46 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 4-3-19

  1. Jo – Try changing you cookie settings. It’s what I had to do.

    A red winged blackbird greets us this morning. They are common around here, but I haven’t seen one in a while.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Red-winged blackbirds were a very common sight in northern Indiana; the region where I lived had been part of the Great Black Swamp, and could easily revert to swampland if allowed to do so. Farmers had claimed the area for farmland beginning in the 1850s, but careful work with drainage ditches is still ongoing, with constant attention needed. We had a patch of road near us that would become impassible after a heavy rain, and my husband said that until the current head of the drainage board (yes, we had such a thing) took office, it often flooded in both directions. It only did so once in the years I lived there–but that once was my birthday, and also the day the church had a party for our retiring pastor, and we couldn’t get there because of deep water over the road in both directions.

    For those who have never heard of the Great Black Swamp (as I hadn’t before I married my husband, and he himself had lived in it for several years before hearing that the region had once been part of it), it’s actually a fascinating part of American history:

    “Glaciers melted and formed the Great Lakes. But the Great Lakes aren’t the only features left behind by the prehistoric glaciers. . . .

    “A great swamp left by the retreating glaciers covered a huge area of land going as far east as present-day Sandusky, Ohio as far south as Findlay, Ohio, and as far west as Fort Wayne, Indiana. It was a nearly impenetrable area of thick trees and murky water that sometimes was as deep as chest high.

    “The area was known as the Great Black Swamp and remnants of it can still be seen today.”


    Liked by 2 people

  3. At any rate, up north the red-winged blackbirds would migrate in in great numbers, singing songs that sound very much like they belong in the swamp. Males come first, sometimes in flocks of hundreds or thousands of birds that also include common grackles and sometimes a few starlings. I love their flight, vivid black punctuated by flashes of red from the epaulets on their wings. Their epaulets each have a big patch of red and a small patch of yellow above it; they can cover the epaulet with black feathers if they are walking around in a yard feeding and they don’t want to show aggression.

    Each male chooses a territory, and to me it was always amazing how many would fit into a small area. When I walked down the street, I would see and hear many of the males, and some would be sitting only two or three feet apart as they sang. I never saw them attack each other; somehow they came to agreement on territory. But they scolded anything that came into their territory, including people, and readily chased much larger birds–including crows and turkey vultures. (As far as I know turkey vultures aren’t a threat to nesting birds, but many creatures will readily eat eggs or nestlings if they happen across a nest, and perhaps vultures are included in that.)

    Each male chooses his territory, and then the brown females come to town, and they choose a nesting site. Whichever male has that territory becomes her mate. He may have several females in his territory if it’s a good one. He doesn’t feed her or her nestlings or help with making a nest, but he’s a fierce guard of the territory and thus very helpful to the success of the nest. The female is camouflaged and she sneaks around in the reeds–I actually never saw a nest, though I would see the females creeping around and looking almost rodent-like. If the male went to the nest, he’d call more attention to it; instead he challenges trespassers and also alerts his mate to be cautious because someone is about.

    The male in the header is not just advertising a territory generally; he’s calling to a female that is below him, telling her how good his territory is and how virile he himself is. He might have gotten nervous about my presence, or flew away for some other reason, but he called several times and then he flew away. I also sent AJ a photo of the female calling. She spread out her tail much the way he did and called, and then she moved and called again, seeming to wonder where he went. I hadn’t seen the females of this species calling to the males before.

    As common as these birds were farther north, when we moved down here late spring last year, and I started getting out and about in early summer, I didn’t see any of them last summer and wondered about that. In fall I started seeing them. I don’t know if something happened last summer that destroyed all the local nests and so the birds left the area early, or what. They’re noisy enough this spring, and clearly are claiming nesting sites. I’d been curious last summer about not seeing any, since it looks like the kind of area they like down here, too, though not as obviously as the swamp did.


  4. Good morning, all!
    Interesting to hear about that swamp, Cheryl. When I hear the word swamp I think Everglades and Okeefenokee which are both south of us. I’ve never thought of north of us.

