’tis the Thankful Season

Orange and brown leaves decking the halls in

garland and wreaths, with pumpkins scattered on the hearth.

A traditional Thanksgiving Day is rolling through the Fall,

Turkey and ham, cranberry pudding, and sweet potato pie

adorn the serving table in style.

Mother’s and fathers, children, and aunt’s, uncles, and cousin’s, and friends

adore the festivities of the Macy’s Store Parade and football touchdowns.

Bittersweet memories of those long ago are shared around the firelight

in hopes of bringing story-telling to a new young generation.

Thanksgiving is sharing with caring and hopes of a happy gathering

that makes one glow inside.

Happy Thanksgiving to one and all.

Poem Challenge

Falling, drifting, sparkling, covering the ground like a white blanket, burning, stinging, biting into your flesh, an icy storm, raging across the mountain.

(Challenge to write imagery to go with the above poem, author is unknown. )

Free fall, drifting along the currents, sun reflection so bright

covering the ground like a white blanket, my parachute opens

burning, stinging hot pin points of pain as I land on rocks

biting into your flesh, teeth so sharp they leave their mark,

an icy storm, so frigid the fingers of cold laces my arms,

raging across the mountain, I am lost.

Aging Gracefully

I don’t think there is anything graceful about aging. Yet here we are getting older by the minutes passing us by. Creating a bucket list, dream list, or fantasy list is an excellent idea for lofty goals to attain over a lifetime of living. But it is only a list and can be easily discarded.

What will your remunerations be as you lay dying of old age and worn out parts? Did you attack your bucket list with a vengence seeking thrills and adventures or was your buscket list one of daily tasks?

My Bucket List

  1. Be honorable; I mean kind, thoughtful and loving person
  2. Be trustworthy
  3. Be loyal to honorable people
  4. See the very best on intentions in others
  5. Continue to grow your mind and intellect
  6. Take care of your body- you only have one and it has to last you forever,
  7. Have belief, faith, trust, in Jesus Christ the son of the only Creator God.
  8. Love like it may be the last time you see that person alive
  9. Expect greatness in others and rarely you won’t be disappointed
  10. Love yourself unconditionally

My Dreamlist

  1. Walk by my husband’s side forever
  2. Be a grandmother worthy of the affection I receive
  3. Be a mother that my daughters can be proud of
  4. Be imaginative, creative, and be a DOer.
  5. Make strides in improving my health the best way I can
  6. Learn something new all the time
  7. Be a risk taker and move out of my comfort zone once in awhile
  8. Have a servant’s heart- giving generously of time and money and skills
  9. Reach for the heavens- bit keep your feet on the ground.
  10. Be a well rounded individual knowing some about a lot of things.

My Fantasy List

  1. Go anywhere out of the USA borders for a vacation and take mom
  2. See all of the 50 USA states looking at the tourist attractions and nature
  3. Make mini-vacations out of weekends often with family
  4. Walk, Ride, or make strides for a cause worthy of assistance
  5. Visit with family and friends who live in a different state.

Notice I didn’t mention that I want to work as in a career and thus be defined by it. I think people lose themselves by a working title. They shape their lives around employment. Taking opportunities, working ethically, making strides to be all that they can be in their job position.

It has been my experience that people will often allow work to interfere with family time and God time. They become so much apart of their job that when they retire or a forced to retire they have to invent a new identity or die. If they take time to build relationships with people and God, develop hobbies, or have a bucket list, dream list, or fantasy list then they will fare through aging gracefully.

When it rains…

Our adventure in Real Estate continues. We purchased a house in July 2019. It is 3/4th the size of our previous home. The house had to have 19 piers put in before we moved in. This caused cracks in the walls and unaligned doors to occur which also had to be repaired, then painted. The back door fell off frame and all, when we tried to open it. Robert had to replace the framing and insulate it properly.

Week negative 1- The previous owners set it up so that the septic tank would be replaced and installed- it took 3 weeks after move in to get it done, with false promises from the contractor. The septic contractor had the hole dug and left it open for a week and a half, before having the tank brought in. Their sub-contractor brought a smaller tank and was trying to get us to accept it- we didn’t. Finally, it is installed. But the contractor had placed the dirt on the fence and tore it down while digging the hole. They said they were not responsible for the fence damages. They haphazardly filled in the hole around the septic tank and left big clods of dirt and a big pile of dirt on the fence, they do not come back to finish the job of leveling the soil.

Week One- We did a final walk-thru but missed that the interior of the master bath had pieces of ceramic tile that had fallen down. Our contractor said there was black mold growing, so the entire wall would have to be replaced and treated. And the other bathroom had to have the sewage line replaced to the tub and toilet.

Week Two- The city cooperative water department visits us to repair a leak at the main water supply. They break our side of the main and shoddily fix it, as it is leaking the next day when we inspect it. We call them out again to repair it. it takes them another week to return to repair it.

Week Three the 18th day of home ownership. The water company said we have a leak somewhere on our side of the main. They are nice enough to help us look in the front and side yards. They detect a puddle by the front porch — it had rained allot since we moved in, and we thought it was rain water pooled.

We call American Home Shield out. Their contractor told them that it was a pre-existing condition. We contact AHS again and they send another plummer out. He could not find the leak, but accessed the area to be under our bedroom floor somewhere and the hallway. Their solution was to jack hammer up the floor. AHS decided that the problem was pre-existing and denied the claim.

