Yesterday I got a comment from TOM, the other Marcia, and she told me I needed a tablet and a stylus to draw. Since she is an artist, and I definitely am not, I decided to try it. V dropped me off at Best Buy, and they told me that I needed a Bamboo tablet. They were only $99.00, and I decided that would be worth the amount of entertainment I would get from it. So it came home with me.
After going through the tutorial ad nauseum, I wondered if I could draw a house for Piggles. It looked like a square with a triangle on top. So, NO. There are no images in my mind for houses. I have to see pictures, I guess. So I went back to Piggles, and drew her again, using the same photograph, but this time using the stylus, and coloring in a background color.
So here is the Old Piggles, drawn with the mouse
And here is the new Piggles, drawn with the stylus. You can see that I am still not an artist. I just don’t have the eye, but it was my best try for as long as I want to sit doing it. You can tell me what you think.
This seems the perfect place to feature my new friend, Marcia, or T.O.M. as she calls herself. There must be something to the name because she is married to Mark, and my first husband was named Mark. Very coincidental. So it only makes sense that since she taught me about this product and gave me a mini-art lesson that I should feature her blog. Like my other friend Darla Welchel, who I plan to feature later this week – warning Darla, I’ll be over camping on your site, Marcia loves to read and review books. I get one book read, and they probably are reading 10. The important thing is that the books get read and reviewed.
The other interest that she and I are sharing is writing. I am so new at this sport as well, in spite of writing for a living in my job, teaching writing to children, having a few articles published in journals and magazines, and even a few pieces of poetry. Books are a different matter. Marcia, however, is all over art work. She emailed me some of her work, and they are astounding. You are just going to have to discover T.O.M. for yourself. She’s astounding. Too bad she’s not single, Ralph! She’s got a great sense of humor, too.
Considering that I was reading it on my cell phone the whole time because my Kindle needs to be emptied before I can load any more books, it’s amazing that I even stuck it out. Out of forty-two chapters, there wasn’t a single dud. I read it because I was intrigued when someone wrote that when Lawrence Anthony died, the elephants mourned.
We all have problems and obstacles when we follow our dreams, but this man had more than most. He bought a 5,000 acre game reserve in Zululand, South Africa called Thula Thula. He had the ability to get, not only wild elephants to listen to him, but also local police, local political leaders including tribal leaders from warring tribes. He conquered poaching problems, floods, and built a thriving lodge in the midst of this reserve full of all kinds of wild animals, the largest being the elephants.
These desperate, wild elephants uprooted trees weighing several tons and crashed through electric fencing to escape the reserve and run free in towns and countryside where EVERYONE from poachers to police wanted to shoot them. The logistics of capturing, transporting and keeping animals of this strength and determination were mind-boggling. His story of training and taming them without domesticating them kept me transfixed and absorbed for about two days.
One of the major characteristics that comes out about Lawrence Anthony besides his ability to work hard in horrible circumstances, is his humility. He credited everyone for the wonderful ways they contributed to his project, and in so doing inspired immense loyalty. Possibly just as amazing was his companion, Franςoise. She combatted snakes, and nursed a dying 280 pound baby elephant in her spare bedroom – well the run of the house, actually. She ran the lodge, made and served gourmet French cuisine, and finally after living with the man who didn’t mind having elephant slobber all over his body for 15 years planned and executed their surprise wedding.
Elephants and the Common Core
Remembering that the Common Core is all about non-fiction, and integrating science, social studies, and technology, this book will do it all – especially if students are reading it on their iPhones as I was. In spite of it’s length this is an engaging read for upper elementary students and above. It is also a great one to engage male readers, who statistically respond both to animals and adventure.
Anthony’s story of survival, love, adventure, drama, and caring for both animals, the environment and culture of the people will inspire and challenge everyone to meet their own challenges with courage and innovation.
The perfect blog to feature today is one of another adventurer, Amy at shareandconnect. I have heaped awards on Amy’s shoulders, and I have enjoyed her company, her uplifting comments on my blog for many months, but tonight I spent time just thumbing through her blog, reading the back pages, and the more I read, the more I liked. This wonder woman has been everywhere. If it has a trail, she climbed it. If it’s beautiful, she’s photographed it.
Here’s a peek. You are going to want to set aside some time and just go browse in her museum of photos.
You can thank me later because you’ll be richer for it! Enjoy Share and Connect, you’ll be glad you connected. 🙂 Marsha
A few months into retirement, my goals are slowly coming to fruition. I started quilting with Carmen, my friend who retired last year, and wanted to bring My Ohio Star Quilt to completion. That proved to be easier said than done.
I proudly took my ready to go quilt to Barbara Graham, my wonderful quilter. It was to be ready in a week. In a little over a week, she called me telling me that there was a LITTLE problem, but it was correctable. I sadly took my quilt back home, and ripped off the edge that unsquared my quilt.
Now Ohio Star is back home, complete and beautiful, and Barbara Graham will be my quilter for whatever project I ever do from now on. She took pity on me when I returned my quilt the second time. When she put it together, she discovered that the back of my quilt was also not square. So instead of calling me again, she didn’t want to discourage me, so she had her daughter fix it for me.
Now Ohio Star is at home on the bed, but just for a while. It is a summer quilt, and I just wanted to show it off to all of you. I couldn’t wait until summer.
As I started showing it off, the bears got rowdy. First the two that normally sit on the headboard, that at one time got into a terrible row with each other – a story that is worthy of its own post.
Nurse Rabbit and her baby jumped right in. Notice that they sat right next to boy bear. That’s part of the story.
