Category Archives: Animals

Animal Lover

For years, I used to carry gardening gloves in the trunk of my car, in case I ever had to rescue an injured animal.

Don’t laugh too hard. I knew a fellow who carried a long, heavy rope in his trunk, in case he ever had to rescue someone from drowning.

See–my gardening gloves don’t seem so strange now, do they?

Anyway, as it happens, I have moved a turtle or two out of the middle of the road to safety wearing those gloves. But this is a story about a bird.

Many years ago, I was driving on a narrow two-lane street when a Mourning Dove swooped down and I hit it with my car. It lie limp in the road. I wasn’t sure if it was dead or not.

With tears pouring down my face, I pulled my gloves out of the trunk and had just slipped them on when a man, driving on the opposite side of the road, stopped his car.

“What’s the matter?” he asked.

“I ran into a bird.”

He laughed hysterically. When he looked at my gloved hands, he sneered, “Are you going to operate?”

Then he drove off.

I couldn’t stop crying. The idea of killing a bird horrified me. I walked over to it. I’m sure it was dead, although people have since informed me that birds go into shock and the dove may have been perfectly okay later. I didn’t believe them then and I don’t believe it now. At any rate, I carried the bird to the side of the road and placed it under a bush.

Over the years, I’ve actually saved a lot of birds who went into shock for one reason or another. They fly through badminton nets and into windows. Birds are simply not always equipped to handle human obstacles.

But no matter how many I’ve rehabilitated, I’ve never been able to forget that poor dove, or that guy’s repulsive, insensitive mocking.

Pensacola Beach After The BP Oil Spill

Photo from

How sad! And the oil is still gushing. It’s like the Exxon Valdez all over again–only this time on a daily basis.

A lot of people and politicians are asking why the well can’t be blown up.

From Rep. Phil Gingrey

“For the life of me, I can’t understand why BP couldn’t go into the ocean floor, maybe 10 feet lateral to the — around the periphery — drill a few holes and put a little ammonium nitrate, some dynamite, in those holes and detonate that dynamite and seal that leak. And seal it permanently,” Rep. Phil Gingrey (Ga.) said earlier this month.

Could it be BP is more worried about their bottom line? Do you think they care nothing about people or nature?

Oh, forget I wrote that. No one could be that greedy.

An Unforgetable Event–Whale Watching

One of my unforgettable events – a whale watch off the coast of Cape Cod.  When you board a whale watching boat, the crew is quick to tell you that you don’t always get to see a whale. They just do their best to locate one.

Not all that reassuring, so I wasn’t expecting much.

What I got was almost unbelievable–even for the crew!

  1. A rare sighting of two (not one) Right Whales. They were playing together. At the time, there were only an estimated 800 in the wild. They have been hunted almost to extinction.
  2. Picture a school bus pushing itself  up and out of the ocean– front end first. That’s the only way I can describe what it’s like to see a Humpback Whale breach out of the water. The one I was lucky enough to see, stayed by the boat, waved with his fin several times and jumped completely out of the water landing again and again with a huge splash. Glorious! Wonderful!
  3. As if that weren’t enough, on the way back to port, over a hundred Dolphins swam around and under the boat. Did you know dolphins appear to be green when you look down on them from above the water?

I’ve  had a few unforgettable events in my life–mental pictures that I cherish. This is one I recall often. I’ll never forget it.

Do you have any?

10 Ideas (and more) When There’s No Money For Vacation

Over the past few months, I’ve pointed out a number of places to vacation. All in the U.S. All good for the pocketbook. All good to help boost the economy. But suppose you don’t even have enough money to hop on a plane, or a train, or to gas up the car? What then?

It could be time to get creative:

