Almost every time I look out the patio doors, the cardinal couple is hopping around on the cement or the furniture. Perching on my two container trees. Or sipping water from the bird bath.

The male sings to the female mate, his mate for life. And before long she comes flying in to join him.

Rain & More Rain:

There has been quite a bit of rain, as usually occurs this time of year.

It’s as though Mother Nature has scheduled the rain to come down on the seeds and germinate them in my pots. And I’m thankful.

Every time I go out with Charlie I pause in front of a pot and look for small weeds I can interrupt and pull out. It is a meditative process for me. Relaxes me.

What I’m Doing Lately:

I’ve read quite a few books lately. I can’t be on a keyboard or iPhone much due to my fingers and hands. Now my fingers lock up during the day as well as the night. And I’m having to really cut back on my usual activities.

I have an appointment with the hand specialist next Wednesday.

My back has gotten a little better. I’ve learned that the sweet spot in doing the exercises I’m given is to just do them a minute or so at a time. Then stop, and come back later. So as not to aggravate the nerves so much.

They re-examined me yesterday and were surprised that in these weeks I’ve been going that I have indeed gotten stronger.

What I’m Reading:

Currently I’m reading a memoir by Jeffrey Rinek, a retired FBI agent. The book is “In The Name Of The Children.” On the front cover it reads: “An FBI agent’s relentless pursuit of the nation’s worst predators.”

You don’t really stop to think what these cases do to the men and women who work them until you read about it. They are human beings and every case eats away at them.

A Chilling Quote Inside The Front Of The Book:

“Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he does not become a monster. And if you gaze long enough into an abyss, the abyss will gaze back into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

First Paragraph In The Introduction (Jeffrey Rinek):

I’m haunted by their names, forever coursing through my mind like a mantra of pain. For those I was fortunate to meet while they were still alive, who managed to survive the ordeal that caused our paths to cross, it is their voices that shake me to my core – the sheer incongruity between the sweet tones of youth and the words they spoke to me that no child should ever have to utter. In most cases, it breaks my heart to say, I only came to know them after death. Their faces swirl endlessly through my mind; a nausea-inducing kaleidoscope of school pictures and family snapshots freeze-framing a moment in happier times and the indignities inflicted upon them that I witnessed at their murder scenes.

When we were children, we used to think that when we were grown-up we would no longer be vulnerable. But to grow up is to accept vulnerability… To be alive is to be vulnerable.
Madeleine L’Engle

Working With The Most Vulnerable Among Us:

Jeffrey Rinek spent 28 years as an FBI agent, mostly working with cases involving missing or murdered children. Imagine immersing yourself into that kind of work day in and day out for 28 years.

Rinek says that retirement has not erased the pain of all this accumulated grief. Neither has medication, or therapy, or the brotherhood and sisterhood of FBI agents and other law enforcement officers with whom he shared so many grim tasks.

Jeffrey Rinek

He said the choking weight of tragedy compounded upon tragedy, a sense of impotence and futility in the face of so much darkness, led him to at one point attempt suicide. Feeling that he belonged with the kids he could not save.

Forever Changed:

We have to realize that these officers and agents experience their own PTSD and other life-changing events. It would take someone with a heart of steel not to.

After reading three-quarters of this book in the past day or so, I see that you could not possibly go into the darkness over and over again and come out unscathed.

And for those whose job it is to go back into the darkness over and over again and then come back into the light, it must be terribly daunting.

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  1. A P.S.–I have just read a great book entitled STARVING by Christen Bensten, a young woman whose blog, Blue Egg, Brown Nest, I have been reading for a while. She chronicles her growing up in a home where she was not fed physically nor emotionally by a mother who was mentally ill and a father who was distant. She tells a harrowing story of physical and mental suffering throughout her childhood and youth even into her adulthood and her struggles to heal. Many, however, do not heal and that fact brings us back to the realities that Jeffrey Rinek writes about in his book. Christen’s book is available on Amazon if any of you are interested in reading it.

  2. So sad; I grieve for Mr. Rinek who is truly a war casualty. I fervently hope that somehow he can be healed. And that our society could be healed of these terrible acts of violence. So often I believe that those who commit acts of violence have experienced acts of violence themselves, primarily as young children. It seems like a never-ending cycle. Where to start to turn the situation around? Family and child care support, mental health services, more job opportunities—?? A government focussed more on the welfare of the middle and lower classes instead of supporting the wealthy would be a place to start. Such a huge, huge undertaking on many levels to make a difference.

    Thanks for sharing Mr. Rinek’s story. An eye-opener.

  3. Even those of us who suffered less than these poor children do not come out unscathed…the question will always be: “Who would have I have been if I had not had to live through such?” So sad…so many wasted lives!! I am grateful for those who battle such things…so needed they are!! Glad you have cardinals…one of the things I so miss about living in NC was our “deck buddies” among whom where several cardinal pairs. Such hard working parents they are and producing several batches a year of baby birds too.

  4. I hope the hand specialist recommends surgery. I just had surgery on my right wrist for capal tunnel really bad, plus a “trigger” finger that would not close and was sore. It’s been 2 weeks.. still can barely use my right hand, and the incision for the trigger finger “fix” is still very sore and finger very sore. But I think in a few weeks it will all be well and I’ll be glad I did it. Next will be my left hand. It is very sore from overuse as it’s my only hand right now.. is numb all the time and aches all the time, but no trigger finger on that hand so I think the surgery will be easier. they do it with just a tiny incision and use a little thing on a camera to go up and cut where they need to. Very easy surgery.. it’s general anesthesia. Hope it will work for you. I notice my right hand already does not go numb at night which is wonderful (even with wearing a hand brace it would go numb). Good luck! Marilyn

  5. Brenda,
    so glad to hear that your back is getting better. Any progress is a stepping stone to relief. I can empathize with the hand issues. Strangely for me, one of the side affects of my second Moderna shot is numbness is the top digits of my left thumb, forefinger and middle finger. I am right-hand dominant and had the second shot in my right arm. I still have a scaly dime sized patch where I was vaccinated weeks later. So weird.
    Love the story of “Ivy” and her rubber bands, I probably would’ve freaked out thinking she might have decided to chew on one. Always looking forward to your posts, especiallly the ducks and cardinals etc.
    So sorry about your blue fountain mishap. Have you any thoughts on your new fountain? I saw an ad from a local hardware store, “Bayview Lumber” in Elma, Washington and they featured a super cute fountain made up of different sized galvanized containers. I’m sure you have used Pinterest and other web sites to search for ideas for your new fountain. Love how your garden is maturing.

  6. Wondering if you have ever tried lidocaine patches to help when you get these episodes of back pain and are so disabled. My mother used them and they really helped her a lot, as she had chronic back pain due to failing kidneys over many years. You can buy non-prescription strength at most pharmacies. We finally got some of your rain here, where the entire southeastern portion of the state has been under drought conditions. Like magic, things grew inches and the grass areas that had not flourished yet turned green and are now growing literally overnight. There is just no substitute for rain. Last week I watered the flower beds in my back yard because they were so dry, and the plants did perk up quite a bit, but nothing compared to what they look like after an inch of rain. Just no substitute for rain.

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