Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Art

My Art in the Year 2015

Cooper's Hawk! (Accipiter cooperii)  
Painted in watercolor with the gracious permission of photographer Deb Johnson!

Cali the cat!  (acrylics)
Cali is a female.  Male Calico cats are very rare with only about one in a thousand births and are usually sterile.  Only one in ten thousand males is fertile.

Luna Moth (Actias luna)
These beautiful moths have one of the largest wing spans (4 1/2 and rarely up to 7 inches) of all moths in North America! They have very short lives of usually only a week.  Painted in watercolor with the gracious permission of photographer Richard Goohs.

Red-breasted Merganser - (Mergus serrator)
(Painted in watercolor by the gracious permission of wildlife photographer Richard Cronberg!)

Red-bellied Woodpecker! (Melanerpes carolinus)
This bird's name is somewhat misleading because the most prominent red part of its plumage is on the head.  Its close cousin the red-headed woodpecker looks a lot different.  Painted in watercolor by the gracious permission of Canadian photographer Deb Johnston!

Shawn & Lesley!

Painted in watercolor with the gracious permission of photographer Dr. Bill Andrews!

The Grizz! (Ursus arctos horribilis   (The term Grizzly means "grizzled" which indicates golden and gray tips of the hair.  George Ord first classified the Grizzly in 1815 but not for its hair but for its temperament! Ursus horribilis as truly they can be horrible to encounter!) painted in watercolor by the gracious permission of wildlife photographer Richard Cronberg!
"I'm just cooling my heels, relaxing and waiting for the first fat Salmon to swim by!  What could be better!" said Mr. Grizz!

Directions for a new year!  Here we are!  The start of a new year!  I'm contemplating my many avenues on which to travel this year.  A new beginning.  Truly, there is only one way that I will go.  I have given up traveling like Dr. R. W. Bernard said in his book, The Hollow Earth, "To go where Admiral Byrd went and saw , not ice and snow, but land and mountains, and an animal resembling a mammoth!"  So, I will quit seeking the hollow earth or as my friends would say, "That's crazy talk!", and seek instead another path, another way.  Perhaps I've been thinking of Marco Polo too much lately!

Bad Advice!
Have you ever had anyone give you bad advice when you really needed good advice?  I know I have in the past.  It is so easy to fool someone who is innocent.  "Like taking candy from a baby" a not-so-nice person might say.  For instance, there was the time we overheard one of our friends getting some very bad advice from a character we have always found to not be upright.  He was sending our little friend off in the wrong direction because we knew there was a large, deep, hidden hole just ahead!  We quickly ran forward and stopped our friend from being misled and hurt!  We then gave that guy a big piece of our mind!  Yesiree Bob!  He'd better think twice before doing anything like that around here again!

Stubborn and Indignant about it!
Why is it so hard to take good advice when we are young, or for that matter, to advise some older people who are going in the wrong direction?  Usually, older, more mature people have lived long enough to know how the world can be and can make better choices.  However, some are very set in their ways and quite stubborn in their beliefs.  Why is it so hard to reach someone before they make a wrong decision?   Is there any kind way to reach them before they go off in a wrong direction that will lead them to perpetual misery?


Swimming into 2015!!
I'm treading water and keeping me head up this year!  I just know I will tread better than last year and will not sink as this year will be special!  I did practice floating a lot when I was young because as a kid, I was told that I would get the cramps in the water after eating.  And that scared me!  Good thing I learned to dog paddle back then! Treading water will come in handy this year as I keep my head up and paddle on into a successful year!

The Little Diving Duck
The little diving duck thought everything was going well; that is, until he realized that while swimming under water, he had somehow slipped over a waterfall.  He had been having such a wonderful time diving and swimming along the bottom of the river!  Perhaps it will be time to quit diving and soar out into the air!  After all, preventing a disaster is a good thing!

 The Convention of "Know-it-alls"!
Our town just hosted the convention for the "Know-it-alls".  It was the first time this group had met here, and as far as I'm concerned, it will be the last.  I had never heard such arguing among so many people at one time!  None of them could agree on anything!  As their meeting was breaking up, I handed out invitations to the next convention coming to town, "The convention for those who want to learn how to work out problems!"  I hope some of the "Know-it-alls" will come, as it will certainly help them to understand that they really don't know very much after all!

Talent Audition!
Wow!  A lot of folks came to try out for a spot on this national talent show!  A lot more are here than I expected!  I'm finding it hard to smile and concentrate while I practice singing because there is too much going on around me.  Perhaps if I sing a little louder I can drown out some of the other contestants!  "YAH! YAH! YAH! YAH!" Oops!  Now, they are singing more loudly!