So call our plummer out, the one who had worked on the sewage. They said we were losing 1 gallon per 2-3 minutes of water and showed us how to cut the water off and on at the main. They found the leaks- three under the bathroom, and bedroom and hallway by tunneling. It was decided to replace the entire line so they cut the line off at the bathroom and trenched around the house and installed two water cutoffs and reconnected everything, then filled it back in and leveled the soil. That was a $3,500.00 discounted project. Can we say Ca-Ching!

Week Four- The driveway had old asphalt roofing shingles laid down as a road bed, covered by grass and weeds. We had a contractor come out and removed the dirt mound from the septic tank and off the broken fence, and level it out and create a driveway with recycled asphalt. It is smooth and looks good.

Week Five- Robert had to shem the front door because air flow (sunlight) could be seen around the entire door, paper wood-board had been used in the beginning, so he ripped that out and put in solid wood framing. We built a new fence to replace the one destroyed by the contractors. It still has to be painted.

Our next project is to paint the exterior of the house. It is in peeling condition on the trim. We knew about this project in the beginning before we bought the house.

When it rains it really does pour, sometimes its a soft rain, and at other times its like batten down the hatches there she blows.

Home ownership this time around has been extremely stressful. But we are trying to calm down and find a bright side to it. The house has been practically rebuilt. We had to buy new kitchen appliances when we moved in — don’t ask! And things are starting to come together. We are going through the buildings and seeing what we can find for the inside of out house and what can be donated or sold in the future.

END

Adventures in real estate

I played the game and lost in round one.

We had a home picked out to purchase. On dy one we offer a n amount for the property and they realtor for the seller says that they need more money to pay the closing costs, so we agree to the counter offer.

We paid the inspection fee and waited ten days for the decision to buy the home or cancel the contract. On day ten, we are told that there is an issue with the build line. The house is 14 inches over the build line encroaching on the street side. The realtor said there had never been an issue with it before. The title company said they would continue to look into the issue.

So we go ahead an order an appraisal to be done. The next day the sellers tell our realtor that they can’t afford to do the repairs and asks that we pay for them so the FHA loan will go through. We said no to their request.

The sellers seem to be waffling back and forth about selling. They finally give us access to the property for the appraiser to come after cancelling prior -appointment; we are charged by the appraisal company for their missed appointment. We have a builder contractor meet us and the appraiser is there. The appraiser comes out of the bathroom chuckling and shaking his head. The are live ducks swimming in the bathtub. The appraiser puts in his report then adjusts it later; to the asking price.

The contractor measures everything and we start looking for materials and buying them to pick up on the day of closing set for three weeks in the future. I arrange for the utilities to be turned on of the day of closing. I arranged for three contractors to begin work the following day of closing. We are having to have dirt work to correct the water flow onto the home. We are having buildings built, and we are having new flooring and painting done through out the home.

Seven days before closing we are hit with the bombshell that more is owed on the property than the sellers realtor has stated on day one. We immediately terminate the contract for breech of contract on the sellers part. I have to cancel the utilities, insurance carrier, and contractors. I have to cancel the materials purchased.

The stress and strain on us for the five weeks of underwriting, waiting on the results from the commissioner in charge of property easements, abatements, and assessments of right of way, was grueling. We lost time, money, and a little bit of sanity; and the opportunities of finding another house in our allotted time frame.

Now I am onto round two in my striving to buy a house. Already it is above board with the sellers realtor, and we should be able to purchase it within the month of June 2019 if the appraisal and inspection reports come back positive. My realtor is looking out for us this time around again. We are being cautious and prudent in our decisions. Emotions are not a factor this time around. We are trusting in our realtor to keep us informed again.

An Easter Tale

Whether its floppy eared bunny rabbits, painted eggshells, and
candy coated bunnies, Easter is a beginning of an ending for Christians everywhere.

For God, the creator of all galaxies, universes, planets, and living beings created us and loved us and it was good. Then a jealous being, Satan, and 1/3 of all heavens angels decided to make war with God, a great battle was fought, people were used as pawns for the Satans schemes.

Yet, God loved us people so much that he sent his only son begotten of human fleash and bone and containing his holy spirit to Earth. His son was Jesus the Christ child. Jesus was a teacher, a servant, a selfless person in giving to others, a grist for a millstone, and sacrifice for life.

Jesus walked and talked to many people, he healed and fed the multitudes of people. Yet, Satan caused jealousy and strife among the peoples of Earth. And the people took up arms and arrested Jesus while he was praying.

And Jesus was tortoured and nailed to a tree in cruxicfiction until death overtook him. And the deciples wept and shook with fear, for they knew that Jesus’ time was near. As Jesus said goodbye, he proclaimed the battle finished. There was a great sound in the heavens and and God was sadden by what the people had done. Three days later, the ground shook, the stone was rolled away, the viel between the heavens and the Earth was fianlly torn, as Jesus rose from death to live once again.

Upon his death he let out a cry for victory over Satan and his evil angles called demons, for all eternity. So Satan and his deamons fled to Earth that day.

Though the human didn’t deserve it God gave his grace of forgiveness for the bad things that people were want to do and called it his grace. H only asked that the people beleive and trust in his comfort after the great battle was fianlly won.

And wehn we leave this earthly body, we will be restored to a whole new body as it was in the beginning, so very long ago. And Jesus told his deciples to look toward the east, for that is whence he will come again, to take all of us back home. And Satan and his demons were driven out of heaven for all eternity.

