BenTha'er-Horizons

All That Glitters

Today is the last day of November. Best to get this month past with all its gloomy political news and move on to more positive things. Time to consider getting down Christmas decorations and see if we can join the holiday cheer. One picture of trying to get in the mood from last Saturday and make it glow. Here is a photo that shows “All that Glitters………is not Gold!”

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Waiting for the Meal

Part of the plan from the holidays was to show some additional photos taken on Thanksgiving.

David’s nephew, Nathan Lewis, is such a good photographic subject. Here he is, waiting for his part of the Thanksgiving meal. In the end, I think he wanted to play more around the house than he wanted any part of the good food.

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Bigfoot and Us

Bob and I went to the county Neighborhood Watch Council meeting tonight in Albany. The main topic is on disaster preparedness which we should have a reasonable background on due to Bob being part of CERT (Citizens Emergency Response Training) and we have had local training for our Berlin Community. I was able to share the Incident Response Information form I put together to collect data on who in our community can manage certain skills and has items that can be utilized in a local disaster to help all of us. The form seemed to generate interest among some in the group so I emailed it to them in electronic format.
The sergeant for the Linn County Sheriff’s Office who handles the CERT training spoke to the group. It was ironic that he showed a video out of New Zealand about the need for being rescued and you can’t expect an imaginary Yeti to show up and save you (if in the high, wild, snowy mountains). A few days before this meeting there was an article about a Texas veterinarian who feels she has confirmed that Bigfoot’s DNA merged with humans through sexual intercourse 15,000 years ago resulting in hairy hominid hybrids. Check out the article here.

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Faces of the Civil War

Periodically, one comes across an interesting article, topic, or grouping of pictures. It certainly makes an interesting note to the blog and a way to keep it at hand. I love history and the world behind the Civil War or War Between the States or War of Northern Aggression is an interesting one to follow. We have been fortunate to be able to visit some Civil War battlefields. It is difficult to say which ones are the most interesting though I feel Appomatox in Virginia is the most sad or haunting. One day I will need to add to this post about what made us visit there when we had plans to sightsee elsewhere. What started this post is a grouping of photos called the Faces of the Civil War, check the beginning out here. A second set of the photos can be found in part 2, here. The Liljenquist Family donated over 700 tintypes and ambrotype photographs to the Library of Congress. What a wonderful gesture and part of our history. Many of the people are unidentified. Since my family had those who fought on the side of the North, there is always a remote chance that an ancestor or relative is in one of these photos.

070-CivilWarFaces_620x465I hope the gun is not loaded.



069-CivilWarFaces-SetB_620x465Oh so young looking!
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War of 1812


While in Nova Scotia, we were able to visit the main city, Halifax. We spent two days there and went to see their version of the Tattoo. The first full day was spent primarily visiting the Citadel which was within a few blocks of our hotel. This fortress was the main military installation for this region and it sits upon a hill overlooking the city of Halifax. They have a lot of students who are hired to be in costume of the day. They give tours and there are a number of videos and tours that can be enjoyed while there. In the main building on the upper floor, they have a military museum. One section of the museum is dedicated to Canada’s involvement in the War of 1812. The war is certainly a factor in our history too. Since this is the 200th anniversary of the war and is a major celebration in some areas. The Atlantic Maritimes were a primary region of Canada affected. One recent article in a Canadian publication, the National Post, has a number of links to topics on this subject.IMG_3597A marching band at the Citadel
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Holiday Greenery

Yesterday was the annual local group gathering of Christmas wreath makers. All in good spirit of getting ready for the holiday and making the outdoors festive with greenery. How about a little of the cedar? Where is the rosemary? Watch the holly, it is prickly! Boy, do I need some of the glittery stuff or who is the best ribbon maker (not me)? Throw in some cocoa and tea (Annapolis Royal Ice Wine tea) and it is festive. It is fun to see and chat with friends and neighbors. It is also cool to see what beautiful wreaths, swags, and table decorations can come from a big pile of cut trees and bushes mixed with pine cones, ribbon, ornaments, and other oddities (my black and white spotted cow that Noel Storms gave me in a swag).
Here is my friend and neighbor Diane Winterboer getting the festivities and her wreath off to a “silly” start.

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This is my table arrangement. Arlene Jantzi was kind to share the base since I showed up with little to start with.

