Monthly Archives: March, 2016

Wild Kingdom

Every Sunday evening there were three television shows that I watched when I was a child.  Lassie, Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, and Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom signaled to me that indeed the magnificent weekend was coming to a close and Monday morning and school were knocking at the door.  I cannot say that the sure knowledge of another week of school gave me a heart full of joy but these three shows made an indelible impression on my young mind.

Last week I was able to engage in one of my favorite pastimes which is walking through the luxurious Thompson Woods around Campus Lake at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale.5F80AC7E-EBE1-40F9-A09F-1F95F689CC0E 2

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Above is the Great Blue Herron, who a photographer friend of mine has named Herman.  Now we move on to the Land of the Turtles.

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The Promise of Spring

I just mowed my grass at the earliest date that I can remember, March 16!  I have never been a big fan of mowing…but have through the years formed a passing affection for the process.  There is something special about the smell of the first new mown grass of the season.  There is something special about spring.

Over the past few years of my retirement I have developed an appreciation for nature and its’ indescribable beauty.  Often I see parallels between nature and human life.  As I have become older…senior…which in school was to be desired…I have become aware of the chapters of human life.  What was important to me when I was twenty was very different from what I considered vital at forty.  Now, as I am approaching the grand door of sixty…I have time and inclination to focus on the beauty of life and my short chapter in its’ book.




Spring illustrates the promise of the renewal of life in all of its’ splendor.  The same could be said for our human life in that whatever comes our way…tomorrow is another day.  While you have life…you have hope and dreams that can still be realized.  Stopping is not an option.  The miracle of life must be savored and developed until the moment that it ends…and then much as the slowing and hibernation and death of nature in autumn and winter…so comes the promise of new life…in the spring.


Songs I Don’t Sing Along To

A great Jonathon Brooks’ Blog!


I don’t sing along to sad songs. Sorrow is a part of the human experience. However, the human experience need not be defined by melancholy or despair. To be in right relationship to my neighbor and right relationship to Christ saves me from traveling down desperation road. Life is wonderfully beautiful.

Yet there is such sorrow in our world and in individuals lives. How do we deal with the hard times and tragedies? Are we to become calloused? This can happen so easily if one isn’t careful. Often I think the easy road is to give up or give in while letting sorrow win. But what if the difficult road is the one that leads us home to joy?

There isn’t much I have control over in the grand scheme of life. One thing I do have control over is my attitude. I choose to see the best in others…

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Saying It Like It Is

Of late we have been hearing the often admired quality of “saying it like it is” attributed to one of our political candidates.  In the world of political double-talk and correctness this compliment is not often bestowed and usually must be earned by a lengthy history of one’s speech matching one’s actions.

Winston Churchill said, “Some people’s idea of free speech is that they are free to say what they like, but if anyone says anything back, that is an outrage.”

Churchill also said, “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to set down and listen.”

Ronald Reagan said “There are no easy answers, but there are simple answers.  We must have the courage to do what we know is morally right.”

Abraham Lincoln said, “Those who deny freedom to others deserve it not for themselves.”

John F. Kennedy said, “The interaction of disparate cultures, the vehemence of the ideals that led immigrants here, the opportunity offered by a new life, all gave America a flavor and a character that make it as unmistakeable and as remarkable to people today as it was to Alexis de Tocqueville in the early part of the nineteenth century.”

Donald J. Trump said, “When Mexico sends its’ people, they’re not sending their best.  They’re not sending you.  They’re not sending you.  They’re sending you people that have lots of problems, and they’re bringing those problems with us.  They’re bringing drugs.  They’re bringing crime.  They’re rapist.  And some, I assume are good people.”

Trump said, “Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States.”

Trump referring to a protestor at one of his rallies said, “The guards are very gentle with him.  He’s walking out, like, big high-fives, smiling, laughing,  I’d like to punch him in the face, I tell ya.”

Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump said at a rally on the day of the Iowa caucuses,”So if you see someone getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of ’em, would you?  Seriously.  Okay?  Just knock the hell-I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.  I promise.  I promise.”

This past Friday a Trump rally on the campus of the University of  Illinois at Chicago was cancelled due to violence.

According to Blickwink when speaking of another political leader who millions thought that, he said it like it was, “He was a high school dropout.  He had artistic ambitions.  He was Time magazine’s Man of the Year.  He slept a lot.  He never took off his jacket in public.  A real Don Juan type.  He liked being kicked.  He was afraid of blades.  He was a vegetarian.  He invented the concept of blow-up dolls.  He said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”



Madame Tussaud: Ahead of Her Time

Please enjoy this great blog by my friend Margo.

Margo Lestz - The Curious Rambler

When you think of Madame Tussauds Wax Museum, you probably think of movie stars, political figures, and other famous people. You can mingle among these wax effigies, and even have your photo taken while snuggling up to your favorite celeb. Amid all this glamour, you might not realize the amazing story of the real-life Madame Tussaud and how she survived the French Revolution.

