Monday, December 28, 2009

A New Look

I made a few changes from the Christmas background.  I believe the best change I've made is to make the actual size of the fonts LARGER, so you don't have to kill yourself trying to read this blog.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's A Wonderful Life

It's Christmas Eve Eve and I've just finished watching It's a Wonderful Life.  Remember how I wrote a post or two ago about our financial situation?  Well - this movie addresses this issue in spades, and they are 100% correct.  Money is not what is important in this life - it is our impact for the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Merry Christmas everyone!!  The Lord and Savior of mankind was born (perhaps not on 12/25 - but who cares, it's a symbolic date) and fulfilled His mission to save mankind.  We are not condemned.  We are loved and we are saved.  Whatever problems we may have in this life, they are only in this life - and they are just a testing ground for us to show our faith in the Lord.  Amen?   Amen.  Merry Christmas everyone!!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On a Different Subject or Two

First, the good stuff - I'm making a loaf of "Grandmother Bread" according to the recipe found here on Suzanne's "Chickens in the Road" blog.  I didn't link to the actual recipe because I am not making it by hand, but using a bread machine, and so I'm using this "converted" recipe found on Suzanne's forum.  It is contained in the fourth comment down.  My sister-in-law sent us some home made wild plum preserves and some blueberry marmalade that I'm going to try on a fresh toasted and buttered slice of this bread when it's cooked and cooled a bit.

Second, an article I read here on Baldilocks blog.  It addressed something I've believed since Obama "won" the election.  I don't believe he won the election - I believe his "win" was perpetrated by unmitigated voter fraud.  The article I am referring to explains that the reason our "representatives" in Congress no longer even try to put on a facade of caring what the voters want is because they're not afraid of losing their seats.  Voter fraud will make sure they all retain power and the power of the people is gone.  This is the first article I've seen where someone comes out and says what I've believed for over a year.  I've seen plenty of blog posts where the person says, "wait until 2010", or some such thing, but it seems there are others who think along the same lines I do.  It's rather frightening and very sad - and perhaps the Tea Party movement will amount to something bigger after all.  Read the whole article - and weep.

Third - in a previous post I expressed the lack of knowledge of the stand on slavery of one of the two southern antebellum theologians named James Henley Thornwell.  I read this speech given on the dedication of a church for use by black people in 1850 - and I certainly know now that he defended slavery.   I could not finish reading it, it was so anathema to my way of thinking.  In one sentence Thornwell declares that all believers are equal in the sight of God as far as salvation - both black and white.  In the next sentences he is defending the right of slave owners to keep their "property".  Just too bizarre for me, but interesting nonetheless.  It's almost like the SS in WWII convincing themselves that Jews were less than people in order to remove them from the earth.  In other words, you can use words and Bible verses to back up whatever the heck you want to believe, and you can even convince yourself that you are right.  Frightening to think that Christians, even theologians, men who spent their lives studying the Word of God, could defend the practice of slavery.  At one point in the speech, he talks about removing all trace of vice from the personal practices of Southerners in order to stay in God's good graces so that He would guarantee that they come out ahead in the contest for power with the North that even at that time was brewing.  He must have had his head buried in Southern soil, for most slave owners had access to a whole bevy of female slaves who had no recourse to law or protection, and who became bearers of their bastard children.  You just can't put a nice front on that - it happened and men - any men - who have unlimited power in any sphere are very likely to abuse that power - it is the sin nature of man.  Absolute power corrupts absolutely.  No matter how Christian the behavior and belief of the slave owner, no matter how compassionate to their slaves, I've not read of one who allowed them to learn to read.  Perhaps there was one or two somewhere who allowed this - but they knew that if the slaves learned to read, they would no longer be ignorant and easily mastered.  The other thing that amazes me is the statement in so much antebellum southern writing that "the slaves are happy" because they made statements to that effect.  Well, of course they did.  Masters who believed that they knew what their slaves were REALLY thinking at any time were fooled into a false sense of thinking of themselves benevolently.   In any case, I wanted to set the record straight on some of my southern reading.  While I absolutely do believe that the South had the right to secede constitutionally, I also absolutely believe that allowing slavery in this country right from the beginning was the Great Flaw in our governmental design and the great experiment that America represented to the world.  I'm always looking back, especially in these times of governmental abuse and tumult, to the Founding Fathers to see how perfect it was then.  And it WAS good, but the Great Flaw was allowing slavery - they left Pandora's box cracked open when they left slavery in.

What Kind of Father Am I?

A long time ago, shortly after I became divorced, I did the Prodigal Son routine for a short time.  I went to a "far country" and lived riotously for a short time.  The Lord did not prevent me from making self destructive decisions, but He soon arranged for me to reap the consequences of my actions.  My riotous living was cut quite short and I went through a very low and depressing time.  In the midst of that time, as I was praying and throwing myself figuratively on the mercy of the Lord for the umpteenth time, a phrase came into my head, "What kind of father do you think I am?"  I believe that was the voice of God, the still, small voice in my head.  In the midst of my agonizing, He asked me this question, to which I really had no definitive answer.  The question floated in the back of my mind for years, as my situation changed, improved and the bad time passed.  I would toss around answers from time to time, but the truth was that I felt He was distant, uninterested, uninvolved, quick to give judgement and all powerful - not a mixture of traits that would inspire one to call Him, "Father" or "Dad" or to go to Him for advice or to confess one's own foibles and stupidity and expect to be comforted or understood.

No less than 10 years later, I was sitting on my bed and talking to the Lord, pondering the question again, and I "heard" the voice again interrupt my thoughts - "The kind that will never let you go" was what it said.  I'm still chewing on that thought and what it implies.

Now I am in a different stage of life, and it is another valley of trouble.  Suffice it to say that my husband and I are in a very precarious position financially - one false move and we are in deep trouble.  God forbid that one of us should lose our job in the upcoming year.  The worst part of this is that we have done a great deal of this damage to ourselves - we have been the Prodigal Son again in a different way.  When we contemplate the situation, we feel great angst, worry and fear for the future as we are no longer young or able to bounce back from setbacks or even to find new jobs, really.  Our civilization honors the young and dishonors the old and at a certain age, it is not a good idea to be looking for a job - unless, of course, you are a child of God,  and thus..."we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose." (ESV, Romans 8:28).  Important - God's best for us may not include finding a new job, but Romans 8:28 is true, nevertheless.  Whatever God brings into our lives as His children is to mold us into a reflection of His Son.  He will provide whatever we need to accomplish that aim, including the physical needs of the body like shelter and food and rest.

