I may chat about my books, what I'm writing or reading, or just general thoughts. You may read posts about my cats or just my crazy life in general. Comments are welcome, if anyone wants to interact with me. Maybe we can share war stories, whether it's writing related or just about life in general.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

20 Things That Make You Age

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20 Things That Make You Age

I read this on a blog a few months ago and wanted to reflect on it later, so I jotted down the list, which joined the rest of the stuff stuck to the wall behind my desk. I’m an impulsive note taker. At least that isn’t on the list below.

Old age…This is inevitable if we live long enough.

Have you ever thought about comparing the rings of a tree with your body? You can tell the age of the tree by the rings – we all know that – one of the things we learned as kids. Of course, it’s good not to meet our demise too young, but we don’t; want our bodies to look like the old tree or fence post.

Imagine how great it would be if we could know everything, we know now, but have the body we had when we were twenty years old.

Of course, that is not going to happen, unless you’re maybe one of the characters in my fantasy books. So, don’t get too excited because we can’t turn back the clock, but we can help things a little by knowing what will age us.

20 Things That Age You

No one wants to feel the effects of aging, but it is a fact that doing the things on this list will negatively affect the condition of the body and bring about rapid aging. Not only will the body feel older, but it will also look older. Let’s look at this list.

1. Smoking cigarettes, pipes and cigars.

2. Drinking alcohol, especially too much of it.

3. Indulging in drugs.

4. Getting too much sun.

5. Breathing polluted air.

6. Being generally overweight.

7. Having belly fat even if no other part of you is fat.

8. Having high blood pressure.

9. Being a couch potato which means you aren’t getting enough exercise.

10. Feeling stressed. Having stress. Being TOO STRESSED!

11. Not getting enough sleep.

12. Getting too much sleep.

13. Eating too much sugar.

14. Not eating fruits and vegetables every day.

15. Eating too much saturated fat.

16. Poor dental health.

17. Prolonged inflammation in the body.

18. Not getting enough omega-3 fatty acids.

19. All work, no play makes you dull and unhealthy. That’s a double whammy!

20. Not having enough sex. You knew that would be on the list.

What a list! Wow! Did you expect to see all that stuff?

Remember the words of George Burns

“You can’t help getting older, but you don’t have to get old.”

So, how many of the things on this list are you guilty of? I can list five, so there is room for improvement in my life, if I don’t want to look or feel my age. I want to live up to my grandmother’s standards here and not get old until I have to. She always kept a positive attitude in life and I think that goes a long way toward all that we do.

So how many are you guilty of doing?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Cows Are Out!!! The Cows Are Out!!!

The Dirt Cheap Cow - Mexican Pottery and Furniture/Garden Store

This is a festival they have in Santa Clara the last weekend of every Sept. (That's the town next to mine, where a terrific old-fashioned fruit stand is.)

The Swiss settled the town in 1854 and because of this they have Swiss Days with parades and a street faire, etc and everyone paints cows and puts them out. They are everywhere - all over town. I took a bunch of pics and thought I'd share some of them with you.  The residents in this town really get into the spirit of things.

This one was on a sreet corner in town

Some businesses put their names on the cows - this one even has a huge milkshake

This one was in someone's yard and is ready for combat - notice the boots

There's always a camouflage cow

I thought was cute - in someone's front yard

Here's a mom and baby on a street corner

Here's one ready for a backpacking trip.

You get the idea.  The entire main street in this little village is like this.  There's probably 20 or thirty cows every half mile.

Does anyone know of another place like this?

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Panda Cub Opens Eyes at San Diego Zoo

Picture from Creative Commons

I came across this article about Bai Yun, the giant panda on a twelve-year loan from China. The San Diego zoo received the two pandas on loan when I used to live in southern Ca, so this article caught my eye. I remember how the news focused on Bai Yun’s first pregnancy and how the public flocked to the zoo to take pictures and see the baby panda once it ventured out for public viewing. They installed a Panda Cam for viewing before that.

The Giant Pandas, Bai Yun and Shi Shi, first arrived in 1987. The San Diego Zoo built a new special enclosure for the bears, so I imagine the agreement has been extended. There are now four pandas at the zoo counting this new baby, which they will name when it reaches a hundred days old.

Bai Yun gave birth to her sixth cub on July 29. He has just opened his eyes, hence the news article. Here are a few facts about pandas you may not know and some cute pictures.

Despite the size of an adult panda, the baby will fit in your hand. Amazing!

Adults pandas weigh from 70 to 125 KG (154.32 – 275.57 pounds) and babies weigh one thousandth the weight of adults and are only 15 CM (5.9 inches) long.

From San Diego Zoo Site

They live mainly in the mountain forests of southwest China where bamboo grows.

Eyes do not open until the cub is six weeks old

They spend 14 hours a day eating. Aside from bamboo, they also eat branches, leaves, and small mammals.

