Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Old Year's Journey



Looking back over time, for some of us, this year was an arduous mountain to climb with no promise of a better view at the top.  We were given the task of keeping one foot in front of the other with the only assurance that it could not go on forever.  For others of us, this year was a swamp to slog through with pockets of quicksand that were eager to pull us down and each effort was accompanied by biting gnats that gave us no peace.


The smart ones among us saw only a morning with a fresh start and they inhaled the breezes that crossed the mountain trail seeing the beauty of new beginnings.  Or perhaps, smiling through the parting swamp grass noticing the small birds that were being fed by those annoying gnats.


If you looked into the eyes of the smart ones you saw they offered you a hand and reminded you it is the journey itself that must be treasured, because the destination comes to us whether we stop and quit or go on and enjoy the trip.


(As an oddity, this is my 800th post today.)

Monday, December 28, 2009

Lifting Fog



The best time of the day for me is when I get up around 6:00 AM. The house is very quiet since hubby sleeps in until 7:30 or 8:00.  The house is also still dark because it is winter.  I make my coffee and open blogs as the sun slowly climbs up into the cold sky. In winter I hear the geese flapping and honking their way out of my side of the river into their bigger world of abandoned corn fields or sometimes escaping the hunters when I hear the pop of guns on the other side of the field. Today, I saw them high above the fog over my house looking as if they were ghosts of geese heading out to some mystical retreat.  I hear the crows distant cawing ordering the rest of the birds around.

Yet, it is still relatively quiet here in my little corner of the world. I am surprised that I still need a little corner of time in retirement that I treasure. Time to be alone with my waking thoughts and time to write and create with my photography. Time to think about what lies ahead in my non-activity filled day.  Time to hear my breath.  Time to wait for the fog to lift.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Important Holiday Thoughts



No matter how you feel about this current conflict, please keep all the soldiers, sailors, airmen and marines in your thoughts this holiday season and throughout the year.  They have a big mission to accomplish under very difficult conditions and we want them all back home to reunite with their families as soon as possible!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Gifting



This past year my blog readers have been more than generous with their comments.  I am told by REALLY good writers that they enjoy what I write.  I am told by REALLY good photographers, that my photos are sometimes exceptional.  I have been told by warm-hearted and generous bloggers that they share my feelings and ideas and were sometimes inspired by what I wrote. What wonderful gifts I have been given in your comments.  I admit that my blogging is usually words thrown out on the screen without the care and thought that many of you give to your writing.  Some of you have 100's of blogger fans that read and/or comment on your blog and I am so surprised and humbled when you take time to visit and leave a comment on mine.  You cannot imagine how inspiring that is!

In my culture, land of abundance, this is the season of giving and I am so rich this year that I am going to provide a trunk full of gifts for my readers.  Yes, this is for you.

Wrapped in bright red paper with a green bow is this very large box.  Inside I give you tomorrow.  It comes both with clouds and sun and warmth and cold.  It only came in large sizes.  It is magical in its magnificence.  It is perfect in its wholeness.  It is filled with small surprises and big purpose.  Do not set it aside (back under the tree if you have one), but please use it all wasting no part when the morning kisses you awake tomorrow.

Wrapped in bright green paper with a red bow in a slightly smaller box, I give you the sounds and smells of spring.  No batteries are needed.  When you lift the lid and push aside the tissue paper, close your eyes and open your nose and your ears.  Can you smell the fragrance of those tiny white daffodils?  Can you smell the perfume of that purple trumpet flower?  Can you smell new rich earth and green grass?  And listen, don't you hear robins chattering and wrens scolding and chickadees trying to shush them all as spring rains tap against new lime-green leaves?  OK, now you have to replace the tissue and close the lid and wait until another gray day when you need this reminder of spring.  You don't want to use it all up before spring actually arrives! (Those of you in another climate can put this in the back of the closet as it will keep until your  gray or winter days arrive.)

Wrapped in paper covered in laughing Santas is this medium sized box, and I ask that you hold on tight.  This is because inside is a big red bowl full of rolling laughs.  Do not eat them all at once or your belly will shake too much.  Also, be sure to share them around the room as laughter is always better when enjoyed with others.

Next, wrapped in paper with golden glittering stars, I give you the gift of a child's smile.  What?  You say there are no children in your life.  Then you must open your eyes and watch closely because somewhere near you a child IS smiling or needs to smile.  Then again you can enjoy this gift sooner if you go out and help a child smile.

 At the bottom of the trunk, wrapped in white paper with silver icicles in a very small box, is the jeweled gift of eternal/internal peace.  Sometimes peace is so light that you cannot hold it; sometimes peace is so blinding that you cannot see it.  Therefore, you may think this tiny box is empty.  But it is not.  Lift the lid and close your eyes and breath in deeply and very gently.  There it is.  It has entered your soul.  It is gently filling all the nooks and crannies of your mind and heart with a soft warmth.  It is, perhaps, my best gift as one size fits all.

Oh, I almost forgot.  This last gift is for my bloggers that are fighting the bigger challenges in life these days.  Down in the bottom corner of this dusty trunk is a platinum pill box and inside are little nanobots that come with tiny platinum hammers.  Their job is to smash replicating cells inside bodies of those fighting difficult diseases.  They are like the energizer bunny in that they never quit so you need only take a few every once in a while when you think you can no longer find energy to fight the good fight.

Now as we sit surrounded by piles of bows and wrapping paper, I wish all the happiest of holidays.

