Pine Warbler 20110311

Pine Warbler 20110311 (Photo credit: Kenneth Cole Schneider)

The weather is gloomy, rain comes in showers, thunder now barely audible as it travels West. Thud, thud. What was that? I swung around and stepped to the large, glass, double-door in my office. It has to be a bird!

On the ground, a tiny figure with colorful feathers lies motionless. The cat! Where’s Charlie?  Inside. That’s good. Main Coons are great hunters. Lucky for my feathered friend it was raining. Coons—all cats—prefer dry homes to wet forests.

One wing is spread open as it covers most of the bird. As I pick it up, its heart beats rapidly and delicately against my palm.

Very dazed.

I coo, “Are you okay?” No answer—what did I expect? Around me a dozen or more ‘yellow’ birds hover and flit from branch to branch. “Your friend flew into my window. I’m so sorry.”

It silently opens and closes its beak. Its eyes do the same. It must have a painful head. I cover the poor bird with both hands as a precaution for panic or another fall. What can I do? The other birds are calling to their friend. I’ll help your friend! I’ll ice her little head to stop any swelling. Maybe that will help. Stay, don’t go away, we’ll be back. I step inside with the bird as Charlie steps outdoors. The bird doesn’t move. But she (I feel it is a she) is still alive. She opens her beak. Gasping?

Shelter.

My free hand rummages through the freezer, I settle for a small bag of ground coffee. It’s very cold, perfect as an ice pack for the bird’s head. After about a minute, I remove the pack and make my way back to the door. Oh darn! The others have gone. Did they give up on her? The bird opened its eyes wide and seemed to be recovering. I try my hand at bird calls. “Tweet. Tweet?” I can hear them in the distance. Are they watching? I open my hand a little more. The bird becomes excited and panics. I close my hand a bit and whisper, “It’s okay.” As I pat her feathers and head, she relaxes. I slowly open my palm again, she adjusts her foot, perhaps to be comfortable. Such tiny feet! Does she feel safe inside my hand, which provides a familiar cover from the elements?

Thanks.

After several minutes, the bird sits and is more alert. She watches my other hand as it moves. A mosquito finds my arm, she cocks her head to watch it bite. With a breath, I blow it away but it returns. I bring the bird’s beak to the mosquito to possibly feed her. Nothing happens. The mosquito is annoyed and leaves.

It is about fifteen minutes since the incident. I must either cage the bird or return it to nature. Perhaps a tree limb, away from Charlie. The cat! He is still outside! It has begun to drizzle again—he’ll come. I call, “Charlie! Kitty come.” Good, old Charlie comes running, unaware—I think—of the bird in my grasp. I step out, shut the door and whisper to my friend. I reach up high with palm open. She sits. “What’s the matter Felicia? Felicia means happy. You are a happy, little bird, able to fly thousands of miles with your friends. Felicia it is! So. Felicia, will you sit in the crook of this limb?” I gently move her tiny feet. I reach up high again to encourage her to climb into the pine tree.

I go now.

Felicia suddenly and smoothly glides down into the brush four feet in front of me. She is hidden by a blackberry bush and small saplings. I reach for my camera. As I stoop and focus, she busily scratches under her wing, flits back and forth on the branch, looks at me, then at the ground. She jumps into the deep of ground cover and away from my lens. No picture—can’t complain. We spent over fifteen minutes sharing a crisis, a moment and a recovery.

I hope Felicia will be okay. Will she find her friends? Can she call out to them? Not sure.

Take care Felicia. Come again on your next migration. Next time, a gentle tap, tap will do.

Charlie naps.

"Hooray"

Hooray!

Inside, Charlie naps as I Google ‘yellow breast’ + ‘birds’. There it is! A pine warbler! And it is female! I knew it. That’s my Felicia!

Felicia is a Pine Warbler

What the Blog For?

I have too many blogs!

cartoon by j.m.orise (aka: j.s.cabana
“Just One of Those Days”.
caricature postcard series
by J.M.Orise (formerly: J.S.Cabana)

A platform is important for an artist in any medium. But how many? Two FaceBook pages, Twitter, Blogger, WordPress, LinkedIn. Somehow, YouTube and Google+ slipped in!

Enough already!

Okay, calm down.

I taught computer science for over twenty years. FaceBook can’t be difficult to use—can it?

In a public school, FaceBook, YouTube and similar sites were blocked to protect students from unsuitable posts. Result: I too avoided these sites.

