Farewell

This blog, Crooked Creek, is just over five years old. It has been a good run, but it is time to bring it to an end. As I’ve told a couple of folks “I’ve said all I have to say.” They laughed, I suppose doubting there would ever be such a day. We’ve covered subjects fun and serious, general and personal, big and small. They will be here for several months if there is something you’d like to re-read and something you’ve missed.

I appreciate so much the 609 followers from over thirty countries. Some strangers I feel I’ve gotten to know through this relationship. Other followers are those I know personally and, regardless of the status, each follower is appreciated. Those who have commented have meant so much to me. Those comments added much to the subjects posted and encouraged me throughout the tough times when this platform became daunting. I wish each of you well.

I will be concentrating on health issues including chronic leukemia. Autumn is coming and I plan to get out and enjoy that favorite season. I’m hoping for more energy to explore in nature again as I have done in the past, walking the paths of Pope Lick Part and other beautiful and near by places.

A fond farewell, Sue B. Mattingly

Summer!

It is officially summer per the calendar even though technically summer began last night at 11:32 p.m. Due to the summer solstice, today will be the longest day of the year and tonight will be the shortest night. Regardless of the technicalities summer means fun in the sun and we all have our favorite things to do during this time of year. What are your favorites?

My favorite summer activities include anything to do with nature. Walking in a park, sitting by a river, watching the sunset over the ocean are all wonderful experiences. I hope that you have a safe and happy summer season.

Flag Day

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States on June 14, 1777, by resolution of the Second Continental Congress. The Flag Resolution, stated: “Resolved, That the flag of the thirteen United States be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the union be thirteen stars, white in a blue field, representing a new constellation.” Wikipedia

Flag Day is not a holiday and businesses will be open.

Tumeric

Do you use tumeric to cook? It is a bright yellow aromatic powder obtained from the rhizome of a plant of the ginger family, used for flavoring and coloring in Asian cooking and formerly as a fabric dye. My Mom used it and I do too.

Have you noticed anything wrong with this blog so far?

I have misspelled the spice in both the title and the first sentence. After years of using this ingredient, for some reason, I looked at the spice jar recently and realized it is spelled turmeric. That made me wonder if I had been pronouncing it incorrectly so, of course I googled it and was enlightened.

It is pronounced tur·mer·ic (ˈtərmərik) per the dictionary and you can hear the correct pronunciation here: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/pronunciation/english/turmeric

Is it possible I’ve been the only one pronouncing this word incorrectly? I’d appreciate your feedback.

Eighty

I just learned that Bob Dylan turned eighty years old on May 24th! How can this be? Dylan is a hero of mine, but as a rock and roller how can he be older than me? He won the Medal of Freedom in 2010 and the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2016.

Receiving the Medal of Freedom

He is prolific in song writing and I would be hard pressed to name my favorite. “Blowin’ in the Wind?”, “Girl From the North Country?”, “The Times They Are a-Changin’.” I could go on and on with those I love and I bet that you can too.

Photos from Wikipedia

What are your favorite Dylan songs? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LUKYhpj2sQg

Porch Parties Again

Spring time in Kentucky brings many treats, dogwood and redbuds in bloom, daffodils and tulips and lots of sunshine. One of the best things is weather for Porch Parties again. Even though most friends are vaccinated we still enjoy visits on the porch, theirs or mine. Sometimes we share a glass of wine but always good conversation and enjoyment. I look forward to many more parties on my porch or patio as spring turns into summer.

June

Some things you may not know about the month that starts tomorrow:

  • Aquarium Month
  • Candy Month
  • Dairy Month
  • Effective Communications Month
  • Fight the Filthy Fly Month
  • Gay and Lesbian Pride Month
  • Great Outdoors Month
  • Sue’s Birthday
  • National Accordion Awareness Month
  • National Adopt a Cat Month
  • National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month
  • National Iced Tea Month
  • Rose Month
  • Turkey Lovers Month

Anyone play the accordion? Love your turkey? You’re right at home in June!

Photos by Pixabay

Books

“A room without books is like a body without a soul.” Cicero

I believe this quote is true. I cannot imagine life without books or a room without books. As you’ve noticed I have blogged a lot of book reviews over the past several months. I cannot imagine a pandemic without books! This past year of being locked-down would have been unbearable without books to read.

What books have been especially important to you over this year of inactivity? Please share with us how books have helped you get through the COVID months since March of 2020.

Photo by Pixabay

Here are some other book quotes to think about.

“Books are funny little portable pieces of thought.” Susan Sontag

“Every book is like a purge; at the end of it one is empty . . . like a dry shell on the beach waiting for the tide to come in again.” Daphne DuMaurier

“Fiction reveals truth that reality obscures.” Jessamyn West

“The pleasure of all reading is doubled when one lives with another who shares the same books.” Katherine Mansfield

“Good books like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.” Louisa May Alcott

“Do give books – religious or otherwise – for Christmas. They’re never fattening, seldom sinful and permanently personal.” Lenore Hershey

“Truly each new book is as ship that bears us away from the fixity of our limitations into the movement and splendor of life’s infinite ocean.” Helen Keller

Photo by Pixabay

The Death Penalty Exoneration

Research by the Death Penalty Information Center (DPIC) shows the total number of people exonerated after being wrongfully convicted and sentenced to death is 185. 

The data from these 185 exonerations (see three case studies below) shows that particularly with people of color, innocent death row prisoners were convicted because of a combination of police or prosecutorial misconduct and false testimony.

It would seem that when this many people have been found innocent of the crimes that put them on death row, many others have been executed in spite of innocence. 

Case Study #1:

Joe Ligon entered prison when Eisenhower was President. He was released 68 years later. His trial was one day and he was referred to as “colored.” He was a child of 15 at the time of his conviction.

Most of his family is now dead. He re-entered a world he didn’t know. 

It has cost taxpayers $3 million to keep him for those 68 years excluding his treatment for prostatic cancer. 

Case Study #2

Raymond Riles arrived on death row in 1976 the year Gerald Ford lost his re-election bid. Forty-five years and 8 presidents later he remains of death row having lived through 3 execution dates that were canceled. 

Experts have deemed him extremely delusional and grossly psychotic. Texas may soon grant him a new trial where he could be placed in the general population of the prison rather than on death row.

Raymond Riles

Case Study #3

Pennsylvania death-row exoneree, Christopher Williams, was released from prison on February 9, 2021, after being exonerated in a second murder case. The second wrongful murder conviction had kept Williams incarcerated after he was cleared of the murder for which he was wrongfully condemned to die.  As unlikely as it may seem this man was wrongly convicted of murder twice. 

Christopher Williams

Source: DPIC

Surprise Visitor

Recently, I was on a camping trip with my daughter. I wondered whether I’d be able to sleep in a camper since it had been many years since I had camped. I needn’t have worried. I went to sleep easily in the crisp air of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. In the middle of the night there was a crunching sound near our trailer. I thought that it must be Allison’s dog, Jackson. Allison found the flashlight and bravely opened the camper door to find our midnight visitor!

Photo by Allison Puckett

Camping

It had been about 40 years since I camped when my daughter, Allison, invited me to go with her last weekend. I hesitated for about ten seconds before saying, “Yes!” My hesitation was about my daughter’s ability to pull and handle the trailer. I didn’t know if she had done it before. She assured me that she was ready and she was right. She operated like a pro pulling that load up and around mountain roads and backing it into our campsite.

A little history is called for here. The trailer that we camped in was formerly a tool hauler. Allison and her husband, Stan, converted the trailer into a camper which they refer to as a “tramper.” It has a double bed, an air conditioner, heater that looks like a fireplace and space for Jackson, the big Red Heeler they adopted. Allison’s favorite feature is the large door in the back that accommodates her motorcycle.

The Tramper in our campsite.

Due to rainy weather, we didn’t take the motorcycle but we did take Jackson with us and he was a very good boy.

Jackson

We left early Friday morning for the Great Smoky Mountains.

We’ve arrived!

The trip was fun and we were soon at the campgrounds, unpacking our food and building a fire in a light drizzle of rain. The rain soon stopped and we explored our surroundings.

Night Falls

On Saturday the sun came out and we drove into the Smokies. We saw so many beautiful sights including a bear, many deer and wild turkeys. Unfortunately I was having such a good time that I forgot to take many photos. When the rain came at night we watched old movies and rested well. On the way home we stopped at Cumberland Falls Sate Park and enjoyed one of our favorite sights. We had a picnic for lunch beside the Cumberland River.

Cumberland Falls
Allison and Jackson

We arrived back in Louisville around 7 p.m. feeling tired and very happy. It was a great trip! I’m up for tramping anytime now.

Pay Attention!

April has been designated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) as “Distracted Driving Month.” It seems to me that it should have been named “Non-distracted Driving Month” but be that as it may, we need to be reminded to pay undivided attention to our driving.

