Monday, November 30, 2009

Crazy Weather

Is this weather crazy, or what? It's the end of November! One day it will be nasty and cold, windy and raining. The next, it is absolutely beautiful and warm. Lilacs are budding. The crocuses I planted are sending up shoots. What are these things going to do next spring?

Yesterday it was so beautiful that my daughter suggested we ride down to the alpaca farm again. I wanted to buy something at their gift shop for my oldest daughter's birthday, which falls on December 30th. Who knows what kind of weather we may be having next month? So that's where we went. We were told the alpacas have been inside the barn for a few days in the past week. But on Sunday they were all grazing very happily in the meadows.

There was a slight chill in the air, and one of the babies (called crias) was wearing a warm jacket. This picture is my daughter's. The cria looks like a skinny little thing. No wonder she needed the warmth. I love her white face in contrast to the brown body.

Here's one of the males. They are kept in separate pastures - and in separate sections of the barn as well. The males are over-amorous, and the farm would be overrun with offspring if they were allowed to fraternize with the females.

I see this one has the white face too. Maybe he is the papa to that little one.

There were lots of visitors, and the gift shop was full when I got there. I knew what I wanted, and went straight for it. That is the kind of place in which I don't dare look around too much. I want everything in sight. The alpaca products are so beautifully made, I'm always tempted. And they have toys and Christmas ornaments as well as clothing.

We had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Mellow Yellow Monday

On Mellow Yellow Monday, Drowsey Monkey hosts the meme for us, and we thank her very much for doing that.

The other day I watched a very big yellow truck drive into a shopping center.

It took some maneuvering. I'm glad it wasn't attempting to handle the curves and narrow roadways here.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

Sunday in Australia, Saturday in the U.S. Wherever you are, Tracy is hosting Shadow Shot Sunday for us once again. Thanks, Tracy.

I was waiting in the parking lot for my daughter to come out after her dental appointment, and I liked the way the shadows looked on the steps of the office building.

Then I headed home again.

Friday, November 27, 2009

We're All Thankful for the Internet

Several people have expressed their thankfulness for the internet in the past few days. I have to join them in that sentiment. Blogging has certainly become a very large part of my life in the past two years, and blogging friends have come to mean so much to me. My computer has become my lifeline, as I have become less able to get out and do the things I used to do.

And I could not resist showing you another reason we have to be thankful for modern technology. Recently my son-in-law had to take a business trip to Taiwan. Life without Daddy at home is stressful for Isaac and his mom. But here is how they coped. Isn't that great?

All of us can talk about the good old days when we were young, and how we didn't have modern conveniences. But just think of today's children! Will they ever be able to understand how we managed to get along without such things? Their eyes grow wide and full of doubt just talking about the days before television. Now this?

I can remember watching the Saturday matinee, with serials like Buck Rogers, and thinking how silly the ideas were in those outlandish movies with their robots and such. Kids today would just snicker at such totally unsophisticated things.

But even today, kids do enjoy swings and rings and slides - and climbing trees. Thank God for that!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tomorrow Is Buy Nothing Day

Don't forget tomorrow is Buy Nothing Day.


Sky Watch Friday

It is Sky Watch Friday, and again our thanks to the team that does all the work for us: Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Wren, Louise and Sylvia.

I hope that everyone in the U.S. is having a beautiful Thanksgiving. I'm sorry I missed the Canadian day of celebration. Hope that was a lovely one too.

Here is one more group of autumn photos - sort of a last gasp before all of the leaves are gone for the winter, starting with a pretty fence and a pretty corner of the street.

I took these a week or so ago. Most of the bright foliage is gone already.

Happy Thanksgiving

I wish you all a very happy

Hold your loved ones close.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Invisible Woman

This was sent to me by my friend, Eileen. You may have seen it before. It is one more thing we might think about on Thanksgiving - and just about any other time of year.

