The Bug Man

8 Feb Bunting

My Take

DiVoran Lites

 

 

Author, Poet and ArtistWe have a cat that is allergic to fleas, so we had to sign up for a pest control program. Our particular account majors in fleas. Bob, the technician is a nice man. He likes to chat when he goes about his work. Bill is usually here to talk to him, but today I was elected because Bill had another gig.

I watched Bob out the big front window mixing his potions from the back of his truck. He’s not a big man, nor particularly small, not heavy, not thin. He wears glasses and a blue ball-cap as he goes about his work. I’d say he’s in his early 50s. I wondered what he and Bill talked about, but didn’t try to start a conversation.

Our cats, Jasmine and Lily need to stay off the carpets until the insecticide dries, so we put them in their carriers and move them to Bill’s model airplane hangar. When we started the service I stayed with them, played music, worked on my laptop, or painted. They cried the whole time anyway, so I decided to go on my walk while the floors dried.

Today I was sitting at my computer waiting for Bob to finish the spraying. He asked me if I was the artist. Yes, I am, I have my paintings all over the house. That may seem immodest, but sorry, I like them and so does Bill. I think other people do too.

Bob liked a picture in the “studio” which used to be the garage. It’s a pastel of a painted bunting. He could hardly believe it when I said, “Let’s see if there’s one on the feeder now.” Unfortunately, none was, but as you can tell from the picture they are a beautiful bird. The male is multi-colored and the female is green, the only green bird in Florida. When I told him that he said,”We have green parrots beachside in Melbourne.” They have a distinctive squawk, but I like them okay.”

Bunting

Painted Bunting by DiVoran

Oh, yes, parrots. I’ve seen them here in Titusville, too. They lived in holes in palm-trees, but I don’t think they’re here anymore. They’re considered exotics. The painted buntings are migratory and are here for the winter with their little green wives. They vie for seeds with the bigger birds and the cardinals seem reluctant to take them on. We talked about the other exotics in Florida. We both shivered at the thought of the huge iguanas we’ve heard about down south that fell from the trees one year when the weather got too cold for them. I remembered, too, that down there they have boa constrictors whose parents escaped from zoos during hurricanes and bred more boa constrictors. The climate of south Florida suits them fine.

Fast Facts (from National Geographic site)

Type:

Reptile

Diet:

Carnivore

Average life span in the wild:

20 to 30 years

Size:

13 ft (4 m)

Weight:

60 lbs (27 kg)

Group name:

Bed or knot

Did you know?

Some South Americans keep boas in their houses to control rat infestations.

 

Bob got down to business when we moved to the kitchen. He said the flea repellents people get from their vets are almost eradicating fleas in homes and the younger techs don’t know how to spray for them. We moved here in 1965 and had nothing to combat them with so I fully appreciate that.

Bob says the nemesis is now sugar ants. Ooh, we’ve got some of those. Actually, I originally brought them in by letting the cat food sit on the porch and collect them. They are only about as big as a period. I opened the cupboard and showed Bob the diatomaceous-earth powder I’ve sprinkled on the shelves. He seemed truly interested. I asked what the pest control guys use inside the cupboards, and he said, “We don’t put anything inside the cupboard. We use non-repellant insecticide outside and the ants carry it into the nests and contaminate them. I’ve been doing that for you here.” He said. I thanked him.

I was flabbergasted. I wondered why we hadn’t had to move out of the house because of those scamps and all the time Bob had us covered. It kind of reminds you of God, doesn’t it?

 

 

The Cruise of a Lifetime~Part 2

7 Feb 2

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 

The first real day of our cruise started with breakfast. There is a “buffet” breakfast in the restaurant, with a chef making omelets – made to order.

Our ship, the Gefjon (gef’- ee – on) is named after a Norwegian goddess.   Interesting.

 

Our first excursion took us to Kinderdijk (kinder-dike), Holland (the Netherlands).

 

 

This is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. We saw a building with three huge Archimedes screws.

6

From the original 150 windmills in the area, only 28 are left, and Kinderdijk has the largest collection of working windmills in that small area – 19 in all.

