"People from a planet without flowers
would think we must be mad with joy the whole time
to have such things about us."
~Iris Murdoch, A Fairly Honourable Defeat

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apples to Apples

I have to tell you about the most fun I have had in a long time. When I went down to see my family on the 4th of July, I spent that Sunday evening at my son's house. We had dinner, spent some time in the garden...
looked at the sunflowers and marveled at how tall they grow.

and then while we ate strawberry shortcake for dessert, I was taught how to play a game called Apples to Apples.

The Beans showed me how to play and what to do. I guess I was a fast learner because I got the thumbs up from my oldest grandson.
I gave the camera to my daughter in law and she took these photos of our progress.

Little Bean needed some help with a few words that he didn't know... so we did some teamwork on the side. I would whisper in his ear what the word was  and sometimes what it meant.
This is a game of synonyms. A card is laid on the table and it might say "beautiful". The players all put one card in the middle of the table that they think comes the closest to being a synonym for "beautiful" But, because the cards were randomly given to you out of the deck, you don't always have a card that works and that's when it gets funny. You have to put a card down. Sometimes you have the perfect card, like "stunning" or "the universe" or "mothers"... but sometimes you only have " Mashed potatoes" or "motor oil" and that's all you have to work with. One designated person (that was me.) had to decide which came the closest to "beautiful" and who gets to keep the "beautiful" card. The person that ends up with the most cards wins the game.
Once in a while I would have two cards that were not even in the ball park as a synonym for the first card. That's when I had to decide which one was better than the other.
So they waited for me to read the choices...
.. which were sometimes so bizarre that I would have to repeat the original word and read them all the synonyms that they put on the table. I would read them out loud, trying not to laugh.
Then, we would all crack up, when the closest synonym to "snake" was not "slither", or even "scary", but "bologna sandwich".
We would all laugh ourselves silly... and then have a short round table discussion about what a "snake" sandwich would taste like.
Maybe you had to be there, but I haven't had this much fun in a long time. This is what grandkids do for you. They make you a kid again, if you don't let "being an adult" get in the way.
What a wonderful evening it was.

Monday, July 21, 2014

My sister's beautiful, new rescue dog and saying goodbye to Daisy.

This is Stella. she is a German Shorthair Pointer and she's a most beautiful dog. My sister has adopted her from the Tony LaRussa Animal Rescue Foundation. (http://www.arf.net/)

Listen to her, in her own words...
"I'm learning my new name. It's Stella. I have had other names but I like this one best. Now,  I have a dog friend named Fozzy to play with and a good family that thinks I'm a wonderful dog. I am.
I have a big backyard to run around with Fozzy and a place to chase birds.
I can't tell them my story, but they don't seem to care because they picked me and their love is unconditional. I'm just glad to be here."

I have some medical issues that we are working on and the vet thinks I'm about 5 or 6 years old... maybe older.
"On the 4th of July, my mistress had a party. The whole family was here. It was fun.  Her sister came too. She has a camera that she takes pictures with... all the time. I can't seem to find a place to get away from this lady... and now she has a camera in her phone, so she acts like she's making a phone call and then takes my picture."

"I was getting tired and wanted to take a nap. This lady was still there taking pictures of me and I had a hard time keeping my eyes open."

"Finally, I decided that enough was enough and I hid my face behind a pillow. She got the message and left me alone."
"I love this place."

( Stella is a beautiful dog. My sister and her husband are so happy with her. Fozzy enjoys having another dog to play with and they seems to be very compatible. Fozzy is a poodle mix... with an attitude. He's a character. He always looks kind of above it all and sometimes carried an annoyed expression around with him... but he is so happy to have Stella there. Dogs love being with dogs and the two of them are becoming good friends.)

Save an animal... ADOPT.

This post is dedicated to a dog named Daisy. My sister-in-law, Carol, lost her dog this weekend. Daisy was a sweet old lovable dog who was fighting Cancer and finally had to leave us. 
Daisy will find her master Jack, over Rainbow Bridge, where he has been waiting for her. Now, she can keep him company and they will be together forever.
We love these dogs so much. They become a part of our lives. What a gift each one is to us. I think that they are sent to teach us about the goodness in life and unconditional love. They come to us with joy and sit by our side in our sadness. They are the beautiful, mute "guardian angels" in our lives.
 RIP Daisy. Your pain and suffering is over. We all loved you. Goodbye, sweet dog.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

New Ink

My nephew and his girlfriend came over to join the family on the 4th.  His body is a work of art.
He had a lot of tattoos, but the latest one is on his right arm.
This is his left arm...
Kind of scary and dark.

This is his right arm... a new tattoo.
It's really quite beautiful.
The tattoo artist does all of this free hand. These are called "sleeves".
A sleeve tattoo is a large tattoo, or a collection of smaller tattoos, that covers most or all of a person's arm, usually from shoulder to wrist.
His girlfriend "R" has one that I love. She has more... but I like the way this one looks like it's running and hiding.
You may not like the idea of tattooing your skin, but it's been going on for a very long time. Take a look at how far back folks were doing this...http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tattoos 
When you ask, "Does it hurt?", you usually get a smile and a "Sometimes it does."
I think they are not telling the whole story. I think that it's a rite of passage.
 I think that it must REALLY HURT!

