Sunday, November 30, 2008


The violence in Mumbai, in Iraq, Afghanistan and several other parts of our world today has me thinking, how little we in the U.S. truly understand what such things really mean. Yes, there was 9-11. It was horrendous. And there is violence on a small scale going on every day. But I really believe that we have come to a point at which, unless it happens to one of us individually, we view it almost as if it happened on TV or in a movie. We think of that as entertainment, and when we read or hear it on the news, it is not real to us.

I recall the start of World War II. I was eight years old. My big brother put on a uniform and went off to the Signal Corps. My mother hung a little banner with a blue star, in the front window. We received photos of Bill during basic training, and later from England, then Belgium, then Germany. By that time we had black out curtains on the windows at night. Any time we went to the movies, as the lights were dimming, we stood up and sung the National Anthem as loudly as we could. The newsreels were almost as exciting as the weekly serial on Saturday afternoon. We had scrap rubber and scrap metal drives at school.

And what did all of this mean to an eight year old? It was fun! My brother was in the Army. His best friends were Frank, in the Navy, and Bill, in the Marines. Before being shipped overseas, they came home on furlough, and had exciting and sometimes funny stories to tell. It was fun. Later there were V-mail letters to write and receive. All fun. Lots of the letters from them had been censored, and it was fun to imagine what those black spaces might mean.

Those three all came home safe, thank God. Although when friend Bill came home, having survived Iwo Jima, he couldn't be discharged right away because he came down with measles. My brother Bill had been through the Battle of the Bulge. He never talked much about his overseas service. We had a cousin who never came back.

But it was all fun. It wasn't here. It was "over there". My brother only told his eight- then nine, ten, eleven year old sister about the nurses he dated in England, and the children he had met in Belgium. He was only nineteen himself when he left.

I had a lot of growing up to do before I could wrap my mind around what war is really all about. I don't think I'll ever understand what terrorism is all about.

I wonder if any of us - with the exception of the men and women who actually fought in World War II, or Korea, Viet Nam, the Gulf, Iraq, Afghanistan - if any of the rest of us really understands. I don't. I don't want to either - but I feel the need to understand.

Camera Critters #34

Hello Critter Lovers. It's that time again. Misty Dawn hosts this meme for us every week. Thank you, Misty.

I think I've run out of critters. At least, current critters. I have to go way back a few months to find a photo of one of my favorite critters.

We came across this mama turtle in the process of laying her eggs - right in the middle of an intersection of dirt ro
ads. I don't know that any of her young survived, since there were many tire tracks all through the intersection. Who knows if they had a fighting chance? But she had dug her hole and was well started in depositing eggs into it by the time we found her.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Shadow Shot Sunday #28

Hello Australia, and the rest of the world. It's Shadow Shot Sunday, hosted by Tracey at Hey Harriet. Please drop by there to view beautiful pictures of shadows.

My friend, Lisa, from Villas Girl Photos took two beautiful photos while she was visiting Historic Cold Spring Village in Lower Township, NJ. I have been begging her to submit them to Shadow Shots, but she is involved with other memes, and does not want to add another to her list. She told me to feel free to include them with my submission, and since I think they are exceptional pictures, that is what I am doing.

Historic Cold Spring Village advertises itself as "an Early American open-air living history museum". It holds many buildings from the South Jersey area which have been moved there, making up a charming village on a 22 acre plot. The Village Print Shop, built in 1790, is the subject of the photos.

In this picture you cannot see the wrought iron sign, which extends out from the building toward the camera. You can just make out the shadow of the sign on the building. The second picture is a close up of the shadow.

Thank you Lisa. Your photos are wonderful. I hope one of these days you will decide to join us at Shadow Shot Sunday.

Mumbai - 3

I have been told that the seige of Mumbai is over. Even the India Times is reporting that it is ended. And yet pictures we are receiving on TV show the fire still raging, explosions being heard, and more to the point, gunfire continuing between the Indian Commandos and the terrorists inside the hotel. I don't see how that indicates that it is over.

