437

Her Grandma made signs!!!

IMG_0488

She’s all but a blur…

IMG_0490

Earth to man, “MOVE that suitcase!”

IMG_0491

IMG_0492

IMG_0493

Kudos to you, M2!

IMG_0494

Celebration time!

IMG_0504

My Dear Mr. or Mrs. Coffeegrounded

•March 22, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Hello Sid, it’s me, CoffeeGrounded (Mrs.). Thank you for your kind words, they flow from me out of appreciation. Your book plays itself out during the most spectacular and nostalgic years of life. While reading, I play out mental images of times and places, ‘filmed’ as if these moments unfolded themselves in black and white. As paragraphs flip along, the storyline turns to Kodachrome color, and the dance continues.

I wish you the very best! Each evening I sit and savor a chapter or two. It’s very easy to linger, in hopes that this world stays just for a wee bit longer. Great books have a way of ensnaring us and your’s is no exception.

Congratulations! Thank you for writing, too, (I must admit I did a double-take when I saw the title of your post). :)

BOOK SIGNING AT BARNES & NOBLE TODAY IN THE VILLAGES

•March 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

You’re in the wrong setting, forgive me Sid, but folks in a Barnes & Noble are deluged with volumes, tombs, and generally already have an idea of what they are looking for.

Set up shop on a street corner, do it at noon. Morning won’t work, they are hurriedly trying to beat the buzzer; Afterwork, and all they want to do is leave the day behind them.

You may need to register with the city, you don’t want a code violation. Park your card table in strategic places about your city.

I wish you the very best! Your book is a wonderful read. Nostalgia spills forth each time I open it. It’s good to be reminded of our days of yore. Who was it that said, ” You can never go back home?” They were wrong. Home resides within us and memories are the glue that binds ones soul to their heart.

Frendship Trellis

•March 19, 2015 • 17 Comments

Trellis gifted by my wonderful neighbors:

image

They ventured off to meet their first-born Grandson and upon their return from Arkansas they brought me one very sweet item.  (No!  Not the baby, darn it!)  Their son-in law has crafted trellises to use in the garden to support pole climbers.  This gives me a great idea for pole beans and cucumbers in my limited growing area.

image

I love the rustic nature of Dave’s work.  He gathers wood from his land to use in the construction.I’m seriously considering hiring him to build my dream compost boxing unit.  Here’s what I use now, an old firewood stack unit.  Each Spring the chicken wire  has to be removed to dig out the compost.  As you can see, it is also difficult to turn the compost, thus slowing down the process.

image

Check out my bricks.  I was planning on building a small sidewalk into the walk-up to the compost this past year.  A nine-month bout with pneumonia sidelined that project, but now I’m thankful that work didn’t make it off paper to ground.  Those bricks will be used, hopefully, during construction of the new composting area.  I have twice as many bricks as you see here.  Brick work isn’t difficult if you have someone to carry the sand bags to the work area.  I actually enjoy setting brick.

image

Over in the N.E. corner of the backyard I noticed my clematis vine is setting out leaves.  This plant is stunning when it’s in bloom.  We’ll visit her again in early summer to cherish her beauty.

image

Gilbert Grape darted out the back doors and into the garden, determined not to miss a thing he went “incognito-mode,” slyly slinking about in hopes that no one would recognize he had escaped the confines of his indoor comfort zone.  We rarely let this little guy out.  I am just too afraid that he will be kidnapped.  Yes, I think he’s priceless and irreplaceable AND everyone would want him.  He’s a part of me that can’t get lost,  As he is as valuable as Princess Hannah,  and simply as entertaining.

image

Hannah

image

MY FIRST BOOK SIGNING AT BARNES AND NOBLE

•March 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Sid, I haven’t a clue what city that B & N was located in, but if you get yourself near the DFW area, I promise to come and purchase an autographed copy. (I’d have you sign the electronic version, but your signature would clog up this iPad screen.)

Excerpts From A Roll In Hay (In Progress)

•March 13, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Telling it like it is, or was. Lovely start. I’ll be that nosy fly on the wall because I am perverted like that. It comes from having grown up in a large family. We always got into everybody’s business. Your kids will be grateful to have this. It’s always best to get the news from the horses mouth.
Wishing you a splendid run for your money, and longing to read more. Type fast. I’m old!

