Today at the Park

During this time of year, the woodlands change almost by the day. As more trees give birth to leaves the view changes. Some things so obvious during the winter months are now obscure. Spring brings the same beauty each year yet it is forever new. Today there were wildflowers not seen just a couple of days ago. These are phlox and I believe mustard. 

The redbud trees dotted the hillsides and gave a party look to the usually monochromic woods. 

Daffodils I noticed today made me think of a family who had probably lived on this site many years ago. It is not unusual to spot blooming bulbs decades after their owners are gone. 

hvoeKTzmQNyLqcW82eqP2Q

“Love is a springtime plant that perfumes everything with its hope, even the ruins to which it clings.” Gustave Flaubert

The Parklands

Yesterday, I was on duty as a docent volunteer at the Parklands’ Visitor Center. It was a beautiful day in the 70s with lots of sunshine. That made it a great day for the school children who were spending time at Beckley Park. Two schools brought their students and it was fun seeing them exploring and playing. 

The Parklands provide not only playgrounds but miles of trails, acres, and acres of wild natural habitat to explore and a visitor center with many learning experiences. “Wednesday Wonders” class for preschoolers was taking place and the little ones were excited about each new experience. Enjoy the slideshow below that shows more random shots of the park and kids having fun!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Lastly, meet a newcomer, Ranger Randy. This turtle was born and raised in captivity for many years. It was donated to the park for children to enjoy and learn from. The Parklands does not remove creatures from their natural habitat. 

“Beauty surrounds us, but usually we need to be walking in a garden to know it.” Rumi

 

https://www.theparklands.org

Back at the Park

Pope Lick Park

It’s so good to be walking in the park after what seems like a long winter. With each walk, I notice the subtle springtime changes. Buds turn to leaves or flowers, birds are chirping happily, and the peepers are peeping loudly. Below are some of the wildflowers, blooming bulbs and weeds that I saw today. Each is beautiful. 

Choosing a Path

Each time I drive the three miles to Pope Lick I realize how fortunate I am to live so close to the park. Every neighborhood should have such a place where young families, runners, bikers, and seniors can explore. 

My biggest decision each trip is which path to take, just like in life itself. 

“I see my path, but I don’t know where it leads. Not knowing where I’m going is what inspires me to travel it.” Rosalia de Castro

People Are Good

A few years ago I started taking used clothing to a homeless shelter in Indiana. It wasn’t a big deal, just sharing some things that no longer fit. I mentioned this in passing to a couple of neighbors and friends and was surprised when several offered some things for me to take on my next trip. One woman even provided beautiful new hand-knitted caps for adults as well as clothing and blankets for babies.  These good people continued to donate and started my more frequent runs to the shelter, sometimes with the back of my SUV packed to capacity. 

I am sharing this with you today because I believe we need to be reminded that people are good. With so much bad news bombarding us each day, it helps me to think of these kind people who are helping others. It may seem like a small thing, but to the men, women, and children who are living in this shelter having nice clean clothes to put on each day is not to be taken for granted. 

Haven House

I went to the shelter, Haven House, a few days ago and there were many people who were staying there because they had no other place to live. While living there residents are expected to share in chores such as cooking and cleaning. They are assisted with job applications and finding permanent housing.

As usual, the shelter was way over capacity the day I visited. The best example of what the people there are like is this man:

In the dining room which doubles as a day room, there were four rigid plastic chairs pushed together to make a bed. On the chairs lay a man who had no bed due to the overcrowding. He was covered head to knees in a sheet and his feet with his shoes on stuck out the bottom. The room was noisy and I asked the volunteer who was with me how he could sleep like this. She said it was his only choice if he was going to be able to go to work on the night shift. 

Too often we take things like our beds, clothing, and meals for granted. https://crookedcreek.live/2018/12/05/home/  There are those who are struggling daily for these necessities. The good news is that there are volunteers working, people giving and men and women working when given the opportunity. Working to make their lives better. 

V8Uqb9tCQZGsIVc26YOM6w

“Where we love is home – home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.”    Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

 

NOTE: These are my observations and opinions. I do not represent nor speak for Haven House. 

 

Forest Giants

If you live in this area (KY, IN, TN) you are probably familiar with Bernheim Forest.  https://bernheim.org  If not you should be. Bernheim is a wonderful place to be free in nature. There are areas cultivated and manicured but many acres of natural forest as well. It has been a favorite place for our family to explore for many years.

A few days ago we drove to Bernheim to view some new residents. A GIANT family has moved there. Mama, Loumari, and her two children Nis and Elina are truly bigger than life. Here are a few photos of the giants made from all natural materials. 

IMG_8782IMG_8766IMG_8763

Bernheim Forest is a place where art, nature and humans dovetail perfectly!

Stress Test

A Test of Stress

She (we’ll call her “Barb”) dressed in her exercise clothes and walking shoes and set out early for the hospital; so early that the rush hour drivers were still at home flossing and spraying.

As she pulled into the parking lot Barb had her choice of primo spots, but hardly appreciated this because her mind was on the fact that her system was as empty of caffeine as the lot was of cars.

The person at the front desk could have been a bit more friendly, but the sign-in process was simple and Barb was ready for the treadmill which looked less than the expected state-of-the-art equipment.

Reba Raines didn’t seem all that enthusiastic as she pointed and indicated that Barb should move to the machine. “Straddle the belt” she directed in an absent-minded way. Barb complied, at least she thought she did but she heard again with more presence, “Straddle the belt!” so she quickly moved her feet to the treadmill frame and watched as the belt began to go slowly forward. Barb stood awkwardly until given the command to “walk” and assumed that she was not expected to walk where her feet currently were so she carefully stepped onto the belt.

It didn’t take long to reach the target heart rate . . . it will take days before the results are relayed to Barb who left for the nearest cup of coffee.

pulse-153388_1280

Graphic by Pixabay

Georgia On My Mind

Georgia donned her latex gloves even though she had no idea why they were required and she set out to collect the terrycloth bibs. As she picked up each one and placed it in the big plastic bag she wondered once again at the waste and mess of the food. In spite of the special preparation and attention to preferences, Jimmy would do his best to throw food at anyone near enough to catch an eye-full, Mary would play with the contents of her bowl until the soup river ran over the dam and made a waterfall over the edge the table.  

If this was my facility, Georgia thought, I would not put up with it, I’d make them behave. At least I’d try something, timeout or take away a privilege. I think if Jimmy had to take an early nap or couldn’t go outside for an afternoon he’d learn to control his urge to lob mashed potatoes.  

Maybe she expected too much, Georgia thought was she stepped over food and continued to pick up the big bibs. It was her job and she took it seriously. . . Maybe Russell couldn’t control his bowels and Timothy didn’t mean to hurt his friends and throwing away enough food each day to feed all those children in China was just the way it would always be here and if she wanted to stay she should not ask questions. 

But, she really didn’t want to stay. What Georgia really wanted was to stay home and watch TV, but they were afraid to leave her while they worked. At least she could go home at night. She was proud to be able to ride the bus to and from her job independently. As she sat in her seat each evening, she looked back at the facility knowing that Jimmy and Mary and Russell and the others can’t go home. Instead, they are led down the hall where they sleep, dream, cry and on some level remember or think they do. 

Note:

Georgia was a real person who I observed several years ago. She had special needs and worked as a “helper” at a nursing home in Louisville where my mother was a resident.

“Compassion isn’t related to religion. It’s a human quality.” Geshe Rapgyal

Dianne's Peony – Version 2

Update

Another Year – Post #216

Just to catch up from last year’s post https://crookedcreek.live/2018/02/08/thanks/  Crooked Creek now has 263 followers. One year ago it was only 120. We welcome each and every new follower and say, “Thanks” once again to all readers. 

It is also significant (to me at least) that I am preparing infusion number 302 for administration tonight. I want once again to express my sincere gratitude to all those who donate plasma that makes this treatment possible.  https://crookedcreek.live/2018/02/08/thanks/

grateful-2940466_1280

When Did We get in Such a Hurry?

When I was a small child we had no telephone. Later, after moving from rural Crooked Creek, we did have a rotary dial phone. It was a party line with seven other families, which could be interesting at times. My Grandfather was Post Master of Gee, KY and letters were the way that most people communicated in those days. I don’t recall how long it took for a letter to go several miles to another community, but of course, it was a few days. We managed. 

Today we are all connected magically by cell phones and computers. No waiting, just Instant Messaging, SnapChat or Tweet! FaceTime and Skype are great for seeing my Granddaughter, Kate, who now lives in England.

Until it fails and it will from time to time. Cell phones get bugs and do crazy things sometimes, like eavesdropping prior to FaceTime connection. Computers contract viruses or get hacked. Yesterday my computer told me that I had no connection to WiFI and I panicked. Seriously I panicked. How could I exist? What would I do?

Years ago, I remember George Carlin remarking that everyone was carrying a water bottle. He asked, “When did we all become so thirsty?” My question today is “When did we all get in such a hurry?”  With our modern conveniences and gadgets, we have lost the patience to wait. Or, perhaps I should just charge myself. I know I am guilty and I believe that I have plenty of company.

Day One

I called the provider who instructed me in the reboot process. No luck so an appointment was set up for about 28 hours later . . . tomorrow late afternoon! How could they do this to me? I was griping to my younger granddaughter, Elizabeth, who nonchalantly said, “Just go to Starbucks, Grandmother!” What part of seven-degree temperature and icy roads did she not understand?

Day Two

After spending the night without internet I checked the temperature this morning and it had warmed up (now 10*) so I took off for Starbucks where I drank expensive coffee and was repaid by internet services. I’m a big fan. So, now I have to wait for the repair person to arrive. While I wait, I think I’ll listen to some nice soothing music, but guess what, no Pandora without internet! So, I dragged out some old CDs and got the ancient player blasting Boy Dylan. Forget soothing, but Dylan did help a bit.

Guy #1 makes it about 5 p.m. and after tinkering with the equipment for a while he says, “I have good news and bad news. I can’t fix it, but someone will be here first thing tomorrow morning.”

