Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner

Nothing Finer than Living in North Caroliner
Blue Ridge Smoky Mountains

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Day 321 - Tundra The Snowy White Owl!

Tundra - A cold, treeless, usually lowland area of far northern regions. The lower strata of soil of tundras are permanently frozen, but in summer the top layer of soil thaws and can support low-growing mosses, lichens, grasses, and small shrubs. Or simply put, Russian for treeless Mountain Tract. (Wikipedia)

The last couple of days we've had some frosty mornings so some of the areas that rest between our majestic mountains where the cattle graze along with the horses and goats became tundra.  I only know this because I was out in search of a rare sighting I heard about and captured some photos of this tundra.  How beautiful this tundra looked.   Here's a few amateur photos I captured....

Blue Tundra in Rosman, NC
White Ponies are in Brevard, NC

Frost Crystals on the Leaves

A mockingbird finds berries in the tundra
So what amazed me was how beautiful it was at 6:30 AM in 20 degree weather.  I had never taken the time to see it's beauty because it is tooo cold.  Of course I did have the advantage of driving in my warm car.  But I digress I was originally trying to find the Snowy White Owl that the neighbor Mrs. Brown told me about.  Her sister made the comment that about three hundred people were parked along the road taking pictures of this thing.  The day before I saw license plates from Missouri, and Virginia.  Mine of course is still registered to Florida so that made me appear like I had driven over 600 miles but I had just ventured down off the mountain!  I told Mrs. Brown, "Thank you for my Christmas present!  Merry Christmas to Me, this is a very very rare bird, there is about to be 301 cars parked  down there!" and off I went to try to see for myself before I had to go to work but no luck.

I ran into the local General Store and Robin assuuuured me that.."no owwwuul was down heeeerre or I would have known about it. I know everything about this area and I don't know about no owl."  I listened and the young attendant who was hooked up to Facebook told me his friend had photos of it posted and where to find it.  He said, "Just go on back down there to Mrs. H's house."  So I went back on down there to Mrs. H's house.  And Mrs. H told me that it was there Sunday and Monday when she came back from the dentist but it hadn't been spotted since then.  That is what I love about this town.  Just regular folks who aren't afraid to talk to you.  They are the nicest people here and I mean that.  Mrs. H told me about her daughter and where she worked and where to find her.  Her daughter had the photos.  So I went to Mrs. H's daughter's shop and Kathy, her daughter, shared the photos with me and told me where I could find out more information.  So now I'm sharing it with you.  When something this special comes along, you cant just keep it to yourself, you have to share it, it's the right thing to do.  And we have to do it in a respectful manner.  Please keep this in mind.

Here is Tundra the Owl, we've all been so enamored by:

Photos courtesy of Steve Atkins
Will Kilpatrick found the owl and tried to feed her mice.  He noticed she came about 20 feet from the back door and something just wasn't right so he called Carlton Burke.  Carlton says that we really don't want to humanize the wild animals but this bird was special and he didn't want to keep referring to it as "that bird" so he named it to symbolize it's habitat; Tundra.  Carlton has taken her to his Sanctuary.  Turns out Tundra is not doing so well.  She is malnourished and wouldn't eat.  She was severely underweight.

Donations will help him with Tundra as although Tundra has made it past the critical 48 hours, it is not a given she will survive.  

Please send donations to: 
Carolina Mountain Naturalists
3150 N. Mills River Road
Mills River, NC 28759

Make Check out to Carolina Mountain Naturalists and you can put Tundra in the note section of your check.  I will keep you updated on the blog with her status. 

Most male Snowy White Owls are all white.  Juvenile Males have brown spots and females have brown spots, so there is no confirmation yet to the sex.  (This author believes it is a female and will keep referring to her as a she.) 

Here are some more photos of this lovely bird.  Steve Atkins also did the right thing and without a blink of an eye said SURE when I asked him to use his photos.  Thank you Mr. Steve Atkins.

Photos courtesy of Steve Atkins

Photos courtesy of Steve Atkins

Photos courtesy of Steve Atkins
So from this frozen ground comes such a magnificent creature to feed on lemmings (which we don't have much of here in NC) and mice, voles, rabbits, other birds and squirrels - which we have plenty.  So from what seems to be dead frozen muddy ground, we are sent this beautiful creature which hasn't been to this area in decades!  Decades! The Native Americans believe that when an Owl presents itself to you, it has meaning.  The presence of the owl announces change.  The meaning, the ability to see what others do not see, to route out deceit.  For more info about Owl Animal totems you can visit this website:

Please keep Tundra in your prayers and support her recovery and rehabilitation with your financial support and pockets.  We may never get another chance in our lifetime to do something this "right".  We may never get another chance.  Let's all make a difference.  

