Weather, what you hear or what you see, August 3, 2021

This week I heard from my Brazilian sister Adelia. She lives in San Paulo. She emailed to say, It was snowing in that southern city. It is only the third time she has experienced snow, but never in San Paulo.

As I listen to the national weather report, I get the indication that all of Oregon and California is burning. My friend called me to report that the fire in Oregon was in a national forest and lava field. The loss was to wildlife. Only thirty buildings were lost. The smoke from that fire moved east to mix with the fires in Canada to haze the sky in the mid west and on the east coast.

In northern California and in the San Fransisco bay area. Skys are clear and free of smoke.

Another friend in the San Diego area reported beautiful weather even an early morning thunder storm.

This past week, heavy rains, swelled rivers in Belgium and southern Germany with a high cost of life and property.

The number of hurricanes have increased in number and severity. The season starts earlier each year.

When listening to the news, I have a difficult time telling the truth from news hype. I found that weather items in our country are hyped. Other countries are mentioned quickly or not mentioned at all.

How we make an accurate assessment of climate change, if we are not given the facts? If reporting of the weather is skewed, what about the other stories like the delta variant virus or what is happening in the capitals of our states and countries?

Maybe newspeak is alive in the news to sell drug commercials.

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Extreme Weather

The west is burning so reported.

The south is under flood watch.

The mid-west is waiting for straight line winds and thunder storms.

The east coast will continue to be in the smoke haze.

Is there a norm anywhere?

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 8/3/2021

A Weighty Matter ,July 29, 2021

Yesterday morning, my husband and I biked into town to visit the library and stop at the local grocery. We picked up several items some needed , some not so. One of the items we selected was a watermelon.

When we left the store, we had to think how to carry the melon home. I volunteered, to put it in the backpack to carry it home . I had recovered from a compression fracture in my lower back the month before. “I will be fine” I stated.

John took the extra bike stuff and other food items and placed them in a cloth bag in the baskets of the bike.

I got on the bike and the momentum of the melon, pulled me off the other side of the bike. Finally my added wheight and I were centered on the seat for the ride home.

As we drove, I was reminded of a friend, Bill Barkley. He was a fellow Association for the Blind board member. He retired to train for a climb up Mount Kilimanjaro. Bill trained with a weighted climbing pack daily for 6 months. He slowly increased the weight from 20 kilos to 40 kilos. He walked the hilly terrain in a local woods.

Bill was deaf and losing his vision, yet he had this dream to climb a mountain.

When he arrived in Tanzania, he worked with a sighted guide to follow verbal direction. He had the guide miked with the audio feed going directly into Bill’s ears.

Slowly they made their way up the mountain. This is a steady climb for 19340 feet above sea level. Bill fell several times on the climb but he was determined to achieve the summit.

When he arrived the sun was rising over the African plain. He was able to see streaks of yellows, oranges and reds in his vision. He reported it was glorious.

As I carried my back two miles home, I thought of the many miles that

Bill walked to work towards his goal. No fans, sport reporters or countrymen shared in his glory.

We have the Olimpics, where the competition is geared more to bragging rights for countries rather encouraging individual athletes achievements.

Athletes have reported extreme stress at the competition. Perhaps it is time to take the counries out of the Oylimpics and applauded the individual’s achievement.

There was no one on the top of Kilimanjaro except the guide.The feat was enough for Mr. Barkley. He was in charge of his own stress.

As I gingerly got off the bike so as not to drop my watermelon, I have a new admiration for the time and training that goes into the moment of physical glory, whether it is witnessed by the world or by oneself.

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Olympics

Offer the oppurtunity to preform.

People train for their whole lives.

Led to believe that the work is for them.

Years of sweat and stress come to a single moment.

Many are crushed by stress, not of their making.

People try to share in the glory they don’t deserve.

Individuals are forgotten to score for a country.

Causing the focus to be on the politics.

