Tuesday, December 23, 2008


I posted this the other day on my sangha group in response to a question about verbal communication - someone implying that words were the only way to communicate. This was my answer. I have gotten some interesting answers since then. What do you think???

I have a neighbor who, like me, drums. He is mute but not deaf. Often we communicate with the drums, facial expressions, sometimes color, texture, flowers, feathers, dead grass, thorns, we almost never use the written word. Almost every time he comes over here, he brings me some small object that expresses how he is feeling that day. If I asked you to try a couple of times a day to express how you felt by showing me an inanimate object in your hand, could you do it? Are you a flower? A leaf blown by the wind? A seed? A twig that will snap if bent or a pliable vine? Hmmm, sounds like a fun exercise – no right or wrong answers – the only challenge is in your own mind.

One friend now emails me almost everyday sometimes with just one or two words. One of the best - well, no wait, there is no best or even better - so let me say, umm, one that I totally identified with after a day of Christmas shopping was - "a hairball!" Yep. I felt chewed up and spit out by the shopping mall. I hate shopping these days. Can't decide what hurts worse - my knees or my wallet!

Anyway - give it a shot! What are you today?????

I will post my answer this afternoon when I get back...

Today I am a frost bitten camellia bud, waiting... Tomorrow, it will warm up and I will open and bloom in the sunshine! Well, maybe not perfectly, the frost bite and all, but hopefully I would bring a smile to your eyes.

Monday, December 22, 2008


OK, so it is a day late... but the year is young, and your lesson for this new year is to practice patience and forgiveness. Well, OK, that is my lesson - or part of my lessons for this year. And, of course, I realize I have to start with myself. And that is tough.

Yesterday was extremely busy here - well, the whole week-end has been nuts - Tis the season to go crazy, right? And my body has not been cooperating for a while. Not complaining here - I am on my feet and I can dress and feed myself so I am way ahead of the game compared to so many other people. But I digress...

I wanted to send this picture as my Solstice greeting yesterday - but it was too iced up. Enough ice has melted off the window this morning to make a beautiful picture. As some of you know, I used to live in Maine. Should have been a grad of Portland High School - but fate had other plans, and I wound up living in Turkey with my father (I'm a State Dept brat) and graduating from the American High School over there. And even tho a BIG part of my heart remains in Turkey - a WONDERFUL COUNTRY WITH WONDERFUL PEOPLE - another part of my heart never left Maine. Part of me will remain forever a true Maineiac - and not a Mainer or whatever they have decided to call themselves today. Much more fun being a Maineiac! There are more places in Maine that I love than I could ever find the time to write about, first in my heart being Peaks Island (Casco Bay) but I have always loved Pemaquid Point. Yes, Portland Head Light is beyond beautiful, but there is just something about Pemaquid... You can visit their webcam at http://www.pemaquidpoint.org/wc.cfm. This is probably my favorite webcam of all, and I am addicted to webcams! I love to find webcams in the areas where people I know live and thus check out the kind of weather they are having, how deep the snow... that kind of thing. Anyway, here is Pemaquid this morning.
Doesn't that look nice with the frost or ice on the window????
Down here in VA, we got 3/4 inch of rain, and guess who forgot to empty the rain gauges? It dropped to 21 degrees this morning. sigh. One cracked gauge. That's OK, I keep a supply of rain gauges just because, well, I guess you know why. Duh.
Enjoy this new year... days getting longer, etc, until we complain of the heat! OH well, by then we will have passed into the next Solstice and the days will actually be shrinking again.
Happy Solstice, Happy New Year!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Lucy, a Christmas goose.