Day Three

I got up at 7:30 a.m. and got ready for Guy or Gal #2. It is now 11 a.m. and not a word. Finally, he showed up and identified himself as the “outside” guy since the “inside” guy couldn’t find the problem in my equipment yesterday. He was clearly an outside guy because he walked all about the neighborhood with an electronic device in hand and then informed me that all my neighbors had service but for some reason, I did not. So, now it’s sounding like it’s my fault. Guy #2 a.k.a. Outside Guy left assuring me that Guy #3 would be here to get my service squared away.

Guy #3 (“outside guy” #2) came a few hours later and here I am blogging! Guy #3 briefly became my fav. With service back on I reviewed thirty-something emails that had arrived since my Starbucks trip yesterday. I had to smile at myself for being so impatient as I deleted about one-half of the emails which were not important. Then I checked the blog stats and was not too impressed. I read the news, answered the important emails and wondered what all the anxiety had been about.

Just as I thought I could breathe easily with my Internet intact, I discovered that I had no service in three out of four of my TVs! Guy #3 fixed one problem and created another. Sometimes I wish I was one of those seniors who completely eschewed technology!

“Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” Lao Tzu

&^(@*$)(@+!

There are times when I just feel that I cannot keep up. No, I’m not talking technology, I manage in that way. It’s other little things that let me know I’m out of touch. Like a recent text from my granddaughter, Elizabeth. 

img_5240

What does this look like to you? 

If you answered bacon on someone’s leg, then you are with me. If you responded “band-aids” then you are with it, up-to-date, cool, keeping up, so CONGRATULATIONS. 

My almost adult (she will be 21 next week) college student granddaughter had an accident recently which required a few stitches. Good Grandmother that I am I check on her frequently and good granddaughter that she is she keeps me up on how she is doing.

This morning she sent this photo with a text that read “Bacon can fix anything.” I sincerely thought she had put raw bacon on her cuts and started lecturing her on the dangers of tularemia and trichinosis. She is a Nuclear Medicine Technology student who happens to be on the Dean’s List so certainly not dumb, but regardless I was concerned. 

It seems one of her friends thought these band-aids would be fun. Apparently, it turned out she was right because Elizabeth certainly enjoyed my reaction. 

unnamed

When I googled “bacon band-aids” they came up in the dozens from Amazon to eBay to Walmart! Who knew?

So now I can no longer believe my eyes? 

 

POEM

This Winter Day

Why can’t you decide?
First, you let a few white flakes float down
then you drop an anemic sprinkle on the ground.

I decide this cloudy day I can abide
then the sun peeks out from behind the trees.
Winter Day you are such a tease.

At least there is no ice on which to slide
but the Meteorologist says just wait a day
and you’ll need your sleigh.

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – January 26, 2019

Field Trip

Death

I’ve been told that I think about death a lot. This is true; for as long as I can remember I have been interested in the subject. Some have said that I think about death too much. I do not agree. I think of it just the right amount, because I am not afraid of death. I consider it one of the few mysteries still left and I enjoy learning as much as possible until the time when I experience death personally, as we all will. 

I just searched for “death” here in the blog and found that I have written on the subject many times. OK, I admit it, more than I thought. You may do a search from the Home page if you are interested in reading more on the subject. 

Field Trip

One of my daughters approached me recently about our taking a trip to Yew Dell Gardens near here. It is a lovely place that I have enjoyed in the past, but could not see going there in the middle of winter. Then she confessed her motive and I was onboard immediately! We picked up my other daughter and the three of us bundled up to visit Yew Dell Gardens in January.   https://www.yewdellgardens.org

It turns out there is a very special flower in the greenhouse at Yew Dell that only blooms once each year and the bloom only lasts about 2 days, so there is a short window of time for viewing. We were there for the “viewing” of the Corpse Flower!

icc2efl8rg6zk0nzg4zzuq

Amorphophallus

(from Ancient Greek amorphos, “without form, misshapen” + phallos, “penis“, referring to the shape of the prominent spadix) per BING

There are many interesting facts about the corpse flower (other than its name) and I recommend you read up or even better watch it go from dormant to fully bloomed to doomed on YouTube in just over two minutes of time lapsed photography.

I’ll tell you about our experience.

The moment we opened the door to the greenhouse we were greeted with a very unpleasant and overwhelming odor. The three of us had varying opinions of the smell, but I insist it was not like a decomposing body, which is what we expected.

The plant, from China, was over five feet tall and I understand they can reach ten feet. It was beautiful in an odd way in spite of its lingering odor. The colors were very dark purple or maybe wine (petals and stamen) and off white (seeds). The texture looked fibrous and tough and a bit like skin. I can best show you with this slideshow of photos we took while there. I wish there was a way to share the odor as easily!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

If you want to see it bloom on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PSMKcE5XbAQ

If you want to know more:

https://www.livescience.com/51947-corpse-flower-facts-about-the-smelly-plant.html

“If smart technology can transform 3-D from a crude novelty to a genuine visual enhancement, why shouldn’t a sophisticated odor synthesizer follow a similar path?” Charles Platt

Thank you to Allison Puckett for the photos.

Music 4

Deathbed Playlist

In November 2016 The New York Times https://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/06/opinion/sunday/my-deathbed-playlist-and-yours.html published an opinion piece about the kind of music one would want to hear while dying. I have a list that I’d like at my funeral, but I had never given any thought to what I’d want to hear while dying. As I read the desires of others I began to put together my own “deathbed playlist.”

Of those who shared their lists some of the pieces were classical. I think classical music can be very comforting, but I am not educated enough in that kind of music to choose. Far more respondents mentioned rock pieces by specific artists or bands.  These I could identify with, such as Zeppelin, Cohen, Dylan, The Rolling Stones and others. 

After reading this article in the NYT by Mark Vanhoenacker I chose “When God Made Me” by Neil Young, for sure. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5QjKLcod9Y It is not an especially comforting song, but one full of questions. I’ve always had questions and know they will continue until I draw my last breath. My hope is that the answers might follow. 

How about you? What music would you like to hear during your last hours on this planet? Please share with us. 

Funeral Playlist

I suspect that many of you know the music you’d like at your funeral. Am I right? I do, the list is in The Binder https://crookedcreek.live/2018/09/16/the-binder/I have listed songs I’d like my family to choose from and they include: “Remember” by Josh Grobin, an old hymn “It is Well with My Soul,” the aforementioned “When God Made Me,” and of course “Amazing Grace” by either Elvis, Andrea Bocelli or IL Divo. 

At the end of my cousin, Pat’s, funeral we were all surprised and jolted by “Spirit in the Sky.” We laughed and shared a moment of Pat humor. It was great!  

What music do you want at your funeral? Please share. 

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

Hans Christian Andersen

 

Theme photo by Pixabay

Music 3

Deceased Artists

Isn’t it ironic that we miss music most after the death of a star musician? So many that we have lost over the past couple of years come to mind, Aretha Franklin, David Bowie, Prince, Tom Petty, Glen Campbell, and Chuck Berry. The day that Franklin died, I began to play her old CDs and continued for days.

“Space Oddity” and “Purple Rain” each still bring a tear when I hear them. It goes without saying that we often appreciate folks more after they are gone. That’s life, that’s death, but the music lives on and we are lucky to be able to hear any favorite anytime of day, thanks to the Internet and YouTube.

“Space Oddity” 

Ground Control to Major Tom
Ground Control to Major Tom
Take your protein pills
And put your helmet on

Ground Control to Major Tom
Commencing countdown,
Engines on
Check ignition
And may God’s love be with you

This is Ground Control
To Major Tom
You’ve really made the grade
And the papers want to know whose shirts you wear
Now it’s time to leave the capsule
If you dare

This is Major Tom to Ground Control
I’m stepping through the door
And I’m floating
In a most peculiar way
And the stars look very different today

For here
Am I sitting in a tin can
Far above the world
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do

Though I’m past
One hundred thousand miles
I’m feeling very still
And I think my spaceship knows which way to go
Tell my wife I love her very much
She knows

Ground Control to Major Tom
Your circuit’s dead,
Is there something wrong?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you hear me, Major Tom?
Can you….

Here am I floating
Round my tin can
Far above the Moon
Planet Earth is blue
And there’s nothing I can do.

Songwriter: David Bowie
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC,T.R.O. INC.
For non-commercial use only.

Nostalgia 

Tom Petty “Won’t Back Down” & “Free Falling

Glen Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy”

Fats Domino “Blueberry Hill”

Chuck Berry “Johnny Be Good”

Aretha Franklin “R E S P E C T”

Prince “Purple Rain”

Who do you miss today?

“If music be the food of love, play on.”

William Shakespeare

Theme photo by Pixabay

Music 2

Unique Voices

There are musicians with very unique voices and they are among my favorites. I listen to these three daily on my Pandora stations.

Whispers

Leonard Cohen (1934-1916), Canadian, whispers into the microphone as though he is engaging in an intimate moment. His voice haunts and follows. You can hear his top 20 hits here on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x1Cb4VjBKjc  My favorite is “I’m Your Man.”

Growls 

Your first guess must surely be Bob Dylan, the 77-year-old Nobel Prize winner for Literature (2016.) Dylan the anti-war, civil rights singer and songwriter growls all his music as an angry man. If you, like me, are a fan here’s his top 25: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWQWh86sJsA

Willie Nelson    

I invite you to describe the sound, the style of 85-year-old Willie Nelson. His voice is like none other and he has been writing music since he was seven years old. I’m not a big country music fan, but Willie is an exception for me. I love Willie! Hear his greatest hits here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzhW678PK4U&t=187s

“Music is the movement of sound to reach the soul for the education of its virtue.” Plato

 

 

Theme Photo by Pixabay

Music

Memories of Music

Other than church hymns, my earliest memories of music are of Elvis, Little Richard, and Fats Domino. There were others, such as the Everly Brothers (I really liked “Wake Up Little Susie”) that I enjoyed, but mainly I remember these three from my early years.

I, like every girl of that era, loved Elvis. His mellow and sensuous voice seemed to be singing just to me. The other two were more for dancing. That was the time of the jitterbug and sock hops and Little Richard particularly got everyone to their feet. 

