Wednesday, March 30, 2011


There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is 'UP.'
It's easy to understand
UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP ?
At a meeting, why does a topic come UP ?
Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report ?
We call UP our friends.
And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver; we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen.
We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car.
At other times the little word has real special meaning.
People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses.
To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.
A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP.
We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.
We seem to be pretty mixed
UP about UP !
To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary.
In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions.
If you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used.
It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more.
When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP .
When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP ....
When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.
When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.
One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it
UP, for now my time is UP, is time to shut UP! Besides you are probably fed UP with UP by now. Well, I’ve had it UP to here! Wherever that is.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


After waiting 15 minutes for your blog to let me leave a comment – it still said to wait… so I gave up. Sorry about that… don’t know whats up.


I HAVE PROBABLY POSTED THIS TITLE BEFORE –DSC_0979 because it always snows on the daffodils, and  that makes for some fun pictures. In PA where I went to college, this is called the Onion snow, because onions sets are usually in the ground by now. These are my onions, I put them in last week. 

But, here in VA, when it snows in the end of March, it snows on much more than the onions, or daffodils, but the good thing is, the snow does not hang around. Often it barely covers the ground. So, I have learned to grab the camera early because sometimes the snow is gone by the time I hit ‘publish.’ So, I will share a bit of last snow beauty. DSC_0980DSC_0977DSC_0982 DSC_0984 

It is the time when many of the camellias are in bloom. Pink Perfection DSC_0985DSC_0986is probably my absolute favorite and I don’t remember seeing it in the snow before.

Red Emperor…DSC_0990 Pink Precious… DSC_0978One of my own hybrids…    DSC_0988 

White on white (this is a 12 footer)… DSC_0987 Snow on the forsythia…DSC_0981 See the peonies coming up?DSC_0993 Pansies…DSC_0976

Know what this is? Snow on the PussyWillow, up about 15 feet.DSC_0995 The Redbud is starting to bloom, these will be flowers next week.DSC_0983 And I love the pattern of snow on these branches.DSC_0991

When we flew our first flights over Libya, I bought a new Peace Rose bush as my prayer for Peace. I hope it does not fall on deaf ears.DSC_0994 DSC_0992

The snow filled Buddha’s lap as he sat out back and reminded me to think thoughts of love and compassion, and it fell on St Francis as he watched over Spook taking a drink from the slightly slushy birdbath.DSC_0998

May thoughts of Peace and Compassion fill your heart this spring day. (Guess what? It is all melted – just that fast.)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Sorry to all you who are feeling neglected… life here on Possum Lane has been beyond hectic. I promise to find some time to answer you all if I have to set the alarm and get up at 3 AM.

Meanwhile, I started this a few days ago… I am not taking time to proof read it – so, forgive me (again) for any typos…

Having removed the poisons from Hadji’s system (read carbs) – he is not only his old self – but more to the truth, he is his NEW self. Hadj is more kitten like every day. In the week before I finally got him to the vet and we got a diagnosis, he was not even washing. To see a cat washing – usually a normal thing to see – well, it was a big thrill. He now does the usual cat scrub, scrub, scrub thing, and I must say, his fur is beautiful once again.DSC_0950 Shiny blacks, whiter whites and pretty little pink accents.

Stupid me, I really thought he had cancer. He had lost weight (4 1/2 lbs), was not washing, lost his appetite, and, he lost his voice. I just KNEW he had throat cancer. I guess I have been thru so many cancer surgeries with the last 2 cats, I just figured it was THAT disease once again. Anyway, as you know, it was diabetes, and he came home from the vet on 3 units of insulin every morning and every night… 6 units a day – for the rest of his life, the vet said. Few cats live for more than a year with diabetes, another vet said…

DSCN2646 Now not only was that a rough sentence for my little cat, it was hard on me… I had to see him suffer… I had to hold him while he got his shot twice a day, and I have trypanophobia. Go ahead, look it up. Just being in the same room with a needle is upsetting to me. So, something had to be done.