Hmmm...excuse me...I think I smell cinnamon...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Dirty Seven

Lessons from a Windows 7 user (I know, I know...I promised>):

  1. The version of Freecell that comes with my PC  has lovelier graphics but is much harder to play.  I can't win most of the games like I used to. 
  2. USB ports sometimes recognize what you plug into them and sometimes Windows 7 is off polishing its mother board and ignores your hardware.  (Maybe computers are so snarly because they don't have a father board? Is he out running another background check on a virus?)  PS...Through training I think my PC is beginning to get the hang of my plug-ins at long last!
  3. The default on this new version of Windows does not change how your mouse looks (remember the hourglass) when it is thinking.  That means that sometimes you think 7 is done thinking and you move your mouse elsewhere...but nothing happens because it is still thinking!
  4. Windows 7 does not like anything 'old' and there are not enough Windows 7 users for software companies to make something 'new'.  Use your old software at your own risk and good luck finding compatible new versions on the Internet.
  5. Windows 7 gives you lots of 'helpful' little pop-up windows asking you questions when you are trying to move or upload something as it accesses various software "assistants" and it sometimes makes me a little dyslexic as to which one to choose.  Sometimes the windows hide behind each other and you don't even know it has been hanging until you close all the windows.
  6. A fancy new feature of Windows 7 that would only appeal to the designers or 14-year-0lds is that you can 'shake' the window in which you are working and it will automatically expand to the full screen.  This unfortunately also happens if you cannot see the mouse pointer and you are moving the mouse rapidly back and forth to see where the pointer is located and the screen jumps to full view.  Very annoying if you have several windows up at once.
  7. The last thing I noticed on this PC, although not a function of Windows 7, was that the flash drive port is a little tight.  My husbands X-rated response..."Well, of course.  It's a virgin port.  It should be a little tight."  You can see how much tech help I get from him!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Children of Children




The ancient ones never dreamed that we would have the power to travel back through time and pass the sun as we glide slickly into another time zone.  They never dreamed that we would be powerful enough to turn rivers around and even to tame them, or with breathtaking greed, use them all up.  They never thought about how, like ants with ugly tools, we would remove entire mountain tops turning them to dust and toxic water, and then, in our guilt, try to rebuild them.

They never dreamed that our thoughts would follow electrical pathways in the air and invade the day of those we know, or like, or love, in the flick of a second without imparting any thing of importance.  They could never envision that we would be powerful enough to place electronic eyes everywhere and see from the mountains to the beaches to the bedrooms, all from the comfort of our throne. 

They never could imagine that we would make new 'better' versions of living things and parts of living things to suit our tastes, both physical and mental.  


They would have been aghast at the weapons of mass destruction with which we play so eagerly every day. 

They never knew that we would become the false gods sitting on the mountain in huge temples of artificial gold growing ever so fat and complacent as we proselytize about truth and justice.  They would be so frightened for us, their children, if they could have seen this future.  They would be even more surprised that being so powerful we naively fear the strangest of things, such as the arrangement of numbers on a calendar.  We are like mind-compromised children, fascinated by every little thing but learning nothing as we poke and pry and tear things apart.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Stuffed


The world is full of stuff and this is very evident in the United States at this time of year.  Our primary economic goal it seems is to produce new stuff to replace the old stuff.   
We get so much stuff that we have to rent spaces outside our homes in which to hoard what we no longer need or use.  (Yes, I have harangued on this theme before.)  There are those that produce paper instead of stuff (not the authors or poets), but the others, and they are a bunch of crooks so I give them no space or comment here.

Stuff includes toys that break the day after Christmas, electronic devices that are old and dated within months, cars that lose their value once sold, new clothing that is too tight, too bright, and too sad to wear, the rarest of foods that cost more than would be spent on food for a year in a third world country, and those sparkles that say 'I make more money than you' and also outshine the person it was bought for.  (Unless you are thinking of that famous bra which is worth more than some countries' budgets.)


I do not need more stuff, but not because I am so pure or so rich or so zen, but because I have purchased lots of stuff and I now know its true value.  I have thrown away more stuff than can be gathered in an all day Christmas sale....perhaps an all week Christmas sale.  I need nothing.  (Except that new PC so that I can tell the world my thoughts, of course.  Although, truth be told, it is not really necessary to my life.)  I am old enough that everything I wear can last me until I die.  My house is so crowded with furniture that I could get rid of much of it.  The garage needs a real cleaning as does the basement in this NEW house. And I won't even begin to detail the kitchen with cupboards and drawers hiding every gadget known to cooks. So much for going through another holiday of being 'stuffed.'

Next year I am going to take the reins of this holiday giving in hand early and send out a list of what I really want.  More of their time.  That will fix them!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Joyful Music and Laughter Do Mix

As most readers know I am not a religious person, but do enjoy the lovely holiday music that has come about for Christmas.  Here is a tongue in cheek version of monks singing The Hallelujah Chorus---one of my favorites!


Hallelujah

Sunday, December 13, 2009

My Reward






I guess I was somewhat powerful as I removed the sky of the gray...see prior post...and this was my reward!  Be sure to click on the photo for your reward.

Grayness Begone!



Today has been one of the grayest and wettest days thus far.  I am hoping that this will not be a consistent pattern for the winter months, because we have been having luscious weather and I have gotten used to that and this weather is beginning to get on my nerves.

I decided to post a few flowers photos to cheer myself (and you all) up.  I was cleaning out old folders downloaded to this new PC and loading some new photos off the camera.

These yellow strawflowers above  were still blooming yesterday on my deck in spite of weather dropping to the 20's C at night and barely breaking 40 C most days.  They do look a little bedraggled today.

This other flower below is one I took at the conservatory at Biltmore.  It is a lovely varigated hibiscus that I had never seen before.


OK, that cheered me up a little.

Last time...I promise


I am still fiddling with my PC and trying to get my photo software packages to work like well-behaved children instead of Monk. (If you don't watch TV you will not get that statement.)

Jarielyn
said she had luck by calling support for her new laptop. Being old at this game, that thought never occurred to me!  That gave me visions of bathing in ice water.  I had the experience in past of waiting on hold for hours and then patiently waiting while the tech on the other end walked me through all the things I had already tried...again!


Two cute little bugs that I have never seen before and which I corrected by searching the web were:  my apostrophe key defaulting to the search box at the bottom of the screen and not typing the apostrophe in the text of the emails.  For several days I have avoid using contractions and possesives...but found  on the web a toggle fix using the numlock key.

The second interesting bug was my camera (Canon EOS) would not download photos...kind of REALLY REALLY annoying as you know how much I love diddling with my photography.  Well some geck online found that if you reset the camera menu to downloading to a printer instead of the PC this will work in Windows 7.  Don't you just love how Microsoft's mind works?


Now I must figure out why my microchip ports on the front of the PC are not lighting up or being recognized when I put memory chips in them.  They were working just fine a few days ago.

One thing Windows 7 has accomplished...fewer readers to my blog.  Who wants to read this stuff!  But my blog is where I get it off my chest...I was going to write a Bagman comment here about my chest...but I will refrain and go get another cup of coffee instead.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Grade School Style





I am all about saving trees, but this is the entire documentation I got for setting up my PC and monitor.  When I called the store and asked about the manuals, they said they were online.  Perfect to access if you have your PC up and running...BUT!