Then of course Manny joined the fray along with his own little bear that came to keep him company.
Somebody else was less than pleased about this bedlam.
It wasn’t long before Sweetie Pie and her clan climbed on board.
Then friends of friends, that hadn’t really been part of the original clan jumped off the mantle and came over. Another certain someone still wasn’t impressed.
However, one of them smelled like one of her favorite girls, little Miss Chloe, better known as Mono, Choco, or the Monkey.
Missy Kitty heard the excitement from the spare bedroom, and she carried her baby over to crash the party.
But Manny, always the gentleman, always concerned for the one who’s left out, went back to the spare bedroom and carried Mary Louise into our room so she wouldn’t feel left out. She was my Grandma Golda’s doll.
Unfortunately she’s seen some hard times, and at one point in her life she broke her foot. Manny, typical to his sweet nature, brought her foot to my attention, but Mary Louise quickly covered it up again. I tried to explain to Manny that Mary Louise’s foot has been broken for many years, and she’s been stubborn about going to the doctor to get it fixed.
At some point the bears, rabbits and kitties, and even Kalev quieted down, ashamed that they had been so rowdy when poor old Mary Louise sat so calmly in spite of any pains she might have been having. They all rallied around her, and then went back to their rooms.
It couldn’t have been soon enough for the Little Miss Puppy Girl.
Guess who started a blog? Sir!!! I reblogged his first post, so that you would get to know him quickly. http://wp.me/p31FPU-M
I’ve been reading stories about Sir for about 6 months now from his wonderful blogger daughter, the briny lass, Autty Jade. His first story looks like a hit, and I’m sure we’re in for some real treats as he gets his Blog legs under him. Welcome to the Blogosphere, Sir 🙂
If you’ve been blogging regularly and faithfully for more than two or three weeks, you’ve probably received your first award. This post is primarily for NEW bloggers. Experienced bloggers don’t always stick by the letter of the Award Laws, but they have developed their own ways to responding to awards. This is my way.
In my opinion, Awards are fun. Someone took the time to develop them. They are an invitation from someone who is reaching out and saying, “I like you. What you are saying is resonating with me.” They may also be a newbie and be saying to themselves, “I got this award, and I have to pass it on, or the whole blogosphere is going to blow up in my face.”
Panic-stricken they continue their muse, “Who can I give it to? I”ve only read three people’s blogs. How was I supposed to know I have to read OTHER people’s blogs? I thought I would just write, and people would come read it. And soon an online magazine would pick up my stuff and start publishing it. Hmmm OK, I know, I’ll give it to another new kid on the block.”
Whatever reason an award comes your way, there it is and now you have to make a decision. Are you going to respond, blow it off and pretend you didn’t get it, or hang up a “Do Not Disturb – No Blogs Allowed” sign on your blog? I think most people respond, which perpetuates the award giving, but there is always the temptation to move on and ignore the award. I’m going to err on the side of acceptance for lots of reasons. First I’m going to tell you why I don’t want to hang up a “go away award givers” sign.
Very few newbies write well enough to tell people to go away and expect them to come back and visit their site. The only one I know who gets by with that is Ralph, and Ralph is just special. He doesn’t even have to write a post and people come and leave 80-100 comments in his box. You need to visit Ralph just to know it’s true, but beware, you will be hooked. Ralph just has enough “Je ne sais crois,” as one of his friend’s puts it, to pull it off. The rest of us starter bloggers, well …. Only you can make that decision. Most people who don’t respond eventually have few people visiting their site even caring what they write. If that’s really what you want – and some people do – then, by all means, hang up the sign. And people will leave you alone by the droves.
So let’s say you get an award or two, what do you do to keep up? I don’t want to mislead you – it does take some effort on your part to participate. Here are my steps.
Thank your award giver right away – even if you are not going to respond and pick the blogs you want to pass the award yet. If you don’t do this and forget who gave you awards, you can search your comments to find who has given you awards.
First of all you don’t HAVE to follow all the instructions exactly as written if YOU don’t want to do so. There are no award police. This is not a grant application that will be rejected if you don’t answer one of the questions. It’s not a chain letter that will break and bring you bad luck to you and your descendants for hundreds of years. So if the award doesn’t work exactly for you, be creative. It’s the thought that counts.
Open a word document to copy and paste the instructions for your blog award(s) as well as the url of the person awarding you. I usually open a new document when I have a couple of awards, rather than just one because I’m not really THAT organized. Answer the questions, and create a blanket invitation that you will cut and past in your awardee’s comment boxes later. I always try to let them know that they don’t have to feel obligated by my nomination.
Open your reader. Copy and paste some or all of the blogs you follow into the document you created.
Clean it up so that all you have are the links to the websites. This is important. You are going to use these links several times.
We tend to pay attention to the first blogs we follow, and the most recent ones as well, so some blogs always get ignored. Highlight a group of blogs you follow from your reader tab on your stats page, copy and paste them into a new place on the page. Pick more than you need for the award. I included a sample of my document in pink.
As I meet new bloggers, I am always impressed by, not only creative blogs, but those blogs that can create readership, and participate as engaged readers in others’ blogs. That is the reason I have nominated you for the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award. Enjoy it as a compliment. http://wp.me/p2jC53-13f
Let’s assume that you have more than enough sights that you follow to choose from. If you don’t I’ll address that in a minute. Start down your list (on the Word document) and click on the sites. This is time consuming because you want to “camp out” on each site for a bit to get to know them if you are not reading them regularly. I prefer working from the offline page rather than trying to keep track of them in my reader. I have to watch my internet usage, and it saves time. Don’t give awards to sites you really don’t know AT ALL!
