It is also going to be the start of yet another photography challenge. I’ve decided yesterday that while I’m going to try to do another 365 day photography challenge, the main rule will be all pictures have to be from this year forward with a few exceptions (such as way-back Wednesdays, throw-back Thursdays, and flash-back Fridays).
So every day (hopefully) will be a ‘new’ picture for 2021-forward, unless on Wed/Thur/Fri I can’t decide on a ‘new’ picture and decide to do a ‘older picture’ from 2020-earlier.
Did you know that April 5th is also National Dandelion Day?
While many people consider dandelions to be ‘weeds’ and invasive plants–it is actually an herb.
Dandelions have the ability to grow just about anywhere and can be found on every continent except for Antarctica.
While they may ‘interrupt’ the esthetics of a manicured lawn–they actually have numerous benefits, such as being rich in vitamins A, B, C, and D.
The leaves of the flower are edible and have been used in both soups and salads.
The flowers have also been brewed into wines and teas as well.
Native Americans use the flower for medicinal purposes as well.
Some of those medicinal purposes can include reducing inflammation, aiding in digestion, boosting the immune system, regulating blood sugar, and possibly reducing cholesterol.
I remember picking numerous dandelions in middle school and learning how to make paper from them in art class–something I may try to do again this spring/summer as a fun little craft project.
We leave dandelions growing in our yard–in part to help the insects (such as honeybees), but also because they’re green and are helping to keep the dirt and dust from coming into the house. They hardy enough to handle dogs running over them constantly.
Do you see dandelions as a weed to be removed from the yard or as a flower/herb that grows where it wants?
The first Friday & Saturday of March marks ‘National Day of Unplugging’. It runs from sundown to sundown, and was established as a day to urge people to step away from electronics.
So, besides being the first I heard about it, this was also the first time I actually ‘unplugged’ (more or less). I’ve had it listed as a goal to try to go a weekend a month without social media (semi-unplugging)–and I haven’t met the goal yet.
I actually was able to more or less ‘unplug’ for the day. I turned off my laptop (not quite at sundown, but after my bath) Friday night, and didn’t turn it back on until Sunday morning. The phone I left on–mainly because it is also one of my clocks–when it’s dark & one isn’t wearing their glasses, it is the best clock in the room, but other than one brief look at email, I only used it for the camera throughout the day.
I kept my kindle on, as I don’t have that many actual physical books in my room (and none that jumped out at me for reading).
So what did I do yesterday?
I wrote in my journal, and I managed to get a rough draft going on the topics of assessing/monitoring and dealing with other health areas (specifically emotional & spiritual health, which can fall under mental health).
I also go a rough draft started on my thoughts and opinions of possibly doing data analysis (either freelancing or joining a company) and what technical skills I still need to learn.
I added a little more to my cross-stitch troubleshooting piece, and realized that simple designs are the way to go in terms of learning. No one usually starts out trying to do a seriously complex design with a new craft the first time–does this mean I’m going to go looking for a design or tutorial?
Maybe–but probably not. While tutorials are good, currently my printer is not working & therefore I will only go looking for a tutorial if I need to look up a technical aspect of cross-stitching.
I also started to patch my two afghans that my dog chewed holes into. The first one is almost patched (hopefully a post on that later this week or next weekend), and then I will work on figuring out how to patch the other one (that has three holes in it).
I’m actually going to try to do this weekly–turn off the computer on Friday night and not turn it back on until Sunday morning. I usually leave the phone in the house (unless I’m going for a walk) if I go outside. This way since we’re heading into spring weather–I can try to make Saturdays (weather permitting) the days for doing the outside chores, and not feel guilty about being away from the computer.
So today is National Bird Day. This is just one of the few days that are devoted to our feathered friends. The other important bird dates include Bird Day on May 4th, and then World Migratory Bird Day on May 8th (this one changes yearly as it is the second Saturday in May).
National Bird Day was started in 2002 by the Avian Welfare Coalition for a specific purpose: “to raise awareness of the hardships and plights of these important animals and how we can initiate the change needed to create a healthier, more sustainable relationship with them”.