Madame Marie TussaudMadame Marie Tussaud age 42 – about the time she took her waxworks to the UK

But let’s start at the beginning…
Madame Tussaud was born Marie Grosholtz in Strasbourg, France in 1761. Her father died before she was born and her mother moved to Switzerland to be near family. Then, when Marie was six, she and her mother went to Paris to live with Dr. Curtius, her mother’s brother. Dr. Curtius had started modelling wax for medical studies in Switzerland and ended up in Paris making wax…

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The Fall of the Land of Lincoln

Although I was born is Chicago, Illinois my family moved back to Southern Illinois when I was five years old.  We moved to Eldorado, Illinois where I attended both Grade School and High School.  My first encounter with Southern Illinois University came when Theatre students came from the Carbondale Campus and performed a Play for our little school…probably about the time I was in first or second grade.  I was awe struck with the performers talent and skill and their beautiful singing.  It must have been a musical.  I determined at that very young age that SIU must be a very special place indeed!

Later it was my good fortune to be employed at SIU in Carbondale.  As I watched many first generation college students have their lives changed by the transforming miracle of higher education…I experienced my life changing as well!

I observed first hand the open door of opportunity to all peoples and all races with equal access to obtain what… not long ago… was only was available to royalty…the rich…and those privileged by birth.

I witnessed many students in  wheel chairs …the deaf…those whose challenges met with only closed doors in society…come through the wide doors of opportunity at Southern Illinois University!

Could it really be true that educational possibility was available to all peoples and not just the wealthy upper class?

Last week we were shocked to hear that our beloved Junior College John A. Logan  was laying off 55 of its’ faculty and staff.  My son has a friend who received a lay off notice after seventeen years of service.  John A. Logan is a nationally recognized Junior College.

Yesterday we were appalled by the news that if the Governor of Illinois’ projected budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1st, holds, the Southern Illinois University system’s budget will be cut by:

SIUC – $22.856 million

SIUE – $14.074 million

School of Medicine – $8.799 million

System – $807,000

The budget reductions for next fiscal year come on the heels of an unprecedented “no budget” for this fiscal year that began July 1, 2015.  Yes, there has been no state money for state schools for over eight months…with no end in sight!  Many believe that there will be no state budget prior to the November elections.

Included in the draconian results of Southern Illinois University’s reduced budget for next fiscal year are according to the SIU System Connection:

“-The elimination of 180 faculty, Administrative Professional, and Civil Service Staff-

-Eliminates academic programs, reduces more than 400 classes, and increases time to  graduation-

-Reduces support services for students, particularly underrepresented populations-

-Reduces student employment that helps students pay for their own educational expenses-

-Merge four colleges into two colleges-

-Reduction of hours at Morris Library-the building will be closed up to 28 hours per week, including all day Saturday-”

Recently Chicago State University sent 900 lay off notices…their entire faculty and staff, due to the democratic senate and house not being able to agree on a budget with our republican governor.

Eastern Illinois University laid off 198 staff members in February due to there being no state budget.

Western Illinois University projects at least a lay off of 50 staff due to there being no state budget.

Our democratic House of Representatives is currently on a months’ recess.

Our Governor will escort, Friday, Republican Presidential candidate Ted Cruz to a Chicago fundraiser honoring the Governor where tickets begin at $500.00 apiece and going up to $40 thousand dollars to be deemed a Gold Sponsor which includes a photo opportunity and  a one year membership in the “Governor’s Council.”





Women who inspire in the 21st Century


International Women’s Day (IWD) takes place annually on the 8th of March to celebrate achievements of women across the globe. Many organisations take part in the movement, thus contributing towards the development of gender equality. There are also some great resources on the IWD website to guide individuals or organisations who want to get involved.

In recent years, however, I  have seen some negative backlash on social media calling it out for it’s “hypocrisy”, with some posts suggesting that the pure fact of having a single day dedicated to women went against the gender equality issue. There’s also been a lot of adverse reaction towards the label “feminist”. In one particular interview with actress Kaley Cuoco, where she stated she wasn’t a feminist. Unfortunately it’s misconstrued understandings like this that portray a negative light to a simple term. Quite simply in my opinion, a feminist, is someone who believes in gender…

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Happy International Women’s Day

A great blog from Rob Goldstein

Art by Rob Goldstein

Happy International Women's Day, 2016 Maya Angelou on a billboard in 2013

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,

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Six word Saturday

Another lovely blog from restlessjo.




This is the final part of my 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge and I’d like to say a big thank you to The Happy Traveler for my nomination.  If you’ve enjoyed it and would like to join in, please feel free to do so.  And now for my six words…


Where does your heart lead you?


Inevitable that it should be the Algarve, don’t you think?  But maybe not so inevitable that it should lead to the Weekly Photo Challenge?

Hope you have a happy Saturday and a great weekend!  Don’t forget to call in on Cate.   See you on Monday for another walk?

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3 Days, 3 Quotes- Day 2

Another terrific blog from restlessjo!



When I was much younger I had a bit of a yen for Kerouac, and the lifestyle.  Even today, ‘On the Road’ resonates, for a lady with a restless streak.


Another day dawns

Another adventure begins, in a place that I love.

I hope that it may long continue.

The Happy Traveler kindly nominated me for the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge.  I have one more quote to come tomorrow.  If any of you would like to join in with some quotes of your own, please do feel free.  Meantime, have a happy Friday!

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