Friday, October 30, 2009


No Speeding While Tailgating this Guy!

Smacko Macaroons! The sun is shining at 3 pm. Friday. Maybe I can deliver my City Newsletter Saturday without getting wet.

I wonder what we have in store Wednesday Nov. 4, when my Best Friend, Husband and I again return to Little Rock for asthma/allergy/COPD appointment? It could be worse. Denver is buried in an early snowstorm, the heavy stuff.

There is another Little Rock trip to VA Hearing Clinic where we will spend Thanksgiving Day. I've made reservations at a different LaQuinta Inn--maybe we won't have to play Tango with the Toilet at this one. We have an additional "T" word to go with Tango with the Toilet. I'll leave that for you to fill in.

Poor Luckie! She gets to spend Turkey Day at her UNfavorite spa. The boarding attendants love her, but she is less than happy when I leave her. She knows what strings to pull, so you feel guilty the entire time she is boarding. It is one of those heart-breaking looks she knows usually works on me.

Today's photos could be entitled Straight Out Front of Husband's Pickup because all of them were taken on our drive home from Little Rock to Bull Shoals.

Husband was driving. He calls my right front seat, the Right Front Seat Driver without Steering Wheel. I guess I give too many instructions; I missed my calling as Driver Education Instructor!

Picturesque country community church and old building in Marion County

This photo was close to being Straight Out of the Camera, until I decided to take a small portion off right side.
Small community between Conway and Clinton, Arkansas
Along U.S. Highway 65, Heading Home

Runaway Truck Ramp between Botkinburg and Marshall, Arkansas

There are a few runaway ramps in Arkansas. I have seen an empty stock trailer in this sandpit. Obviously, animals, if the trailer was loaded, and the towing vehicle were removed. I cannot imagine what kind of shock the force of coming to such a sudden, complete stop from a high speed. There is no plowing, or skidding in the deep sand. It is one complete, sudden stop. Whomp!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Same Song, Second Verse

"Same song, second verse, could be better, but it's gonna be worse.." and any number of versions thereof.

Guess what! It is RAINING a whole lot. In fact, we are rapidly losing access to our boat. Again, I'm looking for NOAH-- he won't have to preach 120 years to make a believer out of me. "All right Noah, I believe, please turn off the spigot."

Even a number of my Texas friends, relatives, and bloggers are tired of rain. It is rare to hear Texans begrudge rain.

The El Nino, La Nina, Pacific Ocean effect may be the answer to this unusual weather pattern. I've not heard the publicity given this subject a few years ago.

Now then, because inquiring minds want to know: who, what, when, where and how is the source of the ditty I used as a title. We chanted it as small children. In fact I've heard more than one version of it. Another version is "same song, second verse, a little bit louder, and a whole lot worse!"

A fast "Google" didn't turn up anything substantial except a bunch of titles of articles and books. using the ditty. Hope it is not copyrighted, as it surely is being abused.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Heading Home

We are heading home Wednesday, hopefully in relatively dry conditions. Maybe all the drains everywhere will be emptied for the next round scheduled for Thursday--hope the weatherman is wrong!!!

Maybe there will be a tad of autumn color still left, but we'll just enjoy a little less moisture.

We already have a few problems at home facing us but I think they will be welcomed, under the circumstances.

Husband's hearing has seriously deteriorated from a year ago. However, it could be far worse things at our age. We have to return Nov. 26, the day before Thanksgiving--guess we'll be spending Thanksgiving Day in Little Rock!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Monsoons- Round 2

Below is the e-mail I sent my closest friends a few hours ago, all of whom live in my hometown, and after this may not be deemed my closest friends as we are all weary of rain. However, if we don't keep a little humor about it we will all be nutz, nutz, nutz, and depressed.

It certainly is not helping my bronchitis which seems headed toward the BIG P (pneumonia) which I get without fever, without severe symptoms, basically walking and shortness of breath, with this aching across various levels of my upper back, indicating where it is moving about, I guess.

SO LET ME HAVE A LITTLE FUN WITH THE RAIN WITHOUT FLAMING ME. If some of you bloggies haven't seen rain in awhile, photos included. Those of you who are sick of the subject, delete, delete, delete.

E-Mail to three friends a few hours ago:
We left house 12 noon. It was raining.
We arrived All Creatures Vet. Hosp. about 12:30 p.m; they were busy; boarded Luckie. It was raining.
We left ACVH about 1:05 p.m. It was raining.
We stopped briefly in Marshall for pit stop. It was raining.
We arrived at Ryan's in Conway about 3:15 p.m. It was raining.
We are now at La Quinta Inn, checked in 4:45 p.m.. It was raining.
It is 6:38 p.m. and it is still raining.
And tomorrow is a 90% sure bet it will still be raining.