Every day I am a flawed human being who often makes some wrong decision, whether it is to sleep through my morning quiet time instead of seeking the face of the Lord, or whether it is some other sinful thing I do, whether a sin of omission or commission - if there is anything I am good at, it is being flawed.  Like Paul, I can cry out, "For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." (ESV, Romans 7:22-25)

Today, as I pondered our situation and happened to turn to the story of the Prodigal Son in my Bible reading, I thought about who the Father was in that parable:

*  He let the son take his inheritance and go - our inheritance, figuratively, is spiritual
*  He waited for the son's return, but did not interfere or rescue - we return, after each sin - spiritually.
*  Once the son turned back towards home, the father met him at the door, not waiting to be      approached, but also not going out in search.
*  When the son returned, he no longer lived in want - when we return spiritually, when we seek His face, we are comforted by His promises, we trust in Him and His provision and do not fear tomorrow, whatever it may hold.
*  When the son returned, the Father rejoiced, totally accepted him and loved him as before, as if the sin had not occurred.  


It seems to me, in my limited understanding, that "the kind who will never let you go" will go on being my Father regardless of what I do, until I die.  My salvation is sure.  In addition, the "kind that will never let you go" is also the kind that never gives up as long as there is breath.  He will continue to mold me to the image of His Son, work His will in my life, work with who I am, who He knows me to be, who He allowed to be created and who He accepted in salvation.  He will never give up on me in frustration and say, "forget this one and move on."  Never.

Lastly - one of the most important points - in the parable, Jesus called one "Father" and one "son", to describe the relationship between the two.  From our flawed human relationships, we know how powerful and how loving a father/son relationship can be.  We know what it is to be a helpless baby dependent on our human father for sustenance and love.  Human fathers run the gamut from great to totally evil. In Christ's analogy, however, the Father is God, who is perfect and who is love itself - no better Father can be had, and He is truly, in every only good sense of the word - our Father, whom we can depend on and trust to the end.


As you can see, I am still working on "What kind of father do you think I am" "The kind that will never let you go."  I have obviously still not worked through it all and may  never completely  comprehend it.  I still don't really have a feeling of "abba father" when I think of God, or feel the urge to climb up in His "lap", but I do have a certain knowledge that He is Creator of the Universe and what He says goes.  I do have a certain knowledge that He loves me, this I know from His Word, and that I belong to Him.  I also have a certain knowledge that His attributes include perfect love - this I also know from His Word.  If you put all that together - He is my Father, He is all powerful, He loves me and He is in charge of my life - well, that is enough for me for now in this season of life.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

A Treasure Trove of Information

I have discovered a Treasure Trove of info through Google books.  Google has been scanning old, out of print books for viewing on the internet for a few years now.  There are obscure books that you would never imagine have been included in the scanning, but they have been.

For instance, here is one rabbit trail I've followed.  My husband has a subscription to "The Chronicle of Higher Education".  Occasionally there is an article that he knows I would find interesting and he saves it for me to read.  Recently, it was an article called, "Secretive Scholars of the Old South."

The article revealed the existence of a pro-Southern school called "The Abbeville Institute".  Now, when I say, "pro Southern", I don't mean pro-slavery, although some of the people they study were pro-slavery.  The subjects are fascinating.  One is about "Reconstruction", another is about Southern theologians who were pro-South and at least one who defended slavery.  The two theologians are James Henley Thornwell and the other was Robert Lewis Dabney.  Perhaps both of them were pro-slavery.  I don't know as I haven't read enough of their writings yet to determine this, although I know for sure Dabney was pro-slavery.  I have always been fascinated by Southern defense of slavery, since it is something I cannot fathom.  How could they have been committed, saved Christians, which so many of them were, and believed that slavery was A-OK with God - even a theologian held this belief.    These were good Protestant theologians, men who had sound doctrine in most every aspect.....except for slavery.  The Abbeville Institute, in being pro-Southern, covers subjects that today are politically incorrect.  Today it is totally politically incorrect to say ANYTHING positive about the ante-bellum or just post-bellum South.  The fact that they did believe in a true Republic, as opposed to a Democracy, which is what the Founding Fathers had in mind;  the fact that the Constitution did NOT forbid secession (I don't believe it did) - all this is discussed at length, and Southern authors are quoted all the way from the late 1700's to today.  I was talking to my husband about what I've read, and I think that if the South had rid itself of slavery - not very likely since it's agricultural base was slave-dependent - but let's say it found a way to free the slaves before declaring itself a Confederacy separate from the United States - I think the Lord would have allowed the South to win the war.  The only reason the South lost was because they insisted on slavery, which is evil.   In any case, this is my opinion at present.  With more reading, this could change.  I've always thought George Washington's attack on citizens who made their own whiskey from corn and sold it - claiming that only the Federal Government had the right to do that - was completely wrong and unfair (The Whiskey Rebellion).

So, in looking for the first wrong move our Founding Fathers made, the first turn down the wrong path, I'd have to say it was allowing slavery to be accepted in the Constitution - claiming slaves (and thence, giving them and the institution legitimacy) as 3/4 of a person for representative purposes in state government.  If only....if only they had stopped that right at the beginning.  Can you imagine what our history might have been?

Anyway, I read some of Dabney's writings, all available on Google books, in defense of slavery and found, for myself, the holes in his logic.  He wanted to believe it was alright, so he found Scripture to justify himself.  It is a trick many people use - make the Scripture fit the purpose they have in mind.

The reason I'm writing this post, though, is not just about having discovered the Abbeville Institute or ante-bellum theologian defenders of slavery - it is because you need not purchase reprints of these writings or even try to locate original volumes.  Google has scanned all this and so much is available - all at no cost.  This, to me, is the intense blessing of the internet.  What I used to have to go to the library and do research to find out, I only need to do a Google search now to come up with all the information I could possibly want or absorb.

