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Category Archives: My Thoughts

Sea Turtle Babies Rescued!

Hello Friends,

I am doing a great deal better today after seeing the doctor.  He prescribed Prozac for me to add to the Wellbutrin I have been taking which is a pretty weak anti-depressant I guess.  So why had he never done this before?  Well, to be fair he gave me Lexapro to try a long time ago but it nauseated me so badly, I couldn’t take it.  Wow, what a difference.  This is what happened to me the first time I got an anti-depressant which was Paxil.  It made a world of difference right away which still amazes me.  I have quite a weird brain I guess, but I am thankful for medicines that do help control severe depression.

I am working on my article right now and was looking up more information about the problem with trash in our oceans and beaches when I came across a couple of very disturbing videos.  In one, a group of people on a boat removed a drinking straw from a sea turtle’s nostril.  It was awful, but I am so glad they found this turtle and helped it.  Hopefully, it didn’t have any problems breathing after they released it.  In the other one a group of people found a sea turtle on a beach and pulled a plastic fork out of its nostril!  Don’t worry; I didn’t post those two!

Trash is such a huge problem for our ocean’s and beaches!  Plastics in general that are not recycled or disposed of properly are injuring and killing wildlife all over the world.  This is what my article is about in reference to sea turtles’ livelihood.

So…when I came across THIS video, I just had to share it.  These little babies were fortunate enough to have a man come along and find them up in the brush on a beach and wandering around trying to find their way out of it.  They were crawling UP the beach away from the water.

Just listen to this man’s excitement and compassion!  If you love wildlife of any kind, I think you will like this.  Enjoy.

Thank you to all of you who are keeping me in your prayers.  You are greatly appreciated.  And…enjoy your Thanksgiving tomorrow!  

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

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Box Turtle

Hello Friends,

This is Virginia, the little Box Turtle that we saw at Turtle Bay last month!  She is showing the kids the hinge in her plastron that allows her to completely close herself up inside!  Cool, huh?  Hopefully, I didn’t post this picture already.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Turtles Again? Of course!

Hello Friends,

Yep.  That’s me…the turtle lady.  Today I just want to share with you about my latest book finds!

First, for several years now I have been checking out all the turtle and sea turtle books I can find at the library which are not very many I might add.  Well, a few days ago I was reading one of my favorites again (I’ve checked it out more times than I can count) called “Turtles, Tortoises & Terrapins:  Survivors in Armor” by Ronald Orenstein.  Every time I check it out I wish I could keep it.  So this past Tuesday I decided to look for it on Amazon.  I found a new updated version, but I couldn’t afford that one.  So I looked for a used one and found it for half the price of the newest one.  I realize there is some updated information in the new one, and it looked like it had new photos, but I still decided to get the used one.  It has a little crinkle on the book cover, but is a hardback and in good shape otherwise.  So for what I paid it is well worth it.  Here is a picture of it!  Sorry about the glare.

The other book I found is a gold mine for me!  I went to Barnes & Noble on Wednesday and was looking for a more updated book on sea turtles since I am writing the article for my class about them.  I just get tired of looking for everything online sometimes.  I still love to read books I can hold in my hands.  That is never going to change for me.

So I looked in their shrunken animal/nature book section (also, our store is smaller than most), and I couldn’t find anything!  They had a guide book for reptiles, but that was about it…NOTHING on sea turtles!  They have some small books in the kids sections that I already have, but didn’t have anything new.  So I decided to ask a clerk who has been there for at least the last 15 years or more.  She went into her computer looking for the most recently published books about sea turtles to see if there was anything I wanted to order.  I also told her I was interested in the latest conservation information.  Well, she found the most beautiful book for me!  It is a heavier covered paperback, perfect print size, and filled with the most amazing photography and information!

