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Please do not worry that I have forgotten you, dearest Readers that normally have a link on my page. I'm trying Blogger's new template generator on for size and I have not yet had the time to work on the links portion.

Please feel free to hum your favorite song while I work.

Walking for a Cure for ALS

Email from AnnieElf:

I am sending this to you all as a special request to help me as I help my friend Tammy Brierly, a 17 year survivor of Lou Gehrig's disease – also known as ALS. The normal lifespan from diagnosis to death is ten years. The remarkable and miraculous Tammy has survived 17 years and still maintains a high quality of life.

On October 25th, I and my family will be Walking for a Cure for ALS, in Sacramento. I am hoping that many of you will be able to contribute a donation to support this cause. Even a dollar or two would help.

To learn more about Tammy, please click http://mylifeasawarrior.blogspot.com/. This will lead you to her blog.

Tammy Brierly's team page at the ALS Walk for the Cure is below. If you click on my name, it will lead you to my donation page http://web.alsa.org/site/TR?team_id=98020&fr_id=5160&pg=team&JServSessionIdr001=ormgchrwy2.app26b

Thank you for taking the time to read this. And thank you for any support you can give to this cause.

And, PLEASE, feel free to share this with anyone you like on your own email lists.

Best wishes,

Without trust, society cannot survive. Benedict XVI


Summer 2008

Fall is officially here (I needn’t state the obvious.) This is the time of year where I get ready for the holidays. Better Half and I are cleaning our downstairs carpets, washing down the woodwork and wiping down walls. The décor becomes more simplified in order to make room for the knickknacks that will mutate from fall into winter, encompassing Halloween, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. We are behind schedule.

It seems that we had a very mellow summer. We did not achieve some of our goals, such as stripping and painting the back deck. There is much to do in the back yard; the gardens need to be bedded down for winter, odd bits of trash require policing and the summer fixtures will be placed in their protective boxes.

I will be sorry to see my beautiful summer flowers disappear. I will have to mulch my beds out front, being careful to avoid any toad holes that I stumble across. The fountain will be brought to the garage and I shall tuck my hanging lantern into a corner for yet another year. Cushions must be washed, the porch swept and clematis clipped back. We will have leaves to rake, fall and Christmas decorations to place, and another few months were the car remains unwashed.

I leave you with memories of Summer 2008.

Goodbye Maddy. Not a single day has gone by that I have not thought of you and mourned your passing.


Failure Joke (from email)


"Stomach flu" and Toad

I’m back from the dead, “almost literally”, having survived a personal situation and a bad bout of the “stomach flu”. The personal situation would make for poor blogging fodder as it has little bearing on any except those directly involved.

There is no such beast as a stomach flu, by the way. The symptoms usually indicate a bacterial or viral contagion of some sort; it is not a true flu.

My infection was a lighter shade of pure evil, replete with feverish delirium. The hallucinations, however, were entertaining. We thought it would be prudent to visit the ER yesterday when my fever spiked at 103 – toxicity from one of my medications was a primary concern. The doctor ran a full panel, including potassium and the medication level check. All was fair. He pronounced it as the gastric bug that seems to be making its rounds in the Ohio Valley.

Home again with grocery sacks filled with unsalted crackers, Powerade and Tylenol (regular OTC medication in this house? How bizarre.) The doctor included a prescription to help with the rapid southerly movement of my digestive track but I have yet to take one of those pills. I am old-fashioned; if your body is purging itself of something, allow it to do its job rather than taking medications that prevent your body from working. I will take a pill if things become too extreme.

“And here we are,” as one of my friends would type midpoint in an email or six. Indeed, here I am, nibbling my cracker and sipping my Mountain Blast (that's marketingspeak for Frightening Shade of Blue) sports drink. I would presume that my caloric intake yesterday hovered right around 250. I am currently at 250 and increasing.

We had a visitor last night: our elusive Mr. Toad. She is inappropriately named; her white throat tells us that she is certainly female. I think that she is an American toad (Bufo americanus) but I could be mistaken.

She’s a lumpy beast that lives in the front garden and apparently she harbors suicidal tendencies. I’ve had to salvage her from the lawn prior to Better Half mowing (thank God my amphibian-catching skills are still viable.) She managed to hop into the dog run (back drive) last night, spooking the hell out of the Italian Greyhound. Better Half rescued her and returned her to the front, but not before we snapped a few photographs.

American Toads are poisonous. The series of warts along their backs contain a milky substance that can be harmful to pets should it be ingested or get in the eyes. Better to dwell near the fountain and heavy cover of dusty miller than the belly of a dog. I hope that her journey into the back yard is not indicative permanent relocation. It has been a pleasure having her as a tenant.


Fly the Flag; Remembering 9/11 on Patriot's Day

The miracle is not that we survived, but that we rose up with our heads held high, hand in hand.

My generation is too young to understand the strong feelings of anger and solidarity following the attack on Pearl Harbor. We were blessed in that we never truly knew war, a peer group too young to comprehend Vietnam.

On September 11, we each paused in our daily routine to watch, to listen, to mourn or to gnash our teeth. We were swept up in that moment, bound together across the country by a deluge of emotions. Our cohesion was a miracle. We were not separated by status or race, gender or orientation.

We must remember, lest we forget.

(The following is republished from an email.)

Please join us in this FLY THE FLAG campaign. We have a little less than one week and counting to get the word out all across this great land and into every community in the United States of America.


On Thursday, September 11, 2008 (Patriot's Day), an American flag should be displayed outside every home, apartment, office, and store in the United States. Every individual should make it their duty to display an American flag on this seventh anniversary of one our country's worst tragedies. We do this honor of those who lost their lives on 9/11, their families, and friends and loved ones who continue to endure the pain, and those who today are fighting at home and abroad to preserve our cherished freedoms.

In the days, weeks and months following 9/11, our country was bathed in American flags as citizens mourned the incredible losses and stood shoulder-to-shoulder against terrorism. Sadly, those flags have all but disappeared. Our patriotism pulled us through some tough times and it shouldn't take another attack to galvanize us in solidarity. Our American flag is the fabric of our country and together we can prevail over terrorism of all kinds.

Action Plan:

So, here's what we need you to do ...

(1) Tell as many people as possible. Take a moment to think back to how
you felt on 9/11 and let those sentiments guide you.

(2) Fly an American flag of any size on 9/11.

Thank you for your participation.

Praying Mantis

This fellow was clinging to our window screen today. He’s a beautiful praying mantis. I only wish that I could have captured the other side of him.