We wanted to send you into the weekend with a smile on your face and this important reminder:
We wanted to send you into the weekend with a smile on your face and this important reminder:
My husband and I recently discovered a Bald Eagle’s nest on a visit to check out some hiking trails. Well, didn’t actually discover it – it has been there and been monitored, celebrated, and photographed for several years now. We had noted signs posted at the park’s entrance asking hikers to jot down any sightings of bald eagles and/or osprey spotted while hiking. Cool, I thought – but, realistically, what are the odds of seeing a bald eagle and its nest? As we walked, the bam-bam-bam of the ‘next door’ rifle range negated any peace and quiet of a nature hike. Well, there goes any chance of seeing bald eagles I mused – they certainly aren’t going to nest in an area with guns being fired.
We wove in and out of a rather large group of hikers (?) set up on the trail with tripods and spotting scopes etc. We paid them very little mind other than to think they must be hopeful bird watchers who obviously were not realists! On our way out of the park, we happened upon a man with some ‘taxidermed’ eagles and osprey in the back of his open van. Again, I made an assumption thinking probably part of the field trip of fledgling-bird watchers back there on the trail. I, of course, have to strike up a conversation when confronted with such a unique opportunity! Steve was wonderfully knowledgeable about eagles and osprey and the history of the eagles and osprey that reside right there in the park where we had just hiked. In fact, we had walked right past the Osprey tower with adults and chicks in the nest. And those optimistic bird watchers that we so casually dismissed were looking at an eagles nest with an eaglet in the nest!!! Holey Moley!
Real. Live. Actual. In the wild. Bald Eagles!!!
I may be of an advanced age, but I have never seen a bald eagle in the wild before. I was so geeked about it! While standing there absorbing all this information, we were joined by a local bird expert and a local photographer who is the ‘official’ photographer for these eagles. Plans were set to return in the evening (optimal viewing time) with some binoculars and scopes of our own.
Let me just say that I have returned almost every other day since our ‘discovery’ to check on this soon-to-be fledgling eaglet. I don’t want to miss a single thing! I can hardly bear the thought of his/her taking that first fledgling flight without my being there to witness. I have seen him/her doing its ‘wing-ercizing’ (flapping very impressive baby wings and hopping around). I have seen an adult return to the nest with dinner to share with the eaglet (did you know eagles do not regurgitate food into their little one’s mouths, not even when they are new hatchlings?) and then soar back out of the nest.
I feel like a fledgling in a way.
Like a school kid again, about to embark on a learning journey about something so cool that I want to tell the whole world about it! I have this new information, this new skill, this new urge to discover more about this eagle family that I have somehow become quite vested in.
I love the feeling!
This is just one example of things we ‘pass by’ each day unaware of the opportunities missed by our ‘blinders-on-trek’ through our days. We should all continually look for those fledgling opportunities out there waiting to be embraced. Discover a new interest, a new challenge, or a different way of doing something that energizes us and makes us ask question after question after question and seek information from as many sources as we can imagine.
Let’s go be fledglings! It just might make you feel lighter than air!
It’s Friday!!! Best way to celebrate is with some humor! (Maybe we should change this to Monday Morning Mood Makers!!). Any who – enjoy the following Friday Funnies – in no particular order.
We feel you are now sufficiently (and possibly inappropriately) armed and dangerous and ready to enjoy the weekend (like that never happens!).
1) We could learn a lot from crayons.
2) The second mouse gets the cheese – sometimes its good not to rush into things!
3) Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.
4) Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.
AND MOST IMPORTANTLY
Now – go be good to each other, slow down, make a few mistakes, enjoy your scenic detours and savor the sweet things in life!
Once again, we thought we’d share a few random ‘did you know’ facts. Technically these are not holiday facts, however, they could be great conversation starters for any of those holiday get togethers! Enjoy and share your knowledge!
1) Green Eggs and Ham was written sort- of on a dare. Dr. Suess’ publisher said there was no way to write a complete book with only 50 words. Pretty FIERCE response to a dare I’d say!
2) There are more vacant homes in the US than there are homeless. Seems like a natural solution here doesn’t it?
3) Until 2011, beer in Russia was considered a soft drink – not alcohol. I’ll bet reclassifying makes it a lot more attractive to the younger crowd now.
