Something Amazing Happened

raven-1373630_1920

I don’t know how I have not seen anything like this before in my fifty-four years but today I saw a murder of crows. They took over our neighbor’s front lawn and a little bit of ours.

Nature is weird; when animals of any great quantity congregate and act as if of one mind it kind of freaks me out a little.

Let me share what I learned with you because I find this fascinating and you may too. The term ‘murder of crows’ is a mystery lost to us since it’s inception in the 15th century.

It may have to do with superstitions of the time when violent death was associated to the crow or their signature harsh raucus cries.

It may have to do with the fact that they are black which is the traditional color, or rather lack of color, prominent at funerals.

There is also a story the Blackfoot tribe passes on through the generations of how the crow came to be black. I will paraphrase that story here.

They say that at one time it was the most colorful of birds and all other birds were black. One by one the other species of birds came to the crow and asked to be a beautiful color.

As the crow gave away one color after another to the birds that asked all color was eventually given away and we are left with the black bird we see today. 

Today, I saw my neighbor’s front lawn jam packed with crows; en masse. Earlier this morning my husband heard a large number of crows and sent a drone up to take video of them.

He was unable to find the field they were in at the time and came away with a nice video of fields but not a bird in sight.

However, this afternoon while he was  busy elsewhere on the property I saw the crows swarm onto our neighbor’s lawn.

I managed to grab my iPhone and take this video which I then published on my YouTube channel. Sorry for the lack of clarity at times but it was the only camera I had on me at the time.

I did not want to go in the house and chance the opening of the door would cause me to lose the opportunity to capture this jaw dropping spectacle.

They were not there one minute and I barely blinked my eyes and there were hundreds of them. This is what I meant when I said nature is weird.

Nature is able to go from nothing to everything in literally the blink of an eye! They disappeared just as quickly.

There are lots of references to this term on the internet and a lot of fighting for one side of the discussion or the other I am afraid.

People cannot seem to agree on how this term was coined and why a flock of crows was named this way. Many theories abound, though.

Many view the appearance of crows as an omen of death because ravens and crows are scavengers and are generally associated with dead bodies, battlefields, and cemeteries.

They’re thought to circle in large numbers above sites where animals or people are expected to soon die.

I have personally seen many crows, over the years, by the side of or in the middle of the road picking at the carcasses of animals killed by passing vehicles.

But the term “murder of crows” mostly reflects a time when groupings of many animals had colorful and poetic names.

For instance, there is a folk tale that crows will gather and decide the capital fate of another crow.

I encourage you to Google “murder of crows” for yourself and learn about all the various reasons for naming a flock of crows as such.

There are some Audobon members comments that I ran across online that were annoyed, that is their wording, that people still refer to a flock of crows as a murder of crows.

Really, there was and I have no idea why they would get so upset over someonelse’s terminology.

In my life when I find myself curious about things that happen to me or that I come across, like a massive flock of crows I want to do some research to better understand.

For example; did you know there was a film called A Murder Of Crows made in 1999, or a play of the same name written in 1992 by Mac Wellman, and a studio album of the same name made in 2003 by Deadsoul Tribe?

The way I think of it is learning is a lifelong journey and given that I have the internet and a local library with books I might as well learn about this phenomenon now that I have witnessed it for myself.

Thanks for once again stopping by my blog to see what is new and happening in my world. Have you ever seen anything like this? I would love to hear about it in the comment section if you have.

I am also happy to hear anything you have to say, question or comment, so please feel free to leave a note in the comment section too.

 

 

 

Advertisements

A Progress Update: How I Am Doing With My Mandolin Now

 

LOL, I love that Keep Calm And Play Mandolin Meme…that is what is on my desktop on my computer right now; not that I need it to remind me to play. I love this mandolin!

I have picked it up every day; two or three times a day since bringing it home. Oh, and the picture to the right of it is my left hand fingertips after six days of playing. I am not sure you can see it in the photo but the calluses are building nicely.