The NHTSA states that at least eight people die each day from distracted driving. That is in addition to the 1,000 who are injured daily. Cell phones are the first culprit that comes to mind. We love our phones and it is hard to not use them when driving, but whether hands-free or not, using them is dangerous. Auto manufacturers have not helped because they keep coming up with more technology to use while in the car.

Technology is not the only danger. Other areas named by the American Auto Association (AAA) as distractions from driving, include loose gear, GPS, eating, children and pets.

Stay alert! Stay alive!

Photos and Graphics by Pixabay

Adolescent Eagles

If you have not looked in on the Florida eagles lately, you should do so before they fly away. Although only about 2 1/2 months old they are testing their big wings. E17 and E18 won’t reside in the nest much longer. They are fledging further each day. https://swfleaglecam.com/?fbclid=IwAR36G6NPVtbd8mT_aIDtSGwzcHc7wlPf-CK6pupVCHa86zUFoAjlJBgtl5I

If you don’t know their interesting first days you can catch up here: https://crookedcreek.live/2021/02/06/eagles/

E17 & E18 at the rehabilitation center 2/6/21

“Sophie’s Choice”

Written by William Styron, one of my favorite authors https://crookedcreek.live/2018/02/26/books-3/ “Sophie’s Choice” is a tragic story of a young Polish woman who was sentenced to a prison camp in Germany during World War II. After her release she holds her heartbreaking family secret within until many years later. When she finally finds the strength to share it that leads to her dreadful end. This book is a moving story about a trio of characters; this woman, her mentally ill lover and their twenty-two year old friend. If you have not read it, give it a try, if you like this type of fiction. I do.

Big Red Surprise

My brother, Steve, lived in California with his family of four children. He had told his kids about Kentucky where he was born and raised. Some things were significant, I guess, but some were just about simple memories. It seems that California, at that time, lacked two staples that he missed, Big Red Soda and White Castle Hamburgers. I found it hard to believe that Big Red could not be bought there, in that state that had so much that Kentucky didn’t have. I did understand that the White Castle chain may not have reached the West Coast. Apparently he told his kids, particularly the oldest son, that when they came to Kentucky he would be sure that they had the privilege of both of these culinary delights.

As fate would have it he brought the family home and instead of taking the kids out for these things he’d promised, he first needed to visit a favorite aunt who he had not seen for a few years. No problem! I was an aunt too and in an effort to become their favorite, I loaded them all into my SUV and out we went to White Castle several miles away. I was also thrilled to have my young granddaughter, Katie, there to go with us too. The kids were less than impressed with the onion laden hamburgers but ate them without complaint. If fact, I was so eager to give them this great experience that I stuffed these kiddos with White Castle staples.

They were good kids and pretty quiet on the drive home as I told them that Big Reds awaited them at my house. When we got there I prepared desserts, Big Red Floats! For each child I added vanilla ice cream to a tall glass and then poured it over with Big Red. They ate, they drank, they loved the dessert! By the time their parents came home, I had a house full of nauseated kids. Some were white. Some were green. One was vomiting athletically.

When you think you are helping out, if it involves kids, greasy burgers and Big Red, think long and hard before enacting your benevolent plan.

Camp Grandmother’s

Life has been an adventure and I just realized that sounds like it is coming to an end. That isn’t what I mean, but after seventy-seven years on this orb, I have much to look back on. Education was fun and my career was satisfying, but pure joy only comes from sharing life with those you love. I am blessed by two wonderful daughters who brought sons into my life; even though they are called sons-in-law they are much more. Thirty years ago my first granddaughter was born followed seven years later by the second. It is hard to believe that it was so long ago because my memories of them as children seem so fresh.

From the beginning of their lives, they spent a lot of time with their Grandfather, who they called Pop, and me, Grandmother. As they grew our games became more complex but none were more fun than pretend. The oldest, Katie, was an actress and she loved getting into character and acting out elaborate roles. Her younger sister, Elizabeth, was fine with pretend too, but also loved being outdoors following her Pop around as he worked.

As they got older we went on short vacations each year before school started. One year we went to Kings Island in Cincinnati and another we spent a few days taking in the sights of Chicago. We shopped for back-to-school clothes and before we knew it grade school became high school and then college. Their days of staying at Camp Grandmother and Pop’s may be over, but the fun memories remain forever.

The Beast

Those of you who have followed this blog for a long time know how much I have enjoyed walking, especially in the parks near my home. I loved enjoying the changing seasons, animals such as deer which I often saw and just the exhilarating feel of being out in nature. A year or so ago I was walking 3-4 miles most days and then trouble struck. Like many seniors I now have a bum knee. Some of my friends are getting knee replacement, but I’m determined that isn’t going to be me. I’ve had two steroid injections with varying results and weight bearing can still be very painful at times.

After a few weeks of physical therapy I forgot all that I’d been taught and instructed to do, i.e., exercises. I’m not a good PT patient. Recently though I recalled a horrible machine that the therapist seem to enjoy seeing me suffer on. It was big and intimidating but was supposed to strengthen the leg muscles that would better support the knee. The more I thought about that contraption the more I thought I should have one to use at home. That was a problem because there was no room for it in my condo.

The more I thought about it the more I decided that I could live without the sofa in my office. With the help of my daughter someone was identified who needed a sofa so, much to the chagrin of my cat, Elliott, I gave the sofa away. Elliott would probably say I sacrificed his “napper.”

Next I had to find the machine and it wasn’t hard to do. It is called a Cardio Strider, which I promptly named The Beast! I will never tame it, but over the past week I’ve averaged 1.5 hours and eight miles per day. The Beast is big, it’s ugly and Elliott hates it. He seems to be embarrassed for me when I sit astride it and begin to work-out. I’m not going to give up. I’m going to get this bum knee in better condition so that I may be back walking in the park when spring gets here.

The Beast

COVID GRIEF

It has been a year since the pandemic began here in the United States. At that time, none of us knew what we were in store for. We were innocent and naive thinking we’d be inconvenienced for a short time. Now we know the hardships COVID19 is capable of causing. We wear masks, try to maintain a safe distance from others, don’t hug our loved ones and avoid shopping or eating out. People are working from home. Children have been trying to learn through virtual lessons. People we know and love are sick or perhaps even dying. Nothing is normal and we miss everything that we took for granted.

Most of us are aware that we are changed. We are not ourselves in many ways. Our feelings are not unlike those of grief when experiencing a specific loss, such as in divorce, a loss of a job or home, the death of a loved one or our own approaching death. In 1969, Elizabeth Kubler-Ross first described what she called the five stages of grief. Looking at these stages now may help us to understand some of our current feelings and moods. Those five stages are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance.

It is easy to see that our first reaction to the pandemic was denial that it could possibly be this serious. As time went on and we realized our lives were severely altered it was natural to feel anger. Anger at being told what we could and could not do, anger at those who refused to take those necessary precautions and anger at the inconvenience of it all was a frequent feeling. Bargaining may be harder to recognize, but at times we surely promised mentally that we’d follow the rules and that would bring an end to this curse sooner. Depression, including suicide, today is a significant problem according to mental health professionals. It is hard to fight when one is depressed and the condition becomes a vortex of despondency and a feeling of inertia that makes each day hard to face. Acceptance is having hope and in the case of COVID a feeling that normalcy will return and that life will be joyous again.

These stages of grief do not always come in this order and it isn’t unusual to switch back and forth among these stages. There are no exact parameters. Some degree of each stage will probably linger and overlap other stages. After twelve months of this experience you can probably identify these stages of grief in your life. Hopefully this recognition of the process and an understanding of the stages will help us to go forward with hope.

Photo by Pixabay

COVID19 in Prison

Each day we hear statistics regarding the number of COVID 19 cases and deaths occurring. We hear local, state, national and global figures. Our reactions vary depending on our own experiences with the pandemic. Unfortunately, we can become indifferent to the barrage of numbers unless it has affected us personally.

Numbers we don’t often hear are relative to how many cases and deaths take place in prisons. The incidence of COVID among prisoners is one in five. There have been over two thousand deaths which is 51% more than the general population. Each person who dies in prison leaves behind family who care about them. These loved ones need the same support and care that any grieving person needs, but it is difficult to receive due to the stigma of imprisonment.

A group of family members and other survivors have gone together to prepare a crowd sourced memorial for those who die in prison. Please review these obituaries, read about those who have died while locked away and look at their faces. They are our fellow human beings. Let’s spend some time honoring these lives lost. https://www.mourningourlosses.org

Finish February

Let’s wrap this month up! I’m ready for March. How about you?