It was hard to tell about autumn color, except near the Buffalo River and between Bokinburg and Clinton, but not very vibrant. However, with the RAIN, mist and foggy haze it was hard to tell about autumn color.

If you don't get the picture:
I've attached a few photos. I'm sure I could have saved my e-mail space, but don't want you to forget rain when we have drought next summer.

We both are worn out. I have the aching across my back that may indicate more than bronchitis. It moves around a bit. Have dull headache, no fever.Shelly is already zonked out, too.

A Mexican restaurant has opened next to motel. I doubt I'll eat there as Shelly hates Mex. food. We are in this boat together, and I think with the weather we should have come in a boat!

This last"raining" picture is my favorite STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA with windshield wiper almost perfectly diagonal...somehow appealed to me and just about said it all...a dreary, tiresome 150+ ride from Bull Shoals to Little Rock in the rain. Only thing to be was not ice, snow or fog.

If you missed my last post, It is blazing with color and is below this post. It might lift your spirits more, even if it was taken in a cemetery.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Seasonal Color!!!

Perhaps, it is my Autumn (October) birthday. Perhaps, it is because I am a devotee of color, no matter the medium; I have dabbled in pastels, oils, and settled into photography. Perhaps, it is the seasonal change most associated with color.

Whatever, the reason(s) Autumn IS my favorite season, despite the nasty allergies.

All photos were made in Maple Park Cemetery, Springfield. MO.

Friday, October 23, 2009


We arrived home about 1;30 P.M. today (Thurs.), after retrieving Luckie from her spa, and enduring the nearly 4-hour drive. It really wasn't monsoon level, but after such a wet year, including our 1000-year ice storm, it seems like it.

Even in the rain, the landscape was beautifully wrapped in its coat of many colors.

Wednesday morning I left LaQuinta Inn at dawn for the pathology lab to complete tests ordered by the endocrinologist before my appointment at 1:15 p.m. A beautiful sunrise greeted me as I approached my car so I flipped out my Canon and captured it. In a large city there is not nearly the scenic sunrise setting as in a rural or marine setting, but city folks deserve a beautiful sunrise, too.

I passed the lovely Maple Park Cemetery en route to my destination, thanks to Jezebel, my nagging GPS. She really is a pain when I refuse her suggested route: "at one tenth mile take a right and then a left," or "make U-turn immediately." Geez! a U-turn in the middle of a roundabout?! Whose smarter or safer, Jeze or me??? These are instructions Jezebel uses to coerce me to her designated route.

But today I obeyed her every word and was rewarded with this lovely find of a picturesque old cemetery in autumn blazing glory of hundreds of maple trees.
Following my afternoon appointment, I headed to the cemetery. I was so pleased it had paved paths wide enough for two vehicles, as well as a few gravel paths. A busload of visitors were enjoying the serene beauty. I could easily stop and exit the SUV, take a few photos, and move on, to repeat the procedure.

Today I'm posting two out of about 70 cemetery photos, plus a reminder we drove home in monsoon weather!!!
I hope these photos enlarge, if desired. I scheduled these posts and cannot consistently check them until they are published.

I hope all of you have lovely weekends. We are leaving for Little Rock Monday after (1) I do TeleCare, (2) repair man fixes ice dispenser, (3) I have a special council meeting, (4) we deliver Luckie back to the spa (5)and hopefully I have washed enough clothes to pack, all before noon.

We will bed driving south in Arkansas so I'm hoping for more autumn color. It is peak color in the northern tier of counties. The progression south is fascinating to me. I watched the same progression from Baltimore to South Carolina 40 years ago.

Thursday, October 22, 2009


In the continuing monsoon weather and seemingly monsoons in our litany of ailments, today we head home from Springfield MO to Mountain Home AR to pick up Luckie, to Bull Shoals. We might as well leave Luckie at her spa as she goes back Monday for our next medical trip to Little Rock-VA clinic for Husband.

I am very excited about a gem of a cemetery I found in Springfield. Its name and the season, should tell all--Maple Park Cemetery. It was so breathtakingly beautiful there were bus tours. Ha! All you who think I am ghoulish for loving cemeteries in all seasons-there are people paying to tour this one.

I accidently saw this large old cemetery because Jezebel (my GPS) took me by it on the route to my medical appointment Wed. a.m. As I had to return the same route in the afternoon for a second appointment, I was loaded for bear (took my trusty little Canon, even though I longed for my NIKON).

