Wednesday, May 30, 2012


Weird Shaped Grape On This Cluster
You decide!

In recent months I have minimally stayed on my chosen diet by eating a lot of fruit and a few veggies. In this process my favorite fruit has become red seedless grapes, followed by sweet red cherries, a few pears and white nectarines.

This past week I bought grapes from two sources. I wash, drain and discard  stem clusters before storing grapes in closed containers in the fridge. Among one bunch I found the unique red seedless grape I have ever seen.
This unique grape sent me into one of my periods of theory and meditation. Sometimes I, being a person of fervent Biblical faith and also a person trained in a discipline that required considerable science courses, both general and specialized, find myself with a lot of WHYs?

Sectional Grape
[not my best Macro]
Why did this one grape in the same cluster not repeat the genetic map of its companions? Now this one little grape fueled larger questions, nothing new. These WHYs have been asked by far smarter persons than I, from the beginning of time, whenever that began.

In its simplest definition a cancer is a cell gone wrong. Believe me that is very SIMPLE, as research keeps adding conditions. Some believe everybody is born with cancer cells in us. I have not yet arrived there, but I do believe once you have it, and survive, you are in remission, until it reoccurs, or you die from some other malady.

I always have suspected that theory even before I had cancer. But I hounded my kidney surgeon with "did you get it all?" until in exasperation he said, "I got all except what may have escaped microscopically." AH HA! But it has been nearly 16 years and I still believe this personal concept.

My brother's prostate cancer has returned after about 10 years. It is in situ, that is same, or only one place, not metathesized, and he is currently in radiation treatment. I believe he will be in remission again soon.

And yet I believe in a God whose Creation is PERFECT. So I usually come to a few simple conclusions. We, being every generation that has populated the earth from the beginning of mankind on this planet, probably created, and continue to create, situations that result in the appearance of imperfection.

This is just one little philosophy I often ponder, usually conclude that ONE DAY I hope to know WHY.

Now since I have finished this epistle, which may have bored you ad infinitum, here is an almost unrelated question: how many sections in the deformed grape, which may have been the beginning of a single grape, can you count?

It looks like the vine started a grape, changed it mind, and restarted the process, whatever that is, over and over again.

I will post my answer in comments in a couple of days. Hint: it is an uneven #.

PHOTOS: NitWit1 unless otherwise attributed. I am still playing with the diopter macro lens as is clearly visible. I am hunting a small tripod sturdy enough for my somewhat heavy camera.

Monday, May 28, 2012


I have walked among the fallen at Arlington Cemetery and smaller national cemeteries as well as community, church, family and private cemeteries. Today a majority will have decorated the graves of those fallen in all the wars of this country or served in the military.

In the midst of parades, hot dogs, hamburgers other festive activities, remember freedom is not free, and the privilege to celebrate in any manner we choose, has been bought with the blood of the vigilants who volunteer to protect, even die, for our right to choose any way of life we choose. We are a unique country with a unique military mission: freedom.

Currently my husband (H) has one nephew who is a career Marine and has served two tours of duty in Iraq (I think.) He has another nephew who finished a tour of military duty and transitioned to highly secret protective services, mainly at embassies. H's brother also served in the Navy.

My brother served a tour of duty in the Navy.  My half-brother served in the Seabees and was the victim of a friend with PTSS who had a flashback on a hunting trip--shot his comrades and himself. As I understand the story, my half-brother was the only survivor; he was shot in the back.

My mother's father fought in the Mexican War; and some ancestor, the Civil War.

My husband served in the Navy for over 2o years and retired. His record of service classifies him as being three theaters of war: Vietnam, Cold War, and Cuban Missile Crisis. The nearest to being in combat was the Cuban Missile Crisis where his ship was in sight of the Havana Harbor lights when President Kennedy cancelled the mission.

I was married to him nearly 10 years of his 20 years duty. Today I want to mention those who died in duty, but not necessarily in combat; fate chose a different path. I personally know one young man who died in a mundane vehicular accident in training with unique equipment of war. My husband tells stories of 'man overboard' and lost at sea, usually described accidental, but who knows.

Because my husband uses his Veteran Administration privileges, I often accompany him to Little Rock. My first visit was so profound, I found it hard to return, but have because what I witnessed, was done for my freedom and our country. It wasn't so much the maimed brave men who were dependent on others to help them move wheelchairs or gingerly walk with one or more prostheses that shocked me; it was the sight of YOUNG men so mentally damaged as to be plucking imaginary objects out of the air, or the stare in space, more often seen in elderly persons with various dementias.