Below is a picture of me holding my mandolin. I am thinking of making this my profile picture on Facebook and a few other places on the net. 🙂

 

fender-fm100-6-days-progress-update-thumbnail

 

All of the research I have been doing on the net has been paying off. Not only have I gotten a fine musical instrument and a heck of a deal on everything that it comes with but I have various chord charts for beginners.

There are a few in the instruction booklet that came with the package but the ones from the internet allow me to print them out full size on printer paper.

This way too I won’t have to flip through the book to find a certain chord.

I have a binder that I have plastic sheet protectors in and I put all my photocopies in there. There is even a pocket on the inside cover of the binder where I have tucked my instruction booklet.

As I collect songs that I can practice and play I will be building myself a journal of sorts that will show my progress from beginning to my current level.

This will help keep things organized and let me find whatever I want to practice on, easily.

The booklet that came with my mandolin takes you through the very beginning of everything and you do not need to have any musical experience to play the mandolin.

So, it begins by showing you the various parts of the mandolin, how to hold it, how to hold the pick, and so on. It then talks about keeping time by tapping your foot and how to read sheet music.

I took music theory in high school and a lot of it is coming back to me althought I do prefer to use songs with the appropriate chords above the words.

I find it easier to follow and if I wonder about the beat or tempo I need only listen to a recording of the song to get the idea.

There are a multitude of videos on YouTube showing how to play certain chords or songs and also some on care and maintenance of your mandolin.

It is from one such video that I recently saw that I learned how to lower the strings closer to my fretboard. I lowered the action, as it is referred to, in order to be able to play easier and not hurt my fingers as much.

Don’t misunderstand…they still hurt, just not as badly. 😉  My fingernails are now kept closely trimmed so as to not interfere with the strings as I form the chords with my left hand. I keep my right hand trimmed the same way too.

This is not a huge deal for me anyway as my nails never seem to grow to any appreciable length without splitting or peeling. They never have been long and beautiful until I got artificial nails put on a long time ago.

Then there were the endless appointments to go and have them filled as my real nails grew out underneath them. I must admit that when I had artificial nails I felt more feminine.

I am glad I got rid of them years ago as they would just complicate playing the mandolin now.

As I explain in my update video I just posted on my YouTube channel (Embedded Below) I am now practicing quick licks that Scotty Grove showed me on his YouTube channel. What is great about that is it involves all the chords I have just learned.

This gives me something fun to try and get better at and while I am doing that I am practicing the chords at the same time. It makes practice a lot more fun and interesting.

Please take a moment and have a look at it. It is just five minutes long and you can see and hear what I have learned thus far.

I will be doing further update videos as I am able and when there is a sufficient amount of new stuff to show you.

 

 

I think the next thing I will have to work on, besides the quick licks, is my strumming patterns. Until you play a stringed instrument you really can’t appreciate how much coordination one must have to keep the beat with one hand and the notes with the other hand, at least I didn’t.

It is quite the workout for the brain and I have a new respect for musicians everywhere. When I think of the many instruments this is true of it leaves me in awe of the people that can not only play but with such skill too.

I want to be that good one day with my mandolin. Thank you for once again stopping by my blog to see what I wanted to talk about today. I do appreciate the support.

If you have any comments or questions please feel free to leave them in the comment section; either here on my blog or on my videos on my YouTube channel. I try to get to every one I receive.

Have yourselves a wonderful day/night wherever you are. Now I must go practice some more and master that F Major chord. 🙂

 

 

Now, this is Heaven!

 

15974-a-cup-of-coffee-with-a-stack-of-books-pv

Hi, welcome back to my blog. Today’s post was inspired by…you guessed it, 365 Days of Writing Prompts. =)

Writing Room

A genie has granted your wish to build your perfect space for reading and writing. What’s it like?

Thank you so very much, Genie. I have always wanted a room like this and you have just given me a little piece of heaven here on earth.

I am going to spend many, many hours in here reading and writing to my heart’s content. Trust me Genie; my heart is now content.

I love the way you made this room look; I told you what I wanted but you managed to make it even better than I imagined.