Scoring for bragging rights.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7-29-2021

The Pipes are Calling July 27, 2021

At the sound of bagpipes, Scotsmen rise as one to wave, cheer and clap. The hearts of many a countrymen can be moved to tears. Not this Scottish lass.

When I visited Scotland, I looked forward to explore all aspects of my Scottish heritage. We visited castles, cathedrals from the middle ages, kilts and bagpipes.I enjoyed all of them, in moderation!

I became accustomed to hearing a piper on many street corners dressed in full Highland garb. I started to equate the whine of the pipes to the drone of an insect, it was eveywhere.

On a ferry boat ride to one of the Highland’s outer islands, I heard a sound that I perceived as piped in bagpipe music. My husband laughed and told me I was hearing a squeaky hatch.

I will admit that I have a hearing loss, but, I always heard those bagpipes loud and clear.

I did bring a CD of bagpipe and drum marching songs to my Dad. He loved it. Maybe I am too distant from the homeland.

So on this National bagpipe appreciation Day, I will listen again to the pipes with a shot of the Scottish wiskey. I am sure both will complement each other.

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Kilts

Scottish men love their kilts.

They have work kilts in browns and grey.

Mechanics put on coveralls

to protect their kilts.

On the way to the football match,

kilts are worm with team shirts and boots.

Even in the countryside, older mem,

cling to their kilts,

In a breeze , they may be exposed.

For kilts have nothing underneath,

except what nature gave.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7.27/2021

“Let them eat cake” July 22, 2021

Before the French Revolution, Marie Antoinette was quoted saying to feed the poor with cake. Her limited grasp of French, may have allower her use the wrong word, cake for bread.

As a child, my first introduction to French was the confection,”petit fours”. They are small layered cakes one to two inches square. A cream filling is layered between the cake. There are five to seven layers in each little cake. The whole square is covered with a hard candy frosting with a sugar decoration on top. They come in many colors and flavors.

My mother would receive a box of these treats each Christmas from a good friend in town. She and I had a game of hide and seek with the box. Mom would try hiding the box in the back of the junk drawer. I would find them. Then she tried to put them in the vegtable bin of the refrigerator. I would find them there. Finally , she placed them in the far back of the freezer. I found them again.

It was not just me. Two of my friends also had a craving for these miniture cakes. When we searched and found them, we were careful to take a cake from different parts of the box. If there were not many cakes, we moved the cakes around to make it appear there were more in the box.

This holiday search, was remembered fondly by my two friends. One holiday after I was married, Laurel sent me a box of my own. My daughter had never heard the story nor tasted the candies . She has always enjoyed miniature items. She loved the little cakes.

This year , we decided to send her a box of her own for her birthday. Amazon had several types of petit fours to choose from. We select the cakes that spelled out “Happy Birthday”. The problem arose when we tried to type in the mailing address.

Our daughter and son in law have recently built a home in a new development. The system that Amazon uses doesn’t recognize the new road or address. They wanted to change it to a similar road. We couldn’t get the company to take the new address. What to do?

My husband came up with a solution. He Took a screen shot of the item we wanted her to have. Then he made a check out for the item and the cost of mailing. We put it in a birthday card and sent it in the mail. The U.S. Postal service does recognize the new address.

Ruth received the card last Saturday. She said she would order them. They should arrive before her birthday on the 30 of July. Anyone for cake?

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Petit Cakes

Little cakes, small cakes

colorful squares,

layered with cream and cake,

different flavors to choose from. Heaven!

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7/22/2021

The eagle has Landed, July 20, 2021

Fifty two years ago, Apollo 11 landed on the moon with Neal Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landing in the Sea of Tranquility. There they readied themselves for the historic walk on the moon. The famous quote of Neal Armstrong still rings in my ears,”One small step for man, One giant leap for mankind”.

The bar was raised by President Kennedy in 1961 announcing,”Before the end of the decade, we will put men on the moon”. I remember it all, even though I was a young teenager. I did enjoy history, but the reason I remembered this event so vividly was for a different reason.

