Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Thursday Thoughts (29)--Language and Communication

  1. "Walking the dog, and Zara spook"...I overheard from a recent telephone conversation at my house.  Some of you have a clue to what this all means....;-)
  2. One of my friends on FB posted that he was "splitting quasihemidemisemiquavers."  I think I must be friends with some really cool young people.
  3. People spend more than 700 billion minutes per month on the FB site and, according to Facebook, 400 million of them have logged in during the past month  (sharing and sharing). Keep in mind there are only 309 million people in the United States -- total.
  4. According to a recent Newsweek article in 2000 there were 12,000 active blogs and today there are 141 million.
  5. In the same article in 2000 there were 282,242 books published and in 2010, 1,052,803 were published.  We are becoming great communicators.
  6. I asked for feedback on my blogging, and I got it!  It took so long I almost forgot that I asked.  It was not as harsh as it could (should) have been, but he did mention my age several times, so perhaps was afraid he might give me a heart attack if he was too honest.  I was vindicated for not doing memes.  Writers always need feedback, and this was fairly painless.  He did suggest I needed more Eat, Pray, Love in my style...right!?  Although it made me realize how boring I and my life are and made me change to "compelling comments".
  7. Someone keeps posting comments on my blog in Chinese han and I keep deleting them because I cannot figure out what their blog is all about.
  8. On the importance of using food to communicate love the less stuff cooked, the better.
  9. John Bassinger, retired theater professor, at 76, can recite John Milton's 10,565-line poem by memory.  It takes him 3 eight-hours days to communicate this.  At 76 I think I might be doing something else.
  10. If you send an email from an domain, you are sending an email from the Army. From or from – those emails can be interpreted as though you are acting on behalf of those companies.
  11. My husband and I have been married almost 4 decades and we still have problems communicating...but now he says it is because he doesn't hear clearly what I am saying!  He says it has to do with not focusing on me...not loss of hearing.  (That is flattering.)
  12. Maybe I should do the pheromone dance that the bees do to communicate my point!
  13. And finally, "Home is not where you live, but where they understand you."...Christian Morgenstern.

(For those who asked about the Thursday Thirteen challenge in a prior post---which I am not creative enough to play with any regularity---go here.)

Monday, July 26, 2010


Every once in a while, especially after losing something precious, I need to make a thankfulness list...

  • Tabor is thankful for the clear, safe, and cold well water from her kitchen faucet as she makes her coffee before the sun rises on this summer morning.
  • Tamila is thankful for the new yellow bucket her brother brought her this morning to carry water from the well that is a mile down the road.
  • Tabor is thankful for air conditioning as the outside temperatures will mimic the low 100s C by midday. 
  • Tamila is thankful for the shade of the old acacia tree in her back yard as she must sit there often to prepare her food.
  • Tabor is thankful for the luxury of using a cell phone or a computer to communicate quickly with her loved ones that are far away.
  • Tamila is thankful that her loved ones in the next village are no longer suffering and she communicates with them silently by prayer each morning.
  • Tabor is thankful that her doctor said her leg pain is just a muscle strain.
  • Tamila is thankful that her leg pain is gone...for today.
  • Tabor is thankful for the flowers in her garden that bring delightful color to her eyes each day.
  • Tamila is thankful for the colorful turaco that sits in her tree waiting for a piece of mango.
  • Tabor is thankful that she has been given the financial freedom to retire.
  • Tamila is thankful that she has been given the freedom to live one more sunny day.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mind Games

Over the recent 4th of July Holiday weekend both my husband and I were sick.  It was strange because my illness was a raspy sore throat and then a chest cough that only occurred at night.  His illness was a sore throat but also several raging fevers, aches and pains, tender skin, scratchy eyes and general weakness and malaise.  Between playing with our grandchildren the week before and hitting a late night bar crowd for our son's band that same weekend we could have caught this bug anywhere, if we indeed shared the same bug.

What was so unusual was that he was really sick and I was just annoyingly so until days after he got well and then my cough got worse.  Ninety-nine percent of the time he is the one mildly ill and I drag myself from bed to couch for several days complaining and putting life on hold.  

I realized about a decade ago how I draw on his leadership and strength.  Being the mother and Chief cook and bottle washer (bill payer, house cleaner, appointment clerk, etc.) for years, I always thought I was the headstrong and stalwart person while herding our goslings, as perhaps I was.  But our years together and aging senses have caused us to lean more equally on each other through all of life's later challenges.

His appetite was good so I was not too worried.  But at our ages I could not help but think about what it would be like if this illness was serious.  If we were entering the time in our lives when I would be caring for him day in and out as he started on that journey where his body needed more and more rest until he left me, left all of us.  I could not help thinking of that day when I might be left to walk this trail alone.   It was a black and scary thought, but it did not freeze me in my tracks, because I knew it was possible and I knew others shared this journey.

I am luckier than many people because I think I can get my mind around this darkness, even though it is painful.  I have lost both my parents and a younger sister and  I am practical in knowing we all go this way at some time in our lives and I do resign myself to the inevitability of those things we cannot change with the force of our emotions or the demands of our 'needs.'  We face one day at a time and enjoy its jewel like quality for the brief glow it provides.  Life is such a temporary gift that breaks so easily.  While we may wish to curl up in a fetal ball, the sun will continue to rise, flowers will bloom, songs will be written and sung, couples will make love, and children will laugh and play without us.  This is a good thing.  But I do admit, that at my age, death becomes much more than a theoretical mind game or philosophical thought.  Being stoic is not always enough to ease the anxiousness that only visits in the middle of the night.

