"…By what stretch of arrogance do you think a life form that looks like you is more important than a life form that doesn’t?”Joel Salatin

Nothing is more beneficial to your wellbeing than to look for and acknowledge those parts of everyday life that you enjoy.

"If you are happy where you are now, why does it matter how painful it was to get there?" -- Abraham

"It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life." -- Bilbo Baggins a.k.a. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien

"And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet, and the winds long to play in your hair." -- Kahill Gibran

“And forget not

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Trip Down Memory Lane with Seth

Seth taking pictures of the dry lagoon at Lake Wichita Park

Ronnie and I used to walk the gravel trail that runs along the storm drainage canal that flows into Lake Wichita.  Or it use to.

We called it Thacker's Trail, from the books by Esther Hicks, "Sara and Seth and the Foreverness of Friends of a Feather".  Those stories were also Deidre's inspiration to name her baby, Seth.

Ronnie and I saw many interesting things on our Thacker's Trail. We gained much insight into ourselves and each other on our walks there.

I wanted to take Seth on Thacker's Trail but it's closed.  A big "DO NOT ENTER" sign is posted at the entrance. It's just as well.  The huge unsightly pipe that has something to do with our new "purified water" runs along the canal now.

We took Shelby with us.  She needs some inspiration too.

So we went to the end of the walk Ronnie and I used to take. There is a big open field close to the model airplane runway.  We parked there and walked across the field toward the Blue Moon Lagoon (I'm not sure that's the name of it.  Ronnie said there was a sign there for a while, but then it disappeared. We continued to call it that anyway.  It's a small shallow lake north west of Lake Wichita.)

I had charged Deidre's old iPhone so Seth and I could both have a camera. I think it will be fun to see what pictures a 4 1/2  year old boy takes, what he finds interesting.

His first picture was of Shelby. As you can see, he didn't look for the perfect photo op, but it is fairly well centered and the contrast of her color and her shadow is interesting.

If you are familiar with iPhone cameras, you know how difficult it is to see the screen in the sun.  I'd shown him in the house how what you are aiming the screen at is approximately what you'll take a picture of, so in the brightness of a beautiful cool fall day, we both did a lot of aiming and praying but he took some awesome pictures!

In 2010, right after Seth was born, Ronnie carved all our initials and Seth's name in two huge boulders the City had put at the opening between the lagoon and the open field to keep motorized vehicles out. I showed them to Seth.  He thought it was so cool that his name was on that rock! He took a picture.

Ronnie Bruno was here

After we saw the rock carvings, we went on through to the Blue Moon Lagoon.  When Seth got his first glance of it, he said, "That's beautiful!" and up went the camera.  I took the picture of him taking a picture at the top of this post.

dry Blue Moon Lagoon - photograph by Seth Pruett

Many years ago, my brother-in-law brought me some live horned toads from West Texas. After reading about keeping horned toads in captivity, I decided to release them at Lake Wichita Park in a non-mow area. We found some very active red ant beds and let the poor little guys go. I figured they had a much better chance of survival out there than they did in a terrarium.

red ant bed - photograph by Seth Pruett

Today we saw one of the thriving red ant beds.  

beautiful big red ant - captured
on iPhone camera by Seth Pruett

I've been experimenting with my ability to communicate with insects. When we first entered the path around the Blue Moon Lagoon, the ants were so numerous we could hardly get through without stepping on them. I apologized and told them we meant no harm. When we came back, they had cleared out and we walked through without having to tiptoe.

Seth caught this little guy all on his own.  I cropped the picture because there was so much back ground. 

                                                                                                                                                            Along the dirt path around the lagoon, there were willows blooming profusely.  I caught this one. Always on the look out for flowers.

beaver dam - photograph by Seth Pruett

The canal flows under a wooden and iron bridge. At that point the purified water tube crosses the canal and continues on over the dam. There were two barricades, one on each side of the path so I wonder if we might still walk Thacker's Trail another time.

One of the reasons I decided to take this excursion  was to check on the beavers.  Ronnie and I often came out close to dusk.  We stood on the bridge and watched the beavers move up and down the canal. We figured out there was a family of them.

With Lake Wichita nearly dry, I was concerned about the fate of the beavers.

