---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

When is a Death an Accident? UPDATE

UPDATE: As Nouveaublogger (see comments) predicted, the D.A.'s office reduced the charges to child endangerment for both women. That makes the most sense but in this town, sense doesn't always count. I am totally pro law and order. It's just that our D.A. has been fighting with our local newspaper for years and was featured in a national program based on a book called, "Cruel Justice." The problem is no one will run against him! (In subsequent reports, the mother had the baby strapped into the lap belt with her which is what caused the crushing injuries to her chest.)
A tragedy occurred here a couple of weeks ago. A young mother was suffering from a severe asthma attack and she and mother didn't dare take the time to wait for an ambulance to arrive, so they grabbed the mother's newborn baby girl and took off in the family car for a quick drive to the hospital.

The baby's grandmother was in the county's downtown jail Tuesday as a suspect in the death of her 4-month-old granddaughter. The child's mother is suspected of felony child endangerment in her daughter's death February 8 by car accident.

"It's punishment enough we lost the baby and now they've taken my mom and it's like I've lost my whole family," the baby's aunt said. "My boys have lost their grandmother and I don't know what to do anymore. I feel numb."

Mother and grandmother were arrested Monday at their homes for a car accident that killed the baby who was not secured in a car seat as the women rushed to a hospital during the infant's mother's asthma attack, family members have said.

The grandmother was arrested on suspicion of felony vehicular manslaughter and felony child endangerment. She was scheduled to be arraigned today in Superior Court. The mother will be arraigned March 12.

The baby's aunt said that on the day of the accident she had the baby's car seat from the infant's earlier trip to the doctor for immunizations. The grandmother was insisting on a car seat for the baby but as the mother was suffering, mother and daughter finally decided to let the mom hold the baby. The grandmother turned on her hazard lights and "laid on her horn" as she drove.

Mom held the baby in the baby seat of the car as the grandmother drove them to the hospital. She turned left in front of a pickup, causing a collision. The pickup driver was unhurt. The grandmother, who was thrown against the windshield, had a hairline fracture in her hip and stitches in her face. The infant suffered blunt force trauma to her chest and died soon after the incident at the hospital.

The grandmother declined an interview request and the mom was released from custody on $20,000 bail. The attorney representing the mother said she's "holding up. This case is about a sick mom who was trying to do the right thing in an emergency," he said. The mother's sister said that she has suffered severe asthma attacks her entire life and such frantic trips to the hospital have happened before. The family figured ambulances were too slow and their own vehicles would get her to the hospital faster.

When asked why the women didn't get equal treatment in the case, a police detective said he hadn't talked to investigators about that, but he believed it's because the driver, the person in control of the vehicle, is responsible for his or her passengers.

Neighbors of the women were asked about the decision to arrest the women and the reactions were mixed. One neighbor said "I can't really see driving down the street with an infant in any body's lap," and another said the punishments seemed harsh.
Now, unless the women had been drinking or were otherwise under the influence, I think this is totally out of line.

I have never lost a child, by the grace of God, so I can only begin to imagine what this family is going through. But to formally arrest them and haul them off to jail, where they could not raise the bail money - oh, did I mention that they are not from the affluent part of town? And our D.A.'s office is notorious for some of the cases he has insisted on trying, even to the point of national embarrassment (100+ years for trumped-up child abuse, for instance!).

I am from an era when our children were untethered in the car. I remember driving with my oldest daughter standing on the seat next to me with my arm around her! The new laws do indeed protect our youngest treasures from harm, there's no doubt, but when is an "accident" an "accident?"

These two women will forever remember the night when they didn't take the time to call an ambulance that they couldn't afford; they will forever remember the night they didn't have the car seat; they will forever remember the night their precious child was lost because of carelessness. But a prison sentence? I think they will serve a lifetime self-inflicted sentence with which no brick and stone prison could compete.

So, Am I a Chauvinist?

I thought this was funny when I first read it then upon second thought, realized it might not be funny to those of you of more tender years than I. Am I a chauvinist?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, February 26, 2007

It Must Be Satan...

A few minutes before the worship service got underway, the church go-ers were quietly sitting in their pews, talking softly and waiting for church to begin

Suddenly, Satan appeared at the front of the church.

Terrified, everyone began screaming and running for the rear exit, even trampling each other in a frantic effort to escape from this unexpected appearance of evil incarnate.

Soon, everyone had exited the church--except for one old elderly gentleman who calmly sat in his pew, seemingly oblivious to Satan's presence.

Satan walked up to the old man in a menacing fashion and said, "don't you know who I am?"

"Yep, sure do," replied the elderly man, quite calmly.

"Aren't you afraid of me?" Satan asked.

"Nope, sure ain't" said the man.

"Don't you realize that I can kill you with a word?" asked Satan.

"Don't doubt it for a minute," replied the old man, absolutely unfazed.

"Doesn't it bother you at all to know that I can cause you horrible pain and bring terrible suffering into your life?" the devil persisted . . .

"Nope," was the man's reply.

Exasperated, the devil demanded of the old man, "why are you not afraid of me?"

The old man calmly replied . . . "Been married to your sister for 48 years."

Manic Monday - YELLOW

I'm afraid I didn't do very well this week - sorry Mo! Yellow isn't my color but I thought of "Yellow Submarine;" Yellow as in "coward," but couldn't come up with a good idea and the ones I thought of I really didn't want on my computer; banana pudding; lemons; yellow-bellied sap-sucker (?); yellow M&M's and baby ducks. I finally hooked up my camera to my laptop so I thought I'd be original for a change - original photos, that is...