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My laughing cow swag from Noel. It has a cute black hair fringe. We did have a good time. Let’s do it again next year.
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An Owl

I will have to try some photo editing at another time to see if I can lighten this picture to get detail. I think this is a Barn Owl. I don’t want to label it as The Owl, my barred owl photo is special and is The One. Though I don’t like thinking Bob’s theory is correct (where its current forest habitat being gone now with section of trees logged nearby), I do hope we will see more of it. They seem so imperturbable. There was a gunshot close by and while I could see the owl turn its head, it did not fly away. The photo is a bit interesting in that the owl is in silhouette with almost a dark tree against light fog effect.

_DSC5153Great Horned Owl

An interesting recipe to make for feeding the wild birds.

RECIPE FOR SUCCESS (FOR FEEDING BIRDS)
2 CUPS LARD
1 CUP CRUNCHY PEANUT BUTTER
2 CUPS QUICK OATS
2 CUPS CORNMEAL
1 CUP FLOUR
1/3 CUP SUGAR
1 CUP RAISINS
1 CUP WILD BIRD SEED

MELT LARD AND PEANUT BUTTER TOGETHER OVER LOW HEAT. REMOVE FROM HEAT AND STIR IN REMAINING INGREDIENTS. POUR INTO COOKIE SHEET WITH SIDES OR MOLDS. LET COOL AND FEED.
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Black Fridays

Today is a Black Friday, one of the best, craziest, and busiest days for shopping. I try to monitor the sales and get items that are useful and less expensive. We were off to BiMart, Radio Shack, and Costco to buy items and get money back on items where the price is lower now. It also seems to be “spot an interesting bird day” around here. Bob believes the recent logging of older trees nearby has destroyed the birds habitat and they are moving to other quarters. We saw a Pileated Woodpecker at the top of the birch tree by the garage. I tried to get a photo and he flew off too soon. According to our Birds of Oregon book, they like to nest in older timber about the size of 100 acres. This is the basis for Bob’ theory. We did have an owl (not sure if a barn, horn, or spotted) sitting on the top of one of our Douglas Fir trees. I got some shots of him there though they won’t show detail because it was getting too gray and rainy (dark) to get detail. It was cool to see him though since they are not out as much during daytime. Here is a photo of father and son playing cards last night. It has been awhile since we have had time to just be playful. Bob as always is serious about winning and beating David.

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Family at Thanksgiving

We spent the morning making hot homemade dinner rolls for the Thanksgiving get together. There was also an interesting recipe to make an apple-cranberry cobbler. So I put it together to take for the meal. It probably was not needed since there were 2 pumpkin, 1 pecan, 1 French Silk chocolate, and 1 lemon meringue pies for dessert. The cobbler still tasted great and was something different to bake. The pecan pie was very good and I had not had that kind of pie for a very long time. I truly cannot like or handle being around lemon meringue pie, one of my least favorite foods.
It was special to get together with others for Thanksgiving. The first time in several years where I did not do the meal at home. It really was a strange feeling to not be responsible for a whole production……..lightening the load though those leftovers are nice to have handy for other meals. This is the first year shared with a new daughter-in-law and grandson. Just part of being thankful on this holiday. David and Renee here just before the sitting down to dinner.

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Great Classic Movies

Holiday time is rolling around again and it is the season for TV to play the classic movies. One such movie playing tonight is “Gone With The Wind”. I have a few Margaret Mitchell souvenirs. I have visited her home and museum in Atlanta. She was a relative of Doc Holliday of Tombstone Arizona fame. From all I have read of her, she was a stickler to get her facts and dialogue correct for her book. The book is one of the all time greatest selling books in history and the movie was a huge fan favorite and spectacle in the late 1930’s. I have always liked Vivien Leigh in an emerald colored dress so this photo fits well here on the blog.

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Speaking to Students

This is the fourth year in a row that I have spoken to the freshman class of veterinary students at Oregon State University. It went well and I covered cats, medical history, physical examinations, and cat friendly handling in a two hour period. I think I have my Powerpoint Presentation in pretty good shape and it helped teach the students how to appreciate and understand cats. I always forget to get my picture taken as I do the lecture though the following photo was taken by Annie last year after the talk where I am holding a Winn Feline Foundation anniversary book.

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Lost Lands

An interesting graphic came up in a story on The Atlantic Wire. This is a constantly moving map outlining the parts of the United States that were Native American Lands in different times in our history to the present time. It certainly is illuminating and probably distressing to Native Americans when they see it. If someone is interested in seeing this moving map and story, check it out here.
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The Curley Effect?

