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How 'The Wizard of Oz' symbolizes overcoming insecurities and mental illness
(image)When I was a kid, I would watch and re-watch the movie "The Wizard of Oz" over and over again. And, every time, at the end, I would cry. Not because the ending was particularly sad — but because I didn't want it to be over. For as long as I can remember, it's been one of my favorite stories.

To me, so many parts of the movie (and book), symbolize overcoming insecurities and mental illness.

Dorothy strives to return home. Yet, as Glinda the Good Witch tells her, she's had the power all along. All she had to do was click the heels of her ruby slippers together three times.

The Scarecrow wants a brain, the Tin Man a heart, and the Lion courage. Yet the Scarecrow demonstrates that he has a lot of common sense and knowledge, the Lion frequently acts in the face of fear, and the Tin Man is the most kind-hearted character of them all.

(image)Yet, none of the characters have this confidence in themselves and so they miss seeing that they already have what they yearn for.

So many times we compare ourselves to others. And, in doing so, we miss seeing the great qualities we already have.

Maybe you see models in magazines and wish you were beautiful like them, all the while not seeing how beautiful you already are. Maybe you feel so lonely and unwanted that you miss seeing how many people really do love you.

Or maybe when you're in the middle of a panic attack, a bout of depression, etc. you feel weak and wish that you were brave. And so you don't see that getting up every morning and surviving each day feeling the way you're feeling   that is true courage.

Remember, "You've always had the power." You are beautiful (or handsome). You are smart. You are loved. You are brave. You can do anything you set your mind to. All you have to do is believe in  yourself.
A Simple Man

My cousin, Bob died last week.  He was what is often described as a simple man.  Bob wasn't famous.  He didn't have a fancy job title.  He liked to fish and to ride his motorcycle.  He loved his dogs.  He raised his daughter in the same city where he grew up.
 


 


I grew up in that city too.  Aunt Jean's house was a five minute bike ride away.  Bob was several years older than me.  He had a way about him, sort of, hey, you may never need my help but I'm watching out for you.  Chivalrous.






As adults, we saw each other now and then.  Bob always seemed glad to see me, to talk to me.
 





Now living two hours away from that hometown, I made the drive for Bob's funeral.  His wife of  31 years, now a widow, stood at the side of Bob's casket.  I hugged her.  "Roseanne, I'm so sorry."  Words that don't seem adequate.  Many people said those same words.  There really isn't anything else to say.  Still, it matters to say them.






A scene from a movie keeps playing in my mind.  Students at the New York ballet academy are walking down a hallway following the first class of the semester.  One girl who performed badly in class, says, "I swear I'm better than that.  I'm just so nervous."  Another girl says, "don't sweat it.  First day doesn't count, OK?"  Another girl, a veteran of the academy says, "everything counts here."






There were lots of  people at Bob's funeral.  Many of them were weeping.  This simple man touched many lives.  






Everything counts here.







Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?

O Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tent?
    Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?
 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
    and speaks truth from his heart;
 who does not slander with his tongue,
    and does no evil to his friend,
   nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 who does not put out his money at interest,
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
 
- Psalm 15:1-5

Registration open for Jason Thompson Baseball's Fall Baseball League in Auburn Hills
Registration for the Annual Fall Baseball League in Auburn Hills, run by Jason Thompson Baseball, is open now through Aug. 7.

The league is for players ages nine to 18 (split into five age divisions) and runs from Aug. 20 to Oct. 16.

A registration form and more info can be found at jasonthompsonbaseball.com, or you can register over the phone at 248-853-2255. Jason Thompson Baseball is owned and operated by former Detroit Tigers first baseman Jason Thompson, a three-time MLB All-Star.

Cost is $175 for one player, or $155 per person for a whole team (11 or more players).
Mysterious Critter Alert!

The sighting occurred a couple weeks ago, just before daylight, out this window.  The creature was strolling casually along the edge of the mowed area.  It vanished into the tall grass beyond the trees.