Although alive, they will never know the full freedom I know. So be thankful for them, also, as they bravely face a different war within themselves. Many have lost more than limbs or mental capacities.

Often families are crushed from the burdens. I watched this stress first hand. Wives (now sometimes husbands) are responsible for everything. Her husband belongs to the Country first. She is in total charge of children and herself in every aspect from daily routines of school, health, moving from station to station, passports, etc. and there is always the fear of the military attache knock on the door. Then her husband returns and she has to assume a different role; that is a difficult transistion, often repeated when a husband (or wife) has multiple deployments.

We owe a debt we cannot pay to these fallen men and women. There is NOT enough THANK YOUs in our lifetime to them, and their families. In midst of our celebration (mine will be quiet day with husband, who even volunteered for Vietnam but not chosen) give thanks there are those who step up in a special way, despite the direst possible circumstances. There always has been, and hopefully always will be. Or we would not be Americans.

Thursday, May 24, 2012


Darkling Black Beetle, Commonly Known in US West as Stink
Bug -  Maximum Zoom Telephoto Macro Capacity PLUS 2+
Diopter CloseUp Add-On Lens;
SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera)
Even though Coward's Corner has been "under the radar" for a week, we are not without humor. It seems my medical condition, albeit may be my medicines, have slowed me to a turtle's pace in accomplishing what I perceive my daily routines throughout the week. I feel fairly well and am on my feet a majority of the day, but my 'to do' list never is shortened which is exasperating.

Before regaling some of this week's tribulations, I post an interesting photo I captured in our back yard, using another of my new camera gadgetry.
Darkling Black Beetle, Commonly Known in US West as Stink
Bug - Maximum Zoom Telephoto Macro Capacity (No +2
Diopter Close Up Lens Add-On)

SOOC -Straight Out of Camera 
This photo is a Darkling Beetle, belonging to a very large world-wide family beetles of various colors, shapes and sizes, all known for their malodorous scent emitted from a rear gland when excited or threatened. 

I have seen this species in Texas and now Arkansas, as well as several other species I found searching on the Internet. I think the one in my yard was dead, or maybe it can fake dead, but I did NOT try to find out. My allergies have had more than enough with which to contend this Spring. Two men visiting next door from New Jersey also recognized the beetle instantly.

The joy of this maloderous photo was I had time, albeit only a few minutes, to play with what is known as Closeup lens or diopters which come in different magnifications like +1, +2, +4 & +10. These so called 'plus' lens mount on the front of a zoom telephoto or even a standard lens. My particular lens' built-in macro capacity is at full extension of the zoom. I used a +2 to expand the macro image to obtain a size that would fill the photo frame. For me it is perfect; I cannot justify the cost of a true Macro lens for such casual use.

Fogged Window Pane (Inside View)
Now the major trial of the week pertained to our insulating windows we installed in 1999. These units replaced the shoddy manufactured ones which kept out rain, but not much else. We bought 12 windows and a window box, all of which had an excellent lifetime warranties transferable to next owner of house. One of the guarantees is free replacement if a window'fogged.'

I admit we are not window washer addicts. Recently my housekeeper and husband with our assistance washed all the windows inside and out. Only then did we notice one was foggy. I'm sure the  manufacturer wished we had left them dirty!

Fogged Window - Outside View
After 3 calls to the window and siding company in Hot Springs with only excuses for non-service, I made a not so friendly 4th call, insinuating they were stalling by not returning my call, because of the approximate 200 mi drive one way. Further they surely did not mind the drive, when we forked over $6000+ in 1999, a period of time we were not as financially secure.

The phone person, (after hemming and hawing a bit), said, well, if I would take photos, photocopy my warranty package, and decipher a very faded blue tag of unfathomable numeric information on the window edge, they would try to order it without the usual visit from an adjuster.
Although I was miffed I had to do all the leg work I agreed; it took the better part of one day, but fortunately my printer can make photocopies as well as photos, and I surely had the camera for the job, which was "no brainer."

Fogged Window - Outside View
This was a sliding, bypassing window which I call casement windows. We have three of this type, as well as 7 standard 'up and down' windows in addition to the window box. If you cannot see which of the set of two windows in the casement is fogged, I think you may need to visit your optometrist or opthomalogist. The difference between the two windows is like having a cataract on one eye, and none on the other!

The photocopies mailed Wednesday and should be in Hot Springs Friday.