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Day 320 - Black Friday

I started late on the Black Friday shopping but really didn't go out with anything particular in mind.  Just was running my normal errands like going to the recycling, affectionately known around these here parts as the dump, dropping off a patch at the alterations store, which was closed because it's family owned, and buying some coffee at the local store for $13/lb because it's THAT good called the Neighbor Blend.  I think they call it that because when it percolates, the smell is so good, the neighbors come over!  As we returned to the car which was parked outside the local OP Taylors toy store, this young boy about the age of four came up to me and pointed a laser gun and kept simulating shooting me in the face!.  I asked, "Young man, please don't point that gun at me."  Which he returned fire one more time, at my FACE! I asked who APPEARED to be the adult with him, is this your son, to which the grown man on the cell phone replied, "No grandson."  and kept carrying on his important conversation while his grandson kept teetering on the edge of the sidewalk on the main intersection of the road.  I asked nicely, "With all the things that are going on right now, would you please ask your grandson to not point that gun at my head?"  To which he replied, "YOU MUST HAVE VOTED FOR OBAMA!"  This is the second time I've heard this in this part of the world.  The second time was when we went to a state park, and a man didn't pay his parking before leaving the car to go on the hike to see the waterfall.  We were eating lunch at the picnic table, so I kindly shared with him what was protocol as we all want the park maintained and want to continue to see the waterfall for free.  He responded, "YOU MUST HAVE VOTED FOR OBAMA!"  To this second man, I said, "I'm not sure where you're going with this sir, but the fact remains that we want to continue to be able to support the parks that as you can currently see sir, don't have a gate to make you pay parking anymore because they can't pay for forest rangers."  It is the right thing to do to just deposit the two dollars in the envelope provided as posted right here on the sign.  To which he grumbled and after a tugging from his wife on the elbow, obliged.
      To the Grandfather, I being my analytical self, tried to reason with the hologram of an adult.  I was clearly wrong but gave it an at-a-girl.  "Sir, who I voted for has nothing to do with the fact that your grandson is being encouraged to go around and point a gun with a blue laser at my head.  My cousin was shot in the head at the age of 20 while she was 4 months pregnant while she pleaded for her life. I don't appreciate this behavior."  All the time while the child continue to simulate guns sounds and keep shooting at me.  To which I got in my car and drove off as he continued spouting off about me not believing in gun control, etc etc.
He totally  missed the point.  In one instance, that man (and I use the word loosely here) taught his grandson hatred, irresponsibility and unaccountability.
     I have shot guns.  At the age of twelve, my uncle (the father of the cousin who was murdered) taught me how to shoot a pistol.  He lined up empty beer bottles, and taught me how to aim and shoot.  When we got done, he also taught me the power of a gun and what it could do and when and when not to use it.  And never ever point it at a person unless you want to defend yourself.  Now THAT is a man.  A responsible, accountable, man filled with love.  He probably didn't vote, I've never asked him.  But if he did he probably would have voted for Obama.  But what is the message here?  Every time you don't like something or agree with somebody, you want to bring your political views in front of the world?  Do you want to separate people by their political affiliation?  What he doesn't realize is he is really shouting, "I AM A LOSER, my candidate lost and now I'm a poor sport and I AM A POOR LOSER!" I think there is a bigger delineation drawn in the sand here. Actually there are two.  One is being a responsible parent.  Ask the parents of the Connecticut children murdered at New Town.  And the other is whether you are just being an butthole. And unfortunately buttholes have rights in America too.  It's a free country. And for the little four year olds who have Butthole Grandfathers who let them point laser guns at peoples heads they don't know and keep shooting them,  I wish I could carry a big super-soaker-water-gun around in the trunk of my car and shoot them back!

Point number 4:
Kelley Columber, a mother of two from Blue Hill, Maine, agrees: “We have foam-ball popper guns, nothing assault weapon-looking.” She adds that reminding kids about proper toy gun etiquette is key: “We don't point at faces or at people who ‘aren't playing.’”

