Human Nature Nuggets

Unlike sheer instinct, human nature involves individual thought as to how we should handle or improve various situations. As homo sapiens, we never know what will happen as a result, but each of us tries by doing what we think is the best solution. Here are some examples…

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Location: St. Paul, Minnesota, United States

I am a writer at heart, a proofreader by trade, but without a soul if it were not for the nuthatches crawling down my trees, the robins, chickadees, cardinals, and yes, the much-maligned jibbering starlings that create their own unique concerts. I have wildflowers and perennials squeezed into my front and back yards and along the curb of my house in the city. My greatest job: I was a reporter for a locally-based newspaper, where I wrote human interest and news articles, but now I am a freelance writer, both online and in print. See MY ONLINE ARTICLES on how to ATTRACT BIRDS and BUTTERFLIES, and the HEALTHIEST NATURAL FOODS at my contributor page

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Best Method: Get Rid of & Kill Fruit Flies Naturally; Kitchen & Bathroom & a Picture

Normally I post insights regarding our human nature, but this problem affects so many of us, I felt compelled to address it here. If you’re like me, and fruit flies invade your kitchen or bathroom during hot weather, it’s only natural that we want to get rid of or kill them. We can’t peel or eat any fruit without them buzzing us like bomber jets. Often, when we’re in the bathroom brushing our teeth or merely washing, they swarm around. I’ve even seen them floating in our soap dish. After incompetent attempts at getting rid of or killing fruit flies over the past few years, I’ve finally found the best method to do the job. It’s easy, unobtrusive, and doesn’t use any chemicals. I’ve also included a picture to help you visualize what this entails.

Remember: avocados and tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables! The large pit in an avocado is a seed, while the mature ovaries in tomatoes (aka “love apples”) biologically contain seeds.

A healthy nutritional tip: Avocadoes help us absorb the lycopene in tomatoes, and the carotenoids in spinach, lettuce and carrots, so eat them together for a boost of nutrition! (Guacamole is a perfect example.) My article will better explain the interaction between avocados and specific vegetables.  And my one on “The Most Nutritious Lettuce and Vegetables for Salads” has helpful suggestions for making salads.  

Despite how diligently this best method works, and believe me it does, if you get a long heat wave with temps in the high 90’s to 100’s, don’t put any peels or fruit waste into your waste baskets in your home, or you’ll have to start the cycle all over again (although you can keep the same solution you’ve been using). Seal them in a bag or container, and at day’s end, throw them in the garbage outside.

So don’t despair! Just follow the few simple steps involved in the method I describe in my article, because it truly works the best. You will gain control over those pesky fruit flies and be able to get rid of (and kill) them naturally, whether they’re in your kitchen, bathroom, or anywhere. Hope the picture I’ve included helps. From my home to yours, all my best wishes in all your endeavors! Darlene

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Friday, January 06, 2012

How Our Seasons Affect Us, and Change in Our Lives

It’s human nature that we’re affected by our seasonal changes. They basically can change not only our outlook on life, but the course of our lives. Sometimes our souls are rejuvenated; but they can also leave us drastically depressed. How we handle these changes is vital.

I had an article published in the Dec. 2011 issue of The Edge magazine (both online and in print), addressing this issue, and how I try to handle their affect on my life. The odds are that you’d agree with my sentiments. If you’d like to read it, entitled: “How Good is Change, Really?” and it’s at

The Edge is a holistic living magazine that seeks to inspire us to expand beyond our beliefs, reminds us to listen to the voice of our souls, and educates us on how to be well and in balance. It’s free, and can be found in the lobbies of some coffee shops, co-ops, libraries, etc. throughout the upper Midwest. There’s a list on their site of their distribution venues in various states on their website.

If there isn’t a drop-off near you, I urge you to ask the owners of specific business near you to sign up. The Edge’s website is at and their list of drop sites is at In many ways, their teachings can help us cope with how we’re affected by seasonal changes.

From my home to yours, Namaste'…

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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Little Things in Life that Matter

It's my human nature not only to help other people when possible, but also wildlife. Therefore, I was delighted today by a very unusual scene in a local department store. The security guard was concentrating on tearing something off a big chunk and tossing small pieces onto the floor! An employee was nearby too, but she was smiling at the customers and talking to them, seemingly unconcerned.