Mushrooms in the Mulch -1
Earlier in the week, while running up the water bill, I discovered these 'past their prime' lovely mushrooms. I believe fellow blogger Abraham Lincoln said this species of mushrooms are common in mulches, which is exactly where I found these lovely, albeit past prime, mushrooms.

Besides the window fiasco, I had an appointment  with my opthomalogist Wednesday, for glaucoma check, refraction recheck and some kind of retina exam. My vision since immediately following cataract surgery has improved from 20/30 to near 20/20. I drive without glasses and only use readers from various drug stores, Dollar Stores or WalMart  for reading. I am pleased as punch.

Since we were in the big city of Mountain Home (ha!), I carried all my nicer matched pantsuits to a dry cleaner. I am beginning to get into some of them with my weight loss. I wore one to church last Sunday and nearly had an asthma attack from 3-5 years accumulation of dust (and probably dust mites). I found out dry cleaning has gone up beaucoup!
Mushrooms in the Mulch-2
 Then we went to a glass shop to have Plexiglas cut to use as back splashes in both bathrooms around the lavatories to protect the new paneling from water splashes, electric toothbrush/toothpaste splatters, etc.  Also not a cheap idea as there are only four little pieces.

So we decided we might as well take in Western Sizzlin'. At least I would not have to prepare much for supper.

We also made the IBC/Hostess bread outlet which is more economical than so-called discount grocery stores.

Finally arriving home I  had a load of wash to do or get further behind, and put up our purchases. Here I sit trying to get a post written and photos are not yet edited.
Mushrooms in the Mulch - 3

Thursday is my day to play secretary for 4 hours at church. I actually look forward to this as it is usually quiet. I read my Kindle (now reading THE SOURCE by Michenor), the Baxter Bulletin, literature in the office, play Free Cell on their computer and enjoy down time. Occasionally, it is not so quiet.

After leaving work, it is back to the big city to pick up the Plexiglas. Stage is having a Memorial Day clothing sale, so I may drop by to check it out. They have some nice brands. I saw a lovely embroidery top I thought might look nice with slacks for church. I haven't shopped for clothes in years. I have two 25% off coupons, too!

Friday I am home and hope it is a tad less busy even though there will be another hamper of clothes to wash. I have some TeleCare reports to write for City Council next week. That is my only connection with the City these days.
Oh yeah, on Tuesday the TeleCare phone was on the blink. Somehow it is my duty to furnish tech support. I don't remember this appointment, but I'm old and this group has been in existence 10 years.

Empty Robin's Nest?
SATURDAY??? It's off the Springfield, MO with another couple to shop Sam's Club for church projects and probably eat at the Golden Corral. I can't say this week will be good for my diet as we also ate out Sunday brunch at Gaston's Resort Restaurant.

AND MAJOR DISAPPOINTMENT--I seemed to have missed the baby robins. The nest appears empty. I took a step stool out to peer in the nest which for an average height person is not too high. But I could not get the stool steady enough to climb past the first step--not enough. I knew a broken hip was not worth a photo of an empty nest, or even baby robins or robin eggs.  Woe is me.

BUT I CAPTURED A STINK BUG BEETLE, the 'skunk' of the beetle family!

And I hope to be around to see all of you Sunday afternoon.....

PHOTOS: by NitWit1 unless otherwise attributed.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012


 Do you have some tool or item that you simply cannot do without, either bought, handmade, or adapted?

This short (4'10"), somewhat overweight, 75 year old lady with two knee prostheses has several, two of which I feature today. In addition to these, I have a rollator I use on occasion to transport items while I stroll, a garden cart we haul in the loot of my shopping sprees, and numerous step stools/ladders, two of which are safety enhanced, and several canes with and without legs.

I also have a foam garden kneeling pad which I use when I absolutely have to get on the floor or ground. The so-called knee cap prostheses do not hurt so bad when gingerly lowering myself to ground level.

The pad also assists in my ability to get myself upright, along with a sturdy chair. My orthopedic surgeon taught me these tricks. This way my skinny husband does not have to be a hoist. Occasionally a little assistance on his part may be needed.
Reacher (top) & Duster Mop (bottom)
Some of these items are only used occasionally, but the two items today, a REACHER [Carex Aluminum Reacher in the link provided] and my personally handmade duster/mop are KEEPERs.