Now, here I am crawling through a jungle of strangers,  ads, add a friend links, etc… . My students did this at home! Alone! In their rooms at night! The promise of a secure account promoted an enthusiasm to commit themselves. Why not? No one sees their posts unless they are a friend… . Err-r.

Possible artifice in social networking emphasizes caution.

The same caution I had preached to my students—their eyes rolling upward into their little foreheads. I asked how many had ever experienced a best friend’s betrayal? Eyes snapped down now focusing on each other.

So why trust everyone who claims to be your friend with a “like me” invitation? I check out the suitor by clicking the avatar or going to their blog, site, etc.

Perhaps a “can assist” or a “can sponsor” link is needed instead? “Friend” sounds too—intimate. Too demanding.

How often are you expected to relate with a thousand +/- friends?

Do you ignore three hundred friends for the sake of maybe, ten really good friends? How do you make it up to those other ignored “friends?” What will they think?

How about a “Deal With It” or “Sorry I ignored you” link?

Depends on your temperament.

Once I’ve authored a post, I hesitate. Am I ready to post? Days later, I press the post button. Perhaps someone will read this one.

Comments?

Barely anyone bothers. I’ve bumped into one person who reported, “Hey, I read your blog! My husband laughed. He thought it was pretty funny.”

But there are no comments. Not even a g+1. “Like.” What is that? Oh, yeah. It’s a way to receive RSS feedback whenever clicked at someone’s post. I think.

I am an artist. Do you know how difficult it is for an artist to write about what is going on? Artists are private people—well, a lot of them are. I spend hours at the easel or at the computer composing a story, a blog, editing pictures, returning to the easel touching up a painting because I had a better idea.

No one is there to tell me what to do. No one drops in. Friends? Where are they when I get happy or frustrated. How about a slap on the “Like” or a “You Done Good ” link 😉 . Not the same as a slap on the back is it?

Psychology 101 emphasizes touch is important in any relationship. Hugs. Perhaps I should hug my PC when I see a “Like” designation for one of my posts. Blissful tears are for comments.

Research indicates I need a platform. Without it, no one will find me interesting and I may never get to publish a novel, or sell it either. Who made these rules? If I create art or stories and am serious about my craft, why does the public have to know what I am doing Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 2:30 PM?

I think about goings on in our troubled world: the wars, the ecology, the economy, the tragedy, the politicians who do nothing… .

Really? You want to be my friend? Comment me already.

Tonight I thought I was on Blogger. I later realized I was on Google+! Looks a lot like Blogger. But less elegant.

Conclusion: I’ll have to delete a few accounts. What will I keep? FaceBook, WordPress and Twitter? Will Blogger have to go?

I just returned from another browser drill down. Good news. I found what I needed! WordPress has share settings that send posts to FB and Twitter. Ah-h. Perhaps it won’t be so bad. My finding led me to my Blogger account. What do you know. It too transmits to FB and Twitter.

So you see. IT isn’t so bad after all.

But who will know what I write? Will anyone read this blog? A comment will notify me. No comment will notify me. I think the instruction manual mentioned crossing one’s fingers before pressing the post button.

sunlover2
Another one of my postcard series
“Just One of Those Days – Sun lover”

My eyelids droop—a reminder of other needs. I am about to fall asleep at the blog wheel. Strap your seat-belt. I’ll be back soon. Decisions can not be made in a somnolent state.

 

Comments? Click the link below. I look forward to a blissful tear or two. Cross your fingers.

Angry – Happy

What makes one happy? And others just so damned pissed off?

Happy Green frog

Happy Green frog (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

I’ve met both.
What is anger? What makes it happen?
A little research can enlighten many.

Gargoyle enhanced

Gargoyle enhanced (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bitterness Street is that shortcut taken to Anger Street. When you get to Anger Street, you notice the lights are dim, house shades  are drawn, nobody sees you and it is so quiet it is deafening. If you ask for directions, residents lie, leading you deeper into unknown territory. Very debilitating. You don’t want to be there, but you are lost and  can’t find you’re way back.

English: Angry cat

English: Angry cat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Friends want to help but they have no idea what street you’re on. They don’t know what is happening in your head.

Remember when mommy said, “If you get  lost. Find a nice police man. He will help you and bring you home.” Well… ?

We all get angry at times. The trick it to get over it.

Insisting on being bitter with another doesn’t make the victim miserable. You, the antagonist, suffer the most.   Bitterness turns to anger and poisons our thoughts, relationships, and our lives. By refusing to let go of a hurt, we increase the hurt to ourselves. We become toxic.