The Convention of Finger Pointers
We decided to keep booking the convention center although we certainly have had our hands full due to recent bookings that just didn't work out.   This time we really made a mistake by letting the "Finger Pointers" book a meeting.  We had to turn on the fire hoses and soak them thoroughly when the arguments heated up and they started screaming very loudly at each other.  When we presented the bill for the clean-up, they all pointed their fingers at us as being the cause for the trouble and refused to pay.  At least they all finally agreed on something!

Singing in the woods!
My good friend and I went out into the lovely woods to practice our singing!  It was such a beautiful day!  The birds were chirping loudly, woodland animals were frolicking playfully along, and the warmth of the day made everything seem so nice!  When we thought we had reached a good place to practice our singing, we opened up our lungs and sang with such gusto that our notes reverberated around the forest!  The woods were very quiet as we finished our song.  At first I thought that the creatures of the woods were so enthralled with our singing that they just were besides themselves with joy, but then my friend said he had seem them running quickly for any exit from the woods that they could find...

The Land of the Big Eyes!
In our country, we thought that we could see very well with our huge eyes.  At least we thought so until a visiting stranger told us that having enormous eyes wasn't a true indication of sight!  He helped us see that without clear vision, we would never know if the others around us were smiling, frowning, upset, or happy.  Now I understand that I had quite often misunderstood how the others felt because I really couldn't see their faces very well.  This also explains why we bump our noses a lot!  I also now realize that without large ears, we haven't been able to listen very well to each other.  Looking closer at my friends, I realized that we didn't have any ears at all!

The Boss!
I've had many different bosses in my life!  Some were good people and helpful, but a few were clueless about how to manage people or a business.  The latter were good candidates to read "The Peter Principle" although I doubt that they could grasp the book's full meaning.  Sometimes when talking with bad bosses, I wanted to throw my hands up in the air and give up on getting my point across even though it would have helped the business.  I knew that they wouldn't understand, so I kept my emotions to myself and just said, "Yes Boss!  Right away Boss!" then kept on doing what I normally would do! 

The Convention of the Society of the Very Opinionated!
I and other directors of our convention center met to discuss whether or not we should shut the place down.  Most of us had not enjoyed our experiences hosting various groups.  We voted to keep the business going conditionally to see if things improved.  We allowed  "The Society of the Very Opinionated" organization to book a reservation.  One of the directors said it would work out because "Everyone has an opinion!"  But, as we soon discovered, even though everyone does have an opinion, too many opposing opinions can result in disaster.  We decided not to hose down this group when the melee ensued since doing that had created a huge mess the last time.  Finally, when the noise died down, we tiptoed in, congratulated the lone survivor of the SVO group as being the opinionated winner, then presented him with the bill!

A Fish Out of Water!
Lately, I've felt like a fish out of water.  So little makes sense.  But as long as we're alive there will always be new and unusual experiences.  When I was a wee child, I learned to stand, walk, and run!  I also learned to talk, although sometimes people didn't understand me.  I never developed the ability to communicate in all of the planet's speech, though that would have been nice.  When I was in my accustomed place, everything seemed normal.  But, when thrust out into this strange new world, I felt lost.  Maybe if I flop around enough, I will find my way back to my watery world and everything will be just fine!  That is, if I can flop long enough and the place where I want to be is nearby....

Words That Shock!
Sometimes, a person will voice opinions which go directly against what I believe.  This just happened again today, and this time the speaker's words were overheard by a large group of people whose thinking is similar to mine.  I can tell by the smug look on his face that he's totally clueless about how his statement has affected us.  I can only wonder why he doesn't understand.  Usually raised eyebrows and shocked looks convey the message:  "You're out of line!" Certain beliefs should only be stated at appropriate times and to an audience that shares similar views.  Maybe he thinks the shocked looks on our faces mean we are in awe of what he said.  But being stunned into silence is never an indication of a great speech unless it is followed by thunderous applause and smiling faces!  So, I'll wait as he takes a bow and see if he gets it when he raises back up.

Is the world a stage?
Is the world a stage with too many musicals?  I do like some musicals, but not one that never ends.  Some people may want to sing for the entire world to hear, but many bellow out notes that aren't even in the right key!  The universe, the many galaxies, the planets all hum with an enchanting music: the music of the spheres!  But screaming at the top of one's lungs is very discordant.  Perhaps there is some hidden sound driving these singers to yell out the music instead of just humming along.  Birds don't have to go to singing school to fill the air with their melodious songs.  They just naturally know what to do.  I don't want to persuade anyone to quit singing, but please try to get a little more in tune!  Wait!  What?  You say I'm the one who is out of tune?  Never mind....