Description 

dark brown in color
fluffy tail
approximately 3 feet in length, including tail
small head
small ears
beady eyes
big feet
looks like a skinny badger
aura of malevolence







The identity of this animal is most probably a fisher.





Fishers belong to the family Mustelidae, along with badgers, ferrets, minks, otters, sables, wolverines.

Some Fisher Facts

-coat thick and lush, dark brown to black in color
-  4-15 pounds
-  29-47 inches long, including tail
-  range 3-5 square miles
- solitary hunters:  rabbit, mouse, grouse porcupine, carrion
- populations dwindled about 100 years ago due to trapping (fisher fur is similar to mink)
-  fisher populations are larger now
- most active at dusk and dawn
-  able to climb trees but spend most of their time on the ground.  However, young are raised in hollow trees high off the ground






  Have there been other fisher sightings here at the homestead?  No.  But that's probably due to fisher stealth.






Read more about the Fisher here.
Stephen King: 'Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us.'
Anyone who has ever suffered from a mental illness can especially relate to what author Stephen King says — "Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win."

Sometimes mental disorders do feel like a monster living inside of our heads, trying to overtake us.  And, when someone loses their life to suicide, that's when the monster wins.

For the longest time, I couldn't watch scary movies or read horror novels because they felt too real and would make my anxiety spin out of control.

While some kids thought a monster was living under their beds, for me, it felt like a monster was following me around everywhere I went. This monster manifested in night terrors, an irrational fear of death, the walls closing in on me, and a racing heart.

I couldn't comprehend what was happening. So, in my 6-year-old mind, I thought that it was a monster, a demon or a ghost that was with me, causing me to feel that way.

Cut to today, where my favorite TV shows are "The Walking Dead" and "American Horror Story" and I'm halfway through reading "It" by Stephen King. Now that I have my anxiety under control and now that I understand what it is, horror stories don't scare me anymore.

Treatment became my wooden stake and my silver bullets. It gave me the tools I needed to overcome my monster. Now I know that I am stronger than the monster in my head. It didn't kill me, and I believe that I am a better person today for having battled it.

If you are struggling with mental illness, visit the National Alliance on Mental Illness' website for more information on finding a mental health professional. For those living in Michigan, call the nonprofit Common Ground at 800-231-1127 for a referral.

You are not alone. You don't have to lay down and let the monster win. There are so many options available and so many people who are willing to help if you just ask.
Winona Ryder: Being sensitive isn't a bad thing

I started watching Netflix’s “Stranger Things” this week. (I know, I know, most of you probably finished the whole season a month ago. So no spoilers, please!)

In the show, Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers is treated like she’s crazy and like she has to be handled with care or she’ll break. All because she’s emotional about the disappearance of her youngest son.

But, in that situation, what mother wouldn’t be? What’s so bad about being emotional?

In an interview with New York Magazine, Ryder said, “There’s a line in the show where someone says (of her character), ‘She’s had anxiety problems in the past.’ A lot of people have picked up on that, like, ‘Oh, you know, she’s crazy.’ And I’m like, ‘Okay, wait a second, she’s struggling.’ Two kids, deadbeat dad, working her ass off. Who wouldn’t be anxious?

I remember, when I was taking a course in Women’s Studies at Oakland University, our professor wrote down a list of adjectives that were stereotypically male or female. Some words associated with men were adventurous, ambitious, assertive, confident and strong. Women had words like affectionate, anxious, emotional, meek and needy. When asked which column seemed more positive, everyone in class said, “The male adjectives.”

Our teacher said, “Whether you’re male or female, you need traits from both of these columns to be a well-rounded person.”

It makes me sad that, when a man or woman is called “emotional” or “sensitive,” it’s usually an insult. But, in her interview, Ryder proudly stands up and, like her “Stranger Things” character, describes herself as “sensitive.”

