Tuesday, September 02, 2014

The Mushroom Has Landed

Monday, September 01, 2014

Shedding Velvet

The stags are beginning to shed the velvet covering on their antlers, exposing the hard bone. I was lucky enough to see one with the strips hanging from his antlers in the back yard Saturday. It's not something I have seen often. It is a little messy but hopefully not too gross.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

It's a "Lifestyles" Blog

From Sunday Stealing

Blogging Meme 

Q. What kind of blog do you have?

A. I call it a "lifestyles" blog. I started it back in 2006 to have a creative outlet that differed from newspaper writing, and also to serve as a drafting board for the lifestyle columns I was writing for the local paper at the time.

Q. How many posts do you have?

A. I have 2,518 published posts, and 53 unpublished ones.

Q. How many blogs do you follow?

A. It varies depending on time and interests. I try to visit the blogs of those who comment.

Q. How many followers do you have?

A. I have 85 followers on the Google followers link, but I average about 450-500 visits weekly. 

Q. How often do you change your theme?

A. If you mean the header, I change it about 6 times a year. Usually when the seasons change. It's about time for a change to Autumn. 

Q. How often do you change your icon?

A. That picture of me is about two years old now. If somebody ever takes a decent photo of me, I will use a more current one.

Q. Do you have any favorite blogs?

A. Yes. 

Q. Do you ever send anonymous messages to other people?

A. No. I post under CountryDew, but anyone can look over my blog and figure out who I am.

Q. Do you ever get anon hate? 

A. Occasionally.

Q. Have you made any friends through your blog?

A. I have! Several local bloggers are now my friends. And there are some bloggers I am friends with on Facebook and they feel more like friends than, well, my friends. 

Q. What’s your favorite thing about blogging?

A. It makes me think and it has given me the opportunity meet people I otherwise might not have. Blogging has allowed me an outlet that I greatly enjoy.

Q. What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?

A. Those anonymous trolling comments are frustrating sometimes.


Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Story Was Incomplete

Saturday 9: All Night Long (All Night)

(because Lia asked for an 80s song)

If you're not familiar with today's song, you can hear it here.

1) This music video was produced by Mike Nesmith of The Monkees. Can you name a Monkees song?

A. Hey Hey we're the Monkees . . . although I think they also did The Last Train to Clarksville.

2) The song includes the foreign sounding phrases, "Oh jambali Tom bo li d, say de moi ya," and "Oh, Jambo Jumbo!" Mr. Richie meant to include language indigenous to the Caribbean, but was writing the song under deadline and simply made those phrases up instead. Tell about the most recent time you cheated or "cut corners."

A. While writing an article recently, I was unable to get a source to talk, and I finally gave up and went with what I had. I knew it would mean the story was incomplete but it was the best I could do.

3) Richie was a frat boy at college. Kappa Kappa Psi, to be exact. Were you a member of a fraternity or sorority? 

A. I was not, exactly. I went through my college's "adult" program, though it was the same degree as traditional-aged undergrads. My senior year they instituted an honor group for older students, and I was elected to that. Unfortunately, the name of it escapes me at the moment.

4) When this song topped the charts (September 1983), Vanessa Williams became the first African American to be crowned as Miss America. Do you watch beauty pageants?

A. No. I do, however, have a young niece who has been crowned Little Miss multiple times, and I have gone to some of her events to watch and support her.

5) Since it's Labor Day weekend, that holiday established to
celebrate the American worker, let's talk about the workplace. Tellers work in a bank, actors work on a stage or a set, auto workers work on an assembly line. How would you describe your workplace?

A. A desk and a computer.

6) An estimated 40% of us have dated a coworker. Have you ever had an office romance?

A. No.

7) Labor Day is a big weekend for travel. How did you book your last vacation? (Online, through a travel agent, over the phone . . .)

A. My last vacation was in 2012. I think I did it online but am not sure. When I booked a hotel for my recent visit to a hospital in North Carolina, I did it online.

8) Mother Winters won't wear white again now until next Memorial Day. Sam thinks that's just crazy. Where do you fall in this heated mother/daughter debate?

A. I wear white sneakers year round. I really don't pay attention to fashion and never have. I wear blue jeans, a T-shirt, and sneakers most of the time, and put on a sweater when it gets cold. 

9) When you look at back on Summer 2014, what will you remember?

A. How my husband caught his arm and hand in the hay baler, and how I had to race him to the hospital, and how lucky he was that yesterday he was able to return to his job as a battalion chief at the city fire department (light duty for a while) because of the excellent care he received. He was very fortunate to have a good surgeon on call the day he was injured. Also, we spent nearly two months together because of his accident.  Even though we've been married nearly 31 years, this was the longest stretch of time we've ever had with one another without a break. It was an interesting look at how retirement might go, and I think we need to build another room onto the house so he can have some place to watch TV where I won't have to hear it. We have a very small home and at the least he is going to need a workshop or some place else to go sometimes.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Thursday Thirteen

1. The Bob McDonnell trial is an absolute embarrassment to me as a native Virginia. I don't care what party you claim, the guy has thrown his wife under the bus, maybe deservedly so because she sounds like a difficult person, but still, he is no gentleman. Why is his marriage even on trial? Either he took money and gave favors or he didn't. Why do we need six weeks of Kardashian-like BS to sort this out? What has happened to human decency? Good grief.