The Negative and Overtly Thankless group (NOT)
We were approached once again by a group that desired to hold their first convention at our center.  The Negative and Overtly Thankless Corporation or the NOT group as they are sometimes known, met with our directors.  Having had so many bad experiences in the past, we were somewhat prepared this time and devised a series of questions to help avoid another potential disaster.  Having been forewarned that the "Negative Nellies" were coming, our staff had prepared a list of questions that we hoped would cause this group to seek a convention elsewhere.  "So, you are positive that you want to book our center?"  "You are certain that this is the place for you?"   "Will you be glad that you booked our place?"  "So without a doubt, this is the best place for you to have your convention?"  "Then, you are definitely not kidding when you think this is the place for you?" The NOT group's representatives opened their mouths to respond, but nothing came out.  With their mouths still hanging open, they backed up, and as one, turned and fled from our center!
“You cannot expect to live a positive life if you hang with negative people.” (Joel Osteen)

2015 Annual Birdy Meeting!
The Birdy committee met earlier this year to prepare a questionnaire about possible topics for  discussion.   Potential subjects were:  "Bird brains in congress and how to limit them to one term of six years and then don't come back!", "The interference of drones on migratory patterns and routes", (for the artists) "The use of beaks rather than claws to hold brushes", "Whether names for groups of birds should be changed such as 'Gaggle of Geese,' 'Bouquet of Pheasants,' 'Parliament of Owls,' 'Murder of Crows,' 'Tidings of Magpies'" as many birds had been upset by terms they felt singled them out for ridicule."  Other ideas were: "Favorite foods/best places to eat," "Ways to avoid close calls with predators," "Unionization of feeding grounds," "Overcrowding of flocks due to complaints that Robins had started showing up in flocks of millions," "Why Mr. Al hated Blue Jays," and "Immigrant species eating up large amounts of worms but doing great work otherwise."  Recipients were asked to fill out the questionnaire or list a subject they thought might be the best for this year's meeting.  Remarkably, almost the entire bird population wrote in, "I would like to meet and discuss 'Why can't we all just get along and work out our differences - that would make me very happy!'"  And after all, "Aren't Birdies the best buddies!"

Interpretive Dance!
My friends and I love to watch "Interpretive Dance!"  When we received word that a new outdoor theatre would open with a style of interpretive dance, we rushed to be the first in line!  Although the performance was brief, we instantly recognized the short hops with legs crossed.  "Not very original!" we thought as we departed while thinking of waterfalls, leaking faucets, rain, and swimming pools.

March Madness!
I am perturbed and downright cranky because I've been hearing that everyone is supposed to be mad in March!   I tried frowning and used my "mad face!"  But, finally decided I didn't really want to do that.  Why should we have to be mad in March?  It's just a month like any other!  If anything, we should be smiling more as spring nears!  I guess I am mad that we are supposed to act mad, but at least I have a reason to be mad at this nonsense!  What?  It's not about being mad?  It's about basketball?  Never mind then...  Check out my smile!

Tie I painted this year

Playing tennis the right way!

Winning vs. Losing!
"Slow but steady wins the race!" they used to say.  In sports, I have seen too many times some "slight-of-hand" to "downright cheating!"  to help a team win.  How many can remember when the tortoise beat the hare by being - or so they said, "slow but steady!"  I still question that event.  I believe the tortoise was either very lucky or completely sneaky.  I went to watch the follow-up race between the tortoise and a roadrunner which was sponsored by the ACME corporation.  "It's not about winning or losing, but how you play the game that matters!" was the accompanying advertisement from the ACME people.  While standing at the finish line, I noticed that the tortoise was using some type of machinery to give him an unfair advantage.  I think I saw ACME written in very small letters on the side of a contraption underneath the tortoise as he cruised by.  Sometimes how you do play the game is important, especially if you are honest!

Origami Tulip that I made and will take today to a friend in the hospital. True Origami must be made with only one piece of paper and as this has two pieces "Modular Origami" would be a better description. "Ori" means to fold and "gami" means paper.

Desperately Seeking Direction!
When we were younger, my friends and I heeded the suggestion, "Go west young man!"  But later on in life, we realized that we needed additional guidance.  So we went to seek advice from a man we had been told could identify our goal.  I thoughtfully questioned the shifty look in his eyes as he pointed in a direction that seemed questionable, knowing that some devious characters will steer people into misfortune.  Life isn't like a "Doctor Who" episode where you can jump into another part of time and work out difficulties.  And while some of my friends seem to be very happy to proceed, I will advise them to consider the hardships that may await us up ahead and think carefully before proceeding!  I keep thinking about the Pied Piper and also how Pinocchio was led astray.  It goes back to the old moral story, "Just because there is a direction doesn't mean you have to take it!"

Prospecting in the Sierra Madre!
The last thing I remember was that I had finally found a very rare gem stone, and my heart was filled with joy!  When I awoke, I realized that my friend had bopped me on the head and taken my treasure.  That brief glimpse of happiness did not last long.  But next on my list is the Lost Dutchman's mine!

