Monday, May 31, 2010


Saturday morning, a friend and I joined the Audubon birdwatching group at the City of Lubbock Cemetery .  As we waited for the group, the cemetery manager joined us and apologized for the Confederate Flag that flew over the Civil War Monument.  He explained that there were Union soldiers mentioned on the monument, and there was a group that came out and put out Confederate flags on the graves of the Confederate Soldiers.

We reassured him that that was not an issue for us, and that we were bird watching.  My personal thoughts on this issue is that I have enough respect, that I can and will respect the fallen soldiers on both sides of that war.  Having visited Gettysburg and Vicksburg I will say that I can honor the fallen on both sides of the war, and I am scarred by the horrors of the history of war that I saw.  It makes me believe even more that war is not the answer, communication and cooperation is the answer.

The cemetery manager mentioned the Memorial Day ceremony and a friend and I both said that this year, we wanted to attend.  He commented that this ceremonyhad only occurred for the last 7 or 8 years. I try to keep in touch with what happens in the city, and he is right: except for a few private church ceremonies, the city of Lubbock did not have a ceremony for Memorial Day until the last few years. So sad.

Where I grew up, we had a parade, a gun shot salute, Taps, and flags at the cemetery.

The ceremony today included the information that the City of Lubbock had about 3000 veterans, including 3 Medal of Honor recipients... After the ceremony, the Girl and Boy Scout troops helped to put out flags. The Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America were sung. The Marine contingency did the gun salute, the County Sheriff's Department presented the colors (the flag.) We drove around the cemetery, while the scouts were putting out flags.

Tonight, I went back to the cemetery on my way to go kayaking in the same general area.  There were no flags to speak of in the cemetery... There were a  few that were obviously privately placed on tombstones, but beyond that, there were no American flags nor Confederate flags.

I am not sure what to think about that. 

I am interested in your comments.

Labels: , , , , ,

Jasmine Tea

I went out to lunch today, and ordered hot tea.  It was hot jasmine tea. It was so flavorful and relaxing, I decided to drink some more when I got home.  Hot tea is my drink of choice when I do not feel well.  I enjoy it other times as well...I have really gotten into drinking herb teas.  I like peppermint tea and various teas with licorice in it.   I think the latter dehydrate me, but they are so flavorful going down. I do drink them sparingly, however.


Saturday, May 29, 2010

Ambient Temperature

This time of the year, I pay attention to the ambient temperature late in the evening.  When it drops below the temperature inside the house, I shut off the air conditioning, and open the windows.  At first, it does not help much, even with the ceiling fans running.  I am able to leave the air conditioning off for some 6 to 8 hours, minimum... If it is a work day, I turn it on before going to work... If I am at home, I keep the house open in the morning, watching, the outside vs. inside temperature, until it is time to shut the house and turn on the air conditioning.

I am grateful to be able to have the option of opening the windows.  For years, I did not have the option. 



I went birdwatching this morning, with the Llano Estacado Audubon Society (LEAS)  Birding Birds.  The Birding Birds go out once a month, and are a group who just want to do some comfortable casual birding.  Names of attendees and siting information is kept, but is a very casual, relaxed group.

Labels: , ,

Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend.  A friend and I were discussing our failure to fly flags on a regular basis, just waiting for holidays.  And we discussed the fact that there are Memorial Services for this holiday, although I have not attended any of them in Lubbock.

When  have been in Millers Falls, I made a point to attend the parade.  In years past, it was a grand thing, but as the years have passed, it has become less prominent... But the meaning and intent is there.

This year, in Lubbock, there are multiple ceremonies to attend.  Additionally, in commemoration of D-Day, the Silent Wings Museum has a commemoration event for the weekend. 

I am so glad that our country supports, respects and acknowledges our military personnel. I may not agree with the military actions in which they are involved, but I want every person in the various military services: Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard how very proud I am of them, how thankful I am of their sacrifices, and I hope I am worthy of their efforts.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kayaking tonight

I had talked to a friend last night about going kayaking.  We have tentative plans for the weekend. As I left work tonight, I realized how wonderful the weather was, and it would be possible to get out to kayak. 

I went home and took care of the cats.  They wanted to stay in the garage, but I wanted to get moving.  So, the girls went back into the house.  Unhappily.