Several years ago, following a complaint of what sounded like a goose honking day in and day out, game wardens went to a house down the creek and found a Canada Goose confined to a small crate. She had been kept in that crate for so long, she was permanently deformed and unable to fly. The game wardens took custody of the goose and after talking to a number of people decided to release her at my friend’s place of business, since it is well back off the road, has its own pond, and is visited regularly by other Canada geese.
Lucy, as she was known, settled in, and it became home. She visited with the migrating geese, was courted by a few, but never paired off, probably because she was earth bound. Lucy would come to the front door of the office and tap on the glass when she thought the corn supply was running low. The manager bought her a kid sized swimming pool that she could happily splash around in when she didn’t want to go down to the pond. She was NOT spoiled, definitely not, no, huh uh!
About a week before Thanksgiving, my friend and her boss arrived at work to find that someone had been there over the week-end, there were tire tracks across the lawn area, and it was obvious an area had been roughly constructed to corral something, then very erratic tracks heading back out to the road, a post knocked over, mailbox had been hit… etc. And Lucy was gone. The guess is, she was not caged, just grabbed and put in the cab of the truck and that made driving a bit tricky. On the other hand, the beer cans left on the ground near the make-shift corral might have contributed to the, um, irregular driving pattern! Or both!
Guesses were plentiful, but most of us figured someone wanted roasted goose for Thanksgiving. But they hadn’t planned on how feisty this little crippled goose might be. I have no doubt she put up one heck of a fight.
The local radio station did a piece on Lucy begging the perps to return her. A local paper did an article about the Great Goose caper, again, asking the thieves to return Lucy. Several reports came in of Lucy sightings, a goose walking along the road here or there or heading into the woods down near the landfill. Lucy’s friends drove miles and miles around and around the area with a bucket of corn calling her name – all to no avail. After a while, the sightings stopped. No Lucy sightings, no goosey sightings… she had dropped out of sight – or, well, Thanksgiving was over, even the left overs were long gone.
We stopped asking, we tried to stop wondering if… I mean, how far had they taken her? Did they get her all the way home? Was she... was she... had she been... (gulp) dinner? Had they even gotten her all the way home? Or had she put up such a fight they finally just opened the door and tossed her out? And how long would it take for a little goose to walk home? And… and… well, what about the wild 4 leggeds? The fox… the coyote someone swears they spotted… wild dogs… to say nothing of the worst enemy of all, the 2 leggeds with firesticks, the hunters. Would they dare take a goose out of season? Even for those of us with PhDs in Worrying, the list of worst case scenarios was quite impressive. So we did the most sensible thing. We gave up. I mean, almost a month had gone by!
Well, OK, we did not really, totally, absolutely, completely give up hope… but we no longer mentioned Lucy to each other. Life went on. Minus the tapping on the window…
Then on Monday morning, as my friend’s boss drove up the long road to the office, he noticed a crooked neck goose waddling around the front yard of the building. “Can it be?” he said to himself. As he got out of his car, the little goose approached him honking softly in her talking voice telling him about her long, long journey back home. He hurried inside to get a bucket of corn as she tapped on the glass calling to him. In between bites of corn, she told her tale in her soft semi-honking manner she uses among friends.
Phones rang as the story of Lucy's miraculous return was passed from friend to friend. Smiles covered the shore, hearts skipped a beat as we all told each other we hadn't really ever given up hope. No, not really. Not totally... not deep in our hearts...

We all wonder how many miles she walked, how rough the terrain for a little goose that cannot fly, how she hid from those critters that might have done her harm, and how determined she must have been to have made it home. OK, OK, you say, I am anthropomorphizing a bit too much. Well, maybe… but the fact remains, Lucy made it home. It took her a month. I am sure she kept humming "I'll be home for Christmas" all the way - or the goosey equivalent... OK, roll your eyes, I don't care...

I am glad I did not have to clean out the cab of the truck they took her away in.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I have gotten some flak from someone who keeps track of my blog and my yard, apparently, and is concerned with the welfare of my 2 outside cats, Punkin and Spook. It seems they worry about where the little guys go in inclement weather. It is true, they have the carport for a certain amount of shelter, but if the rain is heavy and the wind is blowing, the carport is not the greatest place to hide from the elements. In fact, not only does it flood, it can act like a wind tunnel! Spook and Punk came here during hurricane Isabel, a few years back. Animals often travel in bad storms or get disoriented. (During one storm, a friend’s cat crashed thru the screen on her bedroom window which opened onto a porch, and disappeared. She never saw the animal again. So, sadly, it happens…) I posted pictures at the local SPCA and all the vets and advertised in the lost and found of the local papers and radio – nobody came to claim them. For the first month, they hid out under one of my several barns until they discovered the barns go under water in a heavy rain. Eventually they got brave enough to hang out on the carport, and I built a shelter for them, well, 2 shelters, actually, both heated. One (the Cat House) opens with a vent into the furnace room, the other, we call the Nest, is heated with a vent from under the house, with hot water baseboard pipes right next to this vent. Then, last summer I had a shed built covering my oil tank. With heating fuel over $4 at the time, people were discovering their fuel tanks were being emptied in the night or while they were at work, so I thought, “out of sight, out of mind.” The cats thought it was a great place to hang out as I stored some lumber, bird feeders, and plastic containers in there. During this last soaker, with it’s more than 5 inches of rain and high winds, the cats hid out in the shed, but discovered the way out was now under water. Poor babies! They were soaked! So, I called my neighbor across the street who had promised me a small load of gravel next time he recovered his driveway and asked him when he was planning on redoing his driveway. He decided Monday was the day and brought me 2 scoops of gravel in his Bobcat front loader. It really tore up my yard, but I have gravel to spare, and the floor of the oil shed is several inches higher and Spook, for one, is much happier.. Next warm day I promise I will build them a suitable “porch roof!” But, this will have to do until then. See Spook's little feet? Last week, that would have been underwater!