The chair belonged to my great-grandmother and is probably the ugliest color of yellow I've ever seen. I just got it from my brother. It's been stored in the garage for a couple of years and he was going to toss it. As soon as we can afford it, it will be lovingly reupholstered, maybe in a luscious caramel.

Every morning for the past five years, five months, (but who's counting?) I have made a protein shake for breakfast. What's a protein shake without a banana in it! I played around with some bananas on my counter top and used Kodak's editing tools (cartoon). I kind of like the effect...

Saturday, February 24, 2007

The Bird That Goes "QUARK"

DESCRIPTION: The Black crowned night heron is a small long-legged wader, standing 23-28inches tall with a wingspan of 45 inches. The night heron has a heavy, chunky body, short thick neck, short legs and heavy, sharply pointed, black bill. The adult's head has a black cap with a fallen crest of 2-3 narrow white plumes at the back of their head. Their eyes are ruby red. They have a black back and white belly. Their wings and tail are grey and their legs and feet are usually yellow but turn quite red in the early part of the nesting season. The young or immature black crowned night herons are brown and streaked with white.

VOICE: another name for the night heron is the "quark bird" because the sound it utters as it flies through the night is "quark".

FEEDING: The black crowned night heron is an expert at "still fishing". It stands motionless for long periods in shallow water, on pilings at high tide and on floating docks watching and waiting for its prey. With a quick thrust of its bill into the water it catches small fish. The heron can swim well searching for food. It can also eat algae, but it mostly eats shad, herring, suckers, pickerel, and eels. In freshwater ponds it eats frogs, tadpoles, salamanders, garter snakes, toads, crayfish, mussels, dragonflies and their nymphs. The black crowned night heron heron is extremely adaptable; it eats whatever is most plentiful at the time and place. (and rats!)

As I've been skipping around through the blogs, I've noticed a lot of stories about wildlife and nature, so I thought I'd take you to our summer of the "Bird that Goes QUARK." Our previous home was located about 2-3 blocks from a couple of small lakes that provide a stopping place for a myriad of birds. We have spotted Ibis, the exotic looking long-neck bird familiar in Egypt; we have different types of egrets, herons, owls and hawks.

During the spring of the year we usually slept with our sliding glass door open for the fresh air. One night, as we were just drifting off to sleep, we heard this gosh-awful racket and it was obviously not man-made! It sounded like an animal in distress but all of ours were in the house and accounted for. And if one of ours was capable of making that sound, it was going bye-bye in the morning!

The noise kept up and we finally had to close the slider. During the next few days, we noticed these large birds flying around the neighborhood, and some were coming in at dusk to roost in our trees. Could that be the source of the noise? But aren't birds sleeping during the night? The noise kept up at night often enough that we found ourselves automatically half asleep dragging over to shut the door to keep out that awful screeching sound.

One day, my husband was mowing the lawn when he shut off the mower and called to me to come outside. He motioned over toward the shrubs that were under the largest tree in our yard and said, "Look," and pointed to a dead fish. He said, "You're not going to believe this, but there's dead frogs and fish all over the place!" He was right! There were at least 4 to 5 big toads and the same amount of fish (blue gill or carp). A strange find in a suburban backyard. Not only that, but some of the shrubs looked as if it might have snowed lightly! We may be city folk, but we were putting two and two together quickly. Something was fishing in the lakes and bringing it in to feed on.

A couple of days later, the dogs started barking and the cats starting running in and out of the doggie door. Something was outside so I went out to check. Good grief! I saw the weirdest looking bird running around the ground, flapping wings that weren't yet working, and they were huge! It's no wonder the cats didn't know whether to go after it or run like heck away from it! It looked like a pterodactyl! And it was coming my way!!! (The first photo is a juvenile - notice the beak...pointed little sucker)

I ran in the house, grabbed a towel, yelled for my husband and out we went. There it was - it's wings open as was his beak, scared to death. We got the dogs in the house - I think they were as glad as the bird! They'd never seen a bird with a wing span of approximately 36-45 inches! My husband gathered the towel and started towards him and of course, as he got close, the creature took off. I don't think there was a stretch of the yard the two of them didn't cover before W.B. managed to corner him in a big bush. He covered him with the towel, and gathered him gently, and at arms length, started carrying him towards the house. I said,

"Where are you taking him? The birds will be scared to death (our pet birds) and the cats are in there!" He replied, "We didn't think this through too well, did we!"

We ended up getting him into the garage into a huge carton - we'd purchased a large appliance - and called the vet's office. They referred us to the University which has a program for raptors. They weren't interested in our buddy but had us call our Living Museum which houses native species. We called them and they told us to bring it on out but to be very careful of it's beak; it's capable of piercing a skull. Gee!!! Thanks for the warning. Eeeek.

We took Dilbert on his very first and most likely, last car ride. At the museum, they took one look at him and gave us a run down on his species (as described above). Indeed, the racket we'd been hearing at night was the parents coming in to feed the babies. They're not named "NIGHT Flying Herons" for nothing. They only way we could keep them from coming back was to keep the tree trimmed very low. And Dilbert had a new home from which he could fly away when he was big enough.

During the course of the next few weeks, we had a few dead babies that fell out of the nest too soon, a few like Dilbert, who just needed to stretch their wings and learn to fly on their own, and we just made certain our critters were locked up when a baby was down. Truthfully, when their wings were spread they were so menacing in appearance, I don't believe our dogs or cats would've taken them on.