“Too easily we become bitter. The thing with bitterness or resentment is, it takes control, and it consumes and robs us. Bitterness is more than a negative outlook on life. It is a destructive and self-destructive power. It can be physically as well as emotionally debilitating. Persistent bitterness and resentment makes one angry and confused, and leads oneself deeper and deeper into a jungle of despair. Bitterness and resentment is a frozen anger in latent form. Bitterness is a malignancy that makes a person extremely vulnerable to unwise decisions and destructive thought patterns that infiltrate and affect our bodies as well as our souls. It may aggravate or even cause physical problems. It causes fatigue, backache, ulcers, headaches, and drains our vitality. It is an oppressive and destructive emotion that is the root of resentment, anger, hate and other negative emotions, which when not dealt with may even lead to violence.
Bitterness spreads easily like cancer, we become bitter towards other things and it can spread to those around us. It also comes out in different ways – the outworking of bitterness often include jealously, anger, division, dissatisfaction and hate. It makes us focus on what we haven’t got, rather than what we have got. Bitterness is a trap that the devil puts out and is all to easy to fall down. It will always hurt ourselves more than it will hurt the other person.
Bitterness and resentment starts growing from denial or rejection followed by shock and/or numbness, guilt, shame, depression, anger and grieving. These feelings are part of the normal grieving process over bitterness. Bitterness grows up when people linger over and cling on tightly to the anger and the depression of the grieving process. Bitterness and resentment is a cold and latent form of anger that shows itself through complaining and plotting and scheming and grouching.”
Source and more info:http://www.charminghealth.com/applicability/bitterness.htm

I have been there. Not a nice place. With much introspection, I realized I had to let go of angry thoughts. I encouraged others to be happy—think positive—it could be worse, etc.  This exercise makes me more positive and happier. You also must walk the talk.
I found it too easy to get sucked into a self-pitying, complaint session. Afterwards, I felt drained and angry to have participated. I was angry at just being sucked into discussing a miserable topic!
I feel sadness for the person who is miserable. I don’t want to reinforce misery so I point out “how fortunate that …” or “aren’t you lucky that…” or search for other points of view not considered. Other times, I am blunt and say, “you know, I used to feel that way, but I found that I got nowhere… and now I’m happier because I think or do this—or that— instead.” I try to make them think of what they can do for themselves and focus less of what they can’t do. Then I end the conversation and walk away.
Constant complaining sounds so absurd when you are in a healthy place. Healthy relationships are impossible when you are angry? Like attracts like, ergo you find unhappy people with whom to relate. These people bond with you, ensuring your unhappiness and theirs. You drain energy from each other and anyone within earshot. People avoid you. You may notice, yet don’t know why. So you become resentful about that too. Does this sound like a self-imposed cycle?

Happy CatHappy people are invigorating!

Today, I met a happy soul who just lifted my spirit. A young man (I’ll call him Hap) drove six hours from up Maine to our home in New Hampshire just to look at a car we advertised for sale.
The car is a 1980 VW Diesel Dasher. The vehicle was a favorite of hubby. I saw it as old and pretty much embarrassing to drive. After having it stored for about three years, the mice got to it and made a mess. The ceiling was now stained and the mice had chewed holes in its fabric. And it smelled.
So what did I do? I whined about this ‘ugly, filthy car’ as I cleaned it out. I resented having hubby’s messy car. However, I knew it truly was a great car with lots of room and the diesel engine guaranteed great mileage—50 mpg.

English: VW Dasher Station Wagon Deutsch: VW D...

English: VW Dasher Station Wagon Deutsch: VW Dasher Variant (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My fondness for the VW Dasher  was augmented in 1991. It served to keep me save from harm when a driver in a big semi tried to force me to stop on a long, lonely highway. He continually blocked my path on route 10 from Chattahoochee, FL to St. Augustine, FL as he swayed from side to side at 10-20 mph. Terrifying. Each time I tried to get past, the rig sped up and pulled in ahead of me. Phones were mounted on  poles along the highway. I was too afraid to stop. No one else was on the road. There were no license plates for me to identify the rig. This started at around 10:00 AM. Finally at sundown, a vehicle appeared in my rear-view mirror. It was on the horizon with headlights switched on.  As it traveled pretty fast, it easily caught up with us. It was a little red pick-up and it was going to pass us! My plan was to be one with that red pick-up. I tailgated the pick-up and passed the semi. It worked! I stepped on the accelerator and passed the little truck. Tears of relief followed.

