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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Branson Tornadoes

Tornadoes ripped through Branson, MO, this morning leaving significant damage to the Strip and area homes. So far, I've heard of damage to several theaters including the Americana and Branson Variety. Please pray for the people injured and those left homeless and jobless because of the destruction.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Fun n Sun Writers Group

I met another creative group of writers at Fun n Sun in Harlingen on Thursday. My presentation covered some basics of writing - dialogue, show don't tell, strong leads, nonfiction vs fiction.

The writing assignment produced unique points of view for the same story. It's always amazing how each of us sees an incident or event differently. If you're a writer and you're never been part of a writing group, try it. There's an energy and enthusiasm that's contagious.

People fascinate me more every day of my life. I marvel at the energy and experiences that blend us into one-of-a-kind individuals yet we share the same basic goals in life.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Writing Biographies

Life is both strange and marvelous. When I first wrote Ed Slater's story, I never thought about where to go from there. I loved writing a biography - the interviewing, sharing, researching and taking Ed into my life and my heart.

I find it strange that I've ended up in a place I never thought about going. I love writing and I am forever fascinated by the lives people lead and the decisions they make.

I find life marvelous because our actions always lead to other opportunities and actions. Since I met Ed, I've written about people - many of them veterans. Each person's story has expanded my awareness of the growth potential that is in all of us.

Yesterday I met with a 91-year-old WWII veteran in Harlingen, TX. He's a Marine and served in four major campaigns in the Pacific Theater including Guam and Iwo Jima. I will be working with this charming, articulate man to bring his story to life.

I thank Ed, the Sunchon Tunnel Massacre survivors, the Korean War, WWII and Vietnam veterans who have shared their stories with me. Thanks to Rudy Rudolph - we're currently working on his book - and John Bax who shared so much of his life with me before his passing last November.

I have realized there's always room in my heart for one more person. Each of the people I've interviewed and written about have become a part of me. That's the gift that writing gives.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

I found the parrots!

Thanks to Seth Patterson, I found the parrots in Brownsville. The dreary, rainy night may have hindered good photos but it didn't phase my enthusiasm to see and listen to these marvelous creatures.

They produce their own choir, never out of tune with each other, raucous, loud and absolutely fun! I think I could listen to them for hours.

Their vibrant green is well-matched with the red on their heads. I'm in love with these parrots. Can't wait to find them on a sunny evening with my camera in hand.

Everett patiently listened to my oohing and aahing - I'm not sure he was as thrilled as I but he's good at following parrot music.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo, Kite Fest & Rain

Slow soaking rain today. It's cold in South Padre land (low 50s) but the rain is much needed. At least 50 black-bellied whistling ducks and a dozen white ibis picked clean our backyard this morning but no roseate spoonbill today. I'm working on the John Bax story - looking out as the gusty wind plays with the palm trees.

Yesterday's Winter Outdoor Wildlife Expo once again proved a great way to spend a day on the island. Lee Zieger taught two photography classes and displayed many of his beautiful photos. Seth Patterson gave an interesting talk about his book, El Valle. I've heard him before but each time he presents new information.

Jonathon Wood brought a number of raptors and I, along with many others, loved photographing them. I'll soon have some photos to post. I especially loved a barn owl who displayed much curiosity about all of the folks talking to, watching and photographing him. Would love to know what he was thinking!

If you missed it this year and you're in the area next year, it's definitely worth your time.

We planned the Kite Fest today but I suspect the weather canceled it. We'll check it out and let you know.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Exciting Weekend on South Padre Island

This is a weekend that will guarantee play time instead of work time. We're starting tomorrow morning with the Winter Outdoor Wildlife Event. It's always a fun day with lectures on photography, birding, fishing, and much more. Jonathon Wood always draws attention with his raptor show and exhibitors showcase the area. It's a fun day.

We've never tasted the chili at the Chili Cookoff but this may be the year we do. After checking out the trade show there, we'll head to the flats for the Kite Festival. With huge colorful balloons filling the sky, kite competition or performances, it promises to be a fun couple of days.

I'll let you know!

Parrots, John Bax and me

Green Parakeets
Over the last couple of years John Bax took me on several birding trips to Brownsville - to search for parrots. We saw hundreds of green parakeets every time but we never saw the parrots. I'd go home without a parrot photo. John would call a day or two later and tell me he found red-crowned or yellow-headed parrots. We'd try again the next evening. No luck.

Many members of the Bay Area Birders went "parroting" in Harlingen yesterday. I thought of John the entire trip and wished he were with us. However, like my trips with John, I saw no parrots - although some people in our group reported seeing them. Just the night before, our leader had seen many.

I'm beginning to wonder - are the parrots playing games with me? Is this destined to be a life-long search? Are there really parrots in the Rio Grande Valley? Is it me?