Saturday, October 31, 2009

Emma Nicole Happy Halloween 2009

I wanted to display Emma's cute little Halloween picture, but I don't really have a Halloween story (I'm just 'not' a story teller, but I admire those who are). So, what we end up with here is more or less a definition of the 'meaning of Halloween'. By Christmas, I'll be sure to have some pictures of her showing her 'million watt' smile. It's her crowning feature, but for now, no smile in these pictures. Soon though. :) (By the way, Emma was born 1-15-09.)

Meaning of Halloween
O­ne obvious question about Halloween is, "What does the word itself mean?" The name is actually a shortened version of "All Hallows' Even," the eve of All Hallows' Day. "Hallow" is an Old English word for "holy person," and All Hallows' Day is simply another name for All Saints' Day, the day Catholics commemorate all the saints. At some point, people began referring to All Hallows' Even as "Hallowe'en" and then simply "Halloween."

­While it takes its name from All Saints' Day, modern Halloween is actually a combination of several different traditions. In fact, a lot of the things we do on Halloween predate Christianity entirely.

Halloween comes to America

Spooktacular Halloween Just for Fun

Halloween decorating has become a big thing,

second only to Christmas.

Cheers to all those who have taken the time

to create these spooktaculars.

Friday, October 30, 2009

The White Lady of Union Cemetery

Easton Baptist Church

A Halloween treat or maybe it's a trick. I'm sure that many small towns have their version of ghostly apparitions, and my town is no different. For as long as I can remember, the story goes that The White Lady wanders through & near Union Cemetery & many claim to have seen her at night when driving near the cemetery.

Union Cemetery in Easton dates back to the 1600's & it is claimed to be the most haunted
cemetery in Connecticut. The cemetery is next to the Easton Baptist Church and is separated from the rest of the church property by an

old wrought-iron fence.

Lorraine & Ed Warren (he is now deceased) well-known ghosthunters visited the cemetery many times over the years and after much research stated that the cemetery is filled with 'demonic influence'. They even wrote a book about the cemetery entitled "Graveyard". The Warrrens even claim to have captured The White Lady's essence on film. She is described as having long, dark hair & wears what looks like a white nightgown.

The identity of The White Lady is unknown, but the legend goes that there may have been a love triangle involved. One version is that The White Lady is Ellen Smathers, who wanders the cemetery & its surroundings looking for her husband John, whose body was found in a sink-hole behind the Easton Baptist Church weighed down with iron chunks in his pockets. A man named Richard Dean Jason confessed to his murder because of his love for Ellen.

The other version is that another body found in this sink-hole around the turn of the century was that of a Mrs. Knott, who was supposedly killed by her lover, Elwood Wade & dumped in the sink-hole or it may really have been Mr.Knott who her lover killed. After the murder, Elwood Wade was hanged & it is said Mrs. Knott spent the remainder of her life in jail & now roams the area searching for them.

The White Lady usually appears in the road along Church Road & Route 59 or further down the road in Monroe, often being 'hit' by vehicles when she appears out of nowhere. She is never found after an incident,nor is there damage to the cars that pass through this ghostly woman.

It is said she may be walking back & forth between Union Cemetery to nearby Stepney Cemetery in Monroe.

In 1993 an off-duty Monroe fireman reported driving his truck along Route 59 near Union Cemetery, when he saw an eerie red glow & a farmer with a straw hat seated next to him in his truck. He looked up to see The White Lady in the road in front of him. He could not stop, struck her & heard a thud & then she & the mysterious passenger disappeared, leaving a dent in the front of his truck. So the story goes.

Whether you believe in ghosts or not, Happy Halloween.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Born with the Golden rules

Been doing some thinking about Ivy' post (very good) the other day: The one had a list that her friend had sent was mostly about ethical, and moral behavior. I was going to write my own answer..but I will post something that I have copied to note pad, and no link to the Author..but will try if you want me to keep looking.

It's that synergy thing...we can't escape it no matter how we try to change it...we are all one, and all the one.!!

Obviously, says the monkey.