Types of Therapies: Theoretical Orientations and Practices of Therapists & Testing Methods

Author: HOPE Ministry at Eagles View Church reviewed on March 26, 2019

Types of Therapies: Theoretical Orientations and Practices of Therapists

PSYCHODYNAMIC (and psychoanalytic) THEORY AND THERAPY
This is one of the oldest theories of psychology in which patients are viewed within a model of illness or “what is lacking.” Individuals are seen as being made up from a “dynamic” that begins in early childhood and progresses throughout life. This psychodynamic way of thinking is generally a watered-down offshoot of the more conservative and rigid psychoanalytic school of thought. Psychoanalysis emphasizes that all adult problems’ roots can be traced back to one’s childhood. Few therapists can afford to practice strict psychoanalysis anymore and it is typically found nowadays only in the hands of psychiatrists, who have spent extraordinary amounts of personal time being analyzed themselves and attending a psychoanalytic institute. When people think of a “shrink,” they probably imagine this type of therapy.

COGNITIVE-BEHAVIORAL (and behavioral) THEORY AND THERAPY
It is not really fair to lump these two together like this. Cognitive-behavioral theory emphasizes the cognitions or thoughts a person has as an explanation as to how people develop and how they sometimes get a mental disorder. Many types of theories in psychology could fit under this broad category, and it would be difficult to do them all justice. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, in a nutshell, seeks to change a person’s irrational or faulty thinking and behaviors by educating the person and reinforcing positive experiences that will lead to fundamental changes in the way that person copes.

HUMANISTIC (and existential) THEORY AND THERAPY
This theory views human beings as basically good and positively, with the freedom to choose all of their actions and behaviors in their lives. What motivates behavior is “self-actualization,” of the desire to always seek out to become something more of oneself in the future. Because an individual can be conscious of his or her own existence under this theory, that person is also fully responsible for the choices they make to further (or diminish) that existence. Responsibility is a key ingredient of this theory, for all humans are responsible for the choices they make in their lives, with regards to their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

ECLECTICISM THEORY AND THERAPY
There are many forms of eclecticism but it is not really important to know or understand the differences between them all. It is a pragmatic approach to therapy, meshing all approaches together to fit the individualistic human being that sits before them for the first time with their particular problem.
Eclectics use techniques from all schools of therapy. Therapists may have a favorite theory or therapeutic technique that they tend to use more often or fall back on, but they are willing and often use all that are available to them. After all, the key here is to help the patient as quickly and as effectively as possible. Not to pigeonhole them into some set way of looking at all people, whether it works for them or not.
Types of Psychological Testing

The Clinical Interview
The clinical interview is a core component of any psychological testing. Some people know the clinical interview as an “intake interview”, “admission interview” or “diagnostic interview” (although technically these are often very different things).

Clinical interviews typically last from 1 to 2 hours in length, and occur most often in a clinician’s office. Many types of mental health professionals can conduct a clinical interview — psychologists, psychiatrists, clinical social workers, psychiatric nurses, amongst others. The clinical interview is an opportunity for the professional to gather important background and family data about the person. Think of it as an information-gathering session for the professional’s benefit (but ultimately for your benefit).

Assessment of Intellectual Functioning (IQ)
Your IQ — intellectual quotient — is a theoretical construct of a measure of general intelligence. It’s important to note that IQ tests do not measure actual intelligence — they measure what we believe might be important components of intelligence. There are two primary measures used to test a person’s intellectual functions — intelligence tests and neuropsychological assessment. Intelligence tests are the more common type administered and include the Stanford-Binet and the Wechsler scales.

Neuropsychological assessment — which can take up to 2 days to administer — is a far more extensive form of assessment. It is focused not just on testing for intelligence, but also on determining all of the cognitive strengths and deficits of the person.

Neuropsychological assessment is most usually done with people who have suffered some sort of brain damage, dysfunction or some kind of organic brain problem, just as having a brain hemorrhage.

Personality Assessment
Personality assessment is designed to help a professional better understand an individual’s personality. Personality is a complex combination of factors that has been developed over a person’s entire childhood and young adulthood. There are genetic, environmental and social components to personality — our personalities are not shaped by one single influence.

Therefore, tests that measure personality take in to account this complexity and rich texture. There are two primary types of personality tests — objective, by far the most commonly used today, and projective. Objective tests include things like the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI-2), the 16PF, and the Millon Clinical Multiaxial Inventory-III (MCMI-III). Projective tests include the Rorschach Inkblot Test, the Thematic Apperception Test (TAT), and the Draw-a-Person test.

Behavioral Assessment
Behavioral assessment is the process of observing or measuring a person’s actual behavior to try and better understand the behavior and the thoughts behind it, and determine possible reinforcing components or triggers for the behavior. Through the process of behavioral assessment, a person — and/or a professional — can track behaviors and help change them.

After a clinical interview, the core of behavioral assessment is naturalistic observation — that is, observing the person in a natural setting and taking notes (much like an anthropologist). This can be done at home (think “Super Nanny” when Nanny spends the first day simply observing the current family patterns of behavior), at school, at work, or in a hospital or inpatient setting. Target negative and positive behaviors are observed, as well as their respective reinforcements. Then the therapist has a good idea of what needs to change in order to obtain new, healthier behaviors.

A Kind Word

I asked my father why he practically lived in restaurants drinking coffee and flirting with the waitresses, I’ll never forget his response, “so I can get a kind word.” Your kind word may be all a person hears in a day, week, or month.  I never really knew the importance of saying a kind word until I became a parent.  How a person day is going may be a direct reflection on how their morning is established.