Training a new Easter Bunny!
Even an Easter Bunny has to be trained in the art of hiding eggs.  Training begins when we hide various types of eggs in hard-to-find locations to see if he can find them.   We also place uncooked eggs in plain siteas they can prove to be disastrous in a basket once collected.   We want our Easter Bunnies to know what is good and bad about hiding eggs!  So therefore we first train the job applicants to search for eggs.  There are also many hidden pitfalls and traps to teach about where and where not to place eggs.  Also, exploding rotten eggs are concealed to teach an important lesson!  But from the looks of the new recruit, I'm not sure he will pass the early tests.  Being an Easter Bunny isn't an easy job!

Great Engineering Problems of the World!
Our think tank had diligently worked together to solve one of the world's most fascinating problems!  We put our brains together on a quandary that had fascinated the world for eons: "How to put a round hole in a square peg!" Having worked long and hard on this conundrum, we presented our findings to the world!  But as we left the symposium our contemporaries were rolling on the floor in spasm of laughter.  Apparently we had worked the problem backwards.  Oh well!  Back to the drawing board!  We shall not give up, but next time we will work on: "How to put a square peg in a round hole."  We did win "The Laughing Stock" award which is a dubious honor, but at least we won something.

Free Form Interpretive Dance!
My friends and I hurriedly left the local dance studio to demonstrate our abilities because of an ad we had just read in the local paper:  "Dance enthusiasts welcome to try out for a part in a big Broadway production!"  Upon arriving at the location, the choreographer asked us to show how we would use a "free form interpretive dance" to Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain."  Here we are in our various interpretations of this very inspirational music!  I do hope one of us will get the part!

Arguing about everything!
I have friends who will argue over just about anything!  I don't know why they do this, since we are all friends, and when they are through with their petty skirmishes they will forgive each other and go right back to caring.  I know we can't all see eye-to-eye on everything, but we must find some common ground to discuss the things that upset us about each other and keep things from going too far!  I know I have been guilty more times than I can count.  I have been mad at friends and carried grudges for far too long!  I must learn to forgive even my enemies more than seventy times seven and to continue on even after that number!  But for now, I'd better step into this scrap and try to stop it before one of my friends goes too far!!!

Silver guitar pick earrings that I made today and are now on their way to California!

Silver guitar pick earrings!

spring tie design in acrylics

Our hiking club really needs to have a stronger leadership!  We wore ourselves out on our last excursion.  Here's a photo taken during our last hike as we paused for a much needed rest.  We were worn out!  We forgot to bring any water, and all our food was mistakenly left back at the parking area.  Did I mention that we also got lost because we all assumed some one else had brought the map? 

Not Lost Anymore!
I finally emerged from the deep, dark woods after being lost for days!  And there at the entrance to the forest were my friends waiting for me, or so I thought.  I felt so happy upon seeing my many compadres standing there!  That is until I saw the sign that they had just hammered into the ground which read, "He is lost!  Please don't look for him!"  This picture doesn't really capture the look that appeared on my face after reading that sign...

Coloured Canvas!
Because we all need a little color in our lives!

"But Grandpa, why can't you run and play with us?"  "Child!  Grandpa does other things for you now in his older age like buy you presents and treats!  And who doesn't want gifts and surprises!  Grandpa's job is much different these days because he loves you and does what he can to teach you a different aspect of life - the one parents won't learn until they have grandchildren of their own!  Grandpa's life is much better now because he has grandchildren!  So, just sit and listen to my stories which will help you understand life and how you must learn to deal with living!  I have wisdom to share that only has come by growing older.  While I can't run with you anymore, I can give you insights that will help you understand and cope with this world!" 

Tee's Cap 2015
Tee really didn't want to return, but events that just weren't right caused him to make an appearance.  Now, he doesn't want to say anything detrimental about how things are going and wants to appear to speak with wisdom and concern over the way the world is going, but it is all he can do to not start ranting about the idiots in charge.  But as Tee has a calm demeanor which helps to control his emotions and not scream and yell, he will try to state his opinions without erupting.  "I loved teaching kids, but I didn't like someone telling me that the only way to teach was to write numbers on a board or to teach out of your field, as that made for better scores! That's just not teaching or helping anyone!  Helping students to learn, care about others, to live right, and to improve their lives is the best part of education!  When the idiots in charge said we had to change all that and not teach the children as education had always been, then I just couldn't take it any longer!"

Mark rides again!
There's a new sheriff in town pardners!  So saddle up the stove ma, 'cause he's riding the range tonight!

Nest Building Time!
This is our yearly time to build nests!  So we are all looking for suitable nest construction materials!  Fuzz, sticks, string, down, cat hair, dog hair, possum hair! We search high and low for anything that can be used!  The birdy counsel does get a few complaints every year from innocent bystanders who have hairs and other bodily materials jerked right out of their living bodies!  We have also created a special task force to investigate members who steal parts of partially-constructed nests while their owners are still out looking for more ingredients to complete them!  Being a lazy nest builder will disqualify those bird brains from our organization if they are caught in the act!