One of the reasons why they started the day is that roughly twelve percent of all bird species in the world (which is roughly 1200 out of roughly 10,000) are in peril of extinction–through habitat loss, illegal wildlife trade, pollution, introduction of invasive species, and the humans expanding cities and towns.
One thing that you can do on National Bird Day is to go out and bird watch (and actually it is something that you can do any time of the year–weather permitting). It is also a great way of helping to count the number of bird species, as there are different ‘bird counting’ events throughout the year. National Bird Day falls within the Christmas Bird Count that the Audubon Society hosts which runs through December and January.
Other things you can do include setting up bird feeders, planting native bushes and flowers to attract native birds. Donations to various wildlife organizations (such as Audubon Society, American Bird Conservancy, or Sierra Club), going to zoos (this supports the conservation efforts directed towards endangered species such as the California Condor and other birds).
So I usually do donations to various wildlife organizations when I can, I love to visit different zoos and see what animals are being cared for in different areas (usually the main difference can be in the bird species, reptile, and amphibian–sometimes fish), and I love birdwatching.
So, lets try to start being better caretakers of Mother Earth. While our population is growing–we should start revitalizing older, abandoned building instead of marching out into nature to build cities. Because if we destroy their world–we’re destroying ours as well.
What bird species are you hoping to get a picture of this year?
So today is evaluate your life day. This ‘holiday’ was created to help people sit back and reflect on their lives—are you going in the direction you want to be moving in? If not, what can be changed?
So questions that I found via the web included:
The BIG Question: Am I really headed in the direction I want to be going?
Am I using my time wisely?
Am I waking up in the morning ready to take on the day’s challenges?
Am I in the right mindset before I go to bed?
Am I letting things I can’t control stress me out too much?
What do I wish to be known for?
Am I spending enough time with loved ones?
Am I putting enough energy into my relationships?
Am I listening to others as I should?
Do I have an open & receptive mind?
Am I taking things for granted?
Have I been taking care of myself physically?
How is my appearance?
Do I trust myself?
Have I been being true to myself?
Have I been avoiding anything?
Have I gone outside my comfort zone?
Are things going well overall?
Am I achieving the goals I set for myself?
Is there something I need or want to change?
If I were to number the above questions 1-19, and then answer totally truthfully—here would be my answers:
In terms of the big question: I would like to think that I’m on the path to where I want to be. Listening to various courses, there was the one conversation between the Chestier Cat & Alice:
“Which road do I take?” she asked.
“Where do you want to go?” he responded.
“I don’t know,” Alice answers.
“Then, it doesn’t matter,” said the cat.
I’m still in the process of trying to figure out the exact direction I want to be going in—the reason, I’m remembering/realizing that I enjoy numerous different topics, and I don’t want to go down the hole of ‘specialist’ and become bored.
That being said, I am reading and doing quite a bit of self-reflection to help narrow down on the ideas/paths. It could very well become a single path to one destination—or it could be the melding of several areas into something that is uniquely me.
So with being totally truthful—no I am not using my time wisely. The reason is that I’m still trying to figure out what part of the day do I have the most energy, and which part of the day does my energy dwindle. I know that it is usually somewhat in the morning and evening—but it varies depending on what I do day-to-day. So currently, I’m trying to track my energy levels to determine peak times for getting things done.
Usually, I do wake ready for the day—though again, this varies. I’ve realized over the past few weeks/months of self-reflection that it is perfectly fine to slow down and not get everything checked off the to-do list (which is why, actually I just make a large weekly to-do list; that way I know that I have all week to get everything done, and I’m not over committing myself to things). I’m also in the process of trying to create my life handbook, to help me choose what things should go on the to-do lists, and what things are worthy of my time and energy.
I try to be in the right mindset (somewhat calm and relaxed) before heading to bed. To get there—I do a oracle card reading; this helps me see if I’m staying on the right course or if something needs adjusting and then I usually try to mediate on the message from the cards. In addition, I’m trying to do quite a bit of journaling and getting my emotions and mindset down on paper as well.