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Day 319 - HOOP: The American Dream

There's a new coffee table book that really peaks our interest...its photos of basketball hoops.  I love basketball as anyone who knows me knows that about me.  Recently we met a person who has season tickets to the Duke games and mentioned that infrequently he does have other commitments and has tickets he would be able to offer me, I said when and where and I'll be there.  No questions asked.  These are moments of a lifetime, a hot sweaty gym with the other Blue Devil Crazies.

I recently moved to the mountains of Western North Carolina and wear my DUKE shirts (notice I have more than one) proudly around town.  I'm a minority as noted by people walking through the same doors as myself.  On the way into the cable company, a woman held the door open for a woman BEHIND me and said to her..."YOU have the 'riiieeeght' shirt on'." as she walked through wearing her light carolina blue Tarheel shirt.  So as I left, I opened the door for myself and said, "Yes, yes I know I have the 'wrong' shirt on."  Again yesterday, a man held the door open for me and commented, "I usually don't hold the door open  for Dukies."  I responded, "If you can get past this," as I put my open hand motioning around the word DUKE, "I'm really a nice person!"  He said, "That was really good, I've never heard that before!"  And when served at the local cafe, the lady behind the counter stated, "You are so nice and I really want to like you but THAT as she put her open palm and made a circular motion toward my DUKE chest..."  I said, "Really, you are a Tarheel fan?  I sooo wanted to like you too!"  It is an on going rivalry that will continue until the day I die but I will be a Duke Blue Devil Fan til the end of time.  And more so I'll be a fan of the game.  Basketball.  Hoops. Which leads me back to this new book.

Basketball for me is MORE than just a game.  It is a spiritual experience that changed my life.  It lead me through an incredibly painful time. For a young girl, who had just lost her home due to a terrible storm that literally blew the roof off her home (think hurricane here as the circumstances were the same) it gave me a new focus, a new goal.  I didn't know at the age of fourteen that I was capable of being an athlete. That I could run and not die, that I could look at a rim and put a basketball about 1/2 it's size through that diameter by learning the precision-like form it takes to shoot.  And then to do it so often that the rote shooting motion becomes mindless and missing is the rare moment instead of making the basket.  That Swish sound is not just a sound but a melody on the backdrop notes of harmony played by the sneakers squeaking against hardwood floors.  Give me the gymnasium philharmonic any day as I'd rather be wearing the outfit of t-shirts and shorts than an evening gown for that other symphony anyway!

So when I heard about this book HOOP: The American Dream, I was curious about the photographs that she had taken and am glad to see the American Basketball Goal (once a peach basket) has been captured as art.
I watched an interview of Robin talking about her journey across America which included 35 states and admired her commitment of taking over 100,000 photos.  During the interview she commented about taking this "mundane object and ..."  and this just didn't sit right with me. Simple maybe but definitely not mundane.   Mundane is an unexciting, dull, and less than spiritual object.  If anyone loves the game like I do, which are the same people who are potential buyers for her book, this is offensive to us.  Mundane is definitely NOT the word for those of us who played, coached, officiated and just plain love the game and the HOOP.  If we thought a HOOP was just a mundane object, we wouldn't still be jabbing each other over what shirt we wore when we see each other in Western North Carolina in passing and opening the doors for each other.  Now that door, THAT DOOR, THAT DAMN DOOR is mundane.  But that HOOP is Beloved.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Day 318 - Assists are good to give and GET...Don't Give Up

"Never Give Up, NEVER GIVE UP!" in the famous words of Jimmy Valvano, right after he said..."Cancer can take away all of my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul."  So it is with great complexity that I analyze the recent news of a fellow referee's death. Bonita Spence was in my age range and had been officiating basketball on the highest level in women's sports for twenty-seven years.  She was on the first all female crew to officiate a professional mens game, that's hasn't happened since then probably.  She left behind a fourteen year old daughter, worked for the NJ Public Defenders office for over twenty years and was a lead investigator.  So it was with great agony as we all waited to hear the news of why.  Why?  WHY?  

