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Fledglings All!

FledglingsALLMy 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!

Save

Save

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Make Me Laugh!

MakeMeLaugh

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.

  • In honor of our weight loss journey

Zero to Eight

  • Just because it made me laugh

OCD

  • Because I recently had to show my granddaughter how to play solitaire after she lost electronic privileges.

Solitaire

  • Because it reminded me of some of the ‘hearing (loss)’ funnies shared at our house lately.

Recipe Error

Birthday Suit

We feel you are now sufficiently (and possibly inappropriately) armed and dangerous and ready to enjoy the weekend (like that never happens!).

Friday Five – Points to Ponder

Friday Five - Points to PonderJust a few points to ponder while heading to your weekend. We found these to be both good advice and amusing. Hope you will also.

 

1) We could learn a lot from crayons.

Learn a lot from Crayons

2) The second mouse gets the cheese – sometimes its good not to rush into things!

Points to ponder

3) Some mistakes are too much fun to make only once.

Making mistakes

4) Always keep your words soft and sweet, just in case you have to eat them.

Eating your words

Detour

 

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY

Save the earth….. It’s the only planet with chocolate!
Chocolate

 

Now – go be good to each other, slow down, make a few mistakes, enjoy your scenic detours and savor the sweet things in life!

Friday Five: Did You Know – II

December Did You Know

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!

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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.

BONUS

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

Frosty Picking His Nose

November Thanks – Celebrating Veterans Day

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!”

Maya Angelou

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).

 

Veterans Day_4My father was transferred to a new Navy base when I was four, so my parents quizzed me about our address. After I recited it perfectly, the test continued.

“City?” they asked.

“Memphis,” I answered.

“State?”

“Tennessee.”

“Country?”

“ ’Tis of thee.”

         Jennifer Kirksey, Freedom, California
SVeterans Day_4ecret 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.”

 

Veterans Day_2

Veterans Day_4Time 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?”

 

Veterans Day_4You 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.

 

Veterans Day_3
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!

Friday Five – Did You Know?

Friday FiveToday 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.

If only.....

If only…..

Have a great weekend, spend some time with a buddy and impress all with your new knowledge!

