When Technology and Hobbies Save Lives – #WATWB

Image that says we are the world

Welcome back to the monthly bloghop – We Are The World Blogfest – started by author Damyanti Biswas. It is a time to share snippets of good news happening around the world in an effort to diminish the impact of negative news.

Rene Compean was an experienced hiker, but that did not mean the elements could not conspire against him. After venturing out on a solo hike in the Angeles National Forest, he took a new trail. After spending several hours trying to find his way, he got scared. He was lost. The wind was fierce and the temperatures were dropping. He found his way to a high peak and took two photos and sent them with an SOS message to his friend. Only one photo went through – a photo of his soot covered legs on an overlook.

The Los Angeles Search and rescue teams spent hours trying to locate him before they sent a plea for the public’s help on Social Media. Fortunately Ben Kuo saw the message and put his hobby and technology to work to see if he could help locate him. He was able to pinpoint the lost hiker’s location allowing search teams to locate and rescue Compean after a harrowing 30+ hours lost in the wilderness.

Read their stories here at Not All News Is Bad (which links to The Washington Post.(Hopefully you will not hit the paywall – if you do here is an alternate link – Inside Edition.)

I love it when strangers help strangers!

Want to read more good news or join in the effort to contribute to the spreading of good news throughout the world?

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Foraging for Food


We had the first radishes from our garden a few days ago. It reminded me that this is ramp season and I thought about this post and wanted to share it again. I am not sure we will be able to find ramps this year since we are not traveling into the mountains much. Our environment is not moist enough nor the elevation cool enough to have them on our property. This year when so many have been homebound, more people have attempted gardens and baking their own bread – me included. I love earthy root vegetables and dark leafy greens. Commercial supermarkets can be very limited on the produce they carry. Have you stretched your culinary muscles during the pandemic?

Day 184

Yesterday as I walked through our local Fresh Market grocery, I ran across a very familiar sight. There in the middle of the produce section was a plastic shrink-wrapped package of fiddlehead ferns with an accompanying placard explaining what they are.

When I lived in Maine and then in Alaska, we frequently foraged for fiddlehead ferns. They were cleaned, blanched and then frozen for consumption during the winter months. It was laborious especially if you gathered a large volume, but so delicious!

Seeing the fiddleheads reminded me of a place in Asheville, No Taste Like Home which offers foraging tours to learn about foraging for wild foods in this area. This is something I have wanted to do since we moved back here and this is the year!

It is a very cool concept. No Taste Like Home promotes itself as an ecotour company that specializes in…

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One Liner Wednesday –

(For those vusually impaired, the image is a cartoon of three people in the grocery store wearing masks, trying to open the thin plastic produce bags.)

Tensions are high in the produce section as no one dares to lick their fingers.

When I shared this on Facebook, everyone left me messages explaining how they solve this problem. 😂😂😂

(I found this cartoon on Facebook. The cartoonist’s initials are on the piece although I cannot make them out. All credit is given to the artist.)

One liner Wednesday is brought to us each week by the lovely Linda Hill. Please visit Linda’s blog to read the rules, read other one liners, and possibly join in the fun!


Blog, fiction

The Message – A Fiction Piece

Arnie pushed her auburn hair behind her ears. She found her hair annoying at this length but there was no need to worry about a haircut now. The message was clear, perhaps the clearest she had ever received.

She scooted her stool close to the window and pushed aside the blue and yellow flowered curtains her grandmother said would be perfect for her room. “You will always have a breath of spring in your room!” The sky was baby blue with cotton-ball clouds In the distance. Other than her curtains, spring had faded away. Summer arrived with warm days and cool nights. Everyone seemed anxious to get outside and enjoy the warmth of the sun but Arnie was conflicted.

Jack Rose, Arnie’s father, paused by her door. “Gorgeous day, isn’t it?” The question was rhetorical of course as her father continued toward the stairs that would lead him to his morning coffee. Grandmother Rose moved in with them when Arnie’s mother passed away. Three years had passed but it still felt like it happened yesterday. People had been kind, but Arnie never wanted to see flowers again. She could no longer tolerate their syrupy sweet smell.