The paint on the walls and the ceiling is a wonderful shade of blue; really solid and not hard on the eyes at all. I love this shade of blue genie…it is perfect and makes me feel so relaxed. This is the color of a beautiful summer sky.

Oh, look! The trim around the doorways and that big picture window is white just like the clouds. I love how the window looks out across the country field.  

I see there is a beautiful reading nook over there in the corner where I can curl up on the faded denim covered mattress with a book. All those pillows make it so inviting.

It is a perfect combination for me; if I feel sleepy while reading I can place my bookmark and just close my eyes. You’ve remembered how fond I am of reading before sleep.

Thank you for building in a light above that relaxing spot so my eyes don’t get tired too quickly.

I especially like all the plush tapestry covered pillows you put in there too; it looks so comfortable. They are thick and fluffy making me want to lean back and relax.

That is ingenious (pardon my play on words at your expense Genie) having the bookshelves run all the way up to either side of my cozy little nook.

Oh my, the shelves are made out of beautiful oak; I can see the vibrant grain pattern in the wood too.

My books will always be handy to grab and so easy to put away when I am done with them. All of my books are awaiting me on the shelves, I see, and it was so nice of you to organize them alphabetically too.

The floor is covered with a green shag rug that reminds me so much of the grass just outside my window. It is even the same shade as the grass out there.

Even when the snow piles up in drifts out there I have the heavenly days of summer in here. I will have to remind myself I do not ever need to cut this grass.

Thanks, for the gorgeous cream-colored marble fireplace with oak shelf, that matches my bookshelves, down there at the end of the room.

The big comfy tub chair in front of it  and the blue Hume tartan throw are beckoning me to come snuggle up. I will never be cold in here.

There is lots of space for my writing in this room too. The glass desk by the window is big enough to fit my all in one computer, keyboard, and mouse on it.

That was an excellent choice making the desk out of glass. It just about disappears in the room instead of dominating it. I feel like I am sitting in a field writing; what a freeing feeling.

How clever you are Genie, I see you have wired the lamp on my desk right into the house wiring down there on the floor by the table leg. That is brilliant; no cords to trip over!

The chair you have paired with the table is a perfect choice as well; very comfortable and yet sturdy. Very funny Genie, I know you couldn’t make the chair out of glass too.

Aww, I appreciate that coaster for my tea mug you placed beside the keyboard for me. Genie, you think of every small detail even when it comes to things I have forgotten to ask for. You are so good to me.

You know how I enjoy not only blogging but working on my manuscript as well. I am not sure a publisher will ever deem it worthy of publication.

I can’t help it Genie; this book is waiting inside and my soul demands it  be written down. This autobiography of mine will be hard to classify, though; should it be shelved with the fiction or non-fiction?

Oh, you don’t understand what I mean? Wait until you read it Genie, just wait…you’ll see. Some of my experiences people will think I made up but I can assure you I did not.

Tall torchiere lamps have taken up their sentry duty in each corner of the room to provide indirect light that will give the room a warm glow rather than harsh lighting.

I really like the elegant brass lamps at my table, by my tub chair, and over my reading nook as well. My eyes thank you as they won’t have to strain to see when I am reading or writing.

Bravo Genie, you have outdone yourself making this room a reality for me. I am so happy here and can’t wait to get started exploring each small detail, then, I really must get down to work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tears By The Lake

wood-sea-landscape-nature

Another prompt from 365 Days Of Writing Prompts inspired today’s post. I find these much more fascinating than the current daily one word prompts.

Ode to a playground : A place from your past or childhood, one that you’re fond of, is destroyed. Write it a memorial.

There was a very special place  when I was growing up. I went there when I was upset or just needed to get away and think. I have always been drawn to water; it calms my soul.

This place, my hideaway, was on the shore of Lake Ontario located about two kilometers down the dirt road from our house in the country. I used to walk there and back whenever I needed to.

Sadly, it is gone now. I am beyond heartbroken to tell you that the boulder that I used to sit on has been shattered and spread across a huge area.

