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Tuesday, June 20, 2017

June 20, 2017 Cleaning up my Facebook timeline

One good thing about having some time on my hands is it gives me the opportunity to clean-up my Facebook account. I have a specious attraction to it, therefore I haven’t always been good about deleting old posts. Did you know that if you want to delete many old posts there is no way to select more than one at a time? I checked the help menu and the answer is, “that feature is not available at this time. With over a billion users, your feedback is important to us. Click on the link to leave your comments.” I think if people are asking for it on the user forum, it’s high time to get that feature on the menu. It seems like people, like me, are wanting to keep things relevant and we haven’t always been good about deleting things right away. Now there is the daunting, time consuming task of going through all you old posts, one at a time and deleting them. You can’t even jump back to a specific year, you have to scroll through everything in chronological order. 

So, you go to your Timeline, select the more options arrow thingy on the right and select delete, then you’ll get this message:

Every time. So I have to click twice to delete. This would be a good project for someone who just had foot surgery, or a broken ankle and they aren’t very mobile and need a sit down project.

It is sort of fun though, and adds more time to the project to see the old stuff. The fun quizzes I did, that are based on what Facebook extrapolates from my post. Like where I would be living in 5 years. Two years ago the result of that quiz was Rome, Italy. I retook it and now it says I’ll be living in Hawaii. 

My four letter word: pure

I’m still a Pirate for my profession in a previous life.

And I am still borderline genius! (would have gotten 100% on that this time, but I pressed on the wrong answer button on one question).

Then there are the poems I posted on Poetry Mondays. I think we need to resurrect that at least once a month. I’ll start now even though it’s not Monday. This is one of my originals, called “Nature”

I sit creekside and wait for
the sounds of nature that
awaken the day.
The flow of water, unending,
a bird in the distance whose
voice is unfamiliar.
I feel the air warm as the sun rises
over the hollow.
I smell the greenness of the
forest, the dull smoke of wet campfires.
A heron glides by silently.
Children are now awake and send
ripples through the sounds of nature,
but are they
not part of nature?
The sounds of nature continue to unfold with the day.

So I might suggest, if you have a Facebook account and post regularly, to begin regularly going in and deleting a post after it has been up for a week or so. Then scroll back and delete a few more while you're at it. That's one way to begin getting rid of those old posts.

And now for your buffalo photo for the day, this big guy was having a rest just by the side of the road on my way home from work the other day.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

June 14, 2017 Life in 300 square feet(maybe less)

living room
You’ve heard the saying, ‘a place for everything, everything in it’s place,’ no more true than when you are living in a small space. It is crucial to our mental well-being to be sure we put things away when we are done with them. We make an effort to keep the dishes washed and put away, keep the kitchen counter clear, and clutter picked up off other horizontal surfaces. 

The dining table has a neat feature, half of it is on a hinge and lifts up to reveal a two inch space of storage. Great for our laptops, but that means in order to get them out, there can’t be anything on top of the table. I’m sure it will come in handy when we are mobile, but we found it doesn’t work so well on a daily basis because we use our computers everyday. 

Our beautiful wooden bowl we brought to use for fruit has become our inbox, storing pens, what little mail we get and random scraps of paper. 

The bedroom doesn’t allow for any clothes to be left laying around. We have an assortment of over-the-door hooks to try to get things up off the floor for those things we wear most days, like brown shorts and lime green shirts. Ruby has her spot on the bed, and I do have space for a small altar next to my side of the bed. Shoes reside under the edge of the bed stacked on top of each other.
whole house view
The general living quarters are pretty cozy and comfortable. The trailer didn’t come equipped with standard RV recliners which allowed us some extra space. We brought along a chair I had bought for the house, and of course, Ruby has taken over that too. The cats have their sleeping boxes and they do spend a lot of time there, when they aren’t sleeping on the bed or my chair. They like to sit on the back of the chair and the couch and I put a box on one of the dining chairs so Toby can see out the window there too. (who owns who?)

most of the bathroom
We all share the same bathroom, note the litter box in the bottom right corner. Works pretty well except the cats can't reach the switch for the fan, so I have to turn it on and off for them after they do their business. 

