Sunday, July 31, 2005

A Firefighter's Friend

Wall art on a Virginia Beach building, art by T.A.L.E.N.T. Artists. The art commemorates the brave firefighters of America and their ever loyal mascot, the Dalmatian. Posted by Picasa
A nursery school teacher was delivering a station wagon full of kids home one day when a fire truck zoomed past. Sitting in the front seat of the fire truck was a Dalmatian dog. The children fell to discussing the dog's duties.

"They use him to keep crowds back," said one youngster.

"No," said another, "he's just for good luck."

A third child brought the argument to a close. "They use the dogs," she said firmly, "to find the fire hydrant."
Yes, I suppose they do.
(Picture taken by nmp)
Posted by Picasa
Submission for Carnival of the Dogs hosted by Mickey's Musings. (end of post)

Saturday, July 30, 2005

Reflections Of A Shiny Snail

Reflection in a shiny snail Posted by Picasa
"There's not an idea in our heads that has not been worn shiny by someone else's brains." ~ Woodrow Wilson (1856-1924) American statesman (28th US president: 1913-21)
This small shiny snail ornament measures six inches in height and sits in the middle of a low, round stone garden table. I tried not to impose my camera toting reflection into the picture, alas to no avail.

Submission to MacroDay for topic "shiny".
(end of post)

Concentration Broken

An unexpected portrait. Posted by Picasa
The hour of happiness which comes unexpectedly is the happiest. ~ Proverb
When Nyssa was two she discovered coloring books. This fascination lasted for several years. Here she is at age three and engrossed in her work, totally concentrating on the picture and the colors, listening to her yellow "music bird". She didn't see, hear or feel my presence until I called her name. The look of surprise coupled with her typical "open-mouth" look of concentration were priceless.

Submission for PXITE topic "unexpected". (end of post)

Friday, July 29, 2005

Bayreuth Wagner Festival

Stephen Gould as Tannhauser
GEORGE JAHN - Associated Press: BAYREUTH, Germany -- The message was sin and redemption and the music was top rate. Under Christian Thielemann, arguably the best Wagner conductor of the day, the Festival Orchestra masterfully underpinned the haunting pilgrims' choruses, set the ground for the chromatic harmony that depicts the tonal world of Venus, or worked its magic in the orchestral preludes that create the mood for the acts to follow. Stephen Gould was a powerfully evocative Tannhauser both vocally and dramatically, reflecting growing ease in a role he is now performing for the second straight year. A footnote: The audience loved the production -- both visual and musical. They feted the soloists, Thielemann -- and yes, Arlaud -- with nearly 15 minutes of applause.
The Bayreuth Wagner Opera Festival began this week in Germany. Rabid fans wait up to ten years for tickets to this event. Last year, MY BROTHER, Stephen Gould stepped in to perform the title role in Tannhauser and has returned to reprise the same this year. This is the first current review in from the Associated Press.

Stephen is the little boy "Left Behind". There are more pictures, music clippings from his performances and his schedule at his website. (We have to check this to keep up with his current location) He has a very proud Momma and Papa, an adoring niece and ...emmm ....hmmmm.....ok....a proud big sister as well. Yes, we did get over the love/hate thing siblings go through. Check out his site when you get the chance.
(end of post)

A Somber Face

A child's solemn, somber face. Posted by Picasa
You don't remember
I'll never forget
That magic day
When we first met
The somber face
I always knew
The little smile
The little you
~ Author Unknown
Nyssa loved to smile for the camera, but not this day. Her somber, solemn face sports no smile; and her eyes, darker than usual, seem to be lost in deep thought one minute, and piercing the core of my heart the next. She has always felt emotion deeply.

My sweet child, my only child, now grown, I want a life full of love and laughter for you with only a sprinkling of the sadness that cannot be avoided. If I could I would take all your sorrows away, for today, for forever. But sorrow teaches us to relish the laughter, pain helps us appreciate our blessings and through our tears we learn empathy for others and how to find our way back to joy. Sorrow and joy together make you a whole person, a wonderful young woman, the daughter I'll always love.

Submission for Photo Friday topic "somber". (end)

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Happy Birthday Miss M!!!!

Happy Birthday Miss M.!! Posted by Picasa

I almost missed your birthday, or should I say your anniversary of your birthday. We won't tell how old you are just say that you are many, many years younger than I am. Here are best wishes and hopes that you had a happy day. Wait just one minute. I know you and we operated the same all these years. Southern girls don't just have birthdays, we have birth months. Celebrations and special treats for a whole month. So happy birth month, Miss M.