Apparently they are still doing ok.  The canal has turned into a long lake.  There was only a small area of water (that use to be a steady stream into Lake Wichita), visible on the other side of the dam.

Occasionally the City tears out the dam but the beavers build it back.  Kind of like we have to do here in Wichita Falls -- rebuild, rebuild, rebuild.

As Seth and I walked along together pointing and looking, I talked about his PawPaw, how we  brought Seth out to Thacker's Trail when he was barely a toddler.  We'd put him in his stroller.  Ronnie gave him Foxie's retractable leash to hold, which Seth insisted on doing -- even at that young age.  If we started forward without handing him Foxie's leash, his little hand was reaching up to grab the cord. He'd hang onto the handle until he fell asleep.

I told him about how Ronnie brought a Dremel out to carve  the rocks. Seth has a clear sense of having known his PawPaw and I want to continue that.  Ronnie's dad died when Ronnie's youngest brother, John, was only four.  John has good memories of him and his dad thanks to the other family members sharing their memories of the two of them.  Ronnie often commented that it seemed John's memories of their dad were as real as Ronnie's.

I hope we can do that for Seth.

Taking pictures helps keep memories alive.  Seeing a snapshot of a forgotten moment activates the memory, adding details that we might completely lose without a photograph to remind us.

Dry Lagoon - photograph by Seth Pruett on October 28, 2014

P.S. He likes his pictures being on my blog!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

What Feels Good

it's catching a beautiful sunrise 

What feels good is unique to each one of us. We often think that what feels good to us must surely make everyone else feel good, too.  For example, I love being up early in the morning.  It feels good to me to be awake in my quiet house.  But do not try to sell this to Deidre.  Early mornings are for sleeping.

But they are also for seeing spectacular sun rises, and hearing the first birds singing in my neighborhood, and the music of doves taking flight. I love that sound.  It reminds me of Ronnie.

I enjoy making my cup of coffee and taking that first sip.  It's always the best.

I get some kind of thrill when I take the correct number of packets of Equal out of the container, not having to add to or subtract any.  

Deidre sees digital clock numbers lining up all the time like 11:11, 4:44, 5:55 which is supposed to be a sign that your energy is getting into alignment with what you want.

I had a total at Walmart recently of $92.92 and I've had several even totals like $100.00, $120.00.  I don't know if it means anything but it's fun and it feels good when it happens -- so maybe it is a sign.

I enjoy hearing Seth's quiet little sleepy voice as he visits with Deidre while she gets ready for work.

It's watching Seth figure out
 "head standing"
This morning, Deidre and I had a brief discussion about how good it feels to have a warm towel to wrap up in when you get out of the bath or shower. A clean fresh soft towel is always nice but one that's warm adds a moment of "special" to it.  It's comforting -- even when things are going as well as they are around here.

I enjoy getting things done. It feels good to get the floor vacuumed and for a few minutes to see my oak floors unadorned by dog hair.

And speaking of dogs, I enjoy a big warm nose pushing into my palm when my hand is relaxed.  Deidre's dog, Sox, has a big nose and she shares it with me especially in the mornings.  It feels  different than Shelbie's or Breck's. She does it with a clear sense of affection where the other two dogs are more forceful.  Shelbie has a demanding "bonk"that she uses to get my attention. It's way more powerful than a nudge, and Breck is in my face trying to lick me. He can't hold his "licker".  Sox is polite. I enjoy her good manners.

I started some out door projects a couple of years ago.  At first they were overwhelming because I had the notion that I needed to get it done "now". Then I remembered that I'm not bound to please anyone but myself anymore and I am free to work on the projects at my own pace -- which is leisurely.

That feels good in itself.  With this new belief, I can relax and enjoy the progress I make when I get around to working on the various projects again. The realization that I don't have to do it all now was a little bit difficult to get accustomed to, but now that I have, it makes everything more enjoyable.

I enjoy figuring out a peaceful path to a problem.  I adopted Breck from the local Humane Society.  I got him because Sox and Shelbie are too old and cranky to be Seth's dog. They not only won't play with him, but they don't like him. So I got Breck. I have no idea why I thought a boy dog was gonna be suitable and it wasn't long before we realized he isn't house broke. With these girl dogs here, that probably isn't going to happen.