7

 

We saw the windmills – went into one – and saw the polders the windmills gather water from. The windmills are used to pump water from the polders using internal or external scoops into reservoirs on two levels.   We were amazed at the size of the mills, and sails that are placed on the blades – it is all mechanical. We were also amazed to see that the caretakers actually lived within the windmill. Small spaces, and usually when the father died, the son took over.

The one we went in was old – made entirely from bricks. The newer ones looked like they were made from “shingles.” Most of these windmills date from 1738 through 1740.

10

The ship supplied us with “receivers” and ear pieces that we plugged into the receivers that hung from lanyards around our necks. Each tour guide had a “channel” that we tuned into. That way they could talk normally and we couldn’t hear what the other guides were saying (different channel). It was a very convenient way to do the tours. We had them with us at all times on our excursions. The ship also supplied us each with bottled water on each excursion.

11

Back on board, we began our sail to Cologne, Germany. Still being rather tired, we both took a nap, until it was time for the mandatory safety drill – including wearing our life jackets. We have to get over that jet lag!

We had a light lunch in the Aquavit Lounge. Usually set up as a buffet on the Terrace – much quicker and as good as in the restaurant.

After lunch we checked on our e-mail. Fred got one of the hostesses to set up our phones to receive e-mail.

We took in a Dutch teatime in the Aquavit Lounge. They served lots of goodies, and flavorful, interesting hot tea.

Nearing dinnertime, there was a “Toast to Our Guests” by Captain Marcel Stephan and Hotel Manager Harald Halswanter in the Aquavit Lounge.

12

It was a welcome time for the guests of the ship. That room was used for many things, including the daily briefing about the next day’s excursions by Program Director, Carl West. Carl followed the tours on each excursion, taking pictures. Each evening, those pictures would scroll through the two monitors set up in the lounge. It was fun to find pictures of yourselves on those monitors.

Dinner in the restaurant. Everyone at the table had the Chateaubriand, and it was wonderful!

14

Our table mates were Steve and Jane from Colorado, and Lola and Judy from Minnesota. Jane had recently had back surgery, and while in physical therapy, fell onto her back and re-injured herself. She was moving rather gingerly and always used a cane when she walked.

Another long, busy day, and the bed felt really good!!

 