Pandas only sleep when they feel like it, not like people who must sleep everyday.

The baby stays with the mother for 48 months afterbirth.

Gestation time is 3-5 months and the mother can have up to three cubs, but usually only one survives.

There is only one panda for every 6 million people

Picture from the Bear Project

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Bookcase

Kathump! Kathump!

“Did you hear that?” My husband wakes me at 2 am. Of course, I didn’t hear that and I still didn’t, despite him telling me that it was still going on.

“Listen,” he instructs me.

Finally, after about ten minutes we decide to get out of bed. I thought it was probably one of the cats up to something because things always go thump in the night around the house. I wasn’t very concerned, but he was, so we decided to investigate. It is common to think you hear a herd of elephants upstairs as they chase each other. Noises just come with owning a cat.

He wakes me up regularly when he nears noises. I don’t get that much sleep, so I always figure it can wait until morning with not a lot of harm done.

We inched forward through the house, stopping at intervals to listen for the sound, which was intermittent, but got louder as we approached his office.

We looked around and all was in order. However, the sound soon alerted us to a trapped cat in the corner behind a six-foot high bookcase. Hmmm... Now how did she manage that one? We knew darn well a cat could not jump that high in the air.

The ‘kathump’ was her jumping behind there, actually thinking she could jump all the way to the top and get back up the way she got down.

We eased the bookcase out and she came running out, not looking very upset over things, but then this cat is a cat that, trapped in the pantry all day on occasion, seems to look at this as an adventure of some sort. She loves to climb the shelves in there and entertains herself without making a peep. Usually the only way we discover her is when we go to the pantry for something.

We put everything back in place and went back to bed.

It wasn’t two nights later and the same thing happened yet again. We rescued her for a second time and moved everything clear, thinking she must have used a chair, or bench, to reach the top of the bookcase in the first place.

A week or so later we discovered how she was achieving her feat. She jumped up on the credenza against the other wall, with the craftiness only a cat can muster, walked across the curtain rod reaching her desired destination – the bookcase in the corner. From there she could jump down to the floor, trapping herself once more between the wall and bookcase with no way out.

I will never know exactly what enters this cat’s mind, but she is a determined little thing. We had to erect a barrier we could stand up on the curtain rod. Its purpose – to deter her for a month until she was on to something else she could get into that would be easier, making her forget about this adventure – or has she? You can never be sure when dealing with a cat.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Super Swe-e-e-e-et Award

I received a Super Swe-e-e-e-et Award from Sharla over at  catnipolife, on 8 Sept.  Thank you Sharla.  Make sure to visit Sharla’s site here http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/

Now let me address this without further ado.

First: The guidelines are to thank the person who gave you thing award. That would be Sharla at http://catnipoflife.wordpress.com/ Stop by and visit Sharla.

You’ll find poems, cat stories, and titbits and encouraging words about life.

Second: Answer the “Super Sweet” questions.

Third: Nominate a “Baker’s Dozen” (13) blogs to receive this award.

“Super Sweet” Questions:

1. Cookies or Cake? I’m actually more of a pie person, but because I must choose between these two, it will be cookies; because they are ‘grazing’ food that you can snack on while working and not make a mess.

2. Chocolate or Vanilla? Definitely chocolate. I don’t like vanilla anything unless it has chocolate with it.

3. What is your favorite sweet treat? Apple pie or chocolate muffins

4. When do you crave sweet things the most? This will probably really sound odd, but I rarely crave sweets.

5. If you had a sweet nickname, what would it be? Okay, I hate to disappoint, but I have no idea what this would be.

My Baker’s Dozen: For me this would be for Special posts on blogs with useful information, either related to books and writing, quotes for inspiration and life stories, book sites, posts that make you think about what you read long after you did, and much, much more! There are many blogs here that are exceptional, so it was hard to choose.

The awards go to:

http://linnannpike.blogspot.com Hitchhiking Nana

http://wrotebyrote.blogspot.com/ Wandering and Pondering in the dark

http://jenowenby.wordpress.com/ Tools for Writers

http://jacquelinegum.com/ Grandma’s Wise Words

http://jeanettesandersen.blogspot.com/ My Choice

http://reallastuff.com/ Hollywood Stroll

http://allankrummenacker.blogspot.com/ Hobbies, Talents, Characters and Me

http://www.lavondastaples.com/ And all of These Things in my Father’s House

http://housecatconfidential.blogspot.com/ Flooflet Friday (8-30) Nocturnal

http://valeriedavies.com/ When Elephants Wept and Gorillas Danced

http://susanjmcleod.wordpress.com/ The Mummy’s Blessing

http://donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com/ Do Characters Ever Haunt your Brain?

http://journeyofmylifendestiny.blogspot.com/ Is That How it Started?