Yes—I am letting things that I can’t control stress me out too much. This is mainly in regards to the current political atmosphere in the US (I’m going to be voting on Nov 3rd, but I live in a red state, so who knows how much of an impact a blue vote will be), and the current pandemic situation (the US is leading in total cases & deaths, and I’m starting to go just g a little stir crazy; as I’ve been in isolation since mid-March, only going out every so often—with a mask and proper social distancing).
This one is tricky and tied in with question one. On one hand—I should know where I’m going in order to know what I want to be known for; on the other hand—that path may change and what I want to be known for may no longer meld with that path or even with the second path. So—currently what I wish to be known for is someone who is compassionate, caring, able to convey complex science topics with ease to others, a good friend, colleague, and someone who also stands by her principals and values—even if it means having a smaller community around her.
This is tricky and with the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic) both a yes and no question. Yes, I am spending time with loved ones—I’m self-isolating at home with my parents, and my younger brother has managed to come in for one visit. It is also a no answer—because it isn’t possible right now to spend time with friends and family that are outside of our immediate ‘bubble’.
Again—tricky question and one that has both a yes and now answer. Yes I feel like I’m putting enough energy into some relationships, and there are relationships that I know I’m not putting enough energy into. With the current situation (SARS-CoV2 pandemic), and still trying to find my footing, plus dealing with imposter syndrome, social anxiety, and not wanting to feel like I’m wasting people’s time—I know that I could be putting more energy into various relationships.
Well—it depends on the topics, if it’s politics and someone is trying to defend the current resident of the White House or anyone in that particular party—no I’m probably not listening. While I have no problem trying to debate politics, I do have a problem when it comes to morals—there are certain things that aren’t up for debate (and a lot seem to be on the ballot this year). Otherwise, I hope I’m listening to other people well enough—but I know that this is something that I work on.
Yes, I have an open and receptive mind. Again—I’m usually open to debating various things, unless they’re either blatantly false (such as those who believe that the earth is flat and the center of the solar system), or situations where we just won’t agree (such as pro-choice vs pro-life).
I don’t think I’ve really ever taken anything for granted—other than maybe believing that if something can go wrong it will go wrong.
I’ve gotten back into a workout routine, and have even gotten to the point to where I can take the rest days and not fear that I’m not going to push play again come Monday. I know that it will take awhile to get into the best shape of my life—but life is a marathon and not a sprint. It is time to honor my body and work with it, instead of against it.
Well, currently this is a trick question. We’re still in the middle of a pandemic; I’m self-isolating so that means that my wardrobe currently consists of comfortable clothes. I’ve never been one for makeup and fixing my hair—as far as I’m concerned they both take way to much damn time. So I’m more of clean-faced, and pull my hair back into a pony-tail. While I’m sure that I may have to do a little more ‘dress-up’ for any potential interviews and so forth—right now I’m not going to be worrying about it.
I think that I’ve spent quite a bit of time not trusting myself over the years and I’m slowly starting to slow down so that I can hear the internal voice and guidance of my intuition.
I’m trying to be true to myself. I’ve made the decision that I probably won’t alter anything on any of my social media accounts. Why have I made this decision? Well, everyone is always told to make sure that you haven’t posted anything that can in theory ‘haunt’ your job applications or your career—I’m an introvert, so there isn’t any socially awkward pictures anywhere on the net—but I am a liberal, a pagan/wiccan, and I have a snarky/sarcastic sense of humor. Therefore I have memes on my personal facebook page that make fun of the current administration, I have links to petitions on my twitter feed, and I have numerous pictures of tarot/oracle card readings on my instagram account. I’m proud of all those things—my response to the ‘don’t post things so you don’t offended others’—if my posts ‘offended’ you, don’t send me a friend request and don’t follow me on social media; my feelings won’t be hurt.
What have I been avoiding lately? I’ve been avoiding doing in-depth personal and professional development. The reason why: mainly imposter syndrome and social anxiety. Though I’ve decided that I’m going to acknowledge the feeling and try to find middle ground on moving forward towards my goals.
