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Archive for February, 2008

owl2-8-0092.jpgducks2-8-0561.jpgThe joys of living in Florida! The beautiful hooded merganser duck wintered in our pond this year. They are found as far north as Alaska, Manitoba and Nova Scotia. We had eleven at one time, but they seem to be heading back home now. When I went to check on them late yesterday afternoon none were in sight, but I caught on camera one of our beautiful resident birds, a barred owl. He flew by me not just silently, but with an absence of sound, a white noise in flight. He was not at all skittish about posing for the camera as I came within feet of him and even used the flash, as it was getting dark.

Our little acre would never be called manicured, but it is home to so many critters. In fact, we are a designated Backyard Wildlife Habitat. If you’d like a little Zippity Doo Da in your life, you might think about certifying your property. It is a simple thing to do and brings great rewards.

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If all your friends are only Christians, your circle of friends is too small.

Bob Bresemann, Pastor, New Creation Lutheran Church

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Bloggers Call

 I feel as if I am the last one on the end of a telephone game, where we whispered a secret to the person on the left. When the final person announced what he had heard it had no resemblance to the original thought. Through the miracle of the web that should not happen here. A post on Kat’s random thoughts blog told us about a project that will publish a book of blogs with proceeds going to WarChild. WarChild is a UK based charity that helps children from all over the world.This from the blog <a href=”http://peacharse.blogspot.com/2008/02/youre-not-only-one10.html“>Peach</a> should get you going. Remember you have only until February 29th. Good thing it’s Leap Year. 

Peach gives the following guidelines.

We would like you to submit (to us at bloggersforcharity@yahoo.co.uk) a written piece about something you’ve been through from any aspect of your life that you want to share. It can literally be about anything: your relationships, your past, a road not taken, being a parent, an illness or your regrets etc. We’ve called it “You’re Not The Only One” to reflect the camaraderie of blogging To summarise:

  • You must be a blogger with a live blog
  • It must be about something you’ve been through, amusing or serious or any style you like.
  • You can submit in your blogname and remain anonymous, or not, up to you.
  • It can’t be something previously published outside the blogworld, but anything from your blog, or something entirely new, is fine.
  • Try to keep below 1500 words.
  • You must pimp the book on your site and buy it if you make a submission to be in it!
  • Please LINK BACK TO THIS POST to spread the word!
  • DEADLINE IS 29th FEBRUARY 2008 for submissions.
  • Send your submissions to us at bloggersforcharity@yahoo.co.uk

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Distance

mothersmemorial-015.jpgI have an “elder” aunt who is. Aunt Fayrene has her finger on the pulse of our “tribe.” We don’t seem so far removed from the ancients when I look at it that way.  Our modern tribe’s feminine head creates family connections and archives not by chiseling stone, but on Hotmail. The result is the same. She is the glue that binds our family and records our progressions.

When the two of us were young a few years age difference seemed as vast as the distance from the street to our house. Now I drive by the old homestead and my front porch is almost sitting in the street. It’s not such a big step to relate this to the winnowing of family members. The top layer of the family has been peeling off over the years until now only a few aunts remain above me. Aunt Fayrene is the hub of the family, the go-to person, the “exalted elder.” At some point I came to realize our age difference is not as vast as it seemed when we were younger. She is only eight years older than I. Eight! All of a sudden I see myself sitting much closer to the street.

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Here’s how we busy citizens choose our president. First we read all the campaign slogans, talking points, the carefully crafted persona of each candidate. Then we see a Photo Shopped picture of each candidate exactly as supporters want us to see him/her. That is how it has worked in the past, but not in your future. In your future you will go to the next step — scratch and sniff. All the usual image polishing, patriotic, left or right leaning literature will dominate the presidential hopeful’s brochure, but there will be an added feature. So you’ll scratch and sniff anywhere on the print and a –shall we say—more natural, organic, quite often unpleasant fragrance will sting your nose with it’s truth. It will be like a clamorous buzzer going off or the scream of TILT TILT from the pinball machine – if the candidate calls for it.

There will be nothing candidates can do about this. Truth Ink will be mandated by a law passed while the whole Congress is operating under a vaporous fog blowing from vents of the Capitol. The vapor deemed WillOpeople will cause havoc, at least until a substance called WillOlobby is created. Then we’ll be back to where we are, but it will have been a wonderful ride to look back on with nostalgia.