I have no idea what happened to it; I am still in shock. I used to sit on that boulder with my knees drawn up to my chin and my arms around them while I rocked and cried.

No longer is it my safe haven, no longer can I go and claim my private perch on the boulder feeling the sun’s warmth radiate from the black granite. A place I could call my own.

If I closed my eyes I could almost picture it hugging and soothing me. It was my friend when I had none of the human variety. It listened to my woes without judgment or interruption.

Though my eyes were often full of tears down there and my vision blurry as a result I could hear the water lapping at the shore. I could hear the seagulls cry as they searched for food scraps.

The warm breeze gently blew through my hair; such was the backdrop of my solitary thinking rock. There was peace and serenity in that place and oh how I used to savor it.

The long walk down that road was calming in itself; they do say exercise is helpful for battling depression. At the end of the road, there was a narrow footpath through the tall grass that leads down to the lake.

To the right of the footpath was a local radio relay station. No one was on staff there it was simply a bank of six buildings with long metal structures reaching up into the sky.

Along the length of these metal, structures were the satellite dishes at various different levels and directions that broadcast the signal for miles and miles. At the very tops of them were red flashing lights to alert planes that they were there.

Going along the footpath through the long grass often made me feel like I was entering a sacred place. The long grass was keeping the lonely, painful world separate and away from my precious oasis.

The rest of the beach was strewn with driftwood and smaller rocks with weeds, poking out here and there, at the edge of the sand. If the day was hot there was sometimes a green scum that would chase the waves to the shore.

Even now, if I close my eyes I can still picture it in my mind. I can see it and hear the waves and the birds. Stepping onto the beach from the footpath the first thing you could see was that massive boulder just off to your left.

I would emerge back through the long grass after spending an hour, perhaps longer, there feeling renewed and at peace. It was as if the water had washed away my stress and cares.

Right now I live so far away from where my lakeside boulder was. I am much, much older now as well but knowing that my beloved place of respite is gone grieves me to my core.

It no longer exists so there will be no nostalgic trips there to once again feel the heat radiating from the boulder. It is gone as is the footpath that leads to it.

The photos in the newspaper showed the whole area fenced off. There is an expanse of that yellow plastic caution tape wrapped around a hastily erected fence of thin boards.

There was no explanation in the paper of what happened; what or who destroyed it and put the beach off limits. The article only noted that police are warning the public to stay clear of the area while they investigate.

Farewell boulder, farewell footpath, and beach. Thankfully you were there when I needed you. I don’t think there will ever be a place like that for me again. 😥

 

 

 

 

Do I dare pick up this book?

 

woman-reading-a-book

Today’s post is another one from the 365 Writing Prompts but not about music. LOL, I thought I would give you a break on that subject. 🙂

This is your life

If you could read a book containing all that has happened and will ever happen in your life, would you? If you choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover.

Hmm, this is something I would really need to think about before picking up that book. How thick do you think your book would be? That alone would give you a clue as to the contents.

The question says the book contains all that has happened in your life but there’s no big deal there since we have lived through that stuff already. Most of us can remember what has happened.

The next bit of the sentence says the book also contains all that will ever happen in your life and that is a bit scarier. Think about that for a few minutes…would you really want to know?

Reading the book would take all the unexpected problems and dangers and expose them while there is still time to change things so as to prevent or lessen the impact on your life, perhaps even save your life.

But, all that will ever happen in your life also includes the pleasant surprises and special moments with loved ones. That would take some of the fun and enjoyment out of life if you knew what would be happening, don’t you think?

To me, this suggests you might as well read the last page of books or listen to someone describe a movie before you get a chance to see it for yourself. This would be a spoiler for your life!

The prompt goes on to say that if you do choose to read it, you must read it cover to cover. That means you can’t flip through and sample different chapters at key times in your life to get a sneak peak at what is coming up.

You also would not be able to skip to the end and find out when and how you are going to die without knowing all that came before it. That would be good, though, because what we go through changes how we deal with everything afterward.

