Archive for June, 2010

This Land is Your Land! This Land is My Land!

Monday, June 28th, 2010

Independence Day, a.k.a. the Fourth of July, is the ultimate holiday event celebrated throughout America. This day is marked by those who honor the history, government and traditions of the United States. There are many different patriotic displays where citizens of all ages pay homage to our nation.

People wear red, white and blue hats, shirts and other clothing, decorate their homes, public places and everything else with streamers, balloons, ribbons and other ornaments. They proudly fly the American flag. All this enthusiasm is to commemorate our historic evolution and encourage our progress for the future.

In the mornings, people of all ages gather along Main Street, USA across our country to view local parades, cheer on the marchers and salute the American flag.

During the afternoons many attend carnivals, fairs and baseball games. Some go on picnics, have backyard barbeques and grill their favorite foods. Others gather at a pool, lake or oceanfront to splish ën splash trying to keep cool in the hot afternoon sun while they await the traditional finale of the day.

When evening arrives, the parks, fairgrounds, town squares and waterside facilities fill with families who gather to watch the sky light up with colorful fireworks.

They attend concerts and listen to patriotic songs like† ìthe Star Spangled Bannerî, ìGod Bless Americaî, †"America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "This Land Is Your Land", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and, regionally, "Yankee Doodle" in northeastern states and "Dixie" in southern states.

Some military bases give a one-gun-salute for each state in the United States, called a ìsalute to the union,î on Independence Day at noon.

If you've never been to our nation's capital, I strongly recommend you take a trip to Washington D.C..† Regardless of your political affiliation, I guarantee the experience will impress you. Indeed this land is your land and this land is my land. This home of the free and the brave (with all its faults) deserves a celebration.

How will you celebrate July 4th this year?

Winter Retreat

Tuesday, June 22nd, 2010

Winter Retreat

††††††††††† The warm crackling heat from the furnace wraps its arms around me like an old fur coat.

††††††††††† I snuggle between the kitchen table on a chair and prepare to eat breakfast.

††††††††††† The aroma of cinnamon and apples, along with the toasty smell of coffee, works its way up into my nostrils.

††††††††††† I turn the corners of my mouth up into a grin, pull my sweatshirt closer to my body and prepare my cereal with butter; sugar and heavy cream, then embrace the enticing morning feast with a gulp of coffee, while reaping the fine rewards that a cold morning can offer.

Back to the Drawing Board

Monday, June 21st, 2010

Hi, itís me, Flash. Cindy is catching up today after being away from home for a week. Writing this blog was WAY down on her to-do list, so I thought Iíd use this opportunity to get something off my chest.

See, last week after dropping off a group of kids at church camp, she used the time as a writing retreat. Seeing as Iím her favorite main character, I knew Iíd be needed. Plus, an exotic vacation away from our little bay window writing nook sounded like just the ticket.

BUT, this retreat was not held in the mountains, near a gurgling brook, like I expected. It wasnít held at the beach, either. No, Cindy never bothered to mention our plush accommodations were going to be at the Super 8 in York, NE. Donít worry, though, it was better than it sounds. We scored a nice corner room with a viewóof the parking lot.

Now, York itself is a nice little town. American flags line the main street and big old houses overlook the charming brick streets. Cindy was so enchanted by some of these houses, she probably would have spent the week in jail for trying to peek in the windows if it wasnít for me keeping her in line.

But we werenít there for houses and brick streets and walks on the trail along the river. No, we were there to write. So when Cindy fired up her laptop, I was surprised to find her starting a new storyóminus yours truly. At first I thought maybe Iíd appear a little further in, but by Friday and page 72, I was still nowhere to be seen. Needless to say, I was ticked. Iíd come all this way and spent a week in a dumpy motel for nothing?

About this time Cindy started to have doubts. The story wasnít panning out like sheíd hoped. She didnít buy the main characterís motivations, the whole thing seemed like too much of a stretch.

Well, duh. You tell me, if you were eight years old, who would you rather read about? Milly, the perky kitten, or FLASH, Feline Extraordinaire?


Just because Iím a figment of her imagination doesnít mean Iím stupid. If she had only listened to me to start with she wouldnít have wasted a whole week of undivided writing time.

Next time Iím insisting on the beach!