Ante-Bellum Southern Authors:

Ante-Bellum Southern Theologians:

This general website about the South has a wealth of references:

The most interesting thing I've read on "The Southern Homefront" so far?  The diary of a northern girl who came south to Edisto Island to teach the freed slaves still residing there.  You can read it here - it's a quick read and very interesting:

Friday, December 18, 2009

Some People Shouldn't Sing Christmas Songs


I stopped at Starbuck's this morning for an Eggnog Latte.  Today is not only Friday, but I have a break from work until January 4, so I'm feeling quite cheerful about that.  As I was waiting for my latte, I noticed a stack of cards advertising "Pick of the Week" - a free service Starbuck's offers through Itunes.  I'm not sure, but it seems they offer the songs no one would want for freebies.  This week's pick?  "Must Be Santa" by.......Dean Martin?   Nope.  Frank Sinatra?   Nope.  Rosemary Clooney?  Nope.  Bob Dylan?  Er.....you got it.  Grainy voiced, barely carry a tune, great for deep blues type music Bob Dylan.  If Santa were a skidrow bum, beard grimy with dirt from sleeping face down all night on a filthy sidewalk, clutching a cheap mostly empty bottle of ripple.......Bob Dylan MIGHT be the appropriate choice for "Must Be Santa".  Since I can't recall the tune or lyrics of this song, perhaps it IS about a reprobate Santa, discovered by Mr. Dylan as he stumbles over one of the black boots stretched out on the sidewalk and rolls the passed out drunk over, only to find.......it Must Be Santa!!! 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Drive Thru Before There Were Any

In my previous post, my sister left an Anonymous comment about my father picking me up at Bay's Drug Store on North Street in Middletown, NY.  My poor father was my chauffeur to and from many different jobs in my teen years.  There was Gilman's Cleaners, which still exists and has the exact same sign as when I was 17 years old, a full 36 years ago.  My job was to prepare the log for the delivery driver.  I took my time as I got paid by the hour, but you can only make writing a list last so long.  One of my favorite memories was having to walk to work in 15 degree temps while it sleeted and snowed outside.  It was too dangerous for my father to drive in, so I bundled up and walked - to and from - work.  Gilman's was a good 2.2 miles from my home (I just checked Google maps and it was exactly 2.2 miles).  I remember how quiet the streets were, the neon signs of businesses blinking in the falling snow.  As I passed homes, I could see the warm lights on in the windows (I was walking in the evening after it was already dark).  I always loved to imagine each home as a cozy place of happiness - imagination is a lovely thing - it can take you anywhere and paint life with beautiful colors.  I still remember very clearly the feeling of walking that night in the snow and cold.  Luckily, it was not windy, so that made the wind chill the same as the temperature, which, although it was quite cold, I was very warm in all my layers, walking briskly and crunching over the icy sidewalks.

I also worked at Bay's Drug Store.  That was my first job when I was 15 years old, not counting the babysitting I did before that time.  Over the years I worked at the brand new mall - in practically every clothing store.  I still have plastic pants hangers from the Barbara Moss teen clothing store I worked in.  They allowed us to take home extra hangers now and then - and I still have them.

One thing I did that drove my poor father nuts and my daughter did to me once she came along.  When he had to pick me up, I was never waiting outside for him.  I was always impatient and would go back inside and talk or do something else.  Invariably when my father arrived, I didn't know it and he would be irritated as he waited for me.  One spring day, my father got tired of waiting for me.  He was ticked off and decided he would come in and bellow for me.  He did this and I was contrite and apologetic (although I did it again the next time - can you just slap me?). As we walked out the door, a sight met our eyes.  My father had evidently pulled up and parked parallel to the store on the opposite side of the street.  When he exited the vehicle, he slammed the door so hard that he unknowingly threw it into reverse.  As he walked into the store, behind him, the car backed up and curved (since he turned the wheels into the curb).  The large 1970's boat car managed to fit between two other parked cars on the other side of the street as it turned at right angles and went quickly and with some force into the Newberry's store glass window.  There it stopped and parked amid the broken glass.  People had stopped and stared.  A crowd was gathering.  No one was hurt - thank God - or a humorous story would not be humorous at all, and my life would be different.  No other car was damaged - just Newberry's window and various and sundry articles that had been in the window.

This is what met our eyes when we exited Bay's Drug Store.  Now, in order to understand the magnitude of this, you must understand that my father was the Drivers Ed teacher for the local high school, and he often taught during the summer at other high schools in the region.  To say he was well known would be an understatement.  To say this was embarrassing to him would also be an understatement.  To say that he probably had to restrain himself from choking me on the spot would also be an understatement.  And the final understatement?  I stayed well clear of him for days.  I said not a word - not even sorry - on the way home because I knew he was so angry if I made a peep, I might really regret it.  I don't think I made him wait after that.

I'm surprised he didn't tell me to walk to work after that - and perhaps sometimes I did.  I don't remember.  My parents and I were remembering this event the other day when I was up visiting them.  My dad is quite old and infirm now, and he laughs at the memory, as does my mom.  But back then?  No one - believe me - no one was laughing, except maybe my sister......

Did I mention that karma bit me?  My daughter did the same thing to me, but she was far worse.  Not only did I always have to go in after her, I had to then find her because she was never anywhere near the door where she was supposed to be.  Don't they say "what goes around comes around?"  Well, in my case, it did with a vengeance. although I never wrecked anything with my car while going to find her, thank God!!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Small Town Memories


I grew up in a small town in upstate New York.  I was born in the mid 50's, so I remember the small downtown area that my mother frequented.  There was Tomkins and Greens for beautiful clothes and shoes.  There was Hanford and Horton for paper and writing implements and stationery.  Tomkins was two stories.  When you walked in the front door, you saw two semi-circular staircases towards the back of the first floor, that led to the second floor, which was a kind of loft.  It really had somewhat of the design of a present day two story mall store, except instead of escalators there were real staircases that hugged the wall on either side of the first floor.  There were several tables with various goods such as makeup, hose, women's hats and gloves, handkerchiefs - an entire table of handkerchiefs that could be monogrammed.  There were well dressed ladies - one of whom was Mrs. Tomkins - to wait on customers.  There were glass cases full of articles of clothing, as well as racks of clothes towards the back.  That was just one store.

There was Newberry's and Woolworth's where there was a full luncheonette counter where one could have grilled cheese sandwiches that were delicious and came with a pickle.  Both these stores were five and dimes, and had a tremendous variety of merchandise, toys as well as articles for grownups.

Green's was another fine clothes store.  The best was Carson & Towner's - they were the  "Lord and Taylor" of our town and "Kastles" the best of the best.  The prices were high, but the staff was extremely helpful and customer service was everything.

