Sunday, February 27, 2022



Recent events in Ukraine are very much on my mind as Russia's leader, Putin, has ordered his country's military to brutally invade their peaceful neighbor nation for the sin of wanting to be free and independent to determine their own destiny -- a democracy.   Innocent Ukrainians are dying defending their country.

UPDATE For the birds ..... 

Big Bear Bald Eagles I've been following on my blog for several years laid two eggs, the first on January 22nd this year.  Pip watch has begun this Saturday, February 26th as I write this.  Pip is the first small break in the egg shell as the eaglet inside begins to peck their way out.  Three days later is usually the earliest pip watch begins for the second egg laid January 25th.

Mother, Jackie, and father, Shadow, remodeled their nest for this year.  Shadow continues to share egg incubating time on the nest when Jackie permits.  Here's the link if you want to observe them on a live camera 24/7 courtesy of Friends of Big Bear Valley, nonprofit,  in a beautiful mountain community east of where I live.

An additional camera was added this year: Wide View Cam (Cam 2):

This is a recent video of Shadow arriving with a fish for Jackie......


Continuing the previous post with a recap.....

Lying in bed at night, just before I fall asleep, sometimes unusual thoughts or memories emerge unbidden into my mind as I described in Part I.  I have no idea why this occurs since I'm usually thinking of nothing at that point in time when I'm about to drowse off.  A few curious events emerging recently during that time included an especially humiliating moment which I experienced as a pre-teen.

This city girl was now living in the country where I was learning to be alone and not lonely.  I was also adapting and adjusting to this most recent major change in my young life.  There was no longer an occasion for me to see other classmates outside of school and none here lived near to me as I previously wrote.  So, to have some sort of social life, make new friends, I signed up at school to join a nationally prominent organization that will remain unnamed for farm boys and girls.  I don't wish to cast the organization in a negative light since they are a very beneficial and positive group for so many.  As is often the case, youth groups are only as good as their well-intentioned leaders who as human beings can be less than perfect.

I didn't know when or where the group met but thought I'd eventually learn.  If meetings weren't anytime while I was on the school grounds, such as during lunch hour, but instead in the summer, I knew I might not be able to attend due to family transportation limitations.  I heard nothing until many weeks later, one afternoon a car turned off the main highway to come up the long drive past our neighbors to our house.  I hadn't seen the car, but a short time after the occupants arrival, they spoke with my mother.  She subsequently called to me where I was reading in my upstairs bedroom.

There were two women I met when I came downstairs who were this local group's leaders, they explained.  They said my name was on their club roster and though I had never attended any other meetings (if they had any), this was a very special day since some important official or other supervisory person was coming to assess them.  I guessed they wanted full attendance so that's why they came to get me and would bring me home afterward.   I didn't learn until later there was more to the story which they hadn't told my mother,  that my name had been scheduled to demonstrate  the activity that day.   Mom asked if I wanted to go, to which I enthusiastically said, "Yes".  I had to rush around cleaning up, changing my clothes and Mom quickly French-braided my hair as I wore pigtails then.

When we were driving to the meeting the women explained the learning activity that day was to cook a custard.  My name was listed on their schedule as the person to cook during that meeting.  I was not to worry because others were making the custard as we spoke.  When we got there I was just to take the spoon, stir the custard, and when this woman official arrived, she would probably walk over to see what I was doing and I could tell her cooking this custard.  That seemed simple  enough, but I was a bit uneasy.

When we arrived, I took my place and began stirring the custard as they had instructed.  The official soon appeared and walked over to observe me as the leaders had said she would.  She then started quizzing me about how I had made this custard.  I didn't have the foggiest idea as I'd never made custard in my life and didn't recall seeing my mother make any.  I knew there was milk in it, might have guessed some eggs, but beyond that I was ignorant.  I would have had to either not answer, or say I don't know.  

The official became increasingly persistent,  frustrated, and she kept pressing me by asking  questions I couldn't answer.  I was beginning to feel I was being made out to be stupid given her gradual vocal change in tenor.  She was becoming impatient with  her voice beginning to take on a disparaging tone toward me, querying what ingredient had I put in first -- the sequence of steps I had followed.  "Well, don't you know?", she demanded.  I could feel my face turning red with embarrassment, my ears were ringing, and my head inside felt like it would explode.  All the girls and the leaders were staring at me.