First thought, put him outside.  Second thought, keep him caged. Third thought, take him back to the Humane Society. Final thought, you know he's here to stay, so figure out how to make this work.

It's finding picture that remind me
how pretty it will be around here 
when it starts raining again.
So I made him a "hotdog bun". I cut the legs off a pair of leggings, cut above the hem three quarters
around to make a neck opening.  I insert a maxi pad into and slip it around his middle, covering up his wiener. The loop goes over his head and rests around his shoulders to keep the "bun" from sliding back.  When he hikes his leg, he pees on the pad.

I change the pad every time I take it off when he goes outside.  He doesn't seem to mind wearing it and it allows him to be free in the house.  He's a sweet, funny, energetic happy little dog who is absolutely willing to run and play with Seth. I love to watch them together.  Breck loves socks -- the foot kind, so I tied one to Seth's back belt loop and he chased Seth for a half hour -- until Seth wore out.

I thoroughly enjoy walking into my bedroom and seeing that I made the bed earlier. I enjoy neat and tidy but I don't stress out over messy either.  Both are a temporary situation. When it's messy, one of us eventually cleans it up and when it's neat and tidy, one of us eventually messes it up.  It's life.

I enjoy walking into the dairy part of the grocery store in the fall and seeing that the Pumpkin Spice Coffeemate has arrived.  Even though I don't write long hand much anymore, I still enjoy the feeling of prosperity when I have a new stack of clean paper or spiral notebooks.

I love opening my seed bin and seeing it full and ready to be dispensed to my fine feathered and furry friends. I enjoy figuring out that chubby Shelbie will eat green beans so I can cut back on her dog food and she'll lose some weight without being so deprived.

I love finding new meditation videos on youtube that have bird songs in them.  Chester and the Tiels really seem to enjoy them and it keeps Chester from screaming.

I enjoy hearing that someone is reading or has read my books and that they enjoyed them.  I'm not a very demonstrative person, but make no mistake, when I say, "Thank you!  I'm glad you enjoyed them,"  I'm whooping and hollering on the inside.

I try to make it out front or up onto the deck every evening to see the sunset. Texas has some of the most spectacular sunsets in the world and each one is different.

And I enjoy the winding down feeling of evening.  I love to sit on the patio and listen to the birds as they settle in for the night and the crickets as they start their night time serenade. When it's chilly,  I love having a fire in the chiminea and wrapping up in a nice soft blanket as I sit and listen to the night sounds.

I enjoy saying goodnight to Deidre and Seth. There is a peacefulness about evening and bedtime that is unequalled at any other time of the day.

Then I hoist chubby Shelbie up onto my bed and put Breck in his crate and say good night to them too.

Life is full of things to enjoy when we stop to pay attention to what makes us feel good.

it's seeing a beautiful August Super Moon

Monday, October 13, 2014

Living In the Light

evening shadow art in my living room.

Depression is an ugly word. It's too bad it has so many letters -- because it deserves the designation of "a four letter word".  It's right in there with "hell", "crap", and "poop". (I'm trying to watch my liberal use of four letter words because the "kid" is always listening. He is a little tape recorder. He knows where the "play" button is and pushes it at the most inopportune times.)

Ronnie and I both fought depression a whole lot of our adult lives. Ronnie's was so bad, we lived in the dark.  We had room darkening vertical blinds over the big front windows in the living room and over the patio door in the dining room. With carpet that was nearly black, in the middle of the day, coming in from outside, you couldn't see where you were going.  It fit the words, "den" and "cave".

Our bedroom was the same, black as pitch.  I took down the heavy covers over the bedroom windows when Ronne went to a different crew at PPG and didn't have to sleep during the day anymore, but he fussed about the light in the bedroom.  When he started napping in the middle of the day as a way to relax and relieve anxiety, he always did it in the living room where it was still midnight.

And then he passed away.

beautiful sunrise
And I took down all the "room darkening" blinds.  For many years, we'd talked about getting new windows to help with energy efficiency, so I did that. I ordered windows with the least amount of panes for easier cleaning -- and they are so beautiful, and the world is so beautiful through them, I've never covered them up.  Deidre has curtains over her's and Seth's windows, but the living room, the dining room and my bedroom have nothing -- just a clear view of what's going on outside anytime I want to look.