Write your post. You can cut and paste from your Word document including all the names. Paste the links into the tags of your post as well, so that your awardees get better coverage on Google. Remember award giving will help them build readership.
Insert a picture of the award by copying the url from your friend who gave you the award. Save and close it. Insert it into the post near the top and use the url for that also. Publish your post, and copy the short link. Open the your sidebar image and fill in the blanks with the title of the award, url for the picture, and paste the short link for YOUR POST in the space that says link to an url, near the bottom of the insertion. I also write the name of the award giver in the caption line. (see sample )
Using your Word document, click on each website again, go to a comment section and paste in your blanket response. I always personalize it to respond to what Ive read on their site as well. That should take care of it.
As you regularly visit sites, check out the awards, write congratulation notes. Awards are a tool for making connections with others.
Respond to people as they thank you choosing them for the award. Be positive and always congratulate them because you had a reason for picking them. If you can elaborate on their return comment, it never hurts to tell them a few more details about why you chose them.
What to do if you don’t have enough followers?
If you haven’t been blogging for very long and don’t have enough, then you can just put the award away for a while, or you can visit your favorite pages, and look at the comment sections and see who else you might like to have as a friend.
Click on the links of the comments you like and check them out, looking at the about pages and a few posts. Don’t give awards to people you find out that you don’t really like. This makes them meaningless!!!!
What happens after you’re nominated for an award?
Nothing happens. No WordPress person is going to come and say, “You were nominated, and out of the 600,000,000 bloggers world-wide, your new blog is the best we’ve ever seen.” I say that because at first I was so shocked to receive an award. I was so naive vain, that I wondered when someone was going to tell me that I’d actually WON! The experience is the nomination. The fact that another blogger likes you is the prize.
I wish we did something like this with students so that they were not looking at the teacher to give all the praise. Students need learn to do a good job just to do a good job, and to appreciate EACH OTHER because they evaluate each other’s work and deem it valuable in some way. Everybody can be the BEST something.
I have many blogging awards in my sidebar, and I’m proud of all of them. My non-blogger friends think I’m really a master blogger when they see all those award seals!!! hahaha And to some of you lovely bloggers I AM!!!
Award giving builds community and caring between bloggers. No one can monitor all of this. We wouldn’t want them to!! We monitor each other. We visit bloggers because we want to read what they have to say. I started blogging in April, 2012. A few of my blogger friends and I have started emailing so we don’t blog up the blog. I have given and received items from my friends in the snail mailbox. We have exchanged pictures. We have become Facebook friends or fans. We are really becoming more than just Cyber friends.
As a word of caution to all of this personal sharing we all want to be safe. My husband wanted me to take off my location on my Facebook page, which I did. It is also not a great idea to include your birthday on FB.
Do you think I love blogging? Come join the fun. I hope this has made your award receiving and giving a little easier. 🙂
Featured Blogs are my alternative to awards. You can see my criteria on my Featured Blogs page. Patricia Drury is my pick for today. She is retired and relatively new to blogging, a newbie photographer with a Canon Camera with talent just bursting to be shared. She open and full of life. I think I’d like to BE in some of her photographs they are in such beautiful places!! See what I mean?
I enjoy photo challenges because they always make me think. I don’t usually think about themes. I was surprised this morning when I was reading Russel Ray’s site that anyone could come up with enough pictures of chimneys, let alone the idea that the chimneys were Santa-unfriendly chimneys, and therefore the cause of undelivered gifts in Southern California. I am surprised at the creative thinking of others.
Being basically self-centered my first thought was, when have I ever been surprised. Of course I’ve had surprise parties, but that’s a little too self-centered even for me! So I just started scouting. And I found a mutual surprise. He was as surprised seeing me as I was seeing him hiding in the trees.
I wanted to at least get my feet wet, so V waited for me while I ran down to get in the warm water for a few minutes.
When I got up close, we were talking for a minute when I glanced over, and poof, this guy had sprung up out of nowhere, and looked like he had been comfortably ensconced for a lifetime. I was surprised I hadn’t noticed him before in his bright red hammock. Who misses red stuff???
He seemed not to notice me, but I had to ask if I could take his picture. He was surprised, too!
Here are some more blogs to check out so you can also be surprised at the creativity of others.
Lantern Posthttp://lanternpost2012.wordpress.com/ Daniela will break your heat and inspire you at the same time. Although she a native of Zagreb, (Croatia), she writes with a simple, honest elegance in English that few native writers ever achieve. One of my favorite posts, entitled, Is Blogging Addictive?, haunted me long after I remembered who wrote it. It continued to inspire me as I thought about the symptoms that I display more and more each day to my husband’s consternation.
This is one blog that doesn’t need a lot of photography and art to draw you in and hold your attention. This was her only media, and yet, her thoughts lasted in my mind for months. Like a good book, you won’t be able to put her tab down and move to another site or get up and do something in the real world (heaven forbid!).
As soon as I publish this post, I’m going over to her site to surprise her with the news that she’s MY Featured Blog.
Dianne Gray, author, new and dear friend, and one of my Featured Blogs, recommended my to Robin Coyle the other day. I was so honored, and I wondered who Robin was. Now I’m following Robin, too, and I wouldn’t be surprised if we became friends in the future. Thank you Dianne for recommending me. I hope my friend Daniela will feel as honored and surprised as I was. Yes, Daniela, to answer your question, Blogging IS Addictive!!!!