After the appointment, I drove to it and spent an hour snapping and absorbing the beauty of the trees. There just enough evergreens to enhance the color of the maples.

I also bought a new photo editing program at Sam's, Photoshop Elements, which I hope to make an album you can click on. I must have made 50 or so photos.

I'm not likely to have it all ready for Friday, but I bet I can snip one or two out for their beauty. In my books a maple tree does not need an artist.

The nicest part of this cemetery is its paved, winding driving path, and a few gravel routes. I could stop the SUV, leave it running (it is a hybrid--doesn't use gas when in park mode), get out and take a few shots, drive a little further, and repeat the process. It was as if the design was made for this old lady with shortness of breath, difficulty in walking, but a love of Nature, still in her old, still beating heart.

I needed something to lift my spirits and God provided me a bonus!

We both are feeling our age, especially with so many medical appointments crammed in a short period of time, and in a season that is known more for joy and thanksgiving. We have so many, I really do not know how we will have the strength for our usual seasonal activities.

And with so many unusual things popping up, like Vitamin D deficiency---geez -- it seems something else is just around the corner lurking.

But Wednesday, for a tiny length of time I experienced joy again at the beauty of the universe.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Today's History

Occasionally I like to pick some mundane date and see "what in the world" happened on that day, that made news or notable history.

So for October 20th, an otherwise boring, travel day for me, here goes:


--Louisiana Purchase: acquisition that doubled the territory of the United States was ratified by the Senate (1803)
I shall return": General Douglas MacArthur fulfilled his 1942 promise when he led an Allied army in freeing the Philippines from Japanese control in WWII (1944)
--Saturday Night Massacre: during Watergate, President Richard Nixon got rid of his special prosecutor, Archibald Cox, as well as his attorney-general, and deputy attorney-general (1973)
--Sydney Opera House: distinctive building on Sydney Harbour was opened by Queen Elizabeth II (1973)

Probably, in my opinion, one of the darker moments of US history was the opening of hearings of the House of UnAmerican activities. Sixty-two years ago today, the
House Un-American Activities Committee opened its investigation into alleged Communist influence in the motion picture industry. The first witness to take the stand was studio head Jack Warner, a rabid anti-Communist. As a result of hearings that took place over the next month, 10 screenwriters and directors, aka the Hollywood Ten, were cited for contempt of Congress and served a year in jail. Another 300 artists were boycotted by the studios. Blacklisted until the 60s, some wrote under pseudonyms; Michael Wilson and Dalton Trumbo were unable to collect Oscars they won under assumed names. The committee continued its investigations, changing its name to the Internal Security Committee in 1969. It was finally dissolved in January 1975.

The careers of many artists were impugned and ruined, because of a philosophical view, known more as progressive, rather than Communist. Interestingly the word "progressive" is being splatted across the national agenda today. Labeling is a dangerous, libelous practice.

Source of the ABOVE information: .

An even more detailed listing is available here .


For current events that may make this list in years to come? Read your newspaper; watch TV news; search the Internet!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Where Have I Gone?

Over the next three weeks, Husband (H) and I will be grudgingly in travel mode.

This week, Oct. 20-22 ,we have a 3-day trip to Springfield, MO for my appointment with endocrinologist which includes tests to see if my perceived Vit. D deficiency is correcting itself, or we have to pursue another diagnosis. Of course, there is the obligatory shopping and Luckie boards at her spa.

Then Oct 26-28 we will be in Little Rock, AR for H's hearing and ear checkup.....and more obligatory shopping, plus Luckie boards at her spa.

On Nov. 4 H, Best Friend and I see our allergy/asthma specialist, also in Little Rock, one day trip. And more obligatory shopping, but Luckie stays home.

Additionally, all of us seem to have a backlog of 6-month appointments with this that and some other physicians in November, including my oncologist.

I'm thinking of hibernation the rest of the year [no Thanksgiving or Christmas] if I live through all these physicians and tests. I don't know how we got in such a mess in one month.

So no telling when or what you will find in this space for awhile. My trusty notebook accompanies me everywhere, as does at least one camera. There is a new Sam's Club in Springfield near our lodging. I'm sure I'll check that out.

Maybe I'll post a Mickey Mouse movie! sing M-I- C-K-E-Y....M-O-U-S-E!

Who knows? I'm sure I'll post something, but the journalistic who, when, where and why probably not apply? Stay tuned for a wild ride.

However, today I am posting a YouTube modern hymn, I've learned to love. My bio indicates a love of gospel which usually means traditional. However, H and I have moved into a universalist emerging church philosophy which embraces new as well as old religious music.