My husband has quite a few. He is always telling me that I should get "Just one."
My experience is that "just one" leads to another... and another.
I think that I like my skin just the way it is.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Alien Life Forces in my Sister's backyard

I drove my sorry foot down to my sister's last weekend. It was just what I needed. She and John had us all over for a 4th of July BBQ.
Before dinner we were out on the lawn and these small transparent forms started floating around the yard.
They were purple and blue with little lights in them. 
These three were forming some kind of triangular message... but no one could tell what they were saying.
The yard was filled with them.

Ok... so Noni gave her Beans some bubbles. You knew that didn't you? The boys were blowing these orbs around all over the place. It was one of those messy moments that only a grandma can get away with.
I bought them thinking it would be cool to see blue and purple bubbles floating around in the air.
What could possibly go wrong?
The "warning label said "Don't get on clothes" and  "For outside use only" So we followed the rules... and it's a good thing we did.
Little Bean was pretty careful with his bottle of toxic waste. He spilled some on the lawn and it didn't blow up or anything.
He really got into this bubble blowing. He was very good at blowing multiple bubbles that stuck together. He had a special knack for blowing 'apartment' bubbles. Must have had something to do with his cuteness factor and his ability to bring people together... social bubbles.
The adults were basically ignoring us, so I did have some buffer in case the bubbles got out of control...
as things sometimes do.
Now, I understood why this was an "outdoor" toy.
I hobbled for the garden hose and , miracle or miracles, the minute that the water hit the blue goo, it all went clear. The blue disappeared. If you touched a spot of blue with a drop of water... the blue just vanished. Amazing, right? So this seeming toxic bottle of joy was water soluble and cleaned up really well. AND... the lawn wasn't dead  the next day.

I have a lot more of my visit to show you, but it will wait for another day. We are hunting rattlesnakes around here. One showed up last night at about 9:00 p.m. It was dark. Good thing they have alarm systems.  Photos later.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Veiled Virgin

I just recieved an email from my friend Dawn, in Michigan. She sent me some photos of statues that were carved out of Carrara marble sometime in the mid-19th century by an artist named Giovanni Strazza.
Just take a look at this...
This is hard, unforgiving, white marble that comes from the city of Carrara in the Tuscany region of Italy. 
This is the most amazing thing I have every seen. The transparent look is the result of an optical illusion. There is no see through veil.
The image of the veiled woman was intended to symbolize Italy. The statue was transported to Newfoundland in 1856, so if you ever visit there, you can see this Veiled Virgin, in person, at Cathedral Square in St. John's.
Wow! I'm blown away. 

Early Morning Glory

A morning-glory at my window
 satisfies me more
 than the metaphysics
 of books. 
~Walt Whitman~

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

"Hi there."

Hi there, aren't I just the cutest little thing you've ever seen? I'm yellow and I'm a grasshopper. 
 I'm eating all of the leaves on this lady's hollyhocks and tonight I was in her zinnias. The man who lives here threw my brother down into the goat run but I couldn't be caught.  I'm little and I'm fast.
The lady who lives here can't figure out if I'm a special grasshopper or a baby. She has been looking at her insect book all day. 
I don't have wings and I'm only about an inch long. I'm a very cool looking insect. 

I have big eyes and amazing feet.

 I will have to duck and cover tomorrow. She got her photos... and now I'm not wanted here anymore.


 ( I scared this little grasshopper into the summer sage last night. This morning it wasn't in the Zinnias and was no where to be seen. Hope he made the right decision and took off.~~  Farmlady.)

My foot is healing, but it's still sensitive and sore. I sat outside until dark last night taking these photos with my 105mm macro lens. This little guy was very cooperative but when I went to scoot it off of the Zinnias it did not want to be touched and jumped into the sage. Haven't seen it since.
I sat in a lawn chair, with my camera and tripod in front of me, for about an hour. Taking these photos was good therapy. Forgot about everything else. What a joy Photography is. I'm sure it helps the healing process to get lost in something that you love.
Saw the doctor on Thursday. Got my stitches out and was told I could take a shower in a  few days... So, on Sunday, after almost three weeks of washing my hair in the kitchen sink and washing my body in the bathroom sink (please, no mental pictures)... I got to take a real shower. Oh, joy... what a wonderful feeling.
I'm on my way to recovery.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Temporarily blogging on Facebook

 I hope I didn't loose any of you in my absence. It just seemed easier to write a few things on Facebook than tax my brain writing a blog post. Anyway... that's my excuse for not posting here for almost two weeks. I wish I could say I've been on a wonderful vacation to the Bahamas or published my first book... but I didn't. Sometimes life slows you down to a crawl and sitting with your foot on three pillows and an ice bag is mandatory. Having someone dig bad things out of your foot tends to take all the fun out of EVERYTHING.

But... I'm healing... I'm walking without a walker... I'm wearing the beautiful and fashionable black shoe that comes with the operation and yesterday... I got all the stitches out. Yes, I did. Now my foot looks like a beat up cat... without whiskers. I'm walking on my heal, mostly. Someone said it's called "chicken walking". Good description.