Then I noticed that the guard wasn’t tossing whatever it was just randomly--he had made a pattern! I followed the pattern from his feet outwards, and then I saw it: a full-grown pigeon, on the floor heading to one of the doors to the store, toddling along and pecking at the pieces of what had to be food. The guard was luring it to the open door!

As for the employee, she wasn’t just standing there being pleasant. She was quietly motioning to incoming and outgoing customers to look down so they’d see the pigeon, and then use a door further down. And it was working! I wanted to stay to watch how it ended but didn’t want to instigate a crowd, so I left. But I was so delighted, I had to tell everyone about it after I left. Sure, it was just a little thing, but boy did it matter to me!

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Why Smoking While Driving Shouldn’t Become Illegal in Minnesota

Lately there have been several proposals to make it illegal for anyone to smoke while driving a motorized vehicle in my state. The justification is that when people smoke while driving, they take their eyes off the road to light a cigarette, put one out, or use the ashtray. Admittedly, any of the above actions are a distraction, but many smokers have taught themselves to perform these tasks without looking away.

What concerns me is that merely targeting those who smoke while driving is being shortsighted. What about all the drivers who sip while they’re driving? Whether it involves knocking back a swig of water from a bottle, pop from a can, or revolving a tall cup to find the little hole in order to guzzle coffee, don’t these actions require taking one’s eyes off the road, too?

Some drivers munch on a burger, or even open a packet of ketchup and pour it on their fries while they’re operating a vehicle, and have you ever seen anyone put on lipstick without looking in their rearview mirror? Almost everyone leans over to find a button on the radio. Isn’t that just as distracting? Then there’s looking away to find the wiper blades, watching the electric window to see how far you’ve lowered it, jotting a note on a notepad, or trying to find directions on a map, and I needn’t mention the use of cell phones.

Face it, we’ve become a multi-tasking society, and we’re twitchy. It’s become our human nature not just to drive, but to accomplish some unrelated task at the same time. By doing so, we feel we are saving time, or using our time judiciously.

I know we drivers are supposed to keep our hands on the steering wheel in the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, but I’ve learned to be wary of drivers who steadfastly clutch the wheel with both hands. Usually they’re the ones who are so under the influence, they have to in order to control their cars, or they’re so leery of being in traffic, they drive 20 miles an hour—even on the freeway.

I guess the only way we’re going to make drivers keep their hands on the wheel at all times is to affix Velcro straps on the steering wheel and make it a law that these straps must be wrapped around our wrists whenever we’re driving. Auto makers will have to install a device that will stop our cars from running if we’re not wearing them. As for our straying eyes, well…

Before we single out those who smoke while driving, and make them a scapegoat, we must peer deep within ourselves, at our own driving habits. It’s so easy to judge others and ignore our own human nature.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Humans vs. Nature in the city of St. Paul

About a month ago, my husband and I were driving along a quiet residential street in the middle of the city, just a block west of busy Snelling Ave., when we saw a small hawk on the ground, in the middle of the street, grasping a starling in its talons. As our car drew closer, the hawk took off and accidentally dropped the starling. We were sure the starling was dead, but to our amazement it seemed to gather its wits, then also flew away.

I was thrilled that we had saved the smaller bird's life, but my husband pointed out that by doing so, we had stolen what could have been a vital meal for the hawk. (It was frigid outside then.) And besides, he added, it was only a starling.

Now I'm in a quandary. Obviously I want hawks to survive. I'm thrilled whenever I see any raptor, and find it even more incredible when I see one in such a populated area, let alone so close to home. Yet I love the cheerful babble of starlings, despite their reputation. And mainly, they're both living beings.

So should I instead have been rooting for the hawk? I know we interrupted nature from taking its course, but I'd have been devastated if we had run over either of them. That’s my human nature.

Then again, if I'd been watching this in the wild on the Discovery Channel, instead of on the city cement right in front of me, it's possible I would have reacted differently. So apparently it was the location that elicited my reaction.

