Saturday, September 3, 2016

For the Love of Nature: The Dragonfly

For the Love of Nature:  The Dragonfly
Copyright 2016, by Lori-Ann Willey


My Setting
In the late afternoon air, I sat and faced the gentle mountain breeze.  With my legs dangling over the aged, rough-cut dock boards, they hovered a couple of feet from the water’s surface.  My hands rested loosely and lazily upon my lap.  Nonstop, my eyes scanned the skies looking for a break in the clouds. The break, large or small, it didn’t matter.  My goal was simple.  With a clean-slated mind, I hoped that a writing topic would present itself in some way, shape or form. The color blue, once again escaped my view …the sky was cloud-filled, a solid layer of textured gray of varying shades met my eyes no matter their direction.  The clouds, once again, hastened darkness before it was due. 

August 31st is the date, but I did not need a calendar to tell me that the sun is “drifting” further and further away, lingers less and less, or that the days are shorter, cooler.  The calendar does not tell the plants when their lifecycle is complete, nor tell the critters when to prepare for the long winter months ahead. The calendar is a human thing. Mother Nature has a calendar of her own, and she does not depend on the inventions of two-legged critters we call humans.

I watched as the sky grew dimmer by the minute.  Nighttime was imminent.  The sun, always in singular form, the sky, too, has no boundaries, just obstacles of interruption, both man-man and nature-made.  That sun remained hidden much of the day, so she was not expected, nor missed come time for sunset.  It took those clouds -vast, bulbous, and gray-  all day to combine into the solid mass I saw before me …above me.

Light streaks of rain lined the sky that partially obscured the mountain from view.  With intent, or maybe not, the rain visually changed the landscape before me.  Almost instantly, Mt. Katahdin transformed.  No longer did she look alive, colorful, or picturesque. Instead, her appearance was one of a black and white sketch of well-placed diagonal lines, uniform, and perfect -a photo opportunity that I did not take advantage of.  If I had, it would have defeated the purpose of my sit.  

Instantly, I visualized the underwater world of long slender grasses as seen so many times while I snorkel.  There is such beauty there …underwater, that is.  At the same time, the rain-streaked sky offered its own beauty …just a different kind is all.  Differing in color, whether it be streaks of rain in the sky, wavering grass in the water currents, or the exposed fine-haired tree roots that reach for a nearby water source.  It didn’t matter. Nature is intriguing in all ways. In my mind, I link nature to people life in so many ways.  Both are beautiful. However, none of those were considered writing topics at the moment.  All that, was "just" the setting in which I sat waiting for a topic.

My Topic
Today, I thought about relaying my love of nature to those who cannot readily experience it as I can.  Hence, the start of a new blog series titled, “For the Love of Nature”.  My hope is to somehow, even for just a few minutes, bring you into my world, to tell you about my love for nature and all that she holds dear, for all that she protects …her own trials and tribulations of sorts. 

I could pull a million and one topics from a dozen or more hats, and then, further “go with the flow” of memories and experiences I’ve had over my 50 years on Earth.  Instead, I sat on the dock and waited for Mother Nature to present herself in an unsuspecting way.  I was prepared for a long sit.  However, I hadn’t sat for more than two minutes when the wings of a large dragonfly fluttered around my head.  It nabbed an insect too minute to see without a pair of “Grammy-Glasses” upon my nose. Instantaneously, my mind flashed through dozens of thoughts and memories.  I knew then, that the first entry in this blog series would be about dragonflies!

True Love Begins with a Story
As the large late summer dragonfly darted about the area, I thought about how, weeks ago, it had mated.  I envisioned their preferred egg-laying habitat and conditions, too.  Then, when the eggs hatched, how each egg, if not already fallen victim of pray, is now in the nymph stage.  Those dark-colored nymphs hide under rocks, in dead or dying vegetation, under or inside logs, too. Once in a while, I see them use the slow moving current to aid their travels about the area.  Either way, the bottom of the lake is where they feast upon living things smaller than themselves.  

The parent dragonfly that flew past me now lives its daily life as it waits to die.  Hours, days, or weeks, like humans, the dragonfly doesn’t know its exact lifespan either.  As the dragonfly continued darting around, nabbing one insect after another, I was drawn to my childhood years to a time when I was intimidated by the same insects that I now treasure.  As a kid, their bodies looked like thick, dull needles ready for the piecing of my flesh.  Their big eyes and long helicopter-like wings that sounded like shredded paper flapping in the wind never bothered me.   It was that needle-like tail that I watched with full intent!  It probably didn’t help any that my grandmother referred to them as darning needles that could sew up a holey sock faster than she could!

Nowadays, my love and appreciation for dragonflies is immense, and it all started one early morning about 20 years ago.  After our now full-grown children boarded the school bus on one September morning, I walked through an area of unmown grass that was taller than I.  The morning was quite cold already, but it became considerably colder when the dew-wetted grass clung to my bare skin that found a way to grip me with each step.  I remember how surprised I was that the tip of each dilapidated grass blade wasn’t covered with frost that morning.

As I walked along with my camera in hand, I found that walking through that tall tangled mess was much easier if I used my free hand to part some sort of pathway.   Though my hope was for less skin contact with that wet grass, in reality, I was already cold and wet.  The chill that morning was greatly felt upon my bare arms and legs, and it didn’t help that the sun had not yet risen over the treetops at the other end of the field some 900 feet away.  In the shadows or not, in an instant, I was no longer cold the second I spotted a dragonfly resting upon my arm.  It was just as wet as I was.  The dew upon my arm was smeared, whereas the dew was beaded upon its cold, lethargic body.  At first, I thought it was dead. Without taking so much as another step, I closely examined the beautiful insect to ensure I had not caused it injury, or even death.

With my arms nearly dripping wet, light clothes, too, I stood and took several photographs of the dew-covered insect. All 30,000 (that is not a typo) eye facets were covered with several thick water beads, too.  I wondered if the cold little creature could see me through all that wetness.  If so, did I appear distorted through the water droplets?  I also wondered if all those facets were still able to move individually while wet, or did the water weight them down in such a way that they became more fixed?  Normally, each of those eye facets moves about individually. Therefore, they can see and watch  many different objects at the same time. They also help to give the dragonfly a constant 360-degree view. Given the conditions that morning, I wondered if they could they see anything at all?

I was sure that the heat from my arm was welcomed by the insect, and I was rather surprised that it was not long before he turned his head to look at me all curious-like …much like when a dog is spoken to, and then, waits patiently for a command.  The mommy in me wanted to wipe it dry but knew that would be an impossible task.  Instead, I found a more natural way.