When the unusual happens!
The time comes when you encounter something so vastly different than anything you ever have seen before that you are shocked into silence!  You discover that there just aren't any words to describe what you are seeing.  Perhaps it is best to be non-verbal at a time like this, rather than yelling out, "Oh my goodness!  Will you look at this freak!"  Hurting someone's feelings will never help any situation.  We should only judge a person by the actions from their heart and not their outside appearance.  So please pause, take a deep breath, and consider that what you are seeing could potentially be a help in your life someday.  And really, aren't we all somewhat the same inside?

My friends and I seem to like to argue over nothing.  We all have varied opinions and our discussions usually contain many areas of disagreement.  Each mind and each set of eyes have different perspectives of the world, but we can all agree that finding common ground is very important!  As the wisest of us once said, "Speaking without thinking is like stirring a pool of quiet water.  You never know where the ripples may go."

Around the bend of life!
Every once in awhile something may appear off in the distance.  It may be just around the bend.  It may appear slightly over the horizon.   Occasionally it might be a good thing that is coming!  But at other times, it can be totally different from what we want.  At those times, we pray that it doesn't get any closer and stays where it is!  Some of us want to rush on ahead to see what it is.  Others will try to go in the opposite direction to avoid any misfortune.  If only someone could post signs stating, "Go Back!  Danger ahead!" or "Come on and see something special!" as that would help those of us that aren't sure what to do!  And what if whatever is around the bend, is also looking towards us and thinking the same things?

Serving his country in the Air Force!

Entering a contest!
I was very proud of a plant that mysteriously sprouted up in my garden!  I thought I would enter it in the county fair and hoped to win a prize!  It was very large, lightweight, and unusual and I thought it had a good chance to win the blue ribbon for "Best Plant" in the show!  Everything was going well, and the judges had crowded around my entry and success seemed imminent, until the "plant" decided to murmur, "Hey!  I'm not a plant!  I'm just visiting some friends in town!  I took a nap and woke up when some dude tried to pin a ribbon on me!"  Maybe next year I'll enter the pie contest...

Directions in life...
It is especially discouraging to observe a person who just gave you specific directions but is now telling another person to go in the exact opposite direction that you were told to go.  It made me wonder if this person should be directing traffic.  But now I see a pile-up of bodies that apparently all went in the wrong directions and are now so crowded together that they are stuck together like glue!  Perhaps this guy is the separated twin of a Pushmi-pullyu.   Makes me wonder if congress really knows where they are sending this country...

Carrie and Jeremy!

Band Audition!
We all lined up to audition for a new music group that was starting in our town!  A lot of folks will be trying out for a position in the new band.  I brought my special guitar pick in hopes that it would bring me luck and help me play some extremely impressive licks on my guitar.  Have you ever noticed that some guitar picks look like lily pads?  To me a good pick is like a lily pad of life in that it helps me cross over a lower level and play my best!  I have always been amazed how the lily pads float on the surface of the water being held up by long stems!  Native Americans used lily pads as a poultice to treat swelling, digestive problems, and some other medical problems.  My pick helps to soothe my mind when it draws sweet sounds out of my guitar!  There certainly are a lot of people waiting in line to try to get this gig!  I'm just glad I have my lucky pick with me!

Walk like an Egyptian! (acrylic)
I listened to Susanna Hoffs sing "Walk like an Egyptian" and I decided to take her advice!  I walked and walked for miles until I realized I didn't know where I was.  Now I find myself lost and in a strange land!

Learn to listen the first time!
What would you do if you overheard someone belittling or insulting another person?  Would you run over to stop it?  Would you wonder if the victim deserved it?  What if it was the kind of criticism that made you droop your tail feathers?  Would you run over and tell the abuser to act nicer?  You should always try to advise such a person with a quiet, calm manner, as that is best!  I always try to instruct Junior so that any time he is involved in conversations, he will speak politely and not insult anyone.  So, to help Junior understand that the ranter wasn't treating the rantee correctly, I went over to speak to her.  But then I learned that the belittled person was training to be a brain surgeon and didn't get the procedure correct the first few times, and that's why the instructor raised her voice.  I went back to Junior with my tail feathers dropping...  Some lessons should be learned the first time, especially when they are very important!

First Contact!
Hey!  Look over there!  I think we are making "First Contact!"  I've often wondered when the first UFO would make official contact with us!  This is so exciting!  What?  That's not a UFO?  It's a giant Pattypan squash?  That makes me want to sing a song about Pattypan squash.  Perhaps we are all just aliens in a strange land anyway!  Do you "grok" this?

