Monday, June 29, 2009

Future Nobel Laureate

Recently I started teaching Sunday school to a dozen or so pre-K and Kindergarteners. I’ve never really spent much time with a bunch of 4-6 year olds all at the same time, so it’s been quite an educational experience as well as loads of fun.

Not to brag or anything, but my pupils are brilliant. I’m convinced one of my students is a sheer genius.

Boy laureate arrived a few minutes early to class last Sunday so I took the time to ask him a few questions to get to know him better. It was during this question and answer time that I discovered just how intelligent he really is. Somehow we managed to get on the topic of birthdays and I asked him if he knew his birth date. He confidently told me that he had his birthday already on March 36th. “Are you sure it was on the 36th? I asked him. He thought about it for a few moments. “No, I turned 6 so my birthday was on the 6th”, he corrected himself. “Next year when I turn 7, it will be on March 7th and the year after that it will be on March 8th”

So, I started thinking...if I use his method to determine my age by adding a day to each month starting after my 31st birthday, I’m a ½ year younger. I’m actually aging slower than I thought.

I think someday the Nobel committee may want to award my star pupil the Nobel Prize in medicine for his discovery on how to decrease the aging process.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Imagine If...

While walking to my front door one evening, I saw this interesting little toad just hanging out. Since it’s been a while since I’ve seen toads rather than snails plastered along the sidewalk, I decided to grab my camera and observe it for a while. I suppose I could make up some bizarre story about this toad, but I’m not feeling the urge to do that right now.

However, there were two things that fascinated me by this little creature. I was amazed that the little guy had the intelligence to hang out by the lamp to catch his prey. At first I thought he was just enjoying the lamplight until I realized he was hunting for dinner by patiently waiting for the bugs to be drawn towards the light. He’s a masterful little bug catcher and impressively quick with his tongue. Second, I thought how great God is that he made bugs, toads and other creepy things small so we couldn’t see the details of their warts, spines, teeth, etc and be scared to death. Imagine if toads, beetles, spiders, and other insects were the size of a horse. I don’t know about you, but I’d be afraid to go outside.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Things That Confuse Me - Part 1

A few months ago I had the pleasure of visiting friends in Texas during the spring where I got to witness first hand the blooming wild flowers and bluebonnets. For the life of me, I really don't understand why a bluebonnet called a bluebonnet when the bonnet part is yellow. Why isn't it just called a blueflower?

Friday, June 26, 2009

Random Observation #1

People with a lot of bumper stickers like to shop at Whole Foods? It really doesn't matter what city or state you live in, there's always going to be at least one car in the parking lot that has more than one bumper sticker. It's guaranteed that the car will have at least one sticker that contains one or more of the following words: "Peace", "Recycle", "Tree", "Earth" or "Obama".

Sunday, June 21, 2009

I Don't Understand Cats

Most people tend to be either dog or cat persons. Some are both, but generally speaking one usually prefers one species over the other. Being a dog person myself, I must admit cats confuse me. Living with a cat for the first time has been quite educational to say the least.

Ten things that confuse me about cats are:

1. Why don’t cats come when they clearly know I’m calling them?
2. When a cat wants to be petted why does it stand just out of arms reach and do the rub up against me/aren’t I cute/pet me ritual? How long do they think my arms are?
3. After petting a cat for several minutes, why do they find it necessary to take a chomp out of me?
4. Why do cats wipe their noses on me? Do I look like a box of tissue?
5. Is it possible to discipline a cat? They don’t seem to be that intelligent or capable of following direction.
6. If cats know they’re going to barf up fur balls, why don’t they find a different way to groom themselves?
7. When cats talk, why do they sound so pathetic?
8. Do cats think of anything besides: feed me, pet me, play with me, I have to poop, or leave me alone, I’m sleeping?
9. Are cats really loyal? As far as I can tell, they’ll bond with whoever feeds them?
10. Why do cats feel it’s necessary to leave fresh kill just outside your bedroom door? Is it supposed to be a gift or a bragging trophy?

If you’re the kid of person who likes predictability in pets then stick with dogs.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Snake Repellant

In addition to being a freak magnet, I am a natural repeller of snakes. St. Patrick also had this gifting and I consider it to be an honor to be in the same league as him. Since I don’t particularly care for snakes, I’m really glad God has blessed me with this gift.

In all the years I hiked and biked on the trails in the southwest, I never encountered a rattlesnake despite the numerous warnings. In fact, if you’re worried about running into a snake, ask me to join you in your outdoor adventure and it’s guaranteed you won’t see one.

Despite my dislike for snakes, I did attend the Rattlesnake Roundup in Brownwood, Texas a few years ago. It’s a bizarre event where insane cowboys get into a cage full of rattlesnakes and see how many they can put in a bag in the allotted time period. Truthfully, I wasn’t interested in the snakes as much as wanting to answer the question “Do snakes really taste like chicken?” To my dismay there were no snake kabobs or snake anything to eat.