I can still remember walking into the downtown area from our home - perhaps it was a half mile.  Sometimes we took the little bus that came to within a block of our house.  The bus let us off in front of the library - a great granite two story building with huge granite steps and giant floor to ceiling windows that remained open in the summer to let in the cool evening breezes.  This library had been a former home of one of the elite in town, and was donated to the town for use as a library.  There was a huge fireplace on the first floor that was no longer used.  There were huge real wooden shelves and reading areas, much like a Barnes and Noble today, but with real wood and real character - no coffee, however.

When the bus would let us off, we would have to go around a corner to get to North Street and the main shopping street in town.  I would be grasping the hand of my mother as we got ready to round the corner onto North street.  In the winter, there was, inevitably, a biting, cold wind that took my breath away as soon as we rounded the corner.  I always had to tuck my scarf up around my mouth and nose so as not to get my breath torn away - and gasp - as the freezing wind tore at my garments.  Once we rounded the corner, it became manageable and the wind wasn't so bad - it just "hung around" at that particular corner for the sole purpose of sucking the breath of unsuspecting small children.

When I was older, my dad used to take me for hot chocolate to Bay's Drug Store - at their luncheon counter.  All the drug stores and five & dimes had luncheon counters.

Once the 70's came, I was a teenager, and the town built it's first mall.  I worked in so many of the stores in that mall - and it never had the character of downtown.  By the time I got married, that mall was becoming obsolete.  In 1993, I spent the summer with my parents, as I was getting divorced, trying to get my feet under me - and they were also trying to sell our house, the one I grew up in, and move permanently to Florida.  It was a summer of change for me.

There was a new mall by that time.  What waste.  The old mall had closed and was empty.  What had once been a thriving presence where everyone shopped, as had been the downtown area before it, was now a big, empty comcrete structure covered with graffiti  - and crumbling.  It made me feel old to see it, since I had worked in so many of the stores there as a teen.

I think times HAVE changed - and not for the better.  Hence, the look back at yesterday.  I am convinced that it isn't just maudlin sentimentality that makes me look back and think that times were better.

Here are some old photos from Thrall Library historical collection of Middletown, NY, where I grew up:

First is Thrall Library, where I borrowed every horse book ever written and where I learned to LOVE books:




Next is a view of North Street:



This is North Street but farther down from the center of town.  Down where Hanford and Horton's was in the 60's and 70's.




The firehouse at the top is where I took my "babysitting course" when I was 13 years old.  It was offered on the 2nd floor and covered all one would need to know when one is in charge of children for an evening.  First aid was the primary purpose, and I did learn and acquire a certificate from taking this course.




This is a view I remember.  You see the corner on the left?  That is the wind corner.  That is where Orchard Street met North Street.  The old Thrall Library building is on the left out of the picture.  When we came around that corner on the left, the North wind would meet us on North Street.  As you look down the street, there is a Woolworth's sign and farther on was Tomkins and Green's, Newberry's and Bay's Drug Store, where I had my first job at age 15.  

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ten Random Things About Me

Brenda at Coffee, Tea, Books and Me has tagged anyone who wants to be tagged with the subject of this post.  So here we go:

1.  I went to school to be a Medical Lab Technician.  I absolutely loved the classes, but once I got a job at a Dr.'s office, reality set in.  The Dr. pair that I worked for had me check off and charge for blood and urine tests that were never performed - we didn't have the equipment.  This was primarily on Medicare patients (this was back in the late 70's).  They underpaid me and I worked with some of the most nasty and vicious women I've ever worked with in my life.  The person I replaced as lab tech was the favorite person and best friend of the group of 3 women that ran the office and the 1 nurse that assisted the doctors.  They literally hated me the second I walked through the door - and I was a total rube, so I brought some of the treatment on myself.  One hilarious occasion - one of the doctors was an Iranian Jew who was madly working as many patients in as he could (2 every 10 minutes) so he could afford to get the rest of his extended family out of Iran - the Ayatollah had recently taken over.  He had a patient named Mr. Fuchs and the doctor had a thick  Iranian accent.  He also always forgot to zip up his pants after using the men's room.  So this crazy doctor ran around the hallways with his pants unzipped half the time - and this one day there was a full hallway of people waiting their turn, when he came out and called for Mr. Fuchs - use your imagination as to how he pronounced it.  Right.  You've got it.

Perhaps I just should have continued going to school forever.  We took classes where we separated our own chromosomes from a drop of our blood, made and dyed representative slides of various organs (the organs came from a lab mouse, poor thing), we "played" with microscopes all day and studied bacteria and viruses.  It may not sound great to you, but I thought it was fascinating.

2.  I collect old books, mostly Christian and history books.  I have purchased novels by Christian writers of the 19th century and love to read those (I haven't read every one of the books I own - I've paged through them, but some of them are just to look through now and then).  One of my favorite authors is Edward Payson Roe, who was born in the same county as I was - Orange County, NY.

3.  I'm not afraid to pick up just about any insect (except a - ew, ew - roach) and look at it up close.  Even a bee if it lets me.  I'm fascinated by wildlife and I love to photograph insects and flowers as close as I can get for great detail.  I recently wasted money we can't afford on purchased a bee keeping outfit, complete with veil, long gloves, smoker and box that has to be put together.  We have had a bee's natural hive in a bush in our back yard for over 7 months now - and I would love to be able to smoke them and get closer to them - even medicate them if they need, for varroa mites (this medicine is delivered through food.  I don't pick up each little bee and give them a tiny drop of medicine)

4.  I have a pet Cockatoo named Beasley.  Also a Lovebird named Mrs. Greenberg, although I have since discovered that Mrs. Greenberg is a Mr., as is Beasley.  They are best buds and hang out together all day in Beasley's cage.

5.  I was raised Roman Catholic, but became a believer in college in 1974.  I think by that time the "Jesus Freak" movement was on the wane, but I caught the tail end of it.