We found more "mystery meat" in the yard: rats hanging in the trees and on the ground, more fish, toads, lizards, small birds, field mice. W.B. said he was sick of having to rake up the dead vermin before he could mow the lawn and hose off our shrubs. In talking with our neighbors, who were also bothered by all of the nightly noise, they had lost their koi to the herons! At first they thought our neighborhood opossums had gotten them but had seen one of the babies dining at their pond!

We were so glad to see them leave the area when the last baby left the nest. We never figured out how many nests were in the trees but it had to be a bunch! When the tree lost it's leaves in the fall we did have it cut back as much as we dared, but one night in the early spring, as we were drifting off to sleep, "Quark!"

What Do You Have to Say About Yourself?

Speak Kindly to Yourself...

“What is this self inside us, this silent observer,
Severe and speechless critic, who can terrorize us,
And urge us on to futile activity,
And in the end, judge us still more severely,
For the errors into which his own reproaches drove us?”
-- T. S. Eliot

How do you talk to yourself? Would you talk that way to anyone else?
Our thoughts create our reality. How do you typically think about yourself? Do you berate yourself for being stupid, sloppy, forgetful or insensitive? Do you watch yourself with interest, respect and compassion? Stay alert to your self-talk and let go of judgments that don’t serve you. --- Higher Awareness

"Self-acceptance is my refusal to be in an adversarial relationship to myself."
-- Nathaniel Branden

Photo Hunter - SOFT

Soft puppy fur, soft wet noses, soft summer grass and the soft petals of pansies...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Friday Feastin' - Yummy!

Friday, February 23, 2007
Feast One Hundred & Thirty Two


Where on your body do you have a scar, and what caused it?

I will never again don a bikini. You can all relax! (Truth is, I've never even worn one!)
I had my gall bladder removed in the early 70's; I had a gastric bypass in '01; so I have two vertical lines running down my abdomen.


What is something that has happened to you that you would consider a miracle?

I've had three children and that has to top my list of miracles - childbirth.

Name a television personality who really gets on your nerves.

Hands down, without a doubt, didn't even have to think about it: Rosie O'Donnell (sp?)

Main Course
What was a funny word you said as a child (such as "pasketti" for "spaghetti")?

According to my folks I had a whole made up vocabulary of nonsensical words. They all represented something. I have no idea what - that was almost 100 years ago!

Fill in the blank: I have always thought Geometry was satanic.
My dad had to hire a tutor for me and I STILL couldn't understand what the heck it was all about! My Math neurons have never fired.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

THIRTEEN THINGS I HATE TO DO.... - Create custom images

1. I hate having to do business at the DMV. (Department of Motor Vehicles)

2. I hate having to gather our tax "stuff" together.

3. I hate having to go to the dentist. In fact, I'd rather go to the doctor twice!

4. I hate cleaning the bird's cages - bird poop is like glue. Its saving grace - no odor!

5. I hate going to the shopping mall - for anything.

6. I hate driving the speed limit. I do - but I don't like it.

7. I hate living in the city.

8. I hate trying on swim suits!!! (Ugh)

9. I hate being forced to listen to someone else's music blaring from their car stereo.

10. I hate mopping floors.

11. I hate trying to manage the finances.

12. I hate looking at my "turkey neck" in the mirror (another "ugh").

13. I hate listening to or looking at Hillary R. Clinton on the news. (My apologies to those of you
who are supporters.)

I really don't like using the word "HATE" that often, either...


I personally feel there was some drugging going on here...interesting but someone had too much time on their hands and poor, poor kitties...

Tuesday, February 20, 2007


Rachel, at Heart of Rachel, wants to know why we blog. She has listed five of her reasons and has asked us to list ours. If you decide you make a list, please let her know here. Here are my top five reasons:

1. I started out blogging as a way of working through my loss. My son-in-law died. He was only fourteen years younger than I but in many ways I loved him as my own son. He had become addicted to Vicodin due to a couple of hip replacements. He was also an alcoholic. But he had more love inside of him than most human beings you'll ever meet on this earth. We watched him die that night and I wasn't able to give up my grief.

2. I had become lost inside myself before Doug died. I viewed blogging as a tool to find my way home. I have separated the blogs into two parts: this one and for the dark places I go sometime for the hard work.

3. I blog to connect with people. I have a horrible habit of separating, removing myself from people, which is not healthy. Now that I'm not working, it's important that I find a connection with the human species because I'm talking out loud to my dogs, a lot...

4. I love the exchange of ideas and opinions! I read blogs of all types and enjoy the diversity and of reading about people's lives in different countries. I doubt that I'll ever be able to travel outside of the US, so reading about Wales, England, the Philippines and other places I'd love to go, is fascinating to me. It's a lot better than the pen pals we used to have in high school. I wrote to a girl in the Netherlands, and back then - the dark ages - it took forever to receive a letter. Now, I can see photos of Rachel's son and husband, her beautiful Chinese New Year's celebration immediately! What a treat!

5. This is hard because there are so many reasons...I think growing as an individual is important but as I shared in my "Blog Blessings" post, the community is so inspirational! One of the most interesting men in the blogosphere has been diagnosed with cancer and has been very upfront with letting all of us know of his fears and thoughts on the subject. It's an exceedingly brave thing to do and it's been very meaningful to me. Just reading the caring responses of people to his plight is moving. His wife and daughters become more than figures on an anonymous blog - they become people you care about. His surgery date gets posted on the calendar so you can remember to pray for him. Blogging becomes a personal thing.

