Christmas traditions, then and now

There are lots of Christmas traditions and I came across a few interesting facts on some of them - Why do we eat turkey? Long ago, it was the smell of roast goose or the head of a boar that filled the Christmas air in Britain. Then in 1526, a trader named William Strickland imported six turkeys from the US and sold them in Bristol, for tuppence each. The birds were popular because they were tasty, and practical. Cows were more useful alive, chicken was ...

Fun Flower Facts: Pot Marigold (Calendula)

Pot Marigold or Calendula have bright yellow or orange daisy-like blossoms and long, narrow and hairy leaves. As attractive as the flowers are, some people find the strong scent of the leaves to be offensive. Calendula is a member of the Asteraceae family, which includes asters, daisies and sunflowers. Plants grow to be 1-2 ft tall. The flowering period is from June until October. Pot marigold is one of the most popular and reliable annuals around! These bright flowers can be found ...

Persistence: Lights. Blog. Action!

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge Persistence: The Think Bubble via tdbspecialprojects Creative Persistence: Lights. Blog. Action! Everyday, bloggers everywhere wake up pondering what their ...

How to Throw a Garden Party!

Summer is in full swing! The flowers in your garden are blooming.  It’s the perfect time to throw a floral themed garden party to show off the beautiful flowers in your garden. Here are some ideas to get you started. Ice Cold Drinks Perfect for the Summer: Hibiscus Mint Iced tea Lavender Lemonade Strawberry hibiscus-tea lemonade Food featuring edible flowers: Stuffed zucchini flowers Lavender & fennel crusted salmon Scones served with rose hip jelly Edible flower salad Cupcakes with edible flowers Strawberry and violet sorbet If you plan on providing alcoholic drinks, ...

Hope: While The Sands of Time Flow By…

Hope: While The Sands of Time Flow By…

“Clocks will go as they are set, but man, irregular man, is never constant, never certain.” Thomas Otway Hope: While the sands of time flow...  Cleo quickly boarded the bus headed downtown and, walking briskly to the back, sat down on the window seat facing east. She had just met with her boss and while the news wasn’t terrible, it wasn’t great either. The department would be folding by month’s end and she had 30 days to find something else. Since the ...

Five Basic Tools To Bionic Blogger-hood…

“Grace is available for each of us every day – our spiritual daily bread – but we’ve got to remember to ask for it with a grateful heart and not worry about whether there will be enough for tomorrow.” –Sarah Ban Breathnach Road to Bionic Blogger: The distant volcano is soon conquered... Recognizing Grace: Five Basic Tools On the Road to Bionic Blogger… Recently, my good friend, Rose, blogger/writer at What’s My Plaza, sent me a quick note via Facebook. It had to do with our blogging ...

Mother's Day and Spanish Coffee

I have no idea where I’m taking my eighty-seven year old mother for Mother’s Day this year. Last year was taxing, to say the least. When it comes to eating anything she didn’t prepare, Mom is as caution as Howard Hughes. She doesn’t like breakfast. Or lunch. Or dinner unless it’s a slice of meat between two pieces of bread. She hates sauces or condiments, preferring cold meat served the “natural way.” When she says this I imagine meat brought ...

Guest Post: Utilizing the Color Spectrum in Your Garden

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always grown flowers. From having individual potted blooms around my apartment, to window boxes, to flower beds, and finally, full-fledged flower gardens, I’ve had flowers in basically all styles. I definitely go through phases when it comes to my design preferences. I’ve gone through monochromatic phases where all I like all my flowers to be the same color, sometimes even the same shade. But other times, like currently, I prefer to surround myself ...

The $5.37 “Caption This” Contest: Vol. 13

It’s another installment of the lowest-cash-award-for-a-photo-caption-contest on the Internet, the $5.37 Caption This Contest! Thanks to everyone who entered the most recent iteration of the contest  last week. Regrettably, there were two laugh-out-loud standouts that I couldn’t choose between. The deciding factor was when I saw the “Mayhem” Allstate Insurance commercial again this weekend which inspired Jamie Kocur’s winning caption. Check out the “Mayhem” video HERE as a reminder and then Jamie’s oh-so apropos caption below. My BFF Becky just texted that she’s kissed Johnny. That’s a ...

Yet Another Reason I Hate Funerals….

Nondescript Casket My immediate family spent the majority of last week at my in-laws home in New York because my wife’s grandmother passed away. While I think it’s extremely important to celebrate the memory of the deceased; support and sympathize with the survivors and offer a degree of closure for the living via the various death-induced services and rituals – I hate funerals. As a former news reporter, I had to attend dozens as an uninvited gawker amidst grieving strangers and then trying to speak with someone on camera – ...

