Saturday, July 30, 2011

What would Jefferson do?

The brilliant Thomas Jefferson who penned the Declaration of Independence when he was thirty-three and later became the first Secretary of State and our third president had some things to say about how our government should handle its resources.

"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."

"It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debt as it goes."

"My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government."

"The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not."

"To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas that he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical."

"When a man assumes a public trust, he should consider himself public property."

Friday, July 29, 2011

Our Money

Money is always listed as one of the top three things that couples fight about. I ask, if two people who are supposed to love each other have trouble reaching agreement how well can a horde of representatives, one hundred senators, and millions of citizens do? The finances of our country are in a sickening, unnecessary mess, and logic seems unpopular among many in whom Americans have placed their trust. As a nation, we have made many bad decisions; perhaps we thought we would be rich forever. However I believe it is possible to climb out of this mess we have created if common sense, discipline and wisdom are allowed to have their way.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


One of my co-workers brought in a basket of tomatoes she picked from her garden this morning. She had better boys, a delicious heirloom whose name I can't remember, and a sweet little yellow type called lemon drops. I thought to get a pic before they were all taken. I always have high hopes for my own garden, but it is never very successful because, I think, my yard has too many trees. So I am especially happy that someone is sharing her bountiful summer delicacy.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Ol' Sol

A television show I like is Sunday Morning on CBS. It always has interesting stories, but it also has a charming assortment of artwork of the sun throughout its ninety minutes of airing. It inspired me to attempt this watercolor of Ol' Sol. Who says Sol has to be a guy?

During the summer it is all about the sun, but in a different way now than when I was a teenager, when a suntan was a most desirable thing to have. The browner our skin got, the better. If we didn't get to the beach for our tans, we would spend long hours lying in our backyards on blankets or what we called "chaise lounges." We would usually grease up with Coppertone or our own baby oil concoction to create a bronzy glow, not to prevent skin cancer, which we never heard of.

The heat was another story. Now when a heat wave is upon us, we are cautioned to avoid it and stay in our nice, cool homes. But fifty plus years ago, before air-conditioning became as standard and necessary as a clothes dryer, a house was too hot to stay in on days like today. Wearing our light summer clothes, families would find a shady spot perhaps under a tree where a breeze would cool our skin, and we would enjoy something cold like lemonade or popsicles and hang out with the neighbors. It was a happy time, back when the sun was our friend.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Among the many news items this week was yet another demand for an apology. What does this accomplish? Does it lay the issue to rest, squelch the truth, or negate what was said? We have all said something we have regretted, and perhaps have needed to offer sincere regrets. Still the words hang. At times in the public arena, the truth is spoken and is not well received, or a politically incorrect name or opinion was voiced, and then an apology is demanded. The speaker usually finds a lame reason for saying whatever it was, and tail between legs, presents an apology to the media. I suppose there is a fine line somewhere in here, but it seems that the demand is a way of keeping high profile - especially political - people under the heavy thumb of compliance.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Day Away

Stuart and Paige were kind enough to invite me to share in some of their vacation this week in Sapphire, NC. It is very pretty up here among the steep winding roads, tall old pines, blooming rhododendron, and the misty blues and greens all around. (Don't click on the arrow. It is an ad.)
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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Something to think about

I do not know who to attribute this to, but I found it written in a notebook.

"Measure people by the good they do that they don't have to."

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

What has happened to the long a?

I have noticed that whether from here or "afar," people rarely use that vowel sound that I call the long a, the a that in the dictionaries I learned from had a straight line over it to signify that the vowel sound of that syllable sounded the same as its letter name. For instance, the word tail is often pronounced tell, hail is pronounced like the proper name of the bad place, whale is well. Which prompts me to ask, whatever happened to the wh sound? Regretfully, it has just about gone the way of the long a. It is no wonder. When I look on - say - wikipedia for a correct pronunciation, I am at a loss as to what all those odd characters that inform the reader how to properly speak a word, name or expression mean. Maybe other people do know, or maybe they haven't noticed. However I do pay attention to details of speech, or should I say detells?