I found three quotes that spoke to me about our friendship. So I leave you tonight with these. Love you bunches.
"A friend is someone who dances with you in the sunlight, And walks with you in the shadows. ~ Anonymous
"True friendship comes when the silence between two people is comfortable." ~ David Tyson Gentry
"Time and distance cannot touch the friendship of the heart." ~ Unknown
Happy Birthday my friend.

Cat Shapes

Lady Willow, Her Royal Plumpness.
(Click on picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa
A cat's got her own opinion of human beings. She don't say much, but you can tell enough to make you anxious not to hear the whole of it. ~ Jerome K. Jerome
We'll have to speak quietly so she won't hear us, but really now, don't you think Willow looks a lot like this cherry cordial? The Ragdoll is described as having a "ski slope" appearance to the back and "hefty hindquarters" and as being the largest of the cat breeds. Oops! I think she's insulted now. I'd better go hide until she gets over herself. Someone please tell her that I love cherry cordials!

Be sure to stop by Friday's Ark to visit more, cats...yeah, that's the ticket; and remember Carnival of the Cats on Sunday, this week hosted by Your Moosey Fate. (end)

Storm Front or Breaking the Wave

Lightning over Virginia Beach Yes, the picture is right side up. The lightning seems to be going from ground to cloud, but more likely just cloud to cloud. (Click picture for larger image) Posted by Picasa
You can listen to thunder after lightning and tell how close you came to getting hit. If you don't hear it, you got hit, so never mind. ~ Unknown
We finally got a break in the heat wave, at least for a few hours. As the front went through we had quite a pyrotechnic display with mostly cloud to cloud lightning and almost continual thunder. At first I thought it was the ever present and comforting sound of jets practicing takeoffs and landings at Oceana Naval Air Station. Rain, however was minimal. I didn't have a tripod, just balanced my camera on Nyssa's car. It took one hundred pictures to accidentally capture this.
(end of post)

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

A Sundial By The Sea

Horas non numero nisi serenas ~ I count only the bright hours.
(Click picture for larger image.)
Posted by Picasa
Time is Too Slow for those who Wait,
Too Swift for those who Fear,
Too Long for those who Grieve,
Too Short for those who Rejoice;
But for those who Love,
Time is not.
~ Henry Jackson van Dyke
Submission for Thursday Challenge topic "time". (end)

Sunlight & Shadows

Never fear shadows. They simply mean there's a light shining somewhere nearby. ~ Ruth Renkel
(Click picture for larger view)
Posted by Picasa

Mr. Rhett indulging in his favorite pastime, sleeping; letting his body soak up the warmth of the sun while his nose stays cool in air conditioned comfort. The place to be with the heat index standing at 114 degrees. Time will pass, the sunlight and shadows move, yet with stealth and secret observation I make note; he is always in the light, yet appears not to have moved one inch, thus proving this saying.
If there is one spot of sun spilling onto the floor, a cat will find it and soak it up. ~ Joan Asper McIntosh
Submission for Lens Day topic "shadow". And be sure to visit Friday's Ark to see other wonderful animal stories and pictures. On Sunday visit Carnival of the Cats, this week hosted by Your Moosey Fate. (end)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Mississippi Bluebird Caboose

Mississippi Bluebird checking out the new home. Posted by Picasa
"So the Bluebirds have contracted, have they, for a house?
And a next is under way for little Mr. Wren?"
"Hush, dear, hush! Be quiet, dear! quiet as a mouse.
These are weighty secrets, and we must whisper them."
~ Susan Coolidge (pseudonym of Sarah Chauncey Woolsey), "Secrets"
My dad is a minister but he is also a builder. He helped design and build two church buildings, one parsonage, two dog houses, a variety of storage shelves in both attic and garage, a built in CD shelf, two decorative shelves around the tops of rooms, a hinged pull-out pantry and multiple add on rooms. He also built this bird house caboose, one of my Christmas presents. We attached it to a tall sturdy square pole and placed in our wooded back yard in Mississippi. On the pole beneath the house we placed attached water feeders and feeders for birdseed.