Do you have people you want to feature, but they are award-shy? Or you don’t have the right award to give them at the moment. I have my own criteria which you can read about on my new Featured Blog page. You have your ideas of what blogs draw you into their personal spidery web. Talk to me about it. You might even want to feature someone yourself, or send me a recommendation with a little explanation. Even though I designed a little seal to give people I feature, I’m still mulling this over in my mind.
Delicate suggests many diverse meanings. Curiously, now and again what seems delicate may actually be quite strong, and conversely, when something appears heavy, mechanical, sturdy or awkward may have delicate functions, characteristics, or aspects. Here are some of my choices for the many meanings of delicate. How many of them might at the same time be surprisingly durable, hardy, vigorous or unyielding?
1. Pleasing to the senses, especially in a subtle way, and
2. Very subtle in difference or distinction. With its delicate beauty this dainty, paper-thin blossom, tinged with a hint of pink, entices human admirers as it attracts and feeds tiny insects.
3. Exquisitely fine or dainty: I am especially enamored with spider webs. After a light rain, these delicate strings sparkle like diamonds. All the while they seem delicate, spider webs capture insects, weather strong winds and rain, and even resist persistent humans who try to destroy them.
4. Frail in constitution or health. Like any elderly living thing, fallen leaves lose their suppleness as they age. When they first fall, they are colorful, and easy to gather. After a few months their delicate, frail forms crunch and break easily when touched. Even in their broken condition, they function as fertilizer and conditioner to improve the soil and retain its valuable moisture.
5. Requiring tactful treatment: a delicate situation. Most people consider a flag of the United States a symbol of strength, not something fragile or delicate, but I would argue that the delicate experiment of our democratic government is always only one generation from total collapse. If citizens are not vigil, the rights and privileges we enjoy in the United States can disappear.
6. Easily broken or damaged. I took many pictures as workmen replaced our 30-40 year old furnace with an efficient new model. One of the men asked for my pictures. He told me that working on a roof with a crane swinging a heavy HVAC unit towards them was extremely delicate work. One false move with the powerful arm of the crane, and the installers could be knocked off the roof, or the unit or roof structure ruined. Until I talked to him, I would not have thought of this as a delicate task, but he changed my thinking.
Another delicate operation is archaeology. In Jamestown students worked alongside experienced archaeologists to uncover secrets buried in the settlement established in 1607. Nothing here looked very delicate, but once they dug a large area down to a specific level, they started working with brushes and spoons rather than shovels, being very careful not to destroy fragile artifacts.
7. Marked by sensitivity of discrimination:
a. Considerate of the feelings of others.
b. Concerned with propriety.
c. Squeamish or fastidious.
These students reenacted the giants in the women’s suffrage movement. Although considered the delicate sex, the suffragists showed amazing strength in the face of danger and harsh punishment.
8. Fine or soft in touch or skill. Although the dandelion seeds are delicate to the touch, the dichotomy is that these hardy seeds weather strong winds, travel great distances, and reproduce many offspring.
9. precise, skilled, or sensitive in action or operation: Kalev got burrs stuck all around her mouth. Taking them out was a delicate matter because they were so close to her sensitive mouth. We didn’t have scissors, so we had to pull her tangled fur off each bur. A park ranger came to our rescue with a pair of surgical scissors, but even that was a delicate operation. Even if Kalev had been sedated for the delicate procedure, which she wasn’t, there was so little space between her skin and the bur that we could have easily cut her skin instead. We had to cut the bur into pieces, then pull gently. Success!!!
The dichotomy of delicacy intrigued me almost as much as the search for pictures to match the many definitions of delicate.
Sydney Fong is a funny guy from Singapore. I don’t mean he’s funny looking or acting or weird, but just plain funny. If you’ve read my blog, you know that I dearly love humor at the expense of almost all other things – even history. However, Sydney also has a soft spot in his heart as you will see with some of his posts. He hates violence, and loves the environment. What better combination can you get than that! Go to his most popular posts first. My favorite is, “Shall We Go for a Stroll? Let me tell you, if you go for a stroll with this architectural artist, you’ll end up needing stitches – in your side from giggling. I also loved Paw Driving.
Kalev liked this picture from Sydney’s blog, so if you want to see more like this, go visit his site.
When my first husband, Mark, went to Bible College, and worked, and worked some more, I worked at the college as a secretary, and had such fun with the other four secretaries that worked in the office with me. They were the ones that refused to bake me a birthday cake, but gave me the best birthday party ever. During the long, cold Colorado nights while Mark worked, my neighbor, Lois, labored to teach me how to knit. And finally I became pretty good. One of my first successes was this sweater, which now is all stretched out of shape and pilled with age. I keep it as a reminder of those days.
I think I wore this sweater on my birthday. The other four ladies in the office said, “Make us a sweater for Christmas, Marsha.” Since my birthday is November 7th, I knew THAT was an impossibility for newbie knitter me. BUT they kept after me, “Have you started our sweaters yet, Marsha.” “I want a pink one.” “I want a yellow one.” And on and on it went until Christmas.
So I came with a solution. I DID knit a sweater – ONE sweater for all of them. I got it done, too. Well, all but sewing it together. I gave one of them a beautifully packed arm, another one got the second arm, one got the front, and the last one got the back! Were they every surprised when they opened their Christmas presents! And I laughed out loud!!!