“I am supersensitive, and I don’t think that that’s a bad thing,” said Ryder, who has publicly talked about her depression in the past.

She said that, instead, being emotional is a sign of the sophisticated processing of an intelligent, mature adult, according to New York Magazine.

I, too, consider myself "sensitive" (although I'm also strong and ambitious as well). And, my share of times, I've been criticized for being this way.

But I think being sensitive also makes me empathetic, a deep thinker, more creative, sincere, forgiving and a good friend. And these are things I wouldn't change for the world. So, next time someone calls you "sensitive" or "emotional," take it as a compliment. Like Winona Ryder says, it's not a bad thing.

Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 49

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  Today's question takes us to Cape Cod.  They are wrapping up their annual Yarmouth Summer Celebration.  Part of the fun includes 41 sand sculptures placed all around town.



One sculpture on display in front of a popular restaurant has spawned outrage.  The main complaint is that the sculpture is offensive.
What is this offensive sculpture?
Molly?



 
Jesus?
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.

Bryan?






Satan?
 
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 


Buddha?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.  OK.  It's not an offensive religious thing.

Cyndi?





Benjamin Franklin?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
Fluffy?
 
 
 
 
Ulyssies S Grant?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?
 
 
 
 
Plymouth Rock?
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.  OK.  It has nothing to do with offensive American history.
Molly?

 
 
 
 
A squirrel?
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?

 
 
 

A sand dollar?
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect. 
Cyndi?


 
 
 
A Black Lives Matter protester?
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Fluffy?




A police officer?
 



Hostmaster:  incorrect.  Must I give you a hint?!


 
 
 
Let's just go eat.
 

 
 
 
First, let's just go to the beach and
 build an offensive sand sculpture
 of Hostmaster.
 
 
 
 
 
 

I need a potty break.

 
 
Hostmaster:  sigh.  It was a buxom mermaid.  Her large breasts shocked some folks.




 
This is just another example of objectifying women.

 
 
 
 
Mermaids are mythical creatures, not women.


 
 
 
It makes sense that mermaids
have big boobs for buoyancy.


 
 
 
Where do mermaids go to the bathroom?
 




This round is over. 
Here's the story on Sandy the volumtuous mermaid.
 
 
 
 
Round 49
Fluffy/Molly  21
Bryan/Cyndi   19
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tattoos symbolizing mental health awareness
Last year, I got a semicolon tattooed on my inner ankle.

A semicolon symbolizes a sentence you could have ended but choose not to. The reason I got this tattoo was to remind myself that I'm part of a huge community of people that are going through the same thing. It's my badge of pride for getting through everyday and a reminder from my healthy self when I'm having a panic attack that this feeling won't last.

A few months later I got a tattoo of the words "Love Always" on the side of my foot." Love" is in my dad's handwriting and "always" is in my mom's. I got this because, when I'm having a panic attack, I feel alone and like no one loves me. At times like this, this serves as a reminder that, no matter what happens, I know there are two people who will always love me.

That's what I love about tattoos (to my parents' dismay) -- that it can serve as a reminder that you carry around with you everyday. For me, it's a reminder to be strong, to survive, and that things will get better. It's a reminder that I am not alone.

(image)Model/Actor/Director Travis Deslaurier has a tattoo on his upper arm that reads "That which does not kill me makes me stronger" and a tattoo on his forearm that says "Time to shine," which he got when he felt he needed to change his life.

He said this about tattoos: “Tattoos means a lot to me. I had a really tough upbringing. … I was struggling with depression. ... Tattoos helped me get through that. It helped me repair myself through all the struggles of life. … It’s like being reborn again." 

Here are more tattoos that people have gotten that symbolize overcoming their mental illness:



[<a href="//storify.com/monica_adele/mental-health-tattoos" target="_blank">View the story "Mental health tattoos" on Storify</a>]
Independence Day
(image)
Today we remember July 4, 1776
 
 
 
 
 


Let's read the Declaration
all the way through.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor
Man charged with murder for driving girlfriend to suicide
Do you think, if someone causes someone else's suicide, he or she should be charged with murder?