So thanks to everyone who emailed, called, stopped by, wrote comments here and on Facebook. It did make a difference. It wasn't that big a deal, having my foot operated on, so it is fun to have someone write and say, "Stop whining, you weeny... ". I had a good laugh over that. If you can laugh, you will probably recover. Either recover or pass on to the next life with a smile on your face.
None of this was that serious or life threatening. They were causing pain, growing bigger and interfering with my ability to walk and hike. Thank heaven for modern medicine. They have "fix its" that really help the quality of life issues. I don't know where these Morton's Neuroma's came from... but it must have been from some lesser known ancestor of mine. Someone that I didn't know at all. A latent gene or blip in my DNA. My mom had 'bad feet' but hers were about arches and bunions...and, in the end, neuropathy from Diabetes. So I have very little to complain about.
I did get a card in the mail, from a blogging friend that was just the sweetest.
 And she wrote the "thinking of you and hoping you'll be back to walking the beautiful trails soon" inside the card... with a broken hand. That's got to be above and beyond the call of duty. Thank you Jojo.  I think the beautiful little vintage handkerchief is for those days when we all need to have a good cry and blowing of the nose... but I don't want to mess it up because it's so pretty... so I will use Kleenex instead and keep this for special occasions.
My sister sent some magazines and candy... bless her heart. She knows me well.
She has a new dog, a rescue German Shorthair named Stella. I can't wait to recover and go see Stella. I have some photos in my new phone, but I haven't figured out how to download them to Picassa. I will figure it all out and then... you will get to see this beautiful dog.

Oh... the little eggs on the porch ? They hatched. One of the babies thinks the camera is "mom".
"Hey, mom, where's the food." What amazing little creatures they are.
The heat went away for a few days and now it's back. This is Summer in the Foothills. I love how it smells out there... even in the heat.
Carl and Cutter are taking their "just before lunch" nap.
The Prospector just left to get ANOTHER tattoo.
I need to do a post on his tattoos sometime. You'd be amazed.
Things are going well. 

Monday, June 9, 2014

Perspective from the Porch.

I went outside just before lunch today. The heat was building slowly. I decided that I needed to smell something besides the air-conditioner so I carried my camera around my neck and carefully waddled out to the porch with my walker. I'm getting pretty good at this walker walking.
The thermometer read 100 degrees.
Some things do really well in a heat wave. The cactus is blooming in all of its happiness.
I always forget to water this prickly little plant and it forgives me by producing a most beautiful orange flower.
It needs to be separated and replanted but I need to read up on how you do this. It's a touchy subject.
Pittosporum on the left... Strawberry tree on the right... and in the middle, the lovely Chatalpa tree.
The Chalapa tree is in bloom now and will continue into the summer. It's so beautiful with its azalea like blossoms and lightness of being. We bought this tree a few years ago at the Flower farm in Shenandoah Valley. It's drought resistant, loves hot weather and doesn't need any extra watering when established.
There was some limited verbal chit chat going on at the birdbath. The yellow finches were discussing the weather and didn't seem too happy about it.
They all had their mouths open, as if fatigued with the hot air. 
I'm sure that they are grateful for the water in this intense heat. We fill the birdbath every morning. We have many birds that come to drink and bath here. It pleases everyone.
Even the elusive Cowbird was waiting in the Chatalpa branches, trying to find shade from the heat. This bird makes the most amazing sounds... clicks, whistles and a wonderful song like flowing, gurgling water. I always recognize this bird by its song.
The Hollyhock does well in the heat, but needs a lot of water to keep blooming. It's almost done and will dry up soon. 

Another flower that blooms in the heat...

The garden lady seemed happy with her place under the Rose of Sharon bush.
And in the hanging tea light that my sister made for me...
A Rosy Finch has laid four beautiful eggs. There will be more babies on the porch soon.
Momma finch just fits into the container. It's too funny. All we see is her head and her tail feathers. But she is there all the time, snuggled into her "nest" of choice. Wait until there are four babies. This ought to be fun to watch. What we can't figure out is the TWO males that hang around her all the time. This has been a threesome since the beginning. They both bring her food and they both seem to be at odds with each other. Someone is confused... or momma Finch is playing the field.

Around Noon the heat became too much for me and I retreated into the house for the rest of the day. I'm sure that Miss Mazie was happy to see the dogs and I go. Shortly thereafter, she returned to her nest.

My foot is a little sore today but it's healing. It's pulling a lot, so it must be healing. I can't wait for this to be done so I can go walking again on the road to the river. I miss being down there. Until then... the porch will have to do.
The temperature reached 104 today. It's dry, dusty and intense out there. The Rattlers aren't even showing their faces... but we are vigilant. Tomorrow the Prospector will take the dogs for their Rattlesnake Vaccination Booster and we check the front garden every time they go outside.
Today there was a Red Flag Warning for the Central Northern counties. I'm sure it will be the same tomorrow. We are on alert here. Fires are popping up everywhere.
I really dislike Summer.