Human nature simply cannot be understood in isolation from the rest of nature. This evolutionary approach is already difficult for many people to accept, but it is likely to generate even more resistance once its implications are fully grasped. After all, the idea that we descend from long-armed, hairy creatures is only half the message of evolutionary theory. The other half is continuity with all other life forms. We are animals not only in body but also in mind. This idea may prove harder to swallow.

We are so convinced that humans are the only intelligent life on earth that we search for other intelligent beings in distant galaxies. We also never seem to run out of claims about what sets us apart, even though scientific progress forces us to adjust these claims every couple of years. That is why we do not hear any more that only humans make tools, imitate each other, have culture, think ahead, are self-aware, or adopt another's point of view. It is the rare claim of human uniqueness that holds up for more than a decade.

If we look at our species without letting ourselves be blinded by the technological advances of the last few millennia, we see a creature of flesh and blood with a brain that, albeit three times larger than that of a chimpanzee, does not contain any new parts. Our intellect may be superior, but we have no basic wants or needs that cannot also be observed in our close relatives. I interact daily with chimpanzees and bonobos, which are known as anthropoids precisely because of their human-like characteristics. Like us, they strive for power, enjoy sex, want security and affection, kill over territory, and value trust and cooperation. Yes, we use cell phones and fly airplanes, but our psychological make-up remains that of a social primate.

To explain human behavior as a "mere" product of evolution, however, is often seen as insulting and a threat to morality, as if such a view would absolve us from the obligation to lead virtuous lives. The geneticist Francis Collins sees the "moral law" as proof that God exists. Conversely, I have heard people echo Dostoevsky's Ivan Karamazov, exclaiming that "If there is no God, I am free to rape my neighbor!"

Perhaps it is just me, but I am wary of anyone whose belief system is the only thing standing between them and repulsive behavior. Why not assume that our humanity, including the self-control needed to form a livable society, is built into us? Does anyone truly believe that our ancestors lacked rules of right and wrong before they had religion? Did they never assist others in need or complain about an unfair share? Human morality must be quite a bit older than religion and civilization. It may, in fact, be older than humanity itself. Other primates live in highly structured cooperative groups in which rules and inhibitions apply and mutual aid is a daily occurrence.

Even without claiming other primates as moral beings, it is not hard to recognize the pillars of morality in their behavior. These are summed up in our golden rule, which transcends the world's cultures and religions. "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" brings together empathy (attention to the feelings of others) and reciprocity (if others follow the same rule, you will be treated well, too). Human morality could not exist without empathy and reciprocity, tendencies that have been found in our fellow primates.

After one chimpanzee has been attacked by another, for example, a bystander will go over to gently embrace the victim until he or she stops yelping. The tendency to console is so strong that Nadia Kohts, a Russian scientist who raised a juvenile chimpanzee a century ago, said that when her charge escaped to the roof of the house, there was only one way to get him down. Holding out food would not do the trick; the only way would be for her to sit down and sob, as if she were in pain. The young ape would rush down from the roof to put his arm around her. The empathy of our closest evolutionary relatives exceeds even their desire for bananas.

Reciprocity, on the other hand, is visible when chimpanzees share food specifically with those who have recently groomed them or supported them in power struggles. Sex is often part of the mix. Wild males have been observed to take great risks raiding papaya plantations, returning to share the delicious fruit with fertile females in exchange for copulation. Chimps know how to strike a deal.

Our primate relatives also exhibit pro-social tendencies and a sense of fairness. In experiments, chimpanzees voluntarily open a door to give a companion access to food, and capuchin monkeys seek rewards for others even if they themselves gain nothing from it. Perhaps helping others is self-rewarding in the same way that humans feel good doing good. In other studies, primates will happily perform a task for cucumber slices until they see others being rewarded with grapes, which taste so much better. They become agitated, throw down their measly cucumbers, and go on strike. A perfectly fine vegetable has become unpalatable! I think of their reaction whenever I hear criticism of the extravagant bonuses on Wall Street.