I was trying to figure out the numbers on the various ports in the back and the front and how to recognize them.  I even looked for an image online.  After trial and error I got the printers plugged into the best ports.

Why did I go with HP you might ask?  Well, my recent one lasted almost 10 years and actually it is still running, only very slowly.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Not Invited


Since we are both retired and our holiday parties with former workers are such a drive in this weather, we are not going to them.  We do not belong to a church and so will not be attending any of those holiday activities.  Since we do not have children in school, we are no longer going to those events.  Our new neighbors used to have a holiday get together but that is no longer done.

Looks like we will just be heading out to our daughter's for the Christmas Eve and Christmas day family activities.

Yes, we could probably throw a get together for the few folks we know here, but my heart is not into that kind of work when the weather outside is frightful and many are traveling. 

I don't miss these parties in actuality.  They were nice and the food was nicely caloric and I was a master at the small talk.  But I am calmly happy doing not much these days.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

90% done

Things I  learned today (and which you probably have no interest in):

  • New PCs (with an II X 4 910 processor) are faster but not amazingly faster than my old one.
  • Windows 7 WILL lock up if you are trying to install some driver or software that is not compatible and then it will not let you get the CD out and then it WILL crash.  You know that commercial where the PC guy tries to one-up the laid back Apple guy?  Not so funny anymore, somewhat like a documentary in my view.  Good thing I know just enough about computers to get myself out of trouble.
  • The design of this new HP has the button on the top right corner where it is very easy to hit and turn off when all you are doing is checking a connection in the back of the PC.
  • It also has a very CHEESY CD eject button.  Something one would find on a much cheaper computer.
  • The new wider HD monitor that I got for almost free because I had a coupon from Best Buy is to die for.  Now I can watch all those important YOUTUBE productions of people's cats and babies in high resolution....!
  • After an entire day I have one printer up and running...the free one I got with my camera purchase years ago that uses tons of expensive ink.
  • I have not given up on the old workhorse HP932C printer because I just spent $30 on a cable for it!
  • I worked for about ten minutes clicking and restarting and by luck got both monitors to display!
  • I have not purchased any new software and am forcing the older software to work...for now.
  • The house has not been vacuumed in days nor laundry done because my husband had an old laptop repaired when I got my new one and we are glued to our separate PCs right now.
  • Interesting but the new monitor makes some of my photos look worse than I thought and others much better.  Go figure.  Must be my old eyesight. 
  • And as an aside I find the nerdy geeks that repair or adjust my PCs when I do call them in are really nice kids and homemade cookies go a long way.  It is the developers that are aliens from outer space!
  • This is both my birthday and Christmas gift I have been told, and I love it in spite of all the getting to know you dance (war). 

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

UGH!!

I am struggling with all the changes that happen when one goes with a new computer.  Some things went easily such as ONE of the printer installs and getting the online to work.  The other printer my old workhorse a HP deskjet 932C has a Windows 7 driver some where out there.  I am dwnloading about 32 windows updates, maybe I'll get lucky.  I did get lucky with the dual monitor setup.  Didn't want to give up my old monitor and now have TWO monitors...one for blogging and one for photos.


Others such as installing all my old 'licensed' software packages are not going so well.  Most have been stalled perhaps by this 64 bit Windows 7 system?  I have been told that many old software packages just will not work with 64 bit.


I have the choice of buying all new software or calling in a professional to fix all this.  Neither are going to be very cheap!

I will return, once I can get this stupid pre-installed cable from the back of my brand new monitor and install the HD cable I bought.  It appears that I need to get a pair of pliers.  Beware of PC workers carrying pliers or screwdrivers.

Other things I have noticed that are cramping my style is that new features do not easily let you change your home page to that old familiar one and this keyboard...they keep moving the delete key!!!  AND I HAD FORGOTTEN HOW NASTY these companies are forcing one to use Yahoo or AOL as the home page on install!


On ward and upward.


Open Wide

Retirement to a country life is deemed romantic by some and is usually a less expensive life style.  But it has some distinct disadvantages.  One of these is finding a reasonable selection of health care workers.  While we retained our connection with specialists an hour away such as my husbands prostate cancer doctor, we did change all of the others.  Our primary care physician is scattered, sort of nerdy, and reminds me of my uncle who was a 'momma's boy'.  He has correctly diagnosed a few illnesses we have had since moving here. We are continuing to use him, but really hope to find someone we connect with more.

Our optometrist is young and cute and female.  Hubby has fallen in love with her. He claims he likes her because she looks him in the eye (!).  She uses all the latest technology, and her office is nearby so we will keep her. 

The dentist was selected on a whim while driving by his office in a delightful building on a side road.  He is charming and his whole staff is pleasant and very good at what they do.  The only problem is that he is off network for our insurance.  This means our insurance will require us to pay 40% - 60% of all expenses.  Hubby does not want to give this dentist up and start the search for a new one.  In-network dentists are quite a drive from where we live.  Hubby also strongly feels that the health of ones teeth are more important to general good health as we age.  He is right of course.


We asked what insurance this dentist carried and we looked at getting that as a rider.  But it would cost about $900 a year for the two of us. At that rate, after three or four years it might be cheaper just to pay for dental care out of pocket!  I am looking at a filling replacement  and a small bite correction in the near future.  I have until the 15th to change my health insurance in any way.


Yuck!

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Style Maven, NOT

Among the many gifts brought home from my husband's recent trip to Indonesia was the silk batik fabric below.  It was a gift from the people he was assisting.  It is supposed to be used for making a shirt.  It is so lovely and since I no longer sew, we will have to find someone who can turn this into something usable and something to show off.  Maybe a blouse for me?



Below is a photo taken on the "short-sleeve shirt" side of my husband's closet.  You can tell from the aloha shirts and the multicolored shirts that he has Pacific and Asian tastes.  At first glance, one might think that he was gay.  Well, he is gay, very gay...but not that way.  He is a strong man, secure in his manhood to be able to wear this stuff.  He actually was once a hunter and lifts weights and does SCUBA.  I wonder what Queer Eye for the Straight Guy would say about THIS closet inventory?