Think(ing) Green Thursday

Last April, Gina, aka The Pagan Sphinx, came up with a brilliant meme known as Think Green Thursday. I loved the idea and started to participate. When Gina's life became so busy and she found many duties so pressing that she could no longer find the time to blog regularly, she felt that she had to put the meme aside. At that time I wished that I could step up to host it, but I knew that, first, I did not have the skill necessary to handle the job, and, second, I honestly was not sure that I would be around to continue it very long.

Enter Michelle! She already hosted a meme on the environmental theme, Nature Notes Thursday. (Try it. You'll like it!) So she knew she could handle the ropes, so to speak. And the care and health of our world was her major concern. Michelle took over hosting what became Think(ing) Green Thursday.

Michelle does a fantastic job with both of her memes. She does extensive research on her topics each week, giving us so much information and marvelous and imaginative ideas on ways in which we can help our environment. Her writing style and her photography are superb.

But she worries. She feels that participation in her memes has not grown significantly. Why are not a great many people interested enough in our environment? I don't agree that the relatively small number of participants indicates a lack of concern for the topic. I believe that those of us who are participating have a great many more interested readers than our numbers would make us believe. What is happening to our world today is frightening, and that realization and the question of how we can deal with it is mind numbing. I'm sure many who would like to participate are intimidated by the subject. I am. I keep putting up posts because, for some reason it makes me feel better to write things down, even though I feel totally inadequate to the task of conveying anything of real substance. I tend to rely on supplying links to others who come up with more solid ideas. Maybe at least I can steer someone in the right direction. A lot more people do comment than participate. And a lot more people read the posts than leave comments. Those who have counters on our blogs know that.

Thinking green doesn't need to mean a post full of great ideas. It can be one expressing appreciation for what we have here on Planet Earth. Or it can be a photo. Some of our regulars post some really beautiful photos. I look forward to them each week.

Michelle has created this Green Thinker badge for those of us who are concerned with thinking green. THANK YOU, MICHELLE. She has asked us each to post something about what we try to do in our lives to help a little. I wish that I had the energy and physical ability to do much more, but I do whatever I can each day toward making our world a cleaner, happier place. I recycle of course, try to conserve energy, plant a garden, try to avoid buying or using plastics - all the much- discussed, mundane things. I often fail or forget, and become angry with myself for it. But you have to keep trying. When you stop trying you had better stop complaining, because then it becomes your fault. And while you're at it, write your congressmen about it (I do that too), and tell them what you think they should be doing. Write to the owners of the coal mines, and other large corporations whose actions are polluting our air and land and streams and oceans. Don't think about it. Do it! It isn't "just one letter", it's one of thousands - maybe millions! And blog about it too.

And maybe you could encourage us and one another by participating in this meme in any way you can. Those of us who do this every week would be very thankful tomorrow for your support and company.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Extraordinary Experiences

We are all thrilling to the PBS series on the National Parks these days. I am really grateful for them, since I have never visited a single one of these parks. Still, there is nothing to compare with experiencing a fantastically beautiful place or event in Nature for oneself. The series has reminded me of a post I did almost two years ago. And the other night we were told there would be a meteor shower at about 3: or 4: in the morning. I did get out of bed, hoping to see it, but I saw nothing. My daughter, Rita, says she saw a few of the shooting stars, but that it was not spectacular. Nevertheless, it again reminded me of my old post. I decided that I would re-post it today.

In January 2008 I called this post "Awesome Events".

"Awe" is not a particularly popular concept except in teen vocabulary of a little while ago. For that reason, it is appropriate to be used to express the nearly unexpressable. (Is that a word?) I have been blessed with several truly awesome experiences during my lifetime. There are, of course, the human experiences involving love and childbirth. But I am thinking now of Nature's beauty and power.