This is a picture of our first resident. The male bluebird was checking out the premises to see if it met muster for his new mate. By the look on his face, I wasn't sure if he approved of the accommodations. Then I remembered seeing the print of the "Angry Bluebird" and decided that they all must look this way. Note the three entrances. There were two rooms, one a small studio apartment with only one entrance and the other a more luxurious townhome with two doors. The discerning shopper, this male chose the two door model. The family set up shop and in a few weeks we saw little beaks and heads poking out the doors. Four babies were born, grew, learned to fly and then set off for life from this first family.

Subsequent seasons we had three additional bluebird families until at last the paint was faded from the rain and humidity and the woodpeckers created one large doorway from the two leading to the townhome. We left the little house for the next owners, knowing it would be one of the first casualties of the sale. It had been a lovely home and many memories were made there. My dad built the house with love and even the bluebirds seem to know this.

Photo Tuesday: Worst

This was the WORST muck I'd ever seen here.
(Pine pollen, that wonderful annual spring happening)
Posted by Picasa
There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. -Ansel Adams
This isn't the worst photograph technically. It's not fuzzy. The light is ok. But the "WORST" enters the picture when you consider the subject.

Many neighborhoods in Virginia Beach have large ditches filled with a brackish water used for flood prevention from rapid water runoff after a hard rain. They can also disperse some of the storm surge should a hurricane ever hit in the Chesapeake Bay. Most of the time the water only flows a trickle, the ditches fill with decaying debris and the city has to clean them and backhoe them out on a fairly regular basis.

This ditch and in particular this digital photo of the ditch is at least "one" of my worst pictures for many reasons:
  1. Most of the other really bad photos have already been deleted and I really don't know why this one hasn't been.
  2. The color make me nauseous. The original color ended up a mottled, light tan even though it didn't look tan to the eye. I changed the color spectrum to match what we saw and now it just looks like a yellow-green pea soup, but with brown lumps in it. There is a deep down association of this color with two priests watching Linda Blair's head twirl around, while this stuff shoots from her mouth and Tubular Bells plays in the background. I didn't like the movie, don't care for the color and don't do stomach contents well. You can ask my daughter about that last one.
  3. The actual subject makes me sick and being close enough to take the picture even with zoom will in about two minutes make my sinuses completely close off such that I must breath through my mouth or suffocate. This leads to the inability to eat and talk, two of my favorite things.(not that a day or two without either would hurt) One cannot easily swallow while at the same time try to obtain oxygen through same said mouth. Yes, I know that normally the epiglottis temporarily covers the trachea when we swallow so technically we can't breath and swallow at the same time; but, when your head and nose are completely blocked off, it feels like you're drowning. And just forget about actually speaking to tell someone that you are drowning. Nope, won't happen. You see, the yellow-green and brown scum swirling and always moving on top of the.....uh,oh comes the nausea. (see #2) Anyway, it's pine pollen; that lovely yellow Spring dust that coats the cars, park benches, windows, leaves of other flowering plants and here, the water in the ditch.
  4. The final reason this is the "WORST" picture is because there is nothing you can do to fix it. It's hard to like something you can't fix. I like to fix things: re-write manuals so they make sense and cover all the quality issues of the lab, broken dolls and torn teddy bears, discarded animals with medical problems, African violets, old porch benches left by the side of the road for trash pick-up, a wide variety of things. Some fixin' I'm good at and some I'm not. I can't fix this picture. Nothing I do will make it look any less like puked pea-soup in a swamp or clear my stuffed head. I know there should be a bright side to this since with a stuffed head I couldn't smell the puked pea-soup and therefore not get nauseous, but it is little comfort. After years working around formalin in addition to the pine pollen effect, I don't have much sense of smell left and while this can be a good thing in some situations, this is not one of them. The nausea will come just by looking at the photo.
You know, I think I will delete this picture from my computer, but now that it's part of a post, that may be imprudent. I'll just try not to look at it.

Submission for Photo Tuesday topic "Worst".

Monday, July 25, 2005

Newsflash: New Arrivals

Remember the Mourning Dove eggs seen in the fig tree nest on 7/19/05? I thought the Momma Dove was "riding high" in the nest for the last few days but she would not move, not even with a camera 12 inches away. Earlier today I thought I saw something peeking out from beneath her wing that wasn't a part of the nest or an egg. Tonight she left her nest for a few moments and voila.....


