Sunday, November 30, 2008

Another Way To Give Thanks

I didn't take this picture, in case you're wondering. Although, if I had, it would have made a nice PhotoHunt "Metal" post, eh? :-)

If you read my other blog, Flamingo Musings, you already know that I periodically send care packages to members of our military serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. Not because I support the war, but because I support these women and men who volunteered to serve their country. There is a difference. Whatever you believe about the reasons they're there, the fact is, that's where their country sent them.

Anyway, this photo was sent to me by one such serviceman recently, so I could see the faces of the people whose spirits were lifted by that box containing soap, shaving cream, lip balm, cookies and Slim Jims. There are a lot of things they don't get or get enough of out there. I could go on. And probably will, at a later date.

One of the most important things to them, though, is knowing that their families are okay. But that's not always the case - many of these men and women are on their second and third rotations over there, and their families are struggling.

At least for the Holidays, we can help there, too. Sears has a program called Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry, that benefits military families who need help. Clicking on this link will take you to the Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry website, where you can donate online, in any amount you choose. Sears will take the total amount of the donations and divide the money equally between all of the registered military families, giving them gift cards so they can buy the things they need. Do you know what the Number One requested item is? Kids' shoes.

While you're there, read about some of the 30,583 military families who are registered with the program, in their own words, and post your own message of support. Read more about it at Sears Heroes at Home Wish Registry.

This may be a sponsored post, but the few bucks they pay me will be donated right back to this program. Just so you know.


Saturday, November 29, 2008

PhotoHunt: Metal

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Metal"

Seriously? Metal? Am I missing some hidden meaning? A double-entendre? I didn't know what to do with this.

So, I did this:

On the U.S. Thanksgiving Day this past Thursday, MJ and I had the traditional sumptuous turkey dinner at the home of some friends. They deep-fry their turkeys in a big Metal deep-fryer dedicated to the purpose, and kids, I tell you this was some of the best turkey I have ever eaten.

I know they thought I was a little strange when I said "Hold it right there! I have to get a picture of this!" But then, perhaps I was just confirming what they already knew. :-)

So? Did I clear the theme?

And speaking of Thanksgiving... You know that Daily Click link in my sidebar? The one I urged you to click and support getting free mammograms for women who can't afford them? Did you know you can shop there? I just did like 90% of my holiday shopping for Christmas and Hannukah at The Breast Cancer Site, The Hunger Site, The Rainforest Site, and The Animal Rescue Site. Their prices are phenomenal, right now (in the US) shipping costs one cent, and you can help your favorite cause and the environment and find all kinds of cool gifts for just about everyone in the family!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday's Feathers: Spot-breasted Orioles, Redux

Today's Friday's Feathers belong to the Spot-breasted Oriole.

I know I posted some photos of Spot-breasted Orioles last month, but either they've grown up really fast, or this is a pair of adults. I just love these guys, so indulge me...

These birds are actually natives of south-coastal Mexico and Central America. They were introduced into southeastern Florida in the 1940's, where they became established. Populations are reportedly declining since the '80's, cause: unknown. Although you couldn't tell that by my yard!

They're dedicated suburbanites, hanging out in shrubs and small trees, eating insects and berries, and sipping nectar. Which I guess is why they seem to be attracted to this corner of the yard. I still don't know what that small tree with the tiny white flowers is, but the lower shrub is a Pavonia Bahamensis, a Bahamian relative of the hibiscus. Both are great favorites of the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, so it stands to reason. Look at that guy in the bottom photo, with his (her?) schnozz buried in that Pavonia flower!

Please visit other Friday's Feathers posts here.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monarch Butterfly

JJ didn't feel like posing for a holiday photo, this morning, so this will have to do. You can find my thoughts on this beautiful Thanksgiving Day over at Flamingo Musings, so I won't repeat myself here. I'll just say Thank You to you, all of my friends, old and new, online and off, and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Giving Thanks - Thanks for Giving

Look into those eyes, will you?

JJ was a shelter kitty. MJ and I went to the southern branch of the county animal shelter to donate an extra piece of cat furniture. While he was filling out the donor paperwork, I went into the "kitten room" - a screen enclosure very thoughtfully located just inside the front door (hee!) - to play with the kittens. As I bent down to pet some of them, a small black striped ball of fur shot vertically into the air and landed on my shoulder, purring wildly. "Look, Honey! A volunteer!" It was, of course, all over after that.

I tell you this story because I'd like you to consider an alternative to some of the traditional places you might do your holiday shopping. Namely, The Animal Rescue Site. Or The Breast Cancer Site. Or The Rainforest Site. Or The Hunger Site. Or The Child Health Site. Or The Literacy Site. If you've ever clicked on any of the buttons on my sidebar, you know that you can click every day and - without any cost to you - by clicking you are helping your favorite cause, or all of them. But did you realize that you can shop, too? Serious.