Honestly, snakes are something I never think to be worried about coming into contact with since I know I’m a natural repellant. Last week I was pulling weeds in an attempt to get a garden started. I accidentally stepped on a snake and thought I killed it. I ignored the snake and continued to pull weeds. Several minutes later, I noticed the snake had disappeared. The snake had faked its death in order to get away from me! A couple of days later I was turning over the soil with a pitchfork and out came the snake attached to the end of my pitchfork…snake kabob. No I didn’t eat this one, but I did put it on display for the other snakes to see. Unfortunately some bird or animal stole it.

So you see, snakes really don’t stand a chance with me.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Bee Chronicles – Part 4. Pests or Pets?

I’ve grown quite accustomed to being greeted by Scout each morning as I sit out on the deck and read. I find myself being disappointed if he’s not out there to greet me. I think we’ve come to a mutual understanding as far as human and bee brains can connect. We’ve decided to share the back deck in harmony. On most days, I’m able to enjoy my morning word time without interruption. Occasionally, he may slip up, but a quick swat with my bible is all he needs to remind him of our arrangement. Surprisingly, it took only a couple of days for Scout to succumb to my authority. I have to give his little bee brain credit for being a fast learner.

I’ve come to think of them as my backyard, no maintenance pets. I don’t have to feed or pet them. They go to bed when it’s dark and stay inside when it’s raining. However, they do leave their wood shavings lying around and I do end up picking up after them. And every so often, I find it necessary to bang on the railing to wake them up.

For bees' sake, I’m sure glad my landlord decided to do nothing about my destructive little pets so I can enjoy them for a little while longer.

Bee Chronicles – Part 3. One, Two, Three, Ready or Not, Here I Come

Where are you hiding little bees? You must be somewhere close because Scout is very agitated with my search. His supersonic flybys have become more frequent. Maybe the best approach is to sit and observe for a while. Sooner of later one of you are bound to get impatient and give up your secret hiding place. I must admit, your incredible speed makes it nearly impossible for me to see where you’re coming from. However, I noticed that you seem to disappear somewhere around the deck railings.

What’s that I see, wood shavings? What sneaky little buggers you are. You drilled your holes beneath the railing so I wouldn’t see the entrances to your hives. Wow, there are a lot of holes! You’ve drilled holes around the entire perimeter of the railing, the deck table and chair. There are a lot more of you than I originally thought.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Bee Chronicles – Part 2. Who’s Really in Control of My Patio?

Carpenter bees I’ve discovered are territorial little buggers and can be quite aggressive when their space has been infringed upon. Before I head outside I scan the patio hoping to catch a glimpse of any would be dive-bombers. Oddly enough I never see any attack bees until I step foot outside the sliding glass door. I think they have quite sophisticated little bee radar and are secretly spying on me. Luckily, the most I’ve seen at any one time is four. Generally, there’s only one or two bee scouts to greet me. I’ve learned that intimidation is the scout’s preferred method of trying to get rid of me. They fly within a couple of feet of my head and try to stare me down. If that doesn’t work, they wait for me to get distracted and look away. Then at supersonic speeds they buzz within inches of my head, making me think that they’re going to hurt me. Well, I’m not intimidated by their intense stares or close flybys, but they are definitely intimidated by my swats.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Bee Chronicles – Part 1. What are Those Flying Buzz Saws?

Until recently, I never heard of carpenter bees. The first time I saw one, I thought it was a bumblebee on steroids and then I began to wonder if it was even a bee at all. The flying pests attacked but never stung.

As I was discussing my fascination of these mutant flying insects to a friend of mine, she quite matter of factly told me they were carpenter bees. Carpenter bees, did I hear right? What does a carpenter have to do with bees? Don’t bees like flowers?

I was told they are called carpenter bees because they make their nests by tunneling in wood. Cool, first mice, now bee termites.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Human Dominates Creepy Things

Since moving to New England each new season has brought it’s own unique battle with creatures I haven’t been accustomed to dealing with in a very long time. I’m happy to say that I am utterly victorious in each of these battles. Five creepy and flying things I’ve taken dominion over are:

1. Mice – a.k.a. poaching fur balls. Although cute and furry, I preferred not to have them as roommates, especially since the freeloaders ate my food and stayed up all night making noise. Sadly for them, I had to give five of them a permanent eviction from life as well as my house. See mousecapades for further details.

2. Carpenter Bees – a.k.a. flying buzz saws. Fortunately, I didn’t have to a extinguish these outside housemates. We came to a mutual understanding of who was really in control of the back patio. On the few occasions when they tested my authority, a gentle swat with my bible was all I needed to get them under control. I have to say, their little bug brains are quick learners.

3. Mosquitoes – a.k.a. flying, itchy, lymes. I’ve taken to squashing every mosquito I see and declaring my body to be a mosquito, tick, spider, bee, and poison ivy free zone.

4. Ticks – a.k.a. blood-sucking, hard-to-smash, defiant specks. Four ticks in one day was enough for the rest of my life. I haven’t seen one since I made that statement. However I still have the hickey the first tick left on my neck two weeks ago.

5. Brown Snakes – a.k.a. garden-dwelling, insect-eating, sunbathing, giant worms. Pretty harmless and easy to kill. Stick a pitchfork in the ground….voila, snake kabob!