While out for lunch with my youngest daughter, we beheld a gathering of blue and gold Macaws apparently chatting while their custodian is having a meal at Boulanger.
They are not tethered in any way, nor was their guardian anywhere in sight. He (or she) had gone into the restaurant for a bite … which is what would happen to any one brazen enough (and naive enough) to attempt to steal these glorious birds. Those beaks can crush a Brazil nut with no problem. Just imagine what they would do to sticky fingers.
My daughter noted that the truck matched the color of the Macaws’ tail feathers. A bold fashion statement.
We spent several minutes inventing alternatives to someone having driven to Boulanger with birds festooning their truck. Perhaps the birds didn’t arrive on the truck at all, but were flying over when they saw a rest stop whose color offered the appropriate camouflage. After all, they blend right in.
Perhaps there is no human driver and the birds are aliens out for a Saturday visitation and who did not realize that the chameleon circuit on their vessel and EVA suits had failed spectacularly.
I suppose we will never know.
First, let me credit Elli for helping me write this post. I always have someone next to me while I type, and today it was Elli. (I mean, and others. But Elli got the spot directly next to me today.)
Oh, and let me show you Elli as she looks when I’m holding a snack rather than my laptop: Continue reading
The Cobra Marked King
The Thrilling Victorian Adventures of the Most Dangerous Woman in Europe
by Brenda Clough
All these years, Marian Halcombe has hidden her stepson Zed, the secret heir to an Asian island kingdom. She swore to fulfil her dead husband’s dying wish and set the boy on his throne. But now Zed is of age and he steps forward to fulfill a pirate prince’s dream of peace and unity. Marian’s greatest adventure is about to begin. Can she guide the Cobra Marked King to the destiny he was born to fulfil?
There are more decorated walls in this region than I have ever seen! It is as if the creative impulse has to be expressed on every available surface. Believe it or not, this wall of books is a parking garage. These seem to be images of real book spines, too. It is near the campus of the state university, and clearly the artists wanted to encourage study.
While browsing through a periodical aimed at people of a certain age, providing tips on finance, health, travel and ways to avoid falling victim to scammers, a list caught my eye. This periodical often publishes lists: 10 ways to maximize wealth, 20 ways to downsize your possessions (in preparation for the inevitable downsizing of your abode), 5 ways to prepare quinoa. This list was one that ordinarily I would have passed on—this doesn’t apply to me; I am no longer 25 years-old and drowning in self-help books to “help” me sort out my messy life.
This list suggests 10 ways to achieve happiness.
After citing studies suggesting that exercise, proper diet, social activities and a good night’s sleep improve mood—things I already do—there was one more item on the list I don’t do. A bit of advice that costs nothing, but I found it astonishingly hard.
Join Thor and me as our Hawaii trip continues with an exploration of the Big Island‘s northwest features.
NOTE: Thor and I decided on a quick trip to Hawaii’s Big Island to stretch out summer a bit as our gray, rainy Pacific Northwest winter was closing in. The airline and all venues in Hawaii are being super careful with Covid precautions, and it was a wonderful getaway. If you didn’t see my blog series about our first Big Island trip, it started April 24, 2021, to catch up on the full adventure, including a volcano, petroglyphs, snorkeling with wild dolphins, and a night swim with huge manta rays. And I promise I will finish the Retro Italy Vacation series soon.
The vog — irritating volcanic fog — was kicking up during the last part of our trip, as the Kilauea caldera was erupting again, so we decided to escape it and take a road trip around the northwest island loop. Starting with charming small Kona town, we admired the towering trees:
(This post is part of my Patreon-supported New Worlds series.)
Last week we looked at the sex half of the cultural can of worms that is sex and gender. This week we turn to gender — and, to repeat my disclaimer from before, this is a very complex topic I can only address in brief. If you want to know more, there is an entire academic field out there with books for you to read!
With that out of the way . . . gender — how does it even work?
Sara Stamey’s novel Pause is a triumph, a celebration of growth and perseverance. The protagonist, Lindsey Friedland, is the victim of a bullying father, Arlen, and an equally abusive ex-husband, Nick. She has learned to survive as a victim, but her liberation from Nick, via divorce, has left her in a paralysis of sorts. Where does she go from here? After a humorous series of absurd blind dates, she finds connection with old friend Newman, “Mr. Maybe,” who introduces her to possible new love and a spiritual path. Another potentially life-changing choice is offered: should she leave her job as a medical transcriptionist to pursue more fulfilling work as an environmental writer? Continue reading
On Veterans Day, as we honor all who have served in the military, let’s look at the seldom-mentioned contributions of nurse cadets during WWII.
Because of a crisis shortage of qualified nurses during the World War II, a new program to train nurses was signed into law by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1943. It provided free tuition to high school graduates to train as nurses. It’s worth noting that the program was unanimously passed by both the House and Senate, and the Senate added a provision that prevented discrimination against any candidate for the program due to race or creed. Perhaps our bitterly partisan U.S. Congress today could take a lesson from history. Continue reading
Magical Malcolms #6
by Patricia Rice
Can the hopes of a lonely laird be answered by a vicar’s daughter with magic in her hands?