Hours later, I saw the semi pull off the road—perhaps to refuel. On the other hand, I had plenty of fuel and kept going. Not long afterwards, I realized I was lost. Whatever sign posts there were before, the size of the rig blocked them from me as we passed them. I had an interview the next morning in St. Augustine. I needed to get there on time. So I decided to take the next exit—onto a dark, unlit, dirt road. Now what? First a crazy man, and now if I ran out of fuel—alligators would eat me? I had never been to FL by myself. I just followed my instincts and prayed I was on the right path. At 2:00 AM I was across the river from St Augustine! Laughter, more tears and joy in my heart encouraged me on to the nearest motel. A comfortable bed was my reward. Thanks to the Dasher, I hadn’t run out of fuel.

I felt immense gratitude for my reliable Dasher.

happyguy+VWDasher

Hap is happy with his new Dasher. Nice fellow all around. Everyone was happy and what a nice time we had each time Hap came around. God bless

But this one had to go. We sold it within two days to Hap. He exuded delight at finding a Dasher in ‘excellent’ condition. The liner could be mended and he would give the vehicle a complete cleaning. He even bought the parts-car, which was in similar condition, and all of Hubby’s stored parts necessary to put the Dasher parts-car into driving condition. A month later, Hap came back and purchased our 1987 Mitsubishi pick-up. A prized possession of Hubby and me. Hap was happy! So were we. The Dasher was going to a good home and to a positively happy person. 🙂

Leave a comment below. Love to hear from you.

Echanecia with Easel, painted in my studio.

This is a watercolor study painted in my studio.

Echinacea is Nature’s remedy for a cold or flu. It is also known as the Purple Cone Flower.

I believe most people are familiar with its tea, or extract. Whenever I feel the onset of symptoms for a cold or flu I immediately go to the fridge and take the extract. My husband warily acquiesced to my recommendation to take one dropper-full when he had a nasty cold. Within an hour he felt great.

For more information about the plant, visit The History of Echinacea.

English: Echinacea pallida, Asteraceae, Pale P...

English: Echinacea pallida, Asteraceae, Pale Purple Cone-flower, inflorescence. The plant is used in homeopathy as remedy: Echinacea (Echi.) Deutsch: Echinacea pallida, Asteraceae, Prärie-Igelkopf, Blasser Igelkopf, Blütenstand. Die Pflanze wird in der Homöopathie als Arzneimittel verwendet: Echinacea (Echi.) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Another site that is informative is The History and Traditional Use of the plant. This site will give your further information about herb and drug interaction, contraindications, etc.

Before you take any herbs, do lots of research first. Go to legitimate websites such as .org or .edu, which are there to give information. A .com site will most likely want to sell the product and give a biased recommendation of what is good for you.

If you decide to take any herbs, tell your Primary Care Physician. If you doctor doesn’t know about the plant, share your research and ask him/her to do research based on your medical history. Most doctors will do it. Ask for information in printed format for review. Seek a second opinion—visit a reputable naturopathic physician.

Hope this helps. Send a comment.

Echinecia with Easel

The Loss of a Parent

Mother and Child, 1939

Mother and Child, 1939

A child does not understand death even if explained as ‘gone’ or ‘gone to heaven’.

Passed on, gone, deceased. What are those words to a child? Just words. Words he/she has never heard before (perhaps).

My mother died when I was five. It was a tragic accident. A reporter arrived at my grandparent’s home to ask questions. I wanted to tell the story because I was there when ‘it happened’. I offered my story. He was nice and I believed I told him all he needed to know.

I thought she would return. I would see her again and tell her I missed her. After a year I actually forgot what she looked like. All photos of my mother vanished, so I only had a vague memory of a tall, brown-haired woman who had loved me before she left.

At six years, as I sat with my classmates during Sunday services, I diligently examined each woman who passed by my pew. If one was tall and brunette, I waited for her to stop, smile, recognized me and take me home. Some did smile, but each continued on to receive the sacrament.

This search was a secret. I never felt a need to share these thoughts with anyone, not even my sister. I don’t know why.

I don’t remember how long it was before I finally stopped searching. As I got older, I finally accepted the step-mother who took my mother’s place.

My mother is not forgotten. At times I believe she is here with me, but in another form. I talk to her in my thoughts and wonder what she would say about certain things. I look to my aunt—her sister—and project her love and words on to my mother. I think they would be alike in many ways. Until recently, my aunt filled in missing details about my mother. Now my aunt has Alzheimer’s and can not share any more information. So I live with the memories of a five-year old and am happy to have them. My mother was beautiful and talented.