Thursday, December 03, 2009

Crystal Ball Gazing



There are moments when you are given the magical power to look into a crystal ball.  You can see into the future just as if you were there already.  You can see the images in the ball more clearly if your eyes are cloudy with age.  Taking this photo of my 2-year-old granddaughter was one of those moments.  Look out world, here she comes.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Between the Lines

Here I was, once again, on my way rushing to the dock.  Why I am always rushing is any-one's guess but I know that some day I will be too arthritic to rush anywhere and I will have to settle for a joggle.  Anyway, I was hurrying to help blow out the lines...the hose line that is used at the boat.  Hubby was in the house with an air compressor at the correct (we hoped) plumbing juncture in the basement.  The incorrect junture might blow the expensive 'ornaments' on the inside sinks.  My job was to turn on the hose water at the dock, watch it drain into the river and then let him know when it was empty so that he could turn off the water line from the house. 

As I carried cell phone in hand I skipped ever so dangerously over the slippery leaves that had since covered the path on the hill down to the dock trail (for the 4th time I might add--the leaves covering not me skipping),   As I maintained a tighter grip on the phone I saw with surprise that I was just getting ready to put my foot down on the back of our resident black snake!  There he lay in the path slightly covered by brown leaves and not moving his curving black line.  He was in slow mo due to the colder weather.  My frantic approach did not encourage him to move away and yet I knew he was alive.  I hesitated stepping over and, instead, scuffled some leaves toward him hoping it might encourage him to go on his way.  No such luck.  I finally got the courage to move around the back of him while straddling the tree roots on the side of the path.  I did this pretty rapidly, because, while I am an outdoor gal, I am always leery of snakes, even safe ones like our black resident.

He was still in the same place 15 minutes later when I returned after successfully emptying the hose line but his curving black line was more squiggly which is something they do when nervous.   This time he had formed a U as if wondering if he should return to whence he came, since this path which had not been used much recently due to colder weather seemed to be enduring some crazy rush hour human traffic.  I, once again, only on the other side of the trail away from his head, stepped on some fallen logs and made my way carefully around giving him plenty of room.

That afternoon I finished vacuuming and dusting the upstairs bedrooms to be ready for Thanksgiving company.  Then, as a reward, I went up to my upstairs nook to blog and read some blogs.  I was alone in the house because hubby was greasing the boat lift; boats are an endless source of fun and expensive time consuming maintenance.  The house was quiet except for the clicking of my fingers on the keyboard.  Behind me I heard a light tapping/slicing noise.  I stopped typing and 'opened' my ears and turned my head from side to side.  No noise.  I continued typing and the tut tut noise started again.  It was coming from behind my head.  I turned and the photo below is what I saw.

It was the line of my vacuum proceeding in snakelike fashion to move on down the stairway where the weighted head of the cleaner was pulling it with gravity.  The tapping was the ridges of the hose catching and then releasing against the corner of the file cabinet as it uncurled.  This silver snake like movement was just a little unnerving after my morning experience.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

The American Turkey




Dear readers, enjoy in moderation. (Photo of wild turkey taken in the mountains of North Carolina.)

If you want to do something today when you are feeling too full you can go here or here or here.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Life Story # 29 -- The Dinner Party 2009



It began with the request by hubby to invite a couple to dinner.  Tabor was not exactly excited about this burp in her weekly plans.  Thanksgiving was just around the corner and there were bedrooms to clean, meals to plan, food to buy and porches and decks to clean as well as decorations to get out and large platters to pull from the back of cupboards.  Now he wants me to cook a meal for some other company before all this?  For people I don't even know?  But Tabor realized that this dinner was important because they were like strangers in a strange land and needed to break bread with someone.

The man had just been hired to work at the nearby small community college and was still trying to find his way.  He was working with people from a different culture and people who perhaps did not have the passion for accomplishment that he did.  They were people who hesitated to make change because it probably meant failure but most certainly meant more work.  He was American but actually an Eastern Indian by culture and who for the past six years worked in the Marshall Islands.  He was tall, thin, and handsome and had not lost his country's accent.   His parents still lived in India although his father had worked in France for a while.  This dinner guest, in spite of or due to his sophisticated upbringing, was still seen as an outsider by the local community.  

His wife, shorter and pretty, was Laotian but had lived in America since she was eight.  She had stayed and worked in Boston during this time and was raising their two twin boys with the help of her parents.  She had worked her way up in a company providing support to database software and hardware for the big stock brokers and finance companies.  She had held on to this job when the company was laying off others.  The couple had sacrificed big time by being apart for months at a time over many years, knowing that in his field of science jobs were hard to come by.  Now he had been rewarded with a job stateside where he was much closer to his wife and sons.  He was so happy to be back in America but somewhat unhappy in this stagnant job.  He was smart and energetic.  They were strangers in this rural conservative community and we could be the connection they needed to maintain their sanity.

(Tabor asked hubby about dietary restrictions, having at least some idea of international eating issues.  Since there were none, she proceeded to put together a salmon with a Thai curry sauce with chopped kaffir lime from her tree.  To this was added a tumeric rice dish, stir fried swiss chard in bacon fat with chopped bacon and to cool the tongue a cucumber salad with mint/basil/sour cream dressing.  For dessert, just to really make the meal over the top crazy, she made brownies served with vanilla ice cream.  Fortunately, everyone had cast iron stomachs and she got compliments.)

The dreaded entertainment event went very well.  The couple were completely charming and well educated.  Once they realized that we saw that the world was composed of a whole group of people with common interests and common goals and that we did not view the world as privileged citizens from the top of Mount U.S. we had wonderful conversations in our attempt to solve the world's problems.  We shared stories of travels and travel interruptions and travel surprises.  Relieved that there were no talks of sports, potty training, holiday shopping, it was like the old dinner parties.

A discussion of the movie, Slumdog Millionaire, brought to light the concept that maybe this slum was actually kept in place by the government of India because it produced many cheap products and provided cheap but intellectual labor.  It was like a company town kept in place by government bureaucracy according to our guest.  The young man mentioned working with a technician from India who helped set up the cell phone network in the Marshall Islands.  When our dinner guest had returned to India with this man on a trip he found that his home was in the slum.  A one and half story shed built of tin where 8 people slept.  Tabor's guest was from a higher level in India and even he was surprised at this contrast in the man's skills and where he lived.   Tabor's guest was not like some of the haughty Brahmin's she had met on her travels and she realized she must watch her prejudices.  His life in the U.S. had made him very democratic.