4) When Twister was first introduced it was denounced as ‘sex in a box’. Again, must have made it wildly attractive to the younger crowd. All about marketing!
5) The 1904 Olympics (St. Louis) included events like greased pole climbing, rock throwing and mud fighting. To be fair, these events were not considered part of the ‘Official’ Olympic games. There were plenty of other questionable events that took place during those Olympics, (which ran in tandem with the World’s Fair) which have tarnished that Olympics legacy. Must have been pretty amusing to watch the greased pole climbing though – just saying.
6) A full grown Hippopotamus can open its mouth wide enough to fit a 4′ child. Pretty amazing – and another really good reason to make sure no child is getting too close to the Hippos at the zoo!
Always fun to throw around a fact or two while mingling! Have a great weekend! -M
I don’t know if November became a month to be thankful due to the Thanksgiving holiday but the month is full of reasons for which to be thankful. National Authors’ Day, America Recycles Day, National Men Make Dinner Day (totally getting behind that one!), to name just a few I found on National Day Calendar.com.
Today of course is Veterans Day and we all have much to be thankful for because of the Veterans and current military members serving overseas and at home to ensure our liberties and way of life. I am a former military wife and know the sacrifices military personnel and their families make. It is a wonderful life in the sense that you are part of an extremely welcoming and vital community filled with people you can count on to do just about anything for you – with little to no questions asked. I love the people we met along our journeys to various bases and I love the experiences my children had while they transitioned from various homes. We had each other and a ready-made extended family where ever we were sent.
“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes!”
We owe so much to active military members – they leave their family for extended periods of time, they are willing to go in harm’s way to accomplish their mission and aside from wanting and needing the welcome embrace of their family when they return, they really just want to go about their business and don’t feel heroic about their service. I so admire that sense of duty. As in all professions and walks of life, there are exceptions but those should not distract from the honor and integrity of the majority.
Being in the military is serious business sometimes but we thought we would leave you with some military humor as we ascribe to the benefits of humor in all things (thanks for Reader’s Digest for the following jokes).
“City?” they asked.
“Memphis,” I answered.
“ ’Tis of thee.”
Jennifer Kirksey, Freedom, California
Secret Information: While standing watch in the Coast Guard station in Juneau, Alaska, I got a call from the Navy in the nearby city of Adak. They had lost contact with one of their planes, and they needed the Coast Guard to send an aircraft to go find it. I asked the man where the Navy aircraft had last been spotted so we would know where to search.
“I can’t tell you,” the Navy man said. “That’s classified.”
Time Confusion: My wife, Dolores, never quite got the hang of the 24-hour military clock. One day she called the orderly room and asked to speak with me. The person who answered told her to call me at the extension in the band rehearsal hall. “He can be reached at 4700, ma’am,” the soldier advised.
With a sigh of exasperation, my wife responded, “And just what time is that?”
You Are What You Are: During basic training, our drill sergeant asked for a show of hands of all Jewish personnel. Six of us tentatively raised our hands. Much to our relief, we were given the day off for Rosh Hashanah.
A few days later in anticipation of Yom Kippur, the drill sergeant again asked for all Jewish personnel to ID themselves. This time, every soldier raised his hand. “Only the personnel who were Jewish last week can be Jewish this week,” declared the sergeant.
P.S. – Today is also National Sundae Day so if you can, celebrate a Veteran you know and love by taking them out for a Sundae or having one in their honor. However you honor them, they do deserve our Thanks!
Today we’re keeping it extremely light!!! Just some random facts in random order that might be fun to throw out there this weekend should the conversation lag. They are only meant to be entertaining and light – otherwise probably completely useless.
1) The 57 on Heinz ketchup bottle represents the varieties of pickle the company once had.
2) Leonardo da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
3) “Almost” is the longest word in the English language with all the letters in alphabetical order (and no repeated letters).
4) A ‘jiffy’ is an actual unit of time for 1/100th of a second
5) When opossums are playing ‘possum, they are not ‘playing’. They actually pass out from sheer terror.
BONUS – Camels have three eyelids to protect it from blowing sand.
Have a great weekend, spend some time with a buddy and impress all with your new knowledge!