Right now the sky is beginning to lighten.  The windmill is spinning in a strong north wind as another storm approaches. When I raise my window even just a crack, I can hear the leaves rustling, the waterfall, the morning birds, and Gallo Cogburn crowing.

Sunlight has always been a synonym for "joy" and "happiness".  Childhood songs such as "Zippedy Do Da!" mention "plenty of sunshine headin' my way!" Another song my sister-in-law, Linda, sang to wake her kids up was "Let the sun shine in, face it with a grin".

Deidre took a short video from the door of Seth's room one morning as he and I were playing "double fetch" with Breck Roscoe Gentry.  In the video, you can see the sun light streaming in my window. When I showed the video to my friend, Dawn, she said, "I love how the light shines in your house!"

morning sun splashing on this painting gives it a new look

I do, too!  One of the best gifts I have ever given myself is these big beautiful clear windows that let the sun shine in.  I appreciate them every time I walk into the living room and see the sun splashing across the floor or the walls, and when it paints itself across  the snowy ground of a winter scene I have right here by my computer, it adds a new "look" to the work of art.

Depression can't tolerate light.

Light is also closely associated to "knowledge". Knowledge to many means "education" and lots of it.  The more education a person has, the more "knowledgeable" they are considered.

But there are many different kinds of "knowledge" and they all seem to fit into two categories: knowledge that matters, and knowledge that doesn't matter.

The "knowledge that matters" is that which enriches your life, that which shines light into your personal darkness.  It is unique to each person.

I bought a meditation tape a year or so ago.  Since then I've received many e-mail invitations from that company, for free webinars on how to improve health, wellbeing and my "successfulness". I signed on for a new one but after checking into it a little further, I began to feel a reluctance to participate. I'm developing a distaste for these companies who are dipping into spirituality with the purpose of guiding people toward "successful" with the clear implication that the traditional definition, the "high dollar" life is the goal. You can't say it, and people won't believe you are actually successful if you don't have the expensive cars, homes, title, etc., etc., etc. But if you'll meditate their way, with their product, you'll be able to rake in all this good stuff, too.

I'm 65, I've probably either missed or dismissed my chances to be "successful" in the traditional sense. I don't have a $100,000 college degree, no title -- other than Mother and Neenaw, no big important job, no huge impressive salary, no Caddies or Lexus or mansion with multiple bathrooms.  I don't have any $35,000 dollar bird vases.

But I don't care.

What I have had the pleasure of accomplishing in my life is finding the information/knowledge that led me to having a sense of peace around most areas of my life.

While all the trappings of wealth are undeniably fun and exciting, being successful is having access to the deeper emotions like peace, appreciation for the blessings we have, a sense of safety, and that all is well. It's feeling healthy and energetic, being able to relax and enjoy our now, that connect us to our Source, our God.  When we are working and striving so hard to be successful, those feelings are not often present.

Step into the light of pure positive energy. Take the time each day to calm your mind, to get in touch with peace and contentment.

Then go out and get all that fun stuff!

Winter sunset -- awesome!

Sunday, October 12, 2014

I Can Live With This

Gail and Tom Wisdom took this outstanding picture from their home in Canyon Trails

Life goes on -- whether you lose a loved one or a job, you have to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Abraham says conflict (stuff we don't like or want) is what spurs us to do something different than what we are currently doing.  I'm sure this is true because I have a tendency to stay where I am as long as I'm comfortable  -- sometimes way past when I cease to be comfortable -- because what is familiar -- even if it's not so good -- feels safer than the unknown.

I'll miss the funny stuff going on at the flower shop.  I'll miss some of the interesting folks I've met
No, that's not a white rose,  it' s lisianthus with pink bouvardia
while working there.

Flower shops are major gossip centers.  They know who died. They know who is leaving what to who in their will and who has been disowned, too. They know who is cheating on their spouse and with whom. They always get the scoop on divorces, you know -- who got what, how well the wife will be set up for the rest of her life, that kind of vital information. They always get the scoop on who is filing
bankruptcy, which politician didn't pay his taxes, and why businesses close their doors.

I guess for some folks, a florist is like a beautician, you can tell them anything. You can tell them everything -- and many people do. I have never figured out why.