Can we talk?

•March 10, 2015 • 21 Comments

About these two:

They look cozy, don’t they?  They should be.  They are thieves, eating my food and claiming my favored nap spots.  Working in tandem they seem to always be one step ahead of me.  That was, until today.

I sat here scheming for the better half of the day, and then it hit me.  I knew what had to be done.

I phoned for help, using mom’s cell phone I got ahold of that lady named, Siri.

I found out about keyboard shortcuts, speed dialing and the delivery numbers to a couple of our local pet food suppliers.  There’s even a number to call for pet rescue, and another for varmit snagging.

Pardon me while I spiff myself up a bit before Officer Hannah arrives.  The two of us girls have to stick together.  Living in a house with two Toms’ is a constant challenge, but we are now prepared to take on this mission.  Those two thieves have thieved their last bowl of my kibble.  Change is blowin’ in like a twister out of the Gulf.

We got this.  Are you ready for the showdown?

Hannah’s Love for Fluff

•March 6, 2015 • 4 Comments

 

“My favorite spot to sip hot coffee on a cool day.  On a cold day, not so much.”

image

“I need a dry seat and a few more degrees of warmth, first.”

image image image image image image image image…..

She loves anything to do with water, it matters not what form.  Indoor doggie that she is, I try my best to keep her active.  She went in-and-out the door all morning.  Finally, mid-day I knew we had to rendezvous the concrete jungle.  Three and a half miles later and I knew she wanted to continue onward.  Dinner time was calling; it was time to head for home.  The cats would not forgive our tardiness.

…..

The Author and Excerpts of His Stories

•March 2, 2015 • 2 Comments

Nostalgia runs deep, but love runs deeper. When I came upon this excerpt yesterday afternoon I found myself desperate to decipher the ending. Again, earlier today, I ruminated over it. ‘Tis the truest of beauty when we are lost in the soul of a writers thoughts. Gifted writers have a cunning way of keeping us at that edge. Sid Nachman is one of them.

Sunday Funnies

•March 1, 2015 • 12 Comments

Just look at his face. Take one single look! I know, your heart melted; didn’t it? I’ve wanted to adopt this baby from the first time I set eyes upon him. He’s got a case of milk breath, tied up in a little, bitty bow! I need an eight-by-ten glossy, heck, I need a mural! How could anyone see that face and not be reminded of all that is good in life? I rest my case. Let’s follow this little fur-baby into his world of antics. Elayne Griffith is an amazing, talented artist. She wrapped her heart and her paint colors around the aura of Blaze. Come, let’s enjoy the romp. Thank you for charting these new waters, Elayne! ❤️ And an extra special thanks goes out to the folks at, catsatthebar.org  (They work with a shelter, raising funds, as well as fostering several felines from around  the Montreal, Canada area.)  Please visit their site to learn more about their fundraising efforts and background information on their adorable family of cats. Blaze is one of their rescues!  My gratitude to Tom, his wife and daughter, for their love, support and generosity.

Poem in burntdistrict

•February 26, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I am so unaware of rules, but I’m very aware of what I enjoy. It’s always fun to be surprised by the juice-flow of the writer.

Enjoyed this.

Eric Weiskott

A poem of mine appears in burntdistrict 2 (2013). Written in couplets of roughly eight-syllable lines, this poem began as a parody of the absurdly specific submission guidelines issued by some poetry journals. I felt that some of these guidelines had rather strange implications for the act of composing verse. Here is the poem:

Submit Seasonal Poems Two Months in Advance

I am writing autumn poems
in June, Doctor, my liver hurts,

I have started thinking in words
I don’t recognize, please help me

kill myself. I love the summer
and what the fall inherits,

trees, the clarity of nighttime,
it is fall during each season

separately, but especially
during summer, which sometimes begins

two months in advance, and sometimes
earlier, the chicks melt, sometimes

summer begins in other countries,
in advance, indiscernibly,

one day it is clear to people
through and through.