  1. Library – Visit your local library. There’s more than books there. Rent some DVDs and video games. Don’t particularly like to read, but you enjoy a good story? Try taking out an audio book. Many libraries offer free movie nights and concerts. There’s almost always activities for the kids. My library always has a 1,000 piece puzzle going so anyone can sit down for a while, unwind, and try your hand at putting in a few pieces. And nowadays, libraries have computers.
  2. Birdwatching – Don’t skip over this one (even if it sounds hokey). If you have kids to keep entertained, this is a great one. Buy a bird book. (An excellent one for beginners is the Peterson Field Guide.) Install a bird feeder in the backyard. No backyard? Take a hike at your local park. Begin a “Life List.” When you observe and recognize a bird, check it off your list. Before you know it, you’ll have a pretty lengthy list.
  3. Camera Safari – Both adults and kids love taking pictures. Get out there and photograph flowers, bugs, (birds, if they’ll sit long enough for you), other people enjoying nature. Compare all the photos and judge who got the best shot–adult or one of the kids? Post the good ones online.
  4. Adult Education Classes – Learn to Paint. Actually, learn to do just about anything. Ballroom dancing, Line dancing, Belly dancing – your city probably offers classes at your local high school or tech school. Do a little research.
  5. Fishing – Everybody knows somebody who likes to fish. Find your fishing mentor and spend a day on the water.
  6. Picnic – This one is obvious, but the fact is, I hate to picnic on a hot, summer day. My idea is a picnic indoors. It can even be an overnight picnic that includes: inviting one guest each, everyone choosing their own food & helping to prepare it, each guest brings their favorite DVD, and when everyone is dead tired, break out the sleeping bags.
  7. Hose ‘Em – Don’t have enough moolah to take the family to a water park. Put on your bathing suit and hook up the hose. Keeping in mind that most communities are trying to conserve water, this is an hour-long fun time that ends with some cool punch and a family board game in wet bathing suits out on the back porch. (Family time – none of us get enough of it these days.)
  8. Freebies – Keep your eyes and ears open for free events: Museum Free Days, Art Galleries, Community Fairs and Events, etc.
  9. A Bushel-full of Ideas from Pink Like The Color
  10. And Last but not Least from Home Baked Education

Wii Fun and an Update

We are having a good week.
We blew our summer budget on a Nintendo Wii and Wii Fit which has been a really big hit with us both. Cameron is particularly into boxing, jogging and bowling as well as a Ben 10 game we bought with it. This is the first games console we’ve had in years and the first that we’ve really got the hang of. There is quite a bit of healthy competition in the house for getting first place in the games and activities! Much to my surprise Cameron switches off after about an hour of his own accord too – I thought I’d have to be dragging him away to get anything else done.

Two Squirrel Encounters

Squirrels are just too fascinating.

Did you know they eat french fries and Butterfinger candy bars?

No lie! Last week, I saw a squirrel eating a Butterfinger right out of the wrapper. She was dainty about it, too.

The week before that, I stopped at McDonald’s for a burger and fries. I parked in their lot to eat and a squirrel came up to my car door. He begged on his hind legs–like a dog. I rolled down my window and dropped one of my fries down to him. He picked it up and crossed to the other side of the parking lot with it. We munched together.

Ya gotta love ’em.

New York, New York

The Big Apple


When you read that title, New York, New York, tell the truth, didn’t you automatically hear the lyrics in your head? I can almost picture a line of dancers kicking up their heels in unison at the Radio City Music Hall.

New York City is the next city on my countdown for vacationing on a budget and where to do it in the U.S. To be absolutely honest, New York City is pricey, but when compared to hopping a plane abroad, it’s a real bargain. It has everything, including the most diverse cross-section of ethnicity in this country.

How does one describe the city that never sleeps?

I’m just going to tick off  “some” of the things you will find in NYC.

  • Central Park, which encompasses the Central Park Zoo, the Central Park Conservatory Garden, (2) Ice-Skating Rinks,  and an outdoor Theatre in the Park. (If you’re a birder–Central Park is your own personal heaven.)
  • Statue of Liberty
  • Empire State Building, Chrysler Building, Rockefeller Center
  • Chinatown
  • Harlem
  • Broadway (You haven’t experienced a play until you’ve seen one on Broadway)
  • Museums (My favorite–Metropolitan Museum of Art– you can spend days there and still not see it all) There are loads of other museums, though. Another popular museum is MoMA, Museum of Modern Art
  • Times Square (If you visit, be sure to grab a burger at the McDonald’s at Times Square. You won’t believe your eyes.)
  • Greenwich Village
  • The Garment District

There’s more, but the list would go on and on into infinity. Suffice it to say, every neighborhood has something new and different to offer and you can see it all because cabs are at your beck and call day or night.

And there is actually one freebie in NYC. The Museum of Modern Art and the Guggenheim Museums are free on Friday evenings. Not bad!

I’ll close by reminding you that shopping in New York is phenomenal. Bring some extra cash.

The Saga Of The Squirrels

It was 7:00 a.m. I sat on the porch sipping tea when it happened. First, I heard the loud flutter of wings swooping to the ground, and then I saw the landing, It was a hawk gunning for two squirrels, who minutes before were running around the trunk of a tree, playing and squealing at each other. I expected them to scamper up the tree, but instead they stayed grounded. The hawk flew at them, but was unsuccessful. Flying close to the ground made it difficult for him to strike at the squirrels. They were too fast for him. After two attempts, the hawk gave up and flew away.

Here’s another Squirrel vs Hawk story. Again the squirrel outwits the hawk.

 I am at my computer just now and a hawk landed in the oak outside the window.  A squirrel was sitting on the next branch and it became Squirrel vs Hawk.  The hawk eyed the rodent, the rodent hopped up to the branch the hawk was on.  The hawk backed off, the squirrel returned to the lower branch.  The hawk moved closer to the squirrel and the squirrel hopped back up to the hawk’s branch.  The hawk spread its wing intimidatingly and the squirrel went back to his own branch.  Finally the hawk gave up and flew to the fence and then into the other trees.