Most outstanding of my experiences surely must be the meteor shower I observed from the back deck of my home one frigid night. The only thing that could have improved on it would have been a companion to share the experience. Sharing with someone always makes it better. I was quite alone. Never having seen a meteor before, much less a shower of them, I had no idea what to expect. I kept watching the skies, wondering from what direction it would come. From the corner of my eye I detected a streak of light so I turned in that direction, waiting for another. Another came - but from a different direction. Soon there were several appearing from many directions. At that point, I deserted my post on the front steps in favor of the back deck, where I could put a couple of lawn chairs together and lean back with my feet up and stare into the dark sky. I was alone, but was soon gasping and crying out in amazement, as stars came shooting in every direction, covering the heavens with glorious light. It went on for more than an hour. I was bundled up for the weather, but was in danger of becoming a human popsicle in the zero degree temperature, but I could not abandon the scene so long as it continued. I went around for days afterwards, unable to stop smiling.

Then there was the event of the butterflies. I love butterflies, and had observed the migration of the monarchs several times in Late September or early October, from the Cape May coast where they rest before their long flight across the Delaware Bay. I had always been thrilled by the sight. But one year, about a week after the migration at Cape May Point, I decided to take a ride up to East Point Lighthouse in Heislerville, at the mouth of the Maurice River. I had never been to East Point. I found at the end of the ride that one takes a dirt road to a small parking area, frequented mostly by fishermen. The lighthouse itself cannot be seen from the parking site because it is surrounded by fir trees and shrubs. Several butterflies of various kinds were flitting around, here and there. I crossed the small bridge and headed for the break in the greenery. As I stepped through to the clearing in which the lighthouse stands, I was suddenly in the midst of a cloud of butterflies! There were hundreds of monarchs, but also other species - checkerspots and cabbages, American ladies, sulphurs - I don't know what-all. They filled the air, brushing against me as I walked, covered the grass and the trees and bushes. I kept turning 'round and 'round, trying to take in every one of the flying flowers.


Interestingly enough, at least three of my most awesome experiences all took place in California. It is a truly amazing part of the world.

The first was my first visit to Point Lobos. My words are totally inadequate. Any time I attempt to describe the area my head is filled with the words of the prelude to the poem, Evangeline. - "This is the forest primeval - the murmering pines and the hemlocks, bearded with moss and in garments green.....While loud from its rocky caverns the deep voiced neighboring ocean speaks...." I believe the poem was actually written there, even though it describes another place. How could I improve on that? Thank you, Mr. Longfellow.


Next must be the redwoods. Again, I find that words elude me. I do not believe there are words to do them justice. Many attempts have been made to describe them by people far more talented than I. Words like "breath-taking" and "humbling". It really doesn't work. Walking in a redwood forest must be experienced to be appreciated. I've tried to do it through photography. Photos can be impressive, and can certainly re-create for me the feelings I had while there, but they cannot bring it to the observer who has not experienced it for himself.

This photo is not mine. It is from my daughter, Kathryn. I think it is very beautiful, and I hope that it gives the reader some sense of awe of the magnificent creations that these trees are.


And finally there was my visit to the Point Sur Light Station.
aking the steep climb, winding around the rock to the lighthouse, three miles above, enjoying the beauty of the view over the Pacific and the wild flowers along the way, looking out over the ocean, as the migrating whales spouted and breached, was the last great adventure in Nature in which I have been able to participate. It was a challenging accomplishment for me and very satisfying to complete. It was a sight that I enjoyed all the more because I was very much aware that I would never be able to repeat it.

I'm afraid that this picture of the rock is a bit fuzzy. The camera lens was not the best. The
Light Station sits to your right at the top, a bit lower than the fog line. The other buildings include a visitors' center, housing photographs and other articles from the past. Of notable interest were photos of the sparrowhawk biplanes that used to patrol the waters - launched, mind you, from a slingshot sort of device.

You can also see, to the left at the bottom of the rock, the start of the path we took for the climb. Please do click on the picture to enlarge it.