My father was Bi-polar untreated, and it was rough some days. Very few people knew what it was to have Bi-polar mental issues 30 years ago and it certainly wasn’t table talk.

Untreated Bi-polar consumers experience wide mood changes at any given moment that they are unable to control and often do not recognize that their emotions are swing to-and-fro like a pendulum.

They may even think that they are going crazy at times. The moods can be irrational thinking and speeded up thought processes in the mania compiled with feelings of resilience and egocentric thinking. I could clean out our checking account in short-order when I was manic.  I had a visual limit posted on my computer telling me not to spend money over a certain amount; as a reinforcer.

The downside is depressive moods, where they are unable to get out of bed, think dark thoughts, tremendous sadness, general feeling of being unwell. They may not be able to cry or can’t stop crying. You may have witnessed people crying in their beer at social gatherings- can we say DEPRESSION!

People who are in the fall-out area… the caretakers and family members need treatment too in the form of healthy supporting relationships.  The untreated person may have a host of other issues stemming from the contact with the bipolar individual. Bi-polar runs in families, it can skip a generation or go across generational ties like a great aunt/uncle and cousin may have it as well as parent/child.

I make a practice of hugging my grandsons and telling them I love them, and that they are good boys, and wishing them to have a good day (at school). Then I ask them about their day when I see them later. These simple acts of kindness can motivate them to have a good day.

So now I am wishing for you too,

“Have a Nice Day!”

Year One: A case of lemonade’s

Tuesday, February 06, 2018 was a shocking day for us. Robert has to quit his high-paying job and take an unpaid medical retirement. His Ankylosing Psoriasis Arthritis was out of remission and brought his health down. His symptoms included Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.

Our financial picture was okay, or so we thought. Until reality sunk in. We cashed our savings and 401K in and final bonus. We paid to get rid of the truck and payment of $751.00 monthly. We bought a used truck for $7100.00 and had to make $2500.00 in repairs in September.

We were ushered into the world of Social Security Disability Insurance claim and hiring a good lawyer.   May met with approval for September 2018.

My prescriptions were $2,000.00 monthly, and Roberts was $900.00 monthly, no problem if you have insurance—now we didn’t. Discover Catholic charity organization that would help one time per year. They helped with mine but couldn’t with Roberts they used the amount that would have been allotted to him, and we paid the difference on the prescription bill.

We paid off credit card debt. Stopped the housekeeper, lawn care, dog walker, and pooper-scooper services. We made changes for the Internet/TV and cellular phone services $800.00 monthly became $300.00 monthly. Then my daughter helped shave $200.00 off the bill. We cut back on eating out and spa days. Mindless shopping was a thing of the past.

 Little did we know that in seven weeks he would suffer a heart attack and have heart surgery performed hours later on Tuesday, March 20th. The hospital required an $18,368.00 deposit ($61,000.00+ Surgery). Public health services were non-existent; I filled out two applications (1st was lost) and kept on them for three months only to be denied services because my husband made too much money in 2017. We have a huge garage sale fundraiser.

We began to search for medical insurance; what a sticker shock! $500.00+ monthly for basic and I do mean basic insurance through care.gov program; no prescription coverage, two annual checkups, and 70/30 copay with $1500.00 deductible and only pay the hospital $250.00 for any hospital stay greater than 20hours. In 2019, despite it using part of the name- our insurance was not Obamacare approved so guess who had to pay a $1100.00 tax penalty?

April rolls around an air conditioner/heat pump quit working.  We coast into May, hot temperatures force us to spend $2400.00 on portable air conditioner/heat units. Our electric bill doubles for three months until we take a personal loan out to replace the ac/unit in June.

July 1st rolls around, we pay our mortgage. No funds have been coming in from employment or any other source. We officially run out of money. SSDI does not start until September 15th.

Our pride is sunk. My daughters help with food and life insurances. We’re not out of the woods, yet.

December comes, we ask, and our church helps us out with utilities, and a community link helps with food once a month. Christmas giving is non-existent without the use of an online store credit card. We go into debt willfully; we don’t want the grandchildren to think we forgot about them. We spent $40k of savings & SSDI to survive the 1st ¾ of the year.

January 2019. Our real estate taxes increase, the homeowner’s insurance raises $400.00, and we have an escrow shortage that jacks our payments up.

February 6th, 2019 one year to the day, we list our house for sale.

March 11,2019. There are pitfalls with our credit score that have to be addressed so we can buy another cheaper place to live. We have learned to live frugally. I have been attending a Dave Ramsey Financial University workshop. We were cut to the bone. What turned out to be fair weather friends abandoned us, and true friends came forward to offer encouragement.

Our faith in GOD had grown. Our commitment to the church has grown in creating and developing a ministry and helping out other ministries with our time and talents. Our family dynamics have remained stable; we have each other’s heart.  We are over the foothills and are climbing the mountains’. God has been our strength, our refuge, an ambassador of our belief in him through Jesus Christ our Lord. Evil will always be among us, but so is good.

Managing Stress

Stress is normal. We are born feeling stress if only in the birth process and procedures entering our new world. Abnormal stress is normal, too! It’s how we handle abnormal stress that affects our way of life.

Some people eat junk food- i.e. carbohydrates or sugary sweets to cope. The momentary high off the sugar is enough to keep them coming back for more.

Some people go for over-the-counter drugs, alcohol, or smoking and vaping as it is referred to now. They know the risks associated with the behavior but ignore them.

Some people go for the emotional outlet screaming at someone, having sex, or going through a small mental meltdown. They berate themselves afterward.