I find this to be a trick question—because if you look up comfort zone to learning zone, you’ll find graphics that show that between those two zones is the fear zone. So, in a way I’ve been stepping outside my comfort zone—but I’ve realized also that I’ve become trapped in the ‘fear zone’. This zone is one that takes more work to get through, and at least for me a lot of that work is mental—I need to shift my mindset. While I have shifted my mindset, it takes longer to internalize those messages. So while I logically know that not everyone is going to approve of my choices—emotionally it is taking longer to internalize.
I would like to say that things are going as well as can be for it being 2020. The pandemic has taken everyone’s plans and thrown them into the shredder. While I may not be able to do the traveling that I wanted, I have been making strides in self-reflection, personal and professional development. I’ve started to embrace the phrases “progress over perfection” and “slow and steady wins the race”.
Yes, I am slowly achieving the goals that I’ve set for myself. I’ve realized that I can’t change every aspect of life overnight, and going after too many goals at once is a recipe for a nice heavy anxiety attack. Today is still going to be spent looking at various lists of goals, and asking myself the following question: “Am I pursuing this goal for myself or because someone else things I should be pursuing it?”
Finally, yes there are things that I need to change—I need to change my mindset (getting over or through imposter syndrome; feeling like others are judging/mocking me; and so forth); I need to become better at time management (need to tune into my body and figure out what part(s) of the day I have the most energy—and then dedicate those times to pursuing my goals); I need to continue working through various personal and professional development courses—but mostly I need to find the path back to myself. I realize that my next career step may (or may not) be unconventional—but it will be what ever works best for me.
I’ve also realized that I need to go back and look at the results of my Clifton Strength Assessment Tests again (I took it the first time in 2017 and then again back in December of 2019), and see how I can both leverage my strengths and start working on improving some of my weaknesses. Though as one author put it—we all have a little of all the strengths, we just don’t use some as much as others. So while I will never be the outgoing extrovert—I can at least work on improving my people-facing skills.
The biggest takeaway for me this year is acknowledging that I’m still not absolutely certain of what I want to do with my career moving forward. While I know that I probably want to move away from the bench—towards what I’m still not certain on; though I have some ideas.
I have courses to work through, a large network of people I can ask questions to (as soon as I stop feeling like an imposter/idiot), and knowledge that I can adapt to any situation that I need to moving forward in life. My next step is going to be creating my ‘life handbook’ and that way I will have all goals in one central location and can sit and review them on a more consistent basis.
Have you either evaluated your life today, or created a life handbook? If you’ve created a life handbook—did you do it digital or in a notebook?
So besides being the first day of October (that means there are only 92 days left in the year), a full moon, it is also National Black Dog Day.
This is the day to try to encourage the adoption of a dog that has more dark colored fur. This is because there is still the stigma against dogs (and cats) that have dark fur—they’re less likely to be adopted, but also more likely to be abused or hurt due to the stupid old wives tales from centuries ago.
We have two puppies—one is mostly black with white splotches of fur (she is a boxer mix), and the other is brown/black but also has a good amount of white fur as well. Both of these puppies love to play, and lighten the days with their antics.
If you are a animal lover, aren’t allergic to dogs (or cats), and are able to—brighten the day, both yours and the animal by adopting an dog (or cat) that has dark fur. They are no less deserving of a loving home than the others.
Since today is National hummingbird day—the winner of the photography challenge is the hummingbird.
There are currently over 300 species of hummingbirds in the western hemisphere with at 150 of them living within the equatorial belt (which is ranges from ten degrees north of the equator to ten degrees south of the equator).
Of the approximate 150 species living outside the equatorial belt, there are only twenty-three that venture north into North America: Mexico, the United States and Canada. This is also usually only during the spring and summer, then they make the return flight south to warmer climates for the winter.
Then of the twenty-three species that make it north, they spread out to where you may only see one species in one part of the country, but if you head towards another area, you may see three or four.
For Oklahoma, there are three species that can be found in some part of the state: the ruby-throated hummingbird, the black-chinned hummingbird, and the rufous hummingbird (though this one mostly just flies through).
Though since Stillwater is in the north central part of the state (and probably could be considered north-east central), we really don’t see the black-chinned hummingbird as it is more common western part of the state (particularly in the southwest corner and the panhandle). So until it moves further east due to climate changes, we might get the sporadic one coming through—but for the most part we will mainly have the ruby-throated hummingbirds.