6.  One of the first Christian authors I read was Joni Eareckson Tada.  I read about her diving accident at age 16  (I'm not sure of the exact age, except that she was a teenager) which left her a quadriplegic.  Reading her story scared me to death.  I thought "she's a Christian and THIS happened to her?  What will God "do" to me??"  I had the idea that God protected His children from the vicissitudes of life.  I have since learned that He will never leave us or forsake us, and that He walks with us through the vicissitudes of life, but His children do not have an easier life than non-believers.   I was so shocked by Mrs. Tada's book that I wrote her a letter and asked how she could be happy in spite of what had happened to her, how she could love a God who could allow such a thing to happen.  Somewhere I have the letter she wrote back to me.  She felt sorry for ME (which surprised me)  because I couldn't understand and was so afraid.  I have to find that letter - I know it's here somewhere.  She signed it and it is precious to me.

7.  Sheesh - it's hard coming up with 10 semi-interesting things about myself.  It's tougher than I thought.  How's this - I am of Polish (my mother's side) and French Canadian/English descent (my father's side).

8.  I have 2 older sisters and no brothers.  I am the youngest child of my parents.  My sisters are 6 and 8 years older than I.  My parents were hoping for a boy on the third try - but they got me instead.

9.  My first marriage lasted 14 years (long long years) before my ex left (and I'm glad he did).  My daughter, like most children of divorce, suffered the brunt of the separation and only now, at age 25, is finding life interesting and exciting, instead of frightening.  I have been worried and sad about her for many many years until my prayers are being answered recently.  Now for the prayer to be answered that she return to her "first love" - Jesus Christ.

10.  My husband and I are birders (yes, I remarried - both my present husband and myself were married once before and divorced).  We love to try to make our back yard as inviting as possible to birds and butterflies.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas Decorating

Not only did I decorate my Christmas tree, but I organized all my Christmas ornaments and the boxes they are stored in, so that when I have to put it all away, it will be much easier.  I finally got out every box of Christmas type "stuff" I have and went through it all, discarding anything broken or that I really didn't like.  There wasn't too much to discard, but it felt good to know what I have.  In past Christmas seasons, I would just get out the one or two boxes I knew the ornaments were in - and all the rest of the accumulated decorations I would just ignore.  Not this year - I pared down a bit, organized, and put lots of pretty and fun things out that I ordinarily was too tired or harried to bother with.

Here are some pictures of the various corners of our living room, which is where all the decorations and the tree are.

First, the Christmas tree in the corner.  It is blocking a bookcase, but it is the only place to put it.  In the front, you can make out three funny squirrel faces - that is one of those "press the button" singing and dancing decorations.   It is of three squirrels and they are very cute as they sing and wave their arms. 

Next, the area over my husband's chair.  There is a shelf on the left where the manger scene is and I just put lights wrapped with fake pine greenery all around that shelf and the one to the right.  I know you can't see any detail, but the lights are pretty, right?  The lights around the ceiling are up all year round.  I can't bear to be without colored lights - so the ceiling ones are permanent.

Under that is the bookcase/entertainment center.  I pretty much put lights on just about everything - and I displayed every Christmas basket, mechanical toy - you name it.  I'm ready for Christmas, folks!!  Now all I have to do is purchase a few small gifts.



Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Comforting Ministry of a Friend

I've changed the look of my blog for Christmas.  If you look at my last post, I was feeling pretty down in the dumps, but a friend of mine - a blog friend - convinced me that to choose joy is a victory in the spiritual battle of the Christian life.

So tonight after work (I worked until 6:30pm, at which time it is very dark here in South Florida), I drove around and looked at Christmas light displays.   Christmas music - some of my very favorite - played on the CD player in the car - and I prayed as I drove and listened.  I also thanked God for my many blessings, which is always a sure way to get rid of negative thoughts.  Most of all, I thanked God for Brenda of Coffee, Tea, Books and Me, who is a light in a dark place and without whose blog I would flounder indeed.

Driving around and gazing at Christmas light displays has been a seasonal habit of mine since my daughter was quite small.  I would gather her up in her pajamas, wrap her in a blanket (if it was cold out) and off we'd go, Christmas music playing - at that time, in cassette form, in the car. 

Well, tonight, after I drove around a bit, I went to the place where we usually buy our trees.  It is a Catholic Church and they always have a refrigerated truck and the trees are each resting in buckets with water.  Everywhere else, the trees are gasping for water and are kept in the hot sun.  In all the years we've purchased our tree from this church, it lasts until February at least.  Now I don't have it in the house after January 4th, but we put it in our back yard and put bird seed on the branches or peanut butter - and it becomes a haven for birds and squirrels.  Once the needles fall off - which takes a long time - we take the branches off and use the trunk somewhere in the yard, whether as a border or another bird feeder holder - there are any number of uses for our old Christmas trees.

After I dragged the tree in tonight, I threw some lights on it quickly, which will be rearranged tomorrow in a more correct manner.  I just wanted to put some lights on it to let it know it's an honored guest - and to have it in the background while I put on a Christmas movie.

I've chosen joy, thanks to Brenda, and I'm not running away from Christmas this year at all. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Christmas Season

I hate to be a negative Nellie, but - is it really the Christmas season already?  Is it time to put lights outside and a big tree up and drag the decorations out, etc. etc.  Can I just slink off somewhere for about 4 weeks and lay low until it's over?  Sorry folks, but the spirit, she is not even willing this year - and the flesh?  Forget it. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving to All

It's Wednesday morning and I'm getting ready for work.  Once I leave work today, it's a 4 day weekend.....YAY!!

What really cheers me up is the fact that we are getting TONS of rain.  We've not had any rain for weeks and my husband and I just re-sodded our front yard (because we had to).  We've been watering and watering and our water bill looks like our electric bill.  Yikes!!

So - it's a gray, watery day - being from the Northeast it's a day I love.  I can feel cozy inside and light candles (after work, of course).  Florida's relentless sunshine in the winter sometimes becomes....tiresome.  I know there are people in the colder climes who will want to clock me right in the jaw, but it's true.  There are times I long for a cloudy, rainy day to just be inside.   Sunny days tell me I have to get outside and do yard work, and perhaps run errands - and there is so much to do.  Rainy days tell me to sleep later, read a book, light a candle, listen to the rain on the roof.

My front yard will love it - and it will save us some money.  My flowers and butterfly garden will be renewed.  No matter how much I water my garden, it seems to do much better when the water comes from the sky - maybe it's the chlorine and fluoride in our water, I don't know - but what comes from the sky restores the bright flower colors and the green grass.