How can the rest of the world deal with people whose thinking is so twisted, to whom human life means so little? It is mind boggling. It makes me feel so utterly helpless. All I can do is pray.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Sky Watch #20

It's COLD out there! Well, too cold for my liking anyway.

Hi. Time again for Sky Watch, hosted by Sandy, Wren, Louise, Klaus, Ivar and Fishing Guy. And many thanks to them for doing this for us each week.

Last Saturday, late in the afternoon, I happened to walk outside and look up at the sky. Wow! The weatherman had promised us snow soon. We had a shower or two of snow in the previous couple of days. But these skies told me it was pretty sure to come during the night. I didn't have a clear view from my house. Sorry about that. But what I saw as I looked north was this:

Turning to the west, I saw thi

And then to the east:

I don't have a clear view of the southern sky at all. But these three were enough for me. At least it didn't look like a nor'easter that was coming. But - in the end, there was no storm at all. Just the threatening clouds. False alarm!

Mumbai -2

I would encourage anyone who has email access to bloggers in Mumbai to send a message just letting them know that we care. My contact has twice sent messages telling me how much he appreciates knowing that people in other parts of the world know and care and offer their support. I'm sure that we would feel the same way if roles were reversed.


I hope that all of my readers have a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving Day with family and friends surrounding them. I hope that you all pause at some time during your day to pray for Peace in the world. There are so many places in our world today where there is no peace, the latest being Mumbai, India, as we learned last night. The Family of Man is suffering, from repression, from violence, from hunger, and from cold. Let us do whatever we ca
n to alleviate that suffering. At the very least, let us pray.


Last night I emailed a fellow blogger who lives in Mumbai. This morning I found his reply to my email. It read as follows:

"Dear Barbara,
Thanks for your mail. I'm doing fine.
All the places attacked are the ones I frequent regularly.
The city is yet to stabilize this morning. Encounters between the terrorists and the law enforcement agencies is still on, disrupting rail services, and contributing to the panic across the city.
Thanks for the prayers, people will be needing all the moral support they can get. Over 100 people lost their lives in the co-ordinated attacks by the terrorists, and hundreds more injured.
Situation till uncertain.

When everything is said and done, there is still some doing to do."

Let's all continue to pray for the people of Mumbai, and to remember what we have in our country.

Freedom from Want

Freedom from Fear

Freedom of Speech

Freedom to Worship

Photos of Norman Rockwell paintings courtesy of Normal Rockwell Museum of Vermont

Wednesday, November 26, 2008


As we prepare for our Thanksgiving holiday, let's remember the people of Mumbai, India tonight. Today there are bombings, shooting, and hostages held in that city. Please pray for our fellow members of the Family of Man.

Electronic Gizmo Gremlins - And Chickens

Chickens first - Monday was Doug Savage's 1000th Chicken Cartoon. So he went on Flickr and determined he would draw 1000 chickens.

"Today is my 1000th cartoon! Amazing!! And to celebrate, I’m going to try to draw and post 1000 chickens today! I’ll be posting them over here on Flickr throughout the day!"

He did it!




So here's the gremlin story.

A week or two ago the TV in my living room went crazy. Very loud static and very bad snow. Couldn't really see or hear a thing. This continued for several days and
nights, and I finally decided it had given up the ghost. I have another small TV in the bedroom, and didn't really miss the other one too much. I stopped trying to get it to work. Then Lisa came over (to hang my curtain), and happened to ask if the TV was working yet. I said no, and flipped it on to show her what it was doing. It worked perfectly. It continued to work for a few days. Yesterday it went flooey again. It'll work for an hour or two. Then - gremlins!

My PhotoSmart printer decided to refuse to accept the light blue ink cartridge one day. I bought a new one. It refused that too. It keeps refusing any new light blue cartridge. So I turned to my other printer - the cheap one I usually use only for scanning and copying. It printed my photos just fine. For a while. But it then refused to scan. Two days ago it stopped printing photos. But now it scans. Gremlins!