We have good internet service and the t.v. works. Not that we spend much time watching t.v., but it is nice to occasionally sit down and watch a show we enjoy.

The other thing nice about this space and what I would recommend for any RV owner is to have hard surface flooring. Carpet is hard to keep clean. There is so much stuff that gets tracked in, it’s nice to have a smooth surface to just sweep instead of trying to clean carpet. 
the oven storage

We have managed pretty well to become used to moving around each other taking turns in the kitchen when getting ready for the day and giving each other some space. It will sure be nice when we have more level ground so we can set up our outdoor room. We had counted on being able to do that, but the trailer is perched on the most level area, everything around us slopes up or down, and then there is the pervasive odor from the garbage compactor(which is now an open dumpster because the compactor is out of order.) Not very happy with that at all. We had better be moving in two weeks to our new location. We are also on mouse #6. I get that we are in a field, but no one else is complaining of having mice in their trailers, even the people without dogs.

All part of the adventure. And at least some of the neighbors are quiet.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

June 8, 2017 Cats and dogs and Ablaut Reduplication

Somehow, somewhere this paragraph crossed my vision.

“Adjectives in English absolutely have to be in this order: opinion-size-age-shape-colour-origin-material-purpose Noun. So you can have a lovely little old rectangular green French silver whittling knife. But if you mess with that word order in the slightest you’ll sound like a maniac. It’s an odd thing that every English speaker uses that list, but almost none of us could write it out.”

The full article, by Mark Forsyth can be read here:

As I claim to be a writer, it of course piqued my interest. I took some English classes in college, but was discouraged about writing or being an English major. How does an English major make a living? One could become Garrison Keillor and have a radio show, or David Sedaris and write funny stories about life, or be a teacher. Radio didn’t seem like a way to go for me, and at the time I didn’t think I was very funny or even interesting. And I did not want to be a teacher. So now I am practicing my skill and trying to learn stuff I could have learned about writing a long time ago. Never to late to learn something new. And you have to suck at something before you can get good at it.

So that rule is why I title this posting, Cats and Dogs instead of Dogs and Cats. But I don’t know where that puts tit for tat, or pitty pat. I guess as with all rules there are exceptions. But on to my story.

Our neighbors have two very cute, little, not yappy, female dogs. Dixie, looks like a cross between a Chihuahua and a Boston Terrier, and Lizzie is a Shih Tzu. 

We have our two fat cats, Ruby, a tortoise shell, and our big boy, Toby. Toby is interested in dogs, curious you might say. Ruby, on the other hand, is not. At. All. 

what are those things over there?

Please, oh please!?

I said please!! Mom, let me have it!

The other evening, the neighbors, Terri and Mike, and Jay and I were all sitting around visiting, the cats were in the doorway, the dogs on their leads. The dogs saw the cats and the cats saw the dogs and were very interested in each other. Lizzie especially so. She was up on her hind legs, both front paws in the air, frantically waving them as if to say, ‘I want, I want, I want!’ like a little kid in a candy store. Toby was mildly interested and made his way down the stairs to sit under my chair. Lizzie dared to come closer, but Toby didn’t want her to. Good thing he was close so I could grab hold of him as he puffed up and tried to take a swipe out of Lizzie’s nose. Terri pulled her back quickly, out of his reach. Ruby and Dixie were both calmly watching all the action from a safe distance.

I guess they won’t be BFF’s any time soon. 

Monday, June 5, 2017

June 5, 2017 Constructive criticism and positive feedback

Keeping an open mind and being receptive to comments and criticism is an important aspect of life. We don’t all have all the answers to everything life delivers all the time, so why not listen to what others have to say. Maybe it will work for me, maybe it won’t. 