These primates show hints of a moral order, and yet most people still prefer to view nature as "red in tooth and claw." We never seem to doubt that there is continuity between humans and other animals with respect to negative behavior - when humans maim and kill each other, we are quick to call them "animals" - but we prefer to claim noble traits exclusively for ourselves. When it comes to the study of human nature, this is a losing strategy, however, because it excludes about half of our background. Short of appealing to divine intervention as an explanation, this more attractive half is also the product of evolution, a view now increasingly supported by animal research.

This insight hardly subtracts from human dignity. To the contrary, what could be more dignified than primates who use their natural gifts to build a humane society?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Name this plant

Help me identify this plant. It is growing in my neighbor's yard and spilling into mine. It has had these beautiful red flowers all summer long and is still going strong. The hummers love it.
My neighbor said an old girlfriend planted it and called it Wedding Bells. I can't find any
Wedding Bells that look like this.

Check out the little butterfly I caught on this flower. Click to enlarge.

Now I know what this is. It's a fat little, late for migration, hummer. A little procrastinator. The hummers are still buzzing the place here. I may be the only place left to get fresh nectar.

The Woodlands Mall

This is going to be a very meaningless post, that I'm writing on the spur of the moment, simply because we're almost up to 200 comments and we need a new thread so they won't roll over.

I have one picture in my phone that I took at the mall yesterday, a picture of the store front of Hot Topic. The reason I took this dumb picture, is because in the middle of all the other nonsense in the window , they had a cut out of John McCain, which of course caught my eye, and was there to make fun of him, I'm sure. So I, the one who never takes pictures, snapped this one, and that's the one I'm posting here this morning. The second picture is the lake by the mall, and I just got it off a site online. There is also a river (man made) walk outside the mall, which I may snap when I go back Friday. It seems like a good time of the year to focus on malls, since it's getting awfully close to Christmas, and I'm sure some of us will be spending time there, whether we want to or not.

I RARELY go to the Mall anymore, but I wanted to take Emma, and introduce her to the fantastic toddler play area there, which I did, even though she's 'not' a toddler yet. But we had great fun, and I got to do some shopping, which is always fun to me. I'll even be going back Friday morning to get a little Halloween picture of her taken at the photography place there. because they have a little area set up with a bale of hay and a few pumpkins. I could take that picture myself, here, but I've been meaning to get some 'good' ones taken of her for a while now, and figure there's no better time than the present. Then I'll do the same again sometime before Christmas. It also gives me a good excuse to do some more shopping (as though I need an excuse).

I figure I might as well get used to the half hour drive it takes me to get there, because when Emma 'is' a toddler, I'll want to take her frequently to that really cute play court they have there. It was almost as much fun as shopping. Besides that, a lot of the drive there is quite beautiful, so there's that too.

I'm hoping some of you will feel inspired to share something about your favorite mall (or anything else) with us too. I don't know if anyone else is already thinking about Christmas, but October is normally the month I start thinking about it (the same month the flu shots normally come out). Two good things about October, besides Halloween. Soon I'm sure we'll be thinking about Thanksgiving. There's all that great holiday eating coming up. Another thing I don't need an excuse to do. Eat.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

What is the purpose of the news?

I have recently figured out that now that news is on 24/7, they are just there to manipulate and/or entertain us. It used to be that they were there to inform us and help protect us. I was obscessed with the news for the last nine years. So much was going on in the world that I thought if I missed a single minute of it I would miss something really important.

I would get so aggravated when people I worked around never watched any news. They could repeat certain sound bites, something that was said by someone trying to manipulate us, but didn’t know other important things that were going on. Those sound bites had their intended effect. It’s what helped to take Hillary down. People could quote every nasty comment ever made about her but didn’t really know all the good things she had done. Obama was lucky that he was fairly new on the scene. There was no time to plan and prepare for his demise.

The purpose of much of talk radio is the help create these sound bites and then they are picked up by the MSM. They understand that people are too busy with their lives to really check this stuff out. I’ve even heard some of those talk show hosts admit it. I was also too busy, but I didn’t want to just go on sound bites, so I tried to do my research. I tried to stay informed. Its’ really hard to find anything but BS. It’s a lot of work and it takes a toll on ya.