Hawks aren’t the squirrels’ only problem. Dogs love the pursuit, too. Check out Basil

Basil spots a squirrel behind a bench. Before I can know what’s happening, he jumps on the seat, then the edge of the bench’s back, from which he proceeds to jump off, in an attempt to follow the squirrel up the tree. Of course, he falls to the floor, from where he continues his chase.

This happens in less than 30 seconds. After the squirrel jumps to another tree, he resumes the walk as if nothing had happened.

It appears cats are a major problem for the poor squirrels, too. See Martannasmimi’s Weblog

Rocky fell from his home,  a nest in a big tree. He was about to be attacked by a huge cat when Popa rescued him. Marta was amazed to see this tiny helpless little guy.

We called our local animal rescue person, a very nice woman who lives down the road . Jean is an older woman who has been taking in local injured wildlife for many years.

Some days are luckier than others.

Things I Love


Years ago, and I’m talking back in the early 80’s, I made two lists. One was titled “Things I Love” and the other was “Things I Hate.” Why would I do that? I have no idea. Maybe just because I love to make lists. I’m a list-maker, okay?

Anyway, I came across these lists a few days ago and I read the “love list” to see if I had changed much over the years. Except for “E.T.” (I guess I had recently gone to the movies to see that), and my favorite name at that time, “Leeanne” (which I have gotten over) and “jukeboxes,” (where did all the jukeboxes go?), there weren’t too many differences.

Perhaps the “ziploc bag” had recently been introduced, because it made my list. And it appears I actually had time to do “crossword puzzles,” “jigsaw puzzles” and to play “Scrabble.” Just when I got to reminiscing about how much slower the pace was back then, I came across this entry “uninterrupted concentration.” I suppose that wouldn’t have made it to my list unless it was an issue.

Here are a few of the things I still love:

Birds singing in the morning
Hot dogs at the ballgame
Root beer barrels
The sound of a merry-go-round
Words with double letters (Don’t ask me why, but that still holds true. Love ’em.)
The smell of orange blossoms and jasmine
50’s and 60’s music
A good book
Watching and listening to ocean waves
A true friend

My list is much longer, but these are some of the highlights. Here’s something really funny. Last week I wrote a post about patience and perseverance. Guess what was on my list: “patience and understanding.” I wonder if I meant mine or everyone else’s?

Do you have ten things you can think of off the top of your head that you love? Let me know.

“Bucket List” “Done That List” “No Guts List”


photo from

Recently, I’ve seen coming attractions on TV about a new movie starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman called The Bucket List. From the few snipets I’ve caught, it appears their list contains things they’ve both dreamt about doing before they kick the bucket.

I have a list like that, too, although I never thought to name mine the bucket list. And happily, my list spawned a Done That List. Some things on my “done” list include:

See Paris (a lifelong dream)
Ride in a helicopter
Go parasailing
Snow Ski
Ride a motorcycle, not just any cycle, a “Harley”
Learn how to blog, even when I thought I was “too old” to learn

Then there’s my tattoo. I sport a tiny bluebird of happiness on the inside of one of my ankles. I love birds.

So, I’ve fulfilled some of my dreams, but there are still plenty of challenges left on my Bucket List. Here are a few:

Ride in a Hot Air Balloon
Find out if I really can’t sink in the Salt Lake
Publish a Book
See Redwood Trees-This item, at first glance, might seem somewhat plebian. The fact is, these trees are disappearing quickly, and some people are pretty passionate about keeping them around.

What’s Your Tree is a program inspired by the story and message of Julia Butterfly Hill.

Julia Butterfly Hill gained international notoriety when she climbed 200 feet up into an ancient redwood tree named Luna that was slated to be cut down by Pacific Lumber/Maxaam Corporation. She refused to come down until Luna was permanently protected. Withstanding death threats and gale force El Nino winds, Julia lived on a tiny platform in Luna’s branches for 738 days. Julia and her team had successfully negotiated to save Luna and a 3 acre buffer zone around the tree into perpetuity.
(see the rest of the story)

Learn to Paint (don’t have to be good, just have to try)
Hang Glide (parasailing was wonderful, so hang gliding must be spectacular)
See Mount Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument

The No Guts List – I have one of them, too. These are things I know I could never muster up the courage to do:

Sky Diving
High Diving
Scuba Diving
Bungee Jumping

Bungee Jump in Normandy, France (Souleuvre Viaduct)

Bungee jumping in Normandy, France in Viaduc de la Souleuvre.

Can you even imagine doing this?