I'm thankful for:
my salvation
my Lord Jesus Christ
the rain
that I still have a job!!!!
that my husband still has a job!!
my home
my garden
more than enough to eat
living in America

To everyone - have a wonderful Thanksgiving!!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

A Beautiful Longfellow Poem

This poem sums up what I feel about the past, what I've always felt.  I was recently reading my journal from when I was 18, and I was fascinated by passing time then.  I wrote back then of how I wondered it would be when I was 20 years older and reading my words.  It's like looking in a mirror and seeing a thousand enchoing relfections to read what you wrote in anticipation of reading what you wrote back then - got that?  Here is the poem by Longfellow.  The lines in italics are my interjections.....

The Golden Mile-stone

(The scene is winter - winter is a melancholy time.)
Leafless are the trees;  their purple branches
Spread themselves aborad, like reefs of coral,
                           Rising silent
In the Red Sea of the winter sunset.

(Ah - I no longer live in a village.  I live in the encroaching city and it is sad that I live so far from my original home).
From the hundred chimneys of the village,
Like the Afreet in the Arabian story,
                           Smoky columns
Tower aloft into the air of amber.

At the window winks the flickering firelight;
Here and there the lamps of evening glimmer,
                           Social watch-fires
answering one another through the darkness.

On the hearth the lighted logs are glowing,
And like Ariel in the cloven pine-tree,
                           For its freedom
Groans and sighs the air imprisoned in them.

(Here is the most powerful part - for me....it is SO true)
By the fireside there are old men seated,
See ruined cities in the ashes,
                           Asking sadly
Of the Past what it can ne'er restore them.

By the fireside there are youthful dreamers,
Building castles fair, with stately stairways,
                          Asking blindly
Of the Future what it cannot give them.

By the fireside tragedies are acted
In whose scenes appear two actors only,
                          Wife and husband,
And above them God, the sole spectator.

By the fireside there are peace and comfort,
Wives and children, with fair, thoughtful faces,
                           Waiting, watching,
For a well-known footstep in the passage.

Each man's chimney is his Goldn Mile-stone;
Is the central point, from which he measures
                            Evey distance
Through the gateways of the world around him

(I still see my original home, my childhood and I remember those who are now gone.)
In his farthest wanderings still he sees it;
Hears the talking flame, the answering night-wind,
                             As he heard them
When he sat with those who were, but are not.

(Indeed, this is true - but not of me.  And so I see the ruined cities in the flame)
Happy he whom neither wealth nor fashion,
Nor the march of the encroaching city,
                              Drives an exile
From the hearth of his ancestral homestead.

We may build more splendid habitations,
Fill our rooms with paintings and with sculptures,
                              But we cannot
Buy with gold the old associations.



Isn't that beautiful?  Beautiful, but sad - and I think, true.  At 18 years of age I was asking the future what it could not give, and now I look back and ask the past what it cannot give.  Heaven is the only perfect place where all this time business ceases to be important at all.

Hair Salons

I had an older friend many years ago who cut and styled her own short hair.  She was well acquainted with the good points and flaws of her hair and knew what to use to bring out it's best.  One time she had gotten tired of doing it herself and wanted to try a hair salon.  The last time she had been to a salon had been in the 60's or 70's and she was only familiar with "hair technology" from that era.  This included perms and hairsprays and setting styles with curlers. 

By the time she visited the salon next it was the late 80's and none of the techniques and products that had been in use in the 60's or 70's were still in use.  Hair stylists should be taught the history of their art - not just what the latest fad is.  If the history of hair style were known, they might know what "marcel" is or "water wave" or "pin curl".  Some terms last forever, like "bob".  Hair was first bobbed in the early 1920's and it has remained a style ever since - hair cut straight, the same length, all the way around - about shoulder height or higher.  In any case, my friend was not happy with her 80's salon experience.  They tried to blow dry her hair - curlers were out of fashion by that time, although they could be used under duress, but curlers were never in the first string anymore.  LaVerne knew they should NOT blow her hair dry - she was unfamiliar with the custom and the results, and she knew that curlers worked.  They tried to tell her about her hair as if she was unaware what was best for it.  They tried to use new products and techniques on her hair when she knew exactly what would work and what wouldn't.  In any case, the poor, unprepared hair stylist became frustrated because my friend would not listen and did not like what was being done - and my friend was frustrated because the stylist would not listen and did only whatever was the latest thing. 

I was thinking about all this when I went to a new stylist yesterday.  For years I have gone to a median upscale salon.  It isn't Hair Cuttery, but it isn't frou frou and too expensive either.  It is in the middle.  However, there are cheaper alternatives, and in this economy, I can't bring myself to spend beaucoup bucks at a salon when I can spend less elsewhere.  So I did something I haven't done in perhaps 20 years - I went to a totally new and unknown stylist because the price was right.  The salon is only down the street from my job, so I could get a wash, cut and blow dry during lunch - all for $25.00.  That was not bad - it doesn't include the tip, but it was a lot cheaper than where I had gone in the past.  The same stylist washed my hair and cut it, so I didn't have to divide a tip between a shampoo-ist and a stylist.  The lady cut my hair - actually a trim - exactly as I wanted.   When she shampooed my hair she did a thorough job and made my head feel good.  She combed creme rinse through my hair and didn't rush through anything - it was lovely.  The only problem is that nowadays the prevalent custom is to use a flattening iron on the hair and then put some oil on it.  I'm a child of the 70's and 80's - I like lots of body and no gunk on my hair.  When the stylist had blown my hair dry I was very happy.  She then proceeded to get out the flattening iron - and I cut her short and said I did not like what it did to my hair.  It makes it flat and limp and stuck close to my head - ugh.  She did, however, put oil in her hands (I didn't know it was oil or I would have stopped her) and rubbed it through the finished hair.  It smelled good, but by 2pm I looked as if my hair was oily and dirty like when I had been a teenager with skin problems and greasy hair - ew. 

This was easy to solve - I just went home and re-washed my hair and blew it dry myself - voila - it was great. 

This whole episode reminded me that hair stylists just take for granted that whatever the prevalent fad, the customer must want it - and that's not true, especially of older clientelle.  No problem - I just have to keep on my toes.  My old stylist at the more expensive place always had to be reminded.  Every time she did my hair I had to tell her - no flat iron - and she would pout because she could only judge the quality and correctness of the cut if she flattened everything out.  Plus I didn't let her use oil either, but she got used to that and just applied a little hair spray. 

