Thursday, March 31, 2011

Is That Fear I Feel Rising?

Fear when used with rational consideration of all the data can be a useful tool that is designed to protect us from possible danger. Fear when used with a lack of control and based only on emotion can be a disaster.  When fear becomes panic and we stop relying on the gray cells, then we are in for punishment.  I think the stories coming out of Japan show tremendous courage but also lots of rational thought.  Bold actions facing the fear were taken by individuals that saved many lives even though just running away would have resulted in the person insuring the safety of his/her own life alone.

Two months ago when I was staying at a friends home in central Florida, I had lots of time on my hands.  They live on several acres in lovely tropical woods and on a large freshwater spring.  I could take early morning or late evening or even mid-day walks and totally disappear from the site of the house for long periods of time.  The weather was comfortable, and except for the few rains, I was having fun with my camera capturing all the exotic stuff.

Florida is filled with beauty and this is mixed in with exotic alligators, poisonous snakes, and an odd plant danger or two.   I had the privilege of seeing a wild bobcat saunter across the front lawn one morning.  My walks were usually by myself, and being conscious of this, I was careful although not fearful.  During one morning I came across this snake skin beside the path.  This was a REALLY long snake, and so I became somewhat concerned.  There had been a 10-foot (non-indigenous) python seen crawling across the nearby road two winters ago on this property...but it was also found frozen to death in a nearby drainage pipe two days later.  AND what I had heard about pythons was that they NOT did sneak up on you and attack you as you were walking.  They look for much smaller prey.

Unless animals see us as dinner or cannot see a way out, I think in 99% of the other cases they try to avoid us.  I decided that a snake skin is not a snake and moved in slowly for a closer look.

Who knows what scratched ankles, broken limbs or painfully stubbed toes (not to mention damaged camera) I might have incurred had I followed my first instinct to run screaming down the path back to the house?  Fear is a guidance counselor...not a drill Sargent.  If you are having trouble understanding this on the photo above.

(As a post script for all who are afraid of mother nature, afraid of there not being enough (of whatever) to go around, afraid of the news, afraid of people who look, act and think differently than are in for a very long scary ride.  I am so sorry.)

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I have been married (to the same man) for 40+ years. No, I actually do not know the exact number give or take a year and I am not going to look it up and my husband is now asleep, so sue me.  I do know that we have had a pretty good run.  As most people who are past middle age realize, marriage is rarely about romance.  Oh yes, romance is nice, but it is not the normal state of affairs.  Actually, too much romance in a marriage would make me suspicious.  We have had our bad times, but there was only one year, two decades ago, when we came close to drifting apart completely.  He did a very bad thing and I decided, with time, it wasn't all that bad and with some marriage counseling we came through to the other side and I am so glad we are where we are today.

Ours is not a perfect marriage, but perfect marriages are undefinable to me anyway.  There are days when I have polished the kitchen to an unnatural shine and in his minute of fixing a snack it has been returned to an elementary school lunchroom.  There are days when I remind of him of something important or ask him to do something important that only he can do, and he still forgets because it is not his priority causing me frustration.  There are events where he talks too much about his interests, reveals too much personal stuff to strangers, or makes me wait alone for an hour while he finishes up something.  There are days when he says he wants to cook dinner, but doesn't even enter the kitchen until almost 7:00 P.M.  There are days when the time spent on this "business project" of his seems like eons.

But these are all in contrast to his telling and showing me he loves me (on occasion),  helping me with my projects, going with me on my errands, watching some film noir with me (which he hates), letting me have control of the remote, putting up with my blogging (which to him is like reading cartoons), loving our children totally, and living peacefully with my anal retentive sense of organization.  The above is also balanced with his love of the outdoors, his efforts to be active and healthy and to encourage me to do the same, and his intelligent sense of humor.