As the sun worked upward, I rose my arm so the sun’s rays touched the dragonfly in a visible, yet invisible kind of way.  The glistening sun upon its wetted body was breathtakingly beautiful.  Each dewdrop sparkled as if made of precious gems, each laid, poised, and at such an angle as to cast a pinpointed light into any passersby eye. My goal was to help warm and dry the insect. In return, I was thanked by Mother Nature who ensured that I was mesmerized by her beauty through the dragonfly that morning.  To me, even after 20 or more years, the experience is still both story and picture worthy.

In order to hasten the warmth and drying process, I continued to walk through the cold wet grass until my arms and legs were numb from the cold. The dragonfly was no doubt warmer than I at that point because I kept my arm raised to give him the most sun possible. Trying not to allow the tall grass to swipe the fly from my arm, it took me several minutes to exit the area. 

By the time I reached the shorter grass, the dragonfly walked about my arm with ease.  We had both heated.  Once I reached the house, the sun was shining fully and brightly upon us.  I watched as the beads of dew grew smaller as time tick-tocked.  The cute little buggah became less lethargic-like, too.  I had no doubt, that he appreciated my body heat and the sun alike. 

When I reached the deck, I rested my arm in such a way as to encourage the dragonfly to crawl onto a drier surface.  Reluctant he was, but with little prodding movements, I unfairly encouraged him to either fly or step away from my heat.  It did not work.  The darning needle-like fly repeatedly climbed further onto my arm after each touch of the cold, damp deck board.  He wanted warmth, and I wanted a friend.  It was a win-win situation.

Those few moments touched the depths of my heart that morning, and to this day, I believe the appreciation went both ways, a communication of sort between a human sap and a very cold 6-legged insect. I stayed with the dragonfly until most of the water beads evaporated completely.  More and more he became more lively …more aware of his surroundings, too.  After flapping his wings a few times, I’m sure to finish ridding unseen dew drops of varying sizes, he flew away.  I was no longer needed.

After recalling the cherished memory above, immediately, my thoughts went to another memory. 

The Emergence!
One spring morning many years ago, again with camera in hand, I happen to be walking along a body of water looking for an intriguing photography specimen when I happened to see a dragonfly dangling from some sort of hard-shelled insect.  At first, I thought maybe the dragonfly was caught in a spiders’ web, as there were plenty of those along the water’s edge, too.  Upon closer inspection, I didn’t quite understand exactly what I saw.   Curious, I sat upon the ground and swapped camera lenses.  With a macro lens attached, I used it as a sort of high-end, funky-shaped magnifying glass.  Once up close and personal, I was amazed at what I saw!

Captivated beyond belief, I watched as a dragonfly pushed bodily fluids from his abdomen, thorax, and wings over the next couple of hours.  “Water” dripped from its posterior one very excruciating slow drop at a time.  There is usually a total of three drops from there alone.  Over the expanse of time, the wingtips partially filled with a clear, green-like gel that resembled a thin layer of lime-favored Jell-O on a sheet of plastic wrap resting upon a pane of glass.  The faint reflecting prism of colors was magnificent.  I captured hundreds upon hundreds of photographs of emerging dragonflies that day, and quite honestly, I would not be surprised if I snapped well over a thousand, even.  Though that may seem rather obsessive and maybe even a little bit impulsive, but hey, that is how you get some amazing photographs.  Or, at least that is how I do!

Dragonflies spend most of their lives underwater in the nymph stage of development.  There, they can stay in the nymph form for a few years, shedding their exoskeleton several times.  When the time is right, conditions, too, they emerge from the water and crawl up a tree, or onto a large rock, driftwood, etc. They find a place where the breeze helps their drying process, and their mud-colored exoskeleton is camouflaged to further protect themselves against prey.

When a suitable spot is found, their claw-like grip is strong and they hold steadfast.  Whether it be gripping to a ceiling-like structure or as if hugging a tree, their claws, though almost too small to see, stay gripped long after the dragonfly emerge.  Sometimes I’ll see an empty nymph casing still hanging firmly in place many months, or even a full year later.  To me, that is quite impressive given how powerful the obsessed winds, snow, and rains are here. 

As an adult, each dragonfly emerges in the same methodical order.  Gravity is a great thing, even for dragonflies.  The emerging process starts with a small whitish-colored X-shaped crack in the exoskeleton at the back of the nymph’s thorax.  It is from there that the dragonfly sees daylight for the first time as an adult.  From the center of the X, where the two angles intersect expands outward, an opening grows to the size needed for the dragonfly to emerge. Sometimes, that opening process is very slow, but then, there are other times when the gaped hole appears in a quick blink of the eye.  

That newly expanded opening is from where the dragonfly slowly emerges after several throb-like motions.  Each “throb” has a purpose.  The emerging process is slow, and if possible, I always make time to watch from start to finish.  The dragonfly had spent several years as a nymph, only to transform into something that looks totally different.  Imagine if your legs were folded up in an accordion style and squished into an exoskeleton 1/3 the length of your body, or if you had wings, how flattened and shriveled up they had to be to fit inside that same casing. In adult form, that is the cramped lifestyle each dragonfly must endure until it emerges.

With the aid of gravity, eventually, the new dragonfly emerges, head first, followed by the thorax, legs, and then, lastly, the abdomen.  Everything about the dragonfly is almost unrecognizable.  Every part of the insect is nearly flat, deflated far worse than Tom Brady’s footballs.  Even the eyes are dented, sometimes even wrinkled or creased. Honestly, there are many times, I wonder just how painful the entire transformation is on the poor things.  Sadly, I have to admit, that at times, though, not very often, I find a dead dragonfly partially emerged.  Mostly, those look like they were deformed or were subject to prey during the process of outing itself.  Without proper inspection and/or knowledge, it would not be fair for me to determine one over another.

The dragonfly “empties” the nymph exoskeleton head first, almost as if working its way out of a sock, and all with the help of gravity.  Once the head emerges, it dangles as if to use that weight to help pull the rest of itself from the same casing. Slowly, the thorax area comes into view. Attached to the thorax section are the legs and wings.  Everything is pressed and compressed snuggly.

At first, unless you know what you are looking for, the wings are unrecognizable.  They are all squished, wrinkled, and pinkish-gray-like in color. The thorax bulk also adds weight and helps aid that gravitational pull downward …and, in this case, outward from the exoskeleton, too. Lastly, the base of the abdomen starts to appear.   It is at this stage that I have my camera more so at the ready.

