Opinion

This N That by Nicky De Lange

What’s tiny, flaps its wings up to 80 times per second and travels thousands of miles during migration season?
Answer: the hummingbird, a common sight in our area. Just hang a hummingbird feeder in your yard, fill it with hummingbird nectar and stand back so you don’t get run over by these little speed demons. Not only can they flap their wings as much as 80 times a second, they can also fly backwards as well as hover nearly motionless, their rapidly flapping wings a blur.

Feeding hummingbird

I only know these things because I recently received  a mail-out from Audubon, the organization that is working very hard to protect  these and other endangered bird species. The flier they included was beautiful – it featured four different varieties of these amazing birds, giving their backgrounds as well as their status on the Audubon endangered list.
For example, the Calliope Hummingbird is the smallest breeding bird in North America as well as the smallest long-distance migrant in the world. But they are ranked as climate-threatened, due to pesticide use, loss of native flowers by invasive plants and a restricted migration range.
The Allen’s Hummingbird is also climate-threatened. These beautiful little creatures only breed along a narrow strip of coastal California and southern Oregon. They prefer brushy woods, gardens and meadows. But their restricted range makes them more susceptible to natural disasters, disease and habitat destruction.
The Rufous Hummingbird, one of the most beautiful varieties pictured in the mail-out, breeds as far north as southern Alaska and prefers to winter as far south as southern Mexico. But because the
Rufous needs to find the right conditions in so many different habitats in order to survive, this gorgeous little hummingbird is especially vulnerable to the effects of climate change, earning it a climate-endangered status on Audubon’s list.
The fourth featured hummingbird, the Costa’s variety, likes to make its home in a desert-type climate. They feed on tiny insects and the nectar they get from native plants (agave and desert honeysuckle).Unfortunately Costa’s populations are at risk due to their habitat being cleared for development in parts of California and Arizona. These little fellows status as listed by Audubon is “losing desert habitat.”
This is just a sampling of the many types of hummingbirds at risk in an increasingly unfriendly environment. It’s a crime not to protect such amazing, beautiful creatures. To learn more about them, including how to help them, Google Audubon birds. You’ll also find lots of wonderful pictures and info about all kind of birds.Check it out for yourself. Then get a t-shirt made that says, “ Hug a Hummingbird!”  or whatever you think will raise awareness of  our beautiful feathered friends.

Trishna’s Tidbits

Modern Musings by Trishna Buch

 

When we are younger we are always in a hurry to grow up. We want to leave school, get jobs and become adults. When we are younger, we believe that we are only successful when we become adults, finish our education and either take up a job, start a family, or both.

Nostalgia /noun/ sentimental yearning for the happiness of a former place or time

But, in our aim to become successful and grow up, we forget to enjoy our childhoods. So much so to the point where we experience feelings of nostalgia when we reach adulthood.
Nostalgia is what I am currently experiencing, as the summer picks up and children around the county are enjoying the warm weather—by hitting the pool, visiting the beach or catching a movie with friends. Seeing the children enjoy their summers is making me nostalgic for the summer vacations I used to take with my family. I cannot recall a summer where we didn’t go away for at least a week; either to India, England, Florida or any destination of our choice. And going on those vacations would be such an adventure. We’d pack up our suitcases, make our itinerary, book our hotels and be on our way. I remember my favorite summer—the summer of 2006. That was the year when I spent a month in India, followed by a week in Chicago for a family reunion and ended the holiday with a month long visit from a cousin. That was a summer filled with visits to the pool, trips to the amusement park and other exciting activities.
But more so than summer vacations, I miss my childhood in general. Do any of you ever feel the same way? I miss how simple everything was. Back in the day, I had no worries, no concerns and no struggles. I would wake up every morning and eagerly jump out of bed, ready to take on the day. Nowadays however it takes me much longer to pull myself out of bed, because the warmth of my covers are always more inviting than anything else. I miss being able to take family vacations that would last between a week and two weeks. When I was younger we took advantage of all of our school vacations and would make it a point to either go out of town, or take part in fun local activities. Now, however, we have to take work and school schedules and responsibilities into account, before we can just pick up and head out. I miss weekend outings with my family, when we would spend a day exploring a new location or re-visiting an old one. This is not possible now, because I spend my weekends completing class assignments, readings and quizzes.
I have noticed lately, however, that I have been doing what I can to hold on to my childhood. Of course, I go to work five days a week and make sure to get all of my class assignments completed but, once I have taken care all of my responsibilities, I like to sit back, relax and watch The Disney Channel, Nickelodeon or my favorite childhood movies. Doing so allows me to reconnect with my childhood and remind myself that, although times may occasionally be tough, everything can be dealt with by using a little perspective.
Now, a slight diversion. Did any of you have a chance to watch the new live action Beauty And The Beast? I watched it a week after its release, which—to me—was too long to wait because I had been waiting two years to see it. I mean, how could I not be excited? It had my favorite actress in the role of Belle. But I digress. I loved the movie so much that, when I went to the Galleria Mall, I walked into the Disney Store, went straight to the Beauty And The Beast merchandise and bought a water bottle. I did hesitate before purchasing it; mostly because it is a child’s item. But then I thought, why not? I love Disney, I love the movie and I love the character. And, at the low price of only $3.50, I went for it.
But my reasoning for purchasing the object goes beyond the bottle itself. Because it is all to do with hope. Whenever I look at the bottle it reminds me of my childhood. And that, in turn, reminds me of what it was like to be a child and see the world for all the good it has to offer. There is no denying that we are living in troubled times. But, when I see the decorated water bottle, it reminds me that there is still good out in the world. It reminds me that we need to have faith that things will get better. And, enjoying aspects of our childhood does not make us childish, it shows that we care about our happiness.
What aspects of your childhood do you miss? Write to me at trishna@thepostnewspaper.net! I’d love to hear your responses!