SVO Private Meeting!
We, the members of "The Society of the Very Opinionated", decided to hold a private meeting because the convention center refused to rent their auditorium to us again due to the damage our melee caused the last time.  We all argued during the last meeting because most of our beliefs are totally different, and that caused our fight.  This time, we tried very hard to find one problem we could all agree on and have the same opinion.  Our leader suggested we start with TV scheduling.  We quickly voiced with one opinion, "We hate the way TV programming is today!"  When we find a show we like, it is quickly taken off the air!  We hate the way TV seasons last for eight episodes, and then you have to wait until next year for the next season!  We hate the length of the commercials and amount of them during the shows!  We hate the cussing and other aspects seen on TV that we consider very obscene!  How can young children be expected to know how to act when they view this stuff on TV!!!  I'm glad we finally found one thing we could all agree on because of our many varied opinions!  It was our most productive meeting ever and no one got hurt!

A Fish Story!
"The fish was huge!!!  I got him up close to the bank but with one final lunge, he broke the heavy line!"  There are a lot of fish stories like this!  The big one that got away!

Follow the Leader!
We have been seeking a leader for quite a long time! We looked from one to another seeking someone to take over and show us the way to go. Around and around went our gazes until we finally realized, we were in a never ending circle that need to be stopped. The one that finally said, "This has gone on long enough!" became our leader!

Running for President!
The time when someone says something so absurd in public that you know they must be running for President!

Setting a record!
We all showed up because an ad in the local paper said to come and try to set a new record for the Guinness Book of World Records!  However, the record they were going for was, "The Largest Group Hug" which had previously been set in Canada with 10,554 people.  Realizing we didn't have enough folks to best that record, we next decided to try and beat the "Push an Orange with your nose for a mile record" which was set in New York in 2007 at 22 minutes and 41 seconds.  With our noses we might actually set a record with this event!

Playing Games!
This "hide-and-seek" game is too easy!  I closed my eyes, counted to twenty, but when I opened my eyes and said, "Ready or not, here I come!" some of the players just didn't seem to understand the concept and hid in the open.  The guy that yelled out, "Olly olly oxen free!" was the easiest to find as he was standing right in front of me!  There is more to this game than pretending to be invisible or hiding only your head in the sand!  If we played "kick-the-can" would they kick each other?  My Friends!  Sometimes I wonder about them!

Flower arrangement my neighbor brought me!  (painted in watercolors)

The Maestro!
The traveling Maestro came to conduct our local choir, but we just don't have the ability to be conducted!  When a conductor is so frustrated that he breaks his baton, then you know he has given up.  Perhaps if we had lived in Tuscany, our choir would have had a better chance to follow his instructions.  We did learn some new words such as cheironomy and Kapelmeister!  But as he is so mad, he may not want to give us a written test.

Biting someone's head off!
Sometimes you may get so mad at friends that you want to "bite off their heads!"  Well, not really bite off their heads, but give them a good tongue lashing as you rant on and on about their attitudes that really bug you.  However, we must consider that they are our friends and perhaps we also make them just as mad from time to time.  So please remember, "To have a friend, you must first be one!"

Wading on through life!
We are testing the waters of life to see how deep the way ahead may be!  But it seems that the further onward we go, the deeper the water becomes!  We may need to build a boat to carry us through the difficult times ahead!  Or, perhaps we could backtrack and find a much shallower path through life that could permit us to have a better chance at success!  I will look for an opportunity like that as this direction certainly is wrong!!!

Directions 2015!
Most of us would like to know which way to proceed in life.  Many point in the direction they think is best!  But, not all know the correct way for different individuals to go.  What works for one may be completely wrong for another!  However, I do know that there is only one true way to go, and that will work for me!

First Contact!
When the UFO landed and the aliens made first contact, we all rushed to greet them!  However when we got to the landing zone, we couldn't tell them apart from any of our regular population as everyone looked the same.  We all stood around the spacecraft but couldn't tell which of the crowd were the new arrivals.  Perhaps if they would wear a sign on their chests indicating that they are from outer space then we would be able to recognize them.  We have met the aliens, and they are us!  Or, are we all just strangers in a strange land?

One wrong turn in life, and here we are - all jammed up and jelly tight without a seeming way out!  There is always that one way out if you look for it!  And we are all looking in every direction until that exit is found!

Speaking in public!
Recently our friend said something in public that was very embarrassing to us as what he said was overheard by many others in the immediate area!  I could tell by the reactions on their faces that they were very offended by is statements.   We also didn't like the direction his soliloquy took as we have our own private thoughts about life.  So, always watch what you say in public and be very careful to not offend anyone!

Keep your eyes open!

When you are arguing with others, it is always best to keep your eyes open when trying to make a point about your position on various issues.  This is important because you need to judge the reactions on the faces of your opponents.  Arguments are even worse if everyone is talking at the same time and have their eyes closed! 

