"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

Friday, May 25, 2012

Monkeys in the Mail

My friend Jan (blogs at Little Pink Houses) sent me MONKEYS.
Look at the packaging of these little guys. Is this not the most wonderful package to receive in the mail?
The artistic drawing of Banana Liqueur came with a warning...
"Keep your banana liqueur bottled up and those monkeys should be just fine." Ha! I have it in writing so if anything happens, my lawyers will know who to contact. I don't have any banana liqueur but I've got Adult Chocolate Milk (Have you heard of this?) I will have to watch these little monkeys. You never know what  they might get into.
Jan found the see no evil, speak no evil, hear no evil monkeys at a garage sale because they reminded her of herself, my sister and me. She says she's the one who can't hear... but, according to the Prospector, I would have that honor. He thinks I should have my hearing checked. He doesn't know that I just have selective hearing.

 The last monkeys that Jan sent were monkey slippers and they are safely put away in a shoebox, in the closet, because Carl wouldn't leave them alone.
You have to understand that Jan and I have had a long standing debate on the subject of monkeys... their endearing qualities and their perceived similarities to humans. I have always been afraid of monkeys so I'm guessing that, in Jan's mind, I need to face my fears. I thought that I had "Faced my fears" when I watched all the Planet of the Apes movies. It was no help at all.
 I won't go into all the details but we have had this monkey discussion many times and I think that she believes exposure is the answer. Like giving someone who hates snakes a rubber boa or holding a real spider close to an arachnophobic. Yes, she's THAT kind of friend.
It's ALWAYS about monkeys! She must be a relative of Jane Goodall.

However..... These cute versions, of what I refer to as "Jan's Obsession", are something I can live with.
So... I asked them where there would be comfortable in my house.
They didn't like being on the edge of the begonia planter. Too precarious. 
They really didn't like sitting on the edge of the computer either. Too precarious... and  too much computer radiation. They ARE like the three of us. Worry, worry, worry...

This house plant was better. The view was good but that serpent made them nervous.

They felt overwhelmed by the big rabbit towering above them and they thought they might slip off of that rock.
So finally, after a lot of discussion and many opinions about which would be the "best" place to settle into, They chose this spot.

 They said that they could see me at the computer and were high enough that the dogs couldn't get to them.
I think that they liked the fragrance of the felted soap and the bear was something warm and comforting in their new home. It was the place that soothed their little monkey minds.
"Buddha described the human mind as being filled with drunken monkeys, jumping around, screeching, chattering, carrying on endlessly. We all have monkey minds, Buddha said, with dozens of monkeys all clamoring for attention. Fear is an especially loud monkey, sounding the alarm incessantly, pointing out all the things we should be wary of and everything that could go wrong."
 ( see the credit for this quote here. Good article!)
Maybe they will settle down MY monkey mind and remind me to speak with kindness, see clearly and hear others with compassion and understanding.
Thank you Jan. See you soon.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Solar Eclipse Excitement

Last night at 6.15 p.m.
A beautiful evening... clear and warm.
I waited with my camera.
Thunderheads were forming all day to the east.
To the south, the sun still lit the hills.
I was waiting for THE ECLIPSE.
 I waited for the sun to darken and watch everything become shrouded in eeriness . It was suppose to happen very soon... within fifteen minutes or so.
The Sacramento news folks were doing their usual overkill on this solar event.
They spent the whole new program talking about the eclipse and all the do's and don'ts to watching this amazing event. It worked. They got me really excited about the whole thing and because I didn't have smoked glass or special lenses to look directly at the sun, I thought that I would photograph the "darkening of the world" here at home.
As I have said before, we don't see sunsets from our place. We are on the east side of the hills facing East.
We only see sunrises. So, I waited.
Finally, I couldn't stand all the sitting and waiting and wanted to have fun like everyone on TV. I decided to drive to a point were I could see the sun. I drove into town and down highway 88 to a ridge were I could see to the west. I was also looking for what the experts said were shadow reflections of the eclipse on a wall. As I went through town, I spotted a tree that was casting a big clear shadow on the wall of our Post Office. It stood out from the road.  I pulled into the parking lot, got out and took some photos of  the tree and the shadow.
It was an exceptionally clear shadow and there was one branch that seemed to reflect light more than the others. I got closer and that was when I saw the crescents. The whole shadow of this branch (not the others) was covered with crescent shaped reflections.
Look closely...
I don't know why this was the only branch. I didn't even get a really clear photo of it. But the other shadows of other branches didn't have these little crescent, bird like reflections within the shadow of the leaves. Only this branch had the light shinning through its leaves. I'm not talking about the shape of the leaf shadow, but the small, sun lit, bird shape crescents in the dark areas. That is the Sun, with the moon eclipsing it . This one branch shadow sparkled compared to the rest of the shadows.
If you look at the first photo again, you can see that the branch that I'm talking about is fully in the sunlight. I guess that this is what they were talking about when they said that you could see the eclipse in some shadows. This site has some great information about the eclipse and shows some photos of the crescent reflections too. It also has some wonderful animated pictures of how an eclipse happens and why.
When I turned around in a cemetery up on the ridge, I got out and took a picture of my shadow. The news folks talked about how there were "auras" around some folk's shadows during the eclipse, so I wanted to see  
~my aura~

I didn't see any AURA, but I liked the fact that I looked SKINNY.  So indulge me on this one photo because it will be a cold day in hell before I ever look this skinny again.
As I drove out of the cemetery I aimed the camera at the sun (not looking directly at it) and took some photos.
When I got home I downloaded them and these are some of the photos that resulted from my blind camera action.
Both of these two photos were taken with the road as perspective. The photo above has a funny little rainbow reflection like yours TERI. Maybe it was really there. We have proof...caught on camera.