Recently I was offered some advice from a very wise woman. Over my life she has always been there, to guide me, to help me see the error of my ways at times, other times to just sit back and let me fail on my own. These failures helped me to learn and to be able to pick myself up and start over. Many times she has given me advice, sometimes I didn’t listen and even though she may not realize it, there are many time when I did listen and take heed to her advice. 

This time, the advice was about the type of photos I share on this here blog. She pointed out that yes, landscapes of our beautiful country are nice, but how many green meadows, sweeping vistas and mountain tops do people want to see? Especially when there isn’t much context to the picture. Though I was there to have that experience and want to share it with you, my readers, it doesn’t really tell a story.  She says to show something with more human interest. Her comments made me think about what I was seeing and a good reminder to look beyond the forest. She reminded me to look deeper, to notice details and to bring a human element into what I want to share. Thanks, Mom.

So instead of another photo of a lovely forest path, I bring you my bike. It was a nice day for a walk in the woods, this trail followed a creek up to Center Lake. There were several small dams, people fishing along the way and then at the lake, kayaks and canoes and turtles sunning on a log.

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere.
Vincent Van Gogh

Just a simple reminder for me to look beyond. Maybe a simple reminder for you too, look beyond what you think you see. Notice what is there.

Monday, May 29, 2017

May 29, 2017 Memorial Day

Please take some time today to honor our veterans past and present. To those who protect our rights for freedom and to other loved ones who are no longer with us. Maybe a minute of silence in your day of barbecues and fun with friends or a prayer offered to those who are away from their families and to those who are grieving the loss of loved ones. That is what we can do to show our support for them as they work hard to defend our country. That is how we hold space for others who are no longer with us here.

Today I have some reflections on being back on a 40 hour a week works schedule. After 3 weeks, I have come to the conclusion that I prefer my yoga teaching schedule, 10 hours a week plus the preparation time. 

After I left my full time job with the city of Bellingham, I was curious as to what a typical day would now include for me. It took me awhile to figure out what to do with all the extra time. I din’t have any trouble filling the time, but I had  may days where I felt like I should have been ‘doing’ something else. What that else was, I didn’t know.

Then I started teaching yoga, just a a few classes to begin with. I would spend time preparing the class sequence, reading articles to enhance my teaching and taking a workshop once in a while. All things to help keep me learning and to improve my teaching skills. 

I had a good rhythm going, some study, some teaching, some relax time, time for crafts and creativity and time to spend with my hubby and friends. Remember back in February I talked about that great article I found about how to prioritize your time and quit procrastinating? It was some of that self doubt, am I doing it right? Am I living my life right? That article encouraged me to look at what I was doing in a new way and to realize that yes, I am doing it right. Right for me. I am being productive with my career. I have enough classes to teach and I know how to turn down work so I don’t become overloaded and burned out. There are many more opportunities for me to teach here than I imagined. This self reflection helped me to identify what I want to do, how much I want to teach and how I want to spend my time. 

Time is the most valuable coin in your life. You and you alone will determine how that coin will be spent. Be careful that you do not let other people spend it for you. Carl Sandburg

Here I am now, back on a schedule of 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, reporting to work. It’s an easy job, welcoming visitors to the park and giving directions, selling permits. Even though the commute is 30 minutes each way, (16 miles at 35 mph), I don’t mind it. The views are spectacular and the only traffic jams are buffalo, deer, big horn sheep and wild turkeys in the road.

Friday, May 26, 2017

May 26, 2017 a buffalo caravan

Today Jay and I got to ride to work together since he was working at Blue Bell Campground and I work at Blue Bell gate. If we're lucky we'll get this arrangement once a week. At quitting time we decided to take the long way home, out French Creek Rd. and on to the Wildlife Loop Rd. We saw quite a few wild turkeys and some buffalo in the distance. Once we got on the paved road was when we came upon a caravan of buffalo. 

