Friday, July 26, 2013

Why Would Someone Vandalize The Lincoln Monument.?

The Lincoln Memorial in D.C. was vandalized last night. The U.S. Park Service will hold a presser shortly.

There is always some senseless graffiti painted on bridge abutments or along rock walls but a national monument. It wasn't even an artistic expression it was just splattered paint to make a beautiful  place look flawed. Basically, an act of violence against something that is cherished by many of us.

I can't speak for the majority but Mr. Lincoln is my favorite president. I have read many different books about the man and everyone seems in agreement, he was a man before his time. A thinking man that valued human life and equality regardless of skin color or occupation. He felt each person should have the opportunity to do their best to create a better world for us all. I really believe Gandhi and Mr. Lincoln would have a lot in common, especially being the change you want this world to be.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Beautiful Sunrise Moment

I am blessed with a very indulging husband since I can no longer drive, he took me over to the ocean at 4:30 am so I could see my first ocean sunrise. I've seen sunrises before driving school bus in Maine but never one overlooking the ocean. I believe in creating bucket lists then checking the things off that are on your list over your lifetime. One of mine was seeing a sunrise on the Atlantic Ocean. After, seeing how spectacular it was I am tempted to see more.
Now you ,see why I thought they were so breathtaking to enjoy.

We were lucky it was 70 degrees, with a gentle breeze.
Isn't this just mesmerizing?
I used a Nikon 3100 with a 55mm-300mm lens to take the pictures.

In the background behind me was the moon. It was a perfectly clear sky which made the photo opportunity to sweet to miss. I did set my tripod up for this particular shot, wasn't sure I could stand and keep my camera steady at that angle.

The ocean looks so inviting to me with the waves breaking against the rocks and then onto the sand. All of the pictures were taken at Spring Lake, New Jersey.
There is still a lot of damage from Hurricane Sandy but I did not take pictures of people's misfortune.
I can tell you that the boardwalk has been replaced and there are a few new ramp entrances from the street to the boardwalk. The dunes have new plantings on them. What was very sad to me was how many for sale signs we saw in Spring Lake. It is a lovely community.
Financially, if we were in a different point in our lives I would certainly entertain the idea of a shore house or living there year round. We chose a more central location to New York and Philadelphia with easy access to 95 corridor. However, if we decide to sell this house one on the ocean is a consideration.
In I am a semi-finalist in the Super Summer Blog Off. I was pleased since I am really new to the blogging practices. It does help having prompts everyday that you must respond to in a timely fashion. And the variety in prompts induces interesting possibilities.
In our home, I decided to try while the nerve block was responding well and I was headache free painting the rest of our front hallway/entryway. I started it last summer but the headaches were so brutal I just couldn't finish. I could have had a friend simply do the work but I wanted to do it. There is something to be said for doing your own home renovations, a sense of pride. Unfortunately, pride can be one's own worse enemy at times. I gave in and accepted the offer of assistance from my girlfriend, Deb. Anyway, I did manage to get everything taped off by myself without falling or aggravating the head too much. Thank goodness, I conceded and let her help me the thought of it being like this another year was simply not acceptable either. She did the lower trim on one afternoon. Then we removed the tape and reapplied it covering the freshly painted trim. She did the cutting in and I rolled the walls. We went out for lunch and she applied the second cutting in and then I rolled the second coat. The next day, I sanded the old paint on the door while she was at work. On her way home she stopped in and applied a primer coat. The following afternoon, she did the same but applied the final trim paint. I am so grateful she insisted we work as a team, it would have overwhelmed me and I really can't handle stress. When the pictures are rehung and the clean up is completed I will definitely post a picture.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Just venting

If you are in the military and have flown a plane, which clearly you have because you cannot just hop in a plane and go for a joy ride would you not know how much fuel you have on board. I am so aggravated with the lack of concern that the Navy shows the ocean.
Did you see they were doing bomb training missions off the coast line of Canberra Australia? Yes, if that wasn't bad enough the bombs were dropped in the Great Barrier Reef which is a protected marine life area because the stupidity continued.