The dragonfly seems to halt in this position for a while …sometimes up to a half hour or more while it continues to prepare its body for the next step.  Meanwhile, the eyes slowly inflate, as does the thorax. The wings slowly grow longer and less wrinkled, too. Insects have six legs, and each of those starts to wiggle and pull away from the body a little bit at a time, in slow jerky-like movements that are impossible to photograph.

Close to a half hour later, the dragonfly starts to move its body more as more and more of the abdomen shows itself.  The wings, long, but still pleat-filled, they take on the look of pulled open window curtain.  They drape motionless.  Soon, the dragonfly appears as if doing stomach crunches. 

Typically, the movements are subtle at first with long pauses between each crunch. After a few partial crunches, it moves onto full sit-up motions. Usually, before the fifth full sit-up, the claws are gripped firmly around the opening from which it came.  Within seconds, the dragonfly pulls the remainder of its abdomen from the nymph casing. The adult dragonfly is born!

It is at this stage that the newly emerged dragonfly is totally defenseless against predators, and unfortunately, dragonflies take so long to “inflate” that they become easy prey for birds, small critters, spiders, and ants, too.  I have watched a few dragonflies meet their demise well before they are capable of making an evasive move or escape. Sometimes, even I become a safe haven for dragonflies that were taken by a gust of wind. I had a few that were not quite ready to fly, but would have enough movement to flap onto my hand, camera, or hair. I am always very willing to sit for as long as it is needed for them to fly away on their own after that.

The dragonfly continues to cling to the exoskeleton with all six claws while the body continues to inflate, and then, as I mentioned above, squeezes excess water from its posterior. I consider it somewhat like an internal after-birth, a flushing out the system type cleansing, but in reality, I have no idea how or why that excess fluid benefits the dragonfly.

Factors such as air humidity, temperatures, and the wind all determine how long before the newly emerged dragonfly is able to fly away.  Over the years, I watched the process take anywhere from two to four hours!  I have even seen deformities, a popped eye, a bent wing, and a missing leg here and there.  Nature is not perfect by far.

An Annual Tradition
Each spring I anxiously wait for the right conditions.  When met, I can be found slowly walking along the shoreline with camera(s) in hand looking for the wet mud-colored dragonfly nymphs.  When I see one, I find a comfortable, sometimes all too common uncomfortable, spot to sit and watch a beautiful dragonfly emerge.  Hours and hours I’ve spent, and hours upon hours I will continue to spend watching it all in complete awe year after year with my mouth, justah grinnin’.

Though the process is always the same, the “birth” of a dragonfly is nearly comparable to the sound of a laughing child.  Neither gets old. Both greatly cherished.  Equally, they leave you wanting more.  What a privilege it is to see such emerging’s so up close and personal-like.  How can one not be in awe over such things?

Time escapes me when I am outside observing nature.  To me, there is no better place to be than laying on the ground or sitting in observance of my woodland surroundings.  Many times, I spend at least a couple of hours or more doing nothing more than watching the sun dance with the swaying trees before me. To some, I see “nothing”, but to me, I see it “all”, for nature is never-ever nothing.

I do not know what my next topic will be, but I assure you, you will know when I do.

Find us on Facebook at Willey's Dam Camp.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Wicked Impressive Woman!

A Wicked Impressive Woman!
Copyright 2016 by Lori-Ann Willey

I’ve always been a sap. If someone cries, I’m teary-eyed with them. If someone is in pain, I’m cringing and holding my breath, too. It is just the way I’m wired, I guess. So, when I tuned on my laptop this morning and saw an article that read, Paralyzed Woman Hikes Appalachian Trail, I gasped in disbelief. I wondered the validity of the story, but nonetheless, I found myself sitting in front of my laptop with the story opened for reading. I’m such a sap for such inspirational, against all odds kind of stories.

My first question, other than wondering if the story was real or not, were questions like: How can she do that? She must have human aides helping her? Does she carry her own pack? How paralyzed is paralyzed? Those questions still go unanswered, but I figured if I followed her journey, I’d have my answers. 

Thankfully, I reminded myself that paralyzed is not the same as being a paraplegic. A paraplegic is what Paul is. Paraplegia is the loss of muscle function in the lower half of the body, including both legs. Paralyzed is partly or whole incapable of movement. Once I got that sorted out inside my head, I had a better “visual”, so to speak, but that didn’t matter. I was, and still am, very impressed with the woman I am about to introduce.

Ohio resident, Stacy Kozel is not only the subject of this entry, but she is A Wicked Impressive Woman, too! Two years ago, Lupus left Ms. Kozel paralyzed from the waist down. Despite no feelings in her legs, in 2014, with braces attached, she navigated Mt. Katahdin! That, is an impressive accomplishment! Now, with new style braces, she is hiking the entire Appalachian Trail. If you don’t already know, the trail starts in the state of Georgia and ends upon our beloved Mt. Katahdin in Maine. The same mountain that I photograph almost daily.

“My goal is to bring awareness to these braces and hopefully get more people out of wheelchairs and out exploring the world,” she wrote. “When insurance companies deny people due to ‘it is not necessary’, I hope my story will prove the opposite.” - Stacy Kozel

Reading those words sank my heart. I could relate in an able-bodied kind of way, and Paul can relate in a disabled-body kind of way. Paul is in a wheelchair, and he has Lupus, too. Thankfully, his lupus is in remission, but all his other medical issues are not. His daily life is a struggle with chronic symptoms. My daily struggle is watching him suffer with it all. Like always, instantly, my “Mommy Nurture Mode” kicked in while reading her story.

Little does Stacy admit in the article; her story brings more awareness than of those braces that she wears. Her story is one of determination, self-fulfillment, encouragement, stamina, and inspiration to name just a few words of awe off the top of my head. Her story triggers a wide array of emotions within me, too. I’ve seen the struggle in Paul and automatically felt her struggle. Empathy is both a blessing and a curse for me.

After reading through the article (Linked below), I felt the need to make sure you all know her story. Stacy is a perfect example of all that I “preach” to many. Life is filled with obstacles, but if we dig deep enough, hard enough, and for long enough, we can find a way to overcome, or at least, make the best of any situation. It may not be in a traditional manner, but does that matter? No. No matter the ability, or disability, with a determined mindset, you’ll be surprised just how much is possible in any given situation.