Several years ago, a story brewed in my mind. So I started writing. Because of my busy schedule, it took twelve years to write a manuscript I hope to publish as a Young Adult novel. The story deals with death and absence of a parent. I think I wrote it because as a teacher, I found students who were dealing with the death of a loved one and I empathized with them as they struggled with the anguish and loneliness. After completing the manuscript I spent the last two years editing and having it critiqued. Once published I believe it will help others deal with the loss a parent or someone close.

Gray Catbird mother and child

Gray Catbird mother and child (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Have you lost a loved one? As an adolescent or as an adult, do you have thoughts of a parent or other loved one who has ‘gone to heaven’? How do  you deal with it? Share your thoughts with a comment below.

Okay, I’ve Finished the Manuscript

Writing

I’ve written a story. Twelve years in the making.

First it was an idea, then it just grew from a children’s book to “Oh no. Not possible. This is too much information for little kids.” So I decided to keep writing and see what happened.

Twelve years? Well, I was working full time as a teacher, and I also built my own home—with my own hands, sweat and blood. Then I got married, moved out of state, built two more houses and got another job teaching in my new geographic location. But my unfinished story haunted me. So I kept writing whenever I had a chance.

At one point, I got stuck. Or I should say, the children in my story were really stuck and I put them there. How could I get them out without killing the whole story? Writer’s block? Yeah. That was what it was. The symptoms fit.

Then one day, I decided I needed another character just to make it more interesting. Should it be a boy? No. How about a girl? Then I had to give her a name. What name. It was like having a baby all over again—without the labor pains or stretch marks. So I did re-writes to fit her into the story. Much later, the same thing happened. This time I added two more characters and had to fit them in with a re-write.

Eventually I felt the children needed to be older. Teen and pre-teen. I learned that is referred to as “tween genre”. Then the title no longer fit the story. Decisions were always being made and I wonder if I made good decisions for the story.

Photograph shows a young girl dressed in a fur...

Photograph shows a young girl dressed in a fur-trimmed coat and hat, carrying her doll. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Isn’t she cute?

An idea came as I ate dinner at a restaurant. A pretty, little girl walked to a table with her mom. She had a cute outfit and a beautiful hat. I had to complement her on her hat as I left. I thought, I’d like to paint her. Then it occurred to me. Here was a young girl wearing something special her mom gave her. It was a perceived sign of love by the little girl. My story’s girl needed something to hang on to until her mother came home. So I chose a necklace for my character. It worked for me and for my ‘girl’.

I retired from teaching earlier than planned. My husband was ill once too often and I worried being away all day. Now that I’m home with my happy husband, I have finished my manuscript and have had it reviewed by a critique group. That represents an added two years of critiquing. It was a great experience. The people in the writer’s group were honest and very helpful. I  learned so much more in the last two years. Now my story is so much better thanks to their help and that of a friend who also read the manuscript and made a couple of suggestions.

Now what do I do? Research. I started it a while ago, but had to put it aside to fulfill my obligation to produce new paintings for upcoming art showings and possible  sales. Go to my website at jomorise.com to see my portfolio.

Meanwhile, another story has been brewing in my head for about two years now and I’ve already started writing that as well.

Wish me luck.

Jo

Smile in your mirror every day.

 

 

Hubby Burns Toast and Toaster

English: Abstract portrait of Arnold Franz Bra...

Abstract portrait of Arnold Franz Brasz by American Abstract Expressionist and friend, Jay Meuser

While painting my next masterpiece—a watercolor, I became aware of a smell in my studio. Ignoring it, I continued with the orange wash and worried not to overwhelm the surrounding colors and hoped the reflections would be believable.

Within minutes, the smell got stronger. Something was burning. “What is that smell, Hon? Did you burn something?”

“Oh, I burnt the toast. Everything is okay,” Hubby replied. He had decided, several years ago, that an aluminum pie plate or a block of wood placed over the toaster would shorten the time needed for bread to toast. I’ve chastened him every time he made burn marks on my smaller chopping blocks or when he melted the plastic on our new and cheaper toasters. He apologized each time and found a different method to implement his plan.

“Burnt toast?—Okay?—Smells like the kitchen is on fire. I can barely breathe!” I rushed to the kitchen and found something very black. “You left the burnt toast and a burnt block of pine on the counter. The kitchen is filled with smoke and the smoke is in every room of the house.”

