Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cardinals and The Island on Bird Street

I got up this morning after my cats insisted that I get up. I had no plans to get up early, since I didn't really have much planned today. The cats seem to jump on top of me whenever they are particularly insistent that I wake up. And all three of them wanted me to get out of bed early this morning. So I got up and filled their food bowl. After I fed them I sat down and looked out the window. And there was the most beautiful cardinal I have ever seen sitting on in the bush. He was a brilliant red. It was a real treat to see.

So here is a little tidbit for the day.

Did you know that cardinals are extremely territorial. In fact they are so territorial they will attempt to fight their own reflection in water because they believe that their reflection is intruding on their own territory.

Who would have known huh?

Then this evening I watched a video on netflix. The Island on Bird Street was the video I chose. If you haven't seen the movie I recommend it. It is a children's movie so it is appropriate for the entire family. It is loosely based on events of the author, Uri Orlev. The movie was based on the book by the same name.

The main character is Alex. A young boy who lives in a ghetto during the Nazi occupation of Poland. During the selections that occurred in the ghetto, Alex is separated from his father and uncle. Before he is separated from his family, his father promises to return for him. Alex hides in the deserted ghetto. Through the use of his imagination and alot of luck Alex is able to survive.

Because of the subject matter there is some violence, but it is not explicit. And it does remain true to the subject matter.

You can watch the movie trailer below.

I think one of the things that I liked about the movie was that the movie does not portray everyone as good or evil. Alex receives help from Poles. And when a German soldier finds him he does not shoot Alex. There is also an incident where other survivors in the ghetto refuse to assist Alex.

It left me with the feeling that things are never what they seem. Good people do good things, but sometimes it just isn't enough. Bad people can make the right decisions. Which means the bad things they are doing are a choice. They do have control over it. And sometimes people who would never think of not assisting someone in need feel like they must survive instead of assisting the person in need.

With the recent release of movies about the holocaust I believe that this movie was overlooked by audiences. It is far better than the movie Jakob the Liar which has a similar subject matter. In fact in some ways it is similar to the movie The Pianist. The only difference is the target audience is children instead of adults and the story is adjusted to the audience.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Country Drive and Bacon Gift Baskets

This week has been fairly wonderful! There were a couple moments of frustration. One day in particular I was starting to become a little anxious so I decided to go for a drive. I thought to myself where could I go that is not going to cost me a fortune, but I could get outside for a little while and clear my mind. So I hopped in my car and started to drive a southwest to Huntington, IN. A little town about 30 an hour from my home. I worked in Huntington several years ago. So I knew about a park in the town that was pretty. It's the Sunken Garden.

The Sunken Gardens in Huntington, Indiana, was a stone quarry between the years of 1923 and 1928. After the quarry closed architects developed the quarry into a park. I am unsure when the park opened, but it has a really relaxing atmosphere. Since the park was a rock quarry, it is lower than the nearby streets. The result is sounds from cars passing by are blocked and it is really quiet.

The park has ponds and a fountain, which you guessed it ducks enjoy swimming in.

As I walked through the park I felt some of myself relax a little, which was the desired effect.  And then I looked over and saw this.

Light at the end of the tunnel. It provided me with a little bit of inspiration. So if your ever in the area of Huntington, Indiana, I recommend a visit to The Sunken Gardens. Its a nice place for a lunch break or if you need a little bit of peace and quiet in your life.

My friend Andy has recently had quite a bit of stress in his life. His mother passed away, and now his father is in Hospice. It seems as if he can't quite catch a break right now. What do you do for people when nothing you can say will make them feel better? Since Andy is a great fan of bacon a friend and I decided to make a Bacon Gift Basket for Andy. What items are in a Bacon Gift Basket? Well pretty much anything to do with bacon. We purchased bacon bits, a bacon and chocolate candy bar (these can be found at Fresh Market), and of course some precooked bacon. But it also needed some items that were home made. My friend made bacon chip cookies. These were really yummy. I wasn't too sure about them, but surprisingly chocolate chip cookies with candied bacon are really tasty. My home made addition was the bacon cheese bread. I was able to use my breadmaker, which is totally awesome and the bread turned out beautifully. We added an inflatable pig to your basket and you have a nice gift. While we were not able to make things better for Andy, we were able to let Andy know that there are people that are thinking of him.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I'm On Top of the World

Every have one of those days when you feel like your on top of the world? They feel great don't they? That wasn't the day I had today. I had an interiew today and I don't feel that it went well. It was a job that I that I am interested in, but I don't feel that I was quite sharp enough today. This all made me feel anxious and I immeiately began to beat myself up. So I decided to go to the park for a walk to work off some of the nervous energy. I parked my car and got out. I parked near a pond and there were a couple people feeding the ducks and geese. I swear they had enough bread to last a family of 10 for a week and possibly two. It was alot of bread. They kept digging more bead out of the trunk of the car. The ducks and geese didn't seem to mind. They acted like they expected it.

There was also a couple of men in a van. The one man in the van began talking to the lady that was feeding the birds. I  decided their conversation might be interesting so I decided to sit down and listen in. As I listened in I quickly learned that they both worked with individuals with disabilities. In fact they were working with individuals while they were talking. I thought to myself, why are they talking to each other instead of the individuals they were with. This went on for over 15 minutes.

Then the individuals got out of the van and I realized that there were actually four gentlemen sitting in the van. The driver got out a fishing net and they all went toward the water. I decided I had listened to the group long enough. So I walked away. I was able to get close to some ducks, who were not sure if they wanted me to get any closer.

Ducks at the park

But the gentlemen feeding the ducks were still in my line of sight. There was one gentlemen in particular that caught my eye. From a distance you could tell that he truly enjoyed being out and feeding the birds. He was waving at them and talking about them. When I returneded to my car, the gentlemen were still out enjoying the day. As I got into my car the gentlemen who caught my eye looked my way and smiled. It was the most genuine smile I have ever seen in my life. It was a smile that was generated by a person who was absolutely at peace with himself. And at that moment I realized that jobs don't matter, but sharing that level of happiness with those around me is one of the things that really matter in life.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Things to celebrate and more

Yesterday started out quite interesting. I was still sleeping and I remember thinking to myself why are people singing to me in Spanish? I thought to myself what did I do yesterday an did I drive to Mexico by chance? Then as I began waking up I realized it was Cinco De Mayo and that I had not driven to Mexico. But that my neighbors were getting ready to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. I was both relieved and disappointed. I thought maybe I had struck out on some adventure, but I realized was at home. So my adventure for Cinco de Mayo was going out to dinner with some friends. It was great fun, maybe next year I'll wake up in Mexico.