Of course Arnie knew of her mother’s looming fate before anyone else. The message was the first one that frightened her and she clung to her mother hoping it would sway the imminent message. All she could do was wait until others learned what she already knew. Sadly, there was no changing the result. The drunk driver was never caught, but Arnie knew that would be the case.

Arnie quit trying to talk about the messages long ago. Everything was conveniently whisked in the category of coincidence. Arnie was not mature enough to articulate what she knew so she just quit talking about them. Over the last few years the frequency of the messages had decreased. She knew as soon as her mother died she would lose her playroom so Grandma Rose could have a nice room of her own. She packed up her most important books and the stuffed bunny with the floppy ears her mother gave her long before her father explained the need to consolidate her belongings.

She smiled at the squirrels jumping precariously through the oak tree out front. She slipped on her sandals and went downstairs to join her family.

“Your pancakes are ready, my dear.” She loved the way her grandmother smiled with her eyes. “I even warmed the syrup just the way you like it.” Her grandmother kissed Arnie on the forehead as she handed her a plate with three large pancakes. “I hope you’re hungry.”

As she ate her pancakes, Arnie listened to her father and her grandmother talk about the weather. It was a perfect day to just relax with no errands to run and no work to be done. Arnie tried to compartmentalize her thoughts. Should she tell them? What purpose would it serve other than turn a perfectly glorious day into a catastrophe?

After breakfast, Arnie went outside and climbed into the curve of the oak tree. It was a perfect place to give into her thoughts. She thought about her mother and wondered if this was what she felt? Did she know on that day she would breathe her last breath or did it come as a complete surprise?

Who does one tell, when the entire world faces the same fate? Who would believe a thirteen year-old child if she told them today would be the last sunset for the entire planet? Who would believe the sun would lose its grip on this beautiful earth forcing it to be flung into space?

From the tree she watched her father practice on his makeshift putting green. Her grandmother clipped the rose bushes, cutting off the dying blooms. She closed her eyes and wondered if today she might see her mother again.

A hawk appeared out of nowhere and scooped up a small squirrel scampering across the yard. Sunset had come a little early for that little guy.


Monday Missive – WordPress

I’ve been using the block editor consistently for about two weeks now. I have not tried anything too outrageous, but I thought I would share some things about the editor and WordPress in general.

  • HTML – If you were familiar with changing HTML in the classic editor, just understand that the block editor adds headers and footers around each block. You are better off to edit blocks individually, rather than edit the entire post. It is just cleaner.
  • Frustrations – I attempted to add a contact form to a new page. There are pre-formatted contact forms you can edit. They look nice and clean, but they may not work consistently from theme to theme. I was frustrated I could not use CSS (I do not have a paid account) to change the margins or the padding. (I did not think to try inline CSS so I may try that and report back.
  • Outside the block editor, I caught a few things I wanted to talk about. The first is Gravatars. So many bloggers have emphasized the importance of having a Gravatar and I agree. Unfortunately, I clicked on a new follower‘s photo in the stats section of WordPress and it took me to a possible spam site. It immediately flashed warnings my iPad was infected with a virus which was not true, but it is maddening that this still happens. Please spend the time updating your Gravatar bio and your websites. I also received a fair number of 404 errors because websites no longer existed or they were moved and the Gravatar never updated.
  • Themes. I spent some time looking at new Themes. Let me tell you, some of the color palettes used in their designs are horrendous. Also, not every function, widget, or design element transfers from one theme to another. I will be changing my theme as soon as I can find one that works for me.
  • Available storage. In a self hosted world, all the revisions that WordPress creates take up storage. I contacted the Happiness Engineers and discovered that in the free WordPress plans those do not count against your available storage. If you are self hosted, there are plugins that will clean up the saved revisions if you need to delete some.
  • Photos. All the photos you use do count against your storage Including photos from posts you reblog. If you select free images from Pixabay, Pexels, Unsplash, etc., download the smallest image that will work for you. If you are using your own photos taken with a cell phone, those images are most likely very large. Find a good editing program (there are plenty of free ones) that will allow you to modify the image resolution. Questions? Just ask!

This ended up being much longer than I anticipated, so I am going to stop for now. Have a great week everyone!