Sorry Hon, I ran water over the toast.”

“Why didn’t you just throw it outside. If you burn something, throw it outside immediately! Otherwise, it just stinks up the house.”

This time the block of wood looked and smelled something awful. “The block of wood does not help save electricity, it only helps burn the toast. The block charred all the way through. You’ll burn the house down!”
Frustrated, I picked up the burnt, wet toast and threw it out the door. As it landed in the new snow it crumbled. I placed the block of wood on the doorstep.
Now I had to air out the house! As Hubby sat reading one of his many library books, I ran from room to room opening windows and doors. To hasten the process, I grabbed a couple of newspapers to fan the smoke outside. It was about 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside and the inside temperature was now dropping. I continued fanning as long as I could stand the cold.

Hubby continued reading.

As I shut windows and doors I determined patience would help me deal with the smell, which would eventually dissipate.

Upon returning to my studio, I added another glaze of orange to my painting. The results were splendid. I loved the painting. A masterpiece! Maybe not. Perhaps the next painting…
Two weeks later, the burnt smell finally gone, I noticed a new block of oak sitting beside the toaster.

“Nice piece of wood, dear.” I admired the grain and thought of the many ways I could use this piece of beautifully grained oak. From chopping block to woodcut printing. Later, I watched Hubby proudly place this 3/4 inch, heavy piece of oak over the toaster. This board completely covered the toaster slots. I went to my studio. Later I observed Hubby in the living room eating toast as he read his new book.

The next morning as I made breakfast, I noticed a burnt smell.  “Did you burn toast again?” I asked as I examined the block of wood. It sported two distinctive, black burn marks on the underside and the board was now warped.

I placed bread in the toaster and pressed the lever. Hubby walked in and said, “Better watch your toast. I burned mine. It didn’t pop-up.”

“That’s because you had a board over the toaster.” So I continued preparing my eggs and cocoa. Eventually I realized something was burning. My toast was smoking and I could not release the toast. The knob stuck. The toast would not eject. As I unplugged the toaster, I yelled, “You ruined the toaster with your damned board! Why do you keep doing that?”

Toaster Portrait

Toaster Portrait (Photo credit: Martin Cathrae)Hubby replied from the living room, “Sorry, dear.”

After breakfast, I decided to inspect the toaster. Upon dis-assembly, I found the interior gummed with black, toast soot. Crumbs stuck to the gummy residue. I spent about an hour cleaning the parts and Hubby offered a computer cleaning spray we previously used to clean computers. I sprayed that on what looked like a motherboard. Satisfied with the cleaning, I plugged the skeleton of the toaster into the outlet and pressed the lever down. It was working. Then I pressed the release button and it worked! “Hon, I fixed the toaster!”

English: Toaster "Philips comfort plus&qu...

Image via Wikipedia

A few minutes later I discovered the interior plastic collar that originally framed the slot where the handle traveled up and down now blocked the path formed by the slot. So I cut the hanging plastic from the slot with a hack-saw.

Now to re-assemble the toaster. With so many parts to hold on to, it was impossible to screw the metal sheets together. “Hon, can you come here? Hold this tight. Be careful not to let the sides pop out.”  Hubby used his muscle as he pressed the ends together. I placed enough screws so he could back to reading.

Upon turning the last screw, I proudly flipped the toaster only to find one side wall had popped out. “Hon!”

Again, Hubby helped me press the parts together as I re-assembled and screwed the pieces together a second time.Upon inspecting the sides, I was proud of the work done. Perhaps I could repair toasters and other small appliances. In today’s economy, people could save money and I’d earn a small income to boot. There aren’t any small appliance repair shops around anymore.

Now to replace the knob and test the toaster with its handle in place. Something wasn’t right. Where was the metal arm, which received the handle? Now I realized why it was so difficult to screw the toaster together, we had forced the metal arm in behind the toaster’s wall. This toaster must easily assemble, otherwise how could a factory justify using two to three people just to place 8 screws into the bottom of a toaster?
I dis-assembled the toaster a third time. The metal arm was just a little bent. No problem. This time I re-assemble the toaster without Hubby. Hah! I COULD repair toasters. Maybe a shingle outside the door is imminent.

Smiling as I twisted the last screw into place, I flipped the toaster and happily slipped the knob on the arm. I pressed the knob down. The toaster worked. I pressed the release and it did not return. Upon further inspection of the knob, I found the plastic neck warped. So I went to Hubby to admonish him of his evil deed once again and showed him the now heat-deformed handle.

