Sunday, December 27, 2009

Bring on the New Year!

OK. I know it's been forever since I have posted a blog, but I am going to try and do a better job of it this coming new year. My life isn't really that exciting sometimes, so I don't always have a lot to say. I will do my best to keep it interesting, though at times it may not always be the most newsworthy. One thing I have found over the years, is that I tend not to write when my life is in a state of stress. Often I think that no one wants to hear about the emotional rollercoaster that sometimes defines my existence, so the pages remain blank. In my private journal I can record the deepest lessons of my life, but on the web, I usually only post the banal, the sublime, the stuff that is easily digested by most people.
The deepest life lesson that I have learned this year is Acceptance. I have learned to accept things this year that I never thought I could. At times it feels like compromise, but I continually realize that it is Love that gives me the ability to accept. Accept the things I cannot change. My mom often recites the Serenity prayer to me. She is a woman of great wisdom and love.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.

That has been my motto this year that will carry me on wings of peace into the next.

Happy New Year!

Monday, April 13, 2009

The King's garden

Thoughts from Spurgeon.............

See yonder the King's garden which he waters with his own bloody sweat. Gethsemane-whose bitter herbs are far sweeter to renewed souls than even Eden's luscious fruits. There in Gethsemane the mischief of the serpent in the first garden was undone. There the curse was lifted from earth. This is the garden of gardens indeed wherein the soul may see the guilt of sin and the power of love, two sights which surpass all others.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Giving Away the Store


By Dick Morris

On April 2, 2009, the work of July 4, 1776 was nullified at the meeting of the G-20 in London. The joint communiqué essentially announces a global economic union with uniform regulations and bylaws for all nations, including the United States. Henceforth, our SEC, Commodities Trading Commission, Federal Reserve Board and other regulators will have to march to the beat of drums pounded by the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body of central bankers from each of the G-20 states and the European Union.

This “coordination of national agencies” and the “setting” of “standards” is an explicit statement of the mandate the FSB will have over our national regulatory agencies.

Obama, perhaps feeling guilty for the US role in triggering the international crisis, has, indeed, given away the store. Now we may no longer look to presidential appointees, confirmed by the Senate, to make policy for our economy. These decisions will be made internationally.

And Europe will dominate them. The FSF and, presumably, the FSB, is now composed of the central bankers of Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom, and the United States plus representatives of the World Bank, the European Union, the IMF, and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Europe, in other words, has six of the twelve national members. The G-20 will enlarge the FSB to include all its member nations, but the pro-European bias will be clear. The United States, with a GDP three times that of the next largest G-20 member (Japan), will have one vote. So will Italy.

The Europeans have been trying to get their hands on our financial system for decades. It is essential to them that they rein in American free enterprise so that their socialist heaven will not be polluted by vices such as the profit motive. Now, with President Obama’s approval, they have done it.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

First and perhaps not the last

JoJo in her "work" uniform!

This past weekend, I accompanied Jo to work at the Coroner's office to experience my first autopsy. I was apprehensive to attend, but since I am very intrigued by the creation of our wonderful bodies, I forced myself to go. Though it was not one of my favorite ways to spend a sunny weekend morning, I am completely glad that I went.
Admittedly, the intrusion upon the human physique during the procedure is rude at best, the valuable experience gained from it far out weighs its lack of polite behavior. The entire procedure was absolutely fascinating. What a marvelous, infinitely fantastic mechanism our bodies are!! Seeing all of it up close and personal was amazing!
I was able to make it through the entire 3 hour procedure with out having to leave at anytime because of queasiness. Beforehand, I was wondering if I would be able to "stomach" the entire ordeal, not knowing what to expect. But, overall it was do-able. I made it through. I even assisted a little bit! At one point, Jo was busy doing something else and the Dr. asked me if I could assist him while he removed the right kidney!
Accepting the concrete, absolute-ness of death helps to accept the fact that this is just tissue. The spirit is gone, the soul is gone. Only the outer shell of carbon and organic matter remains. Thus, the body can be a tool of usefulness for others to learn from. Period. That's all it is after the spirit is gone.
What a unique opportunity it was for me. I treasure these days of exploring, learning, and experiencing new and fascinating things. I am thankful for each and every one of them.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Tracking Trails

Arbiter and I went on a fun adventure with our Mammology class last week. We spent a portion of the morning reviewing Habitats of local ground squirrels and chipmunks, then went out to look for some after lunch break. Here we have found some evidence of a California ground squirrel burrowing in the thatch searching for food.