This is what is happening in Minnesota, where a man is being charged with murder for allegedly driving his partner to take her own life.

Huffington Post reports that Jessica Haban, 28, was both physically and emotionally abused for the last 10 years by her boyfriend, Long Vang, 34. He had thrown her head into a washing machine, pinned her underneath a coffee table, shattered a lamp over her head, and even caused a traumatic brain injury after punching her in the head last May. Although Vang was on court order to stay away from her after this incident, he still continued to call and text.

In December, Haban took her life and, earlier this month, Vang was arrested on murder, manslaughter and stalking charges.

Joseph Kennedy, professor of law at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told Huffington Post, “In common law, courts and judges decided over time that sometimes people were so reckless, so indifferent to human life, that it was functionally equivalent to intending to kill them."

One out of every four women who are victims of domestic violence attempt suicide, according to Suicide.org.

Abusers often contribute to their partner's mental health condition. The National Center on Domestic Violence, Trauma & Mental Health reports, "Many survivors who reported that their abusive partner called them 'crazy' and did things deliberately to make them feel 'crazy,' also reported that their partners threatened to undermine their credibility with authorities and discouraged or prevented them from getting help."

When a person is a victim of domestic abuse, telling them to "Just leave" is easier said than done. When a man makes a woman feel crazy, he undermines the way she feels and even makes her feel like the abuse is all in her mind or like she somehow deserves it. It's understandable how this manipulation and this constant fear could make a person lose the will to live, like it did for Haban.

I have no doubt in my mind that, if it wasn't for Long Vang, Haban would still be alive today. Like Haban's mother told The Daily Beast — this case isn't about payback. Instead it's about strengthen laws against abusers everywhere.

Currently only a small percentage of abusers are arrested for domestic violence. I hope that Haban's life and death can help change this before even more women die because of it.

If you or someone you know is being abused, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224. For Oakland County, Mich. residents, call 248-334-1274 or visit www.haven-oakland.org.

HAVEN is Oakland County’s only comprehensive program for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. For anyone who may be experiencing abuse, HAVEN wants you to know it's not your fault.

"Despite the confusing emotions you may be experiencing, there is one thing you can be sure of: There are people here to help you. The sooner you can get that help, the sooner you can regain control of your life."
Pop Culture Frenzy, Round 50

Welcome once again to Pop Culture Frenzy.  The other night there was a televised debate that wasn't really a debate.  The two candidates talked to Matt Lauer separately.  Whatever.



Our question. What's in her ear?

(image)

Cyndi?




It's nothing.  A shadow from light
 on the sound stage.  You haters are
 making  something out of nothing.



Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Molly?




 
Well.  Hillary must get bored easily. 
 I remember her saying snide things about people who
 bake cookies.  Maybe she is learning
 another language or working on a PhD. 



Hostmaster:  you are a perennial optimist. 
Fluffy?





Earwax?
  That might explain her balance problems!
 
 


Hostmaster:  incorrect.
Bryan?





It's an earpiece. 
 Someone is giving her the answers.
  An audio cheat sheet.





Hostmaster:  most likely correct. 







Maybe it's a hearing aid.
  Being under sniper fire can cause hearing loss.
 
 
 
 



Maybe she has ear mites!
Really big ear mites.
 
 
 


You haters are just looking to criticize her. 
 She is an accomplished woman!
 
 
 
 
 
Really?  Name an accomplishment.
 
 
 
 
She was Secretary of State.
 
 
 
 
 
Name one accomplishment during her tenure
 as Secretary of State.
 
 
 
 

She was a senator.
 
 
 
 
 
Name one accomplishment 
as Senator.
 
 
 
 
Hostmaster:  returning to the thing in her ear.  Any other thoughts?
 
