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Posts Tagged ‘people’

Praying Mantis ImageOh! Hello, young praying mantis. Would you mind holding that pose while I run inside to get my camera and tripod? Minutes later, I came out to find my new garden friend still sitting there on a leaf by my front door. As my camera lens zoomed in on him, I saw one of his five eyeballs rotate towards me and I noticed the slight up and down bobbing of his curled tail. I’m still experimenting with the macro aspect of my new camera, but fortunately I’ve found a “willing” subject to pose for me!

#1 – Praying Mantis Trivia
Praying Mantis Image In case you’re like me and you think it’s always good to know a little something about everything, here’s some interesting information about these fascinating creatures from the site ThePrayingMantis.org:

A. The word “mantis” comes from the Greek word meaning prophet.

B. The earliest fossils of the praying mantis are from Oligocene, a geologic epoch dating around 23 to 34 million years ago.

C. The praying mantis has excellent eyesight and can see up to about 50 feet away.

D. The praying mantis is the only insect that can rotate its alien-like head almost completely around!

E. In most mantids there is one ear in a form of a small slit near the legs and has two eardrums and tuned to 25-60 kHz, which allows them to hear the ultrasonic sounds of bats as they near so they can dodge them quickly.

F. The praying mantis is actually more closely related to the cockroach than to grasshoppers!

G. A State Insect? Yes, it is true. The European Mantis (mantis religiosa), a native of Southern Europe became the official State Insect of Connecticut on October 1st, 1977!

#2 – A Happy Home
Entry way bench No matter where you live or what your state insect is, being happy in your home adds joy to life. The site Hooked on Houses posted this list of 10 Ways To Be Happy At Home:

1. Stop resenting what your house isn’t and start appreciating what it is. There is always something to be thankful for!

2. Respect it enough not to clutter it up with things you don’t really like or need.

3. Have a comfortable chair in a quiet corner where you can read and recharge.

4. Turn the TV off and your favorite music on.

5. Keep fresh flowers on your kitchen windowsill in glass jars or bud vases.

6. Try eating dinner by candlelight, with music, for no special reason. And use your best dishes.

7. Create character where there isn’t any – crown molding works wonders!

8. Surround yourself with your favorite “happy colors,” whether they’re trendy or not.

9. Display something from your childhood that you treasure.

10. Don’t try to replicate the look of a model home. Strive to create spaces that exude warmth, love, comfort, and peace.

The author then asked for readers’ input which led to an additional 20 More Ways To Be Happy At Home.

#3 – The Pixel Painter

Art by Hal Lasko

Art by Hal Lasko

97-year-old Hal Lasko is an incredible and inspirational man. He is now blind and deaf, but that doesn’t stop him from doing what what he loves to do – create art. An online article about Lasko says this: Using an outdated version of Microsoft Paint, Hal Lasko is able to create anything from pixelated nature-inspired sceneries, animal portraits or abstract pieces. Building works of art pixel by pixel is a time-consuming process, but 97-year-old Grandpa says he has learned to be patient and never rush the creative process.

Prints of Mr. Lasko’s art are for sale with 10% of the proceeds going to Veterans of Foreign War programs.

#4 – Mah Jong Addiction
Mah Jong After my husband helped my mom upgrade her computer software, she complained that she didn’t like the new computer Mah Jong game he installed. There was one specific version she liked for its layout. After some searching, he found a compatible version for her to try. She’s very happy with it, but the only problem now is . . . he and I can’t stop playing it. Rev up those brain cells and try playing this Mah Jong game, but tell yourself you’ll only play it once! Click here for a link to a video on how to play the game.

#5 – Life
“Don’t go through life; grow through life.”
Eric Butterworth

Have a great weekend!

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Romeo Small tufts of hair sticking out over his eyes resemble the white bushy eyebrows of an old man. Only a thin isthmus of hair prevents two bald spots on his face from becoming one large one and deep wrinkles that were once hidden by hair are exposed and reveal his age. There is no doubt that radiation treatment for a cancerous nasal tumor has made my dog Romeo look older. Yet, despite his post-radiation appearance, my playful and mischievous dog of the past is slowly returning. As I watch him naughtily shred paper, I smile. Before, such an act would have been met with a frown, but now it brings me joy.

#1 – New Uses for Old Things

Foil Cupcake Liners as Candleholders

Foil cupcake liners as candleholders

I got excited when I found an article on Real Simple’s site called 700+ New Uses For Old Things. With the aid of photos, the article offers many unconventional ways to use everyday items. You can bet I’ll be taking notes as I check out all of these ideas!