I looked helplessly at the leaders but they just looked back and weren't speaking up to clarify matters.  I didn't know what further to do or say.  Apparently, I was supposed to be able to successfully answer this woman's questions.  I began to realize this was important for whatever was at stake for the leaders and the rest of the girls.  I had a sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach as I concluded that I would be letting them all down if I said I hadn't made the custard from the very beginning which must be what they wanted this woman to believe.  

The woman official may have said she didn't think I made the custard, or she may have asked me directly if I had made it from the beginning, in which case I would have answered, "No", but I  don't remember what happened as my mind and body were just frozen.  I was hearing in my head the loud deep male God character voice technically enhanced to sound other worldly, from the radio program"The Greatest Story Ever Told", that my Mom occasionally listened to and I knew I wasn't going to lie.  

The official went off to a corner of the room with the leaders.  On the opposite side of the room all the girls huddled together, then after just looking at me began whispering to one another, as I just stood there all alone.  I don't know how long I stood there, but I didn't know what to do and no one was giving me any guidance.   I didn't matter at that point to anyone, so finally, I simply went out the door, down the steps, walking several blocks to the road where I began the long two-and-a-half miles trip toward home.  I had just passed the city limits of that little village of a few hundred residents when a car stopped, horn tooted and I was relieved to discover the driver was a family member who had, coincidentally, come to town, was surprised to see me and wondered what I was doing.   I had a ride home.

I probably poured out my heart in the car to a very caring understanding ear and again to my mother when I got home, but I don't remember any of that.  Late that afternoon those leaders, I guess, drove to my house, but I was upstairs in my room and didn't have to see them.  I don't know what was said between them and my mother, but I know, as a former young teacher in a one room schoolhouse years earlier, coupled with being my understanding mother, she would not have been shy about saying what she thought about the situation.  

I don't know if the leaders had been frantic wondering where I was, had been searching for me before finally coming to our home.  If my mother and I discussed what occurred between her and them, which I'm sure she would have shared with me, I've long since forgotten.   I don't recall experiencing any repercussions from the other girls at school.   I didn't have further participation in the organization but wouldn't have been able to attend anyway since  I learned the meetings rotated to one another's home.  This all became a moot point since we moved out of state a couple months after school started again that fall.  

I never fretted about the event through the years to re-experience it as being post-traumatic, though I had recalled it from time to time.   I hadn't thought of it for years but clearly the event remained embedded in my memory.   This is all the more reason for my wondering why the recollection of  that experience I can still visualize in my mind came seeping into my consciousness this recent night.  

We've all probably had humiliating moments in our lives.  This and the others described in Part I  are some of the earliest ones which seem to have lingered in my memory only to surface recently when least expected in a most unusual way.   

What about you?   Do you recall any humiliating moments to which you may have been subjected?  

Sunday, February 20, 2022


Lying in bed at night, just before I fall asleep, sometimes unusual thoughts or memories emerge unbidden into my mind.  I have no idea why any particular content appears since I'm usually thinking of nothing at that point in time when I'm about to drowse off.  A few curious events intruding into my mind recently included some humiliating moments with one especially so that I experienced as a pre-teen.   

We had moved to the country where we lived for a little over a year.  This city girl had previously visited family living in a rural area, even helped with some chores on my uncle's dairy farm.  These included aiding harvesting hay for the coming winter by driving a hand-clutch Farmall tractor, later leading the horse to pull a trip-wire fork of hay to drop into the barn's hayloft.  Living year 'round in the country in a house where the bathroom was an outhouse was quite a different matter as I discovered from those few weeks in the summer where the family house at least had indoor plumbing.  

In the city I previously could occasionally be with friends, though in the country there was no one my age living nearby.   I have a sense now of the feelings young people experience in our current pandemic, especially if they have become accustomed to almost constant contact with their friends and have other family nearby.   They probably have their own phones, but in my generation we didn't spend time chattering on the phone, much less had our own phone, or at least I didn't.   Youth today can text or interact on the internet, too, which wasn't available to me, plus we didn't even have a house phone in the country.