That said - I only get my hair cut every 6 months or so, just to keep it from looking awful.  The other issue that could put me in the poor house is roots.  I started 20 years ago with highlights over my natural color.  That progressed about 8 years ago to full color to cover gray.  Now, every 3 weeks, I have ugly gray roots.  I was having the roots done in the salon at $55.00 a pop - no blow dry, just a shampoo to get the gunk out, and out the door I'd go.  That didn't include tips.   Since I couldn't stop my hair from growing, in 3 weeks I'd start really noticing those stupid gray roots again, and I'd try to hold off for 6 weeks, thinking of the expense.  I finally bought professional color and developer myself and apply it myself.  It surely isn't as good a job as the stylist could do - but it covers my gray mostly - and it costs about $7.00 - that's one heck of a lot cheaper than $55.00 plus $10.00 for the stylist and $5.00 for the shampoo girl (who used to give head massages that would make you weak in the knees - she was fabulous, hence the $5.00 tip - but I don't NEED that.)

So I have succeeded in cutting down the cost of upkeep on my hair for now.  The next step is to let it go gray (my husband says "NO"!) and let it grow to my knees.  That would cost......nothing.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

New Blogger Editor

My husband uses WordPress for his blog, but I use Blogger.  Because it's so much easier.  He is his own host and mine is Blogger - cheaper (as in free) and easier.

Anyway - I have a few questions that, if anyone knows the answer to them, I'd appreciate it - about Blogger.  I've been visiting some Blogger blogs lately that have a new kind of background and layout - one which I can find no mention of anywhere.  Here are a few examples:

Notice the clever edges of the writing area and the background?  I love these and I've been seeing variations of this new style all over the blogosphere and I'm coveting them.  I've done Google searches for "Blogger styles" and "Blogger backgrounds" and other searches along those lines, but I haven't found any reference for how this new style is accomplished.

In addition, there is evidently a new Blogger Editor, which I have now subscribed to - and some people have lost entire portions of their blog because of it:

I sure hope that doesn't happen to me.  I didn't even know there WAS a new Blogger editor until I searched for it under "Layout" and noticed an area where I could choose "old editor" or "new editor".  I held my breath and clicked, "new editor" to see what would happen - and my blog looked the same.

Of course, this is the first post where I'm actually USING the new editor - it just looks like it gives you more formatting options is all, but we shall see how it affects things once I publish this post.

I know when people who use Wordpress switch to the latest version, there is often much gnashing of teeth.  It seems like such a waste of time to constantly be working on the same thing, tweaking it, because a new version has killed some things and enabled unknown other features.

That's it for today - if anyone knows now to acquire those neat new contrasting background, decorating thingies for Blogger, let me know.  Thanks!!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Joe Meiner

I mentioned in my last post that when I was in Nez Perce, Id, I met a D Day Vet named Joe Meiner. He was participating in the age old "talk around the wood stove at the local store", except it was at the local hotel/restaurant and no wood stove was needed (thank God). This is what the old timers did back in the old days - made their way to the general store and sat around the wood stove talking about weather, crops, local families and their difficulties or successes, national and world events such as were known back then (news was often heard a day or so or more after it occurred). I don't know much about Joe's personal life except he knows all the locals and can tell you the history of any plot of property in the Nez Perce area and who has owned it. I don't know if his wife was still alive, but from the way he talked I didn't think so. Joe is 86 years old and this past summer he went with his grown great grandson to Washington, DC to visit the WWII memorial. The memorial featured black and white reels of war footage and Joe pointed out the truck he was driving in the D Day footage - yes, he was actually, momentarily, in the footage. As Joe told his great grandson about the war, about D Day and what it was like, others visiting the memorial would overhear and gather around to hear it all "first hand". He attracted crowds everywhere he went, and not on purpose. Joe speaks softly and deliberately, he is very modest and never embellishes anything. In fact, he probably undertells it and his voice is very matter of fact. He told us, in the Nez Perce Hotel dining/meeting room how he was a mechanic for the vehicles, mostly trucks and jeeps, and how he had to drive a truck onto the beach (I forgot to ask which one - I was too riveted by his story and I didn't want to be rude and interrupt) and get as far as he could directly under the guns of the Germans. He managed to do this, obviously, or we would not have been speaking to him. He was so far onto the beach, the Germans could not train their guns on him. As he drove, he saw men dying left and right of him, and when he got to his designated spot, he says he saw no bullet holes in his truck - he was amazed. He seemed so proud of his great grandson, and he was happy that a WWII memorial had finally been completed. He was quite pleased with his sudden fame while in Washington, DC and his face glowed as he spoke of how "one or two people would hear me talking to my great grandson, and before you know it, there might be a crowd of upwards of 25 or so people wantin' to hear about the War." Joe did mention that he had never been able to watch, "Saving Private Ryan", because it would be too intense for him, it would bring it all back - but he did say that others that he knew that had been in D Day and seen the movie, vouched for it's authenticity.

Before we left the Nez Perce restaurant, my husband, my brother in law and I thanked Joe for what he had done all those years ago, and I could feel the chills run up my spine. I felt as if I was talking to a real piece of History in Human Form, so to speak. I have so much respect for the "average American" of the first half of the 20th Century. These people - and Joe was the epitome of this - were full of integrity, honesty, unpretentious, unselfish, brave and matter of fact about it all - all the qualities that made America and Americans great. Joe only uses a cane, so he gets around pretty good. His granddaughter works at the local grocery - we stopped there to pick up some fresh coffee to go (there is NO place in the Northwest that is inhabited by more than 2 people that does not have EXCELLENT coffee, including offerings of mocha, lattes, and espressos. We stopped at one place in a small town that was a hardware/liquor/gift/feed and ANY kind of coffee such as Starbucks would offer). We said hello to his granddaughter and mentioned how we had met Joe and how wonderful he was. She grinned and nodded in pride.

As we were all leaving the restaurant/hotel to go our various ways, Joe had decided to move on also, so we stayed together a bit longer as we walked out together. I suddenly got the urge to have my picture taken with this WWII vet - to me, more exciting than having my picture taken with any dumb celebrity (celebrities are usually the last people I'd want to have my picture taken with). I tapped his arm and asked if he would mind if my husband took my picture with him and he smiled and said, "Sure". We posed with our arms around each other and smiled. I told him I was absolutely in awe of what he had done in the war and I was so proud to meet him. I told him I would never forget him and what he had done - and I won't. For some reason, amidst all the wonderful scenery and fabulous hotels and great food, this is the high point of my trip. Below are a couple of pictures of Joe - one in the hotel/restaurant where he was sitting and talking with us, and two of him and I.

