Thursday, October 29, 2009

Old fashioned Sky Watching in Sturbridge, MA

Passing through the hills on rt. I-90
The Massachusetts Turnpike

A closer view of the hills
God's glorious artwork!
On way to Sturbridge
Some fun at the Publick House! We had a wonderful dining experience there too!

Sky Watching makes me dance!

How can I scare crows when I'm this cute?
Enlarge photo to see just how cute ;o)
Join me at the Sky Watch Dance
Our hosts: Klaus Sandy Sylvia Wren Louise Fishing Guy

Here's the original uncropped photo from above...
for enlargement and enjoyment :)

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Maples of Maple Avenue

There's a lovely avenue
in the little town where I live
where The Maples have lived from the start.

It was aptly named "Maple Avenue"
and its name still tells of the view.

In spring and summer their leaves are all green,

but this time of year

You'll see bright red and deep red
orange red and red orange
orange yellow and yellow orange
golden yellow and yellow gold

Align Center
A walk along Maple Avenue
A wonderful thing to do
Any season
Any time
few friends.

Take a few moments this week to gather some
in your hands.

* * * * *

How about now !

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Breast Cancer Crusade Ad Raised My Awareness, but NOT for what you think...Read on!

Trying to Untangle the Ribbon.

Avon is one of America's great companies.
Avon is to be commended for raising a lot of money for breast cancer research.

Thinking of my family members,
friends, and all who have battled Breast Cancer, I have purchased their merchandise to support their Crusade...
This month, they are advertising a designer tote bag.
The Crusade Tote certainly raised my awareness, but not for Breast Cancer...

Are these companies who fund raise for good causes
minding their means to the ends?

Here, I am writing of Avon's crusade, but many companies today are using their brand name to sell all kinds of fund-raising merchandise to their customers.

I buy this stuff thinking it's helping.
The splash is amazing... marathons, bracelets, pens, t-shirts, tote bags ~ all raising tons of funds...
But the ripples lead to distant countries where the manufacturing happens.

After reading this ad in the campaign 22 brochure, lights and sirens went off in my head!
The adorable Reese Witherspoon is modeling a tote for $10.
She is their spokesperson.

"100% of the net profits - $6.24 will be dontated to the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade."
That means that Avon pays only $3.76 for it's manufacture.
That's what the factory gets...
What do the factory workers get paid and can they afford health screening?

That's what I want to know!

I did the math... sat down and wrote an email. No reply, then another email went out, this time to a specific employee of Avon within the foundation :

Good Morning,

Last weekend I sent an email (below) to your official address:
I would truly appreciate a response. Breast cancer has affected my circle of family and friends... some are survivors, some are dearly missed. I am very passionate about my support for this and for heart disease...the silent killer of women. The condition of women who work long hours in factories around the world for little pay is another passion of mine... I hope the Avon Foundation is selling merchandise that is fairly traded.
* * * * * *
First email:
I was looking through your Campaign 22 book and noticed the Avon Crusade Tote... that sells for $10. Although it's wonderful that $6.24 will go towards the crusade, it doesn't leave much for the production of the tote. Could you please tell me where this tote is manufactured and how much the workers are paid to manufacture it?
Are they able to afford breast cancer screening? Thank you.


"All of our non-beauty products are sourced through third-party manufacturers in 25 countries across five continents."

Avon-Corporate Responsibility:
Supply Chain
Supplier Code of Conduct
click on:
Code of Conduct

Here you will basically discover that the health and safety of their workers is determined
by the country
where the factory is located.

"Health and Safety: Suppliers must provide their workers with a clean, safe and healthy work environment in compliance with all applicable, legally mandated standards for workplace health and safety in the countries in which they operate. This includes residential facilities, if applicable. In addition, Avon encourages suppliers to strive to implement industry best practices, where applicable."

This is comforting... especially if the tote is made in China.
example: from NY Times:
"Minimum wage in this* part of China is about 55 cents an hour.

The designer of the tote, Marimekko® was also contacted; I received NO reply from them.

I sent Avon one more email to ask for further details about the workers (most likely women) who are at the factories making these totes and all the other crusade stuff... and I did not receive any more replies.

I do NOT feel all warm and fuzzy inside about these purchases.
Maybe Reese will read this and call me... what do you think?