As some of you know, I am a perpetual student. I LOVE learning new stuff. And so, having heard from a friend that this disease can be reversed – they cured their cat – I decided that if it could be done – it would be done. I am into research… I am into healing…

Hadji is full of himself these days. He has gained back one pound. I really don’t want him to get as heavy as he was before. Rascal has lost one pound, he has another pound to lose. Hadji’s voice is back, he is clean, and he runs and romps with Rascal everyday, sometimes they play so rough I worry that someone will get hurt. (Dumb human.) He chases his catnip pillow around, throws it in the air, catches it, then takes a little nap on top of it. DSC_0955 DSC_0956 DSC_0072

He has not had any dry food, not even the prescribed science diet, for  over 2 weeks. He eats only food with 5 carbs or less. His snacks are freeze dried chicken snacks. (Halo Liv-a-Littles 100% chicken breast protein treats – you can get them on amazon). Hadji has not had any insulin in 12 days. His Blood glucose stays around 100. Yes, it is expensive, but I now know that the cheaper food and all dry cat food is poison…

He is back to being the Great HD – that stands for Hadji Dude, in case you didn’t know.DSC_0077

Saturday, March 19, 2011


AND THE YARD WORK STARTS IN ERNEST. They tell me spring is here. DSC_0963Well the daffodils are blooming, that is a serious clue. The buds are popping on the trees, and the birds are getting scrappy as breeding/nesting time draws near.  The forsythia is in full glory, the camellias are a sight to behold. Onion sets are already sold out in one local store. I had to drive 40 miles to get some Vidalia onion sets. My peas are ready to go in the ground. It was a temptation to put them in as it was 78 degrees on Friday. However, the morning temp is supposed to be 28 by next Friday, so I guess I will hold out for another week or so.

But, the blueberry bushes have been moved. They got little sun in their old space as the pine trees grew.They were only about a foot tall when the bushes were first planted. But first, this azalea had to be moved – it went in a hole left by a blueberry bush.DSC_0961  The fence was taken down, rolled up, the net removed, and the posts pulled up. I did have help moving a couple plants and then putting the posts in the ground. Fortunately I had my own shatters (Eastern Shore for pine straw) to put around the bushes for weed control.DSC_0960 This is the old Blueberry garden with the netting covered in snow. Honest!DSCN1327 Isn’t that amazing? The center pole kept it from collapsing.  

Have you ever seen a Pussy Willow this tall? The tree stump on the left is 4 feet tall. DSC_0970

I love to see the daffodils turn into glowing spots of beauty in the early morning sunlight.DSC_0966

Because of the unusually cold winter, the camellias are blooming out of sync. Red Emperor is blooming early, this hybrid is blooming late. All around the edge of the woods, there are bushes filled with huge blooms.DSC_0965   DSC_0962DSC_0959

Aunt Alice is pretty much on schedule. It is one of my favorites. DSC_0968

A friend gave me a present – a reddish violet. No not a house plant or African violet, this is supposed to grow just like the others that grow like weeds in the yard. She has a huge patch of them. DSC_0953 DSC_0954

And, Ginnie, this shot is for you. DSC_0972

Monday, March 14, 2011


WELL, OK, NOT YOUR PARLOR TRICKS kind of magic… a much different sort…

We went to a program yesterday down in Northampton County at the World Healing Institute at Cobb Island Station. It was a Native American poetry reading by Ron Welburn and Karenne Wood. I knew both of the authors and thus knew it would be a good reading and discussion afterwards. But, program aside, just being at the Station is a wonderful, almost magical, experience, and I knew I would be with many wonderful people. I have learned in my old age to chose which groups of people to hang out with – some bring a sense of peace and serenity and it is a healing experience being around them. Other groups are filled with what I call ego issues… certain people dominate the groups and push their agendas which are not always for the true benefit of others but are often just extensions of the individual’s agenda. I avoid those groups if possible and knew none of those people would be caught dead in a place like the WHI. It is a place of prayer and meditation, peace and cooperation, but not a place of religion and dogma, or RIGHT and WRONG. There are places that bring a sense of sacredness. Sure, it can be disrupted and damaged. Greedy people on ego trips can do that to anyplace, but I think most sacred places will heal themselves in the long run, regardless of what man does to it.DSCN2357 DSCN2359 Cobb Isl sea side

If you google Cobb Island Station, you will find this:

WHI Cobb Island Station, Eastern Shore Virginia

Cobb Island Station was built on the south end of Cobb’s Island off the Eastern Shore of Virginia in 1936 and served as a Coast Guard Station until the 1960’s. The station was moved by barge (see picture below) to its current site near the village of Oyster, VA in 1998. It was restored by The Nature Conservancy and subsequently acquired by the founder of the World Healing Institute. Overlooking the Barrier Islands, the facility, which includes a large conference room and overnight accommodations, is ideal for educational programs, workshops and retreats.

