Bees

Insects collecting nectar unintentionally tran...Image via Wikipedia

Every day for the last week, I have found dead bees in my backyard: sometimes one; sometimes more. This is disturbing to me. Bee colony collapse disorder has been in the news for a long time, and scientists say they don’t know what is causing the bees to die. There have been many theories put forth from the increase in cell phone towers to pesticides to genetically engineered crops. The theories are just that, theories. But what is most disturbing is that bees pollinate the majority of our food crops worldwide, whether it’s a big agribusiness farm or the backyard garden.

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts...Image via Wikipedia

I know there are many articles out there on the web about the supposed causes, but here are two links that seem reasonably presented:

 Colony collapse

Nature

I am trying to do my part by having plants in my yard that are inviting to bees. There is nothing more comforting to me than the sound of bees on a sunny afternoon. Let’s try to find the true cause and fix it before it’s too late.

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Honoring human beings

We are living in a ‘throw-away’ society. At one time, goods were made to last, and the US manufactured items that were well-made. It used to be that a company had loyalty to its employees – they were taken care of, paid well, and at retirement they had a good pension. Times have changed.

Now goods fall apart rather than wear out; people aren’t given the respect they deserve; the US doesn’t manufacture much any more because companies can get cheap labor overseas. And for those who are employed here, the company has no loyalty to them, unless they are upper management, in which case they can get huge bonuses and stock options, even if the company is losing money.

Many people seem to dismiss other people as not worthy of recognition. And I think this has grown out of the changes in our society over the last 40 or so years. We have become a people that only value those who make a lot of money, or who have a big house, or drive a fancy car, or have the ‘right’ skin color, or the ‘right’ documents. People in service occupations: store sales people, wait-staff, garbage collectors, etc. are treated like dirt by some people who use their services. I am embarrassed by what some people say and do to wait-staff and sales associates in store. It doesn’t take much to express appreciation for what these people are doing for you – how about just a simple ‘Thank you’.

The person who picks up your garbage is just as valuable as the CEO of a national company; maybe more so as what would happen if your garbage didn’t get picked up for a few weeks? We tend to look down our noses at those who earn their living by labor rather than brain. How did we get to this point? Is a garbage collector less valuable than an accountant? Is a sales associate in a department store less deserving than the CEO of the company? No! Everyone has a worth, even those who are unemployed, or on welfare, or laboring in the shadows. It’s time to get our priorities straight and honor every human being just because they are human. So let’s start treating people as if they are valuable members of society; because they are.

Genius

I came across this quote from Albert Einstein:  ‎”Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”  This quote was sent out by my friend Bonnie who has a wonderful website here: http://www.savoringyoursixties.com/

The quote made me think about what it means to judge others. We all have talents; but we also tend to measure our talents by what talents others have. That is wrong! I used to look at others and wish I had their talents. It took me a long time to realize that mine were just as good as theirs, just different.

We generally tend to see others as either ‘like us’ or ‘unlike us’, and those who are unlike are somehow less than we are. I truly believe that everyone has a place in the great scheme of things.

When I was growing up, I was taught that those who had little or no book learning were somehow deficient and to be pitied. My mother often belittled herself because she had to quit school at 14 to take care of her mother who had a heart condition. My dad was an engineer and well-educated; he often made it clear he despised those who were not well-educated. Growing up in this environment, I learned that lots of education was good; lack of it was bad. But my mom had many talents she didn’t recognize as such; she was able to stretch money so we were never hungry; she was an accomplished knitter; she was great at decorating our home on a shoestring.

I think of the Welsh miners who were often unschooled yet had beautiful voices, formed choirs, and gave performances that made people cry to hear them. Their harmonies were so pure, and they put their hearts and souls into singing to give joy to others. There are so many examples like this, it would take way too long to write about them all.

The point is, we all have talents that we may not see as important, but they are. Some people are great at organizing, others have creative talents, like my friend Jenna who is a wonderful artist and has a great eye for color, shape, and form. Others I know have the gift of being a great friend.

It is so easy to look at another person and wish we could do what they do. By doing that, we are ignoring our own talents. We each have things we do well and enjoy. Just imagine what the world would be like if we were all equally talented in the same thing! So much would be lost.

Celebrate your gifts!