Sunday, December 07, 2008


December decorations... well, sort of...
My neighbors noticed I was putting something up in the front yard. They were very curious about a Buddhist putting up Christmas decorations! After all, I have candles in the windows and greenery on the railing, now what is going up out by the road???? Oh… well… that’s OK, I guess… at least it does not insult anyone like the Bush White House Chanukah card that had a Christmas tree on it! (SO embarrassing, that!)
Then we decided to decorate Rascal and Hadji! Can you see how happy Rascal was to be forced into the holiday mode? I am not one who likes to dress up animals - but I figured this would not last too long! Look at this expression of JOY! NOT!!!! I could use this for a Bah Humbug card?? LOL! Hadj, on the other hand, took to the scarf like he had always worn one, and will come over to you if you hold it down to put it on him. He tries to push his head thru it. Once on, he happily wears it all day. This morning, he actually brought it over and laid it at my feet and stood there waiting for help after pushing it across the living room floor with his head for several minutes! By the way, it says “Wreck the Halls” – more a Rascal concept… Hadji tried the antlers on, too, but was not thrilled. He came over to me to ask to take them off. Scarf, yes, stupid, no.
We were told we might get some snow flurries over night – didn’t happen. In fact, the sun was shining brightly at 8 AM as I sent my Sunday Musings out. It is very windy now, however, and the clouds have moved in from the south from whence cometh any snow we ever get. Now the sun is out again... Hmmmmmm, maybe… just maybe… however, the temps were in the mid 30s instead of the mid 20s. So much for someone else’s weather watchering,” eh? Ok, that would have been predicting – but that is based on watching, no? Anyway, I noticed while feeding the Punkin and Spook that the red camellia next to the carport has started to bloom. It is like having built in Christmas decorations in December – all red and green, and so beautiful when it gets snowed on! This was Punk and Spook having a moment while I was putting up my yard decoration. Is that sweet or what????? Is there mistletoe out here that I didn't notice?????

Saturday, December 06, 2008


I post this not as a form of bragging but as a confession of my extreme ignorance. Not that that is news to most of you - but I have never figured out how to add a blog list of my favorite blogs, I have tried (and obviously failed) to put a weather link on my blog - and someone gave me an award earlier this year which I mentioned but could not figure out how to add in the sidebar. She berated me in a private email after giving me directions twice and I still could not figure it out - or my acct will not handle it. Whatever... I have not heard from her since - :-(

Anyway - a blogger friend gave me this award - and I have NO IDEA how to put it in the sidebar nor how to properly pass it on. But I do thank you, Ancient One!
If they have an ignorance award, I know I have earned that one! ANyway... I will work at this later today, when I get some work done... I promise!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


We had a serious frost this morning. Last night I looked longingly (in the comfort of my warm Southern home) at the pictures of a Canadian blogger friend's yard and thigh high snow. Maybe it is the memories of my childhood to the north that makes snow so - um, magical. Or maybe it is because I no longer have to drive in it. Or maybe it is because snow always meant NO School down here on the Shore... I don't know. Maybe it is the way it changes the scenery, eliminating the dirt, fallen leaves, dead grass and weeds... instant yard clean up! Anyway, we are about to have a cold spell. And the frost this morning at 28 degrees was also beautiful. The BeautyBerry Bush, Buddha and prayer flags in the early morning sun.... The sun had been up not quite an hour and was rapidly burning up the frost. So I had to grab the camera and try to capture a bit of the magic of the frosty morning.

Frost on the Beauty Berry Bush and an azalea.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008



Feeling the need to lighten up a bit, I thought I'd pass along this morning's email from my cousin...

A young man named John received a parrot as a gift. The parrot had a bad attitude and an even worse vocabulary. Every word out of the bird's mouth was rude, obnoxious and laced with profanity. John tried and tried to change the bird's attitude by consistently saying only polite words, playing soft music and anything else he could think of to "clean up" the bird's vocabulary.

Finally, John was fed up and he yelled at the parrot. The parrot yelled back. John shook the parrot and the parrot got angrier and even ruder. John, in desperation, threw up his hand, grabbed the bird and put him inthe freezer. For a few minutes the parrot squawked and kicked and screamed. Then suddenly there was total quiet. Not a peep was heard for over a minute. Fearing that he'd hurt the parrot, John quickly opened the door to the freezer, the parrot calmly stepped out onto John's outstretched arms and said, "I believe I may have offended you with my rude language and actions. I'm sincerely remorseful for my inappropriate transgressions and I fully intend to do everything I can to correct my rude and unforgivable behavior." John was stunned at the change in the bird's attitude.
As he was about to ask the parrot what had made such a dramatic change in his behavior, the bird continued, "May I ask what the turkey did?"

