“Just living is not enough . . . One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.” ~ Hans Christian Andersen

 

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“A Birthday” by Emma Florence Harrison (1910) (I love this painting)

“Live in the sunshine, swim the sea, drink the wild air . . .” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

labrador-and-waterWell, the weekend was beautiful, just as the meteorologists predicted. Go figure. It was in the 80’s with bright sunshine, only a few wispy clouds. Corey spent his time outdoors cleaning the pool and trying to get it ready for swimming. Tillie jumped in and was not happy to find no water, well, very little water. She still managed to do some splashing around anyway. Shakes, on the other hand, was mightily put out that there was no pool ball action to be had. I made it up to him by turning on the hose for a bit and letting him attack the water. Don’t ask.

Brett and I spent a little bit of time outside on both Saturday and Sunday. I passed along Glister for him to read, but he wasn’t really enjoying it, said that it was too slow. It is a different kind of book to read. The action is slow in the beginning, but once the first-person narrator takes over, the pace quickens. It’s also a psychological thriller, and I don’t really think that he was in the mood for that.

So he’s decided to reread The Lord of the Rings, beginning with The Hobbit. I thought that for a quick read, in between The Lord of the Rings, I would reread Angels & Demons. I’m hoping that the movie is better than The DaVinci Code movie. Even though I love Tom Hanks, and pretty much anything that he has been in, I just don’t think that he’s the right choice for Robert Langford. Although, I’m not sure who I would have chosen. It’s nothing against Hanks, but more that the character and Hanks don’t seem to be a good fit.

In the meantime, I’m mulling over my choices for my top 100 movies. This is going to be a harder list to compile because I already had the rock ‘n roll list pretty much compiled in my lost notebook, so I had thought about a lot of songs, and they stayed in my brain (hard to believe with my short-term memory loss, huh?). But I haven’t ever compiled a list of my favorite movies beyond my top 10, so this list is going to take some thinking.

And now for an incisive character analysis for no particular reason

law-order-ciAt the moment, though, my big plans for excitement this evening are “Law & Order Criminal Intent.” This is another situation in which I’m not entirely sure that I’m going to be able to handle the casting. Jeff Goldblum, who I also happen to like as an actor, is entering the cast, replacing Chris Noth’s Detective Logan. Noth has been Logan for a long time, first on the “Original Law & Order,” and then reprising the role on Criminal Intent.

Logan grew as a character over the years, which is one of the reasons why I love the whole Law & Order franchise so much. The writers aren’t afraid to change their characters, let them move in new directions and do unexpected things. But this replacement of Goldblum as the new detective in the major case squad has me uneasy. Goldblum is sarcastic and can be hammy.

You would think that those traits would work well with the whole Vincent D’Onofrio quirkiness factor. But who knows. I think that part of me just really misses Logan, and for some reason, I don’t seem to remember a show in which he was going to leave. Did it happen at the end of the season and I missed it? If anyone else is a big L&O fan and remembers, please let me know.

My cold nose does not mean that I am a member of the canine family. Thank you very much. 

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Shakes Keeping Warm in Bed

As a result of the very warm weather, we had to give in and turn on a few of the window unit air conditioners for a little bit this weekend. The problem with having very old windows is that most of our screens have holes in them—not huge holes that passersby would notice and be aghast at, but holes big enough for flying critters to make their way indoors (like the bug that was big enough to cast a shadow that kept buzzing my head last night). Hence, opening the windows and letting a breeze in is not really doable until we replace the windows (another thing that got put on hold with the smaller refund that disappeared).

We’re trying not to use the AC too much until we absolutely must. For one reason, I can’t sleep if my nose is cold. No, I’m not making this up. Corey thinks that it’s an excuse not to have the AC on at night, but it’s true: I swear.

If my nose is cold, I wake up, winter or summer. Don’t ask me why, but I cannot abide having a cold nose. It is more uncomfortable to me than having cold ears. Those of you in Alaska are probably snickering right now. Stop it. I know what you’re doing.