This is one of my favorite new songs. The title is THE HIGHEST PLACE. [one of these days I'll learn to post these with more than a link, if I am ever free from appointments!]

Post Script: Apologies to those who cannot understand the YouTube link: It is the in ENGLISH but is some mission group in India and the only clip I could find of the song. The melody and English words are on the screen are correct.

Friday, October 16, 2009


A dollar short and a day late, or is it a day late and a dollar short?

Everything went wrong with my FOTO FRIDAY post last night. I have a hard time with photos, anyway. I have not learned the ins and outs of HTML. Obviously, I focus on other subjects!

Because of inclement weather and some chronic health problems photography has taken a back seat, but I had a couple of shots. I drove down my street and took what I called "Autumn from the Car Window," not too creative, but the point is to enjoy your hobbies, despite the constraints of health and age.

Then because I have an old portfolio of positive slide photography, I tried copying them by photographing them, that was not very successful. Even using a diffuser over my on-camera flash, there was some discernible "flash burn" on the "copy: of the print plus room light was not balanced. Guess I need to investigate another method to accomplish this further. I have a scanner with a slide copier attachment, but results have not been acceptable. The portfolio has some of my best works 20 years ago. I noticed the vibrancy of some of the prints have dulled, which was a tad depressing.

All of this was squished between daily duties, some annoying political events, shopping and a general grumpy day after another butt shot.

In early evening I began to compose the post. I almost had it done when it disappeared--I mean totally disappeared from the face of the earth! @#^&*+&%$#@!

So today I'm belatedly posting ONE photo not even taken by me. It was taken with my new little toy, Canon PowerShot A1000IS by a friend at the October Monthly Healthways Silver Sneakers Birthday Party.

I love this MSRO exercise class as it is designed for all levels of elderly conditions and I've made a lot of friends, some of which I've know from other levels of my 30 years here. Of course my political connections engage me in a lot of conversations I'd just as soon avoid, the most common of which, is "WHAT IS GOING ON WITH......?"

Silver Sneakers October 2009 Birthday Party
L-R: Dorothy, Connie, Ruby, John, Carol

Yep, that short (4' 9.75") fat (despite 25# less) 73 year old lady on the right is me. [BTW Dorothy, Left is 89! Hope I am still standing erect at 89, much less exercising!]

Careful on emphasis of "short" as my lack of height makes me eligible for Little People of America. I fear I might become indentured to work on the Rolof pumpkin farm which could probably use a few migrant workers now.

I love pumpkin....only in can or baked goods. How it gets there sounds like back breaking labor to me.

Everyone have a great weekend!!!

Commonality of Cancer Post Script

Post Script:

I wish to thank all of you for your response to my heart felt post, Commonality Of The "Big C"

Support of suffering is a commonality of humanity.

Cancer is such an all encompassing disease because of its complexity . If it were a single cause like a virus we would have long since had a cure.

Our best researchers often concentrate on specific treatments rather than origins, for prevention, because it is easier, results and funding more likely.

The secret may lie in the genesis of a cell, and every normal cell in our body is not identical; it specially designed in complexity and use, a marvel of the Creator of the Universe.

Despite my ethic and moral beliefs, I personally believe the answer lies in stem cell research, for innumerable answers to a variety of disease states.

In the meantime, all we have is each other, and in our own way we have to help each other. Cancer is a weary, depressing disease in so many ways, to the afflicted person and the extended family of friends and family.

I fear a universal health plan will diminish research funds available and some of us will be denied some treatments. However, I have blog comments from Canada and Great Britain of subjects very satisfied with their care, so I am hopeful.

Despite the massive advertising of prescription drugs by "American" firms, these firms are largely conglomerates of national and international firms.

Guess what: those international firms are doing the majority of the research in countries with universal health care.The national firms merge for the benefits of new drug offerings without research expense.

Now I must go and may get another post-birthday shot in the butt which is causing havoc and destruction of my diet. I ate the freezer door last night.

Have new heart soup recipe I can eat all day, so swinging by grocery store for ingredients.....It IS NOT cabbage soup-I hate cabbage.

If the sun comes out HA HA HA I may have some FOTOs for FOTO FRIDAY!! If not may draw on some old images, maybe not all autumn.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Commonality of the BIG "C"

Have mercy on me, O God, have mercy on me,
for in You my soul takes refuge.
I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings
until the disaster has passed.
[Psalm 57:1]

Today, an event in our blogging world has given me an opening to write on a subject, Cancer. I have written on this subject before, but today the parameters are different; today the subject is my personal observation and experience of areas in which anyone can be a servant in what may be the greatest hour of need for encouragement, hope, empathy and love.