 

 


 
 She wore, she wore she wore a yellow ear piece
 
 
 



She wore it to for the questions,
that were softballs anyway.  
 
 
 
 
 
 So ends another round with no winners.
 
 
 
 
 
Certainly not the American people.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Round 50
Fluffy/Molly  21
Bryan/Cyndi   19
 
 
 
 
 
A Simple Man

My cousin, Bob died last week.  He was what is often described as a simple man.  Bob wasn't famous.  He didn't have a fancy job title.  He liked to fish and to ride his motorcycle.  He loved his dogs.  He raised his daughter in the same city where he grew up.
 


 


I grew up in that city too.  Aunt Jean's house was a five minute bike ride away.  Bob was several years older than me.  He had a way about him, sort of, hey, you may never need my help but I'm watching out for you.  Chivalrous.






As adults, we saw each other now and then.  Bob always seemed glad to see me, to talk to me.
 





Now living two hours away from that hometown, I made the drive for Bob's funeral.  His wife of  31 years, now a widow, stood at the side of Bob's casket.  I hugged her.  "Roseanne, I'm so sorry."  Words that don't seem adequate.  Many people said those same words.  There really isn't anything else to say.  Still, it matters to say them.






A scene from a movie keeps playing in my mind.  Students at the New York ballet academy are walking down a hallway following the first class of the semester.  One girl who performed badly in class, says, "I swear I'm better than that.  I'm just so nervous."  Another girl says, "don't sweat it.  First day doesn't count, OK?"  Another girl, a veteran of the academy says, "everything counts here."






There were lots of  people at Bob's funeral.  Many of them were weeping.  This simple man touched many lives.  






Everything counts here.







Who Shall Abide in God’s Sanctuary?

O Lord, who shall sojourn in thy tent?
    Who shall dwell on thy holy hill?
 He who walks blamelessly, and does what is right,
    and speaks truth from his heart;
 who does not slander with his tongue,
    and does no evil to his friend,
   nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
 in whose eyes a reprobate is despised,
    but who honors those who fear the Lord;
who swears to his own hurt and does not change;
 who does not put out his money at interest,
    and does not take a bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things shall never be moved.
 
- Psalm 15:1-5

Then There Were Two

It began just over a year ago.





They grew.






Things were going swimmingly.  That is, till the year old boys' hormones kicked in.





Six drakes and two ducks makes for- if you'll forgive the phrase- violence and sloppy seconds.  The girls were abused, stressed out.  They stopped laying eggs. 






Not only that, the boys were fighting amongst themselves.  Thuggary.  Missing feathers.  Unpleasantness all around.







Sometimes homesteading gets gritty.  Five of the six drakes were dispatched. The best time to process a duck is when they first feather at about six months.  At that point, they have tender meat and nice juicy baby fat. 






Year old ducks are a bit leaner.  Still, quite tasty.






Which drake was spared the roasting pan, you ask?  The one that was most vigilant.  When the flock separated, he would stand in between the two groups and keep an eye on both at the same time.  Happy bonus.  He's the prettiest drake.



(image)
















Then there were three,  Poofhead and the two girls: little white duck and little brown duck.





 Then, more trouble.  The remaining ducks got just a bit too free in their free ranging.  They wandered into the woods.  There are predators lurking there.  Poofhead failed in his vigilance.






Then there were two.  From now on, free range is only a memory. 
Independence Day
(image)
Today we remember July 4, 1776
 
 
 
 
 