 

~~~~~~~~~~To Be Continued~~~~~~~~~~

 

 

 

 

Five promises to erase loneliness

6 Feb

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Eckles Perez

 

I zipped my suitcase shut. And my 4’10”, white-haired Mom walked in. “I worry about you traveling alone,” she said. “Someone will be staying with you in the hotel, right?”

I imagine having her blind daughter travel to another country by herself concerns her.

“Sure,” I reassure her to erase worry because after all, traveling to speaking engagements is one of the passions I have.

Although I’ll have no human accompany me, I’ll have someone better—the Holy Spirit.

Think I’m kidding? God’s way to make sure we’re never alone and know how to conquer loneliness is true.

How else can I, being blind, navigate through hotel rooms, unpack, find the bathroom, get ready and sing with confidence while doing it?

I admit. Sometimes, temptation to feel lonely tries to slip in. But I have found five ways to conquer it:

  1. In the hotel room of loneliness, the Holy Spirit is the concierge to meet all our needs.

  2. His presence is certain.

  3. His protection is constant.

  4. His companionship is sweet

  5. His comfort is forever.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever, the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16).

Father, sometimes even when surrounded with people, the loneliness is cruel. But thank you for filling the void. For bringing reassurance to every moment. For whispering protection and provision. Thank you for sending your Holy Spirit, for we know you’re present now, and you’ll be present in the happenings of our tomorrows. In Jesus’ name, amen.

Be sure to visit Janet’s website to read the rest of the blog.  Five promises to erase loneliness. | Janet Perez Eckles

Reflections of the Heart: When Does One Grow Old?

5 Feb Happiness is an inside job.It stems from-3

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

 

I woke up in the morning,

mind refreshed and full of hope.

There is so much I want to do-

all within my scope.

 

My mind is willing, my mind alert-

I’ll spring right out of bed.

My mind is saying, “Go girl!”

but my back says, “Whoa”, instead.

 

Ego! Yes, ego is the culprit

in this aging game we play.

I don’t mind saying , “I’m 78,”

But, getting old???”No way!”

 

Happiness is an inside job.It stems from-3

Source: Reflections of the Heart: When Does One Grow Old?

Circle of Fire

3 Feb 7

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

Bill Small Red Plane

It’s amazing how much trouble young boys can get into when not supervised! I remember one very dangerous thing my friends and I came up with one summer evening. Our neighborhood was laid out with alleys behind the houses for city trash pickup. We would station one boy near the entrance of the ally to alert us when a car was coming our way down the busy side-street. We would take an old discarded automobile tire and pour some gasoline in it. We would wait until our lookout gave us the signal that he had gaged the speed of the next car coming down the street would get to our alley. We would set the gasoline on fire and, without any regard as to what hazards we could be creating, would roll the flaming circle of fire out of the ally into the path of that oncoming car.

1

Can you imagine the shock of the driver when that flaming circle came rolling out of nowhere, right across the street in front their car. Of course we were long gone before the driver had time to stop his car, and get out to see what was going on. In most cases the driver was able to stop before he hit the tire, and it rolled on across the street to hit the far curb and just fall over.

2

Sometimes the driver was going faster than we thought, and the car went past the tire missing it entirely. And then sometimes the driver was quick enough to swerve around the flaming tire without hitting it.   It never dawned on us that if some driver couldn’t stop fast enough, and hit that flaming tire, that gasoline could splash onto the front of their car and cause a major incident.

4

Or, if a driver over-reacted, and swerved into the curb or into oncoming traffic, what a terrible accident we could have caused. We just thought it would be fun to scare the drivers and see how they reacted to that sudden horrific sight.

5

Of course, if we had caused one of those accidents, we could have found ourselves in jail for a long time. Luckily, nothing like that ever happened and we were never caught in that mischievous act. One of the more dangerous games some teenagers in our town played (not me) was called “Ditch’em.” This game usually consisted of at least two car loads of (sometimes drunk) teenagers chasing each other around on neighborhood streets with their lights “off.” This potentially fatal game did, in my recollection in the town where I grew up, cause the death of one young girl who was hit by one of these cars one night while crossing a street on the way to a friend’s house.

6

This is why, in his book “Making a Good Brain Great” Dr. Daniel Amen says our brains are still maturing as teenagers and really don’t fully mature until around age 25 or 26. This means we don’t have the decision making capability when we are teenagers, and why we do some of the crazy things we do. After we become adults, we usually can look back on our teenage years and wonder how we could have done some of the harmful and dangerous things we did.