I went back to the PhotoSmart. Swabbed the contact with alcohol. Nothing. It isn't going to work. Even with Teddy sitting there to soothe it, it just won't accept the cartridge. The contact is shot. I'm told it's cheaper to buy a new printer than to have it fixed. If I do, it won't be a PhotoSmart! Gremlins.

My computer is working so slowly I'm going crazy. I even have to sit and wait for it to delete an email now. Yes, I've cleared the cache. Won't work. Gremlins!

If any little gremlin gets into my camera, I'll really go right over the edge!


Lisa called me early today and told me how she defrags her computer. I'll try that tonight. Maybe it will help with one problem at least. Here's hoping!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Abraham Lincoln

Many of us know Abe Lincoln through Sky Watch. He was taken to hospital today with a collapsed lung. His wife left a short blog post, and says she will keep us updated, at his request. Just thought some readers might want to know.

Thank you, Lisa

My dear friend and "other daughter", Lisa, has given me the Butterfly Award because she says my blog is cool. I think she gave it to me because it's so pretty, and she knows how much I love butterflies. It really is beautiful.

It should be going in the other direction. Lisa added a new photo blog not too long ago, and it's the greatest! If you haven't visited it yet, I would suggest you do that. She also is participating in the Scenic Sunday meme now. Some of her - no, correct that - all of her nature photos are worth seeing.

Lisa is the best friend anyone could ask for. I enjoy her company so much. Thank you, Lisa, and why don't you put this one on your own Villas Girl Photos, from me? You're the one I'd pass it to first.

And even though, like you, I don't usually pass on awards any more, I don't think I can resist in this case.

Ann, you need this one decorating your beautiful blog, Nature Tales and Camera Trails. Then again, Your other blog, Gallimaufry Gleanings is just as wonderful. They are both deserving. Take your pick.

And Nina, your Nature Remains is so wonderful, and I do believe the Butterfly Award belongs there.

That's it. No strings attached, no rules. Just please enjoy. And again, thank you, Lisa.


Seems to me that I don't talk much about my daughter, Rita. I think it's because she is here. I see her almost every day.

I don't see the daughter in California very often, so I think about her a lot and about my grandson. I don't see the one in New York very often, either, but she doesn't have a three year old to report on all the time, and anyway, she has always been a more private person who does not share as much information about her life with me. I love her a lot and think of her a lot, but do not have so much to chat about with you concerning Ruth.

But, back to Rita. From the very beginning, she was crazy about horses. No, I won't give you a whole biography. But she was so darned cute, I have to show you at least one picture of her when she was little.

She's still "little" But only in physical size. She has become a strong woman, able to stand up and fight for her beliefs and ideals.

This was Rita with her grandmother in 1973, visiting North Cape May from New York. Sorry it doesn't show the long braids. They were below her waist.

Here she is a few years later, I would guess 1979, on the beach in Cape May. The hair was shorter then.

Rita is one of the most selfless and generous people I know. She is always ready and willing to do anything I ask. The list of charities she helps support is a long one. Most recently, I drove her up to C.A.R.A. with shopping bags full of food to be distributed for Thanksgiving. She always manages to give a couple of frozen turkeys. When she made her decision to buy the house, I th
ink one of her most serious problems to consider was whether she would still be able to contribute as much to charity as she would like.

This is Aunt Rita with Isaac a couple of years ago.(What happened to all that hair?)

At Christmas time, Rita is in her glory. She gets to give gifts to everyone - even to everyone's pets. She is definitely Mrs. Santa Claus. It is not that she has all that much money. It's just that she would rather share with others. And she is just as willing to share her time and effort, whether it's typing letters for Amnesty International, or baking and helping out with church activities.