You enter into a community and find yourself caring again, lifting up and out of yourself, where your own troubles lie and you become a part of the human community where you share someones fortieth and 62nd birthday. You read words that belong in novels. You read of children who have passed and parents who continue on. You celebrate red letter days and days that bring sorrow and tears to your eyes. You read of men on active duty, behind the lines wishing they could be home. You read of over-comers, those who have suffered deeply but are going to make it to the goal. You read poetry from men who didn't know they had it in them and are surprised they do. You read of others, like you, who suffer from depression and you don't feel alone. You read of a husband and wife who love each other so much that she cries while reading his Valentine to her that she shares with us.

I could go on and on but I won't. Am I passionate about this? You bet! But I don't enter into things lightly...


Monday, February 19, 2007


MO --- I've seen photos of your beautiful kitties and having been a happy cat owner, I do know that they leave behind surprises for their owners. Here's a cake that's guaranteed to surprise your guests!!!


Kitty Litter Cake

This is a fun cake! It might look gross, but it does taste good!
1 (18 oz.) box spice or german chocolate cake mix
1 (18 oz.) box white cake mix
1 pkg. white sandwich cookies
1 large box vanilla instant pudding mix
12 small tootsie rolls
1 litter box (preferably a NEW one!)
1 plastic scoop
green food coloring

Prepare cake mixes and bake according to directions (any size pans). Prepare pudding mix and chill until ready to assemble. Crumble white sandwich cookies in small batches in blender, they tend to stick, so scrape often. Set aside all but about 1/4 cup. To the 1/4 cup cookie crumbs, add a few drops green food coloring and mix using a fork or shake in a jar.
When cakes are cooled to room temperature, crumble into a large bowl. Toss with half the remaining white cookie crumbs and the chilled pudding. You probably won’t need all of the pudding, mix with the cake and “feel” it, you don’t want it soggy, just moist; gently combine. Put mixture into clean litter box.
Put three unwrapped Tootsie rolls in a microwave safe dish and heat until soft and pliable. Shape ends so they are no longer blunt, curving slightly. Repeat with 3 more Tootsie rolls and bury in mixture. Sprinkle the other half of cookie crumbs over top. Scatter the green cookie crumbs lightly over the top, this is supposed to look like the chlorophyll in kitty litter. Heat remaining Tootsie Rolls, three at a time in the microwave until almost melted. Scrape them on top of the cake and sprinkle with cookie crumbs. Place the box on a newspaper and sprinkle a few of the cookie crumbs around. Serve with a new pooper scooper.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

But Lord, I Really, Really Want a Bone!

I don't know who to credit for this photo (I found it on Purgatorio, which is no longer active) but it is one of the funniest I've ever found! Maybe Gene Bach can tell us if it's a hunting dog - looks like a hound of some kind to me, so maybe he's praying for rabbits!
Happy Sunday, everyone!

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Blog Blessings

Painting by Juno Galang
As we travel back and forth through these blogs we never know which remarks may unknowingly spark a memory for someone. I have been blessed richly by many of you just by reading of your day-to-day lives, the family fun and laughter; losses and how you've coped and are still coping; but most of all, how caring everyone is!!! The theme is one of community and how people are reaching out to one another in a world of uncertainty and reassuring each other that life ain't all bad...
Special thanks to my new friend at The Wooden Porch.

Friday, February 16, 2007


This is an old village church and cemetery in England. I think it's lovely. I don't know much about it which is a shame. If any of our friends in England can identify it I'd be pleased.
Since my PC is still sick, I can't get any of my antique photos. I tried to download the Kodak software and get one off of my camera but I goofed up that process so this is about the best I could do. And I really love this picture.

Thursday, February 15, 2007


Friday, February 16, 2007
Feast One Hundred & Thirty One

APPETIZER: What sound, other than the normal ringing, would you like your telephone to make?
***I hate the telephone so the first thing I thought was something soothing, like an ocean wave rolling in. But that made me wonder if I'd be running to the bathroom every time the phone rang!
SOUP: Describe your usual disposition in meteorological terms
***This one is easy: Foggy (thanks to psychotropic meds ( ;^* )
SALAD: What specific subject do you feel you know better than any other subjects?
***This one is NOT easy. I am a jack-of-all-trades and master of none. I can tell you, it is NOT
math!!! If I had to teach a class, it would probably be art.
MAIN COURSE: Imagine you were given the ability to remember everything you read for one entire day. Which books/magazines/newspapers would you choose to read?
***The Psalms and Romans (New King James Bible); "Putting the Amazing Back into Grace," by M.S. Horton; Heidelberg Catechism
DESSERT: If a popular candy make contacted you to create their next confection, what would it be like and what would you name it?
*** Let's try coconut, a layer of thick marshmallow, followed with a layer of raspberry cream, covered with dark chocolate and sprinkles and call it "Pink." ( I was gonna go for an Anna Nicole but just couldn't go there....)