Monday, July 18, 2011

Friends at Work

During a recent conversation among several of us, one of my co-workers proclaimed, "I know you. I know you well." I immediately wondered what it was she thought she knew, but then I felt pleased. If anyone should know me, it would be this woman I have worked with off and on for thirteen years. I know her, too, at least as much as I know anyone. For me, knowing and being known is one of the perks, and comforts, of working at the same place for a long time. These people who see me day in and day out, the ones with whom I share anything important in my life, good or bad, are indeed the ones who know me best. In my line of work, there is no room for superficiality, and we openly discuss and reveal just about everything. We learn about each other by the stories we swap and comparisons we make, from observing how we treat others, how we respond to difficult situations, and how we communicate. Due to retirement and other life changes, staff slowly turns over, and other friendly, open people come in as replacements, and we get to know each other. With the special people I have been with for over thirteen years, a really long time in my book, I think it is like going from kindergarten to graduating from high school. I really am glad we know each other well.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sweet Doggie

Tillman, our anxious little Jack Russell, came to live with us full time over seven years ago when he was six. I was glad to get him. He was such a great puppy, so intelligent and playful, but his later years haven't treated him kindly. In addition to losing sight in his left eye, he developed a weird handicap a few years ago. I first noticed him having trouble with directions and walking in circles, and took him to the vet. He told me Tillman was not fully blind nor did he have a stroke, but that he had a condition called vestibular disease. He and I are used to it now, but it is still strange. When he is supposed to go one way, he will go another, going from point A to point B in the most difficult and circuitous way, in and out of chair legs, bumping into walls. He is still a happy boy and is usually able to run up and down steps, spar with the black cat, and play with his toys, but life is one continuous obstacle course for him!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

thinking . . .

Sometimes I think about this tiny slice of human civilization that I live in and how crazy it all seems. For one thing, there are so many of us now. Even since I was born in 1944, the world population has (approximately) tripled. And we American adults are so busy, filled with self importance as we rush from place to place in our vehicles, earning money doing the work of this era, spending money, fitting into the culture, meeting expectations, being manipulated, living by clocks and deadlines. This is a time of too much stimulation from intrusive noises, enticing chatter, bright lights and entertainment. I sometimes wonder what it was like in past cultures, where a time such as today could not be imagined, when values, clothing, food, family life were different, where people made decisions based on what they knew about nature and the sky. Though human nature does not change, the way we live out our lives certainly has, and I am not convinced of the superiority of the twenty-first century.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Chasing Ladybugs

I confess I am a terrible piddler. Even though I entertain lofty thoughts, my free at home time is spent moving things around, jumping from one small interest to another, wandering around the yard in search of cute bugs to photograph, making messes in the kitchen, accomplishing very little. And of course there is the computer. And the television. A minute or two here and there and ... time has passed me by. By now - at this point in my life - I could have written the great American novel, finished a PhD, become a masterful watercolorist - that is if I had the talent and drive. Alas. I have come to accept piddling as a piece of who I am.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Handy Keeper Thingys

I like these shaped, plastic containers that hold the leftover pieces of a fruit or veggie while in the fridge.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Tidbits of History

A fact from wikipedia: "The former British colonies first used the country's modern name in the Declaration of Independence, the "unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America" adopted by the "Representatives of the united States of America" on July 4, 1776."

You may know that America's second president John Adams and third president Thomas Jefferson died within hours of each other on July 4, 1826, but did you know that the fifth president James Monroe also died on July 4th five years later?

Did you know that our fourth president James Madison is called the Father of the Constitution, and that it was his idea to have three branches of the government? He based it on Isaiah 33:22:
For the Lord is our judge - judicial
the Lord is our lawgiver - legislative
the Lord is our king - executive
He will save us.

Blessed is the Nation whose God is the Lord.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

From Tree to Table

Nice pears from my neighbor's tree were cut up for this delicious cobbler. Isn't summer great!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Pretty Leafhopper

This was a speck on a mint leaf. I took out my good pocket camera to get a closer look. Indeed it was a bug! The camera was able to capture not only the pretty colors of this leafhopper, but also tiny other parts. The pic will go on my bug blog, also. The buggy macro world is fascinating!


Remember the old days when we actually kept phone numbers in our heads? Now they are in our cell phones, not our memory. But one set of numbers - and letters - I must now remember are my computer passwords. We all have at least a few. Of course there is the email password, but on the web I have different passwords for banking, ordering prints from Costco, shopping at Amazon, and so on. At work it is the mandatory upper and lower case and numerical password that gets me to Outlook and the web. Then there are different passwords for the various software programs I use, and upon prompting, those require updating to never before used passwords. Before retirement when I was passing meds, there were passwords to get the meds out of the machine that held them and to give the meds. At home there is a password to check phone messages, and at work, there is the same thing but for many more phones. Passwords may protect us, but they are also a big part of our big brother culture.