(I should probably clarify that I wrote this a while back...)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Bye, Barry

I cannot say anymore than others have posted. Yes, we will miss those lovely rambling walks with Lindsay across the woods and dunes and Barry's wonderful writing about his family. Linda, thank you for sharing these past months.  So many others will be posting tributes in the days to come as he touched many bloggers.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Just Asking

While eating a river-side lunch I decided to explore the area. I found these feathers. I think I know what some of them are. But those of you who have an ornithological bent, give me some ideas.  The white feather on the right is the muddy color and not a pure white.  Click on the photo if needed.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Battle Strategy Follow-up---War With the Cardinal

I got the most comments ever on my Battle with the Cardinal post and thus feel obligated to write a follow-up.

Since the rubber snake worked to dissuade the cardinal on the bedroom window last year, I move it to the dining room bay window ledge. Then I g0t the plastic life-size owl that had broken away from its pole down on the dock and put him on the deck next to the lower part of the deck window, Mr. Cardinal's second favorite spot. ( I just have to remember to cover the bottom hole in the hollow plastic owl with duct tape to avoid the wasps using it as a nesting cave!

I searched the internet for photos of owl eyes and printed out two in extra large size that look intimidating, at least to me. One photo I tape to the inside of the dining room window and the other I tape to the inside of the kitchen window. Several days passed and still no cardinal has re-appeared.  I am not totally convinced I have won the war...just this phase which will last who knows how long?

I should explain that prior to this battle strategy implementation my husband and I took advantage of a cool day or two and washed the windows!  Dear me, we have put the fate of all in the hands of the Cardinal as the windows are now sparkling clean and can reflect his image perfectly.

Then we went away on a short trip and I returned to find Mr. Crazy Cardinal back pecking at the windows about the kitchen sink.  Clearly the glaring owl eyes do not work there.  Next stop is to find some kind of spinning device or flag to see if that keeps him wary.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art One Oh One

I have been learning a new software and have gotten totally addicted to creating "artwork" with it.  Here is my stella-de-oro Japanese style, or what I think looks a little like a Japanese woodcut.  Perhaps to you it looks like a 6th grade cut and paste?

Below is the same photo processed as if found in a church.

My problem is that I do not track the steps in my post-production process to see if they can be duplicated in the next photo.  I just tweak and tweak until I like the look or hate it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

War With the Cardinal, Himself

It seems to be a moist gray morning that has come too soon.  I am awake and do not know why, but push off the light quilt and head into my dark kitchen to make coffee.  Soon the water is hot and the smell of liquid amber fills my nostrils.  I take my cup and sit on the front porch trying to shake away the fog from my mind as the rising sun begins to silhouette the tree tops.  I am wondering why I woke up so suddenly out of a restorative sleep as I sip my caffeine and enjoy the pink and blue sky in early dawn.  In a short time my reverie is interrupted.

Crows are in the right side ravine making a brass band's worth of noise in the high poplar trees.  I cannot see them, but their cawing is most annoying and unusually angry.  They are probably ganging up on an owl or hawk that has landed in the woods.  The band of crows will give him no peace until he leaves this area completely.  These home boys own the block and do not give way to anyone without regard for claws and sharp bills.  The crows' weapons are confusion and backstabbing.

I finish my coffee and head back inside.  As I reach across the coffee table to get my paperback, the morning sleep disturbance mystery is solved.  First I hear a tap, followed by tap, tap, followed by tap, tap, tap.  There, at the dining room window, is that newly grown male cardinal.  He is small but has all his adult red coloring.  He bangs at the dining room window flying up to the top until my appearance startles him and he rounds the house away from me and continues banging at the kitchen window above the sink.  He has been doing this tapping at the window for several weeks, and I have been trying to ignore him.  Except now he starts his communication before dawn!

And now there is a new twist as I see the mess on the window he has left.

I watch closely and see him hanging at the base of the window and notice that his mouth is full of some green juicy caterpillar thing.  It is so disgusting I can barely watch on my coffee stomach as it oozes insect life from his bill.  My husband mentioned he had seen a similar meal in the bird's bill yesterday  So, is this cardinal now spreading this mess across my window attempting to feed his reflection?  Is he gay and thinking this is his mate to which he offers a gift of fresh breakfast?  Is he a childless father driven by an instinct to feed that he cannot understand or control?  Or is he a pacifist and thinking this male antagonist (reflection) can be won over by an offer to break bread (bug) rather than fight?  Is he in love with me and wants to bring me gifts so that I will fill the bird's water bowl on time?  My guess is that he is just crazy!  We have that crazy cardinal gene pool thing going in our woods which you can read about here and here.

He is driving me crazy; well, crazier as well!  My windows are now covered in streaks of bug guts.  I had planned on cleaning them a few weeks past and I now pat myself on the back for my wise procrastination in the heat of summer.  Sun-baked bug protein is just what any of my few dinner guests want to see while eating a meal and observing our sunsets through the windows.

OK.  Clearly the day has started with a thrown gauntlet.  I rinse my coffee cup and begin planning a battle strategy.

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

The Heat Is On

The tulip poplar trees
Over a hundred feet high
Have begun to throw off
Their golden leaves
Like slow chubby strippers
Resigned to this hot dance
That comes every July.

The sun's spotlight
Obscures their sheltered stage
Of cool green leaves

And dark green shadows
Blinding the eye

With hot light
And turning green to gray sage.

Even the dark coal crows
Sit high like black tree knots
With their mouths open
Panting for some
Relief from the hot
Golden agony 
That is summer.

The bird bath is
The hot new spot.
Take a number
To shimmy on the dance floor.

And then later jitterbug
High in the poplar branches
Drops caught like confetti in the sun.

You also will dance 
If you forget that, for you, 
Shoes are required 
At this annual gala
Unless your feet laugh 
And can jitterbug over hot tar
On the pavement.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Happy 4th!

We may not always get it right, but I am so fortunate to have been born in this country.