Startled into Silence!
Sometimes silence is a good thing!   For instance, when Simon and Garfunkel sang a song about silence!  But when you are startled by something so drastic that you are frozen and can't speak,  that type of silence isn't good at all!  Could this have been caused by too many political comments and arguments?

Optimistic or Pessimistic?

Looking forward, looking back, or skeptical of just about everything?  We know how the past has been on this planet, but does that mean the world will always be the same, or can it change?  Will we arrive one day in the future which has now become the present and say, "We have certainly made things better!"  Or will we say, "Did we not learn anything about becoming better?"  I think Doctor Who offered the best advice when he said, "The universe is big. It’s vast and complicated and ridiculous. And sometimes, very rarely, impossible things just happen and we call them miracles.  We’re all stories, in the end. Just make it a good one, eh?” But I will never forget what Jim Croce said about "Saving time in a bottle!"

The Race!

The race was on but for some unknown reason many contestants just didn't move.  Perhaps some were hard of hearing and missed the firing of the starting gun.  Or, could it have been because pride was coming up the backstretch?  We all know that pride does come before a fall!

Belted Kingfisher  - Megaceryle alcyon
(painted in watercolor with the gracious permission of Canadian photographer Deb Johnston!)
The Belted Kingfisher is one of very few varieties of birds in which the female is much more colorful than the male!  Go ladies!  Their nest is dug into the side of a creek bank and slopes up, sometimes to eight feet!  The young have acidic stomachs which help digest various bones etc. of fish.  The young lose this ability and the chemistry of their stomachs change as they grew older!

The Tangles of Life!
All of the people we meet have influences on us for good and sometimes for bad.  But through the many tangles of life, there is always a way to proceed that leads to good!  The choices we make can lead us in either direction.  Sometimes we really do need a good strong weed cutter to take out the briars in front of us to find our direction through life!

Conversations, even with friends, can be one-sided and very difficult!  When they believe that I am blind on major issues, and I look at them, hear what they are saying, and think they are completely wrong about everything they believe in, then what can I do but smile and nod!  It just doesn't do any good to try to help them see that they are wrong.  But then, they also think the same thing about me!

Can two mouths be better than one?
Sometimes it might be good to have two mouths!  Being able to enjoy dessert with one mouth and the main course with the other would save time!  Just imagine the taste sensations!  However, having two mouths could be bad in conversations, if one mouth disagrees with the other.  What if one mouth says something good about a person while the other mouth spews forth horrible insults!  If you were the person being the insulted, would it be ok to punch the bad mouth?  Hard to decide isn't it, if the other mouth is being kind.  Perhaps it would be best to just let the two-mouthed person figure it out for themselves.

Tour of the Intestines Museum!
We are almost through the small intestines exhibit.  I'm not certain if I want to continue on and see the next exhibit - the large intestines.  So far I've learned why we should be glad our intestines are on the inside rather than on the outside!  I'm also glad I skipped breakfast!

Sad for my friend...
This is how we look and feel when we learned how our friend has been mistreated.  I wish we could help her!  Hopefully knowing we care will help!

Can we have even earlier politics?
What?  Yet another person is running for office?  I think we already have too many politicians trying to get elected who only want to help themselves despite what they say about helping us!  A smiling face showing happiness in your beliefs doesn't mean you are the right person.  You should only smile after you have helped people and not after you have filled your pockets!  And should I even bother to ask why people run for office more than two years before the elections?  And if you say, "I am not a crook!" really won't make it true!

Back up your beliefs!
Always thoroughly research your beliefs and positions on various events before speaking in public!  Most of us will express our ideas only after first making certain that the issues we speak about are true.  However, some will easily relate what others have told them without checking if their statements are true or not.  When this happens, the rest of us are stupefied into silence, usually with our mouths agape as we listen to the blathering on of some individual that is way off base and incorrect!   The look on our faces has nothing to do with how we look when Stupefyin' Jones is around!  That look is something entirely different.

Stepping Stones of Life!
We must all be very careful where we tread on this journey called life!  There are many stumbling blocks that when unseen can trip us up!  Our journey would be so much easier without the hidden pitfalls.  So, we must be very diligent and keep our eyes open as we proceed onward!

Blathering on!
Blathering is an interesting word!  It can be a noun or a verb!  Some people can make blathering become an art form when they babble on without making any sense.  But for the ones that jabber on just a little too long, blathering becomes something listeners can't stand any longer!  When blathering gets to that point, we all hope we've brought our rotten tomatoes!