But a blogger posted this link which oddly brought tears to my eyes, because the woman in the video is my husband.  That is how he feels about the world.  He feels responsible.  His philosophy is that every big change begins with that first step and there is no need for recognition.  He does this when he is all alone in the woods and no one is watching!  

Wednesday, March 23, 2011


I have never been a big joiner, even in causes I believe in; I have to steel myself to join things.  I tend to be the type that thinks if you join have to JOIN it. Joining means to me that you will go to the meetings, setup for the events, volunteer to do the boring stuff that the other members tend to avoid.  You will be active and not just lend your name or a few dollars to the cause, club, institution.  As a result of this Puritanical attitude, I tend to avoid joining the majority of things that come my way.

My Master Gardener program requires 40 hours of volunteer/leadership work the first year.  You are committed to the cause of sharing the gardening experience whether you like it or not.  You can count the monthly meetings and the time spent driving to and from places.  Since January I have put in about 10 hours.  This week I am committed to several errands and an event which will add another 4 or 5 hours of my time.  Of course, as spring commences, gardeners are needed everywhere.  I was talking to a fellow MSTG (Master Gardener) and she said when she first started her project, there were few places to volunteer time in our rural area.  Over the past few years, many more opportunities have developed.  I am guessing this is due to baby boomers nearing retirement and looking for things to do and thus creating community gardens for areas.  I must say that our business meetings are certainly energetic and the last one had about 30 attendees!

While I was thinking of this process of joining I recently noticed new joiners (followers) to my blog(s).  I do not know how they found their way here in most cases.  I do not know if they even read my blog, because many do not comment on posts or comment only once.  I keep thinking that sometimes bloggers like to collect followers like friends on FB.  No communication is involved.  It is just a collecting thing.

I have two lists I follow in blogging.  Sometimes I "follow" the blog on their page and then that blog shows up on the Blogger Dashboard page if they have made a recent post.  The other way is the old-fashioned way of creating a link to the blog in the html code of the my blogs design which then shows up in my sidebar of my blog page when they post.  This I still tend to do more often than the former.  I keep forgetting the other list.  Many on this second list have drifted off into the digital black hole of neglect.  They started writing with the best of intentions and then blogging lost its appeal or they were using it as a tool to sell something and not really blog, or life and living got in the way.

My concern  has become that this following of blogs is just like joining.  My lists are getting long and I feel an obligation to read the majority of the posts of blogs I follow.  (Although I am not talking about your blog, of course, I head there first every time!)  I do not want to hurt anyone's feelings although I do not always feel a need to comment on the post, and as cute as that kitten is, I really have no time to read about it.

These blogger lists are somewhat like my speedwell plant that I posted about on my other blog.  It is lovely, interesting, and in the beginning a most compelling plant.  But then it spreads and becomes a maintenance issue and must be tended, and the fun starts to fade a little and obligation rears its hard head.

Do any other bloggers face this concern?  How do you deal with it?  I bet most of you are this all just silliness on my part?

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Day

She rests easy in the dark night sky. Her gentle face reflects the peaceful light of eternity. We are trying to shelter against war, famine and earthly destruction.  We are trying to close out angry evil sounds.  We close our ears to the cry of pain.  We close our eyes to shut out ugly visions.  We sigh and breathe in dust-filled air.  But, if you cast your eyes upward, she will remind you, that this too will pass. The beauty of our earth will survive in time.  She will return to bathe us in her silver calming light until all is healed.  Peace is patient.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Thursday Thoughts #32---Very Small Happy Thoughts

The news has been so full of awful things, more awful than usual. Mother Earth has just shown us who is boss once again by slapping us up the side of the head and Mankind has shown that testosterone is highly overrated when trying to control a social Tsunami in a desert.  So here are some of my personal thankful thoughts helping me hold it together, small though they are, as I straddle this bridge of life.