Some people go for physical exertion, running, walking, lift weights, contact sports. Done to the excess.

A healthy outlet can be physical workouts, meditation, yoga. Listening to music, dancing, writing or journaling, eating a quick energy/protein snack. Talking to a friend or sympathetic person or paying attention to a pet. Doing arts and crafts can help defuse and get you past a tense situation. Use fidget toys or squeeze stress balls for a light physical drain of excess energy.

The key to preventing stress overload is the unerstanding of your triggers. Family get-togethers can become drama fests, Negotiating with a teenager, dealing with cranky people, not getting enough rest and sleep. Once you have identified your triggers. Make a plan.

Planning ahead of time scenarios that can happen. If its family drama for you then, rehearse some calming “I” statements (I feel Adjective about Action

An example: I feel sad that my parents divorced 45 years ago, but I’m dealing with it. Rather than my parents ruined my life when they divorced forty-five years ago. Or I feel crazy mad when you make that comment. Ones about ownership the other is placing blame and shame.

Self-efficacy or self-esteem is important when dealing with abnormal stress. It should be noted that abnormal stress can be both positive or negative or both. an example: I got a raise and promotion at work, but I have to put in overtime.

Felling happiness or sadness are both neutral emotions that can provoke internal conflicts. Choosing an emotional response to stimuli is a subconscious choice that may affect our conscious self.

Make your self a box of de-stressing materials that you can physically go to and use to help you decompress after a stressful event occurs.

10 FUN FACTS ABOUT THE BABIRUSA

THE CREATURE FEATURE

PHOTO: MICHAEL SHEHAN OBEYSEKERA, VIA FLICKR. DISTRIBUTED UNDER A CC BY 2.0 LICENSE.
Article found at: https://www.wired.com/2014/05/the-creature-feature-
10-fun-facts-about-the-babirusa/
BABIRUSAS ARE NO ordinary pigs.

Found in the swamps and rainforests of Indonesian islands, babirusas have barrel-shaped bodies balanced on delicate, deer-like legs. The most well-known species of babirusa is distinguished by its naked body and massive, curving tusks. Read on to meet this strange and charismatic oinker.

1. Babirusas are native to the Indonesian islands of Sulawesi, Togian, Sula, and Buru. Humans first colonized Sulawesi approximately 30,000 years ago and soon began hunting and eating babirusas. It’s thought that humans introduced babirusas to Sulu and Buru — although given the babirusa’s swimming prowess, it’s also conceivable that the animals made the journey of their own accord.

2. There are four species of babirusa. The most well-known (Babyrousa celebensis — the naked-looking babirusa with the monster tusks) is found on Sulawesi. The other species of babirusa have longer coats that vary in color from white to creamy gold to black and brown.

3. Babirusas are very unique pigs
. Babirusas are wild members of the pig family (Suidae), but they differ from other pigs in several ways. Their snouts are not as specialized as those of other pigs. Babirusas also have complex, two-chambered stomachs, which are more reminiscent of the digestive systems of sheep and other ruminants than those of their fellow pigs. Scientists think babirusas branched off from the rest of the pig family early in its evolution.

4. Babirusa means “pig-deer” in the Malay language. It’s thought that the Sulawesi people gave the babirusa this moniker because their large canines remind them of antlers, but the name could also reflect how the babirusa combines slender, deer-like legs and a multi-chambered stomach with its other, more pig-like traits.

PHOTO: TERENCE ONG, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS. DISTRIBUTED UNDER A CC-BY-SA-3.0 LICENSE.

5. Babirusas eat almost everything. They’re omnivorous, with a diet that includes leaves, fruits, berries, nuts, mushrooms, bark, insects, fish, and small mammals (even smaller babirusas!). Babirusas use their hooves to dig for roots and insect larvae in the ground and are also able to support themselves on their two back feet to stand up and feed on higher leaves.

6. Baby babirusas are fast developers. While most piglets are striped at birth (camouflage to evade predators) and dependent on their mothers for a long time, babirusa young lack stripes and develop quickly. They typically wander from the nest and begin sampling solid foods by ten days old. Babirusa litter sizes are also small for pigs, usually only one to three piglets per litter. This small litter size and lack of camouflage is often attributed to the babirusa’s predator-free environment.

7. They do well in captivity. In the wild, babirusas might live ten years. But several babirusas in zoos have made it past 20 years old. In his blog Tetrapod Zoology, Darren Naish says captive babirusas “exhibit excitement and enthusiasm on greeting familiar people, engaging in tail wagging, head shaking and jumping and running about.”

8. They engage in an unusual ploughing behavior. Given soft sand, captive babirusas (primarily males) will kneel down and push their heads forward through the sand, creating a deep furrow. As they plough, they snort, growl, and produce foamy saliva. Males plough most vigorously when they are in the enclosure of another male. As the babirusas appear to mouth the sand as they plough through, it’s believed the behavior has some sort of scent-marking function, although the exact purpose remains unknown.

PHOTO: DIDIER DESCOUENS, VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS. DISTRIBUTED UNDER A CC-BY-SA-3.0 LICENSE.

9. They have awesome tusks
. The north Sulawesi babirusa is most famous for its amazing tusks, which only the males possess. Like many pigs, the male babirusa’s canine teeth continue to grow throughout its life. The lower canine teeth are long and overlap the edge of the babirusa’s snout as they grow, but it’s the upper canines that are truly magnificent. These teeth start out growing downward, but then rotate and begin to grow up and into the top of the snout, penetrating the skin and curving back towards the animal’s forehead. The tusks can reach lengths of 17 inches and can actually grow back into the skull.