As we age music tastes and styles change, but my love of Elvis’ voice remains. Some of the other oldies are still favorites: Credence Clearwater Revival, The Eagles, The Rolling Stones, and Neil Young.

 

What Music Do You Recall From Your Early Years?

Please share with us your favorites. 

“Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” Ludwig van Beethoven

 

Photo by Pixabay

Health Care

Rant #1 

HIPAA – To improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the health care system, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of (HIPAA), Public Law 104-191, included Administrative Simplification provisions that required HHS to adopt national standards for electronic health care transactions and code sets, unique health identifiers, and security. At the same time, Congress recognized that advances in electronic technology could erode the privacy of health information. Consequently, Congress incorporated into HIPAA provisions that mandated the adoption of Federal privacy protections for individually identifiable health information.

What does HIPAA mean to you? To me, it has always meant privacy of my confidential information relative to healthcare. I do remember when HIPAA was passed in 1996 and that it was comprehensive reform of many things other than patient privacy. Back then I was still in the provider/payor role in health care. Today I am just a consumer and I am appalled by the lack of privacy and security of information. 

A few days ago I walked into the waiting room of one of my doctors and the person behind the desk asked me piece by piece for the following information: 

  • Your Name?
  • Your address?
  • Your phone number?
  • Your date of birth?

Does anyone see a problem here? The only identifying information left out for the dozen or so people in the waiting area to hear was my Social Security number. How is this privacy? How was my information secure? 

Rant #2

While I’m at it, have you not been told all your life to never sign any document without reading it first? OK, I know we won’t read every word of every page, but shouldn’t we at least SEE the document we are asked to sign? Maybe glance at the title? 

Does your doctor’s office or other medical facility have one of these little gadgets? Most of mine do now and I’m asked to sign this Topaz thingy three to five times with each encounter. If I ask, “What am I signing?”, I’m told, but I do not see the document. This may seem like a small thing, but it is very bad business and I wonder how it stands up in court? “Your Honor I do not recall signing a Consent for Treatment” or “When did I sign an agreement to pay? I only signed the little Topaz machine when told, your Honor.”

70148t450

There are also iPad versions of this process which gather a new patient’s medical history, demographics and consents. These at least show the form being signed and one can see one’s own signature on that form via the screen. 

Rant #3

Sorry, I’ve forgotten, but I am sure it is just as important and I’ll get back to you. 

 

“Healthcare is becoming part of information technology.” Bill Maris

 

 

Title photo courtesy Pixabay

Grief – Comforting Others

Most people struggle with confronting a friend or a loved one who is grieving. Attending a funeral or visitation is usually a dreaded event and often our biggest concern is what to say. Most of us know that a grieving person needs rest, food and other practical gifts such as child or pet care. What we are less prepared for is personal interaction, so we are going to look at some guidelines that I hope prove helpful. 

What Not to Say

Of course, the following list will not include every possible thing one can say wrong to the person who is in grief, but it might be the top six. 

  1. Everything happens for a reason. This platitude is not helpful. You may believe this, but it doesn’t make it so. More importantly, it makes the person who has suffered a loss feel as though they have been targeted. It delays essential grief because it seems as though one should be not only accepting of their loss but grateful for it. It is cruel to say, “Everything happens for a reason.”
  2. God needed an angel in heaven.
    God needed an angel
  3. Be thankful you have other children. Saying this negates the loss of a child. Each son or daughter in a family has their own special place. A parent who loses one child is already thankful for their other children without your reminder. 
  4. He/She lived a good long life. The survivor knows this without being told. Their challenge is to figure out how to live without them.
  5. You are young, you can have another child or you can marry again. People we love are not replaceable. 
  6. Call if you need anything. They won’t. They need many things, but if you are too unimaginative to offer something specific you are not helpful. 

What to Say 

  1. Nothing, just be present, with a hand clasp or hug as appropriate with this particular individual. Do not run away and add to the feeling of abandonment.
  2. Some cliques are okay if you feel you must say something, e.g., “I’m sorry” or “I care.”
  3. Something practical and specific like: “I’ve made your dinner,” “I’ll keep the kids tomorrow,” “I’ll walk the dog daily this week.”
  4. The name of the deceased, Contrary to what you might believe it does not cause added sadness. One fear of a survivor is that their loved one will be forgotten. 
  5. I’ll be back. And, don’t forget to come back and ask how the grieving person is feeling. It is not a subject to avoid, but to embrace. Then listen. 

IMG_4767

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Gadgets

Cell Phone

My iPhone is seldom beyond my reach and I’m pretty sure you can say the same about your cell. It is like a personal secretary in your pocket. I’m not sure which feature I appreciate more, but I do know it’s not the phone part. Phone calls are necessary, but I can’t say I really enjoy them most of the time. FaceTime with my granddaughters, one away at college and the other in another country, is an exception to that, of course. 

Features

I love being able to take a high-quality photo with my phone. I like that I can carry important documents and notes. That I can enjoy my favorite music is a favorite, too. When in an unfamiliar location I love the GPS function. My car doesn’t have the fancy one built in (it’s six years old), but all I have to do is tell Siri the address and he (yes, my Siri is male and has an British accent) gets me there. Then, I say “home” and he gets back on familiar streets.

GPS

Years ago I had one of those clunky GPS gadgets where you had to manually enter each address. It worked and I depended upon it back then. One night it was stolen from my car. I found the experience not only upsetting but insulting. The thief had riffled through all my CDs and left them strewn about the car. Yes, LEFT THEM! It was during my Gosh Groben phase. 

What do you like best about your phone?

iphone-37856_1280

” My cell phone is my best friend. It’s my lifeline to the outside world.”                Carrie Underwood

 

Photos by Pixabay

Thanksgiving

Being Thankful

Thanksgiving is an American holiday and while it has historical beginnings it really has become a feast day. For those who do not live here let me say it’s about turkey & dressing, sweet potatoes, cranberries, and pumpkin pies. Of course, we are thankful, too, for family, health, friends and all those things that we are grateful for every day of our lives.

 It goes without saying that I am thankful for these things and especially my wonderful family. But, I would like to share with you some other things I’m thankful for every day. It is not an exhaustive list, just things that come to mind at the moment. 

  • Spiders don’t fly
  • Presidents have term limits
  • I don’t have to get to know the turkey personally before Thanksgiving
  • Rock and Roll never goes out of style
  • I don’t have to be young to think young
  • Our Earth has oceans
  • AARP membership is not a requirement
  • I am not forced to eat ground meat
  • That Santa Claus is old and forgetful 
  • My granddaughters shared their friends with me
  • Spiders don’t swim

500_F_1247715_0eOuCVoTG4ak3D0ASmQEWTG45kuZMA

How about you? 

Rocks

Rock & Roll       

Hard as a Rock

Rock On!

Dumb as a Rock

Rock, Paper, Scissors

As you can tell I have rocks on my mind. I’m sure some who know me might say I also have “rocks for brains.” And, today that might be appropriate.

When I went to Great Britain recently, I was so grateful and amazed to see Stonehenge for the first time.  https://crookedcreek.live/2018/10/10/stonehenge/

For good reason visitors are not able to touch the huge rocks that make up this wonder. I was very fortunate that our hosts on this trip knew where there were similar stones nearby that could be seen up close and that could be touched at will. 

Kevin and Helen Elliott took our party to Avebury where the rocks in the slideshow below were personally accessible. I loved seeing all the random rocks, so similar to those with which Stonehenge was built but not arranged in the same pattern. I felt a strange reverence when I touched these stones from so long ago. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Around these huge rocks were grazing sheep, burial mounds like those surrounding Stonehenge and in a few places even roads that traversed the mounds.

IMG_8370IMG_8368

On this same trip while in the home of friends in Wales, I became aware of a different type of stone called crystal. While there I was given a rose quartz crystal that I now treasure. I am not yet knowledgeable enough to say much about crystals and their possible powers, but I am beginning the process of learning. I wanted to share this with you while we are on the subject of rocks, which are not technically the same thing, but they are both contained within the earth and no doubt carry many secrets of the past. What powers they may hold, I hope to learn. 

IMG_8527

“In my work, and my life, I feel a desire to merge. Not in terms of losing my own identity… but there’s a feeling that life is interconnected, that there’s life in stones and rocks and trees and dirt, like there is in us.”  Bill Viola

The Last Rose

The Last Rose of Summer

In 2013 my husband planted a rosebush that he knew I’d like. Yellow is my favorite color and these beautiful yellow roses are a reminder of his love. With each one that has bloomed over the past month, I’ve wondered if it’s the last for the season, but they just keep blooming. 

I wanted to share this one with you, just in case it is the last rose of summer. 

fullsizeoutput_1f76

“The rose and the thorn, and sorrow and gladness are linked together.” Saadi

Halloween 2018

IMG_8477One Day Early

Due to forecasts of heavy rains, Halloween celebrations in many local neighborhoods moved up a day to take advantage of the beautiful fall evening. It was great fun and I’ve shared photos below. The Trick or Treaters were so creative!

“On Halloween, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.” Rodney Dangerfield

 

Happy Halloween!

Halloween

What are you going to be for Halloween? 

Have you heard this question yet this year? I think it’s funny that we don’t talk about what we will wear, so much as what we will “be.” To me, this means we really take our roles seriously and enjoy being someone, or something, different for a few hours. 

I have not made a decision about this year, but will probably be lazy and not put together a costume at all. Sometimes when you’ve done it well, it’s hard to top your own performance. Please forgive my bragging, but I was a really good Wolf Who Ate Grandma one year and I thought the year I was a “Cereal Killer” (as in Cheerios) was pretty creative, too.

IMG_7968

My bag lady year was a little lame, but there were two other years that I rocked! 

Goth was fun, but Camo Sue was my best ever!

What will you be this year?