If a person has an encounter with CANCER, he/she knows what is meant by the Big "C.'' Not 0nly does the person have cancer, but the disease permeates the immediate and extended family and friends who are consumed with the issue of a loved one with cancer, the support, needs and cares of the cancer patient, and surrounding surrogates.

Yet the disease seems, or even is, so isolating to the cancer patient. To the patient cancer is seemingly perceived a contagious condition deserving isolation; no one wishes to discuss, or be around anything labeled cancer. ONE MORE TIME, cancer is not contagious -- hereditary links, perhaps -- but not like the common cold!

Some persons truly do not know what to say or do (BTW just sitting silently, but exuding a pleasant, peaceful countenance is the best gift of all). Some persons deny its existence because they have not dealt with their own mortality.

One of the more amazing statistics of my brief blogging career is the number of persons who are cancer survivors, none of which I specifically sought, but delightfully I've met, welcomed and shared stories I did not expect. --THE COMMONALITY OF THE BIG "C."

I'm not sure how each of you began blogging. I took an 1-day blogging workshop and set out mostly writing and randomly reading other blogs. I used a search engine for topics, like Arkansas, Texas, Weight Watchers . Then I would check their blog lists for interesting topics and lurked around. I sought persons who were doting pet owners.

My own cancer survivor (kidney) experience is described in two blogs, Scripture to Go - Part 1 and Part 2. Many of you encountered breast cancer, but there is a Duke's mixture of bone, cervical, lung, too. Also a number of bloggers are caregivers to cancer patients--what absolutely wonderful angels you are!

Some of you have confided you nearly died. Some of you have formed your own cancer survivor support groups, because of the isolation and loneliness of the disease as I described, even as survivors. Some of us expressed the wish we had blogging during the acute phase of cancer, the long, lonely hours of chemotherapy and radiation.

With this train of thought I lift up to you today Janine Rusnak of Sniffles and Smiles. I drifted through her blog early from some one's blog list [I really don't remember who]. She is on Facebook, too.

Janine had breast cancer and is a survivor; she also was a caregiver for her beloved Mother who was diagnosed with terminal ovarian, breast and lung cancer, very soon after Janine's chemotherapy ended. TODAY Janine is having a procedure near the site of her original surgery to determine if her cancer may have returned. She has written of some experiences in her blog.

Fellow bloggers, Faye and Jackie, Facebook friends of Janine's have graciously requested I post this simple WINGS OF HOPE photo today on my blog, which I would willingly do for anyone. These bloggers, Janine and I are on Facebook, but my Facebook use is fledging at best.

If you desire to send encouragement, hope and speedy recovery messages, I suggest you visit Janine's blog, leave an encouraging comment on her latest post and post this photo in comments (if possible) or in your blog, if you so wish. She has tons of comments, but she reads every single post!!! She may not respond immediately until her recovery allows her the strength.

Or you may link to my post, if you so desire.

And a tiny bit of my perverse humor: Tuesday (Oct. 13) I celebrated the 34th anniversary of my 39th birthday with a sightseeing visit to my physician's office where I was the proud recipient of a shot in the butt. How is that for creative birthday celebration!!!

Such thoughtfulness deserves a tad of respect so I lurked over to Jackie's blog, Teacher's Pet , and Faye's blog, Sleepless In Gainesville; both are very humorous.

But now, this is what the LORD says--he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine. [ISAIAH 43:1 NIV

Monday, October 12, 2009

Thou Shalt Not Kill - Mother's Protective Pacificism & Innocence

Mother was a stay-at-home homemaker, both her and Dad's choice. She had a delicate nervous system and was subject to prolonged deep depressions, but my deepest, ingrained memory of her was her "grizzly bear" protective pacifism.

Never calling attention to herself, Mother was gentle, innocent, quiet and soft-spoken, raising her voice only to make a point when all else failed.

I remember how shocked she was when Dad and I would talk "shop" after I joined the business world. She was totally amazed people would outright lie on credit applications, shoplift, write bogus checks, or in my profession, deceive me into selling them codeine cough syrups requiring a signature, after they and visited at least 10 other pharmacies, or "dropped their bottle in the toilet" to get a refill earlier than legally permissible. It only took a couple of tricks before I called physicians about these stories..

Mother once commented, "I don't how you can work every day and contend with crooks!" Of course, everyone was not a crook, but, as is human nature, Dad and I talked about the bad ones, a few of which we mutually knew.

No doubt, of the Ten Commandments, the most important was #6, "Thou Shalt Not Kill (KJV)," despite other Scripture to the contrary. Some versions are translated, "You shall not murder."