I have never found a book this wonderful on sea turtles before.  It is called “Our Sea Turtles:  A Practical Guide for the Atlantic and Gulf, from Canada to Mexico” by Blair and Dawn Witherington.  They are a couple who live in Floridana Beach, Florida.  Blair is a “Senior Sea Turtle Conservation Biologist at the Archie Carr Center for Sea Turtle Research, University of Florida, with a joint appointment leading Disney’s sea turtle conservation program.”  He has degrees in biology and zoology and has written several other books.

His wife, “Dawn is a scientific illustrator and graphic design artist trained at the Art Institutes of Colorado and Ft. Lauderdale.  Her art and design are prominent in natural history books, posters, museum exhibits, and a line of sea-themed greeting cards.”  (Both quotes are from the back flap of the book.)

This book is 282 pages full of wonderful information, illustrations, and photographs.  What a talent they both have for writing and art/photography!  It is so amazing.  Here is a picture of it.  Sorry there is a bit of a glare on it.  Anyway, I began reading this one last night and almost couldn’t put it down to go to sleep!  It is a book I will always treasure.  I will definitely be looking for their other books in the future.

Well, this is what I will be doing this weekend.  Reading, reading, and reading…oh and writing as well.  I realized last night that I think the reason I am having difficulty writing this article is because it is about something so precious to me.  I have a great emotional investment in my love for sea turtles and protecting them, so whatever I write, I hope it doesn’t get too much “correction” but if so, it will be a learning experience!  I hope you all have a nice weekend!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

Edible Six-Pack Rings?! Wow!

Hello Friends,

I just have to share this before I forget about it.  It will possibly be part of my next writing assignment for my class since I believe I am going to write about at least three ways sea turtles are injured or killed by trash in our oceans.  Anyway, I can’t believe I have never heard of this before!  I only have the basic bones of information right now.  I am planning on calling the company and asking more questions.

Did you know that a beer brewery located in Delray Beach, Florida, called Saltwater Brewery, created EDIBLE SIX-PACK RINGS for their canned beer?  I didn’t!  I happened to stumble onto this short video when I was looking into ways that the six-pack rings from canned products can injure and kill sea turtles.

These six-pack rings are made from barley and wheat ribbons from the beer brewing process.  They can be eaten safely and are 100% biodegradable.  Isn’t this wonderful?  I am going to be researching more information about this and will keep you posted.  In the meantime, check out this short video!

I can’t believe it is Friday already.  I think I may be spending mine writing!  Also, at some point I will still be sharing soon about the rest of the trip to Turtle Bay Exploration Park that my daughter I took last week.  AND…I am almost finished with the Mama and Baby pigs drawing.  I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

Turtles, turtles, turtles…and…birds!

Hello Friends,

Well, my daughter and I visited “Turtle Bay Exploration Park” the other day.  It was a nice cool October day which I was very thankful for!  Yes, this is me, at our first stop in the park, The Parrot House.  They currently have about 30 Lorikeets, an Australian type of parrot, which are very colorful… and friendly!! As soon as we walked in, one lighted on my hat and another on my shoulder.  They stayed there the whole time until the one on my shoulder flew off and its feathered friend followed.  I used to own Cockatiels so this was a treat for me.  My daughter was glad none landed on her, however.

We did get to see many turtles on this trip which has never happened before.  And no, “Turtle Bay” isn’t named so because they have lots of turtles.  That section of the Sacramento river where they built their facility used to be called Turtle Bay, and it may still be, but I am not sure about that.  They are also under a lot of added construction right now, revamping the playground where I used to take my kids when they were little, and adding a hotel!  Supposedly, it is to be finished by December or January.  So we’ll see!

So here are more pictures AND a couple of short videos from our little adventure.  Enjoy!  By the way, they had a tarantula, but I didn’t take any pictures of it…not my favorite animal.  Also, I am not including everything we saw either.

Here’s a red-eared slider turtle who tried, tried, and kept trying to get up onto this rock…alas, it never made it.  I guess it was just too slippery for it.  😦

 

Here are three Western Pond Turtles which are native here in Northern California.  They were in an aquarium inside the museum.

“Hey, do ya mind? I’m tryin’ to sleep here.”