During this weekend, my oldest brother, Bob, brought his professor friend, Larry Kerry to visit. As we gathered in the t.v. room for the broadcast, Larry became excited to be sharing this moment with so many people, He decided to order pizzeria pizza. He went a bit overboard and ordered 4 large pizzas for 8 people.

Up to that time, I had only had the pizza that my mother made. Because she had such a large family, she was conservative with her toppings. With the “Little Caesar’s Pizza”, I was surprized with the quantity and variety of toppings. Because of the number of Pizzas, we were all able to eat our fill of the pizza pies. As a concession to the special event, we were allowed to eat with our fingers in the t.v. room.

My parents were in the rocker and easy chairs in the corners. Bob and Larry sat on the paino bench and placed their plates on the closed piano key cover.

My three brothers and I were sprawled on the rug in from of the T.V. The taste of real pizza matched with the moon landing has cemented this memory from my teenage years.

We have come a long way since then. Today Jeff Bezos will launch a rocket into space, The second commercial launch with civilians aboard.

NASA continues to launch astronauts and supplies to the international space station and unmanned exploring rockets to Mars and towards Jupiter. We have expanded our knowledge of the solar system around our planet.

So, as I munch on my pizza wedge, I remember the past and look forward to the future in space.

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Space

Spoken reverently,

the final frontier

We raise our eyes,

looking to the stars,

We grasp the possibilities ,

and dream.

carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7/20/2021

Give Something Away Day, July 15, 2021

Last Sunday, our priest, Father Len, was talking about downsizing for retirement. He was going through his possessions to give some of them away. Today is National Give away something day. You can go through your closet, tools or books to see if there are gently used items to donate to a resale shop.

If you have old blankets or worn towels, the Humane Shelters will take them to bathe animals and use them to sleep on. Old stuffed toys can be donated after any hard plastic pieces such as eyes and noses have been removed. The toy can be cuddled with by cats and dogs.

If you have household items that you haven’t used in over a year, consider parting with them . They could be used by someone else. The rule of donating is, if you can’t give it to a relative or friend, dispose of it in your junk.

As a visually challenged person, I try to keep unused items to a mimimum. I don’t need to trip over unused clutter.

Another way you can give is with the gift of time or talent. Do you have a friend or neighbor that could use a friendly chat? Call or visit them. Take a food item, either homemade or store bought.

Look over your food storage of boxes and cans. Will you use them before they expire? Donate them to a local food bank. If you can, donate your time to the same food bank.

If you knit or crochet, make baby blankets or hats and booties and donate to a pregnancy resource center or hospital.

Finally, you could donate money. A quote from Hello Dolly,”Money is like manure, it works best when spread around to encourage young things to grow”. Go buy that lemonade from the child next door. Give to a homeless person to buy a meal. Or better yet, buy the meal and give it to them.

What can you do today to help another person and make the world a kinder place.

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Giving

Buy a cup of coffee for the person behind you.

Will you allow the person with several items go first in the store.

Do you need three winter coats?

How many pots and pans does a single person need?

Call a neighbor to chat.

take old blankets and towels to a animal shelter.

Give freely of yourself and your

treasure to others.

Happy Give something away day.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7/15/2021

Go West Day, July 13, 2021

The Apostle Islands are a group of 22 islands on the western shore of Lake Superior. The 12 largest Islands were named in honor of the 12 apostles by a French missionary.

Evedince of human habitation has dates to 100 BC. The Ojibwa people had permanent settelments on the islands from 930 CE.

The islands are now part of the National Lake shore park system.

John and I traveled to visit the six light houses on the islands. We took a day tour, traveling by boat between islands.

We were able to visit several of the lighthouses and climb their towers. The park service recruits couples to stay at the keepers homes and inform tourists of the history of each light house.

My personal memories of the visit was to see a garden on sand island that was typical of a garden from the early 1900’s. The keeper had a large family. The evdience of this was the outhouse that had four holes of different sizes.