Rant about clothes

Why is it that clothes manufacturers can’t get their act together enough to make sizes consistent? I used to know what size I wore but not any more. I hate trying on clothes. I used to be able to look at a piece of clothing, check the size, and buy it if I liked it and it was my size. What happened?

I know my body has changed and nothing fits quite right any more. But please, why aren’t the sizes consistent?? And what’s up with the petite sizes?? They are supposed to be for women 5’4″ and under; well, I’m 5’2″ and some of the petite pants are a good 4″ too long. I can buy my size in one style, but the same size in a different style from the same manufacturer doesn’t fit.

And while we’re on the subject of clothes, how come the clothes I want to shrink a little won’t, and the ones I don’t want to shrink, do?

And don’t get me started on ‘low-rise’ pants. Who wants to see my skin? I don’t even want to see it, so let’s go back to having pants that fit at the waist, not 4″ lower than that! Do you know how hard it is to find pants that sit at the waist? Unless they’re elastic waist of course, with strings to tighten!

American women like to look good, don’t we? How do we get the manufacturers to listen to us older women who want to look good but don’t want to look like we’re trying to look 20?

And let’s not even talk about bras! Underwires that by the end of the day feel like they’re cutting off circulation; styles that don’t support those of us who need some help in that department, full-coverage bras that don’t, straps that either slip down the arm or dig into the shoulders. I think the places that say come in for a free fitting just want you to keep coming back to buy more bras because the ones they sold you don’t fit! And the same issue with sizes works with bras – they are not consistent!

And I discovered it’s not just me. Here’s a couple of links I found:

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Disasters

We seem to be having a lot of disasters lately; earthquakes, tsunamis, volcanoes, flooding, drought, you name it it has happened in the last year. People tend to become immune after a while to pleas for help or feel helpless that they can’t help. But you can help. There are many organizations out there that are sending supplies, people, and money to sites of disasters. There are also scam artists who take advantage of times like these to take your money. So be careful and research the charities you are considering sending your hard-earned money to. My personal favorite is World Care. They are based here in Tucson and have done a lot with little to help others:   http://www.worldcare.org/

Some people don’t give money because they think they can’t give enough to make a difference. But consider this; if 100 people donate $1 each, that’s $100; if 1,000 people donate $1, that’s $1,000. So please give what you can. Many people giving small amounts can make a huge difference!

Missing grasshopper

My grasshopper is missing! Now before you think I’ve gone off the deep end, let me explain:

In late summer, we had a few grasshoppers eating my hibiscus bush. I left them alone as there were less than 10, and the hibiscus has never done well anyway. Some time in late fall, I noticed that there was still one grasshopper left on the bush and I thought nothing of it.

Some time in December, we had a freeze one night, and all the leaves on the hibiscus turned brown and shriveled. A couple of days later, I saw the grasshopper again. Looking closer, I realized that one of its back legs was missing; I thought it might be dead. But when I got too close, the grasshopper took a flying leap onto the ground, which startled me. So I left it alone.

A couple of days later, it was still there and back on the hibiscus. I didn’t know what to make of this as I know absolutely nothing about grasshoppers except that they can strip foliage off a plant in a heartbeat. I started paying attention to this little critter. Every time I thought it was dead, it moved to another part of the plant. I can’t imagine where this creature was getting food or moisture as the hibiscus leaves were definitely brown and shriveled.

Then we had rain, and wind, and three nights of lows in the teens. I was sure that would have killed off the grasshopper. Nope, still there. Every time I thought it must be dead, it was on a different part of the plant when I checked. I started checking every day to see where it was; it was always on the hibiscus bush, sometimes at the top of the stalk and sometimes lower down. Sometimes it looked like it might be dead as the bright green faded to sort of a greyish-green.

Two days ago, I couldn’t find it anywhere on the hibiscus. I eventually found the grasshopper; it had moved over to a sage bush in the next pot. The sage bush is also in bad shape from the deep freeze we had. Yesterday, the grasshopper was still there and looking a little brighter green. Today, the grasshopper is nowhere to be found. I don’t know where this little critter ended up, but it sure was persistent!

So this is one mystery I can’t solve: why did the grasshopper hang around for so long; and how did it stay alive all this time?

Well, now it’s back on the hibiscus! Notice the missing right back leg!!