 

“Yeah, I ain’t even comin’ outta my shell today folks.”

 

 

“HEY, I’m awake!  Watch me swim!”

 

 

This is “Virginia” the Box Turtle… She says, “Hey!  Watch this, but be patient!”  

 

These are the Red-eared Sliders that were in another aquarium.  My daughter took this picture.  Awesome, huh?

“Awww…look at our beautiful reflections, Melva!”  

 

This is perhaps the most amazing thing I saw.  Unfortunately, it is only the shell, but this is a Hawksbill Sea Turtle Shell!!!  Isn’t it amazing?  I thought so.  I didn’t even know they had one there years ago when we were members.  I forgot to ask how long they have had it.  And yes, even though I paint my sea turtles the colors I do, it is because when they are in the water, reflections of the sun down in the water depending on where they are, make their shells look like those brilliant colors!

 

Later this week I will have another post about our trip to Turtle Bay and show you the other wonderful animals we saw.  I didn’t want to make this post way too long.  Plus, I wanted to share the turtles mostly.  Until then…

 

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sea Turtle & Interview at Jill Weatherholt’s Blog

 

Hello Friends,

Here is another sea turtle I drew recently and plan to paint in watercolors to get 5×7 cards printed from.  It is a rough draft as you can see by all the erasure marks!  🙂

In the meantime………

 

Today, my friend, Jill Weatherholt, is kindly featuring me on her blog!  She gave me some interesting questions to answer, so if you want to know a little more about me, hop over to her fantastic blog here, and read about all of the other great bloggers she is featuring in her “Summer Spotlight!”  You can find her blog here: https://jillweatherholt.wordpress.com/2017/07/21/summer-spotlight-patsy-parker/

See you over there!

 

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

ISOLATION BREEDS DISCONNECTION

Hello Friends,

First, I want to thank all of you who support me emotionally in my writing and art.  I appreciate it more than you could ever know.  I enjoy bringing a smile, a laugh or even tears to you.  This is another long post and a little you may know already…but this is where I’m at.

I have been going through a lot of emotional upheaval in the last few months – losing my brother to suicide, trying to figure out exactly what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, and both of our kids leaving the nest temporarily (tomorrow.)  Our son is gone during the week living and working with friends, but he likes to come home some weekends to spend time with us.  He will be going out on an 8-day trip with his crew from the California Conservation Corps.  Also, our daughter is going to visit a friend for a while, possibly the rest of the summer!

So…because of all of the things I just mentioned, I decided to do two things:

1)  Go back to counseling for a while

2)  Go to suicide survivors meetings

Last week I did both which I will continue a few more times.  I do not feel at this point that I am going to need to go to either for a really long time.  I have been in a good place mentally for quite some time now since recovering from some significant losses three years ago.  What is really great is that my counselor can see me in the hour before my meeting starts on those two Mondays every month.  Also, I met some great women at this meeting that I want to get to know.

Here’s what I learned at my first suicide survivors meeting:

  • I am not alone – suicide has touched almost every family. Survivors feel angry, sad, abandoned, and wish we could have said or done something to prevent it.
  • We feel guilty to some degree that we couldn’t stop it or didn’t see the signs.

Some people find their loved ones who died.  I can only imagine how emotionally traumatic that would be to a person.  Just hearing how my brother killed himself and hearing how people did CPR on him for at least 20 minutes, puts images in my mind that I will never forget.  Finding out that his best friend had brought my brother a wheelchair the day he died and didn’t see the signs of suicidal thoughts in him, helped me understand why my brother may have made this choice.

When he called me a few weeks before he chose to die, the last thing he told me was that his legs didn’t work anymore.  He said he could barely stand up or walk.  I always knew that my brother was a prideful man.  He never wanted to show weakness.  He was always sensitive, loved animals (whom he knew could love him back,) and I think he just felt out of place his whole life.  He was not a follower nor was he a leader.  He was determined to go his own way which he always did.  He didn’t confide in me or anyone else in our family about anything.