The Mourning Dove Twins Posted by Picasa

A Robin's Tale

Day One of Bird-watching - 7/3/05. Posted by Picasa
The two baby robins look a bit like miniature plucked hens. Mom and Pop are taking turns bringing juicy grubs and other insects. The babies sleep but seem to know when the parents are near and open mouths wide. Mom & Pop are loudly protesting our proximity to the kids.

Day Four - 7/6/05
More feathers on the wings and back. The wings actually look like wings now. The nest is sturdy with twigs interlaced tightly and with dried mud between the twigs and lining the nest. The nest is in a magenta Crepe Myrtle bush (that is trying to be a tree) in the front yard. It is just above eye level but with the rotating lens head on my camera I can get it in my sights.

Day Six - 7/8/05
This fellow or girl has a lot of spunk. When the camera made the noise while focusing, He/she thought it was Mom with more food and lifted his neck and head into position to receive.

Day Six Continued - 7/8/05
After a good meal and some warm breezes, the babies snuggle down for a long rest.

Day Nine - 7/11/05
One little robin left all alone. His sibling had been perching on the edge of the nest in the Crepe Myrtle bush/tree and had unsuccessfully tried to do a graceful take off. He instead did a swan dive, flapping all the way to the ground. Not being a bright robin like this fellow, he then ran out into the street and under a truck. Parents were chirping loudly, but like most teenagers, he didn't listen. The neighbor was able to scoop him up and put him back in the relative safety of the nest. For a while he again kept to the nest and his warm nest mate. The following day both birds were gone. We do not have any marauding cats in the neighborhood so I am hoping they finally got the knack for flying and went on their way.

Papa robin keeping watch from nearby maple tree.
At least Papa Robin was no longer acting as sentry in the nearby maple tree. I hope you taught them well papa. Bye! Bye! Birdies!

The College Roommate From Hades

In this day and age most colleges have questionnaires to help them select and match personalities that are best suited to be roommates. While they allow freshmen to choose their own roommates ahead of time, they strongly suggest that freshmen let the college do it. There are many good reasons for this, particularly if the rooming situation does not work out, the fact that the college chose makes it easier to change roommates without hard feelings.

I did not have the college pick my first roommate. This was a very bad decision leading to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad semester.

Kathy T. was my first roommate. We met on the Pittsburgh district at church camp. We were both in a teen group that had been picked from all over the area to travel around and sing at various churches during vacations. We were roommates during these trips and got along well. I was only 17 when I went to college 1000 miles away from home. Kathy was 19 and had worked for a year after high school before going to college. She was outgoing and believe it or not, I was more outgoing then as well, just not as bubbly as she was. (Nothing like a good dose of life to make you pull back and change personality) She was fun to room with, for short (very short) periods of time.

I am not tall at around 5'5" but Kathy was very short, maybe 5' but no more. She was a little dumpy for her height and I was thin then probably a size 10 or 12. (Don't ask.) We both had long brown hair but I wore glasses. She had a strange walk, more like a lopsided strut; with one hand on her hip and hips swinging wildly, she walked across the room to someone and stopped with that hand on hip stuck out and the other foot placed behind it and angled outward. At those times she was usually flirting with a guy or trying to get the full attention of a group of guys. Kathy liked guys.

In short, (no pun intended) she had the common misconception of freshmen entering college that she was there to have fun, period. She was there with the sole purpose to snag a husband. These were two things I didn't know about her. Being naive, I thought you went to college to study and prepare for whatever job you thought you wanted to do in life. We were polar opposites. And I had not seen this in the weekend rooming romps we had at home.

It all hit the fan rather quickly, about two days after school actually started. As freshmen, we had study hours. That is an ancient concept, I know, long forgotten in most colleges and universities. Study hours meant that from 8 o'clock until 10 o'clock in the evening, Monday through Thursday, we had to be in our dorm rooms studying. Not in someone else's room (unless specific permission was obtained), not in a big study room, not on another floor....but in our own room. We could check out to the library, but had to be in the library by 8pm. Sophomore RA's on each floor did an actual room to room check at 8pm every night to see that everyone was in. We also had other dorm hours. Week nights the dorms closed at 10:30 pm and midnight on weekends except Sunday night when it was also 10:30 pm. And I mean closed and locked up. You could still get out in an emergency, but to get in required phone calls to security, the dorm mother who lived in the dorm and a lot of difficulty.