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cat sitting again


Well I’m taking care of this little monster again.

Not that she is that bad. She purrs like crazy and is always so glad to see me. So, after I clean up her messes, which can include open drawers and things strewn about the house, we can enjoy each other’s company. Of course I went over yesterday, which was my first day on duty, and walked into a mess of broken driftwood. She had jumped up on the alcove in the entryway and knocked a piece of knurled wood onto the floor. I salvaged what I could and cleaned up the mess after fetching a broom and dustpan.

Then into the kitchen, I go to throw the pieces in the trash and here she comes, full speed ahead, and slides across the kitchen counter to knock a water bottle onto the floor and spill half the contents. So, my next task is to locate a mop, which is missing in action, so I resorted to paper towels to mop the water up. All the while, she is sprawled on the counter, watching me intently.

Then, I am off to the bathroom to clean the litter box. Of course, she goes scurrying ahead of me, as she does, so it is imperative to watch yourself at all times around this little fur ball, so as not to trip over her and land on your keister.

After scooping, I have to wait while she eagerly jumps in to do her business, as if she has been waiting for this very moment all day. She takes her time scratching about, while I praise her, and finally she gets the job done along with her housekeeping, which elicits more praise from me.

Then she’s off running full bore and wants me to chase her around the house a while before she is content to settle down and be petted as she rolls around on the floor, her motor going at full throttle.

I go out to water the garden while she watches at the door eager for me to come in and begin our match once again. Therefore, we do, and this is our daily routine while my neighbor is away.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Relaxing time in front of the TV

Sunni's Artwork

Okay, I never get much time to do this, so I watch TV selectively.

Has anyone seen The Firm? I’m talking about the “made for TV series” out of John Grisham’s book by the same name. If so, what did you think of it?

Yes, I realize this was on a few months ago, but I’m not much of a TV watcher so I recorded it thanks to the DVR. What would we do without this device?

The last couple of weeks I’ve been watching it, one episode at a time, mainly just to relax and clear my head. It gets me away from the computer screen and my writing. I don’t have this book and I enjoy mysteries anyway so that prompted me to record this in the first place. Now I’m glad I did. I’m wondering if the TV series is anything at all like the book. Many times when they make things for TV from a book they change it up, but then I’ve only seen movies made for TV from books, so I’m sure there is the element of time there.

Anyway, I find most of Mr. Grisham’s books move slowly, but this TV show is very intense and full of intrigue. Did the producers pick this book for the series for this reason, or is this book suspenseful? I find it hard to turn the TV off and that is so unlike me. One thing is for sure, now, I have to buy this book and read it. When I do, I’ll post a review here later.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Hay Barn and Other Childhood Games – Part Two

From Photo Pin

All of us loved to climb the hay bales in the barn and would get in trouble if caught doing it. Papaw would tell us there were skunks in the barn to keep us out, and after that, my sister Scherri thought she saw one once, but this didn’t deter us.

That old weathered barn with the big double doors drew us in. Once inside, the rich smell of hay filled our noses and we would run and climb upon the golden bales and run across them. They were all neatly stacked in rows of varying heights, some of the rows rising up to the peak of the roof. There was loose hay scattered about the floor that had fallen out at sometime in the past. The hay would make us itch and sneeze, but it was a favorite place to play.

On a large nail by the door, just inside the barn, hung the rope that they used to tie around the bales along with the big hook for lifting the bales and a pitchfork or two. Whenever we needed rope for something this is the first place we would go. We used rope to make jump ropes, or to tie around two tin cans to make a telephone. That rope was handy for whatever childhood project came to mind. Of course, the twine was off limits, as was the barn, so we got in trouble if the adults found us in there.

During summer months, we got into stumbling pursuits after fireflies (lightning bugs) that we would catch in jars or in our hands. We would also go out, catch those hairy caterpillars, and put them in jars, being careful to take a nail and poke holes in the lid so they could breathe. Sometimes we even put in a blade of grass so they would have something to eat.

My sisters and I loved to make mud pies too and would while away a summer afternoon sitting on the bench under the chinaberry trees sifting dirt to make it fine. We used screen wire and an old tin can for this and would try to gather dirt from a few places to get some different colors.

“Oh it still isn’t fine enough.” One of us would say as we looked at the assortment of tin cans and screen and we would sift it some more. When we were satisfied it was smooth and fine enough we would add water and make it into patties that we would place in an old iron skillet or on a piece of screen to ‘cook.’ On a few occasions, we would add some straw to make it different. When I think about it, there sure does seem to be a million and one uses we had for tin cans back then.

