Thursday, June 01, 2006

Blooming Friends

The peak season of my flower garden is here and I picked out the best of the best of my 2006 daylily blooms.

These have all bloomed in my garden in the past month or so. This is my awards drumroll to my garden and a thank-you for a splendid performance.

Ethics lessons for US Iraq troops

Is it just me, or does this seem like a solution that is not a solution. These soldiers already get this training in boot camp. Why didn't it take? Why do the commanding officers think this will change anything? What a farce!

Bush policy has pushed them to the point where they are snapping!

Some have been on three tours of duty in an environment that is a walking exploding PTSD petri dish.

Expect more of this. This war is lost.
Get over it, Bush and bring our troops home!

For full story, click on the top headline.

Bodies of Haditha victims
The US says it is still investigating what happened at Haditha
US-led troops in Iraq are to undergo ethical training in the wake of the alleged murder of civilians in Haditha.

For the next 30 days, they will receive lessons in "core
warrior values", a military statement said.

Correspondents say Haditha, where US marines are suspected of massacring up to 24 Iraqi civilians, could
have a huge effect on US public opinion.

In a separate incident, US forces were accused of shooting dead a pregnant woman as she was rushed to hospital.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Walking Under the Stars

Unless it is thundering and pouring down rain, which isn't very often, my husband and I walk our two dogs every day around 5:15 in the morning. It is cool then in the Texas hill country where we live. We are surrounded by green woodlands, a nature preserve with canyons and there is a large lake nearby. We usually walk about two miles in morning and frequently walk another two miles at night, after it cools off.

Lately I have been paying attention to the abundant life around me as I walk underneath the Little Dipper, directly above us this time of year. I love hearing the whippoorwill's soft cry at the same place on the road. There is some comfort in the lonesome regularity of its call.

Yesterday my large lab was nosing around in the grass and stuck her nose right on a big tarantula. It reared back to bite her just as my husband pulled all 80 pounds of her away. The tarantulas are large here, about the size of an open hand spread, but they can blend in with the grass and leaves, especially in some places where the streetlight is dim.

Although they can jump up to about 5 feet, they are not aggressive and generally scoot by you to get on the road where it is warm. I took a picture of one a few days ago as it sat on the sidewalk.

I do keep an eye out for rattlesnakes, as they sometimes come up from the canyon to seek water in the sprinkler systems when it is dry. In the old days, my grandfather, who was a rancher, told me that they smeared bacon grease on snakebit dogs and usually they survived, having no anti-venom then.

Yesterday, as we approached a wooded area by the side of the road with large old oaks trees, I heard a loud snort and knew there were deer nearby. Two large does ran out into the clearing in front of us.

We've seen coyotes on the road, but they do not come close, preferring to watch from a safe distance.

There are also armadillos and possums, and cottontail rabbits, the nocturnal creatures not evident in the daylight hours.

The rabbits stay snugly hidden after daylight to avoid the numerous red-tailed hawks. I once had a hawk swoop down on a litter of white kittens in my back yard and tried to take off with one of the kittens in its talons. The mother cat jumped on the hawk, spitting and furious and it released the baby unharmed, feathers flying as it tried to make its getaway. I think the hawk mistook it for a rabbit.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Maintaining a Healthy Relationship, Part 2

To have a healthy relationship requires that we keep love alive. This requires a serious commitment to the relationship and considerable effort from both individuals in the relationship.

Maintaining a healthy relationship is not a job for one. It takes two! However, if both people are willing to work at it, on a daily basis, it can become a reality.

The essential elements of a healthy relationship are:

1. Healthy self-esteem.

2. Showing emotional vulnerability.

3. Openly expressing your feelings.

4. Showing respect and admiration for your partner.

5. Openly admitting when you are wrong.

6. Maintaining open lines of communication.

7. Playing together on a regular basis.

8. Sharing intimate time together.

9. Honestly confronting issues that may have a negative impact on the relationship.

10. Negotiating mutually agreed solutions to problems in the relationship.

11. Disclosing your personal boundaries.

12. Respecting your partner's declared personal boundaries.

13. Acknowledging when you are feeling resentment toward your partner and talking about it-openly.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Working on Relationships

There was some discussion over at The Blue Republic over the weekend about what makes a healthy relationship. There's a great discussion forum over there, so if this interests you, go over and sign up. It's free!

A group of us also had some discussion here last week about why some relationships work, why some relationships don't.

The biggest problem with relationships is that most of us have never had a role model for one.

We usually don't get taught in school or at home the common behaviors and thoughts that keep us from being happy or successful. Most of us try to figure it out on our own.

Keeping love alive requires work. I don't mean to imply that it is drudgery, but that it requires effort, time and energy. No matter how emotionally close two people seem to be, their relationship must be renewed-daily.

Relationships are dynamic, always in a state of flux. In fact, the only constant in a relationship is that it is dynamic. It changes moment-by-moment, interaction-by-interaction.

There are also some things we do that hurt our relationships. Some of these destructive factors include:

* Giving up the things you love to do, your interests for your partner. (Do you resent it that you never go skiing anymore?)

* Nagging at your partner. (Even if you just want to make him/her a better person.)

* Doing something to get even with your partner. (Ah, well, there was the incident of the plastic snake under the pillow that night.)

* Talking about your partner behind his/her back. (That bitch/bastard!)

* Blaming your partner for your feelings of unhappiness. (if only s/he would X, then I could Y.)

* Expecting your partner to change. (I know if I just love him/her enough, s/he will quit having affairs and lying about them.)

* Thinking "if my partner really loved me--he/she would know what I need without me having to tell him/her." (What, you're NOT a mind-reader?)

* Avoiding intimate time together. (Just another half-hour, dear, I'm almost to level 19.)

* Flirting with persons other than your partner. (If s/he doesn't know about it, how can it hurt?)

* Considering having an affair (seeking love outside of your relationship).

There are probably more, feel free to add your own list.
What are the positive thing we can do to enhance to make our relationships flower. Ah, more on that tomorrow!