Kathy didn't study. She wasn't really stupid or should I say "book dumb", but she was stupid in the "total lack of common sense" area. She did her nails and curled her hair and listened to the radio. She talked incessantly to anyone who would listen. We weren't supposed to have phone calls but she would talk to guys on the phone as well during study hours. She giggled a lot, an annoying fake giggle with snorting at the end. Maybe it was the snorting that really got to me. I finally got permission to study in another room most of the time. I knew this was going to be a long semester but still had hopes she would change.

The weather got cooler and Kathy studied even less. She started hanging around with a few other guys and one or two girls who also did not study. More than that, they went off campus and on one occasion one of the boys in the group was caught with alcohol. This was a church school and unlike many who claim to have a policy against alcohol but really don't, this one did. He left for home permanently the next day.

Kathy took to "borrowing" my clothes without asking. I was a preachers kid and we didn't have much money. All of my clothes were homemade, by me. I learned to sew and made my dresses (yes, we had to wear dresses to class) and skirts. I had some store bought sweaters and a few made by my grandmother. One day there was Kathy, walking across campus with my favorite wool skirt, rolled up at the waistband and I might add, stretched out at the waistband as well, along with my favorite sweater. Her remark to this, "I thought you wouldn't mind." I let it slide as my non-confrontational side kicked in big time. But I started to seethe inside.

Seething is not a good thing. It will eventually either lead you to have ulcers or erupt like a volcano. In my case it would be the volcano route.

The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back came right before Thanksgiving. One night Kathy didn't show up for study hours. I didn't know where she was. They checked the library and she wasn't there. She wasn't in any other room in the dorm. No one knew where she was. The dorm mom was notified and security. She had not called or spoken to them. Study hours passed, no Kathy. Dorm curfew came at 10:30 and no Kathy. Everyone was starting to get worried, security was searching the campus, the dorm mom was calling other dorms and we were on the verge of calling the police. Then around 12:30 am, she pulls up in a car, the only girl with three guys. This group of boys did not go to college at our school and reeked of alcohol.

Word spread pretty fast that she was back. She spent some time down in the dorm mom's room and I sat in our room seething. I doubt that she was drunk, but she might have been drinking. She didn't have any on her and they couldn't prove she had been drinking so she did not get expelled, but warned firmly.

I was not so kind. When she hit the door, all the stupid stunts she had pulled during the course of the semester, all the nights I had to find another place to study, all the extra laundry I had to do because she wore my clothes, all the extra cleaning I had to do because she was a all came to the top and I blew up, forcefully.

I got in her face (looking down) and shook my finger at her. I gave her the "how could you just go off campus without permission and not telling anyone" one punch and the "don't you know you had everyone on campus looking for you" two punch and the "you are the most immature, selfish, self-centered, person I have ever met and if you ever pull a stunt like this again I will call your parents and the police and the dean of students and you will be on your way back to Pennsylvania before the night is through!" jab to the stomach. Then I told her to keep her grubby paws off my clothes, stay out of my closet and out of my life. I had found my self, and stood up for my principles in the face of her lack of concern for rules in general. I was shouted out. So I ended the session with a calm, "I will be finding a new roommate for next semester."

That was it. The rest of the semester I avoided her like the plague. I studied in the library or in other rooms, left early in the morning and came back to the room when I knew she wouldn't be there during the day. I came in the room at 10:30 pm and went to bed, never speaking more than two or three words to her at any one time. The friendship was over. She still didn't study but she did get in on time, barely.

I found another roommate on the same floor, across the hall. The way our dorm was laid out, it might as well have been on another planet. I got back to school before she did and moved my things, the room was ready for her new roommate when Kathy returned. We moved in different circles and they never intersected again.

She managed to make it through a second semester before dropping out and going back to Pennsylvania; but not without incident. One afternoon we heard screaming and yelling from across the hall. My roommate and I went through the central store room and saw the door to Kathy's room open, her new roommate standing over her screaming to the top of her lungs. There were two guys in the room with these spray cans and yellow suits. What happened?

It was Oklahoma, in winter, and cold. Kathy had happened on a tree stump that someone had cut down. It was about three feet in diameter and she thought it would make a cute table in the corner of their study area. It wasn't heavy either so she got some guy to help her get it back to the dorm and she drug it up the stairs to her room. Overnight this dead partially hollow stump warmed up. The little termites hibernating inside woke up.....and swarmed, all over their room. The little men in the yellow suits were exterminators.