By the end of the evening Tabor wanted more time to explore Laos and its customs with the wife.  She had forgotten to ask for pictures of the twins.  She knew that the young man would be moving on to other jobs when the opportunity came, but maybe she would have the chance to entertain this young couple again in the future.  They were a nice reminder of what Thanksgiving was all about. 

Monday, November 23, 2009

That Digital Sugar High

I listened to a program on MSNBC  (I think) that was discussing how hard it is for people to stop checking their Bl**kberries or logging into FB or Blogger on their computers at least a dozen times a day. They were addicted to any new items from friends or from news feeds. The network interviewed a psychiatrist and she said that our brains were hardwired for the novel. We automatically were intrigued by a new view, a new vision or new news. Therefore this new social networking was like a chemical addiction for the brain. She actually said is was like sugar for our brain.  My husband, who does not own a hand-held personal communication device like a Bl**kberry, said that on his travels many of the people he met with had these little electronic devices in hand and were checking routinely.  (It is almost as if they were waiting for a tweet that the world is indeed coming to an end.)

I find this so true. We want that quick interesting new hit. But we don't really have time or energy to follow the deeper links and really understand that new/new. We read about some climate disaster, or a celebrity breakup, or political icon's last interview or that next emerging plague, but we don't research beyond the initial report. We don't apply critical thinking. What was the extent of the disaster? How are people coping days later? Where did Palin get the facts to make that scary statement? What really is the definition of a plague that they are using and what are the chances this new germ will affect me personally?  Why do I read anything about Paris Hilton anyway?  I have written before my concern about our schools no longer teaching critical thinking skills.  Analysis of what we feed our brain, instead of just feeding our brain is key.

We don't have time for deep thought anymore.  We are unexcited unless there is blood or spittle.  We are even bored at trying to think deeply about an issue, finding it hard to really study other sides and see other angles.   It is always on to the next exciting news or photo or embarrassing event.  We are always on to the next roadside accident which makes it all so simple.  Everything is black and white or start and stop and never gray and there is an endless supply of this novel two bit stuff.


That is one of the reasons I have my other blog. It forces me to sloooow dooown. It forces me to study what is happening in the very small area of my world where I live on a day to day basis. It creates a habit for me to see how I fit within that quiet realm before I try to react in the larger scheme of things. Then when I am breathing at a normal rhythm, if I see something of interest, I know that I need to ask questions about it and not just skim it and then repeat the nonsense to someone else as if I really know what I am talking about. (Maybe I need to research this report?)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

That Yucky Verbal Diarrhea


Those of us who love to write but have nothing really significant to say and even less skill in saying it are like the distracting  nats of the evening air. We arrive at a pause in the day, not large enough to really cause a ruckus, nor interesting enough to cause a little pain, but still annoyingly dancing there in front of your face and being a distraction from the lovely sunset as you lose your place in blogdom.  You feel guilty because they did comment on your post yesterday and so you tediously read through the post and hope to find some grain or idea to help you comment and to return the favor.

This writing is an addiction with us. We love the words and we love the pictures we can paint with them. No, we cannot paint like Van Gogh or tell a story like Vermeer with light and shadow, but we are compelled to take the white screen canvas and sprinkle letters here and there hoping they form words and hoping eventually the words form sentences and perhaps, miracle of miracles, a complete thought! Keeping that train of thought on the track is another task frequently beyond our enthusiastic and spastic skill. Getting to the point of a story or valuable lesson is certainly a challenge for our energetic scribbling. You may wonder...DO we have a POINT as we scribble through the list of the mundane activities of our day?


But, you, my blog readers, are ever so forgiving, because you faithfully return. You let me splash a noun here and smear a verb there and even overuse the exclamation point. You let me clutter the canvas with superlatives.  You wonder if I have ever heard of "spell check."  You wonder why I put every other phrase in quotes and you wish the parenthesis keys on my keyboard would break.  You let me split infinitives (whatever they are) and end sentences with prepositions all in an effort to capture something that was recently remembered from my past or to describe something routine that happened that day and to try to make it significant......because you know that sometimes I get lucky and actually post something interesting and a little thought provoking.   And then we can both smile at the end of the day.  I need you in this dance of design.

(The photo is something I was motivated to do because one of my bloggers is working on textures with her photos and I remembered I had this taken this rose photo in my garden this past summer.  I have reduced the size substantially, but it still holds the texture effect, I think.  You will have to click on the photo to really get the furry texture.)

Friday, November 20, 2009

The Answer



Here is the reveal on the gifts from Indonesia.  I am sure my Asian readers had it figured out, but were too shy to test me.  You may need to click on the photo to read the answers.  I have no idea how I am going to use all the large quantity of spices.  The coconut sugar is delish...just like candy or sort of like that southern Louisiana pecan candy only crunchier and wrapped in bamboo.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Travel Presents and a Guessing Game



As promised here is a photo of some of the gifts from hubby's travel in Asia.  Above is also a picture of a lovely small ikat table runner that my husband brought me.  (I have a nice collection of ikat weavings and this will add to it.)  In the first photo are all the little things that he brought home.  Can you guess all of them?  I will email a nice sunset photo or fall photo  (your choice--or perhaps a print) to the blogger who gets it right first!

(With the new Blog editor bar it appears that there is no longer a spellcheck?   I am a terrible speller and apologize until I can figure this out!) (I will turn on comment moderation.  I just checked the comments and no one has gotten all of them yet.  I'll give a clue...Indonesia was known as the spice islands.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Odd Neighbors

Every neighborhood has someone strange living in it. That odd person that you pretend to be nice to, but you often wonder about them. They are just a little odd. Some idiosyncratic behavior of theirs makes you keep your distance. Perhaps they wander around in loud colored shorts or perhaps they peek at you through the drapes or perhaps they spend too much time washing that fancy car or perhaps they sit on the porch and pick their nose for what seems an endless amount of time. I am sure that sometimes my neighbor has second thoughts about asking me out to lunch as she did the other day. Her husband was out running a tractor, grading the roads to the farm they lease out, and she knew I had been alone for several weeks. So she offered a lunch date followed by a healthy walk around the island.

