A Collection of Thoughts

I haven’t done a blog post in a while and it’s been even longer since I did one that was a random collection of thoughts. So here goes.

Labor Day weekend, my husband was trimming trees and he trimmed an oak tree and I noticed this:

Oak Tree Gall

Uh, what is that? I poked it with a stick to see if it was solid and ensure I was not going to be overwhelmed by something gross like insects. It was solid and hard. Okay, that’s just weird, I’ve never seen anything like that. J told me, he’s seen them before and much bigger and that when they get big, they are really cool to cut open (this one was roughly the size of a navel orange). That doesn’t tell me what it is and why it exists and he proceeded to tell me some oak trees just make them.

Nope, there has to be a reason for it. So the following morning (I noticed it at night), I went to look at it again because it was so interesting and weird. In daylight I noticed a tiny hole, no bigger than that created by a hypodermic syringe in skin. Okay, so it has to be a nest of some sort… but what sort of nest? Being me, I Googled something along the lines of “what’s the weird thing growing on the branch of my oak tree?” It is a nest made from the oak tree for a wasp called a “gall wasp” or maybe “mealy wasp”… I’m still unclear on the name of the wasp, it could be both and usage may depend on where the writer is from. The name of the thing “oak gall”. The wasp triggers excessive growth hormones to flood the area of the oak tree where it lays it’s eggs so that one of these grows to protect the eggs and larva. And the reason they look cool when opened? Because the larva eats the pulp that surrounds it. Once the hormone has started flowing to this area it doesn’t stop and the gall will continue to get larger and larger. And yes, it damages the tree. Too many galls can lead to tree death and other issues. However, it is more common for the wasp to lay it’s eggs on a leaf and the tree to create a “leaf gall” which is also less destructive to the tree.

Anyone who reads my books or blogs, knows I enjoy professional sports. During the spring, I often listen to baseball games while writing. Late spring and early summer it’s soccer (futbol) and I devotedly watch World Cup (which is coming to the US in 2026 including a match or two in Kansas City (just 150 miles from me). During late summer and fall into winter I watch American Football and have missed very few Chiefs games since the 1990s. Thursday night, I was not watching the Miami v. Cincinnati game, I got a text from my football loving nephew Poor Tua got rocked.

At that point, I turned on the game in time to see replays. I did not know in that moment Poor Tua Tagovialoa had been rocked Sunday in the game against the Jets. Thursday as I watched the replay I thought “wow that could be a career ending hit” given his reaction. Sadly, it could be a career ending hit and it was avoidable. The NFL Player Association quickly fired the neurotrauma team that cleared Tua to play Thursday night, but is it enough? I love watching football and I even played one year in junior high and loved that, but more needs to be done to protect players. Doctors should definitely be preventing repeat injuries such as this one than serving the interests of NFL owners and teams. I have since seen the hit on Tua last Sunday and watching him in the seconds after the hit, it is obvious even to me he sustained a head and possibly spinal cord injury and should not have been on the field just four days later.

And this is true of all professional sports, not just football. I’ve seen baseball players sustain incredible injuries, ditto soccer players, and I know these guys are tough, but a body can only take so much abuse. Ten years in the NFL should not ruin the rest of a person’s life as they struggle with side effects of CTE. However, if fans and spectators don’t demand better care and treatment of players, then few things will change because even NFL owners have to bow to the pressure of fans.

I’m working to clean up my writing. This is adding another month or so to the editing process, but it needs to be done. I’m reducing adverbs, passive verbs, redundancies, and filler words. I’ve timed it a few times and it takes me around 7 hours to make all these changes to a single chapter. The bulk of these hours is definitely spent removing passive verbs such as “had”… sometimes, I can just delete the “had” such as “Detective Graham had reached” but other times it is way more complicated and I’m forced to reword the entire sentence (or paragraph), which is why it takes so long to edit a full chapter.


4 thoughts on “A Collection of Thoughts

  1. I’ve missed your posts! I remember watching Tua play for Bama. Not much of a sports fan, but when you live in AL, he was on TV all the time during football season. It’s so sad that players are sacraficed for the mighty dollar. 😥

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’d never seen oak galls until I moved to Texas, so I understand your concern. They’re weird. I’ve never cut one open though.

    I’m not interested in sports at all, except maybe horse racing. I think those guys are nuts, especially footballers, for playing such violent “games”
    where they can be injured so badly. (But then no one has offered me millions of dollars to play a game either.) Isn’t it up to the injured player and his doctor when he goes back to work? Or are the doctors owned by the sport?


    1. Technically the doctors work for the players union, so they should have the best interest of the injured player in their heart. But there’s been a few accusations over the years of them taking money from owners/teams to clear players quicker.


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