View original post

Fresh Air

•February 26, 2015 • 10 Comments



Twisted and knarled, and yet so beautiful

Stone stepping thru melted snow



My wings are broken, my heart is not



I am so many things



Springing toward Spring



Best friend EVER



Falling out of winter; begging for the first kiss of spring



Alliterative meter after 1450

•February 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

I stand in awe. My education did not extend into more than a bit of Junior College, and even then, my studies were technical (computer). I read, memorized and recited Chauncer’s, Canterbury Tales, my Senior Year of high school. To see your depth and commitment to classic studies of the greats is impressive.

Eric Weiskott

My essay, “Alliterative Meter after 1450: The Vision of William Banastre,” will appear in an edited volume devoted to early English poetics, edited by Lindy Brady and M. J. Toswell. This collection is currently under review at Medieval Institute Publications. My essay provides a first critical edition and verse-historical contextualization of a previously unremarked late fifteenth-century alliterative verse prophecy found uniquely in Oxford Bodleian Library MS Hatton 56 (Digital Index of Middle English Verse 3220). Here I reproduce brief selections from the edition and commentary:

New Index of Middle English Verse (NIMEV) 1967.8 is a verse prophecy extant in one fifteenth-century manuscript. The Vision of William Banastre, as I title it, has received no critical attention and has never been edited. The poem combines the tradition of vatic, anti-Saxon prophecy inherited from Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia regum Brittaniae (ca. 1138) with oblique references to early fourteenth- and mid fifteenth-century politics. The work offers…

View original post 565 more words

Cupid’s Arrow

•February 14, 2015 • 32 Comments

image

Hannah

 

Thrust itself into the center of my universe.  It came barreling toward me at the mightiest of speeds, captured a dream and materialized it.

Somewhere in Oklahoma a little pup was born nine years ago.  And because none of us truly knows her birthdate, we estimated her age, at rescue, to be somewhere around  three months of age.  It was decided we would choose Valentines Day as her ‘given’ birthdate, knowing that we would always want to celebrate her birthday day, and we would need a date to mark her years for health and medical concerns.

Princess Hannah, full of Grace, Hoberg, was initially rescued by her folks.  They resided in a house right off campus (Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK), a few houses away from her owner.  Somehow they were uneasy about her living situation, and fearing that she was not in the best of hands, they took it upon themselves to ‘politely’ introduce themselves one day to the man who was her owner.  Evidently the guy offered them a visit into the home so they could pet the pup.  Amongst an array of filth and empty beer cans they inquired about how he had obtained her.  If my memory serves me correctly, it was from a box of puppies being given away up in the Wal-Mart parking lot. As the kids visited, the beer meister asked if they’d like to take the dog off his hands, evidently he labored and wasn’t around much to care for the little thing.  Bingo!  Mission accomplished.  He sent them on their way with a bag of Wal-Mart’s less-than-finest chow and the little pup.

Spring Break brought those two kiddos to the house, and with them came their gregarious, rambunctious little girl.  Somehow those two college kids failed to see the warning signs written all over me.  Let’s just blame it on the fact that they weren’t aware of MY history. I’d grown up in a home where many puppies came and went, all of them beautiful, all of them so ready to be loved by the greedy hands and hearts of the six children that resided with them.  There was just one problem.  Our father was a professional dog breeder and trainer in his spare time, every evening after work and mornings before going off to his job, he trained them, ran them and fed them.  His idea of our playtime with them existed as this:  cleaning their pens and being sure they had clean water.  We were not allowed to pet or play with them and we were taught to never make direct eye contact with them.  My father had a mission.

Living with AKC puppies for us kids was a somber chore.  Can you imagine German Shorthairs, Black Labradors and Weimaraner dogs of outstanding breedership being off-limits to the loving hearts and minds of those who lived among them?  No, probably not. So imagine two college kids arriving at my doorstep with a little yellow Lab.  Think of the sheer delight of seeing her romp thru a house, fancy-prancing her way right into my heart as two ignorant school kids are showing off their prize, their joy and telling the story of her rescue.  Was I slobbering, could they read the greed within my eyes?