Do I sound like a proud mama? Guess so. I am. Rita is a nice person to know, and I'm glad she's my daughter. Her dad would be very proud of her too.

Monday, November 24, 2008

My Husband

November is not a good month for me. The weather is usually cold and raw, which means that my arthritic joints start giving me trouble. When storms start brewing, I remember my old friend, sciatica. A
nd there are a number of sad anniversaries for our family in this month, including my brother-in-law and a very dear nephew.

Today marks the thirty-third anniversary of my husband's death. His funeral was on the day before Thanksgiving, so that holiday is not the joyous one it used to be. It used to be a very hard day to get through. As they tell us, time does heal, and it is no longer a day for shedding tears. Over the pa
st thirty-three years, I have stopped remembering the terrible and sad things, and instead, spend the time thinking of the wonderful eighteen years we had together. Well, nineteen if you count that year before we were married. So today I intend to celebrate his life, rather than his death. We pretty much had an eighteen year honeymoon. Not that there weren't hard times too, but truthfully, I barely remember them now. Our love always managed to overshadow them. It was fun! It was wonderful! And I wouldn't trade those short eighteen years for a lifetime with anyone else.

Back in March, I wrote a post on Ralph, and I don't want to repeat myself. And I know I've printed some of these photos before - but those I will repeat. I always enjoy looking at old photos again, and maybe you will too.

Now is this a picture,
or what? Ralph and his sister and brothers - including his twin. Don't they look angelic?

And here he is, growing up in Hempstead, New York. I love this one!

Jumping ahead several years, here we are in 1957.

And here is Ralph with our first,
child, Ruth.

A few years later, Joe and then Rita had been added.

This is the day we added Charlie to the family. I was about ten months pregnant at the time with Kitty. Ralph had had a heart attack about a dozen years earlier. The first words he said w
hen he learned we were pregnant again were, "I'll never live to see this one grow up." I didn't believe it for a minute.

Speaking of Kitty - He spent every minute he could with her.

I guess he tried to cram in all the time he could for her to remember.

This is the terrible Polaroid a neighbor took of the six of us (and the dog and the cat) when Kitty announced at the last minute that she needed a family photo for kindergarten that day.

Bad as it is, I love this little piece of the picture above. I don't have another of the two of us taken any later. It was a year before he died.

So, I will spend today quietly, and wrap myself in warm memories.

When I did the post in March, I also left a quote from poet, Rabindranath Tagore. I can think of nothing more appropriate:

The butterfly counts not months - but moments - and has time enough.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

National American Indian Heritage Month

In an editorial this past week, our local weekly paper, The Cape May Star and Wave asked how many of us were aware that November is designated National American Indian Heritage Month. I don't think that number would be very large. The front page carried a story by Jennifer Koff about the Cape May Elementary School honoring Native Americans, citing significant contributions made by the First Americans to "the establishment and growth of the United States".

She goes on to say that in 1915, through the efforts of Red Fox James, a Blackfoot Indian, the endorsement of 24 state governments for a day to honor American Indians was presented to the White House. Nothing much was done about it on a national scale. It was not until 1990 that the month of November was named. In each succeeding year the proclamation has been renewed. But, have you ever heard of it? I haven't. There seems to be no particular interest nor promotion of the idea.

This is really not surprising. Our Native Americans, of whom we should be so proud, have long suffered disgraceful treatment by our government. From the very beginning, with the arrival of Europeans on our shores, the lot of these people has been a shameful part of our history. It still is. Yes, I know about the casinos that have made a select few rich. But the majority of Native Americans, particularly those who have chosen to do so, or who by unfortunate accident of birth, still live on Reservations do not enjoy the basic freedoms and protection of the law that all the rest of us in this country enjoy.