The anti-climax of that story was that I had to knit three more sweaters before my husband graduated in May. I’ll tell you, I was so busy!!! But all four women got their sweaters. Then Harriette in the business office said, “I’d just like a vest, Marsha” So I made her a vest. Then Dorothy in the library said, “I’d like a sweater like your pink one.” So I made her a pink sweater which was a much more complicated pattern. I finished those after we had moved to California to take our pastorate, along with a cardigan sweater made from the beautiful Australian yarn that my friend Janet brought me back from her trip. Finally my patient husband, Mark, said, “You’ve never made me a sweater.” He wanted an Irish knit sweater which would have been beautiful. I got the front, back, and one sleeve done, and put the button holes on the wrong side. After that I never knitted again until two years ago. And I’ve never made another sweater.
Would you have?
Today’s featured blog, Cycling Grandma, writes about her talented 3-year-old grandson’s first hair cut, and the hair is donated to charity. Lisa Winkler is an amazing, active woman with a heart of gold. In just a few clicks of a mouse you can see that this blog isn’t just about her, and selling her books, although she is an author. Besides writing books and a blog, raising kids, grandkids and cycling, Lisa worked as a reporter, taught middle school, and was a literacy consultant. Yes, another teacher! She also has a professional website advertising you books http://www.lisakwinkler.com/. Black Cowboys Ride Across America looks like a must read for me. There has to be some history in that book!!!!
So check our Lisa’s out, and tell me if I didn’t make a good choice for today’s featured blog. So is Simon Isaiah really playing the violin at age 3????
A dear friend gave me wool yarn from Australia to make a warm sweater as a departure gift from Colorado Springs. It was summer, and even in Colorado we weren’t thinking about cold weather, but certainly not in Tulare County where the 90 degree temperature recorded at 5:00 a.m. almost persuaded us to find a job elsewhere. I wondered if I would ever need a sweater! Was I ever naive! While the temperatures rarely get below freezing, sweaters are VERY useful.
This first picture, taken December 4th, shows the basic gray that indicates that winter is upon us.
Last January, while hustling to a meeting, the picture above demanded me to stop, and remove my camera from its bag, and click it. Where we only get 10 inches of rain a year, 99% of it comes in November – January. Rain could start any minute – and it did.
When the rain stops, dastardly Tule fog creeps across the landscape blinding drivers who can not longer see two feet away from them in the daytime! On this beautiful January last year the sun broke through, dashing the plans of Fog’s armed clouds that stuck close, protecting their earthly territory. Warrior Sun fought valiantly for two or three days to slash through thick foggy armor to free us. We have not had fog this year, but we all know it’s on its way.
Justice For Raymond, written by Ray’s Mom, differs from most of the blogs I see. The first time I visited it, I thought, “Wow could that happen?” So far in my blogging travels this blog challenges viewers to do more than like the article or write a response. The blogster says it best,
“http://www.denied-justice.com is a web site that holds documents, court transcripts, autopsy for Raymond Zachry, the reason for the blog, Justice for Raymond. Ray suddenly, unexpectedly died September 25, 2007. The autopsy revealed that he had a huge amount of lethal poison in his system. Still the coroner refused to cooperate and allow an investigation.”
In this season of giving, I need to pause sometimes, and think seriously about the meaning of life and my purpose for enjoying the privilege of being here. Thanks Ray’s Mom for reminding me that life is precious.
I hated walnuts until I moved to Tulare County. We couldn’t have been relocated into a better place than when my first husband and I moved here August 1, 1985, a month prior to the beginning of walnut harvesting season. After about 3 months of blistering hot weather, and by that I mean temperatures of 105+ F or 40.55 C, walnuts are ready to come down from their lofty perches. We rented an old adobe house centered between two walnut groves.
Nobody told me how they got walnuts out of the trees. Walnut trees put up with a lot from us humans. Have you ever been in so much trouble that your authority person took you by the shoulders and shook you? That’s what large equipment, called a shaker, does to each and every walnut tree. Do you know what is in the trees besides walnuts?
Of course you do. Dust. There is so much dust in the air that even the leaves can’t breathe. Maybe the trees are grateful for the shake-up. Leaves are much more tenacious than walnuts, however, and they stay put through the process. Walnut husks let loose of most of their walnuts and drop them nicely into a large dump truck following the shaker machine. I almost got pictures of that happening this fall, but guess what? Forgot my camera – AGAIN! The amount of dust that filled the air would have horrified those of you who think the sky is blue. It isn’t in September. It’s brownish-blue. Even the clouds hide when the dust is flying.
In the days when we lived in the walnut groves, I had all the walnuts I ever wanted. After the shakers came, the gleaners gleaned. They took some of the walnuts that were left on the ground where the shaker didn’t aim very well, and missed the dump truck. After the gleaners finished, the walnut trees dropped the rest of their walnuts sporadically throughout the winter.
One warm day in November I headed into the grove for my daily walk. Lying on the ground were piles and piles of left-over walnuts that everybody had missed. In all the months we had lived there (4), I didn’t realize that walnuts had connoisseurs that weren’t human, but they did. Even after a month of picking them I had not met a non-human walnut-lover, but on this particular day I met them. At first I picked up just a walnut or two, and carried them in my hands. Then I got greedy. I didn’t have a container with me, so I used my blouse, and just made a little sling out of the front of it, and started loading it with walnuts. Here and there I bent down, and added more and more walnuts to my nifty cotton t-shirt/bag. (Yes, I was literally a 30 year-old bag lady.)