The reason I think she must have second thoughts about my stability is that she can now see me in my yard as the trees have become sparse of leaf cover. She can see Tabor walking up and down her driveway or standing out on her deck at all hours of the day with camera in hand. She sees me stop and then bend over peering into my camera with my butt out in the air like some freak flag flying and taking a picture of the driveway, or photographing the seat of my deck chair or even taking a picture of what at times looks like my feet!

I am sure she thinks I am a very strange bird. But I keep finding beautiful things as I walk around the yard that I need to photograph. I keep trying to stop time!




Do you blame me?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

This and That

What does it say about us when we post colored charts for threat levels on terrorism and Canada posts colored charts for this .

I decided that I would adjust my blog settings so that any comments that come in more than 10 days after a post would be held until I could moderate. I did this because for some reason blogger lets spam and scam through for commenting on older posts. I get comment posts weeks later and of course I don't get back fast enough to read those posts to delete. So now they sit on my dashboard hidden until I decide to delete. I have been getting quite a few lately.

I also have been feeling guilty for not commenting on some blogs. I read the entry but can't really think of anything interesting to say when everyone ahead of me has said the same thing. So I just keep my keyboard shut.


My husband's trip took him across the many, many, many islands in the Indonesian chain as well as some bordering countries. Indonesia is both Muslim and Christian but Bali is mostly a hybridized Hindu. He noticed that the island and/or villages where the majority of citizens were either Muslim or Christian remained relatively peaceful and the areas where the division was 50/50 or 40/60 were full of rancor and anger as each group fought for control of the local political system. Why does God make people so angry? I know, I know...just had to write that

While staying at my daughter's house last week a young father came by with his son to play with my grandson. As we got to talking I learned that his wife worked for the FDA and was in the office where they worked on drug approvals for humans. He said she had been there for 10 years. I asked how she liked her job and he said that during the past administration their budget had been cut substantially and they had also felt pressured to get drug approvals moving faster and she had been very miserable. Now she is happy as they have been given a decent budget and are being allowed to do their job as professional scientists without any outside interference.

I took hundreds of photos of fall scenery over the last month and recently found that my camera settings had been on a lower resolution than I usually have. I guess it was from fiddling around with settings that I don't really understand as I experimented with photos. When I was younger I could immediately figure out a camera setting and easily focus on the subject. Now with age I forget to make changes and focus...well even depending on autofocus doesn't always work! I do not like getting old, but I do love having the time to play with the camera.


Hubby brought back a number of gifts from the islands...most from him but some from friends of his. I will post on that later. They are not the usual things one brings from an overseas trip.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lucky Friday the 13th


I do not fear Friday the 13th. Both hubby and daughter are due home today. The winds have slowed and so have the rains. The water rose to the end of the dock but not over the top. No downed trees although the yard looks like a major battle took place. Those two trees that lean across the dock on the right in the photo above are widow-makers and I wish we could get someone to cut them down. It appears that since they are so close to the water we have to get a permit. (Others, of course, were not so lucky in this storm.)
I will actually venture out on this lucky day to shop for food since I have eaten every scrap that was in the refrigerator and now need to begin cooking for two again.

Boy I hope Mother Nature doesn't tie one on again like that anytime too soon!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Rushing (T)Rains

I had just returned from two days of taking care of two preschool grandchildren last night. They had tag-teamed me and while the deafening roar of children screaming, laughing, crying, shouting was still ringing in my ears, I removed faded jeans and sweatshirt to put on the softer pajamas as I heard the roaring and banging of the weather. The wind has been pummeling this end of the bay for over 24 hours. The rain bangs intermittently on my kitchen skylight and I can see the glisten of water in every area hit by outside lights.

I had arrived in the dark and hurried out of my car in the pelting rain to open the gate. There were no trees down in my driveway, but I am too far from the dock to see how high the water is and it is too dark to see if the wind has brought down trees elsewhere in the yard. I snuggled down beneath the covers so thankful that I have shelter from the storm and can worry about damage until tomorrow.

The continuing tempest of nature woke me at 4:00 this morning and I am sitting here waiting for the sun to push a little gray light through the tropical storm clouds. I am curious to see the sudden transformation of naked trees and also to see if there is damage. This lovely summer without any storm made me complacent and I am surprised by this violent aftermath of late summer that pushed her way up here in our late fall.

The sound of rushing trains continues as I post.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Danger, Will Robinson!

When I was a little girl we only shopped at two department stores. My father called them Monkey Wards and Sears and Roarbucks and of course, we laughed at his joke.

During the first week of November I had to head up to the city to do some babysitting as both parents had to do some business travel...in opposite directions, of course. During the two days that I was there and after dropping children off at their respective schools, I decided to take advantage of being near the large malls and get started on my holiday shopping. I tend to forget that traffic problems begin this early.

Well, I would like to caution others that may have this same plan. First, do not shop at Sears. It has not changed. There is no help, only one register with long lines (even in the middle of the week), and staff that speak limited English and always seem to be learning how to use the register for the first time. After spending many minutes waiting in line to pay for my purchase I was then rewarded for my patience by having the alarm go off as I left the store with a loud voice blaring that the security tag MUST be removed. I walked all the way back across the store to the ONLY open register and was told that the security tag was "probably" inside the box and to just ignore the alarm. I cannot tell you how hard it was to 'steal 'myself to leave the store a second time while a very loud robotic voice demanded that I return to the store!

The second shopping warning is to let you know that sales people in both the chain stores and the kiosks in the mall have been given strict instructions to part you from your money using any sales pitch they can find. Clearly this recession has convinced them that they will be closing shop if this holiday season does not turn a substantial profit. The recession is hovering darkly over the retail industry. These staff are the managers who hope to be working there in January as temporary staff have not yet been hired. If you ask for assistance they will answer your question or direct you to the correct area, but then will proceed to convince you to buy at least three of the item due to the huge discounts and sales. If you explain you really only want one, they will then direct you to their other sales specials, their newest products, etc. etc. and it will take some very polite determination to get out of the store with your wallet and sense of humor intact. I actually had to pull my hand away from a young Israeli man who insisted his product would make my hand 20 years younger!

(The blog title is for those who can remember 1960's science fiction TV.)