Because of her belief, discussion of violence, justified or unjustified, was common in our household, as we grew up. What about wars? Hunting for food? Capital punishment? Euthanizing animals? Swatting flies and stepping on spiders? Inquiring minds want to know!

Of course, there were Biblical images of a wrathful, avenging God, wars of total annihilation of life and livelihood, the Cities of Refuge, and "an eye for and eye, a tooth for a tooth" edict.

It was another 'Tis a Puzzlement" from The King and I musical.

Married in 1920, both were high school graduates. Dad attended a regionally known business college in Abilene, TX. Both had strict Christian beliefs, albeit, differing doctrines which eventually were reconciled as one.

Mother may have always been a protective pacifist; I'm sure it intensified when they adopted a daughter (me) after 10 years of childless marriage. After two years they had a biological son, followed two years later by adoption of another daughter.

Other than discipline, Mother abhorred violence in any form including child's play, children's toys (BB and water guns, cap pistols, toy tanks, soldiers, etc.), sports and some sports equipment like baseball bats, news stories, TV crime and Westerns, any weapon, even if it was a household utensil--knives, forks.

Somehow discipline in the form of "paddling" was not included in the definition of violence, and did not end in killing or murder, although I knew how to scream "bloody murder!"

She dutifully read the Biblical stories, many of which are violent and scary. How pacifist is being swallowed by a whale?

Dad never went on hunting trips with business clients, relenting to her worry of accidents and her aversion to killing or murdering life with respiratory systems.

I remember her weeping when Dad came home from a tour of an army camp near our hometown, Camp Bowie. The camp was a training camp and interment center primarily for German POWs .

Periodically, Camp Bowie held "open house" to showcase its training procedures, one of which was navigating a mine field. Dad regaled he successfully navigated the "unarmed mine fields", except for one. The image of his being blown to smithereens was too vivid.

Another side of Mother was seen less frequently. If her husband or children were maligned unjustly she became a frightening grizzly bear in her protective mode. No one spoke badly or unjustly of her family; impugning the family reputation was tantamount to murder.

In the serene environment siblings were never exposed to domestic violence, loud arguments, flying utensils or life-ending threats. Yes, parents had arguments and disagreements but not in front of us. If these arguments ever involved us, none of us knew. Further. whatever the disagreement concerned, when it was over, it was over. They always presented a united front.

There was never opportunity to "play" one parent against the other.

In retrospect I know we siblings were blessed to have wise, unselfish parents who did not need Dr. Spock to create a safe environment of refuge for the family unit.
PHOTO - Mother and Me. This is copy of a studio setting known as the MADONNA pose. It was sepia toned in this copy but Mother had some tinted, too. It is hard to imagine no cameras, no color, no Instamatics. My brother has Mother's earliest know camera, a Kodak Box camera.
Post Script: Today was a Public Memorial Service for our Harp's Food Market Manager murdered last Monday. It was beautifully conducted with over 200 in attendance. I left my Life Group meeting early to attend this service.

One of my favorite hymns was sung a capella by a local musician. In my funeral singing days this was a favorite selection (I sang alto).

These days it is still one of my old time favorites for any occasion, and a great song of comfort and on my list for my own funeral of only music, reading of obituary and friends commentary--absolutely no sermon.

Read the inspiration for this hymn, IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL or history, story and musical performance here or here, and probably 100+ other places on YOU TUBE.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


We had 4 inches of rain from about 10 p.m.Thursday to early this Friday a.m. Parts of town claimed 6 inches.

The cold front which collided with a much warmer front moved south of us and is drenching the rest of Arkansas, while moving eastward. Earlier in the week we had 2 inches 0f rain, so now, Friday, we've had 6 inches and one more day to go. The forecast is for at least two rainless days...wait and see is the key.

Update on Small Town Tragedy:
The weapon used in the murder/suicide did not belong to the alleged perpetrator. There is nothing to gain by speculation but to let the law enforcement agencies do their job. The only other clue printed in news releases is the manager's office gave the appearance of a scuffle occurring at some point.

Before this horrific event, there had been two restaurant break-ins and several residences. Small change or portable items of value were taken while larger items of much greater value were not. These events. some of which have been solved, point to the difficult economic times. However, in a small community where 55% of 2000+ population are above age 60, anxiety and vulnerability levels elevate with news of petty lawlessness or catastrophic events.

I shopped in the grocery store today and so did others. The store was closed for two days, and reopened Thursday. Employees were helpful. A local minister was located outside the building, seemingly to help those who need some counseling.

