Weeds or Flowers?

How can you tell the difference between weeds and flowers? Who gets to decide which plant is a flower and which is an irritating (or dangerous) weed?

Am I a flower or a weed?


This blooming weed comes in different colors, like pink:


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And red:

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And in the winter time, brown:

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Some of these photos were taken with my old camera (with less pixelage or pixels or whatever), so they’re not as sharp:


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Do you miss bug week? 🙂

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Check out these freaking bugs:

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Dude, that’s some serious nature goin’ on right there:

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Do these look like balls to you?

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No, I don’t know the name of these weeds, so don’t ask.

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Bam! I changed the size of the photos, just to show you how much sharper they are.

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You lookin’ at me with that attitude? Why would you mess with a bud (or ball) with horns?

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And we’re back to the 2014 photos:

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I like art therapy. No, it’s not as good as bud, but it’s a lot cheaper. (Like free.) I know some people put their names on their photos and maybe even hope to sell them. That’s fine, but nature is free, so I think my photos should be free too — for anyone to copy and use, if they so choose.

This is not only about art therapy, but wanting to share the beauty of nature (and the quirkiness of my surroundings) with everyone. You know, stop and smell the roses, and all that. In other words, I hope my art therapy is also art therapy for whomever takes the time to view it. Gracias. 🙂

Isn’t anybody listening?


Marshawn McCarrel, a prominent Black Lives Matter activist, died Monday outside of the Ohio statehouse. Authorities say the 23-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene and appeared to have died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, although no one witnessed the shooting…

McCarrel was also the founder of Pursuing Our Dreams, an Ohio-based community activist group that helped to fight homelessness and hunger — both issues McCarrel battled himself for three months after he graduated high school, according to the New York Daily News…


A 28-year-old drunken driving suspect found hanging from his t-shirt in an NYPD holding cell killed himself, the city medical examiner ruled. Even so, neighbors of Serge Duthely said they couldn’t believe he would take his own life…


Passengers stuck on a train during a massive service disruption on Monday after the suicide of a 15-year-old Fordham Prep student recounted on social media the shockingly crude comment from an MTA worker apparently unaware he was speaking to the entire train…

The tragic teen, whose name has not been released, was the second sophomore at Fordham Preparatory School, an all-male Jesuit high school, to be hit and killed by a train in the past two weeks. On Jan. 18, Owen Kelly was struck and killed by a Metro-North train at Philipse Manor station in Sleepy Hollow…


Dave Mirra, a legendary BMX rider and one of the most successful athletes in extreme sports, died Thursday in Greenville, North Carolina. Mirra, 41, was found sitting in a truck with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound, the Greenville Police Department said…

Born in Chittenango, New York, Mirra began riding bikes at age 4 and started competing when he was 10. He turned pro soon after graduating high school and became a regular presence on the podium at competitions. His career was almost ended in 1993, after he was struck by a drunken driver…

Gassed up

I don’t like feeling this sad and weary. But, it’s times like these that have given me a better understanding of those who suffer from depression (and suicidal thoughts). Seems simple and silly to advise putting one foot in front of the other, but that’s how things get done — one task at a time.

The pain keeps me from moving as fast as I would like to go, but I know it’s important to keep moving. So, I finally took a shower. And I had some colorful fruit for breakfast:

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After I drowned my grapes, I noticed a few trying to escape from the water:

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(You can do it, Ms. Grape! Escape! Roll free!)

Then I went and gassed up my car:

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Where I noticed the cottonwood tree, and interesting reflections and shadows, like these:


Next stop, Walmart, for mayonnaise and noodles. Where a kind crow, trying to earn a Boy Scout’s badge, helped me cross the street:


(Actually, it was more like he was running away from me, but that’s beside the point.)

“Don’t forget to look both ways when crossing the street,” Mr. Crow said. “Or when trying to make even more difficult decisions.”

In my search terms

“will medical marajuana hurt my unum disability claim”

No one really knows the answer to that question. I asked Unum for “all documentation which shows Unum’s position on medical cannabis.” But the corporation refused to respond. I would have to hire an attorney and file a lawsuit to have access to the documents I requested here:


However, if I had to guess, I would say that, considering the effort Unum expends to deny benefits, it would definitely use your treatment choice against you —  not that they would ever reveal that information. But since Unum requires medical updates, you have no choice but to tell them. Unum has access to all of your medical information, so if you want to keep your marijuana use a secret, just don’t tell anybody (including your doctor).

Problem is, how are you treating your medical condition? Without proof in your medical file that you’re being treated by a doctor, insurance companies will question if you are really disabled. So, keep seeing your doctor if you can afford to, just tell him or her about all the other treatments you’re using, leaving out the use of cannabis.

The Blame Game

How did I get here? Shall we play the blame game?

I guess I would start with blaming 5 years of competitive gymnastics — a sport that taught me a lot, while punishing my body.


I blame the medical industry and insurance companies for their ignorance about conditions like TMJ and chronic pain.

I blame 401(k)s, which take more money than they give. And I blame Unum, a corporation that terminated my long term disability benefits just because it can.

I blame politicians for their inability to understand every side of each issue, pleasing some people, while torturing others. I blame them for making laws that favor the rich, while punishing the poor (a shout out to ERISA).

I blame the State of Texas for only offering me prescription medications to treat pain, while outlawing cannabis. (I think the state should have paid for my move to New Mexico.)

I blame those who see disabilities as a quirk of nature, easily conquered by those who are suffering, instead of medical conditions that require treatment.

But most of all, I blame the drug war, because without it, I’m sure that a lot of these problems would not have brought me here — where I am today, in February of 2016.



Last week, the FBI and DEA released “Chasing the Dragon,” a documentary that paints an honest, unforgiving picture of opiate addiction’s devastating, often deadly consequences…

Johnna Stahl · Albuquerque, New Mexico
I don’t understand how anyone can comprehend the wonders found in the cannabis plant, while looking down at the wonders found in the poppy plant. Yes, cannabis can’t kill you, but pain can, don’t ever doubt it. When you discriminate against one drug, you discriminate against all of them.