I went out to Lake 6.  I am appalled at how out of shape I am.. I found myself  breathing hard as I paddled west.   I rested as needed, and was able to make the bridge... As I paddled east, I had a problem with my right shoulder. I wanted to do the complete circuit, but decided with the pain in my shoulder, it might be best to take it easy.

Since my friend and I have tentative plans to kayak this Saturday, I hope my shoulder does not give in...

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Smoked Cheese

Each of my cats has her idiosyncrasies...One attribute that Haiku has is that she likes smoked cheese.  We have had various smoked cheeses over time: Edam, Gouda, Cheddar. It does not seem to matter too much.  She likes the smoked cheese.

Haiku will not eat smoke cheese if it is in a food dish, or on the floor.  But, if I hold it for her, she will lick the cheese with her textured cat tongue, and consume a good amount of the cheese.

Sake does not seem interested, at all, in smoked cheese. 

Labels: ,

Making Plans versus Being Spontaneous

I can be very spontaneous about activities, and sometimes am.  But, I know myself, and know that I do better if a I have a plan.  It does not need to be a detailed plan, but there has to be some semblance of an idea or possibility that the activity will occur, before I usually engage in the activity.

I think this is in keeping with my somewhat rigid sense of rules and right and wrong.  I can be flexible, and I understand about grey areas.  But I do not like to break rules, I like to do the right thing just because it is the right thing to do. 

But, if I am contemplating an activity, and have considered it for a while, when the time comes, I frequently act swiftly.  So, while that is not total spontaneity, I do act quickly and on what some might think impulse.  It is just that they do not realize how much mental energy I have already put into the activity.

Labels: , , ,

Thank you my good friends

I have been experiencing a minor health difficulty.  If you know me at all, you know that I defer professional medical care as long as I can, before I tend to things.  I do not have a death wish, I just dislike going to the doctor, dentist, or what have you.  So, I do everything I can to get my body to heal itself, first.  I use chicken soup, sunshine, lots of liquid, lots of rest, peppermint.

Well, my coworkers were very concerned when my health problem became obvious.  They were involved in making sure I was doing what I needed to in order to tend to the situation.  Including being sure I made an appointment, and the day the appointment arrived, making sure I was going  to keep that appointment.

Their caring and concern has been very touching, very gratifying, and very appreciated. Life is good when we share it with family and friends.  Today, to my friends, I say "Thank you."

Labels: ,

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Book or a Movie?

I spent Sunday evening reading a book:  Boderline by Nevada Barr a best selling mystery writer who writes stories about a forest ranger, Anna Pigeon.  The stories are set in National Parks and are all mystery stories with lots of interesting information about the national parks, their animal, plant and geological formation inhabitants...

This story is set in the Big Bend National Park, about a river raft trip down the Rio Grande.  I was in that part of the world in 1996, briefly touring, and remember much of the scenery in my mind's eye.  It was fabulous, wonderful, delightful, dessicated. 

I do not think it is my memory of the area that affected me as much as the powerful emotional descriptions in the book, but today, at work, I could not decide if I had read about this story, or seen a movie about it... The images were that powerful, that emotionally evocative that it felt like much more than a reading experience....

I have not yet finished the book... I will read some tonight, but it has been a full evening, and I still have chores to do before I read.  I am anticipating the experience.

Having said that, I will encourage  you to read the Nevada Barr Anna Pigeon stories..

Labels: ,

Friday, May 21, 2010

Minor Wind Event

We are having what I would call a minor wind event tonight:  it is blowing consistently, but not damagingly, and with no dust. Even though the ambient temperature was in the low 80's the windchill makes it feel much cooler.  When I moved to West Texas, my first stop was Amarillo... The press for Amarillo said that the days may be hot, but the evening winds cool everything down.  It may be true there, but during the summer, it is not true in Lubbock. 

I have moved the laptop, with electrical hook up, into the back yard for the first time this season. Why have I not done this sooner?  I do not know! But, it is very pleasant, especially because there are no mosquitoes right now, but that could change in a heart beat.

It is so beautiful out here, and I am so grateful to have a wonderful place to sit out and enjoy the fresh air and moon shine.

