Monday, August 31, 2009

Is Gender Specific All Bad?

Over the years there's been controversy about the toys we buy for our children. I would say it's come and gone since our kids were little and that's over thirty years ago. The more modern, evolved thinkers mostly didn't want children to be given gender specific toys. The feeling was sometimes that this caused the child to fit in a mold that they might not have fit into otherwise. For example, if you give a little girl barbies and baby dolls, she might miss her true calling to be a truck driver. A little boy who just gets matchbox toys and race tracks might not turn out to be a nurse which could have been what he was truly destined to be. I say poppycock.

After watching children and grandchildren for over thirty years, my feeling is that children gravitate toward what delights, interests, and excites them. And usually, although not always, their choices end up gender specific. However, almost all children stray from their gender specific toys and become interested in other things at least temporarily and this is fine and good.

But all this discussion is just an excuse to include the following pictures which do make me think of gender specific toys and how perfect they are for the gender of the child who received them. I recently wrote about two of my granddaughters who just turned three. One of them, Tessa Mary, received a toy kitchen for her birthday. She got lots of other presents but they were erased from her memory the moment she laid eyes on this most magnificent of all gifts.

And she didn't waste anytime getting busy with her cooking.

And one of the best parts of the whole present was watching her parents' delight in their daughter's happiness with her gender specific toy.

Don't get me wrong. They weren't delighted because she was playing with a gender specific toy. They were delighted because she was so excited and happy. If she'd have been playing with a dump truck, I'm sure they would have had the same big smiles on their faces...pretty sure. Maybe they would have. Hmmmmmm Well, maybe their smiles wouldn't have been quite as big but it would have been fine.

Let's just say she loved her kitchen and everybody was happy!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Where Have All The Fishies Gone?

As I've reported extensively, we had our long awaited koi spawning on June 28th. Since then, a good deal of our time and effort has been focused on bringing these little tiny, fragile babies to adulthood. We suffered extensive losses that I talked about on July 28th but after that the numbers seemed to stabilize quite nicely.

Then we went on our short vacation and came back to find that one of the tubs outside has once again suffered significant losses. In fact, when I first checked on it, I was hard pressed to find more than 2 or 3 babies in it where there had been a minimum of 50 or 60. We had very responsible, dedicated caretakers and they reported that the tub was never left uncovered but that they, too had noticed declining number in that tub.

So I studied it very carefully. I was trying to find more than the 2 or 3 babies that I had initially seen when I saw something else. A monster if you will. A true mutant. He slid so swiftly and stealthily from one hiding place to the next that I almost didn't believe I had really seen him. He was easily 10 times bigger than the biggest babies we had until then. And all of a sudden the mystery was solved.

I had read that cannibalism could be an issue with these guys if the sizes became too disparate but I'd not seen any evidence of that being a problem...yet. But now I knew where all the little fishies had gone and I knew why Big Daddy was growing disproportionaly compared to the rest of the babies. He was feasting on his brothers and sisters. That fat bastard!

It was a task but I finally captured him. You might think that he was summarily executed but hold your horses. A fast growing koi is a koi with a great attribute and rather than punish him, he was to be rewarded. I removed the large goldfish from the goldfish pond and put him in with the baby goldfish. If he feasts on them, it's okay because I don't have much love for goldfish - only koi. But he won't because most of them are about the same size as him. So he's safe from big fish eating him and he's in an environment where he should continue to grow fast.

After I captured him, I left him in this bucket while I tried to figure out what do do with him:

Later on I checked on him and he had seemed to have disappeared. I had to look closely to see that he had cloaked himself with the one leaf in the bucket. See how smart and wily he is?

Now I know where all the fishies have gone and I know that I have one smart, wily, fat bastard to nurture in place of about 40 babies. But I'm just gonna call him Big Daddy from now on.

Oh and don't forget to leave a comment in yesterday's post for a chance at those valuable prizes that I'm offering to celebrate my 100th post anniversary. Hurry 'cause so far all the entrants have a whopping one in five chance of winning!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Number One Hundred

I can't believe it's here already! My 100th post. And, I'm amazed that I've found blogging so fun and rewarding. I love the comments, the friendships, and the chance to explore other blogs. But most of all, I love the journaling. I'm grateful for the chance to think through things that I might otherwise take for granted and to let people I care about know how I feel and I'm even grateful for the chance to vent, complain, whine and fret about the important and unimportant things in my life and then, I get to hear the opinions and thoughts of people I know and people I don't know. It just can't get much better than that.

