Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Big Tail of Terror

Fishing is such a relaxing family pastime. We went out to the lake a couple of weeks ago. The water flowed along, interrupted only by an occasional boater or a duck. Of course, one of our kids beckoned the ducks with quacking sounds and then exclaimed, “I am the Duck Whisperer!”  I spent the time relaxing in the gentle breeze, swatting away flying critters, and cringing at  comments about the nightcrawlers’ “blue veins” and their “gooey, white hearts” as the poor worms were ripped apart, speared and hooked for bait. Yuk! It was a worm’s worst nightmare.

I’m guessing few people associate relaxing lake fishing with violence. Once you combine worm gore and fish blood, you have a really messy event and so I bring plenty of hand sanitizer. I doled out some sanitizer after the worm tearing and more after tossing back the catch. I won’t bore you with the measurements of the four fish we caught, but let’s just say several spanned the width of a hand. We’ll skip the tales about the “big ones that got away.” When you catch the really big ones, you better get proof and here’s a guy who does:

Jeremy Wade catches the scary fish, the ones you don’t want to know exist, especially if you‘re vacationing in an exotic place because that’s where they seem to lurk. The various kinds of fish  in our waters rivals the types of cereals on our supermarket shelves. Why so many?  I have a few fish favorites. Check out two of them:   One fish          Two fish 

In your opinion, why are there so many interesting and unusual species of fish?      

Friday, August 24, 2012

Chew On It

Have you ever gone fruit-picking? There’s something special about walking up to a plant, plucking off delicious, sun-ripened fruit and plopping it into your bucket to take home. If you’re a gardener, you know the satisfaction of toiling in the dirt, watering for days and celebrating the results of your tender, loving care. It’s like producing a masterpiece!

Masterpieces come in all forms; fruit, flower and unusual plants remind me of great works of art and they require a similar patience before we can enjoy the final product. Everyone can appreciate cultivating a piece of food from a seed, but the definition of "art" varies by individual. Take a look at one man’s artwork:

How interesting that a kid’s preoccupation with chewing gum grew into a life-long passion and a career. Anything is possible once passion and creativity collide. What’s your passion in life and how can you use it to bring joy to others?     

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rock Climbing with Teacups and Coasters

Summer is the primary time for visiting amusement parks. My informal research tells me that people either love roller-coasters or they gravitate toward the swirling teacup and saucer kinds of rides. I wonder if these preferences correlate to how people approach life situations. Pause for a moment to see this generalization applies to you. Here’s the first half of my theory: People who enjoy roller coasters feel comfortable soaring into new situations without needing to know every twist and turn of how the overall plan will work out. Part two of my theory says that tea cup riders prefer predictable patterns with clear, big picture perspectives.

With roller coasters, it’s difficult to see the whole ride at once amidst the tangled mass of tracks. When I agreed to try the roller coasters this summer, somehow the ride operators forgot to provide a detailed roadmap of the tracks. Personally, I like the ability to predict when I’ll be twirled and flipped. There’s nothing like a tiny bit of control on an amusement park ride to ease my quivering heart. So, rather than cringe at every dip and loop, I found a way to control the situation—I closed my eyes. Believe me, that tactic doesn’t make a nice souvenir picture.
Are you an adventurous, roller coaster person who embraces unexpected circumstances in life or are you a more controlled, teacup rider who prefers a road map and a plan? Here’s a person willing to tackle the thrill and chills of adventure and unpredictability:

What’s the most unpredictable event you‘ve experienced and what lesson did it teach you?

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

When A Dream Comes True

Can you answer the $2.5 billion question? I’ll give you a hint. An expensive rover space craft named Curiosity touched down on Mars this week.  If I were a genie, able to grant wishes with a blink of an eye, I would have popped into space and left a sign on the red planet. When the rover landed here’s the message it would photograph: No one’s here. Go home. Back on earth, that might confuse the scientists who dream about the possibility of past, present and future life forms on Mars.

I liked the 1960-70s “I Dream of Jeannie” show about a genie who tried to use her powers to solve her astronaut-master’s problems. She usually created messier situations, but like many old shows, everything turned out for the best. In real life, our wishes don’t always turn out the way we expect and our greatest wish may be the very thing what we don’t need. See if you agree with any of the third graders in this video:

Did you notice how none of the children wished for money? Perhaps the book they read beforehand influenced their answers, perhaps not. Perhaps they believe that money can’t buy happiness. Well, let consider what it can buy.  Imagine your wish for $2.5 billion came true, what would you do with the money?                    

Friday, August 3, 2012

Meat Me Halfway

If one more person tells me that they’ve stopped eating beef or all meat, I don’t know what I’ll do.  I’m beginning to feel like a vegetarian lifestyle represents the newest wave of political correctness and, if this continues, people will leave the local drive-through window and secretly devour their burgers an alleyway to avoid the no-meat enforcers.

Not long ago, I heard the high cost of cattle feed caused one owner to feed their cow chocolate and Mexican food. If that strategy helps the cow to produce chocolate milk and spicy, pre-seasoned beef, I’m all for it! I find it difficult to infuse beef with good flavor. In all fairness to cattle farmers, I know marinating is the answer, but when I start making dinner plans at around three o’clock in the afternoon, it doesn’t leave me a lot of time for defrosting and marinating. Several weeks ago, my children made their own meat dry rub using brown sugar and other spices. I hope they wrote the recipe down. Regardless of how creative the preparation is, some people can’t be convinced to eat meat; conversely, other people refuse to give it up. Listen to the debate:   

The experts provided great pros and cons. In short, we should listen to our bodies and do what works for us.  We can make our own personal choices, but why do we feel such passion about convincing others to agree with our lifestyles?