Like us, Stacy posts her story publicly. I can’t speak for her, but our story is an “open book”, so to speak. One phrase we’ve used many times is, if we can do it, so can you. Our struggles with Paul’s health and living off the grid make us stronger in a lot of ways. Some of you may think we are bonkers, but I, for one, understand Ms. Kozel’s mindset and I applaud it greatly! Her story, like so many, touched this sappy heart of mine. I feel it would be wrong of me to keep it to myself and not share it with you. Though her Appalachian journey will officially end at the summit of Mt. Katahdin, her overall journey is just getting started, and I have a feeling this won’t be the last time we read her name!

Hats off to you, Stacy!

Share this Inept Blog entry so others can follow and offer Stacy support, too!


Sunday, July 31, 2016

Where Did Bernie Go?

Where Did Bernie Go?
Copyright 2016 by Lori-Ann Willey

DISCLOSURE - These are my personal thoughts and opinions. No one has to agree or disagree. I simply ask that you show the same respect that I show you. Thank you.

DNC = Democratic National Convention
RNC = Republican National Convention

"Poor Bernie", and I meant it when I said that many days ago. However, since then, I’ve had somewhat a change of heart. I watched and heard Bernie’s passion magnify through the microphone during his speeches over the past few months. He was very passionate about his beliefs, and he had many supporters that believed in his passion as well. The man said all along that the political system is rigged. Donald Trump insists the same, as did a few other candidates.

WikiLeaks proved that both men, who were the most ardent in their accusations, are correct. The system IS rigged, or at least to a certain extent. I think it quite ironic, that yet another email system, was broken into, and not just recently, but at least for the past year or so. That, on top of the “loss” of so many of Mrs. Clinton’s emails, it appears that the hacker(s) may have been perpetrated, not by Americans, but by another country -a communistic country at that. 

Honestly, at first, after the WikiLeaks, I felt bad for Mr. Sanders and his supporters. Though I did not support all that he stood for, I could see why he won over so many of our American’s. He had passion. The same type of passion that Mr. Trump displays. Though some may disagree, to me, their styles were quite similar …their words, not so much. Either way, in today’s world, it seems if someone has passion then that means they must be “angry”. Both Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump were/are both considered “angry” people. Why, because they display passion? Stop the labels!

It is very sad and unfortunate that the self-proclaimed “outsider”, Mr. Sanders, was shoved out the system as he was. Who helped push him out? The same DNC committee that is supposed to be unbiased to all Democratic Presidential hopefuls. Case in point, a corrupt system. It is not just the chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman Schultz who was at fault, I guess there were emails from several others within the committee as well. Emails about religion, race, etc. I find it all a huge disgrace to all Americans, not just Mr. Sanders and his supporters, though they were directly targeted.

What somewhat confuses me, is that I found myself surprised that Mr. Sanders left the Presidential race so quickly and easily as he did. He knew the system was corrupt. He had proof. The world had proof, but he did not continue to fight against the corrupt system. Instead, he caved and left the presidential race. I have to wonder just what “someone” held over his head that he did not want exposed?

What I don’t understand either, is that after learning that he was indeed pushed (helped) out the door by corruptness, he turned his support to Mrs. Clinton, an obvious favorite in the DNC Committee. He supported Mrs. Clinton despite knowing that she hired Senator Debbie Wasserman Schultz as an honorary chairman of her 50-State program. She is the same Senator Schultz that was fired from the DNC Committee for corruptness against Mr. Sanders himself! Not to mention the 250 Sanders Delegates that walked away from the convention that evening. For some reason, he is a more gracious, more forgiving, more accepting, and a ‘bigger man’ than I would be. It would be interesting to learn just why he stepped down so easily. I thought he was against all the corruption? I thought he was passionate in his beliefs?

When, in a public arena, with media attending, Mr. Sanders asked his supporters to turn their support to Mrs. Clinton. As expected, his supporters outraged. They had every right to be angry. For months, Bernie reminded about the corruptness, now, he asked them to support it …to be a part of it? I’d be outraged if I were asked to be a part of a corrupt system, too!

If Mr. Bernie Sanders chose not to stand up against a corrupt system, how can he stand up for his supporters? I can understand, somewhat, Bernie’s stance, ‘for a better cause’, for a “unified party”, blah, blah, blah, but to condone the corruptness he so adamantly scorned? Maybe, I just don’t get it. 

Then, if that was not shocking enough, a few days later, Mr. Sanders reclaimed his Independence title again? So, he actually left the Democratic Party after literally handing over all his votes to Mrs. Clinton? To me, that is a wicked sell-out of all his supporters. They had a very good reason to be upset. What a slap in the face! I say that and I wasn’t even one of his handed-off supporters.

I have questions …a lot of them. What actually took place “behind the scenes” is anyone’s guess, but eventually, the truth will come emerge. I heard some of his supporters speculate that maybe Bernie was diagnosed with an illness. Maybe he was threatened. Maybe he was paid off. Maybe, like Mr. Trump states, he was tired. The maybes could go on forever, and it is not fair for any of us to suggest any one of them as fact. Maybe, we will never know. I guess it doesn’t matter much now anyways. Bernie left the race, left his supporters, and then, left the Democratic Party. In the end, Mr. Sanders chose what he considers, the better of two evils, Clinton over Trump. That seemed to be his bottom line. 

The word “defeat” is not one that is readily available in my vocabulary. So, a supporter of Mr. Sanders or not, I am greatly disappointed. 

Like so many of you, I stand for what is right, moral and just. So many brave men and women died, and will continue to die for the sake of our freedom and constitutional rights. That (our) freedom does not always come in a pretty bag or from coddling words. Nor does it stem from lies so easily sewn by some, or by their cover ups. That freedom comes from not only the delivery of the cold, harsh facts but from trusted words of courage and encouragement to seek change, to have the yearning that all are held accountable for upholding the laws of our great Constitution. Not to mention moral guidelines. The fact that no one person, or persons, no matter whom they are, is exempt from the laws is supposed to govern each and every one of us the same. No Mattah, No Mattah! 

Democracy means equality and fairness. It means we all have a voice and we should all use that voice to help this country more forward to better days. It is, however, not a permission to use corruption to scheme ahead in the world. Unfortunately, that kind of stuff is what democracy represents to so many people. The mentality of too many is, “If I can get away with it, I will, and if I can’t, then I will lie”. Democracy is a great thing when morals are considered! I have a voice. You have a voice. We all have a voice. We all have a right to use those voices and make choices, yes, but not for selfish reasons, but for the good of all. Not to slander each other or to see who can be the most degrading and get the loudest applause for those words! That is how I think anyways. 

With all that said, if I were a Mr. Sanders fan when he gave his votes away to Mrs. Clinton, I would have been upset that he dictated my vote for me. That was wrong. Instead, in his speech, he should have encouraged his supporters to vote with their hearts and mind, but he didn’t. I mean, he already gave his votes away, therefore dictating their choice for them. I didn’t like that, but maybe you see it differently than I do.

