Monday, April 30, 2012


There are more days lately when I ponder at the strange hands that have attached themselves to my arms.  The skin has thinned around the bones arteries and tendons, and while they do not look claw-like, they are no longer smooth and plump.  They are spotted with liver spots...what an ugly term!  The spots clearly appear on the top half of my hand that would be most exposed to the sun over the decades I have lived on this earth.  They appeared gently a few years ago and now they have settled in and darkened to a nice dotted tan.

I remember once shopping with my mother-in-law before her dementia took her personality away.  She was looking for a Porcelana cream that was purported to remove age spots.  I, without any sensitivity, thought it was a foolish project, but politely did not say that out loud and helped find the magic potion.  She was in her 80's.  I was thinking that of course she would have liver spots and she should just accept that!  Why would anyone have any vanity left when they reached their 80's?

Now, in my mid-sixties I realize that a little vanity is healthy and an example of how we hope to live longer and to be admired a little longer.  That is only human nature and not a foolish project trying to look younger and healthier.  I accept the fact that only major surgery would achieve any erasing of the years in my case.  A jar of cream isn't going to do anything much but empty my pocket book, but creams for softer skin, gentle coloring for gray hair, careful purchase of bright and stylish clothes that flatter (hide) the gravity prone figure are all acceptable moves.  Even teeth whitening makes one look healthier if it can be afforded. 

I realize that who I am in my heart is the most important trait I have.  I also have learned in old age that most of society will not even notice I am in the room unless I speak out boldly to demand attention.  But a little gilding of the aging lily is not such a bad thing, as long as it does not become a blind obsession attached to unrealistic expectations..

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Only Me

As I have written before, I keep this blog site somewhat anonymous. It is mostly for my own freedom of thought. I do not have to second guess what I will write and how it may affect those of an opposite political persuasion, different spiritual path, or those who are related to me and are just sadly ignorant.

Therefore, on this blog I can admit that I am somewhat a ghost of myself.  I was taking photos on the deck with my point and shoot trying to determine what settings would help bring depth to the over the top pink on my geranium blossoms when I noticed that  I had forgotten to zoom and had instead taken a picture of myself!  So for those of you curious as to kind of -  sort of - what I look like, this photo above is for you.

Photography and "photoshopy" has been taking up a great deal of my time.  Other than bill paying, I spend more time at the computer trying to sort through and delete hundreds of photos that would have been considered good by me when I started taking pictures more seriously about 5 years ago.  Now I have enough experience to see how bad I am and how much I depend on post processing.  Purists will turn up their noses at me, but I have over 6 decades on this planet and no longer care what others think!

Above is an un-retouched photo of my pink columbine.  Taken with a telephoto to give it that bokeh effect.  It has spots in the back ground not yet removed and a distracting leaf in the lower right.

Above is the same photo with a different texture in the background and with the contrast and hue enhanced.  Both have been reduced in pixel size so they do not fully capture the changes.  What do you think anyway?

Monday, April 23, 2012

Not a Luddite

I am married to a man who is not a Luddite.  He understands the importance of technology to improve accuracy, speed processes, make discoveries, etc.  He does not fear technology, but he does not really embrace it either.  For years I have had to help him with his computers.  He could never understand the concept of menus and folders and lost every download.  He has come a little way from that.

He is an outdoors type.  Loves to garden, fish, birdwatch, hike, and explore.  But this love has caused him to destroy and/or lose about 8 mobile phones over the last 10 years.  The most recent he bought this past year and was told it had a gorilla case.  Well, he cracked the screen not once but twice!  So the other day he comes home with a smart phone at some bargain price, of course.  My husband has little sales resistance.

Smart phone?  Is this like Adult movies?  Reality television?  Fat free?  Free lunch?  Microsoft Works?  Wireless Cable?

The phone may be smart, but the user also has to be smarter.  The problem is that my husband has had this phone for about 5 days and it is a nightmare.  It took him the entire day to figure out how to answer the phone and make calls.  It has taken 5 days and he finds the icon with the videos that show him how to use the phone, except the videos go too fast for him to understand them!  I have avoided the phone entirely in self-defense, but picked it up off the table today and asked what the various portholes were on the back.  He said he didn't know and then he picked it up and looked at them closely and said one was the camera lens, the other was the camera flash and the long one on top was the earphone and the little hole on the bottom was the microphone.  I held it to my head to test the length of the microphone and earpiece for my head.  He then inhaled sharply and said,  "Ah, maybe one of my problems with my calls is that I have been holding the phone screen side to my face when making calls!  I have been having trouble hearing and they have been having trouble hearing me."  OMG!!!!

Yesterday his 'business' partner who has been lobbying for him to get a smart phone for over a year suggested that he download an APP that allows business conferences among individuals and groups.  This project kept him busy most of the afternoon.  Seems he had downloaded it dozens of times, but couldn't find it.  The download folder is a fairly new concept to him.

This is a man who is very smart.  He has several graduate degrees in difficult subjects, has been a fast enough thinker to actually have saved two lives, and has been able to keep track of major concepts when running large meetings.  But he is also the guy who back in the late 1980's asked a colleague how a 'virus' could live in a computer?  He asked if it had found a way to live off the plastic.  He is also a person who finds details chaotic and a bother.