7

 

I never knew any of the people we scared when I was taking part in those “Circle of Fire” episodes when I was a young person, but I would like to personally apologize for the part I played. I have asked God to forgive me for my part and I hope whoever those people were, that they can also forgive me, even at this late date.

 

—–The End—–

Peace Be Still

1 Feb

My Take

DiVoran Lites

Peace Be Still

Jesus always told stories when he spoke to his followers.

I’m into stories, have been since I was born. My mother told true stories and made up some. Grandmother told stories about her life, too. Before he went away to war and later when he grew old, Dad told stories about his. His stories stopped during my childhood because he suffered from what is now called PTSD.

I married a man who tells stories about his adventures every day, our grown children tell stories and so it goes. Stories and the need for them will never die. I thank God that I come from a story-telling family. I’m convinced there is no better way to learn the vital things of life.

It seems possible to imagine myself present as a child in a story about one of Jesus’ miracles. See if you can put yourself into it with me.

Father and Mother took me up on the mountain to listen to the master. He told us things about how to be happy. Wildflowers grew all over the mountain spreading their fragrance over the crowd like a blessing. I stood in the boat next to Jesus as he taught from there. I wanted to sing and dance with joy, but, alas, there was no room for that in the small boat.

When the teaching was over, the master asked the fishermen to take him across the lake. The sail filled with wind and we flew right along across the water next to a low-flying seagull. I looked around for the master and finally found him sleeping at the back of the boat. I was tired from all the excitement and the fresh air, so I lay down nearby. I thought about the wonderful day and looked at the white clouds in the blue sky. I too, fell asleep.

I awoke to rain in my face, black skies, and a bad feeling in my tummy. The fishermen were shouting and I saw that they were afraid. I’d never seen big rough men show fear before. Two wrestled to get the sail down while two others tried to bail out the water coming over the side in waves. One of the men came back and shook the master’s shoulder to wake him.

“Don’t you care that we’re all going to die!” he shouted.

By now I was hanging onto the anchor so I wouldn’t be washed out of the boat and into the sea.

The master rose and made his way to the bow. He held his hand up commanding, “Stop. Be quiet. Peace! Be still.” His voice carried through the storm. We all heard it. Suddenly the sea was calm. The sun came out. The bailers finished bailing. The sail went up again. Soon the work was done and we were on our way.

“Why were you so afraid? Don’t you have any faith?” said the master.

“Who is this man that wind and sea are at his command?” said one of the men.

I almost raised my hand to answer, but then thought the men might not like a child telling them something they didn’t already know. Someday, perhaps I will tell the story of this day so others may hear and know him too.

Mark 4

If you want to see the ancient fishing boats, Google Bible fishing boats. The pictures are beautiful.

 

 

You might enjoy this book: The Power of Personal Storytelling 

 

 

The Cruise of a Lifetime~Part 1

31 Jan 2

SUNDAY MEMORIES

Judy Wills

JUDY

 

 

PART 1 – GETTING THERE

We had been investigating a Viking River Cruise in Europe for a while, but decided they were just too expensive. However, Fred was able to find a really….REALLY….good deal, and we snatched it up. We were scheduled for November 5 – November 20, 2015.

Our flight was scheduled for departure on Thursday, November 5, at 4:20 p.m., but it was delayed until 5:06 p.m. with mechanical problems. We finally boarded the plane hoping to leave soon. The plane started to back out but the pilot said the engines were doing the same thing they were doing before, so he took it back to the terminal. Fred checked with the Delta people, and they said our connection in Detroit would wait for us.

We were delayed again when we entered the plane and then deplaned a third time.   Fred then checked with the international Delta people and they got us on a Lufthansa leaving for Frankfurt, Germany at about 8:20 p.m. – about 20 minutes from then! That was four hours after we were originally scheduled to leave. They said our flight from Detroit would NOT have waited that long for us. We had been given some really bad information. We were also quite glad we had carried all our luggage with us!

After arriving in Frankfurt on Friday morning, we boarded another Lufthansa to Amsterdam. We finally arrived in Amsterdam about 2:30 p.m. Fortunately, the Viking people were there picking up other late-arriving guests. They thought we had decided to cancel, and just not come. We took a Viking bus to the ship, the Viking Gefjon (pronounced gef’- ee-on) and found our state room, number 325.

 

These ships are called “long ships” for a good reason!

 