NOW A FEW PHOTOS-not anything special today. However, brief excursions between showers captured a few items of interest. I was impressed there were still wildflowers in full array. I missed several shots as I would have had to climb in and out of our open drainage ditches--not a good idea for 73 yr old 4'10" old lady with double knee prostheses.

Raindrops on Deer Netting
If this photo will enlarge, it looks more like tiny floralettes around each intersection of the netting material. The camera was perpendicular to the netting so the drops actually magnify the intersection of the netting.

Dogwood Assume Autumn Color
I have 3 Dogwoods, two of which indigenous to property: one with red berries, one without, which may indicate male/female dogwoods side and side. The third dogwooda pink/red) was planted this spring after we lost 8 mature trees the 1000 -year ice storm.

Poison Ivy Displays its Coat of Many Colors

Despite being a nemesis to most of us, poison ivy arrays tree trunks, fences, and
the ground in this vacant lot with color,ranging from yellow to crimson.

Red, White and Blue
I spotted these little delicate flower
next to the fire hydrant on my block.

Delicate White Flowers Macro
These are the same flowers as above by fire hydrant.

Sumac - Early Harbinger of Autumn*

I am known for not always focusing on the 'perfect' subject. Everything is perfect in the Creator's creation. We are the viewers with the imperfect eye.

The Redbud leaf under the post title has not begun to change to its usual yellow. Something has eaten the lower half of the leaf. It was taken at the same time and after the same rain shower as the deer netting.

*I am not a plant expert. This appears to be sumac. Usually sumac is found in clusters. There were a few sumac-like shrubs on this vacant lot.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Small Town Tragedy

Tuesday morning amid clashes of loud thunder and downpours, my home town is reeling from a violent murder-suicide in the local grocery store Monday evening about 5:00 p.m.

A male perpetrator entered the grocery store, asked to speak with the store manager, shot the manager with a handgun and turned the gun on himself. Although the details of the encounter are sketchy at this point, it is reported that the meeting took place in the manager's office.

The local police department is located at City Hall, the block immediately behind the store. Customers probably were first aware of the tragedy upon arrival of the police. It is unlikely there were eyewitnesses to the tragedy, although some reports say shots were heard in the store.

This story lead sounds like the makings of a movie thriller, but when it is close and personal, it casts a shadow of disbelief and grief over a small community of 2000+ citizens. This is life and death tragedy for two families, a group of employees and a small community, NOT a movie.

The grocery store is 2.5 blocks from my home. I was taken by surprise as Husband and I were away from the scanner, eating supper, when the calls began.

When an event of this magnitude breaks in a small community, city officials' phones ring constantly. Our community has no local communications, but relies on cable TV stations, radio stations and newspapers in nearby communities.

I am no exception as alderman for the ward in which the tragedy happened. Phone calls and e-mails flooded in. I was busy squelching rumors and dispensing what information I knew. No, there was no one loose on foot.....but you should lock all your doors regardless, every day. Yes, two persons are dead...the store manager and one other person (later I learned the identity of the other person).

While investigation of the incident is still ongoing, a few facts are established. The store manager is dead as is the perpetrator, a husband of a former employee.

What provoked such violence is speculative at this point. There appears to have been managerial differences between the store manager, and the assistant manager, wife of the perpetrator. Her status appears to be former assistant manager, having left her position recently, if preliminary information is accurate.
Reader comments to the local article in The Baxter Bulletin cast some light on an ongoing personnel conflict in the store, but other comments are crude and cruel.

The unemployed assistant manager is now a widow and head of household with two dependents all in grief and shock. She is a member of a large family native to the area.

The store manager was a widower close to retirement. Details of surviving family are not known yet.

How could such a tragedy have been avoided? Does the small grocery chain upper management bear any responsibility? It is rumored the assistant manager allegedly requested transfer to a different area store, but upper management seemingly ignored the request, letting the differences continue to simmer.

Employees carry home their work-related difficulties, discussing their point of view of situations with their spouses and others. Usually, the situations correct themselves in numerous peaceful ways, acceptance, other employment, transfers.

Something went terribly, tragically wrong on Monday at 5:00 p.m.

Below are some additional news links.
The Ozarks
Springfield (MO) News Leader

Tuesday, October 06, 2009


Today provided one of life's little pleasures, an unanticipated moment, at least for this old lady (old beating heart, but often metaphorically young at heart.)

Thursday was one of those days. I had a flu shot on Wednesday, even though I had chronic bronchitis. My physician OK'd the shot. Its effect plus other meds did not make for a "feeling well" day Thursday (nor Friday).