“Fear is the father of courage and the mother of safety.” ~ Henry H. Tweedy 

The other thing that really bothers me about having window units is the noise. I like to have a quiet house at night so that I can listen for intruders. Yes, I know. I have read entirely too many suspense books and watched entirely too many scary movies for my own good, but if the AC is running and I can’t hear beyond the bedroom, I get antsy.

bone-handled-balison-knifeI used to keep a real Philippine Balisong butterfly knife under my mattress when I was married to my ex. It was an exquisite hand carved, bone-handle knife that my dad brought back from the Philippines. I don’t know what happened to that knife, but my ex used to make fun of me for keeping it under the mattress.

He would say things like, “do you really think that you would have time to get that out and open it up before someone made it to the bedroom?” Actually, no I didn’t, but just having it there was comforting. Sometimes we do things that are impractical, knowing all the while that they are impractical, but if these things provide us with a little bit of comfort, what is the harm?

Another safety issue for me is having the windows open at night. Again with the movies and books. But we live near a park, and people to go this park at night, even when they aren’t supposed to. Granted, living near a park is not like living near a prison. But the point is that I am afraid of someone breaking into the house through a half-open window.

Little fact for you here: “Between forty and fifty percent of burglaries are accomplished through unlocked doors or windows,” this according to Jean O’Neil, director of research and evaluation at the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC)

Both my daughter and my elder son never got this, especially since a half-opened, unlocked window is much easier to sneak out of than one that is closed and locked. I may be paranoid, but I’m not stupid.

One time I had to break into the house because I locked my keys—along with my cell phone—in the car. I moved the picnic bench below my daughter’s window at an angle, and kind of hiked up the bench and through her window, which I knew would be unlocked. Do you see how easy it would be to break into my house if I weren’t so adamant ab0ut locking windows and doors?

Let’s Be Careful Out There (and inside too) . . .

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Now that's a heavy door

Another more serious example of why the front doors should be locked when you are doing yard work: My other mother-in-law used to have an elderly back yard neighbor, Ella Francis, who is no longer with us. One day, Ella Francis was working in the back yard. While she was in the back, weeding or planting, someone walked right into her house through the unlocked, open side garage door and robbed her. Luckily, Ella Francis was not hurt, except for her pride.

When Corey and I were first married, he would sometimes forget to lock the sliding door when he left for work in the morning, I almost had apoplexy. However, in his defense, Corey comes from a place that doesn’t worry about locked doors, as you will read a few paragraphs below.

Nevertheless, a little known fact is that more women are raped in the morning than at night. Two reasons:

First: Rapists who are staking out houses notice when the husband/significant other leaves in the morning, and if the stalker has been watching the woman for a while, he may know that she leaves later, or is alone after taking the kids to school.

Number two: For some reason, women let their guard down more once it is daylight. They get dressed in front of windows that they would never think of standing before at night, believing that the daylight has provided safety, when in fact the opposite is true. Peepers peep in the morning, too.

Who has the keys? Keys? What keys?

Okay, now that I’ve freaked you out with my little idiosyncrasies, I’ll leave you with a little funny story.

birds-keyhookOne time when we were visiting Corey’s family in Ohio, I was the last one to leave the house, so of course, I locked the back door. While we were gone, Corey got a call from his mom asking if he had a key to the house. He didn’t. In fact, no one had a key to the house with them.

I was completely flabbergasted. Who leaves the house without a housekey? Apparently, a lot of people in their little town. No one locks their back doors. They actually had to break into their own house because I had locked the door. All of the housekeys were hanging on the little keyhook on the kitchen wall by the door.

Not so funny at the time (except to me), but I find it even funnier now in retrospective, but in a positive way—kind of cool living somewhere where you really don’t have to lock your doors.

More later. Peace.

My Alaskan Dreams

And they were canopied by the blue sky, so cloudless, clear, and purely beautiful ~ Lord Byron

There is a site that I visit daily just to check out what new images have been posted. The site’s name is Floridana Alaskiana v2.5, and it is hosted by some extremely talented people who moved from Florida to Alaska.

Sometimes the photos are from Florida, sometimes from Alaska, but always beautiful. The other day, I came across an image that really just made me pause. It was of Bard Peak at Portage Lake taken in April 2008. The Peak is completely covered in snow and ice, and the sky is a stunningly bright cyan with wispy clouds behind the Peak.

What really drew me to this picture is that in my mind, these are the images of the Alaska that I have always wanted to see in real life. I know that Alaska is really quite beautiful in many parts, and this photograph encompasses that beauty.

 

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If you would like to view more of this wonderful photography, please visit http://floridana.typepad.com/weblog/.