Happy Thanksgiving! (well, unless you are the turkey...)

Sunday, November 23, 2008


It was 22 this morning. The birdbath was frozen solid. Poor Spook had no place to get a drink after breakfast. All their water dishes were frozen solid, too, but the birdbath (YUCK!) is his favorite! See how think the ice is? was? The pattern in the birdbath, in case you aren't familiar with birdbaths like this, is from scraping the scum out every day or so. Spook says those are his vitamins I'm wasting. There is an old Algonquin story my uncle used to tell about a dog drinking from a puddle that helps me be OK with this bad habit of Spook's. Well, kinda... Same idea - vitamins.

But, at least he has crawled out of his warm nest and is now in a patch of sunlight, just getting up on occasion to take a drink, listen to a sound, a mouse? Too cold for a bug...
It is now mid afternoon - the ice is still there.
This is Punkin the other evening in the snow that didn't last. Bet if we had some tonight it would be around for a while!

Friday, November 21, 2008


Here on the Eastern Shore of VA, it almost NEVER snows before Christmas - and I swear I do not remember it ever snowing before Thanksgiving! And to think I almost missed it...

I was lazy this morning. It has been a hard week... first losing Snuffy, then getting my Lymes disease diagnosis... so I kinda over slept this morning, to put it mildly! I did drag my lazy bones out of bed at 7, looked out the window and thought I saw something coming down... but there was no snow on anything except one roof looked like it had a little frost. I started my new morning routine- coffee pot on, turn on computer, open curtains next to computer... I looked out the window again, frowning - Gee that looks like snow! The snow you see in these pictures which looks like NOTHING to most of you, I know, happened in the time it took me to brush my teeth, get on some jeans and shoes, grab the camera, cat food, a jacket and get out the door. You are not allowed to go out first thing in the morning without feeding Punkin and Spook! If they are coming out of their heated nest box, there had better be a good reason, and food is the only reason they can think of.
For those of you not from here, it is quite possible to go for years with NO snow at all. I was raised in the Pocono Mountains of PA, then Maine, and finally Ankara, Turkey where we had some amazing snow! So when it snows here, it is exciting! And often, it does not last but a few minutes. In fact, in the time it has taken to upload my pictures and type this - well, OK, I had to do a couple other things - but it is an hour later and the snow is almost gone. sigh..... Anyway, here it is on my new pansies, on the digitalis, the columbine, and a camellia. I love the patterns of a light snow on different leaves. Maybe you figured that out.
It is now almost 9 o'clock... it is raining... it is 37 degrees... looks like the morning fun is over.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


After struggling for 10 years, Snuffy left us yesterday. We never thought we'd have him even for one year, but, somehow he managed to hold on for 10. He had a number of surgeries, 2 for cancer, 2 last summer for a growth under his tongue, after which he ate baby food to which he promptly became addicted. He did not start out as my cat - but the years of being his primary caregiver kinda changed things. He definitely became "mine." If he couldn't find an open window, he slept up next to my pillow.

He struggled to breathe all his life and I don't think he realized there was any other way. He was famous for his sneezes. When we could not find him - gray cats are good as disappearing in plain sight, we just listened for his labored breathing. Consequently, his name, Snuffy.

But, it all caught up with him Monday morning. One could say it was fast, but one could also say it has taken years... he has been on some kind of medicine every day, all his life. It is amazing how we changed our way of "doing" things to accommodate him, towels on all the furniture, no perfumes or smelly chemicals in the house. Not even smelly (fragrant) soaps or candles.
He also liked sleeping with the possums. I am going to miss him.

Friday, November 14, 2008


Didja ever see a tree growing out of a totally different kind of tree? The big tree is the redbud out front. Obviously, the little one is a maple. Surrogate mommy in the tree kingdom????

Didja ever wonder what kind of person would be outside in the near dark planting pansies inbetween raindrops?
Didja ever wonder how many flowers could possibly grow on one bush? Didja ever try to count them?

Didja ever wonder what kind of an idiot would stand outside in the rain taking pictures of flowers in the middle of November? Maybe the same one planting pansies in the dark... Didja ever see bees and other kinds of bugs out busy doing bee things in the middle of November? Aren't they supposed to be tucked in for their long winter's nap by now?Like Snuffy - he knows enough to be napping on this drippy November day. But...

Didja ever wonder how they get their legs like that? And manage to get back up???? Or not wake up with a broken back? Oooo, that hurts to look at it!

Didja ever wonder what it is with cats and boxes? If they can't get in 'em, they get on 'em. This is where he sits to supervise the gardening.
Didja ever wonder why you wonder about such dumb things? Must be the change in the weather. 72 degrees yesterday and they say we might have flurries on Tuesday. Hmmm, that might answer why someone might be planting in the dark... ya think?