Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Morning After

The Villas Girl has some good pictures of our little storm yesterday. She went out for a walk in the neighborhood. There she goes.

I stayed inside of course. I do remember times, many years ago, when I reveled in a really good snow storm, and would be out there until there were icicles hanging from my hair. But that was when I was young and foolish.

Today I curl up under a blanket and wait it out. This morning I finally went to the back door and pushed - hard - until I got it open just a little way, and took a couple of pictures.

Brrrrrrrr !

Saturday, January 30, 2010

It's Here Again

It is now about 2:30 in the afternoon. This is supposed to continue all night.

One month, two weeks, and four days cannot come soon enough!

The weather report still says we might get an inch. How do they explain the four inches we have already?

Shadow Shot Sunday

Thanks to Tracy for hosting Shadow Shots Sunday for us each week.

A couple of weeks ago I saw a beautiful sunset from my back deck. The birds sitting on the wires seemed to be enjoying it, but I was disappointed that all of those wires got in the way.

As I turned back into the kitchen, I caught sight of the reflection of the sunset in the glass of the door. Lovely shadows and light. No wires that you could notice.

I even enjoyed the sight of the sunset filtered through the curtain.

Winter sunsets can be very nice. But oh, how I long for spring at this point. According to Michelle, at Rambling Woods, it is just one month, two weeks and four days away!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Update on Isaac

You may remember a picture I published a short time ago of my grandson planting peas in a little raised bed that his father made (at Isaac's request) from his old sandbox.

The peas are sprouting now. Fourteen seedlings have put in an appearance! He looks pretty proud of them.

His latest thing seems to be magic. He is fascinated by magicians, and has decided to give it a try himself. Here is is showing his disappearing dollar trick to a rather unimpressed audience.

He's growing up so fast! Almost five years old now!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Thinking Green Thursday

Thanks again to Michelle for hosting Thinking Green Thursday.

As I have mentioned in the past, one of my most exciting adventures was climbing to Point Sur Light Station in California, spiraling up the rock toward the lighthouse, pausing along the way to look out over the Pacific Ocean, and watching the whales breaching and spouting as they migrated past.

Each year these animals travel from their feeding grounds in the Bering Sea, to lagoons in Baja, California, where they calve, and back again.

In the 1990's, about 28,000 of the whales made this trip, twenty or thirty per hour, swimming in close groups. Last year there were only 17,000 to 18,000. Climate change is impacting the habits of so many animals, the gray whale among them.

Scientists are observing these changes. They are seeing the northern migration of the whales become more spread out instead of traveling in the close groups as before. Their 10,000 mile trip seems to have become too much for them to accomplish all at once. As the ice melts away in the north, more and more are lingering along the coast of Oregon and Washington for a time before moving on to their feeding grounds. We do not yet know how these changes will ultimately effect them. Once again, the actions of human beings are interfering with Mother Nature.

My source and photo: Sea Notes from Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Once upon a time there was a lovely, quiet neighborhood called Amityville. It's very name will tell you what it was like. Big old Dutch Colonial homes, sitting on large lots, beautifully landscaped, boat houses along the canal, huge old shade trees lining wide roads. It wasn't far from my home, and when my children were old enough, I took them to that neighborhood to learn to drive. There was almost no traffic, and there was plenty of space to maneuver the car.

One morning, an unhappy boy who lived in one of those houses got up early, and high on drugs, he took a gun and he killed every member of his family. A terrible tragedy. The newspapers had a field day.

What is it within the human being that makes us almost rejoice at the suffering of others? Why must we rubberneck at the scene of an accident or a house fire? Why did the Romans fill the arena to watch the lions and the Christians, or the people in Massachusetts want to witness the burning of witches? People fairly ate up every item of "news" about this event. People from miles around drove to Amityville just to look at the house where this tragedy happened.

And one person decided it was the perfect opportunity for him . He bought the house and moved into it. He started building a story. He wrote a book. And then the lovely, quiet neighborhood became the scene of chaos. Cars filled the streets, even drove up onto lawns. People swarmed over private property - in many cases, not knowing for sure which house it was, they invaded neighboring properties. They were looking for souvenirs, and broke off shingles or took whatever they could find.