DATESPECIAL AWARENESS
February 16World Voice Day (maintain your vocal health)
February 20World Day of Social Justice
February 21International Mother Language Day
February 22A Day Without News (honoring journalists)
February 22World Thinking Day/International Scouts Day/Founders Day
February 27International Polar Bear Day
February 27Anosmia Awareness Day (anosmia – loss of sense of smell)
February 28Rare Disease Day
Photos by Pixabay

Eagles’ Nests

A few days ago I shared with you the adventures of a bald eagle family in Florida. I hope that you have checked in on the live cam awaiting their return to the nest. If not, take a look at: https://dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html

Looking at that huge nest which is home to this family got me thinking about the wonder of how nests are built. All birds build nests but none in North America as large and sturdy as those of bald eagles. I did a little research and this is what I learned.

Both males and females work together to carry the materials and design the nest but the female does more of the actual placement of the pieces that construct the home. The eagles’ nest can be as much as eight feet across, twelve feet deep and weigh over one ton! The interior of the bowl is lined with soft down from the parents and other materials such as lichen or sod. The sticks used in construction are large and can sometimes be carried in the parent’s talons for miles. It takes approximately three months to complete the huge nest and this process just precedes the female laying her eggs. Most bald eagle pairs use their nests for many years, they simply do a little renovation as necessary. This process results in the nest growing in size and weight each year and it may be used for over thirty years. It is also believed that the couple working on the nest together strengthens their bond.

Placement of the nest can be in any type tree or when unavailable even on the ground or on a cliff. The taller the tree the better so that there is the ability for the parents to observe the surroundings for danger. Nests are usually near a river or lake for foraging for fish for the babies to eat.

The source of some of this information is Journey North.org and Photos are by Pixabay

February 11-14

Celebrate!

DATESPECIAL AWARENESS
February 11International Day of Women and Girls in Science
February 11Promise Day
February 12Darwin Day (his birthday)
February 12Hug Day
February 13World Radio Day
February 13Kiss Day (why can’t we kiss and hug on the same day?)
February 14Valentine’s Day
February 14World Whale Day
Photos by Pixabay

Eagles

Off and on for the past several years I have watched bald eagle families on a live cam in Florida. It is sponsored by a realty company and has four cameras active at all times. The main one is aimed into the nest and lets you watch the entire process from egg laying through hatching and then much later the young ones taking their first flights. 

The other three cameras show the surrounding area including a pond where the parents forage for fish. You can see the Southwest Florida Eagle Cam at: https://dickpritchettrealestate.com/eagle-feed.html 

On January 23, this year, two eaglets (E17 & E18) hatched on the same day which is unusual. For several days we watched as they were loving fed by H (Harriet) the Mom, and M the Dad. They were wonderful parents in every way. On January 29 I was devastated, as I’m sure were all watchers, when the nest was empty. There was a typed message that they had been removed by CROW. I was so sad to think that those little balls of fluff were kidnapped and no doubt killed by a crow. 

It took a while for me to learn that CROW stood for the Clinic for Rehabilitation for Wildlife! The clinic staff had noticed that E17 and E18 had an eye problem. Their eyes were partly shut and had an exudate and CROW swooped in to help. Using a cherry-picker to reach the nest they took the eaglets and moved them to the clinic for treatment. 

Although this is a good thing that they were able to help the little ones, it was still very sad to see Harriet and M sitting on the branches of the tree looking out and wondering where their babies had gone. 

An update stated that the eaglets were doing well and should be put back in the nest after two weeks of treatment. By my calculations that should be around February 12 so I stopped watching the sad empty nest and grieving parents. To my surprise on Friday, Feb. 5 a friend texted me with the exciting news that the babies were back so, of course, I started to watch the little ones all alone in the nest. It was sad and scary. Hour after hour passed and I wondered if the parents were going to return. I was so afraid that the eaglets would become weak from no food. I knew that CROW staff was watching the camera and knew more about the situation than I did, but still I worried.

Finally, in late afternoon the parents returned. They took turns with E17 and E18, brooding, feeding, fluffing the nest. Isn’t nature wonderful? You can now check in on this bald eagle family anytime you choose. Over the weeks ahead they will grow, explore and eventually take their first flight. We can enjoy the progression and look forward to H and M’s next brood.

E17 & E18 at the CROW clinic (Photo by USA Today)

Title photo by Pixabay

February 6-10

Now we are on top of this month’s special awareness so we can celebrate or remember as appropriate.

DATESPECIAL AWARENESS
February 6International Day of Zero Tolerance to Female Genital Mutilation
February 7Rose Day
February 8Propose Day
February 9Chocolate Day
February 10Teddy Day (yes, that’s teddy bear)
Photos by Pixabay

February1-5

February is a month chocked full of special awareness. First of all it is Black History Month and I, personally, think it is a shame that a month (and the shortest at that) has to be set aside for black history. If the contributions of African Americans were taught as part of American History then a special month would not be needed. Black Americans should be included in the teaching of all our history, but this is not the case. Therefore, we need to learn and acknowledge those contributions this month and remember them throughout the year.

Here are some others we may have missed:

DATESPECIAL AWARENESS
February 2World Wetlands Day
February 2Groundhog Day
February 4Rosa Parks Day
February 4World Cancer Day
February 5World Nutella Day 
This catches us up to date. More to come!
Photos by Pixabay

Things Change

Back in the day there were strict rules enforced by society about the attire of a bride. White dresses were for women who had never been married or had a child. The whiter the dress the more virginal the bride, I suppose. A veil was even added for the mystery of the pure woman beneath. I’ve never been to a wedding where the groom wore anything except a dark suit or tux depending upon the formality of the service. There wasn’t a special attire for men who were previously married or fathered a child. I have known weddings where the bride wore colors, however.

The same double standard is true of the wedding party. The guys are all groomsmen. Are they married? Who knows or cares. The bridesmaids are a different story. There is one who is chosen to be closest to the bride and she is either a “Maid” of Honor or a “Matron” of Honor depending upon her marital status.

But things change over time and I am totally on board with that. In today’s world any bride is entitled to a white dress and there are even maternity wedding gowns today. They come in any color including white. Take a look at this link for a great view of the selection available: https://www.pinkblushmaternity.com/collections/maternity-white-dresses

This is what is on my mind today and I wanted to share it with you. I love that traditions have changed in this area and that women are a little closer to equal thinking and acceptance. I welcome your thoughts.

Photo by Pixabay

Dishes With Attitude

Depression Glass

Depression glass sounds, well, depressing. It is far from it as can be seen in the photos below. Depression glass was made from 1929 to 1939 in the United States during the, you guessed it, Depression. Such pieces in beautiful colors of pink, yellow and green, are collectors pieces today and I have about two dozen dishes passed down by my maternal grandmother who I called Mammy. I love them because they were hers and then my Mom’s. I wonder where they will end up, because my heirs are not likely to really care for them. They are not that practical to use, since they are rather fancy in design. I’m guessing that they brightened the daily life of many homemakers during the depression when money and everything else was scarce.

One of the best things about these fancy dishes is that they could often be obtained for free in products such as Quaker Oats or at very low prices, making it possible for most homes to have at least a few pieces during that era. My depression glass makes me happy because of the memories it evokes.

Carnival Glass

Carnival glass is harder to describe so I’m going to rely on the three photos below and Wikipedia: “Carnival glass gets its iridescent sheen from the application of metallic salts while the glass is still hot from the pressing. A final firing of the glass brings out the iridescent properties of the salts, giving carnival glass the distinct shine it is known for.”

Carnival glass was first made in the US, but later was produced in almost every country. It was particularly popular in Australia. Huge production took place in the 1920s, again when housewives were looking to brighten up drab lifestyles and homes. The name comes from the fact that such pieces were often given as prizes at carnivals and fairgrounds. Much of it was sold, however, and some pieces today are collector’s items which can be worth considerable amounts of money, particularly the scarce colors. Carnival glass is fun because it is so different from what we commonly see today.

I have a few pieces of Carnaval glass passed down by each of my Grandmothers.

Fiesta

Fiesta dish ware speaks for itself! It is made in a fiesta of colors and it has brightened my home for over 60 years. It comes in open stock and I chose it for my dishes rather than a china pattern when I wed back in 1960. China came later, but Fiesta dishes served our family growing up and still decks my table today, everyday.

Fiesta is a line of ceramic glazed dishes introduced by the Home Laughlin Company of West Virginia in 1936. The art deco style dinnerware was not manufactured from 1973 to 1985 but is produced today in the colors in the photos below and many others. Over the years colors are introduced and then retired. A few of those pieces I have from Mammy’s kitchen, gray, rose and a very dark green.

Fun fact, at one point some Fiesta colors were found to be slightly radioactive, due to uranium compounds being used in the ceramic glaze. I have one such piece, a bright coral salad plate. I will keep it forever. I think my Fiesta dishes will find happy homes after I die, because my daughters and at least one granddaughter enjoy pieces already.

Cut Glass

Cut Glass dishes are not as prevalent as the other fun kinds described above. I have one cut glass bowl seen below. Cut glass is not the same as glass etching. Rather it feels slightly sharp to the touch at each of the cut surfaces. Pressed glass looks similar but is smoother and less valuable. I wish I knew the history of this cut glass bowl, but all I know is that it was my Mother’s and she loved and valued it, so I do as well.