Let's read the Declaration
all the way through.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
The unanimous Declaration of the thirteen united States of America,
When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.--Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States. To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.
He has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public good.
He has forbidden his Governors to pass Laws of immediate and pressing importance, unless suspended in their operation till his Assent should be obtained; and when so suspended, he has utterly neglected to attend to them.
He has refused to pass other Laws for the accommodation of large districts of people, unless those people would relinquish the right of Representation in the Legislature, a right inestimable to them and formidable to tyrants only.
He has called together legislative bodies at places unusual, uncomfortable, and distant from the depository of their public Records, for the sole purpose of fatiguing them into compliance with his measures.
He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly, for opposing with manly firmness his invasions on the rights of the people.
He has refused for a long time, after such dissolutions, to cause others to be elected; whereby the Legislative powers, incapable of Annihilation, have returned to the People at large for their exercise; the State remaining in the mean time exposed to all the dangers of invasion from without, and convulsions within.
He has endeavoured to prevent the population of these States; for that purpose obstructing the Laws for Naturalization of Foreigners; refusing to pass others to encourage their migrations hither, and raising the conditions of new Appropriations of Lands.
He has obstructed the Administration of Justice, by refusing his Assent to Laws for establishing Judiciary powers.
He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone, for the tenure of their offices, and the amount and payment of their salaries.
He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harrass our people, and eat out their substance.
He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the Consent of our legislatures.
He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil power.
He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws; giving his Assent to their Acts of pretended Legislation:
For Quartering large bodies of armed troops among us:
For protecting them, by a mock Trial, from punishment for any Murders which they should commit on the Inhabitants of these States:
For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world:
For imposing Taxes on us without our Consent:
For depriving us in many cases, of the benefits of Trial by Jury:
For transporting us beyond Seas to be tried for pretended offences
For abolishing the free System of English Laws in a neighbouring Province, establishing therein an Arbitrary government, and enlarging its Boundaries so as to render it at once an example and fit instrument for introducing the same absolute rule into these Colonies:
For taking away our Charters, abolishing our most valuable Laws, and altering fundamentally the Forms of our Governments:
For suspending our own Legislatures, and declaring themselves invested with power to legislate for us in all cases whatsoever.
He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us.
He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.
He is at this time transporting large Armies of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny, already begun with circumstances of Cruelty & perfidy scarcely paralleled in the most barbarous ages, and totally unworthy the Head of a civilized nation.
He has constrained our fellow Citizens taken Captive on the high Seas to bear Arms against their Country, to become the executioners of their friends and Brethren, or to fall themselves by their Hands.
He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.
In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms: Our repeated Petitions have been answered only by repeated injury. A Prince whose character is thus marked by every act which may define a Tyrant, is unfit to be the ruler of a free people.
Nor have We been wanting in attentions to our Brittish brethren. We have warned them from time to time of attempts by their legislature to extend an unwarrantable jurisdiction over us. We have reminded them of the circumstances of our emigration and settlement here. We have appealed to their native justice and magnanimity, and we have conjured them by the ties of our common kindred to disavow these usurpations, which, would inevitably interrupt our connections and correspondence. They too have been deaf to the voice of justice and of consanguinity. We must, therefore, acquiesce in the necessity, which denounces our Separation, and hold them, as we hold the rest of mankind, Enemies in War, in Peace Friends.
We, therefore, the Representatives of the united States of America, in General Congress, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the Name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly publish and declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States; that they are Absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as Free and Independent States, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which Independent States may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor
5 Reasons You Need to Prevent Work Depression (and How to Do it)
By Emily Johnson
Meant to Live Guest Writer

A work environment is a place where failures often happen. Developing communication with the employee, colleagues, and clients, taking challenging tasks, meeting rough deadlines are just a few reasons how people face the work depression.

Even if you believe that these failures don't play a big role, you'd better take a look at the list of reasons that prove: preventing the work depression is a must.

Top 5 Reasons:

1.The work depression reduces the work performance and you spend more time on doing even simple tasks.
2.It negatively affects your well-being and you feel sad.
3.It causes insomnia which is bad for your health.
4.It provokes poor concentration.
5.It destroys your motivation and it's nearly impossible to achieve success in the career growth.

To stay competitive in your niche, win new clients, increase your income, and keep on moving toward achieving career goals, you need to learn how to prevent the work depression. Once you know how to fight it without making much effort, you can work using your potential.