10. But what are those tusks for? It’s actually a mystery. One hypothesis is that the males use their tusks during fights over females. It seems reasonable, until you look at how babirusas really fight. They don’t hook tusks, but stand up on their hind legs and “box” each other with their front hooves. Additionally, babirusa tusks aren’t built to withstand much pressure; they are brittle and easily broken, not at all suited for combat. It seems likely that the tusks serve a display purpose, perhaps signaling genetic fitness to females, but this is an idea that hasn’t been tested. For now, the purpose of those marvelous tusks is still a mystery.

References and Other Resources

Leus, K., Bland, K., Dhondt, A., and Macdonald, A. (1996). Ploughing behaviour of Babyrousa babyrussa (Suidae, Mammalia) suggests a scent-marking function. Journal of Zoology, 238(2), 209-219. DOI: 10.1111/j.1469-7998.1996.tb05390.x

Robert’s reflections of 2018

Robert Challis
6 hrs ·
now that we are on the last day of 2018 I have reflected on the past year for me

  1. had a heart attack
  2. had heart surgery
  3. my lupus flared up due to being off my medicine during the time I had surgery and 6 weeks afterwards
  4. retired hardest thing I ever did
    5.sold as much property and items as I could to cover medical bills
  5. spent much more time with grandkids
  6. spend more time at church helping where I could
  7. spent more time with my wife and girls
  8. played Santa for the schools and church
  9. started writing 2nd book
    all and all a good year the good out weighed the bad for sure
    I am hoping for a much better year in 2019 moving to some land with a shop for me to work my projects and the grandkids a place to run and Kat wants a Llama again I want chickens and a garden Kat wants a She Shed and Kassidey wants a cabin put on the property I think a quieter life out of the city would be great for all.

Happy New Year 2019

2019, is full of promise. We will be selling our home in the city suburbs and moving to the country. We have seen some really nice land parcels with houses and barns on them. We are thinking of brand names for our farm. the lazy cs= u~ farm or double cs =ccs farm both derivatives of challis-smith or something creative like double K farm, the twinkling brooke, RK’s cabins, it will be interesting to find out what the name will be and how far off I am from it.

We are going to wait one year so we can gauge the season’s on our property before we get any animals. We are thinking llama-alpaca to keep snakes down, a pig for meals, horse (miniature) for a show, chickens for the eggs, a goat for pleasure and a cat to keep rodents down. I’m not sure what kind of cat that I want, it will live in my office since Robert is allergic to them.

A garden will be started this Spring with plenty of veggies and flowers. We are looking at lawn tractors right now, the cub cadet is winning out because of all the attachment capabilities. We need a mower, box blade, and utility trailer, and a sun canopy.

end

A new chapter of living

    We are planning to move in February 2019.  We have two companies interested in buying our home in a short sale for a reasonable price without any effort on our part as compared to listing our home the conventional way.  We are stuffed to the roof and would have to place allot in storage to show the benefits of our house off.  We have been living here five years and twelve days and accumulated more than we have given away or sold in yard sales.  To my husbands’ joy, I am decluttering my office. We have a lot of boxes now designated for the community thrift store.   For example: in my home office, I have 15 rolls of transparent tape and 6 bags of ink pens. Really, who needs that much?  I use the computer and printer daily. And there is limited space for hanging things on, so too much tape.  But it’s new stuff, and I don’t want to throw it away- hence, community thrift store donation.

     Making decisions is tedious, do I keep my knick-knacks or downsize by donating them? I don’t even have a new house picked out. We are wanting to leave the city and move to the countryside again. I miss raising Llamma’s. This time I am going to try Alpaca for the show, rather than the full sized Llama. I could never replace RJ in my heart, and it would be too painful to replace him with another full-sized llama. Robert wants to raise other less exotic animals like a horse for equine therapy and chickens for the eggs. We still have our two lovable and ornery dogs, Summer a Bagle puppy (Beagle and Bassetthound) and Macie a Labrador, who is 14 years old. We also have a parakeet and lots of fish in a 40-gallon aquarium.

     We have had aquariums for at least 35 years. One time we had twenty aquariums working and wound up selling them to the fishery store when we moved 50 miles away in the Arizona heat. At least us moving in February in Texas, the hot heated days won’t be a factor- watch it snow just for kicks on moving day… I made the last sentence with hilarity in mind because Texas , USA is known for wild temperature shifts you can have snow one day and 80 degrees Fahrenheit the next, the only thing we can agree upon is the summers are Hot, HOt, HOT!

Thanksgiving 2018

It could’ve been worse!

2018 brought perils of its own in the New Year. Robert’s health declined, and he had to quit his job on Feb. 06th. March 20th he had a widow maker heart attack at the hospital emergency room and was taken into surgery where stents were used; the hospital wanted $18 thousand down to do the heart surgery- the emergency heart attack made them forgo the requirement and admit him into the hospital. We had to make some hard and fast decisions about our finances liquidating assets to survive on while keeping our home. We don’t have any medical insurance, so we pay as we go on smaller charges under $300.00. Our central heat and air condition went up in the dust. We made temporary changes with portable a/c units, then we finally bit the big one and had the unit replaced. God and the lawyer got him SSDI in September. We began attending church regularly in March and are active participants in two ministeries. Our brother Raymond passed away in November. God has seen us through this time of transition and change and given us the wisdom to make drastic changes for survival. I share this with you because I want you to know that God is faithful and loving and he wants us to prosper in money, health, and spirit as we develop a relationship with him.