1. Spring has moved into my yard and is unpacking scarves in the most magical of colors.
2. My daughter has not yet delivered baby #3 and thankfully it will be coming closer to the ready date.
3. My daughter's friend who has a sister who is a professional photographer actually asked me for some butterfly photos to decorate her daughter's bathroom.
4. I have not lost any weight but I am in very good health and not on any medications.
5. My son is still dating the same girl.
6. My grand-daughter called me this past weekend and begged me to come visit, which I did.
7. The bluebird is checking out the birdhouse just under the deck outside my bedroom window.
8. I have found a new hair dresser and she looks like she might be a keeper.
9. My husband kissed me yesterday morning in passing.
10. I have finished my income taxes.
11.  I have very special blog friends, in spite of the fact that I have not met them.
12.  This past trip I renewed and restored friendship with several long-time friends.
13.  I am alive.

I am sure on your gloomiest of days you can come up with a thankfulness list of 13 'small' things!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The Pro and the Con

I have mentioned in a past post that I received a Kindle for Christmas from my daughter.  I did not ask for a Kindle.  I was a fence sitter when it comes to electronic reading.  But my daughter loves hers and in her busy life of family, work and travel she found she can read so much more with a Kindle and wanted to share her joy.

The are numerous columns and comments about e-reading versus physical copies of books.  I am still a sort of fence sitter.  I have found pros and cons...and thus I will list them.

Pro Kindle (or perhaps other e-readers):

Easy to transport.
Easy to hold.
Easy to read as font sizes can be enlarged immediately.
Easy to bookmark a page, highlight a passage, look up a word in the e-dictionary.
    (Although I have not figured out how to easily find the specific highlighted passage weeks later.  I have a photographic memory and could find it in the physical book by remembering how far in and where on the page.)
Easy to buy a new book from ANYWHERE and download it in seconds.
I can get the latest title without waiting for it to show up in the library or bookstore.
I can peruse several chapters before buying.
E-books are cheaper.
It can hold something like 10,000 titles.
Has free stuff and word games---the more you buy the more free stuff.

Con Kindle:

Photos are not in color.
Some graphs and photos are not in electronic format at all.
It is not as easy to peruse a book although one can search for details.
I would miss the shelves of books in my house that start many a conversation with guests.
I cannot loan wonderful books.
It is a good format for reading...but art books, no!
Keyboard is too small for my old hands.
I no longer dare read in the bathtub.
I am on a guilt trip thinking I may be undermining publishers and libraries.
There is little serendipity with the e-book, you really read linearly.
I still like the book format so very much (just like Captain Kirk.)

The debate is now open for comments.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Just One Last Thought

We headed out early for the airport for our return flight.  Security is always an issue that takes up time before travel and hubby was notified at the outside gate that he had been "randomly" selected for an extra security check.  The blue-eyed, bald-headed guy with the effusive personality is definitely the Politically Correct choice!  (Do not get me started on TSA and their dysfunctional efforts.)  Anyway, mid-way through the first security check they whisked hubby away and I had to head out to the gate by myself.  At this early time the gate chairs were only half full and I sat and read my Kindle... for a while.  Time passed slowly and so I went to peruse the shops for some last minute chocolate.  Instead I found this book.  According to the back cover, Frances-Marie Coke was born in Jamaica.  She is a Human Resource Management Consultant and has lectured at the University of the West Indies.  This is her second collection of published poems.

As a collector of poetry (that is NOT in electronic form) I perused it only briefly before deciding that it would be my souvenir to take home and my companion on the plane in case they decided to keep my husband.  Below is a  sample of one of my favorite passages from this book of poetry.

Lonely Is

...a river where the ripples have no stones,
a shadow lengthening down a slender room, 
a lullaby without an infant's eyes
fluttering to sleep; lonely is
the stillness of a loveless April evening;
a night of silence broken
by a fan that makes no difference;
a leaf entangled in a spider's web;
a thread unraveled from its weave.