I understand Mr. Trump’s passion. I understood Mr. Sander’s passion, too. So many American’s are mistaking PASSION as anger and that frustrates me. Is that a fair assumption to make? No. It isn’t. Passion to me is determination and a heartfelt want to do better, to be better, to exceed expectations of yourself and of others. For, if this country, our Flag, as well as our citizens and non-citizens, are not worth the fight, or the passion, then what is? Who is? It is not an I nation, but a We nation. 

Mr. Sanders turned to the idea of a ‘greater cause’ -to have another Democrat in the White House. What happened to your fight against corruption? You fought hard to expose it, to rid it, now you support it? Huh? For the sake of “unification” of the Democratic party? Staunch is staunch, but that is just it. Bernie is NOT staunch enough to keep that Democrat party label after turning over his own supporters! Especially not if he so quickly adopted the Independence label again. So, why dictate your votes to the Democratic party? Do you despise, or fear, Trump that much? Is it because he, too, is an “outsider”, just not as much of an outsider as you say you were? Or is it because he does not have the political experience you do? Sometimes, lack of experience is a HUGE advantage, not a disadvantage. Lack of experience does NOT mean lack of effort or knowledge. Don’t so quickly dismiss that underdog until he, or she, dismisses themselves first.

My hope is that all the Mr. Sanders supporters actually realize WHY he so quickly adopted the Independence party again while still supporting the Democrats and the same ol’ system. By doing that, what is he REALLY saying? Is it, his own way of saying, “Don’t vote Democrat or Republican”? I don’t know the man, but that is what I take out of his quickness to claim Independent party. Again, I’m not a politician or political analyzer, but, I do have my own opinions and ponderings just as you do, but I bet a lot of self-proclaimed experts will jump all over this writing and tell me just how ignorant I am. Case in Point once again.

Back to the DNC Committee scandal for a moment. One woman at the DNC rally actually kept her hands, as if tied, behind her back and put a piece of tape over her mouth that read, "Silenced". She was upset that the Bernie Delegates went through the DNC attendees and told them to tone down the “Boo’s” when Mrs. Clinton’s name was mentioned. They were also told not to spew "Lock her up”. I understand the show of integrity, but where was that integrity when Bernie supporters had all those riots that went awry? Where was his dignity then, when he should have put a stop to it all, or at least tried? Aside from that, Mr. Sanders supporters were not only silenced, but they were cheated by the DNC committee. If that was not bad enough, their leader asked them to vote for corruption that helped push him out of the race, too? 

Are you saying, Mr. Sanders, that you do not want your supporters heard unless they agreed to support Mrs. Clinton? To not have a voice of their own? To not fight for you? Do as I say and do as I do? I am not a pawn of any political party, and if I were a Bernie supporter, I’d be quite upset. I believe that the act of silencing the supporters, for integrity purposes or not, lost him a great deal of respect in other ways, too. It is all a political game, and I’m afraid that Mr. Sanders is just another example of that. I guess, in a way, I can appreciate that, but in so many ways, I don’t. It just goes to show the corruptness all around. Yes, I am constantly shaking my head over this entire presidential campaign. I just don’t understand the moral aspects of their doings thus far. Maybe, I never will.

Don’t worry, I will voice my unhappiness about Mr. Trump and Mrs. Clinton, too, but neither will be today.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Appreciate Everything. Then, Appreciate More.

Copyright 2016 by Lori-Ann Willey


This morning was just one of those days when the rewards of our lifestyle were paid in full. The current world events only further encourage the topic of appreciation. Every time there is a tragic event, grand scale or not, we all have that sense of appreciation …relief, if you will, that whatever happened, did not happen to you or a loved one. That is natural. Unfortunately, we need tragedy to appreciate good fortune. Sad as that may seem, it is true.

When I awoke this morning, I realized the day had already started without me. Disappointed that I had slept past sunrise, I let out a long, slow sigh. I had missed the dawning of a new day that I so enjoy …the blackness that ever so slowly reveals such brightness and beauty around our small camouflaged camp nestled at the edge of this beautiful, cold-water lake. Paul was sleeping so soundly, that I watched, and then, waited for that shallow rise and fall of his chest. Only then, would I allow myself to slither stealth-like from the bed and out of the bedroom with ease.

After making my bladdah-gladdah, I walked toward the front side of the camp, flipped the wall switch to the up position, and then, turned on my laptop before I walked to the sliding glass door. That is my daily routine day in and day out. After I looked around for critters in waiting, I grabbed a couple of peanuts and slipped them into shirt. I needed two hands to operate the camera. The clouds over the mountain were unique this morning and they grabbed my attention. Before I snapped my second picture, a chippy trotted my way. Instinctively, I reached inside my top and pulled out two peanuts for the critter. While he took his time wetting them before he shoved each into his cheeks, I took the time to rub behind his tiny little ears with my fingertips.

While coffee “perked”, I was surprised that Paul was up and ready to face the day, too. I wondered if he realized what time it was. Neither is used to him up that early, but I always like when he is more vertical than horizontal for sure. Together, we enjoyed our first cup of coffee today. Usually, I take my time sipping the first cup, and then, wait to have my second coffee with Paul. After asking how he slept, and then, how he was feeling, I asked him about the latest France news. He told me the new death toll and then added, “more expected”. My heart sank even more. “UGH!” I spouted. “So sad”.

With much debate inside my head, I decided to dip into town this morning. Paul ordered me a new style full-faced snorkel mask, because the one I have started leaking last summer. A leaking mask is not so fun when water seeps quickly around the nostrils! Although he rarely goes swimming, himself, I encouraged him to spend the extra money and buy a mask, too … “just in case”. I will always encourage him to be more active if he can. I’m always ready with that “boot”.


The trip into town was not as dreaded as it usually is. Knowing Paul wasn’t going to travel with me today, I left with a small box in hand. “I’m going to stop to pick blossoms on the way back through”, is what I told him, but his mind was on other more important things, so I do not believe he heard me, though I know he saw the box. I knew that if I was gone longer than he expected, then he’d figure it out or message me via phone to make sure all was OK.


I stopped a few times on the way to town and studied the tiny patches of fireweed as I saw them. I not only wanted the fireweed blossoms, but navigation had to be easy and safe, too. My travel speed upon return was a faster one, because I already knew where I could stop and gather blossoms and where I couldn’t. I stopped at one spot, but upon approach by foot, I realized the blossoms stood on the other side of a poison ivy patch. Before that ivy patch was a large area of ripe wild strawberries, too! Upon closer inspection, I saw moose tracks that traveled through all three areas. As much as I wanted to pick a pint of ripened wild berries, that ivy oil would spread onto the plants as the moose trampled through. It was not worth the risk.