Labels: , , , ,

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Ignoring Consequences

I know that it is important to be an informed member of society, especially in respects to world events, political events, weather events, environmental events, and national events.

I am finding it very difficult to listen to the detailed events in connection with the BP oil spill from a collapsed off shore drilling rig..

It still makes me sick, and I am becoming more angry at what allowed this type of drilling rig to be used.....

Labels: ,

Past Due Books

I prefer to check out books from the library than buy them.. I buy the books for my book clubs, and am now struggling with what to do with them:  try to sell them on line, donate them to the Friends of the Library book sale, or donate them to a second hand store supporting a local social service agency.

A couple of weekends ago, I check out 4 books at the library... I did not pay attention to their due date, and just started reading.  I finished a couple of books fairly quickly and turned them in... I got bogged down on the last book, as I wanted to read a book club book in between.. Meanwhile, I received a letter from the City of Lubbock Library that indicated that I had a book that was past due... It is a 7 day book that was not on the 7 day shelf, and did not have a 7 day sticker on it..Oh well, I will finish reading the book between tonight and Saturday morning, and turn it in... I do not mind paying the fine:  I want the library to have the benefit of my money to use for other books.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pronunciations: Say it like a native

I grew up in a part of the world where there were town names like Worcester (Woster), Leominster (Lemonster), or Athol (Athall not Athole, as I had heard it pronounced).  When I moved to Texas I was surprised at some of the pronunciations of names... I knew a little Spanish, and thought Lamesa would be LaMaysa, not the local Lameesa.  It made sense in a way, because the Spanish name was Anglicized. I was also appalled at how little effort locals made to learn correct pronunciation of non-Anglo names, my own Polish one (at the time) included.

Growing up in a part of the world where there were many ethnic backgrounds, we did learn to say names, at least, as their owners pronounced them. Which meant someone with a Polish surname could say Italian names reasonably well...

So, I moved to Lubbock (not Luubock but Lubbuck).  And was amazed at the mispronunciations I heard... Ideal for idea, nucular for nuclear, lano for yawno (Llano).  And I learned early on that Bexar County (Bayer County, home of San Antonio) was not pronounced they way it looked... And, I am always amazed that life long Texans do not know this.

There are some famous mispronunciations, one of the most famous for these parts is the way natives pronounce New Orleans.  I will not even try to phoneticize the way natives say it. Or the famous New England accent "Pahk the cah" (park the car) or go to Hahvavd (Harvard.)

Tonight, I was watching The Weather Channel as Vortex2 was airing their tornado chase.  I had to smile as I listened to the broadcasters back in The Weather Channel studio... Borger (hard g) became Borgier (soft g), Dumas (Duumas) became Dumass. The broadcasters were doing their best to report places about which they had no knowledge, and about which they have never heard before... I appreciate their effort, and the difficulty of knowing the local pronunciation.

Labels: , , ,

Monday, May 17, 2010

Who Knows Where the Time Goes

I left work at a reasonable time and came home to my patiently waiting cats.  I fed them, and the outside cats, cleaned cat pans, put out water, and made a meal of stir fry, while the Red Sox vs. Yankee game was on TV...

After I ate (actually, while I ate), the girls wanted outside, and it was agreeable to me: the air was beautiful. The windows were open, and I could hear the game while the girls were out in the front yard (in harnesses, on leashes). I also was able to read my book, while we were outside.

Later, we moved back inside... I watched more of the game, finished the book, and then watched an autobiography of Dale Earnhardt...All of a sudden, it is 11:30 PM... So, who knows where the time goes.

I remember this song from a life time ago...And, I still ask the question "Who Knows Where the Time Goes?"

Labels: , ,

Dale Earnhardt "Just a Good Racer"

I am a Dale Earnhardt fan from way back, when he was driving the yellow and blue Wrangler Chevy... My heart for NASCAR racing died when he died.  I will not relive all that. But I am watching a TV show tonight about him, and saw the clip where he said he wanted to be remembered  as "just a good racer, not a great racer, just a good racer."  I understand that... the desire to be good at what you do, day in and day out...

I remember the emotions strung out during that year of racing (2001) and then 9/11/2001.  What an emotional year...