I'll probably have withdrawals not hearing which wealthy woman married which wealthy man, and the really important stuff like who's daughter will have the most expensive debutante dress, how much so-and so paid for their car or their mansion, how much they spent on their Christmas decorations and how much those bird vases cost. Just kidding.

What I will miss the most, though, is the flowers. They have been a beautiful part of my daily life for forty five years, but Deidre brings them home from her job. Maybe the drought will end soon and we can resume planting the lovelies in our yards again.

Deidre and I decided to take Seth out of day care and let him stay with me. He'd gotten where he didn't want to go to "school" again, so it was a battle every morning.  It's the path of least resistance. He only has one more year before he'll go to kindergarten, (if he goes) (homeschooling seems more and more probable) so we're gonna spend it together, and keep that daycare money in the family till.

Life goes on.  That's good.  I'm happy and I feel relaxed for the first time in a long, long time.

I can live with this. :)

Pink Bouvardia

Friday, October 10, 2014

The Time It Never Rained

 beautiful sky in Wichita Falls, Texas

Elmer Kelton wrote a novel entitled, "The Time It Never Rained".  I read it during the previous drought and talk about depressing!  It didn't even have a slightly hopeful ending.

Abraham Hicks says the main reason we don't get what we want is because we focus as much on what we don't want as what we do want. They call it "that little thing you do over and over again." With each person it's different, but it amounts to the same thing.  "I want this -- but ..." and then we list all the reasons why we think we won't get it. "I want a new car -- but I can't afford a payment." "I want a relationship -- but I'm afraid of getting hurt."

Many of us pray for rain similar to this, "Dear God, let it rain!" Then we remember our grandson's football game is Saturday, so the prayer changes to "Dear God, Let it rain but after the football game."

one of the collections of interesting yard art

Peggy Browning said she ran into "yes -- but" recently.  She'd say, "Isn't this a beautiful day?" And the person she'd spoken to replied with, "Yes  but we sure do need some rain." "Yes, but it's too hot."

Many of us don't know how to just enjoy the now. This moment right now when the sky is clear and blue and white clouds drift around giving us momentary relief from the direct sun.  Winter is coming and when it gets here, we'll all long for these warm sunny days. It's a negative habit to discount the loveliness of this moment because the next might not be as great.  As Abraham says, "Stop doing that!"

I think the fact that we blame the weather man when he doesn't get the forecast right has played a big roll in how the weathermen present their forecasts, which often destroys all hope of getting rain.  Actually I don't know anyone who is stupid enough to really hold the weatherman responsible when the weather takes a turn for the worse, but we do tease them about it and over the years, someone has made a mountain out of a molehill, so now they have to cover all the bases.

So we hear stuff like "There's a 40% chance of rain on Tuesday -- of course that means there's a 60% chance that it won't." I am perfectly capable of figuring this out myself -- if I wanted to -- but I prefer to focus on the 40% which is better than 20%. Right?

They show us weather maps with a huge rain system splattered across the western United States moving east and they say, "This huge system is moving right this way -- but we're probably not going to get any of it."

I got tired of having my hopes repeatedly dashed, so I downloaded a couple of weather apps onto my phone and I turned off the tv.  If weather apps eventually cause someone to lose their job as a weatherman, I'm sorry.

a nice arrangement of junk
I don't pretend to have any solutions to our water situation. Abraham likens dire situations like the one we are in,  to a person jumping out of an airplane without a parachute.  "What do I do now?" the jumper wants to know, and Abraham says, "Hold on.  It'll be over soon."

In other words, when we get ourselves into situations like this drought, there isn't much we can do about it, but wait it out.  It'll either kill our town -- or a solution will come - as in torrential long term rain. It can happen.  It has before.

But I have gained an understanding of how we got here.

Looking at our drought situation from the perspective that we create all this with thought, consider how many generations have dreaded droughts.  Since this area isn't that great for growing stuff that needs lots of water -- like cattle and vegetable gardens, water has always been a concern.  So lets start there.  There are lots of farmers and ranchers in North Central Texas.