Happy 2021

Most of us will not be sorry to say, “Good-Bye” to 2020, but if we are here to discuss it we can be grateful for the survival. With so many throughout the world succumbing to COVID19 we are lucky to be welcoming a New Year.

I wish a happy and safe new year to each of you. May your 2021 be filled with hope and success.

2021

Photos by Pixabay

The Unlived Year
Midnight strikes and the old year's gone.
We close the tablets we've written on.
And torn 'twist hope and doubt and fear,
we open the book of the unlived year!

An unlived year! Ah, stained with tears
are the well-thumbed volumes of other years!
Soiled by blunders and black regret 
are the pages we read with eyelids wet. 

But fresh in our hands once more is laid
a clean, new book by the Master made.
Unmarred are the pages lying there--
Twelve new chapters fresh and fair.

It is ours to write the daily tale,
of how we conquer - or how we fail;
Of struggle and effort and hope that makes 
like a song in the heart, when the bright day breaks.

Yes, fresh in our hands with the title clear, 
is the challenge now of an unlived year!
Author Unknown

Happy Holidays

My family tradition is to celebrate Christmas (the Mass of Christ) and I wish a Merry Christmas to all those who celebrate Christ. I know there are other traditions of faith and festivity and I wish Happy Holidays to all readers according to your customs and beliefs.

Photos by Pixabay

@#$%^&*(+_((*&^%$#!!

The “Monday Book Review” (“The Other Wes Moore”) was scheduled for January 4, 2021 but for some reason WORDPRESS decided it should go out on Tuesday, December 22, 2020. Just thought I’d add this note of explanation so you’d know I really do know it isn’t Monday!!! Although, in truth, somedays I’m not sure what day it is.

Monday Book Review

“The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore

This story is both heartbreaking and enlightening. Two children with the same name grew up at the same time in similar conditions. Each was fatherless and each struggled in school and the “hood.” As adults one is a Rhodes Scholar and Military Officer, the other is in prison for life without a chance for parole. This book follows each child as he grew into adulthood and the contrasts are striking.

The author states, “The chilling truth is that his story could have been mine. The tragedy is that my story could have been his.”

I found this book very illuminating and recommend it for you.

The Great Conjunction

If you didn’t see it last night you may be in luck and still able to see Jupiter and Saturn close together in the sky. I expected a artistic “Star of Bethlehem” but it looked more like a very large and bright star. By blowing up a photo of the conjunction you could actually see two circles, i.e., planets. I know there were those who saw it clearly through telescopes and at planetariums but it was pretty cool with the naked eye, too.

The fact that these planets are only this close together every 800 or so years made the experience magical. I was overwhelmed by thoughts of the magnitude of this universe and of how little we really know about it. We are but a speck of dust on a tiny orb and yet at times we fuss and fret like we rule the world.

View, Contemplate, Enjoy.

The Days of Christmas

Christmas Season

It is upon us full swing! Are you enjoying the season?

Each family is different regarding what timeframe makes up the Christmas season. I know some people who start shopping in autumn and always put up the Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Others wait for December, but we all know that commercial Christmas begins after Halloween when all the decorations and specials are in place in stores.

5B25A01F-A2AA-44FF-8C31-33E7D026545A

How did Christmas get to be about shopping and exchanging gifts? I bet the Wise Men had no idea what they were starting!

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Many Christian families celebrate the Twelve Days of Christmas. Those twelve days begin on December 25th when Jesus’ birth is celebrated although no one knows the actual date of his birth. The eight day of Christmas is January 1st and is not associated with New Year’s Day, but with the circumcision of the baby Jesus. The twelfth day, January 6, commemorates the Maji which is the visit of the wise men who brought gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

And there it began.

231D3AB0-6567-4DA0-B25E-569D9E22BD79

 

Photos by Pixabay

Missing Raymond

So many things are easier when done with a team. My husband, Raymond, and I were a team of two for over fifty years. We could make up the bed in seconds, one on each side. Preparing a meal, whether for the two of us or a big family gathering, was a cinch as we worked together. In the six years since he died I think of him everyday, but never so much as when I’m working alone.

Some jobs are a chore, others like putting up and trimming the Christmas tree, are a pleasure. As I lift each ornament I recall when and where it was purchased or who gave it to us. Some commemorate a special event such as the birth of our granddaughters. There are many years of memories on the tree when it is completed. And, while Raymond is no longer with us his memory is. I hope that somehow he knows this.

Masks Are Simple

Masks, hand washing, social distancing, Three easy things to do that saves lives, but they have to be done correctly.

  • Distancing = six feet separation.
  • Hand washing with soap and water for twenty seconds.
  • Masks cover the nose and mouth.

I am sick of encountering people with their mask placed UNDER the nose! What part of breathing do they not understand?

Click List

In March, I began shopping for groceries via Kroger’s Click List. That seemed pretty simple in the beginning. You go Online, list the groceries you want and then they designate a time for you to pick them up. Employees bring it to your car, load it up, hand you your receipt and you go home to put away those groceries you’ve “clicked.” Seems the perfect solution during the times of COVID.

Well, that’s true, but there are snags. I don’t want my spinach two days past the “use by” date. I don’t want P.F. Changs meat substituted for spring rolls. I don’t want six bananas when I order one. I don’t want my Tostitos chips packed beneath my canned goods! One must be patient, forgiving and willing to learn before the Click List manner of grocery shopping becomes an acceptable replacement for in-person shopping.

One day I needed a 9-volt battery for a chirping smoke detector. I couldn’t order just that, could I? Of course not. So I allowed the Click List program to make suggestions. A few minutes and $88 later, I had ordered my battery to be picked up in a few hours. The chocolates and ice cream were enjoyed! I’m still learning.

Little Things

Sometimes we do the smallest kindnesses without giving any thought to what the lasting effect might be. I was thinking of this recently as I made Forgotten Cookies https://crookedcreek.live/2019/12/15/forgotten-cookies/ for a loved one. That recipe was given to me by a dear neighbor over fifty years ago. I’m sure that when she shared that with me she had no idea how much pleasure it would bring for years to come. My family and friends love the cookies and it makes me happy to make them for those I love. I never make these unique cookies without thinking of Mrs. Peters who shared her recipe with me. She would probably be surprised at often I remember her generosity and her sweet smile.

Helen Peters gave me other recipes and I’d like to share another of those with you today. This is the perfect season to bake Pumpkin Bread. Here is that recipe with a few notes that I included over the years.

PUMPKIN BREAD

Ingredients: 

3 cups Sugar

1 cup Vegetable Oil

3.5 cups Self-Rising Flour*

1 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon Nutmeg

2/3 cup Water

2 cups canned Pumpkin

Eggs

2 cups Raisins

1 cup broken Nuts (I use pecans and usually add extra)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven at 350 degrees
  • Dissolve sugar in oil and water, add beaten eggs and then the flour sifted with spices. 
    • Add this flour mixture a little at a time mixing well after each addition. 
  • Add pumpkin and mix well.
  • Stir in raisins and nuts
  • Pour into three greased and lightly floured loaf pans 
  • Bake for one hour 
    • Or until done using the toothpick test

* If you use plain flour add: 1.5 teaspoon salt and 2 teaspoons soda

Elliott

A week ago, I realized that Elliott was ill. First, he became very vocal. He followed me around meowing and looking at me expectantly. Soon I saw that he was frequenting his litter box with no results. It was Saturday afternoon and our vet’s office was closed so off we go, to Elliott’s chagrin, to the Emergency Vet Hospital. After several hours, an ultra sound and x-rays it was determined that he had a urinary problem. Duh.

They were unable to get urine for a test, but sent him home with antibiotics and pain medication. The fight was on. No amount of begging, force or tuna fish could get the meds down Elliott. He continued to struggle to pee and seemed pretty uncomfortable until Monday morning when we went to our own vet.

Here they were able to extract urine for a test. They found a small amount of blood, but no crystals which were expected. As we awaited the results of a urine culture we tried different antibiotics and still he would not take them. . . not forcefully, not disguised in food. Surprisingly he improved and started to void almost normally.

On Thursday the vet called to say there was no bacteria and not to worry about giving him the antibiotic. Well, Elliott had already made that decision on his own! After a long discussion with the vet we decided that his problem was stress due to the grief of losing Zoe, his housemate, a couple of weeks ago.

I knew that Elliott was a lover. He spends a lot of time on my lap and sleeps with me every night. I did not realize the bond that he had with Zoe. He always followed her around, but I, and she I think, believed it was more stalking than affection. She would hiss at him and he’d leave her alone for a bit. Now I think I was wrong. Elliott misses Zoe and the stress affected his urinary system which is not uncommon for cats.

So, here I am, almost $700 later with a sensitive boy missing his girl.