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

~~~Thirteen Things I Refuse To Eat~~~

I like Menudo, have eaten fried grasshoppers and escargot. I have eaten a variety of exotic things but there are a few I won't try and a few I won't repeat...
Here they are:

1. OYSTERS - Bleeeech. I've tried them fried, raw, and in stews. My mom loved them on the half shell but these little buggers make it as far as my throat and come right back up again.

2. STEAK TARTAR - I love my steak bloody rare, at least I did before all the "mad cow" nonsense; now I ask for medium rare. But the thought of raw meat put through the grinder with some spices and called dinner, uh - no thanks.

3. SUSHI - I've tried several kinds. I love grilled tuna but raw tuna, uh uh. Can't do it...California Roll? Nope!

4. FROGS LEGS - Tastes like chicken? What, two-week old chicken left out in the baking sun?
Yak...And I have visions of all those poor little frogs on crutches...

5. LAMB - Now this puts me a quandary. I love lamb but as I've gotten older I've gotten weird (er). I see the sheep out grazing in the fields with the newborn lambs and I can no longer eat them. I just can't bring myself to do it. They're about the same size as my dog and the comparison makes me think of the dog markets in parts of Asia. Nope, no more lamb for this ol' girl.

6. ROCKY MOUNTAIN OYSTERS - They remind me of gizzards. Too much chewing and too little flavor. It's a guy thing.

7. PATE DE FOIS GRAS (Goose Liver Paste) - I love liver and onions, if I cook it so I know it's not dry. But goose liver is a tad strong and after I heard how they cage and stuff them the poor geese, that did it. No more goose liver for me!

8. PICKLED PIGS FEET - Uh, why bother? Not only do they look disgusting, who likes the idea of chewing on a hoof?

9. TRIPAS - For the uninitiated, these are intestine, cleaned and fried. Most importantly, the word "cleaned." Sometimes they smell a little ripe and I've never managed to even try this delicacy. There's no amount of salsa that can get that smell out of your nose...

10. HORSEMEAT - I know we ship it to France for human consumption, but unless I'm starving I don't ever intend to find out what it tastes like!

11. A HOT DOG FROM 7-11 - or anyplace where they've been spinning around on a spit for who-knows how many days!

12. TURNIPS - I can eat cauliflower, I'm not wild about brussel's sprouts but turnips? Nasty little things - even with cheese sauce and that kills the taste of just about anything.

13. HABANERO PEPPERS - I made a huge fool of myself at a luncheon once. I didn't know these hotter-than-hell peppers were in the food at this Thai restaurant (this was about 20 years ago before the pepper police posted warnings). I almost jumped right out of my chair! I tried to regain my composure but it was impossible. It burned the hide off of my tongue and I couldn't taste anything for a couple of days.

Wordless Wednesday...

"So, is this the "cold fish" you're always talking about, Benny?

Hearts and Flowers ...

Here's the cake missing from the painting - have to have chocolate!Painting by Rino Gonzalez

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Finding New Goodies

I love music and have found some of you actually have these neat little devices that play your favorite tunes when we log onto your sites. I hadn't tried these yet because I was certain I couldn't figure out how to get one up and going...and this is not an ad! (I haven't gotten that far, yet!) I found this at and it sounded simple enough so I played around with it and, Voila! I now have music! And for those of you who don't care for my taste, there's a slide on it so you can turn it all the way down. I tried to load it up with smooth jazz so it would be relaxing and you would all want to come in, sit down and rest a while. Any feedback? Oh yeah, it's a freebie.
Now, can someone please tell me how to create a link so I don't have to type in the URL address? If I have a photo (like "Fuel My Blog,") I just realized that there's no where to click on it that takes you back to the site. Good grief, Charlie Brown! I'm SO inept at the basics. THANK YOU!!!

A Rose is a Rose, is a Lily?

I found this list of flowers and since we're all dying for spring to arrive, I thought it might be fun to see what our favorites represent.

ROSE - Love

ORCHID - A Belle

IRIS - "My compliments"

CALLA LILY - Beauty of the Night

SUNFLOWER - Pure Thoughts

AMARYLLIS - Splendid Beauty

TULIP - Declaration of Love

CARNATION - Pride and Beauty

HYDRANGEA - Heartfelt



DAFFODIL - Chivalry

TIGER LILY - "I dare you to love me!"

ANTHURIUM - Hospitality

PEONY - Bashful

LILAC - Youthful Innocence


ANEMONE - Anticipation

ASTER - Patience


I love orchids but I've never been successful with them. My stargazers keep coming back year after year so I have to give them an "A" for effort; lilac is beautiful but our winters aren't normally cold enough for them to thrive; gerberas come in a plethora of colors; but I think for sheer beauty I would have to choose the exotic Bird of Paradise as my favorite. They remind me of paradise as found in Hawai'i where they grow everywhere in the wild.

Which is your favorite and why?

Make Your Own Avatar!

Rachel, at "Heart of Rachel," always finds the neatest things to do! This is from Portrait Illustration Maker and lets you create your own avatar. Have fun!!! (No joke - you can even add wrinkles...I didn't go overboard with that one, after all, it is a caricature...oh, there's a double chin, too, but I kind of did a face lift - ha, ha!)

Monday, February 12, 2007

Manic Monday - SPIKE

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The very first thing I thought of when I heard the word Morgen chose for today - SPIKE - was
our cockatiel. I thought I was being very clever when I chose his name. Not that every other cockatiel on the face of the earth has the same plumage on the top of their head that forms the same shape, a spike...oh no, of course not. When a cockatiel is relaxed their topnotch is, too. When they're alert, their topnot will stand at attention.

The name "Spike," conjures up a bully, maybe a punk kid with piercings wherever one can possibly be pierced, hanging out on the corner waiting to jump somebody; or in the cartoons, "Spike" was the old cranky bulldog with the spiked collar. Well, our Spike is going to break the image of someone tough and cranky. He's a real loverboy.

He was my birthday present in 1992 but he chose to bond with my husband! Even though I was the one who spent an hour every day with him cradled to my chest, crooning to him and trying my best to be a good birdy mom. My husband didn't do anything except walk by and say, "Hello, Spike!" and he got all the affection. During football season, hubman and Spike go to the bedroom and watch the Cowboys and eat chips.