Okay, I exaggerate, I’m sure.  Surely I did, I mean, after all the youngsters were dear to me.  One a daughter, the other would one day become my son (in-law).  I’m sure I behaved.

Spring turned to summer, and one thing led to another.  My daughter left for an internship in California, and her boyfriend headed to Egypt for three weeks.  They needed a pet sitter.  I don’t even think I raised my hand for duty.  The inflection in my voice surely cured any anxiety they had about leaving their sweet pup with me.

Time passes, boyfriend arrives back to the States and daughter is two thousand+miles away in California.  I have a little ‘sit-down’ with dad of puppy.  I conger up all sorts of excuses as to why I might keep the dog a bit longer, especially since he’ll only be returning to Oklahoma to finish up a six-week course before heading out to California to visit his family and my daughter.  My skills at motherhood WERE in excellent shape that particular day. Stellar, in fact!  That boy got in his truck and drove away believing things were all lined up to be ‘fine.’  And truly, they were.  I set my sights on exploration.  Hannah and I drove if we couldn’t walk.  We bought a boatload of toys, dog shampoo, a kiddy pool.  The two of us were in cahoots and no one was on to us.  Yet.

Dang!  Six weeks traveled faster than an Oklahoma twister.  Dad came back and had a plan for him and Hannah to journey off to California and join up with the troops.  It was time to spill the beans.  I don’t even remember how Hannah and I had a talk with him.  Maybe we didn’t?  Maybe he just looked around the house and realized Hannah had purchased the real estate?   Perhaps he read between the lines as I told stories of our adventures.  Explained the trip to the vet for a health check, vaccinations and the fact I had her spayed?  (Don’t go all Zombie on me.  The discussion had arisen that they planned on doing that as soon as their budget allowed.)

It’s nine years later.  The kids are married and living in Northern California.  They have a Goldendoodle, named Zulu.  All three of them are living the good life, hiking the mountains and venturing out back and down the trail to the lake.  Hannah?  She’s a regular at the park.  Neighbors ask about her before they ask about anyone else living in the house. Starbucks recognizes her moms voice and hands over a PuppyWhip when tea and coffee purchases are made.  CVS Drug store pharmacy drive thru offers her a cookie at prescription pickup time.  Three-Dog Bakery greets her with treats out of the pastry case. Everyone in there knows her by name, and heaven forbid if her owner arrives without her in tow.  You’d think a crime had been committed!  So where do I go from here?  How can I convey what the past nine years have meant to Hannah, to me, to all of our family?  What could I do to express the magnitude of joy she has brought, the love we have shared? Which part of the rescue belongs to whom?  I believe that Hannah is a gift beyond measure, priceless and precious to more than simply me.  She has touched lives and broadened horizons.  And, it began all by the grace of God with intuition by two who felt a life needed help.

Happy Birthday, Hannah!  You cannot measure our love and we cannot measure yours, but we know one thing:  you have gifted all of us.  We are blessed beyond measure.

 

image

 Miss Zulu

Amidst a Concrete Jungle

•February 8, 2015 • 12 Comments

image

Perched high within oak

Squawking loudly to approach

Of encroaching folk.

image

I looked at my Lab

Saying, “We’ve invaded here.”

Sadly, we knew, “BAD!”

eyeBoogers: Lord Of The Soup

•January 28, 2015 • Leave a Comment

Attention to anyone that is encountering (or has encountered) the following Android or Google issue(s). Is there a fix, a patch or a contact number that could help with this problem? If you know of one, would you please leave a note in my comment section ?

Thank you!

The State of my Union

•January 20, 2015 • 15 Comments

 

by,

Gilbert Grape

 

image

 

Mom found me in a shelter.  There wasn’t any thing special about me, except that my adoption fee was three times the normal price.  Evidently that didn’t bother my mom, but my new dad was very curious about why she would pay so much for a shelter cat.  Her explanation was simple:

“Look at him!  He resembles both Ace and Whippie-Nippy!”