Human beings are capable of noble deeds, great kindness and sacrifice, true altruism. But there is something else within us. The other side of human nature. Why must we know all the details of other people's distress? They say it's what sells newspapers. It's certainly what sells gossip magazines and brings us in front of the TV screen to watch others make complete fools of themselves. And what is it that makes people participate in TV shows, pouring out to the world facts about themselves that are really no one's business but their own? Well, I guess that would have to be money in their pockets, wouldn't it? But surely no amount of money would induce me to do that. Thank heaven there is nothing in my life so far that would tempt me to that. I am sure I would not allow myself to sink to those depths. - But I once saw it happen to a close friend. I watched in disbelief - and then finally convinced myself that we never know until we are experiencing something ourselves, just how we would react in the same situation. That's a rather frightening thought.

Monday, January 25, 2010

A Department We Could Use

Did you see this one in The New Yorker? Don't you agree that this is one new department we could really use?

Sunday, January 24, 2010


This is Latifah. Daryl, of Out and About in New York City, has asked that we post this picture and description. She says that Latifah has been in the window of the vet's office for over a month, looking very sad.

If you are interested in giving Latifah a home, and live anywhere near New York City, give a call to the vet at 212-721-2287.

Strange Things Are Happening

Yes, strange things are happening.

For instance, it seems that my daughter, Rita, cannot wear a watch. We've known this for a long time. It was just brought to my attention again because she now has to ride a bus to work some days, and would really like to be able to glance at a watch to know if it is time for its arrival.

When Rita wears a watch, or even if she carries one in her pocket or on a chain around her neck, the watch stops. If it is the digital type, the battery runs out very quickly, so that one will stop too. Because of the bus schedule thing, she picked up an inexpensive watch, and tried keeping it in her purse. It is running very fast, and she never knows if it is ten minutes ahead, or even more. She has to reset it constantly. There just seems to be no way for her to be able to carry the time with her. She has to have access to a clock.

Curious. Anyone have an idea why this happens?

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday is brought to us by Tracy, of Hey Harriet every week - on Sundays in Australia, and Saturdays in the United States.

My daughter, Kathryn, recently spent a week at Esalen Institute up in Big Sur country in California. She took many really beautiful pictures. Among them were these two, which she offered to me for Shadow Shots.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Thinking Green Thursday

Thinking Green Thursday is always hosted for us by Michelle. Her posts are always timely and contain much very interesting and helpful information.

My post today is on the lighter side, and my source is, once again, the Monterey Bay Aquarium's blog, Sea Notes, both pictures and information. I do love this blog.

When Nature creates a pattern, you will find it recurring over and over again. The perfect example is the strawberry. We are all familiar with the fruit. What we may not be aware of is the fact that the pattern is repeated in such things as mushrooms. This one was found by the blog author during a hike at Point Lobos.

He also tells us of a strawberry crab. I doubt if many - or any - of us have seen this one. He has noted that this photo is courtesy of Ho Ping-Ho at the National Taiwan Ocean University.

I just found these interesting. Hope you do too.

Have to add to this post. Thanks to Lisa Lakel, at Two Miles High, I have learned that the mushroom pictured above is an amanita muscaria, and is poisonous and hallucinagenic. How about that!

And a couple of people have commented that they have seen or heard of the recently discovered strawberry crab.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Shelter Box Arrival !!

Did you see Dianne's post today! She has pictures of the actual arrival of some Shelter Boxes in Haiti.

These are pictures that Dianne posted.

And here is a tent being put to use.

I know - a few are just a drop in the bucket. But every drop helps! Can you imagine what it would mean to you if you had lost everything - EVERYTHING - that you owned, and saw all of your family, friends and neighbors in the same situation, and suddenly you were presented with a tent for ten people, bedding, water purifier tablets, containers for water, tools, and even some school supplies for your children! The nothing that you had suddenly turned into SOMETHING. Difficult to understand. We have so much. And they have nothing at all.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Library

As I've mentioned before, our local branch of the library is undergoing renovation and a big addition. My daughter, Rita will be working a bit farther away from home for a few months, until the construction is finished.

This is how it has looked up until the present time. Not exactly my favorite, architecturally speaking.

This is how it looks today. They seem to be making pretty good time with the construction. Let's hope that continues, and there are no bad delays due to weather related problems.

This is the temporary quarters, with boxes of books waiting to be shelved.

They are sandwiched between a nail parlor and a Chinese restaurant.