I can relate to some of this.  I have felt this way for most of my life.  Some may think I am projecting part of who I am onto my brother.  However, I would disagree.  He and I were a lot alike in many ways that I just never really thought about until now.  I will always miss him even though he never did let me get close to him.  For some reason I’ll never know, things were just always intense between us.

The difference between us, though, is that I hit bottom at 27 years old, reached out for help, and eventually began taking medications for depression and anxiety.  My brother self-medicated from his teen years on, what I believe, was some type of mental illness.  Thinking back over a lot of his behavior – his anger, impulsiveness, pride – makes me wonder if he had extreme anxiety which is why he drank.  Alcohol is a depressant, though, and he was not one to sit around feeling depressed, which is why I think he became addicted to speed.  All of this stuff can really mess up a person’s brain which just complicates mental health issues even more.  It is a vicious cycle!

The saddest part of all of this for me is that about three years ago he called me to apologize for how he had treated me most of our lives and tell me he didn’t deserve forgiveness; he said he wanted to quit the drugs but couldn’t.  He felt stuck, scared, and defeated.  I think he just had not hit bottom yet – until he saw that wheelchair.  Unfortunately, hitting bottom for him didn’t mean reaching out for help.  I believe he may have thoughts like:  “I am not going to become an invalid.”  “I will not become helpless.”  “I will not become dependent on anyone to help me with everyday things I can no longer do for myself.”  I knew my brother well enough to know that this is very close to what had to be going through his mind that last day.

Yet I believe human beings are made to need other human beings.  As much as some of us may not want to admit we need people – we do.  Isolation is not a solution to relieve anxiety.  Desiring to get away from people is natural – for a time.  But to stay alone for weeks, months, or years is to disconnect.  Disconnection from healthy relationships leaves a person in their own head where they can deceive themselves so easily into believing lies such as:

  • I’m ugly.
  • I’m not worthy of love.
  • No one will ever love the real me.
  • How can anyone love me when I am such an emotional mess?

These were some of my very thoughts, along with many other negative tapes playing in my head, from a young age.  Some of it came from emotional neglect and abuse that my brothers and I went through from our alcoholic dad.  I know now that our parents were probably both mentally ill, (my dad was depressed and my mom most likely had anxiety to some extent) but they did the best they were capable of in parenting us.  I think on some level my brother knew this, too.  I just wish he could have asked for help.  He lived in a trailer park and had some friends, but only one of them knew how depressed he was, yet he didn’t even recognize the suicidal signs that were there.  So…

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, do what could be the hardest things you may ever do – pick up the phone and call your local suicide hotline or the Suicide Prevention Services of America at 1-800-273-8225.

Lastly, please do not allow yourself or anyone you know to stay isolated.  Try your best to reach out.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug.   🙂

 

MENTAL HEALTH: Getting Well is Possible.

Hello Friends,

Over the last few days I have been deciding how I plan to deal with my brother’s suicide and how I would like to be involved in a large community near where I live.  I met with a woman on Tuesday at the open house for a new mental health facility that opened in Redding, Ca.  Here is a link to the article:   http://anewscafe.com/2017/05/25/county-officials-mental-health-professionals-and-public-attend-open-house-of-new-mental-health-facility-in-redding/

It was exciting for me to hear about all of the many services this group of people is going to offer to Shasta County.  I knew then that God was showing me how my life is going to change real soon.  I signed up to be a volunteer.  I will start out doing simple things at first such as answering phones or e-mails or helping with mailings.  I also plan to begin attending meetings facilitated by the woman I met with.  She facilitates meetings for friends and family members of people who completed suicide.  It has been many years since I went to any kind of open recovery meetings such as this, but I am looking forward to it.  I remember back in 1988 when I went to my first recovery meetings after I stopped drinking and using drugs.  I felt very nervous and afraid.  However, I am not that person anymore; I know what I need to deal with, I have good boundaries, and there is no pressure to share.  I think just meeting new people and hearing other people’s stories will help me begin to deal with the unfortunate choice my brother made.  I will have no problem sharing or talking, though, so I am sure I will.  The next meeting isn’t until June 5th so I have some time to process all of it some more before then.