I just looked up to heaven and said "Thank you God. Oh,and please bless her roommate, she needs it right now."

So, now you know, those little questionnaires are important, useful and can prevent a lot of hardship and pain. Fill them out. Trust me, I know firsthand.

Sunday, July 24, 2005


MSMS Basketball - 2003 - 2004 Posted by Picasa
Sport strips away personality, letting the white bone of character shine through. Sport gives players an opportunity to know and test themselves. ~ Rita Mae Brown
The girls at Mississippi School for Math and Science did not win a game that year. Rarely they lost a close game, most loses were by more than twenty points, but they never gave up. Even when beset with injury and fouls and playing five against four, they always fought to win and did their best. Many had never played before, not being good enough to play on their home school's team and as they came from all parts of the state none had ever played together before. Their rigorous classes gave them only two or three hours of organized practice per week. Very few parents could travel the long distances to see them play, so their cheering section was usually empty at away games. The boys tried to cheer for the girls and the girls for the guys, but as a rule, the books were out and physics, math, english and history homework was underway while waiting for their games or the bus ride back to campus. They played because they love the game, knowing their college scholarships would be academic and not basketball. This love of basketball in and of itself, made the team special. Go Waves!!!

Submission for PXITE topic "sport".

Hot Light

Hot clear light bulb. Posted by Picasa
Some people change when they see the light, others when they feel the heat.
~ Caroline Schoeder.
Submission for MacroDay topic "hot". (end)

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Pungo Blackberries!!! Double Yum!!!!!

Pungo, Virginia Blackberries Posted by Picasa
Earth's crammed with heaven,
And every common bush afire with God;
And only he who sees takes off his shoes;
The rest sit round it and pluck blackberries.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning
Did I forget to tell you that not only does the blueberry farm in Pungo have ripe luscious blueberries but they also grow blackberries. We picked enough for a big blackberry pie. Apparently, they grow four different types of blackberries and those ripe now are much smaller than the giant 1 inch berries we picked last year. Those will be ready in a few weeks. The pie was absolutely to die for. The berries so sweet, I didn't even mind the seeds. Yum! Double Yum!!


Friday, July 22, 2005

Left Behind or Preacher's Kid 101

Posted by Picasa

If I had a blog site where posts could be filed in categories, this would file under "trials and tribulations of a preacher's kid" or more simply "life as a p.k.", but I don't have such a blog. So this gets mixed in with previous posts of my life as a kid, fond memories and misadventures. Early on I wrote about Easter chicks and science projects; tornados and snowstorms; life on the road and transitions; and about life as a clutz. This picture is my current inspiration or "jumping off point". I found it in an old picture album while cleaning out the bookshelves.

Me: "What's this?"
Mom: "Oh, it's a picture of Stephen when we left him at church."
Me: "We left him at church?"
Mom: "Yes."
Me: "And we actually went back to get him?"
Mom: "Yes."
Me: "Why?"

This had to have been the new church in Gary, Indiana. I don't think the old church downtown had padded pews so it isn't as tragic as it might have been and no one has to call social services. Still, it had to be a complete lack of forethought and communication for both parties because Stephen at his smallest was not a child small enough to just misplace. You would never walk past a pew with him on it and just "not see him". He came into this world at 10lbs 8oz, two weeks early, and 24 inches long. He was born the size of a three month old with one year old sized feet. He was the youngest member of the "Weight Watchers" club as he had to lose a full pound before they let him go home from the hospital. He has always been taller, wider and with bigger feet than every other kid his age, so there is no way to just "lose him". But that is just what they did. I use the word "they" because this is my parents doing and I take no part or responsibility in the process.

The church and parsonage were on three acres of land, church at one end and house at the other with a big empty lot in between. After church one Sunday night, Mom & I walked over to the house. I include myself here so I can get my jammy's on and get in bed with a book and stay out of the rest. Mom got her pj's on and got stuff ready to go to work on Monday. She taught first grade. Dad stayed at the church for a while talking to people or having a little board meeting or something. He left, turning off all the lights and locking it up. Then he, too walked over to the house.

Dad always gets milk and a banana for...well, everything. Even after a big meal, he gets a banana and glass of milk for after dessert. He piddled around in the kitchen a while and finally went back to the bedroom and got ready for bed. Mom, already dozing, woke up when he got in bed.