After a late lunch buffet in the Aquavit Lounge Terrace,

 

we rested some, then tried to email but had no success with that. They had a computer station, but the laptops were “International” versions, with some of the keys rearranged, and with international symbols that we weren’t accustomed to. It was a bit nerve-wracking to try to type any kind of message!

11

 

We had no time to take in anything in Amsterdam, much to our regret. However, we have been to Amsterdam many times during our times living in Germany, so we didn’t feel too cheated.

The Chef’s Dinner was in the restaurant. There is only one restaurant on board, and all meals are eaten there, and together. Most tables are set for six people, with a few large enough for eight or 10. Our table mates that evening were from Tucson, Arizona, and from Pennsylvania. There was no assigned seating, and we were able to meet quite a few of our fellow shipmates during the cruise. After we had ordered our meal, Fred left the ship and quickly went to a corner store to get some items we couldn’t carry on the airplane.

We went to bed early, as it had been a long day.

Oh and by the way, as I was getting off the last flight in Amsterdam, overloaded with bags, overbalanced and fell getting off the airplane and into the jetway. So far, no lingering effects from that.

 

 

Five reassuring truths to conquer stress. | Janet Perez Eckles

30 Jan

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Janet Perez Eckles

Janet Eckles Perez

What were they thinking? The Israelites had God by their side. They had food shower from heaven. And they counted on God’s protection against those awful Egyptians. But as they shuffled through the desert, were they grateful? Not really. Check out how they react.

As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the LORD. They said to Moses, “Was it because there were no graves in Egypt that you brought us to the desert to die? What have you done to us by bringing us out of Egypt? Didn’t we say to you in Egypt, Leave us alone; let us serve the Egyptians? It would have been better for us to serve the Egyptians than to die in the desert!”

Moses answered the people, “Do not be afraid. Stand firm and you will see the deliverance the LORD will bring you today. The Egyptians you see today you will never see again. The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.” (Exodus 14: 10-14)

Those last words from Moses should be enough to calm the heart and soothe the soul with reassurance. But it wasn’t for them. And, so sadly, often it’s not enough for us either.

So when we flee from the Egyptians of stress, uncertainty and anxiety, we can count on these five reassuring truths:

  1. We know God is aware of the battles we face and of the enemies of anxiety that chase us through the desert of life.
  2. We recognize those battles are beyond our human capability to conquer. They require a God-size warrior to defeat them.
  3. Acknowledge we’re not abandoned. But rather, God is powerfully present in our every encounter with adversity, of disappointment and of setbacks.
  4. We receive His invitation to win the battle for us. When we step aside and allow Him to do what only He can do, triumph is the next step.
  5. Rather than wring our hands, fret and worry, we engrave this in our heart: “The LORD will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

For Janet’s closing comments visit her blog:  Five reassuring truths to conquer stress. | Janet Perez Eckles

Reflections of the Heart: Somewhere

29 Jan

From the Heart

Louise Gibson

Louise Gibson

Somewhere there is a place for me

A place I have a need to be.

A new plateau, a goal to meet-

Purpose, direction, without defeat.

Oh, God, give me strength to greet each day

With a cheerful countenance, don’t let me sway.

Please let me focus on the issues of life

That bring joy to others-

to relieve their strife.

To have victory over the enemy called Fear-

the energy and stamina to persevere.

Blue with Sea Shell copy

Painting by DiVoran Lites

Source: Reflections of the Heart: February 2007

Five Reasons Not to Fear a Power Pressure Cooker

28 Jan

On the Porch

Onisha Ellis

I'm a winner

Five Reasons Not to Fear a Power Pressure Cooker

Did you know there is an overwhelming about of articles and blog post on how to generate more traffic, thus more readers to a blog? Many have the same advice- give readers a reason to read your blog. They suggest a blog post have titles like 5 Easy Ways too…… or 3 Simple Hacks….

I suppose it is good advice since, I tend to be tempted into reading how to posts. I decided to attempt to follow this model, but for the life of me, I couldn’t think of anyway to turn my rambling words into bullet points. I cast my eyes over the house, surely there is something here I can write a few bullet points about. Inspiration escaped me until I saw my favorite Christmas gift, a Power Pressure Cooker XL. I love this pot!

I grew up using a pressure cooker and I am completely comfortable with them but most of my friends think they are scary. I currently own three pressure cookers, a large one and a standard sized one at our home in North Carolina  and a standard one we have at our daughter’s house in Florida. ( I cook her meals during the winter to earn my keep.)