    I have seen those birds while on vacation but not here in Atlanta.

    I have many haikus to judge since it appears it was an assignment for the school system’s children to work on during spring break. I choose 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places and make comments as to why I chose those entries. I think my. Comments will be read at an assembly so I am trying to make very positive comments from a Christian perspective without anything overt. It is enjoyable but at the same time it is a mental challenge to think along these lines. After it is all done I will tell y’all the where and why about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The temp is 37° and is suppose to go up to 70°. Weather person said to wear layers. It will be a pretty day, but the pollen is brutal. One of the Fox newscasters obviously had the crude,so I felt bad for her each time she spoke. I hope DJ is better today.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It’s you!

    We have the red winged blackbirds here– I see them all the time at the park, though had never noticed them anywhere else.

    Yesterday I heard a mourning dove outside my window for the first time this year.

    Don’t you love how we live our days against the backdrop of singing birds? What a generous, creative God!

    Liked by 3 people

  7. I thought about DJ’s description of how her job has changed last night, very troubled.

    They’ve turned you into a blogger, DJ.

    I’ve been doing all those things for 10 years, having to learn through trial and error.

    Other than the fact you get paid (and I don’t), and you have a bona fide reason/job to interview and cover stories, the mechanics of our work sounds the same.

    (Except I write what I want and not two or three posts a day).

    That’s not a good situation for the Fourth Estate. 😦

    Who is directing your story assignments? You must have some sort of an editor who coordinates the paper. Is there still a paper edition?

    Without photogs, do you have access to the photo archive? Do you have to find photos from the archive?

    What a mess. So very sorry for you and for society at large. 😦

    Liked by 4 people

  8. The swamp sounds like Freckles location, and the Girl of the Limberlost.

    Now the little thing on the side that lets me scroll down is disappearing but I learned the arrows work though slowly.

    I will look for a cookie fix after chores. This is Chrome.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. I thought is was when we went to the coast of CA near where Michelle lives that Art, Wesley, and I watched those birds in a tree. It was there that I considered sticking my foot in the Pacific ocean to say I had done it, but I chose not to because it was a chilly day.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Good Morning Everyone. Today is the day I see the endocrinologist. It will be good to know which direction I should go with this. I am still hoping I can just take a pill and avoid surgery. I don’t like the idea of anything coming out of my body nor the idea of the location being in my neck.
    We had vendor appreciation lunch yesterday. It was nice to be able to give back to those who help us so much.
    Tomorrow we will no longer have a baby, we will have a 1-year-old! Her part will be Sunday at the pavilion at the state park. I hope the weather will be nice. I don’t know that there are alternate plans. We have presents and are paying for the cake.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. The Atlanta church never got back to me, so we’ll just stay in Charleston for a few days of R&R after the retreat. Trying not to be disappointed–everything about my publishing life seems to be going array at the moment.

    So, is the soon-to-be one-year-old walking and talking yet? Fans want to know.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I’ve often wondered why they are called cookies. I looked it up once, but the memory has faded.

    Michelle- I do miss the soft cooing of the mourning dove. I hear them when we are in Tucson.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. cookies: crumb trails … ?

    Yes, for some time circa 2007-2012 or so I did the online pets blog for the paper and so thankfully I became used to pulling my own photos and ‘doing it all’ via WordPress. I miss those days, we still had a relatively full local staff. Down from earlier years, but compared to now they were glory days.

    Now, it’s more complicated also as we have both online and print editions (on completely different computer platforms) to deal with and not enough editors to oversee all the papers so some of them are doing double and triple duty.

    Story assignments? They come in the form of “What have you got for tomorrow?” It’s pretty much up to us to dig something up every day and then post it on the daily online budget for the editors, including what ETA will be, what art will be, how long the story will be.

    I am taking a 2nd sick day, btw, as I couldn’t face going back just yet. I think I just hit the wall after Monday (a long day as was Friday). I’ll drag back in tomorrow and hopefully find a couple stories I can throw into the mix before the weekend. But right now I really don’t have the energy to care a lot. I plan to just read and sleep. I so rarely take sick time and probably haven’t done so in close to a year. It’s more exhaustion in this case, admittedly, but I just need the complete down time.