#2 – Making Rainbows

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 5 by Gabriel Dawe

Gabriel Dawe Art Installation

Plexus No. 19 by Gabriel Dawe

Artist Gabriel Dawe installs rainbows. Using colorful thread, Mr. Dawe transforms large areas of space into rainbow-like art installations. Check out more of his work on his Facebook page.

#3 – Handwriting 101
Ever wonder what your handwriting reveals about your personality? Take a look at the infographic below to see what your handwriting says about you:

What Does Your Handwriting Say About You?

#4 – Summer Reading
If you or your kids are looking for interesting books to read this summer, NPR has you covered with their Summer 2013 Critics’ Lists. You’re bound to find a title that catches your fancy!

#5 – Dare to Be

When a new day begins, dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness, dare to be the first to shine a light.

When there is injustice, dare to be the first to condemn it.

When something seems difficult, dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down, dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope, dare to find some.

When you’re feeling tired, dare to keep going.

When times are tough, dare to be tougher.

When love hurts you, dare to love again.

When someone is hurting, dare to help them heal.

When another is lost, dare to help them find the way.

When a friend falls, dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross paths with another, dare to make them smile.

When you feel great, dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended, dare to feel as you’ve done your best.

Dare to be the best you can –

At all times, Dare to be!

Steve Maraboli

Have a wonderful weekend!

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As my husband prepares to leave for a business trip, I pepper him with questions like, “How can I reach you?” “What airline will you be flying?” “Which hotel will you be staying at?” “Who’s the contact person at the conference?” etc. My husband takes it all in stride and patiently answers my questions. He is aware that I’m on a need to know fact finding mission. I’m like this all the time with everyone in my family. Even my parents can’t go on a road trip unless I have their itinerary first.

My daughter, who is seeking her independence daily, rolls her eyes at me whenever I ask her questions about her travel plans. “Do you really need to know this, Mom?” she impatiently says to me. My reply is, “Yes, I need to know and this is why I need to know:  If something happens to you on your trip and I don’t have a clue about your whereabouts, there will be no way of retracing your steps.” Inevitably, I get the information I need to satisfy my overactive imagination.

I need to know my kids are okay. I started “Sunday Night Check-ins” when my oldest child went off to college. Primarily, I wanted him to stay in touch with his siblings and to not lose track of what was happening in their lives and to share with the family what was happening in his. Basically, it was just good to hear his voice. I figured Sunday was a good choice, because if he had gone out of town or if any part of our family had gone away for the weekend, we’d all be back by Sunday evening. When my second son went off to college, he rightfully assumed he’d be making Sunday night calls. To this day he checks in with me whenever he’s been out of town for a while to let me know that he made it back safely. He knows I just need to know.

Apart from being a mom, I can attribute my “need to know” behavior to one particular event in my life.  When I was in my twenties, I went home to visit my parents for a weekend. One morning my parents went out to run errands while I stayed behind. The phone rang and I answered it. A voice pleaded to me, “Where’s my brother? . . I need my brother . . . .” My uncle was on the line, but this was not the voice of the intelligent and funny man I knew. His son, my cousin, was a freshman in college and had become seriously ill. Because this happened before the invention of cell phones, there was no way of contacting my parents directly. As I tried to remember everything my parents had told me about their morning plans, I frantically called store after store and had my parents paged. This proved futile; I could not find them.

Maya Angelou once said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.“ I can’t really recall my uncle’s exact words, but I will never forget the overwhelming cries of desperation, fear, and sadness in his voice that morning. I learned many life lessons from my cousin’s tragic death, but the one that surfaces regularly is how important it is to know where your loved ones are – so my dear family, please indulge me.

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#1 – Making Peace, Cards That Is
P1090113_1Being a flower child of the ’70s, I decided to make birthday cards for my sister-in-law and for a friend utilizing paper punches and scraps again, but this time designing them to be in the shape of peace signs. The heart-shaped peace sign was made by stacking large and small, flower-shaped punch-outs from Astrobright paper. The round traditional peace sign consisted of stars punched out of an outdated Hawaiian calender, then color grouped and mounted onto pearlized cream and lustrous aquamarine papers.

#2 – Leftover Halloween Candy Needed
I read an article in my local newspaper about different uses for leftover Halloween candy. The one suggestion that caught my eye was sending the candy to Operation Gratitude. Operation Gratitude will take the candy and put them together with other items to make care packages for American troops. Checking out the website: http://www.OperationGratitude.com, I found that not only did OG need our candy, but it also pleaded, “At this time, our most urgent need is for personal letters, hand-made scarves, Beanie Babies and financial donations to pay for postage.” If you send your candy to OG, why not include a few personal notes? The holidays are coming up for our soldiers, too.