Mom: "Did Stephen get in bed ok?"
Dad: "I don't know, didn't you put him to bed?"
Mom: "No, I thought you were going to do that."
Dad: "Why, he came home with you, didn't he?"
Mom: "No, I thought you were going to bring him."
Dad: "No, I didn't bring him. Did his sister bring him?"
Me (in next room with door shut but with amazingly good hearing that remains to this day): "No, he didn't come with me, I have nothing to do with this!!!!!!!"
Dad (gets up and looks in Stephen's room): "No, he's not in his room."
Mom (getting hysterical....hysterical is a very typical reaction for a variety of situations with my mom): "Where is he?" "Is he OK?" "Someone didn't take him did they?"
Dad (in a calm and deliberate voice which is typical of his reaction to many of the same situations): "Now, Lorane, we'll just go back and look through the church. I'm sure we'll find him."
Me (still in the other room and a bit under my breath, not knowing the status of the parents hearing capacity): "Yeah, even if someone took him, they'd have brought him back by now simply because of the aggravation."

So, they both get up, get the clothes on and traipse back to the church. This is how they found him; still sound asleep and drooling on the padded church pews, oblivious to all the chaos and commotion he had caused. The lost was found, equilibrium was restored and all was well with the world. question nags at me as I look at this picture. What parent, uncertain as to the whereabouts or condition of their child has the thought "Oh, let me take a camera so I can get a picture of the child we left locked in a dark church for two hours!"? That bothers me. It makes me wonder if somewhere in all the picture albums and boxes, there isn't a picture of me sitting stuck in a garbage can with only head, hands and feet showing after having fallen in backwards from the porch. Surely not, but then again, I found this didn't I.

Captured Sunshine

A Flower or Sunshine? (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
"One of the most attractive things about the flowers is their beautiful reserve."
~ Henry David Thoreau (American Essayist, Poet and Philosopher, 1817-1862)
This beautiful flower shimmered with shades of yellow, colors of the sun, as if the sun itself inhabited each petal. The feeling so strong one could imagine it lighting up a room in the darkest of nights or bringing warmth to a cold and damp dungeon. The dynamic energy of the sun stored in so delicate a vessel.

Submission for Photo Friday topic "attractive". (end)

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Here Lizard, Lizard!

Rhett (left) and Clover surveying the great outdoors.
(Click picture for larger view)
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You can observe a lot just by watching. ~ Yogi Berra
Mr. Rhett and Miss Clover do not usually sit this close to each other. Mr. Rhett has a healthy regard for Miss Clover's teeth and even at age 12, her ability to strike a lightening quick bite to the head or neck. Today, however, she is tolerant.

It is early spring and the window is open, the warm light is streaming in, the smell of freshly mown grass is in the air and a light breeze slowly moves the lace curtains back and forth. The early bumblebees are feeding on roses just outside the window and the small little green and brown garden lizards, attracted by the warmth of the brick scurry along up and down the side of the house. My human ear doesn't hear their quiet, quick movements but the cat's ear does. As they watch and listen, ears and whiskers twitching, lightly chattering, do the little lizards know how close the cats are; or do they see that a mesh screen is all that keeps them from becoming a new trophy? Miss Clover will eventually lose interest and leave to curl with her sister and sleep. Mr. Rhett will relax, sitting quietly soaking up the sun and its warmth, no longer concerned with the bumblebee or the garden lizard or Miss Clover.

Be sure to visit all the other animals at Friday's Ark and don't forget the Carnival of the Cats, this Sunday hosted by The Oubliette.

Our Mourning Doves

Mourning dove nesting in a fig tree. Papa or Momma??? Who knows? (Click picture for larger view) Posted by Picasa
And there my little doves did sit
With feathers softly brown
And glittering eyes that showed their right
To general Nature's deep delight.
~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning, "My Doves
Since both the mother and father "mourning dove" sit on the nest, it is difficult to tell who this is. The fig tree is about seven feet high with large dense leaves and many developing figs. The nest is built in a very secure place, at the central fork of the tree where four or five sturdy branches come off the main trunk and secure the nest. While only at eye-level the wide leaves hide the nesting bird and the figs will provide plenty of food later on. Below, we find two small eggs in the nest. They have been nesting for two weeks so babies are expected any day. These are such beautiful birds and their low mournful cooing early in the morning is very lovely and soothing.