Where we had moved, should someone want to reach me, I was quite isolated from any contemporaries.  I no longer had the singular independence given me by city buses to transport me to some of my favored past times, by allowing me to ride downtown to the library, roller skating rink, movie theater to view musicals, all in addition to my Girl Scout activities.

That country living was when I became acutely aware of sometimes becoming lonely or unhappy.  I eventually learned I could be alone there and not lonely, that I was responsible for my own happiness, partly based on my own attitude which I could control.  When I complained of being bored, my mother (who grew up on a farm) said I would have to find new additional ways to entertain myself differently than I had been accustomed to doing.  

Consequently, adapting and adjusting to profound changes of which these were just more, became very important lessons I learned at an early age.  They became significant to me for coping with the rest of my life.  This became especially valuable when I became a widow entering my older years, then subsequently as friends and relatives increasingly began leaving this life.    The pandemic's limitations  have added more challenges.  

When school started that fall in the country, I had to walk alone three-quarters of a mile to catch the school bus, often in the dark during cold snowy winter months, then ride for an hour over the entire trip before arriving at school only two-and-a-half miles from our house since I boarded at the beginning of the route.  Girls could only wear pants to keep our legs warm until we reached school, then we had to be wearing skirts or dresses.  

The teachers didn't know me, of course, a new student.   So on one occasion when an event motivated me to speak up to the teacher privately as the class left the room, to express heart-felt empathy to her after a very rude student had caused her to reprimand him, I was taken aback she was not receptive to what I said.  Embarrassingly to me, I was chastised for speaking to her, then told to stay in my seat excluded from recess which the rest of the class had taken outside. 

I never understood how what I said provoked her since the very rude insulting student was allowed to go outside for recess.  So much for the warm trusting respectful relationship I had appreciated which seemed to be mutual with my teachers through my previous six elementary school grades in the city.   Well, there was that occasion when the city teacher wracked my knuckles with a wooden ruler for writing notes with my boyfriend.   Another day that same city teacher had me read the spelling words to the class as she left the room because she was having a heart attack we learned later.

Then, at my new school there was the instance of total invasion of my personal privacy I thought then, in a day when girls, especially, were taught and expected to be very modest about their bodies.  Seems there was an infestation of scabies in the school or community, a bug of some sort which I'd never even heard of before.   We were sent off to the nurse's office where one by one we went into her room, not really knowing what was to occur.  

My turn came and I was suddenly being told to expose my genital area to this strange woman -- totally contrary to everything my mother had taught me about my privacy and rights, especially after my having been sexually molested when I was preschool age.   I politely resisted and then, adding insult to injury, the nurse started using what I considered offensive cajoling baby talk and euphemistic terms to me in her effort to gain my cooperation.  Despite this, I did ultimately allow her to complete what must have been a less than pleasant task for her, too, though I didn't think about that then.  I was so disgusted and again, embarrassed.  

There was never an occasion for me to see other classmates outside of school and none lived nearby as I said.  So, to have some sort of social life, make new friends, I signed up at school to join a nationally prominent organization that will remain unnamed with separate clubs  for farm boys and girls.  I don't wish to cast the organization in a negative light since overall they provide a very beneficial positive experience for so many young people.   As is often the case,  youth groups are only as good as their    well-intentioned leaders who as human beings can be less than perfect.   

The most humiliating experience I had during this time in my life I will describe next week in Part II since this has become so lengthy.   

Strange, isn't it, what comes into our thoughts at times though we may not have been thinking about anything remotely related, or even anything at all for that matter.    


Sunday, February 13, 2022


Some of our U.S. populace is caught up in the excitement of today's (Sun. 2/13) NFL Super Bowl American football playoff game occurring in a newly built Los Angeles area stadium that media describes as being quite spectacular as such arenas go.   

I may view this game on TV as I have been intrigued with the young 36 years old L.A. Rams coach Sean McVay, their quarterback, Matthew Stafford age 34, and the team's success -- information hard to ignore learning of since the game, team and players have been repeatedly and aggressively promoted by local, even national media.

The Cincinnati Bengals opposing our coincidentally local Rams are also attractive with the story of their young 25 year old quarterback, Joe Burrows and his team finally producing a winning season after a 31 years drought from such success.  Zac Taylor, 38 years old, the second youngest NFL head coach for the Bengals.  