 

 

Theme Graphic in title by Pixabay

 

Tintern Abbey

Wales’ Best-Preserved Abbey

IMG_8214

Tintern Abbey was founded in 1131 by Walter Fitz Richard of Clare, an Anglo-Norman lord. This community of buildings where monks once lived and worshiped had one of the most advanced drainage systems of its time, however, there was only one room where there was a fire for the residents to warm up or dry their clothes. There was an infirmary on the grounds and many early carvings. Traces of medieval glass can still be seen in the imposing windows.

After suppression by Henry VIII, the Abbey changed from its religious purpose to crowded cottages and an early industrial complex. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Wales

I loved the drive through the countryside in Wales. There were sheep scattered all about the hills presenting the peace that only such a pastoral scene can provide. There were signs to “Mind the Sheep” because in certain areas the animals were allowed to graze along the roadsides. 

Another interesting thing that I noted while in Wales was that signs were in both English and Welsh languages. All the maps and brochures that I saw in Wales were equally bi-lingual. While just about all citizens speak English on a daily basis, the government claims that 24% of the population over age three can speak Welsh, the official language of Wales. This makes this Celtic language the only official language of the United Kingdom other than English. 

I would love to return to Wales one day. 

 

A Castle in Wales

Chepstow Castle

IMG_8134

In beautiful Wales, there are many well-preserved castles. This Medieval one was built a year after the Battle of Hastings. For nearly 1,000 years Chepstow Castle has sat atop a cliff overlooking the Wye River below.

I felt almost a reverence as I walked onto the grounds and looked up at the stone walls and towers. I kept thinking of the people who lived there long ago and wondered what their lives must have been like. Walking along the chambers and climbing the stairs I wondered how life was for children who were born there.

I’ve chosen some of the 50+ photos that I took at Chepstow Castle and shared them with you in the slideshow below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“I had always been interested in mythology. I suppose my brief stay in Wales during World War II influenced my writing, too. It was an amazing country. It has marvelous castles and scenery.”

Lloyd Alexander

Stonehenge

Wonder of Wonders

Stonehenge in Wiltshire, England is approximately 4,500 years old. That in itself creates a sense of wonder. As I walked among these huge stacked stones recently I wondered what life was like in 3000 to 2200 BC. And, before the circle of stones was built there were hundreds of burial mounds in the surrounding area. The people buried there lived perhaps centuries before Stonehenge. What brought these early humans to this particular spot? What did they feel or sense there that made them leave their mark for us to wonder about? What force propelled these builders to spend over 100 years finding, transporting and stacking 25-ton stones (13×7′ in size) in a circle? We still wonder not only why, but how. 

IMG_8326

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone.” Robert Plant

 

Great Britain

The Unexpected

Before my trip to the UK last week I was cautioned to take an umbrella, raincoat and boots. I took the umbrella, but it was not needed. What a delightful week of sunny blue skies and cool breezes. 

I’ll write more later, but just had to say now what a great time I had touring London and the countryside of Gloucestershire and Wales. It was a week of planes, trains and automobiles, castles, pubs and charming villages. 

 

Pappy’s Hat

Pappy’s Hat

My Grandfather’s hat was always at the ready. It was as though he was not decent, or a gentleman, without it. When dressed for church he would put it on his head as he left the house. That was his Sunday hat. 

When inside, whether at his little house or in his big store, his bare head showed. He was mostly bald with a few sprigs of white hair spread across the top. Upon leaving any building whether sunny or cold, a hat was placed squarely on that head. It was straw in summer and felt in winter. 

If he was working outside on a hot day the hat would be old and stained from sweat. That was not his primary function in life however, because he ran a general store and Post Office and he didn’t have to sweat much in those jobs. 

IMG_3878

His attire was simple, as was most men’s in those days. About all he needed was one suit and white shirt with tie for Sundays and funerals. Other days gray pants and a cotton shirt would do with a sweater added in winter. His shoes were black leather and tied neatly. He had rubber covers for those oxfords on rainy days. He called them “galoshers.” Top it all off with a hat and Pappy was good to go. 

“A person carries off the hat. Hats are about emotion.                                                      It is all about how it makes you feel.” Philip Treacy

 

Theme photo of hat in title by Pixabay

Pat

Blessed with Pats

One day my daughter said to me, “Mom you have so many friends named Pat!” And I realized she was right. I truly do have a lot of friends both present and past named Pat and each has been a blessing. 

My first Pat was a cousin born six weeks before me and we grew up more like sisters. When we were little I called her Patsy Lou (for Patricia Lucille), but later as a preteen, she became Pat. We both became nurses and we argued, agreed and mostly were just always there for each other until she died of leukemia.

Currently, there are Pats in my life who are more varied than their names might suggest. One is a brilliant writer, one a talented artist, another is a good neighbor and cat sitter, one lives several states away and still stays in touch. There are and have been others too numerous to count as they sometime say in lab results.

A Pat from the Past

 During part of the 1960s and 1970s, we lived in a small neighborhood in the suburbs. It was a great place to raise our two daughters. It was also an innocent time. Kids ran and played and rode bikes and stayed out after dark playing hide and seek. They knew they had parental eyes on them, but still, it was a time of freedom. Each child trusted their friends’ parents as they trusted their own. 

There was a neighbor named Pat who was not a great deal older than me, but she taught me so much, mostly by example. She was an RN and although not consciously I followed her into the nursing profession. It wasn’t that she talked about her job, but I knew she was good at it and I wanted to be like her.

One Sunday while my family was at church I stayed home to make chili for a neighbor who was injured in a wreck. The chili was really hot. It burned up our kitchen. The remarkable thing though was that Pat showed up after the firetruck had departed and began to help. Long after the insurance was settled and new appliances were installed Pat came back with her cleaning tools to help me rid the house of stains and odors. That is a real neighbor. 

When one of our daughters had an accident on Halloween night requiring a trip to the hospital, Pat took our other daughter trick-or-treating with her children. 

When I went into labor with our third pregnancy and subsequently miscarried, it was Pat who comforted me, instructed my husband and again took care of our daughters while we went to the hospital. 

There are few people like this woman and I wish you had known her too. I do not know how I became so fortunate to have Pat G. and so many other Pats in my life. 

“Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light.” Helen Keller

NOTE: There are many friends in my life today and I would not want to face life without any of them, no matter their names. You surely know who you are and I love you. 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Way Back

Do You Remember?

Way back when  . . . 

  1. Milk was delivered to your door before daylight in a glass recyclable bottle?
  2. Books of matches were free and had advertising written on them?  

    CmfOSOHGRcqC6bm0i+YaUQ

  3. You went to the “show” (movie) and sat in the balcony?
  4. Telephone poles had insulators like these? IMG_7133
  5. Most women were married to their homes, i.e., housewives
  6. Couples on TV always slept in twin beds?
  7. Women did not go to war?
  8. “Howdy Doody” was on TV?
  9. Moms worked 24/7 for no monetary compensation. . . oh, wait, that still sometimes happens.
d919e267d2f1610784e84542fce7ee8a
Photo by Pinterest

“Old age is just a record of one’s whole life.” Muhammad Ali

 

Cow Eyes

“You Have Cow Eyes”

Have you ever been told you have cow eyes? It’s supposed to be a compliment. Cow eyes are big and dark and kind of dreamy looking. That’s one reason to give up beef or at least to not get up close and friendly before a steak dinner.

Well, I once knew a man who had cow eyes. Let me explain.

While not identical, bovine eyes are very similar to human eyes. If you are a science teacher and you want your middle school students to learn first hand about the human eye by dissection, what do you do? You obviously don’t have access to human eyes.

A teacher I knew years ago had access to a butcher and this butcher had access to cow eyes. He was especially fond of the teacher and could not say no when she requested enough for each of her students. They made plans for her to pick them up on a certain day. Imagine his family’s dismay when he came home from work that day with a bucket full of cow eyes.   

bucket-2027031_1280

“I absolutely adore cows. They’re the most fascinating gentle and beautiful animals. Their eyes are so amazing. I have ten that live on the land around my house. I love to talk to them.”  Mary Quant

 

Theme photo in title and graphic by Pixabay

August Walk (repost)

On my neighborhood walks even though it’s the dog days of August, I see secret signs of autumn to come.

Goldenrods, their yellow flags announcing six weeks ’till frost remain unfurled even though I see their heads peeking out from their hiding spots. 

The burning bushes green all summer long now showing signs of smoldering tips.

The leaves atop the trees dry and wait for a cool wind to transport them in flight to distant places where they decay as do all living things.

A child’s pink birthday balloon falling lower each day. It now barely moves, wet against the mailbox post. 

balloon-157329_1280

Poem by Sue Baugh Mattingly – August 2013

NOTE: Sunflower photo courtesy of Gerri Nelson Aug. 2018

Doughnuts

Memories

To those who do not live in this area, you cannot possibly know what you are missing by not ever having eaten a warm Krispy Kreme doughnut. Our family used to begin vacations with boxes of these glazed delights. The teens and kids would wear the Krispy Kreme hat as the ceremony took place. So yummy; such wonderful memories!

Disappointment 

I recently realized that it was possibly the tradition as much as the doughnuts that made them so special. I was out early one morning, driving to an appointment. I had plenty of time and happened to notice the local Krispy Kreme shop up ahead. Without thinking I drove in, parked and went inside. It smelled so familiar. I ordered two warm glazed and a cup of coffee. I sat down in anticipation of a wonderful impromptu treat.  

Alas, something had changed. My doughnuts were a disappointment. Was it them or was it me? I’ll probably never know. I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten my last Krispy Kreme doughnut. 

“You pretty much can’t get away from bacon or whiskey in the South. Put a doughnut in it and you’d be good to go.” Hillary Scott

August Walk

On my neighborhood walks even though it’s the dog days of August, I see secret signs of autumn to come.

Goldenrods, their yellow flags announcing six weeks ’till frost remain unfurled even though I see their heads peeking out from their hiding spots. 

The burning bushes green all summer long now showing signs of smoldering tips.

The leaves atop the trees dry and wait for a cool wind to transport them in flight to distant places where they decay as do all living things.