Zoe
Elliott

Dark Anniversary

The Atomic Bomb

Seventy-five years ago the United States dropped the first ever atomic bombs on two cities in Japan, killing 225,000 human lives. The additional injuries and illnesses leading to slow deaths are not calculable. There is no dearth of information and horrific photographs to document this hell that befell the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

D48F31A4-6A89-4546-8EEC-4F879213AADC

“The 20th century was a test bed for big ideas – fascism, communism, the atomic bomb.” P. J. O’Rourke

Photo by Pixabay

Frankenstein

BOOK REVIEW – “Frankenstein”

Mary Shelley, the young author of “Frankenstein,” said she wanted to write a story that “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”

I know that it is I who am wrong, for this enduring tale has been popular forever, but I would have to say Shelley failed if that was her aim. First, I should admit that I had never read the book before now. I know that leaves me in the minority, for this first modern work of fiction has been a favorite of readers for over two centuries. I have to say that I was not frightened and I’m more disappointed than I can explain for I picked it as a Halloween read with the express purpose of being frightened. My blood did not curdle. My heartbeat did not quicken.

That being said, it was an interesting read. If there is anyone out there who hasn’t read it don’t let me discourage you. The book follows a different storytelling format which I had not encountered before. From the beginning it was a story told, first by a sea Captain to his sister, then Victor Frankenstein to the Captain and finally, the monster himself telling his point of view to the Captain.

I personally felt sorry for the monster who was somehow put together by Frankenstein from human body parts obtained from cadavers and then instilled with life. Imagine being born as an adult and a hideous one at that! It seemed to me that Mr. Frankenstein had way too much self-pity and very little concern for his creation’s predicament.

I welcome your views of “Frankenstein” and I promise that I will not review the movie which I plan to watch tonight. Better late than never?


The Fire Eater

I had barely started dating my future husband when he invited me to attend the Kentucky State Fair with him. I didn’t know him well, but I definitely wanted to make a good impression on him as we walked around all the exhibits. I liked looking at the arts and crafts. He wanted to see the livestock. After we had been quietly walking around enjoying these displays it was time to go to the Midway where all the rides, food and carnival entertainment was.

We rode a couple of attractions and then walked about holding hands. The music was loud and cheerful and everyone around us appeared to be having a good time. All was fine until we stopped to see a woman who was being hawked as a “fire eater.”

fire-3293806_1280

The next thing I knew I was awakening with a circle of people around my date and me. I was lying down in the dirt and had a crowd bigger than did the fire eater! This was not right! Apparently seeing a woman put a blazing stick down her throat was not my idea of entertainment and I fainted. So much for first impressions!

 

“The great day of the Fire-eater – or, should I say, the day of the great Fire-eater – has passed.” Harry Houdini

 

Photos by Pixabay

A Very Special Month

  • ADHD Awareness Month
  • Adopt a Shelter Dog Month
  • American Pharmacists Month
  • Bat Appreciation Month
  • Breast Cancer Awareness Month
  • Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month
  • Computer Learning Month
  • Country Music Month
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Month
  • Dyslexia Awareness Month
  • Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month
  • Emotional Wellness Month
  • Fair Trade Month
  • Family History Month
  • German-American Heritage Month
  • Global Diversity Awareness Month
  • Gourmet Adventures Month
  • Halloween Safety Month
  • Health Literacy Month
  • I’m Just Me Because Month
  • Italian American Heritage Month
  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History Month
  • Long-Term Care Planning Month
  • National Animal Safety and Protection Month
  • National Apple Month
  • National Applejack Month
  • National Arts and Humanities Month
  • National Audiology Awareness Month
  • National Biscuit Month
  • National Book Month
  • National Bullying Prevention Month
  • National Caramel Month
  • National Chiropractic Health Month
  • National Cookbook Month
  • National Cookie Month
  • National Cosmetology Month
  • National Country Ham Month
  • National Crime Prevention Month
  • National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
  • National Dental Hygiene Month
  • National Depression Education and Awareness Month
  • National Dessert Month
  • National Disability Employment Awareness Month
  • National Domestic Violence Awareness Month
  • National Dropout Prevention Month
  • National Ergonomics Month
  • National Family Sexuality Education Month
  • National Hispanic Heritage Month: September 15-October 15
  • National Kitchen and Bath Month
  • National Pasta Month
  • National Physical Therapy Month
  • National Pickled Peppers Month
  • National Pizza Month
  • National Popcorn Poppin’ Month
  • National Pork Month
  • National Pretzel Month
  • National Protect Your Hearing Month
  • National Roller Skating Month
  • National Seafood Month
  • National Stamp Collecting Month
  • National Toilet Tank Repair Month
  • National Window Covering Safety Month
  • National Work and Family Month
  • Organize Your Medical Information Month
  • Patient-Centered Care Awareness Month
  • Polish American Heritage Month
  • Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
  • Spina Bifida Awareness Month
  • Spinach Lovers Month
  • Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) Awareness Month
  • Vegetarian Awareness Month

Whew! Are you tired yet? If you celebrated all these topics for all of October you are. Some are serious and some silly. Some just plainly do not go together like vegetarian and pork month! I was going to write about this being Cybersecurity Awareness month but I got curious about just how many causes were designated this month and found this list by Lahle Wolfe in an article.

I think the lesson to be gleaned from this list is that if you have a business or special interest choose some month other than October to raise awareness. October is very busy!

The Tree House

The pandemic has changed the way we do everything. All visits with my friends and family are outdoors and that is fine in the nice weather we’ve been having. Recently I was invited to a friend’s house in Floyd Knobs, IN. It is in a beautiful setting with trees of all kinds around the house. It is often referred to as the “Tree House” because the deck surrounding the house is in the tree tops.

We had a nice visit, solving all the world’s problems as we often do when getting together. Without the Corona Virus I probably would not have spent several hours at the tree house. I am grateful for that afternoon.

I keep trying to find the positives, the gains, during this time of so many losses.

The Loss of a Dog

Why is it so hard to lose a dog? Having a dog die is heartbreaking. Having to euthanize one is worse. I had that experience many years ago and years after that with a cat. As much as I love my cats, I believe that the bond one has with their dog is stronger. It is hard to explain why but it must have something to do with dogs having spent the last several centuries adapting to the lives of humans. While some dogs have been bred to have dual roles as hunters or shepherds most have evolved only to be our companions. 

Dogs are like a friend who never brings up our weak or negative points. Dogs accept us unconditionally. Our dogs are always glad to see us and with their eyes they thank us for every morsel or treat that we provide to them. 

If you’ve never owned and loved a dog, don’t be surprised when someone who does have a dog becomes grieved at its loss. There is no service, no newspaper write up, no visitation to comfort the owner but don’t miss the fact that the owner does need for you to care. They may be hesitant to show their grief, but it is there just as it is with the loss of a friend for a dog is a faithful friend. 

As we established before https://crookedcreek.live/2019/12/05/benefits-of-owning-a-dog/ dog owners live longer and research shows they live happier. Dogs give back so much love and devotion for what they receive from us. 

“May I become the kind of person that my dog thinks I already am,” someone has said. 

“When the dog looks at you, the dog is not thinking what kind of a person you are. The dog is not judging you.” Eckhart Tolle

Title portrait of Luke by Artist Pat Brooks

Ghosts

Do you believe in ghosts? I cannot honestly answer that question. I’m open to the possibility but that is based upon the experiences of others rather than anything that I have personally witnessed. Stories from people who I trust have certainly made me wish for a personal encounter.

A friend of mine has had several unnerving experiences with ghosts. One each in her hotel room in Coronado, California and in Talbott’s Inn in Bardstown, KY were very convincing. The first was the sound of a moaning woman repeatedly throughout the night in what turned out to be a haunted room well known to the hotel. The other, closer to home, was a chair moving and banging to the floor with no one touching it.

My daughter once took a photo of a covered bridge in Indiana and when she looked at it later there were two people in the picture who were definitely not there when the photo was taken. Both the photographer and another witness can testify that there was no one on the bridge. The man and woman in the photo have on period work clothes and look at ease. Here is that unaltered photo.

01BD8398-9D55-4FC8-886C-C1F69B865394

I cannot explain such phenomena, can any of you? I’d love to hear your thoughts, experiences or opinions.

 

“I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts.” Stephen King

 

AUTUMN CLEMATIS

The Plant From Hell

We moved into our new condo in the spring of 2013 leaving behind a big yard and koi ponds and all kinds of trees and flowers. The condo has a small courtyard with a patio and room for a few plants. When it came to plants my husband never understood “few.” He worked all summer filling the soil with every plant he could think of and some he knew nothing about. By the time I added a few herbs the space was completely filled with hydrangea, crepe myrtles, rosebushes, honeysuckle, nandina, ferns and more.

In the summer of 2014 Raymond got to enjoy his courtyard planting, admiring his small plants showing signs of growth. In the winter Raymond died leaving me to care for his garden. I tried, I really did. I enjoyed the roses. I fought the Japanese Beetles. I mulched and watered, fed and trimmed and now all these years later I have a jungle.