Why were they that close to the Australia's coastline and the Barrier Reef in the first place? I am appalled at the blank stupidity. These joint training sessions with the Australian military should have had someone with brains clearly keeping track of their location. I know they are saying they are not detonated but they do have weigh something and the coral is very fragile. The coral already struggles with all the waste that is dumped in the ocean and does not survive with physical content. So why would you think a bomb wouldn't do damage.?

"Australian Sen. Larissa Waters, the influential Greens party's spokeswoman on the Great Barrier Reef, described the dumping of bombs in such an environmentally sensitive area as "outrageous" and said it should not be allowed.

"Have we gone completely mad?" she told Australian Broadcasting Corp. "Is this how we look after our World Heritage area now? Letting a foreign power drop bombs on it?"

Graeme Dunstan, who is among the environmentalists and anti-war activists demonstrating against the joint exercises, said the mishap proved that the U.S. military could not be trusted to protect the environment.

"How can they protect the environment and bomb the reef at the same time? Get real," Dunstan said from the Queensland coastal town of Yeppoon, near where the war games are taking place.

The Great Barrier Reef, the world's largest network of coral structures, is rich in marine life and stretches more than 1,800 miles along Australia's northeast coast."

Dunstan raises a darn good question about our military and not protecting the environment. Do they know what other appalling things that Navy's from all over the world actually do. The U.S. is not alone in the disposal process, it is common practice worldwide.

My son is in the Navy and he tells me that once they are two miles out they dump all bodily and food waste in the water. Really, makes me want to swim in the ocean or eat anything that comes from it.

We are no longer in the dark ages, we do have the technology to take our waste to waste treatment facility and convert it into useable water. The ships create their drinking water from the ocean so there is no reason why they could not convert the waste as well. But it is not done, it is just dumped body and paper waste as is.

Clearly, All of the world's military has not seen the memo on becoming green and environmentally strong. The U.S. Navy thought nothing of dumping bombs on to the Barrier Reef. Nor do they think anything of how the waste is disposed.

I hope you didn't have fish tonight.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

One Giant Step for Mankind

"July 20, 1969. On this date, Apollo 11 astronauts Buzz Aldrin and Neil Armstrong landed their moon module on a broad dark lunar lava flow, called the Sea of Tranquility. Six hours later, Neil Armstrong became the first human being to walk on the moon."

Have you considered what has happened since that monumental day in time? It's been forty four years, that is a long time. We have not seen that kind of fervor since those early days The space program really has not had heroes to speak of that people know by name. Think about it there has not been an space program since Apollo 17 in the 1972. There were twelve very lucky astronauts that had the opportunity to go to the moon and then it faded off the radar. Why?

You would think with all the advancements in technology that manned explorations would be on the increase not decrease. Mike Wall with indicates that there are possibilities. He writes,
"NASA is serious about sending astronauts back to the moon's neighborhood and will likely unveil its ambitious plans soon now that President Barack Obama has been re-elected, experts say.
The space agency has apparently been thinking about setting up a manned outpost beyond the moon's far side, both to establish a human presence in deep space and to build momentum toward a planned visit to an asteroid in 2025."

See more at:

I don't see articles on the news or see them trending anywhere. For that matter I didn't even see the evening news take a moment to reflect on this day in history. What a shame! How will our youth know if we do not make the effort to bring it to their attention. We certainly cannot leave it to their teachers to do when it is happening in July.

Nor did anyone mention that tomorrow and Monday early dawn that you can see Mars and Jupiter in line with each other. Jupiter will be clearly visible with your eyes,  Mars is a bit fainter you may need binoculars. Course if you are not an morning person, you can always enjoy Venus at dusk until an hour after sunset.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Brain in Gear Does Help

I'm working on putting the white borders on my blue background quilt blocks so I can finally get to Leah Day's machine quilting class. Here I am bobbing up and down like a yo-yo when it dawned on me why was I chain piecing these blocks. Now, you would have thought I might have got this after the first block. Not me, it took me 3 blocks all four sides before my brain engaged. Chain piece the sides, and then do the same to the tops once you trim and press. I really should have taken a nap and maybe this head of mine would have been more functional.

We did accomplish hanging the curtains in the living room today. They look really nice in the window and the color actually works better than I hoped. The hard part was rearranging the cat's window seat temporarily. I have to spend some time researching what will work to keep our old man from putting his claws into them. He has this knack for marking everything. I would have him declawed except at nineteen it is to risky.