Arbiter found this pine cone club that he carried around with him. I told him if we found any squirrels, he absolutely could not use it to subdue them!

These are a few of the many nests that we saw in the trees. Without closer observation, we couldn't really determine who the residents were. We suspected that they were squirrel nests.

This one could be a rat, but probably a squirrel
Who says you have to graduate High school before you can go to college?? Oh, and by the way, he (we) got a 94 on his quiz!

Some tracks of some sort in the soft sand. They may be fox tracks.

We are required to keep a field journal that contains narrative, photos, drawings and specimens all of our experiences and our findings. We have learned how to identify skulls and pelts of all different types of NorthCoast Mammals. Knowing all this information makes taking a walk in the forest a whole new experience. I go a lot slower than I used to!

Friday, April 03, 2009

For Want of Sleep

Sleeping upright in a recliner just won't produce the quality of sleep that one needs in order to get through the day. Especially a faux leather recliner with wheels on a laminate floor. I spent most of a long, sleepless night fidgeting and flopping around trying to snuggle into some sort of acceptable position that could garner some sleep. That was of course in between the beeps and drips of the machines that were hooked up to my dear DIL as she battled a high fever and a raging bladder infection. I did, however, find a gentle comfort in listening to the sound of the constant rhythm of the heartbeat of my yet to be born grandchild as "she" was recorded by the various monitors that were hooked up to her mother. Thankfully, though Mom's fever was high and the contractions were coming, baby was fine. After a few hours of I. V. fluids and tylenol, the fever was down and the contractions dissipated.
After a long week of trying to keep pace with 3 college classes and a day of tracking small mammals through the forest, I am ready to find a nice quiet place to rest my weary head!
Thank goodness for a wide open weekend of family time and "chill-axing" ! I find that to be "sweet-acular"!

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Days in the making

Few days ago:
Boy Scout Dinner- Oh, do we need to make deserts?
Practical Exam in Anatomy- 7 chapters of material to master. Lots of studying.
Daughter and son both not feeling well with ear and sinus issues; she with wisdom teeth coming in.
What am I? The Black Widow of computers?? I killed another one. I don't know what happened... it just happened. One minute it worked, the next minute it didn't. Hmm. Well I was trying to upload some Windows updates, then I decided not to and cancelled it in the middle of it. That was it. Then I couldn't get anything. Since I bought it at Costco I am going to take it back. I have had numerous "mini dumps" already, so I think I will just take it back and get another one. Nice that Costco gives the customer 90 days to return electronics.
Daughter checks her grades online in Anatomy to find out that she got a low score on her exam. She gushes tears, I offer hugs and encouragement. No coffee yet. Get a call from son #1 second thing this morning. Can you watch the kids today? Wife is 8 1/2 months pregnant, throwing up and has a possible kidney infection. How can I say no? Gotta get some coffee. Finally, brown fluid flows from my Irish Attitude cup (the one that says that since I am Irish, my attitude needs no adjusting).At least I can think a little better now. Kids arrive, hungry and excited to be at Grandma's house! Lots of playing, fort building with the big boys, eating yummy snacks, scurrying around the back yard with little Tykes, then very long naps! :) I finally get a chance to sit down to work on my Algebra assignment when I remember that I am Dog-sitting for Reebs and Cam.
They arrive just as I grit my teeth in mathematics frustration with the Calculator. Rex is staying for the week. Tilly, my large black lab, is overjoyed as they run and run and run. More Algebra, more frustration, sometimes tears. Guess I will be spending extra time in the Math Lab tomorrow.
Dear Gus just walked in the door, so perhaps we can steal away for a much needed brisk walk. We have actually become masters at escaping the family nuthouse. Over the years this behavior has become a necessity in order to keep our sanity and our love alive! Sometimes we get away for a few hours, on other glorious occasions, we get days!!
The way the day is progressing.... I will take minutes if that's all I can get!!
Until then.....
Keep smiling !!!