A child’s pink birthday balloon falling lower each day. It now barely moves, wet against the mailbox post. 

by Sue Baugh Mattingly – August 2013

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

P.M. Walk

The Parklands

How lucky we are who live near the Parklands.  Whether one is a biker, a runner or like me just a walker, there is a trail for you. Nature is abundant and stunning. Here are a few scenes my walk today. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

“Reading about nature is fine, but if a person walks in the woods and listens carefully, (s)he can learn more than what is in books, for they speak with the voice of God.”   George Washington Carver

4V3J+qJ0TjK9+w3Hzzx9aA

Looking Back Again

Maybe it’s my recent milestone birthday, but I keep looking back. Please walk with me as I recall some things of years past. 

Do You Remember When?

  • Gas stations were Service Stations? The attendant checked your oil and cleaned your windshield as well as pumping your gas. I remember my Dad driving into the station and requesting “A dollar’s worth please!” That was approximately three gallons back then. 
  • There was one vehicle per family rather than per driver?
  • Funeral homes provided ambulance service?
  • Doctors made routine house calls?
  • Horses were used to farm?
    14691415_1266288546755823_6947401125343188138_o     
  • Babies were born at home?
  • The deceased were “laid out” at home? That was before the parlor became a “living” room. 
  • Farm homes had smokehouses? They were not for smokers of cigarettes and cigars. They were for preserving (smoking) and then storing meat for the table.
  • You didn’t own a computer? 
  • You learned to used email?
  • Your phone wasn’t in your pocket?
  • You didn’t know who was calling until they spoke? 

 

A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin and culture is like a tree without roots. Marcus Garvey

High BUN

Google

Who has not looked up medical terms, test results and diagnoses Online? I do it often even when I know or think I know what something means. It never hurts to review and become better enlightened, right?

Today I wondered about a BUN value on my Metabolic Panel. I knew it meant Blood Urea Nitrogen and involved kidney function, but I googled “high BUN” anyway.

Among all the excess information I received were literally hundreds of photos similar to this one! 

 

High-Bun-Hairstyles

 

“All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth.” Friedrich Nietzsche

 

Photos by Pixabay

Meema Pants

Recently I was in Lenscrafters looking into new glasses. The young man working with me was very attentive and professional. After completing my business I started to leave the store when an employee who I had not noticed loudly proclaimed “Meema!” He was looking at me, but surely not talking to me. I was wrong. This young man walked over to me and told me that my pants reminded him of his “Meema in Florida.” I was speechless, but he was not. He proceeded to tell me how much my pants made him think of his grandmother who wore similar ones and always with brightly colored tops. I was wearing a black sweater. 

I told him that I was sure his grandmother would love to know he’s thinking of her. I left the store and returned home deep in thought. Before I exited my car I took this photo of the pants fabric with its tiny embroidered work. IMG_7365

I have a “donation” box in my garage where I collect clothes for a homeless shelter in Southern Indiana. Suffice it to say that by the time I reached the inside of my home, I was sans the Meema pants. 

“Older women are best because they always think                                                  they may be doing it for the last time.” Ian Fleming

 

 

A.M. Walk

A rare lower humidity day brings a cute youngster out to play at Pope Lick Park. It was curious, but not a risk taker. This was as close as I came.  

A surprise on the walkway was this baby frog. It was definitely a day for juveniles. She/he was the perfect subject for photo taking, holding still and posing. fullsizeoutput_18e1

“You will find something more in woods than in books. Trees and stones will teach you that which you can never learn from masters.” Saint Bernard

IMG_7668

As will flowers, deer and frogs. 

Birthdays

Birthdays

Today’s approaching birthday has been causing me much consternation. To my dismay, this day points out that I have been present on this planet for three-quarters of a century. On my thirtieth I cried all day, on my fiftieth I laughed a  lot at all the teasing I received from co-workers, friends, and family. On my seventieth, I enjoyed a nice weekend at French Lick, IN with my daughters. But, this one is different, in fact, I was thinking it might be lethal, until I learned something significant in USA Today on June 24th.

Superman is 80 this month! 

This news helped so much. If he can keep on flying faster than the speed of bullets surely I can continue to walk, blog and enjoy each day for a while longer. So, my daughters and I are going to have a slumber party to celebrate my big 75 and I look forward to adding to this three-quarters of a century! 

superman-1910709_1280

“You are as young as your self-confidence, as old as your fears;                                                      as young as your hope, as old as your despair.” Unknown

 

Theme photo in title and graphic by Pixabay

Mystery

 

Mystery to Solve

My readers are smart and always quick with comments so I’m sure I’ll get the help that I need to solve this mystery. I just want to know why all my tee shirts get one tiny hole in the same place, lower front. I don’t even care about prevention, I just need the answer as to how it happens. It has been on my mind for years now! 

Does this happen to you? 

fullsizeoutput_1871

Yes, I do realize there are more important things to worry about, so don’t bother to throw that out, okay? I also care about nuclear weapons, water pollution and the hole in the ozone.

“Don’t become a mere recorder of  facts but try to penetrate the mystery of their origin.” Ivan Pavlov

 

Tip Re’ Tires

Confession

I know nothing about tires, other than they need to be kept inflated. My tip is more about what to do to prepare for car trouble which came about for me recently because of tires. After more years of driving than I care to calculate I had my first blowout a couple of weeks ago. Oh, I’ve had flats, they are not that dramatic, but a blowout, now that is pure drama! I’m happy to say that I maneuvered my car safely to a stop in an emergency lane. After collecting my thoughts and calming my nerves for a minute I called AAA, grateful as I looked at my card to note I’ve been a member for 29 years. I was sure help would be on the way in no time flat (pun intended). That’s where the tip comes in. 

The Tip:

For one hour I sat waiting for help to arrive to place my spare on my wheel so that I could be on my way. One hour! It was 91 degrees so I was thankful to have adequate fuel to use the A/C intermittently. I read everything on my phone and had to resist calling anyone to chat because I didn’t want folks to be concerned about me. But I had nothing to do, nothing to read . . . wait that is not exactly true. 

I opened the glove box and rooted around finding the vehicle registration, an owner’s manual and insurance verification. BORING! Then I spotted two white envelops which I had forgotten having in the car. One contained a copy of my Living Will and the other a copy of my Health Care Surrogate document.  https://crookedcreek.live/2017/01/25/death-decisions/  Realizing that I had not updated these papers in over a year, I spent that long wait reading, initialing and dating each page so that my time was productive after all. This is not what I recommend but it was a good alternative to having something more interesting to read.

Yeah, back to the tip: I now have good reading material in my car. I’m ready for any emergency. Don’t leave home without something to read in case of an emergency! 

“I had to stop driving my car for a while… the tires got dizzy.” Steven Wright

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

 

Year of the Woman 1993

1993

IMG_7487

In 1993 I turned fifty-years-old. I felt old. I was teased and received all the gag gifts that go with such a milestone birthday. But there was a bright spot, it was the “Year of the Woman!” What could be a better birthday present than that! 

IMG_7508.jpg

But wait, 1992 was supposed to be the “Year of the Woman” too. And, according to a Wall Street Journal article, 1994 was redux. Surely with all the elections and appointments of women, it did come to pass . . . surely. No doubt all this attention to the female majority in the US resulted in equal pay . . . no doubt . . . surely. 

IMG_7490

What happened? Does anyone even remember the first “full-fledged” female bishop? How about Carol Moseley-Braun? Joyce Elders? Lani Guinier? 

The battle for women’s suffrage began in Seneca Falls, NY in 1848 and it took seventy-two years for the 19th Amendment to be ratified. My mother was one year old at the time. If living she would turn 100 next year. My what progress must have been made in all those years. Surely women now receive pay equal to men. Surely a woman has been elected President. Surely women have an equal place at the table where important decisions are made. Surely . . . 

What went wrong? Who failed? We need to ask these difficult questions. In the next post we will take a closer look at the progress made since the Year of the Woman of the nineties. 

“Here’s to strong women. May we know them, we may be them, may we raise them.” Stacey Bendet

 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Today’s Walk

Nothing exciting to report this morning, no deer, no trains, no Goatman, just the beauty and peace of nature. Here are a few random photos:

IMG_7631IMG_7636IMG_7639IMG_7642

I hope you too, find time to enjoy nature today, whether it is inside with your pet(s), watching birds through the window or walking outside in the sunshine. 

IMG_7628

Looking Back

Do You Remember?

  • Sprinkling laundry and refrigerating it in a plastic bag before ironing? Do you even remember ironing?
  • Cars not having air-conditioning, turn signals, seat belts nor heaven help us, cup holders?
  • Dialing a telephone, i.e., spinning that dial with one finger?
  • Car hops who delivered your food order which you then ate in the car?
  • Visiting folks without calling before dropping in?
  • When you kept up with relatives and friends by writing letters, known today as snail mail? 

dLITAT81TtaPZJeTNhRsNA

  • Blue Laws which required businesses to stay closed on Sunday? And, then later when they were allowed to open only after church “let out” at noon?
  • Women not wearing pants to church or much of anywhere else? I remember the first nurse who wore a pants uniform in our city. There was an article and photo in the local newspaper!
  •  When cameras had both film and flashbulbs? 

162853_1762847548032_6930465_n

  • When schools had recess?
  • Books were not audible?
  • When passengers smoked on airplanes during flight?
  • Farmers (usually the wife) killing their chickens for food? 
  • When unwanted pets were “dropped”?  Sadly, it still happens today. Here’s one named Jackson that was fortunate enough to be found and adopted.IMG_6272

I Remember

And the list could go on and on.  I make no judgment. For the most part, I like the ways things are today and I love technology. That does not mean I don’t grow nostalgic at times thinking about how some things were in the past. 

Pope Lick Again

I sometimes wonder if we see what we look for. I realize that statement needs a lot of clarification. What I’m thinking about is my most recent walk at Pope Lick Park. I don’t take the same trails each day. I’m not in the same mood each day, although my mood always improves during my walks. 

Today Floyd’s Fork was high and muddy and I enjoyed it in the morning mist. Even though it was quite early, I was not alone. Bikers, walkers, runners and even one person on inline skates were out there with me. I add this for one of my readers who worries about my safety. I am one of many enjoying the Parklands and being truly alone is rare. 