The newspaper article mentions to ship candy by December 5th to:
Operation Gratitude/California
Army National Guard
17330 Victory Blvd.
Van Nuys, CA 91406
Attn: Charlie Othold

#3 – Bet You Didn’t Know This?
I’m just a fountain of information today, but did you know that Ralph Macchio, the Karate Kid, turned 48 this week! This makes me feel old! My sons used to watch his movies and mimicked his famous “crane” move over and over again. And who could ever forget Mr. Miyagi’s “Wax on, wax off” martial arts lesson? Using that strategy didn’t help me back then, when I tried to get my sons to wash our car!

#4 – Are Store Brands As Good As Name Brands? – Bob’s Market Tip
Most of the time, yes. Generally, the quality is the same, but items are just labeled differently. Store brand items are packed by the same companies that pack major brands and store brands cost less because no promotion is needed and they come directly to the store from a warehouse, therefore requiring no middleman. Do not be afraid to experiment. If you find the product meets your standards, you can save a significant amount of money off of your annual grocery bill. Try performing blind taste tests at home to see if store brands taste better than the name brand products. Even Best Foods Real Mayonnaise is packed by a company that packs for private labels.

#5 – A Peace Quote by Jimi Hendrix

When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace.

Peace to all this weekend.

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“I have fifteen friends now!” I shout to my husband and then laughingly add, “You only have four!” Prodded by friends, my husband and I joined the spectator sport of Facebook. I opened an account a few weeks ago and in doing so I found I am Facebook-challenged. I am reluctant to put out personal information on my profile page, but my son tells me, “How are people going to find you, if you don’t tell them who you are?” That is challenge number one for me. Do I want to be found? Am I lost? Do I want aspects of my quiet life open for world viewing?

Challenge number two: The whole idea of adding or removing friends makes me feel like I’m in elementary school again. Who do I ask to be my friends? Are my feelings going to be hurt if someone doesn’t want to be my friend? Is it about having the most friends and being popular?

Challenge number three: Do I really want to know about the crazy things my kids are doing? Not really. For that matter, they don’t want me to know what they are up to, either! Begrudgingly they all accepted me as their Facebook friend. Do I like being a snoop? Maybe just a little!

Challenge number four: Facebook seems like an alter world to me. It’s like a maze with many different pathways, and often times I can’t figure out how I even got to a site. Then there are the cafes, farms, aquariums, roller coasters, tokens, Halloween treats, hearts, and hugs – all of which I’ve not figured out, yet. My kids get calls from me with questions like, “I got a heart today, should I accept it?” or “Somehow dad accidentally set up two Facebook accounts and now he has two walls, but he can only see one wall and people are writing on the other wall . . . !” What have I gotten myself into?

Facebook is like joining a worldwide playground. I still have a lot to learn about its offerings, but in the meantime, I enjoy reading the comments and viewing the photos that my friends and family share. I’ve found delight in establishing contact with friends from long ago. And one of these days, I may even play the World Cafe game, because the food sounds so good and it’s low in calories!

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Another week has gone by and it’s time for another Friday’s Fresh Five!

#1 A Worthwhile Quote:
Very little is needed to make a happy life; it is all within yourself, in your way of thinking. – Marcus Aurelius, 121-180, Roman Emperor and Philosopher

#2 A Market Tip from Bob (my dad)
Although oranges are available in the supermarkets year-round, their peak season is actually October through late March. When selecting oranges, look for thin, smooth-skinned ones versus thick and deeply-pitted ones. Always select firm and heavy oranges. Weight is usually indicative of the amount of juice in a citrus.

#3 An Economical and Environmental Tip:
Buy a foaming soap dispenser. These dispensers require very little soap product, thus saving you money, as well as, saving landfills from additional plastic garbage. I purchased my foam pumps from Solutions.com but any Bath & Body Works Gentle Foaming Hand Soap pump can be refilled with liquid soap and water. Three tablespoons of liquid soap topped off with as much water as needed to fill the container and you’re set for at least a month. You’ll be amazed at how infrequently you have to refill these pumps!

#4 A Style Tip:
Accessories tell your story. I don’t remember where I heard this, but I like it. Whether it’s the red handbag slung over your shoulder or the way you tie your silk scarf, an accessory is an additional opportunity to express yourself. What’s your story?

#5 Do a Good Thing
Give credit where it is due. As you go about your daily activities and you come across someone who has been particularly nice or extraordinarily helpful to you, thank them or better yet tell his/her supervisor. It’s seems so easy to complain, but so difficult to give a deserved pat on the back.

Enjoy your weekend!

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