At the old house, he was always in and out so he had plenty to sharpen his nails on and never bothered the curtains or the furniture. It is has only been since we moved to New Jersey and I will not let him be an outside cat. It is just to dangerous here with all the traffic. Where we lived in Maine, there was the two neighbors up the road and the mail man except hunting season than we had a few more cars. During that time, I kept my cats inside because some hunters just shoot and look later.

In the Jersey house, the old man has done a number to my office chair and the box spring that I didn't have a bed ruffle on. Once I saw he made it a target, I remedied that and he hasn't touched the bed ruffle. Now, you would think he would use the two scratching posts that are his since our cats are declawed. If  my ex had not been so ornery the old man would have been too.

Does anyone ever use the sprays they advertise? If so which one works better?

I don't know about anyone else but this heat is really getting tiresome. I am so over it. It was ninety eight degrees here at one o'clock. I really miss having the windows open and hearing the birds sing. I am sure they are glad I have kept their birdbath and drinking dishes filled with fresh water several times a day so they have fluids too.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Losing Track of Time

It's been a very busy week and a half since I've had a chance to sit down here and blog.

On the 10th, We took a ride over to Seaside Heights, New Jersey to spend the day at our favorite beach. It is the first time we've been back since Hurricane Sandy. I could not believe the damage that is still very apparent nine months later. There are still houses sitting off their foundations. There are houses that have simply been leveled but the work has not begun if it is going to be. I saw the pictures on the news but seeing it first hand makes your stomach wrench.

I was relieved to see Island Beach State Park fared the storm. the beach and the dunes looked good. It is a beautiful place to spend with your family for six dollars for the car load. They have 2 public beach accesses with life guards, restrooms, changing rooms and concession stands. What more could you ask for. Well, chairs and umbrellas would be sweet but the price would definitely not be the same.

We had been there about six hours when the life guard came over and advised us that a electrical storm was in the area and they needed to clear the beach area. Wow, I hadn't looked up so I never noticed the dark clouds looming over us. We were playing cards inside our sun tent shelter so none of us noticed.

So we packed everything up and walked up to the car. Crazy, we had no more than got inside the car, shut the doors and the heavens let loose. And I mean the heavens, it was a torrential down pour. We were so grateful the life guard spoke to us when he had because lugging home soaking wet beach stuff isn't fun.
Guess I should have looked up at the sky a bit more frequently

The ocean is always soothing to me.

I love watching the gulls soar with the ocean brezes.

We made the drive to Norfolk, Virginia on Friday the 14th.That was a long day in the car with all the traffic, you can tell it is summer season. What a difference in travel time between summer season and winter/spring/fall seasons. In the summer it takes us eight hours to go from here in Jersey to Norfolk, whereas the other seasons it is only five and half hours.

However, the trip is all about the grandson's birthday. CJ turned 9 years old and we couldn't miss spending time with him, celebrating his big day. We did our usual Mexican night, which I enjoy as much as he does. In Norfolk, the El Rodeo is an excellent Mexican restaurant, reasonably priced with the most pleasant wait staff.

Saturday, CJ and I had a movie date. That is something he and I do together each time we visit. We saw Monster's University  which worked out well for me. My head does not do well with a lot of movement on the screen. When CJ and I saw Cars I vomited twice, it was just too much for me. These migraines have changed my life so much.

We kept CJ busy so his parents had time to get everything ready for his party They had a barbecue first and then the awesome Angry Birds cake his Mom got was brought out. Oh, boy was that a good cake. He loved all the presents, his favorite was his own Kindle Fire XL. I have to admit the graphics are amazing. We played this game Bugaboo Math. That game is fun and you learn at the same time. Wicked! I have stubbornly avoided the readers because I love the smell and feel of a book in my hands. Yeah, I know old school.

Sadly, Sunday was another long day in the car. It was unavoidable because of doctor's appointments on Monday. If we could have avoided being outside on Monday we would have it, man it was wicked hot. I watered my garden early Monday morning because we had been gone over the weekend to help it be ready for the heat.