2. Young people, especially 9 year olds, should not be handling uzis on firing ranges. They shouldn't be on firing ranges at all. Gun culture nuts are creating their own demise either by killing one another or they will, ultimately, force even their own supporters to ask for better gun laws as their own personal brand of insanity seeps into mainstream life.

3. Businesses in general no longer care about customer service or providing quality items to consumers. All they care about is money. We need regulation and oversight of practically everything, because expecting any industry to police itself is by definition insane. Do you honestly think any business is going to set limits on itself on the basis of morality in this day and age? We don't even know what morality is.

4. Governments that deal in secrecy, whether at the local level (I'm talking to you, BOTETOURT), state, or national, are governments that are failing their citizenry. Fail, fail, fail. I'm so disappointed in our local representatives. About 20 years ago, we had no party politics here in my county and things ran much more smoothly, and common sense was present. Now things are rotten and smelly. At the state level, it's much worse. I used to live in a beautiful land, now it's a cesspool (see also #1).

5.  While the Affordable Care Act has helped some with insurance needs, it fell short (as I anticipated) and hasn't stopped the rampant costs in medicine and health care. That is only going to happen with dramatic change - as long as insurance companies cough up $100 for a $1 pill, things will stay as bad as they are for most people. The whole system reeks of corruption and complicity. The majority of Americans are only one car wreck or major illness away from bankruptcy. Why, as a society, do we allow that to be the case?

6. I do not pretend to know what is going on in the Middle East, anywhere. I am a pacifist by nature so I oppose killing. I do not believe there is ever, ever a good reason for nations to go to war (that includes the U.S.). Dropping bombs for the sake of dropping bombs is just asinine. That said, I am glad there has been a cease-fire agreement between Israel and Hamas. I just hope it isn't over before you can read these words.

7. The unfortunate evolution of the police state in the US has been a natural progression as fascism has come to the fore and the lunatics have taken over the asylum. We are a scared, uneducated, and naïve citizenry, and we think we need arsenals to protect us from our neighbors, most of whom we don't know and don't care to know because our nose is buried in our cellphone. Call me naïve myself, but I think sharing lemonade and cookies would solve more problems than a militarized police force ever could.

8. Long ago, children ran and played unsupervised. Today, parents who do not hover can be arrested for imagined child endangerment. I see these stories popping up all the time now - a girl playing without supervision in her neighborhood playground is grounds for a mom to be jailed. I played unsupervised the majority of the time, as, I think, did most of my peers. I'm afraid most people under the age of 40 have no idea how to do anything on their own, because their parents always did things for them. How did that come about?

9. I rewatched the Dead Poets Society the other night. The movie is ambiguous in its political message. On the one hand, it says that we need free thinkers, not group think, and we need to rebel and rage against those would force conformity upon all of society. However, in the end, the conformists won in the movie. That flick shown in 1989, and the message is solid now. Conform or die.

10. Climate change deniers puzzle me. Why wouldn't you want cleaner air? Why wouldn't you want to minimize environmental damage for the next generation? What difference does it make, really, whether climate change is manmade or natural? The climate is changing - I'm 51 years old, I've seen it with my own eyes. Our summers are weird. Our winters are longer. The trees have funguses that previously were unknown here. We have bugs that used to not like this area but have become infesting pests. We have droughts and floods. Even the thunder sounds different. But regardless of the cause, I still don't understand why people oppose regulations that make industries take care of the environment. Isn't it rather insane to poison the grounds from which the foods grow? Do we think we are conquerors and must salt the earth?

11. Music is one way to soothe the soul and the savage beast. Some Alzheimer's patients have been helped with music and studies are underway to see how this can be used to assist people to have better lives. I can get behind this kind of research. This is the kind of thing our government dollars should be used for. We don't need another fighter plane.

12. We are, each one of us, an individual responsible for our actions and thoughts, but there are also circumstances all around us over which we have no control. We can't force businesses to be honorable, nations to be truthful, or group-think to be moral. All we can do is take care of ourselves as best we can, but we have created a society with multiple layers and systems, and circumventing can take a toll on the best of us. It is easy to slip and make a mistake. We need to understand that while we are individuals, we are also units of society and should work toward a greater good. That used to be a manifest concept that people understood, that your actions also impact your neighbor - that no man is an island - but somewhere in the last 30 years we've lost that lesson. Maybe people need to read more John Donne.

13. So current events have taken up my Thursday Thirteen. I've had a lot of this stuff on my mind for a while. I wanted to get it out and in the open. I'm a liberal and a feminist and I am proud of both titles. Thank you for reading. Feel free to disagree, but please do it nicely or I will delete your comment. It's my blog and I can do that.

Thursday Thirteen is played by lots of people; there is a list here. I've been playing for a while and this is my 358th time to do a list of 13 on a Thursday.