Now my brain is still in a turmoil. Please, could I get some feedback from you?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Is the Grass Truly Greener On the Other Side?

It's usually stressful where I work. My co-workers and I generally have to rush through each of our jobs to finish them as quickly as possible, or within a limited time frame, because following them there will be another job that has to be done just as quickly. We seldom talk to each other, because that could detract from our concentration, or slow us down.

Directly across the street from us is a cozy little coffee shop. During business hours (not necessarily during lunch time), I can see the customers inside—relaxed, chatting, sipping their brew and enjoying life—and I’m envious, wishing I could be among them.

Then reality hits: Maybe those people would rather be where I am. Maybe they’ve been laid off and can’t find work elsewhere. Maybe they’re not physically fit enough to hold a job, or mentally capable. Maybe they have a job but have to work nights or weekends.

Even if they do have a job, maybe they don’t like what they’re doing (I do!), or there’s no challenge or personal satisfaction.

And then there’s the owner of the coffee shop. Is he watching our constant bustle of activity, our customers flowing in and out, our delivery truck being loaded with completed jobs? Is he looking at us with envy?

Bearing this in mind, I know I’m fortunate to be on my side, for the grass is green. Yet deep down, even when things aren’t so hectic here, I sometimes can’t help wishing I could be laughing and chatting in that coffee shop with the other customers, even if it may be a façade.

I wonder… is this an inevitable part of everyone’s human nature, or mostly mine?

Monday, June 19, 2006

A Tale for the Birds

One of my favorite pastimes this time of year is going into my front and back yards and immersing myself in the sounds, sights and scents of nature; not only watching my plants grow, but thrilling over the wildlife that, while passing over, lights down and uses my yards as a resting place, knowing it’s a safe and fulfilling haven. Our city lot isn’t big, but it’s more than enough for them.

The problem is, I haven’t been able to go into my back yard as freely as usual lately. I have to look out the windows first, because I hang my various bird feeders there, and now it's become a nursery for the birds! All sorts of parents are feeding their fledglings there, and I don’t want to scare them away.

Sometimes I’ll see a little Downy Woodpecker feeding its baby Downy on my suet holder. The parent will take a nip of suet, then stuff it into the wide open mouth of its child, which is clinging onto the holder at the same time.

Other times I’ll see two Common Grackles on my mixed seed feeder, both the exact same size, but while one will have the characteristic iridescent feathers, the other will be all dusky, and it will keep opening its beak wide, while squawking and flapping its wings. Then the glossy one will nab a seed and stuff it into the wing-flapping one's mouth. I've also seen Cardinals feeding their babies there.

Recently, I put cooked macaroni and cheese on the ground because I know Robins love it. Sure enough, I saw a parent Robin grab a piece and shove it into its baby's open beak. Again, the baby was the same size, but it hadn't gotten its orange breast feathers yet.

And then there are the House Finches and Chickadees feeding their babies at my safflower seed feeder. Who knows what I’ll see next?

Talk about having a piece of heaven... My garden has become a haven for butterflies, dragonflies and other wildlife, and rising above the flowers are my bird feeders. And now I'm watching the next generation of birds that will soon be feeding there on their own.

Anyone who doesn't dig in the dirt or just pull weeds doesn't know what they're missing. The best stress-relieving balm in the world is right at our feet...and a bit above us, if we also feed the birds.

I’m inviting you to go to my brand new article that describes how you, too, can attract birds to your yard. It includes which seeds attract which birds and which only feed on the ground, which birds love suet, what hummingbirds and orioles revel over, some birds that only eat insects, other ways you can attract birds, and more.

Also, if you’d like some information about attracting butterflies, I have an article at

If you read them and like what I’ve written, I’d so appreciate it if you’d rate them at the top by clicking on one of the options from 1-5. (But for sure, please don’t click on either the “thumbs up” OR “thumbs down” at the bottom by the comments, because either way actually deletes points from my overall rating.)

Meanwhile, from my home and heart to yours, I’m truly wishing you the joy and serenity I’ve found through my yard.

To quote Henry David Thoreau, “I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately; to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.”

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