One goal may be to see how many of the other hummingbirds I can spot when I travel—though if I do any traveling into forests (specifically rain forests)—they will be extremely hard to spot, as animals have a tendency to avoid humans at all costs.
So since today is International Cat Day–it is only fitting that the winners of today’s photography challenge are the cats.
So we have three cats (all adopted from the local humane society). The eldest cat (by about a year and a half or so) is Pyewicket, our calico cat.
Then we have our “breakfast duo”: Waffles and Pancakes.
We got Waffles and Pancakes within a few days of each other–Waffles was adopted first, and then I saw Pancakes picture on the site, and fell in love. It had been almost a decade since I had lost my first cat, Bigfoot (who was also a black cat–though he had more white on him than Panny does). Pancakes is my little cuddle bug at night, and in the morning. She loves to sit on my lap–and does a good job of reminding me when I spend to much time on the computer.
Not the best picture of Waffles, our Russian blue cat–but lately she has decided that the top of the cat condo is her spot to sleep (though that is where my cat usually likes to relax). This is our little troublemaker–she doesn’t like change (and lets you know), and isn’t above possibly starting things with the puppies.
I know find it funny that we’re in a “age reversal” with the animals–when we got the cats, we had several dogs, but they’re were all in their adult years. Now we got a puppy (and my brother got one last year), the cats are in their adult years and are acting like it. I swear if they could talk it would probably be nothing but “get off my lawn”, “turn the music down” and “in my day” from the cats to the pups.
I have realized that when I move–I will need to bring in a kitten (after a few months) so that Pancakes has company, and then after say another six months or so maybe get a puppy and hopefully that will all turn out nicely.
Happy International Cat Day!!! Do your cats and dogs get along all the time?
So today marks the summer solstice for the northern hemisphere–it’s the longest day of the year (more or less), and the first day of summer. The only reason why it’s more or less the longest day is that some people may have had a slightly longer night last night, or they might have it tomorrow night. The summer solstice falls between June 20 & June 22 every year.
So what better way of celebrating the solstice than with a flashback Friday photograph to Stonehenge. I was thrilled when I managed to book a reservation to go out to Stonehenge on my brief trip to the United Kingdom a couple of years ago. I still want to get back and go to Greenwich and tour a little more around London.
Stonehenge is one of the places that pops into the minds of people (at least for me) when thinking about the summer solstice. I’ve always been in awe with the both the construction and layout of the stones. People were able to get huge stones moved inland, put them upright, and then able to put stones on top of those–and most are still upright a few thousand years later.
So now we’re going to have ten plus hours of sunlight for a few months (the days are going to start getting shorter), and that means hopefully more time outdoors (at least on the weekends). I love summer time (mainly because of the longer days, but I don’t like the humidity that goes with southern weather. One thing I’ve learned–the older I get the less I’m able to quickly adapt to high heat indexes. So where ever I move it will either need to be towards a cooler climate in the summer (which means really cold in the winter, and dark earlier), or just make sure that I have enough window fans to keep an apartment cool.
While I’ve had plans for doing some gardening this spring, those plans never came to be–so I’m going to have to make due with weeding out the other gardens and maybe plan for some fall plantings for early spring flowers.
On another note, I think that if I’m able to swing more than one large trip (a networking and then a vacation) soon it will be to Scotland for a few days, take a train down to London, then after a few days take a train to Paris (and maybe down to Madrid) and then fly home.
So today’s pictures all have a common theme: turtles!!! Today is World Turtle Day–a day to celebrate turtles and tortoises, and to maybe help keep them from tumbling over the edge into extinction.
So far this year, it has been a good year for seeing turtles up at Boomer Lake. I don’t think I really got any pictures of turtles last year on my early morning walks (which isn’t surprising since it was basically as the sun was coming up–they were still snoozing in the water or wherever they sleep).
Managed to get a picture of one swimming on Sunday as well. According to one person fishing, there is even a bigger one swimming around the lake. He claimed it should be about four times the size of this one.