The New York Times reported yesterday the reason...suicide.  What Suicide?  SUICIDE?  Giving up?  Cancer took Jimmy V and he fought til the end, and Bonita gave up?  I just can't believe it.  I can't believe a person of Bonita's character, strength, conviction, leadership, reputation, and stamina gave up.  What does this say?  We don't know what is going on inside of one another?  How could a fellow official let down her partners for her scheduled games?  THIS JUST DOESN'T HAPPEN in the officiating world.  I just smell foul play if you don't mind the pun.  Just look at these photos, does this look like a photo of a woman, a mother, a lead investigator, an official who doesn't have it going on?  

Bonita would always help the younger, less experience officials.  She mentioned in workshops with players that being height-challenged was no reason for not getting assists. She made no excuses.  So why would this strong woman of such great moral character not ask for an assist at her greatest time of need?  The officiating family is a small network, a very close-knit tight network, of course she knew someone would be there to help her.  Just pick up the phone, text, call, email, Call for the BALL.

I think more of Jimmy V's quotes will just have to help me get through this conundrum.  I don't understand and I don't think many of us ever will... I just wish Jimmy were alive at that last possible moment to say these words so that she could have heard any of them...they would have made a difference, I'm sure of it.

I asked a ref if he could give me a technical foul for thinking bad things about him. He said, of course not. I said, well, I think you stink. And he gave me a technical. You can't trust em.

 And if you see me, smile and maybe give me a hug. That's important to me too.

I just got one last thing, I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get you're emotions going.

 Now, I look at where I am now and I know what I wanna to do. What I would like to be able to do is to spend whatever time I have left and to give, and maybe some hope to others.

Jimmy V, please give Bonita a hug today in Heaven, I think she needs it.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Day 317 - Popping Off

Pop  pop  pop that is the sound of the lids popping as they cool from removing them from the boiling water after canning.  My grandmother listened for the popping, my mother listens for the popping of the jars when she makes zuchinni relish and now I listened for the popping.  I'm not sure but I believe I've canned more than my grandmother but I may be wrong.  As we perused the Cracker Barrel store before heading back to the airport, a book on preserves and jams caught my eye.  Big beautiful photos of fruit and just what I like, saving money...40% off!

So I flew home and I went to work.  In the last ten days or so I have made use of quite a bit of fruit that was either given to me or going to go bad.  I've made (pictured from left to right)...zuchinni pickles (bread and butter flavored and my first pickles ever!), pear chocolate jam (better than Nutella!), apple chutney, strawberry jam, cherry jam, apricot glaze (had it over waffles this morning - to die for!), apricot jam, fresh lemonade, and carmelized onions.  Not pictured is the oldest recorded written recipe for Linze Torte from Austria dating back to 1653 using my strawberry jam, another recipe to die for.

I've always wanted to make strawberry lemonade so after making the fresh lemonade served on many southern porches in the south, I heated some strawberries and 3 teaspoons of sugar and drizzled the "cordial" into the lemonade.  See the photo below, I love it.  I'm becoming Aunt Bee from the Andy Griffith show.  Steve even suggested that I enter the fair this year!  What was weird was I answered, I was thinking about the blue ribbon so maybe!  I understand the woman of the past to take such pride in cooking that you would scrutinize other jams for having the foam on the top or not having the picture perfect jar.  Perfection in the kitchen was their pride.  Women didn't work much outside of the home if not for need and they were defined for the work done in the home.   And men were the strength and bread winners of the family.

   The irony, bread winners, a term defined in the kitchen but meaning bringing home the dough, the mula, or the money.  Another term of winning at the fair.  So Andy Griffith and Aunt Bee and of course Opie long for the days of old.  Where life was simple and fishing was king.  Where whistling on the way to anywhere put a pep in your step and a smile on a stranger's face.  As I get older I long for those days where peace was joy in baking and seeing others happy to eat your food.  Even if it wasn't worthy of a blue ribbon.
Andy and Opie Taylor
As I look in the mirror these days, I don't see the reflection of how I see myself.  I'm still young inside and the outside betrays my mind.  The covering of my bones is skin of another nature.  If only we were snake-like and shed a new skin.  But for now it is my cage, destined to be with me to the end of time.  Why is it that we long to get older while we're younger and we long for youth as we get older?  I guess we always want what we don't have, a sign of an immature soul.  The ultimate key to happiness is being happy with what we've got.  Success is not always defined as status or money, but there is something I'd be more "happy" with and that is if I'm going to be like Aunt Bee and spend more time in the kitchen, I'd love to have a set of pearls like hers to wear when I am satisfied and hearing the popping of more canning jars. Pop Pop Pop

Clara and Aunt Bee

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 315 - Smut Towel

You know when you are a guest in a friend or family's house, you try to clean up when you leave, leave it as you found it?  I subscribe to the philosophy to leave it better than I found it.  I try to bring gifts to the host or help with a chore they have not been able to get to due to physical limitations or time.  I try to leave a thank you card on the pillow of my guest bed or bring a bottle of wine, etc.  I know it is work for the person to clean their house to make it presentable (of course unless they have a model home to begin with) and then have to clean all the sheets and remake the bed when we've ended our stay.