IMG_7599

Usually when I am in nature I think of little else. Today was no exception, however there were no deer, squirrels or even birds to hold my attention. One of the first things I noticed was my least favorite living creature. You guessed it, spiders or at least their homes. https://crookedcreek.live/2016/09/21/one-fear-explained/ Right away I noticed a dew covered web on the ground that reminded me of “angel hair” we used to decorate trees with at Christmas when I was a kid. The matted looking web had a hole that lead to a tunnel. The photos are not as clear as I’d like, but perhaps you can see what I’m talking about. As I walked there were many more such structures mingled in the grass. I cannot help but wonder what other sights I might have missed because I was looking for these spider homes. 

 

With the editing feature on my camera, I was able to crop one photo with the resident builder at home. I assure you that I did not get that close! I hope you can see him here. 

fullsizeoutput_18ad

It was a day for spider exploration, but a good day for a walk nevertheless. They were minding their own business and I was very careful to avoid interrupting their day. 

One more photo, but from a different type home above in the trees. 

IMG_7606

The next time you see a spider web, please, pause and look a little closer. You’ll be seeing one of the most high-performance materials known to man. Cheryl Hayashi

Frogs 2

fullsizeoutput_1884

Frogs Are Valuable

Frogs are precious and, not as dinner. Did you know that according to the Amphibian Rescue and Conservation Project* (Panama) between 1996 and 2006, over 100,000 tons of frog legs worth almost half a billion dollars were consumed by human diners? 

Frogs are valuable and not just as pest control. We would certainly suffer without frogs eating flying pests. Considering the diseases carried by mosquitoes I cannot imagine a world without frogs and other amphibians to keep them under control yet, since 1980, we have lost over 120 species of amphibians!

“So what?” some may say, but the value of frogs goes way beyond pest control and culinary uses. Frog skin is a virtual bonanza for medical research and treatment. Frogs have been found to carry cures and controls for some of humankind’s most threatening conditions*.  

whyfrogs-matter 

 It is True

Someone has said: “Frogs have it made, they get to eat what bugs them.” Anonymous and it is true. We once had a koi pond with frogs and lily pads and it was great entertainment until one very large frog became “bugged” by a bird. The bird just wanted a drink from the pond, but that hungry frog rose up and gulped the bird into its mouth! Only the tail and wing tips were not swallowed. I would never have believed it possible had I not seen it in my own backyard. And, you might not believe it either except in addition to a couple of (frightened) witnesses I have pictures.

Warning, it is not pleasant. 

 

Like people, they may not all be sociable but we need frogs and they need us to preserve them for the value they add to our world. 

Part 2 of 2

Frogs

I Love Frogs

All my life I have been fascinated by frogs. Sometimes I wish they were not so slimy and there are poisonous ones I would not want to encounter, but overall frogs are intriguing creatures. Once as a child, I was climbing a tree and put my hand on a big piece of bark to steady myself and that bark scurried away from my hand! It was a perfectly camouflaged tree frog. 

Have you heard a tree frog’s voice? They are amazing. If you think all frogs make the same sound, you are so wrong. Only the male bullfrog can “croak” using his throat pouch that enlarges and vibrates to make that familiar sound. Other frogs have individual sounds and you can experience some of them, including American and Canadian frogs here: http://www.naturenorth.com/spring/sound/shfrsnd.html There are several other sites on the internet which present the sounds that various frogs make and a favorite of mine is: http://allaboutfrogs.org/weird/general/songs.html

I cannot help but smile as I listen to the recorded frog sounds. I hope that you enjoy them too. Frogs whistle, peep, grunt, ribbit, and bark to name just a few of their distinctive sounds. Please tune in to the links above and listen to their serenades. Even as a frog lover, I was not aware of spring peeps until my daughter pointed them out a few years ago. 

Frogs Are Vital

fullsizeoutput_186a

Frogs are more than fun. They are sentinels that warn us of crucial information regarding our environment. Amphibians, including salamanders and toads as well as frogs,  are sensitive to gases like oxygen because of their very porous and sensitive skin.  This means they are also very sensitive to pollution even from their egg stage because the shell is soft, unlike eggs of birds and snakes. 

Amphibians have been declining with some species disappearing completely. Other signs of environmental compromise include extra or missing legs on frogs. They are compared by many scientists to the canary in the coal mine. We must respect and pay attention to frogs and their cousins. 

“Don’t be a fish; be a frog. Swim in the water and jump when you hit ground.”                    Kim Young-ha

 

Part 1 of 2

Life is Short

There are things in life that just don’t seem worth it, especially when you consider that life is short. The older I get the more things I find not worth the effort, time or discomfort. I realize that this is in part due to simply being a senior, but I want more credit than that. Much of what I’ve decided life is too short for is due to experience and wisdom. 

Life’s Too Short

  • To wear a bra
  • To eat (or drink) kale
  • To not see the ocean as often as the opportunity presents itself
  • To not dig in the dirt
  • To not pause for nature

Dirt Bird nature-3313973_1280

  • To not “look up at the stars” as Stephen Hawking said
  • To spend it worrying about the past

dandelion-3391290_1280

  • To waste time on Facebook
  • To not spend time with loved ones including friends at every opportunity 
  • To not laugh
  • Did I mention wearing a bra?

How about you? Are there things you would list?

 

“I find it delightful that the optimal way I can live my life from moment-to-moment is also the optimal way I can prepare for my death, and equally delightful that acknowledging our future death is a prerequisite for living a truly joyful life now.”  Ram Dass

 

Photos by Pixabay

Pope Lick Park 2

Goatman?

Today while walking I thought I had spotted the Pope Lick Monster, https://crookedcreek.live/2018/05/23/pope-lick-park/  but it turned out to be just another tree. I wanted to share it with you regardless. 

fullsizeoutput_1885

Friendly Deer

She wasn’t shy. I talked with her a while and didn’t want to disturb her by getting out my phone to photograph her. After a friendly conversation, I realized she wasn’t in a hurry nor was she worried about this human. Here she is for you to enjoy. 

fullsizeoutput_1887

 

Movie Review – Book Club

Disclaimer: 

I am not a movie critic. I’m not even a movie buff. I probably see fewer than 6 movies per year at the theater.

Review

I loved the movie I saw yesterday with a friend. It was packed with great actors, Candice Bergen, Jane Fonda, Diane Keaton and Mary Steenburgen. Don’t be put off by trailers referring to the book “Fifty Shades of Grey” because it isn’t really about the book, but about four close friends who have an informal book club, hence the movie’s name.

“Book Club” is a comedy with a lot of philosophy woven throughout. It was funny. I truly laughed out loud more than once. In my “I’m not a movie critic” opinion it has a specific audience in mind. If you are female and of, let’s say a mature age, you will likely be entertained. 

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

 

Pope Lick Park

After an unusually busy spring burdened with lack of energy, this morning I returned, yet again, to my favorite park. Pope Lick didn’t disappoint, so I will be there again tomorrow. https://www.theparklands.org/Parks/Pope-Lick-Park 

The honeysuckle was blooming abundantly and generously unleashing its heavenly fragrance. I wish there was a way to share that lovely scent with you here. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The landscape was lush with green . . . the hills, the meadows and even the occasional swamp. There were a few wildflowers and wild things. Cardinal couples were on the scene and I gave up counting after five or six. 

Blackberries are in full bloom. In fact, they look well into the season and I do not recall the usual “blackberry winter” that we expect to experience before the berries appear. 

 

Pope Lick Monster

Everything was there except the Pope Lick Monster! I don’t always look for him/it but today I heard the train whistle and even though I was not yet at that infamous trestle, I wondered if the Goatman was lurking there. If you live in this area I’m sure you are familiar with this creature. If you are not, you should take a look at what he’s been up to for generations. https://www.atlasobscura.com/places/pope-lick-trestle-bridge

or

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pope_Lick_Monster

IMG_1838IMG_1841fullsizeoutput_1112fullsizeoutput_1110

When I eventually spot the monster you may be assured that I will tell you and hopefully with photos, too!

Heroes need monsters to establish their heroic credentials. You need something scary to overcome.  Margaret Atwood

 

National Day of Prayer

History of the National Day of Prayer (NDP)

The NDP began in 1952 when it was signed into law by President Harry S. Truman. It was amended unanimously by Congress in 1988 and signed by President Ronald Reagan. That Amendment designated the first Thursday of May as the official day of observance. It has been approved by every President since.

Based upon the language used to announce the day as well as a designated Scripture reference from the Gospels of the New Testament it appears to be a Christian day of prayer even though there are many other religious beliefs in the US. It is my personal opinion that if we truly want “peace and unity” for America the NDP should include all faith traditions. 

Pray for America

On May 3, I attended a National Day of Prayer in Louisville, KY. My experience was one of peace and unity. Those who spoke represented the Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jewish, Native American and Bahai faiths. 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Mark Your Calendar

The NDP for 2019 is May 2. In Kentucky keep in touch with the Interfaith Paths to Peace https://paths2peace.org for information about where there will be a celebration of America’s diverse faiths as we pray together for our nation. I am sure there are similar plans in most American cities. 

“If we cannot now end our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity.”  John F. Kennedy

Kim, the Spider

The Jumper

National Geographic has announced that the University of Manchester has taught a spider named “Kim” to jump six times “her” (how do they know?) body length on demand. 

https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/news/180508-spider-jumps-on-demand-animals-vin-spd

Why? Do you ask?

Yeah, me too. It seems to be in preparation for tiny robot training. OK, fine. If they had to do this fine, but did they have to post that grisly video of almost two minutes of Kim showing off her acrobatics? 

https://crookedcreek.live/2016/09/21/one-fear-explained/

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

 

Scenes from Russia

Matryoshka  (Stacking) Dolls

fullsizeoutput_173b

White Nights

stock-photo-peter-the-great-bridge-and-smolny-cathedral-in-saint-petersburg-with-lights-in-the-summer-night-277273190
Peter the Great’s Bridge and Smolny Cathedral  (during white nights)

Beginning in May and lasting into July it never gets completely dark in St. Petersburg due to its geographical location as the Northern most city in the world. This period of time is referred to as “White Nights.” It was an eerie feeling and messed with my circadian rhythm. This was not the biggest deterrent to sleep, however. Never have I see such big and persistent mosquitos. They buzzed loudly and got in my face belligerently each evening in the hotel. They seemed partial to the face and hands for their nightly feast. I counted 20 bites on one hand and 10 on the other as well as enough on my face to look like I had chicken pox! 