Further down the road, I came to the only jewelweed patch that was easily accessible. I only needed about a cup of blossoms, but I would pick as many as I could easily reach. While picking, I heard a moose approach to my left. The first thing I did was assess the air current. I grinned when it was from a direction that would not alert the moose of my human scent. Even still, the ground upon which I stood was soft from the recent rains so I took full advantage of that softness. Quickly, yet subtle-like, I worked my foot to loosen the soil in hopes to mask my scent a bit more in case the air currents shifted.

That decision was debatable, because, on the one hand, I wanted to mask my scent, but on the other hand, I know that wild animals, are attracted to freshly scuffed soil. I didn’t want to discourage the beast’s approach, but I did not want it stepping on my feet either. If the beast could not smell my human scent, maybe the smell of freshly dug soil would filter through the bull or cow’s nostrils and it would approach the area with a bit of caution. No matter what, there is always an element of surprise and unpredictability. Plainly put, one just never knows. My safest bet was to return to the truck and watch from there, but I wasn’t finished picking the blossoms yet. Therefore, like I have a habit of doing, I justified my decision to stay put.

It wasn’t long before the beautiful cow moose came into view about 30 feet from where I stood. I knew I was on a downslope and there was a mound between us, but as it was, I was head deep and nearly hidden. Luckily for me, the mound between the beast and I was covered by three to four-foot plants of a different type. The cow stopped at the edge of the woods with just her chest, neck, and head in view of me. Obviously, she had spotted me and didn’t think I was much of a threat to her. Still, I continued my blossom picking as I craned my head to see if she had a little calf to protect. If she did, it was either too small to see or it was hidden behind her bulkiness.

The cow stood motionless. I watched her ears. They stood tall. I tried to see the back of her neck. The hair laid beautifully flat. Her head remained in a normal curious posture. After about a minute, we deemed each other as no immediate threat. My box full. I had more than enough for jelly-making. To collect more would mean I would have to take a few steps in her direction and that was something I was not willing to do. Calf or no calf, I was not going to ruin her trust.

Before turning around, I asked, “Do you have a baby with you?” Then, without pause, I asked another question, “Am I picking your snacks, or are you just passing through?” She did not seem alarmed at my human voice, body shape, or slow movement. I wondered if the fresh scent of dirt at my feet confused her. She did not answer my questions, but she did twitch her ears in acknowledgment as I spoke. At that distance, I watched intently for any subtle change in her body language, and I listened very closely for any faint frog-like chirp sounds of warning to her baby if one was indeed near her. I was confident that it was safe to walk away. Every few seconds or more, I turned my head to the right just enough to see that she stayed put. After a few steps, I turned my head when I heard her hefty body snap a few limbs in movement. She had turned around just as I had. I was quite disappointed that I did not have either my phone or little camera in my pockets at the time. The pants I wore to town have loose shallow pockets and it was safer to keep my “toys” inside the truck and not lost somewhere in the thick plant growth.


Further down the road, I saw a basketball sized snapper walking the road in the opposite direction. I stopped beside him and spoke. Surprisingly, the turtle did not withdraw its body parts into its shell. Instead, when I greeted him, he turned his head in my direction and stared at me. Unfortunately, that is the only interaction he’d grant me today. When he started to scurry away, I took the hint and coasted a few feet before I gently used the accelerator. Respect and appreciation go both ways.


Once at camp, Paul inspected the snorkel masks and deemed them not damaged. He agreed that steak bombs sounded like a good lunch, so it was not long before I had the veggies chopped and cooking in a cast iron skillet. When lunch was ready to scoop into buns, Paul noticed something white floating in the water on the other side of the dam. Even with binoculars, he could not tell what the object was. Lunch, hot and ready didn’t matter. I knew that whatever it was, it was up to me to play fetch. At first, Paul thought it was trash, and then, thought maybe it looked like a fish, but when I looked, it looked like a dead duck floating on its back with one foot partially sticking out of the water. The lake was wavy, so it was not an easy view even with binoculars.

I grabbed my camera and tried to zoom in on the object, but still, no identification. With camera in hand, I walked to the end of the dock, but even from there, the wind and waves continued to conceal the object. There was no hesitation. I told Paul I was going “in”. As I grabbed my snorkel fins, Paul yelled down, “Grab the net while you are there.” My thoughts were, “Huh? I’ll drown trying to swim with that thing!”, but still, I grabbed it in passing just the same, and then, called out, “You’ll have to take my camera really quick because whatever it is, it is moving pretty fast.” He met me at the top of the stairs and with a quick hand off of the camera, I was fast-footing it to our beachy area. Entering the water there meant a longer swim, but it was by far a safer way to enter the water. The net has a name. We call it the “The Nancy Net”. (The Nancy Net is a tangle-free rubber net that measures about 18”x20” on a six-foot metal pole. We call it a Nancy Net because we bought it from the owners of Two Rivers Canoe and Tackle. The owners are husband and wife. People call him, “The Bear”. Nancy is his wife and both are friends of ours. Nancy is the one who introduced us to the rubber net. Therefore, “The Nancy Net” was born).

I was in the water with fins on my feet in no time. With the “Nancy Net” in one hand and my underwater camera tucked into the top part of my suit, my swim was clumsy. Only then was I thankful for help the winds and waves gave. Paul hollered that he would wait at the end of the dock and take the net after I scooped the debris from the water. For that, I was especially thankful, because I had no idea how I was going to swim against those waves.

After about 20 feet in the water, my back started to spasm something awful. I told myself that I was on a mission …and I was already in the water so I was not going to turn back. Luckily, I was able to initiate relief by reaching with my free hand and putting pressure upon the spasm while I drifted to a nearby submerged rock. There, I rested upon my belly and let my body go limp as I continued to put pressure upon the decreasing muscle spasm. Soon, I was swimming again. The object was further away, but “catch-up-to-able” at least. By then, we both had concluded that it was probably a dead fish, but neither could tell just what kind. As I approached, I will be honest and tell you that I thought about the snapping turtle we saw next to the boat this morning. It was probably the same one that Paul saw a few feet further out last evening, but we can’t be sure. The snapper this morning was hunting baby ducks! That was quite impressive to watch. He failed, but it didn’t mean that this “fish” wasn’t a baby duck either.