My love for NASCAR has dissipated since then... I think I have not ever recovered from the death of Dale Earnhardt....

Labels: , ,

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Kittie Kronicles

Okay, so I do not pretend to understand what the motivation for my kitties' behavior is...Early morning or late evening, if I sit on the sofa, one or both kitties are eager to be near me as soon as possible.

On the weekend, they both want outside in the morning... Yet, if allowed outside, the forays are brief, less than 30 minutes usually... I would understand, if they ate their fill of green grass, but that does not seem to happen...There is usually not a noise determinate, so why is the outside time ended?

Sleep time is midday:  usually after 1 PM to 3 or 4 PM... On the bed, in a cat stroller pen, under the comforter, on a chair... If I am in the house, and making noise, I obviously disturb sleep...Sometimes the kitties want to snuggle, sometimes they complain about the disruptions I cause.  But mostly, they just want to snuggle.

Cats are good grey day companions, who like to snuggle and stay warm against our warm bodies... Isn't that special?



I have often explained my inability to throw things away as a genetic disorder, or being anal retentive or both.  But, I was kidding.  However, quite a bit of study has been done on hoarders, and there is some thought that it is a genetically linked disorder.  So, maybe I was not so far from the truth after all.

My parents were savers.  A lot of that was generational, having grown up in the depression era, and in families that were not well to do, but worked hard for what they had. So, my parents were appreciative of material things.  Understandably so.  And, they were recyclers, and savers. Until later in life, when they started cleaning things out.  But even so, there was plenty left when my mom, that last to die, passed away.

Hoarding and saving are different.  Hoarding seems to take saving to an extreme, maybe to the point where it becomes a health hazard.  And, different people hoard different things, although newspapers are often a common item to hoard.  And, some people hoard animals:  you have heard of the people who have so many cats that their house is unsanitary, and they can not afford to feed themselves, because of the expense of feeding the cats...

Well, this week at work, for training, we read some articles about hoarding, which where I learned that there may be something genetically linked to hoarding.  

So, having it be genetic does not give me permission to become a hoarder.... For now, I will say I am a saver, because although I have piles of paper on my desk, and stuff strewn on my dining table, I do not hoard other things, and regularly take my stashes of recyclables to the recycling center...Which, I might add, I find quite cathartic... So, maybe that is hoarding therapy for me.

Labels: , , , , , , ,

Lime and Chili

Years ago, a friend introduced me to lime and chili seasoned tortilla chips.  I liked them so well, I would go to a different grocery store than I usually used, just to buy them.  And, my friend would bring them back from the Austin area, where she learned about them, because the local stores did not seem to carry them regularly.  Now lime and chili is more common place, and I splurge on lime and chili seasoned chips from time to time.

I used to eat a lot of Ramen noodle soup, but not so any more.  But I discovered lime and chili shrimp flavored ramen soup in a Styrofoam cup, and really like it.  It is fairly spicy, but on a cool day like today, it is just right for a quick lunch. 


Being Lazy or This is a Hot Tea and Hot Soup Day

My usual schedule for Saturday includes getting up fairly early, although sleeping in a little later than a work day, and starting on Saturday chores.  This usually includes grocery shopping, laundry and housework.

Some Saturdays include other things.  This Saturday saw me finish a book I was reading so I could drop it off at the library when I was out running errands.  But, I have also read the newspaper, and now got on the computer.  I am just wasting time, being lazy.  It is a grey day, cool for West Texas in May, and good weather for hot tea and soup.  So, that is what I will have.  And snuggle up with another good book, later.

Labels: , ,

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is

Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is.  This is the mantra of Alka-Seltzer, a digestive upset over the counter medication..  Do you  remember Speedy Alka-Seltzer? 

Snap! Crackle! Pop! makes the world go round!   For Kellogg's Rice Krispies.

Brilcreme, a little dab'll do ya!

How many other advertising jingles do you recall?  These are fun!

Labels: ,

When Did Hot Sauce Over Take Ketchup

I live in West Texas, and shortly after moving to Lubbock, Texas, some thirty plus years ago, I decided that I liked hot sauce, or salsa, better than ketchup... This is amazing, because when I was younger, I did not like Italian food, because it was too spicy. 