Thursday, March 26, 2009


This day has been a long one. It began with an exam in Anatomy and ended with 3 hours of Algebra with a little nap on the Redwood Transit in between.
I am continuing what may be the longest, crookedest college career in history. I won't even shame myself in admitting just when this whimsical journey began. Let's just say it began in the beginning and it has yet to be completed.
When I signed up for a secondary Algebra class this semester I had to ask the counselor to vouch for me that I had already taken the primary class.... albeit many long years ago. It took him an entire day of phone calls and emails to another college I had attended in order to substantiate my transcripts.
To apply for another program recently, I needed my High school transcript. When I approached the woman at the counter to ask her for it, she wanted to know if it was for one of my children.
No, I said, for me.
She paused, then stated she was going to have to go down to the basement. When she returned, she said she had to blow the dust off of it and brush the cob webs out of her hair.
Very funny...
If my college experiences were a recipe, I would not only be cooking for an entire army, but I would have a most unique ingredient list. It began with a goal, a desire to prepare for a career and enrollment at the local community college. To which I soon added some dating, some romance and eventually a marriage. I stirred in a couple of kids and promptly threw in a couple more classes. Before long I had added several more children, a couple of surgeries, a fixer upper house, and a large variety of animals and of course, more classes. I beat all of this on high for several more years which quickly became decades. So now, after all of this preparation, I am ready to put it all into the oven. With time, the mix of my academic life has begun to take shape. It looks like I might actually have something worthwhile here.
Last week, I applied for a petition to graduate with an AA degree in....
what else!...
General Studies!
Somehow, somewhere along the way, my endless hours of lectures and note taking, staying up late studying after everyone else had gone to bed, and many hard earned dollars forked out for text books has earned me the right to receive a college degree. This last Math class was the only thing standing between me and that cap and gown. So it looks like a go.
Although I won't embarrass myself (or them) by putting on that cap and gown and walking across the stage with all of those 2o yr. olds, I am still feeling very gratified that I have finally, after all these years, graduated from college. But that doesn't mean that I'm done. There will be a sequel.
Never say never.

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Simple Gift

Staying indoors for long stretches of days actually has some quirky benefits. I have found that I putter around more when I can't go outside. Putt, putt..... I grab my camera to try to capture what my exploring eyes come upon. These African violets sit atop my microwave absorbing that desire-some northern light that they crave; along with whatever weird waves my microwave is perhaps emitting. The nutmeg grater awaits my morning ritual of sprinkling it's aromatic spice into my first cup of coffee. Hand-crocheted doilies that I myself don't make, find their place gracefully throughout my home.

I have always loved to collect Hurricane kerosene lamps like these. I lost most of my collection in a series of earthquakes many years ago. So, I just started collecting all over again!

These are my delicate dishes that I bought many years ago from an older gal who was downsizing her collection of belongings. The apple bowl in the background was hand painted by my mother's mother about a hundred years ago. One of the very few family treasures that I own.
My MIL gave me these years ago. I remember seeing them inside of her china cabinet; now they are just sitting inside of mine! I have no idea about them. I think they are Hansel & Gretel.

My spaces seem to get smaller as the years go by; less land to manage, fewer kids at home to look after, fewer animals to care for. I think I like it though! I find it manageable. Not too stressful.

So, there it is. The simplicity of my recent days. Don't get me wrong, the surges of stress and busyness come regularly, but I am learning to appreciate the quiet days more and more!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Duck livers??!!

In the past few years I have taken a homeopathic remedy called Oscillococcinum whenever I feel flu like symptoms coming on. I read in a health magazine that this little vial of homeopathic wonder would either shorten or lessen the effects of the influenza virus. It wouldn't prevent me from getting the flu, but it would make the whole flu induced experience less dehabilitating. So I ordered some at a wholesale price through our Bulk Co-op group. I figured if there was a way that I could survive the flu bug without getting knocked all the way down in bed, it would be worth a try. I have used it with noticeable results. Not dramatic, but noticeable.
For the last few weeks, many people around me have been getting sick. Some have had sniffles, coughs and sore throats, others have been heaving for days on end. (from both ends!) By the grace of God, I have skirted around most of these inopportune times of getting the bug. Well, just a couple of days ago, I felt my immune system kick into high gear and my energy level plummet to granny gear. My body was at war with an unseen enemy. I went on like that for a day or so until I remembered that I had this super duper unpronounceable combatant that would give me a fighting chance of overcoming the immuno-compromise that I was battling.
So last night, I took some. My aching body wasn't looking forward to another night of fitful sleep. I needed some relief. I have to say, I slept better and I feel pretty good today. I have a cough and still some tiredness, but overall, I feel better. Some say that this stuff is just placebo, but I'm not so sure.
I looked it up on Wikipedia and it says this:

The ingredients of a one gram tube of Oscillococcinum are listed as:

  • Active ingredient: Anas Barbariae Hepatis et Cordis Extractum
  • (extract of Muscovy Duck liver and heart) 200CK HPUS 1x10-400g[8]
  • Inactive ingredient: 0.85 g sucrose, 0.15 g lactose (100 percent sugar.[9])
Duck livers?? Does this mean that I am no longer a vegetarian if I am taking meds made of duck hearts and livers? Eewww. I think that this needs more research before I can make a judgement!
That's the one thing I have noticed about these "Homeopathic" remedies..... Most of the time, the names of the stuff are impossible to pronounce! Or they are in some foreign language!
Maybe I'd be better off not knowing! Is ignorance truly "bliss?"