After stopping at City Hall to pick up city related mail and small stipend for the previous month's work, I made a pass by the bank drive-thru to cash the check. Then I drove to an overlook to make the "landmark on Bull Shoals Dam" shots for FOTO FRIDAY before returning home.

I did not lock my SUV for the short photo session.

Once home I decided to count my cash--OOPS-- $5 short. I called the bank, but the drive-thru teller, a friend, left for the day. The friendly teller who answered my call said the teller balanced for the day. Short of breath, I left the house to the SUV twice to see if it slipped out of the envelope. NOPE!

However, I reasoned if some one was going to steal $5, why not take the whole $45 envelope? It was all there for the taking.

Friday I vegetated with laptop and TV. However, my friendly teller called to tell me she had realized the shortage after I drove away; my $5 was safely in an envelope awaiting another drive-thru by me. NOT FRIDAY!

Saturday, I trekked to the SUV for a trip to WalMart and a few needed groceries for Life Group Potluck.

Bad news! the Start Battery was DEAD (this is a Hybrid). I had not shut the driver's door after Thursday's searches . Husband charged it up and I completed my shopping. However, I noted the backup camera and sensors were non- functioning.

Saturday and Sunday are not days to search for an automotive electronics expert, so it was the main task for today, Monday. With two phone calls I found an expert in Mountain Home, about a 30 minute round trip from home.

Access to his location was difficult, requiring a left turn across a 2-lane US highway with an intersection. The proprietor gave me directions to his business which avoided the potential traffic hazards with which I was familiar.

I knew the directions but seldom used the route; today I did. There were several photo ops along this route. I had my recently purchased "car camera" with me (Canon PowerShot A1000IS).

However, I continued to my destination. The expert fixed the problem in less than 30 minutes. I hardly understood a word he or his lovely wife said, but he only charged me a minimum fee. I profusely thanked them.

Knowing I would return the same route, I turned on the Canon. One spot was a beautiful large pond with many geese and ducks. I thought I saw two swans but they were so far away, I'm not sure. I doubt swans could winter here.

Safely parking the car, I stepped through a multitude of down feathers--must be shedding time--toward the pond. Geez! these ducks were not timid. I was besieged withraucous quackery, no doubt thinking I brought afternoon treats. The geese stayed on the opposite side of the pond, not accessible with vehicle or camera.

Two sets duck scouts waddled out of the water in a hurry to check me out, followed by two small patrols marching in duck squad formation.

This photo op stop made my otherwise mundane day! I paused to enjoy the moment with the quackers. I'm sure the ducks expected treats, but I had none.

I proceeded further up the street, turned around and came back by the quacker squadron lined up along the road with puzzled looks. Glad they weren't armed, or I might have been in trouble.

Then I stopped to make a scenic rustic post and hay bales I spotted as I turned on to the busy US highway toward home.

[The pond is worth a second trip with NIKON and the longer telephoto!]

PHOTOS [I gotta learn how to place captions one of these days]

Top to Bottom: (1) Rustic Post + Round Hay Bales; (2) Quacker Scouts #1; (3) Quacker Scouts #2; (4) Quacker Patrol Squad #1; (5) Quacker Patrol Squad #2.

I hope these photos will enlarge with click or double click. I tried a new technique in placing them.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Foto Friday - Fall Color

Fall Color is beginning to inch into my area of Arkansas. Fifty miles from here near Harrison the sumac brush has already displayed the brilliant orange to deep red leaves. A second trip only two weeks later, the seed heads had formed and the color was brown and dead.

Bountiful rainfall and relatively cooler summer temperatures may account for earlier-than-normal color and may predict peak color earlier than last two weeks of October. Highway 7 from Missouri line through Hot Springs, AR is the nationally known tourism trek in Arkansas. I doubt I will make any of that long trek through the Ozark and Ouachita Mountains this year.

Here are a few photos of early Autumn color in my area of North Central Arkansas.

▲Nandinas are changing to their seasonal colors

and soon will have traditional red berries.
▲Nandinas- color in flux
▲What kind of Japanese Maple do I have? This small tree (now a shrub but hopefully will grow into small tree) seemingly has two kinds of leaves!!
▲ Another view of same Japanese Red Maple (Weeping feathery leaf)
▲PortaPot Pit Stop on Bull Shoals Dam
A road construction project in progress for several months has necessitated the placement of a PortaPot for convenience of workers. Its arrival and bright color has amused locals. The inconvenience of one way traffic light controlled traffic is less amusing. [Plan to get a better shot of this amusing landmark when I have some good light. Lots of clouds and rain have reined photography efforts.]