So, for my 100th blog post, I'm going to have a giveaway. First of all, I have a $10 Wal-Mart gift card to give away and second of all, I have four 8X10 prints that the lucky winner can choose from in color or black and white. They all follow the path less taken theme and they were all shot in the Indiana Dunes State Park. Here are the choices:

To enter, just leave a comment. Sunday night at 10 p.m., I'll draw a winner.

Due to unpopular demand, I'm extending this giveaway until Monday night at 10 p.m.

Friday, August 28, 2009

What's In A Name

We've just returned (night before last) from an excursion that took us to Kentucky and then out to Colorado Springs. In the last two weeks we've been able to celebrate the birthdays of two special little three-year-olds. Two more beautiful girls, you could never find. They are the sweetest, smartest, prettiest, and most loving 3-year-olds ever. And they are both my namesakes.

Here's Mary Addison, born on August 7th, 2006.

And here's Tessa Mary, born on August 24th, 2006.

I could say that it's nice that the children have these names and I'm glad that their parents liked the name Mary well enough to use it when naming their little girls. But that would be such an understatement. Neither set of parents will ever know how much it means to have my name bestowed on their daughters. I often choke up when thinking about it. It's amazing that they were born two weeks apart and both of their parents honored me so completely.

I will be forever grateful.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

You Capture - Food

This week's You Capture subject is food. I've been gone, traveling all over the place, for about a week. If I could post pictures of everything I've eaten in that week, including fried cookie dough from the Kentucky State Fair, steaks from Colorado Springs, and every kind of fast food imaginable, there wouldn't be room for anyone else's food. It was that bad. Fortunately I took pictures of lots of other things instead. For my food topic, since our refrigerator is bare or more accurately, now filled with over-the-hill stuff, I decided to photograph food still on the vine. It's still food right?

For beautiful food creations and different slants on the subject, be sure to visit Beth at Ishouldberfoldinglaundry.

Monday, August 17, 2009

This Retirement - Is Pretty Hard Work

I don't think it's all THAT hot outside or even terribly humid but I'm dripping We had three vanhoutte spirea shrubs on the East side of the house. I got 4 of them at a bargain rate because they were half dead. I planted them in a row so that they would provide a little privacy barrier and some pretty spring flowers. If you're not familiar with this variety of spirea, it looks like this:

The spirea is the white cascading flower in the front. When I was a child I played bride with these flowers many times. I really believed that that was about as close as I'd ever come to being one. It's a good thing Mr. Right came along. lol Now whenever I smell the pungent scent of a blooming vanhoutie spirea, I'm transported back to my childhood, to a small farm where I was lucky to grow up with all the animals a girl could ask for. But I digress.

I planted these four spireas and one died fairly quickly, two did very poorly, and one didn't thrive but it did grow some. So for years, I've looked at those things that we have to go to the trouble to mow around and that are so unsightly, but that I just don't have the time or energy to do anything about and I've not liked them at all. Then there's a place in the front of the house that has two spireas with a space in the middle that begs a third. So today. I cut off the almost dead two and dug up the one that grew some, and replanted it between the two with the open space, and filled in the holes that I made and that's why I was sweating ... I mean perspiring bullets.

And the whole time I'm doing it and especially when I'm finished, I'm thanking God for this retirement and this time to do some of the thousands of things that need doing and that I've wanted to do for about .... 14 years?

Oh and it was pretty hard work I guess but it seemed a lot more like fun to me. And I'm thanking God again and again.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

I Need An ID

I stepped outside yesterday and spotted this interesting creature. I asked him to wait while I went back and got my camera, and although, he wasn't in the same spot, he hadn't left either. He was very patient while I took his picture and then he had to be on his way. Unfortunately he left before I had a chance to check his ID so I don't know his name. Can anybody help me?

Can you believe the transparent sections of his wings?!

Friday, August 14, 2009


I've heard a lot about dreams over the years. I'm very skeptical of dreams coming true and whenever someone tells me that they had a bad dream, I assure them that we dream about what we subconsciously worry about. And if we dream about these things, they might be something that we should consciously address so that we don't dream about them anymore. That's why I know that if a child has a nightmare, he needs to talk about it in as much detail as possible, so that he or she doesn't have it again. I firmly believe that's true.

But what about dreams that do come true? What about Mr. Right's dream about Superbaby? Sometimes dreams really do seem to portend the future. How do we explain away the unpleasant and keep the pleasant?

