Thursday, January 10, 2013


Barbara Ward-Finneran
The "Comfort Zone", usually a great place to be, a fine place to hang out.  But, truth be told, one can become very complacent if they hang there too long.  There is such a thing as being too comfortable.  Dare I say, if you stay there too long it's boring.  It's an easy place to be ---and in this fast paced, over scheduled life, who doesn't like easy?  Aren't easy and boring very different? Which is worse?  Can't either be a blessing or a curse? There are days I'd beg for boring.  Usually in the desire for the not dramatic, non eventful, less then two hours of homework, and car breaking down for the 3rd time in 8 weeks kind of way (Oh, yes, it did, UGH! Can't even get think about the bill - YIKES!).  It's usually a more personal occurrence that transpires for us to realize that we are in a rut.  To borrow a line from Oprah, an "ah-ha" moment, that thought, that makes you glow rather then imagine your reflection in the mirror with a hand in the shape of an "L" on your forehead.  Knowing you have to break free from stuck in rut, doesn't mean that you aren't busy beyond words, or burning the candle at both ends and in the middle with a blow torch.  Or working your bottom off to make ends meet, and doing a cracker -jack job at it --- but rather the root of this rut is when consistently everything is more of the same ol', same ol', day in and day out.  Life needs a little shake up sometimes.  I don't mean those unexpected and often un-welcomed "bumps" in the road that we are taught to embrace. Not the "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" stuff.  Something you plan.  A challenge.  An adventure.  Then even the same ol', same ol', can seem fresh and new.  It can be small or it can be big.  But if you shake things up it'll make something in your life just a little bit prettier.  Not certain about that theory?  Look at that dollar store snow globe that you forgot to pack away with the holiday trims.  Now shake it.  Instant beauty.  Isn't that what a challenge does for us? Shakes up our insides and gets the blood and adrenaline flowing. Whether it's because you are excited or terrified, the effect is often the same.  As is that sense of accomplishment when the task is completed.  When you exhale and smile with pride.  Instant beauty!  

Wednesday, January 9, 2013


Marion Pellicano Ambrose


While health food gurus and cosmetic companies are pushing the benefits of palm oil, the demand for this product is actually pushing wildlife and local communities out of their tropical forest habitats. Even the famous Dr. Oz had recommended the use of Palm Oil, though I’m sure he was unaware of the disastrous consequences to wildlife and the environment. The use of palm oil as a biodiesel is on the rise. In addition, it is significantly contributing to the release of climate warming gases.

Indonesia, the leading supplier of palm oil in the world, is now emitting more greenhouse gases than any other country except China.

FROM THIS                                                                                         TO THIS

Among the endangered species affected by deforestation due to palm oil production are the Sumatran Tiger and the Orangutan. As you may know, I have a special interest in the latter.  If you had the opportunity, as I have had, to look into the eyes of this magnificent creature, you would never dream of using palm oil.


Orangutans are divided into two species, the Bornean and the Sumatran . Both are native inhabitants of Asia. The redish-brown hair of the Orangutan is absolutely striking, and the adult male cheek pads are impressive and give them an attractive round face. One of the most heartwarming things about driving on to the property at The Center For Great Apes in Wachula, Florida, is hearing the distinctive long calls of the males, attracting females or intimidating rivals. It echoes through the forested compound like a song.


As you walk down the pathways around and under the system of overhead chutes that allow the orangutans and chimpanzees to wander all over the  acre grounds, you feel their joy in being up in the trees or in their gigantic open structures that mimic their natural habitat. What strikes me most is the intelligence of these primates. They love to play with toys and show off for passers by. Some do a special dance, while others seem to grin as they fill their mouths up at their fountain and spit water at you. The seem to get the humor in it all.

 I remember on my first visit, a young female Orang followed me everywhere I walked. She seemed to be amused and it was as if she wanted to play with me. On taking a closer look, I noticed she had no arms. This was Mari. She was born in a drug research facility and lost her arms as an infant. Here, at the CFGA, she lives a happy and fulfilling life, learning to do everything she needs with her feet. At my last visit, she was happily living with her mate, the HUGE, handsome Pongo. (By the way, a docent later told me that the reason Mari followed me around was because of my redish-brown hair. She thought I was another Orangutan!)

 I write about these amazing animals so you will feel the personal connection that I do. They are SO smart and feel love, sadness, joy and anger. They like to play, be with their families, learn and enjoy life, just as we do. These particular primates have suffered much in their lifetimes, in circuses, show business, and research labs. Some were bought as exotic pets and when their owners found out what we all should know, wildlife belongs in the wild, they were sold or caged to contain them. The happiest day for each of these creatures was when they were brought to the CFGA.

Unfortunately, the story does not have a happy ending for all Orangutans. Those living in the forests of Indonesia are forces out of their habitat. Some Palm Farmers, in an attempt to protect their new palm oil plantations form the animals returning, shoot, burn and beat the creatures. Others die from lack of food and water. They don’t have a beautiful compound waiting for them. They are destined to die a miserable death. Such a tragedy for so noble and intelligent a being- and so unnecessary.


What can you do?

*STOP buying products containing Palm Oil. Look closely at labels. Palm Oil is in cosmetics, candy, soap and pastry dough , among other things.


*Educate yourself and others about endangered species, such as the Orangutan and Sumatran Tiger.


*Support organizations that protect and defend endangered animals.

*Support organizations that rescue these animals and give them back their dignity and lifestyle as much as possible. (Such as the Center For Great Apes)
*Follow the advise of these two sages:

 "Live simply so that others may simply live." Mother Elizabeth Seton

"Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities - always see them, for they're always there. " ~Norman Vincent Peale

Monday, January 7, 2013


Marion Pellicano Ambrose

Casey Anthony was tried for the murder of her 2 year old daughter, Caylee in 2012. Caylee disappeared in 2008. Her body was found dumped in the woods near the Antony home.
While Casey was aquitted of the murder charge, she was sentenced to 3 years for lying to Yuri Melich, the lead detective. Anthony stated that she had left Casey with a babysitter named Zanaida Fernandez Gonzalez claiming that she, Gonzalez, was responsible for the child's disappearance. Gonzales is suing for defamationof character,saying Casey's accusations have ruined her life.

Casey is due to appear in court today, but one her attorney claims she will not be present and he will accept the subpoena in her place. She has been in hiding since her release from jail last year. WIth the 3 years served and time off for good behavior, Anthony is scheduled to finish her sentence on Sunday , after having served one year probation.