I had read a few pages when my husband finally showed up with his bags and sat next to me just as they began the call for boarding.  Within seconds he was called up to the gate desk and then motioned to me that he was going to go through one more security check (number three) and that I should just board without him!  (What a waste of taxpayer money!)  Fortunately we both made the flight and they allowed us to sit together and treated us like normal passengers from then on out, whatever that means.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Gnarley Marley

(Let us hope this is the last of those travel posts that Tabor has become so dependant on. No original thoughts rattling around in her brain...certainly!  What a real bore she would be if she didn't travel.)

Bob Marley is an icon and hero to most of Jamaica.  They revere him as many revered Elvis Presley in the U.S. but his story is much more compelling.  His music is timeless, at least to me.  When I listen to it I feel young and there.  He wrote and sang protest music about the condition of mankind.

We toured his home and studio.  Much of it bare rooms except for the bedroom and kitchen.  There are marvelous posters, news articles, and award albums on the walls and Marley music constantly playing in the background.  (We were not allowed to take photos.)  What is fun is the way the tour guide hums and dances to the music as she brings us through the rooms and tells his story.  It seems everyone in Jamaica can carry a tune...two of our tour guides sang to us that week.   I barely understand the Rastafari religion, but it is certainly quirky and deep, vegan diet and ganga weed combined and the belief that Haile Sellassie, who traced his roots to Solomon and Sheba, was seen as the black holy king to lead the negro race.

Less quirky and more common was that Marley was born to an 18-year-old black girl (Cedella Booker) and fathered by Captain Norval Marley, a 50-year-old quartermaster attached to the British West Indian Regiment and a plantation owner.  Marley's parents were married, and thus, the Captain was forced to provide some financial support, but provided little else in the role of fatherhood for this young man before he died, Marley was 10 at that time.  Even without a father Marley grew up to be one of the most significant peace makers across racial lines in Jamaica with his music, traveling a marvelous journey from a poor home in Trenchtown outside Kingston to the homes of global leaders.  Bob Marley and the Wailing Wailers had their first big hit in 1963.  Bob Marley married and had three children.  He had at least eleven children total in his life when including those with other women.

His growing international popularity also brought him into the arena of politics and to the front of the ongoing ghetto wars in Jamaica.  He and band members were shot while rehearsing in his home in 1976 in a hail of gunfire from the yard outside, perhaps because of a free concert he was planning to give to attempt some peace among his people.  They have covered most of the walls in this tragic room with board but left one bullet hole to view.  It is shockingly large and deep. He bravely played the controversial free concert the next night with a bullet still inside him and forced the two opposing political leaders to hold hands before the crowd (see the photo of the opportunists below).  This violent attack later caused him to go into a retreat in London, and he did not return to his beloved homeland until April of 1978.

Bob Marley was also a fitness nut in that he ran almost every day and loved to play soccer.  An infection from a toe injury turned cancerous in his early 30's and he was told he would have to have the toe amputated.  He refused and within a few years he died of brain cancer at the age of 36.  This is just a thumbprint of the exotic life he led (excluding working as a lab assistant for Dupont) and if you search the Internet you can hear Buffalo Soldier, One Love, I Shot the Sheriff, and you will find so much more.

"The compilation album Legend (1984), released three years after his death, is reggae's best-selling album, going ten times Platinum (Diamond) in the U.S.,"  Wikipedia.

Saturday, March 05, 2011


Food is some of the best part of travel.  I admit that I am addicted to chocolate and that order.  But coffee certainly comes in a close third.  My visit to Jamaica had to include a tour of a coffee plantation.  It wasn't much of a tour due to rainy weather and the members of our group for whom a flight of stairs was a challenge before even considering a hike up a hillside of coffee plants. The plantation owner's home (he no longer lives there) was beautifully kept.  I bought three eight ounce bags of Jamaican Blue.   It made it through customs in the U.S. easily.