If you're about to start fighting the work depression, pay attention to the infographic by OmniPapers below:

(image)
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About the Author


Emily Johnson is a writer for OmniPapers and contributor for many sites on health and productivity. You can always find more works of hers on Twitter: @emilyjohnson322.


August Blahs

All the wild raspberries and wild blackberries have been picked.  The rewards for venturing out and sweating like a horse are different than they were a month ago.




August has always been my least favorite month.  As a kid, it was because school would be starting soon.  As an adult, it is because here in southern Michigan, August is the month most likely to offer conditions closely resembling an Amazon Rainforest. 





Still, there are some pleasant things about August.  Remove the bra, wring it out, step into the cool house and from the window, watch a doe and her twin fawns scrounging for apples.





Come to think of it, I haven't had that much moisture under my top since the peak of menopausal hot flashes.  Bah.  Let's return to some nice things about August.






Maybe the Lake Effect goes on vacation in August to rest up before snow time.





Snow is nice. 







Happy August everybody!


 
 
 
Nature walks can help reduce symptoms of anxiety, depression
 Those suffering from a mental illness shouldn’t have to just grin and bear it. There are many different options for treatment.

Prescriptions, alternative medicine, diet, exercise. Different treatments work for different people, and there is no right or wrong way to survive each day.

One proven (and free) treatment is just to walk outside. Studies have shown that interacting with nature can improve cognition for individuals with depression and that proximity to green space has been associated with lower levels of stress.

This is what Caitlin Renton of West Bloomfield does to combat her anxiety. 

(image)A few years ago, Renton began taking nature walks on a regular basis after she realized it helped her get through her week.

"Taking a stroll through the woods calms my nerves, even on trails I've walked a million times," she said.

Kensington Metropark, 4570 Huron River Parkway, Milford, is one of Renton's favorite getaways.

"It's so big, so there are always new places to explore and I never get sick of it. I love seeing the sandhill cranes that are always there because they're not afraid of people, and the chipmunks will eat right out of your hand," she said. 

"It calms me, being able to peacefully co-exist with the wild animals."

She said that animals, whether wild or pets, are wonderful therapy. 

"When an animal like a duck or goose acknowledges me without being afraid, it puts a smile on my face," she said. "And, when I'm having a bad day, my cats and dog always cheer me up. Without a doubt, they know when I'm upset and they try to make me feel better."

Here are some other health benefits associated with going outside, according to research: 
  • Improved attention span
  • Increased Vitamin D production
  • Lower heart rate
  • Boost in serotonin 
  • Improved sleep
So take a page from Renton's book, and get outside! 

"People who are suffering from anxiety could greatly benefit from taking nature walks because it can satisfy their curiosity and take their mind off things. Instead of nitpicking and obsessing over something that didn't go right, they might actually focus on the now."
Mysterious Critter Alert!

The sighting occurred a couple weeks ago, just before daylight, out this window.  The creature was strolling casually along the edge of the mowed area.  It vanished into the tall grass beyond the trees.







Description 

dark brown in color
fluffy tail
approximately 3 feet in length, including tail
small head
small ears
beady eyes
big feet
looks like a skinny badger
aura of malevolence







The identity of this animal is most probably a fisher.





Fishers belong to the family Mustelidae, along with badgers, ferrets, minks, otters, sables, wolverines.

Some Fisher Facts

-coat thick and lush, dark brown to black in color
-  4-15 pounds
-  29-47 inches long, including tail
-  range 3-5 square miles
- solitary hunters:  rabbit, mouse, grouse porcupine, carrion
- populations dwindled about 100 years ago due to trapping (fisher fur is similar to mink)
-  fisher populations are larger now
- most active at dusk and dawn
-  able to climb trees but spend most of their time on the ground.  However, young are raised in hollow trees high off the ground






  Have there been other fisher sightings here at the homestead?  No.  But that's probably due to fisher stealth.






Read more about the Fisher here.
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