I would later learn that both of those felines had also been Tuxedo cats, dear to Mom’s heart and to M1 and M2’s.

image

Yes, I’m a long kitty-cat.

image

Oh no!  She has that camera phone out again.  How many times do I have to remind her that I don’t enjoy photo shoots?  There’s only one thing to do.  She’s going to have to work for this.

image

I’m trying to hide behind this C-PAP machine, but she’s got me cornered.

image

“Mum, aren’t there phone calls, laundry or vacuuming waiting for you?”

image

She’s not leaving, is she?

❤️

Reflecting Solitude

•January 20, 2015 • 2 Comments

‘Tis the Land of Where the Wild Things are…’

 image

Hannah scouts our safety

image

Solitude,

It is found amidst the jungle of concrete corralling Hannah and I within our enclave.  We stroll its vastness through the temperate season offerings. Fall runs back and forth between Indian summer(s), as a butterfly might flit between the offerings of her nectar.  Winter?   Thank goodness she does not linger long.  This is not a playground for her antics, but Summer, restlessness and determined, not only does she smite  us with her heat and humidity, but chases us in maddened fury with the ever increasing concerns of the dreaded West Nile Virus.  Spring is our blushing, virgins kiss, offering us songs of triumph followed with scampering squirrel babies, birds singing their return from migration.  And, if we are lucky, the rains will come, flowers and grasses will bloom.   Bees, damselflies and dragonflies aplenty, shall weave between a sea of green that gently unfolds to color.  Our renewal will awaken and revive us.  We say that Texas really does have four separate seasons, but they don’t necessarily follow the rules and cycles of other territories.  And in my minds review of this past year I can no longer believe that claim is solely ours to make.

Encroachment to the wood

image

Welcomed by a trestle, beckoned by her handrail

image

The Duty of Believing

•January 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

 

it divides us in our ignorance

binds us when we stand as one

builds a fortress of impenetrable

strength, when bonded by mans

duty of brotherly and sisterly

love, thus a unity of nations

join forces to stand as one

nothing stronger known to man

than those who rise to take a stand

 

 

 

Attn: President Obama

•January 11, 2015 • 2 Comments

My heart breaks for all of Paris

in the aftermath of this

weeks heinous acts of terrorism.

 

I am honored, for all the World that took notice of leaders from foreign nations, standing in unity, giving support, grieving for the lives lost.  And, I am extremely ashamed that you did not walk among the sea of humanity. You did not walk for us, the people of the United States of America.  Your absence spoke volumes.  Yes, Holder was in Paris, but absent from the march.  (Earlier I had reported that he was part of the event, not so.  Also, I stated that Kerry was present, wrong again.  He was actually at an economic summit in India.)  Where do you stand and with whom do you stand, the elected President of our country?  Many of us were slapped across the face by your disrespect.

Google for Android…

•January 7, 2015 • 6 Comments

Help, please…

 

There is no speech typing available for TTS after the latest update (noted today via a blog friend).  I’m sure you are working hard to correct the issue.  Those of us that communicate daily  (with our friends of limited or no vision), ask that you expedite this issue.  Countless world’s are brightened daily by your generosity, expertise and efforts.

 

 Thank you, Google

Short and sour…

•January 6, 2015 • 5 Comments

No sweetness

Included

 

I got all excited when my new iPhone arrived.  Then I began to question some of my thrill skills.  Was it the newest operating system and browser updates that tossed burning flares all up in my excitement?  Something had gone awry and I  simply felt that I must ask if other Apple users have also found themselves rather ignorant and stupid lately?

 

As if we have landed within the walls of:

Auto-correct

He//?

 

We’ve all enjoyed those bursts of creative expression where we find ourselves typing away at top-notch speed, hit the send button, only to discover upon re-reading our priceless email that we seem to have lost something.  There is some sort of ancient librarian (self-taught and dimly lit, I might add), that has taken it upon herself to recreate our whole storyline.  Rereading our work makes us wonder if we know ourselves, and worse yet, will those we’ve corresponded with forgive us when we say:

 

The machine made

Me do it!