The History Channel tells us that hot sauce, or salsa, has overtaken ketchup as THE condiment.

Chefs use gloves to protect themselves from the heat of the peppers... The peppers are measured in Scoville units (of heat)

Cheese, milk products including sour cream and ice cream, and lime help to ameliorate the heat of the peppers...

Capsaicin is the heat chemical that makes the peppers hot....This is also used as a topical element to alleviate muscle and joint pain... I can tell you it works. 

McIlhenny is the premier brand name for hot sauce or Tabasco sauce

Hot peppers... an amazing food source....


Monday, May 10, 2010

Severe Weather

This is the season for severe tornadic weather in the central part of the United States.  Tonight, there was a very serious tornado outbreak in the Oklahoma City area, with a lot of damage, and many injuries.

Extreme weather is exhilarating and exciting, but we are always saddened with the loss of health, life and property as a result.  Severe weather is a tragedy to all who experience it.

Recently, there was serious flooding in Nashville and elsewhere Tennessee.  Again, with serious injury and property damage. 

We think we are in control of our lives, but the forces of nature are sometimes unbelievably powerful and remind us that we have so little control, sometimes of our environment.


Labels: , ,

Sunday, May 09, 2010

A Companion Kitty

I suspect I have written too often about Sake wanting me to sit in the living room instead of the office, during the evening. The problem is, when I have printing chores to do from the computer, the printer is in the office, and I do not have a wireless printer set up... So, I HAVE to sit in the office.  Additionally, sometimes certain tasks on the computer are easier to accomplish with the desk top and shelves available.

Not so last night, and this morning.  So, I have been in the living room.  It was a busy day, full of newspaper word puzzles, books, knitting, and computering.  I spent some time outside with Haiku, who now has decided she likes to go out front and wonder in the front lawn (on a leash, tethered by a halter.)  Sake thought she wanted out in the back yard, but not in the pen, so was ultimately contented to chew on the grass I cut and brought inside.

Haiku is a regular visitor on the sofa next to me, either on the seat to my left, or the arm to my right. She also likes to sit on my lap or walk on the laptop keyboard (discouraged.)

Tonight, when I did sit down in the living room on the sofa, Sake, who was laying in the top level of the double decker stroller, immediately came over to sit on the arm of the sofa... She tolerated combing for less than ten minutes, and then just seemed to want to settle down.

Haiku eventually joined us, on the seat...

I still have laundry to put up, but for now, we will all enjoy the relaxation offered by sitting on the sofa and watching the Yankees vs. Red Sox at Fenway...

Labels: ,

Saturday, May 08, 2010

So Sneezing is Cathartic

You have been there.  For no reason at all you sneeze. And you continue to sneeze, for no apparent reason at all.  But you sneeze, and sneeze, and sneeze..

Why?  Well, according to Wikipedia, which is not an authoritative source:

"Sneezing is contagious and can spread disease.A sneeze (or sternutation) is a semi-autonomous, convulsive expulsion of air from the lungs through the nose and mouth, usually caused by foreign particles irritating the nasal mucosa."

When we sneeze, those around us say things like "God Bless You" or "gesuntight

My personal observations about sneezes include that if someone has a nasal congestion, a sneeze, with a nose blow, may clear sinus passages, and diminish the need for  sneezes...

Or, the stimulus causing the sneeze may be dissipated after the sneezing starts, and  sneezing my diminish.

Personally, I am very sensitive to environmental factors that cause sinus congestion and sneezing... You may not believe it, but I have a friend who can attest to the fact that I can be in an area that causes nasal congestion, but can move a mere 10 yards, and the irritant is no longer felt, and the nasal congestion disappears.  Amazing. True.  And the sneezing stops...


The Good Soldier

My niece told me about a video depicting the story of veterans and their understanding about war. The Good Soldier  It was hard to watch, but it was important to watch.

I would refer you to the post of 4/30/10 called "A Sickening Sensation" about my reactions to discussing the war, and the comments who would not talk about their experience in war.  We need people to talk about their experiences in war. We need to face the horrors of war so someday, maybe we can find alternatives.

My niece is trying to find alternatives: Her service in Habitat for Humanity, International, for example is an alternative to military service.