One of the reasons I created the Swamp, was to get away from it all. I feel so much better both physically and mentally, because I have kicked that news addiction. I still have my people on the Trail. (Trailmix) They can work through it all the BS for me, cut to the chase and save me the trouble of having to do it myself. After a year and a half of hanging with them, I trust them to find out what is important. Now I will just stick to the 30 minute network news, my local news and Trailmix. I think I’ll be OK now.

The Swamp is a group effort. We all still hang out on the Trail but know we sometimes need a healing break from the serious stuff.

This is the Swamp, on a glassy river afternoon

Coreen added some pictures of Fall in CT.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Lazy, Foggy Weekend

Starting out as a foggy, dreary Saturday, so its a good time to just hang out & let Mother
Nature work her magic.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Texting for the oldies

Everyone is texting these days and I don’t understand it. It is so much more work to text than to just dial the number and talk to a human being on the other end of the phone. I think people don’t want to talk to a human being anymore. Texting is a form of communication but it often seems to be a way not to communicate. If I’m with a group of people, who could be having some meaningful communication, many are busy with their face down in their cell phones typing a text message. It irritates me.

I don’t text and the only time I did it, I had to have a five year old do it for me, right after she finished programming my cell phone and downloading a ring tone. Even if you don’t text, you must learn the texting language. It has now become main stream, people are using the same language at work to communicate.

If this is all new to you, there are sites that list the abbreviations used for text communication. Since we are going to be stuck with this stuff, we need to make sure that our frequently used phases and saying are included in the texting abbreviations. Look and see if all the sayings you like to use and can still remember are on the list. Don’t fight this stuff people. They say that learning a new language is one of the few ways to grow an old person’s brain. It’s that or learning to play a musical instrument. You choose because our brains are shrinking fast.

I did find one abbreviation that was not on the list I looked at. It is BFE. Now it might not have made the list because it is not politically correct to say something like that but I bet you are familiar with what it stands for and it just means very far away, that is unless you live in BFE.

Do you know of any other abbreviations that should be on the list?

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Pretty Poison

Just because something is natural, even beautiful, does not mean it's good. A small but fascinating book titled "Wicked Plants," by Amy Stewart reveals the stories of poisonous plants that may be growing in our own homes and gardens. At this "season of the witch," it's timely, if not intriguing to consider some of these pretty poisons.

Water Hemlock may be found by our river-dwellers. One of the most dangerous plants in the U.S. is often mistaken as edible. A nibble of this delicate beauty can be fatal.

Our friends in the arid southwest may encounter the fall berries of the Coyotillo shrub. The berries produce a poison that leads to slow paralysis that works upward in the body from the lower limbs to the respiratory system.

Perhaps most timely to our witching season is the grainy story of Ergot. A toxic spore that attaches to rye, wheat and barley crops, it may have been the source of convulsions suffered by girls in Salem, Massachusetts in the year 1691, and led them to pointing fingers at "witches," 19 of whom were executed. Ergot, when ingested with its cereal host, causes seizures, hallucinations, and even death. The real culprit in Salem may have been the baker.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Pumpkins galore in CT

It is pumpkin and apple cider time in CT. There are two roadside country stores that
offer both here in Easton. This is Silverman's, which has its own apple orchard on the fill
where people take a ride up the hill & can pick their own apples. Cider is made on site
& sold in the store. On weekends in October, the road is backed up with cars, many
from NY, so many that there is police to direct the traffic.

The other roadside country store is Aspetuck Orchards, which is near our reservoir.

Aspetuck Orchards sells pumpkins, apples, old-fashioned candies as well
as seasonal flowers--right now that would be 'mums'.

This is just a little bit of Connecticut in the fall, right in my little old town.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Jails and prisons are some people's best or only option.

This is a sad fact and it often makes me want to cry. I see so many people who have nowhere to go. A big group are the mentally ill. They often wear out their welcome at home or it is just too much trouble or too dangerous to keep them at home. One Bipolar person, without the proper medication or sometimes, even with, can wreck havoc in a home.