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Just Teasing


Today was the oddest day. It started out in the 50s (F) and then climbed to the 60's. A batch of orange robins had flown in the night before and blended perfectly with all the orange brown leaves that I had not raked or blown away. We do not have robins here during the summer months, so I knew they were on their way to Florida. I got started on the yard at mid-morning and was enjoying watching roils of leaves tumble into the woods revealing the spring green grass beneath. I cleared the patio and the deck and stored that nutrition in the compost bin. Then I began to clip away those perennials that had gone brown.


When I went to put away the rake and leaf blower I was met by a couple of sulphur butterflies and one bright orange and brown butterfly enjoying the last of the lavender flowers. I hadn't seen butterflies for more than a week, so it was a surprise to watch these dancing across my herb bed.


Later after I had picked some green tomatoes and arugula and several of the hot peppers and the last of the roses for my table, I noticed a number of small flying insects filling the air like little fluff machines. One landed in my hair and I discovered that it was a lady bug. They were everywhere looking for food. One even made it into the house that afternoon.


I was just beginning to wonder what had happened to fall when the sun started to set and the most lovely haze hung on the golden horizon making me think that I was back in Asia where the cooking fires created a smokey haze at the end of the day. It smelled dusty and musty and reminded me of the dry season in Indonesia. It was so much like summer and such a tease that I made my way down to the dock barefoot. Anyday that I do not have to wear shoes is a GOOD day. I was almost ready to believe that winter was not hiding somewhere up North.

The Last Roses


The last roses of summer. They are like gentle and fragile old ladies with lace collars and fancy fans that smell gently of soap and sweet bath powder. They are high maintenance because they know they are beautiful and popular. Their heads hand low from fall rains. They are lovely even as they fade. I miss that they must hurry off, but their cruise ship is waiting. Late in November, while I will sit by the fire trying to warm my toes, they will be having tea and ginger cookies along the warm equatorial waters somewhere. They promise that they will send their favorite nieces and they will arrive in sweet pale dresses in the spring and if I show them love, they will stay for a long visit in the rose garden next summer.

The little gal has what is called rose bloom balling due to the cooler weather followed by days of rains. It still looks lovely even though it will never open. I have to move many of my roses this spring as they are in one of the side beds that gets way too little sun. Living in a forest is deceptive. Roses are greedy for sun and I am lucky that I have not gotten any serious fungal outbreaks this year. Come spring I will begin the spraying as these are the only plants where I use pesticide and fungicide for prevention.

Friday, November 06, 2009

In the Mail Thursday Thoughts #25

About eight months ago I started to receive in the mail a billing notice from a collections agency regarding $113 that they say I still owe from the time I rented an apartment in 2005 through the summer of 2007. About two months after I checked out of that place I sent them that amount as they had raised the rent that month and I forgot to include the increase in my last month's payment. I do not have access to that bank account as it was closed and so do not know the exact number of the check sent. I have called the leasing office and the accounts receivable office and left at least 6 messages with no return to my calls. I even drove up there several months ago and met with the accounts manager who said my account appeared paid in full but they were re-doing the books and that they would get back to me. This "unpaid debt" now sits on my credit reports as an unresolved issue and no one returns my calls.

At my local post office there are several large blue recycle bins in the lobby. These are used by 80% of patrons to immediately dump without reading all those ads from various stores. The rest of the patrons are too stupid or too lazy and just leave their mail detritus on the window sill or the floor. These paper products for landfills is what is keeping the Post Office afloat. I would even accept this junk by email if they agreed to stop printing it on paper.

I subscribe to a newsletter "Consumer Reports: On Health." I have found it interesting for the most part, except the October issue had this brief paragraph: "Hugging Laundry. Dirty sheets, towels, and clothes can harbor bacteria and other germs, so use a basket---not your arms---to gather and transport laundry. And wash your hands after loading it into the machine." ??? While this might be good advice for those who are hired to do other's laundry, I think we are getting a little too germicidal in our lives...how in the heck do I get the laundry into the basket and out of the basket...rubber gloves? Does this mean I shouldn't hug those who wore the clothes?

I must be richer than I know on my fixed income. I also got a card in the same mail telling me I was pre-qualified to receive the exclusive Visa Black Card. (It appears that silver, gold and platinum have peaked in swankness.) If I get the Visa Black Card I am assured the highest caliber of personal service and concierge services. This card is limited to 1% of U.S. residents (how exclusive is that?), and they say it is guaranteed to get me noticed! No duh, so does a really bad hair day. Since it has an annual fee of $495 ($195 for each additional user) and an APR of 13.24% I guess I will pass. Swankness has its price and its level of stupidity.
Unfortunately, what I rarely get in the mail is letters.

( This post was written before the tragedy at Ft. Hood yesterday. More troops suffering from being exposed to trauma and tragedy will be coming home and resolving their issues by using either violence or suicide. War is a nasty disease.)

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Century recycling

Above is a photo of something we use every year to hold the fall leaves and to transport to the compost bin. It is a tattered parachute. Hubby got it from some surplus store about a century ago and, while spotted with various paints and stains from our housekeeping life, it still holds strong and true to carry our leaves.

This photo is some of the oak wood we had split to use to warm ourselves this winter. I think this tree grew about a century ago before it was removed to build this house.
Most of the wood that we split now is from deadfall and the disease scars are revealed in the heartwood. Seeing such lovely grainwood as above is rare and you can see the war it declared with the chainsaw.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Fine, Just Fine, Thanks

The sun is getting cooler every day, you know? I mean, over the long term, it is burning out. The spin of the earth is slowing down by about one second every ten years as well. So much for the old phrase, "Stop the world, I want to get off." Perhaps someday it will stop and you will fall off. There are times when I get overwhelmed by the fact that everything is evolving slowly but dramatically over time. The history that I know is very different from the history that my grandchildren will know. The picture that I paint is coded with time. I now realize that I have actually lived through history.

I hate the passage of time when I think how I am away from my son and my youngest brother, both very different in age and activities but similar in some ways. I know that you must love someone with open arms so that they can fly free. You must let them go but leave your arms open so that you can catch them if they fall. Both my youngest brother and my son need to be free. They fill their days with the busyness of living. I will always be here with my arms open, but the earth is spinning so fast that I can barely see them at times and I know they are not looking for me. They are staring at another planet.

Today I feel much smaller than that grain of sand because after I disappear, it will still be here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Feeling Fallow Fall

This is the view toward the deer gate. I can almost see my driveway disappearing beneath the forest leaves. Will I be able to find my way out by next week? So much work!