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  • Do blogs with dark background tend to contain more dark, negative, angry messages? Just wondering.
  • There is concern in the financial community about imminent stagflation. Welcome to fixed income retirees’ world.
  • I despise searching for information on a subject only to be connected to a video link. If I wanted to watch video I’d turn on the TV. With a few exceptions, I’d rather read to search for facts. It’s certainly faster and I don’t have to watch a commercial to get to the subject. I’m just saying: warn me. I’ll click another link.
  • Do birds of a feather really flock together? Not at our bird feeder. Cardinals, woodpeckers, bluejays, and titmice come regularly and they plan their forays together. The feeder is either empty of guests or a waiting line has formed. Perhaps we need to rethink the old saw about birds of a feather.
  • As I passed through a room yesterday snapping doors closed, straightening rugs, picking up stray flotsam from the floor, straightening pillows, my movements seemed eerily familiar. Flight attendant! That was the feeling I got in my bones. And to think I was turned away from that job many years ago because of my height. I guess I’m showing them.
  • Wedlock. I know it’s a perfectly good word, but just doesn’t sound good. Is that why we mostly use it in a negative way? Ever hear of anyone being born “in wedlock?”

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I never get the memo. Do you ever feel that way? Take a trip to the grocery store. A pattern will appear about the third aisle. Sometimes every other shopper is well over six feet tall and I’m lost in a forest of belt buckles. No one tells me when it is Tall Day – or Bring Your Whole Family Day (that’s fun), or Learn Another Language Day, or Humongous Boob Day (sorry you missed it, guys). Then there’s Skinny Model Day (what are they doing around food?), Lovey Couples day, Grandma/Grandpa Day with lots of little wispy women looking as if they would blow away if the air vent poofed unexpectedly. Okay, that’s almost a fit for me except I’ve withstood a few hurricanes.

Did you get the memo about switching from mathematically to arithmetically? It was obviously new to talking heads on election night, too, because they sometimes had to correct themselves.

A few years ago the newspapers began to reverse the order of things that decreased and increased. No longer was it, “sales went from 2% per quarter to 6%.” Suddenly without warning they would say, “sales went to 6% per quarter from 2%.” That’s just not right. I’m sorry. Who stays up nights screwing with our minds like this?

Of course, I could just be one of those people who never gets the memo.

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The earth quivered, dust billowed and the rumble of his hooves set my heart racing. The bull in my recurring dreams was always a shiny black, snorting beast with one purpose—to get to me. Year after year he exploded into the night, bursting into my sleep. There was always a fence or tree behind me, but far beyond my capacity to climb even in my youth. As I aged my muscles turned from girly to jiggly and the chance of escape narrowed. But again and again I grabbed onto a branch or railing and prayed for strength to propel my body upward. In this position I could no longer see those bleached horns thundering toward me as I waited for the impaling. Then I would wake—always in time.

Even in the daylight “El Toro” inserted himself into my life. He was in the Texas pastures of my youth, the stock pens my dad and I visited the night before the auctions. Rodeos and bull riding were inescapable. But later in life I didn’t have to watch bullfights in movies or on TV or lock my eyes on the stock market bull when it filled the screen, but I did. What you resist you attract. There is no other explanation. The pull toward the menacing, magnificent animal grew stronger as the nighttime escape from him grew more intense. He was gaining on me, closing his distance before I reached the fence.

On a night about ten years ago I sat up after an encounter, my heart pounding. The screams that had no sound a second ago were muffled by my hand. No more. I could not take any more. I decided at that moment that next time it would be different; I would not run. I would not run. Could I will myself in that dream state to do the bidding of my cognizant mind? I was determined to try.

The bull was patient. He didn’t appear for months, but when he did, returned more menacing and determined than before. The familiar fear washed over me. He pawed the earth, looked up at me from his bowed head, and snorted.

“Go ahead,” my dream self said, “Do what you will. I am not running any longer. I can’t.”

El Toro’s massive muscles rippled as he aimed his blackness toward me. I stiffened my body and rooted my feet to the ground. He grew closer in a dust storm. Suddenly the thundering ceased, the dust swirled past me.

Morning came. I sat up in bed remembering his broad nose and forehead, gigantic even above his massive chest. I could see in my mind his long, black eyelashes. It was the last time I saw him.

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The Jenkins Group released these survey results recently.

-33% of high school graduates never read a book after graduation
-42% of college graduates never read a book after graduation
-80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year
-70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years
-57% of new books are not read to the last page

Yet, 80% of American adults want to write a book.

The math doesn’t add up.

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I just turned the radio on and Neal Boortz went to break after saying he still smelled smoke and asked someone to check on it. Surely some of the meteor’s fire balls couldn’t have reached Atlanta, GA!!  My grandsons aren’t far from there. Got to keep listening.

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