Goodwill Games

The Goodwill Games were started in Moscow in 1986 by Ted Turner as a response to political difficulties surrounding the Olympic Games at the time. While I was in St. Petersburg the country was hosting the games for the second time. It was exciting to see the enthusiasm the games inspired and I knew the city was presenting its best face for the onslaught of tourists.
63CKaKqYSnuWFbNse5xzjg

Hotel

 fullsizeoutput_1696

The hotel I stayed in was the Rusky as I recall. It had a lot of marble, but not the beautiful expensive type that I was used to seeing working in the magnificent Humana headquarters in Louisville, KY. This marble was lifeless and the rooms were little more than one would expect in a hostel or at camp. Although clean the beds were cots, the bathroom’s plumbing was exposed and the mosquitos had free access to guests. 

This view outside the back of the hotel is more representative of what the city was like in 1994.fullsizeoutput_1695

Cemetery

Cemeteries are one of my favorite sites to visit. Those in Russia were certainly not a disappointment. By tradition, they are divided into three sections. There is a section reserved for Communists, usually signified by the hammer and sickle. fullsizeoutput_169d

There is a section for those involved in the Arts and another for regular people. 

IMG_7308
Tombstone of a “regular” person

Things We Take for Granted 

This I saved for last. One thing that we take for granted here in the US and in much of the world, I suppose, is toilet paper. We load our grocery carts with no thought to what life would be without this commodity. In Russia in 1994 that was not the case. Many public restrooms had no T.P. at all. Others had attendants who presented you with a couple of squares as an allotment as you enter. Some places had a sheet torn from books (see the example from “church” below.) Here is the collection that I preserved:fullsizeoutput_16b0

Part 6 of 6

Note: Thank you to Lula Reynolds for giving us a break from St. Petersburg and sharing her visit to Moscow (2012) in the last post. 

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

 

Moscow, Russia

Welcome Guest Writer: Lula Reynolds traveled to Russia 18 years after my trip to St. Petersburg. She has graciously shared the post below about the city of Moscow. Thank you Lula! 

My one-day visit to Moscow in 2012 was interesting but left me with lots of questions.  I had visited Communist China so knew a little about what to expect.  However, Moscow was different from China and even from St. Petersburg.  In St. Petersburg, the people and guides were open and friendly and were willing to answer our questions.  The museums were beautiful and ornate. 

For our trip to Moscow, we could go by plane or high-speed train.  We chose the 4-hour train trip to see some of the countryside.  As we rode farther away from St. Petersburg, there were fewer buildings and those that we saw were very small, almost like huts, and crowded together in villages.  We were told that these were country homes.  The landscape reminded me of the movie, Dr. Zhivago, without the snow. 

metro-3269551_1280
Moscow Metro by Pixabay

When we arrived in Moscow, we were introduced to our guide, a lady probably in her 50’s, dressed much like what I thought of as a typical Russian. Our first experience was a ride through the city to a Metro train station where we rode the subway for a short distance. The station was spotlessly clean and was exquisitely decorated with sculptures, chandeliers, mosaics and marble walls and ceilings.  It was a work of art, leaving us to wonder if all the stations were like this or if this was their showpiece. 

Kremlin tower
Kremlin Tower by Pixabay

Our tour for the day included a visit to the Kremlin and Red Square. Our guide kept a swift pace and throughout the day a couple of men would appear to walk beside her and check off her schedule. She kept us in tight control, asking us often not to wander from the group. At one point a couple wanted to stop at a restroom they spotted but she said no, that a restroom break was scheduled later.  When we were allowed to ask questions, she would not answer political questions. 

I had always thought of the Kremlin as government buildings. We were not able to tour the government portion of the Kremlin, which is an old fortress and the seat of the President.  The part of the Kremlin we visited was the Armory Chamber which was a museum of Russian history.  It was beautiful and very crowded and we were guided through to see the armor, coronation dresses, jewelry, golden carriages, and Faberge eggs.  There was much use of jewels and gold in these items. 

gallery-of-painting-749880_1280
Museum: Gallery of Painting by Pixabay

We had been told not to touch anything, lean against anything or take pictures.   Near the wall in several places were older ladies (with their purses on their arms) seated in chairs.  If someone accidentally touched or leaned against a wall, they would come over and remind us not to touch.   

Our guide walked swiftly all day. She was off the bus and on her way before the last person exited the bus.  At one point when we were going up some stairs to a restaurant for a Russian dinner (beef Stroganoff), one of the tourists remarked that she walked so fast that we couldn’t keep up. Her response was, “Russian women are tough.” 

The Kremlin included Cathedral Square, surrounded by 3 cathedrals. Important Russian ceremonies take place in the beautiful gardens.

Red Square has been the place of numerous historical and political events in the life of Russia.  As we walked in Red Square there were many people hustling about, young and old.  We noticed that the police or military would not make eye contact. 

gum-2768178_1280
GUM Department Store by Pixabay

Red Square is made up of the Kremlin, the Lenin Mausoleum, the Church of St. Basil the Blessed, the State History Museum and GUM, the largest department store in Russia. 

We were given an opportunity to wander shortly in the department store which is like a mall. The shops looked very similar to US shops and were brightly decorated. 

Our day in Moscow was packed with sights, but I came away feeling very confined and not really learning a lot of information about the people and its culture.  I admired the exquisite and lavish beauty of the museums and churches but left wondering what daily life is like for the people in Moscow. 

Scenes from Moscow and title graphic by Pixabay

 

 

Part 5 of 6

 

St. Petersburg, Russia

Russia

Language

The Russian language is very difficult. I worked for months before the trip to learn as many words as possible. I listened to tapes (yes, cassettes) and gradually learned approximately 100 Russian words. Today after all those years, I remember about three or four: “No”, “Goodbye”, and “Thank You” for sure. Often when the people heard a visitor say a few words of Russian they then assumed that you spoke the language.  That could create problems without enough words to explain. 

                         Alphabet:fullsizeoutput_1688

Currency

The currency when I was in Russia was very weak.  A ruble was worth less than 1/10 of a penny. Each day would begin by standing in line at a money exchange kiosk. 

St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad)

Transportation 

There were few private autos in Russia during the 1990’s, but there were trolleys, buses, subways and a few taxis. Public transportation was dependable, but very crowded, especially the buses which were cheapest. Commuters were jammed tightly together but never looked one another in the eye.

The Metro (subway) was one-third mile underground. The escalators were efficient in transporting passengers to and from the trains. The trains ran at 100 MPH and were clean and safe. The interpreter I was with said that pick-pocket thieves were on the lookout for tourists, but I experienced no problems nor suspicions.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The Arts

state-hermitage-museum-in-st-petersburg
The Hermitage

The Hermitage is one of the world’s most premier museums. It is filled with priceless art and at the time I visited it had no temperature or humidity control for protection of these precious pieces.

Patrons were asked to remove our shoes and use soft slippers provided to reduce noise. We were allowed to walk around with few to no guards or docents to prevent damage to the irreplaceable works of art. 

Music and dance are adored in Russia and I was fortunate to be able to enjoy both while in St. Petersburg.

The ballet Swan Lake was performed in a historic theater by a newly formed dance company which now performs all over the world. The theater was grand, but showed signs of age and lack of maintenance as evidenced by the restroom picture below. 

I also had an opportunity to attend a folk music show with traditional dance, costumes, and instruments. It was the first time I had seen or heard the three-stringed instrument called a balalaika. 

 

stock-photo-traditional-culture-traditional-music-string-instrument-culture-creation-folk-folk-music-2e39c047-e9c1-4d1d-829b-60cad6f6b0e9
Photo by Pixabay

Part 3 of 6

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Russia

Brief History

During the “cold war” I grew up hearing about the evil Russians who lived in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republic (USSR). The country’s shortened name was the Soviet Union and even that sounded ominous. People with enough money to afford underground bomb shelters had them built. There were discussions about the hard decision of what to do if during a nuclear attack a neighbor wanted to enter your shelter. What would you do was the question, since you likely didn’t even have enough supplies to sustain your own family for long. My family didn’t have to worry about that dilemma, but I worried about what would happen to us. Hearing of new threats on the evening news or hearing adults talk about the possibility of a Russian bomb was very unsettling for children. It didn’t help that we had bomb drills at school where we were taught to duck under our desks for protection from the falling bombs!

Communism

Communism came to Russia, then called a Socialist Federation, in a revolt led by Vladimir Lenin in 1917. Joining other Socialist Republics in 1922 the country became the USSR. Millions later died of starvation or while working in forced labor camps under the dictatorship of Joseph Stalin. During World War II he led the Soviets in siding with Hitler but ended up losing over twenty-five million Soviet citizens. The Cold War between the US and the USSR followed this period. 

The last leader under the USSR, Mikhail Gorbachev, introduced a new openness called “glasnost” around 1986. He was elected President in 1990 and led the reformation of the Communist Party, called “perestroika.” Up to this time, Communism had discouraged all religions including the most prevalent Russian Orthodox. Boris Yeltsin was next elected and took the country further into democratic reform and to a free market system. 

Visit

In July of 1994, I visited Russia for seventeen days. It was worth every dollar spent, every inconvenience and every discomfort that I endured to learn that Russian people were not who I thought, who I had been taught. I will tell you more about what I learned in following posts. 

fullsizeoutput_1665
Visa Application 02/18/1994

Part 1 of 6

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Springtime Walk

Back to the Park

For various reasons, some more important than others, I have not been to the Parklands to walk for a long time. Mostly it’s just that during the winter months I’m a wimp about the cold temperatures and it seems that spring has been a long time coming here in Kentucky. Finally this past weekend the temperature was just right and I returned to Pope Lick Park, my favorite along Floyd’s Fork. Other areas of the Parklands are more elaborate and have very interesting features, but Pope Lick is more wild in places and more intimate, except for the soccer fields, but the walk around them illustrates kids and adults interacting in the most positive ways. Whether a team or family event, the atmosphere is competition at its best. 