We waited by the side of the road for them to pass by, there are a lot of calves now and I wanted to get some pictures of them, they are pretty cute.
I am so cute!!

Jay reminded me that I have a video function on my camera, so I took a little movie of them walking up the road. At the end, I just caught out of the corner of my eye a little scuffle and one of them slipped on the wet pavement. The last few big guys were getting a little pushy with each other as they got close to the truck and I pulled back, end of video. Not that me pulling back inside my vehicle is going to stop them from rough-housing close to me, but my natural instincts took hold.

Scroll down to get to the link to the movie.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

May 25, 2017 A walk in the woods

I went for a walk this afternoon. I had a plan to follow an old logging road just west of our humble abode. I had looked on Google Earth to see where the road went and I thought I saw it loop to the north and come back south again to create a loop from the base of the meadow on the other side of the hill. So I loaded up my backpack and laced up my hikers and set out, figuring to be gone about an hour.
Two and a half hours later, I made my way home.
"my meadow," he says

I got to the top of the hill on our side and crossed the meadow down the slope, then through a small copse of trees. It was about a mile and then I saw the Y in the road where I would go north-ish to start the loop. I had walked about 200 yards and saw a glimpse of movement off my left part way up the hill. I thought I might see some elk, but it was a very large bull buffalo. He looked right at me and seemed to say, “I’m not in a mood to move”. 
Well, I’m not about to argue with a 2,000 pound buffalo, so I backed down the hill until I was out of his view and thought I would find the other end of the ‘loop’. 

As I was walking up the hill on the other side of the valley I thought about how nice it was to be walking in the woods, alone. Listening to the sounds, the wind through the pine trees, the sound of crickets jumping, birds calling to each other. I was in nature, and having time to just be there. No hurry to get back,  just out exploring and looking for wildlife. I reflected on other times in my life when I’ve been out hiking and always having to be back, always had a time limit,  I couldn’t just spend as much time as I wanted out wherever I was. This time, I could take my time and be in the wilderness, alone with my thoughts.

I had a feeling of fullness, contentment with being. It was similar to what I felt when we went to Baboquivari Peak and Aravaipai Canyon. A sense of completeness and of being in a beautiful, spiritual space. 

I wasn’t able to find the loop, I’m not sure there is one. I did find a fantastic rock outcropping where I could see the meadow I had crossed in the distance. I couldn’t hear the road, only the sound of the wind in the pines, birds and crickets, and listening for the sounds of other creatures in the forest. I had to retrace my steps and go back the way I came. 

my rocky top

On the way down I found a large feather, brown and white stripes about 14”(32 CM) long. I don’t know if it was there on my way up the hill and I didn’t see it, or if it fell there and was waiting for me to see it on my way back. It was in the path of my footsteps I had made on the way up the hill.
I think it's a wild turkey feather

So I had to look up the significance of when a feather appears in your path, and there are many interpretations.

Brown feathers signify grounding, home life and stability. There is an energy of respect, grounded positivity and balance between the physical and spiritual.

Well, I like that meaning but my feather is striped, brown and white, what about that?

Brown and white - happiness, and you will go under the radar from psychic or other harm

That’s good too. Then I found this about feathers in general:

When feathers begin to enter your field/path it is a clear message that angels, spirits or loved ones are not too far away from you. 

I’m not one to turn away an angel or the spirit of a loved one. I would be delighted to have them accompany me on my random wanderings in nature.

Then, I also found this, that gave me much more to thing about, when that feather crosses my path:

Whenever you observe a sign, take note of the following: 
What you were thinking just before it happened?
What is going on in your life lately or at that particular moment in time.
How did it make you feel when you found it?
What were your first thoughts, feelings or impressions? 
What could the sign be telling you? 

The next time you are out walking around, whether it’s in the city, on a country lane or on a trail in the woods and a feather crosses your path, may you have some time to think about these questions.