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Archive for October, 2007

A Minnesota woman was murdered yesterday after she left to meet someone who responded to her Craigslist ad for a job as a nanny. Something about that story had a familiar ring. And this was it. On October 3, 2007, here in Longwood, FL a woman’s house was invaded.  Two men hog tied and robbed her in her home in a gated community. She had recently placed an ad to rent out a room – on Craigslist. I don’t know that a connection was ever established and do not think the perpetrators have been caught.

So what are we to do? I doubt there is anything peculiar to Craigslist that would put a person at risk except that it is easily accessible to so many people. These victims might just as well have advertised in the newspaper with the same result. So what is the answer? I don’t know. We stopped advertising our free bamboo on Craigslist after receiving  a strange call. A woman said she would be coming from a distance and would need to use the bathroom when she got here and asked if she could come in the house. My husband did not encourage her to come.

We’ve encountered suspicious people in many circumstances. Maybe the answer is to be alert. I’d be happy to hear from others on this topic.

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Florida’s Signs of Fall

I was awakened this morning by consistent staccato taps or scratches, which I blamed on our Persian Emma. Armed with the squirt bottle, I found her sleeping soundly. I stood still, finally recognizing the ping of acorns tapping on the roof with a cadence spaced to let you almost fall back to sleep before the next BAM. No need to go back to bed. Can’t argue with them. Who says Florida has no signs of the seasons?

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A large guy stepped from the mega vehicle on the passenger side as I started to leave the grocery store parking lot today. I had locked my doors the minute I sat down, then unlocked and removed The Club from the steering wheel. It was a cool, pleasant day and I started to open the window just as the man began to knock on it. This scene was familiar. I had read it in many e-mail forwards. He would say something to get me to open up or get out of my car. I cracked the moon roof so I could hear him.

“You dropped something out of your trunk,” he shouted, pointing to the back of my car.

He was following the script to a T. I just stared at him. He disappeared behind the car and returned holding high one of my red, reusable grocery bags. Whew! I opened the moon roof wider and reached my hand out, taking the bag.

“Thank you.”

I thought a minute and added, “I’m sorry, you just hear so many stories.”

He waved his hand in dismissal and said he understood.

I did all the right things to thwart a person out to do harm. So why the sadness? It’s a heck of a way to have to interact with a helpful stranger.

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It’s a fair question and I hear it frequently. When can we expect a novel from you? I can’t answer that, but I will tell you what I am working on at present. It is a non-fiction account of points in our family life that I consider “hairy moments.” All lives consist of peaks and valleys, with some of each having great meaning, but I’m not going there. I’m taking you only to the peaks of excitement, fear and terror. Can a girl from a small Texas town who married her dream guy at nineteen and reared three children during the days of June Cleaver experience heart thumping moments? I’ve been told by a wiser writer than I that what seems typical to me might not to others. Maybe you? You may sample a chapter on “Works in Progress” page (at top). I’d love your feedback.

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ibis10-7-0011.jpgsnake10-7-0041.jpgThese shots were taken yesterday in our yard, located in a suburban, metropolitan area slashed by an Interstate, busy roads, malls and strip malls, etc. I point this out to show that where ever you live there is wildlife that would love to share your plot of earth. After all they considered it theirs before you came. It is in your hands to help save species—and you will be richer for it. Follow the link to National Wildlife Federation on the right and see how it easy it is to be certified a Backyard Habitat. Then get your camera ready.

(Photos are ibis in process of changing feathers and Fred, our beautiful black racer.)

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hawk9-7-0271.jpghawk9-7-0371.jpghawk9-7-032.jpgWhat began as another age-old battle between the birdfeeder and the squirrels turned into the craziest afternoon at our house. After years of frustration, one squirrel on steroids managed to scale our old pole, finesse over the guard and scarf up seeds meant for the cardinals, titmice, woodpeckers and blue jays. My husband’s answer was to buy the newest technology, guaranteed to thwart the most persistent fluffy-tailed rodent. This one required a hook, so Jerry extended the pole and reconfigured it. We filled it, made sure I could reach the hook, tested the spring that closed off food to anything heavier than a bird. All that was left was to wait and see if our usual visitors accepted the new contraption.

An hour passed. Our yard looked like Silent Spring. Then a shadow passed over as I looked out the window. There clinging to the pole was a red-shouldered hawk. We blinked at each other and I ran for the camera. I need not have run because he was there for a good half hour, staring at me, then at the squirrels eating scattered seeds below. He made no move toward them, but another hawk swooped down low as a squirrel scurried out of his way. The second one landed on the screened porch roof. They were there until I stepped outside for closer shots. Just after his screeching video debut the one on the feeder spread his wings and with a swoosh headed for a high tree branch.

Much later the smaller birds began marshalling their forces on the fence, then did fly-bys to check out the new feeding station before one finally landed. We are assuming they will get used to it and be back each day as usual. Perhaps the hawks will patrol the new feeder periodically and keep the squirrels in line. If that works we’ll just say, “We meant to do that.” Meantime, we enjoyed a spectacle in our back yard.

(In second picture above note squirrel on post behind the hawk. What was he thinking?)

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