There are homeless people who have nowhere to go. The jails and prisons fill up when the weather gets cold. They need a warm bed and a place to beef up for the winter. You don't often get beef in jail. These men or women will commit a crime just to come to jail and take a break from the elements.

I have had several young people, who just aren't quite ready to make it on their own. You know the type, you might have one of your own at home. They might not have nice, tolerant parents around to put them up until their ready to try out their wings. Some have broken wings.

To many of the young people these day, it's not such a humiliation to have made a pass through the local jail. I wish it still was. It seems like to some, it is almost a right of passage. And believe me, they don't pick up any good habits in jail. When I'm seeing inmates, I'm listening to the other conversations going on out in the hall. Hey, I'm good at multitasking, even if I sometimes forget to sign my name at the end of my report. There are older and/or more experienced criminals telling the new, less experienced inmates, just how the cow ate the cabbage, so to speak. If I can catch them before they leave medical, I tell them to just erase that tape.

Jails/prisons seem to be one place for the discarded people, the lost people. It could be worse. In these facilities, they get three squares a day, a bed, some socialization, health care, but it costs society. It ain't cheap. It can cost $30-40 thousand to house an inmate for a year, or even more. If there are any medical problems, much, much more. I have found that not many come to jail healthy anymore.

I wish there was an answer. I have pondered this problem since I started working in corrections. I kinda have a dream. Could we find a place where these lost people could go, maybe even help each other, and be more self sufficient. A community that provides temporary to permanent housing, training/education when needed, and a supply of labor to farms/ranches. People could grow their own food, help each other, and provide a family like support system for one another.

I just wish there were better answers to life's problems.

Didn't want to put up a jail or prison pic. I think we all know what they look like. Instead I put up a pic of the warmer river on a cold day. This is the Church of the River. Namaste, the light within me honors the light within you.
This is a pic of diamonds dancing on the water. A frequent gem out here!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Friday, October 16, 2009


Coreen has sent us the most amazing video of the beginning of the cold weather that she took this morning in Connecticut. Many of us rarely get to see snow, so it makes this all the more exciting. Knowing she is taking these photos this morning and sharing them with 'us' makes them even more meaningful.

She's also included some beautiful still photos of where she lives. Coreen, I hope, very much, that you'll fill us in on more about the area you live in. I've never even been to Connecticut, but it's obviously 'breathtakingly beautiful'.

Believe it or not, she said she 'mistakenly' took the video. Speaking of great synchronicity. Thanks so much Coreen!

(I just found out I can't upload the video, so will have to link the video from Photo Bucket. If anyone knows if there's another way to upload a video here, let me know.)

Coreens snow video

Posted for Coreen.

Escape Artists

I read an article this morning about Procrastination. Obviously the reason it caught my attention, is because I'm guilty of it. There's that synchronicity rearing it's 'beautiful' head again.

I never thought of procrastinators as being escape artists, but when I read this morning that is exactly what they are, it made total sense. It's closely related to impulsiveness (in fact, maybe they're one and the same) and is all about our brain's desire to feel good now rather than holding out for future rewards. It's giving into immediate gratification and it's a choice, and that's what bothered me. It's us deciding who it is we intend to be, and I don't like to think that I'm not exercising my ability to make the right choices, but instead giving into what's easy.

I'm aware of the fact that we're 'always' making choices, and although it's easy to look at others and see how their 'choices' got them where they are, whether it's where they desire to be or not, it's not always easy to look at ourselves that objectively. I 'try' to be very honest with myself, but often the 'escape artist' in me wins out. Escape artists are tricky little fellas, and they can come up with endless excuses and even provide the feelings and emotions to go with the excuse. It's those emotions and feelings that always win.

Now we don't want to confuse procrastination with laziness, since procrastination is a delay between intention and action, whereas laziness is a 'lack' of desire (I'm that one sometimes too).

The article said people use technology (you know what I mean, this computer) to procrastinate and that 50 percent of the time when people are online they're procrastinating. So I guess that should tell me why I'm here writing this post. I'm doing it, because I am showing myself what extremes I will go to, in order to escape.

Not that that's a bad thing though. :)