Believe it or not, I still could not identify the floating object until I used the net and brought it closer for a photo. I told Paul, “It’s a dead fall fish, I think”, but as I handed the net handle to Paul, he said it was a sucker. His view was obviously better than mine. Either way, it was dead and either way, I had it in a net. I told Paul, “I’ll put it in my compost”, but he already knew my intent. He is funny like that. He knows my love for making compost, and when we have “company” visiting, he will make sure to announce that anything biodegradable goes into the compost pail. I have to laugh at that because it took a LONG time to get him into the habit of composting such things. Now, it is fun to hear him preach the same lecture to others.

Dripping wet, I brought the fish to my latest compost pile, dug a hole to the bottom and deposited the fish before covering it back up. However, in the process, I noticed a big chunk was bitten off near the base of the tail fin. No doubt, our Mr. Turtle had already taken a bite. Upon returning to camp, Paul had made my sandwiches. I thanked him for his help and in return, he thanked me for cooking lunch.


When I sat down to eat, it was just after 12pm. My day was already complete. Today is just one of those days when you take in all the ugliness in the world, and find a way to appreciate your life even more. I am always so truly amazed that just when I think I cannot feel any more appreciation, more sneaks in and leaves me in awe. As with love, appreciation has no limits. It is up to us to realize it. See it. Feel it, and then, find our own way to share it. That is why this lengthy blog entry. I wanted to share my appreciation of everything I was able to see, do, and feel today.

With all the yuckies in the world today, find a way to appreciate life any way you can, and then, find a way to appreciate it even more.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

While My Coffee "Perked"...

Copyright 2016 by Lori-Ann Willey

While My Coffee “Perked”, I Stepped Outside into the fresh, cool mid-July morning air.

This morning, with a few peanuts in my hand, I stood barefoot on the wet deck as Bebe, the red squirrel, danced around my cold feet. He hoped for a peanut and I hoped not to disappoint his wants.  When his four feet stepped upon mine, I was not surprised that they were very cold and wet, too.   I grinned, bent over and greeted the little guy with an anxious, yet warm, “G’d Mawnin’, Bebe!”  It was then that my body no longer felt as cold as it had a few seconds before.  In an instant, my heart warmed more quickly than the heart of the scrooge-like Grinch (How the Grinch Stole Christmas) did on that very cold Christmas day.  My mind no longer thought about the cold deck boards or the chilled morning air. The young squirrel brought instant warmth, just as my foot, my voice, and that peanut probably brought him warmth, too.

After Bebe left to deposit his snack cache, I leaned over the deck rail and peered closer at the cranberry blossoms.  They rested in four large, cut-off rain barrels some six feet below where I stood.  Still as shaded as I was, the tiny blossoms seemed to radiate a subtle, yet crisp-edge glow against the darkened, wet soil from which they grew.  With a smile upon my face, I prided myself with the successful transfer from the wild.  The soil, hand-made from the collection of natural woodland debris throughout the years, further filled my heart with not only pride but thankfulness that I have the knowledge to create such things at will.  The work, no matter the biting insects, the twig punctures, scrapes, and/or all those tiny flakes of bark that find my lubricated eyeballs, is all worth the view before me.  New life.  Encouraged and nurtured.  Already, that labor seemed a lifetime ago.

With my elbows resting upon a rain-wetted beach towel, it felt cool upon touch.  The transference of heat from my body and the transfer of coldness from the towel, soon the two came to an understanding, a balance between the two, if you will. It wasn’t long before I dropped my forearms and allowed them to rest upon the towel, too.  My hands naturally clasped together for more warmth in an attempt to lessen the cold.  Chilled one too many times, my body tried to prevent the deep ache that so easily creeps into my chubby fingers. 

My body as a whole gave its first warning.  The fine, nearly invisible arm hairs stood tall, proud, and begging.  I knew that feeling all too well, but still, my eyes needed confirmation.  They always do. Instinctively, my forearms closed the gap between them while my warm palms stroked the fine hairs into a quick, but gentle submission. Our Innate instincts are self-protecting and deserving. It is that appreciation that so many overlook.  Like so many things of today …we often take our bodies for granted, too.

My morning Step Outside came to an end when the coffee buzzer sounded.



Saturday, July 9, 2016

I Can’t Lose Weight, because …

Copyright 2016 by Lori-Ann Willey

I’ve been meaning to write this blog entry for a long while now, and every time I think of it, I giggle bigly inside myself.    People who know me quite well have heard, what they call an “evil laugh”, and then, hear me spout those very same words, “I can’t lose weight because …” (followed by an example or two).  Some of you may call my examples as nothing more than “excuses”.  Both would be correct.  And, yes, I did say that with a smirk.

Though the title sounds a bit ridiculous, in all honesty, I really could stand to lose about a 100 pounds …and my body would probably thank me for doing just that.  I really don’t mind being “this size” at all.  Quite honestly, my weight comes in relatively handy at times.  My size not only comes from the love of food, but from my lifestyle, too.  I’ll attempt to explain why I just can’t lose 100 pounds and why I don’t want to.

Some of you are already shaking your heads with such grumbling thoughts as, “I don’t want to read about diets and exercise”.  I don’t blame you.  Me either.   Others, knowing some of my injuries in the past and my childish and playful ways, will probably chuckle and think, “How is she going to spin THIS around?”

It is no secret that I have an appointment with a neurosurgeon on August 1st.  It’ll be then, that he will go over my back history and MRI readings and reports, too.    With that appointment just a few weeks away, I have an envelope sitting next to me that houses nine sheets of paperwork for me to read, fill out, and probably send back well before my appointment date, but I have not gotten that far yet to know for sure.

I have had a few back injuries over the years, but only sought medical attention for the one that happened in the winter of 2010.  I figure I go to the doctors with Paul often enough to avoid them for myself if I can.  Even then, I have to be prodded pretty hard before I make an appointment. I’m not going to get into how I have injured my back in the past, because I have already written about a couple of those injuries in previous blogs, books, or postings on social media.  Besides, this is about another topic -my weight.

When updating family on my back a couple of weeks ago, I told them, “He’ll (Dr. Weitman) probably tell me to lose 50 pounds and then come back to see him in 6 months.”  The room laughed, and then agreed that I was probably quite correct with that assumption.  Then, I started to go into why I could not lose much weight.  I was quick to agree that I would be willing to lose those 50 pounds, but that would be about all I’d be willing to give. 