We were encouraged to explore the terrain of each island . At one, we decided to take a walk in the drizzle. It was pleasent until, we heard walking nearby on the other side of the bushes. We called out a greeting with no response. Later we found large bear tracks parallel to our path. We hurried to the boat, glad we didn’t have our lunch with us for the bear to smell.

As we traveled we were told that the islands are home to one of the largest populations of black bear in the country. We were wittness to several bears swimming from one island to another. The bears can be found on any of the islands.

After exploring and sightseeing, we waited for the boat to return. Our feet were sore and tired. Deciding to remove our shoes and socks to soak our feet in the lake. In less than a minute, our feet were frozen from the chilly lake water. I wondered how the bears were able to swimm for long treks from island to island?

If you desire to trace the migration of native people from the east, following the waterways, you will be delighted with the history and the different islands that form the archipelago at the weastern shore of Lake Superior.

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Lake Superior

Dark waters,

cold and deep in it’s depths.

Bordered by two countries.

Large waves slap the shores.

Depositing bits of the past on It’s beaches.

Could be a fresh water sea.

Source for Indian lore.

One travels it with apprehension.

The largest of the Great Lakes.

Carolaspot @aol.com

copyright 7-13-2021

Boys Will Be Boys, July 8, 2021

I was talking to my brother Bob this week when I realized I hadn’t related a story about my brothers. So here is a true story from my memory archives.

When I was young, I had limited vision. I was fitted with thick glasses to help with my distance sight. My parents were always telling my brothers, “Watch for the girl”, or”Be careful of Carol”. Little did my parents know that they would take this to heart.

One summer day, I was walking home from my friend’s house. The neighborhood bully ran up behind me and pushed me down. My glasses went flying. Being made of glass, they broke. As the bully ran off, I slowly got up and found my broken glasses.

My family wasn’t rich and those glasses cost over $100. As I entered my home, my mom was setting the table for dinner. Dad saw my scrapped knees and the glasses and he asked what happened. “I am going down to talk to Dutch about his son”. “Don’t be too long, it’s close to dinner time” mom said , stating to hand out plates of food . We all waited at the table for Dad to say grace.

In a few minutes, dad stormed into the front door and called to my mother. “Rita, do you know what Dutch said after I explained what his son had done?
He replied,”Boys will be boys”. Dad had a few choice words about Dutch before mom calmed him down ,”The family is waiting for dinner”.

What my parents didn’t know , my older brothers were listening to every word. Nothing was said at the meal but the boys formed a plan.

A couple of days later, the bully was pulling the trash cans out to the curb. My brothers stopped him and demanded an apology. He refused and started back to his home.

I don’t know if was planned but the bully was lifted up and placed upside down in his trash can. Then the brothers scattered.

fifteen minutes later, Dutch came roaring around the corner. He found my dad cutting the grass. “Do you know what your boys did to my son”? He continued, “They put him upside down in the trash can”.” What do you have to say about that”!

Dad calmly listened, when Dutch was finished he commented,”Well, boys will be boys”.

I am sure that my brothers were punished but I was never bothered by that bully again. Thank you Bob, Mike and Craig.

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He terrorized the neighborhood.

picking young kids as easy marks.

He didn’t listen to the rules.

His father was the principal of the school

One day, he picked on the wrong person

She had her own bodyguards.

They took their job seriously. In a trash can, he was placed.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7/8/2021

Chat about Chapbooks July 6, 2021

No matter how old you are , you are never too old to learn.

In the past week, I have been putting the finishing touches on my first book of poetry. It will be titled, “Seeing by Touch”. I will send the files to be edited and formatted this week.

The problem was I called the book a Chat book. As a person with hearing loss using voiceover to monitor text, I heard a t not a p in the word chapbook. A kind person in the self publishing industry set me straight.

Chapbooks have an interesting history. They were first printed in the late 16th century. They were sold by peddlars known as Chapmen. The term ment tradesmen or a book trader.