Just one more awesome experience. This one took place thousands of feet in the air. I love flying. My first flight over the Rockies was on a magnificently clear day. I spent the entire flight with my nose pressed against the window of the plane, like a six year old. Now that was breath-taking!

As I re-read this post, it does bring all of those experiences back to me. But once again I realize that words - at least my words - just don't do the job adequately. When we celebrate Thanksgiving this week, I know how much I have to be thankful for. Beyond my husband and family and many wonderful friends, I have been allowed these, and many other experiences, far beyond what so many on this earth have had, and have been spared first-hand knowledge of war or famine or other of their great tragedies. Thank you, God.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I've been thinking so much of my dear friend, Wyetta lately. As I've mentioned before, she has been a long, long time in hospitals and nursing homes, and is now in a convalescent and rehab facility. It's a nice place. The staff seems very nice, and she has made many friends there. But of course, it isn't home. And it isn't near enough that I can visit her there often. It is near most of my doctors, so whenever I have an appointment I try to make a visit to her as well.

In recent months I haven't made many visits. We have spoken on the phone and I have written letters. Sometimes I do email her as well, but she has a problem with the computer and has not been able to email me except on rare occasions. I miss her so much. And yesterday I received a very brief email from her, telling me that she misses me.

We met in 1978, when we worked together in a part time job. I had just moved to New Jersey from New York. Wyetta was the first real friend I made here, and has become the friend dearest to me. We share so much. It breaks my heart not to be able to see her more often. This is how she looked back in those days. Her smile can light up any room, and it's infectious.

We shared a love for photography and of the outdoors, and we found lots of ways to combine those two interests, taking the children and exploring our world. How I miss those days. How I miss our visits, sitting at her kitchen table, looking at photos and talking. I have more in common with her than I have ever had with anyone else except my husband. I have another dear friend, Lisa, whom you know as the Villas Girl, and I love her too, but feel more as if she is "my other daughter". I value her friendship very highly and she has been my mainstay for a long time. Do not know what I would do without her. But even though Wyetta is young enough to be my daughter, she seems for some reason to be more my contemporary. I have other good friends, but the few who are still living are scattered over the country from Florida to Hawaii, and we no longer meet. So these days I feel I have only my two friends, Lisa and Wyetta, and one of them is out of reach most of the time.

It is hard to feel so helpless to reach out to my friend. Wyetta not only has been far from home for such a long time, at present she is unable to speak. She cannot call, has trouble writing, and often even trouble trying to email. It must be so frustrating for her. I am very grateful that she is at least in fairly pleasant surroundings and among good people. But I want to be there to give her a hug more often.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Shadow Shot Sunday

It's Sunday in Australia, and Tracy is hosting Shadow Shots for us once more. Follow the link and see what fun shadows can be.

Many people in our town plant these graceful, tall grasses. I enjoy seeing them, sparkling in the sun and waving in the breeze.


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Sky Watch Friday

We thank the team: Klaus, Sandy, Fishing Guy, Wren, Louise and Sylvia, for bringing us Sky Watch each week. Couldn't do it without them!

Sometimes hazy mornings in autumn often bring us pretty sunrises. I didn't get to go chasing this one, but even from my back deck, through the trees, this one looked very pretty to me.

Buy Nothing Day

I really like this idea! I know that there are many out there who will think I'm crazy, but I really like this idea! We have become such a blindly unthinking mass of consumers. We MUST HAVE so many THINGS!

Go visit Two Miles High. It's the Think(ing) Green Thursday post. There, Lisa will tell you all about it. Give it some serious thought. Please. Participate by not participating. Not just by not buying, but think about the other ideas she presents.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Think(ing) Green Thursday

Once again, thank you, Michelle, for hosting Think(ing) Green Thursday.

Just a few reasons why I care so much about a healthy environment.

And mostly because I want my little grandson, and all of the children who come after him to experience the beauty of nature. I don't want them to have to read about it in books. I want them to breathe clean air and drink clean water, and to know the joy that I have experienced on this green earth.