Singing songs the wrong way?
We sang our hearts out, but not everyone seemed to like our voices or even perhaps our choice of songs.  I do hope I can learn from the hint of, "Perhaps that's not a good song for you to sing!" or, "Don't you think that song was a little out of your key?"  Maybe my ears need tuning as I thought we sang and played the songs in a good way.  I think what really made me stop and think was the comment, "Didn't you notice all of those people leaving? And they weren't going outside to smoke!"

The Zoo!
Are we living in a zoo?  We are definitely in a land where nothing makes sense.  Sort of like politics these days...

When jokes fall flat!
We held our first "People that love jokes" meeting.  We had thought that starting this organization would be a good thing.  After all, we do love to tell jokes and laughter can be the best medicine!  We soon discovered that some didn't appreciate the humor at the meeting when some of the "jokes were on them!"  The leaders of our group learned a very important lesson when not every one laughed at the jokes and most had a concerned look on their faces.  The P. L. J. leaders will have to think more carefully before we have another meeting...

Filling our glasses!
We are all very excited by the future!  Our glasses have been empty for such a long time.  And even though they are bare, we are very optimistic about what lies ahead!  I know that, "A good positive attitude will accomplish a lot!" Look!  The glasses are starting to fill!

The 1/2 full, 1/2 empty glass debate!
We just couldn't agree and were equally divided over the age old debate of whether the glass was 1/2 full or 1/2 empty!  The discussion wasn't too bad until some of the group's arguments became so heated that we got to the point of extreme yelling!  Then, some guy threw the glass and broke it.  Now, we'll have to start the debate all over again!

The GCAE meeting!
It turned out to be the first and the last meeting of our new group, "The GROUP that COMPLAINS ABOUT EVERYTHING!" or the GCAE as we might have been known if we could have stayed together long enough for another meeting.  But our very first meeting produced so much strife when we started complaining about each other and what we believed, that we knew we'd never meet again.  Some even argued about their own beliefs!  We started out with the subject of "Christmas decorations come much too early!", but then everything went downhill quickly.  We finally decided that the only thing we could all complain about was us, and we quickly left the auditorium.

Planet Exploration!
It is a lot of fun to visit new planets! Every exploration brings new adventures with exciting new discoveries!  I'm not talking about the planets in our local solar system, but the ones that only the Doctor can show you!  There are a lot of incredible critters out there!

The Earth is finally embarrassed...
This is the way things were before the earth decided, "The human race just don't make sense anymore in the way we conduct ourselves!"  Things changed quickly after that important realization!  It definitely needed to happen! 

The Gossip
A whispered tale can often travel a long way.  It is never good to be a talebearer as quite often the story may not be true.   And even if untrue, can still cause a world of sorrow!

While our friend's story of coming very close to a UFO was plausible to some, others were skeptical.  Still, it did make for an interesting story, and our friend certainly looked shook up as he told his tale!

Red-Crested Cardinal  (Paroaria coronate)  This bird is also called "The Red Kramer" because of Cosmo Kramer's hair style on the TV show "Seinfeld."  Painted in watercolor by the gracious permission of photographer Rocky Ledward.  Though native to South America, this beautiful songbird has been introduced into Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

Line Calls in Tennis!
Tennis instructor Vic Braden once proved that even with many eyes looking at a line on a tennis court to see if a tennis ball hits it or not, a large percentage of viewers would get the call wrong!  My friends recently tried to soothe my mind when I got very mad at an opponent that had called a ball out that I said hit the line.  But then it also works the opposite way when others question my calls!  My policy is, "I will let you overrule me, if you will let me overrule you!" 

Yodeling and Crowing!
Yodeling and crowing aren't easy to do and not for everyone.  But for those of you who do yodel and crow, here's to you!  Just don't wake me up early in the morning when you greet the dawn.

Merry Christmas 2015!

"Time goes by in one direction, and covers us with mortal dialections.*  It's a friend or an enemy, but it won't let me be."  How long is forever?  Quite possibly longer than you can imagine.  Time does vary and can change depending upon how long you live.  However, time certainly has lumped us all together in this particular sphere of existence.  And, time is certainly hard to understand sometimes.  We'd better learn to get along before it's too late! 
(*Webster's Collegiate Dictionary 1947, dialectics n. 1. That branch of logic which teaches the art of disputation and of discriminating truth from error; esp., the art of reasoning about matters of opinion.  2.  Logical disputation or debate.) 

Positives and Negatives
Do we let the little pull of forces inside our minds tell us which way to go?  Do we pay any attention to gravity and magnetic attractions when dealing with our daily lives?  Do we let the positives and negatives seek their opposites or try to force them to attach incorrectly?  The wrong choice could result in a "scramming" experience.  We should do as nature intends and not try to put square pegs in round holes that are much too small.  Or go against what should be!

2016 is coming!
We are diligently waiting for the new year to appear!  We have such happy expectations for 2016!  We hope and pray that everyone will find themselves in a year that will bring joy to all!


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