For those of you who may not know, I am a 50-year old woman married to a disabled man who spends much of his time in a wheelchair. We have a house on the grid that is two hours away from our camp.   However, we choose to spend most of our time at our camp off the grid in the Maine wilderness.  So much of our time is spent here, in fact, that I say, “We live here”.  Camp is located eight miles from pavement.  Travel to camp is via logging roads that are maintained only if the logging companies in the area are using them.  During the winter time, those roads become official ITS (Snowmobile Only) trails.   We have snowmobiles and a couple of side-by-side cabbed and tracked 4-wheelers that we register as snowmobiles.  That is the extent of our winter travel in and out of camp …what I call, “the 16-mile loop”.

My weight comes in very handy with our off the grid lifestyle.  I pride myself in being a strong, determined woman, and part of that strength is my weight.  I need my weight almost as much as I need my strength and determination.  Here are examples why I appreciate my weight, and why sometimes, I wished I was even heavier than I am.

GETTING STUCK -  There have been times when the road way is too icy to climb a small, steep hill.  My weight comes in handy when I can get out, stand on the tailgate and have Paul ease the truck from the slippery spot. My weight in the back allows us to move forward, backwards …and sideways, too.  So far, my weight is about right for those situations.
A couple of years ago, we actually got stuck trying to climb a freshly plowed snowbank with one of the tracked wheelers.  The trail out to town crossed another logging road that had been freshly plowed.  The snowmobile groomers hadn’t groomed the trails yet, so that snowbank was as tall as the rooftop of “The Beast” itself.  As we approached, I told Paul that I didn’t think we’d make it over, but he insisted we would.  Guess who was right?  Yep.  
Once on top, we sank. Both sets of tracks were off the ground, both doors were pressed closed by the snow, and there we sat, literally teetering on top of the snowbank.  To make it worse, due to the snow depth that winter, the plow “winged” back the snowbanks.   The “trail” and new snowbank was filled with huge chunks of boulder-sized compacted ice/snow chunks that rested beneath the new fluffy snow.   Thankfully, after a great deal of effort, I was able to push my door open enough to squeeze through.  Ok, so then is when I wished I weighed less.  I’ll give the doctor that one. 
I stood thigh deep atop the snowbank and hoped that with weighted pressure I could help tip the beast in one direction or the other. I mean, we were literally teetering, so why not give that a try?  That idea was futile to say the least.  Shoveling didn’t help either.  After I accidently slid down the snowbank on my butt, I made sure Paul knew when I was about to step onto the extended hitch so he would have the tracks already or ready to spin when they hit the ground. When he was ready, I climbed on top of the hitch and stood with all my weight.  The Beast bobbed a bit, but the tracks still hovered in mid-air. I had no choice but to trust the latches of the tailgate door and lean hard.    I was not heavy enough!  I needed more weight.  I bounced up and down to the point I thought the tailgate would cut me in half.  With each bounce (and it really did remind me of riding a see-saw) the back tracks came closer and closer to the ground until they finally touched enough for Paul to try to back up while the tracks touched the ground for a second or two.  There is more to that story, but here is not the time.
THE HITCHES -  We own several different kinds of tow behind trailers.  Though we like to keep both the hitch receivers and the balls lubricated, while sitting for months on end, they still “catch”.  There have been times when I have to stand and bounce on one or the other to help aid in the release or attachment.  It is the releasing process is when I wished I weighed a couple hundred pounds more than I already do!
THE BOAT DANCE -  I’m not a fan of dancing, per se, but if we adventure up a certain shallow stream, the boat “dance” comes in very handy.  We’ve had family members that have also learned the boat dance over the years, too. Their weight, light or heavy are needed in addition to my own.  The stream I reference has a bottom that is mostly sand that shifts with the currents.  Because the stream runs off the mountain, the bottom is always shifting and is like a sand dune that changes quickly in the winds.
Often, my “job” is to do the boat dance and each dance starts in the very middle of the boat.  With pontoons that float in shallow waters anyways, a step in either direction helps lift the boat sometimes just enough to float over some very shallow-shallow areas. Sometimes, a big step is needed.  Sometimes a little step is needed.  Then, there are times when my body is literally hanging over the edge of the boat.  Of course, sometimes, then, too, I wished I weighed more …especially when we come to a halt …otherwise known as “We’re stuck!”  You’ll have to read my books to learn more about the boat dance if you are interested in learning of some of our experiences up that stream or doing the boat dance.
SNOWMOBILING -  As stated before, Paul is disabled and uses a wheelchair much of the time.  It is not easy for him to walk in the snow or to use any machine that takes more than a little effort. Stuff like that is my “job”.  Another reason why I need my strength.  When riding on a sled with Paul, even if he drives, steering is not easy for him, but if he is feeling up to the task, I do not discourage him from feeling that bit of independence.  However, that means, I do a lot of leaning into the corners to help him out a bit.  My weight comes in very handy then, too.
ICE SHACK -  There are times when moving the ice shack, that it gets stuck in deep unseen slush pockets upon the lake.  That is where both my strength and weight come in quite nicely.  I can push like hell and once the shack starts to budge, my weight is literally pushed onto the walls giving that added push.  I know that sounds crazy, but trust me.  Weight is not just an upright gravity thing. It is a great force when needed, too.
HELPING PAUL UP -  When Paul sits or lays on the ground to work on something, I am often needed to help him stand again. Trust me, when his body says enough is enough, he is pretty much dead weight.  By pressing my foot against his, I use it as leverage to pull Paul into a sitting or standing position whenever needed.  Most times he can help, but as mentioned above, other times, he is “dead weight” and it takes all my strength and body weight to get him upright again.  This means that once he is in motion, I often lean backwards and use my weight as added strength.  I also hope that I am quick enough to keep him balanced once upright, too!  Often times, I am thankful for my weight.
There are other examples, but this is a blog entry and not a book. Besides, those are the most common reasons that I wanted to mention.  Though, those situations are real and quite regular, I have convinced myself that I cannot become a Skinny Mini.  Each time I use my weight to help us do tasks, get certain things done, or just to get ourselves out of a “pickle”, I laugh and say, “See, I can’t lose weight!”

Factual is the above as they are perfect examples of how convenient it is to be a heavier set woman.  I’m not one for show, or pride myself by wearing a certain size or style clothing.  I am a realist. I love my lifestyle. I love being able to “rescue” us in the time of need (so far), and I love the taste of food, too.   Though, it would do me good to lose 50 pounds on my own without waiting for a possible suggestion from a doctor-doc, I’ll wait and see what HE has to say.  That’s my thought process and I’m sticking with it.

FACEBOOK -  Willey's Dam Camp
BOOKS - Lori-Ann Willey