When hubman is not around, Spike is okay with me now, he even gives me popcorn scented kisses. He loves to sit on my shoulder and go out to get the mail (he's clipped!). Since I've been home he's gotten comfortable enough with me to raise his wings and let me tickle his "wing-pits," and give him head rubs. He talks and whistles all the time and loves to dance, but he's very much a caucasian bird. He's like Steve Martin in the movie, "The Jerk." He just can't seem to get the rhythm right, unlike our parrot, who keeps rhythm perfectly!
He imitates sounds such as the electric toothbrush, the dishwasher, my husband blowing his nose (a real hoot!), gargling, and other household noises. He makes one noise that sounds like "pervert," and we have no idea what that is! One day, he climbed down the cage (we have to be real careful!!!) and was walking down the hall to be with us and our shih tzu sneaked up behind him. He turned around quickly and said, "Hello!!!" It's as though he knows what to say and when. I used the picture of Spike and Katie before but it shows their relationship so well I just had to use it again. They really like each other! Cockatiels are referred to as clowns and this guy has really lived up to the title.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Saturday's Photo Find: Broken...

Bless The Broken Road Lyrics

I set out on a narrow way many years ago
Hoping I would find true love along the broken road
But I got lost a time or two
Wiped my brow and kept pushing through
I couldn't see how every sign pointed straight to you
Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

I think about the years I spent just passing through
I'd like to have the time I lost and give it back to you
But you just smile and take my hand
You've been there you understand
It's all part of a grander plan that is coming true
Every long lost dream lead me to where you are
Others who broke my heart they were like northern stars
Pointing me on my way into your loving arms
This much I know is true
That God blessed the broken road
That led me straight to you

Friday, February 09, 2007

Friday Feast

APPETIZER: Have you been sick this winter? If so, what did you come down with?
*Haven't had a major illness, just my usual. I alway have a sinus infection, thanks to our
fabulous air quality.

SOUP: What colors dominate your closet? *The only colors I can't wear are yellow or pea green. I love all the rest but I think I wear more blue and purple than the rest.

SALAD: How would you describe your personal comfort zone? *Hmmmm...hard question. I'm a toucher but only if I sense someone is approachable. I appreciate the same respect.

MAIN COURSE: On which reality show would you really like to be a contestant? *I love "Survivor" and "The Amazing Race" but would never make it physically. The only winners I've liked on Idol were Bo Bice and Taylor Hicks.

DESERT: Which holiday would you consider to be your favorite? *Because my faith is based on Easter, I'd have to go with that...Christmas is second. And for pure pride, it's got to be the 4th of July!

***Because of computer problems I cannot hook up to Linkys yet. I don't have a clipboard!!! My software is all packed away so if I can find my Office Suite and can re-load it, I should be ready next week. If not, I hope you all don't mind if I join in this way. If you'd rather I wait, just let me know! Thanks!

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Mother's Birthday

February 8th is my mother's birthday. This year she would have been 90 and hated every minute of it if she couldn't be independent.

She always reminded me of Betty Grable with black hair. I once told her that and she wasn't pleased. She never thought of Betty Grable as being at all pretty. I should be so lucky. She was born on a small farm in Southern California, between Santa Ana and Long Beach. Her mother was a school teacher and has a school named for her in that area. My mom and her two sisters were required to pitch in and work along with their dad. They delighted in telling about the time they caught their dad out in the outhouse and nailed it shut until their mother made them let him out. He in turn chased them down with tomatoes and I guess they had a free-for-all. The old farm is now the site of a Forest Lawn Cemetery.

My mother worked at Knott's Berry Farm when it was just a chicken restaurant and a berry market. One of my aunts was Mr. Knott's bookkeeper. My mom saw a good looking young man coming up the front path and ran into the office to tell my aunt, "If he's looking for a job, you'd better hire him!" He did, she did, and the rest was history! My mom and dad married in June, 1941 and when the war broke out, he was working with the FBI in Washington D.C.

After the war they relocated to Anaheim, started a business and wound up with their own concession at Knott's. My father passed away in '69 - much too soon - he was only fifty. My mother went to work the day after the funeral even though she was totally devastated. It was her way of coping. She spent the next 23 years keeping up with that business. She never dated because she said she didn't expect anyone else to live up to my dad. She absolutely idolized him.
She was one of the strongest women I have ever met. She always kept going, no matter if she was sick and had a Christmas dinner to fix or if she had to go to work because someone else was ill. She had a soft spot in her heart for the men who lived down in the missions in Los Angeles and supported a charity that helped look after them.

There was a woman that worked for her at the shop, who had a lot of family in Tijuana. My mother loaded up the car at Christmas with masa (corn flour), flour, beans, sugar and other staples and drove down to deliver the food plus jackets, coats and warm clothes to the families in need. She never spoke about stuff like that, either. She just did it. Back in the day when she grew up, if there was a need in the neighborhood, the neighbors stepped up and took care of it. That's what she did.

She found out she had cancer the first of October and was gone by October 29th. At 75, she still worked full-time, attended to all of her own affairs, and drove just as well as she ever did, which was as good as any female that ever drew a breath! And she never looked a day over 55. She was always impeccably groomed but I remember seeing her when I was young, driving a tractor, ripping out a stand of poplar trees.