With my blouse filled with walnuts, I started itching a little. I couldn’t scratch because I was carrying all those walnuts, and that took both hands. Walking faster and faster I still was quite a ways from our house, when I realized what was happening. I disturbed these inhumane feasters by stealing their walnuts and jostling them. They came out of the walnut shell to check things out. Obviously they didn’t like what they saw, and decided to scare me away from their dinner by biting me instead. Hundreds of them, tiny red ants swarmed out of the shells, into the folds of my blouse, up and over the fabric, right onto my tummy, and up across the top to my neck. Once I saw the little red devils, I dropped those walnuts, and brushed ants off me as I dashed towards the house. I couldn’t fill the bathtub fast enough.
So when I was on my drive, December 4th admiring the beautiful red leaves of the vineyard across the street, the walnut trees, my old friends, called out to me, “Marsha Lee, don’t just look at those withered up old grape vines. We’re pretty, too. Take our pictures.”
How do you resist a plea like that? (Even if I did think they sort of looked like they were wearing the Emperor’s New Clothes.) I didn’t tell them that, of course.
How I get rid of ants, and got walnuts ready to eat:
Heat walnuts in the shell in an oven heated to about 200 degrees. When you start smelling hair, you can turn off the over, but I still leave them in there. (About an hour or two. I never had any walnuts seem over done. If you don’t roast them a bit they are kind of chewy.
Shell the walnuts. This is a great TV watching activity.
Store walnuts in the freezer. They keep for a long time.
I always had WAY more walnuts than I could have used in a lifetime. I don’t have any left, but I’ve probably had all the walnuts I can stomach for a lifetime anyway. I do miss having them in my back yard, though.
Today’s featured blog is new to me, Algarve Blog. I was first attracted to the beautiful header, but I read further. Algarve posts about Portuguese culture, among other things. This interests me since one of my good friends is Portuguese, and I learned a little about Christmas traditions in Portugal. You will find a wonderful article about Santas when you read about the Food Bank project. These Santas are athletic. I think you will enjoy this beautiful and informative site.
Will the real Santa please stand up? What are some of your Christmas traditions?
Thank you and congratulations to Larry Otter, the 30th “LIKE” on my new Facebook page, GOLD STAR! Thanks to the many others that also pressed “LIKE”
Many of you are teachers, and many more of you have children, grandchildren, or at some point in time are expecting to have them. A few months ago I went to a Common Core Conference, at which Dr. Bill McBride presented strategies to help teachers implement Common Core Standards. His presentation style was just as interactive and fun as any I have attended. I also purchased the book , If They Can Argue Well, They Can Write Well, a step-by step instruction manual on teaching students how to develop an argument.
Entertaining an Elephant, on the other hand is a fictitious book about education, and I warn the reader to have a Kleenex or two nearby. (That was clever, I wasn’t sure about how to pluralize Kleenex. Putting es on the end, just didn’t look right, and‘sdid, but ‘s indicates belonging, so just a simple rewording solved my problem. YEAH!)
Written by William McBride, Entertaining an Elephantdocuments the metamorphosis of a seasoned, but jaded teacher who encounters a new janitor that changes his life.
“Reaf wasn’t allowed to leave for a half hour, and he decided not to let the janitor run him out.” p. 7
His tired attitude helps you dislike this teacher right from the start. He thought he knew what the kids needed, and I can just hear his gruff voice speaking to the peon janitor.
“You see, I’ve been in the business for a long time, and even though these kids have had a lot of schooling, they still don’t have the basics. I don’t know what those teachers are doing at the lower levels, but these kids can’t tell a participle from a noun. So I take it upon myself to make sure they understand grammar. None of the other English teachers spend that much time with it, so it’s up to me to hammer it in.”
If that wouldn’t make a student want to take his class, I don’t know what would! I’m sure the other teachers loved him just about as much as the kids did. Every teacher loves to think their teaching taught the kids all they were expected to learn that year plus a little more. They NEVER like to hear that the kids FORGOT any some of it – or worse, they never had time to teach it, or worse still, they taught it, but NOBODY got it.
The janitor was a wise, wily fellow, though, with some tricks up his sleeve.
“Unfortunately, most of them don’t use the grammar. That’s why they’re going to be failures, which proves my point. But that’s between you and I.”
“Me,” the janitor said.
Who else would I be talking to, thought Reaf. …then suddenly (he) realized the janitor had corrected him. It is between you and me. … the teacher threw the grammar book he had been holding …
I have to admit that, as a teacher, I want to make sure my kids learn grammar, but I’ve also made MY share of grammar errors as an adult with lots of education. In fact I’ve made the very SAME mistake that Reaf made. It was embarrassing the first time I made it, sitting at a dinner table with a movie star, no less – and corrected by HIM. It was worse the third time I said it. And I was the EDUCATOR, but the star seemed like a Reaf to me, and he didn’t earn a fan that night.
So where did Reaf throw the grammar book? What did the janitor do to cause the teacher to change? What made the teacher so irritatingly uninteresting in the first place? Why would you want to find out?
I’ll answer the last question for you. Reaf learns and practices some new teaching and relationship strategies as the book progresses which change his life, but most of all HE changes, and the story is heartwarming. Common sense strategies are easily employed by anyone, teachers or non-teachers, who want to see improved relationships and motivate others to learn.
The real question is, will YOU cry at the end?
You must read and enjoy Sierra Foothill Garden if you want to learn more about the plant life in my neck of the woods. This blog is more focused than my streaming thoughts site. We really do get snow in the mountains and higher in the foothills than I am. Sue has a handy list of California bloggers in her sidebar, which I am going to find helpful. If you want to get more familiar with California, this is one place to start.