Saturday, February 28, 2009

First of Many

Baby girl had her first trip out to the beach yesterday. In between storms this week, the sun yesterday morning appeared like the debut of a contestant on American Idol. How could we ignore it's brilliance? We had to get outside to experience this winter performance. The best place to do this is by going to one of my favorite places in Humboldt County; Table Bluff Beach.

Although Miss T. looks vaguely uninterested, I had to assume she was having a wonderful time. Considering she slept the entire time would confirm that assumption. She was completely captivated by the warm gentle breezes that brushed her cheeks as she dreamed.

The dog kept bringing us sticks to throw but E. and I were too busy taking photos of our pretty in pink package.

When we got her back to the car, E. took off her blanket to reveal Miss T's sentiments on our excursion. I love you too, baby girl!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Birthday Reflections

As February comes to a close, I thought I would just post some old photos that are in my family archives. Just for smiles :)
The month brought lots of reminders of our love for one another. Between flowers, chocolates and kisses, the winter days are warmed by the tenderness that flows between us as we each express our grateful appreciation of our love.

Nick had his 27th birthday.

Happy Birthday, Nick!

The Anchor Coffee house; circa 2003

His sister tried putting corn rows in his hair once. It looked even funnier when she took them out

Baked potatoes with all the trimmings for dinner.

Mmm. This looks yummy. I'm not sure just who invited these two, but they seem to think dinner looks pretty good, too.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Tracks and Scat

In addition to my degree courses, son #6, ( Arbiter as you know he likes to be called), and I are taking a course in North Coast Mammal Identification. We had our first field trip this past Friday, where we went out to the local sand dunes to track small mammals and make casts of their little paw prints. Our instructor brought along all the necessary items for making the impressions of the prints. Just like we used to do in grade school - plaster of paris, water, beakers for mixing, etc. We were encouraged to hike down the beach away from most dog tracks in order to find evidences of small mammals like raccoons, opossum, rabbits and the like. The weather was so incredibly nice. On the front edge of a warm rain storm, the tepid wind blew gently from the east as the clouds floated softly by, allowing the sun to peek through enough to give us a enjoyable 65 degree temperature. It felt sooo good to be outdoors. I had been wanting to get to the beach for days!
The first thing we noticed was just how busy these little critters are. We saw tracks everywhere. Before today we would just walk right on by these prints, walking over them without even noticing them. But now that our mission was to find some worthy of casting, we carefully and gently moved about, being precise in our steps. We saw lots of rabbit droppings and poo of other sorts.

Before too long we stirred up a Black tailed jack rabbit that dashed off before I could get a photo! We tried to follow it to find some cool prints, but he was moving so fast that his tracks were nothing more than a dip in the soft, dry sand.

We were able to make some casts of a few prints.

I think most of them were coon prints.

Just as we finished up and got in the car, it started to rain!

The next morning, Gus and I took the dog out for a run and we decided to go back out to the same beach to do some exploring. I was thinking that after a light rain, the sand would be a little moist and the prints would be easily recognized.

These are oppossum tracks in a shallow mud puddle. I discoverd that oppossums have an opposable thumb on the hind foot as you can clearly see here. I brought along my casting kit and made a quick cast of this, but in my excitement in lifting it out, I set it down and then promptly stepped on it while retrieving my backpack! But the photo turned out great, so I can put this in my tracking journal.
This is a drift wood teepee that we came upon. We often find evidences of human mammals out on these dunes as well!

The skies were filled with a symphony of cackling Aleutian geese as they migrated to their annual nesting grounds here in the Eel River bottom lands.

If you look carefully, you can see them in these photos.

Gus was kind enough to come along on the adventure and even carry my pack. He tried to be as interested as possible, but truth be known, I think he was a little bored! Another adventurous day squeezed between winter rain storms.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

February Musings

During this month of February, the view outside my window has vacillated between thrashing hail storms and pummeling rain to sunshine bursting through billowing white, puffy clouds. Each and every moment seems to reveal an exciting display of creativity in the heavens. Indeed, the atmosphere outdoors has been dramatic. Much like my own moods here of late, actually.