I had quickly learned the nandina was invasive, but I was in for a big surprise this summer when I saw the Autumn Clematis from one end of the courtyard to the other. It was beginning to cover up most everything. My daughter, Dianne, is a Master Gardener and with a little research she informed me that this was not going to stop spreading . . . ever. As you can see from the title photo here it is nothing like an ordinary clematis but is quite pretty with delicate little blooms.

Dianne came to my rescue yesterday and dug up the plant from hell as well as the unruly honeysuckle and invasive nandina. I now have clear space in my courtyard and it looks so much better. I also have, five tall bags of trimmings and roots to dispose of and feel a little guilty for removing things that were planted with so much love.

America’s First

Alyssa Smith was born with biliary atresia, a condition of the liver which would be incompatible with life by the time she was around three-years-old. She needed a liver transplant but chances of an infant donor becoming available were bleak.

In those days only a cadaveric donor liver transplant was possible in the United States. Partial livers had been transplanted in a few places and a handful of living donor liver transplants had been done in Germany, not all successfully. Fortunately for the Smith family the surgeon who had been performing these living donor transplants had moved to the U.S. He was currently on staff at the University of Chicago Hospital.

CEF5D2E5-9F62-4C09-863C-CF8800B8A2D9_4_5005_c
Alyssa and her parents Teresa & John

At the age of twenty-one months Alyssa was the recipient of part of her mother’s liver in the first ever living donor liver transplant in the U.S. I was privileged to be on hand for this historic occasion. On the day after Thanksgiving, 1989, Teresa gave 40% of her liver to her infant daughter and although there were a couple of complications it was a successful transplant covered by the media all over the world.

Over the next several years I was able to follow Alyssa’s progress and then to meet her again in 2006 when she was graduating high school. Alyssa is now over thirty years old and has given birth to her own son. This family was special in so many ways and I am grateful to have known them and shared in their amazing journey.

4D68F6DC-172E-45FE-9294-2B6649172A1B_4_5005_c
Alyssa Smith at Age 21

“Once you’ve given your heart it is easy to give a little bit of liver.” Teresa Smith

 

More of Alyssa’s story and extensive details of the procedure are available in this Chicago Tribune article:  https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/ct-xpm-1999-11-30-9911300225-story.html

 

 

 

 

These Times

What Are You Feeling?

These are unprecedented times of pandemic, wild fires, hurricanes, racial tension and political uncertainty. We experience so many emotions at the same time and we wonder how to deal with any one of them. Perhaps one way to sort out our feelings is to realize that we are enduring profound grief. We are Grieving the loss of normalcy that is missing in our lives.

Most of us are familiar with the stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. Do any of these sound like what you are feeling? I believe we are encountering profound grief at this time. We do not have to experience a loss through death in order to undergo these emotions. https://crookedcreek.live/2018/12/10/grief/

Any loss can cause some or all of these emotions in any order. It is not unreasonable to feel anger when unable to go out to eat in a restaurant or to enjoy a big family get-together. If is very natural to be depressed when unable to hug your loved ones for months on end. These are normal feelings and we are normal having them, but it does not mean it is easy.

Hopefully just recognizing the grief for what it is will be of some help. Acknowledging rather than denying may help us to feel more normal. Accepting the abnormal might mean realizing that it is temporary and that there will be normalcy once again at sometime in the future.

In the meantime, explore your feelings by making a list of that has changed. This may put things into a different perspective. We may realize that there have been gains as well as losses.

LOSTGAINED
Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.” Marcel Proust

Hope for Today

I unexpectedly heard this old song today and it struck me as being a good inspiration for the world we are currently living in. In spite of pandemics, raging fires, racial injustice, and political wars we must have hope. We must wait until the darkness is over.

WHISPERING HOPE by Septimus Winner

Soft as the voice of an angel,
Breathing a lesson unheard.
Hope with a gentle persuasion,
Whispers her comforting word.

Wait till the darkness is over,
Wait till the tempest is done.
Hope for the sunshine tomorrow,
After the shower is gone.

Whispering hope,
O how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in it’s sorrow rejoice.

Hope has an anchor so steadfast,
Rends the dark veil for the soul.
Wither the Master has entered,
Robbing the grave of it’s goal.

Come then o come glad fruition,
Come to my sad weary soul.
Come Thou O blessed hope of glory,
Never O never depart.

Whispering hope,
O how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in it’s sorrow rejoice.

If in the dusk of the twilight,
Dim be the region afar.
Will not the deepening darkness,
Brighten the shimmering star?

Then when the night is upon us,
Why should the heart sink away?
When the dark midnight is over,
Watch for the breaking of day.

Whispering hope,
O how welcome thy voice,
Making my heart in its sorrow rejoice. 

Hear Anne Murray sing “Whispering Hope” at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=teaHyY2Uvms or if you prefer country, here’s Jim Reeves https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eqwomT5YSiw

Bird

A few days ago I heard an alarmingly loud noise and had no idea what had happened. As I walked to the front of my condo I saw that a bird had flown into my storm door. It was lying lifelessly on my porch. Remembering what my husband had done in similar circumstances years earlier, I carefully picked it up, cupped it in my hand, and gently rubbed its tiny back. Slowly one eye opened and then the other opened halfway and gradually it started to move. After several minutes I put it carefully on the ground and watched as it moved its legs and then its wings. I was not relieved for there was something badly wrong with this little one.

As the hours passed I watched it have numerous seizure-like attacks. Its head would go down into the grass or mulch where it sat and then its wings would stretch out and it would flutter around and around. It was hard to watch and I felt sure it would die from its head injury. I even considered putting it out of its misery, but couldn’t make myself do it. I was afraid something would harm it overnight, so I tried putting it in a box on a soft cloth so that I could put it into my garage but it became more frightened and agitated so I took it back out and put it under a shrub for the night. I’m am sure the birdie got no more sleep than I did.

The next morning he was a few feet from where I left him and seemed much stronger and was not having the seizures. I left it there and went for a walk. When I came back she was in the street! I guess it’s too late to make a long story short, but I’ll try. After a very long day of watching the bird and having help from the neighbors who fed and watered it with me, after many calls I reached a “bird rehabilitator”.

By now the birdie was so much better and except for one half-closed eye and the fact that it wasn’t flying it seemed in pretty good condition. Back into the box it went for the drive to the woman’s house who had agreed to help it rehabilitate. The woman, Mary, gently lifted it from the box, and confirmed that it was a female house finch. She took it into her home and I am so grateful that this little one has an adequate caregiver after two days with me as I played it by ear while following my heart.

E6E5B5C5-A5B8-4A2B-B95B-1AA4056D3429_1_201_a

“Be as a bird perched on a frail branch that she feels bending beneath her, still she sings away all the same, knowing she has wings.” Victor Hugo

Suicide Prevention

This is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Week. During this pandemic it is more important than ever that we be there for each other. You don’t have to be a mental health professional to make a difference. Being aware of the signs, knowing where to turn for help are things we can all do for ourselves and each other.

On average there are 132 suicides per day in the United States. Over fifty percent of these are carried out by firearms.

See this post for signs and symptoms of suicide as well as resources that are available: https://crookedcreek.live/2017/03/01/death-suicide/

The Kentucky Oaks

E90B9CE3-1A32-4CE3-BB4F-5581710199E2

Today is the Day of the Fillies!

The Kentucky Oaks horse race is for female horses called “fillies” and runs each year the day before the Kentucky Derby.   https://crookedcreek.live/2020/05/02/this-should-have-been-derby-day/

A few things, besides gender, are different about the Oaks race. The fillies carry 121# of weight as compared to 126# for the Derby and the race is a little shorter. The winning filly is draped in a blanket of lillies, rather than roses, as pink-clad ladies in their fancy hats cheer!

E6AB513D-08F2-4AB7-84D4-39FF3DDED803

“A difference of opinion is what makes horse racing and missionaries.” Will Rogers

 

 

Photos by Pixabay

Lanterns

Like most other people during this pandemic I’ve been staying close to home. Even family get-togethers are not safe in these COVID days. Once every couple of weeks I drive one mile up the road to pick up my pre-ordered groceries that workers safely place in my car. That’s it as far as going places so I was particularly excited last night.

My two daughters and I drove to our destination in separate cars, we wore masks and we social distanced, but still I couldn’t wait for our adventure! I even wore makeup and felt like I was going on a date. The tickets were expensive and limited to allow for lots of space between guests. Where was our big night?

Wild Lights Asian Lantern Festival at the Louisville Zoo

The Louisville Zoo is one of my favorite places because of the animals, of course, but the animals on display last night were made of silk of every color of the rainbow.