Thursday, June 10th, 2010

Vacations are wonderful things if they provide you with what you need.† †One requires different travel experiences at different phases of oneís life.† You may have loved camping when your children were young, but now perhaps you crave leaving your camping stove at home and taking a cooking class in Santa Fe or even Oaxaca, Mexico.

†If you are totally stressed out and exhausted, spending lazy days on a beach letting the sound of the surf polish your jagged edges may appeal to you.

† If you are citified and longing for Mother Nature and adventure, then hiking through Patagonia in South America or even the more primitive trails in your home state may be your choice.

At the moment, my daughter and her new husband are in Alaska visiting our son who lives there.† She has fallen head over heels in love with Alaska and the fishing experiences she is having.† Her first day there, she stood in the ocean for six hours straight throwing out her line without a bite.† Eventually, she snagged a salmon and hauled it in and was ecstatic! †To my shock, my son informed me that she ate the fish eggs from the newly cut open fish right there on the beach-apparently that is what fisherpeople do.† I am amazed that anyone would find joy in standing in waders in thigh high water all afternoon without food, drink or a toilet and then dining on fish roe without the sour cream or crackers.† †Not my thing, but then again, I donít have a desk job in an architectural firm like she does where she pores over blueprints and the fine points of design.† No wonder the majestic spaces and wonderful smells of Alaska appeal to her!

††††††††††††††† So dear readers, if you had unlimited time and resources at your disposal, what would your dream travel experience be at this point in your life?† Where would you go and what would you do?

Ladybugs and Chocolate Peanut Clusters

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

Yesterday, as I was feeding hay to the horses, I spotted a ladybug atop a tall stalk of grass. For a moment I contemplated capturing it for my rose garden, thinking of all the juicy aphids there. Instead I watched it grooming and reshaping the lovely orange wings, realigning the black dots just so. This ladybug appeared to be preparing for a long journey. Soon, it launched into the morning and zoomed into a forest of tansy mustard weeds.

Last evening, I attended the†celebration for†Katherine†Hewitts' new†venture, †'Be Magazine',see† Michelle LaBorde's lovely home in Niwot. The backyard was filled with chatter about the articles on amazing women along the Front Range.† As I listened to the music and talked with novelist Janet Fogg, about†the†exciting journey†of her†new release Soliloquy, I thought of the ladybug.

Every woman there was about to launch into the bounty of the world; there are stories and extraordinary women making them happen everywhere. Thank you--Katherine and Michelle for a marvelous evening and 'Good Luck' with your magazine. Thank you for making a venue to showcase the women I have come to respect and love and for letting us write about them.†

As the sun was setting, I spotted a plate of chocolate peanut clusters and savored the crunchy goodness, then†licked my fingers. Yes-- there is abundance all around us; in the music, in the lives of women who†make a simple rich dessert††to share at a party, and in the forest of 'weeds' at the edge of the corral. What fun. I enjoy being in it, all.

Friend Rules

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

My dog Zoey and I were out on a walk two months ago on a spring-like day. We saw three geese dosing on a landscaped section of grass in a Fort Collins office plaza. We barreled off the sidewalk and headed toward the geese with me restraining my 8.6-pound daschund as she chased her new friends. They fluttered their wings and waddled a few feet away.

Zoey walked faster, and I pulled harder, trying to keep her far enough away from the wild creatures. I didnít know if they would snap their beaks or squabble, teaching her that not everyone, animal and human alike, is eager for friendship.

In repetitive fashion, Zoey pulled and the geese hopped away, but after a few times of this, ìthe potential friendsî gave up their comfortable grass and flew halfway across the parking lot we had just reached. Zoey kept trying, and to me, it felt like she was saying, ìBut they can be my friends.î

The same goes with the feral cat hiding under a shed at my fatherís house. Every time Zoey goes out in the yard when we visit, the first place she runs is to the shed. ìIs the cat there?î she seems to ask. ìI know there is a friend somewhere in there,î she says.

Zoey reminds me of myself as a child, wanting friends and not knowing the difference between those who could be mean and the genuine kind ones who can love you for who you are.

For me, it took a lot of hurts and taunts and whatever else girls do to each other before I realized that friends are hard to find. You canít look for them underneath a shed or in the grass or in the air. Or maybe you can. Maybe Zoey knows more than me about friendship with her happy hope that everyone loves her, if not now, soon once they see how cute she is and what a good girl she can be, only if.