For a link to this particular page, please follow http://floridana.typepad.com/weblog/2009/02/portage-lake-12-april-2008.html#trackback.

More later. Peace.

On The Wings of an Eagle*

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Golden Eagle in Flight

We Dare to Dream Again of Friendly Skies As We Give Thanks

Okay. I’m going to do it. I’m going to write a blog about what I’m thankful for. A Charlie Brown blog, if you will. I debated whether or not this subject matter would be too trite, too overdone in the blogging world, but then I decided that my cynicism would prevail, especially in light of my recent entries, which admittedly, have been a tad on the nostalgic side. I’ve decided to write about unlikely things for which we, as in the collective we, can be grateful, in spite of the dire times we seem to be facing.

Here goes:

  • The nation’s first president of color, a man of incredible presence, intelligence, and insight. I can only hope that the fates are good to him and surround him with good karma. If he runs his presidency with just one half of the calm, executive demeanor that surrounded his campaign, then there is hope that his White House will never be likened to a college fraternity without any adult supervision.
  • A new administration, one headed by a president who won’t mangle the English language. No matter what your political leanings are, you have to be grateful for a man who is articulate
  • An apparent real goal for an end to the Iraqi war, or at least a major draw down of troops in that country, even if it means that we will have an increase of troops in another country
  • An attempt to provide access to some kind of health insurance for everyone in the country, even if it takes a couple of years. Hillary Rodham Clinton first attempted this during Clinton’s first term in office and was roundly criticized for not sticking to her role as first lady. After that aborted attempt, nothing has ever been done nationally until now.
  • A chance to regain our status in the world as a nation that can be respected as a leader
  • A chance to turn our economy around and stop the practice of “Trickle Down Economics.” The plan, of course, was that everything would trickle down in an equitable manner. Um, so sorry, but WRONG. When Ronald Reagan took office, our country could be described as a diamond, with most of the country falling in the middle of the socio-economic ladder. What we have now is an hourglass, with almost no middle class, an upper class and a very bottom-heavy lower socio-economic part of the ladder. Anyone who tells you that America is a class-less society is still in their naive idealistic phase.
  • A commitment by an administration and apparently a nation to harness alternative energy and preserve resources. A long overdue wake-up call has finally been answered, and more and more people are doing what they can, in big ways and in small, to help the environment. As someone who has been recycling for over almost two decades, it is refreshing to see the changes all around. I don’t care if it’s trendy, as long as it makes an impact.
  • More awareness of post traumatic stress disorder as a real problem with far-reaching issues that can affect people for years
  • The fact that Sarah Palin and her family are back in Alaska, at least for most of the time, but the governator still can’t seem to find enough work to do as governor, so she hits the road every other week.
  • A big win in the House and Senate, but the pressure is on to deliver. Remember: with great power comes great responsibility Spider Man.
  • Law & Order, the original, is back on Wednesday nights.
  • Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC is kicking butt big time.
  • Virginia went blue for the first time since 1964, and Thelma Drake lost her seat in Congress to newcomer Glenn Nye thanks in large part to a grassroots effort.
  • The first amendment allows people like me to write things like this whenever I want, which still makes this the best country in the world in which to live.
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    The Colorado River from Deadhorse Point
  • With any luck, President-elect Obama will be able to reverse some of the more egregious laws that Bush has signed into law, in particular, those that allow drilling near state parks in Utah and Colorado, and those that ease pollution laws. Because after all, it would be nice to leave a legacy to our children, you know, something like majestic trees, clean rivers, the Grand Canyon, some Golden Eagles, and maybe some uranium-free land. Or maybe I’m being naive and full of youthful idealism in spite of my age.
  • And finally, with any luck, the next few years we will see some glimpses of that hope we held onto so tightly when we stood in line to get into those rallies. When we stood at those rallies waiting to hear the words we needed to hear. When we heard those words of hope and better days and we actually allowed ourselves to dare to believe, even when our cynical hearts did not want to. Yes, we can dare to hope. Yes, we will believe.

These are the things that I am thankful for as an American this Thanksgiving. Perhaps I’ll write about what I’m thankful for personally later, or maybe not. But it’s nice to think that maybe this time next year, there will be a change a coming.

Peace be with you.

*On the Wings of an Eagle, song by John Denver