I have my first counseling meeting set up for June 2nd with a therapist I met a couple of months ago.  I am also looking forward to talking with her.  It has been a very long time since I went to a woman counselor which will be different.  When I first went to counseling in 1988, I went to a woman.  However, after several months, I felt really uncomfortable with her for some reason.  So I stopped.  I kept going to the ACA meetings, and then found a male counselor at the church I was attending at the time.  I went to him for several years, and he was encouraging, safe, and the first man I ever felt connected with emotionally whom I knew I could trust.  I grew a lot in those years, and he helped me through the transition of entering a second marriage which has been healthy and loving.  My husband and I have been together since December of 1994.  It has been quite a journey!  And now we are looking toward the future when our nest is empty and he retires someday.

So as far as working with Hill Country Care Center, I am planning to take some time to get to know people, get a good feel of all of their services to the community, then possibly go through their Shasta Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) Academy which is a “FREE 65-hour certificate training program…designed to help people prepare for entry-level positions within the public mental health field and/or prepare them to become Peer Mentors.”  (That is a quote from their brochure.)

It has been many years since I have taken any kind of classes, but I had already been thinking about something along these lines for the last year or so. I just had no idea I would find out about this wonderful care facility this way.  So hopefully, as I said in my last post about my brother, something good will come from his death.    It is possible that I may eventually get to use my writing and art to contribute to the creating of flyers, etc.  So that is exciting for me, too.

Thank you to all of you who read my last post about the suicide of my brother.  I appreciate all of your support, prayers, and comments more than you know.  I am planning on keeping you updated on what I will be doing and learning as a volunteer in the mental health community.

I am still doing art and still plan to keep working on the picture books I’d like to write and illustrate, but for now it is just for fun.  I am feeling like this other work is going to become more important to me for the time being, but the facility does also have a program where they train people to go into elementary schools and talk about suicide.  Who knows?  Maybe somehow, all of this will meld together into something beautiful.  I sure hope so.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

 

SUICIDE: Don’t Make That Choice!

Hello Friends,

I have been feeling a little reluctant to write about this, but honestly, I don’t see how I can NOT write about it.  This will be long; bear with me, please.

On the morning of May 5th, I learned that one of my brothers committed suicide on May 4th.  In a way, I wasn’t surprised when I thought back on the last time I had spoken with him.  He called me out of the blue about a month before this and asked me if I knew where his daughter was.  I thought this was a strange question since I have not seen her since she was three years old!  She and her mom left California in the early ’80’s when her mom and my brother divorced.  Anyway, I asked him why he needed to find her.  I asked him if he was sick.  He said he wasn’t sick, but he couldn’t hardly walk anymore. He said he wanted her to be able to have all of his part of the financial investments that our parents left us “just in case something happens to me.”  In the back of my mind I had a flash of what he may have been planning.  However, I did not ask him if he was feeling suicidal.  I wish I had.   I was actually surprised that he even called me.

My brother and I had a very rocky relationship for most of our lives.  I never really understood why.  I am the youngest.  He was the middle sibling.  We were four and a half years apart.  He would have been 61 this July.  He always seemed closer to our other brother.  However, throughout our lives we all really went our separate ways.  The closest I ever felt to either of them was when we went through the death of our mother in 2006.  Our father died three years later.  So our eldest brother had to handle all of the inheritance stuff.  It was a very stressful time for all of us.  Since then, we have all lived separately; my oldest brother left the area and my other brother and I never knew where he was until about three years ago.