Every time the spring rains are less than they were the year before, they remember the last full blown drought.  They remember the worst of the hard times. They discuss it with their friends and neighbors, and in doing so, they keep the possibility of another full blown drought active in their magnetic field.  You and I listen to the local news on which they report the worst of the last full blown drought.  They add drama to it by showing us how low the lakes were during the LFBD (last full blown drought) and how low they are now and even tell us how many days of water we still have in our main reservoir. And guess what?  We get worried, too. We start "conserving" water which is more of a negative practice than a positive one because it reeks of worry and "not enough", which is the same vibration as the drought itself.

We argue about whether watering lawns should be allowed, then in that same down vibration as "conserving", our city officials decide to "ration" the water. Now the full blown drought possibility is in every body's face.  We talk about it with everyone we meet.

We think about and discuss the possibility of selling our homes and leaving Wichita Falls but by now the situation feels so hopeless, most people add to that negative conversation by saying, "Who would buy our homes?  No one wants to live in a city where there isn't any water. This place is going to be a ghost town."

Mexican petunias

So the City starts scrambling to get the water purification system on line, that they'd built several years ago in anticipation of the next full blown drought.  The public has an immediate negative response and nick names the system "poop water" and they make T-shirts that say, "Wichita Falls -- we put the number 2 back in H2O".

Nobody feels good about any of it. Then they tell us that the water purification system will only provide water for 2 years -- so this is only a temporary fix -- an expensive temporary fix -- which was part of the reason water rates almost doubled. Nobody feels good about that either.

"Pray for rain" signs are everywhere.  A friend told me she was getting tired of begging for rain.  I said, "God's probably sick of listening to us too. He's probably thinking what every parent says when their kids are nagging incessantly, 'You're not getting it until you shut up.'"

There are lessons to be learned from every trying situation including this drought.  Number one in my mind is that North Central Texas in general, Wichita Falls in particular has never been appreciated for what it is.  It is a harsh landscape with unpredictable weather.  Many of us ask too much of it.  We want it to be like some place else and complain when it doesn't conform. But it is what it is. It's always been this way and to wish, and beg for this zebra to change its stripes is useless.

There are things we can do to improve our future in Wichita Falls.  Number one, look for reasons to appreciate this place we call home.  I'm sure that if I were God, nothing would piss me off worse than folks asking for more stuff when they don't even take time to say thanks for all the good stuff I've already given them.

I'm going to step out on a limb here and say, I love Wichita Falls. Sometimes I'm not real sure why. Yes, the politics suck.  Our city leaders have made some really stupid decisions which we are clearly paying for now, but you know what? As long as water flows from my faucet when I turn it on, I'm good.

The social cliques suck, but guess what?  There are hundreds of fine, fun folks to socialize with who don't give a flip about all that fancy stuff either, so I'm good.

I've awakened nearly every morning of my life in Wichita Falls.  It's my home.  My front yard is a disaster. The beautiful St. Augustine that Ronnie slaved over is gone and all that remains is dirt and a few spreading patches of Bermuda.  But the pecan tree is still alive. So are the crepe myrtles.

And when the rains come again, which they will soon, I'm going to plant native plants.  It really doesn't make any sense to use anything else.

In closing, I'll add a word of warning: If you're not tough as a boot, it's senseless for you to plant yourself  here.

beautiful evening sky

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

I Feel Good -- And I'm Happy

Big full moon again in October

I didn't really intend to retire this early.  I enjoyed working three days a week.  But -- I'm not anymore and now I'm looking for new stuff to be happy about. 

Seth directing your attention to
 the Princess Feathers

Happy is that feeling I have when I realize one more time that the pressure is off.  It's remembering that Seth doesn't have to get up and go to a place where he obviously does not feel like he can relax and be his silly imaginative self.  It's the smile I get from him when I say, "Guess what, Seth!" And he says, "What?" And I say, "We don't have to go to school or work."

It's the sweetness of his voice at bed time when I say. "Night, Seth! I love you and I highly approve of
you."  and he says. "I love you too and I highly approve of you more!"

It's knowing that Deidre's work day is better because she doesn't have to leave him at a place where he doesn't want to be.  It's running into home schoolers every where I go since we started exploring the possibility of homeschooling Seth. It's finding a friend who is homeschooling her five year old.

I'm so happy when I get text messages from my son, Ronnie, or our friend Greg, saying they want to meet in Decatur for dinner.  I love being out on the road.  Even after driving all the way to Oregon and back, I still enjoy driving. And I always have a great time with Ronnie, Michael, Greg and Brandon. Plus, the restaurant where we meet, Casa Torres, in Decatur has excellent Mexican food.