The Walk

As I began my walk I eagerly looked forward to the signs of spring, but they were not as abundant as expected. Most trees had tiny tender leaves springing forth. There were signs of wildlife, but I saw only a few birds. I did document the extensive work of the resident woodpecker population.  The grass was mostly green, but there were dried grasses all along the trails. 

The further I ventured, the more interesting finds, including some of my favorites. There were cattails shedding like cats, mushrooms living well on dead trees and a sure sign of springtime, May apples. 

The 1.5 mile walk revealed very few wild flowers, or perhaps they are weeds, but they bloomed nevertheless. I wasn’t disappointed, but a little letdown that springtime was not waiting there for me as I had anticipated. 

The Encounter

Then I spotted a tree that was apparently very glad to see me!

2wKqJX2iTkGgAiHO38PeBQ

150

Another Milestone!

As of yesterday Crooked Creek has 150 followers. This is the point at which I had planned to update the blog to a new look. But, I couldn’t wait, so that was completed a few days ago.

Thank you to all readers and followers. I appreciate each of you. I also appreciate other bloggers who I follow.  Some have been recommended here and I will continue to do that from time to time as well as perhaps reblog with the writer’s permission. 

Please continue to let me know what you like, make suggestions for topics and tell me when I’m out of line! I appreciate each of you. 

ZA0aXqv1TkCd3czHBJhb5A

FOR YOU! 

 

Theme graphic in title by Pixabay

Milestones

Followers/Readers

Today Crooked Creek has 148 followers. That makes me very happy. What would be even better is if most of those signed up as “followers” are real readers. It stands to reason that some percentage “follow” and forget, but if some of my posts are read and cause people to think more deeply (or widely) on any subject then I feel the time spent blogging is worth it. When we look at life’s challenges and even day-to-day issues from an before unexplored angle I believe it often changes our way of doing, of living, of giving. 

Blogging

fullsizeoutput_1644Blogging is a chore, I will not lie! It is not easy, even after attending a class for new bloggers. It turned out that the instructor was learning as she went along and that was very frustrating.  I must admit that it has continued to be frustrating after almost 100 posts. Some things don’t work as they should. Some things just don’t work at all. It takes me several hours for each post, but I’m sure that many bloggers have less difficulty and perhaps some worry less about small errors. I’m saying all this to say that that it is worth the effort. The internet affords us the opportunity to share our stories and I am grateful for that. If you think you’d like to blog, I encourage you to jump in.

I started out on the WordPress platform with a free domain. I quickly learned that it was not going to be very attractive, so after a while, I bought the “Personal” plan. I’ve never been satisfied with its bland look, so today I upgraded to a “Premium” plan and have to admit that it looks more like what I envisioned. I had planned to make the changes when Crooked Creek got to 150 followers, but today I was in the mood to move forward. So, SURPRISE! I hope you like the new look. 

Writing notepad-3316995_1280

Writing is not a chore. It takes time and effort and sometimes it turns out better than others, but I enjoy writing tremendously and blogging is about the next best thing to writing that book we all have inside us (or think we do). Thank you, readers, for following, reading and commenting from time to time. 

Theme photo in title by Pixabay

Cats 4

Trips to the Vet

fullsizeoutput_126e  Zoe

Taking Zoe to the vet has become increasingly difficult. Part of that may be that I now must do it alone, but the biggest factor is her fear of enclosure. She is quick to sense that something is up. It makes me wonder what she may have endured in her first year of life before she was given up for adoption. I learned long ago to not let her see the carrier ahead of time or she would hide where it is impossible to reach her. Currently, she escapes under the king sized bed and holds her ground right in the middle where not even the longest human arms could retrieve her.

Version 2

After doing some Online research I ordered a “Cat Bag” to transport her in an effort to help her feel more secure. It has a long zipper and adjustable velcro at the neck. A soft handle in the middle allows carrying the cat snugly in the bag. She said, “You’re kidding, right?” and the chase was on.  

She weighs less than ten pounds, but the total package consists of amazing speed, terrorizing screams and four paws equipped with dagger claws. Now almost twelve years old, Zoe is behind in vet visits for the first time. We are waiting each other out and I’m pretty sure who will win. Yes, the one with the claws.

fullsizeoutput_1227  Elliott

Elliott couldn’t run away if he wanted to. I simply pick him up and stuff him into his larger size carrier. Simple, until I start to carry the carrier! Really, I’m capable of carrying twenty-two pounds. I carry heavier bags of cat food and litter, however, those packages do not shift. Elliott cries half-heartedly as he moves from one end of the carrier to the other, keeping me off balance as I carry him.

ExuBnM1iT56bsYc8IYDh+w

With each annual trip to the vet, it becomes increasingly more difficult. The staff always sees my challenge and offers to help me get him back to the car, but I need to demonstrate that women (and senior women at that) can handle any job we accept. He is my cat. I can carry my cat. I always pray they are not watching my retreat wobbling to the car. 

I have a plan for Elliott’s next outing. We will meet the challenge.

fullsizeoutput_125c

 

Bottom Line

Zoe, Elliott and I are all seniors. We understand each other. We need each other. We love each other. We know that, one at a time, we will conclude our stay on this spinning orb, but for now, the three of us are making one another happy day by day.

 

So now you know that adopting a cat (or any pet) is a big responsibility. You probably knew that already, but thank you for reading about my life with Zoe and Elliott. I hope you have pets you love as much. Animals are wonderful. They give so much love and devotion and expect only that in return.

fullsizeoutput_1274
Night Prayers

Part 4 of 4

 

Theme photo in title by Kate Puckett Elliott

 

Fairy Ring

Mushrooms Again

The mushroom burial suit discussed in the last post brought out several interesting comments both here on the blog and in person by those who know me personally.  https://crookedcreek.live/2017/11/06/infinity-suit/ To those who no longer enjoy eating mushrooms, I apologize. My intent was never to destroy a good thing and edible mushrooms are definitely good. Let me assure you that today we move on to a mushroom adventure that should not offend.

Have you heard of fairy rings also called fairy circles, pixie or elf rings? I must admit that I am new to this worldwide subject concerning the growth of mushrooms in a circle or an arc shape, but since I’ve researched the subject please allow me to share what I’ve recently learned.

These rings of mushrooms appear most often in the woods, but may also be in open grassy areas. At some point in the life cycle of these formations, the grass may either die or inversely become taller and darker so that a grass ring occurs. Once begun the life cycle can carry on for many years.

Have any of you seen a fairy ring? I had not until a couple of days ago when my daughter shared one that she had spotted while driving to work. It was just off a busy suburban thoroughfare and I wonder how many other people drove by without noticing this phenomenon. My oldest, Dianne, has always been attuned to nature, a knack I believe she learned from her dad. We were both so relieved that it was still present when she drove me to the spot in a grove of pine trees. I admit that we parked on private property and trespassed a bit to reach the circle of mushrooms. It was not perfectly circular nor completely filled in, but it clearly formed a large ring. Here are a few photos that demonstrate what we saw: 

fullsizeoutput_1045
Dianne Mattingly Bynum

 

Dianne and I walked very carefully to not damage any of the mushrooms in the area. We did step into the circle and I did not know at the time that we could have been in real danger of losing our sight or even dying young according to folklore I later read. Of course I am past the latter, but still one cannot be too careful when dealing with otherworldly presences.

It seems that most European countries have their own legends concerning the rings. France which is thought to have the largest (>2,000 ft,) and oldest (700 yrs.) such ring prefers the term “sorcerer’s rings” which they believe are guarded by a giant toad. In Germany, they are associated with witches and Dutch legends give the devil credit. In Austria, such rings were thought to be the result of flying dragons that blight nearby land.

Whether the myths passed down for generations concern good luck or bad it is fun to think of fairies dancing around or inside the circle on a moonlit night. Whether you picture fairies sitting on mushrooms and using them for tables as in Scotland fullsizeoutput_1051or carrying mushroom parasols to enhance fertility as do the legends of Wales, enjoy the fantasy.

While these phenomena are naturally occurring and we could learn all the agricultural and scientific principles involved, I prefer to stop right here and believe in fairies.

 

Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!

William Butler Yeats

Fashion on the Road

Recollections of Travel

While trying to work in the Delta lounge during a long layover, I was distracted by the TV. It was not loud, in fact, the voice I heard droning on was barely a murmur. Perhaps that is why I could not resist listening to his descriptions of the perfect and perfectly beautiful models sliding onto the show runway. Their hair, flawless, shiny, and straight flowed spontaneously. The make-up was subtle in its goal of looking natural. His sensitive voice was fluid and sophisticated as he described the women. He talked about the models wearing fabrics “sort of blue, sort of yellow and sort of print.” The non-colors were equivocal, there or not there, whatever you wanted. As he proceeded to detail the faces with terms like “the non-lip,” the gaunt women walked up and down, staring into nowhere with eyes that weren’t. 

Later in the week while attending a medical conference at UCLA, I was listening to a distinguished bone marrow transplant physician, world-renowned for his pioneering work with stem cells. As he spoke, the room became absolutely silent while over one-hundred (100) attendees listened in awe to this brilliant scholar describe his latest techniques and accomplishments. 

It was impossible to not notice a movement in the back of the silent room as a woman, too polite to make a distracting click, clack noise with her four-inch heels, walked the full length of the conference room on her tip toes. As she began the trek she looked back and forth, apologetically, at those who observed her progress. She hunched over to appear smaller and assumed an awkward gait resembling a person crippled by some congenital deformity. 

The beautiful woman, hobbled by her stilettos, had broken the mood of academics absorbing knowledge and now we were simply enjoying the show.  

18630893-Fashion-models-Sketch-Stock-Vector-illustration

Photos by Pixabay