“Sorry, dear.”

I sanded the bulges out of the neck. Proudly placing the knob on to the arm, I pushed it down, pressed the release button and it worked!Glory, glory. I was going to really put some thought on this new career venture. Perhaps a web-page to advertise my services. How much would shipping a small appliance cost?

Breville Appliances. From left to right: Empor...

Image via Wikipedia

The last piece of the puzzle was the temperature dial. That was going the easy part. Or was it? It didn’t slip into place. Aaargh! The dial slipped in from behind the toaster wall. So, I dis-assembled the toaster a fourth time—all the way to the skeleton and the mother board. After determining how to position the handle and slipping it on, I carefully and easily re-assembled the toaster without Hubby. I did it in fifteen minutes!

Psittacula eupatria English: A pet female Alex...

Image via Wikipedia

The toaster looked great in its usual corner. It was sparkling and seemed happy. Only I knew what parts were now deformed or partly mutilated. But it worked! As I collected the tools and considered my new career plans, I decided that it was not for me. I lost one to three screws each time I re-assembled the toaster and spent five to fifteen minutes just hunting for screws or washers.
I was happy to have my toaster back.

“Hon. I fixed the toaster. Don’t you ever cover that toaster or any other toaster with anything again.”

“Sorry, dear.”

I went to my studio and realized it was now 3:30 PM. Too late to start another painting. The lighting was not right. Maybe tomorrow I’ll create a masterpiece.

Vitamin C — Lemons, Grapefruit

This image shows a whole and a cut lemon. It i...

Use fresh lemons.

Someone forwarded this to me:

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 LEMONS AND THEIR JUICE, Jan 24, 2012
I remember Grandma doing the lemon in water thing to keep “regular”. LISTEN UP:  This is something that we should all take seriously – just had a recent test myself that sent shivers up my spine – or near by – Even doctors are now saying that there is value in trying “LEMON”. So, a tablespoon of “real lemon” (the concentrate in a bottle) in a glass of water every morning. What can it  hurt?
The surprising benefits of lemon! I remain perplexed! Institute of Health Sciences, 819 N. L.L.C. Charles Street Baltimore , MD 1201. This is the latest in medicine, effective for cancer! Lemon (Citrus) is a miraculous product to kill cancer cells. It is 10,000 times stronger thanchemotherapy.
Why do we not know about that? Because laboratories are interested in making a synthetic version that will bring huge profits. Lemon juice is beneficial in preventing cancer. Its taste is pleasant and it does not produce the horrific effects of chemotherapy. How many people will die while this closely guarded secret is kept? As you know, the lemon tree is known for its varieties of lemons & limes. You can: eat the pulp, juice it, prepare drinks, sorbets, pastries, etc… It has many virtues, but most interesting is the effect it has on cysts & tumors. This plant is a proven remedy against cancers of all types.It is considered also as an anti-microbial spectrum against bacterial infections & fungi, effective against internal parasites & worms, it regulates blood pressure which is too high & an antidepressant, combats stress & nervous disorders.
The source of this information is one of the largest drug manufacturers which says that after more than 20 laboratory tests since 1970, the extracts revealed: It destroys malignant cells in 12 cancers, including colon, breast, prostate, lung & pancreas … The effects were 10,000 times better than Adriamycin, a drug normally used chemotherapeutic, slowing the growth of cancer cells. Even more astonishing: this type of therapy with lemon extract only destroys malignant cancer cells and it does not affect healthy cells.
Institute of Health Sciences, 819 N. L.L.C. Cause Street , Baltimore , MD
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At the end, there was a plea to Forward the e-mail. I did—to a very few friends and relatives who I know are interested.
I understand the power of Vitamin C and flavonoids, etc…
Years ago I subscribed to Prevention Magazine (before it’s main focus was weight-loss and color ads—my opinion) and read from cover to cover in addition to other research. I’ve been taking Vitamin C in different forms for over 30 years. I’ve recommended it to others along the way and they experienced similar great results. Besides taking one capsule (not pill) every day, I beef up on the dose if I have the symptoms of a cold or flu.
This is not a ‘prescription’ for illness. You should do the research as I did. See your doctor if you need to. Research should be easier today than it was so long ago.
When I started taking supplements and herbs, I got so many side glances from people who thought I was nuts. Their eyes glazed over as I exalted the benefits of certain vitamins, nutrients, herbs, etc. So I gave up—on preaching. If people don’t want to hear, that’s okay with me. It’s a free country. So, I only give my opinions and results of my use of vitamins, etc… to those who want to know. Good for them!
To help you do the research, click on the snopes link to help you make up your own mind.