The $5.37 “Caption This” Contest: Vol. 2

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the extremely generous, yet random, $5.37 cash prize for the inaugural “Caption This” Contest. I don’t think anyone on the Internet has ever come up with such an idea before of captioning random photos (that might be a complete lie – not sure). Regardless, each of you were an integral part of this history-making Internet event! Unfortunately, as the original Highlander movie taught us all – “There can be only one!” – (and by that I ...

A Little Levity, Please

On the heels of receiving a rejection from a major agent who loved my query and synopsis (“very intriguing,” she wrote) but then didn’t get hooked after all, I’m in need of some levity today. The following tweet and picture from author Melissa Harrison in my Twitter feed helped. When I first learned to proofread, my mentor told me not to forget to check titles and headings. Good advice. I'm pretty sure a typo like this, on the first page of ...

Reinventing Yourself

Between unemployment, and outsourcing, the number of jobs available to the American worker has decreased over recent years, leaving the masses to duke it out for the remaining available positions. College graduates, high school dropouts, and senior citizens are often found competing for the same entry level jobs. The average Joe needs to be pretty clever in order to make his resume stand out above the rest, including, but not limited to, reinventing himself. In the old days you could approach ...

3 Tips for Parents of Teenagers (From a guy with no kids)

Six months ago I got married. And two weeks ago my wife and I taught the “Parenting Teens” class at my church because, you know, wait . . . we’re qualified to do that? What was my church thinking?! To be fair, we both work for InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Oregon State University. We spend large chunks of our days with college students and kids in their late teens. So I guess you could say we know a thing or two. Teaching ...

5 Delivery Room Survival Rules For Dads

My blogging buddy and mentor Michelle Shaeffer told me about this great, free site called Piktochart that enables non-PhotoShop mortals like me to generate cool infographics. An infographic is a graphical representation of information in a highly-visible, easily digestible format. Given that we’re about to have our third child, I thought I’d share five rules to help expectant dads survive and navigate the newborn experience. With that, here’s the world premiere of my first infographic – Baby Delivery: 101. Question: What’s a topic you’d like ...

Working 9 to 5…with kids in tow

Take Your Child to Work Day - 2012 Yesterday was “Take Your Child to Work” day. My current employer has a minimum limit of seven years of age before a child can participate, and I had the wonderful opportunity of taking both our girls for the first time. The idea behind the initiative is to not only give kids a glimpse into how their parents earn a living, but to demonstrate the importance of education as well as work-life balance. Before we set out, ...

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3200 Years Old – 247 feet tall and still growing!

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This giant Sequoia is not only awe inspiring, it’s still growing! At the rate of one cubic meter per year he is one of the fastest growing trees in the world, despite his great age. There is only one place on the entire planet where giant sequoias grow; the Sierra Nevadas mountain range in California, found only on the western slope 5000-8000 feet above sea level. …

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Desert Habitat: Soil Microorganisms

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“When you thrust a shovel into the soil or tear off a piece of coral, you are, godlike, cutting through an entire world. You have crossed a hidden frontier known to very few. Immediately close at hand, around and beneath our feet, lies the least explored part of the planet’s surface. It is also the …

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New Arizona Wildlife Notebook

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Arizona Wildlife Notebook, Second edition I have completed the second edition of the Arizona Wildlife Notebook! The new Notebook has four more species groups than the first edition, and it has an expanded index. The most important change is in the conservation status for each species. This time, I standardized the information so that future changes …

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Arizona Wildlife in Danger

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Monarch (Danaus Plexippus) Mourning Cloak Butterfly (Nymphalis antiopa) Two-tailed Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) Conservation Status of Arizona Wildlife Many species of Arizona wildlife are drifting toward extinction. Over half of the larger animals listed by the Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) are in danger, and the status of many smaller species such as the three butterflies above is uncertain. The …

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Arizona Butterfly and Moth Update–November, 2013

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Arizona Butterfly and Moth Conservation Two-tailed Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio multicaudata) Arizona’s butterfly. Butterflies and moths are pollinators and they are food for other species. I know of no harm they cause to human interests. Nevertheless, many die from insecticide poisoning and others decline due to human removal of caterpillar host plants. The conservation status of these familiar …

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Arizona Fish Update–November 2013

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Small stretches of the Agua Fria River in central Arizona are perennial. The water is polluted by farm fertilizer and mine tailings. Invasive species are abundant. The U. S. State of Arizona occupies a dry region with limited precipitation, high evaporation, and not much surface water. Widespread winter rain and snow, and heavy summer rain can …

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Arizona Bird Update–October 2013

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The Audubon Society’s Christmas Bird Count shows that since 1967, many U. S. birds have declined. Twenty of our most familiar bird species (Common Birds in Decline) have lost at least half their populations over the past four decades. The causes of some of the declines are know. Observers have reported direct connections to habitat destruction for …

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