Shelbie Pie 

It's being able to let these old girl dogs out when they want to go.  


It's having extra time to spend with this ball of energy named Breck.
I'm excited to be able to offer Movie Night for my gal pals more often because we all have enjoyed it so much. I'm looking forward to clearing the shop out even further so we have room for more ladies in our group.  When it gets cold, I'm gonna light the Dearborn heater, bring out one of the electric heaters and if that doesn't warm the shop up enough, I'll have blankets.  We'll make coffee, hot tea and cocoa. At Christmas, we'll have hot spiced cider and watch National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.

I'm happy that I get to spend more time with my sister, my house, my yard and one of the loves of my life, Revis Kirkland.

I'm happy to report that my third novel about Revis and his family, When Hell Freezes Over, has "the end" written on it now.  I still have one scene to flesh out and one to write, but I have started the editing process because I feel certain by the time I edit to those two points, the inspiration will be here to finish them.

It's exciting to finish a story.  It feels wonderful to know I've finally accomplished something I set out to do five years ago. I never expected to take so long to write this novel or to get back on track with it after being de-railed by Ronnie's illness, his passing and then having to learn how to continue without him.

So being back in the groove of writing feels wonderful.

It feels great to create new stuff in my yard.  Since not much is thriving out there, now, I decided to make some interesting areas in the yard out of some of the "yard art" that Ronnie collected.  Seth's dad, Andy Pruett also brought some stuff.  I can do it as I please because there's no pressure.

I love finding pictures of interesting gardening ideas like this one!

And this one!  Now just how cute is that?

I'm enjoying clearing more junk out of the garage and letting go of some of the unidentifiable clutter. Again, it feels great not to have to get it all done before I go back to work.

I feel good when I take time to go visit with my elderly neighbor down the street. And when I take pictures to use on my blog.  I enjoy my blog. I'm still not real sure why I have it -- but I do and it gives me a place to talk about stuff that won't be in my novels.

Like looking for things to be happy about, and acknowledging -- without apology -- that I am happy and I feel good!

gorgeous Woodlawn sunset

Thursday, October 2, 2014

An Adventure in Petco

Seth and his monkey, Steve.  Seth wanted me to
take this picture through the windshield.

My four year old grandson, Seth, has the makings of a good hermit. So recently, I've been calling outings "adventures" in order to get him to come along with me.  He loves "Lord of the Rings" and he knows what an "adventure" is.

I needed to get something at Petco.  His mom was home but she wasn't feeling well, so I invited him to come with me.

"I'll just stay here."

"We can't have an adventure if you won't go with me."

"Oooooo - k," he said with distinct resignation.

pink toed tarantula

I figured I'd better make this interesting so he'd want to go again.  At Petco, we headed first to the "arachnids".  He is fascinated by spiders, but hasn't yet had the nerve to hold one. There were several different  species including a "pink toed tarantula". 

I googled it after I got home.

This species is found throughout northern South America and some islands in the Caribbean. It usually eats insects such as crickets, butterflies and moths. They live in trees and are docile by nature.

leopard geckos

And the beautiful Leopard geckos. I googled them too.Leopard geckos are desert geckos and they don't have those little suction cups on their toes for climbing walls. They can live up to 30 years in captivity. They are insectivores and nocturnal. Beautiful little guys with lots of color.


And the tortoise!  Seth was nose to nose with this guy for several moments.

long tailed lizards 

And the long tailed lizards.

Miniature hamsters

These tiny miniature hamsters were some of the cutest critters I've ever seen.  One of the most visible differences in them and other hamsters, is the shape of their eyes.  Regular hamsters have cute little round beady eyes.  The mini's eyes are more almond shaped like a rabbit.

They hardly have a tail so they look like little balls of fur! Cute! Cute! Cute!

When we left, Seth asked, "Can we get some of those little hamsters?  They are soooo cute!"

I said, "Well, we already have a lot of critters so I think we should wait until you're old enough to help Neenaw take care of them."

He replied, "Ok!  When I get old enough to drive a pickup, I'll come up here and get some!"

I laughed and told him, "That sounds like a good plan!"