I will stick to my old fashioned Razor phone which was all the rage almost a decade ago!  I can rest assured that it is not smarter than me.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Those Good Old Guys

Many arguments regarding changes and laws proposed this past few years in Congress have repeatedly been held against the yardstick of the Constitution and measured against what some think our legislators think the founding fathers wanted.  People such as Sarah Palin frequently draw upon the ideas and ideals of our founding fathers (on her part usually inaccurately) for argumentative support for their arguments.  I personally think Bush was far more cavalier with our constitution than Obama could ever be.

The latest drama has been the Supreme Court case on the mandate for universal health care.  It was argued so poorly by the White House representatives that I do fear for its survival. Our current President was not the first to propose universal health care.  Before him, key Republicans in Congress endorsed it in 1993, the Heritage Foundation promoted it in 1990 and in 1973, Richard Nixon even considered it.

But most recently I have been surprised to learn that such mandates are even older.  It might surprise Americans to learn that our forefathers mandated citizens to purchase weapons for each family.  They also mandated that certain citizens must purchase health insurance!

For more information on our forefathers vision you can read here or here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Never Too Old to Learn Something New

I have once again conned my husband into following me down the path on a new project. We are both taking a class on birding given at the local community college. There are only 5 evening classes and the teacher is a milk-toast (and I say this in the nicest of descriptions) of a little man who actually reminds me of my brother (a former teacher). Our teacher has experience banding birds and studying birds, but his background must be in something else currently.  

Only four students arrived the first evening and one of those students was his wife, so I am letting you know that there are only three students, really, with hubby and I making up two-thirds of the bulk of the discussion. Small town college stuff! The class has, therefore, become an informal meet-up allowing all of us to share our anecdotes to enhance the discussion as it moves along.  We also discovered that the teacher works just up the road from us on a nearby private preserve of several dozen acres.  We now have access to a new nearby area for exploration, within walking distance.

I am a perpetual student and love taking classes if they are more than just philosophical improve your life or spiritual growth stuff.   It has to be something more practical like science, history, literature or art.  I always did love school and my intellectual curiosity has been my passion since I was a child. I loved school.  My husband is most generous to come along on this because he has a PhD in zoology and probably could teach the class himself with a little planning. And yet after the first class and a quick field trip we both have learned to listen better when bird watching and have learned the songs of the little flycatcher and the ovenbird among others. AND most importantly while practicing what we learned, we have discovered that these two songsters exist in our yard, which we did not know.

If you have ever wandered to my other blog, you will know that it contains a number of entries on birds.  I try to study them before I post so that I can add a little knowledge about the species.  So now I can add more fact and less theory?

I encourage others to take classes of all stripes as they age.  Even if it is something you know a lot about, the world is changing, we are learning so much more and I guarantee you will learn something new.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Once again Tabor encounters an eye-opening cultural event as she runs errands.  This time she was in the local Target department store trying to find lip gloss among other items.  I love Burts Bee's colored lip balm and no longer use lipstick since I discovered it.

I reached an aisle that was crowded with a young mother and her toddler sitting in a shopping cart.  At the other end of the aisle was a man in his 70's, well dressed, with a paper list in his hands.  He was scanning the shelves with a frown on his face.  The young mother carefully worked her way past him as she selected something from the shelf on the other side.  I was scanning the shelves as I approached slowly.

Suddenly he lifted his head and said in a rather loud voice, "Can you ladies help me?"

We both looked up accommodatingly.

"Do you know where the bar soap is?"

I looked down to the lower shelves just beside me and pointed as it was filled with various brands of bar soap.

"Okay, can you tell me where the Dove bar soap is?" he continued.

I hesitated, and then the young mother pointed just beyond me and said, "It is over there at the end of the shelf."

He smiled and moved slowly in that direction as we both moved down the aisle in the opposite direction.

He turned to us after we passed and said,  "My wife has broken her ankle and I have to do all this shopping!"   He groaned and then added, "Maybe I should just take her out to the back yard and hose her off and be done with all this soap!"

I explained that I had hurt my ankle recently and my husband had taken on the cooking, cleaning and everything else for several months.

He smiled.  "I can cook,  I just hate these errands and looking for all  this silly stuff."

I moved on to the next aisle thinking how lucky I was to be married to someone who was adaptable and didn't consider bath soap silly!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Bear Denigration

The scene is a small town post office (one that is not closing) where I am picking up my mail. Just around the corner I hear the voice of a woman and a small child.  When they turn the corner I see a woman whose age is hard to determine.  She has dyed blonde hair, is a little overweight, but could be the child's mother, grandmother or aunt.  The child is a small boy about five of mixed race.  The little boy has some type of electronic game or tablet in his hand that is taking most of his attention.

Mom:  Remember that big black bear on the TV?  Remember the man who was texting and not watching where he was going?  He almost got eaten by that bear!

Boy:  That was a BIG bear!

Mom:  And that man almost died!  He wasn't paying attention.  You need to pay attention.