Jamaican Blue is considered one of the most expensive coffees in the world.  (Forbes lists several coffees at $50 US a pound and I paid $30 US a pound for my Jamaican Blue...but this was AT the plantation.  It was $6 US more at the hotel.)  Most of this coffee is now in my freezer.  This plantation below is owned by a Japanese man, although run by a Jamaican and worked on by Jamaicans.  As a note, most of the Jamaican Blue coffee goes directly to Japan and I could not find this estate in any of my research on coffee reviews.  I did taste it at the estate and while it is not a robust coffee, it was nicely full-flavored and a little sweet.  Certainly better than anything I can get at Starbucks or other.  The guide told us that it is not the caffeine that gives one a boost after a cup but the other chemicals and/or sugar in the to me.  I got my boost from the mountain views.

Green coffee beans.

Friday, March 04, 2011

"It's lovely to live on a raft..." Huck Finn

While in Jamaica, we spent most of our time taking tours and getting the lay of the land.  We spent only two half days on the beach, a few hours snorkeling (and in all truth actually never made it into any one of the swimming pools...but been there and done that.) While we could have rented a car, they drive on the 'wrong' side of the road and they also drive like crazy people sometimes.  Our J*** shuttle from the airport had a police radar active and it went off several times during that dark night as we took our speedy 2.5 hour trip to our hotel.  They told us most of the road accidents occur with tourists who drive on the 'wrong' side of the road or drive too 'slow.'  I think this means less then 15 miles over the speed limit.  We did not see any accidents while there, so perhaps the danger level is far lower than it seemed during our longer van trips.

We did walk up Dunns River Falls which is a tradition I told myself I would go through.  Hubby had done this 40 years ago (with some dingy blonde in a tiny bikini when there was like one other couple) with absolutely no hand bars, decks, people with cameras, signs, chains of people holding hands, refreshment stands, people trying to sell you photos, etc.  Thus, my experience this time was far different than his original adventure.  It is a climb of about 3 football fields up and the only danger is the rapids which are so rough you cannot see where you place your feet.  My only injury was a skinned shin when hubby decided to help me make a rather large step up by pushing on my butt!  The other discomfort (other than masses of people) was the gravel that kept collecting in the river shoes.

Sorry, no photos.  Too wet for cameras and the only photos they took I did not purchase and I am way too vane to print anyway.

We also took a newer tourist ride...on the bamboo raft down the Martha Brae River in Jamaica.  It is a gentle and very safe little adventure.  I was hoping to see exotic wildlife, but only saw exotic craft/refreshment booths.  The guides were wonderfully friendly and also knew their history and most of their botany.

No, that is not hubby and I on that raft in photo #3 but a charming young couple from Britain that went on the tour with us!  (And if you want photos of the birds and buds you have to check out my other blog.)

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Since You Asked

Daughter is still doing well.  She has been allowed to get up out of bed after her recent doctor's visit but must try to be as still as possible.  (Telling my daughter she can get up but be as still as possible is crazy.  I turned around and she was putting laundry in the washer, emptying the dryer and folding clothes.)  She cannot sit up or stand for long periods of time as this large baby is very uncomfortable for her.  Her contractions are only a few a day now and she is past the point of major concern if this baby decides to come.  The doctor indicated that if labor begins again, there is nothing to do about it.  Daughter is now off the meds as long term use is not recommended.

My husband was with her on weekends and then I came up weekdays, but I will probably leave her alone these next few days as i have seen my hubby little since this marathon began.  Both hubby and I have to come back if her husband goes on work travel next week, which is the current schedule!  We are a little over an hour away, and that should suffice long enough for a neighbor to cover if labor kicks in quickly and they have to head to their hospital which is only minutes away.

She gets very uncomfortable as the day grows and has to lie down often.

Such an odd miracle feeling the babies hard head at the base of her abdomen...but that is where it is supposed to be.  It keeps stretching its little feet and pushing on her organs.  Daughter belches like a farm hand after meals but has a good appetite. Looks like some miracles take their time after all.