Virginia’s Eastern Shore is a peninsula embraced by the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. It encompasses a rare coastal wilderness of forests, shallow bays and lagoons, mud flats, beaches and salt marshes. The Nature Conservancy's Virginia Coast Reserve protects 14 barrier islands with nearly 60 miles of Atlantic shoreline. This incomparable landscape is utilized by 380 resident and migratory bird species and myriad fascinating creatures of the land and sea. The peaceful setting provides an ideal backdrop for World Healing Institute’s holistic healing programs. Our facilities include The Nature Conservancy's award-winning restoration of the Cobb Island Coast Guard Station.

I could go on and list the numerous programs that have been held here, but I will leave it up to you to do your own research if you are interested. So today’s program was of special interest to me as I knew I would be seeing some old friends and maybe even relatives from the Monacan tribe from over near Amherst, Virginia; folks I have not seen for about 15 years.

Out of respect, I did not interrupt the reading to take any photos, nor did I take pictures of the crowd. It’s an Indian thing. But what I did take pictures of – a field on the way in and then later in the afternoon on the way home… my brain just will not conjure up the name of this purple “weed” as it is called by many here. But you can see acres of it in these shots. This is why I like to take the old back roads… if you see something like this on the highway, it is difficult to get a shot – sometimes we whiz past things on the other side of an 18 wheeler and don’t even see these magical places and moments.  DSC_0947

DSC_0948 DSC_0949

No, this was NOT color enhanced, photoshopped or any of those tricks most photographers use to make their colors brighter or a slightly different color than mother nature put out there. This is it. In fact, my memory has it even bigger and brighter. But then, I saw ALL of it, not just the amt I could cram in my viewfinder. Is this awesome or what?

This old shot of the Station from long ago, before it was moved, is borrowed, the other shots are mine.Cobb Isl old

Saturday, March 12, 2011


WELL, EXCEPT I HAVE NOT BEEN INVITED TO THE BABY SHOWER, tho I at least have met the mama to be. Am I perhaps over reacting to the news that someone we know is going to be a Grandpa, again? And that it is going to be a little girl? A GIRL! I am trying to remember when I was last able to buy something for a little girl. We have had nothing but boys since… um… 1977???? OMG! NOT ONE GODDAUGHTER, COUSIN BABY GIRL, GRANDCHILD – NOT ONE.

I have considered asking mothers I have seen in the children’s department if I could buy a little dress for their little girl, but no doubt they would have had me arrested for… well, I don’t know, something…  it sure would sound creepy to me if the shoe were on the other foot. But 30+ years of buying camouflage shirts, rough and tough jeans, dinosaur shirts and jammies, trucks and race cars, toy chain saws, dinosaurs of every size and description… jackets and shirts in camo or with John Deere printed on them… well… I confess, as much as I have loved all my guys (little or now grown) I have often looked with longing at the little pink ruffled fancy dresses, precious little sun dresses with a border of daisies, Valentine dresses with little hearts and roses, little matching socks with ruffles…. SIGH.

OK, I confess, I find humor in camo boxers and camo sox, even camo onesies, but enough is enough. Briar has John Deere undies, pjs, shirts, jackets and a hat, and any toy that has John Deere on it. (Caleb is the future paleontologist, and can name more creatures from the great age of dinosaurs than I even knew existed!) But I really have had enough of Spiderman sheets and pillows. Do you know what I mean?

So, while munching on a piece of forbidden pumpkin pie at my neighbor and friend’s house yesterday, he announced his daughter had had a sonogram, and his little grandson will have a baby sister this summer. I was excited for him, tho he had no idea how nice those words sounded - “Its a girl!” A girl. wow. So, I controlled my urge to go out and buy little pink dresses – after all, this is not MY grandchild, but still………………….. I white knuckled my grip on the table and stayed in my seat, reminding myself this was not MY daughter’s news.