Tonight, as I watched the sun go down from my living room, I prepared a lovely mushroom ravioli with homemade tomato/basil /green pepper sauce with the last of the vegetables harvested from the garden. I am home alone, so forcing myself to actually prepare a healthy and fresh meal was not easy. (I could have had microwaved popcorn.) I washed these healthy antioxidants down with a nice Sangiovese that I had purchased at my recent visit to the Biltmore estate. I am alone and so adjusting to enjoying good food by myself is taking some effort. I removed the small bag of frozen peach pie filling made months ago and after thawing added to a pie crust and sliced a fresh apple on top, added more cinnamon and sprinkled some granola cereal on top of it all. It turned out delicious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
Here is the back yard that I need to either rake or blow. It was clean just days ago, so I am being somewhat lazy and putting this off. It is a contest with the trees. They still have lots of leaves. They throw them down in the wind like yellow flakes of gold, as if they were gentlemen throwing down their yellow gloves as if in a challenge to duel. But then, when I look up, the trees still have more wealth to share. I will never win this duel.

The sex-crazed squirrels spend all their time chattering and laughing at my confusion.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween


I heard the screech of the famous pileated woodpecker and then he turned into a spook for Halloween. You may have to click on the image for the full effect. (One of these days I am going to get a decent photo of one of the pair that live here!)

Look here for some interesting Halloween Art. (WARNING: some of the other graphics aren't so PG.)

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

After Slowing Down

Well, here is the follow-up. It rained ceaselessly the whole evening. My son and I did get lost and he had a GPS on his phone...he is just a bad navigator telling you about a turn as you miss it! We also discovered that there are TWO places in the area with very similar names and we had headed to the wrong one. We still made it to the Keb Mo show on time. Food was awful as it always is at that theatre but it is intimate seating and so you feel close to the stage. On the way back to drop him off I did goof and turned onto a one-way street, but since the traffic was thin at 11:00 P.M., we survived that screw-up as well. AND as you can surmise from this post, I did make it back out of the city, but the drive was somewhat tense as pouring rain and glaring headlights meant I had to really concentrate the whole hour and a half on the way home. It was worth it to head bob with Keb Mo and to sit with my son.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Slow Down,

It is silliness, really. He wasn't her first choice. Well, actually, he was her first choice, but she knew he wouldn't get back to her with an answer until 24 hours before. If he decided he couldn't come, that would leave her too little time to fill his shoes. No, he ended up being her third choice. Her husband was the first. Hubby had several months notice, but blew her off for a free trip to exotic Bali and elsewhere just weeks before the date. She gave him a piece of her mind and was thankful that he had to leave before she could empty her entire brain.

Her second choice was her daughter. The loyal and faithful fallback. She had been the one to go with her to hear Chris Botti last spring when hubby once again had a conflict. The date tonight was set until yesterday when daughter called to explain she had an unavoidable business trip to either Georgia or Florida...didn't know until the judge cleared their access to the buildings. Anyway, she couldn't go, but she had found a fallback. Tabor asked if it was someone tall, handsome, and single! Of course, daughter smiled into the phone.

As you have probably guessed the fallback was her first choice. The son that she knew would enjoy the venue more than the other two. He seemed excited on FB to be going, but sometimes he was so unreliable.

Now she was standing in her closet with a pile of clothes on the floor. Everything made her look like a bag lady. Honest! She felt like a 16-year-old on a first date. She finally pulled out her reliable gray cords with the diamonds on the butt...that would fit with this crowd. She pulled on a cowl neck gray mohair and some silver beads. Monochromatic with her gray hair. Perfect, she grimaced. She would not fit, but she knew that no one would even see her in the crowded theater. But she didn't want to look to Mom-like with her son. More make-up...heavy on the eyes. It was a dark and informal place and she guessed the crowd might be a little noisier than she was used to. But she did so love this artist's music so very much.



So, since she was driving, something she hated and hated even more so in the rain, she spent several hours googling maps to both the meeting place in the city and the venue from the meeting place. Misgivings about getting lost be damned, she was determined to have a good time. The other kink was that after dropping her son off, she had to find her way back home. Since daughter was gone the S.I.L. had invited his parents down for the evening to help with swim lessons, etc. So at 11:00 P.M. in the rain she will be heading the long way back out of the city, hoping that she will not end up in some desolate area after getting lost.

If I post no more blogs, you will know what happened...or perhaps you will just be left to wonder.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Salt Is in the Air

Hubby left over a week ago and the days are now starting to wear quietly thin knowing he will not return for several more weeks. Fortunately the angles of the sun against the leaves of the trees and the visit of an osprey have helped pass the time. Today I blew the leaves off the deck and patio and the small back lawn. I startled a little gray frog that had set up his winter housekeeping at the corner of one of the steps under the leaves.

I then planted my 20 alliums, maroon and white, into a nice curve beside the chaste plant. I look forward to their blooming this summer.

I also got motivated and vacuumed the floors, cleaned all bathrooms, and dusted and polished furniture. When bored, Tabor fills her time with tasks that make her fill less guilty.

Then I sat down and poured myself a glass of Biltmore chardonney while I pondered how to industriously fill the rest of the day. Oh, nuts, I conceded. and just grabbed my camera and walked barefoot across the pointy gravel to the dock and began to do what I love the most, snap pictures. Below are photos of the lovely saltbush that grows prolifically along the riverside. It smells so musty and earthy this time of year and mimics the snows to come by throwing off its feathery seeds in your face as your saunter by. Be sure to click on the photos to really see the beauty of this bush.




Sunday, October 25, 2009

Not Mr. Roger's Neighborhood


I just had my wrapping paper order delivered by a multi-millionare...well her mom is one anyway. They came via kayak. Is this an unusual neighborhood or what?

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Missed Opportunity

Since I began blogging I realized that I had joined a family of writers and photographers and cooks (some anyway) with interesting ideas to share. I may not agree with everything they say, but all of them do express it so well and help me stretch my mind. The photo above is how close I came to Colleen's town and had we not been in such a rush to cross the mountains before dark, I just might have driven through the little town of Floyd and stopped in at the local cafe! I have been reading about this special town for several years and I am sure that I would have spotted Colleen right on playing a game of Scrabble. Missed opportunities are the story of my life.

What does amaze me is how many times I come close to where some blogger lives!