We were all so blessed that she didn't "fade" away and become dependent as that would've depressed her to the core. We were given time to say our "good-byes," and whatever needed to be said, but we all believe that, not only was it her "appointed time to die," but she yearned to go home at that point. She so missed our dad - she was ready...

I miss her voice, her black-bottomed pie, her wonderful Christmas dinners and most of all, her advice. She always waited until I asked and never offered unsolicited. When my husband died, it was the first time I had ever witnessed her lose it. She told me it was because she knew what I faced. When my son-in-law died, I immediately realized what she meant.

Every day on the 8th of February, I think of this raven-haired beauty with the lilac blue eyes and realize a part of me is gone forever more.

Flip My House!

We listed our house July 1, 2006...and yep, it's been 7 months. It's in a good, stable, middle class neighborhood. We have a new roof w/a 40 year guarantee; we painted completely inside and out just last May; we completely remodeled the kitchen - gutted the old double ovens (couldn't find a replacement part!); the drawers have the nifty pull-out shelves that are s-o-o-o handy; until the hard frost my yard was beautiful. Oh yeah, we replaced the plumbing last year and had a new A/C installed back in 2000. We have replaced all of the fencing, some of which is a decorative stone/brick.

The hitch? Are we asking too much? Nope. We've even come down twice. No, sad truth is, even though we're on a corner lot with a N/S exposure, we live across from an elementary school and most people don't like the high school district because they all want their kids going to one of the new ones. Okay. I had very mixed emotions about living across from a school. I had visions of them cutting across the yard and trash, etc. Least of all was concern about noise because at the time we purchased the house, I was employed full time. Since I've been here all day, it still isn't a problem. The playgrounds are all on the other side of the school and you really don't hear the kids much at all. The den/great room is in the back of the house with the kitchen, which is where the majority of people spend their time, and the bedroom isn't an issue either.

Another major issue is this: Do not do business with friends. I repeat: Do not do business with friends! My husband is good buddies with this guy whose wife is a realtor. Guess who we listed with. Yep. We've had about 5 "Open Houses," and maybe 4-5 other realtors have brought clients to view. My husband asked her why she didn't bring any of her clients in to see it and her response was, "None of my clients are in your price range." Duh... Don't teams in a major real estate office beat the bushes a little better than that? She only has 5 listings and they're all below our price.

Our listing is up the first of March and this time we're going with a different realtor. Hopefully, that will jump start things for us. Not knowing where we'll be living is frustrating the daylights out of me. We're giving up our home because we can no longer afford the payments, so we plan on moving to a mobile/manufactured home and in the meantime, buy property in the mountains. When hubman retires in 2-3 years, we'll be set to place a manufactured home on said prop.

It's just difficult to be in limbo-land. But I've thought long and hard about how very blessed we are to have a house to sell. My daughter has helped us tremendously with payments (God bless her!) which we'll pay back when we sell. If we'd been in the path of the recent tornadoes or in Katrina's path we wouldn't have been this "lucky." (I'm not a believer in luck.) And the other plus is that we're not facing bankruptcy at this point. So while I throw a pity party now and again it's mainly due to the "not-knowing" situation we find ourselves in. We could be walking in someone elses' shoes right now and they be a real tight fit. Blessings and grace all rolled into one magnificent package.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

William Arkin is a Big, Fat, Doody-Head!

For the war or against the war, our soldiers are not mercenaries delighting in the "obscene amenities" they're receiving in Baghdad. What a royal A-hole!!!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Just Got My Lip Pierced...By My Parrot!!!

I apologize to those of you who must've wondered what the heck that was all about! I don't know why but when I published the photo it didn't give me any room to print remarks. I was having difficulty with my server (again!) so I shut down and read for awhile. Imagine my surprise when I fired up this evening and here's the photo! I thought it had been deleted...BTW, that's not my bird. This appears to be a blue and gold macaw. I picked it up from a free site.
So what happened was this: I have a routine with my birds in the evening. Last call for food is 9:00 p.m., and then they get covered for the evening. My nanday concure is pretty tempermental. I've had him since '93 when I adopted him from a family that kept him outside all of the time - now he's in the house - and has free reign of his cage until night when I close him and the cockatiel, Spike, in their cages. Spanky steps up onto my hand and does the whole "I love you, night, night," thing and gives me kisses right on my beak (that would be lips) and then he goes into his cage for the night. Well, last night, he decided to lunge for my face and bite my upper lip and the space between my lip and nose.

The one thing I've learned about birds is that they are not dogs. If a pet dog behaved that way we'd have to make arrangements to have it put down after a couple of repeat performances. But birds don't behave along the same manner. Spanky has bonded with me and hates my spouse. I've already been told that if I go first, the bird goes, too! In bird world, he speaks an entirely different lingo and I'm still learning. Sometimes if he senses danger, like a hawk in the yard, he tries to persuade me to get in the cage because he thinks I'm his mate. And that consists of little nips. Sorry, but I'm not into laying eggs...

Anyway, I have a bloody hole in my lip and I still love my bird. I guess I have latent Marquise de Sade tendencies. I know I've made comments about wishing that I'd pursued a career in psychology, well, I would also like to be an animal behaviorist. They fascinate me!

Just Don't Kick Sand in My Face, Okay?