    We have 11 papers in our SoCal news group. There are only 2 full-time reporters (a 3rd one just part-time) for our particular paper (same for all the others) and they want “local” stories for every paper to throw onto the front & 3rd pages every day for readers who still expect local coverage. It’s become an alphabet soup mix of stories from the mountains to the valley to OC and everything in between. Each paper has only a handful of reporters left at this point. I’m sure we’re all feeling just completely burned out.

    Our poor veteran photo editor at a paper to the north of us is trying to coordinate everything on his end for all 11 papers and he still winds up having to run out and shoot photos himself as well.

    Our senior editor over all the papers is a very big, affable guy but a complete company man in that he doesn’t show much sympathy for what we’re all having to deal with right now. Our new work spaces he declared were “adequate.” He keeps reminding us how “fun” journalism is as a job. “We ‘get’ to do this!” It’s an old line of his that’s wearing thin for most of us (and probably him, too, if he could be more transparent).

    At least the clothes washer is working without overflowing the kitchen sink. Real Estate Guy doesn’t think I’ll ever have to replace the cast iron pipes under the house, just get the rotor-rostered out every year or two or 3 or whenever they seem to be slowing down again. We’ll see. At least I don’t have to replace them this week.

    Liked by 4 people

  14. We’ve always aimed for writing a story a day but if there were days when we didn’t get a story written and ready to turn in for the next day, things were flexible, we had a full enough staff to deal with that. Now much of that flexibility is gone and everyone’s really under the gun to churn something out ready to publish every day. It’s just become very stressful. And it can lead to not great journalism, obviously.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Feel better Dj…praying to that end for you!
    We have some friends living in an older house with the cast iron pipes under their old house. They were having drainage issues and were quoted what they considered an exorbitant cost to replace the pipes. They now schedule a yearly “cleaning” of the pipes….it has been working for them for the past 30 years or so 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  16. It is interesting discussing memories with grown children or siblings. We do all have a different perspective and can remember things quite differently. I have found that it can lessen or remove resentment when parents are able to explain their own thinking. Of course, having children of their own (the more the merrier) can make our own children’s perspective change. Just thinking about this while reading the comments from yesterday.

    We are so enjoying our own visit with my daughter, SIL and grandson.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Yes, KI, I was thinking the same thing yesterday but unable to comment as daughter was totally wonkers. But it has been interesting hearing how the different grown ones remember things compared to how I remember them. And it is interesting to watch their memories mellow as they become more mature and, as you mentioned, have children of their own. That certainly changes the perspective.

    Husband used to comment that he loved teaching the children to drive, especially the stick shift as they suddenly put him high on a pedestal when they tried and kept stalling. It is the same with child rearing. We are terrible and wrong until they have children of their own and suddenly, mom! How did you deal with this or that? I can’t believe you managed four small people while I can barely see surviving with one…and so on.

    Liked by 3 people

  18. My brother and I obviously differ in what we remember because we differed so much on what we cared about. Part of it was the difference in boy and girl interests, and part would be because I am an introvert and he is more an extrovert. I think on the major things we would agree,but on the lesser important things we would logically have different memories. He also lived with my parents for more years than I lived with them so he may have picked up some memories based on their sharing of family stories.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I am happy to report that I did the second mowing of the season. It was easier than the first. Immediately when I finished a young fellow on a tiny motor bike put a flyer at the mailbox about Grasshopper Lawn Service. I plan to give the job back to my brother after tax season.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Mumsee as son has gotten near to thirty, I find he is having greater understanding and patience with me. He was never too difficult, but sometimes I would really frustrate him with my decisions. Now he seems to respect me more. Age is a good thing.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. See prayer request.