652AA569-9510-420A-8088-C5A1BE3FD1D3

Most were very realistic looking and all were brightly lit. There were more than 2,000 lanterns displayed in 65 larger than life scenes. It was a fantastical journey of about one and a quarter miles. There was a 130 foot-long dragon set on a small lake with a fountain. It was beautiful.

F5EB81D1-EE7E-4FDE-BE3B-6B718D0A42C7

Being with my two most favorite people made it perfect. They took the photos as I was too excited to have patience with a camera. These pictures are all compliments of Dianne.

 

 

Anniversary

Welcome Back Readers!

I’ve missed you, but I thought of you often as I worked on Crooked Creek, trying to make it better and perhaps more relevant. Most changes will barely be perceptible, but some require an explanation.

In the very beginning I declared Crooked Creek to be a “Politics Free” zone https://crookedcreek.live/2016/09/03/declaration/ and I’ve pretty much avoided the subject of religion, as well. That will change to a certain degree. While I don’t plan to get into partisan politics, in today’s turmoil I feel lead to include my thoughts on the state of our nation and its people. There may be times when I choose to include my religious experiences, too, but don’t worry, I have no plans to preach!

As of today the blog, Crooked Creek, is four (4) years old. It contains a total of 466 posts and has 459 followers. Readers have been from eighty-three (83) different countries which amazes the author.

Thank you to those who have contributed a poem, idea or book review for followers to enjoy. I am also appreciative of each and every reader and I have enjoyed the input from those who have chosen to comment. It gave me encouragement and made all the efforts involved worthwhile.

Thank you for these four years together and I look forward to exploring with you in the future.

9B15063F-D5CC-447D-AEBF-FA0A6D860897
Photo by Mike

 

Haven House Changes

Haven House Mission which I have discussed here on Crooked Creek several times https://crookedcreek.live/2019/07/07/haven-house/ has undergone significant changes this summer. As of this month the Park Memorial United Methodist Church in Jeffersonville, IN has become the new owner. Haven House is now Catalyst Rescue Mission. 

The Mission Statement is: “to help end homelessness in Southern Indiana by Providing shelter, case management, life skills training and social services that propel people into housing permanency.”

Details about Catalyst Rescue Mission and how you can assist by volunteering or donating can be found on their website https://catalystrescuemission.org

Catalyst Rescue Mission also has a FaceBook site https://www.facebook.com/catalystrescuemission/

 

I am not associated with this mission and do not speak for them in any way. I do feel very encouraged at the new direction of this organization.

 

Appointments

2020 Appointments

As we age we have more medical appointments and so my calendar is full of them. Appointments today are nothing like in the past. Thanks to the Novel Corona Virus everything is complicated. And each provider’s office has a different way of approaching safe environments for patients. Some work and some confuse.

I’ve had two virtual appointments where I can see and converse with my provider on screen. Providers use various platforms with names like “Blue Jeans” and “Ring Central.” Some require the use of nine digit numbers and symbols, some have you to sign in to a virtual waiting room, which means you wait for them to be ready for you and one had me to read and sign a HIPPA document. Life would sure be simpler if they all used one system.

I thought in-person visits would be simpler, but I’ve now had two of those and they were complicated as well. One office had me to wait in the car until they texted me to enter the building. The immunologist came into the exam room wearing a full hazmat suit and we talked. It could have easily and safely been done virtually.

The most important in-person visit was with my oncologist. Entering the professional building my temperature was taken along with my name. Then a detailed interview was performed to determine if I was at risk for COVID. At this point, wearing my favorite personal mask I was allowed to enter the elevator and proceed to my physician’s office suite. Exiting the elevator I followed directional stickers on the floor placed at six foot intervals. Eventually I reached the admission office where they took one look at my pretty mask with the Mercedes logo and told me to remove it and wear one of theirs. Of course I did as I was told. The visit continued with lab work and consultation and I was discharged one hour and forty minutes later.

I’ve sure you have had similar experiences regardless of what country you call home. I don’t care for this new normal, but I do appreciate all the attention to safe procedures.

“I recently went to a new doctor and noticed he was located in something called the Professional Building. I felt better right away.” George Carlin

 

Graphics by Pixabay

Return

Return to Pope Lick Park

This year for whatever the reason, I have not been going to the park to walk as I’ve done for the past four years. I’ve missed it and today I returned. It was sunny and beautiful. There is no place I’d rather see the changing seasons. Today was typical August hot, the woods verdant with plenty of black-eyed Susans and butterflies. One medium sized butterfly even took a ride on my shoulder for a couple of minutes.

So good to be back!

Crooked Creek is Running Dry

It didn’t happen overnight, but slowly the ideas for blog posts have been reduced to a trickle. There are a few technical problems with the WordPress platform, but if I had more enthusiasm I could, no doubt, work through those. Although I have some serious health problems I’m dealing fine with those. COVID lockdown? It probably would not be fair to blame that either. So, bottom line, I can’t explain the drought of ideas.

I’m going to take a hiatus until the last of August, try to do some serious writing and contemplating and I hope to come back with more depth. Thanks for your patience, thanks for all the hours you’ve spent on Crooked Creek and have a safe summer.

67A7D4F1-810F-4510-A992-5918A4211E13

P.S.  I can always be reached in the interim at: suebmattingly@gmail.com

 

 

Photo by Pixabay

 

Sanctuary

sanctuary

a summer rain blows in

during the heat of day
and i seek shelter
beneath the canopy of a bald cypress
waiting for the rain to abate,
i examine the trunk
from where it rises
out of the ground
to where it terminates
against a sky of gray
as straight as an arrow,
dressed in shaggy brown bark,
its many thick limbs
branch off
into slender branchlets
with fine rows
of short needle like leaves
staring up into this green canopy,
having forgotten the rain,
i realize
i am completely lost…
in a sanctuary
on a different day
 
i find a snail shell
and study the spiral design…
i am lost in thought
with how the shell is formed…
from the onset, as a soft tiny mass
increasing in size as the snail consumes calcium and grows,
the shell growing as well,
in bursts,
like the rings of a tree…
i marvel at the spiral shape…
a constantly recurring symbol
in the natural world
that speaks of beginnings
and continuations
not ends
i find that i am lost again…
that nature is my sanctuary…
on a different day 
 
a fallen feather catches my eye…
and i am instantly fascinated
with the intricate network
of barbs and barbules,
knitted together
to serve a specific purpose…
i imagine the tiny bird
whose feather i hold in my hand,
and the dynamics of flight
as the bird takes wing…
this single feather playing
only a small part
in the sum of the whole
and once again,
i am found…
because i am lost…
in the awe of nature
by Sylvia L. Mattingly
July 18, 2020

The Looter

I like to keep Milk Bone on hand for the neighborhood dogs, especially Bailey the little Westie next door. He is always so polite, begs, sits, and then eats every crumb. I kept the treats in a ziplock bag in a large basket on my porch. That worked for a little while.

B50CF4C0-5C8A-48F5-AD16-52F793497B94

One morning I went out and found the top off of the basket and the bag of treats spilled over the porch. I thought how unusual that a dog would do that and decided that Tupperware would solve the problem. The following morning again the top was ajar and the plastic container was demolished. Then I thought it was probably a squirrel because I do feed them and chipmunks all winter. Finally, I put the treats in a coffee can thinking I had solved the problem. I forgot that the can had a plastic lid, so the following morning again my basket and treat container had been breached.

It was then that my neighbor who has a doorbell camera informed me that a raccoon was running about the premises. She had watched it drink from her hummingbird feeder and then head toward my house. I assume he was washing down his Milk Bones!

Animals! I love them all but I now keep my dog treats in the house.

Animal photos by Pixabay

 

Porch Parties

For almost four months now life has been pretty boring due to precautions around the Corona Virus. No eating out, no movies, no shopping, no family gatherings, even medical appointments are curtailed.

One thing that I am thankful for is that I have a front porch. It isn’t large, but 3 or 4 people can sit “socially distant” under two ceiling fans and visit safely. The fans battle the 90 plus degree humid weather and are an addition this summer. I’m very grateful to my daughter and son-in-law for installing them a few weeks ago.

My porch parties have become fun for an occasional brunch or happy hour and the times with friends, family and even dogs help to fill the time during these slow days of the pandemic.

30F0011A-4DDC-47CA-B89D-BEF3A9480D91
Photo by Jackie Sneve

 

Still Coping

Covid Calamity

Here we are almost four months in and things are not improving. I’ve posted my thoughts and feelings about the isolation involved with staying safe and I must admit that my resolve to stay productive is waning a bit. As a result, I’m reading a lot of books. You’ve probably noticed all the book reviews on Crooked Creek.

Thanks for bearing with me. I cannot believe that I have all this time and suddenly I have so little to say. I’m not sure what this means for the future of this blog, but time will tell.

Meanwhile, be safe. You know the drill.

5D2A2B57-BE5E-4129-9C70-F8519C103F67

 

Graphics by Pixabay

Instincts

Do you follow your gut instincts and if so are they usually right?