I have often pondered what makes those who live in big cities tend to have a tribal or herd mentality different from those who live in suburbs or rural areas. What makes those who live in the Portland environs take in the “smug” behavior so they believe they are better than the rest of the people in the state. Here are a couple of articles, one on the Curley Effect and the other dealing more specifically with the urban/non-urban divide that have been in Forbes magazine. I don’t know if it totally addresses why well off “yuppies” seem to gather in Oregon’s cities with their young families. I think they like to live by others who “validate” their mind-set.
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Jacklynn Cat

This Tuesday I will speak for the fourth year in a row to the first year veterinary students at Oregon State University. I have my powerpoint presentation almost complete. I did have Scott film a seven minute video of performing a physical examination on a cat using Jacklynn as my subject. She was pretty good though had her moments of “I am gone” and “I know you are going to kill me”. Here is our darling Jacklynn resting in one of her favorite spots near the wood stove.
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Fall Days

Not much to blog about today. It is a day of catch up email and small items while trying to also catch up on sleep and energy after work and travel yesterday. Eight hours of flying and changing planes. Today is one of our gray type of fall days with fog and rain on the horizon. It would be nice to have had a sunny day like I saw in Philadelphia and Minneapolis yesterday. It just brightens up the world a bit. Here is a photo demonstrating what a similar day last year looked like. We have a week ahead of rain and wind to look forward to for the holidays.

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Trains

A couple of people I know have talked about how convenient the trains are that travel along the East Coast corridor. It is less expensive to fly and less bothersome than driving. One can spread out a bit more than a plane and it also has wireless to be able to work. Trains though do not work well and are boondoggles in wide areas of population centers like on the West Coast where the cost/benefit ration make them cost prohibitive. That does not mean that politicians do not try such as the airhead who is governor of California demonstrates with his strong push to bankrupt California further by building high speed rail there. The courts have waived the environmental requirements so they will push forward with the project no matter who it hurts. An example of the train station at Philadelphia.
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Drilling Down

All of today was spent in NAVLE item review. The day was focused on all cat related items and we finished the day with my items. Two of our group did not make the review so we will finish with their work tomorrow. We have the read our items aloud so we have time to absorb them and drill down into the vignette and distractors to be sure we have a good question for use. Here is a good example of how it feels to keep drilling down.

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Philadelphia

Got in to the hotel about midnight last night. It was an interesting experience taking a cab to the hotel. After I got my bag from baggage claim, I started to walk to the taxi area on the other side of the airport. There was a man asking if anyone needed a cab. Silly me, I answered I did. He took me over to a relatively nice town car with soft seats and no taxi meter. I was a bit nervous that this ride might claim me as a highjack victim or take me somewhere unknown. Fortunately, I did get to the Inn at Penn though the ride was full of his pontificating about the recent spate of politics and who he supported. I felt I best stay quiet on my part since we were opposites in viewpoint since he had my luggage and my person he could not treat well if so desired. I do believe though he was an unlicensed taxi driver working on his own. He tried to charge more than usual though I paid it feeling I included tip doing so. Here is a view of Philadelphia Bob took when we made a similar trip a year ago. The new Constitution Hall Museum.

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Real Books

I am flying to Philadelphia today. One thing I used to do when I flew before 2009 was take a number of books with me. It was comforting yet it was also heavy. With the onset of the electronic reader, I have a number of books at my fingertips to read though I always have one small book for take off and landing because of the rule of everything powered off then. E-readers have taken off and in one way they will make it easier for more people to read. Unfortunately, they are the bane of the written book and bookstore, primary and used types. This article describes the loss to us who love books of being able to walk into a bookstore and spend time browsing and enjoying the look and feel of a book. Electronic readers and internet book sales have taken a lot of that away. (VT)
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Veterans

Remembering the terrible sacrifices mankind made during the battles of World War I, Veterans Day was established. Practically every town in Britain has a World War I memorial to recognize the names of those who were lost in battle or subsequently from injuries suffered.
This article talks about a particular painting done by John Singer Sargent that is hanging in the Imperial War Museum in London. I have visited this museum and it is worth a visit. I most likely saw the painting though I cannot say it stands out in my memory. The painting focuses on men moving through a field of injured men from being gassed while they are seeking help at the nearest aid station. Poisonous gas was one of the most horrific parts of the war and a terrible death for those affected. One set of books (2 volumes) I have a lot of memories about is one given
to me by my grandparents they had bought after the war. It focused on the United States involvement in the war and the last section had numerous photos of soldiers damaged by the use of gas.