I am thankful that my husband is alive- for I am not alone

I am thankful that we have a mortgage- for at least we have a place to call home

I am thankful that we have reliable transportation

I am thankful that my five grandchildren and two daughters and son-in-law love me

I am thankful for my church where I can freely and securely worship God

I am thankful for having a mental illness- I can be very emotionally astute and appreciate and relish the good days as they come

I am thankful that I am healthy and have plenty of food to eat and clean water to drink

I am thankful for the internet- communication has never been faster while reaching the multitudes at once

I am thankful for the curve balls- at least I am still in the game

I am thankful for exercise classes- I can still move my body

I am thankful for your feedback- I touched your life briefly

 

An Ode to Alcohol

You let me say whatever I thought,

you gave me courage when I fought,

you came before relationships that I sought,

and even food when I bought.

You lied to me when you said you were my friend,

You couldn’t see the pain on their faces that you caused,

Or smell the alcohol on your breath as you cursed

and blamed and shamed yourself.

You were my everything, and now my body is wasted and my enlarged heart is very small as I take my last breath while drinking you- alcohol.

 

I

 

 

 

 

 

3 Bones About It

Reba McIntire said, “You need a wishbone, a backbone, and a funnybone” to be successful.

My wishbone is telling me that I want my family to happy, healthy, and wise, spiritually and physically.

If I could wave a magic wand and wish all my bills paid, good health, and mental wisdom, I wouldn’t use it. It is bad that allows us to see the good. It is not the struggle that defines us, but the result of the struggle.  I would prefer to have a wisdom all the time, but there is something good to be said about exploring an idea and creativity in solving it.

My backbone is telling me to stand up for what I think is right, just, and fair, otherwise, my silence is an affirmation of agreement.

I would love to stand up to people and tell them what I think, but I have discovered through patience that listening to what they have to say is often more rewarding. Sometimes it is in the telling that truth slips out through the folds of  “its all about me”.

My funny bone is telling me to live life fully but understand that humor goes a long way in lightening the burdens on one’s heart.

Do you ever get the impression that ‘that one zipped by’ over your head? It’s not a comfortable feeling- being a tad bit slower in recognizing sarcasm and humor.  I am often the brunt of that one got by her, again. It’s not that I lack funnybone- I have a refined pallet of what is actually funny.

I don’t take life too seriously, but serious enough to moderate what happens with my wishbone, backbone, and funnybone in place.

 

 

Seasonal-affective-disorder

Seasonal-affective-disorder (SAD) is the pits.  I have the fall version of SAD and it is difficult to function. Having Bipolar (schizoaffective-disorder) and Major Depressive Disorder is making my symptoms worse. I have depression that ranges from sleep deprivation to excessive sleeping.  Last Sunday, I slept all day- getting up to take a shower after my daughter thoroughly made me angry about being SAD.  She goes through this every Fall with me and see’s me sink into depression and apathy.  So she deliberately goaded me trying to get me to snap out of it.  Well, it worked… after I got over being angry the next day I got up 5:00 a.m. CST and stayed up and have been doing this every day since. I still wake up in the middle of the night for about three hours no matter how late I stay up.

I force myself to stay awake and be active even though everything inside me is rebelling at the notion.  I have been unable to write in my blog for a month now because of the depression. It dries up my creativity and desire to be positive in nature.  The overcast days and reduced hours of light aren’t helping. I use an overhead light and a desk lamp both with daylight brightness LED bulbs to help stimulate the hormones that prevent SAD.  They have professional light boxes available for sale but they are expensive so I make do without them.  The doctors recommend cognitive behavior therapy, aka talk-therapy in addition to anti-depressants. I am already at the maximum therapeutic dosages for my illnesses and have to manage with mind-over-matter thinking on a daily basis. SAD just makes it more difficult.

This year I am actively acknowledging SAD and asking for prayer from my church families and support group.  I continue to write the “welcome to our church” and “get well and sympathy” cards even though my heart really isn’t in it to be encouraging to others. I rely on scripts that I wrote when I was not depressed to help me provide this much-needed service.  One of my support groups has ended for the holidays till January 2019. This makes it harder for me to have fellowship and get out of the house. That’s one of the triggers for me is hibernation and wallowing in despair, not wanting to do anything to help myself.  Hence, getting up early to combat this notion.

Are you or someone your support going through SAD, write to me in the comments and let me know how you are dealing with SAD, maybe we can encourage each other.

For Professional information go to:  https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/seasonal-affective-disorder/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20364722

 

More to Consider – October 2018

October 2018,

I have reached 100 blog posts this month.

My advocate job finally played itself out to nothing. However, I have been busy taking classes for a Masters Degree and doing quite well at it.  The ministry Loving Embrace has really started to get busy. Creating original art and sentiment can be time-consuming but well worth it to those who receive a card from me.  I’m not boasting. There are hurting people and they deserve to be acknowledged in a time of illness and grief that they are not all alone, someone cares about them.  God receives the harvest of souls seeking him out.

I am trying to make a go of writing as a career path- wish me luck!  I know in my heart that I can become an effective writer given an opportunity to shine. I am learning the craft every day that I write for school or this blog. I am creating a portfolio of works that I have written, so your feedback is very important to me.