 

P.S.  For those who ask the question, “Why didn’t she just read and edit before hitting the send button?”  This is my reply:  “New and improved things are simply that, NEW and I’MPROVED!”  And now that the hornets nest is open, let me just say this:  I still love my Apple devices.  I’m human and I just felt like ranting.”  😕

 

 

It’s time to see

•December 25, 2014 • 42 Comments

(The above header pays tribute to one that is gone, but never

forgotten.)

Sydney Hoberg, 2012

What that sleigh threw down your chimney.  Actually, I’m one ahead of you.  I opened my gift weeks ago.  Promised the giver of gifting that I would post a picture so that he could post it along with other happy winners of his contests.   I’d won a t-shirt for a reply to a post. Now here’s where things get dicey:

I kept putting ‘Picture Day’ out of my mind, trying ever so hard to see which one of my girlfriends I could get to pose as ‘me’…it soon became obvious that they didn’t want to be identified, nor would they shed light on how they had become nefarious criminals. (Hmmm?)  Well, into another bout of pneumonia, drugged with antibiotics, steroids and several inhalers, I finally found my way into diving off the cliff.  Drugs do that, you know. Even those meant to make you heal.

Let me warn you!  This was also my first attempt at learning how to do a selfie.   Forget the arthritis and the lost spring in my step, I was simply clueless, and you will note, I don’t seem to have self-taught myself much within the hours spent struggling at my new craft. (Short lived, I might add.)

Scared to death that the photos would be posted all over the Internet, I pleaded and asked if I could mail them to an address other than the public WordPress account at: http://www.catsatthebar.org  Tom offered a legitimate address and I tried three times, maybe four.  Then I just decided I’d go rogue and invite the world into my bathroom, my living room, and the backyard.

The shower curtain offered up some worthless advice.  “Lady, your daughters have more of a clue then you’ll ever have.  Have you no shame?”

“No and why don’t you just leave it to me and Mr. Mirror?”

image

Asking the mirror for advice…damn thing was clueless…

The mirror operator

I found a serial photographer for this shot…the dog.  Labs can do the most amazing things if you dangle a rib eye anywhere within inches of their nose.

image

Where does one look while filming themselves?

image

Let’s try this again…

image

One last chance to get it this time, just because http://www.catsatthebar.org is an organization dedicated to feeding and finding homes for those cats that have been abandoned, neglected or worse.  They are a, “No Kill” shelter , sometimes housing anywhere from 15 to 20 cats at a time.   “Thanks,” to  Tom and his wife, and all that are as dedicated to helping: house, feed and nurture, our feline friends!

image

From our house to yours…

•December 22, 2014 • 20 Comments

 

Merry Christmas

2014

 

(Click on the first photo to slide thru the album)

 

A Moment of Silence

•December 21, 2014 • Leave a Comment

 

For those affected by yesterday’s tragedy in Brooklyn, New York.   The senseless killing of two officers, simply doing their jobs, rings across our Nation.  The effect of their loss navigates beyond Brooklyn,  and echoes throughout the whole of the United States, not to mention across this world.

This is our time to give thanks to all who serve and protect.

Thank you, Officers.  You are underpaid, understaffed and at times, surely overwhelmed.

Zulu’s Wish

•December 18, 2014 • 4 Comments

All I want for Christmas

 

Doesn’t sit beneath a tree

nor twinkle among the stars

the Christmas wish for me

arrives only by plane or car

 

I crawled upon the bed

something I know I’m not to do

but sadness overwhelmed me

thunder-shirt, kerchief and all

 

so I climbed up here anyway

hoping to hear that, SHOUT

“Zubie, get off that bed!”

but silence only echoed

 

image

 

loneliness within my head

oh what I wouldn’t give

to hear you shout my name

mom reminds me every day

 

that soon you will return

and nothing will have changed

but dad I fear this can’t be true

I’m lost in tears of sadness

 

For nothing else will do

to ease this lonely space

unless I cuddle deeply

within the scent of you.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Bells Are Ringing

•December 16, 2014 • 7 Comments

A wonderful reminder from two of my best buds. Remember the children. Please! Their circumstances are beyond their control; they are simply victims of what we do not know.

Give them the sound of jingle bells, the reindeer tip-toeing across the rooftop and the Gift of Hope to Light their way.