At least they won't have far to go for lunch while working there.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Martin Luther King Day

This morning I read Paz's post, and learned of a charity I had known nothing about before. It sounds like such a great one for the Haiti disaster! You may want to consider contributing to it.

It could put a roof over heads, as well as offering water and supplies so badly needed.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Credit Cards to Contribute to Help Haiti

Thanks to The Pagan Sphinx for a heads up on this.

Don't let any part of your money, intended to help Haiti, to to the Credit Card Companies and banks.

"Subject: Another thing you can do to help in Haiti


Haiti has been devastated by a massive earthquake. Americans are opening their hearts and their wallets to help. But credit card companies see this as an opportunity to turn a profit.

They take a cut every time Americans use their credit card to make a charitable contribution. Isn't that outrageous?

I just signed a petition to the CEOs of all the big credit card companies telling them they need to refund this fee for all the donations to aid organizations working in Haiti and get rid of the fee for all charitable contributions going forward. Will you join me?"

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Shadow Shot Sunday once again. Tracy, at Hey Harriet, is hosting for us.

In Australia, where Tracy is, the weather is balmy. Not so here, on the eastern shore of the United States. We have already had a couple of snow storms this winter. One morning last week I woke to find another two inches or so of snow. Well, here in New Jersey it hasn't really been all that bad so far, as it has elsewhere. And it is pretty - at least when it has just fallen. Makes for pretty shadows too.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thinking Green Thursday

Thinking Green Thursday is brought to us each week by Michellle, who writes the most wonderful posts, accompanied by wonderful photos.

My post this week is the result of my own daydreaming. As most of my readers know, my youngest daughter has lived in Monterey County, California for several years. I have visited out there many times, and I think it is the next best thing to heaven. I had intended moving to the area when I retired, but that never happened, for several reasons. I suppose it's for the best, considering the present cost of living in Monterey. But I can dream, can't I?

All pictures in this post come from my daughter, Kathryn. She spent some time last week in Big Sur country.

It's beauty is breath-taking - in sunshine -

and in the fog that often hangs low over the coastline.

There are several places in the county which are destinations for monarch butterflies to spend the winter. This was one of them, and Kathryn captured some lovely photos of a monarch on an echium plant.

Do I even have to ask if this world is worth saving? Every part of our Planet Earth offers such wonders. How do we dare to despoil it?

How do we dare to ignore any opportunity to do whatever we can to help to preserve all of this for our children?

This is my grandson, busy planting peas in the raised bed his father has just finished creating.

He deserves a beautiful, clean, healthy world to enjoy.

The children of Haiti also deserve that kind of world. Please go to Michelle's post to find where you can make contribution toward helping them in the terrible disaster they have suffered.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Wear Blue Today

Wear blue today for the Oceans! Support a National Oceans Policy.

I was wearing blue at Point Sur Light Station.

Presidential Seal

"We have a stewardship responsibility to maintain healthy, resilient, and sustainable oceans, coasts, and Great Lakes resources for the benefit of this and future generations."

President Barack Obama, June 12, 2009

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Have I mentioned recently that my youngest daughter is rather amazing? All of my children are, each in her/his own way. They never cease to amaze me. But today, it's my youngest. Well, "amaze" isn't really the right word because I've always known the kind of person she is.

Today I received an email addressed to all the family from her. It concerns the fact that her son will soon celebrate his fifth birthday. I would love to post it here, but I won't do that unless she tells me I may. But I will say that it reminds me very much of the website she and her husband had before their wedding, when they requested that their family and friends NOT give them gifts. They asked at that time that those who felt they must give gifts make charitable contributions in their names instead. That isn't what she has asked this time, but it is in a similar vein.

I have great hopes for this little guy. With parents like his, how can he not become someone really special?

I always love receiving emails from Kitty. And I always have to smile when I read the quote that always appears at the end. It is this one:

"The source of my difficulties has always been the same: an inability to accept what to others seems natural, and an irresistible tendency to voice opinions no one wants to hear..." - Isabel Allende

I often think that I should use that one myself.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Shadow Shot Sunday

Tracy is once again hosting Shadow Shot Sunday from Australia. Take a look and discover shadows from all over the world.

I took a ride on Thursday afternoon - while the sun was shining, and before the promised snow arrived once again. I drove down to Cape May docks and found the afternoon sun was creating shadows among the fishing party boats.