I can enjoy watching some sporting events but am not avidly engrossed in them as my husband was.  Years ago, when I learned of brain injury issues, then coupled with what has been learned in more recent years about dementia effects some athletes have experienced, my attitude toward the violence in some sports has colored my enjoyment.  As for this Super Bowl, I'm inclined to root for our L.A. team, but I think I could derive pleasure from the joy expressed by whichever team wins.

Perhaps the Super Bowl will be a mental respite from thinking about the numerous issues our country faces both internally, such as the GOP not being a true political party but perhaps a radical insurgency, and externally like the current situation in Europe.

Democracy, such as practiced in our nation's republic,  continues to be under assault by those advocating for various forms of dictatorships.  They promote autocratic leaders just as does even one of our own -- a former self-aggrandizing President who makes no secret of his intent to subvert our nation to becoming an autocracy he would lead.   

My recent weekend luck forces me once more to focus on my latest woes since a long-ago-broken tooth has once again come unglued.  At least I can be glad I didn't swallow the released tooth piece.  I'll weather this new inconvenience until, hopefully, a re-glue is received ideally Monday rather than referral for a root canal -- just when I thought I could attend to other matters.

Only last week having replaced tires on my car after an unexpected flat and revelations of the poor condition from age deteriorations the rest of the tires exhibited, I had thought I could indulge in thinking about less personal matters.   Come to think of it, there are still a few other personal issues for me to address, none the least of which are income taxes.  Oh, well!

I still can't help thinking about what is happening in Europe.  Why are we concerned we might ask?  

My view is -- please, not more war -- not again -- a European nation, this time Russia, threatening a geographically adjacent smaller country ... Ukraine ... an unwanted invasion into a sovereign nation ... a reversion to a less stable continent whatever the rationale or excuse for doing so.

This crisis is discussed by Judy Woodruff with New York Times columnist David Brooks and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart in a PBS News Hour segment.  An excerpt of what Brooks said:

"I'd say the stakes are this.  In 19-- from 1915-1945, we had  a culture and a regime in Europe which was the law of the jungle, the strong nations get to conquer the little ones.  In 1945, after 150 million deaths and two World Wars, we set up a rules-based order, where strong nations do not get to take over little ones, that we have some sort of global international order, with NATO and the U.N. and all sorts of organizations making it a much more peaceful place.

And we have enjoyed a peaceful, peaceful land.  And, if Russia is allowed to take Ukraine, that would destroy, that would shred that international order."

As for the pandemic,  I continue to find it alarming the simple matter of wearing a facial mask which is a proven means of limiting viral spreading has become such a controversial issue.  These viruses could care less that we humans are tired of adjusting our daily lives to combat them.  So, we will each be forced to confront the virus's potential illness consequences, protecting ourselves on our own, given that some of the selfish humans in our midst don't seem to care what happens to others or themselves by taking measures best for all.  "We're all in this together" as these viruses dictate -- except for some -- unfortunately affecting all.  

I understand the virus mutations present changes that can only be determined over time, after the fact, but some objectors seem not to grasp this concept.   Whatever federal to local officials may prescribe or recommend for various settings, I will continue following basic common-sense practices including wearing a mask filtering small particles despite some of the falsehoods such as described in this U.S.A. Today article, as well as taking other care including hand washing/sanitizing.  Also, I'll still make selective contact with others and the situations into which I'll go.

These are, indeed, challenging times in which we live with all sorts of changes occurring throughout the world.  Like most of you who have lived many years, I've learned to adapt and adjust.  Perhaps more difficult has been to differentiate the situations or matters which I can alter from those I can't, then making peace within myself with the latter.  I stay abreast of what is happening around us and around the world as, probably, you do, too.

I find happiness in my daily life for my own well-being as I expect you do also.  I make an effort to share joy, to encourage future generations that there is hope for the future, which I truly believe -- not always easy with what all too often appears to loom ahead as now.

We can celebrate Valentine's Day this week and spread that love to all, but especially to those close to us.  Maybe some will send a little love to you.  


Sunday, February 06, 2022



A few years ago I wrote here of my frustration with an unexpected large expense when my neighbor's back wall caused an attached segment of my wall to need reconstruction to prevent my own wall from completely falling.   My neighbor refused to acknowledge his wall was adversely pressuring my wall despite our both being able to literally see his whole back wall was leaning.  He saw this in person on several occasions, but denied the effect of his wall on mine.   In fact, over the time I gave him to become convinced, his wall could easily be seen to keep leaning further and further.  Additionally, I had sent him periodic measures and photos of the changing effects on my wall.