I recently watched a PBS program concerning this. People living on Reservations are deprived of basic human rights and the same protection of the law that we take for granted. It all goes back to the Major Crimes Act of 1885. Yes, that is 1885, and still in force today. It is a strangely convoluted system of "justice" in which tribal police are only permitted to handle relatively minor cases. Anything major, like rape, murder, etc., must go to the F.B.I. and a Federal Prosecutor. And guess what - the investigations are usually shoddy, and the Federal Prosecutor declines to prosecute 65% of cases sent to him. In far too many cases, the Tribal Prosecutors are not even given the courtesy of being informed if and when these cases are declined. Obviously, I am not very well informed in these matters. I am quoting the program, which received most of its information from the Denver Post, who has tried, and I believe still is trying to ferret out the facts and make some kind of sense of it. They stated that no less than 70% of cases of sexual abuse of children have been ignored and the child predators involved remain living in the community, free to do as they please.

"Based on where they live, an entire class of people do not get the same justice the rest of us receive."

Something to think about during this National American Indian Heritage Month, and especially during our Thanksgiving celebration.


Back on February 2nd of this year, I published The Native American Ten Commandments. I think it may be appropriate to republish them with this post.

I found this picture some time ago in Webshots. I know that there are other versions of the commandments. I happen to prefer this one. I doubt that we can ever know which version may be the "original" one, or if there is a single original.

The Earth is our Mother,
care for her

Honor all your relations

Open your heart and soul to the
Great Spirit

All life is sacred; treat all
beings with respect

Take from the Earth what is
needed and nothing more

Do what needs to be done for
the good of all

Give constant thanks to the
Great Spirit for each new day

Speak the truth, but only of
the good in others

Follow the rhythms of nature;
rise and retire with the sun

Enjoy life's journey but
leave no tracks

If only we could follow these precepts every day. I guess I'm a dreamer. But, imagine....

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Shadow Shot Sunday #27

It is Sunday once again in Australia, where Tracey is hosting this fun meme, at her blog, Hey Harriet. Why not drop by and thank her, and take a look at the many other shadow pictures. Most of them are really great! As a matter of fact, they all are.

My pictures today are a couple I took up at Cape May Point State Park. I got a kick out of the first one, just because it's me and I'm very, VERY tall.

And it struck me funny that in the second one, I appe
ar to be taller than the lighthouse. Shadows are such fun!

Camera Critters #33

Camera Critters time again, thanks to Misty Dawn.

I know that many of you love your cats very much. I do not have a cat. I have had them in the past, or rather, my children have had them. I am a dog person myself.I really prefer this kind of cat.

But thanks to neighbors, there are always cats around my house. For instance....

This one doesn't bother me much, and is the prettiest one of the bunch.

I say "bunch" because my next door neighbor has five, and most of them are allowed to roam the neighborhood. They only go home to eat.

This one spends most of his time on my porch. When he's on the railing, I don't mind. I hate it when he lies just outside of my door for me to t
rip over him.

This is the really mean one. His name is Buddy. He challenges other cats and gets into fights.

I couldn't find the picture I took of the white one, who lies directly under my hummingbird feeder every chance he gets. Here's another, not from next door. My daughter took this one. It's possible that I printed this near Halloween?

Those that live next door spend most of their time digging up my garden, tracking muddy paw prints all over my car, killing birds in my yard, or howling under my windows. As I said, I'm a dog person.

I really don't mind cats, and I think they are beautiful animals, so graceful. And of course kittens are adorable. But I do not understand why, if you have a pet, you wouldn't want to keep it at home, safe and protected, unless you happen to live on a farm and let them roam the acreage. When we had cats, they were always indoor cats.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Sky Watch #19

The cold November sunsets do not seem to be as vivid as last month's evening skies. But though they are paler, they are still beautiful.

I was in a shopping center about a week ago, and as I walked back to my car, I looked up and saw this sky.

When I reached my car, I continued to watch t
he sky until it grew dark.

Please go to the Sky Watch site to see more wonderful skies. Sky Watch is made possible through the efforts of a growing team of people. Thanks to them all for their efforts in continuing to make this possible for us all.