But, programming is programming, and I have been trained. Besides, I would never be invited to the baby shower – the mother –to -be is 6 states away! (And probably doesn’t even remember meeting me) but that is OK. Maybe just a small gift. One the Grandpa-to-be can appreciate. So, while shopping for bird seed today – I saw this little thing, and I just could not control myself. But programming is programming. I did get the color right. DSC_0945


In response to all the emails about Noriko and the earthquake – I got an email from her this morning. It was a wonderful message, to say the least! I just had to share it with all of you who have been so worried.

Dear Jan,

Thank you very much for your kind mail !

This earthquake didn't attack me.  I am all right.  

How about you?  Are you all right?

Do you enjoy your life?  

As for me, though I  am sometimes attacked by diseases,

I always won the diseases.  So did I try.

                          With lots of love, Noriko

Sunday, March 06, 2011


noriko assateague In the past I have done posts on people I have known who have been special in some way, or at least very special to me. I guess it is my way of honoring them. As we go thru life, we all get to meet some truly amazing people – but then everyone is pretty amazing in one way or another, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, I want to share a little about my friend, Noriko.

Quite a few years ago, maybe 20(?) the shore had a visiting teacher here from Japan. She was in a teacher exchange program and was sent to a neighboring county to teach Japanese, and be a sort of cultural ambassador. She was quite unappreciated by my neighbors to the south. This is Noriko on Assateague Island, the Atlantic Ocean in the background… maybe 30 miles from here.

I just found myself starting to list how badly she was treated here on the shore, but that would change the point of this post. I will say that those people with whom she taught missed a wonderful opportunity to get to know an amazing person. Their school district was not mature enough to have someone like Noriko working with them.

I met her at a multicultural event held in the other county in her high school. It was one of those celebrate diversity things… (I told an Iroquois story I learned from my uncle as a very little girl about a boy who became a bear.) Noriko and I hit it off somehow, and it was the beginning of a long friendship that has stretched itself over thousands of miles and many years. I took her to a number of Native American events both here on the shore and over in the rest of Virginia. We compared notes on native cultures. As the kids would say, we “hung out,” enjoying our differences, learning from each other, sometimes using other languages as a bridge when English and Japanese just didn’t work. We discovered we had the Turkish language in common! What fun explaining a menu in Turkish when the English did not make sense.

What a privilege to have her as a friend! What a gift!

Too soon the year was over. Nori returned to Japan and to a busy international life. Time marched steadily on… we wrote, not often, but enough to keep in touch. Enough to remember…

Noriko wrote a book about education. She included a story about one of the projects in my class that she had visited where I taught early American Indian pictographs and communication without alphabets. While here, Noriko received a native name, Spring Blossom. She valued that name. It was my honor to get to name her. For those of you who do not know, my name is Many Feathers.

I have gone back in old saved emails… I was late coming to computers, you see, so I have only a few old short letters from Noriko. But I will share a few of them with you. As many of you know, I have written a Sunday newsletter of sorts since 1998 or 99 – it has always gone to Nori, and in the early days, she responded frequently. In the early days, her letters were filled with comments on the perception of the USA in the Japanese world. But as time went on, cancer snuck in and took its toll.

In chronological order:


Many Feathers,

   Thank you very much for your mail so soon.

I am proud of that I have an American friend like you.

I mean that you showed me such wide heart and kind

mind for those who are …….. weak and

oppressed people in the world.

  I read mails you sent to us all.   Sometimes I think to write

to you.  But I  soon give up writing because it takes me too

much time when I write it in English.  Recently I have not

had the time to use English.  I am surrounded with Japanese

language every day.  I am now an editor on the small magazine.

I check the sentences , correct Japanese and sometimes I

myself write the manuscripts.  I have come to forget English

day by day, year by year.  In my mind I am thinking of you.

  I would like to share your email with others.  May I do that?
Sure, please do so.  Your friends may be a feather of birds, I believe.

                                So say hello to your friends! 

                                                                        Love, Noriko Spring Blossoms

nck55 <nck55@*******.jp> wrote: (in January of 2005)

Dear Jan,

A Happy New Year!

So much thank you for your warm mail to me.

Last year, I had had such busy days that I could not write private letters.

I had worked to protect environment of our city from destruction.

I had worked to protect children from evil situations.

And had checked the ill political movements, ill usage of tax by governments

and had checked  ill movements  by police. Moreover I have my program on the radio. 

On the program I have spoken about American Life I had  in Eastern Shore.

So, every day I was captured  by the schedule.