Beware! this cut-throat, definitely low-photographer's salary is such a bedsheet converted to paint drop cloth is the only background material found of sufficient length for photos of these tools. Really high tech innovation. Not to mention, these are not inspirational photos. I would not make a "catalog" photographer, believe me!
'Business" end of Reacher with Magnet in End
and a Claw Pincher with Elasticized Cord
Which Reached to a Pistol like Handle at
Opposite End of Device
The reacher is a versatile tool for far more than getting a cup off the top shelf of a ceiling high cabinet.  I have used it to get clothes out of the dryer. WHY? The top loading dryer is deeper than my short arms can reach!--Unless I dive in head first with feet sticking in the air! Then there is definitely several other problems --like hoisting me out, and probably re-washing and dryig the clothes!

I have retrieved dog toys from just about everywhere they may have been pitched. I picked up clippings from pruning, retrieved dead leaves from within Yucca plants. Oh yeah, the end has a magnet so many small metal objects -nails., screws, coins (finders keepers) are easily found and retrieved with very little bending.
Operator' End of Reacher
with Pistol Grip & Pistol Trigger
There are several styles and I have had two. This one has never failed me. I bought one that was featured on a shopping network and sold in places featuring "As Seen On TV" items. The TV one had rubber suction cups; it was totally useless to me and went to a new home in some spring or fall clean-up. That is not to say, other styles may be as, or more, useful than my choice which I have owned at least 10 years. It may not look stout, but it is lightweight. I have used it to retrieve gallon size detergents from shelving above my head in the washroom.

It is especially a lifesaver , if bending over severely, or reaching upward, causes discomfort, or is not recommended for certain health conditions.
Now to my innovation of a common cleaning tool in many homes--Swifter Duster. I have owned most of  Swifter early products. Currently, I own Swifter Wet Jet and Swifter Duster. I use Swifter Duster in its conventional configuration and my innovation which came out  desperation--mainly being so short and having to climb, and occasionally fall.
Original Swifter Blue Tool
[There Is a Yellow Tool Now]
Yes, I have a House Cleaner every two weeks, but there are still occasions I dust and there is always dog hair, dirt tracks, and atmospheric dust and debris.

I had discarded the manual Swifter Sweeper as I considered it inefficient and not cost effective for a house with pets, or a house with more vinyl than carpet. I ran through boxes of floor pads and did not find the floors as clean as I expected. I kept the extension handles.[The floor pads were pretty good for dusting, too.]
The  Swifter Duster Position for FLOOR Dusting
[Insert Tool Where Fluffy stuff Is Opposite
This Photo and Your Ready for Overhead Work]
One day while pondering how I was going to dust the washroom, especially the top of the freezer, tops of cabinet doors, nooks and ceiling corners for spider webs, etc., one of those rare light bulbs appeared in my tired old brain. Since duct tape is the salvation of any innovator I grabbed a roll, the two extension handles, and a Swifter duster and taped them altogether.

VOILA! I could reach just about everything, standing on the floor. It would even creep under the washer/dryer/freezer a tad, too. If I turned the Swifter handle one way when inserting it in the duster, it was magnificent for overhead doors, trim, cupboard door tops, etc. If inserted differently, it was great for a dry mop for a small area, and far more efficient than the original Swifter pads.

Also, I have sprayed Pledge or  Endust on the fluffy blue pads which remind me of house shoes for some strange

I noticed I need a small duct tape repair--no problem.

PHOTOS: by NitWit1, unless otherwise attributed (although I am not too happy with these.)

Friday, May 11, 2012


Ready to Read?
[Definitely not what I saw mind!]
Artists, photographers, writers, poets and other creative persons often complain the MUSE or inspiration betray them.

I, being an amateur in several of the abovementioned persons, can sometimes commiserate with these people.

In general, when I am feeling as normal as is possible for a 75ish female soul, and time and weather are cooperating with my health deficiencies, set out with my camera in my home, yard or somewhere I have mentally noted a photo opportunity. Sometimes I am the joyful snapshooter, and other times, I am serious about composition, light and other facets of my meager training in photography.

Months ago, and I do mean MONTHS, the above setting in the vestibule of our church caught my eye. Months ago the chairs had a lovely upholstery and character, but the lamp had no bulb in it, and a candle and Bible sat on the table.

I work in the church office every Thursday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

I kept thinking of the setting in my mind. I remembered to bring an energy saving bulb, but it did not fit the lamp so the lamp shade would stay on. Strike 1! I carried the bulb home.