I remember my first time – so clearly. I was 17, about to turn 18 so excited and in love with the adventure of it all. I was being transported to a different place. I felt so grown up and sophisticated!
Sorry friends, no truly juicy details forthcoming – I am referring to my first time……………………flying! I was on my way to Paris for a week on a high school trip with the French class from the school in which my Uncle was Principal. It really was so thrilling, everything about it. I can remember to this day the ‘immense-ness’ of the plane, the excitement of traveling, the disappointment in the meal, the feeling of being so brave! I just returned from taking my granddaughter on her first plane ride and I was transported once again.
The plane was jam-packed – not an open seat to be had. A group of students from China took up most of the back half of the plane, there were screaming kids all around – we were sardines in a flying tin can. However, the excitement of watching my granddaughter experience it all only made all of it part of the adventure.
When was the last time you celebrated a plastic cup of soda, poured from a can that you didn’t even get the rest of, accompanied by a miniature stale bag of pretzels!!?! She made everything a joyous occasion with her wonderment at being on a plane and flying so high above the clouds AND getting served by a stewardess! She was Queen for a day (well an hour and five minutes anyway)!!!
The lesson I took from this was that even at our age, there are many ‘firsts’ still out there if we are open to them. We get so used to doing things and going places and accomplishing tasks that we forget how many exciting and phenomenal things happen everyday. I want to keep that perspective with me as I go through each day. I don’t want to take for granted being able to fly across the country to visit family or see sites that may be new or renewed in my eyes. I want to greet people with the anticipation of what they are going to teach me that day. I want to be amazed in the same way younger people are when confronted with experiences they have the option to embrace or turn away from.
What do you see when you gaze out at your world?
If you look with wonder, it’s a whole new landscape! -M
My monthly issue of Costco Connection landed on my counter the other day with the smiling face of Ken Jennings (the long-winning contestant on Jeopardy) on front. When my children were younger and still at home, we used to play along with TV Jeopardy to see who would have to do the dishes – my oldest NEVER once had to do the dishes, she was the Ken Jennings of our family! We are a game playing, competitive family and still find multiple opportunities to bring a game into the mix.
It got me thinking about the benefits of game playing as we continue to strive to age gracefully and graciously (the same way we should play games by the way). The question asked by Washington Post contributor Mary Carpenter is…’ can “brain exercises/brain games” actually improve mental capacities, in particular those that decline with age? Among these capacities, Lumosity claims to improve attention, flexibility, problem-solving and working memory, the last defined as the ability to hold several units of information in the mind and manipulate them over a short period of time’. There are various camps on this issue but participating in games, either for the physical activity and or mind stimulation does provide a benefit to our brains.
El and I have yet to get together for a visit without at least a few games being played! Learning seems to be the key and I LOVE learning new games. Here are a few favorites.
1) Card games – ROOK, Euchre (just taught my younger brother and my daughter’s boyfriend this one), UNO, Phase 10, etc… New one I learned ‘Hand and Foot’ – lots of fun.
3) Trivial Pursuit – all versions, all years
4) Pictionary – talk about thinking in new ways, what one player things looks like a horse may more closely resemble an ink blot
5) The Name Game – where everyone contributes names of famous people written on scrap pieces of paper which are combined into a ‘hat’, all players are divided into teams. On your team’s turn, one player pulls one name at a time out of the hat and works to try to get the others on their team to identify the person. The team with the most names at the end wins.
6) Bowling (Wii or for real) – I know, both versions are getting a bit dated but I still have fun participating in either.
Just FYI, reading seems to benefit your brain in much the same way as learning a new game, skill, craft, etc. Your mind imagines doing all the things are happening in the book you are enjoying and ‘excites’ those neuro-pathways! A recent study done by Emory University shows the following: Post-reading scans showed heightened connectivity — the goal of brain training — in two areas of the brain, called “shadow activity” because it’s seen after the activity is finished. The conclusion: Simply thinking about movements performed by the book’s characters activated neurons in the reader associated with the physical act of moving. The study’s lead author, Emory University neuroscientist Gregory Berns, said: “Reading a novel can transport you into the body of the protagonist – exercising your brain, not just figuratively, but something may also be happening biologically.”
Fill these last waning weeks of summer with some fun games and exciting summer reads and you will be doing so much to keep your brain cells ‘firing’. -M