That was when my middle brother decided to call me and apologize for everything he had ever done to hurt me.  He was crying and truly sorry.  This was something I had been praying for since 1987 when God had turned my life around.  I had tried many times to make amends with him, but he was just not ready.  Needless to say, I was thankful for that call.  I told him I had forgiven him many years ago and had been praying we might be able to have that conversation someday.  I told him I had always wanted to know him and I loved him.  I asked him if we could just start to have a relationship then, but he said he didn’t want to.  He was addicted to drugs and couldn’t get clean.  He was living in a trailer park where he had been for the last 20 years.  He didn’t know how to change, and he didn’t ask anyone for help that I know of.  I felt helpless, but I let him be.  I called him a few times just to see how he was doing, but he just didn’t know how to connect with me.

I believe he suffered from mental illness his whole life; most likely anxiety and depression, just as I have since I was at least 15.  Looking back on my childhood, I now believe my dad suffered from depression and this was why he drank.  I also think my mom had anxiety issues not just because of his drinking, but because of her own chemical make-up.  She was always worrying about everything and everyone.

I went through my drug and alcohol abuse days from about 1980 to 1987.  That was the year I quit everything and got help through counseling and an ACA (adult children of alcoholics) meeting every week for a couple of years. However, both of my brothers kept using drugs and alcohol for the rest of their lives.  My brother who died was hurt on a job many years ago and was getting pain medicine through the veterans hospital.  He was in the Navy for four years when he was right out of high school.   Apparently, though, his back became so bad, he could hardly walk anymore.  I believe that he just chose to die to escape the pain that was consuming him.

I have been that low many, many times myself emotionally.  However, I am thankful to have a loving husband and two children who love me and would never ever want me to make that choice just to escape any pain I may go through in my life.  It doesn’t solve anything, and it leaves those whom the person left behind in shock, angry, and sad.

When I learned of my brother’s suicide, I was definitely shocked.  Then I was angry for a few days.  Then I had to begin dealing with the aftermath of what would happen to him and his stuff.  At the time I didn’t have a clue as to where his daughter was.  Then his best friend found my brother’s ex-wife’s phone number.  She was contacted and then my niece was.  Yesterday I spent most of the day on the phone with my 37-year-old niece whom I do not even know.  It was strange, but good.

Hopefully, just getting in touch with her will be the blessing that comes out of his sad choice.  My brother and his daughter were estranged from each other for most of their lives as well.  I always felt sad about that, but hopefully she and I can build a relationship with one another now even though we live very far apart.

To this day I have no clue as to where my other brother lives.  We became estranged after our parents were both gone eight years ago.  He left the area and has never wanted to come back.  However, our brother who died did have a best friend who knew where our oldest brother was.  So the same month that my brother called and apologized to me, he also went and found our other brother to make amends with him as well.  However, I have no way to find our eldest brother to try and do the same.  He is living off the grid which is what he always wanted.

I know this has been a very long post; if you stayed with me, thank you.  I wrote this to encourage anyone who is thinking about suicide or knows anyone who is, to tell you to please reach out for help.  There is lots of help to be found!  First, try to talk to someone you know.  If that doesn’t help, call a local suicide hotline.  Or call 1-800-273-8255.  This is the number for Suicide Prevention Services of America.  Their website is http://www.spsamerica.org if you want more information.  I have never used their services, but I am sure there would be someone there to talk to.

Well, friends, I am definitely going to be reaching out for some help myself in dealing with this.  I have talked with someone locally whom I am planning to meet this afternoon.  Perhaps this is going to be the start of something good.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

What a Wonderful World

Hello Friends,

I had a lot of plans for art and writing today since I didn’t have to go to town and our daughter is spending a few days with friends.  But alas, a sore throat got me, I took some flu stuff before bed last night, and then slept my whole morning away.  I’m feeling kind of bummed right now, too, because I ruined a painting I was working on and have to do something else now.  I’ve never really liked working with oranges much, but that’s all I’ll say about that!!

Oh well, in spite of all of this, I thought of this song.  It is surely the medicine I needed today.  Just seeing Louis Armstrong’s smiling face singing this beautiful song has already made me feel better.

Have a wonderful day, and give someone you love a big hug!  🙂

 

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