As with many other fund-raisers, I'm beginning to think we're better off volunteering or contributing directly.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

A Heavenly Sky Watch

On the way home from work, I was treated to this heavenly sight.
How fortunate I was to have my camera with me!
I brought it to school to take pictures for another big 'quote collage' I'm
working on.
When I saw the sky, I be-lined for the shoulder,
reached in my tote for the camera and snapped this photo.

My camera was still set for close-ups...but it seems to have captured
the beautiful rays and glowing clouds anyway!

...Lift your eyes and look to the heavens...
Isaiah 40: 26

See more of God's creation at:

Thanks to everyone at the Sky Watch Team for making this possible!
Our hosts: Klaus Sandy Sylvia Wren Louise Fishing Guy

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Pumpkin Smiles

Honey, we have to stop
at the farmer's stand
where we've gathered pumpkins
every year
the kids were so little.
LOOK at all the Beauties!

pumpkin collage
Let's take home some of each!

And everyone gathered together on the table for a group shot!
pumpkin collage 2009
Say "Cheese Wheel!"

Hope you all carve out a little time to enjoy a happy harvest!

Fill your week with lots of


Saturday, October 17, 2009

Love Saturday Mornings!

Stayed in bed an extra hour.
Coffee making by itself in the kitchen
Multigrain bagels and peach preserves
Teddy bears still in their jammies
Little dark-eyed juncos back for the winter

Did I just type 'winter?'
Having another cup of hot coffee after typing 'winter!'

Enjoy your Saturday my friends!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Another Heart in the Clouds - It's Sky Watch Friday!

On our way home from church last weekend
we saw another heart in the clouds!
I like to think of these as
little signs of God's love
the playfulness of Creation.
Heart in the clouds
Taken with my cellphone!
Heart in the Clouds2

For more excitement in the Sky visit:

Monday, October 12, 2009

I imagine myself to be . . . on an adventure

~brave and adventurous~

when in reality I'm thinking "lions and tigers and bears . . . oh my!"
* * * * * *
Today, my husband invited me to go on a hike with him.
After all, we're rarely home on a weekday...and there's this place down the road . . .

"Okay," adventurous Maria says.
...and off we went.
As we walked alone through the trails . . .
...I was thinking, "if there's a bear, and I die... at least the photos will remain."

I am such a

anyway... here are some photos I took.
Clearly I didn't die ;o) but... there were some strange patches that looked like a big bear (or some racoons) dug for grubs or for a place to sleep.

Doesn't being scared to death make you feel more alive!?!!
I really admire people like my sister and Barb (who visits here) for their fearless hiking!

truly beautiful

Spashes of color and some old, old trees

The stone walls were for sheep. A simpler time... hard work, fresh air, God's creatures.
(I'm not afraid of sheep ;o)
Hike 10.12.09

Wolf Creek

Some fruits of the woods.
(Anyone know what the berries are? They were growing on a tree).


Thank you

I was brave and adventurous
on the outside!

Wolk Creek was truly enchanting... and we'll be back ...
but a noise horn and a pine stick for protection just don't make me into the adventure girl I dream of being!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

A Sunday Sunrise

The sunshine spotlighted the trees this morning.

...and here's a little heart for Wanda's collection...
~A sweet Sunday morning blessing~

This tree is in my neighborhood, but I never noticed the heart shape until the sun was shining on it!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Rainbow for You ~ Sky Watchers !

Monday, at 6pm I was on my way home after work and a few errands...
There was one more stop - the library. I thought...

With no traffic light, turning left on rt. 20 during everyone's rush home is life-threatening;
then came pouring rain!
Low, in the westward sky, the sun burst out from between thick clouds.
There must be a rainbow!

Pulling over quickly to the Stewart's shop
(there's always one around when you need it ;o)
I saw the most stunning rainbow ever!
Seems like everyone I spoke to the next day said they saw it too and agreed that it was the most brilliant ever seen.
Wish I could have taken pictures with my camera ... but at least I had my cellphone!

* * * * * * *
The family started sending me photos with their cell phones.
It was an area wide Rainbow Dance ;o)

* * * * * * *
Taken by daughter, Rachael ~ Monday was her birthday!
* * * * * * *
Taken by husband, Chris ... looks like he stopped at a perfect spot ~ Dunkin' Donuts ;o)
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~Have a beautiful weekend~

and everyone who visits!

Visit Sky Watch Friday for more.
Thank you Sky Watch Team for making all this fun possible!

* * * * * *
Thank you again, Koralee for teaching me how to make text 'swirl.'