This year still everything above will continue with me. But I know that I need

to change my way of life..  I want to change it.  I will try to do so.

Thank you again for your care.  Even though I don't write any words, don't worry.

I have read your mails so far.   Just I am too busy to write.

                                                  With lots of love,  Noriko


From: renmk5*******.jp
Date: Mon, 28 Apr 2008 13:11:48 +0900

Dear Jan,

Thank you very much for sending your mail again.

This time every word goes well. I can read them though it takes time.

Words are very interesting. Words has meaning for them who can read and

understand them. But words become just a kind of picture for the people who

can not understand them.

Now let me try to write Japanese. So guess what they are!





Thank you very much!

Spring Blossom


From: jan jan

To: ikuta noriko

Sent: Monday, April 28, 2008 9:29 PM

私の親愛なる友人、私は非常に幸運ずっと会うためにである! あなたの友情は大きいギフトである! 多くの羽

Many Feathers ___________________________________________________________


Dear Many Feathers,

I wonder how you wrote the following Japanese letters.

You may have magic box !

And also I am surprised to know you are going to get to study with the Dalai Lama for a week this summer. How did you get such a wonderful chance?

I am also interested in Dalai Lama, but I can't move freely because of my cancer disease. Recently I can move around my house and can meet friends but I' m sorry that I can't go on a journey even inside Japan.

After studying, please tell me your feeling and opinion.

With lots of Love,

Spring Blossom


Date: Sun, 24 Aug 2008 23:15:21 +0900

Dear Jan,

Thank you very much I got your mail.

Today I want ask a question.

Please tell me the meaning of Bensam Chose Sabiorum,

I am not sure the spelling is right or not.

The other day, suddenly I remembered the sound of those words.

                                               Spring Blossom.

To: ikuta noriko

Sent: Monday, August 25, 2008 3:56 AM

Subject: RE: 8-24-08 H

Ben Seni Choke Seviyorum!!!!!!   I Love You Very Much!!!!!!  (in Turkish) 

Many Feathers __________________________________________________________

Dear Jan,

So much thank you for your quick response for my question.

I also "Ben Seni Choke Seviyorum", Jan.

Recently I am writing a book concerning my whole life.

I will write about you who gave me lots of what is life of  not only human beings but also all living things on this  earth.

"Thank you" in Japanese is Arigatou(ありがとう。in Chinese character,有難う)


                              So, thank you, arigatou, Ben Seni Choke Seviyorum,

                                                         With lots of love,   Spring Blossom


May 11, 2009

Dear Manyfeathers,

So much thank you for your swift return mail.  It is so fun to think or to have an imagination about you in the morning of the USA.

I am going to sleep before long.  It is 9:30 o'clock in Japan.  I live in Kamakura (This place  is very famous historical place in Japan.)

             I love you !        Good night!

                                                With love,  Spring blossom 


Feb, 2010

Dear Jan,

I'm sorry I have been sick for long.  I have pain on my body here and there. I have cancer in my body.

I can't write any more, sorry. Noriko


Nov 18, 2010

So much thank you for your kind mails so far.

I have been sick for a long time. I had to stay in the hospital for a long time.

Though I could come home, I have still sickness. I  have to stay calmly.

So, I can't write to you often.  I am sorry !

                                                            With love , Noriko


Dec 22, 2010

For a long time, I have sick in bed.  But I  am still alive, though I can
not run and jump.
Sometimes, I have felt that I could not walk and write  any more, But God
gave me chance to write again.   Though this is very short, this is my love letter to you,
Jan.!  Thank you!
I hope you may have good days!
                                                      Spring Blossom


Feb. 28th, 2010…

Dear Jan,

Thank you very much for your kind mail.  I 'm sorry I am not fine.

I often think whether I can live more?

Almost everyday, I have to go to hospital .  I have pain in everywhere in my body.

I never forget you.  Thank you !    Noriko

It is with heavy heart that I read those words. How I wish I could share with you all what a brilliant, kind soul Noriko is. I ask for your prayers. I would ask you to send her an email but she feels duty bound to answer them, and I think that might be too much to answer. Maybe just a comment on this post – and I can share that with her.

As we go thru life, we get to meet some extraordinary people. Sometimes we are aware, often we are not. I know I was blessed to have met Noriko, and I am so glad I made the effort to get to know her.