Friday, February 24, 2012

Hog love must be an unseemly sight

Knowing my interest in animals--wild and domestic--Marilyn Sarow, a colleague of mine, put an article in my hands today. Written by Dean Mullis, it appeared in the Feb. 22, 2012, edition of the Charlotte Observer.

Gives "hog love" a new meaning.

Here's Mullis' piece:

Jenifer called me Tuesday morning while I was at work. I was on my knees setting out 1,300 onion plants.

She said, "Stacy busted out a hole in the back of her hut. She must have been working on it in secret for days."

The hole was big enough for a 500-pound sow to go through, but too high for her 12 8-week-old pigs to follow.

I guess she was tired of those 12 squealing pigs literally sucking the life out of her every time she turned around and decided they needed weaning.

Stacy rooted around a bit in some fresh dirt and grass then headed down the hill to the pen with Penny and George the boar in it. George was ecstatic, as Penny had been fighting off his advances for months.

Hogs are normally very respectful and wary of electric fences, but Stacy went through a hot, two-strand fence to get to George. I guess she was eager.

I won't describe what hog love is like except to say it is loud and it ain't pretty.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Newspaper your nails, ladies

Ed Henninger, a friend in Rock Hill, S.C., sent me this video on how to create "newspaper nails."


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Creating a free Google host website

1. Google this: Google Sites

2. Create a Google Site account

3. Site map

4. Manage Pages

5. Atttachments

6. Upload

(Allows you to upload an Adobe InDesign file (or any kind of file) to your Google Site; you can then copy and paste that link (in your browser) to a link box in your blog. Now you can easily access that uploaded file via your blog!)

Valentine's Day imagery

I may try my hand at fiction writing once I retire. Here's some Valentine's Day imagery I created today. Don't know where this would go, but maybe it could be a start to a short story...

She, his wife of some 15 years, was gone forever this Valentine’s Day, never to return to his life.

But there near him, curled up at the foot of his bed, lay his very best friend—a two-year-old sheltie pup who would never let him down.

Who would never desert him or leave him for someone else. Who would never nag or demand to be called...

Stretching and awakening, he stared at the dog’s big brown eyes, and the dog stared back.

Dog and man.

Man and dog.

The canine, “Joe,” began wagging his tail.

That big slobbery tongue longed, as it did every morning when Joe roused from his sleep, for a slurp of cold water.

I pulled on my sweatpants and slipped into my shoes.

And Joe waited, his eyes never leaving me.

Waited anxiously and happily, as he always did, for his morning run and for the ball to be thrown to him and for some love.

A dog doesn’t ask for much. Doesn’t need much. Doesn’t expect much.

Nothing but love.

Not just on Valentine’s Day, but every day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Countdown to my retirement!

My career as a college professor will end on May 15, 2012, when I retire from Winthrop University.

What then? Who knows? Who cares??!!

My favorite Super Bowl 46 commercial

We got a good game Sunday, but some of the commercials also left a lasting impression. Here's my favorite. Turn your sound up and enjoy:

The Awakening

Audreyonnia Napoleon, a student at Winthrop University, sent me a poem titled "The Awakening," by Sonny Carroll. It's long but very provocative.

Searching for a happy, successful, fulfilling life? Maybe find some of it--an awakening--in Carroll's verse.

Here are a few stanzas from "The Awakening":

There comes a time in your life when you finally get it ... When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracksand somewhere the voice inside your head cries out "ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on." And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world from a new perspective.

..........This is your awakening.

You realize that it is time to stop hoping and waiting for something or someone to change, or for happiness safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that there aren't always fairytale endings (or beginnings for that matter) and that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with you. Then a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

So you begin making your way through the "reality of today" rather than holding out for the "promise of tomorrow." You realize that much of who you are and the way you navigate through life is, in great part, a result of all the social conditioning you've received over the course of a lifetime. And you begin to sift through all the nonsense you were taught about :

- how you should look and how much you should weigh,
- what you should wear and where you should shop,
- where you should live or what type of car you should drive,
- who you should sleep with and how you should behave,
- who you should marry and why you should stay,
- the importance of bearing children or what you owe your family,

Slowly you begin to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin re-assessing and re-defining who you are and what you really believe in. And you begin to discard the doctrines you haveoutgrown, or should never have practiced to begin with.

You accept the fact that you are not perfect ,and that not everyone will love appreciate or approve of who or what you are... and that's OK... they are entitled to their own views and opinions. And, you come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a "perfect 10".... Or a perfect human being for that matter... and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head or agonizing over how you compare. And, you take a long look at yourself in the mirror and you make a promise to give yourself the same unconditional loveand support you give so freely to others. Then a sense of confidence is born of self-approval.

And, you stop maneuvering through life merely as a "consumer" hungry for your next fix, a new dress, another pair of shoes or looks of approval and admiration from family, friends or even strangers who pass by. Then you discover that it is truly in "giving" that we receive, and that the joy and abundance you seek grows out of thegiving. And you recognize the importance of "creating" and"contributing" rather than "obtaining" and "accumulating."

And you give thanks for the simple things you've been blessed with, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about - a full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, the freedomof choice and the opportunity to pursue your own dreams.

And you begin to love and to care for yourself. You stop engaging inself-destructive behaviors, including participating in dysfunctional relationships. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water and exercising. And because you've learned that fatigue drains the spirit and creates doubt and fear, you give yourself permission to rest. And just as food is fuel for the body, laughter is fuel for the spirit and so you make it a point to create time for play.

For more of "The Awakening," click here.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Farewell to my Dad

Dad would have been 91 tomorrow. Easy to remember his birthday because he was born on Groundhog's Day in 1921.

We lost him last week. He just could not recover from a massive stroke he suffered in September.

He hadn't been able to talk or walk for months, and very recently he could no longer swallow.

Dad made it emphatically clear that he didn't want to be kept alive with a tube or technology.

My Mom, sister and I honored his wishes.

At his graveside service on Saturday in Elizabethton, Tenn., David Siebenaler, minister of Valley Forge Christian Church, captured him perfectly:

"As a journalist and an author, Lawrence Timbs knew that every good story has to have a beginning and an ending, and in the story of his life--as in all our lives--the beginning and the ending is determined by God, the Author of Life. What happens between the starting point and when we cross the finish line is largely up to us...

"I believe we all would agree that Lawrence Timbs made very good use of the time that God gave him. The story of his life includes humble beginnings and a lifelong sense of appreciation for his upbringing in a large family that was rich in love and faith. Growing up in the Fish Springs community instilled him with enduring values that served him well and blessed those whose lives he touched and influenced. He learned the importance of hard work, duty, and honor; he gained an appreciation for even the smallest of life's blessings; he cultivated a serious mind and love for learning; and he developed a friendly, cheerful spirit toward his fellow man that would serve him well throughout his life.

"...Not only did Lawrence Timbs make good use of the nine decades that God gave him; he also shared freely the gifts of a friendly nature, an inquisitive mind, and a Christlike spirit. . . And Lawrence always had that cheerful little smile that contained just a hint of mischief. I don't know that he ever met a stranger, and his face always lit up whether he was meeting you for the first time or he had known you for years and years."

As the minister spoke, we focused on Dad's casket, about to be lowered into the cold, but receptive Tennessee ground. The tent we huddled under flapped ferociously in the wind. An honor guard fired three shots. An old soldier played taps. Then a young man sang "Amazing Grace." A woman from Dad's church strummed a harp softly. An aircraft passed by--a few hundred feet above us in the winter sky. (My brother would later remark that we had a flyover.)

We shivered and prayed and held hands and some of us cried a few more last good-bye tears and we laid my Dad to rest.