Trishna’s Tidbits

Modern Musings by Trishna Buch

I need to learn how to stay calm in difficult situations, because—so far—it is a lesson that I have not managed to get my hands on.
Just this morning (the day of writing) I was driving to work and was attempting to merge onto the freeway. There was a bus that was driving in the right lane at the time of my attempted merge and we approached the merge at the same exact time. Instead of slowing down or speeding up to let me in—as is the considerate and correct thing to do—the driver decided to remain next to me, so it became extremely difficult for me to merge. I had to slow down tremendously and put on my hazard lights so the cars behind me knew I was slowing down. Needless to say, I was quite annoyed for a while.
But then I started getting annoyed with myself for letting one incident and one person—who I don’t even know and will probably never see again—ruin the good mood I was in. I have been told by family and friends, and I may have even read it in a book or article somewhere, that I cannot control how other people behave. Therefore, if someone does something I do not like, I should focus on how I react to that behavior. This would have been the perfect approach to use this morning. Instead of getting annoyed and angry at the actions of the bus driver, I could have chosen to remain calm, accept that I can’t expect everyone to follow the rules and be considerate on the roads, and moved on. However, this is easier said than done—at least for myself.
I have noticed that the majority of my irritation comes out when I am driving. I tend to feel personally affected when people drive dangerously or inconsiderately when they are around me. I am the type of person who prefers to drive the speed limit, not only because I want to avoid a speeding ticket, but also because it’s the safest option. However, I have noticed that many other people on the roads do not seem to understand the importance of speed limits. I have been driving 45 miles per hour, on a road where the speed is 45 miles per hour, and have seen people pass me by at increasingly fast speeds. “They are definitely not going 45” is what I’ll always say. And, though their speed has nothing to do with me, it still causes me slight irritation when I see someone speeding. But what’s worse than speeding, is when someone will tailgate me or cut me off because they do not seem to have any concern to follow the rules of the road. My irritation, I think, comes from the fact that those drivers are putting themselves and other drivers at risk with their rash behavior.
I know that I cannot control the behaviors of other people and yet, they tend to affect me in negative ways. For example, if someone I know makes a disparaging comment towards or about myself or someone I know—instead of ignoring their words—I get irritated. If someone acts entitled or expects to get their own way—instead of letting them be—I get annoyed. If someone says something I don’t like—instead of understanding that not everyone has the same opinions as me—I will attempt to change their opinion.
And this is not a good way to behave. There are approximately seven billion people in the world and it is guaranteed that I will come across several people who will say something, do something or behave in a manner that irks me to no end. I need to learn how to respond to those people, by ignoring their behavior. I cannot expect people to change, but I can control how I respond to their behaviors.
I’m young and still learning. It’s all a work in progress.