In other words, you would not react to  how you die the same way knowing nothing about what lead up to it compared to being able to understand the sequence of events that brings you to when and how you die.

To make that a little clearer let’s consider an example. Okay, you are going to die of cancer. Being informed of that news, BAM smacks you right between the eyes. No warning. No preparation.

However, reading about getting sick, then being diagnosed and having the chance to choose whether to try and fight it gives you a chance to adjust and work through the emotions that come with a diagnosis like that.

I don’t like spoilers, well, except for soap operas. LOL, I don’t want anyone telling me all about a movie or a book before I have seen or read it for myself.

As tempting as it would be to learn what is ahead for me, I think reading this book cover to cover would make living it all afterward exceptionally boring.

No more surprises, no more wondering if you were going to get that promotion at work or if she would say “Yes” when you asked her to marry you. It would also tell you how many children you have and what their names will be.

The book would also tell you when your parents or friends will die and the funerals you go to. Imagine carrying around that knowledge; do you tell them? Would they want to know?

It would call into question the whole “free will” subject too. We, as human beings, are supposed to possess free will to make choices and do as we please but if that is true then how is the book able to tell us what will happen in the future?

After reading the book you would probably make different choices to avoid the bad stuff from happening or to improve the chance of good stuff happening…but then, wouldn’t that change the book?

LOL, I am so confused but after thinking about this whole idea of such a book existing for each and every one of us. I think I have made up my mind on the matter.

So, I think in the end I would NOT want to read this book. I am curious, though…what are your thoughts? Would you want to read the book about you, for your life?

 

 

 

 

Old Before My Time =(

 

I don’t know about you but I never thought I would get this old this quickly. When I was young, in grade school and even high school, time seemed to drag on and on.

Summer vacations from school were the best and seemed to last long past the point of boredom. Don’t get me wrong, I am not talking boredom the way the kids today mean when they say they are bored.

We actually went outside to play. There were no video games or cell phones or the portable tech we have now. I was a bit of a tomboy actually…I climbed trees and made mud pies as well as went hiking out in the back forty to explore the massive fields that surrounded our house.

I didn’t get into the whole makeup or fashion craze that girls my age naturally gravitated to. I did have a doll or two but they were by no means the only things I played with.

I remember cardboard dolls and paper clothes with tabs you folded over to dress them with.  I remember big console tv sets. I believe our tv in the living room was a Hitachi with an elaborate wooden cabinet and speakers built in on each side of the picture tube.

Now I am sounding just like my grandparents did when they described their childhood to me. Oh boy, that is the true marker of age, isn’t it? Telling the current generation how good they’ve got it and how much harder it was in our day.

What is the hallmark for telling off these young whipper snappers? The whole walking to school uphill both way in the deep snow and all that speech? Now I know I am getting old.

Please don’t misunderstand me here, I am not saying I am ready for a retirement home in any way, shape or form. Just that I am noticing some distinct changes in the way things are now as opposed to when I was growing up.

Perhaps it is the community I have moved into out here in the country that has been the catalyst for where my thoughts are heading lately. Perhaps it is my mother’s and then my sister’s birthday that have reminded me that my  birthday is in just a few more months.

In any case, I have been noticing things that give me pause. Like the skin on the backs of my hands. They now resemble what my grandmother’s hands used to look like. Old lady hands I call them, with loose skin and the veins showing more.

Looking in the mirror now I see my Great Aunt Bea with her clip-on earrings (although mine are pierced) and saggy jowls, it forces me to think, where did the time go?  Where on earth did this old lady come from?

Recalling some of my older memories it feels like I have lived several lifetimes; like that couldn’t have all happened to me, that much time hasn’t passed, surely I am not that old!

My body reminds me some days that, yes, I am indeed getting older. My joints snap and pop (that started when I turned 40), my hair needs a dye kit every 6- 8 weeks or the gray hair can be noticed starting at the roots (that started when I was 19) but it all bothers me more now.