Singer Sargent painting
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Winning

One really good note from the day that shall stay nameless.
Paul Aziz, my photography instructor from Linn-Benton was elected mayor of Lebanon. Since we do not live in the city limits, it is more symbolic for us. He is a positive, good-spirited man and will do a good job.
I took the following sunset photo the day I went to one of his classes this last spring.IMG_3240
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Here Endeth the Lesson

This has been a tough and interesting week. Certainly, policies and values that are important to me and my family have not prospered as highly as I would wish. There is a lot of second guessing and a lot of snap judgements in the process.
To me, one lesson is clear. If you believe in something strongly, you have to fight for it. Don’t back down and don’t let the other guy intimidate you. Go for it, even if you might think it makes you “Untouchable”. Certainly Kevin Costner as Elliott Ness teaches that to Robert DeNiro as Capone. “Never stop. Never stop fighting until the fighting is done”.
Here endeth the lesson.
If we don’t learn how deeply we are in a financial hole as a nation, and soon, we will definitely be Mark Steyn’s “After America”. Or so it will be as written here.
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Cats and Bear Dogs Together

Paleontologists have found that saber-toothed cats and bear dogs lived in a shared living space in the woodlands of central Spain 9 million years ago. From the article, here is a short paragraph on their description. They competed for the same type of prey, horses and wild boar.

Inside the pits, the team found three late-Miocene Period predators: the leopard-sized saber-toothed cat Promegantereon ogygia, the much larger, lion-sized Machairodus aphanistus, and the bear dog Magericyon anceps. Neither bear nor domestic dog, bear dogs were large prehistoric predators with teeth like a dog and a body like a bear. Their physiology suggests that they moved with a lumbering gait and were capable of short bursts of speed.

So when the movies joke about “cats and dogs living together”! It did happen.
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Glass Sculpture

While in Seattle in September, we passed by the new glass sculpture exhibit and garden near the Space Needle. It is a spectacular sight with color and design. These sculptures really glow at night with the lights around them. Here is an example of a portion of sculptures present.IMG_4143
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Not to Speak

In 1996, I was diagnosed with cancer. A major form that is often fatal due to its severity and ability to metastasize. Maureen Reagan was diagnosed with a similar form that year and she passed away in 2001. Today was a big day for the United States and for our government. I do not feel I can even address what today is because it ended so heartbreakingly badly. The one thing I do realize is that the end result of the day reminds me of how I felt when I received my diagnosis of cancer. There is no way around that fact and now I must plan how to work out of the sadness. Sad
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Fall Leaves

We are not New England though we do get a bit of fall leaf color in the Pacific Northwest. Many trees have some brilliant red color to the leaves. I caught this old fruit tree below our house that has an interesting golden contrast against the green trees.
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Coats of Many Colors

Ah, cats. They are a thoroughly intriguing species. Especially if you count our relationship with them. I know that from working with them and enjoying them as a companion and patient, I do have some beliefs about coat color and their “nature”. Consider the recent period of Halloween we just experienced and the myth of black cats being unlucky. Black cats are often less likely to be adopted from shelters due to this type of myth. In the long run, it is the individual cat that counts. That is what is so wonderful about them, they are all different and fit whatever corners of our personalities needing to be filled. Someone who does not like cats truly does not know what they are missing! For some insight into how our beliefs on coat colors of cats may be “colored”, read here. A Flickr image by its owner from the article of a calico/tortoiseshell.
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What is Community?

There is so much sadness and devastation following Hurricane Sandy in the Northeast part of the United States. One community so very hard hit is Staten Island, one of the burroughs of New York City. They claim they are the least appreciated and that most likely is correct. There has been a recent article about one woman who took photos of the community of Staten Island in the 1980s and what life was like there. It is an interesting look at another part of the country and across the continent from Oregon. Such a difference in weather and life experiences in many ways. While here, we had another intriguing sunrise where the clouds are highlighted differently with early morning light.
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Oldest European Town?

Archeologists are excavating an area near Provadia, Bulgaria where they believe the remains of the oldest town in Europe is present. They estimate that the settlement was from between 4700 to 4200 B.C. They believe that approximately 350 people lived there and may have worked to mine rock-salt deposits nearby.
To read about this point in history, you can read it here.
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China's Step Back

The Wall Street Journal had a fascinating article about a book called Tombstone by a Chinese author on a little known time of trouble in China. The author was a Communist authority and he was able to use his position to study papers and records detailing a serious famine among the people when Mao Zedong forced them into collectivization during the Great Leap Forward. He lost his own father to starvation in 1959 and did not realize it was due to this policy of Mao’s. This happened during the years of 1958 to 1962. Millions of people died of starvation, much like they did in the Ukraine and Belarus in the 1930s. Mao could certainly make a run with Stalin as a most evil individual in world history. One way to learn about this little known fact is to read it here. It certainly does not jive with the appearance China gives to the world now as a dominating economic force.
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