This ‘n’ That by Nicky De Lange

School is officially out for the summer. For younger kids, this is cause to celebrate. No homework, no papers to write, no tests to study for.
But while the 12 and under set see this as two and one-half months of freedom and fun, parents often dread it. The sentence, “I’m bored. There’s nothing to do!”is heard every day (sometimes every hour), by long suffering parents.
Kids in this age group can’t drive, so summer means a lot of chauffeuring them from one place to another. From the mall to the movie theater to the beach. From the skateboarding park to the swimming pool – it can seem endless.  I still remember those days, even though my son is now the parent of two little ones five and under.
This is a time when a parent would give anything just for an hour or two break. And today’s column will tell you where to get that. The solution is as close as your local public library. For Texas City residents, that’s right by the skateboarding park and the Nessler Family Swimming Park.
The Moore Memorial Public Library, 1701 9th Avenue (between City Hall and the football stadium), is offering a terrific variety of activities this summer, “Passport To Adventure” for children  from one to twelve years of age. They break the programs up into a variety of age groups,
For the really little kids, there is Toddlerific Storytime every Tuesday morning at 10 am. Participants must be between the ages of one-three years of age. For children three-five, there is Preschool Storytime at 10 am on Wednesdays. Five through eight year olds can enjoy Lego Free Build on Fridays at 10 am.
When you get to the six-nine year olds, the library offers an even more ambitious selection of activities including Rock Painting, Aztec Sun Stone Prints, String Art Shaving Cream Art & more. But wait . . we’re not through yet!
The lucky 10-12 year olds also get to learn to build an Water Filter, Squishy Circuits, Balloon Towers, 3D art and a bunch of other fun things to make and work with.

This is just a sample of what’s going on at our local library during June and July. Now to answer some obvious questions.
Do the programs cost money? No, they’re all free – no tickets or registration required.
How long are these programs? All of them last about one hour, except Lego Problem Solving, which lasts about one and one-half hours. Just come to the library the day of the program and meet at the Walter Holland Meeting Room by the Circulation Desk. Be on time; no one will be admitted after the program starts.
In addition to all these activities, the Library will also offer Summer Reading Clubs for children up to age twelve. Stop by the library and pick up a reading log. They will be available starting June 5. All logs must be turned in by August 12.
There’s a lot more detailed information at Moore Memorial Public Library. Stop in and find out more about this summer’s programs, get a detailed schedule of events and be ready to have fun. For library hours or more info, call 409-643-5983 or 409-643-5966.

TRISHNA‘S TIDBITS
Modern Musings by Trishna Buch

Over the past two weeks, high school seniors from all around Galveston County have been donning their caps and gowns and celebrating successfully making it through four years of high-school—and about 15 years of schooling—by participating in their respective graduation ceremonies.
High school graduation comes around every year, but it is more personal to me this year, since my sister graduated from her high-school this past Saturday. This is a day that she claims to have been preparing for since her senior year started, back in August. For my sister, and for the hundreds of high-school seniors in Galveston County—all of the papers, assignments, exams, after-school activities, clubs and every aspect that comes with being a high-school student has led up to this point. Take a minute, or several (you deserve it), to take a look back at all of your accomplishments. Maybe you significantly improved in a course? Maybe you were accepted into your top choice college? Maybe you overcame great odds? No matter what it is, be proud of yourself and everything you accomplished.

PHOTO CREDIT: Dickinson High School

While all high-school seniors will have different activities planned for the summer—jobs, vacations, relaxing—one common goal will be to spend time with their friends, especially the friends who they will separate from once college begins. My sister, for example, is attending a different college from one of her closest friends. Therefore, her goal is to spend as much time as possible with this friend, because they don’t know when they’ll be able to see each other after the summer ends.
But I’d like to take this time to give all graduating seniors a few words of wisdom, if you will. I’m not here to tell you to “start looking for a job as soon as possible.” I’m not here to tell you to “make sure to go to class and do all of your assignments.” I’m not here to lecture you on time-management or being responsible in college. Why? Because I’m sure you will hear about this at some point; either before starting college, during college or both.
I want to tell you all to never lose sight of who you are, as you start this next journey of life. The paths all of you are on will be vastly different from one another. For example, my sister is looking at 11 years of schooling ahead of her; while some of her friends have less and some have more. You all have goals you want accomplished and desires you want fulfilled, but I want to urge you all to never lose track of who you are. College is a time to explore, a time to discover who you are and what you can accomplish, but you should always remember where you came from and everything and everyone that helped you reach the point you are now.
I want you to remember that college is highly different from high-school—trust me, I know from experience. It will take you some time to find your footing and you may experience some disappointments. You may not always receive the grades you desire, you may not always be able to join the classes you hoped to join and you may experience a series of disappointments. But you will also make new friends, have the opportunity to attend a plethora of exciting classes and gain a sense of accomplishment when you successfully complete that ten page paper or that difficult final. Your college journey will be filled with highs and lows but, trust me, there will be more positives than negatives.
Remember to do your best, but not let anything get in the way of your health and happiness. Take breaks from working and studying when you need to. As that saying goes “make new friends, but keep the old.” Be sure to check in on your high-school friends from time to time. Call your parents—they’d love to hear from you. Visit your home town as much as you can, but try not to run home at the first sign of trouble. Practice your newfound independence, but know that you have all of Galveston County rooting for you as you set off on this journey.  I congratulate all high-school graduates!