Look for my writing… Publications: Literary pen names: Kat Challis, Kathy Ann Challis, and Kathryn Aubrey.
1. “The Dreamer’s Soul,” Kathryn Aubrey, Vol.1, Kathryn Aubrey Publishing. 2003, ISBN# 0-9747822-0-3. It is a book of poetry and short stories about people as teachers, hero’s, and friends.
2. “Teenager’s,” American Poetry Anthology, Vol. X, No.2, Kathy Ann Challis, Robert Nelson Publishing 1990 ISBN: 0-88147-100-3. Pg.231.
3. “Poetry,” Kathy Challis,  Poetic Voices of America, Fall 1990, Sparrow-grass Poetry Forum, Inc. 1990 ISBN: 0-923242-08-2, p.162.
4. Poetry’s Elite The Best Poets of 2000, ISBN: 1-58235-901-6, International Library of Poetry Publisher, work “Unleashed Into the Sky” Kat Challis, Hardcover
5. Nature’s Echoes ISBN: 1-58235-564-9 coauthor Bob Challis, work Soul Mates
6. The Sound of Poetry, 2002, “The Squirrel Watcher”
7. Class Planting Seed for Businesses, Amy David, The Daily Oklahoman II- Oklahoma City Times, Community, Nov. 8,1996, p.1
8. International Library of Poetry
• Famous Poets Award of Recognition for 1995
• Editor’s Choice Award – June 2001
• Poet of Merit Awards – 2000-2003
• Merit Silver Award Bowl –2002
• Merit Bronze Metal 2001
• Honorable Mention – several 1996-2003
9. Tarrant County Texas Poetry Association memberships 2005
10. Writers Blog: https://katchallis.com  (100 + posts)

I hope that Y’all have a safe and happy children’s fun day on October 31st. In the USA it is known as Halloween. It is not a religious holiday or Satanic- I don’t give him a chance for credit.  Children dress up in costumes, example: mind-craft creeper, stampy long-nose, a fire truck are costumes my grandchildren are wearing.  They are quite creative in their personalities and costume choices.  We dress up our car in a “trunk or treat” for the Homeowners Association Fall Festival and the churches’ Halloween Fun Night.  We wear costumes, too. I am a pirates mate this year, my husband is a futuristic pirate captain.

 

 

It’s Mid-term Scholarship Time, again!

Thousands of hopeful students apply for the same scholarship every semester but only one is chosen as the winner. Am I a winner, will it be you, or someone else that is celebrating free money to help pay for college?   Below is a sampling of a question asked on scholarship applications.  I copy the question in Word, then answer it… moving text around to make it sound more purpose driven.  These questions can also jump-start you on writing your entrance essay for college. The scholarship website I go to is reviewed at https://fastweb.com or https://www.fastweb.com/login.

Q: When you feel stuck on a topic or assignment, what helps you get unstuck and truly understand what you are learning?
A: I read the question then I start by breaking the assignment down into manageable parts. Write down 1, 2, 3, etc. on your paper(screen) and put what is asked for first, then second, and so forth. An Example problem: Andrea went to the city zoo. She wants to know how many people like birds and which one is their favorite among Flamingo’s, Ducks, and Sparrows Make a chart, take a survey of your class topic favorite bird and tally the responses. Do these steps: #1. Create a 3 heading Chart #2. Create a class survey. #3. Tally the results. By making the word problem manageable you will have success every time.

Q: Tell us about the best class you have ever taken. What made it so great?
A: The Foundation of the Legal Aspects and Special Education. The class was purposeful and meaningful. Online law classes can be a dry subject to follow but my professor made it very interesting. Dr. Casey used the online discussion board for peer-to-peer instruction and dialogue which brought the law to life as students debated their point of view of a scenario. She gave frequent open book tests with automatic correct answers at the end time of the test and kept a running tally of your grades available at any time day or night. Dr. Casey provided a grading rubric of what she was expecting from us for minimal and maximum points that we could score which equates into a letter and grade point average. Dr. Casey provided instant feedback on all the assignments regardless of the grade scored. She allowed us to choose among the topics for our final research paper which gave us the opportunity to develop a rationale on the court cases we were comparing so that we would have ownership of what we learned. I would take additional classes from Dr. Casey when offered in the future.

Q: Describe a time collaboration played an important role in helping you grow. What did you learn and what were you able to achieve?
A:  Taking Master level classes increases the pressure placed upon the student. The school wants what you think about a topic rather than just regurgitating facts on the topic as you did in undergraduate school. I was assigned two random partners on a 100 point multitiered assignment. My partners were online students as well as me and we had to connect through a campus discussion board. We broke the assignment into three sections plus an abstract of the whole paper. It was hard to achieve because changes being made to the paper by others which necessitated re-writes on other parts. Then there was the editing of writing mechanics to get through. One partner wanted an entirely different look to the paper than the other two, and she re-edited it her way, so we were stuck with her changes, at least we all earned an ‘A’. Collaborations can work even through virtual media, it takes extra time, forethought and planning but it is worth it in the end results.

Q: Why do you want to do an internship for ABCXYZ Publishing Company?

A: It is my understanding that getting employed in publishing requires a lot of experience, the experience of which I do not currently possess.  It is my hope that my intern application at ABCXYZ Company will be accepted.  I am a diligent and hard worker, paying attention to details, I think creatively and out-of-the-box and have strong work ethics.  Selecting me for your intern position will save your company money through free labor, and build on your assets of getting necessary tasks completed. In exchange, you will have my loyalty and an opportunity to teach me new skills and perhaps get outside the box solutions to some work issues.