And I'm already looking forward to our next adventure!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Make a Difference!

A Gulf Fritillary butterfly on Lantana -- photo by Gail Wisdom

Two bits of wisdom came via Facebook recently.  They really speak to me. The first one says:

"You can make a difference: If a minimum of 1-2% of us resist the temptation to participate passively or actively in the spreading of negative world events, the rest of society will gradually begin to change as well. This is about the easiest and most profound contribution each one of us can make toward creating a more peaceful world." -- Andreas Moritz

Abraham says that one person connected to the stream (Source/God) is more powerful than a million who are not -- which means this 1-2% that Andreas Moritz is asking for CAN change the world to be a more peaceful place.

It's hard to avoid hearing the newest most horrible awful thing when you're around people every day, but now, if I don't turn on the news (which I swore off of soon after 9/11) or click on AOL's invitation to view any of their videos, I don't have a clue what the newest most horrible awful thing is.

It's been a long time since I said, "OMG! Did you hear about that?" because I realized and accepted the fact that the more attention we pay to horrible events, the more often we hear of them.

I made a conscious decision to stop participating in spreading the bad news.

My evening sky
I get a lot of flack for it, too.

But I am a senior woman, with less than a high school education, so I figure my best opportunity to help change the world is to focus on the good stuff.

Unfortunately, most humans seem more willing -- or find it easier to identify with someone going through some horrible event, than with those going through some kind of outstanding happy event.  I remember a feeling of -- importance -- maybe -- that came when I was the "first to know" and got to divulge all the horrible details to a spell bound audience. That "fifteen minutes of fame" may be why so many of us are addicted to participating in the spread of bad news.

I watched CNN for hours following the attacks on 9/11, waiting, hardly able to breathe, to see how many people were killed, hearing the stories of those who survived, trying to put myself in their place, to feel what they must have felt, how scared they were, etc.

We don't do that when we hear that someone has won the Powerball.

I think many of us, myself included, let envy and jealousy, however slight, interfere with our ability to rejoice in someone else's major good fortune, so we turn our attention from them very quickly. A snappy, "good for them" is about all they're gonna get. We don't hang around with the wonderful feelings of the good fortune of others -- but we could.

The imagination works the same if you are conjuring up a possible end of life situation or a major happiness event.  However, the vibrations for these two different events are opposite. With attention to tragedy, we attract more tragedy.  Everyone eventually asks the question, "Has the world gotten meaner? Or, due to the newest technology, do we just hear about more mean things?" I think it's both -- to a certain extent.  The world is much more good than bad, but the media makes sure we hear about all the tragedies  -- often whether we want to hear it or not. Their attention to, and their 24/7 coverage of the wars, the school shootings, the murders, earth quakes, tornadoes etc. make us feel like it's happening everywhere -- but it's not.  Every single day, billions of people go to work and school and return home with absolutely nothing negative happening to them.

Another aspect of this is that every time someone does something dastardly and it makes the news, some other dastardly deed doer gets a new idea.

Before Columbine, school shootings were unheard of.  How many have there been since then?

Focusing on the happy events -- which, by the way, far outweigh the tragedies on every single day -- we attract more happy events. If you go on the internet and look for things that make you smile, you'll find a boat load of them.  You can surf the same web for tragedies and find a boatload of them too.  It just depends on what you choose to look for.

Wildflower - Scrambled Eggs --
blooms all summer with intermittent rainfall
The second bit of wisdom says : "If we listen to the news and tune into the hate, we perpetuate the violence. Send out only love. no matter how hard it is to do. "-- LL Cartin

That's exactly what watching the news does to many people.  They tune into the hate. They lump, often, a whole race of people, or an entire political party into one category and hold them all responsible for the dirty deeds of a few.

If we let the negativity of the media set our mood every morning and again every evening just before we go to bed, we don't have a an ice cube's chance in hell of being in a good mood when we start the next day.

Watching the news (before I turned it off) made me feel like the world is a horrible, dangerous place.

It isn't.  I proved it to myself.  I drove half way across the United States and back. Me and one other woman. No one even treated us rudely.

So I am going to "stick my head back in the sand" now and join the 1-2% who refuse to say, "OMG! Did you hear about that?"

OMG!  Did you see this beautiful morning sky?