They headed toward their car still talking.

I agreed with the Mom that walking and looking at an electronic screen were not the safest of things to do and certainly not safe when done by a little boy who had only learned to walk a few years ago.  But I am not sure that the correlation of being eaten by a bear when texting or playing a game is quite the argument I would have presented.  I think falling down and breaking one's nose was more compelling and certainly more likely or being hit by a car while crossing the parking lot.  Do we have to pick on those poor bears?

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Where I Live

During my preteen and teenage years growing up on a chore-filled small farm in rural Colorado I longed to be anywhere else.  The world was full of sophisticated lifestyles and exotic locations and I was sure that I was missing out on all of it  As an avid reader of all kinds of books I knew that the world was turning fast everywhere else except in my little farming town.  The commonness of my hometown was suffocating my soul and my greatest promise to myself was to find a way out as soon as I could.

When I was 22 I managed to save enough to go to graduate school, and as luck would have it, there were only two or three schools with accredited programs in my field.  The cheapest one was in Hawaii.  I could afford the plane ticket, but not the place to live.  As my faithful readers know, I became an au pair to a nice middle class Jewish family on the island of Oahu and was able to attend graduate school at the same time.  Poor though my life was as a grad student, living in Hawaii was a phenomenal experience and fulfilled my earliest expectations on the rewards of seeing a 'distant' part of the world.  If you must be poor then the Pacific Islands are most accommodating to such a frugal lifestyle.  My story continued with even more distant travel upon graduation, lucky soul that I was, and my regular readers have heard tales on this.

I sit here this afternoon and listen to music from the Beamer Brothers.   Music is wonderful for taking us away and this one puts me on a slow moving outrigger canoe within sight of a beach.  The music is like soft waves on a distant shore.

My winter has been mild but still cool and while I love my woods, nothing is big-leaved green and exotically fragrant and the ocean is not in view filled with lovely colorful fish and exotic shellfish.  Fresh ripened fruit does not grow on nearby trees year round.  People who live on the Pacific Islands this morning wake up to a very different lifestyle.  Warmer air, sweeter smells, perhaps a slower pace for some islanders, and I am envious and I would live there in an instant during the cold winter days except for my loves that live nearby and hold me fast with a chord that is stronger than anything I can imagine. 

Is there another place on this great earth that sometimes calls to you and that you would live if you could?

(This was written before the news of the recent earthquake in the South Pacific, and I would still live there.)

Sunday, April 08, 2012

In Sync

I am was staying in the hoitty toitty Palm Beach area of Florida.  The mansions are multi-million dollar monstrosities, the shopping is fantastic if you have the reserves, and just outside the luxurious resort areas are some very striking neighborhoods of poverty and crime. Yesterday afternoon, within a few blocks of the infinity edge swimming pool at one of the hotels, stood an inebriated woman dressed for her night work outside a nightclub, if you get my drift.

The place where I am staying is a place where people (usually from Chicago or New York) wear rather elaborate jaw-dropping jewelry to the swimming pool.  Their children are stocky verging on fat and have rather intense attitudes about who is in charge of their lives...they or their parents.  Then the parents open their mouths and you wonder where they got their education as well and you forgive the children.  (Sorry for my prejudices.)  Still the place is really uncrowded for an Easter week and my grandchildren can find plenty of room for fun either at the beach or one of the two pools or the playground. 

As I sit on the balcony of the condo where we are staying, I have my little grandson who will turn one in a few days in my lap with his heavy head resting against my breasts.  He is fighting stomach flu and lying lethargically with the side of his face tucked into my arm as he watches the waves greet the shore.  We are sitting outside because every time he sees one of his parents he demands they take him away from this old lady, but once they are out of sight, he is my little surrendered lover.  The only sound is that of  the soothing waves and some distant music from the swimming pools fifteen stories below us.  I am enjoying the way he has given himself over totally to my arms in spite of being in that stage where mommy and daddy are the preferred mode of transportation and rest.

An ocean breeze floats wisps of his baby hair up and down near my cheek. 

I sing a little lullaby and even though I am off-key he looks up at me with such adoration that I keep on singing.  He has that honest innocence of love in his eyes that your dog has when he sees you each day.  The kind of love you probably do not fully deserve, but are more than willing to take.

There is a three-quarter moon hanging in the mid-morning sky and the gang of 12 pelicans is making their routine morning rounds up and down catching the rising air drifts over the beach.  We both watch them wishing we could fly like kites up high.

I have caught his stomach flu and not been able to enjoy any of the expensive and inexpensive meals we have eaten out.  I have been on a liquid diet for 4 days with no appetite for anything including my favorite wine, but I really do not care when he is in my arms and we are avoiding the beach packing chaos that is taking place back inside the condo.  For this brief precious time in his life and mine, we are in sync and I am totally happy.

Sunday, April 01, 2012

For You

I am on travel but always thinking of my readers and wanted to share this screen saver for those for whom spring seems a bit late.  This native columbine was one small plant two years ago and today I have at least 6 or maybe eight coming up!

Or perhaps you are in a blue mood and would rather have this one...