If you have already read the book Entertaining an Elephant, how did your react?
I threw the book across the room.
I planted the book to see if I could get it to grow.
I gave it away at a White Elephant Christmas party.
Earlier this week I was commenting back and forth with Autty Jade about the wig she is wearing in her new grivitar picture. One thing led to another, and I made her a promise to tell her the story about my wig. So here it is.
I’m giving away almost the whole story, but I can’t write unillustrated stories. This WAS a wig, a fall actually because the front part of the hair is mine, but not THE wig. I had several because my boyfriend at the time didn’t like the way my hair was cut – way too short. It grew, and grew, and grew. It grows fast, too fast, and out of control. Actually I hated my hair – long or short it was always thin and always straight, and never smooth or in place. By the time it grew out I enjoyed wearing a variety of different colored, inexpensive wigs.
Our mother worked in the largest mall in the Northwest at that time. We often went to work with her where there was more to do than at our house. Our favorite recreation at the mall was ice skating. Lloyd Center still has a large ice rink at the center of the mall surrounded by shops and the largest department store in the city on the top floor. A railing prevented people from hurling themselves from the top level onto the rink and getting a free skating session. But people stood around the perimeter of the high railing and watched the skaters whirling around below. On the lower level, where the skating rink was, people sat in the upscale restaurant and watched the skaters.
On this particular night I prepared hurriedly, pinned my hair up, and hastily threw on a wig, similar to the orange wig in the picture, but frosted gray – which, for some STRANGE reason, must have been popular at the time. No make-up and I was ready to go. Mom didn’t want to be late to work!
Like we did about most things, Randy and I competed about who would sit in the front of our little VW Beetle. I usually won. I was the oldest, the bossiest, the ..ok it ends about there, but I liked to win. While Mom scuffled off to work, we ran to the ice rink, and bought our tickets, anxious to get on the ice. Randy beat me onto the ice, but I was close behind him, and soon we were doing what we did best – competing.
The weirdest thing had happened to Randy that year. When we moved to Portland I was 15 and stood a proud 5 feet 4.5 inches tall. Randy topped out at 5 feet 3 inches. (ha ha) The way younger brothers are supposed to be. He started growing when he turned 14 or 15. He stopped one year later at 6 feet 3 inches tall. I didn’t make the adjustment immediately, I was still older and bigger in my mind.
Equality had always prevailed between us. Two only children parents didn’t know how to differentiate between their children except to make everything the same. If I got 10 French fries, he got 10 French fries on his plate. If I stayed up until 8:00 p.m., guess who else stayed up? If I went skating… You get the idea. All of the sudden Mom was telling him to be careful with me because he was stronger than I was. GRRRRR. Equality was no longer a given. Sometimes he could do things I couldn’t do.
Like I said, I didn’t change well with the changing times. I bought the tickets and we raced to the side of the rink. I’m sure I laced my skates faster, but he still beat me getting on the ice. At any rate we got out on the ice the same as usual, and I challenged him to a race, the same as usual. And I was doing well. We were neck in neck all the way through the first corner. Then he put his giant legs in gear and with one easy stride glided past me like I was standing still. I couldn’t take that, and I dug in and raced harder. As I crossed my legs around the last stretch of the corner for just one more great push, part of my skate stayed cemented in the ice. Just one little prickly pointy part of my skate refused to budge, and the rest of the skate decided to stay with it.
That left me in an awful fix because the top part of my body was going at full speed down the final stretch of the race, and the very bottom of my body was glued somehow to the rink below it. So that’s what happened. The top part of my body kept doing what it was doing and the bottom part did it’s own thing, and I lay stretched out prone on the ice between the two parts. That would have been fine if only I’d been wearing my own hair. I was accustomed to falling. Skaters tumble constantly. But my wig was still racing, and it kept going across the ice beyond my head about 30 or 40 feet before spinning to a complete halt. Randy gracefully rounded the next corner before he noticed that his spunky sister was MIA.
He was the only one who didn’t see it, however. The floor guard instantly sped to my aid, spraying ice chips in my red face as he turned to make the rapid stop to help me up. “Are you OK?” he asked politely.
Of course I was OK. I was just mad, and my wig was out of my reach, and my hair housed 100 bobby pins all sticking in different directions along with the mess of dirty hair under them. I ignored his outstretched hand to use both of mine to crawl invisibly over to my wig and get it on as fast as possible. Which I did. Even so, I could still see the guard bent over double laughing after he was sure I was all right.
When you know that everybody shops at THAT mall, and any one of them might be someone from school, there is no time to waste when you have lost your wig. I shoved that brown-gray mass on my head as fast as I could before anyone on either level could notice that it was missing, then I jumped up, and raced to the bathroom. I couldn’t see. Something was terribly wrong. I kept brushing the hair out of my face, and skated for an eternity.
The bathroom – at last – I looked in the mirror. My wig was on backwards. I never wanted to go out again. I took it off and threw it in a locker. I sat for a few minutes debating about what to do. Mom would get off work at 9:00. It was only minutes after 6:00. The night was young. I proceeded to unload my hair of bobby pins. Style was a moot point. Fine hair blows around anyway.
I still had a race to win.
The Eternal Traveller http://theeternaltraveller.wordpress.com/ may enjoy preparing for the holidays, but she schedules in time to travel during the rest of the year. When she travels she likes to take her time exploring. “It’s a lovely way to see what lies beyond the tourist strip and spend time with the locals.” Her photographs are outstanding. If you enjoy castles, her Bus Trip Through Bavaria is a must read. Even her Photo Challenges offer more than a picture of a green romanesque cauliflower. Some people travel alone, some take along a little something extra. Where do you think this traveler is headed? Find out on The Eternal Traveller’s blog.