The book or pamphlet was a small and had no cover. The length was around 24 pages. Topics in the books were ballots, poems, romantic tales, legends and moral instruction.

The common population was exposed to the printed word with the printing of bibles in the early and middle 16th century. With the rise of literacy, the people wanted books that were entertaining and inexpensive . Printers developed the chapbook form.

I will keep you informed on the progress in this adventure of writing and self-publishing.

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The Bookworm

The book lay at the bottom of the box.

With clothes and food thrown on top.

A chapman was trying to make a sale.

But the older buyer, was hard to please.

The chapman reached deep into his pack,

pulled out the book, without cover or back.

A tuppence is all I ask.

The buyer looked , then started to laugh.

I see there is a reader here before me.

In the binding, a larva was plain to see.

I’ll take the book and have a friend to read with me.

Carol Farnsworth

copyright 7/6/21

carolaspot@aol.com

Rural versus Urban Islands, July 1, 2021

In 2005, I planned another trip to Hawaii. This time I wanted to visit Molokai and Maui. I researched places to stay on Molokai and found solar tentalows on the beach . Hot water and lights were solar. You had to select the best time to take a shower. You didn’t want to shower the first thing in the morning. Breakfast was self serve in a shelter on the beach. The whole island had a small town feeling. We went to the farmer’s market and met Joan, a transplanted artist from Chicago. She traded portraits for food and supplies. Her husband was a drummer. He worked weekends with bands.

There was a sacred waterfall on the far side of the island. Tour companies charged 100 dollars to go to it. Joan said that her friend husband’s family owned the rights to the path along with several others. He would allow us to take the path to the waterfall for a bag of ice and a couple of gallons of juice. John was doubtful but we met Joan on the road and traveled to her friend’s home.

The husband was hoping to have a couple of hands to help with his taro field. Instead , he asked if his young children could take us to the waterfall. We agreeded and the children disrobed to their birthday suits to visit the falls.I thought,”We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

We tramppled through a jungle with wild papaya trees. Our shoes were orange with the crushed fruit.

We met another group of native Hawaiians walking to the same site. John was worried that we weren’t welcome. When we were close to the waterfall, I saw there were stepping stones to cross the river to continue to the fallls. I decided to stay there and rest. Ruth, Joan and the children went on. After awhile one of the Hawaiian men came back and asked if John would like to see the waterfall. He would stay with me. While we waited, he picked fresh avocados . Peeling them, he offered pieces to me for strength.

This island once housed a leper colony in the 1860’s. It is now run by the park dept . There were still several people living there by choise. Drug therapy have help manage the lepersy and allowed the people to visit other islands. Ruth was too young to visit the colony. The age limit was 15 and older. We were told to lie but didn’t think that was a good idea. Instead we visited a macadamia grove, a coffee farm that had coffee brewing and sampling and a sweet potato farm that produced and sold taro and sweet potato chips.

We traveled by island plane to Maui. We stayed at a beach hotel. This island is knowned for it’s quiet and secluded beaches.

I wanted to see the massive volcano mountain that forms over 75% of the island. We drove to near the peak. Walking down into the cone, we experienced dramatic changes in the temperature. On the top of the cone it rains daily.

In the evening, we chose to go to a luau that was noted for it’s dancers. All three of us dressed native ,Ruth and I in wrap dresses and John in an floral shirt. We were in the line to enter the luau but found we were ushered to a different line . Whether because we were not drinking alcohol or because of my white cane, we had front row seating. The show showcased traditional dances from each island. The island of Molokai dance was preformed by all males. The story of warriors and hunters was easily followed. The dance of fire torches was Maui’s contribution to the show.

I like the contrast of the islands but the best moments were the interactions with Hawaiians as they shared their culture with us.

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The Dance

Drummers kept the beat,

dancers pounded with their feet,

Swaying hips make colorful bands,

But the story is in

the movements of the hands.

Carolaspot@aol.com

copyright 7/1/21