It seems that just as the storm rages outside and inside the house remains a haven, my emotions have had these same similarities. Although I have also experienced the storm raging on the inside as well! Ugh. Sometimes I feel like such a jerk. A lot of my emotional swings I know are from being locked in the house more than usual, but another cause is from my weakness to adapt to being locked inside said facility with individuals that I should be able to get along with. You know, people that I love and care for. Why is it then, that I notice the messes they make when I am inside more? Why does their slothful early morning routines of rising and waking and eating and flopping seem to be more noticeable when I am confined to the house? Do I not notice them when I am running around trying to get my day off the ground? Or is it just because there isn't a lot to do all day long inside the house so I begin to notice things.... And then I begin to pick... pick, pick pick. Chiseling away at the very fabric of our relationships. This, I confess, I do. I begin to point out this shortcoming or that display of laziness or that lack of self control. So when I begin to get this way, I know I need to get out. Get outside into the fresh air in order to get a fresh perspective of my situation. Sounds simple, I know, but recognizing it while I'm in the midst of it sometimes remains cloaked in a veil of pride. I seem to think that this would be a good time to fix these broken character flaws; you know, while we are all inside with not much else to do. But then a lack of co-operation begins to unfold amongst my comrades. "What do you mean I'm being to harsh?" aghast I cry. It seems like a perfectly good time to deal with all of this!
So, to make a short out of the long of it...... I get outside even when it's damp and cold and rainy and drippy. My family thanks me for it, I'm sure!!

Yesterday Gus and I went for an adventure into some old logging areas just north of our city park. We had never been onto these particular roads so we really didn't know just where we were going! We climbed over berry vines when the road narrowed, forged raging creeks to get to the other side, just for fun. We even dragged logs out of the brush to make small crossings when we couldn't jump our way across. I felt like a kid again traipsing through the brush in the rain getting all muddy. So after an hour or so of this, my kinks were all worked out and it was easier for me to navigate around all the nuances of my interior existence. I don't particularly like winter, but I am learning how to appreciate its challenges.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Gross? Or just ......necessary!

It's not that Anatomy is gross, though sometimes it is..... It is a class that I am attending. I need to take this class to further my pursuits in nursing. Jo and I are taking it together which is an entirely separate blog altogether! Jo seems to have some weird attraction to the human body after it's original occupant has departed. As a matter of fact, she just took on a job as a pathologist's asst. at the county coroner's office here in town. She is disturbingly giddy about it! Anyway, I guess someone has to do it, though not just anyone can. I guess you could say that it would have to be a special calling to actually be able to perform such a job.
As you can see from the photos, she actually would think of bringing the camera to class to record our prodding and probing of these specimens that have been generously donated by their previous owners who no longer will need them. I never realized just how generous it is to donate one's body for the use of scientific research. Apparently UCSF has a program that you can sign up to that would allow you to give your self when then inevitable time comes that you go on to meet your Maker. (For those of you that happen to be interested , FYI).
So, this being just another way to wile away the winter days...... That and intermediate Algebra. My kids tease me that I am experiencing a "mid-life crisis" but I like to think of it as a mid-life surge. I'm not ready for the rocking chair and the crocheting just yet!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

First Visit to G'ma's

This was her first trip to G'ma & G'pa's house. After going in for a check up with the pediatrician, the little family stopped by for a visit and to pick up a gift that came in the mail. Thank you, Julie!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Long Hours Indoors

With the weather turning to from a sunny, warm January to a cold, damp February, we have had to stay indoors more than I would like to. Outside the thunder pounds and the rain pours as the ground is saturated in a heavy winter storm.
So, I visit my little grandbabies. I can't think of a better way to spend my indoor hours than to snuggle up in the rocking chair with a little bundle of baby on my lap!

Jo and I enjoyed Little Miss Tally while momma took a much needed nap.
Back at home, ACJ helped me with the dishes.

Love the little tip toes!

Little mister decided that he wanted to get in on the "fun" as well. When does dishwashing change from being fun water play to a dutiful chore? Perhaps it is the nuance of it all that keeps the grandkids so entertained!

After chores comes tea time with Dad and G'pa. Hard to tell just who is having the most fun here!

When the tea is done we play some more. ACJ has fun with Jo's ipod at Friday Nights in Ferndale.