And do dreams serve a purpose? Last weekend when my big little brother was up from Tennessee, he told me that he pays attention to all his dreams and that they are very important and serve as guidelines in living his life and also foretell good (and bad) fortune. Maybe it's the power of suggestion. When we have a dream that something great is going to happen and it does, could it be because we believe it will; thereby helping it to happen? There's a lot about our consciousness that we don't know and don't understand.

My big little brother also told me that you can teach yourself to remember your dreams. He said that after I say my prayers at night, when I'm nice and relaxed, I should repeat "I will remember my dreams" until I fall asleep. That night I tried it. It was the night before my big little brother's son's wedding and I had a confused, difficult, stressful dream about being lost, dressing completely inappropriately for a shower, and in general doing everything wrong. I hadn't decided what I would wear to the wedding that day but when I woke up, wrote down the dream, and thought about it, I immediately went shopping for something appropriate to wear and I was glad I did.

I think that dream helped. I've remembered parts of two dreams since then. In one, I had a granddaughter with me about 8 months old who belonged to my oldest daughter. She says that one isn't going to play out, but only time will tell. And I had another dream about Africa that I remember very little about and I don't believe there's any possibility that it could have any significance in my life. Of course it might help if I had written it down and if I could remember at least a little more about it.

But, what do you think? Do dreams come true? Are they significant? Are they something that we all should pay a little more attention to? I'm starting to think so and I'd be interested in knowing what you think.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

You Capture - Motion

Beth's You Capture this week is motion and I found some at the fair, some in the pond and some in the air.

In the pond:

Can you see the movement of the water?

And in the air:

For more and better You Capture Motion photos visit Beth at Ishouldbefoldinglaundry and for even more fun, take some motion pictures and join the fun.

Baby Koi Update

The baby koi began to hatch on June 29th. Then on July 28th, I reluctantly reported that their numbers had been diminishing at an alarming rate but that I thought they were finally stabilizing. I'm happy to report that I still think they were. I've only seen a couple of lifeless bodies in the last couple of weeks and overall it looks like about the same density of koi to water.

Here's kind of a close up of one of the in-house babies. You can't get much perspective on size but they are starting to look more like fish now.

Obviously, I have a VERY hard time photographing these guys.

And here's a picture from one of the outside tubs. You can see that there's beginning to be quite a size disparity.

I'm pleased though that there are as many survivors as there are and I still don't know how we'll get them through the winter, but we'll figure that out when the time comes. Our wonderful granddaughter and her wonderful husband have offered to set up an aquarium to get some of them through the winter. Certainly that will help.

With all these fish babies, and walking for exercise, and hitting plastic golf balls (more on that later), I wonder how I EVER had time to work and why my days are going so much faster now and I'm full of wonder that life is so much better. I am one lucky chica.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Wild and Crazy Weekend!

I've missed my blogsites and I worry about what I haven't recorded in my blog/journal and that I will forget some important (to me) details.

Friday, in the early afternoon, my two brothers came over and we spent a good deal of time going through the picture albums that I have created for them and that they didn't even know about. When I take or receive through email or find in old albums, pictures of people, I try to file them in an album for each person in chronological order. If the picture has two or more people in it, I copy it with the names of each person at the beginning of the label. For example a picture that I took on August 7th at 6:23 p.m. with my brother Steve, me and my brother Andy in it would be labeled like so: Steve 20090807 1823 Nikon 2101 Steve Mary Andy. And there would be one for each of us with the prefix changing by first name.

But I digress. This weekend the reason my baby brother Andy was in town was because his only child, Andrew, got married. I only wish my sister would have been able to make it over for this picture. It's a rare day when we get a picture of the four of us together.

Saturday, my oldest daughter Lori and her family came to town, we went to the wedding, and the reception in the evening.

We stopped at the casino for an hour after the reception so that our son-in-law could parlay his $50 birthday gift into $200 (how awesome) and we all got to bed late.

Sunday we went to lunch at a local restaurant to celebrate our son-in-law's birthday and spend some time with the kids before they headed out of town.

After they left, Mr. Right and I packed up and headed to Michigan to have dinner with our second daughter at what she calls (and I tend to agree) the Best Mexican Restaurant in the world.

We actually got to eat in one of the "rooms of our own" at the top of the stairs.