The last two were cropped in Picasa 3, my photo storage and editing program.  I was trying to see the eclipse. I didn't see it.
 What I see is a very beautiful center of our solar system. This amazing orb that is suspended in space.
Sometimes, when I really think about where we are and the immensity of the universe, it scares me..... but it also fills me with wonder. I think that whatever we do to try and make sense out of all this, giving it meaning and trying to understand, only helps calm our fears. We can't really know.
There is so much more to this world, this solar system, this universe, than we can ever know and we are a very tiny part of the whole.
Some of this thinking is scary and makes me feel like one of the photos that I changed to infrared. Infrared is, the dictionary says,  "using radiation having wavelengths longer than those of red light."
I believe it!
Now that's what I call an Aura.
And this...
What do you think? And what is that bump on both photos? An explosion on the sun? An expression of  anger from the insulted power of our solar system.
SUN probably didn't like the moon coming between itself and the Earth. Maybe it was upset and blew off some steam.
I have no idea. I only know that I wasn't really all that impressed with THE ECLIPSE until I saw these last two photos.
That SUN is a force to be reckoned with .
I never really saw the whole thing, but I don't think the Sun was happy about it.



Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Bad Fairy of the Foothills is here Early.

Last Sunday was Mother's Day. The Prospector generously took me out to our favorite restaurant for dinner.
It's Italian. It's a beautiful place. The food is delicious and the weather was beautiful.
I had gotten a card from my oldest son.

This card is a keeper. Oh yes!
My youngest son called to wish me a happy day and , all in all, it was a wonderful Mother's Day.
I even got a kiss from my magic goat.

I've been in the garden all week... watering, weeding and hoping for the pumpkin seeds to germinate.
They did...
The tomatoes are growing by inches every day.
I bought a cucumber (an Armenian Cucumber). The very pale, long ones. to go with all the tomatoes and lettuce. Oh, the salads there will be.

Look at this lettuce. It's so beautiful.
Once in a while I check for bugs and eat a leaf or two right there in the garden. This lettuce is delicious. Murph' and Brownie like it as well.
They are not discerning animals though and will eat anything that I hand through the fence. When I say " Hey, guys. Want some .... (what ever it is I happen to have.)?"  They stop in their tracks.
"Farmlady has some goodies for us."
I can see the wheels turning in Murphy's head. He always tried to be the goat closest to the fence. If Brownie gets in front of him he pushes Brown away. He's very serious about ~Special Treats~

Last night, after dinner, I fertilized the roses and watered everything in the garden behind the house, staying out until almost dark. 
I came in and started the dishwasher, cleaned myself up and fell asleep on the couch watching House Hunter's in.... I think it was the Bahama's.
I forgot about the BAD FAIRY that arrives about now. She turns herself into the EVIL SPIRIT OF THE WELL this time of the year. and becomes a constant problem all summer. Her other incarnation is FIRE.


This morning I woke up to, "Don't turn any water on, flush the toilet or take a shower. The well is dry."  
Now this was not good. I had to be at the Master Gardener Tomato Plant show and workshop in an hour and a half. The Prospector had plans to spend the day at the Auction House in town. He was set on outbidding everyone for a used trommel (mining equipment).
Well, guess who got to take his place at the Auction while he waited for the well guy to come and give us an informed opinion on what was wrong?
I left for a quick run to the Tomato Show (grumbling all the way) to see what they had .. and then, on to the Auction. We planned to do a telephone bid, with the Prospector on one end and me on the other. I have to say that this was met with a lot of disagreement at home this morning, when he first asked me about doing it. But I finally caved, and walked into the Auction House trying to act like I wasn't the ONLY WOMAN IN THE WHOLE PLACE . It was an auction with lots of ladders, shovels, tool chests and miscellaneous "man cave, garage" stuff. It was not really my antique, thrift shop style.
 About an hour into the Auction I got a phone call. 
It was the Prospector saying that the well guy had come and gone. We (That would be me.)  used too much water yesterday and the well shut down. The guy said that the water level was coming back up and everything else looked good. He said to let it recover for about 24 hours and then be careful about using too much water at one time. Lordy! I knew that! I just forgot about the EVIL SPIRIT. It wasn't hot enough. It wasn't time for water conservation yet.
 I was glad we weren't looking at thousands of dollars, that we didn't have, to fix something that we absolutely cannot live without. But, I was even more relieved that the Prospector was going to get in his truck and come down to the auction, saving me from all the strange men and doing his own bids. 
He came, he got into a bidding war with one other person and ... he lost his trommel to an old guy with a dog. 
It was that BAD FAIRY turned EVIL SPIRIT of the WELL and there was nothing we could do about it. 
She is up to no good. She's a bad one.... and carries matches in her back pocket.