    The north is full of great swamps. There were peat bogs in between the mountains where I was in Nunavut. Where my parents live backs onto about 100 acres of an inseparable blend of swamp and forest, and it is only a small segment of the acres of wetlands that mingle with the farmland of Southern Ontario. With the grapevines that grow over the birches and cedar tree and overhang patches of black mud and tangles of fallen trunks, it looks a bit like the Fire Swamp in The Princess Bride.

    My maternal grandmother, one of the wisest people I knew, observed that people remembered things differently – in the context, she was speaking of the reason for the slight differences in the Gospels, but it is true of any life experience. Just as each viewer of a scene sees something different due to where they are standing, so each person will have a different perspective of the same event – that is why multiple witnesses are a good thing in a court case. There were many things that we children experienced being a part of ATI that our parents did not. They were mature and not the target of the propaganda that was being poured into the apprenticeship students’ eyes and ears, so they did not have the same amount of exposure to the false teaching. My mother realizes this, and so she does not question our experiences. Both our parents now acknowledge the flaws in ATI. We, in turn, do not blame our parents for what was ATI’s fault. As for other childhood incidents, we have been able to resolve misunderstandings by each sharing our own perspective on the incident. My mother who resembles her mother more and more, has expressed appreciation for the constructive feedback that we give her. Ever a teacher, she does not let her own learning opportunities go to waste.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Just heard from my tax person. I knew I would owe, and I do, but not as much as I feared. In fact it is 10% of what I feared. God is good.
    I needed this school break. I had to really push through last term to meet the needs with comings and goings of children and no breaks. We had only one day free at the end of the term. Next term will be much better as we get Good Friday and Easter Monday. Both are national holidays here.
    Oh, I had spots on my nose frozen yesterday. It is looking fine and glad that it is taken care of. The doctor complimented me on my skin. Want to know my secret?? I do nothing. I only use water on my skin and no makeup. I use soap only after I have gotten sweaty at the weight room.

    Liked by 5 people

  23. Today was the appointment with the endocrinologist. I am not 5’4″, I am 5′ 3.5″ I had blood drawn, an X-ray, and an ultrasound. Tuesday I will have a bone density test and I will also have to do a 24-hour urine test. UGH We made the decision to move towards having this parathyroid removed. If they know beforehand which one it is they can make a 1-inch incision and have it out in about 10 minutes. If they don’t it will be more invasive surgery and will need a larger incision. She told me there were medications I could take but there would be complications from them and if I waited 10 years to have this done it could be worse or I could be in worse health. I am in very good health, so any recovery should be easier.
    THE ABSOLUTE BEST NEWS ABOUT THIS is that I belong to the Baldwin Association of Realtors. They were the first association in the country to offer group healthcare to their members, their families, and employees. My insurance went into effect on February 3rd which is the day I went to the doctor. That copay was $30, today’s was $60, and I think these tests will be at $100 copay each. So, instead of paying an arm and a leg for insurance, then having $7,000 out of pocket expense, I will probably get most of this taken care of for about a thousand. God takes care of fools and children. 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

  24. I’m sorry not to be meeting you, too, Janice. We’ll be in Charleston the first week of May. I’m working a retreat for work, my husband is coming, we’re staying on and will attend church with our CT pastor and his wife now living in Charleston. I’m sure there will be more than enough stories to keep us engaged! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Just noting, my husband left on a business trip this morning and the computer is behaving mysteriously cantankerous.

    Somehow I got the Sunday school newsletter out, but I’m about done fighting with it for the day.

    You got to love it or you’d cry.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. I did nothing but sleep and read today and I feel somewhat ready to just get back to it tomorrow, just two more days in the week anyway. Can’t remember when work stress hit me like it did this week, but it did.

    Just got back from a quick trip to Sprouts (first time I’d been in the Jeep in 2 days, other than to briefly move it out of the driveway for the plumber yesterday) where I picked up red grapes and apples, mmm, and Kefir and eggs. There was a truck in the parking lot plastered with bumper stickers including “Nothing fails like prayer” and “No Gods, no Masters.”

    Beautiful day outside, nice and cool.

    Liked by 3 people

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