After the picture was taken, Joe went off alone, leaning a bit on his cane, crossing the street in the little Northwest Camas Prairie town, toward where he lives. Watching that old man, alone, going carefully and slowly down the street, holding inside himself a lifetime of memories of America when it was a better place, and a war halfway across the world and planets away from tiny Nez Perce, Id., I got choked up. I felt I was watching as the America I knew was moving farther and farther away, and with the passing of the Greatest Generation, passes the time of America's greatness.
























































Saturday, October 17, 2009

Idaho/Oregon Adventure

Below are some photos I took on my whirlwind tour from Boise up 95 to Riggins (where Mountain time becomes Pacific time and we're magically moved back one hour in a second), through the mountains to the Camas Prairie. From there to Orofino, where my husband and I stayed in the most beautiful hotel room I've ever been in (and I've been in some very fancy ones thanks to conferences he's gone on and taken me) - courtesy of his wonderful brother and sister in law. From Orofino west to Union and Baker City, Oregon. Finally, from Baker City back to Boise, where after much laundry and re-packing, we flew home. My head is still filled with the beautiful images from all those miles (about 1200 total, my brother in law said - yikes!!)

My brother in law and his wife have purchased property on the Camas prairie near Nez Perce, Idaho. The following is a picture of part of their land. There is grazing land and crop land - and there is a deep cut or ravine with a large cave at the bottom. This was Nez Perce Indian land until the 1950's, when the first white owner bought it - and now it is in our family. No one can get down to the bottom of the ravine - it is a very steep death fall in some places - and one must walk in at a slant from the flattest point down into it. There is water at the bottom, so no one can get too far. How frustrating!! There could be bear, cougar and coyote down there, although I would think some of the cattle would be killed if a cougar were in the ravine. You want a place out in the boonies? This is it. I've never been in a more remote, yet settled area. The people are the salt of the earth and would help their neighbor out in a heartbeat.

Below are a few pictures taken on the Camas Prairie property.

























This was on the way through the mountains from Riggins to the Prairie.











































Below are the Blue Mountains outside of Union, Oregon.











An abandoned old home site outside Union, Oregon.
















A working farm outside Union, Oregon.










Don't know where this was, but there are tons of abandoned, dilapidated old cabins and barns, some from homesteading and some from mining.



















Below is Payette Lake.







































































More scenery outside of Baker City, Oregon
















Below is a train somewhere on the way to Baker City, Oregon










We saw quite a few Red Tailed Hawks in their winter plumage. This one, below, was dining on top of a stack of hay.




















Train tracks outside of Union, Oregon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

I'm In Boise, Idaho!!

My husband's brother lives in Boise, Idaho and so here we are visiting them. After a 5 hour flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Las Vegas (where they have slots in the airport), and another 2 hour flight from Las Vegas to Boise, we are here! It's in the 30's at night - delicious sleeping weather. We had our bedroom window open all night last night and my sister in law put flannel sheets on the bed. The only word I can think of is......Delicious!! She could have her own bed and breakfast. Our room in their home included a basket of Boise related goodies arranged with bows and resting on the bed. In addition, on the bed were two sets of folded towels for our bathroom - it looked lovely. And last, but not least, two soft fleecy robes were hanging on hooks ready for us to use. Better than a hotel, I think, and certainly more welcoming.

I'm up extra early since my body thinks it's two hours later than it really is - so I'll be getting dressed soon and it's off to breakfast.

And the beginning of our Idaho adventure.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Adventures in Photography

I've been learning more about my camera - about photography in general. F stops and ISO's and apertures - the big 3. I put my camera on Manual today and experimented - and I have to say that I like the pictures better when I set the parameters myself than when the camera decides - on the auto settings.

First up, some flowers. Remember to click on the picture to "embiggen" it - they look much better that way!!





















Above is a Chenille flower - I don't know the proper name for this plant














Technically, these are not flowers (the flowers are tiny light purple ones), but berries. This is one of my favorite plants because it's native to Florida, the birds like to eat the fruit, it's easy as pie to grow and it's berries are the most beautiful shade of purple. I wonder if they are poisonous - if not, can they be baked in a pie? Hmmmmm. I'll have to look that up.

























Jatropha, another butterfly plant - not a larval plant, I don't think, but a food plant.





















This is light colored lantana. I also have the bright orange and yellow version which I like better. This plant is definitely a butterfly food favorite.

























This is the luscious purple flower of the Glory Bush - another butterfly bush, although I don't often see them on it. Who cares anyway - it's purple!!



Now for some polydamas caterpillars. I'd like to show you the butterfly, which is a swallowtail and is mostly dark brown/black with yellow edging on it's wings, but I was only able to photograph the caterpillars, and we have a LOT of them. They like Dutchman's pipe, a vine. I haven't seen any of the distinctive flowers on our Dutchman's Pipe vines, yet, but the Polydamas butterflies seem to recognize the plant without the help of it's flowers.

















You can see a big fat one, probably not long before it spins it's cocoon and one a little smaller. Every time they get too big for their skin, they shed it and each size up is called an Instar. The First Instar is tiny tiny, and I think the Fifth Instar might be the last before cocooning, but I'm not sure.


































"Hey!! Got any peanuts?" Mr. Squirrel seems to be saying as he peeks over the back fence at me below.













Once he realizes I'm not coming any closer, he gets comfortable and looks like he wants to gossip awhile.















Here are a few butterflies I WAS able to capture. First is a Gulf Fritillary on Lantana. You can just about see it's Proboscis stuck into the innards of the tiny flower.





















Next is a Julia - I'm not sure if this is a Female or a Male.
























As I have written in past posts, we have a feral honey bee hive in our backyard. Here are some photos that show both some capped areas of the comb (babies inside or honey locked away?) and some areas that clarly have shiny liquid honey in them. The capped area is small and is on the bottom of the picture toward the left. The honey is at the top of the picture in about the middle.


















Thursday, October 1, 2009

Quick Pictures from Morning Garden

Before I go off to work, here are a few critters I saw in my garden this morning.