Lemons - Zitronen

for Snopes click here.

Who is Snopes? Go to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SNOPES and find out! You can’t go without it.

 

Stream of Conciousness Writing – The Handi-wipe

(I like to exercise my creativity by just writing. No external cues. Usually. Just write. Try it. You will be surprised that there is a story in there—no matter how silly. Stream of conscious writing. Partly fabricated, partly true.)

TList of Vietnamese ingredientshe apricots are rotten. Jelly rolls are green. John is coming for breakfast. What a treat he’ll have.

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A terrified Alfalfa wins the game in The Pigsk...

Looks like Alfalfa got the ball. Now what?

Did you see the football roll down the alley. All by itself. No one around. It was the weirdest thing. Instead of following the ball, I chose a different path, and it made all the difference.

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The Handi-Wipe

My step-mother sewed my clothing. She was a seamstress and very proud of it. She made our dresses and coats. Speaking of coats, I remember a time before my step-mother. My sister and I sported navy blue coats with white lace at the cuffs and collar. I was five and didn’t know any better, therefore, I had a habit of sniffing or wiping my nose on my handy, dark blue sleeves.

Grammy took offense to that although I don’t remember any conversation about what a young girl does when her nose is runny. Kleenex was not yet a household word and we didn’t have television. So, unless someone told me what was expected, I did what was natural. I believe I invented the ‘handy-wipe’—navy blue. The only trouble with navy blue for a snot-rag (a term I learned later in life) is that snot dried white. I think it was white—I don’t know if I knew my colors at five.

You see, my mom died a few months before and Grammy found herself busy with two little girls she didn’t expect to have around. Well back to my navy blue handy-wipe.

One day Grammy took our coats, which were now encrusted with a good, healthy coat of filth. I read somewhere that kids today are too clean. That is why they are more susceptible to illness than our generation was. I remember one earache, but I’m not sure if that was me or my friend who always complained of earaches. I did get colds. Oh yes. The miserable stuffy nose.

Okay, okay. Back to the blue snot-rag. Grammy presented me with my c-l-e-a-n blue coat. It was no longer sporting my invention. There were no tell-tale signs of there ever being a snot rag on either arms. I was amazed. How was that accomplished. Words bounced around my little brain. “Clean. Dry-Cleaners. No. Handkerchief. Pocket. No. Not.” I understood the words “no” and “not” and “handkerchief” was easy because I had seen my dad honk his large nose in one. When he had one. Other times he grossed me out by placing his thumb and fore-finger at the bridge of his nose and honking his nose to the right or the left, or in front of him. That’s when his slithery, white and other colorful snot flew out and landed on the ground in a splat. I still gag today, just thinking about it. It wasn’t my snot so it was gross. If I ever did that, I probably would be able to stand it.

English: A small box of Kleenex.As a grown-up, I was once stuck without a Kleenex. (Just the word ‘Kleenex’ tells you that many years had passed by now.) I reached into my pockets and found I had neatly thrown all remnants of Kleenex into the trash at home. None in my purse either. I was desperate. My husband’s pockets were empty as well. This was a predicament. What to do.

I remembered my navy blue coat and smiled. I certainly wouldn’t do that again. Then my dad and his honking nose came to mind. I shuddered. Maybe. I could try. A quick look around reassured me I was alone. Good! I’ll try. I placed my thumb and forefinger at the bridge of my nose, leaned over a little and blew a little meekly. A little success. Next I inhaled a great gulp of air through my mouth in preparation for the big-daddy-honk. I blew hard. It worked! I didn’t sound as bad as my dad. It sounded more like an air-hose.

My husband came around the bend just then. I smiled, relieved that I had solved my problem. He smirked a little and presented me with a Kleenex. “You may want to used this. You have snot on your shirt and your shoes.”

Gross!

Art Donation

Live in Vermont?
Would you like to contribute by bidding on two of my artworks, which I have donated?

Go to http://msacblog.wordpress.com for more info.

The event is scheduled for Saturday, January 28, 2012 • 5:30 – 9:00 pm

One print is a black and white print “Alisson’s Restaurant” un-matted,
packaged in archival wrapping.

 
The second print is a watercolor “Mt. Mansfield” matted and packaged in archival wrapping.
Have fun!
JMOrise