We spent the night in Michigan, then headed to the lakeside campsite where our daughter and son-in-law were staying. It was too windy to go fishing early so we went to the county fair where I collected some action shots for Beth's You Capture this week.

Since the wind had quieted in the evening, we fished until after nine o'clock where everybody caught a fish except me (but I really caught them all with my Nikon D40X lol)

My daughter and son-in-law caught lots of fish but Mr. Right only caught one so I hate that I only got blurry pictures of his. I wasn't jealous. HONEST!!!

Anyway, Mr. Right and I headed for home at almost 9:30 p.m. It was a solid two hour drive and we finally got home (after picking up Taco Bell for dinner) at 11:30. Whew!

Today, I'm going to try to get back on track with posting, walking, and daily routines that I'm trying to establish for my retirement.

I LOVE my life!!!!

Friday, August 7, 2009

You Can Call Me Anything

But don't call me Young Lady.

I was shopping at our local big box discount store yesterday, when I stepped on a sheet of wax paper. It was slippery so I picked it up to keep someone from actually slipping and falling on it. I looked for a waste basket or an employee and saw an employee first. I explained that I had just slipped on the piece of paper and asked if there was a place to dispose of it. She took it from me and went behind the counter of the bakery to throw it away. As she came out, one of the bakers must have asked why she was back there and she replied that she had thrown away a piece of paper that this young lady had slipped on and she gestured toward me.

At that time I would have loved to gesture back but I'm too polite for that kind of nonsense.

So what's my beef? I've tried to explain it again and again to my husband and my kids but I have a hard time justifying how riled it gets me when someone calls me "young lady".

Why do they do it? The closest I can come to a comparison is calling a very obese woman skinny. "Yeah, I just went back there to throw away a piece of paper that Skinny over there said she slipped on".

Is it sarcasm. Or is it meant to be kind or give me a lift when someone calls me young lady? Because the message I get is, that old lady over there must be so miserable to be that old that I should try to cheer her up by calling her young lady. That'll make her feel better. Well it doesn't. All it does is say, the one single important thing that I notice about you, lady, is that you're really really old.

And I probably am. I'm 63 as it says in my header, but I'm okay with that. I like my age. I garden, maintain a koi pond and a goldfish pond, I usually try to walk about six miles a day, I mow the lawn and I don't use a cane. I'm not bragging about those things, I'm just pleading that there's more to me than my age. I don't think about it constantly and I don't want to be identified solely by that. It's just not fair.

To be honest when I was in my fifties or so, I think I would take it as a compliment. I think I tried to persuade myself that someone did see me as a young lady (actually the fifties are young and I know that now).

But I've spent the last 14 years working outside in the sun and believe me, nobody is going to mistake me for a young lady.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Where Do These Beasts Come From?

I talked before about our Topsy Turvy, upside down tomato planters. We're actually very happy with them so far.

The big tomatoes are coming in hot and heavy and the cherry tomatoes are ripening quickly. As a matter of fact, we've already picked some.

But these aren't the beasts I'm referencing in the title. The beasts I'm talking about seem to come out of nowhere. We haven't had tomatoes in years. And these guys are way too big to crawl here from a farmer's field. Somebody please enlighten me. Where do they come from because I want to send them back home. They are wayyyyy ugly:

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Is It The Difference Between A Brother and A Husband?

I was walking on a trail in Dunes State Park the other day and I tripped on a root and bit the dust. Ouch! I'm sure glad nobody saw that! If nobody saw it, it's almost like it never really happened which reminds me of the age old question:

If a man talks in the woods where no woman can hear him, is he still wrong?

Anyway, back to my fall. It really was as if it didn't happen except that I have a big mouth and I shared the story. First I shared it with my brother who I love dearly. His reaction was predictable. "You sure fall a lot", he said. He looked kind of embarrassed for me and very incredulous like he just couldn't figure out what could be wrong with me. I explained that there are scads of hidden, semi-hidden, and obvious roots in the paths in Dunes State Park, especially on this path. Picture him still looking incredulous, embarrassed and bewildered. Oh well. I shouldn't have told him.

Just so YOU believe me, check out this picture I took of a path out there. Look especially at the foreground:

Later on I casually mentioned to Mr. Right that I had fallen in the Dunes that day. He didn't blink an eye, as he said, "That's what I don't like about you walking out there. All those roots".

It was enough to make me cry. He had such faith in me. He didn't assume I was a klutz or a freak or a scatterbrain. He assumed that I tripped on a hidden root.

And he was right.