I believe we are given instincts for a reason and I do try to pay attention to what my “gut” tells me. If I am in a place that is potentially unsafe and I have the feeling I should not take a certain direction, or elevator perhaps, then I don’t take that way. It has never failed me.

2BE7AA3D-6963-45DB-8389-6F3AECB431BB_1_201_a

“It is impossible to overlook the extent to which civilization is built upon a renunciation of instinct.” Sigmund Freud

Brain Diagram (1 altered) by Pixabay

20 Bucks

Case 1

Several months ago, a college student was shopping at a craft store. She paid with a $20 bill which she had received at another retail establishment. The clerk checking out her order looked at the bill and said, “I’m sorry, but this is counterfeit.” The student was shocked and produced another bill that was accepted. Except for the embarrassment that was the end of that.

Case 2

On May 25, 2020, a man was in a grocery store. He paid with a $20 bill that was deemed counterfeit. The police were called. Four officers arrived and handcuffed the man. He died while being restrained by an officer’s knee.

What do you think was different in these two cases?

I know the person in Case #1 and she is white.

I do not know the black man in Case #2 but I have witnessed his murder.

A Rebooted Brain

Do you ever wish you could reboot and start over? I think that sometimes we do and yet maybe not really if you hear the story I want to share with you. I came across a tiny article about Dr. Jill Bolte Taylor that piqued my interest so I researched her and was fascinated by what I learned. Dr. Taylor’s profession was the study of the human brain when she had a severe stroke. She refers to it as a “stroke of insight.” She was 37 years old when this disaster struck and she spent the next eight years recovering.

She tells her fascinating story most entertainingly in her Ted Talk at https://www.ted.com/talks/jill_bolte_taylor_my_stroke_of_insight

 

821A9A60-3D68-49CC-B9A3-4C3D15DC119D

 

 

Graphics by Pixabay

Favorite Color

What colors inspire you and how do they inspire you, what feeling do they evoke?

My Answer

Yellow is my favorite color and I believe that is inspired by the daffodils that bloomed when my daughters were born in March.

Daffodils are pure, bright, and beautiful. To me, their appearance in springtime heralds new life . . . my precious daughters.

979FC19B-4B7D-49A9-964D-58D9DC26E977

What is your favorite color and why?

 

 

“It’s a good thing that when God created the rainbow he didn’t consult a decorator or he would still be picking colors.” Sam Levenson

What’s Your Status?

Stay inside! Wash your hands! Wear a mask! Stay 6 feet apart!

I realize all this is essential. As an extra high-risk senior, I appreciate the guidance, but it is sure getting redundant! I have been mostly inside since March 16th and I am bored. Yes, I need a haircut and a visit to the nail salon. Yes, I’d like to eat out. Although I’m not a big shopper, I’d like to go to a mall. But, still, the biggest complaint is boredom. I know that’s a small price to pay for being safe from COVID-19 and I’m ashamed to be complaining so I’ll stop now.

Thank goodness for books! I have been reading one book after another and it sure passes the time for me. Folks have loaned me their books, I’ve ordered online and I’m even re-reading books that I’ve read years ago.

So, that’s my status, I’m grateful for books and for every ray of sunshine that I see from my windows. I enjoy the flowers in my courtyard and I also take an occasional walk in the neighborhood and that is pleasant. Oh, yes, and I’m eating a lot of chocolate.

How are you coping during these unprecedented times? 

 

“Since boredom advances and boredom is the root of all evil, no wonder, then, that the world goes backwards, that evil spreads. This can be traced back to the very beginning of the world. The gods were bored; therefore they created human beings.” Kierkegaard

Hypnosis

Various Definitions of Hypnosis

  • The induction of a state of consciousness in which a person apparently loses the power of voluntary action and is highly responsive to suggestion or direction. Its use in therapy, typically to recover suppressed memories or to allow modification of behavior by suggestion, has been revived but is still controversial.  Webster’s Dictionary 
  • Hypnosis is a human condition involving focused attention, reduced peripheral awareness, and an enhanced capacity to respond to suggestion. Wikipedia 
  • Hypnosis, also referred to as hypnotherapy or hypnotic suggestion, is a trance-like state in which you have heightened focus and concentration. Mayo Clinic
  • Hypnosis is a therapeutic technique in which clinicians make suggestions to individuals who have undergone a procedure designed to relax them and focus their minds. Although hypnosis has been controversial, most clinicians now agree it can be a powerful, effective therapeutic technique for a wide range of conditions, including pain, anxiety and mood disorders. American Psychological Association

These are just a few of the definitions I found in a search of less than five minutes. I’m sure there are many more out there and some are more accurate than others. Similarly, there are different professional opinions about what hypnosis is and how therapeutic it can be. Some probably see it as entertainment, the “quack like a duck” trick. This is not what hypnosis is today. It is a sound medical treatment for various mental health issues and can be very successful in controlling pain.

I am no expert, but I have been hypnotized more than once and I have found it very helpful in changing habits. The first time I was hypnotized was many years ago to stop smoking. It didn’t make smoking cessation easy. Hypnosis did not do it for me, but it helped me to do it for myself. I did stop smoking permanently.

More recently I have been hypnotized to reduce anxiety. I won’t go into details, but it has helped me to control anxious thoughts about a particular issue that was troubling me. It has included what some refer to as “self-hypnosis” which involves listening to a taped session by a trained hypnotist tailored to an individual’s needs. I listen to that twenty-four minute recording at least once per day. It involves deep relaxation and peaceful imagery and is a very positive experience.

Anyone can claim to be a hypnotist so if you trust your issues to someone, be sure they are certified. If you have experience with hypnosis, please share with us.

3DB39D9E-7EFB-4B43-BF97-F950DBC1D7D3

 

“There are no constraints on the human mind, no walls around the human spirit, no barriers to our progress except those we ourselves erect.” Ronald Reagan

 

Graphic by Pixabay

This Should Have Been Derby Day

The Kentucky Derby

This year’s Kentucky Derby will be the 146th running of three-year-old thoroughbreds. Known as the fastest two minutes in sports this horse race attracts people from all around the globe. Beginning in 1875 at Churchill Downs in Louisville, KY the Derby runs on the first Saturday in May. It is preceded by the Derby Festival with steamboat races, world-class fireworks, and many other special events.

E6AB513D-08F2-4AB7-84D4-39FF3DDED803

Due to the coronavirus, things will be different this year. The Kentucky Derby along with all of the festivities have been rescheduled for September. It will be exciting, but it will not be the same. The change is unavoidable and the jockeys will still give it their best, the ladies will wear their fancy hats and the Kentucky Derby will run to the cheers of excited fans. At the end of the one and one quarter mile race the winner will be draped in a blanket of over 400 roses and we will sip mint juleps and dream of next May.

20B0A8C0-F8C5-4576-8429-6A439EE42803

 

“You can’t win the Kentucky Derby unless you’re on a thoroughbred.” Joe Torre

Photos by Pixabay

Lift Up Louisville

If you are from Louisville you will love this video of great music that also gives a glimpse of what our city is like. If you aren’t from Louisville, I think you might still enjoy the six  and one-half minutes of entertainment lead by Terry Abrams, Director of the Louisville Orchestra.

https://youtu.be/AcsiqH5AZ7g

6232610E-D36D-4251-9B1C-DFE18C1E1309

The End

If the world was to end tomorrow, what would you do and how would you spend your last twenty-four hours?

Hopefully, I would spend it with my wonderful family members  . . . all of them together.

During the last half-hour of those twenty-four I would eat fried shrimp!

Other things I’d enjoy doing, given the opportunity, would be to hold a baby, pet a kitten, pick a flower, watch a bird, see a summer sky and feel the sun on my face.

What would you like to do in your last twenty-four hours on this earth?

17EF5F3C-BABD-4B7B-88EE-6A662424D865

“If you die in an elevator, be sure to push the Up button.” Sam Levenson

 

Photos by Pixabay

Talking to the Animals

If you could communicate with animals, what species would you like to talk with?

My Answer: Dogs and Cats

DB5642D8-473D-4872-BA87-1C76593B00F0

I would want to know what they remember, if they can think of the future and whether they get their feelings hurt. I feel sure that they love deeply.

Your Answer?

 

“Children, old crones, peasants, and dogs ramble; cats and philosophers stick to their point.” H. P. Lovecraft

Photos by Pixabay

 

Writing Prompt 4

How important is writing to you and what does writing do for you?

As much as I like to talk it is hard to believe but I would rather write. I express myself more clearly in writing. I especially like to write using the computer. It is clearer, neater, and gives helpful prompts and corrections. Since getting older my cursive penmanship has suffered . . . or should it be “penwomanship?”

How about you, how do you feel about writing?

16551028-4288-4DDF-A0CF-2DD16CA918FD

“Only the hand that erases can write the true thing.” Meister Eckhart

 

Laptop Photo by Pixabay