Do you have a moment in time where you wished you could disappear forever? I shared ONE of my many embarrassing moments. Now fair is fair. It’s your turn!
Although Danes from the midwest established Solvang, meaning sunny fields, in 1911, it did not incorporate until 1985. I visited it for the first time ten years later as one of my first dates with my husband, V. In the summer it is just far enough inland that the quaint town suffocates its visitors at temperatures that reach into the 100s. On a sunny November day, like we had last week, it was perfect.I yelped for a place to eat, and came up with a 4.5 star restaurant on Mission Road, the main street through town. Unfortunately, when we strolled up to Succulent Café and Trading Co., we left immediately, and walked next door to the Brewery. V ordered a hamburger with Portobello fungi, while the turkey with apple-smoked bacon on sourdough with avocados, tomatoes, cheese and lettuce called my name. I drooled over the half I ate, and took the other half back for dinner.After that we retrieved our sad pouch from the car, and exercised off a small portion of our enormous lunch. Puppy Girl (AKA PG, Kalev…) loved the walk, but at times didn’t know if she was coming or going. She loved walking high on the walls. She is a PRINCESS.PG attracts almost as many visitors as Solvang. Shirley quickly became a favorite. Shirley raises poodles, just as my family did when I was a girl. (Raising poodles was SUPPOSED to build my college fund – another story that you can probably guess did not have a happy ending.) Nonetheless Shirley told us the same thing a car show visitor had told us months before. Kalev disguises herself as a mutt, but she is “90%” poodle, according to Shirley. Her lineage is somewhat in question, however, and she’s a bit leggy.
There were so many places to shop, but with a 90% poodle, it is hard to go into stores. However Nodding Place Quilts permitted PG to come in, but V preferred not to take her quilt shopping. (I wonder why???) Well trained, I spent just a few minutes, snapped a few pictures, and left. V searched all the Danish Pastry shops for just the right sweet, and you see that he found one. PG stayed outside of those shops as well, but her nose was active.
Retailers would have a hard time staying in business if they had to rely on us. Photography occupied most of our time as we ambled down one street then another looking for interesting architecture. One anachronism stood out among the rest of the Danish-styled buildings, and 1940s beach cottage perched uncomfortably on the main street.
Five miles east of Solvang at the Chumash Indian Casino V’s brother and sister-in-law together won $10,000 last week when they were supposed meet us for dinner. V’s eyes turned green. (OK his eyes are already green.)
What did V, Marsha Lee, and PG do next? Vote for 1
“V, let’s go back to Avila and walk on the beach. Wouldn’t that be romantic?” (Yeah Marsha – you dodged a bullet there!)
“Marsha Lee, you wanna go to the casino? Yeah, they played the high roller stakes, I think $20 per roll. You’re going where? What about me? You’ll drop me where? OK, well, you sure you don’t want to go to the casino? It’ll be fun!” (Hey V. , who’s in charge in your family? You’re driving. Get over to the casino, man.)
PG rules! “Time for a nice nap, let’s all go home and curl up on the couch. Come on Mom and Dad I’m ready to go. NAP TIME!!!”
D, “Hey bro, WE won $10,000, sorry we missed dinner, bummer right?” OK, well, did I tell you we WON $10,000. Oh I did, uhuh, well yeah, we REALLY WON $10,000! No, we didn’t call you, sorry, but we were busy. But we DID win $10,000. Right, well maybe next time. Uhuh, yeah, uhuh, oh well, yeah we really did. Uhuh.” (Rain-check dinner with bro, D)
B “Pssst D, PSSST… D… Did you tell him that you only won $1,200, and I WON $8,800? We missed what? Well tell them you’re sorry, we were busy.” (and sister-in-law, B)
Map of Time A Trip Into the Past http://jgburdette.wordpress.com/ focuses on nautical history, which wouldn’t ordinarily be a favorite historical pursuit of mine, but I am captivated by this eloquent writer. “It was customary to spread families around on different ships so that in the event of an accident the whole family would not be lost.” Now tell me, what do you think is going to happen? I knew instantly it would not be good, but I had no idea how compelling it would be. You have to read this post!!! If you want to explore more historical sites, Burdette has a list for you.
One More Thing
A question came up about the copper critters on top of the tower roof. So I cropped the picture to get a better look. What do you think these are?
Across the street cars packed into the tiny parking lot down the street from Bob Jones Trail. Children, bikes, old people, skaters, dogs, young parents with baby strollers all piled out of their cars and crossed the street. A quick stop at the doggie bag stop and their exercise routine starts.
This trail has much to offer. It starts right down from Avila Barn on Ontario Road, stops at a little shopping area with a restaurant /quick market, real estate and insurance sales offices, and the entrance to a very expensive housing development one and a half miles along the way. Then it continues along the golf course to Avila Beach, a very touristy town on the Central Coast, one of my favorites. Along the way were some great shots.
Want to go for a walk? Someone does!!!
I discovered a new blog, Bottledworder last week, and I love this last article she wrote entitled, “Five drawbacks of blogging“. Even though she only started blogging this summer, she has been Freshly Press three times, which is quite an honor, and has over 3,000 blog followers. Mostly she writes about writing and blogging. I am going to visit often to become a better writer. I wanted to share her blog with you all if you hadn’t discovered her yet.