I'm kinda feeling like the guy on the left...just erase me and let's start over!!! I lost a lot of body mass when I had my surgery and to tell the truth, I'm not real great at exercising. Since I've been home and not working it's gotten worse. I feel like a shadow of my former self - I have no muscle tone at all. I saw this cartoon and thought I could relate! I keep telling myself to just start walking a little at a time but I always find something else to do...Since I have a "diagnosis" of about five different syndromes for which there are no definitive tests, I get very tired quickly. I take great vitamins and all that but I'm just a slug! (Boy, I use w-a-y too many exclamation marks, don't I? It's just that you can't get the voice inflection right. I also ".... " too much. Sorry! Ooops. There I go again.).

I registered with Mister Linkys so I can participate in all the good stuff but at 1:00 a.m. I'm too much of a coward to start foolin' around with the templates and copying and pasting all of my stuff. I feel as though I'm in limbo because I'm not tech savvy. For those of you that have done it already, if you paste everything to your notepad, it's safe and all that? I am a chicken (a big one). Your photos and everything, too??? Can you tell I'm begging for reassurance that everything is going to be okay? Such a wuss am I. I just wanna come out and play with every body. I feel like the kid that's home with the chickenpox and is looking out the window at all the other kids playing.
I know you'll all pat me on the back and hold my hand and tell me I can do it. Right???
  • If it wasn't for muscle spasms, I wouldn't get any exercise at all

Saturday, February 03, 2007

A Walk on the Dark Side...

Since I started this blog as a source of therapy, and now that I've met so many wonderful, funny and vibrant people, I don't want to muddy the waters and bring everyone down. So, I've opted to start another blog...a walk on the dark side of me. I've decided to call it "Echoes in the Night."
If depression or bipolar disorder has been a problem for you, I invite you to join me. If not, you'll probably not enjoy this walk in the dark because there's very little moonlight shining on the path.

But the whole concept is to keep walking toward the light until the day that the blog becomes inactive and unnecessary. In the meantime, I plan on continuing to have a ball right here and now!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Mate on a Plane...

My Christmas gift to spouse a couple of years ago, when I was gainfully employed, was a flight on a gen-u-wine war bird. It was something he had always wanted to do but the only flight I could find wasn't convenient location-wise. When the ad popped up in our local paper, I just couldn't resist it!

He was caught completely off-guard and had a difficult time waiting until spring when the flight actually occurred. It lasted a full hour and he had a ball. They actually did some acrobatics and the pilot (behind him) let him take the "stick" for a bit. He said it was the best gift ever...



APPETIZER: What was one of the fashion fads when you were a teenager?
~~In high school, we wore sweaters with pencil slim wool skirts and stiletto high heels. Oh, and bouffant hairdos! The guys wore chinos and madras shirts. I missed out on the poodle skirts but not by much!

SOUP: Name one thing you think people assume about you when they first meet you.
~~I'm quiet by nature. I have had friends tell me that they thought I was "aloof" or "standoffish" until they got to know me. I HATE that! My husband told me he thought I was a "highbrow." Gag...

SALAD: On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how hard do you work?
~~Easy - a minus 5. But when I was "able-bodied," I always gave at the office!

MAIN COURSE: If you were given a free 30-second commercial during the Super Bowl to sell anything you currently own, what would you advertise?
~~Our FRIGGIN' HOUSE!!! It's been on the market for seven months!!!

DESSERT: Fill in the blank: I love to go walking when it is lightly raining.

My Not-so-bright Idea!

Katie, over at "Guilt in Black Panties," talks about going to the museum while sick. (If you haven't read any of Katie's lyrical stories, book and movie reviews, I highly recommend her!!!) It brought to mind the time my mom took us for a ride.

My dad died in '69 and I moved to the ends of the earth in '71. For the uninitiated, that would be Bakersfield. My husband and I frequently went back home to see our friends and my mom and brother. On one of these trips home, my mom surprised us! She had traded in her '69 Cougar and bought a new, bright red, two-door Mercedes!!! It was a beaut! She thought at the time, that it would be a good idea to get a car that would last a long time and wouldn't require much work (hah!).

She decided to take us to Sea World, in Long Beach. It was a cold, dreary, January day and my son announced that he wasn't feeling too good. I asked him what was wrong and he replied that his stomach hurt. He was about six years old and could be quite cantankerous, and I didn't want to take him out if he was ill. I thought maybe a quick trip to the bathroom might cure what ailed him - no luck. He wasn't about to stay home and miss out on something and was starting to pitch a fit. He didn't have a fever so we decided we'd venture forth.

My mom was driving, my husband was in the passenger seat, and I was in the back seat with my three kids (way before seatbelt laws!). As we approached the 91 Fwy., my son started getting that "green around the gills" look. My mom quickly pulled over, we jumped out and he had the "dry-heaves." We got back into the car and he said he felt a lot better. His color was good so off we went!

We managed to get about five miles on the freeway when he looked at me, his face pale as a sheet and I knew we were in big trouble. He said, "Mom, I'm gonna puke." All I could think of was this brand new, very nice, expensive car with the brand new car smell and a small little boy needing to hurl!

I did what every mom would do. I pushed his head into my purse. Yep! He ralphed right smack dab into my purse. Not a drop on the seats or the carpeting - every little bit went right into my purse. I felt mighty proud of myself. That is, until I thought of the consequences...
It's a darned good thing I have a cast iron stomach.

Anyway, we got ourselves put back together again and actually went on to Long Beach. Whatever had been swimming in his stomach made it's way out and he was fine the rest of the day.

The upshot of this tale is that we were the idiots that were placed down in the front seats and got totally soaked when the killer whale rose up out of the water and did a huge belly flop and sprayed water out over the tank. My poor mom was literally soaked up to her neck. She said it was a good thing her hair and makeup stayed dry or she would've jumped in after the whale!

Family trips serve up the main course for many a fine tale.