I finally consulted with our city authorities, they inspected, then gave me permission to detach his wall from mine.  I had to have my wall section reconstructed to prevent a worsening situation.   While that was in progress I had received notice my home insurance was in jeopardy.  My neighbor later told a city official when they asked him that he would provide some financial reimbursement to me for the corner of my damaged wall's reconstruction.  He never did.  

I ultimately determined my legal pursuit of him for my costs, or even a part of them, was not best at that time for a variety of reasons.  A few years later he subsequently sold the house.  He had only been renting the house anyway since he was living somewhere in Los Angeles.  I learned this week that during our storm the neighbor's backyard wall finally fell over.  I feel sorry for the new owner who I haven't yet met, but at least his wall no longer has any effect on my wall. 


Writing of our SoCal weather,  I might add we've continued to have Santa Anna/Santana's (devil) winds.  Given the strong winds downing over 300 trees in our city, damaging some homes.  I have continued to withhold putting my trash bin out at the curb for weekly pickup lest it be blown over as would have happened the week I wrote of earlier.

I must not be living right because I had another weekend power outage about a week after the first power loss.  I had been able to regain electricity the first time the furnace mechanism had been affected but had power after that for only a week before this second sudden loss.  Only a service person was able to completely reactivate my power when he discovered a special code for restarting my furnace was required.  At least I hadn't caused the problem I was relieved to learn since my thermostat adjusting efforts trying to turn on the furnace had been lacking.  

Naturally, outages and breakdowns only occur on a weekend when repair service isn't readily available.  That second weekend of power outage was miserably SoCal cold again for me, but nothing compared to what people in the rest of the U.S. have been having with snow, ice, zero and below temperatures so I shouldn't complain.  Interestingly, this coming week our temperatures are going to be in the 70's - 80's F.  This is unusually warm for these months.

The wonderful December rainfall we received has not been repeated, so our drought seems to be dominating again.  There are no storms predicted in our future.  February and March are typically the last months of our rainy season.


Groundhog Day this past week on February 2nd brought thoughts that come to my mind every year.   I'm finally going to share them here in a somewhat light-hearted questioning manner -- maybe even humorous.  As if we don't have enough truly serious matters in the world -- what do you think?

Living many years beginning in my youth in a state adjoining Pennsylvania I always heard a lot about Punxsutawney Phil on Gobbler's Knob, long before he became a national celebrity with a special day observed in all groundhogs honor.

Phil, a groundhog, was said to exhibit behavior that would tell us on February 2nd if we would have more winter or spring, depending on whether he saw his shadow when he emerged from his burrow and hibernation.  Learning more about various creatures lives as I became an adult, I soon concluded Phil's human owners actions were not only exploiting him but interfering with anyone's ability to reasonably judge by Phil's behavior future weather conditions.

Not only does Phil have to cope with variable weather issues, he's not even allowed to emerge from his burrow when he thinks the timing is appropriate as described in Mary Bernath's Sunbury, Pennsylvania's Danville News article linked here.   One observer is reported to have noted:

"Phil doesn't want to come out, so they have to grab him by the scruff of his neck to pull him out."  

Well, in my view, no wonder Phil has such a poor weather predictive accuracy record.  Seems to me Phil's knowing when to emerge to see if he can see his shadow is a critical element in determining any prognostication for future weather.

Bernath reports people turn out in large numbers to see Phil on Groundhog Day:

"While all this hoopla is going on, most ordinary Pennsylvania groundhogs are still soundly asleep in their burrows.  According to Jon Beam, naturalist at the Montour Preserve and assistant director of MARC, groundhogs settle in for the winter in late October and don't awaken until the last half of February or even early March.  Males get up first, to wander around and check out female burrows to see who is awake.  They might go back to their burrows for a while to keep warm, but the deep sleep is over."

I think we're long past time when Phil needs the freedom to determine for himself when to emerge from his burrow after awakening from hibernation.  Maybe then Phil and other groundhogs will give us more accurate weather predictions about when or if winter is ending and spring is coming.