100 Reasons to Celebrate Being Over 50

100 Reasons to Celebrate Being Over 50

    1. We can truly appreciate the wisdom of our parents.
    2. “Because it’s in” is no longer a motivating force to make a purchase.
    3. We know the difference between being fat and being shaped different than the cool kids grandmas.
    4. We have a true appreciation for the ‘cut and paste’ feature on our word processors that those who didn’t experience typewriters will never know.
    5. We were able to stop carrying dimes in our shoes and (later) quarters in our bras in case we had to make an emergency call.
    6. We understand the concept of ‘groovy.’
    7. 100 Reasons te Celebrate Being Over 50
    8. We now know that cute, pretty, handsome, and beautiful can co-exist with wrinkles.
    9. We get that more hair, longer hair, is not necessarily better. To borrow some real estate jargon it’s all about location, location, location!
    10. Our bullsh*t detector has incredible range.
    11. Sympathy can be effectively conveyed with a heartfelt look because they know we get it.
    12. We got to experience playing outside until dark and riding our bikes to adventures beyond the length of our road.
    13. We know for a fact that excellent movies can be made without profanity or gratuitous sex scenes.
    14. Long-term friendships have a maturity, a depth, a richness, that only the aging process can bring to them.
    15. We no longer believe if your eyeglasses aren’t jumbo it looks like you have two sets of eyebrows.
    16. “Don’t sweat the small stuff” has evolved from a slogan to a life style.
    17. We know what we don’t know.
    18. We recognize that “old” is more about attitude than age.
    19. Our self-confidence doesn’t come from a cocky place.
    20. No more worries about getting pregnant!
    21. A botched haircut is no longer the end of the world.
    22. We are taken seriously in the business world.
    23. The motivation to lose weight is what WE think.
    24. When we don’t want to play a game, drive to a destination, or do anything else we don’t want to do, we can toss out an “I’m too old for that” and the subject is dropped.
    25. We can act like teenagers when we want to, but have the ability to stop.
    26. Our clothes choices are based on our preferences – not peer pressure.
    27. We don’t take health for granted.
    28. We’re old enough to appreciate how youthful we are.
    29. We know that being content is a choice.
    30. We have a true appreciation for those who came before us.
    31. 100 Reasons to Celebrate Being Over 50
    32. We wear confidence well.
    33. We get a do-over with our grandkids.
    34. We can make a difference in a life by mentoring someone who is where we have been.
    35. We have a personal sense of style.
    36. We can get our quirky on!
    37. The chances of us getting kidnapped are greatly reduced.
    38. Learning is a privilege we embrace.
    39. Since we need them all the time now, we don’t have to remember where we put our glasses.
    40. Pig Latin is a secret code again.
    41. We’re getting our money’s worth out of our health insurance.
    42. Passions are magnified by our life experience.
    43. Worrying about ending up looking foolish is no longer an obstacle to us trying something new.
    44. Our joints are more accurate weather indicators than the evening new forecast.
    45. We enjoy people who disagree with us because the conversation is more interesting.
    46. Laughing at ourselves is no longer difficult.
    47. We know it really will be all right.
    48. We have more internal resources to help us make decisions.
    49. Perfection is no longer the goal.
    50. Singing badly is not a reason not to sing.
    51. 100 Reasons to Celebrate Being Over 50
    52. Our homes are big enough.
    53. Napping is something we do without having to be told anymore.
    54. We don’t feel like everything in our holiday meals has to be cooked from scratch.
    55. Valuing popularity is a thing of the distant past.
    56. Saying “I’m sorry” comes much easier.
    57. So does saying “No.”
    58. There is time to take care of ourselves.
    59. We know that gratitude can obliterate negativity.
    60. No more periods.
    61. Sex – truly better at this age!
    62. Prospect of retirement.
    63. Knowing what we want.
    64. Understanding our strengths and weaknesses better
    65. Increased problem solving skills
    66. Greater appreciation for life’s wonders
    67. Financial stability
    68. Cherished Family Relationship – Sibling Rivalry is a thing of the past
    69. Knowledge gained from experiences
    70. Senior discounts (heh, use ‘em if you got ‘em)
    71. No acne
    72. Technology –sometimes friend, sometimes foe but always keeps the mind active
    73. Health care provides much better treatment options for ‘aging’ concerns
    74. Fun really is more fun
    75. Forgiving comes easier
    76. No longer have a need to be right all the time
    77. 100 Reasons to Celebrate Being Over 50
    78. Sixty doesn’t seem old anymore
    79. Less scared of taking risks
    80. No longer take things personally
    81. Less need to be in control
    82. Time to travel, knit, read, garden
    83. Love seeing the adults children have now become
    84. Being on the other side of menopause
    85. Being around as long as Johnnie Quest, Jeopardy, Flipper and Mary Poppins (to name a few)
    86. Freedom to not finish a book if it just really isn’t all that appealing
    87. Enjoying our own company even when left alone with ourselves
    88. Need for fewer ‘things’
    89. Appreciation for time spent ‘making memories’
    90. Saying ‘Yes’ is so much easier
    91. Willingness to try new things is so much easier
    92. Not trying new things is perfectly acceptable and/or getting multiple uses out of the same book when not remembering that you have already read it
    93. Seeing the beauty in long united couples, new mothers, aging faces, and undeveloped acres of land
    94. Being old enough to have lived when there weren’t home computers, internet and cell phones (makes the ‘young’ folk look at you in a new way with respect for the hardships you have endured)
    95. Recognition of how tough those 20-30 year olds have it and knowing we would never want to go back
    96. Not needing to have the TV or radio or other noise creating devices on; the thoughts in our heads are perfectly good company.
    97. Catching a movie in the middle of the day and finding plenty of available seats
    98. Finding humor in so many more places
    99. Putting to rest former regrets
    100. We know how much we have to be grateful for.

100 Reasons to Celebrate Being 50

 

 

First Time Thrill – Contact High

FirstsI 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.

P1000312The 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)!!!

P1000309The 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

Cloud landscape

Mind Games

Mind Games

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.

2)      Mad Gab – hilarious and gets your brain working in a different direction as you try to ‘hear’ what others are saying as they use similar sounding words to come up with the actual phraseMind Games

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

Mind Games