There's such a variety of things to choose from, ranging from t-shirts to jewelry, house and garden, and on and on. Lots of really cute stuff for kids and teens and adults. And the prices are really reasonable! Look, I know there's a lot of competition for the few bucks any of us has left, but when you give a gift this holiday season, wouldn't it be nice to know that your purchase is not just going to make someone smile, it's not going to cost most of your right arm? And that it will benefit something you believe in?

Like feeding and finding a good home for JJ?

Friday, November 21, 2008

PhotoHunt: Reflection

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Reflection"

Another excuse to show some of my favorite images from the Dale Chihuly installation a couple of years ago at Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden in Coral Gables (a small city sort of part of Miami to those of you unfamiliar with the area, but don't tell them I said that... they get rather pissy if you call them "Miami") - one of my favorite places on the planet, especially in winter. A great spot for Reflection.

This last one is my favorite. And yes, I've posted it before. Go ahead and click on it. If you look closely, you'll see the Reflection of the rock wall surrounding this little pond. If you look even closer, you'll see the Reflection of me taking this picture! In fact, click on all of them. While they have been resized, enlarging them will give you a far better view of the Reflections. :-)

I think these were taken in January '06 or '07. I can't remember which. But I know that the following summer was when my hard drive imploded irreparably, and the only reason I was able to save these, was because I had loaded them onto my iPod and was able to download them again. Consequently, there are no un-resized versions to show you. One of my biggest regrets, and a cautionary tale - backup your drive! Often! A poor Reflection on me.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Friday's Feathers: Palm Warbler

Today's Friday's Feathers belong to: The Palm Warbler

Look at that bright yellow butt!

From its name, you'd think the Palm Warbler is a year-round resident of South Florida, but you'd be wrong. The Palm Warbler is one of our winter guests, vacationing from The Great White North (a/k/a Canada), mostly.

And despite the fact that this is about as southeast as you can get on the North American continent, this seems to be the Western (or Brown) form.

Birds. Go figure.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Waiter, There's A Damsel In My Soup

I recently told someone that I had never seen a damselfly before, and even if I had, like the dragonflies, I doubted if one would hold still long enough for me to take a picture of it. And then...

Right? Look at the face on that critter!

P.S. - I bow to Michelle's superior knowledge that this is a dragonfly, not a damselfly. I was going to ask her first, but I guess I was under the impression that if it was blue, then it must be a damselfly. Oh, well. I guess I still haven't seen one. I still think it's the coolest dragonfly I've ever seen. And I really like the title of my post, so I'm not changing it. :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

PhotoHunt: Ruin

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Ruin(ed)"

We spent several days in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia, last February. I think this is probably the first picture I took on our first morning there. I just loved the lines and textures of this old "ruined" tree.

Please click on the image for the full effect. Happy Saturday, y'all!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Friday's Feathers: Monks

Today's Friday's Feathers belong to: The Monk Parakeet

"Bernie, quit horsing around and get over here!"

These are Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parakeets. They're fairly common and apparently pretty popular as pets. Which cracks me up whenever I see one in my local Petco. I can't help but think of the dozen or so that come around here each day, wild and free. For free. Okay, maybe for a little bird seed.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans' Day Tribute

A Flamingo Fotos salute to the women and men of our armed forces, past and present:

Red Salvia

White Peacock Butterfly

Blue (unidentified) Wildflower

Thank You For Your Service!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

PhotoHunt: Together

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Together"

This week, anything is possible!

"Why, yes. We are together. Why do you ask?"

(female cardinal & canary-winged parakeet)

(Click to enlarge!)

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday's Feathers: Catbert

Today's Friday's Feathers belong to:


Well, that's what we've named him, anyway. Catbert is a Gray Catbird, a winter visitor down these parts. Catbert likes Beautyberry berries, the berries on a still-unidentified small tree in a corner of the yard, insects, and using the ant moat in the hummingbird feeder as a drinking fountain.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Go Blue! - A Reminder

JJ says: Of course I voted BLUE!

Please stop by Flamingo Musings for a little tune you can hum while standing in line to VOTE this Tuesday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

PhotoHunt: Blue

The PhotoHunt theme this week is "Blue". A reprise -- I give you "Boo Jay":

"Is he looking?"


I'm so glad PhotoHunt's theme this week is "Blue". It's my theme, this week, too! Please see my post below to see why Flamingo Fotos has changed from it's usually rosy-pink look to "Blue". It's a personal meme, and I hope you'll join me over the next couple of days!

Have a great weekend, and GO BLUE!

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