So why would I need another pressure cooker? Because this one is cool! No really, it is cool. The steam remains in the cooker. In Florida, keeping the house cool with minimal A/C use is important to one in my “time of life. Meals that usually require using the oven, I can pop into the Power Pressure Cooker, no heat and cooks fast too.

See, it doesn’t look scary at all!

So here we go, my five reasons to not fear a power pressure cooker!

  • No more scary sounds- Have you been traumatized by the hiss and jiggle of traditional pressure cookers? Fear no more. The new electric power pressure cooker is pleasantly silent except for  an occasional bump as the pot builds  pressure.
  • It’s a rice cooker– Yes, it cooks rice.  It has a rice setting with 3 sub settings for White Rice, Brown Rice, and Wild Rice. These individual sub settings are program specify for each rice with time and pressure.
  • It’s a slow cooker– Have you ever wished your slow cooker had a delayed timer? Well this one does! Of course it turns off automatically once the cooking time has ended, then it goes into stay warm mode.
  • Set it and forget it-If you have used a pressure cooker in the past, you know that you have to keep an eye on the cooker until it begins to jiggle, then adjust the heat to make sure it jiggles at the correct frequency. ( Ok, explaining jiggle frequency is just too weird.)
  • Great meals- A power pressure cooker is 70% faster than oven or stove top methods. The literature claims more nutrients are retained in the food, due to the shorter cooking time. I don’t measure nutrition so I can’t back this claim up but I can tell you, everything I have cooked in mine tastes great!

Our daughter Rebekah, loves Italy and after reading  Under The Tuscan Sun-At Home in Italy she bought The Tuscan Sun Cookbook-Recipes from Our Italian Kitchen by Edward and Frances Mayes. Last night I made a recipe from the book and adapted it for the Power Cooker. On a funny note,when I went online in hopes of locating the recipe so I could copy/paste, I found it on the AARP website! I am sharing it and making notes on how I modified the recipe.

Chicken With Artichokes, Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chickpeas

INGREDIENTS

  • 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 chicken breasts, halved, skin on ( I used 4 chicken thighs, skin on. I think chicken breasts are very unforgiving.)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • ½ cup red wine
  • ¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups cooked chickpeas ( I used one can of chickpeas, drained)
  • 2 14-ounce cans water-packed artichoke hearts, drained ( I used quartered ones, canned of course)
  • ½ cup sun-dried tomatoes, slivered, or 1 cup sliced oven-roasted tomatoes (I soaked these in the ½ cup of wine for 30 minutes)
  • ¼ cup fresh thyme or fresh marjoram leaves or 2 tablespoons dried
  • ½ cup black or green olives, pitted

DIRECTIONS

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Nope, no heating the oven for me!

Over medium-low heat, in a large, enameled ovenproof pot with a lid, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sauté the onion, and after about 3 minutes, remove it to a medium bowl.

I  pressed the chicken meat button, added 1 tablespoon of olive oil and sautéd the onions for two minutes.

Season the chicken breasts with the salt and pepper. Add the remaining 4 tablespoons olive oil to the pot, raise the heat to medium-high, and brown the chicken for 3 minutes per side. Add the wine, bring it quickly to a boil and then turn the heat off immediately.

I didn’t change the settings, just put the meat in and browned it for about 4 minutes. Since I had soaked the tomatoes in the wine, I strained the tomatoes and put the wine in the pot to bring to a boil. Once it boiled, I lifted the inner pot out of the cooker and set it aside.

Combine the onion with the parsley, chickpeas, artichoke hearts, sun-dried tomatoes, thyme and olives. Spread the combined vegetables over the chicken, and bake, covered, for 30 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the pieces, turning the chicken once. Serve right from the pot or transfer to a platter.

No baking for me! Once all the ingredients were together, I put the inner pot back in the cooker, changed the setting to soup/stew and left it alone.(I chose that setting since the meal seemed liked a stew. Once it pressurized, the cooking time was 6 minutes.

Another nice thing about this pot is that once cooking  completed, it remained in the warm cycle while I put the finishing touches to the rest of the meal

And it was wonderful!! This is the photo as shown in the book.

 

Thank You AARP for posting recipes from the cookbook. Click this  link to view this recipe as well as as others.

My daughter found a great deal on my Power Pressure Cooker XL at Kohl’s. It was on sale plus 30% off and she used Kohl’s Cash. It is also on Amazon and comes in 6, 8 and 10 quart size. Mine is a 6 quart and a good size for a small family.

Now that I have followed blogging advice, I simply need to sit back and watch our reader numbers soar…..right?

I would like to hear your pressure cooker stories. What is your favorite food to cook in one? Or share your fears and scary stories.

 

 

 

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