I get tired faster too. I used to be able to stay up pretty much around the clock and now midnight finds me nodding off on the couch while watching a movie. Gone are the party days when I was hanging out with friends, going out to bars, or talking into the wee hours of the morning.

Weight is not as easy to lose now either. Don’t even get me started on the joys of menopause! LOL That is a nice little welcome to old age present for us women. Pfft, please read this last bit as the sarcasm it is intended to be.

There is some freedom that comes with old age, though. Yes, there are upsides to all this. These days I don’t care how much other people like me, I wear a bikini when I go swimming now and have done so for that past two or three years.

Then can we talk about the senior discounts at stores that are in my not too distant future? Who doesn’t like saving money? 10 -15% off for seniors every Tuesday the signs in the window  proclaim. Some even start at age 55 although most stores say eligible seniors are qualified at age 60 +.

I don’t mean to sound depressing here folks, but I figured I would share my recent thoughts on age and how I feel about all this to see if any of you can relate to what I find myself going through.

Time is passing so much more quickly now and that puts me squarely in the category of those not thrilled with this turn of events. Yes, tick my name off in that column on the questionnaire, please.

I am still the younger version of myself on the inside, though…so I guess it is not all that bad. As long as I keep her safe in there this outside part can change all it needs to.

Where Does The Time Go?  (link will open in a new window) is a post I wrote about 7 months ago. That post was more about the speed of time passing and, although I touch on that a bit in this post, the main focus of this post is the changes I am noticing as I get older.

Thank you for dropping by my blog to read my thoughts and feelings once again, my friends. I really appreciate your support. =) Have a wonderful day/night wherever you are when you are reading this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday to my sister, Karen! =)

Karen

Happy Birthday, Karen. Today’s post is dedicated to you! That is my amazing sister Karen in the picture above and our Mother’s arm is around her.

I am so thankful to have my sister back in my life that I really need to celebrate her birthday today. As luck would have it this post (due to my new schedule of posting every third day) lands on August 31st, her birthday.

Since you awesome people that read my blog do not know us I need to explain a few things so you can understand why I am so happy and excited to be able to celebrate with Karen today.

For many years my sister and I never really talked. She knew I was here and I knew she was there but there was no love lost between us.

This was due to misunderstandings and hurt feelings growing up together. These things kept us at a distance from each other even though we shared a bedroom for our formative years.

We have since been able to have long conversations on the phone and work through those misunderstandings and hurts. I am pleased to say that now I share a beautiful and deep bond with her that at one time I never thought would be possible.

I still remember the various decoration styles that the bedroom walls went through over the years. I remember a massive field of yellow flowers on a white background to go along with our bright yellow, orange and white striped bedspreads when we were younger.

I may have a picture of that somewhere still. Happy Harry was on the bed…my yellow stuffed dog with long black ears. Do you remember him Karen?

Then I think it went to a dark chocolate  color on the trim and mint green color on the walls as we got older and more sophisticated. I really liked that one…made me feel like I was staying in a mint Oreo cookie. LOL

I remember the windows on each side of  the  one corner and that Dad made our beds each one on top of a set of drawers. The beds were joined at the head by a desk he built between them so we could study.

I must have had the worlds best-tanned eyelids since Karen was always studying and I tried to sleep with the light on. LOL She is two years and almost three months older than me and I am so proud of her for all she has accompished in her life so far.

I’m not sure if you remember this Karen, but when we were younger, and sharing that bedroom, Mom would come in late at night while we were sleeping to put our clothes away in the closet.

Mom told me once (a very long time ago now) that she would catch us talking back and forth in our sleep! What is really crazy is the fact that we made sense…you would say something, I would respond and vice versa.

Looking back now it saddens me to think of all the years we have lost.I am just so happy and excited to know that we won’t be losing any more time and have been able to reconnect, to get back the relationship that we should have had all along.

I hope I have not embarrassed you, Karen, by writing all this, but I want you to know I wish you a very happy birthday today. May this be your best year yet and may all your dreams come true. You are smart, beautiful and  the best sister a person could ask for. I love you. =)