Recently the shoe was on the other foot as they say, we had two old friends, both friends from a long time ago and old.  I know the term is relative but they are close to 60...very very close, so I think we can say this.  But judging by some of  the action of my old friends (and yes I know I am not obligated to claim them) they are more like children.  Even our foreign exchange students figured out how to blow up the air mattress, but our guest didn't ask for help so left it in the bag and slept on the floor because he was either embarrassed to ask or he was busy using our computer.  Yes he stayed up about 2 hours after WE went to bed and used the computer.   He kept talking about so it got my curiosity up.  He had been looking at his e-mail and left it open when I went in there to help him with the sheets and pillows, which he mentioned he wasn't done.  Emails that were from and etc.  After doing a history search, it was verified that he was using our computer for porn.  Doesn't he realize that these sites can load viruses on a computer?

Not to mention that this is weird to do at a friends house?  He doesn't own a computer, he uses the library.  He's one of those older weirdos looking for younger girls.  He's never been married nor had a girlfriend long term since I've known him.  Sometimes we must look at the behavior and determine if there is really something behind all this.  His car is filled with newspapers, papers, old food containers, and a cooler.  He never has money to spend and saves the foil from baked potatoes when we go out to eat.  His shoes still have velcro on them and his shirts are so thin you can see through them.  What is it about people who are so frugal they are borderline psychotic?  I know I've been frugal for these past years but I feel like I'm well balanced otherwise...

He doesn't want to date women with children and swears the woman who he has been on a date with want a serious relationship with him.  I guess I will just have to subscribe to the theory that the people who talk to about things the loudest are making up for something that is the softest.  And I just pray that as I get older that I am different. I'll know that the towels are always in the bathroom closet and that I know the difference between that towel and a cotton floor mat.  It seems like my friend may need quite a few more towels to wipe the smut out of his life.  He surely needs more vision, he should start with his eyes.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Day 314 - Winds of Change

I'm continually amazed by nature.  The wise "old" folks were right.  I remember the sayings, Sunlight is the best disinfectant.  True, ever wonder why colors fade on fabric that is left in the sun?  Corks rise to the top of the ocean eventually.  It goes on and on.

But what has fascinated me recently is that the seeds we have planted over a year ago are finally growing.  Here was our surprise yesterday....a Texas Bluebonnet wildflower in Florida.  Did we plant it with the lupine seeds two years ago, or did a bird migration land from Texas to Florida and "deposit" in the yard this year???
Texas Bluebonnet
We've also had a female turkey that came last year but was gone within a week.  This year I think she returned and brought a friend.  (I say think because I can't tell the difference between this breed of bird.)

Female Turkeys IN THE YARD
So as I'm sloshing my way through the interview process and resume uploads, it becomes apparent that we don't know where we are going.  Others have control over our destiny.  The gatekeepers in HR sort through hundreds if not thousands of resumes and you hope you get a call.  So it was with great pride that I got a call and a phone interview for the Apple Customer Service IT Help Desk position that I would be able to work from home and get benefits on the first day of training!  Then to be able to use my IT degree for Macs (which I personally think are superior to PCs) on the east coast was one step closer with my next interview, conducted in Skype!  Imagine that, I have always been a proponent of doing this to save money and time for the company interviewing and the potential candidate who is at a disadvantage for funds for gas and travel.  Finally a progressive company who "gets it."  Then I moved to the third interview, also on skype, now the background check is being conducted....I wait.  We heard a saying last year from Steve's mentor, we will land where we are supposed to land.

Like the bird who deposited the seed that was supposed to land in my yard, I too have gone through the bowels of unemployment and look forward to growing roots and blossoming.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Day 312 - Random Thoughts of Wisdom

Random thoughts have been taking over my brain this week, so rather than try to put them all in a meaningful story, I thought I'd just ramble...please indulge me.