Daddy would make us bows and arrows out of tree limbs and old inner tubes that he would cut into strips. We also had slingshots from forked branches. These things could shoot a mean chinaberry. Daddy also would try to teach us to shoot his twenty-two rifle and would line up cans on the fence posts. Of course, we only did this under his supervision. Otherwise, the gun stayed locked up. We all had lectures on being extremely careful with it too and he would always be standing right beside us. This was not one of the favorite things for us girls to do, but I guess he thought we needed to know how.

Sometimes, as the oldest, I would play teacher. We had enough kids for a classroom. Everyone always went along with what I wanted to teach or do. I even gave everybody tests and quizzes and no one seemed to mind.

Once in awhile all of us would pile around the little black and white television and watch Ed Sullivan, Lawrence Welk, or Gunsmoke. Gunsmoke was Daddy’s favorite show. We got that little television when I was six. Most of the time, we played outside, which is something kids don’t do enough of today.

We rode our bicycles down the dirt road to the highway to count the cars on the freight trains and wave at the man in the caboose or to watch for a certain color car to go by on the highway. Scherri and I learned to ride on Daddy’s big, old brown bicycle. We got a blue bicycle for Christmas in 1960 and Bonni got a scooter that was pink.

You can imagine this menagerie as we stopped at each fencepost on the way back from the highway, pretending they were different places in town such as the grocery store, the post office, or the doctor’s office. If two of us ended up at the same post at the same time, we would say:

“Oh hello Mrs. So and so. How are you?” or something to that effect.

Riding in the corn trailer used to be a lot of fun too. We would sit back there with the ears and try to dodge the ones coming out of the shoot. We would be dirty from all those husks and it would itch like the devil, nevertheless, we couldn’t wait to get in there again.

Entertainment would not be complete without mentioning the ball games in the pasture. We would all get together with our cousins and play baseball using the dried cow patties as bases. We had to watch out for the fresh ones, of course, and make sure to run around them or jump over them when running the bases. We had a few mishaps along the way but not too many considering how many of us there were. I am still not sure why we didn’t pick another place for the games and use rocks or something for the bases. I guess it was a lot more interesting this way.

All of us spent quite a bit of time wading in the muddy ditches of water after it rained. This muddy water seemed to be as enticing to us as the old barn and kept beckoning us to enter, so off the shoes would come and before long we would all be knee deep in water. This was especially fun in the summer when it was so hot.

Once in awhile all of us piled into that old pink and white station wagon to go to the dollar a carload drive-in movie in town. We had to keep the windows down in that car all year because the exhaust fumes leaked in, but we didn’t care. It was a day out and off the farm. The first thing we would do is go to the snack bar and buy one of the pic coils for mosquito’s that we could light and place on the dash. In summer, the nights were sticky and the mosquitoes were plentiful. Once the old metal speaker was in place on the edge of the window, we all settled back to watch the movie. Then it was just a matter of saying “shut up” once in awhile and slapping a stray mosquito or two.

Once in a great while, we went to the Dairy Queen after. We would all pile out, sit on the curb, and eat their broiler burgers. They were the best hamburgers I ever had. I wonder now if it was just the event of going to town and I just thought they were fantastic because they aren’t like that today.

As you can see, life on the farm wasn’t all work and no play. The work was hard because you had to deal with all the heat and humidity along with it, but we had our fun times as well. The entertainment was very diverse because there were so many of us. Somebody always had an idea for a game or competition although most of the time they all looked at me first. I guess this is because I’m the oldest. We had our moments of fighting and disagreeing with each other too, but looking back on it, we had lots of fun because there were so many to play with and not too many dull moments.

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Brief History of Labor Day

A brief history: Labor Day started out as a holiday for workers, started by the “Nobel Order of the Knights of Labor” in Philadelphia in 1869. It started out as a trade union, but broadened to include humanitarian organizations, under the guidance of Uriah Stephens who was a Mason.

As time went on many unions sprung up for workers, by the end of the century Congress approved a Labor Day holiday for the first Monday in Sept. The unions fought for better working conditions, pay, and benefits for the working people. Colorado was the first state to celebrate this holiday, but it gradually extended to the other states, at first leaving it to the governor’s discretion to decide if the state would participate in the holiday.

The powerful unions of yesteryear have all but disappeared, replaced by big business and capital power. They no longer run the workers in the country as they once did. All over the US today, we celebrate Labor Day, usually as a mark to the end of summer. Sometimes there are parades and fairs. People have barbeques, go to the beach and parks, and participate in other family activities. It’s a last family day before school starts.

However, today, you will not find stores and other service businesses closed, which is somewhat ironic as this holiday started out to be a holiday for laborers of all kinds. Today the ones benefiting the most from Labor Day are the city, state, and government offices. It is no longer a holiday for the common laborer, unless a specific business decides to close, which is highly unlikely. Now I find this sad because the whole country should benefit from a holiday for workers and I’m one who is glad some stores are open 24/7 for my shopping convenience. What do you think?