I wish I could say the weather has improved but it has only gotten hotter here. Crazy hot and extremely bad air quality make for difficult times outside. I feel so bad for all the people that do work outside. It takes so much out of you,

On a good note, I've got a chance to catch up on my reading. I am reading Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, she is an excellent author. I love how she ties different quilts in to her books.

And speaking of writing, you are not going to believe it but I am in the finals on Writing,com Super Summer Blog Off. Who would have thought that? I am actually enjoying it immensely, I love having daily prompts it really does help me get started each day with my writing. Anyway, not only is this the first time I have ever competed, it is the first time I have made it into the finals.

So needless to say I am excited. Okay, I am wicked excited.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Bird Watching

This is an enjoyable event here for myself and the four legged felines. It's better than television any day. Of course, if you have seen daytime television these days you can totally relate.

We have one of the supposed squirrel proof feeders that is weight triggered so it closes when the squirrel pushes on the bar. However, the annoying squirrels have learned to climb on top and lean over without touching the feeding bar so it does not close. A few squawks from the blue jays and the blackbirds and the squirrels do leave. If the squawking does not get the squirrels attention, we have several aggressive blue jays that do not take no for answer much to my amusement.

Today, we had several very enjoyable sights at the start of our day. We, my husband and I were playing a game of cribbage on the deck with our morning coffee. To our right of the table is a pole with a bird feeder that extends over the lower yard. I know a typical backyard experience for some people but today was different. The birds are used to us being there on the deck while they indulge in their daily feedings.

On any given day we have a downy woodpecker and a red bellied woodpecker that come to the two suet feeders that hang above the bird feeder. What made today so special was a pileated woodpecker and a red-headed woodpecker also came. We had four different types of woodpeckers all at once on the two suet feeders. It was a sight to behold and the sounds that each made were so different than the other. Where was my camera when I needed it but inside the house, isn't that always the case.

I went and looked each of the birds up on this web site so I could correctly name them and share their pictures with you and the information about each that I cut and pasted with each bird. It is really cool to have birds come to the feeder but to have 4 unique woodpeckers at one time was incredible.

This beautiful creature is a Downy woodpecker. This one visits us the most frequently at our backyard sanctuary.

Cool Facts

  • In winter Downy Woodpeckers are frequent members of mixed species flocks. Advantages of flocking include having to spend less time watching out for predators and better luck finding food from having other birds around.
  • Male and female Downy Woodpeckers divide up where they look for food in winter. Males feed more on small branches and weed stems, and females feed on larger branches and trunks. Males keep females from foraging in the more productive spots. When researchers have removed males from a woodlot, females have responded by feeding along smaller branches.
  • The Downy Woodpecker eats foods that larger woodpeckers cannot reach, such as insects living on or in the stems of weeds. You may see them hammering at goldenrod galls to extract the fly larvae inside.
  • Woodpeckers don’t sing songs, but they drum loudly against pieces of wood or metal to achieve the same effect. People sometimes think this drumming is part of the birds’ feeding habits, but it isn’t. In fact, feeding birds make surprisingly little noise even when they’re digging vigorously into wood.
  • Downy Woodpeckers have been discovered nesting inside the walls of buildings.
  • The oldest known Downy Woodpecker lived to be at least 11 years 11 months old.


This is the one I was so surprised to see, its a pileated woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • The Pileated Woodpecker digs characteristically rectangular holes in trees to find ants. These excavations can be so broad and deep that they can cause small trees to break in half.
  • A Pileated Woodpecker pair stays together on its territory all year round. It will defend the territory in all seasons, but will tolerate new arrivals during the winter.
  • The feeding excavations of a Pileated Woodpecker are so extensive that they often attract other birds. Other woodpeckers, as well as House Wrens, may come and feed there.
  • The Pileated Woodpecker prefers large trees for nesting. In young forests, it will use any large trees remaining from before the forest was cut. Because these trees are larger than the rest of the forest, they present a lightning hazard to the nesting birds.
  • The oldest known Pileated Woodpecker was 12 years 11 months old.