I did see this box turtle last fall moving through the park. It had been the first time in quite a few years that I’d seen a box turtle in the area. They are one turtle that I do keep an eye out for in the mornings when I’m headed to catch the bus. I will usually try to help them across the busy road (in which ever direction they’re heading). Ten to fifteen years ago, they use to be extremely common in the neighborhood–not so much these days.
And of course, there is my favorite–the sea turtle. I’ve seen them in the wild (when I went to Hawaii), in aquariums (such as the New England Aquarium), and rehabilitation centers as well. These majestic sea creatures are some of the most vulnerable species currently–due to climate change, hunting, and the daily dangers of living in the oceans. All sea turtle species are listed at some level on the endangered species list.
I would love to be able to see a leatherback sea turtle in the wild. I would also like to make it to the Galapagos Islands and see the tortoises in their natural environment as well.
Turtles and tortoises all play an important role in their respected environments–environments that we should be protecting and not destroying. So when you’re out and about–slow down if you see wildlife crossing the road. If it’s possible (and safe to do so), stop and help the turtle(s) cross the road–just be careful if it’s a snapping turtle. The world is dark enough as it is–lets keep the light shining by helping to bring some species back from the brink of extinction.
Yesterday marks world Penguin Day. It’s a day to celebrate some of the unique members of the avian world. These birds are all found in the southern hemisphere–from temperate, warm waters down to the icy cold waters of the Antarctic.
If you are unable to see these majestic birds in their natural habitats (and I realize that is one thing I would love to be able to do–is see a penguin in the wild), the next best place is either a zoo or an aquarium.
The New England Aquarium actually has three species of penguins living there: the rockhopper, the little blue, and the African penguin.
The rockhopper penguin is one of the smaller species of penguin. They are found in the southern hemisphere, with one subspecies (the northern rockhopper) living in the cool temperate climates on islands in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The other two subspecies are found in the more southern oceans around Argentina, Chile, and New Zealand.
Their diet consists of krill, shrimp, crabs, lobsters, crayfish, squid, and fish; though they eat mostly krill and crustaceans more than fish and squid.
Their predators are all at sea (for adults) and consist of seals (leopard & fur), killer whales, and blue sharks. The eggs and young are eaten by numerous different bird species including different gulls and giant petrels (to name a few).
Both males and females look similar, so one actually has to do a DNA test to determine the gender of the penguin in captivity. Their key characteristics that differentiate them from other penguins include their red eyes, orange been, pink webbed feet, and the yellow spiky feathers on their heads. Another distinguishing characteristics is that they don’t slide on their bellies (since their habitat is rocky areas—it makes sense not to to slide downhill on their stomach), they hop from one place to another—hence the name rockhopper penguin.
The little blue penguin is the smallest species of penguin—it only gets to be about a foot tall. It lives on the coastlines of southern Australia and New Zealand.
Their diet consists of fish, squids, and crustaceans—such as arrow squids, anchovy, and red cod. The female little blue matures at about two years of age, while the male matures at about three years of age. Their nests are close to the ocean, both parents share the duties of egg incubation and rearing the chicks (which usually fledge within seven to eight weeks after hatching).
The New England Aquarium, is the only aquarium outside of Australia and New Zealand that houses a colony of little blue penguins.
The other names for the African penguin include: the jackass penguin and the black-footed penguin. This penguin is confined to the south-western African waters, and is listed as endangered.
Since the penguin is listed as endangered—numerous breeding populations are kept at different zoos and aquariums worldwide. One reason for their numbers decline is the harsh environment in which they breed—if the birds get overheated while sitting on the eggs—they will abandon the nest and eggs won’t survive. The young face threats of predators and the heat of the sun.
Their diet is similar to other penguins and includes squid and other small crustaceans. These penguins breed in colonies, and the pairs will return to the same site each year.
Watching the penguins at the aquarium is always something I enjoy doing–mainly because you never know what they’re going to be doing. They might sit around, they may go for a swim, or wander around. They’ve always been a favorite bird of mine, and I’d love to either see the other species in the wild or at other zoos and aquariums around the country or the world.