Several weeks I forgot to include bulb or camera among items I carry with me. [This is not a hard job; primarily I am there to answer the phone.] There is a library, but I usually carry my Kindle along with fruit to munch and emergency heart meds, should I need them. Usually I am there alone with doors locked.

Finally a week ago, I remembered both light bulb and camera. I had not paid any attention to the setting in a few weeks.

After I settled in, I installed the light bulb and set about arranging the chairs. Yikes! Someone had put some awful colored covers over the beautiful antique !upholstery! I can find no words to express my dismay. Those are the ugliest covers I have ever seen, not to mention they appear to be haphazardly installed. Strike 2!

I took one shot and realized the light bulb was too bright; I was using available light (no flash). Between my errant choice of wattage and the seat covers, I was disheartened I had let a beautiful (in my mind) setting slip away.

However, I was determined to come away with something so I did, what I love to do: zero in on a small portion of the photo in my mind, which was the table where I had placed several books from the church library with my new Kindle Touch. It is sort of a "macro mode" in my mind. No Strike 3, I hoped.

Even though the two photos do not reach the imagery of my mind, it sure beats those ugly chairs which were, to me, beautiful with the antique, albeit yellowed, upholstery! I slightly favor the second shot. I had a polarizer on but could not eliminate all the glares but did eliminate quite a few.

I would have lit the candle for the cozy atmosphere in my mind, but I did not wish to responsible for burning down the church building for a photo!

PHOTOS: by NitWit1 unless otherwise attributed.

Ready to Read - 1
Ready to Read -2

Wednesday, May 09, 2012


No post-mortem crash with my computer clean-up. I did not do what is called 'returning a computer to factory settings,' the hardest, but sometimes, the only way to solve a problem.

I had what is called a (mirror) image of my hard drive, which can made in a shorter time than a full backup. I also had a full  backup but decided to go for the image, for several reasons. The IMAGE was not quite a year old, but I knew the date it was made, everything seemed to be working fine, especially the items about which I had concerns.

Backups were made of user files like Quicken financial backups, photos, text files. All went well except I have been unable to get my address book back exactly to my liking but, enough to at least get back on line.

My last TASK is to figure how I plan to keep my photos. Since I have two external hard drives of 1 Terabyte each, both of which easily connect USB to my laptops, I am going to store them in some manner, probably by age on one of these drives. I also have several thumb drives and digital cards for  two cameras, plus my husband has a camera.

So I will be back in the saddle again soon. I have needed to do this job for several months, and finally bit the bullet when my favorite game FREE CELL, started acting up.....don't mess with me and FREE CELL.

Now, I have my annual non-computer, spring and summer dose of  'no see 'ums' a nearly invisibly insect, which seems to love me. I am scratching from head to toe, very bad thing since I am taking a blood thinner and bruise easily--I should say very easily, as I bruised easily before I ever took a blood thinner.

I wandered out to prune some old climbing roses, not the Blazer I have posted many photos. Husband built a hog wire trellis and I wanted to start some good climbers. I cut all the thick extensions which had no blooms, and am not yet finished. I have no idea what kind of climber this is, either, because it was also on the lot when we moved here 33 years ago this month. I will take some photos which will not be gorgeous this year, but I can imagine it in a year. The flower is a miniature pinkish rose.

Now I will go scratch-&-bruise awhile.

Saturday, May 05, 2012


NOT  EXACTLY.  But I am having multiple computer problems with Windows 7. System Restore does not complete and gives me a strange error.

When I surf the net for solutions it is always some program to install and solve your problem instantly. Previously these programs, including PitStop, RegCure and several other created more problems than ssolved becuase they mainly scan your registry for perceived unused DLL files left behind from uninstalling programs. That's fine but often these DLLs are shared by other programs. Since most of us including myself, do not know which are shared and which are not, it is a crapshoot whether to allow deletion of not. Everytime I have allowed deletion then I get messes like I now have.

I just happen to have a mirror image of my computer from March. I have backed up everything I can think of on external drives several times. except I still lack photos but will get to that, too.

So I am taking a week off to get this idiot machine and its idiot operator back to a clean smooth running machine.

When I used to build desktops with a friend for sale, we studied a lot of tech manuals. One such manual advised you restore your machine tro factory fresh once a year. We thought that extremely drastic. But a good mirror image is not a bad choice if you keep them up to date.

If I did it right I would do it every month. but March 2012 is better than March 2011!!! I have had this laptop over 3 years and is first recovery I have had to do.

If you never hear from me again, it exploded, or the Beast of a Bush engulfed and buried it on green pollen.