If you haven't heard, a plane crashed in Palm Coast this week.  Literally less than 1 mile away from the runway.  Due to mechanical malfunction, it didn't make it nor did the pilot and his two passengers.  1 mile!  1 mile is the same exact distance from my house to the crash site.  Had the wind been blowing differently or stronger or weaker, would it or could it have been me?  I think about this a lot. How close are we to others or others situation that we feel like we don't have anything in common?  The woman of the house happened to hear God speak to her and tell her to stay put as she went to go into the living room.  She heard him tell her to stop. She did and thereby she saved her own life.  She was in the bedroom, the plane crashed into the living room where her daughters and grandson usually are.  They through divine intervention were not home that day.  I wondered if someone had been injured that was her relative, would she still have felt that God was involved?

I'm reading a book called How to Live, A Search for Wisdom from Old People by Henry Alford.  He made a list of people in their eighties and he sought them out to find out what they thought Wisdom is.  Evidently there isn't a clear definition of wisdom even among all the dissertations in the Phd Academia. Clayton from USC in the 1950s comes closest, she writes by stating it "could mean a lot of different things, it was often applied to social situations and was marked by judgment, reflection, and compassion." In 1984 Paul Baltes picked up where Clayton left and started the Berlin Wisdom Project.  As Alford writes, he decides "But maybe wisdom is a matter of certainty and action, I started thinking, than it is compassion that arises from cool-headedness.  Maybe it's quieter than I thought it was."

I'm only half way through the book but I notice he keeps bringing his mother up and her resilience, strength and wisdom.  I'm thinking that he will end up stating that wisest ones we know are our mothers.  (I'm hoping)

I read in Dear Abby this week about the origin of the abbreviation Mrs.  A writer asked the columnist a logical question.  She understood where the use of the letter r came from in Mr. as Mister has an r in it.  But where does Mrs. originate as Misses doesn't have an r in the word?  Come to find out that it is the abbreviation for Mistress.  That's right, Mistress used to mean the wife or the widow of a man.  How did that word get twisted to mean the woman with which a man has an affair and is NOT married? Where is the wisdom in that lexicon history?

My family always has the serenity prayer openly displayed in their homes.  It is about wisdom.  God grant me the wisdom to change the things I can, the wisdom to accept the things I cannot change, and  wisdom [notice it is not THE wisdom] to know the difference.  Lately I've noticed I can't change what people's perception about me are.  I can only smile and look them in the eye.  From there it is what it is.  I can't change it and I accept that.  As I've told many people, if someone doesn't like you are treat you well due to their own reality, accept it and move on.  There are many more good qualities about you than their narrow-minded view of the one they have zeroed in on for illusion of disdain and for which they chose to ignore the total package.

Many women think that buying new clothes and buying fake nails at a salon and new make up and hair is a way of taking care of yourself.  I counter and disagree respectfully.  You can comb your hair, and let the gray grow out, and wear clean clothes and still convey the same message. As we age, realize that clothes and nails and hair can only get more expensive.  So being the gym rat that I am and that I feel comfortable being, I save a lot of money by not buying the latest fashion, and doing my nails and buying new jewelry.  Its all a rat race.  Compare my yearly budget to those same women and I can survive on their allocation of this one expense category.  Now that is wisdom.

By the way that book about wisdom I got from the Country Inns and Suites Library.  Most people don't know that this chain of hotel allows you to take a book and just return it to any other Country Inns and Suites in America.  No charge.  How cool is that? Knowing people are usually good, or as my IT professor says, we have to "keep" them that way, they will return them.  Good way to get people to be brand loyal.  Not to mention their free warm and freshly cooked cookies they give every afternoon around 5 PM. 

I read one more tidbit about wisdom in this book that intrigued me. An octogenarian that walked 3000 miles in her wiser years to protest and bring attention to her cause, said that we realize as we get older that we have less time to make our mark on this earth.  When we leave, that is it, we're gone.  Lord knows I've tried to live by this mantra.  But I wonder sometimes if it really matters to anyone else the passions that we hold dearly to our heart.  Thank God for the younger generation that we can pass the torch to....I'm waiting for that recipient, I haven't met them yet.  As the animal known for wisdom hoots, you know it as the owl, Who will it be? Wise universe, please send them to me.