I am not saying we should not support our military.  Not only should we support our individual military members, we should so support them that they have what they need when they are in service, and then support them when they return from service.  But the biggest support we can offer to our military is to pray for peace.

The biggest support we can offer to our military, and our country is to work for solutions that recognize this is a small world, one world in which we are all together.  The sooner we understand that our well being is inter-related to the well being of every other individual on this earth, and our efforts to take care of each other will accomplish more than our efforts to dominate each other, the sooner we will learn that our fight is one for survival, not for destruction.

Thanks to my neice for sharing.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Thursday, May 06, 2010

But I Want to Sit in the Living Room

It was another beautiful sit outside evening, and I did, for a fore-shortened time.  I had some computer obligations to keep:  mailing lists.  This required not just the laptop but the printer, and I do not have a remote wireless set up.  Besides it is too bright to see the screen easily outside that early... So, after a while, I moved inside and worked on my computer tasks. 

Much to my dismay, not one, but both cats wanted me to move into the living room.  That is no problem, just to read on the computer.  But not for printing.

So, I disappointed both girls... Now, I am finishing a brief entry and will move into the living room.  Hope they will be consoled.

Labels: ,

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

A Breath of Fresh Air

This is a wonderful time of year on the South Plains, before the heat becomes stifling and overwhelming.  The days are warm, sometimes uncomfortably so (low 90s for me) but I love the cool breezy nights.  They are like a breath of fresh air... It is even better when the breeze can waft through the house and clean out the inside air, and make the house smell good again... Naturally.

I am grateful for the opportunity to be able to open windows and enjoy the fresh air...

Airing out has its place in life. We all need the opportunity to do that:  to express feelings, to clear the air because of a misunderstanding, to feel understood and respected, to express understanding and respect of others.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, May 04, 2010

The Difficulty of Doing or the Difficulty of Consequences

I am paraphrasing the quote, and if you know what quote I am referring to, I would appreciate the reference.

It is an interesting concept:  I can deal with doing what is difficult now, or take the easy path, perhaps the path of least resistance, greatest temptation, and not have regard for the consequences.  But, sooner or later, I will have to deal with the consequences.

This is such a simple concept, it can help us to keep ourselves on track when we have a difficult task to do, or maybe even a task that is not difficult, but one that we dread. Consider always, the consequences of procrastination.

Labels: ,

Monday, May 03, 2010

Reading Lists

Over the course of the years, I have tried several times to keep track of the books I have read.  I have started lists, but somehow, never maintained them.   Until now.  My niece introduced me to Goodreads .  The program does many things, but helps you to track your to read, currently reading and already read books. And, you can add your own shelves, if you want to be more organized than that.

This sight also lets you share your list with others, when you add new books in whatever category.  It is helpful to keep track of what is next on the list.   The other sight that helps with that is Fantastic Fiction . This sight lists authors and the order that their series books were written.  Which is so great, if you, as I do, like to read books in series in order.

Labels: ,

Sunday, May 02, 2010

Environmental Disaster

There is a huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the result of a off shore drilling rig accident. The spill has not been contained, and since I am avoiding the news stories about this, I do not even know if the spill has been stopped.  I know the slicks are not contained.

I have a difficult time thinking about this environmental accident.  I am sickened to think about out the wildlife that is being damaged and destroyed, and I am horrified to think of the impact of shore lines.  Does man have no concept on the horror we can inflict in our world?

Life lesson.  Consider the consequences, especially if something unintended happens... Even unintended, the consequences should be foreseen and guarded against.  As humans, we have a moral obligation to be aware and concerned about the environmental consequences of our actions.

Labels: , ,

Baking cookies

Baking did not used to be a chore for me.  There was a time in my life when I thought nothing  of getting up in the morning and baking a cake, pie or cookies.  Now, the thought of baking something finds me having to make a serious plan with lots of mental preparation.  Such as it was today.  I got through the experience just fine. But I found it very tiring.

I think part of it is my age, and part of it is I am no longer in the habit of doing this activity, so it feels more daunting than it is...

Life lesson:  our perspective and expectations can influence our emotional response and behavior.  We all know this... We just have to remind ourselves.