This is a red-bellied woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • You may sometimes see Red-bellied Woodpeckers wedge large nuts into bark crevices, then whack them into manageable pieces using their beaks. They also use cracks in trees and fence posts to store food for later in the year, a habit it shares with other woodpeckers in its genus.
  • For birds that nest in cavities, nest holes are precious turf. Red-bellied Woodpeckers have been known to take over the nests of other birds, including the much smaller (and endangered) Red-cockaded Woodpecker. But more often they’re victims to the aggressive European Starling. As many as half of all Red-bellied Woodpecker nests in some areas get invaded by starlings.
  • You may occasionally see a Red-bellied Woodpecker flying quickly and erratically through the forest, abruptly changing direction, alighting for an instant and immediately taking off again, keeping up a quick chatter of calls. Scientists categorize this odd behavior as a type of play that probably helps young birds practice the evasive action they may one day need.
  • A Red-bellied Woodpecker can stick out its tongue nearly 2 inches past the end of its beak. The tip is barbed and the bird’s spit is sticky, making it easier to snatch prey from deep crevices. Males have longer, wider-tipped tongues than females, possibly allowing a breeding pair to forage in slightly different places on their territory and maximize their use of available food.
  • The oldest known Red-bellied Woodpecker was 12 years 1 month old.

And this is the other one until today I had not seen, this is a red-headed woodpecker.

Cool Facts

  • The Red-headed Woodpecker is one of only four North American woodpeckers known to store food, and it is the only one known to cover the stored food with wood or bark. It hides insects and seeds in cracks in wood, under bark, in fence posts, and under roof shingles. Grasshoppers are regularly stored alive, but wedged into crevices so tightly that they cannot escape.
  • Red-headed Woodpeckers are fierce defenders of their territory. They may remove the eggs of other species from nests and nest boxes, destroy other birds’ nests, and even enter duck nest boxes and puncture the duck eggs.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker benefited from the chestnut blight and Dutch elm disease outbreaks of the twentieth century. Though these diseases devastated trees they provided many nest sites and foraging opportunities for the woodpeckers.
  • The striking Red-headed Woodpecker has earned a place in human culture. Cherokee Indians used the species as a war symbol, and it makes an appearance in Longfellow’s epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, telling how a grateful Hiawatha gave the bird its red head in thanks for its service.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker has many nicknames, including half-a-shirt, shirt-tail bird, jellycoat, flag bird, and the flying checker-board.
  • Pleistocene-age fossils of Red-headed Woodpeckers—up to 2 million years old—have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, and Illinois.
  • The Red-headed Woodpecker was the “spark bird” (the bird that starts a person’s interest in birds) of legendary ornithologist Alexander Wilson in the 1700s.
  • The oldest Red-headed Woodpecker on record was banded in 1926 in Michigan and lived to be at least 9 years, 11 months old.

Behind the magnolia bush is a pole that the bird feeder is suspended from over the deck area. This is how my felines typically spend their mornings and the birds pay absolutely no attention to their presence.

This is old man is our Maine coon cat Quasi. He will be nineteen years old in August this year. His favorite pastime is snoozing in the deck chair these days. He will watch the birds for a bit but then that leads to his morning snooze. Later, in the day he usually retires to our bedroom, lying on our queen size bed under the ceiling fan until dinner time. Yes, he is definitely spoiled.

And this girl is my partner in crime Purryl, she is what they called domestic short haired tabby. Purryl usually sits on the desk beside me when I work on the blog. Today, however, she has not left her comfy deck chair. Purryl spends the afternoon in the cat bed on top of the cat tower by the kitchen window. She likes to watch what is going on in between her snoozes.
Our youngest cat, Yeats does all of his snoozing in the sewing room. He will watch the birds on the deck briefly but then retires to his favorite bed. He does not snooze very often in the deck chairs like the other two. Yeats likes to sleep where it is very quiet. I can sew there but if I am talking on the phone he will give me one of those looks and stalk off.
Tomorrow morning I will bring my camera and what you bet they will not be there, that's my usual kind of luck. I can't linger too long out there tomorrow because we are going to spend the day at Seaside Heights. I am looking forward to seeing all the changes that have been made since Hurricane Sandy. It was one of the hardest hit areas during the storm. I was so sad for everyone that lived and worked there especially after seeing all the places we loved so badly damaged.